Starting next month, Walt Disney World guests will no longer be able to buy Genie+ ahead of their visits, the company announced today.
In the announcement, Disney stated that beginning June 8, the service will only be available for purchase for guests on the day of visit via the My Disney Experience app. It was previously offered for pre-purchase as a park ticket add-on.
Guests who have already made an advance purchase of Genie+ for 2022 dates will not be affected.
In the announcement made on the Disney Parks Blog the Disney said –
We’re focused on delivering the best possible guest experience, and this adjustment will help manage the incredibly strong demand our guests have shown for Disney Genie+.
Why is Disney doing this? Your guess is as good as anyone’s, because Disney has not officially stated why.
There is speculation though from Disney observers.
One possible reason could be that this update raises the possibility of Disney offering variable date-based pricing for Genie+ and giving them more flexibility in managing sales of the Genie+ service. Though from a practical standpoint, having advance sale does not preclude this, though by not having advanced sales, Disney does have more flexibility of when having to decide on any variable pricing.
It was noted that a notable change in language today indicates that Genie+ is “subject to availability.” Limiting sales of Genie+ would give Disney help with improving attraction availability for those guests who purchase Genie+.
Some Disney observers have heard that Disney has been exploring the possibility of offering discounted Genie+ to some categories of guests. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Members have been a couple of groups who have felt that they should have some level of Genie+ included with their pass, or at least offered at a discount.
Walt Disney World confirmed today what the Genie queue options will be for EPCOT’s “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind” rollercoaster that is opening on May 27th at Walt Disney World.
When “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind” opens, a virtual queue will be in place. I think to most observers, this was expected. Guests will need to use the My Disney Experience app to enter the attraction’s virtual queue. What might not have been expected, though probably suspected by observers, Disney announced that a standby queue will not be available.
Each Guest will only be available to enter the virtual queue no more than once per day. Boarding groups for a virtual queue will be limited, subject to availability, and are not guaranteed. As with previous virtual queues, not all boarding groups may be called to return, based on availability of the experience.
Guests will be able to purchase Individual Lightning Lane entry for this attraction when it opens, although pricing is not yet available and Cosmic Rewind will not be included with the standard $15 Genie+ option.
Currently, the highest price Lightning Lane queue at Walt Disney World is Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at $15, which would seem to be what we can probably expect Cosmic Rewind.
Based on experience with previous virtual queues, we can likely expect availability for Cosmic Rewind to reach capacity within seconds of opening each day, essentially making experiencing the ride somewhat of a lottery.
Beginning May 2023, families will be able to explore even more of the world when they travel with Adventures by Disney on two, brand-new itineraries to Sicily and the British Isles. Also in 2023, 11 Private Adventure vacations return, providing families and friends with the convenience of traveling with their preferred party of up to 12 guests to some of the world’s must-see destinations.
If you are a Disney Vacation member, save the date for May 12. As a special member of the Disney family, you can be among the first to book, one day before the general public.
Discovering the Old-World Charm of Sicily and Enchantment of the British Isles
The two distinct Land Adventures celebrate the storied legacy, diverse culture and world-renowned traditions of their respective regions with curated experiences sure to appeal to the history buff, foodie and adventure-seeker alike. Led by a team of specially trained Adventure Guides, these itineraries will be brought to life with immersive, authentic experiences marked by signature Disney service.
An Unforgettable Tour of Sicily – Ancient Sites, Local Charm and Natural Wonders
Offering a diverse lineup of activities with something for every member of the family, the Adventures by Disney Sicily Land Adventureinvites families to explore the ancient wonder, breathtaking landscapes and culinary delights characteristic of this captivating Mediterranean island.
With tailor-made experiences designed to connect families with the people and culture of the region — and stops at five out of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in Sicily — the eight-day, seven-night itinerary takes guests on a grand tour through Palermo, Monreale, Agrigento, Piazza Armerina, Caltagirone, Siracusa, Mount Etna and Taormina.
Families traveling on the Sicily Land Adventure will discover:
The vibrant culture and history of the 2,000-year-old province of Palermo with a privately guided tour of the 12th-century Monreale Cathedral; a behind-the-scenes visit to the largest theater in Italy — the Teatro Massimo — and sampling of mouth-watering delicacies.
The old-world charm of a small Sicilian village, visiting artisan shops and sharing a traditional village-style lunch alongside locals.
Ancient Greek and Roman wonders, including visits to the famed Valley of Temples, Villa Romana del Casale, Neapolis Archaeological Park and Teatro Greco.
A hands-on ceramic painting activity in Caltagirone, learning about this time-honored Sicilian tradition and getting a chance to channel their inner artisan.
The art of puppetry at Teatro dei Pupi, with a private show, a backstage look at the master puppeteers at work and a rare workshop visit where guests will be able to customize their own puppet.
The grandeur of Mount Etna, taking in the impressive terrain surrounding Europe’s highest active volcano by off-road vehicle.
