Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 4-10, 2022

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 4-10, 2022

 News, Views & Writer's Note

Happy New Year! It's 2022, and I'd sure like to hear from you, our loyal readers, about subjects to cover in future editions of our weekly MousePlanet Walt Disney World Resort Update. MousePlanet has a long tradition of reporting news and views about visiting Walt Disney World in this weekly Update space. I took on the regular responsibility of assembling this page five years ago (and contributed photos and a bit of news for two years before that). Like those that wrote the Updates for the decade and a half before me, I do not use the space to traffic in rumors; I don't craft click-bait headlines, I don't unnecessarily criticize just to gain attention, and I very much care about providing information to make the best of your visits to Walt Disney World Resort.

As regular readers probably know by now, my Resort coverage tends more toward discussions of park operations (like how to navigate the latest changes), attractions, and entertainment. Many Disney fan sites (and fans) focus on merchandise, food and beverage, but those subjects aren't my strengths or interests; I try to make sure to highlight the latest major offerings that I learn about, but I'm neither a merchandise collector nor a foodie.

Before the global pandemic, I typically made it to all four theme parks every week or so, and only missed visiting at all in a given week when I was away from Central Florida. Since the pandemic and the Resort's phased re-opening, my visits are far more occasional because I'm limited by a combination of the capacity restrictions (which continue in some less-than-transparent form by the Disney Park Pass Reservation System and the number of venues/entertainment offerings that haven't reopened), the weather, the crowds, and such. As I continue to be privileged to be invited to a number of media events by Disney, its operating partners, and Give Kids the World Village, and I try to use these opportunities to provide you with useful information about visiting Walt Disney World.

Though I didn't go over to Walt Disney World Resort to ring in the new year, the I still enjoyed some of Magic Kingdom's "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks by watching the Disney Parks live stream, by recording my camera that faces the Magic Kingdom area, and by stepping out on my driveway. Of course, neighbors added fireworks to the sky around Magic Kingdom too. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

So, as I look ahead to this new year that still carries many of the challenges presented in 2020 and 2021, I'd like to hear whether there are things around Walt Disney World Resort that would benefit those coming to celebrate The World's Most Magical Celebration by covering them in future editions of the Update. After all, Walt Disney World isn't small: it's bigger than the city of San Francisco, and there's more to see and more to do than even a local like me gets around to in a whole year even in the best of times. Please provide your comments either below, or on MousePlanet's Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages (either by public comment or private message on any of the social media platforms; sorry, but I no longer receive email from the envelope link atop this page.)

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park Has Reopened

When I published last week’s Update, there was no headline-worthy news to share. By the time I woke up Tuesday morning, however, Walt Disney World finally announced that Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park would finally reopen on January 2, 2022, for the first time since the Resort’s temporary closure back in March 2020. Typhoon Lagoon did reopen over the weekend, and its sibling, Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, closed for its seasonal refurbishment. As I don't have the Water Parks option as part of my Annual Pass and, though the weather was beautiful this weekend, I didn't trek over to Typhoon Lagoon.

Typhoon Lagoon
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon reopened on January 2, 2022, after having been closed since Walt Disney World Resort's temporary closure at the onset of the global pandemic in March 2020. Image courtesy Disney Parks.

Disney Parks Blog noted that Typhoon Lagoon’s reopening is accompanied by some new food and beverage offerings. Most noteworthy, Snack Shack next to Typhoon Tilly’s features a list of all-new frozen-dessert bar menu items, including an opportunity to mix and match your favorite Dole Whip flavors (including mango, pineapple, lime and raspberry) to build your own concoction, which, for adults can also include tequila, coconut rum or dark rum (for an additional charge, of course). There is also a new Moana-inspired Dole Whip cone.

Dole Whips
Guests can now mix several flavors of Dole Whip, and adults can also add alchohol. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.

Several previously announced Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary food and beverage offerings also are now available at Typhoon Lagoon. In my scan of Twitter over the weekend, quite a few folks posted photos and said that they enjoyed the EARidescent Ice Dream Cone, a birthday cake-flavored soft-serve treat. Walt’s Chili Nachos are also available.

EARidescent Ice Dream Cone
The EARidescent Ice Dream Cone celebrates Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.

