You never need an excuse to visit Walt Disney World, but fall 2021 seems to have everything going for it! Many people have postponed vacations for the past 18 months, it’s time to travel again. There are so many reasons why Walt Disney World is the place to visit this fall that we know we’re going to leave some out! Here are the top ten reasons why you need to book a flight, pack the car, or at least start planning immediately.
10) Low Crowds
Have you looked at the Wait Times on the My Disney Experience App lately? If you haven’t, take a look right now. After you see how many rides have waits that are 20 minutes or less, throw some things into a bag and head to Florida. We might not see Wait Times this low again for a long time. Wait Times will go up at the end of September, and will most likely stay high into 2022.
9) Space 220 Restaurant
Want to visit space, but you aren’t a billionaire? Space 220 Restaurant is set to finally open on September 20! EPCOT’s newest themed restaurant will allow you to feel like you are dining 220 miles above the Earth. We don’t yet know the menu or when reservations will open, but we do know that it will be an out-of-this-world experience.
8) Disney After Hours Boo Bash
Tickets for Disney After Hours Boo Bash have been sold out online for a few weeks. That said, some people have been able to buy them the day of the event by visiting City Hall at the Magic Kingdom. Disney After Hours Boo Bash is a lot of fun; with Halloween Cavalcades, trick or treating, low wait times, and lots more. If you stop by City Hall and there are no tickets, soak up the Halloween spirit by enjoying the decorations on Main Street, U.S.A.
7) Disney Very Merriest After Hours
This one you have a little bit of time for, but you’ll want to purchase your tickets right now. Instead of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, this year you can experience Disney Very Merriest After Hours. It will be held on select nights, starting on November 8. Unlike other Disney After Hours events, it will be four hours long! Also unlike the other events, there will be both a parade and fireworks. Some other holiday festivities around Walt Disney World will begin on November 12, and the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will start on November 26. That gives you a little bit of time, but November will be here before we know it.
6) EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
In most autumns the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival would be number one or two on this list, which shows just how incredible the season is this year! The emphasis at this year’s festival is the food and beverages. There are several new Global Kitchens, plus plenty of past favorites have returned. Where else can you enjoy Lobster Tail and Vietnamese Pho just a short walk from each other? There is extra entertainment, but the Eat to the Beat Concert Series still has not returned. Here’s hoping that Garden Rocks will make this list next spring.
5) Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure Soft Openings?
Walt Disney World’s newest ride will open at EPCOT on October 1. Right now Disney is holding Passholder Previews, allowing people who reserved spots to not only ride but to check out the new dining options. There is a good chance that there will be soft openings at some point, which is as good a reason as any to head to Walt Disney World before Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure officially opens. Starting on October 1 it will use a virtual queue.
4) The End of Happily Ever After and EPCOT Forever
This is hard to talk about. Two nighttime spectaculars will end forever in just a few weeks. EPCOT Forever was the temporary replacement for IllumiNations, so we always knew that this day would come. The last show will be on September 28. It’s a different story for Happily Ever After. When the insanely popular Wishes ended in 2017, many people thought that nothing could replace that hole at the Magic Kingdom. Then Happily Ever After debuted, and it was love at first sight. Happily Ever After will end on September 29. If you’d like to see both shows one last time, stop procrastinating and leave right now.
The replacement for EPCOT Forever will be Harmonious. Disney has been talking about this new show for a couple of years now. You can get a preview of sorts if you watch The EPCOT Experience. That’s located in the strangely shaped building between Test Track and Mexico. Harmonious will take us across the planet. It will use music, water, Disney classics, and fireworks. There are many aspects of the new show that we don’t yet know about, but we can’t wait to find out!
2) Disney Enchantment
A new show needs to be special to replace Happily Ever After. It looks like Disney Enchantment might fit the bill. It will also debut on October 1. There will be fireworks and projections on Cinderella Castle. One difference will be that the projections will continue down Main Street, U.S.A. Newer animated films such as “Soul” and “Onward” will be included in the show, and classics will also be there. Don’t worry, Tinkerbell will still take flight, weather permitting. Just like Happily Ever After filled the hole left by Wishes, it looks like Disney Enchantment will fill the hole left by Happily Ever After.
1) The World’s Most Magical Celebration
It’s hard to believe that Walt Disney World will turn 50 on October 1! Of course, Disney plans to commemorate the occasion, and the party will be called the World’s Most Magical Celebration. Beacons of Magic will bring special touches to all four icons. Disney KiteTails will debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The Disney Fab 50 Character Collection will feature your favorites across all four theme parks. There will be special foods and merchandise. While the World’s Most Magical Celebration will last for 18 months, there will be something special about visiting on the actual Golden Anniversary. If you want to be part, start making your plans. Disney Park Pass reservations for October 1 are going fast!
