Walt Disney World Resort Update for March 22 - 28, 2016

by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for March 22 – 28, 2016

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


News and Views

Disney After Hours | Early registration opens for the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend events | Night of Joy lineup and pricing announced | You've just entered... the Rumor Zone | Views around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Disney After Hours

Updated:

Would you pay $150 to be among a few thousand people to enjoy three hours inside the Magic Kingdom after it closes to the general public? If the rumors are true, a new premium event called "Disney After Hours" may offer you the chance to do just that on select nights on April and May.

The source of this rumor is an e-mail reportedly sent to some cast members on Monday, though Disney has yet to make an official announcement. The exclusive event is scheduled to take place on seven Thursday nights this spring:

  • April: 14, 21, 28
  • May: 5, 8, 12, 19

Reservations are now open. expected to open on April 6. The cost is $149 per person (ages 3 and older), plus tax. The event includes select attractions and character experiences, along with ice cream novelties and bottled soft drinks from vending carts around the park. 

At first glance, it's hard to see how this offering would appeal to all but a handful of park visitors, especially if they are also eligible for Extra Magic Hours.

Extra Magic Hours offers Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests a 1- or 2-hour bonus before or after park hours at selected parks and dates. On Wednesday, April 13, the Magic Kingdom closes to the public at 11:00 p.m., with Extra Magic Hours offered until 1:00 a.m.

On Thursday, April 14, the supposed first date of this event, the Magic Kingdom again closes at 11:00 p.m., so this Disney After Hours event would likely run until 2:00 a.m.. That timing alone is enough to rule out most families with children.

Of course, Disney could make this experience much more compelling by changing the timing—closing the Magic Kingdom to the general public earlier in the day, creating an "After Hours" event that doesn't run until last call. It's not hard to believe that Disney might tweak the Magic Kingdom's schedule to close much earlier one night each week, especially if Animal Kingdom further extends its evening hours following the debut of the new Rivers of Light show and nighttime safaris.

Update: now that Disney has announced the event to the public, it turns out that the event does include more than 3 hours of admission to the park. Guests who purchase the ticket have access to the Magic Kingdom starting at 7:00 p.m., 3 or 4 hours (depending on date) earlier than the park's posted closing time. The "after hours" portion runs until 3 hours after the theme park closes to the public, so 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. depending on date.

To crunch the numbers, we have to first look at the normal price of admission on one of these event dates. All of these events fall on a "regular" season date, when the price of a one-day ticket is $110.

Again referring to April 14, the park is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., or 14 hours. That works out to $7.86 an hour to share the park with however many tens of thousands of people also visit that day.

The Disney After Hours ticket is valid from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., or 7 hours. It works out to $21.29 per hour, and half of the time you'll have the park almost entirely to yourself. Disney won't officially confirm the number of tickets to be sold each night, but CMs tell us it's about the capacity of Mickey's PhilharMagic (just under 500).

If this number is accurate, you better convince your friends to join you for the event, else you may not see another non-employee the entire night. With just 500 people in the park, you could probably ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as many times in a row as you wanted without ever getting off. With just 500 people in the park, you could have all the face time with Cinderella and Rapunzel that any princess fan could ever ask for. That few people could probably all ride Pirates of the Caribbean at the same time.

So yes, you're spending three times as much per hour to be inside the park, but the longest wait you'd have for any attraction is the time it takes you to walk to it. For the time-is-money crowd, this could be a very attractive prospect indeed. I could see this as being popular with convention-goers, a way to unwind after a long day of seminars and meetings.

Reservations are available by calling (407) 827-7185. [Ask the automated system for "tickets," because this offering is not yet recognized the by voice response system]

We'll post an update once Disney makes an official announcement.

Early registration opens for the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend events

Early registration opens at Noon (EDT) today, March 22 for the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. This early opportunity is for Walt Disney World annual passholders, Disneyland Resort annual passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members. Disney Visa card members no longer receive early registration for runDisney events. General registration opens next Tuesday, March 29.

