Walt Disney World Resort Update for May 15-21, 2017

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for May 15-21, 2018

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

Writer's note: Except for the accidentally burnt Maleficent dragon float at Magic Kingdom (see below), it was a very quiet pre-summer week around Walt Disney World Resort. With the school year starting to wind down across the region and the country, the parks are again starting to feel more crowded with the bigger crowds expected as we get to Memorial Day in a couple more weeks. Just imagine, all those guests just as the thermometer starts to regularly stick at and above 90 ºF mark and the so-called "liquid sunshine" beginning to work off the dry season's drought.

An extended ride stop directly next to the Grave Keeper inside Haunted Mansion provided an opportunity to practice one second long-exposure, handheld, no flash photography technique. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As the photo above shows, I practice my long-exposure technique whenever the opportunity arises. Let's get on with the News and Views…

News and Views

Fire Damages Festival of Fantasy's Maleficent Float During Parade | New 1-Day, 1-Park Ticket with 3 Preselected FastPass+ Experiences Now Available | Epcot Concert News & Calendar | Views Around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Fire Damages Festival of Fantasy's Maleficent Float During Parade

Friday afternoon's regular showing of the Magic Kingdom's "Three o'clock parade" (the Disney Festival of Fantasy parade) was interrupted when the steampunk-inspired Maleficent dragon float inspired by Disney's Sleeping Beauty caught fire. While the float normally includes the fire-breathing dragon expelling flames from its mechanical mouth, numerous guests posted to social media photos and video of the entire head catching fire while the float was passing through the Liberty Square portion of the parade route. Cast members quickly extinguished the fire and there were no reported injuries to cast or guests. If you have not seen it already, Orlando Sentinel obtained permission to share guest-shot video on its site.

The Maleficent float, a steampunk-inspired dragon, has been a highlight of the Festival of Fantasy parade since its debut four years ago. December 22, 2017 File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

While I personally happened to be in the park on Friday afternoon, I was on the other side of the hub in Tomorrowland at the time of the fire and did not see it personally (nor could I see the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch as I had hoped, as the rocket's trajectory was too low and/or the cloud cover was too significant to allow for a view from the park). From Tomorrowland near the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor entrance, I did see a parade unit that regularly precedes Maleficent - Merida from Brave - making its journey around the Central Plaza hub in front of Cinderella Castle, but I was not aware of the fire or problems with the rest of the parade at the time, as park operations continued as normal. Orlando Sentinel reported that the floats behind Maleficent were rerouted to return backstage (presumably back to the parade gate next to Splash Mountain).

According to reports on social media this weekend, the parade continued its scheduled performances with an old (often seen) multi-purpose gazebo float with Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip aboard in the place usually occupied by the Maleficent float. I will attempt to find out what Magic Kingdom plans are for the future of this popular float and will report what I learn on social media and in a future Update.

New 1-Day, 1-Park Ticket with 3 Preselected FastPass+ Experiences Now Available

For those that have put off planning their visit to a Walt Disney World theme park until the day before, the Resort now offers a new 1-Day, 1-Park Ticket with a three preloaded FastPass+ Experiences option. Offered at the same price as an ordinary one-day, one-park ticket (which, as you may recall is based on which park and whether it is the Value, Regular, or Peak Season), guests may purchase the tickets on this page of DisneyWorld.com by selecting which park and which category of experiences they would like to enjoy. (Note: like all other FastPass+ reservations, these ticket categories also apparently can sell out, as I discovered looking through the site at various times of the day on Monday.)

In other words, guests do not have access to all attractions that offer the FastPass+ option. Instead, guests can select from specific categories and will receive three guaranteed FastPass+ reservations at specific time windows for those specific attractions the next day. Tickets purchased this way must be used on or before December 31, 2019, but the FastPass+ reservations are only valid for the day specified; like all one-day tickets, the tickets are only valid on a date valid for the season type(s) (Value, Regular, or Peak) purchased. The categories are:

Magic Kingdom

  • Fantasyland Classics
    "it's a small world," Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and Mad Tea Party
  • Futuristic and Frightful Fun
    Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Haunted Mansion, and Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Pint-Size Adventures
    The Barnstormer, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Whimsical Escapades
    Under the Sea-Journey of The Little Mermaid, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor


  • Immersive Explorations
    Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, and The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Delightful Encounters
    The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Turtle Talk With Crush, and Journey Into Imagination With Figment

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Sensational Stage Shows
    Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along, and Voyage of The Little Mermaid
  • Movie-Inspired Excitement
    Muppet*Vision 3D, Star Tours-The Adventures Continue, and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

Preloaded FastPass+ Reservations are included with the ticket. Screenshot of an option available on May 14 for May 15, 2018; content by Disney.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Prehistoric and Whitewater Thrills
    Dinosaur, Kali River Rapids, and Primeval Whirl
  • Wild Performances
    Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo-The Musical, and It's Tough to be a Bug!

Epcot Concert News & Calendar

As we mentioned last week, 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. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

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. You can add Eat to the Beat Concert events to your My Disney Experience schedule on this page of DisneyWorld.com.

Views Around the World

Strolls around Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney Springs bring you this week's Views Around the World. As always, bits of news are in the captions (and even a little more this week). As I have said before, if there is something you would like to see in a future Update, be sure to let us know!

Magic Kingdom

A low-rise construction wall runs along the curb of Main Street U.S.A. along the Emporium. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The low-rise construction wall is directly across of Center Street in front of the Emporium. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Expansion of the Starlight Cafe continues. Most of the existing seating areas inside and the three serving bays (one of which is now fully devoted to Mobile Order) are open. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Just for fun, following up on last week's One Passholder's Tip: A Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover Hyperlapse video journey through the whole 10 minute ride (facing backwards) in just a minute.

Have you ever been "That Guy" at Monsters Inc., Laugh Floor? Those who are get a sticker for the experience. (It turns out that I was "That Guy" in Tomorrowland while the Maleficent float in the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade was on fire in Liberty Square, as this photo was taken while the parade was already well-underway; see the News above). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The gift shop at the exit of Space Mountain was selling the "share a Diet Coke Tomorrowland" bottle this weekend. Two other Disney Parks location-specific bottles became available on both coasts this past week: "share a Coke at Haunted Mansion" and "share a Coke Zero Sugar at Big Thunder" (Mountain Railroad). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

In the less edible merchandise category, some Disney treats are now also available in the form of plush toys. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

While two additional Magic Kingdom restaurants reportedly began selling alcoholic beverages this week (The Plaza Restaurant and The Crystal Palace), Americana themed caps complete with bottle openers are available in the Emporium; adult beverages (bottled or otherwise) remain unavailable at kiosks around Magic Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

An increasing number of backpack-style themed bags are now available around the resort, including these Toy Story themed bags on Main Street U.S.A. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney Skyliner station construction is underway between the waterway and the bus loop, a short walk from the park gates. A row of cable towers trails off all the way across the parking lot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Skyliner station construction is visible from the parking lot as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Signs near the Disney Skyliner station construction direct guests to temporary buses running to Epcot Resorts. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Friendship Watercraft service is temporarily unavailable between the park, the Epcot Resorts, and Epcot's International Gateway due to maintenance of one of the bridges over the waterway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction is also visible from the parking lot. The new land is expected to open next year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Inside the park, bits of the Galaxy's Edge construction remain visible. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Increasingly, less of the new Star Wars-themed land can be seen in the rest of the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

At the same time, as the June 30 opening of Toy Story Land rapidly approaches, more details of that new land are becoming visible beyond the construction walls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The most recent configuration of the construction walls makes Woody at the land's marquee visible from near the entrance to Pixar Place. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Inside Walt Disney Presents, the model shows the artist's rendition of Woody at the marquee. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This version of Stitch greeted guests exiting Rock 'n' Rollercoaster on Saturday. Alhough not shown, Bellhop Stitch also greeted guests exiting Tower of Terror. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As the start of the "Incredible Summer" approaches, even more Pixar themed merchandise is now available at Reel in Vogue. Refurbishment in the neighboring shop (formerly Sweet Spells) continues toward creating what expected to become a major location for Toy Story-themed merchandise by the time Toy Story Land opens June 30. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

