Alright, listen; we’ve got some burning questions!
There’s no doubt about it, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the current situation. And while we understand that Disney World will remain closed until there is more clarity on how things progress, there are a few questions that we hope they’ll address sooner rather than later.
Here are six questions we’re still waiting on Disney to answer!
1. What will happen to DVC points that are set to expire during the closures?
Disney Vacation Club members have a pretty unique situation when it comes to the closures of DVC properties. Disney has made some calls when it comes to handling cancellations for DVC members, but have remained quiet concerning what will happen to DVC points that are set to expire.
The Vacation Club website hasn’t been updated often. As of now, Vacation Club is still working to evaluate the banking and expiration policy and the use of certain Points impacted by the closures. Why is this a big deal for DVC members? Members accrue a set number of points per year, and these points are “use it or lose it.” Each member has a certain date to chose to use all their points or bank their points towards the next year before they expire.
With the closures leaving future bookings up in the air, many members are left stranded, unsure of if they’ll receive an extension for the current year or if they need to act and roll their points to the next year, effectively locking them out of using them.
Why is a decision from Disney taking so long? Well, Disney cites issues with availability if expiration dates are flat out extended. It’s quite tricky to snag desired rooms for DVC members on a good day, but with so many affected members possibly pushing their windows to book for the year out, it could mean not enough supply to meet demand. The team is likely looking into ways to restore value to affected DVC members without hampering any value later in the year.
We hope to learn more about the calls for expiring DVC points as we start to understand how long the closures will be in effect. Be sure to keep an eye on DFB for any updates about the DVC policy!
2. Will refunds be given for Disney World tickets?
A lot of people have unfortunately had to cancel their Disney trips due to the closures. As of now, any tickets that were dated during this time have had their expiration date extended through December 15th, 2020. Guests who can’t visit by then can apply the value to a future ticket purchase.
We’re wondering though, as the closures continue, will Disney offer a refund option? It’s entirely likely that some guests will not be able to return to the Disney parks for some time, whether it be due to financial pressure, health reasons, available vacation time, or beyond.
If a ticket-holder cannot return to the parks in the near future, they may want a refund now. As of now, Disney has no measures in place to handle such a situation.
Interestingly, Disney IS offering partial refunds to its Annual Passholders if they choose not to take the extended days on their pass. So we know that refunds are in the realm of possibility, but Disney would just need to offer them for actual tickets. For now, we will have to wait for an official statement. We’ll continue to check-in on the theme park website as things progress.
3. Will changes be made to buffet restaurants or character meals when Disney World reopens?
We’re expecting that there is a possibility of significant health measures being put in place when the park opens. Bob Iger has even mentioned temperature checks are being considered for admittance. Will these measures bring a change in experience for buffets and character meals?
Buffets allow for potential contamination as guests self-serve food. Ever seen a child (or adult!) grabbing fistfuls on chicken nuggets with their bare hands off the buffet or licking that frosting off their fingers as they grab for another cupcake? Buffets are not exactly secure in terms of food safety.
Similarly, character meals allow for characters to hug and interact with guests as they move from one table to another. If someone is ill and hugs Winnie the Pooh, germs could be transferred to the next guest. This could be reason enough for a change to these dining experiences.
Prior to the closure of the resorts in Disney World, Disney announced that there could be changes to character meals in the interest of health. This modification could have implications for what a post-closure Disney looks like. We’ll be watching closely for any announcements pertaining to character meals.
Perhaps buffets will shift to a family-style service like the Garden Grill. Guests will still get the all-you-can-eat experience without the potential for contamination from other guests. We think that it’s likely we’ll have to be accommodating to such health and safety measures when the parks reopen.
4. Will character meet and greets change at Disney World?
Similar to what we mentioned with character interactions at meals, will we have to change the way we do character meet and greets when the Disney parks reopen? After all, guest AND Cast Member safety is a priority.
As the parks got closer to closure, some of the international parks opted to change meet and greet protocol. Some characters were not meeting any longer, and new rules — like no hugs — were introduced. It’s possible Disney could consider doing the same once the parks reopen. If so, will there be restrictions on photos, autographs, or hugs?
A bigger question is at the back of our mind as well: Will characters still meet at all? It’s possible, even temporarily, that Disney could suspend all character interactions with guests. We’re not sure yet.
5. Are more Disney World attractions going to get virtual queues?
An unexpected side effect of Virtual Queues is that they can keep guests out of long-term close proximity with one another — something useful when health concerns are so prevalent. We think it would possibly be a good idea to expand Virtual Queues to more attractions, especially those rides with tight queue areas.
If Disney does venture to expand the Virtual Queue system, will we see it only for more popular e-ticket rides, or could it be expanded further, perhaps to more attractions?
That seems a little far off. Still, Disney could turn to Virtual Queues as a way to make sure that guests are safe while waiting for attractions.
6. Is Disney World going to mail out those Annual Passholder magnets?
Our final one might not seem as “big picture,” but we’re definitely wondering — and so are our readers! We get emails and direct messages about this topic on the REG. Is Disney going to mail out the Annual Passholder magnets? (People are PASSIONATE about those magnets, guys!)
A lot of Passholders were really looking forward to bringing home the new Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival magnets and now many have missed their chance to do so.
In fact, starting April 20th, guests SHOULD have been able to snag the most amazing magnet EVER featuring our fav Orange Bird! No guests were able to grab one of these before the parks closed. Is there a big stack of cutie Orange Bird magnets in need of Passholder homes?!? Poor orange birds!
So you see? As much as Disney has shared on their public channels, there are just still some answers we’re looking for. Remember though, this is uncharted territory for all of us, including Disney, so they’re probably trying to work through these questions just like the rest of us. We’ll keep you posted as anything changes! Join our newsletter for updates!
Do you have any questions that Disney hasn’t answered? Ask them in the comments!