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Update for May 6 – 12, 2014

Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions | Comments

News and Views

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to open May 28 | New Free dining and room only discounts released | Disney's Animal Kingdom offers summer "Harambe Nights" event | Tickets on sale for 2014 Halloween and Christmas events | Star Wars Weekend events can be reserved via Fastpass+ | Disney's Polynesian Resort updates include Trader Sam's, remove waterfalls | Two ferry docks operating at TTC | Disney's Hollywood Studios celebrates 25th anniversary | Disney's Animal Kingdom expansion to include new shows, extended hours | Views from around "The World" | This week at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival | Quick takes | Crowd update

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opens May 28

Friday, May 2, 2014 marked a historic day at the Magic Kingdom with the dedication of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Skaggs joined Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for the ceremony, which included an official ride opening announcement of May 28, 2014.


MousePlanet staff shot this night time POV video from the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train during the May 2 media preview event at Magic Kingdom.

As part of the media day preview, invited guests had the chance to experience the entire ride experience, from playing games in the interactive queue and seeing the detailed setting created by Imagineers, to taking a ride on the new coaster, and discovering their own dwarf name. MousePlanet staff writer Stephanie Wien gave readers an inside look at the media preview with an article featuring lots of fun pictures and a rundown of the day's events.

Visitors can now make Fastpass+ reservations through the My Disney Experience website or smartphone app as soon as their reservation window opens. For more information on making Fastpass+ reservations, visit the official Walt Disney World website.

New Free dining and room only discounts released

Walt Disney World released two new discounts that cover arrival dates from August – December 2014.

Free Dining Offer

Sue from Small World Vacations reports the general public can book a free dining package for specific dates beginning Wednesday, May 7.

Offer details:

2014 Vacation Dates

  • August 31 to October 3
  • October 26 to November 1
  • November 9–20
  • December 12–23

Free Quick Service Plan – Book a Magic Your Way vacation package for a minimum of three nights with at least two days of theme park tickets at select Disney Value Resorts to receive Disney's Quick Service Dining Plan for free. Visitors can upgrade to a Table Service Dining Plan for less than $20 per night for adults and less than $5 per night for children ages 3 through 9. Value Resorts include:

  • Disney's Pop Century
  • Disney's Art of Animation Suites
  • Disney's All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

Free Table Service Dining Plan – Book a Magic Your Way vacation package for a minimum of three nights with at least two days of theme park tickets at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villas Resorts to receive Disney's Basic Table Service Dining Plan for free. An upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan is available for less than $50 per night for adults and less than $11 per night for children ages 3 through 9. Moderate and Deluxe Resorts include:

  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort
  • Disney's Grand Floridian & Spa Resort
  • Disney's Polynesian Resort
  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
  • Disney's BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney's Beach Club Villas
  • Disney's BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney's Bay Lake Tower
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas

Offer Restrictions

  • Advance reservations required.
  • All guests staying in the same room must add theme park tickets to their Magic Your Way package. Tickets may include park hoppers, water parks & more and/or no expiration options.
  • Walt Disney World Resorts limits the number of free dining rooms.
  • Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas at Disney Vacation Villa Resorts, Disney's Art of Animation Resort Mermaid Rooms, Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter and Riverside, and The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
  • Dining plans exclude alcoholic beverages and gratuities.
  • Children ages 3 to 9 must choose from children's menu, if available.

Room-Only Offer

Visitors can receive up to a 30 percent discount when making a room only reservation at the Walt Disney World Resort on most arrival days from August 16 through October 3. Offer exclusions include all of Bay Lake Tower, the Grand Floridian & Spa Villas, and the Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms.

Disney's Animal Kingdom offers summer "Harambe Nights" event

Visitors looking to enjoy Disney's Animal Kingdom after the sun goes down have three new experiences to enjoy over the next few years.

This summer, "Harambe Nights" debuts as Walt Disney World's latest venture into evening entertainment. This hard ticket event, which runs every Saturday evening from June 7 through August 9, celebrates the 20th anniversary of the classic Disney film The Lion King.

The event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. with a welcome reception in the park's Harambe Village, where visitors enjoy appetizers and African-inspired wine and beer.

Following the welcoming reception, the event features "The Lion King – Concert in the Wild." This production brings the story of Simba to life through a theatrical experience featuring a live orchestra and choir, dancers, digital movie projects and various lighting and scenery effects.

