Walt Disney World Resort Update for March 9-15, 2021 by Alan S. Dalinka

Walt Disney World Resort Update for March 9 – 15, 2021

 Writer’s Note, News & Views (Combined)

For the first time in quite awhile, there was a lot to see this past week around Walt Disney World Resort (and over at Give Kids The World Village). I took over 2,200 photos this week alone, and I am sharing less than 3% of them here in this week’s Update. If you want to see more photos, please let me know in the comments or on social media, and I will probably be able to oblige (please do not use the email option above, as it is not currently working properly).

And, as I remind you each week, the Walt Disney World Resort’s phased reopening includes enhanced health and safety protocols including capacity restrictions managed by the Disney Park Pass reservation system for the theme parks: there are mandatory guest temperature checks, and heightened cleaning especially of high-touch areas, physical distancing, and cast members do enforce the mandatory face coverings requirements. Park Hopping is available daily in a modified form (only for those with the benefit, only after 2 p.m., and only after you have made and used a Disney Park Pass reservation at another park that day). We are unaware of reports of Park Hopping becoming unavailable due to capacity, but remember, we are now in what I’ve referred to in the past as “Spring Break Season” which, in past years has run more or less from Presidents Day in February through Easter (which is April 4, this year). Schools will start ending their year in some places as May gets underway, and with vaccination numbers increasing and positivity rates declining, we may start to see more people heading to The Most Magical Place on Earth.

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. Reminder: for those of you who are considering a visit in the near-term or more-distant future, our travel partner Get Away Today can now help you with reservations up to 500 days in advance. More on that below.

Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival Now Underway

The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival got underway on March 3, and it runs for 125 days, all the way until July 5, 2021. While it is missing a few elements of recent editions of the full Flower & Garden Festival due to the phased reopening of the Resort, many of the Festival highlights are back and, perhaps, a slight bit more live entertainment than the previous “Taste of” Festivals have offered.

The main highlights of this annual Festival are the topiaries and gardens around the park. In total, there are nearly 100 topiaries and floral sculptures this year, many in different locations that they have appeared in recent years. As has been the case in recent years, quite a few topiaries have updated looks, as the horticulture department continues to work with Walt Disney Imagineering on incorporating new techniques for creating the living sculptures.


This year, some of the “Fantasia” topiaries appear just outside the front gates of EPCOT.


Sorcerer Mickey and more “Fantasia” topiaries are in the main entry plaza planter area (and more “Fantasia” themed topiaries are nearby).


“The Lion King” topiary display is located in Future World West this year, near Imagination! pavilion. These topiaries are some of the ones that have updated looks (particularly the faces) this year.


The “Beauty and The Beast” topiary display is again located in front of France pavilion, now with their sing-along, playing during most of the park’s operating hours in the theater just behind the topiaries.


The Remy topiary that debuted last year is back and now located near the expansion of the France pavilion that leads to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (specific attraction opening date has not been announced).


The Gusteau’s sign is lit at night above the entrance to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and it can be seen from the portion of the expanded France pavilion that recently opened (as well as across the waterway at the International Gateway).


The dragon topiary is again at Japan pavilion, as it was, for the first time, last year.


“Lady and The Tramp” topiaries are again at Italy pavilion and appear to be of the older topiary style.


Snow White and Dopey topiaries are at Germany pavilion but the rest of the Dwarfs are not represented this year.


Daisy and Donald Duck, and Donald’s nephews are all represented in the topiary display in World Showcase Plaza.


Goofy, Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse topiaries stand in the small area of the center of Future World that remains open to guests rather than behind construction walls (and the topiaries have a construction theme to them).


