Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 7 - 13, 2015by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for July 7 – 13, 2015
Magic of Animation attractions to close | Goodbye DisneyQuest, Hello NBA Experience | Disney Visa Discounts offered at Disney's Polynesian Village Villas | 2015 Candlelight Processional dining details released | Extra Magic Hours discontinued at Hilton for 2016 | New food experience offered at Disney's Contemporary Resort | ABC's The Chew filming at 2016 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival | Did you catch these quick takes? | Views Around the World | Crowd Forecast
Disney confirmed last week that Disney's Hollywood Studios' Magic of Animation building (and its attractions) would close soon, but there is some question as to the specific date for at least one of its attractions.
The closing means the following attractions go away:
- Magic of Animation film featuring Mushu from Disney's Mulan and the character meet-and-greet area shuts down.
- Currently, Sorcerer Mickey, Minnie Mouse and Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6 have their meet-and-greet with visitors there. Once these areas close, only Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will move to a new location, which Disney did not disclose in its announcement.
- The popular Animation Academy will no longer be offered, either. However, there appears to be conflicting reports regarding the final date of this attraction. The Orlando Sentinel originally reported originally reported that Animation Academy would remain open through mid-August. However, our sponsors TouringPlans.com, have Animation Academy's closure set at July 13, with the rest of the buildings attractions. Disney has not confirmed either of these at this point and we will provide an update when we get confirmation.
Disney's Hollywood Studios attractions appear to be shutting down in fast order recently, including the American Idol Experience, the Studio Backlot Tour, and The Legend of Jack Sparrow, to name a few.
Fans expressed their strong opinions on social media and discussion forums around the Internet:
"Disney really needs to consider either cheaper one-day tickets for DHS or bringing in something temporary. There’s just not much to do, which is sad in such a beautiful park." Jennifer, commenting on a related TouringPlans.com post.
"How many more attractions will be shuttered before Disney finally gets going on whatever its (supposed) plans for DHS are? Either this is a signal that they're finally about to get rolling on the park-wide makeover project, or it's a signal that they care more about saving money (through cutting attractions) than in providing a product in DHS that is worth what they're charging." comment from Theme Park Insider by Brett B.
As of now, a Disney spokeswoman has only said, "Work is underway on a new experience, and we look forward to sharing more information in the future."
What are your thoughts on this latest closure? Do you think more are in the works?
Disney released an announcement last week that Downtown Disney's DisneyQuest will shut down sometime next year to make way for Disney Spring's new NBA Experience.
DisneyQuest opened back in 1998 as one of the centerpieces of Downtown Disney; its five stories held a variety of video games and virtual reality simulators that offered visitors a chance to design their own roller coaster, "ride" a boat on Pirates of the Caribbean, play retro video games and more.
Disney decided to take advantage of the Downtown Disney renovation into Disney Springs to claim the DisneyQuest building for its new NBA Experience, which will include a restaurant, retail shop and high-tech experiences to help bring the NBA experience to life for visitors.
"We're thrilled to work with the NBA to take our guests inside the world of professional basketball with an extraordinary entertainment experience," said Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger earlier this month.
Disney did not release a specific closing date for DisneyQuest, other than saying it would happen sometime in 2016.
Have you been wanting to stay at Disney's Polynesian Village Villas, but waiting until the price comes down? Disney Visa card holders now have the chance to take advantage of a new deal offering up to a 35 percent discount.
The discount is good for travel between July 5 and October 3, 2015 on standard view studios when booking through a travel agent or directly through Disney.
According to Laurel Stewart of sponsor TouringPlans.com, rack rates for these rooms go for between $439 to $490 per night, which could mean a savings up to $170 per night.
Walt Disney World recently announced the restaurant line-up and prices for the 2015 Epcot Candlelight Processional dining packages scheduled for later this year.
This year's Candlelight Processional, which features a celebrity narrator backed up by a live orchestra and choir to tell the Christmas story, runs from November 27 through December 30 at the American Gardens Theater. In conjunction with the event, Epcot offers lunch and dinner packages that guarantee visitors a seat inside the venue for one of the evening shows.
This year, the dining package includes the choice of an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic, non-specialty beverage from the chosen restaurant’s menu or one full buffet, where applicable. Prices exclude tax and gratuity, and park admission is not included. Guests can use the Disney Dining Plan to pay for the package.
The Disney Food Blog outlined the 2015 Candlight Processional dining package restaurants and prices (children's prices, where available, are in parentheses):
- Biergarten: Lunch $34.99* ($18.99*); Dinner $52.99 ($28.99) *On Christmas Day, December 25, Biergarten will charge the dinner rate for all meals including lunch.
- Coral Reef: Lunch $55.99 ($14.99); Dinner $64.99 ($17.99)
- Garden Grill *Dinner Only: Dinner $56.99 ($28.99)
- La Hacienda de San Angel *Dinner Only: Dinner $67.50 ($16.75)
- Les Chefs de France: Lunch $59.99 ($15.99); Dinner $74.99 ($21.99)
- Nine Dragons: Lunch $39.99 ($12.99); Dinner $49.99 ($16.99)
- Restaurant Marrakesh: Lunch $39.99 ($14.99); Dinner $49.99 ($17.99)
- Rose and Crown: Lunch $45.99 ($13.99); Dinner $56.99 ($17.99)
- San Angel Inn: Lunch $50.30 ($14.50); Dinner $63.60 ($16.75)
- Teppan Edo: Lunch $59.99 ($15.99); Dinner $69.99 ($18.99)
- Tokyo Dining: Lunch $59.99 ($15.99); Dinner $69.99 ($18.99)
- Tutto Italia: Lunch $54.99 ($14.99); Dinner $66.99 ($18.99)
- Via Napoli: Lunch $40.99 ($13.99); Dinner $52.99 ($17.99)
While Disney has not announced the list of celebrity narrators, officials have released some of the online reservations at various participating restaurants. You can make your reservations by visiting the event's official webpage.
