Disney Parks have been on a wild ride over the last few years. Haven’t we all. There have been high highs, like the ongoing Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration, and low lows, like closing completely. Disney has had a slow but steady rebuilding over the last 18 months and January of 2022 is looking pretty good. We have a detailed post with what’s coming to Disney World in 2022 but there are always little changes and big announcements from month to month. Let’s take a look at how Walt Disney World is kicking off the year.
Walt Disney World January 2022 Updates
January 2022 Disney World Refurbishments
Disney World has a lot to maintain and that sometimes means we may have to miss out on something during a magical visit. Here’s a look at things that are temporarily down in January to help you set expectations and plan your trip. Note that this doesn’t include shows and attractions that have not yet returned or opened since Disney reopened in 2020.
Splash Mountain is closed through February 10th for routine maintenance. Water rides need regular refurbishing. Then add the drop and there’s even more to keep up. No additions or changes to the attraction or story are expected at this time.
Another big thrill ride at Animal Kingdom is also currently down for an extended refurb from January through April. Many were surprised this closure didn’t happen just a bit later after Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend as many runners hop on Everest during the big race! No major changes have been announced at this attraction either.
Blizzard Beach has closed for an annual refurbishment in early January. Water park fans are in luck, though, because Typhoon Lagoon opened in its place. It’s the first time Typhoon Lagoon has been open since March 2020.
The Disney Skyliner is undergoing a refurbishment on the Riviera to Epcot line this month. Disney shared the following: ‘From January 23 through January 28, 2022, Disney Skyliner service between Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort and Epcot will be out of operation for refurbishment. Complimentary bus service will be available.’
The Samawati Springs pool at the Kidani Village Disney Vacation Club building at Animal Kingdom Lodge is under refurbishment from January through April 2022.
Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary Celebration Foods
The Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration is 18 months long but not all offerings will last throughout the entire celebration. The party kicked off with a nearly uncountable amount of themed food offerings throughout Walt Disney World resort. On January 10th, 2022 some of those original offerings were replaced with a new slate of fun and celebratory desserts, snacks and meals. The Orange and Almond Tart at Pinocchio Village Haus is a new dessert themed to it’s a small world. Fans of the tea cups will love the Always Tea Time Slush at Cheshire Café that looks like Mad Hatter’s hat. See more of the delightful party food on Disney Park’s Instagram post.
Continued Disney Reopening Efforts
As each month passes it seems like we get word of additional offerings returning to Disney. At this point, some of the main things we’re waiting to see return are restaurants, including quite a few signature dining spots at Disney Vacation Club Resorts, and temporarily unavailable entertainment in the parks.
Runners at the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday January 9th got quite the surprise at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As participants neared mile 22, Sunset Boulevard had some memorable and missed quintessential Disney entertainment. Before the close of March of 2020 the Citizens of Hollywood was an atmospheric show that happened daily around the front of the park. This comedic improv show has remained on Disney’s list of temporarily unavailable entertainment since the closure. During the race, Citizens of Hollywood Betty Shambles, Paige Turner, Ace Victory and a new starlet cheered runners on among the glitz and glitter of Hollywood. runDisney says there’s magic every mile and that was certainly true for fans here after not seeing these characters in the park for nearly two years. Here’s to hoping the entertaining group will return to Hollywood permanently soon!
Rumors have swirled the internet about Walt Disney World spas over the last few months. First after Disney posted a spa related position in Florida on the Disney Careers website and again as work permits were pulled for Senses Spa at the Grand Floridian. Over on the west coast, the spa at the Grand Californian is open. Let’s hope we get that little piece of normal over here soon. Pedicures, anyone? Update: Disney has announced the Grand Floridian Spa is reopening January 26th! Booking is now available online.
It’s only a matter of time, and staffing, until we hear of another Disney World restaurant reopening. The Disney Parks Blog has been announcing a small collection of restaurants reopening at a time since the parks reopened. December was quite busy with the holidays. Hopefully January, or shortly after, we’ll hear about some of the exciting dining experiences we’ve all missed returning. At Disney Vacation Club Resorts we’re still awaiting the return of luxury dining experiences like Victoria and Albert’s and the tea room at the Grand Floridian, the Flying Fish at the Boardwalk and Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Fingers crossed.
Disney’s Magical Express Ends
After a delightful sixteen year run, Disney’s Magical Express airport shuttle has come to an end. This service was included in the cost of a Disney trip and made the the vacation transportation experience seamless. Pixie dusted motor coaches would pick guests up from Orlando International Airport and take care of the driving to get them to their Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Vacation Club Members included. Luggage could also be delivered to guests rooms instead of passengers having to be responsible for their baggage during travels. We had it all didn’t we! We’ve written more on this topic: What is Disney’s Magical Express Replacement? In addition to the Mears replacement there is also another service stepping in to fill the Magical Express spot. The Sunshine Flyer is a motorcoach fleet themed to 1920s train travel and service begins February 1st, 2022. Both of these options seem to be the best bet at the moment considering the rental car industry has had incredibly long lines, little availability and higher prices recently, especially during peak travel times. There is actual train travel from MCO to Walt Disney World under construction right now. The Brightline is a high speed train expected to begin service in Orlando in 2023 and will have a stop at Disney Springs. There are no solid opening dates at this time.
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