Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 13-19, 2022

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 13-19, 2022

You can view a larger version of the individual photos included in the Update by clicking on the photo; the photo will open in a separate tab without a caption. For the Instagram posts embedded in the Update, you can click them and view larger images on Instagram.

 Writer's Note, News & Views

We are getting really close to the end of 2022 now, with Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve all coming up quick, and whatever else you may celebrate at this time of year. Usually, Walt Disney World Resort tends to get busier and busier with celebrants (guests) as we head into a year's final week, and the news tends to be rather quiet. 2022 has left lots of open questions about the future of the resort, including a number of things that were announced as returning or opening in 2022 that we still haven't seen: courtesy trams at EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Roundup Rodeo BBQ in Toy Story Land immediately come to mind and don't appear to be imminent. We know that training began months ago for the return of The Walt Disney World Railroad at Magic Kingdom, but there has been no announced date for that either.

So, yes, it's possible that there will be news in the coming weeks, but it's looking unlikely. Add in the fact (as I've been mentioning a bunch lately) that my Sorcerer Annual Pass is blocked the last two weeks of the year, and you know that I won't be taking many more photos around the resort after this coming week. That means that after next week's Walt Disney World Resort Update, I'm thinking about taking a publishing break. Is there something hanging out there from our Walt Disney World Resort coverage during 2022 (or before) that you'd like me to address next week?

Please let me know in the comments below or on social media (the email button at the top probably will not find its way to me)—heck, it would be nice to know what you'd like to see MousePlanet cover more of or less of in 2023, too. I'm certainly grateful that our readers and social media followers are out there, as it gives me opportunities to gather Walt Disney World Resort news in ways average guests (even other locals) don't get.

The "Tangled" float in the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade caught my eye this week as particularly symbolic of the end of a year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Though I have long since stopped publishing a weekly tip in the Updates, one photographic pet peeve of mine has really been gnawing at me during recent visits to the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs: folks tend to stand too close to big things and then ask someone to take their photo from an unreasonable distance away. For example, just yesterday, I watched so many folks stand right next to the various Christmas trees at Disney Springs and then dispatch a companion with a camera to take a photo from yards and yards away (and then getting upset as other oblivious guests walk between the photographer and the subject(s)). I'd like to say to all of these folks, "You know, there is a very good photographic reason that Disney PhotoPass photographers are stationed along Main Street U.S.A. and in the Hub and not at the base of Cinderella Castle to take your picture with the castle—the castle looks just fine from a distance, and you need to be photographed up close!"

Standing at the base of the Town Center Christmas Tree at Disney Springs and sending your photographer far enough away to see the whole tree will make you rather tiny. Instead, have your photographer stand far enough away to see the tree, and then get in close to the photographer to be seen too! Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Even over at Disney's Contemporary Resort on the deck outside the Grand Canyon Concourse on the fourth floor, sanding rather close to a good photographer, you can get a good photograph with Cinderella Castle even though it is quite a bit in the distance. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Finally, before next week's Update comes along, Hanukkah will begin at sunset on Sunday. The only major marking of the holiday around Walt Disney World Resort is the Hanukkah storyteller at EPCOT, where the menorah lights will reflect which of the eight nights of the holiday is being celebrated, right to left (with the center lit each night of the holiday as well). I will not get to see the menorah lit in person this year, as my Sorcerer Annual Pass is blocked out all eight nights of Hanukkah (absent any last minute changes in the blockout calendar).


A post shared by MousePlanet (@mouseplanet)

Last Minute Annual Passholder Discounts and Perks

Over the weekend, the My Disney Experience app's Passholder Buzz section announced that new Passholder discounts and benefits would be available leading up to Christmas Eve: December 12 to 23, 2022. The announcement came as a surprise to me, as I don't recall many (if any) post-Black Friday/Cyber Monday discount offers for Passholders, especially on food and beverage (non-alcoholic) offerings at EPCOT. It makes me wonder what factors prompted the discount offers—are Passholder numbers down from what the spreadsheet farmers thought they would be? Are they spending less on merchandise, food and beverages, and such, because, perhaps, like me, their time in the parks is limited by the reservation system (the hassle versus the spontaneous visits of the past), blockout dates, or, when in the parks, the standby queues for favorite attractions and/or the decision to spend on Genie+ and/or Lightning Lane access instead of merchandise, food and beverages, and such?

