Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 15-21, 2020

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 15-21, 2020

Writer's Note & News (Combined)

To those who celebrate, Happy Hanukkah!

As you may expect, we have no major news from Walt Disney World Resort this week. Hopefully, as the COVID-19 vaccines are now getting rolled out across the U.S.A., there is the possibility that at some point in 2021, if enough folks are vaccinated and the spread of the disease is curbed, conditions may allow the the return of broader operations around the Resort, hopefully, in time for its 50th anniversary in October. In the meantime, the scaled-down holidays celebrations continue with Disney's health and safety protocols. Remember, if you decide to visit, be sure to check the latest news about travel restrictions, and, if you are planning to visit the parks, be sure to make your Disney Park Pass date-specific reservations in addition to having your tickets before you arrive. You will be required to wear a face covering in just about all public areas (except when stationary while dining) or you will be asked to leave.

QUICK UPDATE ADDED AT NOON EASTERN: This morning, Disney shared that, starting December 20, the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue’s afternoon opening will be at 1 p.m. instead of 2 p.m. Your entire party must be in the park when attempting to get a boarding group assigned by the afternoon distribution. The 7 a.m. virtual queue opening remains unchanged, and you can attempt to get a boarding group from anywhere you have Internet access to use the My Disney Experience app. Note that whenever you attempt to join the virtual queue, you must have a Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney's Hollywood Studios for the date in question; when the modified version of Park Hopping begins on January 1, only those guests with Disney Park Pass reservations for Studios for that date will be eligible to join the virtual queue. In other words, Park Hoppers that started the day with a visit to a different park using the Disney Park Pass reservation system will NOT be able to join the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

As a Disney Vacation Club Member for more than two decades, I am disappointed to report that DVC has only published a boilerplait "highlights" statement from its annual members and board meeting held at Disney's Contemporary Resort Convention Center on December 10, 2020. DVC had solicited online member questions ahead of the meeting, and, as of our publication, it has not publicly responded to my questions, nor any others regarding the substantial increases to dues shown in the 2021 budgets circulated ahead of the meeting. Hopefully, some further information and highlights will be forthcoming, and I am going to reach out to Disney spokespeople for comments if there is no further publication by DVC by the time the 2021 dues statements are posted to member accounts on December 17. The pro forma "highlights" statement in its entirety is:

The meeting was held on December 10, 2020, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Convention Center. Board Directors present were Terri Schultz, Shannon Sakaske, Yvonne Chang, Leigh Anne Nieman, and Mahmud Dhanani. Also in attendance was Elizabeth Healy, Treasurer for the Associations, and Karen Grip, Voting Representative.

Budgets were presented for the 2021 annual dues. Please refer to your notice of the meetings and the proposed 2021 budget sent to you for specific information regarding the resorts at which you own.

As there was no further business to be brought before the Associations, the meeting was adjourned. All of us at Disney Vacation Club wish you a wonderful holiday season!

As we look ahead to 2021, this week, EPCOT released additional details about the scaled-down "Taste of" EPCOT International Festival of the Arts running January 8 through February 22, 2021. Like the other "Taste of" Festival offerings, some parts of the full Festival will be back, and some will be altered during the park's continued "phased opening," to promote physical distancing during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Some of the staples returning for the 2021 version of the Festival of the Arts include:

  • More than 100 Disney and visiting artists will display their work
  • There will be interactive experiences such as a larger-than-life paint-by-number mural and to draw favorite Disney characters
  • Guests can step into famous works of art in special photo ops around the park
  • "Art Defying Gravity" will perform their "strength acts" inside World Showplace
  • "Visual Art in Performance" inside World Showplace will also feature "a high-energy, onstage visual artist who paints favorite Disney characters before your eyes in just a matter of minutes
  • Food Studios will feature "art-inspired" menus
  • Figment's Brush With the Masters scavenger hunt and other merchandise opportunities will be available as well

This year, a new "Vibrante & Vívido Food Studio" will be located between France and Morocco pavilions, featuring chilled seafood cocktail with octopus, scallops, shrimp, black garlic aïoli, tomato coconut sauce and serrano lime oil. It will also offer Blue Corn Pupusa stuffed with cheese and topped with shredded pork, guajillo and árbol chile sauce, cabbage slaw and aji amarillo crema. Like the Cookie Stroll during the Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, the "Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine," provides guests the opportunity to use their Festival Passport "as a guide to purchase five vibrant food items and receive a complimentary, tasty technicolor treat."

