Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 3-9, 2017

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 3–9, 2017

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

Writer's note: I am saddened to once again say that horrific World events dominate the news this week rather than fun and exciting Walt Disney World Resort news and events, but I do have to say that our hearts go out to both Puerto Rico and Las Vegas and those affected by the very different tragic events that happened in those places. Personally, I have visited the Las Vegas Strip many times, and feel almost as seasoned a visitor there as I was to Walt Disney World (at least before I became a permanent resident of Central Florida). Hopefully, the things we have to share about Walt Disney World Resort this week here on MousePlanet can help move folks toward the "great, big, beautiful tomorrow, just a dream away!"


News and Views

Epcot Celebrates 35 Years | BaseLine Tap House Opens in the New Grand Avenue Area of Disney's Hollywood Studios | Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Redesigned Interiors Complete | Remember Me! Exhibit Installed Inside Epcot's Mexico Pavilion | Epcot Concerts & Candlelight Calendar | Views around the World | One Passholder's Tip | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Epcot Celebrates 35 Years

EPCOT Center opened on October 1, 1982. On Sunday, the park—now known simply as Epcot—celebrated its 35th anniversary with special events around the park and, of course, special food, merchandise, and, yes, fireworks too.


A "Pop-up" shop of Epcot 35 merchandise was set up inside the otherwise closed Innoventions West building in Future World. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A selection of Epcot 35 merchandise was available only on October 1 in the Pop-up shop. Other anniversary merchandise will be available for an unspecified additional time. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A special pin was created to commemorate Epcot's anniversary. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Guests visiting Epcot on October 1 were able to get a commemorative Epcot guidemap and times guide at the Main Entrance, International Gateway, and Guest Relations. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The main festivities were scheduled to begin at 10:01 a.m. on Sunday at the Fountain View stage in Future World. A very large crowd filled the plaza between the 9 a.m. rope-drop and the scheduled beginning of the ceremony. Though we know Disney does not actually control the weather, not long after rope-drop, a single rainstorm cell seemly parked over Future World for more than a half an hour. As the scheduled start time approached, some blue skies could be seen overhead and, in fact, it stopped raining just about on schedule—just before 10 am. After just a minimal delay to allow cast members to dry the stage, the celebration ceremony included performances by Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty, two acts that have performed in the park since day one (Mariachi Cobre even traces its history back to the Magic Kingdom in 1971, and some of its performers to Disneyland as far back as 1969).


A parade of cast members saluting the pavilions of Epcot walked in front of the Fountain View stage while the theme music from the Parade of Nations (and later Parade of Dreams) played. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


In addition to rain, unfortunately, our Live stream of the ceremony experienced some technical difficulties as well. This video of the ceremony, attempts to resolve nearly all of those "Live" difficulties. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


The weather cooperated for the ceremony honoring the 35th Anniversary of Epcot's opening. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

After the official park celebration at the fountain, Disney D23's Fanniversary Celebration saluted the park with a sold-out event in World Showplace featuring presentations about the park by current leadership and cast members, at least one Disney Legend (Tony Baxter), Imagineers, and historians. We will provide a full wrap-up of the highlights in an upcoming article. If you were following us on Twitter you saw a few of the "fun" facts we learned in the event, like that the animatronic Three Caballeros that now perform in the Mexico pavilion are not only older than Epcot (having been moved in to the pavilion after a lengthy run in Tokyo Disneyland following their initial performances in the early years of Magic Kingdom), they were on display for press and government officials in Orlando as far back as 1969.


Inside the World Showplace, Disney D23 presented its Fanniversary Celebration of Epcot's 35th Anniversary. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Diana Brost, Tony Baxter, and Jason Grandt presented EPCOT 35: 35 Things You Didn't Know at the D23 Fanniversary. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


One of the "35 Things You Didn't Know" was that an early name considered for theme park which became Epcot was "CONCEPT." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


D23 Fanniversary attendees had the opportunity to shop in a "Pop-up" shop too. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Like the morning celebration that was threatened by rain until just before its scheduled time, the evening's presentation of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth with a special fireworks finale was threatened with significant storms that fortunately never made their way all the way across from the Atlantic Coast to reach World Showcase. Although rather windy, Epcot concluded its first day of its 36th year with a spectacle.


