Update: Discounts are now available for January-April 2021 and there are some great deals to be had – they will go fast so I recommend booking sooner rather than later!
When people first began thinking about a 2021 Disney World trip, they probably didn’t expect it might look like this. But that doesn’t means that you still shouldn’t be planning your trip for 2021! While some things may look different, especially in the first half of 2021, Disney is still a magical place and a much needed getaway for many. However, planning is more important than ever now and some things will be slightly different when it comes to planning your 2021 Disney World trip.
For detailed information about visiting Disney World during COVID-19, check out my other blog posts on What you need to know about Disney World’s reopening and What’s different about Disney World planning during COVID-19. This blog post will go on to answer some of the most commonly asked questions I’ve gotten about traveling to Disney in 2021!
Can I book a Disney vacation for 2021?
Yes, you can book a vacation any time between now and September 26th, 2021. Remember, I am happy to help you book and plan your trip at no extra cost to you! As a travel agent I can help you find the best prices, apply discounts if they become available, book dining, fastpasses (when they are brought back), and answer any questions you might have. And the best part is I get paid by Disney so it doesn’t cost you anything extra! Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get started.
If you are looking to go in October, November, or December of 2021, booking has not opened yet. If you’d like to be notified as soon as it’s available send me an email and I’ll add you on my list of people to update when that happens!
Is Disney going back to normal in 2021?
Depends what you mean by “normal.” Things aren’t going to magically change on January 1st to be what they were in January 2020. A lot of it is speculation right now, but I think we are going to see many of the restrictions currently in place remain for at least the first half of 2021.
That being said, many things are slowly starting to turn around. Restaurants and resorts that were previously closed are reopening. They are finding new ways to introduce characters and mini parades. Shows that weren’t running are back up (The Frozen sing-along just started performing again). Florida has lifted a lot of their restrictions, but that doesn’t mean Disney will. It’s just my guess, but I think masks and social distancing will be around at least for the first few months of 2021. And some things may always be a bit different. Certain entertainers were let go, fastpass may work differently when it returns – things like that.
If I had to give you my best guess, I’d say Disney is aiming to be back to as much “normal” as they can by September or when there’s a vaccine commonly available, whichever comes first. With their big 50th celebration coming up in October 2021 they are going to want to accommodate as many people as they can and include things like fireworks and parades again.
What is the 2021 Disney World cancellation policy?
Luckily, if you are thinking about a 2021 Disney World trip they have a great cancellation policy! If you cancel your trip 30 days or more ahead of time you get a full refund on the deposit or any payments you’ve made. So if you’re thinking about visiting but not sure what things will look like or if you’ll feel comfortable. You can also make changes without penalty, so if you book a trip for February but don’t feel comfortable going til October you can switch your dates.
The deposit for packages is only $200, and for room only reservations it’s the cost of 1 night, so you don’t even have to pay the full amount at the time of booking.
When should I go to Disney in 2021?
Just like any year, it depends on what is most important to you. Are you looking to take advantage of lower crowds? You’ll probably have better luck in January or February, which are normally slower times and will probably still have a lot of restrictions in place which may keep others away. If you like the idea of a big celebration (even if it is crowded), late September/early October should be a lot of fun for the 50th anniversary. If you want things to be as much back to “normal” as they possibly can be, I would wait until August or later.
Will free dining be offered in 2021?
Right now the Disney dining plans are not available at all, even for purchase. I suspect they will be hurrying to add it back as soon as more restaurants open and they know they can accommodate everyone who wants sit-down dining. So we definitely won’t see free dining until they bring the plans back. Even then, I think if they offer it at all it will be later in the year and very select dates – I’m thinking late August/early September and early November, with end of September and October blocked out for the 50th celebration. But I wouldn’t necessarily count on it at all. Take a look at room discounts though – those can often work out to be an even better deal.
What’s coming to Disney World in 2021?
Disney announced a number of big new attractions and shows for 2021, but as of right now many have been delayed or pushed back indefinitely. So what will still be coming next year? We can only speculate, but here are my best guesses:
- Epcot’s Space 220 restaurant (this was supposed to open in “winter 2019,” so if it doesn’t open at SOME point in 2021 I’ll be shocked)
- HarmonioUS (the new fireworks show coming to Epcot – Epcot is the best place to at least socially distance a bit while watching fireworks so I think it will be the first one to bring them back. They have also started testing this show after the parks close).
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (this ride was slated to open in summer 2020 so it must have been pretty far along when the shutdown happened in March. it shouldn’t take them too long to have it ready)
- TRON coaster (they’ve been seen doing a lot of construction on this and it’s one of the things they’ve been touting the most so I think they’ll make it happen)
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (this is another major one for them so it might be close, but I think they’ll put in the effort and money to get it done)
Some other items that I think could be delayed, scaled back, or cancelled completely include the new Cirque du Soleil, a new table service restaurant in Epcot’s France pavilion, Disney Genie (a new Disney planning app), Star Wars Galactic Cruiser resort, and the Epcot Play pavilion.
How far in advance should I book my 2021 Disney World trip?
Honestly, I recommend booking your trip now. If you’re considering it there’s really no reason not to – with a great cancellation policy you can still change your mind, and you’ll most likely lock in the lowest rates right now. With Disney it’s almost always the case that the lowest price is the one available the earliest – though discounts may become available later that we can apply to the reservation at that point.
3 years ago you could wait a lot longer to book a Disney trip and still get what you wanted. These days it is harder, especially with reduced capacity for the time being. You want to make certain to get the resort you want at the time you want it, so booking ahead of time is a smart way to go. Many of the values are selling out even 5-6 months in advance, and the All-Star resorts (historically the cheapest) have no reopening date so you are really only left with Pop Century or a Little Mermaid room at Art of Animation.
Is it worth going to Disney World in 2021?
At the end of the day, this is a question only you can answer based on your preferences and comfort level. For me, I have several trips in the works, one as soon as January, and it is definitely worth it. In my personal opinion, Disney seems to be handling the safety measures really well. The place brings me so much joy just being in the atmosphere that it’s okay for me if I have to wear a mask, not all attractions are open, or I can’t do character meets. I could relax at my resort, visit the animals at Animal Kingdom, and have a few citrus swirls and call that a great vacation.
If you’re planning your “once in a lifetime trip,” you have a condition that makes pandemic extra dangerous for you, or you absolutely cannot stand the idea of wearing a mask, then maybe you shouldn’t go in 2021. Otherwise, I’m ready to enjoy Disney for what it is, knowing we’ll get it back the way we know it in the future.
Thinking about a trip to Disney World? Check out my Ultimate List of Disney World planning resources to get you started. If you’d like the assistance of a travel agent at no extra cost to you, email me at email@example.com and we can start planning and booking your trip!
Other blog posts of interest:
- What’s different about Disney World planning during COVID-19
- What to pack for Disney during COVID-19
- Why you want to plan your 2021 Disney vacation now
- What you need to know about Disney World’s reopening
- Stop travel shaming people who are going to Disney
Will you be planning a 2021 Disney World trip?