Walt Disney World Resort Update For December 17-23, 2019

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 17 - 23, 2019

 

Writer's note: Based on the experience of friends and daily social media reports, Boarding Groups for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios continue to be completely assigned very early in the day, typically between 8 and 9 a.m. Our advice until either the pattern changes or the park's operating team changes how the attraction runs, if you want to experience this new, cutting edge attraction, get to the park well-before the published opening time for the park.

Also, in the early-planning department, for those of you that are Disney Vacation Club Members, note that the recently published points charts for 2021 divide the year into seven price categories instead of five, and that DVC has raised and lowered point requirements around that new schedule. Remember, that while the total number of points to rent a particular room for the entire year does not change, the points charged per night can be changed each year, and DVC has done that in a fairly significant way for 2021. At last week's Annual Meeting, DVC leadership said that the revised charts reflect changes in historical member demand, with summers and and early fall having declined and late fall and early winter having increased.


For 2021, Disney Vacation Club point charts will have seven "seasons" reflecting recent Member demand in an effort to try to encourage travel during current slower times and to relieve pressure on higher demand times. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

While DVC Members are those that may have the most obvious interest in this week's headlines, the news this week really does have items that should be of interest to all Walt Disney World visitors. For example, the new Disney's Riviera Resort is, in addition to being a place where DVC Members can stay using their DVC Points, it is also a resort that anyone can choose to reserve by cash reservation and, indeed, anyone may shop or dine there, or enjoy quite a few (though not all) of its recreational activities. Likewise, the continuation of the DVC Members Lounge at Epcot gives a small clue about Epcot's future, so, please, read on. You are here to help yourself figure out how best to experience Walt Disney World, right?

News and Views

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Introducing Disney's Riviera Resort - A Disney Vacation Club Property

Yesterday, December 16, Walt Disney World celebrated the grand opening of Disney's Riviera Resort. Located next door to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort (on land that was once part of that resort), the new Deluxe Resort is the fifteenth Disney Vacation Club property where Disney Vacation Club Members may use points (based on time-share real estate interests) or any guest may use cash to reserve rooms that range from the brand-new Tower Studios (which sleep only 2 adults) to 3-Bedroom Grand Villas (which sleep up to 12 guests).


Disney's Riviera Resort is now open at Walt Disney World. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Donald joined in the dedication of the new resort on Monday, December 16. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, and Donald, each wearing the attire they appear in at the resort's rooftop Topolino's Terrace restaurant, helped dedicate the new resort along with cast members representing many roles at the resort; Minnie recited a new poem for the occasion. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


The entire #DisneyParksLIVE stream is available for replay, and it provides quite a bit more detail about the resort and its amenities. Video ©Disney.

As Disney describes it, Disney's Riviera Resort is "inspired by Europe and Imagined by Disney." Terri Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Vacation Club, said the new property "blend[s] the flavors and flair of the Italian and French Riviera with the creativity and imagination that only Disney can deliver." The resort pays tribute to Walt and Lillian Disney's European travels which is also reflected in many photographs around the resort as well as in artifacts on display. The resort is designed "in early 20th-century elegance reflected throughout Europe and the Mediterranean coastline, featuring a palm tree-lined boulevard with a striking façade."


Voyageurs Lounge, just off the main lobby, displays numerous artifacts and other other tributes to Walt and Lilian Disney's European travel adventures. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Of the approximately 300 "vacation homes" in the resort, twenty four are the new-style Tower Studios. Disney describes each of these as a "chic space for two, located in its own tower of the resort." They are designed to be "an intimate studio experience that maximizes efficiency, inclusive of a queen-sized bed housed in a built-in wall unit that is pulled down for sleeping and tucked away to reveal a comfortable lounge-worthy space" that includes a sofa, writing nook, a beverage center, and microwave. Tower Studios have ample storage space, a modern bathroom, and a dedicated balcony.


The Tower Studio is a new accommodation-type offered for the first time at Walt Disney World. Similar in size to some rooms travelers can find in Europe, the videos embedded in the Instagram post below show the entire space with the bed both open and closed. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The more traditional DVC accommodation types are also available at the new resort. Deluxe studios, one- and two-bedroom villas, and grand villas include the latest in Disney room-design thinking. In other words, these rooms contain lots of electrical outlets, including USB ports for charging the numerous electronic devices modern guests may have. In addition, any room type that in earlier DVC properties may have had a sofa-bed now also has the same sort of pull-down bed as the Tower Studio, complete with a regular mattress rather than the old-type "hide-a-bed" collection of springs. Fixed beds are raised above the floors similar to how beds aboard Disney Cruise Line ships are raised, which permits luggage to be stored directly under the bed, out of the way during a stay.


Several accommodation types include a "master bedroom" with a king-sized bed. Under-bed storage space is now the norm as well for fixed beds. This view is from a Grand Villa.


Some accommodation types include rooms with two queen-sized beds. This view is also from a Grand Villa.


Every accommodation category has at least one balcony.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Art also plays a prominent design-role in the resort as well. Over 40 art pieces were specifically created for Disney's Riviera Resort featuring Disney and Pixar characters in European settings in styles inspired by the artistic styles that flourished along the European Riviera. In other words, in both the public spaces and in the guest rooms, art includes Disney characters drawn from stories from European history or set in Europe as well as Disney and Pixar characters and settings in styles such as cubist and impressionist.


Art in public spaces in the resort is inspired by classic Disney animated tales based on characters, like Alice, that originated in Europe.


