Lots of things at Walt Disney World (like fireworks!) are scheduled to reopen or return this summer, and in this post we will walk you through exactly what you can expect to see, as well as fill you in on what is still closed.
In fact, we’ve had so many recent announcements that it was getting hard to keep track of it all. So, to make it even easier, we put all the confirmed reopening dates together in 1 chart.
Let’s dive in.
Confirmed reopening dates
We go into much more detail below, but if you are just looking for what has been confirmed, here’s a list of everything that is returning to Walt Disney World this summer & beyond (with dates):
|Date||What is reopening||Location|
|June 20, 2021||Tusker House (restaurant)||Animal Kingdom|
|June 24, 2021||Sebastian’s Bistro (restaurant)||Caribbean Beach Resort|
|June 24, 2021||Maya Grill (restaurant)||Coronado Springs|
|July 1, 2021||Happily Ever After (fireworks)||Magic Kingdom|
|July 1, 2021||Epcot Forever (fireworks)||Epcot|
|July 9, 2021||‘Ohana (restaurant)||Polynesian Village Resort|
|Aug. 26, 2021||Regular resort (non-DVC) rooms reopen||Animal Kingdom Lodge|
|Sept. 16, 2021||Club Level||Grand Floridian|
|Sept. 23, 2021||Club Level||Boardwalk Resort|
|Sept. 26, 2021||Club Level||Contemporary Resort|
|Dec. 16, 2021||Club Level||Wilderness Lodge|
|Dec. 16, 2021||Club Level||Coronado Springs|
Knowing what is opening is only part of the story. Even though most things are back up and running, there are still some surprising things absent.
Here’s what you need to know about that:
Fireworks & nighttime entertainment
Let’s start things off with a bang…literally. Some fireworks shows are returning, just not all of them.
Magic Kingdom – “Happily Ever After” returns July 1
One of the most cherished nighttime shows around, Happily Ever After is slated to return on July 1. This beloved show is a combination of fireworks and projections with a big ‘ol dash of emotion.
Because of the projections, you’ll definitely want to plan where you’ll watch the show. Take a look at our guide on Magic Kingdom fireworks for tips on the best spots.
Epcot – “Epcot Forever” returns July 1
Epcot will see its temporary nighttime show Epcot Forever return on July 1 as well.
While not our favorite, after over a year of no nighttime entertainment anywhere, we have found ourselves almost giddy at the idea seeing the night sky over the World Showcase Lagoon light up again.
But, despite the name, Epcot Forever will not be around literally “forever.”
A brand-new show called “Harmonious” will be debuting sometime later this year (likely for the big 50th Anniversary Celebration).
Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, and the 4th of July
While we know a lot about Magic Kingdom and Epcot, things are still unclear for the other 2 parks.
No word yet on any of the Hollywood Studios nighttime shows, including the classic Fantasmic! or the projection show on the front of the Chinese Theater called “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular“.
With the scrapping of Rivers of Light, Animal Kingdom remains without a full nighttime show, and there’s no word yet on when (or if) we will see something new.
Until then, the theater just sits empty, we guess.
Special 4th of July fireworks
Disney World typically has a fantastic 4th of July fireworks show at Magic Kingdom called “Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky.” However, as of this time, it doesn’t appear as if they plan on showing it this year.
Club Level rooms & lounges
Disney has given us opening dates for 5 of the Club Level Rooms & Lounges:
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Royal Palm Club: Sept. 16, 2021
- Disney’s BoardWalk Resort: Sept. 23, 2021
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Sept. 26, 2021
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: Dec. 16, 2021
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort: Dec. 16, 2021
Resorts we haven’t heard about yet
Although we have opening dates for Club Level at several of the resorts, we are still missing dates for the following:
Also missing from any of the announcements is word on the Club Level Lounge in the Sugar Loaf section of Grand Floridian. But, that could be due to the recently announced Disney Vacation Club (DVC) expansion involving the conversion of 200 standard rooms at the Grand Floridian into DVC studios.
