LOTS of changes continue to take place in Disney World.
2021 is a big year for the parks! Not only is it Disney World’s 50th anniversary, but the property is continuing with its phased reopening since its closure in 2020. That means we’re seeing some things opening for the first time (like the brand-new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in EPCOT!), but other things are reopening.
All of those opening and reopening dates can get CONFUSING. Trust us — we get it! So today, we’re breaking down every single confirmed (re)opening date in 2021.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We continually updated this post as 2021 moved on. The dates below reflect everything that opened and reopened in the final quarter of the year (as October 1st kicked off the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort), and we continued to add upcoming opening dates and events as they were announced.
And guess what? We’re doing the same thing for 2022. Click HERE for all the 2022 reopening dates!
Shows and Spectaculars
Official Debut of Harmonious at EPCOT — October 1, 2021
Harmonious — EPCOT’s brand new nighttime spectacular, made its official debut on October 1, 2021! (But note that the show presented soft openings a few days earlier on September 29th and 30th!)
Harmonious is one element joining several others making up the historical transformation of the park. Disney has stated that Harmonious delivers one of the largest spectaculars ever created for a Disney park!
Disney Enchantment at Magic Kingdom — October 1, 2021
October 1, 2021 marked the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. (We’ll chat more about this a little later in the post.) Opening Day of the BIG celebration brought a BRAND-NEW nighttime spectacular to Magic Kingdom called Disney Enchantment to mark the momentous occasion!
This new fireworks show features memorable music, enhanced lighting, and immersive projection effects that extend down Main Street, U.S.A.!
Disney shares that “this evening extravaganza will take you on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment.”
Disney KiteTails at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — October 1, 2021
The show features performers flying windcatchers and kites with elaborate three-dimensional kites depicting Simba, Zazu, Baloo, and King Louie over the water… all set to Disney music, of course!
“Let the Magic Begin” at Magic Kingdom — October 4, 2021
A beloved tradition returned to Magic Kingdom on October 4th: the morning’s Welcome Show, “Let the Magic Begin,” kicks off the day at Cinderella Castle once more!
Our best pal Mickey is joined by more than a few friends to wish you a Magical Day in a memorable way!
Live Entertainment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — October and November
Both Chakranadi and Kora Tinga Tinga returned to the Animal Kingdom’s Asia and Africa, respectively, to perform live music for guests starting the week of October 10, 2021!
The beloved Tam Tam Drummers also made their comeback in early November.
Disney Movie Magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios — November 7, 2021
The Disney Movie Magic projection show made its return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on November 7, 2021.
The show casts projections from live-action Disney movies on the Chinese Theatre, featuring scenes from films including Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean. And NEW scenes have debuted from Disney’s live-action version of Mulan!
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular — December 19, 2021
The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular returned to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on December 19th, 2021!
If you haven’t seen it previously, the Epic Stunt Spectacular is a live show featuring Indy and Marion battling the bad guys, leaping from tall buildings and making other thrilling escapes like they do in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The show also gives an inside look at how these stunts are performed. (Oh, and YOU might be picked to join in the show!)
Select Character Meet-and-Greets in the Parks — October and November 2021
Oh, BOY! Select Character Meet-and-Greets have started to return to Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (albeit, in a modified fashion)!
You can click here to find out more on where you can meet friends like Mickey, Minnie, Disney Princesses, and Disney Junior pals, and you can also learn the ways the experience has been modified, as well.
Restaurants and Eateries
La Crêperie de Paris — October 1, 2021
We got to attend a preview ahead of the official opening, and you can check out our first review HERE! La Creperie also offers a Quick Service component — a pick-up window called Crêpes À Emporter — and you can see it here, too.
Steakhouse 71 and the Steakhouse 71 Lounge — October 1, 2021
But the October 1st restaurant openings don’t stop there, because Steakhouse 71 — and the accompanying Steakhouse 71 Lounge — is also now open as of the BIG DAY, too! You’ll find Steakhouse 71 in Disney’s Contemporary Resort (where it has replaced The Wave…of American Flavors).
Jellyrolls — October 15, 2021
Remember, there’s a cover charge to enter, and many good times to be had by all! So brush up on your lyrics of tunes from the 70s, 80s, and 90s so you can be ready to sing along!
Boatwright’s Dining Hall — December 14, 2021
Boatwright’s Dining Hall is now open once again at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside!
