Walt Disney World Resort Update for March 14, 2023by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for March 14, 2023
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Writer's Note, News & Views
Today begins the Walt Disney World Resort invited media event celebrating the upcoming opening of TRON Lightcycle / Run at Magic Kingdom on April 4. Regular readers know (and you've probably seen on social media elsewhere) that Cast Member, Disney Vacation Club, and Annual Passholder previews have been underway in stages since February. I had an opportunity to ride at the invitation of a Cast Member friend a few weeks back and rode only in the most accessible seat at the back of one of the trains. Since the sunset ridetime I was there was busy, I didn't try the test seat or attempt to board in the attraction's most common cycle-style seat. The time the media event affords will allow me to more fully explore the cycle-style seat, and I expect to have an opportunity to chat with Imagineers or other spokespeople about the ride's accessibility. I'll report more on those subjects it in a future Resort Update soon.
Hopefully, the media event will also give us an idea of what the Magic Kingdom plans to do with the attraction between this week and the official April 4 opening, so that I can share that with you as well. On Monday, Disney Parks Blog shared that there will be a new food kiosk opening in Tomorrowland soon as well. In the announcement, the new food kiosk was not tied directly to the new TRON Lightcycle / Run attraction, but all the food and beverage items highlighted were photographed along with imagery evocative of Disney's TRON: Legacy film upon which the new attraction is based.
💥 Foodie news alert! 💥 Magic Kingdom Park will soon be home to the new kiosk - Energy Bytes! Get a first look at the tasty treats coming to Tomorrowland: https://t.co/saSkd0Glay pic.twitter.com/hyupyiLiVR— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) March 13, 2023
Yesterday, Disney Parks Blog also provided a recap of the key story elements associated with TRON Lightcycle / Run. These remain unchanged from the attraction's Shanghai debut back in 2016, and I'll recap them in a future update following the media event. In short, though, guests that ride the attraction are "programs" that "enter the grid" and compete aboard Light Cycles as members of Team Blue to win a race which, in essence, brings the guests to "End of Line." Having said that, knowledge of the world of TRON and the films is not needed to getting the gist of this high-speed roller coaster in the dark with added lighting effects, projections, and the high-energy music of TRON: Legacy.
>◎//: GREETINGS, PROGRAMS! All those hours spent watching Disney's #TRON and #TRONLegacy finally paid off. Here is everything you need to know about this digital world I love so much. See you on the Grid. END OF LINE. https://t.co/Pjwvxzcul0 pic.twitter.com/5F0qCNvsYo— Steven Miller (@samhowzit) March 13, 2023
The invited media event will also include a late-night preview with Cast Members of Magic Kingdom's returning but revised nighttime spectacular, "Happily Ever After." The returning show has been tested late at night at least a couple of times over the past couple of weeks, and, like the prior version of the show as it existed back in 2021, lasts approximately 18 minutes.
As I mentioned last week, the media event also includes a briefing on Wednesday that is to include "What's Next." Unfortunately, I have no further information about what that means. It most likely will be a recap of the sorts of things we know are slated to open in coming months and years, like EPCOT's Journey of Water Inspired by Moana (later this year), and Tiana's Bayou Adventure (late next year) at the Magic Kingdom. Hopefully, it will include some new details about the new EPCOT nighttime spectacular expected to permanently replace Harmonious later this year. It would be unusual for Disney Parks to use this kind of briefing for big news about previously unannounced capital projects, but stay tuned.
On Wednesday, as part of the media event, I am also scheduled to get to preview Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant in Toy Story Land that's opening this spring. On Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, watch for all of the news I get to share by keeping an eye out for the #AllTheDisneyThrills hashtag that Disney is promoting for this event.
With really beautiful springtime weather in abundance over this past week and weekend, I got back over to EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, park hopped over to Disney's Hollywood Studios to catch The Mandalorian and Grogu walking about Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, and I went resort hopping for the first time in quite awhile, with some visits to Disney Springs thrown in for good measure. As a result, I have lots of views to share.
