It’s the new year and I’ve got a lot of Disney news for you! There is lot to cover to make sure your next Disney vacation is the best one yet, so let’s do this!
Tron Lightcycle / Run opens on April 4 and now we know more about how to ride. Because, these days it’s not enough to purchase a theme park ticket. As suspected, there will be no standby queue for the ride when it opens. Guests can try signing up for a boarding group via the Virtual Queue, which can be accessed via the My Disney Experience app. No details yet on when to book, but we can look to Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT, which opens the Virtual Queue for booking at 7 AM and 1 PM (and 6 PM for Deluxe Resort guests). No word yet on whether you will need to be in the park to make the reservation, but I suspect you will need to be inside the Magic Kingdom for the afternoon Virtual Queue time slot. If you want to avoid that stress, you can simply pay for the Individual Lightning Lane option, which will also be available starting opening day. No pricing will be revealed until opening day, but expect it to be around $20 (per person). Lastly, there will be complimentary lockers for this ride, which can be reserved and unlocked with your MagicBand (or ticket card), which you can learn how to use here. Be prepared to store your larger items on this one—which is unique at Disney World. No announced dates for DVC or Annual Passholder previews, so stay tuned.
Splash Mountain officially closed for good on January 22. Cast Members were the last to ride the iconic attraction. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will replace the attraction in late 2024. Prepare for construction updates galore!
Pete’s Silly Sideshow characters returned! You can now meet Minnie Magnifique, Daisy Fortuna, The Astounding Donaldo, and The Great Goofini at Storybook Circus in the Magic Kingdom.
Ariel’s Grotto reopened on January 20, and guests can now meet Ariel again, for the first time in years. This “attraction” will be offered as part of a Genie+ purchase, and is located in Fantasyland.
Enchanted Tales with Belle, a walk-through attraction that tells the story of Beauty of the Beast—also located in Fantasyland—reopens on February 19. It will also be offered as part of a Genie+ purchase.
EPCOT has new parking lot signs that are dedicated to Disney characters (similar to the themed lots at the Ticket and Transportation Center at the Magic Kingom). The lot is now split between “Earth” and “Space” themes, with various characters indicating new areas. Note that the only featured characters without a related attraction at EPCOT are Wall-E and EVE…could this mean that something is coming?
We have dates for EPCOT’s International Flower & Garden Festival! (My favorite of EPCOT’s festivals). It will run from March 1 through July 5, 2023. Festival favorites, from Outdoor Kitchens to the much-loved topiaries will return—along with new menu options. Perhaps most exciting will be the new topiaries! For the first time, you will be able to see Mirabel, Isabella, Louisa, and Antonio-shaped topiaries, to be located close to the front of the park. A new Tiana-themed topiary will also premiere at The American Adventure in the World Showcase.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ at Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios officially opens March 23, 2023. This is a welcome restaurant in an area otherwise devoid of food options. The full menu is here.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at the Magic Kingdom now offers The Encanto Package, where guests can select either Mirabel’s dress or Isabella’s dress. The package starts at $179.95.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway recently opened over at Disneyland. It is similar to the existing-attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney World. It requires either a virtual queue slot or a Individual Lightning Lane purchase to ride. The virtual queue (which does not cost extra) can be reserved at 7AM and 1PM (subject to availability). The Individual Lighting Lane can be purchased the morning of your visit; on opening day it costed around $20 per person. Though the ride is now open, Mickey’s Toontown fully reopens on March 8.
In Case You Missed It
Everything you need to know about the new Tron roller coaster and the recently-announced sequel to Tron: Legacy.
The ultimate guide to Disney’s BoardWalk Resort—with extra tips for parents.
Universal announced a new kid-friendly theme park to be built in Frisco, Texas. So there’s that.
Disney announced changes for Annual Passholder park passes, removed overnight resort parking fees, and added new Genie+ photo pass perks. Read my full breakdown here.
The only guide you need to staying at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.
The return of Happily Ever After. (And EPCOT Forever.)
Quick Tips for Your Next Disney World Trip
How to use the monorail to get around Disney World.
Your guide to riding the Disney Skyliner.
Ferries, Friendship Launches, or Friendship Launches? Learn which boat to take on your next Disney World vacation.
Did I Mention?
I wrote a book. The New Parents’ Guide to Walt Disney World, to help you navigate the Walt Disney World Resort in the post-pandemic era like a pro.
See ya real soon!