Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 18-24, 2022by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 18-24, 2022
You can view a larger version of each of the photos included in the Update by clicking on the photo. Each photo will open in a separate tab without a caption rather than a slideshow-type gallery like we had in the past.
News, Views & Writer's Note
The 2022 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts got underway this past Friday, and the crowds descended on the sixth edition of this celebration of culinary, visual, and performing arts over the three day Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend. What started back in 2017 as a fairly quickly conceived "weekends-only" festival has certainly managed to turn what used to be a quiet time around EPCOT into a busy time.
As you probably saw on social media (including ours), this edition of the festival saw the introduction of the first-ever Figment-themed popcorn bucket, and that created a queue that some on social media said they waited in for six hours or more to purchase at the Pop Eats food studio in World Showcase Plaza. When I visited the park in the early afternoon on Friday, the queue started over by the Odyssey building, wrapped through the former Future World East along the outside of Creations Shop, headed down the walkway from the former fountain area to about World Showcase plaza, where those waiting were pulsed across the walkway and back toward where the fountain used to stand, to the walkway to Imagination pavilion, and then the walkway over past the restrooms and Starbucks over to World Showcase Plaza again, where it doubled back to the Pop Eats food studio. Notwithstanding the long queue on Friday, there were reports of popcorn buckets available all weekend, and, indeed, one friend told me he waited only a half an hour to purchase it on Sunday.
In the park, the popcorn buckets sold at Pop Eats food studio are $25 plus tax (limit two per guest). What you see on eBay reportedly has been eight to ten times that price. Image courtesy Disney Parks.
And this Hyperlapse shows how some are spending the first day of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts 2022: Figment Popcorn Buckets. Queue starts at Odyssey and winds through old Future World to the Pop Eats Studio on World Showcase Plaza. Video: @AlanDalinka #artfulepcot pic.twitter.com/71r0zXTqb5— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) January 14, 2022
As I have said in past editions of this Update, I'm not so much a merchandise person, so I chose to spend my time making the above video of the queue, and walking around the rest of the park that was still quite crowded despite the number of guests waiting for popcorn bucket purchase opportunities. At the same time, there were a few spots around the park where the crowds were absent and the merchandise purchasing opportunities plentiful. Yesterday (Monday), there were social media reports that the popcorn buckets had sold out—if we get word of a new shipment (which seems unlikely), we'll let you know.
At Imagination pavilion, shelves are filled with traditional Figment plush toys available for purchase for $19.99 plus tax (but, unlike the popcorn buckets, Passholder and other discounts are available). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
While hundreds or thousands of guests were waiting for a chance to purchase Figment popcorn buckets, I noticed there was no line to meet Mickey Mouse (albeit still socially distanced) in the lobby of the Magic Eye Theater at Imagination pavilion. At the nearby popcorn cart, the refillable Mickey Mouse popcorn bucket themed for the World's Most Magical Celebration was available for purchase with just a few people in the queue purchasing popcorn. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
2022 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Underway Through February 21
2022 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts runs through February 21 in much of its pre-pandemic form. I have been invited to a media event at the Festival later today, and I'll have more coverage on our social media channels: I expect to have an opportunity to get a look at more of the merchandise available and, hopefully, get a taste of some of the food and beverage. When I visited on Friday, I had other obligations in the evening, so the considerable queues at the food studios around the park were longer than I had time for and, indeed, in past editions of this festival, food presentation necessarily slows down service at these kiosks.
As you may recall, the phased operation of EPCOT last year reduced it to a "Taste of" Festival," with limited live entertainment. This year, the Disney on Broadway concert series has returned to the America Gardens Theater stage three times nightly, bringing the "Disney Songbook" to life with pairs of Broadway singers and live musicians. Additional live performances and interactive opportunities have returned around the park as well, as has the stage in World Showcase plaza.
The new logo for the Festival, surrounded by rainbows and over-sized paint-themed props greets guests entering EPCOT.