As we reported last week, runDisney dished up a major change to the event schedule, adding a 10K event on Saturday, and moving the half marathon event to Sunday morning. The abrupt departure from the traditional evening race format has many questioning whether they are going to register for this event, so the pre-registration may not sell out as quickly as usual. Still, we like to share the tips runDisney published last summer to help runners prepare to register as quickly as possible:

  1. Create an active.com profile prior to registration opening.
  2. Be ready to register at noon ET (9 a.m. Pacific time). Follow rundisney.com and the runDisney social media channels for the registration link.
  3. Once you're in the queue, you have 15 minutes to complete the registration process. After 15 minutes, your spot is no longer guaranteed.
  4. If you receive an "on hold" message this means the queue is currently full. Continue to check back.
  5. Have everyone in your party register only themselves for a faster registration process.

To the runDisney list, we add our own two tips:

  1. Log onto your affiliated website before registration opens, so you can access the registration link as soon as it is posted.
  2. If you are both an annual passholder and a Disney Vacation Club member, it's better to use the links on the passholder website. The DVC website often posts the links well after registration opens, and in some cases not before the early registration allocation has sold out.

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.

Event Pricing

Lumiere's Two Course Challenge
Saturday, November 5
Sunday, November 6

Price: $330

Registration includes both Saturday's Wine & Dine 10K (6.2 miles) and Sunday's Wine & Dine Half Marathon (13.1 miles), with a bonus (third) Two Course Challenge medal (and participant shirts for the two races and the challenge). Includes $15 Disney Gift Card

Wine & Dine Half Marathon
Sunday, November 6

Price: $190

Registration for Sunday's 13.1-mile half-marathon event only. Includes $15 Disney Gift Card

Wine & Dine 10K
Saturday, November 5

Price: $120

Registration for Saturday's 6.2-mile 10K event only.

Warning: You cannot get the bonus Two Course Challenge medal if you register for the half-marathon and 10K events separately.

Mickey's Holiday 5K
Friday, November 4

Price: $70

Registration for Friday's 3.1-mile event only.

runDisney Kids Races
Friday, November 4
Saturday, November 5

Price: $20

Registration for Kids Races (in various age categories).

runDisney 1-Mile Run
Friday, November 4
Saturday, November 5

Price: $30

Registration for 1-mile event only.

Post Race Party Tickets
Sunday, November 6
8:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m.

Price: $79

Admission to Sunday's post-race event at Epcot.

Night of Joy lineup and pricing announced

Disney has released the lineup for the 2016 Night of Joy event, and also provided details of the ticket packages. The lineup includes 15 groups, who will perform on two nights during the expanded event.

  • Friday, September 9 – MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Francesca Battistelli, Crowder, Matthew West, Stars Go Dim, Zealand Worship
  • Saturday, September 10 – newsboys, for King & Country, Young & Free, Switchfoot, Red, Thousand Foot Krutch, Tim Timmons

2016 marks the first year of a new format for the event, with the concerts moved out of the Magic Kingdom and over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. With this change comes a new ticket structure and pricing:

  • Friday only – a concert-only ticket is available for $39 if purchased in advance, or $45 at the door (if available).
  • Saturday only – a theme park plus concert package, which includes a one-day, one-park ticket to your choice of theme parks and admission to Saturday's concerts. This ticket is $99 in advance, or $114 for same-day purchases (if available).
  • Friday & Saturday – Visitors who want to attend both nights' concerts can purchase a 2-day ticket for $119, which includes the one-day, one-park theme park ticket good on Saturday.

There is no concert-only option for Saturday's event—attendees must purchase the package that includes park admission. That park ticket is only valid on Saturday, and cannot be used another day.

Attendees who purchase the 2-day ticket before August 9 also receive one free admission to one of the Walt Disney World water parks, valid September 6–12.

Tickets will go on sale in mid-April, and group discounts will be available.

You've just entered... the Rumor Zone

As a matter of practice we don't tend to discuss rumors posted by other sites, but this particular story has gone viral in the Disney community over the past 72 hours and I'm including it here for reasons I'll get to in a moment.

On Saturday, WDWMagic.com member WDW1974 posted the bold claim that Disney is currently planning a Guardians of the Galaxy overlay for the Tower of Terror attractions at both Disney California Adventure and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida.

According to his theory, filled in over a few posts, the Florida version may be just a temporary overlay, like the holiday overlays of Haunted Mansion and "it's a small world" at Disneyland. The complicated agreement regarding the use of Marvel characters in the various Disney and Universal parks in Orlando is too convoluted to get into in this article, but the gist is that Disney can't build a Captain America ride in Florida, or even allow a Monorail bearing the images of Marvel characters to transit the Epcot loop. As such, and without a large Marvel presence in the pipeline, such an overlay would likely only be used for promotional purposes to generate excitement about Hollywood Studios during a time when so very much of the park is closed due to construction of Star Wars Land.

