Creations Shop Opening this Summer at EPCOT

Walt Disney World announced today that the new flagship merchandise location at EPCOT will be called “Creations Shop” and will replace the former Mouse Gear.  The new shop is scheduled to open this summer.

Creations Shop will feature a bold, sleek design that creates a perfect showcase for large variety of items you’ll find as part of the guest experience at EPCOT.

The new store will include a Mickey Mouse mural along the side wall and homages to him throughout the shop. These large dynamic murals will showcase the global, contemporary icon that Mickey has become for generations around the world.

According to Imagineer Zach Riddley –

Creations Shop features a bold, sleek design that creates a perfect showcase for the rich variety of items you’ll find as part of your EPCOT experience. It will be an open, bright, welcoming environment with huge glass walls that allow sunlight to pour in and make you feel like you’re in touch with nature even while indoors. We are using color, materials and light in new ways with some unique EPCOT touches that connect back to this park’s storied past while looking to the future.

Adjacent to the shop will be a revitalized Club Cool Hosted by Coca-Cola, which will also open this summer.

According to Disney –

This will celebrate Coca-Cola in a fresh new way, while keeping the fan-favorite experience that invites you to explore tasty drinks from around the world. This space will also have some new magic to bring the global experience of Coca-Cola to life for you.

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.

The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival for 2021 to Begin July 15th

Walt Disney World announced today the dates for the 2021 EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival.

This year’s festival will begin on July 15th  and run through to November 20th, which is about the same length as last year’s event.

Most notably absent is that Disney is not assigning the “Taste of” title to the festival, meaning that perhaps we may see  return of a full scale festival for the first time since 2019.

This year’s event will return with Global Marketplaces, including the return of many favorites such as Canada, Greece, Germany, Hops and Barley, Appleseed Orchard and many others.

There will be many ways for guests to enjoy this year’s event, beyond just eating lots of great food:

  • Sample all sorts of delicious cheeses served in fun ways as part of Emile’s Fromage Montage – if you collect a stamp from five different Global Marketplaces, you’ll earn a prize!
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak will send you on a savory scavenger hunt in search of Remy statuettes hidden all over the park.
  • Take a tasty souvenir home from the new merchandise collections, including a festival collection featuring a spirit jersey, baseball cap and so much more.
  • Listen to musical favorites performed by Voices of Liberty, Mariachi Cobre and the Jammin’ Chefs.

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.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Get’s Opening Date

During today’s virtual Shareholders Annual meeting, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced the grand opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT will be October 1st.

Chef Remy will help kick off “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” in Parisian style.

In this new attraction, guests will feel like they’ve shrunk to the size of Chef Remy as you scurry through Gusteau’s famous restaurant on a wild adventure for the whole family.  I’m sure all parents will appreciate, this attraction will have no height requirement! Based on Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award-winning “Ratatouille,” the experience will be part of a newly expanded France pavilion inside EPCOT that will also open Oct. 1.

Leave a Legacy Begins its Return to EPCOT

As Disney began the transformation of the EPCOT main entrance area, the original Legacy sculpture were removed.  Leave A Legacy now lives on in a beautiful new setting just outside of the park.   As we can see in these images, they are in a bright new color.

The newly designed panels are the first of many that will be installed outside of the EPCOT entrance touch points.  The panels feature vibrant hues from the park’s new color palette. The new look of the panels goes along with the beautiful fountain and gleaming pylons and further illustrate the park’s transformation and the magic of possibility.

For guests who wants to search for a tile at the new location, they can use their smart device to scan the QR code at the Leave a Legacy display. This opens up the tile finder search feature, which can provide the coordinates for a tile’s location. Guests can also visit the EPCOT guest Relations team for assistance.

Walt Disney World to Replace Extra Magic Hours with Early Theme Park Entry

Walt Disney World announced today that they will be discontinuing Extra Magic Hours.  Disney will replace EMH with Early Theme Park Entry.

Early Theme Park Entry will debut later in 2021. The new early entry program will give Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests 30 minutes early access to any theme park, every day. Disney has stated that the change will allow a better spread of visitation across all four theme parks and will give guests better flexibility.

When it was running prior to its suspension following the COVID-19 shutdown, Extra Magic Hours offered 3 hours of extended operating hours in the evening, and an hour in the morning. However, the option was restricted to a specific theme park on a specific day.

Walt Disney World Announces Dates for 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

While it is cold (even in Florida) and snowing in parts of the United States our attention is turning to the 2021 Taste of EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival.

Today Walt Disney World announced that the festival will begin on March 3, 2021 and will run through July 5th.

The festival will beavailable with valid admission and a park reservation for the same date. The 2021 festival is almost a month longer than the 2020 festival.

Along with the guest favorite topiary,  there are scheduled to be more than 20 Outdoor Kitchens that will return to World Showcase.

Josh D’Amaro Confirms that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure to Open in 2021

Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products virtually took the stage at the IAAPA Expo: Virtual Education Conference and among his comments announced that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open sometime in 2021.

The ride which will be located in the France pavilion had been originally planned to open in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 closure in March and subsequent restrictions on theme park operations that followed the opening  was delayed.  This means that Disney will wait until it can properly market the attraction to drive guests back to Walt Disney World next year.

The exterior of the expansion is largely complete, and we have heard from sources that ride system testing is already underway inside the show building.

Walt Disney World Shortening Theme Park Operating Hours Starting September 8th

Today Walt Disney World announced that they will be shortening the operating hours of all of their theme parks beginning September 8th. Here are the updated hours:

Magic Kingdom – 9 AM to 6 PM (previously closed at 7 PM)

EPCOT – 11 AM to 7 PM (previously closed at 9 PM)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 10 AM to 7 PM (previously closed at 8 PM)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 9 AM to 5 PM (previously opened at 8 AM and closed at 6 PM)*

This announcement comes after Disney CEO Bob Chapek noted that there was less demand at Walt Disney World for vacations than expected, during a third quarter earnings report.

* – This is a correction. It was earlier reported as open at 8 AM