The "Disney Magic" even makes an appearance sailing the Mediterranean Sea in a mural inside Bar Riva.


When beds are pulled down from their upright positions, more art is revealed in guest rooms.


The resort itself is the subject of art in one of the resort's hallways.


And, most of the art of the resort is available for on-demand purchase at a kiosk in the lobby gift shop.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Like all Walt Disney World resort hotels, Disney's Riviera offers quite a few recreation activities, from wellness-based ones (like yoga), to scavenger hunts, storytelling, and movie nights. Some of the unique offerings at Riviera include a daily Opening Regatta where, 30 minutes before the daily pool opening, crews race miniature ships in the feature pool. The resort also hosts the Riviera Grand Prix where guests can build and then race their own race cars down the "Monaco-inspired track" on the Activity Lawn. For those interested in the art around the resort, there is a self-guided scavenger hunt featuring it, and there will be cast member-led tours as well (which are open to all Walt Disney World guests, whether or not staying at Riviera).


The feature pool, Riviera Pool, offers lounge chairs and sun umbrellas, with a winding stone turret slide, inspired by the feel of swimming and playing along the Mediterranean coast. For young guests, there is an interactive water play area, S’il Vous Play, with a fountain featuring several characters from Disney's "Fantasia." Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Ample directional signage can be found around the resort which, when viewed closely, has more than a few not-so-hidden Mickey heads.


Disney's Riviera Resort was specifically designed to be a Disney Skyliner Resort, including a station that allows guests to travel directly to Epcot's International Gateway or to the station at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort with additional gondola service available from there to Disney's Hollywood Studios or Hourglass Lake.


A tunnel archway with water features and mosaics inspired by Disney's "Peter Pan" and "Tangled" leads to the resort's Disney Skyliner station.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

The new resort has several new dining options, from quick service and poolside to signature dining. Atop the tenth floor, Topolino's Terrace–Flavors of the Riviera, sits the signature dining location that features French and Italian flavors and an open kitchen with a wood burning grill. Mickey and friends appear at Topolino's for a prix-fixe breakfast experience, and, the views, day or night, from the outdoor terrace include Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot and more.


Chef Michael provides an overview of the opening day highlights of the quick service and signature dining menus at the resort. Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


Topolino's Terrace is located on the tenth floor of the resort.


The indoor space at Topolino's is surrounded by windows with views of Walt Disney World Resort. (HDR Photo)


The outdoor terrace overlooks both the feature pool and the quite pool. Disney's Caribbean Beach resort is next door and, in the distance, the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort rise above the trees. To the right, Epcot's Imagination pavilion appears over the other wing of the resort.


Looking carefully from the outdoor terrace, guests may spot the floating mountains of Pandora, Expedition Everest and the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom beyond the Disney Skyliner (at the bottom right of the photo).


Beyond Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, the terrace provides a view of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, the top of the Chinese Theater and more of Disney's Hollywood Studios (with the spires of Batuu in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge just to the left of the frame of this photo, but easily seen from this spot).


The terrace looks over the feature pool and across to the rest of Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort as well.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

In addition to the art on-demand kiosk mentioned above, the resort has quite a few other unique merchandise offerings as well. From resort-exclusive plush and ears headbands to resort logo merchandise, the selection is available in a shop in the lobby.


There are Disney's Riviera Resort-exclusive Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy plush, ears headbands, LoungeFly bags and more for sale.


Riviera logo merchandise is also available.


The opposite side of the large suitcase in the prior photo has a pattern design that is inspired by the design of some of the room drapery found at the Resort.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

As we have discussed in previous Walt Disney World Resort Updates before, purchasing "membership" in Disney Vacation Club is a serious financial commitment that comes with not only the initial purchase of a real estate interest, but the on-going obligation to pay annual dues which are used for maintenance and operations, transportation, amenities, and more, plus Orange County-assessed property taxes. More information about Disney Vacation Club is available at its website.

Disney Vacation Club 2019 Annual Meeting Update

So, speaking of the serious financial commitment of becoming a Disney Vacation Club Member, each year, DVC Members have the opportunity to attend the Annual Meeting of the Board and Condominium Associations that comprise each of the pieces that make up DVC. This year, that meeting was held at Disney's Contemporary Resort on December 12. These meetings have several parts that are carefully scripted to meet some of the legal requirements Disney must fulfill in connection with running its time-share business. These meetings also serve as an opportunity for DVC leadership to update members about the latest developments and benefits of the Club (though, as you probably can guess, in a fairly tightly-scripted way that is also constrained by the various regulatory hurdles a timeshare business faces plus the usual Disney-way of parsing out information in usually small nuggets). Finally, in addition to taking some questions from Members, these meetings have an informal reception afterwards that allow members further opportunities to chat with DVC leadership or, as was the case this year, get a surprise preview of Disney's Riviera Resort just a few days before its dedication and opening.

Regular readers here know that I am, like several others around MousePlanet, a Disney Vacation Club Member. In fact, in February, I will mark twenty years since I bought my first DVC Points (Disney-speak for the way the time share real estate interest is used by DVC Members). It continues to be a serious financial commitment for me, with annual increases in membership dues and property taxes, and more than 20 years left on all of my contracts.


The Board of Directors of Disney Vacation Club and the Voting Members Representative were on stage at Disney's Contemporary Resort and were joined by telephone by additional representation for DVC's California and Hawaii properties by telephone. PHoto by Alan S. Dalinka.