This & That & Reminders…

…The 2022 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend starts with the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex tomorrow, Wednesday, January 5, and concludes on Sunday, January 9. The Health & Fitness Expo is open to Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend participants and guests during the following dates and times:

  • Wednesday, January 5, 2022: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 6, 2022: Noon – 6 p.m.
  • Friday, January 7, 2022: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 8, 2022: 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Disney Parks Blog has a preview of some of the special merchandise celebrating the Resort's 50th Anniversary available at this year's Health & Fitness Expo.

WDW Marathon Merchandise Preview
The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex from January 5 to 8, will include merchandise celebrating the Resort's 50th Anniversary. Image courtesy Disney Parks.

…D23 Expo, the largest Disney fan event in the world, next celebrates The Walt Disney Company, including the best of Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel across film, television, streaming, theme parks, products, online, music, live entertainment, and more, at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 9, 10, and 11. This seventh edition of D23 Expo will also look at the Company's plans for celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023. Tickets will go on sale on January 20, 2022. Visit this page of D23.com for more information.

D23 Expo

The Usual Writer's Note

Like the rest of the State of Florida, and most other parts of the United States, numerous new cases of the COVID-19 virus were reported over the past weekend here in Orange County, where Walt Disney World Resort is located. There have been no changes in health and safety protocols announced by the State of Florida, which has no vaccine, COVID-19 testing or face covering requirements or business capacity restrictions. The State repeatedly has blocked enforcement of municipal and county-imposed restrictions as well during the course of the pandemic. Private property owners, like Walt Disney World Resort, may set some requirements for visiting its property that you must be aware of if you decide to visit.

If you're traveling to or from overseas, be sure to check with the places you're visiting and traveling from or through for the latest rules. Though the United States government recently loosened international travel restrictions for entering the U.S.A., it's important to check on and abide by the most up-to-date COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements for entering the United States whether as a citizen, permanent resident, or visitor (and who needs a visa).

As for visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney Park Pass reservations are required for admission in addition to a valid ticket. If your tickets have the Park Hopper option, remember that Park Hopping only becomes available after 2 p.m. daily, and only after you have first visited the park for which you have made a reservation that day. There have been instances where Magic Kingdom has reached capacity and paused admission of Park Hoppers, and Disney reserves the right to do so.

Sales of new Walt Disney World Annual Passes have been paused in all categories except the Florida Resident Pixie Dust Pass. Disney reserved the right to pause those sales when it reintroduced its new Annual Passes. Current Passholders may continue to purchase renewals in all tiers regardless of the pause in new sales.

Even with the pause in AP sales and the uptick in COVID-19, it remains unlikely that the Resort will shut down again in the near-term. Disney Parks continue to follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. Remember that Disney does impose guest restrictions that are stricter than those imposed by the State of Florida, and it may impose further restrictions even if the State of Florida does not.

To visit any Disney theme park, Disney Park Pass reservations are still required in addition to valid admission. At Walt Disney World Resort, everyone ages 2 and up are required to wear face coverings in all indoor locations. Outdoors, face coverings are optional in most locations for vaccinated guests, and required for unvaccinated guests. All guests are required to wear face coverings on buses, monorails, and on Disney Skyliner. Walt Disney World Resort encourages guests to get vaccinated, and has mandated vaccination for new hires and existing cast members in most roles.

Here in Central Florida, at this time of year, we often get some of our best weather. But you should be aware that temperatures can range significantly during the day: a 30° to 35° swing across a day or two is not unprecedented, and a 20° change from sunrise to midday is not at all unusual and, in fact, is the forecast for today. At this time of year, it typically rains only occasionally, and, in fact, the weather predictions of rain tend to be more reliable at this time of year than summer. Your mileage may vary.

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Resort Reservations, Ticket Advice & Special Offers

Note: MousePlanet does not edit past Updates to reflect price increases; for up-to-date prices, check the most recent Walt Disney World Resort Update.

This page of DisneyWorld.com features all the offers the Resort has publicly announced.

Annual Passholders can save up to 25% and Florida Residents can save up to 20% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights through March 10, 2022.

