Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation in 2022

Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation in 2022

Are you thinking of visiting Walt Disney World in 2022? Get ready for a ton of new rides, restaurants, experiences, festivals, and more. With so much to consider we’re doing a round-up of everything that is happening and how you can go about planning your Disney Vacation in 2022. Whether this is your first Disney vacation, only Disney vacation, or just making your annual trip. Here is everything to help you get the most out of your vacation to the most magical place on earth. 

Walt Disney World has seen tons of changes in the last couple of years. Not only in handling the pandemic but also in trying to arrange the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World celebrations. Something that had already been years in the making with new rides, restaurants, shows, and events planned. Needless to say, the pandemic threw a wrench in several things, causing delayed construction on many of the flagship projects meant to pull in guests for the Anniversary celebrations. But, never fear, there are still plenty of new rides that will be opening between now and the end of 2022. Here’s everything to know before you go. 

How to Plan a Disney Vacation in 2022

It’s true that with all the vacation considerations like transportation, resorts, and when to visit that planning a Disney Vacation may begin to feel a little more like work than the magical experience you looked forward to. No worries. We have you covered. If you’re looking, we have a free 12 Step Disney Planning Guide for getting your Disney Vacation planned and booked.

Disney Vacation Planning in 2022

Disney Vacation Planning Basics

Getting some basic questions out of the way first will help nail down your Disney Vacation Planning for 2022. And we’ll share some details along the way so you can make the best choices as you tackle this vacation planning project.

When do you want to Visit?

Choosing the right time to visit Walt Disney World can make or break your vacation. Take a look at our Disney Calendar of Events for 2022 to get a handle on the holidays and events that may be happening during your stay. Things like runDisney marathons, festivals, and holiday weekends can all interfere with the best-laid plans. So, as you’re figuring out work and school schedules, compare them against the calendar to see what may conflict or support your Disney Vacation. Be sure to check out the Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World post. Then check the Park Pass Reservation system to see if your tentative dates have park availability. And if you’re hoping to be in the parks during a certain festival, party or holiday, take a look at our Year of Walt Disney World Events to get a glimpse of happenings each month. 

How Long Will you Stay?

We always recommend staying on vacation as long as possible. Obviously. But since everyone has a “real life” to get back to be sure to check out our post on How Many Days Should You Stay at Disney. This will give you a good idea of what you can fit into your vacation without feeling rushed. And give you some insight on what you may want to skip if you need a shorter vacation. We typically recommend about 9-12 days to really make the most of a Disney Vacation. 

How will you get there?

Will you be driving or flying to Disney? Perhaps you are considering taking the train? We sometimes recommend driving to Disney, simply for convenience and safety. But if you’re comfortable flying during 2022, then you will need to consider airlines, the cost for each person, and additional transportation once you arrive in Orlando. Keep in mind that there are new ways to get from Orlando International Airport to Walt Disney World and that will also cost you. 

Who is included in your Travel Party?

How many people are going with you on this vacation? Is this a Disney adult trip or a family trip? Will you have pets that need boarding during your stay? Think of things ahead of time. It will be important that each person in your party has a My Disney Experience account. Before you do anything else, take some time to get these set up if you have not already! 

Pop Century, Walt Disney World Resort Review

Do you have a particular Disney Resort in mind?

With over 25 resorts at Walt Disney World, at a variety of price levels, there are many places to stay on property at Walt Disney World. Are you looking for something fun that feels like Disney, as an All-Star Resort? Or something more relaxed and island-like like Caribbean Beach Resort? Perhaps you want glamourous accommodations at the Grand Floridian or animal viewing from your room at Animal Kingdom Lodge? Maybe you’re hoping for tons of ease and convenience and want a resort within walking distance of Hollywood Studios Park and EPCOT? Maybe check out the Boardwalk Inn? Think about which resort will make your Disney Vacation feel special. 

Will you Want to be in the Parks Every day of your Vacation?

If you’re looking to save some money at Disney consider exploring the parts of Walt Disney World that don’t include a park day. We love taking time to meander through the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and stop by Wilderness Lodge for a coffee. Planning a Disney Monorail Resort day or Disney Boardwalk Resort day are also things we like to do regularly. Heading to Disney Springs and boating over for beignets at Port Orleans French Quarter gives you an insider’s look at all things Walt Disney World and can really make your trip feel more than just a checklist. Choosing this route for a typical 8-day vacation could easily have only 5 tickets allowing you a few days to be outside of the parks. 