Various celebrity guest narrators are scheduled to host "The Lion King – Concert in the Wild":

  • June 7 – Viola Davis ("The Help," "Ender's Game")
  • June 14 – TBD
  • June 21 – Montego Glover ("The Following," "Memphis")
  • June 28 – David Alan Grier ("Porgy & Bess," "In Living Color")
  • July 5 – Michael Beach ("ER," "Third Watch," "Sons of Anarchy")
  • July 12 – Harry Lennix ("The Blacklist," "The Five Heartbeats")
  • July 19 – Joe Morton ("Scandal," "American Gangster," "The Good Wife")
  • July 26 – Alfre Woodard ("Desperate Housewives," "Miss Evers Boys")
  • August 2 – Patina Miller ("Pippin," "The Hunger Games – Mockingay-Part 1")
  • August 9 – Brian Stokes Mitchell ("Ragtime," "Trapper John M.D.," "Glee")

After the show, the event includes dancing, exclusive character greetings, an all-inclusive buffet of African cuisine and gourmet desserts and special Lion King merchandise for sale.

The party wraps up the evening with a special finale "that can only happen at Disney's Animal Kingdom."

Tickets are $119 for adults and $79 for ages 3 through 9, plus tax. Premium tickets with floor seating are $134 for adults and $94 for ages 3 through 9, plus tax. The ticket includes theme park admission for the event only. The ticket does not include any attraction, entertainment, or other offerings outside of the special event.

To make advance reservations (which we strongly recommend), go to the official "Harambe Nights" web page or call (407) 939-1319

Tickets on sale for 2014 Halloween and Christmas events

MousePlanet reader Dis-Girl gave us a heads-up about the 2014 Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party ticket sales which we, of course, have to pass it on to everyone.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tickets went on sale on May 5. The ticket prices for MNSSHP start at $62.00 for adults and $57.00 for children 3 through 9 and for MVMCP $67.00 for adults and $62.00 for children 3 through 9. Visitors can book over the phone at (407) W DISNEY (407-934-7639) or online at the official Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party web page and the official Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party web page.

MNSSHP Halloween event September dates: 1, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28

MNSSHP Halloween event October dates: 2, 3, 5, 9. 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31

MVMCP Christmas event November dates: 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20, 21, 30

MVMCP Christmas event December dates: 2,4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19

The official hours for these events are 7:00 pm to midnight, but ticket holders can actually enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4:00 p.m. by showing their official party ticket.

Note: Last year, U.K. visitors could not buy the special events tickets online until about a week after they were released.

We also suggest that you don't link your MNSSHP and MVMCP tickets to your MagicBands, but instead, have Disney send you separate hard-ticket cards. Do not do will-call. Last year, people who loaded their MNSSHP and MVMCP tickets on to their Magic Bands were not being let into the parks early, as the card/band readers at the park entrances were giving an "invalid" code. People had to go to guest services to have their tickets "removed" from their MagicBands and given a physical ticket to enter before the official party time.

Star Wars Weekend events can be reserved via Fastpass+

Star Wars Weekend visitors can now make Fastpass+ reservations for many of the shows and presentations of the 2014 Star Wars Weekends events through the My Disney Experience app and website.

Here are the five events currently available:

  • An Ewok's Tale: My Short Story, Starring Warwick Davis (second weekend only)
  • Behind the Force – Star Wars: Rebels
  • Obi-Wan and Beyond starring James Arnold Taylor
  • Stars of the Saga Star Wars Celebrity Talk Show
  • Visit to the Maul, starring Ray Park (weekends 3 and 4 only)

My Disney Experience classifies these events as "Tier 1" selections, which means you can only select one of them, leaving you two more Fastpass+ reservations to use for Tier 2 selections, like "Star Tours."

As of now, you cannot make Fastpass+ reservations for the "Symphony in the Stars" fireworks show or the Legends of the Force motorcade. My Disney Experience does not offer an availability date at this time.

As with past years, Disney has said it is using the "Legacy" Fastpass system to handle the queues for celebrity appearances. This does not impact your ability to reserve Fastpass+.

Disney's Polynesian Resort updates include Trader Sam's, remove waterfalls

As work continues on the major refurbishment/expansion project at Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney officials released more information about the changes coming to one of Walt Disney's World's original resort hotels.

On May 2, Walt Disney World Resort President George A. Kalogridis announced a complete re-imagining of the resort, including the resort returning to its original, 1971 opening-day name: Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, according to the Disney Parks Blog.

