Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 14-20, 2018

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 14–20, 2018

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

Writer's note: Back when I was a Chicagoan, one of the things that I always liked about reading MousePlanet.com articles (including the Updates) was that they do not require clicking through and loading numerous webpages to get all the way to the end of a story. Since I took over regular writing responsibilities for the Walt Disney World Resort Update about a year and half ago, I have proudly maintained that tradition. Yes, it sometimes takes a little while to load one of my longer Updates (full of photos, videos and such), but, once loaded, you can read at your leisure, as your browser and time permit.

As regular readers know, we try to provide resources in the Updates whether or not an individual reader is a Passholder, Disney Vacation Club Member, Floridian, or such. Our approach certainly makes for extra scrolling for almost everyone. So, realizing that Walt Disney World Resort Updates readers come with diverse interests, I am pleased to introduce a readability enhancement to the Discounts and Promotions section, which if successful in its implementation, I hope to expand into other sections of future Updates to make for less scrolling for most readers (perhaps, with a few extra clicks, but no additional pages to load for others). I really hope you like the change, and if you encounter an error or problem (don't like the change or love it), you will be kind enough to take a moment to let me know by comment below or by email, including as much detail as you can about any errors you encounter (including your browser and operating system too).


Remember your rain gear: it is still the rainy season in Central Florida! Showers can pop up at any time, but, in summer, more often in the afternoon or evening. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Central Florida public schools are mostly back in session now, so weekdays around the Resort may be that much less crowded (and our friends at Touring Plans provide Resort-wide crowd numbers this week that reflect that too). The Incredible Summer is winding down (Disney H20 Glow Nights have ended at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon; Guardians of the Galaxy-Awesome Mix Live! concerts end at Epcot on Sunday, August 19; other elements continue at Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom), but Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will begin before long on August 30. This coming Sunday, August 19, is also the 2018 edition of Disney PhotoPass Day at the Resort, with special photo opportunities (including characters, props and Magic Shots) in all four theme parks and Disney Springs (this Disney Parks Blog post provides the schedule and the details of where to get the special one day $39 price for Memory Maker One Day for those that don't otherwise have a Memory Maker package). Let's get to the rest of the News and Views.


The Epcot parking lot is not a Disney PhotoPass location, even on PhotoPass Day. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


News and Views

Temporary Attraction Closings Coming to Magic Kingdom | Coming Soon: 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival | It's Halloween in August | Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar | Views Around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Temporary Attraction Closings Coming to Magic Kingdom

At Disney D23 Expo last year, when Disney Parks announced the plan to add a new version of Shanghai Disneyland's TRON-Lightcycle Power Run coaster-style ride to Magic Kingdom in time for the park and Resort's 50th Anniversary in 2021, the biggest "surprise" in light of the pre-announcement rumors was that the attraction would come without removing the Tomorrowland Speedway. As we mentioned in our Walt Disney World Resort Projects: Status Check a copule of weeks ago, the new attraction is being built in an area that will become an expansion of Tomorrowland, adjacent to Space Mountain. Now, with visible construction well-underway, Disney Parks Blog announced that Tomorrowland Speedway will temporarily close for a portion of 2019, to adjust its track to accomodate the new attraction. Disney Parks expects the changes to Tomorrowland Speedway will be completed in time for it to "reopen as the same attraction [its] guests know and love in the summer of 2019."


Rather than a Tomorrowland Speedway t-shirt, several stores around Walt Disney World Resort (including Mouse Gear at Epcot, shown here) sell Autopia t-shirts which salute the similar attraction at Disneyland. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The TRON construction project will also require temporary closure of the Walt Disney World Railroad starting in December 2018. While it is unclear when the trains will once again begin their "grand-circle tours" of Magic Kingdom, Main Street Station will provide guests with an opportunity to have a close-up look at the railroad during the closure with what Disney Parks Blog describes as "one-of-a-kind photo opportunities."

We have added these closures to the Refurbishments and Attraction Closures section below and will update that section in future Updates as more specific dates are announced.

