Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 24-30, 2019

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for September 24-30, 2019

 

Writer's note: The final week of September is here, and with September 30 brings the conclusion of three "Limited Time" Walt Disney World Resort celebrations, a twenty year old nighttime spectacular, the end of Disney's fiscal year, and more. Let's get right to that in the news, but first, Happy New Year to those who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, September 30 is also the first day of 5780; the Jewish New Year begins at sundown on September 29. And, for winter holidays celebrations, the latest announcements for Epcot's presentation of Candlelight Processional get mentioned in our Epcot Concerts & Candlelight Processional News and Calendar section.

News and Views

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Limited Time Celebrations and More Wrapping Up Around September 30

Back on January 18, Walt Disney World Resort kicked off "Limited Time" celebrations at Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom. Mickey & Minnie's Surprise Celebration at Magic Kingdom has included the Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party, a Mickey & Minnie meet and greet in Town Square Theater, "rare" character meet and greet opportunities in Town Square near the flag pole, Citizens of Main Street singing with Dapper Dans, and more. The Party with Pixar Pals at Disney's Hollywood Studios has included a dance party in Municiberg (Pixar Place) with The Incredibles and an Edna Mode meet and greet, plus a nearby Sully and Mike Wazowski meet and greet inside Walt Disney Presents. Disney's Animal Kingdom has celebrated 25 Years of The Lion King throughout the park, including the Hakuna Matata Time party on Discovery Island. While there are some reports that some of the limited time entertainment will continue a little past September 30 into next weekend (October 5 is the date we are seeing and hearing from less than official sources), none have published schedules into the second week of October or beyond.)


Disney's Animal Kingdom's Celebration of "The Lion King"'s 25th anniversary ends September 30. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Party with Pixar Pals in Municiberg is scheduled to end September 30. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


It is unclear whether the Sully and Mike meet and greet will continue to operate inside Walt Disney Presents after September 30. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

It is certainly not unusual for seasonal entertainment to come to an end at Disney Parks, and, indeed, longer time entertainment offerings end their runs or switch to "seasonal" status too. As we reported last week, we have noticed that Magic Kingdom's Muppets Present Great Moments in American History (Liberty Square) and the The Royal Majesty Makers (Fantasyland) have no scheduled performances in October. Over in Disney's Animal Kingdom, the longtime performing Harambe Village Street Band–Burudika has no performances after October 12. At Epcot, JAMMitors switch from seven days a week performance schedules to five (dark on Tuesdays and Wednesdays), and Mariachi Cobre has no more scheduled performances of The Story of Coco after this Thursday, September 26, but continues its other performances in October (also dark on Fridays and Saturdays).


No showtimes are listed in My Disney Experience for "Muppets Present..." after September 30. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

It is odd, however, that, at least as of publication, we have not seen official notice of new seasonal offerings other than the continuing Halloween parties for October. Of course, most of the resort kicks off holidays offerings the first week of November, with Epcot lagging behind to continue Food & Wine Festival until just before Thanksgiving.


Illuminations: Reflections of Earth ends is nearly two decades long run on Monday, September 30. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

October 1 marks the 48th Anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort and Magic Kingdom park's opening. Over at Epcot, the date marks the park's 37th anniversary, and the park will celebrate that with the debut of its limited time new nighttime spectacular, Epcot Forever, as September 30 will also be the final showing of the nearly twenty-year old Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. The "spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers and choreographed special effects kites" will pay tribute to Epcot's past with music and songs from the past and, according to Disney Parks Blog, provides "a look towards the future and all the magical possibilities to come."


Originally shown at D23 Expo last month, Disney Parks Blog shared a behind the scenes peek at "Epcot Forever" this week. Video ©Disney.

A Few Cast Members Got a Sneak Peek of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

While Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway's debut inside the Chinese Theatre at Disney's Hollywood Studios was pushed in to Spring 2020 earlier this year, Disney Parks, Experiences & Products Chairman Bob Chapek recently surprised a small group of cast members with a hard hat peek at the attraction. Based on the Disney Channel's current Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts (and taking the characters' distinct styling from that show), the new attraction featuring a train run by Goofy as the engineer promises "an original story, lovable theme song, state-of-the-art technologies and dazzling visual effects to create an unforgettable multidimensional experience."


