2021 Walt Disney World vacation packages are now available for booking over the phone, via travel agents, and on the official site. In a normal year, we spend significant time combing DisneyWorld.com to compare room prices for next year to this year’s rack rates…but this year is anything but normal. (In case you somehow weren’t aware of that!)
For one thing, 2020 Walt Disney World vacation packages, hotels, and tickets still not available to book right now. (We have saved rate charts, so that alone wouldn’t be prohibitive.) More importantly, I’m having no success getting past the “We’re Almost in Orbit” screen after inputting dates on DisneyWorld.com.
The wounds of dealing with this whole infuriating process only two days ago with Disney Park Pass are still fresh, so I’m saying “screw it” for now. It’s not like anything is selling out today. I’ll be back with a pricing analysis…at some point. Maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe a month. Honestly, I don’t think today’s prices have much basis in ultimate reality anyway, as steep discounts will be necessary in the future to entice people to visit Walt Disney World in 2021…
Instead, let’s just quickly run through the basis, followed by brief commentary. Vacation packages are valid for arrivals beginning January 1, 2021 and with checkout dates before September 27, 2021. Normal terms and conditions for final payments, cancelations, and change fees will apply for all 2021 Walt Disney World vacation package bookings.
At present, 2021 Walt Disney World package bookings are available for the following resorts:
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas — Jambo House
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas — Kidani Village
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
This means that the following resorts are not available for booking:
Disney’s All Star Movies Resort
Disney’s All Star Music Resort
Disney’s All Star Sports Resort
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort — Riverside
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Note that it might appear that Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House appears on both lists. However, the first entry is the villas, whereas the second is the regular hotel rooms.
The remaining resorts will go online as demand dictates. In other words, we are not expecting all of these resorts to remain closed through September 2021. Rather, it’s likely that Walt Disney World simply isn’t offering reservations yet because their status as of January 1, 2021 remains uncertain.
Booking a 2021 Walt Disney World vacation package does not guarantee theme park availability. Check the Disney Park Pass Availability Calendar before purchasing tickets, and make your theme park reservations immediately after linking your 2021 vacation package in the My Disney Experience app.
Additionally, the Disney Dining Plan remains unavailable at this time. Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks also still do not have reopening dates set as of this point.
As a reminder, next year Walt Disney World will unveil a new offering as part of the My Disney Experience app that will bring features of a MagicBand to your smart phone, building on the app’s existing digital key feature.
With these new features on the way, Walt Disney World will be retiring complimentary MagicBand distribution to hotel guests for new reservations with arrivals beginning January 1, 2021. (MagicBands will still be available to purchase at a discount, via the MagicBand Upgrade Program.)
Guests who prefer not to purchase a discounted MagicBand will be able to use the My Disney Experience app or a Key to the World card during their visit for all of the same features (minus wearability).
Walt Disney World will still offer MagicBands in retail locations and on shopDisney.com, and guests will be able to continue using the wearables throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
Normally, our advice is to book Walt Disney World vacation packages when they go on sale to lock-in ticket and component pricing as a safeguard against the inevitable price increases. That’s normally especially true if there’s a certain hotel or room type that’s a must-have for your trip. This year, our perspective is: honestly, why bother?
There are still too many unknowns regarding the 2021 Walt Disney World experience at this point. What’s the status of the Disney Dining Plan? What about theme park reservations? What will health safety policies look like next year? What about entertainment? It’s likely whatever you book today will have to be modified or rebooked down the road–and ask anyone who has been through that process the last few months how “fun” that was.
Right now, Walt Disney World is treating September 27, 2021 as the date when everything conceivably goes back to normal. This date is not insignificant–it’s the Monday when guests arriving for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary (on October 1, 2021) are most likely to check-in.
However, it’s still an arbitrary date. Walt Disney World isn’t just going to flip a switch on that day–removing restrictions, reservations, etc. and adding the Disney Dining Plan, FastPass, etc–and go back to normal. It’s going to be an ongoing process that could begin well before then and/or continue after that date. At this point, we don’t know what next month looks like, let alone September 2021.
Quite simply, that September 2021 date was chosen because it’s a sensible goal that also “kicks the can” far enough into the future. There’s nothing to stop Walt Disney World from reintroducing the Disney Dining Plan on February 7, 2021 (random, made-up date) or never bringing it back at all. Same goes for anything else. (We still don’t have a date for water parks, but have credible reason to believe one will be reopening this year.)
Given all of that, and our strong belief that the likelihood of greater discounts outweighs the probability of larger price increases, our advice is to take a wait and see approach. Save yourself the hassle and headache now, and don’t do anything. That is, unless you’re traveling very early in the year, having the vacation booked will make you happy, or give you something tangible to look forward to. (Can’t fault you there, either!)
The biggest ‘selling point’ of booking right now is securing Disney Park Pass reservations. Don’t let that spook you into acting prematurely. For one thing, none of those dates are filling up anytime soon (the only date next year that might, October 1, 2021 at Magic Kingdom, isn’t even available yet).
For another thing, Walt Disney World’s goal is to gradually increase park capacity and eliminate the reservation system entirely. In other words, limits set today for next year are not in any way accurate. More availability will open over time, or Disney Park Pass will be but a distant memory.
Ultimately, that’s where we stand on booking 2021 Walt Disney World vacation packages right now. It’s usually interesting and instructive to see pricing and other details as they offer a window into Disney’s view of the following year, but that’s simply not the case today. As we’ve stressed repeatedly, right now is a temporary abnormal and *not* a new normal. That goes for Walt Disney World vacation packages, too. What you’re locking in today will almost certainly change in pretty substantial ways. We are banking on it, and so should you!
Have you already booked a 2021 Walt Disney World vacation package? Notice anything interesting about hotel room or package prices? Anything surprise you? Will you be booking soon, or taking our recommended wait and see approach? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments here? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!