Walt Disney World Resort Update For December 24 - December 30, 2019

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

 

Writer's note: Happy Holidays, everyone! 'Tis the Update before Christmas, during Hanukkah in some folks' house, big crowds are gathering 'round the Resort, celebrating with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. See Goofy! See Pluto! Even Donald, Daisy, Chip 'n' Dale too! It's time for the biggest crowds of the season, with the next break coming sometime after January 1, but probably not on Batuu!


Santa & Mrs. Claus have been quite busy around Walt Disney World Resort, leading up to Christmas Day. Here they are at Epcot last week. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Okay, back to my more pedantic prose. With Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance continuing to operate based only on the virtual queue system and no FastPass+ or StandBy riders, it becomes even more important for those that want to ride to keep up to date on the latest procedures for getting your chance to experience the attraction. Last Wednesday, Disney Parks Blog published the latest revision to the method by which Boarding Groups are assigned for the attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Here's what you need to know and our additional guidance on "best practices" based on the current procedures:


Since its debut, Virtual Boarding Groups are all assigned for "Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance" in the morning. Knowing the procedure increases the chance you have of getting to ride. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

  • The virtual queue for the attraction opens at the published park opening time. While the touchpoints to enter Hollywood Boulevard typically open before that, there is no longer an advantage to getting to the park well-before opening as had been reported during the attraction's weeks of operation.
  • Be prepared for the opening of the virtual queue by having your entire group linked in My Disney Experience. In other words, each guest should have a My Disney Experience account that includes the admission media being used that day (day ticket, Annual Pass, etc.), and each of the folks that want to try to get a Boarding Group together should be linked as friends or family that share plans so that a Boarding Group can be assigned to your whole party.
  • To get a Boarding Group assigned in My Disney Experience, each member of your party not only has to have used their linked admission media at the touchpoints to enter the park, but must physically be within the park (and location services on the device being used by the person using the My Disney Experience app has to also reflect that the request is coming from inside the park).
  • When available, the "Join Boarding Group" button can be found by following the "Find Out More" button on the home page of My Disney Experience in the "Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance - Access by Boarding Group" topic. We have heard that there is no advantage to tapping "Join" early and refreshing. In fact, you may cause your device to wait up to two minutes to be refreshed and have another chance to "Join" if you refresh in the moments just before published park opening time (sort of like buzzing in too early on "Jeopardy").
  • While no Boarding Group guarantees admission to the experience, as it the attraction can go down and become unavailable from time to time, so far, we have not heard stories of boarding groups not getting to ride. Indeed, once all boarding groups are filled, additional guests will have an opportunity to request "Backup Boarding Groups" and some of those groups will have an opportunity to experience the attraction if all Boarding Groups have been called and the attraction still has additional capacity before closing. For example, at publication yesterday, Boarding Groups above 125 were "Backup Boarding Groups" and, as of 6:30 p.m., the attraction was welcoming Boarding Groups 136 to 171, with the park scheduled to remain open until 10 p.m..
  • Boarding Groups are notified that it is their turn to ride through push notifications on their device. For those that do not enable it (or notice it), there are also video screens throughout the park that display which Boarding Groups are welcome to enter the actual standby queue for the attraction. The My Disney Experience app also displays which Boarding Groups are welcome, and guests may also press the "My Status" button. Members of a Boarding Group have up to two hours to enter the Standby Queue and, when you do so, cast members will scan your admission media to confirm your Boarding Group number (similar to scanning for a FastPass+ but without using the FastPass+ touchpoints).
  • Typical rider experience (including my own this past week following the new process' introduction), is that the actual standby queue can last approximately 30 minutes once arriving at the attraction after your Boarding Group is welcomed. As we reported following the media previews, there are lots of things to see in the queue, and, indeed, for those that use the Play Disney Parks, there are a number of activities as well.