Several Disney's Hollywood Studios cast members recently were provided with a sneak peek of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway. Video ©Disney.

President of Disney Parks West Departing Company

Last night, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Catherine Powell, President of Disney Parks West, responsible for overseeing Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris Resort, is leaving the company. Organizationally, the position had only been created in recent years (she reports to Bob Chapek, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products with the Resorts reporting to her), but Catherine Powell had served Disney in varius roles dating back to 2004.

Ordinarily, we do not tend to note Disney Parks management changes in our Updates, but the interest to visitors to Walt Disney World Resort may be the connection The Hollywood Reporter attempts to draw between Catherine Powell's departure and the openings of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which it says "fell flat on attendance." There can be no doubt that the lands on both coasts have not been as crowded as many of us expected them to be, but it seems far too early to make judgments about their success: indeed, Disney Parks' decision to open the land on both coasts without the E-Ticket attraction, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance could very much have had an impact on attendance, especially when the lands' opening dates were moved up by months from their originally announced opening seasons. Here in Florida, we were originally told, for example, not to expect the land to open before "Late Fall 2019" and it is not even fall 2019 yet.

In any event, keeping an eye on any further management changes in the wake of Catherine Powell's departure may shed some light on both short and long-term changes ahead at Walt Disney World Resort.

Epcot Concerts & Candlelight Processional News and Calendar

This week, Disney Parks Blog revealed the names of two more of the celebrity narrators for this year's Epcot International Festival of the Holidays presentation of Candlelight Processional: actress, director, and wildlife conservationist Isabella Rossellini will take to the podium December 8-10, and actress, author, and activist Marlee Matlin will appear December 27-28. Three times nightly performances of Candlelight Processional begin this year on November 29, with actress and voice of Disney's animated Mulan, Ming-Na Wen (through December 1), and continue through December 30. The show combines a live orchestra, massed choir and celebrity narrator in the retelling of the traditional Christmas story. Neil Patrick Harris, Gary Sinise, Whoopi Goldberg, Pat Sajak, Steven Curtis Chapman, Edward James Olmos, and Lisa Ling are all also scheduled as celebrity narrators, with two more narrators yet to be announced.. Guaranteed seating for all performances is available by booking a breakfast, lunch, or dinner Candlelight Processional Dining Package at select Epcot eateries. Availability is limited and advance reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit. Bookings for Candlelight Processional Dining Packages opened on July 3. EpcotHolidays.com is the page where you can find Festival information and Candlelight Processional Dining Packages (or call 407-WDW-DINE).


Neil Patrick Harris is scheduled to return to Epcot to narrate Candlelight Procession for the 12th year. File photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

In the meantime, American Gardens Theatre continues its presentation of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series three times nightly through November 18 as part of this year's edition of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Eat to the Beat Concert showtimes are scheduled Sundays through Thursdays at 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, an hour later, at 6:30, 7:45, and 9:00 p.m. The entire schedule is published, but, of course, always keep an eye out for signs when you enter the park noting last minute changes. There are even more details and you can make reservations for dining packages including guaranteed concert seating by visiting TasteEpcot.com or calling (407)939-3378. Eat to the Beat Concert Series concludes on November 18 to begin preparing the stage for Candlelight Processional, but the Food & Wine Festival continues until November 23.


STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas performed in the Eat to the Beat Concert Series again this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


With the Fountain of Nations closed effective September 8, the Dance du Jour party takes place on a stage on the Future World East side of Innoventions East during this year's Festival. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

For the convenience of our readers, all of the scheduled Eat to the Beat Concert Series performers and announced Celebrity Narrators for Candlelight Processional at America Gardens Theatre are shown in our Google Calendar of Epcot Events. We will add the Disney on Broadway Concert Series performers when they are announced. You can add the entire Event calendar to any calendar that supports the iCal format (like iPhone and Mac) by copying this link and, as we get additional information and update the calendar, the calendar will update on your subscribed device as well.