Even though Port Orleans — Riverside reopened in October, this Table Service restaurant did not reopen along with it. But that has changed just in time for the holidays! Southern specialties get the spotlight, and you can read up on the menu offerings here.
Story Book Dining with Snow White at Artist Point — December 16, 2021
Story Book Dining at Artist Point is open once again as of December 16th, bringing Character Dining back to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!
Guests can see Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and The Queen stroll around the Enchanted Forest while enjoying their dinner. The meal is prix fixe with a choice of individually plated entrees and shared starters and desserts.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside — October 14, 2021
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside is now welcoming guests as of October 14, 2021!
We are thrilled to be able to visit this charming Resort once again!
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter — October 28, 2021
Riverside was followed by the reopening of its sister Resort — Port Orleans — French Quarter — on October 28, 2021!
Let the good times roll!!!
The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve — November 3, 2021
Prior to the opening, we got to take a FIRST LOOK inside the Swan Reserve!
Remember, guests at the Swan Reserve get all the perks of the Swan and Dolphin — like access to amenities — as well as Disney hotel perks. That means complimentary transportation to the parks — not to mention it’s walking distance to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration — October 1, 2021
Guests were first welcomed to The Most Magical Place on Earth with the opening of Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971, so Walt Disney World Resort is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!
The event officially kicked off on October 1, 2021, and will last for a full 18 MONTHS! You can check out everything you need to know here.
Disney Very Merriest After Hours — November 8, 2021
Once inside, guests enjoyed plenty of festive fun and entertainment unique to the Disney Very Merriest After Hours! This included a showing of “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks” and MUCH more!
The 2021 Holiday Season — November 12, 2021
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays — November 26, 2021
EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays is a beautiful global celebration of the Season! The 2021 Festival of the Holidays is taking place November 26 – December 30, 2021.
Yep, EPCOT’s final Festival of the calendar year started the day after Thanksgiving, and we’re enjoying every minute!
EPCOT’s Candlelight Processional — November 26, 2021
Candlelight Processional Dining Packages have returned as well, offering a meal at a participating EPCOT restaurant and guaranteed seating for this popular event.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure — October 1, 2021
Guests shrink down to Remy’s size to scurry around Chef Gusteau’s restaurant — and there are plenty of 4-D effects, too!
Tours and Experiences
EPCOT Dining Packages with Fireworks Viewing — October 1, 2021
As of October 1st — which was, of course, the opening day of Harmonious, EPCOT’s new nighttime spectacular — TWO Dining Packages are available in the World Showcase, offering fireworks views along with outdoor patio dining!
“Celebration at the Top” with Magic Kingdom Fireworks Viewing — October 2, 2021
Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors & Fireworks presents guests with small plates, sushi, and spirits at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill, along with an exclusive viewing area from which to enjoy Disney Enchantment!
Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties — October 3, 2021
There are three Parties to choose from: the Disney Enchantment Pre-Party, Disney Enchantment Treats & Seats Party, and the Disney Enchantment After-Party, and you can get all the details HERE.
Disney Technology Services
Disney Genie — Launched October 19, 2021
On October 19, 2021, a NEW service made its debut within the My Disney Experience app. Disney Genie provides on-the-go planning tools and customized itineraries to help guests maximize their time in the parks!
The standard Disney Genie — which includes features like dining tips, recommendations for when to head to your next attractions, and enhancements to the Disability Access Service — is a complimentary service.
There are also TWO different optional add-ons available for a fee, and they allow guests to bypass the standby lines for attractions and instead enter the Lightning Lane. The Disney Genie+ base-price option — for $15 per person, per day — allows guests to select the next available time to arrive at an attraction (similar to the previous FastPass+ time windows) and enter that attraction’s Lightning Lane at over 45 attractions across Disney World theme parks.
And another paid option is available for DIFFERENT — and more in-demand — attractions. Disney’s Individual Attraction Selection service (pay-per-ride) is how guests can pay a fee to utilize the Lightning Lane for an individual attraction.
There is a LOT to learn about this new service, so you can find ALL the info you need HERE.
Well, it’s certainly a year full of openings — and some reopenings, too! We’ll be sure to bring you the latest news every step of the way. Stay tuned to DFB!
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What are you most excited to open or reopen this year? Let us know in the comments!