Walt Disney World Resort Update December 29, 2014 - January 4, 2016

by Stephanie Wien, contributing writer

Update for December 29, 2015 - January 4, 2016

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

News and Views

Outburst at Disney Springs Causes Panic | The Edison Details Emerging | New Discounts Available for Spring 2016 | New Year's Eve Entertainment Schedules | Views From Around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Outburst at Disney Springs Causes Panic

A 70-year-old man became combative while at Bongo's Cuban Cafe on December 25, nearly causing a stampede outside at Disney Springs. As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Luis Antonio Ojeda-Reyes was upset about the long wait for his meal and asked to speak with a manager. When the managers arrived and apologized, Ojeda-Reyes pushed and attempted to punch one of them causing other restaurant employees to intervene. He was escorted out of the restaurant and subsequently arrested.

During the incident, patrons downstairs heard the outburst and noise from the scuffle upstairs and ran outside claiming they had heard gunshots. Panic began to spread through the crowd outside as the Bongo's patrons encountered others, including those in nearby Paradiso 37. The reaction was compounded by several sounds that appeared to be gunshots in the aftermath. Police worked to calm the crowds once they confirmed that a shooter was not present.

The Edison Details Emerging

More details of The Edison are emerging as permits are filed for its construction. The lounge will open at Disney Springs in 2016 in the lakeside space between Paradiso 37 and the pedestrian bridge to the area's west side section. The restaurant and bar will be themed to a 1920s power plant with an Industrial gothic vibe.

Plans filed with the South Florida Water Management District show the two levels of the structure. The ground level area includes areas labeled "The Patent Office," "The Radio Room," "Telegraph Lounge," and "The Tesla Lounge." The lower level plan shows a glimpse at the existing area that may be converted into the hinted speakeasy bar located in the area underneath The Landing walkway. The restaurant will also have an outdoor dining area overlooking the lake.

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New Discounts Available for Spring 2016

The Family Time package offers a 5-day/4-night Walt Disney World vacation package for a family of 4 for as low as $1,714. The package includes 5-day theme park tickets and a 4-night stay in standard rooms at Disney's All-Star Music Resort for as low as $1,714 for a family of 4. Book this offer through February 28, 2016 for stays most Sunday through Thursday nights February 22 through March 3, 2016 and April 3 through May 26, 2016.

Other great rates are also available for alternate lengths of stay and party sizes for stays most nights February 22 through June 11, 2016. Travel must be booked from December 28, 2015 – Feb. 28, 2016.

The Magic Your Way package offers up to 25 percent off on rooms for travel from April 14 to June 11 with a booking window from February 29 to March 31, 2016.

Find a full list of resorts and discounts on the Small World Vacations blog.

New Year's Eve Entertainment Schedules

If you're going to brave one of the four theme parks on New Year's Eve, make sure to get to your chosen park early and expect long wait times for attractions as well as food locations and even restrooms. At Epcot, temporary restroom trailers are set up along the walkway from World Showcase back toward the Imagination pavilion to accommodate the extra crowds.

New Year's Eve Park Hours

  • Magic Kingdom – 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., with Extra Magic Hours from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
  • Epcot – 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., with Extra Magic Hours from 12:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom – 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Fireworks & Nighttime Shows

Magic Kingdom

Celebrate the Magic

7:00 p.m.

Electrical Water Pageant 9:00 p.m.

Fantasy in The Sky Fireworks

11:50 p.m.


Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

6:00 p.m.

New Year's Countdown Fireworks

11:40 p.m.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


7:00 p.m.

Symphony in the Sky – New Year's Eve Fireworks 12:00 a.m.

