Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 18-24, 2017

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
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Writer's note: Rumors, rumors, rumors. Yes, we hear many of them too.


At Magic Kingdom, a Tomorrowland Speedway car frame is separated from its chassis in the pit area for repairs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

But, here in the MousePlanet Walt Disney World Resort Update, we try to stick to the news. We comment on rumors and add our own speculation when we see concrete evidence that something may be more than just a rumor and when major media outlets cite evidence. Until then, enjoy the fantasy; sometimes, at Disney Parks, dreams come true.


Long wait times greeted guests waiting to ride Tomorrowland Speedway at Magic Kingdom over Easter weekend. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, a bit north of Walt Disney World Resort on International Drive, the Star Wars Celebration convention took over the Orlando Convention Center and did, in fact, provide a bit of parks news that we will get to below. Easter also brought out some just-over-the-weekend costumes for the Citizens of Main Street and a mini-parade reminiscent of the full-blown Magic Kingdom Easter Parade many of us saw on our televisions in decades past. So, read on for more news, views, One Passholder's Tip, This and That, and more.


News and Views

Spring Break "Season" Culminates with Easter Celebrations | Star Wars Celebration Panel Announced New Star Wars Land Details | Club 33-style Membership Clubs Coming to Florida | Disney Night of Joy Headliners Announced | runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Series Registration Now Open | Views around the World | One Passholder's Tip | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Spring Break "Season" Culminates with Easter Celebrations

As many visitors appreciate, school break periods often define times of peak crowds around Walt Disney World Resort. While winter holiday breaks tend to be a week or two on either side of the week from Christmas to New Year's Day (December 25 - January 1), the spring break "season" is a more drawn out period, with schools taking breaks at varying times from the beginning of March until the week or so after Easter (which, of course, also varies based on a lunar calendar). With Easter this past Sunday, and Passover concluding at sundown tonight, the peak crowds of this year's spring break season probably now has past. This week's Crowd Forecast predicts those moderating crowd levels too.

Disney's springtime celebrations reflect that ebb and flow also. Of course, as we have covered extensively in past Updates (and, indeed, in other articles here on MousePlanet and on social media), the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is the ultimate Disney celebration of springtime and it continues through May 29. As we have mentioned before, the park's Easter Egg hunt continues the length of the Festival this year.

Meanwhile, unlike its huge televised Easter Parade of decades past, Magic Kingdom had some limited-time spring offerings to enjoy this weekend: from the springtime attire of the Citizens of Main Street, to a photo opportunity with Cinderella's carriage, and a mini-Easter Parade which served as a pre-parade to the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. Enjoy some photo and video highlights, and then we will turn to a couple more spring celebrations that continue into this week and beyond.


Just for Easter weekend, Citizens of Main Street were dressed in their springtime finest. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Cinderella's Carriage Disney PhotoPass photo opportunity was available over the busy holiday weekend as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Over the weekend, Magic Kingdom featured a Easter pre-parade ahead of Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny were led by an eclectic collection of character friends. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny headlined the Easter Parade. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Azalea Trail Maids of Mobile, Alabama joined the Parade in colorful springtime dresses. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Butterflies and flowers danced in the Easter Parade too. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Perhaps "Zootopia"'s Nick Wilde was an honorary Easter bunny when he joined Officer Judy Hopps and a couple of other rabbits in the Easter Parade. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Easter Parade, of course, included chickens. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Easter Parade concluded with Clara Cluck, a chicken friend of Mickey Mouse who made her debut (according to a bit of research) in the 1934 Mickey Mouse cartoon "Orphan's Benefit." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

At Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the bakery team, led by Executive Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek, has again created an amazingly artistic assortment of Easter Eggs which are now on display in the resort's main lobby (and some nearby places). For the resort's sixth annual display, the team created edible works of art with modeling chocolate, fondant, sugar floral royal icing, colored cocoa butter and sculpted sugar.


