Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 8-15, 2021

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 8-15, 2021

Our technical issues displaying photos persists, but you can still view a larger version of each of the photos included here by clicking on the photo. Each photo will open in a separate tab without a caption rather than a slideshow-type gallery.

 News, Views & Writer's Note

It's a surprise Monday edition of our Walt Disney World Resort Update. Other than this being a Monday, it's our usual Update with the wrap-up of the news around the Resort (and a bit beyond). Stay tuned to MousePlanet.com this week for those "other" topics that are so popular with Disney fans.

This morning, Disney Parks Blog made a special announcement. In celebration of Disney+ Day, Disney+ subscribers with a valid ticket or pass and theme park reservations for this Friday, November 12 will enjoy special benefits at select Disney theme parks. Disney+ subscribers are invited with their travel party to enter all theme parks at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort 30 minutes before regular park open.

On November 12, Disney+ subscribers will find a "blue carpet experience" at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Park, and there will be special photo opportunities throughout the parks. Complimentary Disney PhotoPass digital downloads will be available at select locations, offered especially to Disney+ subscribers via the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps as well.

To receive these special benefits at the parks, you may be asked to verify that you're a Disney+ subscriber by displaying your logged-in home screen on the Disney+ app on your smartphone. Make sure to download the Disney+ app and sign in before you get to the parks.

runDisney In-Person Events Return

Earlier this year, runDisney announced the return of in-person events at Walt Disney World Resort for the 2021–2022 season, starting with this past weekend's Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. runDisney has now also announced details of its Springtime Surprise Weekend, March 31 – April 3, 2022, the new event that will change its theme each year.

Megan Curham Repeats as Overall Winner of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

runDisney Wine & Dine 2021

For the third time in a runDisney half-marathon, a woman was the overall winner of a race during yesterday's running of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Megan Curham from Warren, New Jersey, who won the last edition of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon in 2019, repeated the feat by finishing nearly two minutes ahead of everyone else out of a field of 11,400 runners. In addition to being her second overall win of this race, it was her third straight time finishing first among women. Her time of 1:15:33 was a new race record as well.

Wine & Dine 2021 winner
Megan Curham won the 2021 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon with a new race record-setting time of 1:15:33. Photo courtesy Disney Sports.

Nicholas Bowerman of Mount Dora, Florida, finished second, with a time of 1:17:14. Diana Bogantes Gonzalez of Costa Rica finished third with a time of 1:17:57.

In addition to the half-marathon, this race weekend, which involved more than 30,000 runners participating in the 5K, 10K and the Two Course Challenge (running the 10K and the half-marathon), was runDisney's first in-person event at Walt Disney World Resort since the pandemic began in early 2020. It also kicked off the 2021–2022 runDisney race season, which encompasses the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January 5–9, 2022), the Princess Half Marathon Weekend (February 24–27, 2022) and the Springtime Surprise Weekend (March 31 – April 3).

Springtime Surprise Weekend Theme Revealed

Springtime Surprise

runDisney says that the new Springtime Surprise Weekend themed running event at Walt Disney World Resort, "will take runners on a nostalgic journey down memory lane, with many modern-day twists designed to make this a running experience unlike any other." Designed to have a theme that changes each year, the inaugural edition will debut March 31 to April 3, 2022, and it will bring back "fan-favorite elements" of several past events along with those twists:

  • Expedition Everest 5K (March 31, 2022) – The race will once again feature a nighttime 5K combined with a scavenger hunt, but this time the hunt will be conducted during the 5K.
  • Race for the Taste 10K (April 2, 2022) – The event will mirror the 10K from the past, but now the race will celebrate the newest attraction at Walt Disney World Resort, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT.
  • The Tower of Terror 10-Miler (April 3, 2022) – The race will still be a 10-miler, but will be run in the morning instead of at night.

The Springtime Surprise Challenge will offer runners an opportunity to test their endurance by participating in all three events—19.3 total miles—and earn a special "challenge" medal. There will also be a sunrise yoga event in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park to kick off the weekend, similar to the recently announced yoga event that leads off the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February 2022.

Registration for the Springtime Surprise Weekend begins at 10 a.m. EST on December 9, 2021, at runDisney.com (with early registration for Club runDisney Gold & Platinum levels opening at 10 a.m. EST on December 7). Additional details about the race weekend, including the courses for each race, will be announced in the coming weeks followed by the theme for the 2023 Springtime Surprise Weekend. A virtual race option will also be available, with registration opening December 14 at 10 a.m. EST.

