Disney World News: Mask Warning, Another Ride-Based Movie, Hotel Reopening
It’s time for another Walt Disney World news round-up! This one covers a range of topics, including the reopening of another hotel, Park Pass availability/strategy, closure & opening of mini golf, the announcement of yet another movie based on a WDW attraction, and more face mask warnings appearing in the Walt Disney World theme parks and My Disney Experience app.
Let’s start with a big kudos to the NBA and Disney on the conclusion of a successful “bubble season” at Walt Disney World. In July, the NBA resumed its season, bringing 22 teams to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to compete for a spot in the NBA Playoffs. It was a colossal undertaking, with zero positive player cases and the development of a rapid-return, cheap and easy-to-administer saliva tests coming from the experiment.
After three months and 205 games, the 2020 NBA Finals concluded with a Los Angeles Lakers victory over the Miami Heat. To celebrate the Lakers winning the NBA Championship, Cinderella Castle was lit in purple & gold last night after the game. Unsurprisingly, no one proclaimed “I’m going to Walt Disney World” after the game–more like “I’m going home!” Although technically I think the winners and losers both did spend one last night at Coronado Springs…
Speaking of Coronado Springs Resort, the hotel is still scheduled to open on October 14, 2020. Once that occurs, the trio of hotels that played host to the NBA will all have reopened, whereas most other Walt Disney World resorts have had their dates pushed back or removed from the calendar entirely.
We likely won’t know the full impact of the NBA bubble season on Walt Disney World’s reopening until the inevitable documentary. It sure seems like the league’s use of Walt Disney World paved the way for the parks to reopen even as cases surged in Florida, and buoyed Disney’s business over the summer when guests were in short supply.
As for Coronado’s reopening, here are the restaurants that will return initially:
- Barcelona Lounge
- Dahlia Lounge
- Rix Sports Bar & Grill
- Siestas Cantina
- Three Bridges Bar & Grill
While that’s a pretty formidable slate of options for a Moderate Resort (many more than Caribbean Beach), it still leaves many restaurants shuttered. Notably, the hotel’s new table service restaurant, Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood will not reopen. Additionally, the El Mercado de Coronado food court will not return immediately.
Coronado Springs is probably the resort most likely to see permanent restaurant closures. With a variety of options aimed at conventioneers plus new restaurants that debuted last year with Gran Destino Tower, it probably had too many restaurants even pre-closure.
We’re just happy to see the open-air Three Bridges Bar & Grill returning right away, which is one of our new hidden gem favorites. We’ll be heading there very soon to test out the modified menu, and confirm that it’s still home to the best churros in all of Walt Disney World.
Aside from restaurants, it sounds like pretty much everything is returning at Coronado Springs Resort. The Dig Site, including the Lost City of Cibola Pool, activities, volleyball courts, movies under the stars, and both fitness centers will reopen with the hotel. Bus transportation will also be offered from Coronado Springs to the theme parks and Disney Springs.
As shared a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been seeing Coronado Springs Resort on both ‘blind booking’ sites. It’s currently available from late October through November 2020. Rates are in the $100 to $120 per night range. That’s a solid price–especially if you luck out and get upgraded to Gran Destino Tower.
Next, as one thing opens, another will soon be closing. Walt Disney World has announced that Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf will be closing for the winter on November 5, 2020. We just did Fantasia Gardens last week; while fun and busy, it was definitely in need of a refurbishment. Lots of the features looking in poor shape, surfaces in need of replacement, and drainage issues.
The good news is that all of your mini golf needs will not go unfilled if you’re visiting Walt Disney World this Christmas season. Winter Summerland Miniature Golf will open on November 6, 2020 and operate through January 30, 2021. Fantasia Gardens will then resume operations on January 31, 2021.
Totally switching gears, Disney is developing a Space Mountain movie with ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ writer, per the Hollywood Reporter. The iconic roller coaster is getting the movie treatment, with the studio hiring Joby Harold to write the script for what is to be a live-action adaptation. The producers of Disney’s billion dollar-grossing live-action Aladdin will also be involved.
