More Live Entertainment and Disney Character Experiences Returning to Walt Disney World Resort

In a post on the official Disney parks blog today, Disney announced that modified character meet and greets will be returning to Walt Disney World as soon as this November.

In the announcement Disney said –

Although the environment is not right just yet for hugs and autographs, you’ll soon be able to have individualized time with some of your favorite characters, getting to visit with them in a themed location and snap a photo or two.

Since re-opening from the COVID-19 shutdown last year, character appearances have been limited to distanced outdoor locations.

Some of Disney’s atmosphere entertainment resumed earlier this month on October 1 with the start of the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration. Early birds at Magic Kingdom Park are now starting their day with “Let the Magic Begin” on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage. We have also seen the return of the ragtime piano player at Casey’s Corner on Main Street, U.S.A.

Over at EPCOT, World Showcase guests have welcomed back the Canadian rhythms of Alberta Bound, laughing at the antics of Sergio in Italy, and experiencing the majestic percussion of the Taiko drummers of Matsuriza in Japan.

Next week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, guests visiting Asia can once again enjoy the music of Chakranadi, and Kora Tinga Tinga returns to the streets of Harambe in Africa.  We can also look forward to the Tam Tam Drummers returning to Africa in early November.

Entertainment will also be returning for guests strolling along the waterfront at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort.

The inimitable Yeehaw Bob will have his audience in stitches of fun starting October 14th in the River Roost Lounge at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.

Over the past year since the parks re-opened, Disney Characters have been popping up in cavalcades, motorcades, flotillas, and surprise sighting. These will be continuing.

In the announcement Disney added –

Although the environment is not right just yet for hugs and autographs, you’ll soon be able to have individualized time with some of your favorite characters, getting to visit with them in a themed location and snap a photo or two.

The Disney Princesses will be returning to Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom Park. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will soon find Minnie Mouse at Red Carpet Dreams and the stars of Disney Junior in Animation Courtyard. When guests stop in to see Mickey Mouse backstage at Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A., he’ll be sporting his all-new EARidescent look designed just for the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration! Each of these locations is planned to start welcoming guests in November.

November 7th will mark the return of “Disney Movie Magic,” the cinematic nighttime experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrating Disney’s live-action film legacy, and when this projection show resumes, it will feature a new sequence from Disney’s “Mulan.”

Finally, on December 19th, we will see the return of “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.”

 

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

Walt Disney World Expands Number of Performances of ‘A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be adding more daily performances of ‘A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King’ later this month.

Beginning July 31st, Walt Disney World will be increasing the number of performances from six per day to eight per day.

The first show will begin an hour earlier, at 9:30 AM, with a shorter midday break to accommodate another show.

The new schedule from July 31 will be: 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, and 5:00 PM.

The show that will be performed will still the modified version, which does not include the tumble monkies and aerial acts.

Walt Disney World to Eliminate Mask Policy in Theme Parks June 15th

Beginning June 15th, Walt Disney World will no longer require masks to be worn at the its hotels and theme parks for guests who are fully vaccinated.

Face masks will still be required for all guests on Disney transportation, including Disney buses, monorails and Disney Skyliner.

Also, Walt Disney World has stated that it will continue to reduce physical distancing in queues, shops, restaurants, attraction boarding areas, transportation and theaters.

It is important to note that the new policy does specify that guests who are fully vaccinated may go mask-free.  This does mean that Disney will be relying on the honor system as there is no way for Disney to verify the vaccination status of its guests or employees.

Here  is the Walt Disney World policy in full –

FACE COVERINGS

Face coverings will be optional for fully vaccinated Guests in most areas. Face coverings will still be required of all Guests on Disney transportation, including Disney buses, monorails and Disney Skyliner. While we will not require proof of vaccination, we expect Guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, and upon entering and throughout all attractions and transportation. Guests must observe current policies on face coverings until June 15.

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

We will be relaxing physical distancing guidelines for Guests. This will be visible in places like queues, shops, restaurants, attraction boarding, transportation and our theaters. It’s important to remember that some experiences and entertainment may still be operating with limited capacity or may remain temporarily unavailable. We’re not quite ready to bring back everything yet, but we are optimistic and look forward to the day when Disney pals and princesses are able to hug once again.

 

Tusker House Gets Opening Date

Walt Disney World announced today that Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will re-open to guests on June 20th.

Guest will be able to make Advanced Dining Reservations on June 4th for the opening date and beyond.

As with the other character meals, during the modified character experience, guests will be served family-style entrees inspired by the flavors of Africa and can snap photos of Donald Duck and friends, dressed in their safari best as they promenade through the restaurant.

Disney did not elaborate on menu details and operating hours at this time.

