The New Normal at Orlando Resorts

     

Whether you’re swimming at the Four Seasons’s 5-acre waterpark, embarking on a nighttime Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge, or dining with the princesses at the Grand Floridian, the resorts in Orlando are often one of the highlights of the trip experience. Resorts at both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are starting to reopen this month, and while some aspects of the stay might be different than before, we know that the warm welcome, attention to detail, and customized service will be stronger than ever at your home-away-from-home. Below, we’ve compiled the latest information on what the new resort experience will look like in Orlando.

Walt Disney World Resorts

Disney is home to over 25 different resorts, ranging from budget-friendly value resorts to beautiful deluxe resorts and villas. We are excited to announce that some Disney Vacation Club properties and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground reopened on June 22, 2020. The rest of the resorts will begin to open on select dates within the following months. Disney is currently accepting new resort packages for 2021, and will release ticket and resort pricing for 2020 later in the summer. During this initial reopening period, Fastpass+ and dining reservations will not be available, and Extra Magic Hours have been suspended. 

The resorts that opened on June 22nd:

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas

Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Future resort opening dates:

July 10 – Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort
July 29 – Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
August 12 – Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
August 24 – Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort
September 21 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
October 1 – Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
October 14 – Disney’s Coronado Springs

To enter one of the Disney resorts, guests will need either a confirmed room reservation or a confirmed dining reservation. All resort guests will also need a face covering in all public areas (ages 2 and up), with the exception of swimming or dining. 

Disney is encouraging all guests to enable either Apple or Samsung mobile payment methods, or link their credit card to their magic band, to increase the number of cashless transactions. Complimentary transportation will still be available, but wait times may be increased due to enforced social distancing. 

Most pools will remain open with reduced hours during this time, with the notable exception of Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Beach Club & Disney’s Yacht Club Resorts. Other amenities and recreation will be on a case-by-case basis, and the most updated information will be available at the front desk. Most fitness centers and dining locations will remain open as well, with enforced social distancing and reduced hours. 

There are a few resort amenities that will definitely not be available when the resorts reopen, including nightly campfires, arcades, dog parks, the Electrical Water Pageant, marina rentals, playgrounds, spas, salons, and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Additionally, some special experiences and childcare options may be temporarily unavailable, including all fireworks cruises, mermaid school, fun runs, the Wonderland Tea Party at Park Fare, hula lessons, in-room childcare services, and other special classes and programs. Club-level service will be temporarily unavailable, and in-room celebrations, dry-cleaning, shipping services, and deliveries to empty rooms will be suspended until further notice. 

We highly encourage all families to utilize Disney’s Online Check-In Service on the My Disney Experience App. Starting on June 22nd, the app will also offer a new Chat Service that allows you to communicate directly with  a cast member at your resort, which will minimize the amount of face-to-face interactions necessary during your stay. 

More details on the reopening of Disney resorts are sure to come in the following weeks, and we will be updating this page constantly as we receive more information.

Universal Studios Resorts

As Universal Studios opens its gates to the public this weekend, most of their resort properties are reopening as well, with the exception of Loews Portofino Bay and Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. We’re glad to say that Complimentary Universal Express passes at premier hotels and Early Park Admission will still be available for all guests during the reopening period. However, there are some important new rules and procedures taking place at these resorts (see below).

New Rules and Procedures:

 

  • Mandatory temperature checks upon arrival for all guests, employees, and vendors (those with temperatures of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be allowed to enter)
  • Mandatory face coverings in all public areas
  • Hand sanitizer stations in public areas
  • Increased cleaning standards in all public areas and guest rooms
  • Guest rooms will be left vacant for 24-48 hours upon checkout for cleaning

  • Frequent cleaning of high-touch areas such as door handles, light switches, elevators, telephones, and table tops
  • Food and beverage locations operating with limited capacity
  • Mandatory social distancing, with reminder signs located in high-traffic areas
  • Increased levels of contactless experiences, such as express checkout, contactless room deliveries, and hotel texting services

Some aspects of the resort stay may differ as well. Universal is still working out the availability of pools, fitness centers, food service locations, and other amenities at the resort. The front desk will have the latest details on each of these services, and we will post more information as it becomes available.

Off-Property Resorts

While the on-property resorts at Disney World and Universal Studios each offer their own unique theming and atmosphere, some of the most incredible resorts in Orlando are the ones located off-property. Three of our favorite luxury resorts here in town, the Four Seasons Orlando, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, and Ritz-Carlton Orlando, are re-opening for guest bookings starting July 1st, and are hard at work preparing to welcome guests with open arms.

To increase health and safety standards, the Four Seasons Orlando will be encouraging all guests to use the Four Seasons app during their stay. This app will reduce the need for face-to-face interactions, while increasing the ability to provide fantastic service for each guest. Available in over 100 languages, guests will be able to make restaurant and spa reservations, request luggage pickup, arrange airport transfers, order room service, and engage in wait-free check-in and check-out, all from their cell phone. The Four Seasons is also implementing an incredibly flexible 24-hour cancellation policy for most guests booked between today and June 30th, 2020. 

Similarly, the Waldorf Astoria is offering a 24-hour flexible cancellation policy for all guests booked through August 31. They will also be following the Hilton’s new sanitation standards, which include frequent disinfection of top 10 high touch areas in guest rooms, increased cleaning of public areas, publicly available disinfecting wipes in busy areas, reduced paper amenities in rooms, enhanced cleaning and changes to buffets and in-room dining, and contactless check-in and check-out. 

Following guidance from the new Marriott Global Cleanliness Council, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando will also be implementing many increased sanitation standards. The Ritz will be doubling down on its cleaning protocols, cleaning surfaces with hospital-grade disinfectants frequently. Guest rooms will be cleaned more heavily and more frequently. In addition, there will be signage placed in the lobby to remind guests to practice social distancing, and furniture will be rearranged to allow more space. Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the resort, and new services such as mobile check-in will be rolled out. 

     

Although some services at these resorts may be temporarily changed, we know that their wonderful staff will go above and beyond to make sure all families have an incredibly safe, memorable, and magical stay. As a reminder, when you book one of these three resorts through Katie Bean Travels, you will be eligible for special amenities such as early check-in and late check out, room upgrades, resort credits, and more. When you’re ready to plan your next vacation in Orlando, the team at Katie Bean Travels will be ready to help you pick out the perfect home base. We can’t wait to plan an unforgettable experience for you!

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