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10 Unexpected Things Happened at Disney World in 2021


2021 was a year for books at Disney World!

Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom

We had some massive and shocking news, several health and safety changes, and a variety of new offerings. We also had the opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World with new entertainment, a new trip and several new restaurants. But … really unexpected things happened to us in 2021, and today we share our list of the top 10!

Disney Genie, Genie + and selections of individual attractions

Okay, let’s start with one of the big ones: Disney Genie +! The suspension of FastPass + and the introduction of a new payment system (including a free planning component, Disney Genie) was one of the big ways Disney World surprised us this year. And besides, Disney surprised us by announcing that some attractions would not be included in the cost of Genie +; you will have to pay more if you want to use Lightning Lane for the most popular attractions, the selections of individual attractions. .

Lightning lane

Fire of the Magic Kingdom

When we closed the year, we thought we were almost done with the unexpected madness at Disney World … but we proved ourselves wrong! On December 14, there was a small fire in Magic Kingdom, which caused a frenzy both in the park and online. We watched videos of fire trucks driving down Main Street, USA, and guests were evacuated from the Royal Cinderella Table. It was totally weird!

Fire in the Magic Kingdom

Holiday parties becoming out-of-hours events

One of the hottest topics of conversation this year was the fact that Disney World turned its holiday festivities into After Hours events. The festivities started later, in addition to being shorter and more expensive. Also, some of the entertainment deals did not return to Boo Bash. However, Very Merriest After Hours seemed to be much better “for your money” and you couldn’t beat the low turnout at either event!

Very cheerful after hours

Jungle Cruise changes

Something you may have forgotten in 2021 because it was a little unknown? Changes to Jungle Cruise! The trip had some major updates, exchanging some of the old scenes and adding a cohesive story. Some of these animatronics were pretty old, so we were glad to see that this classic got the TLC it deserved.

New scenes have been added to Jungle Cruise

Hotel room updates

And speaking of changes, let’s talk about some of the new Disney World hotel rooms. This year there has not been one, but TWO major room renovations at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The Polynesian succeeded in Moana-themed makeover and contemporary venues had some “super” themed updates The Incredibles. Now, both hotels look cooler than before!

Moana themed rooms in the Polynesian

Fortunately after finishing

And at the turn of the century, WE NEED to talk about Happily Ever After. The show returned in July 2021 with great fan excitement, only to end in a few months later. When it was announced that Disney Enchantment would be a permanent replacement and Happily Ever After would not return, fans of the show were quite upset.

Happy forever

Updated annual season ticket program

Annual passes have been on a wild trip in 2021, having been unavailable for purchase for most of the year. Then, when it was announced that they would return, Disney World completely changed the system, changing levels, benefits, and raising prices. But sales didn’t last long – most AP sales stopped for the holiday season and haven’t resumed yet.

Annual subscription

MagicBands and MagicMobile Changes

In early 2021, Disney World suspended MagicBand’s free benefit for hotel guests. and later, it was also lost to annual pass holders. Now, even those specific groups of guests will have to buy them, although there is a discount. Fortunately, Disney surprised us a few months later and introduced MagicMobile, which allows your phone to perform all the same functions as your MagicBand. And you have it in your pocket!

MagicMobile signaling in Animal Kingdom

The end of Magical Express

In January last year, Disney announced that it would drop off the free Magical Express service that transports guests from the airport to its resort hotel. It ended in early 2022, and now guests will have to arrange their own transportation to Disney World. There are a few different options, but I’m sure you’ll want to research in advance.

Magic express

Plant Donald

And finally, we want to talk about our favorite and most unexpected event of all 2021 … PLANTA DONALD. For those of you who don’t remember, Donald Duck’s animatronic was temporarily replaced by a potted plant in a hat. It was weird and unexpected and incredibly delicious, and we will never forget it. Donald Duck returned to the ride shortly after, but there was a whole saga dedicated to these changes.

Donald is a plant!

These are some of the most unexpected things that happened at Disney World last year! Stay tuned to AllEars for more park news and updates, along with all the tips for your next trip!

8 Disney World price increases to plan for 2022 – click here!

What did you find most unexpected about Disney World in 2021? Tell us in the comments!

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