9 BIG Changes That Happened Last Month in Disney World

September may have lasted only thirty days but a LOT happened in that small time period.

Cinderella Castle

Along with all of Disney’s regular announcements, D23 Expo revealed SO MANY new projects and plans. Are you ready for all the big news from September?

D23 Announcements

At the D23 Expo held in Anaheim, California, Disney revealed future plans as well as some prospective plans. They announced that a Coco, Encanto, or a Villains-themed land could come to Magic Kingdom

Concept Art for Magic Kingdom

…and a Zootopia and/or Moana land could replace Dinoland, U.S.A. in Animal Kingdom. Both of these ideas are currently just that — ideas. 

A potential Moana attraction

EPCOT will get a new nighttime spectacular in 2023, presumably to replace the current show, Harmonious.

Harmonious in EPCOT

A Figment meet-and-greet is coming to EPCOT! Yes, you’ll finally be able to meet everyone’s favorite dragon in person. 


The re-theme of Splash Mountain, known as Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, will open in late 2024 in Disney World (and Disneyland too).


The Hatbox Ghost character, currently found only in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, is coming to Disney World in 2023.


Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, will open in 2023 at EPCOT


…and TRON Lightcycle Run will open in Magic Kingdom in Spring 2023.

TRON Construction

And finally, Happily Ever After fireworks will be returning to Magic Kingdom somehow.

Happily Ever After

Phew! That’s a LOT of news. What are you most excited about?

Read more about the BIG D23 Expo Announcements here!

Kite Tails Closure

Disney Kite Tails debuted with Disney World’s 50th anniversary at first as a regularly scheduled show and later it was modified to shorter and more frequent showtimes. This show involved Cast Members on jet skis pulling large, inflatables inspired by The Jungle Book and The Lion King


Unfortunately, you won’t be able to catch KiteTails anymore! KiteTails closed permanently in Animal Kingdom at the end of September. Disney has not yet announced plans for a different show, so stay tuned.

KiteTails closed permanently in Animal Kingdom!


The Magic Kingdom restaurant Crystal Palace got some changes in September. Disney announced that breakfast will be coming back to the restaurant along with Winnie the Pooh and pals!

Crystal Palace

Breakfast will return on October 27th and reservations are open now.

Crystal Palace breakfast is coming back!

Characters returned to Crystal Palace! Until October 27th you can only visit Crystal Palace for lunch or dinner, but the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood will now be part of your meal. 

Crystal Palace

During our lunch, we saw Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore. Browse the buffet and meet with characters — yes, please!

Characters are back at Crystal Palace!

And a new restaurant is coming to the Swan and Dolphin Resort! Rosa Mexicano will be opening its first Orlando location in early 2023.

Swan & Dolphin

This restaurant will replace the existing Fresh Mediterranean Market in the Dolphin hote.

Learn more about the new restaurant coming to Swan and Dolphin!


If you visited any of Disney’s websites after the COVID-19 pandemic, you probably noticed the COVID health and safety measures banner on the front pages of the sites. After United States President Joe Biden said “the pandemic is over,” the COVID warning was removed from Disney websites.

COVID-19 health and safety signage in Disney World

If you’re visiting the parks soon, note that masks are not currently required in Disney World or Disneyland,

Read more about the COVID warning removed from Disney websites.

Hurricane Ian

Due to Hurricane Ian (later downgraded to Tropical Storm Ian), Disney World closed on September 28th and 29th. They implemented a phased reopening beginning Friday, September 30th. 

Hurricane Ian hitting Central Florida

Disney World has since resumed normal operating hours, but keep in mind that that’s subject to change at any time.

Read more about how Disney World closed on September 28th and 29th.

Festival of the Holidays

EPCOT’s 2022 Festival of the Holidays Kitchen Booths were announced! The event will kick off on November 25th, 2022 with 21 different booths. 

Festival of the Holidays 2021

There will be one new booth to visit and a lot of returning favorites!

Read more about the 2022 EPCOT Festival of the Holidays Kitchen Booths here!

The Cookie Stroll will also be back! This activity outlines a selection of cookies to be purchased in your Festival Passport and once you’ve tried every cookie, you can redeem your passport for a special cookie prize! 

2021 Cookie Stroll Redemption Cookie

There are eight cookies to choose from and you just need to purchase five of them to collect your reward.

Click here to learn more about the Cookie Stroll!

The Candlelight Processional features celebrity narrators telling the story of Christmas along with a choir and an orchestra, and it will be back in EPCOT in 2022.

Candlelight Processional

This year’s ceremony will have new and returning celebrity narrators, including the additions of Simu Liu of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Mariska Hargitay of Law and Order: SVU, and even Josh Gad (Olaf!!!).

See all the announced Candlelight Processional presenters here!

Walkway News

The new walkway between the Polynesian Village Resort and Grand Floridian Resort opened. It connects the resorts while the existing walkway is unavailable due to the construction of the Polynesian Resort’s DVC Villas. 

Off we go!

There are signs to help you navigate so you don’t get lost and it’s a great way to travel between the resorts and the Monorail stations!

Walkway between Polynesian Village Hotel and Grand Floridian Resort has opened.

Nighttime Shows

The Tree of Life Awakenings nighttime show is coming back to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which is a projection show on the Tree of Life. It typically shows every 10 minutes until the park closes, and it tells stories of small animals. 

Tree of Life Awakenings Projection Show
Tree of Life Awakenings

The Beacon of Magic availability may also change, so keep that in mind if you hope to catch that projection show.

Click here to learn more about the Tree of Life Awakenings coming back.

After Hours

Disney After Hours events are also coming back! While holiday events have returned, non-holiday Disney After Hours events have continued to be missing.


Disney After Hours events are separately ticketed events that have historically offered complimentary treats, attraction access, exclusive offerings, and more.

Read more about the return of After Hours events here.

September was BUSY in Disney World! Keep following AllEars for more news as we move into October.

10 BIG closures in Disney World this month.

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Did you visit Disney World in September? Tell us in the comments!

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