BREAKING NEWS from D23 for Walt Disney World Plus Updates for your Next Vacation
Updated: Sep 11, 2022
★ Admission tickets can be purchased with start dates through December 31, 2023.
★ Park pass reservations are required in addition to admission, and park hopping begins at 2pm. Officially, both are permanent.
★ Effective August 23, hotel guests and ticket holders will be migrated to the newer park reservations system, joining annual passholders who have been on that system since last September. Now hotel guests and ticket holders will also have the ability to modify park reservations, and park reservations will now be able to include hotel guests, ticket holders and annual passholders.
★ MagicBand+ launched.
Festivals and Special Events
★ Early Entry is available for Guests staying at any Deluxe Resorts for EPCOT and Magic Kingdom. Check My Disney Experience for dates.
★ The EPCOT Food and Wine Festival will run through November 19.
★ The EPCOT Festival of the Holidays will begin November 25. Disney hasn’t provided further details about that festival or later festivals, but it is a good guess that the Festival of the Holidays will continue through December 30, and that the International Festival of the Arts will therefore probably begin on January 13.
★ Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will take place at the Magic Kingdom with remaining dates: August: 26, 30; September: 2, 5, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30; October: 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31. Guests without party wristbands will be escorted from the park starting at 6PM, when regular park hours end. Enchantment fireworks will not be presented. The party will run from 7PM to midnight. An extra surcharge special event, Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Dessert Party, will be offered at Tomorrowland Terrace. (Message for tickets and availability)
★ Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will take place at the Magic Kingdom November: 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 27, 29; December: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22. Guests without party wristbands will be escorted from the park starting at 6PM, when regular park hours end. Enchantment fireworks will not be presented. The party will run from 7PM to midnight.(Message for tickets and availability)
Nighttime Spectaculars, Stadium Shows and Parades
★ At the Magic Kingdom, the permanent fireworks show is Disney’s Enchantment, which is presented almost every night. (Public) dessert parties and fireworks cruises have returned. Special fireworks dining packages and viewing parties are offered at California Grill. A D23 announcement this weekend the Popular anthem “Happily Ever After” will play again when an updated nighttime spectacular returns to light up the skies over Cinderella Castle in 2023. Now we do not know if it will replace Disney Enchantment or if they will be adding parts of the show into the current show. Since Disney Enchantment debut the show has been constantly changing.
★ At Hollywood Studios, Disney Movie Magic and Wonderful World of Animation (projection shows with some pyrotechnics) are presented in Hollywood Studios most nights. It is not clear whether Star Wars Galactic Spectacular will return.
★ Fantasmic will return in 2022; the theater is currently undergoing major renovations. In late May, Disney refilled the moat again, and in August they have been testing the pyrotechnics. Cast training has begun so it's shouldn't be too much longer before we catch it again.
★ At Animal Kingdom park, Tree of Life Awakenings is a projection show that operates seasonally (most consistently in the winter, when the park itself is open significantly beyond sundown), celebrating the eternal balance and harmony that exists in all living things.
★ Harmonious, EPCOT's current nighttime spectacular, will soon be replaced with 100 Years of Wonder Nighttime Spectacular. This is part of the 100 years celebration of Disney!
Live Entertainment and Tours
★ Live stage shows currently operating at all 4 theme parks include: The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, Festival of The Lion King (the Tumble Monkeys and the aerialist dancer have returned!), Beauty and the Beast Live On Stage, and a reimagined Finding Nemo musical called “The Big Blue and Beyond”. Other live stage entertainment currently operating: Feathered Friends In Flight!, Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, Turtle Talk with Crush.
★ “Let the Magic Begin” on the castle stage in the Magic Kingdom continues as the opening stage show. “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” is now being presented on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage, multiple times a day.
★ KiteTails is now being presented as shorter and more frequent performances, supplemented by character flotillas, rather than as individual, scheduled shows.
