Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 5-11, 2022

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 5–11, 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.

 Writer's Note, News & Views

Disney keeps taking steps toward returning to normalized operations at its parks and resorts. Next up, traditional character greetings return to Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and Disneyland, starting as early as April 18. As Shawn Slater, Senior Communication Manager, Disney Live Entertainment wrote this past week on Disney Parks Blog, Disney has "taken a very gradual, intentional approach to health and safety protocols. Recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, like character greetings and dining experiences. While not all locations will be available immediately, we anticipate reopening in phases throughout the spring and early summer." Because these reopenings are in phases, though, as Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix advised in yesterday's Disneyland Resort Update, "you definitely want to check with dining locations before your visit to confirm their current operation."

At Walt Disney World Resort, all of the Disney Resort hotels are now open again for the first time since March 2020.

Coming Soon to EPCOT—Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind to Open May 27, 2022, Connections Café & Eatery Opens This Spring, Food & Wine Festival Starts July 14

It's official now—Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open at EPCOT on May 27.

Guardians opens May 27, 2022
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens on May 27 at EPCOT. Image courtesy Disney Parks.

Ahead of its official opening, cast previews will be getting underway in April, and Annual Passholder and DVC member previews will happen in May. As for the latter, passholder and DVC members received an email today that, in essence, said watch for a further email with reservation instructions. MousePlanet has been invited to a media event at Walt Disney World in early May that also will include a preview of the attraction.

As of publication of this Update, for May 27 at EPCOT, there were no available Disney Park Pass reservations for passholders, but there were reservations available for resort hotel guests and day-ticket purchasers. Disney has not yet announced whether the attraction itself will have a virtual queue or Lightning Lane option when it opens. From the various Instagram posts of Zach Riddley of Walt Disney Imagineering over the past couple of years, we know that the queue area itself will be extensively themed as a "pavilion" to be experienced; then again, in its current operating mode, it would be surprising if Disney Parks didn't offer an upchargeable option (like Lightning Lane or some new option not yet announced).

Based on the Disney-owned Marvel Studios' films, the new "family-thrill coaster attraction" occupies the building that formerly was the Universe of Energy pavilion plus a huge building beyond (referred to by those in the roller coaster business as the "gravity building"). As the story for the new attraction goes, people from the planet Xandar have come to Earth to create EPCOT's first "other-world” showcase, the Wonders of Xandar pavilion. Inside, guests will learn more about Xandar's technology and culture as they move through the pavilion, and discover how the two worlds are similar in so many ways. The roller coaster itself is billed as Disney's longest indoor coaster, and one of the longest indoor coasters in North America.

Guardians Galaxarium
As part of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the new family-thrill coaster attraction, guests will enter the Galaxarium, a sweeping planetarium-style space showcasing planets, stars and other intergalactic wonders that connect residents of Earth and the planet Xandar. Photo courtesy Disney Parks.

Practically next door to the new attraction, EPCOT has been speedily moving toward the opening of Connections Café & Eatery. While an opening date has not been announced for this new combination Starbucks location (the Café) and quick service dining location (the Eatery) in the space previously occupied by Electric Umbrella, Innoventions East, and, briefly, the temporary MouseGear store, Disney Parks Blog says it "will officially be opening spring of 2022." Since Disney has advertised that Guardians opens in Summer, and we now know that means Memorial Day weekend to Disney, logic suggests that the new venue will open in time for this part of the park to start seeing major crowds.

This week, Disney Parks Blog shared a first look at the opening day menu for the new Eatery.

And speaking of food and beverage at EPCOT, this week Disney Parks Blog also announced that the 2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival will run July 14 through November 19. Like other recent Festivals, some of the Global Marketplaces (food and beverage kiosks) will open weeks after the Festival begins. This year's edition will also see the return of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series which will run like the Garden Rocks Concert Series is running right now: "internationally recognized artists as well as local bands offering fun tunes on the America Gardens Theatre stage." The 129-day festival will also offer Remy's Ratatouille Hide & Squeak avenger hunt, Emile's Fromage Montage (collect stamps for purchasing food items and receive a completer food item), merchandise, and more. No announcement so far as to whether the chef demonstrations, tasting seminars, or other hard ticket events will return this year.

