Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 28 - September 4, 2018

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 28 – September 4, 2018

Introducing the soft launch of the new format for the Update. The content categories remain the same and are here in pretty much the same order as always, but we have added enough new readability enhancements that the overall Update has a somewhat refreshed look. The new green button at the top of the Update lets readers quickly skip ahead (jumping over introductory comments like this and even the Writer's Note) to the major sections by way of a drop-down menu (these categories used to be listed above the Writer's Note). Each major section heading highlighted in light green and marked ☆ will take you to the next one with a click, and the last one will take you back to the top. Each of the News and Views items highlighted in light blue and marked ✍ will do likewise. There are some other format changes too that regular readers will find along the way (and a few more may come along in future weeks). If you encounter an error or problem, please let us know by email, including as much detail as you can about the error (your browser and operating system please too).

Writer's note: Monday is Labor Day! Our friends at TouringPlans forecast a fairly quiet week. The three-day weekend coming up represents the last hurrah of the "Incredible Summer" festivities at the Resort, with Incredible Tomorrowland Expo scheduled to end on September 3. But, before the weekend even starts, the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival gets underway on Thursday (August 30), and food will be celebrated all around Central Florida for a whole "Magical Month," as discussed below. Because of the holiday, the next Walt Disney World Resort Update will be published next Wednesday: see you then.

This week begins a month long celebration of food all over the Orlando area. Yesterday, the new 4R Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck celebrated its grand opening at Disney Springs. Photo courtesy Disney and 4R Restaurant Group.

News and Views

Early Morning Magic in Toy Story LandDigital Key Now Available at All Disney Resort Hotels Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month Now UnderwayEpcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & CalendarViews Around the World | This and That…New & Coming Soon at Disney SpringsBob's Space Racers Benefited Give Kids The World VillageCrowd Forecast

Early Morning Magic in Toy Story Land

Starting September 17, on most Mondays and Wednesdays, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios will offer Disney Early Morning Magic. The extra-cost option includes "exclusive, limited-time access" to the new land, including all three attractions (Slinky Dog Dash Coaster, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Toy Story Mania!), character greetings with Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear, plus breakfast (which remains available until 10 a.m.) for $79 plus tax (ages 10 and up)/$69 plus tax (ages 3-9) in addition to a valid theme park ticket.

To make the access "exclusive," ticket sales are capped. Reservations are available and must be booked at least one day in advance on this page of DisneyWorld.com or by calling (407) 827-7350. This new offering is similar to the Disney Early Morning Magic offered at Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom since 2016 which continues to be offered most Sundays and Tuesdays ($69/adult; $59/child plus tax in addition to valid theme park admission).

The extra-cost Disney Early Morning Magic opens Toy Story Land from 7:30-8:45 a.m. most Mondays and Wednesdays starting September 17 (breakfast included). File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Digital Key Now Available at All Disney Resort Hotels

First introduced earlier this year at Disney's Wilderness Resort, Disney now offers a digital key feature in the My Disney Experience app for guests staying in all Disney Resort hotels at Walt Disney World. With a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device, all Disney Resort hotel guests on a reservation that opt-in to the feature in the app, can use a digital key to enter their room, even bypassing the front desk with online or in-app check-in, just like with a MagicBand.

The digital key also will unlock hotel entrance gates, common area doors that require a key, and, where applicable, elevators, fitness centers, and club level lounges. Disney Parks Blog says, "The feature was designed with a distinctly Disney touch, and if you listen closely, you’ll hear the sound of pixie dust filling the air as your hotel door opens."

Disney's digital key in the My Disney Experience app unlocks doors and more. Video © Disney.

Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month Now Underway

Even beyond the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (which starts on Thursday), special dining opportunities now are available all over the Orlando area every night through September 30 during Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month. More than 100 restaurants in the Orlando area, including quite a few venues at Disney Springs, offer diners a three-course, prix fixe dinner at $35/person, with one dollar from each meal benefiting Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. Dinner includes the choice of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert from the participating restaurant's Magical Dining Month menu. Beverages, tax, and gratuity are not included in the price (Visit Orlando encourages diners to tip servers on the total "meal value" rather than the prix fixe price).

