Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 14, 2023

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 14, 2023

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 Writer's Note, News & Views

Happy Valentine's Day, MousePlanet! Have you shown your love for our weekly Walt Disney World Resort Update by liking it on Facebook or Twitter lately? It's not too late to share that gift...

The Florida Legislature gave the Governor the gift of control over the board that will oversee the renamed Reedy Creek Improvement District during last week's special session. As summer gets nearer, perhaps we will get some sense of whether the political battle between the state and Disney will impact guests visiting the Resort, but, for right now, it's too soon to know for sure.

A tad closer to the guest experience, in last week's corporate quarterly earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the company's effort to trim $5.5 billion in spending going forward, including by laying off 7,000 employees. While front-line cast members will likely not be cut—and indeed, there still seem to be quite a few positions that the company has not refilled since the global pandemic-caused furloughs (like EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios courtesy tram drivers, the Citizens of Main Street, and the Citizens of Hollywood, just to name a handful)—the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products division will see job cuts at some level.

At the same time, Bob Iger "teased" that additional capital spending is getting closer to being something he could share in detail for the parks. The closest he came to that, so far domestically, is that something Avatar-themed is in the works for Disneyland. Walt Disney World, of course, already has Pandora – The World of Avatar, and, indeed, when the new film, Avatar – The Way of Water, was released earlier this year, its creative force, James Cameron, was heard to suggest that updates should be made at Pandora reflecting the new film. A press release over the weekend about Disney' Super Bowl LVII Commercial Celebrating 100 Years of Storytelling and Shared Memories, reiterated that Destination D23 will be returning to Walt Disney World later this year, so maybe some of those new projects will be shared at the September 8-10 event. The ad itself tugs at the heartstrings of Disney fans...

The Walt Disney Archives' traveling exhibit celebrating the company's 100th anniversary is also just about ready for its February 18 world premiere at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA. Disney D23 shares a discussion with Disney Archivist Becky Cline about the exhibition in its InsideDisney podcast.

Passholders, DVC Members, D23 Gold Members Becoming Eligible To Register For TRON Lightcycle / Run Previews

Cast member previews have been underway for TRON Lightcycle / Run for nearly a couple weeks now, and the attraction opens to the public at Magic Kingdom on April 4. Disney had said there would be Passholder and Disney Vacation Club Member previews, and yesterday, it shared some news about those, and Disney D23 also announced a preview event for Gold Members.

Starting tomorrow, D23 Gold Members can visit this page of the D23.com website and attempt to purchase $57 tickets (including processing fee) to attend a limited capacity attraction preview event at Magic Kingdom on Saturday, March 18, 2023, and ride all they wish from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. (subject, of course, to the height and body shape requirements of the attraction). Gold Members may purchase up to two tickets and should be logged in to their D23.com account before the virtual queue for ticket purchases opens at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific on February 15. The event tickets will include:

  • Complimentary parking at the Transportation Ticket Center
  • Park admission with park reservation to Magic Kingdom after 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 18, 2023
  • Light refreshment for all Gold members in attendance
  • Exclusive entry to preview of TRON Lightcycle / Run on Saturday, March 18, 2023 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
  • Commemorative keepsake from the Grid

Event check-in opens at the TTC at 5 p.m. and there will be no special or early-access attraction merchandise opportunities.

Passholder and Disney Vacation Club Member preview registration will open at some point on February 16. Passholders and Members with resort hotel reservations were notified yesterday to be on the lookout for email with instructions for registration coming on Thursday, February 16. Passholders will have the opportunity to register themselves and up to 5 other Passholders from their My Disney Experience "Friends and Family" list, but only one registration per Passholder and the usual pass blockouts apply. Based on past experience, vigilance may be required, especially for Passholders that want to take advantage of a preview opportunity. Preview dates have not been announced, but, also based on past experience, several dates likely will be offered when the emails get sent. MousePlanet has been invited to a media event for the new attraction on March 14.

TRON Passholder Preview email to Passholders
Walt Disney World Resort Passholders were sent an email on Monday that said that emails about previews of TRON Lightcycle / Run would be sent on Thursday, February 16. Screenshot of Walt Disney World Resort email to Passholders.

