Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 2-8, 2022by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 2-8, 2022
You can view a larger version 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 you may know, the sold-out, three-day, 2022 D23 Expo is due to begin in Anaheim just over a month from now. In yesterday's Disneyland Resort Update here on MousePlanet, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix provided the details released so far of what the Disney Parks and Experiences team plans to share. None of those details are the big announcements, but we know from past editions of the D23 Expo, Disney makes its big Parks and Experiences announcements on the big stage there. The Parks presentation was live-streamed by Disney during the 2019 Expo and, simultaneous with each of the big announcements, Disney Parks Blog released articles, concept art, and photos to accompany them—we expect pretty much the same for this expo.
As Walt Disney World Resort followers, the news we have been waiting for around here may get announced at the D23 Expo. But I say may because Disney may not be ready to announce things like opening dates for TRON LightCycle Run, Journey of Water Inspired by Moana, Play! Pavilion, or additional phases of EPCOT's transformation. Since the focus of the expo (on some overall level) will be the 100th anniversary of The Walt Disney Company coming up in 2023, we'll probably hear about how Walt Disney World Resort will transition from The World's Most Magical Celebration (of the 50th anniversary of the Resort) when it ends next Spring into whatever celebratory name the centennial will have. Will Disney announce new capital-intensive projects for the Florida resort in the face of stepped-up competition from development of Epic Universe just up-the-Interstate at Universal Orlando Resort? Stay tuned.
While Disney already announced that "Tiana's Bayou Adventure" will debut in late 2024, perhaps Disney will announce at D23 Expo when guests' last chance to ride Splash Mountain will be. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
In other words, I expect that our local news about Walt Disney World Resort will remain fairly quiet until the Expo.
Views of Magic Kingdom
I made my first visit to Magic Kingdom in quite a few weeks, and, not unexpectedly, it was fairly busy. In pre-pandemic times, things around the Resort tended to get more quiet when Florida schools went back into session. Orange County Florida Public Schools return the kids to the classrooms next Tuesday, August 10. Will we start to see a more quiet period in coming weeks like we used to, or will the locals just be replaced by even more folks taking their previously postponed trips to Central Florida?
Mickey's Magical Friendship Faire ends with a few bursts of daytime fireworks, and, by lucky timing, I arrived at the hub at just the right moment to capture them in a photo. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
I took a ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover to hear the new version of the narration, which plays up the story that guests are riding aboard the "Blue Line" and that there are connecting lines to other destinations, like the "Red Line" that guests see in one of the long-existing displays along the ride. Alas, there's no connecting service elsewhere, just the same leisurely ride around Tomorrowland that we have enjoyed at Magic Kingdom since the mid 1970s.
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover's new narration includes reference to the upcoming TRON Lightcycle Run attraction. Do you want to hear the narration? With some prompting, I am willing to share video on our social media channels.
Construction and testing continues at TRON Lightcycle Run, with an opening date among the possible announcements at the upcoming D23 Expo.
Exterior construction remains underway at Tomorrowland Power & Light, the "gift shop" exit to Space Mountain. Since guests going to and from TRON Lightcycle Run will need to pass this way to and from the attraction, hopefully, there are some guest traffic flow issues that are part of the construction plans here.
On the Storybook Circus side of the TRON Lightcycle Run attraction, the view is now increasingly obscured by new plantings along the restored railroad tracks, separating Fantasyland from Tomorrowland to some extent. The sign advertising the new attraction along the rails is no longer in sight. It is also not apparent whether the walkway from here to Tomorrowland will return when the attraction opens.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
The "New" Fantasyland side of the TRON construction project also shows off a point I've made before about the Resort still being below whatever pre-pandemic "full capacity" from an operations standpoint. The Big Top Souvenirs building has been open on some of my visits to Magic Kingdom and closed on others. My Disney Experience lists operating hours for the retail location that are significantly less than the park's operating hours. Whether this represents a continued staffing issue, merchandise issue caused by supply chain, or just an operational decision is unknown.