All of this year's participating restaurants and their Magical Dining Month menus are available online. Reservations are recommended, and the restaurant list includes links for those that accept online reservations and phone numbers to call restaurants directly. Whether making a reservation or walking in, diners need to ask for the "Magical Dining Month" menu at the participating restaurant. No other discounts, dining plans, or offers can be used for a Magical Dining Month dinner, and no, you cannot "share/split the three-course Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month dinner with another person."

Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar

On Epcot's America Gardens Theatre stage, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series begins on Thursday, August 30, with the start of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. There will be "limited dedicated seating" for Passholders during September; Passholders (with Pass and Photo ID) can receive up to four wristbands for one of the three daily concerts each day during the month on a first-come, first served basis at the America Gardens Theatre (up to an hour before showtime or while supplies last). Our Google Calendar of Epcot Events includes a list of the scheduled performers (but, as always, check the My Disney Experience app, Times Guide, and, yes, sometimes even signs posted at the park entrances and at the theater noting last minute changes).

In addition to the usual Table Service dining packages which include guaranteed concert seating, this year, for the first time, there will also be a new Quick Service dining package option that will be available daily with no advanced reservations, but limited availability. At Liberty Inn at The American Adventure pavilion, for $29.99/person plus tax, guests purchase a meal (entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage) and a guarantee concert seat. The usual Table Service dining packages are available by visiting TasteEpcot.com or calling (407) 939-3378.

This year, the Festival also includes a second concert venue on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Disney Du Jour Dance Party takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Fountain View Stage in Future World, where different pairs of Disney characters will stop by each weekend (Remy and Emile from Disney-Pixar’s Ratatouille, Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps from Zootopia, Lilo and Stitch, or classic favorites such as Chip 'n Dale or Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar). The Disney Du Jour Dance Party will be highlighted by a special concert appearance by an up-and-coming artist from Radio Disney, starting with Hollywood Records' recording artist, IRL on August 31 – September 1.

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays begins on November 18, with additional entertainment by storytellers and musical acts all around the park. Starting on Thanksgiving night, November 22, and running until December 30, the Candlelight Processional returns to the America Gardens Theatre for the traditional retelling of the story of Christmas with celebrity narrator, live orchestra and mass choir. We have updated our Candlelight Processional at Epcot Guide with an updated listing of the dining packages available for breakfast, lunch and dinner around Epcot and its neighboring resorts, and the partial listing of celebrity narrators currently available. You can also 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, all of the scheduled performances at America Gardens Theatre are shown in our Google Calendar of Epcot Events. You can add the whole Event calendar to any calendar that supports the iCal format (like iPhone and Mac) by copying this link. 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

The captions tell the story and include bits of news along the way. Photos of construction projects around Disney Springs may now be found below in our item entitled New & Coming Soon at Disney Springs.

Disney Springs

Outside the Disney Style shop, a trio of Pizza Planet Aliens advertise the opening of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios where you can find even more of their kind swirling about in their saucers. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot (and nearby)

The beer and pretzel kiosk, Block & Hans, has reopened outside The American Adventure pavilion following its refurbishment this summer. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

From the International Gateway (Epcot's so-called "back door"), the on-going construction of the new building which will house the Ratatouille-themed attraction can be seen just beyond one of the future Disney Skyliner towers. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Outside the International Gateway, the new Disney Skyliner station continues to take shape. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Next door to Epcot, exterior refurbishment is underway at Disney's Beach Club Resort. The Resort itself is open. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

The summer rains have made the already lush foliage at the park even more green. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

A black rhinoceros heads for the watering hole for a drink at Kilimanjaro Safaris. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

A hippopotamus keeps an eye on Kilimanjaro Safaris passersby from just below the waterline. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Rapidly darkening skies during the afternoon at the park suggest that rain is approaching from just beyond the parking lot (and, yes, it was confirmed by radar). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom

Even though the Incredible Summer is coming to an end, Central Florida's "actual summer" continues, and one or more daily rain showers are usually in the forecast. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That…

…Pandora–The World of AVATAR at Disney's Animal Kingdom was named as one of the "World's Greatest Places" by TIME magazine. According to TIME, the list of 100 destinations from around the world “recognizes newsworthy, groundbreaking and innovative travel destinations, experiences and companies that stand out in the travel space, influencing both leisure and business travel globally.” The list was culled from more than 1,200 editor and expert nominations from around the world.

