While it feels like summer most of the year in Florida, the seasonal decor usually changes overnight and delightfully surprises guests. In the past, it was possible to visit in late October through early November and see Magic Kingdom dressed for Halloween and Christmas on the same trip. Over the last few years, all of the decorations haven’t been put up and the changeover has happened a bit slower than usual. However, with both seasonal parties back in full swing and more and more returning to Walt Disney World Resort, I think we can start to expect the best again. Whether you’re planning your next vacation or hoping to be inspired to book one, we’ve got the Walt Disney World updates to keep you in the know.
Here on the blog, we aim to keep DVC Members and Disney fans up to date with information that can plus their next magical trip. So what else is going on these days at the most magical place on earth? There’s still a celebratory overlay happening. You can read about it in our guide to the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration. Enjoy these Walt Disney World November 2022 updates and getting caught up on all of the latest. And, if you’re planning one, have a magical trip!
Walt Disney World November 2022 Updates
Continued Reopenings At Walt Disney World Resort
There are still many restaurants, shops, shows, special offerings and more that haven’t returned since Walt Disney World parks and resorts reopened in 2020. We’re happy to include offerings that have not returned in our Disney World updates and also note progress on what’s still missing so you can be informed. We’re also keeping you up to date with what’s back so you can plan different things you’ve missed into your upcoming trips! It feels great to get to enjoy old favorites with the family again.
Fantasmic! Returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on November 3rd!
After years of waiting, Disney fans can now enjoy Fantasmic on their next trip! This is certainly one of the most exciting Disney World updates we’ve seen in a long time. Though quite delayed, the nighttime spectacular is back at an excellent time. The holiday season is so busy at the parks and this is so welcome. Fantasmic is showing nightly again at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and features new additions to the show and a refurbished stage and set. November 3rd through the 7th, showtimes will be at 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Starting November 8th, Fantasmic will go down to one nightly 8:00 p.m. show. November 14th, the single show time will change to 9:00 p.m. This is sure to be popular when it returns! Check show times on the day of your visit in case show times are added and changed.
Fantasmic New Scenes
Disney previously shared the show would have the former Pocahontas scene removed and additional changes added upon returning. If you have Frozen fans in the group, this one’s for you. From the Disney Parks Blog: “The new heroes sequence features a high-energy Aladdin chase with stunts never before seen on the ‘Fantasmic!’ stage, a powerful scene with Elsa set to the song ‘Show Yourself’ that is sure to thaw the most frozen of hearts, and stirring moments with Pocahontas, Moana and Mulan.” Aside from these to look forward to, the theater has had light, laser and audio upgrades. The Disney website says Moana, Frozen 2, Mulan, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King are among featured films.
Fantasmic returning is a big deal in terms of guest distribution throughout the four parks. Hollywood Studios has gone without a nighttime show for years now. With less entertainment offerings than in the past, the park flow would allow many guests that arrived at park open to finish early in the day. Without a nighttime show, there wasn’t a reason to stay all day for lots of visitors. This kind of half day itinerary would encourage park hopping. Now with three nighttime spectaculars each night, I’ll be curious to see how our park days are impacted. Surely, crowds at Magic Kingdom and Epcot nighttime spectaculars will be a little lighter. With the addition of Fantasmic to a day at Hollywood Studios, park goers can once again enjoy a full open to close Disney day experience in this park!
Fantasmic Viewing Tips
When it comes to planning Fantasmic into your park day, there are some tips you should know. Fantasmic dining packages that include reserved seating will return starting November 30th. You can potentially start to make reservations beginning October 26th. All other guests can arrive up to 90 minutes before the show. You will want to get in line for seating early. It’s in a large outdoor theater with a huge capacity so filling and emptying the space takes time. The Fantasmic theater at Walt Disney World is also a bit of a walk away from the Sunset Boulevard area of the park.
Green Army Drum Corps Returning to Toy Story Land
It’s always a delight to write about entertainment returning to Disney Parks after the closure. The energetic drum line Green Army Drum Corps is marching back to play their show daily again. You may have seen the musical act cavalcade-ing through the park with other Pixar pals throughout the park while Hollywood Studios has been in pandemic mode. Starting Sunday November 6th, the show will return to Toy Story Land bringing live music back to Andy’s backyard. That day, show times are 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Check times on your visit for up to date performances.
