When the US border opens to foreign travellers come 8 November, passengers will have one more attraction to explore: Disney World's 50th anniversary celebrations in all four theme parks, over 18 months.
Across the Magic Kingdom Park, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT, park hopping is allowed. However, park pass reservations are required to access the first park of the day.
Other Covid-safe protocols include mandatory face masks indoors for guests aged two and above (optional for outdoors), easy access to handwashing facilities and sanitisers, daily sanitation procedures in parks, and the My Disney Experience app for contactless dining, park entry and hotel check-in services.
Those staying at Disney World Hotels will also be able to stay longer in parks with early entry of about 30 minutes, and extended evening hours on select nights.
Post-pandemic Disney fun will also look a little different.
Some entertainment offerings, night time shows and F&B are temporarily closed, including the daily parades. The My Disney Experience app and website will provide the most updated information.
A quick Google search for opening day celebrations on 1 October naturally showed images of massive crowds — especially at popular attractions such as the newly launched nighttime spectaculars at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, the revamped Cinderella’s Castle, and a slate of new attractions.
Crowds are also expected to form when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind as well as TRON: Lightcycle Power Run opens, although the official completion date is yet to be confirmed.
Select parks will light up when Beacons of Magic comes on every night.
Tourist enthusiasm is expected to taper off across the 18-month long celebrations, and agents can advise clients to book travels during less popular periods: around January during winter, or September when school reopens.
Otherwise, guests can always use the Disney Genie planning tool to purchase Lightning Lanes option, bypassing lines at highly demanded attractions.
Holding the 50th celebrations together is the EARidescence theme, where iconic characters Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy, Chip, and Dale will still run shorter, but frequent cavalcades.
All four park's icons will light up on select nights via projection mappings, while guests can also keep busy in search of 50 golden-gilded sculptures planted randomly across the parks.
There'll also be new shows at three of the Disney World theme parks, and from 18 November, Cirque du Soleil will return to Disney World, once again shooting off high-flying acrobatics amid exciting choreography against Disney classic soundtracks.
Hey, Disney! What's the quickest way to the Park?
The ‘Hey, Disney!’ voice assistant riding on Amazon's technology will be available at Walt Disney World Resort hotel next year.
As well, from 2022, guests checking in to Walt Disney World Resort hotel will find a 'smart' assistant in their rooms — ‘Hey, Disney!’, which works alongside Amazon's existing voice-based assistant, Alexa.
Within a compatible Amazon Echo device, Disney has stored original character voice recordings and audio, with unique wake words, voices, personalities, and capabilities. Guests can ask ‘Hey, Disney!’ for more blankets and towels, the fastest way to get to the park in the morning, and where to get their favourite food. All these, above Alexa's existing capabilities of playing music, sourcing news and etcetera.
For those who are not yet visiting the parks, ‘Hey, Disney!’ will also be available for purchase as an add-on to anyone with an Echo device.
From the early days of availability restricted only to US, UK, Germany, India, Japan, and Canada customers with an Amazon account, international versions of its Echo devices are now available from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, or Amazon.com. Alexa supports languages including US English, UK English, IN English, German, or Japanese.
For the Singapore market, the Amazon Echo (4th Generation) International Version rolled out just this year, at S$141 (US$ ) with additional shipping fees.