Whilst there may still be confusion about travel restrictions this year, one thing is for sure. The theme parks are back in business. If you’re planning a trip to Orlando this summer, you may be wondering what’s going to be open at Disney World.
After closing for 116 days, Disney began a phased reopening in July 2020. Although some attractions are still on pause, there’s still plenty going on and most popular attractions will be open in time for summer.
Things are slowly getting back to normal and Disney’s future certainly looks as magical as ever. To find out more about what’s open at Disney World this summer, you can check out our guide. You can skip straight to the areas you’re interested in using this handy menu:
What’s open at Disney World?
All 4 Disney World theme parks are now open. Although certain experiences are still limited, the majority of rides and attractions are running as normal. Those that remain closed are likely to reopen throughout the first half of 2021.
Any event that tends to draw big crowds has been paused for the time being. Fireworks, parades and nighttime spectaculars are still on hold, however, character experiences are starting to return. While you may not be able to hug your favorite star just yet, there are amazing character cavalcades that run throughout the day. You will also be able to spot Disney characters driving around the park, sailing down waterways and waving from balconies, so keep your eyes peeled!
If you’re in need of accommodation, a number of the resort hotels are also due to open at Disney World, just in time for summer. If you’d prefer to stay in a private rental, we offer a huge range of vacation homes in top resorts near Disney – and many of them offer free Disney shuttles. We also know that things can change quickly, which is why we have introduced a brand new flexible cancellation policy.
Things to know before you go
When the parks first reopened, Disney capped its attendance at 20% to allow for social distancing. In November last year, this was increased to 35%. As the maximum capacity for the Magic Kingdom is usually around 100,000 people, this means only 35,000 guests are currently being accepted each day.
There is a possibility that these restrictions will remain in place until 2022, however this will depend on Florida’s guidelines and the vaccine rollout. To prevent overcrowding, numbers are also limited in restaurants and queues.
Single-day and multi-day tickets are still available to purchase for 2021; you can book online up until December 31. Once you have an admission ticket, you now also have to book a park pass reservation. This new system is in place to enable Disney to manage the crowds between all 4 theme parks. As park reservations and tickets are super limited, you will need to check the availability of both before you book.
If you were hoping to skip any queues, bad news. The FastPass+ system at Disney is currently suspended. Stand-by queues are now the only way to get on the attractions, as the FastPass+ areas are being used to prevent crowding.
When booking any park tickets at the moment, patience is key! As Disney adapts, the park rules and restrictions are constantly being updated. Before you purchase any tickets, just be sure to check all of the latest terms and conditions. Alternatively, when you book through Top Villas, our Guest Experience team can arrange Disney tickets for you, making your experience as stress-free as possible!
Even with new safety measures in place, Disney is no less magical! If you’re planning to visit, it’s important to adhere to all of the new guidelines to keep yourself and others safe.
To promote physical distancing, there are temporary adjustments in place throughout the park. You will find signs, floor markers and dividers all offering guidance on what to do and where to stand. Most rides now also have modifications, such as vehicle barriers or protective screens. Around the park, enhanced cleaning and housekeeping procedures are also in place.
If you want to make a purchase, try to avoid using cash. Paying with a contactless card, Apple Pay, or even a Disney Magic Band, is a great way to reduce unnecessary contact. If you can, it’s also a good idea to download the My Disney Experience app before you arrive. This handy phone app is packed with useful features, designed to enhance your visit.
Although temperature checks are no longer in place at Disney, face coverings are still required for all guests (over the age of 2). You can only remove your mask when actively eating or drinking, so if you’re going on a rollercoaster, make sure you tighten the straps!
Dining at Disney
Due to the park’s reduced capacity, not all of the restaurants are open at Disney yet. There are still plenty of dining options on offer, however, availability is limited. If you’re planning to visit a table-service restaurant, we recommend booking a table in advance. Reservations can be made up to 60 days before you visit, so securing a spot at your favorite eaterie should be easy.
In line with safety guidelines, Disney has also introduced new technology in all of its restaurants. Handy features such as contactless menus, mobile ordering and mobile check-ins are just some of the new things in place to prevent unnecessary contact.
What’s new at Disney World 2021?
As October marks the park’s 50th Anniversary, 2021 is sure to be a huge year for Disney World. Although many of the new developments were put on hold when the park closed, there are still plenty of exciting things in the pipeline for the next couple of years.
The World’s Most Magical Celebration
As Disney World opened on 1 October 1971, this year is the park’s 50th birthday! To mark this impressive milestone, Disney will be hosting “The World’s Most Magical Celebration”. Running for 18 months, the festivities will kick off on 1 October this year. Reservations are already starting to fill up, so if you want to join the party, you will need to book soon!