Pluto and Chip and Dale topiaries are nearby as well.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

There are twenty designated garden areas around the park. Some are as small as planter boxes, some are quite extensive. There are no guided tours this year, but there are self-guided areas to explore. The gardens include:

  • English Tea Garden Presented by Twinings of London in the United Kingdom pavilion, which also offers a Self-Guided Tea Tour.
  • The Goodness Garden Butterfly House Presented by GoGo squeeZ, offering a kaleidoscopic view of butterflies up close, in all their extraordinary color.
  • Growing the Future Presented by Murata Electronics, a fun and fascinating experience exploring how cutting-edge technology paired with agricultural science can transform the future (beginning April 3).
  • Health Full Trail Presented by AdventHealth, where those looking for inspiration, creativity and some youthful energy learn ways to stay healthy.
  • Honey Bee-stro Hosted by National Honey Board, where guests learn about honey bees’ critical role in the environment while enjoying sweet and savory treats made possible by their hard work.
  • Outdoor Escapes Presented by OFF! Repellents, a rustic terrace for guests to unwind and find inspiration to create refreshing outdoor spaces for family and friends.


Floating gardens are located in some new locations this year on the west side of Future World, including the ponds near Imagination! pavilion.


With physical distancing still the norm, even the Health Full Trail is set up to encourage distance.


The orchids along the side of the pyramid at Mexico pavilion are stunning.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Outdoor Kitchens are also back, featuring food and beverage options themed to the Festival. There are more than 20 stops to choose from, with new options this year including:

  • EPCOT Sunshine Griddle, offering Avocado Toast, Shrimp and Grits, Corned Beef Brisket Hash and more
  • EPCOT Farmers Feast, featuring Spring Onion Soup, Duck Confit and more
  • The Lavender Honey Mustard-marinated Chicken Flatbread at The Honey Bee-stro Hosted by National Honey Board
  • Impossible Sausage and Kale Soup at Trowel & Trellis Hosted by Impossible Foods
  • Lemon-Orange Smoothie in a new Orange Bird sipper cup at The Citrus Blossom
  • Bayou Cocktail at Magnolia Terrace
  • Maple Popcorn Shake at Northern Bloom


The Honey Bee-stro is located between Future World West and World Showcase Plaza (near Starbucks).


World Showplace pavilion hosts several Outdoor Kitchens: Epcot Farmers Feast, Cider House, and Festival Favorites. Samples of Festival Favorites’ offerings were displayed during a media showcase last week.


I sampled a Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider as well as a Key Lime Tart (and I liked them both).


The new version of the Orange Bird sipper cup (shown in the center of the table) is available at Citrus Blossom (the old version of the sipper is now available at Magic Kingdom).

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Garden Graze invites guests to purchase five festival menu items from select locations around the park and receive a complimentary commemorative item for completing the quest (you will need a complimentary Festival Passport to collect the stamps when purchasing food, and they are available at the park entrances and most Outdoor Kitchens). Disney Parks Blog has published its Foodie Guide to the Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival and full menus are available on the web at FreshEPCOT.com.


Queen Elsa occasionally makes distanced appearances at Norway pavilion, fairly close to her topiary likeness. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

EPCOT will feature more live entertainment during the Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival too. The updated entertainment offerings listed on EPCOT’s entertainment page of DisneyWorld.com are below (check Times Guide and signs for showtimes):

Jammin’ Gardeners (Canada Mill Stage)

Tap your feet to the syncopated sounds of the funkiest gardeners around.

Voices of Liberty (America Gardens Theatre)

Get swept away by inspiring vocal performances celebrating America’s spirit and beauty.

Mariachi Cobre (America Gardens Theatre)

Enjoy an exuberant performance of world-famous, traditional folk music.

Pianist (World Showplace)

Relax and enjoy a selection of songs of the season.


An EPCOT Pianist plays the grand piano on the stage inside World Showplace several times daily. This is Carol Stein, friend of MousePlanet (and this photographer/writer), and she usually appears Sunday through Thursday.

City Beautiful Bandstand (America Gardens Theatre)

Watch bands from Orlando— known as “The City Beautiful”—perform the songs of yesterday and today. Performances are on Sunday, Monday, Friday and Saturday only.

