Should you go to Disney World in 2022? Here are 22 reasons to start planning your trip …
A trip to Walt Disney World at any time is magical, but with the ongoing pandemic, many families’ regular trips have been delayed. Next year is a great time to return to the parks, especially because the 50th Anniversary Celebration will continue all next year.
Are you looking for a reason to go to Disney World in 2022? Well, looky here—we’ve got 22 of ’em.
1. New Fireworks
There’s so much new stuff happening with Disney’s 50th anniversary that it’s almost impossible to keep track. (And trust me, that’s my full-time job.) But far and away, the launch of Disney’s new Magic Kingdom fireworks show, Disney Enchantment, is the big draw of the celebration.
Are you planning to watch the Disney Enchantment fireworks during your 2022 Walt Disney World vacation? We’ve got tips on the best viewing locations here.
Plus, get our initial reactions to the show in this Disney Enchantment get our in-depth look at Disney Enchantment in our special 100th issue.
But Disney Enchantment is just the tip of the iceberg. Over in EPCOT, you’ll find the new Harmonious nighttime spectacular (and in my opinion, this is the better of the two new fireworks shows).
Find out the best viewing locations for Harmonious, and check out our honest review of EPCOT’s new fireworks show. This is one nighttime spectacular you don’t wanna miss when you visit Disney World in 2022.
2. EPCOT’s 40th Anniversary
Speaking of EPCOT, the park has an important birthday coming up. While Walt Disney World as a whole (and Magic Kingdom specifically) are busy celebrating 50 years, EPCOT turns 40 in 2022. Be sure to subscribe to our monthly print mag to get our special EPCOT issue in October.
3. 50th Anniversary Food and Drinks
We all know the best part of any party is the food. Walt Disney World’s official 50th anniversary may have been Oct. 1, 2021, but the celebration lasts 18 months and includes a long list of specialty foods and drinks.
We spoke with Disney chefs and Cast Members for a special peek inside the menu, and we dish all about it in our January 100th issue, which is dedicated to coverage of all things 50th anniversary.
But until then, satiate your appetite (or frighten your taste buds) with a look at some of these eats from Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration:
- The delicious, color-changing Sip-a-bration non-alcoholic drink
- The horrifying Squid’s Revenge
- The creepy (but charming? …is this Stockholm Syndrome?) Toad Burger
- This delicious 50th Anniversary Cupcake
4. 50th Anniversary Merch
The only problem with dropping money on food at Disney World? You can’t take it home with you. That’s where specialty merch comes in.
Merch is a big reason to go to Disney World in 2022 more than once. Throughout the 18-month-long celebration, Disney will be releasing new collections, and some of it will be exclusive to the parks. That’s right: You will have to go back to Walt Disney World again and again to get your hands on every last item.
Don’t have the budget for every item of 50th anniversary merch? Here’s a roundup of some of the top souvenirs for the 50th.
5. KiteTails at Animal Kingdom
Largely overshadowed by Disney Enchantment and Harmonious, KiteTails is a new show that debuted on Oct. 1, 2021, in Animal Kingdom. This beautiful show is done with kites and puppets. You’ll have to watch multiple times to ensure you see both The Lion King and The Jungle Book versions.
6. Cinderella Castle’s Transformation
Cinderella Castle is stunning in her 50th Anniversary transformation. You can look at photos all day, but nothing comes close to seeing her in person. That means you’ll want to book a trip to Disney in 2022 to see the 50th treatment while there’s still time.
7. Fab 50 Statues
In honor of the 50th anniversary, Disney has added 36 gold statues depicting 50 beloved Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel characters around the four parks. Hunting down these statues to admire them (or snap a pic for the Gram) has become a great way to spend an afternoon at the parks.
Wondering how to find all the Disney Fab 50 statues when you go to Disney World in 2022? We’ve got you covered with these guides:
- Where to find the Fab 50 statues in Magic Kingdom
- Where to find the Fab 50 statues in EPCOT
- Where to find the Fab 50 statues in Hollywood Studios
- Where to find the Fab 50 statues in Animal Kingdom
8. Beacons of Magic
Another 50th anniversary can’t-miss is the magical treatments of the park icons: Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, Hollywood Tower Hotel, and the Tree of Life have all been transformed for the 50th, but you’ll have to wait until nighttime to see how.
Tip: Spaceship Earth is the one to see, if you can only be at Disney at nighttime once during 2022. The LED lights are astounding.
9. A Near End to EPCOT Construction
Spaceship Earth’s transformation is just one of many at EPCOT. For the last several years, EPCOT has been under construction as we prepare for the three new neighborhoods (joining World Showcase as the fourth): World Discovery, World Nature, and World Celebration.
At long last, construction seems to be wrapping up, though 2023 is the ultimate goal for ending construction. Already, the new Creations Shop has opened (with amazing new EPCOT merch), and we’ve gotten to return to the totally revamped Club Cool (but is Beverly back??).
