Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 2-8, 2018

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 2-8, 2018

 

Writer's note: Central Florida's rainy season is winding down such that on some days it does not even rain at Walt Disney World Resort. Every now and then, the temperatures in the evening moderate and the humidity drops. In short, with the start of fall, the crowds have shrunk with schools back in session just when the weather in the parks is getting nice! (Weekends at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, of course, tend to fill the World Showcase Promenade.)


Yesterday, October 1, was the 36th anniversary of the opening of Epcot, as well as the 47th anniversary of the opening of Magic Kingdom and the Walt Disney World Resort itself. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Time for another visit? Read up on the latest news because, as our first item shows, homework is becoming an increasingly required pre-requisite to visiting. As always, closings and new offerings are noted throughout.


There is roughly a year before the long-running Illuminations: Reflections of Earth nighttime spectacular is retired. What new photo opportunities will its replacement present? Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

News and Views

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Date-Based Tickets Coming October 16

Right after we published last week's Update, Walt Disney World Resort announced that starting on October 16, guests will be able to access new, online vacation planning tools at DisneyWorld.com and its new date-based tickets and pricing. When this year's price increases went into effect this past winter, we were told (and told you) more pricing structure changes were coming and, it seems, starting October 16, they are here.

While the announcement in a Disney Parks Blog post emphasizes the vacation planning tools that are coming, the real news here is that the changes that "are designed to simplify the booking experience, give guests an enhanced way to purchase theme park tickets and help them more easily plan the Disney vacation of their dreams," mean that those who spend the time doing their homework and planning before their visit will likely have the opportunity to get the most for their money and time. Here at MousePlanet, we have many times emphasized doing homework before visiting the Resort which, at minimum, allows you to skip waiting in line at the park ticket booths as one of the your first Disney queues of your vacation.

The new online ticket-purchasing tool will include an online calendar that displays different prices based on the dates you select and shows the time period in which the tickets must be used. In other words, your ticket price may vary based on whether, for example, your first day is a Sunday versus a Tuesday, and may be lower during off-peak times of the year. As before, the price per day will decrease as you add more days to your tickets. In essence, though, Disney Parks is again catching up to the other travel industry players—the airlines, hotels, and rental car businesses—that already have unbundled offerings and use day-of-the-week pricing as well as time of year pricing.


This is a first look at how the new ticketing tool will work. Video ©Disney.

In the new system, some types of tickets will be valid on non-consecutive days, but all will have an expiration within a limited time. The video (above) also shows that there will be a flexible start date option (for an extra charge). The FAQ on DisneyWorld.com notes that there will continue to be Florida Resident Discounts, tickets purchased prior to October 16 that have not expired will continue to be honored according to their terms, and tickets bought in the new system can be modified up until the ticket start date (but note that changes that result in a higher priced date require paying the difference while changes that result in a lower-price will not result in refunds).

Disney says that the new system will allow you to "quickly see the lowest-priced days within a month," so the new tool provides one more factor to consider when making your travel plans. In other words, when you see that your preferred airline offers an airfare that is cheaper on Tuesday than Monday, you will now be able to check if that savings is offset for the better or worse with your theme park plans. In the broader picture, it may mean that general ticket prices no longer increase at a particular time of the year as we are used to but, instead, change with the speeds the airlines change their fares according to demand and other factors.

We will certainly have more information when the new tools go live on October 16.

More Early Morning Magic in Fantasyland

In our Walt Disney World Resort Update a couple weeks ago, we wrote about our invited experience at the debut of Disney Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios and we noted the continued availability of the Fantasyland version which has been available at Magic Kingdom since 2016. This past week, Disney Parks Blog announced that on December 2, the Fantasyland version will double the number of attractions available during the extra-cost, limited admission event.

The expanded Early Morning Magic at Magic Kingdom event will raise its price by $10 to match the Toy Story Land version ($79/adult and $69/child plus tax and in addition to regular park admission), and will continue to take place on select Tuesdays and Sundays from 7:45 a.m. to 9 a.m. (with breakfast included and available at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.). Event attendees get to enjoy the operating Fantasyland attractions—which will now also include Princess Fairytale Hall, "it's a small world," Mad Tea Party, and Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid, in addition to the attractions previously offered including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh—with a crowd limited in size to ensure little to no wait times to ride.

