Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 29 - July 5, 2021by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 29 - July 5, 2021
Writer's Note, News & Views (Combined)
Even as I finalized last week's Update very early Tuesday morning (late Monday night), we knew that Walt Disney World Resort was going to make announcements after our publication regarding the "World's Most Magical Celebration", the 18-month event marking the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort starting October 1. Sure enough, Disney used its network's ABC-TV "Good Morning America" to make entertainment announcements for the event. By Tuesday afternoon, we added a quick recap of those details to our Update. We'll recap them again here with additional detail and some historical context, and Disney's full recap is available on Disney Parks Blog.
Resort-wide pandemic-related policies continue to ease. Earlier this month, face coverings became option for fully vaccinated guests and cast members in most outdoor locations around the Resort. Vaccinated guests have also been able to opt to go maskless in indoor locations (except Disney Transportation) for a few weeks, and, by this weekend, vaccinated cast members were given the same option. Remember that the latest information that may impact your visit can be found on this page of resort-wide policies of Walt Disney World. As I have previously noted, the State of Florida does not permit businesses to request proof of vaccination, and Disney is honoring that by stating: "While we do not require proof of vaccination, we expect Guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations and upon entering and throughout all attractions and transportation."
While there are still signs reminding guests to physically distance, attractions have been removing the previously-installed barriers between parties as well as the enhanced queue partitions and ground markings. Ride vehicles and shows are being loaded where separate parties may be seated right next to each other again.
It would not be surprising if there were more announcements after publication again today. Independence Day is just ahead and we have not yet seen Disney share its celebration plans. The other Orlando theme parks have restored some of their bigger entertainment offerings and Universal has become the first to announce the return of a full parade. With the Disney parks increasingly crowded again, it would sure be welcome to have more in-park offerings for guests to enjoy. Stay tuned.
As I regularly remind you at this time of year, if you are headed to Central Florida or along the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, it is Tropical Storm season and, indeed, we are getting into rainy season. Some rain daily is just about the norm at this time of year, and showers can pop up quickly. The bigger storms that get extra scrutiny from meteorologists, so far, have not been forecasted to head toward Walt Disney World Resort, but Tropical Storm Danny currently is taking aim at the Carolinas, so if you are up that way, please pay attention to local weather reports and the authorities. And, again, if you have not been vaccinated and you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, do yourself and the rest of us a favor: get vaccinated. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
Daily storms are pretty much the norm in Central Florida in Summer. The forecast had this afternoon rain storm tracking much further south of Walt Disney World Resort than it actually did. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Reimagination Underway at Disney's Contemporary Resort
Anyone who has ridden the monorail through Disney's Contemporary Resort lately has seen indications of the extensive refurbishment underway in the nearly 50 year old main hotel tower this year. This week, Disney Parks Blog showed a first look at one of the reimagined guest rooms.
All nine floors of guest rooms are being refurbished. The new room décor debuting this fall "will blend a sleek Monorail motif with some favorite characters from Pixar Animation Studios' Incredibles films, including Jack-Jack, Frozone and Edna Mode." Guest rooms will feature new custom art, corridors will be modern, futuristic, and, according to Disney "oh so stylish, dahling, complementing the resort's architecture while putting the Supers' powers on display." The rooms in the Garden Wing will be refurbished when the tower rooms are complete. Public comments posted on Disney Parks Blog as of our publication were fairly negative on this new look, but you can judge for yourself with the photos released by Disney and republished below.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
The hotel's lobby will also include a collection of both modern art pieces and historical, "behind-the-scenes photographs of Disney's Contemporary Resort" from back when it was in development and under construction. The lobby restaurant, The Wave... of American Flavors will close to make way for a "reimagined dining experience in time for the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration." It is doubtful that the space will resemble the sprawling arcade guests of the hotel's early years enjoyed.
