Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 17-23, 2018

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 17-23, 2018

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

Writer's note: The big stir for Disney Parks this week clearly was on the West Coast at Disneyland Resort for its kick-off of Pixar Fest. Not to be left out of Pixar-themed happenings, though, Disney's Contemporary Resort opened its new Pixar Play Zone, a pilot project to provide an interactive area for kids 4-12 years old to play in while their parents enjoy time on their own too.

Before our next Update, and keeping with the Pixar theme, "UP! A Great Bird Adventure" show will make its official debut at Disney's Animal Kingdom during its 20th Anniversary "Party for the Planet" celebration (April 22). I made it over to the park yesterday (Monday, April 16) and happened to catch a soft opening preview performance of the new show that stars Russell and Dug from the Disney-Pixar film, some new bird behaviors, and a new (human) host character. Since the show is still not officially open, I will wait until next week to provide a mini-review.

Looking ahead to the "Incredible Summer" starting May 27, there will be plenty more Pixar-themed things around Walt Disney World Resort, culminating in the June 30 opening of Toy Story Land. Also before next week's Update, we are scheduled to get another beyond the construction walls report from the Imagineering team. Yesterday, Disney Parks Blog showed off new art lining some of the walls of the Toy Story Mania! queue that features Lenny and Chuckles.

In the meantime, this past week, I made another appearance on The Garry Meier Show podcast and discussed a bit about Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, as well as what is coming up this summer at the Walt Disney World Resort and Pixar Fest at the Disneyland Resort. You can jump to 26:50 in Episode 315 to listen to just my segment or, as I do regularly, listen to the whole show which is embedded below (while my segment is family and all-location friendly, other portions of Garry's shows may include bits of adult language and humor that may not be appropriate for all ages or in all settings).

Surprisingly, the parks were quite busy yesterday (Monday). For those visiting Walt Disney World Resort over this coming weekend (April 19-22), be aware that it is time for the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend. The races will cause some road closures in addition to all of the already on-going road construction we have often written about. You may need to allow for additional time to get from place to place. For those coming for the race(s), May the Force (and good weather) be with you! On to the News and Views…


News and Views

Pixar Play Zone is Now Open at Disney's Contemporary Resort | Updates to Special Experiences & Parties Around the World | Epcot Concert News & Calendar | Views around the World | One Passholder's Tip | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Pixar Play Zone is Now Open at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Disney's Contemporary Resort is now home to Pixar Play Zone, a new pilot grogram to provide kids ages 4-12 with a full evening of interactive activities, arcade games, and even dinner. The kids-only area also gives parents the opportunity to spend the evening elsewhere—ike the California Grill, Victoria and Albert's, Disney Springs, a theme park, etc.


Disney's Contemporary Resort is now home to Pixar Play Zone. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Starting at 5 p.m. nightly, parents can check the kids in at the registration desk at any time (located on the fourth floor in the Grand Canyon Concourse next to the entrance to the Monorail station). For $65/child plus tax (no discounts are offered at this time), kids can play until picked up by their parents all the way until 10:30 p.m. The program is open to all (whether or not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort), but space in the Pixar Play Zone is limited. Advanced reservations are available and recommended, by calling (407) 824-KIDS. (During the media preview, I was told that registration would be capped at 60 children.)


Pixar Play Zone is located in the Grand Canyon Concourse next to the entrance to the monorail station at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Interactive programming begins at 6 p.m., giving kids the opportunity to interact with characters from Disney-Pixar animated films Toy Story and The Incredibles. Beyond the registration desk, children find themed "zones" after passing through the "Decontamination" area inspired by Monsters, Inc. (where kids can wash up), and then pass Boo's door to find the play zones:

  • "Bonnie's Play Room," which has toys of all kinds for kids to play with.
  • "The Living Room," where, among other things, Space Ranger Training teaches kids what it takes to become a Junior Space Ranger of Star Command, including how to master the call of the Space Ranger, “To infinity and beyond!”


Kids receive Junior Space Ranger training. Photo © Disney.

  • During "Woody's Roundup," Woody and Jessie show kids "the ropes" of the Wild West, including a sing along "for a rootin’ tootin’ good time."


Woody and Jessie also play with the kids in the Pixar Play Zone. Photo courtesy Disney.

