Whether you’re planning your next trip or hoping to be inspired to book one, we’ve got all the Walt Disney World updates you need. We’re here to report what offerings have returned and what’s still missing at Walt Disney World Resort so you can be informed when planning your next trip or considering a visit. August brings more magic back to Walt Disney World Resort, providing the opportunity to dine at some favorites again. Remember there’s still a celebratory overlay happening that you can read about in our guide to the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration. Enjoy these Walt Disney World August 2022 updates and getting caught up on all of the latest. And, if you’re planning one, have a magical trip!
Walt Disney World August 2022 Updates
Continued Reopenings at Walt Disney World Resort
Victoria and Albert’s Reopened July 28th at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, guests have the opportunity to enjoy more than one incredible dining experience. Victoria and Albert’s, named after the eighteenth century British monarch Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, has finally reopened. This Victorian themed restaurant is said to offer the finest dining at Walt Disney World Resort. It’s also been celebrated as one of the best dining establishments in the state of Florida. Victoria and Albert’s had been closed for years and opened with a refurbished look, still elegant of course. A live harpist is a notable part of the experience that guests can enjoy on their visit. Visuals shared by Disney made sure to picture the harp present in the updated space.
The prix-fixe menu starts at $295.00 per person with the option to add wine pairings starting at $150.00 per person. There are more than 500 wines from 35 regions at Victoria and Albert’s. Guests can make reservations online or by calling (407) 939-3862. Reservations are required and the exclusivity of this restaurant makes them challenging to get. There is a dress code and guests must be age 10 or older. See Victoria and Albert’s for more information.
Walt Disney World Railroad Cast Members are Back!
We still don’t have an opening date for the Walt Disney World Railroad but we do have confirmation that things are picking up steam. The verified Walt Disney World Cast and Community Facebook page shared this in July:
“Our week started off on the right track! Our first group of Magic Kingdom Cast Members began TRAINing – the next step in the ongoing process to restore the Walt Disney World Railroad. Welcome aboard, and welcome home Engineers!”
What an exciting time for guests, cast members and Magic Kingdom Park! Training for attractions varies but can take a month or more, especially when roles are complex and safety critical. Just because cast members are training again doesn’t mean we can expect to see the ride open any day now. We don’t have an opening date yet but this likely confirms an opening this year, perhaps within just a few months!
The Walt Disney World Railroad serves as an attraction but also as a form of transportation. Trains circle the entire park and give guests a break from walking with options to get on and off in different lands. This attraction has been closed for many years and sorely missed. Construction on TRON Lightcycle / Run seems to be wrapping up and the train tunnel that goes under the entrance of the attraction looks to be nearly complete. Hopefully both attractions will be open in the coming months!
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage Full Show Returns
As of July 31st, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage is all the way back! An altered version of the show had been performed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since it first returned after the closure. Now you can see the full show again with some slight costume updates. Some costumes that were multicolored in the past are now all red. Performers dance together again, Belle and Beast embrace and the fantastical dessert costume has returned to the Be Our Guest scene! If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the show, head on over on your next trip to the park. There’s nothing like seeing the big production numbers with a stage full of talented people. These songs truly are classics and the show is a happy piece of nostalgia and a main event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
More Magic Kingdom Character Meet & Greets
Guests at Magic Kingdom are now able to experience many more character meet and greets. Before the 2020 closure, this park was loaded with opportunities to meet your favorites around every corner. Upon reopening, cavalcades filled the parks at random to give guests a chance to have a distanced interaction. In the spring of 2022, Disney announced characters would once again begin greeting guests at a regular distance, hugs included. The positive change and bringing character meet and greets back to normal was expected to take place in a transitional phase through early summer. It’s taking a bit longer than expected, with some character meals returning in the fall of 2022 and others unannounced, but additional opportunities to meet characters do continue to return regularly.
Merida has returned to greet guests in her themed area at Magic Kingdom Park. She’s located just off the path on the right side of the castle near the tea cups attraction. This meet and greet is beautifully themed in an outdoor setting. During a visit shortly after Merida returned to do meet and greets in this space, no times were listed on the sign for the area. Instead it said she appeared intermittently.
