Travel

Walt Disney World opens up 2021 reservations!

This morning, June 24th, the Walt Disney World Resort officially opens up their booking system for 2021 reservations through September 26, 2021! While June is typically the month that we can begin booking resort packages for the following calendar year, this year seems even more special since it’s been so long that any of us could enjoy the magic of Walt Disney World. There is so much to look forward to over the coming year, but there are also changes to how we enjoy the parks and resorts with added safety features in place as well as how we plan and navigate the property.

In 2021 we will see a lot of changes to how we experience the parks and resorts. When we start booking for 2021 today, there will be no park hopper passes or dining plans to be offered. This is still partly due to the response from Disney for the handling of safety measures for COVID-19 and the new Park Reservation System. When guests are booking their 2021 vacation packages, they will need to log into their My Disney Experience account and link their reservation so that they can go in and select their park reservations. While it may be difficult to know which park you want to attend a year from now it is extremely important to do this immediately so you can be sure to have a reservation, the good news is that those park reservations can be modified at any time, based on availability. Disney is expecting to bring back park hoppers and dining plans at some point in the future when they can safely accommodate them, until then we need to make plans without them. Disney will also be proving a “Know before you go” link with up to date information for guests before they travel.

We will also see an upgrade in the My Disney Experience app which will move some of the functions of the Magic Band into the app! With the upgrade, guests will be able to by pass the front desk at check in with the online check in process, unlock their resort room (at Disney resorts), chat with a guest services cast member, check in for dining reservations and order food online at select dining locations, scan their park tickets and check out from their resort without stopping at the front desk. With this upgrade, Disney has announced that they will not be providing complimentary Magic Bands for guests with check in dates January 1, 2021 and later. Now, if you are like me, you may have several Magic Bands and might be wondering what to do with them! The good news is, Magic Bands will still be available for purchase and any Magic Bands that you have linked to your My Disney Experience account will still work, they just are not sending out complimentary ones in 2021. For guests that don’t have a Magic Band and don’t want to purchase them or guests not wanting to use their smartphones for everything, Disney will be providing a free Key to the Kingdom card which will act as your park ticket and room key.

October 2021 marks the 50th Anniversary of Magic Kingdom and while details have not been released at this time, we are all excited to hear what Disney has in store for this celebration! Currently we are not able to book past September 26, 2021 so packages are not available yet for this celebration, but they will go fast once they open for booking so it’s going to be important to watch for announcements.

Travel over the next year will look different than it has in the past with mandatory face coverings, social distancing, recommended cashless transactions by using credit cards, gift cards etc as well as how we book and navigate the Walt Disney World Resort. It is important to stay up to date on all of the guidelines and changes happening with the Walt Disney World Resort for your upcoming stay. Now, let’s start planning and RETURN TO THE MAGIC!

Be sure to follow my blog for continued updates and send me a message if you would like help booking your next Walt Disney World Resort vacation!

Travel

Disney Unveils New Park Pass System Today!

Today Disney unveiled their new Park Pass System which will help to manage the park capacity when the Walt Disney World theme parks open in July. With the new Park Pass System, guests will be required to make a park reservation once they have purchased their park tickets or resort packages. Disney’s Park Pass System will be located in the guests My Disney Experience account and once guests link their park tickets, they will see a menu option to select their park reservations. Check out the steps below to learn how to use Disney’s Park Pass System and start planning your return to the magic!

Step 1: Link Your Admission to Your Disney Account

  • First, you will need a My Disney Experience account, which is where your Walt Disney World plans are stored and managed. Create an account or sign into your existing account.
  • Then, link your valid ticket or reservation number your Disney account. All Guests in your party must also have valid park admission linked to their profile.

Once your admission is linked to your account, you can begin to make a park reservation.

Create your party using your Family & Friends List in My Disney Experience

Step 2: Create Your Party
When you begin to make a reservation, you will be prompted to create your party from your Family & Friends list.

