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by Military Diva

On this Anniversary month of Walt Disney World, it’s often fun to look back at the history of the park, and the life of Walt himself.  His success and imagination, viewed as an extraordinary gift by most, were often minimized in his own mind.   His belief in hard work and perseverance, tied with the ability to dream, could make any project a reality. In the words of Walt himself, “Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy.”

I am so grateful for Walt’s desire to follow the “four Cs”.  His movies and vacation destinations have created countless memories for our family.  And as a frequent guest of Walt Disney World, I would like to say “thank you” and of course,

Happy 50 Years to the Most Magical Place on Earth!

Walt Disney World Resort turned the calendar to October and began their 18-month celebration of this milestone. New fireworks and projection shows were celebrated at Cinderella’s Castle, beacons of light lit the evening skies, and a new planning feature was announced.

Excitingly, Disneyland continued advancing back to its normal functioning and the Disney Cruise Line has continued to open new sailings.  Follow on below for a full list of policies, openings, and updates that were announced this month for the Disney Travel Company.

Walt Disney World 

Disney Travel 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 the 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!

Disney Genie Service

  • Disney Genie Service was announced this month and became available for purchase/use on October 19.  The Genie Service has three options. Guests can mix and match the three options, creating the best experience for their vacation needs. Take a look at our FAQ sheet for more tips and restrictions.
    • Disney Genie-this complimentary service is available to all guests via the “My Disney Experience” app and offers personalized itineraries based on real-time wait times. Guests can enter their favorite experiences, types of rides, and must-do experiences to create their best day.  Disney Genie also offers mobile quick service ordering, restaurant wait times/check-in/reservations, real-time tips, up-to-date standby times, access to a virtual assistant, and the ability to try for virtual queues when necessary.
    • Genie + is a paid service that offers access to Lightning Lanes (old Fast Pass) for over 50 Disney World attractions. With this $15/ticket/day purchase, guests can schedule one attraction at a time throughout the day and skip the standard standby lines. Genie+ can be added as a length-of-stay add-on in advance of travel. Guests choosing to add as a day-by-day option can purchase via the app after midnight on the day of use.  Attraction scheduling begins at 7 am for all guests.
    • Individual Attraction Selection offers Lightning Lane access to the top two attractions in each Disney World Park.  The pricing for this access is varies based on day, season, and crowd levels.  On-site resort guests can purchase up to two Individual Attraction Selections beginning at 7 am on the day of use; off-site guests can purchase up to two IAS beginning at park opening on the day of use.
  • Entertainment and Attraction Updates
    • “Let the Magic Begin”, Magic Kingdom’s opening show, has returned to the Castle Forecourt Stage.
    • The Casey’s Corner piano player can once again be seen entertaining guests on Main Street USA.
    • Characters will soon return to Magic Kingdom’s Fairytale Hall and Town Square Theater, for distanced Meet & Greets!
    • The Tam Tam Drummers and other roaming entertainers have returned to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
    • Disney Movie Magic, an evening fireworks/projection show in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is scheduled to resume on November 7!
    • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on November 17!
    • Characters will also be returning to Animation Courtyard and Red Carpet Dreams in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Star Cruiser began accepting bookings for 2022 voyages!  This all-new, 2-night voyage will completely immerse guests in the world of Star Wars.  Guests are encouraged to visit the availability calendar, gather booking information noted on the “Ready to Book” list, and either call 800-327-2996 or contact your travel agent to book!
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Guests of Star Wars Galactic Star Cruiser will enjoy an all-inclusive, immersive voyage to Batuu!

