Walt Disney World Announces that Parking Lot Trams are Returning

Last night Walt Disney World announced that parking trams will be returning to the Walt Disney World theme parks parking lots in a phased reopening.

According the announcement, parking lot trams for the Magic Kingdom will resume later in December 2021, with the other parks seeing a return throughout 2022.

Despite a lot of guest consternation, the trams have been out of service at all four of the theme parks since they re-opened in July of 2020 due to physical distancing requirements and labor shortages. Guests have been required to walk from their cars to the main entrances of each of the parks.

Walt Disney World Pauses New Sales of All Non-Florida Resident Annual Passes

According to reports, Walt Disney World is pausing new sales of some of its annual passes.

New sales of the Pirate, Sorcerer and Incredi-Pass have been paused. The Pixie Dust (Florida residents) is the only pass that is available for new purchases.

This does not impact renewals, it only affects new purchases.

Disney has not stated when the sales of these passes will resume, but sources say that the pause will last at least through the end of the year and will resume sales sometime in 2022.

Walt Disney World Celebrates Disney+ Day with Special Offerings and Early Park Entry

Walt Disney World will celebrate Disney+ Day on November 12th with early theme park entry and special offerings.

Disney+ subscribers with a valid ticket or pass and theme park reservations for the day will be able to enjoy special benefits at select Disney theme parks. Disney+ subscribers with their travel party will be able to enter all theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort 30 minutes before regular park open. If you are a Walt Disney World Resort hotel guest and Disney+ subscriber, that will mean 60 minutes early entry on November 12th.

Guests will be welcomed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a blue carpet experience, including special photo opportunities throughout the parks. Some of our favorite Disney+ characters are also joining the festivities with appearances around the parks and in cavalcades.

Disney+ subscribers will also receive complimentary digital downloads of select Disney PhotoPass photos. There will also be new AR lens roll outs for Disney+ Day.

In order to take participate, guests will need a valid theme park ticket and a park pass reservation. Proof of Disney+ subscription is via a logged-in Home Screen of the Disney+ app – one per party.

Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company stated –

The inaugural Disney+ Day will be a grand-scale celebration of our subscribers across the entire company.  This day of appreciation brings to life our mission to entertain, inform, and inspire fans and families around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, and will become an annual tentpole event to be amplified across our global businesses.

Walt Disney World Announces Candlelight Processional Dining Packages and First List of Narrators

As announced earlier, we know that the 2021 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will see the return of the fan-favorite Candlelight Processional. We now know some of the celebrity narrators that will be appearing.

The list of celebrity narrators for this year’s Candlelight Processional will include Chita Rivera, Jodi Benson, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lisa Ling, Steven Curtis Chapman, Blair Underwood and Pat Sajak with more names being added over the coming weeks.

The dates that the narrators will appear are as follows –

  • Chita Rivera – November 29 through December 1
  • Jodi Benson – December 2 through December 4
  • Alton Fitzgerald White – December 5 through December 7
  • Lisa Ling – December 11 through December 13
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 23 through December 25
  • Blair Underwood – December 26 through December 28
  • Pat Sajak – December 29 through December 30

Disney also announced earlier today that dining packages for the 2021 Candlelight Processional at EPCOT will go on sale October 26th.

This year there will only be four restaurants participating.

Each package includes:

  • An appetizer, entrée and dessert or one (1) full buffet (where applicable), along with a non-alcoholic beverage
  • One (1) guaranteed seat per person to the Candlelight Processional held on the same day

Below is the list of participating restaurants along with prices –

Biergarten Restaurant – Germany Pavilion
$62 ages 10 and up, $35 ages 3 – 9

Coral Reef – The Living Seas
$74 ages 10 and up, $25 ages 3 – 9

Garden Grill – The Land Pavilion 
$71 ages 10 and up, $46 ages 3 – 9

Rose & Crown – United Kingdom Pavilion
$63 ages 10 and up, $25 ages 3 – 9

Walt Disney Announces Genie+ Launch Date Along with Lightning Lane and Individual Lightning Lane Details

Walt Disney World announced today that Disney Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane will launch at Walt Disney World on October 19th.

