Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 27 - May 3, 2021

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 27 - May 3, 2021

 Writer's Note, News & Views (Combined)

As I have been noting in recent editions of the Walt Disney World Resort Update, Disney Park Pass reservations, which are now required for visiting the theme parks, are getting scarce. While spots open back up as cancellations occur, as of publication, there are no Passholder reservations for any parks the rest of this week, or on the first several weekends of May. There are limited Resort guest and Day guest ticket reservations available today and tomorrow; no Resort guest or Day ticket reservations after that through May 16, and with scattered unavailability beyond that, including no dates before July 9 when guests have their choice of all four parks. As I have been saying, it looks to be a busy Summer at Walt Disney World Resort!

Park Hopping is still an option for those with that benefit, but remember that it begins at 2 p.m. daily (subject to change based on capacity). Unlike what Disneyland plans for its April 30 phased reopening, Walt Disney World Park Hoppers arriving at 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).

In the meantime, preparations around the Resort continue ahead of its 50th anniversary, October 1. This week, when returning home (which is north of the Resort) from my second COVID-19 vaccination appointment in Kissimmee (which is south of Walt Disney World Resort), I noticed that the entry gateway arch on FL-536/EPCOT Center Drive is getting its new paint scheme. As a comparison below, a few weeks back when I came back home from my first vaccination appointment in Kissimmee, I photographed the then-nearly completed gateway on World Center Drive. By the way, yes, I am lending my voice to those that say that if you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, get vaccinated!

The resort gateway arch on the road from FL-536 to EPCOT Center Drive is getting its new paint scheme. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The new resort gateway arch color scheme appears at other entry points, like on World Center Drive. The colors compliment the new paint scheme on Magic Kingdom's parking toll plaza and Cinderella Castle. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As CDC, Florida, and Orange County health and safety guidelines change, be aware that Walt Disney World may or may not change policies at the same time (in my experienced opinion, Disney likely will be slower to change). Walt Disney World Resort is, after all, private property, and, indeed, it even sits within its own special governmental zone under Florida Law: Reedy Creek Improvement District. At publication time, I expect some health and safety guidelines may change nationally and/or locally by the time you read this, so be absolutely certain to check the My Disney Experience or DisneyWorld.com just ahead of any planned visit for last minute changes to rules or other phased reopening operations that may impact your visit. As of publication and, until further official notice, Disney's enhanced health and safety protocols remain in place: park attendance remains limited by caps below maximum park capacity (35% was the last official cap level announced); temperature checks are mandatory when entering the parks, Disney Springs, and certain other locations; guests on Disney property, and, particularly in the parks, resort hotels, and at Disney Springs, must properly wear face coverings except when stationary while eating, drinking or posing for an outdoor photograph.

Updated Role For Trader Sam Coming to The Jungle Cruise

As regular readers and Disney Parks fans know, The Jungle Cruise at both Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and at Disneyland is undergoing an update with new scenes that will become part of a new "interconnected" story that builds on the original. Disney Parks Blog provided some details of the update last month, and yesterday, provided details of Trader Sam's updated role.

In his updated role, Trader Sam will be manager of the new "Lost & Found" location, but, naturally, he's converted it to a gift shop furthering his reputation as "best merchant in the jungle." As with the other updates coming to The Jungle Cruise, the animals get the last laugh.

The rendering shared by Disney Parks Blog makes it pretty certain that the scene is not an actual gift shop guests will get to visit, and, so far, Disney has not shared a rendering of Trader Sam's appearance. The enhancements and updates are expected to appear on the attraction later this year.

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway Sweepstakes Underway Until May 3

Celebrating Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway which debuted at Disney's Hollywood Studios just weeks before the global pandemic closed the temporary closure of the resort, residents of the the 50 United States, District of Columbia, and Canada (but not Quebec and not where otherwise prohibited) now have a chance to win a 5-day/4-night Walt Disney World Resort vacation. The entry period ends May 3, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Visit disneymmrrsweepstakes.com for details and your chance to enter. Obviously, this is Disney's sweepstakes and not ours, so please direct your questions to Disney.

Reminder: 2021 Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets Remain 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…

…Following a long refurbishment, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover at Magic Kingdom reopened this weekend. I hope to have a ride soon and will share its latest views of the TRON Lightcycle Run construction when I do.

Disney Parks Blog published its Foodie Guide to Mother's Day at Disney Parks featuring specialty food and beverage available at Disney Parks and Resorts around the globe celebrating Mother's Day, May 9. The specialty items are available for varied limited dates.

…About 60 miles east of Walt Disney World (rather close to the Disney Cruise Line home port, Port Canaveral), Space X and NASA launched a Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon module atop just before dawn on Friday. Disney stationed its photographers in Tomorrowland and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and captured some stunning photos.

…And speaking of Disney Cruise Lines… ahead of the upcoming Thursday, April 29th 30-minute virtual presentation entitled "Once Upon a Disney Wish" featuring the creative team and Walt Disney Imagineers working on DCL's newest ship, Disney Wish, Disney Parks Blog has launched a new section entitled "Everything Disney Wish." The new site includes videos, images, and other behind-the-scenes peeks about the new ship. DCL expects sailings begin in Summer 2022.

…In an apparent sign that business is picking up as things open up, for its restaurants at Disney Springs, Patina Restaurant Group is offering a $500 sign on bonus to new back of house cooks and a $300 sign on bonus to new front of house employees (excluding service staff). It will hold an in-person job fair at Morimoto Asia this Thursday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. online job listings are also available on its parent company's website. At Disney Springs, Patina operates Morimoto Asia, The Edison, Maria & Enzo's Ristorante, Enzo's Hideaway Tunnel Bar, and Pizza Ponte. The sign on offer does not extend to other Patina restaurant locations which, at some at yet unannounced point, will include Space 220 at EPCOT.

…Looking a little further ahead, May 15 is World Whiskey Day and, to celebrate, from May 12-15, our friends at Raglan Road at Disney Springs will feature a $25 special flight ($45 value) of small-batch, premium, limited-release whiskeys from Ireland, Japan, Scotland, and the United States. We have been invited to a preview on May 12, and we'll share more details in May. Of course, Raglan Road always features a long list of whiskeys on its menu as the Irish claim to have invented it.

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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. 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, 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.

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.