However, WDW1974 claims the plan for California is to permanently convert the attraction to a Guardians of the Galaxy theme, and use the newly reimagined ride as the gateway to an icon of a whole collection (they stop short of calling it a land) of Marvel-themed attractions to be built in the last remaining bit of Disneyland's former parking lot. They claim the rides will include a Captain America-themed roller coaster, said to be on hold due to Shanghai-related budget cuts.

Their theory is that the attraction's building would be re-skinned and restaged as the mansion/museum of The Collector, a character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (portrayed by Benicio del Toro in Guardians of the Galaxy). They had no theory about if/how the elevators would be explained in such a scenario.

The rumored timeline for this project, at least in California? Summer 2017. This would fit in nicely with the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the sequel set to open May 5, 2017.

As this rumor spread around the Disney community this weekend, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative, in a way I haven't seen since Light Magic took to the streets of Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland nearly two decades ago. It's the reaction I would expect were Disneyland to announce a Wreck-it Ralph overlay for the Matterhorn Bobsleds: it just doesn't make sense.

In fact, were the rumor posted by any but a handful of people in the Disney fan community it might have been rejected out of hand, because it just seems—well, ridiculous. But WDW1974 has a reputation for being right a great deal of the time, and appears to have well-placed sources who are willing to talk shop before Disney probably wants them to.

I've had an additional day to hash this out with friends since I first wrote about the rumor, and it's clear this can't be just an overlay, a la the Haunted Mansion Holiday; you won't be riding a Guardians of the Twilight Zone attraction. This would have to be an entirely new attraction using the same ride system, just like the conversion of Maelstrom to a Frozen-themed attraction at Epcot. Something would have to be done to convert the distinctive 1930's hotel facade into something more in keeping with the Marvel universe.

Is this really happening? I can't say for sure, but I'm depressingly certain there's more to this story than just blue sky. DCA's version of the Tower of Terror doesn't hold a candle to the Walt Disney World original, and I would not be too upset if Disney were to just tear it out and build a new Guardians of the Galaxy ride to anchor a new Marvel Land. Forcing an ill-fitting overlay onto the California ride is one story; touching the Florida version, on the other hand, would be a travesty.

Views around the World

Contributing photographer Alan Dalinka shares some photos from around Walt Disney World.

Animal Kingdom


Construction walls have finally been removed from Disney Outfitters, making the entry to Disney's Animal Kingdom's Discovery Island completely open for the first time in quite a while. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Tiffins signature restaurant continues to take shape behind Pizzafari just beyond the construction wall displaying art for Pandora: The World of AVATAR. Tiffins is expected to open later this year while Pandora is due sometime in 2017. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Several of the African painted dogs rest in the shade within their habitat on the savannah at Kilimanjaro Safari. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Tarps still surround much of the red clay pits near the elephant habitat as the area is readied for nighttime operation of Kilimanjaro Safari. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


It appears that the poachers have returned to the Kilimanjaro Safari. The safari truck driver did not mention poachers during the ride through the attraction when this photo was taken. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction around the Tree of Life trail can be seen along the Discovery River. Disney announced that the Tree of Life will feature new lighting effects sometime this spring when Disney's Animal Kingdom extends its operation into the night. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Refurbishments continue at the Caravan Stage, home of Flights of Wonder, at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Decorative lanterns and string lighting have been installed over some of the seating areas for the upcoming Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Renovations continue in the upper seating area for Flame Tree Barbecue; the seating area nearest the Discovery River remains open. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Finished details are emerging in and around the seating areas for the upcoming Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular around the Discovery River. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The theming of the seating areas for Rivers of Light blends in with Expedition Everest. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Disney Outfitters has emerged from behind construction walls. Inside, like many other large merchandise locations around Walt Disney World, a central set of cashiers is now located along one wall of the store. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A photographic visit to Disney's Animal Kingdom cannot be considered complete without a photo of the current state of the construction of the floating mountains of Pandora. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


