Even though the year is just beginning, it’s been a busy 2021 for Disney.
Disneyland Ends Its Annual Passholder Program
Since closing in March 2020, Disneyland’s Annual Passholder program was temporarily suspended. However, on January 14th, Disney announced that the program would end. Ken Potrock, President of Disneyland Resort, cited “the continued uncertainty of the pandemic and limitations around the reopening of our California theme parks.”
A few days ago, Ken Potrock announced that a new membership program was in development to replace the Annual Passholder program. Disney is seeking guest input while developing a program “designed to enhance choice and flexibility.” We’ll keep you updated here at AllEars as we receive more details.
Disney World’s Magical Express to Be Discountinued
The Magical Express offers guests free transportation from the Orlando International Airport to their Walt Disney World resort. But beginning January 1st 2022, this service will no longer be available.
However, Disney has announced the construction of a rail station connecting Disney Springs and the Orlando International Airport, with potential for the Palm Beach to Orlando Airport line to be completed in 2022. This could offer guests an alternative (although not complimentary) transportation option.
Disneyland Paris Pushes Back Reopening
Disneyland Paris’s reopening schedule has shifted constantly. After its initial reopening on July 15th, 2020, the park closed again on October 29th. It remained closed through the holiday season with plans to reopen on February 12th, 2021. However, that date was recently pushed back.
Disneyland Paris’s tentative reopening date is now April 2nd, 2021, should conditions permit. We’ll keep you updated as more news comes.
New ‘Soul’ Exhibit Announced for EPCOT
Over at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT, lots of construction is underway. Disney recently announced a brand-new experience coming to EPCOT’s American Adventure based off the movie Soul.
“The Soul of Jazz” will open this February and will take guests on a musical tour of important jazz cities across the country. An official opening date has not yet been announced, but we’ll let you know when it is!
Early Theme Park Entry at Disney World
In honor of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary this year, Disney is introducing Early Theme Park Entry for resort guests. Guests staying at a Disney World resort or select other hotels will have 30-minute early entry to the parks, provided they have a Disney Park Pass reservation for that park.
Disney also announced that Extra Magic Hours will not be returning. We don’t yet have a start date for Early Theme Park Entry or a list of participating attractions, but we’ll keep you posted!
Festival of the Lion King to Return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom
In the wake of the pandemic, Walt Disney World’s reopening in July did not include shows. Festival of the Lion King, Hoop de Doo Musical Revue, and Monsters In. Laugh Floor remained closed as a phased reopening continued. And in October 2020, massive layoffs included these performers.
However, Disney recently announced that Festival of the Lion King will be returning to the Harambe Theatre in summer 2021. Modified choreography, staging, and seating configurations will be in place to ensure compliance with Disney’s safety guidelines.
D23 Announces Attractions to Open in 2021
Both Disney World and Disneyland have attractions scheduled to open in 2021. D23 announced that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open in EPCOT this year. Additionally, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open in EPCOT, while W.E.B. Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure will open in Disney California Adventure.
Jungle Cruise Will Get a New Storyline
We’ll still see the same punny humor and some classic scenes, like rhinos chasing skippers up a tree. However, Disney Imagineer and former Jungle Cruise Skipper Kevin Lively explains that now “we’ll get to follow a skipper and his passengers as their journey goes awry.” The skipper will be immortalized as “a show figure within the attraction itself.” We’re not sure what the timeline for these changes looks like just yet, but we’ll keep you posted!
With all of this news in January, we’re expecting 2021 to be a busy year for Disney announcements. Stay tuned to AllEars for all the latest on park closures, reopening, upcoming attractions, and more.
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Are you planning a trip to Disney in 2021? Let us know in the comments!