Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 7-13, 2018

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 7–13, 2018

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

Writer's note: Following our Christmas in July and Tour de Turtles coverage the past two weeks, we have a lot of food to talk about around Walt Disney World Resort this week (and, very likely, next week too). Checking the TourDeTurtles.org website before we get to that, though, as of last night, Trixie and Mrs. Potato Head, the loggerhead sea turtles that walked into the Atlantic Ocean from Disney's Vero Beach Resort, are both swimming and foraging in the nearby waters just north of the Resort on the Florida coast.


Starting at 21:19 in Episode 363 of The Garry Meier Show, I catch up with Garry Meier about the Christmas in July preview of the 2018 Walt Disney World Resort holidays celebrations, Tour de Turtles, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and more. As always, my segment is family friendly. I encourage you to listen to all of Garry's shows, but, be aware, that he sometimes uses adult humor (and vocabulary), so be governed accordingly. (And, yes, a MousePlanet.com reader won the swag I gave away!)

For the past two Updates we have also talked about the new "V.I.Passholder" Events for Gold- and above-level Walt Disney World Resort Passholders. These new events require pre-registration but no additional charge, and offer Passholders a perk that sounds an awful lot like the Extra Magic Hours (EMH) resort guests regularly get to enjoy. Now that I have attended the first scheduled V.I.Passholder Event at Magic Kingdom this past Sunday night, I can confirm that description: the event is two hours of at least 25 open attractions for wristband-wearers after the park has closed.

V.I.Passholder registration was capped, but at an unannounced level. Some social media reports suggested that some guests experienced long wait times. My experience (and others reported) that wait times were fairly short. During the two hour event, I saw the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor show and rode the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. As you will see in the Views, I spent quite a bit of time taking long exposure photos (requiring a tripod be set up each time). Certainly, the event was no more crowded than an EMH night; it was well-more crowded than Disney After Hours. Unlike Moonlight Magic or the hard-ticket events, there were no special meet-and-greets or surprises (and, indeed, none were promoted). Two more V.I.Passholder Events are scheduled at Epcot. (Passholders were only allowed to register for one of the three events offered so far; I have hit my limit with my Magic Kingdom event.)


So, with food being our prominent theme this week, grab a snack: it's Update time. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


News and Views

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Starts August 30 | New Festival of the Lion King Dining Package | Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar | Views Around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Starts August 30

To whet your appetite ahead of the August 30 start of the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the official TasteEpcot.com listing of all the Global Marketplaces (kiosks) and their menus is now available for perusal. As always, the "Festival" is included with park admission, and the food and (age-appropriate) beverages cost extra; the menus do not yet reveal the prices.

We include this in the "News" this week to encourage you to get us your questions about the event now (either in the comments here, or under the post of this Update on Facebook, or by email), because we have been invited to chat with some of the Festival organizers on Saturday, August 11, and would be happy to raise your questions.


This structure is likely the Belgium Marketplace (based on that kiosk in past years), which will feature beer-braised beef, Belgian waffles, beers, wines, hard cider, and a chilled coffee featuring Godiva chocolate liqueur according to the menu. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Orlando Sentinel's Lauren Delgado has already gone through the extensive menu listing and compared it to last year's Festival Passport. With the cancellation of ABC-TV's The Chew, the park-wide synergy with the show will be gone this year, and as Lauren Delgado notes, it means the Earth Eats Marketplace no longer has a sponsor. Sadly, it seems, Earth Eats is also losing its signature peanut butter and white chocolate mousse this year. It is, however, gaining another version of the Impossible (meat-free) burger, which we have written about a number of times this year (and, so far, have enjoyed in each iteration).

New Festival of the Lion King Dining Package

The Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom remains one of the most popular shows at all of Walt Disney World Resort. The show is performed so many times daily, you may wonder why now, after its twenty-year run, folks may want to consider a special dining package to see the show. Well, the new package being offered daily from August 13 through November 21, with a few interesting, and perhaps unique features.

