Re-Opening Disney

Re-Opening Disney

What Will Visiting Disney Look Like?

We take a deep dive on what it might mean to re-open Disney. The post below gives an outline of our concerns. The real dialogue is in our podcast, so be certain to listen. You can find podcast number 78 here on PodbeaniTunesSpotifyMyTuner, and ListenNotes. Be sure to subscribe and share with others!

NOTE: We do not pretend to act for Disney, nor do we have any exclusive insight on this, other than our years of working for Disney, of researching and sharing their best practices, and of being in the heart of the travel industry.

Park Security & Entrance Requirements

  • Proof of Health–How will you prove you aren’t contagious before entering the park?
    • Fever Check
    • Doctor’s Note
    • Required to Be on Coronavirus Tracking App–Contact Tracing
  • What may you be required to bring? Face masks & gloves
  • Will you need to show a Visa or government ID?
  • Will Disney remove or replace their touch point systems?
New security area at Disney’s Animal Kingdom may also need to provide for health screenings. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

Resort Transportation Services

  • Seating Only on Monorails
  • Social Distancing or Removal of Boats
  • One Party per Skyliner
  • One Party per Tram Row
  • More Minnie Vans
  • Self-Driving Vehicles
  • Cleaning Seats Between Rides
  • More Walking Options
How many guests should be loaded into a monorail? Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Park Experiences

  • Requirement of Social Distancing in Switchback Queues & Pre-Show Areas (Move Away From the Dead Center of the Room)
  • Social Distancing in Theaters
  • Social Distancing in Attraction Boats
  • No Castle Shows, Parades or Fireworks
  • Reduced Masked Character Experiences & Spacing from Face Characters
  • Greater Use of Boarding Groups and/or FastPass Only
  • Modified or Eliminated Special Ticketed Experiences Like MNSSHP, Marathon or Wild Africa Trek

Food & Beverage:

  • More Mobile Ordering Including 3rd Party/No Cash
  • Mobile Ordering in Restaurants
  • Distancing Chairs & Tables
  • Removal of Buffets or Dishing Service by Cast Members
  • Wiping Down Chairs & Tables Before Occupying Them
  • Price Increases
Guests awaiting a mobile order. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


  • Only So Many In Store at a Time
  • Online Payment Systems/No Cash/Scanners Like PhotoPass
  • Product Supporting Sanitary Health–Mickey Mouse Face Masks
  • Price Increases–and heftier increases
My wife made this mask featuring the Incredibles. I think Disney-style masks will sell off the shelves. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


  • Queuing Into Restrooms
  • Disinfecting Toilet Seats & Sinks Between Use
  • Self Disinfecting Expectations


  • Check In Health Checks & Verifications
  • Daily Health Checks
  • More Online Check In
  • No Pools
  • Convention Business
  • DVC Readjustments

Cruise Line

  • Health Checks & Verifications–Proof of Health
  • What Islands & Countries Are Safe?
  • What About Castaway Cay?

When Will Disney Re-Open?

Potential Stages for Re-Opening:

We don’t know the date, but we know that there are really several stages out there:

  • Soft Opening with Post-Pandemic Requirements
  • Full Opening with Post-Pandemic Requirements
  • Full Opening with Removed Post-Pandemic Requirements
  • Periodic Pandemic Outbreak Closings
  • Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary
Shanghai Disney Cast Member wearing a plastic shield and gloves while serving ice cream. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Conditions & Qualifications

  • Data Supporting Non-Spread Trends–The numbers matter
  • National, State & County Approvals
  • Staffing Availability–Short term, Disney doesn’t have to have the college interns, but what is World Showcase if you don’t have all of those international ambassadors?
  • Supporting Partners–Airlines, Airports, Area Hotels, etc.
  • Supplies and Resources–The new hotel item taken from each room is the roll of toilet paper.
  • Guest Demand. Do people feel it is safe to come back to the parks.
Tokyo Disneyland cast Member cleaning each canoe bench between rides. Having Cast Members available to not only staff attractions, but keep attractions clean is critical moving forward. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Who Will Be Visiting?

These are groups of people who may be coming

  • Those Whose Reservations Were Cancelled
  • New On Property Reservations
  • Off Property Guests
  • Annual Passholders–Pending on Tiers
  • International Guests?
  • Convention Guests

Which Parks Open First?

  • Asian
  • Disneyland or Walt Disney World or Both Simultaneously
  • Disneyland Paris
Since Tokyo has always raised the bar for cleanliness, perhaps they are the role model for the rest of the parks globally.

Availability & Order of Offerings at Walt Disney World–What Opens First

  • Disney Springs–Like Disney Town in Shanghai, this may open first.
  • Resorts–Some resorts may open, but not all
  • Four Parks–All will open, but some may not open every day
  • Water Parks–This is a big question mark. The water is safe, but you still have social distancing problems
  • Cruise Line–Disney keeps the cleanest ships, but the cruise line has been grounded
An empty early morning at Disney Springs. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Why Does Re-Opening Matter?

  • Bottom Line to Disney–Disney is bleeding some 35 million a day.
  • Economic Bottom Line Impact to Tourism–Orlando, along with Las Vegas have taken the biggest hit financially, with much of the city unemployed
  • Espirit de Corps of the Nation and the World–Disney is a symbol for the country getting back on its feet. It can’t come sooner, but it can’t come too soon.

Ready to Travel?

Has all this chat made you hungry for a Disney adventure? Now is the time to dream and plan for your future travels. Be sure to reach out to David Zanolla, owner and agent of of Out The Door Travel, LLC to make arrangements. There’s no cost–but it could save you a lot of time–and even money–especially when you put it in the hands of someone who really knows Disney and travel. Call today at 309-863-5469 or reach out to him via

J. Jeff Kober

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