While our Google Calendar of Epcot Events lists announced performers, it is still 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 any last minute changes. The calendar is provided as a courtesy "as is, where is" without any guarantees. 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

This week we have new views from all four parks, plus Bay Lake from Disney's Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness and the site of the future Reflections-A Disney Lakeside Lodge, and, from last night's cast members family and friends preview, Disney Skyliner (we will have more about Disney Skyliner in next week's Update after the media preview coming up on September 27 and its official opening on September 29).

Arriving at Magic Kingdom

The "arrival experience" at Magic Kingdom, from the TTC to the park gates, continues to be reimagined.


Walking to security bag check from Magic Kingdom parking and the courtesy trams continues to be a course of construction fences.


The monorails pass over the ongoing construction in the former courtesy tram load area.


On the park-side of Seven Seas Lagoon, construction of the plaza continues near the Ferryboat Dock.


And additional construction is now underway at the Resort Launch Dock. Look for signs directing guests to where watercraft service is still available to resort hotels.


Construction continues on both sides of the canal that leads from Seven Seas Lagoon to the Magic Kingdom backstage docks.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Magic Kingdom


The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is scheduled to step off at 2 p.m. daily for the rest of September and all of October. (In other words, the "3 o'clock parade" is at 2 p.m.)


The holiday dream lights are being installed on Cinderella Castle ahead of the November 8 start of the winter holidays celebration at the Resort.


The crane used for installation of the holiday dream lights can be seen parked behind the Castle.


With the recent reopening of the newly widened walkway between Liberty Square and Fantasyland, the Castle moat has been refilled.


Tomorrowland has a new entrance sign on the bridge from the Central Plaza hub.


As usual, the PeopleMover provides an excellent view the on-going construction of the TRON Lightcycle Run coaster.


The TRON Lightcycle Run coaster construction can also be seen from quite a distance away, including from aboard boats on Bay Lake.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot


The Future World West pond near Imagination pavilion is again filled with water. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Disney's Hollywood Studios is promoting the upcoming Disney+ service's new show, "The Mandalorian" which is set in the Star Wars universe. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Beverly Sunset, which features Pixar merchandise, has a posted notice about the voluntary recall of certain Forky dolls sold earlier this year in connection with the release of "Toy Story 4." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom


Discovery River's foliage is quite green as the park heads into fall (of course, the Tree of Life is green year-round).


The canon on the edge of Harambe points toward a construction site along the pathway from Africa to Pandora-The World of Avatar.


The fortress-like building is likely to become the next location for the Walt Disney World Resort's members-only Club 33.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


For another week's Update, we start another Kilimanjaro Safari with a bongo sighting. The safari drivers say they are "ghosts of the forest."


The hippo is an herbivore.


The nile crocodile shows colorings added by the veterinary care team after a recent exam.


The African wild dogs seem to be rather active on the slightly cooler days of September this year.


The savannah is home to several giraffe calfs now which, even at over six feet tall, appear tiny next to the older members of the tower.


One of the giraffe calfs rests on the ground in a position that you rarely see giraffes which also sleep in a standing position.


One of the herd of elephants can be recognized by her single tusk. On the Caring for Giants tour a couple years ago we learned her other tusk was surgically removed for health reasons.


A cheetah looks toward the safari trucks from a shaded spot along the back of its habitat.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Bay Lake from Disney's Wilderness Lodge to Fort Wilderness: Reflections Construction


Though Google Maps shows a "Wilderness Nature Path" connecting the Cabins at Disney's Wilderness Lodge with the former River Country site and Fort Wilderness, the trail is not open to guests.


Boat transportation between Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness provides a view of the former River Country site which will become Reflections-A Disney Lakeside Lodge (hotel and Disney Vacation Club).


The new resort is expected to open in approximately 2022.


Pioneer Hall, home of the long-running Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review and Trail's End restaurant is located on the grounds of Fort Wilderness next to the construction site for the new resort.


Construction fences run from next door to Pioneer Hall all the way to the bus stop that transports guests from Fort Wilderness' parking lot, through the camping loops to this dockside location.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Skyliner

Finally, yesterday, I had an opportunity to ride the new Disney Skyliner transportation system during a cast member friends and family preview. I will discuss the system in more detail in next week's Update following the media preview on September 27 and its grand opening on September 29. The ride is remarkably quiet and very smooth. In the early September evening, when the cars were moving, the ventilation in the passenger cabins was comfortable while moving, and less comfortable when stopped. On the whole, I enjoyed the rides more than I was expecting.