Reflections is next hybrid Disney Vacation Club and hotel property currently being built on Bay Lake including the site once occupied by Disney's River Country water park. PHoto by Alan S. Dalinka.

The major focus of the "business" portion of the meeting are the budgets for the DVC properties that result in the member dues members pay based upon the number of points they own at the specific DVC properties. Each DVC property's budget is established separately, and they can and have diverged quite a bit from property-to-property. For example, the Board explained that the cost of Disney Transportation has accounted for more of the annual increases in the campus-like properties of Disney's Old Key West, which again saw a more than 8% increase in its annual dues-per-point charge (making it one of the most expensive to own at Walt Disney World), and Disney's Saratoga Springs. The Board also explained that only Disney's Riviera Resort incurs a direct cost associated with the Disney Skyliner, just as monorail resorts pay fees associated with that form of transportation. The Board also repeated a point shared last year - that DVC Members see increases in their dues as a result of the resort's commitment to increase cast member wages, with starting compensation to reach $15/hour for most by 2021.

Other than the budgets and the upcoming 2021 changes to the point charts noted in the Writer's Note atop this week's Update, and lots of celebrating Disney's Riviera Resort's (then imminent) debut as the first stand-alone DVC property to open at Walt Disney World since Disney's Saratoga Springs resort in 2004, the highlights included:

  • DVC acknowledged that a conceptual developmental plan has been created for a 12 story, 280,000 square foot, approximately 300 "vacation homes" addition to the Disneyland Hotel complex. Of course, as DVC leadership noted, the plan is in the very early approval process and that it has a long way to go before something more formal can be announced, let alone, built in Anaheim to add to the limited DVC units in Disney's Grand Californian Resort.
  • Now that Disney has completed its acquisition of many of the assets of 21st Century Fox, National Geographic Expeditions has been added to the Disney Signature Experiences portfolio. With these adventures in the same business grouping with Adventures by Disney, DVC Members can expect to have some future opportunities in this category as well.
  • The initiative of replacing the small, single-use, in-room amenities bottles with the larger, cast-refillable ones, has already reduced plastic waste by 33 tons, an 80% reduction in plastic compared to previous years.
  • Moonlight Magic events were hosted at all six domestic theme parks plus Typhoon Lagoon over the past year, with more than 100,000 attendees. Moonlight Magic events are scheduled at all four Walt Disney World Parks and Typhoon Lagoon in 2020 (with Animal Kingdom registration already closed) and with Disneyland Resort events to be announced.
  • The Epcot DVC Members Lounge will continue to operate throughout all of 2020.


The Disney Vacation Club Members Lounge will continue to operate in the Imagination pavilion in 2020. These new kiosks were recently installed outside the pavilion and likely will be used during the upcoming Epcot International Festival of the Arts. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Regular readers (and friends) know just how much I enjoy using the DVC Members Lounge at Epcot and look forward to its continued availability next year. Reading tea leaves, though, DVC's announcement that the Lounge inside Imagination pavilion's operation in 2020 means that we are at least another year from seeing any effort by Epcot to reimagine or transform the current version of the pavilion's attraction into something (at least in my opinion) more entertaining and befitting the park's mascot, Figment. Stay tuned.


Mickey & Minnie debuted their new Disney's Riviera Resort attire during the Members Reception following the Annual Meeting. PHoto by Alan S. Dalinka.

"Drawn to Life" is the New Cirque du Soleil Show

La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil took its final bows at the theatre on the West Side of Disney Springs on New Year's Eve back in 2017. Since nearly that time, we have known another show was in the works as a collaboration between Cirque and Disney, and, indeed, by 2019 D23 Expo back in August, we even knew the new show will begin previews on March 20, 2020, will officially debut on April 17, 2020, and tells the story of a daughter of an animator. Tickets have been on sale on line for quite some time too!


Cirque du Soleil's theater on the West Side of Disney Springs is being prepared for the new production's Spring previews and debut. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Finally, this week, Disney and Cirque announced that the new show will be named "Drawn to Life." As Disney Parks Blog explains it, the story of Julie, "a courageous and determined girl who discovers an unexpected gift left by her late father: an unfinished animation piece," will be guided "by a surprising pencil" on an "inspiring quest sprinkled with her Disney childhood memories." Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering participated in the creation of the new show.

Drawn to Life by Disney & Cirque du Soleil
"Drawn to Life" opens this Spring at Disney Springs. Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog.

This is the 50th show produced by Cirque du Soleil. "In creating this show, we've brought to life an extraordinary new entertainment experience for the whole family," said Josh D'Amaro, president, Walt Disney World Resort, "It blends all the heart, humor and joy of Disney storytelling with new acrobatic performances and effects never before seen in a Cirque du Soleil production. For Cirque du Soleil, this show "is a beautiful way of celebrating Disney's legacy in the art of animation," according to its President and CEO, Daniel Lamarre. Writer and Show Director Michel Laprise said, "What fascinates us is that moment when life appears in drawings. Just like in an acrobat's body, the visceral physicality of animation. The way they perform, the way they create the illusion of life."

The new show will have an international cast of more than 65 performers. The theater on the West Side of Disney Springs seats up to 1,580 in the audience per show, five days a week.

Epcot Festivals News & Calendar

Last week we noted the latest changes to the upcoming schedule for Candlelight Processional during the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, which is now underway through December 30. This week, Disney Parks Blog shared new details about the upcoming Festival of the Arts and filled in the open slots on the schedule for the Disney on Broadway Concert Series (January 17 through February 24, 2020). We have updated our calendar accordingly and have provided the newest details below.

