Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance to Go to Standby Queue

Walt Disney World announced today that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will pause its virtual queue and use a traditional standby line for the first time in its history.

The switch from virtual queue to standby will go into effect on September 23rd.

In the Disney Parks Blog Disney commented –

We know our guests love choice and flexibility when planning their time in a theme park—which is why, starting Sept. 23, we will pause the use of virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios may experience this incredible attraction using a traditional standby queue for the first time since it opened in 2019.

Virtual queues continue to be helpful with attraction access, merchandise launches, grand openings and more, and guests should continue to check the My Disney Experience app for the latest on how we’re using virtual queues across Walt Disney World Resort including its potential use at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at a later date, or from time to time.

There is speculation that this pause of the virtual queue has to do with the launch of Disney Genie.  Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be one of the attractions that makes use of Lighting Lane, with paid access to enter the line. It may be happening to prepare for the new system, or to give guests a chance to experience the attraction prior to the upcoming changes.

Walt Disney World to Resume Annual Pass Sales September 8th

Walt Disney World has announced today that it will resume sales of Annual Passes on September 8th.

With this announcement Walt Disney World will be introducing four new Annual Passes, which Disney says will be “offering the flexibility and choice to meet guest needs, each designed based on Passholder feedback.”

Here are some highlights of the new Walt Disney World Annual Passes:

  • Hold More Park Reservations: Depending on their pass type, Passholders may now hold up to five Disney Park Pass reservations at a time. “bonus reservations” will also be added to the calendar from time to time, so Passholders can make an additional park reservation without it counting against their applicable reservation hold limit. Plus, when Passholders stay at Disney Resort hotels or other select hotels, they will also be eligible to make theme park reservations for each day of their stay – in addition to the reservations you can hold based on your pass type.
  • Customize Your Pass: Choose different add-on options based on your preferences – from the Water Park and Sports option to Disney PhotoPass downloads. These add-on options will be available for purchase with any of our four new passes.
  • Access a New Integrated Calendar: Planning will be easier with enhancements to the reservation system, including a new integrated calendar that lets Passholders quickly see blockout dates for each pass type, view available days and make, modify or cancel a reservation all in one place.
  • Enjoy Passholder Perks: Passes will continue to offer benefits including the Park Hopper option, standard theme park parking and discounts on merchandise and dining. And, there will be a few special surprises throughout the 50th anniversary celebration.

It is important to note as Walt Disney World continues to manage attendance, at any time, Annual Passes may be unavailable for purchase. Annual Passholders will also still be required to make park reservations for each day of their visit.

Here’s a visual comparison of the Annual Pass options:

Below are the respective blackout dates –


In an effort to make the reservation program more seamless, on September 8th, Walt Disney World Resort will introduce an enhanced theme park reservation calendar that shows booked reservations, park availability and blockout dates. All current reservations will be maintained with the ability to make and modify additional new reservations as part of the update.

All passes will include theme park parking, but none include any PhotoPass services.

“Water Park and Sports” and Disney PhotoPass Downloads add-ons will cost $99 each.

If you currently are a WDW Annual Passholder, you may continue to use your Annual Pass as you do currently, when it is time for you to renew, you will be able to renew into one of the new passes (at a discounted renewal rate). The amount of the renewal discount or any DVC discount has not been specifically addressed.

Disney also mentioned that beginning September 8th, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum Plus Annual Passholders will also be able to hold more reservations at a time.

Disney also added –

With the Annual Passholder program’s new look and feel, we wanted to honor our past while looking forward to the future. Using a piece of the original Walt Disney World Resort logo as a foundation for bright colors and energetic design, the program’s new look puts Passholders right in the middle of the magic.

Coming soon, current, active Annual Passholders will be among the first to receive the brand-new Passholder magnet featuring our new look. It’s our way of saying “thank you” for being a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder. (Two magnets per household. Not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged magnets).

 

Walt Disney World Announces Attraction Line-Up for Extended Evening Hours

Earlier today Walt Disney World announced which attractions will be operating during its Extended Evening Hours which begin on October 4th.

