Travel News of the Week

Theme Park News


Walt Disney World


Walt Disney World will once again be hosting runDisney races this fall, kicking off the runDisney 2021-2022 race season. The season will include four events:

  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend powered by AfterShokz: November 4-7, 2021

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: January 5-9, 2022

  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend: February 24-27, 2022

  • runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend presented by Otterbox: March 31-April 3, 2022

As COVID-19 guidelines may change before the return to on-site running, race weekends may not include every element from previous years. runDisney will continue to provide the latest updates to participants leading up to our race weekends, so keep an eye on www.rundisney.com for all race details!

With the return of runDisney races to Walt Disney World, they're excited to introduce some amazing new opportunities for runners.

  • runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend: Each race season, the fourth weekend will be the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend that will include different race themes and distances each year.

  • Disney Princess Sunrise Yoga: On the first morning of the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, runDisney will host Disney Princess Sunrise Yoga in front of Cinderella Castle, before the theme park opens. The professionally led yoga session will be the most magical way to prepare your mind and body for a race!

  • Virtual Races: All runDisney races will have a virtual race option, allowing runDisney fans across the country to participate in your favorite races, even if you can’t make it to Walt Disney World to run in person. Runners will be encouraged to run on the same morning of the on-site events, and will receive the same finisher medals!

  • Just for Kids: The runDisney Kids Races during each event weekend will become runDisney Kids Adventures, focused on health, fitness, and fun for kids!

photo credit: Disney Destinations

Walt Disney World has announced some added perks for resort guests to help celebrate the golden anniversary. On October 1, they will be rolling out a new early theme park entry benefit for Disney Resort hotel guests and guests of other select hotels, giving them the first chance to enjoy select attractions at EVERY theme park, EVERY day. These guests will also be among the first each day to see the dazzling decorations and EARidescent excitement. Guests will need a valid ticket or pass and a theme park reservation for the same park on the same date for early theme park entry.


In addition, with the kickoff of the 50th anniversary, guests staying at one of the Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Disney Resort hotels will also be able to enjoy extended evening hours on select nights in select theme parks. Extended evening hours will begin in early October with specific dates and parks to be shared at a later time.


Please note that guests will need a valid ticket or pass and a theme park reservation for the same park on the same day to experience extended evening hours. Or, guests may visit with a ticket or Annual Pass with the Park Hopper option as long as they entered their first park where they made their reservation earlier in the day.


For both of these options, select attractions, merchandise and food and beverage locations will be available. Guests should be sure to also bring their MagicBand, Disney MagicMobile pass or Key to the World card linked to their stay, or another form of Resort ID.


Back at their Disney Resort hotel, Guests will enjoy even more magic! During the celebration, they can be on the lookout for surprise appearances by some favorite Disney pals like Goofy and Pluto, who will be dressed in their EARidescent best and dropping by to visit with guests across Walt Disney World Resort, including at Disney Resort hotels!

More dining options are reopening around Walt Disney World:

  • Guests can now dine “underneath the lovely London sky” starting on July 15th in the newly reimagined Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, which pays homage to the whimsy and elegance of Mary Poppins Returns. Taking subtle cues from the movie’s animated sequence, the dining room brings Guests into a fanciful garden setting where they can “trip a little light fantastic” as they experience the restaurant surrounded by the glow from decorative lamps and chandeliers.

  • The Trail’s End Restaurant at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort will reopen July 17 with hearty family-style skillets for breakfast and dinner. Guests can mosey on over to Fort Wilderness for a hearty breakfast or for a rootin’ tootin’ good time at dinner.

  • Guests can get ready to hit their craving for hot dogs out of the park! Casey’s Corner on Main Street, U.S.A., will reopen June 30 with their classic all-beef hot dogs. Mobile order is available at Casey’s Corner.

  • Guests can also get ready to treat themselves to hand-scooped ice cream at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor hosted by Edys which will open July 7th with favorite flavors on a cone or in a cup – fat-free and no sugar added, as well as plant-based non-dairy options will be available. Barq’s Root Beer Floats and Coca-Cola Floats will be back as well.

  • Eight Spoons Café at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is now open and offers their delish Baked Macaroni & Cheese (with or without pulled pork). The exciting news – the Pulled Pork Jelly Donut Sandwich is back!

  • Dino Diner at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will reopen July 4, so Guests can grab a Dino-Rama Chili-Cheese Dog or a Corn Chip Pie. They can even get their churro fix at Dino Diner!

  • Salt & Straw, the popular scoop shop at Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort, is heading to Disney Springs next year! There will be more details over the next few months, so be sure to check back for the whole “scoop!”



