43+ Questions We Still Have About Disney World’s Reopening

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Disney recently unveiled the broad outlines of its Walt Disney World resort reopening plan. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen on July 11 and Hollywood Studios and Epcot will reopen on July 15. Additionally, some of the Disney Vacation Club hotels will be available to members and guests as early as June 22. An overview on the Disney Parks Blog filled in a few more details, like a temporary suspension of parades and evening spectaculars and a reservation system for park entry.

Welcome to the new normal. We have questions.

While this is vastly more information than we had a few days ago, there are still many questions about how the opening will roll out and what the new Disney normal will look like. Here are some that we have (in no particular order):

  1. Will there be social distancing measures implemented on the attractions? Will they look like some of our predictions?
  2. If everyone is mobile ordering quick-service food, how will they streamline the pick up procedures?
  3. How will mask use be enforced?
  4. Will there be rules for trying on or returning theme park merchandise?
  5. Since many of the international cast members returned home, how will the Epcot World Showcase pavilions be staffed?
  6. Will Disney’s buffet service restaurants be reconfigured to another form of service? If so, how long will this last?
  7. If character greetings are temporarily suspended (as mentioned in the Parks Blog), how will character meals be impacted? Will the pricing change for those venues?
  8. Will evening activities be added to the resorts?
  9. Will some resorts be temporarily closed or repurposed (stationing the NBA at Coronado Springs is one rumor), and if so, how will guests with reservations there be relocated?
  10. Will all of Disney’s internal transportation methods operate? If so, how will that work?
  11. Will MagicBand capabilities be altered in any way? For example, will non-resort guests be allowed to link a credit card for charging purposes?
  12. Will table service restaurant ordering be altered? Will disposable or online menus be used?
  13. Will there be limits to the number of guests allowed into park shops?
  14. Will guests be allowed to walk and eat without wearing masks? How will this impact things like popcorn and Mickey bar sales?
  15. Will the park trash cans be altered? Will guests be able to dispose of refuse without touching a trash can flap?
  16. How will characters be integrated into the parks if there are initially no meet and greets?
  17. How will photography work? Will guests be allowed to take off masks for photo ops?
  18. Will dining hours be altered?
  19. How will park reservations work?
  20. Will park hopping be allowed?
  21. Will paper maps and Times Guides be eliminated? What about other ephemera like stickers for kids or the welcome leis at the Polynesian?
  22. Given the reduction in entertainment, will ticket prices be changed in any way?
  23. Will resort pool seating be reconfigured in any way?
  24. Will resort lobby seating be reconfigured in any way?
  25. How will resort room cleaning practices change? Will they eliminate things like pens and the end of bed half-blankets?
  26. Will the new park rules be added to the resort room TV feed? Will Stacey explain them?
  27. When will things like the Biddidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Fancy Nancy makeover resume?
  28. Will backstage tours be suspended for a time?
  29. Will the August start date for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival be altered?
  30. Will the dates for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party be altered? Will the costume rules for MNSSHP change?
  31. Will the Epcot Kidcot Fun Stops be operational?
  32. How prevalent will the COVID-related signage be in the parks?
  33. Will the park entry security measures be altered? Will security cast members still touch guests’ bags, or will automated screening be implemented?
  34. How will temperature checks work? What happens if guests do not pass the temperature check? Will ticket refunds be allowed for medical reasons?
  35. Will there be any changes to Magical Express procedures? Will guests need temperature checks to board the Magical Express buses?
  36. Given the scrapping of the current FastPass system, will guests who previously had FastPasses be allowed priority access to the rides?
  37. Will fill-your-own candy stations in resort shops be eliminated?
  38. Will the resort refillable mug program be changed? Will guests be allowed to fill their own beverage cups?
  39. Will resort recreation rentals be altered?
  40. How will the pattern for interactive attractions change when everyone is wearing masks? Will there be new jokes for the Jungle Cruise, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, or Turtle Talk with Crush?
  41. If some queues move outdoors, how will guests be sheltered from the sun? Will there be umbrellas in the walkways?
  42. Other than masks for sale, will there be any other merchandise that addresses the virus situation? Jokey tees? Plush toys wearing masks?
  43. How will guests be instructed to social distance in resort bars and lounges?

