Walt Disney World Resort Update for March 8 - 14, 2016by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for March 8 – 14, 2016
The new Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular will open on Earth Day, Friday April 22, Disney has announced. The company also shared a new video about the show, which will be hosted in a new amphitheater along Discovery River in Disney's Animal Kingdom Park.
Reserved viewing for Rivers of Light will be offered through the Fastpass+ system, though Disney hasn't yet said when the booking window will open. We are also expecting additional information about Rivers of Light dining packages, which are expected to be offered at several Animal Kingdom locations including the new Tiffins Restaurant under construction near Avatar Land.
‘Rivers of Light’ - Behind the Scenes | Disney’s Animal Kingdom . YouTube video © Disney.
Early registration was supposed to open Tuesday, March 8 for the 2016 Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend events, but runDisney abruptly announced Monday that registration has been rescheduled. According to the runDisney website, general registration will now open on Tuesday, March 29 at Noon (Eastern).
Early registration for annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members will open on Tuesday, March 22 at Noon (EST). The passholder websites for Walt Disney World and Disneyland have both been updated with the new date, but the Disney Vacation Club website has no mention of this race at all. (As we've repeatedly recommended, if you are an annual passholder and a DVC member, it's always best to use the links from the annual passholder site to register for runDisney events. The DVC site is not updated as frequently, and the links are often posted after the events are already sold out.)
runDisney has not provided an explanation for this delay, saying only that they are "putting finishing touches" on the event, but an image being shared on social media provides a likely explanation. A runner found a listing on the Active.com website (the site runDisney uses for race registration) that included a 10K distance for the Wine and Dine event. This is the last of the runDisney events to add a 10K, so it's no surprise that Disney would add the popular distance to this event as well. What is not known is if this 10K will also be a nighttime race—the Wine and Dine is the only after-dark half marathon on the runDisney calendar—and whether Disney will add a Challenge division for those who want to run both races the same weekend.
While running events are always subject to weather challenges, the Wine & Dine Half Marathon seems to be the most notorious of the runDisney events. In 2014, the race was nicknamed the "Splash and Dash" race due to poor weather conditions. Thunderstorms and lightning in the area prompted runDisney to drastically shorten the course of the 2015 race following a delayed start, leaving runners to complete a "half, half marathon."
We expect runDisney to come out will all of the details—and pricing—for the 2016 event by March 15, though there's still not much that can be done about the weather. The race is currently scheduled for the evening of Saturday, November 7, with the Jingle Jungle 5K and runDisney Kids Races scheduled for that morning.
The delay has also forced runDisney to move the registration dates for the 2016 Avengers Half Marathon weekend at the Disneyland Resort. General registration for that event will now open on April 12, with early registration on April 5.
Contributing photographer Alan Dalinka shares some photos from around Walt Disney World, including images from the 2016 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot. You can see even more photos from the event tomorrow in a photo tour by Don and Bonnie Fink. Alan also took to the skies above Disney Springs to bring us a unique look at the construction in the area.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Storm Troopers of the First Order currently appear in the Animation Courtyard and will participate in a new mini-parade scheduled to begin in April at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular, the current Star Wars themed fireworks display at Disney's Hollywood Studios, will be replaced by a new Star Wars themed fireworks display in April. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Obvious progress on the exterior renovation of Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs includes the removal of the words "Planet Hollywood" from the sign, the enclosing of the former second-floor entrance area along with its entrance ramp, and the creation of a ground-floor entrance opening in the building. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
In this photo from the Characters In Flight Balloon, you can see the construction site for The Edison (former home of The Adventurers Club) and the STK Steakhouse Orlando in The Landing area, and the Town Center construction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
In this photo from the Characters In Flight Balloon, you can see the back of the new Disney Springs water tower that faces Buena Vista Drive and the construction of the Town Center area and the newest parking structure. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
In this photo from the Characters In Flight Balloon, you can see beyond the on-property Buena Vista Palace Resort, to the Grand Cypress Resort all the way to the Orlando Eye and International Drive. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Come join MouseAdventure for their first Spring game in Walt Disney World—MouseAdventure Silly Symphonies. This adventure will kick off at Sea Breeze Point, the gazebo on the edge of Crescent Lake near the Boardwalk resort. From here you will explore the nearby resorts and then continue into Epcot Park. We will wrap the day with an informal meet up back at the gazebo. Details will be announced on game morning.
So, get the band together and get ready for MouseAdventure Silly Symphonies! Registration for this event will open at 9am Pacific Time on Tuesday, March 15 online at www.mouseadventure.com.
May 14, 2016 • Epcot Resorts and Epcot Park
MouseAdventure Silly Symphonies will put you through a series of quests and challenges to be solved throughout the Epcot Resorts and Epcot Park.