Festival Passports detail the food and beverage offerings available at the food studios and can be used to collect the "stamps" for the "Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine" - if you purchase the five specified menu items at the food studios around the park, you receive a complimentary completer item from Deco Delights.
The paint props carry over to the World Showcase Plaza stage. Different performing artists perform here throughout the day. This is musician and composer Victor Espinola on the harp; he has appeared at past editions of the Festival, and has been spotted performing in the past at Disney Springs and Disney's Animal Kingdom, among other places.
The talented sidewalk chalk artists create works along the walkway between the former Future World area of the park and World Showcase Plaza. The queue for popcorn buckets on Friday ran along the planters on both sides of that walkway, with the artists and their works closer to the water on both sides.
As in past editions of the Festival, the park's numerous construction walls are used to display visual art. The walkway from the former fountain area to Imagination pavilion features artistic works by Disney Imagineers as tributes to the resort's 50th Anniversary.
The construction wall opposite Land Pavilion features this year's opportunity to participate in the paint-by-number mural.
All around the park, guests can again "step in" to famous works of art which are missing a few of their original elements so you can become them in a photograph.
During the Festival, Disney Characters make appearances on some of the walls of World Showcase pavilions. Do you know where this is located?
In addition to kiosks featuring Disney art created by professional artists, there are some interactive kiosks where guests can create their own art. The Spin Art kiosk returned this year; guests pedal the stationary bike to spin paint onto a canvas keepsake.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Foodie Guide is here and filled with treats that are as beautiful as they are delicious! 🎨 Feast your eyes upon these tasty works of art by visiting the Disney Parks Blog to check out this guide: https://t.co/ma7dSsVbsO pic.twitter.com/D4GUFJsPmC— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 7, 2022
Beyond the popcorn buckets (sold out?), interactive art, and fine art purchasing opportunities around the park, traditional Festival merchandise is available as well. Figment's Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt is also back: guests purchase the "map" from one of several designated merchandise locations around the park and then search World Showcase for where Figment is "hidden" in works of art. Once guests "complete" the scavenger hunt (which can be as soon as you purchase the map if you purchase it at Disney Traders), you redeem the completed map for one of four "prizes" which, for this Festival, are paintable versions of Disney figuring characters (along with a bit of paint). Yes, you can purchase multiple maps to redeem for each prize as long as supplies last.
The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts has returned! 🖌️ 🎨 🌈 From whimsical tableware to zany fabric prints, this year’s exclusive festival merchandise collection features artistic pieces sure to delight festival-goers and Disney collectors alike: https://t.co/cJ0R8KnhSe pic.twitter.com/fqZtZaNwLM— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 14, 2022
While there are several places to purchase the scavenger hunt map, to receive the completion prize, it must be redeemed at Disney Traders in World Showcase Plaza.
The completion prizes for this Festival are paintable versions of Disney characters, plus a bit of paint.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
In the evenings during the Festival, the new Beacons of Magic lighting at EPCOT presents showings accompanied by The Muppets singing "Rainbow Connection." Though the showings are not on an announced schedule, since the new lighting debuted at EPCOT on October 1, they occur frequently enough that guests exiting the park at its main gates ought to have a chance to see it without much of a wait.
Garden Rocks Returns to EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival
The EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival returns March 2 to July 4, 2022. Like the Festival of the Arts, the Flower & Garden Festival will see the return of more of its festival elements in 2022.
In particular, the popular Garden Rocks Concert Series returns to the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival this March. A slate of "internationally recognized" artists takes to the America Gardens Theater stage Friday-Monday, and local Orlando bands take the stage Tuesday-Thursday. Starting tomorrow, January 19, guests can book Garden Rocks Dining Packages for Friday-Monday concerts at four table service restaurants. The lunch or dinner dining packages include an appetizer, entrée, and dessert or one (1) full buffet (where applicable), plus a non-alcoholic beverage, plus a guaranteed seat per person to one Garden Rocks concert performance on the same day (the concert time will be assigned at the time of booking). More information is at this page of FreshEPCOT.com.
