Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 26 – August 1, 2022
You can view a larger version of the photos included in the Update by clicking on the photo. Each photo will open in a separate tab without a caption.
News & Views
Let’s get right to it this week.
MagicBand+ Officially Debuts Tomorrow (July 27)
Since before the start of the World’s Most Magical Celebration back in October we’ve known that the new MagicBand+ was in development for Walt Disney World Resort. We now know it will officially go on sale tomorrow, July 27, online at the following locations:
- Magic Kingdom’s Emporium
- EPCOT’s Pin Traders – Camera Center, Celebrity 5 & 10
- Tatooine Traders at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Discovery Trading Company at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Disney’s Pin Traders at Disney Springs
- Select merchandise locations at Disney Resort hotels
- Online at shopDisney
The new wearable device starts at $34.99 plus tax, and Disney Resort hotel guests can purchase them at special prices online before arrival, and Passholder discounts will be available as well.
At its Walt Disney World launch, the MagicBand+ will be able to do everything the earlier version MagicBand could do—like enter the theme parks at the touchpoints, connect to Disney PhotoPass, and unlock Disney Resort hotel room doors, and so forth. The new device also has new features including color-changing lights, haptic vibrations, and gesture recognition. It also pairs with a smartphone using the My Disney Experience app.
The MagicBand+ will allow guests to interact with the Disney Fab 50 Character Collection, the golden statues scattered across the four theme parks, The “Disney Fab 50 Quest” lets guests help Tinker Bell “bring the sculptures to life” when in proximity to them. We saw a demonstration of this feature during an invited media event back in May.
Back in May, invited media had an opportunity to see a MagicBand+ demonstration of the Disney Fab 50 Quest. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney Parks Blog also shared a video of Disney Legend Jodi Benson, voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid interacting with character statues from the movie.
MagicBand+ is coming to Walt Disney World July 27! To celebrate, Disney Legend Jodi Benson, voice of Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” reunited with a few familiar friends and experienced Disney Fab 50 Quest. Check it out! https://t.co/0X32g2tgrp pic.twitter.com/DLNtPe5RXx
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) July 21, 2022
In Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the MagicBand+ when used with the Play Disney Parks app will allow guests to find “virtual bounties” in the new Star Wars: Batuu Bounty Hunters experience. The MagicBand+ will help guide users to interactive spots throughout the land and, when at the right spot and using an augmented reality viewer in the Play Disney Parks app, will reveal hidden characters and reward players with “galactic credits” (though probably not the ones accepted by the merchandise or food and beverage locations around the land).
MagicBand+ will also light up and vibrate in sync with Disney Enchantment at Magic Kingdom, Harmonious at EPCOT, and the Beacons of Magic at all four parks (think about something akin to the “Glow with the show” merchandise previously sold). And, good news given all the lighting and vibrating: the batteries are rechargeable. Later this year, MagicBand+ will also be available at Disneyland Resort (which previously did not have any MagicBand features or experiences).
2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is Underway Through November 19
As with all of EPCOT’s seasonal festivals, the way to experience the most of the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is to pick up a free Festival Passport at the racks just inside the park gates and usually at the kiosks around the park. With this edition of the Food & Wine Festival scheduled to run over a third of the year, there’s more to see and taste than we can cover here. MousePlanet was invited to a media day at the Festival this past Saturday, and the views we share today are but a sampling. Due to the usual Central Florida summer heat and humidity, I decided to postpone alcohol sampling until we get to the cooler weather part of the Festival this fall. There are several kiosks that aren’t even scheduled to open until August 14, so there will be even more food and beverage offerings to come.
If you have been to past editions of the Food & Wine Festival, some of the elements that guests saw during pre-pandemic editions have still not returned. There are no seminars or expert-led tastings; no celebrity chefs; and no Party for the Senses (up-charge parties with more food and beverages) on the schedule as of publication. The Eat to the Beat Concert Series is back with the better known acts performing Fridays through Mondays, and Central Florida acts performing the other days.
The flowers for the festival seem to represent both red and white wine. The graphics feature shades of those colors plus shades of blue.
