Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 11-16, 2017

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 11–16, 2017

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

Writer's note: Regular readers know that I have been making guest appearances from time to time on The Garry Meier Show to talk about the sort of Disney Parks things we write about here on MousePlanet. Garry is a Radio Hall of Fame inductee who has hosted many popular radio shows going back several decades based out of Chicago. Garry now hosts a podcast which is free on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (though, note, since it is on the internet, his shows may contain adult humor and occasional adult language—be governed accordingly).

Today, Wednesday, October 11, I am making another guest appearance, and you should listen in and then keep on eye on (and, maybe even follow) The Garry Meier Show Facebook page for an opportunity for something special today. That is all I am saying (and neither Garry nor I used any adult language during my appearance). On with the Update.


News and Views

TV Production Continues This Week at Epcot | Ferrytale Fireworks Dessert Cruises Return December 1 | Disney Vacation Club To Extend Beverage Tasting Series | Veteran Disney Performers Support the Community | Epcot Concerts & Candlelight Calendar | Views around the World | One Passholder's Tip | This and That | Crowd Forecast

TV Production Continues This Week at Epcot

While regular television and film production is a thing of the increasingly distant past over at Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios), new productions do happen from time to time all over Walt Disney World Resort. Over the past couple of weeks, it has been hard to miss the large TV-production stage and support facilities built in the World Showcase Plaza at the northern shore of Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon. The stage and facilities have been installed for recording two television shows during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.


The large temporary television production stage is located in World Showcase Plaza on the northern shore of Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Last week, ABC-TV's The Chew recorded episodes highlighting Walt Disney World Resort in general, and the Food and Wine Festival in particular (naturally). This was the third year The Chew came to Epcot during the Festival, and, as in the past, there are all sorts of synergies with the show apparent at the food Marketplaces around the park, and in the Festival Center too. For those that do not know and have not guessed based on the name, The Chew is a daytime talk show where the co-hosts talk about, cook, and sample food.


When viewing an episode at home, if you spot audience members looking up, seemingly away from the "action," that is because large video monitors hang high above the seats and stage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The crew of "The Chew" dressed in the "spirit" of the Food & Wine Festival too. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Comedian R.C. Smith warms up the audience for "The Chew" and tries to keep the energy high during all the breaks in recording an episode. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The episodes recorded this year at Epcot, with hosts Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, and Clinton Kelly, are being broadcast all this week on ABC-TV at 1 p.m. Eastern/12 p.m. Central, and 12 p.m. Pacific. If you do not see or record them when broadcast, you can also watch them on ABC's website for The Chew (though when you can watch the episodes depends upon whether you subscribe to a television provider like cable or satellite or such and log in).


ABC-TV and Disney Parks provide a fun behind the scenes look at the week of "The Chew" at Epcot. Video by Disney/The Chew on ABC.


During a break in recording the episode, guest Vanna White chats with co-hosts Mario Batali and Clinton Kelly. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Fun fact: the cooking food on this episode of "The Chew" smelled good in the audience, even during breaks. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

I was invited to attend the morning episode recording session on October 4, for the episode that was broadcast on Monday, October 9, and included guest Vanna White. Other scheduled guests for this week's broadcasts include Isla Fisher, Chris Colfer, and Yvette Nicole Brown. You can also count on appearances by Disney characters as well.


During a break, Mario Batali shot candid photos of his co-hosts on his phone. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Mickey and Minnie Mouse appeared in new Halloween themed costumes during the episode recorded October 4 for broadcast on October 9. Three lucky members of the audience won tickets to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The cast has a bit of fun with each other during a break in production. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


After recording the episode for October 9, but with the audience still in place, cast members recorded promotions for the show. Here, Mario Batali prepares to record a promotion you may have seen on television for the October 9 episode. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


After the audience departed, the cast of "The Chew" sat at the "Tasting Table" to take questions and chat with the media. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The cast of The Chew chat with the media on October 4, 2017, at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival after recording the October 9 episode for ABC-TV. Left to right, the cast are: Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly, and Mario Batali. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

This week, Epcot guests (and I) will have more opportunities to spot a glimpse of Vanna White and her Wheel of Fortune co-host Pat Sajak, as they take up the same Epcot production stage to record three weeks of episodes of their show (starting yesterday and continuing) through tomorrow, October 12, for broadcast during three separate time periods over the course of the 2017-18 television season (we will report on the exact dates as they approach). Like Epcot celebrating its 35th anniversary, Pat and Vanna are celebrating their 35th year at the helm of the show.


Wheel of Fortune is recording episodes at World Showcase Plaza. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As a syndicated show, Wheel has recorded episodes at other theme parks around Orlando over the years as well. Regular Walt Disney World Resort visitors may remember its production runs in the past around the Resort, including its time in residence at the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park.

