Progress! We’re seeing Walt Disney World make progress each and every day as they continue reopening more and more experiences. This month is an especially big month with several attractions and live entertainment reopening in the coming weeks. Not only are we seeing attractions come back life, but more restaurants are returning! It’s been just over a year now since Disney World reopened, and now we’re only two months away from the 50th Anniversary celebration, “The World’s Most Magical Celebration“. Of course, with the excitement of progress, we are still missing some Disney favorites. From attractions to entertainment, restaurants and experiences – below we’ve include 50 Walt Disney World favorites that have yet to return since Disney began their 2020 phased reopening.
1. FastPass+ (FP)
We’ll start off with the one that seems to be the most missed and most talked about. We’re missing the FP system at Disney. For those that used this system religiously in the parks to avoid lengthy lines, it’s almost painful to stand in the regular queue for something like “it’s a small world” for 50 minutes when it’s something we’ve never had to wait for before with FP. Will Disney return the complimentary FP system or will they follow Disneyland Paris’ example and replace the program with an upcharge service?
2. Disney Dining Plans (DDP)
Some Disney fans swear by the DDP! We’ve received messages from people waiting to book their vacation until the DDP returns. The great news is that Disney has announced that the DDP WILL return. No time frame has been announced yet, so we’re keeping our mouse ears open for that news.
3. Festival of Fantasy Parade
Character cavalcades are in and it seems like parades are out. Magic Kingdom’s Festival of Fantasy Parade was a favorite to say the least! Guests would flock to the parade route to enjoy the show. While we understand Disney not wanting to gather crowds, surely they’ve noticed the crowds that gather for the nightly fireworks? It’s time for parades to return.
4. Character Meet and Greets
Do you miss hugging your favorite character and filling your autograph book with memorable character signatures? Character meet and greet locations have remained closed due to COVID precautions. Favorites list Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Princess Fairytale Hall, and Celebrity Spotlight are all quiet for now. We are thankful however to see and wave at select characters from a distance.
We know – we’ve heard you asking for this one! Our only hope is that Disney is listening too. Disney’s Hollywood Studios just isn’t the same without the nighttime entertainment of Fantasmic! Mickey against villains – it’s as classic as it gets in this extravagant musical. The massive auditorium would fill nightly with Disney fans. Our hope is that this one will return soon!
6. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
The Wonderful World of Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has returned. While there are a few bursts of fireworks here and there, it’s nothing like the nighttime spectacular, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. Star Wars fan or not, it was always great seeing Disney’s Hollywood Studios light up at night. Fireworks have returned to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT – how about making a return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
7. Fireworks Dessert Parties
One of the best of the best ways to avoid the fireworks crowd is to purchase a reservation for fireworks dessert parties. We especially enjoyed Magic Kingdom’s Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace. While yes, dessert parties will cost you, it’s a phenomenal way to get the most out of the fireworks experience.
8. Typhoon Lagoon
The weather may still be scorching, but Disney is already shifting their focus to the fall. With that said, we don’t expect to see the return of Typhoon Lagoon water park this year. Last aerial view photos showed the park drained. We are thankful to have Blizzard Beach water park to cool off!
9. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
If you’ve never experienced the dinner show, “Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue” you may be thinking ‘what’s there to miss’? We simply couldn’t get enough of this Fort Wilderness dinner show. It was hilarious, entertaining, and the food was heavenly. We’re hoping to see this long-time Disney family favorite return.
10. Spirit of Aloha
Yes, another dinner show! Spirit of Aloha located at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has yet to return. Polynesian favorites like ‘Ohana and Trader Sam’ Grog Grotto have returned. But will this memorable luau experience make a come back? Time will tell.
11. Let the Magic Begin
Let the Magic Begin was the perfect way to start the day at Magic Kingdom! This brief stage show in front of Cinderella Castle kicked off the start of a memorable day in the most magical of parks. We’re ready for the return of this short and sweet show.
12. Finding Nemo – The Musical
Someone needs to find Nemo – let us help! While “A Celebration of The Festival of Lion King” has returned to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re missing the live performance that was held on the other end of the park, Finding Nemo – The Musical. The talent on stage was superb to say the least.
13. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular put the “light, camera, action” into Disney’s Hollywood Studios! This live stage performance kept watchers on their toes with fight scenes, explosions and more. We’d be thrilled to see this oldie but goodie make a come back!
Did you have a chance to experience one of Walt Disney World’s tours before COVID struck? Disney had several behind-the-scene type of tours that took guests into more immersive views of different experiences throughout the parks. Favorites like Keys to the Kingdom, Caring for Giants, Epcot Seas Adventures Aqua Tour, and more have been on hold since the pandemic.
When arriving at one of Walt Disney World’s four parks via car, you’ll notice you typically have a lengthy trek to enter the park. Unfortunately, the parking lot Tram system has yet to return. The good news – Walt Disney World is now HIRING for tram drivers… so that could only mean we’ll see them up and running SOON!
16. Enchanted Tales with Belle
If you’re a fan of all things Beauty and the Beast, you hopefully had a chance to experience Enchanted Tales with Belle at Magic Kingdom. While we would love for this one-of-a-kind attraction to return, it is a high-touch experience and a small space indoors. This one-on-one experience will Belle and friends is greatly missed!