EPCOT’s entry planter is decorated for the 2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival.
The planter on the “bridge” to World Showcase also features Festival decor.
As has been true with recent editions of the Food & Wine Festival, Remy from “Ratatouille” is prominent in the Festival decor.
The planter at World Showcase Plaza is also decorated for the Festival.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Food & Beverage: Global Marketplaces
Festival food and beverage offerings are available all around the park in “Global Marketplaces.” As has been true for several recent Festivals, some of the locations are entirely indoors and include seating. Additional Global Marketplaces are scheduled to open on August 14.
One of the returning Marketplaces is Brew-Wing at the Odyssey. In addition to beverages, five flavors of wings are available plus a plant-based option of crispy Brussels sprouts in buffalo sauce. The building no longer includes The EPCOT Experience, which previewed some of the construction projects involved in the transformation of the park, so there’s additional air conditioned room for seating and stand-up tables. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Canada pavilion also has a second Global Marketplace: Appleseed Orchard inside the O Canada CircleVision 360 theater. The theater’s pre-show area has a number of tables, including some with seats, and, of course, it is all air conditioned and provides nice cover during Central Florida’s downpours and thunderstorms. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
My personal favorite items so far during the Festival were the Hot Beef Sandwich and Freshly Baked Carrot Cake at Hops & Barley at The American Adventure.
Emile’s Fromage Montage also has returned for this Festival. Purchase any five menu items from designated locations during the run of the Festival, get a stamp for each in your Festival Passport, and redeem for a completer prize at Shimmering Sips.
Scavenger hunts are a staple of EPCOT festivals. Anyone can see the “hidden” characters around the park, but to “play” for the prize, guests purchase a map at designated merchandise locations, and then redeem the completed map at specified locations.
For the Food & Wine Festival, the usual “Remy’s ‘Ratatouille’ Hide & Squeak” scavenger hunt is back again this year: like you may have seen in the Appleseed Orchard photo above, Remy is hidden around the park. For a limited time around Halloween, the Festival will include a second scavenger hunt: Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit.
To “play” a scavenger hunt, purchase the map at designated merchandise locations. (Remy’s is $9.99 plus tax.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Redeem the map at designated merchandise locations for a prize. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
As with all EPCOT Festivals, Food & Wine Festival includes several merchandise collections. Festival merchandise is available at Port of Entry, Festival Markets around the park, and Creations Shop (which also has Passholder exclusive merchandise).
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Eat to the Beat Concerts
Eat to the Beat Concert series features better known acts on Fridays through Mondays and Central Florida acts the rest of the week. Dining packages are available at select locations that include guaranteed reserved seating on Fridays through Mondays. Concerts are approximately 30 minutes each and run at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m. through November 14. The complete schedule is available at TasteEPCOT.com/EatToTheBeat and you should be on the lookout for signs at the park entrances and at the America Gardens Theater that may note last minute performer changes.
The Eat to the Beat Concert Series takes place on the stage at America Gardens Theater. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
A sign at the former Restaurant Marrakesh at Morocco pavilion notes that it will become the home of the Florida Blue Medicare Lounge on September 3 and it will provide VIP seating during Eat to the Beat Concerts. The sign does not make clear who will be eligible to visit the lounge and get the seating; the last similar lounge I can remember was presented by Chase when it was a presenting sponsor and it offered its VIP lounge and seating to Chase cardholders. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Flower & Garden Festival Remnants
Though the EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival concluded on July 4, there are still a few bits of it around the park.
The merchandise kiosk along World Showcase promenade at The American Adventure had several Flower & Garden Festival merchandise items available including these plush Mickey Topiary toys that I do not recall seeing during the run of that Festival.
The west pond’s Flower & Garden Festival flower bed was still in place this past weekend.
