Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 20-26, 2022

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 20 - 26, 2022

 Writer's Note, News & Views

As Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix mentioned in last week's Walt Disney World Resort Update, I was unable to attend the 2022 D23 Expo in Anaheim this year because of a prior commitment (more about that in a moment). So, thanks to Adrienne for covering the event and providing our readers with the surprisingly little news and what Disney shared of Imagineering's blue sky thinking about Walt Disney World Resort. I won't rehash the announcements: read last week's Update here.

As the Florida staff writer for MousePlanet, perhaps the most surprising aspect of catching up on the D23 Expo announcements this year is considering the projects we already know about yet where Disney apparently said nothing at the event. For example, over in EPCOT, the Play! pavilion was announced at the 2019 D23 Expo as the replacement for the shuttered Wonders of Life/Festival pavilion, and when I had a chance to interview Imagineer Zach Riddley about the ongoing EPCOT transformation back when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened this past spring, he confirmed that the pavilion was still in the park's plans—but D23 Expo provided no new mention.

At Magic Kingdom, Disney announced that cast members are training for the return of the Walt Disney World Railroad, but no opening date (or season) has yet been announced.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the new Roundup Rodeo BBQ in Toy Story Land still doesn't have an opening date, nor does the return of the enhanced version of Fantasmic! that the creative team was excited to talk about at the "50th Continues" media event I attended in connection with the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind this past spring. There are more topics like that; some tend toward smaller-scale projects, and I recognize that many smaller projects aren't the subject of D23 Expo announcements.

I am also somewhat surprised that there were no major discussion about how The Walt Disney Company plans to celebrate its 100th anniversary at Walt Disney World. The nighttime spectacular replacing Harmonious at EPCOT was mentioned as part of the plan, and, as I understand it, Disneyland Resort will feature a more complete celebration. But, having said that, the 18-month "World's Most Magical Celebration" of Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary ends in the spring, leaving open the question of what's next. Lots of Florida park-goers have been clamoring for a new (or any) nighttime parade at Magic Kingdom, for example, but since the Main Street Electrical Parade last "glowed away" from Florida years before the global pandemic (and, yes, it glowed a few more times in California since then, including this past summer), the only nighttime parades at the park have been during hard ticket events like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Perhaps we'll hear some more news when The Walt Disney Company's new fiscal year begins on October 1 (which is also the 40th anniversary of the opening of EPCOT). I remain convinced that there are more announcements to come at some point. As I wrote repeatedly in this space in the weeks leading up to D23 Expo, the competition up the road at Universal Orlando Resort is ramping up with heavy capital investment in its Epic Universe park, so past experience suggests that Disney will announce some new capital-intensive project to keep up the theme park arms race. Maybe all that blue sky discussion Adrienne covered was setting the stage for such an announcement or something else is waiting in the wings, or fill in your best guess about how Disney is planning for 2025 and beyond in Central Florida. Perhaps Disney's ongoing negotiations with Comcast, owner of Universal, over the fair market value of Hulu to complete its transaction to obtain 100% control of the streaming service figure into this mix, too. Stay tuned.

The Disney Wonder cruise ship visits glaciers on its Alaskan itineraries, as I saw during my recent vacation. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As for my prior commitment, earlier this year I decided to book the September 5–12 sailing of Disney Wonder from Vancouver, Canada to Alaska. Simply put, it was an absolutely amazing experience. The combination of the breathtaking Alaskan scenery and the Port Adventures I picked, the luck of extremely good weather, along with the top-notch service provided by the Disney Cruise Line cast members aboard the ship provided a vacation experience that I'm not sure how I will possibly top. And speaking of top-notch service, a special shoutout to Ricardo from Portugal, my brunch and dinner server at Palo on Disney Wonder, who I believe may have been the best Disney cast member I have interacted with at any Disney park, resort, or experience anywhere in the world!

Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT Celebrates First Anniversary with New Collectible Trading Cards

Starting today, September 20, 2022, Space 220 Restaurant celebrates its one-year anniversary with three new series of Space 220 Collectible Trading Cards: Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. The original three series—Earth, Venus, and Mercury—will be retired, as each series is a limited edition. The collectible cards were designed exclusively for and are distributed only at Space 220 Restaurant with the purchase of any zero-proof (non-alcoholic) cocktail or children's meal. The cards feature original artwork and a variety of space-themed facts on the back; each series also includes a rare "Tech-Specs" card stamped with a blue foil ink, which features an inside look at specifications of current and future space technologies.

