Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
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Update for March 17 – 23, 2015

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

News and Views

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Guide - March 20-23| Views around the World | Crowd Update

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Guide: March 20-24

The 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival completed its first full week, and the sights and smells around the park are fantastic.


For the first time ever, Chip 'n' Dale appear as topiaries with the rest of the Disney gang. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The annual event showcases incredible topiary creations sculpted to look like classic Disney characters, and gardens filled with flowers of every color of the rainbow. Guests can also attend live demonstrations on how to grow their own gardens and sample a variety of international cuisine to throughout the 75-day festival.

Each weekend, Epcot presents special events that include music, seminars, tours and more. Make sure to check the guide below and/or pick one up at the parks to get information on how to make reservations. We'll have an event guide updated each week for MousePlanet readers.

Here's what you can expect for Week #2 of the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival:

Friday, March 20    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Connect with Disney's Horticulture: Tips from Disney Horticulturists abut growing and maintaining the gardens of the Walt Disney World Resort. 10:00 – 4:00 Festival Center
Kendra Lott of Edible Orlando Magazine - Tips on how tips on how to plant your own garden. 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Danielle Sherry of Fine Gardening Magazine Noon, 3:00 Fresh Epcot Stage
"Planting Pointers" 1:00, 4:00 University of Florida Stage
English Tea Garden Tour 1:00, 3:45, 6:15 Tea Caddy
Chef Demo 3:00 Port of Entry, Showcase Plaza
Garden Rocks Concert Series: En Vogue 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater
Saturday, March 21    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Connect with Disney's Horticulture: Tips from Disney Horticulturists about growing and maintaining the gardens of the Walt Disney World Resort 10:00 – 4:00 Festival Center
Kendra Lott,  Edible Orlando magazine  11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Danielle Sherry, Fine Gardening magazine Noon, 3:00 Fresh Epcot Stage
"Planting Pointers" 1:00, 4:00 University of Florida Stage
English Tea Garden Tour 1:00, 3:45, 6:15 Tea Caddy
Chef Demo 3:00 Port of Entry, Showcase Plaza
Garden Rocks Concert Series: En Vogue 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater
Sunday, March 22    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Connect with Disney's Horticulture: Tips from Disney Horticulturists abut growing and maintaining the gardens of the Walt Disney World Resort 10:00 – 4:00 Festival Center
Ask an Expert: Master Gardeners from IFAS at the University of Florida 10:00 – 4:00 Festival Center
Kendra Lott, Edible Orange magazine 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Danielle Sherry, Fine Gardening magazine?> Noon, 3:00 Fresh Epcot Stage
"Planting Pointers" 1:00, 4:00 University of Florida Stage
English Tea Garden Tour 1:00, 3:45, 6:15 Tea Caddy
Chef Demo 3:00 Port of Entry, Showcase Plaza
Garden Rocks Concert Series: En Vogue 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater

Views around the World

Spring is in full bloom at Epcot's 2014 Flower & Garden Festival and one of our photographers wanted to make sure we had a chance to experience its beauty! He also stopped by the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom to give us an update on construction projects. 

Epcot


Topiary Peter Pan stands on the rooftop of the United Kingdom pavilion, out of reach of topiary Captain Hook for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Topiary Tick-Tock the Crocodile lurks near topiary Captain Hook at the United Kingdom pavilion for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka


Characters from Disney's Beauty and the Beast appear as topiaries at the France pavilion for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Buzz Lightyear greets Epcot guests near Mission: Space during the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Topiary Mickey and Minnie are ready for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom


As the newly constructed portions of the hub at Magic Kingdom have opened, the Rose Garden is now undergoing construction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Rose Garden at Magic Kingdom is now behind construction walls as the new hub areas nearby have opened. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Animal Kingdom


From near the top of Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort, construction cranes are visible beyond Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


With Bob Iger's mention that Disney's Hollywood Studios will soon be renamed (again), this dedication plaque likely will change (again). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


New lobby attraction posters have appeared in the queue for the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

...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 to 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.

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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

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"Do more. Wait less."


Save time and money at Walt Disney World. 

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, March 17, 2015 6 / 10
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 7 / 10
Thursday, March 19, 2015 7 / 10
Friday, March 20, 2015 7 / 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!

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
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Join Our Networks

MousePlanet


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

2015

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.

2015

2016

  • 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

Resorts

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

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – the the entire park closed through March 3.

Elsewhere

  • 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)
Epcot:
  • 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.