The center display features pandas as a tribute to the new DisneyNature film "Born in China." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The tallest egg on display this year features an American bald eagle. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The numbered cards in front of the eggs allow guests to vote on their favorites. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This year, the eggs are inspired by Disney characters, films, the Grand Floridian Resort, and more. Each hollow chocolate egg weighs 9-12 pounds and stands 16-20 inches tall. The eggs are scheduled to remain on display until April 29.


The edible gold covered version of Cinderella's carriage is on display outside the main lobby. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Pixar-inspired and classic Disney-inspired eggs (even some resembling poison apples) are on display. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


BB-8 represents the Star Wars universe amongst more classically Disney inspired eggs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Cinderella Castle and her edible "glass" slipper is one of the grandest eggs on display. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The colors of these eggs evokes Thanksgiving, though that likely is not the intent. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


In the shop next to the monorail platform, an additional egg is on display among the elaborate Easter Baskets available for sale. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Also continuing through April 29, over at Disney's Contemporary Resort, a carrot cake cupcake with white chocolate filling and cream cheese buttercream frosting, garnished with toasted coconut and carrot powder will be available at Contempo Cafe. Bakery shops around Walt Disney World Resort likely will continue to have assorted spring themed goods for a few more weeks as well.

Star Wars Celebration Panel Announced New Star Wars Land Details

As Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix reported in yesterday's Disneyland Resort Update for April 17-23, 2017, fans attending the 2017 Star Wars Celebration at the Orlando Convention Center this past weekend were the first to hear new details about the Star Wars lands currently under construction both at Disney's Hollywood Studios here in Florida and at Disneyland in California. The message from the Star Wars and Disney Parks: A Galaxy in the Making panel led by Walt Disney Imagineering creative executive Scott Trowbridge seems to be that, like Pandora–The World of Avatar (which is opening at Disney's Animal Kingdom on May 27), the Star Wars lands will be fully immersive environments, complete with "all of the interesting people" (and droids) appropriate to a planet in the Outer Rim, bordering the Unknown Regions of the Star Wars universe.

Adrienne provides additional details and analysis of some of the interactive elements announced by the panel in yesterday's Disneyland Update, and you can read it there. The panel confirmed that the Star Wars lands are on track to open in 2019 as previously announced.


Disney posted a new video about the upcoming Star Wars lands over this past weekend too. Video ©Disney.

Meanwhile, at Disney's Hollywood Studios, last Friday, the park closed early for the first ever "hard ticket" Star Wars Galactic Nights event. If you attended the event, please share your experience in the comments. We got a look at some of the photo backdrops, the latest Star Wars decor in the park, the new BB-8 meet and greet and the current state of Star Wars land construction earlier in the day.


Disney's Hollywood Studios closed at 7 p.m. on Friday for the Star Wars Galactic Nights event. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A Star Wars Galactic Nights photo backdrop was set up outside Disney's Hollywood Studios on Friday. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Located in Muppets Courtyard, the ice cave on Hoth was one of the more identifiable photo backdrops that was not completely obscured by temporary hedge walls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Cast inside the park gates greet guests with a Darth Vader TIE Advanced X1 Fighter (thanks internet) inspired bubble blower. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Animation Courtyard is now decorated with Star Wars banners celebrating the 40 year anniversary of the release of the original movie. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Inside Star Wars Launch Bay, as we reported last week, the new BB-8 meet and greet opened ahead of the Star Wars Galactic Nights event. Kylo Ren and Chewbacca also continue to meet and greet guests. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


BB-8 (on top of a platform) stands, perhaps, three feet tall. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Astromech droid BB-8 is animated and "speaks" in the language of beeps and whistles heard in "The Force Awakens." Video by Alan S. Dalinka (who speaks American English in this recording).


Star Wars land construction continues to rise above the construction wall across from the Toy Story Mania exit. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Star Wars land construction in the former Streets of America area is now best viewed from the exit of Star Tours. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction of the new Star Wars land is expected to be complete in 2019. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The two cranes on the left side of the photo are those working in the former Streets of America area. More views around the park in the Views around the World section. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

In case you were not aware, the next Star Wars movie opens in theaters this December. Video ©Lucasfilm/Disney.

