Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 7-13, 2022by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 7-13, 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
While operations around Walt Disney World Resort continue to increasingly reflect prepandemic times, as the first week of the "summer season" has passed, it's apparent that we're in the third summer of the Resort's phased reopening following its temporary total closure back in March 2020. Looking at the Disney Park Pass reservation system—the attendance-regulating tool that Disney put in place to control park crowd size when the phased reopening began back in July 2020, and which shows no sign of being discontinued—there were days last week that had no park reservations available.
11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time update: another bit of return to pre-pandemic times: Minnie Van service returns on June 29 through the Lyft app. The Minnie Mouse-decorated private car or van on-demand service takes guests from point to point within Walt Disney World Resort. Guests can request an accessible van, and each van has two complimentary child car seats available. Prices can vary by destination. Drivers are Disney cast members.
Disney has never publicly shared the maximum attendance permitted in each of the parks, and it long ago stopped sharing the percentages of capacity it was when the phased reopening began. Though the parks often seem crowded these days, it's unclear whether the park attendance capacities have, in fact, returned to prepandemic levels. As I have noted our past Walt Disney World Resort Updates, there remain a good number of venues still closed, including that that used to soak up lots of guests. Finding Nemo: The Musical at Disney's Animal Kingdom, for example, which used to eat hundreds of guests in each show, shuttered permanently when the park closed in March 2020. The new Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! show finally debuts at Disney's Animal Kingdom on June 13, and should soak up a good number of guests (more on that below). Fantasmic! is due to return at an as-yet unspecified point later this year at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
While the number of closed venues across the parks continues to decrease, the closures remain particularly noticeable when you see merchandise and food and beverage locations that aren't yet reopened. At Magic Kingdom, for example, the Newsstand at the park gates, a merchandise location especially for those last-minute purchases, has been closed each time I have visited. Likewise, the small gift shop at the pedestrian exit of the TTC monorail station also remains closed.
Disney continues to attempt to hire for many roles across the Resort, so it's hard to know whether closed merchandise locations are tied to cast shortages or to broader supply-chain issues related to filling the shelves with merchandise or obtaining certain food and beverage items. That courtesy tram service hasn'tt returned in the parking lots of either EPCOT or Disney's Hollywood Studios is another sign that cast hiring still has a way to go. In any event, the continued existence of closed venues likely explains the continued decreased capacity in the parks. I mention all this, of course, to remind those of you planning a visit: make your reservations as soon as you know your plans!
Speaking of planning, of course, as I noted last week, June 1 was the official start of the Atlantic Ocean's tropical storm season. We already had our first system pass over Florida, and, fortunately, Walt Disney World Resort saw just a few rather typical (for Florida) downpours. Pacific Hurricane Agatha made landfall in Mexico, crossed over land toward the Gulf of Mexico, and headed across the Gulf of Mexico and Florida in fairly disorganized form, before heading out across the Atlantic as "Alex," the first named storm of the season from the Atlantic list. As of this Update, the tropics are quiet, but daily thunderstorms are increasingly the Central Florida seasonal norm. In other words, pay attention to the weather, and be prepared—as I've suggested in the past, get some of those $1 pocket-sized ponchos at your favorite big box store and keep them on hand when you're in the parks.
Views Around Magic Kingdom and Vicinity
I had a couple of opportunities to visit Magic Kingdom this past week for the first time in quite awhile. I noticed a few changes that I discuss in the photo captions.
While some traditional character meet-and-greets are open again, like Mickey Mouse in the Town Square Theatre, other greetings remain distanced, like Buzz Lightyear on the Tomorrowland stage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade
Since my last visit, pairs of characters are again appearing together on the princess float that starts the parade. Belle and the Beast are back together on the lead float.
Maleficent (the dragon float) still breathes fire during points along the parade route, though I include this photo to note that if the wind is too strong or other conditions create a safety issue, she may not.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
TRON Lightcycle Run Construction Continues
Heavy construction equipment remains on-site at the future Tomorrowland attraction. With no landscaping in place, and empty ride vehicle testing just underway (and not during my visits), it is doubtful that the attraction will be complete before this winter.
The outdoor portion of the track appears entirely covered. We have yet to see it fully lit at night like its Shanghai inspiration (or the concept art), so it is unclear how far along progress is on that part of the project.
