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by Military Diva

Happy New Year everyone!  Here’s to a New Year, better health, and positive goals. And here’s to safe travels, if you can.

The Disney Travel company is doing a fantastic job providing safe opportunities for guests willing to travel.  They are also providing incentives in the form of discounts and free tickets.  In addition, they are offering flexible change and cancelation policies for those nervous to travel or needing to make changes to currently booked packages.

Read on below for all the latest updates on safety, discounts, refurbishments, exciting openings, and new additions!

 

Walt Disney World
Disney News & Updates

Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World

 

  • Park Reservations and valid tickets are still required for guests wishing to visit a Walt Disney World theme park.  All guests are also required to wear masks in all public areas at all times (unless sitting to eat or visiting a relaxation station). Guests are also encouraged to visit Disney’s Know Before You Go section to stay up to date on all current requirements, refurbishments, and offerings.
  • Park Hoppers have returned!  In order to HOP, guests must purchase tickets with the hopper option. Additionally, they must have a Park Reservation for the first park and visit that park first. Guests can begin hopping at 2:00 if there is availability.  Parks available for hopping can be verified by calling 407-560-5000. Parks that are at capacity will not allow hopping. However, guests can always return to the park where they had their original Park Reservation, even if this park hits capacity.
  • Early Theme Park Entry available for Disney Resort guests.  While Extra Magic Hours are currently suspended, guests of Disney Resorts and select other locations are able to enter all theme parks 30 minutes prior to opening, every day.  Park Reservations and tickets are still required for entry.
  • Listen Up Florida Residents-the new Florida Resident Discover Disney Ticket is available now and offers great savings! Bonus, the tickets offer more flexibility with the extended expiration date. Please note…Park Pass Reservations are still required and blockout dates (below) are enforced.
    • 2-day Florida Resident Discover Disney tickets-$149 per guest; available for use any two days from purchase through March 11, 2021, with Park Pass Reservations
    • 3-day Florida Resident Discover Disney tickets-$179 per guest; available for use any three days from the purchase date through June 18, 2021, with Park Pass Reservations
    • 4-day Florida Resident Discover Disney tickets-$199 per guest; available for use any four days from the purchase date through June 18, 2021, with Park Pass Reservations
    • Blockout dates include January 16-18, February 13-15, March 26-April 11, May 28-31, 2021
  • Spring 2021 Memory Maker Extended Capture Offer-previously, guests that purchased a Memory Maker package could download all photos and videos taken within 30 days of each other.  Now, Memory Makers that are purchased and activated between January 4 and May 19 will be able to download all photos/videos taken during this time frame.  Reminder, photos will still be removed from the system after 45 days…be sure to download your pics within 45 days of being taken.
  • New Disney World Discounts are now available! 
    • 2 Extra Ticket Days Offer-guests booking a 4-night/3-day room and ticket package can now get two days of tickets FREE!  Package available for arrivals through September 25, 2021. Park Pass Reservations are still required for park entry. Some resorts/rooms are excluded from this offer.
    • Spring Into Magic 30% Room Offer-guests staying in a Walt Disney World Resort between April 18 and July 10, 2021, are eligible for up to 30% off their room!  Some resorts/rooms are excluded.
    • Florida Resident Spring Into Magic 30% Room Offer-similarly, Florida Residents are also eligible to save up to 30% off rooms. Eligible travel dates are April 18 through July 10.  Some resorts/rooms are excluded. The lead guest should be prepared to show proof of Florida Residency.
  • Changes coming to Disney’s Magical Express-beginning in January 2022, Walt Disney World is retiring their Magical Express transfer service.  At this time, details are not being offered for any replacement services for airport to resort transfer. For those wanting to plan ahead, Uber and Lyft are both viable options. However, many guests prefer the service of a private transfer from a reputable company such as Orlando Airport Towncar. Their service includes flight monitoring, in-airport meet & greet,  Publix 20-minute grocery stop (must request), and safe transfer.
  • Walt Disney World has also ended their partnership with Star Transportation.  Private transfers are currently unavailable through the Walt Disney Travel Company.
  • Epcot’s 2021 International Festival of the Arts Foodie Guide is now available! Creative art and delicious food combine for an amazing experience at this year’s International Festival of the Arts.  You don’t want to miss out on the Lobster Poutine or warm brown sugar stuffed pretzel (with banana ice cream and chocolate sauce!). This year’s festival runs from January 8-February 22, 2021.
  • Walt Disney World Refurbishments-official updates can be found on the Walt Disney Know Before You Go Resort Updates section of the website
    • The Bay Cove Pool water play area will be closed for refurbishments from January 6-February of 2021 (Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort)
    • The Big Blue Pool at Disney’s Art of Animation will be closed for refurbishments from January 11-April of 2021.
    • The Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is currently undergoing refurbishments. As a result, the monorail station at this resort is temporarily closed.  Guests are advised to use one of the other Magic Kingdom Resorts (Contemporary, Grand Floridian) or the Transportation and Ticket Center for monorail access.
    • The Hippy Dippy Pool at Disney’s Pop Century Resort will be closed for refurbishments from February 15-March 2021.
    • The Paddock Pool waterslide and the connecting walking bridge at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa are closed for refurbishment. The pool area is still open, but guests are asked to follow the alternate walking route for access.
  • “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure” coming to Epcot in February!  Guests are invited to join Joe Gardner (Disney and Pixar’s “Soul”) as they explore the melodic sounds of Jazz.
  • Updated Menu is now available at  Epcot’s Spice Road Table.  The new small plate options include offerings such as Hummus Fries with Citrus Chipotle, Pomegranate-Chili Crispy Cauliflower, Fried Calamari with Remoulade and Harissa Sauce, Grilled Lamp Kefta, new drinks, desserts, and more!
  • New Disney Springs stops for your Sweet Tooth, Fitness Needs, and More!
    • Gideon’s Bakehouse is now open in The Landing section in Disney Springs. Giant cookies, cookies, and coffees highlight the menu of this location.  Due to popularity and long lines, guests are required to join the virtual queue-once in Disney Springs head to Gideon’s Bakehouse, and sign-in.  You will receive a text message when it is time to return.
    • Everglades Donuts and Cold Brew is now open on The West Side.  Classic and gourmet donuts, coffee, specialty drinks, breakfast sandwiches, and more highlight the menu at this location.
    • Wondermade in The Landing will make you rethink your standard campfire s’mores. This interesting location specializes in fun, creative marshmallow treats.  Key Lime Pie, Cookies & Cream, Bourbon, and Salted Caramels are just the beginning of the treats offered at this location.  And for those wanting something extra special, ask for the Gold Champagne Marshmallow-yes, they are covered in 24-carat edible gold!!
    • Fit2Run, The Runner’s Super Store is open in The Town Center, offering athletic wear, shoes, and gear. Videotaped gait analysis is available to help guests purchase the perfect shoe for their specific anatomical needs.
    • Rustic Cuff, a new jewelry store, is now open in The Town Center.  Personalization is available to help you remember your special vacation!
  • Happy Day-Animal Kingdom’s Festival of the Lion King is returning this summer!! Guests can expect adjustments to their fan-favorite show, placed to ensure the safety of the castmembers, technicians, and performers.  Modified theater seating will also be in place to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Tickets for Disney’s Blizzard Beach are now on sale!  Disney’s winter-themed water park is scheduled to open on March 7, 2021.  Contact All for Dreams Travel or Walt Disney World for current ticket pricing.
  • Details for Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival, starting on March 3, have been announced.  Guests can expect to see the return of their beloved topiaries, 20 different gardens, over 20 outdoor kitchens, live music, and more.  Guests can also enjoy two new Family Scavenger hunts
    • Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration
    • Egg-stravaganza Scavenger Hunt (Easter, March 19-April 4)

