Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 17-22, 2018by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 17 - 22, 2018
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions
Writer's note: The Walt Disney World Resort continued to seem crowded this past week and, as you will see in this week's Views Around the World, some attraction standby times really reflected that. This week saw the kick-off of the second Epcot International Festival of the Arts, which I got to see both as an invited guest during the Media Day and again over the weekend as a regular Annual Passholder. It certainly seems to be bringing in the Annual Passholders, as the lines at the Passholder's touchpoints at the park's main gates and at the art gift distribution point at The American Adventure attest.
As I mentioned was my plan last week, I also attended the Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic event at Magic Kingdom on Thursday night. At the risk of not being able to get reservations to attend future events due to the potential for increased popularity, I will say, in this DVC Member's opinion, it was the most fun of the Moonlight Magic events yet. The variety of rare characters and photo opportunities available throughout the night were simply fantastic, and the new special DVC fireworks display seemed to be a major improvement over last year's. Kudos to the team behind these complimentary Moonlight Magic events for DVC Members.
Last week, I said that I would mention something special this week. The bad news is that I will not have my usual opportunities to wander around Walt Disney World Resort this coming weekend. Fortunately, that loss is because of good news (at least for me, and hopefully for our readers): Disney has invited me to sail aboard the Disney Dream to experience and learn about what Disney Cruise Line has to offer and to report on it for MousePlanet! Watch our Facebook and Twitter (especially for "#DisneyCruise") this coming weekend for some cruise tidbits as technology permits. I will have a more complete report in an article on MousePlanet.com in the coming weeks.
This art is on the wall of World Traveler at Epcot's International Gateway. It was included in last week's Update's mention of something special coming this week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
A few things to get to around here before I cast off for Castaway Cay, so let's go…
News and Views
Second Epcot International Festival of the Arts is Underway | The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Opens | Epcot Concert News & Calendar | Views around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast
Second Epcot International Festival of the Arts is Underway
The second Epcot International Festival of the Arts got underway last Friday. As you may recall from our coverage of its surprising and delightful debut last year, this six-week winter festival celebrates the visual, performing, and culinary arts. I was invited to attend the Media Day festivities on Friday, where I was able to see and sample some of the merchandise, food, and entertainment; I returned to the park on Saturday to explore more on my own (as regular readers know, I am an Annual Passholder).
Topiary Figment greets guests arriving at the second Epcot International Festival of the Arts. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Festival includes more entertainment, more artists, and, of course, more food than its inaugural run. First and foremost, the Festival runs seven days a week this year rather than just "Disney Weekends" (Fridays through Mondays, though the Disney on Broadway Concert Series takes place only on those days). There are now 13 food marketplaces (kiosks called "Food Studios" for this Festival) which, like last year, include more "artistic plating" than the typical festival food offerings. This means it will take longer to get your food, but the plating is part of the experience. Last year (somewhat surprisingly, perhaps), most guests seemed to be rather patient with the process, and enjoyed watching multiple plates being created before their eyes. (So far, I have only visited one of the marketplaces, so I do not have sufficient enough experience to see how they are being received this year). Morocco, Japan, China, Italy, and France all have new marketplaces this year.
A culinary cast member demonstrates the elaborate plating of one of the dishes available during the Festival. (Note: I did not try this dish.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The deconstructed cheesecake is available from The Deconstructed Dish food studio. (Note: it was among my personal favorite samples tasted on Media Day.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Returning from last year, but this time with strawberry filling instead of Nutella, is the Pop'T Art at the Pop Eats Food Studio. (Note: I also enjoyed a sample of this cookie, probably too much!) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Merchandise this year includes interactive experiences, like the custom-printed t-shirts from Enemy Ink (which did provide me with a complimentary sample custom-printed t-shirt on Media Day). Guests can choose to purchase several different Festival of the Arts graphic designs, available in different colors, and from different t-shirt styles in a very broad range of sizes. There is also a Passholder-exclusive custom option. Enemy Ink can be found in the corridor behind Fountain View (Starbucks) in Future World West (closest to The Land and Imagination pavilions).
