Walt Disney World Is Slowing Down Its Phased Reopening

Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World's theme parks are now open and, have been for a couple of weeks. Overall, things seem to be going well inside the parks. Certainly, we're not hearing of any major incidents or problems with the various new health and safety protocols that have been instituted. Still, it's clear that Walt Disney World Resort isn't taking any unnecessary chances, as it has been announced that a number of hotels that were originally scheduled to reopen in August or later have now had their reopening dates pushed back, while others have seemingly been moved to a TBA status.

In early July, Walt Disney World announced that Disney's Polynesian Village and Art of Animation hotels would reopen on August 12. However, BlogMickey is now reporting that Polynesian Village has now had its reopening pushed back to October 4, and Art of Animation is now set for November 1. In addition, Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s BoardWalk Inn have been removed from the list of reopening hotels entirely. Beach Club had been set for August 24 and BoardWalk Inn had been aiming at October 1.

Guests who made reservations at any of these locations based on the previously announced dates can modify their reservations into another Walt Disney World Resort hotel and any fees that would normally be associated with that have been waived.

Many other Walt Disney World hotels are open to at least some capacity, including three of them which have been dedicated to the NBA.

It's unclear if the reason for the shifting dates is due to a decision that getting the resorts up and running is not as feasible as was previously thought, or if, perhaps, it's simply unnecessary. Based on reports, existing Walt Disney World Annual Pass holders are seeing increased reservation ability, and Cast Members have had a period of upcoming dates removed from the blackout list, allowing them to visit the parks on their day off.

Taken together, and taking Walt Disney World at its word that park capacity is not being increased, it would seem that maybe Walt Disney World isn't seeing the influx of vacationers that, even under the circumstances, it was expecting, and thus there's simply no need to open up as many hotels on the schedule that was previously planned. Instead, the plan is to give more access to Annual Pass holders, who tend to be local and won't be using hotels anyway, and cast members that can still increase the bottom line of the parks by spending money inside them.

It's not all that surprising. Walt Disney World is a destination location. Most of the people who go there during a normal season are getting there via plane, which means that, even if you were comfortable visiting the parks because of the new safety procedures, there's the potential of a lot more exposure to the public in airports and on airplanes that might be a lot less attractive.

There is some downside to slowing things down, in that the Cast Members who work at those locations who were getting ready to get back to work now cannot do so. But in the end, the health and safety concerns need to take precedence. Overall, it seems like Walt Disney World's reopening is a success, and certainly, the company wants to see that continue.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.