Boarding Groups permitted to enter the queue are displayed on digital signs outside the entrance to "Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance" as well as on video screens around the park and on the My Disney Experience app. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

For those guets that are technically challenged or otherwise need assistance working with the virtual queue, seek out members of the "Guest Experience Team" near the marked blue signs and umbrellas at locations around the park. We understand that those seeking Disability Assistance admission to the attraction also must first obtain a Boarding Group before proceeding to the Disability Assistance attraction cast members. If you have further questions about that, we suggest you address them to Guest Relations or the Guest Experience Team.

May The Force Be With You.


From time to time, you may spot Vi and Chewbacca working on the "Millennium Falcon" inside Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. It is theoretically possible on the busiest park days that Virtual Boarding Groups will be necessary to enter the land as well. Be sure to pay attention to notices on My Disney Experience and at the park entrance as well as the entrances to the land on Grand Avenue and Toy Story Land, if visiting Batuu is part of your holidays plan. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

News and Views

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Star Tours Adventures Continue Into The Rise of SkyWalker

Warning: this section contains mild spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and the latest version of Star Tours.
Skip ahead if you want to remain completely spoiler-free before seeing the latest film and/or riding Star Tours again. Indeed, I recommend seeing the film before your next Star Tours ride for full enjoyment of the new adventures.


Disney Parks Blog host Mark Daniel was on-hand for the first screening of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" at Disney Springs on December 19, 2019. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


AMC Dine-In Theaters at Disney Springs was decked starting Thursday and into the weekend for the debut of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker". Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

On Thursday night, Disney invited local media to one of the first public showings of the the "final" film in the 9-film Star Wars Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at AMC Dine-In Theaters at Disney Springs and then, before dawn, to Disney's Hollywood Studios to be among the first to ride Star Tours: The Adventures Continue featuring new scenes inspired by the film. As usual, this Update will leave the film review to others here at MousePlanet other than to note that I enjoyed it and, as someone who has seen every one of the 9-films of the Saga in movie theaters around the time of their respective releases over the past 42 years (as well as the two "Star Wars Story" films), I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to the story.

As the new Star Tours scenes debuted on both coasts on Friday with the release of the film, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix had the opportunity to also ride at Disneyland and to hear, in person, from Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald about these latest changes to the ride. Except for Florida specific-photos below, I will largely just repeat here what she said about the attraction yesterday in MousePlanet's Disneyland Resort Update.


Star Tours: The Adventures Continue now takes you right into the middle of "Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker." Image © Disney.

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue now includes two new destinations and a new character appearance. After C-3PO takes unwilling control of the Starspeeder 1000, the shuttle splashes down on the ocean moon of Kef Bir, next to the ruins of the Death Star. This update gave Imagineers the opportunity to program the Starspeeder's motion base with a new effect, giving passengers the sensation of "surfing" along the waves.


Aboard the Starspeeder 1000, guests surf the waves of Kef Bir like a major character does in a scene in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker." Video © Lucasfilm/Disney.

The Starspeeder winds up inside the wreckage of the Death Star, where you come face to eyeball with a dianoga before escaping back to light speed. The mid-ride transmission comes from none other than Lando Calrissian, who engages in a bit of banter with C-3PO and R2-D2 before recruiting your crew to join the Resistance in battle against the Empire.


Billy Dee Williams appears as Lando Calrissian in a new segment filmed for Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Photo © Disney.

The next jump from light speed lands your Starspeeder right in the middle of the Battle of Exegol from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. As with the original Star Tours film, your rather heavily armed Starspeeder scores a critical hit on a ship, helping assure victory, and then escapes relatively unscathed.

Unlike any prior Star Tours journey, this particular sequence ends with your Starspeeder actually returning to the Star Tours terminal, though not without a mishap on the way back in.

For a time, all riders on Star Tours: The Adventures Continue will see the Kef Bir-Lando Calrissian-Exegol sequence. On some rides in the current configuration, Kylo Ren attempts to find a Resistance Spy before you even leave the terminal. At some point in the future, the ride will return to what Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald refers to as "jukebox mode," with the various ride sequences randomized each time. Once the attraction goes to fully random mode, expect to see Rey make an appearance in a mid-ride transmission. In total, Disney Parks Blog says there will be over 100 storytelling combinations on the attraction with the latest added scenes.


