Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks Prepare To Reopen

It’s difficult to believe that Walt Disney World theme parks have been closed for almost four months. But now we are just a few hours away from Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom reopening with EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios not far behind. Once they reopen, here’s what guests can expect when visiting Walt Disney World Resort theme parks according to Disney:

Walt Disney World Resort theme parks are preparing for a phased reopening – with significant reduction in capacity – beginning July 11, 2020, with Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow July 15, 2020.

Mickey MouseAfter being closed for nearly four months, Walt Disney World theme parks are reopening with a deliberate, responsible approach drawing on experience from Shanghai Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney Springs. Aspects of a Disney theme park day have been re-examined in light of the new global environment, with new policies following guidance from health experts and government agencies. In addition to limits on attendance and controlled guest density, new procedures will be in place for park entry, attractions, dining, retail, transportation and more, with the well-being of guests and Disney cast members at the forefront of planning.

With all these changes, the fundamentals of a Disney theme park experience remain the same. Stories will come to life through favorite attractions and beloved characters, as signature Disney creativity and innovation deliver new ways to enjoy these experiences. Cast members are starting to return to work and carefully preparing for their roles, donning their costumes and pinning on their name tags for the first time in months. Because even with everything that’s happening in the world around them, they’re ready to help guests discover magic is here again at Walt Disney World theme parks.

Disney Park Pass Reservation System

Health and Safety 3To promote physical distancing, capacity will be limited as guests return to Walt Disney World theme parks. At reopening, guests with a ticket or Annual Pass must use the new Disney Park Pass system to make a reservation in advance for each park entry.

Once guests log in to their My Disney Experience accounts on Disneyworld.com and link their tickets, they have access to a calendar of available reservation dates for each theme park; multi-day tickets require a park reservation for each day of their tickets. Families and friends can link their tickets together and look to arrange theme park entries at the same time. Park reservations are limited in number and subject to availability.

Health and Safety Procedures

Health and SafetyAs guests and Disney cast members work together to promote the health and safety of everyone, the theme parks will feature new protocols during this phased reopening.

“Our deliberate and phased approach at Walt Disney World Resort emphasizes multiple layers of health and safety measures,” said Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “We’re taking a multi-pronged approach to our reopening, after considering the guidance of various governmental authorities and health agencies, and recommendations from our team of health and safety experts. We’re also actively working with industry groups and research universities to discuss best practices.”

These new measures include:

  • Appropriate Face Coverings – All guests 2 years of age and older, along with cast members, will be required to wear an appropriate face covering while visiting the theme parks. They must be worn over the nose and mouth at all times, except when eating and drinking while dining.
  • Transportation – Capacity and guest density is limited for complimentary Walt Disney World guest transportation, and guests are required to wear appropriate face coverings at all times during their journey. Buses and Monorails will implement a combination of physical distancing and physical barriers to provide separation between guest parties. Party groups will be required to maintain physical distancing while aboard Disney watercraft. Disney Skyliner will load one party per gondola when it returns to operation July 15, 2020. For those arriving in their own vehicles, auto plazas will offer cashless payment; parking lot trams will not be available at this time.
  • Temperature Screenings – All guests will be required to undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park. Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be directed to an additional location for rescreening and assistance. Those who again measure 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will not be allowed entry, nor will those in their party.
  • Physical Distancing and Capacity Measures – To maintain appropriate physical distancing, a limited number of guests will be able to visit each theme park each day; limits will also be in place for indoor locations within the parks, such as retail shops and dining locations. Ground markings will help promote proper physical distancing throughout the parks, including attraction queues. Physical barriers will be in place in select locations where maintaining a proper physical distance from others may be difficult.
  • Cleanliness – High-traffic areas will receive increased cleaning. Guests will be encouraged to frequently use hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer available in the theme parks.
  • Cashless Transactions – Guests are encouraged to use cashless options whenever possible, including MagicBands, debit cards, credit cards, Disney gift cards and mobile payment methods.

Cast members have gone through extensive new training to prepare for the theme parks’ reopening in this new environment. Cast members in the Incredi-Crew will wear brightly colored, easily identifiable attire and walk through the parks to explain the new procedures and answer any guest questions, while encouraging everyone to follow these new health and safety measures.

Dining Procedures

Health and Safety 2New measures promoting health and well-being will be implemented at Walt Disney World theme park restaurants during their phased reopening. These include enhanced cleaning procedures in seating, dining and common areas, as well as changes to self-serve options. In addition, mobile technology via the My Disney Experience app is being used in convenient ways to minimize contact, such as Mobile Order at select quick-service theme park locations and Mobile Dine Check-in at select theme park table-service locations, as well as reduced-contact menus at select theme park restaurants.

Beloved Attractions Return Along with the Theme Parks

Most attractions will be available at each park when they reopen. Guests can enter a cartoon world at Disney’s Hollywood Studios when they experience the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, or visit the Valley of Mo’ara in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Soarin’ Around the World will take flight at EPCOT, and Magic Kingdom will offer a bevy of favorites, such as The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain.

