Home » The 11 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (February 22-27, 2022)

The 11 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (February 22-27, 2022)

This week at Walt Disney World, a fan favorite show returns, Walt Disney World’s base $15 Genie+ service gets a boost, plus Disney gets ready to open both the Star Wars: Glactic Starcruiser as well as this year’s EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival.

Outside Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando reports some promising financial results, plus the new IceBreaker roller coaster runs into some operational issues after its first few days open. 

1. More attractions join $15 base Genie+ service

Space Mountain, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and  Frozen Ever After have all joined Walt Disney World’s $15 Genie+ service as of this week. These attractions were previously only available through the individual Lightning Lane upcharge. This change is currently scheduled to remain in effect until at least August 7, 2022, after which these attractions could potentially revert back to their status as part of the premium Lightning Lane individual attraction lineup. However, if this month-long test proves to provide more value to guests, these attractions could just join the $15 lineup permanently. 

2.  Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser set to welcome firsts guests this week 

After several weeks of employee testing and media previews, this week the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser experience will finally open this week on March 1. Though this experience is sold out during its inaugural months, there seems to be availability later this spring for guests who want to experience this one-of-a-kind attraction. Prices start at $4809 for a party of two (which includes all food and drinks plus admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios) and go up from there. You can learn more about what to expect from this experience on the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser website here

3.Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire returns to the Magic Kingdom

Castle show Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire has returned to the lineup at the Magic Kingdom and in addition to having a slightly-tweaked title (previously this show was known as Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire), this show now also includes an all-new original song ‘Where the Magic Feels Like Home’ as part of an updated finale. Current showtimes are 12:15pm, 1:30pm, 2:45pm, 4:35pm, 6:10pm on the castle forecourt stage.

4. Frozen characters at EPCOT once again meeting indoors

Guests who want to meet Frozen’s Anna and Elsa can now see these characters indoors at the Royal Sommerhus in EPCOT. Though these characters are still meeting at a distance, guests can at least get out of the heat for a little while before they have their character encounter.

5. EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival kicks off this week

Though we just barely said goodbye to the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, this park is busy gearing up for the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, which will kick off March 2 and take place for a massive 125 days, running through July 4th, 2022.

This year’s festival will include twenty Outdoor Kitchens filled with a range of classic fan favorites along with new tastes for guests to enjoy as well as the return of the the Garden Rocks Concert Series. You can learn more about what to expect from 2022’s festival here

6. Annual passholder magnets will be available at Disney Springs starting this week. 

Beginning this week on March 2, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will be able to pick up special free magnets at Disney springs. To get a magnet, passholders can sign-up for the Virtual Queue on the My Disney Experience app for a one-hour pickup time at Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories. The virtual queue for guests wanting to grab this magnet opens at 9:00 AM each day and passholders have until March 30 to get their magnet. Only one magnet per passholder will be available. 

7. Festival of Fantasy to return next week with multiple showtimes

Though we still have a little over a week before the Festival of Fantasy parade returns to the Magic Kingdom, it looks like Disney has gone ahead and updated its official calendar with showtimes for this returning parade. Right after opening, from March 9-13, the Festival of Fantasy Parade will run at 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM. From then on the parade will run at 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM. These showtimes are subject to change so be sure to check out the My Disney Experience App when in the park.

8. Expedition Everest refurbishment extended

Though Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been closed since January for a refurbishment, many were hopeful that this attraction would reopen in time for Spring Break. However, Disney has updated its official calendar and it looks like this refurbishment has been extended until April 30.

9. SeaWorld adjusts height restriction for IceBreaker roller coaster

After last week’s grand opening of IceBreaker, Seaworld has announced that it is changing the height restriction from 48 to 54 inches due to what they are calling “operational issues” on their official website. While we don’t know what these issues might be, the park says it is working with the manufacturer and safety professionals to make adjustments.

10. SeaWorld recovery continues trending upwards

Recovery for Seaworld Orlando has not been as fast as that of neighbor resorts Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, but this week the larger park group (which includes parks in Virginia, California, and Texas) reported record-setting revenue in fiscal year 2021, with the company’s total revenue for the year hitting $1.5 billion, over $100 million higher than in 2019. This boost was thanks to increased attendance and guest spending. 

11. Peppa Pig Theme Park now open

The Peppa Pig Theme Park at the LEGOLAND Florida resort is now officially open. This new theme park is next door to LEGOLAND Florida and requires its own separate admission. Tickets start at $34.99 and are available online and at the park gates. 

 The park is aimed at pre-school children and features rides, live shows, character interactions, themed play areas and water-play areas. Attractions include Daddy Pig’s Roller Coaster, Grampy Rabbits Dinosaur Adventure and Grandad Dog’s Pirate Boat Ride. You can learn more about this new theme park at its official website here