Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 6-12, 2021 by Alan S. Dalinka

Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 6-12, 2021

 Writer’s Note, News & Views (Combined)

Based on the continued scheduled park hours later in to each night and limited Disney Park Pass availability, the Spring Break “Season” will continue at Walt Disney World Resort through at least April 24. While there are not as many days between now and then where, as of publication time, there is zero Disney Park Pass availability across all parks and ticket categories, there quite a few days where one or more parks currently shows “sold out” on quite a few dates whether you are a Resort guest, day ticket purchaser, or Annual Passholder.


And, yes, those Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Virtual Boarding Group assignments can disappear or fail to appear at 1 p.m. on the nose, as I experienced at Disney’s Hollywood Studios last Tuesday. Photo and screenshot by Alan S. Dalinka.

As I continue to advise, even as more folks get vaccinated, Disney’s enhanced health and safety protocols remain in place. Attendance remains limited by caps below maximum park capacity (it has never been publicly disclosed whether the announced 35% cap level has been increased or is calculated differently based on operating hours or other factors). Disney still requires guests on Disney property, and, particularly in the parks, resort hotels, and at Disney Springs, properly wear face coverings except when eating or drinking while stationary be sure to check the My Disney Experience or DisneyWorld.com immediately before any planned visit for any last minute changes to phased reopening operations that may impact your visit. Yes, temperature checks also remain mandatory, as is also true of following all of the Resort’s rules; no matter how much you pay for your vacation, you can still be trespassed for flagrant violations, as Orlando Sentinel reported this week. For those of you considering a visit in the near-term or more-distant future, our travel partner Get Away Today can help you with reservations up to 500 days in advance. More on that below.

EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival Dates Announced

Since Walt Disney World Resort’s phased reopening of the parks began last July, EPCOT has nearly continuously run “Taste of” Festivals, scaled-down versions of the four seasonal festivals. Before the pandemic forced the Resort’s shutdown last March, the summer months of July and August were usually the brief longer break between Festivals at EPCOT. The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival is underway now and runs until July 5.

This week, Disney Parks Blog announced that the 2021 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival will begin July 15 and will run all the way until November 20. That’s noteworthy both for its length and that the park dropped the “Taste of” modifier that it employed when the Festival last appeared last Summer and Fall. It is too soon to know whether the removal of “Taste of” means that the Festival will be more like those before we ever heard of COVID-19.

So far, we know that the food and beverage kiosks obviously will be back. Called “Global Marketplaces,” so far Disney says Canada, Greece, Germany, Hops and Barley, and Appleseed Orchard will be back, among others. Additional marketplaces will be named as the opening approaches, and even more will “join” the festival in the fall.

For those that like the “completion” challenges the Festivals have offered in the recent past, “Emile’s Fromage Montage” will provide a prize for collecting a stamp for purchasing cheeses from five different Global Marketplaces. Likewise, “Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak” scavenger hunt will be back too.

So far, the only entertainment that has been announced are the long-running EPCOT staples: Voices of Liberty, Mariachi Cobre, and the Jammin’ Chefs (whose name changes with the Festival changes). Both Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty are listed on the official TasteEpcot website as performing on the America Gardens Theatre stage from July 15 through November 20, as they have been for the other “Taste of” Festivals this year. We believe that Carol Stein and other EPCOT Pianists will perform at the gazebo in the United Kingdom pavilion as well.

Tom Brady Went To Disney World

As predicted back in our Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 9-15, 2021, Super Bowl LV’s winning quarterback and Most Valuable Player, Tom Brady’s Walt Disney World Visit to make good on his participation in the long-running Disney “What’s Next” campaign shout out advertisement was announced after his visit was complete. He has, after all, appeared in more “I’m Going to Disney World” commercials than any other player in the long-running campaign’s history. Teammate Rob Gronkowski, who also appeared in this year’s “I’m Going to Disney World” commercial, visited Walt Disney World the morning after the Super Bowl back in February.


