It’s finally 2022; we have entered a whole new year. We are looking forward. Time to start fresh! And time to start planning your next vacation to Walt Disney World! Why, you ask? Because there are so many amazing things happening this year, it’s hard not to be happy and excited for it!
So, what are you most excited for at Walt Disney World in 2022? Have you thought about it? I have. At great lengths. Keep reading and I’ll share my thoughts and what I’m most excited for and let’s see if your ideas matches mine.
We have to start by acknowledging it’s been almost 2 years since Covid infiltrated our world and affected the way we live our daily lives. Seems as if many of us thought this would quickly sweep through and we’d be back to life as normal. Covid had other plans. Little did we know our world was about to turn upside down.
We have all been through a lot in the last 2 years; including Walt Disney World. They are not immune to any of this. And I personally think, despite all of their flaws, they have handled the situation rather well. Remember, behind this huge corporation are human beings. People with families trying to manage the pandemic just like the rest of us. They are just as tired and drained, yet are still finding a way to persevere and keep things going….for all of us. Their loyal fans! Everyone looks to Disney to set the gold standard. That’s a lot of pressure, especially in a situation like Covid. They are not perfect. No one is.
But despite their flaws (as I think we can all agree a little criticism is in order), I personally feel like we need to start moving past the pandemic (and things we think Disney did wrong), and focus on the good things. The things that make us happy. And Disney makes us all happy. Right?! I think some of us have lost sight of that. That’s why we are here, that’s why you are here reading this article. We all have a deep love for Walt and for the mouse and want to see our happy place thrive and grow.
In spite of Covid, many of us have already started taking vacations again and exploring the world. It feels good to get out there and travel again! We are starting to understand that we need to learn to live with the virus, co-exist with it, and adapt the best we can.
Since Walt Disney World reopened in July 2020 they have seen so many incremental changes and progress. Any bit of progress these days feels amazing, doesn’t it? It’s eye-opening what we took for granted before this pandemic wreaked havoc on us. But Disney keeps moving forward, even in the face of this ugly virus, and continues to build, create and inspire. And even thought I’m SO incredibly excited for what’s to come in 2022, we can’t ignore the environment and what is happening around us. But with caution, we can proceed forward. We have to! It’s what keeps us going.
So, back to what am I most looking forward to this year. So. Many. Amazing. Things!! It’s a mix of some new and some old, some just finally returning to the parks after being on a short hiatus (or long however you look at it!). But it doesn’t matter really, either way, it’s incredible to see and exciting to experience.
Here we go!
Park Capacity Levels
First and foremost, I’m most looking forward to the parks returning to full capacity. Sounds weird, right? Most people would not be excited about a park returning to full capacity. But, there is something so magical about having a park full of people. Even if only in theory!
After being apart for the last 2 years, the idea of standing on a packed Main Street U.S.A for a parade or the fireworks, feels so good!! It feels normal. And I think that is what most of us are yearning for.
It’s a blessing that we have this opportunity; the last 2 years have been scary at times, many wondering if we will ever again experience that, and we gladly now know the answer is yes!
Cast Member Staffing
With the parks returning to full capacity, that intrinsically means that the parks will be fully staffed with Cast Members. That is an amazing thing! It’s been so incredibly hard on CM’s the last couple of years. They have dealt with A LOT since the parks have reopened.
There have been so many rules and restrictions (certainly when the parks first reopened). The were under an enormous amount of pressure and stress to enforce all the rules. Not everyone obliged. Sometimes the public is not so nice. This made their jobs all the more difficult.
Any many Guests have been less than nice to the Cast Members and criticizing their lack of cheer and happiness. But seriously, let’s cut them some slack. Dealing with the public is no easy feat. And they are human too. Have you been happy and cheery every day of this pandemic? Probably not. I know I haven’t. They have bad days too.
I for one am grateful for all they do, and for bringing us the magic every single day. They are the lifeline that makes everything work. They deserve our thanks. I look forward to many more of them coming back next year to reclaim their rightful place and jobs in the parks and at the resorts. It will be great to see so many smiling faces!
Now that we’ve touched on park capacity and Cast Members, let’s get to the actual park projects.