When productions like these come to the parks, typically, tickets are distributed well in advance. Nevertheless, there may be standby opportunities. If that is of interest to you, be sure to arrive early, look for signs and check with cast members to locate the appropriate queue. Perhaps the least interesting part of watching television production is the reality that the home view never sees: it involves a lot of "hurry up and wait" patience.


Happy HalloWishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom filled the sky over the Epcot stage where a Christmastime episode of Wheel of Fortune was being recorded last night. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Ferrytale Fireworks Dessert Cruises Return December 1

On Sunday and Friday nights from December 1 through January 28, guests can again enjoy the Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise, so named because it is hosted aboard the General Joe Potter ferryboat on the Seven Seas Lagoon. An hour and fifteen minutes prior to that night's Magic Kingdom fireworks show, guests gather at the Transportation and Ticket Center Tour Garden to board the boat and enjoy desserts and specialty beverages followed by the evening's Magic Kingdom fireworks show from the lagoon. For the evenings that coincide with Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in the park (December 1, 3, 8, 10 and 15), the desserts planned include holiday cookies, peppermint cheesecake, and hot cocoa.

The on-board entertainment includes a "Glow-in-the-Dark" Scavenger Hunt, where guests search for Hidden Mickeys throughout the boat. And, like some of the other fireworks dessert parties around the resort, guests receive special viewing lenses, here called, "Mickey Vision," which create additional optical illusions when viewing lights.

Disney Parks Blog says that Annual Passholders can receive discounts by calling (407) WDW-DINE, and Disney Vacation Club Members can receive discounts by calling Member Services at (800)800-9800. As of this publication, DisneyWorld.com only lists information and pricing for the nights that coincide with Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom. Those nights are listed as $99 (over age 9)/$69 (ages 3-9), including tax and gratuity. For more information and reservations, call (407)939-3463, or seek the assistance of the Concierge Desk at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

Disney Vacation Club To Extend Beverage Tasting Series

As regular readers of this Update know, this regular Contributing Writer (like some of the other members of the MousePlanet team), is a long time Disney Vacation Club Member. As we reported in a prior Update, on Thursday evenings this summer and early fall, DVC has been hosting a pre-paid, reservations-required Beverage Tasting Series in the Top of the World Lounge atop Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort featuring beverages and small-plate food pairings. Each session focuses on a different type of adult beverage: the Art of Mixology, Disney Family Wine, Beer Tasting, and Liquor Bourbon Flight.


Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort is part of the Disney Vacation Club, and is located closer to Magic Kingdom than any other accommodations. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Top of the World Lounge is located atop the Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

At the Liquor Bourbon Flight session on October 5 (which I attended and very much enjoyed as a full-paying guest), the cast announced that DVC is extending the series into December, with specific details coming to the DVC Member website soon. An unadvertised additional bonus for attending a Beverage Tasting Series session is that you are welcome to stay in the Lounge (or depart and then return later in the evening) for the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks display, complete with the soundtrack for the show. Usually, only DVC Members staying in a room in a Walt Disney World Resort are welcome to visit this Lounge (and, on certain extreme peak dates, only guests staying in Bay Lake Tower are welcome).


Bites of foods selected by the chefs are paired with specific beverage tastes to highlight flavors of the beverages. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The final beverage of the Liquor Bourbon Tasting is a take on a Moscow Mule: the Kentucky Mule. Each guest was provided the ingredients shown on the card and then talked through the creation of this mixed alcoholic beverage garnished with two lime slices to represent Mickey's ears. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Through the October 19 session, each tasting session is priced at $35/person (inclusive of tax) and all guests must be at least 18 years old to attend, 21 years old to consume the adult beverages. Pricing has not been announced for the extension period. DVC Members may make reservations for a party size up to four per Tasting (including the Member) by calling Member Services at (800) 800-9800. Like dining venues around the Resort, the chefs and staff may be able to accommodate certain food allergies, so if this is an issue for you or members of your party, be sure to inquire in advance.


Top of the World Lounge features a semi-transparent mural of early concept art for the Disneyland monorails. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Disney Legend Bob Gurr, who had been in town over the prior weekend for Epcot35 events, visited Top of the World Lounge and autographed a panel of the mural. Bob Gurr is the former imagineer largely responsible for the appearance of Disney's monorails. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Disney's Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower provide stunning views of Magic Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From Top of the World Lounge's outdoor deck, it is possible to see Expedition Everest, the Tree of Life, and the Floating Mountains of Pandora at Disney's Animal Kingdom in the distance. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Top of the World Lounge also provides views of Epcot, the Epcot Resort area, Disney's Hollywood Studios, as well as the on-going construction at and around ESPN Wide World of Sports visible to the southwest (toward the right side of this photo). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Non-Disney Orlando-area attractions can also be seen from Top of the World Lounge's outdoor viewing area behind the bar, like Universal's new Volcano Bay to the northeast of the Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Veteran Disney Performers Support the Community

Those of us that live in Central Florida see plenty of examples of Walt Disney World and its cast members reaching out into the community for the greater good. As a long time fan of the late, great Pleasure Island and, in particular, the Comedy Warehouse, spotting its alumni and other veteran Disney entertainers on stage beyond the Resort remains a pleasure, especially when they are doing so to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. (Disclosure: I am friends with several veteran Disney entertainers.)

