Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 24-31, 2015

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
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Update for August 24–31, 2015

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


News and Views

2015 Night of Joy lineup announced | Reservations now open for new Happy HalloWishes Dessert Party | A closer look at the Epcot's new Frozen attraction and meet and greet area | New Ratatouille interactive game to debut at 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival | Disney Parks Moms Panel search kicks off September 8Did you catch these quick takes? | Views Around the WorldCrowd Forecast

2015 Night of Joy lineup announced

Disney announced the full line-up for the 2015 Night of Joy event at the Magic Kingdom. The two-night concert series, which runs 7:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Friday, September 11, and Saturday, September 12, features some of top artists in contemporary Christian music, on three different stages around the park. 

Night of Joy is a hard-ticket event, which means a separate ticket is required to attend the after-hours party in the park. In addition to the live music, many of Magic Kingdom's attractions will be open for visitors to enjoy.

This year's schedule offers a variety of music styles, including rick, pop, dance, rap and more:

  Friday, September 11, 2015 Saturday, September 12, 2015
Castle Forecourt Stage
  • 7:40 p.m. – Jeremy Camp
  • 9:45 p.m. – MercyMe
  • 11:55 p.m. – TobyMac
  • 7:40 p.m. – for King & Country
  • 9:40 p.m. – LeCrae
  • 11:50 p.m. – Skillet
Galaxy Stage
  • 7:30 p.m. – Francesca Battistelli
  • 8:50 p.m. – Francesca Battistelli
  • 10:25 p.m. – Colton Dixon
  • 12:05 a.m. – Big Daddy Weave
  • 7:30 p.m. – Jamie Grace
  • 8:50 p.m. – Jamie Grace
  • 10:25 p.m. – Matt Maher
  • Midnight – Mandisa
Rockettower Plaza Stage
  • 8:10 p.m. – Josh Wilson
  • 9:40 p.m. – I Am They
  • 11:15 p.m. – Rend Collective
  • 8:10 p.m. – Veridia
  • 9:40 p.m. – 7eventh Time Down
  • 11:15 p.m. – 7eventh Time Down


Tickets are $65 plus tax in advance for one night and $115 plus tax in advance for two nights. Special pricing and other benefits for groups of 10 or more are available. Additional information about individual and group tickets is available at the Night of Joy website.

Reservations now open for new Happy HalloWishes Dessert Party

Reservations for the new Happy HalloWishes Dessert Party are now open, offered on these select nights of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

  • September 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27
  • October 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31
  • November 1

This year's party begins with guests in a special reserved area (by the Main Street flag pole) to watch the popular Boo to You parade. Once the parade ends, cast members escort the party guests to the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant for a dessert party. At the party, guests can enjoy "spooky treats" like mummy cupcakes, candy corn cupcakes, chocolate-dipped strawberries, fresh fruits and cheeses, chocolate mousse, and more. Guests will also participate in a Halloween toast with a variety of drinks such as sparkling cider or lemonade, hot chocolate, coffee or tea just as the HalloWishes Nighttime Spectacular begins.

Tickets cost $69 for adults and  $39 ages 3 to 11. For reservations visit DisneyWorld.com/DINE or call (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). 

Note: A separate ticket to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is required to attend the Happy HalloWishes Dessert Party. 

A closer look at the Epcot's new Frozen attraction and meet-and-greet area

Thanks to a new rendering released by disney, fans can now take a look at what Epcot's updated Norway pavilion will look like when it opens.


An artistic rendering of how Epcot's updated Norway pavilion will be once renovations are done. On the left is the Royal Summerhaus, where Frozen's Anna and Elsa will host their own meet and greet ©Disney 

Disney Imagineer Kathy Mangum announced that the Frozen meet-and-greet will take place in a new building based on an historic Norwegian log cabin. Visitors will step inside the Royal Summerhaus and be immersed in Queen Elsa's world of Arendelle.

In addition to the meet-and-greet, Epcot visitors will also be able to enjoy a new attraction, Frozen Ever After,  that will bring riders to Arendelle for a Winter in Summer festival. After a quick greeting from Olaf, riders sail into the magical world of Arendelle, where familiar characters such as Elsa, Anna, Kristof share a beautiful story about the power of true love.and hope. 