Thinking about Hawaii? Walt Disney World Annual Passholders also can save on stays on select rooms over at Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, from January 4 through April 8, 2022: up to 30% for stays of 5 or more consecutive nights, and up to 25% for stays of 4 consecutive nights. (From my personal experience, even as a repeat visitor to Oahu, a week is a good amount of time to spend on the island, particularly if you have a rental car or other transportation arranged.)

Our travel partner Get Away Today is available to help you book rooms and packages, and include its complimentary Concierge Services. More details are here. With Get Away Today's complimentary Price Monitoring, any time a special comes out, it will automatically price check it for each of its guests. If the new special is better, it will automatically apply the new savings and let the guest know. If it's not a better deal, they will leave everything as is, and keep their eyes peeled for future promotions that could save guests more.

You can get a vacation quote from Get Away Today here. (Responses provided in 1 to 3 business days.) You can also call 855-GET-AWAY during regular business hours (Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. MT) and tell them MousePlanet sent you!

Be sure to check out Get Away Today's Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers too.

Get Away Today Logo

Only purchase Disney theme park tickets directly from Disney, an authorized seller, or a travel agency like MousePlanet travel partner Get Away Today! As always, we remind our readers that Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets are rarely offered at deep discounts unless you are a resident of Florida or eligible for U.S. Military Personnel benefits. Historically, non-Florida residents tend to benefit the most by purchasing tickets in advance (and, of course, being mindful of the rules relevant to those tickets). Don't get scammed! Never buy tickets from an unofficial or secondary outlet, such as through eBay or Craigslist. Never rent or purchase tickets from people approaching you outside Disney property stating they have remaining days or leftover tickets. This practice is against the terms of use for Walt Disney World Theme Park admissions, and may result in denial of entry. There is no way to determine if these tickets are valid until you try to use them to enter the parks.



  1. By wdwchuck

    Hey Alan, we definately enjoy your reporting every Tuesday.
    Some of the things we are concerned with are pricing of hotel rooms and pricing of the new Genie Plus system. We don't live in the area and our budget has been hammered by the governments reaction to Covid, so we were wondering if all these changes are going to be permanent. I haven't done a real analysis on resort pricing but it seems to have gone up tremendously and even with the 25% off deals it is so much higher than it used to be. We feel like we are getting squeezed out of staying in the Disney bubble.
    And good for you for not being a Disney Merchandise person. That can really get out of hand.
    Maybe more tips on the best time of year to go to have less crowds from your experience? I am stretching here. I think you do a good job with what we need to know.

  2. By carolinakid

    Disney has priced us out of their deluxes, so we’ve stayed at the Dolphin this year and last. Had a blast.

  3. By wdwchuck

    Quote Originally Posted by carolinakid View Post
    Disney has priced us out of their deluxes, so we’ve stayed at the Dolphin this year and last. Had a blast.

    We've looked at the Swan and Dolphin before but will check them out again. I think the new one is called the "Reserve" and it looks nice too. And you can walk to Epcot and Hollywood Studios easily. Thanks.

  4. By Dave1313

    +1 on appreciating your weekly updates, Alan .

    As to general Resort concerns for 2022 or onward, I probably share the above listed concerns a bit. I'd like to consider on site again someday, maybe.

    As a person who actually enjoys driving while visiting the parks though, Disney had pushed me away from on-site back in 2018 when they added the line charge for parking fees at the hotels anyway. So I had not stayed on site in approximately 3 years when I made my first return for a 5+ day trip (well, 4+ Disney, one Universal) back in mid-October 2021. (I had been staying at a Disney Springs "partner" hotel since then until COVID put my visits on hiatus)

    In my somewhat normal mode of operation, I made these plans on somewhat short notice (I wasn't sure as time went on what I was going to be OK with relating to both COVID itself and also the resulting rules to worry about - so in this case, it was VERY short notice ). So I had considered on-site this trip, but nothing was available for any sort of reasonable rate over the rough dates I was going for by the time I was firming up my plans (literally only a little more than a week before arrival, so fully understandable).