With "Solo: A Star Wars Story" opening May 25, more themed merchandise is available around the park, including this figure at Launch Bay. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Legends of Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard has an increasingly large selection of Han Solo-themed merchandise. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Backpack-style bags, dresses, and more are available merchandise options. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This bit of Muppets humor is not actually meant to be taken seriously even though it is posted in a shop. (On the other hand, see the Instagram embedded next below.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Though the "Party for the Planet" has ended, Disney's Animal Kingdom continues to celebrate its 20th Anniversary. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Between the ticket booths and the park gates, new construction walls are up. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The trails on the western side of Discovery Island (closest to Pandora-The World of Avatar) are again behind construction walls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Animals make each ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris unique. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Augustus the baby hippo increasingly may be spotted on Kilimanjaro Safaris. Like his mother, he is completely submerged underwater, but he rests on a rock closer to the surface. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Giraffes spend most of their days eating (and, apparently, drooling). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The inhabitants of Monkey Point only rarely seem to face the trucks of Kilimanjaro Safaris. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Three white rhinos and an ostrich approach a Kilimanjaro Safaris truck. With a bit of imagination, one might think the three hippos roughly form a Hidden Mickey. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

One of the gorillas' bachelor group naps near Gorilla Falls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Additional signs point to the theater where "UP! A Great Bird Adventure" is now shown several times each day. Signs no longer reference the "Caravan Stage" for this venue. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Donald's Dino Bash arrives this summer in DinoLand U.S.A. New construction walls are now up. near the entrance to the land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As we have previously noted, Donald's Dino Bash has temporarily closed the photo location next to Chester & Hester's. Characters currently meet and greet over near Sue the T-Rex model in front of Dinosaur. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Cretaceous Trail is also closed in preparation for Donald's Dino Bash. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The tigers along Maharajah Jungle Trek often seek out the shaded spots. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

How well do you know Disney's Animal Kingdom? This photo was taken along a well-traveled walkway in the park not far from a very popular attraction. Do you know where the photo was taken? Provide your answer in the comments below or on Facebook with the post for this Update. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

With "Solo: A Star Wars Story" opening on May 25, even Disney's Animal Kingdom merchandise locations have themed merchandise. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The park also has a larger selection of "snappers" than I have spotted elsewhere around the Resort (though, admittedly, I am not a merchandise enthusiast, so others may spot more). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Just for fun, following up on last week's One Passholder's Tip: An Expedition Everest Hyperlapse video journey through the FastPass+ queue through the whole ride.

Disney Springs

Last week, we noted that the new DisneyStyle shop soft opened. It had its official Grand Opening over the weekend. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The shop is filled with merchandise for the selfie and Instagram crowd; lots of Disney themed things to be photographed in when you are out and about. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Even the decor of the shop is intended to evoke those "photo-worthy" moments, like this old-style Skyway vehicle hanging from the ceiling (though now fitted with an emergency sprinkler head). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

A version of a tea cup is available for photos too. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Oversized props celebrating the Mickey ice cream bar and churros are inside the shop too. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Construction continues at the site of the future Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grille. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Nearby, some new construction walls have gone up near the gift shop entrance to Planet Hollywood Observatory. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Some merchandise featuring a couple of popular Disney properties from the late 1980s/early 1990s is available at Tren-D in the Marketplace area. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Sunsets at Lake Buena Vista can fill the sky with vibrant colors. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Walking through Town Center just past sunset also can be quite colorful. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

…My Disney Experience now shows that Toy Story Mania! will be closed June 11 through June 18 to accommodate work on its new entrance and queue ahead of the June 30 opening of Toy Story Land. As regular readers will recall, when the new land opens, guests will enter the attraction inside the new land through the box in which Andy got the game. The future of the Pixar Place area of the park (where the current attraction entrance is located) has not been announced.

…Did a scheduling issue cause you to miss out on celebrating Mother's Day? Alternatively, do you just want to keep celebrating Mom? Well, Paddlefish restaurant at Disney Springs is offering up a special "Cooking with Mom" event on Saturday, May 26, with Chef Steve Richard on the rooftop level. Attendees with learn simple techniques to create restaurant quality dishes at home. The first course will be Crab Louie Salad, second course Braised pork shoulder and for dessert, chocolate crème brûlée. Tickets and a detailed menu can be found here.

