Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 5-10, 2017by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 5–10, 2017
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | runDisney Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions
Writer's note: Hopefully, for my fellow Americans, you have had a fun and safe Independence Day celebration. Belated Canada Day greetings to our friends North of the Border. And to our readers everywhere else, hope you are having a good July too.
Like many celebrations in the Parks, some Disney PhotoPass Photographers had signs available to pose with for Independence Day throughout the weekend. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
While I had originally intended to have this week's Update posted on Monday (and, depending on how early last week you read the Update, that may have been your expectation too), publication schedules are more complex even on the Internet than just that of a single writer. The upside, of course, is that we have Independence Day celebration photos and video to share now from July 3 and 4. But first, on to the news.
News and Views
The Redhead to Have New Role in Pirates of the Caribbean Attractions | Epcot's 2017 Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages Now Available | Additional Details About The Hall of Presidents Refurbishment Released | Views around the World | One Passholder's Tip | This and That | Crowd Forecast
The Redhead to Have New Role in Pirates of the Caribbean Attractions
For any of our readers that only visit MousePlanet for the latest Walt Disney World Resort Updates, it is possible that you missed the news coming out of Disneyland Paris this past week that will also impact Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. If you have read MousePlanet's previous coverage of this news, feel free to jump to the next story, as the rest of this news item is a repeat of our prior coverage by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, plus a single new photo I added of the scene being changed at Magic Kingdom as it appeared this week. For everyone else, keep reading since "thar be" potentially stormy water ahead!
Disneyland Paris last Thursday announced some changes to its version of the classic Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, which reopens July 24 following refurbishment. Tucked at the bottom of that Disney Parks Blog article was a cannonball of an additional announcement: changes are also coming to the Pirates attractions in Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Concept art shows changes planned for the Disneyland Paris version of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Photo © Disney.
Both attractions are closing for scheduled refurbishment in 2018, reopening with a re-imagined auction scene that features the famous redhead in a brand new role. No longer satisfied to be a wench for the taking, the redhead is joining the ranks of the pirate crew, and helping to conduct an "auction" of goods plundered from the local townspeople.
This change is certain to be met with criticism from die-hard fans who hate to see any changes made to the classic attractions, especially those touched by Walt Disney himself. Disney Legend Marty Sklar, who worked closely with Walt Disney during the earliest days of Disneyland, says the changes are in keeping with Walt's vision of the parks:
"To me, the Imagineers are simply reflecting what Walt started the day Disneyland opened—making changes that create exciting new experiences for our guests. I can't think of a single attraction that has not been enhanced and improved, some over and over again. Change is a 'tradition' at Disneyland that today's Imagineers practice—they learned it from their mentors, many of them Walt's original team of storytellers and designers—the Disney Legends.
"Pirates of the Caribbean has always represented great Disney Park storytelling; it has set the standard for the theme park industry for half a century! But it's a story you can continue to add fun to, with great characters in new 'performances.' That's what the Imagineers have done with this new auction scene—it's like a theatre show with a new act."
In fact, Pirates has been updated several times since first debuting at Disneyland in 1967, and each change has had its share of fans and detractors. Most notorious was the change made to the ride in 1997, in which a scene of pirates chasing women through the town was altered by placing trays of food in the women's hands, thus framing the conflict as one of gluttony rather than lust (the Walt Disney World version of the ride, which opened in 1973, had always featured food).
The current version of Magic Kingdom's Pirates of the Caribbean (shown here on July 1, 2017) like Disneyland's places the redhead in a line of unwilling brides at the pirate auction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The popularity of the theme park ride inspired Walt Disney Pictures to launch a wildly successful film franchise, beginning in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Three years later, Disney brought the story full circle, adding characters from the film franchise to the attraction. Disneyland spokesperson Suzi Brown tells MousePlanet:
"From introducing characters from the film saga, to the technology and story enhancements, changes to our attractions are done in the spirit of moving forward what Walt Disney inspired. We believe the time is right to turn the page to a new story in this scene, consistent with the humorous, adventurous spirit of the attraction."