Kalogridis also announced the addition of Trader Sam's Grog Grotto, based on the popular themed restaurant at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The resort hopes to have the new restaurant opened sometime in 2015.

The biggest change, though, appeared in an artist's rendering of the refurbished main lobby area. While the drawing shows a colorful, wide-open concept to welcome resort guests and visitors, it looks as if the new plans do not include the resort's iconic waterfalls area.


An artist's rendering of the re-imagined Disney's Polynesian Resort shows major changes to the resort's main lobby area, including the removal of its iconic waterfalls. Photo by Disney Parks Blog.

Response came swiftly from the blog's readers, many of whom felt strongly about the Polynesian's new lobby design. Two samples of the general sentiment, posted in the comments section of the Disney Parks Blog post, include

"This is nice, and I am sure first-time visitors will enjoy the new lobby. However, the Polynesian Resort has been my home away from home for twenty+ years, and I will forever lament the loss of the beautiful lobby waterfall." – Kendall

"...incredibly sad to see the waterfall go. Back when we could afford Polynesian Village, we stayed there every year. And yes, we still call it Polynesian Village, so I am happy that the name is returning. BUT, losing that waterfall is devastating…truly. I am sure y'all will come up with something nice, but I have a hard time believing it will ever replace that waterfall and garden." – Steve from SC


Visitors have enjoyed visiting Disney's Polynesian Resort's waterfalls in the main lobby area for years. The resort's refurbishment does not include this area in the latest artist's rendering. Video by MousePlanet.

How do you feel about the Polynesian Resort's new design? Share your thoughts on MousePad, our user forum.

Two ferry docks operating at TTC

On May 5, our sponsors at TouringPlans.com reported on their Twitter page that both a second dock at the Ticket and Transportation Center had ferries running to and from the park to help alleviate crowd congestion.. Photos still showed major backups at the TTC's ferry boat line and at monorail station even as the additional ferry went online.

Construction workers spent the last few months building a second ferry launch to accommodate spill over crowds from periodic monorail outages and growing crowds during peak seasons.

The second dock at the Magic Kingdom shows no activity, yet, but should open soon.

Disney's Hollywood Studios celebrates 25th anniversary

Disney's Hollywood Studios "rolled out the red carpet" in honor of its 25th anniversary of operation. Special guests, parades, and events filled the park throughout the day.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck joined Disney's Hollywood Studios' vice president Dan Cockerell for a special commemoration ceremony. During the ceremony, one of the original DHS cast members, Noel, added his handprint to a commemorative plaque to represent the nearly two dozen cast members who have worked at the park since it opened in 1989.


Disney's Hollywood Studios celebrated 25 years, remembering about two dozen or so cast members who have been here since park opening. Four handprints, including an original cast member, a visitor who attending the park's opening day, Disney's Hollywood Studios vice president Dan Cockerell and Mickey Mouse, serve as a tribute to the occasion. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


This is Noel, chosen to represent the cast members in adding his hand print to the ceremonial plaque. Not long after the program was over, he quietly resumed his duties in keeping the park clean. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Disney's Animal Kingdom expansion to include new shows, extended hours

Last week, Walt Disney World Resort made a number of announcements regarding refurbishments and long-term expansion plans for Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Disney Parks Blog announced the opening of The Festival of the Lion King musical in the brand new theater in the Africa section of Disney's Animal Kingdom park. Officials did not provide a specific opening date for this attraction.


The New Festival of the Lion King theater as viewed from the bridge between Discovery Island and Asia. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Disney's Animal Kingdom' "River of Light" nighttime spectacular joins a sparking line up in the tradition of Magic Kingdom's Wishes, Epcot's Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, and Disney Hollywood Studios' Fantasmic according to a Disney Parks Blog announcement.

"Rivers of Light" brings together live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery all on the natural stage of the Discovery River located between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. Disney officials gave no official opening date for the new event, saying "Rivers of Light" is part of the largest expansion project in Disney's Animal Kingdom's history.


An artist's rendering offers a preview of what Disney's Animal Kingdom's new "Rivers of Light" nighttime spectacular will look like when it debuts as part of the park's major expansion project. Photo by Disney Parks Blog.

