UPDATED: Disney World Hotel & DVC Resort Reopening Dates
Following today’s big announcement that Walt Disney World will begin the phased reopening of its theme parks in July 2020, we noted that several questions remained unanswered. This includes when Disney Vacation Club resorts and select other resorts would reopen, and whether all hotels would open initially. (Updated June 6, 2020.)
Subsequent to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force meeting that covered the opening dates of Magic Kingdom & Disney’s Animal Kingdom, followed by Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we’ve received more information about the reopening of the resorts, as well as clarifying info about how the parks will operate.
First, a CNBC interview with Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who declined to offer a reopening capacity for the parks, but did state that attendance caps would be dictated by the 6′ minimum social distancing guidelines plus recommendations from health experts. Chapek indicated that Walt Disney World would work to loosen restrictions and increase capacity as health guidelines change.
Chapek went on to say that Walt Disney World will have plenty of hotels that will not be reopening right away. Note that this squares with rumors of the NBA using Walt Disney World as a bubble-site to finish its season. While Chapek talked up consumer confidence and guest enthusiasm to return to the parks, this also makes sense from a demand perspective, and squares with what occurred post-9/11.
Additionally, we have other information courtesy of a press release from Walt Disney World. Here are a few interesting tidbits about a range of topics from that.
With regard to tickets, capacity, and reservations to visit the parks:
“Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as we welcome guests back to the magic, we will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system that will require all guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. At this time, we are temporarily pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations so we can focus on guests with existing tickets and reservations (Disney Vacation Club members can still make new reservations).
Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make reservation requests in phases before new tickets are sold; we’ll be reaching out to these guests soon to provide additional details. We will resume new ticket sales and hotel reservations after that period of time. Theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations and will be subject to availability. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.”
With regard to character meet & greets and other entertainment:
“Certain experiences we know draw large group gatherings — such as parades and nighttime spectaculars — will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be in our parks to entertain and delight our guests.”
With regard to the opening date of Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World (and beyond):
“Disney Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World will reopen to members and guests and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will begin to reopen on June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will also open to members and guests starting on June 15. Plans to support required physical distancing as well as enhanced cleaning measures, along with a number of other safety and cleanliness protocols, will be implemented as part of this planned phased reopening.”
Note that while this does not specifically address the non-DVC side of these hotels, we’d expect them to reopen at or around the same time as the Disney Vacation Club wings of the resorts.
Even the banner on DisneyWorld.com is unclear about this. Above is the original banner (see current one below), which states that the phased reopening plan calls for “Walt Disney World theme parks and Disney Resort hotels to open beginning July 11.” If this is to be taken at face value, at least some resorts will open to the general public on July 11, 2020.
May 29, 2020 UPDATE: Directly above is the current banner notice you’ll see if visiting DisneyWorld.com. This is very similar to the previous one, with the key difference being the removal of a line that Disney resort hotels would begin to reopen on July 11, 2020.
This makes it even more unclear when the hotels will officially reopen. As we note below, it makes sense to reopen many at the same time as DVC resorts from a practical perspective–but demand will likely be minimal for the hotels until the parks begin to reopen on July 11. Either way, we should have official news from Walt Disney World very soon.
June 6, 2020 Update: A couple of quick updates to supplement our longer Walt Disney World Resort & Restaurant Reopening Changes ‘Know Before You Go’ Info post.
First, guests are starting to receive “Action Required before returning to the magic” emails that request they confirm, modify, or cancel upcoming visits that are set to occur during the closure of the theme parks, and while many benefits and amenities may be temporarily unavailable. We received this email, and below is what the “Review & Confirm Booking” page options looked like:
Second, it would now appear that we also might have a reopening date for non-DVC hotels at Walt Disney World thanks to these same emails. Guests with reservations between June 22, 2020, and July 4, 2020 who are booked at hotels that are not among the Deluxe Villas that will be open during that time are being offered a reservation adjustments. During this window, Walt Disney World will move guests from closed to open resorts at no additional cost.
