Walt Disney World Holiday Magic Starts November 6

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

We are super excited to share an update on some of the festive experiences coming to Walt Disney World Resort for the holidays!

We know how much Guests love the holidays, and from Nov. 6-Dec. 30, you’ll will be able to enjoy festive décor, themed merchandise, seasonal food & beverage offerings and entertainment all across Walt Disney World Resort. Holiday magic will be in full force at the four theme parks and Disney Springs, and Santa Claus will even make time for special pop-up appearances at each location, waving and exclaiming holiday wishes to all.

Enjoy the sight of festive flotillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, holiday promenades at EPCOT and merry motorcades at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, character cavalcades at Magic Kingdom Park will take on a special holiday twist, with Christmas friends on festive floats in their holiday finest. Gingerbread Men? Check! Elves and Reindeer? Check, check! And the Toy Soldiers will join the Main Street Philharmonic as they march through Magic Kingdom Park, bringing musical holiday cheer for all to hear.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

When night falls, special projection effects will give a festive look to Cinderella Castle this year, providing a colorful backdrop for photo ops. The appearance of the iconic castle will be transformed with a rotating series of designs including a whimsical Christmas sweater and a regal overlay of red, green and gold ornamentation.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Of course, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a meal among friends and family. Minnie Mouse will be hosting a yuletide gathering for all her friends at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting Nov. 6. Santa Goofy will be there, along with Minnie and more in their holiday best. 

Shifting gears to Disney Springs, You will discover Christmas around every corner as they come across a collection of elaborately-decorated Disney Christmas trees spread throughout this retail, dining and entertainment destination. In the evening, encounter a magical snowfall in areas within Town Center, West Side and The Landing, adding an extra touch of wonder to your holiday shopping. And to top it off, Jock Lindsey will once again be turning his hangar bar into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar complete with delightful holiday décor and a delicious limited-time menu filled with festive favorites.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Disney Resort hotels will also be decked out for the holidays too, with their lobbies featuring iconic trees and other festive flourishes.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Starting a bit later in the season, on Nov. 27, holiday kitchens will return around World Showcase promenade with favorites like American Holiday Table featuring Slow-roasted Turkey with Stuffing and Bavaria Holiday Kitchen with dishes like Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl.

Step inside World ShowPlace to enjoy the returning group, JOYFUL! as they present a journey through R&B, Gospel, contemporary and traditional Christmas and holiday music. Also, the Voices of Liberty will bring their incredible 8-part harmonies to the America Gardens Theatre stage for a special concert of favorite carols and songs of the season.

We’re looking forward to helping you create new traditions this year with unique ways to enjoy the season together. There’s a lot of holiday fun to see and do at Walt Disney World Resort! To learn more about about booking a getaway with seasonal experiences, ask your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista for a free, no-obligation quote at: https://vacationswithcharacter.net/ We may even have a few special offers to share with you too!

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2021 Walt Disney World Marathons Transition to Virtual Events

2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Transition to Virtual Events

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

We are sad to report this news but wanted to bring you up to speed as quickly as possible. Here is the official announcement from Disney:

“During this unusual time, race organizers around the world continue to pause on hosting in-person race events that draw large crowds. As we look at the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, we will convert both of these races to virtual events, similar to our offering for the 2020 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

While we share our Guests’ disappointment that we will not be running together in person, we have based this decision on the unique circumstances of hosting a road race experience on this scale under the current environment.

Participants who registered through runDisney.com will have the option of receiving a full refund for the race. Those who are registered with a U.S. mailing address may convert their existing registration to the new virtual event that can be completed from home, a local running track or favorite running trail.

Eligible runners who participate in the virtual race will receive a medal for each distance they complete and the option of a race shirt, in addition to the satisfaction of completing the race they’ve trained for. Registered participants will receive an email beginning September 23 with instructions on how to make their registration selection before October 7, 2020.

For those who would still like to register for the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend virtual events, we will open additional registration opportunities on a limited basis on Thursday, September 24 at 10 a.m. These race events may be completed from home, a local running track or favorite running trail.

Participants who’ve booked through a charity or tour operator should reach out directly to that organization.