This brings us to 2018 and the latest change to the iconic ride. Concept art released by Disney shows the banner in the auction scene—which currently reads, "Take a Wench for a Bride"—being replaced with a new banner reading "Surrender Yer Loot." Wealthy townspeople are shown hauling their household treasures to the steps under the watchful eye of the pirates, including a gun-toting redhead.
The famous redhead takes a new role in the updated auction scene in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Photo © Disney.
Kathy Mangum, vice president and executive producer with Walt Disney Imagineering, explains what Imagineers hoped to accomplish with this update.
"Our team thought long and hard about how to best update this scene. Given the redhead has long been a fan favorite, we wanted to keep her as a pivotal part of the story, so we made her a plundering pirate! We think this keeps to the original vision of the attraction as envisioned by Marc Davis, X Atencio and the other Disney legends who first brought this classic to life."
The Disneyland and Walt Disney World attractions will each close in 2018 for this refurbishment, and Disney has not given specific reopening dates.
Epcot's 2017 Candlelight Processional Dining Packages Now Available
Epcot, the festival center of the Walt Disney World Resort, just under two months shy of the earliest ever start of the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, has announced some of the details of the closing festival of 2017: Holidays Around the World at Epcot, November 24 through December 30. In keeping with past celebrations of the winter holidays, America Gardens Theatre on the shore of World Showcase Lagoon will host the thrice nightly Candlelight Processional featuring a celebrity narrator, a 50-piece orchestra, and a mass choir telling the traditional story of Christmas.
Neil Patrick Harris is again scheduled to narrate several nights of performances of The Candlelight Processional. 2016 File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Dining packages of breakfasts starting at $35 plus tax per adult/$21 plus tax per child ages 3-9, and lunch and dinner packages starting at $44 plus tax per adult/$15.50 plus tax per child ages 3-9, are now available for booking, and include a guaranteed seat for each member of your party for one performance of the Candlelight Processional. Dining packages tend to be rather popular, so getting a walk-up seat at a table service restaurant around Epcot tends to be rather rare during the holidays. More information and reservations are on this page of DisneyWorld.com or by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
The currently scheduled narrators are:
- November 24- December 3 – To Be Announced
- December 4-5 – Pat Sajak
- December 6-14 – To Be Announced
- December 15-17 – Trace Adkins
- December 18-21 – Neil Patrick Harris
- December 22-24 – CCH Pounder
- December 25-27 – Jaci Velasquez
- December 28-30 – To Be Announced
Additional Details About The Hall of Presidents Refurbishment Released
Further to our story last week about the extended refurbishment of Hall of Presidents, Disney finally made some public announcements about the "broader range of enhancements" underway in the attraction. In a post to Disney Parks Blog, refuting media reports to the contrary, Disney again confirmed that "President Trump will have a speaking role in The Hall of Presidents, like every president since 1993." Disney also announced that when the new show opens later this year, the theater will include a new sound system, new lighting, and a high-definition projection system in addition to the multi-screen experience like those seen in prior versions of the attraction.
The Hall of Presidents attraction is expected to reopen before the end of 2017. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
As soon as we learn additional details about the new show, we will let you know on our social media outlets and in a future Update.
Views Around the World
As regular readers here know by now, as I visit and take photos in the parks to share in the Views section, I also gather and share bits of news and information in the captions. Even as often as I get over to the Resort, there are constantly "new to me" things to find and share here, and this week that includes the fairly recently begun free open rehearsals over at La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil on The West Side of Disney Springs, a Pleasure Island tribute that I never noticed before, my first-ever visit to Typhoon Lagoon thanks to the Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic event and more. But first, as I mentioned up in the Writer's Note, some highlights of the Fourth of July Celebrations at Epcot.
Fourth of July 2017 at Epcot
The Voices of Liberty performed extended concerts on the America Gardens Theatre stage to celebrate the Fourth of July. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Colonial-era attired Mickey, Goofy, and Donald joined the Voices of Liberty as a fife and drum corps during a Fourth of July Concert. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Enjoy a few minutes of a Voices of Liberty Fourth of July Concert. Video by Alan S. Dalinka,
As evening approached on July 4, The American Adventure exterior was bathed in red, white, and blue light. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
As the sun set on July 4, the sky over Epcot's World Showcase was sort of red, white, and blue too. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
After the conclusion of the regular showing of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, Epcot presented an extended musical and fireworks salute to Independence Day. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Keep an eye on MousePlanet's Facebook page tomorrow for video of the extended Epcot finale.