Official Disney Parks Blog writer Shawn Slater reported another new nighttime addition coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom: a nighttime version of the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris ride. As part of the comments section of his "Rivers of Light" post, Slater specifically mentioned a nighttime Kilimanjaro Safaris experience as one of many additions coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom as part of it's massive expansion project. Slater did not provide an official opening date for the new attraction.

Views from around "The World"

Our MousePlanet photographer captured some detail work and improvements made by workers this past week across the Walt Disney World resort.

Disney's Polynesian Resort

Work on the Disney Polynesian Resort expansion continued last week as workers get ready to raise the roof on another section of the property.


Roof frames staged nearby, ready to be raised into place by the (off-camera) crane. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.


Workers add supports to enlarge the second and third story balconies at Disney's Polynesian Resort for rooms that will become DVC units. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Epcot

Epcot workers started to give Future World a new color scheme last week.


The new Future World colors alternate in the paint scheme, but largely draw on browns, blues and greens as seen her on the Innoventions building. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


A new, natural color scheme brings new life to Epcot's Future World buildings, as seen here on the MouseGears shop exterior. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

Disney's Hollywood Studios


A new Fastpass+ "tip board" gives visitors a running update on Fastpass+ availability throughout the park. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" rides in style during Disney's Hollywood Studio's 25th anniversary motorcade. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Typhoon Lagoon


Disney's Typhoon Lagoon now has a check-in station where you can get an identifying wristband for your child while they are in the park. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This week at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Epcot visitors can enjoy the incredible topiaries, educational lectures and food booths during last two weeks of the annual Flower & Garden festival. Our guide provides a full schedule of events for the upcoming week.

Tour information:

  • The Gardens of the World Tour – is a three-hour tour led by a Disney Horticulturist. Theme park admission required and not included. Tickets are $64 per person, plus tax, and guests must be age 16 and up. Call 407-WDW-TOUR to make reservations, or check at Epcot Guest Relations for availability.
  • The English Tea Garden Tour – is a no-cost 20-minute tour presented by Twinings of London. Sign up at the Tea Caddy. Space is limited.
Activity Time Location

Tuesday, May 6

   

Gardens of the World Tour

9:00 a.m. to noon

Epcot

"Deep Rooted Wisdom: Using Old School skills in Modern Gardening by Jenks Farmer"

Noon

Designer's Stage

"Planting Pointers"

1:00, 4:00 p.m.

Festival Center

"Country Plants/City Plants White Came First? Plastic Pots or Woodstock? by Jenks Farmer"

3:00 p.m.

Designer's Stage

English Tea Garden Tour

3:45, 6:15 p.m.

Tea Caddy

Wednesday, May 7    

"Deep Rooted Wisdom: Using Old School Skills in Modern Gardening by Jenks Farmer"

Noon

Designer's Stage

"Planting Pointers"

1:00, 4:00 p.m.

Festival Center

"Country Plants/City Plants Which Came First? Plastic Pots or Woodstock? by Jenks Farmer"

3:00 p.m.

Designer's Stage

English Tea Garden Tour

3:45, 6:15 p.m.

Tea Caddy

Thursday, May 8    

Gardens of the World Tour

9:00 a.m. to noon

Epcot

"Deep Rooted Wisdom: Using Old School Skills in Modern Gardening by Jenks Farmer"

Noon.

Designer's Stage

"Planting Pointers"

1:00, 4:00 p.m.

Festival Center

"Country Plants/City Plants Which Came First? Plastic Pots or Woodstock? by Jenks Farmer"

3:00 p.m.

Designer's Stage

English Tea Garden Tour

3:45, 6:15 p.m.

Tea Caddy

Friday, May 9    

Gardens of the World Tour

9:00 a.m. to noon

Epcot

"Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. Weekend"

9:00 a.m. to park close

Festival Center

"Fun with Flowers and J by J Schwanke "

11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m.

Greenhouse Stage

"Planting Pointers"

1:00, 4:00 p.m.

Festival Center

Genevieve Gorder, HGTV Star

Noon, 3:00 p.m.

Designer's Stage

English Tea Garden Tour

1:00, 3:45, 6:15 p.m.

Tea Caddy

Flower Power Concert Series: Chubby Checker and the Wildcats

5:30, 6:45, 8:00 p.m.

American Gardens Theater

Saturday, May 10    

"Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. Weekend"

9:00 a.m. to park close.

Festival Center

"Fun with Flowers and J by J Schwanke"

11:00 a.m.; 2:00 p.m.

