In the wake of Disney closing its parks in California, Paris, and Florida today, the Walt Disney World website is experiencing outages, crashed by overwhelming traffic, and some customers are unable to cancel reservations and get refunds. ComicBook.com's own Joe Blackmon -- who really does deserve a vacation, by the way -- took the screenshot below while trying to modify his own Disneyworld plans. It is likely that users will experience slow loading or outages on sites like Disney's -- where cancellations have caused hundreds or thousands of people at once to have to arrange for refunds -- as more and more events are cancelled.
Some gatherings, concert venues, and acts have tried to mitigate this problem by automating the refund process, telling users that there is nothing they need to do on their end. Some of those, though, are likely still being inundated with calls as smaller organizations can take days or even weeks to process requests in bulk.
Walt Disney World is currently set to close its doors on March 15th, though there is no official word on plans to reopen as officials continue to monitor the threat of coronavirus. Here is the official statement from Disney Parks:
"In an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we proceeding with the closure of our theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and DIsneyland Paris Resort, beginning at the close of business on Sunday, March 15, through the end of the month. Disney Cruise Line will suspend all new departures beginning Saturday, March 14, through the end of the month. The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period. The hotels at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and Disney Village at Disneyland Paris, will remain open. Domestic Walt Disney Company employees who are able to work from home are being asked to do so, including those at The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Direct-to-Consumer, and Parks, Experiences, and Products. We will continue to stay in close contact with appropriate officials and health experts."
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are expected to close on March 14th, and will tentatively reopen on April 1st, unless they are advised to do otherwise by the local officials.
""While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California's executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, beginning the morning of March 14 through the end of the month," Disney Parks' statement reads in part.
"Disneyland Resort will work with guests who wish to change or cancel their visits, and will provide refunds to those who have hotel bookings during this closure period," the statement continues. "We anticipate heavy call volume over the next several days and appreciate guests' patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries."0comments
It sounds, then, as though hotel bookings will be automatically refunded, although it is not clear whether that's automated or something that the guests have to initiate.
Given that COVID-19 has a two-week incubation period and the United States currently does not have enough tests for everyone who may be infected, most closures and delays are staying down until at least the end of March, with some opting to remain closed through April as well. Depending on the progress the US makes in containing COVID-19 over the next month or so, those dates might shift.