Plus, Disney Tours are Coming Back and the Flower and Garden Festival is Getting Closer
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! This week on Disney Travel Podcast we share the latest on several Walt Disney World tours that are making a comeback in 2022. Plus, we have the latest news on the 2022 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival and some very special perks for Disney World holiday guests this year.
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Important Holiday Perks and Changes at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World has made some temporary adjustments "to help provide a great experience for our Guests." From December 19 to January 3, 2022 Disney World resort guests will get Extra Park Time! The early theme park entry benefit for Disney Resort hotel Guests and Guests of other select hotels will be extended from 30 minutes to 60 minutes.
In addition to that little perk, more attractions will be included in the Disney Genie+ service and will no longer be included as individual Lightning Lane purchase options. So you get more for your money with DisneyGenie+.
Attractions now part of Lightning Lane include:
From the Enchanting Extras Collection - Tours are Coming Back to WDW
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom
This five-hour walking tour Explores the history of Magic Kingdom Park, including backstage access to the hidden “utilidor” service tunnels. You'll also learn hidden secrets of classic attractions and lunch is included. You must be 16 or older for this tour.
Caring for Giants
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park this one-hour tour offers a magical experience and opportunity to meet some of the park's largest inhabitants. Your guide will share insights into the inner workings of the African elephant herd, including a look a the day-to-day care for these amazing animals. You'll see these gentle giants from a private backstage viewing area and learn how Disney’s conservation efforts help to preserve wild elephant populations around the world.
Wild Africa Trek
One of our favorites, Wild Africa Trek combines action, adventure and education into a three-hour safari adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Cross a swinging rope bridge near crocodiles and view giraffes, rhinos, hippos and more on foot and in a safari vehicle. The guides are excellent and will share insights about all the animals you see plus details about the park. Recommended.
Up Close with Rhinos
Want to get even closer to nature? This one-hour tour takes you backstage to the second largest land animal in ways few people can. You'll meet the white rhinos at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park and get insights into their behavior and biology and more.
Savor the Savanna
This one's a little different. It explores the sights, sounds and tastes of Africa on Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park’s Savor the Savanna tour. Get samplings of African-inspired cuisine, paired with a selection of regional beer and wine offerings from a great spot overlooking the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. Your private guide will share stories about the unique residents who inhabit the reserve and the special animal care provided at the park.
Advance bookings are highly recommended for all tours and valid theme park admission and reservations.
In addition, Disney has let it slip that the Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge may be next.
Disney Cruise Line Selects Port Everglades as Second Year-round Home Port in Florida
The Broward County Commission and Disney Cruise Line announced a new agreement naming Port Everglades as Disney’s second year-round homeport in Florida. This is a 15-year partnership that provides for one ship to be homeported in Port Everglades year-round starting fall 2023, joined by a second, seasonal ship in 2025.
Adding Port Everglades as a second homeport gives Disney a dedicated terminal in a market with direct highway access and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Disney’s original homeport is Port Canaveral, located in Central Florida.
2022 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival
Spring is already in the air at Walt Disney World as the horticulture team is busy creating topiaries, hanging baskets, flower towers and more in preparation for the 2022 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. The 2022 edition will run March 2 through July 4. That’s 125 days of festival cuisine, gardens, topiaries and entertainment.
The 2022 edition will feature a new Goofy topiary and a 50th-themed birthday cake. Other favorite Disney Character topiaries will include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Germany pavilion or Lumiere and Cogsworth welcoming you to the expanded France pavilion.
As always, gardeners can enjoy thousands of blooms forming colorful, living panoramas all around and for foodies, fresh flavors are on the menu at the festival’s 18 Outdoor Kitchens plus other food and beverage locations around EPCOT.
The popular Garden Rocks Concert Series will return in 2022 at the America Gardens Theatre. The list of musicians who will be playing has not yet be released.
To visit the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival you'll need valid admission and a park reservation for EPCOT on the same date.
New Shops and Photo Opps at Disneyland's Downtown Disney District
If you're a soccer fan, you'll love this stadium-themed store with a wide assortment of soccer gear from renowned global sports brands at this specialty shop named after Pelé, the legendary Brazilian superstar and one of the greatest soccer players of all time. Watch for official club and national team jerseys from around the world, sports apparel, cleats, balls and more for the whole family. Jerseys can be customized with a name and number.
Located in the east end of the district, Post 21 is new kiosk from an inspiring mother-daughter team from Los Angeles who have curated modern unique merchandise from Black-owned businesses.
Boba Fett’s Throne (photo opp)
Take a photo sitting on a replica of the throne featured in the Disney+ Original Series, “The Book of Boba Fett.” For a limited time, located outside of the entrance at the Star Wars Trading Post.
Coming Soon! Lovepop
Opening soon, Lovepop is the place to find eye-catching 3D pop-up cards, stationery and gifts. Lovepop has more than 400 designs so something for every occasion. And yes, Lovepop carries a collection of Disney cards and gifts.
Disneyland turns Mickey's ToonTown house into a private party location. January 19 - March 6 (before the refurb closure). Book your event at disneyland.com/celebratemickeystoontown
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Mike Belobradic and Amelia Belobradic
About the Editor
Mike Belobradic is the founder of the 1923 Main Street® Disney Travel Podcast and the Luxury Disney Travel Blog.