DISNEY NEWS ROUNDUP: Disney Announces Room Sale; 15 Things Coming in 2022; Magical Express Retired, New Options Launch; Water Park Reopens & More

A brand-new year is here and with it comes more changes at Walt Disney World and beyond. This week Disney released details on a new resort room sale offer, and we took a look at the fifteen things happening in 2022 we’re looking forward to. The past week also marked the end of an era with the retirement of what we think was the single greatest benefit for staying on property Disney ever offered. Typhoon Lagoon is finally open again, Marathon Weekend is back, and we have details on a special discount available for Annual Passholders. All this and more are below in this week’s news roundup.


1 – Spring and Early Summer Resort Sales Announced

This week Disney announced new room sales for spring and early summer for guests and annual passholders. Discounts vary by hotel. Learn more at the link below.

Click here for information on the latest room sales for spring and early summer 2022.

2 – 15 Things We’re Looking Forward to at Walt Disney World in 2022

A lot of things happened at Walt Disney World in 2021. If you missed it, check out our Top 21 Happenings of 2021 at the links below. And while some of those items on our 2021 were not the best for Disney guests, we’ve got things to look forward to in 2022 with some significant openings of attractions and resorts, as well as a lot of entertainment returning like parades, stage shows, and nighttime spectaculars. Learn more at the link below.

Click here for the 15 things we’re looking forward to at Walt Disney World in 2022.

Click here for Part 1 of our top 21 happenings of 2021 at Walt Disney World.

Click here for Part 2 of our top 21 happenings of 2021 at Walt Disney World.

3 – Disney’s Magical Express is Now Retired

Disney Magical Express service is now retired for new arrivals. The popular service was a free and fun way to kick off a Walt Disney World vacation. The service will continue to return guests who had checked in through December 31, 2021, to Orlando International Airport through January 11. In addition, we’ve researched alternatives for guests needing a transfer from the airport to Walt Disney World resort. Learn more at the link below.

Click here for what you need to know about Disney’s Magical Express alternatives.

4 – Virtual Queue to End for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Since its opening in October 2021, guests wishing to enjoy Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France pavilion need to join the virtual queue (or pay for Lightning Lane access). That will change next week when the attraction opens its traditional standby queue. Catch all the details at the link below.

Click here for details on the end of the virtual queue at Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.


5 – Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Reopens

On January 2, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon reopened to guests. The water park had not been operating since the shutdown in March 2020. The water park is known for its immersive storytelling, thrilling water attractions, and family fun. The Typhoon Lagoon tells the fabled tale of a rogue storm and its ensuing tidal wave that wreaked havoc on a formerly pristine waterside paradise. In addition, the park has rolled out new and exclusive Dole Whip treats and new 50th-anniversary celebration menu items. Do note that Blizzard Beach has now closed for refurbishment. Learn more about the latest offerings at the link below.

Click here for details on the opening of Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and new offerings at the water park.

6 – $20 Discount to Typhoon Lagoon Offered to Walt Disney World Annual Passholders

Walt Disney World annual passholders will receive a $20 discount when purchasing Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon tickets. Passholders ages 10+ will pay $49 (plus tax) and guests ages 3-9 will pay $43 (plus tax). Guests looking to purchase water park tickets should be logged in to their My Disney Experience account to see the discounted price.


7 – Expedition Everest Refurbishment Reminder

Expedition Everest has now closed for a lengthy refurbishment to address many issues. The attraction will be closed through mid-April 2022.


8 – Reminder – Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World Closing for Refurbishment in Early 2022

Be aware that Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World will be closed for a short refurbishment from January 10-February 10, 2022. It is set to reopen on February 11, 2022. This closure is for routine maintenance. This is not the closure for the upcoming transformation into a Princess and the Frog-themed version. Disney has not made any further announcements on a timeline for when the upcoming retheme will occur. We will keep you updated with any information on when Disney will close the attraction for the retheme.

9 – Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Returns to Walt Disney World

This weekend thousands of runners will descend upon Walt Disney World for the return of in-person racing for the Walt Disney World Marathon. The event kicks off with a 5K on Thursday, January 6, followed by a 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday, and a marathon on Sunday. There’s also the Dopey Challenge (all four races) and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge (half marathon and marathon). The weekend will also feature a Health & Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, including popular runDisney merchandise like WDW Marathon Weekend event-themed merchandise as well as products to enhance fitness and nutrition.