Character Experiences, Returning Entertainment

Character ParadeSeeing beloved Disney characters is one of the most magical moments of any Disney theme park experience. With traditional character greetings and parades on hiatus during this phased reopening, Disney characters will appear in new and different ways throughout all four theme parks, bringing smiles to guests’ faces while maintaining proper physical distancing.

  • In Magic Kingdom, characters will cavalcade along the traditional parade route throughout the day. Others will pop up in new locations, such as Captain Jack Sparrow suddenly appearing in Adventureland.
  • At EPCOT, guests may see Queen Anna and Elsa venture “into the unknown” on a journey around World Showcase, or Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Goofy out for their own world tour.
  • Pixar Animation Studios characters will appear on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, waving to their adoring fans. And over in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, guests should be sure to “move along” if they spot any First Order Stormtroopers.
  • Guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom may see Disney characters setting sail down Discovery River on special boats, such as Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Pocahontas and others.

Select atmosphere entertainment groups will return, as well, such as Main Street Philharmonic at Magic Kingdom, Mariachi Cobre and the JAMMitors at EPCOT, and Discovery Island Drummers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Entertainment experiences that draw large group gatherings, such as nighttime spectaculars, will be on hiatus.

New Blended Festival Debuts at EPCOT

A new version of the popular EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival will debut July 15 when the park reopens, continuing into the fall. The Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival will be the longest festival in Walt Disney World history, blending floral fun from the park’s annual flower and garden event with the global goodies of the food and wine festival.

This new event will offer more than 20 signature global marketplaces, including Hawaii, Hops & Barley and Islands of the Caribbean. Additional tables will be in place throughout the park where guests can stop and remove their face coverings to enjoy festival dishes while maintaining physical distancing. Guests can take photos in front of the park’s newest Remy topiary in the France pavilion and purchase merchandise from the 2020 International EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival.

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If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Are you excited for Walt Disney World to reopen?
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Gideon's Bakehouse

First Look At Gideon’s Bakehouse Coming To Disney Springs

In recent years, Disney Springs has quickly become one of the best spots in Walt Disney World to find delicious foods. With so many places recently debuting in this location, get ready to add another one to your list. Slated to open this year, Gideon’s Bakehouse is soon to join the ranks of tasty must try dessert options in The Landing at Disney Springs. Once it opens, here’s what guests can expect when visiting Gideon’s Bakehouse according to Disney:

Multi-award-winning local business Gideon’s Bakehouse will be opening its long-anticipated second location in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Gideon’s original location opened in late 2016 at Orlando’s East End Market with one employee and an $800 budget. The Bakehouse quickly gained international recognition for its almost ½-pound, small-batch handmade cookies. Word quickly spread, and lines up to 80 minutes long became a regular sight – with locals and visitors alike all hoping to get their hands on their favorite flavor before Gideon’s sold out.

“Exploring local food has become a large part of what it means to travel. We’re proud to be representing the creative Central Florida small-business scene, which has grown so much over this past decade,” said owner and creator Steve Lewis. “To go from a 286- square-foot bakery to the international stage that Disney draws is a remarkable experience. We’re doing this on our own steam, free from partners or investors. That has been made possible by the unwavering support of our local community.”

Anticipating to open later this year, Gideon’s Bakehouse plans to bring an expanded menu of its cookie and cake slices to The Landing at Disney Springs. Taking advantage of this larger space, Gideon’s will add its own line of unique iced coffees, like the Original Peanut Butter Iced Coffee, built to pair flawlessly with their desserts. Guests can expect to see all of their favorite cookie flavors, plus new limited editions available exclusively during timed daily releases. Guests will be able to enjoy the ever-popular Coffee Cake Cookie (previously only available one month a year) every morning at Gideon’s in Disney Springs. For those looking for something extra special after dinner, Gideon’s is introducing a Hot Cookie Hour each evening. “We’re also excited to bring more cake flavors to our new location, offering never-before-seen creations like our special line of Double Frosted Cakes,” said Lewis. “There are more than a few secrets we have up our sleeves, but you’ll have to wait and see. It’s not Gideon’s if it isn’t a little dark and mysterious.”

Gideon’s is also known for its uncommon visual presentation. Their original location takes inspiration from artists like Edward Gorey while paying tribute to a similarly eerie fan-favorite attraction at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park. Its flagship location will look to build on that experience. Not only can guests expect a whimsical Victorian design to the new shop, but they can also look forward to collectible art becoming a part of their product packaging. “We aim to make the wait in line entertaining by immersing everyone in a transformative environment that will share our story as they progress towards the counter. Experience is everything to us, so memorable sweets and whimsical atmosphere exist hand in hand. This opportunity is truly a dream come true and will allow us to flex all of our creative muscles in both desserts and decor. We’re passionate, inspired, and ready,” said Lewis.

