DISNEY NEWS ROUNDUP: Holidays Arrive, Holiday Food Guide, Mobile Order Chaos, Characters Return, runDisney Race Announcement, Disney Cruise News & More

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s here! With Halloween over, the holiday season has arrived at Disney World. Don’t miss the foodie guide with a sneak peek of all the holiday treats being served up around Disney World. We have an update on the chaos Mobile Order has become along with some thoughts on what can be done to improve the experience. Characters continue to return to the parks with openings at Magic Kingdom. It’s a big weekend for runDisney with the return of in-person races along with an announcement regarding the theme of the spring race series. Disney announced some room discounts, released a behind-the-scenes preview of the new Cirque du Soleil show at Disney Springs, and made more announcements about some really cool additions to the new Disney Cruise Line ship. All this and more are below in this week’s news roundup.


1 – Holiday Decorations Arrive at Walt Disney World

On a single night, November 1, 2021, Halloween decorations were taken down to make way for the holiday season in Magic Kingdom Park. Main Street U.S.A. was magically transformed with the installation of holiday-themed décor, featuring special touches of rose-gold EARidescence to honor the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary celebration. Festivities officially begin November 12, 2021, and guests will discover special entertainment, seasonal menu items, limited-time merchandise, and so much more. Also this week, holiday decorations arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. EPCOT’s decorations arrive later this month, with the Festival of the Holidays beginning November 26, 2021.

2 – Holiday Foodie Guides for Walt Disney World Theme Parks, Disney Springs, and Resorts

The holiday season is upon us at Walt Disney World, and there are so many limited-time beverage and food options to enjoy while visiting the theme parks, Disney Springs, and resorts. Disney has released two Foodie Guides so that you can plan ahead and don’t miss out on your new favorite treat. Catch all the details at the links below.

Click here for the Holiday Foodie Guide for the Parks and Disney Springs at Disney World.

Click here for the Holiday Foodie Guide for Walt Disney World resorts.

3 – Mobile Ordering at Walt Disney World – Why Disney Needs to Fix It (Fast)

If you’ve followed us a long time, you know that we’re huge fans of Disney and usually have really good things to say. Unfortunately, we seem to be in a new era, and how Disney operates at Walt Disney World has changed for guests. Guest satisfaction and a magical experience seem to be declining. This can be seen mainly in the horrible state of dining at Walt Disney World. Many restaurants are still closed, dining reservations are nearly impossible to get, quick-service restaurants are totally overwhelmed, and Mobile Ordering has become a terrible experience for guests. We wanted to update and warn you about Mobile Order service so you know what to expect on your upcoming vacation. We also discuss what Disney can do to improve the situation. Learn more at the link below.

Click here to learn about the current state of Mobile Ordering at Walt Disney World and why Disney needs to fix it (fast)!

4 – Mickey Mouse and Disney Princesses Now Greeting Guests at Magic Kingdom

Last month Disney announced the return of modified character meet and greets, and two of those experiences are now available to guests. Mickey Mouse meets with guests at Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom wearing his 50th-anniversary outfit. Also, at Magic Kingdom, Princess Fairytale Hall is open, with the princesses greeting guests. All of the characters are roped off, and guests can greet them from a distance and grab a selfie. The characters are not doing autographs at this time.

We’re still waiting for two modified meet and greets to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There Minnie will greet guests at Minnie’s Red Carpet Dreams, and Disney Junior Characters will also greet guests in Animation Courtyard. Those experiences should open soon.


5 – 2021 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Kicks Off the Return on On-Site Racing at Walt Disney World

After almost two years, the 11th annual Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend powered by AfterShokz will mark the return of an on-site event to Walt Disney World Resort since the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February 2020. More than 26,000 runners will be on hand this weekend, November 4-7, to participate in this weekend’s festivities.

The race weekend includes a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon, as well as the Disney Two Course Challenge (the 10K and half marathon). The weekend will also feature a health & fitness expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, including exclusive merchandise and gadgets that can enhance runner’s fitness and nutrition.

The Wine & Dine 5K starts and finishes at EPCOT.

The 10K and Half Marathon both start at the Magic Kingdom and finish at EPCOT.

All races will start at 5 am.

The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo takes place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. 

6 – runDisney Announces Theme for New 2022 Springtime Surprise Weekend

The 2022 edition of the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend, the newly designed running event at Walt Disney World Resort that will change its theme each year, will take runners on a journey down memory lane, with many twists designed to make this a running experience unlike any other. The inaugural four-day race weekend, set to debut March 31-April 3, 2022, during the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary celebration, will bring back fan-favorite elements of runDisney events from the past. Learn more at the link below.

Click here to learn more about the 2022 Springtime Surprise Race Weekend at Walt Disney World.

7 – Florida Residents and Annual Passholders Save on Rooms at Select Disney Resort Hotels in Early 2022

Florida Residents can save up to 20% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights from January 2, 2022, through March 10, 2022.

Click here to learn more about the Florida Resident room offer.

Annual passholders can save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights from January 2, 2022, through March 10, 2022.

Click here to learn more about the Annual Passholder room offer.