Peter Pan has also returned to Fantasyland! At first, the boy who never grew up was making random appearances around Fantasyland, walking among guests. Now Peter Pan is back in his regular meeting spot on the side of the Peter Pan’s Flight attraction near the Tangled themed restrooms. Guests can pose with Pan in front of the beautiful Neverland map on the wall. No times are listed in the app at the time this post was written but Peter Pan typically appears earlier in the day.
The spontaneity of characters popping up seems fun if it’s an added bonus. However, if you’re trying to plan your day or meet the needs of little ones, characters not having a set space and time can present a challenge.
While character meet and greets returning is especially exciting for families with children or those who enjoy character meets, it’s much more than that. With the addition of Mickey and Minnie meeting in their 50th anniversary outfits at Town Square, Peter Pan in Fantasyland and more, guests have more to do overall in the park. More entertainment options equals a better disbursement of guests. Every little thing that returns to the parks is a huge win for the overall guest experience. If one travel party chooses to enjoy two character experiences throughout the day, here’s what happens. It’s likely they could spend an hour or more on those experiences. Not only are they making those magical memories for themselves, they’re not in line somewhere else. This shortens lines, gives guests more options and additional chances to experience something personal. More to do in the parks means shorter lines, happier guests and a better time for everyone visiting. Those small entertainment offerings being gone have certainly added to the feeling of the parks being more crowded. As more character meets and entertainment return, I think we can expect the parks to feel lighter and happier.
Fantasmic! Fireworks Testing Seen at Hollywood Studios
In late July, guests may have seen a glimpse of firework testing coming from the Fantasmic! venue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Especially those staying at nearby Disney Vacation Club properties Disney’s Beach Club Villas and Disney’s Boardwalk Villas which are just a short walk away from the park. The popular nighttime spectacular has been closed since the parks shuttered in 2020 but is slated to return this year. Fantasmic! is more of a stage show with characters, an impressive set and interesting special effects than a traditional fireworks spectacular. However, in past versions of the show there have been fireworks in the finale and that is anticipated to return. Aerial footage has shown the moat at the Fantasmic! theater emptied and refilled more than once as major refurbishments took place in the outdoor venue over the last year. At this time no opening date has been announced.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is Now Open!
The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival runs July 14th through November 19th in 2022. This event is included with regular park admission. You can taste cuisines from around the world at this delicious event in World Showcase and beyond. The popular food booths, known as Global Marketplaces, open at 11:00 a.m. each day throughout the festival.
Also new for this festival is a shining show at the front of the park. The lights on Spaceship Earth originally debuted for the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration. Since then, short unique shows have debuted for different festivals and seasons. For Food and Wine this year, a colorful display on Spaceship Earth lights up to the classic Beauty and the Beast song Be Our Guest in French and English!
Some returning festival favorites include the Canadian Cheddar and Bacon Soup and the Filet Mignon from Le Cellier in Canada, Vanilla Creme Brulee from France and the Impossible Slider from Earth Eats. Note that not all of the Global Kitchens will be open at the start of the festival. Coastal Eats, Hawai’i, Mac & Eats and The Noodle Exchange will open August 15th. A new booth this year is The Fry Basket, located near Test Track, where guests can enjoy seasoned regular or yuca fries.
If you just love Epcot festivals, imagine staying just a quick walk or boat ride away from the park. Disney Vacation Club Resorts Disney’s Beach Club Villas and Disney’s Boardwalk Villas are so very close and provide those options! Disney’s Riviera Resort is also just one stop away from Epcot via Disney Skyliner.
Disney Now Using MagicBand+
It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since MagicBands first debuted. Remember when the touch points for FastPass+ were being added around the parks? It all seemed so magical. Now we’re on the next generation of wearable, functional accessories. The new interactive bracelets debuted July 27th and are available at the parks and online to order for your next trip.
