It finally seems like things are returning to pre-pandemic normal and we are so thankful! Our favorite resorts are have reopening dates and some of our favorite restaurants have finally reopened, ahem…Ohana. Face coverings are no longer required except for on public transportation and entering and leaving the parks, capacity has increased and fireworks have returned! While we are so excited to see things return to normal, there have been changes at Disney that seem to be here to stay. Here are 5 changes that seem to be permanent.
Park Pass Reservations- Since reopening last July guests must have both valid theme parks tickets and park pass reservations. Gone are the days of heading to the parks last minute and knowing you will be allowed entry. We are seeing park passes booking up weeks and months in advance, so a Disney vacation requires a little more planning now. It definitely looks as though park pass reservations are here to stay. Guests can check park pass availability using the calendar on the My Disney Experience app.
Buffets- Since reopening, we have seen our favorite buffet meals transform into family-style meals. We have also seen some big changes in the menus of some of our favorite restaurants. Cape May no longer features all-you-can-eat crab legs and Ohana now serves shrimp casserole in place of the spicy grilled shrimp on skewers. Guests can still order as much as they’d like, but the food is brought out by a server. Serving meals family-style instead of buffets could definitely be a change that’s here to stay.
Mobile Food Ordering- Before the pandemic, mobile ordering was much more optional. Upon reopening, guests were highly encouraged to utilize mobile ordering for all quick-service meals and could only use in-person ordering if there was difficulty with technology. Guests remain outside of the dining location until the order is ready, and are allowed to enter the location once the order is ready for pick up. It looks like the mobile ordering system has been successful and won’t be going anywhere.
No New Annual Pass Sales- One of the biggest changes is that Annual Passes have not been available for sale since Disney opened back up last July. Current Annual Passholders were allowed to renew their passes and Passholders who let their passes expire during 2020 have able to renew on a case-by-case basis. We have not heard any information as to when (or if) Annual Passes will become available for new purchase again. We know that Disneyland Resort will be replacing the Annual Pass program with a new “membership program”. Will Disney World retire its Annual Pass program too? We really don’t know.
FastPasses- We have yet to see FastPasses return to Disney World. The suspension of the FastPass system has been one of the most challenging changes for some guests, while other guests are enjoying the parks without FastPasses. It goes without saying that as capacity continues to increase, wait times for attractions will also likely increase. This fact leaves many of us wondering if FastPasses will ever return, or if the system will be replaced by a new system. We recently saw Disneyland Paris implement a brand new system that comes with an additional charge. We are also seeing kiosks pop up throughout Disney World parks, which leads us to believe something is coming. Will traditional FastPasses return, or will we see a whole new system?
Disney is known for being innovative and constantly changing, so we shouldn’t be too surprised if some of these changes are here to stay. Are you a fan of any of these changes?
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