The race weekend also offers a unique perspective for participants. Runners will get to experience many of the most iconic elements of the resort’s 50th-anniversary celebration, such as the Beacons of Magic, 50th-themed characters, and original sights and sounds from when the resort first opened in 1971.

There will be 59 “perfect” runners who have participated in every Walt Disney World Marathon.

10 – Silverback Gorilla at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Celebrates His 41st Birthday

One of my favorite things to do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is to visit Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. I could spend hours (and have) watching the incredible gorillas that live there. One of the Silverback gorillas recently celebrated his 41st birthday, and Disney celebrated. Disney Cast Member Scott Terrell shares more below.

If you’ve ever wondered how a silverback gorilla celebrates his 41st birthday, look no further! Gino, a beloved silverback and leader of the western lowland gorilla family troop at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, where nature holds the greatest magic of all, had a birthday celebration fit for a king! Our dedicated team of animal care experts who work with Gino and his family every day surprised him with a special “cake” made of some of his favorite foods, carefully curated as a part of his balanced diet. A few of Gino’s fans also stopped by to wish him a special 41st birthday. Even though today is all about Gino, he made sure to share some of his cake with his family, too.

Gino is one of the most iconic animals in our care, and he has called Disney’s Animal Kingdom home even before the park opened to Guests. For more than two decades, his presence has awed and captivated millions of guests visiting Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail presented by OFF! Repellant. His appearance on “The Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” series, featured on Disney+, introduced him to millions more families around the world and showcased the dedicated team of experts who care for this magnificent gorilla every day.

Gino is an amazing father, tolerant troop leader and favorite of many cast members, some of whom have worked with him for more than 20 years. Our cast members’ commitment and passion for providing world-class animal care extends to all of the animals in our care. For Gino, this passion is brought to life in many ways, including thoughtful precision in preparing his daily diet and working with him on new behaviors that allow him to actively participate in his own care.

In fact, maintaining good oral hygiene is important to the overall health of a gorilla, and his keepers were able to work with him to develop new behaviors that allow them to brush his teeth, which we can all agree is important, especially after eating birthday cake! After seeing success with Gino, these techniques were applied and the new behaviors taught to the other gorillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and shared with the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education (GRACE) Center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for use with their gorillas.

His engaging and playful personality truly endears Gino to everyone around him, and there is no gorilla more deserving of this special celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Happy 41st birthday, Gino!

11 – Disney Springs Focusing on Health & Wellness in January

For many people, January is a time to focus on health and wellness. Disney Springs is offering ways for guests to do just that. Disney Cast Member Darcy Clark has the details below.

It’s the first week of a brand-new year, and, like many of you, I’m excited to embrace 2022 with a focus on health and wellness. This year, I have even more incentive to become the best version of myself … I’m getting married in April! I can’t wait for the wedding and I want to look and feel my absolute best.

This past Monday, I had the good fortune to take part in a morning Yoga Class at Disney Springs. This “preview” was for cast members, but I’m thrilled to share that on select Wednesdays and Fridays in Jan., Disney Springs will be offering complimentary group fitness classes to our guests, too. Each class will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will take place in Town Center near Ever After Jewelry Co. & Accessories. Interested in taking part? Here’s the schedule:

Wellness Wednesday Events:

      • 1/12 – Warrior One Yoga presented by lululemon
      • 1/19 – HIIT Workout Class presented by Under Armour
      • 1/26 – Orlando Power Yoga presented by Fabletics

Fitness Friday Events:

      • 1/21 – Warrior One Yoga presented by lululemon
      • 1/28 –  HIIT Workout Class presented by Under Armour

Registration is required for all events and space is limited. To register, visit the Fitness and Wellness page under the Experiences tab on DisneySprings.com.

Of course, exercise is just one component of a healthy lifestyle; it’s also important to eat a well-balanced diet. While Disney Springs is certainly known for some truly over-the-top indulgent foods, there are also plenty of better-for-you menu items to be found. Below are a few of my favorites … read on and maybe you’ll discover something new.

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC – When Erin McKenna opened her original NYC location in 2005, she had two rules: (1) Create a bakery free of harmful ingredients. (2) Wear cute uniforms. Today, the Disney Springs location is doing just that, focusing on guests with gluten, dairy, egg, and soy sensitivities, the health-minded, and those with allergies (especially kids!) who are often unable to indulge. Everything here is vegan, gluten-free and delicious!