I know we likely won't see an answer from Disney, but another clue could pop up if blockout calendars are relaxed any of the last two weeks of 2022. As of this publication, everyday this week is considered a "bonus" reservation day for those Passholders who aren't blocked—that means that if there is reservation availability for a park and a Passholder books it, that reservation does not count against the maximum number of simultaneous reservations the Passholder's tier is capped at. I do not recall seeing that many consecutive days marked as a "bonus" before (though, admittedly, I do not watch the calendar regularly). Stay tuned.

As for merchandise discounts, from December 12 through December 23, 2022, the Passholder merchandise discount at owned and operated merchandise locations across Walt Disney World Resort has temporarily increased to 30%. Disney's announcement emphasizes that the discount is for "personal use only and may not be used to purchase merchandise with the intent to resell the merchandise." Readers may recall that before the global pandemic, Disneyland Resort cancelled a number of Annual Passes for violation of the discount offer. The offer's fineprint also includes:

Discounts are not valid on certain items and may not be combined with any other discount, offer, or promotion. Discounts are subject to change without notice. All merchandise is available while supplies last. Passholder must present their valid Passholder card (or My Disney Experience account showing a linked MagicBand or Disney MagicMobile pass) and government-issued ID at time of purchase to receive the discount.

At EPCOT, Annual Passholders now can get 20% off food and non-alcoholic beverages at select EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays Holiday Kitchens from December 12 to December 23, 2022 when using cashless payment (and, of course, showing a valid Pass). Participating locations Include:

  • Mele Kalikimaka Holiday Kitchen near Port of Entry
  • Holiday Sweets & Treats near Port of Entry
  • Nochebuena Cocina near Port of Entry
  • Chestnuts & Good Cheer Holiday Kitchen near Test Track
  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen Germany
  • American Holiday Table The American Adventure
  • Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina Morocco
  • L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen Between France and Morocco
  • Holiday Hearth Desserts Odyssey
  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen Canada
  • The Donut Box near Test Track
  • Refreshment Port near Canada
  • Refreshment Outpost

Looking at the list of participating locations, they all appear to be Disney-operated ones rather than operating participants. It is always reasonable to ask, of course, but it seems that where holiday kitchens are run by an operating participant, like at China or Italy pavilions, those locations are not part of the discount offer. Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Co. is offering Passholders a special "Happy Snowman" frozen cocktail, featuring "a festive blend of frozen lemon and blue-curaçao-flavored syrup with a splash of Grey Goose Vodka" at EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays (though the posted price will apply).

In the less-surprising department, Passholders can now order a Cinnamon Frozen Coca-Cola soda garnished with apple chips and served in a Passholder-themed cup at Refreshment Outpost during EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays (through December 30). Posted prices apply (though it is possible the Passholder discount is available through December 23, so be sure to ask).

For those Passholders with PhotoPass service benefits, PhotoPass is offering Annual Passholders two limited-time photo ops at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Tell the photographer stationed by Discovery River near the Tree of Life between Africa and Asia that you are an Annual Passholder (and you'll need to provide proof of it), and the photographer can take an “Up” Magic Shot and offer seasonal props featuring woodland critters. Usual Disney PhotoPass terms and expiration policy still apply.

Finally, Passholders can now purchase personalized items featuring a new Minnie Mouse design at various locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort. This new design is featured on ornament designs, as well as phone cases and headphone cases and can be found at the following locations, while supplies last:

  • Disney Springs: Marketplace Co-Op
  • Magic Kingdom Park: Big Top Souvenirs
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park: Windtraders, Discovery Trading Company and The Dino Institute Shop
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Rock Around the Shop

Passholders can also continue to purchase on-demand merchandise featuring Mickey Mouse at the locations listed above.