Star Tours: The Adventures Continue opened with the new signage and new scenes on December 20.


The pre-dawn media event provided a spectacular view of the AT-AT outside the attraction as well.


As the pre-flight video still says, photos and video are not allowed aboard the Starspeeder 1000 (and, yes, we follow the rules).


Cast members in Tatooine Traders gave a lightsaber tribute to media and guests exiting before dawn on December 20.


Tatooine Traders and other merchandise locations in the park now have a new selection of Disney Parks-exclusive "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" merchandise; a 30th anniversary pin is exclusive to Disney's Hollywood Studios, while most items are available also at Disneyland.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

This was not the first time Disney has used the Star Speeder 1000 as a promotional vehicle. New scenes and characters were added to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue in 2015 and 2017 to promote Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. And of course, as we did at a media preview the morning of the last additions to the attraction, thousands got their first look at the "remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge" when Batuu—the setting for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge lands in Disneyland and Walt Disney World—was added as a surprise destination in 2017.

Christmas Week Crowd Adaptation Strategies

With another tip of the hat to Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix for reminding our West Coast readers of adapting to Christmas week crowds at Disneyland Resort this week, the time has come for our reminder about handling the holidays at the parks at Walt Disney World Resort. As regular readers and visitors may realize, it can be a rather different experience park-to-park: historically, the toll plaza to Magic Kingdom may back up World Drive all the way to Epcot and, perhaps beyond, while there may be plenty of breathing room in Epcot. This year, the on-going transformation at Epcot and the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios may change things a bit, but a pretty safe bet is that Magic Kingdom will reach capacity and close to new admissions at one or more points before the end of the holidays and Epcot probably will not.

Nevertheless, like on the West Coast, this is the busiest time of the year, and with all but Platinum, Platinum Plus and Premier (two-Coast) Passholders now blocked out through the end of 2019, and quite a few Cast Member maingate blockouts (like at Disney's Hollywood Studios for quite awhile and on many dates at Magic Kingdom), the in-park crowds will largely consist of vacationers and day ticket holders with varying degrees of Disney Parks experience. As Adrienne said yesterday, since you're here and reading this Update, take advantage of our experience to make the most of your visit.

Buy your tickets in advance!

Our top tip, year after year: Buy your tickets before you ever approach the main entrance. There is almost no reason in 2019 to make your first line after the security checkpoint at one of the Florida Parks the line at the vacation planning booths that sell park tickets. By purchasing tickets in advance, you avoid standing in a long ticket-buying line. Buying in advance saves you a lot of time and headache, and leaves you with more options than those who show up without a ticket.

The easiest way to buy tickets is online from the Walt Disney World website itself. Print them at home before you leave and walk straight to the touchpoints at the park gate (or even just show the cast member at the touchpoint the bar code for each ticket) and you will be provided a plastic card to use at other touchpoints during your visit. You can also purchase tickets using the My Disney Experience app for iPhone and Android smartphones. In fact, if you already have a My Disney Experience account and MagicBands or previously used cards personally assigned to members your party (they are, after all, non-transferable), once you buy new tickets, you can link them in your account to those MagicBands and cards, and (as discussed below), start making FastPass+ reservations as soon as you buy them (three per park per guest per day, 30 days in advance of your visit, or 60 days in advance if you are staying in a Disney hotel or some of the Disney partner hotels like those at Disney Springs, Bonnet Creek, and the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort.

Tickets are also available at the Disney hotels and partner hotels, at the Ticket Center at Disney Springs, Disney Store, and from quite a few authorized resellers (like our Sponsor, Get Away Today), but, as we always note in the Discounts section below, don't get scammed by deals that seem too good to be true!

Take advantage of Extra Magic Hours

For Disney Resort hotel guests and select partner hotels, different parks offer exclusive admission either an hour before scheduled opening in the morning or for two hours after scheduled closing in evenings. Check with your hotel for eligibility; check the My Disney Experience app to see which parks are offering the benefit on a particular day: on December 30, for example, Magic Kingdom offers both an Extra Magic Hour in the Morning and two more Extra Magic Hours after the park's Midnight close!