Cirque du Soleil and Disney Reveal Two Previously Unannounced Acts for Upcoming Show "Drawn to Life"

Drawn to Life, the first-of-its kind creative collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and Disney, is set to debut at Disney Springs on November 18, 2021. Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Animation Studios both assisted in the development of the new show, including all-new animation created by Disney artists led by Animation Director Eric Goldberg, best known for characters such as the Genie in Disney's Aladdin. Drawn to Life is the 50th production created by Cirque du Soleil, and its premiere now coincides with the Walt Disney World Resort's 50th anniversary celebration. MousePlanet has been invited to the debut performance.

The Cirque du Soleil theater on The West Side of Disney Springs has been dark since "La Nouba" closed on December 31, 2017. The Cirque du Soleil Store has reopened this past week ahead of the show's premiere. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The new show will feature 10 distinct acrobatic performances. In March of 2020, just before the global pandemic shut down the production's preparations and Walt Disney World Resort, I had an opportunity to preview three of the acts that are part of the show's story of Julie, a girl who discovers an unexpected gift left by her Disney Animator father: an unfinished animation. She is guided in the world of animation by a pencil as she goes on a "quest filled with her childhood Disney memories."

In "Drawn to Life," Julie is taken on a quest filled with her childhood Disney memories lead by a pencil, as the show combines live action with Disney animation. Photo courtesy Disney & Cirque du Soleil.

Ten distinct acrobatic performances are part of the new show . Photo courtesy Disney & Cirque du Soleil.

The two newly announced acts in the show are "Garden of Lines" unicycle and "The Old Mill" double wheel. Disney's press release describes the new acts:

  • In the "Garden of Lines" unicycle act, Julie is swept into a wonderland of familiar shadows, shapes and outlines in an homage to cherished tales that inspire an animator. Julie's whimsical mood fixates on a mischievous marionette from a time-honored Italian fairytale. Five playful unicyclists representing the Blue Fairy of the classic Disney Animation film Pinocchio appear to effortlessly float across the stage, performing synchronized stunts and individual tricks with pinpoint precision.
  • "The Old Mill" double wheel act is inspired by Walt Disney's groundbreaking 1937 animated short of the same name, which is seen in projections throughout. In a display of tenacity, perseverance and rise-and-fall motion, owls dreamed up by Julie's imagination weather a storm using teamwork and courage to carry them through the powerful wind and rain that threaten their windmill home. The windmill of the film is represented in a spectacular, churning, fast-moving double wheel structure. Gravity-defying acrobats are in constant motion with the turning wheels—at times airborne—with astonishing balance and agility.

The show has an international cast of 62 artists and will be performed Tuesday through Saturday at the theater at Disney Springs. Information about show tickets, dates and pricing is available at cirquedusoleil.com/drawntolife. The Cirque du Soleil Store has re-opened at the theater in advance of the show's premiere.

Ultimate Toy Drive 2021

For more than 70 years, The Walt Disney Company has supported the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to bring comfort, happiness and inspiration to children and families in need during the holiday season. The tradition continues this year with the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive.

Disney started the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive with a $500,000 donation to Toys for Tots to help provide toys to children and inspire hope where it is needed most this holiday season. Through December 14, 2021, the public can join the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive by donating a new, unwrapped toy in person at bins located at the Disney Springs World of Disney store, Marketplace Co-Op, Star Wars Galactic Outpost and the Disney Springs Welcome Center.

Disney Ultimate Toy Drive 2021
The Disney Ultimate Toy Drive runs through December 14, 2021. Image courtesy Disney Parks.

Donations can also be made online at shopDisney.com or, over in California, in person at Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort. More information is available at Disney.com/ToyDrive.

Enter the Disney Remy's Ratatouille Adventure Sweepstakes

Through December 2, 2021, Disney is offering daily opportunities to enter the Disney Remy's Ratatouille Adventure Sweepstakes for a chance to win a five-day/four-night vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort for you and up to three guests and a $100 BoxLunch gift card. One other prize winner will receive a $50 BoxLunch gift card and a Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Prize Pack. Details and eligibility rules on the official Disney sweepstakes website.

This & That & Reminders…

…REMINDER: The new "Un Poco Loco" scene from Disney and Pixar's Coco debuts on Friday this week in Mickey's PhilharMagic at Magic Kingdom, November 12. Its score was produced by Coco's original composer, Germaine Franco, and will feature Miguel and his friends joining in on the fun. Mickey's PhilharMagic is now closed for refurbishment until then.

