Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Walt Disney World is in the beginning phases of prepping for Halloween, and we’re finally starting to get used to visiting the parks to write these updates for you, even if it is still a bit jarring to see how empty it is. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, with the rollout of more restaurant openings, changes coming to the Polynesian Resort, plus a trip to the Magic Kingdom. Grab an umbrella, because today’s visit gets a bit wet!

Meal Time! Select Dining Locations Reopening

While the Walt Disney World theme parks reopened back in July, not all of the shops and restaurants were included. As a result, some favorite dining locales have remained closed due to extremely-limited guest capacity and fewer Cast Members staffed. While capacity is still limited, some locations are finally preparing to re-open. Here’s what’s on the way:

September 4th: Gaston’s Tavern

A delicious snacktime spot returns; Lefou’s Brew and those ginormous cinnamon rolls! 

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

September 24th: Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom

While the typical princess interactions are paused for now, you can once again dine inside the iconic Cinderella Castle. 

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

September 25th: Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Minnie’s Halloween Dine returns! This time around, a “monster feast” will be brought right to your table, instead of the usual buffet-style setup. Minnie, Mickey & friends will still be there, dressed in their Halloween best, waving and posing for photos from a safe distance.

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise
Photo credit: Disney

October 8th: ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The ABC Commissary will once again offer up their quick-service lunch fare. It is unknown when reservation and dinner service will return.

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Reservations for Cinderella’s Royal table and Minnie’s Halloween Dine at Hollywood & Vine will be available via disneyworld.com and the My Disney Experience app beginning September 11th.


Moana Headed to Polynesian Village Resort

Walt Disney World originally planned to reopen the Polynesian Village Resort on October 4th of this year. However, the opening has been pushed back until the summer of 2021. With lower than expected crowd levels, the resort hotel will instead undergo an extensive refurbishment with enhancements for the Great Ceremonial House and guest rooms.

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

According to an article from Orlando Sentinel, a Disney spokesperson stated that some of the upcoming changes to the rooms will take inspiration from Moana, with new Pacific Ocean-inspired color scheme and details from the film.

What do you think of the potential changes? Check out the article below for more!

Waves of Change – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Reopening Delayed by Moana?


Mini Hollywood Studios Report

One of our contributors, Laura, stopped by Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week just in time for the Mulan preview debuting at Walt Disney Presents! Let’s take a peek at the park…

As we’ve observed since the park’s reopening, crowds tend to thin out in the afternoon – especially after the last Rise of the Resistance virtual queue opening at 2PM.

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Yes, these photos were taken right in the middle of the day . . . 

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Heading down Sunset Boulevard; Theater of the Stars has reopened and is now the temporary home of The Disney Society Orchestra:

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

The band plays familiar and favorite tunes from Monster’s Inc., Toy Story, Star Wars, The Little Mermaid and, of course, Beauty & the Beast. 

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Friends from the Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage! show make an appearance during the concerts:

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Now heading into Walt Disney Presents for the Mulan additions…

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

We’re moving past all of the Disney Parks and Walt Disney memorabilia. Just before heading into the preview, you can see the two costumes from the new movie on display in the theater’s lobby:

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The Mulan sneak peek runs continuously throughout the day at Walt Disney Presents. Early Premier Access is now available via Disney+, while regular Disney+ subscribers can access the film December 4th at no additional cost with their subscription.

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Disney’s Hollywood Studios currently closes at 8PM, here’s a look at the mass exodus shortly after closing:

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park MerchandiseFor it being the end of the day, there sure aren’t a lot of people. Very different than the before times.


Magic Kingdom Meanderings

We spent some time at Magic Kingdom earlier this week as well, here’s what we discovered! 

Arriving shortly after 11AM on a weekday, the “crowds” were definitely manageable: 

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise
An empty Town Square and scrim-covered City Hall is the new norm

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

The first of many character cavalcades of the day, the Party Up! float featured Goofy, Max, Clarabelle Cow and José Carioca:

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

After the float passed, we have a better glimpse at Main Street crowd levels:

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Cinderella Castle is looking gorgeous!

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Let’s head in. I’m still not used to seeing the castle with no other guests in clear view…

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

You can typically gauge how busy the park is by the look of Fantasyland, especially around Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and Peter Pan’s Flight… 

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Peter Pan’s Flight was a true 25-minute wait, while Small World was posted at 10.

 , Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Passing Haunted Mansion…

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

We noticed the Frontier Trading Post finally reopened! With any Disney gift shop right now, Cast Members are keeping count of guests entering and exiting. The Trading Post’s layout is on the small and intimate side, I recommend treading very carefully here.