Club 33-style Membership Clubs Coming to Florida

Over the weekend, Orlando Sentinel reported that a Disney spokeswoman confirmed that "[v]ersions of Club 33 will be installed in each Disney World theme park — Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom — this fall." Disney has not yet made public details like the exact club locations or cost.

With corporate sponsorships of attractions no longer the norm like they once were, there are certainly a number of former "VIP Lounges" around the parks that could be converted into unique club venues with membership dues that could help replace some of those corporate sponsorship dollars of past years. The dues likely will be way beyond the means of average guests.

Disneyland's original Club 33 debuted in 1967. Membership requires a hefty five-digit initiation fee plus substantial annual dues, but includes park admission as well as access to the lounge and other benefits.

Disney Night of Joy Headliners Announced

Disney Night of Joy is an annual Christian music concert weekend which, like last year, will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Parks Blog announced that this year's event will feature "15 of the greatest performers in Contemporary Christian music – Friday, Sept. 8 and Saturday, Sept. 9." Matthew West returns as host, introducing acts at indoor and outdoor venues at the Complex.

Scheduled to appear this year (but, as always, subject to change):

September 8 September 9
  • TobyMac
  • MercyMe
  • Natalie Grant
  • Danny Gokey
  • Matt Maher
  • Colton Dixon
  • Rend Collective
  • Zach Williams
  • Amy Grant
  • Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Kirk Franklin
  • Jordan Feliz
  • David Crowder
  • Jeremy Camp
  • Tye Tribbett

Tickets will go on sale in early June. If you are interested in attending, keep an eye on this page on DisneyWorld.com.

runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Series Registration Now Open

Disney announced that registration is now open for the runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Series. Although the word "virtual" is in the title, there is actual running involved in this event series. It is the "race" that is "virtual." Unlike the marathons and other runDisney events that take place in and around Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, this series of 5K summer runs takes place virtually anywhere you would like to participate.

Registrants walk, jog, or run 5k on their own time and in a location of their choice. There are no time intervals or pace requirements for the series other than to complete the series event for which you have registered during its designated timeframe this summer. Runners track themselves and, after completing a virtual race, return to the runDisney finisher website to submit results and download a completion certificate.


Pluto is the honorary host for this year's runDisney Virtual Running Shorts Series. Image ©Disney.

There are three individual virtual races available this summer, each with a different commemorative finisher medal. Register for the entire series, complete all three of the 5K races within the required time, and you will also receive the Virtual Running Shorts Series Finisher Medal plus a Coolcore towel. As an incentive to register for the entire series by April 30, 2017, you can also receive a commemorative dog tag and a collapsible bowl.

Each virtual race is $40. The registration fee for the entire series is $142. For participants outside the U.S., an additional international shipping charge of $5 per 5K or $15 for the series is required. runDisney will make a charitable donation to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando in honor of this year's series.

Views Around the World

This week's Views Around the World include Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney's Hollywood Studios, plus a new sign in the Epcot Resorts area and more views of the on-going road construction projects around the Resort.

Magic Kingdom


The U.K. chat show that took up temporary residence here earlier this month is gone and the U.S. flag is rightfully restored to Main Street's Town Square. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


This part of Tomorrowland continues to look much as it has since the late 1990s. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


Monorails begin their Epcot circle tour within view of the Epcot Monorail station. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Bonsai trees are on display all around the Japan pavilion, as the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival continues through May 29. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Renovations are underway inside Mitsukoshi department store at the Japan pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Mitsukoshi remains open during renovations, although about a third of the floor space is walled off. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Further details of the beverage kiosk are emerging behind the construction walls at the Mexico pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Beyond the Morocco pavilion, cranes working on the Star Wars land construction can be seen from all the way across World Showcase Lagoon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Citizens of Hollywood picked a shady spot along Hollywood Boulevard to entertain the crowd. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