Simply select the family and friends you would like to include, then select “Continue”.

If you do not see someone in your travel party, select “Add a Guest” to include them.

Staying in a Disney Resort or other select hotel with a package that includes tickets? Everyone in your party must also have a hotel reservation. If this varies, you will need to make separate Disney Park Pass reservations.

Step 3: Select a Date and Park
Choose the date and the theme park that you would like to visit from the available reservations. Please note that dates and theme park selections are limited and subject to availability.

After creating your party in the Disney Park Pass system, you will be prompted to:

  • Select a Date: View a calendar and choose one of the available dates for your visit.
  • Select a Theme Park: Park hours will be displayed for your convenience.
  • Select a Time: This is the time that you can visit the park.

After selecting your date, park and time, you can confirm your reservation.

Step 4: Review and Confirm Your Plans
Carefully review and confirm your selected park and date.

If you need to make any changes, select “Back” to revise your selections.

Before confirming, you will need to agree to the Terms & Conditions, including the COVID-19 liability waiver. Then, select “Confirm” to complete your park reservation”.

Once you confirm the reservation it will appear in My Plans, both in the online and My Disney Experience App versions.

You will need to do this step for each day of your ticket.

If you need to cancel a reservation, view your daily itinerary in My Plans, then select “Reservation Details”. Reservations can be done via the Disney website or you My Disney Experience App and can be done even after you have checked into the resort.

There are a few important things to keep in mind. Due to reduced park capacity, park reservations will fill up so it is highly recommended that guests link their park tickets as soon as they purchase them and reserve their park days immediately. Guests without a park reservation will not be allowed to enter the theme park, even with a valid ticket. Due to the park reservation system, park hopper tickets will not be sold at this time, all tickets are one park per day.

Disney is requiring that the guest books the park reservation due to a COVID-19 acknowledgment form that must be accepted. This means if you book using an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, like myself, they will not be able to book your park reservations for you. Your Disney Vacation Planner can help you navigate the system and walk you through it if needed but you, as the guest, will need to be the one to book the reservation.

With all that said, if you have booked a FastPass or a dining reservation in My Disney Experience, then navigating this should be very easy. The steps are extremely straightforward. Park reservations can be made now, with a valid park admission, from July 11, 2020 through September 26, 2021.

If you don’t have a reservation yet but are looking to book for dates between January 1, 2021 – September 26, 2021 and would like an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner to help book your vacation package and navigate all of the changes at the Walt Disney World Resort, send me a message and I’ll be happy to help get you booked on your next magical vacation!

Travel

Returning to the Magic!

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind of updates regarding Disney travel over the last 24 hours, I’m going to do my best to cover as much as I can at this point. All of my information comes from Disney and I alway wait to hear confirmation before posting so that there are no rumors. I’ll start with the newest news to break (in the last few hours) which is, the CDC is recommending cruises sailing from the US through September 15, 2020 be suspended. Disney Cruise Line has agreed to uphold this decision from the CDC and while Disney is still working on their official update on how we (as travel planners) need to proceed to help our guests, they have not yet released how refunds or rebookings will be handled. We should hear something over the next few days and I’ll update everyone at that time. Disney Cruise Line had previously suspended cruises departing from Canada until September 14, 2020 and Europe until October 2, 2020.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, MNSSHP for us Disney fanatics, has been officially cancelled for 2020. This is an incredible and fun event that Disney puts on at Magic Kingdom and I personally have several disappointed travelers that were looking forward to attending this year. Disney’s main priority during this time is safety for their guests and cast members and unfortunately MNSSHP was not able to move forward for this year. Guests who had already purchased tickets through Disney for this 2020 event will be refunded by Disney.

