Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 11-17, 2015by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for August 11–17, 2015
Major refurbishment update across Walt Disney World | Two Disney workers arrested for lewd conduct | Reservations open for Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood and Vine | Be Our Guest breakfast now permanent | Disney launches 'World's Best Grandparent' Contest | Did you catch these quick takes? | Views Around the World | Crowd Forecast
In this update is major update to the Walt Disney World refurbishment schedule. We get questions about refurbishments quite often and try to stay on top of changes. We post changes once we confirm them from multiple sources. As always, the dates may change along the way, but you will see in the list below that the overarching theme at Walt Disney World for the time being continues to be "change."
If you have a trip coming up through mid-2016, you can get a preview of what rides, attractions and resorts will undergo refurbishment so you can prepare and make your arrangements accordingly.
More reports about inappropriate behavior by Walt Disney World to share this week; fortunately, though, neither arrest was the result of on-property actions.
Police arrested four in Polk County, Florida, last week on lewd behavior charges from an undercover sting in the area. Of the four men arrested, two were confirmed by WKMG Local 6 to be Walt Disney World employees
Ronald Osborne (67), a retired U.S. Postal Service worker and current part-time riverboat driver at Walt Disney World, allegedly exposed himself to an undercover officer at the Lake Fannie boat ramp.
During the same sting, Christopher Cox (41) allegedly touched an undercover detective against his will and faces battery charges.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said that all four men arrested in the undercover operation last week are permanently banned from all county parks.
More Walt Disney World holiday event news this week: reservations for a new holiday dining event Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine are now available.
The new holiday event has Minnie Mouse hosting a holiday dinner with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Santa Goofy. The meal dates run from November 7, 2015, through January 3, 2016.
In addition to the meal and character meet-and-greets in a room decked out in its holiday finest, visitors at Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine receive VIP seat for Fantasmic, Disney Hollywood Studios' nighttime fireworks spectacular.
Minnie's Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine is available for $52.99 per adult and $31.99 per child age 3 to 9 (plus tax and gratuity) for a limited time only. Park admission is required to participate and is not included with the meal price.
To make reservations, visit the event's official webpage or call (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).
After a an almost five-month "test run," Disney announced that the Magic Kingdom's Be Our Guest restaurant will now serve breakfast on a permanent basis.
The menu offers a variety of items, from pastries and breads to meat, eggs, quiche, fresh fruit, and more. Adult entrees cost $19.99 and kids entrees cost $11.99.
Anyone wanting to make a reservation for October 4, 2015 and beyond can either visit the Be Our Guest reservation website or call (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).
Do you have an amazing grandparent or are you the grandparent to beat all grandparents?
Walt Disney World is looking for the "world's best grandparent" as part of its latest contest. So, what does the world's best grandparent win? The grand prize is an eight-day Walt Disney World vacation for up to six people, including:
- Round trip airfare and airport transportation for six
- A seven-night stay in a two-bedroom suite or villa at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel
- Six eight-day Magic Your Way with Park Hopper and Water Parks fun and more options
- Choice of any Disney PhotoPass Service products (a $300 value)
- One welcome basket
- One Disney Character Dining experience for six
- VIP viewing for 1 Disney Theme Park parade or show for six
- One Disney Signature Dining experience for 6six
- An $800 Disney Gift Card
Entries are accepted through 11:59:59 p.m. August 28, and a winner will be notified on or about September 10. Visit the contest's official rules and regulations web page for terms and conditions.
Family members can nominate their favorite grandparent by visiting the official contest web page, submitting a short essay about the grandparent, along with a photo.
You have a year after this contest is over, until September 11, 2016, in which to book and complete your trip by.
- Captain EO has returned to Epcot following two special sneak preview events for the Disney feature films Tomorrowland and Inside Out.
- Two new retail locations made their debut in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs: Tea Traders Cafe and UNIQLO. The latter is a large clothing retailer from Japan, and this is its first store in the southeastern United States.
- Under the "must watch" category: check out this robot that does sand portraits. Can you guess who the robot will draw before watching the video?
- The Florida Cup returns to Walt Disney World for the second straight year—the soccer tournament runs January 9–12, 2016
- Even Walt Disney World animators are getting in on the Cecil the Lion viral discussion/reaction train. Animator Aaron Blaise created a memorial drawing for the African lion illegally killed a few weeks ago by an American hunter.
