Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 10-16, 2018

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 10-16, 2018

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Writer's note: The last, really busy Spring Break days wrapped up over the weekend. Not surprisingly, it was another rather quiet week for news at Walt Disney World Resort. With April here, though, a little bit of the "Party for the Planet" celebration that officially begins with the 20th Anniversary of the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom on April 22, is now underway, and a new character is soon going to be regularly appearing at Pandora–The World of Avatar.

Meanwhile, Disney Parks capital projects seem to be rolling on all over the Resort by the number of cranes towering above everything else. And, of course, the "Incredible Summer" and the June 30 opening of Toy Story Land are still ahead, so stay tuned. We have a lot more to see than to read this week, but, as always, little bits of news find their place in some of the photo captions.


By Sunday afternoon, the Spring Break "season" seemed to have wound down around Walt Disney World Resort, and some wide open spots could be found, like Future World Fountain Plaza in Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


News and Views

Disney's Animal Kingdom Looks to its 20th Anniversary | Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Construction Update | Epcot Concert News & Calendar | Views around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Disney's Animal Kingdom Looks to its 20th Anniversary

Thematically, Disney's Animal Kingdom's principal message is conservation. The park officially opened on Earth Day in 1998, and its conservation message can be found throughout the park, even including the merchandise sold to support the Disney Conservation Fund. Its latest new land, PandoraThe World of Avatar, carries forward the conservation theme in its storytelling too (pay attention to the pre-boarding videos in Avatar Flight of Passage, for example).


Disney's Animal Kingdom is a Certified Wildlife Habitat. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

How much the park hits guests over the head with its messaging was the subject of some discussion back in the earliest days of the park (for example, the earliest version of Kilimanjaro Safaris and its heavy-handed approach to telling the story of the evils of poaching). These days, in the opinion of at least this writer, the messaging is often more persuasive, and often subtle. More about that in a moment.

As we have written about before, Disney's Animal Kingdom will celebrate its 20th Anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, with a special "Welcome Celebration" at the Tree of Life, featuring music, dancers, and characters; this celebration will kick-off a two week "Party for the Planet." The Party for the Planet's announced highlights include special Disney PhotoPass photo opportunities, Wilderness Explorers Badge locations, educational activities, face painting, the official debut of UP! A Great Bird Adventure on the Caravan Stage (formerly home to Flights of Wonder), new penny press designs, merchandise, and more, including complimentary (well, included with the price of park admission) mini-tours backstage from Rafiki's Planet Watch at Conservation Station.


Conservation Station is a train ride away from Harambe Station in Africa. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Debuting ahead of the Party for the Planet, the Backstage Tales Behind-The-Scenes at Disney's Animal Kingdom have actually begun their tours. Each 30 minute tour is limited to 16 guests, and visits two of the following locations: the animal nutrition center, the science center, the veterinary hospital, and the invertebrate building. Tours rotate which pair of locations they visit.

To attend a tour, guests must first travel to Conservation Station by train from Harambe Station in Africa and sign up at the desk inside Rafiki's Planet Watch (next to the Doc McStuffins meet-and-greet). The tours depart at 45 minutes past the hour from 12:45 p.m. until 3:45 p.m. Though considered a part of the "Party for the Planet," the cast members at the tour desk say that the tours are considered to be in a "testing mode" scheduled through May 19, and they may be cancelled at any time. Also be aware that guests are required to sign waivers (parents/guardians must sign for minors), and that no photography or video recording is permitted backstage.


Backstage Tales Behind-The-Scenes at Disney's Animal Kingdom sign-up sheet is located at the information desk inside Rafiki's Planet Watch. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

I visited the park on Sunday. I signed up for and took the 2:45 p.m. tour, which included the Animal Nutrition Center and Science Center. The cast member tour guide did an excellent job of describing the efforts of Disney's Animals, Science, and Environment team to care for and study animals, not only at the Resort (including the Park, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and at Epcot's The Seas pavilion), but on projects around the globe. I have written about some of these other projects, from the Tour de Turtles at Disney's Vero Beach Resort to the purple martins at Epcot.