  • EPIC! – (Pop)— March 5 to 8, April 16 to 19, & May 28 to 31

    Get ready for a true multi-generational “SuperBand” who continues their run of success—making appearances all over the world with their Concert Style high-energy show!
  • Motown in Motion (Motown / R&B)— March 19 to 22, April 30 to May 3, & June 11 to 14

    Get moving to the sounds of this power-packed, live Motown musical tribute to some of the greatest American artists of all time.
  • Vintage Vinyl Band (Vintage Pop)— March 12 to 15, April 23 to 26, & June 4 to 7

    Drop in for a spin with this unconventional top 40 cover band that specializes in retrofitting today’s hits into yesterday’s sound, while weaving in classics from the American Songbook.
  • The Hooligans (Pop)— March 26 to 29, May 7 to 10, & June 18 to 21

    Rock the night away to classic tunes ranging from the British Invasion to ‘80s pop to ‘90s alternative.
  • The Spazmatics (‘80s Pop)— April 2 to 5, May 14 to 17, & June 25 to 28

    Go wild for this band that recaptures all the best of the ‘80s. Outstanding musicianship combined with creative flair and styles make for an evening of pure energy and entertainment.
  • Latin Ambition (Latin/Pop)— April 9 to 12, May 21 to 24, & July 2 to 5

    Discover why this bilingual Latin American Party Band has received accolades and honors industry-wide for over a decade—and earning their reputation by promising energy, showmanship and diversity.

Scavenger Hunts are back as well. Guests purchase a map and then hunt around the park, and then return the completed map to designated retail locations to collect a prize. Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration requires guests to hunt for Spike the Bee. Starting March 19, the Easter-themed Egg-stravaganza Scavenger Hunt returns for a limited time as well.


Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration maps (at left) are sold at several locations around the park. Passholder merchandise is available at MouseGear.


Orange Bird merchandise is plentiful during this year’s Festival.


Figment and Minnie Mouse also appear on quite a few Festival merchandise offerings this year.


MouseGear has a large selection of Festival Merchandise and now offers a self-checkout option using the My Disney Experience app. When logged in, the app will apply Passholder and DVC Member discounts, but I could not figure out how to pay with a Disney Gift Card, only my credit card on file for Mobile Dining.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Finally, as usual, there is an assortment of Festival-themed merchandise available at MouseGear and kiosks around World Showcase. In addition to Spike the Bee, Orange Bird, Minnie Mouse and Figment are all highlighted in Festival-themed merchandise this year.

Before we move on from EPCOT, here are a few more views of the on-going transformation of the park to share.


Very little remains of Innoventions West, as the transformation of the park continues.


As we mentioned last week, the “ring” in the center of World Showcase Lagoon is hardware for the new nighttime spectacular “Harmonious” (the debut date has not been announced and, at present, there are no nighttime spectaculars presented during the resort’s phased reopening).


By day, the hardware that will be used for the nighttime “Harmonious” shows will form a fountain by day. It is too soon to say that this installation is more than a construction project.


The new pylons atop the entry plaza fountain provide some interesting photo opportunities.


Flag poles installed in the entry plaza now fly flags representing EPCOT’s six original icons.


The same icon flags fly on each side of Spaceship Earth.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.



Walt Disney Imagineering has said that the entry plaza has yet to receive its finishing touches, but last week, new flags were raised and new background music began playing in the entry. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park Has Reopened

Disney’s Blizzard Beach reopened on Sunday, March 7. The wintery-themed water park is set at a melting ski resort. As Disney tells the story, a “legendary snowstorm” prompted “local opportunists” to build a ski resort, but when temperatures returned to normal, the snow began to melt and the water park was born.


Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park reopened on Sunday, March 7, 2021, just shy of its 26th Anniversary (April 1). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The park attractions include Summit Plummet, a 120-foot-tall waterslide with a near-vertical drop. Guests may accelerate up to 65 miles per hour on the slide, comprable to Test Track at EPCOT. Cross Country Creek is one of the longest lazy rivers in the United States, taking guests on a 20-30 minute journey around the creek’s path around the park. Teamboat Springs at the park is one of the world’s longest family whitewater raft rides. The water park also includes unique family spaces such as Tike’s Peak for preschoolers and Ski Patrol Training Camp for older children and tweens. Private Polar Patios are available for daily rental as well, include unlimited towels, a refillable drink mug, fruit-infused water, a universal phone charger, a locker, and comfortable seating for 10 guests; guests at a Polar Patio may order exclusive menu options served by a patio attendant.