The exterior of Tomorrowland Light and Power Co., the gift shop at the exit of Space Mountain, is undergoing some refurbishment. The spires that used to be on this side of the building are gone. Since the walkway outside the building leads to the new attraction, it is likely this refurbishment is intended to aid in guest flow in the area when the new attraction opens.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
New Disney Vacation Club Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
The conversion of one building of Disney's Grand Floridan Resort & Spa into new DVC Studio Villas is expected to be complete and open to guests later this month.
The building that will become part of Disney Vacation Club is located adjacent to the Grand Floridian's beach on Seven Seas Lagoon.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Site Preparation Underway at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort for DVC Expansion
Earlier this year, Disney Vacation Club announced that it is building at new tower of villas at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort on the site previously home to the luau. Site preparation is clearly underway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Walt Disney World Resort Celebrates Pride Month
As it has for many years (and notwithstanding the current political controversy), Walt Disney World Resort celebrates Pride month in the parks and resorts as part of Disney Parks' commitment to recognize and celebrate the contributions, cultures and experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community. All four theme parks have unique Pride-themed backdrops celebrating love. For those that use the Disney MagicMobile service from the My Disney Experience app, there are now new Pride-themed pass designs available.
Magic Kingdom's Pride backdrop is located on the purple wall in Tomorrowland near the Stitch golden statue. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney PhotoPass Service offers special Pride photo opportunities across the Resort. Magic Shots, props, and other photo opportunities are available, and the Disney photoPass Studio at Disney Springs has new virtual backdrops as well.
Disney Springs has additional Pride decor as well as a new photo opportunity inspired by the Hulu Original Series "Love, Victor." The new Disney Springs Art Walk also features a new piece by Chad Size, a multimedia artist, designer, and muralist. Merchandise as well as food and beverage locations at Disney Springs (including some of the operating participants) and across the Resort also have special offerings.
Food and beverage specialty items are offered at Disney Parks on both coasts, and Disney Parks Blog has posted its Pride Month Foodie Guide. Images courtesy Disney Parks.
As Disney Parks Blog posted in May, the new Disney Pride Collection is available around Walt Disney World this month featuring apparel, accessories, pins and more from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars . The Walt Disney Company is donating all profits from the Disney Pride Collection sales through June 30, 2022, to support LGBTQIA+ youth and families. More information is available at TWDCPrideCollection.com.
This & That & Reminders…
…As announced last week, several Special Olympics USA Games athletes were celebrated in a parade at Magic Kingdom on Friday as honorary grand marshals. The same athletes are featured in a TV commercial similar to Disney’s iconic Super Bowl ads, and the special Magic Kingdom parade included the same sort of "bells and whistles" of those Super Bowl victory parades, including Disney characters, streamers, music, and, of course, the "cheering guests." The Disney Live Entertainment production of the Special Olympics USA Games Opening Ceremony was then televised by ABC-TV on Sunday, and coverage of the Special Olympics USA Games continues today and tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday, on ESPN2 and the ESPN App as well as live streaming coverage on ESPN3 throughout the week. Coverage wraps on June 12 with a special program, "Best of the Special Olympics USA Games," on ABC, ESPN3 and the ESPN App. Many of the competitions are taking place at ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
Special Olympics USA Games athletes were honorary grand marshals in a special Magic Kingdom parade on Friday. Video courtesy Disney Parks.
…The "reimagined" Finding Nemo-themed musical, Finding Nemo: The Big Blue … and Beyond! will debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom starting June 13. It will run multiple times per day, with a show lasting approximately 25 minutes and including many of the songs from the previous version of the show. The reimagined show is set at the Marine Life Institute featured in the Disney-Pixar film Finding Dory, and will feature new lighting, new sets, and a new video wall for backgrounds. Like the previous version the show, actors with puppets will perform the character roles.
…On June 18, the world celebrates one of the most popular cuisines among food lovers: sushi. To help celebrate this Japanese delicacy, Iron Chef Morimoto, of Disney Springs' Morimoto Asia restaurant, offers these "Tips and Must Knows for Eating Sushi" wherever you may be:
- When you go eat at sushi restaurants in Japan, especially at high-end ones, there is no price on the menu. And sometimes you’re expected to leave it all to the chef. In the U.S., on the other hand, the options are more explicitly presented to the guests, and they eat what they want in the manner they want.
