Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 2 - 8, 2016

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 2 – 8, 2016

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


News and Views

2016 Flower and Garden Festival announces new food options | Carolina and Colorado residents get discount at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel | D23 Events on sale this weekViews From Around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

2016 Flower and Garden Festival announces new food options

To this writer, Epcot's annual Flower & Garden Festival seems each year to be less about the gardens and more about the grub. At some point I do have to wonder if they'll drop the Flower & Garden overlay altogether, and just refer to this as the Spring Food & Wine event.

Last week Disney announced two new "Outdoor Kitchens" for the 90-day Festival, bringing the total to 13 for 2016. The new additions include the Caribbean-themed La Isla Fresca, and a new booth from the United Kingdom, The Cider House.

The 2016 Flower and Garden Festival runs March 2 - May 30 at Epcot.

Carolina and Colorado residents get discount at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

Repeating a football-themed offer from past years, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is offering residents of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Colorado a free night at the Resort when they book two nights at regular price. The package must be booked by February 29, and travel completed by January 31, 2017. The offer is not valid Dec. 22 – 31, 2016.

Residents from the state of whichever team wins next weekend's championship game will receive a free room upgrade during their stay.

Call 1-800-227-1500 to book your reservation, and be sure to ask for this offer. Proof of residency is required at check in.

D23 Events on sale this week

Two D23 events for Gold Members in the Walt Disney World area go on sale this week. Tickets for Lunch with a Disney Legend: Charlie Ridgway go on sale today (February 2) at 1 p.m. EST. Gold Members may reserve a ticket for themself and one guest for the March 18 event. Each ticket is $125 per person to lunch in the American Adventure Parlor at Epcot and learn about Charlie Ridgway's career with the Walt Disney Company. Charlie started at Disneyland in 1963, and has planned over 150 press events over his career. A small number of tickets will be sold for $150 to sit at the Disney Legends table with Charlie Ridgway during the lunch. The ticket purchase link will be available on the D23 page after 1 p.m. today.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for the March 19 event at Disney Springs, D23's Very Important Date: 65 Years of Alice in Wonderland. D23's Steven Vagnini hosts the event that will look at the making of the 1951 film, along with other ways that the classic has been integrated into other Disney productions, including the history behind the Disneyland attraction. A screening of the 1951 film follows the presentation. Tickets are $25 per Gold Member, on sale after 1 p.m. EST on February 3.

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Views From Around the World

Contributing photographer Alan Dalinka visited Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot to get a look at the construction in both parks this week.

Hollywood Studios


The Fantasia-inspired Sorcerer Mickey Mouse topiary display is once again the main landscaping feature outside the gates of Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Notwithstanding the toy gun ban imposed at all Disney Parks, this machine gun nest still overlooks the queue to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Disney has not removed guns used as props at attractions throughout the Parks, but has stopped selling all gun replicas, even bubble guns. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The radio booth next to the ABC Sound Studio theater (currently home to the Star Wars: Path of the Jedi movie) and the pathway next to it are now behind construction walls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Around the other side of the ABC Sound Studio, the portion of the building that formerly hosted American Idol Experience auditions is also surrounded by construction screens. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Pizza Planet and the attached restrooms are now closed for a lengthy rehab (and possible re-theming). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Signs on the construction walls around Pizza Planet invite customers to visit Mama Melrose Ristorante and the It's A Wonderful (Christmas) Shop, both of which remain open during the construction. Panoramic Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Phineas and Ferb and Cars meet and greet locations are now closed behind construction walls as this area will be part of the Star Wars and Toy Story Lands at Disney's Hollywood Studios in the coming years. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction walls now run from the San Francisco Street facade all the way down to Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano (which remains open). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


This sign, which has been hanging at the end of San Francisco Street year-round for quite some years, is one of the last elements of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights that is still standing after the final season of the lights has ended. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Disney's Hollywood Studios has announced that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and the Earffel Tower will be removed to make way for the parks expansion. The last showing of Lights, Motors, Action! is currently scheduled for April 2, 2016. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


With the announced closing of Lights, Motors, Action! a couple of months away, you still may spot details you have not noticed before. I noticed a Mickey Mouse toy in the window of one of the shops. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka (arrow and highlight added).


The Sorcerer Mickey meet and greet is now located on the soundstage between Toy Story Mania and Walt Disney: One Man's Dream. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Walt Disney: One Man's Dream is now hosting an extended preview of the upcoming animated feature "Zootopia" in the Walt Disney Theater. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka


An extended preview of the upcoming animated feature "Zootopia" is now shown in the Walt Disney Theater at the end of the One Man's Dream exhibit. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party is set up near the Center Stage in front of the Chinese Theater (scheduled through March 19), and provides prime viewing spots for the Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


More vertical structures can be seen beyond the walls of the Frozen expansion of the Norway pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From across the World Showcase Lagoon, more details of the Frozen expansion of the Norway pavilion come into view. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Large crowds will descend upon the Norway pavilion as its Frozen attractions debut sometime later this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

...Landry's, Inc., which operates several restaurants at Walt Disney World, last week updated the extent of a data breach we mentioned in a previous article. The chain says that Yak and Yeti's restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom park was vulnerable from May 8 to December 3, 2015. The data breach involves only credit card transactions—checks paid via MagicBand or cash were not at risk.

The data breach also included the Landry's Seafood restaurant in Orlando, located across the street from the Vistana Resort (5/8/2015 to 11/19/2015), and the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant at Universal Studios, Florida. (5/6/2015 to 12/3/2015).