Two resorts will have a new summer offering the entire family will love starting June 30 – Disney Family Night Dinner. This playful, family-style dining bundle includes a take-out shareable meal, sweet treats, and an original card-type game inspired by some favorite Disney friends for Guests to enjoy.


Disney Family Night Dinner is available from 5-10 p.m. through mobile order and at the two resort locations offering this three-course takeaway meal that serves 3-4.


Centertown Market at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort:

  • Roasted Jamaican-style Chicken

  • Fried Yucca

  • Cilantro Rice

  • Seasonal Vegetables

  • Caribbean Pull-apart Rolls with Onion Jam and Guava Butter

  • Decorate-your-own Mickey and Minnie Cookies

Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:

  • Garden Salad – Tomato, cucumber, carrots, and a duo of dressings

  • Savory Lasagna – Three cheese lasagna with tomato sauce

  • Two Mickey-shaped Cheese or Pepperoni Pizzas

  • Minnie Cheesecake with strawberry sauce, whipped cream, and fresh berries

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be reopening as of July 19, 2021. As part of the reopening, Guests will return to an enhanced entrance with a new porte cochere showcasing the iconic mid-20th century architecture the Polynesian is famous for.


As the resort reopens, the temporary front desk area at Pago Pago will close, and front desk and concierge services will move back to the Great Ceremonial House. Disney’s Magical Express and valet will be available under the new porte cochere.


While most of the resort areas and amenities will be available, the renovation of the monorail station continues and monorail service to and from the resort remains temporarily unavailable. The front entrance to the Great Ceremonial House will also open at a later date, and Cast Members will be available to assist Guests in accessing the side entrance to the Great Ceremonial House in the meantime.


Guests should continue to use Online Check-in and Direct-to-Room service to help simplify their arrival experience.

Winter Summerland Miniature Golf reopened to Guests beginning with the Summer Course on Thursday, July 1, and the Winter Course on Saturday, July 3. Walk-ups are welcome, or Guests may book a tee time for the next day or beyond by calling (407) WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529).


Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf remains open to Guests.


Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort will be reopening more dining locations in July.


Disneyland Park

  • Harbour Galley (opening July 1; mobile order available)

  • Hungry Bear Restaurant (opening July 1; mobile order available)

  • Refreshment Corner (opening July 8; mobile order available)

  • Kat Saka's Kettle (opening July 15)

Disney California Adventure Park

  • Lucky Fortune Cookery (opening July 1; mobile order available)

  • Corn Dog Castle (opening July 1; mobile order available)

  • Schmoozies! (opening July 1; mobile order available)

  • Clarabelle's Hand-Scooped Ice Cream (opening July 8; mobile order available)

Disneyland Hotel

  • Tangaroa Terrace Tropical Bar & Grill (opening July 2; mobile order available)

  • Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar (opening July 2)



Universal Orlando Resort


As of Friday, July 2nd, Universal Dining Plan products are no longer available for new reservations at Universal Orlando Resort. This includes Universal Dining Plan, Universal Dining Plan - Quick Service, and Universal Dining Plan - Quick Service + Coca-Cola Freestyle® Souvenir Cup.

All existing reservations through December 31st, 2021 that contain a Universal Dining Plan product will be honored and no action is required.

Should guests with Universal Dining Plan product in their vacation package wish to change their travel dates in the future, they will be required to call Universal Orlando Resort or their travel advisor may assist.


Cruise News


Royal Caribbean


After 15 months, the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship is sailing from the United States. Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas departed from Miami on Friday to begin a short 3-night weekend cruise. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests are permitted on board, however there are different rules for each.


Freedom of the Seas, photo credit: Royal Caribbean


If vaccinated guests showed their vaccination card, then they got a purple, rubber wristband to indicate their vaccination status. If you do not wish or skip showing proof of vaccination at check-in, then your SeaPass card will be punched with a hole. Masks are required to be worn in the cruise terminal and inside the ship for vaccinated or unvaccinated guests. No masks are required outdoors.

photo credit: Royal Caribbean


There are areas on board the ship which are designated for vaccinated guests only. Children's programming in Adventure Ocean and the teens club are operational, with limited capacity in the clubs to ensure the area does not get too crowded.


Royal Caribbean has also implemented an E-Muster drill to be performed via a smart phone, tablet, or stateroom TV instead of gathering passengers on board the ship. Guests watch a short safety information video, listen to what the emergency alarm sounds like, and then go downstairs to their muster station to verify they know where it is.

