It’s no secret that Walt Disney World is an expensive vacation, and if you don’t make it to the resort annually, you might be wondering if this is the year to visit. And, if you are one of the thousands of people who postponed a Disney trip at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are probably itching to go. It’s difficult to say if this is the year to go, or if you should wait another year, but here are some pros/cons to hopefully help you decide.
Prices for everything go up annually at Walt Disney World, but there is no huge savings available this year that won’t be there next year. And, in terms of cost vs. value, you may get a better ‘bang for your buck’ next year when more live shows are back, hopefully all of the restaurants have reopened, and we have some more streetmosphere entertainment and resort recreational offerings.
Annual Passes are currently not for sale, except for very limited options for Florida residents only. If your return to the parks may mean multiple trips in the same year, you might want to wait until you are able to purchase Annual Passes again. There is also no time frame as of yet for when Annual Passes will be offered again.
This year’s EPCOT International Festival of the Arts marks the return of a nearly “normal” EPCOT festival, which is a great sign for things to come. The EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival should be close to if not totally normal for this year, as well as later events like the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival of the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. If an EPCOT festival is the top priority on your list, I feel confident in saying you’d be happy with a 2022 trip.
As for special events in the Magic Kingdom, those are a little less clear. We do not have news of what Halloween and holiday events will be like. It’s possible they will be more like the After-Hours style events that were offered last year (and at a very high price point) or we could finally see the full return of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, it’s difficult to say at this point.
Live entertainment is one of the areas of Walt Disney World that is still a little off. While a newly reimagined version of Finding Nemo: The Musical has been announced, we do not have details yet for an opening date. The Festival of the Lion King, also at Disney’s Animal Kingdom with Nemo, is currently running however it is modified without the tumble monkeys sequence. Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage is performing daily at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the dancing and any hint of romance between Belle and Beast are socially distanced and quite frankly, odd.
Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade and a new version of Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire (called Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire) will be returning to the Magic Kingdom in March. Many of the performers in EPCOT are back around World Showcase, and Fantasmic will be returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios sometime this year, too.
Streetmosphere performers, notably in off-Main Street areas of the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are few and far between right now, and we have no timeframe for when they will return.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is opening later this year at EPCOT, however the new TRON attraction at the Magic Kingdom has been pushed back to next year. If it has been some time since you’ve visited Disney World though, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure may be new-to-you and worth seeing.
Most restaurants are open at this point, however, if you are hoping for a certain dining experience, you should check that your favorites are open and have reservations available as you plan a trip. (Personally, I’m still waiting for afternoon tea at the Garden View Tea Room at the Grand Floridian to return!) You will find plenty of dining options if you do plan a trip, but some of your favorites may not be ready to have you back yet so it’s worth checking.
Character meet and greets are still distanced, meaning no hugs, or autographs, and this goes for character dining locations, too. This didn’t impact us too much during our trip last year, and actually I do love some of our selfies from Chef Mickey’s but if this is a dealbreaker for you, you may want to wait it out and see if any changes are made in the coming months/year.
They are still required indoors (though Universal Orlando Resort recently changed their mask requirements, so Disney may be updating theirs soon, too). If wearing a mask on vacation isn’t your jam you may want to wait. They are only required in indoor locations and on transportation though, so I wouldn’t personally let it ruin your trip…Just actually follow the rules and don’t be a jerk.
If you want to be at Walt Disney World for the 50th-anniversary celebration, you do still have time if you aren’t quite ready for a trip yet. The World’s Most Magical Celebration runs through April 2023, so there is time to decide if you’ll be able to make it down for the event still.
Am I Going to Walt Disney World in 2022?
I don’t know yet. I want to, but when I go again I would prefer to buy an Annual Pass and that isn’t a possibility right now. I went in June of 2021 (you can start reading that trip report here if you like!) and I had an amazing time, but, where I’ve been to Walt Disney World so many times, I’m not feeling the rush to get back while things are still missing some normalcy. I’ll keep you updated!