Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 9-15, 2018

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 9 - 15, 2018

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

Writer's note: Take the road and walkway closures that came with the running of the 25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Events this past weekend (as we warned in the Writer's note in last week's Update), add in the newest addition to our collective meteorological vocabulary—the explosive cyclogenesis or "bomb cyclone" winter storm—that blasted most of the Eastern Seaboard and cancelled many flights out of Orlando International Airport to those destinations, and the sustained cold temperatures that unexpectedly closed Central Florida schools with heat plants insufficient for operating on school days hovering around freezing at the same time the gold- and silver-tier Passholder seasonal blockouts end, and you get an extremely crowded Walt Disney World Resort. As you can imagine, traffic jams and crowded parks were even worse than during other peak times.

We have noted deficiencies in Disney Transport's ability to keep the magic alive even during less busy times; given some of the stories we heard this Marathon Weekend, we hope Disney Transport leadership heard some of the feedback we heard and more importantly, finds ways of making improvements in coming days before the next peak days descend upon the Resort. As one reader wrote to us, the admonition that guests need to "Allow Extra Time" because of the marathon should not mean that they will be trapped on a standing-room-only bus for nearly two hours when traveling from Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge to Magic Kingdom.

With the closing of "La Nouba" by Cirque du Soleil on December 31, the advertisement on this billboard switched to saluting the marathon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Even the parking lot at Epcot briefly reached capacity (which includes grassy areas) during Marathon weekend (of course, two full sections of the lot are used for Marathon support functions and racers themselves). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Sports news dominates our Update this week, including a new offering from Disney Vacation Club for runDisney enthusiasts beyond the marathon itself, a new Star Wars virtual "race," and a parade fit for champions down Main Street U.S.A. The full Garden Rocks Concert Series lineup is now in our Epcot Calendar, and the 2018 Florida Resident Ticket offers are among the updated Discounts and Promotions we have gathered.

A hearty congratulations to those that completed races during Marathon Weekend, and especially the Dopey Challenge (that is completing all 48.6 miles of the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and the 25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon). I saw lots of really tired folks, and a lot of that really cool-looking hardware dangling from necks on Sunday. Several members of the MousePlanet family earned the "metal" (multiple medals) too, and they have my respect for having done so, as does our Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix for being there to cheer several on as they finished. Between battling a traditional start-of-the-year cold of my own (not the temperature) and the crowds this week, my own Views of the Resort were a bit more limited than most weeks, but I plan to attend the Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic event at Magic Kingdom on Thursday night, and we have the Second Annual Epcot International Festival of the Arts kicking off on Friday with a Media Showcase, so more to come with something even more special ahead that I will write about next week.

We usually leave the "eye spy" challenge to the Newsletter, but I am not sure that I had noticed this art before and it is somewhat relevant to a future Update. Anyone know where to find it? Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

On your mark, get set…

News and Views

Over 25,000 "runDisney" in 25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon | Magic Kingdom Parade Salutes Undefeated University of Central Florida Knights | Maria and Enzo's Opening Celebration | Epcot Concert News & Calendar | Views around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Over 25,000 "runDisney" in 25th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon

The 25th Annual Walt Disney World Marathon ended on Sunday with Nick Hilton of Tuscon, Arizona, becoming the first American to win the race since 2004. With a final race time of 2:17:52, Hilton finished more than two minutes ahead of Vanilson Neves of Sao Paulo, Brazil (2:20:25) who, in turn, was followed by Nicholas Caprario of Kansas City, Missouri (2:21:31). Hilton joins only three other Americans to win the 26.2 mile race through all four theme parks, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and many of the roads in between. Brazilian runners won the past four Walt Disney World Marathons, including six of the past seven years.

Nick Hilton of Tuscon, Arizona won the 25th annual Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna. He is the first American to win the race since 2004. Photo ©Disney.

In the women's division, Brazilian Giovanna Martins of Sao Paulo won for the third time in the last four years. She is the only three-time women's winner in the race's history, crossing the finish line in 2:47:22, ahead of Jackie Hall of St. Charles, Missouri (2:49:48), and Alicia Cevallos of Quito, Ecuador (2:50:49).

Giovanna Martins of Sao Paulo, Brazil, won the women's division of the 25th annual Walt Disney World Marathon presented by Cigna for the third time in the last four years. Photo ©Disney.