…For those looking to browse the menu of every one of the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival marketplaces opening on Thursday, Disney Parks Blog has published a complete Foodie Guide, including noting the Vegetarian, Gluten/Wheat Friendly, and Kid-Approved items. The Festival runs August 30 through November 12.

…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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New & Coming Soon at Disney Springs

This new section collects all of the Disney Springs retail and dining events we are aware of in one place. Items "NEW" to the Update are marked accordingly.

NEW 4R Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck Now Open

The newest addition to the dining choices at Disney Springs is the 4R Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck in the Marketplace neighborhood (between World of Disney store and Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop). Created by the award-winning 4R Restaurant Group (with 15 locations across Florida plus a location in Atlanta, Georgia), the new eatery "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 also serves vegetarian options and desserts.

Chef/4R Restaurant Group Founder John Rivers & Matt Simon, Vice President Disney Springs cut a ribbon to celebrate the Grand Opening of the 4R Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck in the Marketplace, yesterday, August 27, 2018. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Chef and Founder John Rivers developed the menu from culinary adventures in Mexico City. Signature 4 Rivers meats such as brisket and pulled pork are prepared using traditional barbacoa methods with their roots in the Caribbean and developed in Mexico. He says, "the 4R Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck is a great way for tourists from around the world to experience an authentic local brand. Our loyal fans will also be able to enjoy a variety of new dishes that are not currently available at any of our other 4 Rivers Smokehouses."

Disney Springs celebrated the August 27, 2018, grand opening of the 4R Cantina Barbacoa Food Truck with an invited media-event to allow the local media (including MousePlanet) to sample the food. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Taco cones filled with 4 Rivers brisket barbacoa are one of the signature dishes available at the new food truck (in a size much larger than those shown in these samples). (Again, I am not the MousePlanet food critic, but found the sample taco cone very tasty.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The food truck menu will also include seasonal specialties. During September and October, the limited-time treats are Pumpkin Spice Churro Balls. It is the only 4R location open seven days a week, including Sunday; all net proceeds from Sunday sales support The 4R Foundation which benefits local schools, churches and charitable organizations. My Disney Experience app lists its hours as 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (be sure to check the app for updates to operating hours).

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread Nachos is one of the dessert creations available at the Food Truck. The seasonally available Churro Balls are also shown here behind the Nachos. (Personally elected not to sample the desserts.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

NEW Chicken Guy!

Chicken Guy!, a collaboration between celebrity chef Guy Fieri and restauranteur Robert Earl (whose other Disney Springs venues include both Planet Hollywood and Earl of Sandwich), opened a few weeks ago adjacent to Planet Hollywood. We were invited last week to have a look around inside and sample the fast casual restaurant's menu.

Chicken Guy! opened adjacent to Planet Hollywood Observatory a few weeks ago. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Chicken Guy! posts its menu on one of the restaurant's outside-facing windows and has paper menus available, plus menu boards inside. The menu price-points are among the lowest at Disney Springs. Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

With indoor seating for 40 guests, and outdoor seating for 80, the counter-service style restaurant features all-natural chicken tenders that are hand-pounded and breaded fresh daily. The antibiotic free and never frozen chicken is brined in lemon juice, pickle brine and buttermilk, and infused with a proprietary blend of herbs and spices. Guests may order them fried or grilled and accompanied by a choice of “The Boss of Sauce's” 22 different dipping sauces, encompassing a myriad of flavors from sweet to savory that result in a whole lot of combinations.

Chicken Guy! has indoor seating for up to 40 guests in a long but narrow space adjacent to Planet Hollywood Observatory restaurant. Chef Guy Fieri brings some of his "Flavortown" menu influences to both Disney Springs restaurants. Image courtesy Chicken Guy!

