Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 5-11, 2021

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 5-11, 2021

 Writer's Note & News (Combined)

I hope you safely welcomed in 2021 in good health. Though Walt Disney World Resort did so without its traditional live fireworks displays or in-park parties well-past midnight, many of my neighbors between my house and Magic Kingdom seemed to more than compensate by filling the sky with lots of colorful (if not entirely legal) displays. With the COVID-19 pandemic not showing signs of abating, but the first rounds of vaccines being administered to first responders and those over 65 years old in Central Florida, perhaps there's a great big beautiful tomorrow, not too too far down the line.

In the meantime, Walt Disney World Resort continues to operate under its phased reopening health and safety protocols, including guest temperature checks, limited park capacity requiring guest use of the Disney Park Pass System to reserve a park visit (plus a valid ticket), heightened cleaning especially of high-touch areas, physical distancing, and enforced mandatory face coverings (except when eating and/or drinking while stationary and physically distanced from others not in your party). The newest "phase" that became operative for the Resort on January 1, of course, was the return of Park Hopping in a modified form. Guests must still have a date-specific Disney Park Pass Reservation to visit a specific park, and must actually visit that park on that date, but they then may Park Hop, subject to capacity limits, starting at 2 p.m. or such other time that Disney indicates in My Disney Experience or on DisneyWorld.com like here.


As the end of 2020 approached, EPCOT debuted its new entry plaza fountain which also includes new nighttime lighting. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.

The scaled-down "Taste of" EPCOT International Festival of the Arts gets underway this Friday, January 8, and runs daily through February 22. Live entertainment will not include the Disney on Broadway Concert Series, but: Voices of Liberty will take to the stage daily at America Gardens Theatre with a brand-new showcase—the Disney Songbook, Art Defying Gravity will be back this year with their "thrilling strength acts defying gravity and imagination" at World Showplace, on Thursdays through Sundays Visual Art in Performance will also take the stage in World Showplace, the EPCOT Pianist will be on another stage daily in World Showplace (including our friend Carol Stein), JAMMitors will perform daily at Canada pavilion's Mill Stage, and Chalk Art will be created in Future World East. The popular walk-in photo opportunities will be back too, as will the "Food Studios" celebrating cullinary arts, shopping opportunities, and even some interactive experiences like the paint-by-number mural.

I am not yet sure which day I will get over to sample this version of the Festival (and whether it will be as an invited media guest or as a Passholder), but, one way or another, and weather cooperating, I'll have photos and, perhaps, video to share on social media before our next Update and more in the Update. Maybe I'll even try out the new version of Park Hopping too. And, looking ahead, the Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival begins March 3.

2021 Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets Now Available

Yesterday, Disney announced its new 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 January 16-18, February 13-15, 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 (but not January 16-18 or February 13-15) 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…

…REMINDER: Starting today, January 5, 2021, Disney Vacation Club Members that book 4-night or more room reservations for arrivals through September 25, 2021, that also buy a non-discounted 4-day Walt Disney World theme park ticket will receive 2 extra days added to your ticket. The offer is valid for number of guests on Member’s eligible room reservation and the park tickets must be purchased in advance through Member Services. Like many DVC offers, this one requires that the Member be eligible for Membership Extras (own at least a specified number of points purchased directly from DVC as of a certain date). The park tickets will be valid for admission beginning on date selected as start date and must be used within a limited number of days, depending on ticket length and type. And, of course, until further notice, Disney Park Pass reservations are still required for the dates Members and their guests plan to use their tickets, and those reservations remain limited and subject to availability.

…REMINDER: Starting today, like the DVC ticket offer, as Disney Parks Blog announced, guests can receive two additional days park admission when they buy a non-discounted four-night/three-day room and ticket package at select Disney Resort hotels for arrivals most nights January 8 through September 25, 2021. Details are published on this page of DisneyWorld.com. (See more from our friends at Get Away Today below. Remember, that offer applies to non-discounted hotel stays; separately, Annual Passholders can save up to 40% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights January 3 through April 17, 2021; and there are also some remaining 35% discount opportunities for the general public for the same time period.

…Walt Disney World Golf has introduced Robo-Cart to the 9-hole Disney's Oak Trail course, and the 18-hole Magnolia and Palm golf courses. The robotic cart that uses GPS and Bluetooth transports players' clubs around the course, following a player that attaches a clip-on transmitter. The cart is supposed to follow a few paces behind a player and stops when the player stops with a maximum speed of approximately 7 miles per hour. The Robo-Cart is also equipped with a beverage cooler, cup holder, sand bottle, and a USB port for smartphone charging. The GPS screen on the cart provides the sort of yardage information typically avaialbe on full-size riding golf carts. Robo-Cart rental is $10 in addition to green fees. On Saturday or Sunday mornings, tee times booked at least six days in advance get a 10 discount on green fees by the way (before 11:30 a.m.). More information and tee time booking is available at golfwdw.com.

… D23, the Official Disney Fan Club, last week released details of the Gold Member Collector Set, which will be sent to Gold and Gold Duo Members who join or renew their Gold Membership in 2021. The set, packed with nostalgia for Walt Disney World Resort fans, was detailed by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix in our Disneyland Resort Update yesterday. You can read more about it by following D23's Twitter post below.

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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.

Disney accepts Resort Hotel reservations for 2021, and our travel partner Get Away Today is available to help you book rooms and packages. Get Away Today can also assist you with the new Walt Disney World Resort offer we mentioned several times over the last few weeks that becomes available today: 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, we will leave everything as is, and keep our eyes peeled for future promotions that could save guests more.

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