Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 28 - August 3, 2015

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
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Update for July 28 – August 3, 2015

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


News and Views

Magic Kingdom worker arrested for alleged rape in Downtown Disney | Dates for 2015 Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights announced | My Disney Experience testing new large group assistance model | Repeat visitors can now refuse duplicate MagicBand | Raglan Road hosting Great Irish Hooley | Views Around the World | Crowd Forecast

Magic Kingdom worker arrested for alleged rape in Downtown Disney

Orange County Sheriffs arrested a man last week connected with an alleged rape outside the House of Blues restaurant/bar in Downtown Disney.

The suspect, Hector Herrera (26), surrendered without incident at his home in Osceola County on Thursday, and police charged him with sexual battery on a physically incapacitated person. He posted a $50,000 bond later that evening and left the jailhouse.

Herrera works as a cook at Magic Kingdom's Backstage Bistro; Disney officials said he was currently on unpaid leave pending investigation results. 

According to the sheriff's report cited by the Orlando Sentinel, a security guard found the alleged victim in shrubbery between the House Of Blues and Cirque du Soleil around 5:00 a.m.; she was naked with her clothes and purse on the ground around her, along with a used condom near the scene. The woman told police she had a lot to drink before heading to the club, including "two bottles of ale and seven or eight shots of vodka before getting to the nightclub." Beyond that, her statement says she does not recall going to the area where she was found, nor did she remember participating in a consensual sexual relationship that night.

The suspect admitted to officers he had sex with a woman near some bushes, but said she was "out of it" according to the arrest affidavit. He continued by saying the woman stumbled out to his car, but the woman eventually refused to go with him. After the "heat of the moment," according to arrest records, Hererra said he knew he had "made a mistake." He then added he tried to get the woman dressed again, but she was "too out of it," so he left the scene. 

Police released a series of surveillance photos and videos showing who they believed to be the suspect in this crime. Soon after, official received a call from a citizen who identified the man. They went to the man's home in Osceola County and arrested him.

Officials have not posted a new court date as of today.

2015 Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights dates announced

Disney Hollywood Studios published its hours for the 2015 Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, the park's annual holiday showcase on the Streets of America.

This year, the incredible light and music show runs nightly from November 8, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights came to Disney's Hollywood Studios in 1995 as a gift from the Osborne family of Arkansas, who used to put up the display at their house every year during the holidays. The display got so large, though, that it became a nuisance in the family's town. Instead of getting rid of the display entirely, family patriarch Jennings Osborne donated it to the Walt Disney World Resort.


2014 Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney Hollywood Studios. MousePlanet file photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

The lights and music are programmed through a high-tech computer system to work together to make the buildings practically come to life with light and sound. The soundtrack blends holiday classics and contemporary pieces to make an incredible multimedia display for the whole family. And, there are a few special surprises within the display that never fails to bring the kid out in me (and many others, too!)

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is included with regular Disney Hollywood Studios admission, so everyone can catch the show for no extra cost; reservations are not necessary to enjoy the show.

My Disney Experience testing new large group assistance model

The My Disney Experience website and app has been around for a while now, and offers convenience for trip planning, primarily for smaller groups, such as couples and parents with minor children. However, visitors traveling in large groups often struggled to keep all of their plan together, with challenges such as difficulties coordinating Fastpass+ requests for everyone in the group (whether for when everyone in a large group wants to move together, or a large group wishes to splinter off in different combinations during the day).

Website and app developers began testing a new management system for My Disney Experience that intends to make large group planning easier.

The test begins with an announcement on a traveler's My Disney Experience page:

Making plans with a larger group?
We recommend parties of 10 or more use our complimentary service to set up My Disney Experience. Call (407) 939-7771 from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM EST for assistance. (text courtesy of Laurel Stewart of TouringPlans.com)

A couple of TouringPlans users commented on the story, saying that they called the number Disney provided and a cast member offered to go over an entire travel itinerary to make sure everything was linked up correctly so the visitors could enjoy all of their experiences together. 

For more information, you can read more of Laurel's great post and the comments, which offer insight on how the new test is playing out.

Repeat visitors can now refuse duplicate MagicBand

Frequent Walt Disney World visitors may no longer have to order a duplicate MagicBand for an upcoming trip thanks to another My Disney Experience website update.

Anyone staying at a Walt Disney World Resort can opt out of receiving a new MagicBand when they make a new reservation if they already have an active MagicBand on the account that is current and less than a year old, according to WDWMagic. The bands cannot be older because they contain nonrenewable batteries. 

