Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 28, 2023

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 28, 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, Facebook or Twitter posts embedded in the Update, you can click them and view images or videos on the respective sites too.

 Writer's Note, News & Views

Just after 2023 began, Josh D'Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, announced several policy changes for Walt Disney World Resort that were very well-received in the fan community. The changes included the immediate elimination of Disney hotel parking fees on January 10, and "future" elimination of park reservations for Passholders visiting the parks after 2 p.m. (except Magic Kingdom on Saturday and Sunday where reservations are still required), plus "future" free on-attraction PhotoPass downloads for guests that purchase the Genie+ service (read the January 18 Update for my original discussion and attendance at a small invited media discussion with Josh following the announcement). This past week, Disney shared the implementation dates for those other two changes and the one additional Passholder photo perk:

Starting March 20, guests purchasing Disney Genie+ service will also receive digital downloads of their Disney PhotoPass attraction photos, taken in the park on the day of their purchase, at no additional charge. Attraction photos are taken while in the parks at more than a dozen of our most popular attractions including Space Mountain, Slinky Dog Dash, Test Track, Expedition Everest and more.

Starting March 20, [Walt Disney World Annual] Passholders will also receive access to Disney PhotoPass lenses and one complimentary Cinderella Castle Mural of Memories experience (age restrictions apply).

Beginning April 18, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will be able to visit the theme parks after 2 p.m. without needing a park reservation, except on Saturdays and Sundays at Magic Kingdom Park. Pass blockout dates will continue to apply like they do today.

The Magic Kingdom exception to the elimination of the reservation requirement is not surprising with TRON Lightcycle / Run opening April 4. It does, however, raise a question about park-hopping: will passholders be able to park-hop to Magic Kingdom (subject to its maximum capacity) after 2 p.m. if they first arrive at EPCOT, Disney's Hollywood Studios, or Disney's Animal Kingdom without a reservation on a Saturday or Sunday after 2 p.m.? In other words, can a passholder go to EPCOT on a Saturday or Sunday without a reservation at 2 p.m., and then, after exiting the park, take the monorail over to Magic Kingdom and enter the park? I think the answer is probably yes, but I will try to get clarification as April 18 approaches.

In the meantime, as you probably have seen in the news, the Governor of Florida signed the legislation converting the Reedy Creek Improvement District from a Disney-controlled governmental and taxing district into a State of Florida-controlled body with members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the legislature. It is too soon to know how this will impact visiting the Resort.

Likewise, you may have also seen in the news that Disney and some of the labor unions representing cast members continue to attempt to negotiate a new contract. The ongoing impasse there does not currently directly impact visiting the Resort either, we will need to stay tuned, and, indeed, just this week, we saw news of a Disney cast member that filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against one of the unions for unfair labor practices (deducting dues from his paycheck without authorization); you can read the press release of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the non-profit legal aid group assisting that cast member here. That situation ought not directly impact visiting the Resort either, but when your friends and family ask you about Disney news, why not be aware of the bigger picture too?

DAK entrance area
While the on-going labor and employment disputes at Walt Disney World Resort ought not impact guest visits, there clearly remain guest-facing cast positions that have not been refilled: the merchandise location just outside the entrance of Disney's Animal Kingdom, for example, remains closed. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival Begins Tomorrow (March 1)

Tomorrow, March 1, the 2023 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival begins its long run to July 5. The 127-day event is included with park admission (and subject to the park reservation rules, blackouts, and so forth), features lush gardens, sweet and savory bites, "refreshing" sips, and, of course, new merchandise collections—this time featuring Orange Bird, Snow White, and Figment. Like the prior festivals since the Resort's 50th anniversary celebration began back in fall of 2021, starting at sunset, Spaceship Earth will feature a special Beacon of Magic that Disney says is "set to a fresh and fun new soundtrack."

Year after year, the centerpieces of the Flower & Garden Festival are the topiaries and the gardens. In a process that began nearly a year ahead of the festival's opening, Disney Horticulture and Walt Disney Imagineering worked together to design, build and grow the topiaries. The process included artists developing sketches, Imagineers designing 3D models, welders molding frames, and horticulture specialists choosing plant materials. This year's festival will include the debut of a new Princess Tiana topiary (The Princess and the Frog), the Madrigal sisters and young Antonio (Encanto), plus updates to returning topiaries that already began appearing around the park as the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts wound down earlier in February.