I was invited by Disney to be part of a media preview for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure on September 3. We were able to experience the new ride, as well as dine at La Creperie de Paris. This is all part of the France Pavilion at EPCOT. The new section fits in perfectly.
I’ll start with the ride. If you haven’t watched “Ratatouille” recently I would recommend it, because the story of the ride comes directly out of the movie. That said, even if you aren’t familiar with it, you will have a great time. The queue takes you to the beginning of the ride’s story. If you use your imagination you will feel as if you’re in Paris! A virtual queue will be used when the ride opens, although there is a single rider lane and a lane that still has a FastPass+ sign. Since those signs are changing to Lightning Lane all over the Walt Disney World theme parks I suspect that will be gone before the ride officially opens. Check out a video walkthrough of the queue here.
In the ride itself, you will shrink down to the size of a rat. That is what your ride vehicle is shaped like as well. The ride is 3D, and if you have problems with motion sickness you might want to proceed with caution.
Speaking of the 3D, it is very well done. The picture is crisp and clear, and it makes it feel as if the area is larger than it really is. I did look without the glasses a few times, and the picture wasn’t too blurry. This isn’t Muppet*Vision 3D.
I don’t want to give away too much about the ride, but I will tell you a few things that you’ll want to know. The ride vehicles spin, but it isn’t rough at all. There are a couple of very minor water effects. There are two times when it might feel as if you are dropping, but it isn’t a drop at all. It’s a similar sensation to the waterfall on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure on par with something like Rise of the Resistance? No, I don’t think so. It’s still adorable, and it’s a great addition to the France Pavilion at EPCOT. It’s a fun ride, and I look forward to riding again for my Annual Passholder preview.
We were also treated to a meal at La Creperie de Paris. My server was B, and she was a credit to her job! She was friendly, professional, and knowledgeable. I had the savory Ratatouille Galette (buckwheat crepe) and sweet Melba Crepe. The Ratatouille was filled with flavor and fresh ingredients. It’s a simple combination of tomato, zucchini, and eggplant. I would order this again without hesitation. The Melba is filled with peaches, berries, and almonds. This was also flavorful, and I was happy that it wasn’t overly sweet. A friend ordered the Saumon (salmon) savory and Gourmande (hazelnut chocolate spread and whipped cream) and he told me he was happy with his choices. This is going to be a great new option once it’s open to the public. There will be a Prix Fixe choice once the restaurant has officially opened, for $33 it’s not a bad deal. You will also be able to order a la carte. The new quick-service location, Crepes a Emporter, was not open when we were there.
There is plenty of merchandise to celebrate the new ride, and we were shown some of it. The Remy Feature Plush speaks both English and French. The cheese necklace glows in the dark. There are kitchen items, such as a Remy kitchen timer. I can’t decide which I liked better; the Remy and Emile Wearable Remote Control Buddies or the Chef’s Hat with Remy inside (video of Chef's Hat with Remy inside here!). The mouse headband doesn’t feature Mickey or Minnie this time! These are just a few of the creative items that we previewed.
Part of what makes the new area so special are the little details that most people will never notice. The wine bottles in a window have important years on them. The same bottles have a picture of the critic from the film, and the wine is called Chateau Ego. You might notice a familiar scooter against the wall after you exit the ride. These are just a couple of things to keep your eyes open for. Ask a Cast Member about the details when you arrive, I’m sure that there were be plenty of things that he or she can point out.
Aside from the ride, there is one thing that is impossible to miss in the new part of the France Pavilion. There is a fountain that you will walk past on your way to get in line. This fountain is so creative! Remy is on top, and you’ll see some of his siblings as well. There are also champagne bottles as part of the fountain. Look closely, because the water that comes out of these bottles bubbles like champagne. It’s a great effect.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opens to the general public on October 1. That evening, Harmonious will debut at EPCOT as well. That day is the beginning of The World’s Most Magical Celebration, also known as Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will be a wonderful addition to the celebration.
Disney fans were understandably disappointed when it was announced that Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party would not take place this year. Instead, we learned that Disney After Hours Boo Bash would take its place in 2021. There were a lot of complaints because of the cost, which is significantly higher than the Halloween Party. It is similar to the cost of other Disney After Hours events. I’m a huge fan of Disney After Hours, so I bought my tickets the day they went on sale.
My daughter and I attended Disney After Hours Boo Bash on August 31. It was a warm, humid night, but it didn’t rain. With your ticket, you can enter the Magic Kingdom at 7:00, which was about the time that we showed up. Our event ran from 9:30 until 12:30, some dates start half an hour earlier. There were Cast Members outside of the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, directing people where to go. We scanned our MagicBands and then got our Boo Bash wristbands. Wait Times were low, so we rode a couple of rides and got dinner.