  • At the "Radiator Springs Racetrack," kids build their own race cars and send them down a soapbox derby race track competing in the "Piston Cup Derby Races."


Kids in the Pixar Play Zone enter their car designs in "Piston Cup Derby Races" on the Radiator Springs racetrack. Photo © Disney.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Incredible lead an "Incredibles Super Dance Party."


An "Incredibles Super Dance Party" includes Mr. and Mrs. Incredible. Photo © Disney.

Dinner and a snack are included. All registered children must be toilet-trained.

Updates to Special Experiences & Parties Around the World

Special up-charge experiences come and go around Walt Disney World Resort all the time. They often arrive with fanfare, but they can end with little or no notice (as I noted in last week's Update after I attempted to book a tour that previously was offered at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort only to learn that it had been discontinued). Your best bet when doing long term planning for a visit to the Resort is to call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) WDW-TOUR to find out what is scheduled during your visit. If you are interested in the all-day "Star Wars Guided Tour" at Disney's Hollywood Studios (which starts before park opening Monday-Saturday) call (407) 939-7529. Of course, when visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you can also stop by a Guest Relations window in the parks or at Disney Springs, or at any Disney hotel Concierge desk.

This past week, Disney Parks Blog presented a description of the latest updates to some of the current special experiences around the Resort. Here is a summary:

Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise

The General Joe Potter ferryboat (named for the Disney Legend) cruises the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Transportation and Ticket Center on select nights through June 29 starting one hour and fifteen minutes prior to the evening's scheduled presentation of Magic Kingdom's fireworks. The evening includes sweets and specialty beverages for all ages, a Glow-in-the-Dark Scavenger Hunt for "Hidden Mickeys" all over the boat, and a pair of "Mickey Vision" viewing lenses to see characters amongst the Magic Kingdom's fireworks. (Disney Vacation Members can obtain a discount by booking by calling DVC Member Services.)


Ferryboats regularly transport guests between the Transportation and Ticket Center and Magic Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Magic Kingdom fireworks can be viewed (by the luck of timing) from the ferryboats, but the Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise provides food, beverages, and some additional on-board entertainment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Minnie's Beach Bash Breakfast

The character breakfast buffet at Cape May Café at Disney's Beach Club Resort, Minnie's Beach Bash Breakfast, now also includes Daisy Duck amongst Minie's character friends. Of course, Mickey waffles remain on the buffet's menu too.

Fantasmic! Dining & Dessert Packages

The three Disney's Hollywood Studios restaurants currently participating in the Fantasmic! Dining Package offer are Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano, Hollywood & Vine, and The Hollywood Brown Derby. The package includes a full buffet (for Hollywood & Vine) or a choice of one entrée, dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage plus a voucher for guaranteed seating at Fantasmic! in a reserved seating area.

Alternatively, you can purchase a special snack box "full of sweet and savory treats, and a custom credential" for a Fantasmic! VIP Viewing Experience. On nights where there is more than one showing of Fantasmic!, this Experience is only available for the first show. Guests pick up the snack box at the theater.

Of course, the packages are not available on nights there are no scheduled Fantasmic! performances (like on May 27, when the park closes early for the Star Wars: Galactic Nights event). As an outdoor show, be aware that weather conditions may cancel or, occasionally, shorten the show.

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 was one of the many bands to perform in the 2018 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).

Views Around the World

This past week, I made visits to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Springs, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. In the parks, I took a bit more of a look at merchandise than I have in a while; as usual, the photo captions provide you with bits of news too. If there is something you would like to see in a future Update, be sure to let us know!

Magic Kingdom


With "Spring Break Season" pretty much over, it is possible, from time to time, to have some breathing room on Main Street U.S.A. again. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Exterior refurbishment is underway at the Main Street U.S.A. fire station. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The newly "enhanced" Purple Wall can be seen from the Central Plaza (hub). For those that are not aware, the Purple Wall is a place that guests have adopted on social media sites as a popular place for taking selfie photos between Tomorrowland Terrace and the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The "enhancement" of the Purple Wall is the geometric pattern at the point the wall transitions from purple to white. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Purple Wall is also present on the upper level of the building that the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover passes. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