Illuminations: Reflections of Earth concluded with a special fireworks finale which we presented Live on our Facebook page. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


Spaceship Earth cupcakes have been created to celebrate Epcot's 35th Anniversary. Members of the media got to sample them at a dessert party before the fireworks. Guests can purchase them at the Fountain View (Starbucks) in Future World. Additional themed specialty cupcakes are available at Norway and at Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Except for D23 announcing details of some of its planned events for 2018, including the Walt Disney World highlights we discuss in the This and That section below, the event did not provide us with any "breaking news" or additional details about the major Epcot reimagining that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Bob Chapek first mentioned at D23 Destination D last November and then provided some additional details at D23 Expo 2017 in July. Notwithstanding any of the rumors that are out there, we have not received official confirmation of any additional details as of publication time.

As we mentioned last week, October 1 marks the start of a new fiscal year for The Walt Disney Company as a whole, and the 46th Anniversary of the entire Walt Disney World Resort, Magic Kingdom, Disney's Contemporary Resort, and Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. The start of a new year has resulted in some changes to Passholder discounts and such, so if you are interested, be sure to review the Discounts section of the Update as well.

BaseLine Tap House Opens in the New Grand Avenue Area of Disney's Hollywood Studios

On Friday, Disney's Hollywood Studios opened its new Grand Avenue area in the portion of the former Streets of America's New York Street that was not demolished to make way for the future Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land a little further down the "street" past Muppet-Vision 3D in what is now called the Grand Arts Theatre. The Grand Avenue area is intended to capture "the spirit of present-day Downtown Los Angeles," and the newly repainted and rethemed building facades there represent its office buildings, warehouses, and loft apartments. There are plenty of new themed details to explore in the storefronts, though only the new BaseLine Tap House is open for business to guests.


The Grand Avenue area includes a portion of the former Streets of America area of Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Details are apparent on the storefronts. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


On Friday, September 29, the Grand Avenue area opened, including the new BaseLine Tap House. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Muppets Courtyard next to Grand Avenue is now named Grand Park. It is a rare nod to "the present" at Disney's Hollywood Studios: the sign says it was established in 2017. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Immediately next door to the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant, in the former Writer's Stop space, now sits the brand new BaseLine Tap House. From my brief daytime visit on Friday, and from a friend of MousePlanet's attendance at an evening media event, the place is accurately described by Disney as "a lively corner pub specializing in California beers and wines." The brick building is themed to reflect its Imagineered backstory as the former home of the Los Angeles-based Figueroa Printing Company, "a mom-and-pop print house that had ties to the Disney Studios in nearby Burbank." It is filled with all the sorts of little details that can keep your eyes (and even your ears) occupied should you wander beyond the beverages and snacks.


Details on the exterior brick wall include the Hollywood Tower Hotel, located over on Sunset Boulevard. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Details may even include a Hidden Mickey. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Inside BaseLine there is limited seating; there is also limited seating outside. Photo by a friend of MousePlanet.

Given its proximity to the future Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the entire area likely will become the future home of a lengthy queue area to enter the neighboring land upon its 2019 debut. For folks visiting BaseLine Tap House, there is also an outdoor tree-shaded terrace, with tables.

The BaseLine Tap House menu includes California craft ales, lagers, and cider, along with California wines on tap and specialty cocktails. A non-alcoholic lemonade and soda on tap are also available. Snacks include a Bavarian pretzel with mustard and beer-cheese fondue, spiced almonds, and a charcuterie board featuring California cheeses. It opens daily at 11 a.m.


Select your own beer flight, and it will be accompanied by printers cards describing your selections. Photo by a Friend of MousePlanet.