Festival of the Holidays

Performances of Candlelight Processional, three times nightly, continue through December 30. The performances combine a live orchestra, massed choir and celebrity narrator in the retelling of the traditional Christmas story. Pat Sajak, Geena Davis, Steven Curtis Chapman, Edward James Olmos, Marlee Matlin, and Lisa Ling, are the remaining celebrity narrators on the schedule this year. (Always keep an eye out for last minute changes, of course). 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 and more information is available on EpcotHolidays.com or by calling (407)WDW-DINE.


The December 3, 2019, #DisneyParksLIVE presentation of Candlelight Processional at Epcot with Celebrity Narrator Neil Patrick Harris video replay likely will remain available for some time. Video courtesy Disney Parks.


The audience for Candlelight Processional usually fills the seating area and spills out on to the promenade, as it did for the first 2019 Candlelight Processional performance. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

For a full recap of the highlights of this year's Festival, check out the video immediately below from this year's invited media preview (plus some clips we added from past performances of Candlelight Processional we attended). Disney Parks Blog has published its Foodie Guide, with menus for the Holiday Kitchens and the return of the Holiday Cookie Stroll which gets you a complimentary "completer cookie" when you have purchased any five Cookie Stroll cookies around the park (and, yes, you can purchase five of just one official cookie) and had your Festival Passport stamped accordingly. Disney Parks Blog also provides an overview of the Festival Merchandise that, in large part, features Chip 'n' Dale.


Preview highlights of the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, including performances by Mariachi Cobre, Joyful!, Father Christmas, and Chinese Lion Dancers, plus relive a few moments of past performances of Candlelight Processional, in this recap of this year's invited media preview. See a few moments of our preview of the new Living With the Land Merry & Bright Nights boatride here too. File Video by Alan S. Dalinka.


With the Fountain of Nations and its stage now demolished as part of the transformation of Epcot, this year, Joyful! performs at a stage in World Showcase Plaza. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Annual Passholders can pick up a Chip 'n' Dale Magnet Set at Epcot International Festival of the Holidays through December 30, 2019, next to Mouse Gear. Unlike the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Passholder magnets which required visits on multiple dates to receive each of the perks, this is a "set" that requires only one visit with valid Annual Pass and photo ID.


The Chip 'n' Dale magnet set is available in the breezeway next to MouseGear on the East side of Future World. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Festival of the Arts

From January 17 to February 24, 2020, Epcot International Festival of the Arts returns. This year, the new "Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine" debuts with food creations "that make you look twice and delight all your senses." Based on the description on the Festival's website, ArtfulEpcot.com, the Walk is like the Holiday's Cookie Trail, if you purchase 5 menu items from the Cuisine locations and receive stamps in your Passport, you can bring the completed Passport to Decadent Delights for a "colorful culinary prize offered exclusively at the Festival." Passport stamps do not have to be collected on the same day; the Passport may be completed at anytime before the end of the Festival. The menus for all the Festival's "Food Studios" (kiosks) are also on the Festival's website, ArtfulEpcot.com.

At Germany pavilion, a "brand new to Epcot" performing group, Lebendig ("Alive") will take to the stage during published times January 17 through February 25. The four-piece pop/rock group performs "its contemporary interpretation of the beloved German Schlager style, including covers and originals."

The America Gardens Theatre will again host nightly Disney on Broadway Concerts Series, three times nightly: 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m. The performing duos scheduled to appear this year are: Kissy Simmons & Alton Fitzgerald White, Heidi Blickenstaff & Gavin Lee, Kara Lindsay & Kevin Massey, Liana Hunt & Adam Jacobs, Ashley Brown & Josh Strickland, and Syndee Winters & Michael James Scott. Each duo is scheduled to perform several times, and three evenings over the course of the Festival (January 25, February 9 and 24), two duos combine for three concerts. More information about both the whole Festival and the shows themselves is available on ArtfulEpcot.com or by calling (407)939-5277. Booking for dining packages and workshops is also now open for the entire 2020 Festival.


Chalk artists and Living Statues will return for the 2020 Festival of the Arts. Some of the artists demonstrated their talents during the media event ahead of the opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Remember, that the 2020 opening of the Festival of Arts also marks the opening of the permanent new films at the Canada and The Land pavilions, along with the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along (plus the return of Impressions de France, upgraded to 4K projection), opening at the France pavilion.

"


Canada Far and Wide in CircleVision 360," is scheduled to debut at Canada pavilion January 17, 2020, with narration by Catherine O'Hara and Eugene Levy, and a new score by Andrew Lockington. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new 10-minute film "Awesome Planet" is scheduled to debut January 17, 2020, inside The Land pavilion with in-theater effects and an original musical score by Steven Price. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


 
Flower & Garden Festival

From March 4 to June 1, 2020, the park presents the 27th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival with its Garden Rocks Concert Series. As we move into winter, we expect we will start to see announcements about scheduled performers. The official website for the festival, FreshEpcot.com, notes that performances will again be scheduled 7 nights a week for the 2020 concert series.

Food & Wine Festival

With the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival having just concluded, the park has not yet announced its return for 2020. It is a pretty safe bet that the hugely popular festival will return for a near 90 day run in the late summer/fall of 2020. The official website for the festival is TasteEpcot.com.

Festivals Calendar

For the convenience of our readers, all of the scheduled Celebrity Narrators for Candlelight Processional at America Gardens Theatre are shown in our Google Calendar of Epcot Events. We will have also added the announced Disney on Broadway Concert Series performers so far, and we will add Garden Rocks 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

Our only park views this week come from a couple of visits to Epcot as its transformation moves forward with heavy demolition of part of the old Innoventions/CommuniCore West building while the new Starbucks location and new restrooms near Refreshment Port get closer to opening.

Epcot


Demolition of the former Innoventions West (formerly CommuniCore West) home of Club Cool, Fountain View (Starbucks), and Character Spot is well underway.


This past week, from the center of Future World, it was possible to catch glimpses of the monorail right through the framework of the former Innoventions West building.


The construction wall around the Fountain of Nations includes an artist rendition of the transformation of Epcot.


Monorail silver glides past the remains of the portion of Innoventions West that formerly was home to Club Cool.


The new, larger restrooms building appears to be nearing completion near Refreshment Port along the path between Future World West and World Showcase.


Looking closer at the new building next to the new restrooms, it is now clear that the new home of Starbucks at Epcot will be this location next to Refreshment Port (approximately on the site of the former smaller restroom facility).

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That…

…In last week's Update we shared Disney's announcement that Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway will open at Disney's Hollywood Studios on March 4, 2020, and we shared details of the sneak preview we got of the new animated short that serves as the attraction's pre-show inside the refurbished Chinese Theatre. During Disney Channel's Disney Parks holiday special, Disney shared a further look inside the new attraction.


Disney shared a further look inside Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway during the Disney Parks Holiday special on Disney Channel last week. Video courtesy Disney Parks Blog.

…Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is scheduled to reopen at Disney's Beach Club Resort on December 26, 2019. The refurbished restaurant promises more space and an improved layout with "a fresh new look [that] embraces the timeless charm of an old-fashioned soda fountain." The menu includes some new items as well, including a Seared Salmon Filet Sandwich, a French Dip Sandwich, and a selection of "loaded tots." Like other venues around Walt Disney World Resort, the revised menu will also include plant-based options. Of course, the Kitchen Sink sundae will be back, and there will be a few new desserts as well, including something called "COOKIE FRIES" with marshmallow cream, chocolate, carmel, and strawberry dipping sauces (and, in fact, it is plant-based). Reservations are available on My Disney Experience or directly on the Walt Disney World Resort website.

…REMINDER: The next new destination aboard Star Tours-The Adventures Continue at Disney's Hollywood Studios (and Disneyland and other Disney Parks) debuts on December 20 and celebrates that day's opening of the final chapter of the Star Wars Saga, Episode 9, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Disney has invited us to the screening and to see the newest update to the attraction, and we will cover both on Social Media and in next week's Update.


World of Disney store has "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" merchandise in stock. The final installment of the Star Wars Saga opens December 20 at Disney Springs and at theaters around the country (and other countries, but check your local listings). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka

…Disney PhotoPass Service is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month, having launched at Epcot in December 2004. To mark the occasion in Epcot, now through January 6, 2020, PhotoPass is offering two special nighttime photo opportunities. A special "pixel stick" photo opportunity is available at the "back" side of Spaceship Earth (near the floral bed) featuring a design inspired by Spaceship Earth. On the entrance side of Spaceship Earth, PhotoPass offers an opportunity for a photo in front of an enhanced Spaceship Earth. Also through January 6, PhotoPass is offering a 15% discount plus free domestic shipping on "select orders" when customizing and ordering photo gift products through EZ Prints. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for links to the product offerings. Disney Parks Blog also lists other special photo opportunities available around all of Walt Disney World during the Holidays celebrations.


Refurbishment has been completed and the Epcot Camera Center and its Disney PhotoPass desk has reopened at the base of Spaceship Earth. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Epcot Camera Center is now also the new home of Pin Traders. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…The Wonderful World of Disney Magical Holiday Celebration is now available on the Disney+ streaming service. Disney-owned ABC will air "Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade" on Christmas morning, Wednesday, December 25 (10 a.m. to noon EST, 9-11 a.m. CST/MST/PST, though air times may vary, so check listings for ABC and on the ABC app).

…The Best Western on Hotel Plaza Boulevard (one of the Disney Springs-area hotels on property owned by Disney but operated by third parties) is being renovated and expanded. According to Orlando Sentinel, a new 262-room tower will open in 2021 and, by the end of that year, the existing 340-room hotel tower will be renovated and rebranded "Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando Lake Buena Vista" (as a result of a 2017 purchase of the building by Drury Hotels).

…FOLLOW-UP from our Views Beyond the World visit to LEGOLAND Florida Resort earlier this month. The folks at LEGOLAND let us know that the LEGO Star Wars Miniland model display is leaving the park, but guests can still view it until January 6, 2020. If you book a full priced one day ticket at LEGOLAND.com/gift-to-you before the end of 2019, you get one day admission to LEGOLAND Florida Park any operating day before December 31, 2019, and a second day admission for a visit during an operating day between January 1 and February 29, 2020, at no additional cost.


