Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 31 - August 6, 2018by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 31 – August 6, 2018
Writer's note: Not very many hours after we published last week's Update, many Gold and above-level Walt Disney World Resort Passholders received emails inviting them to sign up for one of the first three "V.I.Passholder" after hours events (one at Magic Kingdom and two at Epcot). Hopefully, if the events were of interest to you that hold these passes (as I do), you saw and responded to the email before the events filled to capacity. For those that did not receive the email at all (and there were reports that, at least, some folks that have the Disney Parks Premier Passport that includes both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, did not receive the email), we suggest that you contact Disney Guest Services (a good way to do so is by tweeting to @WDWToday as we have mentioned in the past).
This week had some major news for how Walt Disney World Resort and, indeed, the rest of Disney Parks and Resorts, will try to act as a citizen of the world itself going forward. I got to see a bit of that first hand by seeing the turtles at Disney's Vero Beach Resort (a couple of hours to the southeast, but still sort of a part of Walt Disney World Resort). On the theme park front, though, it was a fairly quiet week for attraction news and the like. I did have the opportunity to become familiar with the Surf School offered at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon (which fits in the "new to me" category, despite the fact it is decades old), and I used the quiet this week to look at the progress of all of the various projects announced (or updated) at last summer's Disney D23 Expo.
I even managed to write the rest of this week's Update without using the word "dude" again, despite Crush and Squirt coming to mind more than once. You're welcome!
Disney Launches More Environmental Conservation Initiatives | New American Indian Art Exhibit Opens at Epcot | Walt Disney World Resort Projects: Status Check | Learn to Surf at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon | Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar | Views Around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast
As Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix wrote in yesterday's Disneyland Resort Update for July 30-August 5, 2018, last week Disney announced that by mid-2019 it will "eliminate single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all owned and operated locations across the globe, amounting to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually." Paper straws and cups without plastic lids have long been the norm at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and even at Disney's Vero Beach Resort which sits amongst the prime sea turtle nesting grounds along the Atlantic Ocean's east coast (about a two hour drive from Walt Disney World Resort). Disney's initiative extends to its theme parks and resorts, Disney Cruise Line, and all of the Disney Vacation Club properties.
Disney's Vero Beach Resort, a Disney Vacation Club property, is nearly a two hour drive from Walt Disney World Resort. Except for that distance, the resort operates much like any other Walt Disney World Resort (the in-room television lists the operating hours for the theme and water parks, and the folio even says "Walt Disney World Resort" at the top at the end of your stay). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Signs around Disney's Vero Beach Resort instruct guests not to disturb nesting turtles. The walkway lighting (at right) is also specially designed not to interfere with the turtles' natural behavior. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The side of Disney's Vero Beach Resort that faces the beach is landscaped so as to block many artificial sources of light that could confuse the migrating sea turtle population. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
At the 11th annual Tour de Turtles event day at Disney's Vero Beach Resort on Saturday, Dr. Mark Penning, Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks, noted that Walt Disney himself was way ahead of his time in taking steps to protect the environment. As Dr. Penning wrote on Disney Parks Blog, Walt Disney said, "conservation isn't just the business of a few people. It's a matter than concerns all of us."
First, listen to Dr. Mark Penning discuss Walt Disney and conservation, then, watch "Trixie" and "Mrs. Potato Head" make their way (sped up for conserving your time) into the Atlantic Ocean while being sung to by Disney performer Billy Flanigan and cheered on by Disney's Animal Kingdom Conservation Biologist Rachel Smith. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
Walt Disney World Resort's participation in the Tour de Turtles event is another example of the Walt Disney Company's commitment to environmental issues. The Sea Turtle Conservancy created the Tour de Turtles in 2008, to follow the migration of sea turtles from their nesting beaches (like those found at and around Disney's Vero Beach Resort) to their foraging grounds, by using satellite tracking technology. Just past sunrise on Saturday, July 28, the Disney Animals, Science & Environment Team along with the Sea Turtle Conservancy, released two satellite tracking-equipped loggerhead turtles from Disney's Vero Beach Resort.
The Disney Parks Blog was a sponsor of this year's the event, and it provided live coverage following a reader "vote" on Toy Story-inspired names for the turtles: the winners were "Trixie" and "Mrs. Potato Head." You can follow along their progress on the TourDeTurtles.org website, just as we did last year for Sally and Cruz (named for Cars 3 characters, of course). (I attended the event as Disney Vacation Club Member using my "points" for an overnight stay at this Disney Vacation Club resort property.
