Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for October 20 – 26, 2014
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions
Big Hero 6 characters coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios | Trattoria al Forno begins taking reservations on October 21 | Dapper Dans surprise passengers on Southwest flight | Richard Petty Driving Experience offers season passes |Epcot welcomes new flag performers to Italy pavilion | Haunt Your Disney Side Contest asks for entries for food and beverage tips | Wine & Dine Half Marathon Team MousePlanet Group Photo Meet-Up | Views from Around "the World" | Quick takes | Discussion of the Week | Crowd update
Disney's Hollywood Studios debuts a new character meet-and-greet opportunity when Hiro Hamada and Baymax from the upcoming Walt Disney Studios movie Big Hero 6 arrive at The Magic of Disney Animation attraction in November.
At the new meet-and-greet experiences, park visitors can tour the "San Fransokyo" lab before meeting the characters of the new movie, scheduled to hit theaters on November 7.
In its announcement, Disney Parks Blog gave no specific date as to when guests could visit the duo, however, Wreck It Ralph's Vanellope and Ralph's meet-and-greet shuts down this Friday, October 24, to make way for the new characters.
Disney announced an opening day of Thursday, December 18, for the new restaurant at Disney's BoardWalk. Visitors can begin making reservations as tomorrow, October 21.
Disney Parks Blog also gave readers a sneak peak at the restaurant's menu, which features items such as:
- Fried Calamari with White Balsamic and Lemon Agrodolce ($11.99)
- Roasted Portobello Mushroom and Cipolini Onions with Arugula Pizza ($18.99)
- Baked Lasagna with Shaved Fennel-Arugula Salad ($18.99)
- Braised Beef "Bolognese" with House-made Cavatelli ($21.00)
- Cannoli "Pizzelle" filled with Chocolate and Pistachio Cream ($6.99)
Visitors can dine at Trattoria al Forno from 7:30 to 11:30a.m. for breakfast and from 5:00 to 10:00p.m. for dinner. The restaurant participates in the Disney Dining Plan. To make reservations, call (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) or visit the official Walt Disney World Dining website.
Last week, Southwest Airlines began offering non-stop service from Love Field in Dallas, Texas to the Orlando International Airport. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney teamed up with the airline to make the maiden trip extra magical by sending the famous Dapper Dans barbershop quartet to serenade passengers both in the airport and during the first flight.
In addition to the live entertainment, Disney and Southwest gave passengers Mickey ears to wear, Disney-themed treats to enjoy during the flight, and a free ticket to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party for that evening
To see what the passengers experienced, check out the video provided by the Disney YouTube channel.
Video by Disney Parks YouTube Channel.
Walt Disney World visitors looking for satisfy their need for speed on a regular basis can pick up a season pass to The Richard Petty Driving Experience and Exotic Driving Experience.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Richard Petty Driving Experience season pass includes four eight-lap Rookie Experiences, four Bring a Friend vouchers (worth $150 off any driving experience for a guest), and four free ride-alongs. Pass holders also receive 25 percent off all merchandise purchased on the day they drive. Passes cost $999 each and can be used at the Walt Disney World Speedway.
The Exotic Driving Experience gives visitors the chance to drive ultimate sports cars such as Lamborghini and Ferraris. The $749 Exotic Speed Pass grants holders three Exotic Driving Experiences, six Bring a Friend vouchers worth $100 each, and 25 percent off any merchandise purchased the same day of the experience.
If interested, passes can be purchased until November 9 by calling (407) WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529).
Last week, a new flag-throwing troupe debuted their show at Epcot's World Showcase Italy pavilion, according to Rikki Niblett from our sponsor TouringPlans.com. The Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro perform intricate dance moves and tricks with flags along to drums and horns for visitors throughout the day. The daily show runs at 11:20 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:20 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Last week, we reported on the new Haunt Your Disney Side Contest, where one lucky person would win the grand prize of a private Haunted Mansion Party in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, followed by an overnight stay in Cinderella Castle.
For week two of the contest, Disney invites the public to submit their best idea for Halloween themed food and drinks. It could be candy, cookies, cakes, cocktails or something else wickedly creative. Check out the contest video on the Disney Parks Blog for some inspiration!
The Haunt Your Disney Side Contest has a new theme each Monday and runs through November 4, 2014. For more information on the contest and how to enter, read the official rules.
Are you participating in the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon on November 6? If so, join us for our pre-race group photo meet-up.
- Where: Wine & Dine starting area main stage area
- When: 8:45 p.m.
The Wine & Dine race starts at 10:00 p.m. but announcers will start to ask participants to move towards the starting corrals at around 9:00 p.m. The shuttle buses from the resorts stop running at 8:00 p.m., so we think 8:45 is the best time to catch as many people as we can.
Look for us in our official Team MousePlanet gear, and take a few moments to hang out with fellow Padders and be part of our group photo.
If you are participating in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, join us in the Team MousePlanet forum and let us know you're racing, then show up to be part of our official group photo.
After a couple of week's hiatus, we're excited to bring you the latest views around Walt Disney World. As you'll see, Magic Kingdom is still a hub of construction activity and Hollywood Studios has snow and the holidays on its radar!