In 2022, we should also expect to see the new Walt Disney statue near Spaceship Earth. This section of the park will appropriately be called Dreamers Point.
Feeling hungry? In 2022, stop by a new Quick-Service restaurant called Connections Café and Eatery in World Celebration.
Still to come are the new Play! Pavilion and the Journey of Water, a Moana-inspired attraction.
Oh yeah, and a little thing called …
10. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
The ride we’ve all been waiting for is NOW OPEN! Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is housed in the former Universe of Energy Pavilion. It’s now a Pavilion themed as an extension of World Showcase: It’s all about the culture of the planet Xandar!
Guardians is a major attraction at Disney World—it is a party on a coaster and is already infamous for causing motion sickness. If you are looking for thrill rides at Disney World, this is a can’t-miss ride. Be sure to grab your Disney Genie+ Individual Attraction reservation to secure your ride.
11. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, a new dark ride in EPCOT, is giving guests a new view of the France Pavilion. It officially opened on Oct. 1, 2021, and is available as an Individual Attraction on Disney Genie+.
Can’t make it to EPCOT? Check out our November food issue of WDW Magazine for an in-depth look at the Imagineering of this ride, and walk with our reporter, Tina, through the newly expanded France Pavilion.
12. No More Virtual Queue for Rise of the Resistance
If you planned a family trip to Disney World in 2019, 2020, or 2021 and fought like crazy to get a virtual Boarding Pass for Rise of the Resistance only to come up empty-handed, we know what a terrible experience that must’ve been.
Rise of the Resistance has been easier to access thanks to its slot as an Individual Attraction on Disney Genie+. Shelling out $15 for a ride guarantees your iconic experience instead of wondering whether or not you will “win” that Boarding Group lottery.
When Disney World reopened after closing down at the start of the pandemic, there was a notable absence: FastPass. At long last, something comparable to FastPass has returned. (The kicker? It ain’t free.)
Despite having to pay for Genie+, many are already reporting that it has greatly enhanced their trips and made park days more efficient. Here are some Genie+ resources to help you plan your trip to Walt Disney World in 2022:
- Genie+ Lightning Lane rides at Disney World
- Individual Lightning Lane selections
- How Lightning Lanes work
- Genie+ cost
- Difference between Genie+ and Genie
14. FREE Genie Service
Speaking of Genie, Disney has rubbed the lamp and unleashed a new, FREE experience at Disney World, confusingly called Disney Genie (different from Genie+). This free service, accessed via the My Disney Experience app, calculates the most efficient day in the park, based on the things you want to do and the food you want to eat. Let Genie give you real-time updates about where to go next so you can fit it all in.
15. The Return of Annual Passes
For many families, it had been cheaper to purchase annual passes, even for one long vacation each year. But with the pandemic, Annual Passes were discontinued. But now they’re back with four options to choose from.
Note: If you do not live in Florida, your only option is the Incredi-Pass.
Get pricing details and blockout dates for each of the four Disney World Annual Passes:
Note: At the time of publication, only the Pixie Dust Pass was available for Florida Residents to purchase.
16. More Phased Reopenings
When Disney World reopened its gate to the public in 2020, many of our favorites were not available. Still today, we are awaiting the return of some of our favorite experiences.
As time goes on, however, expect Disney World to slowly reintroduce more experiences.
17. A Return to Cruising
Not only have Disney Cruises resumed, but Disney’s newest ship, the Disney Wish, will launch next summer from Port Canaveral. And you know the best way to do a Disney Cruise out of Florida, right? Bookend it with a stay at Walt Disney World, before and after.
Thinking about taking a Disney Cruise next year but don’t know where to start? Get in touch with a Disney Travel Agent for a FREE quote.
Here are just a few reasons you might want to sail on the Disney Wish:
We were able to travel from Disney World to Port Canaveral to preview the Disney Wish and attend the christening of the ship! Here are a few previews of the ship:
Your Disney Wish Preview:
- Disney Wish 1923 Dining Review and Menu
- Disney Wish Worlds of Marvel Dining Review and Menu
- Disney Wish Merch Onboard
- Disney Wish Dining Room Menus
- Incredi-Games obstacle course
- Experiences just for teens and kids
- The Disney Uncharted Adventure interactive game
Pools and Spa
Interested in learning more about Disney Cruises? We’re launching DCL Magazine in 2023; get on the waitlist now!
18. New Finding Nemo Musical
You may have seen Finding Nemo — The Musical at Animal Kingdom before the pandemic, but when it returns in 2022, it is a whole new, never-before-sean staged adventure. That’s right: Disney has revamped the entire musical experience for Finding Nemo fans.
Are you a Pixar fan? WDW Magazine’s May 2022 issue dove deep into Pixar at Disney Parks around the globe.