Space 220 Trading Cards - New Series debut
Space 220 Restaurant provided MousePlanet with an advance look at some of the new cards that debut today, September 20, 2022, from the new Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars series. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Space 220 Restaurant is located in the World Discovery neighborhood of the park (formerly Future World East) adjacent to the Mission: Space pavilion. The "out-of-this-world" dining experience gives guests a journey to the stars with a simulated 220 miles above Earth view. The restaurant is operated by Patina Restaurant Group, which also operates dining venues at EPCOT's Italy pavilion, as well as venues at Disney Springs including Morimoto Asia, Maria & Enzo's, Enzo's Hideaway, and The Edison.

Lunch and dinner dining are prix fixe. The Lounge has an a la carte menu. Reservations are recommended, and can be made in the My Disney Experience app. More information about the restaurant, including its menus and a link to reservations, is available at space220fla.com.

REMINDER: Disney Cruise Line Deal Plus New Renderings of Lighthouse Point

Our partners at Get Away Today shared the details of a special Disney Cruise Line deal available only to Disney+ subscribers. This is possibly the best discount Disney Cruise Line has offered since 2013, and it's a perfect time to plan a getaway at a substantial savings.

Disney+ members can save on select sailings aboard the Disney Dream. Photo courtesy Disney.

Disney+ subscribers can bring a third and fourth guest FREE when they book two full-fare passengers in the same stateroom on select sailings.

The offer applies to sailings on the Disney Magic, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy from January through April 2023, and includes some of the Marvel Day at Sea or the new Pixar Day at Sea cruises.

The following 2023 sailings are specifically excluded from the offer:
  • Disney Magic – January 2 and March 13 departures
  • Disney Dream – January 2 and April 10 departures
  • Disney Fantasy – March 11 & 25 departures

Disney+ subscribers can book up to two staterooms at this offer, as long as the subscriber is the primary passenger for one of the two rooms booked. The offer is valid for stateroom categories 4A through 11C. Taxes, fees, and port expenses are not included, and are due at the time of final payment. Subscribers must be residents of the U.S. or Canada.

Disney's private island Castaway Cay is one of the destinations you could visit on a Disney Cruise. Photo Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Disney also released some updated renderings of Lighthouse Point, the second private Bahamian destination Disney Cruise Line is creating for future voyages.

This offer is good on new or existing reservations, which means those who are sitting on a placeholder reservation from a prior cruise can use that to book with this discount.

To book, call Get Away Today at (877) 510-2929, and please be sure to mention you saw them on MousePlanet. You'll just need to provide the account number and email associated with your Disney+ account. The offer is valid through March 1, 2023, but as we know, the best prices are always available to those who book early. The number of staterooms allocated to this offer are limited, so the earlier you call the better your chance of getting the cruise you want.

REMINDER: Save 50% on DIS Con tickets

As previously announced, DIS Con (formerly DIS Family Reunion) takes place at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort September 30 and October 1, with proceeds benefiting Give Kids the World Village, the not-for-profit Central Florida Resort that provides week-long cost-free stays to critically ill children and their families.

DIS Con will feature celebrity panels, meet and greets, unique vendors (with twice as many artisans as last year), photo ops, and a huge memorabilia silent auction.

With just a short time until the event begins, Give Kids the World Village has shared a special discount code DISCON50 for 50% off convention tickets. Click here for ticket options starting at $30.

MousePlanet has been invited to the convention as well, so if you are attending, be sure to let us know to say hello!

In addition to all of the convention offerings, the event is hosting a separately ticketed After Hours Party in EPCOT on its 40th anniversary, with access to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Test Track, and Mission: SPACE, plus special desserts, entertainment, and character meet and greets. Full details are available at gktw.org/discon.

This & That & Reminders…

…Character breakfasts return to Magic Kingdom's Crystal Palace on October 25. Reservations open September 22.

…Disney Parks Blog has published an updated Foodie Guide to Halloween treats around Walt Disney World Resort.

