Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 5-11, 2017by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 5 – 11, 2017
Writer's note: As I reported last week, we were invited to attend a Media Showcase of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays last Wednesday. As a result, this week, we have a more complete rundown on the newly-named and expanded way the park celebrates the season this year. As an invited guest, I was able to sample some of the foods and beverages offered at the festival and hear from some of the team responsible for organizing it. Of course, I also toured the festival more on my own this week and will continue to do so during its run as an Annual Passholder.
In other news, Disney Vacation Club announced a big slate of 2018 after-hours Moonlight Magic Events at all four Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks and, once again, Typhoon Lagoon, so we have added those relevant dates to the Resort Events section of the Update. For readers (like me) who are Disney Vacation Club Members, it is welcome news—and it even includes a night at Disney's Hollywood Studios promised to occur after the opening of Toy Story Land this summer. For those of you who are not DVC Members but are planning to visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2018, you should be aware that a park hosting an event may have its public closing time a bit earlier than on other nights of your visit, and like the hard ticket after-hours parties (e.g. After Hours, Not so Scary, Very Merry, Galactic Nights, etc.), the park hosting Moonlight Magic definitely will see a large influx of guests arriving in the final hours of the park's scheduled operating day.
Finally, yesterday Disney Parks teased that, starting today at 11 a.m. Eastern (December 5), Disney Parks Blog will celebrate "12 Days of Disney Parks Christmas" with daily postings with "new details about events, entertainment, attractions and more at the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, as well as new offerings aboard Disney Cruise Line." The posts are said to include never-before-seen images and video, new resort hotel experiences, new dining options, special events, and (finally!) updates about attractions announced at D23 Expo back in July.
All of our usual sections are included this week, so here we go...
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is Underway Through December 30 | Even More Holiday Treats Now Available by Mobile Order | Epcot Candlelight Calendar | Views around the World | One Passholder's Tip | This and That | Crowd Forecast
Last week, in our Walt Disney World Resort Update's Views Around the World, we touched on the surface of the "new" Epcot International Festival of the Holidays now underway. Having now had a chance to meet with some of its organizers and sample some of its offerings, we can provide you with a more complete picture of the closing festival of the year. If you have visited Epcot at this time of year in the recent past (or have been reading our Updates for years), you may remember the Holidays Around the World celebration.
The evolution of that celebration into this year's festival really began last year when the park introduced ten "Holiday Kitchens" that served full entre-sized holiday foods in kiosks around World Showcase. The festival added five additional kitchens this year, but dialed-back the portion sizes to the "tasting-size" akin to that served at other Epcot festivals (and, according to Disney, with prices reflective of that smaller size—writer's disclosure: the only festival foods and beverages I sampled as of this publication were those provided by Disney during the Media Showcase).
The Epcot festival organizers describe the festival as probably the only place in the world where eleven nations are represented in their celebration of the holidays at this time of year, including by representatives of those countries. The foods served at the Holiday Kitchens, according to Culinary Director, Chef Gregg Hannon, are intended to be different from the other Epcot festivals. They represent the foods that are celebrated in nations or regions around the world during the holidays. For example, he explained the New Year's Eve tradition in Bavaria of eating cheese fondue in a bread bowl with vegetables like that served at the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen at the Germany pavilion. Specially brewed holiday craft beers are also available at several kitchens.
Bavaria Holiday Kitchen features the cheese fondue of a traditional Bavarian New Year's Eve celebration. Disney says it was a popular dish last year as well (and I have not sampled it). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The festival also introduced the "Festive Center" located inside the Odyssey Building between Future World and World Showcase. Inside is the kitchen named the "Cookie Nook" that is also new this year, and which boasts to have sold over 10,000 of their big (nearly as-big-as-my-hand) holiday cookies in just the first 10 days of the festival. The Festive Center also includes a kids' craft area where kids can make their own ornament (for free). Disney holiday shorts play on the big screen, and there is also a small selection of merchandise available (including Passholder exclusives).
For pin collectors, there are also limited edition pins, including exclusive Passholder and Disney Vacation Club pins available during the festival at various locations in the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The festival also expanded the park's holiday entertainment beyond the Candlelight Processional (which Disney and social media confirm remains a guest favorite and we will discuss more below). JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season is back with its "spirited" take on songs of the season, and it has added songs to celebrate Kwanzaa as well. The group's musical styles include R&B, pop, and soul. After Christmas, starting December 26, the group promises full performances celebrating the seven days of Kwanzaa, inspired by the African American tradition.
JOYFUL! Performs on the Future World stage near the Fountain. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
JOYFUL! performances include a salute to Kwanzaa, and its performers wear decorative items during that salute. Starting December 26, full performances will be devoted to the seven days of Kwanzaa celebrations. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
As we showed in last week's Walt Disney World Resort Update's Views Around the World, the group Mostly Kosher is new to the park as part of the festival, and performs on a stage between the Morocco and France pavilions. The group mixes the story and songs of Hanukkah with jazz, rock, rap, and Southern musical influences.
Outside the Mexico pavilion for a limited time (at Donald Duck's usual character meeting place) are performances of El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia which is inspired by the Disney-Pixar film Coco and the celebration of Dia de los Muertos. The pavilion also has its regular performers, Mariachi Cobre leading the Las Posadas Celebration.
Around World Showcase, storytellers share the traditions and celebrations of the nations of the World. The Voices of Liberty's American Adventure (pre-show area) performances are done as the Charles Dickens Carolers. Of course, the Voices of Liberty are also an important part of the three times nightly Candlelight Processional, joining the celebrity narrator's telling of the traditional story of Christmas along with a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir. Disney says that dinner packages that include reserved seating remain for some performances, so if you are interested, be sure to call (407) WDW-DINE. Our calendar listing the scheduled celebrity narrators is below.
|Video by Alan S. Dalinka|
During the festival, Disney character meet and greets around the park include little holiday touches like, for example, Belle in her burgundy colored dress. And, of course, each night's showing of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth ends with a special holiday finale ("Let There Be Peace on Earth"), which launches an enormous number of fireworks shells in a rather short period of time, and which Disney says is just as popular in guest ratings as the Candlelight Processional itself.
As you probably know, the festival is included in Epcot admission, while the foods, beverages, and merchandise (including the merchandise that Disney says is exclusive to Epcot) are not. Epcot park hours vary a bit more at this time of year, with the park often staying open until 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (be sure to check the Times Guide). The festival concludes (and the final Candlelight Processional is performed) on December 30; on December 31, the park celebrates the upcoming New Year with all sorts of entertainment that we will, no doubt, report on as 2017 winds down.
For those looking to do their holidays shopping at Epcot, festival organizers noted that merchandise from around the world is available at the park, including gifts that can be found nowhere else. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
In almost the same moment that I walked past Electric Umbrella in Future World in Epcot on Saturday, my iPhone "pinged" with two alerts: one from the My Disney Experience App inviting me to "Explore festive limited-edition menu offerings" by placing a mobile order at the restaurant, and the other informing me of a tweet from Disney Parks that the Disney Parks Blog posted details of the new food options. During restaurant operating hours, when you open the My Disney Experience app and tap the "Order Food" button, you can see a quick list of the many locations that offer special holiday items. Note, however, Mobile Order still only accepts credit cards for payment; dining plans are not accepted yet.
Mobile Order in the My Disney Experience App now includes limited-time holiday foods and beverages. Screenshots by Alan S. Dalinka. (And, yes, the "Lock Screen" wallpaper is a photo of lava erupting at Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawaii taken by Alan S. Dalinka earlier this year.)
So, if your Walt Disney World Resort holiday dining plans have not crystalized in to a stop-by-stop plan already (or you are open to even more snacking), here is a summary of the highlights mentioned by Disney Parks Blog of the seasonal treats.
- The Sandy Claws Orange-Vanilla Cake Push-Pop which previously was exclusively offered at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is now available all day at Magic Kingdom's Columbia Harbour House, Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café, Pinocchio Village Haus and Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. This dessert is filled with orange-vanilla cake, cranberry cherry mousse, white crispy pearls, cream cheese buttercream and holiday sprinkles. It's also topped with chocolate piece featuring Sandy Claws.
