Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
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Update for June 16 – 22, 2015

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


News and Views

Disney offers first look at new Frozen attraction | Details released about new Disney Springs additions | Zuri's Sweet Shop to open June 17 | Vivoli Gelateria opens at Downtown Disney | Frozen Fever added to Disney's Hollywood Studios festivities | 2015 Eat to the Beat lineup announced | Views around the world | Crowd Forecast

Disney offers first look at new Frozen attraction

Ever since Epcot's Malestrom closed last fall and Disney announced a new Frozen attraction in its place, many people wondered what to expect from the change. It's taken nearly 8 months, but Disney has finally given us a glimpse of what's to come.

"Frozen Ever After", scheduled to open in 2016, takes visitors on a trip to Arendelle during its Winter in Summertime Festival, where they can experience not only favorite scenes from the movie, but new material, as well. Disney stresses the ride design will not merely re-tell the Frozen story. New music, state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics and set design will immerse riders into the fictional world of Arendelle. The Snowgies from Frozen Fever also have their place in the new attraction.

Beyond the new attraction, visitors will notice an expansion of Norway's exterior architecture and the Royal Summerhaus interior will show off Norwegian arts and crafts. This will be where visitors will be able to meet with Anna and Elsa.

Disney provided no information on a specific target opening date. Officials announced they would release more project information soon.

Details released about new Disney Springs additions

Disney officials shared new information about two locations coming to the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs development: The Edison and STK Orlando.

The Edison will be a 1920s period electric company and highlight the era of invention and imagination. Within the venue, visitors can find contortionists, palm readers, DJs and more, according to The Disney Parks Blog.

Meanwhile, over at STK Orlando, visitors can expect to enjoy rooftop dining at the restaurant in a lounge atmosphere.

Both are new locations for existing restaurants. STK Orlando will join the other 10 STK locations run by The One Group, while The Edison will be a joint venture by the owners of The Edison's original location in Los Angeles and The Patina Restaurant Group, who already have multiple locations at Walt Disney World's Epcot (Tutto Italia, Tutto Gusto, and Via Napoli) and at Disneyland's Downtown Disney (Catal, Uva Bar & Cafe, Naples, Tortilla Jo's, and Taqueria).

As of now, officials announced STK Orlando will open later in 2015 and the Edison's doors will open sometime in 2016.

Zuri's Sweet Shop to open June 17

Disney's Animal Kingdom visitors looking for something sweet to eat will have a new destination to visit this week.

On June 17, Zuri's Sweet Shop opens its doors as part of the new Harambe Market area. As an extension of the Mombassa Marketplace section, this classic candy counter offers an international twist. In addition to selling candy, the shop offers trail mixes, sweet and spicy sauces from the Flame Tree Barbecue and treats tied into The Lion King and other themes. Our sponsor TouringPlans.com also reports shoppers can find unique gift items such as blessing baskets from African artisans.

Vivoli Gelateria opens at Downtown Disney

Fans of authentic Italian gelato can get their fix at one of Downtown Disney's newest retail locations. The Vivoli Gelateria, located in The Landing section of the complex, is only the second full-service shop in the world. The business was started in 1932 by Raphael Vivoli and his two brothers, according to the Disney Parks Blog. The shop actually began as a dairy and evolved into what it is today. The business is run by Raphael's daughter Silvana.

Visitors of the shop can get a look at gelato being made in more than a dozen varieties that use seasonal, fresh ingredients. In addition to the gelato, shoppers can find panini sandwiches, baked goods, sorbet, milkshakes and espresso.

Vivoli can be found across from The Boathouse and next to Raglan Road. Its hours are 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and then Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Frozen Fever added to Disney's Hollywood Studios festivities

Disney's Hollywood Studios brings the popular animated short Frozen Fever to the ABC Sound Studio starting Wednesday, June 17. The newest addition to the Frozen phenomenon debuted earlier as a animated short presented before Disney's feature film Cinderella and will now have a home at the theme park until September 7.

In addition to the animated short, Disney's Hollywood Studios also includes a behind-the-scenes look at how the piece came together.

Shows run daily starting at 10:00 a.m. and run twice an hour.

Hyperion Theater to reopen this week for Frozen sing along show

In other Frozen and Disney Hollywood Studios news, For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing Along Celebration moves over to the Hyperion Theater for its daily performances.


A new art deco style sign for "The Hyperion" theater has been installed on the building formerly known as Superstar Television Theater in advance of the June 17, 2015 debut of The First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration show in its new home. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Hyperion Theater has a long history of hosting featured attractions at the theme park, including the most recent American Idol Experience, as well as Superstar Television from the park's early days.

Moving the show to the new location allows the show to seat more visitors and provide an even more magical experience for the audience throughout the show with new special effects. (No spoilers here!)

Performance days and times should remain the same as before, but check the daily park times guide to confirm them.

Views Around the World

Every week brings new events and unveilings around Walt Disney World and our photographers took some time around the resort to capture some of those moments for us to enjoy!

Disney's Hollywood Studios


During the final 2015 Star Wars Weekend, Frank Oz discusses with James Arnold Taylor his extensive career beyond performing Yoda that included performing (among others) Grover and Bert in Sesame Street; Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Sam the Eagle of The Muppets, and directing movies including Dark Crystal, Little Shop of Horrors and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (which included Ian McDiarmid who portrayed Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars movies). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Darth Vader and a group of Stormtroopers patrol the end of the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade during the final 2015 Star Wars Weekend at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A new (perhaps temporary) entrance for Disney Junior Live on Stage has opened in the Animation Courtyard during construction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Star Wars Weekends' Symphony in the Stars fireworks fill the sky over Disney's BoardWalk Villas and The Walt Disney World Swan. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom


Construction on the center hub of the Magic Kingdom has been completed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Partners statue has been unboxed and stands ready for photos. New turrets being added to the sides of the castle are visible in the background. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


A closer look at one of the turrets being constructed by the castle. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Construction continues adjacent to the hub as seen here from the bridge connecting Adventureland to Liberty Square. It is uncertain what the building in the foreground will be. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Turning around we see that the entire exterior wall along the side of the former Adventureland Veranda has been removed as the restaurant comes under the direction of Jungle Cruise skippers. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

…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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Crowd Forecast

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Save time and money at Walt Disney World. TouringPlans.com cna help ou avoid falling int the typical tourst 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, June 16, 2015 9 / 10
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 9 / 10
Thursday, June 18, 2015 9 / 10
Friday, June 19, 2015 8 / 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. 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.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

Epcot

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Typhoon Lagoon

  • Entire park closes from October 25 - December 1, 2015 for reburbishment.

Resorts

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

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 – 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

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:

  • 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

Save 30%:

  • 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

Save 25%:

  • 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).

Save 20%:

  • 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.
  • Disney Port Orleans – Riverside (August 28 to October 3)
  • Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter (August 15 to October 3)
  • 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

Save 15%:

  • 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.


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.