★ Other continuing and returning live entertainment includes: Dapper Dans on Main Street USA; the piano in front of Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom; the JAMMinators and Alberta Bound on the Mill Stage in Canada; Voices of Liberty in the rotunda; Mariachi Cobre in Mexico; Sergio, the juggler in Italy; drummers in Japan in Epcot; DiVine, Tam Tam drummers, and other live music in Africa and Asia in Animal Kingdom park. Also: Yeehaw Bob (and Mickey Beignets) at Port Orleans; Jellyrolls; evening performers on the BoardWalk.
★ Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground has returned.
★ Disney announced that they plan to continue to reintroduce regular character greetings, “in phases throughout the spring and early summer.” Minnie Mouse recently joined Mickey at the Town Square Theater, and Peter Pan and Snow White returned. Later this year, we can expect to see Aladdin, Jasmine, Merida, Pooh, Tigger, and the Great Goofini at the MK; and Toy Story toys at HS. Donald’s Dino-Bash will return to Animal Kingdom.
★ Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney is now being presented at Disney Springs.
★ Enchanted Extras Keys to the Kingdom, Caring for Giants, Wild Animal Trek, Up Close with Rhinos, Savor the Savanna, Starlight Safari have returned. Behind the Seeds and Dolphins in Depth return October 1st.
★ Disney officially announced through one of its official IGs that International exchange cast members have returned to WDW. They will now begin training. We can hope to see more country-specific entertainment and cultural interaction in EPCOT and Animal Kingdom park soon.
★ Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Jedi training have both been removed from the official WDW website, indicating a strong likelihood that neither will return.
★ Announced in summer 2019, the Disney Genie service and its component front-of-line-access premium services (Genie+) began on October 19, 2021. On November 23, 2021, Disney fixed the bug that was leveraged for the main Genie+ stacking hack. Since June 8, 2022, advance purchase of Genie+ is no longer offered. FastPass will not return.
★ Remy's Ratatouille Adventure, Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, Expedition Everest, Frozen Ever After, and Space Mountain will remain as Genie+ attractions going forward, instead of going back to being Individual Lighten Lane attractions as originally indicated.
★ Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind roller coaster is officially open in EPCOT. Access to the attraction is by way of Individual Lightning Lane service (for the Lightning Lane) and virtual queue (for the standby line), only. There is no walk-up access to this attraction at this time.
★ Canada Far and Wide will not be operating from the end of June until mid-November. As has been the case during the Food and Wine Festival, the venue is used as a festival venue instead.
★ Star Wars Launch Bay has reopened featuring Vader, Chewbacca and BB-8.
★ Construction on the new Journey of Water attraction, Dreamers Point and Festival Hall in World Celebration in EPCOT is well underway. Just released from D23: a beautiful giant Te Fiti figure that will actually be part of the attraction. This new attraction is all set to open in Late 2023!
★ Construction on the Tron roller coaster continues and recently announced it will be opening SPRING 2023.
★ The Magic Kingdom Railroad is currently not operating due to Tron construction. In the latest news, track is now beginning to be laid inside the tunnel under Tron’s loading area, and cast member training has begun.
★ Magic Kingdom to get new lands that are in the development stages. "Coco", "Encanto" and Disney Villains. The concept art looks like it will be constructed behind Big Thunder Mountain and will replace Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer's Island.
★ Disney's Animal Kingdom will also see a change. Dinoland USA will soon become "Moana" and "Zootopia". The concept drawings are showing this will be a massive expansion of the park! Imagineers state these are in the developmental stages at this time.
★ Effective since Summer 2021, Rider Switch allows only the waiting guardian and one other to ride.
★ Typhoon Lagoon has reopened as Blizzard Beach went down for its annual refurbishment. It does not appear that both water parks will be operating at the same time this year.
★ Blizzard Beach will reopen eventually, though: We can see from aerial photography that there is massive refurbishment going on, including the replacement of major portions of Teamboat Springs.
★ Disney has announced that the upcoming Princess and the Frog attraction replacing Splash Mountain will be called Tiana's Bayou Adventure, and it will open in late 2024. Still no details on when the existing Splash Mountain attraction will close.
