Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 28 - July 6, 2016by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 28 – July 6, 2016
Walt Disney World reopens resort beaches; watercraft following alligator attack | Frozen Ever After opens with long lines and downtimes | Food & Wine Festival appetizer | Opening day for Frontera Cocina | D23 announces two October events at WDW | Savor the Savanna with a new guided tour | Views Around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast
Two weeks after 2-year-old Lane Graves was killed by an alligator on a beach near Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel, Disney has reopened all of the beaches on property. Rope fences line the shores, and signs posted at close intervals warn of the danger of alligators and snakes.
Newly posted signs warn against the dangers posed by alligators and snakes along the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon. The older signs prohibiting swimming and feeding wildlife stand beyond the new rope fence. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney has also allowed the operator of the Resort's marinas to once again rent Sea Raycers on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
A Twitter user posted a photo of traps near the Splash Mountain ride inside the Magic Kingdom.
Gator trap in the bushes by Splash Mt pic.twitter.com/tMR5099J1Y— Foxxy (@MKPony) June 27, 2016
As more than one disgruntled fan noted during the opening day of the new Frozen Ever After attraction at Walt Disney World, in the five hours some fans waited in line for the new ride, they could have watched Frozen, Frozen Fever, and the as-yet-unreleased Frozen sequel and still had time to meet Anna and Elsa next door in the Royal Sommerhus.
Suffice it to say, opening day did not go well for Disney's blockbuster new attraction. As thousands of Frozen fans—plus every Orlando-area theme park reporter and blogger—gathered to finally ride the replacement for Maelstrom, the ride suffered from repeated breakdowns. The standby line stretched to 300 minutes before park managers closed it to new arrivals altogether, leaving only the Fastpass return line open for those fortunate enough to snap up a ticket when booking opened last month.
To help keep guests—and their tempers—cool during the prolonged wait, park managers set up dispensers with iced water, and even passed out complimentary ice cream bars to those who opted to wait it out.
The technical troubles persisted during opening weekend, but those who got to board a boat to Arendelle generally give the ride positive reviews. The ride itself is largely unchanged, with new scenes and animatronics lining the familiar waterway. If you want to avoid spoilers, jump ahead to the next section. Otherwise, take a peek at some photos of the new ride from opening weekend.
Many of the decorations on the walls of the Royal Sommerhus are inspired by the culture and history of Norway, the inspiration for the fictional Arendelle in which Frozen is set. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney invited Tables in Wonderland members and a handful of local media to a preview of the 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Our Alan Dalinka attended the event and will have a full recap later this week. Some interesting notes from the preview:
- There are at least three new booths for 2016, including a Chocolate Studio, the Wine & Dine Studio, and an as-yet-unnamed Marketplace booth. During the preview, a dish of duck confit on polenta was attributed to the mystery booth.
- A new hard-ticket event will offer guests a behind-the-scenes look at Trader Sam's Grog Grotto. The event will be offered September 21, September 28, October 5, and October 12 from noon to 2:00 p.m. The cost is $99 per person.
- A new series of hands-on workshops called "Mix it, Make it, Celebrate it" will give participants an opportunity to learn techniques like cake decorating, cocktail mixing, garnishing, and more. The sessions are daily at 4:00 p.m., and cost $49 per person.
- Tickets for all special events go on sale on Thursday, July 21, giving you about a month to plan your visit before the phone marathon begins.
- However, Annual Passholders, Tables in Wonderland Members and DVC members can book some events two days earlier, starting on July 19.
There is much too much information to present in this Update, so be sure to check out Alan's recap this week for all of the details you need to plan your Food & Wine Festival visits.
On Sunday, Epcot held its first media and Tables in Wonderland preview for this year's Food & Wine Festival which will run this year for a record 62 days from September 14 to November 14. A preview article will be posted soon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
ABC-TV's "The Chew" will be back at Epcot during this year's Food & Wine Festival and one of the best samplings of the Preview was the Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with Caramel Drizzle that should be available at "The Chew Collective" marketplace at this year's Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Frontera Cocina opened its doors Monday morning in Disney Springs, bringing Chef Rick Bayless' signature take on Mexican cuisine to Orlando.
As we reported last week, reservations are available via Open Table starting Thursday, July 21. Until then, the restaurant is accepting only walk-ups. Both the main restaurant and the takeout window are open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Gold-level members of D23, Disney's official fan club, have the opportunity to purchase tickets to two just-announced events scheduled for October 5th at Walt Disney World. With both events happening on the same day, members who opt to attend both have a very long day in store for them.