The marathon field of 25,500 participants began before dawn on the "Florida-cold" January morning which was marginally warmer than the other mornings of this particularly cold Marathon weekend. Every runner was given a special commemorative finisher's medal and special set of Mickey Mouse ears after crossing the finish line at Epcot. Along the course, as usual, Disney provided special entertainment experiences ranging from marching bands, to a 100-member choir near mile 26, and, of course, character meet and greet opportunities. The marathon capped the five-day race weekend that included kids' races, a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon, plus a health and fitness expo.

The 25th annual Walt Disney World Marathon kicked off before dawn on Sunday, January 7. Photo ©Disney.

Runners received special "ears" upon completing the marathon. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Marathon Weekend events gave runners the opportunity to run through Epcot. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Banners saluting the marathon were all around the parks and resorts this weekend. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom Parade Salutes Undefeated University of Central Florida Knights

On Sunday, January 7, the University of Central Florida Knights football team, cheerleaders, and marching band were the stars of a special parade in the Magic Kingdom. The parade honored Orlando's hometown team having a championship season with a perfect record and an outstanding year of academic success. Having won in the Peach Bowl on January 1, the team had its first ever undefeated season with a record of 13-0. No other NCAA Division I school's football team was undefeated this season, yet UCF was not included in the National Championship playoffs. UCF was ranked tenth in the Associated Press poll.

The UCF Knights football team, cheerleaders and marching band were celebrated in a special Magic Kingdom parade saluting the team's undefeated season. Photo ©Disney.

Sunday's parade continued a Disney Parks tradition of honoring sports and other heroes who have celebrated a special achievement. Main Street U.S.A. was decorated with black-and-gold balloons and many local fans came out wearing black-and-gold honoring UCF's school colors. And, yes, as Orlando's "hometown school," this parade also added more locals into the already busy Marathon Weekend traffic mix at the resort.

Maria and Enzo's Opening Celebration

Usually our "just about everything gets a day" stories find their way into the "This and That", but the January 4 celebration of National Spaghetti Day at Disney Springs was a bigger news event for folks interested in where to dine around Walt Disney World Resort. Mickey and Minnie Mouse were joined by the Walt Disney World Ambassadors and executives from Patina Restaurant Group and Disney Springs to dedicate the opening of Maria & Enzo's Ristorante. The ceremony was followed by a media preview with public dinner service beginning the next day (and lunch and brunch service to follow later this month).

Mickey Mouse danced along with a couple in air-travel-of-the-past uniforms to celebrate the opening of Maria & Enzo's in front of the "former" Disney Springs air terminal building. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse were joined by Patina Restaurant Group executives and Disney Springs executives as the chefs brought out a ceremonial huge bowl for National Spaghetti Day. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As we have written about before, Maria & Enzo's has an elaborate back-story to tie in with the overall story of the Landing neighborhood of Disney Springs. The collaboration between Patina Restaurant Group—which also operates the restaurants at Epcot's Italy pavilion and will operate the space-themed restaurant announced for Future World—and Walt Disney Imagineering sets the story of the namesake Maria and Enzo as the Italian immigrant couple that came to Central Florida in the 1920s, where they first set up shop operating the bakery (now open as the fast casual Pizza Ponte) in the sea-plane air terminal of the 1930s that now has become the setting for their restaurant. The menu of the new Disney Springs restaurant was created by Michelin star-rated Chef Theo Schenegger; the wine list includes more than 100 bottles (primarily Italian, of course).

The interior of Maria & Enzo's follows the story line of the building being a former sea-plane air terminal from the 1930s. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The restaurant's two-story wall filled with windows looks out on to Village Lake. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The menu pays homage to the travel posters that line the walls of the the converted terminal building. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The dishes on the menu were created by Michelin star-rated Chef Theo Schenegger. When the flaps of the menu are opened, they reveal the more than 100 bottles of wine available at the restaurant. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The media reception included tasting-sized portions of some of the menu dishes. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The media reception also included samples of the restaurant's cannolis. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

After the media reception, we were also provided a tour of the neighboring Enzo's Hideaway Tunnel Bar, a speakeasy said to be inspired by Roman aperitivo bars located in the "rum-runner tunnels" (as the story goes). The Hideaway features a casual menu of Roman dishes and features many Prohibition-era cocktails. The Hideaway attaches to The Edison next door through a secret passageway.