As an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, the biggest question I have gotten lately is when can we change or book reservations for end of 2020 and 2021 at Walt Disney World? Well the good news is that we can start this all very soon! Next week will be a big week for bookings as well as seeing a lot of changes to the current way guests experience Disney. When the Walt Disney World Resort reopens in July, guests will not only need to have a park ticket but also a park reservation to enter a theme park. This is due to the limited park capacity that Disney will have in place at the theme parks, the capacity will be managed with the reservation system located in your My Disney Experience account. Any guest that currently has a resort and ticket reservation for 2020 (from July – Dec 2020) will be able to book their park reservations on Monday June 22, 2020. On Wednesday, June 24th, packages for January 2021 – September 26, 2021 will be available for booking! Then on Friday June 26th, Disney Annual Passholders can book their park reservations as well.

While there will be changes for the safety of guests and cast members, this still is very exciting news! Things may look and feel different when Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line reopen, but we can be sure that the MAGIC will still be there. I can’t wait for my guests to start arriving and for my family to start planning our next visit. I will be sharing more about the park reservation system and process, as well as other information, in the upcoming days so be sure to follow my blog for more details.

Travel

Walt Disney World Announces Reopening Dates!

Walt Disney World Reopening July 2020

Get ready to head back to the magic! In a meeting this morning with the Orange County Economic Task Force, Walt Disney World announced their planned reopen dates as well as safety measures they are putting in place to keep guests and cast members safe. The Walt Disney World Resort will do a phased reopening with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks opening on Saturday July 10, 2020 and then Epcot and Hollywood Studios opening on Wednesday July 15, 2020. Prior to these opening dates, Disney will welcome cast members into the parks to allow the parks to launch, learn and adjust their procedures as needed so that guests can have the best possible experience when returning to Walt Disney World.

When guests return to the Walt Disney World Resort on July 11th and 15th, there are a several things that they should expect such as masks being required (they will be provided if a guest does not have one), social distancing throughout the parks, restaurants, shops as well as reduced capacity and temperature screenings. In addition, Disney is expanding their mobile ordering opportunities for restaurants, encouraging cashless transactions with Magic Bands, Apple Pay and Google Pay options and Disney gift cards. We will see enhanced cleaning and sanitation throughout Walt Disney World especially in high touch areas.

In order to reduce gathering of large groups, Disney will be suspending parades, fireworks, character meet and greets as well as closing play areas and water effects. While the suspending of parades, fireworks and character meet and greets will be difficult for many guests, me included, this is the safest way that Disney could implement social distancing in high volume gathering areas. We will also see reduced capacity throughout the parks and prior ticket purchase requirements. More specific details should be released as we get closer to reopening.

Disney also debuted their new “Social Distancing Squad” with the opening of Disney Springs last week and you will see them throughout the Walt Disney World property. These cast members will be helping guests with the new requirements. Signs will also be found throughout as soon as you enter Walt Disney World Resort property notifying guests of the requirements and keeping them informed.

With the rules being released, how do you feel about going back to the theme parks?

Contact me if you would like help planning your next Walt Disney World vacation as we Return to the Magic! I’m also on Facebook and Instagram so be sure to follow me there for the latest park and resort news.

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Travel

Universal Studios Orlando Proposes Opening Strategy

Today, Universal Studios Orlando submitted their reopening plan in the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force Meeting. The county approved Universals plan and had completed a walk through this morning prior to the meeting. The next step is for the governor of Florida to approve the plan. If the governor of Florida approves their plan, we can expect to start seeing guests back at Universal as soon as June!

Here is a breakdown of what was proposed and what to expect.

June 1st and 2nd the parks would open to select team members so they can vet the processes and procedures that had be put into place.

June 3rd and 4th a limited number of guests would be welcomed, including annual passholders.

June 5th the theme parks would open to all guests, with a reduced capacity.

