Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for February 10 – 16, 2015
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions
Be Our Guest to begin accepting lunch reservations | New resort check-in process rolls out February 10 | Trolley Car Cafe opens at Disney's Hollywood Studios | Downtown Disney road construction delayed | Disney's Animal Kingdom to host "Spring Forward" event |Views around the World | This and That | Crowd update
The Magic Kingdom's Be Our Guest restaurant, which opened in December 2012 as part of the New Fantasyland project, is transitioning its lunch hours from quick service to a reservation-based system starting on February 25.
In addition to being able to make reservations 180 days out for a Be Our Guest lunch, visitors can also pre-order their meal beginning 30 days prior all the way up to 5 minutes before their reservation to make the process even smoother. Officials say visitors can still choose their own seating during the lunch seating.
After a lengthy test period at the restaurant with Fastpass+ over recent month, Disney decided to transition the quick service meal time to a reservation-based system for everyone, according to Disney Parks Blog.
The Be Our Guest lunch, served daily from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., will remain a quick service option for the Disney Dining Plan and the menu will differ from the later dinner seating. Reservations open at 6 a.m. on February 25 and visitors can either call (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463), visit the My Disney Experience site, or go to the Walt Disney World's dining page to schedule their date and time.
Last week, Disney sent a memo to travel agents announcing a new resort policy scheduled to begin on February 10 that allows qualified visitors to bypass the front desk check-in process. Guests must:
- Have Magic Bands mailed to their home.
- Complete the full check-in process in advance, including paying in full for their reservation or setting up a credit card and PIN.
- Provide a method of communication (an email address or phone number where the can reached via text).
Those who meets these requirements receive an email before their arrival with their room number and the ability to go directly to their room.
A hotel curbside cast member will meet the reservation party at the door and offer the option for a traditional check in at the desk or will show them the way to their room. The booking visitors will need to make sure to have a valid form of identification to the cast member.
The new check in process rolls out on the following date:
- February 10 – Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney's Art of Animation Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort, and Disney's Port Orleans Resort
- February 25 – Disney's Boardwalk Inn, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Wilderness Lodge, and Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
- March 10 – Disney's All Star Resort, Disney's Caribbean Resort, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Old Key West Resort, and Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
No date has been announced for this new process at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.The Trolley Car Cafe Starbucks location opened in Disney's Hollywood Studios last week at the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The latest Starbucks location opened last week in Disney's Hollywood Studio's in the new Trolly Car Cafe.
Located on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, the Trolley Car Cafe not only serves Starbucks drinks, but also Disney baked items and Starbucks' La Boulange pastries.
The interior of the newly opened Trolley Car Cafe Starbucks inside Disney's Hollywood Studios is decorated to appear as a period-appropriate service building for the Red Car Trolley line from Hollywood's past. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Trolley Car Cafe is the third Starbucks location in Walt Disney World. The Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Downtown Disney all have locations serving visitors. Another location is under construction over at Disney's Animal Kingdom. No official opening day has been released at this time.
Disney confirmed last week that roadwork involved with the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs project may likely take an extra year to complete.
The road construction project, which includes additional ramps onto Epcot Center Drive from Buena Vista Drive and two parking garages, is now scheduled for completion in mid-2017 compared to the original estimate of late 2016.
Bruce Jones, Reedy Creek Improvement District's contract and risk manager told the told the Orlando Sentinel that "unanticipated delays in getting the conceptual designs hammered out" for Epcot Center Drive improvements has been a stumbling block. Jones cited difficulties with building demolition on the site of a second parking garage as a primary cause for the delay.
On March 5, Disney's Animal Kingdom plans to celebrate the change of season and wildlife at its "Spring Forward" event.
Anyone visiting Rafiki’s Planet Watch on March 5 can learn about various amphibians and participate in fun, amphibian related activities to learn about amphibian adaptation such as trying to leap like a frog, listening to and identifying frog calls, and making toad homes for their backyards.
This event is included with regular park admission and no reservations are required.
Our photographers snapped some fantastic photos of lots of activity around Walt Disney World: from major progress in the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Polynesian Village Resort to a magical addition over at Disney's Hollywood Studios and even some natural beauty around the parks.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
The golden carriage built for filming Disney's upcoming new live-action "Cinderella" movie is on display in front of the theater facade on the Streets of America at Disney's Hollywood Studios (scheduled through April 11, 2015). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
...Construction walls came down around the Disney's Animal Kingdom Tree of Life last week to reveal a number of new animals carved into the icon's roots and a widened walkway to Discovery Island.
...Disney gave fans a preview of the design for the newest Walt Disney World Starbucks location at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which will take the place of Creature Comforts.
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- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 19–22.
- 2015 Atlanta Braves Spring Training – March 4 to April 14.
- 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Show – March 4 to May 17.
- 2015 Epcot Garden Rocks Concert Series – March 6 to May 17.
- 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival – September 26 to November 16.
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 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. The event, which was announced as being the final time it was being offered, sold out within minutes of registration opening.
- 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.
- Cinderella's Royal Table – closed through March 6 for refurbishment.
- Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid – closed through March 6 for refurbishment.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed March 4–7 for refurbishment
- Harmony Barber Shop – closed through March 30 (dates subject to change).
- "it's a small world" – closed March 10–15 for refurbishment
- Jungle Cruise – closed April 13 through May 8 for refurbishment
- Dream Along with Mickey – closed April 13 through May 20 for refurbishment
- Liberty Tree Tavern – closed July 6 through November 20 for refurbishment
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – March 14–15
- Polynesian – refurbishment of the lobby and pool area ongoing.
- 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.
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:
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:
Disney's BoardWalk Inn and Villas:
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort:
Disney's Contemporary Resort:
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground:
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:
Disney's Old Key West Resort:
Disney's Port Orleans Resort:
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa:
Disney's Wilderness Lodge:
Disney's Yacht Club Resort:
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
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
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
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.
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.