Special Fourth of July laser projections were shown on Spaceship Earth after Epcot's Independence Day fireworks finale. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Laser projection on Spaceship Earth after the special Fourth of July finale to Illuminations: Reflections of Earth also celebrated American Independence. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
For video of Magic Kingdom's Independence Day fireworks viewed from Disney's Polynesian Village Resort's beach on Seven Seas Lagoon, be sure to continue reading all the way down to One Passholder's Tip.
The construction scrims have been removed over the refreshed facade of the Emporium on Main Street U.S.A. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Further down on Main Street toward Cinderella Castle, however, refurbishment scrims have gone up. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Recently, the hearse disappeared from in front of The Haunted Mansion, though I only noticed this week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Meanwhile, in Fantasyland, Cinderella's carriage appeared over the Independence Day weekend for Disney PhotoPass photo opportunities. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Construction walls for Starlight Cafe in Tomorrowland now extend further down the path toward the bridge to the Central Plaza, but the quick service restaurant remains open (when you follow the signs and cast to whichever doors are currently designated as the entrance). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
New ears-style headbands themed to Magic Kingdom's new "Happily Ever After" are available for sale in the Park for $18.77 plus tax. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Outside Magic Kingdom's parking lot (between the toll plaza and the car care plaza), more vertical supports for the future flyover ramps have been installed. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Painting of the exterior of the Mexico pavilion nearly reached the upper left hand corner of the side of the building facing World Showcase Promenade this week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Construction walls surround part of the front of The American Adventure, but the attraction and the Voices of Liberty continue to perform as always. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Outside the International Gateway, the pavement that (long ago) once served as the Epcot Resorts' tramway is now surrounded by construction walls. It is possible that the work here relates to the construction of the gondola transportation system given some of the permits on file, but there has been no official word by Disney. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Extensive construction is underway along the Buena Vista Drive entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios parking. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
From the pathway between the park and Disney's BoardWalk Resort, we get our now regular look at the construction cranes working on the park's new lands. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
From just outside Star Tours, the latest construction of the building containing the Star Wars AT-ATs is just beyond the newly renamed "Grand Arts Theatre" that is now (still) playing MuppetVision 3D. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The new theater signage gives the home of MuppetVision 3D a new name: Grand Arts Theatre. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
From just beyond the exit of MuppetVision 3D, some of the scope of the building containing the AT-ATs in the future Star Wars land can be seen by looking carefully for the construction workers standing on the steel beams. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Rey from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" made her debut this week in the "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away" show at the re-installed Center Stage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
In the "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away" show, Rey appears during BB-8's scene. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Rey remains on stage through the finale. The re-installed Center Stage provides no better sight lines than before. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
New "Thank You" signs appeared over the park exits this week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
A sign outside La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil advertises "Artists Open Rehearsal" at the theater on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, and theater staff say the plan is to continue them through the end of the show's run at the end of the year. A concession stand was open for food sales during the rehearsal as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
La Nouba open rehearsals, like this one last Friday, are done with the theater work lights turned on. Guests are invited to take photos (without flash), but video recording is prohibited. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
After an open rehearsal, a member of the theater staff conducts a question and answer period with guests; one of the artists (at left) talks about his experiences training and performing. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
As mentioned in "This and That" last week, 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 (like this one shown, 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. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
West Side Boat dock was closed for refurbishment this week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Exterior work on The Edison continues ahead of its expected opening later this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
