Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 14 - 20, 2015by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for July 14 – 20, 2015
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
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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).
- 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.
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!
Disney's Animal Kingdom
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.
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.
"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.
- 2015 Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - November 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20 and 29; December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 18.
- 2015 Epcot Candlelight Processional - November 27 to December 30
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.