Festival merchandise is located all around the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
One of the participating Festival artists, Greg McCullough, showed off his work created specifically for the Festival. He says the image he created of World Showcase contains 35 hidden Mickeys, plus 18 Epcot icons. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Enemy Ink custom-printed t-shirts are sold in the corridor behind Fountain View (Starbucks) in Future World West. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Enemy Ink has several different custom-printed t-shirts available, in several colors, in numerous sizes, and even has a Passholder-exclusive version. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
You can watch as your custom t-shirt is printed on the spot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Interactive art opportunities are located all around the park. The fun interactive photo opportunities are available again this year as well with all of the "walk into the art" locations back from last year, along with a new one and a special nighttime opportunity that uses what Disney calls the Pixel Stick (which we have previously seen used a bit differently at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in past years).
Cast members lead chalk art experiences in Future World. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
You can literally "walk into the painting" and join in General Washington's crossing of the Delaware River in this returning photo opportunity. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
You must stand very still while a cast member walks behind you with the "Pixel Stick" to create a unique Disney PhotoPass photo. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka of an example created by Disney PhotoPass.
This year, the paint-by-number experience creates images of Figment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
To further highlight the existing galleries in many of the pavilions around World Showcase (the hidden gem museums we have written about before), the Festival has added as self-guided tour "Art Walk" of those gallaries along with rubbing plaques to fill pages of the Festival Passport. Signs at the participating pavilions indicate where you can find the Art Walk additions.
At the Mexico pavilion, for example, a sign on the entrance to the pyramid indicates that the Art Walk opportunity is inside. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Rubbing plaques are used to copy the art on the plaque into your Festival Passport. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Performance Arts are featured on the Future World Fountain Stage. This year's Festival has also drawn participation from many Central Florida local arts groups. In addition, over at The America Gardens Theatre, the Disney on Broadway Concert series returns on Fridays through Mondays, along with an expanded dining package that is available for every show each night (last year, it was only available for one show per night).
Art Defying Gravity demonstrated part of their Festival performance routine for the Media. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Art Defying Gravity performances are scheduled at the Future World Fountain; check the Times Guide or the My Disney Experience App for times. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Living Statues perform in front of the stage during many of the daytime periods when other acts are not scheduled on stage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The painting with a Disney Artist is back from last year. It is an opportunity (at an additional charge) to paint with a Disney Artist at a location along the promenade or with a view of World Showcase. There are also complimentary seminars and paid workshops ($39/person) at Odyssey, which is again serving as the Festival Center. Call (407) WDW-TOUR for information.
Most seminars and workshops are conducted inside Odyssey. (I was invited to attend a portion of the presentation on the Women of Disney Animation, which was quite informative.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Odyssey is located between Test Track and the Mexico pavilion on the east side of the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Festival Center also includes a display about the poster art of Disney Parks. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Festival runs through February 19, 2018, and is included with admission to Epcot.
Disney on Broadway stars Jenn Gambatese and Kevin Massey appeared at the Media Day event the first morning of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and performed a song as a preview of their concert with Musical Director Jim Abbott. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
When exiting the park, the lighting of the entry display is striking. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Opens
As part of the 20th anniversary celebration of its ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Walt Disney World Resort officially opened a new multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena Friday. I was invited to attend the ribbon cutting celebration featuring Minnie Mouse in her new cheerleading outfit, several cheerleaders, and ESPN Wide World of Sports executives, along with Amateur Athletic Union and Varsity Brands executives.
Minnie Mouse in her new cheerleading outfit, several cheerleaders, and ESPN Wide World of Sports executives, along with Amateur Athletic Union and Varsity Brands executives celebrate the opening of The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The 8,000-seat arena will host a variety of indoor sporting events, including basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, and wrestling. It can be converted to host more than six regulation-sized basketball and volleyball courts and can be further expanded to host open-floor exhibitions, family shows, speaking engagements and other major events, such as the College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship, which will feature more than 4,700 athletes.
The Arena is a 300,000-square-foot multi-purpose facility that, according to Disney, makes it the largest in the country designed with cheer and dance events in mind. Photo ©Disney.
The venue also will host runDisney Health & Fitness Expos during runDisney race weekends, beginning with the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in February. Following the opening, the arena hosted its inaugural event over the weekend, the UCA and UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship.