  • Temperate checks will be done at park entrances for guests. Employees will also have daily temperature checks.
  • Masks must be work by employees and guests. Disposable masks will be available to guests if they do not have one.
  • Limited capacity for all parks, shopping, restaurants, and queue lines.
  • Parking lots will only utilize every other parking space. Valet parking will not be available.
  • Virtual queue lines (as used at Volcano Bay waterpark currently) is being incorporated throughout the theme parks.
  • Single rider lines have been eliminated and queue lines will have spacers marked on the floor to allow social distancing.
  • Interactive play areas will be closed.
  • Elimination of water and mist elements around the park and in attractions where possible.
  • No post show meet and greets after the live shows will occur at this time.
  • Menu’s at the restaurants have been converted to paper so they are single use.
  • Contactless payment options will be available within Universal’s App as well as other options such as Google pay and Apple pay. Cash will be accepted however extra precautions will be in place for cash transactions.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance and exit of attractions as well as throughout the parks.
  • Signage has been placed throughout the parks, starting at the tollbooth entrance and including signage at attractions explaining how the queue line for that attraction will work.

This is exciting news as we are slowly starting to see Orlando venues open back up to visitors! The new Margaritaville resort in Orlando has recently opened as well as earlier this week we saw the opening of Universal’s CityWalk and Disney’s Disney Springs area. Be sure to follow my blog to stay up to date on Universal and Disney travel as well as other openings. Updates are also posted on my Facebook and Instagram pages.

Interested in planning your own vacation to Universal Studios Orlando or Walt Disney World? Message me and together we can get started planning your next vacation!

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Travel

Disney Springs & Universal CityWalk welcomes guests!

Today marks an exciting day for fans of Disney and Universal because we are starting to see some movement towards reopening’s! Universal Orlando’s CityWalk opened several venues yesterday to guests with limited hours and Disney Springs opened some shops and dining today. Disney Springs will open some of the Disney owned stores and restaurants next Wednesday May 27th. Here are some things to expect with each opening.

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen located at Universal’s CityWalk.

Universal’s CityWalk has select dining open such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant and Market, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen and Voodoo Doughnut, just to name a few.  Guests will also be able to shop at the Universal Studios Store and have some fun at Hollywood Drive-In Golf. The venues that are opening will be open from 4pm-10pm at this time. Temperature checks will be required as will face coverings. For a complete list of restaurant and store openings as well as Universal CityWalk’s full safety measure listing, please check out their website at universalorlando.com.

Disney Springs opened some of the third-party owned stores and restaurants today such as Basin,  Pandora Jewelry, Pop Gallery, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Vera Bradly and more. Some of the restaurants open include Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, Boathouse, Earl of Sandwich, Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co., Planet Hollywood, T-Rex, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill as well as several other places.  Next Wednesday, May 27th, Disney has announced that they will open some of their Disney owned places such as World of Disney and the Marketplace Co-Op as well as D-Luxe Burger.  There are 6 key things that Disney would like guests visiting to know before they come to Disney Springs at this time.

Garage entrance into Disney Springs
  1. Parking will be limited to the Orange and Lime garages; no surface area parking will be available. Once these garages are full you will not be admitted, this includes guests with dining reservations as Disney Springs will be considered at maximum capacity at that time. In addition to the limited parking, only four entrances will open; Orange garage entrance, Lime garage entrance, Hotel Plaza Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge entrance and the rideshare location entrance.
  2. Temperature screenings will take place at these entrances. No one with a temperature of 100.4 or high will be admitted (nor will anyone in their party).
  3. Face coverings are required for ages 3 and up.
  4. Physical distancing rules apply. Disney has placed some barriers and distancing queues around Disney Springs to help.
  5. There will be reduced hours and no scheduled entertainment during this time.
  6. Disney has increased their focus on cleaning and sanitizing including adding hand washing and hand sanitizing stations throughout Disney Springs.

As of this posting, there has not been any announcements for the opening of resort and parks at either Universal Orlando or Walt Disney World. Be sure to follow me here, as well as my travel pages on Instagram and Facebook, to stay up to date on the latest news!