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

We briefly stopped inside to check out the new Halloween pins. These designs are super cute— we’re loving the retro pie-eyed characters!

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Check out those adorable Mickey & Minnie pumpkins! They definitely came home with me…

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

For more about Halloween at Walt Disney World, be sure to check out the article below.

Walt Disney World Update – Halloween Lives On After All

Moving onto Adventureland, we stopped by Aloha Isle for a Kakamora Float, the Moana-inspired sweet treat. Coconut soft serve with pineapple juice, blue curaçao syrup and an adorable chocolate Kakamora cake pop— complete with a white chocolate sand dollar hat! Reminiscent of a non-alcoholic piña colada, this wasn’t overly sweet and helps cool off the 90+ degree heat!

 , Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

The clouds were looking grey by the mid-afternoon, so we ducked into Pirates of the Caribbean which was posted at a low 10-minute wait…

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Across the way, Captain Jack Sparrow occasionally makes an appearance for some fun conversation and distanced-photo opps:

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Upon exiting Pirates, Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar now has the new Jungle Cruise merchandise available (you may have seen this collection in a recent Disneyland update!):

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise
Apparel, pins, ornaments, Wishable plushes, kitchenware, a new board game and MagicBand all themed to the iconic attraction can be found here!

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

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Waiting out the rain in Adventureland…

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Just a few minutes later, the sun was out again!

And we’ve made it back to Cinderella Castle. The moat is refilled and looking great, the castle’s makeover is complete:

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Due to the quick and spotty showers, the Rainy Day Cavalcade made an appearance:

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, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Time to head home…

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

On our way out, we noticed some of the newer Halloween merchandise additions now at the Emporium:

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How about this cute candy corn countdown castle? (Say that three times fast?)

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

A Candy Corn Witch Hat headband joins the Halloween Candy Minnie Ears:

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise
Also pictured here; Pumpkin Spice scented candles in a decorated ceramic holder and Halloween candy Crocs

Now it’s time to say goodbye… but first, one more cavalcade!

 , Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

A full cast of characters await our grand exit, atop the train station:

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

During our time on this specific weekday, we saw only one guest with their mask below their nose, while social-distancing was mostly adhered to. A major improvement in guest behavior. 

Attending theme parks right now is a very personal decision. It’s certainly not for everyone. Walt Disney World has been open for almost two months. And while Disney has laid the groundwork to provide a safe and clean environment, it’s still up to us—the guests— to keep each other as safe and healthy as possible. Seeing so many guests doing the right things this week made us hopeful that Disneyland will finally be able to successfully reopen as well. And it looks like that is finally in the works: 

Disneyland Working With State On Reopening Plan


Time To Make New Magic

Theme parks are reopening, and whether you are ready to travel yet or not, there’s no better time to lock in low rates on future travel. But waiting on hold and not knowing what questions to ask isn’t the magical part of a vacation. That’s why MiceChat has partnered with Get Away Today to handle all the difficult stuff for you . . . all for no extra cost. That’s right, they do all the work and it doesn’t cost you extra. In fact, it can actually save you money.

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Our travel partners at Get Away Today are here to help you with your theme park booking and rescheduling plans. We know you’re as uncertain about the future as we are. That’s why Get Away Today is offering the most flexible Disney travel options available. Ask about:  

Price Protection – When you book a Walt Disney World Resort vacation that includes a minimum of 2-nights Disney hotel and at least two theme park tickets with Get Away Today, if a better special that you qualify for comes out after you have booked, they’ll automatically it. 

Concierge Service – Get detailed planning assistance with all qualified Walt Disney World Resort vacations. A certified Disney Travel Agent is more valuable now than ever before as there have been many changes to the Park experience.

Flexible Payments – Lock in your 2020 or 2021 Walt Disney World Resort vacation for just $200 down. By booking early, you secure your availability and have the flexibility to pay as you go. Make as many interest-free payments as you’d like, whenever you’d like, with final payment due just 30 days prior to travel.

Flexible Dates – If you’re traveling in 2020, you can make any changes up to 24 hours prior to check-in with no penalties. In 2021, you can make changes up to 30 days prior to check-in with no penalties.

Give your family something to look forward to


Let’s Hear From You

We hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to Walt Disney World. Is there a restaurant reopening you’re looking forward to? Are you watching Mulan on Disney+ this week? What do you think of Cinderella Castle’s finished makeover? Do you think character overlays for hotels like the Polynesian are necessary? If so, what characters should represent the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And be sure to let us know if there’s anything specific you’d like us to check out for you in the weeks to come

, Walt Disney World Update – Restaurant Reopenings, Hotel Rethemes, and New Park Merchandise

Take care, and have a magical day!

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