With Disney World closed until further notice, lots of guests are now replanning their vacations for the coming months. And we don’t blame them, we want to get back into the parks ASAP too!
BUT DON’T BE TOO HASTY!!!! There’s a lot to remember when re-scheduling…especially right NOW! Don’t let these things catch you by surprise when rescheduling your Disney World trip for this summer!
Protect Your Investment. Consider Travel Insurance.
There is definitely a lot of uncertainty surrounding traveling in 2020. Disney World has been on top of providing automatic refunds for hotel, dining, and special event reservations scheduled during the theme park closure. But if you’re rescheduling for this summer you may still want to invest in insurance…just in case!
Whether you don’t yet feel safe traveling without a safety net, your local government is still restricting travel, or some other unforeseen circumstance pops up, we think it’s safe to say the chances of a vacation interruption right now are generally higher than normal! Disney has partnered with a company that offers travel insurance for U.S. residents if you’d like to purchase insurance with your Disney vacation.
And many airlines and other travel companies also offer travel insurance.
Just be sure to read the policy of any travel insurance plan before you buy so you’re aware of restrictions (there may be a lot of loopholes you haven’t considered!).
Write Down the Details of Cancellations and New Bookings
Here’s another tip to protect yourself against uncertainty! When planning your rescheduled trip, write down the details of both your cancellations and your new bookings. That includes dates, times, confirmation numbers, etc.
And don’t just stop at your Disney reservations! Keep track of this info for airline tickets, car rentals, off-property hotels, and any other pre-paid bookings like stroller rentals.
These details will be important to have handy in case you end up needing to reschedule your trip again (though we sure hope not!). Having quick access to this info will help tremendously if you need to contact Disney or other travel companies for assistance!
Take Advantage of the PRIVATE Free Dining Offer
There’s no doubt about it, having your vacation canceled is a HUGE bummer. But there’s at least one silver lining in that cloud! Disney World released a FREE DINING offer available ONLY to guests with reservations impacted by the closure! This offer is available to guests who had previously purchased Theme Park tickets and accommodations from March 16th through May 31st.
The offer is available for eligible guests who rebook arrival on most dates from June 1st through September 30th, 2020. So, if you’re planning on rescheduling for the summer, this one is for you! But don’t wait too long, you’ll need to book by May 31st before this offer goes away.
Consider Typical Florida Summer Weather and Pack Appropriately (If You Can Handle It!)
At the risk of stating the obvious — Florida summers are HOT!! Like, sweat through your shirt, your pants, and your SHOES hot. You will sweat in places you didn’t know possible!
But did you know that it also brings frequent rainstorms? If you’re rescheduling your March or April trip for this summer, the contents of your suitcase might need to look a little different.
First, let’s talk temperature. Again, yes it will be hot, especially in July, and August, and September, when the average high temperature is 91-92 degrees! And with the intense humidity, it will feel even hotter.
If you can handle the heat, be sure to pack a few sets of extra clothes just in case you need to freshen up. (Consider grabbing an anti-chafe stick like Body Glide. Just…trust us on this one! 😉 ).
Now, we have to mention the rain (another good reason to have an extra few sets of clothes)! The summer months are by far the wettest time of year in Orlando. According to Weather and Climate, Orlando has an average of 15 rainy days in June, 16 rainy days in July, and 17 rainy days in August. Which is about double what you could expect in March and April!
If you don’t mind getting soggy, be sure to pack rain gear and extra shoes since yours are almost guaranteed to get soaked. And there’s nothing worse than walking around the park in squishy shoes! We’re big fans of fast-drying all-terrain sandals with straps on the back. You may not win any fashion awards, but your feet will thank you!
Think of the CROWDS!
Disney World is crowded in the summer on the best of days. Kids are out of school; it’s the perfect time to visit! BUT keep in mind with the parks closed for so long, there’s a real chance that a LOT of guests with canceled spring trips will reschedule for the next best time: summer.
Or not! With the health crisis, many families may postpone their trips until later due to financial constraints or in the interest of health and safety. We won’t know if we’re facing a feast or famine type crowd situation until the parks open! So brace for those hefty summer crowds, but also keep in mind the crowds COULD be either higher than normal or WAY lower than normal once the parks reopen.
Prepare to Miss Out on Spaceship Earth
We still don’t know exactly how the closure will affect the timelines of construction projects. BUT, Spaceship Earth was originally scheduled to close on May 26th to undergo a lengthy refurbishment. So, it looks like there’s a good chance that this iconic attraction could be CLOSED during your summer trip!
The refurbishment was announced at the D23 Expo in 2019, and according to Disney’s current CEO Bob Chapek, the ride will receive an updated narration that focuses on storytelling.
Chapek also said, “Many of the scenes you know and love will remain, but we’ll bring them to life in amazing new ways… .” So, based on the word choice of many rather than all, we’re guessing not all of our favorite scenes will make the cut in the revamped version (fingers crossed for you Computer Lady!!).
We’re staying hopeful that the new version will still have the same charm we know and love. And we have not heard any word yet about if the closure will still happen as planned or be delayed due to the closures. Regardless, be prepared for the worst and plan to go without a ride on Spaceship Earth much of this summer.
Reschedule Your FastPass+ and Advance Dining Reservations
Disney automatically canceled any FastPass+ and Advance Dining Reservations scheduled during the closure. And since these plans will NOT be automatically rebooked, don’t forget to make plans to reschedule your reservations for those must-do experiences!
Advance Dining Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance, so if you’re rescheduling for this summer, the window is already open (act fast!). FastPass+ selections can be made 60 days before your Disney Resort hotel check-in date (or 30 days in advance if you’re staying off-property), so mark your calendars!
Snag Tickets for Special Events
You can add a little extra magic into your rescheduled trip (and enjoy lower crowds!) by grabbing tickets for an after-hours event! There are several options with available dates for the summer.
Here, you can enjoy special entertainment and themed treats at Disney Villains After Hours at Magic Kingdom! Tickets are available for select dates in June and July.
If you and your family love the water parks, check out Disney H2O Glow Nights at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon! These parties include special appearances from Toy Story characters, and special food and drinks. Tickets are available for select dates from June through August.
Or, if you’re rescheduling for the late summer, you could check out Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom! We look forward to this event every year, with trick-or-treating, a holiday fireworks show and parade, and exclusive treats and merch! Parties are held select nights in August, September, and October.
Expect Some Big Changes
When discussing potential changes upon reopening, Disney’s former CEO Bob Iger said, “…Let’s prepare for a world where our customers demand that we scrutinize everybody. Even if it creates a little bit of hardship, like it takes a little bit longer for people to get in.”
Based on comments by Iger, and precautions being taken elsewhere, it seems very likely that we could see new procedures required for guests at park entrances. Nothing has been confirmed at this time, though Iger states that temperature checks were being considered. It’s also possible that Disney World could experience a phased reopening, much like what is being done in Shanghai Disneyland.
Since none of the parks have reopened yet, we don’t have a model for what changes to expect once inside. But based on the importance of social distancing, we could possibly see reduced park capacity, modifications to rides and queues, phased openings, and/or more virtual queues.
If your Disney World vacation was canceled due to the park closure, we definitely understand if you’re itching to reschedule for this summer! Especially if you can take advantage of that private Free Dining offer! Just make sure you don’t forget about these details when you’re planning, and you’ll set yourself up for a magical trip!
Are you rescheduling your Disney World trip for this summer? Let us know in the comments!