Disney Launches "Disney Planet Possible" Projects as Earth Month 2022 Begins

April is Earth Month. And while Disney's major guest-facing celebrations typically focus on Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney often also uses the month to launch or promote its various environmental and conservation projects. Yesterday, as the first full week of April got underway, Disney Parks' Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, posted on Disney Parks Blog:

For nearly a century, we at Disney have found inspiration in the wonders of the world we share, and have taken action to support a healthier planet for people and wildlife around the globe. That includes reducing our environmental footprint, caring for wildlife and their habitats, and creating stories that inspire action. We call these collective efforts, Disney Planet Possible — tangible actions we’re taking to put possibility into practice and inspire optimism for a brighter, more sustainable future.

As part of the Disney Planet Possible initiative, Dr. Mark Penning also announced that Walt Disney World Resort is working with two prominent solar development companies to more than double the Resort's available solar energy resources with two new solar arrays. The two new 75 megawatt arrays will be located in Central Florida's Gilchrist and Polk counties. Upon completion, Disney will become one of the largest commercial consumers of solar power in Florida, and the project will further the company's effort on delivering on its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030. The arrays are expected to be online by early 2023.

Gregg Jacobs' Views of DVC Moonlight Magic at EPCOT

As regular readers will recall, Disney Vacation Club is again running its Moonlight Magic events in 2022. Like before the pandemic, eligible DVC members can get complimentary after-hours access to these in-park events on select nights by advance registration. Eligible DVC members with resort reservations get earlier registration access and the possibility of more complimentary admissions based on the number of guests on a qualifying resort reservation. In the past, the balance of the eligible membership has had an opportunity to register as well though capacity sometimes filled quickly. The remaining 2022 announced events are:

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios: May 24, June 16, July 14 – registration details to be announced.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: July 26, August 31, September 28 – registration details to be announced

I have attended and reported on quite a few of the pre-pandemic Moonlight Magic Events at all four Walt Disney World theme parks and Typhoon Lagoon water park. Though I am still an eligible DVC Member, I previously reported that registration for these new EPCOT events filled to capacity before my turn in the virtual queue. Subsequent to that, DVC invited media to the March 31 event. While I was unable to attend, fortunately, MousePlanet's Gregg Jacobs (who is temporarily residing in Central Florida) was able to attend. Below is his report on the event.

MousePlanet was invited to the Moonlight Magic media event at Epcot on March 31. The Moonlight Magic events are parties thrown by Disney exclusively for Disney Vacation Club members. These parties are complimentary events for DVC members and returned in 2022 after a break due to the pandemic.

Invited media were treated to a reception in the Disney Vacation Club lounge, located in the Imagination Pavilion (formerly part of Image works for those old enough to remember). I met Heather Hunter DVC Public Relations Director, who told me about additional villas coming to the Grand Floridian Resort. We also discussed the new DVC tower coming to the Polynesian Resort. We were treated to Moonlight Magic souvenir popcorn buckets and 50th anniversary cakes featuring Pluto.

The event, itself, was a lot of fun, reminiscent of the old E-ticket nights, where crowds were limited to a relatively small number and a lot of the rides were open. Registered DVC members and their guests were allowed to enter the park at 6:00 to start on the fun, watch Harmonious, and then have the park to themselves from 10:00 pm – 1:00 am. All event-goers were also treated to three food vouchers, which could be used for certain items at any of the Flower & Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchen stands. After 10:00, Mickey ice cream bars and strawberry bars were also complimentary.

Popcorn Bucket
Guests got complimentary event popcorn buckets. Photo courtesy of a friend of MousePlanet.

The E-ticket (most awesome) rides were all open, including Test Track, Soarin’, Frozen Ever After, Spaceship Earth, Journey Into Imagination, and newest blockbuster, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. I rode all (except Frozen—will get to that in a bit) with very minimal waits that got shorter as the night wore on. I used the Test Track single rider line and walked right on. The wait for Soarin’ was essentially the amount of time it took to walk all the way back there, and I got to ride Remy twice, only waiting about a half hour the first time and 20 minutes the second. Only negative experiences, if you could call them that, were that I went to Frozen at midnight, waited 15 minutes, and then it broke down as I got to the front of the line (and that was all she wrote for the night for Frozen). At 12:30 as the party was winding down, Remy had a posted 60-minute wait, the longest I had seen it since the beginning of the event—so I took a pass on a third trip through the kitchen (I was tired and my feet hurt).

