Hi everyone, I hope you’re doing as well as you can be during the circumstances outside. I wanted to break away from my daily writer’s block and hop on here to talk about Disney and the upcoming changes at Disney World this year and 2022.
I do not pride myself on being a Disney blogger or keep up with the changes that they make. However, when I opened my eyes this morning and hopped on Twitter, I was bombarded with both the big and small changes at Disney World, and what they are implementing to their parks in the coming future. I wanted to squeeze in as many updates as I could in this post for you.
Let’s Start with Epcot
The Grand Epcot Fountain
Photo from the Official Disney Parks Blog
Back in December, Disney finally removed the green walls from the front entrance of Epcot and Spaceship Earth to reveal a brand new fountain! A water fountain to be exact!
Representing the Past, Present and Future (of the Disney World Parks), this water feature is not fully complete as of yet. The end goal is to sync the colourful lights feature to SpaceShip Earth as well as 4 new feature “lands” within Epcot (World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature and World Showcase). Luckily for local guests who are visiting now, this is open to them and they can already enjoy having their photo in front of it. I suspect they will probably add more decorative items around too and add some more Disney flare. Personally, I think this makes a great addition to the Epcot park and represents it perfectly! It’s a very welcome update.
Disney Castle Makeover
In celebration of Cinderella’s 70th anniversary, Disney delighted us all with a repaint of Cinderella’s castle back in 2020. You might have seen this going viral at some point, but a lot of people were not happy with the paint update. Featuring brighter blues, golds and pink on the main body of the castle, some called it tacky, others have embraced it. Why the new colour scheme? Well, the idea is to give the castle a more Regal look which shines more in the sun. Which is understandable with the heat that Orlando has, the original paint work had faded drastically anyway.
Admittedly at first, I wasn’t a fan of the colours. I think they have now grown on me! I do feel like the media has over-saturated the photos a little, for more impact too. To tell you the truth, (although it doesn’t sound believable) with all the colourful chaos of shops, floats, staff and people down Main Street, the castle can get a little bit…Lost. I’m excited to see for myself hopefully at the end of this year and will report back to you if it’s tacky or pretty.
Here’s a picture of before and after:
Photo from NY Post
My Magic Band on my solo trip. Clearly excited to be all colour matching (my dress was even yellow) read more about my solo trip here <
As of 1st January 2021, Magic Bands will no longer be free with any Disney World booking. In fact, you wont get a magic band at all. Disney is taking one step further into technology and allowing you to do everything on the Disney World Parks App.
For those who are not familiar with Magic Bands, Magic bands are essentially your ticket, your room key, your dining plan, photo pass and much more, featured as a band/bracelet on your wrist. Originally you would get this with your booking on arrival and can customise it further with charms and décor. This has now been replaced with the App.
Never fear though, Magic Band fans! Disney is not currently wiping them off the face of the earth! Magic Bands will be available to purchase (and sync to the app) in the Disney Stores on site for $5.
Personally, this is one update that I am sad about. It’s such a small, insignificant thing but it now means that I have to take my phone everywhere when in the parks. As I’m heading to Disney with my partner this year, I was hoping for our phones to be left in the hotel room while we got completely immersed in the experience, but never mind!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (2021)
Good news for Disney Halloween Party fans. As of January 2021, Disney has not taken the decision yet to cancel the Halloween party and this is still going ahead. You can read about What To Expect at Disney during Halloween here. I will keep this updated should it change.
Extra Magic Hours
During the Pandemic, Disney temporarily suspended Extra Magic Hours for all of the parks, to reduce visitor numbers. They have taken the decision to continue the cancellation and will no longer be doing any extra magic hours in the future. Disney has come up with an alternative however, which sees every park opened 30 minutes earlier, every single day for Disney resort members, Disney Vacation Club and Disney Annual Pass members.
This is an update that I am personally sad about. I get really bad jet lag (as I live in England!) when I visit and often wake up at 4am. I would usually spend my mornings watching the Mickey shorts (above is a picture from one), wasting time and waiting for an acceptable time to get ready before heading over to the park with extra magic hours. As a Disney fan, I usually accept any changes at Disney World that they make, but I’m not a fan of this at all!
Transportation from Orlando International Airport (MCO)
From the 1st January 2022, Disney will be suspending the Disney Magical Express (Mickey Coaches) which transports you from the airport to your resort and back again. Although regretful, Disney have suggested a few alternatives on how you can get to your resort. With a rumour being that in Spring 2022, there will be a direct train line from the airport to a bus station, where you will hop on a coach from there to your resort. This has yet to be announced.
Mickey’s Magical Express will be available throughout all bookings taking place in 2021. From 1st January 2022, it is expected that you seek alternative transport. I suspect the idea here is to push the Minnie Mouse Taxis that I saw darting around on my last visit!
As someone who visited last year as a solo female traveller, the idea of hopping in to a random Uber after a 15 hour travel journey (from door to door) makes my stomach a little wobbly, but let’s see what Disney offers as an alternative, as I have no doubt they will closer to the time.
Disney Dining Plan & Early Access to Fast Pass
These two are still currently suspended with no further updates so far, due to the pandemic. I suspect they will definitely bring the Disney Dining Plan back when safe to do so. Disney earns a lot of money through this and it makes Disney World more accessible to families. I suspect if they removed this, they would suffer a huge drop in visitors and backlash.
In terms of the Early Access Fast Pass, I also believe they will bring this back shortly. For now, it’s to discourage visitors I believe.
That’s all of my updates on the changes at Disney World Florida. I hope you enjoyed it! What do you think of the Past, Present and Future Water Fountain at Epcot? How are you feeling about Cinderella’s Castle paint update? Let me know!
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