…The 2021 Holidays celebration is underway at Disney Springs.

…Looking for a holiday gift for the golfers in your life that visit Walt Disney World Resort? Walt Disney World Golf has gift cards available.

…Next week, MousePlanet has been invited to cover the Destination D23: A Fan-tastic Disney Celebration, at Disney's Contemporary Resort Convention Center, November 19-21. While tickets are sold out, Disney D23 will offer free livestreams of many of the presentations on D23.com, Facebook.com/DisneyD23, and YouTube.com/DisneyD23.

…REMINDER: Thanksgiving will be here even before we get to Hanukkah and Christmas. Raglan Road Irish Pub at Disney Springs has released its all-day 2021 Thanksgiving Menu: Butter & herb roast turkey, roast garlic mashed potatoes, duck fat roasties, honey glazed carrots, bacon braised Brussels sprouts, sausage meat & walnut stuffing, red wine jus with cranberry sauce. The price is $35 for adults and $17.50 for kids 9 and under (plus tax and gratuity), or guests can order from the all-day Raglan Road menu as well, and its usual live Irish music and dance entertainment will be performed during the evening dinner hours (no entertainment charge or cover). For more information and menus, visit RaglanRoad.com, and reservations are suggested by calling (407) 938-0300. (Christmas Day menus are also available now.)

…Enzo's Hideaway Tunnel Bar at Disney Springs also announced its special Thanksgiving menu that combines traditional Italian flavors with the holiday:

Start with Frittelle di Zucca (Pumpkin ricotta fritters), and then savor Porchetta di Tacchino with heritage Turkey breast, crispy pancetta, brussels sprouts, polenta "dressing" and butternut squash. Plus, don't miss the Autumn Spiced Panna Cotta for dessert.

…REMINDER: Before we even get to Thanksgiving, The Edison at Disney Springs will be offering a new mixology series on Wednesdays in November for guests at least 21 years old. Featuring Horse Soldier Bourbon and bites on November 3, 10, and 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the $65 per person (plus tax and gratuity) event will provide two mixed Horse Soldier Bourbon cocktails with fall-inspired flavors, paired with two tasty and savory small plates, such as candied bacon, calamari, and guacamole. Menus for each Wednesday and "extremely limited" tickets are available on this page of Patina Restaurant Group's website.

…Disney Vacation Club sent members notice in an email this week that starting in January, rather than a physical Membership Card, all Members will exclusively access their eligible benefits "through an improved digital experience" requiring Members to download a new digital "Card" in 2022. Details published on DisneyVacationClub.com/Card note that Members will access the digital "Card" in the My Disney Experience app.

…Following our sneak peek at the Vue event space atop the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve last week, the 14-story hotel adjacent to the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort officially opened. The new tower with 349 guest rooms, including 151 suites, have floor-to-ceiling views of the resort. The new Amare signature Mediterranean restaurant, a grab-n-go café, a pool with elevated deck and fire pit, plus the other benefits of staying at an officially recognized Walt Disney World hotel are all part of the guest experience. For more information and reservations, visit swandolphin.com.

Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is now open.Image courtesy Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort.

…This week's update about Disney Cruise Line's new ship launching in 2022, Disney Wish, is that it will offer a first-of-its-kind experience named "Hero Zone," a futuristic sports arena where guests can experience "a brand-new kind of active family play." These new "Incredi-Games," inspired by The Incredibles will be a game show that dares families to complete an obstacle course of physical challenges. The Hero Zone will also be home to the usual DCL experience: Jack-Jack's Incredible Diaper Dash.

Updated: Give Kids The World Village's highly popular "Night of a Million Lights Holiday Lights Spectacular" returns later this week for its second annual showing, and we've been invited to a media preview tomorrow night, November 9 (so be sure to follow our social media channels). Named by USA Today last year as the "Number One Thing To Do In Orlando In December," Night of a Million Lights will enable guests to immerse themselves in an exquisitely decorated fairytale neighborhood which wish families call home during their stays. Guests can enjoy a 360-degree dancing lights show set to music; explore a sparkling tree trail; view larger-than-life holiday displays; take photos at one-of-a-kind step-in frames and backdrops; visit Santa in his elaborately decorated summer house inside a holiday marketplace; and enjoy a guided storytelling tour of dozens of magnificently lit villas from the comfort of a tram, included in the price of the ticket. A majority of the lights were donated by Walt Disney World. The event runs November 12, 2021 through January 2, 2022, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, with entry times staggered to prevent crowding. Tickets are available at www.gktw.org/lights Note: some dates already sold out, including December 5 and 12. Proceeds support Give Kids the World Village (located at 210 South Bass Road in Kissimmee, Florida), which provides critically ill children and their families with weeklong wish vacations at no cost.