The Space Mountain movie project is in the early stages of development and is intended for theatrical release. Part of me wishes this were destined for Disney+ with some intentionally cheesy B movie premise paying homage to sci-fi classics of the 1950s and 60s. (My first choice would be for it to not be made at all, but if that’s off the table…)
Rather than being something that’ll someday end up being incorporated into the Magic Kingdom attraction, the Space Mountain movie could be added to the film loop at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Just think of the synergy!
Instead of being shoehorned into its own attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean style, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant could be updated to promote both the Space Mountain movie and another Walt Disney World theme park. Yes, still totally pointless–but still a better option than messing with the ride.
Next, a quick Disney Park Pass update. We’re likely going to do fewer of these going forward as refills become more regular and availability becomes less scarce–especially for Annual Passholders.
The noteworthy thing here is that availability at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is starting to fill up for resort guests in November and December 2020. Oddly, this includes dates that the park is available for APs. If you’re planning a Walt Disney World vacation, you should be aware of this trend. (It’s an especially curious move given that ‘full’ Disney Park Pass availability was pretty much the only benefit to staying on-site…and now that’s also gone.)
Since this is happening exclusively with DHS, consider booking that park multiple days if your plans aren’t 100% firm (and they probably aren’t, given all of the park hours extensions). It’s easier to change from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to another park than vice-versa.
On a related note, we’d also recommend prioritizing your most important Advance Dining Reservations as lunches rather than dinners due to the fluidity of park hours. ADRs are becoming increasingly difficult to book, but the walk-up waitlist works pretty well. That’s always an option for dinner if you can’t score any good reservations.
Continuing along, Walt Disney World has debuted a new mask warning in the parks. This new sign, pictured above, informs guests (in polite terms) that they’ll be kicked out of the park if they don’t comply with the face mask rules.
There are some unique wrinkles to these policies—see our FAQ & Guide to Face Masks at Walt Disney World for more on that. For those wondering how adherence to the rules has been—it varies. We recently broke it down park by park (and by time of day) in Face Mask Compliance at Walt Disney World.
There’s also a new My Disney Experience push notification that offers a gentle reminder about the health safety policies and thanks guests for complying. We first noticed the new sign and received the push notification on Friday afternoon at Animal Kingdom.
Walt Disney World has repeatedly tweaked its signage and in-park announcements, which seem to get longer each week. We haven’t noticed compliance falling, but there have been some high-profile “incidents” shared on social media with belligerent guests refusing to wear masks.
We’re also guessing that there’s been some confusion about Florida’s Full Phase 3 Reopening, which suspends fines for not complying with face mask restrictions in public spaces. However, it does not apply to businesses that can deny entry to anyone not complying with their rules. We’ve seen some mild confusion on this among readers, and the same has likely been true for Walt Disney World itself.
Before wrapping up, we want to once again thank everyone for the outpouring of support in response to our Help Give Back to Disney Cast Members & Community initiative. Many of you have contributed, either via monetary donations or in spreading awareness, and the fundraiser has now raised over $60,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. We are incredibly humbled and heartened by all of your support–DTB readers proving yet again that you are all the best!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What are your thoughts on the latest Walt Disney World news? Excited for the upcoming Space Mountain movie? Have a stay or meal planned at Coronado Springs Resort? Disappointed to see fewer Disney Park Pass options for on-site resort guests? Thoughts on the new face mask warnings in the parks and My Disney Experience app? Do you agree or disagree with our advice and commentary? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Hi Tom! Thank you for this information. One of our favorite gift shops that has yet to reopen is Il Bel Cristallo in Italy. Is there any news on the horizon for this store and others that have yet to reopen? I would assume they will reopen for the holiday season. What do you think?
Has anybody said anything about park hopping. i want to hop to Epvcot to eat without using full park day.
I don’t believe Park Hopping is allowed. You have to have a Park Reservation, and , aa far as I know, only one per day is allowed. We are Pass Holders who haven’t been able to do that ( and we loved being able to ) and are considering lowering our tier BECAUSE it is one of the many PH perks we can no longer utilize.
