- Holidays at Walt Disney World – began November 8
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom:
- December 18, 20, 21
- Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – November 18 – December 30
- Candlelight Processional at Epcot – November 22 – 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.
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom:
- Disney After Hours
- …at Disney's Hollywood Studios: December 22 (park entry at 7 p.m.)
- …at Disney's Animal Kingdom: December 18 (park entry at 7 p.m.)
Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 18-25, 2018by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 18-25, 2018
Writer's note: Christmas will be here before our next Walt Disney World Resort Update, so, to all who celebrate: Merry Christmas! And, with our usual Update day falling on Christmas Day next week, and New Year's day the following Tuesday, absent breaking news, we may not be back with another Walt Disney World Resort Update until 2019. Everyone have a happy and safe New Year! We will be on our usual Social Media channels all throughout the rest of 2018, of course, so be sure to follow along!
Remember, this is the time of year that schedules often change around the parks, as the larger winter break crowds start to arrive. Indeed, if you have not been around Walt Disney World Resort lately and plan to drive, pay extra attention to directional signs, as the roads have changed - especially the entry to Disney's Hollywood Studios and the new traffic pattern involving flyovers around Magic Kingdom's Parking Toll Plaza to allow resort guests to bypass the tollbooths (as we have reported extensively this year).
It is even more important to 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, the Magic Kingdom's Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade runs daily at 2 p.m. only until December 21, which is the last day scheduled 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.), and, indeed, Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration show takes over the Cinderella Castle Stage and Holiday Wishes will fill the skies, starting December 22 (following the final Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party on the night of December 21). More usual parade, stageshow and fireworks return on January 1, with the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade scheduled to return to its more expected "3 o'clock parade" routine starting again on January 1, 2019.
Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, the new Disney Junior Dance Party debuts December 22 too in the Animation Courtyard. Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Timon and Mickey are featured in the new musical celebration scheduled at least 10 times each day through the rest of the year (and beyond).
News and Views
Headlines are auto-generated here
Disney Vacation Club's Annual Member Recap
While many of our readers may not be Disney Vacation Club Members, DVC has a major (and still growing) impact on visits to Walt Disney World Resort where DVC has 11 resort properties, with two more proposed (with construction underway at Disney's Riviera Resort near Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and the recently announced Reflections-A Disney Lakeside Lodge to be a mixed-use hotel/DVC property on the shore of Bay Lake on the site once occupied by River Country). Away from Walt Disney World, DVC also is responsible for Aulani in Ko Olina, Hawaii, The Villas at Disney's Grand Californian Resort at Disneyland, Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort and Disney's Vero Beach Resort. Disney Vacation Club Members enjoy use of a private lounge at Epcot (which will continue, at least, through 2019), and special Member events like Moonlight Magic that takes over Disney Parks after they close to day guests. We include Moonlight Magic events in our Resort Events section in each Update so that you can plan your visits in connection with or to avoid them, as best fits your vacation plans.
Earlier this year, Disney announced that Reflections-A Disney Lakeside Lodge will be built on the shore of Bay Lake (including the former site of River Country) and will include both hotel rooms and proposed DVC Villas. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
On Thursday, December 13, Disney Vacation Club held its Annual Meeting at the Convention Center at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. As a condominium association, the required Annual Meeting is a legal formality that is necessary to approve minutes, resolutions and budgets for Disney's timeshare business units and certain other operations. Of course, beyond the required scripted portions of the meeting, it is still a Disney meeting, quite unlike your local Condominium/Home/Co-op Owners Association meetings and, instead, complete with a themed stage, multi-media presentations, and a post-meeting reception featuring DVC leadership, holiday cookies, and Disney characters.
This was the first Annual Meeting chaired by Terri Schultz who became Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club (as well as Adventures by Disney and Golden Oak) earlier this year. Terri Schultz has a long history with DVC, immediately previously serving as Treasurer. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The boards of directors of the condominium associations comprising Disney Vacation Club (with California and Hawaii representatives attending by phone) took the stage in front of a three dimensional representation of Cinderella Castle in the Coronado Ballroom for the DVC Annual Meeting. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
For DVC Members, the most important information confirmed by the Annual Meeting is the budget, as that translates directly into the dues paid by members. Approximately two thirds of membership dues are comprised of operating expenses, with the rest coming from ad valorem (property) taxes, and reserves for future capital projects. This year, most Members will see substantial increases in their dues which DVC attributes to labor cost increases (as a result of the recently announced starting hourly wage increase plans at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts). Last year's announced accelleration of refurbishment schedules has also caused continued increases to dues, and, in some cases (like Aulani) local tax increases outside of DVC's control, and the lingering repair costs (and repayment of the related interest free loans from Disney corporate to cover the self-insured retention portion of the damage bills) from Hurricanes Irma (2017) and Matthew (2018) plus near misses this year (impacting Aulani, Vero Beach, and, most of all, Hilton Head Island). As Terri Schultz explained that the labor cost increases are being phased in over several years in Florida, Members in Florida can expect that increases will not slow in the near future, though there may be some offsets realized through savings created by plastic waste reduction initiatives and other conservation efforts.
