Walt Disney World Will Have Some Big Changes This Fall
The Walt Disney Company has announced several impending changes on and around the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.
So much has happened that you may have trouble keeping up. Here are all the ways Walt Disney World will change this Fall.
The First Disney Theme Park Assistant
Disney announced several upcoming park amenities during the D23 2019 event. However, the pandemic delayed several of them.
Perhaps the change that will impact you the most has nothing to do with a restaurant, ride, or show, though.
Instead, it’s the impending debut of Disney Genie, which is basically Siri for a Disney theme park visit.
With this new app, you’ll maximize your park experience. Based on the Genie character from Aladdin, Disney Genie will provide you advice on what to do.
The technology behind this advice stems from millions of hours of park visits, big data that Disney officials have collated thanks to MyMagic+.
Those MagicBands you’ve worn and the My Disney Experience choices you’ve made have all led to this moment.
With Disney Genie, you’ll know the best times to visit an attraction. In fact, the data will go so far as to tell you whether a line is shorter or longer than usual.
You’ll also discover the best places to dine at Walt Disney World, learning which places have availability near you.
This virtual assistant can plan an entire park day for you. Since it knows everything, it’ll create the most efficient itinerary possible.
Most importantly, Disney Genie can update on the fly, always ensuring the best possible park experience.
Disney Genie will debut later in 2021. It’ll immediately improve everyone’s visit, as inexperienced guests won’t get in anybody else’s way.
The FastPass Replacements
We had known for a while that Disney would modernize the FastPass program.
All along, we’d suspected that park officials would introduce a paid component. After all, one already exists at Disneyland in the form of MaxPass.
For that matter, the outrage against Disney strikes me as misdirected. After all, every other top-tier theme park in the United States already offers this option.
Six Flags, Universal Studios, Cedar Point, other Cedar Fair locations, SeaWorld, and Busch Gardens all sell a paid option to skip lines.
So, nobody should have been surprised by the announcement of Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane.
These two systems qualify as the de facto replacements for FastPass+ and MaxPass.
With Disney Genie+, Walt Disney World guests will pay $15 per person per day to use Lightning Lane.
That’s a fancy trademarked name for what we formerly called the FastPass lanes.
Many (most?) attractions will feature a Lightning Lane now. Disney Genie+ buyers will receive access to this paid FastPass system.
Since many people won’t pay for FastPass, that means you’ll get more when you spend the $15 for Disney Genie+.
You will face less demand for the things we used to call FastPasses. So, you’ll get more and better ones each day.
Also, Disney has introduced Lightning Lane as a way to monetize its best attractions.
Let’s say that your trip will feel like a failure if you don’t ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Lightning Lane will empower you with the ability to buy a single ride pass for Rise of the Resistance for somewhere between $9-$20. Unfortunately, Disney hasn’t published prices yet.
Both these features are already nearly ready and should go live on or around October 1st.
EPCOT Forever and Happily Ever After recently returned to the parks, giving us nighttime presentations again after a year-long absence.
However, you shouldn’t get too attached to either of these shows, even though they’re both still relatively new-ish.
Instead, EPCOT and Magic Kingdom will debut new nightly entertainment on October 1st.
Magic Kingdom will unveil Disney Enchantment, a show that will include new digital projections on Main Street, U.S.A.
Meanwhile, Harmonious will finally make its grand opening at World Showcase Lagoon on that date.
We’d known about Harmonious a while ago. The change from Happily Ever After to Disney Enchantment was something of a surprise, though.
Notably, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also receive a new form of entertainment. This one won’t take place at night, though.
KiteTails will take place at Discovery Island Amphitheater. As the name implies, it’ll involve the flying of kites, albeit ones with Imagineering touches.
Disney promises that the kites will be three-dimensional, which means they won’t violate the laws of physics. I’m not quite sure how to interpret that, though.
Still, we all love kites and presume that Disney can do them better than anybody else, right?
All three shows will debut on October 1st!
Monorail Resort Updates
Two of Disney’s monorail resorts are currently undergoing renovations in anticipation of Disney’s 50th anniversary.
This is happening because those two resorts will also celebrate their 50th birthday on October 1st!
At Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the changes will include a new restaurant that replaces The Wave… of American Flavors. It’s called Steakhouse 71.
California Grill will also host a unique menu that ties into the 50th-anniversary theme.
Also, some rooms at the Contemporary will receive a re-theme based on the colors and style of The Incredibles!
Something similar is happening at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, where Moana has inspired some new rooms.
Imagineers have also redesigned many elements of the Great Ceremonial House, including the top of the building and the monorail station.
In fact, the monorail station just reopened on Labor Day weekend after remaining offline long enough to get torn down and entirely rebuilt!
All this stuff should be ready by October 1st!
The E-Ticket Ride
Walt Disney World fans can stop watching Disneyland Paris ride videos and feeling envious.
THE best theme park attraction in Europe, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, will open at EPCOT on October 1st.
In fact, a friend of MickeyBlog was the first influencer to post a full ride video of EPCOT’s version. You can watch it here:
With this addition, the France pavilion becomes the third international locale at the World Showcase to host a ride.
I’ll save you a google. The others are Norway and Mexico. Obviously, this addition is massive for the France pavilion and EPCOT as a whole!
The Out of This World Restaurant
We’ve talked about this one so much that you’d think it was Columbia Harbour House, a Magic Kingdom restaurant that turns 50 soon!
Alas, Space 220 discussions have centered on the restaurant’s frequent delays.
Some of them are comical in nature, such as the executive chef quitting and returning to Las Vegas.
Others are bummers like the pandemic leading to massive layoffs at Patina Restaurant Group, the company in charge of this eatery.
Still, all the aggravation has ended. Space 220 will finally debut on September 20th!
On that date, you can take a space elevator 220 miles into orbit to watch Earth.
In fact, 220 miles is almost the same distance that the International Space Station remains above Earth during its orbit.
New Annual Passes
We’ve covered this subject a lot over the past few days. So, I won’t relitigate the matter here.
Yes, the new version of the annual passes went on sale on September 8th. Yes, they cost quite a bit more than the old ones, especially if you don’t live in Florida.
Feel how you feel on the topic. What’s important is that annual passes are back just in time for a full year of birthday parties at