Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 27 - July 2, 2017

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for June 27 – July 2, 2017

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

Writer's note: With next Tuesday being Independence Day, the Fourth of July, we plan to run the next Walt Disney World Resort Update on July 5 instead of our usual Tuesday slot. Be safe while celebrating the U.S.A.

Before we get to this week's news and views, One Passholder's Tip and such, I wanted to note another neighborhood detour I took this week that some of you may also consider visiting when in Central Florida: Gatorland. It is located less than a 30-minute drive from just about anywhere at Walt Disney World—about the same amount of time it takes to drive from Disney's Contemporary Resort to Disney's Animal Kingdom. This tourist attraction opened in 1949 (before even Disneyland). I paid it a visit this week because Florida residents get in half price through June 30, and I had never been there.

Although fire destroyed some of the original buildings a few years ago, the iconic Gatorland entrance still stands out front. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Lots of alligators and numerous other wild creatures live in Gatorland's 110-acre park and wildlife preserve. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

While certainly not a Disney destination, and some of its shows even say so in their scripts, Gatorland is sort of a throw-back to an earlier era of roadside attractions that still have a few dots across the American landscape. In any event, I had a fun few hours there, and, then, that evening, spent a night a Disney's Hollywood Studios at an event for local media highlighting the new "Disney Movie Magic" show and The Music of Pixar Live! Concerts discussed below.

Moving on...


News and Views

"Eat to the Beat Concert Series" Acts Announced | "Disney Movie Magic" Show Celebrates Films in the Disney Library | Hall of Presidents Remains Closed for Refurbishment | Mobile Ordering Expands at Disney's Animal Kingdom | Views around the World | One Passholder's Tip | This and That | Crowd Forecast

"Eat to the Beat Concert Series" Acts Announced

With its longest scheduled run yet, the 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival opens on August 31, and concludes on November 13. In addition to the largest number of food kiosks yet (which Disney calls its 35 "Global Marketplaces"), the nightly Eat to the Beat Concert Series acts have been announced and include eleven new-to-the-Festival artists including Kenny G, Baha Men, Postmodern Jukebox, 10,000 Maniacs, and Squeeze. This year's series also includes many returning acts including STARSHIP, Plain White T's, Air Supply, 38 Special, Christopher Cross, Dennis DeYoung, and Boyz II Men.

Performances at the America Gardens Theater on the World Showcase Promenade (across from The American Adventure pavilion) are scheduled for 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00 p.m. daily, and are included in Epcot park admission. The full scheduled lineup (which, as always, is subject to change) is as follows (including the songs the acts are known for but which may or may not be included in any act's actual play lists):

  • 8/31 – 9/1 – Delta Rae (“Bottom of the River”)
  • 9/2 – 9/3 – The Hooters (“And We Danced”) NEW
  • 9/4 – 9/5 – Baha Men (“Who Let the Dogs Out”) NEW
  • 9/6 – 9/7 – Fuel (“Shimmer”)
  • 9/8 – 9/10 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas (“We Built This City”)
  • 9/11 – 9/12 – Lauren Alaina (“Road Less Traveled”) NEW
  • 9/13 – 9/15 – Plain White T’s (“Hey There Delilah”)
  • 9/16 – 9/17 – Sister Hazel (“All For You”)
  • 9/18 – 9/20- Air Supply (“All Out Of Love”)
  • 9/21 – 9/22 – David Cook (“Light On”)
  • 9/23 – 9/24 – Everclear (“Santa Monica”)
  • 9/25 – 9/27 – Sugar Ray (“Every Morning)
  • 9/28 – 9/29 – 38 Special (“Hold On Loosely”)
  • 9/30 – 10/1 – Mark Wills (“19 Somethin’”) NEW
  • 10/2 – 10/3 – American Authors (“Best Day of My Life”) NEW
  • 10/4 – 10/5 – Christopher Cross (“Sailing”)
  • 10/6 – 10/8 – Devon Allman (“Ragged & Dirty”) NEW
  • 10/9 – 10/11 – Dennis DeYoung: The music of STYX (“Come Sail Away”)
  • 10/12 – 10/13 – Taylor Dayne (“Tell It To My Heart”)
  • 10/14 – 10/15 – Jeffrey Osborne (“On The Wings of Love”)
  • 10/16 – 10/17 – Postmodern Jukebox (Various Hits) NEW
  • 10/18 – 10/20 – 10,000 Maniacs (“Because the Night”) NEW
  • 10/21 – 10/22 – Toad The Wet Sprocket (“Walk on the Ocean”)
  • 10/23 – 10/24 – Kenny G (“Songbird”) NEW
  • 10/25 – 10/26 – Billy Ocean (“Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car”)
  • 10/27 – 10/29 – Tiffany (“I Think We’re Alone Now”)
  • 10/30 – 11/1 – Hanson (“MMMBop”)
  • 11/2 – 11/3 – Blue October (“Into The Ocean”) NEW
  • 11/4 – 11/5 – Living Colour (“Cult of Personality”)
  • 11/6 – 11/8 – Boyz II Men (“End of the Road”)
  • 11/9 – 11/11 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (“Go Daddy-O”)
  • 11/12 – 11/13 – Squeeze (“Tempted”) NEW