Disney Vacation Club resort properties, as they are refurbished, are switching to communal, refillable (but locked) room amenity dispensers in the bathrooms. The transition saves a significant amount of waste plastic and may result in some (minor) operational cost savings for members in future budgets.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
As was announced last year, as refurbishments occur, DVC continues its commitment to finally "getting the sofa beds right." The new emphasis on improved housekeeping and daily room checks and the continued enhancement and expansion of wi-fi bandwidth are also added benefits to guests and causes of increases to the operating budgets of the properties.
Writer's note: I have personally been a DVC Member since 2000.
Get Up Close With Rhinos
Earlier this year, Disney's Animal Kingdom introduced a new behind the scenes guided adventure to get up close with the park's white rhinoceros inhabitants. This backstage tour has a strict limit of 14 guests per day (which Cast Members say is set by Federal Regulations for interacting with the species), and it is offered just once per day from the Tour Desk near Kilimanjaro Safaris in the Africa area of the park. As a result, advanced reservations are necessary; in fact, they often must be made well in advance (and further so for larger groups). For example, on a random afternoon visit in October, I requested space for just one for the next available tour, and I paid in advance for my visit that happened just yesterday, December 17!
Disney's Animal Kingdom is home to two African species of rhino, the Black Rhino and the White Rhino (which, as cast on Kilimanjaro Safaris explain is not descriptive of their color but a mistranslation into English of an African word). The White Rhino, which is substantially larger than the Black Rhino, is an herbivore that, as it turns out, is surprisingly social. The roughly one hour tour takes guests to the rhinos' backstage habitat and, while it is up to the animal itself, guests may get an opportunity to pet the hide of one of them (which I did). As a keeper said a guest once described the experience, it is like stroking old shoe leather with very fine hairs.
As Disney participates in a species survival breeding program, many of the male rhinos born at the park have since been sent to other zoos and reserves. Several, in fact, have been sent to Uganda to help bring back the population there decimated by civil strife (and poaching) in the early 1980s. Some of their Disney caretakers have had the opportunity to visit their prior charges in Africa and see their offspring.
To get to the backstage habitat, guests must board a bus and be driven around the back of the savannah. Unfortunately, then, as a backstage tour, no photos or video is allowed during the entire tour. Except for the bus ride, though, the entire tour is outdoors, so it can be subject to weather (and guests are advised to dress appropriately). Interestingly, the rhino's backstage habitat includes a sunroof that allows natural light into the enclosure, as well as a heated area and numerous fans circulating the air.
There are also three Asian species of rhino that are not represented at the park; all species of rhino are endangered. The tour is currently $40/person; all guests must be at least age four and those under 18 must be accompanied by a participating adult 18-or-older. (DVC and Passholder discounts are available.) For more information and reservations, call (407)WDW-PLAY, visit the Tour Desk, or online at this page of DisneyWorld.com. Proceeds of the tour are contributed to the Disney Conservation Fund. You can read more about rhinos on this page of DisneyWorld.com.
Kingdom Hearts III Pop-Up Experience Now Open
On December 14, 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) opened in Town Center of Disney Springs. Located next to the escalators to the Lime Parking Garage (in the space previously occupied by Disney Corner store), guests can play a demo of the new game including the Hercules and Toy Story worlds, see a special Keyblade exhibit, and view artwork from the game. Guests can pre-order the game on in-shop kiosks and, when they do so, they will be eligible for a special sticker collection and a lanyard.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Matt Simon, Disney Springs Vice President, along with Brendan Docherty, Senior Manager, Product Marketing at SQUARE ENIX, cut the ribbon and discuss the new Kingdom Hearts III pop-up experience now open at Disney Springs and the game to be released January 29. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
For those, like me, that have not previously 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. More details and a preview of the game itself (plus pre-orders for it), are available on KingdomHearts.com.
The pop-up experience will be open through January 31.