With so many wines to choose from, asking the team at Wine Bar George for a suggestion has always paid off for me. Here's to welcoming the Spring Break season at Walt Disney World and the good weather. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
It's St. Patrick's Day Week
St. Patrick's Day is this Friday, March 17. There are all sorts of treats and merchandise available all around Walt Disney World Resort to celebrate. This section recaps the major celebrations we have heard about, and the one we have been invited to share with you via a preview coming up on Thursday afternoon.
Disney Parks Blog has published a Foodie Guide for St. Patrick's Day.
You'll soon be leaping with excitement because the St. Patrick's Day Foodie Guide has arrived! 🍀 Take a peek at all of the charming treats coming to Disney Parks for the festivities this year: https://t.co/H3G5Tqxn1a #DisneyEats pic.twitter.com/849MD2QSC0— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) March 9, 2023
Be sure to keep an eye on our Instagram Story this Thursday, March 16, for our invited media preview of the 2023 edition of the Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival, which runs March 16 to 19. The Irish pub and restaurant at Disney Springs celebrates St. Patrick's Day before, during, and after the Irish Holiday, with 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).
The 2023 Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival runs March 16-19 at Disney Springs. 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).
The Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival at @RaglanRoadPub is back for four days of fun! ☘️🍺 From March 16-19, enjoy non-stop entertainment from the Emerald Isle, a mighty selection of brews and cocktails and classic Irish pub grub. Learn more: https://t.co/8xkMCYh9h1 pic.twitter.com/3sVNKrTUBo— Disney Springs (@DisneySprings) March 10, 2023
Another St. Patrick's Day option is being served up over at The Edison at Disney Springs. The 1920s-themed restaurant, bar, and entertainment destination, celebrates St. Patrick's Day throughout March with a specialty cocktail: The Irish Goodbye is $19 and includes coffee-infused Teeling Irish Whiskey, Benedictine, black walnut bitters and salted caramel.
The Irish Goodbye is $19 and includes coffee-infused Teeling Irish Whiskey at The Edison for St. Patrick's Day. Photo courtesy The Edison.
EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival Is Underway Through July 5th
With the 2023 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival underway for its long 127-day run through July 5, good weather provided ample reason for me to get over to the park with other local friends just before the spring break crowds started to arrive. I am sure that when Passholders are no longer required to make theme park reservations for visits after 2 p.m. (starting April 18), I'll get over to the festival quite a few times before the end of its run. These are a few new #FreshEPCOT views, and, for more, have a look back at the last two Walt Disney World Resort Updates.
Topiary Goofy stands tall at World Showcase Plaza looking back toward the monorail beam and Spaceship Earth.
Citrus Blossom inside Odyssey building sells the Orange Bird sipper during the Festival. It is available by Mobile Order too.
Treasure hunt maps for "Spike's Pollen Nation Exploration 2023" are available inside Odyssey and several other retail locations for $9.99 plus tax. Completed maps can be redeemed for a prize.
Garden Rocks Concerts are performed three times nightly at America Gardens Theatre through July 5. The full schedule is available on FreshEPCOT.com - most "headliners" perform on weekends or extended weekends, and local bands play on other days.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney Parks Blog this past week shared highlights of some of the Festival's special Disney PhotoPass Service photo spots and Magic Shots.
Looking for Magic Shots from @DisneyPhotoPass at the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival this year? 📸 🌸 🦋 Head to the Disney Parks Blog to see which shots are blooming and where you can find each: https://t.co/1eT3CUPjzV pic.twitter.com/ayDYxKOi1E— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) March 9, 2023
As I showed last week, EPCOT showcases its purple martins' birdhouses along the walkway near Connections Café & Eatery leading toward Test Track and Odyssey building during the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. The migratory birds return to Walt Disney World this time of year to mate, and other places around the resort also welcome the birds back with the sort of birdhouses the purple martins use for nesting.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is one of the many places at Walt Disney World Resort where Purple Martins return to nest and mate in the springtime. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
More Views Around The World
Easter is coming up in just less than a month on April 9. Ahead of that, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has kept up its long-standing tradition of displaying oversized decorated "eggs" featuring characters and themes from across Disney's many brands of intellectual property.