Walt Disney World to Phase In Reducing Physical Distancing; Snack Kiosks Re-Opening at Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World announced that they will soon begin the phasing in of reducing physical distancing at the following updated guidance from Orange County.

Disney has not made any immediate changes following the announcement, by Orange County, but has started to notify Cast Members that the process will take place over the upcoming few weeks.

Walt Disney World has stated that the reduction from 6 feet to 3 feet will take place only in certain areas at the parks, resort hotels and Disney Springs. The reduction won’t apply to dining areas, shopping areas or any area where guests can remove masks.

Disney has updated its website with the following description of its physical distancing policy:

Temporary adjustments are still in place to promote physical distancing. While we will reduce physical distancing measures for Guests across many areas with a gradual, phased approach, six-feet distancing measures will continue in all dining locations, merchandise stores and in areas where Guests can temporarily remove their masks.

Walt  Disney World also announced that Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be re-opening more of its snack kiosks this week as the park’s phased re-opening continues to move forward.

Terra Treats, located on Discovery Island just across from Starbucks will be re-opening and serving up pizza slices.

Dino Diner, located in Dinoland U.S.A. will re-open and will offer hot dogs and churros.

Walt Disney World Announces that “A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King” to Open in May

Earlier  today, Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle announced that ‘A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King’ will open in mid-May at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Although we don’t yet have a specific start date, the general timeframe of mid-May timeframe supports the idea that Disney plans to increase capacity at the theme parks for the summer season.

As when Disney announced that the show would be returning this summer, the show itself will see some modifications to assist with performer safety and will be reduced in length.

Walt Disney World Updates Mask Policy

Walt Disney World has just announced that it will be modifying its mask policy to slightly loosen the requirements for when masks must be worn at the theme parks.

The latest update will begin on  April 8th.  The update will allow guests to remove masks when they are taking photos outdoors while physically distanced.

Specifically the new policy states –

Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. You may temporarily remove your face covering while actively eating, drinking or taking an outdoor photo, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing during this time.

It is important to note that masks must be worn at all other times, in accordance with the original guidelines for the park’s reopening back in July of 2020.

Disney MagicMobile Launches on Apple Devices for All Guests

Today Walt Disney World announced on the Disney Parks Blog that beginning today, all guests with Apple devices will be able to enjoy  the new convenient and contactless option for entering the theme parks and more, as part of the rollout of Disney MagicMobile service!

The new service is now available on the iPhone and Apple Watch and coming soon to other smart devices.  Disney MagicMobile service will be an easy-to-use new way for guests to experience Walt Disney World.

It is important to note that the new service will not be replacing the MagicBand, but will offered in addition to other options such as the MagicBand.

Disney put out a few helpful tips to get started with Disney MagicMobile service:

  • Create A Customized Digital Pass: Guests can create a Disney MagicMobile pass through the My Disney Experience app and add it to the Wallet app on iPhone or the digital wallet on other smart devices. You can customize your pass by choosing from several Disney-themed designs that animate upon use (including special designs just for Annual Passholders and DVC Members)! For added ease, you may also store multiple passes on a single device, a great option for families.
  • Easily Enter the Parks and More: Simply hold your iPhone, Apple Watch, or other smart device near an access point when entering the parks or using other available features, just like you do with a MagicBand. With Express Mode on iPhone and Apple Watch, guests do not even need to wake or unlock their Apple device, or open up the app, to use their Disney MagicMobile pass. As a reminder, valid park admission and a park reservation are required for park entry and must be linked to your account.
  • Discover Other App Enhancements: We’ve also added a new feature in the My Disney Experience app that allows you to automatically link your Disney PhotoPass attraction photos and videos to your profile through your smartphone. Just confirm your settings in advance of riding at participating attractions. The My Disney Experience app also enables Disney Resort hotel guests to unlock their room door using our current digital room key feature.

Guests may use Disney MagicMobile service, a MagicBand or a card interchangeably.

MagicMobile is not currently available at the parking lot entry booths, but it is anticipated that it is going to happen in the near future.

Festival of the Lion King to Return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom This Summer

Walt Disney World announced today that Festival of the Lion King will be returning in the summer of 2021.

On the Disney Parks Blog Disney stated –

We are thrilled to be starting the process of bringing back to work more singers, dancers, technicians and other cast members, from one of the most popular shows at Walt Disney World Resort. Expected this summer, the Harambe Theatre at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will host that fan-favorite troupe of musical storytellers, along with Simba and his friends, in a celebration of the incomparable “Festival of the Lion King.”

Festival of the Lion King will be presented in a modified format. There will be adjustments made tto the show on stage and backstage, including updates to choreography to allow for appropriate physical distancing. also Disney will also adjust how the audience is seated, in line with other theater-based experiences at Walt Disney World Resort.