As in past years, we expect details about Dining Packages that include reserved concert seating to be announced in the coming days. We will bring the information to you when we receive it.

"Disney Movie Magic" Show Celebrates Films in the Disney Library

After making a quiet "surprise" debut last month, Disney's Hollywood Studios has finally begun promoting its new nighttime projection-mapped show on the Chinese Theater facade: "Disney Movie Magic." The nightly ten-minute show includes images from and inspired by films from the family of studios now owned by Disney, including Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Touchstone, and Walt Disney Studios.

The musical score was composed and arranged by Michael Patti (who was also responsible for composing Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular and Disney Springs' StarBright Holidays). Filling the sky with Hollywood-style searchlights, the show includes all genres of film in the Disney library: musicals, romance, comedy, classics, fantasy, sci-fi, a tiny bit of animation, and adventure.

"Disney Movie Magic" begins with footage of Walt Disney from the 1964 premiere of "Mary Poppins" which took place at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Some of the iconic images from "Mary Poppins" were re-created for this show. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The show draws from all genres represented in the Disney film library, from all eras, all the way up to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Be sure to check the Times Guide or My Disney Experience App for showtime. Since its debut, on most nights, "Disney Movie Magic" has been shown at 9:00 p.m., with "Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular" shown at 9:30 p.m. For now, there is no end scheduled for this show's run.

Hall of Presidents Remains Closed for Refurbishment

There is no listed reopening date for Magic Kingdom's Hall of Presidents Attraction. It closed in mid-January for refurbishment and installation of the 45th President of the United States. My Disney Experience App had listed June 29 as the end of the refurbishment for several months, but no longer shows an anticipated project completion date. Indeed, in our last several Walt Disney World Resort Updates we reported hearing from Liberty Square area cast members that they did not expect the attraction to reopen before "late summer" at the earliest.

The Hall of Presidents remains closed and likely will not reopen before "late 2017." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

MyNews13, a Central Florida cable news station, reports that Disney now says The Hall of Presidents will reopen in "late 2017." The report quotes Disney CEO Bob Iger as having said that the company is "hopeful that, at least by the first anniversary of [the] election, [President Donald Trump will] be there with the 44 other presidents that preceded him." MyNews13 also reports that like every sitting president since Bill Clinton, Disney intends for President Trump to have a speaking role in the refurbished attraction.

Mobile Ordering Expands at Disney's Animal Kingdom

With last month's opening of Satu'li Canteen in the new Pandora–The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney began the rollout of Mobile Order, a new feature in the My Disney Experience App that allows guests to order food and beverages from within the App, pay by credit card, and then pick up the food at a dedicated window at the quick service restaurant's counter. Disney quickly expanded the service to the park's Pizzafari. The service is now also available at Flame Tree Barbecue.

