Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for November 10 – 16, 2014
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions
Disney kicks off holiday season with special events | Memory Maker adds select animated features to package | Jack Skellington makes appearances at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party | Stories from the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon | Walt Disney World Merchandise News | Big Hero 6 Meet and Greet begins at Disney's Hollywood Studios | Views from Around "the World" | Quick takes | Discussion of the Week | Crowd update
Walt Disney World kicked off the 2014 holiday season around the theme parks with a variety of special events meant to make the season merry and bright. Let's take a brief tour around "the World" to see what it has to offer visitors this holiday season:
A Frozen Holiday Wish: Things kicked off with a live streaming event of the new A Frozen Holiday Wish show in front of Cinderella Castle. According to Disney Parks Blog, the resort will share a number of live streaming events throughout the season. Didn't get a chance to catch the live stream? Watch the video below!
A Frozen Holiday Wish Show. Video by Disney Parks.
You can also head over to our MousePad forum to get a full review of the show.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: This annual hard-ticket party shows off the best and and most festive side of Walt Disney World during the holidays. Here is the rundown of the daily events you can expect at the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party:
The event runs from 7 p.m. to midnight select nights November 7 - December 19. In addition to the returning Christmas Party attractions like the the fireworks show, this year debuts new Frozen additions to Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, a new meet-and-greet with Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws in Storybook Circus, and the "Holiday Hootenanny!" at the Diamond Horseshoe.
The Entertainment Schedule is packed, so you'll need to decide what's most important to see during your 5 hours at the party:
- Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Parade featuring the Frozen characters - 8:15 and 10:30 p.m.
- A Frozen Holiday Wish - 6:15 and 8:00 p.m.
- Celebrate the Magic - 9:15 p.m.
- Holiday Wishes - 9:30 p.m.
- Celebrate the Season - 7:30, 10:05 and 11:20 p.m.
Since A Frozen Holiday Wish and Celebrate the Magic are offered on non-party nights, you can safely skip those and see them another night if you want to maximize your party time.
There are two Dance Parties, with some interesting characters:
- Holiday Hootenanny at the Diamond Horseshoe, featuring the Country Bears, Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, and Clara Cluck.
- Club Tinsel at Cosmic Rays, featuring Phineas and Ferb
Plus, there are 18 Character Appearance spots marked on the event map. The big new addition is Sandy Claws, making his first event appearance at Storybook Circus.
Cocoa and cookies (or "healthy alternatives," should you want them) are available at:
- Sunshine Tree Terrace
- Tortuga Tavern
- Columbia Harbour House
- Pinocchio Village Haus
- Tomorrowland Terrace
- Cosmic Ray's Starlight Caf
- The Crystal Palace
Event merchandise, including a pin, t-shirt, ornament and limited edition Magic Band, are available at:
- Frontier Trading Post (pin only)
- Ye Olde Christmas Shop (Shirts, pin, ornaments only)
- Big Top Souvenirs (Magic Band only)
- Star Traders (shirt and pin only)
Most park rides are open during the event, including the Jingle Cruise and the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Based on wait times during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, cast members said the line for the Mine Train is only about 30 minutes. I'm not a big fan of doing rides during the special events, since you can do those during normal operating hours, but people who could not get a FastPass+ for this new ride may want to take advantage of the shortest standby lines you're likely to see.
Epcot is beautiful and lots of fun during the holiday season with a series of events that all ages will love:
An International Yuletide Extravaganza: Experience a world of cheer with unique entertainment celebrating the spirit of the season. Share in the sights and sounds of some of the world’s greatest holiday festivities during Holidays Around the World at Epcot®. Amid joyful music and seasonal food favorites, time-honored traditions come alive as costumed performers share their country’s holiday heritage throughout World Showcase.
