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!

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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

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

Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line update.

Today the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland began contacting guests scheduled to arrive between June 7th through June 13th to notify them that their planned vacations have been impacted by the resort and park closures. This comes just days after the Disney Cruise Line cancelled cruises through July 28th. Here is what we know on each of these based on information released from Disney.

Walt Disney World Resort guests have been impacted through June 13th at this point. Disney has been assessing the situation weekly and, for the foreseeable future, we expect this to continue as a weekly update. Walt Disney World resort guests that were booked for arrivals during this time have the option to either receive a full refund for their resort and park tickets or they can rebook their vacation for later this year with no penalties. Currently Disney is offering for these guests to rebook for July 1st and later.

Disneyland has also begun to notify guests booked through June 13th that they are eligible to either receive a refund or rebook for a later date. Eligible guests of the Disneyland Resort Hotels may receive a $50 per night resort credit (for future stays between July 1, 2020 and December 31,2020). In addition, guests who had booked a stay at a Disneyland Resort Hotel during the period of March 16, 2020 through June 30, 2020 may be eligible to take advantage of a special Disneyland resort offer to save up to 35% (for stays most nights July 1, 2020 through October 3, 2020). This is not valid for room reservations cancelled prior to March 1, 2020 or for multiple rebookings of the same reservation.

Disney Cruise Line, earlier this week, announced that they were cancelling all sailings on the Dream, Fantasy, Magic and Wonder through July 28, 2020. Guests that have been impacted are eligible for a refund or have the option to rebook. Guests that choose to rebook for a future cruising date may be eligible for a 25% credit of their original cruise fare if rebooked to sail within fifteen months of their original departure date. Please check out the official Disney Cruise Line website for more details.

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Shanghai Disney Reopening Today!

Shanghai Disney reopens today, May 11th, with additional procedures in place to help keep guests and cast members safe. During this initial opening phase, Shanghai Disney is limiting attendance with requiring advanced ticket and reservations, allowing for social distancing in queues and increasing the frequency of sanitization with additional disinfection practices.

As the park opens today, guests will see that while the majority of attractions and rides, along with some shows, shopping and dining are open with limited attendance, that other areas will remain closed. Many of the interactive areas such as play areas and theater shows will remain closed at this time. Disney characters will appear throughout the park, making appearances in the various lands however close interaction and close-up photos with the characters will not be taking place at this time. Parades and nighttime spectaculars will not be returning initially also. Guests will be able to see a special character procession, Mickey and Friends Express, several times during the day. In addition to that, the Enchanted Storybook Castle will come to life with a light and music show at dusk in Evening Magical Moments.  

Here are the guidelines from the Shanghai Disney press release outlining what Shanghai Disney guests should expect during this opening phase:

  1. All tickets must be purchased in advance. There will not be any on-site ticket sales. Annual Pass holders will need to make a reservation for their visit prior also.
  2. Guests will be expected to provide basic information including name, phone number, ID type and ID number via Shanghai Disney Resort’s official online channels after purchasing a ticket and prior to arriving at the resort.
  3. Guests will register for a Health QR Code prior to their arrival, which will be required to be presented upon entering any location at Shanghai Disney Resort. Only guests with a green Health QR Code will be allowed to enter the resort.
  4. Guests should be prepared to present a China government ID card, or valid travel document, for each guest at the park turnstiles (photos or printed copies will not be accepted).
  5. Guests will undergo temperature screening procedures upon arrival.
  6. Guests will be required to wear an approved mask during the entire visit to the resort except when dining.

While we are anxiously waiting for a reopening date for the Disney parks here in the US, what do you think of the guidelines for the opening? Are these something that you would be comfortable following if Disney utilizes this at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or Disneyland in California? Let me know your thoughts.

Even with the parks being closed here in the US, we are still booking for Fall & Winter 2020 and now is the perfect time to lock in your vacation dates for 2021. There are so many cool things happening at Walt Disney World in 2021 that you will not want to miss it. Contact me today for a free, no obligation quote for a Walt Disney World or Disneyland vacation! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest news for Disney, Universal Orlando and more!

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Halloween at Walt Disney World!

Watch out for the Headless Horseman at Magic Kingdom!

Tomorrow is Halloween so what better time than now to talk about one of the best special ticket events that Walt Disney World offers, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! This special event happens on select nights starting in late August and runs through actual Halloween night. At Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or MNSSHP for short, there are so many things to do that it’s hard to pack them all into this event. Here are a few of the top things to do or experience while at this party.

  • Dress in your favorite costume! This event is one of the only times adults are allowed to come to a Disney Park dressed in costume and many people put a lot of effort into their look! We have seen families themed like the Incredibles, a couple dressed as Carl and Ellie from Up! and my own family got in on the fun as Monsters Inc. If your someone who doesn’t enjoy dressing up in costume, no worries, costumes are not required.
  • Trick or Treat! It is a halloween party after all so of course you need candy. When you enter the party you will receive a map of the trick or treat stations as well as a bag to put your treats in. The lines do get long but the cast members are great at keeping the lines moving and they do give out pretty generous helpings. Since this is Disney, they are good about food allergies and offer different options to those guests with food allergies.
  • Watch the Cadaver Dans Barbershop Quartet perform in the streets of Frontierland. Their shows are entertaining as always, if you haven’t see the Cadaver Dans I highly recommend taking a few moments to watch them perform, you won’t regret it.
  • Catch the show in front of Cinderella’s Castle hosted by the Sanderson Sisters and starring their villain friends! This is one of the best shows I have ever seen at Walt Disney World, entertaining for the whole family and full of villains you don’t see onstage often.
  • Boo – To – You Parade is something you definitely will want to watch. Scope out a viewing spot early, I like to hang out in Frontierland or near the bridge where the parade crosses heading towards Main Street. Not only will you see some of your favorite Disney characters dressed in their halloween costumes, but you will also see some of the guests from Haunted Mansion make an appearance. The ghost dancers from the Haunted Mansion ballroom waltz through the parade, the gravediggers make their way through complete with shovels as part of their performance and this year the ghost bride even joined the parade. While you are watching the parade be on the lookout for the Headless Horseman, he just might make an appearance too.