8 – Disney Cruise Line Reveals New Information About Marvel Dining Experience on Disney Wish

Marvel fans are going to want to book a cruise on the Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Wish, for an amazing one-of-a-kind Marvel dining experience. Disney Cruise Line released new information about this experience. Learn more at the link below.

Click here for details on the new Marvel dining experience coming to the Disney Wish on Disney Cruise Line.


9 – Behind the Scenes of Drawn to Life – New Cirque du Soleil Show at Disney Springs

The debut of the highly anticipated Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney is getting closer, and Disney has information about how the animation and acrobatics blend together to create a unique story. Learn more at the link below.

Click here for a behind-the-scenes look at Drawn to Life – the new Cirque du Soleil Show Coming to Disney Springs.

10 – Disney Cruise Line Reveals New Action-Packed ‘Incredibles’ Themed Family Competition coming to the Disney Wish

There’s no doubt that the upcoming Disney Wish is going to be a fantastic ship, but Disney is also bringing guests a lot of new experiences. This week Disney Cruise Line announced a new family competition coming to the ship. Disney Cast Member Evily Giannopoulos Peros has all the details below.

It’s no secret that the Disney Wish is going to be incredible. Our newest ship, debuting in summer 2022, will be jam-packed with activities and features brand new to Disney Cruise Line and today, we’re revealing the latest details about yet another first-of-its-kind experience!

You may recall us teasing some pretty cool new programming in Hero Zone, a futuristic sports arena where our guests will experience a brand-new kind of active family play. Now, I’m so excited to share a first look at the super-powered family competition being developed exclusively for this space.

Introducing … the Incredi-Games! Inspired by the dynamic characters of Pixar’s “The Incredibles,” this highly interactive, imaginatively produced game show will dare families to take on an incredible obstacle course with over-the-top physical challenges themed to the powers of the Parr family heroes and their good friend Frozone – no capes required!

      • Heroes will first test their strength by busting through a “brick” wall during Mr. Incredible’s Power Punch.
      • Jack-Jack’s Whack-A Rac will pit players against Rocky and his raccoon friends, who you might remember from “The Incredibles 2.”
      • Only the most flexible families will conquer the twists and turns of Elastigirl’s Stretch-O-Rama.
      • Family speedsters will be the front-runners of Dash’s Mad Dash Mayhem.
      • Violet’s Force Field Swing will send supers soaring across a lava field. (Remember, we are using our incredible imaginations here!)
      • The strong finish includes a cool down on Frozone’s Ice Slide, where heroes will ascend to the highest peak and slide down the icy slope to victory.

This game show-style experience will feature high-energy hosts, adrenaline-pumping music, special effects and more that will have our guests saying, “That was totally wicked!” (IYKYK) Which means it’ll be just as enjoyable and entertaining for those who choose to watch from the sidelines as those who are immersed in the action. (Hero Zone has plenty of balcony viewing space for spectators to admire the fearless feats of their fellow cruisers.)

But those aren’t the only heroics in store for this action-packed arena. Hero Zone will also be the new home of a guest-favorite Disney Cruise Line experience: Jack-Jack’s Incredible Diaper Dash! Now with more fanfare than ever before, this beloved competition will offer terrific tots the chance to compete for the coveted title of Diaper Dash Champion as they speed-crawl across a 20-foot track amid the cheers (and chuckles) of family, friends and adoring fans.

What’s more, when Hero Zone isn’t all decked out in super hero gear, it will be a free-play sports hub where guests can enjoy some friendly competition with basketball, soccer and a variety of table-top games, including Ping-Pong, air hockey, foosball and shuffleboard.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already practicing my super skills in anticipation of these epic new experiences aboard the Disney Wish. Who will you be teaming up with for the Incredi-Games, and which challenge are you sure to triumph?

11 – Disney Kicks Off ‘Disney Ultimate Toy Drive’

The holiday season is upon us, but it’s also the season of giving. Disney has kicked off their “Disney Ultimate Toy Drive” supporting Toys for Tots. Disney Cast Member Allison Citino shares all the details below.

‘Tis the season. Brightly wrapped packages. Gleeful faces. Generous, happy hearts. The Disney Ultimate Toy Drive.

Today on “Good Morning America,” Disney kicked off the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive with a $500,000 donation to the Marine Toys for Tots Program to provide toys to children and inspire hope where it’s needed most this holiday season.

Credit: Disney

Did you know Disney has a long history with Toys for Tots? Walt and his team of animators designed the familiar red Toys for Tots train logo in 1947 which is still in use today!

Be a part of the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive now through this Dec. 14th by donating a toy online to Toys for Tots at shopDisney.com or by dropping off a new, unwrapped toy at the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort (where collection bins are located at the World of Disney store, Star Wars Trading Post, and Resort Hotel stores) or Disney Springs at Walt Disney World (where you’ll find collection bins at the World of Disney store, Marketplace Co-Op, Star Wars Galactic Outpost and Disney Springs Welcome Center).

Be on the lookout, as Disney teams across the company will be celebrating the Disney Ultimate Toy Drive in their own special ways … the “Hawkeye” premiere is looking to be right on target (wink, wink)!