The east pond’s flower bed has fresh sod for the season.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Beyond the construction walls under Spaceship Earth, new rock work presumably for Journey of Water Inspired by Moana is now visible. For a future Update, I’ll take a ride on the monorail for a better look at the progress of the transformation of the former center of what used to be Future World at EPCOT. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
This & That & Reminders…
…The Walt Disney World Railroad has been closed for years to allow for construction of TRON Lightcycle Run in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom. At long last, there’s an indication that a return of this day one attraction is coming up in the near future: cast training has begun. The My Disney Experience app still lists the attraction as “Temporarily Unavailable” and “Closed for Refurbishment.”
…Toy Story Land’s permanent indoor merchandise location, Jessie’s Trading Post, has opened. It’s located along the exit corridor for Toy Story Mania! It occupies the space that opened as a “pop up” merchandise location when Toy Story 4 was in theaters, and then continued to be a merchandise location fairly continuously after that until it was closed to make way for Jessie’s Trading Post. There continues to be no official word on when Roundup Rodeo BBQ, the new table service restaurant announced as an addition to Toy Story Land, will open.
…UPDATED DETAILS: As has been previously announced, Disney’s BoardWalk Bakery is being transformed into Disney’s BoardWalk Deli which is expected to open later this summer. This week, Disney Parks Blog shared a look at some of the menu offerings of the new deli, including the Mickey topped hand-filled cannoli.
Are you ready for the new BoardWalk Deli? Get a sneak peek at some of the delicious Northeastern-inspired eats and sips coming soon to Disney’s BoardWalk in our latest edition of What’s Cooking! ✨Head over to the Disney Parks Blog to learn more: https://t.co/JVHFZZ5k3e pic.twitter.com/jUJgCoC9DC
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) July 25, 2022
…REMINDER: In recent weeks, more live entertainment has returned around Walt Disney World Resort. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars: Launch Bay again is open for meet and greets with Chewbacca, BB-8, and Darth Vader. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Tumble Monkeys and the “flying” birds have rejoined the cast of Festival of the Lion King. We still have not seen Disney announce a date for the return of Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but My Disney Experience continues to say that the show is returning in 2022.
Around World Showcase at EPCOT, more live entertainment has returned to the park, like at the outdoor stage at Germany pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…REMINDER: As recently announced, the My Disney Experience app can now be used as one more tool for helping to locate the row where you parked in the theme park parking lots. If you have location services and notifications enabled, and have recently opened the My Disney Experience app, as you are walking toward one of the theme parks from your parked car (or the tramway if/when the trams are operating at the park you are visiting), a notification will pop up asking if you would like assistance noting the location of your car. In the app, a screen will ask you to confirm your park and location, and if location services has been less than perfect in selecting your row, you can change the number before locking it in. When you leave the park later, another notification will ask if you would like a reminder and then will share the saved information with you.
My Disney Experience can now save your parking section and row. Screenshots by Alan S. Dalinka.
…Disney Cruise Line announced itineraries through Fall 2023 this week, and early booking opened yesterday for Platinum Castaway Club Members and Golden Oak Club Members. Gold Castaway Club Members can begin booking today. Silver Castaway Club Members, DVC Members, and Adventure Insiders can begin booking on Thursday. General booking opens on Friday.
…REMINDER: Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs plans a “day of immersion into Japanese culture” at the Summer Matsuri, Sunday, August 7 from noon to 3:30 p.m. The first floor of the restaurant “will come alive with Matsuri,” a Japanese cultural festival with tasty and traditional Japanese street food, taiko drummers, and family-friendly games. The second floor will feature food stations hosted by experts teaching guests “the ins and outs of preparing fish” and providing samplings. Guests will also be privy to a selection of Japanese beers and sake. Vendors at the event will include:
- Korin – showcasing a pop up store and knife sharpening demo
- True World Foods Orlando – providing a sampling of Bluefin Tuna, Japanese short grain rice and Japanese Wagyu Beef
- Wismettac Foods – offering Japanese sweets and snacks
- Sun Noodle – offering a sneak preview of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s new line of ramen for retail
Tickets are available for $60 plus tax and gratuity per person, or $400 plus tax and gratuity for booths with up to 4 guests. Admission price includes delicacies at all the food stations, samples from the vendors, and a seafood-driven educational tasting component. A cash bar will also be available. You can purchase tickets on this page of Morimoto Asia’s website.
