Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 14-20, 2022

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 14-20, 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

If you happened to read our Walt Disney World Resort Update last week before 11 a.m. Eastern, you may have missed last week's late-breaking news that Minnie Van service returns to Walt Disney World Resort on June 29. Accessed via the Lyft app, the Minnie Mouse-decorated van on-demand service takes guests from point to point within Walt Disney World Resort. Guests can request an accessible van if needed, and all of the vans have two complimentary child car seats available. Ride prices vary by destination. Drivers are all Disney cast members, and, at some locations around the Resort, like Magic Kingdom, the Minnie Vans can pick up and drop guests where no other shared ride service or private cars are allowed.

Minnie Van
Minnie Vans were introduction at Walt Disney World Resort in July 2017, and service was suspended when the Resort temporarily closed in March 2020. File photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Minnie Van car seats
Minnie Vans include two complimentary child car seats. File photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As we move deeper into June, Central Florida moves more into its summer weather pattern. That means that heavy rain downpours, probably accompanied by frequent cloud to ground lightning strikes, occur somewhere in the region just about everyday. These storms tend to form in the afternoon, and do not tend to last long, but you should be ready for them to pop up at any time.

Have your ponchos handy, and, if you hear thunder, you should not be out and about where you can get struck (or even under a tree). Walt Disney World's drainage in most (but definitely not all—Tomorrowland, I'm looking at you) areas is amazing, so it is not uncommon for the parks and resorts to show no sign of a storm having occurred very shortly after one has passed.Of course, unlike thunderstorms that pass over the north in summer (like those I experienced as a Chicagoan), here in Central Florida, downpours usually don't cool things down except while it's raining. Indeed, it often feels more hot and humid after a storm!

World Drive
The weather changes often at this time of year. World Drive, shown here, shows a bit of the rain that had not fully evaporated after a downpour, but the sky shows no hint of the storm that passed. It's also not unusual for it to be raining at EPCOT and not at Magic Kingdom, or vice versa. In other words, a general weather forecast will not tell you whether or not it will rain where you are or plan to be. At this time of year, it is pretty safe to say that it will rain at some point everyday in Central Florida. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As I've noted for a couple weeks already, it's tropical storm season, too. These storms are quite different from the daily downpours, and you need to keep an eye on forecasts for these if you're headed toward Central Florida. In my eight years in Central Florida, I've found that the so-called spaghetti-plots of where the computer models predict a tropical storm will go and how strongly it will develop are about as reliable as trying to figure out what time it will rain on any given day. Preparedness starts with assuming its generally headed this way, but it could miss by hundreds of miles. You need to be aware that when Walt Disney World Resort is within the projected paths of tropical storms and within about 24 hours of its expected impact, the parks may close. Remember, even during the daily storms, lightning in the vicinity of a park will close down many outdoor venues until it is safe to operate and the lightning has passed a good number of miles from the park for a specified amount of time.

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue...and Beyond!

The "reimagined" Finding Nemo-themed musical, Finding Nemo: The Big Blue … and Beyond! debuted yesterday, June 13, at Disney's Animal Kingdom in the Theater in the WIld (in DinoLand U.S.A. along Discovery River between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest in Asia). It's now scheduled to run multiple times per day, with a running time of approximately 25 minutes per show. Check the My Disney Experience app for times, or the board outside the theater; a Lightning Lane is available for those who purchase the Genie+ service.

Theater in the Wild
Theater in the Wild at Disney's Animal Kingdom is now home to "Finding Nemo: The Big Blue...and Beyond!" Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

MousePlanet was invited to a media preview performance at the park on Saturday. As reimagined, the new show is set at the Marine Life Institute featured in the Disney-Pixar film Finding Dory. Inside the theater, before the show begins, recorded audio factoids about marine life play from time to time. The "voice" of the Marine Life Institute was identified as Sigourney Weaver and she, in fact, did perform the role. During these pre-show announcements, the "voice" was not identified, and while it sounded similar to Sigourney Weaver, it likely is not her voice.

Set in the Marine Institute of Finding Dory
The new show is set in the Marine Life Institute from Disney-Pixar's "Finding Dory." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

With new lighting, new sets, and a seemingly state-of-the-art high definition new video wall for backgrounds, the show tells the story of Marlin and Nemo—an overprotective clownfish father and his curious son—with music, puppets, dancers and animated backdrops. "This show incorporates many of the songs from the original [Finding Nemo] musical, as well as amazing puppetry and live performers that fill the stage," said show director James Silson, Disney Live Entertainment. The reimagined version of the show has Gil and some of the other former sea-creature residents of the aquarium in the office of the dentist, Dr. P. Sherman, who have recently arrived at the Marine Life Institute narrating the story.