Although the name sounds similar, the Early Morning Magic events do not weigh upon when the park offers Extra Magic Hours to Resort Guests. These extra-cost, breakfast-included Early Morning Magic Fantasyland events, like the one we experienced at Toy Story Land, is in the category like Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom and the other up-charge capped attendance events offered around the Resort. Like we wrote about Disney After Hours, there does seem to be a segment of Disney guests looking for a unique premium entertainment offering like this. Of course, these are offerings clearly not geared to everyone and, at least as they are currently scheduled, likely have no effect on the visit of a Resort guest that uses FastPass+ reservations and Extra Magic Hours strategically.

Introducing the 2019-20 Walt Disney World Resort Ambassadors

In 1965, Walt Disney started the first Ambassador program at Disneyland, designating a cast member to speak on behalf of the park at various public functions and serve as an "Emissary of Goodwill," media representative, and official host. The tradition that started with Walt Disney's selection of Julie Reihm continues to this day. At Walt Disney World Resort, ambassadors are selected through a rigorous search, and a pair are selected as a team for two years. The current Walt Disney World Resort ambassadors, Ken Facey and Brandon Peters, end their two year role at the end of this year.

Marilyn West and Stephen Lim have been selected as the 2019-20 Walt Disney World Resort Ambassador team from 115 applicants. Marilyn was selected from her role on the World Wide Safety team, and Stephen from VIP Tours. While their official duties begin in January, their first official act was serving as the Grand Marshals of a Magic Kingdom parade right after they were informed of their selection.


Marilyn West and Stephen Lim have been selected to serve as the 2019-2020 Walt Disney World Resort Ambassador team. Video ©Disney.

Epcot Concert & Candlelight Processional News & Calendar

Epcot's America Gardens Theatre stage is home of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series throughout the entire run of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, three times nightly through November 12. 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.


Jim Belushi & The Sacred Hearts took the stage last night and return tonight, October 2, as part of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series.


Jim Belushi also roamed and danced in the aisles of the America Gardens Theatre during his Eat to the Beat concerts last night, stating how happy he was to return to the Disney Family (his former sitcom, "According to Jim" was produced by Disney).


Outside Liberty Inn, a sign advertises the Quick Service guaranteed concert seating package available during this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Photos 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. This week, Disney announced four more narrators (which we have added to our calendar as well). Our Candlelight Processional at Epcot Guide lists the dining packages available for breakfast, lunch and dinner around Epcot and its neighboring resorts, and the up-to-date listing of celebrity narrators. 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 2018 scheduled performances at America Gardens Theatre are shown in our Google Calendar of Epcot Events. With the recently announced dates for the Disney on Broadway Concert Series and Garden Rocks Concert Series in 2019, we have added entries for the expected daily schedule and we will update those as performance details are announced.

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

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

Magic Kingdom


The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is scheduled to step off at 2 p.m. daily throughout October. So the answer to "What time is the 3 o'clock parade?" is 2 p.m. all month.


Refurbishment continues at Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, but the ride usually operates during regular park hours. The Sword in the Stone is currently unavailable.


Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial had its final performances last week and no longer appears on the Entertainment Schedule in My Disney Experience.


Exterior construction appears largely complete at the future Magic Kingdom location for the new Walt Disney World Club 33 private membership club.


The entrance for the Magic Kingdom location for the new Walt Disney World Club 33 private membership club now has an entry point similar to those we have seen at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot but lacking the "33" logo.


Pixar-themed wooden doll collections are available for sale inside Main Street Cinema.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


Between World Drive and the Epcot Parking Toll Plaza, construction continues near the solar array that can be seen from monorails traveling to and from the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A section of Epcot's parking lot (away from the bus loop) is now set aside for ride sharing and private car guest drop-off. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction walls are the primary sight along the path between the Epcot Resort Area and the International Gateway. On the left, Disney Skyliner station continues. On the right, refurbishment is underway at part of the Friendship Dock (though watercraft service continues to operate as usual).