Volunteers ages 12 and up are needed to fill shifts beginning on Tuesday, November 9, through the end of the event on January 2. Volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated, and those ages 12-15 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older. Volunteers will help out with a range of activities while getting a unique behind-the-scenes look at the event – including serving food, assisting with ticket scanning and parking, helping with merchandising and providing guest service. To register to volunteer, interested groups and individuals can visit https://www.gktw.org/volunteer/apply.php.

NEW Over in Winter Haven, Florida, LEGOLAND Florida Resort celebrates the "HOLIDAYS" this year November 26-28, December 4–5, 11–12, 18–19, 24–31 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The park will have an extra hour of "festive fun" with an 8 p.m. closing on December 26-31, when nightly Kids’ New Year’s Eve fireworks return! During the HOLIDAYS celebration, park-goers can take "Elfies" with Holiday LEGO Friends + Builds, Rock Around the LEGO Tree, and children can handwrite letters to LEGO Santa at the Holiday Village Postal Service with digital screens that show the letters being "magically sent to the North Pole." HOLIDAYS Celebration is included with park admission. More information and tickets are available at LEGOLAND.com/Florida.

Legoland Florida Holidays 2021
Image courtesy LEGOLAND Florida Resort.

The Usual Writer's Note

As the U.S.A. opens its borders to more international visitors who are fully vaccinated today. With Walt Disney World Resort historically attracting guests from well beyond North America—especially from Europe and South America—we could see yet a further uptick in attendance in the parks in the coming weeks and months as we head into the holiday season. In terms of visiting the Resort, as always, be sure to check the "experience updates" page of Walt Disney World for the latest information you need to know before you visit.

Though Central Florida's and much of the U.S.A.'s COVID-19 testing results have fallen to below 5% positivity, we are still in a global pandemic, and Disney's policies remain in flux. Annual Passes are on sale, and have not paused in any categories, though Disney reserves the right to do so. It remains unlikely the Resort will shutdown again in the near-term, but Disney may very well impose guest restrictions that are stricter than those imposed by the State of Florida. Disney Park Pass reservations are still required to visit the parks in addition to valid admission.

Disney Parks continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. At Walt Disney World Resort, everyone ages 2 and up are required to wear face coverings in all indoor locations. Outdoors, face coverings are optional in most locations for vaccinated guests, and required for unvaccinated guests. All guests continue to be required to wear face coverings on buses, monorails, and on Disney Skyliner. Walt Disney World Resort encourages guests to get vaccinated, and has mandated vaccination for new hires and existing cast members in most roles.

This summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for full licensure. The vaccine, which is one of three approved for use in the U.S., is the first to receive full approval for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

I got vaccinated and the best available information is that it's the best protection against serious illness and death from COVID-19. If you haven't been vaccinated and are eligible to be, I recommended you discuss with a physician the risks to both yourself and those you come into contact with as the global pandemic continues to spread in your community and those places you visit. Flu vaccine for the season is also becoming available, and that is something else to consider. I got mine.

And, with regard to the weather, as always, if you're heading this way (or live in the regions impacted by storms), please stay informed of the latest weather and tropical forecasts too. Be prepared. Fortunately, as we head toward the tail end of the usual storm season, none are forecast as headed toward Central Florida, but stay aware that some of the strongest storms of the past have struck in November. Please stay informed.

Join Our Networks

Follow MousePlanet on Facebook:

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.

Annual Passholder and Florida Resident offers are now available for stays most nights from December 12–24, 2021.

This page of DisneyWorld.com features all the offers the Resort has publicly announced.

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 to Friday 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MT) and tell them MousePlanet sent you!

Be sure to check out Get Away Today's Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers too.

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.



  1. By Lloydian

    Just a minor note: I know you include your weekly note that mentions the pandemic and availability of vaccines. One line of it notes that kids 12-15 can get it under the EUA. You can revise that to say kids 5-15 now.

  2. By asdhollywood

    Good point. Thanks, I will update it.


  3. Discuss this article on MousePad.