Home » The 8 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World (And Beyond) This Week (July 13-19, 2020)

The 8 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World (And Beyond) This Week (July 13-19, 2020)

This week at Walt Disney World, Disney has made some changes to its mask policy, confirmed several attractions are closing forever, and is also making some adjustments to its annual pass policy.

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal drags its feet on Halloween Horror Nights, and Busch Gardens Tampa kicks off a special event. 

Programming note: Now that all Central Florida theme parks have reopened, we are bringing back this weekly feature! 

1. Disney tightens mask policy

Though masks are required for guests in all parts of the theme parks (except in rest areas and when dining) Disney has tightened its theme park health and safety guidelines this week to clarify that while guests can remove their face covering while actively eating or drinking, they should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing. This will hopefully stop guests from roaming around the park with their masks removed while eating.

2. Three attractions at Walt Disney World are now closed permanently

Disney has confirmed this week that former attractions Primeval Whirl, Stitch’s Great Escape and Rivers of Light are now permanently closed and will not reopen at any point in the future. No replacement for any of these attractions have been announced. 

3. Annual passholders can now get additional park days and merchandise discount

Disney has announced that additional Disney Park Pass reservations have been made available for annual passholders this summer, as there has been less demand than anticipated for regular day park tickets during this period, which means there are more opportunities for annual passholders to visit the theme parks. 

In addition, the discount for passholders has gone up up 30%, and is valid from now through to August 14 2020.

4. Annual passholders can now cancel their passes 

Now through August 11, 2020, Walt Disney World annual passholders can call V.I.PASSHOLDER Support at 407-939-7277 to cancel their passes. Both those who are paid in full as well as those on the monthly payment plan can cancel their passes, with prorated refunds being given to those who have paid in full and monthly payments stopped for those on the monthly payment plan. 

5. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue boarding passes now being given throughout the day

Instead of releasing all boarding passes for the day right at park opening for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance guests now  have three different opportunities to grab a boarding pass: 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 4:00 PM. Once a boarding group is available a push notification will be sent to your phone, and guests will have an hour from the time of the alert to arrive at the entrance of this attraction. 

6. A Taste of Epcot Food and Wine Festival kicks off 

When it reopened, Epcot kicked of its new Taste of Food and Wine Festival, which will run indefinitely and features over 20 Global Marketplaces throughout the park. In addition to all of the food options, this year will see the return of Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt; entertainment including Mariachi Cobre and the rhythmic JAMMitors crew plus limited-edition 25th anniversary merchandise for purchase.

8. No announcements yet for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort

Though we have less than two months before the start of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort, there have been no announcements yet about houses, mazes, or other entertainment. While the resort confirmed several weeks ago that the show would indeed go on in spite of rising COVID-19 numbers (and tickets are now on sale), Universal’s lack of announcements about this year’s event has led many to question whether or not Universal will eventually cancel it, especially as neighbor Walt Disney World has confirmed that there will be no Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in 2020. 

8. Busch Gardens Tampa kicks off Summer Nights event

Busch Gardens Summer Nights
Image: Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens has kicked off its month of Summer Nights weekends, which will see the park opening until 10pm each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening between July 17 – August 16. 

The event promises to feature a new laser and fireworks show as well as the option to purchase seasonal food. All guests are required to make a reservation before visiting the park to experience this returning event.