Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for May 25 – June 1, 2015
Man arrested following rescue from Bay Lake | New water side villas, restaurants coming to Wilderness Lodge | Cinderella Castle debuts new turrets | Disney's Animal Kingdom's Harambe Market opens | Disney Cruise Lines coming to New York, Miami, Galveston in 2016 | Views around the World | Crowd Forecast
An Ohio man found himself behind bars after a night of drinking ended with him being rescued from Bay Lake by Disney marine officials.
Orange County sheriffs arrested Andrew Hall (27), of Mentor, Ohio, for "disturbing the peace at a public lodging establishment, grand theft, and criminal mischief," according to the Orlando Sentinel. Hall's troubles began after he attempted to leave Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort by riding a bicycle after a night of drinking. A resort manager noticed Hall had trouble staying balanced on the bicycle, so he decided to follow Hall in a golf cart to try to catch up and help.
Then, according to the police report, Hall got off the bike upon seeing the golf cart and ran toward it, ultimately jumping on it and crashing the windshield. From there, Hall alledgedly stole the golf cart, crashed it into a pier, then fled on foot toward the water. He then jumped into Bay Lake, at which point he quickly started to struggle in the water. Officers quickly saw that Hall was in danger, and went in after him.
Disney estimated the damages at about $5,000. Hall was being held on $2,500 bail.
Not long after Disney's Polynesian Village Resort unveiled its waterside villas, Disney's Wilderness Lodge filed plans with the South Florida Management District outlining its own new waterfront accommodations.
Unlike the Polynesian Villas, the plans do not call for workers to build the new accommodations to be built onto the water, according to the plans featured on The DIS. The newly filed plans show 26 one-story units, recreation buildings, restaurants, and new pools. Upgrades are also on the board for existing pools.
Disney has yet not made any official announcements of the expansion.
Construction in and around Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle hit another milestone last week when the park pulled the curtains off two sets of new turrets.
Two new turrets stand to each side of the castle and are the first major addition to the park's centerpiece since the park opened in 1971.
As of now, nothing new is housed in these turrets, but a number of Disney fan sites and comments on the Disney Parks Blog speculate that they will hold projection, lighting, and/or sound systems for castle shows such as Dream Along with Mickey, Celebrate the Magic, and Wishes.
Disney's Animal Kingdom opened its Harambe Market on May 23 in its Africa section.
As the newest dining experience on Walt Disney World property, Harambe Market offers park visitors African-themed dishes in a walk-up window setting. Rikki Niblett from our sponsor TouringPlans.com gave readers a sneak peek at the menu:
- Kitamu Grill: offering skewered chicken and a kabob flatbread sandwich.
- Famous Sausages: featuring a corn dog, inspired by a South African sausage called a boerewors, dipped in curry-infused corn batter.
- Chef Mwanga’s: specializes in a spice-rubbed karubi rib with green papaya-carrot slaw.
- Wanjohi Refreshments: offering unique African-inspired beverages.
In addition to the new food options, more than 200 shaded seating areas will provide a cool place during mealtimes for park visitors.
Disney Cruise Line announced last week that Galveston, Miami, and New York will be ports of call starting in October 2016.
Full ship itineraries and ports of call are now available on the Disney Cruise Line website, but some highlights include:
- October 2, 2016 - The Disney Magic sails from New York on a five-night cruise to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Saint John, New Brunswick in Canada.
- October 7, 2016 - The Disney Magic sails from New York on an eight-night Bahamian cruise that includes stops at Castaway Cay, Nassau, Bahamas, and Port Canaveral, Florida.
- October 15, 22, and 29, 2016 - The Disney Magic sails from New York on seven-night cruises that stop at Castaway Cay and Port Canaveral. Travelers also have the opportunity to visit the Walt Disney World Resort when the ship stops at nearby Port Canaveral. Each guest on these sailings receive a one-day Walt Disney World Park Hopper ticket and round-trip transportation for the short trip between the ship and the resort.
- November 20 and December 4, 2016 - The Disney Magic sails from Miami to the Western Caribbean including Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Castaway Cay.
- November 27 and December 11 - The Disney Magic sails to the Eastern Caribbean including Tortola, St. Thomas, and Castaway Cay.
- December 2 - The Disney Wonder sails on a seven-night Caribbean itinerary from Galveston to Falmouth, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.
- December 23 - The Disney Wonder sails to Tortola, San Juan, and Castaway Cay
- December 16 - The Disney Wonder sails from Galveston on a seven-night cruise to Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Grand Cayman.
The summer season officially kicked off last week with the 24-Hour Coolest Summer Ever party. Disney workers continue to plug away at various construction projects to accommodae the growing crowds and make improvements to the parks overall. And, Star Wars Weekends continue to be a big draw for Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
"No Selfie Sticks" signs have been posted this week at Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom. It is likely that more signs like these will be posted on attractions throughout the resort, as the Selfie Sticks increasingly raise safety concerns. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
…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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Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.
- Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios – May 22, 23 & 24, May 29, 30 & 31, June 5, 6 & 7, June 12,13 & 14
- 2015 Mickey's Not So Scary Hallowen Party – September 15, 18, 20, 22, 25 and 27; October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29 and 31; November 1
- 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 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 6–7. Most events are sold out.
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 6–10, 2016. Many events are sold out.
- 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.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – closed June 8 through September 25 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Tree Tavern – closed July 6 through November 20 for refurbishment
- Dream Along with Mickey – closed July 19 through August 22 for refurbishment
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed August 4–10 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Frontierland station – closed September 29 through November 5 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Main Street U.S.A station – closed September 29 through November 5 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Fantasyland station – closed September 29 through November 5 for refurbishment.
- Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage – closed June 12–14 for refurbishment
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – closed September 7–10 for refurbishment
- Entire park closes from October 25 - December 1, 2015 for reburbishment
- Polynesian – ongoing refurbishment of the lobby and pool area.
- 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 – 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
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
Weekdays June 16 – August 9, 2015
Weekends August 10-27, 2015
Free Dining Plan Offer
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:
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
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.
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
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.