Editor’s Note: What you see below is sort of bad because we are still a day behind the news and the wait time analysis is pretty generic. But another thing I was doing took longer than I was expecting, so we will call this getting caught up for now and then with the next update, we’ll actually be caught up. More or less.
We have a date for the expected reopening of the first of the All-Star Resorts, which will be the All-Star Movies on February 9th, 2021. If memory serves, all of the rooms at the resort are now refurbished with the “clean” or “sterile” look that you see above, and with many more pictures in this post. Few things have been quite as divisive as the new look of many of Disney’s newly-refurbished resort rooms.
But unless you’re looking for a very blue room in the Little Mermaid section of Art of Animation, it’s going to be difficult to get away from the minimalism of the modern Disney Value Resort. Pictured above is Pop Century with similar furnishings. Movies will add 1,920 potential rooms to Disney’s inventory. Neither All-Star Sports or All-Star Music currently have reopening dates.
The main Wilderness Lodge, BoardWalk, Beach Club, and Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House Resorts also don’t have reopening dates on the Deluxe front, while the DVC wings of those same resorts are all open. The Polynesian Village Resort comes with a Summer 2021 opening date, but that’s probably more of a placeholder than anything. DVC there remains open. Both Port Orleans Resorts also remain closed. Disney has pushed back the reopening of several of its resorts already, and the February 9th date on Movies “feels” far enough away that it could change as well. February 9th is the week before the Presidents Day holiday, which falls on the 15th next year. Then Disney will be gearing up for whatever spring break looks like next year. It sounds like Disney wants at least 1,920 more on-property rooms filled by that time, even if they’re on the low end of the price spectrum.
At an average of three guests per room, that’s about 6,000 more guests in the Parks. Adding the other two All-Stars to the mix would increase the number of on-property guests by about 12,000. That would ordinarily be a blip on the radar, but with the Park Pass system already showing no availability for Resort Guests at certain Parks on certain dates, Disney would need to increase the number of guests it allows in for the resorts to come online. There would also obviously need to be the demand for it.
Speaking of the resorts, Disney released three new discounts for guests planning stays most nights from January 3rd through April 17th, 2021:
- Here are the details for the general offer with savings up to 35%
- Here are the details for the Annual Passholder offer, with savings up to 40%.
- And the Florida Resident details, also with savings up to 35%.
Disney also extended its flexible cancellation policy through April 30th, 2021:
The full details are available at DisneyWorld.com here.
Disney announced that the “Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts” will run from January 8th, 2021 through February 22nd, 2021. According to the Parks Blog, this is what we can expect:
I wonder what a “Taste of easywdw International Festival” would look like. Maybe I could include three charts per post instead of four and leave out half the pictures, all while still charging the same price of zero dollars. The site would probably become more popular. Hopefully it will not come to that. You need to see the fourth chart.
One notable missing piece is the Broadway show concert lineup, which is one of the highlights of the event. I’m lying through my teeth when I say this, but maybe the JAMMitors will make up for it.
Apparently, Disney will take over for the operating participants that run the dining and merchandise in the Morocco Pavilion by the end of the year. What is probably Epcot’s least popular Pavilion struggled more than others during the extended theme park closure. They were forced to shut down Tangierine Café shortly after Epcot reopened either due to lack of demand or a lack of cash flow. Other Pavilions at Epcot have also kept a number of stores, restaurants, quick services, etc. closed even as crowds increase. Lotus Blossom Cafe and Nine Dragons in China remain closed, for example, while others, like (Les) Chefs de France, reopened about two weeks ago. Monsieur Paul, the signature restaurant in France, also remains closed. Other outlets, like Kringla Bakeri in Norway and Yorkshire Fish in the UK, only open on weekends.
Marrakesh Moroccan Restaurant LLC was the independent operator of the Pavilion. Even during the best of times, the company struggled with balancing authenticity with what the tourists want. Spice Road Table is one of Disney World’s true hidden gems and perhaps the best spot to stop and cool off with a cocktail and shareable appetizers in World Showcase. I used to recommend Restaurant Marrakesh more highly when they offered a much less expensive lunch menu. Once lunch prices met the cost of dinner, it was harder to recommend on value. I’ve always recommended Tangierine Cafe. Hopefully little will change there, other than perhaps improving the low energy of the cast members working the outlet. They always seemed to be less enthusiastic about being there than I was, which actually may be impressive.
