Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 15-21, 2015

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
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Update for September 15–21, 2015

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


News and Views

20th anniversary marks the final season for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights; new dining experiences added for 2015 | Early registration opens Tuesday for 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend events | Views Around Disney Springs | This and That | Crowd Forecast

20th anniversary marks the final season for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights; new dining experiences added for 2015

This news isn't entirely unexpected, but Disney announced last week that 2015 will be the final season for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. The show will "glow away" after this holiday season due to construction of the new Toy Story Land and Star Wars expansion at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The 20th season begins Friday, November 6, 2015, and continues through January 3, 2016.


2015 is to be the final year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios. MousePlanet file photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Disney broke the news of this change in a Disney Parks Blog article that announced the new Merry & Bright Dessert Party and Merry & Bright Dinner Reception, extra-cost events being introduced for 2015, but the outrage about the cancellation of the popular show all but eclipsed the interest in the new dining options. Here are the limited details as provided by Disney:

The Merry & Bright Dessert Party runs November 6 through December 30, and includes "holiday-themed desserts, specialty beverages and a themed amenity." Disney offered a Frozen-themed dessert party last year, and we'd expect the cost to be comparable—around $90 for adults ($60 for ages 3–9).

The Merry & Bright Dinner Reception is a new offering, featuring "a selection of small bites including beef, shrimp and turkey, plus wine, beer and specialty beverages." Pricing was not available, but expect to spend $120 or more for adults.

Reservations for both options open Thursday, September 16. We'll share additional details once we know them.


Even MousePlanet's resident curmudgeon couldn't find anything bad to say about the The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. MousePlanet video.

While Disney Parks social media director Thomas Smith said in response to reader inquiries that there are no plans to relocate the The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights to a new location next year, we have to wonder if the five pages of negative responses to the Parks Blog article—and the similar reaction to the news on Disney-focused sites everywhere—won't give Disney a reason to find a new home for the display.

Some have noted that Disney made a massive investment in the show just two years ago, upgrading the entire display to LED technology and replacing the computerized control system. It's hard to see Disney walking away from that kind of investment. Some rumors have the entire show relocating to Disney Springs, but we don't see Disney moving the show somewhere where it could be experienced with no cover charge.

Others have suggested that Disney should move the display to Epcot, replacing the Lights of Winter display that was discontinued in 2009. At the time, Disney said "The Lights of Winter at Epcot has been enjoyed for years. But tech to operate the lights is obsolete, prompting us to retire the lights."


The Lights of Winter were a key focal point for the holidays at Epcot until 2009. MousePlanet file photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Lights of Winter were retired in 2009. YouTube video by CSUFSteve.

Early registration opens Tuesday for 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend events

Early registration opens at noon (Eastern)/9:00 a.m. (Pacific) today, Tuesday, September 15 for the 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side weekend events, and eligible runners should definitely take advantage of the chance to secure a spot in these popular events.

While early registration officially lasts until September 21, in reality there are a very limited number of spots available during the early registration period, and these often sell out in mere moments. Links are posted on the Disneyland passholder site, Walt Disney World passholder site, and Disney Vacation Club member site the morning registration begins. Disney Visa cardholders no longer receive access to early registration offer for runDisney events.

Disney Vacation Club members have basically been shut out of early registration opportunities at several recent events because the DVC website did not post the link until most events were already full. Readers who have both annual passholder and DVC eligibility should use the links from the Annual Passholders page of the runDisney website.

It is worth noting that there is no tiered pricing for this new Star Wars event, which indicates to us that runDisney expects these races to sell out long before any price increase might take effect. If you have access to early registration, use it.

General registration opens Tuesday, September 22 at noon (Eastern) / 9:00 a.m. (Pacific), for those who missed or are not eligible for early registration.

After you register for your event, come add your name to the Team MousePlanet race roster to connect with other runners and share training tips.

Event Dates Price Notes

Star Wars 5K

Friday, April 15 $75

Registration for Friday's 3.1-mile event only.

Star Wars 10K

Saturday, April 16 $110

Registration for Saturday's 6.2-mile 10K event only.

Warning: You get neither the bonus Dark Side Challenge medal or third participant shirt if you register for the half marathon and 10K events separately.

runDisney Kids Races

Saturday, April 16

$15 – Dash Events
$30 – One Mile run

Registration for Saturday's Kids Races (in various age categories).

Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side

Sunday, April 17 $199

Registration for Sunday's 13.1-mile half-marathon event only.

Star Wars Dark Side Challenge

Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17 $330

Registration includes both Saturday's Star Wars 10K (6.2 miles) and Sunday's Star Wars Half Marathon (13.1 miles), with a bonus (third) Dark Side Challenge medal, as well as three participant shirts.

 

We're Hiring!

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

Views Around Disney Springs

Contributing photographer Alan Dalinka took a trip to Disney Springs this week to catch up on the latest construction projects.