Construction of the arena also includes two new auxiliary venue spaces and an attached box office, plus built-in loges and judge's boxes with seating for approximately 70 people. There are also seven concession stands and 35 concession points of sale that will include specialty items such as hazelnut churros, chocolate banana empanadas, donut chicken, Greek dogs, and an adobo chicken rice bowl. Menu boards at the concessions show that guests may use Disney Dining Plan snack credits for several of the items sold. A spokesperson told us that Passholder and DVC Member discounts are also available.
The arena, including its own box office, is located within the 220-acre ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The arena is the third indoor competition venue at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and, Disney says, is one of the largest in the country designed specifically with cheer and dance events in mind. To build it required over 13,500 cubic yards of concrete (enough to fill more than four Olympic swimming pools) and 1,400 tons of steel (the weight of a herd of 215 elephants). "We have created one of the most unique sports arenas in the country," said Faron Kelley, Vice President of Disney Sports. "We sat down and really listened to what our partners told us they needed the space to look like, and what we ended up with is a fantastic new arena. We look forward to hosting many events in our new building for years to come."
Minnie Mouse in her new cheerleading outfit posed for photos after the grand opening celebration for The Arena. 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. During the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series takes the stage three times nightly on Fridays through Mondays until February 19. Remember that Passholders can get wristbands 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, for up to four reserved seats for the Disney on Broadway Concert Series performances (annual pass card and a valid photo ID required). All guests can get guaranteed reserved seating with a dining package.
Passholder wristband and gift distribution are at The American Adventure (look for signs). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival gets underway on February 28, and its Garden Rocks Concert Series kicks off at the America Gardens Theatre on 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," on 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.
A live band accompanies the Disney on Broadway stars during the concert series. During the opening weekend, musical director and Broadway veteran Jim Abbott was at the piano. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Views Around the World
Crowds remained fairly large around the resort following last weekend's Walt Disney World Marathon, and then picked up even more with the start of the second Epcot International Festival of the Arts and the Martin Luther King Day on Monday. As you will see in this week's Views, some attraction wait times were peak-period high. As a long time DVC Member, I also enjoyed a night in Magic Kingdom for the first 2018 Moonlight Magic Event for Members (and their guests) with some very rarely seen characters (jump below to read more about Moonlight Magic events in general). As always, the captions provide other bits and pieces of news.
More prominent signs are now posted in monorail cars warning passangers about leaning against doors following news reports last week of a monorail operating with a door that was open. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
In the afternoon on what we might have thought was a quiet Wednesday in January, the posted standby time for the still-popular Avatar Flight of Passage approached three hours. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Late in the afternoon, it is not entirely unusual to see Meeko and Br'er Fox meeting guests near the park's entrance. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
At Maharajah Jungle Trek, the male tiger paces around his enclosure quite a bit. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
On Kilimanjaro Safaris, the cheetahs can be rather active by day, especially in the cooler days of January. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
But the cooler days of January do not tend to make the typically nocturnal lions as active as we have seen them on nighttime safaris . Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Likewise, the lionesses do not tend to be active by day. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The styles of themed socks available in the parks seem to be increasing. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic at Magic Kingdom
Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic is open to DVC Members and their guests by reservation. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
For more information, jump below. Immediately above that discussion at the jump, is a list of the remaining Moonlight Magic Events scheduled at Walt Disney World Resort in 2018 and the corresponding reservation windows.