The rides are great, of course, but perhaps the best benefit is the character encounters. The theme for this edition of Moonlight Magic was Disney Villains, and DVC brought out a few of the more obscure characters that you don’t see often in the parks.

Oogie Boogie was dancing around for guests at the park entrance. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

Disney baddies were located around the park in usually appropriate places, though Captain Hook and Mr. Smee in front of Test Track with a DJ was an interesting choice.

Hook & Smee
Captain Hook and Mr. Smee greeted guests in front of Test Track. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

Queen of Hearts
Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts was in the gazebo in the garden at the UK pavilion.

Sheriff of Nottingham
The Sheriff of Nottingham tried to grab your money. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

Gaston & Jacobs
Here I am, muscling it up with Gaston. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

Entertainment was also plentiful. There was music through the park, over the loudspeakers, and through several DJ’s. At the Canada pavilion, the Wicked Drummers, decked out in zombie makeup and lumberjack costumes, put on a drum show and, at midnight, the lagoon was lit up with some fountains and music.

The Wicked Drummers performed on the stage at Canada pavilion. Video by Gregg Jacobs.

There was a short light and fountain show on the World Showcase Lagoon at midnight. Video by Gregg Jacobs.

They also kept a few of the regular eateries open during the event, including Sunshine Seasons in The Land and the Rose & Crown Pub if you wanted something harder to enjoy on your visit to World Showcase. Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in Norway was also open until 1:00 a.m., and had one of the longest lines I saw all night.

Norway pavilion
Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe was open until the wee hours if you wanted a treat and were willing to wait. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.

If you’re an eligible DVC member, I highly recommend attending (and, if you have an eligible DVC member friend, get the friend to bring you along as a guest). For shorter lines, great treats and a chance to see characters you won’t normally see, it was a great experience.

France pavilion
The fountains at the France pavilion were decorated with a DVC Moonlight Magic inflatable. Photo by Gregg Jacobs.


This & That & Reminders…

…Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue returns to regular musical dinner show performances at Pioneer Hall at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground starting June 23. Reservations open on May 26. The show first debuted back in 1974 and Disney says its return will include "a few updates to its script and scenery, while staying true to the treasured experience the whole family can enjoy." The menu will once again include fried chicken, smoked BBQ ribs, a variety of savory sides, and, of course, strawberry shortcake.

…Celebrating the 50 year collaboration between Walt Disney World Resort and Coca-Cola, five unique co-branded collectible bottles are now available exclusively at the resort during the 50th Anniversary Celebration. Four different bottles featuring each of the 4 park icons with their own unique EARisdescent color on the labels, and a fifth bottle has a special gold label. The bottles are shaped just like the bottles that were sold at Walt Disney World when it opened in 1971. They are available at locations throughout each of the four Walt Disney World theme parks. Artist Sofia Carson is serving as the ambassador for the launch of these new bottles. The Coca-Cola has had a relationship with Disney Parks for over 66 years.

New Coca-Cola Bottles
New Coca-Cola bottles are available in all four theme parks. Image courtesy Disney Park Blog.

…This past weekend at Walt Disney World Resort included the inaugural runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend. It paid homage to past popular runDisney races, featuring fan-favorite themed courses with added twists and turns. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler on Sunday was the final race of the weekend, with Stephen Rathbun of Springfield, N.J., the race’s overall winner, and Victoria Sadowski of Randolph, N.J., the first woman to cross the finish line. The Expedition Everest 5K was held on Thursday and the Race for the Taste 10K on Saturday.

…Today, April 5, is National Caramel Day. Visitors to EPCOT over the past many years may have noticed that caramel manufacturer Werther's Original is the presenting sponsor of Karamell-Küche at the Germany pavilion at EPCOT. Now, in addition to getting caramel treats there, Werther's Original carmel is now also being used in select treats at Big Top Treats at Magic Kingdom, Zuri's Sweets Shop at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Candy Cauldron and Goofy's Candy Company at Disney Springs, Bayview Gifts at Disney's Contemporary Resort, and Screen Door General Store at Disney's BoardWalk Resort. Share your treats with us on social media.

