Annual passholders got the news this week that Disney was ending complimentary Magic Bands, and Disney Vacation Club announced that an existing DVC property was expanding. There is also a cool new Photopass/Snapchat mashup for some extra Disney magic, and a couple of big refurbishment announcements. In food news, there’s a new spot for ice cream, and we got a sneak peek at the dining options coming to Avengers Campus. Over at Disneyland, another hotel is reopening, and there is a brand-new way to purchase tickets and make park reservations at the same time. All this and more in this week’s news roundup.
1 – Complimentary MagicBand Ending for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders
This week Walt Disney World annual passholders received news that the complimentary MagicBand perk would end in August. Learn more at the link below.
2 – Disney Vacation Club Announces Expansion at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney Vacation Club has shared plans to reimagine one building of existing hotel rooms at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa into Disney Vacation Club Villas. Learn more at the link below.
3 – Disney PhotoPass and Snapchat Team Up for New Photo Magic at Walt Disney World
Disney PhotoPass and Snapchat have teamed for some pretty impressive magic that can be added to your photos. Also, later this fall, during the 50th Anniversary celebration, special lenses will offer even more magic. Learn more at the link below.
4 – New BoardWalk Ice Cream Opens at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
To our dismay, our favorite ice cream place at Walt Disney World, Ample Hills Creamery, permanently closed last year. Disney has opened a new ice cream parlor in its place, BoardWalk Ice Cream. The restaurant serves Edy’s ice cream and has a variety of sundaes and flavors to choose from. Alas, they are nothing like the flavors and variety that Ample Hills offered. We tried the Strawberry Shortcake Splash. While it was fine, there was nothing that special about it. It’s the same choices you can expect at other Walt Disney World locations that offer Edy’s. We feel that it is nice to have another ice cream parlor on the BoardWalk; however, you don’t need to go out of your way to visit. Check out our Instagram post below for photos and video.
5 – Disney Skyliner Closing for Refurbishment in January 2022
From Sunday, January 23 through Thursday, January 28, 2022, the Disney Skyliner line between EPCOT International Gateway, Disney’s Riviera Resort, and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will be closed. During this time, Disney bus transportation will be provided for Guests to EPCOT. FriendShip boat service is also available for EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.
6 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Magic Kingdom to Close for Brief Refurbishment
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Magic Kingdom is scheduled to close for a brief refurbishment from June 7-June 12, 2021. It is scheduled to reopen to guests on June 13, 2021.
7 – Epic Eats and Treats in All-New Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure
Inside Avengers Campus, guests of all ages will be invited to team up with the Avengers and their allies to train to become the next generation of Super Heroes. Guests will immerse themselves in many ways, from the epic attractions and heroic encounters to the food and beverage – one more way to power up in this new land at the Disneyland Resort. Learn more at the link below.
8 – Disneyland Resort Launches New Way to Purchase Theme Park Tickets and Make Reservations at the Same Time
This week Disneyland Resort launched a new way to purchase theme park tickets to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure and make park reservations at the same time. Learn more at the link below.
9 – Disneyland Hotel Reopening in July; Reservations Now Open
The Disneyland Hotel is reopening in July, and reservations are now open. Learn more at the link below.
10 – First Look at Avengers Campus Merchandise
Avengers Campus is opening June 2, 2021, and Disney has released a look at some of the merchandise that will be available for guests. Learn more at the link below.
11 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Welcomes Baby Zebra
Another Hartmann’s Mountain zebra foal was born on Kilimanjaro Safari’s at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this week! Learn more at the links below.
12 – Walt Disney World Cast Members Will Receive New 50th Anniversary Nametags
For nearly 50 years, cast members have been at the heart of making magic at the Walt Disney World Resort, bringing countless memories to life for guests and one another. Whether in costume or professionally dressed, cast member nametags provide a sense of pride and personal connection as an iconic part of Disney heritage and culture, both with cast members and guests from around the globe.
As Walt Disney World embarks on celebrating 50 years of magic and memories, a new cast nametag is set to debut, featuring unique elements inspired by “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” that starts October 1, 2021.
A team of graphic artists and costume designers spent more than a year developing the new nametag, testing a number of colors and printing techniques before completing the final design. The new nametags feature several special details:
- An exclusive color wash, inspired by the sparkling new 50th anniversary looks for Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, was developed and applied with an innovative printing technique and glaze to give each nametag a pearlescent shimmer.
- Holographic gold foil with sparkling color-shift elements is individually applied to each nametag, bringing additional shine to the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary logo.
- Royal blue lettering matching the turrets of Cinderella Castle brings a regal pop of color to the nametag, ensuring each cast member name and hometown is a focal point against the glistening background.
All of these elements will combine to produce a distinct shine across each nametag, reflecting the EARidescent décor that will be on display across Walt Disney World Resort for the duration of the celebration.
The new nametags will debut later this year, in time for the October 1 start of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.” The 18-month event will feature new experiences at the resort’s four theme parks and beyond, where shimmering EARidescent décor will appear as if by magic. More details about the celebration will be announced in the future.
13 – Buy a Book, Give a Book: Disney to Donate a Book for Every Book Purchased through the End of the Year
We love the many ways Disney gives back. Here’s another way you can get involved as well with a great new book giveaway.
Disney Cast Member Allison Citino shares more below:
Calling all book lovers! For every book purchased on shopDisney.com now through December 31, 2021, Disney will donate a book to First Book (firstbook.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing new books and educational resources to educators who serve children in need.
Similar to readers who are inspired to recommend books to their friends and family by word-of-mouth, shopDisney’s Buy a Book, Give a Book program encourages a gesture of sharing and extends it into communities for life-changing impact, celebrating the endless possibilities of storytelling.
As one of the world’s largest children’s publishing brands, Disney Publishing Worldwide has a unique opportunity to inspire the next generation of storytellers and equip them with books and resources to build their skills. In addition to igniting a love of storytelling in children, educators report that First Book resources help students develop confidence in their own abilities and promote cross-cultural awareness.
Fan favorites such as Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage, the action-packed Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, and the family-friendly, wildly entertaining Weird But True series are all included in the Buy a Book, Give a Book program. Visit shopDisney.com to explore books from across Disney Publishing Worldwide, including titles from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.
Missing EPCOT? Here’s a short video of a recent sunset at EPCOT near Spaceship Earth? Follow us on Instagram for more posts like this!
What’s New and Happening Now at Walt Disney World Resort
2021 Taste of EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival – Now Through July 5, 2021
Blizzard Beach – Now Open
Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew – Now Open
Coming Soon to Walt Disney World
Summer Resort Reopenings
- May 30 – Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- June 6 – Wilderness Lodge
- July 2 – BoardWalk Inn
- Late July 2021 – Polynesian Village Resort
July 15 – November 2021 – The 2021 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
August 10 – October 31, 2021 – Disney After Hours Boo Bash
October 1, 2021 – The Most Magical Celebration – 50 Years of Walt Disney World
October 1, 2021 – Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure & France Pavilion Expansion Opens
Jungle Cruise – Updated in Phases, while remaining open to guests in 2021
Star Wars Hotel – 2022
EPCOT Reimagined – Now Through 2022 and Beyond
New and Coming Soon to Disneyland Resort
Disneyland Resort – Now Open
Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure – Opening June 4, 2021
Coming Soon to Disney Cruise Line
The Disney Wish
Itineraries in 2022
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.