Flame Tree Barbecue is now one of the Mobile Order service locations. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

To place a Mobile Order in the My Disney Experience App, select "Order Food" under the "My Plans" section of the main screen, then pick a restaurant to see the menu. If you have granted "Push Notifications" and "Locations" permissions to the App, you may see a banner or pop-up suggesting you place an order if you are near a participating restaurant. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Mobile Order service is available in the "My Plans" section of My Disney Experience when you select "Order Food." If the App opens to the Map screen (which is its default), tap your character (mine is Mickey) to bring up the menu that includes "My Plans." After selecting "Order Food," available Restaurants appear on the next screen. After selecting a restaurant, menu items are shown along with the restaurant's serving hours. If you have granted the App "Locations" and "Push Notifications" permissions, you may see a banner or pop-up alert for ordering at a nearby restaurant, as shown in the photo above.

Just like when ordering at many restaurants, after making your food selections, the App may suggest additional items, like dessert options. Once you have completed your order and confirmed it, your linked credit card will be charged immediately (even before you tap "I'm Here, Prepare My Order"). After you tap "I'm Here, Prepare My Order," your food and beverages will be prepared as though you had ordered it at a traditional register. When it is ready, the App will update with your pick-up instructions and, if you have enabled "Push Notifications" a banner or pop-up will be shown on your device. Each of the restaurants participating in Mobile Order have dedicated pick-up windows.

Mobile Order may try to "up-sell" you dessert or other food, will charge your credit card immediately when confirmed, and will alert you when your order is ready to pick up. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Flame Tree's pick up counter is located at the rightmost window and is marked by a sign on the counter (shown here) and overhead (shown in the other Flame Tree photo above). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

In coming weeks or months, Disney has said that Mobile Order will be rolled out to additional locations around the Resort. We expect that in the not too distant future, guests using the Disney Dining Plans may also be able to use the service, but no date for that has yet been announced.

Views Around the World

As I mentioned in the Writer's Note, Disney's Hollywood Studios hosted an event for local media to highlight the new "Disney Movie Magic" show which had a more quiet opening on the same night as the debut of "The Music of Pixar Live!" Concert Series last month. The creative team explained that they were seeking not to take attention away from the opening of Pandora and The Music of Pixar Live! while still providing a delightful surprise. I previously noted how much I enjoyed this new show when I saw it the night after its debut.

The creative team also showed off the now slightly shorter Pixar Live! Concert which now clocks in at around 40 minutes rather than 45 minutes. I originally enjoyed it in its longer form, and I am pleased to report that I found nothing significantly missing in its shorter version (mostly eliminated where some of the in-between video discussion scenes and a little bit of the Finding Nemo score). Indeed, at its slightly shorter length, I did notice it seemed to hold more of the audience attention throughout.

See more of the Pixar Live! concert in photos and video amongst my Views around the World this week; the captions provide a little bit more news and information.

Epcot

The Future World splash play area near World Showcase Plaza is closed for refurbishment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The lawn which was home to the Flower & Garden Festival's butterfly house has been re-landscaped and is again open to guests. In past years, this area has been utilized each fall for Future World Food & Wine Festival kiosks, so it may not remain open beyond July. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The scheduled refurbishment at Mission: SPACE continues. My Disney Experience now says it is due to conclude in "late summer" rather than July. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The cork-covered trash can on wheels used by cast members for pin trading now has a World Showcase Custodial name badge, "Pinster." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Beyond the Morocco pavilion, the construction cranes working over at Disney's Hollywood Studios can be seen from the shore of World Showcase Lagoon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Construction continues along the World Drive entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Entering the parking lot from World Drive, guests can now see the red track (far left) of the future Slinky-themed rollercoaster in Toy Story Land and the steel frame of an AT-AT inside a building being built in Star Wars Land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Since MousePlanet's Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix recognized the shape of the AT-ATs being built in Star Wars Land out at Disneyland in California, we have been on the lookout for them here in Florida. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