Menu boards show the various selections. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Menu boards are themed to the former print shop of the venue's backstory. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Pretzel and beer cheese is one of the available snacks. Photo by a Friend of MousePlanet.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Redesigned Interiors Complete

In what it calls the "largest redesign in the resort's history," the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort just completed its $140 million, three-year refresh of its guest rooms, public spaces, and meeting spaces. The easiest to see by the public is the complete redesign of the Dolphin Resort's lobby, which includes enhanced lighting, more seating, and its grand chandelier. The chandelier reaches down more than 20 feet from the ceiling and is comprised of nearly 1,000 strands of approximately 10,000 individual crystals suspended above the iconic Dolphin fountain. The lobby also includes the new Phins bar, and the new quick service dining venue, fuel.


Dolphin Lobby renovations are complete, highlighted by the grand chandelier . Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Phins bar is located in the Dolphin Lobby. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


fuel is the new quick service location located just off the Dolphin Lobby, opposite Phins bar. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Swan's lobby has also been refreshed with a new modern color scheme. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

All 2,267 guest rooms in the two buildings were refreshed with new interior designs drawing inspiration from the late Michael Graves original designs for the Resort. As is the trend in better hotels around the world these days, rooms now also feature additional electrical outlets, USB ports for charging, and high-definition televisions. The resort expects to roll out new interactive TV software in the near future, which will not only allow guest checkout, but will allow guests to stream from their personal devices to their in-room TV.

The Resort's meeting space now includes a new 2,800 square-foot space named Lake View along the resort's private lake. All of the resort's 332,000 square feet of meeting space has been refreshed, and the technology upgraded to include electronic reader boards, high-density WiFi, and more.

Outside, the pool area will soon receive cabanas furnished with lounge seating, tables, fans, refrigerators, and televisions for rental. Although we have not seen pricing information, the resort says that cabana rental will include "full food and beverage service."

While located on Walt Disney World property, adjacent to Disney's Yacht Club and Disney's BoardWalk, and within walking distance (or Friendship boat service) of both Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin are not Disney owned nor operated resorts. The resorts are currently within the Marriott International portfolio (particularly of interest to those of you with a preferred travel status within that hotel and resort group). Nevertheless, guests staying at the Swan and Dolphin enjoy some (but not all) of the benefits of other guests at Walt Disney World Resort, including: Extra Magic Hours, Disney Transportation, Character Dining, Advance Tee Times, Complimentary Delivery of purchases made in the parks, complimentary parking at the parks, and the ability to make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days in advance of arrival.


Perhaps convention specific, but new graphics mark the buildings of the Swan and Dolphin Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A new way-finding sign with similar graphics has been installed between the Epcot area resorts. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Read more about the Swan and Dolphin at swandolphin.com.


The frame yourself in front of the resort sign stands near the bridge that leads from the Swan and Dolphin Resort to the BoardWalk. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Remember Me! Exhibit Installed Inside Epcot's Mexico Pavilion

Although many guests rush past it on their way to Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros or the taquillas or their dining reservations at San Angel Inn Restaurante, the entry of the pyramid-shaped Mexico pavilion at Epcot includes a gallery exhibiting the works of prominent Mexican and Mexican-American artists. The newest installation, is entitled "Remember Me!" La Celebración del Día de Muertos (the celebration of the Day of the Dead).


The Remember Me! exhibit is inside the pyramid at Mexico. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Explanations of the exhibit are posted on a sign near the entrance. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The new exhibit includes artwork relevant to this cultural celebration, particularly focusing on skeletons and skulls. Many are pre-Hispanic items on loan from museums and show the long history of the customs.


Mexican art is on display. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

We noticed several empty spots in the exhibit that included signs that indicated that additions are coming soon. Given Disneyland's recent installation of an area themed to the upcoming Disney-Pixar animated film Coco, which deals with a similar subject matter, we expect that pieces related to the film may be installed soon as well. Disney Parks Blog says that the centerpiece of the gallery will be installed this week, which will include a sculpture group entitled "Bridal Couple" created by a father and son in Mexico City, with pieces ranging from 2 1/2 to 10 feet tall.