On Monday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, celebrated his team’s Super Bowl victory back in February with a visit to Walt Disney World, including experiencing both Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and building his own lightsaber at Savi’s Workshop. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.

Disney MagicMobile is now live for iOS devices and Apple Watch

Earlier this month, Disney announced that the Disney MagicMobile Option would be phased in to allow guests to use their personal smart devices to do some of the things that MagicBands historically have done. While MagicBands continue to function, and indeed, remain on sale, they are no longer provided as complimentary to guests when they check in to the resort hotels. Guests may use both MagicMobile and MagicBands during the same visit.

Last Tuesday, the first phase of the Disney MagicMobile Option went live to guests using iPhone and Apple Watch. To use the new service, guests create a Disney MagicMobile pass through the My Disney Experience app and then add it the the Wallet app on iPhone (or, in the future, other digital wallets on other devices). The pass is customizable, with special designs available for Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members. Multiple passes may be stored on a single device for a family traveling together.


Guests may choose the design of their MagicMobile pass, with special versions available for Passholders and DVC Members. Screenshots by Alan S. Dalinka.

Like a MagicBand, guests hold their device near a touch point to enter the park, use the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue, or link to Disney PhotoPass. “Express Mode” on iPhone and Apple Watch allows guests to use MagicMobile without unlocking or waking their device. Of course, a valid ticket and park reservation are still required.

The service currently requires iOS 14.4 or later and watchOS 7.3 or later.

Views Around the World

I spent an afternoon this past week visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios and park hopped over to EPCOT via Disney Skyliner. And, as a bonus, the shortest route to get to and from my first vaccine appointment required driving on World Drive.


It appears that all but the final-touches are in place for the refreshed look of the archways over World Drive welcoming guests to Walt Disney World Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios


With Disney Park Pass reservations required in addition to a ticket, and with Disney’s Hollywood Studios being the park that seems to reach capacity most often, it is not surprising that most of the ticket booths (“vacation planning booths” in Disney-speak) at the park gates are closed most of the time.


Character cavalcades appear in the parks from time to time, as meet and greets are not operating during the current phase of park operations.


Since my last visit, the exterior renovation at what previously was the Planet Hollywood store on Sunset Boulevard has been completed and the building is now named “The Majestic Theater.”


The physically distanced queue for Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster during my visit, stretched all the way from the attraction over to Sunset Boulevard. The posted standby time was 50 minutes in this photo.


Meanwhile, over in Toy Story Land, Slinky Dog Dash seems to fill most of its rows.


Next to Andy’s backyard (or do you prefer if I say over on Batuu), the physically distanced queue for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run now winds backstage through that open door in the center of the photo.


First Order Storm Troopers make physically distanced appearances from time to time.


And, at Walt Disney Presents, a couple costumes from last year’s live action “Mulan” are on display outside the Walt Disney Theater.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

EPCOT


I finally purchased the new Orange Bird sipper and sampled the very sweet orange-lemon flavored creamy beverage it is sold with (non alcoholic) at Citrus Blossom in World Showcase Plaza.


The center of World Showcase Plaza provides a view of the on-going installation of the hardware that will be a fountain by day and incorporated in to the new nighttime spectacular “Harmonious” (at some unspecified point). On Tuesday, there were now three screen barges plus the center ring on World Showcase Lagoon.


From World Showcase Plaza, it is now possible to see all the way across the park to The Seas with Nemo and Friends, as the last portions of the former Innoventions/CommuniCore West have been removed.


It is even now possible to see The Seas from the east side of World Showcase Plaza near Odyssey.


Several princesses make occasional, physically separated, cavalcade appearances around World Showcase.


From the Japan pavilion looking back toward World Showcase Plaza, you get a sense of how large the Harmonious hardware installation is.