The "expected" part of the dining package is the meal, which in this case is at Tiffins Signature Restaurant for lunch or dinner including a "world-class three-course meal that includes one appetizer, one entree, one dessert, and your choice of wine, beer, or a non-alcoholic beverage," and VIP seating for the show. The first "extra," is that all diners receive a commemorative cast photo (though it is not a meet-and-greet opportunity, so it is probably a pre-printed souvenir). The meal, VIP seating, and photo can be had for two table service entitlements of the Disney Dining Plan, just like using those entitlements for Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue (or, the same "price" as dining at Tiffins without the perks).


Pomegranate-lacquered chicken with sweet potato polenta, Brussels sprouts, and citrus-fennel salad is currently on the dinner menu at Tiffins Restaurant, Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

While the meal, show, and souvenir photo version of the package is called the Tier II package, and is priced at $74/adult and $29/ages 3-9 (not including tax or gratuities for those not using a Disney Dining Plan), there is also a Tier I package, which includes everything in the Tier II version, plus "a unique safari tour" that is led by "a special guide" as you travel "through the African outback, where over 34 distinct wildlife species seemingly roam free." The Tier I package is $99/adult and $49/ages 3-9 (tax and gratuities not included and does not appear to be dinning plan eligibile). The Disney Parks Blog description makes the safari sound different than the usual Kilimanjaro Safaris ride (Alex Dunlap, the entry's author wrote, "you'll be escorted on a specially guided safari tour"), making this potentially a rather unique visit to the park.

Reservations can be made online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar

August 19, only a week from this coming Sunday, will end the Epcot's Incredible Summer run of the Guardians of the Galaxy-Awesome Mix Live! concert series. The show's published showtimes until then 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).


The Guardians of the Galaxy-Awesome Mix Live concert series is scheduled five times daily through Sunday, August 19. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Next to take the stage, 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.

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.

Views Around the World

We have two Magic Kingdom sections in the Views Around the World this week: a daytime visit, and my V.I.Passholder Event visit (discussed in the Writer's note). As promised, there a quite a few long exposure photos this week during the V.I.Passholder night, and there are also a few from Epcot too. As always, the captions tell the story and include bits of news along the way.

Magic Kingdom


Chip and Dale make quite an entrance in Town Square on Main Street U.S.A. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


One storefront of the Emporium is wrapped in a construction scrim for exterior refurbishment. The store remains open and, we expect, a decorated scrim will probably soon cover the construction scrim. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Pavement work outside the Emporium (opposite Center Street) continues as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Some late summer plantings around the Central Plaza are starting to create an autumn feeling, with Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party decor expected to appear with the party's first 2018 hard-ticket installment rapidly approaching on August 17. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Blue Show Wagon appears on Main Street U.S.A. on some occasions as accompaniment for the trolley show when track-work or other maintenance does not permit use of the trolley. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Blue Show Wagon, built in 1981 for some of the Walt Disney World Resort's Tencennial celebrations, is used as accompaniment for the Main Street U.S.A. Trolley Show when track-work or other maintenance does not permit use of the trolley car. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction continues at the future Club 33 (Walt Disney World Resort private membership club) location inside Adventureland, and a temporary bridge deck has been added on top of the existing bridge from the Central Plaza to Adventureland. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The water spraying tikis have been reinstalled in their former location (near The Jungle Cruise) after a lengthy refurbishment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


At Magic Kingdom, the Incredible Summer continues through Labor Day weekend, with Incredible Tomorrowland Expo activities like appearances by Frozone in the Super Car. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Magic Kingdom cast members distributed buttons ahead of last week's opening (August 3) of the new Disney feature film "Christopher Robin" (which is a new "Winnie the Pooh and Friends" story). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom: V.I.Passholder Event


Cast members at the Transportation and Ticket Center encouraged guests arriving in the early evening of the V.I.Passholder Event night to take the ferry to Magic Kingdom. The combination of guests arriving for the Event and others arriving to see the nightly showing of Happily Ever After fireworks made the transportation hub and park gates rather busy. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The cranes appearing toward the west and northwest side of Magic Kingdom are involved in backstage road construction projects between the back of Magic Kingdom and cast parking. (Sorry to any of our readers who thought that they may represent additional attractions under construction in the park; the TRON-themed roller coaster construction site is on the east side of the park.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