Note that this is a completely different offering than the interactive Green Army Patrol show which has not yet returned. The Green Army Patrol featured men and women soldiers which was a much celebrated addition. Props of Andy’s toys and such were also part of the fun. You may have seen the Patrol in front of the Alien Swirling Saucers in Toy Story Land. The Disney Parks Blog explained the Green Army Patrol as a place where “You could get caught up in a game of ‘Sarge Says,’ playing with giant Pixar balls, oversized crayons and other fun props to see if you have what it takes to become an official Green Army cadet.” Hopefully we will see this return soon as well along with other atmosphere entertainment still missing at Studios.
Monsieur Paul Reopens at Epcot
Signature Dining location Monsieur Paul has reopened quite suddenly! This French restaurant in the France pavilion at Epcot offers upscale dinner experiences. Starting Tuesday October 18th, guests were once again able to enjoy the magic of fine dining in this second story spot. In case you’re not familiar, Monsieur Paul is located above the Chefs des France restaurant. The entrance and check in are located in the heart of the France pavilion near L’Artisan des Glaces ice cream.
Monsieur Paul offers a gastronomic prix fixe meal at a price of $195 per adult plus tax and gratuity. Disney says, “the gastronomic meal has developed over centuries, constantly evolving, and has been passed down from generation to generation. The meal entails rites which include the search for good seasonal and local products, references to a codified repertoire of recipes, culinary skills, the setting of a beautiful table, the succession of courses and the pairing of dishes with wine.” The food offerings cater heavily to mature and sophisticated palates with menu items like escargot, mussels and fish. Allergy friendly options are not displayed.
This is particularly exciting for Disney Vacation Club Members who have a home resort at the International Gateway Entrance to Epcot. Disney’s Beach Club Villas and Disney’s BoardWalk Villas both have boat transportation and a walking path to this area. Disney’s Riviera Resort can take you to the Disney Skyliner station right next to the France pavilion at the entrance near the back of World Showcase. For more information and reservations, see Disney’s Monsieur Paul page.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Reopens November 2022
This is among the biggest recent Disney World updates. The Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is a top family dining experience at Walt Disney World Resort. After Disney World closed and reopened in 2020, Akershus remain closed until just this month. Now the Disney Princess character dining experience has finally reopened! Located in the Norway pavilion at Epcot, Akershus serves food with Scandinavian flare. Expect tastes like meatballs, mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce. Dinner prices are posted at $63.00 per adult and $41 per child plus tax and gratuity.
Tusker House Restaurant Returns to Traditional Buffet
As of November 1st, Tusker House Restaurant is once again offering an all-you-care-to-enjoy, buffet. Since reopening, this character meal at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has had a family style food service. The difference is replenish-able plates of different foods are brought to the table at a family style restaurant. Think ‘Ohana where a plate with different items arrives for the table to share. Well now Tusker House is going back to it’s normal operations so guests can graze on their hand picked selections from the buffet. Characters are also back to their normal routines, making the rounds, taking photos, giving hugs and high fives to those who care to interact that way. The characters at Tusker House are in their safari attire and fit perfectly into the park’s wild theme.
Celebrating the Holidays at Walt Disney World Resort
Tis’ the season! In 2022, Christmastime is feeling more like normal with Epcot and Magic Kingdom festivities both back in full swing except for the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights. The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays takes place November 25th through December 30th this year. Festive food booths and storytellers in World Showcase bring the joys of the season to the park. We’ve seen the new Spaceship Earth lights transform seasonally since their debut. I imagine that will happen again for the holidays. Per the usual, this festival is included with your regular park admittance.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party returns this year for the first time since 2019! On certain dates starting November 8th through December 22nd guests can enjoy cookies, cocoa and all of the festive magic Very Merry has in store. Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks show and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade are the two biggest highlights for many party goers. Special character meet and greets offer the chance to take photos with your pals in their holiday best! Parties take place from 7:00 p.m. to midnight but guests can enter as early as 4:00 p.m. Park pass reservations are not required. Ticket prices range from $149 to $199 per adult plus tax depending on the date.
Holiday Sleigh Rides are also back this year at Fort Wilderness. These Horse Drawn Excursions are $75 and usually popular so book in advance. Reservations can be made online or in the My Disney Experience App. Many Disney Vacation Club Resorts have over the top holiday displays. We saw some return last holiday season like the gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. There is just so much holiday cheer at Disney Parks and resorts.
Thanksgiving Meal Offerings at Disney
The holidays are a happening time at Walt Disney World Resort! It can be very busy so you will want to plan ahead, especially if you have particular restaurants where you want to dine. It’s not always easy to see beforehand if a restaurant’s usual menu or traditional holiday foods will be offered but some do share this information early.
