Walt Disney World is ever-changing. And 2022 is gearing up to be a year of many changes. If you haven’t planned a Disney vacation in a couple years, you may want to rethink how you’re going to plan your next trip.
So, before you put down a deposit, give this list a quick look. Some of the changes may surprise you.
There Aren’t As Many Discounts
Disney isn’t starting 2022 off with the discounts we’re used to.
If there was one thing I could count on, it was Disney discounts. Specifically, room offers. But, since the beginning of the pandemic, the number of promotions have gone down a lot.
And for the first time ever in my career, I’ve had families jet off on their long-awaited vacation having paid full rack rate for their room. This was never anything I had to worry about before.
Recently, the only deals I’ve found are only available for Annual Passholders and Florida residents. If you fall into this category, that’s wonderful. But, for the rest of us, it’s just another reminder that future trips cost more.
While this is a complete bummer for Walt Disney World hopefuls, this is not true for all Disney destinations. Discounts are still being rolled out for Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani, and Adventures by Disney…regardless of where you live.
Without those discounts, sometimes it’s hard to justify the cost of a Walt Disney World vacation. So, if you’re not liking the prices that 2022 is showing, you may want to consider one of Disney’s other offerings to see if you can get a better deal.
Ah, yes… Nothing has been talked about more lately than the official discontinuation of FastPass+ and the debut of the brand new Disney Genie+.
We’ve recently added an entire post dedicated to learning all there is to know about Disney Genie+. So, we’re not getting into specifics here.
But, for those who have never heard of Disney’s brand new reveal, this is the replacement for FastPass. More importantly, this is the new PAY TO PLAY replacement for FastPass.
There are 3 versions of this new system. So, if you’re thinking about going to Walt Disney World in 2022, I highly suggest learning the difference between the 3 and how it works.
Basically, Disney Genie is a FREE planning tool, while Disney Genie+ and Individual Attraction Lightning Lanes are an additional cost for anyone who is looking to skip the lines.
Disney Genie+ costs $15, while the cost of Individual Attraction Lightning Lanes vary depending on the attraction and day.
No More Magical Express
Another giant disappointment is the discontinuation of Disney’s Magical Express. This takes effect on January 1, 2022.
For those unfamiliar with Disney’s Magical Express, it was a complimentary shuttle ride from the Orlando International Airport to your Walt Disney World Resort. This was one of the biggest perks for staying at a Disney Resort.
But, if you’re worried about how you’re going to get to your Resort on your next trip, luckily we have already showcased 5 alternatives to Disney’s Magical Express.
Disney has decided to continue Park Reservations all through 2022. At least, that’s according to their Park Reservation Calendar. Basically, even if you have a Park ticket, if you don’t have a Reservation, you’re not getting into the Park.
Most days, getting a Park Reservation isn’t a problem. Park capacity appears to be back to pre-pandemic crowds, so there are plenty of Reservations to go around. However, holidays and school breaks do sell out.
This is why we suggest booking early and securing your Park Reservations as soon as you can. It also helps to check Park Reservation Availability before booking your trip. There’s nothing more disappointing than booking your trip, just to find out there are no more Reservations left.
How long will Park Reservations be required? We don’t know for sure. But, the Park Reservation Calendar is currently showing dates through January 2024.
Rules for Park Hopping
I miss the days when you could come and go from the Parks as you please. While that’s still partly true, there’s a little more to that.
Guests with a Park Hopper ticket must first visit the Park they made a Park Reservation for. After 2PM, you are able to hop to another Park, as long as that Park hasn’t reached capacity. Luckily, the Parks only reach capacity on highly popular days, like New Years Eve.
You do not need to make another Park reservation. So, if you’re in Magic Kingdom and you feel like eating at Epcot, then go for it.
Virtual Queues were created to keep crowds under control. When Flight of Passage opened up in Animal Kingdom, wait times were 6+ hours long. The same thing happened with the opening of Slinky Dog Dash.
Disney saw the hype surrounded Rise of the Resistance, so they created a Virtual Queue. Guests were spending all day waiting in 1 line. And from a business perspective, if you have a Guest waiting all day in line, they’re not spending money in gift shops and restaurants.
So, Disney is continuing to use Virtual Queues in 2022.
With a Virtual Queue, you get an estimated time when you’ll be able to ride. And in the meantime, you get to ride other attractions, buy souvenirs, and eat all of the delicious Disney food.
You have a better experience and Disney has a better chance of getting you to spend more money in the Parks.
Currently, the only attraction in Walt Disney World using a Virtual Queue is Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, in Epcot.
There is no standby line. So, if you want to ride this attraction, you’ll need to plan on waking up a few minutes before 7AM since they can book up within minutes.
Resort Guest Perks
With Disney’s Magical Express gone, you may be wondering, “Which Perks are left?’
Early Theme Park Entry has been reduced to 30 minutes before Rope Drop. You may have less time to ride popular attractions before the general public is allowed in. But, it’s still a good head start. If you play your cards right, you can still get 2 to 3 big attractions out of the way before the wait times get too long.
This Perk is available to all Resort Guests.
Extended Evening Hours is another Disney Perk. However, this does not apply to every Guest. To qualify, you must be staying at one of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts, Deluxe Villas, or other Select Resort.
These Resorts include:
Disney Deluxe Resorts
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Beach Club Resort
- BoardWalk Inn
- Contemporary Resort
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Polynesian Village Resort
- Wilderness Lodge
- Yacht Club Resort
Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts
- Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary Resort
- Boulder Ridge at Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas and Cabins at Wilderness Lodge
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
- Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
- Beach Club Villas
- Boardwalk Villas
- Old Key West Resort
- Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
- Riviera Resort
- Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
- The Villas at Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Other Select Hotels
- Swan Hotel
- Dolphin Hotel
- Swan Reserve
- Shades of Green (Disney’s Military Resort)
Park and hours change per day. If you qualify for this Perk, be sure to check the Disney Calendar before finalizing your 2022 plans.
Reducing the Advanced Dining Reservation window from 180 days to 60 days is something Disney changed in 2020. And it appears they have decided to continue this new timeline through 2022.
Everyone gets to book their Dining Reservations 60 days before their visit. So, where’s the Perk?
Well, if you’re not staying on property, you are held to that 60 day timeline. This means you’ll need to log in and book the restaurants you plan to eat at 60 days from that date.
However, staying on property means that when your Dining window opens, it opens up for your entire stay.
That’s why I recommend pushing those popular restaurants as far back as you can. Because locals and off-site Guests are held to that 60 day rule, you may have an easier time getting a Reservation.
Don’t waste these extra precious days. Remember…with each day that passes, more reservations are being booked.
If you went to Walt Disney World in 2021, this isn’t new.
But, if you haven’t been to the Parks since before the pandemic, you may be surprised to hear that you’ll no longer receive a Free MagicBand when you stay on property.
No one liked this change. But, at least we’re able to get discounted plain colored and character MagicBands.
Ready to book your vacation?