 

Disneyland
Disneyland News & Updates

Sleeping Beauty’s castle, personally designed by Walt.

 

  • Disneyland Parks and Resorts are still closed at this time.
  • Downtown Disney celebrates its 20th Anniversary! Some shopping locations in Downtown Disney have reopened and several dining locations are available for take-out.   Downtown Disney is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm.
    • Star Wars Trading Post is moving to the West End, consolidating Star Wars shopping into one area.
    • Wonderground Gallery will reopen soon
  • Downtown Disney Take Out locations are listed below.  All food must be eaten off property.
    • Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes
    • Salt & Straw
    • Jamba
    • Wetzel’s Pretzels
    • Earl of Sandwich
    • Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express
  • Downtown Disney offering mobile, contactless shopping
    • Open Disneyland Mobile app
    • Pick up a mobile checkout shopping bag
    • Scan your selected items with your phone
    • Check out and pay
    • Show the QR code (mobile receipt) as you exit the store
  • The Disneyland Resort Annual Passholder program has been canceled.  Current Annual Passholders will receive details directly from the Disney Travel Company informing them of their refund. This month Tinker Bell Diva shared details on her own experience.
  • Celebrate Chad Boseman’s life by visiting Nikkolas Smith’s tribute to his life.  Guests visiting the West Side of Downtown Disney can view this beautiful piece of art that honors Chad Boseman and his “Black Panther’ role. The artwork will be on display through February 28.
  • Enjoy a sneak peek of WEB SLINGERS: A Spider Man Adventure and Tom Holland’s thoughts on his new role are available HERE!. When the park reopens, guests can experience new technology and 3-D visuals as this new adventure comes to life at Disneyland Resort’s Avenger’s Campus.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney News Updates

