Some Disney amenities are returning soon, while others will remain closed longer than expected. Also, Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane changed significantly this week.
We’ll explain all these stories and more in the latest MickeyBlog News.
The Disney Genie Changes
The divisive rollout of Disney Genie hasn’t gone unnoticed by Disney officials. Executives remain sensitive to these passionate critiques, even though you may sometimes feel ignored.
Disney reduced the number of Lightning Lane attractions at Walt Disney World from eight to four during the holidays.
At the time, I suggested that these changes could turn permanently at some point.
Well, that point is apparently now.
The same four attractions returned to the Lightning Lane service in early January. They are as follows:
- Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Frozen Ever After at EPCOT
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom
Well, as of February 25th, three of those attractions have switched back to Disney Genie+. It’s the same Disney system used over the holidays.
The only ride that hasn’t changed yet is Expedition Everest, and I can explain that one.
Expedition Everest is currently undergoing renovations. So, Disney wouldn’t switch tiers for it anyway until it reopens.
Adding Value to the Genie Program
So, I think – but cannot say for sure – that Disney has settled on one Lightning Lane attraction per park.
You may recall that I’ve argued in support of this in the past, as Expedition Everest and Space Mountain made little sense as paid attractions.
In making this change, Disney adds value to the Disney Genie+ program at each park.
That’s one legitimate E-Ticket attraction added to Disney Genie+ at every Walt Disney World gate.
Disney has announced that these changes will remain active through August 7th.
For this reason, we can’t say that they are permanent switches.
Still, that’s the way the system will work for the next six months or so.
Disney also modified Disney Genie+ purchase rules.
You should pay attention as this one could impact your next trip.
Guests cannot pre-purchase Disney Genie+ when they only have one-day tickets.
Instead, they must order it on the morning of their park visit.
Yes, that’s annoying.
Park Openings and Closings Update
Disney updated its calendar at various parks around the world.
Disneyland resort just laid out the blueprint for its returning nighttime presentations… and you’re going to like it.
The important date is April 22nd, 2022. That’s when the Main Street Electrical Parade will return to Disneyland Park, just in time for its 50th anniversary.
However, this version of the parade won’t be quite the same as the one you remember from your youth.
Disney has updated the final float to move it away from the gung-ho patriotism of the 1970s.
Remember that Disney designed this parade a few years before America’s bicentennial celebration, which was a massive event in 1976.
Disney is ready to modernize the parade for its next 50 years by introducing a new float that emphasizes Disney’s intellectual property instead.
Characters from beloved films like Aladdin, Jungle Book, Mulan, and The Princess and the Frog will join modern titles like Coco and Raya and the Last Dragon.
We just announced some super exciting news about the nighttime spectaculars returning to @Disneyland, including details around the 50th anniversary of the “Main Street Electrical Parade!” 🎇💫 https://t.co/l7XjZirGq1 pic.twitter.com/tKR3kLCXgV
— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) February 22, 2022
Oh, and there’s going to be Encanto stuff as well. You should probably get used to that sentence.
Encanto right now is where Frozen was in 2014. It’s about to dominate the parks.
Notably, that’s not the only nighttime presentation returning on April 22nd. World of Color and Disneyland Forever will reappear then as well.
Finally, on May 28th, Fantasmic! comes back to Rivers of America. Disney has spent the past several months updating the water screens to make the show more vibrant than ever.
Meanwhile, at Walt Disney World, we learned that the Festival of Fantasy Parade will run at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm on March 9th, its return date.
So, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire is now up and running at the Cinderella Castle stage.
So, by Memorial Day weekend, both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park will have returned to normal operations.
We have officially put the pandemic in our rearview mirrors, my friends… in America.
That brings me to today’s bad news.
Hong Kong Disneyland remains closed, and that won’t change anytime soon.
Hong Kong’s government just extended its health measures for another two months.
So, social distancing remains a thing there, and Hong Kong Disneyland must stay closed until at least April 20th.
In America, we’ve had a similar setback.
The Blizzard Beach refurbishment has gone about as well as most construction during the pandemic, which is to say it’s slow and behind schedule.
Disney is now saying it won’t return until May at the earliest.
The original plans had called for a March reopening.
Part of this may stem from the lack of demand for two water parks right now, but Disney hasn’t mentioned that.
Other Disney Parks News
I’ve got terrific news for EPCOT fans! Elsa and Anna are once again greeting guests at their Royal Sommerhaus!
We hadn’t seen our favorite royal sisters since the start of the pandemic. Now, they’ve returned, allowing you to access them whether they’re jealous of Encanto.
We also may have gotten tipped off about the opening date for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind…or at least a target weekend.
A high-level executive at Disney tweeted that he loved his test ride on the upcoming roller coaster. He then indicated that he couldn’t wait for guests to experience the ride on Memorial Day Weekend.
Yes, he has since deleted the tweet, which is often a tell-tale sign that someone has said too much.
Since Disney had previously indicated Cosmic Rewind would arrive during the summer, many of us had eyed late May as the target date. It also aligns with previous attraction openings at Walt Disney World.
So, treat this one as a rumor for now…but one that seems likely to be accurate.
Feature Image: Disney