Images Credit: Disney

40 Pre-COVID Disney Experiences Still Missing

It’s wild to think it has been two years since COVID-19 first rocked our world with massive closures in March 2020. Many experiences have returned to Walt Disney World Resort, but we can’t help but think of all that’s still missing.

It seems like The Walt Disney Company used COVID as a reset button as did many companies across the globe. We have said an official goodbye to several experiences such as Spirit of Aloha at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Rivers of Light and Primeval Whirl at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the NBA Experience and VOID at Disney Springs, and even the beloved Disney’s Magical Express landed on the chopping block.

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On the flip side, Disney is working hard to bring back fan favorites such as hugs and autographs as Character Meet and Greets return this month! Plus, ALL of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels are now open as of April 2022.

Disney has revealed the soon to be returned memorable experiences such as Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, along with the beloved Tumble Monkeys and Flying Birds for Festival of the Lion King.

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We’re also eager to see the return of the Minnie Van transportation service, the Disney International Programs, and the delicious Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort & Spa.

With everything Disney currently has in the works, there is still a long list they have remained quiet on that leaves us all to wonder. Let’s dive into the lists of pre-COVID experiences still missing.

Disney Vacation Planning

Planning a getaway to Disney World? If you haven’t visited since the Parks and Resorts phased reopening, take note as there are several experiences missed or changed.

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  • Anytime Park Hopping: Remember the days of using your Park Hopper or Annual Pass to move around the Parks freely? Guests now must wait until after 2 pm.
  • Spontaneous Visits: Spontaneous visits are GONE. Now, Guests must make Park Pass Reservations for the Disney Park they plan to visit – with many days selling out quickly.
  • Annual Passes: Annual Passes were put on hold, then returned, and now are on hold again. When can Guests purchase Annual Passes once again? We aren’t sure.
Credit: Disney Tips
  • 180-Day Advanced Dining Reservations: Like planning ahead? Now Guests can make dining reservations 60-days in advance instead of the pre-COVID 180-day window.
  • Disney Dining Plan (DDP): The DDP offered that all-inclusive feeling while vacationing at Disney with tiers of dining packages. Disney announced last summer that the DDP will return but we’ve heard crickets since.
  • Tables in Wonderland: The budget-friendly Tables in Wonderland offered a 20% discount at select restaurants. The discount program has yet to return.
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Magic Kingdom

Take a stroll with us to Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park where the magic happens! While we await the opening of TRON Lightcylce / Run which has taken over four years to construct… we’re also missing these Park memories:

  • Be Our Guest Quick-Service: Be Our Guest recently added a pricy Brunch option, but seemingly gone are the days of the quick-service food.
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique & The Pirates League: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (BBB) is making a return to the Disney Cruise Line, but Disney has yet to announce plans for BBB’s return at Magic Kingdom or Disney Springs. The pirate version called The Pirates League is also still closed.
  • Citizens of Main Street, U.S.A: The Citizens of Main Street, U.S.A. were always excited and eager to greet Guests. These talented Cast Members are still missing.
  • Crystal Palace Character Dining: The Crystal Palace table-service restaurant is open but no longer offers character greetings from Winne the Pooh and Friends.
Credit: Disney Tips
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle: Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast (1991) is no longer welcoming Guests to her cottage for storytime as Enchanted Tales with Belle has remained closed.
  • Harmony Barber Shop: That memorable first haircut on Main Street, U.S.A. will have to wait as Harmony Barber Shop has yet to open.
  • Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour: Several special tours throughout Walt Disney World have not returned. One of our favorites, the Walt Disney Marceline tour, hasn’t come back.
  • Walt Disney World Railroad: No surprise here! The Walt Disney World Railroad has been closed since December 2018 due to TRON construction.
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Waving goodbye to Magic Kingdom, let’s head to EPCOT where the Park is undergoing a massive transformation into four neighborhoods. Plus, EPCOT’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster will be opening this May. So, what’s still missing amidst the excitement?

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: The table-service restaurant in the Norway Pavilion is still closed keeping Guests from the Princess character dining that was previously available.
  • Behind the Seeds Tour: Another tour yet to return is the Behind the Seeds Tour in the Land Pavilion which took Guests through the Living With the Land attraction in a detailed way.
  • EPCOT Seas Adventures: All EPCOT Seas Adventures including DiveQuest and Aqua Tour are currently closed.
  • Frozen Ever After Dessert Party: With Harmonious lighting up the World Showcase Lagoon nightly, you’d think a dessert party would be offered. Alas, Frozen Ever After Dessert Party has yet to return.
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  • Jeweled Dragon Acrobats: Remember the extremely talented Jeweled Dragon Acrobats? We are so ready for them to once again impress in EPCOT’s China Pavilion.
  • Monsieur Paul: The France Pavilion has expanded to welcome Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, but it seems like the Monsieur Paul restaurant has been left behind.
  • Restaurant Marrakesh: Changes are underway to EPCOT’s Morocco Pavilion. We aren’t sure what the future may hold for Restaurant Marrakesh.
  • Takumi-Tei: This one only had a short while to be open before COVID hit. Will the expensive but delicious Takumi-Tei restaurant return to EPCOT’s Japan Pavilion?
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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is keeping the crowds coming! With Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Slinky Dog Dash, and other fan favorites, the Park is bursting with excitement. Have you noticed these experiences however have yet to return?