Disney Vacation Club Annual Condominium Associations: 2022 Annual Meetings Concluded

As mentioned as then-upcoming in the Writer's Note last week, December 8 was the Disney Vacation Club Annual Condominium Associations' 2022 Annual Meetings at Disney's Contemporary Resort & Convention Center. The meetings are required by law and the bylaws of the condominium associations that make up Disney's version of a timeshare vacation program. The global pandemic changed the meetings the past few years, and this year's meetings were more a return to their prior form, including the post-meeting informal cookies, coffee, and lemonade reception and mingling with the DVC leadership and photo opportunities with winter-attired Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

DVC structured the meeting in a way to try to get ahead of some of the member discontent I wrote about last week. Instead of the past practice of starting with the formal legal meetings before getting to a more general session of updating the membership on what DVC is up to and what its announced plans for the future look like, DVC flipped the order of the proceedings, and had Yolanda Cade, VP of Public Affairs, Disney Signature Services, act as a host who added humor and a lighter touch. As I joked with her at the informal reception after the meeting, her role seemed more akin to how Disney Equity actors often "host" various panels (both at Media-invited events and at public events).

The only new information announced during the meetings was that DVC Moonlight Magic events will return in 2023, including to Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort. Exact dates and registration deadlines were not announced. The meeting also introduced a new DVC "anthem."


A post shared by MousePlanet (@mouseplanet)

When it came to the members' question period during the more formal part of the meeting. DVC also tried to address some of the recent criticism of the last couple of years' meetings: it increased the question period to 30 minutes, and then, in fact, let it run a little longer. Having said that, though, the DVC leadership provided no significantly new information in response to the questions members raised. In fact, the substantive questions from members were along the lines I predicted last week, and the very first member that stepped up to the mic to ask a question asked the leadership why DVC members still have to make park reservations and have not been given park priority. The DVC leadership did not give a specific answer and suggested to the person asking the question to talk one-on-one about problems encountered during the informal session: that particular answer received a very harsh response (some boos) from the membership. Several other members touched on related subjects and repeated the request to address the issue before the membership, but no specific answer was provided.

Of course, it is not a surprise that DVC leadership could/would not discuss the internal struggles that may be going on within Disney Parks, Experiences and Products division of The Walt Disney Company on this topic. The leadership highlighted that the principal value proposition of DVC membership is discounted accommodations when staying at DVC properties, and, indeed, I believe that is accurate. Another of the members that stepped up to the mic noted that though that may be the case, the reason that many members buy a timeshare from Disney rather than, say, Marriott, was because of access to Disney Parks. Again, not surprisingly, DVC leadership did not directly address the subject at the meeting other than saying that they work hard at providing Member Extras like Moonlight Magic events and such. (And, for those wondering, yes, there were members that raised questions about access to Moonlight Magic events themselves, and DVC leadership essentially said that they try to make access to those events as fair to the membership as is possible.)

I have been a member for almost 23 years now. If I was still a Chicagoan like I was for nearly two-thirds of that time, I probably would not have renewed my Annual Pass during the early parts of the Resort's phased reopening, and I would now be left with a question of whether I wanted to remain a member at all because of the added complexities of visiting the parks. As I said last week, since I have been a "local" since 2014, my vacation thoughts are different now, and, therefore, so is my use of my DVC membership. I hear the membership's frustration, and hope that the leadership does as well. It will be interesting to see the public communications DVC makes to members as the 2023 dues bills go out this week following the meetings' approval of the budgets and we head in to the new year.

Yolanda Cade, VP of Public Affairs, Disney Signature Services, served as a host of the opening part of the DVC Annual Condominium Association Meetings, setting a lighter tone than the more formal, legally required portion of the meeting later.

DVC leadership mentioned the proposed (but clearly under construction) Disney Vacation Club addition to the villas and bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Resort.

DVC properties are on an approximately 7 year full refurbishment schedule; this slide lists the DVC properties currently scheduled for refurbishments.

Being a member of DVC requires paying dues based on the particular property that is a member's "home resort." Each DVC resort at Walt Disney World creates its own budget based on its unique operations, and dues also include an allocation of Orange County property tax, and an amount set aside for capital reserves.