While not taking over the park's Tower of Terror like at Disney California Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is being promoted in the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Inside One Man's Dream near the Walt Disney Theater, the wedding dress from "Father of the Bride" and a dress worn by Breathless Mahoney in "Dick Tracy" are now on display (though, with the next Pirates of the Caribbean film preview coming April 21, these dresses may not be here very long). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The large red crane working in what we believe is the future Toy Story land area of the park can only be viewed from a few locations inside the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The large red crane working in what we believe is the future Toy Story land area of the park can be viewed from the parking lot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction along the main parking access road next to the Goofy/Film section of the parking lot has removed all but a small area of trees between the lot and Osceola Parkway on the other side of the trees near Victory Way. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Resorts


A new sign was posted this weekend along the pathway from Fantasia Golf to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts. No staff were around to ask whether guests staying at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club or Disney's BoardWalk Resorts are now expected to find an alternate route from Fantasia Golf to their hotels. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Road Construction


Road construction along World Drive south of the Magic Kingdom parking toll plaza has resulted in the removal of the "It's Tough to Be a Bug" billboard. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Further south along World Drive, road construction has also resulted in the removal of the Mission: SPACE billboard. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As road construction near the Magic Kingdom parking lot continues, new steel structures are on site. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Close to the Epcot monorail beam along World Drive near the Magic Kingdom parking toll plaza, a steel cross bar likely will warn (deter) oversized vehicles from approaching the beam when new lanes are paved here that allow traffic heading to Disney's Contemporary Resort to travel around the toll plaza. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

One Passholder's Tip

This section of the Update provides our MousePlanet readers with the benefit of my years of experience as a longtime Walt Disney World Four Parks Annual Passholder, and lots of personal trial and errors, one (hopefully weekly) tip at a time.

One Passholder's Tip: Week 13
The parks have some healthy snacks too


Want to eat healthy at Magic Kingdom? There are options like these raw vegetables and light ranch dip from Gaston's in New Fantasyland ($4.25 plus tax). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

If you have been reading our Walt Disney World Updates since I transitioned from photographer to writer/photographer/editor and whatever around the end of 2016, you may recall that I have been rather focused on losing weight since March 2016. Having successfully shed over 110 pounds to date, I like to joke that my "Secret Walt Disney World Diet" is to walk 5-10 miles a day and to not eat anything at Walt Disney World. The truth is, though, that I do sometimes eat in the parks and resorts.

Occasionally, for special occasions, I will have regular meals in the parks or resorts (still staying calorie conscious, of course). But, sometimes, I find that I have spent more time in the parks than I had planned—what I call a "Walt Disney World Problem" or you might call a "First World Problem"—and need something to eat. As much as I would love to have Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars, churros, and an assortment of those desserts you often see in my photographs (photos have no calories), I seek out healthier snacks. Yes, not every food service cart or kiosk has them, but each park does have an assortment.

This week's Tip is not to say "you must eat healthy." Most readers, after all, are on vacation. But, I am saying that you can find healthy (or, at least, healthier) food options around Walt Disney World Resort if you look. Some of my favorite places to look include Gaston's at Magic Kingdom, Sunshine Seasons at Epcot, Anaheim Produce at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and any number of carts and kiosks around Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Don't keep it to yourself!
Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments.

This and That

…runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon–The Dark Side "weekend" is coming up this week, April 20-23, 2017. If you are visiting Walt Disney World Resort, be aware of possible road closures and paths filled with runners. If you are participating, be sure to tell us about it in the comments and May the (Dark Side of the) Force be with you!

…Starting May 26, the "Frozen" Summer Games are returning to Disney's Blizzard Beach water park. Like last year's inaugural games, guests choose to join "Team Kristoff" or "Team Olaf" to "compete" in ice pail relays, a snowball toss, ski pole limbo and slide races. This year, guess will also be able to meet Kristoff or Olaf in designated greeting areas in the park for photos. The "Games" are included with admission to the park.