…Disney KiteTails will have its last showings at Disney's Animal Kingdom on September 30, 2022, according to the show's page on the My Disney Experience app. (Hat tip to @ThemeParks on Twitter - Dewayne Bevil of Orlando Sentinel - for catching this detail.) The show debuted on October 1, 2021, with the start of the Resort's 50th Anniversary celebration.

…On Thursdays and select Sundays in October, Annual Passholders can get early entry, special menu offerings, complimentary towel rental, and more at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. (Park admission is required, and park capacity is limited, so entry is not guaranteed, but reservations are not required.)

…REMINDER: The Annual Passholder merchandise discount temporarily increased from 20% to 30% at Disney owned and operated locations at Walt Disney World through October 14. As always, valid Passholder ID and matching photo ID are required.

…REMINDER: Disney Skyliner will be closed for refurbishment January 22-29, 2023. Disney bus service and FriendShip boats will operate (the latter, of course, weather permitting).

…REMINDER: Magical Dining is back across the Orlando area, where restaurants offer special prix-fixe menus for $40 per person plus tax and gratuity with $1 per meal going to charity (restaurants also offer their regular menus) through October 2. As in the past, several Disney Springs restaurants are participating, including Jaleo, which is featuring what it describes as the "ultimate tapas tour of Spain," available exclusively for Magical Dining. The list of the 2022 participating restaurants is available at MagicalDining.com.

…Speaking of dining, Rosa Mexicano is coming to Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in 2023. With current locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland, as well as upcoming openings in Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina and Las Vegas, Rosa Mexicano offers what it describes as "an elevated fiesta dining experience, including signature menu items and award-winning margaritas." The new 5,500 square-foot restaurant in the Dolphin (replacing Fresh Mediterranean Market which continues to operate, for now) will offer various seating areas with a capacity of about 300 guests, including a 30-person bar, and a private dining room for 50. The menu will feature a contemporary interpretation of authentic Mexican cuisine, plus over 100 varieties of tequila and agave-based spirts, including the restaurant's signature frozen pomegranate margarita. Rosa Mexicano will participate in the upcoming Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic November 11 & 12 with a tasting station.

…REMINDER: Give Kids the World Village is also hosting Gingerbread Run: Valentine’s Day Edition on Saturday, February 11, 2023. This event “will enable fundraisers of all ages to run, roll or stroll a 5K or family fun run through the 89-acre nonprofit resort - past snoring trees, an enchanting castle, the world’s largest game of Candy Land, and other whimsical attractions. For more information and to register visit gktw.org/gingerbreadrun.

…REMINDER: Planning for the holidays around Walt Disney World Resort? If you’re planning a gathering between November 28 and December 30 (though not on Christmas Day, December 25), Enzo’s Hideaway at Disney Springs is offering a “Mingle All the Way” promotion: if you use code HOLIDAY and book your event (signed contract and deposit) by September 30, you will receive a $50 digital bonus card for ever $1,000 spent on food and beverage. Bonus cards delivered after the event and are valid January 2 through March 31, 2023. More details and contact form available on this page of Patina Restaurant Group’s website.

…And, speaking of the holidays, Maria and Enzo's Ristorante will host its first annual Breakfast with Santa dining series this winter. The experience will include a breakfast of classic menu items, a visit with Santa Claus, family-friendly holiday activities, take-home treats, and a keepsake photo souvenir. Adults (21 and over) will get complimentary Prosecco mimosa while kids enjoy take-home treats. Platinum and gold seating categories are available: seating category determines table location and the order in which guests meet Santa; Platinum will feature the best views of Lake Buena Vista and will be first in line to see Santa. Pricing will vary by category, date, and time, starting at $30 for children (no charge for children age 2 and under) and $50 for adults (plus tax and gratuity). Breakfast experiences are an hour and a half long. More information and reservations are available on this page of the Patina Restaurant Group's website.

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 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 brief surfacing this summer.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to monitor the cases of the 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, as noted above, 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 still gets hot and humid in September. Please be prepared!

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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.

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 through September 30, 2022.

Walt Disney World Annual Passholders and Florida residents can save up to 30% off regular rates on their stays at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. Seniors, 62 and older, can also save up to 25% on stays. Visit swandolphin.com/offers/ for more information and reservations.

NEW Walt Disney World Annual Passholders can save up to 25% on select Disney Resort Hotels during the holiday season, most nights from October 23 through December 25, 2022. More information and availability is available on this page of DisneyWorld.com.

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.