Happily Ever After currently runs at 8:45. On August 31 the fireworks portion of the show didn’t take place because of an earlier behind-the-scenes problem (see video here). I enjoyed watching just the projections, but I do understand why many Guests were upset. Still, Disney could have totally canceled. I give them credit for putting on a fantastic projections show.
Once Happily Ever After ended the front of the Magic Kingdom cleared out. Cast Members started to check for wristbands. It was like that for the first hour or so of Boo Bash, we had to show our wristbands in order to enter a new land or get in line for a ride.
One of the draws of the Disney After Hours events is that a limited number of tickets are sold, meaning low Wait Times. Boo Bash was by far the most crowded Disney After Hours event that I’ve attended, but the crowd was more than manageable. Most rides were walk-on. The longest Wait Time that we saw was for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which was 15 minutes each time we checked.
Trick or Treating was a popular part of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and it is held during Boo Bash as well. There didn’t seem to be as many stations, but there was still a lot of candy! The stations are marked on the Boo Bash map, don’t forget to pick one up when you enter the Park. If you have allergies, ask for a teal bag. You’ll receive tokens at the Trick or Treat locations, which you can turn in at the end of the night for treats that you’ll be able to safely enjoy.
There are extra characters out and about for Disney After Hours Boo Bash. They are all socially distant, and the spots are marked on the map. The problem with socially distanced characters after dark is that it’s hard to get good pictures. We saw a few, but we decided not to spend too much time hunting them down because our pictures were coming out dark.
The Halloween Character Cavalcades are part of the fun. It was great to see Maleficent in all her fire-breathing glory! (The last time I saw her the fire wasn’t working.) The times for the cavalcades are listed on the map. We decided to watch the cavalcades in the middle of our evening. That way, we’d still have time at the end of the night to hit a few more rides. We also watched the Cadaver Dans, who performed in Frontierland. Their performance times are also listed on the map.
Popcorn, ice cream novelties, and bottled soda or water are included with your admission. There were plenty of stations throughout the Park. At first, it looked like the lines were long, but they moved quickly. Towards the end of the event, there were no lines for the snacks at all.
My daughter and I would usually end Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party by riding Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, so we decided to keep up that tradition. The Wait Time when we got in line at 12:10 was listed as 15 minutes, but we didn’t wait that long. We got off and were able to ride one more time. It was the perfect way to end a fun evening.
A lot of people want to know if Disney After Hours Boo Bash is worth the price. In my opinion, it was worth every cent. Do not expect it to be the same as Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Three hours isn’t a lot of time, but you can do quite a bit if you decide what is important to you. I think that we did more in those three hours than we ever did at the Halloween Party. If Disney After Hours Boo Bash wasn’t sold out, I’d be tempted to buy tickets for another date. I already bought my tickets for Disney Very Merriest After Hours and I can’t wait!
While most places are talking about last minute back to school shopping, at the Magic Kingdom it is all about Halloween right now. The park is ready for the holiday, even if it is still 91 degrees out. Disney Boo Bash After Hours runs on select nights between August 10 and October 31. I can’t make it to opening night (I have tickets for August 31), but I still wanted to stop by the Magic Kingdom to check out the decorations.
Like last year, the decorations at the Magic Kingdom are scaled back. There are no scarecrows when you first enter the park. There is a display of two giant pumpkin statues, and while I was there a PhotoPass Photographer was on hand to snap a photo. There wasn’t much of a line to get the picture, but I think it will probably get longer once guests start arriving for Boo Bash.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t any decorations. There are plenty of Mickey Pumpkins on the light poles. I was there during the day so I didn’t see them lit up. There are also decorations on the buildings all up and down Main Street, U.S.A., plus a few extra pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. The Character Cavalcades that I saw while I was there were the regular cavalcades, not the Halloween ones from last year. Those should be running at Disney Boo Bash After Hours.
What there is plenty of is Halloween merchandise! Fans of Mickey Ear headbands will be thrilled, because there are several different designs to choose from. There are also plenty of T-shirt designs. You’ll find items based on Haunted Mansion, “Hocus Pocus”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and much more. There were signs in several spots that stated, “Limit two (2) per item, per guest”. There has been a problem lately with people buying up all the specialty merchandise and then reselling it for a huge profit, so Disney is doing something about it.
It may not feel like Halloween when you step out the door right now, but it does when you step through the gates of the Magic Kingdom. There are even seasonal treats for sale in several restaurants! Things still aren’t quite back to “normal”, but seeing the Mickey Pumpkins and the other decorations reminded me that we have come a long way. Last year I almost cried when I first saw the Halloween decorations because I was so happy that they were back. This year, they just make me smile.
