Spooky season is in full swing with pumpkins in Magic Kingdom and Halloween parties happening every week! What else is going on these days at the most magical place on earth? Whether you’re planning your next trip or hoping to be inspired to book one, we’ve got all the Walt Disney World updates to keep you in the know. We’re happy to report on offerings that have returned and also share updates on what’s still missing at Walt Disney World Resort. We want you to be prepared and to know what to expect, or not expect, on your next trip. 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 2022 updates and getting caught up on all of the latest. And, if you’re planning one, have a magical trip!
Walt Disney World September 2022 Updates
Continued Reopenings at Walt Disney World Resort
D23 Expo Announcements
The D23 Expo Disney fan event takes place September 9th, 10th and 11th in Anaheim, California right next to Disneyland Resort. This is typically the time many announcements are made regarding Disney Parks, resorts, movies, merchandise and more. We’re looking forward to lots of potential reopening news, updates on upcoming offerings and brand new announcements. We have additional coverage of all of the D23 Expo Disney Parks Announcements!
Fantasmic! has been closed since Walt Disney World Resort shuttered in 2020. In late 2021, Disney announced the celebrated show would return in 2022. Firework testing has been seen over the venue in recent months. On August 31st, Disney shared that rehearsals have begun for the show. We’ve got to be close!
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Now Open at Magic Kingdom
On August 25th, Fairy Godmother’s Apprentices started making their special magic again at Magic Kingdom. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside Cinderella Castle is now open for little guests to receive makeovers once again! Be sure to book this popular offering in advance. Guests are able to book 60 days out. You can now search Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in the My Disney Experience app to book. From there you can select a range of dates you’re interested in booking. This is a pretty nice touch compared to searching individual meals for dining reservations.
The Disney Springs and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa locations remain closed with no opening date at this time. Remember Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experiences are just for young guests but the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street offers services for guests of all ages.
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is Back in Full Swing
We’ve been covering Walt Disney World making its comeback each month. It felt like a huge step when Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party was announced. As the phased reopening has continued, Halloween and Christmas parties were sorely missed. Good times are here again and Not-So-Scary has all the fun you remember and then some. The Festival of Fantasy parade returned earlier this year and, while it’s a fuller experience than when it initially returned, elements are still missing. This raised some questions about Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade. When the Halloween party was announced, Disney did a great job including all the party would entail, seemingly letting guests know this event would return in full. On opening night, Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade brought all of the spooky, magical fun we’ve been missing. The entire parade appeared featuring highlights like the Haunted Mansion ballroom dancers, grave diggers making sparks fly with their shovels, the skeleton band and, of course, Disney villains. It’s such a delight to have a night parade at Magic Kingdom again. Boo-To-You marks the first full parade to return and the first night parade in years. Also returning are the Haunted Mansion characters on the lawn, live pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean queue and attraction and silly fun inside the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. The fireworks are a highlight of Not-So-Scary and don’t forget trick or treating! Something new, Max from Goof Troop appears on Main Street, U.S.A. with a dance squad before the parade. He’s dressed as Powerline for Halloween! How refreshing to get pre-pandemic quality, complete experiences again! Let’s hope we continue to hear of more entertainment, restaurants and shops returning soon so the rest of the World, Disney World that is, can also shine its brightest. This is definitely a big, positive step forward. If you’ve been waiting to make your return, I’ve got a great feeling about things going forward.
People are certainly excited Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is back because more nights have sold out and earlier than ever. Typically Halloween night is very quick to sell out and a few other nights as well like opening night. In 2022, the event quickly sold out! The price for this event has gone up quite a bit but Disney Vacation Club Members and Annual Passholders can still save on select nights. When you’re logged into your Disney account, discounts you are eligible for will appear when you’re selecting tickets.
Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane Updates
Previously we’ve shared updates to the Disney Genie+ service including that it is now only available for purchase beginning at midnight on the day of your visit. Upon launching, Disney Genie+ could be purchased as a ticket add on. Another change implemented this year is that it’s now also possible that Disney Genie+ can sell out on any given day as the number sold has been capped. As with any new technology or other major operational park changes, adjusting the process is necessary once it’s put into play and issues are uncovered. Fortunately, positive adjustments have been made by the company. To roll out an offering that alters the guests’ day this much is a huge undertaking and Disney continues to work to make using both Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes available for purchase individually a better experience.
Upon launching, each theme park had two attractions that guests had to buy Lightning Lanes for individually outside of using Disney Genie+. After guest feedback, over the summer Disney brought that number down to one attraction per park. This change increased the number of popular attractions that guests can access using Disney Genie+. Summer is the busiest time at Walt Disney World Resort and the change originally launched just for the season. Disney has now decided to keep the change for longer than originally anticipated. This adds some perceived value to Disney Genie+ considering an additional Lightning Lane for a major attraction is now included in each park. Now the one individual, or a la carte, Lightning Lane in each park is as follows: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at Epcot, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Based on recent patterns, when Tron Lightcycle/Run opens we can anticipate that it will not be included in the Disney Genie+ lineup. Instead, Tron will probably have be an individual Lightning Lane and use a virtual queue. This is the opening model used for Cosmic Rewind. Virtual queues do not have an additional charge and can be helpful timesavers. While Rise of the Resistance boarding groups were very challenging to obtain upon opening, Cosmic Rewind seems to be easier to get, especially mid-week. Hopefully the process will continue to be polished for the Tron opening. At that time, we will see if Disney keeps the one per park a la carte Lightning Lane going or goes back up to two at Magic Kingdom with Mine Train and Tron.