A Green Army Man strolling about Pixar Place near one of the Toy Story Mania exits is not actually guarding construction of the Star Wars AT-AT beyond the construction wall. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Cruz Ramirez, one of the stars of Disney-Pixar's "Cars 3" poses for photographs with a Disney PhotoPass photographer in Pixar Place between the entrance to Toy Story Mania and the construction walls blocking access to the future Star Wars land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The former soundstage next to One Man's Dream is now completely covered in construction scrims. Since Toy Story Land is being constructed behind this building, it may become incorporated into the new land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Significant construction changes are underway in the parking lot as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

With the Center Stage no longer in place and the replacement stage or stages for the "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away" show behind schedule, My Disney Experience App now lists no shows scheduled before July 2. March of the First Order shows continue. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Imperial Advanced Weapons Research Troopers appeared from time to time in front of the Chinese Theater and posed for photos with guests (albeit without Disney PhotoPass Photographers) this week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The remains of New York Street now have a new paint scheme. In the distance from the exit to Star Tours, an AT-AT is under construction inside one of the buildings in the future Star Wars Land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Miss Piggy Fountain in front of Muppet Vision 3D, remains a planter as construction continues on the other side of the Star Wars Land construction wall. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Beyond the exit of Muppet Vision 3D, the new AT-AT shape is visible (for now). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Lots of PizzeRizzo themed posters now adorn the area around the exit of Muppet Vision 3D; in the window is the reflection of the construction of Star Wars Land buildings. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Dining packages are available for The Music of Pixar Live! Concerts. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Music of Pixar Live! Concerts have been trimmed to around 40 minutes since their debut. The benches remain padded. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Music of Pixar Live! Concerts combine some of the most emotional music composed for the films as well as some of the memorable songs. Concerts are scheduled through August 27. Video Excerpt (9:05) by Alan S. Dalinka

Bullseye and Jessie met with members of the local media to celebrate the Music of Pixar Live! Concert series. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Shade and benches are still set up along the pathway leading from Discovery Island to Pandora–The World of Avatar, though it often is no longer necessary to stand in a queue to enter the land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

So far, we have not seen the "Single Rider" queue used at Avatar Flight of Passage. Here, the sign is covered in black cloth. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

A sign outside the entrance to the queue for Avatar Flight of Passage warns that there are no restrooms within (which visitors to petty much every other ride/attraction at theme park likely have experienced by 2017). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This is the first time that I noticed additional exit instructions in the stairwell after riding Avatar Flight of Passage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Banshees again were available for sale in the Rookery inside Windtraders this week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Musicians entertain guests on the walkway between Pandora and Africa. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Departure times for the Express Transportation are now noted on signs at each park, like this sign at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Refurbishments have been completed at the old Fastpass distribution area of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Fastpass+ touchpoints are now located in this area rather than further down the pathway to the right. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Stella the elephant calf splashes around the red clay pit elephant enclosure. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

A greater flamingo chick stands amongst the flamboyance. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Pandora–The World of Avatar can be seen from atop the Expedition Everest lift hill. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

"Cars 3" merchandise is available for sale at stores around Walt Disney World, including Disney's Animal Kingdom. 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 21
Photography Fun Edition #4: Use manual focus for photos in low light!

In these early days of meteorological summer, daylight persists just moments before "Happily Ever After" begins. Setting the manual focus to infinity ensures your photos stay in focus during the show. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

I do not use a high-end DSLR camera. Rather, I use a point-and-shoot that has lots of different modes for most of the photos I include in the Updates. Like most folks, more times than not, I rely on the "Auto" setting to decide what settings to use when I shoot photos and, most of the time, that works out pretty well.

Through several cameras over a number of years, however, I have found that "Auto" quite often does not work particularly well in low light. The focus, especially, seems to have a hard time deciding what should be its focus. The result is often blurry photos, even when the shutter speed is reasonably quick for my fairly steady hands.