Disney Horticulture and Imagineering worked together to create the topiaries for the Flower & Garden Festival. Video courtesy Disney parks blog.

60,000 bedding plants create the floral designs that make up the World Celebration East & West Lakes. On the West side near Imagination pavilion, flowers were in place by the February 20th end of Festival of the Arts. Several varieties of flowers will be planted before the Flower & Garden Festival ends in July.

Along World Showcase Promenade at United Kingdom, the Tinker Bell topiary was in place by the end of the Festival of the Arts.

The Peter Pan topiary was also in place at United Kingdom.

Captain Hook topiary stands at United Kingdom.

Near The Land Pavilion, topiaries of Woody, Bo Peep and her sheep are located where they were during last year's Flower & Garden Festival.

File Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

It is hard to believe that food and beverage offerings were not originally a key part of the Flower & Garden Festival, but for about the last half dozen or so years, this festival features "Outdoor Kitchens" featuring specialty items. This year there will be more than 15 Outdoor Kitchens located throughout the park, including more than 50 new food and drink items. This year's edition of The Citrus Blossom will be located inside the Odyssey (and, yes, there is a new Orange Bird sipper available). Magnolia Terrace will be located at American Adventure, featuring new Louisiana-inspired bites and sips in proximity to the new Princess Tiana topiary. EPCOT Farmers Feast near Test Track will offer a rotating menu, changing three times throughout the festival. Be sure to pickup a free Festival Passport for food and beverage locations, including the Garden Graze, "a fresh food stroll highlighting 11 delicious sweet and savory plant-based offerings."

Disney Parks Blog also provided a first look at the festival's merchandise collections. Festival merchandise will be available at Festival Markets, Odyssey, and Creations Shop while supplies last. Which items will cause a social media stir? Stay tuned.

Complete festival details are available at FreshEPCOT.com, including the lineup of performers scheduled to take the stage three times nightly at American Gardens Theater in the Garden Rocks Concert Series (and details of dining packages with guaranteed seating). MousePlanet has been invited to attend the first day of the Flower & Garden Festival, so keep an eye on our social media channels for additional details.

Views of Disney's Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios

As I mentioned in last week's Update, I had a park reservation this past weekend to meet up with some friends and park hop. This weekend was the Disney Princess Half Marathon, and race weekends often bring crowds. Fortunately, when I met up with my friends early Sunday afternoon at Disney's Animal Kingdom, crowds there were lighter than I have seen in quite awhile (Kilimanjaro Safaris had a posted wait of 10 minutes at around 3 p.m., but it was a walk-on). Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, with a 9:30 p.m. scheduled park closing, we saw that Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance had a posted wait under half an hour, but, unfortunately, the ride became unavailable before we got there; Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run also had a wait under 20 minutes posted, but we headed to Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway which also had a short wait posted, and (eventually, after a fairly brief delay) rode.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Blue skies and warmer than usual temperatures (but very comfortable) greeted me at Disney's Animal Kingdom on Sunday.

The Tree of Life stands out against the blue Florida winter afternoon sky.

A large Nile Crocodile at Kilimanjaro Safaris kept cool via its open mouth.

The African painted dogs kept cool in the shade.

One of the giraffe wandered rather close to the safari vehicle.

The ostriches in the distance seemed to be keeping an eye on one of the young rhinos (born in the past couple of years at the park) as it headed their way.

The lionesses were out doing what lions tend to do most of the day: nap.

Over at Gorilla Falls, one of the family group of lowland gorillas was keeping an eye on the pedestrian bridge that separates the family group from the bachelor group.

The Earth's sun shone brightly over the floating mountains of Pandora-The World of Avatar.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

When the Festival of the Lion King reopened as some of the park's live entertainment during the more-restrictive days of the global pandemic, it returned as "The Celebration of The Festival of the Lion King," with more distancing between performers, and without the Tumble Monkeys or the "bird" aerialist and "bird" dancer. A few months ago, the Tumble Monkeys and "birds" returned. I finally saw it on Sunday, and the show has returned to its original name and seemed like I remember it from before the March 2020 temporary closure of the Resort.

The show is once again The Festival of the Lion King.