Candlelight Processional - (World Showcase, American Gardens Theatre) - 5:00pm, 6:45pm & 8:15pm
One of the most beloved holiday traditions at Epcot® is the Candlelight Processional - a joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a glorious mass choir.
|11/28 - 11/29||Jodi Benson|
|11/30 - 12/2||Neil Patrick Harris|
|12/3 - 12/4||Jonathan Groff NEW!|
|12/5 - 12/6||Whoopi Goldberg|
|12/7* - 12/9||LeVar Burton|
|12/10 - 12/11||Edward James Olmos|
|12/12 - 12/14||Joe Morton NEW!|
|12/15 - 12/17||Chita Rivera|
|12/18 - 12/20||Ana Gasteyer NEW!|
|12/21 - 12/23||Marlee Matlin|
|12/24 - 12/25||Isabella Rossellini|
|12/26 - 12/27||Blair Underwood|
|12/28 - 12/30||Steven Curtis Chapman|
Located at the America Gardens Theater. This spectacle is held on select nights, and due to its popularity, often fills up quickly. Unless Guests have purchases a Candlelight Dinner Package, attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. All entertainment and celebrity narrators are subject to change without notice.
*Community Relations Night is December 7th at 5:00pm. No Day Guest bookings for the first show at 5:00pm.
For the hearing impaired, an American Sign Language interpreter translates the legendary account, allowing Guests of all kinds the opportunity to enjoy the event.
Candlelight Processional Dining Packages - If you want to ensure that you have a seat at a Candlelight Processional performance, you can purchase one of Disney's Candlelight Dining Packages that are available on select nights during the holiday season. These packages include a meal and a guaranteed seat for one Candlelight performance. Call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) to make your reservation. These packages are popular and sell out quickly, so don't wait too long to book it.
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth - (World Showcase Lagoon) - Nightly at 9:30pm
The World Showcase Promenade comes alive nightly with the brilliance and splendor of music, lights, lasers, water fountains, and custom pyrotechnics in Disney's signature nighttime spectacular, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. From November 28 through December 30, Disney presents a unique finale to celebrate the season. With the song "Let There Be Peace on Earth" at its center, this special musical finale features a special message of peace and good will.
Holiday Storytellers - (World Showcase) - Daily November 28- December 29
Throughout the holidays, World Showcase comes alive with the legends and lore of the season. Listen to the stories of France's Père Noël, Italy's La Befana, and the United Kingdom's Father Christmas. Please refer to the Times Guides for show times.
Epcot® Holiday Merchandise
Be sure to stop by Santa’s Village in The American Adventure where you can get your favorite gifts from toys to stocking stuffers and all your Christmas tree trimmings. No matter where you go in Epcot® you will find the perfect holiday gift.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Just days after Disney's Hollywood Studios wrapped up its Frozen Summer Fun promotion, park officials announced a new premium package for fans during the holiday season.
Disney's Hollywood Studios offers its Frozen Holiday Premium Package November 7 through 19, November 21 through December 9, and December 11 through January 4, 2015. The new VIP package gives fans exclusive opportunities throughout their day at the park, including:
- Reserved seating for a performance of "For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
- Reserved viewing for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
- A Frozen-themed dessert party with special Anna and Elsa cupcakes and other sweets
- A holiday-themed lithograph
- A Frozen pin
Tickets for this VIP experience costs $89 (plus tax) per adult, and $59 (plus tax) per child ages 3–9. These prices include gratuity.
To make a reservation, call (407) 939-1854.
Walt Disney World decided to bring together photography and animation for its latest Memory Maker package upgrade.
According to Disney Parks Blog, park visitors can ask for these special "magic shots" at various locations including:
- Epcot, behind Spaceship Earth
- Epcot, at the Norway pavilion
- Disney's Animal Kingdom, the bridge near Expedition Everest
- Disney's Hollywood Studios, on Hollywood Boulevard
- Magic Kingdom shots coming soon
When visitors log into MyDisneyPhotoPass.com, they will find animation clips added to those photos in their collection.
Jack Skellington from Tim Burton's The Night Before Christmas can now be seen at the Magic Kingdom's Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, which is held on select nights through December 19.
The Pumpkin King already established a popular presence during the Magic Kingdom's Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and now, visitors can find Jack Skellington at Storybook Circus during the festivities as "Sandy Claus."