Greenhouse Stage

"Planting Pointers"

1:00, 4:00 p.m.

Festival Center

Genevieve Gorder, HGTV Star

Noon, 3:00

Designer's Stage

English Tea Garden Tour

1:00, 3:45, 6:15 p.m.

Tea Caddy

Flower Power Concert Series: Chubby Checker and the Wildcats

5:30, 6:45, 8:00 p.m.

American Gardens Theater

Sunday, May 11    

"Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. Weekend"

9:00 a.m. to park close

Festival Center

"Fun with Flowers and J by J Schwanke"

11:00 a.m.; 2:00 p.m.

Greenhouse Stage

"Planting Pointers"

1:00, 4:00 p.m.

Festival Center

Genevieve Gorder, HGTV Star

Noon, 3:00 p.m.

Designer's Stage

English Tea Garden Tour

1:00, 3:45, 6:15 p.m.

Tea Caddy

Flower Power Concert Series: Chubby Checker and the Wildcats

5:30, 6:45, 8:00 p.m.

American Gardens Theater

Monday, May 12    

Gardens of the World Tour

9:00 a.m. to noon

Epcot

Monarch Butterflies and their Migration by Jaret Daniels

Noon, 3:00 p.m.

Designer's Stage

"Planting Pointers"

1:00, 4:00 p.m.

Festival Center

English Tea Garden Tour

3:45, 6:15 p.m.

Tea Caddy

Quick takes…

...Disney said last week that the "Symphony in the Stars" fireworks show added to the 2014 Star Wars Weekends is using the new Glow with the Show technology.

...BLINK by Wet Seal, located in Downtown Disney, closed its doors permanently last week. MousePlanet editor Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix reported the shop's listing had been removed from the Downtown Disney website and she saw the shop not in business any more. Downtown Disney officials provided no information on a possible replacement for the location.

...The Orlando Sentinel reports that on April 30, the Florida House of Representatives "unanimously approved a Walt Disney World-backed bill that would increase penalties for theme-park ticket fraud and extend those protections to the giant resort's new microchip-embedded 'MagicBands.'" The Florida Senate passed the bill the prior week and Governor Rick Scott should sign the bill into law soon.

...Disney's Animal Kingdom's Yak & Yeti restaurant recently added new items to its menu. The table service restaurant menu now includes Firecracker Shrimp (a serving of tender, crispy fried shrimp tossed in a creamy, spice sauce served atop a bed of Asian slaw for $9.49), Chicken Tikka Masala (a chicken dish marinated in yogurt and Indian spices served with jasmine rice and traditional garlic naan bread for $22.99), and Teriyaki Grilled Mahi (topped with a pineapple-mango chutney on a bed of steamed jasmine rice, sautéed bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and red peppers).

...One memorable picture could win someone a 4-day, 3-night trip for up to four people to Walt Disney World and the chance to spend the night in the Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle Suite! Disney's latest contest, "Best Moment Ever", invites people to submit one photo depicting a moment of achievement or accomplishment in their lives and caption that photo in a memorable way. Participants can submit their entries online through 11:59 p.m. on May 14, 2014 by visiting the official Best Moment Ever Sweepstakes website. Entrants should read all submission guidelines and eligibility requirements before entering.

The MousePlanet Newsletter is here!

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If you are interested in learning how your blog or site can work with MousePlanet, or you have an idea for a great new column, please contact us—we'd love to hear from you!

Crowd Forecast

Advertisement

"Do more. Wait less."

Walt Disney World should see mostly mid-level crowds leading up to Mother's Day this weekend. Touringplans.com can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist pitfalls, and will help you avoid the dreaded tour groups with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines - Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. Now, more than ever, it's a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

Date Overall
Tuesday, May 6, 2014 3 / 10
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 3 / 10
Thursday, May 8, 2014 2 / 10
Friday, May 9, 2014 4 / 10
 

Check out the Disney World Park Crowd Levels page on TouringPlans.com for park-specific predictions and recommendations on which days to visit and avoid particular parks!

  • Wednesday is the best day to visit the Magic Kingdom.
  • The resort crowd level on Friday 4 out of 10.
  • Following a Touring Plan is important when crowd levels spike at the park you're visiting!

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Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Stephanie here.
Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.

Resort Events

2014

2015

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 7–11, 2015.
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 19–22, 2015.

runDisney events

If you participate in (or are considering signing up for) runDisney events, visit our Team MousePlanet forum on the MousePad discussion board, where you can join our community of health-minded readers and staff.

