Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 10-18, 2018

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 10-18, 2018

 

Writer's note: As I noted last week, this is that time of year that Walt Disney World Resort is a little bit less crowded. It tends to be more quiet in the news department too, so this will be a rather brief Update this week. Indeed, this week last year, we were bracing for Hurricane Irma here in Central Florida. While there are three active systems in the Atlantic Ocean right now, fortunately none are currently forecast to threaten Central Florida.

So with that, a happy Rosh Hashanah to those who celebrate! Here's to the start of 5779 on the Jewish calendar: may it be a joyous peaceful year for all.


Annual passholders that visit the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival four times this year can (while supplies last), pick up the complimentary Chef Mickey cutting board at the passholder gift distribution queue inside the Festival Center (follow the signs inside and be sure to have your Magic Band or pass and matching photo ID handy). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


News and Views

Historic Pay Raise For Cast Members | More Disney After Hours Dates Announced | Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar | Views Around the World | This and That… | New & Coming Soon at Disney Springs | Crowd Forecast

Historic Pay Raise For Cast Members

With more than 74,000 Cast Members, Walt Disney World Resort is the largest single-site employer in the United States; the Resort's 43 square miles is bigger than the island of Manhattan. Ahead of next year's scheduled opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and the celebration coming in 2021 marking the Resort's 50th anniversary (which comes along with at least two major new attractions at Epcot, Guardians of the Galaxy- and Ratatouille-themed, and at least one at Magic Kingdom, the TRON Light Cycle-themed coaster), the Resort reached an historic collective bargaining agreement with the Service Trades Council Union (representing more than half the cast) to raise starting pay by 50% for cast members in a variety of roles, such as lifeguards, bus drivers, and housekeepers.

Beginning in December, starting pay for hourly, non-tipped cast members will increase to $11/hr. In March 2019, it will rise to $12/hr; $13/hr in September 2019; $14/hr in October 2020; and $15/hr in October 2021. Many current cast members will receive retroactive pay of 50¢/hr or 3% (whichever is greater), going back to September 24, 2017, plus a one-time $1,000 bonus. Eligible cast members whose pay is already above $10/hr may earn at least an additional $4.75/hr by October 2021 under the agreement. Earlier this Summer, Disneyland Resort reached agreement with its largest labor unions to raise starting pay to $15/hr by 2019 for more than 9,700 cast members.

"Our 50 percent wage increase will have a real, meaningful impact on our cast and their families—and is part of our commitment to the thousands of cast members who make magic for our guests each and every day," said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. "Increasing wages for cast members represents a significant investment in Central Florida, and will provide a powerful boost to the local economy."

As regular readers know, theme park ticket and other prices at Walt Disney World typically increase once (occasionally twice) per year, and we are already expecting ticket price increases and changes ahead of next year's grand opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The pay raises for cast members likely will be a factor in that and in other prices around the resort. Stay tuned, and, as always, plan ahead when you can.

More Disney After Hours Dates Announced

Disney has published Disney After Hours event dates at Magic Kingdom on ten nights from December 2018 through March 2019. Disney After Hours is the name of Magic Kingdom's hard ticketed, three hour event with capped low attendance that provides guests with access to at least 25 attractions and experiences with little to no wait plus Mickey's Premium ice cream, popcorn, and bottled soft drinks/water after the conclusion of regular park hours. Advanced purchase price for the new dates is $125; day-of price is $129 (tax not included) (or $95 for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members); the previously scheduled September 20 event remains priced at $119 in advance; $124 day-of (or $89 for Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members). On all event nights, event ticket holders may enter the park as early as 7 p.m. regardless of the event start time.

Regular readers may recall that we were invited by Disney to attend one of the prior event nights this summer. As we discussed following that experience in the Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 18-23, 2018, the event is certainly a unique opportunity to explore Magic Kingdom without crowds, but not necessarily for everyone. Read that Update for a full discussion, including the conclusion:

In sum, for those that have planned their visits to Walt Disney World Resort with FastPass+ reservations, with multi-day tickets (or Annual Passes), Disney After Hours retains only its unique aspect: do you want that Disney PhotoPass photo of you alone (or as a couple or family) on a Pirates of the Caribbean boat? Would you like to have Main Street U.S.A. mostly to yourself? Those are all pretty "cool" opportunities that this event can provide. If you hate crowds and hate lines, these events may be just what you have been hoping to find. For Disney Resort Guests, there are times of the year that Extra Magic Hours may provide a similar experience without additional cost (except for the food and beverages).

Our Resort Events section has been updated with the additional dates.

Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar

Epcot's America Gardens Theatre stage continues to be the home for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series throughout the entire run of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, three times nightly through November 12. During September, there is "limited dedicated seating" for passholders; 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; check at the podium on the Promenade closest to the Japan pavilion side of the Theatre starting at 11 a.m.). There is a new Quick Service dining package option that is available daily (no advanced reservations, 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 get a guaranteed concert seat. The usual Table Service dining packages that include guaranteed concert seats are available by visiting TasteEpcot.com or calling (407)939-3378.


Eat to the Beat Concerts take to the America Gardens Theatre stage three times nightly throughout the entire run of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

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).

The Food & Wine Festival also includes a second concert venue on Friday and Saturday evenings in conjunction with the new Disney Du Jour Dance Party at the Fountain View Stage in Future World. Different pairs of Disney characters 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 is highlighted by a special concert appearance by an up-and-coming artist from Radio Disney.


The new Disney Du Jour Dance Party takes place at the Fountain View Stage in Future World on Friday and Saturday evenings during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and is highlighted by a special concert appearance by an up-and-coming artist from Radio Disney. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

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

From Disney's Hollywood Studios during the "Passholder Playtime" last Wednesday before the park opened to day guests, to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and Magic Kingdom, the captions tell the story and include bits of news along the way. Photos from around Disney Springs may now be found below in our item entitled New & Coming Soon at Disney Springs.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Since there were no Annual Passholder previews for Toy Story Land, a few months ago, Disney's Hollywood Studios invited Passholders to sign up for "Passholder Playtime" slots for some exclusive ridetime in the new land on select dates in September. Wednesday, September 5, was my slot and, as it turned out, it was not very crowded at all, allowing plenty of time to ride (and re-ride) the Toy Story Land attractions. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


"Passholder Playtime" even included the opportunity to meet and greet characters, including Woody and Jessie. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Toy Story Land also provides the best current on-stage view of the construction "next door" at the future Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, due to open late next Fall. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The former Pixar Place area of the park (where the original entrance for Toy Story Mania! was located), is now closed off to guests by a permanent gate structure (the restrooms to its right do remain open). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Work on the new toll plaza for the parking lot which is part of the over-all re-design of traffic flow into and out of the park ahead of next year's opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.


Closer to the park's guest entrance, the tram drop-off area is being redesigned. As a result, the current end of the line for the tram is the Television lot.


Note that guests have quite a bit of walking to do after the tram stop to even get to the security bag check stations in front of the park gates.


On the opposite side of the tramway, construction continues on the new bus loop.


All of the older bus stops are now behind construction fences and out of use.


Construction continues on the future Disney Skyliner station near the park entrance as well.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom


Memento Mori, just outside the gates of the Haunted Mansion, has a large selection of new themed merchandise including these "ears." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Though the Magic Kingdom is now celebrating Halloween, the crane parked behind Cinderella Castle means that Christmas decorating is underway, starting with the Dreamlights installation on the castle itself. The first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is scheduled for November 8. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Magic Kingdom's new private "Club 33" members-only location under construction in Adventureland is no longer under scrims. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The exterior of the future members-only club is again beginning to resemble the rest of Adventureland. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


As we noted last week, the Rivers of America is partially dammed for work on the track along the riverbed.


Views of the riverbed at Magic Kingdom have been rare during its history, but this is reportedly "routine" maintenance work and beyond the dam, the rafts to Tom Sawyer Island are still operating during their normal hours.


In case you were not aware, yes, the Riverboat operates along a track on the Rivers of America.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


On Media Day at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, I was invited to try Candy Sushi making.


Candy Sushi is a complimentary offering sponsored by Skittles and Adventures by Disney daily during the Festival at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. at Sunshine Seasons in The Land Pavilion (advanced registration required, but full for the entire festival).


Look for the signs to the left of the entrance to Sunshine Seasons and then locate the Cast Members running the Candy Sushi sessions for assistance with the standby line.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

For more pictures of Candy Sushi-making, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival food, and more, be sure to check out our #TasteEpcot Instagram Story Highlight which we will continue to add to during the run of the Festival (ends November 12).


Festival merchandise can be found at kiosks all around World Showcase Lagoon as well as the more permanent merchandise locations around the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Living with the Land greenhouse has several displays that show ingredients for dishes served at this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.


Cacao is an ingredient for chocolate.


Banana can be found in several dishes, including the Banana Almond Sundae at The Almond Orchard marketplace.


Living with the Land also has a Fall Harvest themed display.


Wheat, of course, is found in numerous dishes.


Perhaps Loaded Mac N Cheese is a guest favorite because of the peppers (and the bacon, macaroni, and cheese).

