It’s time to start planning if you’re hoping to visit what’s known as “the most magical place on earth” this year!!
But, how do you know when you should plan to make the trip to the Disney Parks? Well, a lot of things are still uncertain in 2021 and we’re still awaiting official opening dates for A LOT of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. But, we DO know a few BIG things happening this year — and, you won’t want to miss out on them!
Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary
The first big event that you might want to consider booking your vacation for ASAP is Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. The celebrations are set to kick off on October 1st (the exact date that Magic Kingdom opened 50 years ago) and run for a FULL 18 months. There’s no such thing as too much celebrating, right? 😉
There’s going to be A LOT of special things going on around Disney World throughout the celebrations, and all four park icons are going to be getting a MAJOR glow-up. No, the cake castle won’t be returning (a tragedy for some), but Cinderella Castle will be getting a more royal look, with golden bunting and a 50th-anniversary crest front and center.
Sounds GORGEOUS, right? Well, we’ve already seen some of the transformation taking place in Magic Kingdom and, we must say, it is living up to our expectations! We’re still pretty far out from when the party kicks off, so we can’t even imagine how much more is to come here!
Over in EPCOT, Spaceship Earth is getting some new lighting for the celebrations, and once complete, it will look like a starry night sky. The purple, blue, and green hues will also match with the new EPCOT entrance area that Disney has already completed in the park. Oh, and this transformation will actually be PERMANENT!
This lighting isn’t simply projections, it’s WAY better! Disney is adding individual lights at the points where the reflective panels connect, so Spaceship Earth will LITERALLY light up from the outside! We’ve already seen some of the lights added to the exterior, though they’re small, so you won’t necessarily notice them during the day…
…but if you’re like us and NEED to see the progress, super zoom on your phone will reveal the tiny little lights that will be responsible for the MAJOR glow-up! Disney even shared that the lighting on Spaceship Earth will be able to change, not remain the same static colors it has for decades.
The Hollywood Tower Hotel will be the park icon that gets lit up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney has shared that there will be “special new touches” and from the concept art, it looks like we’re in for some new projections!
And, last (but certainly not least), the Tree of Life in Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be getting a little sparkle too. The tree will be lit up during the night, and it will look like fireflies are dancing around the leaves thanks to some new fancy lighting tricks.
If four park icon makeovers aren’t enough to make you open up your browser and start booking your Disney vacation, Mickey and Minnie are also getting in on the celebration (did you expect anything less?)! The duo will be getting new outfits that feature gold highlights — pretty, swanky huh?
Disney is certainly pulling out all the stops and has been working on TONS of renovations and updates around the park to make sure they’re looking their best for the celebrations! We’ve been keeping track of them all here at DFB and there are WAY too many little updates to mention, but some of the major ones include Main Street Confectionery undergoing a major renovation and new gold details are being added to some classic rides in Magic Kingdom.
So, are you thinking that you need to be in Disney World to see this? Well, the sooner you book your reservations the better. Park Pass Reservations have ALREADY been booking up for the first few days in October, so you’ll want to secure your tickets and passes sooner rather than later.
Opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Making its grand debut on the same day as Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebrations — October 1st — is the long-awaited new ride, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure! The new ride was originally announced to be coming to EPCOT’s France Pavilion in Disney World a few years ago, and, after a short delay of its opening date due to the ongoing health crisis, the ride will finally be opening in the park! And, this will be the FIRST new attraction to open since Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway opened in March 2020.
The ride itself is designed to be a replica of the original attraction in Disneyland Paris and will shrink you down to rat-size for an adventure through Chef Gusteau’s kitchen in Paris. You’ll encounter all the sights, sounds, and smells that you’d expect in a restaurant’s kitchen, and you’ll be doing it all with Remy in a ride vehicle that looks a lot like the mouse too!
And, after you experience the new attraction, you’ll be able to grab a bite to eat at a brand new restaurant in the France Pavilion! Disney has announced that La Creperie de Paris will also open on October 1st and will feature cuisine from celebrity chef Jérôme Bocuse of Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul.
The new ride and restaurant will be located in a brand new section at the back of the France Pavilion, and you may not want to miss out on seeing it for yourself! Part of the expansion has already opened in EPCOT and if it’s an indicator of the rest of the pavilion, it is going to be GORGEOUS!
There are also a few other new attractions that Disney originally announced would open for the 50th Anniversary including TRON Lightcycle Run in Magic Kingdom…
…and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT…
…but, Disney hasn’t provided an update on either project. Signs are pointing to TRON being delayed though.
EPCOT Food & Wine Festival
If sparkly park icons and new rides aren’t enough to draw your attention, let us direct you to one of our favorite annual events in EPCOT — the Food & Wine Festival! Disney has already announced that the festival will be taking place from July 15th to November 20th, giving you an EXTRA long time to enjoy new (and old) eats and drinks around World Showcase.
For the past year, Disney has been naming their festivals with “taste of” at the beginning, but they’ve dropped that for the 2021 Food & Wine Festival, so we might see even MORE booths and activities — who knows!
What we DO know is that some of our favorite activities will be returning to keep us busy between bites! Both Emile’s Fromage Montage (AKA a CHEESE CRAWL) and Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak will be returning to reward us for finding and eating more food.
And, the Voices of Liberty, Mariachi Cobre, and the Jammin’ Chefs will be back again to provide some entertainment while you make your way around World Showcase.
The official list of menus and booths has yet to be announced, but we do know that some fan-favorite booths like Canada, Greece, Germany, Hops and Barley, and Appleseed Orchard will be back again this year!
There are still some big questions still looming like — will the Eat to the Beat Concert Series return? Will there be beverage and culinary seminars? What booths are coming back? Are there any new booths? Disney hasn’t shared more information on these just yet, but you’ll still want to make plans to visit the festival even if all the festival offerings don’t return this year. And, you’ve got FOUR entire months to get your Disney trip in if you’re hoping to enjoy this Disney World event — that’s plenty of time!
And, the last big event(s) that Disney World will be putting on in the parks this year is one that we always recommend checking out — the holidays! Disney goes all out around Halloween and Christmas time, so you can expect even more decorations, specialty treats, and holiday-themed entertainment if you’re visiting during the celebrations.
Last year, Disney kicked off their fall festivities SUPER early, with decorations arriving in early September. And, though Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was suspended for the season, there were still tons of spooky treats and drinks to enjoy around the parks. This year WON’T feature the Not So Scary Halloween Party. Rather, Boo Bash will be happening select nights! Think of it like a toned-down Not So Scary without fireworks, stage shows, or a parade.
And, almost immediately after Halloween, the parks undergo a quick change of decor and it’s Christmas time! Disney hasn’t shared any information on whether Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will return this year, but there are still tons of ways to celebrate when you visit. The decorations are usually up through the first week of January, so any late fall/winter trip will ensure that you’re there to see all the GIANT Christmas trees!
Need more advice on when you should plan your 2021 Disney World vacation? You know we’ve got you covered! Check out our video below for more tips on the BEST times to go to Disney World this year!
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What are you looking most forward to seeing this year? Let us know below!!