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by Military Diva

Keeping up with all of the Disney Travel policy changes and re-openings is getting more and more difficult each month.  Some destinations seem to be headed towards pre-Covid operations, making travel fairly easy. Others seem to be changing daily, requiring much more attention before travel. Hopefully, out consolidated list of monthly updates can help you navigate your current and future travel plans.  Keep reading below to learn more about what has been going on in the Disney Travel world this month!

Walt Disney World

Disney News & Updates

  • Covid-19 Updates-Be sure to check Disney’s KNOW BEFORE YOU GO site before traveling for the most up to date policies, procedures, and closures.
    • Masks are currently required at all indoor locations and on all Disney World transportation.  Masks are not currently required while in queue or outdoor theaters and attractions.  This information could change at any time so be sure to consult Know Before You Go before you travel.
  • Park Pass Reservations-be sure to check Park Pass Availability before purchasing any theme park tickets or packages.  Then reserve your Park as soon as your purchase is complete.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, a “Story Living” vacation experience is set to open in the Spring of 2022.  Guests can expect the following
    • 2-night, 3-day immersive experience
    • Luxurious cabin accommodations
    • Specialty Magic Band
    • Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, non-alcoholic drinks
    • An Excursion to Batuu in Disney’s Hollywood Studios with quick service meal credits to be used at Docking Bay 7.
    • Specialty training and tours-light saber training (7 and up), bridge tours, engineering room tours, and special missions!
    • Live music, model ship building, droid racing competition, and more!

Star Wars

  • Park benefits for Disney World Resort guests are back!  Beginning October1, all Disney World resort guests can enjoy extra time in the theme parks.  These benefits also extend to guests of Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort, Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, and Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
    • Early Theme Park Entry is available to guests of the properties listed above. Beginning October 1, all four theme parks will open 30 minutes early on every day of the week. Guests need theme park tickets, resort ID, and same day Park Pass Reservation.
    • Extended Evening Theme Park Entry is available to guests of Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels, Disney Deluxe Villas.  On select evenings, beginning on October 4, these guests can enjoy extra evening hours in certain parks.  Guests of Shades of Green on Walt Disney World, Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, Walt Disney World Swan Reserve are also included.  All eligible resort guests will need theme park tickets, resort ID, and a same day Park Pass Reservation. Guests with Park Hopper passes can also enjoy the benefit as long as they have a same-day park reservation for another theme park, and have entered that park earlier during the day. Disney’s Extended Evening Theme Park calendar can be found HERE!
  • Disney Family Night Dinner Experiences-new three-course family dinner package with included game now available!  Order via mobile order or in person at the two locations below.  Packages include a fun-filled Mickey and Minnie card game, serve 3-4 guests, and are available from 5-10 pm nightly through summer.
    • Centertown Market at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort offers “roasted Jamaican style chicken, fried yucca, cilantro rice, seasonal vegetables, Caribbean pull-apart rolls with Onion Jam and Guava Butter, decorate your own Mickey & Minnie Cookies”
    • Gasparilla Island Grille at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa offers “Garden Salad – Tomato, cucumber, carrots, and a duo of dressings, Savory Lasagna – Three cheese lasagna with tomato sauce, Two Mickey-shaped Cheese or Pepperoni Pizzas, Minnie Cheesecake with strawberry sauce, whipped cream, and fresh berries
  • Epcot’s Space 220 Restaurant is scheduled to open in September!
  • Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours tickets on sale now!
    • Held on select nights from November 8-December 21, 2021
    • Specially ticketed After Hours event scheduled from 9 pm-1 am. Guests can enter Magic Kingdom at 7 pm, but the event will not start until 9 pm.
    • Entertainment includes “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks”, “Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” (full parade returning!), over 20 attractions, Character sightings, snowfall on Main Street USA, Club Tinsel dance party, and more!
    • Complimentary snacks and bottled drinks
    • Holiday themed merchandise, food, and drinks for purchase
    • Tickets are date based and range from $169-249 plus tax per guest.

Christmas Fantasy Parade Disneyland

  • Disney Genie service announced and coming this fall!
    • This new service is complimentary to all guests offering customized touring plans, mobile dining, online restaurant check in, online table service wait list, and more all in one place.  This plan will help guide you through the parks with up to date crowd and line details and attraction suggestions.
    • Guests of Disney World can purchase Lightning Lane (skip the stand by lane) access for $15 per ticket per guest.  Guests will be able to select their attraction and time from the app, based on current availability.  Lightning Lane access is available for the entire day or purchase, across all four parks-for guests using Park Hopper Passes.
    • Guests can also purchase “Individual Attraction” selections, allowing them to select Lightning Lane access for two attractions per day.  Pricing and availability have not been announced just yet.

