Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 10, 2023by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 10, 2023
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Writer's Note, News & Views
Happy New Year, MousePlanet!
The last Walt Disney World Resort holiday decor tends to get removed from the parks and resorts right around the completion of The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which was this past weekend. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Since I was last updating you here on the site a few weeks back, we've completed the winter holiday season and entered 2023. I hope you had a festive and safe season—and thank you for coming back for another Update.
As you can see, after quite a few years working my keyboard here on the site, I've shortened the title of the Walt Disney World Resort Update: rather than include a range of dates, going forward, I'll just include the date of publication. My plan is to continue our long MousePlanet tradition of publishing the updates weekly, mostly on Tuesdays. But regular readers know that the Disney Parks news cycle has often dropped significant news in recent years on or after Tuesday, and, increasingly, as the new normal (after the pandemic shutdown) continues to evolve, my personal schedule evolves, too. I envision that some weeks I may delay publishing the update until later in the week and, in others, there may be more than one (albeit shorter) update. This Writer's Note space will remain the place where I give a heads-up when I know that the publication schedule will vary.
Very soon, for example, we'll finally get an opening date for Magic Kingdom's TRON Lightcycle Run attraction, first announced way back at D23 Expo in 2017. Heck, by the time you read this update, maybe Disney Parks will have followed up on the "clu" it tweeted yesterday:
Some of the numbers in the tweet clearly represent significant dates: 5 is the Magic Kingdom's opening date of October 1, 1971; 6 is Disneyland's opening date of July 17, 1955. The film debut dates of the original motion picture TRON and its sequel, TRON Legacy, seem to be listed, too, as is the date of the debut of the Florida attraction's sibling in Shanghai.
The two lines in the image ending in 2,023 (lines 2 and 10) are causing a great deal of speculation online, but that's all it is right now. Does 10 CM 044,822,023 mean that Cast Member previews will be April 4–8, 2023? Does 2 US 13,212,023 suggest an opening date of April (1+3=4) 21, or is March 21 significant?
Disney has announced that the new attraction will open in Spring 2023. The Vernal Equinox is March 20 this year; of course, Disney's references to seasons doesn't always match up with the calendar or meteorology. Just before my publication hiatus, I noted that Disney also announced that Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant finally will open in Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Spring 2023 as well.
My bet is that we'll hear more about these openings just after publication of this resort update. The celebration of the resort's 50th anniversary ends on March 31, and The Walt Disney Company's celebration of its 100th anniversary this year has focused its parks division's events, so far, at Disneyland, with scant details for the Florida resort. But, not long after publication of our last resort update in December, Disney announced the long-anticipated return of the Walt Disney World Railroad at Magic Kingdom, which had closed to make way for construction of the TRON attraction. The trains started running again while all Passholders other than those with IncrediPass were blocked, so as a Sorcerer Passholder, my first ride on the refurbished rails was a couple of weeks later.
🚂 ✨ Cast members and Imagineers are celebrating a moment of nostalgia at Magic Kingdom Park this week as we prepare to welcome guests aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad once again for the holiday season: https://t.co/8ym8on0iy3 pic.twitter.com/eZxTMGxqeb— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) December 22, 2022
So far, the major visible celebration of The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary at Walt Disney World Resort is the new merchandise collection that just went on sale. At World of Disney Store at Disney Springs, it has replaced the 2022 Christmas collection in the room on the west side of the building. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
This past week saw the runDisney 2023 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend take over roads and parking lots around the resort. Hats off to those of you that have the endurance to participate, especially in the Dopey Challenge.
The runDisney 2023 Walt Disney World Marathon, as usual, took over more than one section of the EPCOT parking lot. The trams were used to separate some of the set-up from the functioning part of the parking lot, but there is still no official word on when the trams will resume operations at EPCOT since service was suspended with the temporary closure of the parks back in March 2020. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
I've been invited to a preview of the return of the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts on Thursday, and I have a park reservation for Friday and have been invited to return on Saturday, to check out the first days of EPCOT's first festival of the year, which leads the resort into springtime. The festival runs January 13 through February 20, 2023, celebrating "the creation and beauty of cuisines, music, and, of course, art," and, to that end, Disney Parks Blog released its Foodie Guide to whet your appetite and tease that "the Figment Premium Popcorn Bucket is back, but this year with a new EPCOT 40thAnniversary strap!" Last year, as you may recall, the queue to get the bucket on opening day was hours long and sold out quickly (with a brief second shipment showing up toward the end of the festival and offered by mobile order for another day). Disney Parks Blog says, "there’s plenty of Figment to go around," but doesn't say that there will be a bigger supply of popcorn buckets this year (though, I know that the huge bucket demand last year came as a surprise to EPCOT festival leadership).