Before sunrise, Disney Parks Blog's Editorial Content Manager Jennifer Fickley-Baker and her #DisneyParksLIVE co-host Mark Daniel meet with the production crew to discuss the live stream of the Tour de Turtles event from just above the beach at Disney's Vero Beach Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Watch the full (nearly 30 minutes) #DisneyParksLIVE broadcast of the Tour De Turtles event from Disney's Vero Beach Resort. Video ©Disney.
A sand sculpture saluting the recent opening of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Tour de Turtles event decorated the beach on Saturday. The Disney event hosts, however, noted the importance of knocking down sandcastles and covering over any constructed "moats" surrounding them before departing the beach, so as not to hamper turtles attempting to get to the Ocean. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney Parks Blog-named sea turtle "Trixie" makes her way to the Atlantic Ocean to begin her tracked journey to her foraging grounds. It is highly likely that Trixie will return to the same area around Disney's Vero Beach to nest again on many occasions during her lifetime. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's animal conservation team described the process of affixing the satellite tracking device on the turtles as akin to a manicure for humans. Mrs. Potato Head, named by Disney Parks Blog, departs her crate for the Atlantic Ocean. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
A member of Disney's animal conservation team released a very recently hatched sea turtle on the beach to make its first entry into the Atlantic Ocean. This hatchling required assistance getting out of its deep location in a nest on the beach. The team noted, that because of its size, hatchlings like this would not be able to traverse a sandcastle (or its moat) on its journey to the water; it was thrown about by several waves while it persisted in its journey to the big blue sea. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney also announced that all of its hotels and cruise ships are also transitioning to refillable in-room amenities which means, as Adrienne wrote yesterday, "your H20-branded shampoo and conditioner will come from large bottles mounted inside your shower, and not tiny bottles left by housekeeping." The Company has also pledged to reduce the number of plastic shopping bags in the parks and on the cruise line (offering guests the option to purchase reusable bags at a "nominal price") and to eliminate polystyrene cups at all owned and operated businesses worldwide.
Last week, the new installation at American Heritage Gallery inside the American Adventure pavilion opened at Epcot. The new exhibit is entitled, "Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art," made in collaboration with the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., features both museum-type displays and interactive elements, representing 40 different American Indian tribes from seven geographic regions, including Hawai'i.
"Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art" is the newly opened exhibit inside The American Heritage Gallery in the lobby of The American Adventure pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The new art exhibit "Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art" was dedicated last week at the American Heritage Gallery at Epcot. Video ©Disney.
Disney Parks Blog describes the collection highlights as including "'Ancient Resonance' dress by designer Loren Aragon from Acoma Pueblo, a Pokagon Potawatomi black ash hamper basket made in the early 1900s, and a Chilkat blanket from Alaska dating to the 1890s complements “Raven and the Box of Daylight,” a 2017 glass sculpture by Preston Singletary (Tlingit)." The Gallery is open whenever the main entry lobby of American Adventure is open.
One of the exhibit displays includes the following explanatory comment:
AMERICAN INDIAN OR NATIVE AMERICAN?
Throughout this exhibition you'll notice these terms. Both are acceptable. Many prefer Indian, Native, or, better yet, the name of their specific nation.
Just over a year ago, in the Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 19-24, 2017, which immediately followed the conclusion of the Disney D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, we gave you the rundown on all of the new projects announced (and the new details provided for existing projects) around the Walt Disney World Resort. With last month's opening of Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which we were told at Expo would open in 2018, we thought this would be a good time to take a look at what we know now about the status of the rest of those projects.
There were two other projects announced at Expo that made their respective debuts at Walt Disney World Resort within weeks of Expo. Within days of Expo, Minnie Van service began providing on-demand, point-to-point transportation around the property, with Disney Cast Member drivers initially providing service to Disney’s BoardWalk, and Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, and the service is now available to all guests Resort-wide via the Lyft app. Likewise, not long after Expo, Mission: SPACE Relaunched refreshed the existing attraction with new special effects created with the assistance of Industrial Light & Magic (remember that the business was acquired when Disney acquired Lucasfilm Ltd.), in an updated Orange Mission to Mars (with spinning-created g-forces) and a brand new Green Mission around Earth (without spinning-created g-forces and now including lower minimum height).
