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Disney Changes 2021 – Know Before You Go!


Disney World Changes Coming in 2021

Since the Disney World reopening in 2020, Disney World has faced lots of changes.  Many of these changes have revolved around the ongoing pandemic and Disney’s 50th anniversary but regardless your Disney trip in 2021 will look a little bit different. 

If you’ve been a Disney fan for a long time like me, you know that the Disney Parks are constantly changing and being upgraded. 

disney changes 2021

***Disclaimer***  This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn an affiliate commission if you click on an affiliate link. Full disclosure, I only post products that I have or recommend! 


Disney Park Reservation System 

Disney introduced their park reservation system when Disney World reopened in July 2020.  Disney implemented the Park Pass System to help manage guest capacity during the pandemic. 

Since the Disney reopening, everyone has been wondering how long the Disney park reservation system will be around. Now in 2021, it’s pretty clear that the Disney World park reservation system is here to stay at least through 2021.  

Disney Park Pass

The pandemic is still ongoing and Disney will need to manage park capacity until the world returns to normalcy. So what do you need to know about Disney’s Park Reservation system? 

Before your Disney vacation, you will need to reserve a park reservation at all the Disney parks.  To make a park reservation, you will need to purchase your Disney tickets in advance and make park reservations through the My Disney Experience app or website. 

For a deep dive on the Disney Park Pass System, check out our post! 

disney world changes 2021

It’s important to note that Disney Park Pass reservations have been filling up on certain days especially weekends. To make sure you get the Disney park reservations you want, make your park reservations as soon as you can, 60 days in advance.

If you haven’t been to Disney in a few years, a major Disney change 2021 is the Disney World park reservation system! 

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Disney Park Hopping Has Returned

When Disney reopened in the July, they restricted Disney park goers to one Disney Park per day. But starting in 2021, Disney guests can park hop again! 

If you haven’t been to Disney before, you may be asking what is park hopping? In basic terms, you can visit more than one Disney park per day.  Check out our in depth post on Disney Park Hopping for more information!  

For Disney 2021, you just need to know that you can now park hop at Disney World again! So what does Disney Park Hopping look like in 2021? 

disney changes 2021

First, you will make a Disney Park Pass Reservation for the Disney Park you would like to visit first that day.  That day you must visit the Disney Park you made a reservation for before your eligible to park hop.  

When your at that park, you can call a 1-800 number or the My Disney Experience app to check capacity at other Disney Parks for park hopping. 

disney changes 2021

If the Disney Park you are trying to visit hasn’t reached capacity, you are free to park hop! And that’s it! 

A Disney change coming in 2021 is the ability to park hop again! The new Disney Park Hopping rules are a little more complicated but it’s nice to have the ability to park hop back!

And if you’re planning to park hop, make sure to get a backpack to carry all your stuff for a long Disney park day. 



New Attractions Coming for the Disney 50th Anniversary

The Disney World 50th anniversary is coming up in October 2021. There are so many Disney World changes coming in 2021 to kick off the Disney 50th anniversary.

disney epcot changes

To celebrate this milestone anniversary, Disney is unveiling many new rides and attractions in late 2021 to kick off the Walt Disney World 5oth anniversary. 

Disney hasn’t official announced what new Disney attractions will be open in late 2021 but these are our Disney 50th anniversary predictions! 

Magic Kingdom 

  • Tron – will probably open in late 2021 or 2022


  • Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Opening October 2021
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Coaster – the opening date is unclear at this time but I’m hopeful for late 2021 
  • Harmonious Nighttime Spectacular
  • Space 220 Restaurant

Hollywood Studios 

  • Woody’s Roundup Rodeo BBQ

There are so major changes coming to Disney World later this year and in 2022 for the Disney World 50th anniversary celebration!

Disney hasn’t released much info on the 50th anniversary yet but check out our Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration post for up-to-date information on the Disney anniversary!

Make sure to get some cute t-shirts and outfits before your Disney trip.  I look back at my pictures often and there’s nothing worse than hating your outfit. I’ve found some really good deals on Amazon!  


