Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 11-17, 2018

by Alan S Dalinka, contributing writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 11-17, 2018

 

Writer's note: With 2018 getting down to its final weeks, Walt Disney World Resort is gearing up for its biggest crowds of the year and also looking ahead to 2019. We received news earlier this week that Edward James Olmos has been replaced as the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day narrator of Epcot's Candlelight Processional by Joey Fatone, and Epcot has opened up reservations for the workshops offered Friday-Monday during the January 18-February 25 Epcot International Festival of the Arts. The workshops run 75 minutes and are hands-on opportunities to create your own works of art to take home (usually $39 plus tax and not included in park admission). Book your reservations by calling (407) WDW-TOUR or visiting ArtfulEpcot.com. Shorter seminars (typically 30 minutes each and included in park admission), can only be reserved on the same day by visiting Odyssey Festival Showplace.

The full Disney on Broadway Concert Series schedule is now also available, and, this week, part of the schedule for the Garden Rocks Concert Series that follows with the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival has also been announced. (Remember that this year both Concert Series will run everyday of their respective Festival.) Dining package reservations for the Disney on Broadway Concert Series are now open and, starting on this Thursday, December 13, they will also be open for the Garden Rocks Series. For reservations, visit the respective Festival's webpage or call (407)WDW-DINE. A few more details and our updated calendar are below in the Epcot Candlelight Processional and Concerts News & Calendar section.


Sorcerer Mickey uses magic to conjure up spells. If you would like to "magically" make park crowds disappear and meet him quickly at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and visit attractions with little or no wait, be sure to read our discussion about "Disney After Hours" in this week's Update.

News and Views

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More #DisneyAfterHours

A few years back, Magic Kingdom offered the first "Disney After Hours" event that was not specifically tied to one of its themed parties (Halloween, Christmas, the former Pirates & Princesses parties, etc.) or Disney Vacation Club (these days known as DVC Moonlight Magic events). Indeed, distinct from Extra Magic Hours (or the long-since-discontinued E-Ride Nights), the event's advertised price point has always been high, even above the price of a one-day ticket to the park. The event's main advertised benefit: a very small number of tickets would be sold, so the running attractions would be available during the entire event with little or no wait.

Back in July, we were invited to experience Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom as invited media and we shared our observations about it in the Walt Disney World Resort Update for July 18-23, 2018. In a relevant part, I wrote:

As a Passholder, the new event was of no interest to me [when it was announced]; as a local Passholder (even before I was the regular MousePlanet contributor invited to events at the parks), I could find those rare low attendance days and ride a bunch of rides in the same day, and, during busier times, I could often find sufficient FastPass reservations for the "Mountains" to satisfy (even if I have to wait a day or two). None of my local friends expressed any interest in buying tickets to the event. Some out-of-town friends were staying in a Deluxe Disney Resort during one of those first "Disney After Hours" nights and were not interested in buying tickets either. To their "surprise and delight," however, the Disney Cast Members at their hotel provided them with complimentary passes to the event. The rumors at the time were that even with the very low attendance cap that had been set, the park was having difficulty selling tickets. The next day, my friends told me that they absolutely loved their evening of exclusive park access—and, for free, that was not a surprise!
After the first run of "Disney After Hours" came and went, many of us expected it would not return. We were wrong. Another batch of them came along in 2017. Increasingly, in 2017, I heard reports of people really enjoying the exclusivity of the events, but I did not have any interest in attending myself. By then, I was the writer of this Update, and always included the relevant information, but I also did not know folks (local or visiting from out of town) who were willing to pay for the privilege on their own. None of our readers ever reached out to me about them either. Late in 2017, a bunch of 2018 dates were announced too (and more were released in May); again, we included them in the Updates and, I assumed, that would be the about the extent of our coverage of them. I was wrong about that too.

After the media-invited night of enjoying "Disney After Hours," I did understand and wrote about the more limited audiences for which such a ticket at Magic Kingdom might make sense, even at the high price point. With the additional included perks of complimentary popcorn, ice cream treats, water, and bottled soft drinks, the unique night in the park could really appeal to someone who just wants to ride rides and avoid crowds entirely. After noting that folks pay similar to far higher prices for concerts and sporting events, I wrote:

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).

That recap of the Magic Kingdom event is presented because, again, when Walt Disney World announced earlier this year that it was going to offer "Disney After Hours" at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios, like many others, I was again skeptical. The Magic Kingdom event promises "at least" 25 open attractions during the three hour event. By most folks' way of counting, there are not that many attractions at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios combined, let alone enough for each to have a separate, three hour hard ticket event.

With thanks to Walt Disney World for inviting us to have a look at the inaugural Disney After Hours events at both parks this past week, I can say again, "I get it." As it has been implemented for the rest of 2018, Disney After Hours in those parks in no way reduces the regular day guest visit to the parks by closing them any earlier than they do on other nights. While the Magic Kingdom's holiday parties and Disney's Hollywood Studios' Star Wars: Galactic Nights events close those parks earlier than other operating days, so far, Disney After Hours is just that: time in the park after the regular operating day has ended.


