With Walt Disney World’s 50th Celebration kicking off in October 2021, we always expected 2022 to be a busy year, with all the canceled and postponed vacations from 2020 and 2021 being moved into next year, availability is already starting to become limited. If you have your heart set on a particular resort or room type you will want to start planning ASAP.
Another huge benefit to booking early is that you will most likely lock in the lowest price. Disney, like most travel companies, yields their pricing which means as the hotel fills the price increases. Yes, they may release discounts (but I wouldn’t count on them next year) but usually booking further in advance will secure a lower cost than booking later with a discount. What is even better is that if you book your vacation with Showcase the World Travel and purchase the premier planning package we will automatically apply a released discount if it is released and applies to your booking.
I know the world is still very uncertain right now so flexible change and cancellation policies are more important than ever. Disney has always had one of the most lenient policies with only $200 required as a deposit and final payment not due until 30 days before. If you cancel up to 5 days prior to check in you will receive a refund of everything but the $200 deposit. If anything happens last minute, you can change your reservation up to 2 days before departure with only a $50 change fee (which is frequently waived.)
There are so many blogs out there who make a living out of tracking crowds and telling you the “best” time to go. With so much disruption to the travel industry over the past 18 months I think everything they and everyone else has known will be changing. I think some parents are going to be less likely to take their children out of school now they are finally back in person while others will be more likely to do so as they have seen the adaptability of their kids and importance of spending time as a family.
That being said, based on pre-COVID trends here are my favorite times to travel:
Middle of January to middle of February
Early May – After spring break
Late August and September
If you want to visit for the Holidays the first two weeks of December are going to be your best bet, but crowds really ramp up at the beginning of October and slowly build through New Years. There is a little dip after Thanksgiving.
So many things have changed since the parks closed down in March 2020. If you have stayed at a Disney resort in years past you will remember enjoying Extra Magic Hours, an early Fastpass+ booking window, riding the Magical Express and receiving a free magic band, none of which survived the shutdown. I do still think there is a huge benefit to staying at a Disney resort. For me, time is money and the convenience of being able to walk to a park or jump on Disney transportation is totally worth it. 2022 guests will also enjoy:
Early Entry: a new iteration of Extra Magic Hours that I am extremely excited about. With EMH only one park opened an hour early and guests of Disney resorts had to decide if it was worth it to utilize the extra time when it typically meant that park was going to be the busiest of the day. With Early Entry every park is open 30 minutes early for resort guests so they will be spread across all four parks and be able to get ahead of the crowds for the most popular attractions. I think being able to ride 2 of the most popular attractions before the park opens is going to be a huge advantage.
Extended Evening Theme Park Hours: a new additional benefit to those guests staying at a Disney Deluxie or Deluxe Villa property and will allow them to enjoy the theme park 2 hours after closing. Currently EETPH is only planned once each week at EPCOT and once each week at Magic Kingdom. However, additional parks and more frequent dates may be added in the future.
Disney Dining Plan: my favorite feature of staying at a Disney resort is the ability to prepay for your dining in advance with one of Disney’s dining plan options. While Disney has not announced when this benefit will be return they have announced it will be back.
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With Disney announcing that Magical Express would no longer be available starting January 1, it has left many concerned with how to get to their Disney resort. I personally haven’t used Magical Express in the past few years preferring to uber or use private transfers which although pricier are much faster and more convenient (again I believe time is money!)
In addition to ride share and private pickups Mears (the company Disney contracted with to provide Magical Express service) has announced that they will continue to operate the popular shuttle service now called Mears Connect.
Mears will have two different levels of transportation you can book. The first is Standard, which is shared, uses large vehicles (buses), and has monitored wait times will run $32 per adult and $27 per child for a round trip. The second is Premium, which has a limited wait time and direct service costing $200 round trip for up to 4 guests with $55 being charged for each additional passenger.
For more info about Transportation at WDW Watch this video below.
Ok now that we have gotten the business out of the way, let’s talk about the fun stuff… some of the new things coming to Walt Disney World in 2022. Make sure to join my Facebook Group to be notified of opening dates and other new features coming in 2022.
DisneyGenie: Coming this fall to Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Genie is a complimentary and convenient new digital service designed to create your best Disney day. The for purchase DisneyGenie+ allows you to access attractions without a wait using the Lightning Lane at the next available time. You can even schedule same day access to up to 2 “E-Ticket” attractions using Individual Attraction Selections.
Star Wars Hotel: The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is Star Wars fans’ dream come true. This is essentially a hotel, but also more of an out-of-this-world 2 night experience. Think of the Galactic Starcruiser as similar to hopping aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship with activities, dining and entertainment, but instead of being on an ocean you are transported into a galaxy far, far away.
New Entrance: At the D23Expo back in 2019 a complete revitalization of EPCOT was announced, while much of the original plans have had to be scrapped due to budget constraints, the entire front entrance has been given an entirely new look and feel. We will also see the introduction of neighborhoods to replace Future World but Disney has not given a timeline for the completion of this project.
HarmoniUS: This highly anticipated new nighttime spectacular will finally debut on October 1, 2021. It is said to be an exhilarating extravaganza that showcases the Disney songs and stories that unite people everywhere. Harmonious will send your spirit soaring with fireworks, fountains, magnificent lighting, visual effects and multimedia magic and be the biggest nighttime spectacular ever done at a Disney theme park.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure: Also debuting on October 1, in this 4D ride experience you will join Chef Remy on a daring culinary caper that will captivate all your senses as you zip, dash and scurry through the bustling kitchen, dining room and walls of Gusteau’s famous Paris restaurant.
Space 220: Embark on the ultimate culinary exploration from this new expansion of the Mission: SPACE pavilion. To begin your journey, board a special space elevator that will ascend to the stars! Along the way, viewports will give you an aerial view of Epcot as you travel high above the planet. Upon your arrival, you will dine from a menu featuring modern American cuisine, out-of-this-world cocktails and a wide selection of craft beer.
Tron: Inspired by a similar attraction at Shanghai Disneyland, Tron Lightcycle Power Run is a brand new coaster-style attraction coming to Magic Kingdom.
Enchantment : This was a Per Walt Disney World, Enchantment is an evening extravaganza that “will take you on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment. Inspiring everyone to believe in magic, Disney Enchantment will feature music, enhanced lighting, stunning fireworks and, for the first time, immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.”
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