Views of Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic at EPCOT

Disney Vacation Club hosted its first 2023 Florida installment of its complimentary after-hours event at EPCOT last Wednesday, February 8, and I was fortunate enough to have secured a reservation as a general member when registration opened the prior week. The second EPCOT event will be held tomorrow night, February 15. While DVC does not guarantee that each edition of a Moonlight Magic event will feature the same entertainment and character interactions, that is usually the case when one park hosts multiple event nights—and, for the February 8 edition of Moonlight Magic, the event guide did not list the specific characters that were out and about for meet-and-greets, just the locations where there would be characters during the event.

Moonlight Magic at EPCOT
Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic events allow those with reservations to check in and enter the park before its regular closing time. The EPCOT event guests could arrive at 7 p.m., with the park closing with a presentation of Harmonious at 9 p.m., and the event scheduled from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. Each guest received three snack vouchers and their admission wristbands at check-in. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Pro-tip: DVC Moonlight Magic snack vouchers can be used on many items at EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Food Studios, but only before the 9 p.m. park closing. The prices of many included items are often well-higher than traditional snacks, and the lines before park closing can be much shorter, as it was for this Deconstructed French Onion Soup.

Deconstructed Key Lime pie was also a Food Studio "snack item" that the Moonlight Magic voucher included. Not shown here, the Wild Mushroom Risotto at Gourmet Landscapes near Canada pavilion also tasted fantastic and was a great use of a voucher, as the small dish is cash-priced at $9.50.

Keeping with the food theme, entering the queue for Remy's Ratatouille Adventure just minutes before the park's official 9 p.m. close, yielded a standby wait of just over 20 minutes.

The seats aboard Remy's ride vehicles are now just flat benches rather than "formed," allowing for more body types.

Moonlight Magic events at the parks have capacity restrictions below those during the day, but, of course, not all attractions operate during the event.

The DVC event at EPCOT included a screening inside The Land pavilion of part of the Disney Files on Demand documentary, "Explore Disney Animation’s Top-Secret Treasure Trove" featuring Don Hahn. The Full Tour and more content is available by searching YouTube for #DisneyFilesOnDemand.

During Moonlight Magic, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind was running with a standby-only queue. Just after midnight during the event, from entering the building to exiting after the ride took just under half an hour.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.


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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

This & That & Reminders…

…Ahead of its March 23 scheduled opening, and reservation information becoming available on February 21, Walt Disney Imagineering released a look inside Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studios on its Instagram page.

…Last week, Make-A-Wish America announced the addition of Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, to its national board of directors. Disney has a long history with the Make-A-Wish organization, and it is the world's largest wish granter, having helped to grant more than 145,000 wishes worldwide since 1980. D'Amaro continues the Disney legacy of top executives supporting the wish-granting organization through voluntary service on national, global and chapter boards. Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek served on the board, including during his years as chairman of Disney Parks. To learn more about Make-A-Wish and to get involved, visit wish.org.

…REMINDER: 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.

…FINAL REMINDER: It's Valentine’s Day, and we've been reminding you about the specialty offering around Disney Springs some of its operating partners have given us a heads-up about, and if you have not made plans and were looking to do something special, may like favor you...

  • 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)
      Sautéed 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 REMINDERS, 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 not-for-profit Give Kids The World Village will feature two chats with Disney Legend Tony Baxter in April. Give Kids The World Presents: Tony Baxter will take place April 7th and 8th at the Village! He will share behind-the-scenes stories of the creation of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad on April 7 at 7 p.m. and about EPCOT on April 8 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $34.99 (+$1.87 Fee) for general seating or $149.99 (+$4.75 Fee) for a V.I.P. meet and greet reception plus reserved seating for each event; $59.99 (+$2.50 Fee) tickets for general seating for both days is also available. Ticket sale proceeds will benefit the Village that provides memory-filled moments for wish kids from all over the world with no-cost weeklong vacations for the kids and their families. More information and tickets are available on Eventbrite at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/give-kids-the-world-presents-tony-baxter-tickets-524707814197.

Give Kids the World Village Speaker Series.
Disney Legend Tony Baxter will speak at Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Florida. Image courtesy Give Kids the World Village.

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.