Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 8-14, 2022by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 8-14, 2022
You can view a larger version of the photos included in the Update by clicking on the photo. Each photo will open in a separate tab without a caption.
Writer's Note, News & Views
As we publish this week's Walt Disney World Resort Update, Central Florida is again under a tropical storm warning. Nicole is in the Atlantic Ocean tracking toward the Bahamas, and is expected to continue westward to Florida's east coast as it builds to near-hurricane strength winds overnight Wednesday. Depending on the storm's expected intensity, Walt Disney World Resort could again shut down on Thursday as it did back in September when Hurricane Ian blew through the region. If you're planning a visit to the Resort, be sure to keep an eye on DisneyWorld.com/weather for the latest operational impacts of the storm.
As regular readers know, the Resort's buildings and attractions are constructed to withstand hurricanes far more severe than what has hit Walt Disney World Resort over its 51 years of operations, but there are places around the Resort that aren't suitable for riding out a major storm (like the Fort Wilderness Campground and the Saratoga Springs Treehouses). And, for all of us who live in the region, it's once again time to get ready to "hunker down," even as Florida continues its recovery from Hurricane Ian. If the current forecast is accurate, rain is expected to begin Wednesday afternoon and continue through Friday afternoon, with heavier showers and winds in the morning hours on Thursday.
With this much rain in the forecast, I expect Reams Road to flood again as it did during Hurricane Ian in September (and from rains earlier that month), as well as back during Hurricane Irma in 2017. Located in my immediate neighborhood just north of the Magic Kingdom, the road runs along Magic Kingdom cast parking and is used by many cast members and other locals to access the property. The other significant threat to be aware of, as I've learned in the eight years I've lived right in the middle of the state and next door to Walt Disney World, is that tornadoes can spin up far from the storm's center. Again, if you're in the area, keep yourself informed and stay safe.
6 weeks ago we were getting ready for Ian from the west...now watching for Nicole from the east. They'll be two different events with different impacts...but watching how bad the flooding could get with this one and really concerned about coastal erosion. pic.twitter.com/Lejhu5d5fy— George Waldenberger (@GWaldenWFTV) November 8, 2022
Fantasmic! is Back: New & Improved
After the pandemic-initiated hiatus of more than 30 months, Fantasmic! has returned to regular nightly performances at Disney's Hollywood Studios in a new and improved, slightly longer show. The nighttime spectacular that invites the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater audience into Mickey Mouse's imagination to watch good and evil battle it out with animation and characters from over a dozen Disney films had been a park staple since its debut on October 15, 1998.
The Florida version of the show was created following the overwhelming success of the original California version of the show that debuted on the Rivers of America in Disneyland in 1992. The central story of the show has always been the same in both the California and Florida versions of the show with some differences in the scenes between the two shows (and the constant debate among fans, with many arguing that the Florida show is inferior but for its seating). Disneyland's show received more visible updates to its technology over its run, with a major set of upgrades and scenic changes for its 25th anniversary in 2017 (which I covered for MousePlanet following the 2017 D23 Expo). Indeed, in the months before the pandemic-caused temporary closure of the parks, I'd seen both versions of the show—and Florida's was looking quite dated compared to California's more modern technology.
During the temporary closure of the park in 2020, Disney Live Entertainment began planning enhancements to Fantasmic! at Walt Disney World (via virtual meetings). Fast-forward to the show's Florida return last weekend, and the show now has a new scene that includes "heroic moments" from Pocahontas, Mulan, Aladdin, Moana, and Frozen 2. The new "Disney Heroes" scene replaces the segment that previously focused on characters from only Pocahontas. Matthew Hamel, show director for Disney Live Entertainment, said, "We get to see some new characters introduced to Fantasmic!, and we get to show their stories in a new, unique way utilizing a combination of projections, lasers and new lighting."
MousePlanet was invited to a media preview for the return of "Fantasmic!" a day before its official return. The Walt Disney World Ambassador team discussed the changes and enhancements to the show with some members of the Disney Live Entertainment creative team, including Tom Vazzana (Director, Creative Development, Walt Disney World Resort), Laurice Marier (Show Producer), and Matthew Hamel (Show Director). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
The show now runs 29 minutes, which is slightly longer than before its pandemic-caused closure. As an outdoor show, it is subject to the elements, and, indeed, our media preview was cut short by a thunderstorm that popped up just over halfway through the show on November 2. Rain alone usually doesn't stop all elements of the show (although the live performers and many stunts will get eliminated from the show), but lightning within the park's safety zone will shut it down completely.
Fortunately, as an Annual Passholder, I was able to see the full show on Sunday night. The amphitheater opens seating 90 minutes before the show (if there are two or more shows on a given night, as there were two scheduled on Sunday, that applies only to the first show). On Sunday night, the amphitheater's 6,900-guest seating area only approached capacity in the 15 minutes or so before the show's start. The amphitheater has additional standing room for approximately 3,000 guests. The My Disney Experience app lists showtimes. Dining packages that offer guaranteed seating are also available for shows starting on November 30, 2022.
The behind-the-scenes upgrades to the lighting, lasers, special effects, and even the show's sound system all serve to make the show feel fresh and new. The new scene fits seamlessly too. I rarely use this update for editorializing, but, praise where it's due: in my view, the new scene and technology upgrades were long overdue for this show, and they were done extremely well. Before the pandemic, Fantasmic! was a show that I no longer enjoyed sticking around the park to see, but now I look forward to seeing it repeatedly and hope that the upcoming new nighttime entertainment being planned for Magic Kingdom and EPCOT succeed at this level of quality (both parks' current nighttime shows have new technology but, in my opinion, lack the quality storytelling of Fantasmic!).
Except for the new “Disney Heroes” scene that replaces the largely Pocahontas scene, the show itself is largely unchanged.
The behind the scenes changes to the technology of the lighting, special effects, and lasers, enhance the visuals of the classic images of the show.
Though Pocahontas is no longer the focus of the entire segment of the show, she appears high atop the mountain during the new “Heroes” scene.
Lasers are used in ways that were not previously used in Fantasmic! which, combined with the new lighting, created interesting visuals.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
More Views Around Disney's Hollywood Studios
In the days following Halloween, Disney's Hollywood Studios quickly installed its holiday decor. Please forgive me in advance if I accidentally type "Disney’s Holiday Studios" between now and the start of 2023.
Holiday decor greets guests across the Pan-Pacific Auditorium-inspired ticket booths at the park entrance.
As in the past, the park’s Christmas decor is Americana-retro with lots of tinsel and kitsch. The park's main tree is located on an island in Echo Lake.
Gertie the Dinosaur once again has a Santa hat and an ornament celebrating the Resort’s 50th anniversary.
Sunset Seasons Greetings, the nightly projections on Hollywood Tower Hotel accompanied by holiday music and Disney snow will begin by this weekend (weather permitting).
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Hollywood Studios has several Star Wars-themed holidays items for sale, as well as a full assortment of the 2022 Disney Holidays collections. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
“Life Day” the Star Wars Holiday is also among the holiday merchandise offerings at Disney’s Hollywood Studios including in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. #DisneysHollywoodStudios #HollywoodStudios #WaltDisneyWorld #starwars #lifeday #disneyholidays #disneyshopping #disneymerch #… pic.twitter.com/WHNawZ0z6z— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) November 6, 2022
Toy Story Land always has some Christmas lights strung around, but for the holiday season, it has additional ornaments and decor.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
There are more views of the holiday decor in the park on our social media channels. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Views of Holiday Merchandise at World of Disney
As predicted when we were heading into Halloween, within days, World of Disney converted its merchandise displays to Christmas (plus a nearby Hanukkah merchandise table).
The section of World of Disney that was filled with Halloween merchandise at the end of October, is now filled with Christmas merchandise as November gets underway, and, across the aisle, a small assortment of Hanukkah merchandise is available.
