Disney World And Coronavirus: How To Rebook Your Vacation

Of all the ways that Disney World has changed since it opened, the coronavirus pandemic brought about its biggest change ever: it closed. Starting in mid-March, the most magical place on Earth shut its doors to help flatten the curve. As of May 8, Disney World is still closed indefinitely, which means hundreds of thousands of spring breakers, recent graduates, honeymooners, families and more have had their trips canceled. If you want to rebook your Disney World vacation, where do you even begin? Here's our guide to rescheduling your trip.

Florida’s phases of reopening

When each state can relax social distancing measures will vary. Florida has a four-phase plan to fully reopen the state, ranked from Phase 0 to Phase 3. Florida partially reopened under Phase 1 on Monday, May 4. This means restaurants can open but operate at no more than 50% capacity but bars, pubs and nightclubs with 50% of sales or more from alcohol must remain closed. State parks, public beaches and large venues like movie theaters, arcades and auditoriums can reopen with strict social distancing measures. Theme parks, however, should remain closed.

Theme parks fall into the second phase of the reopening plan. During Phase 2, theme parks may consider reopening with capacity limits, strict social distancing, and proper cleaning and disinfecting measures. Theme parks may return to normal operations with limited social distancing measures under Phase 3.

When will Disney World reopen?

As much as people like to speculate, especially as Florida relaxes some social distancing measures, Walt Disney World does not have a reopening date. However, you can make resort hotel reservations for July 1 and later.

When will Disney Springs reopen?

Under Florida's Phase 1, many retail locations like those found at Disney Springs, Walt Disney World's retail, dining and entertainment complex, are able to open. Disney announced that a limited number of third-party businesses at Disney Springs will reopen on May 20. That means that restaurants and shops not owned by Disney can open, while those owned by Disney, such as World of Disney, will remain closed for now. Disney Springs will operate with limitations on capacity, parking and hours as well as enhanced cleaning measures and a face mask requirement for guests and cast members.

When will Disney Cruise Line sail again?

If you book-ended your Disney Cruise Line vacation with a few days at Disney World, know that all Disney Cruise Line sailings have been suspended through June 18, 2020. Guests booked on affected sailings can either receive a cruise credit for a future sailing within 15 months of their original sail date or a full refund.

When to reschedule your vacation for

It's impossible to say when Disney World will fully reopen, especially as the coronavirus situation is constantly changing. One of the top tips for planning a Disney World vacation in general is to book at least six months before your planned travel date, so consider going in late fall 2020 or early winter 2021. Dining reservations open up 180 days before the first day of your trip, so if you hope to get that coveted Be Our Guest dinner spot or a meal at California Grill, you'll want to jump on that at the 180-day mark.

Disney World could have lower capacity

While there are times when Disney World is more crowded than others, you're almost always going to be among a mass of people while strolling through Epcot's World Showcase or waiting in line for Smuggler's Run. In a recent blog post, Disney's chief medical officer Dr. Pamela Hymel wrote that Disney World will "likely" implement guest capacity measures and virtual queues to comply with state and federal social distancing guidelines.

What to do if you have a travel agent

If you have a travel agent and didn't book through Disney directly, be sure to contact your travel agent directly so they can reschedule your trip and cancel any reservations for you.

How to rebook travel yourself

Traveling to Disney World is its own beast, but knowing how to rebook travel after coronavirus in a general sense will help you rebook your Disney trip. Know where you can get refunds, where you can allocate funds for future travel and keep an eye on CDC recommendations for travel.

Check with your airline

If you were planning on flying from your hometown to Orlando, be sure to modify your airline reservation. One of the first things you should know about coronavirus and travel is that airlines such as American, United, Delta and more are waiving change fees for certain travel dates or allowing customers to cancel flights and use the funds toward another flight at a later date.

Cancel other reservations

If you've made a rental car reservation, a reservation at an offsite hotel, a dinner reservation elsewhere in Orlando, or rented a stroller, an ECV, a wheelchair or any other item, make sure to contact the service and cancel.

Modify your reservations online

In order to modify your reservations for hotel rooms, Fastpasses, meals and more, just log into Disney World's planning site and pick a new pair of dates. If you can't do so online, you can call the appropriate reservation line. Though Disney reservations are available beginning July 1, you can modify your booking at any time if the resort opens before or after that date.

How to rebook a Disney resort room

Disney has waived change and cancellation fees for arrivals through June 30. You can modify or cancel online or by calling Disney's reservation line. If you had a Disney vacation scheduled for the resort's closure period and don't take any action, Disney will cancel your reservation automatically within seven days of the original check-in date and process a refund.

What to do with MagicBand orders

MagicBands are sent to Disney World hotel guests and can be used as hotel room keys, credit cards, theme park tickets and more. If you already placed an order and your MagicBand has shipped, you'll still get it. If you were going to pick up your MagicBand at your hotel during the cancellation period, your order will be automatically canceled and refunded.

Theme park tickets

If you have unexpired multi-day theme park tickets with unused days or date-specific tickets with a use date of March 12 and beyond, Disney has automatically extended their usability through Dec. 15, 2020. If you can't use it before that date, you can apply the value of an unused ticket toward the purchase of a future ticket. Going to after-hours events is one of the top tips for a stress-free Disney vacation. And guests with tickets to events like Disney After Hours, Disney Villains After Hours, Disney Early Morning Magic or Disney H20 Glow Nights will be refunded.

Annual passes

If you're the kind of person who goes to Disney World every year or multiple times of year, you may be an annual passholder. If you've paid in full, all annual passes will be extended for the number of days the parks are closed. You can also request a partial refund by calling 407-939-7277. 

If you're on a monthly payment plan, Disney has automatically stopped payments. If you do nothing, your pass expiration date will stay the same and payment will resume once the parks reopen. You can also call 407-939-7277 to postpone your payments and have them automatically resumed once the parks reopen, with an extension for the number of days the parks were closed.

Canceled dining reservations

All pre-paid dining reservations for table service restaurants will be automatically refunded if made between March 16 and when Disney World reopens. And Disney has waived cancellation and no-show fees for reservations during its closure.

How to rebook dining reservations

To rebook dining, you can go to Disney World's planning website, search for the restaurant you want and the dates you are planning for your rescheduled trip. Dining reservations open up 180 days before the first day of your vacation for onsite guests and 180 days in advance for all others. So be sure to log on early to secure your table at one of Magic Kingdom's best restaurants.

You don’t have to cancel Fastpasses

If you booked a Fastpass for Flight of Passage, Space Mountain, Slinky Dog Dash or any of Disney's other iconic attractions, you don't have to do anything. They're automatically canceled from March 16 until the end of Disney World's closures.

How to rebook Fastpasses

Disney World's Fastpasses are not automatically transferring with your reservation. When you nail down your new dates, you can make three Fastpass selections per day for your entire stay 60 days in advance of your first night if you're staying at a Disney hotel. If you're staying offsite, Fastpasses open up 30 days in advance. Log on to Disney's planning site so you can walk right onto Splash Mountain and the rest of Magic Kingdom's best rides.

What to do in the meanwhile

Waiting for a Disney World vacation isn't always easy, even when you know when you will be able to travel. If you're missing the parks, have a Disney day at home. Watch ride POVs on YouTube, listen to Disney music, splash around in your backyard and make Disney treats like churros, cookie fries, Dole Whip and more at home, and follow these other tips for having a great staycation during coronavirus.