2014

2015

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 7–11, 2015.
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 19–22, 2015. Registration opens July 15, 2014.

For current information on registration dates and capacity, see Lorree Tachell's runDisney Race Capacity Updates in the Team MousePlanet forum on our MousePad discussion board.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – closed through June 30 for refurbishment.
  • Astro Orbiter – closed through August 20 for refurbishment.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed August 4–8 for refurbishment
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progres – closed August 25 through September 4 for refurbishment

Epcot

  • No known refurbishments at this time.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • No known refurbishments at this time.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Festival of the Lion King – closed for move to its new theater, currently under construction. Opening date scheduled for sometime in June 2014.

Resorts

As reported in July, some refrigerators in non-Disney Vacation Club rooms at Walt Disney World are being replaced due to a product defect. All Walt Disney World Resort rooms with the exception of DVC Villas, the family suites at the Art of Animation and All-Star Movie resorts, and the cabins at Fort Wilderness are impacted. Disney says "the schedule for replacing the refrigerators at these Resorts is expected to last several months."

In the interim, if you have a reservation at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel and need a refrigerator for medical reasons, we recommend contacting your resort directly to inquire about availability during your trip. The hotel should be able to arrange for one if your room does not yet have a new refrigerator, but supplies may be limited while they work to replace all of the malfunctioning units.

  • Polynesian – Never Land Club Children's Activity Center closed for refurbishment through January 1, 2015.
  • Polynesian – Refurbishment of the lobby is slated to begin March 14.
  • Polynesian – Captain Cook's closed for refurbishment March 14 through June 14.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – the entire park closed October 26 through December 20 for refurbishment.

Elsewhere

  • The Resort and Express monorail beam closes between 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday – Friday starting on January 21 due to construction work at the Polynesian Hotel. The construction site is near the Monorail beam.
  • Disney Osprey Ridge Golf Course – permanently closed to play.
  • Downtown Disney Lots H, I, J, and K (in Westside area) closed until further notice for Disney Springs construction.
  • Downtown Disney Bridge 4 and restrooms on Pleasure Island are temporarily closed for ongoing construction work.
  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Note: MousePlanet does not edit past Updates to reflect price increases; for up-to-date prices, check the most recent Walt Disney World Resort Update. For your convenience, we have grouped the discount offers based on the intended audience. Check out the category that best matches you, and pick the offer that works best for you. And keep those tips coming—let us know if you find a better or different offer, so we can share it with other readers!


Discounts for Everyone

Free Dining offer available to general public beginning May 7

Sue from Small World Vacations reports the general public can book a free dining package for specific dates beginning Wednesay, May 7.

Offer details:

2014 Vacation Dates

  • August 31 – October 3
  • October 26 – November 1
  • November 9 – November 20
  • December 12 – December 23

FREE QUICK SERVICE PLAN

  • Book a Magic Your Way vacation package for a minimum of three nights with at least two days of theme park tickets at select Disney Value Resorts to receive Disney's Quick Service Dining Plan for free. Visitors can upgrade to a Table Service Dining Plan for less than $20 per night for adults and less than $5 per night for children ages 3 through 9.
  • Value Resorts included:
    • Disney's Pop Century
    • Disney's Art of Animation Suites
    • Disney's All-Star Music Resort
    • Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

FREE TABLE SERVICE DINING PLAN

  • Book a Magic Your Way vacation package for a minimum of three nights with at least two days of theme park tickets at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villas Resorts to receive Disney's Basic Table Service Dining Plan for free. An upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan is available for less than $50 per night for adults and less than $11 per night for children ages 3 through 9.
  • Moderate and Deluxe Resorts included:
    • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
    • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
    • Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins
    • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
    • Disney's Contemporary Resort
    • Disney's Grand Floridian & Spa Resort
    • Disney's Polynesian Resort
    • Disney's Wilderness Lodge
    • Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
    • Disney's BoardWalk Inn
    • Disney's Beach Club Villas
    • Disney's BoardWalk Villas
    • Disney's Bay Lake Tower
    • Disney's Old Key West Resort
    • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
    • The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
    • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas.

