PHOTO: Test Track Cast Members Undergo Training for Reopening of EPCOT

With EPCOT reopening in just little over a week, Cast Members have returned to work and are completing their first days of training to learn new health and safety protocols in preparation for reopening the park.

The Walt Disney World Ambassadors recently stopped by to recognize their dedication to safety. Thank you to the entire team for all you are doing to responsibly prepare for the reopenings!

https://www.facebook.com/WDWCastandCommunity/photos/pb.342155202547002.-2207520000../3016467768449052/?type=3&theater

EPCOT will be reopening to guests on July 15. As a reminder, Cast Members will be required to wear face shields in addition to face masks wherever social distancing cannot be achieved, especially for those working attractions.

Are you looking forward to taking a ride on Test Track once it reopens at EPCOT?

Walt Disney World Monorail Transportation to Partially Resume July 11; Additional Transportation Updates Released

The Walt Disney World Monorail system will be starting back up on July 11 for the reopening of the Magic Kingdom. At this time, the EPCOT loop does not have an official reopening date, despite the park reopening on July 15. Earlier this week, we were able catch a glimpse inside a Monorail outfitted with plastic partitions in order to keep parties separate and maintain social distancing. We expect similar social distancing efforts across the whole fleet, as well as at each station.

Additional transportation updates include resumed boat transportation at the resorts. At Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and Disney's Wilderness Lodge, boat transportation is set to resume on July 11. (At this time, it is unclear whether Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort will be resuming boat transportation as well.)

Friendship Boats do not have a reopening date. Sassagoula River Cruise Ferry Boat Service from Disney's Port Orleans Resort also does not have a reopening date, however the resort as a whole remains closed.

Earlier this morning, it was confirmed that Disney Skyliner transportation would be resuming on July 15.

As a reminder, guests attending Annual Passholder previews must provide their own transportation to the parks.

Stay tuned for more transportation updates as we near the reopening of the Walt Disney World resorts and theme parks.

Disney Skyliner Transportation Resuming on July 15 at Walt Disney World

Already seen testing on various lines throughout the latter half of the extended parks closure, the Disney Skyliner will be back in full swing starting July 15.

While we were aware that transportation to the parks would resume upon the reopening of the theme parks, we now have confirmation that all three lines of the Disney Skyliner will be in operation for the reopening of EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Hours for the Disney Skyliner are slated to be 10:00 AM - 11:00 PM for EPCOT, and 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM for Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Disney's Pop Century Resort, which will be reopening on July 10, and Disney's Riviera Resort, which is now open, will have transportation to the two newly-reopened parks. (Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort will not reopen until July 29, and Disney's Art of Animation Resort will not be reopening until August 12.)

Other forms of theme park transportation will also be available, albeit on a limited basis, via Monorail, ferryboat, and resort buses.

In-Park Dining Reservations Now Available for Select Guests at Walt Disney World

Guests with dining reservations cancelled during the closure were given the ability to make reservations online this morning after it had been previously stated that guests with prior (cancelled) reservations would receive priority in re-booking new reservations. While we had few details to go on yesterday, after dabbling with the system this morning, we have some important updates to share. First off, theme park restaurant reservations are open.

Reservations are available online via My Disney Experience, however if you do not meet the criteria of previously-cancelled dining reservations (from May 28 through September 2), then you're met with the following error page:

Disney Reservation Center phone lines can be reached by calling (407) 824-1391, however phone lines are, as expected, very congested, with long wait times reported. Online reservations for all Guests will reopen at a later date.

Here's the current list of restaurants we're seeing with availability:

Magic Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom

EPCOT

Disney's Hollywood Studios

All restaurant pages now feature the following notice regarding the need for both a Disney Park Pass Reservation and a dining reservation:

An Important Message
In addition to a confirmed dining reservation, in-park dining at table-service restaurants requires a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date for each person in your party ages 3 and up. Dining reservations do not guarantee admission to the park. Learn more about dining options during the phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort.

In order to avoid system crashes due to user error, the Space Mountain-themed holding page lists all of the pertinent dates for reservations. New reservations will be available to all Guests at a later date, but for now it is strictly for guests with previously-cancelled reservations.

Garden Grill Restaurant at EPCOT to Reopen with Modified Character Dining Experience

A recent update to the Walt Disney World restaurant reopening page brings good news for Character Dining enthusiasts, as Garden Grill Restaurant at EPCOT will be reopening with a "modified" Character Dining experience for guests.

Tasty breakfast offerings are served family-style at Garden Grill.