It will be interesting to see what changes Disney makes to potentially increase interest in Morocco. They’re in the process of sort of finishing the Ratatouille ride next door in France, and also have a new nighttime spectacular and Guardians ride on the horizon, in addition to the PLAY! Pavilion and whatever comes up from the hole in the middle of Future World. That’s already a number of things. The Spaceship Earth overhaul was either delayed or canceled along with the Mary Poppins project in the UK. So it seems unlikely that they would be in a big rush to spend big so people potentially spend a few more minutes in a different World Showcase Pavilion. Few things instill fear in the Epcot fanperson quite as much as the potential for Disney to bring Disney-related things to Epcot. But there probably isn’t anything that makes more sense than transforming Restaurant Marrakesh, which has less curb appeal than I do, into a character meal hosted by Genie, Abu, Aladdin, and Jasmine. The “online Disney community” will freak out for a day about how it doesn’t fit before complaining that they can’t get a reservation. Poor Marrakesh.
I’m not sure we know how lenient Disney has been with its partners over the last six or seven months. But the Morocco Pavilion would have been closed in its entirety for three months, in addition to basically losing their entire workforce. That can’t be good for business. A company like Patina, who has restaurants at Epcot, Disney Springs, Downtown Disney, and around the world, likely has more leverage than Marrakesh Moroccan Restaurant LLC, which could never quite figure out how to make a waterside Mediterranean restaurant overlooking World Showcase Lagoon popular. But there are few things that scare away a tourist quite as fast as a menu without a hamburger on it.
We’ll have to move through this quickly so we can get caught back up and I can try to stretch these posts out to 5,000 words a pop.
Here’s our familiar chart of Animal Kingdom daily averages:
Last Saturday’s monumental crowds continued slightly abated as the week began with both Sunday and Monday posting the highest averages for that day of the week yet. Crowds let up a bit over the next three days with lower waits than the holiday week that preceded it. That’s probably good news, but even if the waits were lower than last week, they’re still the second-longest we’ve seen since the Park reopened. That’s not much of an improvement, but lower is better than forever getting longer. I’d expect waits on Friday and Saturday to come in lower than last week too, but still be on the high side compared to what we saw from July through the end of September.
Here’s Thursday’s chart for Epcot:
I’ll level with you. I didn’t make a chart like the one above for Epcot because it’s Epcot….and who really cares…but I guess I will need to put one together. It’s just that every day it becomes more work because there’s one more day to add to the chart. Maybe that is where the saying, “There’s no day like today” comes from. Anyway, Epcot’s 27-minute average is below-average compared to the last month and right around what you can expect from most weekdays at the moment. Friday’s average will likely go up to about 32 minutes with Saturday coming in around 43 minutes.
The current week at the Studios started off so auspiciously that at first I thought there was something wrong with the wait time grabber. Sunday’s average of “just” 42.7 minutes is below the weekly average of the last two weeks and not higher than the week before it. Those are two things you would not expect. Then I saw the Park finally break the 50-minute barrier on Monday and knew everything was in its right place. You can blame Monday’s long average on Tower of Terror, which operated at limited capacity most of the day and posted 100+ minute waits. Otherwise, the average would have been more reasonable, like 49.3 minutes or something. Seeing 50+ minutes on the chart is still a little startling. Like being willing to pay $49.99 for something, but an even $50 sounds like an absurd price. I’d expect Friday and Saturday to come in around 45 minutes each.
Magic Kingdom has had a good week for the most part. Sunday still saw the longest wait for that day of the week yet, but each day that followed saw shorter waits than the week before with most daily averages shorter than the previous few weekly averages. That seems hopeful. I’d expect Friday and Saturday to come in slightly lower than last week too.
Current Disney Park Pass Availability
We’ll take a closer look with the next update, but even Disney Resort Guests are looking at getting shut out of Epcot this Saturday. Next Saturday now has no availability for Resort or Tickets Guests for the Studios or Magic Kingdom.
You can always pull up Disney’s version of this calendar here.
Operating Schedule Changes
We should see Disney add another week of operating hours on what is technically today, Friday, the 23rd. We may also see additional adjustments to other dates.
You’re not quite caught up. But you’re close.