It’s no secret that Disney World is changing…like ALL THE TIME.
We’ve had new rides, new lands, and new restaurants to get excited about, all within just the last year. However, sometimes there are changes that Disney prefers to sweep under the rug — those that they honestly hoped you wouldn’t notice!
Let’s start out with the obvious one, the price increases! No matter where you turn, there they are, affecting the merchandise, snacks, restaurant menus, and even the tickets and hotel prices. But Disney does its best to drop those increases in the most inconspicuous ways.
Whenever they can, they try to only increase things a few dollars at a time, so it’s not so noticeable. (Except, of course, with the big price hikes when the new annual pass program was introduced.) They also rely on “surge pricing” to justify why certain prices fluctuate throughout the year. Like with theme park tickets or resort hotel rooms.
If you’re planning a trip soon, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to price increases:
- Buy those theme park tickets sooner rather than later. We’ve seen prices increase a few months ahead of travel dates in the past.
- Historically, food price increases most often happen in the beginning of the year (around January) or towards the end of the year (around October). If you’re traveling during those times, you might need to budget a little bit extra just in case. Because trust us, the extra $1-$3 per item, it adds up.
- Hotels are going to be cheaper during the off-season. If you can help it, don’t travel when the kids are out of school (think Spring Break months, summertime, or holidays and holiday weekends), because you could be spending hundreds more for your accommodations during those times.
And ALWAYS make sure you check the special offers page on Disney World’s website when you’re booking your vacation. There may be a discount that you can use for your upcoming trip to help you save big time!
There have been quite a few times in the past where Disney has announced a major project, refurbishment, or addition…but then they ultimately had to quietly push it to the side. Disney doesn’t take this decision lightly — a lot of effort goes into developing and creating these big projects, and there are quite a few steps involved in the process before they even present it to the public. However, sometimes outside circumstances affect the ability to follow through.
We’ve seen a few examples of this recently, thanks to the pandemic and the affect that it had on Disney both financially and in other ways. A few different EPCOT projects were announced at the D23 Expo in 2019 that had to put on hold for the time being, including the Spaceship Earth refurbishment and the new Mary Poppins attraction for the UK Pavilion.
But this isn’t the first time that something like this has happened — when Jim Henson passed, Disney canceled plans for a heavier Muppets presence in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The project was supposed to include things like The Great Muppet Movie Ride and a Swedish Chef cooking show. We still ended up with Muppets Courtyard though, including Muppet*Vision 3D and PizzeRizzo.
But thankfully, many of Disney’s projects go through, giving us awesome additions to the parks like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Pandora — The World of Avatar.
Late Night Changes
Remember back when Extra Magic Hours were a thing? In those days pre-pandemic, guests of Disney World hotels could get into the parks earlier or stay later than the regularly scheduled hours…at select parks on select days. You had to be familiar with the Extra Magic Hours schedule, but if you could use that bonus time in the park, it was a big perk.
In the place of Extra Magic Hours, we got TWO new perks — Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours. Early Theme Park Entry allows all hotel guests to enter any theme park 30 minutes before regular guests, but Extended Evening Hours are a bit more complicated. Instead of offering extra time in the evening to all hotel guests, this perk is exclusive to those staying at Deluxe resorts. On top of that, it has mostly only been offered at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.
Since Deluxe hotel rooms are the most expensive ones that Disney World has to offer, this perk isn’t exactly budget-friendly. Some guests definitely miss the days of those nighttime Extra Magic Hours! However, we suppose the bonus is that because Extended Evening Hours are more exclusive, that makes the wait times even shorter and the crowd levels lower.
The Loss of Streetmosphere
Over the past few years, you may have noticed a significant decrease in the amount of entertainment that just “happens” around you in Disney World. Some of those losses were due to the pandemic and the need for social distancing, but it seems that other entertainment options are gone permanently.