The PeopleMover also shows that exterior construction continues at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Like the Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane at Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom has an increasingly varied selection of retro dresses with Disney themes (like Fantasyland and Magic Kingdom shown here). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Orange Bird accessories are now available to complement the Orange Bird dresses. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A Dooney & Bourke purse is inspired by the 1970-90s colors of the exterior of Disneyland's "it's a small world." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Pocahontas looks like she is singing about the "Colors of the Wind" on a purse available on Main Street U.S.A. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" is now featured on a purse available on Main Street U.S.A. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Princess Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog" also lends her face to a purse available on Main Street U.S.A. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


The new Passholder gift magnet featuring Minnie Mouse is now available (with proof of being a current Passholder) during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Passholder magnets and Passholder Garden Rocks concert wristband distribution is done in the hallway behind Fountain View (Starbucks) and Club Cool on the west side of Future World. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The walls that used to feature signs featuring Timon and Pumbaa promoting the "Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable" film inside The Land pavilion are now bare. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


All of the signage outside the entrance to the former home of the "Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable" film in The Land pavilion have been removed (in the pre-show area, the wall carpet remains). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


With the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival continuing through May 28, there are many garden decorating items available for sale. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


New garden decorating were available for sale this past week in World Showcase Plaza. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As we noted last week, with Memorial Day and Independence Day ahead, patriotic-themed merchandise is starting to fill shelves, including these Mickey and Minnie plush at Mouse Gear. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


And, with the new "UP! A Great Bird Adventure" show about to open at Disney's Animal Kingdom (April 22), more merchandise featuring Disney-Pixar's animated feature "Up" have started to appear around the Resort, including at Mouse Gear. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Finally, with respect to merchandise, ahead of the May 27 Resort-wide kick-off of the "Incredible Summer" and June 30 opening of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios, more Pixar merchandise is available around the Resort, including at Mouse Gear. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


While walking around World Showcase this week, upon opening the My Disney Experience App, Agent P's World Showcase Adventure came up on my iPhone screen unprompted by me. Screenshot by Alan S. Dalinka.


This view of the fireworks finale of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is one of our favorites. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


To capture the fireworks finale of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth directly behind Spaceship Earth, stand just outside the parking tram lane ahead of monorail support 168 (on the park side of the support shown in this photo). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A little bit closer to the park's gate also provides an interesting view of Illuminations fireworks. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom


Disney's Animal Kingdom celebrates its 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, which will also kick off the "Party for the Planet" celebration in the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


"UP! A Great Bird Adventure" starring Russell and Dug and their bird friends opens April 22. The open hedge wall at the theater (yesterday) denoted several soft opening preview performances of the show. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


20th Anniversary merchandise is now available at the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As described by Disney Parks Blog, much of the 20th Anniversary merchandise prominently features earth tones and the iconic Tree of Life. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


20th Anniversary pins and small souvenirs are also available at the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As we noted at other locations around the Resort, more Pixar merchandise is also available at Disney's Animal Kingdom ahead of the "Incredible Summer." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


And patriotic-themed Mickey merchandise is also available at the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Though it has expanded a bit over the years, the port town of Harambe is one of Disney's Animal Kingdom's opening day lands, and includes both Kilimanjaro Safaris and Gorilla Falls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Augustus the hippo, born this past January, can often be spotted at Kilimanjaro Safaris, as he is here on the island with his watchful mother just below the nearby water's surface. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A tower of giraffes watch over the Kilimanjaro Safaris trucks on a cool April afternoon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A lioness rests against a rock at the kopje at Kilimanjaro Safaris. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


One of the bachelor silverback gorillas examines his dish at Gorilla Falls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A female gorilla in the family group enjoys a treat at Gorilla Falls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The father and son gorilla of the family group also enjoy some afternoon treats. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


One of the youngest members of the family group enjoys an afternoon treat. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Chester & Hester's DinoLand character greeting area is behind construction walls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The construction walls extend all the way to Gifts of Extinction, but characters still meet and greet guests elsewhere in the land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Around the corner, the Cretaceous Trail is also closed for refurbishment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Contemporary Resort


There is a floral Mickey head in the plaza between Disney's Contemporary Resort and Center Drive (facing Seven Seas Lagoon). HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Springs


It is unclear just how new this is, but there is now a $10 Preferred Parking area on the West Side of Disney Springs. The "Preferred" area is, perhaps, slightly more convenient to House of Blues than other parking locations. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

One Passholder's Tip

This section of the Update provides our MousePlanet readers with the benefit of my years of experience as a longtime Walt Disney World Four Parks Annual Passholder, and lots of personal trial and errors, one (at least monthly) tip at a time.