While you’re planning your visit to Walt Disney World, be sure to put Gideon’s Bakehouse on your list of must-try places, and I hope to see ya’ there real soon!

501 WaysHeading to Disney World?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Are you excited to try Gideon’s Bakehouse once it opens?
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Welcome to Magic Kingdom

Why Disney World Cancelling Everything Is Actually A Good Thing

Slowly information is beginning to trickle out from Walt Disney World ahead of the resort’s phased reopening on July 11, 2020. The official Disney website is now being updated frequently with important “Know Before You Go” information that will be critical for anyone planning a visit over the next few months.

Much has been covered throughout the Disney community of bloggers, vloggers, and podcasts about the new health and safety policies that will be in place as well as speculation as to what a Walt Disney World will feel like under the new normal. So instead of rehashing all of that, let’s take a look at the silver lining to this situation if you happen to have a visit in the near future.

WHY DISNEY WORLD CANCELLING EVERYTHING IS ACTUALLY A GOOD THING

So if you’re like me, you may have had a Walt Disney World vacation planned for months down to every detail. You got up early 180 days out to book all of those dining reservations for the restaurants you’ve been wanting to try, painstakingly created a plan outlining which day you would spend in each park, and again got up by dawn to book those hard to get Fastpasses for Flight of Passage, Slinky Dog Dash, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. You were so excited, your kids were so excited, everything was all set and ready to go…until is wasn’t. I feel your pain.

I understand that given everything going on in our country and around the world today, that a vacation that has been disrupted in some way or even postponed to next year is not the end of the world. But for anyone that is going through this, me and my kids included, it is disappointing. And guess what? It’s okay to be disappointed.

But here’s the good news, that silver lining I was talking about…it’s actually a good thing that Walt Disney World is cancelling everything. Honestly, it takes the pressure off; it takes the pressure off you, and it takes the pressure off the resort and cast members. We are all starting at zero…zero expectations…zero reservations, and that can actually benefit all of us.

There are automatically high expectations when you spend six months or more planning for something, eagerly anticipating something. Think weddings, graduations, holidays. We can’t help it, we’re human, of course we want it all to be perfect. Those amazing lifelong memories we’re all striving to create, right?

But with Disney cancelling all dining reservations and Fastpasses, and shifting the planning window to just 60 days out, we have the incredible opportunity to make the most of this situation. It is very likely that capacity limits will remain low for quite sometime, which translates to less crowded parks. Yes, it’s true, we might be missing some of the things that makes Disney, Disney, like parades, fireworks, shows, and character greetings, but imagine being able to ride your favorite attractions several times with little to no wait. Think for a moment about being able to leisurely walk along the pathways of the parks taking in the architecture and magical details without a crowd. What would it be like to go to the park and actually be spontaneous?

What if on this Walt Disney World vacation, you could actually slow down, enjoy the moment, and not feel like you need a vacation afterward?

If you have a trip booked in the next few months, I encourage you to take advantage of what could be a once in a lifetime relaxed and slower paced Walt Disney World vacation, if you let it. Zero expectations…zero reservations (except park admission, of course)!

WHAT I AM DOING ABOUT MY UPCOMING TRIPS

In my recent posts Disney World Reopening To Begin July 11 Upon Approval, Disney World Closed Indefinitely, Disney World Is Closed – Now What? and When Will Disney World Reopen, I shared what I am doing about my upcoming Walt Disney World vacations that I have scheduled throughout the rest of 2020.

As a quick update, I have now had to cancel my April, June, July, and August trips so far. I have one more Walt Disney World vacation currently scheduled during in early fall 2020 For the moment, I am still hanging on to the reservation and hope that I will be able to go.

I do have some concerns though, like will the resort hotel I’ve booked, Caribbean Beach Resort, be open yet, will I be able to reserve theme park admission for my travel dates or will there not be enough capacity, and will I physically be able to withstand the high Florida heat and humidity while wearing a mask without shows like Carousel of Progress or Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor open to cool off in.

In addition to those concerns, there are other considerations such as will the non-essential travel ban still be in effect in my home state of Colorado, is the reward of visiting Walt Disney World during this time worth the potential risk to the health of myself and my loved ones, and can I truly enjoy myself or will my worry and anxiety get the best of me?

For all of us with Disney World travel plans scheduled in the near future, we are going to need to do some serious thinking to decide what is best for ourselves and our families during this unprecedented situation.

So for now I will wait to see how the initial reopening plays out in Disney World, and how the pandemic progresses in our country and globally, before making my final decision about my remaining 2020 vacation. I will continue to keep you posted here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I would love to hear what you’re going to do, so please comment below or hit me up on social media!

WHAT’S NEXT?

In the meantime, while things slowly reopen, I will continue to share the latest Walt Disney World news and information here. You can still expect to see posts filling you in on all of the fun things coming up at the most magical place on earth!

Please stay safe and well, and I will see you in the parks real soon!

501 WaysHeading to Disney World?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Are you rescheduling or cancelling? Have any tips or concerns?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!