Garden Grill, located in The Land Pavilion at EPCOT, features a rotating dining room with Chip & Dale, as well as Mickey and more roaming about in their best farm apparel. If similar to our recent experience at the newly-reopened Topolino's Terrace at Disney's Riviera Resort, the characters may be seen marching through the restaurant, stopping briefly at a distance from guests for photos.

You can view the full list of restaurants reopening at EPCOT, along with a note regarding modified dining, below:

Current pricing for Chip ‘n’ Dale Harvest Feast is as follows:

You can view the full menu by clicking here. Will you be trying out this new modified Character Dining experience at EPCOT?

WDWNT Weekly Recap: Disneyland Reopening Delayed, Splash Mountain to be Rethemed, Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Reopenings, and More

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 June 22-28 2020.

Walt Disney World

Parks

A view of Magic Kingdom from Disney's Contemporary Resort

Disney Springs

City Works debuted its smart new patio area

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney's Contemporary Resort

Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

The new Tri-Circle-D Ranch

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

The beautiful Grand Floridian reopened to guests

Disney's Old Key West Resort

Lunch at Olivia's Cafe

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

The best cupcake to welcome back guests to the Polynesian

Reflections - A Disney Lakeside Lodge

Disney's Riviera Resort

Mickey greeted us from a distance at Topolino's Terrace

Other Walt Disney World Reopening Announcement Updates & Guest Information

Around Walt Disney World

pin trading beach club
Pin trading has resumed at Walt Disney World, albeit with heavily modified procedures

Other Walt Disney World News

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Paris

Tokyo Disney Resort

Disney Cruise Line & Adventures by Disney

New Merchandise

The LUXO Ball Phone Case, featuring that iconic cloudy wallpaper
The Rainbow Disney Pride mug at Walt Disney World

Entertainment and Media

Disney+

Other Disney News

WDW News Today

Make sure you catch up on the News Today episodes from this week!

Splash Mountain Closing for Princess and the Frog Ride at Magic Kingdom, Disneyland - NewsToday 6/26

Every Disney Park in the World Will Reopen by July - News Today 6/24

Walt Disney World Park Reservations Go Live, Resort Hotels Reopen - NewsToday 6/22

That’s all the Disney news for this past week folks! Make sure you check back at the end of each week for our weekly recaps!

Limited Menus for Several EPCOT Restaurants Revealed Ahead of July 15 Reopening at Walt Disney World

With the announcement of select dining locations reopening with the Walt Disney World theme parks come mid-July also comes an array of major menu changes. With many popular dishes already cut from resort restaurants, followed by menu changes for various Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios dining locations, it was only a matter of time before the cuts hit EPCOT.

Sadly, for the time being, we must bid adieu to a few favorite items, including a fair amount of seafood favorites from Coral Reef, and some iconic libations from Rose & Crown. You will also notice a few items reflecting price changes. To view the current menu for each location, click on the restaurant header. The full list of changes include:

Biergarten Restaurant

Removed from Lunch and Dinner Menu:

It is worth noting that Biergarten will be reopening as a family-style restaurant as opposed to a buffet. This is most likely the reasoning behind the removal of the Chef's Carving Station.

Rose & Crown Dining Room

Removed from the Lunch and Dinner Menu:

Rose & Crown Pub

Removed from the Lounge Menu:

Cockburn Tawny 20 yr: $16.00 (price increase from $15)
Glenkinchie 12 yr: $17.00 (price increase from $16)
The Macallan 18 yr: $40.00 (price decrease from $41)
Johnnie Walker Flight: $19.00 (price increase from $18)
Single Malt Flight: $21.00 (price increase from $20)
Oban 14 yr: $23.00 (price increase from $21)
The Macallan Flight: $25.00 (price increase from $24)
Johnnie Walker Blue: $40.00 (price decrease from $41)
Lagavulin 16 yr: $22.00 (price increase from $21)
Courvoisier VS: $15.00 (price increase from $13.75)
The Macallan 12 yr: $18.00 (price increase from $16)

Now Offering an Irish Whiskey Flight - $18.00

Coral Reef Restaurant

Removed from the Lunch and Dinner Menu:

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Removed from Dinner Menu:

USDA Prime New York Strip Steak: $52.00 (price decrease from $56)
Pan-seared Golden Tilefish À la Paella: $45.00 (price decrease from $45)
Grilled Chicken with Gravy: $12.00 (price decrease from $15)

So, were any of your go-to dishes on the chopping block? Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to stay updated right here on WDWNT as we continue to bring you any and all updates regarding the opening of Walt Disney World's theme parks.

