There are a lot of great things about Disney World, but with the good comes the bad.
Next year is sure to be an exciting time, with the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in EPCOT (and possibly TRON in Magic Kingdom) and the continuation of the 50th anniversary celebration. But, there are some things we aren’t looking forward to — here are the things we’re dreading about Disney World in 2022.
No More Magical Express
It was announced that Disney’s Magical Express service will be discontinued starting January 1st, 2022. That means you will now have to find a new way to get to and from Orlando International Airport and your Disney hotel. Magical Express has been a complimentary service, and unfortunately, there will no longer be a free transportation option.
There is a service replacing Magical Express called Mears Connect, that essentially does the same thing as Magical Express, but for a price. Standard service is $16 one-way and $32 round-trip for adults, and $13.50 one-way, and $27 round-trip for kids (ages 3-9). Guests can also consider a Premium service option, which is considered a direct (but not private) service, that is $200 round-trip for up to 4 people, then another $55 for each additional person. Premium service is only available as a round-trip booking, at this time.
UPDATE: Premium service is now referred to as “express” service, and the price has increased from $200 to $250 for up to 4 passengers. It is still an additional $55 per additional person for Express service.
You can also use a ride share service to go to and from the airport, like Uber or Lyft. And, of course, taxis are an option too. If you want a different option, you can also rent a car during your stay. This could be worth it if you plan to go off Disney World property at all during your trip, or it could not be worth it if you would only be using it to go to and from the airport. And if you want your vacation to be even more extra, you could look into a limo car service. It’ll cost a little more, but it bookends your vacation in transportation luxury.
Disney recently announced a new edition of MagicBand coming in 2022 called MagicBand+. These bands will be more interactive than the current versions. They will have haptic vibrations, color-changing lights, and even gesture recognition! You’ll even be able to pretend to be a bounty hunter in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and find virtual bounties.
MagicBand+ will also interact with the gold 50th anniversary statues, which are now in all four Disney World parks.
With all of these new features, it also means these new MagicBands will cost more than the ones we have now. Now, you don’t have to buy MagicBand+, you can still use your old MagicBands or Magic Mobile on your phone. However, we are a little scared that seeing these cool new features in action will make us feel pressured to buy the new bands! We don’t want to miss out on the fun stuff, ya know?
Holiday Parties Not Returning
This year, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party were canceled. Instead, they were replaced with After Hours events — Boo Bash and Very Merriest After Hours. These new events have more expensive tickets than the previous parties, and, in some ways, have fewer perks.
For Boo Bash, the event was only 3 hours compared to MNSSHP’s 4, and there were no special fireworks, no parades, and no stage show. There were themed cavalcades, and you still got to trick-or-treat, but it did not seem to have as much value for the cost.
However, Very Merriest After Hours does have fireworks, a parade, and a stage show, as well as special complimentary treats. The party is also 4 hours long like MVMCP was. So, it does seem to be a step up from Boo Bash, at least.
We are wondering if this means the actual holiday parties will not return and will be permanently replaced by the After Hours events. And, we are not really looking forward to the higher price tag that comes with these After Hours events! We will keep you posted as party announcements are made for 2022.
Renewing Annual Passes
Disney World announced their new Annual Passholder program earlier this year, which has new tiers of passes and perks. There are only 4 passes now, and PhotoPass is no longer included with any of the passes. Passholders who were in their renewal period before the new Annual Passes went on sale were able to keep their previous level of pass for the same price and perks. But, moving forward, they will have to renew into the new system.
The new Annual Passes are more expensive than the previous passes, and now, if you want PhotoPass, you have to add it to your pass for an additional $99. You will also have to be aware of the different blockout dates. So, if you were able to renew into the old system previously, you will now have to pay more for the same level of pass.
Note that all of the Annual Passes, except for the Pixie Dust Pass, are currently not available to be purchased for Disney World right now as they have paused sales until some time in 2022.
Suspended Things Being Permanently Closed
Services like Minnie Vans are still paused and stores like the Stage 1 Company Store (the Muppets store) are closed.
Also, events like Afternoon Tea at Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort & Spa are not back.
We are worried that these things won’t be back next year. Or, even worse, that they will NEVER return. This would be a shame, as so many of these things bring a certain charm to Disney World. They could be returning, but Disney has yet to give us any information on their comeback, and we do know that Disney is not afraid to get rid of things (cough cough, FastPass). These are all things that we will continue to monitor and we will let you know if and when Disney makes announcements.
Crowd Capacity Increasing
Capacity has already increased in Disney World over the past year with more COVID-19 regulations being lifted as vaccines have become available. We know that things getting back to normal should be our hope, but we will miss the less crowded parks!
It was great, especially without FastPass available, to be able to get on popular rides with short wait times. Also, you didn’t have to rush around to beat the crowds or get up before the sun to rope drop in order to do what you wanted in the parks.
We think that most people can agree that those less crowded days in the parks are pretty awesome, so going back to being surrounded by a sea of people is not ideal.
Expedition Everest Closure
Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom will be closing for a refurbishment starting January 4th, 2022, and won’t open again until mid-April, 2022. That’s a LONG time, people!
While January and February usually aren’t super busy in Disney World, March kicks off Spring Break season, which is notoriously very crowded. Not having one of the biggest attractions in Animal Kingdom open during that time is definitely going to affect crowds.
Even if Everest doesn’t usually have a super long line, it still helped spread people out across the park, and now the people who were waiting in line for Everest will be adding to the lines somewhere else in Animal Kingdom.
It’s also currently one of the Individual Attraction Selections (IAS) in the park, so it will be interesting to see if Disney adds another ride to the system while Everest is closed, or if Flight of Passage will be the only IAS ride available.
Since this is such a long closure, maybe Disney will at least FINALLY fix the yeti inside the ride! We love Disco Yeti, but it would be cool to see the animatronic become fully operational again.
Speaking of closures, there will also be a Skyliner closure for refurbishment at the end of January 2022. But luckily, this one is much shorter than Everest’s!
The Skyliner will be closed from January 23rd to January 28th, 2022. It’s only 5 days, but it will still take away some convenience to resort guests or anyone park hopping between Hollywood Studios and EPCOT.
Guests who are staying at a resort on the Skyliner will need to plan for other modes of transportation to get to the parks, like by using the Disney buses. The buses are not as convenient as the Skyliner, because the Skyliner is almost always moving and the buses only arrive in intervals throughout the day. If you’re stuck waiting on a bus and need to be somewhere quick, you can look into if an Uber or a Lyft would be quicker — it might be worth the $8 to not miss your dining reservation!
There are a lot of fun celebrations coming in 2022, but there are a few negative spots that have given us cause for concern. Those are all of the things we’re dreading in Disney World in 2022! Stay tuned to DFB for more Disney news, tips, and info.
What are you not looking forward to in Disney World next year? Let us know in the comments!