Because Disney After Hours attendees can "mix-in" before the Disney's Hollywood Studios closes, and because Fantasmic! often begins as the park closes, it may be possible to view the show with a Disney After Hours ticket only.


Day guests in the park, may stay in the park to view Fantasmic (as I was still visiting the park using my Annual Pass at this point in the day).


After Fantasmic ends, however, day guests are directed toward the exit and cast members start requesting to see whether folks in the park are wearing Disney After Hours wristbands.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Like other separate admission required parties in the parks, event attendees can mix-in before park closing time. At Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios, event ticket holders get wristbands and mix-in at 7 p.m., with the park's official close being 8 p.m. and the event's official start time at 8:30 p.m. (concluding at 11:30 p.m.). Like the Magic Kingdom version, these parks offer guests complimentary popcorn, ice cream novelties, and bottled water and soft drinks.


A special pamphlet lists the attractions, entertainment, food & beverage, and merchandise locations open during Disney After Hours at Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Ice cream novelties are among the treats included as part of admission to Disney After Hours.


Ticket availability may be posted outside the park gates (though day-of tickets are slightly more expensive than advanced purchased).


Disney's Hollywood Studios actually has more character meet and greets during Disney After Hours (with 10 characters available) than it does rides (with only 6).

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

The "draw" at each park is each park's newest land and the guests' freedom to see them very much the way its designers envisioned. In other words, at Disney's Animal Kingdom, guests get to experience Pandora-The World of Avatar largely stroller and chaos-free. With little or no wait for its landmark Avatar Flight of Passage ride, guests can ride several times in the time a day guest typically waits in the stand-by queue. For that attraction, in particular, re-rides afford the opportunity to discover more and more detail that, as Portfolio Creative Executive Imagineer Joe Rohde described last year, can be "as small as a nickel." Indeed, despite the number of times I have been able to ride Flight of Passage, I continue to find new details and have different experiences.


During regular park operating hours and even, from my experience, during DVC Moonlight Magic, the standby time for Avatar Flight of Passage is usually an hour or more, but not during Disney After Hours.


During Disney After Hours, you can take a stroll at your leisure through the queue, and take photos of the floating mountains and other scenery without hassle. (one second, hand-held exposure photo)


Though Disney After Hours guests were directed to the less-detailed FastPass+ queue, we were allowed to wander the more detailed standby queue (including the lab and this adjacent area).


Most visitors to Pandora never have the opportunity to see empty queue lines at Avatar Flight of Passage.


Likewise, the neighboring Na'vi River Journey had no wait time for its visit to the Shaman of Songs.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


On the other side of the park, Expedition Everest was operating during Disney After Hours and Cast Members would let guests pick whichever row to ride.


Likewise, at DINOSAUR, it was possible to ride a Time Rover in your own-selected group and I was allowed to ride again after unbuckling the seat belt and standing up to allow the vehicle to reset.


Until getting to the side of Dinosaurland U.S.A., with the dance party, you could wander pretty much on your own.


And Chip and Dale were more than happy to entertain anyone who came their way.


Even before the official 11:30 p.m. end of Disney After Hours, you could stand in front of the Tree of Life with few other guests around.


Very few of the merchandise locations are open during Disney After Hours, providing more open views around the park.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, Andy's "backyard" Toy Story Land seems much more like being shrunk down to the size of a toy when you are surrounded by more scenery than fellow guests and strollers and such. Likewise, for folks that are comfortable riding a rather low intensity roller coaster, Slinky Dog Dash is a very re-ridable attraction as well and, at night, the different lighting that accompanies each ride affords somewhat different experiences each time.


During the day, Slinky Dog Dash standby times can still exceed 100 minutes. During Disney After Hours, the wait was reduced to one or two car loading cycles, maximum during my visit.


Toy Story Mania also had no significant wait, and cast members offered the opportunity to re-ride without getting off.


Buzz Lightyear was available to meet and greet throughout the night and, nearby, so were Andy and Jessie.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


Without fellow guests in the queue during Disney After Hours, it is possible to watch some of Mr. Potato Head's routine. I was lucky enough to see him remove and replace his ear (notwithstanding rumors that he no longer did this). Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


Disney After Hours may afford opportunities to spot details that get overlooked when flowing through attractions with crowds. A cast member at Tower of Terror showed off this hidden Mickey in the library carpet (there are four of them, two in each library).


Inside the Tower of Terror library, all of the props are period-appropriate, including this sheet music which is for an actual song about Mickey.


Star Tours was also available for little or no wait, and cast members allowed re-rides by walking through an interior hallway I had never seen before to re-watch the safety video before re-boarding the ride.


The exit of Star Tours in the recently refurbished Tatooine Traders looks huge when empty of guests.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


Like at Disney's Animal Kingdom, obstruction-free views of the park are one of the benefits of Disney After Hours.


As the Disney After Hours event ends, it was even possible to see Hollywood Boulevard basically empty of everyone but cast members (and bloggers).


