The magic is calling you in 2022! The Walt Disney World Resort had so much to offer in 2021 with the kick-off to the 50th Anniversary Celebration. But, that doesn’t mean that 2022 won’t be even more spectacular.
Over the last few months, Disney has released details about all the wonderful things coming in 2022 and we can’t wait to share them with you! So, sit back and relax as we take you through our countdown to 2022 and 22 reasons you NEED to plan your visit now!
1- Epcot’s 40th Anniversary Celebration!
Magic Kingdom may be celebrating her 50th anniversary, but EPCOT will be turning the big 4-0 on October 1, 2022! EPCOT has so much opening in 2022 in celebration of the 40th Anniversary. We can’t wait to share it all with you as we hear more.
2- Moana- Journey of Water
The reinvention of Epcot will include Journey of Water, Inspired by “Moana.” This first-ever attraction based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios hit film, “Moana,” will let guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting. This is slated to open in 2022 as part of the EPCOT revolution.
3- Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
This global celebration of the performing, culinary and visual arts runs from January 14th through Feb. 21, 2022, as part of The World’s Most Magical Celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. The DISNEY ON BROADWAY Concert Series is returning for this year’s festival, where you can see some of your favorite entertainers perform Disney songs live at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase.
During the festival, art lovers of all ages can enjoy inspirational experiences, such as:
- Culinary delights from Food Studios around World Showcase
- The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine – a fun food stroll featuring five delicious sweet and savory treats
- Chalk artists turning walkways into stunning landscapes and portraits
- Photo ops where you can step into famous artwork
- A paint-by-number mural
- Figment’s Brush with the Master’s scavenger hunt
- Performance and visual artists
- Special festival merchandise
4- Taste of EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival
This popular and fragrant festival springs to life on March 2 and runs through July 4. That’s 125 days to enjoy fresh cuisine, colorful gardens, playful topiaries and vibrant entertainment.
Since the festival is taking place during the Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary celebration, a new main entrance topiary display will feature Goofy and a 50th-themed birthday cake. Other favorite Disney Character topiaries will include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Germany pavilion or Lumiere and Cogsworth welcoming you to the recently expanded France pavilion. Fresh flavors are on the menu at the festival’s 18 Outdoor Kitchens as well as other food and beverage locations around EPCOT, offering a fresh selection of springtime fruits, vegetables, desserts and more. We will have a full list of those as soon as they are announced!
5- Character Meet & Greet Returns
Character meet and greets have returned to the parks! Just recently, Mickey Mouse returned to Backstage Magic in Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A and the Princesses returned to Princess Fairytale Hall. Other meet and greets have followed around the parks and more are planned in 2022!
6- Fantasmic! is Returning
Fantasmic! will return in 2022 to Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World with new show features and sequences! In early December at the D23 event, Destination D, Disney made many announcements about several entertainment offerings returning in 2022. One that we are most excited about is the news that Fantasmic! would be returning to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in early 2022. When the show returns there will be new features and sequences to look forward to.
7- Space 220 at EPCOT
The Space 220 restaurant is located adjacent to the Mission: SPACE attraction, and takes fine dining to a whole new level. Your immersive experience begins as you check in to the Space 220 Departure Lounge in Future World. From here, you’ll board one of two “Space Elevators” that will transport you in what seems like 220 miles above Earth to Centauri Space Station. As you begin your ascent, you’ll look down through a viewport to see EPCOT shrink away; looking up you’ll see the Space Station come into view.
Once you’ve docked, you’ll head through the Centauri Space Station-themed dining area. Inside the dining area, you’ll experience a panoramic view of Earth below, and a variety of work and leisure activities taking place beyond the windows of the Space Station-themed restaurant.
8- Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser Opening
Speaking of space… The brand-new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is opening to the public in March of 2022. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will offer fans a two-night itinerary, in which guests find themselves traveling aboard the Halycon starship and living out their own Star Wars story. If that sounds like something only Star Wars fans could dream up, that’s because it was. A journey on the Halcyon will go something like this. You’ll arrive at the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal at Walt Disney World and check-in for a two-night experience before entering a Launch Pod for transport to the stars. You’ll even get to watch from windows as the world beneath gets smaller and smaller. Following the jump to hyperspace, you’ll soon dock with the Halcyon, board, and the story starts. But to paraphrase a famous Star Wars quote, that’s only where the fun begins.
Booking is now open for 2022! Contact your Key to the World Travel Advisor today to book!
9- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Opening early 2022, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is a family-friendly adventure, featuring a totally new type of roller coaster experience we’re developing just for this attraction – it’s a story coaster that rotates 360 degrees so you’re always focused on all the action as you help the Guardians save the galaxy. Not only that but Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will also feature the first reverse launch on a coaster in Disney history and is one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world. It’s a massive experience that will match the scale and adventure of the Guardians of the Galaxy films.
10- MagicBand+ is Coming
The new next-generation wearable technology, MagicBand+ is coming in 2022! After you enter a theme park, MagicBand+ will come alive at various times with color-changing lights, haptic vibrations and gesture recognition. The wearable will allow you to engage with favorite Disney moments in new ways, including:
- Play like a bounty hunter in a galaxy far, far away and find virtual bounties throughout Black Spire Outpost in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Interact with the “Disney Fab 50 Character Collection,” the golden sculptures spread throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks.
- Experience nighttime spectaculars in a new way as you see your band light up and complement the magic in the skies, including the new “Harmonious” at EPCOT and “Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom Park.
MagicBand+ will be available for purchase beginning next year, including a discounted, pre-arrival price for Disney Resort hotel guests as well as new and renewing Walt Disney World Annual Passholders. Current MagicBands will continue to be available, too, along with the complimentary Disney MagicMobile service that extends MagicBand features, such as park entry, to smart devices.