This portion of the future site of The Edison retains the shape and the interior frame of the former Adventurers Club from the building's Pleasure Island days. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Construction continues next to and under the bridge to the Landing neighborhood (formerly Pleasure Island). The Edison is immediately next to the bridge. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Vertical construction at the future site of Wine Bar George now rises above the construction walls. The venue is expected to open late this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
At Disney's Saratoga Springs just beyond the parking lot on the West Side of Disney Springs, I spotted this familiar Pleasure Island logo atop the Disney Vacation Club sales center. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Pleasure Island logo atop this Saratoga Springs building generally points toward the former site of Pleasure Island. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Across Buena Vista Drive from Disney Springs, next to the Speedway gas station, site work continues for construction of another parking garage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon
Disney Vacation Club scheduled four now sold-out Moonlight Magic events at Typhoon Lagoon this summer for Members and their guests. Tonight is this year's third event. Thursday, July 13, is the final one. Please let us know if you have made it to one of these events in the comments. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The main icon of Typhoon Lagoon sits high above the water park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
During the DVC Moonlight Magic Event I attended on June 28, Genie appeared to join in the fun. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Sebastian was also a special guest at the June 28 DVC Moonlight Magic Event. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Speaking of Disney Vacation Club, the Copper Creek Villas & Cabins addition at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is due to open on July 17. Ahead of that grand opening, the renovations at Roaring Fork (a quick service dining location) were completed this week, including the outdoor seating area. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Roaring Fork inside Disney's Wilderness Lodge reopened this past week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
In addition to counter service dining options, Roaring Fork now has a selection of grab-and-go food items (included also in the refrigerators to the left in the photo). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The landscaping appears largely complete around the Resort as the Copper Creek facilities near their opening. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The new Boulder Ridge Cove pool construction wrapped up and was open to resort guests last week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The new Boulder Ridge Cove pool area is themed as a quarry that has been converted to recreational use that ties in with the extended storytelling of the Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The new Boulder Ridge Cove pool deck includes shaded areas as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Next to the Boulder Ridge Cove pool is the pathway that connects to the Cascade Cabins, the new DVC Copper Creek Cabins that border Bay Lake. MousePlanet will post even more information about Copper Creek after its July 17 grand opening. 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 22
Photography Fun Edition #5: Record video for the screen you want to view it on later!
Shooting video in portrait mode, like this still photo, may look good on your phone, but will leave a lot to be desired if you watch it on most other screens. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The way our smartphones are designed, the natural way to hold it in our hands is with the screen taller than it is wide. This orientation (that reminds people of how we once held calculators) is called "portrait" mode when it comes to taking photos and videos. Portrait mode video will fill the screen of your smartphone (and that of your other viewers), but it will not fill your TV or laptop screen later. You probably have seen videos shot in portrait mode when you watch TV news—the broadcaster usually then fills the rest of the screen either with black bars or some sort of blurred extra image to try to fill your larger viewing area.
If you want to fill the screen with video, you need to rotate your camera so that the image is wider than it is tall. This is traditionally called landscape orientation. A well-framed landscape oriented video shot from most current smartphones (like the iPhone 7 plus that I often use for video) will fill your laptop screen or TV screen when viewed in full screen mode. Try it yourself, you will see the difference. Mileage does not vary here, it is just a matter of preference, though you will hear some folks tell you if you are shooting video in portrait mode that you are "doing it wrong."
Enjoy this video of Disney's Celebrate America! – A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky from Disney's Polynesian Village Resort's beach on Seven Seas Lagoon from July 3 in full screen on a large screen. Video by Alan S. Dalinka
And, on a related note since this was an issue for me just last night during Epcot's presentation of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth (and Fourth of July finale), there is no reason to shoot a fireworks show or any other attraction or theater show at a theme park with your camera's light on. All your light does is light up the folks around you (and annoy folks like me), it does not help your video unless what you want to feature are the people within ten feet of you at most. Please be governed accordingly.
Don't keep it to yourself!
This and That
…Siemens will no longer sponsor attractions around Walt Disney World after its current agreement ends in October. How the end of this sponsorship will affect Spaceship Earth and Illuminations: Reflections of Earth are not known at this time. Siemens also used to sponsor the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights display that was discontinued after the 2015 Holiday Season to make way for the construction of Star Wars Land.