This past Saturday, a long-time Disney entertainer sang and several Comedy Warehouse alums performed improvisational comedy sets as part of the Fourth Annual "Kicking Cancer in the Butt" benefit in support of Team Marlene to raise funds to help find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients in connection with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You can read more about the cause and contribute here.


Long-time Disney entertainer Mark Miller sang a couple of songs during the "Kicking Cancer in the Butt" benefit show. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Alums of Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island (starting on the top, left) Steve Purnick, Krista Miller, Mark Lainer, T. Robert Pigott, and Carol Stein, performed improvisational comedy sets during the "Kicking Cancer in the Butt" benefit show. 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.


"Dennis DeYoung: The Music of Styx" returned to Epcot for the Eat to the Beat Concerts October 9-11, after having also performed at this year's Garden Rocks Concerts this past Spring. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


One of Dennis DeYoung's best known songs (written during the years he performed with Styx) is "Mr. Roboto" which he has performed each of the past several years with his current band at Epcot's Eat to the Beat Concert series. 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!

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For our Epcot Events Calendar:

 


In Dennis DeYoung's final set on Tuesday night, he wore a fan's Pumpkin Mickey necklace for the last number and then returned it during his final bows. He is scheduled to perform his final three sets at this year's Festival tonight (Wednesday night). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Views Around the World

Our Views this week include a bit more of Epcot and Magic Kingdom. As always, bits of additional news appear in the photo captions.

Epcot


Some Disney PhotoPass Photographers have an Epcot35 frame available for photos. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The second of three exclusive Annual Passholder buttons is available at the Festival Center now through October 28 (with Annual Pass and matching Photo ID). The final button of the series will be available October 29 through November 13 (or while supplies last). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction walls now surround the Universe of Energy Building as the installation of the Guardians of the Galaxy themed attraction begins. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The canvas banners at Test Track's entrance have not returned since the passing of Hurricane Irma a few weeks ago. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Canadian band Bodh'aktan returns to the Old Mill Stage at Canada for performances Wednesdays through Sundays through October 22. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The long-delayed (presumed) Margarita stand outside the Mexico pavilion has received a bit of additional detailed theming this week: the gourd-shaped light. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Inside the Mexico pavilion, the centerpiece statues of the "Remember Me" La Celebración del Día de Muertos (the celebration of the Day of the Dead) that we reported on last week are now on display. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Hand crafted by a father-son team of artists in Mexico City, be sure to walk all the way around the installation to view all of the centerpiece statues. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The latest "You are here" collection Starbucks mug at Fountain View celebrates Epcot's 35th Anniversary. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As October 1 was not only the 35th Anniversary of Epcot, but the 46th Anniversary of Walt Disney World, nostalgically themed souvenirs saluting Walt Disney World 1971 are available around the Resort, including Mouse Gear. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Walt Disney World nostalgically themed souvenirs saluting Walt Disney World 1971 include a "fan pack" (shown in the center of the photo). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


It appears that, at long last, Epcot's parking lot is getting a permanent digital sign to assist in directing trafic amongst the different sections of the lot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom


A monorail-shaped photo frame to pose with is resting (unused) against the TTC's entrance to the Magic Kingdom Express Monorail. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Although the Stitch's Great Escape attraction has returned to being closed on "Seasonal Status," its sign has been changed to "Stitch's Alien Encounter Character Greeting!" which opened with appearances by Stitch in the attraction's pre-show area earlier this week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Holiday dreamlights installation is well underway at Cinderella Castle. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The crane assisting in Holiday dreamlights installation is parked on the Fantasyland side of Cinderella Castle. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The crane assisting in Holiday dreamlights installation may be spotted just to the Tomorrowland side of Cinderella Castle. 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 #31
Know where you are going and, perhaps, even how to get there!


When considering using Uber or Lyft, it may be wise to have a GPS map application handy too if you do not already know your way around. Screenshot by Alan S. Dalinka.

Amid the media reports in recent weeks that Uber may lose its operating credential in London, England for the failure of its drivers to undergo the sort of rigorous map study traditionally required of taxi cabs, I decided to give both major rideshare services a try to be responsible in getting to and from the Walt Disney World Resort from my house in connection with attending the DVC's Beverage Tasting Series at Bay Lake Tower. After all, I do live very close to the Resort and, indeed, would even consider walking if Disney and Orange County would build a sidewalk in my direction (but, I digress).