Among the most interesting and persuasive points (to me) in the messaging on the tour is the concern the team has for the real-world economic impact of conservation efforts. In other words, the more subtle Disney messaging is that its team looks not just to protect animals and their habitats at all costs, but, rather, it looks for economic solutions for the folks impacted by the conservation effort. After I took the Caring for Giants tour (which is still offered both as a stand-alone-tour and as part of one of the longer experiences at the park), I wrote about its discussion about funding local art projects (SNARE) that produce income so that folks impacted by ending the (illegal) poaching activities could still provide for their families. After the recent Flower and Garden Media Day, I wrote about the methods introduced for producing more sustainable coffee that, in fact, economically benefits those adopting the process.

On my tour at Rafiki's Planet Watch, my guide discussed the team's efforts to find ways to feed families that for multiple generations fed their families with "bush meat" (as in, anything their traps ensnared). To me, the messaging seemed to be more about how Disney teams address issues holistically to do the right thing for people and nature at the same time. It is a more subtle approach to delivering the overall conservation message about things we can each do for the betterment of the planet.


The backstage tour at Rafiki's Planet Watch (that I took) provided additional context for the "bush meat" sign along the trail at the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Even with all the conservation messaging, Disney's Animal Kingdom is still a theme park where characters like Rafiki meet and greet the guests. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

On Friday, Disney Parks Blog teased that a new character was coming to Pandora-The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom starting April 22. The initial announcement did not explicitly tie it in with the conservation theme.


On Friday, Disney announced on its social media channels and Disney Parks Blog that "Something Amazing" is coming to Pandora-The World of Avatar on April 22. Video ©Disney.

On Saturday, we learned that the new character is a "Pandora Conservation Initiative" pilot. The new character in a giant utility suit will interact with guests to talk about his study of the Pandoran wildlife and plants. Like the storytelling in the rest of the land, the Pandoran "science" almost certainly will have direct ties to Earth.


Disney Parks Blog released a video showing off the creation of the Pandora Utility Suit created in partnership between Lightstorm Entertainment, Disney Parks Live Entertainment, Michael Curry Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering. Video ©Disney.


Pandora-The World of Avatar is "alive" with both Earth plants (and creatures) and those of an other-worldly nature. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Construction Update

Although we have shown glimpses of the construction cranes towering over the on-going construction at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, it has been a while since we provided you with a closer visual update. As you may recall, the resort is adding a 500-room hotel tower that will include a rooftop restaurant with views of the nearby Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios fireworks displays. The new construction and resort-wide refurbishment is scheduled to be completed Summer of 2019.


The artists conception of the "reimagining" underway at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort shows the new hotel tower and a new facility in the middle of the resort's lake. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From the main entrance to Disney's Coronado Springs Resort on Buena Vista Drive, the new hotel tower construction is now very easy to see. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new hotel tower is next door to the resort's main lobby and front driveway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From across the lake, the new hotel tower can be seen rising high above the main lobby building of the resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A new structure is being built in the lake (as was also shown in the artist's rendition). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Currently, due to the construction on the lake, there are no recreational boat rentals at the resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Some of the local wildlife seems to be using the construction booms to get some sun. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


While the new hotel tower is being constructed, the resort is also refurbishing all of the other guest rooms, closing a few buildings at a time. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The landscape of the resort reflects its desert theming, even in its selection of plants. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The resort's main lobby has a (not-so-hidden) Mickey lighting pattern that shows up a bit more prominently in a photograph than it did to my eyes (I had not noticed it on previous visits to the Resort). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


On closer inspection, the Mickey lighting pattern illuminates parts of the resort's crest. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot Concert News & Calendar

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival's Garden Rocks Concert Series continues to take the stage at the America Gardens Theatre three times nightly on Fridays through Mondays through May 28. 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.


Little River Band performed at Epcot last month as part of the Garden Rocks Concert Series. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

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.

Remember, while supplies last during concert days, Passholders can request wristbands for guaranteed seating in the corridor behind Fountain View and Club Cool in Future World West. Unfortunately, the wristband distribution shares a queue with Passholder complimentary magnet distribution, so your wait for a wristband can be awhile (though you may ask a cast member near the queue whether wristband distribution is completed for the day before you get in line). That queue may be bigger this weekend, as the new Minnie Mouse Passholder magnet is now available.