Disney's Hollywood Studios
...Disney announced two refurbishment projects last week in the Magic Kingdom. According to our sponsors at TouringPlans.com, the Liberty Square Riverboat closes on January 23, 2015 for a four-day refurbishment and then Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid closes on February 2, 2015 until March 5, 2015 for refurbishment. For more information on this and other attraction updates, check out our Refurbishments and Attraction Closures below.
...Is Mickey's sorcerer's hat going to move from its current location at Disney's Hollywood Studios? It's a question that has made it way around the internet for a long time, but the whispers seem to be getting louder since a photos of a theme park map without the famous icon began making the rounds online. The photos, which can be seen on the Attractions Magazine website, clearly show that there is no hat in front of The Great Movie Ride. When asked about the omission, Disney officials said "We have nothing to announce at this time," according to Attractions Magazine article. Skeptics say it may just be a graphic design error, while others hope the hat gets a new home somewhere else in the park. Stay tuned for future updates!
...The Magic Kingdom's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad gets the star treatment when it becomes the focus of a new Disney Kingdoms comic book in the Spring of 2015. Disney Parks Blog made the announcement last week and gave readers a sneak peek at the first issue's cover art. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will be a five-part comic series featuring an action-packed story that goes back in time to uncover the legend behind the mountain.
MousePad Discussion Forum member nickjandrews posted this week's discussion topic:
I know we have had a wee bit of discussion in the past. I am planning on buying a new pair of shoes and breaking them in before the upcoming festival. I have always liked New Balance, but my parents have both bought Orthaheel lately and say they are excellent for them. We all have different feet, but I'd like to hear opinions on various brands for quality and comfort. Cross-trainers best? Let's hear your thoughts...
Head over to the MousePad forum and share what your favorite footwear is for parking touring and keeping your feet as comfortable as possible!
The MousePlanet Newsletter is here!
The newsletter contains a recap of the week's articles (in case you miss a day), news that may have developed since the weekly Updates were published, and tips about what's happening at the Disney theme parks for the coming weekend. We'll also include a fun MouseAdventure bonus, such as an Eye Spy or a trivia question. To subscribe to our free newsletter, just enter your e-mail in the box below.
Are you a frequent visitor to the WDW theme parks? Do you love taking and sharing photos of the lastest happenings around the World?
Would you like to be paid for your work?
MousePlanet is seeking Orlando-based photographers to share their theme park observations and photos with our readers. If you're an excellent photographer with strong communication skills, please contact us—we'd love to hear from you!
"Do more. Wait less."
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.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party – October 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31.
- 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.
- Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – through November 10.
- 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.
- Richard Petty's Junior Ride-Along Experience – at the Richard Petty's Driving Experience
- 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.
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 7–8.
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 7–11, 2015. Most events sold out.
- Disney Castaway Cay Challenge – January 12, 2015 – sailing on the Disney Dream.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 19–22, 2015. All races are sold out, but some associated events are still available.
- Expedition Everest – May 1–2, 2015. Registration opens December 16, 2014
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 6–7. Registration opens March 17, 2015.
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 6–10, 2016. Registration opens April 28, 2015.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 18–21, 2016. Registration opens July 14, 2015.
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.
- Walt Disney World Railroad Fantasyland Station – closed through November 8 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Railroad Frontierland Station – closed through November 8 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Railroad Main Street U.S.A. Station – closed through November 8 for refurbishment
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed November 10–21 for refurbishment
- The Haunted Mansion – closed December 1–19 for refurbishment
- Splash Mountain – closed January 4–30, 2015
- Cinderella's Royal Table – closed January 5 through March 6, 2015 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed January 23–27, 2015 for refurbishment
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid – closed February 2 through March 6, 2015 for refurbishment.
- Harmony Barber Shop – closed February 2 through March 30, 2015 (dates subject to change).
- Fantasmic! – closed November 19–21 for refurbishment
- Affection Section – closed October 7–November 10 for refurbishment
- Sunrise Safari (for DVC members only) – closes permanently on October 19, 2014
- Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – closed through November 25 for refurbishment
- Kali River Rapids – closed January 20 through February 4, 2105
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 is 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 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 Stay/Play/Dine Discounts through December 29, 2014. Offer details:
Stay / Play / Dine Discounted Magic Your Way Packages
Room Only Discount – Tickets and Dining Can be Added
Call your travel agent, contact Small World Vacations, or call Walt Disney Travel at (407) 939-7741 to book these offers.
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
Rates starting at $79 per night on select dates this fall
Disney released new fall discounts for annual passholders for the following travel dates: Now through November 25, and November 29 through December 23, 2014. Rates begin at $79 for value resorts (Sunday through Thursday stays) and go up from there. Book through December 20, 2014.
Advance reservations required. No group rates or other discounts apply.
Length of stay requirements
Discounts only applied to travel dates that are valid offer travel dates
Additional per adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room
Number of rooms allocated for this discount is limited.
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 5" x 7" 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 five guests. The event is hosted daily from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. inside Innoventions West at Epcot. You'll receive one free 5" x 7" character photo per day.
Discounts for Florida Residents
|None at this time.|
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 seven-day ticket depending on travel dates. These particular offers are valid for U.K. residents only.
Discounts for Canada Residents
Fall 2014 Free Dining offer for Canada residents
Free Quick Service Plan
Free Table Service Dining Plan for moderate resorts
Free Table Service Dining Plan for deluxe resorts
Free Table Service Dining Plan for deluxe villa resorts
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Stephanie here.