Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 14 - 20, 2015

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer

Update for July 14 – 20, 2015

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

News and Views

Booking dates, new events announced for 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival | Confederate flag removed from Epcot attraction | Cosby statue taken down at Disney's Hollywood Studios | Registration opens for 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend | Partial celebrity lineup announced for 2015 Candlelight Processional Partners statue creator dies | Did you catch these quick takes?Views Around the World |Crowd Forecast

Booking dates, new events announced for 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

The 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival adds four new food and beverage marketplaces for its 20th anniversary.

The 53-day festival runs from September 25 through November 16, 2015 and expands into Future World for the first time in the event's history. The number of kiosks in the international marketplace tops 30 for 2015 and here are the newest experiences coming for the fall:

  • The Cheese Studio – you can enjoy a cheese sample platter on an artist's palette to pair with wines.
  • The Wine Studio – premium wines will be on tap, as the studio showcases offerings in artistic displays, grouped by color.
  • The Next Eats area near the Epcot Character Spot, Sustainable Chew and Chew Lab marketplaces – will be inspired by ABC's Emmy-Award winning lifestyle series The Chew, starring co-hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and Daphne Oz. The Chew will broadcast from Epcot during the festival. 
  • Sustainable Chew Marketplace – people can visit the Chew Lab,  where food science meets the hottest culinary tech trends to present innovative dishes like the Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel.

Another new event coming to this year's festival includes the Yelloween Masquerade Party for the Senses on Saturday, October 31. The party sets up an elegant dance and gourmet tasting party with champagne, wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails paired with food. Ticket holders are encouraged to masquerade in chic yellow and black.

Reservations for all festival special events open Thursday, July 30, 2015, which also nclude the Mexican Tequila Lunch, Japanese Craft Beer Tasting, French Family Meal Traditions, Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining and many more. Anyone interested can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) and get details at epcotfoodfestival.com beginning Wednesday, July 15.

Confederate flag removed from Epcot attraction

Disney followed in the footsteps of both state governments and national businesses last week when it removed a version of the Confederate flag that hung as part of its World Showcase American Adventure attraction. 

A variety of flags representing the history of the United States hangs from the ceiling in Hall of Flags leading into the American Adventure attraction. Among these flags was the third flag of the Confederacy. This version was not familiar "Southern Cross" version that the South Carolina legislature voted to remove from its Statehouse grounds last week, but is instead a version that included the cross in the left corner of the flag, according an Orlando Sentinel report.

The Hall of Flags at Epcot's American Adventure pavilion displays different flags from throughout the history of The United States of America. Disney removed the Confederate Flag (second back on the left) last week. Archive Panoramic Photo by Alan S. Dalinka (August 27, 2014).

Disney made no official comment about the removal other than it had been taken down. 

Cosby statue taken down at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios took down a bronze statue of Bill Cosby last Tuesday night after the park closed, according to numerous new reports.

Disney officials made no official statement regarding the reason behind the statue’s removal from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza. The timing, though, seems to fall in line with  last week’s release of 2005 testimony by the celebrity admitting he gave sedatives to a woman before having sex with her.

A Florida woman, Brittany Gavrilova (who claims her aunt is one of Cosby’s alleged victims) recently started a petition to have the statue removed from the Disney theme park, according to WESH.com. As of last week, she collected 250 signatures agreeing that the Cosby tribute was inappropriate due to the allegations against him.

"Especially now that a document has been released where he has admitted to it, I don't think that someone like that should be placed on a pedestal, especially where people bring their families,” Gavrilova told WESH.

Registration opens for 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Registration for the 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend opened today, July 14, on the official runDisney website

Multiple events make up the the 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend, which runs from February 18–21, 2016. The runDisney team offers a variety of races for all ages, including:

  • The Disney Princess Half Marathon (Sunday, February 21, 2016): a 13.1-mile timed race that starts in Epcot, goes through the Magic Kingdom and returns to Epcot for the exciting finish.
  • The Disney Princess Enchanted 10K Race (Saturday, February 20, 2016): a 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) timed race that takes runners through Epcot resorts and through Epcot’s Future World and World Showcase to the finish line.
  • The Glass Slipper Challenge: Recognizes finishers who complete both the half marathon and 10K race for a total of 19.3 miles over two days. Runners must complete both races within pacing requirements to meet the challenge and receive the special finisher’s medal.
  • The Disney Princess 5K (Saturday, February 20, 2016): a 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) timed race for anyone ages 5 and up. The course goes through Epcot’s Future World and World Showcase. Anyone (beginner through experienced) can participate.
  • runDisney Kids Races: a variety of races for children 13 and under featuring the Diaper Dash for crawlers for those age 12 months and under, a 100-meter dash for 1–3 year olds, a 200-meter dash for 4–6 year olds, and a 300-meter dash for 7–8 year olds.

For more information on race events and registration, head over to the official runDisney website. Remember that race slots fill up quickly, so act fast.

Once you're registered, join us at the Team MousePlanet forum in our MousePad discussion board!

