Disney Park News for May 4, 2021

Aerial view of a beautiful resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 

Okay, Disneyland reopened on April 30th, which we’ll talk about in a separate update. So much has happened at Walt Disney World this week that it’ll receive the focus here. Here’s a bunch of Disney park news you need to know!

Park Pass Update

IMPORTANT! If you’ve booked Park Passes already for an upcoming trip, please be aware of a change that Disney just made. The parks are experiencing issues caused by guests booking Park Passes on dates when they don’t own admission tickets yet. In some instances, an annual pass can expire before your scheduled date as well. I’ve had this issue in trying to book Park Passes for October 1st. For situations like this, Disney has modified its policy to cancel Park Passes. Here’s what you need to know.  When Disney’s Park Pass system identifies that you lack valid admission, you’ll receive an email alert. It gives you 48 hours to log in.  Disney expects you to add valid admission to your My Disney Experience account. Otherwise, after two days, the system will cancel your Park Pass. So, if you get one of those notifications, stop what you’re doing and add/update your admission for the applicable date! Otherwise, Disney will dump you from the system, which could destroy your future plans.

Some upcoming dates like the 50th anniversary celebration, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are already at/near max Park Passes. If you lose yours, you may not get it back.

Trader Sam Lives…Kinda

Disney officials have settled on the best method to honor the Fifth Key while maintaining a popular character, Trader Sam. The witch doctor/headhunter has vanished from Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom and will stay that way. However, his name will live on. Disney has confirmed that it’ll add a new set-piece to the attraction.

The premise is that Alberta Falls wants someone to operate the Lost and Found booth. She makes the questionable decision of picking Trader Sam. Believe it or not, Sam proves untrustworthy here. He turns the Lost and Found into Trader Sam’s Gift Shop. The catch is that Sam won’t appear at the gift shop. Instead, he’s off searching for more “merchandise.”

Lost and Found Gift Shop at the Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom.

While the trader is gone, animals have overrun his store, a sight gag that will send people off with a smile as they exit the ride. This solution should please everyone because it’s tasteful but hilarious. I’m happy to know that Sam is turning a profit on all those sunglasses and hats that I’ve lost at Disney over the years.

Florida Updates

Okay, let’s quickly talk about potential changes in Florida. The health department and CDC have both announced modified rules that could impact Disney. The Orange County Department of Health has ruled that temperature checks are no longer necessary. Disney hasn’t updated its policies based on this information, but it could soon.

Similarly, the Mayor announced that he has cut physical distancing restrictions by 50 percent. The new limit is three feet rather than six feet. Again, Disney hasn’t changed anything yet. However, it could safely do so while still honoring the wishes of local health officials. Finally, I’ll add that 42.3 percent of Floridians have received at least one dose of vaccine. Roughly 30 percent are fully vaccinated.

Small gathering of people waiting in line to enter Disney World.

Photo Courtesy of DisneyTouristBlog.com

Once Orange County reaches 50 percent of all people age 16 and over, it will remove all face-covering rules for outdoor areas. The Florida Department of Health also recently decided that face coverings aren’t necessary for outdoor gatherings. All these current rules at Disney could go away one day soon.

If you haven’t wanted to visit the parks due to face mask requirements, the late summer is looking good as a target return date.

Theme Park Updates

I’m only scratching the surface from a hectic week, but the most critical story involves MagicMobile. The new park entry system started with iOS users last month. As of this week, the system works with Android and Google Pay/Wallet as well. At the Morocco pavilion in the World Showcase, Disney has introduced a new Relaxation Station.

Really, EPCOT merely transferred the one from the United Kingdom pavilion here. You’ll find it near the camel wearing the fez, one of my favorites at the World Showcase. DVC members should also know that two monorail resorts have brought back valet parking for the first time in 15 months. You can receive this service at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Disney’s Riviera Resort will also bring back valet parking by the time you read this, and four other DVC resorts will do the same by the end of the month. So, you can have a cast member park that rental car you cannot find in stock anywhere right now!

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