Know before you go: Disney World attractions that’ll be closed in 2022
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Picture this. You’ve spent months planning the perfect Walt Disney World vacation. You were up pre-dawn 60 days out and now have reservations at your family’s favorite restaurants, have mapped out your Lightning Lane strategy and know exactly which rides are at the top of everyone’s must-do lists.
When the big day finally arrives, you walk through the front gates and stride quite briskly (Disney discourages actual running for safety reasons) to the attraction you’ve all been so excited to ride — only to find it is closed for refurbishment for the duration of your visit. This isn’t just something that can happen in a fairytale gone wrong, but it’s a normal part of theme park operations.
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If you have been following our tips for visiting a theme park, you already know that things may not go according to plan and flexibility is a virtue — but we still want to do everything we can to make your trip practically perfect in every way. The good news is that attractions do have planned and published downtime, so even if you won’t be able to take a dip down Splash Mountain on your travel dates, you can at least plan for that reality in advance.
Below, you’ll find a current list of the restaurants, attractions and entertainment venues that are closed at Disney World in 2022.
Splash Mountain (reopened Feb. 10, 2022)
This Magic Kingdom log flume ride closed for refurbishment on Jan. 10, 2022, and is scheduled to reopen on Feb. 10, 2022. If you’re thinking this closure means Disney’s plan to switch the ride’s theme to “The Princess and the Frog” is underway, think again. Splash Mountain closes every year around this time for an annual refurbishment and Disney has yet to announce any timeline for the re-theme.
Walt Disney World Railroad
The Walt Disney World Railroad has been closed since December 2018 to make way for the upcoming Tron Lightcycle Power Run coaster in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland.
The coaster, originally announced in 2017, was scheduled to open in time for the kickoff of Disney’s 50th-anniversary celebration in 2021. Progress has been delayed because of the pandemic and no new opening date has been announced. For now, the Main Street station just inside the entrance to Magic Kingdom is a great spot for photos and to see characters throughout the day.
Enchanted Tales with Belle
When Disney reopened in July 2020 after its closure at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain attractions did not come back online, including Enchanted Tales with Belle.
In this case, it’s likely because of the close interaction between guests and costumed characters. Disney has yet to share a reopening date, but you can visit the nearby Princess Fairytale Hall to meet Cinderella and other surprise princesses. (From a safe distance, of course.)
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Harmony Barbershop
If you were planning a royal makeover for your child or a memorable first haircut for your toddler on your next Disney World vacation, you may still be out of luck. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique locations and Magic Kingdom’s Harmony Barbershop have yet to reopen, and a timeline hasn’t been announced.
However, the announcement that the Grand Floridian Spa (formerly Senses – A Disney Spa) will open on Jan. 26, 2022, may bode well for Disney’s other spa and salon locations.
Star Wars Launch Bay
Over at Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Launch Bay also has a galaxy-sized question mark hanging over it. It was shut down during Disney’s COVID-19 park closure, and no reopening date has been announced. Luckily, you can take a short walk toward the back of the park and get your fill of all things Jedi at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney’s immersive Star Wars-themed land.
‘Voyage of the Little Mermaid’
Also at Hollywood Studios, this indoor stage show has yet to reopen, and a timeline for bringing back this attraction hasn’t been announced.
Many of Disney World’s live shows had to be retooled to comply with COVID-19 health and safety protocols before reopening. We don’t know when the “Voyage of the Little Mermaid” will reopen, but we do know you can get your Mermaid fix over at Magic Kingdom’s Under the Sea — Journey of The Little Mermaid ride.
Expedition Everest (reopened April 16, 2022)
Easily the biggest attraction on this list, along with Splash Mountain, is Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest. It closed for refurbishment on Jan. 4, 2022, and isn’t expected to reopen until mid-April 2022. It’s Animal Kingdom’s only roller coaster and normally one the two individually purchased Lightning Lane attractions in the park.
After they had finally worked up the courage and wanted to ride it on an upcoming spring break trip, TPG’s director of travel content, Summer Hull, had to break the sad news to her kids that the ride wouldn’t be open during their next visit. While still disappointing, it’s much better to know in advance than get all hyped up to ride only to be met with a closed sign.
Festival of Fantasy Parade (returned March 9, 2022)
Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experience, and Products, announced during Nov. 2021’s Destination D23 event that the Festival of Fantasy Parade will return to Magic Kingdom in early 2022.
This will mark the first parade to roll down the streets of any Disney World park during regular operating hours since the start of COVID-19, with the exception of Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, which guests who paid extra for Mickey’s Very Merriest After Hours party were treated to during their visit.