Partial celebrity lineup announced for 2015 Candlelight Processional

It may be July, but Epcot already is thinking about the holiday season. Last week, Disney announced a few of the celebrities who will be the narrator during the annual Candlelight Processional held in the American Gardens Theater in World Showcase. 

  • Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 – Neil Patrick Harris
  • Dec. 4–5 – Whoopi Goldberg
  • Dec. 6–8 – Joe Morton
  • Dec. 12–14 – Meredith Vieira
  • Dec. 24–26 – Edward James Olmos
  • Dec. 29–30 – Amy Grant

Seven slots still remain open, and Disney said announcements on who else will join the annual telling of the Christmas story through live vocal and instrumental music, as well as a live reading from the scheduled celebrity. 

As we get more information about additional narrators, we plan to pass it on to you.

Partners statue creator dies

The iconic Magic Kingdom statue, Partners, stands in front of Cinderella Castle. The statue's designer and sculptor, Blaine Gibson, died on July 5, 2015 at age 97 of heart failure. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Blaine Gibson (97), best known for designing and sculpting the Magic Kingdom's iconic Partners statue, past away July 5, due to heart failure.

A family friend posted on Facebook that Gibson had been watching 101 Dalmatians with his grandson "before taking his final nap," according to the Huffington Post.

In addition to the famous statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding each other's hand, Gibson also created faces for classic rides and attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. He also enjoyed animation and worked for years on Disney favorites including Bambi, Song of the South, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Sleeping Beauty. (Credit: IMDB).

Did you catch these quick takes?

  • Disney's Grand Floridian Spa and Resort signature restaurant, Victoria and Alberts, just introduced a new 10-course meal for visitors. No, you did not read that wrong. Disney Parks Blog wrote the new meal included: Chef’s Degustation Menu, a series of 10 small courses featuring some of Chef Scott Hunnel’s favorite dishes inspired by the seasons and by his world travels to Asia, Spain, Italy and France. The new meal costs $235 per person or $340 per person with wine pairings. Advanced dining reservations can be made by calling (407) 939-3862.
  • Speaking of Victoria and Alberts, Theme Park Insider Awards presented its best hotel restaurant prize during its annual recognition ceremony. Plus, Epcot's Monsieur Paul won the best full-serve restaurant award. 
  • Last week, Downtown Disney opened a new store and released information on a new restaurant coming to the entertainment complex. First, Tea Traders Café by Joffrey opening in The Landing area by the new Boathouse restaurant (see photo below). The café offers custom-blended tea served in a variety of ways (frozen, hot, iced, and even spiked). Sweet treats are also available with the teas. Meanwhile. more information came out about Blaze Fast Fire'd Pizza. This contemporary pizza place plans to serve "artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies" and more chef-inspired offerings. 

Views from Around the World

This week, we hop from the Magic Kingdom to Downtown Disney, over to Animal Kingdom and then over to Epcot to see what is happening around Walt Disney World. Are you ready to hop? Let's go!

Magic Kingdom

Visiting the Indian elephants aboard the Jungle Cruise is always okay: they bathe with their trunks on. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka (pun by Disney).

Construction walls surround some of the shops of Adventureland in Magic Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Downtown Disney

The new Tea Traders Cafe by Joffrey's has opened across from The Boathouse as Downtown Disney continues to be transformed into Disney Springs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Construction cranes fill the skyline above the World of Disney Store and the Lego Store in the Marketplace as Downtown Disney is transformed into Disney Springs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The new pedestrian bridge connecting the east side (next to T-Rex) and west side (next to Rainforest Cafe) of the Marketplace is named the Village Causeway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

The Flame Tree Barbecue building exterior renovation appears nearly complete and the construction walls have been removed. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The baby gorillas at Disney's Animal Kingdom's Pangani Forrest Exploration Trail, not yet one year old, appear to play in a very similar way that slightly older human children do. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The meerkats tend to be very active in their habitat on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Epcot's 34th summer season is well underway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Even away from the rails at the shores of The World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot, there are many great places to view Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Obviously, this view is from the large courtyard area in front of the Japan pavilion. 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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Crowd Forecast


"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, July 14, 2015 8 / 10
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 9 / 10
Thursday, July 16, 2015 8 / 10
Friday, July 17, 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


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


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.



  • 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


Disney's Hollywood Studios

Blizzard Beach

  • Entire park closed from October 25, 2015 through January 3, 2016 for refurbishment

Typhoon Lagoon

  • 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.

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

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:

  • 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)


  • 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 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.



  1. By Drince88

    Has anyone seen on the WDW site the info about the F&W Fest? When I go there, it's looking 'broken'.

  2. By Drince88

    Quote Originally Posted by Drince88 View Post
    Has anyone seen on the WDW site the info about the F&W Fest? When I go there, it's looking 'broken'.

    It's not broken today - but I can't find anythign about the French Family Meal Traditions that the blog said was new this year. Anybody know anything about that?

  3. Discuss this article on MousePad.