DVC Parks and Resorts Update for April 12th
A staggering number of Disney Vacation Club-related news arrived this past week. You’ll learn plenty about Disneyland’s reopening, changes coming to Walt Disney World, and even a bit about Disney cruises. Here’s the latest DVC Parks & Resorts Update.
Avengers Campus Is Coming Soon at Disney California Adventure
Let’s start with the most significant announcement. Disney California Adventure has revealed when Avengers Campus will debut. The new themed land will have its grand opening on June 4th, roughly five weeks after Disneyland Resort returns.
Disney has taken this approach for two reasons. The first is that Avengers Campus isn’t quite ready yet. Park officials could rush to complete it, but that would work against point number two.
Park executives intend to manage crowds carefully until the pandemic ends. To wit, Disneyland Resort will only open its theme parks at 15 percent of maximum capacity, even though Orange County, California, would allow 25 percent.
The arrival of a new themed land would stir demand beyond its already ridiculous heights. Californians have heavily anticipated the return of Disneyland for more than a year. In fact, Disney had announced a July comeback date before an outbreak forced the cancellation of those plans.
You can imagine what the combination of Disneyland’s reopening and Avengers Campus would do to crowds. Remember the park’s opening day fiasco in 1955? The situation could mirror that one if Disney had recklessly moved forward! So, delaying Avengers Campus by a month makes sense.
As a reminder, this themed land will celebrate all things Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s technically the second one of its kind, as Universal Orlando Resort also operates Marvel Super Hero Island. That place will seem threadbare compared to Avengers Campus, though.
The signature attraction at the new themed land is WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure. You can guess from the title that it’s a Spider-Man ride. We also know that it’s 3-D, but Disney hasn’t provided additional information yet. That will presumably come at some point in May.
Other Disneyland Updates
When Disneyland reopens on April 30th, you’ll need more than just a ticket to visit. Fortunately, Disney extended the expiration date of many of its tickets when the parks remained closed last year.
Presuming that you have valid admission, you may book a Park Pass on April 12th. Tickets will go on sale no later than 8 a.m. (PST), but you should check sooner just to be safe. Obviously, those first few dates will book quickly at 15 percent maximum occupancy.
You can read more details on the official site. The most pertinent detail is that Disney has restricted attendance to California residents. Well, technically, the state government did that, but the point remains. I’m skeptical that you can book a Park Pass without a California residence on file.
For those who don’t own admission tickets already, the first half of this week will be rough. You cannot buy new tickets until April 15th. By that point, I’d expect several park dates to have sold out. Then, on April 22nd, Disneyland restaurants will open dining reservations to the public. Again, you’ll want to book quickly!
Disney has released additional information about the reopening process, and there’s one unexpected twist. Jungle Cruise won’t return yet. Imagineers are currently working on the ride’s 21st-century reimagining. It’s not the only attraction unavailable, either.
Selections including Matterhorn Bobsleds, Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Storybook Land Canal Boats, and the Disneyland Monorail currently show as unavailable. I cannot even begin to speculate as to when any of these will return. So, please read the updates, and I’ll keep you informed each week.
The other important news item is that Park Hopping will be available. Yes, even on April 30th, you can switch between the two parks!
Disney Vacation Club Updates
I’ll get to Walt Disney World in a moment, but let’s talk about some DVC changes first. For starters, Disney has officially canceled the DVC Member Cruise scheduled for June. Yes, it was a foregone conclusion for the past 12 months, but it’s confirmed now. I know that many of you were looking forward to it and sympathize with your disappointment.
The Governor of Florida laments the loss of cruise revenue. So, he has sued the United States and the CDC to bring back cruises. Attorney friends tell me that a snowball has a better chance in an active volcano than this lawsuit does of winning, but I’ll keep you informed just in case. Hey, snowballs can surprise you!