Disney has not announced an official opening at this time, but stay posted here at MousePlanet to get all the details when as we receive them.

New Ratatouille interactive game to debut at 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

During this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, visitors have the chance to enjoy a new interactive game around World Showcase.

Beginning September 25, while supplies last, festival visitors can play Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak and help Remy as he makes his way around World Showcase at Epcot to gather ingredients for his signature dish, Ratatouille.

To play Remy's Ratatouille Hide & Squeak, players get a map to follow to help find the special ingredients Remy needs. Maps and stickers can be purchased for $9.95, plus tax at Disney Traders,  the Festival Center, Pin Central, Port of Entry, and World Traveler (International Gateway).

Players then record their discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on the specially themed map to represent that location.

Once players are finished searching for each ingredient, they return the map to the redemption location at Port of Entry by November 16, 2015 at Port of Entry to pick up a surprise of one of the pins shown here:


2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival visitors have a chance to win one of these limited release pins as part of the new Remy's Ratatouille Hide & Squeak game. Image © Disney.

Theme park admission is not included, however is required to participate. Maps, stickers and surprise available while supplies last. Information subject to restrictions and change without notice.

Note: Maps, stickers and surprise available while supplies last. No discounts apply. Purchasing limits may apply.

Disney Parks Moms Panel search kicks off September 8

On Tuesday, September 8, thousands of ordinary women with an extraordinary love for all things Disney Parks have the chance to apply to become part of the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

This small group, officially sponsored by Disney, answers questions submitted online from readers on everything from how to choose where to stay to the ins and outs of making Fastpass+ reservations, or which excursions are best on the Disney Cruise Line.

The application process is intensive. It usually starts with applicants filling out an online form with information about their Disney knowledge and questions about why they want to join the panel. That first wave of applicants is cut down to a smaller second round group, which then have a second round of questions to answer. Eventually, the third round contestants have a phone interview where judges then make the final decision. Disney selects only a handful of people to join the Moms Panel each year. 

The first round of applications begins on September 8 and runs through noon, Tuesday, September 15.

Round 2 winners will be announced not long after the deadline, but specific details are not shared by Disney.

For more information about the Disney Moms Panel and how to apply, visit the official recruiting website

Editor's Note:

Next week will be the last time Marie Rossiter writes the Walt Disney World Resort Update for MousePlanet, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank her for her effort over the past 18 months. Since Marie stepped in to take over the Update, she has been a joy to work with, a consumate professional, and never missed a deadline (a feat that puts my record to shame). We are sad to see Marie leave, but we offer our sincere congratulations on her new career opportunity. We also hope she still finds some time in her schedule to post updates on her personal Disney blog, Enjoying the Magic.

With our new site design and focus on Disney travel destinations, MousePlanet is seeking new writers to cover a number of Disney subjects, including the weekly Walt Disney World Update. We are especially interested in hiring writers who are knowledgeable and passionate about:

  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Adventures by Disney
  • Walt Disney World dining

If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us for more information about these opportunities. I look forward to hearing your ideas.

- Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix

We're Hiring!

Do you love Disney and have a flair for writing? We're currently looking for columnists to cover new areas of the Disney universe for MousePlanet.com.

If you are interesting in adding your voice to MousePlanet, please contact us—we'd love to hear from you!

Did you catch these quick takes?

There has been a lots of other news tied to Disney this week. Did you happen to catch these?

  • A new princess is joining the Disney universe. Her name is Moana. She is Polynesian and knows her way around a sailboat according to early accounts of the movie, scheduled to come out sometime next year.
  • Looking for a little Labor Day fun with a touch of Irish flair? Raglan Road hosts its Third Annual Great Irish Hooley September 4–7. This annual party marks the halfway point to St. Patrick's Day and is filled with live entertainment, including bands, step dancing, and more. 
  • Like Disney apps? First, the Show Your Disney Side app provides makeovers of selfies into characters from favorite Disney Parks attractions. Then, a brand new app called Magic Kingdoms takes the concept of Theme Park Tycoon and lets players building their own park with Disney-inspired attractions. According to the game description, attractions from varous parks can be combined into one mega Disney park. That sounds like a game to get totally lost in.
  • Lastly, Disney VoluntEARS participated in a back-to-school supplies drive . Students received more than $866,000 worth of school supplies, including more than 60,000 backpacks.

