by Military Diva
Welcome to this month’s edition of Disney Travel News & Updates. Earlier this month, our family was able to make a quick trip to Walt Disney World. It was amazing to see the amount of effort being placed on providing Magical Guest Experiences while maintaining a safe, healthy environment for guests. And while I am not trying to convince anyone to travel out of their comfort zone, I will be sharing our personal experience in an article later this month.
I would like to take a moment to mention the amount of strain placed on Disney Cast Members this quarter. These individuals are likely responsible for the best parts of our trips. They are often the reason for the bits of Magic, both small and large, that keep many of us returning to Disney properties. At this time, many of these Cast Members have been furloughed. They live in areas that are being financially depressed due to a lack of tourism, where new employment may be difficult to find. I have personally been using two resources in an attempt to give back and support these amazing people. If you would like to join me in helping, please look into a direct donation of cash, Amazon gift cards, or food/household goods through the Cast Member Pantry page on Facebook. A second source is Ear for Each Other, a Facebook group that is dedicated to supporting furloughed Cast Members. Their skills have been adapted to offerings of ornaments, art, baked goods, and many other items that are being sold to the public! Consider supporting a small business and helping someone that has brought so much joy to your family. Bonus, you may be able to bring a little bit of Disney Home by purchasing from one of these amazing individuals.
Now, please continue reading below for a detailed list of November Updates affecting Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani Resort, and Adventures by Disney.
Walt Disney World
- Minnie Van Service suspended-this convenient, add-on transportation service has been suspended throughout the Walt Disney World properties and Orlando International Airport until further notice. Guests can continue to utilize Disney’s Magical Express (Disney Resort guests), Disney onsite transportation, Uber/Lyft services, and private transfers.
- The Holidays have arrived at Walt Disney World! Disney World characters are decked out in their holiday best, Christmas decor fills the properties and the wonderful snacks of the season are available throughout the parks and resorts. Be sure to pick up a Holiday Guide for each park (located near the park maps) for details on daily character cavalcades, holiday treats, and special events.
- Dining Glitch creates issues for many guests. On November 3, a system glitch opened dining availability when it wasn’t truly available. The new number of reservations placed the dining locations at numbers above the reduced capacity safety numbers. Guests that booked new dining reservations and/or modified reservations on this day may have those dining plans canceled. Disney World has sent an email to those affected offering a sincere apology and a $25 digital Disney Gift Card as compensation. (A second error occurred later in the month also. Guests with canceled reservations should see a similar email)
- Disney Visa Cardmembers were treated to a new discount this month! Members must use their Disney Visa or Disney Rewards Redemption Card to make their deposit. Travel must occur between now and February 28, 2021.
- Disney Floral & Gift Services are available again at Walt Disney World! Gift baskets, in-room celebrations, and more can be arranged through the Disney Floral & Gift Team for delivery to your room!
- Details on the Epcot transformation were released during the recent D23 Fantastic Worlds Celebration. Highlights included a reminder of the four new areas coming to Epcot-World Discovery, World Showcase, World Nature, and World Celebration. Details on the new entrance, layout, Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, and more can all be viewed in their current video.
- Disney’s Park Hopper ticket is returning on January 1, 2021! Guests will be required to have a park reservation for the first park they plan to enter. If wanting to hop, watch the Disney Experience app for opening times for their second park of choice (currently estimated as 2:00 pm). Head to the second park anytime at or after opening for “hopping”.
- More Walt Disney World dining locations reopening at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
- Woody’s Lunchbox (QS/Mobile Order) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is expected to reopen on November 25, 2020.
- Crystal Palace (TS/Family Style) at Disney’s Magic Kingdom will reopen on December 13, 2020. Characters will not be available at this time. Guests can begin making reservations on December 1 for dining on December 13 or later.
- Tomorrowland Terrace (QS/Mobile Order) at Disney’s Magic Kingdom will reopen on December 17, 2020.
- Walt Disney Refurbishments have been announced. All current details can be found on the Walt Disney World “Know Before You Go” site.
- Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is currently underway! Lasting until December 31, 2020 guests can enjoy special Holiday merchandise, delicious food, and more!
- Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and the Disneyland Resorts remain closed at this time.
- Buena Vista Street at Downtown Disney officially opened on November 19, expanding the dining and shopping options available to guests. Parking will be $10 per vehicle in the Simba lot, guest entry will be restricted based on current safety recommendations, and mobile waitlists may be used to limit capacity. Open venues include…
- Carthay Circle Lounge
- Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe
- Award Weiners
- Smokejumpers Grill
- Elias & Co
- Julius Katz & Sons
- Kingswell Camera Shop
- Trolley Treats
- Guests visiting Downtown Disney are invited to “Shop, Sip, Savor, and Celebrate the Holiday Season”. Seasonal Thanksgiving food offerings and desserts, Christmas food offerings, and merchandise are available throughout the area.
- Mickey’s Birthday was celebrated with the completion of a recent refurbishment. Both the Partners Statue in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and the Storytellers Statue at the entrance to Buena Vista Street in Downtown Disney have been restored to their original bronze luster.
Disney Cruise Line
- All sailings through January 31, 2021, have been canceled. Guests currently booked will receive communication directly from the Disney Cruise Line with the following offerings.
- Paid in Full-choice of Future Cruise Credit or Full Refund
- Deposit or Partial Payment-automatic refund of all funds paid to date
Aulani Resort, Hawaii
- Select 5-night stays eligible for up to 30% off! Book by December 1, 2020, and also receive a $250 resort credit!!
- Interested guests can book through March 7, 2021, for travel now through March 11, 2021.
- Guests can book up to two rooms at this discounted price.
- Suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas not included.
Adventures by Disney
- Adventures by Disney packages are now suspended through March 31, 2021. Those affected will be notified by the Disney Travel Company with options.
As I mentioned in the opening, the Disney Travel Company is working hard to provide guests with a safe travel experience. While some destinations are still unable to open or operate safely, Walt Disney World and Disneyland’s Downtown Disney are busy creating Magical Moments for those able to travel. If you are unable to travel, consider spreading your own Magic by helping a few of our beloved Disney Cast Members. Cast Member Pantry and Ear for Each Other for all the support they are receiving at this time.
And remember to consider booking your next trip with All for Dreams Travel. They are a no-fee agency, receiving their funds directly from the supplier (Disney Travel Company, Universal Orlando Resorts, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, etc…). All for Dreams Travel is an independent agency of Gateway Travel/Gateway to Magic Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.