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  • Citizens of Hollywood: Much like Magic Kingdom’s Citizen of Main Street, U.S.A., the Citizens of Hollywood provided that perfect dose of humor and spontaneity that we miss dearly in Park entertainment.
  • Dine with An Imagineer: Guests could make dining reservations for the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant and pay for an Imagineer to join them! This impressive experience hasn’t returned.
  • Green Army Men: Toy Story Land is WAY too quiet these days. We’re ready to see the Green Army Men interact with Park Guests once again.
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  • Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple: All young Jedis will have to wait to battle Darth Vader and Kylo Ren as Jedi Training is still on hold.
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular: Disney has returned fireworks to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, but not at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We’re ready to see “the force” light up the sky once again with a Galactic Spectacular!
  • Star Wars Launch Bay & Theater: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is keeping Star Wars fans busy as the Launch Bay and Theater are closed. Will we see its return or is Disney working on other plans for this space?
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid: Right next door is the building for the stage show, Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Rumors are this one is disappearing for good, but Disney has yet to confirm.
Credit: Disney Photo Snapper

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Surprisingly, of all the Walt Disney World Parks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has brought back the most experiences or at least promised the return of the Finding Nemo Musical and the full Festival of the Lion King show.

UP! A Great Bird Adventure (Credit: Disney)
  • UP! A Great Bird Adventure: The only one on our Disney’s Animal Kingdom list is UP! A Great Bird Adventure. Currently, this show is called “Feathered Friends in Flight” – but it’s missing a BIG piece… the former Disney Pixar characters from UP (2009) including Russell and Dug. We’re ready to see this funny duo return.

General – Disney Resort Hotels

With the Disney World Resort Hotels all now open, there are still some missing pieces to the puzzle. Here are non-dining, general experiences we’re hoping to see return:

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  • The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is too quiet without this grand Orchestra that previously filled the lobby with gorgeous music.
  • Pirate Adventure Cruises: Select Resorts such as Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort offered Pirate Adventure Cruises which allowed parents to drop age-appropriate children off for a memorable pirate adventure. Sorry, me hearties – no word of this one’s return.
  • Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort has recently opened “The Grand Spa” in place of its former Senses Spa. We don’t know however what Disney plans for Senses Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort as it is still closed.
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Dining – Disney Resort Hotels

Get your appetite ready! There’s a list of Disney Resort Hotel dining experiences currently unavailable:

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  • 1900 Park Fare: Ah, yes, the memorable character dining experience! Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, we’re missing the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast with Disney characters such as Mary Poppins and Mad Hatter, along with Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner with Cinderella and her stepsisters. We’re surprised this one hasn’t returned yet!
  • Cape May Cafe Character Dining: Cape May Cafe is open at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, but sadly, the characters have gone missing. Daisy, Goofy, Donald, Minnie… where do you go?
  • ESPN Club: Want to watch the game and enjoy a cold brew while you’re at it? ESPN Club on Disney’s Boardwalk was that perfect retreat away from Disney overload. We’d love for ESPN Club to once again turn on the games and let us come unwind.
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  • Garden View Tea Room: This tea experience is like no other! Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, we’re hoping to sip our tea with our pinkies up in the near future.
  • ‘Ohana Character Dining: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has reopened the delicious ‘Ohana restaurant. What’s missing? The Lilo & Stitch Character breakfast included Lilo, Stitch, and even Mickey Mouse in his Hawaiin shirt greeting Guests in the morning.
  • Top of the World Lounge: Disney Vacation Club Members can all agree we’re ready for the return of the exclusive Top of the World Lounge above Disney’s Bay Lake Tower.
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Disney has come such a long way in these past two years! We know things take time, but as Disney introduces new projects such as the Grand Floridian expansion, Polynesian Resort tower, solar power initiative, affordable housing development, and more… we can’t help but wonder when these missing Disney experiences will return.

About Jamie Sylvester

I'm a Disney nerd! A kid at heart who loves the magic and memories of Walt Disney World. I follow all things Disney and enjoy the vacations, day trips, and weekend getaways, and geek out over the planning of such events. My goal is to experience as many Disney desserts and cocktails as possible! Married to another Disney nerd and blessed with a daughter and son, we thoroughly enjoy the magic at Disney and are here to help others experience the magic as well.