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!
Tom, it’s time for a well-deserved vacation. Stay-cation, as it were.
I appreciate your efforts to inform, entertain, and provide upbeat content as time permits!
Really disappointed to see the masses in front of Cinderella Castle last night at fireworks. Like, YALL that isn’t enough social distancing!!
But, but, but I really, really, really want a deep dive into the backstory of Dino-Rama. Thanks for the laugh.
My parents went to WDW shortly after they were married in 1972. We were just there a week ago, and my dad was talking about what it was like when they first went (buying individual A- and B- tier tickets for rides, etc.). I would LOVE to see a post (or more) about the changes to WDW through the ages, complete with photos if you can dig them up! I went for the first time in 1979 when I was a kid but obviously don’t remember the details.
I can remember the A-B-C-D-E tickets which could be purchased individually but also in packets which gave you lots of the lower tiers and not so many of the upper tiers, but at a discount to the prices of buying them all individually.
The result was you wound up with several of the lower tier tickets left over towards the end of the day and were desperately trying to figure which rides/shows you could stand even if, in some sense, you had a “free” ticket. I think I wound up with a few I never used, but if so they’re long gone. This was at Disneyland, and while dates are foggy from my memories from when I was approximately 8 years old, likely within 12 months of Disneyland’s opening.
My first experience of Disneyland was that it was so much better than even the half-decent regional parks near where I lived in southern Ohio. (Anyone else remember LeSourdsville?) My parents took me back once or twice more, but then we stopped visiting California as my family’s trips went elsewhere, mostly to various National Parks which I loved, too.
Love reading all your posts! Would you consider putting captions by photos? So many times you have food, great picture spots, etc….yet I never know where to find them–unless the post is specifically about a specific place. Lots of great pictures but would love to know where to find those places myself when we’re there! Keep up the great work–Love this site! <3
Top 10 Disneyland Table Service?
Would you consider doing a podcast?
We are going in November and our fast pass window opens at the end of April or beginning of May. Do you think we will still be able to make our reservations?
“As such, we’ll be resuming regular, non-virus posts this week in an effort to establish some sense of normalcy. ” Thanks you! This would be great content to read instead of 24/7 Coronavirus. I haven’t checked much financial news or my 401k; me looking won’t make it any better. I’m trying to maintain a positive mental outlook and focus on the good things in life right now.
Bring on the photos!!
I’m going to be that person that even though I’m stuck in NYC, I’ll be going on the My Disney Experience app just to look at the park maps and remind myself of our plans at the end of August. I wonder how they’ll handle the fast pass reservation windows.
Real talk…..I think this is so hyped up. I understand precautions but it’s insane. Swine flu killed 12,000 Americans in 2009 and we didn’t have any of this panic(but Obama was president and he was like a savior to the media so â€â™€ï¸). Be safe, practice good hygiene, but everyone needs to chill or the stock market will crash and we’ll be in an economic mess.
How about just posting more of your photos? Lots of people are going to virtual meetings. How about hosting some “Virtual Tours by Tom” where we can see the parks through your camera lens. I must say that I really enjoy all the photos you share in your blog, so keep on sharing some more. We can still enjoy the parks even if we can’t go there in person.
I was about to ask this! A photo story or a photo album, something that we can easily stop while we sit in meetings in our pajamas!
I’d love anything on Tokyo Disney Resort. My husband and I sadly had to cancel our April 2020 trip there but will certainly go when the situation is better – maybe April 2021…?
I have an interest in going here as well! But I’m curious as to how the language barrier might affect the experience. Do you have any idea?
My wife and I went to TDR in May of 2018 and the language barrier was minimal in the parks. We had a local friend who was with us for most of our time in Tokyo outside of the parks so it is unfair for me to say it was not an issue there but at the parks we found many cast members spoke some English and those who did were very enthusiastic to practice on us! Do not let a fear of the language stop you.
I barely speak any Japanese but regularly visit Tokyo and other places in Japan (almost every year)! The language barrier for us is nonexistent, unlike in some other places you might want to visit. For instance, going to non-tourist areas in Thailand is a lot harder if you don’t speak Thai, but we do not encounter this problem in Japan! Enjoy your trip; it will be excellent and you will not regret it.
Thanks for the info! I look forward to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic so I can start to plan a trip over there 🙂
How about a Top 10 Disney Theme Park Portrayals of the Future? There’s so many to choose from: Tomorrowland ’55, Tomorrowland ’67, Future World, the final scenes from Horizons and Spaceship Earth, Discoveryland, Tomorrowland ’94, Port Discovery, Mysterious Island, Shanghai’s Tomorrowland, and so on…
WDW addicts hearts are heavy right now and we always appreciate your up-to-date posts!! I love that we are going to move forward with upbeat topics which will include “Top Ten” lists and other fun conversations!! Stay healthy and until we all meet again at the “World”… see ya real soon! â¤ï¸
What makes Disney World magical to you. For me it’s the one on one time I spent with my family waiting in lines, it was the longest we spend talking to each other about everything . I used to love when we put Disney radio on before we entered the park and singing on the way to the parking lot. The Cast members being so joyful and helpful, most recently my daughter lost her green blankie at Epcot, I gave a simple description and it was sent in the mail 2 weeks later. I can’t wait until they reopen and everyone is a lot more hygienic and cautious. Thank You to Disney for putting public health above profit margins. Thank You to your amazing staff who care a lot about the guests as well. Also for ideas how about a 90s kid Disney themed restaurant or spinner/Merry go round.
How about telling us how you met Sarah and how did you find out you both love Disney? Your first date there, meals, etc.
Yes to this!
Tom, has Disney World announced that the work tonipdate, construction or upgrade will continue? Not that I want anyone unable to practice social distancing, it seems this would a great time for them do work on multiple projects without guest.
No announcements have been made, nor would I expect them.
While I’d expect some things to move at a much brisker pace thanks to the closure (I’d expect Cinderella Castle to be totally finished when the parks reopen), other projects could pause entirely.
Yeah, there’s 3 factors at work.
First, as you mentioned, there’s the ability to get a lot more work done with no guests in the Park.
Second, there’s Disney correctly having to decide what projects to stop and which to continue as the company bleeds cash due to a lack of income from not only the Parks and cruises but also the movie theaters, etc.
Third, depending upon how bad this gets, there could be problems getting needed construction materials and possibly even workers won’t be available.
I agree that the focus on the current circumstances 24/7 is not healthy. We had a trip planned for 3/17-3/25 at Disney World. Very disappointed it closed. Being diehard Disney fans we tried to rebook our package 30 days later. We were very disappointed that the Disney rep said our package was going to be $300 more. Although, she reiterated many times they’d waive the change/cancellation fee. This is horrible customer service because of course they should waive the fee. They closed, which I totally understand and appreciate. However, it should not be used as an opportunity to charge inconvenienced guests even more to come back. We will now wait to see if they offer any discounts to come back to the parks as soon as this ends. Charging booked packages even more will not be an incentive.
I agree and I think in the end, they will honor what you paid. I think you should Ask to speak with
An article covering the Disney resorts not on Disney theme park property ( i.e. South Carolina, Hawaii, and Vero Beach)
Anything researched about imagineering past or present would be a fun read. I’ll read anything I can get my hands on. My dad was an engineer and he loved taking us to WDW for the technical aspect of it. I’m fascinated by how it all works.
River Country, the underground tunnels, & anything mysterious or less-explored.
I second this!
Third! I loved River country as a kid. Also any archived trip reports you’ve done in the past would be fun to read. Maybe a compilation of those. Any historical info.