Believe it or not, 2022 is HERE! If you’re thinking of visiting Disney World, now is the time to start planning!
There’s plenty to see and do in Disney World in 2022, especially if you haven’t visited since the parks reopened in the summer of 2020. We’re be in the midst of the 50th Anniversary Celebration, with new experiences like TRON Lightcycle Run and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind hopefully opening in 2022!
While there are tons to look forward to, you also want to make sure you don’t make any planning mistakes when prepping for your 2022 vacation. If you’re heading to Disney World, here are seven planning mistakes you want to make sure you DON’T make!
Planning Park Days While Staying at Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser
2022 is going to be another BIG year for Star Wars fans because we’ll finally get to “check-in” to Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser! This immersive two-night stay will open in the spring of 2022, and it promises to be an experience unlike anything we’ve seen before!
Galactic Starcruiser is part hotel, part immersive theater, and part role-playing experience. Guests can live out Star Wars adventures with what appears to be a jam-packed itinerary that starts the moment you arrive and concludes the moment you depart!
Your two-night stay at Galactic Starcruiser includes a trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but other than that, the majority of your time will be spent onboard the Halcyon, which is the name of the starcruiser. If you want to see the other theme parks and have a more “traditional” Disney World vacation in 2022, you’ll need to plan additional days (as well as additional nights at a separate hotel) outside of your stay at Galactic Starcruiser.
While you could technically leave this “Star Wars hotel” during your stay, most guests will remain onboard — after all, you’ll be shelling out a LOT of cash for this two-night experience, so why would you want to spend any of your free time doing something else?
Just keep in mind that this isn’t a typical Disney World hotel where you can hop on the Monorail and head to Magic Kingdom. We would treat a stay at Galactic Starcruiser like its own separate vacation in addition to your trip to Disney World. Whether you choose to tack these two nights at the beginning, middle, or end of your vacation, be prepared to be FULLY immersed in the Star Wars universe during the 48 hours you are onboard.
Click here to check out a sample itinerary from a two-night stay at Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser!
Not Making Your Advance Dining Reservations Well in Advance
Following Disney World’s temporary closure in 2020, the window of time you could book Advance Dining Reservations shortened significantly. Before, you could book a reservation at your favorite restaurant 180 days ahead of time — now, it’s just 60 days out.
It’s always important to book Dining Reservations the moment your 60-day window opens up, but there are a few new reasons you’ll want to set your alarms in 2022. For starters, EPCOT finally opened Space 220 in September of 2021 after years of delays. This will likely be a popular choice for many folks visiting the parks in 2022, so you’ll want to prioritize that for sure! Keep in mind that Space 220 does have a lounge as well that also takes reservations, so if you don’t manage to grab a reservation for the full meal, you can always try that!
Another new dining experience opened in time for the 50th Anniversary Celebration is Steakhouse 71, formerly known as The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The space was totally reimagined to reflect the resort’s 50th Anniversary, featuring a menu with old favorites as well as new dishes to try! The close proximity to Magic Kingdom makes this a great spot for a dinner or lunch on your Magic Kingdom day, so you’ll want to make sure you have a reservation there as well if you want to give it a try.
2022 is hopefully when we’ll see Roundup Rodeo BBQ open in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This much-needed table service restaurant will likely be popular with families due to its colorful larger-than-life theming! Be sure to follow along to stay in-the-know on the latest developments on this restaurant, and get ready to book once we have an opening timeline!
There are a number of new dessert parties and dining packages coinciding with the 50th Anniversary Celebration that could be a wonderful way to watch the new fireworks spectaculars: Disney Enchantment in Magic Kingdom and Harmonious in EPCOT. Book those early if you want to experience a special added touch to your evenings at Disney World!
Of course, there are Disney World’s other popular restaurants you’ll want to keep an eye on and book right away if you want them to be a part of your 2022 vacation, including Be Our Guest Restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and Le Cellier, just to name a few!
Click here to read our full review of dinner at Space 220!
Forgetting to Make Park Pass Reservations
Disney World’s Park Pass Reservation System looks like it’s sticking around, so you’ll want to make sure you plan for it when you book your 2022 vacation! Under this system that was launched in 2020, guests will need to have a confirmed Park Reservation in addition to valid theme park admission in order to visit the parks each day.
Our suggestion is to decide which parks you want to visit on which days when you book your trip, and make your Park Reservations right when you purchase your theme park admission. That way, you get your first pick of theme parks (and, worst case scenario — at least you have SOMETHING booked in case they sell out!). If you can’t get the park pass you want to visit and you have the Park Hopper option on your tickets, keep in mind that you can hop to a second park after 2PM each day, given that you have already scanned into the first park for which you have a confirmed Park Reservation.
It’s always important to book your Park Reservations as early as possible, even during the slower times of the year. Disney’s Park Pass Reservation System can always change as the parks continue to assess crowds and demand, so you never really know how many Reservations will be available for each ticket type!
Click here to check out which dates in 2022 you’ll want to book a Park Pass Reservation for ASAP!