Gil narrates Finding Nemo: The Big Blue...and Beyond
Gil tells the story of Nemo and Marlin, often like a narrator, in "Finding Nemo: The Big Blue...and Beyond!" Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Having seen Finding Nemo: The Musical many times during its nearly 13-year run, and having listened to the album Disney released from the show many times, I can say that the reimagined show is like a highlights version of the prior show. Sure, there are some moments of the former 40+ minute show that are noticeably absent to someone familiar with the prior version (the opening set piece that showed Marlin losing Nemo's mom and siblings, the sword-fighting sword fish, the octopus-mom and the other parents of the school fish, the jellyfish, and the giant seagull, are examples that come to mind that are not present in the reimagined show). Having said that, the new 25-minute version tells the complete story with the most memorable parts of the songs. The biggest downside to most guests of the 25 minute running time will probably be that much less time in the air-conditioned theater (or, as one of our social media commenters said, probably more time waiting for the show than watching it).

The new LED video wall provides backdrops for the show. This image is the interior of the Marine Life Institute, which is where this new version of Nemo and Marlin's story is told.

The new show includes Mr. Ray and the school fish, as they head off to the "drop off."

Bruce the Shark and his pals sing "Fish are Friends, not Food" in front of the new submarine set.

Crush the Sea Turtle and his offspring perform "Go with the Flow," and while Squirt does go off on his own, the performer is no longer suspended from cables above the stage.

Darla, the niece of Dr. Sherman, appears larger than life on the new LED wall.

Spoiler alert, like the movie and the prior version of the show, there is a happy ending to the story, where Nemo is reunited with Marlin and meets Dory.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

More Views around Disney's Animal Kingdom

I walked a lap around Discovery Island while I was at Disney's Animal Kingdom for the media preview of Finding Nemo: The Big Blue...and Beyond! and here are some of the sights that I caught on my cameras.

Character flotillas continue along Discovery River, though some traditional meet and greets have reopened around the park.

Disney has not announced whether or when the Chipmunk-o-suaruses and Goofy will return to DinoLand U.S.A. for traditional meet-and-greets.

Kite Tales shows are no longer "scheduled," but, instead, occur from time to time during the day. The showings are no longer preceded by a pre-show in the amphitheater around Discovery River.

The Pride photo backdrop in the park is on the gate across from Pizzafari/Tiffins along the walkway from Discover Island to Pandora-The World of Avatar.

Pandora itself is celebrating its 5th anniversary with new anniversary merchandise.

The new "Mickey Mouse: The Main Attraction" collection is being released a few plush versions at a time. At Disney's Animal Kingdom, I spotted this Mickey themed (I think) to Tomorrowland, and there was another themed to Pirates of the Caribbean. Each plush doll has which item in the series displayed on a foot (this is #1 of the series).

As has been reported on social media, Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade 50th Anniversary merchandise can also be found around Walt Disney World. Here, it is at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

New Views around Disney's Vero Beach Resort

Regular readers may recall that I am a long-time Disney Vacation Club member. Before I knew that I was going to be at Disney's Animal Kingdom on Saturday, I had also made a reservation to visit Disney's Vero Beach Resort, about two hours drive from Walt Disney World Resort, along the Atlantic Ocean Coast. The Resort is in the process of completing a lobby renovation, which I knew about before heading over.

Disney's Vero Beach Resort is located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, about a two hour drive from Walt Disney World Resort.

When I arrived on Saturday, the lobby renovation was nearly complete. The lounge on the second level remained closed for refurbishment, and some floor work and painting were still underway.

Like Disney hotels around Walt Disney World, the front desk was made more informal by removing about ⅓ of the desk itself. The mural behind the desk is now more visible, and it has not been changed.

For my 2018 and 2019 stays at Disney's Vero Beach, I received a Walt Disney World Resort Key to the World room key, so I was surprised to get themed key cards on this visit. Though distant from Walt Disney World, the property is managed like an extension, and guests here are eligible for certain activities there (like DVC Moonlight Magic) and the in-room televisions display park and Disney Springs operating hours.

The central feature of the resort's pool is a light-house-style slide; the pool is surrounded by a fence with Mickey-head-shaped cut-outs.