Enzo's Hideaway Tunnel Bar has a separate entrance that leads guests through the "tunnels." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

A long bar lines one wall of the main dining room of Enzo's Hideaway Tunnel Bar. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

A "chef's table" is one of the focal points of the middle of the main dining room of Enzo's Hideaway Tunnel Bar. Beyond, "grafitti" covers the walls next to the booths. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

In a further hidden corner is a semi-private dining table near the "secret" connection between Enzo's Hideaway Tunnel Bar and The Edison next door. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As of this writing, all of the Patina Restaurant Group concepts in this new Disney Springs complex are operating on, at least, a soft-open basis. At the media reception, we had just a taste of what the restaurant will offer, but have not yet had an opportunity to explore the menu or service. Stay tuned to MousePlanet for more on the new concepts once they are all operating full-time.

A large mechanical clock is the first thing guests entering the front door of The Edison see. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

With its "industrial gothic" theme, there are lots of mechanical devices all around The Edison. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Circuit Breaker Bar fills nearly an entire wall of the lower level of The Edison. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Edison includes period characters that interact with guests. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot Concert News & Calendar

The America Gardens Theatre on the shore of World Showcase Lagoon opposite the entrance to The American Adventure is home to numerous shows throughout the year. Coming up later this week, on January 12, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series takes the stage three times nightly on Fridays through Mondays during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. For a refresher on the Festival, you can read my article about the Festival's debut last January.

Passholders can get wristbands for reserved seating for the Disney on Broadway Concert Series performances at The American Adventure Pavilion on a first-come, first-served basis, at least one hour prior to the show that you wish to attend. Wristbands are available Friday to Monday from January 12 to February 19, with distribution beginning at 11:00 a.m. and continuing while supplies last or:

  • Until 4:30 p.m. for 5:30 p.m. shows
  • Until 5:45 p.m. for 6:45 p.m. shows
  • Until 7:00 p.m. for 8:00 p.m. shows

Passholders may request a wristbands for a party of up to four (Passholder plus three additional Guests) and must show the annual pass card and a valid photo ID to receive wristbands. Wristbands only allow entry for one specific time and date—they cannot be used for other times or dates. As always, to use the wristbands, all attendees must have valid theme park admission to enter Epcot. All guests can get guaranteed reserved seating with a dining package.

And while the Disney on Broadway Concert Series is about to get underway, the full list of acts scheduled for this year's Garden Rocks Concert Series that perform during the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is now also available. (That Festival begins on February 28; that concert series begins March 2). Returning acts include Night Ranger ("Sister Christian") which opens the series March 2-5, and The Spinners, known for "Working My Way Back To You," the final Festival weekend May 25-28. Several new bands will perform at Epcot for the first time: Foghat ("Slow Ride"); Smash Mouth ("All Star"); Lonestar ("Amazed"); and Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles ("Hotel California"). Other bands new to the Garden Rocks series will be Rick Springfield ("Jessie's Girl"), Survivor ("Eye of the Tiger"), and Jo Dee Messina ("Stand Beside Me").

For the convenience of our readers, we list all of the performances 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.

The stage will be home to concert series on Fridays through Mondays during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Views Around the World

As I mentioned in the Writer's Note, between the crowds and my usual start-of-the-year cold, I did not make as many journeys around the Resort this week. Fortunately, our Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix brings us a few Views that I have supplemented with a few more.


As we mentioned last week, the "Privacy Please" door hangers are being phased out in favor of this new design. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

While innkeepers and landlords historically have reserved the right to enter their property, even when in use by someone else, the new door hangers make it clear that cast members may enter a resort room notwithstanding the door hanger. When in your room, secure the door with the deadbolt and privacy latch to ensure privacy. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

The old door hanger merely said "Privacy Please" and did not ensure that a cast member would not knock and enter an unoccupied room. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


During this brief time between Festivals, Epcot once again has a simple floral display between the entrance and Spaceship Earth. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot's main Christmas Tree was removed ahead of New Year's Eve as usual this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As 2018 gets underway, we have started to see some "Disney Parks" themed merchandise again rather than park-specific souvenirs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

