DVC Update for May 24, 2021: MagicBands, Trains, the Disney College Program and More
MagicBands are on the way out at Walt Disney World, at least as complimentary amenities.
Meanwhile, the high-speed trains are running on time as Disney plans for the future. And the Disney College Program is back with a vengeance.
Let’s take a look at the DVC Updates that matter right now.
No More Free MagicBands
No, this isn’t a glitch in the Matrix or a sense of déjà vu for you. Yes, Disney previously announced that it would stop giving away MagicBands for resort stays.
Park officials changed this practice at the start of 2021. Now, they’ve taken an additional step.
Coming August 16, 2021
Starting on August 16th, Disney will no longer provide free MagicBands to annual passholders.
Specifically, if you buy or renew a Walt Disney World annual pass on August 16th or later, you won’t receive free MagicBands anymore.
Disney has listed that date as the cutoff point for one of the best amenities for annual passholders.
As long as you purchase or renew before then, you will maintain your current free MagicBand privileges for each trip until your next annual renewal.
Possibilities and Options
So, this change could apply to you in less than three months or a year from now. Either way, it signals a philosophical shift for Disney.
The new MagicMobile service performs much of the same functionality, while Disney incurs none of the expense. After all, you pay for your phone already.
While the company weans you off MagicBands, it’ll charge you for the privilege as a relatively invisible way of increasing revenue.
What does that mean for now? You guessed it! The price of MagicBands has increased at Walt Disney World this week!
The cheapest and mid-level MagicBand tiers went up by $10, while the most expensive ones added $5.
You’ll pay $19.99, $29.99, or $34.99 to buy MagicBands at the parks now. Alternatively, you can just use MagicMobile instead.
Free MagicBands won’t be a thing at this time next year, though. We’re all on our own once our annual passes expire in 2022.
Brightline Reaches Halfway Point
The other big DVC story we’re tracking involves the high-speed rail service coming to Orlando.
As you know, Disney will end Magical Express service at the start of 2022. This decision stems from evolving transportation options in the area.
Disney wants to reduce gridlock on I-4 and other Central Florida roadways. Simultaneously, it can cut expenses by ending its Mears Transportation contract.
Park officials expect the upcoming Brightline system to enhance mass transit in the area, too. So, Disney has put all its eggs in Brightline’s basket.
The rail service reached a significant milestone the other day. Brightline has passed the halfway mark on its extension from Miami to Orlando.
Orlando’s Mayor and other Florida officials met with Brightline at a media event to commemorate the occasion.
Brightline execs confirmed that the second half of 2022 remains the target date for this new track to go online.
The importance of this line stems from its connecting South Florida to Central Florida by rail. That’s 235 miles that guests may traverse sans car.
Once the Orlando station debuts, Brightline will connect it to an upcoming Disney Springs area locale as part of a forthcoming Tampa expansion.
Disney executives expect this path to become the future for Walt Disney World tourists.
You’ll fly into Orlando. Then, you’ll jump a high-speed train for a 15-minute jaunt to Disney Springs. From there, you’ll…do something to get to your hotel.
We’re still waiting for Disney to connect the dots on that last part. The high-speed rail part looks cool, though!
Other DVC Updates
Disney College Program
Were you or a loved one impacted by the unexpected shutdown of the Disney College Program (DCP)? If so, I have great news!
Disney has opened the application process for the 2021 Disney College Program.
The Spring 2020 cycle closed prematurely due to the pandemic. Then, Disney never bothered with the Fall of 2020 due to park capacity limits.
Now that Florida has reopened, park officials are preparing for an influx of Disney College Program employees.
You can read the Instagram post here:
And here’s the sign-up page for this cycle’s Disney College Program! Good luck!
Disneyland Paris Reopening and Hotel Debuts
Elsewhere, Disneyland Paris will reopen on June 17th. This announcement paves the way for the opening of an exciting new hotel.
On June 21st, Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel will debut on the Disneyland Paris campus.
You may recall that Disney had previously scheduled its grand opening last June and then in March of 2021. COVID-19 outbreaks prevented both.
Thankfully, the Marvel-themed resort will finally open to the public in less than a month!
Disney Wish Sold Out
Finally, I’ve got another Disney Wish update. I previously mentioned that the de facto member cruise had sold out.
Now, the maiden voyage of the Disney Wish has fully booked as well. Suffice to say that demand is high for this new cruise ship!