Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 15-21, 2015by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
Update for September 15–21, 2015
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.
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 retired in 2009. YouTube video by CSUFSteve.
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.
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
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.
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Contributing photographer Alan Dalinka took a trip to Disney Springs this week to catch up on the latest construction projects.
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 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.
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.
...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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- 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. As of publication, only Halloween night is sold out.
- 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. As of publication, all nights are still available.
- 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. 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.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – closed through September 26 for refurbishment.
- Diamond Horseshoe – closed through at least November for refurbishment
- Liberty Tree Tavern – closed through November 21 for refurbishment
- Walt Disney World Frontierland station – closed September 29 to November 5 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Main Street U.S.A station – closed September 29 to November 5 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Fantasyland station – closed September 29 to 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 for refurbishment.
- Space Mountain – closed January 11–15 for refurbishment.
- Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin – closed January 15 to February 11 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed January 18–22 for refurbishment.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed April 4 to July 15 for refurbishment.
- Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse – closed July 7 to September 24 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed August 15–21 for refurbishment.
- "it's a small world" – closed August 22 to September 15 for refurbishment.
- 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.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – closed September 7–10 for refurbishment.
- Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular – closed Octoberd 20-23 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 through November 13 for refurbishment.
- Pizzafari – closed through October 20 for refurbishment
- Entire park closed from October 25, 2015 through January 3, 2016 for refurbishment
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.