One Passholder's Tip #43: Photo Fun Edition #11
Learn the longest shutter time you can handle!!

I have already written about learning to disable your camera's flash (Tip #6), using manual focus for photos in low light (Tip #21), and that your camera's flash will light up the rain (and even unseen humidity) (Tip #28). This week provided a great opportunity to illustrate the value of learning just how long you can set your camera to keep its shutter open and still produce a clear image. Like the overall theme of many of these tips, this may take some homework before you head to the parks: practice!


There is no need to ruin the ambiance for fellow guests by ignoring the "no flash pictures, please" instruction during a long ride stoppage on a dark ride like The Haunted Mansion. Instead, it provides ample opportunity to attempt to take low-light, long exposure photos by hand. This is a 1.0 second exposure taken on my hand-held, point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot camera set to Manual mode. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Where in your camera's settings you find the "shutter speed" may vary and, again, on smartphones like the iPhone, you may need to install an app that gives you access to the manual controls of your camera. Once you have located the setting, you will see choices that may range from unlimited (sometimes called "bulb control" after the old squeeze device used by film photographers back in the day) to a tiny fraction of a second. What you need to be aware of is that the longer you keep the shutter open, the more light the camera will capture and, indeed, the more motion it will record.

Now, ideally, for a long exposure photograph, locking down the camera with a tripod or completely stable surface will produce the highest quality image. But, we all know that when you are on vacation (or, like me, just casually visiting your neighborhood Disney parks), you may not be or may not want to be lugging around a tripod. Indeed, the potential shot may even arise in a moment where, even if you had a tripod, you do not have time to set it up and take the shot. So, here is where the homework comes in.

It is quite useful to learn just how long you can hold the camera steady in a low-light situation and still get a clear shot. Practice by starting with a rather small fraction of a second - perhaps 1/100 or 1/20, and then dial down, setting by setting. I suggest that during your practice session, you first try a shot on "auto" mode to see what other settings your camera recommends for the lighting conditions (f-stop, ISO, focus, etc.). Now, you may need to adjust those too, and we can address those in a future Tip, but for now we are talking just about learning just how long you can hold that camera steady. For me and my camera, my best hand-held long exposure shots are at either 0.8 or 1.0 second. Your mileage may vary, as may your preferred posture for holding steady.


The challenge of taking a photograph of the suit of armor on The Haunted Mansion without flash (as flash photography is not permitted in the attraction) has eluded me for many years. A long ride stoppage, however, provided opportunity to take a 1.0 second exposure shot with my hand-held, point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot camera set to Manual mode. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

…Naturally, with this summer's marketing campaign being named the "Incredible Summer," guests will be able to see the first ten minutes of the upcoming Disney-Pixar film Incredibles 2 at Walt Disney Presents in Disney's Hollywood Studios starting on May 18 (the Incredible Summer officially kicks off a week later on May 25). Incredibles 2 will be in U.S. theaters on June 15.


Samuel L. Jackson, one of the stars of "The Incredibles 2," has a special message about the film. Video ©Disney.

Disney Parks Blog published additional details about the next edition of the hard ticket (separate admission, after regular park operating hours) "Star Wars: Galactic Nights" event coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 27 celebrating the theatrical opening of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Celebrity guest Joonas Suotamo, who plays Chewbacca in the new film, will participate in the "Stars of the Saga" talk show during the event, discussing his life and time in the movie business. DPB also confirmed that Solo will be included in the "Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away" show and the "Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular" fireworks show during the event.

Disney Parks Blog highlighted some of the recent menu changes at Epcot's Refreshment Port, Electric Umbrella, Liberty Inn, Sunshine Seasons, and more. The highlighted change we already found on our own this winter: Signature Poutine at Refreshment Port made with Canadian cheddar-bacon sauce (you know, that famous soup) and cheese curds over french fries. For those with a "Millennial Pink" sweet tooth (to go along with your Millennial Pink merchandise), Disney Parks Blog also has a rundown of the latest desserts around the Resort (to compliment your "style").


