Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 22, 2023

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for August 22, 2023

 Writer's Note, News & Views

I have a very short Walt Disney World Resort Update to share this week.

As you probably know, the legal battle between Disney and Florida's governor and appointed Central Florida Tourism Authority oversight board continues and that probably continues to limit The Walt Disney Company's willingness to make major capital committments to its Florida operations. But, having said that, Destination D23 is coming to Disney's Contemporary Resort Convention Center starting Friday, September 8, and that official event may generate some news about the company's future plans for Walt Disney World Resort. MousePlanet has been invited to attend as one of the hosted media outlets. Stay tuned.

Courtesy Parking Lot Trams Will Finally Return to EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios in September

Really, the headline says everything we know: the courtesy parking lot trams will finally return to serving guests at EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios in September according to a Disney Parks post to X (formerly known as Twitter) this week:

All the parking lot tram services were suspended during the temporary closure of the resort during the global pandemic, and they remained closed long after the resort's phased reopening got underway. Magic Kingdom parking lot trams were the first to return to service, late in 2021. Disney's Animal Kingdom's parking lot trams followed early last year, but though Disney had said all four parks would see them resume service by the end of 2022, that did not happen at EPCOT or Disney's Hollywood Studios.

On January 2, 2023, EPCOT parking lot trams sat idle separating lanes of traffic from areas set aside for the 2023 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in the EPCOT parking lot. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

By February 2023, new tram signs started appearing at EPCOT's main gate area. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This & That & Reminders…

…It's World Princess Week. Disney Parks has lots of ways for you celebrate: there's a Foodie Guide, of course; plus lots of merchandise releases. Disney is also granting lots of Make-A-Wish kids' princess-related wishes this week too, including a special royal ball.

…Walt Disney World Resort will celebrate Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month, September 15 through October 15. Mirabel, from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto will begin Magic Kingdom meet and greets on September 15 (and she will continue beyond the end of the celebration). Mirabel’s uncle, Bruno, will also join the park's Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade starting September 15. More food and beverage and merchandise offerings will be detailed in September as well.

NEW The 2023 edition of Visit Orlando's Magical Dining event is now underway through October 1. Enjoy three-course, prix-fixe dinners at many of Orlando’s most popular restaurants—including Jaleo and STK at Disney Springs—with tiered pricing set at just $40 or $60 per person plus tax and gratuity. Up to $2 from each meal served will benefit one or more local nonprofits that help people in need. The full list of participating restaurants and their special menus is available at MagicalDining.com.

NEW Speaking of Jaleo, in 1993, the first Jaleo opened in Washington, DC with Chef José Andrés at its helm. On September 5, 2023, starting at 6:30 p.m., Jaleo at Disney Springs is offering up a celebration of Spanish cuisine as its friends and partners from Jaleo Chicago journey to Orlando for an exclusive event. For one night only, you can experience "30 years of Jaleo, from the classics to the modern favorites, paired with sommelier-selected wines." Jaleo chefs will share some favorite memories and dishes from their recent trips to Spain with José. Tickets are $255/person, including food, wine pairings, tax and gratuity. Book the special chef's dinner here.

NEW And while we're talking food and fun at Disney Springs, The Great Irish Hooley returns to Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant September 1–4. MousePlanet has been invited to a hosted preview which we will cover on our Instagram story on September 1. Central Florida’s only authentic Irish and roots music festival will feature top Irish bands playing everything from trad and folk to Celt grass and blues. Raglan Road will also debut its new “Stars & Hearts” Keeper’s Heart Whiskey flight, an Irish-American collaboration aged in stout barrels, new Hooley cocktails including “Heart of the Hooley” made with Keeper’s Heart Irish Bourbon and blackberry and mint shrub, and the return of the popular Hooley brew, De Fesht, a limited release collaboration with The Tank Brewing in Miami, plus creative new bites from Raglan Road’s culinary team. There’s no cover charge to join the Hooley fun, which begins Friday afternoon, September 1, and continues through late-night Monday, Labor Day. Celtic face painting is complimentary. In addition to the pub’s All-Day Menu, the Rollicking Raglan Brunch will be served throughout the weekend and Monday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. The Raglan Road Irish Dancers will showcase their fancy footwork throughout the event. Reservations are recommended.

