Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Advertisement

Update for June 23 – 29, 2015

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


News and Views

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

Technical glitch causes overcharges on Disney Savings Plan website

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.

Richard Petty Driving Experience Speedway to be demolished

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.

Starbucks opens at Disney's Animal Kingdom, offers special fundraising drink

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.

Disney testing free taxi service to signature restaurants

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!

Did you see these quick takes?


Zuri's Sweet Shop also opens, an addition that butts into the original retail stores found in Africa. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

  • 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?

Views Around the World

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


The interesting parts of Conservation Station is a look into animal surgeries. This one is being performed on a small rat being spayed. Photo by J Jeff Kober.


Rock work is being added to the Rivers of Light lagoon around Asia. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Work continues to move vertically on Avatar. The brushes over the structures intended to hold up the floating islands. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Disney Springs


Know that whatever size cup you order at the newly opened Vivoli di Gelato, you may choose several flavors to go therein. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The bridge on the Marketplace side of Disney Springs, close to World of Disney, continues toward completion. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


It's clear what the title of this new Indiana Jones-style watering hole will be. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Here's a side view of the same facility (The Hangar), which will be fairly intimate compared to the nearby Boathouse. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Magic Kingdom


The former Rose Garden area of the Magic Kingdom's Central Plaza appears ready for new landscaping as the hub expansion project nears its completion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


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.

Epcot


Construction of the new theater for Soarin' at Epcot can be seen from the pedestrian bridge between the Epcot Resorts and The International Gateway entrance to Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The upgraded colorful lasers installed last fall fill the sky above Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon during Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Summer rains often bring rainbows to Walt Disney World; this one over the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios near dusk. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


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.

 

Join the MousePlanet Newsletter
E-mail:

Crowd Forecast

Advertisement

"Do more. Wait less."

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 23, 2015 10 / 10
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 9 / 10
Thursday, June 25, 2015 9 / 10
Friday, June 26, 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!

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disney World wait times on your iPhone, Android or smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.

Join Our Networks

MousePlanet


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 closed from October 25 through 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.

 

Comments

  1. By danyoung

    Thanks, Marie, for the excellent update. However, you've fallen victim to one of the most common errors in WDW writing - it's not the Ticket and Transportation Center, it's the Transportation and Ticket Center. A small but important difference!


    /pet peeve mode off

  2. By Dave1313

    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?

    That's way too funny.

    When I saw the MP Auto-poster link to the story on Disney Parks blog yesterday, that exact thought crossed my mind when I saw the last image in the gallery.

    As I looked at the nice animal shaped cookies, I wasn't really sure I'd want to put something looking like the small brown balls under the monkey head cookie in my mouth. Those particular ones reminded me of rabbits for some reason, maybe the large local FL rabbits that have integrated into some of the exhibits with animals they can get along with(I only recently learned the story of these rabbits while in the Gorilla area this past trip).

    I am sure the new treats taste wonderful! I may have to try something like this next trip (missed Zuri's opening by about a week or 2).

  3. By stan4d_steph

    I love the new poop treats. It's a great way to get people interested in science and biology in a fun way. I hope they stay around long enough to get to try one.

  4. Discuss this article on MousePad.