Are you ready for the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts? 🎨 We hope so because this year is filled with culinary works of art that will add tons of flavor to your palate! Head to the blog to see more: https://t.co/M7MrRFro3J #DisneyEats pic.twitter.com/C2l9aYuctm— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 5, 2023
Also, about an hour's drive beyond Walt Disney World Resort, the folks at LEGOLand Orlando have invited me over to Pirate River Quest Media Day and have a ride aboard its all-new boat adventure through the waters in and around some of the park's historic Cypress Gardens area. Follow along on MousePlanet's Instagram and Facebook during the week for the latest, and come on back to MousePlanet.com for more of these longer-form updates as always.
UPDATED at 9:25 a.m. EST (because, yes, Disney Parks released news on a Tuesday morning)
And, at 9 a.m. Disney Parks tweeted nighttime spectacular show change date specificity that we also knew was coming sometime this year: the new version of "Happily Aver After" replaces "Disney Enchantment" at Magic Kingdom, and EPCOT ends "Harmonious" and will begin removing it after its last show on April 2, with the 2021 version (meaning probably without the kites) of the temporary show "EPCOT Forever" returning for a limited run until the park's next new "permanent" show is ready.
JUST ANNOUNCED! 🎆 Beginning April 3, fan-favorite “Happily Ever After” returns to Magic Kingdom AND “EPCOT Forever” will fill the skies above World Showcase Lagoon at EPCOT for a limited time! 🌐 Learn more: https://t.co/TFGe9j0kki pic.twitter.com/OZPh0xfBpi— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 10, 2023
UPDATED at 12:05 p.m. EST (because, yes, Disney Parks finally got specific rather than cryptic)
After another cryptic post earlier this morning, at noon Disney Parks tweeted that TRON Lightcycle / Run will open at Magic Kingdom on April 4, 2023. Enter the grid.
Okay, no longer cryptic. TRON opens at Magic Kingdom on 4/4/23 https://t.co/EsrVozxPf7— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) January 10, 2023
Spring & Summer 2023 Disney Resort Hotel Offers
With the new year, Disney announced its resort hotel offers for the spring and summer of 2023 at Walt Disney World Resort. While many folks expected Disney to return the Disney Dining Plan, the package offered to start off the year does not go quite that far.
Guests that purchase non-discounted 5-night, 4-day vacation packages that include a room at select Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resorts and theme park tickets for arrivals most nights from July 1 to 10, and August 1 to September 14, 2023, can get up to a $750 digital Disney Dining Promo Card. The Dining Promo Card can be used to purchase meals, snacks, treats and beverages at select participating dining locations across all of Walt Disney World Resort (from table service, to quick service, food carts, and more).
On other dates and at other Disney Resorts, lower value Disney Dining Promo Cards may also be available when purchasing a package. The top values are:
- Up to $150 per room per night at Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts
- Up to $100 per room per night at Disney Moderate Resorts
- Up to $50 per room per night at Disney Value Resorts
As always, there is a lot of fine print and exclusions to study so as to know what you are getting. For example, campsites, 3-bedroom villas, and Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge are not eligible; gratuities are not included. The Dining Promo Card cannot be used at merchandise locations or candy kitchens, and cannot be used at the non-Disney hotels on or around property (like Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, Four Seasons, Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels, Bonnet Creek, and Walt Disney World Gateway hotels). The digital Dining Promo Card is not valid after September 30, 2023, and will be emailed to a guest when checking in at their Disney Resort hotel.
Walt Disney World 2023 Florida Resident & Annual Passholder Offers
With the start of the year, Disney also announced its first round of 2023 Florida Resident and Annual Passholder Offers. Starting today, January 10, and through April 27 (subject to blockout dates), Florida Residents can get Disney Weekday magic Tickets for 2 days of theme park admissions (one park per day) for $175 plus tax. Blocked dates include all Saturdays and Sundays, as well as March 13-17, April 3-7, and April 10-14, 2023. Tickets do not have to be used on consecutive days; park reservations are still required; Park Hopper and/or Water Parks and Sports options available for additional fees.
Florida Residents can also save 30% on a 3-day ticket or 40% on a 4-day ticket. A one-day, one-park Florida Resident Ticket is also available starting at $109 plus tax, and Park Hopper Option can be added for an additional fee to all of the ticket types. Tickets are only valid for admission on specific dates selected.
Proof of residency is required. Disney now allows that to be done online when purchasing tickets from DisneyWorld.com. More information about all the tickets and verification requirements is available on this page of DisneyWorld.com.
Florida Residents can also save up to 20% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most Sunday through Thursday nights January 2 to February 28, 2023, and most nights March 1 to April 30. The amount of discount varies by hotel and does not correspond to the usual Deluxe-Moderate-Value breakdown. For more information, details, and availability, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com.