Forgetting Magical Express is Gone!
Perhaps the biggest change in 2022 that will impact how your vacations begin and end is the fact that Disney’s Magical Express will be gone starting in January. This complimentary bus transportation system to and from Orlando International Airport is now suspended, and guests staying on Disney World property will now need to find another means of getting to their hotel when arriving (and getting back to the airport when departing).
Guests may choose to sign up for Mears Connect, which launched right when Disney’s Magical Express concluded its service in 2022. Or you can consider booking your connection through the new Sunshine Flyer (which starts running February 1st, 2022). Keep in mind that neither of these options is complimentary and each requires an additional fee. For Mears Connect, those who choose their Standard Service will pay about $32 per adult round trip and $27 round trip per child, and their Express service will cost $250 roundtrip for up to four guests — each additional guest will cost $55. (Note that this used to be referred to as “premium” service and it was set to cost $200 roundtrip. That has since changed.)
For The Sunshine Flyer, the cost is $17 per adult and $12.50 per child round-trip; or $34 per adult and $25 per child round-trip. The Sunshine Flyer does not offer a separate express/direct service like Mears Connect. Perhaps the most unique feature about The Sunshine Flyer is that their buses will be themed around old-fashioned passenger cars and train engines.
Alternate options include a ride-share service like Uber and Lyft, a traditional taxi service, or renting your own car. Construction on Florida’s Brightline train service is currently on pause until further notice, and it may not actually begin service until 2026.
Comparing the 2 Disney World Magical Express Replacement Services
Waiting Until You’re Hungry to Mobile Order Your Food
Mobile Order became the prominent way of getting food from Disney World’s Counter Service dining locations after the 2020 closures. This contactless way of ordering and purchasing your food can be accessed via My Disney Experience on your smartphone.
Though traditional queueing for Counter Service locations has returned at many locations, Mobile Order is still a popular choice that you may be encouraged to use throughout Disney World. In this case, you will want to include a little advanced planning when it comes to deciding where you want to eat, and what you want to order.
In our experience, peak meal times can be tricky in securing a return window for picking up lunch or dinner. It’s not uncommon to see many popular Counter Service dining locations have hour-long waits (or longer!), so you don’t want to wait until your party is hungry to Mobile Order food. Anticipate those meal times approaching and order a little early (one to two hours early should do the trick) to make sure you can eat when you want to eat! We often recommend (especially at busier times of year) booking your meals when you’re getting ready in the morning!
Click here to learn more tips on how to conquer Mobile Order in Disney World.
Not Learning the Ins & Outs of Genie
The days of complimentary FastPass+ are behind us, and Disney World launched a new paid system called Genie+. Genie+ lives within My Disney Experience, functioning similar to FastPass+ in that it gives guests access to booking return times for a ride’s “Lightning Lane” (formerly known as the FastPass lane).
Genie+ costs $15 per guest, per day in Disney World, so you’ll want to make sure you budget for that when estimating the cost of your 2022 vacation. Guests looking to purchase Genie+ may do so when they book their vacation (for the length of their stay), or they can purchase the service on a daily basis once they arrive.
If you have Genie+, you can start booking return times each day at 7AM. Once 120 minutes have passed or you use the Lighting Lane, you can continue making additional reservations one at a time (similar to FastPass). Note that even if you purchase Genie+ ahead of your vacation, you CANNOT book any return times for each day you are in the parks until 7AM that morning.
In addition to Genie+, high-demand rides like Rise of the Resistance and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will require a separate fee as a select individual attraction and will NOT be included in your Genie+ lineup. You can buy up to two of these reservations per ticket each day and they’re available for what are, essentially, the most popular rides in each park. If you are staying on Disney World property, you can make your individual attraction purchases at 7AM each day, or if you’re staying off property, you can make your select individual attraction purchases when the park opens.
Disney World is also launching a complimentary service for all guests called Disney Genie. This free version is a helpful planning tool in providing up-to-the-minute wait times and suggestions for how you spend your day in the parks with customized itineraries based on personal preferences and current data from the parks.
Click here our new tips for tackling Disney World with Genie
Not Joining Our Newsletter!
If you want to stay on top of the latest announcements and updates from Disney World, then you’ll definitely want to sign up for our newsletter! It’s an indispensable tool when planning your 2022 vacation since it will have all of the crucial information on what’s new in the parks, where you can find the latest discounts, and more!
The newsletter is where you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for big announcements we’re still waiting to hear from Disney about, specifically when the Disney Dining Plan will return, when new rides like TRON Lightcycle Run will open, and when other locations across Disney World will reopen!
Click here to sign up for our free newsletter!
We hope these tips help you to avoid some pretty major mistakes that could happen in 2022. Some big changes are heading to Disney World with the arrival of Genie+, the opening of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, and the conclusion of Disney’s Magical Express — not to mention all of the new rides and dining experiences coming to the parks and resorts! Be sure to follow along, subscribe to our newsletter, and stay tuned for all of the latest updates and announcements so you can be as prepared as possible for your next Disney World vacation!