…REMINDER: Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is now underway on select nights at Magic Kingdom through November 1. The hard-ticket event runs after the park closes early, at 7:00 p.m., and runs through midnight. Party ticket holders can enter the park as early at 4 p.m. on event night (no additional ticket or park reservation required) and may come in costume subject to the park's published guidelines. Many dates are sold out, so if you want to go, be sure to book your tickets in advance.

…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).

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

…REMINDER The Edison at Disney Springs continues its Mixology Sunset Dinner Series with offerings August 24 and 31, at 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. As of this posting, the 8:00 p.m. event on Saturday, August 31 still has seats available. The $90 per-person, three-course menu and craft cocktail pairing event requires guests to be at least 21 years old and to purchase tickets in advance.

…REMINDER: The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic has announced the line-up of interactive food and beverage seminars taking place during this year’s event, Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11, 2023. During the educational seminars, guests can expand their knowledge of wine, beer, spirits, or pasta-making through hands-on learning experiences led by the resort’s award-winning food and beverage team. Updates for this year’s seminars include Craft Cocktails offered both Friday and Saturday and Wine Blending adding a bottling component in which guests will leave with their own bottled custom Meritage blend to take home. The 2023 seminar line-up includes:

  • Craft Cocktails – Friday and Saturday
  • Wine Blending – Friday and Saturday
  • Pasta Making – Friday
  • It’s Better to Wine in Italian (Italian Wines) – Friday
  • Base to Bubbles (Champagne) – Friday
  • Beer, Please! – Saturday

The seminars will take place prior to the outdoor festival. It’s Better to Wine in Italian and Beer, Please! seminar tickets are $75 per person, excluding tax. Base to Bubbles, Wine Blending, and Craft Cocktails seminars are $85 per person, excluding tax. Pasta Making seminar tickets are $110 per person, excluding tax. All seminars require separate tickets and space is limited. Specific dates and times of each seminar are available at foodandwineclassic.com. The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic offers guests unlimited tastings at creatively spaced, outdoor stations featuring culinary and beverage selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants amidst a festive backdrop of live entertainment on the hotel’s scenic causeway. The event runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on November 10–11, 2023. For more information, visit swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com.

Ahead of the Food and Wine Classic, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels are now offering Walt Disney World Annual Passholders and Florida residents the opportunity to save up to 30 percent off regular rates on hotel stays this summer. Visit swandolphin.com/offers/ for more information or to book.

…REMINDER: Give Kids the World Village, the non-profit resort that provides week long, no cost Central Florida vacations to critically ill children and their families, August 26 will host with an evening with Linda Larkin and Jonathan Freeman, the voices of Princess Jasmine and Jafar from the classic Disney animated film Aladdin, as part of its speaker series that benefits the Village's mission. Start time is 7 p.m., doors open at 6:30. Tickets start at $59.99 (with a VIP experience also available, start time of 5:30 p.m. including a meet and greet). You can purchase tickets for 50% off by entering code GKTW50 via this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-linda-larkin-and-jonathan-freeman-tickets-652055494537.

NEW Give Kids the World Village is also offering an opportunity to win a stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite inside Magic Kingdom. The prize vacation package includes a 1-night stay in the suite for up to four guests (including the winner), two more nights in a Deluxe Resort, three day hopper tickets, and more! Visit GKTW.org/castle for all the details and entrance opportunities. All proceeds benefit Give Kids The World. Open to U.S. residents.