The empty centerpiece spot will soon be the home of large sculptures made by Mexican artists. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot Concerts & Candlelight Calendar

For those planning to visit Epcot through the end of the year, our interactive calendar lists the upcoming scheduled events at Epcot's America Gardens Theatre from the remaining scheduled Eat to the Beat Concerts and the announced narrators for Candlelight Processional. We make no guarantee of the accuracy of the information; it is provided "As-Is, Where-Is," use at your own discretion. You can interact with the Google-hosted calendar below or now add it to any Calendar that supports the iCal format by copying this link. Given the effort it took to create it, we do respectfully request that you do not post our entire calendar on another site without first asking our permission. We do not know why Walt Disney World Resort has not created this sort of functionality outside of the My Disney Experience app itself.


Country and Western performer Mark Wills was the Eat to the Beat Concert performer on October 1. Fun fact: he has been an Annual Passholder! Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

If you like our calendar feature and would like to see us to add more information to it in the future, let us know with a Facebook "Like" or share it with your Facebook friends. Below the calendar, you can now provide us with your comments via your Facebook account if you are logged in to it!

Facebook Likes, Shares and Comments are encouraged!

 
For our Epcot Events Calendar:

 

 

Views Around the World

Last Wednesday, we were invited to attend the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Media Day that was delayed by Hurricane Irma, where we were able to sample several of the foods and beverages offered at this year's Festival and hear from some of the park leadership responsible for organizing the event. Our Views this week include some of the highlights we have not brought you before. We also share a few other places around the Resort with, as always, bits of additional news in the captions.

Epcot


This not-at-all-hidden Remy, the rat from Disney-Pixar's "Ratatouille," was available for photos on Media Day. You can search for him all over World Showcase and, if you like, purchase the map at select locations in the park to help you search and then collect a souvenir prize. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie met the media dressed for the Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A special chocolate milk flavored stout was specially created for this year's Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


One of the more disappointing dishes at the Media Day tasting was the crispy chicken. It was sort of tough and chewy. (I have not sampled it from the Farm Fresh Marketplace where you will find it in the Festival.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The truly surprising highlight of the Media Day tasting (and then confirmed with a visit to the Africa Marketplace on Sunday) was the Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew with Vegan Yogurt and Quinoa. It was the sort of dish that I usually would avoid based on the description, and took only a tentative spoonful of to taste before enjoying it so much that I finished the entire portion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


This wine available at the Spain Marketplace is flavored with fruit, making it refreshing on a hot Central Florida afternoon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


At the Ireland Marketplace, the warm chocolate pudding came highly recommended by friends (and I enjoyed it). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Curated pairings are available around the Festival. At the Cheese studio, specific wines and cheeses are paired for your enjoyment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The gift shop at Test Track has been renamed: TestTrack SIMPorium. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As guests leave the ride, walk through the showroom, and approach the TestTrack SIMPorium, the new "Stat Station" allows guests to again view the SIM Car they designed before riding. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


For $6.99, you may now purchase a card displaying the statistics for your SIMCar, an image of your design, and additional personalization. The card will be printed at the cash register upon your payment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


After learning about it in the D23 Fanniversary Celebration, I spotted this scene at the model railroad next to the Germany pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Mostly Kosher is scheduled to appear at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction continues right next to the main entrance to the Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Last week we saw how extensive the new Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster will be from the model at Walt Disney Presents. Now we see some of it from atop the Hollywood Tower Hotel (Tower of Terror). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Renovations continue at Echo Lake. Last week we reported that additional Christmas decor will be installed in this area this year as well. Panoramic Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom


The new green courtesy tram now has a newly designed passenger car paint scheme too (look for the retro logo). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Road Construction


Flyover construction is well underway at the corner of Osceola Parkway and Victory Way. 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 (often weekly) tip at a time.

One Passholder's Tip #30
Follow MousePlanet on Facebook and Twitter!


Folks who received their buttons at our D23 Expo booth can continue to show they are following MousePlanet with a virtual button on Facebook. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

If you want the latest news about the Walt Disney World Parks from MousePlanet, you really should be following us on Facebook and Twitter, as that is where we do our Live broadcasts from the Parks and that is where we provide the latest news. Just this weekend, for example, as I mentioned above, we provided Live coverage of the Epcot 35th Anniversary celebrations (to the extent technology cooperated) on Facebook, and we provided "fun" facts about Epcot's 35th Anniversary on Twitter. In fact, for the "foodies" amongst you, we even provided an almost too-pretty to eat Epcot 35 cupcake over on our Instagram as well as our Facebook page.