By the way, if you had a reservation for the DVC cruise, you should speak with Member Services. While Disney has extended your points by a full Use Year, you may not like the refund process. It’s best that you talk to a cast member to learn what’s happening and what your options are. If you have trouble getting through on the phone, remember the live chat option!
More DVC Updates
In happier news, the Ka Wa’a luau recently returned at Aulani, Disney Vacation Club Villas. Now comes word that Makahiki Restaurant will bring back its character meal on May 7th! Yes, Mickey Mouse and the gang will join Aunty for music and entertainment once again after a prolonged absence.
In less happy news, I must report on a fact that lends credence to a rumor. By now, you’ve heard that the future of Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge is in question. Nobody at DVC will confirm or deny its status.
However, recently filed paperwork suggests that Disney wants to tear down the trailers that the construction crews were using for the build. Without offices on-site, it’s impossible to envision a scenario where any work could get done. As such, this project seems stuck in neutral for a while…at best.
Disney also published its reopening guidelines for Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. I should stress that I’m referencing the regular part of the resort, not the DVC rooms. Still, you may find the information helpful.
You can read the Parks Blog update here. The essential details are that the pools and restaurants will reopen, too. Also, the cabanas will be available for guests. You can still do special character wake-up calls in your room, too.
Disney does ask that you check in online, but you were going to do that anyway. As an FYI, you will need to pick up your room key in the lobby. Also, you should use Mobile Ordering. It’s a bunch of reasonable requests that are old hat by now, at least to DVC members who have visited Walt Disney World during the pandemic.
Walt Disney World Updates
You’ll be pleased to know that Disney has modified its face covering policy in a small but significant way. You may now remove your mask to take pictures! In fact, Disney has codified the updated rule on the official website.
From now on, when you want to take a picture, it’s okay to uncover your face and let the world see your smile for the first time in ages. Even cast members at PhotoPass spots will encourage you to take off your mask for the picture. That’s the strongest sign yet that things are looking up.
Speaking of mask coverings, Orange County’s Mayor has indicated when he will drop the current mask update. The plan calls for the elimination of face mask requirements when Orange County reaches a milestone. Specifically, it’ll happen when 50 percent of the county’s population has taken the COVID-19 vaccine. The Mayor indicated this could happen by June.
When Orange County reaches that point, Disney would have a reason to modify its face covering policy, too. I’m not saying the company would definitely do that. Still, it’s easier to justify when the local government has taken that approach.
Florida has also opened the vaccination process to all residents 16 and up as of Monday, April 12th. That’ll assist people in reaching the 50 percent limit much sooner. In fact, my back of the napkin calculations suggest Orange County could reach 50 percent by the end of May if everything goes smoothly.
More Theme Park Updates
I already mentioned the changes coming to Jungle Cruise. Attentive Magic Kingdom guests have already noticed one. Trader Sam no longer appears on the ride. Disney has permanently retired the character from the attraction. Disney has indicated that the two Trader Sam bars won’t experience any thematic changes, though.
DVC members should also know that Magical Express is going away, but the underlying process will remain. Mears Transportation Group has set up a new website called Mears Connect. This step is the first proof that Mears will still run buses to and from Magical Express in 2022. The site hasn’t indicated a potential cost, though.
Disney also announced that MouseGear won’t return. That’s a technicality, though. EPCOT will still feature a linchpin store in the old, familiar place. However, the name will change to Creations Shop, a merchandise store with a more modern style and vibe.
EPCOT will also bring back a classic. Yes, rumors of Club Cool’s demise were greatly exaggerated! Disney will modernize this guest experience as well. More importantly, the Beverly will live again at Disney parks!
In Universal parks news, the Velociraptor will open to the public on June 10th. The Jurassic Park roller coaster is among the most anticipated new rides on the planet this year. Interestingly, it’s not even the first Universal attraction to debut this year, though.
I’ll leave you with this delightful video of The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash. It’s an adorable dark ride that will debut when Universal Studios Hollywood reopens on April 16th.