Instead of the "Disney on Broadway Concert Series," the Voices of Liberty will perform at America Gardens Theatre with a brand-new showcase of songs from "The Disney Songbook." As Disney Parks Blog says, "the ensemble will perform Disney songs and celebrate the artistry of Disney composers and lyricists," running from "When You Wish Upon a Star" to "Let It Go."

And, as we continue to look ahead toward the Resort's 50th anniversary, and the on-going transformation of EPCOT, last week, the first of five floating platforms that will be part of "Harmonious," the new nighttime spectacular coming to EPCOT, was moved into position in World Showcase Lagoon to begin testing of its onboard show equipment. When completed, the platforms will create a fountain by day and, at night, will become part of one of the largest nighttime shows ever created for a Disney park.

The first of five floating platforms that will be part of the new nighttime "Harmonious" spectacular and will operate as part of a daytime fountain was moved into position in World Showcase Lagoon. Photo Courtesy Disney Parks.

The new platforms will provide a new look to World Showcase Lagoon by both day and night. Photo Courtesy Disney Parks.

Join Us For Fun at Home Show #31

Walt Disney Company announced a whole bunch of new content in development in its various businesses, including a whole lot of Star Wars, Marvel, and more. The MousePlanet Contributors will join together in our next "Fun at Home" LIVE show tomorrow night, Wednesday, December 16, starting at 8:30 p.m. Eastern/5:30 Pacific to discuss what's planned, and we'll cover any late-breaking Disney news too.

Watch MousePlanet LIVE! Fun at Home Show #31 which we will present tomorrow night, Wednesday, December 16. You may need to refresh this page if you're here before show time, and a replay will be available after the show concludes.

This & That…

…Passholders visiting the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays in the evenings can get 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages when using cashless payment at select EPCOT Holiday Kitchens through December 31, 2020. The list of participating locations is available on the Passholder Special Offers page of DisneyWorld.com, but remember, it never hurts to ask! The Passholder Special Offers page also lists some limited-time merchandise discounts at Disney owned-and-operated locations around the Resort, as well as a reminder that there are kiosks located in Tomorrowland Light & Power Co. at Magic Kingdom and the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs where Passholders can purchase customizable and Passholder-exclusive merchandise. Passholders can also save up to 40% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights January 3 through April 17, 2021.

Disney Parks Blog is offering a one-time-only opportunity to stream a special LIVE performance by the Voices of Liberty at EPCOT tonight, December 15, beginning at 6:10 p.m. Eastern. Dressed in their Dickens Carolers attire, Voices of Liberty will perform some of their holiday harmonies LIVE from America Gardens Theatre, as they have been and will continue to perform there through the end of the year during the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. Visit the Blog and refresh its home page before 6:10 p.m. Eastern to view the stream.

…Enjoy a replay of one of last year's performances of Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime fireworks from Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom, thanks to this new Disney Parks Blog post which includes promotion for the new Disney+ series "Godmothered." Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests currently can tune to Channel 74 for nightly viewings of these fireworks at 6:30, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. as well as the EPCOT International Festival of Holidays – "Candlelight Processional" – at 5, 7 and 9 p.m.

Last year Magic Kingdom debuted its new Minnie's Wonderful Christmastime fireworks during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. This video is presented by Disney’s "Godmothered," a holiday comedy starring Isla Fisher and Jillian Bell, streaming on Disney+ and is courtesy Disney Parks.

…Need last-minute holiday gift ideas? Disney Parks Blog has a bunch of Disney Springs suggestions, and even more on its Disney Springs Virtual Gift Guide on Instagram.

