Walt Disney World Resort Update for May 16, 2023

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for May 16, 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

It was a rather quiet week for Walt Disney World Resort news again this week. In fact, in light of the ongoing dispute between Disney and the State of Florida and its governor, it's rather unlikely that we'll see any "huge" announcements about the Resort with any definitiveness while the dispute winds its way through the courts and/or behind closed-door negotiations. This past week, Disney CEO Bob Iger was reported to have rhetorically asked at the company's quarterly earnings call whether or not Florida wants Disney to invest the $17 billion and whether it wants the additional jobs and spending that come along with that over the next decade.

Obviously, Disney already has a lot invested in Walt Disney World Resort over the past 50-plus years, and Disney isn't going to simply walk away from that. Notwithstanding the constant rumors, Cinderella Castle can't just be dismantled and moved elsewhere. But it is possible in the ongoing game of brinksmanship between Disney and Governor DeSantis, that Disney could announce major capital plans somewhere else in the U.S.A. (or around the globe, for that matter).

Since we were last together on MousePlanet, I did read the competing complaints filed by Disney and Governor DeSantis' appointed board that replaced the Reedy Creek Improvement District. As I mentioned last week, I assume MousePlanet readers are interested in my take, so I will offer up some thoughts based on my legal education in a separate article in the near future. Thanks to our readers for keeping the politics underlying the dispute off of the Update last week, and let's keep that true going forward, as the Update exists to discuss topics focused on what's new and what's next at Walt Disney World Resort to help readers get the most out of a visit rather than anyone's political agenda.

Walt Disney World Resort posted Summer Ticket offers this week, and I have included those details below.

Eat to the Beat Concert Series 2023: Partial Lineup Announced

The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival gets under way July 27 (just over three weeks after the July 5 conclusion of the Flower & Garden Festival). With Food & Wine comes the return of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series at the America Gardens Theater, and its three times nightly musical performances.

This week, Disney Parks Blog shared a first look at the performers scheduled during this year's Concert Series. Fan-favorites like Sheila E. and Hanson are returning, and among the newcomers are Orianthi, Phillip Phillips, The Bacon Brothers (yes, the band with Kevin Bacon), We The Kings and more. As has been true of other recent Festivals, local bands will take the stage Tuesdays – Thursdays, with the bigger acts Fridays – Mondays. As more performers are announced, and if there are changes, Disney updates the list at TasteEPCOT.com.

As of publication, the scheduled performers are:

  • July 2829 – Orianthi (NEW)
  • July 3031 – FOR KING + COUNTRY (NEW)
  • August 45 – Southern Avenue
  • August 67 – Tiffany
  • August 1112 – Ruben Studdard with Haley Reinhart
  • August 1314 – The Bacon Brothers (NEW)
  • August 1821 – Joey Fatone & Friends
  • August 2526 – Ayron Jones (NEW)
  • August 2728 – Phillip Phillips (NEW)
  • September 12 – Baha Men
  • September 34 – MercyMe
  • September 89 – Ray Parker Jr.
  • September 1011 – TobyMac
  • September 15 – Celebrity Latin Talent
  • September 16 – Celebrity Latin Talent
  • September 17–18 – Raul Acosta and Oro Solido (NEW)
  • September 22–23 – Los Amigos Invisibles
  • September 24–25 – 98 °
  • September 29 – Oct. 2 – Boyz II Men
  • October 67 – Mark Wills
  • October 89 – Sugar Ray
  • October 1314 – Hoobastank
  • October 1516 – Air Supply
  • October 2021 – Taylor Dayne
  • October 2223 – Billy Ocean
  • October 2730 – Hanson
  • November 34 – We The Kings (NEW)
  • November 56 – Sheila E.
  • November 1011 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • November 1213 – 38 Special

V.I.Passholder Days Ahead

Yesterday, The Passholder Buzz on the My Disney Experience app announced that "V.I.Passholder Days" are coming to Walt Disney World Resort for a limited time beginning in June as Disney's "way of saying 'thank you' for being a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder!" Full details have not yet been announced, but the first look includes:

  • A new Passholder magnet is coming
  • Passholders will have a limited-time, exclusive space to rest and cool off with dedicated seating (subject to availability)
  • Passholders can enjoy increased discounts on select merchandise and dining locations across Walt Disney World Resort, including select EPCOT International Flower and Garden Outdoor Kitchens
  • New Passholder exclusive treats will be available for purchase
  • Passholders will also get a chance to visit two limited-time park photo ops

The Passholder Buzz is only available on the app. If you have installed the app on your Apple or Android device, and have push notifications turned on, you may see additional details as they are announced without drilling down into the app to locate The Passholder Buzz. Usually, Disney also announces Passholder perks like these in emails and in social media, but if these are the perks you are looking for, it would be wise to keep an eye on The Passholder Buzz as we head into June.

