Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for July 28 – August 4, 2014
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions | Comments
New fall discounts released | Disney offers new military discounts | New standby line procedure tested for Anna and Elsa | Disney Springs parking and access road renderings released | Disney updates Villains Unleashed event schedule | Second injury reported at Pirates of the Caribbean | Views from "Around the World | Quick takes | Question of the Week | Crowd update
Disney released new discounts for late fall season, offering savings of up to 30 percent on a non-discounted room. Discounts are:
- Disney Value Resorts – 15 percent off
- Disney Moderate Resorts – 20 percent off
- Disney Deluxe and Disney Vacation Villas – up to 30 percent off
Our sponsors at Small World Vacations provides these details:
- Stay dates – most nights October 4 to November 25, 2014 and November 29 to December 23, 2014.
- Booking dates – July 23 through October 3.
- Offer good for a limited number of rooms and subject to availability.
- Minimum – three nights for most resorts, five for room only in a standard room at a Disney Value resort.
- Maximum – 14 nights
- Discounted room rate apply only to those travel dates that fall within the valid stay dates.
Additional per adult charges may apply if there are more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate, and Deluxe Resorts. The offer cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations are required. Offer excludes campsites, three-bedroom villas, Disney's Art of Animation Resort – Little Mermaid Standard Rooms, Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort.
Last week, Disney Parks Blog announced new military discounts for Walt Disney World. From August 25, 2014 through September 30, 2015, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves) or their spouses can purchase:
- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $177 each, plus tax
- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $177 each, plus tax
- Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $207 each, plus tax.
Military personnel can use the tickets from September 28, 2014, through October 3, 2015, except on blackout periods from December 22, 2014 through January 2, 2015 and March 29 through April 9, 2015.
For information on Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets or to make room reservations at the Walt Disney World Resort, call (407) 939-7830 or go to participating U.S. military base ticket offices.
Last week, Magic Kingdom visitors may have noticed something unusual at Princess Fairytale Hall: a shorter line for the meet-and-greet queue for Frozen's Anna and Elsa. No, the attraction was not closed.
Disney began testing a new standby line procedure using "reservation slips" that is designed to decrease wait timess for the Magic Kingdom's most popular attraction. Until the testing began last week, standby wait times had not dramatically dropped below two hours since the royal sisters moved over from Epcot in April. Disney decided to pilot this new line procedure in the hopes of improving the visitor experience.
The MousePlanet team got a look at the new procedure last week. Here is what visitors can expect:
- If you do not have a Fastpass+ reservation already, go to Princess Fairytale Hall when you arrive at the Magic Kingdom.
- If the standby line is longer than 30 minutes, a Disney cast member presents you with a special invitation that is valid for a 30-minute window, which you can use later in the day.
- You can then enjoy other rides and attractions around the Magic Kingdom until your scheduled return time, at which time you turn in the reservation slip and enter the standby line, which should be no longer than 30 minutes.
Cast members only pass out a limited number of these reservation slips throughout the day. After that, the line is closed for the day, except for those with Fastpass+ reservations.
Disney did not officially announce when the testing period ends.
Visitors can still make Fastpass+ reservations to see Anna and Elsa during the testing period.
Multiple websites report that this pilot program may also begin at Epcot's Soarin' and another ride, yet to be confirmed. Stay tuned for more details as we get them.
Disney released a series of computer renderings last week that showed upcoming improvements to the Downtown Disney area as the transition to Disney Springs continues.
The Orlando Sentinel reported new renderings that show two multi-level parking garages and a new Interstate 4 interchange, giving visitors direct access to Disney Springs.
Workers are widening Lake Buena Vista Drive from seven to 10 lanes to meet the high traffic need. The plans also include two pedestrian bridges—one leading guests into Disney Springs near the current Marketplace side and another that offers access through the West Side.
The first of the two new parking garages should open by late 2014 and provide 4,000 parking spaces.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that the first phase of the transition is a lakefront shopping and dining area called The Landing, set to open in 2015.
Disney has said that the entire Disney Springs development should be completed sometime in 2016. The new retail center offers dining, shopping, and entertainment experiences for visitors in four areas: Town Center, The Landing, Marketplace, and West Side.
Earlier this summer, Disney announced Villains Unleashed, a new special event for Disney's Hollywood Studios scheduled next month, on August 23. Event guests can get up close to nearly 50 of their favorite villains and party the night away with them.
Disney Parks Blog published more information about the event last week:
- Hades Hangout – the party kicks off at 8 p.m. at the main event stage, where hosts Hades, Megara, Pain and Panic offer some comedy entertainment. They’re joined throughout the night by the Underworld Dancers, DJ Igg Nite, live music from Bernie Briquette and Brimstone, and a rogues gallery of roaming rottens, from the Queen of Hearts and Sheriff of Nottingham to the Big Bad Wolf and Captain Hook.
- Villains Dominion – if you're looking for a bunch of baddies, then head over to the Streets of America. Here, visitors can meet favorites like Cruella De Vil, Jafar, Dr. Facilier and Gaston, along with more rarely seen baddies such as Shan Yu from Mulan, Bowler Hat Guy from Meet the Robinsons, or Captain Gantu and Dr. Hämsterviel from Lilo & Stitch: The Series. Also be on the lookout for Judge Claude Frollo, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, and more.