D23's Sip & Scream
Wednesday, October 5 – $125 per person
D23 Members celebrate Halloween and the 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival by experiencing delectable dining, spooky entertainment, and a special taping of ABC's Emmy® Award-winning series The Chew!
Trick-or-treat! D23 Members looking for something good to eat should not miss Sip & Scream during the 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World! As part of their culinary experience, Sip & Scream attendees are invited to partake in delectable dining, spooky entertainment, and a special taping of ABC's Emmy® Award-winning series The Chew!
On October 5, D23 Members will enjoy either a morning or afternoon taping of The Chew, set against the park's iconic Spaceship Earth backdrop. Show co-hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and Daphne Oz will share tasty new recipes and a bounty of festival surprises with their Epcot audiences.
Sip & Scream guests will also enjoy free time to taste the Festival's newest culinary offerings across Future World and World Showcase—including three delicious dishes inspired by The Chew: Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots, and Feta Cheese; Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce; and Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel Drizzle. These food stars of the Epcot festival will be available at The Chew Collective in the Next Eats festival area of Future World.
The culinary adventure continues as D23 Members will experience an exclusive presentation in World Showcase. Then it's time to partake in a musical feast of sizzling tunes, as guests enjoy reserved seating at the Eat to the Beat concert at the America Gardens Theatre!
The event culminates in a ghoulishly delightful Halloween spooktacular-themed dessert reception at the Isle de France. D23 Members will mix and mingle in the moonlight while enjoying Halloween-inspired desserts and beverages—the perfect setting to enjoy VIP viewing of Epcot's stunning nighttime spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Each Sip & Scream guest will receive a copy of The Chew cookbook, a $25 Disney Gift Card to taste some of the delicious offerings at the Food & Wine Festival, and of course, unforgettable memories of a frightfully fabulous day.
Tickets for D23's Sip and Scream go on sale at 10:00 a.m. (PDT) on Monday, July 11. More information is available at the event website.
D23 Behind-the-Scenes Experience: A Midnight Soirée at the Tower of Terror
Wednesday, October 5 – $245 per person
"A limited number of D23 Members have the opportunity to drop by The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror for an after-hours, behind-the-scenes experience, followed by a private midnight soirée with themed food, beverages, and entertainment recalling the legendary night in 1939.
This intimate D23 Behind-the-Scenes experience is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. We invite you—if you dare—to join us on October 5 at Disney's Hollywood Studios, where you are the star. Because this event travels directly to…The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Your evening will begin at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, which was once a beacon amid the glitz and glitter of a bustling, young movie town. There, you'll discover the details and secrets that surround you during an after-hours, behind-the-scenes discussion of the legendary park attraction.
Then, when the clock strikes 12, it's time to delight in a private midnight soirée at the historic hotel. Enjoy themed food, beverages, and entertainment recalling the legendary night in 1939, when five unlucky passengers first stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare.
This Behind-the-Scenes Experience wouldn't be complete without an exclusive photo opportunity inside the Hollywood Tower Hotel with a special guest directly from the Twilight Zone!"
Tickets go on sale at 2:00 p.m. (PDT) on Monday, July 11. More information is available at the event website.
Animal Kingdom has added a new guided tour to take advantage of the extra hours afforded by the extended park hours this summer. Savor the Savanna is a modified version of the popular Wild Africa Trek, and is offered up to three times a night, starting at 4:30 p.m.
The experience begins with a tour of the savanna in a private safari vehicle. Your tour group arrives at the safari outpost in the middle of the savanna, where you can watch the animals while snacking on an assortment of African-inspired tapas. Adults (over 21) can also sample regional beer and wine pairings.
If we assume the menu is similar to that offered on the Wild Africa Trek (which the photos provided by Disney seem to indicate), you can expect the menu to look something like this:
- Chicken curry salad
- Sun-dried tomato hummus and mini pita
- Marinated tandoori shrimp
- Smoked salmon roulade with dill
- Air-dried beef and prosciutto
- Fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger
The excursion is $169 per person, and participants must be at least 8 years old. Guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Call (407) 939-8687 to book.
Alan Dalinka shares a few more photos from around Walt Disney World.