However, they won’t have an option to choose the resort if modifying for this date range. (This means that guests with a booking at Pop Century, for instance, could be relocated to BoardWalk Villas. You could not request to be moved to Beach Club Villas or any other resort.) If your reservation is on or after July 5, you may modify your resort choice and choose an alternative, but you must pay the difference in cost.
While this does not definitively state that regular Walt Disney World hotels will reopen on July 5, there is little other explanation for only offering this guest recovery/relocation option through July 4, 2020.
Moreover, reopening the hotels on or around July 5 makes sense for a variety of reasons, and would mean the regular resorts are reopening about a week before the parks (and likely during the soft opening preview period). We’ll await official confirmation of the hotel reopening date from Walt Disney World, but we’re reasonably confident that’s it.
Another reason it makes sense is because the majority of DVC resorts are add-ons at existing Walt Disney World hotels, and they share infrastructure, staffing, and other resources with the hotel side of the complexes. Reopening only the Disney Vacation Club side of the property for an extended period of time isn’t a particularly efficient move.
If the hotel reopening occurs in phases, following the hotels with Disney Vacation Club wings, we’d expect the next phase of resort openings to include those connected to the parks by non-bus transportation (Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, Pop Century), followed by the remaining resorts.
The process of Walt Disney World reopening its hotels could take a few months.
There might even be some resorts that don’t reopen this year at all if there’s a lack of demand or if they’re being utilized for events or other purposes (think Coronado Springs, the All Stars, both of the Port Orleans Resorts). If that does happen, guests with existing bookings at those properties would be relocated elsewhere. This already happens now when resorts are overbooked, and frequently entails an upgrade.
Disney concludes its press release by noting that the company is being deliberate during these phased reopenings, and is encouraged by how guests are responding at Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs. Disney is doing its part, and requests that guests do their part too, as everyone works together to focus on safety. We’ll keep you posted on additional developments (we’re expecting more) as they’re released, so stay tuned!
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!
Do you have a hotel or Disney Vacation Club stay booked for July or beyond? Will you keep the reservation, or are the new rules and eliminated entertainment simply too much to make the vacation worthwhile to you? Optimistic that things will be “back to normal” at Walt Disney World sooner rather than later? A variety of viewpoints are welcomed here, but we will not tolerate insults, arguing, or politically-charged comments. Don’t ruin a 95% fine comment with an unnecessary cheap shot—that 5% will get it deleted. Additionally, please do not debate the efficacy of masks or other health safety policies—all such comments (for, against, otherwise) will be deleted. Those arguments are played out and isn’t the appropriate forum for that. (Saying you will or will not visit in light of certain measures is fine.)
Thanks for the latest update. We’re considering a cabin at Ft Wilderness for a resort-only vacation in August (I work in education so we’re stuck there), so are eagerly awaiting the opening of reservations to everyone. So long as the pools are open, we’ll be all set.
I called DVC to use the points that were put back in my account because our April plans were obviously cancelled. However, when i went to make reservations for the same time next year, they said that while all the points were returned to my account, I could only use 50% of them for our trip–which means we can’t plan the trip because at 50%, we don’t have enough points. When asked when they’d be available, the DVC cast member said to check back in “early 2021.” Huh? You give me back my points, but not really, since only half of them can be used? really?!
Has anyone else faced this? If so, what did you do? What can you do?
Daiid I spoke to a cm on June 2nd,, she said the usual Disney answer.We Don’t know at this time.
will the pools be open at the Disney Resorts. We have a reservation for 3/3 – 3/5. Parks will not be open, but was hoping the pools would be. Anybody know if they will be??
Thanks Dave couldn’t have said it any better.
I had reservations for the Beach Club this coming weekend June 5th but they were cancelled because of the virus so I made a new reservation at the Beach and Yacht club for August 28th what are my chances it still won’t be open if it is open will the pool be open. And when I booked it for the one next week I had Florida Resident prices but when I booked it for August I lost that price and I’m paying more now because it isnt Fla. Residents. Will that be a possibility that they will have Fla. Residents at that time? And if I ca t stay there where would they upgrade me too?
