by Military Diva
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you! We hope you have had a joyous season spent surrounded by those that you love. And of course, we hope you have spent some time dreaming of your next Disney Vacation! Whether you are a fan of Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, the Disney Cruise Lines, or another Disney Destination now is the best time to begin planning!
Travelers can book most of these destinations for a low deposit, locking in 2022 prices before the 2023 increases. And planning early for next year (or later!) offers the most variety in resort availability, cabin staterooms, and affordability. More importantly, booking early offers the chance for travelers to become familiar with the destination and understand all the planning policies, updates, and refurbishments that might affect the trip.
Our writers frequently visit the various Disney Destinations, offering specific tips based on their own experience. We love to share our knowledge and experiences! Take a moment to dig through our library of articles if you are planning a Disney Vacation, And continue reading below to learn about the news, updates, and refurbishments affecting Disney Destinations this month and into the New Year.
Walt Disney World Resort
- Disney World is still requiring Park Pass Reservations as well as valid park admission to enter the parks. Guests can now select the specific ticket they would like to use for each Park Pass (if multiple tickets are linked), modify existing reservations without canceling, and receive a confirmation number for the reservation once booked.
- Genie+ and LIghtning Lane updates
- Guests now have the ability to modify their current Lightning Lane selection(s)! Initially, guests needing to make changes had to cancel their Lightning Lane reservation and rebook, accepting the time offered. Guests can now search for available attractions and times, modifying a selection without canceling.
- New Experiences
- Disney’s Duck Tales World Showcase Adventure is a new scavenger hunt that debuted in EPCOT on December 16. Accessed via the Play Disney Parks app, guests complete missions in each of the following countries-Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom. While the game is fun for all ages, it is also a great way to entertain your younger travelers while the adults explore Epcot’s World Showcase pavilions.
- Dining Updates
- Cinderella’s Royal Table will be welcoming all of the Princesses back on February 28! (Cinderella has been the only Princess onsite in the Castle since the Covid Shutdown).
- Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort is returning to its traditional buffet on March 1. While this location has been open for some time post-Covid, it has been functioning as a family-style, all-you-care-to-eat location.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge will be offering new menu items at the Maji Pool Bar, The Mara, and Jiko: The Cooking Place. The new menu items include more American (tamer) flavors with slight African touches, a few more adventurous options, and more plant-based offerings.
- Disney’s Boardwalk recently welcomed the new BoardWalk Deli. Soon, guests visiting the area will also be able to enjoy the new Carousel Coffee shop, offering traditional coffee and teas, specialty drinks, and sweet bites. The Cake Bake Shop is also scheduled to open in 2023 with a menu full of bakery sweets, to-go items, and table service offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is gearing up for the opening of Roundup Rodeo BBQ. Guests have been patiently waiting for a new dining location to round out the minimal options currently in Andy’s Backyard. Hopefully, that waiting will come to an end this Spring, when this Barbecue location is scheduled to open.
- Resort Refurbishments and Updates
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is getting a facelift in preparation for its 30th Anniversary! Room renovations are currently underway and the lobby will soon receive some extra love.
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be experiencing an update to its Lave Pool water slide beginning on January 3, 2023. The Lave Pool will remain open, with only the slide being affected. Work is expected to end in early February.
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has removed the Pirate-Themed Rooms in the Trinidad section, replacing them with Little Mermaid-inspired themes instead. These rooms offer a more modern look with slight nods to Ariel and her friends.
- Disney’s All Star Resorts have been undergoing room refurbishments for some time now. All of the rooms are expected to be completed soon!
- The Walt Disney World Railroad is operating in Disney’s Magic Kingdom again!! This original park attraction has been closed for some time as tracks and trains were updated. It is now open and once again offering rides through Main St USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland.
- Park Pass Reservations as well as valid tickets are still required for Disneyland theme park entry. Be sure to check the availability calendar prior to purchasing your tickets or packages!
- The Walt Disney Company will be celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2023!
- Wondrous Journey, a fantastic fireworks celebration, will kick off the year-long homage to the Walt Disney Company’s long list of accomplishments. It is said that the spectacular, which debuts on January 27, will feature all the animated films in the Walt Disney Company library!
- New Experiences
- Disneyland After Dark: Sweethearts Nite invites guests to a “private” event that includes a Royal Ball hosted by Aladdin and Jasmine, special fireworks, character interactions, specially themed menus, and Unlimited PhotoPass downloads from the evening. The event will occur on January 31 and February 2,5,7, 9, 14, and 16 from 9 pm-1 am. Guests can enter Disneyland Park at 6 pm. All non-ticketed guests will leave the park when the After Hours event begins at 9 pm.
- Disneyland After Dark: Princess Nite will celebrate our favorite princesses with a Royal Welcome, music, decor, specially themed menus, and more on March 7 and 9 at Disneyland Park.
- Disneyland Resort Discounts
- Southern California Residents can purchase discounted 3-day one park per day weekday tickets. Tickets can be used on valid WEEKDAYS (check Park Pass availability!) from January 2-May 25, 2023, with the exception of noted Blockout dates. Guests interested in tickets should check availability and restrictions prior to purchase via the following site.
- Room Discounts are available, offering up to 20% off select rooms at the official Disneyland Resorts from January 9-March 9, 2023 (Sunday-Thursday stays valid).
- Disney Visa Cardmembers can save up to 30% on select rooms when visiting Sunday-Thursday between January 9-March 9, 2023. Guests must use their Disney Visa card to pay their resort deposit.
Disney Cruise Line
- Health and Safety Updates
- As of November 14, 2022, negative Covid-19 tests are no longer required for guests sailing out of the United States.
- Guests are encouraged to be vaccinated and to test two days prior to departure, but neither is required.
- Muster Drills aboard the Disney Ships have returned to pre-Covid procedures. All guests will now drill in person, assembling at their muster station during their scheduled time.
- Disney Cruise Line was recently decorated with several honors!
- Cruise Critic-“Best Cruise for Families” in the Ocean Category
- US News & World Report-Gold Badge “Best Cruise Line for Families“
- US News & World Report-Gold Badge “Best Cruise Line in the Caribbean“
- Pixar Day at Sea begins on January 7 on 7-night sailings aboard the Disney Fantasy! Guests will enjoy special Pixar-themed deck parties, pool parties, character interactions, an “Incredible” fireworks celebration, a chance to meet Pixar Storytellers, and more!
- Reduced deposit bookings are available for certain sailings between June 19, 2023 and May 31, 2024. Guests that book an included cruise by February 17, 2023 will only be required to place half the deposit down on the booking. The remaining balance will be due with the final payment.
And that’s a wrap for 222! As always, we at Tips from the Disney Diva hope you and your families have enjoyed a Magical Year, a Wonderful Christmas, and an uneventful journey into 2023. We wish for clear skies, average temperatures, and good health for next weekend’s runDisney Marathon Weekend race participants. And we hope all of you take time to enjoy your loved ones while traveling in the coming year.
If you would like assistance booking your familys next vacation, consider contacting Patricia with All for Dreams Travel. She is an independent agent with Gateway to Magic Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. She has experience booking all Disney Destinations, Universal locations, cruise and adventure destinations. And she is well equipped to work with first time travelers, military families, large groups, and travelers with special needs.