Whatever amount of extra effort it takes to get your family on their feet and inside a theme park by 7 a.m. will be repaid by the opportunity to check off at least some of your must-do rides before most people even have their first cup of coffee. Having said that, though, on Christmas Day, Magic Kingdom opens to all guests at 6 a.m. and, with the recent opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disney's Hollywood Studios, that park is opening to all guests on many mornings at 6 a.m. as well (as always, check the My Disney Experience app for the latest information).

FastPass+ Reservations

Since the introduction of FastPass+ and MagicBands several years ago, Walt Disney World theme park planning has taken on the new dimension of having some of the "best" rides seemingly sell out 60 days out. FastPass+ advance reservations are no extra charge for guests. Each guest can make advance reservations for three attractions in one park each day and, importantly, after those three are used (or cancelled), each guest can make one more in any park (if they have the park hopping option), and continue to make one more after each prior one is used or expired.

Though FastPass+ reservations may appear sold out, between cancelations by guests and "surprise and delight" releases of same-day reservations, guests should keep checking My Disney Experience to see if favorite attractions have availability. Do not be disappointed when you initially search, say, "Afternoon" and see no availability. Try searching specific times. Sometimes, you may just find those Avatar-Flight of Passage FastPass+ reservations pop up when you select 4 p.m. and hit search. Try repeatedly, it's free and, if you are waiting in another queue, it is something else you can do! (Well, it may depend on WiFi and cell data, but that it out of our jurisdiction.)

Reserve your table

The reality is that the most popular table service locations are already booked solid this week, but that doesn't mean you're completely out of luck. Use the My Disney Experience app to find a table or snag a last-minute cancellation. If you prefer phone calls, try (407)WDW-DINE, but prepare for long wait times.

Mobile order meals

If your favorite restaurant was sold out, or a long table-service meal just isn't your holiday style, there are a bounty of counter-service locations available to fill you up on the go. Wherever possible, use the handy mobile ordering feature on the My Disney Experience app to pre-order your meal and skip the line for ordering. The app does let you use Dining Plan credits at restaurants that take them, but it does not let you use a Disney Gift Card or Disney Rewards Card as a form of payment; you need to link a credit or debit card in the app.

Schedule your entertainment, and enjoy attractions that "eat people"

Shows are a great way to take a break during the day, but the entertainment-heavy holiday schedule means you can't see it all. The Times Guide lists the offerings at the park you visit, but to see what is going on at other parks, you need to check the My Disney Experience app if you are thinking about Park Hopping. The printed Times Guide is usually available just inside park's main entrance gates (including Epcot's "back door," International Gateway), but you can ask for one at Guest Relations, Guest Experience kiosks, many merchandise locations, and even some cast members wearing aprons with a pocket showing lots of them sticking out.

Each park has one or more theater-type attractions that "eat people" - in other words, they have a high capacity, and you usually do not have to wait more than one complete show to see the next. Great examples at each park include:

  • Magic Kingdom: Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents, Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bears Jamboree
  • Epcot: The American Adventure, Reflections of China, Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios: For the First Time in Forever-A Frozen Sing-along, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Muppet-Vision 3-D
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom: Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo-The Musical, It's Tough to be a Bug


Theater attractions, like Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney's Hollywood Studios, provide seating for a large number of guests simultaneously, making it an especially good entertainment option on busy park days during the holidays. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Use Disney transportation

Theme park parking lots may fill before the parks themselves reach capacity. Sure, with the expansion of the Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot, it is not as tiny as it once was, but competing with the tourists and locals on the roads in the resort is probably not going to be ideal.

Disney buses and Minnie Van (Disney-run, Lyft app summoned private transportation) will compete with regular traffic on some roads but also get to go places that other vehicles and rideshares are not allowed (like the Magic Kingdom bus loop).

