Answering Your Questions about Walt Disney World
Even though the pandemic has ended, questions remain about Walt Disney World, especially its theme parks.
So, MickeyBlog is here to answer everything you’re wondering about the parks.
Is Everything Back to Normal?
Seriously, I’m giving that question an unqualified yes because the magic is back at the parks.
Disney has brought back 99 percent of the things it closed during the pandemic. With the impending return of Fantasmic!, nothing significant remains shut down.
Currently, restaurants like 1900 Park Fare and Akershus are the only pre-pandemic amenities that aren’t back.
Meanwhile, Disney has opened several new eateries and has more planned for 2023. So, we have net positive growth at the parks.
I say that before I include new attractions like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.
In short, there’s more to do at Walt Disney World today than there was in January 2020, the time before the pandemic.
So, everything is definitely back to normal…and better than ever!
Do the Parks Operate Normal Hours?
Okay, what you’re probably asking here is whether Walt Disney World theme parks still offer shorter hours.
Yes, during the pandemic, the parks notoriously shortened their operating hours for myriad reasons.
Disney faced staffing issues, required more time to sanitize attractions, and didn’t want transportation running late into the night.
So, Walt Disney World dramatically shrunk its park hours during the first year of the pandemic.
Over time, Disney expanded its hours of operation as the world regained its sanity.
As of today, Disney’s Orlando theme parks are open for roughly the same length of time as they had been before the pandemic.
However, you should still check the operating hours for the days you’re visiting.
Events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Disney After Hours could cause early Magic Kingdom closures.
Does Disney Still Host Character Meals and Greetings?
During the pandemic, Disney didn’t host any standard character greetings for obvious reasons. Social distancing protocols prevented such interactions.
Similarly, character meals had to go as well. However, that hasn’t been the case for a long time.
Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends at Disney’s Riviera Resort reopened relatively early during the pandemic.
Since then, management has gradually reintegrated other character greetings and meals.
At first, these functions worked as distant encounters for precautionary reasons.
During 2022, the pandemic has diminished in strength so much that Disney has returned to the old ways.
Now, you’ll find a nearly complete set of character meals available, including the recently reopened ‘Ohana and Cape May Café breakfasts.
Meanwhile, hugging is back during character interactions. So, Disney is just like you remember, with Mickey and Minnie Mouse ready to provide warm hugs to all!
Are Pandemic Rules Still in Place?
I suspect the intent of this question comes down to facemasks.
A vocal minority of potential tourists suggested they wouldn’t return to the parks as long as Disney required face coverings.
Walt Disney World dropped all its facemask requirements in April 2022. But, by that point, it was more of a formality anyway.
Disney had previously eliminated temperature checks and other remnants of the pandemic era. Disney only kept the face-covering policy out of “an abundance of caution.”
Still, that change occurred more than six months ago. So, the parks worked just as you remembered throughout the summer.
Not coincidentally, Walt Disney World was wildly busy as so-called revenge travelers showed up in droves.
There is one pandemic-related policy that remains in place, though. You still need a Park Pass to visit Walt Disney World.
Even when you plan to Park Hop by arriving after 2 p.m., you must reserve a Park Pass at one of the parks for that day.
Since Disney appears intent on keeping this rule indefinitely, it’s no longer accurate to call it a pandemic-related change. It’s just standard operating procedure at Walt Disney World now.
Is Walt Disney World Still Celebrating Its 50th Anniversary?
This statement may confuse you since Walt Disney World turned 51 on October 1st, 2022.
Still, Walt Disney World could only turn 50 once. So, park officials turned it into an 18-month party.
We will continue celebrating the 50th anniversary through March 30th, 2023. As such, you still have five months to enjoy the one-time-only events and amenities.
After that, the parks will move straight toward the next anniversary. The Walt Disney Company turns 100 next October.
Expect Walt Disney World to commemorate this milestone starting in January 2023 and continuing through (at least) the first half of 2024.
In short, Walt Disney World’s 2021 party appears likely to last for nearly three years!
Is Disney Building Any New Attractions?
I just mentioned two E-ticket attractions that Want Disney World has opened since the pandemic.
Meanwhile, two more are on the way soon! The first will arrive next spring with the debut of Tron Lightcycle Power Run.
This stunning roller coaster has electrified audiences at Shanghai Disneyland. Many consider it the best international Disney ride in the world.
Magic Kingdom has redesigned its entire skyline to emphasize the stunning exterior umbrella shape of Tron Lightcycle Power Run.
So, this will become the most popular Magic Kingdom roller coaster. And that’s a remarkable feat for a place that already has Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
At EPCOT, something even more daring is in the offing. Journey of Water | Inspired by Moana will debut in roughly a year.
This novel water feature will include a 16-foot statue of Te Fiti, the “villain” from Moana.
In addition, the water in this attraction will behave as if it’s sentient, responding to human touch.
Those of you who have seen Moana – and it should be all of you! – remember how the water treated her like a friend and confidante.
Somehow, Imagineers believe they can bring that same concept to life at EPCOT’s World Nature. It sounds absolutely spectacular and almost too good to be true.
So, I cannot wait to see how Disney pulls off this particular feat.
Thanks for visiting MickeyBlog.com! Want to go to Disney? For a FREE quote on your next Disney vacation, please fill out the form below and one of the agents from MickeyTravels, a Platinum level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, will be in touch soon!
Feature Photo: Disney