Starting on January 1, 2016, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista guests can no longer participate in Walt Disney World Extra Magic Hours.
The hotel is located in the Downtown Disney area and has provided guests with the perk usually reserved for on-site Walt Disney World hotels.
The hotel's general manager did not offer any details or explanations about the upcoming change, but said that the Hilton will continue to offer the privilege until the end of 2015. Despite the Extra Magic Hour removal, the hotel will remain an "official Walt Disney World resort."
Meanwhile, The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and Disney's Shades of Green Resort will continue to offer the perk in 2016, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Looking for a behind-the-scenes food experience for the whole family? Starting on July 8, Disney's Contemporary Resort launches its "Disney Family Culinary Adventure."
Intended for guests ages 9 and up, the Disney Family Culinary Adventure gives visitors a chance to have some personal instruction from Disney chefs, all while getting an authentic hands-on experience at five possible stations, including:
- Garde manger, is the French term for food produced in the cold kitchen, where guests learn how to make farmer cheese, from-scratch butter, and how to plate a gourmet salad on a rapidly moving electric belt in the professional kitchen.
- Sushi, with sushi chefs teaching the art of rolling sushi and sashimi. (This station may rotate with other culinary ideas.)
- Boucherie, or butcher station, where guests learn how to trim a beef tenderloin to make the perfect filet mignon.
- Pasta, with just three ingredients (semolina, olive oil and egg), guests learn to make tender noodles from scratch, along with fresh basil pesto.
- Patisserie, or bakery, where guests get to play with chocolate, mousse and other sweet endings.
After finishing the stations, the students have the chance to sit down in the kitchen at a special table and enjoy the five-course meal they helped to prepare. During the meal, the Disney chefs have a special demonstration planned for the diners' entertainment.
Disney limits the experience to only 30 people, who each receive a chef's hat and signed cookbook from the Disney chefs at the end of the evening.
The Disney Family Culinary Adventure begins at 5:00 p.m. two nights a week (the nights vary) according to the Disney Parks Blog. The cost is $175 plus tax for adults and $125 plus tax for ages 9 to 12. Younger guests may have their own cooking station. Complimentary transportation is provided for Disney Resort hotel guests. To book or for more information, call (407) WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529).
As part of the 20th anniversary of Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival, the stars of ABC's The Chew are filming their television show over three days in October.
The Chew's hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall and Daphne Oz make their way down to Epcot from October 7-9 for filming for episodes that will air from October 12-16 on stations across the country.
In addition to the show taping, visitors can find The Chew featured in two marketplaces at the festival: in the new Next Eats festival area and the Sustainable Chew Marketplace, which plans to serve Savory Pork Spareribs with Cheesy Marscapone Grits, Ricotta & Zucchini Ravioli with tomato sauce and Vanilla Panna Cotta with fresh figs and pistachio brittle.
- On July 1, Disney's Polynesian Resort celebrated the final phase opening of its new villas and bungalows, bringing the grand total to 360 deluxe studios.
- Disney decided to discontinue the "Match the Species" treats found at Zuri's Sweets Shop in the Harambe Market area in Disney's Animal Kingdom less than a month after they went on sale. A Disney spokeswoman did not specifically mention the possible "ick" factor of these treats made with chocolate, oats, nuts and other ingredients to match the look of animal poo as the reason for their discontinuation. "As with any new merchandise location, we test various offerings and make adjustments," said a Disney spokeswoman in an Orlando Sentinel article. "We have currently run out of several items and do not have plans to offer them in the future."
- Here's a rundown of some of the July events around the Walt Disney World Resort, focusing mainly on the Downtown Disney area.
- The Disney Food Blog posted July 30, 2015 will likely be the booking day for all 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Special Events. While Disney has not confirmed this date, the staff at DFB typically has a close ear to the ground on when this happens. Remember that most Food and Wine events are booked over the phone, at (407) WDW-FEST (407-939-3378).
- Disney announced new Frozen gift baskets/packages that visitors can have delivered to their Walt Disney World Resort room that include tote bags, special Anna and Elsa "vision glasses," light-up lanyards, and more.
The long holiday weekend saw lots of festive activity and the continuation of more work in and around the Walt Disney World Resort. Here's a glimpse of what happened over the past week.
Outside Magic Kingdom
Our photographer, Alan, does an incredible job finding the interesting and different for the update each week. This year, he managed to catch the July 4th Magic Kingdom fireworks just over the houses in his community outside the park property lines. He affectionately called this the "back side of fireworks." Well, whether front or back, it's clear they were beautiful, even to the royalty-free music.
A view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks in a nearby neighborhood outside the main gate. Video by Alan S. Dalinka. Music: The Liberty Bell March (public domain).
…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.
"Do more. Wait less."
Join Our Networks
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.
- 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, 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
Up to 35 percent off Disney's Polynesian Villas Studios
Disney Visa cardholders receive up to 35 percent off standard view studio room rates from July 5 through October 3, 2015. The room must be booked either directly through their travel agent or the Walt Disney World Resort.
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.