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Everything we know about the Walt Disney World closure

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Everything we know about the Walt Disney World closure

As the entire world shifts its focus to tackle the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, we find ourselves in uncharted territory.

There are lots of questions, false information, and even rumors swirling around. Because of that we felt it was important to put all the facts about the Walt Disney World closure into one spot.

Keep in mind that this situation is fluid and additional changes and updates are to be expected. 

Here’s what has been confirmed to date:

In this article

Update: May 27, 2020

Disney announced on May 27 the following reopening dates:

  • June 15: Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will reopen to members and guests
  • June 22: DVC resorts at Walt Disney World and Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground will reopen to members and guests
  • July 11: Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen
  • July 15: Epcot and Hollywood Studios will reopen

Read more about what to expect as Walt Disney World reopens.

What we know

Due to an abundance of caution and with the health and safety of guests and Cast Members in mind, the Walt Disney Company has announced that the parks at the Walt Disney World Resort will be closed until further notice. A reopening date has been scheduled.

(Originally it was announced that the parks would be closed March 16 through March 31, 2020. This, of course, is no longer the case.)

In addition to the parks, all Disney owned and operated hotels at Walt Disney World, Hilton Head Island, and Vero Beach will also be closed indefinitely.

On March 20, it was also announced that the runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Weekend will not take place in April

And, all Disney owned and operated locations in both Downtown Disney and Disney Springs closed March 17 and will also remain closed until further notice

Aside from a few 1-2 day closures from hurricanes and 9-11, a closure of this magnitude has never been seen.

Beyond the disruption to travel plans during the typically busy Spring Break season, the fallout from the needed closure has resulted in more heartbreak like the entire Disney College Program being cancelled (with students being directed to return home immediately) and popular long-running World Showcase acts like the Matsuriza Drummers and British Revolution being let go.

Read Disney’s update on Walt Disney World Resort operations

Resorts and Resort Reservations

Do I need to cancel my resort reservation or will Disney do it for me?

Guests who have not checked in (either in person or online) for stays during the park’s planed closure may modify or cancel their Disney Resort room reservation or Walt Disney Travel Company package up to their original check-in date.

If no action is taken, Disney will automatically process a refund to the original form of payment within seven days of the original check-in date. If you did not book through Disney directly, be sure to contact your travel professional.

There will be no cancellation or change penalties for Disney Resort stays through June 30, 2020.

How do I cancel or change my reservation?

Hands down, the best option for cancellation and changes will be to do it online. In most instances, guests should be able to do that by navigating to the My Plans section of My Disney Experience after logging in.

If, however, you booked through a travel agent, you will have to coordinate your changes and cancellations through them.

The phone lines are incredibly busy right now, so unless you absolutely have to we recommend doing everything you can online and if you can’t, waiting until things have calmed down a bit before calling.

NEW as of March 28, 2019: Special offer for eligible guests 

If your trip was cancelled and you need to reschedule, there is a special offer for eligible guests.

This special offer can only be done via the phone, so patience will be key!

What if I have already checked-in online?

If you have already checked-in online, you may need to call in to cancel in order to receive a refund. There have been reports that some people have been able to still cancel their reservation online, though – so definitely try that first!

If I move my trip to different dates that cost more, do I have to pay the increase?

Yes. If a trip is moved to a new date, guests will pay the prevailing price for those travel dates. Theoretically that price could be higher or lower.

Keep in mind that if you are moving your trip dates towards the end of the year, in all likelihood discounts for that time period have not yet been released. 

So, if that is your plan, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for discounts that might pop up.

What about cancelling or changing reservations for dates after the parks re-opens?

If you wish to cancel or change a reservation for dates after the scheduled re-opening of the parks, Disney will waive any Disney imposed change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in through June 30, 2020.

How long do refunds take?

If you choose to cancel a reservation as opposed to changing it, refunds may take up to 2 weeks. Typically that time span is shorter, however, we’ve never seen mass cancellations such as what we will have over the next few weeks so keep that in mind.

What if I paid for my trip with a gift card?

If you paid for a trip using gift cards, your refund will be returned to the gift card used.

UPDATE: All Disney Resorts and Pools are Now Closed
Will the resorts be open?

Disney owned and operated hotels at WDW and Vero Beach Resort will close at 5 p.m. on March 20. Until that time, activities and restaurants will remain open, however, expect things like some character interactions at meals to be limited.

In addition, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disney’s Grand Floridian and all Spa & Salon locations (including Character Couture services) will be closed effective immediately.

What if I paid for Disney’s Travel Insurance Protection Plan?

If you purchased travel insurance through Disney, that money is only refundable within 14 days after the plan was added. After that, the cost is non-refundable. 

UPDATE: All Disney Resorts and Pools are Now Closed
While the resorts are still open, do I need to cancel my room-only reservation?

Guests who have not checked in (either in person or online) for stays during this closure may modify or cancel their Disney Resort room-only reservation up to their original check-in date.

If you do not check in (either online or in person), Disney will automatically process a refund to the original form of payment within seven days of the original check-in date.