The Oasis of the Seas has received permission from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to start test cruises on August 22, 2021.


Simulated voyages (also known as test cruises) are when cruise lines can operate ships with volunteer passengers in order to prove their new protocols work.


These are not cruises you can book, but rather, are limited voyages where a cruise line invites certain unpaid volunteers to help go through all the necessary steps and procedures to ensure cruise ships can be run safely.


Other ships that have gotten approval to conduct test cruises include Allure of the Seas on July 27th from Port Canaveral, Symphony of the Seas on August 1st from Port Miami, and Odyssey of the Seas in August.


Disney Cruise Line


Disney Cruise Line is delaying the test sailing of the Disney Dream due to inconsistent Covid-19 test results. The test sailing was supposed to depart on June 29th and be a two-night sailing from Port Canaveral.


Five out of almost 600 crew members on the Disney Dream initially tested positive during routine testing, and they were asymptomatic. All crew had been recently vaccinated. The crew were tested the next day using the same lab and were found to have negative test results.


"We are delaying our simulation cruise due to a small number of inconsistent Covid-19 test results, which are considered positive by the CDC," said Cynthia Martinez, Disney's director of public affairs. "The rigorous health and safety protocols we have in place helped us identify the situation, though the test results were ultimately negative."


Disney has not rescheduled the test sailing, although it is expected to take place in July.


Disney Dream

Beginning June 29, 2021, a temporary final payment extension was added to Disney Cruise Line sailings through December 31, 2021. They are also temporarily relaxing their cruise cancellation fee schedule for sailings through December 31, 2021.


These temporary changes are in addition to our Cruise Date Flexibility Option that already allows guests the flexibility to change their sail date up to 15 days prior to departure for any cruise booked by July 31, 2021, for scheduled sailings on or before December 31, 2021.


American Cruise Lines


American Cruise Lines is pleased to announce that their 2021 Alaska season is underway and their small ship cruises will continue to explore throughout Southeast Alaska all summer long. On June 12th , American Constellation was the first cruise ship to dock in Haines since September 29, 2019. To celebrate the town’s 1st docking in almost 2 years, American’s guests were warmly welcomed on shore by Mayor Douglass Olerud, the Chilkat Dancers, and many members of the Haines community.


“We are thrilled to be back in Haines and appreciate the wonderful reception we received from the community. We have worked diligently throughout Southeast Alaska to coordinate with each port to ensure the safe resumption of domestic cruising,” said Charles Robertson, President & CEO of American Cruise Lines. “We look forward to 12 dockings in Haines this year and many more in the coming years, as the popularity of experiencing Alaska’s majesty aboard small, new U.S. ships continues to grow.”


MSC Cruises


MSC Cruises became the first cruise line to resume international sailings from Barcelona since March 2020 with the MSC Grandiosa.


The port of Barcelona is of strategic importance to MSC Cruises’ position as the market leader in Europe and earlier this month the Company received the official approval to operate and manage an exclusive cruise terminal, which is due for completion in 2024.


MSC Grandiosa is one of the most environmentally advanced ships in the MSC Cruises fleet and features state-of-the-art selective catalytic reduction and advanced wastewater treatment systems. MSC Grandiosa last year received the ‘biosafe ship’ class certification from classification society, RINA. More ports will reopen in the coming weeks across Europe and MSC Cruises’ phased restart of operations is continuing as planned with the Company offering a choice of six different ships and itineraries this summer across the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. MSC Seaview will start Baltic Sea cruises beginning July 3rd from her homeport of Kiel in Germany with 7-night sailings to Sweden and Estonia and MSC Seaside on July 4th will mark the official reopening of Marseille, France to cruising. MSC Magnifica resumed sailings last week in the East Mediterranean to join MSC Splendida and MSC Orchestra in the region. MSC Virtuosa since May 20th has operated cruises around the UK for British guests only. MSC Meraviglia from August 2nd will resume Caribbean cruises from Miami and will be joined in the region from September 18th when MSC Divina restarts sailing from Port Canaveral near Orlando in Florida. MSC Seashore will come into service in August with voyages in the West Mediterranean before the Company’s newest flagship transfers in November to Miami for a season in the Caribbean.


MSC Grandiosa, photo credit: MSC Cruises

Carnival Cruise Line


Carnival Cruise Line’s new Mardi Gras will feature the widest variety of culinary outlets in the fleet, with more than two dozen different venues, including Chibang!, a new two-in-one dining concept featuring both Chinese and Mexican dishes.