After several weeks of trying to get an unobstructed photo of the dancing ornaments, Disney After Hours provided that opportunity.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom offered some live entertainment (an extra showing of Rivers of Light, Pandora Drummers and a DJ-hosted dance party with the Chipmunk-o-sauruses) and Disney's Hollywood Studios had many of its character meet and greets open in addition to the following attractions (and more):

Disney's Animal Kingdom Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Na'vi River Journey
  • Expedition Everest
  • DINOSAUR
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • TriceraTop Spin
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Chimpmunk-o-sauruses (also known as Chip and Dale dressed in their dinosaur pajamas to sneak in to Donald's Dino Bash) danced the night away during Disney After Hours. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


Minnie Mouse dressed for the Red Carpet was available for meet and greets at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Advance tickets for the Disney After Hour events are $125/person plus tax ( there are Annual Passholder and DVC discounts available). If tickets remain on the day-of the event, they are more expensive. The dates of scheduled events and links to the relevant page of DisneyWorld.com are in the Resort Events tabs below.

Tasting Sampler Experience at Disney's Animal Kingdom

For a limited time, Disney's Animal Kingdom is offering a "Tasting Sampler" experience. Available for purchase only at least 24 hours prior to visiting the park by calling (407) WDW-DINE or online at DisneyWorld.com/TastingSampler, the $30 per package purchase includes a $35 digital gift card that can be used at select food and beverage carts and kiosks at Disney's Animal Kingdom from December 22, 2018, until January 2, 2019, and also includes preferred seating for one person per package purchased for the second showing of Rivers of Light on the night you select in that time period.

The $35 digital gift card will be delivered by email that will include a bar code that can be added to a digital wallet and then scanned at over 40 outdoor carts and kiosks, including savory and sweet plates, snacks like popcorn, glazed nuts, ice cream, and some specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. A map of participating locations will be available at Creature Comforts and Isle of Java. Whether or not you use the package, some special new offerings including Shrimp Curry and Chicken Curry Bowls, House-smoked Pastrami Sliders, and more will only be available from December 22 to January 2, which you can get a preview of on Disney Parks Blog.

The digital gift card offered by the park in this package cannot be used at quick-service or table service restaurants and cannot be reloaded. Disney says that only a "limited number" of the Tasting Sampler packages will be available each day.

Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members Give to Toys for Tots

Last Thursday, as part of the on-going celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Disney VoluntEARs program, 35 Disney VoluntEARs from Walt Disney World Resort along with current Walt Disney World Resort Ambassador Brandon Peters and the incoming 2019-20 Ambassador team of Marilyn West and Stephen Lim, unloaded a small fleet of Minnie Vans from Walt Disney World at the Toys for Tots of Central Florida distribution warehouse in Kissimmee, Florida. Approximately 30,000 toys and gifts donated by Walt Disney World Cast Members were delivered in support of this year's U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive which will provide toys and gifts to over 30,000 Central Florida children registered for Toys for Tots.


U.S. Marine Corps Reserves work to help Central Florida children receive the toys donated by Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members. Disney VoluntEARs help fill the warehouse with toys and then meet the new Ambassadors Team and Santa Goofy. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

Toys For Tots began as the creation of Marine Corps Reserve Bill Hendricks and his wife Diane in 1947. As the Toys for Tots website explains it, Diane instructed Bill to find an agency to support children in need and deliver some handcrafted dolls to them. When Bill could not find such an organization, she instructed him to "start one," and Bill and his reserve unit in Los Angeles then collected and distributed 5,000 toys that year. The following year, at the direction of the U.S. Marines Commandant, all Marine Reserve Sites implemented a Toys for Tots campaign.


Walt Disney World Resort Ambassador Brandon Peters along with Disney VoluntEARs helped U.S. Marine Corps Reserves unload Minnie Vans filled with donated toys from Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members.


No job is too tough for a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve when it comes to helping the Toys for Tots campaign.


Walt Disney World Resort Cast Members donated approximately 30,000 toys for this year's drive.


U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and the Walt Disney World Resort Ambassadors join Santa Goofy in the Toys for Tots Central Florida warehouse. (HDR Photo)

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Though Bill Hendrick's civilian job was Director of Public Relations at Warner Brothers Studios, he was friends with Walt Disney himself. As a favor to Bill, Walt Disney designed the first Toys for Tots poster which included a miniature three car train that since has been adopted as the logo for Toys for Tots.


Given Walt Disney's love of trains, it is not surprising that his design for the original Toys for Tots poster included a three car train that has since become the logo for Toys for Tots. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Disney VoluntEARS program started at Disneyland Resort in 1983. Since that time, Disney VoluntEARS have provided more than 10 million hours of volunteer service worldwide in hospitals, at beach cleanups on community playground builds and more.

Epcot Candlelight Processional and Concerts News & Calendar

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays began on Sunday, November 18. Along with the holiday decor and special food offerings, additional entertainment by holiday storytellers and musical acts are now all around the park.