Sure, technology does not always cooperate even in 2017, but you can learn things there from us that you may not get anywhere else. Of course, even if you do not "follow" us there, clicking the links to our social media pages (or creating your own bookmarks for them) also provides you access. As always, your mileage may vary, and please be governed accordingly. You can try out using the virtual "I Follow MousePlanet Button" with the camera on your mobile device after following this link.

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

 

This and That

…Disney Vacation Club announced that it will continue to operate its Member Lounge at Epcot (upper level of the Imagination Pavilion in Future World) throughout 2018. Members must have their Membership Card (actual or virtual) and a matching photo ID for admission with up to 5 guests per Card. The Lounge is open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and capacity is limited.

…Disney D23: The Official Disney Fan Club announced during its Fanniversary celebration of Epcot's 35th Anniversary on Sunday that it will hold a special celebration for Disney's Animal Kingdom's 20th Anniversary with an in-park event next April. It also announced that Destination D: Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse will be held at Disney's Contemporary Resort next November saluting Mickey's 90th. In between, the club will invite its members to experience Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios and will bring back its "Sip & Stroll" and holiday events at Walt Disney World. For the latest details and for its events at other locations around the world, check out D23.com.

…Disney Parks Merchandise introduced the latest addition to the "Dream Big, Princess" Collection by Dooney & Bourke with the release on September 30 of new Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs handbags in Uptown Jewelers at Magic Kingdom. Many bags in the Collection have been rather popular and can sell out at any time. Additional locations around Walt Disney World Resort will carry the Collection in the future, as well as locations at Disneyland, ShopDisney.com, and the Shop Disney Parks app. Read more about the Snow White bags on Disney Parks Blog.

…ABC-TV's The Chew will be recording episodes October 4-6 at the World Showcase Plaza in connection with the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The episodes will air next week, so check your local listings. MousePlanet has been invited to attend a recording on October 4, and we will provide some additional details about the show we attend on social media and in next week's Update. Episodes of the syndicated Wheel of Fortune will be recorded at Epcot later this month and we will provide additional details about those episodes in a future Update.


The Chew will record episodes later this week for broadcast next week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…The "boos" serving establishments at Disney Springs want you to know about some of the fall cocktails on their menus. Featuring flavor combinations like cinnamon, ginger, and spiced apple, to butterscotch, caramel, and pumpkin, these are some of the adult beverages you can find now:

  • Ginger Snap - Morimoto Asia
    Knob creek rye and old camp pecan whiskey shaken and strained over ice then dusted with ginger snap cookie
  • Ochiba Punch - Morimoto Asia
    Ketel one vodka and apple cider with a blood orange puree and house made chai syrup, topped with a spiced apple
  • Nashi Pear Almond Sour - Morimoto Asia
    Grey goose pear, lazzaroni amaretto and fresh squeezed lemon juice served chilled over ice and topped with an amaretto foam and citrus cherry skewer
  • Bitter Harvest - Morimoto Asia
    A complex blend of flor de cana rum, courvoisier vsop, punt e mes, giffard ginger, served over ice and garnished with fresh lemon and mint
  • Southern Sangria – Paddlefish
    Medley Bros. bourbon, peach liqueur, Tempranillo and seasonal fruit
  • Spiced Caramel Apple Martini - Raglan Road
    Calvados, Butterscotch Schnapps, freshly muddled apple, Magners Irish Cider, and Hershey’s caramel syrup with a sugar rim
  • Double Down - STK
    Woodford Reserve, Simple Syrup, Lemon Juice, Egg Whites, Pinot Noir float

…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 email 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, October 3, 2017 3 / 10
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 4 / 10
Thursday, October 5, 2017 4 / 10
Friday, October 6, 2017 5 / 10
Saturday, October 7, 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 email (link).