- Bright red cinnamon cream cheese mousse is coated in a red glaze, has chocolate cream cookie crumbles and apple-compote at its base, and is topped with a green meringue kiss. It is available at Satu'li Canteen, Flame Tree Barbecue and Pizzafari at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
- Olaf Cupcakes consist of a chocolate marshmallow-flavored cake topped with vanilla buttercream and the namesake snowman celebrating the "Flurry of Fun" at Disney's Hollywood Studios' ABC Commissary, Catalina Eddie's, Fairfax Fare and Rosie's All-American Café.
- D-Luxe Burger at Disney Springs has added a Peppermint Cookies and Cream shake to its menu.
The 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.
Over the weekend, Disney Legend Whoopi Goldberg was the celebrity narrator at the Candlelight Processional. Disney Legend Kurt Russell makes his first ever Walt Disney World Candlelight Processional appearances later this week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
If you were following our Twitter (or Periscope) feed on Friday night, I walked the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail and broadcast it live to our followers. As we noted last week (and way back in August following Christmas in July), the Tree Trail returns along with Disney "snow" for its second year, in enlarged form along the former bus loop in the Marketplace neighborhood (next to Earl of Sandwich and Disney's Days of Christmas store). It now has 25 Disney-inspired trees, including ten additions: Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Snow White, Dumbo, Fantasia, and Lady and the Tramp. Santa's chalet is also along the trail this year, as is a small merchandise shop, some snacks and beverages for sale, a tree featuring an assortment of ornaments that are all available at the nearby Disney's Days of Christmas store, and the Disney Springs tree that showcases the retailers of the entire area. You can catch a replay in this week's Views. The Tree Trail is open through January 7, 2018. Its new extended hours are:
|Monday – Thursday||12 noon to 10 p.m.||Special Christmas Hours|
|Friday – Saturday||10 a.m. to 11 p.m.||Christmas Eve, 12/24||10 a.m. to 11 p.m.|
|Sunday||10 a.m. to 10 p.m.||Christmas Day, 12/25||10 a.m. to 11 p.m.|
On the other hand, if you were following our Instagram Friday night, I shared to our "Story" the newest creation of the staff of Amorette's Patisserie: a tasty-looking gingerbread version of several parts of Disney Springs itself. Since Instagram stories fade away after 24-hours, you can catch a replay in this week's Views on our Facebook page's repost of the video.
And, if you were following our Facebook page Friday night, I shared to our "Story" a walk through World of Disney store to have a look at some of the holiday merchandise your friends and family may have already bought for you during their vacations. There is a replay of that in this week's Views too.
If all that is not enough of a glimpse around the World this week, I also made it over to Magic Kingdom, Epcot (which we mostly covered in the News above), and Disney's Hollywood Studios to share the Views. Even with all that, I took the "Wonders of the Lodge" art-and-architecture complimentary tour of Disney's Wilderness Lodge, walked around Magic Kingdom Resorts and Epcot Resorts too, but I will save most of those Views for a future edition of the Update! And, as always, bits of news are amongst the photo captions too.
My Disney Experience says Stitch's Great Escape! has "an expected re-opening scheduled in late 2017." As we reported earlier this Fall, the signs reflect its use as a character greeting spot. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Stitch continues to meet and greet guests just inside the doors of the attraction in the first pre-show room, and then guests exit the building through a door near the bridge back toward the Central Plaza (hub). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Nearly three months since Hurricane Irma knocked down many of the trees outside Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland, the new landscaping is starting to fill in the area. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Annual Passholders can receive their free magnet inside many Disney's Hollywood Studios stores by showing a cast member their pass and matching photo I.D. through December 17 (or while supplies last). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
As construction on Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge continues beyond the exit of Toy Story Mania, you may need to look for a cast member holding a sign marking the end of the FastPass+ queue for the very popular attraction in Pixar Place. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
On Friday night at around 9 p.m., the restaurants of Disney Springs were rather busy according to this new sign located across from the Lime Garage escalators in the Town Center area showing many of their wait times. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Stroll through World of Disney store to see lots of holiday merchandise. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
|The Christmas Tree Trail is located in the former bus loop area at the eastern end of the Marketplace. Video by Alan S. Dalinka|