These are just a few of the near infinite number of questions we have about the new Walt Disney World. What did we miss? What are you thinking about? Let us know in the comments.

Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel at DisneyWorldMoms.com, a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater. Erin can be reached on Twitter @MsErinFoster.

29 thoughts on “43+ Questions We Still Have About Disney World’s Reopening

  • May 29, 2020 at 2:14 pm
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    Those are a great set of questions…looking forward to hearing, over time, answers to all of these. No trips for my family until ALL are answered. Just too much money to even consider a trip to Disney (sad face) until we know these answers.

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  • May 29, 2020 at 2:22 pm
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    What about park hopper tickets with the new “admission reservation” system?

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  • May 29, 2020 at 3:20 pm
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    I was told my park hopper add on is kaput. that makes me sad as I like to do more than one park a day…

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  • May 29, 2020 at 3:45 pm
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    Awesome list! I’d add:
    – Magic bands aren’t really ‘touchless’ for payments since a PIN number is needed. Will/Can PIN numbers be eliminated (I realize it’s a security issue but as a consumer I’d rather not touch a keypad that others have used)
    – How will the wearing of masks be enforced? People will naturally take them off for at least a few minutes at a time (I saw this even in Shanghai DL videos)…is that ok? Who will police that? Will there be warnings given out? Will it be more highly enforced on rides/indoors?

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  • May 29, 2020 at 3:56 pm
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    In addition, what about annual passholders with blackout dates; i.e., my parents have FL resident silver passes that expired April 7–their AP will be extended for the 4 months the park was closed until August 7, but the Silver AP does not allow entry until August 8th. Additionally, Disney has not answered any questions with regards to the Armed Forces Salute tickets, which are good for calendar year 2020, but are non-refundable and non-transferable… which is an issue when you are a military family with plans to take a vacation during the closure, but cannot take a vacation later in the year due to deployment. Hopefully, Disney will address soon! I have every confidence they will!!

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  • May 29, 2020 at 4:02 pm
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    How will the DAS program be affected?

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  • May 29, 2020 at 5:42 pm
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    For payment, you could consider using a no-contact credit card. Such cards can be identified by a logo on the front or back that looks sort of like a sideways wifi symbol. You hold the card an inch or so in front of the payment terminal, no PIN needed. I assume these will work at most Disney locations, except maybe for balloon vendors and the like.

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  • May 29, 2020 at 6:25 pm
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    #16 I love the wandering characters in Batuu. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that if less character meets.

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  • May 29, 2020 at 10:03 pm
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    No. 3 is the only crucial point. Only by having a high percentage of guests wear masks a high percentage of their time in a park do you avoid that park becoming a vast viral dissemination system.

    No. 11, I’ve wished for that for years! Very annoying to have so much Magic Band capability yet not be able to pay with it.

    No. 42, that’s a hard no. With more than 100,000 dead, many thousands yet to die and many more thousands left with permanent organ damage that will degrade their health for the rest of their lives, absolutely nothing light-hearted is appropriate. Furthermore, Disney should make it very clear that it will not tolerate harrassment of mask-wearing, social-distancing guests by those who put their own wants above the needs of the vulnerable in society.

    If you think that last point is overblown, you haven’t seen the instances of people harrassed as “maskers” and emotionally, even physically abused for their safety precautions. That cannot happen in a Disney park.

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  • May 29, 2020 at 10:40 pm
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    C.W.: I’ve been trying to track down the article in question from New Engl J Med, but no one seems to have the DOI for it–if you could share that, I’d be grateful. I’m trying to see if its publication predates doi 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2020.103629 “A Rapid Systematic Review of the Efficacy of Face Masks and Respirators against Coronaviruses and Other Respiratory Transmissible Viruses for the Community, Healthcare Workers, and Sick Patients” which went Epub from The International Journal of Nursing Studies on April 30. Thanks in advance!!

    Reply
  • May 29, 2020 at 11:04 pm
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    This comment stream is not the place for C.W.’s rant on a wide range of issues unrelated to the subject of this article. I think you should consider removing it.

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  • May 29, 2020 at 11:23 pm
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    It’s a good lust. I would add: They are calling this a phased opening. We are seeing phase 1 slowly revealed. What will the succeeding phases look like where they might start to relax the masking and social distancing and capacity limits? When will they decide about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates and tickets? I notice that there is nothing on the calendar after October 31 and wonder if that is the time when they plan to loosen things.

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  • May 30, 2020 at 9:28 am
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    This is a terrific list. There are clearly plenty of unknowns. Taken together, it gets at the heart of the biggest question, how much compromise will a guest feel in the experience of touring the parks?

    I’m not interested in vacationing at Disney World this way, but I’ll bet there are plenty of intrepid Disney fans who are, if only to experience it first hand. Looking forward to hearing the reports and learning the answers to these questions over time.

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  • May 30, 2020 at 9:37 am
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    How will Disney know who is together as a party vs who is not? How do parties remain 6 feet apart when walking through the parks as some parties move more slowly than others? How can people be expected to wear masks constantly during the heat and humidity of a Florida summer? Won’t wearing masks cause more instances of passing out/heat stroke?

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  • May 30, 2020 at 10:34 am
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    I thought #14 & #15 were answered with the opening of Disney Springs. It was my understanding that Disney would allow you to remove/lower your mask if you were eating/drinking while walking. And I saw many photos of the trash cans at Disney Springs either propped open or the flap removed for touchless trash disposal. Do you think these procedures will be different in the Parks?

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  • May 30, 2020 at 1:46 pm
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    How will Disney handle the boarding passes for Rise of the Resistance? Will attendance be low enough to ensure that no matter what time you arrive, you will receive a boarding pass? I doubt they will want a large crowd gathering each morning at park opening of Hollywood Studios to get those coveted boarding groups.

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  • May 30, 2020 at 2:56 pm
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    Len, love the DD podcasts. Any thoughts on how AP holders with DVC reservations will be handled? Seems like there will need to be some type of stratification. Local AP holders have much more access to the park than an out of town DVC member with resort reservations.

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    • May 31, 2020 at 8:02 am
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      Thanks Lawrence! I definitely agree with you. I’m not sure that Disney’s going to have that level of sophistication in its parks reservation system, at least initially. I think it’s something worth suggesting to them. I’ll mention it on an upcoming show.

      Reply
  • May 30, 2020 at 8:12 pm
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    My first question involves a split stay. I have 6-day tickets at OKW in a package beginning on 11/1. I have a resort-only reservation at POFQ on 10/31. Before all this happened, I did not buy single day tickets for 10/31. I’m kicking myself. My question is whether I’ll be able to purchase a ticket and make a reservation for a park along with the second part of my split-stay. Who knows!?! Also, all of the dining will be cancelled and I suppose well have a chance with priority to rebook.

    I also have another rescheduled trip for early September (from May) which was booked under the free dining offer. Will Disney let us rebook the package with a 30% room discount?

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  • May 31, 2020 at 10:55 am
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    Did I miss info about Magical Express in the Disney plan?

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  • May 31, 2020 at 11:16 am
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    Thanks Len. I’m sure you’re right. I can’t imagine how they are managing all of these details.
    Cool. I’ll be listening.

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  • May 31, 2020 at 9:58 pm
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    what about face paintings?

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  • June 1, 2020 at 10:04 am
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    We are going in September (moved from May). I’m certainly following all this information and wondering how it will all turn out. Is there any information on how things are running at Shanghai Disney so far?

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  • June 1, 2020 at 7:51 pm
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    If it is true that the park hopper is kaput until further notice, what happens to people who already have theirs? Perhaps a Disney gift card in the approximate amount of the PH add-on cost? I bought mine from a third party vendor, so Disney can’t refund me the extra cost directly.

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  • June 2, 2020 at 7:13 am
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    With all the new changes, would you still recommend using a Touring Plan for an August trip? Would they still work?

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  • June 3, 2020 at 9:25 pm
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    At least some of these questions were addressed in the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force meeting where Disney presented their reopening plan:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fOiTUfdhk1k

    But many of these questions weren’t addressed. Interesting to consider.

    Reply
  • June 20, 2020 at 5:53 pm
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    Wondering what the “initial reopening period” actually will be? Going late August. Reservations at Beach club. Thinking of switching if stormalong bay will not be open by then.

    Reply

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