…REMINDER: As previously announced, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic returns on Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12. This past week, the Swan and Dolphin Resort announced that its annual hard-ticket event will also offer an all-new premium experience and return of a past favorite additional charge-option. The two separately ticketed events are the all-new VIP Champagne & Dessert Party and Master Sommelier-led Grand Tasting. Both will be held at the resort’s new 15th floor event space at the Swan Reserve, The Vue, offering spectacular views of Walt Disney World Resort.
- The VIP Champagne & Dessert Party will take place on Saturday, November 12 from 8:30 to 10 p.m. The resort’s executive pastry chef and certified sommeliers have teamed up to perfectly pair a selection of sweet offerings. Tickets are $150 per person and include access to the private top floor event space, The Vue; unlimited dessert and champagne tastings, and spectacular views of the Disney nighttime spectaculars.
- Returning for the first time since 2019, the Grand Tasting event will take place on Saturday, November 12 from 2 to 5 p.m., tickets are $395 per person and seating is limited. It takes guests’ palates on a journey of elite wines and champagnes curated by Master Sommelier John Blazon and paired with a custom chef’s table menu from the resort’s Executive Chef Dan Herman. The experience includes a champagne reception and three flights of elite wines. Guests will enjoy the elevated dining experience while elevated 15 stories above the Walt Disney World Resort with amazing views of all four theme parks.
Both events require separate tickets and space is limited. The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic offers guests unlimited tastings at creatively spaced, outdoor stations featuring culinary and beverage selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants amidst a festive backdrop of live entertainment on the hotel’s scenic causeway. The event runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on November 11 and 12. More information and tickets are available at: https://swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com/tickets/.
…Finally, D23 Expo coming up in September out in Anaheim, California has sold out of all ticket categories. Some of the presentations will be live streamed, and, as in the past, we expect that Disney Parks Blog will share relevant Walt Disney World Resort news along with other parks and resorts news as it is announced during the live presentation in Anaheim. Perhaps the Expo will shed some light on the state of various projects that were announced at 2017 and 2019 that we have not had official updates on in quite some time, provide some attraction opening dates, and announce what new stuff the resort has in mind, including at minimum, how they plan to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of The Walt Disney Company in the parks during 2023 (and, likely, beyond since Disney likes to celebrate things for 18-24 months at a time).
The Usual Writer’s Note
Face coverings remain optional across all of Walt Disney World Resort. Remember to check this page of DisneyWorld.com for the latest requirements.
If you’re traveling to or from overseas, be sure to check with the places you’re visiting and traveling from or through for the latest rules. Though the United States government loosened international travel restrictions for entering the U.S.A. at the end of 2021, it remains important to check on and abide by the most up-to-date COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements for entering the United States whether as a citizen, permanent resident, or visitor (and be aware of who needs a visa). The United States recently dropped the requirement for COVID-19 testing for entering the country.
As for visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney Park Pass reservations are required for admission in addition to a valid ticket. If your tickets have the Park Hopper option, Park Hopping only becomes available after 2 p.m. daily, and only after you have first visited the park for which you have made a reservation that day. There have been instances where Magic Kingdom has reached capacity and paused admission of Park Hoppers, and Disney reserves the right to do so at all the parks.
Sales of new Walt Disney World Annual Passes continue to be paused in all categories except the Florida Resident Pixie Dust Pass. Disney reserved the right to pause those sales when it reintroduced its new Annual Passes. Current Passholders may continue to purchase renewals in all tiers regardless of the pause in new sales. We have seen nothing further about when Disney plans to resume sales of new passes following their apparent brief surfacing earlier this month that we reported on last week.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to monitor the cases of the rare monkeypox virus in Florida and elsewhere. We will include more information here in future Updates should it relate to visiting Walt Disney World Resort.
Finally, don’t forget it’s tropical storm season. It also rains a lot at this time of year at Walt Disney World Resort, often with dangerous cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. It gets hot and humid. Please be prepared!
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