…Joffrey's wants guests to know about its efforts to preserve the Alto Mayo rainforest in Northern Peru. Eight years ago, with the support of Disney, Conservation International began working with local farmers in the Alto Mayo forest to keep it alive. Rainforest devastation is now being reversed through sustainable coffee growing techniques in the region. Joffrey’s Alto Mayo Peru coffee supports this initiative and is available at select restaurants in Walt Disney World® Resort, including at Joffrey’s American Adventure kiosk in Epcot® located next to its Protected Forest Garden. Online, joffreys.com. offers 15% off Peru Alto Mayo when using the promo code: PROTECT. You can read more on Joffrey's blog.


A Joffrey's kiosk and its Protected Forest Garden are located at American Adventure at Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…Over the weekend, Disney also showed off what it calls the "Most Advanced Projection Mapping Tech Yet" to further promote the May 12 debut of the new Magic Kingdom "Happily Ever After" nighttime fireworks spectacular.


"Happily Ever After" replaces "Wishes" on May 12 at Magic Kingdom. Video ©Disney.

…The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has completed a $5 million renovation of its 329,000 square feet of meeting space, refreshing every meeting room at both the Swan and Dolphin resorts. The renovation included new technology and updating the carpeting and paint in the meeting spaces. The resort continues its multi-phase, multi-year $140 million redesign project. Dolphin Resort guest room and lobby renovations are scheduled for completion this Fall.


The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is located in the Epcot Resorts area and is connected by pathways and Friendship boat service to both Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…We expect to have a big update about Copper Creek Villas & Cabins, the new Disney Vacation Club resort at Disney's Wilderness Lodge this coming week. Stay tuned.


With the opening of general sales for Disney Vacation Club's newest resort, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge last week, Disney posted a video highlighting the expected features of the new resort. (Of course, Disney's promotion material is a timeshare solicitation and is not an offer in any jurisdiction where the timeshare is not registered.) Video ©Disney.

…Disney continues to publicize that it is looking to hire more than 1,000 positions during their Online Spring Hiring Event on www.WaltDisneyWorld.jobs. Roles include quick service food and beverage, lifeguards, parking attendants, culinary, bus drivers are more.

…Just another reminder that it is now easier than ever to see our Facebook videos, as we have created playlists which allow you to select one or all of our Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, or D23 videos to view.


The lastest addition to the Walt Disney World Resort Playlist is this slow motion, Instagram filtered video of the fireworks finale of a showing of Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

…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.

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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, April 18, 2017 6 / 10
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 6 / 10
Thursday, April 20, 2017 6 / 10
Friday, April 21, 2017 6 / 10
Saturday, April 22, 2017 6 / 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).

2017 Resort Events

  • Star Wars Experiences – Opened December 1, 2015 (ongoing)
  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – March 1 - May 29, 2017.
  • Dapper Day Outing (unofficial events)– April 29 & November 18, 2017 at Magic Kingdom; April 30 & November 19, 2017 at Epcot
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – August 31 - November 13, 2017.
  • 35th Disney Night of Joy at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – September 8 and 9, 2017
  • Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – October 27–28, 2017
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party – August 25, 29; September 1, 7, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29; October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31; November 1
  • Holidays at Walt Disney World –Dates TBD
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – November 8, 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, 28; December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22
  • Holidays Around the World at Epcot –Dates TBD
  • Candlelight Processional at Epcot –Dates TBD

2018 Resort Events

  • Epcot International Festival of the Arts – "Early" 2018
  • 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – "Spring" 2018

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.

2017

2018

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.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Note: Not all attraction closures have been officially confirmed by Disney, and are all subject to change at any time. Refurbishment schedules are estimates only. We recommend checking for updates as you plan your visit. All information is subject to change without notice. To get the most recent updates, visit DisneyWorld.com or use the MyDisneyExperience App on your iOS or Android device.