Dole Whip treats are available at the quick service food location near the pool, including a Key Lime Pie Dole Whip.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

When I last visited Disney's Vero Beach Resort to see the 2019 Tour de Turtles event, where a pair of turtles are tagged with satellite tracking devices and then released back into the Atlantic to have their journey studied, the beach looked as it had on all of my prior visits. There was a high shrub-wall on a dune that blocks light from the resort so as to not confuse sea turtles and their hatchlings as to which way to go to the water. (That sort of shrub-wall extends far beyond the footprint of Disney's Vero Beach Resort up-and-down the coast.). You can read more about Tour de Turtles in the Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 30-August 5, 2019, and see some photos of the resort and the Beach as they appeared then.

Disney's Vero Beach in July 2019
One of my last prepandemic views of Disney's Vero Beach Resort was the Tour de Turtles event in July 2019. File photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

When I walked through the shrub-tunnel to the beach on this visit, I was surprised to have seen the beach had been reshaped, with an extension of the sand-berm well-beyond the shrub wall followed by a 15 foot drop to the shore. Cast members at the beach said that the additional sand had been added as part of a shoreline preservation project by Indian River County that extends along the coast the length of the county.

This photo was taken about the same distance from the main Inn building of the resort as the one above from 2019, and it shows the extension of the sand berm well-beyond the shrubs.

Ramps that used to lead to the shore level are now buried by sand.

The nearly 15-foot drop-off between the berm and the shore has already been somewhat eroded by waves and weather since the county added the new sand earlier this year.

The stairs to the beach are nearly completely covered by sand.

A couple of spots along the berm have been cut into to allow pedestrian access to the ocean shore.

The cast member walking along the top of the berm provides a bit of perspective of how tall the new sand berm stands. Where that cast member is standing, back in 2019, he would have been at the same level as the colorful items in the foreground, about 15 feet lower, with the boardwalk above his head by quite some distance.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

This & That…

Disney Parks Blog shared the food options available to guests when the "Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue" reopens on June 23 at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Food at the venue is served "all-you-care-to-enjoy" style and includes fountain drinks as well as (for guests 21 and over) red and white sangria, draft beer, and wine in the ticket price. The Hoop Salad starts things off, along with house-made cornbread, and creamy coleslaw. That is followed by pecan-smoked BBQ Pork Ribs and the "Legendary" fried chicken, along with cornbread-crusted macaroni and cheese, home-style mashed potatoes, and cowboy beans. "Ma's Famous Strawberry Shortcake" is served up for dessert. Dietary needs and restrictions may be accommodated by letting the cast know at check-in. Additional adult beverages are available at additional cost.

…Speaking of food, though in a different cuisine category, the multiple-award winning Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is preparing to return on July 28. Reservations open on June 20. The restaurant is the only one in Florida to have received both the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five Star awards. Victoria & Albert's maintains its semi-formal to formal attire dress code that "respects the restaurant's elegant and opulent aesthetic."

…And still on the subject of food, Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants and Disney Springs announced this past week that Summer House on the Lake will open on the West Side in 2023. The new restaurant based on the Lettuce Entertain You's Summer House Santa Monica restaurants currently operating in Chicago, IL and North Bethesda, MD, features a California-inspired menu featuring simple ingredients sourced from local grower partnerships and sustainable products. The new restaurant will be built on the former site of Bongo's. Lettuce Entertain You and Disney Springs had announced a version of its Beatrix concept restaurant for that location before the global pandemic caused the temporary shutdown of Walt Disney World Resort and suspension of that project.

…Also at Disney Springs, "Drawn to Life" from Cirque du Soleil and Disney which opened back in November, is now offering Florida Residents, Disney Vacation Club members, and Annual Passholders a special ticket offer for performances through October 1, 2022 except July 1 to 5, September 2 to 5, and September 10. Tickets are available online at this page of CirqueDuSoleil.com or at the box office. Discount varies with location and performance.

…Walt Disney World Golf now has limited-edition Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration pin flags for sale in its pro shops for $49.95 each plus tax.

Pin Flag.
Walt Disney World Golf now has anniversary pin flags available. Photo courtesy Walt Disney World Golf.

…Beyond Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line officially took possession of its fifth ship, Disney Wish, last week. It is expected at Port Canaveral Florida next week with its first official sailings to follow.

…D23, the official Disney Fan Club, announced the main presentations for the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, coming up in September. Of particular interest to Walt Disney World Resort fans, of course, will be the presentation by Josh D'Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Disney has used the Expo in the past to make the biggest announcements about the future of the resort, and it is expected to do so again this year.

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). Over the weekend, the United States dropped the requirement for COVID-19 testing for entering the country.

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. 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 went 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.

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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.