Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando & SeaWorld Closed as COVID-19 Preventive Effort UPDATED

Alicia Stella 3 Comments

UPDATE 3/29/2020 4:00 PM: Walt Disney World is not accepting vacation reservations through all of April or May. June 1st is currently the first travel date that can be reserved.

UPDATE 3/27/2020 5:40 PM: Walt Disney World Resort, including all theme parks, hotels, and Disney Springs will remain closed until further notice.

UPDATE 3/24/2020 5:30 PM: Universal Orlando Resort, including the parks, CityWalk, and all hotels will be closed through April 19th.

UPDATE 3/16/2020 5:00 PM: Universal CityWalk and all Universal Orlando hotels will also be closing. Full details below.

UPDATE 3/16/2020 9:45 AM: Walt Disney World has announced that all hotels and Disney Springs will also be closing through the end of the month. More information below.

UPDATE 3/13/2020 2:45 PM: SeaWorld Parks have announced similar closures, more info below.

Last night both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando have announced that all of their theme parks in Central Florida will be closed from Monday, March 16th through the end of the month. They will continue to monitor the situation and these closures could possibly be extended.

These closures are being made in an “abundance of caution” according to the companies. At this time all on-site hotels, as well as Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk, are not scheduled for any closures. Stay tuned as this information may change in the coming days and weeks. More details on the announced closures, and how guests may make changes to their travel plans can be found below.

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World issued the statement above, and you can read specific details about how this may affect your upcoming vacation at this link. Walt Disney World theme parks will be closed beginning Monday, March 16th, and will remain closed until further notice. Disney Cruise Line will suspend all departures starting Saturday, March 14th. Cast Members will be paid through April 18th, according to the company.

Disney owned-and-operated hotels at Walt Disney World Resort and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort will close beginning at 5:00 PM on Friday, March 20 until further notice. This will give Guests the ability to make other arrangements. At Disney Springs, all Disney owned-and-operated locations will close beginning Tuesday, March 17 until further notice.


For Guests who are interested in modifying their existing travel dates or making a new reservation for a future vacation, reservations are currently available for travel dates June 1 and later. Guests are able to modify these bookings if Walt Disney World Resort opens before or after that time.

Unexpired Walt Disney World theme park tickets with unused days or date-specific tickets will be automatically extended through December 15, 2020. And if you are unable to use your ticket by that date, your tickets can be used towards the purchase of a new ticket for a future date. Annual Passes will be extended by the number of days the parks are closed. More ticket details can be found here.

Cancellation fees have been waved for Walt Disney World hotels and all in-park pre-paid dining and experiences will be automatically refunded if scheduled for a date during the closure time. Credit cards will not be charged for missed dining reservations during this time as well. FastPass+ reservations will automatically be cancelled during the closure period, and no action is required by you. More details.



Universal Orlando Resort

All of the Universal Orlando Resort theme parks will be closed from Monday, March 16h through April 19th. Hourly team members will be paid even if they’re not working.

Universal CityWalk will close at midnight on Monday, March 16th, and will remain closed through April 19th. All hotels at the Universal Orlando Resort at 5:00 PM on Friday, March 20th, and will remain closed through April 19th.

Guests with booked tickets or vacations that are looking for options can call this number for more information 877-801-9720. Unexpired single-day tickets that have already been purchased will be valid on any day for 365 days from the purchase date. Unexpired multi-day tickets that have already been purchased will also be valid for first use on any day from 365 days from purchase – but, as always, must be used within seven days of first use. If you cannot travel during this time, you can apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward a new purchase.

Universal Orlando Annual passes will be extended by the number of days our theme parks are closed. Existing benefits and restrictions will continue to apply.

Ticket purchases, hotel reservations and packages purchased between March 4th and May 1st qualify for Universal’s Stress-Free booking policy, which means they may be modified or canceled with no fee at least 24 hours prior to arrival. For details, click here.



SeaWorld Parks

SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and all other SeaWorld parks will be closed from Monday, March 16th until further notice. SeaWorld has issued a statement, and created a page with frequently asked questions you can see here. Guests can obtain the latest information on park operations by calling 407-794-0017.

Essential personnel, including animal care experts, will continue to look after the health, safety and nutritional needs of the animals at the parks. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment will continue to pay full-time employees during this period.

Guests can request refunds for tickets, or reschedule through 2021 without fees. More information can be found here.

Active annual passes, season passes, and membership products to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks will be automatically extended for a length of time at least as long as the temporary closure period. No action is required on your part.


Further Information

These efforts are being made to help protect guests and employees from the spread of Coronavirus. As this is an evolving situation, this post may be updated as closure dates or details may change. Look for updates at the top of the post. The CDC recommends that you avoid close contact with others, wash your hands often, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn more information here.


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3 Comments
  • Thomas Q Smith

    Reply

    Even though Universal is closing their Parks, Team Members are being asked to report for their regular shifts. The Orlando Sentinel has exposed this situation with an article this morning. With 27,000 Team Members, Does UO really think of their Team’s safety & health? Bad call for UO and upper management!.

  • Ron Baker

    Reply

    Yikes, as a devoted theme park fan that has been visiting theme parks in the U.S. since 1965 I am shocked.

    I understand that they all have no choice but to close for now but this is way too big and completely unprecedented to get my head around.

    So unfortunate, so many billions in lost revenue, so many jobs affected. Hoping for a speedy return to some kind of normalcy.

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