A LEGO brick recreation of Millenium Falcon at Hoth from "The Empire Strikes Back" is in LEGOLAND Florida's Miniland through January 6, 2020. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…Also Beyond Walt Disney World, over at Port Canaveral, according to Orlando Sentinel, Disney Cruise Line's main terminal will close for refurbishment from June through October 2020. Disney will continue to sail from Port Canaveral during this time without interruption, but will use adjacent Terminal 10 which it shares with Norwegian Cruise Line. The refurbishment will be the first major overhaul of the terminal since it opened in 1998, and in addition to modernization, will allow for the upcoming new ship, Disney Wish to port there starting in January 2022, as well as the other ships of the new "Trident Class" when they join the fleet. Disney Cruise Line recently signed a new 20-year agreement to continue to operate from Port Canaveral, and has agreed to expand its use of the port from 150 calls annually to at least 180 in 2023, and at least 216 in 2024.

…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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Disney Springs News & Views

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). Some items are repeated week to week until they occur, while other items NEW to the Update are marked accordingly. For even more of the latest news around Disney Springs, follow its official Twitter Feed: @DisneySprings.

…The Disney Springs Holiday Gift Guide is online and includes special offers available throughout the holiday shopping season.

NEW Views Around Disney Springs


Sometimes the night sky over Disney Springs can be quite spectacular (and this photo was not filtered or adjusted in any way).


City Works now has a sign at its future West Side location next door to NBA Experience. Signs on the construction wall still say the venue will be opening Winter 2019.


Demolition continues at the former site of Bongo's. Beatrix restaurant by Chicago's Lettuce Entertain You Group will occupy the site formerly occupied by Bongo's.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Wine Bar George

NEW On Christmas Day, December 25, Wine Bar George will serve Santa Carota Short Ribs, Red Wine Braised Half Chicken and Chocolate Ginger Cake with house-made peppermint ice cream alongside select items from its regular menu. Reservations are available through OpenTable and the Disney Dining sections of My Disney Experience and DisneyWorld.com.

Purchase a Wine Bar George gift card and for every $100 spent, receive a $10 bonus to gift or keep for yourself. Offer valid through December 31 for in-restaurant purchases.


Wine Bar George is offering a $10 bonus gift credit for each $100 purchased through December 31. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant will offer a dinner special for Christmas Day. Its butter- and herb-roasted turkey with garlic mashed potatoes, duck fat potato roasties, honey glazed carrots, bacon-braised Brussels sprouts, sausage-and-walnut stuffing, red wine jus and cranberry sauce will be available for order from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. during the holiday, and the complete dinner is $28.95 for adults and $14 for kids (available both inside the pub and on the patio). The regular pub menu will also be available, and from 4:30 p.m. through the wee hours, its holiday celebration includes performances by its live Irish bands and the Raglan Road Irish Dancers.

Looking further ahead to New Year's Eve, Raglan Road will ring in the new year twice that night. At both midnight Ireland time (7 p.m. Eastern) and at Midnight at the pub, Raglan will have free Champagne toasts. There is no cover charge for the celebration.

The Edison

To kick off its Second Year Anniversary, The Edison will again host a New Year's Eve Gala of food, cocktails, and entertainment including performances by a live band, burlesque dancers, aerialists and more. The tickets (available on this page of PatinaGroup.com) are $150/person (plus tax and gratuity) include admission at 7:30 p.m. with "tray-passed" hors d'oeuvres, live-action food stations, and a wide selection of beer, wine, and premium spirits "until the Time Square ball drops at midnight" (which, of course, also happens to be midnight here in Central Florida), and a midnight champagne toast. The evening will also offer a selection of coffee and desserts, as the party continues until 2 a.m. on January 1, 2020. Additional VIP Table Packages are available as well.

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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 Disney's Animal Kingdom: December 18
  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – Now through December 30, 2019
    (includes Candlelight Processional)
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom (hard ticket required)
    • December: 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:
    • January 6, 13, 17, 20, 23, 27 & 31
    • February 3, 10, 17 & 24
    • March 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30
    • April 5, 13, 20 & 27
    • May 5, 11, 18 & 25
    …at Disney's Animal Kingdom
    • January 9, 16, 22, & 30
    • February 6, 13, 19, & 27
    • March 5, 12, 19 & 26
    • April 1, 7, 14 & 22
    • May 2, 9, 16, 19 & 26
  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - January 8-12, 2020
  • Epcot International Festival of the Arts - January 17 to February 24, 2020
  • Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic: (Eligible Member reservations required for wristband entry)
    • Disney's Animal Kingdom: January 21, February 11 & 25, 2020
      Registration for Members with Resort reservations opens: November 20, 2019
      General Member Registration: December 4, 2019
    • Magic Kingdom: March 3, April 21 & 28
      Registration for Members with Resort reservations opens: January 8, 2020
      General Member Registration: January 15, 2020
    • Epcot: May 4 & June 29, 2020
      Registration for Members with Resort reservations opens: March 11, 2020
      General Member Registration: March 18, 2020
    • Disney's Typhoon Lagoon: July 27 & August 10, 2020
      Registration for Members with Resort reservations opens: June 17, 2020
      General Member Registration: June 24, 2020
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios: September 15 & 22; October 6, 2020
      Registration for Members with Resort reservations opens: July 15, 2020
      General Member Registration: July 22, 2020
  • Disney Villains After Hours: (hard ticket required; park entry at 7 p.m., event hours vary by published date)
    • February 7, 14, 21 & 28
    • March 6, 11, 18 & 27
    • April 3, 10, 17 & 24
    • May 1, 8, 14, 22, 29
    • June 5, 12, 19, 26 & 29
    • July 6 & 10
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend - February 20-23, 2020
  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival - March 4-June 1, 2020
  • Star Wars Rival Run Weekend - April 16-19, 2020
  • D23 Destination D: Fantastic World - November 20-22, 2020.