Views Around the World

Strolling around Epcot and over to Disney's Hollywood Studios, some of the animals of Disney's Animal Kingdom, and even more on-going construction at Disney Springs are the highlights of the views captured by my cameras this week. As usual, photo captions provide you with bits of news too.

Epcot


Cast members may close the Imagination Play Garden when even a little light rain falls. The Play Garden is part of the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival which continues through May 28. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


"Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from The Kinsey Collection" has concluded its five year visit to the American Heritage Gallery inside The American Adventure pavilion. "Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art," an exhibition created in collaboration with the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (Santa Fe, New Mexico) and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.), is expected to debut this summer. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


This week, even more construction cranes appeared over World Showcase. The one in the distance in this photo is at Disney's Coronado Springs (see discussion above); the red one between the Morocco pavilion and the Walt Disney World Swan (from this perspective) is new. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The red construction crane is located backstage between Morocco and France (currently behind the Florida Fresh outdoor kitchen). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From the International Gateway, the red crane is also visible next to the ongoing work along the canal next to the France pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Walking to Disney's Hollywood Studios from Epcot, the towers for the future Disney Skyliner can first be seen next to the park's bus loop. As the towers do not appear to be much more than three times higher than the Disney buses, it appears that guests will ride just above (and, hopefully, out of reach) of the cars in the parking lot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From next to the construction site of the Disney Skyliner station at Disney's Hollywood Studios, the line of towers continues all the way across the parking lot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Vertical construction is underway for the Disney Skyliner station outside the gates of Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


In case you need a reminder, later this year Disney will celebrate Mickey Mouse's 90th birthday (which is why 1928 often appears around Disney Parks and Resorts, like this building along Echo Lake). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction continues to take shape beyond the end of Grand Avenue. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The merchandise kiosk on Grand Avenue near the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge entrance no longer sells merchandise promoting the new land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge merchandise can be found inside the Star Wars Launch Bay (the former Animation building) in the Animation Courtyard. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Merchandise for the upcoming "Solo - A Star Wars Story" movie is also available in Launch Bay. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


In the middle of Hollywood Boulevard where it meets Sunset Boulevard, the troops of the First Order pause their March. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


Toy Story Land construction visible from near Pixar Place now includes a new structure between the construction wall and the Walt Disney Presents building (to its right). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Looking at the Toy Story Land model on display inside Walt Disney Presents, it appears that the new structure will be a kiosk. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As we previously have mentioned, Reel Vogue on Sunset Boulevard is now where you will find a great deal of Pixar character merchandise. Recently, several new "Monsters University" shirts went on sale there. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Even Figment has found a way to "appear" at Disney's Hollywood Studios (at least, as a pair of socks). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom


Macaws can often be spotted in one of the Oasis habitats along the pathway from the park gate to Discovery Island. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Enjoy a minute of watching a couple of macaws at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


A black rhinoceros walks a safe distance from the Kilimanjaro Safaris trucks. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Actually overheard on the safari this week, "No, that is not an audio-animatronic." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A giraffe on the savannah uses its tongue for what it does most of the day: to eat. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


One of the female elephants uses its trunk to search for some food on a tree. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A female lioness watches over the Kilimanjaro Safaris road near the kopje rocks. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Especially in the spring, the aviary at the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is filled with activity. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The patriarch of the silverback gorilla family group at the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail snacks on some plants from one of the "scrub farms" my guide on the Backstage Tales Behind-The-Scenes talked about. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Springs


NBA Experience construction continues on the West Side on the former site of DisneyQuest. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Jaleo restaurant construction, transforming the former Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, continues on the West Side. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Meanwhile, construction continues at the new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in Town Center. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The transformation of the former Harley-Davidson Orlando store into the new Disney Style store continues. (Harley-Davidson Orlando relocated to Town Center this past winter). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The refurbishment of the bridge from the West Side to the Landing neighborhood appears complete. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The refurbished bridge has been repainted and no longer appears to have popcorn-style trim lighting. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Wine Bar George construction continues, with more fine details becoming evident. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The facade of Wine Bar George includes a bunch of grapes above the windows. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The railings of Wine Bar George's upper level are rather decorative as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Exterior construction continues at the future site of Terralina Crafted Italian restaurant. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction cranes working on the new parking structure on Buena Vista Drive are visible across Lake Buena Vista, towering above the Marketplace. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A large portion of World of Disney Store is closed for refurbishment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Signs outside the closed portions of the World of Disney Store point to the doors wthatv are currently open. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A 2018 Walt Disney World Resort mug has a handle in the shape of a figure eight. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A rather new addition to the Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace is a Main Street U.S.A. themed dress. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Some of the current sock options can reflect your headwear, your transportation, or your Dole Whip. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Patriotic-themed wares are plentiful with Memorial Day and Independence Day ahead. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Little Miss Matched closed its Marketplace store. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Ever After Jewelry Co. & Accessories now has a metal sign on the building, suggesting that D-Living will not return to the space (at least, not anytime soon). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom area


