Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
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Update for March 24 – 30, 2015

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


News and Views

Disney summer discounts released | Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party changes coming in July | Frozen Summer Fun LIVE to return to Disney's Hollywood StudiosBig changes coming to Epcot's Innoventions WestBe Our Guest serving breakfast2015 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Guide - March 27-29Views around the WorldThis and That | Crowd Update

Disney summer discounts released

Summer travelers looking to save money on Walt Disney World trips have some new options with last week's new room discount announcement.

If you are traveling between June 16 and August 27, you can save between 15 and 30 percent off regular room rates with this promotion.

Room inventory is limited and this promotion only lasts until June 12, and certain exclusions apply (see below). 

To make reservations, contact your travel agent or visit the official Walt Disney World website.

June 16 to August 27, 2015

Save 30 percent on Deluxe/Deluxe Villas

  • Disney's Boardwalk Villas
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Standard & Pool View
  • Disney's Boardwalk Inn
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney's Polynesian Resort
  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort.

Save 20 percent on Deluxe

  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Savannah & Club View
  • Disney's Beach Club
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort
Weekdays June 16 to August 9, 2015

Save 20 percent on Moderate Resorts

  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

Save 15 percent on Value Resorts

  • Disney's All Star Sports Resort
  • Disney's All Star Music Resort
  • Disney's Pop Century Resort
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites only
Weekends August 10 to 27, 2015

Save 25 percent on Moderate Resorts

  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

Save 20 percent on Value Resorts

  • Disney's All Star Sports Resort
  • Disney's All Star Music Resort
  • Disney's Pop Century Resort
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites only

Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party changes coming in July

On July 5,  the Magic Kingdom says farewell to the Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party and welcomes the "new and enhanced" Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party.

The core experience remains the same, where guests can reserve a table at the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant during the Wishes Fireworks Spectacular and enjoy tasty desserts, according to a Disney Parks Blog post. The changes, other than the name, include "the atmosphere," a sparkling cider toast as the fireworks begin, and a new dessert menu that includes character-themed cupcakes, fruit and cheese platters, chocolate-dipped strawberries, ice cream, signature lemonades, hot chocolate, and more.

Another big change is the ticket cost—about twice as much as the current dessert party. The Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party costs $49 for adults and $29 for children (ages 3 and up), before taxes. 

Disney strongly suggests reservations. Trying to get a ticket the same day is usually next to impossible, so book early if you can (up to 180 days before the party date). To make reservations, go to the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party's reservation website or call (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

Frozen Summer Fun LIVE to return to Disney's Hollywood Studios

During this summer, Disney's Hollywood Studios' visitors can once again experience a touch of winter when Frozen Summer Fun LIVE returns for a second year. From June 17 through September 7, these events are included with theme-park admission and do not require reservations. Many popular elements of last year's festivities will return, according to Disney Parks Blog, including:

  • Frozen Royal Welcome: Anna, Elsa and Kristoff travel travel throughout Hollywoodland twice each day surrounded by the Royal Arendelle Flag Corp, skaters, ice cutters and skiers. Of course, Olaf joins the procession to bring more fun to the celebration. Parade viewers have two opportunities to sing "Let it Go" with the characters
  • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration: A live show which offers a fun retelling of the Frozen story and brings the audience in on the show with a variety of sing-alongs. This live show was so popular, it took up year-round residence at Disney's Hollywood Studios and for the upcoming summer celebration, the production moves to the Hyperion Theater (formerly the home of the American Idol Experience and Superstar Television). The new location allows new special effects during the show. FastPass+ will be available for this show.
  • "Coolest Summer Ever" Dance Party: Every evening, DJ Chill hits the Event Stage to spin Disney music along with some of Disney's favorite characters. Visitors can not only dance at the party, but also submit song requests and submit photos over social media. You never know when you might see yourself on the giant party screen!
  • Frozen Fireworks: Everyone's favorite Frozen characters gather at the Event Stage to bring the evening to a close with a specular display of fireworks set to some of the movie's most popular music. Visitors can also experience snow during this amazing show!

This year, Olaf will make more appearances during the day with his "Summer Cool Down" show. Several times a day, he'll take the Event Stage with some of his friends where he'll sing, dance and even share a personal snow cloud to cool things off. 

Unfortunately, the Disney Parks Blog confirmed that no snow play area or ice skating rink will return to the Frozen Summer Fun LIVE event this year because "there just isn't a location where that could be accommodated this year."

Disney did not announce any premium/VIP packages for this event, but keep your eyes on MousePlanet as we'll post updates when and if they become available.

Big changes coming to Epcot's Innoventions West

Epcot is set to remove the final three attractions inside its Innoventions West building in early May, a Walt Disney World spokesman confirmed last week.

Crews plan to remove "Think" presented by IMB, "The Great Piggy Bank Adventure" presented by T. Rowe Price, and "Where's the Fire?" presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance to make way for new attractions (which have not been named at this time), according to an Orlando Sentinel report.

"We've reached the end of our sponsorship agreements with the exhibitors in Innoventions West and will temporarily close the space in early May to begin preparing for a new experience" a Disney spokesman told the newspaper. 