Disney Skyliner transportation system opens to guests on September 29. Yesterday, I got to ride during a Cast Members Family & Friends preview, departing first from Disney's Hollywood Studios station.


Each passenger cabin can seat up to 10 guests, or six with a wheelchair or ECV. Each cabin includes a plaque of the distinctive Skyliner logo.


The station on Hourglass Lake serves Disney's Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts. This station connects to a station at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort which has separate lines connected to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot.


Disney Skyliner cabins on their way to Epcot from Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort first "land" at Disney's Riviera Resort and then turn to continue their journey along Buena Vista Drive.


Disney Skyliner cabins enjoy a towering view along Buena Vista Drive as they head from Disney's Riviera Resort to the turn station in front of Disney's BoardWalk. Here, the Tower of Terror and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort are in the distance.


Disney Skyliner station at Epcot's International Gateway is themed in keeping with the park in this area.


The Epcot station's theming is comparable with the France pavilion.


Departing and arriving Disney Skyliner cabins have a view of the on-going construction of Remy's Ratatouille Adventure which, the banner on the show-building says is opening in Summer 2020.


The station at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is the hub connecting the three separate lines of the Disney Skyliner transportation system.


The lighting at Disney's Hollywood Studios station is in keeping with the park's entrance's lighting design.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That…

…We wrote about it after the Christmas in July media event, and, this week, Disney Parks Blog notes that there is now limited availability remaining for this year's Ultimate Disney Christmas Package. The package can be booked through October 26 or until it sells out, and includes a stay from December 21-26, 2019, at a select Disney Resort hotel, four-day theme park tickets with Park Hopper, and some exclusive holiday offerings. For more information, visit DisneyWorld.com/Offers or call (407)939-5268.

…The Scat Cat's Club at Disney's Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter, according to Disney Parks Blog post, is expanding "to a larger space to serve up signature beverages and flavorful bar options offering a taste of the 'Big Easy' in a lounge inspired by the French Quarter in New Orleans." The venue will continue to offer live jazz music five nights a week. With Fall here, the venue has pumpkin spice beignets and, with the expansion, its house-made beignets (also available in classic flavors and some shaped like Mickey) will be available at a new location near the lobby in Scat Cat's Club Café.

Mickey beignets
Mickey-shaped beignets are available at Scat Cat's Club. Photo ©Disney.

LAST CHANCE: Lots of restaurants around Walt Disney World Resort (including several at Disney Springs) are again participating in Visit Orlando's Magical Dining 2019. Including more than 120 restaurants around the Orlando area, the program in its 14th year, runs through September 30, 2019. Participating restaurants offer special prix-fixe dinners for $35 per person, and $1 for each meal served benefits local charities. Visit the official website for Magical Dining 2019 for the list of participating restaurants and more details.

…REMINDER: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort presents the return of its Food & Wine Classic on Friday, November 8, and Saturday, November 9. For its 10th year, the Classic will debut a surf party-themed area called Hang 10 on the resort's beach, with a live band, decorations, and two new dishes: Fry Basket (clams, shrimp, oysters and fries) and Hearts of Palm Ceviche. The area will also offer new beverage selections, including Spritzes and hard seltzer water. Returning themed areas include The Pig and The Poke, Chinatown, Carnival Corner, The Bubble Lounge, and a beer garden. For information and tickets, visit SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com or call 1-888-828-8850.

…REMINDER: Special extra Extra Magic Hours for Disney Resort hotel guests began September 1, and are scheduled daily through November 2, at Magic Kingdom, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios (including, of course, its Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area).

…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 (including those immediately under this paragraph). Event items NEW to the Update are marked accordingly. For even more of the latest news around Disney Springs, follow its official Twitter Feed: @DisneySprings.

NEW Disney Parks Blog this week showed off the recently completed new mural featuring Orange Bird located "just around the corner from Erin McKenna's Bakery" and provided details about the inspiration for its creation. According to Disney Parks Blog, Orange Bird had a pavilion in the 1970s at Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village at the Disney Springs Marketplace location which is now Disney's Pin Traders.