Hi Tom, any suggestion on the best way to let Disney know we don’t mind being moved to the Tower? 😉 We had booked a regular room at Coronado for mid-November hoping capacity would be low and that they might move everyone to the Tower for convenience (wishful thinking, I know). But now it looks like regular rooms are sold out, and only Tower rooms are available. I’d really love that upgrade. As always, thanks for all of your updates throughout this ever-changing landscape. Hoping that corn salsa/dip is still available at the Three Bridges when they re-open!
For me it would be a waste of money investing in the Photo Pass package. It was fun when the photos captured facial expressions on attractions or posing in front of certain areas. I will have to wait until Disney Parks lifts restrictions before I’ll ever go again.
Sadly, I think you are right in predicting mask compliance to be sketchier because of Florida lifting its state mandate and people not understanding what that means and why Disney can still require masks on its private property. I saw a post on another website where a guest was complaining about Disney World failing to comply with the recent Florida state “BAN on masks”. People really do not get it.
It’s the no shirt, no shoes, no mask rule for business. They have every right to keep their customers as safe as possible. Don’t like it don’t go.
Hi Tom! I’m new here & blown away with all the info you’re providing – thanks!
We have plans for Wed thru Sun (11/24-28) but am getting nervous. We’re thinking that the extra hours were added in response to HIGHs crowds. Do you have any info on capacity percent (other than “busy”) . Would Fri to Tues be any better?
The second half of this post contains day of week recommendations that should help you out: https://www.disneytouristblog.com/extensions-new-park-hours-christmas-2020-disney-world/
The time you’re going tends to be busier than October(now).
We’re here right now and the lines are astronomical. The haunted mansion line starts past the stretch room, goes through the “normal que”, extends through the paddle boat que (paddle boat is closed and it’s entire que is used for the haunted mansion) and down to country best jamboree. Reduced capacity????
If you come, don’t be fooled into thinking the park won’t be crowded…
It’s insane how bad the lines are now…
Any word on when Space220 will finally open? At this point, it’s a year past the original opening date and Disney is dead quiet about it. Anxiously awaiting !
It’s been a few months since we updated our post about it, https://www.disneytouristblog.com/space-220-restaurant-info-opening-concept-art-photos/ but my guess is still Spring 2021 for Space 220 Restaurant.
There’s little incentive for Disney & Patina to open before then, even if/when it’s finished.
It seems parks are having troubles with physical distancing. Does it seem the guests that come now are less concerned abt physical distancing? Are the busses and other WDW transportation services limiting ridership to maintain distancing? Is it better to uber? Are there any updates on covid and park attendance?
I don’t think it’s a matter of the current guests “caring less” than the ones who visited over the summer. It’s simply a matter of there being less space to accommodate physical distancing due to increased crowds.
In general, the longer this drags out, the more collective ‘fatigue’ will set in. That’s true for pretty much everyone, even those who do not yet feel that way. Everyone has a breaking point.
So the reason you have to wear a mask outside is because social distancing is hard at the parks. Fortunately the lines are moving so it’s not that big of a deal.
Theme parks are not contributing to the spread however that isn’t to say individuals aren’t getting Covid, it’s that Disney is preventing any kind of super spreader event.
An exposure to a 10 to 15 minute conversation with an infected individual or being shoulder to shoulder maskless with others. This isn’t happening anywhere in the parks.
I think large groups may be getting it because multiple households are meeting up but then they are getting it from each other and not the parks.
We are at WDW now. The buses have seats blocked off. Only one family/party per skyliner.
Distancing in the parks is impossible because of high crowds, even on a Tuesday. From what we’ve seen mask compliance is high. The few times we’ve seen a mask slip down there are gentle reminders or it’s ignored.
Tom, you’re right. We’re here now and they’ve closed the monorail. Absolutely insane how bad transportation is being handled here.
Tom, any word on whether Tron or the new future world project will continue? Any progress at all? Predictions? Thanks
Tron is happening. Construction is too far along to be stopped, and active progress is being made. They are now working on the canopy over the ride.
Guardians of the Galaxy is happening.
Future World is more gray. Something is happening as work continues, but we don’t know what the end result will be.