I attended an invited media preview at Blizzard Beach on March 4, ahead of its reopening (the attractions were not operating).


Perhaps these snow “people” inspired Olaf to love summer.


Country Creek is one of the longest lazy rivers in the United States. Winding through its course can take 20-30 minutes.


Polar Patios are available for daily rental.


Tike’s Peak is an area for preschoolers, and includes beach chairs that are their size as well as splash areas.


High atop the park is Summit Plummet, a 120-foot-tall waterslide. Florida’s first ski chairlift is available to take guests to the top (or you can climb the stairs).


The center of the park is prime “beach” territory (but it is pavement, not sand).


Disney’s Blizzard Beach is themed to the cold of a ski resort, but all of the water is heated to approximately 80º.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Dining at Disney’s Blizzard Beach was made easier for guests with the introduction of mobile ordering at Lottawata Lodge, AvaLunch and Warming Hut. The mobile order service is available in the My Disney Experience app and allows guests to order, pay for and pick up their food when it’s ready. Tropical beverages are available from Blizzard Beach’s own full-service beach bar, Polar Pub, and more food/snacks and non-alcoholic menu items are available around the park, including a plant-based Bratwurst Sandwich.


Banana Cabana is an adult beverage sold at Blizzard Beach, and includes several flavors of rum, among other liquors. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The plant-based Bratwurst is a Beyond Meat product. (I thought it was tasty, but it did not remind me of a midwestern brat.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park is operating in alignment with the health and safety measures implemented throughout Walt Disney World Resort such as enhanced cleaning, temperature checks and physical distancing. Guests (ages 2 and up) and cast members will also be required to wear face coverings while visiting Blizzard Beach. Guests may remove masks while traveling to the water slides, but masks will not be permitted in the water or on the attractions.


The Beach Haus Gift Shop is located near the park entrance. For the media preview, highlights were displayed outside the shop.


As befits its location, Beach Haus Gift Shop has a large assortment of Disney-themed beach towels available for sale.


Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park remains closed, but you can find a small selection of its merchandise available at Blizzard Beach.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Give Kids The World Village Celebrates 35 Years of Serving Families of Critically Ill Children

Give Kids The World marked its 35th anniversary this past Sunday, March 7, with the grand opening of its space-themed accessible ice cream parlor, Henri’s Starlite Scoops. Earlier this winter, the 89-acre, whimsical nonprofit resort resumed its mission of delivering happiness and hope to critically ill children and their families through weeklong, cost-free wish vacations with new health and safety protocols in place.


Henri’s Starlite Scoops is now open to serve ice cream all day, helping fulfill Give Kids The World Village’s mission of serving critically ill children and their families. Panoramic Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

“Children with critical illnesses face countless appointments, treatments and hospital stays, and they are often told ‘no’ due to the limitations of their illness. Unlimited ice cream is an important part of giving wish children and their families a week of ‘yes’ where they can forget their worries, experience joy, and spend priceless time together,” says Give Kids The World President and CEO Pamela Landwirth. “We are grateful to the many treasured partners who have made it possible for us to continue our 35-year legacy of transforming lives one precious moment at a time.”

For theme park fans, Henri’s Starlite Scoops also is a landmark to cooperation between the biggest competing operators in Central Florida: it was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with Universal Creative. The project also received support from community partners and individual donors, creating a venue with accessibility in mind. For example, ice cream is visible in custom-built 28-inch tall cases rather than traditional 34-inch cases so that all children, including those in wheelchairs, are able to pick out their favorite flavors. Lower countertops, an accessible ice cream toppings bar, and an open floor-plan also enable those in wheelchairs to easily navigate the venue and enjoy its immersive theming. The rotunda under the 30-foot flying saucer offers “false windows” looking into space. The venue is also decorated with photos and NASA memorabilia – including a space suit, moon rover, and the Give Kids The World flag which Senator John Glenn took with him on a Space Shuttle Mission.

