Walt Disney World Resort Update for May 8-14, 2018

by Alan S Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for May 8-14, 2018

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

Writer's note: I'm back on the mainland and again bringing you the Walt Disney World Update this week. In an upcoming article soon, I'll share some of the details of my visit to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, but suffice to say for now that I had a great time and I really do love that place. As a long time Disney Vacation Club Member that now lives next door to Walt Disney World Resort and is not really a "staycation" type, it really may become a regular travel destination for me (notwithstanding the hassle of the distance, including the 10-plus hours of flying time from Orlando).


The stars shine brightly over Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii. 15 Seconds Exposure Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


My return flight from Hawaii via LAX even took me past Disneyland Resort. From above, you really see just how little space the resort has adjacent to it for expansion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Thanks, as always, to Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, for the birthday wishes and keeping the "writer's desk" warm while I was away. So, what's been going on around my neighborhood this week? Oh, I guess it is up to me to tell you. Since I returned to Central Florida over the weekend, I even made it over to Disney Springs and Epcot. I not only have a few photos to share, but a new "Photo Fun" edition of One Passholder's Tip thanks to my discovery of another app published by Instagram.


News and Views

Construction Project Update: Guardians of the Galaxy Themed Coaster Coming to Universe of Energy at Epcot in 2021 | "Star Wars Rival Run Weekend" To Replace "The Dark Side" | Another Construction Update: Toy Story Land Nears Completion | Epcot Concert News & Calendar | Views Around the World | One Passholder's Tip | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Construction Project Update: Guardians of the Galaxy Themed Coaster Coming to Universe of Energy at Epcot in 2021

Since it was first publicly announced at D23 Expo last July in Anaheim, it has been hard to see much of the progress on the Guardians of the Galaxy themed roller coaster coming to the Universe of Energy at Epcot in time for the Resort's 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2021. We have seen the closing of Ellen's Energy Adventure inside, construction walls go up in front, and cranes towering on the site.


The latest art on the construction walls at Universe of Energy hint at its tranformation into a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From all the way across the park on the southern-most shore of World Showcase Lagoon, the red construction crane can be seen above the site of the future attraction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This week, Disney released a behind the scenes video of the construction of the new attraction on Disney Parks Blog and its other social media outlets. Disney says that, when complete, it will be "one of the world's longest enclosed coasters."


On its social media channels and and Disney Parks Blog, Disney showed off the construction progress beyond the construction walls for the new Guardians of the Galaxy themed attraction coming to Epcot in 2021. Video ©Disney.

The backstory shared during D23 Expo for the attraction's placement at Epcot was that the character Star-Lord is said to have visited the park as a child. Disney Parks Blog says that the "attraction will expand on the original vision of Epcot's Future World, with an epic storyline being developed by Walt Disney Imagineering in close collaboration with the original filmmakers."

On that same note, Star-Lord and Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy will be appearing at the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot from June 9 to August 19 this summer (and you can read more about that in our Epcot Concert News & Calendar section below).

"Star Wars Rival Run Weekend" To Replace "The Dark Side"

A few weeks ago, Walt Disney World Resort held the Star Wars Half Marathon-The Dark Side Weekend. As our West Coast readers and other followers of runDisney events know, it used to be complimented by a "Light Side" version at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim before its Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (new themed land) construction tipped the scales against further races at the resort (at least for awhile, if not permanently).

Thus, it came as little surprise that on "Star Wars Day" (you know, "May the Fourth") runDisney announced the re-branding of next year's Star Wars-themed race weekend at Walt Disney World. Next year, runners participating in the April 4-7 race weekend will be able to choose which side of the "Force" they support. As in past years, the weekend will include 5K, 10K, half marathon, and kids races. Runners can opt to try the "Star Wars Rival Run Challenge" by running both the 10K and the half marathon during the race weekend, and they can also do the runDisney Kessel Run Challenge by completing the half marathon at the Resort and the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon at home.

If you want more information, jump to the Resort Events section below and click on the link for the race in the 2019 Resort Events listings.