Some of the Fantasia ballet appeared in Fantasyland. Video by Alan S. Dalinka
Colonial attired Mickey and Minnie appeared in front of the Liberty Bell in Liberty Square. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The hyenas from "The Lion King" appeared in Adventureland outside the Enchanted Tiki Room. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The DVC Moonlight Magic Events at Magic Kingdom include a special fireworks show. This year's show included a song from the latest Disney-Pixar film "Coco." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Herbie the "Love Bug" was available for photo opportunities near the Tomorrowland Speedway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Three Little Pigs courageously appeared with the Big Bad Wolf in the Storybook Circus part of New Fantasyland. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
At the end of the event, pajama clad Minnie and Mickey bid guests goodnight from Main Street Station. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Apart from visiting Epcot for the Festival of the Arts, my new discovery this week: Refreshment Port on the World Showcase Promenade near the Canada pavilion now sells a serving of Canadian cheddar cheese soup ($4.19) and a version of poutine (French fries and cheese curds) covered in the soup ($5.99). Previously, the soup had been available seasonally during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and (with those hard-to-secure reservations) at Le Cellier only. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
I purchased and ate a serving of the poutine and was extremely happy that I walked 20,000 steps to compensate. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
At the Mexico pavilion, the slowly evolving "Remember Me" art installation now has filled in two bays that previously said "coming soon." Based on the presence of a "touchpoint," it appears that there will be photo opportunities that incorporate images related to Disney-Pixar's "Coco." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
One phase of construction of the changes to the entry road to Disney's Hollywood Studios from Buena Vista Drive appears to be nearing completion along the pathway between the park and Disney's BoardWalk. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Also from the pathway, the current state of construction of the future Disney Skyliner station is visible. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Close to the site of the future Disney Skyliner station, new concept art is posted on the construction fence. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The concept art suggests that the future Disney Skyliner station will be located right along the side of the park's bus loop. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The PIXAR Studios arch is high above the Martin Luther King Day weekend crowd outside Toy Story Mania. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
On Saturday afternoon, the standby time for Toy Story Mania approached three hours. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The standby queue for Toy Story Mania wrapped all along both sides of the "street" all the way down to the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction wall. Cast members in the area reported that the new ride track opened in recent years (located to the left of this photo) has been temporarily closed for construction relating to attaching the attraction's queue to the new Toy Story Land opening this summer. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
As we learned last month, the highest point in the future Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area of the park was topped off with a traditional pine tree and American Flag. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The high point of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge can be seen from outside of the Walt Disney Presents attraction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Inside Walt Disney Presents, with the sneak peek of Disney's A Wrinkle in Time not scheduled to open until February 9, the lobby display outside the Walt Disney Theater presentation of "One Man's Dream," temporarily features a few costumes and props from the film "Saving Mr. Banks." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
At the other "end" of the park (at the actual end of Grand Avenue) stands the future entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Near the future entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, a small cart sells several items of merchandise themed for and advertising the new land coming in 2019. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Rex is featured on some of the new merchandise themed for and advertising the new land coming in 2019. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Over on Sunset Boulevard, with the holiday presentation of "Sunset Seasons Greetings" concluded, the video billboard near Anaheim Produce has been removed. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The video billboard advertising Fantasmic remains in the location of the former traditional-style billboard. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
With the opening of the new Patina Restaurant Group concepts in the Landing area, nearly all of the construction walls have been removed from the area around the bridge that connects to the West Side. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
It appears that the final exterior details have been installed on the "old terminal building" that shade the windows of Pizza Ponte in the Patina Restaurant Group's complex of new establishments that also includes Maria & Enzo's. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The new Town Center location of the Harley-Davidson Orlando store is open. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The interior of the new Harley-Davidson Orlando store appears to be a bit smaller than the prior location, but it still has a lot of merchandise as well as two bikes for photo opportunities. Photo by Donald Fink.
The former site of DisneyQuest on the West Side is being prepared for the construction of the NBA Experience. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The future Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill next door to the Coca-Cola Store now has some of its foundation walls in place. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The World of Disney Store currently has both the original and new shades of pink Magic Band 2.0 available for sale. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Don't keep it to yourself!
This and That
…On Sunday, Disney Parks Blog announced the birth of a Nile hippopotamus at Disney's Animal Kingdom on Saturday night, the first hippo born at the park in 13 years. The gender and weight of the calf have not yet been determined, but it may be possible to see the mother, Tuma, and her calf on Kilimanjaro Safaris and while participating on the Wild Africa Trek.
…Looking ahead to St. Patrick's Day, we are starting to see some of the details of The Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick's Festival at Disney Springs (March 16-18). More information soon, but we know that The Young Dubliners play March 16 and 17, and the U2 tribute band Elevation plays March 16 and 17. Of course, there is a lot of live entertainment to be found at Raglan Road all year round, including the return of The Byrne Brothers, an Irish music family from Donegal (ages 13, 11, and 8, plus their father), who are in residency for four shows a week scheduled through June.