Views of Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios

I am a seasoned Disney Vacation Club member of more than 23 years now, and was successful in registering for the May 11 Moonlight Magic Event at Disney's Hollywood Studios. For those not familiar, DVC members (and their guests) that successfully register for a scheduled Moonlight Magic Event enjoy complimentary admission for three hours in the designated park after its regular closing time (plus some mix-in time before closing), snacks (including Mickey Bars), DJ-hosted dance parties, and special character sightings.

The May 11 event at Disney's Hollywood Studios followed an afternoon of heavy rain showers. It was hard to say whether that helped keep the crowd size for the evening down, but my guests and I were able to ride both Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway with very little wait. In fact, it was the snack lines that were quite large during the night (although, oddly enough for a warm humid night, not at the complimentary ice cream locations).

Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic was projected in a number of places around the park, including at the Grand Avenue entrance to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

A DJ-hosted dance party was held in front of the "stage" at The Chinese Theater.

Mickey Bars are complimentary (as are the ice cream sandwiches and other ice cream novelties) during DVC Moonlight Magic Events. This was the first time I had seen the Disney 100 wrapper that replaced the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary wrapper.

Just after Midnight, with the event scheduled until 1 a.m., parts of the park, including the entrance area were largely empty of guests.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Special character sightings are one of the advertised highlights of DVC Moonlight Magic events. Sometimes DVC shares the characters that will appear in advance, or, like at the May 11th event, it is a surprise. Whether the same characters appear at the next edition of DVC Moonlight Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios is probable, but not guaranteed. I did not make an effort to get to all the character greeting areas, but I did check out the Disney Jr. DJ-hosted dance party which featured Stitch and his "friends," many of which I had never seen in the park (and some I needed help even identifying).

Pleakley in a dress, joined Stitch and Angel on stage during the dance party, and then mingled with guests on the dance floor.

Gantu also appeared on the dance floor with Stitch during Moonlight Magic.

Up on the outdoor balcony of PizzeRizzo across from MuppetVision 3-D, Sweetums made distanced appearances waving to guests.

This & That & Reminders…

Disney Parks Blog announced that a new restaurant is coming to Japan pavilion this summer on the second floor of the pavilion. Shiki-Sai: Sushi Izakaya will be a new table-service restaurant offering sharable Izakaya-style dishes providing "the essence of Japan's seasonal festivals, where each month brings a new celebration to your table." In addition to a full menu featuring Japanese sushi and teppan items, there will be an open sushi bar and grill, where sushi will be made by the chefs. The second floor of the pavilion had been home to Tokyo Dining, which is currently listed as "closed for refurbishment" through Summer 2023 on the My Disney Experience app.

…With the World's Most Magical Celebration now complete, Walt Disney World Resort has retired the special 50th Anniversary cast name tags and has designed new ones. Good news for those of us with middle-aged or worse: the cast members' "hometown" information on the new tags is in a reasonable font size!

2023 WDW Cast Member Name Tags
Expect to see the new cast member name tags around Walt Disney World Resort starting today, May 16, 2023. Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog.

Disney Parks Blog took a deeper look inside the music of TRON Lightcycle / Run. Two musical tracks from the attraction are now available on music streaming services.

Disney Parks Blog posted a preview of this year's Pride merchandise collection.

… REMINDER Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic details and registration for the remaining complimentary events at Walt Disney World Resort are 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 – September 13. General registration is August 31 (early registration has closed)
  • 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 11 event, and July 19 for the August 2 event.
  • Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – May 23, August 23. General registration was May 11 for the May 23 event, and will be August 9th (pending availability) for the August 23 event. (early registration has closed)

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 who 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 the early registration period, 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.

For all of these DVC events, "eligible" member generally means that the member bought their points directly from Disney rather than a third party resale.

…Since 2018, Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course, Walt Disney World Golf's 9-hole walking course, has hosted the game of FootGolf as an option in addition to regular golf. As the game exploded in popularity, Walt Disney World Golf has hosted several national and international competitive FootGolf events. From May 27 to June 6, around 1,000 players from 40 countries will compete for the FootGolf World Cup in three categories (men, senior men, and women) in two different formats (individual stroke play and team match play) on 18-hole FootGolf courses at Disney’s Palm Golf Course and the nearby new Evermore Orlando Resort. For more information, visit golfwdw.com/footgolf and orlando2023.com.

…AdventHealth, the Official Healthcare Provider of Walt Disney World Resort, is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new AdventHealth ER at FLAMINGO CROSSINGS Town Center tomorrow, May 17. The new ER will bring emergency care and a first-of-its-kind patient experience for Central Florida visitors and community members, including Walt Disney World resort guests and cast members. The ER's design is unique in the AdventHealth network, with Key West influenced architecture and Disney-inspired touches to help enhance the patient experience. When ground was broken March 8th of last year, AdventHealth said the new ER would be an approximately 19,000-square-foot facility, with 24 private patient rooms; respiratory therapy; diagnostic imaging including CT scans, X-ray and ultrasound; and a full-service laboratory, and it will be staffed by a comprehensive clinical team including board-certified emergency physicians and emergency nurses.

