Disney loves to introduce new and exciting offerings in the summer. It seems like part of the marketing magic to have something new for guests to book a trip for each summer. Disney often kicks off summer early, coinciding with the many school years that end in May. While you may be a Disney Vacation Club Member and always looking forward to your next magical vacation, it’s helpful to know when attractions are opening and festivals taking place to help you plan your stays. Typically in the past, each summer would have some sort of themed layover celebrating a recent movie as well. That kind of resort wide experience right now is the ongoing 50th anniversary celebration.
Walt Disney World April 2022 Updates
Reopenings Continue at Walt Disney World Resort
If you’ve taken a trip since Walt Disney World reopened in July of 2020 you’ve no doubt noticed the resort has been in different phases of reopening. The last six months have brought a steady parade of openings and opening announcements including many more restaurants and shows.
Spyglass Grill at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort reopens April 14th. This is just a Skyliner ride away from DVC resorts Beach Club, Boardwalk and Riviera, adding another dining option to the area.
Disney has also shared that Victoria and Albert’s will reopen this year. There’s a lot going on at the Grand Floridian with the renovation of rooms but still no mention of the Grand Floridian Tea Room reopening or Grand Floridian Orchestra returning. However, the Disney Vacation Club addition of more studios is well underway. It’s been said that the regular guest rooms that are being refurbished will be done in the same style as the new Mary Poppins Returns themed DVC Resort Studios. As for timing on the new style of villas, Disney Vacation Club says the all new Resort Studios will debut late June of 2022.
We finally have an opening date for Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review! This celebrated, historical dinner show will return to Fort Wilderness June 23rd with reservations available starting May 26th.
In entertainment news, Fantasmic is set to reopen this year but we don’t yet have an opening date. The tumble monkeys and the aerial bird duo are also set to return to A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King but we’re not sure when exactly.
There are still many shows, shops and restaurants that have yet to reopen but at the rate Disney is moving, things could be back to pre-pandemic glory during the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration which ends spring of 2023.
It’s been announced that the cultural representative program is returning with the first wave of individuals arriving in August of this year. This move, along with the many job fairs Disney is hosting, will hopefully help with staffing and ensure continued openings. And the return of international Cast Members to World Showcase will surely enrich the park again! Disney shared intentions to invite back those who had programs that were interrupted by the pandemic. What a happy thought.
Traditional Character Interactions Start to Return April 18th
Disney shared a video of Mickey with open arms, ready for a hug to announce the return of traditional character interactions. Ropes will be removed so guests can greet characters up close once again starting on April 18th. Character hugs, handshakes, high fives and autographs have been a special part of Disney Parks visits for many. This shift to normalcy will also include restoring full character dining experiences which is a big deal to guests.
This proximity change also opens the door for other up close entertainment offerings to return like Citizens of Main Street, Serveur Amusant, Citizens of Hollywood, Green Army Drum Corps, Green Army Patrol, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Pandora Drummers, Pandora Rangers and more. The Dapper Dans have already started stepping back on Main Street, U.S.A. to sing for guests instead of just appearing on the train station or trolley. The magic is healing.
Easter Decor at Walt Disney World
Holiday and seasonal decor create some of the most memorable experiences at Walt Disney World. As Easter approaches there are some cute and pastel pretties to see at Disney Vacation Club properties. Disney’s Contemporary Resort has a display of themed, egg art. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and The Grand lobby has the most impressive chocolate egg display and also a kiosk serving spring time treats. You may see chocolate and Easter egg displays at other DVC properties. Disney’s Beach Club Villas also has a creative display that greets guests in the lobby.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Opens May 27th at EPCOT
We finally have an opening date for Epcot’s newest attraction. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens May 27 at EPCOT! Before then there are a slew of previews scheduled including Disney Vacation Club and Annual Passholder previews for those that are eligible. There is also a D23 preview event and and Walt Disney World President Jeff Vahle announced Cast Member previews. For everyone else, the attraction will officially open May 27th for Memorial Day weekend and is expected to be available as a Lightning Lane offering.
Still No Opening for TRON Lightcycle / Run
Still no date announced for a TRON Lightcycle / Run opening over in Tomorrowland, by the way, but progress seems to be coming along on the exterior. Imagineer Chris Beatty shared this update in March on the Disney Parks Blog:
‘As we begin the next phase of ride testing, we’ll soon start a process known as ‘push/pull,’ where sections of the seven-vehicle train are slowly moved through the entire ride track. Once the track is completely ready, trains will begin launch tests at incremental speeds, with the team eventually working their way up to full-speed launches.’
Another exciting opening that will probably coincide with Tron is the Walt Disney World Railroad which we’ve seen testing for a while now.
EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival Starts July 14th!
Get ready for the return of your favorite small plates. We have EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival dates! The ever growing festival runs from July 14th through November 19th in 2022. Menus are typically released closer to the beginning of the event but now you can at least include this in your trip planning.
Remember the park has the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival running March 2nd through July 4th. That’s a pretty quick turnaround at just ten days in between festivals!
The announcement of the late summer/fall food and wine festival dates, has us thinking about other beloved seasonal offerings in autumn. We should know in the next few months if Walt Disney World plans to bring back Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for 2022 or not. It was sorely missed last year and would certainly delight fans who love to attend. Not-So-Scary has an incredible parade, possibly the best at Walt Disney World, and awesome fireworks. Hopefully we’ll all have the chance to enjoy this Halloween favorite at Magic Kingdom again this year.
More Solar Energy Coming to Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World announced the introduction of more solar energy for the vacation kingdom. This sustainable addition will remove emissions equivalent to taking 29,500 cars off of the road. In a fun solar note, Disney has long been known to include hidden Mickeys in all aspect of its design. The overhead hidden Mickey in the ground in the middle of Disney’s Hollywood Studios has since been altered but one of the ears was Echo Lake. An even more visible hidden Mickey was added via solar panels in Disney World’s last clean energy expansion. Take a look at an overhead GPS view of the area and you can see the Mickey shaped solar field near the intersection of World Drive and Epcot Center Drive. When you drive into Epcot, you’ll see the solar panels on the right though the Mickey isn’t clearly visible from a car window.
Disney PhotoPass Studio Reopens in Magic Kingdom
The Disney PhotoPass Studio at Sir Mickey’s at Magic Kingdom Park has reopened. This photo studio has Disney PhotoPass photographers present to capture classic portraits. Unlike the green screen fun at the Disney Springs Disney PhotoPass Studio, the Royal Portrait Studio behind the castle in Fantasyland has a standard backdrop. This is typically a popular photo spot for commemorating Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experiences which has fans questioning the timing. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique remains unopened at this time. Perhaps the nearby photo studio opening could be a bellwether of fairy godmothers in training getting back to making magic..
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