Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 17-23, 2015

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
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Update for November 17–23, 2015

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


News and Views

The Force comes early to Star Tours | Captain EO to close | Colortopia opens in Epcot | Views Around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

The Force comes early to Star Tours

Even though Disney previously announced that the new Star Wars experiences would begin December 1, Monday morning brought an early surprise to Walt Disney World visitors. As the Season of the Force officially kicked off at Disneyland, the Star Tours attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios also debuted a new ride scene based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Everyone who rides Star Tours during the opening months will see the new scene, after which it will be part of the ride's randomized sequence.

The Star Wars Launch Bay, new "Star Wars: Path of the Jedi" featurette, and the revamped Jedi Training Academy show are still slated to debut December 1.

Disney announced Monday that more Season of the Force elements are arriving to Disney's Hollywood Studios on January 5, 2016. These include in-park appearances by First Order stormtroopers, the debut of the "Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular" fireworks show, and the addition of Star Wars-themed food and beverages. These new offerings may somewhat soften the blow of the cancellation of the Star Wars Weekends, and help keep guests engaged until the new Star Wars Land opens.


Star Tours: The Adventures Continue preview with Imagineer Kathy Rogers. MousePlanet video.

Captain EO to close

In another "Friday night at 5 p.m." announcement, Disney confirmed last week that Captain EO is ending its run in Epcot's Magic Eye Theater on December 6. The Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival debuts in its place, showing three animated shorts in 3-D format.


Captain EO is slated to close at Epcot in December. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney has not provided a list of the animated shorts or announced an opening date for the new film festival. There also was no reason given for the decision to replace an attraction created for the Disney theme parks with a "film festival" that anyone with a decent DVD collection or a Netflix account could stage in their own living room.

Colortopia opens in Epcot

A new Innoventions exhibit opened last week at Epcot. Colortopia, sponsored by Glidden, offers participants various ways to experiment with color using a variety of interactive tools. Possibly the most compelling is an area where visitors can use digital brushes to "paint" a display wall. Contributing photographer Alan Dalinka visited during the opening weekend, and shares these photos.


The new Colortopia attraction, sponsored by Glidden, opened on Friday at Epcot's Innoventions East. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Guests visiting the new Colortopia Innoventions attraction are encouraged to download the Colortopia app, which can be used in the attraction and in World Showcase. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new Colortopia Innoventions attraction includes three areas for guests to visit. Ty Burrell of the TV sitcom "Modern Family" narrates the "Power of Color," a three-minute light show, and introduces the Color our World experience. This photo shows the interactive area in between the other two rooms. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new Colortopia Innoventions attraction includes the Color Our World experience, which allows guests to virtually paint scenes on a wall with digital paint brushes. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


When guests dip their digital paintbrushes in color buckets at the new Colortopia Innoventions attraction, the brush tip changes color and can be used to paint (and bring to life) images on the walls of the Color Our World experience. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

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Views Around the World

Contributing photographer Alan Dalinka shares more images from around Walt Disney World, including the grand opening of the new pedestrian bridge connecting Disney Springs to the nearby hotels.

Magic Kingdom


Filming of the ABC-TV Disney Parks Christmas show last week at Magic Kingdom was responsible for a unique twilight viewing of the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The exterior refurbishment of the Country Bear Jamboree has wrapped up in Frontierland. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Springs


"Holidays at Disney Springs" began over this past weekend. The new Santa meet-and-greet is located adjacent to Village Lake in the Marketplace near the World of Disney Store. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The view of Village Lake from the photo spot (in the Marketplace area) for Santa is very nice. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Disney Springs West Side Starbucks is decorated for the holiday season. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


STK Steakhouse at Disney Springs in The Landing area is expected to open before the end of this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Kermit and Miss Piggy topiaries promoting the ABC-TV series "The Muppets" are located near the World of Disney Store in the Marketplace area of Disney Springs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Now open is the new pedestrian bridge next to Once Upon a Toy over Buena Vista Drive connecting Disney Springs with the area hotels on Hotel Plaza Boulevard. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new Disney Springs pedestrian bridge next to Once Upon a Toy is now open. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The map shows the location of the new pedestrian bridge from Disney Springs to the area hotels on Hotel Plaza Boulevard. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new Disney Springs pedestrian bridge provides a good view of the new parking structure being built on the former Marketplace surface parking lot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

...Disney is live streaming from the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights tonight, November 18, at 10:30 p.m. EST. Visit the Disney Parks Blog main page at broadcast time to view the live stream.

...Victoria & Alberts at the Grand Floridian Resort Hotel has claimed the AAA Five Diamond Award for the 16th consecutive year. Earlier this year, TripAdvisor named the restaurant one of the top restaurants in the United States in their 2015 Travelers’ Choice awards.

...In advance of its upcoming six-month exterior and interior renovation, Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs has filed a notice with the State of Florida for 468 employee layoffs to occur by January 19, 2016.


Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs closes in January for a 6-month refurbishment. 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, November 17, 2015 4 / 10
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 5 / 10
Thursday, November 19, 2015 4 / 10
Friday, November 20, 2015 4 / 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

  • 2015 Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – November 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
  • Holidays Around the World at Epcot – November 27 to December 30
  • DVC Merry Member Mixers – November 24; December 1, 8, 14, 22. DVC members and their guests can attend special holiday mixers in Epcot throughout the season. The free events include character meet-and-greets, live entertainment, crafts, and refreshments. They are hosted from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the World Showcase at Epcot (entrance is between the Canada and United Kingdom Pavilions). Members do not need tickets or advance reservations, and can bring up to 6 guests per membership card.
  • 2015 Candlelight Processional at Epcot – Performances are at 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. nightly, with the exception of December 6.

2016

  • Season of the Force – January 8 to March 20, 2016

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.

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.


Merchandise Events

Date Event
Nov. 18

Disney Springs Marketplace

  • Art of Disney – Book signing with Marty Sklar, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., Note: wristbands are required.

Epcot

Nov. 19

Disney Springs Marketplace

  • Marketplace Fun Finds – Artist Showcase: Precious Moments (representatives only)

Epcot

Nov. 20

Disney Springs Marketplace

Epcot

Nov. 21

Disney Springs Marketplace

Epcot

Nov. 22

Disney Springs Marketplace

Epcot

Nov. 26

Epcot

Nov. 27

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Epcot

Nov. 28

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Epcot

  • Art of Disney – Artist Showcase: Larry Dotson
  • Heritage Manor, American Adventure Pavilion –Artist Showcase: Disney Traditions artist Jim Shore, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Santa's Village –Artist Showcase: Precious Moments artist Linda Rick
Nov. 29

Disney Springs Marketplace

  • Art of Disney – Artist Showcase: Disney Traditions artist Jim Shore, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Epcot

Nov 30 -
Jan 4

Disney Springs Marketplace

  • Marketplace Fun Finds – Artist Showcase: Precious Moments (representatives only)
Dec. 4

Epcot

  • Santa's Village –Artist Showcase: Department 56 artist Scott Enter, 2–6 p.m.
Dec. 5

Epcot

  • Santa's Village –Artist Showcase: Department 56 artist Scott Enter, 2–6 p.m.
Dec 11

Epcot

Dec 12

Epcot

Dec 13

Epcot

Dec 21

Epcot

Dec 22

Epcot

Dec 23

Epcot


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.

2016

  • Soarin' will halt service as of January 4, 2016. The ride will reopen sometime in "summer of 2016" as Soarin' Around the World, with a new ride film

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Catalina Eddie's – closed October 11 to November 19 for refurbishment.
  • Rosie's All-American Cafe – closed October 11 to November 19 for refurbishment.
  • Walt Disney: One Man's Dream – closed October 16 to December 5 due to The Good Dinosaur sneak peek.
  • Jedi Training Academy – on hiatus until the Star Wars Launch Bay opens, expected to be in December. The new show is titled Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple.
  • 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. The space will be used for the Star Wars Launch Bay.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  •  

Blizzard Beach

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

Typhoon Lagoon

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

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.
  • Disney Springs Bridge 4 and restrooms on Pleasure Island – temporarily closed for ongoing construction work.
  • Disney Springs Lots A-G – closed through August 1, 2016.
  • Disney Springs Lots H, I, J, and K (in Westside area) – closed until further notice for 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

  • 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 to September 30, 2016 for refurbishment.
  • 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. Expect construction-related closures and noise due to construction of the as-yet-unannounced Disney Vacation Club cabins.

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

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

2014-2015 Military Salute – 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.


2016 Military Salute – 4-Day Military Promotional Ticket discount

From September 25, 2015 through December 16, 2016, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses can purchase:

  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $196 each, plus tax
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $196 each, plus tax
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $230 each, plus tax.

Walt Disney World Resort tickets may be used January 3, 2016, through December 19, 2016, except that the tickets may not be used March 20, 2016 April 1, 2016.
Active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. No more than six Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased by any eligible member of the U.S. military (or spouse) pursuant to this offer. All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by December 19, 2016.

2016 Military Salute – Hotel discount

Disney does not publish the actual discounted rates offered to service members under this program, and instead asks eligible U.S. military personnel to call 407-939-7830 to check pricing, availability and to make reservations. The website Military Disney Tips.com says the offer is 30-40%, based on room category.

The new offer is valid most nights from January 3 through December 19, 2016. Like the ticket offer, the hotel discounts are not valid March 20, 2016 through April 1, 2016.

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 LtPowers

    I notice this report refers to the lake between Saratoga Springs and Disney Springs as "Village Lake", as it's been known for decades. But recently Disney's guidemaps have started calling it Lake Buena Vista (which is properly the name of the smaller lake north of Hotel Plaza Blvd.). Anyone know what's going on?


    Powers &8^]

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