Everything We Know About Coronavirus and How It Will Affect United States Disney Parks
NOTE: This article is regularly updated with the latest information relevant to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and how it relates to Central Florida and Anaheim area Travel.
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has become a pandemic. Over the past months, we here at the Lost Bros are continuing to monitor the situation closely and following how it will affect travel plans around the world.
We've been contacted by many of our customers, readers, and friends like you over the last several weeks, inquiring about what will happen at Disney World and how it will affect their future Disney vacation. While we are continuing to monitor the situation, we do know that efforts are underway by Disney Global Operations, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, and hundreds of other local businesses and organizations to help keep the public safe during this time. Here, we will continue to share what we know about the virus and how it could affect the American Disney Parks over the next several weeks to help you better understand how to prepare for your Disney Vacation.
Disney Park Closures
- The Walt Disney World resort closed on March 16th, and is due to be closed indefinitely with no current sign of reopening. Disney Springs and the surrounding Disney hotels will also be closed through the closure. Disney World has since issued a statement outlining policies and procedures that will be taken in effect regarding travel plans, tickets, and annual passes. Disney is currently in the process of canceling all vacations through mid-May.
- Disneyland Resort is set to temporally suspend operations on Saturday, March 14th, 2020 with the Disneyland area hotels closing March 16th to allow guests to make travel accommodations.
- Tokyo Disney Resort ceased operation on February 29th and is also closed indefinitely. It's important to note that the Tokyo Disneyland Resort hours of operation currently lists the park's hours of operation as "undecided" through September 30th, 2020.
- Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is also closed indefinitely and has made an agreement with the Japanese Government to use the park as a potential quarantine zone, able to hold up to 600 quarantine zones if needed.
- The Shanghai Disneyland Resort has partially re-opened since it's complete closure on January 25th. The park is still listed as "Closed" on the official company website, however select shopping, dining, and recreational experiences have re-opened around the park. All guests must go through a temperature check prior to entering the park in order to be admitted, present their health QR code at restaurants, and wear a mask during the entire duration of their visit.
- Disneyland Paris Resort also closed on March 15th, with France banning all public gatherings over 1000 people.
- The Disney Cruise Line has also released a statement regarding the Coronavirus outbreak. The Cruise Line has announced that all sailings will be suspended beginning March 14th. The same travel accommodation policies and procedures apply as the other Disney Parks. As of right now, all cruise sailings have been canceled through mid-May.
- Keep in mind that Disney doesn't possess full ownership of any of it's Asian Parks. Sharing ownership with both the Oriental Land Company and the Japanese and Chinese Governments, Disney isn't solely responsible for the operational decisions made to these parks. It does own 100% of Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Resort, and Walt Disney World Resort, therefor Disney is completely in control of the operational decisions made for these resorts.
- This is the first time in history that all Disney Parks around the world are closed simultaneously.
Disney is in close contact with health agencies around the United States for guidance and information and continues to be in communication with employees around the company to relay most up to date information.
The Disney World Resort has also updated the My Disney Experience app to include hand sanitization locations, as well as locations for first aid, and COVID-19 information stations around the park to better inform guests.
There are also A-frames around the park with reminders to wash your hands, cover your mouth, and seek medical attention.
At Hollywood Studios, we noticed hand sanitization tables set up around the park. These tables provide the same information as the A-frames as well as hand sanitizers.
To help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, both Disneyland and Disney World have also increased sanitization procedures put portable hand sanitizer stations and portable hand washing stations around each park for guest use. Over the last few days we've seen hand sanitizer stations and potable hand washing stations pop up around the parks.
The Walt Disney Travel Company is now waiving the $50 fee to change travel reservations for any reservation within 30 days or less prior to arrival. Note that this waived fee is for travel changes only, not cancelations. As of posting, the fee will not be waived for cancellations. The change policy also only applies to changes for a later date in 2020, therefore you can't change your vacation to a much later date. Disney World has also issued a statement regarding tickets and annual passes and the policies and procedures they will be following to accommodate all travel plans throughout the ban. The full statement can be read here.
For Disney Cruise Line passengers, All Guests scheduled to depart on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy between May 18 and May 31, 2020 can change their reservation up until the day before embarkation and receive a 100% cruise credit to be used for a future sailing within 15 months of their original sail date. The credit is non-refundable and standard prevailing rates will apply. Guests who booked their reservation through a travel agent should contact them directly. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line is offering guests who wish to change their cruise date to a later date a 125% future cruise credit, within 15 months of their original sail date. More information can be found here.
For Walt Disney World and Disneyland Annual Passholders, passholders may now elect to either extend their annual pass for the length of the parks closures, or receive a partial refund. The payment hold will begin April 5th and all monthly payment plans will stop until the parks reopen. Should annual pass holders elect the refund option, Walt disney World will refund payments made between March 14 through April 4, 2020, however, pass expiration dates will not be extended under this circumstance. The alternate option is for guests on the monthly payment plan who wish to have payments postponed through the parks closure period. The postpone will begin for payments due April 5th. When the parks reopen, payments will resume and your annal pass will be extended. More information can be found here.
This is a virus that is spreading rapidly around the United States and around the World. Florida Governor Ron Desantis has declared a state of emergency for the state of Florida.
Disney stock prices have also plummeted and over 45,000 Disney employees have been furloughed due to the pandemic. This has become an issue that will likely take years to recover from, with much uncertainty ahead. Disney executives as well as state representatives have voiced how important it is to reopen the Disney parks to begin recovering from the economic losses, however in an abundance of caution, will not proceed in doing so until it is deemed safe by Government Health Representatives.
Here at Lost Bros, we want everyone to stay safe. Practice sanitation regularly. Wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose, and seek medical attention immediately if you feel sick. Ultimately, we advise you to use your best judgment when deciding whether or not to travel to the Disney parks. We recommend regularly staying informed by visiting back to this article, as well as trusted national news sources, Official Disney press releases, and the Florida Department of Health website or the Orange County Public Health Care Agency for the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic.