Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 28 - December 4, 2017

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 28 - December 4, 2017

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

Writer's note: We hope you smoothly made it through Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and whatever else you have have "enjoyed" or "celebrated" over the last week. As you might expect, Walt Disney World Resort was crowded with guests that, according to local news reports, choose to vacation in Central Florida for Thanksgiving more than any other place in the United States. Not surprisingly, we have little new "news" this week, and even I stayed away from the Resort until the crowds started to wind down Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is now in full swing, with Friday's debut of this year's Candlelight Processional—the telling of the traditional story of Christmas with a celebrity narrator, a 50-piece orchestra, and a mass choir. We have been invited to attend a Media Showcase tomorrow (Wednesday, November 29), so we will provide a full report on the new name and version of Epcot's holidays celebration next week, but we have some photos around Epcot and a video of Mostly Kosher, the band that celebrates Hanukkah, in this week's Views Around the World to share in the meantime. Heck, if you are looking for a "Foodie Guide," Disney Parks Blog has you covered with a complete rundown of the offerings at the 15 Holiday Kitchens (food kiosks) around World Showcase this year.


Gold- and silver-medal-winning gymnast Laurie Hernandez was the first 2017 Candlelight Processional celebrity narrator. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Read through the This and That section to see what else we expect to share next week. As promised, a new One Passholder's Tip is included this week, as are the rest of our usual sections, so let it "snoap!" (You will have to go back and look for my explanation of that in last week's Writer's note if you do not know or remember.)


News and Views

Disney Parks Holiday Celebrations on TV and DisneyNOW | Disney Vacation Club Promotes its 4-Night Copper Creek Sweepstakes | Adventures by Disney Offers Walt Disney World Behind the Scenes Tours | Epcot Candlelight Calendar | Views around the World | One Passholder's Tip | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Disney Parks Holiday Celebrations on TV and DisneyNOW

As we reported last week, on November 30, the first of the Disney Parks Holiday TV specials will air on ABC-TV with the broadcast of The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration from 9 to 11 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Julianne Hough and Nick Lachey host the show, with correspondent Jesse Palmer. Hough and Lachey perform the big opening number from the Cinderella Castle stage at Magic Kingdom (which was recorded a couple of weeks ago). Of course, on Christmas morning, the annual "Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration" (which in past years was highlighted by and named for a bi-coastal televised showing of the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Christmas Parades), will air on ABC-TV too.

This week, Disney Parks Blog announced that the Disney Parks Presents a Disney Channel Holiday Celebration set to debut on Disney Channel on Friday, December 1, at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), can be viewed on demand right now (or, as soon as you want) if you have the DisneyNOW app and you sign in with a participating pay TV service subscription. This show, hosted by Raven-Symoné and Issac Ryan Brown, features appearances by lots of Disney Channel stars performing at Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom, and includes an approximately minute and a half "behind-the-scenes tour" of Toy Story Land scheduled to open at Disney's Hollywood Studios this coming summer (it occurs just over half way through the show). Though the Disney Parks Blog post did not mention it, after logging in to the DisneyNOW app, you need to find the "25 Days of Christmas" link/page to find the "Disney Parks Magic" show entitled Disney Parks Presents a Disney Channel Holiday Celebration.


You may need to find the "25 Days of Christmas" link to view the DisneyNOW presentation of the show. This particular sign is located in the main parking lot of Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

For the rest of your Disney Parks Holiday TV fix, you need to tune in to the Freeform network for its two "behind the scenes" shows. First, on December 11, at 8 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), see Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings: Holiday Magic, featuring a Frozen-inspired wedding at Walt Disney World Resort and a surprise engagement at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii. Then, on December 18, at 8 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), watch Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic, to see how Disney Parks & Resorts decorate for the holidays all around the world.

Disney Vacation Club Promotes its 4-Night Copper Creek Sweepstakes

While the theming of Disney Vacation Club's newest resort at Walt Disney World, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, comes from the northern part of North America, and Disney-Pixar's hit new animated feature film, Coco, is based on the culture of Mexico from the southern part of North America, Disney synergy ties them together in a new sweepstakes that offers the chance to win a 5-day, 4-night stay in a 2-bedroom Villa at Copper Creek that includes up to 8 family or friends. As the promotion explains, since Coco is a "heartwarming story about the importance of family and coming together with those you love the most," and since Disney Vacation Club is founded on similar values and provides "families the opportunity to enjoy vacations together year after year, the two are a natural fit."


Disney Vacation Club is promoting both Disney-Pixar's "Coco" and the new Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Video © Disney.

In any event, the sweepstakes, sponsored by Disney Vacation Development, Inc., and its official rules can be found at WelcomeHomeSweeps.com. It runs through January 4, 2018, at 11:59:59 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), and is open to those 18 years old or the age of majority in the jurisdiction of residence in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. While it is not a MousePlanet sweepstakes, if you win, be sure to remember your MousePlanet "family" by letting us know so we can say "Welcome Home!"

Adventures by Disney Offers Walt Disney World Behind the Scenes Tours

Back when this edition of MousePlanet Walt Disney World Resort Update got to celebrate Christmas in July with special preview versions of Adventures by Disney seasonal tours, Disney's Yuletide Fantasy and Disney's Holiday D-Lights at Walt Disney World Resort, we learned that Adventures by Disney was now responsible for nearly all of the behind the scenes tours around the Resort. Earlier this month, MousePlanet was treated to a media-invited special edition of the current version of the long-offered Backstage Magic Tour which is now also conducted by Adventures by Disney. (Back in the mid-1990's and early 2000's, when I paid to attend earlier versions of this tour, it was conducted by Guest Relations cast members.) As I was out of town on the day of the tour, friend of MousePlanet Dave Kent graciously filled in for me.


Dave Kent, friend of MousePlanet, attended the media-invited edition of the Adventures by Disney Backstage Magic Tour. Photos ©Disney.

As has been true, at least, since I first took the Backstage Magic tour in November 1996, it remains a unique, 7-hour experience. Guests are provided VIP treatment and access; the tour provides escorted views of the behind-the-scenes workings of Walt Disney World Resort. Meeting outside the main entrance to Epcot, the tour utilizes private transportation to take attendees to backstage locations and then to on-stage locations to see how the two work together to tell the stories Disney Imagineers, Creative Entertainment Directors, and Cast Members have to tell.

Unlike some tours, this one does not require a park ticket. Although the exact destinations may change (and have changed) from time to time (and based on operations at the Resort), the highlights typically include The American Adventure at Epcot, the "utilidor" tunnels at Magic Kingdom, Creative Costuming, Central Shops, and lunch at Disney's Wilderness Lodge at Whispering Canyon Café.

Without "spoiling" some of the best "magic" you may learn if you decide to take the tour, some of the highlighted facts that impressed Dave on his tour included:

  • Walt Disney World Resort is the largest single-site employer in the United States.
     
  • Backstage signs may appear in up to four languages: English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, and Vietnamese.
     
  • Waste water is treated and used for irrigation.
     
  • Solid waste is used to make dirt for flower beds.
     
  • When standing at an on-stage trash can, you should be able to see two additional trash cans.
     
  • The American Adventure's cast includes 35 audio animatronic performers.
     
  • Creative Costuming's on-property archive has at least one copy of every costume ever worn by cast members at the Resort, as well as Disney Cruise Line and Disney's Hilton Head and Vero Beach Resorts.
     
  • Walt Disney World Resort claims to have four of the five largest laundries in the world.
     
  • The number one item found in resort linens processed by Textile Services is the TV remote control.
     
  • The Utilidors at Magic Kingdom are 1.3 miles long, include 29 stairwells, and do not access any parts of Magic Kingdom that were opened after the 1971 opening of the park (like Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain).
     


One Disney Textile Services building can clean 2.5 million pounds of laundry per week. Photo ©Disney.

As of this posting, Backstage Magic is $275/person. Like all Walt Disney World tours, bookings and information are available by calling (407) WDW-TOUR. All guests must be at least 12 years old and those under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who is also registered for the tour. Wear comfortable, closed-toe and closed-heel shoes. Arrangements may be made in advance for folks that use an ECV or wheelchair. Backstage, guests are not permitted to use cameras, video equipment, or even cell phones. Adventures by Disney may, as it did for the media-invited tour, arrange special photo opportunities where its guides take the photos with its cameras. On stage, of course, photography is allowed and, sometimes, even encouraged.

In addition to the seasonal tours this winter and Backstage Magic, Adventures by Disney also offers spring and fall versions of the Gardens of the World Tour highlighting the landscaping aspects of the Flower & Garden Festival and Food & Wine Festival, respectively. More information about those tours is also available by calling (407) WDW-TOUR. For information about the rest of the guided tour offerings about Adventures by Disney in North America, Europe, Central & South America, and Asia, Africa & Australia, visit adventuresbydisney.com or call (800) 543-0865 or your Travel Agent.

Epcot Candlelight Calendar

The full list of this year's scheduled celebrity narrators for Epcot's Candlelight Processional during the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is available in our Google Calendar of Epcot Events. You can also add it to any Calendar that supports the iCal format (like iPhone and Mac) by copying this link.

The calendar is provided "As is, where is" and without any guarantees, as a courtesy. 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.

Views Around the World

As the Thanksgiving weekend crowds thinned a bit on Saturday evening and Sunday, I strolled Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios for this week's Views Around the World. As always, many of the captions include bits of news too.

Epcot


Be sure to pick up the complimentary Passport, Times Guide, and Park Map, for the details of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays offerings and entertainment on the day of your visit. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Landscapers have planted a "seasonal" Mickey flowerbed . Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The "seasonal" Mickey flowerbed twinkles at night. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Odyssey building is wrapped with a big holiday bow and, inside, it is now the "Festive Center," and home of the Cookie Nook. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Odyssey building is now the "Festive Center" and includes, food and beverage as well as a small merchandise sales area that includes souvenirs as well as Disney Fine Art. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The "Festive Center" is lightly decorated for the season. Disney holiday cartoons play on the large video screen. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Signs around Future World advertise the offerings of the Cookie Nook and point the way to the Festive Center. We will have more details about the food next week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Choza de Margarita, the permanent kiosk outside the Mexico pavilion has finally opened. It offers a few food items as well as beverages. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The "temporary" kiosk outside the Mexico pavilion remains standing as one of the "Holiday Kitchens." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The area around Mexico pavilion is decorated with flags like those seen in Disney-Pixar's film "Coco." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The meet and greet area outside the Mexico pavilion has been decorated with a theme inspired by Disney-Pixar's "Coco." For a limited time, the area also hosts El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia, inspired by the film and the celebration of Dia de los Muertos (check the Times Guide). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Chip 'n' Dale's Christmas Tree Spree is the holiday season's map-based "treasure" hunt game. Maps are available for purchase at several locations; Disney Traders at World Showcase Plaza is a redemption center where completed maps can be exchanged for the "prize." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Feast of the Three Kings has returned this year as one of the Holiday Kitchens. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Feast of the Three Kings Holiday Kitchen area includes a festive seasonal display. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The central Epcot Christmas tree is framed (from this perspective) by the windows of the Disney Vacation Members Lounge inside the Imagination pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs are a returning musical act this holiday season. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The United Kingdom pavilion has its Christmas tea display again this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The France pavilion is once again decorated with holiday candies on the light posts. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


New to Epcot for the holidays this year, Mostly Kosher performs Hanukkah and Klesmer music with unique modern influences. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Mostly Kosher performs on a stage between Morocco and France during Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (check the Times Guide for showtimes). Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays runs through December 30. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


As always, Mickey stands above the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The video screen at the Hyperion Theatre advertises the new Disney short animated film "Olaf's Frozen Adventure." The holiday version of the Frozen Sing-along inside the theater includes three new songs from the short. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Santa appears in the Once Upon a Time shop through Christmas (when he will be replaced by Santa Goofy). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Sweet Spells on Sunset Boulevard has many holiday themed treats for sale. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Sweet Spells also has some Disney-Pixar's "Coco" inspired treats for sale. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Red Trolley Car souvenir stand was not positioned on Sunset Boulevard this weekend. It may have been removed to assist guests viewing and traffic flow during Sunset Seasons Greetings presentations. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Sunset casts a golden hue on The Hollywood Tower Hotel (Tower of Terror) on Sunset Boulevard. The new digital billboard on the right shows an ad for Fantasmic! when it is not being used for Sunset Seasons Greetings shows (which occur after sunset). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As sunset approaches, a crew member retracts parts of the new mobile platform at Center Stage to prepare to remove it from in front of the Chinese Theatre for evening projection shows. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Trolley Car Café sells the latest Starbucks "You Are Here Collection" mug featuring Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Starbucks ceramic tumblers on sale during the holiday season inside The Trolley Car Café are the same ones also sold at Disneyland Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The view of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction is increasingly obstructed from the upper level of PizzeRizzo as construction of the transition area at the end of Grand Avenue continues. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Across from PizzeRizzo, part of Stage 1, the shop that features Muppets and "Nightmare Before Christmas" themed merchandise, is now partially closed. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Inside Stage 1, a new wall blocks access to a former portion of the shop. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The entrance of Stage 1 provides a view of some of the construction in the future Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area (and, for reference, at the right is the exit to MuppetVision 3D). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Back in the Grand Avenue area, the transition to the future Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area continues to take shape. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From Grand Avenue, it is possible to see that construction of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge continues toward its scheduled 2019 debut. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Over on the Pixar Place side of the park near the current entrance to Toy Story Mania, the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction can also be viewed. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Inside Walt Disney Presents, we noticed that the fairly recently installed (possibly colorized) photo of Walt Disney shows him holding a Mickey plush doll that is similar to the style of Mickey Mouse to be featured in the new attraction—Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway—coming to the park's Chinese Theatre. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


No further information has been officially released by the park about Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway as of this publication. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A limited edition Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! pin is available for sale at the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Work continues along the waterway that connects Disney's Hollywood Studios with the Epcot Resorts. Interestingly, the tall structure in this photo is located in the location shown on some maps for the park's future station for the Disney Skyliner gondolas. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The tall structure is also visible inside the park, as far away as the plaza in front of the Center Stage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Disney's Hollywood Studios is the only one of the four Walt Disney World Resort parks where the approach to the park entrance looks in the general direction of the setting sun. 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 #36: Photo Fun Edition #8
Notice that Facebook recently introduced new tools to create panoramic photos.


The iPhone has long included a "Pano" option for creating panoramic photos. Panoramic photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

It has been a while since we talked about Facebook's built-in photo tools and, as anyone who regularly uses Facebook on a mobile phone knows, Facebook is constantly adding or changing features. For awhile now, Facebook on iOS has had the ability to take an image shot as a panorama and make it viewable to your friends/followers as an interactive 360º-type of image. Recently, Facebook added a new "360 Photo" option to allow you to shoot it from within the app.

If available on your device, the option appears as an item on a list when you select "Update Status." The 360 Photo is available in two versions: a traditional 360º image shot by standing in place in turning around in a full circle while holding your device relatively level the whole time; and a fish-eye-type wide-angle shot that you move the device around within a field of view. I have created a video that demonstrates both.


On an iPhone 7 Plus running the most up-to-date version of iOS and the Facebook App, this is a demonstration of the two 360 Photo modes available as of publication. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

As always, your mileage may vary based on your device. The tip here, as always, is do some homework before you travel to Walt Disney World Resort (or elsewhere that you want to capture and share your memories). See what your device is capable of, and, indeed, practice, practice, practice. It is not like you have only a roll a film and have to wait for it to be developed to see how it turns out! Most of all, have fun preserving those fun times - don't struggle with your device once you arrive at your destination or when that perfect photo moment arrives.

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

 

This and That

…According to an Orlando Sentinel-published article by Christopher Palmeri of Bloomberg, speculation is growing that Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek may be named the next Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company to replace Bob Iger upon his scheduled retirement in July 2019. Currently, the Company has no Chief Operating Officer or President, so an interim appointment to one of those positions would follow in Iger's footsteps prior to his becoming CEO in 2005. Chapek has been at Disney for 24 years and has also worked in the Company's studio and consumer products divisions.

…Earlier this fall, as in past years, we showed Disney's Animal Kingdom residents enjoying pumpkins. This week, some of Disney's Behavioral Husbandry team explains the role pumpkins play in enrichment, an important part of animal care at the park.


Pumpkins provide animal enrichment at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Video © Disney.

…Since, of course, we are not allowed to watch Disney make its "magical" after-hours transformation of the parks and Disney Springs for the holidays, we have to thank Disney Parks Blog for sharing video peeks.


Get a glimpse of Magic Kingdom's transformation for the holidays. Video © Disney.


Disney produced time lapse videos of the installation of Christmas Trees at all four Disney Parks and Disney Springs. Video © Disney.

…Last week, we mentioned that Patina Restaurant Group's new Disney Springs venues were offering a chance to win "Sneak Peek Preview Tours" of the not-yet-open Maria & Enzo's Ristorante, Enzo's Hideaway Tunnel Bar, The Edison, and Pizza Ponte on December 6, 7, and 8. According to Patina, winners are to be notified by today, Tuesday, November 28, 2017. If you get a chance to go, we would love to hear about it. We have also been invited to take a media tour of the venues and learn about their dining offerings and backstories on December 1, just in time to report on it in next week's Walt Disney World Resort Update. Stay tuned.


The Edison sign has been installed. Photo Courtesy of Patina Restaurant Group.

…On the subject of dining, Levy Restaurants, operator of Paddlefish at Disney Springs, is offering a $25 Bonus Gift Card, for every $100 EGift Card you buy. Read the details and buy them here.

…Beyond Walt Disney World Resort, but often visiting Central and South Florida (as well as many points beyond), Disney Cruise Line announced that Disney Magic will be getting some new spaces and experiences starting with salings from Miami, Florida, March 9, 2018. Beginning on May 14, Disney Magic will reposition to Europe for summer sailings.

  • Rapunzel's Royal Table, based on Disney's Tangled, will become the first table service restaurant themed to the movie and will feature characters including Princess Rapunzel and the Snuggly Duckling Thugs and live entertainment transporting diners to the kingdom of Corona.
     
  • Vibe, the teen club for guests aged 14-17, will be transformed into a "trendy loft environment," featuring a new coffee and smoothie bar, video and virtual reality games, and other activities.
     
  • Cove Café, an adults-only area will be redesigned in a "sophisticated tropical style," featuring specialty coffee or tea throughout the day, and wine, cocktails, and light bites during the evening. It is located by the Quiet Cove Pool, and the nearby Signals Bar will be similarly redesigned.
     
  • Club Disney Junior will be added to Disney's Oceaneer Club for children.
     
  • Senses Spa for adults will add a redesigned Rainforest Room with steam and hydrotherapy.
     

