Best Disney and DVC in 2021
We’re finishing one of the strangest Disney years ever. But, with Florida reporting tens of thousands of new COVID cases, it sorta feels like we’re back where we started.
I choose not to dwell on the negative, though. Plenty went right with your favorite theme park over the past 12 months.
Let’s talk about the best things that happened for Disney and the Disney Vacation Club in 2021.
Disneyland’s Triumphant Return
I’m not going to relitigate the trials and tribulations of 2020. You all know the deal by now.
California healthcare officials couldn’t risk massive outbreaks in the highly populated areas of Southern California.
So, they enforced much harsher restrictions than the ones in Florida. For this reason, Disneyland remained shuttered while Walt Disney World ran smoothly.
Orlando park fans returned in July of 2020. But unfortunately, Anaheim’s crew wouldn’t experience the same joy until April 30th, 2021.
On that date, the Happiest Place on Earth reopened and instantly reminded people of its brilliance.
The world feels like a better place with Disneyland back in business again.
Walt Disney World Turns 50
Everything at Walt Disney World this year led to October 1st, 2021. On that date, the Orlando campus turned 50.
Disney celebrated in style, adding an entirely new color scheme called EARidescent for Mickey & Minnie Mouse.
Three of the four parks added new presentations to commemorate the event.
Harmonious at EPCOT is the permanent replacement for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, but we also got a temporary Magic Kingdom fireworks show, Disney Enchantment.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney KiteTails entertains guests in the afternoons, albeit with the occasional balloon mishap.
Along the way, Disney also offered plenty of new merchandise, foods, and drinks. If you like the number 50, you’ll find plentiful photo ops in Orlando right now.
For DVC fans, the best news of all is that the 50th-anniversary birthday party will last through March of 2023. So, we still have plenty of time to experience it all!
Extended Evening Hours and Early Theme Park Entry
Staying at a Deluxe Disney resort should earn hotel guests high-quality amenities.
Disney hasn’t always been great about this, and 2021 actually trended the wrong way with the announced closure of Magical Express.
As an apology, Disney introduced Early Theme Park Entry for guests staying onsite at Walt Disney World.
This benefit allowed guests to enter the parks 30 minutes early on most dates. However, it’s also been 60 minutes on some dates, which is better.
For DVC guests, that wasn’t the best amenity, though. We also gained Extended Evening Hours.
This bonus is the equivalent of a two-hour after-hours event. For example, guests staying at Deluxe Disney resorts get to stay two hours later at EPCOT on Mondays.
Wednesdays are Magic Kingdom nights. In both instances, the parks are almost entirely empty, providing DVC members with the opportunity to ride whatever they want. It’s spectacular!
New and Improved Rides
Everyone takes a Disney vacation for their own reasons. Ultimately, the rides represent the biggest lure, though.
For fans of Disney attractions, 2021 proved an unexpectedly significant year.
At EPCOT, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure finally opened, showing American tourists what Disneyland Paris guests had known for years. This ride’s an Imagineering triumph.
West Coast fans weren’t left out, either. Avengers Campus opened roughly five weeks after Disneyland’s big comeback.
The new anchor attraction at this themed land is WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure.
This ride takes the established Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin premise and adds a new element thanks to the interactive toys Disney sells.
You don’t need them to ride WEB SLINGERS, but the Green Goblin feels safer when he sees riders who aren’t using these devices.
Disneyland also unveiled Snow White’s Enchanted Wish, the happier version of the previous Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Our heroine finally gets her happily ever after.
In fact, that’s not the only heroine whose star is rising at Disneyland. Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin is currently receiving a new re-theme.
Jessica Rabbit has transformed from a damsel in distress to a private eye working a case. It’s not finished yet, but the early results are terrific.
Then, there’s Jungle Cruise, which finally ditched some of its woefully outdated gags in favor of newer, more cohesive theming.
This ride doesn’t feel entirely new and different, but Imagineers have changed it enough to refresh the ride experience.
Better Monorail Resorts
Speaking of improved experiences, Disney’s monorail resorts turned 50 this year, too.
Imagineers refreshed Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort with new amenities.
At the Contemporary, the hotel lobby changed to a brighter color scheme. Also, The Wave… of American Flavors closed permanently.
Disney replaced it with Steakhouse 71, which looks better but hasn’t lost the tasty cuisine from its predecessor.
The overhaul at the Polynesian proved more substantial. Disney wrecked the lobby of the Great Ceremonial House for a while, going so far as to tear down the monorail station.
Thankfully, everything is back up and running now, along with beloved restaurants and lounges like ‘Ohana and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.
Start planning your 2022 Disney vacation TODAY! Book your next Disney vacation visit by browsing our current DVC Confirmed Reservation Specials, or use our DVC availability tool to see if the dates for your vacation are available. From there, you can start the booking process and one of our team members will reach out to assist!