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(WGHP) — Where better to celebrate the holidays than the happiest place on Earth?

Disney World—and the nearby Universal Orlando—have both become popular destinations for families looking to make Christmas and New Year’s Eve a bit more magical.

The festivities are returning in the 2021 holiday season, but due to COVID-19, a trip to the park won’t look the same as years past.

Here’s everything you need to know when planning your trip to Disney World and Universal Orlando this holiday season.

Disney World


Encouraged, but not required.

Face Masks

Required indoors. Optional outdoors.

Which parks are open?

All of Walt Disney World’s theme parks are open, and so is Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park remains closed.


Many experiences will still be going on but there are a few that are “paused.” These include parades and nighttime spectaculars. Characters will be in the parks, but they will not participate in character greetings.

The following experiences are currently unavailable:

Rest & Recreation

  • Surfing activities – including group lessons and private sessions
  • Spas, salons and Harmony Barbershop

Make Believe and More

  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  • Captain Hook’s Pirate Crew
  • Perfectly Princess Tea Party
  • Pirate Adventure Cruises
  • Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage
  • Wonderland Tea Party at 1900 Park Fare

Unique Tours

  • Backstage Magic
  • Behind the Seeds
  • Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour
  • Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour
  • World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered

Adventures in Dining

  • Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room
  • Cake Decorating Experience at Amorette’s Patisserie
  • Circle of Flavors: Harambe at Night
  • Dine with an Animal Specialist
  • Dining with an Imagineer – Cítricos
  • Dining with an Imagineer – The Hollywood Brown Derby
  • Disney Early Morning Magic – Fantasyland
  • Fantasmic! Dining Package
  • Festival of the Lion King Signature Dining Package
  • Highway in the Sky Dine Around
  • Jiko Wine Tasting
  • Signature Celebration at Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Tiffins Talks
  • Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table Dinner
  • Wonderland Tea Party at 1900 Park Fare

Spectacular Sweet Spots

  • Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience
  • Frozen Ever After Dessert Party
  • Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Nature Experiences

  • A Path Less Traveled Tour
  • Behind the Seeds
  • Dine with an Animal Specialist
  • Epcot Seas Adventures – Aqua Tour
  • Epcot Seas Adventures – DiveQuest
  • Epcot Seas Adventures – Dolphins in Depth
  • Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Pin Trading

Pin trading, in which guests trade pins with cast members, will look a little different. Instead of trading with lanyards, guests can trade pins at pin boards in certain locations.

Delivery Option

If you’re shopping at Disney, you will not be able to have your purchase delivered to the front of theme parks or to Disney Resort hotels. You can, however, have certain purchase shipped to your home in the United States.

For more information about changes at Disney World, visit Disney’s guide to experience updates.

Universal Orlando


Proof of vaccination is not required.

Face masks

Face coverings are required at all restaurants, shops, indoor hotel public areas and at all attractions from the moment guests enter the queue to when they exit the experience. They are optional outdoors.

Which parks are open?

All of Universal Orlando’s parks are open, including Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay.


Most experiences are open, but there are a few changes either already implemented or coming soon to Universal’s lineup, according to Orlando Informer.

Shrek 4D will be closing permanently on Jan. 10.

Fear Factor Live, which closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, will be closed permanently.

For more information about COVID-19 precautions, visit Universal’s list of updated safety guidelines.