The new venue pays tribute to the life and legacy of Give Kids The World founder Henri Landwirth. Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Henri Landwirth survived five years in Nazi death and labor camps during World War II, including Auschwitz. After immigrating to the U.S. and serving in the Army during the Korean War, he began a 50-year career in the hotel industry, rising from bellman to owner. Most notably, he managed the Starlite Motel in Cocoa Beach, FL, which served as the temporary home to the original Mercury 7 astronauts – who became Landwirth’s lifelong friends.

In 1969 he opened a Holiday Inn franchised hotel (Main Gate East) near the then-future site of Walt Disney World (which opened in 1971), where he was often asked to provide free accommodations to critically ill children on wish trips (he always said yes). With the support of his astronaut friends and through contributions from founding partners, Landwirth created Give Kids The World in 1986 to fulfill his long ago pledge to one day prevent other children from missing out on childhood as he had. Henri passed away in 2018.


Henri Landwirth had a 50-year career in the hotel industry, and founded Give Kids The World to provide cost-free vacations to critically ill children and their families. Photo Courtesy Give Kids The World.

Since Give Kids The World was established, more than 176,000 critically ill children and their families from all 50 states and 76 countries have been welcomed to Give Kids The World Village to laugh together, play together, and create unforgettable memories away from hospital stays and medical treatments. Every child whose wish is fulfilled by Give Kids The World and his or her family receives an all-inclusive stay including transportation; accommodations; donated theme park tickets; all meals and snacks; nightly entertainment; daily gifts; unique interactive experiences at the Village, a magical accessible destination all its own; and of course, unlimited ice cream…including the Village’s favorite tradition of Ice Cream For Breakfast!


Media and guests were invited to the ribbon cutting on Sunday, March 7, at Henri’s Starlite Scoops.


The custom-built ice cream cases allow kids to see the selections, even from a wheelchair.


The building was designed for maximum accessibility. (Photo Courtesy Give Kids The World.)


Seating in the rotunda under the flying saucer provides a view of “space.”


Lots of toppings are available, including several holiday offering year-round, as guests of Give Kids the World Village celebrate major holidays at the resort during their one week stay.


Originally a Mercury 7 Astronaut, Sen. John Glenn flew a Space Shuttle mission with the Give Kids the World Flag now displayed inside Henri’s Starlite Scoops.


A spaceman stands outside Henri’s (with the Claytons paying a visit for the Ribbon Cutting).


Retired U.S. Navy captain and former NASA astronaut Chris Ferguson, a veteran of three space shuttle missions and commander of the final shuttle mission which included the final landing of “Atlantis” at Kennedy Space Center spoke at the ribbon cutting. Ferguson serves on the Board of Directors for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, founded by the Mercury 7 Astronauts.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka (except as indicated).

After the ribbon cutting at Henri’s Starlite Scoops, Give Kids The World shared some of the updates coming to its Resort. The first project scheduled for completion this May is Serendipity II, the brand new themed pirate ship stage located at the Park of Dreams pool. The stage is used for outdoor entertainment events and will also include a new 16-foot by 9-foot LED screen for “Dive-In Movies.” Like other amenities at the resort, the stage will be wheelchair-accessible, and, unlike its predecessor which was made from wood and foam, is constructed of a 100% aluminum frame and gladding with Poly Gem added to create the look of wood.


“Serendipity II” is the brand new themed pirate stage being fabricated off-site to be located at the Park of Dreams pool.


A detailed model was built by the designers to show at Give Kids the World Village ahead of the planned installation later this Spring.


The masts are 74 feet tall and required FAA approval because of the Village’s proximity to an airport.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka (except as indicated).

Later this year, Mayor Clayton’s Wonderlab will be the Village’s new interactive learning center with an emphasis on crafts and technology. The venue will provide hands-on educational programming teaching a range of skills from crafts to high-tech robotics. The creation lab will be filled with 3D printers, a laser cutter, computerized sewing and embroidery machines, and other state-of-the art tools. The Wonderlab will also include an immersive gaming center with innovative accessible technology to bring gaming to kids of all ages and abilities.


Mayor Clayton’s Wonderlab is scheduled to be completed by the fourth quarter this year. Concept Art courtesy Give Kids The World Village.