The margarita stand is now surrounded by temporary hedge walls and its sign has been removed. As the immediately surrounding area is now part of the extended Norway pavilion, it likely will be changed or removed. As reported in a prior Update, the 2016 Flower & Garden Festival's temporary kitchen located on the other side of the Mexico pavilion (closer to Future World) continues to operate. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
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...Walt Disney World has introduced a refillable souvenir popcorn bucket. The bucket is $10.00 (which includes the first fill of popcorn), and can be refilled throughout the day of purchase for $1.50. Be sure to hang on to your original receipt, as you must present it whenever you purchase a refill. The popcorn bucket can be used and refilled at any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks. You can also opt to get flavored popcorn (where available) for your initial fill or refill.
...The new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique location in Disney Springs opened earlier this month. The new space has 18 stylist chairs, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Prior to the opening of this dedicated storefront, the boutique occupied a portion of the World of Disney store in Disney Springs.
...MousePlanet reader buzz2001 shared:
Hot off the presses, [Coronado Springs Resort] CSR will begin testing bike rentals at La Marina on Monday, June 27.
Single & double seat surrey bikes
Noon - 8:00pm
$22 for double seat bike (30 mins)
$20 for single seat bike (30 mins)
Other prices consistent with the Boardwalk Resort rentals
...The 2016 Sounds Like Summer concert series continues this week with Simply Tina – A Tribute to Tina Turner. Show times are 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. each day through July 1. Stayin' Alive – A Tribute to the Bee Gees continues the series from July 2 – 9.
…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 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 – Opened December 1, 2015
- Night of Joy – September 9 & 10
- 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival –September 14 – November 14, 2016.
- Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – dates to be announced.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party –September – 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29, 30; October – 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31
- "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 – November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29; December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 22
- 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.
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 3–5. All races are sold out, with the exception of the runDisney Kids races. Proof of time must be submitted by August 2, 2016
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 4–8, 2017. Registration opens at Noon (Eastern) on Tuesday, April 26. Proof of time must be submitted by October 4, 2016.
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 24–26, 2017. Registration opens at Noon (Eastern) on Tuesday, July 12. Proof of time must be submitted by November 15, 2016.
- Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend – April 20–23, 2017. Registration opens at Noon (Eastern) on Tuesday, August 9. Proof of time date has not been released.
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.
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex events
- AAU National Club Championship – June 30 – July 3.
- Special Olympics Florida Fall Classic – November 11–12.
- 2016 Pop Warner Super Bowl –December 3–10.
- Pro Bowl week festivities – take place the week prior to the 2017 game on January 29. Additional schedule information to be released.
|June 29 – July 5||
|July 7 – 8||
- Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse – closed July 7 – September 24 for refurbishment.
- Carousel of Progress – closed for refurbishment July 25 – 28.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed August 8 – November 18 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed August 15 – 21 for refurbishment.
- "it's a small world" – closed August 22 – September 15 for refurbishment.
- None scheduled
Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Magic of Disney Animation – building permanently closed for future expansion. Part of the space has been converted to the Star Wars Launch Bay.
- One Man's Dream theater – an expanded sneak peek at Alice Through the Looking Glass began May 6.
- Pizza Planet restaurant – closed for refurbishment. Reopening date TBD.
- Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show – permanently closed to make way for the Star Wars Land expansion.
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – permanently closed to make way for the Star Wars Land expansion.
- Studio Catering Co. – closed to make way for the Star Wars Land expansion.
- Meet & Greet: Mike and Sulley at Streets of America – closed to make way for the Star Wars Land expansion.
- One Man's Dream theater – closed July 16 – 19 for refurbishment.
- MuppetVision 3*D – closed August 15 – 22 for refurbishment.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Dinosaur – closed for refurbishment July 25 – October 16.
- None scheduled
- None scheduled
- Fulton's Crab House – closed for refurbishment. Scheduled to reopen in Fall 2016 as Paddlefish
- Planet Hollywood – closed for refurbishment and transformation into a Planet Hollywood Observatory.
- Disney Quest – scheduled to close sometime in 2016.
- Boardwalk Inn
- Flying Fish Cafe closed through September 30 for refurbishment. Will reopen simply as "Flying Fish."
- Seashore Sweets – closed permanently. Will reopen as the "AbracadaBar" later this year.
- 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
Fall Free Dining offer
Back to School room-only offer
Kid-sized Vacation offer
Late Summer Family Time offer
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:
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex:
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 most days 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 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 character photo download per day.
Star Wars meet and greet at Disney's Hollywood Studios' Star Wars Launch Bay
Present your Disney's Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a character meet and greet at Star Wars Launch Bay for the cardholder and up to five guests. The event is hosted daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. inside Star Wars Launch Bay at Disney's Hollywood Studios. You'll receive one free character photo download 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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