At $15 per person, per day, it’s helpful to keep up with the attractions Disney Genie+ includes. You may not need it every day at every park, especially if it doesn’t include the top attraction your party is most looking forward to.
Park Pass Reservation Updates
Some updates have been made to the Walt Disney World Resort park pass reservation system that may affect your next trip. Previously, park pass reservations could only be cancelled and remade if you wanted to change days or parks. It appears most guests can now modify reservations. As of now, larger groups can also make reservations together. Note these things have changed before and will probably change again. With continual updates, it looks like the extra step of having to make a reservation to visit a Disney Park, in addition to purchasing a ticket, is here to stay for now.
Disney Cruise Line Character Meet and Greets Return to Normal
Let’s step out to sea for a moment to chat about some Disney Cruise Line updates. Disney announced in early 2022 that character meet and greets would start to return to normal this year. We’ve slowly seen character meet and greets either return or have modifications removed so guests could greet their favorites up close again. As of August 29th, 2022 all character meet and greets on Disney Cruise Line have returned to normal. This means hugs and high fives for all who have missed them!
Disney Enchantment Schedule Update
Magic Kingdom will change its firework show time again this season. On October 17th, Disney Enchantment will move up to 8:15 p.m. During the summer, it gets dark very late in Florida and nighttime spectacular times are often later in the evening for optimum guest viewing. Now through October 15th, Enchantment is at 9:00 p.m. Note that it’s important to plan Magic Kingdom park visits and firework viewing carefully during the fall and winter when Halloween and Christmas parties are happening throughout the week. Regular firework shows do not take place on party nights as the park closes early.
Room Reservation Changes
Changes have been made to the policy regarding how far out guests can make a reservation for just a room, not a vacation package, at Walt Disney World Resort.
“Beginning Aug. 19, 2022, room-only reservations can only be booked as far out as annual product release dates. As a result, you will no longer be able to book room only reservations beyond released annual product dates.
Beginning August 19, guests may book room-only stays through our current available booking window, which goes through Dec. 31, 2023. For guests wishing to book past our current available dates, new annual packages and expanded date availability typically becomes available in late spring.”
These changes have no affect on Disney Vacation Club stays booked with points. For those considering buying a contract, Members can book a stay on points at their home resort eleven months out. Eligible Members can book stays at other resorts seven months out based on availability.
Property Wide Improvement Projects
After a difficult few years, Disney has been moving full speed ahead with improvement projects this summer. The Tower of Terror shaped one of a kind billboard on World Drive did not make the cut and was demolished. The unique Disney Vacation Club billboard featuring Goofy driving a red van was surrounded with scaffolding late summer, seemingly being refurbished and painted blue. The lighthouse at Disney’s Yacht Club and Disney’s Beach Club resorts also received some attention. A scaffolding surrounded the iconic visual this summer as well. Disney Parks and destinations are known for their cleanliness and superb upkeep. Still, it’s a massive undertaking to keep the roses red, fences white and everything else spit spot as Mary Poppins would say. Take a look around on your next trip and you may notice things feelings shiny and new as improvement projects continue around Walt Disney World property.
Kona Cafe Under Refurbishment
The beloved Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort closed temporarily beginning in August for a refurbishment. This restaurant is located on the second floor of the lobby and opens to the fabulous chandeliers in the space. A limited Kona menu is available through mobile ordering while the restaurant is closed. From Disney: “We expect to return in fall 2022 with an enhanced table-service experience. In the meantime, we invite you to use Mobile Order service through the My Disney Experience app to order select breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings from Kona Cafe To Go, which can be picked up next to Kona Island.”
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Continues
All of the Global Kitchens are now open at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Coastal Eats, Hawai’i, Mac & Eats and The Noodle Exchange opened August 15th. Though typically associated with fall, the festival has started earlier each year with 2022 stretching to a mid July debut. This extended time frame gives you plenty of time to make the rounds of World Showcase and explore all of the delicious options. The following musical acts are scheduled to perform in September as part of the Eat to the Beat concert series at the America Gardens Theater. This is included with your ticket.
September 2 and 3
Kris Allen & David Cook
September 4 and 5
September 9 and 10
September 11 and 12
Los Amigos Invisibles
September 16 and 17
September 18 and 19
September 23 and 24
September 25 and 26
September 30 and October 1
Boardwalk Deli Update
The BoardWalk Deli has reopened at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort! This quick service, grab and go dining option was formerly the BoardWalk Bakery. More on the new menu items in our post BoardWalk Deli Open at Disney World. This Disney Vacation Club property is in a prime location within walking distance of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. See DVC resale BoardWalk listings for current pricing and availability.
DVC Resale Experts Make Magic
DVC Resale Experts is a licensed real estate broker with a team that specializes in resale DVC. You can expect pixie dusted service from our licensed real estate agents who are former Disney Vacation Club Guides. It’s possible to save thousands buying a resale DVC contract compared to paying the full price directly from Disney Vacation Club. See our resale DVC listings for a live look at the market. If you don’t see your dream contract, get in touch and join the DVC Resale Buyer Wish List to be contacted when it magically appears on the market. Considering selling your Disney Vacation Club contract? Contact the Experts for a complimentary valuation of your contract, the first steps on listing it and answers to any questions you may have about the process.