We use this photo of Mission: Space to note the passing of NASA's longest serving astronaut, John Young, who grew up in Orlando. He was 87. John Young Parkway, which Walt Disney World Resort guests traveling to or from Orlando International Airport pass, is named for him. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Commander Young flew the Apollo 16 mission and spent just under three days on the Moon. Young also flew twice during the Gemini missions of the mid-1960s, another Apollo mission, and twice flew aboard the space shuttle (including its first flight in the early 1980s). Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Last year during the first Epcot International Festival of the Arts this wall along World Showcase Promenade was used for an interactive guest-paint-by-number mural. It appears that it has been installed for that purpose again this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

For the first time in four years, a hard freeze hit Walt Disney World Resort, as temperatures dropped below 32 °F overnight a couple of time this past week. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Around Epcot (shown here) and around the Resort, sensitive plants were covered to protect them from the frost. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Golden Oak

The flowerbeds outside the Golden Oak community were wrapped in material to protect them from frost this weekend. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Springs

The Harley-Davison store on the West Side closed and a new location was scheduled to open in Town Center yesterday. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

With the closing of "La Nouba" on December 31, the Cirque du Soleil store has also closed for refurbishment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

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Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments.

This and That

…Just after we published last week's Update, Disney Vacation Club announced a new vacation option named "Guaranteed Event Weeks" for folks that enjoy participating in runDisney events at Walt Disney World Resort. Subject to lots of fine print (as you would expect of a solicitation to sell a timeshare interest), essentially, now, when someone purchases a Guaranteed Event Week at the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort, Disney's Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, the purchaser receives accommodations during the runDisney event weekend selected every year plus the purchaser can take advantage of early registration for eligible races during the runDisney event weekend. In the event the purchaser decides not to attend their fixed week in a particular year, the week may be released and the DVC Membership used to book other vacation accommodations for another time and/or destination. For more information, see this page of the Disney Vacation Club website and follow the links to request additional details or call (877)382-6244. Remember, of course, DVC Membership is a serious financial decision that, in addition to the initial purchase, requires the payment of annual dues and tax obligations.

…And while we are still talking about marathons, runDisney also announced the introduction of the first-ever Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon. Registration is now open through February 28, and you can complete this 13.1 mile "race" at your own pace in your neighborhood, on a treadmill, or pretty much anywhere else by March 31 to earn the new themed medal. For folks planning to participate in the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon at Walt Disney World Resort on April 22, the virtual race also offers an opportunity to complete the Kessel Run Challenge (the virtual and actual races) for an additional medal.

…While we do not yet have an opening date for Levy Restaurants' Terralina Crafted Italian (the reimagining of the former Portobello Country Italian Trattoria) at Disney Springs, the company is hosting a job fair at its Paddlefish restaurant (on the 3rd Deck) next door, today through Thursday (January 9-11), from 1-4 p.m. each day. The fair includes on-the-spot interviews for a variety of front and back of the house positions at Terralina Crafted Italian, including host, cashier, server, server assistant, food runner, bartender, cook, prep cook, and dishwashers. Interested applicants can also apply online at workatlevy.com.

…Passholders can receive a complimentary commemorative artwork celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Epcot during the 2018 Epcot International Festival of the Arts (while supplies last). To receive the artwork, from January 12 to February 19, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Passholders must visit The American Adventure Pavilion and show their annual pass card and valid photo ID. Limit one per Passholder during the run of the 2018 Festival.

…Away from the resort, Passholders can use code DANCEPARTY to get 20% off of tickets to the new Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour in Jacksonville, Melbourne, Clearwater, and Sarasota, Florida, for house seats while supplies last. Visit disneyjuniortour.com for more information and tickets.

…With the NFL ProBowl week returning to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex January 24-27, opportunities to register for free tickets to some of the ticketed events are starting to arise. 1iota, the "Audience Casting and Fan Engagement Agency" announced this week that registration is now open for tickets to attend the 2018 Pro Bowl Skills Showdown, pitting AFC and NFC All-Stars against each other in a series of competitions including "Best Hands, Epic Pro Dodgeball and more!" For more information (including a list of prohibited items at the event) and an opportunity to register, visit this page of 1iota.com. If we learn of more ticket opportunities, we will post them on our social media. Of course, lots of other ProBowl Week experiences at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex do not require tickets, and we will post more information about those events later this month.