Frontera Cocina – The Taqueria Ensalada is a staple in my Disney Springs dining repertoire. It features Arcadian lettuce, poblano rajas, carrot, radish, avocado, tortilla strips, Cotija cheese and an avocado-lime vinaigrette. I like to switch between adding the grilled chicken breast and the Mojo garlic grilled shrimp! They’re both amazing.

Planet Hollywood – The Hollywood Bowl is a standout salad that features Romaine lettuce, house-roasted turkey breast, hard-boiled egg, avocado, Roma tomato, and cucumber. It comes with bacon, swiss cheese and croutons, but you can omit those if you’re aiming for a lower calorie meal. While the recommended dressing is Thousand Island, feel free to swap in a balsamic vinaigrette if desired.

The Polite Pig – The Polite Caesar and Cobb Salads (without bacon) are satisfying bets, while the Chicken Salad Wrap is great for those who want a handheld option. You can also make a meal out of a few Market Sides; the Roasted Beets, Tomato Watermelon Salad, Grilled Street Corn and Polite Baked Beans are a few you might want to consider. Last, but not least, there are even healthier choices for little ones including the Roast Smoked Turkey Breast and Grilled Skinless Chicken Breast. Yum!

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant – Trying to cut down on meat consumption? Check out This Shepherd Went Vegan, a plant-based Shepherd’s Pie, or the Raglan Risotto, an outstanding vegetarian dish that spotlights wild mushrooms, glazed baby vegetables, tarragon and shaved parmesan. Raglan Road is also celebrated by those with gluten sensitivities as many of their popular menu items are gluten-free.

Yesake – The Tofu Power Bowl is a hearty mix of organic tofu, avocado, spinach, carrot, cabbage, cucumber, tempura crunch and wasabi ponzu. Best of all? You can modify it to your liking.

These are just a few of the healthier items you can find throughout Disney Springs. Ask your server for recommendations if you’re looking for other suggestions. And remember, you can always request modifications at most restaurants – asking for no butter, dressing on the side, or grilled chicken instead of fried, for example, can go a long way. Still not willing to give up your favorites? You can enjoy anything in moderation, so ask for a “to-go” box and plan to take half of your meal home. (The best part of that scenario? You get to enjoy something delicious twice!)

Speaking of home, a relaxing living space outfitted with products that evoke calm and support your wellbeing is also a key ingredient for wellness. Need inspiration? Here are a few ideas:

Basin – Self Care? Yes, please! Basin products are made with simple, nourishing ingredients that are safe and gentle for you and the environment. Whether you opt for shampoo and conditioner bars, bath bombs, or shower bombs, you’ll enjoy fresh, soothing aromas that add positivity and calm to your day.

L’Occitane – Looking for a refresher for your skin? The Overnight Reset Oil-In-Serum provides dual texture and one powerful effect via 3,000 micro bubbles of encapsulated immortelle essential oil with anti-aging benefits.

Fit2Run – Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting out, the team at Fit2Run can help you find the perfect fit shoe to support you in your running journey. At Fit2Run they believe everyone is a runner … “if you put on your shoes and put one foot in front of the other, you are a runner!” No matter your speed, pace or distance, every runner matters to the Fit2Run Fit Experts, who will work with you to find the perfect fitting shoes. In under 20 minutes, a fit expert can take you through a customized fitting including a foot scan, gait analysis and assessment of your goals and preferences to find the best shoes for you. No appointment necessary and walk-ins are always welcome!

The Spice & Tea Exchange – For centuries, the health benefits of tea have been widely touted. Find an impressive selection of loose and bagged teas, and, this month, save 50% off 1-ounce tea bags when you purchase an infuser mug.

World of Disney – If comfy and cozy is your goal, then you’ll want to check out the Mickey Mouse Spring collection. Featuring calming pastels and soft fabrics, there’s something in the collection for every character in your family!

So … what healthy traits are you looking to embrace in 2022? Share in the comments below – I’d love to know!


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.

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!

Now Open – Drawn to Life

Click here for our review of Drawn to Life the new Cirque du Soleil show now open at Disney Springs.

Coming Soon to Walt Disney World

What’s New & Coming Back to Walt Disney World in 2022!

Click here for the 15 things we’re looking forward to at Walt Disney World in 2022.

January 14-February 21, 2022 – EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

Click here for details about the 2022 EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

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

March 2-July 4, 2022 – EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Click here for dates and details for the 2022 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival.


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.

Coming Soon to Disney Cruise Line

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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