Fun hands-on educational programming will be the focus of the new Wonderlab. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The biggest renovation project will take place next February: 142 of the Village’s family villas will be completely renovated over the course of just seven days. Holiday Inn Vacation Clubs Design Team has created the new look for the villa interiors. The renovation project, dubbed “Extreme Village Makeover II,” will enhance the experience enjoyed by the critically ill children and their families. The scope of this project includes:

  • Replace furniture, fixtures, electronics and small wares (80 semi-trailer loads in two days).
  • Install new carpeting in 284 bedrooms.
  • Repaint 142 villas with new color schemes.
  • Refinish cabinetry and bath tubs.
  • Install new wall-mounted Innova beds.
  • Clean and set up all villas for families.

Give Kids The World Village is a nonprofit resort located in Kissimmee, Florida. You can find more information about it and make donations on its website GKTW.org. It is rated “Four Stars” by Charity Navigator, with 90 cents of every dollar going to its mission.

Views of Magic Kingdom

This past Sunday afternoon and evening was a beautiful time to visit Magic Kingdom, with temperatures in the mid-60s dropping into the high 50s, and the park was scheduled to be open until 10 p.m.


With the Walt Disney World Railroad still not running due to construction of the TRON Lightcycle Run attraction in Tomorrowland, Main Street Station is under a refurbishment tarp.


Back in Tomorrowland, construction continues on the lattice-work for the lighted outdoor canopy for the TRON Lightcycle Run.


In Fantasyland, since my last visit, refurbishment of the exterior of it’s a small world concluded and Peter Pan is now wrapped in a construction scrim (but the attraction is open).


And, as we previously reported, the Rivers of America refurbishment has been completed, and the river refilled. The Liberty Belle once again paddles along the waterway (along its refurbished track).


In Adventureland, a new Orange Bird mural is on a wall near Sunshine Tree Terrace, where the (old version of the) Orange Bird sipper is available with Dole Whip Orange.


On the back wall above the counter at Sunshine Tree Terrace, Orange Bird stands atop a crate of oranges.


For the most part, guests do mind their physical distancing, even in the hub. So far, it does not appear that additional 50th Anniversary celebration “bling” has been added to Cinderella Castle.


As you might guess, crowds decrease as the temperatures drop. A fifteen second exposure photo at the exit of Haunted Mansion makes passersby disappear entirely!


The Main Street Firehouse has reopened as a (themed) firehouse. The Sorcerers of The Magic Kingdom game has been discontinued.

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 not at all on March 26-April 11, or 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).

A 2-Day version is available to purchase and use only through March 11 for $149/tax (add $37.50/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…

Disney Parks Blog provided a “first look” inside one of the reimagined rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Colors are “inspired by the Pacific Ocean and its many islands, including details, patterns and textures” from The Walt Disney Animation Studios film Moana (including characters from the story). While the Disney Vacation Club portion of the property continues to be operating, the hotel portion has been closed during the renovation. The Great Ceremonial House is also undergoing changes to its porte cochere; the resort’s monorail station is also closed. The Resort is now accepting hotel bookings for late July 2021 and beyond.

Polynesian Village room renovations

Polynesian Village hotel rooms new look take inspiration from the Pacific Ocean and its islands, as well as “Moana.” Photo courtesy Disney Parks.

Polynesian entry concept art

The porte cochere and monorail station at the entrance to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are being reimagined. Concept art courtesy Disney Parks.

…Walt Disney World Golf now offers wind-resistant umbrellas in its pro shops. The Haas-Jordon golf umbrellas with The Walt Disney World Golf logo on two side panels are available in six different colors and offer a 62-inch canopy. They are $59.95 each, plus tax. Through March 31, they are on-sale for 25% off the purchase of a single umbrella, or 33% off when you buy two. If you can’t get over to one of the pro shops, contact information is available on the World Disney World Golf merchandise webpage.

