While we’ve been getting a ton of updates recently about confirmed new attractions coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom, there have also been some new rumors that have surfaced concerning developments at all four parks. While none of these rumors have been officially acknowledged by Disney, considering some of the evidence in favor of these reports, we simply can't ignore them!
1. Phasing out FastPass+ reservations for Wishes and Illuminations
My Disney Experience users who are now able to book FastPass+ reservations for the Magic Kingdom’s Wishes nighttime spectacular are now reporting that they are unable to make reservations for Wishes. While this could be a technical glitch, reports have surfaced that Cast Members are confirming the end of the guaranteed FastPass+ viewing area at this park. Interestingly, sources have also said that FastPass+ reservations for guaranteed viewing for the nightly Illuinations: Reflections of Earth show at Epcot will also be discontinued in the near future as well.
While this might be surprising given the amount of effort Disney put into creating the guaranteed seating area at the Magic Kingdom (it even has its own sponsor!) the fact is that these FastPass+ selections were never all that popular, especially as guests didn’t like the nighttime spectaculars blocking them out of making additional FastPass+ selections during the day. Plus, guests who really want guaranteed seating could still pay for the various dessert parties that are offered at both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and arguably get a better viewing spot than the one guaranteed through FastPass+.
While Disney has yet to confirm or deny this rumor, this certainly wouldn’t be a surprising development, and might actually help relieve congestion during these two nightly shows, as guests will have more room to spread out.
2. Rivers of Light to get an April start, a dining package and three nightly shows
And speaking of nighttime spectaculars, while Disney has yet to officially announce when Rivers of Light will officially debut, several sources have reported that this new show will make its debut in mid-April, possibly on either the 18th or the 19th. Reports have also surfaced that Disney will be offering a guaranteed seating package for this show that will include dining at the Tusker House restaurant. This package would likely work much like the Fantasmic! package at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which requires guests to get a meal and then assigns them a specific seating area.
According to screenshots posted online, there will be a dining packages available for breakfast lunch and dinner, which is interesting as dining packages at Walt Disney World have previously only included lunch and/or dinner before. However, considering Tusker House is the only Disney-operated table service restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom, three seatings might be necessary to fill all the allotted space for this experience.
However, in an even more interesting development, the dining package options reveal more than just the ability to book dining packages for three different meals. According to the data that many are seeing actually displayed within the My Disney Experience app, there will also be three different showings of Rivers of Light on most nights. This is definitely an unexpected development and implies that either that this show is really short (requiring a short reset time), or Disney’s Animal Kingdom is going to stay open a lot later than we all imagined.
For comparison’s sake, over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Fantasmic! is only performed twice nightly and that park typically stays open until 10PM during the busy summer season. This is in large part due to a long reset time, as the show is quite intricate. Judging from the concept art, Rivers of Light is also quite involved, but if the show itself isn't very long, it may be possible to reset the show (and get guests out of the amphitheater and then loaded back in) in the space of an hour, if it is timed perfectly.
Whatever the case my be, Disney will likely be making an announcement about this very soon, as we are just over a month away from the rumored opening of this new show.