National Park Foundation signage recently was added to the Ranger Mickey topiary display at Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Some of Epcot's permanent trees are in full bloom just in time to accent the topiaries installed for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Epcot Character Spot devoted to Baymax now has permanent signage hanging in the Innoventions West Breezeway across from the Character Spot for Mickey & Friends. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom


While the Flower & Garden Festival welcomes spring over at Epcot, the Mickey Mouse floral display at Magic Kingdom's entrance is vibrant with colorful flowers too. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Springs


Disney Springs Town Center bus shelters are starting to get their roofs and the landscaping is being installed as the area and the new parking structure near completion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The view from Village Lake at Disney Springs includes the construction sites of The Edison (former home to The Adventurers Club) and the backside of Planet Hollywood Observatory (which has had all of its Planet Hollywood signage removed as part of its transformation). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


All of the exterior Planet Hollywood signage has been removed as the building exterior is being rethemed to Planet Hollywood Observatory to fit in within the overall theme of Disney Springs. The restaurant is currently closed for interior renovation as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


An artist's rendition of the expected look of the newly announced Coca-Cola Store at Disney Springs now appears on the construction wall near its construction site. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new Coca-Cola Store at Disney Springs continues to be surrounded by an exterior wall of glass. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


STK Orlando, located in The Landing area of Disney Springs, received an exterior sign. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Town Center at Disney Springs increasingly resembles the artist's rendition on the construction walls surrounding it. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new Disney TAG shop inside the Marketplace Co-op at Disney Springs sells luggage and other travel accessories. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The TAG shop is themed as a stylized airport of the 1960s. The Departures/Arrivals board contains numerous nods to significant places significant in numerous Disney animated feature films. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new Disney TAG shop display "windows" feature mannequins dressed in a style reminiscent of flight attendant uniforms of the 1960s. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

We're Hiring!

Do you love Disney and have a flair for writing? We're currently looking for columnists to cover new areas of the Disney universe for MousePlanet.com.

If you are interesting in adding your voice to MousePlanet, please contact us—we'd love to hear from you!

This and That

...WESH.com reports that a small fire broke out during a performance of The Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom park on Monday afternoon. No injuries were reported, and the fire was quickly extinguished. It is unclear if the show will reopen on Tuesday. Based on a brief video posted by the Orlando Sentinel, it appears the Elephant float may have been the location of the fire.


Magic Kingdom is testing a "Preferred Parking" option this Spring; cost is $35 for some of the spots closest to the TTC which are not already reserved for guests with disabilities. Annual Passholders with parking privileges can choose to pay a $15 up-charge for access to these spaces. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka

.

...Magic Kingdom and Epcot parking lots have been testing a new Preferred Parking option, which offers parking in rows near the spaces designated for persons with disabilities. This preferred parking is $35, $15 more than the normal daily parking rate. Annual passholders who have parking benefit on their pass can "upgrade" to the preferred spaces by paying the $15 difference. One MousePlanet reader notes that drivers of electric cars automatically get free preferred parking, as the parking spaces with charging stations are located in the same area.


Like Magic Kingdom, Epcot is testing a "Preferred Parking" option this Spring. On the day of this photo, those spaces were the first few rows further from the Park's entrance than the area reserved for guests with disabilities. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Ironically, (and as anyone who has parked in the spaces reserved for persons with disabilities can tell you), these "preferred" parking spaces may not be as attractive as you expect. At Epcot, the preferred rows are not serviced by the parking lot tram, which means you get to walk to the main entrance. Likewise at the Magic Kingdom—really the Transportation and Ticketing Center—parking lot. Not only do you have a potentially longer walk to the TTC, but you still have to take the Monorail or ferry to the 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, March 22, 2016 10 / 10
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 10 / 10
Thursday, March 24, 2016 10 / 10
Friday, March 25, 2016 10 / 10
Saturday, March 26, 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 – ???
  • 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 Silly Symphonies (unofficial event) – Saturday, May 14. A puzzle hunt at Epcot and the Epcot Resorts. 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 – September 9 & 10
  • 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.

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
March 2–27

Egg-stravaganza 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:

  • Pin Central
  • Port of Entry (Showcase Plaza)
  • Heritage Manor (The American Adventure)
  • World Traveler (International Gateway)

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.

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

2016

  • 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.
  • 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

2016

  • 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

  • None scheduled

Blizzard Beach

  • None scheduled

Typhoon Lagoon

  • None scheduled

Disney Springs

  • 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.