MagicBand+ does everything the original does, plus more. It also lights up and has haptic vibrations similar to a phone or game controller. MagicBand+ lights up during nighttime spectaculars, similar to the Glow with the Show accessories, and can be used for interactive scavenger hunt type games.
The new version of MagicBand does more but is a bit more involved. The MagicBand+ needs to be powered on. You can do that by pressing the button on the back once, and then tapping the band to your phone to proceed. This will open, or prompt you to download, the My Disney Experience app. Then you’ll be able to link that MagicBand+ to your Disney account, assign it to you or someone in your party and pair it with your mobile device. You’ll also use the app to make sure your band is charged and see that the software is up to date. For more see MagicBand+.
If the bracelet isn’t your style, you’ve got other options. Guests can use MagicBand+, MagicBand, a Key to the World card or the My Disney Experience mobile app to enter their room or the parks. Make sure your hotel and ticket reservations are linked to your Disney account and that your MagicBand or MagicBand+ is linked if you plan to use it.
Batuu Bounty Hunters Game Debuts at Galaxy’s Edge
Speaking of MagicBand+, there’s an interactive experience at Galaxy’s Edge that uses the new wrist accessory. The Mandolorian show on Disney+ has quite the following and now fans can enjoy a new in park game inspired by it. Your MagicBand+ vibrates and lights up to lead you around Batuu on your quest. Guests use their MagicBand+ wristband and the My Disney Experience app together to play using augmented reality.
New Car Locator Feature Debuts in My Disney Experience App
It’s happened to the best of us. It’s the end of a long park day and there’s only one obstacle between you and your hotel bed: finding your car. There are a thousand things to think about, decide on and remember in a Disney day. Disney parking lots are massive! We’ve discovered just how massive with the absence of trams recently. The lots seem even bigger when you can’t find your car. The new Car Locator feature in the My Disney Experience app will certainly help with that.
How to use the Disney Car Locator: Visit the menu on the bottom right and scroll down until you see Car Locator. Tap on that, login if you’re prompted to, and from there a lot and row number should populate. Location Services are only so accurate so check your row number before confirming. If Location Services is turned off on your device, you can manually enter where you parked to keep that information in the app for when you’ll need it later in the day. The My Disney Experience app is loaded with features. Car Locator will surely help tired guests leaving the parks after magical days.
Boardwalk Bakery Becomes Boardwalk Deli
Disney Vacation Club Members that call Disney’s BoardWalk Villas home have another delicious option to consider at their resort. Disney has shared the BoardWalk Bakery is being reimagined into the BoardWalk Deli. The change will include a new menu. The Disney Parks Blog shared the BoardWalk Deli “is inspired by the delis of the Northeast region, with a menu that takes you on a road trip of classic sweet and savory flavors from New York to the Jersey Shore.” The cannoli treat will be filled to order and has a dainty, chocolate Mickey design place on the filling. The BoardWalk Deli is expected to open late summer.
Carousel of Progress Last Scene Updates
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is a classic attraction in Tomorrowland. Disney fans are seated in a stadium to rotate around the story of a family through time. The final scene in this show has been updated to include new outfits for the family. See if you can spot the changes on your next visit!
PeopleMover Narration Updated
In July of 2022, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover attraction at Magic Kingdom Park received an audio update. The new voice narrates your trip around Tomorrowland, highlighting different attractions and sharing playful information. There are other voices that pop in in with different announcements and details as well. A peaceful, futuristic chime happens before narrations. Nostalgic sounding ads are also part of the ten minute trip. You can relax to the new sounds on your next trip around the highway in the sky.
‘AMA ‘AMA Reopens in Fall of 2022
Here’s an honorable mention to Disney Vacation Club Resort Aulani. Disney has shared that the signature dining restaurant at the Hawaiian resort ‘AMA ‘AMA will reopen this fall. The restaurant is located near the ocean at the resort and is being reimagined. Guests can expect updates to the interior along with a new menu. No official opening date has been shared at this time. Also good to note, Aunty’s Beach House, the kids’ club at Aulani reopened late May of 2022. Both of these offerings returning are sure to make for a fuller visit and better experience overall.
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