For the V.I.Passholder event, Gold- and-above-level Passholders that preregistered for the event that arrived at Magic Kingdom after 7 p.m. were directed to separate "Event Entrance" lines at the park entrance to check in and receive wristbands for the extra two hours in the park event). Attendees were encouraged to bring a printed copy of their registration confirmation; cast members checked photo IDs against registration lists on tablets. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


For registered Passholders already in the park, wristbands were also distributed for the V.I.Passholder Event in Tomorrowland (outside Stitch, shown here), and in Adventureland (near Tortuga Tavern). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Limited park attractions and shops were scheduled to be open during the V.I.Passholder Event. Unfortunately, Space Mountain experienced technical difficulties just before the end of regular park operating hours and was not reopened by the time the V.I.Passholder Event began. If you were following us on Instagram, I shared video from aboard the PeopleMover inside Space Mountain with the lights on. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Similar to many special events (like Moonlight Magic, After Hours, the Halloween and Christmas parties, for example), many guests that signed up for the V.I.Passholder Event arrived at the Magic Kingdom as Main Street U.S.A. was filling up with guests waiting to see the nightly showing of Happily Ever After fireworks. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Like many evenings in the park, the Fantasyland side of Cinderella Castle was less crowded for viewing the nightly showing of Happily Ever After fireworks. (Also note: though it is still surrounded by construction scrims, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel has reopened from its brief mechanical refurbishment last month.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Unlike fireworks viewing from Main Street U.S.A. or the Central Plaza, photographing fireworks from Fantasyland with a tripod requires deciding on trying to capture castle-area fireworks or the ones launched from behind Fantasyland (behind the park). Five Second Exposure Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Five seconds of the finale of Happily Ever After captured on a tripod (with an Instagram filter applied). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


During the exit music for Happily Ever After, the searchlights remain stationary for an extended time. Fifteen Second Exposure Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Though V.I.Passholder Event crowds were bigger than Disney After Hours and Moonlight Magic, it was possible to find relatively sparsely filled parts of the park during the two hour event. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Guests at the V.I.Passholder Event experienced varying attraction wait times according to social media and comments by some friends at the event. Personally, I experienced no significant wait (just over one stretch-room load cycle) for Haunted Mansion at around 11 p.m. Photo (15 seconds exposure) by Alan S. Dalinka.


Likewise, around 11:30 p.m., I experienced only a minimal wait to ride Big Thunder Mountain. Photo (15 seconds exposure) by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


The last direct sunlight of the day glows off the west (right) side of Spaceship Earth (when viewed from the approach to the park's gate). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The summer floral plantings in Future World may be at or just past their peak as the park is about to end its Incredible Summer celebration and kick off the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Over at the International Gateway entrance, the park's Disney Skyliner station is rising beyond the awnings and construction walls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction's new building continues to take shape at the southeastern corner of the park (across World Showcase Lagoon, on the right in the photo). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Refurbishment continues around the (now closed) beer and pretzel kiosk in front of The American Adventure pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Sunsets at World Showcase can be quite colorful. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


With the summer solstice having passed about six weeks ago, daylight is nearly gone as the park briefly runs the show fountains and announces that Illuminations: Reflections of Earth begins in five minutes (at 8:55 p.m.). Photo (15 seconds exposure) by Alan S. Dalinka.


The first 15 seconds of fireworks in Illuminations: Reflections of Earth are much brighter than the tiniest bit of daylight remaining in the sky above Epcot. Photo (15 seconds exposure) by Alan S. Dalinka.


Walking out to the parking lot at the end of a visit to Epcot can provide one last photo or video opportunity (as is a good way to close this week's Views Around the World section). Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

…The chance to enter to "Play Big" in the ShopDisney.com sweepstakes for a Toy Story Land vacation (okay, actually five days and four nights at Walt Disney World Resort with a bunch of perks including a VIP Guide), closes this Thursday, August 9, 2018, at Noon Pacific Time. Visit this page on the Disney Parks site for more information, rules, and the link to enter.