None of the Rainforest Cafe locations were involved in the data breach. Landry's is asking that any customer who used a credit card at an affected location during that timeframe pay extra attention to their statements to look for unathorized activity. Residents of certain states, including California, Massachusetts and West Virginia, have additional protections available to them. Visit the Landry's incident website for information.

...The National High School Cheerleading Championship is this weekend, February 6 – 7. This is one of the largest cheer events to take place each year at Walt Disney World, so there should be some noticable impact on attendance, especially around Disney's Hollywood Studios park.

…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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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, February 2, 2016 4 / 10
Wednesday, February 3, 2016 4 / 10
Thursday, February 4, 2016 3 / 10
Friday, February 5, 2016 7 / 10
Saturday, February 6, 2016 9 / 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

Check here to see if a park event might fall during your next trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. If you know of any in-park events, official or unofficial, that should be listed here, please send us an e-mail (link).

2016 Resort events

  • Star Wars Experiences – December 1, 2015 – March 20, 2016 (tentative end date)
  • 2016 Flower & Garden Festival – March 2 – May 30, 2016
  • Dapper Day at the Magic Kingdom (unofficial event) – Saturday, April 16, 2016. More information at the event website.
  • Gay Days at Walt Disney World (annual unofficial event) – June 2–5. More information on the event website. To whatever degree there are "organized" events, the schedule calls for attendees to visit the parks on these days:
    • Thursday, June 2 - Animal Kingdom
    • Friday, June 3 - Disney's Hollywood Studios
    • Saturday, June 4 - Magic Kingdom (the busiest day of the event)
    • Sunday, June 5 - Epcot
  • Night of Joy – dates to be announced
  • 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – dates to be announced.
  • Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – dates to be announced.
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party – dates to be announced.
  • "Jersey Week" – November 6 – 13. Expect larger crowds this week as New Jersey students and families take advantage of a Fall Break created by their school's participation in the New Jersey Teachers Convention.
  • Dapper Day at Epcot (unofficial event) – Saturday, November 12, 2016. More information at the event website.
  • Holidays at Walt Disney World – dates to be announced.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – dates to be announced.
  • Holidays Around the World at Epcot – dates to be announced.
  • Candlelight Processional at Epcot – dates to be announced.

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.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Events

Check here to see if a sporting competition might fall during your next trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. We don't list all events here, but focus on the larger sport and cheer events that might result in extra visitors to the theme parks, and make it harder to secure a hotel room. The All-Star and moderate resort hotels are often the home base for these larger events, so it's worth avoiding those properties if possible.

2016 ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex events


Merchandise Events

Date Event
Jan. 27

Disney Springs

Jan. 28

Disney Springs

Jan. 29

Disney Springs

Jan. 30

Disney Springs

Jan. 31

Disney Springs

Feb. 10

Epcot

Feb. 11

Epcot

Feb. 12

Epcot

Feb. 13

Epcot

Feb. 14

Epcot

Feb. 24

Disney Springs

Feb. 25

Disney Springs

Feb. 26

Disney Springs

Feb. 27

Disney Springs

Feb. 28

Disney Springs

Mar. 2

Epcot

Mar. 3

Epcot

Mar. 4

Epcot

Mar. 5

Epcot

Mar. 6

Epcot

Mar. 17

Epcot

Mar. 18

Epcot

Mar. 19

Epcot

Mar. 20

Epcot

Mar. 23

Disney Springs

Mar. 24

Disney Springs

Mar. 25

Disney Springs

Mar. 26

Disney Springs

Mar. 27

Disney Springs


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom


Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in Tomorrowland is closed for refurbishment, scheduled through February 11, 2016. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

2016

  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin – closed January 15 – February 11 for refurbishment.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed January 25 – February 3 for refurbishment.
  • Mad Tea Party – closed February 22 – 26 for refurbishment.
  • Jungle Cruise – closed March 1 – 3 for refurbishment.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed April 4 – July 15 for refurbishment.
  • Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse – closed July 7 – September 24 for refurbishment.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed August 15 – 21 for refurbishment.
  • "it's a small world" – closed August 22 – September 15 for refurbishment.

Epcot

2016

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

Disney's Hollywood Studios

2016

  • 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 – closed January 11 for refurbishment. Reopening date TBD.
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show – closes on April 3, 2016 to make way for the Star Wars Land expansion.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closes on April 3, 2016 to make way for the Star Wars Land expansion.
  • Studio Catering Co. – closes on April 3, 2016 to make way for the Star Wars Land expansion.
  • Meet & Greet: Mike and Sulley at Streets of America – closes on April 3, 2016 to make way for the Star Wars Land expansion.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Kali River Rapids – closed through February 11 for refurbishment.
  • Flights of Wonder – show dark January 25 – March 17
  • The Boneyard play area – closed February 22 – March 17 for refurbishment.

Blizzard Beach

  • None scheduled

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.

Resorts

  • Art of Animation – Schoolyard Sprayground closed through March 11 for refurbishment.
  • Bay Lake Tower – Bay Cove Pool closed February 1 – March 18 for refurbishment.
  • Boardwalk Inn
    • Exterior painting and repair during daylight hours, through May 5, 2016
    • Flying Fish Cafe closed February 1 - September 30, 2016 for refurbishment.
    • Seashore Sweets – closes February 1 as part of the Flying Fish refurbishment.
  • 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.

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

Spring 2016 Family Time package

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.

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)

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

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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