The beauty of Isola Bella, embarking on a privately charted boat ride through the Ionian Sea to swim and snorkel in the sparkling crystal waters and discover the blue cave of Taormina.
Adventures by Disney will offer 10 Sicily departures in 2023, three of which are reserved for adult guests. Adult-Exclusive departures feature a scenic sunset cruise around the Island of Ortigia.
The Best of the British Isles – Celebrating History, Folklore and Tradition
Combining all-time guest favorites from England, Ireland and Scotland adventures with brand-new experiences thoughtfully curated by the travel experts at Disney, the 10-day, nine-night British Isles Land Adventure offers a one-of-a-kind tour through Dublin, Belfast, Antrim Coast, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London — and marks the first time Adventures by Disney takes guests to Northern Ireland.
Surrounded by history and tradition at every turn, guests will be immersed in the rich storytelling of the isles.
Ireland: During their two-day adventure in Dublin, guests explore the story of the Irish people through an interactive museum experience, observe the art of crafting Irish whiskey at a local distillery and enjoy traditional fare at one of the oldest family-owned pubs in Dublin.
Northern Ireland: Families try their hand at making traditional Irish soda bread, take a panoramic tour of the famed sites of Belfast, and enjoy a scenic drive along the Antrim Coast where they find mythical legends, picturesque seaside villages and the geological wonders known as the basalt columns at the Giant’s Causeway.
Scotland: After crossing the North Channel via ferry, guests discover the important heritage of the bagpipes and try their chanter-playing skills in Glasgow. A royal welcome awaits in Edinburgh as families enjoy private access to the Royal Yacht Britannia; explore the historic Royal Mile; and visit the resplendent Edinburgh and Floors Castles.
England: After a scenic train ride through the English countryside, families arrive in London where they take part in one of Britain’s famous pastimes, afternoon tea. Later, they embark on a high-speed boat ride along the River Thames. On the final full day of the adventure, guests visit some of city’s must-see attractions, including a private viewing of the Royal Crown Jewels in the Tower of London and a tour of Westminster Abbey.
Adventures by Disney will offer nine British Isles departures in 2023, four of which are reserved for adult guests. Adult-Exclusive departures include a privately guided tour through the underground vaults of Old Town Edinburgh, exploring the underground labyrinth filled with spine-tingling tales and mystery.
Private Adventures Return – Even More Ways to Adventure Together
Offering yet another way to visit popular destinations with Adventures by Disney, Private Adventures return with 11 itineraries in 2023: Australia; Costa Rica; Egypt; England and France; Greece; Ireland; Italy; New Zealand; Peru; South Africa and Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Led by a Private Adventure Guide, these trips are designed for a smaller group of guests and offer flexible booking dates.
When traveling on a Private Adventure, guests experience:
A private group vacation alongside their select family and friends (up to 12 guests).
More time to discover destinations at their own pace.
Flexible booking dates giving them the choice of when they want to travel, pending seasonality and availability.
A dedicated Private Adventure Guide connecting them with the culture and bringing each destination to life through engaging storytelling.
Unique experiences designed for small groups, such as a guided tour of Te Puia geothermal park in New Zealand, a full-day sailing excursion along the outer reef in Australia or a privately guided tour of Robben Island in South Africa.
Walt Disney World has just announced that it has dropped all requirements for guests to wear masks when on its transportation systems. This effectively makes Walt Disney World mask-free for the first time since summer of 2020.
The new Walt Disney World mask-free policy goes into effect immediately. Even with this change in policy, Disney continues to recommend guests who are not fully vaccinated continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, including indoor attractions and theaters and on enclosed transportation.
Masks have been a requirement at Walt Disney World in some form or another since the parks reopened from the COVID-19 shutdown in mid-July 2020. This change in policy is another move towards normality for Walt Disney World guests
The parks have gone through various stages of masks requirements, including at all locations, indoors only, to most recently only required on enclosed transportation.
I checked Disneyland Resort’s website prior to publishing this article and their website does not indicate any change in their masking policy as of this time.
Yesterday a federal judge in Florida ruled the nationwide mask mandate for airports, planes and other public transportation is unlawful.
Shortly after Monday’s ruling was handed down, the Transportation Security Administration said it will no longer enforce the mandate.
The CDC had recently extended the mask mandate covering air travel and other public transportation to May 3rd.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled Monday that the mandate exceeded the statutory authority of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which issued the order. Mizelle’s ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed in July by the nonprofit Health Freedom Defense Fund.
Even though the TSA has stated that they won’t be enforcing the mask mandate, it still is not known whether the Biden administration will appeal the ruling.
Ever since the parks have re-opened following their closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney has repeatedly followed the TSA guidelines with regard to its transportation operations. Walt Disney World no longer requires masks to be worn inside its buildings but still requires masks to be worn when aboard any enclosed transportation, including the monorail system and busses. Even the recently opened Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser transportation to Disney’s Hollywood Studios requires masks to be worn when onboard.
