9 great changes that have stuck to Disney World (and could be here for GOOD)

Many things have changed at Disney World since it reopened after closing due to the global pandemic.

Animal kingdom mask signage

While some things were temporary, such as social distancing and temperature controls, there have been other major changes that don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

These are the big changes that have been left to Disney World and could be here forever.

Disney Park Pass reservations

Remember when you didn’t have to tell Disney which park you were going to that day? You can only show up at the park and scan directly (as long as you are not in the capacity). Well, those days are over.

Animal kingdom

Now, you must have a Park Pass reservation if you want to visit one of the four Disney World theme parks. In addition to your entry to the theme park, you must make a reservation for the park you want to go to on the same date as your entry.

Park Pass New Year’s Eve reservation availability for guests with theme park tickets from November 18 © Disney

Park reservations tin exhausts, especially for weekdays like Halloween and Christmas. So you may be limited in your options. You must also visit the park where you booked before jumping to another if you have a Park Hopper. Which brings us to our next point.

Park Hopping after 2 p.m.

From reopening, you cannot park until 14:00 every day. And, as we said before, you must first visit the park for which you have made the reservation, even if they are after 14:00.

Information on excursions to the park

But you do not have to make a reservation for the park you are going to, so you can bounce from one park to another whatever you want after 2pm (depending on capacity).

Family style vs. Buffet

When the parks reopened in July 2020, the buffets were no longer available. Buffet restaurants were closed or changed to a family-style one with an option to enjoy.

Biergarten buffet closed

Some restaurants that did this include Trail’s End, Chef Mickey’s, Hollywood & Vine, and Tusker House, among others. You still have a lot of food options that you have with the buffet, it is only brought to your table so that only your group can enjoy it.

A selection of family-style dinners at Chef Mickey’s

Some buffets have returned to Disney World, such as Boma and Crystal Palace, so it will be interesting to see if the restaurants we mentioned change again or stay family-style.

Mobile order

Speaking of food, there are now more restaurants with the option to order mobile! This is convenient for some people, but can also be a problem if all order windows have been occupied for the location where you want to eat.

Mobile order sign

Mobile Order was actually the only option in some places in the parks, meaning you had to use it if you wanted to eat there. This has been maintained in some places, such as Ronto Roasters and Milk Stand on Galaxy’s Edge, while others have also allowed you to place your order in person.

Ronto toasters

And now you can order more at Disney World! We recently saw Magic Kingdom using the system for merchandise. The 50th Anniversary Minnie Mouse Vacuum Cleaner was a very popular item when it was first launched, so for replacement, you could only purchase it by mobile order, while supplies last.

Minnie Mouse Sipper

Just choose an arrival window and press “I’m here, prepare my order” when it’s time, and then you could pick up the drink, as you would with food!

Commodity limits

This is one of our favorite changes and one of the most recent. All merchandise at Disney World is limited to 2 of the same item per person.

The limit applies to all items now

So those people who grab all the new Minnie ears as soon as they go out in the parks and sell them on eBay for hundreds of dollars are unlucky.

Holiday ears

Hopefully this will last forever, because everyone should have a chance to get new merchandise without having to buy them on eBay.

Morning entry and extended evening hours

Extra Magic Hours did not return once Disney World reopened. Instead, it has been replaced by early entry to the theme park and extended night hours. ALL guests of the Disney World Hotel have early access to the theme park. This only means that they can enter the 4 parks 30 minutes before the official opening.

Early theme park entrance sign

With regard to extended night hours, this benefit is only available to guests of the Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Disney World hotels. This is very different from the Magic Hours Extra, which were available to all guests of the Disney Hotel.

Rose and Crown was open throughout EPCOT’s extended night hours.

The extended night schedule is only on selected nights, and so far we’ve only seen them on EPCOT and Magic Kingdom. Eligible guests will be able to stay in the parks for an additional 2 hours after being closed to regular guests.

Mobile payment

This is a new feature from some Disney World stores that is great! Instead of waiting in line to check it out (which can sometimes be very long), you can scan the article using My Disney Experience on your phone and pay for it in the app.

Disney World Mobile Payment Sign

There are bags installed in these mobile sites so you can pack your items, then just find a cast member to show proof that you bought the item. They will also remove security tags from your articles.

Virtual queues

For a time, Rise of the Resistance was the only trip to Disney World that used a virtual queue. Now, only one line has been changed. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is currently the only trip that uses a virtual queue. So instead of waiting in long queues for the popular trip, get a boarding group (as you did with Rise of the Resistance) to come back later and ride.

Entrance Ratatouille de Remy

If you can’t get a boarding group, you can pay for a Lightning Lane for Remy with Disney Genie, but they can run out.

© Disney

We have also seen that virtual queues are used for the launch of popular merchandise. As for walks, you can book a designated time to come and buy the new version. This is sometimes the case with super popular releases, such as Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Day Merchandise.

Limited cleaning in hotels

It used to be a common practice for the cleaning service to clean the hotel room every day, unless you said otherwise. Now, the cleaner only comes to clean your room every two days and will only do a light cleaning. Your room will be thoroughly cleaned before you arrive, though!

Saratoga Springs

These are all changes that have been left to Disney World! Stay tuned to All Ears for more Disney news, tips and information.

Click here to see why you should change your Disney World schedule

What changes are you happy with at Disney World? Let us know in the comments!

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