Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 7, 2023

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 7, 2023

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 or Twitter posts embedded in the Update, you can click them and view larger images on the respective sites.

 Writer's Note, News & Views

You know it's a rather quiet week for news around Walt Disney World Resort when I lead off with the item posted by Disney Parks Blog that hotel housekeeping services will soon be more like they were back in 2020 before the global pandemic caused the temporary shutdown of the Resort. Disney announced:

We’ve heard from many of you about how much you love and have missed the more regular housekeeping services we offered prior to the pandemic, and I’m excited to share that we’ve been ramping them back up across Walt Disney World Resort hotels! By the end of February, full housekeeping room cleanings will once again be available at all of our Resort hotel rooms, with services provided daily or every other day depending on where you are staying. These full cleanings include everything you’d expect – from replacing towels and amenities to cleaning the bathrooms, making the beds, emptying trash and recycling, tidying the room and vacuuming.

Also in the news, the Florida Legislature introduced a bill yesterday to address the future of Reedy Creek Improvement District following the state action to revoke and dissolve this June the governmental unit that gave Disney unprecedented control and taxing power over its Central Florida land dating back to the mid-1960s. It's still too early to know how or whether any of these political machinations will impact guests visiting the Resort, but the key components of the proposed bill are that the District would be renamed the "Central Florida Tourism Oversight District" and it would be governed by a five-member board appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate rather than those that live on the property, which is nearly all owned by Disney.

Jeff Vahle, president of the Walt Disney World resort, issued a statement that said that the company is monitoring the progress of the legislation. "Disney works under a number of different models and jurisdictions around the world, and regardless of the outcome, we remain committed to providing the highest quality experience for the millions of guests who visit each year," he said. There are plenty of places out there where you can read more and weigh in on the political side of the debate, starting with this rather business-like discussion in this article from Bloomberg on Yahoo Finance.

EPCOT Toll Plaza
Infrastructure at Walt Disney World is regulated by Reedy Creek Improvement District the way cities and counties oversee roads and such. EPCOT recently installed new graphics on the parking lot toll plaza here which probably is overseen by the park unlike Disney Springs' parking lot where the parking garages have Reedy Creek management signage. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Finally, as you may know, cast member previews have gotten underway for TRON Lightcycle / Run, which opens to the public at Magic Kingdom on April 4. Disney Parks Blog has shared a bit of the cast member fun in a post. And, as you've probably seen around social media and other sites, cast member previews have been open to the cast's friends and family, so a good number of locals are getting their chance to ride thanks to their cast member friends and family (and, in full disclosure, I will get my chance later this month). DVC and Passholder previews ought to be announced soon, and MousePlanet has been invited to a media event for the new attraction on March 14.

Several years ago, well before the global pandemic, I had the opportunity to sit in one of the test seats for the attraction. I found it a rather awkward fit for this middle-aged guy. Since then, for a host of reasons that I'll skip here, I'm of a larger size now than I was then and, based on reports, I don't believe that I can fit in the motorcycle-type seats. And even if I could, I don't believe I would enjoy riding in that position. Fortunately, there is a "bench" row on at least two of the trains in operation that have more traditional restraints that accommodate larger body shapes. I'll share my thoughts about the attraction after I get my preview later this month, but for now, I direct your attention to this thoughtful article written for The DIS on WDWInfo.com by my friend John Saccheri (AKA BigFatPanda) who you may remember was a frequent guest on our "Fun at Home" shows back in 2020.

More Story Details Revealed for Tiana's Bayou Adventure

Back in the Walt Disney World Resort Update for December 6-12, 2022, I shared details about Tiana's Bayou Adventure I learned at a presentation by Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Producer Charita Carter and Executive Creative Director Ted Robledo about the transformation of Splash Mountain and the attraction's new story. I wrote:

The reimagined attraction takes place a year after the movie The Princess and The Frog, and Disney will bring back a number of the film's original characters and voice talent including Tiana, Naveen, Louis, and Mama Odie. In the new story, the "mountain" will be a salt dome, some of which actually stand up to 100 feet tall in Louisiana, and it will be connected in the story to the new employee-owned company "Tiana's Foods," as Tiana is now a successful entrepreneur with ties to the community, according to the Imagineers.

Imagineers
Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Producer Charita Carter and Executive Creative Director Ted Robledo showed WDI's latest artist rendering of a scene from Tiana's Bayou Adventure during a presentation to invited media on December 1, 2022. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This week, Disney Parks Blog further elaborated on the attraction's storyline. In short, it picks up after the success of Tiana's Palace, the restaurant she had dreamed of owning and worked so hard to make come true in The Princess and the Frog. The queue will show how Tiana "continues to grow her business with Tiana’s Foods—an employee-owned cooperative. Combining her talents with those of the local community, Tiana has transformed an aging salt mine and built a beloved brand."