The West Coast and Beach Resorts also calculate their own budgets, including capital reserves, and are taxed by their local governments. Owners at Hilton Head and Vero Beach resorts, in particular, have higher dues owing to the several hurricanes that damaged those resorts in past years and the repair costs not covered by insurance (but, instead, by loans from The Walt Disney Company).

The 2023 Annual Meetings will be held at Disney's Contemporary Resort on December 7.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Mickey & Minnie at DVC Annual Meeting 2022
Mickey and Minnie appeared in winter apparel for photo opportunities with members during the informal reception following the DVC annual meetings. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka

Views of Magic Kingdom, Disney's Contemporary Resort, and Vicinity

With the Disney Vacation Club annual meeting held at Disney's Contemporary Resort, I took the opportunity of making a park reservation and heading over to Magic Kingdom before the meetings. Absent a change in the blockout calendar, this was probably my final 2022 visit to the park. After the DVC meetings, I decided to stay at the Contemporary to view the just-past-sunset launch from Cape Canaveral of a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket over Bay Lake.

Main Street U.S.A. was rather crowded when I visited Magic Kingdom ahead of the DVC Annual Meetings on December 8.

One of several holiday themed walk-in photo opportunities is available in the park’s central plaza near Tomorrowland Terrace.

During the day, Buzz Lightyear continues to make socially distanced appearances on the Tomorrowland stage which is decorated for the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party's dance parties.

Another walk-in holiday photo opportunity stands in Adventureland.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Heading in to the end of the year, Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is offered twice daily on many days, including this noon performance on December 8.

The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade usually goes on hiatus at the end of the year to make way for daytime showings of the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade when Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party events conclude. This remaining Party nights are sold out; the last one this year is December 22.

Though it looks like Donald Duck is wrapped in a candy cane from this angle, that’s his usual spot in the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.

A well-placed wreath along the hub makes Mickey's appearance in the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade seem more holiday themed.

As the noon showing of the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade makes its way toward its conclusion in Town Square, guests flow back on to an increasingly-busy Main Street U.S.A.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

With TRON Light Cycle Run expected to open in spring, guest access walkways (and, perhaps, the queues) are getting to be in place and landscaping is underway.

Exactly where guests will enter the queue for TRON Light Cycle Run is not yet clear.

The Walt Disney World Railroad will run through a newly constructed tunnel under the new coaster and its canopy.

Construction continues at the Tomorrowland Power & Light Co. building which has long been the exit for Space Mountain. This narrow walkway could get really congested whenever TRON Light Cycle Run gets its own standby queue. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT which opened this spring currently does not offer a standby queue: only virtual queue boarding groups and purchased individual Lightning Lane access.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Speaking of the Walt Disney World Railroad, I not noticed this poster just before walking under Main Street Station before. There are several elements about the poster that make me think more of the Disneyland Railroad than Walt Disney World. Do you see them? Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Finally, I thought that walking to the “backside” of Disney’s Contemporary Resort on Bay Lake provided the likely best opportunity to see the SpaceX Falcon-9 launch at just past sunset.

Boat service to Fort Wilderness and Magic Kingdom has not been available from the Bay Lake dock during any of my visits to the Contemporary this Fall.

The end of the dock in Bay Lake at sunset provided a great view of the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower.

With the Magic Kingdom closing to day guests at 6 p.m. for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, it was not surprising to see a ferryboat passing Discovery Island while heading from the central shops area backstage on Bay Lake toward the water bridge to Seven Seas Lagoon to provide service between the TTC and Magic Kingdom.

Just after sunset, the orange flame of a Falcon-9 rocket rose in the east sky above Discovery Island on Bay Lake.

