As another year ends, we turn the chapter to 2022. What can Walt Disney World fans expect from the New Year? Here’s a list of a few new, returning, and disappearing experiences at the Theme Park to prepare yourself for your 2022 Disney vacation.
The 50th Anniversary Continues
No surprise here! While Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary was on October 1, 2021, Disney has promised a full 18 months of celebrations, which means we can expect the party to keep rolling right through 2022 into April 2023. So, if you haven’t planned your 50th Anniversary vacation to “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” just yet, just yet, you can still get in on all the action in 2022.
Disney Genie Is Here to Stay
2022 will be the first full year with Disney Genie in place. The Disney Genie complimentary service via the My Disney Experience App will continue to help Guests navigate and optimize their Disney Park day. The Disney Genie+ looks like it will remain at $15 per person as we’ve said goodbye to the former complimentary FastPass system. And a la carte Lightning Lane attractions don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
End of Disney’s Magical Express
Well, this isn’t a very exciting piece of 2022 news. Disney’s complimentary transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport and Disney World Resorts is coming to an end on January 1, 2022. This massive Disney Resort Guest perk disappearing is extremely disappointing. Guests will, however, be able to take advantage of a Mears transportation offering… but it will cost Resort Guests.
Expedition Everest Lengthy Refurb
The popular roller coaster Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, located in the Asia portion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will be closed for a lengthy refurbishment. Mark your calendars as this attraction will remain closed beginning January 4, 2022, through mid-April.
ALL Park Trams Return
It is FINALLY happening! Magic Kingdom Park trams are returning to the Transportation and Ticket Center in December 2021. Disney has also confirmed that in 2022 trams at EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will return.
A new MagicBand is on the way in 2022. Disney has announced MagicBand+ will be coming soon and will be interactive both in the Theme Parks and beyond, including the interaction with the Disney Fab 50 character sculptures located throughout the four Parks. MagicBand+ will also light up during fireworks and can be used within select lands in the Parks, such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Amazon and Disney Collaboration
Another piece of new technology is coming to Walt Disney World in 2022. Whether you’re at home or in one of the Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms, you’ll soon be able to use an Echo device to interact with your favorite Disney, Pixar, or Star Wars characters with a simple “Hey, Disney!” The new technology boasts more than a thousand magical interactions to discover.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser
Disney’s highly-anticipated Star Wars hotel will be opening on March 1, 2022. The two-night voyage with Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will immerse Guests into Star Wars storytelling as Guests experience an itinerary that is said to be unlike any other. Prepare for unique dining, lightsaber training, new Star Wars characters, and much more from this Disney Resort hotel.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
EPCOT is currently in the midst of a massive transformation. We’ve seen EPCOT’s new four neighborhoods take shape, and now, we’re preparing for the addition of a roller coaster in the World Discovery neighborhood. Disney has announced Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open to Guests in the Summer of 2022.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been missing a nighttime spectacular since the Park closed in March 2020 due to COVID. As we roll into 2022, Disney has announced Fantasmic! Will, in fact, be returning! While Disney has yet to say exactly when the fan-favorite entertainment will return, we feel like this one has been worth the wait.
Festival of Fantasy & Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire
Two Magic Kingdom entertainment experiences are on their way back to the Park in 2022! Festival of Fantasy is the iconic parade that fills the Park with stunning floats and characters as it wows Guests. Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire is a sweet stage show held in front of Cinderella Castle that offers a chance to see characters dancing and performing in a storytelling experience. Both will return in 2022 with no confirmed start date just yet.
Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!
Finding Nemo: The Musical has been closed since COVID closures. The theater has remained quiet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom ever since. Disney recently announced, however, that Finding Nemo will, in fact, return with a new story called Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! While we know 2022 is confirmed, Disney has yet to set the debut date of the new stage show.
Connections Café and Eatery
A new restaurant is on the way to EPCOT in 2022! Disney has announced a new quick-service restaurant called Connections Cafe and Eatery will be coming to EPCOT’s World Celebration neighborhood. Menu and pricing details have yet to be revealed, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on what to expect from this new eatery.
The above experiences have been confirmed by Disney to arrive at Walt Disney World in 2022. Other experiences we truly hope will arrive in 2022 include the highly-anticipated TRON Lightcycle / Run roller coaster currently being constructed in the Tomorrowland portion of Magic Kingdom. Along with the opening of TRON, we also hope to see the Walt Disney World Railroad return, as its lengthy refurbishment has been caused by TRON’s construction. We’re also keeping a close eye on Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. The experience still has much uncertainty surrounding it, but as we’ve seen construction underway, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the attraction will be opening in 2022.