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by Military Diva

Happy days-it’s SUMMER!!  I don’t know about you, but this year has certainly taken a toll on our spirits.  Our school district has jumped back and forth between remote and full in-person classes all year.  And while we were able to successfully roll with work and academic requirements, the constant uncertainty of “what’s next” left us feeling stressfully uncertain.  But we made it!  We can now breath a little easier and enjoy the day a little bit more.  And in an odd turn, I find we are all walking a little taller.

I think this year has taught us all that we are more than we believed, despite the world placing us all in our own bubbles.  We are capable of accomplishing bigger things with smaller resources. And we are now all ready to break out and celebrate these accomplishments.

This year, the Disney Travel Company has faced many of the same struggles as our own families (just on a grander scale!).  But in true fashion, they have reminded us of just how creative they can be.  As a company, Disney has adjusted in-person and virtual entertainment and found a way to walk with us through the lock-downs and regulated travel environment.  And now they are ready to break out!

 

There have been some amazing announcements this month concerning changes to Covid policies, a return to some “normal” experiences, and most excitingly, announcements for this year’s 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION.  Follow along below for a break down of what is new this month with the Disney Travel Company.

Walt Disney World
Disney News & Updates

Anxiously awaiting the return of fireworks at Cinderella’s Castle! (July 1)

  • Park Pass Reservations-As has been the case all year, guests hoping to visit a Walt Disney World park need both valid admission and a Park Pass Reservation.  Be sure to check the availability calendar prior to purchasing tickets, book your package or tickets as soon as you are set on dates, link to your ‘MyDisneyExperience” account, and make your Park Pass Reservations immediately.  Reservations can be changed, based on availability.  But, you don’t want to miss out on a desired park day because you waited too long.  Even worse, you don’t want to arrive at a park and not be allowed admission because you don’t have reservations.
  • Covid-19 Policies-Many changes towards the old normal have taken place this month.  Masks are no longer required for fully vaccinated guests in most areas.  Unvaccinated guests are asked to wear masks indoors.  And, all guests are required to wear masks while using Disney World Transportation (bus, ferry, monorail, or Skyliner).  Social distancing markers have been removed and plexiglass dividers are being removed daily.
  • Club Level Resort Updates-Club Level rooms and their Club Level lounges are returning!  Guests were able to begin booking these rooms on June 4th for the following resorts/travel dates…
    • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Royal Palm Club rooms-available September 16, 2021
    • Disney’s Boardwalk Resort-available September 23, 2021
    • Disney’s Contemporary Resort-available September 26, 2021
    • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge-available December 16, 2021
    • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort-available December 16, 2021
  • Resort Updates-As capacity is being increased and Cast Members are being called back, Disney World continues with phased reopening of their resorts. The following resorts are now available to book.
    • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn will be reopening on July 2, 2021
    • Disney’s Polynesian Village & Resort will be reopening in late July, 2021.
    • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will be reopening on August 26, 2021
    • Disney’s Contemporary Resort rooms on all 9 floors are currently under refurbishment. These all new rooms and their Incredible themes should be ready for guests this Fall.
  • Refurbishment Updates
    • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa will begin refurbishments on June 28.  The schedule will continue in three phases…Phase 1 begins June 28, closing the Main Lobby connecting hall. Phase 2 will close the porte cochere from July 12 through September. Phase 3 will begin in August and bring the reopening of the Lobby connecting hall and the closing of the Main Lobby.
    • Disney’s Old Key West will also begin refurbishments in two phases on June 28.  Guests will see changes to the Main Lobby, Den and future check-in experience.
  • “The World’s Most Magical Celebration”; Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Details and Updates
    • Evening entertainment-two new evening shows will highlight the 50th Anniversary Celebrations!  “Disney Enchantment” will debut on October 1 in Magic Kingdom with brand new fireworks and projections that lead from Cinderella’s Castle down Main Street USA.  On the same night, Epcot’s all new “Harmonious” will make its debut.  Both are part of the 18 month anniversary celebration.
    • Daytime entertainment-an all new daytime show will arrive at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Disney Kite Tails will appear at the Discovery River Amphitheater on October 1, 2021.
  • Nighttime Spectaculars-Exciting news!  “Happily Ever After” at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and “Epcot Forever” in Epcot will both return on July 1, 2021!
  • Disney’s Magical Express Updates
    • As previously announced, Disney’s Magical Express service is ending with guests arriving on December 31, 2021.  Mears Transportation has already announced that they will continue the service in a different capacity. However, details have not been announced yet.
    • Beginning on July 1, 2021 Disney will stop mailing paper confirmations of Disney’s Magical Express confirmations for guests arriving in 2021.  Guests using the service are asked to present their Magic Band, Magic Mobile confirmation, or paper copy of their resort/package confirmation (printed from home) to access transportation.
  • Department of Defense Warrior Games coming to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex this September! The games will host 12 adaptive, competitive events designed to honor wounded/ill Active and Veteran members of our military forces. These games highlight the strength and perseverance of these individuals and their families, and are an inspiration to watch.  The open and closing ceremonies, hosted by Jon Stewart, as well as the events will be open to the public.  Keep an eye on the DoD Warrior Games website for information on tickets, schedules and events.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival updates
    • This year’s celebration, hosted by Corkcircle, will run from July 15-November 20, 2021
    • Guests can expect the return of some of their favorite foods, popular entertainment (Voices of Liberty, Mariachi Cobre, Jammin Chefs), and the family favorite Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt
  • Disney After Hours BOO Bash will take place this fall instead of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  The specially ticketed event will take place on 23 select nights from August 10 through Halloween. On these nights, guests can visit Magic Kingdom from 9 pm-midnight (Ticket holders can officially enter closer to 7 pm; the party officially begins at 9 pm).  Special character cavalcades, surprise character appearances, complimentary snacks and drinks, reduced capacity in the parks and on over 20 open attractions, special event snacks, drinks, and merchandise available for purchase, and Special Event shots via Photo Pass.  Tickets begin at $129 per person and can be purchased online or though your Travel Agent. Special tickets are required for this event, but Park Pass Reservations are not required.