TRON-themed coaster-style attraction (Tomorrowland)
A ride to be patterned after Shanghai Disneyland’s TRON Lightcycle Power Run is going into an area that will become an expansion of Tomorrowland, adjacent to Space Mountain, and not replacing the Tomorrowland Speedway. So far, extensive land has been cleared and construction is underway between the Walt Disney World Rail Road tracks and the park's outer perimeter fence along Center Drive. The attraction is expected to be complete by Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
New theater (unnamed, located in a new area just off Main Street U.S.A.)
A new venue for “world-class entertainment” resembling Kansas City’s Willis Wood Theater as it appeared in the 1920s (when Walt Disney would have seen it), to accommodate large-scale productions with seating for nearly 2,000 guests per show was announced at D23 Expo for a new area just off Main Street U.S.A. Significant land preparations were begun in a currently backstage area between Main Street U.S.A. and Tomorrowland (referred to by road signs as “Park 1” and, also, includes some of the area once occupied by the former outdoor Tomorrowland Theater), but work stopped and some physical changes were returned to their pre-preparation state. No timeline was announced for the project; Disney has made no official additional announcements about the project, and its future remains unknown.
Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction (Universe of Energy pavilion, Future World East)
A new “E-ticket” attraction themed for the Marvel Studios movie franchise is taking over the Universe of Energy pavilion and land behind it, with a story line based on the notion that Peter Quill, Star-Lord, left something behind at Epcot when he visited as a child. The Universe of Energy pavilion, including its Ellen’s Energy Adventure, closed on August 13, 2017, to make way for the new attraction. The Universe of Energy building's entrance is now surrounded by construction walls and some exterior work is visible beyond the walls. Behind the pavilion, an enormous new structure is under construction to house a very large indoor roller-coaster type ride. The attraction will use the existing Universe of Energy pavilion (rumors suggest as a very large indoor queue) plus the new structure. The new attraction is expected to be complete by Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
The decorative mirrored tiles have been removed from the former Universe of Energy pavilion, as its transformation into the "Guardians of the Galaxy"-themed attraction continues. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Ratatouille-themed attraction (France pavilion, World Showcase)
A new ride that is patterned after the family-friendly attraction at Disneyland Paris (based on the Disney-Pixar film) is going into a new area behind the existing France pavilion, and will not displace the Impressions de France film. A very large new attraction building can be seen under construction between Morocco and France pavilions (set off from World Showcase Promenade with ample room between the construction site and the promenade for the usual Festival kiosks. The new attraction is expected to be complete by Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
Seamless Circle-Vision 360º film (China pavilion, World Showcase)
Using a next generation digital camera system, the latest 360º Circle-Vision show will be seamlessly projected without the gaps between the nine screens that have been a part of Circle-Vision films since their introduction at Disneyland decades ago. There is no guest-visible work underway inside China pavilion's Circle-Vision theater. There have been no announced closures or updates about when the new show may debut, and no expected completion date was announced at Expo either.
New space-themed table service restaurant (unnamed, Future World East)
Restaurant diners will view "space" all around them in Future World East's first table-service restaurant. Future World West already has two table-service restaurants: Coral Reef and Garden Grill. The new restaurant will be operated by Patina Restaurant Group (the same group that already operates Tutto Italia and Via Napoli at Italy Pavilion and several restaurants at Disney Springs). Backstage construction appears underway between Mission: SPACE and Test Track, but there has been no announcement as to an estimated opening date.
Backstage construction likely related to the new Future World East space-themed table service restaurant is underway between Mission: SPACE and Test Track and can be seen from just outside the queue for Test Track. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Hollywood Studios (and vicinity)
Star Wars-themed immersive hotel (unnamed, near Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge/adjacent to Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
Other than that description, very few details about the new hotel have been announced other than to say that guests will be enveloped into the world of Star Wars from the moment they arrive at the hotel and that all rooms will look out into that world as well (probably with video screens rather than windows in some or all rooms). Guests will have seamless access to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge inside Disney's Hollywood Studios. Disney Parks Blog reported that the hotel will be built southeast of the park and will be connected directly to the new land. No timeline for construction has been announced, though Orlando Sentinel notes some recently approved funding by Reedy Creek Improvement District that may relate to its construction. With Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opening in "Late Fall 2019," it is unlikely that the new hotel will debut until after the new land opens.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Inside Chinese Theatre)
Using 2 ½-D technology (described as making projections appear three-dimensional without the need for wearing special glasses) with a brand new ride theme song, this will be the first ride to feature Mickey Mouse. It will be based on the world of Disney Channel’s cartoon shorts. The Great Movie Ride closed inside Chinese Theatre on August 13, 2017, to make way for the new attraction. All of the exterior signage has been removed from the building and interior work is underway for its expected opening in 2019.
