What will Walt Disney World look like in 2021? And how will the current situation affect the way you’re planning for your next trip?
For starters, last minute trip to Disney may not be an option. As shown on Disney’s Park Pass Calendar, it’s easier than initially thought to get a Park Reservation. But, that doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed entry. Some days do sell out, especially Hollywood Studios. So, planning your Park days takes a little bit more planning.
The biggest change on how we’re planning our 2021 Walt Disney World vacations are Park Reservations.
No one knows for sure how long these Park Reservations will be required. But, for now, the system is set up for Guests to book them through September 2021.
How does this change your planning? Choosing your Park days will now rely on Park Reservation availability instead of crowd calendars, Extra Magic Hours, and/or personal preference.
The good news is that you can check Park availability before purchasing Park Tickets, so you can plan your trip accordingly.
No Park Hoppers
For now, Guests are limited to one Park per day. By limiting the number of Parks each Guest will be allowed to visit, Disney can keep attendance down.
The Park Hopper add-on is available to be added to your 2021 Ticket purchases. But, just know that adjustments may need to be made further down the road.
Luckily, you have 3 options to choose from if modifications need to be made to your Park Tickets.
- Extension: Dates will extend past the date on your Ticket. You may use your current date-based ticket by September 26, 2021 (should Park Hopping return by that date).
- Modification: The Park Hopper add-on may simply be taken off your ticket purchase.
- Cancellation: If your plans change, you also have the option of cancelling your ticket or your entire package.
No Dining Plans
Restaurants everywhere are modifying their menus and reducing their capacity. Walt Disney World restaurants are no different.
As a result, Dining Plans are currently not available to be added to 2021 Walt Disney World Packages. We don’t even have any prices to give Guests who would like to add it to their Package, if they do come back prior to their trip.
However, Disney makes modifications very easy for us. So, once Disney starts offering them again, it’s very simple to add it onto your existing reservation.
This change will be the hardest adjustment for families who rely on Free Dining Promotions. For many, this is the only way they’re able to afford to go.
Historically, Free Dining has been used during the summer and/or early fall, with release dates announced early in the year.
I know that Disney is eager to start offering Dining Plans to their Guests again. So, I’m not ruling out the possibility of it making a comeback in 2021. But, I’m not expecting promotions involving a Dining Plan to be released any time soon, either.
60 Day Dining Reservations
For many, booking your Dining Reservation at 180 days is what really starts to get you pumped for your upcoming vacation.
But, with so many changes being made, the normal 180 day time frame has been shortened to 60 days. Personally, I love the shortened timeline. Not everyone knows where they’re going to want to eat 6 months ahead of time. So, I would not be upset if this change sticks around for awhile.
It may be easier to plan your trip right now. But, don’t underestimate the low crowds. You’ll still want to book those Table Service Restaurants as soon as you can.
Restaurants are still operating with limited capacity. And now that Guests are able to add themselves to a waitlist through the My Disney Experience app, getting a table may not be as easy as you think.
The cancellation of FastPasses is probably the hardest to take for many Disney Guests. With top tier attractions reaching high wait times, it’s hard to imagine not being able to at least cut down your wait of at least a few attractions per day.
Lower capacity has helped ease the pain of not having any FastPasses. But, with the holidays coming up, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Parks reach their new capacity.
There is a rumor swirling around that FastPasse will be making their comeback in January 2021. While this may still happen, without official confirmation from Disney, it’s just a rumor.
No More Complimentary MagicBands
A major disappointment came when Disney announced they will no longer be offering complimentary MagicBands to Disney Resort Guests.
But, with Guests relying heavily on the My Disney Experience App, Disney plans to bring more features that may ultimately replace your MagicBand.
If you choose not to purchase a discounted MagicBand, you’ll be able to use the My Disney Experience app or a Key to the World card, free of cost.
|Disney Parks MagicBand 2 Lavender|
Unlock all the enchantment of Walt Disney World Resort wearing your own personal MagicBand 2. With a simple touch, redeem FastPass+ selections, enter parks, charge purchases to your room, and more!
Water Parks Closed through March 2021
Disney recently released a statement saying that their 2 Water Parks will remain closed through March 7, 2021.
However, this is pending state and local government approvals. So, if the situation in Florida worsens, or Disney doesn’t feel like it’s the right time to open, that date will be pushed back.
Because Disney isn’t planning on reopening the Water Parks for a few more months, the Park Hopper+ and the Water Park and Sports Ticket upgrades are not available for travel dates prior to March 7, 2021.
However, if you have already purchased a Water Park Ticket or a Ticket Upgrade that includes Walter Parks, you have the following options:
- Keep Your Ticket: Your unused, unexpired 1-Day Disney Water Park tickets will automatically be extended through December 31, 2021. If you’re unable to use that ticket by that date, you may apply the value of that ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date.
- Modification: Water Park Tickets may simply be taken off your Package.
- Cancellation: If your plans change, you also have the option of cancelling your ticket or your entire package. Disney has waived all fees through December 31, 2020. Cancelling any trip more than 30 days prior to check-in is always free, anyway.
I understand that there are a lot of questions right now. So, if your question wasn’t answered above, you’re welcome to leave a comment below or send me a private message. I will get you a personalized answer as soon as possible.
As always, for all of the official information, visit Walt Disney World.