Home » The 14 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (May 23-29, 2022)

The 14 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (May 23-29, 2022)

Epcot, Disney

This week at Walt Disney World, EPCOT’s new roller coaster officially opens, we find out that the full Festival of the Lion King is returning to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a new Disney Store is coming to I-Drive, Mickey Mouse gets a digital make over, plus new Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind merchandise is now available.

Outside Walt Disney World, a popular parade is definitely stopping at Universal Studios Florida, Shrek and Donkey are moving home and SeaWorld Orlando kicks off it’s Electric Ocean event with a new firework spectacular.

1. Festival of the Lion King to Return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Festival of the Lion King, Disney
Image: Disney

We have learnt this week that the current “A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King” will complete it’s last performances on July 4 and will then close starting June 5. On July 16 the full show, “Festival of the Lion King” will return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the first time since before the theme park closures due to COVID-19.

Guests will be able to once again see and enjoy the popular tumble monkeys which have been completely absent in the current show and the aerial dancers will also return.

From July 16, the “Festival of the Lion King” is scheduled to be performed eight times a day, on the hour from 10:00AM to 5:00PM. This is subject to change so be sure to check the calendar on the official website for the up to date times for the day of your visit.

2.  Book Your Tickets Now For Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue

It was announced at the end of March that the Walt Disney World’s Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dining experience will return to Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground on June 23 and fans eager to get their tickets can now do so through the official website DisneyWorld.com and the My Disney Experience app.

The returning show has a new audio and lighting system and guests can look forward to a few updates to the script and scenery but Disney promises the show will stay true to the experience guests have grown to love and enjoy. The menu will once again feature a feast full of favorites including fried chicken, smoked BBQ ribs, a variety of savory sides and strawberry shortcake. 

3. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is now officially open and demand is massive

Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney
Image: Disney

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is now officially open at EPCOT. Demand so far for the virtual queue has unsurprisingly been huge with both the virtual queue and Individual Lightning Lane being booked within a couple of minutes on opening day. We are expecting to see this high demand continue over the next few weeks and months. 

4. Guest Relations Has Reopened At EPCOT

Epcot, Disney
Image: Disney

The World Celebration Guest Relations location next to Spaceship Earth has reopened with a new look. The updates include the white and gray color scheme of World Celebration and geometric gray flooring. A video of the newly reopened Guest Relations can be seen here.

5. Parking trams return to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Parking trams have returned to Disney’s Animal Kingdom this week. The trams are now once again transporting guests from the parking lot to the park entrance and then back again at the end of a long day in the park. Parking trams returned to the Magic Kingdom back in December 2021 and are expected to return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT by the end of 2022.

6. Mickey Mouse gets digital make over

Mickey Mouse on the Grid, FaZe Clan
Image: FaZe Clan

FaZe Clan have been collaborating with Disney to create a brand new digital look for the iconic mascot, Mickey Mouse which will be used for a merchandise line named ‘Mickey On The Grid’.

Included in this new merchandise line will be a whole range of offerings including t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats which will all bear the new ‘Mickey On The Grid’ logo. The first items as part of the FaZe Clan and Disney’s first capsule collection are now available in The Armory which is the FaZe Clan’s gaming lounge and retail pop-up store. The line will then be released online from May 30 12 PM PST / 3 PM EST / 7 PM UTC.

7. New Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise now available at EPCOT

Guardians of the Galaxy shop, Disney
Image: Disney

The Treasures of Xandar, the official merchandise location for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind where fans can get their hands on a whole host of merchandise, is now open at EPCOT. We have learnt this week that a number of new Guardians of the Galaxy themed merchandise lines are now available. They include:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Heroes of Xandar Collection
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Through the Eyes of Quill Collection 
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – Honorary Guardians Collection 
  • Groot Through the Years Collection

These new merchandise lines will also be available in The Creations Shop at EPCOT along with a range.of dated opening day merchandise.

8. New Disney Store coming to I-Drive

New Disney Store, Disney
Image: Disney

Disney has confirmed that a large new Disney store with a huge outdoor EARidecent art display will open on May 31 on International Drive, just off I-4. The store will sell merchandise, tickets and visitors will be able to experience the first-ever interactive Disney Vacation Club Virtual Discovery Station which will use floor to ceiling screens to give prospective buyers an in-depth view of what there is to offer.

9. Main Street Trolley is now transporting guests again

Walt Disney World, Disney
Image: Disney

Currently the Main Street trolley is running a limited schedule due to testing but we are hoping to see it returning to a more fixed timetable in the coming weeks. We are expecting the trolley to run during the mornings as is the case for the other Main Street vehicles. Guests can board the Main Street trolley in Town Square or at Cinderella Castle.

10. Revised Disney Kite Tails Performances Begin

Kite Tails, Disney
Image: Disney

Disney Kite Tails has been revised at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are now four parts, each featuring different kites and lasting between 3 and 5 minutes (approximately 15 mins in total) rather than the original two longer shows. Here is an outline of what guests can now expect:

  • Lion King (5 mins) ” –  “Hakuna Matata” and “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” with young Simba and Timon and Pumbaa kites.
  • “Circle of Life” (3 mins) – featuring adult Simba and Zazu kites
  • Jungle Book  (3 mins) – “I wanna be like you” featuring King Louie and kites which create a rainbow.
  • “The Bare Necessities” (3 mins) – featuring Baloo kite.

Between each part, flotillas traverse the water to keep guests entertained as Cast Members set up for the next. The shows are currently scheduled between 9:15AM – 3:15PM. For up to date timings for the date of your visit, click here.

11. Superstar Parade to end at Universal Studios Florida

Universal Superstar Parade, Universal
Image: Universal

It has now been confirmed by Universal on the official website that the Superstar Parade at Universal Studios Florida will do its last run on June 4. The reason for this is given as being “to make way for new entertainment experiences.” We will keep you posted on these new entertainment experiences and exactly what they will include when any announcements are made.

12. Shrek and Donkey Are Moving Home At Universal Studios Florida

Shrek and Donkey meet and greet, Universal
Image: Universal

It has now been confirmed on the Universal Orlando Resort official website that the Meet Shrek and Donkey character encounter will temporarily close on June 7, in order for them to move home to the current KidZone section of the park. We are not exactly sure how long this relocation will take and therefore when Shrek and Donkey will be open to having visitors again but we will update you when we know more on this.

13. Film posters appear outside summer Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida

Tribute store, Universal
Image: Universal

We now know that this year’s summer Tribute Store at Universal Studios Florida will definitely be celebrating the lost fan favorites, Back to the Future and JAWS as well as ET. Posters can now be seen outside the store and we await further details of how these classic films will be celebrated inside.

14. Electric Ocean event has now kicked off at SeaWorld Orlando

Ignite 360, SeaWorld
Image: SeaWorld

The Electric Ocean event has now kicked off at SeaWorld Orlando. It will take place on select nights through September 5, 2022 as can be seen below:

  • Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays: May 27 – June 12
  • Memorial Day: Monday, May 30
  • Daily: June 17 – Aug. 7
  • Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays: Aug. 12 – Sept. 4
  • Labor Day: Monday, Sept. 5

Ignite 360 is a new nighttime spectacular including fireworks, lasers, flames, and fountains and will be shown each evening of the Electric Ocean event. Ignite 360 can be seen from all around SeaWorld’s large central lake including from The Waterfront, Bayside Stadium and the Orca Encounter Pathway.