For those of you—and, I assume it's a huge majority of our readers—unfamiliar with the roads in and around Walt Disney World Resort, one thing can be said: there are few, if any, straight lines between two points. Not only do many of the roads within the Resort wind around, there are many places where cars may only turn in one direction and if you wish to go in the other direction you must first go one way until you get to a safe (and permitted) place to make a U-Turn. (Come to think of it, this describes most of Central and South Florida!)

With both Uber and Lyft having been around for awhile now, I had assumed that many of those services' drivers would be quite familiar with which roads go where, how certain turns are not allowed, and so forth. Well, at least for my sample size of one ride each experience, that was not the case. (Fortunately, for me, I do know these nuances and could talk my drivers through them and did not rate them lower because of their lack of precise knowledge or otherwise.) One driver professed not to know how to reach the main entrance pick up location at Disney's Contemporary Resort from the driveway of Bay Lake Tower (but, again, fortunately for me, I knew how to walk from the one location to the other and told the driver that it would take me approximately two minutes when he called me).

If you have been paying attention to my parentheticals in the prior paragraph, you already have a sense of where this week's Tip comes from. As much as we like to think our drivers are responsible for getting us from Point A to Point B, it really will help your vacation experience if you study the routes you want to travel in advance, and, indeed, do so in an App that indicates where turns are not permitted.

The courtesy maps provided in Apps from both Uber and Lyft do not include all the roads within the Resort, nor do they show where turns are not allowed. The fare calculations that depend on distance and time will not correctly pre-estimate the additional distance you may need to travel for one of those Florida U-Turns, so you might want to consider that as well. I correctly guessed when I got in my Lyft, that the fare estimate quoted would be low by at least 30% and I was correct. Your mileage may vary.

A final note about maps around Walt Disney World, make sure that yours are as up to date as possible. If you have been reading our Updates regularly, we have been reporting on lots of road construction going on around the Resort, and many of the roads are undergoing changes that will create all sorts of new routes around the property.

Also, be aware that I have not yet tried the on-property, personal, point-to-point Minnie Vans which are driven by Disney Cast Members summoned and paid for with the Lyft App. I would guess Cast Member training is more thorough, and, indeed, they would not be allowed to drive off property to my house, even as close as I live.

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

 

This and That

…With just three weeks left in the monitoring program's "race," it is time for another check in with the Tour de Turtles. As you will recall, this summer, we visited Disney's Vero Beach Resort for the release of sea turtles Cruz and Sally that had nested near the Resort into the Atlantic Ocean. As of Tuesday, October 10, tourdeturtles.org reports that Cruz has traveled 1,502 miles, and continues to swim around the Gulf of Mexico west of Naples, FL; Sally has traveled 603 miles, and continues to swim in the Gulf of Mexico west of Cayo Costa State Park and North Captiva Island, FL.

…One of the interesting bits of real world information dressed up as "edutainment" provided on Disney's Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safaris is that elephants are afraid of bees. This week, Disney Parks Blog reported on how Disney Conservation Fund's philanthropic initiative "Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time" in conjunction with Save the Elephants helps farmers in Africa protect their crops from elephants with beehive fences. Walt Disney World Cast Members have traveled to Kenya to work with the Save the Elephants team.

Disney Parks Blog launched a new version of its daily newsletter. Note that some technical issues have been reported with the sign up link (particularly on mobile devices).

…Beyond the Walt Disney World Resort, a personal recommendation from your Update Writer: if you like Star Wars (or just its music) and you get a chance to see a live symphony orchestra perform the musical score along with a screening of the film, go! On Sunday, October 8, the Orlando Philharmonic accompanied the film Star Wars: A New Hope in the Walt Disney Theatre at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown, Orlando. The review in Orlando Sentinel does the performance justice in this writer's opinion too - kudos to the performers! For a more immediate Walt Disney World connection: the approximately 90 piece orchestra included many musicians that performed in The Music of PIXAR: Live! concerts at Disney's Hollywood Studios this summer and many that perform in Epcot's Candlelight Processional during the Holidays.

…And, finally, in case you missed it on our MousePad post, DisneyXD has rolled out some fun on-air promos based on The Haunted Mansion with Disney characters from DuckTales, Big Hero 6 The Series, and Star vs. The Forces of Evil.


Big Hero 6 meets a resident of The Haunted Mansion. Image courtesy of and ©Disney XD.

…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 10, 2017 6 / 10
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 5 / 10
Thursday, October 12, 2017 4 / 10
Friday, October 13, 2017 6 / 10
Saturday, October 14, 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.

2017 Resort Events

  • Star Wars Experiences – Opened December 1, 2015 (ongoing)
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party – October 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 is back on "seasonal" status. The attraction is still listed in the My Disney Experience App, but its pre-show is now a meet and greet as discussed above. 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 SOME 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!