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by Military Diva

On October 1, 1971 Roy O. Disney famously said “May Walt Disney World bring joy and inspiration and new knowledge to all who come to this happy place… a Magic Kingdom where the young at heart of all ages can laugh and play and learn—together.”

This month has been full of excitement as we approach the 50th Anniversary of this speech and the opening of Walt Disney World.  As expected, the build up to “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” has kept Disney enthusiasts very busy!

Throw in updated Covid-19 policies, returning Disney Cruises, and Holiday celebrations and we’re nearly giddy!  Continue reading to find out what is new and coming to your favorite Disney Destinations!

Walt Disney World
Disney News & Updates

Beginning Oct. 1, 2021, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will host “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” honoring Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

 

  • 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.
  • 50th Anniversary Celebration Spectacular Details
    • Guests can join in on the 50th Anniversary Celebrations from home!   “The Most Magical Story on Earth: 50 Years of Walt Disney World” will air on ABC on Friday, October 1st at 8/7 central. Streaming will be available on HULU on October 2; available on Disney+ on October 8.
    • “Disney Enchantment” an all new night-time spectacular will debut in Disney’s Magic Kingdom on October 1. Guests can expect amazing fireworks, castle projections, and for the first time, projections extending down Main Street USA!  A new, original song titled “You are the Magic”, written and performed by former cast member/GRAMMY Award winner Philip Lawrence, will help guide guests on this emotional journey.
    • “Harmonious” EPCOT’s own nighttime light spectacular will also debut on October 1st for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration”.
    • The Disney Fab 50 sculptures have been revealed!  These gold works of art have been placed throughout the parks in honor of the beloved stories that have entertained us over the past 50 years.
    • Disney’s Electrical Water Pageant, the Seven Seas Lagoon/Bay Lake light and float parade, is being updated to include new music and a new 50th Anniversary Float.
The World's Most Magical Celebration

In this artist rendering, Spaceship Earth becomes a Beacon of Magic in EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. As part of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” honoring Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary beginning Oct. 1, 2021, Spaceship Earth and other icons at each Walt Disney World theme park will come to life at night with their own EARidescent glow. (Disney)

  • Resort offers and discounts
      • Florida Resident can save up to 20% on rooms with the ‘Tis the Season for Resort Savings offer. Book by December 24 for stays December 12-24, 2021.
  • Benefits for Resort Guests-many of the benefits for staying on-site were suspended due to Covid.  A few benefits are returning!
      • Early theme park entry is available every morning at all parks for Disney World Resort Guests (and guests of select partner hotels).  Early Park Entry will be available 30 minutes prior to official opening at all four theme parks for those with valid Park Reservations and tickets.
      • Extended Evening Hours are now being offered for guests of Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts. On select nights, guests of these properties with base tickets and Park Reservations for the included park (or Park Hopper passes) can enjoy an extra two hours with lower crowds.
  • Resort Refurbishments and Updates
    • Disney’s All Star Sports will not be opening as scheduled. Guests with current reservations will receive communication and guidance directly from the Disney Travel Company if affected.
    • Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort is scheduled to open on October 14; Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is scheduled to open on October 28.
Disney News & Updates

YeeHaa Bob at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort

  • Restaurant and Dining Updates
    • Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT opened earlier this month to great reviews. Tables are available for lunch ($55/adult; $29/child) and dinner ($79/adult; $29/child). Reservations have been difficult to obtain but are available; walk up spots may be also be available.
    • Steakhouse 71, a new dining location, will open on October 1.  Located on the first floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, guests will be able to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner in this family-friendly restaurant. Steak, seafood, scrumptious desserts, specialty drinks, extensive allergy options, and creative kids entrees highlight the menu and will have you scrambling to reserve your own spot!
    • Main Street Confectionary reopened on September 29!
    • Magic Kingdom Dessert Parties are returning!! Guests have four options to choose from while enjoying the Magic Kingdom’s evening spectacular,  “Disney Enchantment”. Reservations are required.
      • Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors and Fireworks at Disney’s Contemporary Resort begins on October 2. The evening opens with desserts, appetizers, and drinks in the private rooms of California Grill. Guests are then invited to view “Disney Enchantment” from the Contemporary’s 15th floor observation deck. The night ends with coffee, cordials, and petit-fours.
      • Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Pre-Party or After Party begins October 3. The event includes desserts, cheese trays, coffee, juices, and beer/wine (21+) at Tomorrowland Terrace. Guests will then move to a reserved, standing-only location in the Plaza Gardens. Guests of the after party will enjoy the fireworks first, then head to Tomorrowland Terrace for desserts and drinks. $99/adult; $59/child
      • Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Treats & Seats begins October 3. The event includes desserts, cheese trays, coffee, juices, and beer/wine (21+) at Tomorrowland Terrace. Guests then enjoy reserved seating from the Tomorrowland Terrace Viewing area. $114 adult; $69/child
      • Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise is available now! Guests board a ferryboat from the Ticket and Transportation Center and head out onto the Seven Seas Lagoon. Guests can enjoy desserts and beverages. Alcoholic drinks are available for adults and a scavenger hunt is available for children. Guests will then have a water view of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show. $99/adult; $69/child
        • Harmonious Dinner packages are returning to EPCOT!
          • Rose & Crown Fireworks Dining Package begins October 1. Guests can enjoy an appetizer, entree, dessert platter, beverages, and alcoholic beverages (21+) while enjoying the spectacular views of “Harmonious” from the Rose & Crown patio. $89/adult; $39/child
          • Spice Road Table Dining Package also begins on October 1. Guests can enjoy two small plates, dessert platter, beverage, and alcoholic beverages (21+) while viewing “Harmonious” from the outdoor, covered patio. $89/adult; $39/child

