Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for June 30 – July 6, 2015
Walt Disney World bans selfie sticks | Military discounts extended through December | Changes coming to 2016 Magic Your Way Plans | Disney Dining Plan prices, inclusion changes for 2016 announced | Captain EO to return to Epcot | How to celebrate Independence Day at Walt Disney World | Disney Savings Plan complaints continue | Did you catch these quick takes? | Crowd Forecast
After trying to limit the use of selfie sticks on attractions by visitors earlier this year, Walt Disney World decided to up the ante and completely ban them from the theme parks.
The new ban, which begins on June 30, means that the photography tool cannot even brought into the parks and security guards at the entry checkpoints will be on alert to finding them. Visitors caught with a selfie stick can choose to either turn in the stick and get a claim ticket to pick it up on the way out or return it back to the car or hotel room.
The ban upgrade came as a result of visitors continuing to try to use the selfie sticks on rides and attractions, despite the previous rule, which Disney clearly had posted around the parks.
Late last week, Disney announced the continuation of military discounts through December 2015.
The Disney Armed Forces Salute offers Disney resort rooms and tickets at Walt Disney World
Qualified personnel may book up to a maximum of three rooms at a time during the period of the Disney Armed Forces Salute. This discount may be used as many times as you'd like during the offer period.
- 40 percent off Deluxe Resorts
- 35 percent off Moderates and Fort Wilderness Cabins
- 30 percent off Value Resorts including Art of Animation (except Little Mermaid rooms)
The number of rooms and room types at these rates are limited.
The resort discount may be used up to and including December 23, 2015.
Eligible service members can purchase 4-day Park Hopper passes for $177 until December 20, 2015
Tickets can be purchased through December 17, 2015.
Eligible service members are limited to purchasing no more than 12 Disney military promotional tickets.
If you're looking to book a Disney Magic Your Way Package for next year, you should know that Disney changed a number of the package offerings by adding and removing what a customer receives when they book the package, as well as how and when a package is booked.
Additions to the package:
- Mini-golf vouchers increase from two (2) to four (4) players at Fantasia Gardens or Winter-Summerland. The vouchers must still be used before 4:00 p.m.
- Disney added four (4) vouchers for a one-day admission to the ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Removals from the package:
- Arcade game card (was a 100 point card per room)
- Dining discounts at Bongos (was 15 percent), Fulton’s Crab House (was 10 percent), and Paradiso 37 (was 20 percent)
- Children’s Activity Center Discount (was 15 percent)
- Disney Tours discount (was 15 percent for most tours)
- DisneyQuest admission vouchers (was two per room)
- Recreation discounts for horseback riding (was 15 percent), guided bass fishing (was 15 percent), and marina rentals (was 10 percent)
- Spa and salon services discount (was 15 percent for services 50 minutes or longer)
Booking Terms changes
Disney also changed booking terms for the Magic Your Way Packages. They can be booked up to one day in advance both online and by phone. A $200 deposit is now required (compared to a one-night stay with room-only reservations) and the final payment is due 30 days before arrival (this used to be 45 days). Packages can be cancelled without penalty 31 days before arrival. A $200 fee will be charged for anyone canceling a packages 30 to two days before arrival. A one-day cancellation means no refund to the person who booked the trip.
Many thanks to Laurel Stewart from our sponsor TouringPlans.com who shared all the details about these important changes.
Last week, Disney released pricing information for its dining plan option for 2016:
- Quick Service: adults: $42.77/night; child 3-9: $17.54 – was $41.99 and $16.03
- Regular plan: adults: $61.82/night; child 3-9: $20.98 – was $60.64 and $19.23
- Deluxe Plan: adults: $111.73; child 3-9: $32.56 – was $109.53 and $29.86
A number of websites report that not only have the prices changed, but also the options for the Deluxe Plan have, as well. In particular, the current information from Disney omits the appetizer from the deluxe plan, leaving only the entree, dessert and drink as the meal offered on the plan. It is important to note that Disney can make changes before the end of the year, so keep an eye out for possible updates.
It looks like Epcot's Imagination Theater is once again hosting Captain EO, starring Michael Jackson. Back in April, the 4-D film went on hiatus as Disney decided to use the theater for special previews of Tomorrowland and then the current preview of Inside Out. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the film returns to Epcot on July 19, 2015.
