Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for February 17 – 23, 2015
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions
One day Magic Kingdom ticket price could soon pass $100 | Richard Petty Driving Experience to close | Disney Cruise Line introduces Star Wars Day at sea on select sailings | Texas family walking from Disneyland to Walt Disney World | Cinderella's Perfect Fit Sweepstakes offers stay in Castle Suite | Walt Disney World Resorts offer new celebration packages | Views around the World | This and That | Crowd update
Magic Kingdom one-day ticket prices could soon pass the $100 threshold, according to multiple online news and unofficial Walt Disney World sources.
If historical price increases timelines remain constant, the price increase could happen has soon as the end of this month based on reports from a report from the Tampa Bay Times and other Internet sources. The new reported price for a single-day ticket for Magic Kingdom will likely be $105, which is $6 more than the current price of $99 and which brings the entry price above the $100 mark for the first time in history. Walt Disney World would likely set the admission price of its other three theme parks to $99 for a single-day ticket, a $4 increase from 2014.
It is unclear how or whether crossing the $100 level would impact park attendance. Even at $99 last year, Walt Disney World saw crowd levels continue to rise. If the reports are accurate, the new $105 single-day ticket price means admission to the Magic Kingdom has doubled since 2003.
Disney announced the upcoming closure of the Richard Petty Driving Experience in the Magic Kingdom parking lot in June.
More Magic Kingdom parking spaces may be on the way after the Walt Disney World Speedway that borders the Magic Kingdom parking lot closes in late June to make way for "transportation improvements." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Also known as the Walt Disney World Speedway, the racing track hosted visitors looking to live their speed-demon dreams as they either experienced a ride-along in a NASCAR or exotic car (such as Lamborghinis and Ferraris) or the chance to get behind the driver's wheel.
According Rikki Niblett of our sponsor TouringPlans.com, the closure comes as a result of upcoming transportation improvements in the area. Disney, however, has not confirmed the specifics of the project.
"Any reserved guests prior to July 1 will have the same fantastic experience that we have delivered since 1997 at Walt Disney World Speedway," said Bill Scott, Vice President of Petty Holdings.
Scott added that anyone with reservations beyond June 30 for either the Richard Petty Driving Experience or Exotic Driving Experience can call (800) 237-3889 to reschedule the session at any of the other 14 Petty locations around the county, including the Daytona International Speedway. A new Orlando location is in the planning stages and will feature exotic and stock car programs.
Disney Cruise Lines announced the introduction of Star Wars Day at Sea for select dates in early 2016 on board the Disney Fantasy cruise ship.
The special, themed cruises are announced for sailings that depart January 9 and 23, February 6 and 20, March 5 and 19 and April 2 and 16, 2016. Each of these sailings leave from Port Canaveral, Florida and have a seven-night itinerary to the Western Caribbean and includes a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas.
The day-long, at-sea celebration happens once during each of the eight special sailings on board the Disney Fantasy and provides passengers a chance to meet and greet favorite Star Wars characters, and enjoy a deck party, themed youth activities, food and drink, and exclusive merchandise. The Disney Fantasy is also featuring screenings of the Star Wars films and the new Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels.
A Houston, Texas family including a mother, father and three young children continue a walk they started last August from Disneyland to Walt Disney World to honor a young family member who lost a battle with cancer.
Last year, 8-year-old Julia Cobb passed away from Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Not long before Julia passed away, the entire Cobb family, including dad Jonathan Cobb, his wife Jennifer and their kids, Julia, Jonathan, Jenna and Jaxie took a trip to Walt Disney World courtesy of the Make a Wish Foundation, according to MyFoxOrlando.com. The family had the "best week of our lives" mom Jennifer said.
Sadly, before the family could even get back to the airport to return home from the trip, Julia became critically ill and went to the hospital. Within 24 hours, she passed away.
To help cope with their loss and as a way to raise awareness of the disease, the grief stricken Cobbs decided to walk from the California theme park to the Florida theme park. They have a chase vehicle where one parent will drive and carry the kids who are tired, while the other parent continues to walk with the others. The family averages about 25 miles a day and stay in donated hotel rooms.
The Cobbs have created a foundation named for their daughter. The Jucan Foundation provides details about their Walk Across America campaign. In addition to offering support in spirit by using their #teamjucan hash tag in social media, their website also details ways in which people can help.
The Cobb family hopes to reach Walt Disney World by late May or early June.
In honor of the upcoming release of the live-action Cinderella movie on March 13, Disney is offering a special sweepstakes with a grand prize that gives one lucky family a taste of what "happily ever after" is about.
Cinderella's Perfect Fit sweepstakes awards one grand prize, consisting of:
- A one-night stay inside the Cinderella Castle suite
- Three nights at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel
- Four 5-day Magic Your Way tickets with Park Hopper and Water Parks and More options
- A Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover for one child ages 3-12.
- A $500 gift card
Entries can be submitted online through the sweepstakes' official webpage until March 29, 2015.
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels recently added a new feature to their celebration packages for guests looking to add a boost for a special occasion: cake! Previously, only candy cakes could be delivered to resort rooms, but now anyone staying on property can enjoy a vanilla or chocolate cake with a special occasion package.
From traditional cakes to large gift packages, Disney's Floral and Gifts now can deliver the party right to your on-site resort room. Among the newest celebration package additions are:
- Mickey's Celebration Cake ($55.95 plus tax) – choose from a chocolate or vanilla cake with two pairs of chocolate Mickey ears on top for any occasion. Forks, plates, napkins, and a cake server are included.
- Mickey's Magical Celebration package ($82.95 plus tax) – a cake, balloons, and a happy birthday tray are included.
- Mickey's Grand Birthday Party package ($121.95 plus tax) – Walt Disney World popcorn tin, a pair of Mickey birthday ears, Mickey Mouse crispy rice treats, five helium balloons, and a cake.
To place an order, visit the Disney Floral and Gifts website.
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.
Renovation to the front of the Adventureland Veranda is in play as permits have been extended to remodel the food and beverage facilities, believed to be themed to former Jungle Cruise skippers starting their own restaurant business. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Crowds like this lining up for tickets are not uncommon on mornings at the Transportation and Ticket Center. But on President's Day weekend, this is how far the crowds extended well into the afternoon. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Although the FlameTree BBQ counter service restaurant has temporarily closed during construction of the "Rivers of Light" nighttime spectacular at Disney's Animal Kingdom, much of its seating area was still open this past week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
While the tip of the hat came down quickly, the base structure of the sorcerer's hat requires more effort to remove. What is clear is that the Chinese Theater is again becoming more visible. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
This logo has appeared in poster form around the construction area, but now it appears as a medallion here on the causeway. It also now includes a tag line, "The Source of Inspiration." Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
...Pandora is the new sponsor of the Magic Kingdom's Wishes Fireworks Spectacular. On Main Street U.S.A, Midtown Jewelry now has entire section dedicated Pandora merchandise.
The back half of Midtown Jewelry on Main Street U.S.A. has been completely remodeled to house a new selection of Pandora product. Pandora is also the new sponsor of Wishes fireworks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
...Looking for some great shows for preschoolers in the Walt Disney World Parks? Disney Parks Blog published a post featuring some of the best live shows for the littlest travelers.
...Take a look at some of the cool new merchandise for the upcoming Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend which runs from February 19-22. It looks like the runners are getting the royal treatment with this year's designs and items.
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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.
- 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.
- Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin – closed March 4-5 for refurbishment.
- Peter Pan's Flight – closed March 5-6 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
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – April 27-30 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
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed August 4-10 for refurbishment.
- Flame Tree Barbecue – closed through March 31.
- 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.