For the 50+ Traveler

If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World in 2021 or 2022, there are some important changes to consider. In 2021, Walt Disney World Resort will replace Extra Magic Hours with an option called Early Theme Park Entry, and in 2022, Disney will discontinue the Magical Express bus service.

Early Theme Park Entry

The Extra Magic Hours benefit, which allowed Walt Disney World Resort guests to spend extra time at theme parks each day before or after normal business hours, was suspended when the resort reopened last summer after closing due to COVID-19 restrictions. As management continues to focus on protecting everyone’s health and safety, Disney decided to officially discontinue Extra Magic Hours, explained Avery Maehrer, the resort’s manager of communications.

“We know how much guests enjoy extra park time, so coming later this year -- as part of our 50th anniversary celebration -- Disney Resort hotel guests and guests of other select hotels will be able to enjoy more fun with 30-minute early entry to any theme park, every day,” Maehrer wrote on the Disney Parks Blog. “It’ll be a great way to get a jump start on your Disney day, no matter the day!”

Maehrer pointed out that the new benefit will help Walt Disney World Resort spread visitation across all four theme parks. It also gives guests the flexibility they need to spend extra time at the park of their choosing -- while helping ensure they can make the most of their stay.

Disney’s Magical Express

The other big news concerns Disney’s Magical Express bus service, which takes guests to and from the airport.

“Vacationers have more options to choose from than ever before for transportation, including ride-share services that save time and offer more flexibility to go where they want, when they want,” Maehrer explained. “In light of this shift, when Disney Resort hotel bookings open for stays in 2022, we will no longer offer Disney’s Magical Express service for airport transportation, starting with arrivals Jan. 1, 2022.” The service will continue for new and existing reservations for the year 2021.

The change does not apply to complementary transportation options. For instance, buses, monorails, and Disney Skyliner will continue to be available within Walt Disney World Resort for Disney Resort hotel guests -- including to, and from, all four theme parks, Maehrer noted.

As the comments on Disney Parks Blog’s post make clear, some fans hope Disney reconsiders getting rid of Disney’s Magical Express. Some aren't comfortable with ride-share services, and others want the magic to begin as soon as they leave the airport.

Speaking of Disney:

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An Adult’s Guide To A Disney World Getaway