The Tumble Monkeys are back and perform the routine I remember seeing before the global pandemic shut down the show (and Resort).

The birds - aerialist and dancer - once again perform the routine that was part of the original version of the show.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

I park-hopped over to Disney's Hollywood Studios with my friends on Sunday evening, arriving around 6 p.m. The park's scheduled closing was 9:30 p.m., and I found it a lot less crowded than it had been the last few times I had been to the park during regular operating hours.

In recent weeks, friends had spotted characters from "The Incredibles" making distanced appearances in the area near the plaza in front of The Chinese Theater. I spotted Frozone when I was in the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The refreshed version of Fantasmic! that reopened late in 2022, has very vibrant new lighting and sound. I have previously written about the updated show, but this was my first viewing that was off a bit to the side between water screens and closer to the front of the amphitheater.

It seems to be a matter of luck whether my iPhone can capture the laser images projected on the mountain during the new sequence in Fantasmic! inspired by "Mulan.".

The fire breathing dragon may have received some new lighting effects, but has not been upgraded as much as Disneyland's version around a decade ago.

Spoiler alert: Mickey wins the battle with his nightmares.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Anyone know where at Disney's Hollywood Studios this light fixture is located? I had not noticed the "hidden" Mickey before, but a friend pointed it out. The answer is included at the bottom of the This & That & Reminders section below. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka

This & That & Reminders…

…Congratulations to Neely Gracey, the overall winner of the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday at Walt Disney World Resort. She crossed the finish line ahead of everyone, marking only the third time in runDisney history that a woman was the overall winner of a race. She ran and won the Disney Princess 10K the day before, logging nearly 20 miles in two days. Michael Fussner was second overall in the half marathon, crossing the finish line seven seconds later. Gracey covered the 13.1-mile course through EPCOT and Magic Kingdom park in 1:15:55 followed by Fussner (1:16:02) of St. Louis, Missouri, and Connor Brock (1:17:39) of The Woodlands, Texas. In the wheelchair division, Heather Sealover of Bossier City, Louisiana, came in first place with a time of 1:08:00 followed by Julius McManus of Port Washington, Florida at 1:15:27 and Sidney Knox of Benton, Maine at 1:29:46. Next up for runDisney at Walt Disney World Resort is the Springtime Surprise Weekend (April 13–16), the fourth and final race weekend of the 2022–2023 runDisney race season.

runDisney shared Princess Half Marathon Weekend highlights on its Facebook page.

…With Season 3 of The Mandalorian starting to stream on Disney+ on March 1, Disney PhotoPass Service is offering up Grogu lenses in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge by way of the My Disney Experience app and Snapchat (and, for the West Coast, in the Disneyland app, too) through March 6.

Disney Parks Blog posted a story about how Elie, the daughter of Pete Docter, Chief Creative Officer for Pixar Animation Studios (and the voice of young Ellie in Up, after graduating from college applied for and was accepted to the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World Resort without telling her parents. She worked in a food and beverage role at EPCOT for six months.

Pete and Elie Docter sat down together to talk about Elie's Disney College Program experience, why she chose to work at Disney, and the benefits of the program for her and other college students. Video courtesy Disney Parks Blog.

…REMINDER: Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith has closed temporarily for refurbishment. It is expected to reopen this summer according to My Disney Experience. Normally, I don't note these temporary attraction closures, as there are too many too often to keep up with and the My Disney Experience app is your best source for finding out which attractions may be closed during your visit, but for some reason, this one was reported on WFTV.com and I have to wonder whether it really has been this slow of a news week around Central Florida.

…REMINDER: Narcoossee's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will reopen on April 1, 2023. The signature dining restaurant with panoramic views of Seven Seas Lagoon has undergone a reimagination creating an enhanced interior space and a refreshed menu by Chef Noah Estabrook and Pastry Chef Kristine Farmer. Disney Parks Blog describes the new space as incorporating the concept of "land and sea" and the culinary teams drew inspiration from that when developing the new menu. New dishes have been created specially for this location, and the wine list has been updated as well. Reservations open on March 1.

