Are you sitting down? No? Well, you might want to! We’ve got a whole BUNCH of Disney news to catch you up on!
From exciting restaurant reopening news to EPCOT Food & Wine Festival updates and character meet-and-greet changes — this has been quite the busy week. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s dive into the biggest Disney news stories from the past few days!
1 — EPCOT Food & Wine Festival News
It’s only April, but Disney is getting ready for the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival already! This week, Disney announced the DATES during which the Food & Wine Festival will take place in 2022. The festivities will all starting on July 14th and run through part of November.
Disney so confirmed 5 food booths that will be returning to the Festival, including the Swanky Saucy Swine (although there will ultimately be more than 25 booths for fans to enjoy).
But, a few food booths aren’t the only things Disney has confirmed will be BACK at the Festival this year. They also shared that the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, a Ratatouille-themed scavenger hunt, a cheese-based food challenge, and MORE will be returning in 2022. Click here to see everything confirmed to return to the 2022 Food & Wine Festival.
And check out our page FULL of Food & Wine Festival updates!
2 — Soon You’ll Be Able to HUG Mickey Again!
In other HUGE news, character meet-and-greets are CHANGING! This week, Disney announced that fans will soon be able to hug and get autographs from their favorite Disney characters at Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and Aulani. That’s right folks — “traditional” face-to-face character meet-and-greets are coming back!
thesis changes won’t be made all at once, so you won’t be able to hug all of your Disney pals immediately. But, character meet-and-greets will return to “normal” in phases throughout the spring and early summer, starting as early as April 18th, 2022.
Though it wasn’t quite as explicitly stated, Disney has also hinted at the return of “traditional” character dining at Disney World, Disneyland, and beyond. Specifically, Disney said, “recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, like character greetings and dining experiences.” We’ll be on the lookout for more updates!
Click here to read more about the return of “traditional” character meet-and-greets!
3 — HUGE Food & Restaurant News
This week was also an exciting one in terms of restaurant and food news. Get ready to put on those stretchy pants, ’cause there are a whole bunch of new (and returning) treats to try in the Most Magical Place on Earth.
For starters, this week we got a FIRST LOOK at some of the new food coming to Connections Eatery in EPCOT.
This will be a new quick service restaurant near the front of the park, in World Celebration. We also got the FULL MENU (with PRICES!) for Connections Eatery this week. From burgers to salads and pizzas, there will be a number of things to try when this new spot opens in the spring.
Check out the Connections Eatery menu by clicking HERE!
This past week, we also FINALLY got the return of an iconic Magic Kingdom snack — the Citrus Swirl!
As if that wasn’t enough exciting food news, Disney also announced a reopening date for Fort Wilderness’ Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue! While there will be some changes to the show and sets, fans will soon be able to enjoy fried chicken, strawberry shortcake, and all kinds of hilarious antics when the dinner show reopens! Click here to see when reservations are open and when the show will return.
There are also a number of new treats to enjoy at Disney World including BREAKFAST items at a Flower & Garden Festival Booth…
…a variety of new menu items at Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…
…and a whole bunch of new menu items at The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
over at Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the restaurant’s fun shenanigans have returned! (Yes, including the ketchup bottles!) Read about our latest experience at Whispering Canyon Cafe here!
We can’t wait to see what other food changes are made in the future!
Want more food news? Click here to meet the woman who is bringing a NEW restaurant to Disney World!
4 — More Signs that Disney World is Returning to “Normal”
The return of “traditional” character meet-and-greets and the reopening of Hoop-Dee-Doo are just some signs that Disney is going back to “normal,” but we’ve seen even more evidence of that this week.
First of all, Disney announced that the cultural representative program is coming back to Disney World! If you’re unfamiliar with it, this is the program that hires people from around the world to work in EPCOT World Showcase pavilions that represent their home country.
So at Disney World, Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort has reopened, marking the first time in the past few years (post-pandemic closures) that ALL Disney World hotels have officially been open!
And at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one shopping spot has reopened for the first time in 2 years! Things are gradually changing all around Disney World. As we see more updates, we’ll be sure to share those with you.
Click here to see another thing that is returning to “normal” at Disney World
5 – Disney and Florida Laws
We’ve already seen a number of responses from Disney to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill (what critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill). Just a few days ago, the Bill was signed into law and Disney issued a statement in response to that action.
In their statement, Disney said that the Bill should never have been passed or signed into law and that their goal “as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courtsand we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”
Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, made comments in response to Disney’s statement, indicating that their comments about working to repeal the law have “crossed a line.”
Former Disney CEO, Bob Iger, also made comments on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, why he chose to speak out, and why other executives may want to speak out on major topics as well.
But Disney’s involvement with the Florida legislature isn’t quite over yet. This week we also shared that a critical aspect of how Disney World operates could be in jeopardy. That’s because Florida Representative Spencer Roach has indicated that legislators have held a meeting to discuss the repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, an act that is key to Disney acting essentially as its own government .
The Florida Governor has also made comments on this potential remedy and why Disney should be stripped of “special privileges” in the state.
Click here to read more about this situation.
While those were some of the BIGGEST news stories from this week, other stories were also shared recently. Check those out by clicking the links below:
And that’s it for the biggest news this week. Be sure to check back with us for more updates!
Click here to see that the annual Easter Egg hunt has kicked off at Disney World!
What news from this week was the most surprising to you? Tell us in the comments!