 

Disney Genie Service

  • Reopening Updates
    • Boma-Flavors of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will resume breakfast and dinner buffet dining on August 20, 2021.  Booking begins on August 18.
    • Biergarten at Epcot’s Germany Pavilion will open with buffet lunch and dinner dining on August 29, 2021.
    • Crystal Palace at Disney’s Magic Kingdom will return to buffet lunch and dinner on September 12, 2021.
    • Nine Dragons Restaurant at Epcot’s China Pavilion has reopened for lunch and dinner.
    • Cinderella’s Royal Table at Disney’s Magic Kingdom will resume breakfast service on August 27.
    • Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park will reopen on August 29.
    • Dockside Diner at Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened on August 22.
    • Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise will open on September 18.  Sail the Seven Seas, enjoy a beverage upon boarding, learn the magical history of your ferry, and dig into the dazzling desserts before preparing for the perfect view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks show.  Guests will be offered “Mickey Vision” glasses to enhance the experience!  Reservations can be booked up to 60 days in advance with limited same-day openings available.  Package cost is $99 for adults and $69 for children (3-9).
    • Cirque de Soleil at Disney Springs is reopening with a new show!  Drawn to Life is scheduled to open on November 18, 2021 with ticket sales beginning on August 20.

 

Disneyland

Disneyland News & Updates

  • Covid-19 Updates-Be sure to check Disneyland Resort’s KNOW BEFORE YOU GO site before traveling for the most up to date policies, procedures, and closures.
  • Park Pass Reservations-all guests over the age of 3 are required to have a Park Pass Reservation for each day they wish to visit. Guests with valid tickets can begin making reservations 120 days in advance.
    • Be sure to check Park Pass Availability before purchasing any theme park tickets or packages.
    • If your preferred dates are available, purchase tickets and link to your Disneyland Resort account.
    • Access the Theme Park Reservation System  and create your party.
    • Select date and park
    • Review, confirm, and continue for additional park days!
  • Disneyland Magic Key Program, the next generation of Disneyland Resort Annual Passes, was announced. Interested guests have the option of choosing from four different programs. Valid park reservations are required for all options.
    • Dream Key-$1399 per pass, access both parks every day of the year, up to 6 Park Reservations held per pass, 20% off select merchandise, 15% off food and beverage options, complimentary theme park parking
    • Believe Key-$949 per pass, access both parks most days of the year, up to 6 Park Reservations held per pass, 10% off included merchandise, 10% off food and beverage options, 50% off theme park parking
    • Enchant Key-$649 per pass, access both parks on select days of the year, up to 4 Park Reservations held per pass, 10% off select merchandise/food/beverage
    • Imagine Key-$399 per pass for Southern California Residents only, access both parks on select days of the year, up to 2 Park Reservations held per pass, 10% off select merchandise/food/beverage
Disneyland Magic Key Prices 2021

Prices and benefits

  • Digital Key available for guests of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disneyland Hotel. Guests with room only reservations or who failed to provide an email address at booking can add this feature at check-in.  Guests with packages that provided an email address should follow the steps below…
    • link the reservation to the Disneyland account
    • complete online check-in
    • on day of check-in watch for room ready message (click “Unlock Door” to access room number)
    • Re-click “unlock door” in the app while standing in front of room
  • Oogie Boogie Bash Dining Updates-all options below require Oogie Boogie Bash ticket
    • Wine Country Trattoria Oogie Boogie Bash Parade Dining will offer a three course lunch or dinner with reserved parade viewing. Guests should make a standard reservation for Wine Country Trattoria for any party night, then ask to upgrade to the Parade Dining at check-in.
    • Sonoma Terrace Oogie Boogie Bash Dessert Party attendees will be offered amazing desserts, drinks, and a reserved spot for the evening’s Frightfully Fun Parade. The Dessert Party will be held at both 7:00 and 9:30 on party nights.  Advanced reservations are available 60 days prior to dining.

A “Spooktacular” Review of Disneyland’s Oogie Boogie Bash!

  • Digital Key available for guests of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and Disneyland Hotel. Guests with room only reservations or who failed to provide an email address at booking can add this feature at check-in.  Guests with packages that provided an email address should follow the steps below…
    • link the reservation to the Disneyland account
    • complete online check-in
    • on day of check-in watch for room ready message (click “Unlock Door” to access room number)
    • Re-click “unlock door” in the app while standing in front of room
  • Disneyland Military Rates were announced for the rest of 2021 and most dates in 2022!  Eligible servicemembers can book steeply discounted room rates via phone or their Travel Agent; Specially discounted tickets are available on base via the MWR ticketing office.
  • Reopening Updates
    • Princess Breakfast Adventures at Napa Rose reopened on August 26.  Guests will enjoy a private patio photo op with Disney Princesses before beginning their dining adventure.  Children will be delighted with the Princess activities, keepsake, and children’s menu that includes mac & cheese, Princess Waffles, or barbecue sliders.  All guests will enjoy the table offering of appetizers while adults can choose from a full menu.  And of course there are desserts!
    • Goofy’s Kitchen resumed an all-you-care-to-eat buffet for breakfast and dinner on August 18.  Characters are not included at this time.
    • Minnie & Friends-Breakfast in the Park at Plaza Inn reopened on August 12. Both breakfast buffet and distanced characters are available.
    • Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar reopened on August 15.
    • Carnation Cafe at Disneyland Park will reopen on September 16.