"The Piano Lady" Carol Stein Returning to the UK Pavilion for the Reopening of EPCOT

Although it has been confirmed that EPCOT will be reopening to guests on July 15, many details about the park's operations have yet to be revealed, particularly around the World Showcase.

The UK Pavilion in EPCOT

One aspect which we are glad to hear of comes from Carol Stein, fondly known as "The Piano Lady" who famously plays within the Rose & Crown Pub in the UK Pavilion. Over on her Facebook page, Ms. Stein has excited guests by sharing that she will be returning to perform in the park back when the park opens. This is great news to hear, as it confirms that live entertainment will still be present in the park, while many other entertainment offerings - such as the firework spectaculars - have been suspended.

In her post, Ms. Stein has interestingly stated that she will not be playing at the Rose & Crown when she returns. Instead, the piano performances can be found under the gazebo deeper into the pavilion, within the beautiful English Gardens. Although both the Rose & Crown pub and dining rooms have been confirmed as reopening on July 15, the decision to move the piano is presumably due to the increase in social distancing measures within the parks. As part of this, restaurants will be operating on limited capacity, and must be reconfigured to allow for 6-feet distances between tables.

The brilliant news is that these now-outdoor performances will mean that all guests can enjoy Ms. Stein's music, regardless of whether or not they are dining at the Rose & Crown. Better still, what better place to enjoy a dish from the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival than at the English Gardens, while listening to some great music?

It is important to note here that the permanent residents of the gazebo - the British Revolution Band - had their performances cut from the EPCOT schedule back in May. This, along with the termination of performances by Sergio the Master Juggler in the Italy pavilion and the Matsuriza Taiko Drummers in the Japan pavilion put the future of the entertainment offerings within the World Showcase in doubt.

We're thrilled to hear that Carol Stein is set to resume her performances in July, and hope to hear about many more entertainment offerings in EPCOT returning very soon too.

Walt Disney World Releases FULL List of Dining Locations Reopening at the Theme Parks

With the Walt Disney World theme parks reopening less than a month away, the official Walt Disney World website has released a list of eateries that will be available within the parks when the phased reopening begins.

This list includes kiosks, quick-service, and table-service locations distributed across all 4 theme parks that will begin reopening on Jully 11th. The locations are...

Magic Kingdom Park — Reopening July 11

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park — Reopening July 11

Disney’s Hollywood Studios — Reopening July 15

EPCOT — Reopening July 15

It is also worth noting that when in-park dining initially becomes available, you’ll need a valid park pass and a reservation for park entry. Additionally, you’ll also need a dining reservation in order to eat at a table-service restaurant though, dining reservations do not guarantee admission to the park.

Disney has also commented that some menu items that are usually on the menu will be changed or omitted upon reopening. Cashless payments will also be encouraged as well as checking-in for your dining reservation on your mobile phone.

For more updates regarding the phased reopening of the Walt Disney World theme parks, make sure to stay up to date right here on WDWNT.

WDWNT Weekly Recap: Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties Cancelled, EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival Kicking off in July Plus Many Other Reopening Updates, and More!

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 June 15-21, 2020.

Walt Disney World

Parks

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Disney Springs

A Bourbon on the Rocks cookie

Other Walt Disney World Reopening Announcement Updates & Guest Information

Around Walt Disney World

A cast member from the INCREDI-CREW

Other Walt Disney World News

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Paris

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

A view of the Castle of Magical Dreams, credit to Disney Magical Kingdom Blog

Shanghai Disneyland

The "Disney Color-Fest" Show in Shanghai Disneyland is now using a pass system for entry

Disney Cruise Line & Adventures by Disney

New Merchandise

The patriotic new Americana Loungefly bag
soarin ornament
The Soarin' Around the World Mickey Ear Hat ornament
A new Rainbow Disney mask design is available in Disney Springs

Entertainment and Media

Disney+

Other Disney News

WDW News Today

Make sure you catch up on the News Today episodes from this week!

Park Reservation Details for Walt Disney World Released, Resort Guests Pick First - NewsToday 6/19

Disney Springs Server Reportedly Tests Positive for COVID-19, New Frozen Ride Boats - NewsToday 6/17

New Security Screening Testing at Walt Disney World Ahead of Theme Parks Reopening - NewsToday 6/15

That’s all the Disney news for this past week folks! Make sure you check back at the end of each week for our weekly recaps!

Walt Disney World Resort Updates Status on Turtle Talk with Crush at EPCOT and Festival of The Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom Upon Reopening

This morning we brought to you a full list of attractions, shows, and shopping that would be offered at the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks once they begin their phased reopenings starting July 11th.