When I attended the roundtable with the Imagineers back in December, they spent a good deal of time discussing how much research the team has done in New Orleans to make the attraction's details as authentic to the place and time as possible. The attraction is expected to open at both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland by late 2024. In yesterday's Disneyland Resort Update Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix shared her take on the latest announcement. With probably 20 months or more until the attraction opens, I expect we'll see tiny little bits of additional information about the attraction from time to time throughout this year and next.

Views of EPCOT

EPCOT continues to be the park I tend to visit most often, as reservations there tend to be plentiful (even last minute, as was the case this past Saturday), and the World Showcase is great for getting my 10,000+ daily steps (even when it means dodging more strollers than I've ever seen in EPCOT before like I did this past Saturday). The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts provides a further nice background to my walk and, as I show below, preparations for EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival are getting underway, too.

The American Adventure
The American Adventure finally emerged from a long refurbishment in late December. While the show which has been a part of EPCOT since the park's opening in 1982 did not appear to receive any significant changes during this refurbishment, the animatronic figures have been refreshed, and the Rosie the Riveter scene saw the restoration of the character that is lifted off the ship which had been missing from the show for quite some time before the refurbishment. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


EPCOT International Festival of the Arts continues through February 20. Expression Section allows guests to participate in painting a mural (by number) during daylight hours.

The Kids' Chalk Art area is located just before the bridge to Odyssey building.

A new printed sign featuring the day's Disney on Broadway Concert performers is posted along World Showcase Promenade. The America Gardens Theater signs were replaced with digital displays this past fall (one stands several paces to the right of this photo location).

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MousePlanet (@mouseplanet)

Meanwhile, visible preparations are underway around the park for the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, which begins on March 1. This past week, the festival's webpages revealed many of the headline performers scheduled to participate in the Garden Rocks Concert Series at The America Gardens Theater—the list includes acts new to the festival and long-time staples like Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone, Tony Orlando, The Spinners, The Commodores, Rick Springfield, Plain White T's, and more. Visit FreshEPCOT.com for details and the available dining packages which include guaranteed seating to a performance.

Flower & Garden Prep
Flags marking underground irrigation and such, and stakes marking the borders of the planting beds are in place around the ponds ahead of the seasonal planting of the flowers for the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Butterfly House prep
Beyond the construction wall, the supports for the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival's butterfly house are already in place on the lawn between The Land and Imagination pavilions, where it has been located for the past several editions of the festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This & That & Reminders…

…February is Black History Month, and Walt Disney World Resort celebrates "Soulfully" all month with art and food and beverage offerings predominantly at EPCOT International Festival of the Arts and at Disney Springs. Disney's Animal Kingdom, of course, celebrates Black culture all over the park, and especially in Africa. You can read more on Disney Parks Blog.

…REMINDER and UPDATE: Disney Vacation Club will host eight Moonlight Magic complimentary event nights at Walt Disney World Resort in 2023 for eligible members and their guests. As with past events, members with qualifying Disney Resort hotel reservations on the event nights get a first shot at making reservations. Pending availability, eligible members without reservations get their chance to register after that. The first two events are at EPCOT on February 8 and 15, 2023. Registration for this week's event is closed, but assuming space remains available, registration for the February 15 event opens on February 9. As a longtime DVC member, I was fortunate to make a reservation for the February 8 event when registration opened to the general membership last week, and I'll share some views on our social media channels and in next week's Update. The additional event nights (for which registration details have not yet been published) are:

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – May 11, September 13
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom – July 11, August 2
  • Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – May 23, August 23

…REMINDER: Looking ahead to Valentine’s Day, several of the Disney Springs operating partners have given us a heads-up about their specialty offerings to share with you here. As always, reservations are recommended:

  • Jaleo – Special Valentine’s Day menu featuring a variety of Spanish tapas and desserts to share
    • Cono de higado de pato con membrillo ($8 each)
      Tartelleta de coliflor y caviar ($18)
    • Tartelette of cauliflower purée and Royal Ossetra Caviar
      Foie gras and quince paste cone
    • Carpaccio de Vieras con frambuesas y pétalos de rosa ($28)
      Scallop carpaccio with raspberries and rose petals
    • Lubina a la pobre ($38)
      Branzino with sliced potatoes and onions
    • Chuletón a la parrilla ($158)
      32 oz. Josper grilled ribeye served with confit piquillo peppers
    • Sorbete de fresa y Cava con espuma de chocolate blanco ($16)
      Strawberry Cava sorbet with white chocolate foam
    • Sopa de frutos rojos ($15)
      Cold berry soup with olive oil yogurt ice cream
       