The World's Most Magical Celebration

  • Attraction and Entertainment Updates and Announcements
    • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is now stand by only!  Their previously used Virtual Queue/Boarding Group is no longer being used.
    • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure-the France Pavilion at EPCOT has undergone a huge expansion, almost doubling in size.  On October 1, their new attraction “Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure” will open as well.  This ride will follow the Virtual Queue/Boarding group procedure previously used for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.  Guests must have a park pass, ticket, and boarding group to enjoy this experience-stand by lines will not be available.
    • “Finding Nemo-The Musical” is returning in 2022 with a reimagined story line. Fan favorite songs will still be included!
    • EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional will be back in time for the 2021 International Festival of the Holidays. This beloved event will run from November 26-December 30. Schedules and performers will be announced at a later date.  Due to current Covid protocols, the traditional school choirs will be replaced by enlarged Cast Member choral groups.
    • Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney, an all new show, is set to open in Disney Springs on November 18.
    • Mickey’s Philharmagic will be closed for refurbishment from October 11-November 11. During this time, a new clip from Disney’s “Coco” will be added and technology/projection systems will be updated.
France Pavilion

France Pavilion’s Palais du Cinema now features a Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along.

  •  “Together We Are Magia” celebrates Hispanic Latin Heritage Month throughout the property. Guests can view Miguel and Dante Fab 50 sculptures in EPCOT, enjoy special menus and art at the Mexico Pavilion, and enjoy music from “Coco” at EPCOT’s American Pavilion. Special touches have also been included in the menu at Fairfax Fare in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Tiffins in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Guests can see Princess Elena in the Princess Cavalcade at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, enjoy specially themes movies during their resort’s “Movies under the Stars”, and enjoy special food/music in Disney Springs.

 

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!
  • Resort offers and discounts
    • Public room offer-save up to 25% on Sunday through Thursday stays at the Disneyland Resort Hotel from October 12-December 16, 2021
    • Magic Key Holder Discount-save up to 30% on Sunday through Thursday stays at the Disneyland Resort Hotel from October 12-December 16, 2021.
    • Military-huge discounts are available for the rest of 2021 and 2022 on both rooms and tickets.  Additional details were previously announced.

Disneyland Hotel Monorail Slides

  • Attraction and Entertainment Updates and Announcements
    • Private VIP Tours have returned to Disneyland Resort! Guests can now reserve the 7-hour minimum, concierge-style experience to accommodate up to 10 guests. Tours begin at $425 and do not include the required theme park admission.
  • Halloween Updates
    • Disneyland resorts are overflowing with Halloween decorations and treats, including the spooky, oversized confectionary Oogie Boogie in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & spa (over 4-ft tall).
    • Trick or Treating is offered to overnight Disneyland Resort guests on October 31, 2021.  Sign up at the front desk when checking-in and request a map of the resort treat stations-guests can visit all 3 resorts!

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

  • Holiday Updates-the annual Holiday Celebration will return to Disneyland on November 12, 2021.  This year, it will be extended a few extra days, lasting until January 9, 2022.
    • Disneyland-beyond the fabulous decorations, castle lightning, and in park snowfall, guests can enjoy “A Christmas Fantasy” parade that escorts Santa down Main Street USA, “Believe…in the Holiday Magic” seasonal fireworks, and seasonal attraction overlays.
    • Disney California Adventure Park-guests here will be treated to “Festival of the Holidays” a cultural celebration of decor, food, and music from around the world.
    • Disney Merriest Nites, a separately ticketed event, will be held in Disneyland on 5 select nights. This limited-capacity, after-hours event will feature “Character-Hosted Holiday Parties”, holiday parades, decorations, themed food offerings, and unlimited Photo Pass downloads. The event is scheduled for Nov 11, 16, 30 and Dec 7,9. Tickets can be purchased at Disneyland.com, through your Travel Agent, or through All for Dreams Travel for $165 per guest.
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 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 prior to 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 prior to sailing ($98.33). Florida testing locations are available at Orlando International Airport and Cape Canaveral Radisson Resort
      • purchase at-home test from the Safe Passage Website and return it via the included shipping instructions, exactly 3 days prior to sailing
      • take 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
  • Final Payment Extensions now apply to sailings through March 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.
  • Disney Wonder is set to resume sailing from California on October 1, 2021! Please see Disney Cruise Lines “Know Before You Go” and watch for emailed sailing updates.  Note that the pre-cruise steps above apply to these sailings with the exception of the Panama Canal Sailing.  All guests must be vaccinated to enjoy the cruise through the Panama Canal. Currently, that means that guests under the age of 12 (unable to be vaccinated) cannot sail on this adventure.
  • Disney Fantasy will resume 7-night sailings out of Port Canaveral on October 9.
  • Disney Magic will resume 4 and 5-night sailings from Miami on October 28.
  • Rotational dining updates-dining details are no longer being listed on Key to the World Cards. Beginning October 1, dining information (location, time, seating, suggested attire) will be found on the Navigator App under “My Plans”.

 

As we flip our calendars over this month, we begin celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World! If you can’t make it to Disney World this week, make sure you tune in to the broadcasts and live streaming of the events online.  And remember, the celebration will continue for 18 months!  Contact All for Dreams Travel with Gateway to Magic Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, to book a vacation to your family’s favorite Disney Destination!

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.