As is true of some of the Christmas merchandise, some of the Hanukkah merchandise (the shirt, for example) is available on shopDisney.com as well as in the store.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
This & That & Reminders…
…Miss Carol Stein, friend of MousePlanet and decades-long musician at Walt Disney World (including Pleasure Island's Comedy Warehouse, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort's lobby piano, EPCOT, and beyond) retired from full-time performances with sets performed at the Rose & Crown Pub at EPCOT's United Kingdom pavilion on November 3, 2022. She says that her retirement plans include future performances at Walt Disney World, and we'll share what we know when she shares them.
Decades-long Disney entertainer Billy Flanagan stopped by to share a couple of songs during Carol Stein's first set on her final day of full-time performances at EPCOT's Rose & Crown Pub. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…Walt Disney Presents at Disney's Hollywood Studios now shows an extended preview of the Thanksgiving Disney animated feature film Strange World. Previews will also be available at Disneyland Paris and aboard Disney Cruise Line ships. The film opens in theaters November 23, 2022.
Walt Disney Presents currently includes an extended preview of “Strange World”. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Calling all adventurers and explorers! An exclusive sneak peek of #StrangeWorld from @DisneyAnimation is coming to select Disney Parks. Check out the Disney Parks Blog to learn more: https://t.co/fVDR27yuSe pic.twitter.com/oJrEDEzjbD— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 3, 2022
…Disney Parks Blog highlights the 2022 holiday gingerbread displays around Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Noteworthy for the Florida Resort this year: Disney's Contemporary Resort's display will return on November 11 at 11 a.m., Jambo House at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge will have a new lobby display including a life-sized baby zebra joining a life-sized baby giraffe of gingerbread on November 23. Disney's Grand Floridian Resort's gingerbread house will be complete tomorrow, November 9, with "clouds of cinnamon billowing out the chimney" and 25 hidden Mickeys to be spotted among the 85-pound chocolate Santa, nutcrackers, toy soldiers, and snowmen. Disney’s BoardWalk’s display will return November 17. Disney's Beach Club's life-size carousel will be back too. The American Adventure at EPCOT's display will be available starting November 25.
Home sweets home! Discover all the gingerbread displays and delicious treats coming to @WaltDisneyWorld and @Disneyland this holiday season ✨ #DisneyEats https://t.co/6lxbiMnOZq pic.twitter.com/RIf6iweMwd— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 4, 2022
…Going back to Walt Disney’s time, when Walt Disney and studio artists personally designed the Toys For Tots train logo, and for 75 years, Disney has supported Toys for Tots to bring toys to children in need at this time of year. The Disney Ultimate Toy Drive takes place now through December 24, with opportunities to donate on shopDisney.com, Disney Springs (World of Disney, Marketplace Co-Op, Star Wars Galactic outpost, and the Disney Springs Welcome Center), Disneyland locations, and (with varying dates) Disney Outlet locations, and Disney stores.
It’s the season of giving and time to kick off the #DisneyUltimateToyDrive. We’re celebrating 75 years of supporting Toys for Tots to provide gifts to children and families in need! Want to join in the holiday spirit? ✨ Learn more: https://t.co/HYSddVhvN7 pic.twitter.com/bGE8hG5osx— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 2, 2022
…The Disney Eats section of the Disney Parks Blog has this season's Foodie Guide featuring some of the specialty Holiday food and beverage offerings around the Walt Disney World parks and Disney Springs. Of course, we expect we'll see a Foodie Guide for the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays as Thanksgiving gets a bit closer.
The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner! ☃️ Discover all the holiday goodies available at Walt Disney World theme parks and Disney Springs in our Foodie Guide: https://t.co/aPNpvGGfAQ #DisneyEats pic.twitter.com/FquTwKH0ZN— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 7, 2022
…Speaking of food and beverage offerings around Walt Disney World Resort, last month, we shared the news that Patina Restaurant Group was raising funds for the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation by offering a special cocktail named "The Pink Ribbon," with a portion of the proceeds from each drink sold at The Edison, Maria & Enzo's and Enzo's Hideaway donated to the charitable organization. Last week, Patina Restaurant Group announced that it raised $3,387 for the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation from the offering. Though no longer on the official menu, guests may still order "The Pink Ribbon" (Herradura Reposado, watermelon juice, lime juice, fresh muddled raspberries, and mint leaves) which was created by The Edison's Mixologist, Alana Sullivan, in honor of her mother's triumph in her battle against breast cancer.