…It's time for another week of Disney Parks & Resorts being featured on TV's "Wheel of Fortune." Starting last night (check your local listings), you can tune in for the fourth annual Disney Sea & Shore Week, featuring Disney Cruise Line, perhaps a bit of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, and other Disney Destinations visited by Adventures by Disney. Of course, as we mentioned back in the fall, we attended episodes recorded at Epcot to air during the week of February 12, so we will have more to say about "Wheel" in a few weeks, including a few more behind the scenes photos to share after those episodes air.

…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


"Do more. Wait less."

Save time and money at Walt Disney World. TouringPlans.com can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist pitfalls.

Our Disney World Crowd Calendar shows you the least crowded park to visit every day of the year, customized Touring Plans save you hours in line for Disney's best rides, honest restaurant reviews, how to save on Disney tickets, the best hotel rooms to ask for, and so much more. Everything can be accessed on our site or on Lines - Mobile Wait Times App which also shows to current and estimated wait times for attractions.

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, January 9, 2018 6 / 10
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 5 / 10
Thursday, January 11, 2018 4 / 10
Friday, January 12, 2018 6 / 10
Saturday, January 13, 2018 8 / 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!

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disney World wait times on your iPhone, Android or Smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.

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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.

2018 Resort Events

  • Epcot International Festival of the Arts – January 12 - February 19, 2018
  • Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom – January 19, 26 & 30; February 8 & 15; March 1 & 8.
  • 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.
  • Dapper Day – Magic Kingdom: April 28, 2018; Epcot: April 29, 2018; Park TBD: November 27-18, 2018
  • Gay Days at Walt Disney World 2018 ("#RedShirtDays" – unofficial events) – Disney's Animal Kingdom: May 31; Disney's Hollywood Studios: June 1; Magic Kingdom: June 2; Epcot: June 3
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party – TBA
  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 1-4, 2018
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – TBA
  • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – October 26-27, 2018
      –Sunday Bubbles Brunch – October 28, 2018.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – TBA
  • Holidays at Walt Disney World – TBA
  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – TBA
  • Candlelight Processional at Epcot – TBA

2019 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.

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: Now open!
    All Members (pending remaining availability): Now open!
  • 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.

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

  • Pirates of the Caribbean – will close for refurbishment scheduled from late February through mid-March 2018.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment.
  • Splash Mountain – closed for refurbishment scheduled through early February 2018.
  • Stitch's Great Escape – closed after the peak "seasonal" opening. Its future status is unknown.


  • The American Adventure – will close for refurbishment scheduled early January through early February 2018.
  • Ellen's Energy Adventure at Universe of Energy – Closed August 13, 2017
    Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction in approximately 2021.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • The Great Movie Ride – Closed August 13, 2017.
    Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway attraction to open in Chinese Theatre at a date to be announced.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Kali River Rapids – Closed for refurbishment January 2 until early February 2018.
  • Flights of Wonder (Caravan Stage) – Show Closed on December 31, 2017.
    New show starring Russell and Dug from "Up" and their bird friends coming in Spring 2018

The Caravan Stage is being prepared for the new show coming this Spring. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Blizzard Beach

  • No known closures at this time.

Typhoon Lagoon

  • Seasonal Refurbishment scheduled to end March 18, 2018.

Disney Springs

  • DisneyQuest – Closed as of July 3, 2017.
    The NBA Experience expected to open Summer 2019.
  • Portobello Country Italian Trattoria – Closed April 24, 2017.
    Terralina Crafted Italian expected to open early 2018.
  • Aerophile—The World Leader in Balloon Flight – closed for refurbishment.
  • Wolfgang Puck Grand Café – closed August 1, 2017.
    Location is being transformed into Jaleo, a restaurant featuring Spanish cuisine, expected to open 2018.
    A new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is under construction next door to the Coca-Cola Store, expected to open 2018.
    Wolfgang Puck Express continues to operate in its existing location in the Marketplace.
  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil – Show closed on December 31, 2017.
    A new Cirque du Soleil show is now in development with its premiere date to be announced.

