What’s the Latest? – September Update
It’s time for an update with what is going at some of our favorite vacation destinations.
Walt Disney World: All four Disney theme parks are currently open. In an effort to control capacity and ensure guest’s safety, a park reservation must be made for each day prior to visiting. The parks are full of hand sanitizer and hand washing stations. Face coverings are required for guests over 2 years of age and all guests have their temperatures taken prior to park entry.
Several resorts are currently open or have opening dates that are coming soon. At the current time these resorts are open – all of the Disney Vacation Club resorts – both standalone and those that are part of a larger resort, the Contemporary Resort, the Yacht Club Resort, the Grand Floridian Resort, and Caribbean Beach Resort. Coronado Springs Resort has an opening date of October 14th and Art of Animation will welcome guests back on November 1st.
Other resorts will be opening at some point in the future. The Polynesian Resort is currently undergoing a major renovation in preparation for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World in 2021. This resort has a tentative reopening date of July 2021. Other resorts such as Disney’s All Star Resorts, both the French Quarter and Riverside sections of Port Orleans, Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Boardwalk and the hotel section of the Wilderness Lodge have not yet had re-opening dates announced.
Although a resort may be “open”, that does not mean that all facilities or restaurants are open or offering the experiences that they have offered in the past. Many Be sure to check with your travel planner or the Disney World website for the most up to date information.
The experience is a bit different than it has been in the past, but Disney is bringing back the magic in a social distancing way. Currently, there are no parades, fireworks, or character meet and greets. However, characters pop up all over the park for selfies and distanced interaction. Cavalcades with multiple characters are in place of parades, but have no set schedule. Character meals are also limited and the characters are not signing autographs and doing close photos. Guests are getting to see characters they haven’t seen in a while and not having long waits to do that.
On September 25, Florida moved into Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. This phase allows full indoors capacity for restaurants and bars. At the current time, Disney has not announced any plans to make any drastic changes to their protocols. With this announcement Some restaurants and bars that have been closed have started to open with limited capacity.
Disney Springs has been open for several months with limited capacity and social distancing guidelines in place. Parking and entrances are limited and guests over the age of 2 are required to wear a mask and under temperature checks.
Disneyland: At the current time, Disneyland’s theme parks, and resorts are closed until at least October 9th. Further closures have been announced usually by a week or two at a time. Downtown Disney has partially reopened, in accordance with state guidelines. Some, but not all, dining and retail locations are currently open.
Disney Cruise Line: Disney Cruise Line has voluntarily suspended sailings into December for all four cruise ships. The Disney Fantasy sailings have been canceled up to and including the December 6th sailing. Guests on both the Disney Dream and the Disney Wonder have been impacted through sailings departing on December 11th. Currently, the last impacted sailing on the Disney Magic is the one departing on December 12th. Guests on impacted sailings who are paid in full are being offered either a full refund or 125% future cruise credit to be used on a new sailing within 15 months of the original booking date. Guests who are not paid in full will receive a full refund back to the original form of payment.
Adventures by Disney: Most adventures both domestic and international through November 30th have been canceled. Some Disneyland/Southern California Adventures in November are still scheduled, but are dependent on the status of Disneyland. Adventures by Disney has also made a temporary change in the final payment date for adventures into the early part of 2021. Final payments are now due 90 days prior to travel versus the standard 120 days.
Aulani Resort and Spa: Disney’s resort in Hawaii recently announced that they will begin a phased reopening starting November 1st. Details on what that will look like have not yet been released, but should be soon.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean has suspended all service through October 31st. They hope to resume cruising starting on November 1st, with some exceptions. Transatlantic and European sailings have been canceled through November 30th. Australia sailings have been canceled for the remainder of 2020. The cruise line is currently offering several options for affected guests and guests who would like to voluntarily change their plans in the coming months. Some ports plan to remain closed, which could affect sailings.
Royal Caribbean is also working on safety measures for both cruise and passengers for when they are allowed to sail. While exact details have yet to be announced, mask wearing, COVID testing prior to boarding, as well changes to the onboard experience are all possibilities.
As with everything COVID-19 related, things can change in a matter of minutes. Please stay tuned for the latest information as it is released. Stay safe!!