    So I tried Dolphin for the first time. I did spend maybe a little more than necessary to get the "resort view" with a balcony (pretty sure that's the proper name), and I thought it was pretty nice. I was on the 3rd floor (lobby level - which was nice to not need to use the elevators) and had a nice view of the top of Spaceship Earth and also a nice view towards the Boardwalk sign at the walking path on Crescent Lake. I would guess the rate was probably somewhere around Disney Moderate resorts (probably somewhere between $400-450/night with all fees, parking etc accounted for, without actually digging out my bill). While it wasn't open yet when I was there, I checked out rates for the new "Swan Reserve" a little. It looked like those were headed to the $800 or so per night range, so easily approaching Deluxe rates, I think. It's for sure pricier as the "new thing" at the Swan/Dolphin complex (understandable).

    As to other concerns, my key issues in current mode of operation of WDW continue to be the need for reservations and the hopping limitations. I could understand it if Disney was still doing it due to staffing challenges caused by COVID (either not being able to re-hire, or if they have large numbers of CMs who end up having to take days off due to potential exposures(or even worse, actual sickness), etc). It seems plainly clear from people's reports though that Disney is not limiting capacity in the parks out of concerns for safety at this point.

    I've definitely turned into more of a "fly by the seat of my pants" type of visitor over the years (aside from the previous routines of picking 3 Fast Passes for each day, and making some ADRs, with an occasional special tour mixed in). The current limitations just do not support flexibility (at least not before 2PM), so it's a lot less fun for me. I still had a good time and I'm glad I went for my trip, but I'm not ready to get back into multiple trips a year, trying to visit for both Flower and Garden and also Food and Wine, with maybe a short Christmas visit some years.

    So In short, I hope someday Disney decides to go back to the true nature of a park hopper or AP, which is (IMO) paying for the freedom/privilege of visiting whatever park you want whenever you want once you buy the ticket. (Actual limitations for safe park capacity still understood to be a constraint as it always had been, but that happens infrequently enough and on predictable days that I don't consider that a significant limitation)

    Regarding Genie+/ILL, it doesn't thrill me, but it is what it is. It seems like enough people are eagerly forking over their $$ for it, so I'm sure it's not going anywhere. I did find it curious the change of some previously ILL rides to be under the Genie+ umbrella over the busy Christmas time weeks. I half wonder if Disney was trying to lessen the amount of ticking people off who may have a holiday visit as a regular yearly routine. If so, that may be a good sign that it could evolve over time if Disney is actually seeing some sort of negative financial impact in other areas coinciding with the introduction of the program. Since Genie wasn't yet "live" when I went I can't honestly say if I would do it or not, but my leaning is "no". I was not a fan of the Virtual Queue either, which when it ended for RotR is also part of what prompted me to make my trip when I did. Even though I waited around 2 1/2 hours to go on the ride, I knew I would be going in it (unless it broke down of course). I preferred that to having to play the VQ digital lottery each day (particularly when combined with the reservation limitations).

    Last thought(really! ), I'm a little bit of a merchandise person . Just a tee shirt here or there, maybe 2 or 3 pins during a trip for the most part. I am sorry I missed (didn't know to look for it while there) the 50th anniversary Monorail toy. I refuse to pay the huge markup I see them for on eBay, so I hope they may still be available whenever I return.

  5. By asdhollywood

    The only suggestion that I can make on looking at prices is to consider getting a quote from a Disney authorized travel agent like MousePlanet's sponsor Get Away Today. While Disney does not necessarily offer different rates to customers of the agents, agents like GAT study up on the latest changes and know how to get you the best deals.

    As a 20+ year DVC Member, I'm glad I bought my points when I did and I'm glad I stopped by additional points when I did. I was concerned that Disney controls too many of the line items in the condo association's annual dues when I first considered my purchase in 1996 and when I made my first purchase in 2000, and I remain concerned today. There are line items in the annual budget where DVC seems to pass along excessive costs to Members (where another Disney business unit is the recipient of that payment) where if cost negotiations were truly arms-length, there'd be a lower price. Having said that, from stories I hear from owners of other timeshare operators around the world, Disney quality standards still seem well-above industry norms. DVC gets little to no breaks for its Members when making exchanges across other business units (DCL, AbD, and so forth) and charges a $95 transaction fee on top of that.

    But, having said all that, I'm still a fairly satisfied DVC Member.


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