Coming Soon: 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

As we noted last week, on Saturday, we were given a Media Preview of the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival that begins its 75 day run on August 30. The official TasteEpcot.com website lists all of the Global Marketplaces (kiosks) and their menus for your perusal, as well as details of the many demonstrations, tastings, parties, and seminars available for purchase. As always, the festival itself is included with park admission as are some of the complimentary demonstrations, while the food and (age-appropriate) beverages, tastings, and parties all cost extra; the marketplace menus do not yet reveal the prices, but the tastings and other seminars, parties, and the like can be purchased through TasteEpcot.com, by calling (407) WDW-FEST, or visiting the Festival Center starting August 30.

All told, there are 95 new food and beverage offerings this year. We had the opportunity to sample a few (and, though I am not our resident food critic, I will note in the photo captions my take on some of them; I have omitted the beverages, as the beers we sampled were not to my liking, and the special pancake shake that will be offered frozen at the Festival was not presented frozen at the Media Preview due to equipment issues). We also heard from Chef John Rivers, owner of the new 4R Cantina Barbacoa food truck coming to the Marketplace at Disney Springs, and he showed off (but we did not get to sample) one of its new signature barbacoa cones.


The chocolate picante dessert will be available from the Flavors from Fire Marketplace. For those (like me) that appreciate having chili powder and cayenne pepper mixed with your chocolate, this dessert may be a new Festival favorite. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


One of this year's new sliders is the New Brunswick slider that will be served at the Hops & Barley Marketplace. For those (like me) that prefer "Pot Roast Style" beef over the "burnt ends" served in past years, this is a tasty new option this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The steakhouse blended burger that will be available at Earth Eats is a blend of beef and wild mushrooms. It has a rather middle-of-the-road kind of flavor for a burger (personally, I prefer more spice and flavor; this was rather bland). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Active Eats Energy Bar Bites, mixing chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, and dates, seemed to be the favorite of many members of the media (personally, a little coconut is fine, but these had more than I usually care to eat). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Chef and Restaurant Owner John Rivers announced the 4R Cantina Barbacoa food truck will debut in the Marketplace neighborhood of Disney Springs on August 21. He will also be conducting a Festival Culinary Demonstration on September 24. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Chef John Rivers showed off one of the signature barbacoa cones that will be sold at the new food truck, inspired by the food of Mexico City. (Unfortunately, there were no samples provided of the barbacoa at the Preview.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This year's festival will feature several new kid- and family-friendly additions. A festival play area inspired by the upcoming Disney film Ralph Breaks the Internet will make its debut near Test Track (and the new Taste Track Marketplace). In the Land Pavilion, at Sunshine Seasons, there will be opportunities to learn how to roll your own "candy sushi" presented by Skittles and Adventures by Disney, daily at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. (advance sign up at TasteEpcot.com is required; limited availability). Children can also participate in the new Junior Chef Kitchen presented by Krusteaz (free, but advance sign up at TasteEpcot.com is required) on Sundays at 11 a.m. in the Festival Center where kids will get to make and eat pancakes. Finally, as has been the trend around all of Walt Disney World Resort lately, there will be a DJ-hosted dance party on Fridays and Saturdays, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Fountain View Stage named the "Disney Du Jour Dance Party" that will include rotating appearances by Disney Characters (including, occasionally, Remy and Emile from Ratatouille), and the party will conclude with "a special guest from Radio Disney" in concert (more details are to come).