The menu at Epcot's Electric Umbrella has been updated with some new items. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Rose Gold cupcake is still available at Epcot's Sunshine Seasons inside The Land pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcake is among the newer offerings at Epcot's Sunshine Seasons inside The Land pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…Speaking of menus, Disney Parks Blog provided a look at some of the food and beverage offerings coming to the 200-seat Wine Bar George expected to open at Disney Springs this spring. The venue, from Master Sommelier George Miliotes, boasts more than 130 wine selections offered by the ounce, glass, and bottle from established and "up-and-coming" wineries around the world.

…D23: The Official Disney Fan Club published additional details of the November 17-18, 2018, Destination D: Celebrating Mickey Mouse at Disney's Contemporary Resort Convention Center. D23 Gold and Gold Family Member tickets are now on sale ($215/person plus $7 service fee, Members will be required to show their D23 Membership Card and photo ID) for the event which will include exclusive and limited edition merchandise opportunities, as well as presenters and panelists scheduled to include Legendary Disney Animator Mark Henn, Voice Actor Bret Iwan, Disney Legend Bill Farmer, Imagineers Jason Grandt, Wyatt Winter, and Alex Wright, Animator John Pomeroy, and Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline. Of particular note to Walt Disney World theme park fans, the event also promises an update from the Walt Disney Imagineering creative team about Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2019.

Orlando Sentinel confirms that the Crossroads shopping center across from Hotel Plaza Boulevard on State Route 535 will be closing by the end of 2019. The shopping center, originally built by Disney back in 1988 (but long since sold off to private investors), and home to the Gooding's Supermarket and numerous (mostly chains, including a McDonald's) restaurants popular with visitors to the Resort, is in the path of a planned construction project to reconfigure the exit of Interstate 4 at State Route 535.

…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 17, 2018 5 / 10
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 5 / 10
Thursday, April 19, 2018 5 / 10
Friday, April 20, 2018 6 / 10
Saturday, April 21, 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 (cast say until at least June/July).
  • 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.

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.


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.


The new hotel tower at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort can easily be seen from Buena Vista Drive and the construction cranes are visible from many places around Walt Disney World Resort, including inside Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


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.

Get Away Today Logo

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

Spring and Summer Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Discounts up to 25%

During the "Incredible Summer" guests can save up to 25% at select Disney Resorts for rooms booked by May 12 for most nights June 11 through August 1. (If booking after May 12, but before August 1, a 20% discount may be available). Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for details, restrictions, exclusions, and to check availability.

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 16), 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

BE AWARE THAT THE PASSHOLDER (GOLD) CARD AND PHOTO I.D. MUST BE SHOWN TO RECEIVE DISCOUNTS AND OTHER BENEFITS.

Passholders can enjoy a stay in a standard room at Disney's All-Star Music Resort for $99 per night, plus tax most Monday through Wednesday nights from through May 23, 2018. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for information, availability, and other room discounts.

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 Dave1313

    Great update as always!

    Love the photography tip! I'm not by any means a great photographer, but I play around with such settings as well. I will pretty much NEVER use a flash, no matter where I am (but certainly not on dark rides, as you mention since it's against the rules and inconsiderate to other guests). My personal challenge has been trying to get a decent shot of the harmonica playing raccoon in Splash Mountain. I maybe have one or 2 passable ones, but nothing I'd consider a really good shot. Of course on Splash you are also trying to keep the camera mostly dry during the drops...

    I hope I'm not maybe treading into something you had planned for a future "One Passholder's Tip", but I'd add that combining the timer function of the camera can also help. If you are not leaned up against something (rail of ride vehicle, light posts, walls, etc as stand-in for a tripod), the act of hitting the shutter button can cause motion and (therefore blur) sometimes. If you combine a small delay (1 or 2 seconds as an example), the time to re-steady the camera before the shutter opens can be helpful to me sometimes.

  2. By asdhollywood

    Thanks, Dave. When I take the 10-15 second exposure shots that I have included in past updates and on social media, I always use at least a 2 second delay. It's a great tip! I also try to make sure that I've got the camera's wristband on my wrist "just in case" the wind decides to blow the camera from where I have tried to balance it (which has happened).

    Regards,
    Alan

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