Well, 2020, you’ve been quite the year, but now it’s almost time for 2021 to take over!
And from the very first day of the year, 2021 will be bringing in some BIG changes in Disney World. Check out why January 1st is an important day for Disney World and what you need to know for your next trip!
The Return of Park Hopping
Starting January 1st, 2021, Park Hopping will be available once again in Disney World (in a modified fashion). Want to start your day with a flight on a banshee in Pandora — The World of Avatar and end it with a flight around the world on Soarin’? Well, starting January 1st, you will be able to hop once again!
But, the modified Park Hopping system that will be in place starting January 1st does have some important changes from the prior system that you’ll want to keep in mind. First, you must have a Park Pass reservation for the first park you want to visit. You must also visit that first park BEFORE hopping anywhere else.
Park Hopper hours are currently set to start at 2PM each day, but that is subject to change. Whether you’ll be able to hop to another park and what other park(s) you’ll be able to hop to will all depend on park availability. So, once Park Hopper hours begin, you’ll be able to hop to parks that have availability.
Also, another important thing to be aware of is that if you want to try and grab a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney’s Hollywood Studios MUST be the first park you visit and you must have a Park Pass for it.
You won’t be able to hop to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the afternoon and try to grab a boarding group then — first, because Disney has specifically noted that with the return of Park Hopping, and second, because Park Hopping hours don’t start until 2PM right now and the afternoon Boarding Group distribution time has moved up to 1PM (meaning you wouldn’t be able to be in the park at the time the sign-up begins).
There are all kinds of things to consider now with the return of Park Hopping including whether the price will be worth it for your trip, what park to start your day at, and whether Park Hopping will really change your trip. We’ll be checking out the modified system and giving you ALL our thoughts in January!
Return of Park-to-Park Transportation
Park-to-park transportation is also set to return with the return of Park Hopping. The Cast Member we chatted with specified that park-to-park transportation is set to begin operating approximately 30 minutes prior to the start of Park Hopper hours. Currently Park Hopper hours are set to begin at 2PM.
In terms of exactly what kind of transportation will become available, the Cast Member we spoke with via chat back in November said more information will be released on this in the future. We’re on the lookout for more details and will let you know what we find and experience as Park Hopping returns to Disney World.
No More Free MagicBands for Hotel Guests
While Park Hopping and Park-to-Park transportation are set to return, one thing will be going AWAY on January 1st. Right now, guests staying at a Disney World Resort hotel receive a complimentary, solid-colored MagicBand for their stay. But, that will all be changing on January 1st. Starting in 2021, Disney hotel guests will NOT receive a complimentary MagicBand.
Instead of using a MagicBand, guests can use a free Key to the World card to do things like access their hotel room. Guests will be able to get these cards at the front desk of the resort. You can also use a MagicBand from a previous stay or purchase a MagicBand to use during your trip. Disney World hotel guests will still get the opportunity to purchase select MagicBands at discounted prices through the Disney World website.
But, for those who relied on or looked forward to getting a free MagicBand with their stay, the discontinuation of free MagicBands for Disney World hotel guests is something to keep in mind and plan ahead for!
Free Souvenir Luggage Tags Will Not Be Sent to Disney Resort Guests in Advance
Starting January 1st, there will also be a change in how clients receive Walt Disney Travel Company Magical Extras and Souvenir Luggage Tags. Souvenir Luggage Tags and Walt Disney Travel Company Magical Extras will no longer be sent directly to Disney World Resort hotel guests in the mail in advance of their trip.
But, guests will be able to pick these up at the front desk at any time during their hotel stay.
Star Wars Virtual Half-Marathon
January 1st also marks the start of the Star Wars Virtual Half-Marathon! The race is set to take place (virtually) between January 1st and March 31st, 2021.
So, whether you live on Earth or a galaxy far, far away, registrants can participate in the half-marathon virtually from their treadmills and neighborhoods.
Are you a big runner? Fit2Run has opened in a new location in Disney Springs! Click here to learn more.
These are the big changes coming January 1st, 2021, but there are lots of other things coming in 2021 to Disney World. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and La Creperie de Paris are both set to open in 2021, Disney’s Blizzard Beach is set to reopen in March, and Disney World will be celebrating its 50th anniversary later in the year.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for more exciting Disney news throughout ALL of 2021, so be sure to check back with us for more updates.