Every week is a busy week when it comes to Disney news. To help you keep up with all the updates coming out of Walt Disney World and other Disney resorts, here’s WDWNT’s weekly recap of the Disney news from March 9-15!
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Effects on Worldwide Parks and Resorts
If you have been following our news coverage this week, you will be aware that currently all six Disney resorts across the world will finally close tonight, due to concerns of the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve put together a summary of all of the effects this has had on each park this week, and stay tuned to WDWNT for all the latest updates as we await the parks reopening.
Walt Disney World
Following the announcement that a state of emergency was declared for Florida early on in the week, the Walt Disney World Resort announced it would temporarily close from Monday, March 16th. Annual Passes will be extended to equal the number of days the parks are closed, as will Tables in Wonderland dining memberships. When the news of the closures was announced, the resort website experienced issues with unavailability, however you can read the full, official FAQs posted by Walt Disney World here. The Walt Disney World Golf & FootGolf facilities are currently remaining open, despite the closures, and you can see the list of transportation options which are and are not available to guests here. The resort has donated excess food left over to a Harvest food bank in advance of the closure. The Disney College Programs, including Cultural Representative Programs, have been terminated, and cast members have been asked to vacate the Disney housing complexes within the week, although their blackout was lifted for Hollywood Studios on Sunday. On Thursday, it was reported by Reedy Creek Fire Department that seven of the Walt Disney World firefighters and EMTs were under quarantine. Before the closures, hand-washing stations and sanitation guidelines were installed throughout the resort, with locations for these stations listed on the My Disney Experience app. Earlier in the week, the Walt Disney Travel Company announced they would waiver change fees for vacation packages, in response to virus concerns.
It was announced on Thursday that the Disneyland Resort would be temporarily closing on March 14th. On March 13th, an emotional farewell was provided by Disney characters and cast members as guests left the park. Downtown Disney is currently staying open, however with adjusted, shortened hours at least until the end of the month. Before the closures, we noticed new signage was added to restrooms, instructing guests to wash their hands for 20-seconds. Likewise to Walt Disney World, annual passholders have been contacted to explain that their passes will be extended to equal the length of park closure. Disneyland College Program participant cast members have been sent home, as the program comes to a reluctant termination.
The Disneyland Paris parks closed from Saturday, 14th March, and will remain closed through the end of the month. The resort hotels and Disney Village followed suit, closing on Sunday 15th. Before the closure began, tents were set up between the parks, potentially for virus screening. Earlier in the week, outdoor shows and parades were suspended and capacity was limited at indoor venues, and nighttime spectaculars were cancelled to avoid the large crowd gatherings. The Annual Passholder “Disneyland Park Adventures” event, due to be held on Friday, was also cancelled. At least three cast members have tested positive for the virus this week.
Tokyo Disney Resort
Still closed due to virus concerns, the operating calendar for Tokyo Disney Resort is showing as “Undecided” through September, although the opening of New Fantasyland was said to be delayed until mid-May earlier this week.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Take a photo and video tour of the closed Hong Kong Disneyland resort, which has been closed since January
It was announced on Monday that the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, Disneytown and Wishing Star Park will be resuming limited operations on March 9th
Adventures by Disney
Flexible cancellations have been offered by Adventures by Disney, following trips having to be cancelled or modified due to international travel restrictions. Guests have been offered the option to move their bookings or receive credit towards future adventures. You can read the full terms here.
Disney Cruise Line
Now that voyages across the world have been cancelled through April 12th, Disney Cruise Line have been offering guests the choice of a full refund or credit towards a future cruise.
And now for the rest of the news reported by WDWNT this week….