Orange Bird Mural photo by Disney Parks Blog
Disney Parks Blog calls the Orange Bird mural the latest addition to the #WallsofDisney collection on Instagram. Photo ©Disney.

…REMINDER: Disney Parks Blog notes that the Disney's Days of Christmas store in the Marketplace is now offering Halloween Personalization on Halloween decorative items. Some items are pre-personalized, other qualifying items can be customized starting at $3/word or art element.

NEW New Views Around Disney Springs


Pumpkin Mickey decorates the plaza on the east side of the Marketplace (just outside Earl of Sandwich and across from Disney's Pin Traders and Once Upon a Toy).


Centerpiece inside Marketplace Co-Op is decorated for Halloween and offers a selection of Halloween-themed household items and souvenirs.


Amorette's Patisserie has a themed Halloween Petit cake available for sale.


Construction continues at City Works Eatery & Pour House which still has signage that says it is opening Winter 2019.


The AMC Dine-In Theatres finally has new permanent signage at its West Side entrance.


Ample Hills Creamery will open its newest location in the former Something Silver (and, most recently Amazing Photos) location on the West Side. Our current information and belief is that its Disney's BoardWalk location will also remain open.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Disney Springs bus loop is a great place to spot the latest Disney Resort Bus designs. Dumbo is one of the newest designs to start appearing around the Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Raglan Road

NEW Kudos to Raglan Road! Earlier this year it was named this year by Open Table as one of the top 100 restaurants in America for a “Big Night Out,” and now, Open Table has named it as one of the 50 Most Kid-Friendly Restaurants in America for 2019! OpenTable's list of the 50 Most Kid-Friendly Restaurants in America for 2019 was generated from diner reviews collected between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.

Raglan Road also reminds us that Halloween’s roots are Celtic, originating with the Irish Samhain (pronounced "Sah-ween"), marking the end of the harvest season. To ward off evil spirits, this year's Raglan Road Halloween cocktail is the Samhain Sangria, made with Jameson Black Barrel whiskey, Wither Hills sauvignon blanc, apple cider, seltzer, house-made cinnamon syrup, fresh cranberries, apple and orange.

Stargazers Bar at Planet Hollywood

NEW For those looking to sing to the stars (the actual celestial ones rather than Hollywood's), Stargazers Bar at Planet Hollywood now offers karaoke night every Friday from 8 p.m. until midnight. No reservations are needed for the outdoor (but covered) venue where seating is first-come, first serve. Stargazers also offers "happy hour" from 4-7 p.m. and 10 p.m. until midnight featuring draft Florida craft beers, house wines, and well drinks.

Morimoto Asia

MorimotoFest, a Morimoto Asia celebration in the spirit of Oktoberfest, will be held on Sunday, October 6, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. featuring pairings of Pan-Asian bites from ten food stations featuring sushi, a raw bar, ramen, dumplings, stir fry, and Morimoto's signature spare ribs, and fall-themed craft beers from Crooked Can Brewing Company, Red Light Red Light, Cask and Larder, Sideward Brewing, Hourglass, Orange County Brewers, Tactical, Bowigens, Motorworks, and The Tank. DJ Jimmy Joslin will be providing live entertainment during the event, and there will be exclusive merchandise available for sale. Tickets are $55/adult and $25/children ages 4-12, with premium seating available for a party of four at a private booth with "dedicated butler-style service" for $500. For more information and tickets, visit MorimotoAsia.com.

Wine Bar George

NEW Wine Bar George continues its salute to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival with Hennessy Week featuring special cocktails daily October 7-13, and with ticketed tastings and parties October 8-12. For more information and tickets, visit WineBarGeorge.com/events.

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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).