While not nearly as tall as Kevin from Disney-Pixar's "Up" appears when walking around Disney's Animal Kingdom, the pastry team has created a "tall" Easter Egg version of Kevin with some of her chicks that stands taller than most kids.
Easter Eggs on display feature the parks and characters, from the company's beginnings like Mickey Mouse to more recent ones like those featured in "Luca." The likeness of Walt in front of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom seemed a bit off.
Orange Bird is represented in the Easter Egg display, just like it is the focus of a pavilion and whole merchandise line over at EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival.
A couple of the Madrigal sisters from "Encanto" appear in front of their house, near Snow White outside the Dwarfs' cottage.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is itself undergoing a good deal of construction and refurbishment around its extended campus. The main building, including the monorail station, are open. The boat dock is also open, but requires following signs around some construction detours.
The walkway between Magic Kingdom and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort is closed because of the on-going construction on some of the hotel buildings.
The hotel building closest to the walkway to Magic Kingdom is undergoing refurbishment and is likely the primary reason that the walkway is closed.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
As mentioned in the past couple of updates, 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 itself 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 opened on March 1.
Disney Foodies! 🍽️ We’ve got some exciting news - Narcoossee’s will be reopening on April 1 over at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa! Check out the new dishes and returning favorites coming back to this beloved location: https://t.co/Iy0x21cTwG pic.twitter.com/exwRaUWGS1— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) February 20, 2023
"Next door" to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, vertical construction is underway at the Disney Vacation Club tower proposed for Disney's Polynesian Village Resort on the former site of the venue that was home of its luau.
Construction of the new Disney Vacation Club tower at Disney's Polynesian Village is well underway, and can be seen from across Seven Seas Lagoon.
The vertical construction of the new DVC tower was nearly as high as Disney's Wedding Pavilion this weekend.
As previously reported, walking from Disney's Grand Floridian Resort to Disney's Polynesian Resort now requires a detour across Floridian Way, and that walkway along the golf course also provides a view of the vertical construction of the new DVC tower.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Resort hopping by boat also provides some great opportunities for photos.
Last week, I noted that The Mandalorian and Grogu (a.k.a. "Baby Yoda") started making appearances in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (along with their return for Season 3 on the Disney+ streaming service). This past week, I got over to Disney's Hollywood Studios and found him near the Batuu Marketplace.
As The Mandalorian and Grogu stroll through Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, he will interact with guests and pose for photos, but there is no designated photo spot to see them. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka (this photo has been edited so as to obscure the other guests in Mando's vicinity).
And, finally, before moving on to all the "This and That and Reminders" below, a quick look at the current photo backdrop outside the Disney Springs AMC Dine-In Theaters. Disney Springs itself is a great "hub" for those looking to resort hop without paying for a ride share service like Minnie Vans, as all of the Disney Resort hotels are served by Disney Transport buses that drop off and pick up guests at the Town Center.
Disney Springs photo backdrop at AMC. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
This & That & Reminders…
…REMINDER: 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 popular attractions including Space Mountain, Slinky Dog Dash, Test Track, and Expedition Everest.
…REMINDER: Starting March 20, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will receive access to Disney PhotoPass lenses and one complimentary Cinderella Castle Mural of Memories experience (age restrictions apply).
…REMINDER: 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.
…NEW The first-ever specialty Walt Disney World Resort license plate that drivers could buy for cars registered in the State of Florida honored the almost-concluded 50th Anniversary celebration of the Resort with the proceeds directly benefiting Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida. To date, more than $1.5 million has been raised. As the 50th Anniversary celebration winds down, Disney Parks Blog shared this week that a new license plate design will be revealed soon, and proceeds of its sale will also benefit Make-A-Wish.