Epcot Candlelight Processional and Concerts News & Calendar
The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays ends on December 30. Along with the holiday decor and special food offerings, additional entertainment by holiday storytellers and musical acts perform all around the park. On December 31, be sure to pick up a Times Guide for listings of all the special New Year's Eve entertainment around the park which often includes some of the holiday entertainment, but not all of it.
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.
For example, Candlelight Processional ends its season-long run at America Gardens Theatre on December 30. The traditional retelling of the story of Christmas with celebrity narrator, live orchestra, and mass choir performs three times nightly until then. 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.
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 last 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.
Starting on December 26, "JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season," shifts the focus of its gospel, R&B and holiday songs from Christmas to Kwanzaa. Concerts take place on the Future World Fountain Stage several times throughout each day through December 30.
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.)
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
We have just a few Views this week from Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Coronado Springs Resort & Convention Center. As we introduced a few months back, Views of Disney Springs are now included together with the latest news about that entertainment, shopping and dining area below.
While the Walt Disney World Railroad is not operating at the Magic Kingdom for the foreseeable future due to construction of the new Tron Lightcycle Power Run coaster, guests can visit Main Street Station and see Lilly Belle, one of the four Magic Kingdom Steam engines. (DF)
Photos by Donald Fink (DF), Bonnie Fink (BF) and Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Last time we shared a view here, it was largely empty during the Disney After Hours event. As winter break starts for more folks in the next week or so, we expect this area in front of Tree of Life will see even more guests.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort & Convention Center
The Gran Destino Tower, when completed, will feature a 2-story lobby that will serve as the main lobby for the entire resort. Rooftop dining options are also expected to open when the tower is complete.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
This and That…
…Storybook Dining at Artist Point in Disney's Wilderness Lodge has opened. Guests can now meet characters from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with their Artist Point dinner. The "enchanted forest" themed dining room features dishes such as Hunter’s Pie, Winter Squash Bisque, Royal Prime Rib, Seafood Stew, Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie, and more. Snow White and friends visit guests around the restaurant and diners have an opportunity to encounter The Queen. Reservations are available online or by calling (407)WDW-DINE.
…The DisneyNOW app and website have introduced the new "Growing Up with Disney Animals" video series showing baby animals in Disney's care and including "educational fun facts and tips on how to support conservation efforts." Species Disney works to protect through contributions of the Disney Conservation Fund and Disney's animal care experts are featured.
"Growing Up with Disney Animals" is a new series of videos about animal behavior, care and conservation geared for a younger audience and available in the DisneyNOW app. Video ©Disney.
…Gingerbread house decorating demonstrations occur daily in front of the life-size gingerbread house in the lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa through Christmas Day, December 25. This is the 20th Anniversary of the 14 foot tall lobby display at the resort.
The 20th Annual Gingerbread House stands in the lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Video ©Disney.
…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.
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.
Disney Parks Blog held a meet-up to view an advance screening of "Mary Poppins Returns" inside the AMC 24 Dine-In Theatres on Saturday. (I was lucky enough to RSVP in time to attend!) Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
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.
NEW Photos from the Marketplace
Ghirardelli Chocolate once again has Peppermint Bark squares. During most of the store's operating hours, complimentary squares are provided to guests walking through the gift shop portion of the building.
File Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
NEW Construction Photos from the West Side
The major exterior construction of the building to house NBA Experience and City Works Eatery & Pour House (expected to open next Summer) appears largely complete and painting is underway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Stargazers Bar NEW Photo
Raglan Road Irish Pub
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.
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).
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.
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").
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).
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.
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. This week, we have a NEW photo of the garage under construction.
Construction continues on the new "Lemon" parking structure is on the opposite side of Buena Vista Drive (next to the Speedway Gas Station). No opening date has been announced. 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.
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.
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.
File Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
"Do more. Wait less."
Save time and money at Walt Disney World. TouringPlans.com can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist pitfalls.
Our Disney Crowd Calendar shows you the least crowded park to visit every day of the year, customized Touring Plans save you hours in line for Disney's best rides, honest restaurant reviews, how to save on Disney tickets, the best hotel rooms to ask for, and so much more. Everything can be accessed on our site or on Lines - Mobile Wait Times App which also shows to current and estimated wait times for attractions.
Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Disney Crowd Calendar.
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!
Join Our Networks
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
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
- January 5, 12 & 19
- February 2, 9 & 16
- March 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30
- April 6 & 13
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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)!
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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).
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
Walt Disney World Resort continues to offer Florida resident discount ticket programs. 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
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.
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