2019 Resort Events
  • Disney After Hours: (hard ticket required; park entry at 7 p.m., event hours vary by published date and park)
    …at Magic Kingdom (9 p.m. to midnight):
    • September 26
    …at Magic Kingdom (10 p.m. to 1 a.m.):
    • November 18
    • December 9
    …at Disney's Animal Kingdom (9 p.m. to midnight):
    • October 5, 9, 19, & 26
    • November 5, 13, & 19
    • December 7, 14, & 18
  • Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic: (registration required)
    …at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon
    • October 16, 2019
  • Mickey & Minnie's Surprise Celebration at Magic Kingdom – January 18 – September 30, 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
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom (hard ticket required)
    • September 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29
    • October 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31
    • November 1
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – August 29 - November 23, 2019
    (Eat to the Beat Concerts end November 19)
  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – October 31 - November 3, 2019
  • Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort Food & Wine Classic – November 8-9, 2019
  • Dapper Days at Walt Disney World (Unofficial Events) – November 16-17, 2019
  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – November 29 - December 30, 2019
    (includes Candlelight Processional)
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom (hard ticket required)
    • November: 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22 & 24
    • December: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20 & 22
2020 Resort Events
  • Disney After Hours: (hard ticket required; park entry at 7 p.m., event hours vary by published date and park)
    …at Magic Kingdom (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.):
    • January 6 & 13
    …at Magic Kingdom (9 p.m. to midnight):
    • January 17 & 20
    …at Disney's Animal Kingdom (9 p.m. to midnight):
    • January 9, 16, 22, & 30
    • February 6, 13, 19, & 27
    • March 5, 12, 19 & 26
  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - January 8-12, 2020
  • Epcot International Festival of the Arts - January 17 to February 24, 2020
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend - February 20-23, 2020
  • Star Wars Rival Run Weekend - April 16-19, 2020
  • MORE EVENTS COMING SOON!


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.

Magic Kingdom
  • Astro Orbiter – closed for refurbishment
  • Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial – Final show was September 29, 2018.
  • 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 accommodate TRON construction (reopening to be announced). Guests can visit a Walt Disney World Railroad train at Main Street Station.
Epcot
  • Gallery of Arts and History (Morocco Pavilion) – Closed for refurbishment.
  • O Canada! – the film has been retired and the theatre is currently is the Appleseed Orchard marketplace during the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival; "Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360" will debut as the new film in January 2020.
  • Reflections of China – the film will be retired and will be replaced with "Wondrous China" presented in a seamless 360° digital format.
  • Future World "transformation" closings – Major transformation announced at D23 Expo in August, closings and relocations include:
    • Innoventions - all exhibits now permanently closed, effective September 8, 2019
    • Club Cool closed effective September 8 (to reopen in "a new capacity at a future merchandise location")
    • Fountain of Nations closed effective September 8
    • Fountain View featuring Starbucks closed effective September 8 (will relocate to a temporary location in late Fall, 2019)
    • Meet Disney Pals at the Epcot Character Spot - relocated September 8 (look for signs in Future World West)
    • Electric Umbrella will close in Winter 2019-20. (New dining options to be announced)
    • Mouse Gear will close in its current location in Winter 2019-20. (It will move to a temporary home to be announced)
    • Art of Disney will operate from a temporary location before eventually relocating to Heritage Manor at The American Adventure
  • Ellen's Energy Adventure at Universe of Energy – Permanently closed on August 13, 2017.
    Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind to open in its place in approximately 2021.
  • Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable – Closed February 3, 2018.
    New film entitled "Awesome Planet" will debut in January 2020
  • Illuminations: Reflections of Earth – Final performance: September 30, 2019.
    Epcot Forever debuts October 1 for a limited run which will be followed by a new nighttime spectacular "HarmonioUS" in 2020
  • Liberty Inn - the fast-casual restaurant closed for reimagining starting July 8, 2019.
    Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue will open later in 2019 in its place.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • March of the First Order – concluded parades down Hollywood Boulevard on July 6, 2019.
    First Order Stormtroopers have "redeployed" inside Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
  • Star Wars: Path of the Jedi – Currently only available during Star Wars Guided Tours
  • The Great Movie Ride – Permanently closed August 13, 2017.
    The new Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway attraction to open in Chinese Theatre in 2020.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Primeval Whirl – is listed as "temporarily closed" with no further published information
    As of September 23, 2019, no FastPass+ service is available for the attraction for at least 30 days.
Disney Water Parks
  • Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park is closed for enhancements with no announced reopening date.
Disney Springs
  • Bongo's Cuban Café– Closed in August 2019.
  • DisneyQuest – Closed as of July 3, 2017.
    The NBA Experience opened on the site on August 12, 2019.
  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil – Show closed on December 31, 2017.
    A new Cirque du Soleil show is in development with previews to begin March 20, 2020, and its world premiere April 17, 2020.
Disney Resorts
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Mizner's Lounge closed for refurbishment;
    Announced reopening as "Enchanted Rose" in Fall 2019 with a new Beauty & The Beast theme.
  • 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.
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort – The Big Blue Pool will close for refurbishment beginning in Fall 2020.
  • Disney's Beach Club Resort – Beaches & Cream Soda Shop will be closed for refurbishment through winter 2019.
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.