…While we are talking about food, The Diamond Horseshoe at Magic Kingdom will offer up a new menu starting on May 23. New sandwiches, salads, and sides are all coming to the venue, along with classic American beers and wines for guests over 21. All-You_care-To-Enjoy appetizer, entree, and dessert platters are also available. You can get a look on Disney Parks Blog and you can make (1 p.m. until 7 p.m. daily) lunch or dinner reservations on the My Disney Experience App or by calling (407)WDW DINE.

…In the unspecified future of foods around Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Parks Blog provided a tiny bit of additional detail about the Space-themed restaurant to be built at Epcot and operated by the Patina Restaurant Group (as first announced back in July at D23 Expo in Anaheim). Disney now confirms that the restaurant will be built in a newly developed area to be located between Test Track and Mission:SPACE on the east side of Future World.

…Walt Disney World Golf offers a chance to win a free Player's Club membership on its website. The contest, which continues until midnight (presumably Eastern Daylight Time) on May 31, will award one randomly selected grand prize winner with a free two-year membership in the Players' Club. Four additional prizes, randomly selected, will include free one year, 9-month, 6-month, and 3-month memberships. In addition, those who comment and like the Facebook post about the contest on the Walt Disney World Golf feed will have a chance to win a free round of golf for up to four people at any Walt Disney World Golf course. We, of course, are in no way responsible for the Walt Disney World Golf contest, but provide this information and embed its Facebook post (below) for your information and convenience.

…While I was vacationing at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai'i a couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to enjoy KaWa'a, the Resort's luau, which I posted about on our social media channels and I will be writing more about soon. Closer to home, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort plan to offer up a Hawaiian luau themed area of its own at this year's Food & Wine Classic on October 26-28. The new area, named The Pig and The Poke (which, having just been to Hawai'i, I should note is supposed to be pronounced "Pokey" when referring to the fish), will feature Hawaiian decor and foods such as traditional Earth-baked Kalua Pork, Tuna Poke, and "Shaved Ice" in a variety of flavors (which most Hawaiians refer to as "Shave Ice" without the "d"). The Pig and The Poke join the Classic's other "immersive atmospheres" (Carnival Corner, Chinatown, Bubble Lounge and a Beer Garden) and is included in the standard ticket price for the event. For more information, tickets, and overnight packages, visit SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com.

…Speaking of saving on long-distance travel, if you are a Royal Wedding follower and are looking for celebratory merchandise, Epcot's United Kingdom Pavilion has the saucers (and teacups, mugs, towels, and such) that you are looking for at The Tea Caddy and the Queen's Table. Items featuring His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales and Miss Meghan Markle can be purchased in the shops. You can get a look for yourself right from where you are now on Disney Parks Blog.

…And on the subject of Royal Weddings, Disney showed off its own version of a Fairytale Wedding broadcast live on Good Morning America this past week.

…Just a reminder carried over from last week 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.

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

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

Date Overall
Tuesday, May 15, 2018 5 / 10
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 5 / 10
Thursday, May 17, 2018 6 / 10
Friday, May 18, 2018 7 / 10
Saturday, May 19, 2018 7 / 10

Check out the Disney World Park Crowd Levels page on TouringPlans.com for park-specific predictions and recommendations on which days to visit and avoid particular parks!

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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
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."


  • 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

  • Toy Story Mania– Closed June 11 through June 18, 2018, for work related to new attraction entrance and queue in Toy Story Land.
  • 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.
    DisneyStyle now open on the West Side offering additional Disney-themed merchandise.
  • 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.


  • Caribbean Beach – Centertown, the resort's marketplace, will be expanded with new waterfront dining and retail shopping areas. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in Summer 2018, with the overall project completed 2019-20. Due to the work, the following food service and retail locations are currently closed:
    • Old Port Royale Food Court
    • Shutters at Old Port Royale
    • Banana Cabana Pool Bar
    • Calypso Trading Post
  • Coronado Springs – A new 15-story tower overlooking Lago Dorado, the resort's central lake, will add 500 rooms featuring suites and concierge level services, and a rooftop dining facility that will include panoramic views of nighttime fireworks shows at the Theme Parks. The resort also plans to refurbish current resort rooms and transform some of its landscape. The project is expected to be completed 2019-20.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Note: MousePlanet does not edit past Updates to reflect price increases; for up-to-date prices, check the most recent Walt Disney World Resort Update. For your convenience, we have grouped the discount offers based on the intended audience. Check out the category that best matches you, and pick the offer that works best for you. And keep those tips coming—let us know if you find a better or different offer, so we can share it with other readers.