The solution to this blur, of course, is learning to use the camera's manual settings or, at least, a mode that lets you fine-tune the focus after turning off the auto focus. For shots of Cinderella Castle at night (like that one shown atop this section) or "Happily Ever After," which followed just a few minutes later, setting the focus to infinity and locking it there gives the best chance that steady shots will be in focus. In a future Tip, I will talk more about some of the other settings of a point and shoot camera that can help those of you that, like me, do not want to lug around a tripod in a theme park.

For those that rely on your smartphone for all of your photos, there are Apps that will give you controls like the manual controls on a point and shoot. You might consider exploring them. The one step before that for all shutterbugs, though: learn how to lock the focus before shooting a bunch of photos in low light (like a fireworks show). On the iPhone, you tap on an area to focus on, then hold your finger there until AE/AF LOCK appears on the screen. If what you see is not in focus after doing that, try another spot again and again until you are in focus and then, importantly, don't turn off the phone's camera until you do not want to shoot with that focus anymore because, once you turn it off, you lose that focus lock. As always, your mileage may vary.

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This and That

…Nighttime Extra Magic Hours at Disney's Animal Kingdom have been extended nightly through August 19 for guests with reservations at participating Walt Disney World Resorts. Most nights through July 4, that extends the closing time of Pandora–The World of Avatar attractions for those guests until 1 a.m., and from July 5 to August 19, until 12 a.m. As always, check My Disney Experience or the Times Guide for the latest park operating schedule.

…For more coverage of the newly expanded day and nighttime landscape of Disney's Animal Kingdom, tune in or set your DVR for tonight (June 27) at 8 p.m. Eastern on Animal Planet for a new documentary "Disney's Animal Kingdom: Alive with Magic" (which is also scheduled to repeat at 11 p.m. Eastern and at 3 a.m. Eastern on June 28). The one hour show includes interviews with the park's creators and caretakers, plus filmmaker James Cameron discussing the new land Pandora–The World of Avatar.

…As we showed in last week's Walt Disney World Resort Update: Views Around The World, the Emporium on Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom now offers a line of "Happily Ever After" themed merchandise celebrating the new fireworks show. As Disney Parks Blog reported this week, the show's poster featured under the train station tunnel is now offered at print-on-demand locations in the Art of Disney locations around the Resort. (Note, however, I learned that printing is now done off-site, so you must also pay for shipping and expect to wait a few weeks for delivery.) For more merchandise information, see the Disney Parks Blog article.

…For folks purchasing tickets to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (select nights August 25 – November 1) and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (select nights November 9 through December 22) at Magic Kingdom, this past week, table-service dinner reservations opened at Be Our Guest Restaurant, Cinderella's Royal Table, and The Crystal Palace. Dessert party reservations also opened for those hard-ticketed events. Visit DisneyWorld.com/dining or call (407) WDW-DINE for availability and reservations. You must have a valid event ticket for the night of the reservation.

…Disney Vacation Members visiting Luxury of Time by Diamonds International shop in the Town Center neighborhood of Disney Springs that show a valid Membership Card and photo ID when trying on any watch in the store receive a complimentary watch (while supplies last and, almost certainly, not the one being tried on). DVC Members also receive 10% discount off of designer watches and 20% off fine jewelry regular prices at the store as part of the 2017 "Membership Magic Ever After" celebration.

…Speaking of DVC Members, there is a Moonlight Magic event for registered Members and their guests at Typhoon Lagoon water park this coming Wednesday night. If you plan to be there and would like to say hello (as I am registered to attend), please let me know. DVC is offering all Members the opportunity to purchase special teal-colored T-shirts featuring Donald Duck celebrating Moonlight Magic at Typhoon Lagoon. More details on this page of the DVC website (DVC Member login may be required). The first Typhoon Lagoon event was June 23; in addition to Wednesday's sold out event, there are also (sold out) events scheduled on the nights July 5 and 13 and shirts are expected to be offered for sale at those time too.