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


Kringla, the bakery at Norway pavilion, has reopened after its summer-long refurbishment and interior redesign. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Midnattssol, the temporary bakery kiosk along World Showcase Promenade at Norway pavilion, has closed now that Kringla's refurbishment is complete. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Happy Halloween 2018 popcorn bucket (spotted at Epcot, but also available at other popcorn carts around Walt Disney World) is available for $10 plus tax, and can be refilled for the length of your stay (or until the Christmas version is released in a few weeks) for $1.75/refill. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The "Gourmet Popcorn" cart in Future World west offers guests its flavored popcorn as one of the $1.75 refill options. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That…

…After publication of last week's Walt Disney World Resort Update, Disney confirmed that the Minnie Van rides to and from Orlando International airport charge the flat rate of $150 not including gratuity. Advance reservations are required, call (407)WDW-PLAY for flight arrivals between 7 a.m. and 10p.m., and for flight departures between 9 a.m. and midnight. Each Minnie Van can hold up to six passengers and eight medium-sized suitcases; up to three complimentary car seats can be provided and ADA-accessible vehicles are also available.

…Vampirina (also known as Vee), the girl vampire from the Disney Junior series with the same name, made her Florida debut last night at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, where she now participates in the Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jam dance party. Disney Parks Blog also showed off Vampirina during its #DisneyParksLIVE showing last night of Mickey's Boo-To-You Halloween Parade.


Vampirina was introduced to Magic Kingdom during a song and dance number at Main Street Station just before the "Boo to You" parade. Video ©Disney.

…As he does every year, Orlando Sentinel reporter Dewayne Bevil calculated that to eat and drink one of everything (food and beverage) at this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival would cost a guest $1,720.08, not including park admission.

Orlando Sentinel reports that guests staying at seven resorts at Disney Springs (on Disney property but not operated by Disney) will continue to be eligible to participate in Extra Magic Hours and to make FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance of their reservation (just like Disney hotel guests) through 2019. The Disney Springs resorts located on Disney property are: B Resort & Spa, Best Western Lake Buena Vista, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando–Disney Springs Area, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Holiday Inn Orlando–Disney Springs Area, and Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista.

…For the fourth year in a row, Walt Disney World Golf, operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management, hosted the Special Olympics Florida State Golf Championships, September 7-8, on Disney's Magnolia and Oak Trail golf courses and the Magnolia Driving Range and Practice Putting Green.

…REMINDER: 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.

…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 Fall Decor is on Display (and highlighted in the merchandise displays)


The inflated pumpkin Mickey is on display in the Marketplace near Earl of Sandwich.


Near the inflated pumpkin Mickey is another photo backdrop celebrating the fall season.


More fall decor is outside the Marketplace Co-Op.


The merchandise displayed in the windows of the Marketplace Co-Op is fall-themed.


The Disney PhotoPass Studio in the Marketplace has an outdoor fall-themed photo backdrop.


The Marketplace stage has a fall banner.


Another fall sign is near the west end of World of Disney Store (the portion of the store still closed for refurbishment).


The base of the fountain at the entrance to the Lime Garage is decorated for fall as well. (HDR Photo.)

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


For Pin Traders, there are now Halloween-themed Star Wars pins.


And there are Halloween pins featuring traditional Disney characters.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

NEW Disney Vacation Club Merchandise Selection


Twenty Eight & Main in the Marketplace Co-Op currently has a large selection of Disney Vacation Club Member merchandise.


Customizable DVC-themed magnets are available on-demand.


To create a customizable DVC-themed magnets, Twenty Eight & Main has personalization stations. The magnets are printed across the hall at D-Tech after guests pay for them.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month continues

All month long, restaurants all over the Orlando area participating in Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month (including many at Disney Springs, including Morimoto Asia, Maria & Enzo's, & Wine Bar George), offering special prix fixe dinners for $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."

WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs

Celebrating fall flavors, new menu items can be found at 14 Disney Springs restaurants and quick service locations, as of last Friday, September 7, with WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs. Disney Parks Blog has the "foodie guide" to point you toward "everything from harvest tacos and pumpkin desserts to hard ciders and autumn-inspired cocktails."


Amorette's Patisserie has fall-themed baked treats like a pumpkin macaron.


Amorette's also has created a Fall Harvest petit cake for the season (which joins some of its petit cakes that are available year-round).

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Wine Bar George

NEW Join Wine Bar George for lunch and a 12 vintage retrospective of De Toren Fusion V from 2004 - 2015 with Albie Koch, De Toren winemaker and Master Sommelier George Miliotes. Tickets are $110 plus $5.81 EventBrite ticket fee here.

Under Construction


Exterior wall construction is well-underway at the future site of the NBA Experience facing Buena Vista Drive.


Exterior wall construction is also underway on the side of the NBA Experience facing House of Blues and the Cirque du Soleil theater.


Construction continues at the future site of Jaleo restaurant.


New tile has been installed on the exterior of the future site of Jaleo restaurant.


Construction continues at the future site of Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill.