The new Disney Skyliner allows for road-less connection between Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot's International Gateway in about 10-15 minutes (plus whatever queues build up to board and change lines at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort). Indeed, the Epcot station is not un-walkable for guests at Disney's BoardWalk Resort, Yacht & Beach Club Resorts or even the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin. Indeed, water transport connects Studios and Epcot with those same resorts too, and separate water transports connect Magic Kingdom with each of the Magic Kingdom area resort hotels and the Fort Wilderness Campground.


If your plans include using Disney Skyliner transportation, be sure to note the operating hours. Signs are posted at each station. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

And, of course, the monorail operates around Seven Seas Lagoon to Magic Kingdom and offers a connection between Epcot and the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Disney Villains After Hours Adds A Cursed Caravan

Disney Parks Blog last week, revealed that a new enhancement is coming to the 2020 editions of the Disney Villains After Hours hard ticket events at Magic Kingdom on 24 select nights starting February 7. Maleficent's dragon will be joined on its mini-parades through the park in a new "Villains' Cursed Caravan" featuring Gaston, Oogie Boogie, Cruella DeVil, Captain Hook and others.


From one of the 2019 editions of Disney Villains After Hours, see Maleficent at Night featuring the dragon breathing fire through Liberty Square. File Video by Alan S. Dalinka.

The event will again include performances on the Castle stage of the "Villains Unite the Night" stage show starring Hades and Meg from Hercules with appearances by Jafar, The Queen, Dr. Facilier, and Maleficent. A DJ-led dance party will take up the Castle stage the rest of the night.

Enhancements also return to Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain, along with special photo ops around the park. Specialty food and beverage, and merchandise exclusives will be available and, more than 25 attractions and experiences will be operating during the event.

Tickets (not including tax) are $155/person on event nights, $145/person in advance; there is an additional $30/ticket discount for Passholders and DVC Members, bringing the price down to $115 for advance purchases. Visit DisneyWorld.com/VillainsAfterHours for more information and tickets, or call the Reservation Center at (407)939-2742, or visit Disney ticket locations around the Resort (including the Ticket Center at Disney Springs).

I had the opportunity to attend Disney Villains After Hours twice in 2019, once as invited media and once on a night that I paid for at the DVC Member discounted price. I shared my comments and lots of photos in prior Updates on June 11, 2019 (following the media night), and July 16, 2019 (following the night I paid to attend). This year's published same-day ticket price is $11 more than last year's; $4 more for all advanced purchases. There remains no discount for children 9-and-under.

Epcot Festivals News & Calendar

With the Winter Solstice having passed, we now have new details about this coming Spring's edition of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival which runs March 4 through June 1. This week, Disney Parks Blog released a partial list of scheduled performers for the three times nightly Garden Rocks Concert Series and we have added the all the latest information we know in that section below and have updated our calendar accordingly.

Festival of the Holidays

Performances of Candlelight Processional, three times nightly, continue through December 30 at America Gardens Theatre. The performances combine a live orchestra, massed choir and celebrity narrator in the retelling of the traditional Christmas story. 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.


With or without guaranteed seating, many guests line up quite early for each of the nightly Candlelight Processional performances. Even the threat of rain did not deter crowds from attending Pat Sajak's turns at the podium last Tuesday night. Thanks to Walt Disney World for providing invited media seating for this show. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Pat Sajak returned to the podium for Candlelight Processional at Epcot and, included in these excerpts, shares news about his improved health and return to "Wheel of Fortune." Video 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.


As it is now Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, enjoy a rain-abbreviated look at the Festival storyteller on the first of the eight nights of the holiday, from the stage next to the L'Chaim Festival Kitchen. Video 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.


Returning Disney on Broadway Concert Series performers Alton Fitzgerald White & Kissy Simmons discus their upcoming return to the Festival of the Arts. Video ©Disney.

