It’s been a wild set of years.
In March 2020, the unprecedented happened. Disney World SHUT DOWN its theme parks. Not just for a few days for a hurricane. But for several weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, things started to reopen little by little as a “phased reopening.” In May 2020, Disney Springs started to reopen, and finally, on July 11th, 2020 Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened. It’s been over 3 years since that date, and while much has gone back to “normal,” there are still some pretty big things that are NOT back. Let’s go through what you need to know.
Rides and Attractions
Most of Disney World’s rides and attractions are back now, but there is one notable straggler that hasn’t reopened — Voyage of the Little Mermaid in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The theater has sat dormant for literal years. And while we did see some permits that made us a tiny bit hopeful for some updates, nothing has been done with the area yet. You’ll have to sing your own Little Mermaid tunes for now.
When it comes to entertainment, we are missing the beloved Citizens of Main Street and Citizens of Hollywood. The Citizens of Hollywood previously made a brief appearance during a runDisney race but then they disappeared once again.
These other entertainment options also haven’t returned:
- the Main Street Trolley Show (Magic Kingdom)
- the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats in the China Pavilion (EPCOT)
- Serveur Amusant in France (EPCOT)
- Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
- Pandora Drummers and Rangers
Additionally, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular has not returned to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
In terms of restaurants, there are a few that haven’t quite reopened. In EPCOT, Restaurant Marrakesh is still not available. It has been used as a relaxation area in the past during certain EPCOT Festivals, but otherwise, the space has been largely left unused.
Tangierine Cafe is in a bit of a different position. The traditional restaurant many know and love hasn’t reopened, but this spot has been used as an EPCOT Festival booth and it continues to be used in that way. So that may be its fate…for now.
At Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 2 restaurants have not reopened. First is 1900 Park Fare. The character dining spot was once home to a buffet with various characters, but Disney really hasn’t shared any updates about this place. Meanwhile, several other character meals have returned.
Also at the Grand Floridian, the Garden View Tea Room sits dormant. This spot used to serve up English-style tea services and even have a special Princess tea service for little ones. But no updates have been shared about this spot either.
At Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland Terrace is being used for fireworks dessert parties and was once used as a temporary home for many of the eats from Columbia Harbour House. But ever since Columbia Harbour House reopened, the spot has basically just been used for fireworks dessert parties and that’s about it.
Over at Disney’s BoardWalk, the Funnel Cake Cart has been closed for quite some time. But that doesn’t mean Disney isn’t working on bringing exciting food to this area. In fact, the BoardWalk is already getting a brand NEW restaurant in the former home of the ESPN Club — The Cake Bake Shop — and a new corn dog kiosk too!
In terms of other changes, you may notice that in-room dining (a.k.a. room service) is not available in nearly as many places as before. Generally, the service is available at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, but not at the other hotels in Disney World.
That’s an important thing to keep in mind if you were hoping to have a few eats delivered to your room.
Some merchandise stores also haven’t reopened in the parks. For example, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Stage 1 Company Store and It’s a Wonderful Shop sit closed at the moment.
We’ve seen the Stage 1 Company Store used for certain special merchandise events — particularly for May the Fourth (a.k.a. Star Wars Day). But when will it finally give us back all of the Muppet fun? That’s not clear.
You may find a few other merchandise spots (particularly smaller ones) to be closed here and there in the parks so be on the lookout for that, but keep in mind that the bigger staples — like the Emporium (Magic Kingdom) — are open for ALL your shopping needs!
Other Services and Things You Aren’t Thinking About
There are other things you may not have even really realized aren’t back in Disney World yet. First is merchandise delivery to the front of the park or to your Disney World hotel. You can get merchandise delivered to your home (for a fee) but the old service where you could have items sent to the front of the park or to your hotel is not available at the moment. (We saw a limited form of it return in the past but it hasn’t come back in full yet.)
While the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique has reopened in Magic Kingdom, its locations at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney Springs are NOT available yet.
The Tables in Wonderland discount service stopped selling new memberships quite some time ago and its return has not been announced. While the Disney Dining Plan isn’t available now, it is set to return for vacations starting in early January 2024. You can book the Dining Plan NOW for your future trip!
Parking Trams have returned to the Transportation and Ticket Center (Magic Kingdom’s parking lot) and the Animal Kingdom parking lot, but are NOT back in the parking lots for EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios yet. However, they will return in September 2023.
That’s a peek at some of the BIG things that are still missing in Disney World. But, know that things are changing constantly.
Gone are the mask requirements…
…and distancing signs.
We’ve come a LONG way since 2020’s reopening.
And there’s a lot planned for Disney’s future. From the opening of Journey of Water — Inspired by Moana…
What do you miss from Disney World that hasn’t returned yet? Tell us in the comments.
Stay tuned for more news and updates from us here at AllEars!
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What do you miss from Disney World? Tell us in the comments!