Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 20-26, 2021

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 20-26, 2021

 Writer's Note, News & Views (Combined)

With no Passholder blockouts this week, and Spring Break "season" extended park hours all week, there are no Disney Park Pass reservations available for any park for the rest of the week for Passholders and only some parks have reservations available today, tomorrow, and Thursday as of publication time. In other words, we are continuing to see a busy Spring and it looks to be a busy Summer at Walt Disney World Resort. As I noted last week, for those thinking about a last-minute visit in May or June, make those Park Pass reservations as soon as you can: most of the first week of May is now unavailable for day ticket purchasers and resort hotel guests as of publication time, with a couple more dates beyond that also showing no park reservations available for those ticket categories.

And remember, as I noted last week, while Park Hopping is still an option for those with that benefit, it begins at 2 p.m. daily (subject to change based on capacity), and guests that Park Hop over to Disney's Hollywood Studios do not have an opportunity enter the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, as its afternoon opportunity window opens at 1 p.m. (and can shut within fractions of a second as I noted a couple weeks ago, and will shut within minutes). For those interested in building your own lightsaber at Savi's Workshop, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix noticed that the price for the uncharge experience has gone up: it's now $219.99 plus tax. Reservations are available on MyDisneyExperience and and DisneyWorld.com, but remember, you also need a separate Disney Park Pass reservation to enter the park plus a valid park ticket (or a valid park hopping ticket if entering after 2 p.m. and only after having visited another park with a Disney Park Pass reservation for that park).

As always, remember, 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). Temperature checks when entering the parks and Disney Springs remain mandatory and 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 or posing for an outdoor photograph (all of which may only be done 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.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Celebrates Earth Week

Earth Day and Disney's Animal Kingdom's 23rd anniversary is April 22. All this week, as part of its "Earth Week" celebration, the park is offering special "surprise" character appearances (still socially distanced, of course), specialty food, beverage and merchandise offerings, and new character animation experiences at Conservation Station.

Disney PhotoPass Service is launching its newest "Tiny World Magic Shot" at the park this week. The new specialty photo opportunity is a 360-degree capture experience that is now available daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (weather permitting) from the Disney PhotoPass photographer located close to the exit of It's Tough to be a Bug! on the Tree of Life Trails at the base of the Tree of Life (it can be accessed either after exiting the attraction itself, or you can reach it by either the walkway across from Adventurers Outpost or the walkway next to the Africa entrance gate). Per the revised face covering policy in effect since earlier this month, guests may temporarily remove face coverings while actively taking an outdoor photo, but must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing during this time.

PhotoPass Opportunity at Animal Kingdom
DisneyPhoto Pass service has a new specialty photo opportunity in time for Earth Week. Image courtesy Disney Parks.

In the parks or at home, additional new videos and games are part of the Earth Month celebration in the My Disney Experience app.

Also as park of Earth Month, artisans transformed 40 tons of sand into a sculpture celebrating National Geographic's "Secrets of the Whales" series which begins streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day, April 22. The sculpture will be on display on the Discovery Island stage through April 30.

Disney Parks Blog shared a time lapse video of artisans transforming 40 tons of sand into a sculpture celebrating National Geographic's "Secrets of the Whales" series which begins streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day, April 22. Video courtesy Disney Parks.

And in time for Earth Month, a baby girl mandrill was born at the park on Saturday, April 10, to first-time mom Hazel and dad Linus. Cast members named the infant Ivy and joins fellow family members Olive, Scarlett, Snow, and Hazel. The baby may be spotted on Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Ivy, a baby girl mandrill, was born at Disney's Animal Kingdom on April 10, and is bonding with her mother Hazel. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.

As Earth Month continues, beyond the parks, Disney also announced that it is switching to a plastic-free packaging for some of its classic dolls.

Looking beyond Earth Month, Jeff Vahle, President of Walt Disney World shared on Instagram that the park's "A Celebration of The Festival of the Lion King" show is back in rehearsals and expects to return to performances in mid-May. As you may recall, earlier this year the park announced that show would return this summer in a modified, physically distanced format.


A post shared by Jeff Vahle (@jeffvahle)

"Fun at Home" with MousePlanet – Series Finale Tonight!

Join us tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern/4 Pacific, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, for the MousePlanet LIVE! Series Finale of our "Fun at Home" Show. We launched "Fun at Home" just over a year ago with all the Disney Parks worldwide temporarily closed for the first time ever. We shared our all things Disney chat with you weekly for six months, and we've been popping up roughly monthly since then.

With the theme parks of Disneyland Resort finally getting their phased reopening on April 30, and with the rest of the Disney Parks around the globe operating in various ways, we felt it was time to retire the "Fun at Home" series name with one last show. Sure, we'll be back from time to time with more LIVE shows, but with things hopefully heading toward full operations in the not too distant future, we'll launch new live streams around new topics.

Tune in tonight right here. If you visit this page more than a couple minutes before show time, you may need to refresh the page.

If you can't join us LIVE for this last "Fun at Home" show, feel free to enjoy a replay on your schedule on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter!

Reminder: 2021 Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets Now Available

Walt Disney World continues to offer 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 it is blocked out 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…

Disney Parks Blog noted that Magic Kingdom cast members celebrated the arrival of Disney fan Don Muchow as he is believed to be the first person to ever run from Disneyland Resort to Walt Disney World Resort last week. He began the 2,761-mile-long journey back in February, running approximately 30 miles each day, in an effort to raise awareness for Type 1 diabetes.

…As the Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival continues into the summer, Disney Parks Blog shared its list of the top 10 picks for adults at the Festival.

…Earlier this month, Disney Cruise Line shared that the first of its three new ships entering into service in the next several years reached an important milestone when Disney Wish had its traditional keel laying ceremony: the first block (section of the ship) was lowered into the building dock, with a newly minted coin placed under the keel for good fortune. Next Thursday, April 29, DCL will unveil never-before-released details of the ship, including the new spaces and experiences coming when expected sailings begin in Summer 2022. The 30-minute video entitled "Once Upon a Disney Wish," will be shown live on Disney Parks Blog on Thursday, April 29 at 11 a.m. Eastern. The page asks guests to "register" for the event and those that do get access to a complimentary digital wallpaper image.

Disney Cruise Line will reveal its newest ship, "Disney Wish" next Thursday on Disney Parks Blog. The ship is expected to begin sailing in Summer 2022. Video courtesy Disney Parks.

…And, for those looking for DCL merchandise, a new pop-up shop is now open at Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs through September.

…Finally, Josh D'Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, announced last week that it is expanding the company's longstanding tradition of The Four Keys – Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency – which guide its approach to customer service by the addition of a fifth key: the key of Inclusion. Like The Four Keys before them, "The 5 Keys – with Inclusion at the heart – will continue to guide us as we interact with guests, collaborate together, create the next generation of Disney products and experiences, and make critical decisions about the future of our business." The change that may be most visible to park guests, Disney will offer more "flexibility with respect to forms of personal expression surrounding gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles, and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos."

Josh D'Amaro says, "Inclusion is essential to our culture and leads us forward as we continue to realize our rich legacy of engaging storytelling, exceptional service, and Disney magic." Video courtesy Disney Parks.

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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!

Get Away Today Logo

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.