Are you Adding a Park Hopper Ticket?

The Walt Disney World Park Hopper Ticket is an extra add-on ticket per length of your stay, so can get very pricey as an extra perk if you have several people in your travel party. The Park Hopper Ticket allows you access to more than one park per day and is an added convenience. As Walt Disney World is made up of 4 parks, this could allow you to spend your morning at one of them and your evening at another. We usually skip purchasing this ticket and plan for one park per day. There is so much to do in each Disney Park that it feels inopportune to leave halfway through the day.

However, if you’re trying for a short Disney trip and will not get all the parks in during your vacation, then this may be a ticket you consider.

Are you Adding a Water Park and Sports Ticket?

Walt Disney World has 2 water parks; Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. They are open year-round. If you are traveling during the extremely hot and humid summer month of Florida, then a water park ticket added for each person in your travel party may be a good idea. Just like any Disney park you can go and stay all day. If you are traveling in the Dec- February months, however, it does get a little chilly in Florida and a water park ticket may not be needed.

The Sports portion of this ticket also allows you access to the golf courses and is a great way to get a little bit of variety if you’re looking for a more complete leisurely vacation. The sports complex ticket gets you access to the NBA Experience in Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course, and Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course.

Fireworks at Disney's Cinderella Castle

Are you adding Event and Party Tickets to your Vacation?

While the EPCOT festivals are FREE and included with your park tickets for the day, other events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are extra. For events like these, since special event tickets can often be as expensive as regular Disney tickets, we recommend skipping your day ticket on the day of your special event. This will save you some money and allow you time to explore the Disney Resorts, Boardwalk, or Disney Springs.

What Are your Disney Dining and Meal Plans?

One of the biggest expenses of a Disney Vacation in 2022 is food. Whether it’s the 8 dollar breakfast and coffee, the 15 dollar lunch, or the 40 dollar dinner, something will catch you off guard when it comes to the cost of food. Disney snacks alone can be close to 8 dollars, and you have to consider that’s just for 1 person. Check out our Disney Dining Budget post for details on how to budget your Disney food expenses. We typically say plan for between 70-100 dollars per person per day. But of course, check out the dining budget post for alternative things like packing meals or sticking with only Disney quick-service meals

What is your Maximum Disney Budget?

A big thing to consider is your overall Disney Budget. Whether you are going into your planning with a maximum number you can’t go over OR just a general idea of costs you can stomach here are a couple of things to know.

  • The longer you stay at Disney, the cheaper per-day ticket prices become.
  • There are three levels of Disney Resorts when it comes to pricing.
  • There are deals all year long that may work for you on Disney’s Special Offers page.
  • Certain times of year are much cheaper. Check out the Most Expensive and Least Expensive Times to Visit Walt Disney World.
  • Consider a Disney Food Budget as part of your expenses, as this cost can be close to 100 dollars a day per person, depending on the type of dining you choose.
  • Discounts and special offers can be applied to an existing reservation.
  • You will not save money by waiting to book your Disney Vacation. Booking as early as you can lock in lower prices and gives you time to take advantage of deals that pop up along the way.

booking a Disney Vacation

Booking a Disney Vacation in 2022

If you’re looking at this list and wondering where to start, grab our printable Disney Deluxe Planner for a fill-in template that will get all your thoughts and ideas in one place. You can also bring all these questions to a Disney travel agent to get help with your vacation planning.

How do You Book a Disney Vacation?

Once you have gone through the entire planning process you are ready to book. You can do this quite easily by visiting the Walt Disney World website, putting in your dates, selecting your resort, and choosing your tickets. At this point, the breakdown is as follows.

Disney World Packages (Resort Room + Tickets): A $200 dollar deposit is required to hold your vacation. The remaining balance is due 30 days before check-in. You can add the Dining Plan (when available). You are able to add Memory Maker. Your Disney Vacation can be canceled and refunded up to 30 days before your trip. Magical extras are included.

Disney World Room Only: Deposit is your first night’s resort rate at the time of booking. The remaining balance is due at check-in. No dining plan is offered at checkout. Tickets purchased separately cannot be refunded, though the date of the tickets can be changed. No magical extras.