2017 Resort Events

  • Star Wars Experiences – Opened December 1, 2015 (ongoing)
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party – October 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29, 31; November 1
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Opened August 31 - November 13, 2017.
  • Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – October 27–28, 2017
  • Holidays at Walt Disney World –Starts November 9
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – November 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 26, 28;
       December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22
  • Dapper Day Outing (unofficial events) – November 18, 2017 at Magic Kingdom; November 19, 2017 at Epcot
  • Star Wars: Galactic Nights – December 16, 2017
  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (formerly known as Holidays Around the World) –Dates November 19 to December 30
  • Candlelight Processional at Epcot –Dates November 24 to December 30

2018 Resort Events

  • Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom – January 19, 26 & 30; February 8 & 15; March 1 & 8.
  • Epcot International Festival of the Arts – "Early" 2018
  • MouseAdventure (unofficial event) – March 3, 2018. See mouseadventure.com for more information.
  • 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. All 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

  • Splash Mountain – closed for refurbishment.
  • The Hall of Presidents – New show opening "Late 2017."
  • Stitch's Great Escape – closed a "seasonal" basis.


Stitch's Great Escape appears to be back on "seasonal" status. The attraction is still listed in the My Disney Experience App, but its operating status was not reflected on Monday. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot

  • Ellen's Energy Adventure at Universe of Energy – Closed August 13, 2017, to make way for a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction in approximately 2021.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • The Great Movie Ride – Closed August 13, 2017, to make way for Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway at a date to be announced.

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 as Terralina Crafted Italian in Fall 2017, a new concept from James Beard award-winner and Top Chef Master Tony Mantuano and Chef Justin Plank.
  • 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 – closed its West Side location on August 1, 2017. A new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is under construction int Town Center area 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. The resort also plans to refurbish current resort rooms and transform some of its landscape. The project is expected to be completed 2019-20.

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

Memory Maker pre-arrival discount

Disney's PhotoPass service provides a discount on Disney Memory Maker pre-arrival packages. For $199 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 $169, a $30 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

NOTE: ONLY THE 20% PASSHOLDER DINING DISCOUNTS FOR THE 45th ANNIVERSARY OF WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT HAVE BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH DECEMBER 30, 2017. OTHER DISCOUNTS AND BENEFITS HAVE EXPIRED OR CHANGED AS OF OCTOBER 1.

For the most up-to-date list of locations offering dining discounts to Annual Passholders, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com. Be aware that dining locations that previously were participating in the 20% discount celebrating the 45th Anniversary (excluding alcoholic beverages, tax, and gratuity), have announced that they will continue to do so through December 23, 2017. Many other dining locations offer Passholders 10% discounts during some or all meal periods (also excluding alcoholic beverages, tax and gratuity). The special 30% discount offered at several dining locations during limited hours has ended.

We have received conflicting information regarding the continuation of merchandise discounts. The latest information on this page of DisneyWorld.com lists discounts at many merchandise locations across Walt Disney World Resort, including many locations that continue to show 20% discounts off regularly priced merchandise. However, we received several reports on October 1, that some locations were now only providing 10% discounts to Passholders. We will seek out clarification for a future Update.

We cannot confirm whether Magic Strollers, "a Disney featured stroller provider," is continuing to honor its $5 discount on stroller rental when staying at a Disney Resort Hotel and using coupon code WDWAP17 to arrange your rental. It is no longer listed on the Passholder website. Check directly with the provider.

Visit the DisneyWorld.com Special Offers page (filtered for Passholders) for information, or call 407-939-7676 to book by phone.

Additional information about available "Passholder Extras" are available here.

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

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil

Active and retired U.S. Military personnel presenting valid ID can save to 25% on tickets to La Nouba through December 16 for tickets purchased at the theater box office located on the West Side of Disney Springs.

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

Florida Residents can enjoy room rates starting as low as $85/night (plus tax) for standard rooms at Disney's All-Star Resorts, most Sunday through Thursday nights from October 29 to December 9, 2017. Discounts are available at other resorts starting as soon as October 9 through December 9. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for availability and pricing, or call your travel agent.

Florida Residents can save on 4 days at the theme parks with a 4-Day Disney Select Ticket. This $55.75 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.

