Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer

Update for February 3 – 9, 2015

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

News and Views

Monorail service modifications announced | Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort offers championship discount | Walt Disney World hotels earn more national recognition | Epcot Starbucks mug pulled from shelves | Night of Joy lineup announced | Views around the WorldThis and That | Crowd update

Monorail service modifications announced

Monorail Black makes its final approach to The Magic Kingdom Monorail Station on the express beam. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Walt Disney World Resort Monorail System undergoes a refurbishment that impacts the Resort and Express monorail beams on certain days in February and March. The modified routes are planned to be in effect from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. February 3 to 5, 9 to 12, 23 to 26, and March 2 to 5.

During these times, monorails on the Resort beam will travel between Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the Magic Kingdom. Monorails on the Express beam will make an additional stop at Disney’s Contemporary Resort as they travel between the Magic Kingdom Park and the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Resort guests traveling to Epcot can either board a monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center and transfer to the Epcot line, or take a WDW Resort bus directly from their resorts to Epcot. Monorail service will continue to be available from all stations while this work takes place, and monorail operating hours will remain unchanged.

Guests may note a difference in the way they board the Monorail and should allow for additional travel time to reach their destinations. Guests staying at impacted Resorts will receive in-room communication upon their arrival.

Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort offers championship discount

Fans of the NFL Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots can take advantage of their team's win by receiving a free night and automatic room upgrade with a two-night stay at the standard price at either the Swan or Dolphin resort hotels.

Residents of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut are eligible for this promotion and must book their room before the end of this month (February 28) for stays through next year, February 3, 2016.

For additional information, or to make reservations, call (800) 227-1500 and mention their home state. This offer is not valid December 22 through 31. Taxes, resort services fee and gratuities are not included. The discount is not valid with any other special offers, promotions, or for existing reservations or groups.

Walt Disney World hotels earn more national recognition

U.S. News and World Report ranked the Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World first in the "Orlando-Walt Disney area" in its annual survey. 

Three other Walt Disney World properties earned a place on the publication's top 10 list, including Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at #4, Disney's Wilderness Lodge at #9, and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge at #10.

This is the second major award for the Four Seasons Orlando; the resort also recently earned a Five Star rating from AAA for its excellence in service and amenities

Epcot Starbucks mug pulled from shelves

Coffee chain Starbucks sells a line of "You are Here" ceramic coffee mugs that are themed for different cities and regions, and which make for inexpensive souvenirs.

This line is also available at Walt Disney World's Starbucks locations, with its four original mugs depicting icons themed specific to each of its four theme parks.

Last week, however, Disney officials pulled the Epcot-themed Starbucks coffee mug because its artwork included a purple-striped monorail.

Online sellers have put a premium price on this discontinued Epcot themed mug, which Disney pulled because of Monorail Purple featured in the artwork. In 2009, a monorail pilot on the purple train was killed in an accident and the train retired. Photo from eBay.

Disney officials confirmed to the Orlando Sentinel that they pulled the mug because of a fatal 2009 accident, in which 21-year-old Austin Wuennenberg died when Monorail Pink backed into Monorail Purple, which he was piloting. Disney retired both the monorail trains after the accident.

The Epcot mug, which could only purchased at the Fountainview Starbucks location in Future World when it was available, began appearing on eBay not long after Disney pulled the mug from the shelves. Asking bids reaching into hundreds of dollars, with the site's Buy It Now options skyrocketing to nearly $2,000.

Disney officials said an Epcot mug with a new design will be on sale soon for guests who want a complete set of the new "You are Here" mugs. 

2015 Night of Joy lineup announced

Last week, Disney announced the musical lineup for the 2015 Night of Joy at the Magic Kingdom. This annual music festival, which runs this year on Friday September 11 and Saturday, September 12,  features some of contemporary Christian music's most popular artists for two nights of uplifting, live entertainment.

This year's lineup includes (subject to change):

  • Friday, September 11 ­ – TobyMac, MercyMe, Jeremy Camp, Colton Dixon, Big Daddy Weave, Francesca Battistelli, Rend Collective, and I Am They
  • Saturday, September 12­ – Skillet, Lecrae, For King & Country, Mandisa, Matt Maher, Jamie Grace, Seventh Time Down, and Veridia

Views around the World

It's time to take a little trip to see just some of the views around Walt Disney World from the past week thanks to our fantastic MousePlanet photographers.