Staying on Disney Property Perks

If you’re going back and forth on whether to stay on-site or off-site at Walt Disney World, the perks over the last few years have changed. Currently, Disney Resort Guests get an early theme-park entry of 30 minutes before park opening, Discounted MagicBands upon checkout, 7 am Lightning Lane, and Disney Genie + access ( as opposed to 9 am), and an earlier Dining Reservation window ( when available).

Can I book A Disney Vacation Now?

YES! Check out our Disney Timeline for all the details. In general, a Disney Resort room can be booked 499 days in advance and Disney Packages for each year are usually released the previous summer.

Disney World Cancellation and Change Policies

Be aware of Walt Disney World cancellation policies. If you cancel less than 30 days before your trip there is a fee of $200. If you cancel less than 6 days before your trip the fee is the first full night’s room rate. You can change the date of your vacation up to 30 days before your vacation. Check out the Disney World website for all of Disney’s Cancellation policies. 

Disney's MagicMobile Service on iPhone

What’s Changed for Disney Vacations in 2022?

Walt Disney World is always changing. As we’ve been tracking the changes at Walt Disney World in preparation for the 50th Anniversary Celebrations, we can share that rides, restaurants, and shows have come and gone throughout just the last couple of years. And 2022 will be no different. While we’ll still some of them want to be aware of a few things that are rapidly changing and will affect your vacation as well.

Disney Park Pass Reservations are Still Required

Perhaps the biggest thing to know while planning is that you will need a Park Pass Reservation for each day you are in the parks. This is in addition to your park ticket, as Park Pass Reservations fill up fast. Checking for Park Pass Availability should be one of your FIRST STEPS to planning a Disney Vacation in 2022.

Figure out Your Transportation to and from Orlando International Airport

You are now on your own in regards to getting to and from the airport to Walt Disney World. Of course, if you are driving to Walt Disney World then you can skip this step. If not be prepared to factor in transportation costs as needed. Whether that be a rental car or Uber, or the new service called Mears Connect, if you’re not driving to Disney, add this into your planning. 

Disney Magicbands

Buy Your Disney MagicBands Ahead of Time

Walt Disney World is no longer sending MagicBands for Free to resort guests. But, you are able to add a MagicBand to your resort reservation when you book a Disney Vacation. As well as purchase them from ahead of time and then connect them to your account. Check out our Disney MagicBand Changes post for all the details.


This upgraded New Disney MagicBand+ is available with interactive components, including lights and vibrations to help you connect even more with the magic in the parks. Still, including all the MagicBand functionality you need, this new version will be available for purchase on, in the parks, and at a discounted rate when purchasing a Disney Vacation package.

Disney Genie and Disney Genie+

Disney’s newest planning tool, Disney Genie, can be found within the My Disney Experience App and allows guests to have everything about their vacation at their fingertips, complete with AI features that prompt you towards potential rides, shows, and other opportunities based on your favorite experiences. The Disney Genie Service is free. But the Disney Genie+ version is for a cost. The Disney Genie+ version includes additional features and built-in Lightning Lane options that allow guests to choose 2 lightning lane passes per day. Note that each member of your family will need to have a My Disney Experience Account and Disney Genie+ activated on each account to take advantage of the services included. Read more about Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane.

Set up Disney’s MagicMobile Wallet on Your Phone

Disney’s newest Disney Vacation tool is a digital wallet option that connects through your My Disney Experience app to your phone’s wallet. Disney’s MagicMobile allows for more cashless, contactless interactions at park entry, attraction entry, and restaurants. All of which allow you to just hold your phone near access points to enter and pay across the parks. 

mickey and minnies hollywood studios ride

Park Hopper Tickets are Available with Restrictions

A Park Hopper Ticket can get you access to more than one park a day. But, right now, you are only allowed to access your second park after 2 pm. With some parks closing earlier in the summer and even earlier in the fall this drastically limits your time in a second park for the day. We recommend skipping the Park Hopper Ticket and just focusing on maximizing your time in one park per day.

Dining Reservation Timeline

The Disney Vacation Planning timeline has been changing ever since the pandemic started. One of the most notable and semi-permanent changes has been to the Disney Dining Reservation Window. Instead of 180 days before, guests can now reserve their preferred restaurants 60 days before the first day of their vacation. Restaurants can be reserved for the length of stay as soon as the reservation window opens. Try to reserve the most hard-to-get restaurants, like Be Our Guest, and Topolino Terrace first.

