COVID-19 and Theme Parks: Latest Updates

Covid-19 theme parks WDW sanitizer

The COVID-19 novel coronavirus that began in Asia has spread to America, and has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Obviously, there are more critical public health concerns right now than theme parks. However, for the millions of guests who were planning on visiting attractions this season, not to mention the employees who depend on the travel industry for an income, the virus’s impact on the theme parks is important. Therefore, The Unofficial Guides will maintain this round-up on information about park closures and other effects of COVID-19 until the crisis has passed.

Walt Disney World

UPDATE: Walt Disney World theme parks will be CLOSED beginning March 16 UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Walt Disney World hotels are also closing, including Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

Walt Disney World Covid-19

Walt Disney World issued updated policies for theme park ticket holders. Those with annual passes to the park will get an extension based on the number of days the park is closed. Full details here.

The RunDisney 2020 Star Wars Rival Run Weekend has also been canceled; registered runners will receive a refund.

Disney Springs

Disney announced the temporary closure of ALL locations at Disney Springs.

March 17 UPDATE: Cirque du Soleil  announces temporary suspension of the start of preview performances of Drawn to Life at Disney Springs which was planned for March 20. 

In line with state and federal guidance and in an abundance of caution, Disney is closing all of the locations at Disney Springs beginning through March 31.

Universal Orlando

UPDATE: Universal Orlando Resort’s theme parks will be temporarily CLOSED starting March 16 through April 19. Universal CityWalk will be closed as of Tuesday, March 17, and Universal Orlando’s hotels will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20.

Blue Man Group’s shows beginning Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31 are cancelled. Guests who have purchased tickets for Blue Man Group shows during this time can call 407 BLUEMAN (258-3626) for assistance.

The March 17 scheduled opening of the new Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, has been postponed. Guests have the option to modify or cancel room or package reservations. Guests with specific questions can call this number for more information: (877) 801-9720.

Universal Orlando has posted a Safety and Travel Update on their website that reads in part:

Universal Orlando is offering a Stress Free Booking Policy from now through April 15, 2020. During this period, new ticket purchases (excluding Annual Passes) for travel through 8/31/20 are fully refundable. Hotel reservations made for travel through 8/31/20 are fully refundable up to 24 hours prior to arrival; one night’s room deposit will be forfeit when cancelling within 24 hours of arrival. Vacation package reservations for travel through 8/31/20 may be modified or cancelled for free if such modification is made at least 24 hours prior to arrival; a $50 change fee or $200 cancellation fee is charged within 24 hours.

Further operational updates can be found here.

Disney Cruise Line

UPDATE: The Disney Cruise Line will SUSPEND OPERATIONS for all new departures starting Saturday, March 14, through Thursday, April 28th. However, itineraries and ports of call — especially in Italy and the rest of Europe — may be subject to change. More info here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory recommending that travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship travel worldwide. The CDC says that cruise ship passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

The U.S. Department of State also recommends against cruise ship travel, and warns that repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for US citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.

Disney Cruise Line posted a COVID-19 Travel Alert announcing that ALL Guests and Crew Members will have their temperature checked by a nurse with a no touch thermometer before boarding, whether or not they feel sick. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4º F or greater will get addition medical screening, and they along with their travel party may be unable to sail.

In addition, no guest or crew member who has traveled from, to or through China (including Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea, Italy, Iran or Japan, within 14 days of departure will be allowed to board Disney ships. Also, guests who have traveled from, to or through Singapore within 14 days can’t sail on any ship that stops in Jamaica. Finally, anyone who has visited China, South Korea, Italy or Iran in the past 20 days will not be allowed off the ship in Nassau or Castaway Cay.

Disney Cruise Line has temporarily modified their cancellation policy. Guests currently booked on European sailings through July 25 can change reservations up until the day before embarkation with 100% non-refundable credit towards a cruise within 15 months of the original sail date. by calling us at 1-866-325-2112 or 407-566-3510 or contacting their travel agent. Guests scheduled to depart on the Disney Magic between now and May 8, 2020, and the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder between now and May 31, 2020, can change reservation up until the day before embarkation for 100% non-refundable credit towards a cruise within 12 months of their original sail date. Call 1-866-325-2112 or 407-566-3510 or contact your travel agent for more information.

If you have a non-Disney cruise planned, be aware that Princess Cruises has ceased sailing its 18 ships until May 11, 2020. Viking River Cruises has suspended all operations until May 1, 2020.

Disneyland

UPDATE: The Disneyland Resort’s theme parks will be temporarily CLOSED as of March 14 UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. The Disneyland Resort hotels remained open until March 16 to give guests time to travel home. All locations — including shops and restaurants — at Downtown Disney are also closed.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new statewide coronoavirus policy on March 11, which recommends the cancellation or postponement of non-essential mass gatherings. The Disneyland Resort and other large attractions have been specifically excluded from this policy, but the Disney company decided to close the parks even though “there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort.”

In response to the Governor’s declaration, the City of Anaheim posted the following, which indicates that smaller attractions in the Anaheim Resort area will also close:

The policy calls for modifying or postponing non-essential gatherings of 250 or more people through March 31 to help stem the spread of coronavirus across the state. We expect to see changes in Anaheim in coming days based on the policy. As a major visitor city, the guidelines cover Anaheim’s sports, entertainment, convention and other venues, as well as larger events.

In the meantime, the Disneyland Resort has posted a page of coronavirus information, and deployed additional sanitization stations around the resort. Guests who have reservations to visit during the closure will receive a refund.

Universal Studios Hollywood

UPDATE: The Universal Studios Hollywood theme park is CLOSED as of March 14. All of Universal CityWalk is also currently closed. The resort has a tentative reopening date of April 20.

The park has also postponed its Peacock Live and Food & Wine special events.

Universal Studios Hollywood has posted the same Safety and Travel Update as Universal Orlando, and made additional hand sanitizers available.

Tickets purchased for park visits during the anticipated closure period, will be automatically extended for use through December 18, 2020. Guests may also apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward a new purchase.

SeaWorld Parks

The SeaWorld family of parks, which includes SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and Busch Gardens Tampa, are CLOSED.

During this time essential personnel, including animal care experts, will continue to look after the health, safety and nutritional needs of the animals in our care. The animal rescue and rehabilitation operations will also continue to operate.

During SeaWorld’s closure, animal care experts will continue to look after the health and well being of the animals inside. Check for updates here.

LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND Florida and LEGOLAND San Diego are CLOSED through March 31st. More information here.

Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is now CLOSED to the public. Check website for updates.

The visitor complex will offer refunds for already-purchased daily admission tickets, as well as for private programs, such as the Astronaut Training Experience, Overnight Adventures, Special Interest Bus Tours and Dine With An Astronaut. More information here.

Mall of America

The Mall of America is closing today through March 31st. For any updates check their website.

Airports and Airlines

At this time, air travel is still available within the United States, and all major airports are OPEN.

On March 11, President Trump announced a 30-day ban on foreign nationals traveling to the United States from the 26 European Schengen countries. (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland). As of March 15 foreign nationals from the United Kingdom and Ireland are also no longer able to come to the United States.

The following airports have posted pages with COVID-19 information:

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Paris theme parks will be CLOSED beginning March 16 through the end of the month. The Disneyland Paris resort hotels and Disney Village will remain open.

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