MagicBands Are No Longer Being Given to Disney Resort Guests

For the past several years, Disney MagicBands have been a staple of a Walt Disney World trip.  Starting in 2021, Disney is changing their MagicBand policy and not providing free MagicBands to Disney Resort guests. 

Since the inception of Disney Magic Bands, Disney provided resort guests a free MagicBand before their Disney trip.  Starting January 1, 2021, Disney resort guests can purchase a Magic Band at a reduced price but not for free. 

So is Disney discontinuing MagicBands? The short answer is no. Disney will still be utilizing MagicBands as a park ticket, hotel room key, and digital credit card. 

Disney magic mobile

But a Disney change 2021 is that Disney is introducing MagicMobile.  MagicMobile will allow Disney guests to use their smartphone as a park ticket, hotel room key, and digital credit card.  

Essentially, Disney is allowing Disney guests more flexibility by allowing them to use a MagicBand or MagicMobile.  Both MagicMobile and MagicBand will have the same features. 

You will now have the option to wear a MagicBand or use your smartphone for the same functionality.  Another Disney World change coming in 2021 is the introduction of MagicMobile and Disney guests having to pay for their MagicBands.   

While Disney MagicBands won’t be required, I’ll still be using a MagicBand because it’s way more convenient than pulling out the MyDisney Experience app each time I want to do anything.  You can get some great Magicband accessories that your kids will love! 



Disney’s Magical Express Is Retiring

If you’ve been to Disney in the last decade, you’re probably familiar with Disney’s Magical Express.  Disney’s Magical Express transported Disney resort guests from the Orlando International Airport to their Disney resort free of charge. 

Starting in 2022, Disney will change with the Magical Express retirement.  Disney noticed that many Disney Resort guests were using services like Uber and Lyft to get to their Disney resorts. 

Since many Disney guests weren’t using Disney’s Magical Express, they decided to retire this Disney service after 2021.  

disney changes 2021

If you are planning to visit Disney in 2022, you will need to find another way to your Disney resort! It’s also important to note a Disney change will be coming in a few years with the introduction of a Brightline Train Station at Disney Springs. 

Brightline will be building train stations at both the Orlando International Airport and Disney Springs so Disney guest will be able to use the train to get to Disney World. 

It’s unclear when the Brightline Train Stations will open but check out our Brightline Train Station post for more info! 

Make sure to remember this important Disney World change coming in 2022 as you’re planning your next Disney trip! 

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Extra Magic Hours Will Become Early Theme Park Entry

Since I’ve been going to Disney, one of the biggest perks of being a Disney resort guest was Extra Magic Hours. When Disney World reopened, Disney paused the extra magic hour program. 

Another Disney change in 2021 is that Disney retired extra magic hours and introduced Early Theme Park Entry.  So what is Disney early theme park entry?

disney changes 2021

All Disney resort guests can enjoy 30 minute early entry to any Disney Park every day.  Disney thinks the new early theme park entry system will allow Disney guests more flexibility while spreading out Disney guests across all four theme parks. 

For me, it’s sad there will be no nighttime extra magic hours in 2021 or beyond.  But this Disney World change is something to look forward to if you want to get a jumpstart on your day at Disney!

I always recommend bring hydration packets to Disney because you can get dehydrated really easily.  I love Nuun and Liquid IV because they provide hydration and an energy boost when you need a pick me up.  


The Disney Change Requiring Face Masks at Disney Restaurant’s 

Many people have wondered about Disney’s Face Mask policy and how much of a hindrance face masks are while at Disney.  In my opinion, the Disney Face Mask policy wasn’t a big deal. I actually forgot I was wearing a mask most of the time.

But in recent weeks, Disney changed their face mask policy requiring Disney guests to wear their face masks while at Disney restaurants. 

So what does this mean?  Disney is requiring guests to wear their face masks at their table until they get food or drinks. 

things you can't do at disney world 2021

My interpretation of this is that need to wear your mask until you get a water or drink at the table.  It’s unclear how strictly Disney is following this policy but I would just plan to wear your mask until you get food/drinks. 