Guests staying at one of the Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort hotels will be able to take part in the extended evening hours.

At this time only Magic Kingdom and EPCOT are taking part in the Extended Evening Hours. During the extended evening theme park hours, select merchandise and food and beverage locations will be available. In addition, the following attractions are scheduled to be operating:

Magic Kingdom –

  • “it’s a small world”
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Epcot –

  • Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Participating guests will need to have a valid ticket or pass and a theme park reservation for the same park on the same day to experience both the Early Theme Park Entry and the extended evening hours. Or, guests may visit with a ticket or Annual Pass with the Park Hopper option as long as they entered their first park where they made their reservation earlier in the day.

Participating Hotels –

Disney Deluxe Hotels

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Other Select Hotels Participating

  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
  • Shades of Green® on Walt Disney World®

Walt Disney Confirms Early Entry Attraction Line-Up

It was previously announced that Walt Disney World will begin a new early theme park entry benefit for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests and guests of other select hotels each day at each park beginning this fall on October 1st.  Earlier today Disney announced the line-up of attractions that will be operating during the early entry.

Here is the complete list of what will be operating during Early Theme Park Entry for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests –

Magic Kingdom
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Astro Orbiter
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Epcot
  • Beauty and The Beast Sing-Along
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Mission: SPACE
  • Soarin’ Around the World
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • DINOSAUR
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • TriceraTop Spin

Here is the complete list of participating hotels –

  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
  • Shades of Green® on Walt Disney World® Resort
  • Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando
  • B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista
  • DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando
  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
  • Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
  • Holiday Inn Orlando
  • Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
  • Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando

Disney Announces Disney Genie Service for Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort

Ever since Disney’s Genie project was announced at the 2019 D23 Expo, Disney fans have anticipated and speculated about what it would be.  Yesterday Disney finally took the wraps off and revealed how it plans to reshape the Walt Disney World theme park experience.

Disney announced that Disney Genie will be part of the My Disney Experience app and will arrive at Walt Disney World and Disneyland in this fall.

Disney Genie will include a personalized itinerary feature that will quickly and seamlessly map out an entire day. From specific attractions, foodie experiences and entertainment, to general interests like Disney princesses, villains, Pixar, Star Wars, thrill rides and more,  just tell Disney Genie what you want to do and it will do the planning for you.

Here are some key features –

  • Get Itinerary Updates from Morning to Night: Disney Genie will continue to update your itinerary throughout your day, so you can be more spontaneous and go with the flow.
  • Find Your Favorites at a Glance: Create your very own personal tip board to instantly see your favorites. It will display current AND forecasted future wait times, helping you predict when you might experience quicker entry to attractions.
  • Enjoy More Flexibility and Fun: Disney Genie brings existing planning features together in one place. Join a virtual queue at certain attractions, make dining and experience reservations, mobile order food at many locations, get help from a virtual assistant and more.

There will be two other options for enjoying the theme parks, through a queue that Disney is calling Lightning Lane (formerly the FastPass queue) that is designed to save guests time in line.

Genie+ will be available at Walt Disney World for $15 per person per day ($20 per day for Disneyland Resort), and will include access to the Lightning Lane (previously the FastPass line), for one attraction at a time, with a designated arrival time. In addition, top tier attractions not included in Genie+ will be available for individual purchase at a price not yet announced. Speculation is that Disney could be charging between $4 and $24 per person, per ride, depending on the category of attraction.

Guests can make one selection at a time, throughout the day, from classics like Haunted Mansion to thrill rides like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and newer favorites like Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run (attractions subject to limited availability). If you have visited Disneyland Resort in recent years, this option is the next evolution of the fan-favorite Disney MaxPass service. Disney Genie+ will also include Disney parks-themed audio experiences and photo features to capture your memories, augmented reality lenses for those visiting Walt Disney World Resort and unlimited Disney PhotoPass downloads from your day if you are visiting Disneyland Resort.