Annual Passholders can save up to 30% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights May 1 through July 10, 2023. Visit this page of DisneyWorld.com for details (and you may be required to log in with your My Disney Experience account to see the rates and availability).
Views Around Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom welcomed back the Walt Disney World Railroad as 2022 came to an end, with new track and an all-new narrator and narration. The "conductor" on the grand circle tour is a character that "grew up on Main Street, U.S.A., dreaming of the day they’d be on the railroad. They’ve now achieved that dream, and they know everyone and everything at Magic Kingdom… an unofficial mayor of sorts," according to Disney Parks Blog. Unlike the Disneyland Railroad which reopened after its long closure for the construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge with that line's first left-turn, the Magic Kingdom’s track layout remains pretty much the same with all right-turns plus a new tunnel under part of TRON Lightcycle Run. On January 2, 2023, I waited about 45 minutes at Main Street Station late in the afternoon for my turn to board.
The reopening of the Walt Disney World Railroad provides guest access to sight-lines down Main Street U.S.A. that have not been available for quite some time.
The Walt Disney World Railroad again provides guest views into one of the final scenes of Splash Mountain, but once that attraction closes on January 23, these windows likely will be blocked until Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is ready to make its debut in late 2024.
The right turns of the track provide opportunities to see the locomotive and other cars of the Walt Disney World Railroad while aboard a train.
The Walt Disney World Railroad passes the scenery of Frontierland that guests have been unable to see for quite some time; the scenery seemed refreshed but largely unchanged.
A new tunnel for the Walt Disney World Railroad passes under TRON Lightcycle run and, right now, shows off some of the unfinished landscaping.
Be aware that the Walt Disney World Railroad does not operate the same hours as the park, so if you want to ride, be sure to check My Disney Experience. Today, for example, the attraction is scheduled to close at 6 p.m.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
This & That & Reminders…
…The runDisney 2023 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend celebrated 30 years of racing with a 1990s retro theme. In the marathon itself, Daniel dos Santos from Brazil won with a finish time of 2:26:51. In the women’s division, Katherine Cargiulo of Salem, New Hampshire finished first at 3:00:13. The runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend is coming up next, on April 13–16, and, of course, as reported in our Disneyland Resort Update yesterday, runDisney will finally return to Disneyland with a race in January 2024 with registration opening on February 14. runDisney will also offer a Coast-to-Coast Challenge for those that wish to participate in races on both coasts.
ChEARs to 30 yEARs! 🎉 Congratulations to runners of the #runDisney 2023 Walt Disney World Marathon presented by @StateFarm! Take a look at a few highlights from this morning’s event: https://t.co/jzjbsfIO0N pic.twitter.com/VemNe05swY— runDisney (@runDisney) January 9, 2023
…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: Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom closes on January 23 for its nearly two-year scheduled transformation into Tiana's Bayou Adventure. That means if you want to get some last rides on the Song of the South-themed version of the log flume ride, your last scheduled day is January 22 (and, if you are a Pixie Dust Passholder, your last chance is January 20, since January 22 is blocked for your pass).
…The latest planDisney Panel (formerly known as the Mom's Panel) made its debut this week. The panelists have all sorts of different experience as guests at Disney Parks, Resorts, and Experiences, answer questions submitted to them, and, increasingly, provide content to Disney Parks Blog and other official Disney information sources.
planDisney introduces 25 new panelists to be helpful resources as you plan your next Disney vacation! These 25 planning guides are here to answer your questions based on their experience as real guests! Get to know the class of 2023: https://t.co/RpJ3nwBANF #planDisney 💬 pic.twitter.com/wN1GahZkQo— planDisney (@plandisney) January 9, 2023
…A new okapi calf debuted at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge on the savanna.
Beni, a rare okapi calf, made his savanna debut at Pembe Savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! 🌟 Experience the wonder of okapis from home as well by streaming the second season of “Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” on @DisneyPlus: https://t.co/jLEUTcnLqQ pic.twitter.com/PcGI8H7Qo6— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 4, 2023
…Disney Springs is celebrating Health & Wellness month during January (the sponsorship of AdventHealth at Disney Springs continues to grow). Fitness Friday events are back, including yoga classes (registration required). The @DisneySprings Instagram page is sharing daily wellness tips, and several of the Disney Springs operating partners have retail and food and beverages fitting the theme.
Experience fitness events, wellness offerings, fresh cuisine and rejuvenating products to help you look and feel your best as @DisneySprings celebrates Health & Wellness presented by AdventHealth: https://t.co/W0rStvnK86 pic.twitter.com/YAgUtOEcnU— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) January 3, 2023
…Some of the healthier food options offered by Disney Springs restaurants include:
- Jaleo – Endivias con queso de cabra y naranjas: A signature José Andrés recipe, made with endives, goat cheese, oranges and almonds, making for a refreshing tapas dish.
