Hotels at Disney World Closing
Walt Disney World has announced that all resorts in Florida will close at 5 pm on Friday, March 20 due to the ongoing public health crisis. In addition to WDW hotels, this also means Vero Beach Resort will be closing. That leaves only Aulani Resort in Hawaii and Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina are the only Disney destinations in the world that are still operating (for now).
Additionally, Walt Disney World will be closing all of its own and operated locations at Disney Springs beginning March 17, which means spots like D-Luxe Burger, NBA Experience, World of Disney, and other stores will all close. Third party tenants will make their own decisions on whether to continue operating or adjust hours.
This follows the closure of the theme parks at Walt Disney World last night, which are tentatively scheduled to remain shuttered through the end of March 2020. Here, we’ll cover what else is closing, what’s staying open (at least as of right now), and other updates from Walt Disney World…
For starters, here’s the bulletin that was posted to the official Disney Parks News Twitter account shortly after midnight. It also discusses the impact on Disney Stores, in case you care:
While not reflected there, Walt Disney World has also updated the list of transportation options will be available to on-site guests in light of this latest operational update. All Walt Disney World transportation will be temporarily suspended starting the morning of Wednesday, March 18 through (at least) the end of the month.
Until then, transportation options include buses to Disney Springs as normal, plus resort-to-resort buses. Additionally, the resort loop of the monorail will be operating on a reduced schedule and without stops at the TTC or Magic Kingdom. The Skyliner, boats, and other monorail loops will not be running.
While the vast majority of businesses at Disney Springs are third party owned and operated, it’s hard to imagine that many of them will continue operating beyond this week. Even if they’re not causing due to public health concerns, there simply will be no business rationale for remaining open.
Locals do make up a good chunk of Disney Springs’ clientele, but many are practicing social distancing and not going out. More importantly, the resorts not operating means the bulk of customers these outlets would depend upon will not be there. By next week, the last business standing will probably be Lefty’s – The Left Handed Store or some other random (but essential!) kiosk.
Despite all of this, Cirque du Soleil is plowing ahead with the debut of ‘Drawn to Life’ this Friday at Disney Springs per their most recent tweets. This is even after cancelling all of its other shows around the United States, including its Las Vegas resident shows. This stance could change with Walt Disney World taking a harder line on closing resorts and its own Disney Springs storefronts.
We’ve received several reports from readers who are not being offered refunds on Cirque du Soleil: Drawn to Life tickets. If this is still the case going forward and you paid via credit card, we’d recommend initiating a chargeback. While we don’t condone liberal use of chargebacks for buyer’s remorse or in lieu of seeking a refund through traditional means, this is one good use of the consumer protection tool.
If you’ve read any of our other coverage, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been hammering home our belief that Walt Disney World’s current closure through the end of March 2020 is only tentative, the first wave of a rolling ‘assess and adjust’ plan. That approach is easier to manage, and projects optimism to the public.
Until now, that has been our prediction based upon past precedent at international Disney parks and patterns of containment measures taken in other countries. Last night, the Centers for Disease Control revised its recommendation about mass gatherings.
Now, the CDC is recommending that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
Quite simply, Walt Disney World is not going to go against the recommendation of the CDC. It’s certainly possible that something will change and the situation will dramatically improve, but we wouldn’t count on that. At this point, we think Walt Disney World’s theme parks reopening at some point in May 2020 is the optimistic scenario.
If you’ve followed the barrage of news, none of this probably comes as much of a surprise. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion before Walt Disney World officially announced it all. Unless there is some radical development, this is probably about it for our coverage (outside of updating our Walt Disney World Closure FAQ).
We spent the weekend practicing social distancing while mostly glued to the television. This morning has been more of the same, alternating between the regular news and the financial market news. We’d imagine many of you did the same. Obviously, it’s important to engage in best health practices and keep apprised of current events but…this can’t be healthy.
As such, we’ll be resuming regular, non-virus posts this week in an effort to establish some sense of normalcy. I’m trying to think up some upbeat topics (meaning no deep dives into the backstory of Dino-Rama!), which will probably include some top 10 lists, photo tours, random bizarre stuff, and more.
Fortunately, my procrastination powers have resulted in a backlog of tens of thousands of unedited photos along with roughly one-dozen incomplete restaurant reviews. Beyond that, I’m totally open to suggestions. If there’s a topic you’d like to see tackled, feel free to share in the comments below. I can’t make any promises about what will be covered, but I’ll try!