…REMINDER: Disney Parks Blog shared the news that new dates have been added for Disney After Hours events, and that EPCOT is now among the parks offering the events. The hard ticketed experiences take place after regular park operating hours and, like the various "parties," allows entry into the park before closing (6 p.m. at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, and 7 p.m. at EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, - and for the remaining dates at Magic Kingdom through the end of March, the times vary), and then three additional hours in the park after closing with limited attendance and lower wait times for some favorite attractions. Ice cream novelties, popcorn, and select beverages are also included in the cost of this ticketed event—available at carts throughout the park during the event hours. Ticket prices range from $75 to $149 (plus tax). Guests of select Walt Disney World Resort hotels can begin purchasing Disney After Hours tickets for EPCOT and Typhoon Lagoon as early as February 28. The advance-purchase window is available to guests at Disney Resort hotels and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels, as well as Shades of Green at Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Vacation Club members and Walt Disney World Annual Passholders can also purchase specially priced tickets for select dates. The full Disney After Hours event schedule is posted and tickets are available at: DisneyWorld.com/AfterHours.

…REMINDER: St. Patrick's Day is coming up quickly, and that means it's almost time for the Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival. The Disney Springs restaurant and pub will celebrate this year March 16–19, 2023, before, during, and after the Irish Holiday, at what it calls "the most authentic Irish festival in America." Indeed, Raglan's co-owner John Cooke says, "You won’t find Irish talent like this anywhere else in the U.S. on St. Patrick’s Day. Our festival is for everyone—bring the family and enjoy good times together. We'll have gift competitions and loads of giveaways. The Mighty Festival has earned its reputation as the best Irish hospitality experience in America." Revelers can enjoy Raglan Road’s Signature Brew Flight, Whiskey Flight, or craft beers, wines, and hand-crafted cocktails of their choice while choosing from the chef’s selection of authentic Irish dishes, including the dry-aged prime short rib and brisket beef OMG Burger, Shepherd’s Pie (beef and lamb version or the popular plant-based option), and fresh-caught fish with chips (which is also available to go at the adjacent Cooke’s of Dublin counter).

Raglan Road File photo
The 2023 Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival runs March 16-19 at Disney Springs. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Reservations are encouraged for guests who plan to celebrate at Raglan Road on March 16, 18, or 19. On St. Patrick's Day only, March 17, Raglan Road will open at 11 a.m. with a $20 cover charge for guests 18 and older: first-come, first-served—no reservations (younger patrons may enter free of charge). UPDATE: MousePlanet has been invited to preview this year's Festival on March 16, so keep an eye on our Instagram stories that evening for some highlights of this year’s celebration.

NEW Drawn to Life by Cirque du Soleil and Disney at Disney Springs has introduced new segments to its show, including an all-new acrobatic act, aerial artists, and a "flying" guitarist. As its press release says, "Cirque du Soleil has a tradition of shows serving as living, breathing works of art through creative enhancements and evolutions, a legacy which continues with Drawn to Life." New musical compositions accompany the new acts. Florida residents can now purchase tickets up to 15 percent off on select seating categories through March 12, 2023 for performances through May 7, 2023. Tickets can be purchased from Cirque du Soleil or at the Disney Springs box office.

…REMINDER: Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic registration details for the six remaining events at Walt Disney World Resort have been posted on this page of the DVC website. Early Registration occurs once for each park hosting a Moonlight Magic Event, where DVC Members with Disney Resort hotel reservations falling on the day of an event may register for the event; General Registration takes place on specified dates for each event. The remaining complimentary but registration required after-hours events in the parks for members and their guests are:

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – May 11, September 13
    Early Registration will be on April 4, 2023 (Resort reservations with party size finalized prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 2, 2023)
    General Registration (pending availability) opens May 3 for the May 11th event, and August 31 for the September 13 event.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom – July 11, August 2
    Early Registration will be on June 14, 2023 (Resort reservations with party size finalized prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern on June 11, 2023)
    General Registration (pending availability) opens June 21 for the July 11th event, and July 19 for the August 2 event.
  • Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – May 23, August 23
    Early Registration will be on April 26, 2023 (Resort reservations with party size finalized prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 23, 2023)
    General Registration (pending availability) opens May 11 for the May 23rd event, and August 9th for the August 23 event.

