Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for February 24 – March 2, 2015
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions
Disney increase brings ticket prices past $100 | 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon Results | New details released about Star Wars Weekends | Did you see this Disney surprise? | Views around the World | This and That | Crowd update
Less than a week after MousePlanet reported the possibility of increased ticket prices, Disney followed through and raised the cost of a one-day Magic Kingdom ticket to $105, passing the $100 threshold for the first time.
The new price points went into effect on Sunday, February 22. Ticket prices went up across the board, with the cost of a one-day ticket at either Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom going up to $97, avoiding the century mark this time around.
Multi-day pass prices also went up: a resident annual pass now costs $529 (from $485) and a seasonal pass costs $329 ($319) before taxes, according to an article at the Orlando Sentinel. Renewal prices sit at 15 percent below original purchase price.
Disney officials appear to have no concerns or regrets about the latest price increase, according to spokesman Bryan Malenius' statement:
A day at a Disney park is unlike any other in the world, and there is strong demand for our attractions and entertainment. We continually add new experiences, and many of our guests select multi-day tickets or annual passes which provide great value and additional savings.
More than 20,000 runners, the majority of them women, laced up their shoes to participate in the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon at the Walt Disney World Resort this past weekend (February 19-22). Over the course of the four-day weekend, runners of all ages participated in a variety of scheduled events, such as a 3.1-mile 5K family fun run, 6.2-mile 10K race, half-marathon, and various kids races. Many participants of the half-marathon also took on the Glass Slipper Challenge, which required that they complete both the10K and half-marathon.
Although men are allowed to run in this women-focused event, they are assigned to a slower corral but the fastest men are still timed based on gun time, meaning the top finishers are women. For the half-marathon, the top three finishers were:
- Lauren Passel (30), of New York, New York, with a time of 1:22:59.
- Heather Schulz (40), of Orlando, Florida, with a time of 1:23:28.
- Mariela Ortiz (39), of San Miguel, Argentina, with a time of 1:23:45.
Passel earned her first win in a half-marathon and recently recovered from a broken hip, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel. She only started running again in September after suffering a stress fracture from falling on ice in New York in the winter of 2014.
"I never thought I would win," she said after clocking her personal best race time with the race. "I just wanted to finish the race."
Congratulations to everyone who participated in the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, including many from our own Team MousePlanet. If you'd like to know more about runDisney races, are thinking of signing up, or just want to lead a healthier lifestyle, join us at our Team MousePlanet forum on our MousePad discussion board.
While it may seem so far away, the Disney's Hollywood Studios' Star Wars Weekends event will be here before you know: from May 15 to June 14, 2015. Last week, Disney made some announcements about what fans can expect at this year's event, including a few changes.
Here is a rundown of the coming to this year's event, as well as some returning fan favorite events, courtesy of Disney Parks Blog:
- Darth's Mall moves to an expanded retail shop near the Streets of America, and offers exclusive merchandise designed just for Star Wars Weekends.
- The Stars of the Saga talk show, hosted by James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi on Star Wars: The Clone Wars) also relocates this year, to the Theater of the Stars on Sunset Boulevard.
- "Symphony in the Stars" fireworks show returns this year, as well as Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine restaurant. This is a character dining experience that has some of the Disney classic characters dressed up in Star Wars costumes.
Disney has made no official announcements, yet, regarding celebrity appearances for this years event. Fans may recall last year Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) made his debut appearance at Star Wars Weekends.
Need a smile today? Did you catch this adorable video last week where some of Walt Disney World's iconic characters make a surprise appearance at a Long Island, New York shopping mall? Disney Parks Blog shared this unexpected visit which delighted (and sometimes confused) shoppers who are weary from a long, cold winter.
Walt Disney World sent some of its most popular residents to surprise some shoppers at a Long Island, New York mall. Disney Parks Blog.
For months now, we've seen many construction project around the Walt Disney World Resort. Within the past couple of weeks, our photographers have captured the tremendous progress workers have made in each of these areas. This week, the workers' time and effort can really been seen as some of these projects enter their final stages.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Main show building for the Soarin' style attraction in Avatar. It is believed that guests will ride Banshees in the center of the building with the film appearing on the perimeter. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
...A number of new animal additions have joined the Disney Animal Kingdom family, including five baby sable antelopes and a baby white rhino.
...Despite the recent cold snap at the Walt Disney World Resort, Epcot workers continue to work on getting the park ready for the upcoming 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, which runs from March 4 through May 17.
...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 web page until March 29.
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.
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!
"Do more. Wait less."
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "it's a small world" – closed March 10–15 for refurbishment
- Harmony Barber Shop – closed through March 30 (dates subject to change).
- Jungle Cruise – closed April 13 through May 8 for refurbishment
- Dream Along with Mickey – closed April 13 through May 20 for refurbishment
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – April 27–30 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.