For example, Disney shares this about Whispering Canyon on the official website: “On Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, Whispering Canyon Cafe will offer a prix-fixe holiday meal for lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu will be served 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM, and the holiday menu will be served from noon until 10:00 PM.”
Over at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Disney shares this about Steakhouse 71 holiday meals: “On Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, Steakhouse 71 will not offer the lunch menu. On these days, selections from the breakfast menu will be served from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM and the dinner menu will be served from 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM.” This is pretty vague and doesn’t share details pertaining to special food offerings.
Remember, if you didn’t get the reservation you want and there don’t seem to be any left, there’s still hope. A super helpful tip is to always check for reservations the day of or the day before. Many people cancel or change reservations during their trip. This opens up advance dining reservations! So if there is a certain restaurant you want to get in on, it still may be possible so check during your trip.
If you’re flexible and just want to make sure you get a traditional style Thanksgiving meal in, it may be possible to find that kind of offering last minute. Talk to your resort’s concierge to find out where you can get a seasonal meal on your stay.
Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane Prices Increase at Disney Parks
When Disney Genie+ debuted at Walt Disney World, it was $15 per person, per day and could be purchased in advance. Quite a bit has changed with the service as it has evolved. Disney announced that the new paid fast pass program increased in price in October, changing to a dynamic pricing structure. This is similar to tickets in that the price depends on the day you are purchasing for. Basically, Christmas week will cost more than a weekday in September.
So how much are the increases? A quick search on the Disney site doesn’t simply reveal pricing. Because Disney Genie+ is purchased the day of your visit within the app, it’s unclear what pricing will be like. There isn’t a pricing guide with dates. It seems Disney will adjust the price as they see fit and guests will discover the price of the day before purchasing within the My Disney Experience app. So pricing could be anywhere from $15 to more than $20 per person. During the first week of the new pricing structure, Disney Genie+ was $20 most days but also $22 and $18. Disney is clearly still working to find a standard operating procedure that works when it comes to pleasing guests with the new system. Hopefully with price increases we will continue to see the program improved.
More Price Increases Across Disney World
As we roll into the holiday season, guests of Walt Disney World Resort are met with many price hikes. In October, Disney raised prices across the board on many different items. You’ll notice increases on everything from grab and go bottled water to food and beverage in sit down dining locations. Minnie ears have gone up in price and so have refillable resort mugs. Just plan to be flexible with your budget on your next trip knowing prices have gone up by a little, or a lot, in many areas.
Cirque du Soleil Drawn to Life Changes Schedule
The show schedule for Cirque du Soleil Drawn to Life at Disney Springs will be updated starting in the new year. The online calendar for tickets mostly displays two shows on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through the end of the year. Starting in 2023, the new schedule will have the same 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. shows on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays but now two earlier shows on Sundays. Coupled with a beautiful meal at Disney Springs, Drawn to Life makes for the perfect, magical night out. The show combines the creative talents of Cirque du Soleil artists with inspiration from timeless Disney films. You can read more about the show in our Cirque du Soleil Drawn to Life review. We highly recommend the show for Disney fans, family outings, date nights and for anyone who enjoys entertainment.
Kona Cafe Reopens After Refurbishment and Menu Updates
Members who call the Polynesian home will be delighted to discover dining is back in full swing. Kona Cafe in the resort’s open, two story lobby officially reopened on November 1st, 2022. The refurbishment began with a closure in the late summer and Disney intended to provide “an enhanced table-service experience.” Before we go any further, just know that the Tonga Toast is still on the menu! It’s the classic Disney dishes like this that keep us coming back. Now Kona’s menu does have some new items too. Many Disney World updates these days include restaurant refurbishments and new menus.
Tomorrowland Light & Power Co. Reopening
As of November 6th, Tomorrowland Light & Power Co. at Magic Kingdom is set to reopen according to the Disney World calendar. This gift shop at the exit of Space Mountain is in a spot that’s about to become very popular with the opening of the new Tron attraction next door. Shop closures can affect the flow of guests in the park. It should be interesting to see how a day at Magic Kingdom changes when Tron opens in the spring of 2023.
Refurbishment Schedule and Disney World Updates
In September, The American Adventure attraction at Epcot closed for refurbishment. It is now rumored to reopen mid December. Additionally, the train at Magic Kingdom is still down with no reopening date at this time as it has been for years. Disney is usually pretty reasonable about having minimal refurbishments during busy seasons. I wouldn’t expect too much else to be closed through the end of the year. To see refurbishments at the time of your visit, see Disney World calendars, look at the bottom of each park and click on Closed for Refurbishment. This is an excellent way to keep up with additional Walt Disney World updates, closures and openings.
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