The new roof for the outdoor patio at Polite Pig is not yet complete.


Several segments of the new pedestrian bridge connecting Disney Springs from near the World of Disney store to the new parking structure across Buena Vista Drive are in place, with additional construction remaining.


Inside World of Disney store, refurbishment continues toward the "Grand Reveal" this fall.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Crowd Forecast

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Date Overall
Tuesday, September 11, 2018  1 / 10
Wednesday, September 12, 2018  1 / 10
Thursday, September 13, 2018  1 / 10
Friday, September 14, 2018  1 / 10
Saturday, September 15, 2018  2 / 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

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

2018 Resort Events
  • Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom:
    • September 20: 9 p.m. – midnight
    • December 3 & 10: 10 p.m. - 1 a.m.
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom:
    • September 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
    • 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
       – REGISTRATION NOW OPEN!
  • 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 
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 (track work now underway).
  • 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)
Epcot
  • 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 Old Port Royale "reimagining" is expected to be completed this fall, and will include the expanded Centertown Market and the new waterfront table service casual restaurant, Sebastian's Bistro, which replaces the now closed Shutters restaurant. The overall construction project at the Resort is expected to be 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.
    • Iguana Arcade is closed for refurbishment.
    • Siestas Cantina poolside quick service dining location is closed for refurbishment
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Uzima Springs Pool Bar is closed for refurbishment.
WDW Golf
  • No known closures at this time.

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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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.

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.

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: 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.

MORE DETAILS WILL BE LISTED HERE SOON!

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

Canada residents can purchase an adult 4-day or longer base theme park ticket for as low as $316 (that is $79/day; US Dollars not including tax). Upgrades to the Park Hopper Option are also available. Tickets may be purchased on this page of DisneyWorld.com for Canada residents or by phone at (407)939-7648. This offer is available through March 15, 2019, and they may be used through September 27, 2019 (but are blocked December 24, 2018, to January 1, 2019). Tickets must be used within 14 days of first use or by September 27, 2019, whichever is earlier.

All adults using Canada resident tickets or passes must present valid proof of Canada 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. The offer itself requires advanced purchase; it is not available at Walt Disney World Resort theme park ticket windows. 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)!

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Comments

  1. By danyoung

    Thanks as always for the fine work, Alan. In reference to the 7 hotels that will continue to offer access to Disney Magic Hours and 60 day FP+ booking, do you know if they are offering Magic Bands, or will FP's be tied to your ticket? I'm thinking of saving a bit of money on my next trip, but I don't want to cut off access to benefits that I enjoy. Thanks.

  2. By asdhollywood

    Unfortunately, Dan, the Sentinel article did not say and, here at MousePlanet, we did not receive the press release from the hotels themselves. My best advice: visit the websites or call the hotels you are interested in to see what WDW benefits they offer during the particular dates you are interested in visiting.

    Regards,
    Alan

  3. By currence

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    Thanks as always for the fine work, Alan. In reference to the 7 hotels that will continue to offer access to Disney Magic Hours and 60 day FP+ booking, do you know if they are offering Magic Bands, or will FP's be tied to your ticket? I'm thinking of saving a bit of money on my next trip, but I don't want to cut off access to benefits that I enjoy. Thanks.

    If you have a Magic band from a prior trip, you can use it with your new ticket. All of your bands and all of your admission media are tied to your account. So as long as you remember to bring your old magic band with you (or buy a new one while you are there) you can use that instead of your ticket.

    The only thing that I'm not sure if you can do is charge on a Magic Band that isn't tied to a current [Disney] hotel reservation. I would expect by now they would make it as easy as possible to separate you from your money, but I know that when we last stayed on-site we needed to create a pin as part of check-in so that we could charge and I'm not sure if you can do that online/re-use an old pin. I'm sure someone who goes to WDW more than I do will know the current status/rules (which, of course, are subject to change between now and when you next go).

  4. By worldlover71

    So glad for the new COVERED bus stops coming to the Studios. I got soaked to the skin once while waiting for the bus. Some of the other guests almost got into a physical fight when one person refused to move out from under the small shelter when the line moved.

  5. By danyoung

    I would guess that room charges are not allowed unless you're staying at a Disney hotel. I mean, how would Disney put a charge on my bill if I'm staying at the B? That may be one of those things that I'll just not be able to do. Ah well, all it means is a bit more accounting work once I get home!

  6. By asdhollywood

    Quote Originally Posted by currence View Post
    The only thing that I'm not sure if you can do is charge on a Magic Band that isn't tied to a current [Disney] hotel reservation. I would expect by now they would make it as easy as possible to separate you from your money

    Good point about using an old band. It does need to be the same MDX account. Charging privileges are still tied to room reservations. And, as a local, I’m very happy about that.

    Regards,
    Alan

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