2021 still has 2 and a half months in it, and they’re going to be some of the busiest in Disney World all year!
You may have planned your trip for October, November, or December months ago, but there are some things that will impact your trip that you might be forgetting about. Some are new, while others have just been flying under the radar. So, here are the things that will impact your 2021 Disney World trip!
1. Disney Genie
Disney Genie is the new planning app that debuted on October 19th, 2021 on My Disney Experience. It is supposed to be a way to make planning your vacation easier. The free version of the program provides you with a personalized itinerary, forecasted wait times, just like having a virtual assistant.
Genie is free, but Genie+ is not. Genie+ is the program that replaced the old FastPass+ system in the Disney World parks. You can pay $15 per day, per person to have access to over 40 rides you can make reservations for to essentially skip the standby line. You can only reserve one ride at a time, and you can only use Genie+ on a ride once — no repeats.
Once your reservation time arrives, you will enter the line for the attraction using the new Lightning Lane. These are just the old FastPass+ lanes with a new name.
Also available through Disney Genie are Individual Attraction Selections. These are high demand rides that you can pay for individually to skip the line using the Lightning Lane. These rides are NOT be included in Genie+, meaning buying access to Genie+ will not let you reserve a time for these rides. You also can only pay for 2 Individual Attraction Selections per day.
So, how does this affect your trip? Well, the addition of Disney Genie means you will need to decide for yourself if it’s worth the money to use Genie+ or Individual Attraction Selection. And, if you do, you’ll need to make sure to factor it into your budget!
Also, the reservations for Genie+ attractions open at 7AM each day, so if you’re going to use this program, say goodbye to sleeping in on your vacation. The attractions included in Individual Attraction Selections open for reservations at 7AM for Disney hotel guests, and at park open for everyone else.
2. The 50th Anniversary
It’s a HUGE time at Disney World right now, as we’re fully celebrating the 50th anniversary! This will definitely impact the crowd levels for your trip. Times that were previously thought of as having lower crowds might see way more people in the parks for the celebration.
But, it also means there are new things for you to enjoy! A whole new ride has opened in EPCOT — Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure — that you’ll definitely want to ride if you love the movie (or just love cute rides!). The ride is part of the new addition to the France Pavilion, which also includes a new restaurant — La Creperie de Paris.
There is a Table Service and a Quick Service option for the new dining spot, so you can decide the best way you want to get those savory galettes and sweet crepes.
Also here for the 50th are brand new fireworks! Harmonious has made its debut in EPCOT as the new nighttime show, and Disney Enchantment has done the same in Magic Kingdom. So, if you want to check out the new shows on your trip, make sure you get a good viewing spot!
And, there’s a new daytime show in Animal Kingdom — Disney KiteTails. Watch as giant, colorful kites depicting Disney characters soar over the water at the Discovery River Amphitheater several times during the day.
Another thing to be aware of are the new fireworks dining parties here for the 50th, particularly the one at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Celebration at the Top will take place on select nights and allow guests who paid for the event to watch the fireworks from the observation deck. This means regular dinner guests will not be allowed out on the deck these nights to watch the show, so make sure to keep that in mind!
3. Holiday After Hours Events
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Very Merry Christmas Party are not happening this year, but they are being replaced by two new After Hours events — Boo Bash and Disney Very Merriest After Hours.
Boo Bash is the only time you’ll get to see the Halloween cavalcades in Magic Kingdom, as well as the characters in their costumes.
As for Holiday festivities, you will only be able to watch Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade if you’re at the After Hours event, so don’t expect to see these celebrations during normal park hours!
And, be prepared to get kicked out of Magic Kingdom earlier than usual if you’re not attending the After Hours events. Pay attention to those park hours when you’re planning!
4. Early Theme Park Entry
Speaking of park hours, Disney hotel guests now have access to a new perk! All Disney hotel guests will be allowed to enter the 4 theme parks 30 minutes before opening time every day with Early Theme Park Entry.
So, make sure you get up earlier if you want to be the first people in the park! And, if you’re not staying at a Disney hotel, remember that when you “rope drop” the park at official opening time, people will already be inside the park, so it may not be as effective as regular rope drop.
5. Extended Evening Hours
And, the same goes for the new Extended Evening Hours! Extended Evening Hours will only be available to guests staying at a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa hotel on Disney property. See if your hotel qualifies here.
These extended evening hours will take place on select nights in EPCOT and Magic Kingdom throughout the rest of the year. It will allow the guests inside to enjoy the park with far less people!
This could determine if you want to stay in a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa hotel instead of a Moderate or Value hotel, so make sure to figure out what’s worth it to you!
6. EPCOT Food Festivals
EPCOT Food festivals are not slowing down anytime soon! We’re in the middle of EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, which will run until November 20th, and starting November 26th, Festival of the Holidays will kick off!
These are an annual occurrence, but you still need to remember that the festivals bring crowds with them. So, plan accordingly.
And, if you want to try some food at the festivals, make sure to factor that into your budget!
7. Annual Passes
Disney World recently launched a new Annual Passholder Program, and many things are different. First of all, there are fewer options for passes than there were previously — now there are only 4 options to choose from.
Second, PhotoPass and the Water Parks and Sports Option are no longer included in the price of any of the Annual Passes. They are now add-ons for $99 each.
This is important because if you’re buying an Annual Pass soon, you need to prepare for those extra costs if you want to add on PhotoPass or Water Parks and Sports.
Also, the new passes have slightly different blockout dates than the previous passes, so take a look at the calendar before you book your trip!
8. Rise of the Resistance Standby Line
This might seem like a small thing compared to the others, but you need to be aware of it! The most popular ride in Disney World has a new queue system, so get ready.
Instead of using a virtual queue, Rise of the Resistance is now using a normal standby queue. You no longer need to wake up at 7AM to secure a boarding pass, but you might need to get up early to rope drop Hollywood Studios to make sure you’re one of the first people in line!
Wait times so far have been significant, so you’ll need to factor in the time it will take you to wait in line to your park day. Or, you can also get in line RIGHT before closing time and still get to go on the ride!
What’s your favorite month to visit Disney World? Tell us in the comments!