…While talking about shopping and thinking about Disney's Hollywood Studios, there is a new souvenir 8-inch by 10-inch lenticular print photo product available at Tower Photo inside the Tower of Terror. The special image is not captured by Disney PhotoPass (and cannot be added to a Memory Maker account), but shows you entering the Twilight Zone. The product is $19.95 plus tax.

…On August 25, Walt Disney World Resort will host the kickoff of the next nationwide bus tour for auditions for "American Idol" ahead of its second season on the Disney-owned ABC Television Network. Registration begins at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at 7 a.m., with auditions beginning at 9 a.m. (Celebrity judges will not appear, but special appearances by the most recent winner, Maddie Poppe, runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson, and finalist Catie Turner have been announced.) While overnight camping will not be permitted, hopeful singing contestants are encouraged to arrive early, with the parking lot opening at 4 a.m. Singers must be at least 15 years old to audition, and you may pre-register (and get a whole host of additional details) by visiting AmericanIdol.com/auditions. Those auditioning may bring one guest to accompany them, but that guest must be over age 5. Auditions will also begin on the same day in San Diego, California, where a second national bus starts rolling on the West Coast. Audition videos can also be submitted online, via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Musical.ly using the hashtag #TheNextIdol (and, of course, following the other instructions on the audition website).

…According to Orlando Sentinel, the next addition to the dining choices at Disney Springs soon will be the 4R Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck in the Marketplace neighborhood. According to Orlando Sentinel the food truck, created by a Central Florida restaurant group, "will serve new dishes such as a taco cone and a burrito bowl filled with the diner's pick of meats such as brisket barbacoa or pork sofrito." The location will also serve vegetarian options and desserts. Disney Parks Blog says the new Mexico City-inspired food truck should arrive by late August; in fact, if you are still thinking of food, that same Disney Parks Blog posts will bring you up to date on a bunch of the latest foods available at Disney Resorts on both coasts this month.

…Right after we learned last week that it was "coming soon" to Disney Springs, the new fast casual ChickenGuy! restaurant is now open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to Midnight in a space adjacent to Planet Hollywood Observatory. (As you may recall celebrity chef Guy Fieri previously collaborated on the revamped menu at Planet Hollywood). With indoor seating for 40 guests and outdoor seating for another 80, the new collaboration between Fieri and restauranteur Robert Earl serves up grilled or fried chicken tenders in sandwiches, skewers, salads, and "straight up" ($5.99 to $8.99 with a kids version at $4.99) with an array of sauces and sides like Guy Fieri's fries ($2.99), Mac Daddy mac 'n cheese ($3.99), fried pickle chips ($2.99), and American Slaw ($2.99). 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 are also available ($4.99 each). We have not tried the new restaurant yet; if you have, be sure to let us know your thoughts!


Chicken Guy! sandwich (made from two chicken tenders) with fries and a fountain beverage is available as a "Combo" for $11.49. Image courtesy ChickenGuy!

…This Saturday, August 11, from 2:30-4:30 p.m., James Beard Award winning Chef Tony Mantauno will host a special "Apertivo Time" at his newly opened Terralina Crafted Italian restaurant at Disney Springs. An "apertivo," designed to stimulate appetite and encourage digestion, will be the focus of a gathering on the veranda featuring Italian sparkling wines and family-style bites including the Antipasti Tower, Fried Olives, Mini Rice Balls and assorted flatbreads. Tickets are $50 per person (plus fees) and can be purchased on the restaurant's EventBrite webpage.

…Repeating from last week: 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.


JigJam, the multi-award-winning Irish quartet will perform their brand of "CeltGrass" which blends traditional Irish music with Bluegrass and Americana when they headline the Great Irish Hooley at Raglan Road.

…And while we are spending so much time talking about food and drink in the Update, we note that the Disney Meetings Blog (an official Walt Disney World Resort place to find information about facilities for folks holding conventions or other business meetings around the property) recently previewed new dining options coming to Disney's Coronado Springs Resort with the major reimagining underway at that convention-focused facility. The Villa del Lago bar and grill is taking shape out over the resort's central lake itself, connected by bridges to the rest of the resort. It is expected to open in 2019 along with the new 15-story hotel tower under construction nearby. In the meantime, the Rix Sports Bar & Grill is open again after its reimagining.