Last Wednesday, I took the "Wonders of the Lodge" complimentary hour-long art-and-architecture tour of Disney's Wilderness Lodge. This fascinating look at the highly detailed resort is offered on Wednesdays through Saturdays at 9 a.m., starting from near the Grand Canyon Fireplace in the main lobby (look for the "Ranger" who will be your tour guide). With some nudging by email, comments, or Social Media, I could be prompted to write a full article and photo tour (assisted in no small part by the extensively detailed, twelve-page, single-spaced "Disney's Wilderness Lodge Fun Facts" packet provided at the end of my tour). After I first noticed and mentioned it a few weeks ago, we must thank Ryan March, Editor, Disney Vacation Club's Disney Files Magazine, for his September 27, 2017, Disney Parks Blog article highlighting this and other resort tours around Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney's Wilderness Lodge, opened in 1994, and was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in conjunction with the Urban Design Group of Denver, Colorado under the direction of architect Peter Dominick, Jr. Today, the Resort includes the Main Lodge, the Boulder Ridge Villas (opened in 2000), and Copper Creek Villas and Cascade Cabins (opened in 2017). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Among the interesting details of Disney's Wilderness Lodge is the ceiling of the Territory Lounge next to the Artist Point restaurant. The mural represents the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-6 which celebrates the American Western Expansion that followed and is reflected in the theme of the resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
With the Magic Kingdom security checkpoint relocated to near the entrance to the monorail, this year the resort's gingerbread display has moved to the far north end of the Grand Canyon Concourse (fourth floor). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Chef Mickey's temporarily relocated last week to the first floor in the adjoining Convention Center. It is expected to reopen in its usual location next week. The adjoining Outer Rim Lounge and Contempo Cafe continue to operate as usual. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
A sign in the lobby of Disney's BoardWalk Resort announces the opportunity to build your own Gingerbread House with the Pastry Chef Team at the resort. For reservations, call (407)939-5175. The cost is $125 for a party of up to four guests. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
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 #37: I Really Have To Say This Edition?
Avoid leaving luggage strapped to the roof of the car in the parking lot!
Walking through the parking lot of Disney's Hollywood Studios the other day, I was rather surprised to see luggage strapped to the roof of a parked car. While Walt Disney World Resort calls itself the "Most Magical Place on Earth" in a positive sense, I would hate to think of folks' luggage "magically" disappearing while enjoying the parks.
I suppose I can imagine a scenario where the family represented by the vinyl stick figures were in so much of a hurry to get into the park that they thought of no other place to stow their stuff, but this really has bad idea written all over it. Indeed, aside from the potential for theft (which, unfortunately, is not unheard of throughout any of the attractions of Central Florida), there is the not-entirely predictable aspect of Central Florida's weather to consider.
When I visited Walt Disney World Resort from out of town, if my room was not ready when I arrived or if I was taking a flight or driving to my next destination after spending time in the parks, I checked my bags with Bell Services. The idea of placing my electronic devices or anything that could possibly melt or overheat in a car (even out of sight) in the Florida sun was just too risky to me.
If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, whether checking in or checking out, consider checking your luggage with Bell Services while you enjoy your first and/or last day (gratuities are appropriate for those who assist you). Indeed, most of the larger resorts in the area also will provide luggage services (sometimes for a fee and, even then, a gratuity would be appropriate for those who assist you). In fact, even if you are not staying at a particular resort, it probably makes sense to ask if they can assist you with luggage for the day.
I hope the owners of the luggage shown in the photo safely returned home with all that they brought. Others may find that mileage will vary. Be governed accordingly.
…Last night, Disney Parks Blog shared a live stream video of "Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!" from Disney's Hollywood Studios. You can see a replay in the video below.
Video © Disney.
…Stitch's Holiday Gift Hunt is now available to play daily at Disney Springs from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Solve clues to track down gifts for Experiment 626's 'ohana by picking up a Holiday Gift Hunt booklet which includes a map, clues, and stickers at any of 16 participating locations around Disney Springs. Find the hidden Stitch at each of 12 locations, match the correct gift sticker to its location on the map, and then head to one of the four redemption centers for your gift (limit one per completed booklet). The twelve Holiday Gift Hunt stops are: Amorette's Patisserie, Basin, Christmas Tree Trail (Disney Springs tree), Christmas Tree Trail (Lilo & Stitch tree), Curl by Sammy Duvall, The Ganachery, Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, MAC Cosmetics, Pelé Soccer, Stance, Star Wars Trading Post, and Wonderful World of Memories. The four prize redemption locations are D-Luxe Burger, Once Upon a Toy, Super Hero Headquarters, and World of Disney store.