…REMINDER: Disney Parks Blog has published a 2020 Holiday Gift Guide which highlights Disney merchandise, including many parts of its family of businesses, from Marvel, to PIXAR, and Star Wars (including The Mandalorian) and beyond.

…REMINDER: Wine Bar George at Disney Springs is once again offering a $10 bonus gift card for each $100 gift card purchased at the restaurant through December 31.

…REMINDER: Patina Restaurant Group, which operates Morimoto Asia Orlando, The Edison, Maria & Enzo's Ristorante, Enzo's hideaway Tunnelbar, and Pizza Ponte at Disney Springs, is offering a $30 digital bonus card with the purchase of every $100 e-gift card purchased through December 31, 2020. Terms and Conditions, plus a full list of participating locations (which include Downtown Disney District locations but NOT EPCOT restaurants), is available on this page of its website, where you can also purchase the e-gift cards.

…And, as a gift idea foodies or looking ahead to early 2021, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is now offering tickets its three food and beverage events coming up January 16, February 7 and February 27, 2021. On January 16 and February 27, the Food & Wine Classic: A Taste of Swan and Dolphin will be offered from 5:30-8:00 p.m., including 10 food stations from the hotel's award-winning restaurants and more than 50 beverage offerings (unlimited food and beverage tastings, including dessert selections from the hotel's world champion pastry chef, Laurent Branlard), and live entertainment. On Sunday, February 7, the resort will debut its "Big Game Tailgate Watch Party," at 6:00 p.m.: starting 30 minutes prior to kickoff and through the end of the game, attendees can watch all the action, enjoy seven food stations and unlimited craft beer and wine. Event-only tickets can be purchased online at SwanDolphinFoodAndWineClassic.com for $110 per person. Room packages start at $359 and include event access for two adults. To book, call 1-888-828-8850 between 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. weekdays; 5:00 p.m. on weekends. Events are limited to those 21 years and older. Health and safety protocols for the events include: temperature checks at the entrance; plexiglass walls for all food service areas; all cast members wearing PPE; socially distanced event space; seating available to accommodate each party at their own table; touchless menus and clearly marked social distancing signage.

…On the west end of Walt Disney World Resort property, development at the Disney-owned Flamingo Crossing Town Center is moving forward. Orlando Sentinel has a rundown of the local and national retailers/dining locations signed up so far to be a part of this shopping and dining complex along with the additional non-Disney hotels under construction that will join the two existing hotels already open.

Give Kids the World Village's Night of a Million Lights Holiday Spectacular Runs Nightly Through January 3, 2021

The Give Kids the World Village Night of a Million Lights Holiday Spectacular continues nightly through January 3, 2021. As we have noted in recent weeks, Walt Disney World Resort donated over 3 million lights to the non-profit resort that provides wish-granting, no-cost stays to critically ill children and their families. Because the resort had to close to wish families when the pandemic began, the organization decided to create this immersive, walk-through holiday light event to raise funds for its mission while brining the spirit of the season to visitors.

The Village is located near Walt Disney World Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, roughly a half an hour drive from Magic Kingdom (and less time from the Disney's Animal Kingdom Resort area). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka

Walt Disney World Resort donated over 3 million lights to Give Kids the World Village. As now decorated, the Village now brings to mind the former Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios, but on an even larger scale (though without the programmed, synchronized "dancing"). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Local businesses, including several of the other Central Florida attractions, decorated 33 individual villas around the Resort. The display opened to the public on Friday, November 13. Date-specific, timed entry tickets are available on the Give Kids The World website at GKTW.org/lights. Most of the Village's wheelchair-accessible attractions are also available at no cost, including The Enchanted Carousel, Marc's Dino Putt, Kelly's Sunny Swing, and Lori's Magical Flight – all elaborately decorated for the holidays. Complimentary hot cocoa and ice cream are served throughout each evening. In addition, guests can visit the Village's most iconic venue, the Castle of Miracles – featuring a mysterious forest, a wishing well that burps, a magic tree that makes pillows, and more. The Castle is highlighted by thousands of stars that fill the ceiling and the adjoining Star Tower, each placed in honor of a wish child who has visited the Village.