From the International Gateway, in addition to the new Disney Skyliner tower next to the France pavilion, guests can see continuing construction for the extensive new building for the future Ratatouille-themed attraction expected to be completed in 2021.


At the other side of the park, construction continues at the Universe of Energy pavilion for its anticipated reopening in 2021 as part of a Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction (HDR Photo).


The interior space of the former Universe of Energy pavilion has been completely gutted and can now be seen beyond the construction walls through its former entrance area. The Universe of Energy exterior sign also has now been removed.


The building now under construction that will house the Guardians of the Galaxy-themed coaster towers over Epcot's parking lot.


A Mickey flowerbed has been planted in Future World between Spaceship Earth and Pin Center.


Inside Disney Vacation Club Members Lounge, at long last, Purell dispensers have been installed. There are no restrooms in the Lounge.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


Epcot International Food & Wine Festival continues through November 12. Congratulations to the Spain Marketplace for its weekly award win (whatever that was). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The early autumn skies above Epcot at sunset can be quite colorful. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Some of the fireworks of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular at Disney's Hollywood Studios may be visible at Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Oswald the Lucky Rabbit appeared at the first two Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic events at the park in September. The final scheduled Moonlight Magic event is scheduled at the park tomorrow, October 3. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Around Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Vacation Club vans used to shuttle prospective members to the preview center at Disney's Saratoga Springs, now are wrapped with some of the concept art for the upcoming Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway attraction expected to open in the park's Chinese Theatre in 2019. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom


Pockets of fog set in around Discovery River, creating an interesting look at Expedition Everest.


Natural fog becomes even more photogenic when lit by Rivers of Light.


Be sure to check the Times Guide or My Disney Experience for Rivers of Light performance times. As the sunsets get earlier this month, so do the showtimes; as of this publication, the only night with two scheduled shows is Saturday, October 20.


Clouds near an almost full moon create an appropriate look to the sky as fall begins.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That…

…Last week, we, like everyone else, reported the news that Rafiki's Planet Watch - Conservation Station at Disney's Animal Kingdom was closing forever later this month. Well, apparently, and according to Orlando Sentinel, that closing is no longer permanent. While Rafiki's is closing later this month, Disney now says it will reopen next spring. Stay tuned.


Guests must take a train from Harambe Station to visit Rafiki's Planet Watch. It is expected to close on or about October 21 until next spring. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Parks Blog has published its monthly rundown on all the latest sweets around Walt Disney World Resort. "Happy snacking!"

…Later than expected, Disney Parks Blog released a video further celebrating the June 30 opening of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios featuring 32,000 dominoes falling down. It was created by lead domino artist and YouTube star Lily Hevesh with a team of four builders inside the Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.


32,000 dominoes topple for Toy Story Land. Video ©Disney.

…Speaking of ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, ESPN Radio personalities Trey Wingo, Mike Golic and Mike Golic Jr., met with Mickey Mouse on the set of their national radio broadcast for the Golic and Wingo show last Thursday at the complex. Mickey Mouse, decked out in his football uniform, spent some time with the radio trio on the set. This show was part of a seven-stop radio remote tour.


ESPN Radio personalities Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, and Mike Golic Jr. hosted their show, Golic and Wingo, at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex where Mickey Mouse stopped by and posed for photos. Photo Courtesy of Disney (Taylor Regulski, photographer).

…And still talking sports, runDisney gave us a first look at the medals for the 2019 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend this week. New this year are 5K medals featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and medals for "little runners who participate in the runDisney Kids' Races."


runDisney released a first look at the medals for the Walt Disney World 5K, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World Marathon, Castaway Cay Challenge, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge and Dopey Challenge. Image Courtesy of runDisney.

…A limited edition run of 100 custom designed, Mickey Mouse-inspired putter head covers are now available for sale in Walt Disney World Golf pro shops. The top of the cover features an outline of the Mickey-shaped bunker now featured on the golf courses. The covers are $69.96 each plus tax.