For instance, let’s talk about the Muppets! They used to have a charming show in Liberty Square called The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History. It was a 10-minute show that would happen sporadically throughout the day, and the Muppets would tell hilarious versions of classic American history tales. Its daily run lasted from 2016-2019, with little seasonal performances popping up here and there before the 2020 closures. We haven’t seen it since then, and boy do we miss it!
But since the parks reopened, there are a few streetmosphere performers that we’re still waiting on to return. The Citizens of Hollywood and the Citizens of Main Street are both still absent from their parks, and the Green Army Men drummers haven’t resumed their roaming in Toy Story Land.
Thankfully, though, many fan-favorite acts HAVE returned in recent months. The acrobats and musicians are back in Animal Kingdom, several acts have returned to the World Showcase, and the Dapper Dans continue to delight guests with their tight, four-part harmonies. Hopefully, even more entertainment will return soon!
Ride malfunctions are a pretty normal part of life at Disney World — with so many moving parts, things are bound to glitch every once in a while. However, sometimes there are some pretty major issues that are hard to ignore.
You can probably guess what we’re referring to — that’s right, the “disco yeti” at Expedition Everest! The backstory behind this one is that when the ride opened in 2006, the iconic yeti animatronic was fully functioning, but it didn’t take long for the yeti’s massive size and sweeping movements to start compromising the structural integrity of the ride. At that point, the yeti had to be swapped over to B-Mode, which basically means that Disney added a strobe light effect to make it look like the yeti is moving, even though it remains stationary.
Ultimately, it would take a LONG time to fix the yeti, considering it’s rumored that part of the mountain would have to be disassembled in order to do so. When the ride closed for an extended refurbishment in early 2022, many guests hoped that Disney was taking the time to fix the animatronic, but when Expedition Everest reopened, nothing had changed. So, it seems like we likely won’t be seeing the yeti in anything other than “disco” mode for quite some time. That’s okay though, we love it just the same!
But what about other rides with B-Mode? Well, there are quite a few famous examples in Disney World! When the main animatronic on Na’vi River Journey isn’t working, Disney replaces it with a screen instead. To accomplish this, the Shaman drops down below the ride to be worked on. Unfortunately, the trade can be a little disappointing if you waited in line just to see that impressive animatronic with its lifelike movements.
We’ve also seen screen-based B-Mode activated for the Hondo Ohnaka animatronic at Smugglers Run in the past, so this phenomenon isn’t uncommon when there are unexpected errors. Disney tries to keep the ride experience as normal as possible in these cases, but as repeat Disney visitors, it’s hard not to notice when something is out of order.
Restaurants Not Back to Their Former Glory
We’ve seen a lot of changes in Disney World due to the pandemic, but the closures and changes at the restaurants are something we think about quite frequently! Currently, there are still some restaurants that remain closed, like 1900 Park Fare and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
We’ve seen many of the “fur” characters return to their meals, but most of the face character dining options aren’t back to normal yet. At Cinderella’s Royal Table, it’s just Cinderella greeting guests currently, and she doesn’t walk around to the tables — you get a meet and greet with her before your meal. And the character breakfast hasn’t yet returned to Trattoria al Forno on Disney’s BoardWalk, even though the restaurant has been open for quite some time.
However, there are several restaurants with character meals that ARE back to normal, like Chef Mickey’s, Topolino’s Terrace, Hollywood & Vine, and more. Disney announced the return of these spots with much fanfare, so we can likely expect the same when the face characters come back to their spots.
So basically, there are often things that Disney World hopes to sweep under the rug! But if you keep following DFB, you’ll get the details on all the changes — the good, the bad, and the confusing. Quite a bit has changed in Disney World recently, with reopenings, grand openings, and lots of construction and refurbishments.
If you haven’t been to Disney World in a while, you might want to catch up on everything that you missed, and we’ve got you covered! We have lots of tips and guides to visiting the parks that will help you navigate the wild world of Disney in 2022 and beyond.
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When was your last visit to Disney World? Tell us in the comments!
The post Terrible Changes Disney World Hoped You Wouldn’t Notice first appeared on the disney food blog.