Approaching the ordering counter, guests can pose with Guy Fieri (one of the owners of Chicken Guy!); well, more specifically, guests can pose with a life-size cut-out of him. On another wall, all 22 available sauces are represented by different chicken icons and lists of their major ingredients. Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Side dishes include Chicken Guy! Fries, Mac Daddy Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Loaded Fries smothered in SMC (super melty cheese) and topped with chopped grilled chicken, bacon, and green onions, fried pickles and fresh slaw. Desset choices include two "Flavortown Frozen Treats:" the Triple Double Ice Cream Treat, combining triple chocolate and double mint, and the Cinnamon Apple, vanilla soft serve ice cream with Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Apple Jacks cereal.

Starting clockwise with the soft drink in the upper left hand corner), Chicken Guy! offers a choice of grilled or fried chicken tenders, fries, Flavortown Frozen Treats, and sides such as fried pickle chips, slaw and Mac 'n' Cheese. (Not the MousePlanet food critic, but, of the sampled sauces, I really enjoyed Sauce #17 Avocado Creama enough that I probably could have eaten it alone; the chicken I sampled was fresh and tasty too.) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The restaurant opens every day at 11 a.m. It closes at Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and 11 p.m. the rest of the week. Its website is ChickenGuy.com.

Wine Bar George

♦ During August, purchase a Wine Bar George Corkcicle for $30 and receive a free Frosé (that's a Frozen Rosé). Refills are available for $10. (Tax and gratuity not included). Check out the venue's full menu here.

Image from @WineBarGeorge on Instagram
Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant

♦ The new Rhythms of Raglan 2018 show is performed nightly on the Grand Room stage. Pub musicians and dancers perform in front of the video screens showcasing the beauty of Ireland in the main room. Performances range from traditional to contemporary Irish music, including what Raglan says is "Never-before-seen-and-heard" pub music and dance routines [that] spark plenty of toe-tapping and applause." The brand-new 2018 dance troupe includes: Conor Ryan of Waterford; Alan O’Donnell of Donegal; Sean Scally of Manchester; Joe Fee of Donegal; Sinead Buckley of Dublin; Ciara Wylie of Dublin; Tara Callaghan of Donegal; and Lauren Bohill of Belfast. Veteran dancer, Emma Deane, is back on stage, as well! The latest bands from Ireland on Raglan's stages are: TradGad, Strings & Things and High Road!

♦ The 7th Annual "Great Irish Hooley" Music Festival comes to Raglan Road this weekend - 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. Additional musical acts throughout the weekend will include Strings & Things, The Byrne Brothers, Reel Republic, TradGad, High Road, and Aaron O'Grady. More information at GreatIrishHooley.com and you can get more information by visiting RaglanRoad.com or calling (407)938-0300.

Great Irish Hooley is this weekend, August 31-September 3, at Raglan Road. Image courtesy Raglan Road.

The Edison

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.

Under Construction

With this new-to-the-Update section devoted to Disney Springs, this is where we present photos of the on-going construction projects at the venue. This week, we go from the new pedestrian bridges for the new parking structure across Buena Vista Drive, to the on-going phased refurbishment of World of Disney store (ahead of its "Grand Reveal" this fall), to the addition of new covered seating coming to The Polite Pig, and the two restaurants with openings that may come before year end (Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill and Jaleo).

Construction continues on the new pedestrian bridges that will connect the new parking garage across Buena Vista Drive with Disney Springs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

From the new parking garage, guests will first cross pedestrian bridges in front of the Casting Center (shown here) and then turn to cross Buena Vista Drive (shown above). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

World of Disney store's phased refurbishment continues with the side nearest Town Center currently closed. A "Grand Reveal" of the fully reimagined store is expected this fall. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Polite Pig remains open in Town Center while a new covered patio is under construction out front. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Construction continues at the new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (across from the new Chicken Guy! restaurant, next door to the Coca-Cola Store). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Jaleo continues to take shape on the West Side in the former site of Wolfgang Puck Grand Café. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Bob's Space Racers Benefited Give Kids The World Village

Give Kids The World Village, located near Walt Disney World Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, is a nonprofit resort that provides cost-free dream vacations for critically-ill children and their families. As we have noted in past Updates, GKTWV has been conducting "Behind the Themes" tours of businesses that create the technologies found in theme parks and entertainment centers in Orlando and around the world, with tour ticket proceeds benefiting its mission. Many Walt Disney World Resort cast members (and folks that work at many other parks and resorts around Central Florida) volunteer their time to assist the organization in its mission as well.