…REMINDER: This December, guests can join Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto when he hosts two exclusive culinary evenings at Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs. The December 2nd and 3rd events will feature one of the oldest and rarest Japanese whiskies from the Yamazaki collection — the Yamazaki 55. On each of those two nights, Chef Morimoto will host a 12-person, intimate seven-course meal that he curated and fully prepared, with bites designed to pair with rare bottles from House of Suntory’s signature Yamazaki whisky collection, including Yamazaki 18, the Tsukuriwake Selection 2022 Yamazaki Limited Edition, Mizunara, Peated Oak, Puncheon and Spanish Oak. These events will be the last opportunity for guests of Morimoto Asia to taste the Yamazaki whisky. Tickets are $3,000 (plus tax and gratuity) per person. Each event will begin at 7 p.m. Guests must be 21 or older to attend. Tickets and more information are available at morimotoasia.com/momokase/.
…REMINDER: Walt Disney World Resort is now accepting applications for the Disney College Program. Plenty of longtime Disney cast members got their starts amongst the ranks of the College Program, and which future favorite cast members might be considering applying as you read this? Maybe someone you know…
Attention all college students and recent grads – have you heard? 🎓🏰✨ Applications are open for the Disney College Program! Check out 5 reasons to apply: https://t.co/CdN1e2eOe6 pic.twitter.com/QyyFheXzlX— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) October 21, 2022
…REMINDER: Looking ahead to Thanksgiving, Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Disney Springs will be serving up its special Thanksgiving dinner all day—11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Guests who prefer to order lunch or dinner from the restaurant's all-day menu are also welcome to do so; Raglan's plant-based Shepherd’s Pie (This Shepherd Went Vegan) is a popular vegan option too. Live Irish music and dance begins at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and continues through pub close.
Considering Thanksgiving dining at Raglan Road? Reservations recommended: RaglanRoad.com.
…REMINDER: Give Kids The World'S popular "Night of a Million Lights," will be back for its third year—but at the Island H2O Water Park in Kissimmee, Florida, rather than at the not-for-profit Village's resort as it had been since its debut. From November 11, 2022, through January 1, 2023, the Island H2O Water Park, 3230 Inspiration Drive, Kissimmee, FL 34747, will be "transformed into a dazzling winter wonderland featuring millions of lights, luminous displays, festive family activities and live entertainment for a one-of-a-kind, fully immersive holiday experience." Nightly entertainment will include performances by Dueling Pianos Jingle and Jangle and the strolling a cappella group Santa’s Dancing Reindeer, with DJ Jack Frost Ice Block Party leading an interactive holiday hits dance party. The park's pools, rides, and other water activities will be unavailable during the event. Tickets are on sale now at gktw.org/lights/. The forecasted track of Subtropical Storm Nicole has resulted in the cancellation of the media preview before the event opens to the public, but MousePlanet has now been invited to attend on Saturday, November 12, and we'll bring you coverage of the event on our social media channels and in a future Walt Disney World Resort Update. For those with tickets to the November 11 debut, please be sure to check your email for advisories as to whether the storm causes any impact to that night's event.
Night of a Million Lights was hosted at Give Kids the World Village in late 2020 and 2021. Its third installment will be at Island H2O Water Park in Kissimmee. File photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…REMINDER: Give Kids the World Village is also hosting Gingerbread Run: Valentine’s Day Edition on Saturday, February 11, 2023. This event “will enable fundraisers of all ages to run, roll or stroll a 5K or family fun run through the 89-acre nonprofit resort—past snoring trees, an enchanting castle, the world’s largest game of Candy Land, and other whimsical attractions. For more information and to register visit gktw.org/gingerbreadrun.