Views From Around the World

Contributing photographer Alan Dalinka shares images from around Walt Disney World.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

A rare sight during the final season of the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights: a nearly empty Streets of America may be viewed in the hour or two after park opening (about six hours before sunset). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The final season of The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios continues to draw very large crowds. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Holidays Happen Here dance parties (including opportunities to dance with Characters) occur nightly at Disney's Hollywood Studios around the Central Stage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special continues multiple daily performances in the Premier Theater (behind the San Francisco Street facade) at Disney's Hollywood Studios through January 3, 2016. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special stage has a number of sight gags to enjoy while awaiting a show. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks shows are now presented nightly to a new Star Wars soundtrack at Disney's Hollywood Studios. (Note: a different fireworks show is scheduled to be presented New Year's Eve.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks fill the sky behind the Chinese Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Canadian Holiday Voyageurs entertain guests during the Holidays Around the World Celebrations at Epcot's Canada pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Disney Vacation Club Merry Member Mixer filled the World Showplace at its final 2015 event. The line stretched all the way from the World Showplace to the large Christmas tree on the World Showcase promenade. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

…Visitors to Disney's Hollywood Studios who were diverted to park elsewhere when the lot was full were given a voucher for free parking and dining at Epcot or Disney's Animal Kingdom. Veronica Figueroa shared an image of the flyer on twitter:

Large crowds visiting the final season of Osborne Lights have caused the lot to fill almost daily.

…Vanessa Williams (actress, Desperate Housewives and Ugly Betty) will perform at Disney's Yacht Club Resort's Countdown to Midnight: NYE2016 party. The event can be booked by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Tickets are $300 and include drinks, food, and entertainment that also includes an Adventurer's Club reunion. More details are available at the event website.

…A new food and beverage location has opened at Disney's Animal Kingdom near the entrance to Expedition Everest. Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks will help serve the crowds at the seating area for the Rivers of Light show, which is still under construction. The current snack menu is mainly comprised of ice cream treats, with some savory items including hummus.

…A Honduran man has been arrested for allegedly molesting an 11-year-old girl on board the Disney Magic. 31-year-old Juan Manuel Palma Ortega (reportedly a merchandise cast member on the ship) was detained when the ship returned to port in Miami, and is being held on three counts of molestation as well as an immigration hold pending deportation. Read the full story as reported by 7News on wsvn.com.

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Crowd Forecast


"Do more. Wait less."

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.

Crowd warning: Walt Disney World is going to be very busy this week. A good Touring Plans is recommended to help navigate large crowds.

Date Overall
Tuesday, December 29, 2015 10 / 10
Wednesday, December 30, 2015 10 / 10
Thursday, December 31, 2015 10 / 10
Friday, January 1, 2016 10 / 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!

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disney World wait times on your iPhone, Android or smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.

Join Our Networks


Resort Events


  • Star Wars Experiences – December 1, 2015 – March 20, 2016 (tentative end date)
  • 2016 Flower & Garden Festival – March 2 – May 30, 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.


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
Dec. 29

Disney Springs

Dec. 30

Disney Springs

Dec. 31

Disney Springs

Jan. 1

Disney Springs

Jan. 2

Disney Springs

Jan. 3

Disney Springs

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom




  • Soarin' &ndash closes January 4, 2016; reopens sometime in "summer of 2016" as Soarin' Around the World, with a new ride film.
  • 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 – permanently closed for construction of Frozen Ever After attraction. New ride expected to open May, 2016.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


  • 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. Part of the space has been converted to the Star Wars Launch Bay.
  • Pizza Planet restaurant – closes January 11 for refurbishment. Reopening date TBD.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • None currently scheduled

Blizzard Beach

  • Entire park closed through January 3, 2016 for refurbishment

Typhoon Lagoon

  • Entire park closed January 3 - March 13, 2016 for refurbishment.

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.
  • 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.


  • 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 Wilderness Lodge and Villas – Hidden Springs pool, resort beach, playground, and Recreation fire pit closed. 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.


  • 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 $169 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 $149, a $20 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)


  • 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

2016 Military Salute – 4-Day Military Promotional Ticket discount

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 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

None at this time.

Discounts for Canada Residents

None at this time.

Discounts for U.K. Residents

None at this time.

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