Here’s our current list of updates to The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2023. The authors will submit more updates as needed. Please check back often for the latest information, or subscribe to the Unofficial Guides newsletter to stay in the know about all the latest Disney parks news.
January 2023 Updates
PART 2 GETTING YOUR ACT TOGETHER
MAKING THEME PARK RESERVATIONS
All guests can now modify their theme park reservations (subject to availability). This includes dates, park, and party members, rather than having to cancel and re-book.
Now guests can also book theme park reservations with different admission types. Whether you’re an Annual Passholder, date-based ticket holder, or visiting with a Cast Member, you can all make your reservations at one time.
The EPCOT Festival of the Arts runs now through February 23rd.
The Disney Springtime Surprise weekend has been added for April 13-16, offering 5K, 10K, and 10-mile races. Over at Disneyland, the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend is back in 2024, DTBA. Registration opens on February 7, 2023. Also back in 2024 is the Coast-to-Coast Challenge.
The EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival 2023 is held from March 1st through July 5th.
DISNEY AFTER HOURS
Disney After Hours is back on select days at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
PART 3 WHERE to STAY
Disney no longer charges parking fees at their resort hotels.
Overnight Parking Fees
Disney no longer charges parking fees at their resort hotels; this includes guests staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground.
Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios (including the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser), and Bonnet Creek Resorts no longer charge overnight parking fees.
During the winter holiday season, guests can once more book Holiday Sleigh Rides.
Renovations of all rooms at All Stars Music have now been completed.
PART 4 DINING
Disney’s Contemporary Resort & Bay Lake Tower
The Enchantment at the Top Dessert Party is available on Friday nights at the Top of the World Lounge of Bay Lake Tower for $89 adults and $49 children, taxes and tips not included. This dessert party is available to DVC members only.
Pages 156, 189, 197 & 199
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is now open again, with character meals available starting February 28th.
New cancellation policies: Guests can now cancel dining reservations up to two hours in advance without being charged a cancellation fee. Please note that this is not true for all restaurants on Disney property. This new dining policy does not apply to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Victoria & Albert’s, or Monsieur Paul. Each of these venues has its own dining cancellation policy that remains as is.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Roundup Rodeo BBQ table-service restaurant will open March 23rd in Toy Story Land.
Page 196, 198 & 321
Monsieur Paul is now open for dining.
PART 6 — READY, SET, TOUR!
New updates came to Disney’s Genie+ Individual Lightning Lane(ILL): Guests can now modify Lightning Lane selections in the MDE app without having to cancel and rebook their selections. This change allows guests to search for other available attractions or arrival windows. Guests can also make changes for specific party members, meaning they can adjust their party size during modification.
The pricing for Disney Genie+ now varies based on the date you plan to use it, like the tiered theme park ticket structure at Disney World. The pricing for select Individual Lightning Lane admission has also been adjusted. Genie+ and ILL prices now range between $15 and $22 per person.
5. CINDERELLA’S ROYAL TABLE
Character meals will be available again starting February 28th.
PART 7 — The MAGIC KINGDOM
Take out Splash Mountain.
Page 283 (Map)
30. Splash Mountain is closed permanently since January 23, 2023.
GENIE+ AND ILL RESERVATIONS AT THE MAGIC KINGDOM
Remove Splash Mountain.
Page 286 & 287
In both tables, remove Splash Mountain, as it is no longer operational.
Splash Mountain *****
The attraction is closed since January 23rd. Splash Mountain will be transformed into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, based on Disney’s 2009 film The Princess and the Frog.
TRON Lightcycle/Run opens April 4, 2023.
Happily Ever After returns to Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park on April 3rd, replacing Disney Enchantment.
PART 8 EPCOT
An all-new nighttime show is planned for EPCOT later in 2023. Yes, you read that right! Harmonious is out after only a short run! Before the new show launches, Disney will bring back EPCOT Forever as an interim show starting April 3rd, 2023.
PART 9 — ANIMAL KINGDOM
Page 356 PANDORA:The World of Avatar
While it is not a must to have seen the movie Pandora: The World of Avatar, it helps to bring some of the amazement to what you see when entering the land. Now that James Cameron’s Pandora: The Land of Water has hit the big screen with immense success, it remains to be seen whether Disney will expand the land. And, believe it or not, Avatar 3 is already in the can and in post-production. Avatar 4 and 5 are both written. Lots of opportunities abound—it seems.
PART 10 — DISNEY’S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
Page 373 (Map)
EE. Roundup Rodeo BBQ opens March 23rd.
TOY STORY LAND
Roundup Rodeo BBQ opens March 23rd.
There is no more Pixar Motorcade. Characters have returned to their original meet-and-greet places in the park, except for The Incredibles.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios nighttime spectacular Fantasmic! has returned.
PART 11 — UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA
The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast is back! The breakfast is $41.99 + tax for adults and $26.99 + tax for children. This comes with one digital download per dining party. Annual and Seasonal Passholders can receive a 20% discount on the dining experience when purchased at the front gate or at a Guest Services location. The breakfast will be served on select dates from November 12 through December 29 and includes one digital download photo. Reservations are required.
Pages 416 (MAP), 418, 419
Fievel’s Playland, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Curious George Goes to Town, DreamWorks Destination, and Shrek and Donkey’s Meet & Greet closed permanently on January 15th.
The E.T. Adventure, Animal Actors on Location!, SpongeBob StorePants—including meet and greets with SpongeBob SquarePants and friends— and KidZone will not close. The Pizza Company will also remain open.
Page 421 Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval takes place now through April 16th!
PART 12 THE BEST OF THE REST
Page 424The WATER PARKS (DISNEY and UNIVERSAL ORLANDO)
Blizzard Beach is once again open to guests, while Typhoon Lagoon is closed for extensive refurbishment.
6. Sosa Family Cigars has closed permanently.
Cirque du Soleil
Guests will now be able to enjoy Drawn to Life with two performances daily. Wednesday through Saturday showtimes are 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Two Sunday matinees will be performed at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
The Great Movie Escape is now open. The new entertainment features Back to the Future and Jurassic World escape rooms. Jurassic World: Escape is more appropriate for beginners, while Back to the Future: OUTATIME is for more advanced players. The Great Movie Escape comes with bars on the first and second floors with signature cocktails themed to the escape rooms. The lobby is designed to feel like a classic movie house. And yes, there is merch in the lobby, which is accessible to all visitors even if you do not want to play.
Page 447 (Map)
Universal’s Great Movie Escape is now open.
Page 451 (below the table read)
LEGOLAND FLORIDA ATTRACTIONS
A new attraction has opened at LEGOLAND! Pirate River Quest is a one-of-a-kind canal tour set on the natural passageways of Lake Eloise and the historic Cypress Gardens. The family-friendly boat ride leads guests on a search for Captain Redbeard’s lost treasure. Riders will sail through the natural waterways while following the all-new story featuring the newest LEGO pirate friend, Calico Jade, and other exotic LEGO creatures, including a flamboyance of bright flamingos, a troop of mischievous monkeys, and even a fearsome kraken.