For "Early Registration," an eligible DVC Member must have Resort reservations at a Disney-owned-and-operated hotel at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort—with party size modifications finalized prior to the respective deadlines. Eligible DVC Members are those that are eligible for member extras. Any eligible DVC Member (regardless of hotel reservation status) may attempt to register for an event during "General Registration" pending availability. Members can register up to a party size of five (including the Member) or, when registering during Early Registration, up to the number of guests on the Resort reservation finalized by the applicable deadline. Modifications to a hotel reservation's party size after the deadline will not change the party size for the event. Children under age 3 do not need to be registered for the event.

…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.

…REMINDER: 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.

…With Brazil being an important source of business for Walt Disney World Resort, at an event for travel professionals held recently in Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Azul Linhas Aéreas and Walt Disney World Resort revealed that a Goofy themed plane will join that Brazilian airline's lineup dubbed "The World's Most Magical Fleet." With the addition of the fifth plane, Azul Linheas Aéreas will have the largest Disney Character-inspired fleet flying anywhere in the world today. Among its many routes, Azul offers nonstop service between Orlando International Airport and São Paulo, Brazil.

Azul Linheas Aéreas reunited its four existing character-inspired planes together for the first time since the project began in 2021, with the planes inspired by Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck standing side by side for a photo. Video courtesy Disney Parks Blog.

…And, finally, the light fixture with the hidden Mickey is located at Disney's Hollywood Studios at the entrance to the theater inside…

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, where several of these light fixtures are in the hallway inside the Chinese Theater right before guests are invited to enter the cartoon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka

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, at this late point in February, it is starting to become Spring in Central Florida. You can tell by some of the flowering trees that always seem to bloom just ahead of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. Some of the region's best weather happens at this time of year, but temperatures can still vary greatly (from hot to Florida "cold" in the same day). The usual Tropical Storm season is still more than a couple of months ahead, but Central Florida can have rainy days. 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. As I put the final touches on the Update, a weather alert on my iPhone says fog and "smoke from prescribed burns" may decrease roadway visibility. In other words, have a look at the forecasts, be prepared, and, if you are driving, be extra alert.

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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).

The official Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels have a bunch of special offers available with weekday rates starting at $120/night (plus tax). These "on-property" resorts enjoy many of the same perks (though not all of them) as the Disney owned-and-operated resort hotels, and offer complimentary transportation to and from the parks. For more information and rates, visit: disneyspringshotels.com. The family owned-and-operated Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando is now officially open in this category, and, as it reaches its targeted completion this Spring, it will feature 604 rooms including 78 two-room suites, in-room amenities including 55” smart flat screen televisions, mini refrigerators, microwaves, alarm clocks with Bluetooth and charging stations, executive work spaces, and in-room safes. The Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando is within walking distance to Disney Springs and will also offer 17,000+ square feet of meeting and event space for up to 250 people.

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.



  1. By Dave1313

    Thanks for the preview of F&G. Hard to believe it's now been 4 years since I last attended during that event. Looks like some good performers for Garden Rocks.

    The FotLK return to normal is good news, I think. I consider any little detail that goes back to the "before times" to be evidence of at least a ray of hope of returning to what used to be normal (and much less complicated planning).

    While I relate (and have had similar thoughts over the years when comparing the two), I can't imagine they will realistically ever decide to install a similar dragon as the one in Disneyland. Even though WDW is clearly superior in the seating department, the much fuller scenic environment by doing the show on the actual ROA in DL (which of course includes the big ship(s) ) will always make that version a little more visually impressive to me (not that I would recommend against seeing the DHS version to anyone visiting... it's still a very cool show for the one time or occasional visitor).

    The dragon in DL fits in better with the actual park as the setting, I think. To be fair, aside from maybe seeing it on-line (I'm not 100% sure), I never saw the DL version in person before the upgraded dragon. It would sort of seem out of place to me, dropping it into the DHS version without lots of other changes. It's not like they can easily build a set in the stadium that is as large and immersive as the actual ROA and it's surroundings in DL.

  2. By carolinakid

    After seeing the DHS version of Fantasmic umpteen times over the years, and enjoying it immensely, I was absolutely blown away by how much more I enjoyed the DL version which Iíve seen 3 times so far. Itís a superior show, no doubt, but being SO close to the action on the Rivers of America does make all the difference in the world. Itís been 10 years since we last saw it (weíre east coasters-Jersey shore) and we canít wait to go back!

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