Holiday Week News and Notes
Happy holidays, everyone! I hope that you’re among loved ones and savoring the best moments in life!
Alas, Disney news never stops. So, I’ve got a few updates to provide you a distraction in between eggnog and gift wrapping.
A Disney Genie+ Surprise
This week, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at Magic Kingdom has switched to a free offering.
Disney usually does this with its holiday parades during Christmas Week, and this move was expected.
We do have an unexpected wrinkle, though. When you purchase Disney Genie+, you can reserve the parade as one of your eight selections!
Yes, Disney has temporarily updated Disney Genie+ to include Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade as a Lightning Lane option.
When you book it – and you should if you can! – you’ll reserve seating in an exclusive viewing area.
I should warn you that this could disrupt some of your other plans. By booking this selection, you’ll lock yourself out of other Disney Genie+ attractions for two hours.
Presuming that you don’t mind this one snag, it’s a marvelous opportunity to guarantee a good seat for the parade!
I will warn you that the first day of this option didn’t go smoothly. Disney somehow overbooked, which automatically canceled the earliest Lightning Lane reservations.
You can avoid a messy situation like that by using this pro tip. ALWAYS make a screencap of any Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane reservations you book!
Cast members cannot see something that has vanished from their system. They cannot deny the validity of a screenshot, though!
I strongly encourage you to do this for hotel reservations, Advanced Dining Reservations, and anything else where a system hiccup could nuke your plans.
By the way, I’ve got one other holiday surprise for you. Magic Kingdom is hosting Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories during Christmas Week as well!
Other Christmas Week Updates
Okay, we have some updates that aren’t as positive. At Disneyland Resort, the expected has happened.
Disney’s Lightning Lane offering employs a dynamic pricing system, causing fluctuations depending on the days.
Some fans noticed that prices had increased for the lower-tier Lightning Lane attractions during Christmas Week.
When I say that they went up, the number is startling percentage-wise. For example, some attractions increased from under $10 to $20.
To date, nothing has broken the promised price ceiling of $20. So, it’s not a dramatic turn of events.
Still, guests (understandably) complained when WEB SLINGERS – A Spider-Man Adventure went up from $7 to $18 this week.
The entire purpose of Lightning Lane is to maximize revenue per capita. As such, we should have expected this.
As a reminder, Walt Disney World avoided this trend by switching its less popular Lightning Lane attractions to Disney Genie+ for now.
Of course, the other holiday news is much worse. I must discuss the Omicron outbreak, at least a bit.
Florida reported 32,869 more cases of COVID this past week. That’s an increase of 415 percent from the previous week. Yes, that’s alarming.
On the plus side – and I mean this sincerely – Omicron appears more contagious but less virulent than previous strains.
As such, while people are getting sick, most aren’t experiencing severe symptoms. The increase has placed a massive strain on hospitals, though.
Universal Orlando Resort learned of the exponential increase in numbers and took a surprising step. The park has reinstituted its indoor mask policy.
Since Disney hadn’t technically dropped its policy, nothing changed there. I think it’s safe to say that face-covering rules will remain for a while longer, though. So, you can stop asking.
By the way, Disneyland Paris canceled its New Year’s Party as a precautionary measure. COVID sucks.
Other Park Updates
With Magical Express ending next week, another transportation service just announced its arrival.
The Sunshine Flyer will open on February 1st. It’s a fleet of buses akin to the ones you’ve ridden for Magical Express.
The difference is that this third-party entity loves trains. I mean reeeeally loves them.
Should you choose The Sunshine Flyer for travel to and from Orlando International Airport, you’ll ride on a bus themed to look like a train!
All the workers will wear train conductor outfits and the like. You can read more about it here.
Prices start at $17 per adult and $12.50 per child for one-way transportation.
I’ve got one other update for you before you go back to burning through your gift cards.
During the week of February 21st, Extended Evening Hours will flip parks for one time only.
Ordinarily, Mondays are EPCOT nights, while Wednesdays are Magic Kingdom events.
On February 21st, Disney will do things in reverse. On that date, a Monday, Magic Kingdom will offer Extended Evening Hours from 8 p.m. through 10 p.m.
Then, on February 23rd, a Wednesday, EPCOT will host Extended Evening Hours from 9 p.m. through 11 p.m.
The following Monday shows everything back to normal with Extended Evening Hours at EPCOT.
I know that many DVC guests plan their itineraries well in advance. So, please allow for this change if you’re visiting Walt Disney World that week.
Okay, you may now return to your umpteenth viewing of A Christmas Story!