Well, it has been quite a year so far. Obviously our Disney trip that was scheduled for April 14 through April 21st was cancelled due to the worldwide pandemic that we are currently in the middle of right now. My family was quite disappointed due to the fact that this would have most-likely been our last family vacation.
This trip was two-fold. It was celebrating my oldest pup graduating from high school as her school’s Salutatorian and it was also to celebrate me and my wife’s 20th Anniversary. For these we had dining reservations at the 50’s Primetime Cafe, Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White and the big one that my pups have always wanted to do… Cinderella’s Royal Table!!! My oldest pup has wanted to do this since she was 6. We also had great Fast-passes, the coup de gras was for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway which had opened on March 4th. Along with that the typical Thunder, Space and Splash Mountains and Slinky Dog Dash. But due to the virus, the parks have closed and all reservations and FastPasses were cancelled.
It was very disappointing at first, but you have to understand that we do not give up that easy. It looks like there may be a light at the end of the tunnel with the COVID-19 outbreak. Daily cases and deaths have been lowering for the past week, as predicted, and it looks like some of the states are starting to open back up. The state in which I live, Rhode Island, will be lifting the “Stay at Home” order on May 9th and gradually loosening restrictions where it is possible that by the beginning of July, all restrictions could be lifted if everything goes well. Knowing that the Northeastern portion of the United States was the hardest hit with the COVID-19 outbreak leads us to believe that it is possible that Florida would be along the same timeline, which has given us optimism for later this Summer.
Looking at how bad the Orlando and Florida economy is right now as a result of all the theme parks closing, along with the decline of new cases of COVID-19 throughout the country, I would not be surprised to see Disney World in Orlando to start “waking up” in early June. I could see Disney gradually opening some of the hotels and Disney Springs to limited guests at first. If that goes well, then I could see restaurants opening next, followed by the remaining hotels and some attractions such as golf courses. If all goes well, I could see the parks opening one at a time by mid July. Possibly starting with Magic Kingdom, then Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. I think that Epcot will be the last park to open due to the fact that it may take a while to staff the countries in the World Showcase. Taking a guess, I would assume that Epcot would be around the first week of August at the extreme earliest.
When and if this scenario does happen, the amount of guests that are allowed in the park will be extremely limited (25% of normal) with masks and temperature readings required to enter any of the Disney properties. WDW News reported yesterday that Remote Checkin will be required for hotel rooms. Others have reported that Standby lines will be eliminated and you will need to use a virtual queue to gain access to rides and attractions, which Disney had been using before the shutdown for Rise of the Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studio.
All of these scenarios are dependent on the rate of spread of COVID-19 tremendously slowing down, if not stopping and when the State of Florida reopens and allows the theme parks to reopen. Right now, it is wait and see.
I am confident that the virus is going to slow down rapidly this Spring to the point where it may be very minimal by the beginning of Summer. Believing this, I think that I may restart the planning process for my family’s 2020 Disney Vacation for mid August. I believe that the majority of Disney attractions will be back in operation and that if we do not book early enough, we may not be able to get into the parks due to reduced admissions to the park. I am not foolish enough to take my family into a situation that I do not believe is safe, so, even if the parks are open in August, and I don’t believe that it is safe we will cancel… again and hope for something towards the end of the calendar year.
Thanks for taking the time to check into DisneyDawgs. We will bring you any information that becomes available regarding the opening of the parks and Disney itself.