…Speaking of ribbon cutting tomorrow, about a mile and a half down the road from Walt Disney World Resort, the newly renovated and rebranded Delta Orlando Hotels at Celebration (formerly Grand Orlando Resort), just completed a $35 million renovation. The newly renovated guestrooms are divided across the hotel's 20-acre property in six buildings, each renamed with tropical references which help create the sense of a serene vacation. In addition to the new rooms, guests can enjoy pools, a waterfall and slide, two tennis courts and restaurants ranging from grab and go to full-service at this official Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotel which offers complimentary scheduled transportation to Disney Parks as well as Universal Orlando Resort.

The Usual Writer's Note (Updated)

Face coverings remain optional across all of Walt Disney World Resort. Remember to check this page of DisneyWorld.com for the latest requirements. It remains unlikely that the State of Florida will impose new requirements. As always, 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).

Until the recently announced 2024 policy changes go into effect, 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. As of April 18, 2023, Passholders are not required to make reservations to visit parks after 2 p.m. except for Magic Kingdom on Saturday and Sunday .

Speaking of Annual Passes, sales of new ones resumed April 20, 2023 (April 13 for the DVC Member Sorcerer Pass). All Passholders may continue to purchase renewals in all tiers, and, now may upgrade pass type before renewal by paying the difference in price. As Disney reserves the right to limit quantities of passes available, sales may pause at any time, so be sure to check https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/passes/ for the latest availability. Logging in to the site with existing MyDisneyExperience credentials can direct you to purchasing opportunities for Florida Residents and Disney Vacation Club Members if those details are already tied to your account.

Note Disney now has a "Courtesy" section included in 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.

The usual Tropical Storm season is just about here. Though Central Florida currently has a serious precipitation deficit (and potential drought conditions right now), daily summer thunderstorms likely start popping by June or July. Of course, severe weather can occur in Central Florida at anytime. When visiting, have a regular look at the weather forecasts, and be prepared. 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.

The Walt Disney World Resort website lists current offers, deals, and discounts on this page.

NEW Summer ticket offers were announced this past week — Disney has a four day/park offer for all guests, and new 3- and 4-day offers for Florida Residents.

For All Guests — 4-Park Magic Ticket for $396 (plus tax)
The $99/day per park (plus tax) tickets go on sale May 23, 2023. The 4-Park Magic Ticket includes one admission to each of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks—Magic Kingdom park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park, EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios—for a total of 4 admissions, on 4 separate days. Limit one admission per theme park, and one theme park per day, theme park reservations are not required. Ticket is valid for theme park admission from June 1 to September 29, 2023, except blockout dates from July 1 to July 4, and September 1 to September 4, 2023, but ticket expires within 7 days of first use or on September 29, 2023, whichever occurs first. For full details, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com.

For Florida Residents — 4-Day Disney Summer Magic Ticket for $229/3-Day for $209 (plus tax)
The $58/day per park (plus tax) four day or $69.67/day per park (plus tax) three day tickets are on sale as of today. Ticket are valid starting today and through September 29, 2023, subject to these blockout dates: May 26 to May 29, 2023, July 1 to July 4, 2023, and September 1 to September 4, 2023. These tickets require theme park reservations for one theme park per day, but they do not need to be used on consecutive days, so long as they are used by September 29, 2023. For full details, including add-on options, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com.

Discounted hotels stays are available on most nights from April 10 to July 10, 2023, of 10% to 25% depending on Disney Resort hotel selected for stays between 1 and 14 nights. Details and availability are available on this page of DisneyWorld.com. There are additional offers for Passholders (up to 35%), Florida Residents (up to 30%), and everyone else (up to 25%) now posted through September 28, 2023. Scroll through the full list on this page of DisneyWorld.com.

For those passholders interested in the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser "Voyages," select dates through July 2, 2023 are now available for up to 30% off too.

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-plus 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.

A Further Word From Our Sponsor (For full offer details and disclaimers, visit GetAwayToday.com)

Now you can get two days FREE at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort when you book with Get Away Today!

In addition to the Walt Disney World Resort offers below, if you are booking with Get Away Today at Universal Orlando Resort, buy 3 days and get 2 days free: Park-to-Park and Base tickets are included with this offer, and there are no blockout dates. Visit Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, or upgrade to a 3-Park ticket to experience Universal’s waterpark, Volcano Bay. You can find this offer and its details here at Get Away Today's website.


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  1. By wdwchuck

    Hey Alan,
    Thanks for this update. I always check on Tuesday regardless of the new schedule.
    As far as politics. That is all I ask. Read both sides of the argument. I know you are of one persuasion and that is fine. I just think it will be an eye opener for most people when they see what Disney is trying to defend. Why they are willing to go to such great lengths to defend this behavior.
    It just seems bizarre to me. Nothing Walt like at all. Walt would protect the kids. Period.

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