- Just because a certain style of sushi isn't "authentic" doesn't mean it's not worth eating. Sushi in America is different from what you'll find in Japan. Just like many other cultural elements, food travels from its birthplace to another part of the world. Then it evolves, changes and eventually sets down.
- Tradition actually dictates eating sushi with your hands vs. chopsticks but chopsticks are acceptable too, according to Chef Morimoto.
- Do not automatically dip your sushi in soy sauce. Taste the fish first as you want to experience the sushi’s flavor first.
- Do not mix wasabi and soy sauce together into a murky, soup mess. This is a no-no.
- It takes many years to properly learn the craft of sushi-making. Traditionally, a sushi apprentice may study for nearly a decade, the first two years of which he or she is not even allowed to touch the fish.
- Sushi was originally a street food and often consumed in the way we eat tacos or pretzels, off street vendors. That all changed after the giant Tokyo earthquake of the 1920s, which brought down the cost of real estate and led to sushi chefs opening store fronts.
- Never eat sushi with cold rice. It will lose its sweetness, killing the layers of sushi. Goodbye grocery store sushi case!
…FINAL REMINDER: D23, the Official Disney Fan Club, is offering a chance to win a four-night vacation for up to four people to Walt Disney World Resort with its D23 Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Sweepstakes. Only D23 members may enter, but you may be logged in as either a General (free) or Gold (paid) Member to enter on this page of D23.com for your chance to win. The sweepstakes closes on June 10, 2022 at 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern (and more eligibility details are available via the entry form). MousePlanet is not affiliated with this sweepstakes.
…FINAL REMINDER: Give Kids the World, the not-for-profit resort in Central Florida that provides free weeklong trips to critically ill children and their families, is offering an opportunity to win a trip for eight aboard the Disney Wish's maiden voyage, July 14, 2022, in the ship's "Tower Suite," the first-of-its-kind accommodation featuring two master bedrooms, a children's room with bunkbeds, and a library that can serve as an additional bedroom. The chance to win closes on June 12, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. Participants in the drawing must be at least 18 years old, reside in the United States but not in the State of New York. A donation or payment is not necessary to win, but donations to get entries benefit Make-A-Wish and Give Kids the World. Details and rules are available here. MousePlanet is not affiliated with this chance to win opportunity either.
…REMINDER: The Edison at Disney Springs is conducting a Mixology Series, June 8, 15, and 22, from 6-8 p.m. featuring cocktails and accompanying bites inspired by the regions and flavors of Scotland. The series highlights three different Scottish whiskeys: Caol Ila, Dewars White Label and Johnnie Walker Black Label. The beverages will be paired with savory bites to highlight the whiskeys. The event will be hosted on The Edison's Lake Side Patio and tickets are $65/person plus tax and gratuity (ages 21 and older only). Visit this page of the Patina Restaurant Group's website for more details and to purchase tickets.
…REMINDER with UPDATE: Disney Parks Blog published its Foodie Guide for Disney H2O Glow After Hours at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon. The select night 3-hour events run until August 27, with prices starting at $75 for ages 10 and up, $70 for ages 3-9, and discounts available for Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members. The first event ran on May 31, and Disney Parks Blog published a list of five highlights of the after-hours event.
…REMINDER: June 8 Brings changes to Disney Genie+. Check out last week's Update if you need a refresher.
…REMINDER: The Harmony Barber Shop at Magic Kingdom will reopen July 31, 2022. A limited number of reservations for this experience will be available in the My Disney Experience app beginning June 28, 2022. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will also open later this year, but no date has been announced.
…REMINDER: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom tickets are now on sale for select dates in August through October 31.
…And, finally, from the West Coast staff of MousePlanet, an auction of Disneyland Resort media event summertime swag to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
The Usual Writer's Note
Face coverings remain optional across all of Walt Disney World Resort. Remember to check this page of DisneyWorld.com for the latest requirements.
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.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to monitor the cases of the rare monkeypox virus in Florida and elsewhere. Reports say that experts remain optimistic that the outbreak can be contained. On Monday, the CDC raised its monkeypox alert level and recommended travelers wear masks while cautioning that it was not on the same level of concern as COVID-19. We will include more information here in future Updates should it relate to visiting Walt Disney World Resort.
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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 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.
Walt Disney World Resort 2023 packages go on sale on June 8. Check out Get Away Today's instagram post for details.
Looking to go beyond Walt Disney World Resort when visiting Central Florida? Check out Get Away Today's Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers too.