Magic Kingdom

  • Wishes: A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams – has its final showing on May 11, 2017, to make way for the May 12 premier of the new fireworks show named Happily Ever After.
  • Stitch's Great Escape – closed except for occasional "seasonal" openings.


Stitch was back in operation briefly in March and April to absorb peak Spring Break crowds -- but only from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check its listing on My Disney Experience for its current status. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

  • The Hall of Presidents – closed January 17, 2017, through June 29, 2017, to add an audio-animatronic figure of the 45th president of the United States.


The Hall of Presidents is closed until this summer. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot

Scheduled closure:

  • Mission:SPACE – June 5, 2017 through late July, 2017

Permanently closed:

  • Innoventions West (except Character Meet and Greets)
  • Innoventions East (except Colortopia and a Passholder shop)
    …including Sum of All Thrills and Storm Struck

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Permanently closed:

  • Streets of America
  • Premiere Theatre
  • The Writer's Stop
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure
  • Studio Catering Co.
  • Meet & Greets: Mike and Sulley, Phineas and Ferb, Mater and Lightning McQueen
  • Magic of Disney Animation
  • Academy of Television Sciences Hall of Fame

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • No known closures at this time!

Blizzard Beach

  • Runoff Rapids. Expected completion: TBA.

Typhoon Lagoon

  • No known closures at this time!

Disney Springs

  • Portobello Country Italian Trattoria – Scheduled to close April 24, 2017 for enhancements through Fall 2017
  • Disney Quest – scheduled to close July 3, 2017 to make way for The NBA Experience.
  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil – ends its run on December 31, 2017. Next use of the theater on the West Side TBA.

Resorts

  • Caribbean Beach – Centertown, the resort's marketplace, will be expanded with new waterfront dining and retail shopping areas. As construction gets underway, it is possible some existing venues will close. The project is expected to be completed 2019-20.
  • Coronado Springs – A new 15-story tower overlooking Lago Dorado, the resort's central lake, will add 500 rooms featuring suites and concierge level services, and a rooftop dining facility that will include panoramic views of nighttime fireworks shows at the Theme Parks. The resort also plans to refurbish current resort rooms and transform some of its landscape. The project is expected to be completed 2019-20.
  • Wilderness Lodge and Villas – Hidden Springs pool, resort beach, and playground closed. Opening date expected around July 17, 2017, debut of new Disney Vacation Club's Copper Copper Creek Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Continue to expect construction-related closures and noise due to construction. We expect to have a big update next week!

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.


Travel Discounts for Everyone

Our friends at Small World Vacations let us know that Disney has a made a summer discount offer where you can save up to 25% on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights May 28-Aug. 31, 2017 when you book March 27-July 14, 2017. You can also see all of Disney's current special offers on DisneyWorld.com.


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.

Travel Discounts for Annual Passholders


Kick Off Your Spring room offer

Passholders can book rooms at the Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort starting at $86 per night under this offer. The discount is valid most Sunday through Thursday nights, April 23 through May 25, 2017. Additional resorts and dates are available for stays April 9 through April 22 and May 26 through June 10, 2017, with rates from $101 at the All-Star Resorts to $292 per night at Disney's BoardWalk Inn

Booking Window – Must book by June 9, 2017

Travel Window – Most nights from April 9, 2017 through June 10, 2017

Terms and Conditions:

  • Passholder must present a valid Walt Disney World Pass at check-in.
  • Advance reservations required.
  • Maximum – 14 nights
  • Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotions.
  • Offer excludes the following room types: campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney's Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms and Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows.

Visit the Annual Passholder website for details, or call 407-939-7676 to book by phone.

If you know of an offer we haven't listed, please drop us an email with the details!