Live shows, parades, characters, & misc. in-park entertainment
First, the good news:
Some shows – like a modified version of the Festival of the Lion King – have returned.
And of course, there aren’t any parades right now, but there *are* adorable and easy-to-see cavalcades, motorcades, and flotillas.
But, the bad news is, we don’t have re-opening dates for any of the shows that remain closed. And, while the modified versions are better than nothing, it makes us miss the full versions even more.
Regarding character meet & greets, at this time Disney has confirmed that they will be sticking to the way things work now, which is basically having characters out where you can see them and take physically-distanced selfies, but you aren’t able to hug them or get autographs.
If you’re interested in characters, here’s where you can find them right now:
Shows and entertainment we are waiting to hear more about
In addition to an update on when we can expect regular character meet & greets to return, we are also waiting on the following for each park:
- The return of the full version of Festival of the Lion King
- Finding Nemo: The Musical
- Other in-park entertainment like the Pandora drummers and the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe
- World Showcase entertainment (like the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats, Serveur Amusant, etc.)
- Citizens of Main Street
- Casey’s Corner Pianist
- Festival of Fantasy parade
- Move it! Shake it! Mousekedance It! Street Party
- Citizens of Hollywood
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
- Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
Rides & Attractions
Nearly all the rides in the parks are open, but there are a few that remain closed:
- The Hall of Presidents – Closed for scheduled refurbishment. No word on when it will reopen.
- Walt Disney World Railroad – Closed for Tron construction. No word on when it will reopen.
- Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
- Monster’s, Inc. Laugh Floor
- Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station
- Turtle Talk with Crush
- Star Wars Launch Bay
- The Boneyard
It has already been announced that Disney After Hours Boo Bash would be happening in place of the very popular Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. But what about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party?
As of right now, we really don’t know. But, if we had to guess, we definitely think there will be something. But whether it is the “regular” Christmas Party or something scaled-back is yet to be determined.
And, over at Epcot, after a year of all the Festivals being referred to as “A Taste of,” it appears that Disney has dropped the “Taste of” qualifier. But does that mean that the Festivals will be back in full (including concerts from non-local bands and special events like Party For the Senses), too?
Dessert parties, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, and the rest of the unknowns
In addition to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, here are a few other things we are still waiting to hear more about:
- Dessert parties (like the ones at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot)
- Other After Hours events (like the one at Animal Kingdom)
- Special events and live entertainment for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival
- Updates on what is happening for the big 50th Anniversary Celebration
- News on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Info on other cherished holiday events like the Candlelight Processional at Epcot
- Extras like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Can you believe that some resorts have been closed for over a year?!
But, with the announcement of an opening date for Animal Kingdom Lodge, we are one step closer to seeing all on-site Disney World resorts back open.
Here are the opening dates we know about:
- Boardwalk Inn – Reopening July 2
- Polynesian Village – Reopening late July (no exact date yet)
- Animal Kingdom Lodge – Reopening August 26
Resorts with no reopening date
That means that we are down to just 4 resorts without opening dates:
- Disney’s Port Orleans – French Quarter
- Disney’s Port Orleans – Riverside
- All-Star Music
- All-Star Sports
Restaurants are one area where there is still quite a long list of things not back open.
Don’t get us wrong, there are lots of available restaurants available (even if dining reservations are tough to snag), but there are some surprising ones that remain closed.
First, here are the latest reopening dates we know about:
- Tusker House (Animal Kingdom – June 20, 2021
- Maya Grill (Coronado Springs) – June 24, 2021
- Sebastian’s Bistro (Caribbean Beach Resort) – June 24, 2021
- ‘Ohana (Polynesian Village Resort) – July 9, 2021
Restaurants that remain closed
And, now for the list of things that remain closed.
Please note that we aren’t listing every last kiosk and cart. We tried to keep the list narrowed down to the most popular dining locations without a reopening date.