…Longtime Walt Disney World performer (and friend of MousePlanet) Carol Stein, who has played piano at United Kingdom pavilion since 2008, and was on the keys at Pleasure Island's Comedy Warehouse for more than a decade before that, announced on her Facebook page yesterday that starting Monday, April 11, she will be performing in the rotunda of The American Adventure, alternating sets with the Voices of Liberty throughout the day.

Carol Stein
Longtime Disney musician Carol Stein will begin performing in The American Adventure rotunda starting next Monday, April 11. File photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…When it launched back on October 1, as you may recall, The World's Most Magical Celebration of Walt Disney World Resort's 50th Anniversary was set for an 18-month run. With six months now past, there's still a year to go, and, of course, more new merchandise collections on the way.

…REMINDER: Benefiting Give Kids the World Village, an Aladdin 30th Anniversary Reunion will headline DIS Con 2022, a one-of-a-kind expo celebrating all facets of the wonderful world of Disney—from Disney, Marvel and Pixar animation to film, television, theme parks, music and memorabilia, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort September 30 through October 1. The event will feature more than 50 iconic Disney personalities participating in presentations, panels and meet and greets on two stages. There will also be an exclusive After Hours Party sponsored by Yogibo held at EPCOT on October 1, EPCOT’s 40th anniversary. Tickets are on sale now at GKTW.org/discon.

Scheduled panels and personalities participating in the event include:

  • Aladdin 30th Anniversary Reunion featuring Linda Larkin and Jonathan Freeman
  • Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak
  • Phineas & Ferb Panel with Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, Dan Povenmire, Dee Bradley Baker, Vincent Martella, and Jaret Reddick
  • Walt Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter
  • Screenwriter, producer, and director John August
  • Bear in the Big Blue House Panel with Noel MacNeal, Vicki Eibner, Tyler Bunch, Peter Linz and James Kroupa
  • Tom Nabbe, the original Tom Sawyer at Disneyland
  • Show writer Brian Collins
  • American artist Shag
  • Special guest Mark Daniel, host of Inside Disney Parks

The After Hours Party at EPCOT is an additional ticket. That event will take place from 10:30 pm to 12:30 am on October 1, and includes admission to Remy's Ratatouille Adventure; exclusive entertainment at the France, Morocco and United Kingdom Pavilions; rare character meet-and-greets; and enhanced dessert offerings. Yogibo is a worldwide lifestyle retailer of next generation furniture and gift accessories.

Give Kids The World Village’s mission is to create the happiness that inspires hope for wish families. More than 30,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with a critical illness each year, and half of those who are eligible for a wish choose to visit Orlando. Give Kids The World is the nonprofit that fulfills these wishes—providing every wish family with transportation; accommodations; all meals and snacks; nightly entertainment; donated theme park tickets; and more. Since 1986, more than 177,000 wish children and their families from all 50 states and 76 countries have been welcomed to the Village.

The Usual Writer's Note

For vaccinated guests, the only places that face coverings remain mandatory (per Federal directives) are on the monorails and buses. Unvaccinated guests are expected to wear masks in all indoor locations. Of course, since the health and safety protocols in the State of Florida remain unchanged: they're on their honor. There is no statewide vaccine mandate, COVID-19 testing, 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, but they are not permitted to require proof of negative COVID-19 test or vaccine status. Walt Disney World Resort encourages eligible guests to get vaccinated.

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 continue to be 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 earlier this winter 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).

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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.

Everyone can save up to $500 on a 5-night stay at select Disney Resort Hotels in Spring and through July 7, 2022.

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 July 7, 2022.

Our travel partner Get Away Today is available to help you book rooms and packages. When you book a Walt Disney World Resort Package with Get Away Today with a minimum 3-night stay at a Disney Resort Hotel plus tickets, you receive its complimentary concierge service which includes:

  • Free Price Monitoring - if a special comes out after you book, we'll automatically apply it!
  • Dining Reservation Assistance - we wake up early and snag those hard to get dining reservations so you don't have to.
  • The GAT expert team is available to you! Contact them any time for extra assistance with your vacation planning; transportation, theme park recommendations, etc.

You can get a free Walt Disney World Resort vacation quote by calling 855-GET-AWAY (and tell them MousePlanet sent you) or, you can find sample prices and submit a free quote request here.

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.

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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.