Home » The 8 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (August 9-15, 2021)

The 8 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (August 9-15, 2021)

​This week at Walt Disney World, Parades finally return to Walt Disney World (as part of an upcharge event), Disney confirms that the COVID-19 Delta variant is having no effect on guest levels, plus Disney Parks Passes are confirmed to be sticking around long-term. 

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld announce new components for their respective Halloween events as the kickoff to both Halloween Horror Nights and Howl-O-Scream Orlando gets closer! 

1. Disney Genie service to debut soon

Image: Disney

Though it has been several years since the announcement of the Disney Genie planning service, it looks like this new planning option, which CEO Bob Chapek describes as “MyMagic+ on steroids” will be launching very soon, likely before the end of the year. This new app will help guests plan their day and the data they will use to give guests realtime suggestions to “dramatically” improve guest experience. Though unconfirmed, it has been rumored that this new platform will also be where the upcoming paid FastPass+ service will debut as well. 

2. Harmonious video preview released 

Disney has released a brand new preview of its Harmonious nighttime spectacular, this time featuring some of the music that will be heard in this upcoming show. As revealed previously, the theme of the show will revolve around how classic Disney music can bring people together, and to help facilitate this idea, 240 musicians, artists, composers, arrangers, cultural consultants, and vocalists collaborated on putting this show’s soundtrack together across 100 recording sessions in nine countries and five US states. 

3. Seasonal Fireworks and parade return to the Magic Kingdom this holiday season

Though the Disney After Hours Boo Bash has already kicked off without a parade or Halloween fireworks, it looks like the Magic Kingdom will be going all out for its next seasonal offering. Disney Very Merriest After Hours will feature plenty of familiar elements from the previous Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, including Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. The parade announcement is especially exciting as this will be the first parade performed at Walt Disney World since March 2020. 

Tickets will go on sale next week and can be purchased online or by calling 407-939-7947. Tickets range from $169 to $229 plus tax for select November-December nights and $249, plus tax on December 19 & 21

4. Minnie’s Halloween Dine character meal returns to Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Dine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is now hosting a spooky offering that sees Minnie and her friends dressed in Halloween costumes from now through November 3, 2021. The restaurant is still offering a modified character dining experience, with characters not stopping at tables and remaining at a distance.

5. Space 220 opening next month

Disney has confirmed that the long-delayed Space 220 restaurant at EPCOT is finally to begin service in mid-September! No information about reservation availability has been shared yet but hopefully more information will be released in the coming weeks as we get closer to Space 220’s grand opening.

Disney has also shared a special inside look at Space 220 that includes a look at the elevator guests will use to “travel” to this new dining location, the dining room, and even some of the “space lettuce” grown in the restaurant, which you can check out here

6. Disney Parks Pass reservation system confirmed to stick around long term 

Many guests have wondered if the advances Parks Pass reservation system, which was initially implemented to help limit capacity at Disney Parks last year, would eventually be discontinued now that Disney parks are back to 100% capacity. However, Bob Chapek confirmed this week that this reservation system would be sticking around for the long term, as it helps the company plan staffing needs and get more accurate attendance numbers. 

7.  Universal reveals all Halloween Horror Nights houses, scarezones and more

With only a few weeks to go before the start of Halloween Horror Nights, Universal has finally announced its full lineup of original haunted houses, as well as scarezones, and new entertainment options for its 30th anniversary year, including the following: 

  • Welcome to SCarey: Horror in the Heartland: Step into the notorious Halloween Horror Nights town of Carey and relive its most horrifying haunts over the past 30 years in
  • Case Files Unearthed: Legendary Truth: follow in the footsteps of a legendary paranormal detective on a ghostly mission
  • The Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin:  become entangled in the sinister roots of Halloween
  • Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience: fall victim to a fiendish theatre troupe
  • Revenge of the Tooth Fairy: Returning from 2020, guests can once again uncover the darker side of a seemingly innocent ritual 

This year’s event will also feature five all-new original concept scare zones, including the following:

  • Crypt TV: enter the monstrous universe of iconic horror stories
  •  30 Years, 30 Fears: attempt to escape the frights of scare zones’ past
  • Seek and Destroy: resist succumbing to an alien cyber regime overtaking a future dystopia
  • Gorewood Forest: flee the wrath of the Terra Queen and her rooted, evil plans
  • Lights, Camera, Hacktion: Eddie’s Revenge: witness a box office “slash”

In addition, Universal will be bringing back the Marathon of Mayhem lagoon show with a new Carnage Factory theme with visions of fright highlighting some of the top names in horror and Halloween Horror Nights history. In addition, this year will see the debut of Halloween Nightmare Fuel, a fiery new show featuring nocturnal creatures, aerialists of the night and frightful fire performers – all set to pulse-pounding rock, metal and electronica music.

8. SeaWorld announces more houses and scarezones for Howl-O-Scream Orlando


SeaWorld Orlando announced new details this week for its first ever Howl-O-Scream, including a new show, haunted house and more! Here are the details: 

  • SIRENS’ SONG: Who’s behind all these ominous occurrences? Here’s your chance to find out…if you have the courage to face her, and the ones she’s summoned to help her carry out the carnage. Prepare for special effects, hypnotic dancing, and spine-chilling savagery in this outdoor spectacle. This is the story of the sirens, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
  • WATERS EDGE INN: This inn sure doesn’t look like the pictures in the review. From the moment you arrive, you can feel that something is terribly wrong. Every crumbling hallway and decaying room is crawling with restless souls. Maybe those wild stories about this place’s sea-crazed owner and his search for the sirens were true all along. Having second thoughts about checking in? Don’t worry, the staff will be right with you…everywhere you turn.
  • DEADLY AMBUSH: The year is 1961. You’ve wandered into a quaint campground, nestled in nature. It might sound like a dream, but a new nightmare has just begun here. What’s happened to the campers? Creatures are emerging from the darkness. There’s nowhere to hide, and no park ranger to rescue you. Get back to civilization now, before it’s too late.
  • SIRENS’ LAST CALL: Creatures of the shadows need a place to play too. Could it be this rusted-out underground warehouse? Glance around and do your best to blend in. The regulars here are followers of the siren, and they know how to spot an outsider. Be sure to pay homage to her by trying the bar’s signature drink, “The Siren’s Kiss.”