What Disney Got Right and Wrong in 2022
Every year, Disney blends the good with the bad. Thankfully, the good almost always outweighs the bad…and usually by a substantial amount.
How did the parks perform this past year? Here’s what Disney got right and wrong in 2022.
Right: The New Stuff at the Parks and Resorts
In 2022, Disney opened new restaurants like Connections Eatery at EPCOT.
Little things like this usually stand out as the highlights of the year…but not in 2022!
EPCOT also introduced an entirely new kind of ride: the storytelling roller coaster.
Simultaneously, the park unveiled its first “otherworld” pavilion, Wonders of Xandar.
This whole building simulates an alien world known for a specific group of travelers: the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Peter Quill, Gamora, and the other Guardians once saved Xandar from the end of civilization. Since then, it’s worked as a kind of adopted home.
However, when you try to visit this place, you may encounter a Celestial named Eson. That thing really wants to squeeze the life out of you.
Remarkably, you can tell all this is happening due to the design of Cosmic Rewind. The full-wall digital displays make sure that the action moves with you.
Somehow, Cosmic Rewind isn’t even Disney’s most immersive experience this year, though. That honor belongs to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.
Imagineers have constructed an entire hotel that maintains the illusion that you’re an intergalactic traveler heading to Batuu.
You’re taking one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the fleet to Batuu.
During your two-night stay, you’ll fully buy into the theme that you’re not on Earth any longer.
Galactic Starcruiser isn’t merely a Disney success story. It’s also one of the greatest recent achievements in the tourist industry as a whole.
Wrong: The Other Park Stuff
Alas, adding a budget of new stuff only goes so far. The existing attractions and amenities must continue to satisfy as well.
Disney earns a few demerits in this category for sure. Don’t get me wrong. All your favorite rides and experiences remain wonderful.
The negatives stem from the recent changes and noticeably absent offerings.
Specifically, I don’t know anyone who likes the Park Pass system. Seriously, if you do, please tell me so and explain why.
The whole thing feels like needless bureaucracy from a guest’s perspective.
Similarly, Disney has bungled annual passes so much that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The Park Pass system has caused this issue as well. Disney sold annual passes without explicitly stating that the Magic Keys no longer guaranteed admission.
That’s like me selling you my neighbor’s car. I’m offering you something that only has value if the neighbor agrees to hand you the keys.
An annual pass without a Park Pass is basically a 20 percent Disney discount card and nothing more.
Meanwhile, a lingering mystery remains about the Disney Dining Plan. This beloved amenity vanished during the pandemic.
Disney promised to bring it back in 2022, but you can tell by the calendar that this didn’t happen.
The theme parks remain exceptional, but Disney’s handling of them in 2022 deserves an F grade.
Right: The Reopenings
Speaking of the parks, Disney went above and beyond in bringing back beloved attractions and amenities in 2022.
I compiled a full list of everything that returned to Disney last year. There’s a real chance I missed a couple of things because so much happened.
Disney brought back Fantasmic! at two different parks, restored the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and reopened Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
Those three mentions barely scratch the surface of the 50+ entertainment options that returned at Disney in 2022.
If you wanted to wait to visit Disney until everything returned to normal, that time has come!
Alas, one of the recurring themes at Disney under the since-deposed Bob Chapek is that everything costs more when it comes back.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue reopened at a higher price. Top of the World Lounge reopened with upsell options that cost almost as much as Disney After Hours.
Most remarkably, Walt Disney World annual prices increased in price even though they never went on sale this year. How is that even possible?!
Mr. Chapek earned derisive names like Bob Paycheck and Bob Cheap-ek because of moves like this.
Whenever Disney needed money, he squeezed it out of the parks. And MickeyBlog is still salty about the size of this salad.
Right: The Disney Wish
Our sponsor, MickeyTravels, recently sent several of its agents on a Disney cruise. That wasn’t even the best part, though.
The agents all sailed on the Disney Wish for the first time. And they raved about the whole experience!
They weren’t the first people involved with MickeyBlog who rode this cruise, either. Everyone who has traveled on the Disney Wish says the same thing.
Disney has reinvented the cruise experience, somehow making it more luxurious AND more family-friendly.
Now, even the dining options tell a story. You can travel to Arendelle and celebrate Queen Anna’s betrothal. Or you can live out a Marvel battle on the cruise ship!
Seriously, some of the scenes from this live-action MCU short film take place ON the Disney Wish!
Of course, you can also enjoy Disney’s first cruise ship attraction, the AquaMouse as well.
Disney has packed so much onto its new luxury vessel that all guests have one lingering thought as they exit. “We have to go back again asap!”
The Disney Wish represents an unqualified triumph for Disney.
Wrong: The D23 Parks Panel
Seriously, what was that? At the time, Disney performed a sleight-of-hand trick about what was coming next.
Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro hosted a group of Disney dignitaries who promised the moon and the stars. Well, it sounded like they did.
In actuality, park officials later confirmed very little of what Disney discussed. It was an entire panel of the theoretical.
That’s not good enough for Disney. For that matter, it defeats the entire point of D23, a fan event intended to excite Disney lovers about what’s coming next.
Instead, Disney made empty promises while MickeyBlog tried to determine which parts were even real.
We’ll never know the answer, either. With Disney under new leadership, many of those discussions have been rendered moot anyway.
Disney fans anxiously anticipate the D23 Expo every two years specifically because of the Parks panel. This year’s event was a total bust.
Right: The CEO
There’s no need to dive into this one too deeply. We’ve already discussed it plenty enough.
Simply stated, Bob Chapek had to go. He’d made too many mistakes as Disney CEO. Once you lose that much credibility, it’s challenging to get back.
Thankfully, Disney’s Board of Directors interceded and did the best thing possible. They rehired Bob Iger, who never should have left as Disney CEO anyway.
All’s right with Disney once again. With Iger in charge, fans don’t need to live in fear of the next infuriating news cycle as we did under Chapek.