As we have noted before, the roads around the Magic Kingdom parking toll plaza have had their traffic patterns changed quite a few times in recent months. This past week, new lanes from the parking lot exit side, past the Speedway gas station (which remains closed for refurbishment), and toward World Drive have again been reconfigured as flyover construction continues. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

…Following our Views Around the World photo last week of Magic Kingdom's "famous" Purple Wall in Tomorrowland undergoing refurbishment and enhancement, yesterday, Disney Parks Blog showed off its new look. If you would like us to consider retweeting your favorite selfies to our @MousePlanet Twitter followers, be sure to use both #purplewall and #mouseplanet. Your using the latter hashtag will also be considered your consent to embed your tweet in a future update.

…While awaiting the June 30 grand opening of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios, you can now play some Toy Story-inspired games at a new site Disney Parks launched this week. Visit ToyStoryPlayTime.com for more information about the new land and the new games. You can also grab your first look at some of the food and beverage that will be served up at Woody's Lunch Box in Toy Story Land on Disney Parks Blog.

…The Walt Disney Company is making a $1.5 million contribution to the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to support the "Meet Me at the Park" program. Parks and recreation agencies in all of the United States, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories are eligible to apply for grants to help increase the amount of time children and families spend at their local parks and to improve access to safe, fun, and unique play spaces. In addition, in 15 select cities Disney and NRPA have teamed up to allow the public to participate in Meet Me at the Park Earth Month by voting on projects in those cities to receive separate $20,000 in grant funds, plus a write-in-city with the most nominations will also receive a $20,000 grant. For more information and daily voting visit nrpa.org/DisneyMeetMeAtThePark.

…Folks visiting (or, like me, living near) Disney Springs who have a MoviePass subscription received some good news this week: the pass is once again accepted for payment at the AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theatres. If you are not familiar with MoviePass, it is a subscription service that allows its subscribers to view one standard (2D) movie per day everyday at specified theaters nationwide for a monthly or annual subscription fee. Subscribers must use an iOS or Android app to "check-in" for a movie within a specified proximity of the theater, and then present their MoviePass card for payment at the box office (or, at least at Disney Springs, at the automated ticketing machines) to receive a ticket. There are other limitations that may apply and movies cannot be booked more than a specified amount of time on the same day in advance, so be sure to read the terms and conditions if you are interested in subscribing. While we have received no consideration for this mention, I personally purchased an annual subscription about a month ago.


MoviePass Card is again accepted as "payment" at AMC Dine-in 24 Theatres at Disney Springs. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…If you are a DVC Member hoping to take a "Floridian Express" tour of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort that Disney Parks Blog wrote about back in September (as I am, or, should I say was), unfortunately, I learned this week that the tour has been discontinued. No further information is available, but, as is often the case around the Resort, the lesson for everyone is to act sooner rather than later when considering the smaller offerings around Disney Parks and Resorts, as they may be discontinued or changed at any time. (As noted above, the current Disney's Animal Kingdom backstage tours are considered only in "testing" as well, and may be cancelled individually or discontinued as well.)

…Maria and Enzos at Disney Springs has debuted a Prix-Fixe Sunday Brunch including mascarpone french toast, poached hen egg & quinoa kale salad, and NY strip steak and eggs for $35/adult and $15/child ages 3-9. "Bottomless" bellinis and mimosas are available for an additional $15.

