2022 is drawing to a close. The year has been an eventful one, to say the least. As The Walt Disney Company dumps former CEO Bob Chapek and brings back CEO Bob Iger, we’re hopeful to see the magic return with these Disney experiences in 2023.
It seems easy enough, right? Walt Disney World’s theme park parking lots are massive. Since COVID, Disney Parks’ parking tram has been slow to return. While they have finally returned to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom Park, both EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are awaiting the return of the parking trams.
This seems like an easy fix to better the Disney Park experience for all Guests by giving them time to rest their feet both to and from the Park entrance and their vehicle. Disney retracted the return of all trams in 2022, but we will hopefully see them all back in operation in 2023.
Park Hopper Freedom
Freedom! That’s all we’re asking for, Mr. Bob Iger! Currently, Guests with Annual Passes or Park Hopper tickets are required to wait until 2:00 p.m. to hop to a different theme park. This was again another “Chapek-era” and COVID change. It would be ideal to once again Park hop freely without having to wait for a select time to roll around.
No Park Reservation Needed
Ugh… the not-so-beloved Disney Park Pass Reservation System. Initially set in place to help Walt Disney World control crowds with its phased COVID reopenings, the Park Reservation System has remained.
Guests with a valid Park ticket are not able to gain access to a Disney Park unless they have a Park Reservation. Additionally, Guests looking to Park hop must enter the Park they have a Park Reservation for prior to entering another Park.
We can’t help but reminisce about the spontaneity of no Park reservations and no Park Hopper restrictions.
This is a long shot, but another Chapek doing we would love to see Bob Iger undo. Disney FastPass+ was the complimentary system that allowed Guests to skip the line at select attractions. It didn’t matter who you were or what your Disney budget was… everyone could take advantage of FastPass+.
Now, Disney has introduced Genie+, the same service, but this time for an upcharge price that can go up to $29 per person per day. For a family of four, that once free FastPass+ service could now cost $116 for the family to experience a day with Genie+. And that doesn’t include if a Guest wants to purchase the additional individual Lightning Lane attractions.
It would be wonderful if 2023 put everyone back on the same level when it comes to who is and is not willing or able to spend the extra money.
Disney Dining Plan
Hello? Disney Dining Plan? Where have you been?! Walt Disney World teased the return of the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), the option to purchase a dining package for easy use of points when dining at quick-service and table-service restaurants and enjoying snacks.
Guests liked the all-inclusive, one-price feel the Disney Dining Plan offered. Unfortunately, as we end 2022, the DDP is still missing in action. We hope to see this Disney experience return in 2023!
Disney’s Magical Express
We know it’s a long stretch, but wouldn’t it be great to see Disney return its complimentary airport transportation? Another Chapek-era hit was the removal of Disney’s Magical Express, which took Disney Resort Guests to and from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) and their Disney Resort.
The experience was a magical way to start a vacation. Of course, it also saved the Disney budget by avoiding transportation fees with current offerings such as Mears Connect or The Sunshine Flyer.
Another Disney Resort perk that went missing was the complimentary MagicBands for Disney Resort Guests, as well as Walt Disney World Annual Passholders. Now, Guests pay a fee for the basic MagicBands, with the option to upgrade for a higher price for the newer MagicBand upgrades, MagicBand+.
Our hope would be in 2023, Disney works to bring back some of these perks of being a Disney Resort Guest, as now the perks are few and far between. We are, however, thankful Resort Guests have the opportunity to take advantage of Early Theme Park Entry.
Walt Disney World Railroad
The Walt Disney World Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park has been closed since December 2018 to make way for the construction of the Tomorrowland rollercoaster, TRON Lightcylce / Run.
With a video showing the train rolling through the new TRON tunnel and the new roller coaster scheduled to open in Spring 2023, we suspect the Walt Disney World Railroad will finally be returning in 2023 after its lengthy five-year closure.
Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently welcomed back the popular Fantasmic! nighttime show held off Sunset Boulevard. While the show does feature some fireworks, the Disney Park’s true fireworks show has remained missing since COVID closures.
We’re ready to see Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks and projection show make its grand return in 2023! If not the former Galactic Spectacular, we’re ready to see some type of nighttime action take to the sky at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the new year.
1900 Park Fare
The “Supercalifragilistic Breakfast” and “Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner” character dining experiences have been greatly missed at since COVID closures at 1900 Park Fare restaurant located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
The breakfast featured characters such as Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh. Dinner hosted characters including Cinderella, Prince Charming, the evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and two stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella.
We’d love to see this dining experience return in 2023, but with the refurbishment of the Grand Floridian lobby coming soon, we can’t help but wonder if this restaurant will be part of the transformation.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Disney’s Voyage of the Little Mermaid attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios closed in 2020 and has yet to reopen. The theater show was a musical production telling the story of the iconic animated Disney film, The Little Mermaid (1989).
Rumors have swirled that the reason Voyage of the Little Mermaid has yet to reopen is due to a mold infestation, but this report has not been confirmed by Disney. We would hope in 2023 Disney would provide an update on the attraction, or at least share news of what could replace it.
As we cruise through 2023, we will continue to keep Disney Dining readers updated as we learn more about this hopeful returns to Walt Disney World Resort in the new year!