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

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

Travel Discounts for Everyone

Characters in Flight Tethered Balloon Ride by Aerophile

Once again, for a "limited time,"Groupon is selling individual rides for $11.50 and two person rides for $23. The Groupon certificate cannot be redeemed until 24 hours after purchase, is valid for 90 days, but only on flights from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. (weather permitting). This offer was still available when we last checked (May 14), 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


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.

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

Discounts for Disney Rewards VISA Credit Card Holders


To conserve space, we have eliminated some of the participating location details of the Disney Visa Rewards offers from this section. Visit Disney Visa Rewards website for the latest participating location information.

20 percent off Joffrey's coffee/tea kiosks

Disney Visa cardholders receive 20 percent off their entire purchase at Joffrey's coffee/tea kiosks throughout Walt Disney World, including Tea Traders Café by Joffrey's, and online at Joffreys.com with code: VISABEANS

15 percent off select guided tours

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of selected guided tours for up to 10 people. The cardholder must participate in the tour, and pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card. Discounts are not available on Premium VIP tours, programs exclusive to groups, or group team building programs.

10 percent off select restaurants

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off the check when you pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Offer excludes alcoholic beverages, merchandise, tobacco, room service, holiday buffets, tax and gratuity. Discount does not apply to the following dates: 12/31/17, 1/1/18, 2/14/18, 4/1/18, 5/13/18 and 7/4/18, and may not be available at all meal times. Visit this page of disneyrewards.com for the latest list of restaurants and restrictions.

10 percent off merchandise

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off at participating Disney-owned retail location when you spend a minimum of $50 and pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Read all of the restrictions on the this page of disneyrewards.com.

Cardholders also receive 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at the following Walt Disney World Resort Operating Participant merchandise locations including Basin, Basin White, Chapel Hats, Good Fortune Gifts and House of Good Fortune, kidsHeritage, Luxury of Time, Marrakesh Emporium Arts & Crafts, Joffrey's coffee/tea kiosks and Tea Traders Café by Joffrey's, Sperry and Volcom.

15 percent off all Disney spa and salon services

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of any salon treatment valued at $45 or greater or any 50-minute or longer spa service most days at the spas and salons at Walt Disney World Resort. Visit this page of disneyrewards.com for participating locations and restrictions.

10 percent off select recreation experiences

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of the recreation experiences listed below:

  • Carriage Rides at Disney's Port Orleans Resort and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Horseback Trail Rides at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Free character photos at a private meet and greet location at Epcot

Present your Disney's Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a private character meet and greet at Epcot for the cardholder and up to five guests. The event is hosted daily from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot (enter near the jumping fountains near the exit to the Magic Eye Theater). You'll receive complimentary downloads of your photos (one time per day), which may be accessed in the MyDisneyExperience App (or website).

Free character photos at a private meet and greet location at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Present your Disney's Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a private character meet and greet at the Star Wars Launch Bay in the Animation Courtyard at Disney's Hollywood Studios for the cardholder and up to five guests. The event is hosted daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You'll receive complimentary downloads of your photos (one time per day), which may be accessed in the MyDisneyExperience App (or website).

Travel Discounts for Military Personnel

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





  Regular Day





  Peak Day






Florida Resident
Select Tickets

3-Day Select Ages 10+

3-Day Select Ages 3-9

4-Day Select Ages 10+

4-Day Select Ages 10+


1 Park Per Day






Park Hopper





  • Florida Select tickets expire 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!



  1. By Dave1313

    Good capture of the Yeti in the EE video! I tried to capture him with my camera, but was unsuccessful during my trip last week. It's certainly a better chance now that he's at least lit up so people can see him though! I hope they keep him like that and don't go back to the strobe lighting.

    As for the mystery location question, I'll guess it's either on the building that got turned into a bar (former EE FastPass distribution area) or on the building with all the hanging backpacks that is closer to the restrooms.

  2. By asdhollywood

    Thanks. Be sure to see the Walt Disney World Resort Update for May 22-28, 2018, for the answer to the photo question.


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