Although most plans are still top secret, you can definitely expect new attractions, special decor and plenty of fun events. Mickey and Minnie will be pulling together a new look for the occasion, and Cinderella Castle has already received a royal makeover. Throughout the celebrations, the castle will also be sparkling with magical pixie dust!
In addition to the castle’s glow-up, the icons from the other four theme parks will also be transformed into Beacons of Magic. There will be new lights on Spaceship Earth at Epcot, magical fireflies around the Tree of Life, and new decor on the Hollywood Tower Hotel.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
One of the most highly anticipated additions to Epcot, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be located in the France pavilion. An immersive 4-D experience, this trackless ride invites guests to shrink down to the scale of a rat and race through a Parisian kitchen – complete with all the sights, sounds and smells! This attraction will be opening on 1 October 2021, just in time for the birthday celebrations.
As well as Remy’s Adventure, the France pavilion will also be welcoming a brand new (rodent-free!) restaurant, Le Crêperie Paris. This new eatery will serve both sweet and savory crepes, from a menu created by celebrity chef, Jérôme Bocuse.
The most major addition to Disney World in 2021 is the brand new night-time spectacular, HarmonioUS. Sadly, due to the current safety measures, the opening date for this brand new show has yet to be announced. As testing is currently taking place, it is likely that the launch will coincide with the birthday celebrations in October. Set to be the park’s largest-ever firework display, Harmonious will feature a combination of Disney music and imagery, alongside floating sets, custom-built lights and show-stopping pyrotechnics.
Another new addition to Epcot, Space 220 is also due to open this year. An expansion of the popular Mission:Space ride, this immersive restaurant will transport you to another world! Once you enter, a special elevator will send you rocketing into a real-time space station. As you dine, you will be able to enjoy incredible views of the earth — from over 220 miles away!
What’s open at Disney World in 2022?
If you can’t travel just yet, don’t worry. There are plenty more exciting events on the horizon for 2022. As projects for this year were delayed, there are a lot of new additions expected to open next year instead. Although there are no set launch dates for these attractions yet, it’s safe to say that 2022 is looking pretty magical!
Star Wars – Galactic Starcruiser
Located in Hollywood Studios, the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser is due to open in 2022. A combination of both hotel and theme park attraction, this unique experience will immerse guests in the world of Star Wars. Lucky visitors will spend 2 nights aboard the Starcruiser, communicating with characters and completing exciting challenges throughout their stay. Every detail and experience onboard the spaceship will be fully immersive — including the dining and accommodation!
Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind
Also expected to launch next year is Epcot’s new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. The first Marvel ride to arrive at Disney, Cosmic Rewind is one of the most innovative rollercoasters in the world. Not only does this storytelling coaster have a reverse launch, it also rotates 360 degrees. Instead of just passing by the action — you get to face it!
Tron Lightcycle Run
Based on the Tron movie franchise, the Lightcycle Run attraction was originally due to open in time for Disney’s birthday celebrations. Construction for this ride was postponed last year, so there is currently no launch date in place. Already the highest-rated attraction at Disney World in Shanghai, this much-anticipated rollercoaster is set to be extremely popular. Featuring a train of individual motorbike-style vehicles, this exhilarating ride will take you on a thrilling adventure through the digital world.
Journey of Water
Journey of Water will be part of the new World Nature area in Epcot. The first attraction at Disney to feature Moana, this walkthrough experience explores the importance of the natural water cycle. Surrounded by a beautiful natural environment, visitors will be able to interact with magical water, and learn how it sustains the world. There are no official launch dates for this attraction, but it is expected to open in time for Epcot’s 40th anniversary in 2022.
Planning a trip?
With so many things set to open at Disney World over the next few years, there’s never been a more exciting time to visit! If you’re planning a trip, it is a great idea to book your accommodation in advance.
When you book with Top Villas, all you need to do is pay your deposit upfront. You can then pay off your balance in comfortable installments, up until 60 days before your stay.
What’s more, we know that circumstances can change quickly, and that’s why we’ve also just introduced a kinder cancellation policy. Choose one of our Flex homes and you can reschedule or cancel your stay, even if you’re due to check in soon.
Book a stay
Book with us and not only will you get beautiful accommodation at great prices, you’ll also benefit from round-the-clock customer service. To make things even easier, we also offer access to a wide range of travel extras. If you’d like to book park tickets, or arrange car hire, our Guest Experience team will be on hand to help!
Follow our simple online booking process and you can secure your dream vacation home instantly. It’s easy to check availability, get a quote and book instantly online. Alternatively, submit an inquiry and we’ll get straight back to you.
When you’re ready to start planning, you can check out all of our vacation rentals in Orlando here.