Innoventions East is remaining open and its attractions, including Sum of All Thrills, StormStruck, Habit Heroes, Vision House and Take a Nanooze Break, are remaining intact.

Be Our Guest now serving breakfast

The Magic Kingdom's popular Be Our Guest restaurant began offering a fixed-price breakfast menu on March 20.

The breakfast service appears only temporary at this time, according to a Disney Parks Blog post, which stated that the early morning meal is being served only through June 18.

What's on the new quick service breakfast menu? A pastry basket is offered for everyone at the table to share. Then, visitors can choose from cured meat and cheese with marmalade, fresh fruit and a toasted baguette, eggs Florentine in pufff pastry with ham and tomatoes or an open-face bacon and poached egg sandwich with Brie. Other. lighter options are also available as well as a children's menu.

Menu prices run toward the expensive side with kids' meals at $11.99 per person and adult meals at $19.99 per person. Drinks are included in the meal.

To make a reservation, visit the Be Our Guest reservation webpage or call (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

2015 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Guide - March 27-29

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 #3 of the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival:

Friday, March 27    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Art in the Garden Weekend: see nature through the eyes of "Plein Air" artists, along with one-of-a-kind works of art in our Guest Artists booths  11:00 – 7:00 World Showcase
Redenta Soprano, botanical illustrator presents tips and tricks to help plant a garden 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Jan Johnson, nationally known landscape designer, blogger and author 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: Starship 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater
Saturday, March 28    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Art in the Garden Weekend: see nature through the eyes of "Plein Air" artists, along with one-of-a-kind works of art in our Guest Artists booths  10:00 – 4:00 Festival Center
George Wilson, George Wilson Photography 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Jan Johnson, nationally known landscape designer, blogger and author 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: Starship 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater
Sunday, March 29    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Art in the Garden Weekend: see nature through the eyes of "Plein Air" artists, along with one-of-a-kind works of art in our Guest Artists booths  10:00 – 4:00 Festival Center
Ask an Expert: Master Gardeners from IFAS at the University of Florida 10:00 – 4:00 Festival Center
Adam Lavigne, Central Florida Bonsai Club 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Jan Johnson, nationally known landscape designer, blogger and author 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: Starship 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater

Views around the World

Spring break and Easter are almost hear and Walt Disney World prepares for the holiday and the larger crowds that come when schools close. Visitors can enjoy the festive decorations around all of the parks and resort!

Epcot


The flowers are in full bloom on the west side of Future World for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka. 


On weekends, this elephant topiary points the way to the Flower & Garden Festival Center at Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The topiaries are nicely lit at night for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom


Interesting photo opportunities arise at Magic Kingdom as the sun sets and Main Street's lights are lit. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Easter Bunny is arriving in time for the upcoming holiday. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The very center of the Central Plaza area has re-opened with a polished Partners Statue. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Now construction moves to other corners to include the Rose Garden path, which has been completely torn up. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Two restaurants have changed titles and food product. In some ways it makes more sense to have this location named Aloha Isle since this is more of a Polynesian section of the park, and the other was more Bahamian in style. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


A citrus style product makes more sense with this architecture. But the original had an actual tree in it. And we've yet to see Orange Bird make a move to this new location. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


During the busy Spring Break period, Magic Kingdom has set up additional security bag checks in the area surrounding the front gate. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort


Construction workers continue final work on the new DVC Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort in advance of soft opening expected in April. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Water is now in the re-constructed pool for Disney's Polynesian Resort. New rock work can be seen behind it. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Especially new is a children's pool play area that involves a lot of landscaped rock. Note the new volcano behind it as well, which will continue being a slide to the pool area. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This and That

...Did you see this? The U.S. Navy Blue Angels performed a flyover Magic Kingdom's Main Street U.S.A. last Thursday.

...Disney Cruise Lines looks poised to make an announcement next week about their 2016 itieraries, and it sounds like something new may be added to next year's travels.

...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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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 24, 2015 7 / 10
Wednesday, March 25, 2015 9 / 10
Thursday, March 26, 2015 9 / 10
Friday, March 27, 2015 9 / 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!

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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

Save Up to 30 percent with room discount

Summer travelers looking to save money on Walt Disney World trip have some new options with last week's new room discount announcement

Visitors traveling between June 16 and August 27, 2015 can save between 15 percent and 30 percent off regular room rates with this promotion.

Room inventory is limited and this promotion only lasts until June 12 and certain exclusions apply (see below). 

To make reservations, contact your travel agent or visit the official Walt Disney World website.

June 16 - August 27, 2015

Save 30%

  • Deluxe/Deluxe Villas: Disney's Boardwalk Villas, Disney's Old Key West Resort, Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Standard & Pool View, Disney's Boardwalk Inn, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Disney's Yacht Club Resort.

Save 20%

  • Deluxe: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Savannah & Club View, Disney's Beach Club, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Weekdays June 16 - August 9, 2015

Save 20%

  • Moderate: Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins, Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside.

Save 15%

  • Value: Disney's All Star Sports Resort, Disney's All Star Music Resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort - Family Suites Only.

Weekends August 10 - August 27, 2015

Save 25%

  • Moderate: Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins, Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside.

Save 20%

  • Value: Disney's All Star Sports Resort, Disney's All Star Music Resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort - Family Suites Only.

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.