The La Nouba "Florida Resident Family Fun Pack" is back. As its final performance of La Nouba approaches on December, Cirque du Soleil is offering Florida resident ticket deals for its least expensive seats: $96.75 for 3 tickets; $129 for 4 tickets. Offer expires on December 16, 2017 and resident ID is required. Discounts may also be available for premium seat categories. Tickets and information on Cirque Du Soleil's La Nouba webpage.

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.

You can see the latest offers for U.K. residents on Disney World's U.K. packages website.

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


Comments

  1. By Dave1313

    Nice write up as always. I was sorry I missed the 35th ceremony at Fountain of Nations live (I was at Epcot all day on 10/1, but got myself into the "I Was There" line right near the lockers right around 9 AM, and by the time I realized how slow that line would be (we were nearly inside the building when the ceremony started), the crowd for the ceremony was rumored to be all the way to the lagoon). I decided to stick in the line I was in rather than leave to get a very far away view for the ceremony and then get back in the "I Was There" line again later(while it was likely quicker, I think te end of that line was still nearly as far back as the lockers at 7PM). Aside from the early rainstorm you mentioned, I was glad to see the weather hold out for most of the rest of the day.

    There is a picture mis-post for the Germany Train caption, it repeats the Tony Baxter pic from the D23 event shown earlier in the write up.

    I was very saddened to learn during this trip when talking to a CM that apparently the Germany Train exhibit is not likely to be around for too much longer. I don't know if this was publicly covered anywhere recently or not, but I was not aware of it. (I realize it's not as much of a big deal as major attractions like GMR or UoE closure, but I am a train nut and will miss it very much). I had started to talk to the CM after he was there fixing a temporary derailment to compliment him and/or whomever in the park was responsible for what I considered a great improvement in the display recently. For my last two trips (May and just now) I was very happy to see actual full trains running in the display rather than maybe a few stand alone engines running the loops(which as a still "new-ish" park visitor since only 2012 is all I had ever experienced most times before at this display). I also mentioned to the CM that I was feeling positive that the improvement was hopefully a good sign that the trains had a future (assuming based on the apparent increase in effort to keep it more interesting). That was when he let me know they were at some point going away. I made sure to linger a bit and take some more photos/video of the layout before leaving since it may have been the last time I will ever see it.

  2. By asdhollywood

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    There is a picture mis-post for the Germany Train caption, it repeats the Tony Baxter pic from the D23 event shown earlier in the write up.

    I was very saddened to learn during this trip when talking to a CM that apparently the Germany Train exhibit is not likely to be around for too much longer. I don't know if this was publicly covered anywhere recently or not, but I was not aware of it. * * * I had started to talk to the CM after he was there fixing a temporary derailment to compliment him and/or whomever in the park was responsible for what I considered a great improvement in the display recently. For my last two trips (May and just now) I was very happy to see actual full trains running in the display rather than maybe a few stand alone engines running the loops(which as a still "new-ish" park visitor since only 2012 is all I had ever experienced most times before at this display). I also mentioned to the CM that I was feeling positive that the improvement was hopefully a good sign that the trains had a future (assuming based on the apparent increase in effort to keep it more interesting). That was when he let me know they were at some point going away.

    Thanks for the comments, as always. I have fixed the Germany train model photo. There has been no official word about the future of the display. At the D23 Fanniversary, speakers noted that several new "scenes " had been added fairly recently, including the one in the now corrected photo.

    It is not a secret that the entire train model sits on the site of one of World Showcase's designed expansion pads that originally was intended to one day become home to a new country Pavilion. Of course, it's been a long while since Epcot gained a new country. The Frozen meet and greet that expanded the Norway Pavilion was actually built on another expansion pad between Norway and Mexico. If the rumors that a new country (or dare I hope for more than one) may be added to World Showcase during the park's "extreme makeover" are true, then the site of the model is prime real estate for that.

    Regards,
    Alan

  3. By Dave1313

    Quote Originally Posted by asdhollywood View Post
    .............. At the D23 Fanniversary, speakers noted that several new "scenes " had been added fairly recently, including the one in the now corrected photo.