Most attractions that were previously part of FastPass+ will be included in the flat-rate Genie+, but top-tier attractions and new attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will require an individual purchase for Lighting Lane access.

Our friends at WDWMagic were nice enough to put together a list of FAQ’s regarding Disney Genie, here are some of the key questions –

1. What is Disney Genie?

Disney Genie is a new digital service that is part of the My Disney Experience app available at no additional cost. The service is designed to plan your day at the Walt Disney World theme parks, including a personalized itinerary that maps out the entire day based on your preferences. Disney Genie will display current AND forecasted future wait times.

2. What is Disney Genie+?

Disney Genie+ is an option within the Disney Genie service that makes the former FastPass line available at select attractions, now called Lightning Lane. At Walt Disney World, the introductory pricing is $15 per ticket per day. Certain headline attractions are not part of Genie+, and Lightning Lane access at those attractions will require an Individual Attraction purchase.

3. What are Individual Attraction Purchases?

Attractions not included as part of Genie+, such as Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, will require an individual attraction purchase for access into the Lightning Lane. Pricing for this option will vary by date, attraction and park and is still to be announced. We have heard reliable speculation that puts pricing between $4 and $24 depending on date, attraction and demand.

4. If I don’t want to buy Genie+ or individual attraction purchases, can I still ride?

All attractions will still have a standby queue or a virtual queue. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will feature a virtual queue and Lightning Lane access only.

5. When does Disney Genie and Genie+ launch at Walt Disney World?

Disney Genie+ will launch in fall 2021; no specific date is available.

6. What is the difference between Genie and Genie+?

Disney Genie is the planning service that creates itineraries and is free for all visitors. Genie+ is a paid option to provide Lighting Lane access to certain attractions.

7. What is a Lightning Lane?

The Lighting Lane is the new name for the FastPass queue, and can be accessed via Genie+ at participating attractions, or via an Individual Attraction purchase at a limited number of high-demand attractions.

8. How much does Disney Genie cost?

The basic Disney Genie service is free to all guests visiting Walt Disney World.

9. Is Disney Genie a new app?

Disney Genie will be accessed via My Disney Experience, the existing Walt Disney World app available for iOS and Android.

10. When can I add Genie+ to my ticket?

Once launched in the fall, you will be able to purchase Genie+ for $15 ahead of your visit as an add-on or purchase on the day of your visit.

11. What attractions are available for Lighting Lane access via Genie+?

Disney has not yet provided a complete listing. However, from material released so far, the following will have Lighting Lane access as part of Genie+:

  • Astro Orbiter
  • Barnstormer
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • it’s a small world
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
12. How many Disney Genie+ selections can I make?

You can make one selection at a time throughout the day. Once you use one, you can make another.

13. How many Individual Attraction purchases can I make?

You can schedule a time to arrive at up to two highly demanded attractions each day using the Lightning Lane entrance.

14. What attractions will not be part of Genie+ and require an Individual Attraction purchase?

Disney has confirmed that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will not be part of Genie+ and will require an Individual Attraction purchase for Lightning Lane access.

Although not yet confirmed, it is expected that the full line-up of Individual Attraction purchases to be Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Slinky Dog Dash, Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Test Track, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Flight of Passage and Kilimanjaro Safaris.

15. Do I have to buy Genie+ before I can make an Individual Attraction Purchase?

No. Individual Attraction purchases can be made via Disney Genie without needing the Genie+ add-on.

16. When can I purchase Individual Attractions for Lightning Lane access?

Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests can purchase up to 2 individual attraction selections for Lighting Lane access at 7am on the day of visit. Non-resort hotel guests can make a purchase when the park opens.

17. When can I make Genie+ selections?

At Walt Disney World, all guests can make the first Genie+ selection at 7am on the day of the visit via My Disney Experience.

18. Will Genie+ and Individual Attraction purchases be available during Extended Evening Hours and Early Entry for Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests?

No, only standby lines will be in use during these times.

19. Do I have to purchase Genie+ for the entire length of my trip?

If purchased as part of a vacation package ahead of your visit, Genie+ is purchased for the entire length of the stay at $15 per ticket per day.
If not purchased ahead of time, Genie+ can be added on a day-by-day basis.

