The Biggest Disney News So Far This Year

2021 has been a HUGE year so far at the Disney Parks.

It has been a big year for Disney!

We’ve seen lots of unexpected things, tons of new merchandise and snacks, and many changes to the parks in general. And besides all that, 2021 has been FILLED with big Disney announcements. Today we’re giving you a refresh on all of the biggest Disney news so far this year! (Or, we’re catching you up if you’ve been living under a rock or trekking through the wilderness for four months.)

Magical Express Has Been Discontinued

One of the first news bombs dropped on us this year was that Disney World’s transportation service to and from the Orlando airport, Magical Express, would be discontinued at the end of the year. Guests have from now until 2022 to work out how they’ll be getting from MCO to their Disney Resort, and we’ve been sharing a lot of information on possible alternative options since then.

Disney’s Magical Express will be retiring next year.

Jungle Cruise is Getting a Retheme

One of Magic Kingdom and Disneyland‘s most classic rides is getting a new storyline, and we’ve been getting very pumped after seeing all the details! Jungle Cruise is already under construction in both parks to make some changes to certain scenes and add a more cohesive plotline throughout. Expect to see new characters, new animatronics, and tons of new jokes!

©Disney | Updates coming to Jungle Cruise

Several Attraction Opening Dates

This year has also been the time for Disney to (FINALLY) start announcing some opening dates for big things coming in the future. They shared that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and the rest of the France Pavilion expansion (including La Creperie de Paris) in EPCOT would be opening on the Disney World 50th Anniversary, October 1st, 2021. 

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

We also got the opening date for Avengers Campus in Disney California Adventure, which will be coming to us this summer on June 4th. This area brings new rides, new restaurants, and new experiences for all kinds of Marvel fans!

©Disney

Mickey’s Not So Scary is Canceled — But Another Halloween Party is Coming!

Disney World recently announced that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will not happen in 2021, but it will be replaced (at least for this year) by another after hours eventBoo Bash!

©Disney

Running select nights from August 10th to October 31st, the event will take place at Magic Kingdom from 9AM to 12AM, with costumes, characters, themed cavalcades, and treats!

Click here to read more about the new Boo Bash coming to Magic Kingdom!

The Disney College Program is Returning

The Disney College Program is returning this summer! Those who participated previously or were accepted into the program before it was canceled will be invited back to try again. There will be some modifications for health and safety reasons, but we’re definitely thrilled for these future Cast Members to live out their dreams!

©Disney

Tons of Disneyland Resort News

Even though Disneyland Resort was closed at the beginning of the year, it has been a busy four months for the two parks! First, Disney announced that they were canceling the Disneyland Resort Annual Passholder program and replacing it with something new. 

Disneyland 65th Anniversary Annual Passholder Magnet

After that, we FINALLY got a reopening date for the parks, and we were there to celebrate on the first day! They’re up and running now with limited operations and new safety regulations after a 13 month-long closure. We know that California Disney fans are super excited about that!

Disney California Adventure at night!

And then, in the news we definitely didn’t see coming — Disneyland Resort proposed an expansion plan to their local government! The new areas of the resort would be created through rearranging parking space, allowing the two parks to expand with new lands and the resort to open up more dining and shopping locations. This plan is still pending approval from the local government.

©Disney

New Technology Coming Soon

And speaking of things we didn’t expect, Disney dropped some new tech on us in early April. We got a glimpse of two big things — a walking Baby Groot animatronic that is super cute, and a REAL lightsaber that is insanely cool! The company hasn’t shared any additional details with fans, but we’ll be looking out for this new tech in the parks for sure.

©Disney

Disney World Updated the Mask Policy

Ever since the parks reopened in Disney World, there has been a strict mask mandate in place. April marked the first time that Disney has relaxed those rules since reopening, with a new mask policy for photos going into place. Nowadays, guests are allowed to remove their face covering if they are taking a photo outdoors, stationary, and distanced from other guests. 

