2021 is so last year, and I think I can speak for many of us when I say I’m looking forward to 2022 and all it has to offer. It’s worth noting that as difficult as 2021 was, there were some inarguable upswings to the year that deserve us pausing a moment to take in and appreciate.
For starters, the general good news to come out of 2021 was the return of the parks to (mostly) normal pacing. At Walt Disney World Resort, all eyes were on the 50th anniversary celebrations. Two new nighttime spectaculars, “Disney Enchantment” at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and “Harmonious” at EPCOT both received mixed reviews, but Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and the expansion of EPCOT’s France Pavilion in general was received warmly by guests and critics alike. In fact, EPCOT seemed to get the most meaningful attention of any park, with two new stores (Club Cool and Creations Shop) opening to guests in addition to the debut of Space 220 Restaurant. Disney Genie+ was also officially installed as a replacement of the beloved FastPass reservation system.
At Universal Orlando Resort, Jurassic World VelociCoaster opened to the public in June and has welcomed many excited guests since then. The projection-mapping shows at Hogwarts Castle in Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure came back in the summer and even hosted the season-specific Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle show during the fall. Halloween Horror Nights returned to celebrate 30 years of fears in September after having to drastically cut back the event in 2020, absolutely delivering with a record number of nights and houses. Earl the Squirrel made his live character debut during the tail-end of the holiday season at Universal Studios Florida, complementing the emergence of Mistletoe Pines Village in CityWalk and his room in the 2021 Holiday Tribute Store.
So, what does 2022 have in store for guests? We’ve created a comprehensive list here that identifies the attractions and events you’ll want to mark your calendar for. We even get into what to expect for 2023 — and beyond!
As an accompanying piece, check out our article here for a detailed run-down of our suggestions on the best and worst times to visit the theme parks in 2022 and 2023. With so much to consider in your vacation planning, picking the ideal time to visit can make a huge difference in your vacation experience!
Everything coming to Orlando’s theme parks in 2022 and beyond
Everything coming to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld in early 2022:
Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom
This parade celebrates guest-favorite characters and elements from the Fantasyland portion of Magic Kingdom. The world-class floats and entertainers are sure to deliver magic at every turn through the parade route.
Mickey’s Magical Friendship Fair
This stage show at Cinderella Castle will return with a new opening and finale featuring the Fab Five in their 50th Anniversary EARidescent gear.
- 14 – Festival of the Arts at EPCOT (goes through February 21)
- 22-24 – Kids’ Weekends at SeaWorld Orlando
- 29 – Elmo’s Birthday Celebration at SeaWorld Orlando (goes through February 3)
- 4 – Seven Seas Food Festival at SeaWorld Orlando (goes through May 8)
- 5 – Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida kicks off (goes through April 24)
- 18 – Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando debuts – Orlando’s newest roller coaster!
- 24 – Peppa Pig Theme Park Grand Opening
- 25 – Mardi Gras at SeaWorld Orlando (goes through March 6)
- 1- Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser officially opens
- 2 – EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival (goes through July 4)
- 17 – 20 – St. Patricks Day at SeaWorld Orlando
- Iron Gwazi Opens at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Everything coming to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld in summer 2022:
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT
Do you have what it takes to help the Guardians of the Galaxy and save the universe? Find out this summer in Disney’s first-ever reverse-launch coaster. This coaster promises to be one of the world’s longest enclosed tracks.
- 29 – Cinco de Mayo at SeaWorld Orlando (until May 8)
- 14 – Viva la Musica at SeaWorld Orlando (on weekends until May 22)
- 27 – Electric Ocean at SeaWorld Orlando (goes until September 5)
- 27 – Summer Nights at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (goes until August 7)
- 1-4 Fourth of July Weekend at SeaWorld Orlando
- 5 – Craft Beer Festival at SeaWorld Orlando on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day (goes through September 5)
Late summer 2022:
- Revenge of the Mummy scheduled to re-open after maintenance closure
Everything coming to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld in fall and winter 2022
- Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida
The premier Halloween event in Orlando. This separately-ticketed experience is perfect for adults who love the Halloween season. Daytime admission not required or included.
- 9 – Howl-O-Scream at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (Separately-ticketed event on select nights through Halloween)
- 10 – SeaWorld Spooktacular at SeaWorld Orlando (on weekends through October 31)
- Although dates and details have yet to be announced, both Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Resort have holiday offerings
- 5 & 6 – Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends at SeaWorld Orlando
- 11 – SeaWorld Christmas Celebration at SeaWorld Orlando (goes through December 31)
- 13 – Christmas Town at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (goes through January 3, 2023)
Everything coming to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld in early 2022 sometime in 2022:
Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
One of the most impressive nighttime shows in the entire Disney Resort, Fantasmic! promises to return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios this year. Fall into Mickey’s dream and see characters you know and love in this beautiful waterfront space.
Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond
Nemo and his friends come to life on stage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Through the artistry of puppets, lighting, and music, guests can experience a familiar story in a brand-new way.
Salt & Straw Opening at Disney Springs
The new ice cream parlor will bring its unique and diverse menu to Disney Springs in 2022.
Everything coming to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld in 2023 or Beyond:
Splash Mountain Retheming
No official word yet on when Splash Mountain will receive “The Princess and the Frog” makeover announced in 2020. The attraction will follow the newly-made Princess Tiana and Louis the alligator on a journey. No doubt that whenever the changes are made, guests can expect to see an experience guided by music and adventure.
TRON Lightcycle Run
Taking the technology found only in Shanghai Disneyland, Tron Lightcycle Run gives guests the opportunity to hop on a Lightcycle and become part of TRON’s universe in this impressive roller coaster.
EPCOT’s New Main Entrance
Still under construction, EPCOT’s main plaza is undergoing a major facelift. In the near future, the space will present with more greenery to complement the already completed fountain. The Leave a Legacy photos have been moved to a new, more colorful display for guests to enjoy.
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana
This brand-new walkthrough attraction in EPCOT will allow guests to interact with the element in a beautiful space. Guests will be educated on the water cycle in a way that will make you feel like a voyager!
This new play area is currently in development at EPCOT’s World Discovery (on the site of the former Wonders of Life location) and will offer an immersive game space for guests to interact with their favorite Disney and Pixar characters. For example, guests can help Edna Mode with style issues, or enjoy a water balloon fight with Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Special Events Pavilion
EPCOT is busy installing a new pavilion to provide a beautiful space for the live events during the park’s many annual festivals. The stage is designed to have three levels of viewing, so guests can enjoy live shows from many vantages and viewpoints.
Mary Poppins Attraction
Sadly, this project seems to have been delayed indefinitely. Originally designed to be installed in the United Kingdom pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase, the Mary Poppins attraction would take guests through some of the most recognizable spaces in the iconic film.
Beatrix Opening at Disney Springs
Another addition to Disney Springs, this eatery will focus on healthier and greener food options. Vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free diners will enjoy dropping in for a meal or for a simple to-go coffee and bakery item. If it’s more your scene for something stronger, Beatrix has that for you as well! The shop will offer beer, wine, and cocktails.
Universal’s Epic Universe and Super Nintendo World
Delayed until 2025, Universal’s Epic Universe and Super Nintendo World have certainly faced significant delays from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, if the corresponding lands in Universal Studios Japan are any indication, this park will be well worth the wait!
What are you most looking forward to in 2022 and 2023? Let us – and thousands of other Disney fans – know in our Orlando Informer Community on Facebook. Be sure to follow Orlando Informer on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news, tips, and rumors at Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, and other Orlando attractions.