★ Takumi-Tei, Monsieur Paul, 1900 Park Fare, Akershus, Marrakesh, Garden View Lounge have not yet reopened. All other dining venues have reopened.
★ Narcoossee is closed for a refurbishment extending into next year, when an “enhanced” table service experience will be offered.
★ Teppan Edo appears to have suspended dinner service, showing hours for lunch but not for dinner going forward, as well as not offering dinner reservations.
★ Kona Cafe is closed for refurbishment. Mobile Order will be offered.
★ Character dining experiences may be found at Garden Grill (EPCOT; Chip, Dale, Mickey, Pluto), Chef Mickey’s (Contemporary Resort; Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto), Topolino’s Terrace (Riviera Resort; breakfast only; Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy), Hollywood and Vine (Hollywood Studios; breakfast: Roadster Goofy, Vampirina, Fancy Nancy or Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins; lunch, dinner: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy), Tusker House (Animal Kingdom park; Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy), Storybook Dining at Artist Point (Wilderness Lodge Resort; Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and The Queen).
★Figment Meet & Greets will be returning to EPCOT in 2023!
★ Winnie the Pooh and Friends return to lunch and dinner at the Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom) on September 20th. Lilo & Stitch return to breakfast at ‘Ohana (Polynesian Resort) on September 27th. Minnie Mouse and friends return to breakfast at the Cape May Cafe on October 4th.
★ At Cinderella's Royal Table (Magic Kingdom), Cinderella greets guests as they arrive or depart, and at Be Our Guest (Magic Kingdom), the Beast does an occasional greeting to the whole dining room.
★ Reservations are no longer offered for Spice Road Table at EPCOT.
★ Several restaurants have resumed self-service buffets: Boma, Biergarten, Cape May Cafe, Crystal Palace, Ale & Compass. Hollywood and Vine resumes self-service buffet on August 28th. The brunch at Olivia's is scheduled has returned September 1st.
★ Connections Eatery has opened in World Celebration at EPCOT, across the breezeway from the new Creations Shop and Club Cool. The Starbucks at EPCOT has relocated to the Connections Cafe.
★ The dining plan will be offered again but Disney has said nothing else about that since June 2021.
★ Roundup Rodeo BBQ, a new full service restaurant in Toy Story Land, will open in 2022.
★ The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers, a new table service restaurant and bakery, is expected to open on the BoardWalk in 2023. Simultaneous with this announcement, ESPN Club was removed from the WDW website.
Hotels & Transportation
★ Vacation packages and room only hotel stays for 2023 now available.
★ All Disney resort hotels have reopened and are operating. All Disney resort hotel club levels have reopened.
★ The Grand Floridian spa reopened. No other Disney resort hotel spas have reopened or are currently scheduled to reopen.
★ Souvenir Pick-Up (at the front of the park) and Resort Hotel Delivery for purchases of park merchandise are both currently unavailable. Home Delivery shipping service is available for a fee.
★ Skyliner lines will be closed for regular annual maintenance between January 22-29.
★ Feature pools at All-Star Movies, Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans French Quarter will be closed for extended refurbishment in early 2024.
★ All monorails, the Skyliner, Magic Kingdom Ferryboats, Magic Kingdom resort-to-park boats, EPCOT and EPCOT resorts Friendship boats, and Disney Springs resort boats are operating. Buses are operating between Disney resort hotels and Disney theme parks, as applicable.
★ Parking lot trams are operating at the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, and will return to other parks later in 2022.
★ Minnie Vans have officially returned.
★ Mears Connect replaced Disney's Magical Express: $16 for adults, $13.50 for children, one way. Sunshine Flyer competes with it: $16 for adults, $10 for children, one way.
★ Harmony Barber Shop and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in the Magic Kingdom have reopened. The other two BBB locations will reopen later.
★ The Disney Visa photo spot has reopened in Epcot.