Resorts

  • 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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Comments

  1. By jon81uk

    Thank you for the summery on the ToT rumours. I didn't want to read the entire WDWMagic thread just to get the whole story.
    I agree, at DCA it wouldn't be the best retheme, but could work as part of an overall Marvel area. But at WDW DHS they would be destroying the best ride in all of the Disney Parks.

    The $150 after hours party seems strange too, very expensive for what it is. Unless they add a lot of unique character meets I don't think it is worthwhile. Also if they do get rid of EMH for guests it would be another reason for me to look at staying off site.

  2. By mmorizio

    The only truly great attraction at the studios is ToT. It may be the best attraction at WDW. It is certainly the best themed attraction - the gardens and lobby are amazing. If they even touch an artificial cobweb, I would be most unhappy.

  3. By Jimbo996

    This is a WDW Thread, but let's talk Disneyland Resort!!! If Guardians of the Galaxy is the new overlay of Tower of Terror, this is the entry point of the new Marvel Land that will possibly completely takeover Hollywood Picture Backlot. Rumors is a Captain America roller coaster will be built in DCA after Shanghai Disneyland is opened, which is a financial debacle. The money spigot will be opened again for Anaheim and Orlando after the tightening of the noose from Shanghai. Could this mean the ugly Hollywood Backlot design will be updated with Marvel theming. No wonder nothing was done despite the Cars Land makeover and the recent Grizzly Peak Airfield makeover. Something more ambitious is in the works. As for Disney Hollywood Studios, I heard Sunset Blvd is on its way out too. Look for Marvel to takeover that section of the park. Disney might enter into discussion with Universal in the fall to discuss the use of characters in Orlando. There will be some compromises like Universal will get X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spiderman, while Disney gets use of the Marvel name in the theme parks. Did you realize the ground hasn't been broken yet for Star Wars Land? The demolition that occurred is likely only for Toy Story Land and some hidden maintenance facility. Star Wars Land will be built on the Star Tours side. In the middle is the newly renamed Muppets Courtyard. When and where will they decide where Star Wars Land goes? No wonder people are predicting the DHS Star Wars Land will be finished in 2020-2021, two years later after the Disneyland version opens in 2018-19.

  4. By jms1969

    Quote Originally Posted by mmorizio View Post
    The only truly great attraction at the studios is ToT. It may be the best attraction at WDW. It is certainly the best themed attraction - the gardens and lobby are amazing. If they even touch an artificial cobweb, I would be most unhappy.

    Agree totally.

    The "Preferred Parking" is a non-issue, but it fits in with some of the hyper-aggressive moves Disney has made to expand revenue (presumably in reaction to Shanghai). This is all the more true for the after hours events, which impact park guests when MK has to be closed early to accommodate them. I have no doubt this will soon be followed by a "dessert party" for an extra charge during those nights!

    I'm not a park "purist", and I certainly realize Disney is a business that exists to make a profit. However, there's a breaking point that is quickly being approached, or possibly passed, where they'll lose business and have dissatisfied customers because of what they are doing. The logic of saying its fine to close MK early because AK is now open later totally ignores the fact that DHS, which was already stale in a lot of ways, is currently totally gutted for the expansions. It has become the 1/2 day park that AK used to be, and AK is still a partial day park that now has a nighttime show. From a strictly cold business standpoint the time to "turn the screws" on people isn't now when construction walls are up all over WDW - there will be plenty of time to do that soon enough when Pandora opens at AK and the DHS expansions open.

  5. By mkelm44

    From what I've seen the "Preferred Parking" at Epcot has hardly been used. There's no signage for it at the gate and passholders pretty much get waved through as soon as you hold your pass out the window with no chance to purchase it, so all they've really done is shift all the regular parkers back by 8 hours. Also as you said, the preferred parking isn't that superior although I imagine a lot of people might be enticed to park closer at the MK if they could park by the bus depot and skip the monorail/boat which can add 30 minutes either way depending on how busy of a day it is, especially if they have little kids and strollers.

    The other thing is at Epcot if you visit all the pavilions and countries, you are going to walk almost 6 miles in a single day- does saving those last 500 feet make that much of a difference?

  6. By bobaloo000

    Is the preferred parking in the old AAA Diamond parking area's?

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