Yesterday I shared that Florida has moved into Phase 3 of its reopening plan. I briefly touched on what it means for Walt Disney World. Since then, I’ve heard all kinds of rumors, from face masks no longer being required, to the return of fireworks, to operating once again at full capacity. These are all just rumors and theories, but I thought that I would address the issue once again.
I’ll start with the official statement that has been released by Disney. I’ve seen this several places. The source that I took it from can be found here. I thought that it was an interesting article because it also mentions some of the other Florida attractions. Anyway, here is what Disney has to say about Phase 3.
“We received the Governor’s executive order and are evaluating it to determine what it may mean for our business. We are not making any immediate changes. As a reminder, face coverings are still required at Walt Disney World Resort.”
That means that for the time being, things are staying the same. Remember, they have already altered the way that the holiday season will run in November and December. If there were plans to implement something different, they would not have told us about the scaled-back holidays this year. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is usually the busiest all year, and reducing the offerings is going to cost them money. They did it anyway.
Another thing that I’ve heard people wonder about is the sale of Annual Passes. The sale of new passes was put on hold when it was announced that the parks were going to reopen. We have no reason to believe that Disney will start to sell them again just because the state has moved into Phase 3.
The Water Parks are another sign that Disney intends to keep things slow with any further reopening plans. There are several water parks in Florida that have been open for months. Disney decided to wait until March 7 of next year, and then will open only one of the two parks. They are not in a rush to get things “back to normal”, so to speak. Before you think that it’s because they annually close one park for refurbishment, March is when they finish that up. It’s usually in the middle of the month that both parks start to operate again.
What about Park Hopping? Since Disney is not making any changes at the moment, the revival of Park Hopping is not on the short term agenda. Remember, you need to have a Disney Park Pass reservation in order to visit one of the Walt Disney World theme parks. The reservation system does not allow you to reserve two parks in one day. The system is currently on the books through September 26, 2021 (one year from today). While things could change, at the moment it looks like we won’t see Park Hopping again for a while.
There is something to keep in mind about the date that I just mentioned. Five days after September 26 is October 1, 2021. That will be the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World. We know that Disney had big plans for the celebration ahead of the current situation. There is a chance that they still plan to have quite the party.
We don’t yet know what will happen as a whole with Florida moving into Phase 3. Many people blame the spike of cases over the summer on moving to reopen too fast. Even if things don’t get worse in Florida, there are still travel regulations from many different states. Make sure that you know what your state requires before you visit. You don’t want to find out too late that you were legally supposed to self-quarantine.
At the beginning of all of this, Walt Disney World shut down, not because they were ordered to by the state, but because they knew that it would be the best way to keep people safe. They have been very responsible since reopening. I expect them to continue to do all that they can to keep guests and Cast Members safe, no matter what Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says that they can now do.