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Travel

Disney Springs announces phased re-opening May 20th!

photo from Disney Parks Blog

We have all been waiting anxiously to hear from Disney about re-openings and yesterday we received some great news with the announcement of Disney Springs beginning a phased reopening on May 20th!  When Disney Springs begins to reopen on May 20th, they will limit the number of shopping and dining locations during this initial phase. Even though everything will not open at once and there will be limited capacity for visitors, it is a ray of hope towards all of us getting our Disney fix in the future.  

With this phased re-opening we will see increased cleaning procedures and expect face coverings requirements by cast members and guests. There will be a limit on capacity to Disney Springs as well as limited parking and operating hours for the stores and restaurants that are part of this opening.

While we are all still (anxiously) waiting for an announcement from Disney about the re-opening of parks and resorts, this is a step in that direction. Disney is continuing to monitor conditions and follow the guidance of government and health officials as they work on plans for how they can reopen Disney Parks and Resorts safely for guests and cast members.

Even with the Disney Parks and Resorts being closed, we are still booking travel for when they reopen! Visiting in fall or winter 2020 is a great way to get away and enjoy some family fun, especially for all of the essential workers who have been keeping us safe during this outbreak.They deserve a much-needed rest and vacation! In additional to this year, 2021 is going to be an AMAZING year at the Walt Disney World resort with several new rides and attractions, as well as the 50th Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom in October! Packages for 2021 are not yet available BUT by booking your room now, you are locking in your 2020 room rates before the prices increase for 2021!

Contact me today and we can start planning your next vacation! And don’t forget to also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest Disney news and offers!

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General

Please Follow me on Facebook and Instagram in 2020!

While I have enjoyed blogging this past year, the time has come for me to make some difficult decisions where my various business platforms are concerned. I will be limiting my efforts on this site at the end of 2019 so I can focus more time on my businesses on Facebook and Instagram. Both my travel and my boutique business has gotten more busy (which is a great problem to have) but it leaves me less time for blogging. I appreciate you following along on my journey and I hope you continue to follow along on my other business pages.

Be sure to Like and Follow my pages to stay up to date!

I will continue to post about travel adventures, tip and booking opportunities on my Kristie Ryan Travel sites on Facebook and Instagram. Please like and follow my travel pages to stay up to date on the best travel offers and tips.

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Be sure to like and follow my pages for the newest items in my shop!

I will continue to post items that I have created for sale on my Pixie Dust and Mermaids Boutique sites, on Facebook, Instagram, Etsy and my website. Be sure to like and follow my pages to stay up to date on the newest items in my shop and remember, I love to do custom orders as well!

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Travel

Disney Skyliner Takes Flight on September 29, 2019!

On Sunday, September 29th the Disney Skyliner gondolas will take flight and begin transporting guests around the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Skyliner connects Epcot and Hollywood Studios to 4 resorts, Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach and the new Riviera Resort. Travel the sky and see some amazing views in cabins decorated with some of your favorite characters and themes such as Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters Inc, Coco and more!

It’s always a great time to book a Walt Disney World Vacation, contact me for a free, no obligation quote!

Video courtesy of Disney Park Blog
Travel

H20 Glow Nights Party at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

We are heading quickly into summer and what better way to celebrate the warming temperatures then to check out this great offer from Walt Disney World! On select nights between May 30th – Aug 24th, Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will host the “H20 Glow Nights Party” from 8 pm to 11 pm. This special ticket event has fun for the entire family to enjoy as Rex “The Dinosaur of Ceremonies” and his Toy Story pals turn this watery world into an electrifying nighttime celebration with special lighting and entertainment.

Dance the night away on the sandy beaches by the Surf Pool or meet your Toy Story friends Buzz, Woody and Jessie. There will be yummy specialty themed bites and drinks you can treat yourself too as you enjoy the lit up scenery around you. For the adults in the group, head over to the 21 and up area at “The Wharf” for entertainment and some refreshing adult beverages.

During this special ticketed event, guests will receive a special Glow wristband to wear as they enjoy all of the Typhoon Lagoon attractions with shorter wait times. Tickets are on sale now and range from $54 to $59 (plus tax). Tickets are limited so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance.