Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
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Update for April 28 – May 4, 2015

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


News and Views

Free dining offer released for early fall season | 30 percent room-only discount offered for fall season | Mother's Day meals offered at Walt Disney's Swan and Dolphin's Resort | Final Expedition Everest Challenge runs on May 3 | Typhoon Lagoon to host Teen Beach 2 Beach Party | 2015 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Guide April 24 to 26 | Views around the World | This and that... | Crowd Update

Free dining offer released for early fall season

It seems that the rumors I heard flying around last week are true: Disney released a free dining offer for the late summer/early fall season on Monday, April 27. This time, there was no pre-sale for Visa cardholders, and the offer is available to the general public immediately.

The announcement specifically pointed out that room availability for these rates are extremely limited, and based on experiences I've read around numerous sites and fan groups (and even my own travel agent), getting through to make reservatins is a long process, as well. In addition, there are quite a few rules and restrictions, so it is important to read through everything before trying to make reservations and have a couple of options ready to go.

Here are the offer details:

  • Get a free dining plan when booking a non-discounted 6-night/7-day Walt Disney Travel Company package that includes a room at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels and ticket with either a Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More option.
  • Offer is valid for arrivals most nights from August 28 to October 2, October 25–31, November 8–19, and December 15–21.
  • The booking window is now through July 10, 2015.
  • Guests receive the Disney Dining Plan if they stay at select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts, Disney Deluxe Resorts, or a Disney Moderate Resorts.
  • Guests receive the Quick-Service Dining Plan if they stay at select Disney Value Resorts.
  • The offer excludes:
    • The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
    • Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
    • Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
    • Disney's Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard View Rooms, campsites, 3-bedroom villas
    • Disney's All-Star Movies Resort
    • Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort and Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort (between October 25 and December 21).
  • Dining plans exclude alcohol and gratuities.
  • Children ages 3 through 9 must order from the children's menu.

To check for availability, visit either the Walt Disney World official webpage, call a Walt Disney World vacation specialist at (407) 827-7181 or contact a travel agent.

Up to a 30 percent room-only discount offered for fall season

For those who either choose not to or cannot use the free dining package, Disney also announced a discount of up to a 30 percent off on rooms for the late summer/early fall.

Here are the offer details:

  • Offer is valid August 15 through October 3, 2015
  • The booking window is now through August 7, 2015
  • A 30 percent discount applies to the following Deluxe Villas and Resorts:
    • 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 Village Resort
    • Disney's Wilderness Lodge
    • Disney's Yacht Club Resort
  • A 25 percent discount applies to the following Moderate Resorts:
    • Disney Port Orleans – Riverside (August 15–27 only)
    • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
      Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
    • The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort (August 15 to October 3).
  • A 20 percent discount applies to the following:
    • ?Deluxe resorts:
      • Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
      • Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
      • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Savanna View/Club Level Rooms
      • Disney's Beach Club Villas
      • The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
      • Disney's Beach Club Resort
      • Disney's Contemporary Resort.
    • Moderate resorts:
      • Disney Port Orleans – Riverside (August 28 to October 3)
      • Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter (August 15 to October 3)
    • Value resorts:
      • Disney's All-Star Music Resort
      • Disney's All-Star Sports Resort
      • Disney's Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites Only
      • Disney's Pop Century Resort
  • A 15 percent discount applies to the Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

To check for availability, visit either the Walt Disney World official webpage, call a Walt Disney World vacation specialist at (407) 827-7181, or contact a travel agent.

Mother's Day meals offered at Walt Disney's Swan and Dolphin's Resort

Heading down to the Walt Disney World Resort on Mother's Day? The restaurants at Disney's Swan and Dolphin Resorts invite families to come celebrate at their restaurants.

At the Garden Grove, moms and their families can enjoy Disney character interactions under a whimsical, 25-foot oak tree centerpiece. From 7:00 to 10 a.m., the special Mother's Day breakfast menu includes hand-crafted bacon, open-faced crab sandwiches, potato gratin Dauphinoise, and yogurt mousse parfaits. Additionally, a special Mother's Day brunch menu, served from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., features herb-crusted prime rib, quiche, and green been almandine. Prices for the breakfast and brunch options are $35.99 for adults, $19.99 for children (ages 3–9) and free for kids under 3. For more information, visit reservations call (407) 934-1618. A breakfast and brunch menu are also available online.

Meanwhile, over at Todd English's bluezoo, families can enjoy fresh seafood and coastal cuisines from around the world, plus receive a $25 gift certificate and a rose for every two adult entrees purchased on Mother's Day. To make reservations, call (407) 934-1111. For more information, visit the restaurant's official website.

Star Wars and Disney Infinity among additions coming to the Disney Dream

This fall, young fans of the Star Wars universe and Disney Infinity aboard Disney Cruise Lines' Disney Dream can immerse themselves in those fictional worlds thanks to some new renovations. Starting on October 26, these new adventures are just a few of the new entertainment features the cruise ship plan to add to enhance passengers' voyage.

Disney Parks Blog announced the new arrivals last week, which include:

  • Part of the ship's Oceaneer's Club transforms into the famous Millenium Falcon, where children can pilot the spaceship, fight the Dark Side in a classic battle. Kids can also enjoy crafts, games and activities and watch the animated series Star Wars Rebels. A Jedi Training Academy experience (similar to the one at Disney's Hollywood Studios) will also be offered for the younger passengers, who will be trained in light saber skills and then battle the infamous Darth Vader.
  • Over on the other side of the Oceaneer's Club, the Disney Infinity Toy Box video game comes to life for children on board the Disney Dream. The interactive play area allows visitors to play together on screen. Plus, a full set of of the Disney Infinity characters will be on display and ready for video game playing. Any child who plays the video game has a chance to unlock exclusive content for their own game at home!
  • Vanellope's Sweets & Treats: Disney Dream passengers can satisfy their sweet tooth by visiting a candy and treat shop inspired by the animated feature Wreck-It-Ralph. Visitors can see Vanellope's race car, King Candy's throne, gas pump-style gumball machines, and more.
  • Another popular Walt Disney World experience, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, also debuts on the Disney Dream this fall. Whether a child (ages 3 to 12) wants to be transformed into a princess or a pirate, a godmother-in-training awaits them to make dreams come true.
  • Lastly, an adult-only experience comes to the Disney Dream. Satellite Falls is a circular splash pool with a "rain curtain" for a refreshing swim on the lower deck, while on the upper deck, adults can relax in the shade under a canopy.

Final Expedition Everest Challenge runs on May 3

This Saturday, May 3, Disney's Animal Kingdom hosts the final Expedition Everest Challenge. This (3.1-mile) 5-kilometer race stands out from others because it runs through the theme park during the event:

  • The race course goes through the theme park at night
  • Runners not only participate in the race, but also navigate an obstacle course and scavenger hunt where clues must be solved to advance on the course
  • Racers can pair up and work together as a team to complete the challenges
  • Race finishers not only receive a special medal, but also attend a special post-race party that includes access to rides such as Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and Dinosaur.

Typhoon Lagoon to host Teen Beach 2 Beach Party

Typhoon Lagoon has a beach party planned from May 22 through July 5 to celebrate the upcoming release of Teen Beach 2 on the Disney Channel later this summer.

The party, which will be held at various times each day, includes "bikers" and "surfers" who dance and play beach-themed games with guests as a DJ spins remixes of retro tunes. Guests will take over Typhoon Lagoon's main beach area and participate in relays on the sand, hula hoop spinning, water balloon and beach ball tossing, and groovy dance moves.

2015 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Guide April 24 to 26

It doesn't seem possible that the 2015 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival is already is preparing for its eighth weekend, but time flies when you're having fun, right?


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

Friday, May 1    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Rob Williams, Disney horiticulturalist 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Jessi Bloom, landscape designer and horticulturalist Noon, 3:00 Fresh Epcot Stage
"Planting Pointers": join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone 1:00, 4:00 University of Florida Stage
English Tea Garden Tour 1:00, 3:45, 6:15 Tea Caddy
Florida Fresh Weekend Experiences 10:00 – 5:00 Festival Center
Garden Rocks Concert Series: Taylor Dane 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater
Saturday, May 2    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Arthur Katz, orchid specialist 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
David Mizejewski, TV personality and National Wildlife Federation naturalist Noon, 3:00 Fresh Epcot Stage
"Planting Pointers": join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone. 1:00, 4:00 University of Florida Stage
English Tea Garden Tour 1:00, 3:45, 6:15 Tea Caddy
Garden Rocks Concert Series: Taylor Dane 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater
Sunday, May 3    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Eric Schmidt of Harry P. Leu Gardens 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
David Mizejewski, TV personality and National Wildlife Federation naturalist Noon, 3:00 Fresh Epcot Stage
"Planting Pointers": join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone. 1:00, 4:00 University of Florida Stage
English Tea Garden Tour 1:00, 3:45, 6:15 Tea Caddy
Garden Rocks Concert Series: Taylor Dane 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater

Views around the World

Magic Kingdom


Castle tower under construction in the shadows of Cinderella Castle. This will be used for entertainment lighting and sound. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Beyond the trees, Adventureland Veranda is under renovation. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Sword in the Stone is again being pulled out, but not by the help of Merlin, but rather the Royal Majesty Makers. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


With Spring Break pretty much over, parts of the central hub of the Magic Kingdom are back under construction as part of the expansion project. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Magic Kingdom's Main Street Cinema came out from under the scaffolds and tarps earlier this month and now renovations have begun next door. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Magic Kingdom's hub expansion project continues on the former site of the Rose Garden. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


The 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival enters its final month. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The monorail glides by Spaceship Earth during the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, which ends on May 17. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Chip and Dale don't mind playing in the dark during the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Donald Duck is tending his own vegetable garden during the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival as it enters its final month. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Little change seems to have occurred in front of the Chinese Theater. It still seems to have the footprint from when the hat was in place. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Chinese Theater received considerable makeover when a patina effect was reapplied to the copper roof of the Chinese Theater. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort


This area, originally thought to be an outdoor recreational area, is actually slated to serve as an outdoor barbecue, complete with grills for guests to use. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Kiki Tikis play area at the pool has finally opened. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Behind the Kiki Tikis play area pool, the rock area has received a casual waterfall cascade. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


At the entrance, the lagoon has re-emerged with some bubbling rock, but no fountain as before. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This and that...

...Trader Sam's Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort officially opened yesterday, April 27. Waits can be up to two hours to get in at peak times, so get there early if you want to experience the resort's newest lounge.

...As we previously reported, Dockside Margarita's at Downtown Disney opened last week, as scheduled.

...Fans of Fort Wilderness and the Hoop De Doo Musical Review can purchase a vintage-style souvenir T-shirt for a limited time. These shirts are only available until next Sunday (May 3), so make sure to get one quick before they're gone.

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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, April 28, 2015 4 / 10
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 3 / 10
Thursday, April 30, 2015 3 / 10
Friday, May 1, 2015 6 / 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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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.

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 10-27, 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

None at this time


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.

 

Comments

  1. By danyoung

    The information about the Flame Tree BBQ is incorrect. I was there over the weekend, and it's most definitely still closed.

  2. Discuss this article on MousePad.