Entertainment and Events are Returning

Things like Nighttime Spectaculars, Fireworks, Parades, and Parties are returning. Even meet and greets and Disney Character Dining has returned. Disney’s most popular live-performance show, Festival of the Lion King has returned with certain physical distancing requirements in place. In 2022  festival concert series and parties at Magic Kingdom have also returned. 

piglet christmas at Disney world

Character Meet and Greets Return

Guests can enjoy Disney Characters from a distance in Character Cavalcades and seen across the lawn in impromptu appearances. And starting April 18, 2022, traditional Disney Character Meet and Greet Return to the parks. 

Character Dining Returns to Disney in 2022

Disney Character dining at a variety of restaurants has returned in full force come 2022. Currently,  Topolino Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort and other restaurants are allowing characters to return as well. Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resorts, and Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is among the first to offer character dining again. Other restaurants soon welcoming characters are Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom and Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno.

Everything Planned for Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary 2021

Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebrations 2022

The biggest change to the Walt Disney World 2022 lineup is that Disney World’s Most Magical Celebration will be happening ALL YEAR LONG. This will include special merchandise, special snacks, special shows, and more. Construction projects for new rides and restaurants will also begin to complete in 2022, allowing the potential of new attractions as well to add to your Disney Must-Do List. Some of the major projects to keep an eye out for, whether it be available as Advanced Dining Reservations for the restaurants or as Lightning Lane Selections, here are the big-ticket items. 

New Ride and Restaurant Openings

With new rides and restaurants do open in 2022, you better believe there will be crowds, so keep an eye on opening dates. As you may imagine when a new attraction opens at Walt Disney World the park can get pretty crazy, and stay pretty crazy. Remembering our basic tips for maximizing your vacation; like how to Save time on a Disney Vacation and How to Avoid Disney Crowds will help you have a more enjoyable vacation. Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind Rollercoaster, and Woody’s Roundup Rodeo Restaurant are both opening in 2022. 

Will the Dining Plan be Available in 2022?

While we tend to have a love/hate relationship with Disney Dining Plans, the loss of these in 2020 and 2021 has had us mourning the loss. An easy way to pay for your Disney food ahead of time, the Disney Dining Plan may return to Walt Disney World in 2022 as they get a handle on crowds, demand, and if this is a monetarily good move for the Walt Disney Company. Frankly, we always feel like just paying for food as you go is cheaper and easier, BUT, we absolutely adore that on the Disney Dining Plan we can often frequent restaurants we may not have considered due to the cost. We do not know if the Dining Plan will return in 2022 but will be updating this post as we learn more. 

disney world

Are FastPasses Available in 2022?

No. Disney’s FastPass+ system has been REPLACED with Lightning Lane. The Disney Lightning Lane is a feature that is built into the Disney Genie service and offers guests the opportunity to experience select rides via a shorter line with a lower wait for a fee. The chance to pay for your better spot in line is available in two ways.  Guests can purchase Lightning Lane capability on up to two rides per day through the Disney Genie+ service. As an alternative Lightning Lane access can also be purchased as an individual attraction selection. The Disney Genie Service is available as a section in the My Disney Experience App, so already has all your vacation information. 

Should you Rent a Car for your Disney Vacation in 2022?

We’ve talked about the pros and cons of Driving to Walt Disney World before, and still stand by those realities. Flexibility is key, especially with the Magical Express retiring at the end of December 2021. In 2022, all guests will have to figure out transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport, so be prepared for that extra expense if you choose to fly. It’s easy to just Uber from the airport and depend on Disney Transportation during your stay. This is one of our favorite ways to stay in the Disney bubble on vacation. If you are driving be sure to take note of the Disney Resort Fees and the Disney Parking Fees

Is it Worth Going to Walt Disney World in 2022?

Walt Disney World in 2022 will be far better off than the two previous years as both 2020 and 2021 saw challenges. In 2022, we all still have high hopes for more of a return to normal than before. With promises of new rides, restaurants, shows, and experiences becoming available, it is shaping up to be a great year to visit. Remember that The World’s Most Magical Celebration at Walt Disney World lasts all year long in 2022. 

Is a Disney Vacation in 2023 Better?