…The World of Disney store at Disney Spring will begin to undergo phased refurbishment in mid-February. While parts of the store are expected to remain open, a new store, The Disney Corner, will open in the Town Center area (near the Lime Garage entrance) to sell select merchandise during the renovations. Also, the Ever After Jewelry Co. (formerly, the D-Living store) will remain open during the World of Disney store refurbishments. The phased work is expected to continue throughout 2018.
Notwithstanding its upcoming phased refurbishment, the World of Disney store is now advertised on the billboard along Epcot Center Drive which formerly advertised La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil (and, briefly, the Walt Disney World Marathon). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…The Disney Parks Moms Panel welcomed its newest 11 panelists last week, joining its 29 existing members. The panel covers topics and questions from Walt Disney World Resort as well as Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, and Disney Vacation Club. The panel can address questions in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
…Disney Parks Blog reports that the first purple martins have been spotted around Walt Disney World Resort. The migratory birds travel to Central Florida each year to raise their offspring before flying off to the rainforests of Brazil. Guests often spot the birds at the bird houses in Epcot's Future World East (between Mouse Gear and Test Track), and we expect to spot them and share photos soon. Additional bird houses are located at other locations around the Resort; all told, there are 460 nest compartments installed around Walt Disney World.
…D23 The Official Disney Fan Club last week announced a number of Gold Member and Gold Family Member discounts on shopping, entertainment, and Disney "adventures" at Walt Disney World Resort (for example, at Disney Springs in select restaurants such as Terralina, Paddlefish, and Wine Bar George, and in select stores such as Alex and Ani, Basin, Levi's Volcom, Under Armour, Arribas Bros., and Sugarboo & Co.), at and near Disneyland Resort, at the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline Mo., and more. Complete details are available on D23.com/Discounts, including some select discounts available for General Members too.
…Between Walt Disney World Resort and Downtown Orlando, Holy Land Experience will host its next free-admission day on January 25. As reported by Orlando Sentinel, the attraction offers at least one free day each year to qualify for a religious entity property-tax exemption under Florida law. Regular price admission is $50/over 17 years old; $35/ages 5-17; Free/ages 4 and under. The free days tend to attract large crowds and can cause backups around I-4 at Conroy Road (just west of The Mall at Millenia), and along Vineland Road at the attraction's entrance. Free admission is first-come, first served, and the attraction is scheduled to be open 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. that day.
…And, coming up in Downtown Orlando at Dr. Phillips Center in the Walt Disney Theater on February 1 at 7:30 p.m., the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra performs Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - in Concert. The website still showed ticket availability as we prepared to publish this Update. Regular readers will recall that I paid to attend the concert performance of Star Wars: A New Hope back in Fall and thoroughly enjoyed it; I have bought a ticket to this concert as well!
…Finally, Meg Donnelly and Milo Manheim were on hand for the ribbon cutting of The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to promote their upcoming Disney Channel movie Zombies which premieres on February 16, 2018. The Disney promotional synergy opportunity arises out of the fact that Meg Donnelly plays a cheerleader in the movie and cheerleading is the reason The Arena was constructed.
…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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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.
- NFL Pro Bowl week at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – January 24-27.
- 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 17-18, 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 28; February 6, 2018
All Members (pending remaining availability): Now open - Visit this page of DisneyVacationClub.com with your DVC Member Number handy!
- 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.
- 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 – My Disney Experience lists as "available seasonally throughout the year."
- The American Adventure – closed for refurbishment scheduled 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
- No known closures at this time.
- Seasonal Refurbishment scheduled to end March 18, 2018.
- World of Disney – portions closing in phases for refurbishment beginning mid-February.
The Disney Corner opening in Town Center in mid-February to offer select merchandise during refurbishment.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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
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.
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!
The spotted cat on safari is a cheetah, not a cougar.
Please excuse me for pointing this out, but the motorcycle store is actually Harley-Davidson I believe. I noticed on a past update that the temporary sign out in front of the store was also misspelled as Harley-Davison. Or is this actually the spelling the store uses???
How exciting to get a free Disney cruise! Have a great trip!
Thanks for the corrections! Please be sure to follow my #DisneyCruise posts. I am looking forward to the adventure, surprises, delights, and trying to keep calories in check!