Experiences We Did For the Last Time in 2021 at Walt Disney World

As 2021 wraps up it is normal to look towards 2022. A lot has changed over the past 12 months! We decided to take a moment to look back at some of the magical experiences that will be no more after 2021.

2022 will bring in a lot of new and exciting rides, shows, and dining opportunities; however, we did say goodbye to some favorites in 2021.

Happily Ever After

Probably one of the hardest goodbyes that we said in 2021 was to Magic Kingdom’s nighttime show Happily Ever After.

This show brought wonder and awe to Guests in Magic Kingdom, starting in May of 2017.  The show used projections like we had never seen before as Cinderella Castle was transformed throughout the spectacular.

The music, including the original song sung by Angie Keilhauer and Jordan Fisher, became a fan favorite.

When Walt Disney World reopened in 2020 it was without Happily Ever After. It wasn’t until the summer of 2021 that we saw the show return to Magic Kingdom.

This return was short lived, though, and Guests were shocked when Disney announced that Happily Ever After would run for the final time at the end of September to make way for the new 50th Anniversary Celebration nighttime show, Disney Enchantment.

On September 29th, 2021, Guests crowded into Magic Kingdom to say goodbye to this moving and magical nighttime show.

EPCOT Forever

Another nighttime show saw its last run in 2021 as well.  EPCOT Forever premiered on October 1st, 2019, the day after Illuminations lit up the sky one last time.

EPCOT Forever was designed to be a filler show as EPCOT prepared for Harmonious.

The focus of EPCOT Forever was the history of EPCOT. It celebrated some of the Park’s beloved attractions such as Spaceship Earth, Journey Into Imagination, Soarin’, Tapestry of Nations, and Universe of Energy.

Using music, fireworks, special lighting, lasers, and unique kites, the show celebrated EPCOT’s past, present, and future.

Fans had mixed feelings about EPCOT Forever, and not as many were upset about it leaving as they were about Happily Ever After in Magic Kingdom.

On September 28th, 2021, EPCOT Forever illuminated World Showcase one last time to make way for Harmonious. That debuted on October 1st, 2021, as part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration.

Disney’s Magical Express

Starting in 2005, Guests were able to take a free ride on a Disney themed motor coach from Orlando International Airport to their Walt Disney World Resort.

This free service was a huge perk of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort as it took the stress of transportation out of the planning.

Originally, Guests could get off their plane and head right to Disney’s Magical Express without even getting their checked bags.  Part of the service was that Cast Members would collect your bags for you and bring them to your Resort.

For those with little ones, Disney’s Magical Express was a huge help, as parents didn’t have to worry about car seats or carry their luggage through the airport.

Unfortunately, at the end of 2021, Disney’s Magical Express will no longer be an option for Walt Disney World Resort Guests.

Guests will now need to plan their own transportation to and from Orlando International Airport and their Disney World Resort.

Mears Connect is the new transportation system that will take over Disney’s Magical Express; however, it is a paid service. It is important to note that Mears is the company that has been running Disney’s Magical Express, not Disney.

Roundtrip on Mears Connect is $32 per adult and $27 per child for the standard service meaning a shared bus.  Guests who want a private option can look into the Express choice for $200 for a family of four.

This is just one of the many transportation options that Guests can use, but none of them will be free like Disney’s Magical Express was in the past.

We are disappointed that this free, convenient option won’t be available, starting in 2022.

Dine at the Wave

A hidden gem within Disneys’ Contemporary Resort was the dining location The Wave…of American Flavors.  Located on the first floor of the iconic Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Wave provided delicious meals throughout the day.

It came as a sudden surprise when Disney announced that The Wave would close in 2021 to make way for the new Steakhouse 71.

Although we were disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy The Wave anymore, Steakhouse 71 doesn’t disappoint.

Focused on the history of Walt Disney World, the atmosphere alone is fantastic, and the food is outstanding. Steakhouse 71 quickly became a new Guest favorite.

Even though we have eaten at The Wave for the last time, we are thrilled to still have a new delicious option when it comes to dining near the Magic Kingdom.

EPCOT’s Four “Neighborhoods” (Photo Credit: Disney)

Walked Around Future World

EPCOT has been going through a transformation for a few years now, and just recently we have seen Future World be retired and the new neighborhoods introduced.

Future World referred to what many considered the front of EPCOT. It included the Land and Seas Pavilions, as well as the area around Spaceship Earth, Mission Space, and Test Track.

With the new reimagining of EPCOT, the Park has been divided into four neighborhoods.  New are World Discovery, World Celebration, and World Nature. World Showcase will stay as it is currently.

If you have been to EPCOT in the past year or two, you have seen the walls that hide the construction and remodeling.

There is so much coming to EPCOT and these new neighborhoods, and we can’t wait to see what magic arrives.

It is always a little sad to see things go away in Walt Disney World, but the new and exciting experiences that are coming or have already shown up in the Parks are full of magic.

Although goodbyes are hard, we are excited to say hello to all that is coming in the future at Walt Disney World.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.