Next Proposed Disney Vacation Club Resort
Disney Riviera Resort (Located near Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort)
Right around the opening of Disney's Copper Creek Cabins and Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Disney announced at Expo that the proposed 15th Disney Vacation Club resort would be Disney Riviera Resort, a new mid-rise tower with a rooftop restaurant with views of fireworks at both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The tower is being built very near Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and, in fact, a portion of that property was demolished to make way for the construction project. Significant vertical construction of the new building has been completed, and construction continues. While at Expo Disney estimated the new tower would open Fall 2019, but, as with all DVC properties, numerous timeshare-related files and regulatory approvals must be completed first, so it will probably be well into next year before we know whether the tower will, in fact, open before year end.
Disney Skyliner (Epcot Resorts Area)
A new gondola sky-ride transportation system connecting Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and several resorts in the "Epcot Resort Area" will be built with stations at Epcot’s International Gateway, Disney Riviera Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation/Pop Century Resorts, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Significant land has been cleared along the route, numerous towers for the cable system have been installed, and turn and rider stations construction are all underway. The date of expected completion of the project has not been announced, but it is likely that some or all of the new transportation system will be completed in time to transport guests around the time Disney's Hollywood Studios opens Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in late Fall 2019.
Ongoing Projects With Additional Information Provided at D23 Expo
Star Wars themed land (Disney's Hollywood Studios)
We already have noted numerous times in this Update the new 14 acre Star Wars themed land under construction at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be named Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. At Expo, Disney unveiled that name for the expansion (which is also being built at Disneyland with a different layout based on the land around it, but otherwise said to be very similar). The land will feature two main, highly immersive, attractions which are both still officially unnamed:e on attraction will allow guests to fly the Millennium Falcon, the other will be an encounter the First Order. Expo not only revealed the land's name, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge”, but the detail that the new land would debut in 2019 (with Disneyland’s opening first.
Since Expo, we have learned some additional details. The setting of the new land is Black Spire Outpost, named for its significant geological feature, and it will be located on the planet Batuu (you can now catch a glimpse of the area at the end of some flights aboard Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, and the state of construction is well in view from aboard the new Slinky Dog Dash Coaster next door in Andy's backyard, Toy Story Land). As mentioned above, the new land is now scheduled to open "Late Fall, 2019," (following Disneyland's "Summer 2019" opening).
While there is no official project name, we first learned of an official effort to "reimagine" Epcot at the D23 Destination D event way back in November 2016, when Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced that he challenged the company's creative team to "dream big," and provided no details other than that the park will be more Disney, more timeless, and focused on the whole family. That mantra has been repeated a number of times since, including at Expo where Bob Chapek showed off some blue sky concept artwork, but still no new details have emerged. Even Epcot's 35th Anniversary, back on October 1, 2017, came and went with no news on this front.
As we have noted above (and regularly), construction proceeds on the specifically announced projects, but no further announcements about the big picture have yet been released. Just last week, on July 25, 2018, Orlando Sentinel reported that the Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District approved a preliminary budget of over $2 million for electrical upgrades, materials, engineering and construction inspection, and survey work around World Showcase Lagoon that could be an indication that a replacement (or, at least, changes) are coming to Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. The rest of the project remains out of the public eye, including its timeline.
The central water feature of Disney's Typhoon Lagoon is North America's largest outdoor wave pool. What many guests do not know—and even I did not know until Disney invited me to experience it—is that the water park hosts a surf school where everyone from first-timers to the more skilled can learn how to "hang 10" on a surfboard from pros on select days before park opening. For $190/person (including tax), guests receive on land instruction and then, after demonstrating that they can swim (which is rather important in this sport that, in this park, takes place in a deep swimming pool where waves are generated up to six feet above the waterline), head out on a soft-sided, California-style surfboard.