Remy and Emile from Disney-Pixar's "Ratatouille" will appear from time to time at the "Disney Du Jour Dance Party" which will take place at the Fountain View Stage, 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays during the Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Of course, Remy's Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt will return this year. Maps and stickers will be sold at the Festival Center, Pin Central, Disney Traders, and World Traveler. This year, the completion prize is your choice of one of four cups created just for the game (subject, of course, to supply availability). Likewise, there are several different merchandise lines: "Taste Your Way Around the World," "Chef Mickey," "Brews Around the World," "Foodie Figment," and "Chef Remy" are the major themes this year. Also, like in recent years, there is a Festival-themed Disney Gift Card that comes as a wearable wristlet (when activated for any amount starting at $15). Festival Merchandise will be sold at the Festival Center, Showplace Plaza, and World Showcase


Remy's Ratatouille Hide & Squeak scavenger hunt returns this year with new cups available as the completion "prizes." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Chef Mickey merchandise for your kitchen will be available during the Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Limited release pins will be available during the festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Taste Your Way Around the World is the major theme for this year's festival and, we were told, it will be featured prominently on the festival poster that will be sold as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


"Foodie Figment" returns on Festival merchandise. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

While we cover the Eat to the Beat concerts schedule in the Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar section every week, and have often noted the traditional dining package option at table service restaurants that guarantees reserved seating for specific shows, this year there will be a new Quick Service dining package option that will be available daily (no advanced reservations) at Liberty Inn (American Adventure pavilion). For $29.99/person plus tax, guests can purchase a meal (entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage) and guarantee concert seats without making advanced dining reservations, though the number of these quick service dining packages available daily will be limited and are first come, first served.

Finally, for runDisney enthusiasts, Disney Parks Blog also showed off the 2018 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Medals this past week for finishers. The theme is classic Disney Chefs, and they feature Chef Tony and Lady and the Tramp, Chef Louis and Sebastian from Disney's The Little Mermaid, Chef Mickey, and Lumiere from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. The Kids Races include the opportunity to earn a medallion featuring Chef Linguini and Remy from Ratatouille.

It's Halloween in August

On the heels of Christmas in July, which was really just our Media Preview of the holiday festivities coming this winter, Walt Disney World Resort actually begins celebrating Halloween later this week, with the Friday, August 17, debut of this year's hard ticket Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. As always, day guests will see the decor, while guests with tickets to the after-hours parties enjoy the special Halloween treats and entertainment which, as we reported back in June, include several new experiences this year:

  • Mad Tea Party – new lighting and effects
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – new pirates interacting with guests searching for "Gunpowder Pete"
  • Space Mountain – new soundtrack and special effects
  • Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam – new dance party including Doc McStuffins and others

We have been invited to a media tour of the festivities on its opening night and will provide more coverage of what to expect in next week's Update. Remember that the Party is scheduled the nights of 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. In fact, our Resort Events section includes these dates each week as a reminder either to get your ticket in advance for the event (so you can save some time and money with advanced purchase, noting that the party is priced differently on different nights of its run) or to help you be aware that Magic Kingdom closes to the public early on those nights to guests without the Party ticket.


On nights when Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the park closes early for those without the party ticket. For example, for the party's opening night on August 17, the park closes to day guests at 6 p.m.; the party officially starts at 7 p.m., though ticket holders usually are allowed to enter up to 3 hours before the party begins. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

For those of you interested in the food and merchandise side of Halloween, Disney Parks Blog gives you all the details of what will be available on both coasts this Halloween season. Popcorn buckets, travel mugs, park-exclusives, Party-exclusives, and even the latest glowing cubes are described with the usual warning that they are "only available for a limited time while supplies last." On the West Coast, the premium items usually go a tad faster than they do in Florida, but a good rule of thumb for those visiting Disney Parks and Resorts at this time of the year: if you see a Halloween item that you want to buy, it may not be around next time you pass the location where you saw it. Be governed accordingly (but, please: no pushing and shoving)!

Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar

August 19, 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).


Star-Lord and Gamora make their final Guardians of the Galaxy-Awesome Mix Live! concert appearances this 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

As always, the captions tell the story and include bits of news along the way.