‘Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire’ (returned Feb 25, 2022)
“Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” was a live stage show that was held multiple times daily on the stage in front of Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle. It has yet to reopen, but Disney announced at the same D23 event that a new iteration titled “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” will take to the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage in early 2022.
“Fantasmic” is still closed as of now, but will return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios sometime in 2022. No hard date has been given, but Disney also shared that an all-new sequence would be added to the fan-favorite lagoon show that takes place in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater.
Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple
Unlike the entertainment offerings we’ve already mentioned, this one has not received a reopening date. It’s such a unique experience for the whole family, so we’re crossing our fingers for a reopening date to be announced soon — your kids will never forget the day they fought (and bested) Darth Vader or Kylo Ren.
‘Star Wars: Galactic Spectacular’
Hollywood Studios has multiple options for nighttime entertainment, but “Star Wars: Galactic Spectacular” has yet to make its comeback. In lieu of this show that features fireworks, music and projections, you can see the park’s “Wonderful World of Animation” show nightly, which utilizes similar theatrical elements.
‘Finding Nemo – The Musical’ (permanently closed)
Don’t get too upset when we tell you this show won’t be returning to Animal Kingdom’s Theater in the Wild. An all-new version of the show, “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!,” is set to debut sometime in 2022. The updated version will have many of the same songs and characters as before, but also new songs and a new storyline.
Until then, you can simply walk straight across from the theater to see the “KiteTails” show at the park’s outdoor Discovery River Theater.
Traditional meet-and-greets (returned APril 18, 2022)
As of April 18, 2022, character hugs made their way back to Walt Disney World. Most meet-and-greet locations are officially open for business, though a few have yet to return. You can check the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date information on available character locations.
Most character dining locations are also open, though the experience is still modified. Characters still make their way through the restaurant and you can take photos, but they don’t stop at your table for hugs or autographs.
Blizzard Beach Water Park
Luckily, Blizzard Beach Water Park’s annual refurbishment closure on Jan. 2, 2022, coincided with Typhoon Lagoon Water Park’s reopening. Just how long the ski resort-themed water park will be closed is unknown, but we expect it to be a multi-month closure. In the meantime, Typhoon Lagoon is open for wet and wild fun.
The good news is that most Disney World restaurants are again open for business, even if some of them are operating a bit differently than they were in pre-pandemic times.
Character dining has been modified so characters and guests can keep a safe distance, dinner shows like the “Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show” at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has been permanently canceled to make way for new Disney Vacation Club construction and Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant is no longer serving its quick-service breakfast and lunch is no longer a la carte.
A few in-park restaurants, including Restaurant Marrakesh, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Monsieur Paul, Takumi-Tei and Tangierine Cafè at Epcot and Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom remain closed for the time being, with no reopening date in sight.
At Disney’s on-site hotels, here’s a quick snapshot of when some fan-favorite dining spots are set to reopen:
- Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk: Jan. 27.
- Saratoga Springs’ The Turf Club Bar and Grill: Feb. 3.
- Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Feb. 17.
- “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort: June 23.
The popular breakfast buffets at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort’s Ale & Compass Restaurant and Disney’s Beach Club Resort’s Cape May Café are returning on Jan. 31, 2022, and Feb. 15, 2022, respectively.
The best way to find out which restaurants may still be closed during your visit is by entering the dates of your trip on Disney World’s dining page. You can see a full list of restaurants at Disney’s theme parks and resort hotels and at Disney Springs, including which are open, which are closed and which have upcoming reopening dates.
Certain Disney World tours remain unavailable, but a few have returned.
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom and the Wild Africa Trek, Up Close with Rhinos, Savor the Savanna and Caring for Giants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will all resume on Feb. 16, 2022, and booking is currently open.
Private VIP tours are also available, including a new expensive but fascinating-sounding tour designed exclusively for the park’s 50th anniversary.
When Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort reopened on March 31, it was the final Disney World resort hotel to return since the pandemic closures. Even so, you may want to call your chosen resort or check Disney’s website to check on any pool, dining or public area refurbishments taking place during your visit.
Things are constantly changing at Disney World, and this was especially true during the pandemic.
With that in mind, while some things are pretty set for 2022, you can get the most up-to-date information on Disney’s daily calendar. Simply enter the date(s) of your visit, and you should see a full list of any attractions currently closed for refurbishment. For special events, tours, and enchanting extras, Disney has a running list of which offerings are currently unavailable.
Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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