Proceeds from the event support Give Kids The World's mission to provide wish vacations for critically ill children and their families. When wish-granting organizations receive a request from a critically ill child who wants to visit any of the world-class theme parks Central Florida has to offer, Give Kids The World fulfills the wish – providing each child and his/her family with a magical week-long stay at absolutely no cost. Each family receives transportation, accommodations in one of the Village's 166 storybook villas, all meals and snacks, nightly entertainment, tickets to Orlando's world-class theme parks and attractions, and priceless experiences at the Village. Since 1986, Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 176,000 families from 50 states and more than 76 countries.

File Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Give Kids the World Village Night of a Million Lights Holiday Spectacular is underway. During the Media Preview night, we steamed live from Give Kids the World Village. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

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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.

With Disney now accepting Resort Hotel reservations for 2020 and 2021, our travel partner Get Away Today is available to help you book rooms and packages. Disney has resumed new park ticket sales, but, at present and for the foreseeable future, requires guests to use the Disney Parks Pass System to reserve dates for guest park visits in addition to having a valid admission.

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Get Away Today can help you book the newly released 35% discounted Disney hotel stays for travel in early 2021! One of the HUGE benefits of booking with Get Away Today is its price monitoring that comes automatically when anyone books their Walt Disney World Resort vacation with Get Away today. Once this new rates became available, for example, they automatically applied it to all of its guests with qualifying packages. Some guests saved over $2,000 - just like that!

Here is an idea of what to expect for pricing:

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort (moderate)
November 15-20, 2020
Tickets: 2 Adults and 3 Child (ages 3-9) 4-Day Base Walt Disney World Tickets
Total cost: $3,581.97 with 'Magic is Here' Offer (regular price $3,933.53 - $351.56 savings)

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort (moderate)
Dates: January 25 - 31, 2021
Tickets: 4 adult 4-Day Base Walt Disney World Tickets
Total cost: $3,029.60 with Special Savings Offer (regular price $3,303.76 - $274.16 savings)

Disney's All-Star Movies Resort (value)
Dates: February 10-16, 2021
Tickets: 2 adult 4-Day Base Walt Disney World Tickets
Total cost: $2,018.58 with Special Savings Offer (regular price $2,217.86 - $199.28 savings)

Disney's Yacht Club Resort (deluxe)
Dates: February 10-16, 2021
Tickets: 2 adult 4-Day Base Walt Disney World Tickets
Total cost: $4,019.42 with Special Savings Offer (regular price $5,407.60 - $1,388.18 savings)

You can see more examples on its website.

When you know what price range you are thinking about, call 855-GET-AWAY during regular business hours (Monday - Friday 9am-5pm MT) and tell them MousePlanet sent you!

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). As prices go up, it becomes even more important to pay heed: 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.

Save on WDW Tickets with Get Away Today

Only purchase Disney theme park tickets directly from Disney, an authorized seller, or a travel agency like MousePlanet travel partner Get Away Today!

You can get a vacation quote from Get Away Today here.

Checkout Get Away Today's Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers too.

Get Away Today Universal Orland Resort Ticket Offer

Get Away Today has created a new combo package for those looking to visit both Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort. Visit this link for more information about the possible savings.



  1. By Andoski

    Hi Alan, a quick correction for the update.

    ...starting December 20, the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance virtual queue’s afternoon opening will be at 1 p.m. instead of 2 p.m. Your entire party must be in the park when attempting to get a boarding group assigned by the afternoon distribution.

    This is not true. Your entire party must have entered the park by 1pm in order to get an afternoon boarding group, but you don't have to still be in the park to do so. The app cares about your ticket media status, NOT about your physical location. If you spend the morning in DHS and then leave the park for lunch/nap/etc, you can still join the virtual queue at 1pm.

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