Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for June 23 – 29, 2015
Technical glitch causes overcharges on Disney Savings Plan website | Richard Petty Driving Experience Speedway to be demolished | Starbucks opens at Disney's Animal Kingdom, offers special fundraising drink | Disney testing free taxi service to signature restaurants | Did you see these quick takes? | Views around the world | Crowd Forecast
The new Disney Savings Plans website ran into a number of technical glitches last week that caused users' bank accounts to be overcharged.
Sandra Petticini of the Orlando Sentinel posted a vlog about the situation and reported that many customer accounts were not only overcharged, but in a number of cases, were overdrawn as a result of the issue. Affected customers also complained that Disney has been slow to respond to the issue.
Disney released a statement saying there were working with affected customers as quickly as they could to rectify the problems and that they hope to repay everyone shortly. According to Disney, the technical issue causing the problem came from a system upgrade that happened last week.
The Disney Savings Account website was still under maintenance as of this update being written and Disney has not offered a new startup date at this time.
Disney filed plans last week to demolish the speedway that hosts the Richard Petty Driving Experience in favor of more parking for the Magic Kingdom.
The closing is not new, as we reported back in February that the speedway would be closing down for "transportation improvements." And with the Magic Kingdom expanding in the past 12 to 24 months, Disney decided more parking would be necessary to help alleviate congestion and meet demand.
Two racing experiences still happen at the speedway: the Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Piston Cup Junior Ride Along program. Both officially end on August 9. The Exotic Driving Experience ended back in April after a program instructor died during a car accident where a guest was driving the car lost control and crashed into a guardrail.
Disney released no other details about the start date or the completion timeline with the paperwork, but keep an eye out here for the latest news as we learn more details about construction.
The new Starbucks located in Disney's Animal Kingdom opened last Friday, June 19. Starbucks fans can find the newest location in the four major theme parks in the Creature Comforts section of Discovery Island. This location is the last to open within the four parks.
Anyone wanting to enjoy a drink at Starbucks also has the chance "to support the cotton-top tamarin—a critically endangered species of monkey that resides in South America," according to the Disney Parks Blog. Starbucks is donating a portion of the sale of each of its Flat White Latte to benefit conservation programs to help the cotton-top tamarin in Colombia. Why the Flat White Latte? The staff chose this drink because it reminded them of the cotton-top tamarin's fluffy white crests that appear on their heads.
A number of websites reported last week that Disney is in the middle of a new testing project: free taxi service from Walt Disney World Resorts to a few signature dining locations.
The reports say that the test runs through June 30 for people staying at either Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, and Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. The restaurants serving these customers are Artist Point at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Flying Fish at BoardWalk Resort.
Select hotel guests will receive an envelope with their free round-trip taxi ride to use for the appropriate restaurant and reservation date/time.
No timeline has been announed on when a full roll out is happening. We'll be keeping and ear and eye out for any news and share it with you as soon as we know more!
- Last week, we told you about Zuri's Sweet Shop grand opening at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This week, I found an article about one of the shop's most..."interesting" treats. It's called the "Match the Species" treats and, well... it's made to look like animal poop. It may not sound appetizing, but it is a pretty funny idea. What do you think? Would you try it, despite the name?
- Has Disney priced itself out of the reach of the middle class majority? In an interesting read, the Washington Post examined this question in one of its feature articles. What do you think?
- What do you think of the new merchandise coming to the Walt Disney World later this year?
Our photographers saw lots of progress in and around Disney's Animal Kingdom on their major construction projects. Let's take a look.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Construction at the Ticket and Transportation Center monorail station causes temporary closures of the express monorail to Magic Kingdom. When the express monorail is closed, Cast Members direct guests to the ferries. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
A DJ hosts a dance party on the event stage in the hour leading up to "Summon the Force" show and the "Symphony in the Stars" fireworks finale during Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…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.
- 2015 Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween 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 through September 26 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Tree Tavern – closed July 6 through November 21 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.
- Captain EO - closed through July 19.
- Living with the Land - September 8–18.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – closed September 7–10 for refurbishment.
- Entire park closed from October 25 through 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
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.