Though this year's celebration of Hanukkah has ended, the holiday storyteller between France and Morocco along the World Showcase Promenade performs several times daily during the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Starting on Thanksgiving itself (for the first time ever), Candlelight Processional returned to the America Gardens Theatre for the traditional retelling of the story of Christmas with celebrity narrator, live orchestra, and mass choir three times nightly through December 30. 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 scheduled celebrity narrators. You can also visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for Candlelight dining package information and reservations.


The Candlelight Processional debuted at Epcot this year on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, and is scheduled to run three times nightly through December 30. Panoramic Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


For a limited time, you can watch a replay of the #DisneyParksLIVE stream of Neil Patrick Harris as the celebrity narrator of a performance of Candlelight Processional at Epcot earlier this month. Video via #DisneyParksLIVE.

Note: a schedule change published this week replaced celebrity narrator Edward James Olmos with Joey Fatone on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (December 24-25). We have updated our interactive calendar below accordingly.

Looking ahead to 2019, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series will take the stage three times nightly, from January 18 through February 25 during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. Dining packages are available at ArtfulEpcot.com or by calling (407)WDW-DINE. (Workshops around the Festival can also be booked at the website or by calling (407)WDW-TOUR.)


The 2019 edition of the Disney on Broadway Concert Series will run three times nightly for the entire 39-days of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Also expanded to seven days a week, beginning on March 6, the Garden Rocks Concert Series takes the stage three times nightly through June 3. Part of the schedule of performers has been released. Announced returning performers include The Spinners and Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone, and new to the Festival performers include TobyMac, Steven Curtis Chapman, Sister Sledge, and Colin Hay of Men at Work. Reservations open this Thursday, December 13. For more information or reservations, call (407)WDW-DINE or visit FreshEpcot.com.

For the convenience of our readers, all of the 2018 scheduled Candlelight Processional narrators at America Gardens Theatre are shown in our Google Calendar of Epcot Events. The full Disney on Broadway Concert Series performance schedule is now also included, along with the performers announced so far for the Garden Rocks Concert Series in 2019. While our Google Calendar of Epcot Events includes a list of the scheduled performers, it is always best to 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. You can add the whole Event calendar to any calendar that supports the iCal format (like iPhone and Mac) by copying this link and, indeed, if when we get additional information and update the calendar, the calendar will update on your subscribed device as well. The calendar is provided as a courtesy "as is, where is" without any guarantees. Given the effort it took to create it and keep it updated, 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

Most of my Views this week are included in the discussion of Disney After Hours, but there are a more from my time in the parks using my Annual Pass both in the time before using my Disney-issued media credentials and on a day I went to meet up with some friends visiting from out of town.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

A benefit of being on, perhaps, the final truck through Kilimanjaro Safaris on a night where it closed at 6:15 p.m. in the late fall was hearing the roar of the male lion. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


As we have previously reported, Kilimanjaro Safaris again often closes before the park. On Tuesday, it was 6:15 p.m. which, at this time of year, is well-after sunset.


At 6:15 p.m., after boarding the truck, there were no more guests in the queue for further rides. Wait times for the final safaris of the day are often short during regular park hours on many days. The Safari was not open during Disney After Hours.


While Pandora-The World of Avatar tends to remain busy during all regular park hours, Africa often is fairly quiet in the latter part of the operating day.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


The "Flurry of Fun" celebration at the park adds songs from "Olaf's Frozen Adventure" to the For the First Time in Forever sing-along.


After celebrating "everything" Queen Elsa uses her powers to add snow to the Christmas celebration.


Over in Toy Story Land, Woody wears a winter scarf.


Construction continues beyond the fence of Andy's backyard on the site of the future Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Based on a photo published by Disney Parks Blog this week of the completed Millennium Falcon at Disneyland, it is likely the one under construction here is not too far in this direction.


Outside Toy Story Land behind the Chinese Theatre and near the former entrance to Pixar Place, a new kiosk is under construction. Starting around January 18, the former Pixar Place area will become home to characters from "The Incredibles."


On Hollywood Boulevard, Adrian & Edith's Head to Toe shop now is filled with sweats for sale. Embroidery services are now available a few doors down at Cover Story.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


The parking lot provides beautiful views of sunset beyond the spires of Batuu in the future Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area of the park.


Construction continues in the area of the former tramway closest to the park gates (for most guests, the courtesy tram currently does not save many steps in the parking lot, as it drops guests off to the left of where this photo was taken and the entrance is way down the fenced-in area to the right).


Disney Skyliner cables are visible on the support poles throughout the parking lot.


Construction continues at and all around the future Disney Skyliner station outside the park gates.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That…

…This is the time of year that schedules often start to change around the parks, as the larger winter break crowds start to arrive. Be sure to check daily Times Guides or the My Disney Experience app rather than relying on your memory of past years or sources of less-than-official information. For example, My Disney Experience app now shows that on Saturday, December 15, the Magic Kingdom's Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is scheduled to be performed twice, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. It then is shown to run daily at 2 p.m. until December 21, which appears to be the last day this year to catch that parade before it goes into a brief seasonal hiatus to make way for twice daily performances of Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade (at Noon and 3:30 p.m.). Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is scheduled to return to its more expected "3 o'clock parade" routine starting again on January 1, 2019.

…This year's #ShareYourEars campaign—where folks shared their "ear photos" on social media—has concluded with Disney donated $3 million to Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant the wishes of children with critical illnesses and their families.

…Epcot's Rose & Crown Dining Room at the United Kingdom pavilion is offering a special Tea Experience during December. A Twinings-trained cast member leads guests through the history of the Twinings brand and its flavors, with a tasting of five flavors of Twinings tea with sandwiches and scones. For reservations and more information, call (407)WDW-DINE.

…The newest giraffe calf at Disney's Animal Kingdom, born October 1, is now named Amira, which means "princess" in Swahili. She has joined the herd on the savanna of Kilimanjaro Safaris, standing at more than five-feet tall after bonding and nursing with her mother Kenya in a backstage habitat.

…Following the keynote address by Bob Chapek, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products last month during the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo at the Orange County Convention Center near Walt Disney World Resort last month, Disney Parks Blog posted a video highlighting some of the new technology and personalized experiences the company is working on, including a look at the new ride system for Epcot's Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction.


Disney Parks Blog shared highlights of Bob Chapek's recent IAAPA keynote address. Video © Disney.

…CLARIFICATION: In last week's Update we discussed changes to Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic registration and somewhere in the typing and editing may have muddled the description. Correctly stated: For past events, DVC Members could register themselves plus five additional guests or the number of guests listed on their room reservations if they had one or more. For 2019, Members can register themselves and only up to three guests or the total number on their room reservation, but, if the Member has multiple room reservations the maximum depends on how the reservations are booked: if booked with DVC points, the Member can register themselves and the total number of guests on the reservations (including the Member); if booked with cash or RCI points, Members can only register themselves and the number of individuals staying in the same room as the Member. Children under 3 years old (who you are willing to keep out that late in the parks) do not need to be registered for Moonlight Magic Events.

…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 along with our most recent views of the area. Event items NEW to the Update are marked accordingly. Also, this Disney Parks Blog post highlights even more "limited-time" holiday food and beverage offerings around Disney Springs.


The Christmas Tree Trail, located in the old bus loop at the Marketplace, has 27 themed trees to see, plus specialty beverages and foods, and, of course, Santa in his Chalet. The Haunted Mansion tree is one of the most impressive new additions to the trail this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Marketplace also is decorated with less traditional seasonal decor. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

NEW Kingdom Hearts Pop-up Experience

Starting December 14, and running through January 31, 2019, Town Center will host a "first-of-its-kind" pop-up experience featuring a playable demo of the upcoming release of the game "KINGDOM HEARTS III" (available in stores on January 29, 2019). Located next to the Lime Parking Garage (likely in the space previously occupied by Disney Corner store), the location will feature a playable demo of the game, a special Keyblade exhibit, and artwork from the game. For those, like me, that have not played in the Kingdom Hearts universe, the games in the series connect Disney characters, stories and worlds, like Disney-Pixar's Toy Story and Monsters, Inc., Walt Disney Studios' Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Hero 6, Tangled, Frozen and more. Bringing together the worlds of Disney, Pixar and SQUARE ENIX, players adventure with Sora and his friends to battle the Heartless invasion using Keyblade transformations, joint attacks with Disney and Pixar characters, and more. Details and a preview of the game itself (plus pre-orders for it), are available on KingdomHearts.com.

Raglan Road Irish Pub

NEW Raglan Road Irish Pub will be serving up Christmas Day Dinner all day long with its latest menu on December 25. The special dinner selection is butter & herb roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, bacon roasted Brussels sprouts, apple, sage & sweet onion stuffing, cranberry & plum chutney with traditional turkey gravy ($28/Adults and $14/Kids). The full menu will be available as well. Music and dancers begin their shows at 4:30 p.m. For reservations and more information, visit RaglanRoad.com or call (407)938-0300.

NEW On December 17, two new cocktails featuring Dingle Vodka and Dingle Gin will debut: the "Raglan Road Espresso Martini" (Dingle Vodka, Banana Liquor, Creme De Cacao (Dark) and rich espresso garnished with espresso beans) and "The Pride of The Peninsula" (Dingle Gin, fresh squeeze of lime, Fevertree Elderflower Tonic, shaved cucumber and torn mint garnished with cucumber stalk).

D-Luxe Burger

NEW Limited-Time Breakfast – during December, the restaurant is open for breakfast daily from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. offering a classic Breakfast Sandwich with egg, cheddar cheese, and bacon on a Parker House roll or and a D-Luxe Breakfast Sandwich which adds your choice of either a D-Luxe signature patty, chorizo patty, or buttermilk fried chicken. Burger options include the Breakfast Burger featuring a D-Luxe signature patty topped with egg, cheddar, bacon, and hash browns on a Parker House Roll as well as the El Diablo Breakfast Burger featuring a chorizo signature-blend patty topped with pepper jack cheese, smoked bacon-pepper jam, and egg on a cheddar biscuit.