- The Dark Side – the area around Star Tours – The Adventures Continue becomes the place to find some of the dark side's all-stars, including bounty hunter Boba Fett, Sith apprentice Darth Maul, and the ultimate villain, Darth Vader. Visitors can also meet dark-side villains Zam Wessel, Aurra Sing, Asajj Ventress, Jango Fett, Greedo, Jawas, and others.
- Villainous Encounters – visit Stage 4 (where The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction is located) to meet one and only Hector Barbossa. Just around the corner in the Animation Courtyard, evil Maleficient greets her audience.
- Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show – on Sunset Boulevard, the Theater of the Stars presents a production of extreme performances, hosted by Oogie Boogie. It’s an all-new show that’s sure to thrill party visitors.
- Fantasmic! – a villainous gange, the Night Crawls, walk up Sunset Boulevard to invite party goers to with them to a special pre-show to the evening’s performance of Fantasmic!
- Villainy in the Sky Fireworks – to wrap up the evening, Hades summons Maleficent to the main event stage to close things out with a devilishly dazzling display of pyrotechnics.
Visitors can also enjoy special villain makeovers, devilishly delicious treats, and other surprises throughout the evening.
Villains Unleashed tickets cost $67 per adult ($62 per child ages 3-9), plus tax. To order, visit Disney's official Villains Unleashed ticket website.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that three months ago, a 12-year-old boy suffered lacerations on four fingers while riding on the Magic Kingdom's Pirates of the Caribbean. Just two weeks ago, MousePlanet's weekly update featured a story about a man who lost two fingertips also while on Pirates of the Caribbean earlier this month.
Disney provided no further details on the boy's injury, but the Sydney Morning Herald report said this incident was one of more than a dozen serious injuries Disney reported for the second quarter of 2014. According to the news report, other injuries included:
At the Magic Kingdom:
- An girl (age 8) briefly lost consciousness on Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
- A woman fell and fractured her fibula while exiting a vehicle at Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
- Aman fell exiting the Astro Orbiter and developed a blood clot in his leg.
- A woman with a pre-existing condition briefly lost consciousness and fell after leaving Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
- At Mission: SPACE, a woman complained of chest pain, a man with a pre-existing condition felt tightness in his chest and nausea, and a woman complained of motion sickness.
- A woman fell on the walkway and injured her knee at the Seas with Nemo & Friends
At Disney's Animal Kingdom:
- A woman experienced nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath on Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain.
- A woman with a pre-existing condition felt tightness in her chest on Kilimanjaro Safari.
At Typhoon Lagoon
A man fractured his leg on Mayday Falls.
Disney reports that these injuries as part of a "voluntary... agreement the theme parks have struck with the state, which has exempted them from public ride-safety regulation. The parks are required to report injuries that occur on a ride and result in an immediate hospital stay of more than 24 hours," according to the newspaper report.
As July comes to an end, construction projects continue to change the shape and scenes around the Walt Disney World Resort. Take a look at what we found over the past week.
The typical long lines at the Be Our Guest restaurant at 11:30 a.m. cannot be seen. Cast Members say some efficiencies in moving guests through have helped to bring down the long lunch time lines. Still, cold water is available for guests coming into the restaurant. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The Peter Pan's Flight queue section closest to the ride is under redevelopment. This is probably in preparation for the interactive queue going into Peter Pan's Flight. That section, occupying the former adjacent restrooms, is being themed to Wendy's bedroom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Downtown Disney/Disney Springs
...A number of local television stations reported that on Sunday, July 20, deputies arrested and charged a Kissimmee man with battery and lewd molestation of four teenagers while in the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon. The man, identified by WFTV as 54-year-old Perry Stiles, allegedly rubbed the upper leg of one victim, while another reported to Disney officials that Stiles "swam up and touched the victim's butt."
According to News 13, deputies arrested Stiles at the water park and secured him in a trailer separated from the alleged victims. During this time, two other female victims reported being touched inappropriately and gave a description matching Stiles. Deputes then booked him in the Orange County jail. On Monday, July 21, Stiles was released after posting $1,000 bond. Stiles told WFTV that what happened was a "misunderstanding in the midst of a crashing wave." He added, "Nobody made me aware that they felt violated in the waves. I didn't know that until afterwards. I don't know who my accusers are... Bodies fly in a 10-foot wave. Anything I did was accidental and unintentional and I'm unaware of what I've done." Stiles is not a registered sex offender, according to WFTV, and Disney made no official comment about the incident, saying it does not discuss park security measures.
...Rumors continue to fly about a possible refurbishment of Epcot's Soarin'. The Orlando Sentinel reported continued discussion from various websites claiming the possibility of not only Disneyland's Soarin Over California attraction getting a new high-definition film with new footage (including a possible international section), but also Epcot's Soarin' getting a re-boot, as well. Earlier this year, MousePlanet reported filming in the Disneyland area that was likely tied to the new Soarin Over California film. The new Epcot film may feature more footage from Florida and the Walt Disney World Resort, according to the reports. In addition to a possible new film, The Orlando Sentinel also reported that speculation grows about Disney adding a third theater for the attraction to accommodate more visitors. Disney has not confirmed any of these reports at this time.