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 do you think of all this news? When do you anticipate that Walt Disney World will reopen? Any blog post content requests? Do you agree or disagree with our 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!
Florida just Banned Travel Flights from New York and Ct……Will KILL April / May trips to Disney
Not for those of us in real states! We were looking at flights for Food and Wine Festival. Looking real cheap right now on Southwest.
REAL states? that is insulting.
Sorry, couldn’t resist! It was meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek about the overbearing regulations and such up there.
I’ve worked with some great folks from upstate NY and have a couple of friends in the city, but without getting political let’s just say I’d never live up there for any amount of money. I despise the cold and miserable winters. Same for CA though. Never live there again.
San Antonio city and Bexar County just issued stay at home orders even though the state governor did not. I’m a federal contractor working for VA and USACE and exempt under national security, but doing self-quarantine at home for 2 weeks per CDC direction after returning from Germany last week. After that, will work from home as much as I can to spend time with the dogs… We just adopted a red-brown lab some people were going to take to the shelter. Couldn’t allow that. SO now 3 labs and a beagle coworkers here!
Thank you for your comment on my comment. I appreciate that you told your story and it helps me to see you as another human being (who shares my love for Disney and dogs) going through a trying time. Some of the comments on this thread have been hard to take. ( Im looking at you, Joel!) And that’s not what i expect on Tom’s blog. Be well.
LOL…I got that it was humor/tongue-in-cheek. But I’ve lived in the NJ/NY/NYC metro area(because if you look at the map of populations, it’s all solid yellow meaning population is packed in). Did it for 15 years and gladly got out 7 years ago. Yes, I’ve also lived in the Midwest(born/raised/college/all kids born between KS to WI, grew up in Detroit). It hits sensitive people hard knowing that some truths are out there. Major cities breed major issues. Especially when NYC metro areas have a long, documented in tons of books, issues with people. Blind to have not been oblivious to knowing. Governors should be as prepared for “people issues” as say Oklahoma is to having storm shelters built for neighborhoods in case no one has a basement or immediate access when a tornado comes. I live on the coast(southeast) and YOU KNOW to be prepared all the time for hurricanes because it’s an issue with the area/zone. Crowding brings issues.
NOW that said……….no one wishes illness on anyone but there have been some rules set down and people still tend to ignore.
I was at Disney in February for the half marathon races(hubby ran, I slept in – LOL)…but we already had switched our hotel to the campground cabins…brought our own bucket of cleaning supplies…and since we decided to then bring our Golden retriever…we had requested NO SERVICE. All to reduce any chances even then of sicknesses of ANY KIND. Towels and supplies were wrapped and left on picnic table on deck..and we were good. NOW we also did not hang out in crowds of places and ate at odd times.
This was ALL before it became a mandate. Why? Simply because I suspected with so much international visitors, it may get a bit more germy, and also I had had a virus in December that knocked me down for about two weeks with meds(and I am never sick!). I just didn’t want to take on extra concerns.
BUT yes, I too am looking at the Food and Wine…was thinking that hubby would do races again during that time…but we opted out of the races and will just watch and see the pricing/options. We live close enough to drive(4 hours) and can always change our minds.
To the posters that live in the Northeast major areas, and the Northwest coast…take it serious and just sit back in your home. Face it, Disney will be there. But learn from this because this won’t be the last people issue.
That’s incorrect. The FL governor issued an executive order mandating that people arriving on flights originating in NY, CT, and NJ self quarantine for 14 days. The order states that the passengers will be screened upon arrival and thereafter be responsible for self-quarantine.
Not trying to be an alarmist as We had a trip planned flying out of BDL in CT (We live in Mass) Just trying to give Others a Heads up
Exact Quote from the Order: Section 1.
A. I hereby direct all persons whose point of departure originates from outside the State of Florida in an area with substantial community spread, to include the New York Tri-State Area (Connecticut, New Jersey and New York), and entering the State of Florida through airports to isolate or quarantine for a period of 14 days from the time of entry into the State of Florida or the duration of the person’s presence in the State of Florida, whichever is shorter. This Order shall not apply to persons employed by the airlines and those performing military, emergency or health response. This Order shall take effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. All persons isolating or quarantining under this Section, shall be responsible for all costs associated with that person’s isolation or quarantine, including transportation, lodging, food, medical care and any other expenses to sustain the person during the period of isolation or quarantine.