Discounts for Disney Rewards VISA Credit Card Holders


20 percent off Joffrey's coffee/tea kiosks

Disney Visa cardholders receive 20 percent off their entire purchase at Joffrey's coffee/tea kiosks throughout Walt Disney World, including Tea Traders Café by Joffrey's, and online at Joffreys.com with code: VISABEANS


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 Tour
    • Behind the Seeds
    • World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
    • Backstage Tales
  • Multiple Theme Parks and Backstage Areas
    • Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour
    • Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour
    • Ultimate Day at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
    • Backstage Magic
    • Disney's Holiday D-Lights (offered seasonally)
    • Disney's Yuletide Fantasy (offered seasonally)
    • Wilderness Back Trail Adventure

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

Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground:

  • Trail's End Restaurant

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:

  • Citricos (see restrictions)
  • Grand Floridian Cafe
  • Narcoossee's

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
  • Cape May Cafe

Disney's Hollywood Studios:

  • The Hollywood Brown Derby (see restrictions)
  • Hollywood & Vine (see restrictions)

Epcot:

  • Biergarten Restaurant (see restrictions)
  • Coral Reef (lunch only)
  • Le Cellier (lunch only)
  • Rose & Crown Dining Room (lunch only)

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex:

  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill

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.

Cardholders also receive 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at the following Walt Disney World® Resort Operating Participant merchandise locations including Basin®, Basin White®, Chapel Hats, Good Fortune Gifts and House of Good Fortune, kidsHeritage and Marrakesh Emporium Arts & Crafts.


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

  • 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

10% off select recreation experiences

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of the recreation experiences listed below:

  • Carriage Rides at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Horseback Trail Rides at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

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. at the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot (enter near the jumping fountains near the exit to the Magic Eye Theater). You'll receive one free character photo download per day.


Travel Discounts for Military Personnel

2017 Military Salute – 4-Day or 5-Day Military Promotional Ticket discount

Through December 19, 2017, 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 $209 each, plus tax
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $246 each, plus tax.
  • Disney 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $224 each, plus tax
  • Disney 5-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $261 each, plus tax.

Walt Disney World Resort tickets may be used January 1 through December 19, 2017. Thanks to our reader Dr. Smith who alerted us that the website militarydisneytips.com notes that April 9-23 are no longer listed as blockout dates for Disney's Armed Forces Salute.

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, 2017.

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 percent, based on room category.

The 2017 offer is valid most nights from January 1 through December 19, 2017.

Travel Discounts for Florida Residents


La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil – Subject to availability, Florida residents can get discounts for groups of three or more tickets for shows now through April 29. With the discount, a family of four can purchase tickets for as low as $32.25 per ticket for Category 3 seating. Discounted Family Pack tickets are also available for Category 1, Category 2 and Front and Center. For tickets, call (407)939-7328 or visiting the La Nouba box office. (Proof of Florida residency required for discount.)

If you know of an offer we haven't listed, please drop us an email with the details!


Travel Discounts for Canada Residents

MousePlanet reader Scott S. alerted us to an offer for Canadian residents. Canadian residents receive a 25% discount on 4-day or longer tickets purchased. The discounted rate for a 4-Day adult base ticket is $244.00 USD, compared to $325.00 USD when purchased at the gate. A 10-day adult base ticket is $300 USD, a savings of $100 from the main gate price. Scott S. just alerted us that the offer has been extended to tickets purchased through May 20, 2017.

This offer is only good for Canadian citizens with valid passport, or residents of Canada with valid proof of Canadian residency. The tickets are sold as an exchange certificate, and must be exchanged for park ticket upon arrival. There is no expiration date on the unused tickets, but once activated the tickets must be used within 14 days of first entry.

You can see the full details on the Walt Disney World website. Thanks Scott for the heads up!

If you know of an offer we haven't listed, please drop us an email with the details!


Travel Discounts for U.K. Residents

Reader Stuart D. let us know about Disney's 2018 free dining offer for folks traveling from the U.K. You can see the offers on Disney World's U.K. packages website. There are lots of details about the free dining, a $200 Disney Gift Card, a 14-Day Ticket for the price of 7 (including Water Parks and Memory Maker) and a lot of fine print. We will summarize the offers here in a future Update.

If you know of an offer we haven't listed, please drop us an email with the details!