Disney World Cancels All Ride And Dining Reservations, Universal Plans Hotel Reopening

As we near the summer re-openings of Disney Parks and Universal Orlando, we're getting more information about how the theme parks will change procedures to protect the health and safety of their guests amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. When the Walt Disney World Resort reopens next month (depending on Florida governor approval), it will debut a new theme park reservation system that requires all guests to make a new reservation to visit in advance, effectively canceling all prior ride and dining reservations, including the previous planning feature, FastPass+. Meanwhile, Universal Orlando sets the reopening of its hotels, with enhanced health and hygiene procedures, for June 2.

Disney World Reservations Canceled, FastPass+ Eliminated

To enforce social distancing, Disney World is not selling new theme park tickets or allowing new Disney Resort hotel reservations. Existing ticket holders and Annual Passholders will be able to make a theme park reservation before new tickets are sold, and Disney will reach out to these guests soon with more information. In the meantime, theme park reservations will be limited due to attendance limitations.

Disney World restaurants, attractions and other experiences like behind-the-scenes tours will reopen in limited capacity, while many other experiences may remain closed. Because of this limited capacity, all existing dining reservations and experience bookings, including Disney dining plans in vacation packages, are canceled. The booking window will also be shifted from 180 days to 60 days for dining and experiences, allowing guests to make plans closer to their actual visit.

But the big whopper that will put a damper on many visitors fans: FastPass+ will be suspended. Disney World is automatically canceling all FastPass+ selections to help maintain social distancing in the attractions and queues for the attractions. Extra Magic Hours will also be temporarily suspended.

The combination of all these reservation cancelations and suspensions dramatically shakes up the way guests will be able to visit Disney World. A vacation that normally requires months of planning, Disney World guests usually have to book a reservation and FastPass+ times months in advance, or risk waiting hours in line. But this seems like it will be the only way for Disney World to enforce limited capacities and social distancing upon re-opening. It's necessary to maintain the level of safety needed amid the pandemic, but it likely will make many people unhappy.

Universal Orlando Reopens Hotels

Meanwhile, Universal Orlando is taking a less cautious approach by reopening select Universal Orlando Resort hotels beginning June 2, 2020. The reopening will be "carefully managed and phased, and includes a wide range of new and enhanced best-practice health, safety and hygiene procedures," according to the press release.

The select hotels that will reopen on June 2 will include Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal's Aventura Hotel and Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites. Guests staying at these hotels will be able to visit the theme parks as soon as June 3 and 4, prior to the public reopening on June 5. The hotels to be announced for a later time are Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites.

The "enhanced standards and protocols" for the reopened hotels include required face coverings in public areas, temperature checks upon arrival, hand sanitizer stations in public areas, and several contactless "experiences" for guests, including hotel texting-services, express checkout and contactless room deliveries. For more information, go here.