Another Construction Update: Toy Story Land Nears Completion

Last week, Adrienne shared my MousePlanet Facebook Page posting about the construction of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios as it approaches its June 30 debut. After my media-invited visit, Disney sent its own camera crews in (and, later those of its ABC Television Network's "Good Morning America") to the construction area to show off even more details being installed in the new land.


Wheezy the squeaky pengin who first debuted in Disney-Pixar's "Toy Story 2" was recently installed in Toy Story Land. It is the first and only Wheezy Audio-Animatronics figure in any Disney theme park. Video ©Disney.


In connection with a visit by Disney-owned ABC's "Good Morning America" to Toy Story Land, Disney released footage of the Slinky Dog Coaster in action in the new land set to debut on June 30. Video ©Disney.

Disney also released an image of the new Alien Swirling Saucers ride vehicles. The attraction is designed to look like a toy from Pizza Planet featuring the aliens that swirl around the Planet Pepperonia while "The Claw" is overhead.

Alien Swirling Saucers Image
Disney released this first image of the Alien Swirling Saucer ride vehicles featuring the aliens from Pizza Planet. Image ©Disney.

And, of course, using the national stage of "Good Morning America," Disney released more details about some of the new merchandise that will be available exclusively in the park when Toy Story Land debuts on June 30. Disney Parks Blog has a recap if you would like a more detailed look now too.

Disney images of new Toy Story Land merchandise <
Disney Parks Blog showed off some of the new merchandise that will be available with the opening of Toy Story Land. Image ©Disney.

Epcot Concert News & Calendar

Disney Parks Blog has released a partial list of scheduled acts for this year's Eat to the Beat Concert Series at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival which runs three times nightly from August 30 until November 12 on the America Gardens Theatre stage. Sheila E and Glass Tiger are among the new acts on the schedule this year. 98 Degrees, which performed during the Disney Parks Holidays tapings at Magic Kingdom last winter, will also be part of this year's Eat to the Beat Concert Series, and Jim Belushi brings his R&B band The Sacred Hearts to the stage. Contemporary Christian music artists MercyMe and Tauren Wells join the lineup as well.

Before the Food and Wine Festival starts, though, we still have the "Incredible Summer" to enjoy first. From June 9 through August 19, America Gardens Theatre will host "Guardians of the Galaxy-Awesome Mix Live!" five times daily, featuring tunes from Star-Lord's Awesome Mixtapes (also known as the two movie soundtracks). We have not yet located a detailed performance schedule on official sources.


Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone has performed many times on the America Gardens Theatre on the shore of the World Showcase Lagoon (more Photos in the Views below). During Sunday's 5:30 p.m. show, Peter Noone said it was his 168th show on that stage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

And, of course, as we finish out May, 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. Remember, while supplies last during Garden Rocks concert days, Passholders can request wristbands for theatre guaranteed seating by visiting the corridor behind Fountain View and Club Cool in Future World West. Note, the wristband distribution shares a queue with Passholder complimentary magnet distribution.


Passholder reserved seating requires a wristband distributed in the Future World West hallway behind Fountain View (Starbucks) and Club Cool. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

For the convenience of our readers, we list all of the scheduled performances in our Google Calendar of Epcot Events. You can also add it to any Calendar that supports the iCal format (like iPhone and Mac) by copying this link.

The calendar is provided "As is, where is" and without any guarantees, as a courtesy. Given the effort it took to create it, we do respectfully request that you do not post our entire calendar on another site without first asking our permission. We do not know why Walt Disney World Resort has not created this sort of functionality outside of the My Disney Experience app itself.

Views Around the World

After returning from Hawaii late Friday after more than 10 hours of flying (and the rest of the "fun" parts of the modern travel experience including trekking from LAX's Terminal 5 to the Bradley Terminal during a two-plus-hour layover at dawn), I did make it over to Disney Springs on Saturday and Epcot on Sunday. I had a chance to get some photos of things that changed in both places after I wrote the Walt Disney World Resort Update for April 23-30, 2018 as well as take in a Garden Rocks Concert by Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone. As always, the photo captions tell the story and provide you with bits of news too.