…As we reach the halfway point for 2017, Disney has begun to announce vacation packages for 2018. New to the Disney Dining Plan, in particular, is the addition of beer, wine and cocktail options for Guests 21 and older. Check out the details on this page of DisneyWorld.com.

…For many of us that follow Disney Parks news, we are expecting many additional details to emerge at the upcoming Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim next month about Disney's plans for that major overhaul coming to Epcot that Bob Chapek, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, announced at last November's Destination D: Amazing Adventures Event. To that end, local cable news outlet MyNews13 speculates that a recently-filed permit showing the area between Epcot's France and Morocco pavilions may be related to a rumor that a Florida version of Disneyland Paris' Ratatouille ride may be included in the expansion. Orlando Sentinel noted parking changes that could also be part of the work planned for Epcot. We will report news when we learn it.

…And, finally, Walt Disney World has entered into a three year agreement with the NBA's Orlando Magic basketball team to have the Disney logo appear on team jerseys beginning with the 2017-18 season. A seating area at the Amway Center, home of the Magic, will become known as the Disney Passholder Porch, and Annual Passholders will have opportunities to receive seat upgrades at select Magic home games. Walt Disney World annual passes will also be sold and renewed at Amway Center where purchasers will also receive a Disney-branded Magic jersey. You can read a few more details in an article in Orlando Sentinel.

…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, June 27, 2017 7 / 10
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 7 / 10
Thursday, June 29, 2017 7 / 10
Friday, June 30, 2017 7 / 10
Saturday, July 1, 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)
  • Dapper Day Outing (unofficial events)– November 18, 2017 at Magic Kingdom; 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 – had its final showing on May 11, 2017, and has been replaced by the new fireworks show: Happily Ever After.
  • The Incredibles Super Dance Party – closed. The Rockettower Plaza Stage now hosts "The Cosmic Dance Party."
  • Stitch's Great Escape – often closed on a "seasonal" basis. As of this posting, it is again open for the peak Summer season.
  • The Hall of Presidents – closed to add an audio-animatronic figure of the 45th president of the United States. Now expected to reopen "Late 2017."

Epcot

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

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away (stage show) – My Disney Experience next lists performance times starting on July 2, 2017.

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 – Closed April 24, 2017. Will reopen in Fall 2017 with a new concept from James Beard award-winner and Top Chef Master Tony Mantuano.
  • Disney Quest – scheduled to be closed July 3, 2017, to make way for The NBA Experience.

Around Disney Springs (and around town), there is a final advertising push underway as DisneyQuest approaches its final day of operation, July 2. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil – ends its run on December 31, 2017. Next use of the theater on the West Side TBA.
  • Wolfgang Puck Grand Café – closes its West Side location on August 1, 2017. A new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill has been announced for Town Center and is expected to open in 2018.

Resorts

  • Caribbean Beach – Centertown, the resort's marketplace, will be expanded with new waterfront dining and retail shopping areas. The project is expected to be completed 2019-20. Due to the work, the following food service and retail locations are closed:
    • Old Port Royale Food Court
    • Shutters at Old Port Royale
    • Banana Cabana Pool Bar
    • Calypso Trading Post
  • 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. Construction around some of the bus stops started earlier this month. 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. The opening of Disney Vacation Club's Copper Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is expected July 17. In the meantime, Roaring Fork is also 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

DisneyWorld.com has released its Fall 2017 Free Dining offer. Get a free dining plan when you purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day Magic Your Way room and ticket package with a Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus Option. Book through July 7, 2017.

2017 Travel Dates

  • August 21 - September 30
  • November 14 - 20
  • November 25 - 27
  • December 8 - 23

Packages require advance reservations and include:

  • Room
  • Theme Park ticket(s) with Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus (Minimum 2-Days required)
  • Dining Plan (Disney Dining for Deluxe & Deluxe Villas; Quick Service for Value & Moderate Resorts)

Details & Restrictions:

  • Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use
  • Children ages 3-9 must choose from children's menu (if available)
  • Rooms allocated for the offer are limited.
  • Some table-service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.
  • Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.
  • Excludes alcoholic beverages and gratuities.
  • Everyone in the same room must be on the same package.
  • Offer excludes campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney's Art of Animation Resort Little Mermaid Standard Rooms and Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows.

