Mask Rules CHANGE, Character Hugs Return, and More HUGE Disney News From This Week

If you’re heading to Disney World soon or even just relaxing on your couch at home and thinking “I wonder what’s going on at Disney World right now?” — we’ve got ALL the updates you need right here!

Heading to Disney World Soon?

From mask rule changes to important updates on a bill that could change the way Disney World functions, there’s a lot to catch up on this week. So, let’s get started!

1 — Mask Rule Changes

In terms of mask rules, a lot has changed recently. Recently, a Federal judge voided the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask mandate which applies to planes, trains, buses, and transportation hubs.

That then led to a slew of changes. The Transportation Security Administration said that it wouldn’t enforce the mask mandate, essentially making masks no longer required on planes.

face mask

Following that, we got a new mask policy at Orlando International Airport, a change in mask rules from Uber, and changes in mask rules from a number of airlines.

Disney World has also changed its mask rules when it comes to transportation. Basically, masks are no longer required on Disney transportation — you can get a first look at that new rule in action by clicking here.

Monorail without mask requirements

But, these mask rule changes might not be permanent. The Biden administration had indicated that it would file an appeal of the Judge’s ruling that struck down the CDC’s mask mandate if the CDC determined there was a public health basis to extend the mandate, and the CDC did make that determination, so a notice of appeal has been filed.

Click here to see more about Disney World’s mask policy!

2 — You Can HUG Mickey Again!

This week was a BIG one for character meet-and-greets because some of the more “traditional” aspects of these experiences have returned. You can hug Mickey again, get up-close pictures, and get autographs too! Autograph books are once again being sold in the parks so you can pick up some before your meet-and-greet.

Hugs have also returned to select character dining restaurants, including Chef Mickey’s!

We FINALLY can hug Mickey!

Click here to see a list of all of the character meet-and-greets that have returned to “normal” and click here for a complete list of the character dining that is back to normal.

Some missing characters from Magic Kingdom’s Festival of Fantasy parade are also back due to the latest changes.

Together again.

We’ll continue to keep an eye out for more changes when it comes to characters around Disney World!

Click here for that list of ALL the Disney character meet-and-greets that are back to “normal”

3 — NEW Restaurants Have Opened in EPCOT

Over at EPCOT, there’s been some big food changes. Earlier this week, the Starbucks closed at its old location in EPCOT. Just a few days later, the NEW Starbucks location at Connections Cafe had a soft opening! This spot new serves up the Starbucks drinks you know and love as well as other snacks.

Click here to get a FULL tour of Connections Cafe.

We’re in!

But, that’s not all! Connections Eaterya BRAND new restaurant, has also had its soft opening in EPCOT!

Where to order

We were able to go inside, explore the new area, and check out a BUNCH of items on the NEW Connections Eatery menu!

Time to eat!

Note that both spots won’t “officially” open in EPCOT until April 27th.

Click here to see our review of Connections Eatery!

4 — Salt & Straw Has Opened!

Speaking of new restaurants, over at Disney Springs, a brand NEW ice cream spot — Salt & Straw — has officially opened! We were lucky enough to go inside and get a sneak peek before its official opening, and then we returned for its official opening date!

Salt & Straw is OPEN!

From Olive Oil ice cream to an ice cream with key lime cheesecake, there are a LOT of unique choices here!

Arbequina Olive Oil, Freckled Mint Chocolate Chip, Bottomless Limes, and The Adventurous Llamanaut

Note that Salt & Straw will sometimes use a virtual queue, depending on the length of its line. But you can SKIP the long waits by ordering online!

Want to get our FULL thoughts on Salt & Straw? Click here for our review!

5 — Main Street Electrical Parade and MORE Are Back at Disneyland

A number of nighttime spectaculars have returned to Disneyland! the Main Street Electrical Parade will be officially returning to Disneyland Park tonight (the 22nd)but we were lucky enough to see it through a media preview event.

The bee is so fun!

The parade features a brand new finale with characters from Encanto and more!

Look at all of those characters!

Along with the return of the parade, there will be NEW merchandise themed to the parade. We’ve actually already spotted the Minnie Ears and Loungefly for the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney World.


There is also a new Main Street Electrical Parade sipper cup…

This is such an awesome souvenir

…and popcorn bucket available in Disneyland as part of the celebrations surrounding the parade’s return.

Look at him glow!

But the Main Street Electrical Parade isn’t the only thing back at Disneyland. the Disneyland Forever fireworks are also back. April 22nd is their official return, but we were able to catch a performance of this show early!


And finally, over at Disney California Adventure Park, World of Color will be returning tonight!

World of Color at Disney California Adventure

Remember that World of Color will be using a virtual queue upon its return. We’ll be sure to share more details on this spectacular’s return soon!

Click here to see photos and videos of the Main Street Electrical Parade’s return to Disneyland!

6 — Disney World’s Reedy Creek Improvement District is in Trouble

Finally, in terms of big news, this week some big things happened when it comes to the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). This is the special district which governs Disney World’s land in Orlando, Florida. Thanks to the way it’s arranged, it essentially lets Disney World act as its own county and allows Disney to have a large amount of control over decisions regarding building new structures, etc.

A Florida legislator had previously noted that there had been some meetings regarding the potential repeal of the act that created the RCID. We shared how the dissolution of the RCID could spell “disaster” for Disney World. Then, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, expanded the Florida legislature’s special session to include the possibility to consider a bill that would dissolve the RCID.

Reedy Creek Fire Department ©Reedy Creek

That bill was then passed by the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives. Florida’s actions have prompted comments from governors of other states, including one governor who invited Disney to move to that state and build a “mountain Disneyland.”

We’ll continue to look for updates about this bill and what impact it could have on Disney’s operations in Florida.

Click here to see why analysts say that stripping Disney World’s power could cost residents and local counties

That’s it for this week’s big news. Of course, other news was also shared this week. See more details by clicking the links below:

Everest is BACK!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

We’re constantly looking for more Disney news, so be sure to check back with us for all the latest updates!

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