Views Around the World

This week, when I saw our photographer Alan's pictures, I knew I had to create a special section for just the sunsets at Epcot. He captured some amazing ones this week, and I love seeing sunset at the parks. Lots of work also still going on at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney/Disney Springs, and Epcot. Let's start at Disney's Animal Kingdom this week:

Disney's Animal Kingdom


Expansion of Disney Outfitters at Disney's Animal Kingdom continues. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A close-up look at the expansion of Disney Outfitters at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The graphics on the sign at the entrance to Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom have been refreshed so that "The Legend of the Forbidden Mountain" can be easily seen once again. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


With the announcement at D23 Expo that new species will soon join Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom, construction on a new habitat continues on the savannah. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


One of the young giraffes keeps a curious eye on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Kilimanjaro Safari's transports are sometimes delayed by some of the residents of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The current back of Pizzafari that faces the future Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom appears to be receiving a new facade. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


The Royal Summerhaus is among the buildings rising adjacent to the Norway pavilion at Epcot as part of the "Frozen" attractions due to open sometime in 2016. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


At the D23 Expo, Disney announced that "Soarin' Around the World" will debut at Epcot. Whether that will occur before the new ride-theater capacity is completed has not been announced. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Cast members sometimes have to explain to guests that Epcot's parking lot courtesy trams do not provide transportation to Magic Kingdom. Of course, guests can take the tram to Epcot's monorail station, then a monorail to the TTC and then another monorail or ferryboat to get to Magic Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Downtown Disney


Planet Hollywood Orlando at Downtown Disney will soon begin its transformation into Planet Hollywood Observatory at Disney Springs, due to be completed by Spring 2016. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction of decorative (abandoned) elevated train trestles between House of Blues and DisneyQuest on the West Side of Downtown Disney is part of the transformation of the area into Disney Springs. DisneyQuest will close at an unspecified date in 2016 for its transformation into a new NBA-themed attraction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The slow flow of Buena Vista Drive traffic near the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs construction will be altered this week by a changed traffic pattern as preparations are made to open one of the flyover ramps to the Orange Parking Garage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Sunset at Epcot


The sunset reflects spectacularly off of The Odyssey building at Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The last golden sunlight of afternoon bathes the Italy pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


"Golden Dream", the sailing ship decoration at American Gardens Theater on World Showcase lagoon at Epcot, is named for the final song in the American Adventure. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As sunset nears, the bridge near Epcot's China Pavilion is raised to bring barges used in Illuminations: Reflections of Earth into World Showcase Lagoon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Sunsets at Epcot sometimes look as though they were drawn by an Imagineer. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

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Crowd Forecast

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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 25, 2015 5 / 10
Wednesday, August 26, 2015 4 / 10
Thursday, August 27, 2015 4 / 10
Friday,August 28, 2015 3 / 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

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

2016

Epcot

  • 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. The Disney Visa character experience remains open.
  • Maelstrom – ride permanently closed for construction of Frozen Ever After attraction. New ride expected to open May, 2016.
  • Living with the Land – closed September 8–18.
  • Innoventions East – Glidden's Colortopia under construction replacing the Test the Limits exhibit. Expected to open late 2015.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Primeval Whirl – closed through November 13 for refurbishment.
  • Pizzafari – closed through October 20 for refurbishment

Blizzard Beach

  • Entire park closed from October 25, 2015 through January 3, 2016 for refurbishment

Typhoon Lagoon

  • Entire park closed from January 3 to March 13 for reburbishment.

Downtown Disney / Disney Springs

  • Fulton's Crab House – closed January 1 to April 1, 2016 for refurbishment.
  • Planet Hollywood – closed January 1 to 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.

Resorts

  • Polynesian – ongoing refurbishment of the lobby and pool area.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Inn – Exterior painting and repair during daylight hours, through 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 to 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.

Elsewhere

  • Disney's Lake Buene Vista Golf Course –closed August 10–20 for refurbishment.
  • Disney Osprey Ridge Golf Course – permanently closed.

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.