2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Refund Option

Runners registered for the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort who select the refund option will receive a refund back to their original form of payment for the following. If a Guest no longer has their original form of payment used when registering, they may contact runDisney by October 7, 2021 to receive a refund via check or a Digital Disney Gift Card for the following:

  • Race registrations (Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, Challenges and Kids Races)
  • Commemorative merchandise (automatic refund – no virtual option)
  • Processing fee

Additionally, any registered participant with a shipping address outside of the U.S. will automatically receive a refund back to their original form of payment. At this time, only participants with a valid U.S. shipping address are eligible for the virtual option.

Refund timing:
Refunds from runDisney can be expected to be processed by mid-November 2020. If your clients haven’t received a refund by then, please visit the “contact us” section on runDisney.com.

2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Virtual Race Options

All registered participants with a valid U.S. shipping address for the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend or Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort who purchased their registrations on runDisney.com will have the option to participate in a virtual race. Please note PO Boxes and APO Boxes are not considered valid shipping addresses for this purpose. Participants who select this option will receive the following based on their registration(s):

  • Race distance medal(s)
  • Option of event tech shirt(s)
  • Digital Bib and finisher certificate
  • Digital Toolkit including start/finish line and mile markers
  • Digital Goody Bag
  • Virtual playlist
  • A Digital Disney Gift Card for select races

Guests with a U.S. mailing address who already have received a refund for their registration may still register to participate in the virtual race option by registering at runDisney.com beginning September 24, 2020.

Digital Disney Gift Cards for select races:
Eligible athletes registered for select events during the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend or Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort will receive a Digital Disney Gift Card:

  • Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, Challenge

Digital Disney Gift Card timing:
Digital Disney Gift Cards from runDisney can be expected to be processed by mid-November 2020. If you haven’t received your Digital Disney Gift Card by then, please visit the “contact us” section on runDisney.com.

Charitable donations

Donations made to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will not be refunded and will be delivered to those organizations as originally planned.

Castaway Cay Challenge

The 2021 Castaway Cay Challenge will transition to a virtual event. However, the January 11, 2021 Disney Dream cruise is currently still scheduled to sail.

Future Races:

We’re looking at every aspect of the runDisney experience and making decisions with the safety and well-being of our athletes, volunteers, Cast Members and Guests at the forefront of our planning. At this time, we have no updates regarding future runDisney events. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding.”

Please reach out to your Travel Professional for more information!

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Disney’s Magical Express Service Changes You’ll Want to Know

There are a lot of changes going on at Walt Disney World and there is one new change you should know about if you’re flying into Orlando International Airport and planning on using Disney’s Magical Express!

Courtesy of Disney Travel Agents

Complimentary airport transportation is always available via Disney’s Magical Express service for onsite Guests arriving and departing from Orlando International Airport. This service is continuing to operate during this period BUT with some modifications.

NEW: Beginning July 16, 2020, luggage delivery service will not be provided for those arriving to and departing from Orlando International Airport as before. Instead, Guests who choose to use Disney’s Magical Express will be responsible for picking up any of their checked luggage from the airport’s baggage claim area and taking it to the motor coach, so that it can be loaded for transport to their Disney Resort hotel. Also, Guests’ luggage will travel with them to their Disney Resort hotel.

As before, Luggage Assistance will be still be available at the front of Disney Resort hotels, including luggage storage and/or transport to the room.

ALSO NEW: Upon departure, Guests should ensure their luggage is with them and loaded onto the motor coach so they can check it in with their airline once they reach the airport. The resort airline check-in service will not be offered at this time.

Guests will be notified of these changes prior to departing their home locations. Stay tuned to Vacations with Character® for any additional updates at a later date!

Contact us to book or purchase tickets! As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, our agents are well trained and stay up to date on all new procedures and changes. We are poised to help guide you through the new steps and changes needed to visit each park as well as help with itinerary planning and more in order to create a stress-free vacation for you and your family/friends to enjoy.

Visit us and request a quote or drop us a line to reserve your vacation today!

Though the experience may be different than the time you last visited, there is so much to look forward to, with many favorite attractions and dozens of entertainment offerings available across all four theme parks, including special new character cavalcades and the #TasteofEPCOT #InternationalFoodAndWineFestival!!

See ‘Ya Real Soon!

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Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner