It’s still a little hard to believe it was over two years ago when the country collectively shut down. Non-essential stores shuttered. Restaurants switched to takeout only. People, for the most part, stayed home. And even the normally busy Main Street U.S.A. at Orlando’s Walt Disney World was barren, the shutdown leading to a major loss of revenue for the parks. It feels simultaneously like just a short while and a long time ago. In fact, this week, the Florida-based theme park announced a major milestone for the parks’ reopening after Covid-19 hit.
Taking to social media, including YouTube and Twitter, Walt Disney World announced that for the first time ever since shutting down in March of 2020, the resort is opening each and every single one of its hotels. In the official announcement from the company, hotel cast members welcome Disney fans back, highlighting their specific charm and theming in the process.
This is huge news. Disney World has had plenty of lodging available since reopening; however, at varying points many of the hotels have not been open across the last two years. Some of these hotels got refurbishments or made changes during these periods of closure, while others sat empty awaiting both an increased guest count and enough staff to justify turning the lights on.
If you stick around to the end of the video, Disney World spotlights some of its newest hotel experiences, as well as some of the recently reopened ones. It’s worth mentioning the long-awaited Galactic Starcruiser experience opened up on March 1, 2022 (to prices that were out of this world). Another of the parks’ newer resorts, The Riviera, is also spotlighted near the end of the video. That resort had opened at the tail end of 2019 – just before Covid hit a few months later. It is is known for its European theming, its proximity to Epcot and for being a stop on Disney World’s popular Skyliner transportation.
To note, while the refurbished Polynesian resort has been open for some time now, the parks also announced that a Disney Vacation Club Tower will be added to that Monorail-adjacent resort. That addition is expected to open in 2024. So, what was the final hotel to reopen? That honor would go to Disney All Star Sports, a Value resort located closest to Animal Kingdom.
Disney World was slow to reopen all attractions and hotels when the parks came back online in 2020. In fact, some Animal Kingdom attractions and more shuttered for good during the pandemic. While Disney has not been open about where capacity at the Florida-based parks is at in recent months, we’ve certainly seen them get very busy. In fact, wait times have been increasing and people online have shared their thoughts, with recent parkgoers noting lines on some popular rides like Rise of the Resistance have involved over 3-hour wait times.
To note though, a Disney head honcho has confirmed the parks are not at full capacity yet. It’s unclear what will happen as the parks approach the ever-popular summer months; however one change that seems as if it will most certainly be sticking is the theme park reservation process incorporated during the pandemic. Next up there should be more good news, though, as the parks have also been teasing the opening of the long-awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Coaster, Cosmic Rewind, at Epcot.
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Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.