Disney Cruise Line

 

  • Disney Cruise Line has suspended all departures through April 2021 and select Disney Wonder/Disney Magic sailings through May 2021.
    • According to Disney Travel Agents, affected sailings include “Disney Fantasy through April 24; Disney Dream through April 30; Disney Magic through May 6; Disney  Wonder through May 12”
    • Paid in full reservations are eligible for a 125% FCC or a full refund.  FCC must be used by May 31, 2022.
    • Partially paid reservations will receive a full refund of all monies paid.
  • Disney Cruise Line sailings longer than 7-nights have been canceled. 
    • Paid in full guests are eligible for 125% FCC or full refund. FCC must be used by May 31, 2022.
    • Partially paid reservations will receive a full refund.
    • Additional discount for certain sailings. Guests originally booked on the June 28 9-Night Alaska Wonder are being offered a 10% discount if rebooked on the June 28 seven-night Alaskan cruise or July 5 two-night Seattle cruise; guests booked on the 9-Night July 22 Southern Caribbean Disney Fantasy sailing are being offered a 10% discount if rebooked on the July 22 3-night Bahamian cruise or July 25 6-Night Western Caribbean cruise.
  • 2-Night Seattle sailing on the Disney Wonder now available to book!
    • Sets sail July 5, 2021
    • The itinerary includes Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Seattle Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Final Payment extension, cancelation policy, and more!
    • Final payment for sailings through August 31, 2021, are now due 60 days prior to departure.
    • Cancelation policies have been adjusted to reflect a 14-60 day policy, based on cruise length and cabin category.
    • Flexible booking policy allows guests to change their sail date up until 15 days prior to sailing without penalty.
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
News & Updates

Dreaming of a ride in Aulani’s Waikolohe Valley Stream
*Photo courtesy of Disney Magic Diva

 

  • Cancelation and Modification policy extended to June 10, 2021 arrivals
    • Currently booked “room only” guests have up until 24 hours prior to arrival to cancel or modify travel dates without penalty; guests that cancel within 24 hours of arrival will be charged a one-night room fee plus tax.
    • Currently booked package guests can also cancel or modify without penalty up until 24 hours prior to arrival; guests that cancel within 24 hours of arrival will be charged a $400 penalty.
  • Cancelation and Modification policy for guests booked after June 10, 2021
    • “Room Only” cancelations and changes must be completed 5 days prior to arrival to avoid penalties and fees; cancelations and changes made within 4 days of arrival will be charged a one-night fee plus tax.
    • Package cancelations must be completed 30 days prior to arrival to avoid penalties and fees; cancelations and changes made within 29 days of arrival will be charged a $400 penalty.
  • New Aulani Discounts announced!  Guests booking a minimum 5-night stay for travel from March 12-June 10, 2021 can save up to 30% on the room portion of their stay. Guests that book their travel by January 28 are also eligible for an additional bonus (5-night stay will receive a $200 resort credit; 4-night stay will receive a $150 resort credit)
  • ‘Olu Mel, a new friend, is now visiting Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa! Guests visiting this Hawaiian destination can now enjoy ‘Olu Mel’s music and he joins Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and Stitch.
Adventures by Disney
Disney News & Updates

Disney themed and specialty River Cruises offered by Adventures by Disney

 

  • Adventures by Disney Expedition Cruises announced!
    • Antarctica and Patagonia Expedition Cruise will cross all 7 continents in 12 days! Guests also have the option of adding on a 4-day Buenos Aires Escape
    • Galapagos Islands Expedition Cruise will offer island hopping during a 9-day sailing. Three different routes are available.
  • Special Offer for Adventures by Disney packages
    • Galapagos Islands Expedition Cruise-save up to $750 per person!  Book between January 19 and April 11, 2021, for sailings between February 9 and August 7, 2022.
    • 2022 River Cruise-save up to $500 per person! Book between January 19 and April 11, 2021, for sailings between May 12 and December 23, 2022.

The idea of returning to travel during this time may seem like a daunting proposition.  Daily policy changes, travel restrictions, and personal expectations may be a deterrent. But safe travel is possible.  Our family has made several safe trips during the past few months.  We have enjoyed two trips to Disney World, one trip to Universal Orlando, and one trip to Nashville, TN.

If you would like to travel, I urge you to stay in contact with your suppliers.  Watch their webpage for the most up-to-date policies and changes.  Additionally, consider the services of an experienced Travel Agent to help keep you informed and able to travel!

Our agency, All for Dreams Travel, takes the time to stay up to date on all current policies, maintains communication with their clients throughout the travel process, and experiences their prime destinations as often as possible.  Their expertise can be an asset to your vacation.

All for Dreams Travel is partnered 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.