Additional restrictions and exclusions may apply. Thanks to Mary Kraemer of Masterpiece Travels for the tip.


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

Visit the Annual Passholder website for information, 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

Rates for Florida Residents starting as low as $108 per night, plus tax are available for a stay in a standard room at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, most Sunday through Thursday nights from June 11 through August 31, 2017. Other discounted rates and Resorts may be available from June 6 through August 31, 2017. Book through August 30, 2017. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for more information and reservations.

Florida Residents can also save 30% on 4 days at the theme parks with a 4-Day Disney Select Ticket. This $54.75 plus tax per day ticket gives you access to one theme park per day for up to 4 days (which do not have to be used consecutively). A 3-Day Disney Select Ticket is also available for $66.34 plus tax per day. Tickets expire 6 months after first use, with the first use on or before December 31, 2018. Proof of Florida Residency is required. More information is available on this page of DisneyWorld.com.

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

Travel Discounts for Canada Residents

Check disneyparks.ca for the latest offers from Disney.

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. Here are the highlights of the 14-night packages during summer 2018 holidays and all include Memory Maker photos, 14-Day Ultimate Ticket for the price of a 7-Day ticket (including Fastpass+), and 12-month DisneyLife subscription:

Disney Value Resorts

  • Disney's All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney's All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney's All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney's Pop Century Resort

Packages from £809 GBP

Also includes:

  • Free Breakfasts

Disney Moderate Resorts

  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney's Port Orleans Resorts
  • The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

Packages from £1156 GBP

Also includes:

  • Free Quick-Service Dining Plan
  • $200 Disney Spending Money*

Disney Deluxe Resorts

  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney's Beach Club Resort
  • Disney's Boardwalk Inn
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Packages from £1572 GBP

Also includes:

  • Free Disney Dining Plan
  • $200 Disney Spending Money*

Disney Deluxe Villas

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village
  • Disney's Beach Club Villas
  • Disney's Boardwalk Villas
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Packages from £1331 GBP

Also includes:

  • Free Disney Dining Plan
  • $200 Disney Spending Money*

Sample package prices are for 2 adults and 2 children (aged 3-9) , including a two-week stay, arriving 27th May, 2018 - 5th September, 2018, for new bookings only, subject to availability. Additional terms and conditions on Disney's U.K. website, but a few more details follow.

Free Dine and Free Breakfast Offers are available to book 6 April, 2017 - 6 July, 2017, for selected arrivals 1 January - 18 March, 2018 and 6 April - 30 November, 2018. Minimum length of stay is 5 consecutive nights, and a maximum of 21 consecutive nights. Dining plan must be selected for all members of the traveling party aged 3 and over. In addition to the minimum stay, Disney Tickets for the whole party must be booked to qualify. Gratuities are not included.

*$200 Disney Spending Money Offer is available to book 6 April, 2017 - 6 July, 2017, for selected arrivals 1 January - 18 March, 2018 and 6 April - 30 November 2018. Booking must include 5 nights minimum stay at a Moderate Resort or participating Deluxe Resort or Villa. Spending money will be in the form of a Disney Gift Card valid at Walt Disney World and select U.S. Disney Stores only.

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


 

Comments

  1. By Dave1313

    Seeing the note about the new paint on what is left of the former Streets of America made me smile.

    When I was there in May the construction seemed like it was possibly getting ready to remove these last memories of the area(I recall seeing well into the structure/facade from the reverse view over near I think Sci-Fi Dine-In). It will be great if they survive as a small reminder of the history of the area.

    Also love the SW Land pics!

    Thanks for the continuing excellent reports!

  2. Discuss this article on MousePad.