And in the spirit of bringing joy to children around the world, Disney is supporting Make-A-Wish International with the sequel to last year’s beautiful holiday animated spot, “Lola,” the magical new “The Stepdad.” Take a peek below:

THAT MUSIC! Two-time Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Gregory Porter performs “Love Runs Deeper,” the soulful track penned exclusively for the spot. It is available for download wherever you get your music. It will be on repeat over here from now till … maybe forever. Gregory said it best: “The lyrics of the track are so powerful, and underline that behind everything there is love.”

Eagle-eyed viewers may also have caught some special easter eggs: Lola’s original Mickey Mouse toy from last year’s advert (one of TEN Hidden Mickeys that can be found in the film), many beloved Disney characters making guest appearances, and two very special drawings by Make-A-Wish kids – one of which comes from 13-year-old Dylan whose picture of a cheetah can be seen on the family’s fridge. Dylan’s wish to be an animator was granted by Flux Animation Studios, who developed “The Stepdad.” Watch again and see how many you can spot!

And you can share a piece of this heartwarming story! The Minnie Mouse plush and holiday notebook featured in the film are available on shopDisney.com.

As part of Disney’s holiday gifting, we’re giving support valued at more than $2 million to Make-A-Wish International and its network of affiliates to grant life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses around the world. Learn more about Disney’s global support of Make-A-Wish this holiday season here.


What’s New and Happening Now at Walt Disney World Resort

The New Normal – Visiting Walt Disney World During the Current Covid Restrictions

Click here for what you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World during the current Covid restrictions.

Disney Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane – New Planning Tools & Paid Access to Lighting Lane

Disney Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane What You Need to Know About These New Services at Disney World.

Now Through Spring 2023 – The Most Magical Celebration – 50 Years of Walt Disney World

Click here for the 50th Anniversary Celebration – Everything You Need to Know About this Historic Celebration.

Click here for our thoughts and review of Disney Enchantment at Magic Kingdom.

Click here for ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

New Openings at EPCOT – As Part of the Historic Transformation of EPCOT

Click here for what’s new and coming to EPCOT as the Historic Transformation Continues.

Click here for our review and what you need to know about Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.

Click here for what you need to know about the new La Creperie de Paris restaurant and expanded France pavilion.

Click here for our review of Space 220 at EPCOT and what you need to know about this amazing new restaurant!

Click here for details on the all-new Club Cool at EPCOT.

Click here to learn about the new flagship shopping location at EPCOT – Creations Shop.

Now Through November 20, 2021 – 2021 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival

Click here for the seven reasons you don’t want to miss the 2021 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival.

Click here for photos of the menu boards with pricing for easy planning.

Click here for full menus and lots of photos of items available.

Click here for our Instagram Story with photos of food and beverage items, merchandise, and more.

Coming Soon to Walt Disney World

November 8 – December 30, 2021 – Holiday Season at Walt Disney World

Click here for details on the 2021 holiday offerings at Walt Disney World.

Click here for details on the new “Disney’s Very Merriest After Hours” at Magic Kingdom.

Click here to learn about all of the holiday entertainment returning to Walt Disney World this holiday season.

Click here to learn about the first round of celebrity narrators and more entertainment returning to this year’s EPCOT Festival of the Holidays.

Click here for the Holiday Foodie Guide for the Parks and Disney Springs at Disney World.

Click here for the Holiday Foodie Guide for Walt Disney World resorts.

March 1, 2022 – Star Wars Hotel

Click here for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser-What We Know So Far About the Upcoming Star Wars Themed Hotel Coming to Disney World


New and Coming Soon to Disneyland Resort

Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure – Now Open

Click here for more on the Avengers Campus! Now open at Disney California Adventure!

Click here for details on food and beverage offerings inside Avengers Campus.

Click here for information on merchandise available inside Avengers Campus.

Holiday Season at Disneyland Resort – November 12, 2021 – January 9, 2022

Click here for details on the holiday season at Disneyland Resort.

Click here for all the information on the all-new Disney Merriest Nights at Disneyland Park.

Click here for a look at Mickey and Minnie’s new fashions and merchandise coming to Disneyland for the holiday season. 

Coming Soon to Disney Cruise Line

Return to Cruising

Click here for details on Disney Cruise Line’s return to sailing and the new safety protocols that are in place.

The Disney Wish

Click here for an overview of the next Disney Cruise Line Ship – The Disney Wish – Coming Summer 2022

Click here for information on bookings for the inaugural season in summer 2022.

Click here for more information on new dining experiences on the Disney Wish.

Itineraries in 2022

Click here to learn about Early 2022 Itineraries on the Disney Cruise Line

Click here to learn about Marvel Day at Sea and Star Wars Day at Sea in Early 2022

Click here to learn about Summer 2022 Itineraries on the Disney Cruise Line

Click here to learn about Halloween and Holiday Themed Cruises in fall 2022

Click here to learn about early 2023 itineraries on Disney Cruise Line

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched DisneyLists.com in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent DisneyLists.com at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!
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