20. Can I pay to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance or Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure?

Yes. There are two options to access these attractions. You can join the virtual queue, which has no cost, beginning at 7am, or purchase a Lighting Lane entrance if available at the time.

21. How does Genie+ and individual attraction purchases work for Annual Passholders?

Genie+ can be purchased by Walt Disney World Annual Passholders on the day of the visit for $15 per day. No discounts are available.

Boma to Re-Open Late This Week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma – Flavors of Africa will re-open late this week on August 20th at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Reservations become available on August 18th via My Disney Experience, phone or the Walt Disney World website. The restaurant will be open for breakfast 7:30 AM – 11 AM and for dinner 5 PM – 9:30 PM.

Boma was originally a buffet experience. It’s unclear at this time if the buffet will return or if, like other former Walt Disney World buffets, it will re-open as a modified family-style experience.

 

Space 220 Restaurant to Begin Service Mid-September

Be prepared for liftoff, because the Space 220 restaurant at EPCOT is scheduled to begin service in mid-September.

The Space 220 restaurant is located next to Mission: SPACE, and it will take fine dining to a whole new level.  The immersive experience begins as guests check into the Space 220 Departure Lounge in Future World.  From here, guests will board one of two “Space Elevators” that will transport guests in what will seem like 220 miles above Earth to Centauri Space Station.  Guests will be able to look down through a viewport to see EPCOT shrink away; looking up they will see the Space Station come into view.

Once docked, guests will head through the themed dining area. Inside the dining area, everyone will eperience a panoramic view of Earth below, and a variety of work and leisure activities taking place beyond the windows of the Space Station-themed restaurant.

The Space 220 restaurant menu will feature stellar dishes and gourmet recipes, with a two-course prix fixe menu for lunch, and a three-course prix fixe menu for dinner.

There was no mention by Disney as to when reservations will be opening.

Space 220 was originally planned to open in 2019 but has seen numerous construction delays prior to COVID, and then was further delayed due to construction restrictions during COVID-19 as mitigation measures were in place.

Minnie’s Halloween Dine Returns to Hollywood and Vine

Minnie’s Halloween Dine has returned to Hollywood and Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as part of the restaurant’s seasonal dining program.

Minnie and her friends will be dressed in Halloween costumes from August 10th through November 3rd. The restaurant is still offering the popular modified character dining experience, with characters not stopping at tables and remaining at a distance.

Characters appearing are subject to change, but in the past it’s been Minnie, Mickey, Goofy and Donald.

Currently the dining experience is priced at $55 per adult, $36 ages 3-9 (plus tax and gratuity), and includes a family-style salad, followed by a choice of entree and dessert.

Walt Disney World Announces Cast Member Preview Dates for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Walt Disney World has announced that Cast Member previews for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure on August 19th.  The previews will continue for more than two weeks.

Cast Member only previews begin  on August 19th and run through to September 2nd.  There will be an additional round of previews for Cast Member sweepstake winners, which will allow guests to accompany the Cast Member winners.

In addition to the cast member preview days, there will also bee Club 33 previews that will take place on September 3rd.

Disney Vacation Club previews are planned for September 5, 17, and 20. Dates for the now sold-out Annual Passholder preview include September 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 16, 23, 24, 27, 28.

Disney Magical Express Replacement Mears Connect is Accepting Bookings for Walt Disney World Airport Transfers

Mears Transportation, the third-party operator of Disney Magical Express, is now accepting bookings for its new Mears Connect service beginning January 1st of next year.

When the service begins, Mears Connect will serve Orlando International Airport and the Disney resort area with two service levels – Standard and Premium.

Standard service will be a shared service on bus or van, making a limited number of stops on the way to your destination.

Premium service will be a direct service with limited to no wait time.

Introductory rates for the standard round trip service are $32 per adult and $27 per child. Premium rates are $200 for up to 4 passengers and $55 per additional passenger.