All passengers not just Select Ones
We have a reservation starting May 31st. In all honesty, what are the chances this trip will happen? Do you think with the way things are going they will still be closed?
On the Disney Vacation Club site, on the reservation page – not home page. It says they are accepting reservations for arrival dates of April 1 and later. This was just posted today.
Thank you for the updates. Something about Disney closings adds another layer to the sadness and weirdness to this entire situation. Even though we don’t have a trip planned until June, it makes me sad to think that so many are missing a trip that would bring happiness and smiles to so many families. Of course it is better to practice distancing and love your family at home and be thankful, but Disney closing is just sad to me.
You have done an amazing job keeping us all posted on Disney events and things related to the coronavirus! Thank you! Stay safe!
Hey Tom, I would like to see an indepth story and pictures of the city below ground at WDW.
Tom, given that there is a large gathering of runners scheduled for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend coming up in mid April I’d love to see your thoughts on how Disney might handle that probable cancellation. I have some idea/thoughts. I’d love to see them make it into a virtual race – not unprecedented, mail our medals and shirts to us and make the (most likely already produced) merchandise available to order online. This might be a great way of at least recouping some of their losses and not having to refund everyone. I know you don’t cover Run Disney events too much, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.
All of what you described seems like a smart move, and one that would be met by a largely receptive audience eager to get out of the house.
If they go that route, I would expect they give the optional to cancel for a full refund–or at least apply the race fee to a future event.
Well we’re on the train to Frankfurt right now, to fly back through Dallas tomorrow. We shall see. Still lots of folks using the train and going on with their lives.
and hence why we have a pandemic because many people refuse to change their routines for the better of all. Not trying to sound like a jerk but maybe I did.
Oh, they are keeping more to themselves and washing their hands more but they aren’t wailing and crying that the sky is falling like those scumbags on CNN are doing. Nothing like idiotic media oversensationalizing everything. This has infected less than 0.001875% of the world population.
We are staying at SSR and flying back to Canada tomorrow morning after shortening our WDW stay. We had a relaxing day by the pool but my son and I went for a nice midday walk around Disney Springs. Almost surreal to see it so quiet (the background music was playing and a few of the restaurants were open). Tom it provides an opportunity for some great photos with not a single person in them!
Yeah, I spend hours in line each week at the grocery store due to people like you giving into FEAR! My family and I aren’t sick. We always have tried to be responsible with our health. 37,000K people have already died so far from the flu and it’s not over yet, while 75 people have sadly died at this time from the CV confirmed by the CDC in the USA. Where’s the justice in covering the flu?
Anyway the CV is indeed bad, buts it’s not as bad as what the media is hyping it out to be. It’s being politicized. The “Emperor’s Clothes” has been without his clothes for a long time. He’s been buck naked for a while. How long are we going to see his backside? Indefinite to say the least.
I think we all can agree Disney means something special to all of us. We wish for things to get back to normal ASAP! It’s good to be a realist, but we don’t have to be all doom and gloom! We should always focus on being hopeful. Thank you for your thoughtful posts Tom. We love seeing through you and your beautiful wife’s perspective. Take care.
So sad to see some of these replies. Supposedly “intelligent” responders who still don’t get it. Glad you are all healthy and hope you remain so. I sincerely hope you do not carry anything home to any at-risk elderly relatives, I, for one, appreciate the information I receive from the federal and local authorities. If you know what has happened in Italy and elsewhere then you are aware what can happen here. Please help us all to avoid that. I pray we listen and learn.
Lynn, a post on Disney cartoons, movies & The Mickey Mouse Club show. Maybe it is possible to watch them all & introduce our children’s children to some wonderful entertainment other than video games.
Can I suggest you take the next few days, before the hotels close, to get good photographs of their pools? We are pool people and choose hotels based on the pools and your reviews are often missing photographs of those areas due to your very understandable reluctance to photograph them with swimsuit-ed people.
Hi Tom, I’m curious what your thought are on the Phantom Manor refurbishment. Would that be an idea for a new post?
Idea#1: How about an article on a Tom Bricker designed attraction? What would you do if given the secret wand to create an attraction? Or even a totally new land. Which park would you put it in and why? What would Sarah create?
Idea#2: How about a comparison of DVC resorts purchased in the first 2 yeas of their existence to what they are worth today?