And, finally, Disney Skyliner flies over the new Paris addition to the France pavilion that now appears completely landscaped ahead of the October 1 scheduled opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and the new creperie table and quick service dining locations.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Reminder: 2021 Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets Now Available

As the year began, Disney launched its 2021 Florida Resident Discover Disney Ticket. The $199 plus tax ticket provides four days of park visits. The ticket can be used on consecutive or non-consecutive days through June 18, 2021 (but is currently on blockout through April 11, and will be again May 28-31). The Park Hopper option can be added for $42.50/ticket plus tax.

There is also a 3-Day version (with same blockout dates) available for $179 plus tax (add $42.50/ticket plus tax for Park Hopper).

Like other ticket types, guests must also separately make Disney Park Pass reservations for a specific park each date they wish to use a Discover Disney Ticket (and, for Park Hopper, must visit that reserved park and may only Hop when that day’s window opens subject to capacity).

This & That…

…Registration opens Thursday at 10 a.m. Eastern for the runDisney Virtual Series events honoring Disney’s The Lion King.

…Several of the Walt Disney World resort hotels once again created elaborate Easter eggs. Disney Parks Blog highlighted some of them over Easter weekend.

…Disney Parks Blog also published its Foodie Guide to April’s Best Bites for Disney Resorts on both coasts this week.

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Resorts Availability, Ticket Advice & Special Offers

Note: MousePlanet does not edit past Updates to reflect price increases; for up-to-date prices, check the most recent Walt Disney World Resort Update.

Florida Residents can now save up to 30% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights 4/18 to 7/10/2021. Modify or cancel reservations with extra flexibility for arrivals through April 30, 2021. More information is available on this page of DisneyWorld.com.

Walt Disney World Resort Vacation Packages can now be booked up to 500 days in advance on a rolling calendar. That’s right, you can now book packages for travel through early July 2022, and a package can be held for just a $200 downpayment with final payment due 30 days prior to travel.

Our travel partner Get Away Today is available to help you book rooms and packages, and include its complimentary Concierge Services. Get Away Today can also assist you with the new Walt Disney World Resort offer that became available back in January: two free theme park days when you purchase at least a 4-night Disney Hotel stay and 3-Day Walt Disney World Resort tickets (the new offer is valid for vacation packages for travel through September 25, 2021, and does not apply to ticket-only orders). For all theme park ticket holders (day guests, resort guests, and Annual Passholders), though, for the foreseeable future, all guests are required to use the Disney Parks Pass System to reserve dates for guest park visits in addition to having a valid admission.

Get Away Today can help you book Disney's latest promotional offers

Get Away Today can also help you book other discounted Disney hotel stays for travel in 2021. With Get Away Today’s complimentary Price Monitoring, any time a special comes out, it will automatically price check it for each of its guests. If the new special is better, it will automatically apply the new savings and let the guest know. If it’s not a better deal, they will leave everything as is, and keep their eyes peeled for future promotions that could save guests more.

Now through April 30, you can even cancel a reservation up to 24 hours before check-in for free.

You can get a vacation quote from Get Away Today here. (Responses provided in 1 to 3 business days.) You can also call 855-GET-AWAY during regular business hours (Monday – Friday 9am-5pm MT) and tell them MousePlanet sent you!

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Only purchase Disney theme park tickets directly from Disney, an authorized seller, or a travel agency like MousePlanet travel partner Get Away Today! As always, we remind our readers that Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets are rarely offered at deep discounts unless you are a resident of Florida or eligible for U.S. Military Personnel benefits. Historically, non-Florida residents tend to benefit the most by purchasing tickets in advance (and, of course, being mindful of the rules relevant to those tickets). Don’t get scammed! Never buy tickets from an unofficial or secondary outlet, such as through eBay or Craigslist. Never rent or purchase tickets from people approaching you outside Disney property stating they have remaining days or leftover tickets. This practice is against the terms of use for Walt Disney World Theme Park admissions, and may result in denial of entry. There is no way to determine if these tickets are valid until you try to use them to enter the parks.

Be sure to check out Get Away Today’s Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers too.

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