'Sup! Welcome to Tad's toadally awesome list of what opened at Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and the other Florida theme parks in 2022! As you may know, I'm the Frog Family's resident thrill seeker and I love to keep tabs on all of hoppenings in the theme parks. You can even view my record keeping of what has opened in 2021 and previous years too. In 2022, we saw frogciting openings including Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, as well as special entertainment returning for the first time since 2020. It was a fun year — let's rewind!
2022 proved to be another toadally amazing year at the Orlando theme parks. At Disney World, we saw the grand opening of Guardians of the Guardians: Cosmic Rewind (which has become my no. 1 Disney ride!), as well as the return of Fantasmic! and the Disney Festival of Fantasy parade. SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay launched their respective roller coasters, Ice Breaker and Iron Gwazi, which opened with rave reviews! Plus, the very first Peppa Pig Theme Park opened and became a hit among tadpoles, including my sister, Lily.
This post can hopful as you plan your upcoming trip so you don't miss any of the new experiences, especially if you haven't been to the parks in a few years. You can use it alongside my other post that goes into detail about what's coming to the parks in 2023 and beyond.
What Opened at Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2022
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind — opened May 27, 2022 — One of the world's longest enclosed roller coasters, the ride features a unique story by Walt Disney Imagineering and includes a new, innovative ride system that’s guaranteed to wow guests. The experience begins in the "Galaxarium," a planetarium-like exhibition that highlights the formation of Earth's galaxy and Xandar. But then the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, and you're whisked away on an adventure across the cosmos. Glenn Close reprises her role as "Nova Prime," the leader of Xandar and commander of the Nova Corps. It is an exciting storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees so you can focus on the action — and features the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster! Check out our Cosmic Rewind frequently asked questions for more information.
Reimagined main entrance — in progress (began in 2020, continued through 2021) — EPCOT's main plaza includes new pathways, green spaces and a reimagined fountain. The Leave A Legacy photos have moved just outside the park's gateway in a new, multi-colored display. (There will be additional redevelopment to the area between Spaceship Earth and World Showcase Promenade, which includes several unique gardens, united by a central planter based on the five-ring EPCOT logo. Special lighting will provide a different experience at night.)
Connections Cafe and Eatery — opened April 27, 2022 — The new quick-service restaurant is now serving up sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, salads and more in World Celebration. Connections Cafe serves as the new Starbucks location.
Magic Kingdom Park
Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade — returned March 9, 2022 — The full-length parade is back! Dozens of Disney characters from your favorite stories are marching down Main Street once more.
Mickey's Magical Friendship Faire — returned Feb. 25, 2022 — The Cinderella Castle stage show has returned with a new opening and finale featuring Mickey Mouse and his friends in their EARidescent outfits. The show features an all-new song, "Where the Magic Feels Like Home."
Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade — debuted Feb. 11, 2022 — This new cavalcade features the most Disney characters of any cavalcade since reopening in July 2020. Catch Nick and Judy from "Zootopia," Baloo and King Louie from "The Jungle Book," José Carioca and Panchito from "The Three Caballeros, Miguel from "Coco," Merida, Moana, The Incredibles and more. And later in the year, Mirabel from "Encanto" joined the crew!
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Finding Nemo: The Big Blue ... and Beyond! — returned June 13, 2022 — As a reimagined version of "Finding Nemo: The Musical," the show is set during the timeline of "Finding Dory." The story follows how the fish from Dr. P Sherman's office have made their way across the ocean to the Marine Life Institute.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Fantasmic! — returned Nov. 3, 2022 — The popular nighttime spectacular reopened with an all-new sequence featuring live performers, stunts and special effects. Learn more in our frogtastic guide!
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser — opened March 1, 2022 — Debuting as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept, this hotel becomes a living adventure that allows guests to immerse themselves in an entirely new form of Disney storytelling. Guests check in for a two-night adventure aboard a starship, The Halcyon. You become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you discover a starship alive with characters, stories and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100 percent immersive, and the story touches every single minute of your day. It culminates in a unique journey for every person who visits. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is located near Hollywood Studios, with easy access to Galaxy's Edge!
MagicBand+ — debuted July 27, 2022 — As part of Disney World's 50th-anniversary celebration, a new-and-improved version of the MagicBand has debuted with some toadally magical features! After you enter the park, MagicBand+ lights up, vibrates and interacts in certain areas, such as Disney Fab 50 Character Collection statues and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, as well as during nighttime spectaculars.
Salt & Straw — opened April 20, 2022 — A new ice cream parlor is now open on the West Side at Disney Springs. Salt & Straw is known for its unique flavors that make up its ever-changing menu.
Local Green Orlando — opened March 11, 2022 — This new food truck brings healthy, affordable food that "tastes good and helps you feel good" to Disney Springs.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal's Great Movie Escape — opened Dec. 9, 2022 — This all-new escape room experience debuted in CityWalk, featuring two adventures inspired by Jurassic World and Back to the Future.
What Opened at Other Florida Theme Parks in 2022
Ice Breaker — opened Feb. 18, 2022 — SeaWorld's first multi-directional launched roller coaster is here! It features four launches — both forward and backward — that ultimately launch you into the steepest vertical drop in Florida at 100 degrees, followed by lots of twists, turns and airtime!
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Iron Gwazi — opened March 11, 2022 — Gwazi got a makeover! The former wooden coaster that closed in 2015 has been converted into a hybrid steel-wooden coaster, manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction. It features all-new thrills and restored elements from Gwazi. Standing at 210 feet tall, it became North America's tallest and the world's fastest and steepest hybrid coaster. Iron Gwazi also has three inversions, including a 180-degree stall that keeps riders upside down for a few seconds while moving forward.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort
Peppa Pig Theme Park — opened Feb. 24, 2022 — Peppa Pig has arrived at LEGOLAND Florida Resort! Based on the popular Nick Jr. TV show for tadpoles, Peppa Pig Theme Park features rides, live shows, character interactions, themed play areas and water-play areas with “muddy puddles." While it operates as part of LEGOLAND Florida Resort, guests enter through a separate gate.
I hope you've enjoyed this overview of what opened at Disney World and Universal in 2022. Don't froget that you can see what's coming to the parks in 2023 and beyond! Hop on over to our When to Visit Orlando page for more planning tips, part of our Orlando Planning Timeline!
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Related: Best Time To Visit Universal Orlando Resort