Previously, anyone making a Walt Disney World resort reservation automatically received a new MagicBand for their trip, no matter how many they may have received over the years. Travelers must opt-out every time they make a new reservation.

You may only make this request via the My Disney Experience website at this time; the opt-out option does not appear on the My Disney Experience smartphone app.

How many MagicBands do you have and what did you do with all your multiple ones?

Disney Gift Card website now allows combining lower denominations

Many people like to pay off their Walt Disney World vacation with Disney gift cards, which you can buy in my retail outlets that sell gift cards. The issue most have is that the cards are in smaller denominations ($25, $50, $100, etc.), so the task of using them to pay for thousands of dollars worth becomes long and complicated. 

Last week, the Disney Gift Card website made some changes to help customers combine multiple cards into one to make large sum payments easier. 

With a simple transfer, shoppers can combine all of their small denomination cards into a single card, up to a $1,000 value per card. This should help making payments to travel agents and Disney representatives much easier.

Raglan Road hosting Great Irish Hooley

Ever been to an Irish Hooley? Do you know what one is?

Downtown Disney's Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant invites visitors to its fourth annual Great Irish Hooley running from September 4–7 at the pub.

The Great Irish Hooley celebrates the halfway mark to St. Patricks Day. People get together to enjoy the festivities of the day. Entertainment for this year's party includes Irish stepdancing, traditional Celtic music, and face painting. Performances begin Friday at noon and run all weekend long. Some of the musical entertainers include:

  • Screaming Orphans
  • The Raglan Roots Coalition
  • JigJam
  • The West Coast Trio
  • The Blarney Stones
  • Cooney & Ryan

Four limited-edition craft beers will also be on tap for the weekend-long celebration, and traditional Irish fare prepared by chef Kevin Dundon is on the menu.

Views from Around the World

As summer winds down, Disney construction crews continue to work feverishly on their many expansion projects around the resort area. And, while it may not thrill everyone to see so many construction walls and equipment at the parks and in the Downtown Disney area, their presence demonstrates Walt's desire for progress to continue within his theme parks and attractions. This week, we take a peek at the progress being made at Downtown Disney and Epcot.

Downtown Disney


DisneyQuest will close sometime in 2016 to make way for a new NBA themed experience on the West Side of what will then be called Disney Springs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The upper-most level of the new Orange Parking structure on Downtown Disney's West Side is now partially open though the connecting ramps to I-4 are still under construction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction cranes beyond Fulton's Crab House and T-Rex Restaurant are assisting in the construction of the new parking structure on the former Downtown Disney Marketplace parking lot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Transformation of the former Pleasure Island area of Downtown Disney continues as architectural elements of The Landing at Disney Springs rise. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As Downtown Disney's transformation into Disney Springs continues, signage now points to "The Landing" which is being constructed in the area formerly known as Pleasure Island. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Amphicars have become a common sight on Village Lake near the Marketplace at Downtown Disney. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


The construction crane is not topping off one of the pyramids of the Imagination pavilion; it is assisting in the construction of the new theater for Soarin' backstage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Even on evenings when Epcot's Future World officially closes at 7 p.m., the popular Test Track attraction remains open. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Automated External Defibrillators like this one near Mission: Space at Epcot are installed in many places throughout the Walt Disney World Resort to assist in emergencies. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The base of Epcot's Canada pavilion is one of the few places along the World Showcase Lagoon where none of the construction taking place backstage for the new Soarin' theater can be seen. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A Half Moon rises above Epcot's Spaceship Earth. 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

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"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 28, 2015 9 / 10
Wednesday, July 29, 2015 8 / 10
Thursday, July 30, 2015 9 / 10
Friday, July 31, 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.
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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

2015

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.

2015

2016

  • 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

Epcot

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 through March 13, 2016 for reburbishment.

Resorts

  • Polynesian – ongoing refurbishment of the lobby and pool area.

Elsewhere

  • 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)

Epcot:

  • 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.

 

Comments

  1. By LtPowers

    Many people like to pay off their Walt Disney World vacation with Disney gift cards

    Can anyone explain what the advantage is of doing this?


    Powers &8^]

  2. By yedliw

    Quote Originally Posted by LtPowers View Post
    Can anyone explain what the advantage is of doing this?


    Powers &8^]

    It is a way to put money away for a planned future trip. If you buy a gift card or 2 every pay check or every month or so, you can start to stockpile money that can't be spent elsewhere.. also, there are places (i.e. Sams Club) where you can get them for a little below face value, so there is some savings there. Also, if you buy them at Target, with your Red Card, you get 5% off as well.

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