Views of Disney's Animal Kingdom
This past week, I made a Disney Park Pass reservation for and visited Disney's Animal Kingdom. Further easing of the pandemic-related resort policies were evident throughout the park.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
This & That…
…Disney Vacation Club Members need to be aware that some technology system upgrades will cause downtime for Member-facing systems (online and telephone) starting at 10 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, July 17 and continuing until the project's expected completion on Tuesday July 20, 2021. Members will not be able to book reservations, bank points, make dues/loan/escrow payment, start or finalize ad-on membership purchases, or access other areas of the DVC website that require logging in, including the Member Dashboard. Members should still be able to check-in or out of previously booked rooms, access the DVC Lounge at EPCOT, purchase park tickets and make theme park and dining reservations online. Guests who rely on a digital Member Card for benefits should download a new version prior to July 17, 2021 at 10 p.m. Eastern.
…Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney Cruise Line has delayed plans to perform a test sailing of Disney Dream from Port Canaveral as part of its efforts to receive a conditional sailing certificate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because there are no vaccines for children under 12, an important demographic for DCL voyages, Disney has opted to attempt a simulated sailing to obtain its conditional sail order rather than attempt to sail with 98% crew and 95% passengers fully vaccinated. It is unclear whether this will impact Disney's future plans, as a Federal Judge granted a preliminary injunction against CDC enforcement of its sailing rules, effective July 18.
…News 13 reports that "Disney on Ice" will return to Orlando's Amway Center September 3-5, 2021, with "Mickey's Search Party." Tickets will go on sale for July 27 for "preferred customers" and general public ticket sales begin August 3. Tickets may be purchased at Amway Center or Ticketmaster.
…REMINDER: Starting July 16, Disney+ subscribers can view all ten episodes of "Behind the Attraction," a new original series looking behind the scenes of attractions and destinations at Disney Parks and Resorts around the world. The series, narrated by Paget Brewster, promises "archival and never-before-seen footage and photographs" of the development and refinement of attractions over the years from The Jungle Cruise to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The series also includes rare interviews with Walt Disney, Disney Legends, and past and present Imagineers including Bob Weis, Jeanette Lomboy, Kim Irvine, Scott Trowbridge, Tom Fitzgerald, Scot Drake, Carmen Smith, and Joe Rohde.
The full 10-episode "Behind the Attraction" series debuts on Disney+ on July 16. Image Courtesy Disney Parks Blog.
…REMINDER: The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will return Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30 offering an outdoor festival featuring unlimited food tastings from the resorts culinary team and wine, beer and other sips from around the world. Overnight packages and event-only tickets are now available at FoodAndWineClassic.com. Overnight packages start at $580; event-only ticket options are $165/person (including tax and service fees). Reservations are also available in the resort's new tower, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve.
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Resort Reservations, 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 continues to offer Florida Resident ticket specials with savings up to 40% on 4-day, 1-park tickets. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for more information and availability (which varies by date). Florida proof of residency required, and there is now a way to provide it electronically.
Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels are recognizing educators and first responders by offering them special hotel rates. To honor their hard work, the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels which include B RESORT & SPA, DOUBLE TREE SUITES BY HILTON, HILTON ORLANDO BUENA VISTA PALACE, HILTON ORLANDO LAKE BUENA VISTA, HOLIDAY INN, and WYNDHAM GARDEN INN LAKE BUENA VISTA, are giving them an exclusive offer starting at $79 per night for travel between now and July 14, 2021, if booked by July 10. The special rates include Bus Shuttle to the parks, a "Passport to Savings" booklet with discounts and specials from Disney Springs merchants, and advance tee times at Walt Disney World Golf Courses. For more information, restrictions, and to book, visit the Disney Springs Hotels official website.
Walt Disney World Resort Summer Room Offer for Select Disney Resort hotels provides savings up to 25% on rooms for stays most nights through September 29, 2021.
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. More details are here. 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!
Be sure to check out Get Away Today's Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers too.