Tom- Are all the DVC resorts opening on June 22?
Andrea: Hilton Head Island and Vero Beach are reopening on June 15. No word yet on Aulani or Grand Californian Villas. All the WDW DVC resorts are opening on June 22.
Hello Whitney D,
We have been in touch with the DVC Rental Store, but not with any positive news to report. They simply say they are sorry we did not purchase the PPP. When I suggested that they allow us to do that now (similar to another tour company for another trip), they said that was not fair to those who purchased before. Not sure how that affects them, but that’s the answer.
When I pointed out what David’s is doing – as found on this site (thanks so much, Tom and followers here!), they just said “thank you”.
So it looks like we are still where we started – a very sad situation with no positive resolution! I just wish I could get some information about the pools!
Has anyone found any reliable information on that?
Thanks so much!
Does anyone have resort reservations for a stay between June 14-july11? If so, has Disney contacted you by email or phone yet about priority park reservation tickets?
I have a stay at the end of June and was told by Disney today, don’t change or cancel my plans because Disney would be contacting me shortly. Just wondering what they might offer. Looking to modify my dates to a resort that will be open. Still wondering the same question about if the pools will be open.
Jackie – Thank you for responding! I haven’t even been able to get them to give me that information. I asked if they would be willing to reach out to the members just to inquire what their point situation was/if they would be willing to reschedule (though we know they don’t have to) and they wont answer my question, just said I should wait to hear from a support person. Oh well!
Maybe I will see some of you good folks stranded at the quiet Poly pool in late June! Please god let them have the Dole Whip stand open!
We are DVC members with reservations July 8-18. Currently we can’t buy park tickets, out dinning reservations have been cancelled and I can’t get a definitive answer if the resort pools will be open. Let me tell you, 10 days with no tickets to go to the parks and no pools doesn’t sound like much fun. It seems as if Disney had NO plan when they met with the Orange County Economic Taskforce; at best they had an idea and now they are trying to develop a plan.
@Dave, ikr? It’s like a bunch of ideas and not a plan. I would have thought over planning would have been the way to go for all visitors beginning with DVC, AP and Deluxe Resort Guests first. I’m still wondering what they are going to do for bag checks. It maybe unprecedented, but if Chapek has a MBA, he should be able to conceive with extensive help, multiple flow charts for guest experiences. (DVC member flow, AP flow and On Site flow, just to name a few.) I would want to minimize the different options you can choose from and temporarily make it more like the Star Wars hotel experience, here is when you check in and when you check out. That way hotel rooms can be cycled easier. Just a thought. I am an over planner anyway when it comes to a WDW vacation and enjoy the ones that I do plan out practically every hour more than the ones I didn’t. As so many people are up in the air and feel absolutely lost, perhaps a more concrete option would have been to offer less as more. They come out with customizable vacation packages all the time, so make these not customizable. As it is, I think we may see many families staying on property with tickets who can’t get a dining reservation or into a park. That would be horrible and I wouldn’t risk it if I had to pay the full price like they seem to be making people do.
I wish I had an idea of what I’ll do but like many I’m stuck in limbo. We live in Canada so first, our borders have to open. Second, we have to know if we will be faced with a 2 week quarantine when we return from the U.S. Either will cancel out our Aug 2 trip. My daughter can’t take 4 weeks off work for a 2 week vacation.
Likely I’ll have to wait till mid June when current border agreement ends to find out.
Then I have a Nov/Dec WDW trip planned with friends. Don’t know about that one either. If there’s the projected second virus wave things could shut down again.
More than anything, I need to know the pools! My reservation begins July 18 at Saratoga Springs and I am willing to go, mainly to try to enjoy a park at less than 50% capacity, but can’t imagine not having access to the pools or having to wear a mask in the pool area.
As a DVC member, we go often enough that missing out on parades, fireworks and character meals is not a big deal. But I would undoubtedly be spending more time at the resort and need to know that my kids can enjoy the pool areas.
