Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 20 - 27, 2015by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for July 20 – 27, 2015
Child drowns in Art of Animation pool | New Frozen boutique to open in Disney's Hollywood Studios | New "Escape to Walt's Wilderness" experience debuts | Walt Disney World to host Invictus Games in 2016 | Man admits to 10-year "dine-and-dash" spree at Walt Disney World | Former Disney Cruise Lines employee sentenced for molestation | Did you catch these quick takes? | Views Around the World | Crowd Forecast
A 3-year-old boy, visiting Walt Disney World with his family from New York, drowned in the the Art of Animation Resort pool last Tuesday after becoming separated from his parents sometime around 8:00 p.m. A short search ended when someone found the boy underwater in the pool.
Disney representative confirmed that lifeguards were on duty at the time of the incident, but gave no other details about the incident.
A story from WESH-TV quotes a Disney representative, who said, "[Disney is] deeply saddened by this tragedy," the representative said. "[Our] focus is to help the family during this very difficult time."
After weeks of reporting closures at Disney's Hollywood Studios, we finally have some news about something new coming to the theme park.
Beginning July 26, the Ice Palace Boutique opens its doors across from the ABC Commissary. The Frozen-themed salon offers visitors ages 3 to 12 a chance to transform into royalty for the day in the style of their favorite Arendelle character. The boutique is a limited-time location and remains open through September 7, 2015.
If this sounds similar to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, found in the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney, then you're on the right track. Like the salon's predecessors, the Ice Place Boutique offers package deals, including a couple where families can participate as well by enjoying snacks and relax in the Ice Palace Cafe as they wait for their little one.
- Frozen Summer Fun Boutique Package – includes Anna or Elsa-inspired shimmering makeup palette, face gems, nail polish, a braided hair piece with sparkling snowflake accessory, and an exclusive photo opportunity. Package retail: $75, includes tax.
- Ice Palace Boutique Package – includes the items offered in the Frozen Summer Fun Boutique Package. It also includes access to the Ice Palace Café and reserved seating at one of the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” shows. Package retail: $175, includes tax. Up to 6 guests allowed.
- Ice Palace Boutique Deluxe Package – includes an Anna or Elsa costume plus the items offered in the Ice Palace Boutique Package. Package retail: $240, includes tax. Up to 6 guests allowed.
Anyone interested can now make reservations by calling (407) 827-7400. Spaces are limited, and are offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
Walt Disney World visitors looking for a different type of outdoor experience can now sign up for the new Escape to Walt's Wilderness experience.
The latest resort package includes a pontoon boat tour from Disney's Contemporary Resort with a Disney guide, who gives background on the land and waters Walt chose as his backdrop for his new resort. Wildlife guides then board the boat and point out some of the area's air, land, and water animals. Visitors can use binoculars for a close-up look at the creatures.
Next, Disney serves guests breakfast including cinnamon rolls, granola, citrus salad, frittatas, juice, and coffee. A marshmallow roast follows before tour participants take a horse-drawn wagon to an archery lesson at Disney's Fort Wilderness.
After the lesson, guests wrap up the day by heading to the Tri-Circle D Ranch to see Disney's horses up close.
A Disney Parks blogger said there are "a lot of surprises along the way" that will entertain and educate tour guests.
Disney usually offers this tour two days a week from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on select days. The cost is $109, plus tax for ages 7 and older. Complimentary transportation to and from the experience is provided for guests staying at Disney owned and operated resort hotels. To book or for more information, call (407) WDW-PLAY (407-934-7639).
Prince Harry of England will bring his Invictus Games to the ESPN Wide World of Sports in May 2016 according to a video announcement made last week:
Prince Harry of England announces Orlando as the host city for the 2016 Invictus Games. The ESPN Wide World of Sports complex will host the event from May 8-12, 2016. Credit: InvictusLondon.
The Invictus Games debuted in 2014 in England as an athletic competition inviting athletes who are injured servicemen and women to participate in a variety of sporting events—much like the Olympics. The first games brought more than 400 athletes from 13 countries to compete and more than 60,000 spectators to watch the 10-sport competition, which included archery, cycling, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
The Invictus Games were developed as a way to not only inspire recovery in the athletes, but also help others better understand and respect those who serve their country, and those who support them at home (families, caregivers, and so on), according to the Disney Parks Blog.
Invictus is the Latin word for "unconquered" and certainly an appropriate word for these brave men and women.
Orange County deputies arrested a possible homeless man accused of trying to leave The Wave restaurant at Disney's Contemporary Resort without paying his bill. Following his arrest, they learned this was not an isolated incident.
The suspect, identified as Jerry Moody (51), seems to have quite a fascination with Walt Disney World. Not only did his arrest report indicate that he tried to duck out on a $92.65 bill from The Wave on Tuesday night, July 14, he also did the same thing at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort the previous day.
However, last week's alleged illegal activity is not the accused's first time around the Disney block.
Orlando's WKMB Local 6 reported that Moody's admits to similar Disney dine-and-dash activities going back to 2005. Court documents outline dozens of arrests due to similar activity at numerous Walt Disney World restaurants and shops. His explanation for the crime spree: he "likes to come to Disney." Moody continued to get into these locations, despite being banned from Disney property.
Deputies charged Moody with defrauding an innkeeper and trespassing on property after a warning. They did not release a possible court appearance date.
A judge sentenced a man accused of molesting a 13-year-old girl on a Disney Cruise Lines ship in April 2014 to nearly six years in prison following a plea deal accepted by the defendant.
Ahmed Sofyan (37) of Indonesia admitted to luring the girl into a cabin and touching her inappropriately after befriending her and her family during a four-day cruise on the Disney Dream.
Sofyan faced up to 20 years for lewd acts and false imprisonment of a child. Prosecutors asked the judge for a 10-year sentence, according to Orlando's News 13, but the judge instead sentenced Sofyan to 70 months in jail, followed by a likely deportation back to Indonesia.
- Here's an update on Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend races registration: The half-marathon, 10K race and the Glass Slipper Challenge are already sold out. The 5K fun run is 85 percent full and the Disney Kids races stand at 90 percent full as of this update.
- Disney announced eight people as the latest "Disney Legends" who will be awarded at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA next month. Among the eight people are George Lucas, actress Susan Lucci, and Disney animator Andreas Deja (who animated Gaston from Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King's Scar, among others).
- Goodbye Hess, Hello Speedway. The well-known Hess gas stations around Walt Disney World Resort property transition to Speedway stations by the end of this week.
- Have you heard about the latest Disney live-action movie project? The Hollywood Reporter published a story describing Genies, a live-action film about the origins of Arabian genies, including the one famously portrayed by Robin Williams in the Disney classic Aladdin. What do you think about all of these new live-action films? We've had Maleficent and Cinderella already. Also in the production mix include Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Mulan and even a Prince Charming story. Good ideas? Overkill?
I have only been home from Walt Disney World for less than two months and I'm already itching to get back. Fortunately, our photographer, Alan, does a fantastic job of capturing what's happening around the parks and resorts. It's almost like being there. This week, we take a virtual ride on Kilamanjaro Safari, see the debut of two new castle towers, see how France commemorated Bastille Day at Epcot's World Showcase and get a glimpse of the hollowed out remains of one of the original Pleasure Island venues.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Last week we brought you a photo of animatronic Indian elephants bathing on The Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom; this week we bring you actual African elephants bathing on Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The island near Epcot's France pavilion is lit in the colors of the French Flag for Bastille Day (July 14) as the Frozen Fireworks at Disney's Hollywood Studios fill the sky above Epcot's World Showcase. 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.