The new Mickey-shaped bunker near the 9th hole of the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course can be seen from the walkway between the West Side of Disney Springs and the entrance to the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course Pro Shop at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…The deadline for submitting applications to become one of the 100 high school students selected for the Disney Dreamers Academy mentoring experience (and Walt Disney World all-expenses-paid immersive program) is October 31. Visit DisneyDreamersAcademy.com for more information and to submit an application.

…Beyond the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disney Cruise Line announced that in early 2020, three of its ships will have sailings to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida: Disney Magic will sail three-, four- and five-night Bahamian cruises and five-night Western Caribbean cruises from Miami; Disney Fantasy will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries plus two special sailings from Port Canaveral; Disney Dream will sail three- and four-night Bahamian cruises from Port Canaveral.

…And then beyond Florida, Disney Cruise Line alos announced that in early 2020, it will sail from New Orleans, Louisiana, for the first time ever, including voyages to The Bahamas and the Caribbean and a two-week Panama Canal voyage to San Diego, California. DCL also announced a pair of voyages between Vancouver, Canada and Hawai'i. Reservations open to the general public on October 4, 2018. You can read more on this page of DCL's website. Depending on your Castaway Club, Disney Vacation Club, Golden Oak Club or Adventures by Disney Insiders status, you may have early booking opportunities before that by checking this DCL page.

…Finally, for any of our local readers, Orlando International Airport parking garages increased rates by $2/day effective yesterday, October 1. Terminal Top "A" Garage and "B" Garage are now $19/day; "C" Garage is now $17/day. Economy lots remain unchanged at $10/day. It's the airport's first parking price increase since 2009.

…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 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.


The graphic shown on Disney Resort in-room televisions for Disney Springs represents a view of the area while it was still Downtown Disney. Regular readers and visitors can spot many sights that have changed or no longer exist, from DisneyQuest, to the former color scheme of the Characters in Flight balloon, to the former exterior of Planet Hollywood. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Dream Big, Princess Movie Marathon

Through October 18, AMC Disney Springs 24 Dine-In Theaters will salute the "Dream Big, Princess" campaign that inspires girls to celebrate achievements, encourage one another and be empowered to go after their own dreams, by showing five different Disney Princess films:

  • Tangled – now through October 4, 2018
  • Moana – October 5 – 11, 2018
  • Cinderella (Live Action) – October 12 – 18, 2018

Showings include at least 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily, and regular ticket prices apply.

New Hyper-Reality Experience Coming to The VOID

Last winter, The VOID opened at Disney Springs with Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire created by The VOID and ILMxLAB (the immersive entertainment division of LucasFilm). With the Disney Animation Studios film Ralph Breaks the Internet due in theaters on November 21, this fall, The VOID, ILMxLAB and The Walt Disney Company will present Ralph Breaks VR go give guests "a new multi-sensory Disney adventure...immersed in the worlds of the internet and online gaming with Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope."

For those that have never visited The VOID at Disney Springs Marketplace (or Downtown Disney in Anaheim or elsewhere), the physical space guests explore itself is pretty much a "black box" where the players wear equipment and a helmet that immerses them into a virtual world rather than the place itself. Thus, it is not surprising that Disney Parks Blog confirms that Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire "will not be going away" when Ralph Wrecks VR debuts. Staff at The VOID confirm this as well.


After entering information into a tablet and signing a liability waiver, guests receive a QR-encoded wristband to enter the world of Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire. Tickets for the experience are currently $29.95 and the only discounts available are for Disney Cast Members. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'

Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' now offers the Rise & Shine Brunch on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. See the brunch menu for details or call (407) 939-5277 for reservations.


Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' serves its Rise & Shine Brunch on Sundays. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Frontera Cocina

NEW The restaurant located in the Town Center area will celebrate National Taco Day this Thursday, October 4, with a $10 taco trio platter and $6 Hodelo drafts.