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

The longest running Epcot festival—the one that started them all back in 1994 as "a 38-day celebration of Disney-style gardens and topiaries"—the 2020 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, runs 90-days from March 4 to June 1, 2020. The 27th edition of the Festival includes the Garden Rocks Concert Series three times nightly at America Gardens Theatre, and, the list of scheduled performers so far includes both returning and new names including: Peabo Bryson, STARSHIP, Sister Hazel, Rick Springfield, Plain White T's, Don McLean, Herman's Hermits, Daughtry and Survivor. As the Festival gets closer, we expect we expect we will increasingly see the gaps in the schedule filled. The official website for the festival, FreshEpcot.com.

Garden Rocks Concert Series Dining Packages are now available. Booking a breakfast, lunch or dinner package at select Epcot restaurants provides guaranteed concert seating for a 5:30, 6:45, or 8 p.m. show.

If you are new to the Festival, you may not otherwise know that this is the one that features the most topiaries around the park. New this year will be a Remy topiary that will be unveiled as the centerpiece of Ratatouille Garden at France pavilion. The garden will include vegetables that make up the traditional ingredients of a ratatouille recipe. Remy's Ratatouille Adventure attraction opens at the pavilion during the summer, with a specific date not yet announced.

Other topiary displays that have been announced so far are the return of Anna & Elsa, Buzz Lightyear, Miss Piggy & Kermit the Frog, Tinker Bell, Snow White, and Bambi. The Goodness Garden Butterfly House will also return, as will the "Play Full Garden" where "families can celebrate spring at a unique playground experience." The Floating Gardens, Flower Towers, and more bedded blooms will be planted as well. Behind the scenes tours are available during the Festival from the no-additional-charge 20 minute English Tea Garden tour to the Spring edition of the 3 hour Gardens of the World tour ($85/person plus tax).

Like the other Festivals, Flower & Garden Festival will include food and beverage kiosks. This year, 16 "Outdoor Kitchens" and other "stops" will include three Florida-centric locations: The Honey Bee-stro, The Citrus Blossom, and Florida Fresh.

Food & Wine Festival

The 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival just concluded back in November, and 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

Grey skies and rain did not stop me from getting to Epcot a few times this week or from popping over to Disney's Animal Kingdom following the Star Tours media event at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Here are the views.

Epcot


By Sunday, December 22, many construction walls had been removed from the Epcot entry plaza, beginning the reveal of the plaza's new look.


Out from behind the construction walls, new plantings and holiday decor also had been added to the entry plaza.


The construction walls on the other side of Spaceship Earth surrounding the former site of the Fountain of Nations have new, easier to read directional signage.


By the end of the weekend, pretty much only structural elements remained of the former home of Club Cool, as this portion of Innoventions West's demolition continues.


Also, by Sunday, the new, larger restroom facilities opened along the pathway between Future World West and World Showcase Plaza near Refreshment Port and Canada pavilion.


Outside the touchpoints at International Gateway, the new travel planning ticket windows and Guest Relations windows have opened.


From aboard Disney Skyliner approaching or departing International Gateway, the current state of construction of the additions to the France pavilion that will include Remy's Ratatouille Adventure by Summer 2020 can be seen.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Art of Disney store in Future World East (across from an exit for Spaceship Earth) has closed. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The new Art of Disney location is located in the former Heritage Manor at The American Adventure. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Some of the plaza in front of The American Adventure has emerged from behind construction walls, including some new steps connecting the promenade to the future entrance of Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue.


Concept art is on the construction wall surrounding the portion of The American Adventure which used to be The Liberty Inn which is becoming Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue.


An opening date has not yet been announced for the new food and beverage location.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom


Winter Holidays celebrations at Disney's Animal Kingdom continue until early January.


The animal lanterns of Discovery Island glow from within at night.


Animal lanterns decorate the outside of Island Mercantile near the Tree of Life on Discovery Island by night.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That…

…Speaking of Star Wars and more beyond the Resort, Florida residents can save on select Star Wars Day at Sea Disney Cruise Line sailings, Marvel Day at Sea sailings, and other voyages. Visit this page of DisneyCruiseLine.com for more information.