11- Hey Disney Virtual Assistant
As part of the kick-off to the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort, Disney announced a brand new project with Amazon called “Hey, Disney!” The technology is a custom assistant, using Disney stories, characters and more – all built on Amazon’s Alexa technology.
Whether you’re at home or in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel room, soon you’ll be able to use an Echo device to interact with your favorite Disney, Pixar or Star Wars characters. “Hey, Disney!” will make your vacation easier, more meaningful and more fun … and it will entertain and delight you when you’re at home, too. It raises the bar for immersive storytelling with authentic character voices, unique audio environments inspired by Disney films and destinations, and more than a thousand magical interactions to discover.
12- No More Virtual Queue for Rise of the Resistance
Starting back on September 23, the virtual queue will be paused for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Guests will be able to utilize a standby queue for this one-of-a-kind attraction for the first time since it opened in 2019. This will allow more guests the opportunity to ride the attraction without having to get up and take their chances with the online virtual queue through My Disney Experience.
13- New Fireworks at Magic Kingdom
To kick off the 50th Anniversary at Magic Kingdom, a new firework show debuted! The new nighttime spectacular, “Disney Enchantment,” was created to launch with “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” this evening extravaganza will take you on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment. Inspiring everyone to believe in magic, “Disney Enchantment” features music, enhanced lighting, stunning fireworks and, for the first time, immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.
14- New Fireworks at EPCOT
Harmonious debuted on October 1st at EPCOT as the new nighttime spectacular set to replace Epcot Forever which replaced IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. This show is the largest nighttime spectaculars ever made for a Disney Park! Considering how IllumiNations: Reflection of Earth, a show that debuted back in 1999, wowed guests for decades, Disney promising the largest nighttime show yet is talk worth paying attention to. Harmonious has larger fireworks shells launched higher than IllumiNations, making it similar to the kind of pyrotechnics that guests are used to seeing at Magic Kingdom. You truly do not want to miss out on this!
15- Beacons of Magic at EPCOT
As part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration, a new nighttime show debuted at Spaceship Earth! It is called Beacons of Magic and it is one of the best lighting shows I have ever watched at a Disney park. It is truly mesmerizing and a great addition to the park. Lights shine from within Spaceship Earth’s reflective panels as stardust emerges to symbolize beacons of possibility and optimism.
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16- KiteTails at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
A new addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is KiteTails at Discovery River Theater. Hearts and imaginations will soar as elaborate, 3-dimensional kites and incredible windcatchers dance through the air to the beat of beloved Disney songs during this high-flying performance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Be awed by 2 unique, 10-minute shows:
- A show inspired by The Lion King, featuring kites of Simba, Zazu and more
- A show inspired by The Jungle Book, featuring kites of King Louie, Baloo and more
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17- New Finding Nemo Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Finding Nemo the Musical has been closed since the park reopened in July 2020. However, in 2022, an updated Finding Nemo Musical is coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This show will be based on the same beloved characters in the popular underwater story where you learn to “just keep swimming!” The musical will also still feature beloved favorites such as “In the Big Blue World” and “Go with the Flow”. In addition, there will be new story material added.
Disney Genie+ has debuted at Walt Disney World. This all-new system is designed to help guests maximize their time in the parks.This all-new service is built into the My Disney Experience app and offers complimentary features to help you plan your day at the Walt Disney World theme parks. Select your interests such as dining, characters, and attractions that you want to experience during the day. The Disney Genie will help you navigate through the park and adjust its recommendations based on your interests. It continues to offer recommendations throughout the day.
Plus, there is a custom tip board where you can see estimated wait times for attractions, order food, check-in for a dining reservation, join a virtual queue, and more. This is all found within the My Disney Experience and there is no charge to use these new tools.
The Disney Genie+ is an additional feature that works with the Disney Genie. When you upgrade to Genie+ for $15 per person, per day. This paid service allows you access to over 40 attractions and experiences with shorter wait times. You select Lightning Lane arrival times throughout the day, and if you have the park hopper option, across all four theme parks.
19- Fab 50 Statues
The “Disney Fab 50” is a collection of golden statues that are now on display across all four theme parks. The statues feature beloved characters from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel. Plus, there are two theme park favorites – Orange Bird and Figment! Many statues feature pairs of Disney friends. The statues will be in place for 18 months, throughout the “Most Magical Celebration on Earth”. You can use this GUIDE to find them all!
20- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is a new attraction just opened at EPCOT that mirrors the version of Disneyland Paris’ popular Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. The “ratmobiles” take a harrowing journey down into the restaurant and through the kitchen while narrowly escaping the clutches of the evil Chef Skinner. With the combination of trackless vehicles and gigantic props and projections, the ride has quickly become one of Disneyland Paris’ top attractions.
21- 50th Anniversary Food and Drinks
The 50th Anniversary Celebration is going to take place for 18 months! During the celebration there will be special menus throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. You can see a special menu at California Grill as well as many other locations. You can also find specialty treats and drinks for the celebration as well!
22- 50th Anniversary New Parades, Cavalcades, and Stage Shows
Throughout all four Walt Disney World Resort you can see cavalcades, parades returning, and a new opening day stage show at Magic Kingdom called “Let the Magic Begin.” Join the opening ceremonies with Mickey and the gang as they welcome you to the most magical place on earth!
There is even more coming in 2022 that we don’t even know about yet. We will be here to share them with you here on Theme Park Professor.
Are you considering a trip? This is a great time to plan your perfect vacation! Having a travel advisor means someone there to have your back in any occurrence. There is no additional cost to you and you have peace of mind knowing that your vacation is in good hands. Click here for a free, no-obligation quote for your next trip.