This Thursday, October 4, Frontera Cocina celebrates National Taco Day. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Terralina Crafted Italian

NEW The restaurant will host an "intimate Wine Dinner" on October 24. The cost per guest will be $55 plus tax and gratuity. Details are coming soon to TerralinaCraftedItalian.com. Throughout all of October, the restaurant is also offering a Happy Hour featuring charcuterie board for $15 and half-priced pizzas.

Terralina Crafted Italian now serves up Meatball Mondays. Guests can choose from three meatball dishes including a meatball sandwich ($14), pizza ($15) or calzone ($14) served with pecorino-truffle potato chips and garlic pickles. Substitute the sides with a baby greens salad or French fries for $3.

Paddlefish

NEW Rooftop Wine Experiences are available on the 2nd Tuesday every month through January on the third "deck." The experience and discussion lead by its Sommelier team features wine flights from around the world and light bites. The next one is October 9. For more information and tickets, visit its EventBrite webpage. Guests must be 21 or older to attend.

NEW On October 16, the restaurant will host an Oktoberfest Beer Dinner on its rooftop with a four-course pairing menu with seasonal local brews from 6:30-8:30 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit its EventBrite webpage. Guests must be 21 or older to attend.

The Edison

NEW The Edison's new "Burger of the Month" is a pork burger with sliced BBQ pork loin and crispy bacon named "The Triple Threat Burger" and is garnished with caramelized apples and served on a pretzel roll with a side of fries. Its recommended pairing is the "Hallo Hooch," a blend of Redemption Rye, Bailey's Bumpkin Spice, Domaine de Canton, and Cinnamon Cordial shaken over ice and topped with ground cinnamon.

NEW On Halloween night, The Edison hosts a party paying homage to the 25th anniversary of the release of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. "A Halloween Soirée at The Edison" starts at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets are $85 plus tax and gratuity and include Live Music and Dancers, Passed Hors d'Oeuvres, a welcome cocktail, a costume contest, stilt walkers, aerialist performances, plus giveaways and take home treats. Guests must be 21 or over to attend and the restaurant's full food and menu will be available for additional purchase. Visit this page of the Patina Restaurant Group website for more information and to purchase tickets.

Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim will host a vodka-tasting and cocktail class at The Edison Orlando on October 9, at 7 p.m. (for those ages 21 and over). The evening includes passed appetizers from The Edison's menu paired with vodka=based cocktails and all guests will receive a copy of Tony Abou-Ganim's book, Vodka Distilled. Space is limited. Tickets are $50 (not including tax or gratuity) and are available with more information on this page of Patina Restaurant Group's website.

Maria & Enzo's and Enzo's Hideaway

Maria & Enzo's and Enzo's Hideaway at Disney Springs are now offering 40% off to Disney Annual Passholders during lunch through December 31st. Not valid with any other offer or during brunch.

Wine Bar George

Join Master Sommelier George Miliotes for a screening of the newly released Somm 3 film and a blind tasting of six wines (alongside cheese and charcuterie) On October 6 or 20, from 2-5 p.m.. Tickets are $100 plus $5.36 EventBrite ticket fee for October 6 here and for October 20 here. Must be age 21 or over.

Enjoy a guided tasting with Master Sommelier George Miliotes featuring six red wines from around the world plus a selection of cheese and charcuterie on November 1, from 5-6:30 p.m. Tickets are $105.25 available here (note, the webpage says that the price is $110.25 per person includes tax and tip, but the tickets link on the page suggests the charge will be $105.25). Must be age 21 or over and the event will be cancelled if less than 10 register.

House of Blues


Outside the restaurant, a sign advertises "Happy Hour" adult beverage specials, daily from 11:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. until closing. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Retail


Disney Design-A-Tee shop has closed in the Marketplace area. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A gold Mickey pumpkin display is outside of the Ever After Jewelry Co. & Accessories Store in Town Center. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Construction


Reminiscent of the rest of Disney Springs over the past several years, the LEGO brick displays outside the store have been replaced with construction zones too.


Phased refurbishment continues inside of World of Disney Store ahead of its "Grand Reveal" this fall, while outside, construction of the new pedestrian bridge to the new parking structure across Buena Vista Drive also continues.


