Welcome to a special Christmas-themed installment of your weekly round up of Disney news! We’ve got a lot to cover and my kids are napping, so let’s get into this before they wake up!
The Walt Disney World Railroad officially reopened! After four long years, the fan-favorite attraction is fully operational. This is good news all around, and an especially good sign of Tron’s progress.
Avatar: The Way of Water experiences are now happening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Oh, and apparently James Cameron emailed Bob Iger about potentially updating the ride experience for Avatar: Flight of Passage. Sivako!
Disney announced a range of updates coming to Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, including a new coffee shop, aptly named Carousel Coffee. This is a much needed addition to an area otherwise void of any caffeine options.
Hey Disney!, an Alexa-enabled voice assistant is now at select resorts around Walt Disney World. The complimentary, optional tablet comes complete with Mickey Mouse ears, and will provide a range of services similar to other Amazon devices—with a touch of Disney Magic, of course. For privacy reasons, I am not a fan of virtual assistants, and I do not want these in my resort room; stay tuned as we learn more about how they work, and how they can be turned off.
Disney revealed a new scene from Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, set to replace Splash Mountain and open in 2024, which features Tiana and Louis welcoming guests to the Bayou. Splash Mountain closes for good on January 23, 2022.
The Genie+ Change. You can now modify your Genie+ attraction selection within the My Disney Experience app without being forced to cancel an existing Lightning Lane selection. Simply go to your Tip Board for the Day, select the “…”, then select “Modify plan,” and choose a new time for your existing Lightning Lane attraction OR choose a new attraction. Note that you must be in the park for which you are modifying an attraction—if you desire to change a Lightning Lane attraction selection at another park you must cancel and rebook. When modifying a selected Lightning Lane you can also modify the number of people in the party by reducing the original party, but you cannot add new people not already associated with the selection. Modifications do not change the time when you can select a new Lightning Lane selection. And of course, this does not impact how you make Individual Lightning Lane selections. Got that?
Cinderella’s Royal Table will resume its full pre-pandemic experience starting February 28, 2023, meaning more princesses will be available for meet and greets during the meal. Note that it is not clear whether this will increase the price. Stay tuned.
Chef Mickey’s is shifting to an all-you-can eat style buffet starting March 1, 2023. Plan accordingly!
Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant, a Toy-Story themed table-service restaurant coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios will now open in Spring 2023, instead of this year. Stay tuned for more updates.
- Avatar: The Way of Water—heard of it?—opened in markets around the world on December 16, thirteen years after the original opened in theaters. Coming out of its second weekend, it has grossed an estimated 855.4 million, largely from international territories. The film is showing impressively during the midweek, especially in light of the COVID outbreak in China and the winter storm impacting much of the U.S. All eyes are on its performance, which may dictate how much further the Avatar universe will expand.
- Henry Cavill is out as Superman. Patty Jenkins and “Wonder Woman 3” are no longer moving forward. What’s Going on With the DC Extended Universe?
In Case You Missed It
I wrote about my thoughts on Avatar: The Way of Water. Find out whether I enjoyed my return to Pandora.
Interesting in staying at a Disney beach resort away from the theme parks? Here is my ultimate guide to visiting Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.
What are the implications of Bob Iger’s recent return to The Walt Disney Company? Listen to my podcast episode all about it. (I am joined by my wife and friend, and we also talk about family estrangement. Fun stuff!)
I am a part-time backpack enthusiast. Check out my review of the Tom Bihn Bummer Hip Bag.
Did I Mention?
Worried about park passes, advanced dining reservations, and virtual queues? Don’t be. Check out the The New Parents’ Guide to Walt Disney World, so you can navigate the Walt Disney World Resort in the post-pandemic era like a pro.
See you real soon!