17. Voyage of the Little Mermaid
And if you enjoy all things Little Mermaid, we’re sure you’re missing Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This stage show had mixed reviews but was ultimately always filled with Disney fans. Rumors are circulating that this one may not make a comeback, but again – they are just rumors.
18. Senses Spa
Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Senses has yet to reopen. Spa services were the most perfect way to unwind while on a Walt Disney World vacation. Until the reopening of Senses, we’ll have to stick with the resort pool and hot tubs!
19. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
For all those little Princesses and Princes out there, your royal makeover will have to wait! Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique located at Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are currently unavailable.
20. Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
Another youth favorite is Jedi Training at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Young Jedi took their lightsaber in hand and battled the Dark Side. We miss seeing the excitement on the kids faces as they battled against Star Wars villains like Darth Vader and Kylo Ren.
21. Citizens of Hollywood
If you needed a laugh mid-day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you knew to be on the look out for Citizens of Hollywood! Actors/actresses would show up spontaneously as you were walking from one attraction to the next and create all sorts of laughter. From game shows to odd-ball conversations, they could gather a crowd.
22. Green Army Men
Andy’s backyard at been awfully quiet lately. Green Army Men would march through Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, keeping things in order. Interacting with children and families, Toy Story Land hasn’t been the same since this crew left!
23. Once Upon a Time
Remember Once Upon a Time projection show on Cinderella Castle? We’re thankful fireworks have returned at Magic Kingdom, but Once Upon a Time is still missing. This special projection show was a great addition to the nighttime entertainment as the Castle danced with impressive projections.
Can we start a petition to bring back Jellyrolls? We’re missing this gem! Located on Disney’s BoardWalk, we have spent a few very memorable nights having a drink and listening/singing along to the dueling pianos. The talented pianists are extremely impressive, and we can only hope this one makes a return soon.
25. NBA Experience
The NBA Experience at Disney Springs had basically just opened in August 2019 when COVID closed its doors in March 2020. With interactive basketball components, NBA Experience was a blast. Unfortunately, due to the high-touch features of most all of the experiences, we have yet to see NBA Experience reopen. UPDATE: The NBA Experience at Disney Springs is to close permanently.
26. Jeweled Dragon Acrobats
This was one of the best entertainment features offered around EPCOT’s World Showcase. Located in the China Pavilion, the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats were amazing performers. The crowds gathered would be in awe of their ability to impress. It would be fantastic to see this one return!
27. Harmony Barber Shop
Yes, the memories that flood out of this small barber shop are endless. Harmony Barber Shop located on Main Street U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom was the perfect place to try something different at Disney. Our little guy got his first haircut here! We hope it reopens soon so guests can continue making those memories.
28. Big Top Souvenirs
Rumors are this one will return SOON – and boy we hope so! Located in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, this was a perfect place to do a little shopping and grab a sweet treat or two. And yes, a great place to enjoy some much needed air-conditioning towards the back of the park.
29. Casey’s Corner Pianist
Another Magic Kingdom favorite makes the list! But have no fear. We believe much like Trams returning soon, Casey’s Corner Pianist will be returning as well. Walt Disney World recently put out an auditions notice for this role. If you’re talented at tickling the keys and keeping guests smiling, this could be the job for you!
30. Dine with An Imagineer
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience at Walt Disney World, this is it. Prior to COVID, guests had a chance to make a reservation to spend a meal with a Disney Imagineer. You could pick their brain, talk Disney, and have an overall fantastic experience with one of Disney’s most elite. Unfortunately, the Disney website shows Stitch ate the page – so we’re unsure if/when this one will return.
31. Boma – Flavors of Africa
We hear you Disney dining fans! We too hope Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge returns. This buffet experience served up some of the best food for breakfast and dinner. We’re hoping it returns, even if it goes to family-style meals like the other former buffet experiences. UPDATE! Boma will be reopening on Friday, Aug. 20! Bookings start Wednesday, Aug 18.
A master juggler and an incredible entertainer – Sergio is greatly missed! While strolling EPCOT’s World Showcase, you couldn’t help but stop and watch Sergio in the Italy Pavilion. His colorful personality lit up the crowd!
33. Serveur Amusant
Another impressive entertainer located around EPCOT’s World Showcase… Serveur Amusant knew how to WOW passerby’s. These French performers would take over the France Pavilion with height defying stunts. It was almost hard to watch as they built towers of chairs as we prayed below for their safety!
34. Storybook Dining at Artist Point
Storybook Dining at Artist Point opened December 2018 with a Snow White-themed character meal. You could see favorites like Snow White, Grumpy, Dopey, and even the Evil Queen while enjoying spectacular food. Unfortunately, this Wilderness Lodge Resort favorite has yet to return.
35. Victoria & Albert’s
This is THE place to eat at Walt Disney World if you’re looking for the best of the best. Victoria & Albert’s, located at Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort & Spa, is a restaurant where classic Victorian elegance meets haute American cuisine. This fine dining experience has been a AAA Five Diamond Award recipient since 2000! We’re curious to see when it will return.