Offer Restrictions

  • Advance reservations required
  • All guests staying in the same room must add theme park tickets to their Magic Your Way package. Tickets may include park hoppers, water parks & more and/or no expiration options.
  • Walt Disney World Resorts limits the number of free dining rooms.
  • Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas at Disney Vacation Villa Resorts, Disney's Art of Animation Resort Mermaid Rooms, Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter and Riverside, and The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Dining plans exclude alcoholic beverages and gratuities
  • Children ages 3 to 9 must choose from children's menu, if available

Save up to 30 percent with Room Only Discount

Visitors can receive up to a 30 percent discount when making a room only reservation at the Walt Disney World Resort on most arrival days from August 16 through October 3. Offer exclusions include all of Bay Lake Tower, the Grand Floridian & Spa Villas, and the Art of Animation Little Mermaid Rooms.


 

Memory Maker pre-arrival discount

Disney's PhotoPass service provides a discount on Disney Memory Maker pre-arrival packages. For $149 plus tax, Walt Disney World guests can digitally download any photos associated with their Memory Maker account, including photos taken on attractions. The advanced purchase price is a $50 savings. Applicable taxes are charged to all orders.

Special offer only available from this link, and must be made more than three days prior to arrival at the Walt Disney World Resort. All sales are final, and not eligible for an exchange or refund.


Discounts for Annual Passholders

Save up to 35 percent* on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels

Disney released a number of summer travel discounts covering arrivals between June 15 and August 28, 2014. They are tiered by resort and length of stay, with a 5 percent bonus for stays of 6 nights or longer. Book through June 6, 2014.

Offer Details:

  • Save from 30 percent (for 1–5 nights) to 35 percent (for 6+ nights) at select Disney's BoardWalk Villas, Disney's Old Key West Resort, Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard view), Disney's BoardWalk Inn, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Wilderness Lodge, and Disney's Yacht Club Resort
  • Save from to 20 percent (for 1&ndah;5 nights) to 25 percent (for 6+ nights) at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Port Orleans – Riverside, Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Beach Club Resort Villas, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas – Kidani Village and Jambo House, and Disney's Wilderness Lodge (courtyard/club rooms) & Villas
  • Save up from 15 percent (for 1–5 nights) to 20 percent (for 6+ nights) at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, Disney's All-Star Music and Disney's Pop Century Resort
  • Save from 10 percent (for 1–5 nights) to 15 percent (for 6+ nights) at Disney's Art of Animation Family Suites

Disney's All-Star Movies Resort is NOT included in this discount.

Discounts for Disney Rewards VISA & Debit Card Holders

2014 Free Dining Offer for Disney Rewards VISA & Debit Card Holders

Sue from Small World Vacations reports the Disney Rewards VISA and Debit Card Holders can now get a free dining discount when booking a qualifying Walt Disney World vacation package.

Offer details:

2014 Vacation Dates

  • August 31 – October 3
  • October 26 – November 1
  • November 9 – November 20
  • December 12 – December 23

FREE QUICK SERVICE PLAN

  • Book a Magic Your Way vacation package for a minimum of three nights with at least two days of theme park tickets at select Disney Value Resorts to receive Disney's Quick Service Dining Plan for free. Visitors can upgrade to a Table Service Dining Plan for less than $20 per night for adults and less than $5 per night for children ages 3 through 9.
  • Value Resorts included:
    • Disney's Pop Century
    • Disney's Art of Animation Suites
    • Disney's All-Star Music Resort
    • Disney's All-Star Sports Resort

FREE TABLE SERVICE DINING PLAN

  • Book a Magic Your Way vacation package for a minimum of three nights with at least two days of theme park tickets at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villas Resorts to receive Disney's Basic Table Service Dining Plan for free. An upgrade to the Deluxe Dining Plan is available for less than $50 per night for adults and less than $11 per night for children ages 3 through 9.
  • Moderate and Deluxe Resorts included:
    • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
    • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
    • Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins
    • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
    • Disney's Contemporary Resort
    • Disney's Grand Floridian & Spa Resort
    • Disney's Polynesian Resort
    • Disney's Wilderness Lodge
    • Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
    • Disney's BoardWalk Inn
    • Disney's Beach Club Villas
    • Disney's BoardWalk Villas
    • Disney's Bay Lake Tower
    • Disney's Old Key West Resort
    • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
    • The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
    • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas.

