In this series we are covering the changes in Disney and everything you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World right now.
We are continuing with all things Disney world parks. If you haven’t checked out part 1 of this series, Planning A Disney World Trip Everything You Need to Know make sure you check it out.
Let’s get started.
My Disney Experience
Disney has an app that helps you to plan and execute your Walt Disney World vacation. This app is your best friend for all things Disney trip. From making dining reservations, checking park hours, checking into your Walt Disney World resort, the My Disney Experience App is the key to success.
Your theme park reservations can be found here. Wait times for every attraction can be found here. There is a map for the entire property. It truly is your one stop shop.
You can link your friends and family in your travel party to the your app so that everyone can see plans and you can make dining reservations and theme park reservations (and Fast Pass when available) together.
The My Plans section of the app organizes your vacation into a daily itinerary. This allows your to easily access and update your plans incuding dining, parks, and more.
As part of your theme park tickets, Memory Maker and Memory Maker One Day is available to add on to get access to your Disney PhotoPass pictures taken throughout your trip.
As you wander the parks, you will see a (large) number of PhotoPass photographers in various spots. These photographers are some of the msot magical Castmembers for us on every single trip. They take amazing pictures and even add magic into some of the shots which are always a fun surprise.
You can purchase Memory Maker for $169 or $199 depending on when you purchase. If you are looking for professional photographs and some extra magic to remember these memories of a lifetime, Memory Maker is a must.
Fast Pass is currently not being offered at Walt Disney World. If you new to Disney, you might not even be familiar with Fast Pass. Previously, it was a free service added to every ticket purchased.
Each ticketed person had the ability to make three Fast Passes per day in advance or day of to select attractions and experiences in the parks including the most popular attractions.
Fast Pass allowed guests to skip the general queue via the Fast Pass queue. That meant that for some attractions guests would not have to waste time in those long queues.
With the reopening of Walt Disney World, Fast Pass was not available. That is still the case and Disney has made no mention about the return of this perk.
That means that it’s time to pack your patience. Disney is currently operating at around 35% capacity. That might not sound like a lot but with no Fast Pass, some attractions and experiences like Festival of the Lion King and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage unavailable, the lines can be pretty daunting.
Have a plan about the attractions you most want to ride and prioritize them. That would include Big Thunder Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Smuggler’s Run, Slinky Dog Dash and Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios, Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom and Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After at Epcot.
Disney is currently operating at limited capacity and limited hours. There are currently no nighttime shows at any of the parks. We expect that to change prior to or for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebration which is an 18-month long even beginning October 1.
With Disney operating with limited park hours on most days, that means we spend a lot more time in places like Disney Springs and at the resorts.
Resort hopping is not necessarily encouraged at this time as it makes it more difficult for Disney to enforce capacity restrictions at the resorts but if you have a reservation at one of the resorts we highly recommend taking the time to explore the resort.
There is one nighttime parade taking place right now and it takes place in 7 Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. These bodies of water surround Disney’s Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian and Wilderness Lodge and Bay Lake Tower (part of the Contemporary). It’s called The Electrical Water Pageant and it’s a really cute lighted parade with music.
We will talk more about Disney resorts and resort hopping in an upcoming post as part of this series so be on the lookout for that.
Disney Springs is another option for nightime dining, entertainment and shopping. Disney Springs has some of the best food on Disney property as well as great shopping for Disney and beyond.
Stores at Disney Springs include World of Disney, the largest Disney store in the world, Sanuk footwear, the Marketplace Co-Op which is one of our favorite places to check out. This has Disney gear and more and is a lot of fun.
There are so many dining options at Disney Springs as well.
Because the parks close early that leaves fewer dining options so we highly recommend having a dining reservation for where you want to go.
With night life most likely returning to the parks as the year progresses that will free up options and make planning a lot easier and more spread out.
Special Events like DVC Moonlight Magic, Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and more have not been announced at this time for 2021.
It is our thought that Not so Scary and Very Merry will return for 2021 in limited capacities. Universal Studios has already announced the return of Halloween Horror Nights for 2021 and we expect Disney to do this as well.
These are extra ticketed events that require an additional ticket so it would bring new revenue to Disney and allow them to limit capacity easily by deciding ahead of time how many people would be allowed to purchase tickets.
Extra Magic Hours used to be available for guests staying on property. Guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels had the opportunity to enjoy select attractions in at least one of our 4 theme parks, before or after regular operating hours. Resort ID, valid theme park admission and theme park reservation for the same park on the same date are required.
Disney has announced that Extra Magic Hours will not return. However, a new service called Early Theme Park Entry.
Early Theme Park Entry will be rolled out in 2021in time for the 50th Anniversary celebration that starts October 1. Early Theme Park Entry will be offered every day at all four theme parks. Disney Resort hotel guests as well as guests from select neighboring hotels will be able to enter any theme park 30 minutes prior to opening time on any day of their trip that they have a valid theme park ticket and theme park reservation.
It rains in Florida. A lot. There is a lot of rain and a lot of humidity. We never go to a park without our umbrella and a couple disposable ponchos each. Even if there is not a cloud in the sky when you leave your hotel, it could rain and probably will. Don’t get caught without your rain gear.
That’s it for part 2 of our Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Trip to Disney. We are covering it all and in our next post we’re moving on to Resorts!