This year's Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon featured more than 14,300 runners (11,941 finishers) who competed in the 13.1 mile race. Among all those runners a few special stories stood out.
A Tale of Two Winners
A first-time winner and a "three-peat" champion ran away with first place in the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon.
Chris Sorrick of Tampa, Florida won the men's race with a time of 1:17:39. This was the 21 year old's first half-marathon. Although conditions were not ideal, Sorrick managed to keep ahead of the pack.
“It was pretty slippery in some areas so you had to be really careful,” Sorrick said. “But I just kept going and going.”
On the women's side, Jenn Berry of Denver, Colorado finished first for her third straight runDisney win after taking the 10K and half marathon during the Disneyland Half Marathon over the summer. She finished the race in 1:27:59.
A Family Runs to Remember
The family of Stephanie Miller carried on a racing tradition at this year's Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Stephanie registered to run the inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend in 2011 and earn her first runDisney medal. Instead, it was her family who crossed the finish line for her and claimed the medal in her honor, as Stephanie passed away at the age of 24, several months before the race weekend. Since then, in an effort to keep her memory alive, Stephanie’s family continues to run as many runDisney races as possible and collect medals in her name. In the process, as an additional benefit, the family has become healthier and grown closer.
Now that Walt Disney World is celebrating the holidays, visitors can find a wide variety of merchandise to help them get into the spirit of the season. Here are just a few items that have popped on the scene recently:
- To keep up with the continued Frozen frenzy, Walt Disney World releases a new Elsa's Icy Shield card for the Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom interactive game around the theme park. Cards can only be picked up at the firehouse on Main Street U.S.A. by those visitors attending Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Guests must how their event wristband to receive the card.
- Speaking of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, event guests can shop for a limited edition retail MagicBand featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. The exclusive item has a run of only 5,000 and costs $29.95. Only those with a Memory Maker Card, an active MagicBand, or a valid theme park admission ticket can buy the item. Disney also features a new, jumbo pin with many favorite Disney characters joining Santa Clause on a big sled. Of course, there are also special t-shirts in red and green featuring the Very Merry Christmas Party 2014 logo that guests can buy as a souvenir.
- The Disney Parks Online Store will release new shirts in November featuring the Jingle Cruise and The Little Mermaid. The Jingle Cruise shirts can be ordered on the website from November 10-12, 2014 with a 3 to 5 week delivery time. The Little Mermaid shirts can be ordered from November 16 - 18, 2014 and takes 4 to 6 weeks for delivery.
A number of MousePlanet staff members traveled to Walt Disney World for this year's Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Fortunately, they took lots of pictures so we can share the experience for them! Over the next few weeks, we'll feature a series of these pictures as we countdown to the holidays!
Disney's Hollywood Studios
After much anticipation, Baymax and Hiro from the brand new Disney movie Big Hero 6 have made their meet and greet debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios in the Disney Animation Building.
...The Magic Kingdom Railroad is back up and running as of November 8! All Aboard!
...The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel has adjusted its renovation timeline after further review of hotel occupancy projections and construction timelines. The renovation on the Dolphin is now scheduled to be completed in 2017. The Swan will still be completed in 2015.
MousePad Discussion Forum member petesimac posted this week's discussion topic:
i didn't see a thread started about his yet, but what say you about the DHS hat removal?
I have never been a fan of the hat, as it always seemed to me to be a slap-dash attempt to rectify a bad original park design which failed to include a visual centerpiece for the park (like Cinderella's castle, and Spaceship Earth); instead of fixing the problem, it made it worse, as it covered what was a fairly good centerpiece, and one that at least made sense, the replica of Grauman's Chinese Theater.
I am as happy at this news as I was when I learned that the hand/wand was going to be removed from Spaceship Earth at EPCOT. I can't wait to see what they come up with.
So let it out! Shout for joy or cry me a river. What say you?
Head over to the MousePad forum and share your thoughts!
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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.
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – November 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. 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.
- 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.
- The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed November 10–21 for refurbishment
- The Haunted Mansion – closed December 1–19 for refurbishment
- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular – replaced December 20–31 by Holiday Wishes.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.