Maybe you haven’t noticed, but Disney World has been going through some major ch-ch-ch-ch-chaaanges!
Even though the parks are currently closed, we want to make sure you’re prepared for your triumphant return to Disney World when the day comes! And, as tempting as it is to look forward to 2021 (aka, Disney World’s 50th anniversary) for the additions coming to Epcot and Magic Kingdom, you might be missing out on recent changes that will have a MAJOR impact on your trip! From new modes of transportation around the parks, to policy updates, we’re looking at some of the big changes in Disney World you might have missed!
Some of the BIGGEST updates you might’ve missed are also the ones most important to know before visiting the parks! Between March and May of 2019, Disney World implemented some policy changes for stroller sizes, scooter sizes, smoking, and even ice!
Disney adjusted their guidelines on stroller sizes, so now it is required that strollers be no larger than 31″ (79cm) wide and 52″ (132cm) long, and wagon strollers are no longer allowed.
Additionally, there were some policy changes made for smoking, as well as ice. Smoking areas are no longer present inside the theme parks, with the policy also affecting the water parks and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Instead, designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances of these areas, as well as at Disney Springs.
As for ice, loose and dry ice are no longer permitted in the parks, so if you bring a cooler make sure to carry a reusable ice pack!
If you haven’t been to Epcot in a while, you’re in for quite a surprise the next time you visit! The park is currently undergoing a massive transformation that includes a new entrance, reimagined Future World, and World Showcase additions. And as excited as we are to see the finished product, it’s definitely difficult to navigate at the moment! Let’s take a look at what you can expect the next time you’re in Epcot.
The construction at the park entrance has also switched up the flow of traffic. There are tons of construction walls around Spaceship Earth, and the paths around the attraction are rerouted.
Check out our tips for navigating the Epcot construction so you know where you’re headed!
The Future World overhaul will eventually see Future World reimagined into three distinct neighborhoods — World Celebration, World Nature, and World Discovery. Just like the park entrance, there’s a jarring amount of construction here at the moment! But there are several exciting additions coming to this section of the park that make the inconvenience at least a litttttle bit easier to take!
First, we can’t wait for the new space-themed restaurant Space 220 to open! This ultra-immersive dining experience will make guests feel as though they’ve truly boarded an elevator into space. Diners will be surrounded by a full panoramic view of space!
We don’t have an exact opening date for this restaurant, as it’s been pushed back several times, but we’re looking forward to snagging a reservation as soon as Space 220 is cleared for launch!
It’s worth noting that construction at Disney World Parks has been halted during the closure, which will impact all of these projects. Disney hasn’t released any updated timelines yet, but we’ll keep an eye out for any news! In the meantime, be sure to check out our tips for navigating the Epcot construction so you’re prepared on your next visit!
Take to the skies with the Disney Skyliner! This new mode of transportation around Disney World property first opened (to a bit of a rocky start) in September 2019, and is now in full swing (sometimes literally 😬).
Sitting up to ten passengers per car, the Skyliner line connects Hollywood Studios and Epcot to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
While there are both pros and cons to the Skyliner, we think it’s a GREAT way to get around the World quickly! Need to hop from Riviera Resort over to Hollywood Studios when your boarding group for Rise of the Resistance is called? Just take the Skyliner and you’ll be over there in no time! Plus, the views you’ll get from up above are out of this world!
IllumiNations Replaced by Epcot Forever
Did our hearts break a little bit when IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth closed at Epcot this past September? Um, yes, yes they very much did. HOWEVER, that didn’t make us any less excited for the show replacing it — Epcot Forever!
Epcot Forever revolves around a soundtrack of music that guests have loved at Epcot for years. The musical score, which was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, includes classic Epcot tunes such as “Tomorrow’s Child,” “Listen to the Land,” and “One Little Spark” (try not to get that one stuck in your head!).
While Epcot Forever is a temporary show that will be replaced by Harmonious in 2020, it is a truly unique experience that features lasers, fireworks, and even a kind of kite technology that we’ve never seen before at Disney World! It’s a great show to top off a night at Epcot (perhaps over dinner), and the choice of soundtrack definitely brought back some nostalgia to celebrate the park’s history!
Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Tiers
There’s no better feeling than snagging a FastPass+ reservation for a must-do attraction! But make sure you strategize accordingly. And believe me — things have CHANGED!
Currently, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot all use a tiered FastPass+ system. These parks categorize attractions — the most popular are considered Tier 1, and all other attractions available are Tier 2. When making FastPass+ reservations for the day, guests can only select one attraction from Tier 1, and the other two must be from Tier 2.
In recent months, there have been several changes to the FastPass+ tiers at Hollywood Studios, so make sure you’re prepared when planning your next trip! Right now, there are three Tier 1 attractions in Hollywood Studios — Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Slinky Dog Dash, and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. This is A LOT more lenient than several months ago, when almost everything was in Tier 1!
So, before the time comes to make your FastPass+ reservations, decide on your top Tier 1 attraction choice, AND make sure you know which Tier 2 attractions you’re aiming for as well! Oop — and don’t forget to get your Rise of the Resistance Boarding Pass!
While some price increases were met with such outrage that they were promptly switched back (looking at you, FuelRod Portable Charger), most of them have stuck.
To best prepare for your trip to the World, you can always keep an eye on the current menu and ticket prices using the My Disney Experience app. It’s also worth looking out for the latest AP prices over on the Annual Pass page of the Walt Disney World website!
If you’ve stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort sometime in the past two years, chances are you spotted the newly opened Riviera Resort across the water, even if you weren’t sure what it was! The brand spankin’ new Disney Vacation Club Resort is a luxe hotel that takes influence from the European Riviera.
Prior to opening, we got glimpses of the Cast Member costumes, as well as the resort’s DELICIOUS food, and GORGEOUS murals, so even before the hotel’s debut we were VERY excited. The new resort is in a prime location with its own Skyliner station, making it a short hop, skip, and a leap away from both Hollywood Studios and Epcot. Plus, it’s easy to go resort hopping to some other Disney World hotels on the Skyliner!
New Epcot Restaurants
Epcot is easily one of the PRIME parks at Disney World to visit when you want some fantastic food. And in true Disney fashion, the park just keeps upping its game! In the past year alone, we got not one, but TWO new restaurants in Epcot!
Over in the American Adventure Pavilion, you can find the new Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue, which serves up craft brews on tap and barbecue from around the United States. YUM!
Then there’s Takumi-Tei, the new restaurant in the Japan Pavilion. Takumi-Tei — which means “house of the artisan” — is inspired by Japan’s natural beauty. It’s a signature restaurant that offers a true dining experience, allowing guests to enjoy a multi-course tasting menu with signature cocktails, wine, and Japanese beers. We place a big emphasis on the word “experience” here, as Takumi-Tei offers a truly unique — and LONG — meal, that you’re never forget!
Even though Disney World is closed at the moment, there have still been some recent changes that could have a MAJOR impact on your next trip! So, as excited as we all are for the 50th anniversary in 2021, don’t overlook the updates that Disney World has rolled out over the past year! Stay tuned to DFB (and join our newsletter) to keep a close eye on all the changes coming to the World in the near future!
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What recent change to Disney World has been your favorite (or least favorite)? Let us know in the comments below!