In recent years, food trucks have become incredibly popular throughout the country thanks to a wide variety of different foods and cuisines offered up in quick and convenient settings. Walt Disney World has jumped onto the food truck trend and offers up a trio of unique options in the heart of Disney Spring’s West Side. A small area dubbed Exposition Park is located directly between the shore of Lake Buena Vista and the entrances to Disney’s Candy Cauldron and Super Hero Headquarters. Guests can choose between 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck, Hot Diggity Dogs, and Mac & Cheese Food Truck, all of which offer up unique options for grab-and-go enjoyment. With plenty of delicious options to choose from, guests can’t go wrong with any of the food truck offerings, and here are nine of the reasons why they are so amazing!
1. The Convenience
One of the biggest reasons why guests love to dine at the food trucks in Disney Springs is the convenience it offers on multiple levels. The meals are always delicious and they are prepared in a matter of minutes, making them time saving and easy to grab before continuing on to explore more of Disney Springs’ offerings. In addition, groups of guests or families can also enjoy the convenience of the variety that the food trucks offer. With plenty of options to choose from, including different types of cuisine and flavors, guests can easily cater to their own tastes which still all dining in the same spot together.
2. The Atmosphere
Exposition Park where the food trucks are situated is also an ideal spot to enjoy a quick bite to eat. Not only can guests enjoy a spacious patio with various tables to dine at, they can also check out the crowds and people watch as other guests bustle about heading to the nearby AMC Theater or other various locations in Disney Springs. To top it all off, the views of and breeze from Lake Buena Vista make Exposition Park the ideal spot to simply relax and enjoy the perfect combination of food and scenery.
3. Taco Cone – 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck
Authentic Mexican-inspired options can be found at the 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck where bold flavors are served up in unique ways. One of the signature offerings from the food truck is the recognizable Taco Cone which offers up a fun and portable spin on a Mexican favorite. The Taco Cone offered at 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck includes a guest’s choice of filling meat, shredded lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, queso, cilantro, jalepeno, and a lime wedge conveniently wrapped up in a freshly made taco cone.
4. Burrito Bowl – 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck
Another great option that guests can order up at 4 Rivers Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck is a hearty option that combines big flavors with several customizable options. The Burrito Bowl includes black beans, salsa verde, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, queso fresco, cilantro, jalepeno, and corn tortilla chips as a base and guests can then choose their meat filling as well as a base of either rice or lettuce. A classic burrito bowl is a great option to choose from the food truck, especially with the customizable options that will create the perfect meal for every guest!
5. Texas Chili Cheese – Hot Diggity Dog
The Hot Diggity Dog food truck takes one of the most classic American foods and infuses it with unique flavors and ingredients from around the country to take it to the next level. A great option to order up that is especially filling is the Texas Chili Cheese hot dog which brings the big flavors of the Lone Star State for an indulgent bite. Guests are sure to love the 1/6 pound all-beef hot dog that is smothered in Texas chili, cheddar cheese, and crunchy corn chips and served with a side of house-made chips. With hearty chili and a perfectly cooked hot dog, this option is a meat lovers dream!
6. Santa Fe – Hot Diggity Dog
The Hot Diggity Dog food truck also serves up a main course option that brings the bold flavors and ingredients of the Southwest to Walt Disney World guests. The Santa Fe’s base is a 1/6 pound all-beef hot dog that is topped generously with chipotle mayo, street corn, chili powder, cotija cheese, cilantro, and a wedge of lime and served with a side of house-made chips. The spice from the chipotle mayo and chili powder are perfectly paired with the zest from the lime and the tangy cotija, making this the perfect hot dog to enjoy while checking out the food trucks.
7. Lobster & Shrimp Macaroni & Cheese – Mac & Cheese Food Truck
No food is as comforting and as versatile as macaroni and cheese, so it is no wonder that the final food truck in Disney Springs is dedicated entirely to this incredible offering. The Mac & Cheese food truck takes classic macaroni and cheese and elevates it with flavors that are sure to thrill guests. The Lobster & Shrimp Macaroni & Cheese is the perfect example of taking the classic base meal and elevating it with decadent chunks of lobster that are mixed with provolone and toasted buttery crackers for a crunchy topping.
8. Mac & Cheese Fritters – Mac & Cheese Food Truck
Proving how versatile the favorite can be, the Mac & Cheese food truck also serves up macaroni and cheese in a non-traditional way that can be enjoyed without utensils. The Mac & Cheese Fritters are fried to golden, crispy perfection with creamy cotija cheese and are the perfect snack to grab and enjoy while wandering through Disney Springs. The order can definitely be shared, but who would want to?
9. Barbecue Beef Macaroni & Cheese – Mac & Cheese Food Truck
Another indulgent offering from the Mac & Cheese food truck takes classic American barbecue flavors and combines them with the creamy favorite. The Barbecue Beef Macaroni & Cheese features cheddar as the base that is topped with barbecue beef, crispy onion rings, and a smoky sweet barbecue sauce for a filling option that is definitely unforgettable!