Walt Disney World
- Colorful, new, Mary Blair-inspired paper cups have started to be rolled out at quick service dining locations across the resort
- Check out this week’s photo report for the Magic Kingdom, featuring the castle makeover progress, new pins, hand washing stations, and more
- A new themed digital tip board has been installed on Main Street
- Take a look at the progress on the Cinderella Castle makeover project, as the icon is receiving a gleaming new coat of color
- The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover has been experiencing unexpected downtime for most of the week
- Take a look at when Magic Kingdom went khaki for the 3rd annual Adventureland Day
- Guests were treated to a rare nighttime performance of “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” this week in front of the castle
- Following an almost full week of closure last week, the Haunted Mansion was still experiencing issues early on this week
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Check out this week’s photo report for Hollywood Studios, featuring lighter crowds, Mickey flowers, and more
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Check out this week’s photo report for Animal Kingdom, featuring hand washing stations, new merchandise, Pandora floor painting, and more
- Take a look at the latest construction update on the entrance to Animal Kingdom, including the tram loop and the new security screening structure
- We reviewed the new St. Patrick’s Day Mint Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich from Dino-Bite Snacks
- Check out this week’s photo report for EPCOT, featuring new hand washing stations, construction walls, and more
- Over in the France pavilion, more facades and fountain details have been revealed in the expansion, and an “Opening Summer 2020” banner has been added to the new Ratatouille sign
- More rooftop solar panel mounts have been installed at Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- A series of World Showcase performances were terminated in EPCOT this week: Sergio the Master Juggler in the Italy pavilion, British Revolution in the United Kingdom pavilion, and Matsuriza Taiko Drummers from the Japan pavilion
- We reviewed the new Creme de Brie Bread Bowl from Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie
- The Purple Martins have been acclimating to Walt Disney World as they moved in to their Future World nests recently
- Check out this week’s photo report for Disney Springs, featuring St. Patrick’s Day treats and tees, Cirque du Soleil signage, socks, and more
- We reviewed every item available from the new Hot Diggity Dogs food truck at Disney Springs – spoiler alert – it’s better than Casey’s Corner!
- New Cirque du Soleil signs have gone up at the Disney Springs theater, ahead of the “Drawn to Life” debut
- We went bananas for the new Bananas Foster Shake from D-Luxe Burger
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- ‘Guinevere’ – the iconic van from “Onward” – is now stationed at Art of Animation, making for perfect photo opportunities
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Construction walls have been erected around the bar area for the refurbishment at Citricos Restaurant
- Take a look at the construction progress on the walkway connecting the Magic Kingdom with the Grand Floridian
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Room refurbishments are now underway at Wilderness Lodge
- A new AP Magic Perks program for Annual Passholders has launched at the Disneyland Resort
- Over in Mickey’s Toontown, cranes have arrived ready to start construction on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- It was announced that founder of Walt Disney Archives and Disney Legend Dave Smith will receive a window on Main Street U.S.A
Disney California Adventure
- Even more details have been revealed for the upcoming MARVEL Avengers Campus, including Disney+ series nods, a story timeline and points of interest, as well as a full list of shops for the area, and all the heroes and villains who will be assembling for meet and greets. Most excitingly of all, it was announced that the campus will be opening officially on July 18th!
- It was also revealed that the Spidey ride coming to the MARVEL Avengers Campus would be titled “WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure”
Tokyo Disney Resort
- Watch the very last performance of “Fantasmic!” at Tokyo DisneySea
- Travel up the mountain with this adorable Abominable Snowman backpack by Loungefly
- Instead of a postcard, say “Wish you were here” with this new charm by Pandora
- Cure that rumbly in your tumbly with this adorable new Winnie the Pooh Hunny Pot bag by Loungefly
- This Annual Passholder exclusive Flower & Garden Festival 2020 MagicBand has finally fluttered into EPCOT, and this new “Mulan” open edition MagicBand has been getting down to business too
- “Be strong and be yourself” with these Mulan and Mushu charms by Pandora
- Learn to spell with these ABCDisney Letters key chains and journal
- Never stop with this new Peoplemover 3-D phone case from D-Tech on Demand
- Celebrate your amazing achievement with these Class of 2020 socks, plushes and ornaments
- Bring honor with these Mulan-inspired Minnie Ears, take it back to basics with these redesigned, classic Minnie Mouse Ears, or dive under the sea with these new coral sequin ears
Entertainment and Media
- The digital release of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is now available on VUDU and iTunes
- Disney has postponed the release of “Mulan”, “The New Mutants” and “Antlers” over Coronavirus concerns, and the European premiere for “Mulan” was cancelled for the same reason
- The first trailer for Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” was released this week, and the final trailer came out for Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow”
- Three new posters and an action-packed trailer were released for “Jungle Cruise”
- Disney Legend Floyd Norman is set to appear on the 2020 season of Pawn Start
WDW News Today
Make sure you catch up on the News Today episodes from this week!
Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris Closing, No Open Disney Parks Remain- NewsToday 3/13
Avengers Campus Details, Opens July 18, Tokyo Closure Extended, More Cases in Paris – NewsToday 3/11
Cinderella Castle Remodel Begins, Complimentary Bread Saved, Haunted Mansion Returns – NewsToday 3/9
That’s all the Disney news for this past week! Make sure you check back at the end of each week for our weekly recaps!