…One more food and beverage option for everyone (repeating from recent weeks): Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs continues its month long Sakura Festival celebrating the arrival of spring and cherry blossoms through its April 15 Matsuri Festival ($45/person - 12-4 p.m.) which is scheduled to include family fun, games, food and more. More information about the Sakura Festival, its special events and tickets are available on this page of the Patina Restaurant Group's website.

…The MousePlanet Newsletter is here! The newsletter contains a recap of the week's articles (in case you miss a day), news that may have developed since the weekly Updates were published, and tips about what's happening at the Disney theme parks for the coming weekend. We'll also include a fun bonus, such as an Eye Spy or a trivia question. To subscribe to our free newsletter, just enter your email in the box below.

 

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Crowd Forecast

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Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

Date Overall
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 6 / 10
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 4 / 10
Thursday, April 12, 2018 5 / 10
Friday, April 13, 2018 5 / 10
Saturday, April 14, 2018 7 / 10

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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

  • 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 (unofficial events) – Spring: Magic Kingdom: April 28, 2018; Epcot: April 29, 2018;
    Fall: Disney's Animal Kingdom (until 3-5 p.m.) and Magic Kingdom (eventing): November 17; Epcot: November 18, 2018
  • Star Wars: Galactic Nights event at Disney's Hollywood Studios – May 27, 2018
    Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
  • 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 at Magic Kingdom – August 17, 24, 28, 31;
    September 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30;
    October 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31
  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 1-4, 2018
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – August 30 - November 12, 2018
  • 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 at Magic Kingdom – November 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30;
    December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21
  • 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)

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

  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment.
  • Stitch's Great Escape – My Disney Experience lists as "available seasonally throughout the year."

Epcot

  • American Heritage Gallery at The American Adventure – closed for refurbishment
  • Stave Church Gallery at Norway pavilion – closed for refurbishment.
  • Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe at Norway pavilion – closed for refurbishment through summer 2018.


A few Kringla favorites are now available at the Midnattssol Bakeri kiosk along World Showcase Promenade. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

  • Ellen's Energy Adventure at Universe of Energy – Permanently closed on August 13, 2017.
    Guardians of the Galaxy-themed roller coaster-type attraction opens in approximately 2021.
  • Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable – closed February 3, 2018. Theater to be repurposed.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • The Great Movie Ride – Permanently closed August 13, 2017. The new "Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway" attraction to open in Chinese Theatre in 2019.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Flights of Wonder (Caravan Stage) – Show Closed on December 31, 2017. "UP! A Great Bird Adventure" starring Russell and Dug and their bird friends opens April 22.

Blizzard Beach

  • No known closures at this time.

Typhoon Lagoon

  • No known closures at this time.

Disney Springs

  • World of Disney – phased store closings for refurbishment underway. The Disney Corner now open in Town Center offering 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 in Spring 2018.
  • 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.
  • 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.


From atop the neighboring Coca-Cola Store, the extensive wood beams of the future Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill can be seen. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction work at the future Jaleo restaurant site has transformed the shell of the former Wolfgang Puck Grand Café into a more curved building. Panoramic Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Resorts

  • 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.

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.

Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets are rarely offered at deep discounts unless you are a resident of Florida or eligible for U.S. Military Personnel benefits. It is increasingly true that non-Florida residents tend to benefit the most by purchasing tickets in advance (and, of course, being mindful of the rules relevant to those tickets). As prices go up, it becomes even more important to pay heed: Don't get scammed! Never buy tickets from an unofficial or secondary outlet, such as through eBay or Craigslist. Never rent or purchase tickets from people approaching you outside Disney property stating they have remaining days or leftover tickets. This practice is against the terms of use for Walt Disney World Theme Park admissions, and may result in denial of entry. There is no way to determine if these tickets are valid until you try to use them to enter the parks. Only purchase Disney theme park tickets directly from Disney, an authorized seller, or a travel agency like MousePlanet travel partner Get Away Today.

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Be sure to move the calendar to at least seven (7) days out, to see what ticket options and discounts are available for your planned visit.

Travel Discounts for Everyone

Characters in Flight Tethered Balloon Ride by Aerophile

Once again, for a limited time, Groupon is selling individual rides for $11.50 and two person rides for $23. The Groupon certificate cannot be redeemed until 24 hours after purchase, is valid for 90 days, but only on flights from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. (weather permitting). This offer was still available last night (April 9), but could end at any time.