Though more than 60 miles from Walt Disney World Resort, with 40x optical zoom, it is possible to see the Falcon-9 rocket on its ascent over Bay Lake. Not shown here in the photos, but I was also able to see the first and second stages of the rocket separate at altitude, and some of the re-entry braking burn of the first stage.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

As the monorail departs the Contemporary station toward the TTC, you can get a glimpse of the Contemporary’s Christmas Tree out the windows. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This & That & Reminders…

…As you may know, Disney now owns 20th Century Studios. The long-awaited sequel to James Cameron's film Avatar, which, not so coincidentally is the theme of a whole land at Disney's Animal Kingdom: Pandora – The World of Avatar, will be released to theaters by 20th Century Studios on December 16, and is entitled Avatar: The Way of Water. For a limited time starting last night, the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom will awaken in the evenings with an all-new experience inspired by Pandora – The World of Avatar and the new film. Starting December 16, the park's Satu’li Canteen in Pandora will feature some new food items, and, of course, new merchandise is on the way to the parks and beyond. I've been invited by Disney to an event at the park on December 15 and to screen the film, and I will share what I can on MousePlanet social media accounts and in next week's Update.

"Avatar: The Way of Water" opens in theaters on December 16, including at Disney Springs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…REMINDER: Through the end of the year (Pacific time), Disney Movie Insiders (an official Disney loyalty program/website of The Walt Disney Company) is offering a chance to win a vacation to Walt Disney World Resort for four people. The first entry is free; means of entry, rules, restrictions and so forth are available on this page of DisneyMovieInsiders.com.

…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).

…REMINDER: 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 continues 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. Disney also announced that it is providing a grant to the foundation that will result in delivery of another 75,000 toys to children in need this year.

…REMINDER: Give Kids the World Village's Night of a Million Lights at Island H2O Water Park continues to run evenings through January 1, with proceeds benefiting the non-profit resort's mission of providing free weeklong Central Florida vacations for critically ill children and their families. More information and tickets for the nights that are not yet sold out are available at https://www.gktw.org/lights/.

…REMINDER: The Edison at Disney Springs is decking the halls December 15 with bottles of Patrón Tequila. Mixologist Alana, and her strong Tequila background, invite you to come out and enjoy fantastic cocktails and paired bites: Silver, Reposado and Añejo each make an appearance. Tickets are $65 plus tax and gratuity per person for each 6–8 p.m. tasting event; space is very limited. Ages 21 and older only. Information and tickets are available on this ExploreTock.com reservation page.

Mixology at The Edison
Patina Restaurant Group invited me to attend the December 1 tasting. Weather permitting, tastings are conducted on the patio facing the lake. Tastings feature a mixologist and the chef. Our tasing also included a specialist from Bacardi, the company that owns the Patrón Tequila brand. The session provided a great deal of information about making different tequilas, mixing the cocktails, and the paired bites of food. Mixology graphic courtesy Patina Restaurant Group; File Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

…REMINDERS – UPDATED: Christmas and New Year's Eve dining information and offers hitting my in box from the Walt Disney World Resort participating partners:

Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs - NEW

Here’s the Pub Plan for double the seasonal fun at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant in Disney Springs!

  • dancers are decked out in brand new holiday costumes
  • bands are sprinkling Christmas songs throughout their sets
  • culinary team is geared up to make your taste buds happy
  • bars are serving new local craft brews along with holiday cocktails and more

For Christmas Day, December 25: Raglan suggests:

Eat turkey. Sip a foamy libation. Kick back and watch the show.

Book a table at Raglan Road for that, or you can order from the All-Day menu if turkey’s not your thing. The Irish Show begins at noon with Men of Aran and continues, with breaks for our bands and dancers, through pub closing.

For New Year's Eve, December 31: ring in 2023 twice—at 7 p.m. (Ireland's New Year), and then again at midnight, Eastern Time. Guests 21-and-older (with I.D.) will receive complimentary bubbly for each toast

Raglan Road is proud to be the only Orlando-area restaurant to make OpenTable’s Top 100 Restaurants in the United States for 2022. The honor is based on reviews submitted by more than 13 million verified Open Table diners in the last year. Slainte! For more information and reservations: RaglanRoad.com.