Many people are irritated by the change in Disney’s face mask policy but we have to remember Disney is only trying to ensure guest and employee safety. 

If you are visiting Disney soon, be prepared for the Disney change in the face mask policy.  If you want more info on the Disney Face Mask policy, visit our post! 

Make sure to get some new Disney face masks before your trip! I don’t love the ones they sell at the Disney Parks, they aren’t very breathable. 

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Disney Waterparks Are Opening in 2021

If you’re a fan of the Disney World waterparks, you’ll be happy to know they are reopening in 2021. This is a positive Disney change 2021! 

In March 2021, Disney’s Blizzard Beach will be reopening. Disney hasn’t released any information on Typhoon Lagoon’s reopening so it’s unclear if it will reopen in 2021. 

And unlike the Disney theme parks, you will not need an advanced Park Pass reservation to visit Disney World’s Blizzard Beach.  But Blizzard Beach will have a reduced capacity so you could run the risk of not getting in, though that’s unlikely.

In terms of face masks, Disney waterpark guests will not need to wear face coverings while in the water, riding water slides, while eating or drinking. 

Be prepared for this Walt Disney World change with the Disney waterparks reopening in early 2021! 

If you are going to the Disney waterparks, my number 1 recommendation is water shoes.  The ground gets really hot and sometimes gross so you’ll 1000% want shoes while walking about the Disney World waterparks.  


Some Disney Resorts Have Yet to Reopen 

When Disney World closed so did all of the Disney World resorts.  Since the Disney reopening in July, the Disney resorts have been reopening one by one. 

It’s certainly a Disney change in 2021 that some of the Disney hotels are not open. And close to a year later, some of the Disney World hotels don’t have reopening dates yet. 

disney changes

As of mid-2021, the following Disney World resorts have yet to reopen and no reopening dates have been announced yet. 

  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Villas
  • Disney’s All Star Music Resort 
  • Disney’s Al Star Sport Resorts

Who ever thought we would live in a time when Disney resorts are closed but be prepared for this Disney World change when you book your next Disney trip! 

For updated information on every Disney World resort opening, check out the Disney World webpage

Also, the Disney resorts never have enough plugs and phone charger spots so make sure to bring one of these! 


Will Disney Fastpasses Return in 2021?

The final Disney change 2021 is Fastpasses.  At the beginning of 2021, Disney World is not using the Fastpass System but will Fastpasses return in 2021? 

If you aren’t a Disney fan, you may be wondering what the Disney Fastpass is.  With Disney Fastpasses, you basically get a timeslot to skip the line for a few rides everyday. 

The Disney World Fastpass System is complex so check out our post explaining how to use a Fastpass! 

disney changes 2021

When Disney reopened in July they decided to pause the Fastpass System. So will the Disney Fastpass return in 2021 or at all? 

In my honest opinion, the Disney Fastpass won’t return in 2021.  The pandemic will probably be ongoing throughout the year and I wouldn’t expect Disney to return to the Fastpass System until the pandemic is over. 

But I do think that Disney will return to the Fastpass System in 2022 or 2023.  I fully expect Disney to change the Fastpass System when it returns. 

disney fastpass

Disney may implement paid Fastpasses, limit Fastpasses, etc. The options are endless.  

A major Disney World change for 2021 is that Disney Fastpasses are not available.  Make sure you know this because you’ll be in more stand-by lines than normal.  

I would say that Disney lines are moving faster because there are no Fastpasses but it’s certainly a change to Disney World! 

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Disney Changes in 2021 

Disney World has changed a lot in the last year.  Many of the Disney changes were in response to the COVID pandemic but some changes were already underway. 

disney changes 2021

Your Disney trip planning may change a little bit because of the Disney changes but you’ll still have a magical vacation. 

Be prepared for your next Disney vacation with this guide for Disney changes 2021! 


Disney Related Posts

What It’s Like at Disney World Right Now

7 Things You Can’t Do at Disney in 2021

Disney Face Mask Policy

Disney World 50th Anniversary Guide

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