I don’t usually write about Disney World because we are able to drive over and have annual passes. Although I did write about it a year or more ago during the Covid pandemic to provide an idea of what it was like. Now, at the end of 2021, let me tell a few stories.
Every year, except for last year, Epcot has a beautiful Candlelight Processional in the evening starting at Thanksgiving and performing up to January. A narrator tells the Christmas story accompanied by a full orchestra, the Disney Voices of Liberty and over 100 voices of young people from local High School choirs. That was before Covid. This year, the performance is back with the guest narrator, orchestra, Disney Voices of Liberty and around 50 voices of Disney employees. It was just as special to us. Somewhat back to ‘normal.’
The trees and decorations are everywhere again. Last year, less.
Most of the restaurants are open but adjusted for staffing issues. We ate at a couple of new restaurants for us. Toledo’s at the Coronado Springs hotel. Views from the top floor where the lounge is and delicious food. We also enjoyed a meal at the Raglon Pub which includes Celtic dancers and musicians as live entertainment. Again, back to ‘normal’ except for having to wear masks indoors.
The parks still require a reservation, which started when they re-opened in 2020. Masks have to be worn at any indoor location throughout Disney World. The park reservations must be allowing for the parks to be back to capacity. It is the most crowds we have ever experienced at this time of year. The crowds use to be minimal in the weeks leading up to Christmas. No more. Pent up demand, children not attending school, new rides to experience, fun in Florida where covid restrictions are over and people have money they didn’t spend during covid.
We celebrated a friend’s birthday by doing several new rides. Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios’ Star Wars land, at Epcot France area Remy’s Ratatouille ride and the Skyliner that runs between parks and hotels.
We used the virtual queue for Remy’s ride which became the all day queue as the times kept changing throughout the day. When we arrived back at night, the ride was ‘down’ so we waited in a line for around 30 minutes and it started up again. The ride was fun and done with new interactive features.
Does this mean using the virtual queue really is worth it? Probably as there is no other way to go on this ride except paying for Lightning Lane pass. The Lightning Lane pass replaced the FastPass in October. You pay either $15 a day on your ticket to be able to pick the Lightning Lane for a ride. It is part of Genius Plus. You can only pick one ride at a time. I won’t even go into why this is a horrible system because it would take up pages to describe. Add on to the system, people willing to pay the extra amount because they don’t know when they will come back to Disney and it is the worst idea Disney has ever had for park visitors. Oh, you can also pay $9 for one ride for the day. Again, the ticket costs you a lot as is and then pay on top of it to ride a ride? Disney making money in a new way.
Although, for the joy of seeing your grandchildren enjoy Disney, priceless.