Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 3-10, 2015

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
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Update for August 3–10, 2015

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


News and Views

Epcot's Garden Grill extends hours | Premium package details released for 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival | 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Chase Lounge to return | Walt Disney World executives switch roles | Disney's Animal Programs release sea turtles into the wild | Did you catch these quick takes? | Views Around the World | Crowd Forecast

Epcot's Garden Grill to add breakfast and lunch

Starting November 8, Epcot's Garden Grill restaurant, located on the top floor of The Land pavilion in Future World, adds breakfast and lunch to its daily meal servings.

The restaurant, which slowly rotates over the Living with the Land attraction, expands its menu to include the new "Chip n Dale Breakfast Harvest" featuring a family-style meal with Mickey waffles, bacon, biscuits and gravy, sticky buns, and more. The breakfast is an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal.

Lunch brings on the "Living with the Land" family-style meal, which includes the restaurant's popular Harvest Salad made from vegetables grown in the Land's greenhouse, sliced turkey and beef, fresh side dishes, and desserts. Just like the dinner menu it shares, lunch is also an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal.

Of course, a meal at the Garden Grill wouldn't be complete without character greetings. Chip and Dale (and a few other special friends) plan to meet and greet everyone who comes to their feast each day.

Reservations can be made now by visiting the official Walt Disney World dining web page or by calling (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

Premium package details released for 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

Last week, a few details came out regarding this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival's Premium Package for those wanting to take their culinary experience to the next level.

The Disney Food Blog shared what they could confirm about this year's package, which includes:

  • Access to 11 designated Premium Package Areas throughout Epcot, offering concierge service (that is, cast members will go to the booths to buy items for you and bring them back to you) from noon to 8 p.m.
  • One amenity bag, which guests can pick up at the Festival Center. The bag includes a bottle of 20th Anniversary celebratory wine, a wine glass, and one Festival-themed MagicBand.
  • Four entitlement tags for use at the Premium Package Areas running concierge service for the Festival Booths. This means guests get four booth menu items for free as part of the package (item restrictions may apply).
  • A ticket to either a culinary demonstration (during the 5:00 p.m. slot) or a beverage seminar (during the 2:00 p.m. slot) during the week of participation.

Visitors can participate in this special event Monday through Thursday of each full week of the Festival. The cost is $199 per person ($211.62 with tax included). Interested guests may call (407) WDW-FEST (407-939-3378) for more information and to make reservations.

2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Chase Lounge to return

Disney Visa cardholders will once again be able to enjoy a little exclusive rest and relaxation in the Chase Lounge during this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

Open exclusively for those with a Disney Visa account, the lounge can be found on the third floor of the American Adventure pavilion (in between the gift shop and attraction). Visitors can enjoy some air-conditioned relaxation with a complimentary soft drink, recharge electronic devices, and learn more about their account benefits from Chase.

Visitors can go to the Chase Lounge from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Rikki Niblett from our sponsor TouringPlans.com said Disney has not confirmed if beer and wine will be available for sale or if cast members will distribute wristbands for a special viewing area for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth on a first-come-first-served basis. 

MousePlanet will post updates as we hear and confirm them from Disney.

Walt Disney World executives switch roles

July has been a busy month of changes within the Walt Disney World management, as three executives have switched roles over the past few weeks.

First, Disney announced that Melissa Valiquette, Director of Operations of Magic Kingdom, would transition into her new position of Vice President of Epcot.

Then, last week, the announcement came that Magic Kingdom Vice President Phil Holmes and Disney's Hollywood Studios' Vice President Dan Cockerell would switch positions in the company.

The Orlando Sentinel report gave no specific reasons for the executive shuffle, although it's clear that there have been many changes at Disney's Hollywood Studios in recent months with multiple attractions closing or re-locating.

Disney's Animal Programs release sea turtles into the wild

Months of work at Disney Animal Programs started to pay off in a big way last week when the first of a series of loggerhead turtles were released back into the wild from Disney's Vero Beach.

Tinkerbell and Marina had many many onlookers cheering them on as they made their way back to the ocean as part of the annual Tour de Turtles migration marathon. 
 
The Tour de Turtles emphasizes the importance of sea turtle conservation and researchers get a chance to better understand sea turtle habits and migratory patterns that may hold the key to species survival. 
  
Disney Animal Programs workers focus on the summer sea turtle nesting season (from approximately May to October) by marking and closely monitoring sea turtle nests within a five-mile beach stretch of Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.  Disney Vacation Club members and guests staying at the resort during this time also have the opportunity to join the Disney’s Animal Programs team on turtle conservation and outings to observe the sea turtles and learn ways they can get involved.  

Guests can also adopt a sea turtle nest that goes towards conservation efforts in Florida through the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF). Since its inception, the DCF has directed more than $1.2 million to sea turtle conservation efforts around the world.
 
This is the eighth year Disney has sponsored the event. The turtles’ migration can be tracked online at www.tourdeturtles.org.

Did you catch these quick takes?

Views from Around the World

Our photographer tells me it's been rainy but hot down in Walt Disney World. The weather may not be ideal, but visitors still seem to be out and about enjoying themselves—and trying to keep cool...

Disney Hollywood Studios


Frozen Summer Fun continues at Disney's Hollywood Studios (even in the rain) through September 7. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As the D23 Expo approaches (August 14-16 in Anaheim, CA), will the future of Echo Lake at Disney's Hollywood Studios be disclosed? Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Ice Palace Boutique has opened across from the ABC Commissary as part of Frozen Summer Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios in the building that formerly was home to American Idol Experience Auditions. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A new billboard promoting a 1939 Donald Duck short has been installed on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios (replacing a Brawny-sponsored billboard). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Beyond the Parks


As reported last month, the gas stations on Walt Disney World property have been rebranded as SpeedWay, like this one on Buena Vista Drive next to BoardWalk and across from Disney's Hollywood Studios. 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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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, August 4, 2015 9 / 10
Wednesday, August 5, 2015 8 / 10
Thursday, August 6, 2015 8 / 10
Friday,August 7, 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!

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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. All races are sold out, except for the full marathon.
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 18–21, 2016. Most events are sold out.

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

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 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.