…Retailer UNIQLO at Disney Springs is celebrating its one year anniversary from July 7 to 20 with special events and promotions, including games inspired by those traditionally played at Japanese summer night markets, calligraphy demonstrations, origami lessons, and more. Games run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.: fishing for prizes on the first floor; spin to win discounts and candy on the second; on the weekends: calligraphy demonstrations on the first floor from 12-5 p.m.; origami demonstrations on the second floor from 12-7 p.m.
…While we are talking about Disney Springs, Disney Parks Blog provided a rather extensive post this week about some of the summertime dining opportunities around the "neighborhoods" from additional shade, more live music, and new frozen drinks at Dockside Margaritas, to more air-conditioned dining space on the second level of Splitsville Luxury Lanes, to new food offerings at The BOATHOUSE, B.B. Wolf's Sausage Co., Chef Art Smith's Homecomin', and STK Orlando, to new bourbon flights at The Polite Pig. In another Disney Parks Blog post, you can read up on the details of the "Beat the Heat DJ Dance Party" at the Marketplace, Ghiradeli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the "Summer of Love," Amorette's Patisserie's new Sparkling Hibiscus Lemonade, latest beverage offerings at Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar and more, as well as some of the retail promotions being offered for a limited time.
…For DVC Members, as we mentioned on our Facebook and Twitter feeds, DVC is hosting Moonlight Magic events for registered Members and their guests at Disney's Animal Kingdom on September 6 and 13. I hope you registered quickly, as both dates are already sold out. One more set of Events is scheduled at Epcot on December 4 and 11, so keep your eyes open for the registration window (which tends to be even earlier if you have a DVC Resort reservation).
…ABC-TV's "The Chew" will return to Epcot to record shows during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival on October 4-6. The shows are scheduled to air October 9-13 (check your local listings). During the run of the Festival, the "Earth Eats Marketplace, Inspired by The Chew" will include 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 Carmel Drizzle. Free tickets to shows are expected to become available by visiting 1iota.com soon. For now, you can enter The Chew's Magical Culinary Adventure Sweepstakes Presented by Hidden Valley to attempt to win a trip for four to Walt Disney World to attend one of the shows and more (see the rules on that site).
…On July 29, Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park is hosting a Club Penguin Island Event with themed activities including a penguin splash competition, coloring contests and a water balloon toss. Additional details are expected on Disney Parks Blog soon. Club Penguin Island is a game available for $4.99/month on the App Store or Google Play.
…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."
Join Our Networks
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 November 24 to December 30
- Candlelight Processional at Epcot –Dates November 24 to December 30
2018 Resort Events
- Epcot International Festival of the Arts – "Early" 2018
- 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – "Spring" 2018
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.
- Virtual Running Shorts – June 1-August 31, 2017 (Virtual). Registration now open. (June event is sold out.)
No proof of time required.
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 2–5, 2017. Registration open (most events sold out).
Proof of time must be submitted by August 1, 2017.
- 25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 3-7, 2018. Registration now open (many events sold out).
Proof of time deadline October 3, 2017.
- 10th Anniversary Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 22–25, 2018. All events sold out.
The runDisney website says to check with Travel Providers and Charity Groups for additional registration opportunities.
- Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend – April 19-22, 2018. Registration now open (10K is sold out).
Proof of time deadline is January 16, 2018.
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – TBD
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.
- 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 – New show opening "Late 2017."
- Mission: SPACE – June 5, 2017 through late Summer, 2017
Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Other than venues closed to make way for Star Wars Land construction, no new known closures at this time
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- No known closures at this time
- Runoff Rapids. Expected completion: TBA.
- No known closures at this time
- 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 – Closed as of 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.
- 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.
- 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 grand opening of Disney Vacation Club's Copper Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge is set for July 17. The Boulder Ridge Cove pool has opened replacing the former Hidden Springs pool. Additional amenities have begun opening ahead of the debut of the Copper Creek additions.
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.
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:
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.
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
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
10% off select recreation experiences
Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of the recreation experiences listed below:
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:
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.
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
The website GetWestLondon.co.uk has an updated list of some of the offers available to folks planning ahead to holiday at Walt Disney World Resort from the United Kingdom.
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:
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!