EPCOT is undergoing an incredible overhaul. Of all four parks, this one has the most amount of “planned” change. There were a few projects that were scrapped due to the pandemic and budget cuts, but the majority of projects are moving forward.
We have already seen the opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure last Fall, a reimagined Club Cool opening last summer, and the all-new Creations Shop (formerly Mouse Gear) opening last summer, but there’s so much more to come!
Here’s a few I’m looking forward to!
Walt Disney’s statue called Dreamers Point is a big highlight for me. I’ve been waiting patiently for this ever since it was announced at the D23 Expo in 2019. Anything honoring the man that started it all is a big deal to me. He should continue to be recognized over and over again. In my opinion, I feel that Walt’s presence disappears little by little as the years go on. The new statue created in his honor gives me confidence and hope that the Walt Disney Company is not losing sight of where it all began. It is going to be magnificent!
The Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind roller coaster looks incredible, and I cannot wait to experience it. Even though I think that some of the park’s newest additions stray from the original idea and concept of EPCOT, this new coaster is going to be a thrill ride like none other and add some much needed excitement to the park. There are very few attractions in the park currently, so this will be a nice addition. I’m looking forward to it!
I’m also looking very forward to all the festivals!! And even better, this year marks the return of the Disney on Broadway Concert Series during the Festival of the Arts and the Garden Rocks Concert Series during the Flower & Garden Festival!! How exciting!! It’s been 2 years since we’ve had artists on stage during the festivals. This is a great sign of more things returning to normal. I hope we see the same for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series during the Food & Wine Festival. They add an undeniable electricity and liveliness to the park.
If your schedule doesn’t permit you to stop and watch any of the concerts, you can still hear the live music from almost anywhere in the World Showcase. It add an amazing energy to the park and the people! I am elated its back!
Hollywood Studios Projects
Finally, we have ventured to a new park. Over at Hollywood Studios, we FINALLY have confirmation on the return of Fantasmic!! We don’t yet have an official start date, but Disney did announce the show is coming back sometime in 2022! Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.
This has been long-awaited, and I think fans were starting to wonder if this was ever coming back at all. With its return comes some new show segments and sequences, featuring new performances, characters, and special effects. This is such exciting news and I’m happy that the park will have a nighttime spectacular once again! It has been sorely missed.
And although not announced or even rumored, I hope some of the live entertainment, such as the Citizens of Hollywood, come back to Hollywood Studios as well. Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard are not the same without it. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this!
Magic Kingdom Projects
Aligned with Fantasmic returning, the Festival of Fantasy Parade will also be returning to Magic Kingdom sometime in 2022. The infamous “3:00 parade” will once again delight Guests as it cruises down Main Street U.S.A. It will be so nice to see all the beautiful and colorful floats and characters once again!! I have missed this one immensely. It’s amazing how much good energy a daytime (or nighttime) parade brings to the park.
There is also a whole new cavalcade coming to Magic Kingdom also! These mini-parades have become a hit with Disney Guests. They are a great, quick way to see some of your favorite characters. Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade will remain on the schedule, and soon an all-new cavalcade will join the lineup – The Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade with Nick and Judy from “Zootopia,” Baloo and King Louie from “The Jungle Book,” José Carioca and Panchito from “The Three Caballeros,” Miguel from “Coco,” plus Merida, Moana, The Incredibles and more. So much fun!!!
And while it may not be ready in 2022, it’s awesome to see significant progress on TRON Lightcycle Power Run. This incredibly daring roller coaster is a great addition to the Tomorrowland attraction lineup, and a much needed boost for that part of the park. I think we can all agree that Tomorrowland is a little dated and needs a little help these days. I think TRON is a good start!
Parking Lot Trams
This is a bonus. A total add on. But finally, I could not be more excited for the return of the parking lot trams! I know it sounds silly! But, much like park capacity and a full staff of Cast Members, the trams are integral to the park experience. Especially with increasing park capacity, the parking lots fill up quickly. Disney absolutely needed to reinstate the trams to help transport Guests from the parking lot to the Ticket and Transportation Center. It has been difficult without them, especially on hot days! Happy to see these returning!
So, as you can see, there is A LOT happening (and so much more I didn’t even touch on). I’m here for it, ready for it, and excited for it all!