While it remains to be seen what implication this latest ruling will have any action Disney will take in response, it is anticipated that Disney will probably be ending its mask mandate while guests are on Disney transportation. Disney has not hinted as to what they plan on doing at this time.
This morning Walt Disney World announced that the Memorial Day weekend will have opening date for Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind rollercoaster.
The new $450 million Guardians of the Galaxy-themed rollercoaster will officially have its opening on Friday, May 27th.
The Memorial Day weekend opening does not come as a surprise to many ever since a high-ranking Disney executive let the cat out of the bag via social media following a test ride last month.
Disney also released a video that will be the commercial spot for the attraction.
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind’ was initially scheduled to open in Spring of 2021, before the start of Walt Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. The project was delayed due to the COVID-19 shutdown and subsequent cost-control measures that Disney imposed. The rollercoaster will serve as Disney’s headline attraction to market for the summer and remainder of 2022.
Following the announcement, Disney has updated the attraction’s webpage to include more details and a countdown clock.
Disney has also confirmed that there will be Cast Member previews ahead of the May 27 opening of EPCOT’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.’
Cast-exclusive previews will begin in April, followed by Cast Member previews with friends and family in May.
It is expected that media previews are expected during a multi-day event in the first week of May and should be quickly followed by Club 33 members.
Disney has started emailing notices of advance previews for select groups including Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members.
With this email Disney has confirmed that ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind’ previews will be held for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members.
It is important to note that today’s email does not provide specific dates for the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind’ passholder previews but says to “be on the lookout for a registration email soon.”
So, if you’re an annual passholder or a DVC Member…stay tuned!
Recently Disney announced that character meet and greets will return to pre-pandemic conditions beginning on April 18th.
Not all locations will be available immediately. The removal of physical distancing at character meet and greets will be coming to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise line, and Aulani throughout the spring and summer.
Currently, most of Walt Disney World’s character meet and greet locations have returned, but physical distancing currently remains in effect with characters located behind a barrier and guests unable to make any direct contact.
At Walt Disney World character meet and greets have been physically distance ever since the parks re-opened from the COVID-19 closure in mid-2020.
One of my favorites at Walt Disney World is about to return. The beloved musical dinner show Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will be returning this summer. Reservations will be available starting May 26 for showtimes beginning June 23.
The Pioneer Hall Players and cast members will be welcoming back guests to this frontier-style family fun dining experience in Pioneer Hall at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
Debuting in 1974, Hoop-Dee-Doo will again be offering guests a rousing Wild West performance, singing, zany comedy with lots of laughs and an unforgettable countrified feast full of fried chicken, smoked BBQ ribs, a variety of savory sides and strawberry shortcake.
In the announcement Disney mentioned that the show is being updated but didn’t specify as to what the changes are.
Since its opening day almost 50 years ago, this fan-favorite show has continued to surprise and delight our guests, and as Disney grows we look for new ways to elevate and enhance our classic experiences. Hoop-Dee-Doo will return with a few updates to its script and scenery, while staying true to the treasured experience the whole family can enjoy – with the hilarious, high-spirited entertainment that it’s been known for all these years.
There’s some exciting news for Muppet fans! Yesterday Disney announced that an all-new series called “The Muppets Mayhem” will be coming to Disney+. The Disney Branded Television series is being produced by ABC Signature and The Muppets Studio. The show follows The Electric Mayhem Band as it records its first-ever album. Lilly Singh (“A Little Late with Lilly Singh,” “Dollface”) will play the lead human role of “Nora,” a junior music executive tasked with managing and wrangling the band.
The Electric Mayhem Band first debuted on “The Muppet Show” in the 1970’s and has been an important part of The Muppets ever since.
The band consists of Dr. Teeth on vocals and keyboards, Animal on drums, Floyd Pepper on vocals and bass, Janice on vocals and lead guitar, Zoot on saxophone and Lips on Trumpet.
From David Lightbody, executive producer and senior vice president of Disney Live Entertainment and The Muppet Studio –
We are so excited to bring the story of The Electric Mayhem Band to the front and center of this new series. They’ve been entertaining audiences since ‘The Muppet Show,’ which debuted 45 years ago, so it’s wonderful that these characters are finally getting to play lead rather than supporting roles.
The series was developed by Adam F. Goldberg, Bill Barretta and Jeff Yorkes based on characters created by Jim Henson. It is written by Adam F. Goldberg (“The Goldbergs”), Bill Barretta (“The Muppets,” “Muppets Haunted Mansion”) and Jeff Yorkes, and the executive producers are Goldberg, Barretta, Michael Bostick and Kris Eber. Yorkes is a co-executive producer. David Lightbody and I from The Muppets Studio are also executive producers.
Disney has not said when “The Muppets Mayhem” will stream on Disney+, but I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say that this is good news and hope that this creates a little excitement for the Muppets again at Disney.