What better way to spend the evening than riding some of your favorite Magic Kingdom rides while dressed in a costume, trick or treating, seeing the Sanderson Sisters, watching a parade and then you can finish off the night by relaxing and watching the special firework and laser light show that is done at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. If you didn’t have a chance to go to the party this year, you can start planning now for next year. This is an event you won’t want to miss!

If you are interested in booking for next fall so you can attend the party, contact me and I would be happy to help you book your family adventure! http://www.facebook.com/KristieRyan.travel http://www.instagram.com/KristieRyan.travel kristieryan.travel@gmail.com

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Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Now Open at Walt Disney World!

Photo courtesy of The Kingdom Insider

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge officially opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this morning and the crowds were not disappointed. By 4am people were already lining up for this much anticipated opening, to be transported to the remote planet of Batuu and to experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this planet. To get to Batuu, your boarding group will enter this 14 acre land in Hollywood Studios on Grand Ave near Muppet*Vision 3D. Once you step onto Batuu, guests can enjoy galactic food and drinks, build your own lightsaber or droid and so much more!

Here are just a few things to experience while on Batuu: soar the galaxy on the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run by stepping into the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit and taking control as the pilot, gunners or flight engineer while on a mission to deliver smuggled good. Stop and enjoy a cocktail at Oga’s Cantina or grab some food in Docking Bay 7. You can also grab a quick snack at Kat Saka’s Kettle or try the popular plant based Blue Milk or Green Milk at the Milk Stand. Don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs of Batuu at the Black Spire Outpost, which is a bustling marketplace full of vendors showcasing their wares from across the galaxy. While there, you can build your own Lightsaber or customize a droid. As you are walking around exploring Batuu, be on the lookout for Chewie, Rey, Kylo Ren, Stormtroops and the Resistance Spy Vi Moradi.

If you are headed to Hollywood Studios, be sure to check out your My Disney Experience App and join a Boarding Group. This virtual queue will give your party a time to check back in and enter Batuu. Also, guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel can enjoy Extra, Extra Magic Hours from September 1, 2019 – November 2, 2019 when Hollywood Studios opens just for you from 6am – 9am!

In addition to all of that, on December 5, 2019, Rise of the Resistance will open in Hollywood Studios. This ride will will take you on a mission where your transport is captured by a First Order Star Destroyer, with Kylo Ren aboard. The Resistance fighters will aid you in your escape on this new and exciting multi-platform attraction.

I would love to help plan your vacation to check out Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as well as everything else a Walt Disney World Resort vacation has to offer! For as little as a $200 deposit, you could surprise your family with an out of this world vacation that doesn’t have to be paid in full until 30 days prior to traveling. My services are FREE to my clients, contact me today for a free, no obligation quote and don’t forget to follow me on FaceBook @KristieRyan.travel to stay up to date on Disney Travel offers!

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Make time for golf during your stay at the Walt Disney World Resort.

There really is so much to do at the Walt Disney World Resort outside of the theme parks. Did you know that the Walt Disney World Resort is home to four incredible golf courses? Each of the courses are rated 4 stars by Golf Digest and boast gorgeous greens and landscaping.

Disney’s Palm Golf Course is an 18-hole championship course located at the Shades of Green Resort in the Magic Kingdom resort area. Play among lakes, tropical sands, palm trees and sloping greens. This course will challenge the novice or the pro in your group with 9 holes that have water hazards and 59 bunkers throughout the course.

Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course was designed in a classic tour style and is the longest of the Walt Disney World golf courses. Not only will you be playing among majestic magnolia trees, this course features elevated tees, spacious greens and water hazards. Located at the Shades of Green Resort in the Magic Kingdom resort area this course is great for serious golfers as it boasts 11 holes with water hazards and 97 bunkers. Not only is this course beautiful but it is certified by Audubon International as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary.

Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course is the third course located at the Disney’s Shades of Green Resort in the Magic Kingdom resort area. This is a 9 hole walking course that allows you to test your skills. The holes range from 132 to 517 yards from the white tees. Three of the holes route around a deep canal and beautiful pond. This course is also certified by Audubon International as a Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuary.

Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course was designed in a classic country-club style that winds through the pastel villas and gorgeous landscaping around Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa in the Disney Springs area. This amazing course has 18 holes featuring elevated bunkered greens and a 7th hole that will test your skills with its challenging island green. The Lake Buena Vista golf course has hosted the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and USGA events.

Rental equipment is available at each of the courses including clubs and golf shoes. This is the perfect place for the traveler who is a golf enthusiast but isn’t able to bring their clubs on vacation, to test out another brand of clubs. Junior US Kids Golf rental equipment is provided complimentary at the courses. If you love to golf, make sure you leave some time in you vacation plans to golf on one of these amazing courses.