- Casey’s Corner
- Chersire Cafe
- Columbia Harbour House (although the food that is typically sold here is currently available at Tomorrowland Terrace)
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor
- Tortuga Tavern
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
- Monsieur Paul
- Nine Dragons
- Restaurant Marrakesh
- Tangierine Cafe
- Tokyo Dining
- Catalina Eddies
- Dockside Diner
- Tune-In Lounge
- Caravan Road
- Dino Diner
- Eight Spoon Cafe
- 1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian)
- Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
- Citricos (Grand Floridian)
- ESPN Club (Boardwalk)
- Flying Fish (Boardwalk)
- Jiko (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
- Kona Island (Polynesian Village)
- Storybook Dining at Artist Point (Wildernes Lodge)
- Toledo (Coronado Springs)
- Trader Sam’s (Polynesian Village)
- The Turf Club Bar and Grill (Saratoga Springs)
- Yachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht Club)
For the most part, Disney transportation is back up and running. Capacity limits have been increased and masks are still required while using Disney transportation, but the buses, Disney Skyliner, and Magic Kingdom and Resort Monorail lines are all up and going.
Minnie vans, the monorail, and parking lot trams
But, there are a few things that we still don’t have a return date for:
- Minnie Vans. The adorable polka-dotted vehicles have been parked since the parks first closed. The signs are still up which makes us believe that they will return someday. But, as of right now, we don’t know when they will be back in service.
- Epcot monorail. The Epcot monorail did not reopen when the parks did last year. We miss it. A lot. It gave us a great view of the construction going on at the front of the park, which is also probably why Disney has it shut down. No word yet on when it will return.
- Parking lot trams. As capacity inside the parks keeps increasing, if you drive you’ll quickly find that the walk from the parking lot to the park entrance can be quite a ways away. In the past, guests had the option of hopping on one of the handy parking lot trams, but the trams have sat silent since the parks reopened last July. We do expect, however, to see these back up and running again soon!
Other big unknowns
We know a lot about what is coming this summer, but there are still several bit things that we know nothing about.
- Dining Plan. We fully expect the Dining Plan to return at some point, but at this time we simply don’t know when. Until it does, you can use our advice on budgeting for food without the Disney Dining Plan to get an idea on how much to expect to pay.
- FastPass+. Originally, when Disney announced the relaxing of physical distancing in the queues, we were positive that an announcement on FastPass+ would quickly follow. Instead? Crickets. If you’re heading there this summer, definitely make sure you take a look at our advice for touring without FastPass+.
- NBA Experience. Although most of the shops and restaurants are now open in Disney Springs, the NBA Experience remains closed. But, even before the closure, there was never a crowd so we aren’t sure how much it is missed.
- Cirque du Soleil – Drawn to Life. The new Cirque Show “Drawn to Life” was scheduled to open right around the time the parks closed down and although some Cique du Soleil shows in other parts of the US have received reopening dates, this highly anticipated version has not.
- Typhoon Lagoon. Typically, aside from a few months over the winter, both water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) are open in the summer. But this year, only 1 park – Blizzard Beach – is open. No word yet on when we might see Typhoon Lagoon open back up.
- New Annual Pass sales. For the most part, aside from some case-by-case scenarios, there are no new Annual Passes being sold. Renewals are allowed, but, in general, if you’ve never owned an Annual Pass before, unless you are a child that has aged into an Annual Pass, Disney is hesitant to sell you one. If we had to guess, we think that Disney might open up Annual Pass sales again later this summer, but at this time, there is no official word either way from Disney.
Did we miss anything on our list? Let us know in the comments below!
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- When can I book a Disney World package for 2024? - May 8, 2023
Friday 18th of June 2021
I was wondering if you all could send out the email again that shows you how to request certain room types at all the Disney Resorts? We are first time bookers for a stay at the Beach Club with a water view and trying to decide what requests we want to make.