🚗 💙 ✨ More than $1.5M has been raised to help Make-A-Wish of Central and Northern Florida grant wishes for children through purchases of our first-ever @WaltDisneyWorld specialty license plate design honoring the #DisneyWorld50 celebration! https://t.co/hqYxbBTV6F pic.twitter.com/EQjmK1mi6O— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) March 8, 2023
…REMINDER: Disney's Blizzard Beach water park will be closed for refurbishment beginning March 19, 2023. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park, which is currently closed, reopens on March 19, 2023. As previously reported, Typhoon Lagoon will also host Disney H2O Glow After Hours events—these separately ticketed events are scheduled on Saturday nights through September 2, and on Monday nights on July 3 and 31.
Hang loose! 🏄 🌊 🌴 Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park reopens March 19! Dive into 5 can’t-miss ways to enjoy the reopening later this month: https://t.co/9OmwVO1zwW pic.twitter.com/v79fa1ldqT— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) March 2, 2023
…REMINDER with NEW Photos: March is Women's History Month. Walt Disney World Resort celebrates in several ways. Disney Parks Blog has highlights of the women chefs' creations around the resort in a Foodie Guide, and provides more ways to learn about inspiring female cast members and Disney heroines with ways guests can Celebrate HER Story around the resort.
Happy (almost) Women's History Month! ✨ Check out all the tasty creations available at Walt Disney World Resort for this joyous celebration throughout March developed by some of our talented women chefs. Which are you most excited for? https://t.co/Rnye7orZu9 #DisneyEats pic.twitter.com/NgD309u6zp— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) February 28, 2023
You can #CelebrateHERStory at Walt Disney World Resort during Women’s History Month and beyond! ✨ Here are 10 ways you can join the celebration: https://t.co/awxqVV3GTw pic.twitter.com/GgxfpLNQV8— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) March 1, 2023
Chef Romina Wagener, Pastry Chef at Space 220 Restaurant in EPCOT, is offering a special dessert during the month of March: The Tropical Pavlova, a plant based meringue, coconut whipped cream, passion fruit sauce, mango, kiwi, dried raspberries, Opal basil and Yuzu Chocolate for $15. Photo courtesy Patina Restaurant Group.
Disney Springs celebrates HER STORY in its decor as well as special offerings at the various venues in its neighborhoods. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…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: 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.
Just announced! ✨ Additional dates for our Disney After Hours events at Walt Disney World Resort have been added, plus we’ve added a new theme park to the magic! https://t.co/zQIsza2wvX pic.twitter.com/t6RRpihGhS— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) February 21, 2023
…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.
…NEW Maria & Enzo’s at Disney Springs has told us about its brunch options this spring for your consideration:
Maria & Enzo's serves a Sicilian cuisine-inspired brunch menu for guests on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.. With a stunning dining room, featuring views of Lake Buena Vista and an Italian warm ambiance, guests can enjoy chef-curated menu items, like the must-try Crunch Toast, a cornflake crusted brioche with nutella mascarpone and strawberry compote, plus the Spaghetti Carbonara Americana, featuring thick cut spaghetti imported from Italy with applewood bacon and a soft poached egg on top. Additional items include signature craft cocktails like the White Chocolate Espresso Martini, plus bottomless mimosas, bellinis or rossinis are also available for $28.
…NEW Jaleo at Disney Springs also has brunch options to consider this spring. Here's what Jaleo told us about brunch:
Jaleo at Disney Springs welcomes guests to explore, discover and share the vibrant spirit and flavors of Spain in a festive, inviting atmosphere. Its brunch menu features signature dishes, like Tortitas de Aceite de Oliva — olive oil pancakes with house-made blueberry compote and Florida honey — and Huevos Estrellados — a traditional mix of crispy fried potatoes and eggs. See the full menu here. Dishes can be paired with a variety of cocktails, wines or Spanish sangrias from Jaleo’s extensive beverage menu.