I’m in the same boat with a DVC rental I’m unlikely to be able to get out of, and hearing for our stay at the Polynesian that only the small quiet pool will be open during the period before the parks open and the rooms are available to non-DVC guests. Talk about a bad situation getting even worse. Suppose they won’t have any dining options open either.
I too have reservations at the Ploy through DVC Rental Store. Their options were sell my res to a family member or put it on their confirmed res site and potentially sell it for less. Absolutely ridiculous. I will not be doing business with them again.
Be interesting how this plays out in the future with people getting mad.
We have a reservation for July 10-14th. Already received an email from Disney, stating that our dinner and Fast Pass reservations were cancelled. We would still like to go and hang out at the resort pool, but nothing has been posted if the pools will be open. Has anyone heard?
Like Shirley, are decision to keep or cancel our reservation in July is based on the hotel pool being open. Kids gotta’ have it. Any news on whether the hotel pools will be open??
Thank you for putting this out there!!! Are they going to rotate how many people can be in the pool at one time or just shut it down? I booked a room overlooking the pool and I cannot get a response regarding the operation of the resorts.
Guys, look it’s a new world for all of us. As a retired nurse, I can totally appreciate Disney’s position on all of this. My family has made, changed and now have a reservation for July 31st. We don’t plan on going to the parks, but instead enjoying what the resorts have to offer. If we’re together as a family and safe and well, that’s a kind of magic in itself. I know the expense of Disney vacations and it as my grand kids say”Sucks”, but we will get through this and have many more wonderful, safe and magical experiences with Mickey in the future. I really don’t work for Disney, I promise. Please everyone be safe, well and the masks make a difference, sometimes between life and death.
Thanks for keeping on top of things Tom!
I have a resort reservation at Wilderness Lodge Club level for July 7-13. I have not gotten a cancellation email yet. It still appears in the website that way. I can no longer modify my reservation on line, but I can start on line Check In or Cancel. I have yet to pay off the balance as I was waiting to see what would happen, and that appears to be the same balance as it was a few days ago before announcements.
Our original reservation was a free dining package (I know this over kill with club level) but my hubby enjoys sitting down to eat at several Disney locations. As it stands at the moment It is still on there with all my dining reservation in place.
I tried contacting Signature Services the day of the re-opening announcement to see if they could offer any insight into if the hotel portion of Wilderness Lodge would be open. I also advised I might want to modify my reservation to just include my Hubby and I, rather than bringing our daughter too. This was the reply yesterday:
“For support with your Walt Disney World Resort stay, we invite you to contact the Disney Reservation Center at 407-WDisney (407-939-7639) who will be able to assist with any modifications to your resort reservation. The Disney Reservation Center is available 7AM-11PM EST and will be able to review your specific reservations and provide options for your stay, including checking room availability for alternative dates.”
Kind of holding off to see what happens in MDE or if I get an email from Disney. It seems Wilderness Lodge is my unicorn. I still have not gotten to stay there… Maybe some day!
Same boat as others. I have reservations for AKL August 21-28 but also did not buy tickets. What happens when I buy a 5 day ticket but can only get 3-4 reservations into any of the parks. All of my adr are also gone for now.
I have a reservation August 2nd at Wilderness Lodge. Unfortunately I stupidly put off buying tickets and now they’ve shut down ticket sales. Do you think I’ll have an opportunity to get into the parks?
My husband and I are in a similar situation for our September DVC stay, we have not yet purchased our park tickets and are also concerned about our ability to get into the parks.
hey Tom – quick question…have you seen any information pertaining to the dates for Disney’s phase 1 transition to phase 2? Or do you have any educated guesses on how long Disney’s phase 1 would last? I can only find information online about Florida’s Phase1 vs Phase 2 plans, but can’t seem to find any target dates from Disney regarding their phased re-opening plans in terms of when they will transition to phase 2? Thanks!!! love your blog!
Seeing as the Governor of Florida hasn’t even signed off on Phase 1 plans for WDW yet (I’m sure it is coming soon) I think we are a ways off from hearing anything on phase 2. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t hear anything on that till end of July, after a few weeks of Phase 1 has been going on.