Also on the limited-time breakfast menu is a Crispy Chicken Biscuit with buttermilk fried chicken topped with honey butter, chipotle mayonnaise, and pickles served on a cheddar biscuit. Alternatively, the restaurant is offering an Egg White Frittata sandwich with egg whites, spinach, hash browns, pico de gallo, and avocado crema on a Parker House Roll or the Greek Yogurt Parfait with strawberries, blueberries, and granola. Fresh-cut fries are also available and can be ordered topped with either béarnaise sauce or sausage gravy.

The Edison

Tickets are now on-sale to celebrate the New Year and The Edison's 1 Year Anniversary. Doors open on New Year's Eve at 7:30 p.m. and the event includes tray-passed hors d'oevres, live-action food stations, a wide selection of beer, wine and premium spirits until midnight, plus a selection of coffee, desserts and a celebratory midnight toast. Guests must be 21 years old or older to attend. Tickets are $150/person (plus tax and gratuity) and may be purchased on this page of Patina Restaurant Group's website.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is Now Open

The new venue located next to the Coca-Cola Store and across from Planet Hollywood Observatory and Chicken Guy, is the fourth "Bar & Grill" location from Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck. Disney Parks Blog describes the venue as "[f]eaturing approachable dining with a touch of California elegance ... [in] a dynamic setting inspired by traditional farmhouses and ... a menu designed to suit every occasion - from casual, leisurely meals to lavish, celebratory gatherings." Reservations are available on this page of DisneyWorld.com, but be aware that Dining Plans are not accepted.

Ralph Breaks VR at The VOID Now Open

Last month's theatrical opening of Disney Animation Studios' Ralph Breaks the Internet was closely followed by the debut of Ralph Breaks VR at The VOID at Disney Springs (and the Downtown Disney District in Anaheim). Like Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, which opened last winter, the "hyper-reality" experience was created by The VOID and ILMxLAB (the immersive entertainment division of LucasFilm). Teams of four join Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz to break into the internet disguised as "Netizens" adventuring their way through Dunderdome and Pancake Milkshake Diner to come up against B.E.V. (which stands for "Built to Eradicate Viruses").


Disney Parks Blog shares an inside look at "Ralph Breaks VR." Video © Disney.

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. Guests must be at least 48 inches tall and 10 years old. Disney Parks Blog confirms that Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will continue to operate: check the schedule and get tickets for either (or both) at TheVOID.com.

The VOID is now selling location-specific gift cards. They can be purchased on line or in-person.


Say "MILKSHAKE" when checking in at The VOID and you will receive a free digital photo with the purchase of your round of play (though you may be asked where you saw it, and you should know that this poster is on a Disney Resort Bus). File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'

Cake for Ugly Sweaters All December, guests who dine at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' in a Disney-themed "ugly" Christmas sweater receive a complimentary slice of Chef Art’s signature hummingbird cake with green and red sprinkles with the purchase of an entrée or appetizer (but limit one per table).

Splitsville Luxury Lanes

Cake for Ugly Sweaters guests dining in a Disney-themed "ugly" Christmas sweater can receive a brownie dessert with whipped cream with green and red sprinkles with purchase of an entrée or appetizer (but limit one per person).

T-Rex

On select dates in December, for $32/person ($20.50 for kids ages 4-9), T-Rex offers "Breakfast with Santa" including a breakfast buffet, meeting Mr. and Mrs. Claus, plus early access to World of Disney store and the T-Rex Dino Store from 9-10 a.m. on the day of their breakfast.

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 and Disney Vacation Club Members during lunch through December 31. Not valid with any other offer or during brunch.

Groups of Sunday Brunch diners at Maria & Enzo’s through December 30 that wear matching holiday pajamas receive a complimentary commemorative photo. Plus, kids age 9 and under eat free with purchase of adult entrée! Call 407-560-8466 for full details and to reserve a table.

…All of the Patina Restaurant Group restaurants are offering a $20 bonus card when you purchase a $100 gift card during the holiday season. The bonus cards must be redeemed January 2, 2019-March 31, 2019, and cannot be combined with other offers, promotions or discounts. Visit PatinaGroup.com/bonuscard for more information.

Paddlefish

Rooftop Wine Experiences are available on the second 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. For more information and tickets, visit its EventBrite webpage. Guests must be 21 or older to attend.

Status of Parking Availability at Disney Springs

Those who visit Disney Springs during the weekends or during busy times of the year at the Resort know that the two parking structures often fill to capacity during those peak times. Even the flat lot on the West Side can fill up during very busy times! Construction continues across Buena Vista Drive at the site of the new "Lemon" garage that will connect to Disney Springs by a series of pedestrian bridges. We have not yet heard when the new structure will be open, but stay tuned and, if you are driving on Buena Vista Drive, observe the overhead signs directing cars to the garages and lots with availability.


