UPDATED 1/12/2021 — 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, reopenings, and other effects of COVID-19 until the crisis has passed. LAST UPDATED 1/12/2021.
Walt Disney World
UPDATE: Walt Disney World theme parks were CLOSED UNTIL JULY 11, when Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom REOPENED following passholder previews on July 9-10; Hollywood Studios and Epcot REOPENED JULY 15. Disney’s water parks are currently CLOSED, with Blizzard Beach scheduled to reopen on March 7, 2021. New Walt Disney World hotel reservations and ticket sales are currently available, and advance date-specific reservations are required to visit the theme parks.
The parks reopened 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.
Guests are also required to reserve a specific date and park to visit in advance via a new Disney Park Pass online service. Onsite resort guests can make park reservations as of 7 a.m. EDT on June 22; annual passholders can book beginning June 26, and regular ticket holders can reserve starting June 28. Park reservations will extend through September 26, 2021. Resort guests may reserve for the length of their stay, while annual passholders are able to hold up to 3 park reservations at a time.
Park hopping is currently permitted after 2 p.m., but you must have a park pass reservation and use it at the designated park before hopping.
The FastPass+ service is 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 reopened to members and guests and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground began to reopen on June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, reopened to members and guests starting on June 15.
Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort will remain closed to non-DVC guests until Summer 2021.
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 April 30, 2021.
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.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties and Typhoon Lagoon’s H2O Glow Nights for 2020 were also cancelled, and modified versions of Epcot’s seasonal festivals are running with fewer marketplace booths and no concerts.
The runDisney 2020 Star Wars Rival Run Weekend has been canceled; registered runners will receive a refund. The 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, were converted to virtual events and so is the 2020 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.
Disney began 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.
Cirque du Soleil suspended of the start of preview performances of Drawn to Life at Disney Springs, which was planned for March 2020. The show is now scheduled to open in February 2021.
UPDATE: Universal Orlando Resort’s theme parks REOPENED 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 began a phased REOPENING on June 2.
Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure are open 7 days a week, with reduced operating hours. Volcano Bay is CLOSED on Tuesdays and Thursdays as of September 8, and will be CLOSED from November 2 through March 2021.
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 are cancelled until further notice. Guests who have purchased tickets for Blue Man Group shows during this time can call (258-3626) for assistance. For updates check the website.
The March 17 scheduled opening of the new Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, was postponed to December 15, 2020. The Portofino Bay Resort reopened on December 1, 2020, but the Sapphire Falls Resort and Aventura Hotel were CLOSED INDEFINITELY as of August 21. 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.
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 offered a Stress Free Booking Policy through June 30, 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: All sailings on the Disney Cruise Line have been SUSPENDED THROUGH MARCH 2021. 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 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 all members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) extended their suspension of cruises in U.S. waters through DECEMBER 2020. Princess Cruises has ceased sailing its 18 ships through MAY 14 2021. Viking River Cruises has suspended all operations through MARCH 31 2021. Carnival has canceled all sailings through at least MARCH 4 2021, and Holland America has paused all operations from Alaska, Europe, and New England through APRIL 30 2021.
Adventures by Disney
Guests currently booked on Adventures through Aril 30, 2021, can change their reservation and receive a 100% credit to be used toward a future Adventure. They must make their change 45 days prior to the Adventure start date, and may select an alternative adventure and/or a new travel date for itineraries departing through May 31, 2022. Guests currently booked on trips through March 31, 2022 now have until 90 days prior to their Adventure start date to make final payment.
Disney’s Aulani Resort
Disney’s Aulani Resort began a PHASED REOPENING as of November 1, 2020. See Aulani’s travel advisory for more information.
UPDATE October 21, 2020
Disneyland Resort is currently closed. The Downtown Disney district began a phased reopening on July 9th. The reopening of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park that was scheduled to begin on July 17 has been POSTPONED. There is currently no date set for the reopening of the Disneyland Resort theme parks or hotels.
More information here.
The Downtown Disneyland shopping district is currently open, including portions of Disney’s California Adventure. However, as of December 7, 2020, all dining locations that do not offer take-out service are closed, and no food or drink may be consumed by guests on Disneyland Resort property.
On October 20, 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new theme park repopening guidelines that will keep large parks like Disneyland closed until their host county reaches “Tier 4” with minimal new COVID-19 cases. Health officials have said that Orange County (where the Disneyland Resort is located) is not likely to reach Tier 4 until summer 2021 or perhaps later. Once reopened, parks would be limited to 25% capacity, and advance reservations would be required to attend.
The Disneyland Resort has posted a page of coronavirus information, and guests who have reservations to visit during the closure will receive a refund. Guests with reservations at Disneyland Resort Hotels can change or cancel their stay without fees of penalties.
Disney California Adventure’s Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween parties have been canceled for 2020.
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. Universal CityWalk is open on a limited basis. More information check here.
Like the Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood is subject to new theme park repopening guidelines announced by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on October 20, which will keep large parks closed until their host county reaches “Tier 4” with minimal new COVID-19 cases.
Halloween Horror Nights 2020 has been cancelled. 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 Orlando, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove, as well as Busch Gardens Tampa, reopened on JUNE 11 with seasonal operating hours. SeaWorld is closed on select Tuesdays, and Aquatica is currently open 7 days a week; Busch Gardens is currently closed on Wednesdays.
SeaWorld’s parks are operating with social distancing protocols. Temperature checks and face masks (for guests over age 2) will be mandatory.
During the park closure essential personnel, including animal care experts, continued to look after the health, safety and nutritional needs of the animals in our care. The animal rescue and rehabilitation operations also continued to operate. Check for updates here.
Busch Gardens Tampa held a modified Howl-o-Scream celebration from September 25-November 1, 2020. Tickets were limited; visit this website for more information.
LEGOLAND Florida resort REOPENED 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 REOPENED 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
Airports and Airlines
At this time, air travel is still available within the United States, and all major airports are OPEN.
Currently, foreign nationals may not travel 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), the United Kingdom and Ireland, China, Iran, or Brazil. Foreign nationals who have visited any of the above countries within the past 14 days also may not enter the United States; U.S. citizens and permanent residents who visit those locations will be allowed to return home.
The following airports have posted pages with COVID-19 information:
- Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Los Angeles Airport (LAX)
- Hollywood Burbank (BUR)
- Metropolitan Washington D.C. Airports Authority
- Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS)
Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Paris theme parks CLOSED AGAIN as of OCTOBER 30, 2020 through February 12, 2021. Plans for the resort to reopen from December 19, 2020 through January 3, 2021 have been canceled. The opening of the Art of Marvel hotel has been delayed. More information here.