Walt Disney World has a patriotic lineup of entertainment around the theme parks to celebrate our nation's 239th birthday on July 4. In fact, so much entertainment is planned, that Disney scheduled two days to honor our country: July 3 and July 4! Here's a quick run-down on what to expect for Independence Day festivities:
All resorts should have poolside games, crafts and movies under the starts for the holiday. Over at Port Orleans Riverside there will be a Riverside Fair: Red, White & Blue on the Bayou which features a barbecue from Noon until 5:00 p.m and live entertainment form 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios – Visitors can enjoy the“Rockin’ Fourth of July Celebration” fireworks show. It will be a rock n’ roll tribute across America. The DJ will start at 5:45 p.m. and the fireworks will start at 10:15 p.m.
- Epcot – Disney characters will be dressed in their patriotic costumes to meet visitors around the park. Voices of Liberty performs a concert at the American Gardens Theater in World Showcase at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. Finally, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth will have a special Fourth of July "tag" at the end of the show.
- Magic Kingdom – At 10:00 p.m., the park will present “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky."
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Crowds at Walt Disney World get especially heavy during the Fourth of July weekend, so make sure to get to the park of your choice early, as Disney may decide on phased closures due to crowed levels.
The Disney Savings Plan website continues to receive complaints about its reliability and user experience. The story first surfaced last week when customers complained that too much money had been taken out of their accounts, even causing some bank overdraft fees.
Earlier this week, Disney announced that it would disburse refunds shortly and that the technical glitches were addressed. Despite that announcement, more people came forward with a variety of stories outlining various problems, including:
- Not being able to access the website at all
- A malfunction with the refund request form
- The inability to cancel automatic deposits into Disney Savings Plan accounts
Disney Savings Plan customer Tapan Parmar wrote to the Orlando Sentinel, expressing frustration:
For many, like myself, we just want to see our balance to ensure that the funds are still there, but not being able to see my balance for a week is concerning.
Meanwhile, Disney spokesman Bryan Malenius apologized for "any inconvenience this has caused our guests and are happy to talk with anyone who has concerns. "Refunds have been processed, and we’re working diligently to bring the website back online."
- A couple of Walt Disney World Resort restaurants announced changes last week. Over at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Artist Point has a new chef and menu items. Meanwhile. the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge located in Disney's Hollywood Studios has new menu items, as well.
- A few websites picked up a tweet from Dave Cobb regarding the demolition of the Adventurer's Club in the former Pleasure Island entertainment complex. Fans of Adventurer's Club shared their memories of the location and their sadness at it's ultimate removal.
- Three classic Disney movies celebrated milestone anniversaries last week: Lady and the Tramp opened 60 years ago on June 22, 1955, Pocahontas celebrated its 20th anniversary, with an opening date of June 23, 1995 and The Lion King turned 21; it opened on June 24, 1994.
- Speaking of Pocahontas, Disney's Animal Kingdom visitors have a new meet and greet area to see her at Discovery Island Character Landing. Remember, this is the only place at Walt Disney World where you can meet Pocahontas.
- Heading to the 2015 D23 Expo in Anaheim in August? Here's a sneak peek at some of the exclusive merchandise you'll find there!
As summer temperatures soar, Disney's Hollywood Studios has a cool option for visitors with Frozen Summer Fun. This week, we give you a tour around all the special events!
The Frozen Royal Welcome parade stops twice during each of its two daily runs through Disney's Hollywood Studios, inviting guests to join in singing "Let It Go" while it snows. Queen Elsa and Princess Anna get off their floats and greet the crowds during the parade stops. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
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- 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.
- Frozen Fireworks Spectacular - closed July 5
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – closed September 7–10 for refurbishment.
- Entire park closed from October 25, 2015 through January 3, 2016 for refurbishment
- Entire park closed from January 3, 2016 through March 13, 2016 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 Military Personnel
4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Discount
Eligible Service Members can purchase 4-day Park Hopper passes for $177 until December 20, 2015
Tickets can be purchased through December 17, 2015.
No more than 12 Disney Military Promotional Tickets can be purchased by an Eligible Service Member.
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.