Jaleo at Disney Springs

On Christmas Day, Jaleo at Disney Springs will offer a limited-time menu of Spanish cuisine specialties:

  • Ensalada de Invierno ($12) – Persimmon, endive, pomegranate, orange, cana de cabra, and toasted walnuts.
  • Conejo al Ajillo ($24) – Rabbit with garlic, oloroso, and fried potatoes.
  • Canelones de Pollo, Cerdo y Foie con salsa Bechamel ($18) – Stuffed pasta of chicken, pork and foie gras with bechamel sauce.
  • Estofado de Cordero ($16) – Spanish stew of boneless lamb shoulder, white beans, and tomatoes.
  • Chuletón a La Parilla (MP) – Confit piquillo peppers.

This New Year’s Eve, Jaleo at Disney Springs will offer a variation of its Tasting Menu, including 14 different tapas, featuring some elevated elements like Jamon Iberico de Bellota, Royal Ossetra Caviar, Ciglas and Pantera Rosa (Pink Panther Dessert) for guests to indulge in while celebrating the end of the year. The New Year’s Eve menu will be priced at $125 per person, and you can make reservations here.

The Edison at Disney Springs

Four holiday beverages are now available until December 25th. Last week, Patina Restaurant Group invited me to sample three of them last week (the "Cosmie Poinsettia, High Roller" was not yet ready for sampling but is now available for sale).

Holiday Drinks at The Edison
The Cosmic Poinsettia was not available for sampling when I visited, but if you did not know, with each "High Roller" drink guests purchase, they receive a gold High Roller Coin; redeem four High Roller Coins for a free fifth beverage. Image courtesy Patina Restaurant Group.

The "Underneath the Mistletoe" is served that way. The Cup O'Cheer mocktail (not shown on this tray), is sort of an apple pie-flavored beverage appropriate for all ages. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

You can also ring in the new year at The Edison, where they're pulling out all the stops to dazzle eyes, ears and of course, tastebuds. The extravaganza features lavish food and drink, including passed appetizers and a decadent dinner and dessert buffet, as well as handcrafted cocktails and premium beers at a cash bar. Live performances will also be enjoyed, including from the world famous Pearls dance trio and 1920s-infused music from The Sound Society Radio Show, as well as a DJ, open dance floor, stilt walkers and aerialists. Plus, enjoy special toast at midnight to ring in 2023!

For guaranteed seating, tickets range from $145 to $175 per person. Entry starts at 8:30 p.m. Reservations include passed appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, dinner & dessert buffet, a bottle of bubbly and a toast at midnight. A limited number of general admission tickets will also be available for purchase at a later date, which include entry at 9:00 p.m., passed appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, desserts, a midnight toast and access to the electrifying entertainment lineup for $55 per person. Get tickets and more information HERE.

Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs

Morimoto Asia will offer a few carefully crafted holiday cocktails. See full menu HERE.

  • Gingerbread Manhattan – Gingerbread cookie infused knob creek, lazzaroni amaretto, carpano antica, New England spiced cranberry, and orange bitters.
  • Jingletini – Tito’s vodka, midori, Licor 43 Horchata, peppermint schnapps, and glitter.
Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs

Earl of Sandwich will provide seasonal offerings this year, including its Holiday Ham and Holiday Turkey.

  • Holiday Ham ($8.99) – Ham, cinnamon sweet potato mash, cranberry sauce, and cheddar.
  • Holiday Turkey ($8.99) – Turkey, cornbread stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and mayonnaise.

A post shared by MousePlanet (@mouseplanet)

Chicken Guy! at Disney Springs (and its Winter Park location)

Chicken Guy! launched two new flavors of hand-spun milkshakes available throughout the holiday season.

  • Frozen Peppermint Cocoa Shake – Vanilla soft serve, hot cocoa mix, peppermint and crushed candy cane pieces, topped with marshmallow whipped cream, mini marshmallows and a chocolate drizzle.
  • Holiday Cookie Shake – Vanilla soft serve, blended with sugar cookies, marshmallow whipped cream, mini M&M's & holiday sprinkles, topped with a special holiday cookie.

Shakes are $6.49 for a regular and $6.99 for a large at Winter Park, and one size for $6.99 at the Disney Springs location.

Enzo’s Hideaway at Disney Springs

The speakeasy-inspired restaurant will serve a collection of signature holiday cocktails. See full menu HERE.

