Everything That Has Already Changed in Disney World This Year

Disney World made a lot of modifications in 2020. The global health crisis affected the theme parks and Disney responded by implementing new health and safety regulations.

Cinderella Castle

Among these regulations were face mask policies, limited capacities, and modified experiences. Over time, Disney has continued to adjust these policies and will most likely continue to do so while events unfold in 2021. But today, we’re taking a look at everything that has already changed in Disney World beyond just the evolving health and safety measures!

Modified Park Hopping

Park Hopping made its return at the very beginning of the year on January 1st. Prior to closing, guests could “hop” between Disney World parks with the proper ticket but Park Hopping was suspended upon reopening since Disney was operating under limited conditions. Now, guests can once again transfer between the four parks, but the experience has been changed a bit.

EPCOT Monorail

Originally, guests could pop in and out of as many parks as they like throughout the day. Under the new restrictions, visitors must make a Disney Park Pass reservation for their first theme park and, after entering the first park, they can transfer to any other theme park without a reservation after. As long as the park you wish to visit is not at capacity, you are able to visit all four theme parks.

Transportation and Ticket Center

Another caveat is that guests can only transfer to another theme park after 2PM. This time is subject to change for certain parks and hours as Disney does update Park Hopping hours from time to time!

Disney Skyliner

One thing to note! Guests must book a spot in the virtual queue to board Rise of the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Those of you wishing to Park Hop must make a Park Pass reservation for Hollywood Studios and attend this park firstThis will allow you to book a Boarding Pass for the attraction.

Learn more about modified Park Hopping and how to prepare for it here!

Complimentary MagicBands Are Discontinued

Prior to closing, Disney World Annual Passholders and guests staying at Disney World Resort hotels could choose a complimentary MagicBand. However, beginning this year, Disney no longer provides any guests with free MagicBands.

2021 MagicBands

Guests with a hotel reservation or Annual Pass now have the option to order discounted MagicBands or link bands from previous vacations. Or, they can pick up a Key to the World card to use for room and park entry. Visitors are also encouraged to use the My Disney Experience app for purchases, keyless room entry, park entry, and virtual resort check-in.

Read about the elimination of free MagicBands here!

New Disney World Annual Pass Program

Speaking of Disney World Annual Passholders, sales recently started up again after an 18-month long suspension — but they’re pretty different now!

Annual Pass

Instead of the former tiered system, Disney introduced FOUR brand new options that include a new schedule of blockout dates, returning benefits, and more. But, there are also a few significant changes that you’ll want to keep in mind before you make your purchase or renew your pass.

WE ANSWERED YOUR BIGGEST QUESTIONS ABOUT DISNEY WORLD’S NEW ANNUAL PASSES

Magical Extras and Luggage Tags Will No Longer Be Shipped

Guests with a Disney World reservation also used to receive free reusable souvenir luggage tags and a Magical Extras discount card prior to leaving for vacation. However, Disney discontinued this on January 1st, 2021.

Souvenir Luggage Tag

The freebies haven’t disappeared though! Instead, Disney is supplying the tags and Magical Extras at the front desk of the resorts for guest pick-up. This was already the protocol for people staying in a Disney Springs resort and some other Disney-affiliated properties.

Read more about the Magical Extras and Luggage Tag announcement here!

Returning Entertainment

Though Disney World had been reopened for six months prior to changing the calendar over to 2021, Disney entertainment (like parades, shows, and meet and greets) had not returned. And, while many of these offerings remain suspended, a few have returned (and more are coming!).

Festival of the Lion King

Over the summer Disney reopened the popular show at Disney’s Animal KingdomFestival of the Lion King — and soon some performances will return to select Disney Resorts too.

FastPass+ is Being Replaced with Disney Genie+

And, more changes are coming to Disney World in the near future! Recently, Disney announced that they will be discontinuing FastPass+ and will instead introduce TWO new PAID options for skipping the lines this fall.

©Disney

Coming to both the My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps, guests will have the option to purchase either Disney Genie+ or Individual Attraction Selections (or both) that will grant access to new Lightning Lanes (aka FastPass lanes) at attractions across all four theme parks. There are quite a few different details to keep track of with the new program and that’s why we’ve been breaking down everything that you’ll need to know when it launches.

WE ANSWERED YOUR BIGGEST QUESTIONS ABOUT DISNEY GENIE+ HERE!

Can you believe it’s already a new year? It seems like 2020 slowed time down and lasted 10 years. Disney will most likely continue to modify experiences throughout the following year. Stay tuned with AllEars as we inform you of all the important updates!

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2 Replies to “Everything That Has Already Changed in Disney World This Year”

  1. The magical extras card makes sense but the luggage tags? Not so much. Doesn’t do you a lot of good after the fact.