…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, November 28, 2017 3 / 10
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 4 / 10
Thursday, November 30, 2017 3 / 10
Friday, December 1, 2017 5 / 10
Saturday, December 2, 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)
  • Holidays at Walt Disney World – Started November 9
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – November 28; December 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Screenings begin at Disney Springs AMC 24 Theatres on December 14, 2017 (expect crowds)!
  • Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire – The VOID at Disney Springs (Marketplace neighborhood) opens on December 16, 2017 (expect crowds)!
  • Star Wars: Galactic Nights – After-hours, hard ticket event at Disney's Hollywood Studios on December 16, 2017
  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays (formerly known as Holidays Around the World) – November 19 to December 30
  • Candlelight Processional at Epcot – November 24 to December 30

2018 Resort 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. For current information on runDisney 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 – will close again for refurbishment scheduled early January through early February 2018.
  • The Hall of Presidents – New show opening "Late 2017."
  • Stitch's Great Escape – closed on a "seasonal" basis.

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

  • Closed for Seasonal Refurbishment through January 6, 2018
    Note: closure includes Winter Summerland Miniature Golf

Typhoon Lagoon

  • Seasonal Refurbishment scheduled to begin January 7, 2018

Disney Springs

  • Portobello Country Italian Trattoria – Closed April 24, 2017. Will reopen as Terralina Crafted Italian, a new concept from James Beard award-winner and Top Chef Master Tony Mantuano and Chef Justin Plank. Its website, terralinacrafteditalian.com now says the restaurant is "Coming This Winter."
  • DisneyQuest – 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. Its location is being transformed to Jaleo, a restaurant featuring Spanish cuisine. A new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is under construction next door to the Coca-Cola Store 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. DisneyMeetings.com now offers an extended look at concept art for the re-imagined convention facilities and hotel.

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

Ultimate Disney Christmas Package

Walt Disney World Resort is offering a special package for guests wishing to enjoy the "Ultimate Disney Christmas" vacation. The packages require arrival on December 21 and departure on December 26, and includes a full itinerary, including exclusive experiences. Booking is available through December 10, and includes a 5-night stay at select Disney Moderate, Deluxe, or Deluxe Villa Resort hotels, 4-day theme park tickets with Park Hopper Option, and the following "unique Yuletide offerings" such as:

  • Tickets to Mickey's Very Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom park on December 21, 2017
  • Exclusive nighttime access to Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom park on December 22, 2017
  • An exclusive holiday Character experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios on December 23, 2017
  • An exclusive Christmas Eve dinner celebration at Epcot on December 24, 2017
  • A special holiday gift delivered to your Disney Resort hotel room on December 25, 2017

More information is available on this page of DisneyWorld.com and at (407)939-7886 or by calling your travel agent.


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.

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.

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 (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 Café
  • Narcoossee's

Disney's Old Key West Resort:

  • Olivia's Café

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 through December 9, 2017. Discounts are also available at other resorts 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

Canadian Residents can now receive special pricing on theme park tickets to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida until February 10, 2018. Save 20% on advance purchase of 4-Day or Longer Magic Your Way Tickets

Savings compared to the price of the same ticket sold online at Disneyworld.ca. Tickets are valid for one Theme Park per day unless Park Hopper option is purchased. Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use. First use must be on or before December 31, 2018. Proof of Canadian residency required. Offer not valid at Theme Park ticket window.

All adult Guests who will use Canadian resident tickets or passes must present valid proof of Canadian residency that includes government-issued photo ID to exchange the certificate for a valid ticket at the Theme Park ticket window or Guest Relations prior to first use. Tickets and options are nontransferable, nonrefundable and exclude events/activities separately priced. Admission is subject to capacity closures and to other restrictions.

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

    As always, Mickey stands above the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

    Nice update in general, but I had to throw a quick compliment for the framing of that pic! I can't believe it never occurred to me to do that.

  2. By asdhollywood

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    Nice update in general, but I had to throw a quick compliment for the framing of that pic! I can't believe it never occurred to me to do that.

    And, of course, there are two os to choose from. Thanks!

    -Alan


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. By asdhollywood

    Quote Originally Posted by asdhollywood View Post
    And, of course, there are two os to choose from. Thanks!

    -Alan


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Actually, three!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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