…REMINDER: Applications and nominations for the 2024 Disney Dreamers Academy are open through October. Students looking to achieve their dreams can apply and, for the first time this year, be nominated for the program at DisneyDreamersAcademy.com. A panel of judges will select 100 students from the thousands of nationwide applicants to participate in the once-in-a-lifetime mentoring program designed to assist young people in identifying and pursuing their dreams. The selected students, along with a parent or guardian, will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World to participate in the program, including career-oriented workshops, leadership seminars and presentations by celebrity guests, community leaders, educators and Disney executives. Over the years, Disney Dreamers Academy has inspired more than 1,500 students from across the country. Each year, graduates have gone on to become doctors, engineers, performing artists, entrepreneurs, Disney Cast Members and more, and some have transitioned into mentors to the Disney Dreamers who followed them.

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. 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).

Disney Park Pass reservations continue to be required for admission to Walt Disney World theme parks when purchasing undated tickets or an annual pass (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. Passholders are no longer 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 back in April. 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.

It is Tropical Storm season for those of us near the Atlantic Ocean. Like last week, weather forecasters are paying particular attention to several areas of interest for potential further development. As always, keep an eye on the weather alerts for the region you plan to visit, especially if that involves flying into Central Florida. Disney typically only closes the parks when a significant storm is tracking toward Walt Disney World Resort itself, but your airline may have other thoughts about the forecast.

In the meantime, Florida typically still has daily summer thunderstorms at this time of year, and they often occur in mid-afternoon, but that's just a guide, as there is no fixed schedule, let alone a pattern I've been able to rely upon. Severe weather can occur in Central Florida at anytime, even when the forecast says 0% chance of rain (and there are occasional times when there is a forecast 100% chance of rain and it does not rain in some places). Have yourself a regular look at the weather forecasts, and be prepared for heat, humidity, and rain; and have a plan for taking cover for when something severe pops up. If you are driving, be extra alert. I've said it before, I'll say it yet again: it's still very hot and muggy around here this summer!

[Though COVID infections are ticking up again, this section of the Update will be retired after next week. Comments about park reservation requirements, rules, the weather and such will find their way back into the opening Writer's Note as appropriate.]

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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.

Summer ticket offers are available — 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 are on sale. 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 until September 29, 2023, except blockout dates from September 1 to September 4, 2023, but the 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. Tickets are valid through September 29, 2023, subject to blockout dates: 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.

Disney also offers a $159 (plus tax) 2-Day Florida Resident Disney 2-Park Explorer Ticket that is valid only at EPCOT and Disney's Animal Kingdom on consecutive or non-consecutive days through September 29. Be sure to read up on all the details to see if the ticket matches your expectations before purchasing. Proof of residency required, and, yes, Park Pass reservations are required to visit the parks too.

MousePlanet’s travel partner Get Away Today is available to help you book rooms and packages.

REMINDER Get Away Today’s Walt Disney World Resort vacation packages can now be booked completely on its website! No cumbersome quotes needed! Simply compare all your favorite Walt Disney World Resort hotels and Get Away Today's hand selected off-property hotels in a few clicks, and then customize for your included tickets for your vacation.

Get Away Today’s Walt Disney World Resort vacation packages now have the option to add Layaway Plans, which allow you to pay the total balance up to eight days prior to travel. You can also add their popular "Peace of Mind Plan" when booking a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, which allows any reschedules and cancellations up to five days prior to travel with no penalty.

When booking with Get Away Today, all Walt Disney World Resort on-site packages include Get Away Today’s e-concierge, which includes its Best Price Guarantee, Dining Reservation Reminders, access to their Concierge Team email for help before and during your vacation, and more.

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 wdwchuck

    Thanks again Alan.
    I know I am an odd duck, but I can't be the only one who thinks celebrating Halloween in July and August is creepy? I like the Haunted Mansion and I use to enjoy the last weekend of October dressing up once in awhile but celebrating wicked spirits and undead for 4 months out of the year is weird to me. Was this Hersheys and the Mars brothers idea?

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