Guests are now allowed to take maskless photos when distanced from others outdoors.

But, then, Disney went on to update its face mask policies even further on May 14th, after the CDC released new recommendations regarding face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals. The CDC now states that fully vaccinated people are able to go maskless both indoors and outdoors.

New Face Mask Signage

Disney World, though, has shifted its mask procedures so ALL guests — regardless of their vaccination statuses — can go maskless outside. However, guests are still required to wear face coverings in certain situations, including when waiting in both indoors and outdoors queues for rides, on rides, when in shops, dining locations, other indoor areas, on transportation, and more.

©Disney

Temperature checks have also been removed, as reduced distancing measures are being placed in the parks. As additional changes to health and safety precautions come to Disney World, we’ll keep you updated with everything you need to know!

Here’s what the new face mask policy looks like in Disney World!

Celebrations Coming for the 50th Anniversary

We’ve been waiting anxiously for more details on Disney World’s big 50th Anniversary, and we got a little teaser of what’s to come earlier this year. On Good Morning America, Disney revealed their plans to give each of the four park icons a makeover in honor of the special occasion. In addition, Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be getting new outfits to match the celebration’s color scheme. We can’t wait to hear more in the coming months!

Decorations have already been added to Cinderella Castle!

A Spectacular New Cruise Ship

If you’re itching to get back on the sea, then you’ll be happy to know that Disney recently gave a presentation with the overview of their newest cruise ship, the Disney Wish. This ship is unlike any other, with Disney’s first attraction at sea and tons of interactive and immersive experiences for the whole family. (Not to mention the luxurious accommodations!)

Disney Wish ©Disney

A First Look at New Hotel Rooms

And speaking of luxurious places to stay, we got a little sneak peek at the Moana-themed rooms coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. They’re Disney-based in a way that’s not over-the-top or “in your face,” and we think they’ll be perfect for guests of all ages when they become available this summer. 

©Disney | ‘Moana’ Rooms at the Polynesian

Trailers and Premiere Dates for Shows & Movies

And last but not least, 2021 has been a constant whirlwind of news for Disney+ and other Disney media. We’ve learned TONS of premiere dates for upcoming movies and TV series, and we’ve been watching trailer after trailer after trailer of new content! This is definitely going to be a big year for entertainment. 

©Disney/Marvel

Disney World Discontinues Free MagicBands

Disney stated earlier this year that it would begetting rid of the complimentary MagicBand program for Disney World Resort hotel guests. Instead, MagicMobile was introduced on the My Disney Experience app, where guests can use their cell phones as their MagicBands. And, now Disney World has announced that it will also be discontinuing the complimentary MagicBand program for Annual Passholders on August 16th, 2021.

©Disney

While there will still be discounted MagicBands for all these guests, Disney is making more of a big shift over to its new MagicMobile service.

Find out more details of free MagicBands being discontinued for Annual Passholders here!

Those are all the biggest Disney news announcements we’ve had so far this year, but stay tuned to AllEars to make sure you don’t miss any that are coming soon! We’re bringing you the latest updates from the Disney parks and online each and every day!

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Which of these news bombs surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments!

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One Reply to “The Biggest Disney News So Far This Year”

  1. I wasn’t surprised by my son’s recent decision to book a vacation week at the Hard Rock at Universal ..His family usually stays a week at the Boardwalk Inn but with Disney’s slow return to invest in the opening of the hotel, as well as the local shops and restaurants in the surrounding area, his decision now has me thinking about our upcoming vacation. The Hard Rock Hotel front of the line perk far exceeds Disney’s lack of insight with returning fast pass or anything else that may induce one to commit to a Disney vacation…With constant construction notices plastered on rides and other venues apologizing for the inconvenience of their closure for future enjoyment…My time is now,not later and maybe once they get their act togther,I might give thought to returning again…How’s that for news ?