Offer Restrictions

  • Advance reservations required
  • All guests staying in the same room must add theme park tickets to their Magic Your Way package. Tickets may include park hoppers, water parks & more and/or no expiration options.
  • Walt Disney World Resorts limits the number of free dining rooms.
  • Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas at Disney Vacation Villa Resorts, Disney's Art of Animation Resort Mermaid Rooms, Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter and Riverside, and The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Dining plans exclude alcoholic beverages and gratuities
  • Children ages 3 to 9 must choose from children's menu, if available

Room and ticket discount for travel dates from February 24 through June 15

No discounts available March 6–14 and April 13–19. Buy a minimum four day ticket and get a day free.

Room discounts include:

  • 5 percent off All Star Movies, Port Orleans French Quarter, Bay Lake Tower, suites at Coronado Springs
  • 15 percent off Art of Animation family suites
  • 20 percent off select rooms at Wilderness Lodge & Villas, Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas, Beach Club Villas
  • 25 percent off Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans Riverside, Cabins at Ft Wilderness
  • 30 percent off Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Boardwalk Villas, Wilderness Lodge, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Polynesian Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge

20 percent off select guided tours

Disney Visa cardholders receive 20 percent off the non-discounted price of selected guided tours for up to 10 people. The cardholder must participate in the tour, and pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card. Tours included:

  • Magic Kingdom Park
    • Disney's Family Magic Tour
    • Disney's Keys to the Kingdom Tour
    • Disney's The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour
    • Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour
  • Epcot
    • Gardens of the World (offered seasonally)
    • The UnDISCOVERed Future World
    • Disney's Dolphins in Depth
    • Epcot DiveQuest
    • Epcot Seas Aqua Tours
    • Epcot Behind the Seeds (15 percent discount)
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
    • Wild by Design
    • Backstage Safari
  • Multiple Theme Parks and Backstage Areas
    • Backstage Magic
    • Disney's Holiday D-Lights (offered seasonally)
    • Disney's Yuletide Fantasy (offered seasonally)

10 percent off select restaurants

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off the check when you pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Discount excludes alcohol.

  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Sanaa (Lunch)
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort – The Wave (Breakfast and Lunch)
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – Trail's End Restaurant (Breakfast and Lunch)
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort – Olivia's Café (Breakfast and Lunch)
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Turf Club (Lunch)
  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge – Whispering Canyon Café (Lunch)
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort – Captain's Grill (Breakfast and Lunch)

10 percent off merchandise

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off at participating Disney-owned retail location when you spend a minimum of $50 and pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Read all of the restrictions on the Disney Visa website.


Free 5x7 character photo at a private meet and greet location at Epcot

Present your Disney's Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a private character meet and greet at Epcot for the cardholder and up to 5 guests. The event is hosted daily from 1pm to 7pm inside Innoventions West at Epcot. You'll receive one free 5 x 7 character photo per day.


Discounts for Florida Residents

Save up to 35 percent* on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels

Disney released a number of summer travel discounts covering arrivals between June 15 and August 28, 2014. They are tiered by resort and length of stay, with a 5 percent bonus for stays of 6 nights or longer. Book through June 6, 2014.

Offer Details:
  • Save from 30 percent (for 1–5 nights) to 35 percent (for 6+ nights) at select Disney's BoardWalk Villas, Disney's Old Key West Resort, Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard view), Disney's BoardWalk Inn, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Wilderness Lodge, and Disney's Yacht Club Resort
  • Save from to 20 percent (for 1&ndah;5 nights) to 25 percent (for 6+ nights) at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Port Orleans – Riverside, Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Beach Club Resort Villas, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas – Kidani Village and Jambo House, and Disney's Wilderness Lodge (courtyard/club rooms) & Villas
  • Save up from 15 percent (for 1–5 nights) to 20 percent (for 6+ nights) at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, Disney's All-Star Music and Disney's Pop Century Resort
  • Save from 10 percent (for 1–5 nights) to 15 percent (for 6+ nights) at Disney's Art of Animation Family Suites

Disney's All-Star Movies Resort is NOT included in this discount.

Discounts for U.K. Residents

2014 Free Dining offer for U.K. residents

2014 Free Dining offers for U.K. residents have been released. From the information posted on the Virgin Holidays website, it appears the 2014 program offers free Quick Service Dining Plan plan when booking at a Moderate resort, and free Dining Plan when booking at Deluxe resorts, Old Key West or Saratoga Springs. There are also offers for a free $200 Disney Gift Card and/or a 14-day ticket for the price of a 7-day ticket depending on travel dates. These particular offers are valid for U.K. residents only.




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