New "Disney Springs: Coming Soon" banners hang from many of the light poles around the lake at the Marketplace at Downtown Disney. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The pedestrian bridges over Buena Vista and Hotel Plaza Drives are nearing completion as the Disney Springs transformation of Downtown Disney continues. When completed, these bridges will provide pedestrian-friendly paths between the on-property Downtown Disney area hotels (like the immediately neighboring Buena Vista Palace, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, and Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista) with the Marketplace. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The second multi-level parking garage is being built as Downtown Disney transforms into Disney Springs, rising in the former parking lot adjacent to the Marketplace. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new multi-level parking garage will be very convenient to The LEGO Store and The World of Disney Store when completed in the Marketplace area of Downtown Disney as it transforms into Disney Springs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The buildings behind what will soon be rethemed and renamed "Planet Hollywood Observatory" are taking shape beyond the construction walls that include the artists' rendition of the former Pleasure Island area being transformed into The Landing at Disney Springs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The STK Steakhouse building being built in the former Pleasure Island area, which is transforming into The Landing at Disney Springs is expected to open later this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar, a Disney-owned-and-operated Food & Beverage location themed around Indiana Jones' "frequent pilot," approaches its anticipated opening this fall at The Landings at Disney Springs in the area formerly known as Pleasure Island. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar is expected to open this fall at The Landing at Disney Springs. Jock Lindsey was Indiana Jones' "frequent pilot" and the owner of a pet snake named Reggie. The heavily themed, Disney-owned-and-operated restaurant includes an outdoor seating area deck and the steamboat "Reggie" in permanent dry dock. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Morimoto Asia signs now hang on the Springs Bottling Co. building (formerly Mannequins Dance Palace) as the date of this new restaurant at The Landing at Disney Springs approaches later this month. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Workers complete the installation of a multi-story chandelier and draperies inside Springs Bottling Co. building as the opening of the new Morimoto Asia restaurant at The Landing at Disney Springs approaches later this month. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The holiday display outside the Disney's Days of Christmas store at the Downtown Disney Marketplace (which is up year-round) will soon be joined by more holiday decorations around Walt Disney World as fall gets underway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new boat dock for The Landing at Disney Springs appears to be nearing completion. Currently, Downtown Disney ferryboats service only the Marketplace and West Side docks. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

...Mulch Sweat n' Shears lead Jim Doyle announced last week on Twitter that October 10 is the final day for his group at Epcot. Show times for the end of their run are now 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

...The first Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party of 2015 takes place tonight, September 15. The big new addition to the show is the "Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular," featuring a variety of Disney villains. If you are a Florida resident and reside in Brevard, Flagler, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Putnam, Seminole, Sumter, or Volusia counties, you could win a family four pack of tickets to the event from WFTV. Visit the contest website for details.

…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 can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist 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. Our trip planning tools show you the least crowded park to visit every day, customized touring plans for visiting Disney’s best rides, honest restaurant reviews, how to save on Disney tickets, the best hotel rooms to ask for, and so much more.

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, September 15, 2015 1 / 10
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 1 / 10
Thursday, September 17, 2015 1 / 10
Friday, September 18, 2015 1 / 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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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. The 5K, 10K, half marathon, Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge events are sold out. Registration is still open for the full marathon and runDisney Kids Races. The deadline to submit Proof of Time for these events is October 6, 2015.
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 18–21, 2016. All races are sold out. The deadline to submit Proof of Time for these events is November 17, 2015.
  • Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend – April 14–17, 2016. General registration opens at Noon ET/ 9 a.m. PT Tuesday, September 22. Advance registration for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members opens at Noon ET/ 9 a.m. PT on Tuesday, September 15. Proof of Time must be provided between October 27, 2015, and January 19, 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 refurbishment.

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, 2016 – 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 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 Florida Residents

Cirque du Soliel's La Nouba is offering a Florida resident discount through December 18. Tickets prices range from $49 to $89.

Discounts for Canada Residents

None at this time.

Discounts for U.K. Residents

None at this time


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments.

 

Comments

  1. By danyoung

    Is there an official closing date for Walt Disney: One Man's Dream?

  2. By davidgra

    AVP - Thanks for doing the updates for WDW!

    The rumors about the possible end to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights have certainly been swirling around for a while now, so I guess it's good that Disney has finally confirmed it. It's certainly not welcome news, but it's not really surprising, either. Our family tries to make a trip to WDW every other December, and the festivities at DHS are a big part of the reason for going, although we love the holiday decorations and activities at all the parks.

    I can understand Disney not wanting to try to relocate the lights to any other existing area; they create a logistical nightmare each night, when people pack in like sardines and disrupt all traffic flow. Downtown Disney just wouldn't be able to handle that kind of onslaught of people -- it worked fine for a back corner of a theme park in which there weren't many other attractions, but it wouldn't work so well in an area like Downtown Disney or Epcot.

  3. By olegc

    I have only been able to visit WDW a couple of times in my life - and I was hoping in the next 5 years to make a trip for the Holidays - but possibly the main draw was Osborne. Now that its going to go away I am truly sad.

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