Bob's Space Racers in Daytona Beach, Florida, hosted the Give Kids the World Village Behind the Themes Tour on August 21 (and we were invited by GKTWV to cover the event). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Last Tuesday, we were invited to attend the tour of Bob's Space Racers, original developer of the well-known "Whac-A-Mole" game. Named for the first game built by its founder Bob Cassata amidst the bussle of activity along Florida's Space Coast in 1970, Bob's Space Racers has more than 45 years of experience designing and building games and providing management services for the arcade, theme and amusement park, and trailer industries around the world including Dave & Buster's, Six Flags, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, and LEGOLAND. For Disney Parks, BSR built the games in Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney's Animal Kingdom and, in 2009, installed the games at Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure. (BSR was not involved in the recent Pixar Pier refurbishment of that area.)

Bob's Space Racers participated in building the games at (then-named) Paradise Pier in Disney's California Adventure. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Bob's Space Racers has custom-created art for games installed in parks, arcades, and even mobile trailers (for carnivals and fairs) around the world. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The next Behind the Themes tour is scheduled for Saturday, September 15, at 10 a.m. at Skyline Attractions, builder of Skywarp, a new attraction set to open this year as Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA. Skyline Attractions is located at 3923 Forrestal Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32806. Tickets are $50, include the tour and lunch, and can be reserved here. Ticket proceeds benefit Give Kids The World Village

Crowd Forecast


"Do more. Wait less."


Save time and money at Walt Disney World. TouringPlans.com can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist pitfalls.

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

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

Date Overall
Tuesday, August 28, 2018  3 / 10
Wednesday, August 29, 2018  3 / 10
Thursday, August 30, 2018  3 / 10
Friday, August 31, 2018  1 / 10
Saturday, September 1, 2018  4 / 10

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

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
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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

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

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 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 – November 6, 2018 - January 6, 2019
      • ​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
2018 Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic Events 
  • Moonlight Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios – September 19, 26; October 3
    Registration opens for Members with resort reservations – August 30
    Registration opens for all Members (pending remaining availability) – September 13
2019 Resort Events

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.

NEW ENHANCEMENT! View the different areas of the Resort by scrolling horizontally and selecting the one you want to read about. If the menu bar does not work on your screen, please let us know by email (include which Browser and Operating System you are using)!

Magic Kingdom
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment (awaiting an update to its reopening).
  • Stitch's Great Escape – My Disney Experience lists as "available seasonally throughout the year"
    Be aware that it is increasingly unlikely it will reopen; the attraction's lobby is usually used for greeting Stitch
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • Pixar Place area – Closed since just after the opening of Toy Story Land
    New entrance to Toy Story Mania! and character encounters now inside Toy Story Land
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 Water Parks

Disney's Blizzard Beach

  • No known closures at this time.

Disney's 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.
Disney 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.
WDW Golf
  • Disney's Palm Golf Course - Closed for refurbishment August 27-September 6, 2018.

Current Discounts and Promotions

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

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


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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.

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 latest offerings during the 2018 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com. Passholder benefits during the Festival include:

  • Passholder wristbands are available at America Gardens Theatre (up to an hour before show time or when they run out) for same-day Eat to the Beat concert seating during September.
  • Passholders can obtain a new Chef Mickey Passholder magnet (with their Pass and Photo ID) on their first visit to the Festival Center at the theatre across from The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar, hosted by Ghirardelli.
  • On a Passholder's fourth visit to Epcot during the Festival(tracked by entering the park with the Pass, not the Festival Center, Passholders can pick up a new Chef Mickey cutting board at the Festival Center.
  • Passholders get "V.I.Passholder" 8-9 a.m. access to Epcot to be "among the first to purchase the newest releases of Passholder-exclusive merchandise" and mimosas at the Festival Center (or just merchandise at Mouse Gear) on three "Thank You Thursdays" during the Festival: August 30, September 20, and October 18 (Event Registration is not required, but attractions do not open until 9 a.m.).