…Want a chance to participate in the Super Bowl Celebration Parade at Magic Kingdom as part of a four-day vacation for four at Walt Disney World with a VIP Guide and including a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite? The NFL is holding a contest as part of its "#NFL100 Experiences of a Lifetime" series where that prize package goes to the winner. Through December 31 (11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time), entries can be submitted by Instagram or Twitter tagging @NFL and #NFL100Contest along with a brief video performance of your best "I'm going to Disney World" and explanation of why you deserve to win. The published judging criteria is:

  • Passion, Enthusiasm and Fandom for the NFL (40%)
  • Delivery Style – How Well You Articulate Your Reasons (30%)
  • Quality, Uniqueness and Creativity of Your Submission (30%)

For the prize package with an approximate retail value of $17,000, there are a whole lot of details and fine print about your entry that you need to read at NFL.com/100/contests including, specifically, the very detailed Official Rules. We, at MousePlanet, are not in any way connected with or responsible for this contest sponsored by the National Football League, we just want our readers to know about it! If you enter, share your post with us on Instagram and Twitter too @MousePlanet.

…For a chance to dine at Space 220 Restaurant in Epcot, Patina Restaurant Group’s latest signature table-service restaurant and lounge expected to open this Winter, the non-profit Give Kids the World Village has an opportunity for you to win a package for two including roundtrip airfare to Orlando, lodging for two nights at a Walt Disney World®Resort, 2-day Theme Park Tickets with Park Hopper option and dinner for two at Space 220 at Epcot. Chances to win start at as little as $10. No purchase is necessary. To participate visit www.gktw.org/space220 to enter to win by January 15, 2020. Guests will be able to redeem the package following the opening of the restaurant and the availability of the resort. Donors help Give Kids The World provide life-changing wish trips to critically ill children and their families while getting a chance for an out-of-this-world experience. As we have mentioned many times before, Give Kids The World Village is an 84-acre, nonprofit "storybook" resort in Central Florida where critically ill children and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free vacations, complete with accommodations, donated attraction tickets, meals, and more. For more information, visit givekidstheworld.org.

…REMINDER: 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.

…REMINDER: 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 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.

NEW The Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs has celebrated more than 1 million guests visiting so far this holiday season. Started in 2016, there are more than 20 trees themed to Disney stories, with two new trees this year themed to Aladdin and The Lion King. Santa Claus will only continue to meet guests at his Chalet through tonight, Christmas Eve. The trail remains open through January 5, 2020.

NEW Views Around Disney Springs


Jock Lindsey's "Holiday Bar" includes not only decor overlays at the Hangar Bar but some special Holiday-themed menu items as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Just beyond the doors of the AMC Dine-In Theaters, demolition appears to be wrapping up at the former site of Bongo's. The site is being prepared for Beatrix restaurant at some (as-yet unspecified) date in the future. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Jaleo

NEW Jaleo at Disney Springs will celebrate Three Kings Day on January 6. From noon until 4 p.m., the restaurant's inaugural Three Kings Day celebration will give kids 10 and under the chance to meet the Three Kings during storytime, receive complimentary slices of Roscón de Reyes (King Cake) and chocolate milk, and, for those that find the traditional bean in their slice of cake, prizes. Roscón de Reyes cakes can also be pre-ordered to enjoy at home through January 2 for pickup between January 4 and 6 (between 11 a.m. and closing). Cakes are $40/each (or $45 with cream) and serves 6-8 people. Visit Jaleo.com/roscon/ for more information and to pre-order.

Wine Bar George

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. File 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).

2019-20 Resort Events
  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – ends December 30, 2019
    (includes Candlelight Processional)
  • 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
  • Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios - March 4, 2020
  • Star Wars Rival Run Weekend - April 16-19, 2020
  • D23 Destination D: Fantastic Worlds - November 20-22, 2020.

2021 Resort 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
  • 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 has relocated 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 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.
    As of publication, Typhoon Lagoon is scheduled to be closed Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019.
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.

Get Away Today Logo

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.


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.
Discounts and Benefits

The updated list of PASSHOLDER benefits and discounts is located 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

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. 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 more information and details, visit this 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.

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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