 

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

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For Everyone

Mid-Day Magic Tickets

Disney has introduced a new park ticket that provides one admission per theme park each day after 12:00 p.m. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for more information.


Fall & Holiday Season Resort Hotel Offers

Save up to 20% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels in late 2019. Book through September 29, 2019 for stays most nights September 1 through September 28, 2019; and for stays most Sunday through Thursday nights September 29 through November 7, 2019. Also, book through December 24, 2019 for stays most nights November 10, 2019 through December 24, 2019.

Deluxe Villas and Resort rooms are offered at up to 20% off; Moderate Resort rooms up to 15% off; Value Resort rooms up to 10%. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for all the details, exclusions, dates and availability, or call (407)939-2727 or your travel agent.


Meal Vacation Package Offers

If you are considering a Walt Disney World Vacation Package that includes a non-discounted 5-night/6-day stay, Disney dining plans are included in the package when include the hotel and tickets with Park Hopper Option for arrivals most nights November 17 to 27, and December 8 to 23, 2019. Deluxe Villa and Deluxe Resort packages include the free Disney Dining Plan; Moderate and Value Resort packages include the free Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan. Everyone in the same room must be on the same package and the theme park tickets must be valid for admission on the date of check-in and be used within a limited number of days (which varies by length of stay). Gratuities are not included. Kids between ages 3 and 9 must order from children's menu where applicable. The package does not guarantee access to any specific table-service restaurants.

Read more information and exclusions, and check availability on this page of DisneyWorld.com, or call (407)939-7216 or your travel agent.


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.
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Benefits & Promotions

Epcot encourages Annual Passholders to make repeat visits to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival by offering a number of benefits and a few "gift" items. Like recent past festivals, there are two complimentary magnets available to Passholders during the Festival ("while supplies last"). Through October 14, Passholders (with valid pass and matching photo ID) can get a complimentary Chef Minnie magnet; from October 15 through November 23, Passholders can get a complimentary Chef Remy magnet. Passholders that visit the Festival four times (as tracked by using the AP to enter the park rather than checking in at any particular location inside the park) can also receive a complimentary Chef Minnie wooden coaster set. All of the Passholder "gifts" can be picked up at Mouse Gear or Disney Traders (one of each per Passholder during the specified timeframes and only while supplies last).


Passholder gifts are available during the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Images ©Disney.

In addition to the usual 20% Passholder discount available on merchandise purchases in the park, there is also a 10% discount on Eat to the Beat Concert Series dining packages. The Festival will also have an assortment of Passholder-exclusive tee shirts, caps, mugs, pins, and more. For Passholders that purchase a special $100 Chef Minnie Disney Gift Card at Mouse Gear, Disney Traders, the Bridge Kiosk or Port of Entry (with valid pass and matching photo ID), they will also receive a $10 digital bonus to use at select Table Service restaurants at the park including Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Biergarten Restaurant, Coral Reef Restaurant, Garden Grill Restaurant, Le Cellier Steakhouse and Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room (where the usual 10% AP discount also remains available).Other Discounts and Benefits

The other usual Passholder discounts and benefits continue as well. The updated list is at DisneyWorld.com/PassBenefits.(You may need to sign in to see the full list applicable to your pass.) 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% discounts during some or all meal periods (excluding alcoholic beverages, tax and gratuity).

The latest information on this page of DisneyWorld.com lists discounts at many merchandise locations across Walt Disney World Resort, including locations that continue to offer 20 percent discounts off regularly priced merchandise. Remember, not all merchandise locations at Walt Disney World are owned and operated by Disney, but some of the non-Disney participants (including restaurants) offer discounts between 10 and 20% to Passholders as well. Note, the current terms and conditions include, "Discount is for personal use only and may not be used to purchase merchandise with the intent to resell the 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.