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 Disney Vacation Club Members

Member Benefits and Discounts may be found on this page of DisneyVacationClub.com. Note: some benefits and discounts are only available to those with a valid Disney Vacation Club Membership Card which is only available to Members owning at least 75 Vacation Points purchased directly from Disney Vacation Development, Inc.


If you know of an offer that you think most Members do not know about, 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, please let us know by email (include which Browser and Operating System you are using)!

Share, Links, Comments & More



  1. By MonoAutoRail

    $80 for 75 minutes of early entry? People who are silly enough to pay that kind of money just make things bad for the rest of us as more and more and more "exclusive" offerings get more and more and more expensive . . . as does everything else.

  2. By wdwchuck

    Hey Alan, as far as the changes, the only thing that comes to mind is that I feel like I am missing something? I will get used to it I am sure. That picture of the Animal Kingdom foliage is AWESOME. Great shot.
    What is taking so long with the Skyliner? It seems that is taking forever to get done.
    Looking forward to trying Guy's new chicken place. Hope it won't be too crowded when we get there next month. And I would like to second the comments about all the upcharges. A sucker is born every minute and it is painful when that sucker is me.
    I know Disney wouldn't do it if they didn't think they could get away with it. The only thing they would understand is if people stopped buying. And right now, that ain't happening.

    Thanks again Alan for making Tuesday lunch Great Again!!

  3. By mkelm44

    Did you really mean a 1 (!) for this friday? That seems incredibly low. Is that a typo or do I need to get an illness that will keep me from working that day?

  4. By asdhollywood

    Quote Originally Posted by mkelm44 View Post
    Did you really mean a 1 (!) for this friday? That seems incredibly low. Is that a typo or do I need to get an illness that will keep me from working that day?

    That's the number direct from our contacts at TouringPlans.com. Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone else.

    In all seriousness, in the four years I have lived in the area, the week on either side of Labor Day has tended to be rather quiet. In an afternoon during my first year here, that was the first time I ever saw no posted standby time for Soarin'. With Food & Wine Festival now starting before Labor Day, I'd expect Epcot's paths will be more crowded with diners/drinkers, but the attractions should be fairly light.


  5. By davidgra

    I guess the feature that allows you to unlock your hotel room door with your phone is cool, but, since every person staying on property already gets a Magic Band, which allows you to enter the parks, pay for things, use your FastPasses, etc., I don't really see why you'd ever need to use your phone to get into your hotel room. It just seems odd to have this feature.

  6. By Dave1313

    Quote Originally Posted by davidgra View Post
    I guess the feature that allows you to unlock your hotel room door with your phone is cool, but, since every person staying on property already gets a Magic Band, which allows you to enter the parks, pay for things, use your FastPasses, etc., I don't really see why you'd ever need to use your phone to get into your hotel room. It just seems odd to have this feature.

    Wouldn't shock me one bit if the phone app is highly adopted by many people that they do away with the "free" MagicBand currently included with on site visits.

    Same as the elimination this past March of the previously free parking at a resort if you stayed on site.

    MagicBands are now a big enough part of the experience people expect (having first come out about 4 1/2 years ago, IIRC), that I bet people would still pay for it if it wasn't free with the room anymore. (I suspect Disney will make that wager too one day.)

    Of course not all guest are frequent enough visitors, there are probably still people that maybe go every 5 years (or even longer in between visits) that have yet to use a MagicBand.

    Maybe I'm wrong and Disney is making enough extra cash off all of the commemorative MagicBands that people seem to enjoy (guilty myself for a few of those ), and perhaps they will keep the generic ones free forever with a resort stay.

    We will see.

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