UPDATE: All Disney Resorts and Pools are Now Closed
Will the pools at the resorts remain open?

Yes. Pools and scheduled activities within the resorts will continue until the resorts close on March 20, 2020. During this time, the operational hours for all pools will be 10:00 am until 8:00 p.m..

What about nearby hotels like the Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green, etc.?

 Please check the links below for more info:


Do I need to cancel my dining reservations?

If your dining reservation was made inside of a park, it will be automatically cancelled for you. If for some reason they are not, reservations made at locations impacted by the closure will not be charged a cancellation or no-show fee.

Pre-paid dining reservations (like Cinderella’s Royal Table) made during this closure will be automatically refunded.

UPDATE: All Disney Resorts and Pools are Now Closed
What if I have a dining reservation at a resort? Since those remain open, do I need to cancel it?

If your reservation is before March 21, if you have a dining reservation at a resort you will need to cancel it. Dining reservations for dates while the resorts are closed will be cancelled automatically.

I had to cancel all my dining reservations and now I can’t get anything I want for my new travel dates – please help!

Depending on how far out you’ve rescheduled your trip, re-booking dining reservations will probably be a lesson in patience (with a dash of frustration) – but there is hope!

We do have some tips and tricks to make things a little bit easier.

There are websites that can help you snag reservations (which we’ve often had great success with), plus there is always the chance that additional reservations will open up as more people cancel and adjust their plans.

For more information, we recommend you review this section of our How to Snag Hard to Get Dining Reservations post.

What about my Tables in Wonderland card?

Like with Annual Passes, all active Tables in Wonderland members will be extended by the number of days the parks are closed.

Tickets & FastPasses

Do I need to cancel my FastPasses?

All FastPass+ reservations during the closure time will automatically be cancelled.

I had to cancel all my FastPass+ reservations and now I can’t get anything I want for my new travel dates – please help!

Much like with dining reservations, there are things you can do to maximize your chances of snagging FastPasses.

For our best advice, we recommend you review our post on How to get Difficult FastPass reservations.

I purchased my tickets separately (not with a package), will I get a refund?

Any unexpired multi-day theme park tickets with unused days or date-specific theme park tickets with a start date on or between March 12, 2020 and March 31, 2020 will automatically be extended for use on any date through December 15, 2020.

If you plan to travel after December 15, 2020 you may apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket.

Basically, unless you purchased tickets as part of a WDW Travel Package (room and tickets or room and tickets and dining), there are no refunds for unused tickets.

What about people with Annual Passes?

If you have an Annual Pass, your pass will be extended by the number of days the parks are closed.

In addition, passes with renewal windows ending during the closure will also receive an extension of time to renew.

For those using the Annual Pass Monthly Payment program, monthly payments will continue as scheduled. Once the payments are completed, you will still have the extra days as mentioned earlier.

Over the coming weeks Annual Pass details in My Disney Experience will be updated to reflect the new pass usage information.

Note: Pass blockout and admission calendars will not be updated during the closure period.

What about the 4 Park Magic Tickets? 

Guests that have purchased 4 Park Magic Tickets will also have the expiration dates extended through December 15, 2020. 


What about the water parks? Will Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon be closed, too?

Yes. Both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon will close, as will both miniature golf courses (Winter Summerland & Fantasia Gardens).

Will Disney Springs remain open?

All Disney owned and operated locations in both Downtown Disney and Disney Springs will close beginning March 17. 

In addition, a large majority of the privately owned shops and restaurants have announced that they too will be closed.

What about experiences like Droid Depot, Savi’s Workshop, fireworks cruises, etc.?

All pre-paid experience reservations inside the parks will be automatically refunded if scheduled between March 16, 2020 and March 31, 2020.

Experiences near the parks, like firework cruises, will not happen. These experiences will automatically be cancelled and fully refunded, too.

If you have any questions regarding whether your pre-paid experience will be cancelled and refunded, we recommend you call Disney to confirm.

Will Cirque du Soleil remain open, too?

The new Cirque du Soleil show “Drawn to Life” was scheduled to begin previews on March 20, however, it has now been confirmed that the previews will be postponed.

A new opening date has not yet been announced.

You can find more information on the official Cirque du Soleil page, however, we would not be surprised to see the official opening postponed, as well.

Drawn to life special advisory

UPDATE: All Disney Transportation is now closed
What about the buses, Magical Express, the Disney Skyliner, and the monorail? Will they be operating?

Some transportation will continue to operate in select areas of the Walt Disney World resort during the closures:

Available options until March 20, 2020. After that date, these options will remain closed until the parks and resorts resume operations.:

  • Magical Express 
  • Resort buses connecting to Disney Springs
  • Resort Monorail

Closed beginning March 16, 2020:

  • Disney Skyliner (gondolas)
  • Express Monorail
  • EPCOT Monorail
  • Buses between resorts and theme park

Have other questions that weren’t covered here? Please leave it in the comments and we’ll try to track down the answer as best we can.

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