The last couple years have certainly not gone as planned at Walt Disney World. The events, updates, and new attractions that were planned for the four theme parks even just a couple years ago have had to undergo a massive rescheduling due to the pandemic, and much that was expected to be done by now is still under construction. Still, Walt Disney World in 2022 shaping up to be a lot of fun.
The year is expected to be something closer to “business as usual” than either of the last two years, and with Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary running all year long, there will be plenty of reason to plan a trip to the vacation kingdom this year. Here’s a look at what’s happening, and when it’s happening, at Walt Disney World this year.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser (March 2022)
It’s a big deal when Disney World opens a new attraction or a new resort, but with Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, we’re getting both. A two-night experience that has more in common with a Disney Cruise Lines experience than a Disney World hotel. Based on what we know, Galactic Starcruiser promises to put guests in the middle of their own Star Wars adventure. The building will connect to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and guests will be able to explore that park as well have access to unique experiences, restaurants and more. Galactic Starcruiser opens in March.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Summer 2022)
The first Marvel themed attraction at Walt Disney World will finally open this summer at Epcot with Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. The attraction will take the form of a traditional Epcot pavilion, but one dedicated to the planet Xander. Glenn Close will even reprise her role from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie as Nova Prime. While the opening is billed for this summer, we’ve seen other attractions scheduled for that season open as early as May.
Epcot Festivals (Throughout 2022)
One of the ways that Disney World tries to get you coming back again and again is with seasonal events and at this point Epcot is basically the festival theme park. It starts with the Epcot International Festival of the Arts from January 14 to February 21. Then you have the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, which was truly spectacular last year, from March 2- July 4. These will be followed by the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. These latter two events have not yet been given dates but expect the Food & Wine Festival to start by late August and run into October, with the holiday festival starting shortly after Halloween and running into early January 2023.
Magic Kingdom Seasonal Events (Throughout 2022)
While the festivals at Epcot are celebrations that every guest can enjoy, Magic Kingdom tends to be the home for special ticketed events that are limited to fewer guests than you’ll see on an average day. These events cost more money but they frequently include unique entertainment, food, and character interactions. Traditionally we see Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in September and October, followed by Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in November and December. In 2021 these events were replaced by events with different names, signifying that they were smaller versions of the normal parties. Whether we’ll see the return of the larger parties this year or not is unclear, but something like them will almost certainly happen.
There was a time in 2021 when it appeared that the Walt Disney World MagicBand was not long for this world. Much of the convenient band functionality was added to the mobile app and Disney stopped giving them away to resort guests and annual passholders. And yet, the MagicBand will see new life in 2022 as MagicBand+. The device will include all the functionality as before but with added features, including built-in LEDs that will light up along with nighttime spectaculars and other events.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ/ Jessie’s Trading Post (TBD 2022)
Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is missing a couple of things you would expect to find in any theme park land, a quality dining location, and a real gift shop. The land will get both of these things later this year as the previously announced Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant has now been confirmed to be opening in 2022. In addition, Jessie’s Trading Post gift shop will be added to the exit area for the Toy Story Mania attraction, replacing the broom closet that’s currently being used to sell merchandise.
Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire (TBD 2022)
For years, guests arriving at the Magic Kingdom were greeted by a stage show, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, where costumed characters from all over Disney’s history of animation came together to perform for guests. While much of the live entertainment that we lost when Disney World reopened has since returned, this show has not. We now know that an updated version of the show, with a slightly tweaked title, will be debuting this year, though exactly when has not yet been revealed.
Finding Nemo The Musical (TBD 2022)
One of the most popular stage shows in all of Walt Disney World has been Finding Nemo: The Musical, found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With music and lyrics by the powerhouse duo of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the team behind the songs from Frozen, it’s no wonder. The show is currently closed, but a brand new version of the show is set to open sometime in 2022. Exactly what will be changed isn’t entirely clear, but the story is expected to be largely the same, meaning the popular music likely isn’t going anywhere.
Return Of Fantasmic (TBD 2022)
Fantasmic isn’t new at Walt Disney World but considering we’re coming up on two years since the last time the nighttime spectacular was staged at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it might as well be. The lagoon where the show happens has been undergoing significant renovations and while we don’t know exactly when the show will return, or whether the content will see any updates, we know the show will be back in 2022. It still probably won’t be as good as the Disneyland version though.
Alexa In Disney World Hotel Rooms (TBD 2022)
Disney World Resorts are already magical places, but they’re set to become even more magical in 2022 when they start responding to your voice. A partnership with Amazon will bring Alexa voice assistants into rooms that will speak in the voices of Disney characters. Guests will have much of the same control they would have over other Alexa devices simply by saying “Hey Disney,” but they’ll also be able to get resort specific information like bus schedules and more.
This is just the beginning of what Walt Disney World likely has in store for 2022. Much more will probably be revealed as the year moves forward, but even if this is everything, it’s enough to make your next to Disney World a unique experience, even if you’ve been there many times before.