The staircase to the new pedestrian bridge to the new parking structure has not yet been completed.


The Basin shop is open during its exterior refurbishment (and apparent re-roofing).


Construction continues at the future site of NBA Experience on the West Side.


The exterior of the future NBA Experience looks increasingly like the concept art on the construction walls (HDR Photo).


NBA Experience is expected to open in the second half of 2019.


Construction continues at Jaleo (in the former site of Wolfgang Puck Grand Café).


Construction also continues at the new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill next to the Coca-Cola Store.


The new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill increasingly looks like the concept art on its construction walls as well.


The new covered patio at The Polite Pig is nearing completion: recently installed ceiling fans were operating at the time of this photo.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Crowd Forecast

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

Date Overall
Tuesday, October 2, 2018  3 / 10
Wednesday, October 3, 2018  4 / 10
Thursday, October 4, 2018  2 / 10
Friday, October 5, 2018  4 / 10
Saturday, October 6, 2018  7 / 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!

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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
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom:
    • 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 – 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 – 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
  • Mickey Mouse's 90th Birthday (celebrations likely) – November 18
  • Dapper Day (unofficial events)
    • November 17 – Disney's Animal Kingdom (until 3-5 p.m.) & Magic Kingdom (evening);
    • November 18 – Epcot
  • Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom:
    • December 3 & 10: 10 p.m. - 1 a.m.
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.

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
  • Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial – no longer listed in My Disney Experience (final shows September 29, 2018).
  • Move it! Shake it! Dance & Play It! Street Party – no shows scheduled after Saturday, October 6, 2018.
    Starting January 18, 2019, the new "Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party" will take its place, featuring new arrangements of classic "Mickey Mouse Club" songs
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment (return date is still unknown)
  • 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.
  • Illuminations: Reflections of Earth – closing during the second half of 2019 for new nighttime spectacular.
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
    Starting January 18, will become home to Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, Frozone & Edna Mode.
  • Disney Junior Live on Stage – Closed.
    Disney Junior Dance Party expected to debut in its place, fall 2018.
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.
  • Conservation Station – Rafiki's Planet Watch - closing around October 21 - reopening Spring 2019
Disney Water Parks

Disney's Blizzard Beach

  • Closing for seasonal refurbishment October 28, 2018 – January 5, 2019.

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon

  • Closing for seasonal refurbishment January 6 – March 16, 2019.
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. Disney Parks Blog has published some details of the new menu coming to Centertown Market and the new pool-side bar named Banana Cabana, expected to open late this fall.
  • 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.

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

NEW Play, Stay, Dine and Save

You can Play, Stay, Dine and Save up to $500 for a family of four on a five-night/six-day Walt Disney Travel Company room, theme park ticket and dining plan package at a select Disney Resort hotel, for arrivals most nights January 1 through March 9, 2019. he number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and may be booked through January 2, 2019. Read more about it on this page of DisneyWorld.com.

NEW Gift of Magic Offer

You can save 25 percent on rooms for stays most nights January 1 through April 27, 2019, at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels with the Gift of Magic offer. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited and may be booked through January 2, 2019. Get more information on this page of DisneyWorld.com.

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:

  • 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. The final one is 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).

Maria & Enzo's and Enzo's Hideaway at Disney Springs are now offering 40% off to Disney Annual Passholders during lunch through December 31st. Not valid with any other offer or during brunch.

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 wdwchuck

    We were able to attend the annual passholder early morning event at Toy Story Land on Friday. We enjoy seeing all the pavement and being able to do Toy Story Mania as a walk on 5 times. We also did the Slinky Dog rollercoaster and thought it was very well done. A trifecta of Thunder Mountain Railroad, 7 Dwarves Mine Train and Slinky Dog. All very well done and at our speed.
    We did the saucer cup spin too and it was just like every other saucer cup spin we have ever done. Thank you Disney for rewarding your annual passholders with some extra time to enjoy the parks without all the crowds. The last time we did Toy Story Mania we came out of the exit ramp and the line for Slinky Dog was at the entrance to Toy Story Land.

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