The two black lines along the side of the wave pool indicate the approximate height of the large and small wave created approximately every 95 seconds when the pool is activated. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
For those interested in surfing, this is a brief lesson from the pros at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, including some of the key terms and techniques of the sport. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon's Surf School instructors wear shirts designating them the "Cocoa Beach Surf School," and the same instructors also offer lessons in Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic Ocean under the name "Ron Jon Surf School." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Surf School instructors show off a bit of their skills before the "class" gets in the wave pool to try to "Hang 10" too. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
The surf school also includes a light continental breakfast for those enrolled, as well as digital photos of your experience. The session (which is capped at 12 students) lasts about 2.5 hours. (My visit began with check-in at 6:45 a.m. and concluded when the park opened at 10 a.m.; I did not attempt to surf, but a friend was permitted to do so in my place.) Lessons are available for those ages 8 and older; park admission is not required, but if guests wish to remain in the park after the class, guests need valid admission. Surfing equipment is provided by the surf school. For more information, including information about private surf sessions before or after park hours, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com or call (407) WDW-PLAY.
Less than three weeks remain to catch Epcot's Incredible Summer performances of the Guardians of the Galaxy-Awesome Mix Live! concert series. The show's published showtimes are 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m., at the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase. Passholders can get wristbands for Incredible Summer preferred seating at a podium just inside the entrance to The American Adventure (while supplies last and, as always, be prepared to show your Pass and photo ID).
Then the Eat to the Beat Concert Series kicks off on August 30, as the the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival gets under way and runs through Veterans Day, November 12. Ten days later, on Thanksgiving Day, Candlelight Processional takes over through December 30 (a partial listing of Candlelight Processional narrators is now available). Guests can now book dining packages for both the Eat to the Beat Concerts and Candlelight Processional. Visit TasteEpcot.com or call (407)939-3378 for reservations and information. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for Candlelight dining package information and reservations.
The Candlelight Processional will debut at Epcot this year on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, and is scheduled to run three times nightly through December 30. Pat Sajak is scheduled to return as a celebrity narrator again this year. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The Candlelight Processional mass choir includes green robed Walt Disney World cast members and gold robed school choir members. All participants are selected by auditions. The red robes are worn by members of the Voices of Liberty. Fun facts: choir members are lined up in the order that they will fill the risers; those wearing white gloves indicate that they are positioned at the start of a new row. Photo courtesy of Adventures by Disney.
For the convenience of our readers, we list all of the scheduled acts in our Google Calendar of Epcot Events. You can also add it or any events on it to any calendar that supports the iCal format (like iPhone and Mac) by copying this link. When additional Candlelight Processional celebrity narrators are announced, we will those to our calendar as well.
The calendar is provided as a courtesy "as is, where is" without any guarantees. 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. Walt Disney World Resort does provide schedules in the My Disney Experience app, but does not allow you to add dates to calendars outside the app itself.
As always, the captions tell the story and include bits of news along the way.
Last year, this themed kiosk near China pavilion represented India during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. A full listing of kiosks and menus could be released any day now, ahead of the August 30 opening. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Outside the recently re-opened door of World of Disney store nearest the valet parking stand, construction is underway for the new pedestrian bridge that will connect this area with the new parking structure being built across Buena Vista Drive (next to the Casting Center). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…The 7th Annual "Great Irish Hooley" Music Festival comes to Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs on Labor Day Weekend, August 31 to September 3. The celebration of Irish song, dance, food and drink, and Celtic face-painting includes performances by nine Irish bands and the new Raglan Road Irish Dance Troupe beginning at 3 p.m. Friday, August 31, and continues all day Saturday through late Monday, September 3. The no cover charge, family friendly "Hooley" headliners include JigJam (Friday through Monday), Lisa Canny Band (Saturday through Monday), and Billow Wood (formerly known as Flat Out, Monday only). In addition to performances by the Raglan Road Irish Dancers, Ciaran Keating, the show choreographer, will host a workshop tracing the origins of Irish dance from jigs and reels into the present. More information in the coming weeks will be available at GreatIrishHooley.com and you can get more information by visiting RaglanRoad.com or calling (407)938-0300.