...Disney provided a sneak peak of some of the new merchandise planning to be sold during the Destination D: Attraction Rewind event scheduled at Disney's Contemporary Resort from November 21 to 23, 2014. The event shop opens on Friday, November 21 and only has a limited supply of merchandise, including exclusive clothing, collectible pins, and more.
...If you are a Haunted Mansion fan, you will want to check out the new, themed merchandise coming this fall to Disney Parks and online stores. Among the items are cast member shirts, fashion handbags, jewelry, shoes, housewares, and more.
...Disney Parks Blog presented a look at some new technology from the My Disney Experience website: 3D flyovers around the Walt Disney World Resort. The computer simulation gives visitors a bird's-eye view of Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Disney's Wilderness Lodge, with Disney's Polynesian Resort to be added soon.
This week's question comes from MousePad forum member xezat:
Good morning all,
My father and I will be going out to Disney World later this year, and one of the topics I read about at Magic Kingdom was the Flag Retreat ceremony where they lower the flag each day and present it to a veteran in attendance. Since my father is a veteran (Air Force, 20 years), I thought this would be a great surprise for him. So I was wondering, is this something you sign up for, or is it all completely random? I mean, in a very unfortunate sense just about anyone can show up claiming to be a veteran when they're not just for the sake of getting a free flag, so was wondering, is it like something you sign up for, can you call the WDW number to try scheduling it or something and provide information, or is it just they pick whoever happens to look like one?
Thanks in advance!
Join the conversation about this topic and many more related to Walt Disney World travel over at the MousePad discussion forum.
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- Richard Petty's Junior Ride-Along Experience – at the Richard Petty's Driving Experience.
- Harambe Nights – every Saturday night through August 9. Disney's Animal Kingdom.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party – September 1, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28; October 2, 3, 5, 9. 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31.
- Disney's Night of Joy 2014 – September 5–6.
- Disney Trade Celebration Imagination Gala – September 5–7 at Epcot.
- Epcot After-Hours Wind Down – through September 15. Epcot, World Showcase (reservations required).
- Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – September 19 through November 10.
- Disney Fit Challenge – September 26–28. More information on the Disney Sports website.
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend – October 3–4.
- Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – October 31 and November 1. Tickets and packages now on sale.
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 7–8.
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – November 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20, 21, 30; December 2,4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19
- Destination D: Attraction Rewind – November 22–23. Additional details expected to be released this spring. The event was originally announced for July 26–27, but was rescheduled.
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 7–11, 2015.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 19–22, 2015.
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.
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend – October 3–4.
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 7–8.
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 7–11, 2015.
- Disney Castaway Cay Challenge – January 12, 2015 – sailing on the Disney Dream.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 19–22, 2015. Most events sold out.
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.
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – closed through August 4 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed August 4–8 for refurbishment.
- Mickey's Philharmagic – closed September 8–19 for refurbishment.
- Astro Orbiter – closed through September 19 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney's Carousel of Progres – closed September 22–27 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Railroad Fantasyland Station – closed September 28 through November 8 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Railroad Frontierland Station – closed September 28 through November 8 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Railroad Main Street U.S.A. Station – closed September 28 through November 8 for refurbishment
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed November 10–21 for refurbishment
- Cinderella's Royal Table – closed January 5 through March 6, 2015 for refurbishment.
- No known refurbishments at this time.
- Fantasmic! – closed November 19–November 21, 2014 for refurbishment
- The American Idol Experience – permanently closes on January 5, 2015.
- It's Tough to Be a Bug – closed through August 11 for refurbishment.
As previously reported by MousePlanet, 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.
- All Star Music Resort – refurbishment of its Intermission Food Court beginning on August 1 and scheduled for reopening on December 21, according to our sponsor TouringPlans.com.
- Polynesian – Never Land Club Children's Activity Center closed for refurbishment through January 1, 2015.
- Polynesian – refurbishment of the lobby ongoing.
- Wilderness Lodge – refurbishment of its Silver Creek Springs Pool from September 3 through late November 2014.
- Typhoon Lagoon – the entire park closed October 26 through December 20 for refurbishment.
- Blizzard Beach – the the entire park closed January 4, 2015 through March 3, 2015.
- 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.
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
2014 Free Dining offer for general public
Sue from Small World Vacations reports the general public can book a free dining package for specific dates beginning Wednesday, May 7.
2014 Vacation Dates
Free Quick Service Plan
Free Table Service Dining Plan
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 30 percent* on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels
Disney released a number of summer travel discounts covering arrivals between August 16 and October 3, 2014. They are tiered by resort and length of stay, with a 5 percent bonus for stays of 6 nights or longer. Book through August 8, 2014.
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.
2014 Vacation Dates
Free Quick Service Plan
Free Table Service Dining Plan
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.