  • White Christmas Bourbon Smash – Jim Beam Black bourbon, rosemary simple syrup, lime juice, with a splash of seltzer.
  • The Merry Melon – Absolut Vodka, Midori, and lemon lime soda.
  • Cranberry Limoncello Spritzer – Limoncello, white cranberry juice, and prosecco.
  • ​Blood Orange Negroni – Blood Orange Malfy Gin, Italicus, and Antica.
  • ​Sazerac – ​Knob Creek Rye, Courvoisier, bitters, sugar cube, absinthe, and a lemon peel.

*Suggestion: Try White Christmas Bourbon Smash, The Merry Melon, and Cranberry Limoncello Spritzer together by ordering a Babbo Natale Flight*

Maria & Enzo’s at Disney Springs

The Italian restaurant will offer autumn cocktails, plus a fall-inspired pasta dish. See full menu HERE.

  • Holiday Cookie Flight
  • Gingerbread Man, Peppermint Bark and Shortbread Crumble
  • Gingerbread Twist (Mocktail)
  • Gingerbread syrup with ginger ale, whipped cream and a mini gingerbread man – White chocolate peppermint iced cocoa (mocktail).
  • Chocolate milk with peppermint syrup and a mini candy cane.
  • Red Velvet Cupcake (Mocktail) – Red velvet cake syrup, milk and a vanilla frosting rim.
  • ​Gingerbread and Bourbon* – Bulleit bourbon, Combier liqueur, and gingerbread syrup.
  • Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark* – Bailey's, pepperment simple, dark chocolate syrup, and vanilla vodka.
  • Peanut Butter Snickerdoodle* – Screwball peanut butter whiskey, Pinnacle whipped vodka, Baily's and peanut butter syrup.

​*The three cocktails are available to sample together as a "Babbo Natale Flight."

Maria & Enzo's
Maria & Enzo's is located in The Landing neighborhood of Disney Springs. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort - NEW

Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elf, Kandy Kane, return for their annual holiday vacation to Santa’s favorite resort as part of the resort’s 2022 holiday season celebration. The full slate of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort holiday activities include:

  • Santa and Mrs. Claus Meet and Greets
    On select nights throughout December, Santa’s Hangout will give the young and young-at-heart a chance to experience the sights, scents and sounds of the holidays. Playful elves will share their favorite North Pole bedtime stories, take part in holiday cookie decorating and meet and take pictures with the big man himself. Event dates: December 16-19, and 21-23.
  • Cookie Decorating
    Fun has never tasted so sweet! Families can participate in a favorite holiday tradition – cookie decorating. Kids and parents alike can unleash their creativity on frosted sugar cookies from the hotel’s award-winning food and beverage team, then devour their delicious creations. Located at Santa’s Holiday Hangout area at the Swan pool on select nights from 6pm – 8pm (December 16, 17, 18, 21, 22 & 23). Cookies will be available while supplies last.
  • Life-Size Chocolate Holiday Santa Scene
    Visitors can stop by the Swan lobby near Il Mulino New York Trattoria to marvel at a spectacular chocolate Santa sculpture made from more than 1,000 lbs. of chocolate.
  • Dancing Lights Show
    A dazzling musical light show transforms the outdoor causeway each evening into a holiday spectacle with dancing illuminated palm trees and favorite holiday tunes. The performances occur regularly from sunset through 10 p.m.
  • Tales of the North Pole
    Santa and his elves will be sharing some of their favorite holiday stories for families to enjoy. They even brought some presents from the North Pole. Stories will be told select nights (December 16, 17, 18, 21, 22 & 23) at 8:30 p.m. Fees apply.
  • In-Room Christmas tree delivery
    Hotel guests can complete their holiday visit with a 6ft Christmas tree delivered by Santa’s elves to their guest room, featuring all kinds of Christmas décor from the North Pole! Guests will also receive one Santa’s Stocking. Available through December 25. Fees apply.
  • Magic Keys for Santa on Christmas Eve
    How will Santa deliver presents to each guest room without a chimney? With a magic key of course! Children can hang a magic key on their door to help Santa find his way on Christmas Eve. Magic keys are available on December 24 at the concierge desk.
  • Winter Wonderland Bag
    While visiting Santa’s favorite resort, guests can have a wintery themed bag delivered to their room, filled with Frosty’s winter favorites. Available through December 25. Fees apply.
  • Santa’s Stocking
    Guests can have a holiday stocking delivered to their room, filled with the elves favorite toys and Rudolph’s favorites treats! Available through December 25. Fees apply.

