A year after reopening, Walt Disney World entertainment offerings still lacking

by Attractions Magazine Staff

The start of the pandemic last year caused theme parks, shows, restaurants, and other tourism destinations to close or modify their experience. While most of the theme parks in Florida have returned to their pre-pandemic ways, the Walt Disney World Resort has yet to bring back many entertainment offerings. While Disney is offering cavalcades, and brought back some shows, the list of not currently offered entertainment is extensive.

Walt Disney World entertainment

Walt Disney World entertainment consists of nighttime firework spectaculars, parades, shows, character meet-and-greets, cavalcades, character dining, dinner shows, live music, and character appearances. Due to social distancing during the pandemic, many of these options were taken away or modified for safety. But now, in a time where social distancing is not enforced and masks have gone away in the parks, when does the entertainment return? Listed below are the currently unavailable entertainment offerings that were standard at Walt Disney World prior to last year’s closings.

magic kingdom

Magic Kingdom’s currently unavailable entertainment

Note that this doesn’t include seasonal offerings like Halloween or Christmas parties, which also aren’t fully returning this year, nor does it include characters that would be seen in dining experiences. Magic Kingdom is currently offering A Goofy Cavalcade, the Magic Kingdom Cavalcade, the Mickey & Friends Cavalcade, A Royal Princess Processional, and the Tinker Bell & the Lost Treasure float. These are cavalcades, which are mini-parades that go from Frontierland ending on Main Street, U.S.A. Characters and dancers ride or walk alongside the floats as they make their procession.

Walt Disney World entertainment

Epcot’s currently unavailable entertainment

  • Shows
    • Bands at Canada Mill Stage – live music
    • Jeweled Dragon Acrobats – live acrobatics in the China Pavilion courtyard
    • Serveur Amusant – live acrobatics in the France Pavilion courtyard
  • Characters and Meet and Greets
    • Anna & Elsa at Royal Sommerhus
    • Alice and Winnie the Pooh Friends in the United Kingdom
    • Belle in France
    • Donald Duck in Mexico
    • Joy inside ImagineWorks
    • Minnie Mouse near World Showcase Plaza
    • Mulan in China
    • Pluto near Main Entrance
    • Princess Jasmine in Morocco
    • Ralph & Vanellope inside ImagineWorks
    • Snow White in Germany
    • Visa Card Pals at the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival

This list doesn’t include seasonal offerings like the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival or the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, nor does it include characters that would be seen in dining experiences. Epcot currently offers a Princess Promenade, a mini-parade that takes some Disney Princesses around World Showcase as they wave to guests.

disney's hollywood studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ currently unavailable entertainment

This doesn’t include seasonal offerings like Halloween or Christmas festivities or characters that would be seen in dining experiences. Disney’s Hollywood Studios currently offers the Mickey and Friends Motorcade and the Pixar Pals Motorcade.

Walt Disney World entertainment

Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s currently unavailable entertainment

This doesn’t include seasonal offerings like Halloween or Christmas festivities or characters that would be seen in dining experiences. Disney’s Animal Kingdom currently offers the Discovery Island Drummers Flotilla, the Discovery River Character Cruise, Donald’s Dino Bash Flotilla, the Goofy & Pals Set Sail character cruise, and the Mickey and Friends Flotilla. Flotillas and character cruises are when characters ride boats, usually with musical accompaniment, and take a loop around Disney’s Animal Kingdom park via the Discovery River waterways.

disney springs

Disney Springs’ currently unavailable entertainment

This doesn’t include seasonal offerings like Halloween or Christmas festivities or live entertainment in third party-owned restaurants and shops, which changes continually.

Walt Disney World entertainment

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels and Disney Boardwalk’s currently unavailable entertainment

  • Disney’s BoardWalk
    • Atlantic Dance Hall – live music
    • ESPN Club – Live Radio Sports Show – live talk show
    • Jelly Rolls – live music
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
    • Disney’s Spirit of Aloha – dinner show
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
    • Musicians at Scat Cats Club – live music
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
    • Yehaa Bob Jackson at River Roost Lounge – live music

This doesn’t include seasonal offerings like Halloween or Christmas festivities. And on occasion, some Disney characters do randomly show up at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels.


Edline and our cast are the magic ✨ #Disney #DisneyParks #DisneyWorld #DisneyAnimalKingdom #DisneyCastLife #Magic

♬ original sound – Disney Parks

Alongside the long list of currently unavailable options, the Disney Parks TikTok account actually made a video about it. Cast member Edline met a young girl who cried because she was unable to find Mickey Mouse at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The solution? To make a Mickey Mouse shape out of leaves. While it was great thinking by Edline to offer a temporary solution, it showcases the lack of entertainment options at Walt Disney World. A one day, one park ticket to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the time of publishing costs $126 per person.

While it is possible to see Mickey Mouse in the Mickey and Friends Flotilla, the boats move quickly and the times listed in the My Disney Experience app are only approximate. This makes it much harder to pinpoint an exact time and place to see Disney characters. It is possible to visit any of the four Walt Disney World parks currently and entirely miss all the characters in the park. Currently, the best possible options are at the Magic Kingdom, but guests still need to utilize the My Disney Experience app, or risk waiting extended times in hopes of characters coming by. Even on the My Disney Experience app, there is no specific time or location for characters to do social meet-and-greets. While many Disney experts may know that Anna and Elsa come out daily at the Norway Pavilion, your everyday visitor would not.

disney enchantment

As part of the upcoming 50th anniversary celebration, some major new entertainment is on the way — but two of these new offerings are replacements. Magic Kingdom will be replacing “Happily Ever After” with “Disney Enchantment,” a new nighttime firework spectacular. “Epcot Forever,” the current limited-time firework show at Epcot, will be replaced with “Harmonious,” a new nighttime firework spectacular. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is getting a new daytime show in the former home of the “Rivers of Light: We Are One” nighttime show. This new show, “Disney KiteTails,” will come to life several times daily at the Discovery River Amphitheater.

Of course, entertainment not returning also means many cast members are either still furloughed or are still working in alternate locations, if they weren’t already let go. Most seasonal and part-time entertainment cast members were laid off last December.

We don’t know exactly why the above entertainment options haven’t returned. Could it be that Disney is trying to save money to make up for losses that resulted from the parks being closed? (Disneyland was closed for over a year.) Or is Disney just being cautious with COVID-19 and the Delta variant and selective in what entertainment returns?

We reached out to Disney World officials and were told “We are taking a phased and deliberate approach with this, as with everything else at this time. We continue to evaluate our entertainment offerings and will provide more information when additional decisions have been made.”

Walt Disney World entertainment

Walt Disney World has given these mini-parades as their primary source of character interaction. But with an entire year having gone by since re-opening, is this enough? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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1 comment

Mary Cahalen July 28, 2021 - 2:44 pm

It is time to bring entertainment back. We have waited long enough


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