The new "Lemon" parking structure is on the opposite side of Buena Vista Drive (next to the Speedway Gas Station) and is connected by a series of pedestrian bridges to Disney Springs. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Wine Bar George

For holiday shopping for the wine enthusiast on your list, check out Wine Bar George's holiday gift offerings, including "the world's best wine tools to books and gift baskets." On Black Friday when you shop you'll receive 25% off your retail purchase (some restrictions apply). Until January 1, receive an $15 additional gift card for $200 spend, $50 for $500 and $125 for $1,000.

NEW On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, select items from the regular menu will be available as well as Prime Rib with potatoes au gratin and grilled asparagus and more than 140 wines available by the ounce, glass, and bottle. Mulled wine is available all season long too.

Retail

Walt Disney World Resort would like you to do all of your holiday shopping at the Resort this year. To further that, Disney Springs has launched its special Disney Springs Gift Guide: From Holiday Dreams to Wishes Granted.


The Disney Springs Stitch's Holiday Gift Hunt clue book can be picked up at numerous locations around Disney Springs, especially Disney-operated locations like the Star Wars Galactic Outpost. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Art of Disney Presents Greg McCullough

On November 3 artist Greg McCullough (who has previously been featured at other Art of Disney stores and at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts), began daily residence (except Mondays) from 1 to 7:30 p.m. in a new pop-up shop located in the shop formerly operated by Little Miss Matched in the Marketplace area of Disney Springs scheduled to be open through January 1, 2019. The shop features McCullough's art, including original works, limited-editions and prints. Guests will have a chance to interact with him and have artwork signed.


Greg McCullough poses with some of his works featured in the shop.


The new pop-up shop featuring artist Greg McCullough is located in the former Little Miss Matched shop.


The pop-up shop is scheduled to be open through January 1, 2019.

File Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Crowd Forecast

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Date Overall
Tuesday, December 11, 2018  3 / 10
Wednesday, December 12, 2018  3 / 10
Thursday, December 13, 2018  2 / 10
Friday, December 14, 2018  4 / 10
Saturday, December 15, 2018  6 / 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
  • Holidays at Walt Disney World – began November 8
    • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom:
      • December 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 8, 2018 - January 6, 2019
      • ​Includes nightly presentations of Sunset Seasons Greetings and Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
      • Toy Story Land now includes special holiday songs on Alien Swirling Saucers and more
    • Disney's Animal Kingdom – began November 8
      • Diwali, the holiday Festival of Lights in India, celebrated as part of the UP! A Great Bird Adventure show.
  • Disney After Hours
    • …at Disney's Hollywood Studios: December 15 & 22 (park entry at 7 p.m.)
    • …at Disney's Animal Kingdom: December 12 & 18 (park entry at 7 p.m.)
  • Disney Vacation Club Members Annual Meetings – at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Convention Center
    December 13, 2018, doors open 1:30 p.m. (Member online RSVP or telephone (407)566-3844 required). -
2019 Resort Events
  • Disney After Hours:
  • …at Magic Kingdom:
    • January 7, 17, 24, & 28: 8 p.m. - 11 p.m.
    • February 14, March 7: 9 p.m.– midnight
    …at Disney's Hollywood Studios (entry at 7 p.m.):
    • January 5, 12 & 19
    • February 2, 9 & 16
    • March 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30
    • April 6 & 13
    …at Disney's Animal Kingdom (entry at 7 p.m.):
    • January 8, 16, 22 & 31
    • February 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 & 26
    • March 5, 20 & 27
    • April 3
  • Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic:
  • …at Magic Kingdom
    • February 5 & 12, 2019.
    • Registration opens for Members with Resort Reservations (must be booked prior to 1/7/2019): January 9, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
    • Registration opens for all Members: January 16, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
    …at Disney's Hollywood Studios
    • March 20 & 27, 2019.
    • Registration opens for Members with Resort Reservations: February 14, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
    • Registration opens for all Members: February 21, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
    …at Epcot
    • May 13 & 20, 2019.
    • Registration opens for Members with Resort Reservations: April 3, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
    • Registration opens for all Members: April 10, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
    …at Disney's Animal Kingdom
    • July 8, August 8 & 22, 2019.
    • Registration opens for Members with Resort Reservations: June 5, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
    • Registration opens for all Members: June 12, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
    …at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon
    • September 18 & October 16, 2019.
    • Registration opens for Members with Resort Reservations: August 14, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
    • Registration opens for all Members: August 28, 2019 at 9 a.m. Eastern
  • 2019 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 9–13, 2019
    • Mickey & Minnie's Surprise Celebration at Magic Kingdom – January 18 – September 30, 2019
      • Epcot International Festival of the Arts – January 18 – February 25, 2019
        • Party with Pixar Pals at Disney's Hollywood Studios – January 18 - September 30, 2019
          • 25 Years of The Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom – January 18 – September 30, 2019
            • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 21–24, 2019.
              • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – March 6 – June 3, 2019
                • Star Wars Rival Run Weekend – April 4–7, 2019.
                  • Disney's Hollywood Studios 30th anniversary – May 1, 2019.