…Possibly (or likely?) sold-out by now, Disney Vacation Club announced this week that Members can attend a special Membership Magic event on December 10, from noon-1:30 p.m. in the East Hall of World Showplace with that night's Candlelight Processional Celebrity Narrator and Disney Legend Kurt Russell. The $125/person (plus tax) "intimate afternoon with just 60 Members" will include an approximately 45-minute on-stage conversation between Russell and Ryan March, Editor of DVC's Disney Files Magazine about Disney, filmmaking and winemaking (his GoGi Wines are served at Citricos, Flying Fish, Le Cellier Steakhouse, The Hollywood Brown Derby and Victoria & Alberts at Walt Disney World Resort; Markham's at Golden Oak; and Club 33, Napa Rose, Carthay Circle, 1901 Lounge and Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Resort). Attendees will get to taste two varieties of Russell's GoGi Wines and then will also have priority seating for the 5 p.m. performance of Candlelight Processional. Call DVC Member Services at (800)800-9800 to (try to) book your reservation.
…If you missed ABC-TV's November 30 broadcast of "The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration," you can catch an on-demand replay on ABC.com and the ABC App if you sign in with a participating pay-tv provider (like a cable company or such). In addition to the music acts, and a few special glimpses of Disney Castles around the World, the show includes brief sneak peeks at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lands coming in 2019 to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland, as well as a brief peek at Toy Story Land due to open at Disney's Hollywood Studios this upcoming summer.
As Nick Lachey announced during the broadcast of "The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration" on ABC-TV, Disney Parks will donate $5 to Make-A-Wish, up to a total of $1 million, for each photo taken and shared featuring Mickey Mouse Ears—or any creative "ears" at all—with the hashtag #ShareYourEars. Photos can be uploaded to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram between now and December 25, 2017. Note that the images must be publicly shared for Disney to count them toward the campaign. (And, hopefully, I will finish my long-promised Aulani photo-filled article by year-end too!)
…Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney employees are currently considering the company's latest contract proposals with one union official urging workers to approve and three local unions urging members to reject them. Union members will vote on the new contract on December 19-20.
…For those visiting (or living in) Central Florida February 14 to March 11, you can soon order tickets for Fairwinds Broadway in Orlando's presentation of Disney's The Lion King, the Tony Award winning musical coming to the Walt Disney Theater in Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida 32801. Dr. Phillips Center Member Presale is now underway; tickets starting at $35.25 go on sale on Friday, December 8, 2017. Visit this page of drphillipscenter.org for more information and tickets.
…Last night, Disney Parks Blog provided some more images inside and details about the new venues coming soon to Disney Springs from the Patina Restaurant Group, including The Edison and Maria & Enzo's.
…Some of this week's Walt Disney World Resort Update was coded with the assistance of Online-HTML.com, which requires this mention. Unfortunately, on balance for purposes of the Updates, its pros did not outweigh other coding problems it caused, so do not consider this an endorsement. Your mileage may vary.
…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.
"Do more. Wait less."
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 – December 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
- 25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 3-7, 2018.
- Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom – January 19, 26 & 30; February 8 & 15; March 1 & 8.
- Epcot International Festival of the Arts – January 12 - February 19, 2018
- 10th Anniversary Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 22–25, 2018.
- MouseAdventure (unofficial event) – March 3, 2018. See mouseadventure.com for more information.
- 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – February 28 - May 28, 2018
- Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend – April 19-22, 2018.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party – TBA
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – TBA
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – TBA
|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.|
NEW! 2018 Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic Events (Including Event Reservation Opening Dates)
- Moonlight Magic at Magic Kingdom – January 11 & 28; February 6, 2018
Members with Resort Reservations: December 7, 2017
All Members (pending remaining availability): December 21, 2017
- Moonlight Magic at Disney's Animal Kingdom – March 21; April 17; May 16, 2018
Members with Resort Reservations: February 8, 2018
All Members (pending remaining availability): February 22, 2018
- Moonlight Magic at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon – May 30; June 11, 2018.