…And, while we are talking about Raglan Road, its new show, "Rhythms of Raglan 2018," just debuted after months of rehearsals in Ireland. The show is performed four times each evening, plus during the new weekend Rollicking Raglan Brunch show, in front of the pub's video backdrop in the main "Grand Room" stage. Check out Disney Parks Blog for other details about the new show and even more entertainment that fills the several stages of the venue.
…We join the Orlando Sentinel in noting the passing of Tom DeWolf, 91, an Orlando attorney who helped Walt Disney's team quietly assemble the parcels of land and draft the legislation creating Disney's governmental control over what is now Walt Disney World Resort. DeWolf later served on the Board of Supervisors of that governmental body, Reddy Creek, and worked as an attorney for Disney (more publicly).
…As regular readers may recall, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party returns to Magic Kingdom earlier than ever this year, just two weeks from Friday, on August 17. We have previously reported that some of the new offerings scheduled this year include new special lighting effects at Mad Tea Party, a new soundtrack and special effects at Space Mountain, new pirates "interacting with sailing guests" searching for "Gunpowder Pete" on Pirates of the Caribbean, and there a Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam dance party featuring Disney Junior Characters including Doc McStuffins. Yesterday, Disney Parks Blog revealed the event-exclusive Orange Bird game card that will be available for Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. The "Orange Bird's Juice-o-Lanterns" spell card can be obtained by guests registered to play with their party ticket and event wristband. We have been invited to attend the debut evening of this year's party and will have an opportunity to ask questions of some of the party's creative team, so if you have questions, please ask them now (by the email link on top of this article, in the comments below, or in the comments under this article when it appears on MousePlanet's Facebook page) so we can try to get you answers!
…Another fast casual dining location is coming to Disney Springs: Chicken Guy! (And, yes, the "!" is part of the name.) Coming to a space adjacent to Planet Hollywood Observatory where Guy Fieri previously collaborated on the revamped menu, the new collaboration between Fieri and restauranteur Robert Earl will serve up grilled or fried chicken tenders in sandwiches, skewers, salads, and "straight up" with an array of sauces and sides like Guy Fieri's fries, mac 'n cheese, fried pickles, and slaw. The all-natural fresh chicken tenders are "hand-pounded to maximize crunch" and are brined in fresh lemon juice, pickle brine, and buttermilk, with fresh herbs. A couple of "Flavortown Frozen Treats" made from ice cream will also be available. With both indoor and outdoor seating, the new dining concept is scheduled to open soon.
…Every now and then the Disney Auditions website yields a bit of information that Disney Parks Blog and other official sources had not previously noted about upcoming new shows around Disney Parks. This week, Disney Parks Live Entertainment was conducting auditions for the upcoming Disney Junior Dance Party previously announced as coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios, and the audition notice reveals that the new show was directed and choreographed by Dan Knechtges, a Tony award winner, "best known for his work on Broadway's The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Xanadu, 110 in the Shade (Revival), and Sondheim on Sondheim."
…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.
"Do more. Wait less."
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
- Disney H2O Glow Nights at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- Every Thursday and Saturday, now through August 11; 8–11 p.m.
- Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom:
- August 4 & 11; 10 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- August 30, September 20; 9 p.m.– midnight
- 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 to November 12
- Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – October 26–27
- Sunday Bubbles Brunch – October 28
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 1–4
- Holidays at Walt Disney World – begins November 8
- 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
- Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – November 18 to December 30
- Candlelight Processional at Epcot – November 22 to December 30
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Flurry of Fun – begins November 8
- Includes nightly presentations of Sunset Seasons Greetings and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
- Toy Story Land gets special holiday songs on Alien Swirling Saucers and more
- Disney's Animal Kingdom – begins November 8
- Diwali, the holiday Festival of Lights in India, celebrated as part of the UP! A Great Bird Adventure show.
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom:
- MouseAdventure Remix (unofficial event) – November 10
- Dapper Day (unofficial events)
- November 17 – Disney's Animal Kingdom (until 3-5 p.m.) & Magic Kingdom (evening);
- November 18 – Epcot
2019 Resort Events
- 2019 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 9–13, 2019 - REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 21–24, 2019.