…Starting September 30, Vampirina from the top five TV series for girls ages 2-5 on Disney Channel and Disney Junior, will make breakfast appearances at Disney Junior Play 'n Dine, and then, later in the fall, in the Animation Courtyard, as part of the new Disney Junior Dance Party at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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

 

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Crowd Forecast

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

Date Overall
Tuesday, August 7, 2018 6 / 10
Wednesday, August 8, 2018 6 / 10
Thursday, August 9, 2018 5 / 10
Friday, August 10, 2018 5 / 10
Saturday, August 11, 2018 5 / 10

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Resort Events

Check here to see if a park event might fall during your next trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. If you know of any in-park events, official or unofficial, that should be listed here, please send us an email.

2018 Resort Events

  • Disney H2O Glow Nights at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
    • Thursday, August 9, and Saturday, August 11; 8–11 p.m.
  • Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom:
    • August 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.
  • 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

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 (awaiting an update to its reopening).
  • 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."

Epcot

  • 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.

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 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.

Resorts

  • Caribbean Beach – Centertown, the resort's marketplace, will be expanded with new waterfront dining and retail shopping areas. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in Summer 2018, with the overall project completed 2019–20.
  • Coronado Springs – A new 15-story tower overlooking Lago Dorado, the resort's central lake, will add 500 rooms featuring suites and concierge level services, and a rooftop dining facility that will include panoramic views of nighttime fireworks shows at the Theme Parks. The resort also plans to refurbish current resort rooms and transform some of its landscape. The project is expected to be completed 2019-20.

Current Discounts & Promotions

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

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

Get Away Today Logo

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

Travel Discounts for Everyone

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

You must show your passholder (gold) card and photo ID to receive a discount and other benefits.

For the most up-to-date list of locations offering dining discounts to Annual Passholders, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com.

Many dining locations offer Passholders 10 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

Reminder to MagicBand users: You must still show your Disney Visa credit card to receive discounts and other benefits. Discounts are not automatically applied even if you have linked your Disney Visa credit card to your MagicBand.

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


20 percent off Joffrey's coffee/tea kiosks

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


15 percent off select guided tours

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


10 percent off select restaurants

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off the check when you pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Offer excludes alcoholic beverages, merchandise, tobacco, room service, holiday buffets, tax and gratuity. Discount 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 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

  • 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 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 now features an offer where everyone on your booking dines for FREE during their entire stay when you book a Disney Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort Hotel and Ticket package for a minimum of 5 nights in 2019; also enjoy FREE Breakfast if you stay in a Value Resort Hotel! Plus, enjoy speciality non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages during your stay!

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

 

Comments

  1. By wdwchuck

    Thanks again Alan! That Lion King package looks pretty interesting. We just might have to do that one next time we are there. We have eaten at Tiffin's once before and we thought it was great. Unique and delicious.
    It's almost Halloween again and then Christmas!!

  2. By Dave1313

    The Lion King package does look interesting, especially if the Safari part with the Tier One option is a ride on a vehicle that travels off the "track" the normal vehicles use for the attraction. (I know it's not a track, but I mean to say the routine path with somewhat of a time limit at each area due to the trucks behind you).

    Such a thing is one part of the Wild Africa Trek tour, and while I wouldn't expect it to be the same, if it's along those lines, it might be a good way to get a slightly different view than you get during the normal attraction sequence (without having to sign up to do the much more expensive and slightly challenging Trek tour)

    Unless the dinner offerings are slimmed down a lot from the normal menu, it's probably a decent deal for the money when you add all the different pieces together.

    Ironically, I'm not sure the closer seat at the show is that much of a benefit, as I'm pretty sure I've always sat a little more towards the back. While up front seats are nice for certain portions, I am sure, I half think that being farther back gets you a better overall view of the action when there are a lot of different things going on all at once? This of course assumes you don't suffer from any view blocking, but I think the stadium/bleacher style of the seating arrangement helps quite a bit there (IMO).

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