For the current list of Passholder Extras visit this page of DisneyWorld.com. Passholder Extras include information about V.I.Passholder Perks, discounts on Disney After Hours events, Animal Encounter and tour discounts, Water Park discounts, Golf discounts, and more.

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 (last checked September 9, 2019).

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.

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 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 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

2019 Military Promotional Tickets

January 1 through December 19, 2019

  • Four-Day Park Hopper Tickets –$241.00
  • Four-Day Park Hopper Plus Tickets – $291.00
  • Five-Day Park Hopper Tickets – $257.00
  • Five-Day Park Hopper Plus Tickets – $307.00

Prices do not include tax and tickets must be used by December 19, 2019.
Prices may be lower at U.S. military base ticket offices.

U.S. military personnel can also purchase the Memory Maker product for $98 through December 19, 2019.

For more information, definitions and details, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com. Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets by eligible service members 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). Each ticket must be used by the same person on any and all days.

Special pricing for Memory Maker is available at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows when purchased by eligible service members or their spouses. No more than two Memory Maker products can be purchased by an eligible service member or their spouse. Usual Memory Maker restrictions apply and a MagicBand is required to receive some digital content.

Special Rates at Resort Hotels

U.S. military personnel can enjoy discounts at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when booking by December 19, 2018, for stays most nights through April 13, and from April 26 through December 19, 2018. Offer excludes suites in Moderate and Deluxe Resort hotels, 3-bedroom villas, campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort, and Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. Call (407)939-4249 for information and reservations. Eligibility details are listed on this page of DisneyWorld.com.


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
Expect to be required to show proof of Florida Residency for discounts and benefits.

Seasonal Flex Ticket

Florida residents can purchase tickets for use on most dates through February 29, 2020, without picking a specific start date. The tickets, which can be used on non-consecutive days, must be purchased by December 17, 2019, and used in their entirety by February 29, 2020. The tickets are blocked out November 21-28, 2019, and December 18, 2019, through January 2, 2020.

  • 3-Day 1-Park Per Day Seasonal Flex Ticket – $249 plus tax ($83 per day plus tax)
  • 4-Day 1-Park Per Day Seasonal Flex Ticket – $269 plus tax ($68 per day plus tax)

Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com and click on "Read More" in the Florida Resident Seasonal Flex Tickets section. That page also provides a link where Florida Residents can save 40% on 4-Day Tickets and 30% on 3-Day Tickets compared to the non-resident prices of the same tickets when selecting specific visit start dates.


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.

Call DVC Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to take advantage of most offers.

If you know of an offer that you think most Members do not know about, please drop us an email with the details.

For New England Residents

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort celebrates February's big football game victory by the team from New England by offering the Champions Package to residents of New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. For stays through December 24, 2019 (minimum stay of three nights required), the Champions Package includes $100 meal credit, which can be used at Shula's Steak House (named for NFL's winningest coach, Don Shula) or any other restaurant at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. It also includes a "one category complimentary room upgrade that does not include suite upgrades." Guests must have valid state identification at check-in from an eligible state. More information and details of the offer are available at this page of SwanDolphin.com. More information and reservations are available by calling (800)227-1500 and mentioning "CHAMPS."

For Canada Residents

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. For early 2020 arrivals, the site advertises a package including free dining, $100 gift card, and 14-Day Ultimate Tickets for the price of a 7 Day Ticket with Memory Maker.

If you know of an offer we haven't listed, please drop us an email with the details.

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Comments

  1. By carolinakid

    Great report and pictures as usual, Alan. One quibble- the spotted big cat in your Safari photos is a cheetah, not a jaguar.

  2. By asdhollywood

    Quote Originally Posted by carolinakid View Post
    Great report and pictures as usual, Alan. One quibble- the spotted big cat in your Safari photos is a cheetah, not a jaguar.

    Thanks, just testing our readers (or typing too late at night).

    Regards,
    Alan

  3. By carolinakid

    👍

  4. By worldlover71

    Was there actually an Orange Bird pavilion in the Marketplace or is this more "new backstory" like the World of Disney store being a former bus depot that animators used? It's getting confusing what history is real and what is made up.

  5. Discuss this article on MousePad.