To ensure we are equipping our readers with all the information they need, we will continue to report on all travel, safety, and COVID-related news that could impact a Disney Parks visit.
Planning a trip for 2022 to Disney World? Or maybe you’ve had a 2022 trip to Disney World planned for a LONG time, but now you’re wondering if you should change it?
There are lots of new things coming to Disney World in 2022, and select fan-favorite experiences will also be coming back. But there are also a lot of things that are constantly changing at the Most Magical Place on Earth and the surrounding areas. COVID-19 considerations and certain missing rides and entertainment might also factor into your trip worries. So today we’re breaking down all of the big things you should be considering when wondering whether you should cancel, modify, move, or keep your 2022 trip to Disney World.
Some Things Are Closed or Unavailable
Since the pandemic closures in 2020, many things have changed at the Most Magical Place on Earth. When the parks first reopened, many things came back with them. And over the past several months we’ve seen a number of things reopen — from hotels to restaurants and shows. But not everything is back in Disney World. Several restaurants, shows, entertainment offerings, and more are still closed or otherwise unavailable.
Places like the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa have yet to welcome guests again. The Disney Dining Plan is still on pause, and other things have yet to return to the Resort.
Some things will be returning soon (more on that in a second) but for the items mentioned above, no set return date has been announced. So if you’re heading to Disney World during the next few months, you should NOT expect to experience these things.
If you go in with the mentality that these items won’t be back by your visit, then you won’t be disappointed if they aren’t there during your trip. And if by chance, they do happen to return ahead of your vacation, then you can enjoy the “bonus” of experiencing them while there.
If seeing one of these currently unavailable experiences is a must-do for you, then you might want to consider rescheduling your trip or at least modifying your plans to keep these restrictions in mind.
But be sure to keep an eye out for updates. Things at Disney World are changing constantly, so you never know what might return next.
Some Things Are Returning This Year
While some things are still closed with no reopening date in sight, other currently closed experiences are set to reopen this year.
Fantasmic!, select backstage tours, the Festival of Fantasy Parade, a modified version of the Cinderella Castle stage show (called Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire), the Garden Rocks Concert Series at the 2022 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, and a reimagined Finding Nemo show (called Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!) are ALL set to return to Disney World in 2022. WHEW. That’s a lot of stuff!
UPDATE: The Festival of Fantasy Parade, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, Garden Rocks, the reimagined Finding Nemo show (called Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond!), and the Flower and Garden Festival have all returned to Disney World!
For some of these returning experiences, no set reopening date has been announced, though for some we do have general reopening periods (like early 2022) and we have some reopening dates for most of the tours. If you visit Disney World soon, you likely won’t be able to experience some of these returning experiences just yet.
These could return to Disney World in 1 month, 2 months, or some might not come back until the very end of the year. Disney hasn’t shared those exact details yet.
If seeing one of these returning offerings is critical to you, then you might want to delay your trip until next year or at least closer to the end of 2022. Pushing your trip until later into 2022 or into 2023 would give you a better chance to experience more of these offerings once they’ve reopened.
Some Things Are Back, But They’re Not the Same
While many things have returned or reopened in Disney World, they’re not all quite the same as they were prior to the pandemic.
For example, some spots that used to serve buffet-style meals have now switched to family-style meals or prix fixe menus (you’ll see this at places like Trail’s End Restaurant in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground).
Breakfast still isn’t back at Be Our Guest Restaurant (they just started offering brunch in its place), and lunch is no longer a quick service meal. Traditional character meet-and-greets are back in select locations in the parks and character dining is back to normal at many restaurants as well, although not all of the restaurants that normally have characters are back to normal. Check the restaurant you hope to visit to see whether characters have returned before you book your reservations!
Park Pass reservations are still required. Park Hopping is still following the updated rules and only begins at/after 2PM. Hotel hopping is still following some modified rules, and other things are still different in Disney World. Housekeeping is also still modified, with light housekeeping generally done every other day during your stay.
Disney hasn’t announced if/whether these things will eventually change back to the way they were done before. It’s possible that these changes will stick around for a while or potentially forever.
For some, these differences might not matter or might simply be minor inconveniences. But if they’re a big deal to you, you may want to wait until Disney announces any changes. Keep in mind though that some of these things might not change (or might not change anytime soon).
If you’ll be visiting Disney World in 2022, you’ll have the chance to celebrate 2 BIG anniversaries. First up, we have Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. 2021 marked the start of the festivities, but all of the anniversary fun will be continuing through early 2023 (since it is an 18-month celebration).
If you want the chance to eat some 50th-anniversary snacks, grab 50th-anniversary merchandise in-person, see the 50th-anniversary banners and decor throughout the parks, experience the beacons of magic, see the castle decked out in its 50th Anniversary gear, and more — then visiting during 2022 (or early 2023) might be a great idea!
Again the 50th Anniversary festivities will continue through early 2023, but they will end fairly early during that year so visiting during 2022 will give you the most amount of time to experience it before the celebration is over.
In terms of a second celebration, 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of EPCOT!
If you want to be IN EPCOT on its 40th anniversary, on October 1st, 2022, then visiting this year will likely be a must-do, bucket list item. Note that we still haven’t heard any announcements in terms of how Disney might celebrate this occasion.
New Things Are On the Way
Aside from the old things that will be returning, 2022 will also be a big year for Disney World in terms of NEW things. This year, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser , a.k.a. the Star Wars Hotel opened! We have a full guide to everything you need to know before you go!
The Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster in EPCOT launched into action on May 27th! This will soon be followed by MagicBand+, and Hey, Disney! and Amazon’s Alexa in Disney World hotel rooms.
We have set dates for some of these new experiences, but the opening dates for others (like MagicBand+ and Hey Disney!) are still unknown. Some could open or become available much later in the year, so you might want to consider waiting until the end of the year or next year to ensure that you can see it all.
If being in the parks and experiencing these new things as soon as they open is important to you, then visiting Disney World in 2022 might be a good plan. Just keep in mind that new attractions and experiences can often come with one big thing…crowds. If you’d rather wait until the “newness” of these items wears off and the crowds die down (a little) then you might want to wait to visit Disney World until next year. Or you can at least plan to stay clear of these newer offerings for a bit.
Aside from new rides or closed experiences, before canceling, delaying, moving, or otherwise changing a trip, you’ll want to consider the practical issues. Can you change your vacation time/requests to a future date so that you can move the trip or will that not be possible? Will it be feasible for your family and friends to change their vacation dates/arrangements too?
Is this the type of trip that, due to a family situation or special plans, really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance and might not be feasible to schedule again?
What about flight cancellations, hotel cancellations, etc.? Are you in a place where you could get refunds on these and/or credits to use toward future trips, making the trip change financially feasible?
Keep in mind that staffing shortages and flight costs could also impact your overall budget and could impact your plans if you choose to change them. Though many flights have been canceled recently and airlines are now choosing to make their own cuts, air travel is expected to increase in cost. And we’ve seen staffing shortages impact stores and more throughout Disney World and beyond. Both of these things could impact pricing and budget considerations when planning for your trip.
If there’s really no flexibility there and/or canceling your trip would mean potentially losing out on a lot of money or special experiences, then canceling might not be in the cards.
Before making any decisions about changing or canceling your plans, be sure to check on the modification/cancellation policies from Disney, your airline, and any other travel services you have booked.
Finally, one of the biggest things that might be causing you to consider canceling your 2022 Disney World trip is COVID-19. Thousands of Disney fans have actually said that the Omicron COVID-19 variant has caused them to change their travel plans.
COVID-19 can impact your travel plans in a number of ways. First, at any moment, there may be travel restrictions put in place in the future that restrict you from traveling to/from certain places or which otherwise make your travel more complicated.
Second, the general situation with COVID-19 case numbers in the area you’re from or in Orlando might also impact your considerations. COVID-19 variants have impacted a number of things with Omicron being detected in the wastewater in a Walt Disney World county and many analysts expect the strain (or variants to come) to slow international tourism to Florida.
The important thing to keep in mind with COVID-19 is that the situation with the pandemic is changing constantly. Things could change dramatically between right now and the date of your trip in one way or another. Case numbers might be higher or lower; restrictions may be lessened or increased.
When it comes to the situation with COVID-19, it’s important to be on the lookout for the latest updates that might impact your trip. We’re continuing to share those updates with you so you can be prepared for your future travels.
You may want to consider buying trip insurance or something similar if that would help in case you need to cancel due to any last-minute COVID-19 concerns or issues.
When it comes to Florida, it’s important to know that the state has its own COVID-19 testing guidance. According to the Florida Department of Health, “Florida is one of the top travel destinations in the world and there are currently no travel restrictions in place.” But note that general U.S. travel restrictions regarding COVID-19 testing for international travel, etc. do apply.
So, Should I Cancel?
Well, that depends.
When to Wait it Out
Things are changing constantly right now. If you’ve got a trip planned for well into the later part of 2022 (meaning you’ve got time to cancel and still get a refund/credit), then you might want to wait it out and see how things go.
Also, if you don’t really care about any of the new things being there during your visit, and you don’t mind missing out on the things that haven’t yet returned, then a visit this year might be totally fine!
If you’re concerned about the current situation with COVID-19 and would rather wait and see if the situation changes, or you’d rather wait until certain members of your family have received their COVID-19 vaccine or booster before visiting Disney World, then that could impact your decision to travel. Only you can determine how safe you feel.
Lots of new things are set to open this year or in the near future. As we mentioned above, new attractions and experiences can bring big crowds to Disney World. If you’d rather wait until you can see these things without the big opening crowds, then it might be a good idea to reschedule your trip.
You also have to think about whether you’ve got any deal-breakers, like hotels you HAVE to stay at, restaurants you simply MUST eat in, or experiences you’ve GOT to do? Are all of those things open? Some hotels may have less availability right now and reservations can be especially difficult to get at certain restaurants. Some restaurants also haven’t even reopened (as we discussed above) and select experiences haven’t returned. You’ve got to decide whether you’re okay with visiting now (given those limitations) or if you’d rather wait to see if those must-dos return.
If You Decide to Reschedule
If you would rather not go to Disney World until some of the missing things have returned or until the new experiences have already had their time with the big crowds, then you might want to wait a little bit.
If you decide to reschedule your trip or cancel your plans, make sure you read up on all of the cancelation/modification policies that apply to your Disney World hotel, Disney tickets, flights, and other vacation plans.
Also, keep in mind that these cancelation policies can change, so be on the lookout for updates.
At the end of the day, visiting Disney World in 2022 or deciding to wait until a future time to visit is entirely up to you. It depends on what’s right for you and your friends/family. We hope this post gave you a few things to think about as you take a look at your plans. Check back with us for more Disney news!
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What are you planning to do for 2022 — cancel, change, or keep your Disney World travel plans? Tell us in the comments!