 

Disneyland
Disneyland News & Updates

Sleeping Beauty’s castle, personally designed by Walt.

  • Park Pass Reservations-As has been the case all year, guests hoping to visit a Walt Disney World park need both valid admission and a Park Pass Reservation.  Be sure to check the availability calendar prior to purchasing tickets, book your package or tickets as soon as you are set on dates, link to your ‘MyDisneyExperience” account, and make your Park Pass Reservations immediately.  Reservations can be changed, based on availability.  But, you don’t want to miss out on a desired park day because you waited too long.  Even worse, you don’t want to arrive at a park and not be allowed admission because you don’t have reservations.
  • Covid-19 Policies
    • As of June 15, 2021 out of state guests were welcomed back!
    • Temperature checks are no longer in place.
    • Social distancing is not being mandated.
    • Fully vaccinated guests are no longer required to wear masks on property.  Unvaccinated guests are asked to wear masks indoors. Proof of vaccination will not be required.
  • Avengers Campus at Disney’s California Adventure and Know Before You Go-Avengers Campus opened on June 4.  Guests wishing to experience WEB Slingers: A Spiderman Adventure need to join the virtual queue.
    • Download the Disneyland Mobile app and log in
    • Be sure tickets are linked to your account
    • Make park pass reservations for Disney’s California Adventure
    • At 7 am on the day of visit, open the app and try to join the queue.
    • If you do not get in at 7 am, you can try again at 12 pm.
    • Guests that begin their day in Disneyland Park can also try for a virtual queue at 12:00 as long as they have park reservations for Disneyland, have a valid Park Hopper ticket, and have entered Disneyland before noon.  These guests will be able to hop to Disney’s California Adventure at 1:00 pm.
    • Guests can only join one virtual queue per day.
    • Guests cannot have a WEB Slingers and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding group at the same time.
  • Club Level Resort Updates
    • Club Level rooms at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa reopened on June 4, 2021. Guests can check in online 5 days in advance. All Club Level guests will check in on the Club Level, avoiding the front desk. The Veranda with concierge services and included refreshments, opened with the Club Level rooms.
  • Resort Updates and discounts
    • Guests staying at a Disneyland Hotel from July 5-October 2 can now save up to 25% off of the room portion of their stay. Rooms must be booked by July 16, 2021.
    • Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel opened on June 15, 2021
    • The Disneyland Hotel & Spa will reopen on July 2, 2021
    • Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa opened earlier this year.

 

Disney Cruise Line
Disney News Updates

Disney Cruise Line

 

  • Updated cancellation list-affected guests that have paid in full can opt for a full refund of monies paid or a 125% FCC to be used by September 30, 2022.  Guests that have not paid in full will receive a full refund of any monies paid.
    • Disney Dream sailings through August 6, 2021
    • Disney Fantasy sailings through August 28. 2021
    • Disney Wonder sailings through September 9, 2021
    • Disney Magic sailings through November 4, 2021
  • Specialty Sailings return for 2022!
    • Halloween on the High Seas will return in September 2022
    • Very Merrytime Cruises will return in November 2022

During the past year, I had come to dread writing each month’s update article.  There were many months when the gloom of cancelations, suspensions, and paused activities brought a heavy weight with them.  I feel the tide turning and once again excited to post these monthly updates.

On another note, I would like to take a second to thank all of you that checked in or offered support for our family.  I can gratefully say that my husband has recently returned from what will hopefully be his last full year military deployment.  We are all back under one roof, healthy, and preparing for our next vacation…with Magic Kingdom fireworks on the schedule!  Have a great month everyone and be sure to remember All for Dreams Travel with Gateway to Magic Travel for your vacation planning needs.

 

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.