Big Top Souvenirs in the Storybook Circus area of Tomorrowland is not always open when the park is open. It was closed when I was in the park on Thursday evening. For today, Tuesday, August 2, this location's hours are listed as 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. while the park's scheduled public operating hours are listed as 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
I also had a look at the Emporium's racks of the new MagicBand+ devices that went on sale last week. In addition to all the sorts of things that all MagicBands can do at touchpoints and hotel room doors and such, the new devices can be used to interact with the golden statues in all four parks and, in connection with the Play Disney Parks app, can be used in a new bounty hunter game in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I didn't purchase one yet (the one I'd had tested during a media preview and liked the most featuring a silhouette of the Partners statue wasn't in stock at Magic Kingdom when I was there), but I understand from friends and social media posts that they are not sold with their rechargeable batteries fully charged, which means that they may not be fully usable at the time of purchase.
Disney Enchantment, Magic Kingdom's fireworks spectacular, returned to once per night performances again last week. Rather than remain in the park during the show, I watched part of it from the Ferryboat as it returned to the TTC dock. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
This & That…
…As mentioned last week, cast training has begun for the return of the Walt Disney World Railroad, which has been closed for years to allow for construction of TRON Lightcycle Run in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom. Another piece of evidence that the attraction may return soon is that the Fantasyland Station is now surrounded by the sort of shrub walls on wheels that often surround venues opening soon.
…The 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games returns to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort from August 19 to 28. The games, celebrating military heroes, will feature 12 sports, including archery, cycling (both road race and time trials), precision air marksmanship, sitting volleyball, swimming and more. Beyond physical skills, the Warrior Games highlights the mental toughness of wounded, ill, and injured active-duty and veteran service members.
The 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games returns to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort from August 19-28. Several Warrior Games competitors recently participated in a media event at AdventHealth Arena, showcasing their skills in sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. The athletes participating in the display represented the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Special Operations Command, five of the seven teams that will go head-to-head in the 2022 Warrior Games along with two international teams. Video courtesy Disney Parks.
…The AAA Five Diamond Award and Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Award-winning Victoria & Albert's restaurant reopened on July 28 at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The interior has been renovated and, as in the past, it features an "ever-evolving" menu of multiple-course meals accompanied by a world-class wine collection with over 500 different selections.
The Dining Room at Victoria & Albert's offers "a tasting menu" while the more intimate Queen Victoria Room features a menu created by the chef de cuisine especially for you, including tableside presentations. The Chef's Table is another unique dining opportunity, allowing guests to interact with the chefs "like no other guests of the kitchen." Photos courtesy Disney Parks.
…At Disney Springs, Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar is relaunching its monthly "Smuggler Series" this month, "where lovers of fine beer, wine and cocktails gather together to eat, drink and expand their knowledge of various spirits." The first event will take place on National Rum Day, August 16, and guests will indulge in expertly paired dishes created by Executive Chef Ben Dodaro with cocktails featuring Flor de Caña Rum. Tickets are $115/person (plus tax and gratuities). The event is scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets are available on Tock.
Every month, lovers of fine beer, wine, and cocktails gather together in the tunnels of Enzo’s Hideaway to eat, drink, and expand their knowledge. Join us for our August Smuggler’s Series showcasing Flor de Caña Rum. Reserve your tickets today: https://t.co/h0BzxIswgV pic.twitter.com/XB0Qxx934p— Enzo's Hideaway (@EnzosHideawayFL) August 2, 2022
…And, after publication, Disney Vacation Club added an additional Moonlight Magic event night in September at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon.
General registration for the Disney Vacation Club Aug 9, 15, & 23, 2022 Moonlight Magic at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park opens to eligible Members on 8/3 at 11am Eastern. DVC just added event on 9/8 - Resort guest registration opens 8/11 & general 8/16 each at 11am EDT— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) August 2, 2022
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). The United States recently 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 seen nothing further about when Disney plans to resume sales of new passes following their apparent brief surfacing earlier this month that we reported on last week.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to monitor the cases of the rare monkeypox virus in Florida and elsewhere. We will include more information here in future Updates should it relate to visiting Walt Disney World Resort.
Finally, don't forget it's tropical storm season. It also rains a lot at this time of year at Walt Disney World Resort, often with dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. It gets hot and humid. Please be prepared!
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