Magic Kingdom

A worker in a gondola suspended by the crane remove the holiday lights from high atop the spires of Cinderella Castle. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The moat near Tomorrowland at The Magic Kingdom has been completely drained as the hub expansion construction project continues. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

With the Sorcerer's Hat reduced to its brim, more of the Chinese Theater can be seen all the way down Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Work continues on enlarging the path in front of the Tree of Life. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Creature Comforts has quietly closed, making way for a new Starbucks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Disney Springs

Dock area being created for an expanded Marguerita bar. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The newly completed tower of the Boathouse can be seen from Buena Vista Drive through the construction as Downtown Disney is transformed into Disney Springs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

New Apex store by Sunglass Hut opens at Disney Springs. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

A barbershop pole appears, perhaps part of the Art of Shaving store going in at Disney Springs. Paper in the windows, however, suggests the addition of a salon and spa. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This and That

...Walt Disney World MagicBands hit a major milestone last week when the 10 millionth band was distributed since its announcement back in January 2013 according to Disney Parks Blog. The colored and/or specially designed bands serve as hotel room key cards, and allow on-property guests to charge purchases to their room as well as make Fastpass+ reservations up to 60 days in advance. Off-site guests can also secure Fastpass+ reservations up to 30 days in advance or upon arrival at the parks. 

...Have you seen the new secret sleeper beds at the new 360 Studio at the Disney Vacation Club's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows? Check out the post on Disney Parks Blog to get a close-up view of this bed that can be tucked away to provide more living space during the day.

...Are you a Twilight Zone Tower of Terror fan? If so, you'll want to get your hands on the newest merchandise line featuring this spooky (and thrilling) attraction. Items including T-shirts, key rings, glassware, pins, bags and more can be found at Tower Hotel Gifts beginning Friday, February 13, 2015 (of course).

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.

Join the MousePlanet Newsletter


Seeking Shutterbugs

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!

Crowd Forecast


"Do more. Wait less."

Crowds in Walt Disney World will start to pick up at the end of the month. 

TouringPlans.com can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist pitfalls 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, February 3, 2015 4 / 10
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 3 / 10
Thursday, February 5, 2015 3 / 10
Friday, February 6, 2015 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 Saturday 6 out of 10.
  • Following a Touring Plan is important when crowd levels spike at the park you're visiting!

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disney World wait times on your iPhone, Android or smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.

Join Our Networks


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


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.



  • 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.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney's Hollywood Studios


  • Polynesian – refurbishment of the lobby and pool area ongoing.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – the the entire park closed 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.

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

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

15 percent off select guided tours

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 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 and Villas:

  • Boma
  • Jiko (see restrictions)
  • Sanaa
Disney's BoardWalk Inn and Villas:
  • ESPN Sports Club
  • Flying Fish Cafe (see restrictions)
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort:
  • Shutters at Old Port Royale
Disney's Contemporary Resort:
  • The Wave...of American Flavors
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground:
  • Trail's End Restaurant
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:
  • Citricos (see restrictions)
  • Grand Floridian Cafe
Disney's Old Key West Resort:
  • Olivia's Cafe
Disney's Port Orleans Resort:
  • Boatwright's Dining Hall
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa:
  • The Turf Club Bar and Grill
Disney's Wilderness Lodge:
  • Artist Point (see restrictions)
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe
Disney's Yacht Club Resort:
  • Captain's Grille
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby (see restrictions)
  • Hollywood & Vine (see restrictions)
  • Biergarten Restaurant (see restrictions)

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.

15 percent off all Disney spa and salon services

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of any salon treatment valued at $45 or greater or any 50-minute or longer spa service at the spas and salons at Walt Disney World Resort listed below: 

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  • Senses – A Disney Spa
  • Ivy Trellis Salon
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Senses – A Disney Spa
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas
  • Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Olympiad Fitness Center
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
  • La Vida Health Club
  • Casa de Belleza Salon
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Sturdy Branches Health Club
Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
  • Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness 

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.

  • Get 1 free night at Disney Moderate and Value Resorts or 2 free nights at Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resorts for a between 7 and 13 nights.
  • Get 2 free nights at Disney Moderate and Value Resorts or 4 free nights at Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resorts for a stay between 14 and 20 nights
  • Get 3 free nights at Disney Moderate and Value Resorts or 6 free nights at Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resorts for a stay of 21 nights.
Book by March 31.

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.




  1. By Buckimion

    "Grand Floridian Resort & Spam" - LOL!

  2. By swrdfghtr

    The barber pole is indeed for the Art of Shaving. They use the phrase "Barber Spa" to refer to their stores that have barber services.

  3. By Drince88

    Interesting that the post-Superbowl commercial playing in the New Orleans area (and I'm presuming everything at least East of the Mississippi) - mentions going to Disney World - yet they didn't do that!

  4. By yedliw

    The Epcot mug, which could only purchased at the Fountainview Starbucks location in Future World when it was available, began appearing on eBay not long after Disney pulled the mug from the shelves. Asking bids reaching into hundreds of dollars, with the site's Buy It Now options skyrocketing to nearly $2,000.

    The buy it now may be asking up to $2k for them, doesn't mean they are getting them.. looking at the auctions.. they are going for closer to $200.

  5. Discuss this article on MousePad.