  • Holiday Updates
    • Disney Very Merriest After Hours tickets are available now.  The after-hours event will be held from 9-pm to midnight on select nights from November 8-December 21. Guests with tickets can enter as early as 7 pm, enjoy the attractions and Disney Enchantment (castle fireworks/projection show) before the park closes to non-ticket holders.  During the event, guests can expect special Holiday shows, lower wait times on available attractions, “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks”,  an appearance by Santa, and more!
    • Disney’s Magic Kingdom will be decorated for the Holidays and offer special treats for purchase during all normal operating hours.
    • Discovery Island in Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be transformed with a “Merry Menagerie” of life-sized sculptures fitting for this park.  In the evening, the Tree of Life Awakenings will take on its own festive transformation.
    • The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Candlelight Processional will begin on November 29.  Guests will be delighted by celebrity narrations of the Christmas story highlighted by Disney’s Symphony and Choir. (due to Covid protocols, high school choirs will not be participating this year). Guests can add the well-known Candlelight Processional Dining Package and enjoy a delightful meal followed by guaranteed seating for the evening event.
    • Festive enhancements are being brought to Disney’s Hollywood Studios through Sunset Season Greetings at the Hollywood Tower of Terror and “For the First Time in Forever-A Frozen Sing-a-Long Celebration”.
    • Disney Springs will once again be transformed with evening “Snowfall” and the annual Christmas Tree Stroll.
    • And of course, Santa can be spotted visiting all the parks!

 

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland 2020 Review

Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. Photo by Passholder Diva

  • 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!
  • Resort Updates
    • Signature Suites can now be booked at the Disneyland Resorts.  These large, VIP-style suites are available at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disneyland Hoel, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.
  • Entertainment and Attraction Updates
    • Get your groove on-Disney Junior Dance Party has returned to Disney’s California Adventure!  Families can join in the fun by singing and dancing with their favorite characters.
    • The Disneyland Monorail has returned to service this month!
    • Plaza Point is now open on Disneyland’s Main Street USA.  This all-new Holiday store has quite a cute backstory, which you can learn about here.

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 before your cruise, and as you move close to the sailing date.  Requirements and policies are 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.   Check the Know Before You Go site, Disney Cruise Line Pre-Cruise Checklist, email correspondence, and your online account for specific requirements. The following steps are currently required on all Disney Cruise sailings…
    • Travel Insurance
    • Safe Passage Website Account-all guests must have their own account; adults complete for children. Registration and test kit ordering opens 15 days before sailing.
    • Schedule transfers from airport to cruise port (or determine parking location, if driving)
    • Covid-19 Vaccine (currently required for all guests 12+)
    • Pre-sail rapid PCR or lab-based PCR Covid-19 Testing for all guests under the age of 12, must be administered between 3-days and 24 hours of sailing.
      • purchase and schedule test from Safe Passage Website to be administered onsite in FL 1-3 days before sailing ($98.33). Florida testing locations are available at Orlando International Airport and Cape Canaveral Radisson Resort
      • purchase an at-home test from the Safe Passage Website and return it via the included shipping instructions, exactly 3 days before sailing
      • take a test at an independent PCR testing site of choice
    • Online Check-In
    • Upload proof of vaccine and children’s negative covid tests to the Safe Passage website.  Bring proof with you to port.
    • Embarkation Covid-19 Testing for all guests
  • Disney Port Adventure Updates
    • Vaccinated guests can book both Disney Cruise Line official excursions and third-party excursions for their port days.
    • Families with unvaccinated guests (children under 12) must book Disney Cruise Line official excursions if they wish to leave the ship in port.  Unvaccinated guests cannot leave the ship with third-party excursion companies.
  • Sailing Updates
    • Disney Wonder will resume Galveston sailings to the Western Caribbean on November 19 with modified itineraries. Guests currently booked on affected itineraries should receive email guidance directly from the Disney Cruise Line company and/or their travel agent.  Those choosing to sail on the modified booking will receive a $400 onboard credit. Those choosing to cancel or modify their dates.
    • The Disney Wonder will then return to sailing out of New Orleans in February 2022.
  • Disney Wish Updates-two new experiences will debut in the newly designed Oceaneer Club
    • Star Wars: Cargo Bay will offer young guests an immersive, galactic mission
    • Mickey and Minnie’s Captain Deck will offer a playground area where guests and families will have a chance to interact with their favorite characters

 

Disney World, Disneyland, the Disney Cruise Line, and all other worldwide properties have persevered throughout the past year.  Despite health policies, economic conditions, and travel restrictions these properties have continued to find a way to adapt and continually provide us with ways to celebrate. We hope you and your family are adapting just as well and look forward to seeing you all return to your happy places.

Remember to consider the services of Patricia Payne with All for Dreams Travel, an independent agent with Gateway to Magic Travel for your travel 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.