Things are constantly changing at Disney World!
Just this month, we saw some restaurants reopen, other spots get new menu items, and a change in Boarding Group distribution times announced for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. December is almost over, but January will bring some even BIGGER changes at Walt Disney World. If you’re planning a trip to Disney World for January 2021, here are the 5 things that will be different there next month.
1. Park Hopping Is Coming Back
Starting January 1st, 2021, Park Hopping will be returning to Disney World in a modified fashion. Want to start your day with breakfast at Magic Kingdom, and end it with dinner around the world at EPCOT? Well, you might just get the chance to do that, but there are a few things about the modified system that you should know.
Some key things are that you’ll still need a Park Pass reservation for the first park you want to visit, and you’ll HAVE to visit it before you can hop. Park Hopping hours will begin (for now) at 2PM, but that is subject to change. Once Park Hopping hours begin, you can start visiting other parks based on whether they have availability.
One really BIG thing to keep in mind. If you’re hoping to get a boarding group and ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Disney’s Hollywood Studios MUST be the first park you visit and you must have a Park Pass reservation for it.
2. No More Free MagicBands
Guests staying at a Disney World Resort hotel used to get a free, solid-colored MagicBand for their stay. Starting January 1st, 2021, however, guests will no longer receive a free MagicBand with their hotel stay.
Instead, guests can use a free Key to the World card (which can be obtained at the front desk of the resort) in place of a MagicBand. Guests can also use a MagicBand from a previous stay or pay for a MagicBand. Disney World Resort hotel guests typically have the ability to pay for some MagicBands at discounted rates.
3. EPCOT’s International Festival of the Arts Is Coming Back
The Festival of the Holidays is wrapping up in EPCOT, and in January another festival will take its place — the Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts! The Festival of the Arts will return to EPCOT on January 8th and will run all the way through February 22nd, 2021.
We are SO ready to celebrate the Visual Arts (with some beautiful works of art throughout EPCOT), the Performing Arts (with some awesome entertainment), and (of course) the Culinary Arts (especially with the announcement of the NEW Festival food booth coming this year)!
From watching the Voices of Liberty perform to chowing down on some phenomenal treats, you better believe we’ll be experiencing it all and sharing it with you. So, stay tuned for ALL the updates on the Festival of the Arts.
4. Some Rides May Be Closing Temporarily for Refurbishment or Reopening After Being Refurbished
Looking to splash your way through the day over at Kali River Rapids in Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Well, depending on when your next trip is scheduled, you might have to slightly change those plans. Kali River Rapids typically closes in the wintertime for routine maintenance, and 2021 appears to be no exception. Currently, Kali River Rapids is set to close temporarily for refurbishment starting on January 4th, 2021.
The refurbishment is currently listed through April 1st, 2021, which would be about a 3-month closure (pretty typical for the winter closures of this ride).
Over at Magic Kingdom, the refurbishment going on at the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover has been extended through January 30th, 2021.
We’ve seen this refurbishment extended SEVERAL times in the past before though — first listed for refurbishment through October 31st, then pushed to late November, then December, and then January. So, the fact that the refurbishment calendar only shows this ride as under refurbishment until that date isn’t a guarantee that it will reopen then. We did see Cast Members working on the PeopleMover lately, so we’re definitely crossing our fingers this attraction will be back up and running soon. Stay tuned for more updates!
5. You Could Get FREE Park Days
Also coming in January is a special Disney World ticket deal that you might want to take advantage of! Guests can start booking this special deal starting January 5th, 2021. What is this deal you ask? Well, according to Disney, guests who book a 4-night/3-day room and ticket package at select Disney resorts on most nights between January 8th, 2021, through September 25th, 2021 will receive an additional 2 days of theme park tickets!
That could add up to some serious savings! Looking to save on your room instead of tickets? Then, you may want to consider the 35% off room offer. If you’re planning a trip for 2021, you’ll definitely want to check out all of the available offers to make sure you get what works best for you.
Those are some of the biggest changes coming to Disney World in January 2021, but there are also some other exciting things, like special food and wine events at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, coming that month as well. Also, while these are not specifically related to Walt Disney World Resort, keep in mind that big changes are coming to the Disney Gift Card website in January of 2021, and changes are coming to some D23 Memberships in January too.
We’re sure 2021 will be full of more changes all around Disney World and Disney’s other theme parks, so stay tuned to DFB for all the latest updates!
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Are you planning to visit Disney World in January of 2021? Let us know in the comments!