Do you still recommend the same masks you recommended earlier? While we will not be traveling from Wisconsin to WDW, my son is playing hockey and they are supposed to wear their masks on the ice, so I’m always looking for good ones in terms of sweat, humidity, etc 🙂
We’re still using the Suay ones. I’ve tried several others and haven’t found anything as suitable for Florida’s heat and humidity. However, I plan on trying the UNIQLO ones soon–I’ve heard they aren’t as good for hot weather, but are incredibly comfortable and quick-drying. Will report back whenever it cools down enough here to wear them!
We have those. They are up there, but not as good as the Shark Vacuum ones.
I’m sad to see Toledo isn’t re-opening. I had booked a “fancy night out” dinner for Toledo on our now-postponed June trip, and I was really looking forward to visiting somewhere new. I had hoped that it would be open for our upcoming November trip, but that won’t be the case. I guess that’s yet one more thing for the “next time” list…
I wouldn’t be surprised if Toledo opens by Thanksgiving. Total guess, but as Coronado’s occupancy picks up and more people want to do nice meals out for the holidays (both WDW guests and locals), it would make sense.
Mask compliance is pretty good but the “few bad apples” are rotten to the core. They throw fits and spit on cast members. I saw some cast members letting non compliance go probably because they are scared of a confrontation.
When did it become okay to act like a…well not a toddler, they are wearing their masks without throwing fits! I hope they give CMs the ability to easily kick people out. When you buy a ticket you agree to the rules.
Maria, that’s terrible! Spitting on someone can and should get that person arrested for assault. I suppose, given current events, I shouldn’t be shocked at the adult babies who think they’re the Sons of Liberty and just won’t be “told what to do.” Yet every time I read about incidents like that I am again dismayed. Do these folks display the same childish attitude toward the myriad of laws, rules and regulations we must abide by every day as mature, responsible citizens who care about people other than themselves?
My family and I do wear masks as required. But I honestly believe they do more harm than good. Beginning of Sep. my daughter had a bacterial throat infection that went into her ears. Very unusual for her, almost never happens, especially not during that time of year. She is in 4th grade and wears a mask all day long at school. I hear bacterial infections such as these, along with skin rashes and infections are on the rise. Meanwhile, students and staff at my daughters school are continuing to get Covid, despite everyone always being masked-up. We do not throw fits, but hope that mask requirement will eventually be phased out, at Disney Parks as well as in public places in general.
Hello and thanks for the updates as always!! We will be there 1st week in November for my husband’s birthday it’s his first time celebrating his bday at Disney. We usually spend mine only, lol. I have been looking for something special to do for him while there can’t find anything, do you know of anything? Dates Nov 1-5.
Thanks in advance!
Congrats on $60,000. And it’s not over yet.
I’m glad Disney is putting those signs up. We just got back last week from there and the mask compliance was not great. Constantly saw people walking and eating and masks not pulled up over nose. There were quite a few kids much older than 2 not wearing masks and plenty of adults wearing it under chin. I feel awful for the CM’s. I can tell many of them have given up telling people as I saw quite a few people arguing with them when being reminded they must follow mask compliance. The parks were also very crowded and I felt like there simply weren’t enough CM’s to monitor. I wasn’t concerned for us as much as the CM’s. They have to work in this mess and I wish people would think of protecting them instead of being selfish whether or not they believe in masks.
Agreed about the CMs. We saw a couple Sanderson Sisters ask the PhotoPass photographer how masks were going. He said they get cursed out and spit on for asking people to keep their masks on for photos.
It’s really sad to see 2 year olds wearing a mask all day and grown men and women throwing fits.
We went 10/15 – 10/17, travelled from Ohio for fall break. I thought the airports and Delta did a better job on mask compliance compared to what we saw at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday. So many noses peeking out of masks – and lots of kids (older than 2) without masks. Cast members tried – often with several general announcements at attractions rather than individual requests. Cast members are also stuck trying to get people to stay on the 6 foot markers – which seems straightforward, but several lines seemed to struggle. Kind of like musical chairs – do you have your own marker when the line stops moving? I too felt for the cast members – we could see the stress. Instead of making magic, they are worried about their safety, their jobs, and the safety of the guests. Tom shared the guidance on trying to plan around weekend days – it was very good advice, just hard with school schedules.