The performers scheduled so far this year are:
- March 4-5 – The Guess Who
- March 6-7 – Rick Springfield
- March 11-12 – Melina Leon – NEW to Garden Rocks
- March 18-19 – Mike DelGuidice, currently on tour with Billy Joel – NEW
- March 20-21 – Kool & The Gang – NEW to Garden Rocks
- March 25-28 – The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
- April 1-2 – The Spinners
- April 3-4 – The Pointer Sisters
- April 8-9 – Blue October – NEW to Garden Rocks
- April 15-16 – Tommy DeCarlo, singer of the band Boston – NEW
- April 17-18 – Don Felder, Formerly of The Eagles
- April 22-23 – STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
- April 24-25 – Claudia Leitte – NEW
- April 29-30 – Berlin
- May 1-2 – TobyMac
- May 6-7 – Blood, Sweat & Tears
- May 8-9 – The Commodores – NEW to Garden Rocks
- May 13-14 – Ambrosia with Peter Beckett – NEW
- May 20-21 – A Flock Of Seagulls
- May 22-23 – Collin Raye – NEW
- May 27-28 – Thelma Houston – NEW
- May 29-30 – Little River Band
- June 3-6 – Simple Plan
- June 10-13 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
- June 17-20 – Plain White T’s
Dining Package participating restaurants and prices, excluding tax and gratuity are:
(ages 10 and up)
(ages 3 to 9)
|Biergarten Restaurant (Germany Pavilion)||$57.00||$32.00|
|Coral Reef Restaurant (The Living Seas)||$69.00||$22.00|
|Garden Grill Restaurant (The Land Pavilion)||$66.00||$43.00|
|Rose & Crown Dining Room (United Kingdom Pavilion)||$58.00||$22.00|
This & That & Reminders…
…Disney shared the news in the most recent Disney Parks Blog "Best Bites" post that more restaurants are reopening around Walt Disney World Resort this winter.
- Flying Fish at Disney's BoardWalk Resort reopens January 27.
- The Turf Club Bar and Grill at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort reopens February 3.
- Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge reopens on February 17.
At Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort, two reopened restaurants will also see the return of some additional offerings:
- On January 31, Ale & Compass Restaurant at Disney's Yacht Club will return some breakfast options and start some new lunch offerings.
- On February 15, Cape May Café at Disney's Beach Club reopens its "all-you-care-to-enjoy" breakfast buffet.
Reservations for all of the above open this Thursday, January 20.
…Did you know that after the holiday season ends and the resorts start taking down their gingerbread displays that the sugar-coated wood supports of the structures are set out on the Walt Disney World Resort tree farm for the local bee population to feed upon? Here's the story from Disney Parks Blog.
…The Grand Floridan Spa reopens on January 26, following a Victorian-themed refresh. Reservations are available on this page of DisneyWorld.com.
…Disney Parks Blog shared the rundown on the 50th Anniversary celebratory pressed coins (and other similar personalized souvenirs) now available around Walt Disney World Resort.
Special #DisneyWorld50 Anniversary-themed pressed coins, along with impressive medallions and unique tags, are now available in honor of the celebration! What will you add to your collection? https://t.co/MgtXXq8P62 pic.twitter.com/I1xsriTwZT— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 13, 2022
…You may now be able to spot Mylo the recently born white rhino on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Look who decided to join the “crash” on the savanna at Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom! 🦏 Be sure to wave hello to little Mylo and his big brother Ranger during your next visit. https://t.co/AElv80Lryj pic.twitter.com/PDtney2p1Y— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 14, 2022
…Disney Vacation Members need to be sure they have created their digital member card in the My Disney Experience app, as there are no more physical cards. The digital card itself is the same "Magic Mobile" card used for park entry if you have created that, so if your DVC Membership is already linked to your My Disney Experience account and you already have a "Magic Mobile" card, you are all set. Having said that, when asked to "prove" your DVC Membership to get a benefit like entering the DVC lounge at EPCOT, you need to access the Magic Mobile card from your digital wallet app and then access its QR code and the accompanying information for the DVC Cast Member to verify, as the cast do not have the ability to "scan" the digital card, at least as of my visit on Friday. (I have not yet tried to show my digital card for a discount, so I do not know for certain what will be required at restaurants, retailers, participants, etc.)