As I have said before, if there is something you would like to see in a future Update, be sure to let us know!

Disney Springs


The new DisneyStyle shop exterior on the West Side appeared complete on Saturday night. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Even one of the window displays was uncovered and lit on Saturday night. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


On Sunday, the new DisneyStyle shop opened. Before publication time yesterday, MousePlanet Contributor Donald Fink made it over to Disney Springs and had a look around the new shop. He reports that you can find many common Disney merchandise items there as well as a good selection of upscale and unique merchandise. Photo by Donald Fink.


The DisneyStyle shop has opened on the West Side while the phased refurbishment of the World of Disney store in the Marketplace continues. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Some of the windows of the World of Disney store (that are not behind construction walls) are decorated with the "World Passport" theme that can be found on quite a few pieces of merchandise around the resort (and has a companion style over at Disneyland Resort). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Disney Corner has had some permanent signage installed since the last time I visited this new Town Center shop that fills some of the void created by the phased refurbishment of World of Disney. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Some Passholder exclusive merchandise is available at Twenty Eight and Main in the Marketplace Co-Op. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op continues to sell new "vintage" park and character inspired dresses and accessories. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Dress Shop also sells some of the latest Dooney & Bourke bags. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Dooney & Bourke merchandise is available in numerous styles and sizes (and there are folks that know a whole lot more about these items than this writer/photographer). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill continues to take shape next door to the Coca-Cola Store. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The photo backdrop next to the AMC 24 Dine-In Theatres now advertises the latest Marvel Studios blockbuster "Avengers: Infinity War." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


New art is now on the construction walls at Universe of Energy as its tranformation into a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction continues and, nearby, refurbishment is visible over at the building often used as a Festival Center (formerly the Wonders of Life pavilion). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Exterior refurbishment is well underway at the building often used as a "Festival Center" (formerly the Wonders of Life pavilion). The official DisneyWorld.com page for the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival lists the Festival Center as the home of several activities during the event this fall. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Disney Vacation Club Members Lounge in the Imagination pavilion provides an eye-level view of the monorail passing through Future World. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


Some of the windows at Mouse Gear now are styled similarly to that certain "You are here" coffee mug collection available at Starbucks locations around the Resort (including at Fountain View right across the plaza) as well as the "World Passport" merchandise collection. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Soccer (or as much of the rest of the world calls it, football) themed Epcot merchandise can now be found in the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Looking across World Showcase Lagoon from the Plaza, the construction activity at the southern end of the park is well in-view: from the Ratatouille attraction building between Morocco and France to the Disney Skyliner tower looming behind France pavilion's Eiffel Tower. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival reaches its final weeks, the orchids at the Mexico pavilion seem to be in full bloom. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Continuing around World Showcase, the gallery inside the Stave Church at the Norway pavilion reopened with a new exhibit since my last visit. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Notwithstanding the sign on the door, many guests do not realize that there is (or otherwise ignore) an exhibit inside the Stave Church that can be viewed. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Inside the Stave Church, the new exhibit includes intricately carved figures representing the gods of Norwegian mythology. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Doors on both sides of the Stave Church may be used to enter to view the exhibit. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone has been performing since the days of the "British Invasion" and brings out very enthusiastic fans that (perhaps) have been around just as long (as Peter Noone jokes). One of the band's songs is "I'm Henry the VII, I Am." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Peter Noone showed off his Disney-Pixar character socks during a Garden Rocks concert. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Not every Garden Rocks concert act finds its lead singer performing from the sides of the theater (as shown here) or its aisles. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From the placement of the two Disney Skyliner towers adjacent to the France pavilion across from the International Gateway, it appears that its future riders will pass directly backstage at this part of World Showcase at a fairly low height that does not permit many views into the park itself. 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 #44: Photo Fun Edition #12
Use the Hyperlapse App to create fun videos!