Members with Resort Reservations: April 19, 2018
All Members (pending remaining availability): May 3, 2018
- Moonlight Magic at Epcot – July 16; August 13, 2018
Members with Resort Reservations: June 6, 2018
All Members (pending remaining availability): June 20, 2018
- Moonlight Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios – September 19 & 26; October 3, 2018
Members with Resort Reservations: August 30, 2018
All Members (pending remaining availability): September 13, 2018
|Introduced in 2017 as part of Membership Magic Ever After, complimentary Moonlight Magic events invite Disney Vacation Club Members (that are eligible for the Membership Extras benefits) and their guests to visit Disney Parks at the end of their regular operating hours and after the park has closed to the public. Members (and their parties) with reservations find shorter-than-usual wait times on popular attractions, meet rare characters, enjoy complimentary refreshments, have dance parties, and more. Please note that, in order to allow as many Members as possible to enjoy Moonlight Magic, only one event date for each participating park is available per Membership. Visit disneyvacationclub.com during specified reservation windows to (attempt to) secure access to the event as well as to find additions to the Moonlight Magic event slate, updated party hours, and transportation information.|
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.
- 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.
- 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
- Closed for Seasonal Refurbishment through January 6, 2018
Note: closure includes Winter Summerland Miniature Golf
- Seasonal Refurbishment scheduled to begin January 7, 2018
- DisneyQuest – Closed as of July 3, 2017, to make way for The NBA Experience.
- 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."
- 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.
- La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil – ends its run on December 31, 2017. Next use of the theater on the West Side TBA.
- 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.
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:
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
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.
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 once again listed on the Passholder website.
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, including discount game tickets to the NFL Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, an Orlando Magic Jersey Offer for purchasing or renewing an Annual Pass at Amway Center in Orlando, a 15% discount on the Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Spa & Salon Discounts around Walt Disney World Resort, Amphicar Tour discounts at Disney Springs, runDisney Early Registration discounts, Best Friends Pat Care discounts, Children's Activity Centers discounts, and more (including discounted stays at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii).
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
To conserve space, we have eliminated some of the participating location details of the Disney Visa Rewards offers from this section. Visit Disney Visa Rewards website for the latest participating location information.
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. Discounts are not available on Premium VIP tours, programs exclusive to groups, or group team building programs.
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). Offer excludes alcoholic beverages, merchandise, tobacco, room service, holiday buffets, tax and gratuity. Discount does not apply to the following dates: 12/24/17, 12/25/17, 12/31/17, 1/1/18, 2/14/18, 4/1/18, 5/13/18 and 7/4/18, and may not be available at all meal times. Visit this page of disneyrewards.com for the latest list of restaurants and restrictions.
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 this page of disneyrewards.com.
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, Luxury of Time, Marrakesh Emporium Arts & Crafts, Joffrey's coffee/tea kiosks and Tea Traders Café by Joffrey's, Sperry and Volcom.
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. Visit this page of disneyrewards.com for participating locations and restrictions.
10 percent off select recreation experiences
Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of the recreation experiences listed below:
Free character photos 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 complimentary downloads of your photos (one time per day), which may be accessed in the MyDisneyExperience App (or website).
Free character photos at a private meet and greet location at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Present your Disney's Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a private character meet and greet at the Star Wars Launch Bay in the Animation Courtyard at Disney's Hollywood Studios for the cardholder and up to five guests. The event is hosted daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You'll receive complimentary downloads of your photos (one time per day), which may be accessed in the MyDisneyExperience App (or website).
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, 2017, for tickets purchased at the theater box office located on the West Side of Disney Springs.
Thanks to our reader Dr. Smith who alerted us to the website militarydisneytips.com.
2017 Military Salute – 4-Day or 5-Day Military Promotional Ticket discount
Through December 19, 2017, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses can purchase:
Walt Disney World Resort tickets may be used January 1 through December 19, 2017.
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 militarydisneytips.com says the offer is 30-40 percent, based on room category.
2018 Armed Forces Salute Tickets
January 1 through December 19, 2018
NOTE: Spring Blockout Dates have not yet been announced! Tickets must be used by December 19, 2018.
Read more information at militarydisneytips.com, visit your base ticket office, or when at Walt Disney World, visit Shades of Green.
If you know of an offer we haven't listed, please drop us an email with the details!
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!