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

THE 45th ANNIVERSARY OF WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT DINING DISCOUNTS ENDED ON DECEMBER 23, 2017. BE AWARE THAT THE PASSHOLDER (GOLD) CARD AND PHOTO I.D. MUST BE SHOWN TO RECEIVE A DISCOUNT AND OTHER BENEFITS.

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," offers a $5 discount on stroller rental when staying at a Disney Resort Hotel and using coupon code WDWAP18 to arrange your rental. It is listed on the "Passholders Extras" page of the Passholder website.

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 specially priced 1-Day Water Park Tickets for $49 plus tax (must be purchased in-person at the water parks and not available online; must be used on or before December 31, 2019), a new $35 Sunrise 9 golf offer (including 9 holes of golf, a hot breakfast and 2 beverages between 7 and 8:30 a.m., subject to availability at Disney Golf courses), a new $29 Sunset 9 golf offer (including 9 holes of golf, a light snack and a beer or soft drink, subject to availability in the late afternoon at Disney Golf courses), 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.

Very far away from the Resort, Passholders staying 3 or more consecutive nights at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, can save up to 30% for rooms booked most nights from April 2 through June 7, 2018. Reservations must be made by May 9, 2018. The Passholder must present the annual pass at check-in and must stay in a room on the reservation. (Also applies to Disneyland Resort annual passholders.)

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

REMINDER TO MAGICBAND USERS: YOU MUST STILL SHOW YOUR DISNEY VISA CREDIT CARD TO RECEIVE DISCOUNTS AND OTHER PERKS; DISCOUNTS ARE NOT AUTOMATICALLY APPLIED EVEN IF YOU HAVE LINKED YOUR DISNEY VISA CREDIT CARD TO YOUR MAGICBAND.

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

2018 Armed Forces Salute Tickets

January 1 through December 19, 2018

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

NOTE: Tickets must be used by December 19, 2018.

U.S. Military personnel can also purchase the Memory Maker product for $98.00 through December 19.

Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets by Eligible Service Members (as defined on Disney World.com) or their spouses (but not both), for use by themselves and only family members and friends, as provided by Disney's rules. These Tickets may not be otherwise transferred, distributed or resold. Limit six (6) tickets purchased by the military personnel (or spouse), and one ticket must be used by that member of the military (or spouse).

U.S. Military personnel can enjoy discounts at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when booking by December 19, 2018, for stays most nights from April 6 through December 19, 2018. Offer excludes moderate and deluxe resorts. Call(407)939-5684 for information and reservations.


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 a whole lot more flexibility that came along with the price increases of February 11, 2018, Florida Residents can also save 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

$136.50

$130.50

$164.00

$158.00

 
  Regular Day

$146.50

$140.50

$174.00

$168.00

 
  Peak Day

$156.50

$150.50

$184.00

$178.00

 
 
 

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

$209.00

$197.00

$229.00

$215.00

 
 

Park Hopper

$241.50

$229.50

$266.50

$252.50

 
 
  • Florida Select tickets expire 180 days after first use. First use must be on or before December 31, 2019.
  • 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 save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Villas and Resort hotels for stays most nights June 11 through August 1 when booked by May 22, 2018. For details and other summer promotions, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com and you must provide a Canadian billing address for your credit card when booking.

Remember, 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 https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/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

You can see the latest offers for U.K. residents on Disney World's U.K. packages website. It currently includes an offer for UK and Ireland guests: 2018 Disney's 14-Day Ultimate Ticket for the price of a 7-day ticket when purchased pre-departure by July 31, 2018, for arrivals up until December 31, 2018. Memory Maker is included with every 2018 Adult Ultimate Ticket purchased.

If you know of an offer we haven't listed, please drop us an email with the details!

 

Comments

  1. By cbarry

    I have to say the new tower at Coronado looks pretty intrusive. Just my opinion, but it looks like it will take away from the charm of this resort. I fear the same about Caribbean Beach. I hope they don't intend to ever do this type of construction over at Port Orleans. I guess I'm just a low-rise person, but the drawing makes it look like dozens of other hotel towers throughout the Orlando area. It doesn't look special, and that's what I think about when staying at a Disney hotel, that I'm staying at something special.

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