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
  • Splash Mountain – closed for seasonal refurbishment January 6, 2020 through late February, 2020.
  • The Muppets Present...Great Moments in American History – its final scheduled shows were performed October 5, 2019.
  • Move it! Shake it! MousekeDance it! Street Party – two performances scheduled daily now through January 4, 2020.
  • Royal Majesty Makers – no longer has scheduled appearances in Fantasyland as of October 2019.
  • 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
  • Test Track – Will close for refurbishment January 13-February 26, 2020.
  • Impressions de France – Closed for refurbishment related to sharing the theater with "Beauty & the Beast Sing-Along" - both debut in rotation: January 17, 2020.
  • O Canada! – the film has been retired and the theatre 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 January 17, 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 2019.
    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 (Heritage Manor is now closed)
  • 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 January 17, 2020
  • Illuminations: Reflections of Earth – Show retired: September 30, 2019.
    Epcot Forever debuted 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 – Closed.
  • The Great Movie Ride – Permanently closed August 13, 2017.
    The new Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway attraction to open in Chinese Theatre on March 4, 2020.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Kali River Rapids – closed for seasonal refurbishment January 6, 2020 through late March, 2020.
  • Primeval Whirl – is now listed as "Operates Seasonally" - as of December 15, 2019
    My Disney Experience shows the attraction open with a published standby wait time
    No FastPass+ service is available for the attraction through at least January 14, 2020.
Disney Water Parks
  • Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park is closed for enhancements with no announced reopening date
    but, the calendar for the park on DisneyWorld.com shows daily operating hours starting Monday, January 13, 2020.
  • Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park usually closes for seasonal refurbishment during the winter, and
    the calendar for the park on DisneyWorld.com shows no operating hours between January 13 and March 28, 2020.
Disney Springs
  • Bongo's Cuban Café– Closed in August 2019
    Beatrix from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises coming to the site at a date to be announced.
  • 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, "Drawn to Life," begins previews March 20, 2020, and will have its world premiere April 17, 2020.
Disney Resorts & Vicinity
  • McDonald's restaurant near Disney's All-Star Resorts – closed October 30 for an extensive renovation, and is scheduled to reopen in March, 2020.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Jambo House – Due to Resort construction, the Disney Vacation Club Value category accommodations are not available for stays from December 2019 through early spring 2020
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower – Road Closures are scheduled near the resort in January and February 2020 which may impact guests when traveling to or from the buildings.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Mizner's Lounge replaced with "Enchanted Rose," a larger venue with a 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 is scheduled to reopen December 26, 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.

As regular readers know, 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. 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 more discounts and offers we know about, click the category below that you want to expand (or close).

For Everyone

4-Park Magic Ticket

The 4-Park Magic Ticket is once again available for purchase at Disneyworld.com/4ParkMagic. For $356 plus tax (ages 10 and up; less for ages 3-9), it provides one visit to each of the four Walt Disney World Theme parks (one park per day). Guests must select a start date on or before September 30, 2020, and the ticket expires seven days after the selected start date. (Certain start dates will lower the price of the Ticket further.)

For an additional $40 plus tax (ages 10+; less for ages 3-9), the ticket will also provide admission to one water park and one visit to NBA Experience at Disney Springs.

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.


Gift of Magic

For stays most nights January 1 through April 25, 2020, guests can save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort Hotels when booked by January 1, 2020. The offer also includes a $30 Disney Gift Card for each person (ages 3 and up) on the reservation if the reservation is upgraded to a package that includes 6-day or longer theme park tickets. Lots more details are available by visiting this page of DisneyWorld.com or by calling (407)939-2735 or your travel agent.


Fall & Holiday Season Resort Hotel Offers

Save up to 20% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels in late 2019. 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 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.
Holiday Offerings

Passholders can save up to $15/ticket when purchasing Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tickets in advance. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com and be sure to log in to your Disney Account that is linked to your annual pass to find the nights the discount is offered.

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. For the 2019 Holiday Season, many of the Disney Springs and Bonnet Creek hotels are offering special room rates to Passholders from this page too.

Passholders can also save up to 30% on select Rooms at Disney Resorts through Christmas Eve. See this page of DisneyWorld.com for details.

Passholders can save up to 35% on select Rooms at Disney Resorts on most nights between January 1 and April 25, 2020. See this page of DisneyWorld.com for details.

With the recent changes to stroller and ECV delivery policies around the resort, the Magic Strollers Passholder offer is no longer listed among the available Passholder benefits.

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.

2020 Military Promotional Tickets

January 1 through December 18, 2020

  • Four-Day Park Hopper Tickets –$265.00
  • Four-Day Park Hopper Plus Tickets – $315.00
  • Five-Day Park Hopper Tickets – $283.00
  • Five-Day Park Hopper Plus Tickets – $333.00
  • Six-Day Park Hopper Tickets – $301.00
  • Six-Day Park Hopper Plus Tickets – $351.00

Prices do not include tax. Six-Day Tickets must be purchased by December 13, Five-Day Tickets by December 14, Four-Day Tickets by December 15. Tickets may be used from January 1 through December 18, 2020.
Prices may be lower at U.S. military base ticket offices.

U.S. military personnel can also purchase the Memory Maker product for $98 from January 1, 2020, through December 18, 2020.

