August marks that transition point in the year where everyone heads back to school, summer is over, and we get back into a routine. In Walt Disney World, August was a busy month! We learned a TON of new information (some good, some bad), and got one step closer to the big 50th Anniversary Celebration.
While we prepare for what’s to come, let’s look back at some of the biggest things we found out about Walt Disney World in August.
1. Disney World’s NBA Experience was Terminated
It feels like only yesterday that the NBA Experience was opening, and now it has been confirmed that the location will NOT reopen. The NBA Experience was short-lived — it debuted in August 2019 and was available until Walt Disney World shut down in March 2020 (that’s less than a year!).
We still don’t know what will replace this location in Disney Springs, but with such a large area, the possibilities are endless!
2. Pricing Revealed for Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours Event
And spoiler alert — the new party is pretty pricey! If you’re still on the fence, we have some helpful tips that can help you save money on your Walt Disney World vacation, as well as some information on the cheapest days you can attend the After Hours event!
3. Face Mask Policy Update
It feels like Disney is constantly changing their face mask policy, but as of August, Disney World now requires all guests, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in all indoor locations.
Keep in mind that Disney’s new mask policies are subject to change, so stick around for any additional updates regarding face masks in Walt Disney World.
4. Space 220 Details Revealed
We also found out that Space 220 will use a prix fixe menu, so we’re guessing this is going to be one of the more expensive restaurants in EPCOT. While we still haven’t had a look at the menu, but we’re on the edge of our seats waiting to see what kind of out-of-this-world foods they will serve!
5. Steakhouse 71 Will Replace The Wave Restaurant
Steakhouse 71 will be a new casual dining spot in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and the name is based on the year the hotel opened in 1971. It will be replacing The Wave restaurant and is coming along with the new updates at the Contemporary Resort.
There is no opening date yet, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated when we find out more!
6.FastPass+ is Being Replaced with Disney Genie
This was another SUPER vacation-altering announcement. Disney Genie and Disney Genie+ will be coming soon to Walt Disney World as a replacement to the old FastPass system. The Genie+ service will cost guests $15 per person, per day, and will allow guests to use the Lightning Lane (aka the old Fastpass line) to ride certain Disney attractions. It can get pretty confusing, but we have lots of posts that break everything down for you!
There will also be some attractions that fall into a separate Individual Attraction Selection category, where guests who want to use the Lightning Lane must pay separately to ride each attraction.
7. New Annual Passholder Program Details Announced
Annual Passes are FINALLY coming back to Disney World, but they are going to look a lot different! Disney revealed a whole new passholder program, with different options than before, that will become available on September 8th. There will now only be 4 passes available — The Incredi-Pass, the Sorcerer Pass, the Pirate Pass, and the Pixie Dust Pass — and each has a different amount of benefits and blockout dates.
The Sorcerer pass is only available to Florida residents and Disney Vacation Club members, while the Pirate and Pixie Dust passes are only available to Florida residents. So, if you are not a Florida resident and you’re not a DVC member, your only option for a new Annual Pass is the Incredi-Pass. These new passes will also have different amounts of park reservation limits. Here’s a look at the pricing and park reservation limits for each pass:
- Incredi-Pass: $1,299 plus tax, 5 park reservations at a time
- Sorcerer Pass: $899 plus tax, 5 park reservations at a time
- Pirate Pass: $699 plus tax, 4 park reservations at a time
- Pixie Dust Pass: $399 plus tax, 3 park reservations at a time
All passes will still include free standard theme park parking and a 20% discount on select food, merchandise, and activities. However, PhotoPass and the Water Parks and Sports Option are now add-ons to each pass instead of being included in some passes like they were before. These new add-ons are $99 each, per pass for the year.
If you already have an active Annual Pass that is not in its renewal period yet, don’t worry! Everything will stay the same for you — you will just renew into the new Annual Pass Program once your renewal period arrives.
If you have an inactive Annual Pass certificate, you must visit the parks and activate it by September 7th in order to keep that exact pass for the next year. If you don’t activate it before September 8th, it will be converted to one of the new pass options with comparable benefits and you will not lose any perks. So, if you already had PhotoPass included in your pass, you will still have it for free.
If you are in your renewal period for your Annual Pass right now, you can renew into the current Annual Pass Program. If you wait until September 8th or later to renew, you will have to renew into the new Annual Pass Program.
If you have eligible Disney World tickets you have already paid for but haven’t used, they can be upgraded into select Annual Passes starting September 8th. Disney has not yet clarified which tickets are eligible and which Annual Passes you can upgrade to.
As you can see, a lot can change in a month, so stay tuned to DFB for more news and updates!
What Disney news are YOU most excited about? Let us know in the comments!