 

Disney Cruise Line

Disney News Updates

  • Covid-19 Updates-Be sure to check the Disney Cruise Line Know Before You Go site before booking your Disney Cruise, at least 30 days prior to your cruise, and as you move close to sailing date.  Requirements and policies and changing quickly! Also be sure to have the Disney Cruise Line noted as a safe address in your email. Guests that are affected by policy changes are being contacted directly.
  • Complete all Steps Required before Sailing! These requirements have changed drastically this month. The Disney Cruise Line is constantly reminding guests that all steps are required or boarding will be denied. Depending on your sail dates and vaccine status, the following steps are required.  Check the Know Before You Go site, Disney Cruis Line Pre-Cruise Checklist, email correspondence, and your online account for specific requirements.
    • Travel Insurance
    • Safe Passage Website Account-all guests must have their own account; adults complete for children
    • Schedule transfers from airport to cruise port (or determine parking location, if driving)
    • Covid-19 Vaccine (currently required for all guests 12+ sailing September-November 1)
    • Pre-sail Covid-19 Testing (currently an option for non-vaccinated guests 12+ sailing after November 1; all children, even infants, on all sailings must test)
    • Online Check-In
    • Embarkation Covid-19 Testing (currently an option for non-vaccinated guests 12+ sailing after November 1; all children, even infants, on all sailings must test)
  • Final Payment Extensions now apply to sailings through January 31, 2022.  Guests booked on these sailings can now make their final payment 60 days prior to sail date. The cancelation and modification fee schedule has also been changed. Specific details depend on sailing date and length of cruise. The details can be found on the Disney Cruise Website.
  • Bahamas Issues New Requirements that affect Disney Cruises-at this time, the Bahamas are requiring all cruise guests age 12 and older to be fully vaccinated in order to pull into port.  This includes Disney’s Castaway Cay.  As a result, the Disney Cruise Line is requiring all guests over the age of 12 to be fully vaccinated. This affects all sailings heading to the Bahamas or other cruises with a stop in Castaway Cay from September 3-November 1, 2021.  Please see the Know Before You Go site and specific communication for details.

  • Port Arrival Time-guests are being instructed to arrive at the port right at their per-selected arrival time.
    • DO NOT ARRIVE EARLY!  Early guests will not be permitted to enter the port or parking area and will be turned away until their designated time.
    • All guests, even Platinum Castaway Cay Members, must select an arrival time during online check-in.
    • The first arrival window will open at 1:00 pm.
  • Disney Fantasy Updates
    • Disney Fantasy returns to sailing on September 11, 2021
    • The September 4 Disney Fantasy sailing has been canceled.  Affected guests should receive information from the Disney Cruise Line and/or their Travel Agent concerning refund options (125% FCC if paid in full or full refund of monies paid if not paid in full; UK/EU guests will receive full refund in form of original payment)
    • Four Disney Fantasy 7-night sailings have been converted to 4-night cruises with two stops in Castaway Cay. Guests can choose to remain on the sailing, move to a future date, or cancel.  Guests keeping the sailing will receive a $400 onboard credit, fare/vacation protection adjustment and 35% future sailing discount; guests moving to a future date will receive adjusted fare for the new cruise and adjusted vacation protection; guests canceling will receive a full refund of the cruise fare and full refund of air/vacation protection if booked through Disney.
      • September 11 sailing is now scheduled for September 11-15, 2021
      • September 18 sailing is now scheduled for September 18-22, 2021
      • September 25 sailing is now scheduled for September 25-29, 2021
      • October 2 sailing is now scheduled for October 2-6, 2021

The Disney Travel Company continues to coordinate its efforts to provide safe, entertaining travel for all of their guests.  As you can tell from the sheer size of this writing, they are continually adjusting their operating procedures to accomplish this task.  Stay tuned to our page, follow us on social media, and of course consult the Know Before You Go sites for the most up to date information.

And if you are planning your own trip and would like customized assistance, contact our sponsored travel agency!  All for Dreams Travel is an independent agency with Gateway to Magic Travel, An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

My name is Patricia, aka Military Diva, and I have a soft spot for Disney Destinations! After a two year post-9/11 deployment, our family was able to reconnect during a Disney World vacation. While counting on time together, we did not expect the touching service we received from Cast Members. We were treated like royalty! It is my mission as a writer for "Tips from the Disney Diva" and as owner of "All for Dreams Travel" to help other families experience their own special connections through travel.