The "La Nouba" show closed on December 31. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


  • Caribbean Beach – Centertown, the resort's marketplace, will be expanded with new waterfront dining and retail shopping areas. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in Summer 2018, with the overall project completed 2019-20. Due to the work, the following food service and retail locations are currently 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 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

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 for the discount. All sales are final, and not eligible for an exchange or refund. Both the immediate and discount version of Memory Maker can be purchased at this page of DisneyWorld.com.

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.

Many dining locations offer Passholders 10% discounts during some or all meal periods (also excluding alcoholic beverages, tax and gratuity).

The latest information on this page of DisneyWorld.com lists discounts at many merchandise locations across Walt Disney World Resort, including locations that continue to offer 20% discounts off regularly priced merchandise.

The latest information on this page of DisneyWorld.com lists discounts for special events and tours at locations around Walt Disney World Resort.

The latest information on this page of DisneyWorld.com lists discounts for sports, recreation, and spas around Walt Disney World Resort.

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 and, at least as of January 8, 2018, the coupon code still includes "17" rather than "18."

Visit the DisneyWorld.com Special Offers page (filtered for Passholders) and log in with a My Disney Experience account linked to your Annual Pass for information, or call (407) 939-4232 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 only for bookings by January 10, 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: 12/31/17, 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:

  • 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 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

Thanks to our reader Dr. Smith who alerted us to the website militarydisneytips.com.

2018 Armed Forces Salute Tickets

January 1 through December 19, 2018

  • Four-Day Park Hopper Tickets: $226.00
  • Four-Day Park Hopper PlusTickets: $266.00
  • Five-Day Park Hopper Tickets: $246.00
  • Five-Day Park Hopper Plus Tickets: $286.00

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

NEW THIS WEEK: Discover Disney Tickets

Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets are back: $159/person plus tax for the Discover Disney 3-Day Ticket; $179/person plus tax for the Discover Disney 4-Day Ticket. Tickets must be purchased by June 20 and may be used on any day until June 24, 2018. Park Hopper Option is available for an additional $30/ticket plus tax for the 3-Day Ticket; $37.50/ticket for the 4-Day Ticket. Further information is available and tickets may be purchased on this page of DisneyWorld.com.

Disney Select Tickets

At a higher price, but with more flexibility, Florida Residents save 30% with the 4-Day Disney Select Ticket (compared to the price of a 4-Day Magic Your Way ticket). There is a smaller discount for a 3-Day Select Ticket, and there is also a discount for 1–Day Tickets with the Park Hopper Option only. For more information visit this page of DisneyWorld.com.

  1–Day Ticket+
Park Hopper Option
Florida Resident General Admission  
  Ages 10+ Ages 3-9 Ages 10+ Ages 3-9  
  Value Day





  Regular Day





  Peak Day






Florida Resident
Select Tickets

3-Day Select Ages 10+

3-Day Select Ages 3-9

4-Day Select Ages 10+

4-Day Select Ages 10+


1 Park Per Day






Park Hopper





  • Florida Select tickets expire 6 months after first use or by June 30, 2019, whichever comes first.
  • Florida Select tickets do not need to be used on consecutive days.
  • All adults who will use Florida resident tickets must show an acceptable form of proof of Florida residency at a theme park ticket window, or at any Guest Relations location, prior to first use. Pass certificates can be exchanged for valid passes at the same locations.

Spring into 2018 rates for Florida Residents are available for most nights through April 14, 2018. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for information or call (407) 939-2752.

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!



  1. By H20loo

    We were on that almost two hour bus from Animal Kingdom Lodge to Magic Kingdom. The bus that left after ours got there 30 minutes ahead of us. My brother-in-law had to stand by my nephew's wheelchair for the entire ride. Luckily, everyone retained their good humor for the most part, but everyone was getting cranky by the end of it.

  2. By BrerFrog

    The parks were definitely crowded last week, but I thought runDisney did a great job running the marathons, kids races and the expo. The Half-Marathon that I ran was cold at the start, but incredibly fun with great Disney characters out, soundtracks playing, and lots of support along the way. Great to see a tiny bit of backstage in both MK and Epcot! Finish line also ran very smoothly, with lots of lines open for the medals, photos and snacks. Regarding the comments about long bus rides to MK, I wonder why buses were not diverted to the TTC?

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