Can you tell me when Disneyland will reopen and will it be difficult to get tickets to the theme park also like it is for Disney World? We plan to arrive in Anaheim July 15th-20th
We are in a bind. Last July, we rented a villa through DVC Rental Store at WR to begin – you guessed it – June 22! Based on what we were told earlier this month, it looks like our choices are to either forfeit the reservation and money paid, or show up for a very restricted resort stay. We are both over 65, and will need to fly – taking our kids and grands. Not a pretty picture, to be sure.
Can anyone explain why the resorts would open before the parks? And, is there any chance at all that DVC Rental store will own up and provide a credit like their competitor? Both are advertised on this site; that’s how we found them!
Appreciate your thoughts.
Tom, greatly appreciate this site! Thank you!
We are in the same boat. We are renting points and are now, essentially, stuck with a DVC reservation. We either loose all our money and walk away or go without being able to do anything. It REALLY stinks that they are opening the resorts before the parks and frankly, doesn’t make any sense at all.
In all the paperwork for DVC owners, it states that there is no guarantee that the parks will even exist during the life of the DVC contract. So many owners were expecting them to reopen the DVC resorts long before they reopened the parks.
As long as the resorts are open, you have a reservation using an owner’s points. If you don’t show up, the owner loses all the points used for the reservation. You don’t usually have the option to cancel a DVC reservation through a broker. You’ll need to contact the broker to see if you can skip that trip. Also, since you would be cancelling less than 31 days out, the owner’s points will go into Holding, meaning they will expire at the end of the Use Year and can only be used to book a stay 60 days out. I don’t expect that DVC will extend the offer of no holding with cancellations once the resorts open.
I believe you will have access to the parks if you are arriving June 22nd or beyond. Disney has said that it will have soft openings for the cast, special pass holders and DVC members before the July 11th “Public” opening. I find it hard to believe that Disney won’t want to practice its protocols and new procedures on a smaller size audience before it rolls out a grand re-opening in July. So from what I have heard from people in Disney is to hold on to those early reservations in June and you will “be pleasantly surprised”! It might not be the “old” Disney, but an open park with next to noone in it might be something special that none of us will ever get the opportunity to do? Just a thought…
Jackie (or anyone else similarly situated) –
We are in the same boat – booked through DVC Rental Store per the recs from this site and we also have reservations for the first week the DVC Resorts are open. Totally crushed that we will either lose all money, or go and spend even more money while not even getting into the parks. Have you had any official communication from the DVC Rental Store? They haven’t been very responsive with me and though I see a lot about what other rental sites (like Davids) are doing I haven’t seen any discussion on this agency- though it sounds like a lot of folks are attempting to challenge the contracts through the credit card chargeback process.
Thoughts or advice from anyone?
We are in the same situation. We have rented points through DVC Rentals for a split Poly/AKL stay July 1-10. So, we will be there for 10 magical days with no parks open. I agree that it doesn’t make any sense to open resorts without parks – unless they are wanting to use the hostages, I mean guests for soft openings. My question is this, as a guest of a DVC member, i.e. point renter, if DIsney does have a soft openings and invites DVC members would that invitation be extended to us? And how would tickets for the event work. We have purchased 9 day park hopper plus tickets and don’t know if I’ve should start seeking a refund. What a mess .
Maybe renting DVC points isn’t such a good idea? Caveat Emptor and all that.
I definitely agree with you! Disney World is going to disappoint so many customers by cutting out the hours, limiting the rides and forcing them to wear the mask during hot humid summer. It is going to face serious critism from the customers and news. So not good on them. Also why do I have to buy 4 days theme park if the hours are limited. Will the mask enforcement be effective till October? What about our existing tickets that are good till dec 15? Many of them will want to get refund! Right ?
This is ridiculous! I am being forced to go to a hotel with a crappy pool for several thousand dollars!! I might as well go to the local holiday inn, at least there I don’t have to worry about flying. Totally unacceptable. Disney really dropped the ball on this one. Boycott Disney!
So are offsite guests not going to be allowed? Certainly hope Disney isn’t going this path as much of the local economy depends upon them.