Disney's Animal Kingdom


Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the few outdoor attractions that runs rain or shine. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


Baby Stella can still often be spotted with her mother when visiting the elephant habitat in the red clay pits of Kilimanjaro Safaris. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


One of the taveta golden weavers (or a "ploceus castaneiceps" if you prefer) weaves a nest in the aviary in Gorilla Falls. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Pizzafari on Discovery Island (near the entrance to Pandora-The World of Avatar) is offering "Family-Style Dining" for those that make reservations for this quick service eatery between 5 and 8 p.m. (by calling (407) WDW-DINE or using the MyDisneyExperience App). The package includes reserved seating and family-style portions of two appetizers, three entrees, one dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage. For those without reservations, the regular Pizzafari menu remains available. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As always, there is a lot of live entertainment around Disney's Animal Kingdom to enjoy when you take a break from rushing from ride to ride. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


From the ascent of Expedition Everest, we get a look at the progress of construction of the hotel tower at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort (on the right) and, in the distance next to Spaceship Earth, the building that will enclose the Guardians of the Galaxy-themed coaster at Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


Epcot's parking lot also shows the current progress of the new building for the Guardians of the Galaxy-themed coaster. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Media Preview for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival also provided us a unique opportunity to get a look at the view of Future World (including the Guardians of the Galaxy-related construction) from the GM Lounge at Test Track. Panoramic Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As we are more than halfway between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox, it will become increasingly rare to see any twilight at the 9 p.m. start of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


But, as we have said before, twilight often provides beautiful sights around World Showcase. Here, the last rays of sunlight light the sky just above the International Gateway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A closer look at International Gateway (earlier in the evening) shows the ongoing construction of the park's future Disney Skyliner station. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Seas with Nemo and Friends is home to some loggerhead turtles like those recently released for tracking at Disney's Vero Beach Resort in the Tour de Turtles. Check TourDeTurtles.org for the latest whereabouts of Trixie and Mrs. Potato Head out in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of Florida. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Seas with Nemo and Friends is also where guests ages 13 and over who are certified in SCUBA diving can participate in a DiveQuest tour of the main aquarium, starting at the underwater Mickey head. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A DiveQuest instructor creates air rings in the water for those in the Underwater Viewing Area inside The Seas (while awaiting the DiveQuest guests entering the water). Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


A new parking toll plaza (located east of the northern part of the parking lot) continues to take on the Pan Pacific Auditorium style of the current main toll plaza and park entrance. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction of new covered shelters continues in the parking lot of Disney's Hollywood Studios; the area is expected to become part of the new resort bus loop for the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Closer to the entrance of the park, construction continues on the a future Disney Skyliner station. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Speaking of construction, a spaceship has "landed" inside the future Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area under construction next door to newly opened Toy Story Land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The spaceship spotted in the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge construction area appears to be the one shown on the model currently on display inside Walt Disney Presents (and first displayed in Anaheim during D23 Expo last year). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Reel Vogue on Sunset Boulevard has reopened following its brief refurbishment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Springs


A new pedestrian bridge over Buena Vista Drive to connect Disney Springs with the new parking structure being built between the Casting Center and Speedway gas station was installed last week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


To walk from the new parking structure next to the Casting Center to Disney Springs will involve walking across several elevated pedestrian bridge sections, including this one that at least as of last Tuesday, had not been installed on its supports. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The newly opened Chicken Guy! restaurant is open near the entrance to Planet Hollywood Observatory. When busy, the new eatery includes an outdoor queue just beyond the sign shown here. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The outdoor patio at The Polite Pig in the Town Center neighborhood is now surrounded by construction walls while a roof is installed. The restaurant and its indoor seating remains open during construction. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Uni Qlo has several new (purposely off-model as created by artists) Mickey Mouse t-shirts available. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As the Halloween season gets underway this week over at Magic Kingdom, it seems the "Nightmare Before Christmas" themed selections at Disney Days of Christmas store are also plentiful. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

…Registration for MouseAdventure Remix at Epcot on November 10 opens today, with MousePlanet as media sponsor. MouseAdventure Remix is a collection of quests from previous games along with some new surprises. Register at mouseadventure.com.

