Buckle up folks. Disney decided to choose this week to keep surprising us! OVER AND OVER.
Pretty much every day this week had at least one surprise. From ride testing to restaurant news to a permanent dinner show closure, we’re feeling the unexpected vibe this week. So come along as we recap everything you might not know!
Walt Disney World Railroad
We spotted train testing on the Walt Disney World Railroad in Magic Kingdom this week! As a result of construction on TRON Lightcycle Run, the train has been closed since 2018. We saw the testing being conducted near the Fantasyland station.
We did see the railroad testing back in February, but it was an unexpected surprise to catch it again this week. We still don’t know when the train will reopen, so we’re keeping our eyes and ears open for any Disney news!
Click here for PHOTOS & VIDEO of the Walt Disney World Railroad testing!
TRON Lightcycle Run
Speaking of TRON, we also caught TRON Lightcycle Run vehicle testing this week! We still don’t have an opening date for the ride, but Disney recently announced that the ride would be entering “phase two” of the construction progress, which involves slow vehicle testing.
During phase two, Disney will be conducting “push/pull” testing, during which small sections of the train are VERY slowly moved through the track. You might be able to catch a glimpse of this process next time you’re in Magic Kingdom!
Check out the TRON vehicle testing we saw right here!
Festival of the Lion King
Festival of the Lion King, which is currently performing as the shortened A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King show, appears to have Reduced show times beginning on April 25th. Other than Saturdays, the 1PM show will be unavailableand performances will consist of 7 daily shows.
This is most likely a temporary change, but it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the My Disney Experience app for current and updated showtimes!
Learn more about the Festival of the Lion King reduced showtimes.
And in big news, the tumble monkeys are returning to the show this summer! The “monkeys” are gymnasts who perform tumbling tricks to the song “Hakuna Matata.”
The Festival of the Lion King show has been shortened since it reopened in 2021, and it’s pretty exciting to anticipate the return of this popular part of the show! We’ll be watching closely for an official return date.
Read more about the tumble monkeys returning here!
Victoria & Albert’s
The signature dining experience known as Victoria and Albert’s will be reopening soon! This restaurant is located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and it’s been closed since 2020.
Disney announced that Victoria and Albert’s will reopen sometime in 2022, but we don’t have an exact date yet. This award-winning restaurant is THE place to visit for fine dining at Disney World — but remember to save your pennies before making a reservation!
Learn more about Victoria and Albert’s reopening soon!
Backlot Express is getting a revamped menu at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! On March 29thyou’ll be able to try new dishes like a teriyaki tofu bowl, Smoked BBQ pulled pork burgersCuban sandwiches, other Chicken Southwest Salad.
All of these new dishes will be available through Mobile Order as well, and don’t worry — the Wookiee Cookie isn’t going anywhere!
Read more about Backlot’s revamped menu here!
Pizza al Taglio
the Pizza al Taglio pizza window was open this week in EPCOT! This is one of those Disney World spots that isn’t always available, and its schedule can be unpredictable. You can’t get the full Via Napoli menu here, but you can order some delicious pepperoni and cheese pizza slices!
A Cast Member told us that the window should open at 11AM daily, but there’s no official schedule from Disney World. Head to the Italy pavilion if you want to take advantage of this spot while it’s open!
Click here to read more about the open Via Napoli pizza window!
Polynesian Village Resort
Disney announced new Disney Vacation Club (DVC) villas Coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort in 2024! These villas will introduce more rooms, recreation, and dining options to the resort, and it will be located on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon.
We’ll have to wait a couple more years to check them out, but we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more details about the expansion!
Learn more about the new Polynesian DVC villas expansion here!
As a result of the Polynesian expansion, the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show is closing permanently. This dinner show was a luau featuring Polynesian traditions like the hula, fire dancing, drumming, and more, along with an all-you-care-to-enjoy menu.
The show has been closed since 2020, and it looks like we might not ever be able to enjoy the Aloha Pulled Pork, Polynesian Barbecued Pork Ribs, and Pineapple Guava Cake during a luau again.
Read more about the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show closing permanently here.
Swirls on the Water
The snack stand Aristocrepes closed in Disney Springs, and we weren’t sure what might replace it. We discovered this week that a new DOLE Whip stand, Swirls on the Wateris the official replacement!
We tried the DOLE WhipFlight for $6.49which included the three flavors of Habanero Lime, Pineapple and Vanilla Swirl, and Cookie Dough and Lemon Swirl!
Read our review of Swirls on the Water here!
Magic Kingdom Park update
Magic Kingdom got a new park map update! This new park map features Mickey in his EARidescent costume. Technology is cool and all, but sometimes a paper map is still a fun souvenir, and it’s useful for seeing all the attractions, dining, stores, guest services, first aid, shows, and more in one place.
Additions to this new map include the Festival of Fantasy parade, Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade, other Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire.
Check out the photos of the Magic Kingdom park map update here!
Transportation Face Mask Policy Changes
Disney World enacted Transportation face mask policy changes this week, which stipulated that it will be optional for fully vaccinated guests to wear masks on the Disney World Skyliner. Masks will also be optional for fully vaccinated guests on the Starwars: Galactic Starcruiser transport vehicle, which transports guests between the hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
This new policy went into effect on March 16th. Keep in mind that Face coverings are still required on the Monorail and on Disney buses for all guests.
Read more about the transportation face mask policy changes here.
H2O Glow Nights Coming Back
And finally, H2O Glow Nights are coming back to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park! If you didn’t already know, this is an event sort of like an After Hours party, where guests can enjoy shorter wait times, a DJ dance party, and special treats, all inside the water park.
This event has not been available since 2020, and we’re excited to party with Partysaurus Rex again!
Click here to read more about the H2O Glow Nights event!
PHEW! We made it! It was a surprising week with Disney World news, and who knows what the next week will bring! Keep reading DFB for more Disney World news.
12 Disney World rides that kids LOVE…and adults tolerate.
Are you surprised by any of the news this week? Tell us in the comments!