  • Morimotto Asia – Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s pan-Asian special Valentine’s Day only menu
    • Appetizer: 5 spice candied Ice fish “SHIRAUO AMEDAKI” ($18)
      Japanese ice fish , 5 spice powder, Tobanjan and Ginger
    • Entrée: Whole lobster lo mein noodle XO sauce ($50)
      Whole lobster, lo mein noodle, Bok choy and Seafood XO sauce
    • Entrée: Red Miso Glazed Faroe Island Salmon ($39)
      Bok choy, Shaoxing gastrique, grilled rice cake and Morimoto duck broth
       
  • The Edison – nostalgic 20’s special menu on Valentine’s Day only
    • Entrée: Butter poached lobster linguine ($42)
      Sauteed broccolini, blistered, maine lobster, pistachio cream sauce
    • Dessert: Chocolate covered bacon ($22)
       
  • Maria & Enzo’s and Enzo’s Hideaway – special Italian menu on Valentine’s Day only:
    • Arancini al Tartufo ($19)
      Black truffle risotto, fior di latte mozzarella, parmigiano crema
    • Short Rib Lasagna ($36)
      Fresh egg pasta, red wine braised short rib, besciamella, ricotta, fior di latte mozzarella, parmigiano, stracchino, extra virgin olive oil
    • Torta di Pane al Cioccolato ($16)
      Brioche, dark chocolate custard, fresh raspberries

…And, speaking of Valentine's Day, Disney Parks Blog has published its Foodie Guide for both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

…REMINDER: Drawn to Life, the show from Cirque du Soleil and Disney, is now running its new 2023 schedule at Disney Springs, including new matinee show times on Sundays. The family-friendly show tells the story of the love between a father and a daughter, drawing inspiration from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 100-year heritage of storytelling. It recently celebrated its first anniversary of its debut, and now has two performances daily, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., and on Sundays at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets and more information are available at cirquedusoleil.com/drawn-to-life.

…REMINDER: Walt Disney World Golf, until March 31, 2023 or until supplies last, is offering its 50th Anniversary celebration merchandise at a special 50% OFF discount! Visit the Pro Shops to see and purchase the collection items.

…The brand-new 2023 Disney Fairy Tale Weddings collection from Allure Bridals, will launch on February 10th, with a Disney Parks YouTube live-streamed virtual fashion show presented by Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons and broadcasted from Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort. Disney worked with illustrator, Holly Nichols, on several sketches of the princess-inspired gowns.

…FINAL REMINDER: Give Kids The World Village's 2023 Gingerbread Run is Saturday, February 11th at 7 a.m. Run in person or in the virtual event. More information and registration is at this page of GKTW.org. Proceeds benefit the not-for-profit organization that provides week long cost free Central Florida vacations to critically ill children and their families.

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. We continue to see no official words from Disney about its plans to resume sales of new passes for the Florida parks, but it seems increasingly likely during 2023.

Disney recently 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 still winter in Central Florida. Some of the region's best weather happens at this time of year, but as we have seen again this winter, 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 a few 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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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.

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.

Read more about the details of the offer and check availability on this page of DisneyWorld.com. You can also contact your travel agent, including MousePlanet’s sponsor GetAwayToday.

With the start of the year, Disney also announced its first round of 2023 Florida Resident and Annual Passholder Offers. 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).

MousePlanet’s 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.

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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.

 

Comments

  1. By wdwchuck

    Hey Alan, thanks again for the weekly update. I hope I have conveyed adequately how much I appreciate you doing these for us. I am a little concerned and I know you have alluded to it in the past but we both need to get back on the health wagon.
    I have not gained back all the weight I lost but about half of it and I need to get this boat turned around. I feel so much better when I am at my goal weight and the crap I eat is not worth the outcome.
    I am glad to hear you are still getting your steps in, I am doing that also, but I really need to put down the Snickers bars. Nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.
    We deserve to be healthy!!

  2. By carolinakid

    Chuck, I wasnít aware of your and Alanís health struggles. Youíre in my thoughts and prayers! I wanna see you here for a long, long time!

  3. By asdhollywood

    Thanks for the kind words.

  4. By wdwchuck

    Quote Originally Posted by carolinakid View Post
    Chuck, I wasn’t aware of your and Alan’s health struggles. You’re in my thoughts and prayers! I wanna see you here for a long, long time!

    Thank you Kid! Whoever designed the American food supply system and diet should be arrested and put in jail forever. I have complained to Disney for years and years to move toward healthier items. It is a real battle for me.
    I just got back from Publix and what do they have in the checkout lane? Massive amount of candy and carb items. If they didn't get my in the middle of the store, they want one last shot at me as I check out. Today I stuck to my guns.
    I am going to get back on the To Quiet Inflammation band wagon and stay there.....

  5. By carolinakid

    👍🙏

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