Since that list has come out, it seems Disney has quietly changed the status of two attractions that once appeared on the list: Turtle Talk with Crush, found in EPCOT and Festival of The Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom have both been removed the list.

There's been no official reason why these offerings have been removed from the reopening lineup. To view the full list of attractions, be sure to check out our post here.

Of course, continue to follow along with us at WDWNT as we continue to bring you the latest news as the Disney parks begin to reopen around the world.

Featured image credit: Joshua Meyer

Walt Disney World Announces Temporary Changes to Disney PhotoPass Service

Walt Disney World's temporary changes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be revealed, this time affecting the Disney PhotoPass service.

disney photopass logo

When the parks reopen, PhotoPass photographers will no longer be able to take pictures on guests' cell phones, tablets, or other personal devices, while props will be cleaned between guests.

From the Walt Disney World website:

To promote cleanliness, physical distancing and reduced contact, you will notice some temporary adjustments to Disney PhotoPass Service to provide an enjoyable environment for everyone:

This is just the latest change to hit the parks, which have also suspended character meet-and-greets, parades, and fireworks spectaculars to reduce the chance of spreading the disease.

Keep reading WDWNT as we continue to report about the changes at Walt Disney World ahead of the theme parks' reopening.

Walt Disney World Announces Character Processions Replacing Standard Entertainment Offerings

When Walt Disney World reopens next month, it will be without some of its most beloved elements: parades, nighttime spectaculars, and character meet and greets.

Replacing meet-and-greets are character "processions," which will allow guests to see characters without interacting with them one-on-one.

From Walt Disney World's website:

To accommodate physical distancing, some experiences will be temporarily paused when the parks initially reopen, including:

Our Characters will still be in the parks to entertain and delight our Guests. Additionally, you'll be able to experience many favorite attractions and dozens of entertainment offerings.

From special cavalcades down the Magic Kingdom park parade route and friends sailing the waterways of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park to processions along World Showcase promenade at EPCOT and motorcades on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, each area will come to life throughout the day. You never know when a party of your pals may come by, so be prepared for plenty of surprises!

Note: Some experiences may be modified, limited in capacity and subject to availability or closure.

Keep reading WDWNT for continuing coverage of this ongoing story.

Walt Disney World Adding One Month to Annual Passes or Offering Partial Refunds or Cancellations to Make Up for Reservation System Limitations

With the new Disney Park Pass Reservation system in place, Disney will be offering Annual Passholders some ways to offset the loss in value of needing park reservations to enter and no longer being able to park hop:

Annual Passholders who paid in full for their tickets will automatically get an extra month added to their pass in October 2020 if they do nothing. Alternatively, they can choose to cancel the remainder of their annual pass for a partial refund.

Annual Passholders on monthly payment plans (payments resume July 11th by the way) will automatically get the extra free month by taking no action. They can slo chose to cancel their annual pass and waive monthly payments due after August 11, 2020. Any payments made between July 11 and August 11, 2020 will be retroactively refunded for those that select this option and all future payments will be stopped.

Disney will send information in July on how to take these actions, if you want to do so.

Cast Member Park Preview Dates Announced for Walt Disney World, Taking Place Various Days July 7-14

Cast Member preview dates for Walt Disney World's theme parks have finally been announced.

Eligible Walt Disney World, Florida site, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Cast Members and up to three (3) additional Guests (or the total number of eligible dependents on their Main Entrance Pass, whichever is higher), will be able to visit one theme park of their choice on one of the following dates:

July 7-8 will offer previews of the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, while July 13-14 will offer previews of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT.

Registration for Cast Preview opportunities will open soon, but note that there is limited space available for each preview. Sign up will be on a first come, first served basis. Additional information about these previews will be shared in the coming days.

Walt Disney World Annual Passholders Will Be Allowed to Hold Only 3 Disney Park Pass Reservations at a Time

UPDATE: While Disney had originally said it would only be 2 reservations at a time for annual Passholders, an update to DisneyWorld.com indicates that it will be 3 at a time. The story below has been updated to reflect the new information.

According to the latest information from Disney, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will only be able to hold 3 Disney Park Pass reservations at a time.

If you are an Annual Passholder with a resort reservation, you will be able to reserve considerably more, up to 14 park days at a time. Annual Passholders with a resort reservation are able to make Disney Park Pass reservations beginning June 22nd. Those without a hotel can make up to 3 Disney Park Pass Reservations starting June 26th.

For a complete breakdown on the Disney Park Pass Reservation system, check out our post from earlier today.