Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 28 - August 3, 2015by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for July 28 – August 3, 2015
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
…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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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 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.