36. The British Revolution
London is calling… well, it was. When strolling EPCOT’s World Showcase, you’d have a chance to listen along in the United Kingdom Pavilion to some of the best classic British rock. Tucked away in the back of the pavilion, a 4-piece band called The British Revolution would light up the night with their music. We miss these guys!
37. Viva Mexico
Nothing beat sipping a margarita in EPCOT’s Mexico Pavilion while listening to the Viva Mexico band. This super talented band brought a whole new feel to the pavilion and we loved it. We are thankful however that while it is not located in the Mexico Pavilion, you have a chance to hear Mariachi Cobre in the America Gardens Theatre.
38. UP! The Great Bird Adventure
While yes, “UP! The Great Bird Adventure” show is no longer available, if you are a fan of birds, you’ll still get to see them perform at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A new show called “Feathered Friends in Flight” has arrived in the same Animal Kingdom location. What’s missing? UP characters! So yes, enjoy all the birds, but sadly, you won’t get to see Russell or Dug work their magic for now.
39. Jiko – The Cooking Place
Talk about DELICIOUS! Jiko, located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is well known as one of Disney World’s best fine dining experiences. The African-inspired food is unique and mouthwatering. Plus, did we mention the wine selections (YUM)! We’re eager for Jiko to return.
The Diamond Horseshoe was the place to mosey inside and take part in all-you-care-to-enjoy food. If you were looking for an excellent way to take a midday break at Magic Kingdom, The Diamond Horseshoe restaurant was a great option. We’d be surprised if this one doesn’t return.
41. Harambe Village Acrobats
Talk about FUN! The Harambe Village Acrobats were loud, lively, and extremely entertaining. They were super talented and left us in awe with each performance. We’d love to see this crew make a come back at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
42. Pick a Pearl
Have you ever tried this experience? The Mitsukoshi Department Store located in EPCOT’s Japan Pavilion is a massive store filled with all sorts of merchandise. One of our favorite experiences was to show new friends and family at EPCOT the Pick a Pearl experience. The Cast Members that ran Pick a Pearl were always excited as you picked an oyster in hopes it held a beautiful pearl. The space has remained empty for now.
43. Merchant of Venus
Merchant of Venus was a Magic Kingdom gift shop located in the Tomorrowland portion of the park. It was a nice gift shop to breeze through. The doors have remained closed since Disney’s phased reopening, and rumors suggest it won’t open again. Could there be a possible Wreck-It-Ralph attraction in the works that would encompass this space? Time will tell.
44. Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
The good ole Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade in Magic Kingdom has yet to make a return. While arcades at Disney resorts have returned, we’re still hearing crickets over in Frontierland. We have good memories of watching the kids attempt to shoot the 100 or so targets.
45. Be Our Guest Quick-Service
The ever-so-popular Be Our Guest restaurant is open! Unfortunately, the former quick-service options that were available for breakfast and lunch have yet to return. Instead, you’ll have to pay a much larger table service meal price for both lunch and dinner. Breakfast is no longer an option.
Princesses, princesses, and more princesses! Akershus Royal Banquet Hall was the ideal character dining location for all those Disney fans that couldn’t get enough of the Disney Princesses. This once popular EPCOT restaurant has remained closed with no signs of reopening just yet.
47. ESPN Club
Call us crazy, but the ESPN Club on Disney’s BoardWalk was actually one of our favorite restaurants! American grill and bar type food was sometimes the perfect way to end a long day at the park while watching the game on one of the many screens. Many guests may have passed on the ESPN Club, but we loved that walk-ups were almost always available and the food and service was great. Our vote is to bring back ESPN Club!
48. A Pirate’s Adventure – Treasures of the Seven Seas
Even though Disney announced the end of Sorcerer’s of Magic Kingdom, there is still one interactive scavenger hunt they have yet to report on! A Pirate’s Adventure is a quiet favorite for many Disney regulars. It’s an interactive hunt for secret treasures hidden throughout Adventureland. Will Pirate’s Adventure make a return, or follow in Sorcerer’s of Magic Kingdom’s footsteps?
49. Star Wars Launch Bay & Theater
We’re thankful Star Wars fans have Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to flock to, as Star Wars Launch Bay and Theater have remained closed since the phased reopening. Located in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Launch Bay held several meet and greets for select Star Wars characters, along with nostalgic merchandise. The theater showed a short documentary on the creative team behind Star Wars. It was also a great place to enjoy some air-conditioning!
Last on this list, but definitely not least is EPCOT’s Restaurant Marrakesh. No where else on Disney World property could you have enjoyed Morocco-inspired cuisine and sprightly belly dancing! Even though Restaurant Marrakesh had mixed reviews, it was still a memorable dining experience we’d recommend. We aren’t sure what will come of Restaurant Marrakesh now that Disney has sole ownership of the Morocco Pavilion.
There you have it! 50 favorites that have yet to return. We’ll be sure to update this list at Walt Disney World continues to reopening experiences throughout their massive property. In the meantime, which of these are you hoping comes back sooner rather than later?