Guests can join all the holiday excitement with rates starting at $279 per night. And, if they are on the nice list, they can also enjoy a special bonus: up to 25% off a second room. Just use the code: SANTA. For more details about all the holiday excitement, including a full schedule of activities, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort or to make room reservations, visit SantasFavoriteResort.com or call 1-800-227-1500

…The Walt Disney Company celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023. So far, we do not know how Walt Disney World Resort will celebrate the event (as, nothing specific has yet been announced for Florida parks or resorts, only Disneyland in California). We know there will be merchandise, and this week, Disney Parks Blog showed off some of the different parts of the Disney100 Platinum Celebration collections.

…The 2023 runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend takes place at Walt Disney World from April 13-16, 2023. It's the final event of the 2022-2023 runDisney race season, and it "celebrates the power of friendship and the magic of Pixar with the Pixar Pals." This week, runDisney shared a first look at the finisher medals for this upcoming race weekend.

…Looking further beyond and a little drive over to the coast (or flights out west), early 2024 Disney Cruise Line itineraries were released this week. Depending on your Castaway Club or other Disney-affiliated status, booking opens very soon, with general booking opening later this week too.

The Usual Writer's Note – UPDATED

Face coverings remain optional across all of Walt Disney World Resort. Remember to check this page of DisneyWorld.com for the latest requirements. Having said that, the Centers for Disease Control has begun urging the public to wear face masks indoors once again with the onset of what is being called a “tripledemic” as we head into the end of the year: the flu, RSV and COVID-19. News reports like this one are becoming more frequent, with number of major cities mulling a return to masking measures. News outlets are reporting that medical centers across the U.S.A. have seen higher rates of hospitalizations, including for for RSV which poses the greatest risk to children 6 months and younger.

Based on experience over the past three years, it is unlikely that the State of Florida will impose new requirements. Disney may impose more stringent requirements than the State, so, again, be sure to pay attention to updates to the policies around Walt Disney World Resort.

As has been true throughout, 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, but 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).

Disney Park Pass reservations continue to be required for admission to Walt Disney World theme parks 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, as Disney reserves the right to do so at all the parks. As we head into the historically busy Christmas-to-New Year's period, park hopping restrictions may arise. Of course, the big difference this year is that the only Passholders that are not blocked out during the historically busy last two weeks of the year are the Incredi Passholders; many Passholders that previously held Platinum Annual Passes (like me) opted to downgrade to the Sorcerer Pass when the new tiers debuted with about $400 between the two top pass levels but with only 20 blockout dates imposed on the Sorcerer Pass.

Speaking of Annual Passes, sales of new ones 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. Notwithstanding rumors, we have seen nothing further about when Disney plans to resume sales of new passes.

As Central Florida is now past the Tropical Storm season, it is the time of year where the brief winter sets in. While it is always wise to be mindful of weather forecasts because severe storms do not have to observe any particular dates on the calendar, it is the time of year to dress for a big range of temperatures in a short span of time if visiting outdoor destinations like the Disney theme parks: the seven day forecast at publication of this week's Update includes temperatures from 34° to 80°, with as much as a 35° swing in one day possible.

Join Our Networks

Follow MousePlanet on Facebook:

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.

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.

Get Away Today Logo

Only purchase Disney theme park tickets directly from Disney, an authorized seller, or a travel agency like MousePlanet travel partner Get Away Today! As always, we remind our readers that 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. Historically, 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). 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.



  1. By spectromen

    Thank you for including all of the DVC meeting info. Do they ever record those events for those of us who can't attend?

  2. Discuss this article on MousePad.