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. No more than two Memory Maker products may be purchased at the special price by the service member or 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, 2019, for stays most nights through December 19, 2019. For 2020, discounts are available most nights January 1 through April 4, and April 19 through December 18, 2020, when booked by December 18, 2020. 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. For 2019 rates, call (407)939-4249 for information and reservations, and find 2019 eligibility details listed on this page of DisneyWorld.com. For 2020 information and details, visitthis page or call (407)939-7825.


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.

Holiday Rooms Special Offer

For stays most nights through December 24, when booked by December 24, Florida residents can save up to 25% at select Disney Deluxe Villas and Resorts, up to 20% at select Disney Moderate Resorts, and up to 15% at select Disney Value Resorts. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for details and to check availability. In some cases, it may be possible to apply this offer to existing bookings.

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.

Walt Disney World Golf operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management offers a Golf Membership program exclusively for Disney Vacation Club Members. As of November 1, 2019, the $99/year (plus tax) program includes discounted rounds of golf (averaging $15 below usual DVC-discounted pricing), access to DVC Member-only golf outings, access to DVC Member instructional clinics and coaching, an exclusive DVC Member hat and bag tag, 4 Companion Passes for DVC Golf Clinics, 6 Guest Passes to play golf at the special discounted member DVC rate, 6 complimentary baskets of driving range balls, 4 complimentary rounds of golf on Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course, 4 Complimentary Twilight rounds of golf, 8 complimentary rounds of FootGolf at Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course. All told, Walt Disney World Golf says that the Golf Membership includes $746 in included benefits. Visit this page of GolfWDW.com for more information.

Call DVC Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to take advantage of most other available 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 Canada Residents

Until February 2020, Canadian residents can save 20% on theme park tickets. They must be purchased by February 7, 2020, and the offer is NOT available at theme park ticket windows. Visit Disneyworld.ca/tickets for more information.

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 Lloydian

    You are mistaken in one of the things you said about the new points charts for DVC, and it's a nice mistake. I can't guarantee that it happened at every resort, but it happened at the three where I have memberships. Noticing that some of my vacations were coming in for fewer points than expected, I mapped out 2020 and 2021 points for the Boardwalk, Boulder Ridge and Grand Californian. Then, being curious, I also checked out Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge (the new points charts no longer differentiate between Jambo House and Kidani Village) and Old Key West. My results (total points for a single room within a single year):

    Boardwalk
    Studio Standard View dropped 3 points. That's not significant, but...
    Studio Preferred/Boardwalk View dropped 23 points. That's a bit more significant.
    1 Bedroom Standard View dropped 86 points.
    1 Bedroom Preferred/Boardwalk View dropped 26 points.
    2 Bedroom Standard View dropped 177 points.
    2 Bedroom Preferred/Boardwalk View increased 21 points.
    3 Bedroom dropped 439 points.

    Boulder Ridge
    Studio increased 33 points.
    1 Bedroom dropped 78 points.
    2 Bedroom dropped 34 points.

    Grand Californian
    Studio dropped 359 points.
    1 Bedroom dropped 388 points.
    2 Bedroom dropped 733 points.
    3 Bedroom dropped 1007 points.

    All totaled, the Boardwalk eliminated 18,545 points. Boulder Ridge eliminated 4,967 points, and the Grand Californian 36,054. With only 71 living units at the Grand Californian, that's an average of 1.4 points dropped per night across the board.

    I could be wrong. For all I know, I've got some major miscalculation in my spreadsheet. I'm happy for someone to prove me wrong. Also, I've only done the five resorts. If anyone wishes to flesh out the remaining resorts, by all means, go for it. You should only need to copy worksheets and fill in data in the yellow sections (you have to manually populate the table at the right). If you're looking for total inventory of units at each resort, they can be found at: https://dvcinfo.com/dvc-information/...oom-inventory/. Remember that 2 Bedroom Lockoff units (they identify "Ded"=Dedicated and "LO"=Lockoff) are already counted in the 1 Bedroom and Studio counts, but include all 1 Bedroom and Studio units whether dedicated or lockoff.

    Spreadsheet attachment: Attachment 9247

  2. By asdhollywood

    The decrease you note may be due to 2020 being leap year with an extra day. I donít recall how that works in. I believe other changes can occur if a room drops in or out of inventory due to refurbs. And the definition of the ďunitsĒ themselves may create a little play - a studio and one bedroom that can become part of a 2~bdr Lockoff, for example, isnít really a studio and 1-bdr at all but a fraction of the two bedroom unit.

    If DVC has altered the math much beyond the parameters Iíve mentioned, that could impact the real estate interest and create legal issues.

    Thanks for reading.

    Regards,
    Alsn

  3. By Lloydian

    I considered the leap year issue myself, but the point drops are just too much. Also consider the fact that the 2019 schedule (2018 as well) was identical to the 2020 schedule but without the leap day. If I had compared to the 2019 schedule, the differences would have been even larger.

    There is no rule that prevents them from lowering point values (thus increasing the buying power of each point). There is only the rule against increasing total annual points. And the adjustments at the Grand Californian are huge though they don't really apply to Florida discussions.

    Ultimately, it's a bonus for all of us. Well, that's assuming it happens at all of the other resorts as well, but they're 5 of 5 on the ones I've looked at. The only problem I have, especially now that I've done the math and realize my last contract expires when I'm 95 years old (I'll "only" be 77 when my first 300 points worth of contracts expire), is that I'll have a few more points to map out for future years.

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