…In the “bad guest behavior” department, Orlando Sentinel reporter Gabrielle Russon reported this week on a number of incidents around Walt Disney World Resort in recent weeks where guests confronted Disney Cast Members in connection with Disney’s enhanced health and safety protocols. The good news seems to be, as reported in the article as well, is that most guests remain supportive of the rules: “Millions of guests visit our [Disney] theme parks each year, and in rare instances when things of this nature occur, we hold them accountable,” Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said in a statement provided to Orlando Sentinel.


The parks have lots of signs notifying guests of the enhanced health and safety rules. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…Reminder: the Passholder Extras page of DisneyWorld.com lists a few extra weekday-only perks for Passholders available now in DinoLand USA at Disney’s Animal Kingdom through March 19, 2021 (valid annual pass card and photo ID required):

  • Passholders that purchase 3 game tickets at Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasurers for Fossil Fun Games will receive a complimentary retired, non-Disney plus consolation prize (operates one hour after park opening until 4 p.m.)
  • Restaurantosaurus Lounge features 4 exclusive beverages available for purchase: Tyrannosaurus Wreck, Fossil Fuel, Pterodactyl Punch and Triceraberry Pop (open 10:30 a.m. until park close)
  • Dino-Bite Snacks offers an exclusive Donald Duck cookie for purchase (10:30 a.m. until park close)
  • The complimentary Donald Duck magnet, which started to be distributed back when last year’s EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival began but got cut short by more than a month when the parks temporarily closed in mid-March, is again available to Passholders from Park Open until 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.


Donald Duck with Spike the Bee Passholder magnet is available in DinoLand U.S.A. on weekdays until 4 p.m. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


To find magnet distribution, follow the cast members with Passholder signs past the posted signs (have your photo ID handy). File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…Reminder: Raglan Road at Disney Springs will host its annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration as “a festival like no other.” The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival – Unplugged! will run March 12-17, 2021. Reservations are available at RaglanRoad.com or call (407)938-0300.

Think more acoustic than electric. More intimate than boisterous. The same great live entertainment, with all bands imported from Ireland. The same delicious Irish food and drink. It’s the most authentic Irish celebration in America, and it’s putting safety first for guests with a reservation-only event.


“Everyone can enjoy the usual lively happenings and practiced hospitality, which includes gift competitions and loads of giveaways,” says pub co-owner John Cooke. “And it remains the best Irish hospitality experience in America.”


On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, Raglan Road will open at 10 a.m. with a $10 cover charge for guests. Reservations are strongly recommended due to limited space. Guests can book a two-hour slot to join the Raglan Road Irish Pub festivities at Disney Springs, with numbers strictly managed to guarantee social distancing is respected. This year, gathering around bars or stages will not be permitted. The pub requests that guests respect their two-hour booking to ensure that as many of Raglan Road’s loyal fans have the chance to enjoy America’s finest St. Patrick’s festival.


Raglan Road guests can sip from a huge range of Irish whiskeys, local craft beers and hand-crafted cocktails while choosing from the chef’s selection of authentic Irish dishes, including fresh-caught fish with chips. Those authentic fish & chips also are available to go at the adjacent Cooke’s of Dublin counter.


The Mighty Festival – Unplugged! entertainment lineup will begin with the Raglan Road Irish Dancers, plucked from the casts and stages of the world’s greatest Irish dance shows. This troupe of extraordinary dancers will perform throughout the festival.

…Reminder: Just beyond Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, Portillo’s Orlando now plans to open its doors on March 23. Stay tuned for those Chicago-style Hot Dogs, Italian Beef Sandwiches, Chocolate cake and more.

…Reminder: In downtown Orlando, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts “Frontyard Festival” will feature “The Music of Disney on Broadway” with Michael James Scott, Ashley Brown, Kissy Simmons and Josh Strickland, all of whom performed at past editions of the Disney on Broadway Concert Series at EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. Those concerts were not held this year as part of the “Taste of” Festival, but the performers will sing Disney favorites on March 20 at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., and on March 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets for these outdoor, physically distanced concerts, start at $25 at drphillipscenter.org.

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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.

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, including the continuing 35% discount on Disney Hotels for travel through April 17, 2021, which may be the better option for some guests traveling this spring. 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 check0in 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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