As a reminder, Disney Genie is a new digital service which is part of the My Disney Experience app that 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. There is no cost to use 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. The introductory pricing for this option will be $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.

The pricing for Individual Attraction purchases will vary by date, attraction and park. For example, the Lightning Lane entrance to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be $9 per person on October 19 and $11 per person on October 23. As another example, on both those dates, Lightning Lane entrance to Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain will be $7 per person, while Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will be $15 per person. Throughout the year, prices will vary by days. This option may be purchased at up to 2 different attractions each day.

As part of the announcement Disney has provided the full listing of all the attractions that will offer Lighting Lane access at Walt Disney World.

Lightning Lane entrances will be available through two options.

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections – Guests can select arrival windows for Lightning Lane entrances that are available at more than 40 attractions and entertainment across all 4 theme parks, one at a time throughout the day for $15 per ticket per day.

Individual Lightning Lane Selections – Lightning Lane entry will be available for purchase individually. Guests may purchase and select an arrival window one at a time for up to 2 attractions a day. This option will be available for all Guests—with or without Disney Genie+ service.

Here is the complete list –

Magic Kingdom

Individual Lightning Lane Selections

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Haunted Mansion
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Splash Mountain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

EPCOT

Individual Lightning Lane Selections

  • Frozen Ever After
  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections

  • Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: SPACE – Green
  • Mission: SPACE – Orange
  • Soarin’
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Individual Lightning Lane Selections

  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along
  • Disney Jr. Dance Party
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – Returning December 19, 2021
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Toy Story Mania!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Individual Lightning Lane Selections

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selections

  • Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King
  • DINOSAUR
  • Feathered Friends in Flight!
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Na-vi River Journey
  • The Animation Experience

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.”

 

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind to Open in 2022 at EPCOT

Disney confirmed yesterday that Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind will open in 2022 at EPCOT. Disney did not offer a specific opening date.

In the announcement, Imagineer Zach Riddley said –

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, will debut in 2022. That’s right, our friends from Xandar will open the first ‘other-world’ showcase pavilion at EPCOT next year, inviting us on an intergalactic chase through space and time!

Here you see Imagineers Tom Fitzgerald and Scott Drake in the Galaxarium, which when completed will feature a planetarium-type presentation where the Xandarians show us their world, their people and their advanced technologies.

The new attraction will feature an innovation that we have not seen from Walt Disney Imagineering – a storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus guests on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster. 

First Voyages of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser to Begin March 1, 2022

Yesterday Disney announced that the inaugural voyage of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort will depart March, 1, 2022!

Guests will be able to reserve bookings for this immersive adventure in a galaxy far, far away on October 28th.

Disney also mentioned that some Disney and Star Wars fans, including Disney Vacation Club members, Disney Passholders and Disney Visa Cardmembers, should be on the lookout in the coming weeks for a special booking opportunity just for them. 

Electrical Water Pageant Getting New 50th Anniversary Scene

Walt Disney World just announced that the Electrical Water Pageant will be updated with a new scene to celebrate Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary.

The new scene joining the pageant will feature Cinderella Castle in blue, with the 50th anniversary icon in the center. Accompanying the pageant will be a special version of the celebration anthem – “The Magic is Calling.”

In the announcement, Disney said –

The beloved Electrical Water Pageant joins in the fun of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” with new celebratory scenes featuring a towering castle, swirling pixie dust and a version of the celebration anthem song, “The Magic is Calling,” bookending the full traditional show as it sails nightly across Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more on the EARidescent updates to the Walt Disney World Resort classic.

Personally, I’m glad to see that the Electrical Water Pageant is getting some love and especially for 50th Anniversary love.  I can’t wait to see this.

Holiday Storytellers Appear to be Returning for the 2021 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays

The 2021 EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is looking to be a lot like what we’re used to seeing, with more entertainment expected to be returning.

It was recently noticed that a casting call went out from Disney Live Entertainment looking for Equity performers to play the roles of the Holiday Storytellers in each of the World Showcase countries.

Walt Disney World recently confirmed that the Candlelight Processional will return this year.

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