Registration for the Basic Division is $150 per team. Each player will need admission to Epcot Park on Saturday, May 14. MouseAdventure registration does not include theme park admission.
More information about MouseAdventure can be found at www.mouseadventure.com.
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...A casting notice was posted for performers to portray the Coca-Cola Polar Bear at the new store under construction in Disney Springs. Auditions are being held this week. The job listing says the position begins in early March, so the store may be closer to opening than expected.
The recently confirmed Coca-Cola Store's brick exterior is being covered in floor to ceiling glass area that appears to be creating an enclosed set of ramps to the upper level. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
...The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will move out of its current home inside the World of Disney Store, and into a new stand-alone location in Disney Springs. A newly-constructed store next to the World of Disney is the likely location.
...Walt Disney World annual passholders can collect three different "Fresh Artwork" prints during the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival. The 8" x 10" prints were drawn by Disney artist Don "Ducky" Williams, and change each month. The characters are:
- March – Donald Duck
- April – Goofy
- May – Mickey Mouse
The redemption center is located behind Club Cool, inside Innoventions West. There is a limit of one print per passholder, per month.
...Nick Wilde and Officer Judy Hopps from the Disney animated feature Zootopia will join the "Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party" at the Magic Kingdom sometime this spring. The duo are scheduled to appear in a meet-and-greet at the Disneyland Resort, but for now this is their only East coast appearance.
...Walt Disney World has lifted the Spring Break blockout window previously in effect for the Florida Resident Disney Select ticket. This ticket is available only to Florida residents, and allows three ($202) or four ($223) days of admission (one park per day) within a 180-day window. The tickets are valid through December 17, 2016 (or 6 months after first use, whichever comes first), and have a number of blockout dates. The tickets were originally sold with blockout dates of March 19 through April 1, but Disney has since lifted that restriction. If you are a Florida resident, visit the Disney World website for details and to view the blockout dates for the rest of the year.
...Good news for collectors looking to get the whole set of 6 eggs offered as prizes in the 2016 Egg-stravaganza. Disney now allows egg hunters to choose which of the six different two-inch-tall eggs they would like as their gift—Mickey, Minnie, Stitch, Cheshire Cat, Woody, or Jessie. You can collect all 6, while supplies last.
…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.
"Do more. Wait less."
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.
- MouseAdventure (unofficial event) – Saturday, May 14. A puzzle hunt at the Walt Disney World Resort. 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 –September 14 through November 14, 2016.
- 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.
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.
- Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend – April 14 – 17, 2016. All races are sold out. The deadline to submit proof of time for these events has passed.
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 3 – 4, 2016. Pre-sale begins March 8, 2016. General registration opens March 15, 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.
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
- 2016 Atlanta Braves Spring Training – March 4 – April 4. See website for game schedule. Tickets, including season tickets, mini plans and single-game tickets are now on sale
- International All Star Championship – March 12 – 13.
- ICU Cheerleading and Dance Worlds Championship – April 21 – 22.
- USASF Cheerleading and Dance Worlds Championship – April 23 – 25. This event draws over 12,000 participants.
- Varsity All Star’s Cheerleading Championship – April 29 – May 1.
- Special Olympics Florida Summer Games – May 20 – 21.
- AAU National Club Championship – June 30 – July 3.
- Special Olympics Florida Fall Classic – November 11 – 12.
- 2016 Pop Warner Super Bowl – dates to be announced, but likely either December 3 – 10, or 10 – 17, 2016.
Egg-stravaganza returns for the fourth time March 2 through 27. A dozen oversized eggs decorated with images of Disney characters will be placed around the World Showcase lagoon. Egg hunters first purchase a special map and stickers to help locate these eggs, and then place the stickers in the corresponding spots on the map.
The maps are $5.95 plus tax (a $1 increase from 2015), and no discounts apply. Maps are sold at the following locations:
Once complete, participants return the map to a redemption location to claim their prize—one of six different two-inch-tall "eggs" featuring all-new character designs for the 2016 promotion. The redemption centers is located at the Point of Entry store in Epcot.
If you are only in it for the eggs, you don't need to complete the egg hunt to claim your prize—just buy your map at the redemption center and receive your egg. The eggs are awarded randomly, but you may be able to trade with other collectors to complete a set if that is your goal.
- 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.
- Soarin' – closed as of January 4, 2016. Reopens sometime in "summer of 2016" as Soarin' Around the World, with a new ride film.
- Circle of Life – closed February 7 through April 2 for refurbishment.
- 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 – closing for one day, Tuesday March 15, to connect the new ride track.
- 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
- Flights of Wonder – show dark January 25 – March 17
- The Boneyard play area – closed February 22 – March 17 for refurbishment.
- None scheduled
- Entire park closed January 3 – March 13, 2016 for refurbishment.
- Fulton's Crab House – closes April, 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.
- 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.
- 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
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:
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
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:
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.
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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