    It is not a secret that the entire train model sits on the site of one of World Showcase's designed expansion pads that originally was intended to one day become home to a new country Pavilion. Of course, it's been a long while since Epcot gained a new country. The Frozen meet and greet that expanded the Norway Pavilion was actually built on another expansion pad between Norway and Mexico. If the rumors that a new country (or dare I hope for more than one) may be added to World Showcase during the park's "extreme makeover" are true, then the site of the model is prime real estate for that.

    Regards,
    Alan

    The bear scene is a neat one! I also noticed the industrial building (far left front of the layout if looking with the lagoon behind you) with the smokestack that was actually putting out smoke while the trains were running. I mentioned this to the CM and he mentioned that was a project he had done and it was new enough that it was probably only on the display for a few months. Pretty sure he said it's vaporizing water and the tank is in the building next to it. I think they did leave out the miniature kiosks for the F&W booths this year, but didn't ask about those during the discussion.

    I knew of the competing nature of the area with the trains being right on a pad site. I fully get that the trains can't compete with the importance (and draw) of a new country if they decide to do that at some point in the future. This sounded more imminent, but I hope it's later rather than sooner if so (at least if it's for anything other than a new country, I'll admit a new country would be a cool enough upgrade to the park to be a fair trade! ).

  4. By asdhollywood

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    This sounded more imminent, but I hope it's later rather than sooner if so.




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  5. By asdhollywood

    Until Disney announces something, it's still subject to change. In fact, even after there's an announcement...


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  6. By wdwchuck

    Hey Alan, have you ever heard about WDW having a path from the Caribbean Resort to Epcot like the Epcot area resorts have to Hollywood Studios? I would love one even if it went all the way to the backdoor of Epcot.

  7. By asdhollywood

    Quote Originally Posted by wdwchuck View Post
    Hey Alan, have you ever heard about WDW having a path from the Caribbean Resort to Epcot like the Epcot area resorts have to Hollywood Studios? I would love one even if it went all the way to the backdoor of Epcot.

    I have not, but it is supposed to be connected by the Disney Skyliner. It's theoretically possible that Skyliner construction will include a path which could then be used for the inevitable evac that nature, power, mechanics, or a guest may one day cause. Nothing has been announced nor even rumored at a level where I'd heard it though.

    Regards,
    Alan


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  8. By wdwchuck

    Quote Originally Posted by asdhollywood View Post
    I have not, but it is supposed to be connected by the Disney Skyliner. It's theoretically possible that Skyliner construction will include a path which could then be used for the inevitable evac that nature, power, mechanics, or a guest may one day cause. Nothing has been announced nor even rumored at a level where I'd heard it though.

    Regards,
    Alan


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    Hi Alan,
    Thank you. I had completely missed that the Skyliner was going from the Caribbean Beach Resort to those parks. That is great news. But I still hope they do a path. I love that path to Hollywood Studios along the water.
    And I hope the new path is not under the Skyliner route. I can just imagine some bratty kid dropping their Mickey ice cream bar on our head as we walk merrily from CBR to Epcot. Thanks again for all you do, Chuck

  9. By davidgra

    Fantastic update this week! I'm most excited to hear that the DVC Member Lounge in Imagination will be remaining open for another year. We've enjoyed it a number of times since it opened -- pretty much every time we've been in Epcot, actually -- and we'll be back at WDW at least three times between now and the end of 2018. It's such a nice perk for DVC member. Air conditioning, places to sit, free drinks and snacks, and TONS of nostalgia up there in the glass pyramid.

  10. By asdhollywood

    Quote Originally Posted by davidgra View Post
    Fantastic update this week! I'm most excited to hear that the DVC Member Lounge in Imagination will be remaining open for another year. We've enjoyed it a number of times since it opened -- pretty much every time we've been in Epcot, actually -- and we'll be back at WDW at least three times between now and the end of 2018. It's such a nice perk for DVC member. Air conditioning, places to sit, free drinks and snacks, and TONS of nostalgia up there in the glass pyramid.

    Thanks! It's even fun to watch the rain from in the Lounge, which I did today! https://instagram.com/p/BZ1XzQpHJYZ/

    Regards,
    Alan


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