- The Edison – Grilled Salmon: Perfectly seasoned salmon served with crushed marble roasted potatoes, braised swiss chard with bacon and topped with a citrus herb butter.
- Morimoto Asia – Spicy Tuna Roll: Fresh tuna topped with spicy mayo and scallion.
- Maria and Enzo’s Ristorante – Salumi E Formaggi: A delicious spread of meats and cheeses, including prosciutto di parma, salami picante, finocchiona, parmigiano, pecorino and fontina, along with cured olives and grissini breadsticks.
…Alternatively (or before or after working out), you can celebrate National Pizza Week this week through January 14. Patina Restaurant Group welcomes your celebration at Pizza Ponte at Disney Springs and Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria at EPCOT.
…And, if you’re participating in “Dry January” by avoiding alcohol this month (or if you are just looking for non-alcoholic beverages for any reason), Patina Restaurant Group has several suggestions around Walt Disney World at its locations:
- The Edison at Disney Springs
- Smoke & Mirrors: Pineapple Juice, lemon juice, lime juice, orgeat (almond syrup)
- Apple Propellant: Apple cider, honey, lemon juice, ginger ale
- Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT – mocktails each include a pack of Space 220 collectible trading cards
- The Milky Way: Chilled Espresso, Spiced Brown Sugar Syrup, Caramel, Cream, Milky Way
- Lightyear Lemonade: Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade, Butterfly Pea Tea, Mint
- Moon Rocks: Coconut, Blue Cotton Candy Syrup, Lemonade, Moon Dust, Moon Rocks
…On the not-dry side, Patina Restaurant Group’s The Edison at Disney Springs invites guests to sample the whiskeys of Angel’s Envy in the next installments of its Mixology Series: Thursday, January 12 features Angel’s Envy Rye; Wednesday, January 18 features Angel’s Envy Cask Strength. Sessions run from 6-8 p.m. on The Edison’s Lake Side Patio. Tickets are $65 plus tax and gratuity per person (and are limited); all guests must be 21 years old or above. More information and tickets are available here.
…For those following Chef José Andrés return to his roots on his new Discovery+ docuseries, “José Andrés and Family in Spain,” his Disney Springs restaurant, Jaleo, serves up food and beverages from the episodes:
- The Croquetas de Pollo (chicken fritters) are the specialties of the house – Episode 1
- Gazpacho de emolacha queso de cabra ( Red beet gazpacho with goat cheese, oranges, and pistachios) – Episode 2
- Patatas bravas (A Jaleo favorite: fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and alioli) – Episode 3
- Rosé Sangria (Lobetia Rosé, gin, vermouth, seasonal fruit, citrus glass) – Episode 3
- Paella Valenciana ( Made with chicken and rabbit, spiced and sweetened with paprika and a few strands of golden saffron) – Episode 4
- Arroz con Leche (Rice, saffron espuma, milk, and caramelized apples) – Episode 5
…Walt Disney World Golf is offering a series of Winter and early Spring 2023 Junior Golf Clinics. The on-course clinics each run four weeks (Wednesdays or Fridays) for junior golfers ages 7 to 17 at all skill levels. They are hosted at Disney’s Palm, Magnolia, and Oak Trail Golf Courses, and are led by PGA of America Professionals. More information is on this page of the official Walt Disney World Golf Blog.
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.
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 the past several years, 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 most requirements have been relaxed or removed, 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.
Speaking of Annual Passes, sales of new ones continue to be paused in all categories except the Florida Resident Pixie Dust Pass. Current Passholders may continue to purchase renewals in all tiers regardless of the pause in new sales. Notwithstanding rumors, we continue to see no official words from Disney about its plans to resume sales of new passes.
Disney has added a "Courtesy" section to its "know before you go" webpage on DisneyWorld.com which states:
Be the magic you want to see in the world. You must always remember to treat others with respect, kindness and compassion. Those who can't live up to this simple wish may be asked to leave Walt Disney World Resort.
Finally, as for the weather, it is winter in Central Florida too. Some of the region's best weather happens at this time of year, but a Central Florida winter day can see temperatures vary by 30° or more in any given day. And, while the usual Tropical Storm season is still months ahead, Central Florida can have rainy days that are more akin to what northern states see in spring or fall; in other words, the rainy may last for hours rather than the hour-or-so typical Florida afternoon summer thunderstorm. Central Florida can also see drought this time of year, so you may see no rain for quite a few days or weeks in a row. In other words, have a look at the forecasts and be prepared.
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