And, Jaleo is teaming up with Southern Hill Farms, a local farm, to offer a limited-time Strawberry Festival menu from today, March 14 through March 26, featuring seven Spanish-style tapas using fresh, locally grown strawberries. Menu items include a gazpacho, consisting of strawberries and Pipirrana, a summer salad from Southern Spain, and a Basque-style cheesecake topped with strawberries. Jaleo’s executive team, including Head Chef Kristopher Anderson and General Manager Mario Bernal, worked closely with Southern Hills Farm to design the menu during peak Strawberry season.
…UPDATED VIEW: Back in November, Disney Parks Blog shared details about The Cake Bake Shop coming to Disney’s BoardWalk Resort later this year in the space previously occupied by ESPN Club. When completed, the restaurant, owned by Gwendolyn Rogers, a self-taught baker with a love for Disney and cakes, will have both table-service and quick-service offerings open for brunch, afternoon tea service, lunch, and dinner. No date has been given for the venue's opening, but walking past this weekend, it looks like the construction underway for the venue's transformation, is rather extensive.
In November 2022, Disney Parks Blog shared details and concept art for The Cake Bake Shop coming to Disney's BoardWalk Resort later this year.
The construction underway at the former site of ESPN Club at Disney's BoardWalk Resort for its transformation into The Cake Bake Shop looks rather extensive. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…REMINDER with NEW Photos: 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. This past week, I visited Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort, which includes Disney's Lake Buena Vista Golf Club, so I have included some photos showing how easy it is to access the Pro Shop there plus one of the on-going main pool refurbishment nearby.
Perhaps the easiest Walt Disney World Golf Pro Shop to visit is at Disney's Lake Buena Vista Golf Club. It is located at Disney's Saratoga Springs, with parking nearby
The Pro Shop is located on the lower level of the building at Saratoga Springs that includes the resort's front desk and the Turf Club.
The Pro Shop can also be accessed via a dor on the other side of the building, fairly close to the boat dock for those arriving by boat from Disney Springs.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
…NEW The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, returns Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11 in 2023. Tickets are now available at FoodandWineClassic.com, and include the street party festival with unlimited tastings of culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants, including its newest restaurant, Rosa Mexicano, set to open this spring. The food-filled event also includes bottomless wine, beer, and beverage samplings from around the world, and also features live entertainment on the hotel’s causeway. The VIP Champagne & Dessert Party returns as well, offering fireworks views from the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve top floor event space, The Vue, paired with desserts and sparkling wine pairings. More details about the 2023 event will be released soon.
…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.
Disney Legend Tony Baxter will speak at Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, Florida. Image courtesy Give Kids the World Village.
NEW Further away from Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line expects its new island destination, Lighthouse Point, will start greeting guests on some Bahamas voyages in Summer 2024.
Disney Cruise Line will welcome guests to Lighthouse Point for the first time in summer 2024! This one-of-a-kind island destination will be a unique celebration of Bahamian culture brought to life with the quality & service of a Disney vacation: https://t.co/2nqgx4C9GW pic.twitter.com/m3pwDJSeyo— Disney Cruise Line (@DisneyCruise) March 9, 2023
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.
It is starting Spring in Central Florida. Temperatures can still vary greatly as the forecast for the next couple of days shows (from hot to Florida "cold" in the same day), but we tend to see some of the best weather of the year around now. The usual Tropical Storm season is still a couple of months, but Central Florida can have rainy days intermixed with drought: you may see no rain for quite a few days or weeks in a row. As always, have a look at the forecasts, be prepared, and, if you are driving, be extra alert.
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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.
A Further Word From Our Sponsor (For full offer details and disclaimers, visit GetAwayToday.com)
I wondered about that ESPN place. Didn't seem very popular. Glad to see it being used for cake.
Extra special report Alan. Thanks