This next year will bring a lot of additions to the Walt Disney World Resort, with new rides opening up (Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in Epcot) and new fully immersive hotel experiences (Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser in Hollywood Studios). We are starting to learn that the year will also include some canceled and modified perks that guests once enjoyed.
Earlier today Disney announced that a number of benefits available for Disney Hotel and Resort guests will be changed or eliminated. Later this year the Disney Magical Express, which provided a free shuttle from the Orlando International Airport (OIA) to your Disney Hotel for onsite guests will be ending. They will also be changing their policies for Extra Magic Hour.
Disney Magic Express began bussing guests from OIA to their respective Disney Hotel in 2005. The service was a huge hit with out of state visitors, giving them one less thing to have to plan. The service will be ending later this year, with no specific date given. Disney did state that guests staying at the on-property hotels in 2021 will enjoy the service through the rest of this year.
The reasoning given was that the transportation options have increased significantly since 2005. With multiple ride-share companies becoming ubiquitous. The timing also aligns with the expected opening of a new high-speed rail service being built by Brightline. This new service will connect South Florida with OIA. Disney worked with Brighline to add a stop at Disney Springs. The expected completion of this addition is 2022. Providing yet another transportation option to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Extra Magic Hour has been a huge draw for Park guests when determining whether to stay on or off property. The perk allowed guests staying at Disney Hotels to visit one of the theme parks an hour early or stay an hour late. Each day a different park would host the EMH.
Walt Disney World will be changing this later in 2021 by shortening the early entry from one hour to thirty minutes, cutting the benefit in half. However, they will offer this perk for every park on every day. Spreading out the Hotel guests among the four parks, instead of bottlenecking them all into one park. Many are upset with the one hour being shortened to one half hour, while others are happy that it will provide choices for guests on which park they want to visit.
The professional outrage class is in full force today, as usual. It is understandable for park fans to reject change, especially if they are frequent visitors, since familiarity and routine provides comfort and eases anxiety. Others appreciate the changes, knowing that the operations of the resorts need to change with the times, adjust for economic factors, and many micro changes end up making sense overtime, as they become part of a larger plan yet to be revealed.
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