This week, Disney didn’t mess around. We got bombshell after bombshell announcement.
I’ll walk you through everything in the latest Mickey Blog News.
Disney Genie+ Changes
Let’s start with the bad news or, at least, the most perplexing update of the week.
I’ve jokingly stated something privately, but it’s based in truth. When park planners debated Disney Genie+, none of them thought to ask a vital question.
What would Disney do if the FastPass replacement proved too popular? Executives had braced for the worst with the public’s reception.
Disney knew that online critics would lambaste it for turning the former FastPass line queue into a paid service.
While that happened, history repeated itself as well. Disney Genie+ at Walt Disney World has proven just as popular as MaxPass at Disneyland.
Realistically, Disney Genie+ is selling much better, at least at Walt Disney World.
For this reason, Disney had previously updated the terms of service. The new phrasing reduced the number of guaranteed attractions from eight to “2 or 3.”
Obviously, that’s Disney covering its tail legally. Disney Genie+ users should book more Lightning Lane experiences than “2 or 3.”
Still, Disney eliminated the prior guarantee for an unexpected reason. More guests are using Disney Genie+ than anyone had projected. It’s too popular!
So, park officials have had to change the system. You can no longer purchase Disney Genie+ in advance.
Instead, guests must buy the service on the day of the park visit. Technically, that window opens at midnight, which is vital information here.
I say this because Disney no longer guarantees that Disney Genie+ will be available every day.
Sellouts will happen from now on, something Disney had previously indicated would never happen.
That statement alone demonstrates how well Disney Genie+ has done and how much it has exceeded Disney’s expectations.
For more details about the change, you can (and should) read MickeyTravels expert Holly Ramey’s informative post.
Two related updates
Disney provided two other updates simultaneously with the Disney Genie+ announcement.
In a way, this was an unforced error, as the additional news got buried, and it’s all great!
Early Theme Park Entry will return in 2023! We know this because Disney also announced new 2023 bookings at its resorts.
Hilariously, one of my dearest friends had emailed me that morning to ask why 2023 Walt Disney World hotel rooms weren’t available to book yet.
If he’d waited one more day, he would have been golden! So, of course, I recommended the same thing to him that I will to you.
Now is the time to contact one of the Authorized Travel Planners at Mickey Travels. They can tell you the best times to book for 2023.
As a reminder, their services are always free to you, and they’ve already booked hundreds of hotel rooms for 2023.
So, they know what’s best and will be happy to help you with your travel itinerary.
As for Early Theme Park Entry, it will continue to allow guests at official Disney resorts to access the parks 30 minutes before everyone else.
This amenity is legitimately among the most powerful for park guests.
You can use your early admission to ride stuff like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Speaking of Cosmic Rewind, Disney also revealed that guests at Deluxe Disney resorts can ride the new attraction during Extended Evening Hours, too.
So, all of us who qualify are definitely gonna do that! You can ask your Mickey Travels agent about your options there as well.
Changes at the top
George Kalogridis announced his retirement this past week. So now, for the first time ever, Walt Disney World will operate without the services of one of its favorite cast members.
Kalogridis joined Disney in time for opening day in 1971. His description of this story always amuses me.
The future President of Walt Disney World presumed that he’d have an easy time getting a job since Disney needed thousands of new workers.
Then, as he stood in line, he overheard that former NASA employees were trying to work at Disney. He felt overwhelmed but still managed to get the gig.
Kalogridis started as a busboy at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but he retired as one of the most successful Disney workers ever.
In fact, Kalogridis recently received the ultimate honor, a window on Main Street, USA, at Magic Kingdom.
However, his absence created a ripple effect and reshuffling at Disney. He recently worked as President of Disney Segment Development and Enrichment.
Now, that department joins the New Experiences Portfolio and Disney Signature Experiences division under Thomas Mazloum.
Longtime Disney employee Stephanie Young earns the all-important role of President of Disney Vacation Club, Adventures & Expeditions.
That change impacts me and many other people reading this. It’s also DVC’s third different leader since last August. So, I hope Young sticks around for a while.
This week, we are overflowing with park news, especially at Walt Disney World.
For starters, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will reopen in 2022, both here and at Disneyland. There’s no firm date yet for either, though.
However, Harmony Barber Shop at Magic Kingdom will reopen on July 31St! After that, we can all stop looking like werewolves!
In even better news, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure stops being a pay-to-ride Lightning Lane experience on May 31St.
Starting on that date, guests can access the ride via Disney Genie+ instead.
Disney is presumably doing this to keep the current de facto rule of Lightning Lane attraction per park in action.
When Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens on May 27thEPCOT will offer two Lightning Lane experiences through the holiday on May 30th.
After that, Ratatouille drops to the lower tier. However, Disney has indicated that Ratatouille could return to Lightning Lane later.
We do know that it’ll remain a Disney Genie+ attraction through August 7th at a minimum, though.
Speaking of summer holidays, the Fourth of July fireworks will return this year! Oh, how I’ve missed them during the pandemic!
In other July news, Disneyland’s version of
I’ve also got a rare update for Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. On May 23approxaka Monday, the beachfront area will close.
Disney will spend at least two months refurbishing this section during the day.
One last thing…
Disney has announced the schedule for the 2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival’s Eat to the Beat concert series.
I joke about this every year, but the pandemic fallout has dramatically impacted the schedule.
The bands that people may want to watch in concert are touring right now. So, Disney was left to take the best of what’s left.
Here’s the list (try not to giggle):
- “Baha Men July 14 and 15
- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy July 16th to 18
- TBD July 22 and 23
- TBD July 24 and 25
- Taylor DayneJuly 29 and 30
- Tiffany July 31st and August 1st
- Joey Fatone & Friends August 5th to 8
- The Devon Allman Project August 12 and 13
- Christopher Cross August 14 and 15
- Journey Former Lead Vocalist Steve Augeri August 19 and 20
- Air Supply August 21 and 22
- TBD August 26 and 27
- TBD August 28 and 29
- Southern Avenue September 2 and 3
- Kris Allen & David Cook September 4 and 5
- Hoobastank – NEW! Sep 9 and 10
- TBD September 11 and 12
- Los Amigos Invisibles – NEW! September 16 and 17
- TBD September 18 and 19
- BBMAK September 23 and 24
- TBD September 25 and 26
- Stokley-NEW! September 30th and October 1st
- Shelia E. October 2 and 3
- Mark Wills October 7 and 8
- 38 Special October 9 and 10
- TBD October 14 and 15
- TBD October 16 and 17
- TBD October 21 and 22
- Billy Ocean October 23 and 24
- Hanson October 28th to 31
- Boyz II Men November 4 to 7
- TBD November 11 and 12
- TBD November 13 and 14”
So, if you like TBD, this is your year!