…REMINDER: Disney Skyliner will be closed for refurbishment January 22–29, 2023. Disney bus service and FriendShip boats will operate (the latter, of course, weather permitting).
The Usual Writer's Note
Face coverings remain optional across all of Walt Disney World Resort. Remember to check this page of DisneyWorld.com for the latest requirements.
If you're traveling to or from overseas, be sure to check with the places you're visiting and traveling from or through for the latest rules. Though the United States government loosened international travel restrictions for entering the U.S.A. at the end of 2021, it remains important to check on and abide by the most up-to-date COVID-19 testing and vaccine requirements for entering the United States whether as a citizen, permanent resident, or visitor (and be aware of who needs a visa). The United States dropped the requirement for COVID-19 testing for entering the country.
As for visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney Park Pass reservations are required for admission in addition to a valid ticket. If your tickets have the Park Hopper option, Park Hopping only becomes available after 2 p.m. daily, and only after you have first visited the park for which you have made a reservation that day. There have been instances where Magic Kingdom has reached capacity and paused admission of Park Hoppers, and Disney reserves the right to do so at all the parks.
Sales of new Walt Disney World Annual Passes continue to be paused in all categories except the Florida Resident Pixie Dust Pass. Disney reserved the right to pause those sales when it reintroduced its new Annual Passes. Current Passholders may continue to purchase renewals in all tiers regardless of the pause in new sales. We have seen nothing further about when Disney plans to resume sales of new passes following their brief surfacing this summer.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to monitor the cases of the monkeypox virus in Florida and elsewhere. We will include more information here in future Updates should it relate to visiting Walt Disney World Resort.
Finally, another reminder (because maybe you skipped the Writer's Note and the discussion of Subtropical Storm Nicole): the active tropical storm season runs all the way until the end of November and, indeed, the storms themselves do not have to observe any particular dates on the calendar. Please stay informed if you live or plan to visit Florida.
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Resort Reservations, Ticket Advice & Special Offers
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.
Our travel partners at Get Away Today shared the details of the new discount packages Disney announced this Fall for those planning to visit the remainder of the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration through March 30.
Disney Parks Blog also has the highlights of the Resort's 1) Winter and Spring Travel Packages, 2) Current Florida Resident Discounts, and 3) Passholder Deals, and provides additional links to offers for Disney+ subscribers and Disney Visa cardholders. features all the offers the Resort has publicly announced.
You won’t want to miss the latest travel deals and special offers on your next @WaltDisneyWorld stay! ✨ https://t.co/q85FAZKPO9 pic.twitter.com/osPRHBGnog— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) October 26, 2022
Remember, our travel partner Get Away Today is available to help you book rooms and packages. When you book a Walt Disney World Resort Package with Get Away Today with a minimum 3-night stay at a Disney Resort Hotel plus tickets, you receive its complimentary concierge service which includes:
- Free Price Monitoring – if a special comes out after you book, we'll automatically apply it!
- Dining Reservation Assistance – we wake up early and snag those hard to get dining reservations so you don't have to.
- The GAT expert team is available to you! Contact them any time for extra assistance with your vacation planning; transportation, theme park recommendations, etc.
You can get a free Walt Disney World Resort vacation quote by calling 855-GET-AWAY (and tell them MousePlanet sent you) or, you can find sample prices and submit a free quote request here.
Looking to go beyond Walt Disney World Resort when visiting Central Florida? Check out Get Away Today's Universal Orlando Resort ticket offers too.
Thank you Alan!
Thanks for the nice pics of the Fantasmic! updates as well as the all Christmas decorations going up! I know it is small and an obvious thing for them to do to mark the 50th, but I like the ornament in Gertie's mouth with the 50 on it.
I know it was unrealistic, but I was sort of secretly hoping to hear the Fantasmic! Dragon was updated to use one similar to the one in DL. (I can dream, right? )
I'll definitely make an effort to attend a showing of the updated Fantasmic! the next time I visit.