At least for now, this one apparently is only for iOS users. While searching for something in the App Store while I was on vacation in Hawaii last week, I stumbled upon an app published by Instagram for creating stabilized time-lapse videos that can be posted on Instagram, Facebook, or otherwise saved to your camera roll for further editing. It is a free app named Hyperlapse. I immediately recognized its utility for shooting videos in and around Disney Parks and Resorts.

As regular followers on MousePlanet social media channels may recall, I experimented last year with a product that claimed to provide gyroscopic stabilization of iPhone video, even while walking. Unfortunately, I could not successfully get the device to work nicely with my iPhone 7-plus, so I abandoned it and will not even utter its name here.

I have previously shot some time lapse video with the built-in iOS setting for the iPhone's camera, but the setting does not have any significant built-in image stabilization. It is useful for shooting video while standing still or, even better, when the iPhone is mounted to a tripod, but, not so much when walking around. As a result, I have not created many interesting videos using that feature of iOS.


The Hyperlapse App, like other timelapse apps, can present a scene that takes several minutes in several seconds. This video took seven and a half minutes to record but shows in 38 seconds. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

Fortunately, the Hyperlapse App provides some software-based image stabilization that provides a rather clean-looking video. Video can be recorded in landscape or portrait mode with either the main (back-facing) camera or the selfie camera. The video shot can be saved at original speed, 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x, 10x or 12x. While the Hyperlapse App provides a limited ability to select a spot in the image for auto focus and auto exposure to adjust, it is limited in that it provides no fine tuning and no ability to zoom either optically (with the larger plus-sized iPhones) or digitally.


The Hyperlapse App can help you create a stabilized time lapse video, even as you move. You can tap the screen in different spots while shooting, to re-adjust the auto focus/auto exposure of the scene. Video by Alan S. Dalinka

Again, like I often discuss in this space, you really need to think about what you would like your end product to be before you shoot with the Hyperlapse App. Once you choose to shoot with the Hyperlapse App, you will not be able to capture audio (even at 1x, it captures only distorted audio and at faster speeds, not at all), and once you select a playback speed, you cannot change your mind after the video has been processed to your camera roll or posted. Having said that, for capturing a bunch of scenery or action in a short, fun video clip (or series of them like shown above), it is a viable tool to have at your disposal when visiting Walt Disney World Resort. Your mileage may vary.

If you are interested in watching a full walk through of Disney Springs that I tried as an experiment on Saturday night, visit this YouTube video. The edited video clocks in at just over eleven and a half minutes long, and represents a couple of hours of walking around and about an hour of shooting video. If folks would like to see me create more long-form Hyperlapse video in the parks in the coming weeks, let me know, and I will work them in to future Updates.

This and That

…Don't forget that Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday, May 13. If you are celebrating around Walt Disney World Resort, have you made your plans yet? Over at Disney Springs, two of the Patina Restaurant Group locations are offering up some specials for the day:

  • Maria & Enzo's - Mother's Day buffet brunch featuring classic and contemporary dishes including Mascarpone French Toast, Poached Hen Egg & Quinoa Kale Salad and hand-carved NY Strip Steak. It is billed as "all-you-can-eat" for $35/adult; $15/child (3-9); kids under 2 years of age eat free. Add endless mimosas and bellinis during brunch for $15 more. Check for reservations.
  • Enzo's Hideaway - Mother's Day Prix Fixe menu of Italian specialties including Ahi Tuna Crudo, Ricotta Gnocchi, Pasta Frutti di Mare and trio of homemade gelatos. The restaurant’s regular menu will also be available. Mom will also receive a complimentary glass of Procecco when dining in the tunnel bar. Check for reservations.

…And, speaking of Disney Springs restaurants, congratulations to Paddlefish which Orlando Magazine announced as the best seafood restaurant in its 2018 Reader's Choice Dining Awards. Nearby T-Rex Caf&ecute; was also recognized as Best Place to Take the Kids.

…Back to mothers, Disney Parks Blog announced the births of two female Grevy's zebra foals (mother Laylee on April 26; mother Zuri on May 1) at Disney's Animal Kingdom. According to DPB, Grevy's zebras, originating from Africa, are the most endangered species of zebra. Currently living backstage, they will join the herd on Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail soon.