If you’re holding out for 2023 and beyond, here are a few things to consider. Disney Prices continue to rise every year. Think about that. While you don’t ever want to look at a vacation like the stock market, if you’re waiting for a buy point, then 2022 may be it. The 50th Anniversary at Walt Disney World wraps up in March of 2023, so all of the limited-time experiences and special events will end then. And construction projects will begin to finish in 2022. This could mean new ride openings, restaurants, and the completion of the Grand Floridian Changes, among other things, by the end of 2022.

Disney Springs Walt Disney World Top 10 Things to Do. What to ride, eat and do for extra fun. A Top 10 disney List for your nest Disney Vacation. #polkadotpixies #disneytips #disneyvacation #disneytop10

Disney Vacation in 2022 Tips

As Walt Disney World in 2022 has the best chance of being closer to normal than before, here are our best tips for navigating a new kind of Disney Vacation.

Book Your Vacation Early

We are not Disney Travel Agents so we get no benefit from sharing this tip. We share this with the knowledge that as people in general “get back to normal,” so will Travel. And if you hadn’t noticed prior to the pandemic, Travel is more popular than ever before! So picking up where people left off is a priority for many, and multiple trips to Walt Disney World a year is a reality. So, if you’re hoping for a Disney Vacation in 2022 and beyond book as early as you can! You can always adjust days, or add special offers along the way without any fees up to 30 days before your vacation.

If Flying, Book Your Flight Early

As airlines begin to get back in the swing of things, they will quickly try to capitalize on all those people desperate for travel and willing to pay more last-minute. That said, just like hotel and car rental, if you are flying to Disney, be sure to book it as far out as you can. And with arrival dates of Tuesday or Wednesday- which are generally the cheapest flying days. While we figure at one point the airline industry will regain its footing and we can all go back to watching that 45 days before your vacation mark for the best price, it’s simply not that way in 2022 when many, many people are trying to begin traveling again and the demand will affect pricing.

Try a Travel Agent

Use a Travel Agent if it starts to feel overwhelming. Trust us, we get it. You’re trying to run your life but really need a vacation, the last thing you have time to do is plan a vacation. Especially with the changes at Walt Disney World requiring Park Pass Reservations in addition to tickets and the cancellation of Disney’s Magical Express service. There are more things now than before to consider when planning a vacation. With many things changing regularly it is good to have a travel agent on hand to help. 

Visit During Low Crowd Times

A Disney Vacation in 2022 was already going to be a busy year due to the year-long 50th Anniversary Celebrations. But, know that there are ALWAYS times of the year when crowds are simply lower. Check out our Best Days to Visit the Disney Parks for a monthly breakdown of what is happening throughout the year. 

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Stay on Disney Property in 2022

While we don’t usually make a blanket statement regarding the Disney On vs. Off-Property discussion. But in 2022, it will be important to be on property at Walt Disney World. Why? Because there are A LOT of CHANGES at Walt Disney World right now. While we don’t know all the perks that will be available to Disney Resort Guests, Early Theme Park Entry is currently available and will be helpful during busy times. And resort guests get an early booking at 7 am for Lightning Lane passes. 

Stay at a Disney Value Resort if…

If you’re visiting Walt Disney World during less busy times of the year, like early January, February, September ( and all the other lower crowd times at Disney World), then you’re safe to stay at a Value Resort and save some money. We highly recommend Pop Century Resort as it’s one of the best and is now also on the Skyliner Gondola line. A word of warning though, during busy times of the year and through the summer months, value resorts are filled to the brim with school groups, spring breakers, and international groups and can be very noisy and busy. 

Stay at a Disney Moderate or Deluxe Resort if…

Walt Disney World during the busiest times of year is best spent in the more expensive resorts. Disheartening yes, but sleep is important. While many clubs, groups, squads, etc. will all pile themselves into the cheapest resorts possible during the busy times of the year if you’re just hoping for a nice vacation spring for the higher-end resorts. They are less affected by the crowds. So at least while the parks may be crowded, your resort experience can be relaxing. We like the Boardwalk Inn best for easy access to the parks and a quiet relaxing atmosphere. 

Disney Vacation Planning in 2022

Sure, planning for a Disney Vacation in 2022 may have a lot of new moving parts, but this doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Grab a cute journal or planner and just get started. Once you’re confident you’ve answered some of the big questions here, you’ll be ready to start booking your Disney vacation in no time! Be sure to check out all the things that have changed at Walt Disney World in 2022 for an overview of other things to consider. 

Disney Vacation in 2022


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