Disney Parks Blog showed off photos of the new baby mandrill born at Disney's Animal Kingdom on August 8. If you are very lucky, you may catch a glimpse when passing Monkey Point when visiting Kilimanjaro Safaris.

…And speaking of Disney's Animal Kingdom, the next #DisneyParksLIVE stream will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, August 15 at 6 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, and will feature sunrise at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Early risers can visit this Disney Parks Blog post or tune in with @DisneyParks on Twitter or Disney Parks Blog Facebook Page.

…For those looking for mementos of a Disney Parks vacation, Disney Parks Blog provides details about the newest additions to the "Disney Parks Collection by PANDORA" which includes new $65 Tiki Room and Orange Bird themed charms now available at The Dress Shop and Ever After Jewelry at Disney Springs and at Uptown Jewelers at Magic Kingdom. Those and a $75 Around the World charm featuring Mickey Mouse will be available at additional retail locations around Walt Disney World starting tomorrow, August 15 (and, indeed, Disneyland Resort too).

…Elsewhere in Central Florida, the next "Behind the Themes" tour benefiting Give Kids the World Village is next Tuesday, August 21, at 10 a.m. featuring Bob's Space Racers (Daytona Beach, Florida), original creator of "Whac-A-Mole" and creator of games in theme parks like those in Dinoland at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Pixar Pier at Disney's California, as well as Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, and others. Tickets are $50/person (including tour and lunch). For more information and tickets for this and future events, visit Behind the THEMES website. Ticket sales benefit Give Kids The World Village which provides dream vacations for critically-ill children and their families. (Note: We have been invited to attend the tour of Bob's Space Racers and will provide coverage on our Social Media channels and in a future Update.)

…Back at Disney Springs, ticket sales are now open for "A Gatsby Evening at The Edison," a 1920s themed party on Sunday, September 2, starting at 7:30 p.m., where you are encouraged to get "all dolled up in your flapper attire" to enjoy "flairtenders serving swanky spirits, flying aerial champagne performers, flapper dancers, cigar rollers, live band, stilt walkers and more." From the description, it sounds like sample beverages and hours d'oeurvres are also included in the $75/person ticket price, but tax ($4.88), gratuity ($13.50), and the rest of The Edison's full food and beverage menu are extra.

…Also coming up at Disney Springs (repeating from past weeks): 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.


Great Irish Hooley headliner Lisa Canny is a 7-time All-Ireland champion on harp and banjo. She is an emerging Irish force blending pop and hip-hop with traditional Irish rhythms. Photo courtesy Raglan Road.

…And, finally, also repeating from last week: 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).

…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 14, 2018 5 / 10
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 6 / 10
Thursday, August 16, 2018 5 / 10
Friday, August 17, 2018 5 / 10
Saturday, August 18, 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 After Hours at Magic Kingdom:
    • 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

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."
  • Walt Disney World Railroad – scheduled closure beginning in December 2018 to accomodate TRON construction
  • Tomorrowland Speedway – scheduled 2019 closure for track adjustment to accomodate TRON construction (expected Summer reopening)

Epcot

  • Block & Hans at American Adventure – closed for refurbishment.
  • 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.

Disney's Magnolia Golf Course

  • Closed for refurbishment August 13-23, 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.

NEW! Just click the category you want to expand (or close).

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."

For Annual Passholders
Expect to be required to show your Passholder Card and matching 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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

If you can't see the categories, click here to see last week's Discounts & Promotions section (still presented in the old format).

 

Comments

  1. By wdwchuck

    Alan, I like the new drop down format. Looks clean.

  2. By asdhollywood

    Thanks! Look for more format changes in coming weeks.

    Regards,
    Alan

  3. By DwarfPlanet

    Do you know if Remy always appears in the same place for the Remy's Ratatouille Hide & Squeak?

  4. By asdhollywood

    Do you mean the same place as in past years? Based on other Festivals, sometimes the "hidden" things are in the same spot every year. We will not know for sure until the Festival begins on August 30.

    Regards,
    Alan S. Dalinka

  5. Discuss this article on MousePad.