…Between our re-arranged publishing schedule back on April 23, and my time away last week, Disney Parks Blog released a partial list of scheduled acts for this year's Eat to the Beat Concert Series at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. In case you missed it, our Epcot Events Calendar section now reflects the most up-to-date information available.

…Disney Vacation Club Members without resort reservations (like me), looking to reserve space for one of the two Moonlight Magic events at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, scheduled for May 30 and June 11, 2018, found the events fully booked when general reservations opened on May 3. Interested Members can keep checking back for cancelations from Members considerate enough to actually follow through and cancel rather than just no-show. As space at Typhoon Lagoon is rather limited, and May 30 follows Memorial Day Weekend, getting a reservation at this point may be rather tough.

…Vivoli il Gelato at Disney Springs introduced a limited time "Captain Shake" to help fans celebrate the huge box office success of the Marvel Studios film Avengers: Infinity War. It is a creamy blend of vanilla gelato spun with milk inside of a white chocolate dipped cone drizzled with strawberry sauce, topped with whipped cream, and garnished with red and blue sprinkles.

…Walt Disney World Golf, operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management, again hosted the Special Olympics Florida invitational at Disney's Palm and Magnolia golf courses last week, on May 2 and 3. In September, Walt Disney World Golf will again host the Special Olympics Florida State Golf Championships. There is no cost to the athletes or their caregivers to participate.

…For Passholders, another new Passholder Exclusive magnet will be available at Disney's Hollywood Studios from May 18 - June 29 (while supplies last, Pass Card and Photo ID required). This one will feature Donald Duck. Limit one per Passholder, though Passholders can still get (subject to availability) the Minnie Mouse Passholder Exclusive magnet over at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival too.

…Speaking of Passholders, on May 27, to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of Pandora-The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom, from 7 to 8 a.m. (before the Park opens), a new limited-release banshee will be available for purchase.

…More "Disney After Hours" dates have been announced for Magic Kingdom on select nights from June 28 through September 20. This hard ticket event provides park admission as early as 7 p.m. before the park closes to the general public, and then limited attendance hours in the park (to 1 a.m. on most nights or midnight August 30 or September 2). Advanced purchase tickets (before tax) are $119 and day-of tickets are $124. Call (407)827-7185 or visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for more information and booking. We have added the full list of dates to our Resort Events section below.

Orlando Sentinel confirmed with a Walt Disney World spokeswoman that there there will be no Night of Joy event at Walt Disney World in 2018, and that there are no plans for the Christian music concerts to return in the future. Some of the bands to perform at past events have joined the Eat to the Beat lineup at this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Last year's Hurricane Irma-shortened event was the last one hosted at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. For most of its 35-year run at the Resort, the event was held at Magic Kingdom.

…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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Date Overall
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 6 / 10
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 5 / 10
Thursday, May 10, 2018 4 / 10
Friday, May 11, 2018 6 / 10
Saturday, May 12, 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: 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
  • Disney H20 Glow Nights at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park:
    Every Thursday and Saturday, June 21 to August 11, 8 p.m. until 11 p.m.
  • Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom:
    • June 28, 30, July 7, 9, 14, 21, 28, August 4 & 11: from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m.
    • August 30, September 20: from 9 p.m. until 12 a.m.
  • 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
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – August 30 - November 12, 2018
  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 1-4, 2018
  • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – October 26-27, 2018
  • Sunday Bubbles Brunch – October 28, 2018.
  • Dapper Day (unofficial events) – November 17: Disney's Animal Kingdom (until 3-5 p.m.) & Magic Kingdom (evening); November 18: Epcot
  • 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

Disney/Pixar concept hart for H20 Glow
Yesterday, Disney released a first look at new concept art for the upcoming Disney H20 Glow Nights event coming to Disney's Typhoon Lagoon. Image ©Disney/Pixar.

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
  • 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 opened in its place on April 22, 2018.

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.

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

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 when we last checked (May 7), 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, LAST CHANCE FOR THIS OFFER: 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.

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!