…TIME SENSITIVE REMINDER: 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.
…And, finally, Valentine's Day is right around the corner and the folks at Patina Restaurant Group have some special offerings at their Disney Springs locations to share:
Enzo’s Hideaway Specialty Cocktails:
- Bourbon – Cherry Crush Knob creek bourbon, grenadine, lime juice and club soda ($18)
- Kiss Me Quick – Absolut vanilla vodka, raspberry sauce, pineapple juice and simple syrup, garnished with fresh raspberries ($17)
- Cherry Bomb – Solerno Blood orange liqueur, black cherry juice, orange juice and lemon-lime soda ($18)
Morimoto Asia Valentine’s Day Chef’s Tasting Menu 8 courses including amuse bouche and dessert
- Offerings include oysters, sushi, A-5 Wagyu, lobster and Szechuan-spiced Colorado lamb
- “Finger-food friendly” – courses are intended to be eaten without utensils
- $555 per couple plus tax and gratuity
Maria and Enzo’s Specialty Cocktails:
- Red Mask – Makers Mark, sour mix and Nero D' Avole ($18)
- Baciami – Bacardi, simple syrup, lime juice and raspberries ($18)
The Edison Specialty Cocktails and Food
- Love Potion #1 – Herradura Silver Tequila, house-made raspberry-mint cordial, watermelon and lime juice ($17)
- Love Potion #2 – Tito’s Vodka, house-made raspberry-mint cordial, watermelon and lime juice ($17)
- Love Potion #3 – Segura Viudas Brut Rose, house-made raspberry-mint cordial, watermelon and lime juice ($17)
- Specialty Appetizer – Chocolate-Covered Bacon
- Specialty Entreée – 6 oz. Petite Sirloin, Grilled U12 Shrimp, Demi Glaze, mashed potatoes and Chef’s selection vegetable
The Usual Writer's Note
Like the rest of the State of Florida, and most other parts of the United States, numerous cases of the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus continue to be reported here in Orange County, Florida, where Walt Disney World Resort is located. Hospital beds continue to be rather filled with COVID-19 patients. As of publication, 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, set requirements for visiting their 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 loosened international travel restrictions for entering the U.S.A. at the end of 2021, it remains 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 be aware of 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, 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 at all the parks.
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. We have not heard any suggestion, as yet, that new pass sales will resume. As we noted last week on MousePlanet.com, Florida Residents can purchase discounted two, three, or four day tickets for weekday theme park visits (with additional restrictions and, yes, reservations are not included but still required).
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. Disney imposes 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. 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. 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. We also get an occasional "Florida Winter Day," which is forecast for today: that's a day where the low temperature may well be in the 30's and the daytime temperature may not top 60°. It comes on the heels of a severe weather day that saw tornadoes touching down along Florida's west coast and tornado warnings being issued for the area immediately around Walt Disney World (fortunately, a tornado did not materialize in the area). It is not unusual for temperatures to range significantly during the day, so be prepared. The good news is that weather predictions of rain tend to be more reliable at this time of year than summer, but 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. And, yes, Get Away Today has the Florida Resident ticket offer available too.
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. Right now, if you buy 3 days, you can get 2 days FREE at Universal Orlando Resort! By May 5, purchase a select promo 3-day ticket for travel by December 15, 2022, and you'll get 2 extra days free! The ticket usage must occur on or before December 15, 2022 when the ticket will expire in full and any unused days will be forfeited. Ask Get Away Today about additional restrictions which apply.