This week, our photographer not only provided some usual updates on construction projects happening around Walt Disney World, but also dropped by for some Frozen Summer Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios, enjoyed Epcot's "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth" and wished upon a star at the "Wishes Nighttime Spectacular" in the Magic Kingdom! Let's take a look!
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios bustles with activity as guests gather near the stage in front of the Chinese Theater for the dance party and Frozen fireworks. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
DJ Chill hosts the dance party at the stage in front of the Chinese Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios immediately before "Frozen" fireworks (scheduled through September 7). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The fireworks of Epcot's Illuminations: Reflections of Earth shine on the bricks of The American Adventure pavilion while the building's lights twinkle and its lasers and search lights glow over Epcot's World Showcase. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Park guests gather outside the restaurants at the Japan pavilion above the Mitsukoshi Department Store to enjoy Epcot's nightly presentation of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Magic Kingdom's Main Street USA is filled with guests and their glowing cameras for "Wishes" fireworks, but the view from the flag pole is no longer filled with (the now-banned) selfie sticks. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
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- 2015 Night of Joy - September 11-12, 2015
- 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. All races are sold out.
- 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.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – closed through September 26 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Tree Tavern – closed through November 21 for refurbishment
- Dream Along with Mickey – closed through August 22 for refurbishment
- Diamond Horseshoe - closed August 2 for refurbishment. Scheduled at least through November.
- 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.
- The Magic Behind the Our Steam Trains Guided Tour - not offered during Walt Disney World Railroad refurbishment.
- Peter Pan's Flight - closed November 2-7 for refurbishment.
- Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover - closed December 7-10 for refurbishment
- Splash Mountain – closed January 6-10, 2016 for refurbishment.
- Space Mountain – closed January 11-15, 2016 for refurbishment.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – closed January 15 – February 11, 2016 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed January 18–22 for refurbishment.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed April 4 – July 15, 2016 for refurbishment.
- Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse – closed July 7 – September 24, 2016 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed August 15 – 21 for refurbishment.
- “it’s a small world” – closed August 22 – September 15, 2016 for refurbishment.
- Living with the Land - September 8–18.
- Maelstrom – ride permanently closed for construction of Frozen Ever After attraction. New ride expected to open May, 2016.
- Soarin’ – additional screen under construction. Work has no impact on the existing theaters.
- Innoventions West – Think, presented by IBM; The Great Piggy Bank Adventure; and Where's the Fire? closed April 29, 2015. The Disney Visa character experience remains open.
- Innoventions East – Glidden's Colortopia under construction replacing the Test the Limits exhibit. Expected to open late 2015.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – closed September 7–10 for refurbishment.
- Toy Story Midway Mania – second ride track is under construction. Work has no impact on the existing ride.
- Magic of Disney Animation – building permanently closed for future expansion.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Primeval Whirl – closed August 17 – November 13 for refurbishment.
- Pizzafari – closed August 24 – October 20 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.
Downtown Disney / Disney Springs
- Fulton’s Crab House – closed January 1 – April 1, 2016 for refurbishment.
- Planet Hollywood – closed January 1 – June 1, 2016 for refurbishment and transformation into a Planet Hollywood Observatory.
- Downtown Disney Bridge 4 and restrooms on Pleasure Island – temporarily closed for ongoing construction work.
- Downtown Disney Lots A-G – closed through August 1, 2016.
- Downtown Disney Lots H, I, J, and K (in Westside area) – closed until further notice for Disney Springs construction.
- Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays.
- Disney Quest – scheduled to close sometime in 2016. Will be replaced with an NBA Experience venue.
- Polynesian – ongoing refurbishment of the lobby and pool area.
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn – Exterior painting and repair during daylight hours, August 17, 2015 – May 5, 2016
- Disney’s Boardwalk Inn – Flying Fish Cafe closed February 1 – September 30, 2016 for refurbishment.
- Disney’s Coronado Springs – La Vida Health Club and Casitas pool closed for refurbishment through October 12. An alternate fitness center is available for guest use.
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – Gasparilla Island Grill closed August 23 – September 4 for refurbishment.
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Villas – construction of the as-yet-unannounced Disney Vacation Club cabins begins October, 2015. Expect construction-related closures and noise during the project.
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Villas – Hidden Springs pool, resort beach, playground, and Recreation fire pit close October 26, 2015. No opening date provided, but the pool is expected to be closed through 2017.
- Disney's Lake Buene Vista Golf Course - closed August 10-20 for refurbishment.
- Disney Osprey Ridge Golf Course – permanently closed.
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:
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.