- Star Wars Rival Run Weekend – April 4–7, 2019.
|If you participate in (or are considering signing up for) runDisney events, visit our Team MousePlanet forum on the MousePad discussion board, where you can join our community of health-minded readers and staff. For current information on runDisney registration dates and capacity, see Lorree Tachell's runDisney Race Capacity Updates in the Team MousePlanet forum on our MousePad discussion board.|
2018 Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic Events (including event reservation opening dates)
- Moonlight Magic at Epcot – August 15
All members (filled to capacity, but check for additional availability due to cancelations)
- Moonlight Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios – September 19, 26; October 3
Members with resort reservations – August 30
All members (pending remaining availability) – September 13
|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.|
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.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment (awaiting an update to its reopening).
- Prince Charming Regal Carroussel – closed for refurbishment (likely to reopen by August)
- Be Our Guest Restaurant – scheduled refurbishment from August 20-24, 2018
- Stitch's Great Escape – My Disney Experience lists as "available seasonally throughout the year."
- Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe at Norway pavilion – closed for refurbishment through summer 2018.
- 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.
- No known closures at this time.
- No known closures at this time.
- World of Disney – phased store closings for refurbishment underway until Fall 2018.
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 has opened in its place.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
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.
Ultimate Disney Fall Into Magic Package
Disney Parks Blog announced details of a limited time deal for guests planning to visit during the week of Labor Day, September 3, and departing on September 8. The package includes a five-night stay at a select Disney Resort, four-day Magic Your Way tickets, plus a special "welcome dinner party inspired by" the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, a nighttime Kilimanjaro Safaris Adventure, exclusive Rivers of Light viewing, two hours of exclusive evening access at Toy Story Land, and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. The deal must be booked by August 19. The full details are on this page of DisneyWorld.com or you can call (407)939-5268 and ask about the "Ultimate Disney Fall Into Magic Package."
Travel Discounts for Annual Passholders
Gold, Platinum, Platinum Plus, and Premier Passholders should be on the lookout for "V.I.Passholder" Events. Take a look at our Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 24-30, 2018, for our explanation of this new benefit that requires responding to emails from Disney Destinations and registering. Registered Passholders already have had opportunities to sign up for very early morning "exclusive" access to Toy Story Land on select dates in September, and to sign up for one of the following three options: two hours of late night exclusive access to Magic Kingdom on August 5, or two hours of late-night access to Epcot on September 6 or October 25. Attending the event will require the valid pass and a matching photo ID, but there will be no additional charge.
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 percent 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 percent 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 nine holes of golf, a hot breakfast and two beverages between 7:00 and 8:30 a.m., subject to availability, at Disney Golf courses), a new $29 Sunset 9 golf offer (including nine 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 percent 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 percent 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 may not be available at all meal times. Visit this page of disneyrewards.com for the latest list of restaurants and restrictions.
10 percent off merchandise
Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off at participating Disney-owned retail location when you spend a minimum of $50 and pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Read all of the restrictions on the this page of disneyrewards.com.
Cardholders also receive 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at the following Walt Disney World Resort Operating Participant merchandise locations including Basin, Basin White, Chapel Hats, Good Fortune Gifts and House of Good Fortune, kidsHeritage, Luxury of Time, Marrakesh Emporium Arts & Crafts, Joffrey's coffee/tea kiosks and Tea Traders Café by Joffrey's, Sperry and Volcom.
15 percent off all Disney spa and salon services
Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of any salon treatment valued at $45 or greater or any 50-minute or longer spa service most days at the spas and salons at Walt Disney World Resort. Visit this page of disneyrewards.com for participating locations and restrictions.
10 percent off select recreation experiences
Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of the recreation experiences listed below:
Free character photos at a private meet and greet location at Epcot
Present your Disney's Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a private character meet-and-greet at Epcot for the cardholder and up to five guests. The event is hosted daily from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot (enter near the jumping fountains near the exit to the Magic Eye Theater). You'll receive complimentary downloads of your photos (one time per day), which may be accessed in the My Disney Experience smartphone application (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 My Disney Experience smartphone application (or website).
Travel Discounts for Military Personnel
2018 Armed Forces Salute Tickets
January 1 through December 19, 2018
NOTE: Tickets must be used by December 19, 2018.
U.S. military personnel can also purchase the Memory Maker product for $98 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
Disney Select Tickets
Florida residents can 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 available 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.
Florida residents can check out the latest hotel package offers on this page of DisneyWorld.com.
If you know of an offer we haven't listed, please drop us an email with the details.
Travel Discounts for Canada Residents
All adults using 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 TODAY 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.