                    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 show was September 29, 2018).
                    • Move it! Shake it! Dance & Play It! Street Party – No shows scheduled in December.
                      Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party" is scheduled to debut January 18, 2019, featuring new arrangements of classic "Mickey Mouse Club" songs
                    • Liberty Square Riverboat – Closed for refurbishment (return is imminent)
                    • Tom Sawyer Island – Closed for refurbishment
                    • 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 – Closed as of December 3, 2018 to accomodate TRON construction (reopening to be announced)
                      • Guests can visit a Walt Disney World Railroad train at Main Street Station.
                    • Tomorrowland Speedway – Scheduled January 2, 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
                    • Star Wars: Path of the Jedi – My Disney Experience lists as closed with no further information.
                    • The Great Movie Ride – Permanently closed August 13, 2017.
                      The new "Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway" attraction to open in Chinese Theatre in Fall 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 scheduled to debut December 22, 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 – Wildlife Express Train - Now closed - planned reopening Spring 2019
                    Disney Water Parks

                    Disney's Blizzard Beach

                    • Closed for seasonal refurbishment from October 28, 2018, through January 5, 2019.

                    Disney's Typhoon Lagoon

                    • Closing for seasonal refurbishment January 6 – March 16, 2019.
                    Disney Springs
                    • 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 now open next door to the Coca-Cola Store
                      Wolfgang Puck Express continues to operate in its existing location in the Marketplace.
                    Disney Resorts
                    • Caribbean Beach – The overall construction project at the Resort is expected to be completed 2019–20. The resort's new lobby, restaurants and other amenities, including Sebastian's Bistro, Centertown Market, and Banana Cabana are all now open.
                    • Coronado Springs
                      • The new 15-story "Gran Destino Tower" overlooking Lago Dorado, the resort's central lake, will open in July, 2019, adding 545 rooms, including 50 suites and concierge level services, and a rooftop dining facility that will include panoramic views of nighttime fireworks shows at the Theme Parks. The Gran Destino Tower will serve as the new main entrance point for the resort. Reservations are now open. The resort's more than 1,800 existing rooms have been fully updated with new fixtures, furniture and lighting. A second new restaurant is planned to open on an island in the middle of Lago Dorado with new walkways across the water. Disney Parks Blog posted the latest renderings of the project in an article on October 16, 2018.
                      • Iguana Arcade is closed for refurbishment.
                    • Disney's Art of Animation Resort - The Big Blue Pool will close for refurbishment beginning in Fall 2020.
                    Walt Disney World 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.

                     

                    Get Away Today Logo

                     

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

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

                    For Everyone

                    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.

                    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 Festival of the Holidays and more, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com. Passholder benefits during the Festival include:

                    • Passholders can obtain a new Goofy Passholder holiday design magnet (with their Pass and Photo ID) on their first visit to the Festival at Mouse Gear or Port of Entry.
                    • An exclusive Passholder Festival of the Holidays Chip & Dale ornament, T-shirt and other merchandise are available at locations around the park (while supplies last).
                    • The Passholder 20% merchandise discount applies to the all-new Cookie Jar (that can be filled up during the Holiday Cookie Stroll) as well as the Chip & Dale's Christmas Tree Spree Scavenger Hunt.

                    For the most up-to-date list of locations offering dining discounts to Annual Passholders, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com. Don't forget about the dedicated V.I.PASSHOLDER SUPPORT service for questions about Passholder benefits and recommendations. Call (407)WDW-PASS or on-line chat (via chat button on this page of DisneyWorld.com) daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern, by email (via a web form), or in-person at Liberty Square Ticket Office in Magic Kingdom, Ticket Central at Disney's Hollywood Studios, or Ticket Corner at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

                    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 $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 $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

                    Park Tickets

                    Walt Disney World Resort continues to offer Florida resident discount ticket programs. Disney sweetened the offer of saving 30% on a 3-day ticket or 40% on a 4-day ticket by including the Park Hopper option at no additional charge for tickets purchased by December 16, 2018, with a selected start date on or before December 16, 2018. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for more information and purchasing options. Proof of Florida residence will be required at park entrance

                    For other currently available park tickets, passes and offers 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.

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

                    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

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                    Comments

                    1. By cbarry

                      Never have I ever in all my trips on the Safari heard the lion make one peep...not even a yawn!!

                    2. By asdhollywood

                      You've got to ride after sunset. I've heard the lions several times - this was the first time I saw the male roaming about while roaring. Sometimes the driver keeps spieling all the while.

                      Regards,
                      Alan

                    3. By Dave1313

                      I think I've maybe noticed that once too.

                      I don't recall if it was a full roar or maybe just enough of a growl to know he was up and about, but it was more than the standard "sleepy lion on rock" pose, which I suspect we mostly would agree is about the best you can hope for most times in the daylight!

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