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. LAST UPDATED 5/29/2020.

Walt Disney World

UPDATE: Walt Disney World theme parks will be CLOSED UNTIL JULY 11, when Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen; Hollywood Studios and Epcot will reopen JULY 15. New Walt Disney World hotel reservations and ticket sales are currently suspended, and advance date-specific reservations will be required to visit the theme parks.

The parks will reopen with limited capacity to maintain social distancing, and certain attractions — including parades, fireworks, character meet-and-greets, and playgrounds — will not be available. All guests must pass a temperature screening, and all guests age 2 and older must wear face coverings.

The FastPass+ service will be suspended during the reopening period, and dining reservations will be limited to a 60-day window. All existing FastPass+ and dining reservations have been canceled, as have any pre-purchased dining plans.

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.

DVC members’ April through October 2019 Use Year points that are set to expire in 2020 and that were used for reservations during the closure period will be extended for one year from the current expiration date. Additionally, April, June, August, September and October 2018 Use Year points that were banked into 2019 Use Years and used for these reservations will now all expire November 30, 2020. This temporary policy only includes expiring points that were used to book a stay arriving between March 12 and the end of the closure period and that involve a reservation cancelled after February 29. Additional information on these policies is available at disneyvacationclub.com.

Walt Disney World issued updated policies for theme park ticket holders. Unexpired mulit-day park tickets that were valid between March 12 and the parks’ reopening can be used until December 15, 2020, or may have their full value applied to future tickets. Disney is also waiving change and cancellation fees up to the arrival day for reservations through June 30.

Those with fully paid annual passes to the park will get an extension based on the number of days the park is closed, or alternatively may request a partial refund. Passholders on a monthly payment plan will have their payments automatically stopped as of April 5, and will receive refunds for any charges made between March 14 and April 4; their original pass expiration date will still apply. Alternatively, they may pause payments until the parks reopen, and have the additional months credited to the extension of their pass. Read full details here.

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

Disney Springs

Disney has begun the phased reopening of Disney Springs starting on May 20. Capacity and parking is limited, and only select shops and restaurants are reopening with strict social distancing precautions. Select Disney-owned venues (including World of Disney) reopened on May 27. See this page for more details.

Disney Springs phased reopening May 20

Cirque du Soleil suspended of the start of preview performances of Drawn to Life at Disney Springs, which was planned for March 20.

Universal Orlando

UPDATE: Universal Orlando Resort’s theme parks plan on REOPENING ON JUNE 5 to the public, with a soft opening for employees, invited guests, and select annual passholders on June 1-4. Universal Orlando’s hotels will begin a phased REOPENING on June 2.

Universal Orlando CityWalk reopened for limited daily operation (4 p.m. to 10 p.m.) starting May 14. Only select dining and retail locations are currently open; find out more here.

Blue Man Group’s shows beginning Monday, March 16 through at least May 31 are cancelled. Guests who have purchased tickets for Blue Man Group shows during this time can call (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.

All Grad Bash and Grandventure events scheduled in 2020 are cancelled.

Single and multi-day park tickets are valid for 365 days from original purchase. Annual passes will be automatically extended by the number of days that the parks are closed, and all monthly payments were suspended effective March 25.

Universal Orlando is offering a Stress Free Booking Policy from now through May 31, 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 has SUSPENDED OPERATIONS and canceled all new departures through JULY 28. In addition, itineraries and ports of call may be subject to change. More information 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.

Disney Cruise Line has temporarily modified their cancellation policy. Guests booked on a cruise that has been canceled can choose between a 125% credit to be used for a future sailing within 15 months of their original sail date, or a full refund. 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 through the summer of 2020. Viking River Cruises has suspended all operations through June 30, 2020. Carnival has canceled all sailings through July 31, and Holland America has paused all operations from Alaska, Europe, and New England through 2020.

Adventures by Disney

Adventures by Disney has CANCELED departures through JULY 31, 2020. All Adventures by Disney and AmaWaterways River Cruise sailings and their associated Escape trips have been suspended through July 31, 2020. Adventures by Disney Mediterranean Cruise packages and Rome Escape packages are cancelled through the end of July.

Disneyland

UPDATE: The Disneyland Resort’s theme parks will be CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. The Disneyland Resort hotels remain closed through at least July 1. All locations — including shops and restaurants — at Downtown Disney are also closed. More information here.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new statewide ‘stay home’ order effective March 19, which compels residents to avoid public gatherings and avoid non-essential travel until further notice.

In response to the Governor’s original coronavirus declaration, the City of Anaheim posted the following:

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.

The Disneyland Resort has posted a page of coronavirus information, and guests who have reservations to visit during the closure will receive a refund. Disney is also waiving change and cancellation fees up to the arrival day for reservations through June 30.

Annual Passholders who have paid in full will get an extension based on the number of days the park is closed, or alternatively may request a partial refund. Passholders on a monthly payment plan will have their payments automatically stopped as of April 5, and will receive refunds for an charges made between March 14 and April 4; their original pass expiration date will still apply. Alternatively, they may pause payments until the parks reopen, and have the additional months credited to the extension of their pass.

Universal Studios Hollywood

UPDATE: The Universal Studios Hollywood theme park is CLOSED as of through AT LEAST MAY 31. All of Universal CityWalk is also currently closed. More information here.

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

SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove, as well as Busch Gardens Tampa, plan to REOPEN on JUNE 11.

SeaWorld’s parks will reopening with social distancing protocols. Temperature checks and face masks (for guests over age 2) will be mandatory.

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. Check for updates here.

LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND Florida resort will REOPEN ON JUNE 1, including the theme park, water park, and two hotels. LEGOLAND San Diego is CLOSED until further notice. More information here.

Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex is REOPENING ON MAY 28. Check their 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 REOPENING ON JUNE 1. 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 remain CLOSED until further notice, through at least July 14. The opening of the Art of Marvel hotel has been delayed through at least October 31. More information here.

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