Responding to guests’ feedback for more diverse dining choices on board, particularly Chinese and Mexican cuisine, Chibang! is part of an expanded list of dining options created just for Mardi Gras.


For a limited time only, Chibang! as well as popular options Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse Brewhouse and Cucina del Capitano – all of which normally carry a dinner-time reservations fee or a la carte pricing – will be included in the price of the cruise, in addition to the Palm and Flamingo dining rooms and the Lido buffet.


Chibang! is named after the Mandarin word for wing and features two distinctly separate menus, each offering a diverse selection of authentic Chinese and Mexican cuisines allowing guests to craft their perfect meals.


Floor to ceiling windows that run the length of the restaurant provide magnificent sea views while a colorful dragon greets diners as they enter the restaurant.


The beverage selection will be just as varied with selections including the Chibang! Margarita made with blood orange syrup, the Smokey Mezcal Negroni that’s a twist on the Italian classic and a Green Tea Martini made with Shochu.


Chibang!, Cucina del Capitano and Smokehouse Brewhouse will also offer complimentary breakfast and lunch menus, as well.

Carnival provided a follow up for guests on Mardi Gras July 31, 2021 and August 2021 sailings, to provide details about pre-cruise and onboard protocols and procedures.

Guests are expected to follow the below Have Fun. Be Safe. guidelines:

  • Guest, including age-eligible children will need to be vaccinated and proof will be required at embarkation.

  • Vaccinated guests will not be required to wear masks and physical distance on board. Masks will be required in the cruise terminal.

  • Vaccinated guests may participate in Carnival tours or independent activities, but all guests will be required to follow local protocols of our destination.


In the World News


Mexico


Karisma Hotels & Resorts and Margaritaville have introduced a new collection of casual luxury boutique resorts carefully curated for travelers seeking rejuvenation and relaxation in an intimate, personalized setting. The first location makes its debut in late 2021 with St. Somewhere Resort Holbox in Mexico.


Isla Holbox is located off Quintana Roo, northwest of Cancun and just across the water from the port of Chiquila on the north coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. It’s a long, narrow island one mile wide and 26 miles long, known for its calm, warm waters which reflect the jewel tones of the ocean. Residents and visitors enjoy swimming, fishing, standup paddle boarding, hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling. Don't leave without sampling the local cuisine with everything from fresh-caught seafood and Mexican craft beer to fresh-baked pastries for breakfast.


At the new St. Somewhere Resort, expect an intimate island location surrounded by the raw beauty of Isla Holbox, combined with exceptional service and distinctive guest experiences. Designed to appeal to both couples and families, St. Somewhere Resort will encompass the laid-back, escapist lifestyle Margaritaville fans know and love, with yacht-inspired architecture and its own boutique luxury twist. If you're looking to get off the grid yet keep your modern conveniences, St. Somewhere Resort Holbox should be at the top of your list.


Karisma Hotels & Resorts


Effective new bookings made July 1, 2021 & onwards, Karisma Hotels & Resorts in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Mexico will offer on-site antigen and PCR testing at a reduced rate. Existing confirmed bookings and bookings made prior to this date will still receive the complimentary, on-site antigen test.


If a guest's test results are positive, quarantine accommodations will be provided at a 50% discount from current rates at time of travel and to be paid at the resort. This rate will be extended until a doctor certifies clearance for travel with a negative test result, for a maximum stay not to exceed 14-nights.


Guests are required to arrive on time for their scheduled test appointment and comply with all requirements. If guests are late or miss their scheduled appointment, the appointment is forfeited and will automatically cancel. Guests will incur a cancellation fee equal to 50% of the test cost and will then have the option of rescheduling their test appointment. This cancellation fee is in addition to the cost of the test and all fees to be paid at the resort.


Policies are subject to be reviewed and amended accordingly and future updates will be communicated in a timely manner.



Palafitos at El Dorado Maroma, Mexico


Netherlands


The US is considered a safe country by the Netherlands so American visitors may visit without restrictions. Travelers will not need to present a negative Covid test to enter or self-quarantine when you arrive. If you are travelling by air you must fill in a health declaration and carry it with you.


Adventures by Disney


Adventures by Disney has made an update to their Cancellation & Final Payment Policy. New bookings of Land Adventures, Escapes and river cruises made through September 30, 2021 for travel through March 31, 2022 are eligible for fully refundable deposits up until the final payment date, which has been temporarily modified to 65 days prior to departure. Disneyland Resort and Southern California Escape departures beginning in March 2022, all Buenos Aires and Amazon Escape departures, and all expedition cruise sailings are excluded from this modified cancellation and final payment policy.





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