We did Disney Springs on Sunday, 10/11 before heading to the airport. That was just a train wreck – if anyone is reading this and thinking about Disney Springs on a weekend – please don’t go if you feel strongly about masks/distancing. Even if you are flexible on mask compliance, consider your reaction to standing in line for 30-40 minutes to just get into a Disney store… I was shocked by those lines.
I would go again, but would plan on more time at pool/resort with shortened days in parks…and take Tom’s advice on staying away during weekends.
On another positive note, we just got back home from a 5 day vacation at Disney and honestly, I did NOT see 1 person not wearing their mask in compliance. Maybe we were in the right place at the right time but honestly, we saw no one not wearing a mask.
I can’t seem to find an answer to this, but can we go to Three Bridges via our own car? I thought you could not access the resorts without a res, but we’d love to try it this weekend (assuming it’s open).
That remains to be seen. In the past, Coronado has been pretty lax about allowing entry, but obviously things are different now.
For our 2 week trip just recently – We went to a number of other hotels without ADR but relied on ubers & Disney transportation. We had no issues while at another resort, eating without ADR at the Wilderness Lodge, Geyser Point Bar & Grill, Grand Floridan, Beaches Pool Bar & Grill & Enchanted Rose, And Disney Rivieria, Bar Riva & Le Petite Cafe. We also ate at a number of others hotels but had ADR for those.
I kinda wish the NBA would play in a bubble next year as well, just because I loved following the NBA Bubble Life twitter account. It was unexpectedly wholesome and heartwarming.
The twitter account was amazing and I’m glad it happened once just so the NBA/Disney could prove the critics wrong…but I’m ready for a regular season (with or without crowds). The ‘scale’ of the bubble games just didn’t feel the same, IMO.
Please no more bubble. Lol. I work for one of the teams and we need them back here playing at our home arena! I am glad it went smoothly though.
At the close of the championship game, as credits were rolling, the announcer thanked Disney for creating the bubble that allowed the season to continue. He also noted that, in the three and a half months the players were ensconced in the bubble, not one player tested positive. I think that alone is amazing. Maybe not as amazing as LeBron, but right up there.
Are Disney’s sit-down restaurants operating at 100 percent capacity or are they still keeping it at more or less 50 percent? Are tables separated six feet?
Physical distancing is still happening at WDW table service restaurants. I’m not sure what capacity is, but I’d assume ~50%.
We have a stay planned for mid November at Coronado and was anxiously awaiting what restaurants we might have available to us while there. Sad that Toledo isn’t opening- I was really hoping to try out a steak there. Looking forward to trying Three Bridges though. Are any of the opening restaurants good breakfast locations?
Disappointed to read though that current room rates are going for $100-$120 a night. We are paying approx $320/ night… and that’s with the “awesome southerner rate.”
I’m glad they’re still enforcing strict mask wearing policies. Had they eased up on them, I don’t know that we would be going right now since the virus is not contained yet and “they’re” expecting a second wave to come at some point.
My guess is that Barcelona Lounge will offer a light breakfast. I really don’t know, though.
Palmas Restaurant Group laid off staff over the summer, and was already in conflict with Disney for beginning to compete directly with them (Maya Grill, Pepper Market/El Mercado) at Coronado with all the new eateries that opened with Gran Destino. I’d bet Maya Grill is RIP at this point, and that El Mercado won’t/can’t return until Palmas’ operating contract runs out. It’s very sad–a moderate without a food court doesn’t really feel like a moderate. Although I’m sure Disney hardly cares–if you can’t afford table service, you’re likely not Disney’s target market with Coronado anymore. Also sad.
Thanks for the reminder–I totally forgot about that. Whenever I hear about Palmas, I think about the Mexico pavilion but often overlook Coronado.
I’d be surprised if Coronado is without a counter service option in the long term. The resort is huge and when running at normal occupancy doesn’t have the table service capacity (especially with the Palmas spots closed) to meet guest demand. I do think more and more will shift away from El Centro, though.