Walt Disney World Resort Update for May 17-23, 2022

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for May 17-23, 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.

 Writer's Note, News & Views

As we continue toward the upcoming May 27 official opening of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction at EPCOT, invited previews at the attraction continue, as well. This past week's previews included Annual Passholders, cast members with friends and family, D23 Gold Member previews, and probably more.

In last week's Walt Disney World Resort Update, I provided my spoiler-free comments about my experience riding the new roller coaster:

In the past, I haven't been prone to dizziness or motion sickness on any theme park attraction I've ever been on (although I've never liked the physical sensations of Mission: Space, and have skipped the more aggressive Six Flags parks' spinning attractions that also repeatedly go upside down). Honestly, I felt I might have become ill on my first ride on Cosmic Rewind if it was a minute longer than it is. I was, however, operating on less than five hours of sleep, and had just an energy bar and glass of orange juice before that ride.

The more times I rode, the more comfortable I felt—but no ride for me was completely without moments of motion-related dizziness. I do have a theory about my experience that I plan to explore on my upcoming Passholder preview ride opportunity: I wear multifocal contact lenses that can cause vision-related issues when my pupils dilate in the dark, so I'm going to wear my single-vision glasses next time to see if that makes a difference. My lenses don't cause issues on other roller coasters, but I have long suspected them of compounding how little comfort I have riding Mission: Space due to the spinning and video (even the video on the Green side of the attraction).

Sunday was my Passholder preview at the attraction. I had a regular night's sleep and my regular morning's breakfast before entering the queue at 11:30 a.m. Since a friend drove us over to the park, I decided to spend the morning entirely without any corrective lenses—my vision without correction has actually improved in the past five or so years, and starting the day without wearing lenses provides me better sight than wearing lenses and then going without. So, I experienced the whole attraction—the queue, the pre-shows, and the roller-coaster—without either my multifocal contacts or single-vision eye glasses.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind previews underway
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens on May 27, 2022. Previews continue for those that have registered. If you have not registered, unless Disney has a "soft opening" ahead of May 27, you will not be able to ride until then. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Indeed, as I suspected, my Passholder preview of the ride gave me the least dizziness of all of my preview rides. While I can't go so far as to say my Passholder ride was totally without some physically unpleasant moments, I can say that I had no moments where I felt like I might become ill.

So, with all of this discussion of my physical reactions to the ride, what do I think about the new attraction and its ride? On the whole, I like it.

As I said last week, the music featured on the ride and in the exit area, like the Guardians movies themselves, appeals nicely to the part of pop culture I grew up with and still enjoy, just like the character Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star-Lord). The ride itself includes some fun EPCOT quips that I won't spoil here, and the Wonders of Xandar pavilion (which is the attraction's queue and pre-show) still has such a great deal of detail that I haven't explored, as the preview's queue moved at a continuous pace through the building.

The Cosmic Rewind ride, though, isn't the sort of coaster that I believe I can ride back-to-back in a short period of time. I have yet to get off of the ride and wanted to get right back on. That for me contrasts with the Slinky Dog Dash coaster which, during media previews, I very much was ready for my next ride as it came into the unload area. Of course, I have to acknowledge that as I'e gotten older (and, yes, I am older than Walt Disney World Resort), my tolerance for multiple rides on the more aggressive coasters has declined as well. For example, when Expedition Everest was in its first months of operation back in May 2006, thanks to the way FastPass then worked, I rode by going in the standby queue, then FastPass, and then single rider, all within a very short period of time. I don't think that I could comfortably do that today. In the non-Disney park realm, don't even get me started on how I loved Universal Islands of Adventure's "The Hulk" coaster in the early 2000s, but really didn't enjoy it in 2019.

Winnie the Pooh at EPCOT
Though some traditional meet and greets have returned around Walt Disney World Resort, some of the socially distanced character encounters introduced during the phased reopening remain. This weekend, Winnie the Pooh was still wandering with his butterfly net just outside the Butterfly Garden at EPCOT near Imagination! pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

I know folks tend to ignore posted warning signs, especially those posted at theme parks, and, indeed, our society has so many warnings posted everywhere they can eventually just become blur of noise (see also, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"). So, I hope this discussion of my reactions can help you get a sense of how you may weather the experience. Folks keep asking me if it's more or less intense than other roller coasters, and that's definitely a hard question to answer. As advertised, Cosmic Rewind is something quite new: some of the lateral physical forces I experienced while helping the Guardians of the Galaxy save the universe feel unique to this newly developed omnicoaster ride system. The ride isn't the fastest coaster at Walt Disney World (and even Test Track goes faster), and it doesn't turn riders upside down. The seats and restraints are very comfortable (similar in comfort to Expedition Everest, maybe a tad better), and the ride tends to be very smooth (even more so than Rock'n'Roller Coaster), though the car I rode in for my very first ride seemed to rumble more than I expected (since it didn't occur on my subsequent rides, it may have been an anomaly with a wheel on that particular car for that particular ride cycle). If you're prone to geting dizzy or motion discomfort, though, you'll probably get dizzy or such at some point on this ride. If you're a theme park veteran, your mileage may vary.

EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival continues through July 4, 2022. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Walt Disney World Resort made no major announcements over this past week. I visited Disney's Animal Kingdom for the first time in awhile, and, while there were no major changes at the park, I have a few views to share.

Character flotillas remain part of the entertainment offerings at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Kevin from Disney-Pixar’s “Up” once again walks amongst guests around Discovery Island and its bridges, rather than remaining behind a rope for distanced viewing.

Disney Parks Blog reported that some of the rhinos on Kilimanjaro Safaris now have activity trackers like the popular fitness trackers some people wear to monitor their activity. On a hot May afternoon in the park, I saw little rhino activity.

The Kilimanjaro Safaris cast members often note that lions sleep up to 20 hours a day. During my hot afternoon safari, the lion played his part in that story.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

This & That & Reminders…

…While it's probably fair to assume that there are many more months of testing and adjusting to go, Disney this week released video of the first full-speed launch test at TRON Lightcycle Run at Magic Kingdom. When we know a date the attraction is set to debut, we will share it.

…Earlier this spring, Disney announced that Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue would reopen at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort on June 23, after having been closed since the onset of the global pandemic back in March 2020. If you are interested in experiencing this dinner theater offering that has run since the early years of Walt Disney World Resort, get ready to make reservations—they are scheduled to open on May 26. Disney has not posted pricing for the all-you-care-to-enjoy meal and show. Currently, guests can make dining reservations at other operating venues up to 60 days in advance, and that will likely be the reservation window here too, but be sure to keep an eye on the My Disney Experience app or DisneyWorld.com for the latest details.

…Those coins that guests toss into fountains and waterways around Walt Disney World Resort are collected from time to time. That money is donated to charitable organizations. This week, from those collections, Disney Parks Blog announced a new donation of $30,000 to Give Kids the World Village, the Central Florida not-for-profit resort that provides no cost week-long vacations to critically ill children and their families.

…The Walt Disney Company announced that all profits earned from sales of the Disney Pride Collection through June 30, 2022, will be donated to organizations that support LGBTQIA+ youth and families, including Pride merchandise from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars businesses. You can read more about the organizations receiving support and their work by visiting TWDCPrideCollection.com. The first items in this year's Disney Pride Collection are available at shopDisney.com and additional products will be available there and in the parks and resorts in coming weeks and throughout June.

…REMINDER: The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, scheduled for Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12, will see the return of its interactive food and beverage seminars for the first time since 2019. During the educational seminars, guests can expand their knowledge of wine, beer, spirits, or pasta-making through hands-on learning experiences led by the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team. The 2022 seminar line-up includes:

  • Pasta Making
  • Wine Blending
  • It’s Better to Wine in Italian (Italian Wines)
  • Base to Bubbles (Champagne)
  • Beer, Please
  • Craft Cocktails

The seminars will take place prior to the nightly outdoor festival. Beverage seminar tickets are $75 per person, excluding tax. Pasta Making tickets are $95 per person, excluding tax. Seminars require separate tickets and space is limited. Specific dates and times of each seminar are available at FoodAndWineClassic.com.

The Usual Writer's Note

Face coverings are now optional across all of Walt Disney World Resort. Remember to check this page of DisneyWorld.com for the latest requirements, as they can change at any time. Disney asks unvaccinated guests to wear masks at indoor locations and on enclosed transportation, but guests are on their honor. The health and safety protocols in the State of Florida remain unchanged. There is no statewide vaccine mandate, COVID-19 testing, face covering requirements or business capacity restrictions. The State blocked enforcement of municipal and county-imposed restrictions. 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. Local news reports that the latest regional COVID-19 positivity rate continues to rise.

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.

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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.

Florida Residents can save 40% on a 4-Day Ticket and 30% on 3-Day Tickets compared to the non-Florida Resident price of a 3-Day or 4-Day Ticket. One-day, one-park tickets start at $109, depending on the date and the theme park. Florida Residents can save on 1-Day Tickets with Park Hopper Option, which offers 1-Day admission to multiple theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for details and purchase options (plus an opportunity to provide digital proof of Florida residency). Remember, park admission requires both a ticket and a reservation; tickets expire, so be sure to do your homework before purchasing.

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.

Disney+ subscribers that link their Disney+ account to their My Disney Experience account can also save up to 25% on select Disney Resort hotels for select night stays July 8 to September 30, 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.

Looking to go beyond Walt Disney World Resort when visiting Central Florida? Check out Get Away Today's Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers too.

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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.