Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for December 29, 2014 – January 5, 2015
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions
Illuminations Sparkling Dessert Party reservations open for early 2015 | Disney announces new UK discounts | Reactions to new Disney's Polynesian Village Resort lobby | Views around the World | This and That | Crowd update
Visitors traveling to Walt Disney World in January and February can now make reservations for Epcot's IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party.
The party, which debuted earlier in 2014, allows park visitors a chance to have dessert while securing a reserved viewing area for the popular IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. The party runs on select Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Cost for the party is $49 for adults and $29 for children ages 3 through 9.
To make a reservation, call (407) WDW-DINE (408-939-3463) or visit the official Walt Disney World dining website.
UK residents looking to go to Walt Disney World in 2015 have a new discount package offers to consider: four free nights when booking a stay seven nights or longer at a Disney hotel for select dates in 2015, plus Disney’s Ultimate 14-Day ticket for the price of 7. Applicable to arrivals from February 1 through December 6, 2015, These offers are subject to availability and restrictions apply; see official website for full details. This offer must be booked by March 31, 2015.
Here is a summary of the free night offer from Walt Disney World to its UK visitors:
|Book a stay for:||At Moderate and Value resorts, get:||At Deluxe or Deluxe Villa resorts, get:|
Seven to 13 nights
One free night
|Two free nights|
14 to 20 nights
Two free nights
|Four free nights|
21 or more nights
Three free nights
|Six free nights|
Last week's update provided a glimpse at the new lobby of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, which went under a long refurbishment process.
This week, the resort officially unveiled the new lobby to the public, even though there are still other details to be added in coming weeks.
Rumors about what changes Disney would make were confirmed or squashed upon the lobby's re-introduction. The biggest change is the removal of what many fans considered the iconic, large waterfall in exchange for a smaller, more understated water flow from a tower of rocks.
The lobby space has a more open feel and seating is plentiful around the area.
Overall reaction to this change may not be what Disney hoped, and it could be seen across the Internet. Some examples posted from Facebook include:
"It's very nice, the old style Hawaiian charm of the Polynesian Is officially dead, but it looks really nice." – Gary R. Pelletier
"Very sad….. It doesn't feel like you're in the Islands anymore!" – Kristina Fannon Hauser
"When you think about the other lobby's at the deluxe resorts this does not compare in any way, it doesn't have the wow factor and the fact that the Poly is one of the most expensive resorts it does not quantify/do it justice." – Nicky Williams
"Looks nice but no wow factor." – Cheryl Maccianco
Another Polynesian Village Resort icon, the large tiki statue, makes its return to the lobby in the spring.
As we say goodbye to 2014, the new year promises more updates and changes at Walt Disney World. MousePlanet photographer J. Jeff Kober made numerous stops around the resort to get the latest on construction projects.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney Springs/Downtown Disney
...Dole Whip lovers can now find their favorite frozen fruity treat at Sunshine Tree Terrace in the Magic Kingdom, according to Disney Parks Blog.
...Disney filed official notices of commencement last weekend as expansion work continues around the resort. Richard Bilbao of the Orlando Press reported that among the notices filed, three Disney attractions and/or restaurants will see some upgrades, including:
- Haunted Mansion – fire sprinkler work
- Be Our Guest Restaurant – mechanical improvements
- Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – aesthetic upgrades
...Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort VoluntEARS supported the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots annual drive. Cast members donated more than 6,000 hours of service to help sort donations and distribute toys to families in need. Disney Cruise Line hosted toy drives on board its ships, at its home port in Port Canaveral, Florida, and in its shore-side offices. VoluntEARS at Disneyland Paris hosted “Mission Noel," where they wrapped gifts for children from local communities who were invited to the park for Christmas Eve brunch. In total, Disney cast members donated more than 40,000 toys, books, and games.
...New Walt Disney World merchandise celebrating 2015 features new artwork that highlights the popular characters expressing their "Disney Side," according to Disney Design Group Artist Thomas Scott. “For the 2015 artwork, we imagined the Disney characters were showing off their Disney Side just like our guests do when visiting Disney Parks,” he explained to Disney Parks Blog. “We dressed the characters in products we carry such as the Buzz Lightyear costume T-shirt that Goofy is wearing. Sorcerer Mickey has been included in the dated art program for a few years. This time, we put a Sorcerer’s hat on Mickey Mouse that resembles the hat we carry in our merchandise shops. I thought it was a great nod to that artwork tradition.”
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- Richard Petty's Junior Ride-Along Experience – at the Richard Petty's Driving Experience
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 7–11.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 19–22.
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. Most events sold out.
- Disney Castaway Cay Challenge – January 12 – sailing on the Disney Dream cruise ship.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 19–22. All races are sold out, but some associated events are still available.
- Expedition Everest Challenge – May 1–2, 2015. The event is sold out.
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 6–7. Registration opens March 17.
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 6–10, 2016. Registration opens April 28.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 18–21, 2016. Registration opens July 14.
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.
- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular – replaced December 20–31 by Holiday Wishes.
- Splash Mountain – closed January 4–30.
- Cinderella's Royal Table – closed January 5 through March 6 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed January 23–27 for refurbishment.
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid – closed February 2 through March 6 for refurbishment.
- Harmony Barber Shop – closed February 2 through March 30 (dates subject to change).
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed March 4– 7 for refurbishment
- "it's a small world" – closed March 10–15 for refurbishment
- Flame Tree Barbecue – January 5 through March 31.
- Kali River Rapids – closed January 20 through February 4; March 10–13.
- Polynesian – Never Land Club Children's Activity Center closed for refurbishment through January 1.
- Polynesian – refurbishment of the lobby ongoing.
- Blizzard Beach – the the entire park closed January 4 through March 3.
- 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 $199 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 $169, a $30 savings. Applicable taxes are charged to all orders.
Purchase 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
|None at this time.|
Discounts for Disney Rewards VISA & Debit Card Holders
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
14 days for 7-day park tickets plus up to 4 nights free in 2015.
Get up to 4 FREE nights when you book a 7-night or longer stay at a Disney hotel for select dates in 2015 and you can also get Disney’s Ultimate 14-Day ticket for the price of 7 offer! Applicable to arrivals between February 1 and December 6, subject to availability. Restrictions apply – see official website for details.
Book by March 31, 2015.
Discounts for Canada Residents
None at this time.
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Marie here.