19. New Restaurants
In the last few months alone, Disney has opened up three new stellar restaurants: two in EPCOT and one at the Grand Floridian.
Of the three, the most out-of-this-world option is the one that, well, takes you out of this world. Make a reservation for Space 220 to ride the elevator 220 miles into the sky. Once you’re there (and have adjusted to the weightlessness), take a gander at the Space 220 menu.
Not sure what to order? Check out our inside look at Space 220, and make sure you’ve subscribed to WDW Magazine for our November 2022 issue on futurism, where we will transport you to this one-of-a-kind restaurant with insider tips, stunning photography, honest reviews, and Imagineering details.
Want something a little more traditional? Steakhouse 71 replaced the now defunct The Wave … of American Flavor at Grand Floridian. This elegant steakhouse opened on WDW’s 50th anniversary.
Can’t wait to dig in? We’ve got a Steakhouse 71 review to satiate your appetite. May we recommend the chocolate cake? It’s about as big as your face.
Finally, aligned with the opening of the expanded France Pavilion in EPCOT, including the new Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure dark ride, Disney opened La Crêperie de Paris, with both savory and sweet crepes. Get the full menu here.
Love dining at Disney? Then don’t miss our November 2021 Food special edition. Become a digital subscriber today to instantly unlock 64 pages of premium content all about Disney dining.
20. Galactic Starcruiser
The new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel opened March 1, 2022.
This totally immersive hotel is pitched as a cruise into space. For three days (two nights at the hotel), Disney sets the entire itinerary for you. You’ll learn how to fight with lightsabers, explore strange foods, and, of course, take a field trip over to Batuu.
The catch? A stay at Galactic Starcruiser ain’t cheap—and it’s super hard to get a reservation. If you need help booking, we recommend using a Disney Travel Agent. Or else be prepared to be on hold for HOURS. Seriously.
Here’s everything you need to know about Galactic Starcruiser:
- Galactic Starcruiser cabins
- Galactic Starcruiser dining
- Galactic Starcruiser itinerary
- Galactic Starcruiser packing list
In our June 2022 issue, we took readers deep inside Galactic Starcruiser to uncover every Imagineering detail we can find, plus give you insight into what it’s like to stay aboard the Starcruiser.
21. MagicBand+ and Hey Disney Virtual Assistant
First there was FastPass+, then there was Disney+, and most recently, we got Genie+. But next on the Plus horizon? The MagicBand+, announced on WDW’s 50th.
If you go to Disney World in 2022, you will be able to test out this new wearable technology that does all the normal things a MagicBand does, but also uses haptic vibrations and color-changing lights to enhance your experience in the parks. It also plays a part in a new bounty-hunting adventure at Galaxy’s Edge.
MagicBand+ isn’t the only new technology to geek out about when you visit Disney World in 2022. You’ll also be able to utilize the new Hey Disney Virtual Assistant, which is basically an Amazon Alexa with Mickey ears. Because Mickey ears make everything better.
This technology will only be available inside Disney World Resort hotel rooms, so you’ll have to book an overnight stay to try it out.
22. New Parades, Cavalcades, and Stage Shows
In 2022, expect the new Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade with the most characters of any cavalcade to date. And Maribel has joined the characters, too!
A sampling of whom you might see:
- Maribel from Encanto
- Nick and Judy from Zootopia
- Baloo and King Louie from The Jungle Book
- José Carioca and Panchito The Three Caballeros
- Miguel from Coco
- Merida from Brave
- Moana from Moana
- The Incredibles from The Incredibles
In addition, the Festival of Fantasy is here:
Click here for viewing tips, photos, and our review of the Festival of Fantasy Parade.
Finally, the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage will be getting an updated stage show for the first time in years (Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire). Check out this show for your favorites from Frozen, Tangled, The Princess and the Frog, and plenty of EARidescent magic.
Before You Go: What to Know About Visiting Walt Disney World in 2022
A lot is changing at the Most Magical Place on Earth, and it can be challenging to keep track. Here’s what you need to keep in mind if you go to Disney World in 2022:
- There is no more Magical Express. You’ll have to find a new way to get from MCO to Disney World in 2022. May we recommend Quicksilver?
- You still need a Park Pass reservation. Disney introduced these due to capacity limits in the age of COVID. As of now, you still need a Park Pass every day you plan to be at a park. Park Hopper kicks in at 2 PM.
- Not everything has reopened yet. Disney World continues to gauge how and when to open certain attractions. The top priority is the health and safety of guests and Cast Members, so please be patient with Disney if not everything is open.
- We’re facing a labor shortage. Disney World is not immune to the labor shortage that is plaguing the economy. That means our Cast Members are working with fewer resources than normal. Please be kind and patient with everyone, but especially your Cast Members.
Happy travels to you and yours in 2022!
Not sure if you’re going? You can just get more information about a potential Disney vacation.