Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 3, 2023by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 3, 2023
Writer's Note, News & Views
Walt Disney World Resort reached its 52nd anniversary this past Sunday. Aside from some cute videos and photos Disney released on social media, the anniversary passed without any particular celebration. The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel/experience also welcomed its final guests as September drew to a close, less than two years after its opening adjacent to Disney's Hollywood Studios and its Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land. What will be the next major additions or subtractions at Disney's Florida property remains in the vague "considering" and "thinking about" language that Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro shared in his blue sky presentation at last year's D23 Expo and his very slightly more specific Destination D23 presentation last month.
As mentioned last week, Disney is calling EPCOT the center of its Disney100 anniversary celebration for the Florida resort. I had a chance this Saturday to get a brief look around to see the final batch of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival kiosks to open which have decor tying them to Disney100 and some of the other new decorations. I don't think the messaging for the celebration has been very well thought-out. Walt Disney's quote that, "...it was all started by a mouse" appears on the new Mickey Mouse statue added to the Disney100 icon at the center of the park, but Mickey debuted in 1928 and the Disney Brothers founded the Studio in 1923.
There's nothing about the park's Disney100 celebration that makes me think of specific connections to the history of the company. The park has brought the Soarin' Over California ride film back to the attraction at The Land pavilion, which reminded me of the ad campaign for Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration when Disneyland "gifted" its copy of Soarin' to EPCOT and Disneyland Paris "gifted" Lights! Motors! Action! Stunt Spectacular to what was then Disney-MGM Studios. I don't think that is the connection Disney is trying to make.
Disney100 character banners decorate some of the poles between the tramway and the park gate and some additional ones are scattered through the planters in the park's entry plaza and the "bridge" to World Showcase.
Bubbles & Brine is one of the last four kiosks now open for the remainder of the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. It serves Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Jonah Crab Claw Cocktail, and three French adult beverages.
Swirled Showcase joined the festival and opened in the former temporary Starbucks location. It serves a Mickey-shaped Liquid nitro-cake, soft serve ice cream and floats (including adult varieties), and the Frozen Apple Pie and Cinnamon Apple Cider beverages that during prior festivals were available inside the Canada circlevision theater space.
Char & Chop and Wine & Wedge are the other two new kiosks to join the festival along World Showcase Promenade.
Disney recently announced the "Fab 50" golden character statues added for the resort's 50th anniversary celebration will remain and received "pixie dust" (which seems to have amounted to the removal of the "50" plaques and some refreshed paint.
A new stylized mural of EPCOT is now on the wall between the World Showcase restrooms and Imagination pavilion. The mural includes many Disney characters (including some specific to EPCOT and its past). See also the close-up video of the mural embedded below.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney has also vaguely (so far) tied the upcoming December debut of EPCOT's new nighttime spectacular, "Luminous," to the Disney100 celebration. The hardware for "Harmonious" was removed this summer. This new barge was in World Showcase Lagoon on Saturday, but our understanding right now is that any big pieces used for that show will be brought into place in the evening rather than permanent fixtures in the lagoon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Speaking of temporary, with Halloween around the corner, it's just about time for the annual scavenger hunt around EPCOT for Pluto's pumpkins. This "snowman" looks like it could be part of that. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Finally, though, back in the "permanent" column, at long last, the parking lot trams are operating again at EPCOT.
EPCOT actually has parking lot trams shuttling guests again. Personally haven’t seen that since 2020. pic.twitter.com/tjeCp8FVCC— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) September 30, 2023
This & That & Reminders…
…Walt Disney World Resort announced it was making $1.5 million in new donations to Florida nonprofit organizations. Disney Parks Blog shared details of some of the organizations receiving grants.
💛 @WaltDisneyWorld is donating $1.5 million to more than 15 nonprofits in Florida supporting important efforts across the state. Read more on the Disney Parks Blog: https://t.co/K1GAQaccCd pic.twitter.com/YN8Dwynk1x— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) October 2, 2023
…FINAL REMINDER: EPCOT's Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana is now open for Passholder previews through October 4, 2023. Passholders must have a theme park reservation for EPCOT for the preview date they wish to visit the new walk-through attraction (if the preview gets too crowded, EPCOT will activate a virtual queue). Park-hopping from another park with a reservation for that other park or otherwise using an annual pass to simply enter EPCOT after 2 p.m. will not be sufficient to get a preview. Passholders are limited to one preview per person. But because this is an outdoor experience, if there's lightning within six miles of the park or other severe weather is in the vicinity, the attraction will close until the weather is clear. Note: Disney Vacation Club is also offering preview dates for eligible members, but its hours are expressly limited to "from park open through 5:00 p.m.," so it's possible that Annual Passholder hours will be limited as well. Like Passholders, eligible DVC members need to have a ticket to get in the park as well as a theme park reservation for EPCOT for the date of the preview (park hopping or entering the park after 2 p.m. as an Annual Passholder will not suffice). DVC check-in will take place at the Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana entrance, across from the Coral Reef Restaurant in World Nature.
With throngs of Passholders showing up for Journey of Water on its first day of previews, EPCOT instituted a virtual queue. The virtual queue will only be activated as necessary, and on this past Saturday afternoon, it was not in use. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…REMINDER: Speaking of Passholders, the newest Passholder magnet featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is now available at Creations Shop at EPCOT through October 23, 2023 (regular rules apply for getting in to the park with a theme park reservation before 2 p.m. or park hopping or Passholder entry after 2 p.m.). Limit one magnet per Passholder (looked for the marked door at the shop for the entrance to the queue for the magnet). Sunshine Seasons over in The Land pavilion is also be selling Passholder-exclusive Oswald-themed treats during these same weeks.
New Passholder magnets featuring Oswald are available at EPCOT's Creations Shop through October 23 (or while supplies last). Look for the marked door for the queue for the magnets and be sure to have your photo I.D. handy that matches your Annual Pass (presented by card, MagicBand, mobile device, etc.). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…REMINDER: Walt Disney World Resort is now celebrating Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month through October 15. Mirabel, from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto has begun Magic Kingdom meet-and-greets (and she will continue beyond the end of the celebration). Mirabel’s uncle, Bruno, has joined the park's Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade.Disney Parks Blog published a profile of three Hispanic and Latin American cast members that have brought their work experience to the upcoming November 11 debut of Disney's Hollywood Studios after hours parties named Disney Jollywood Nights (select nights; separate ticket required).
The fiesta has officially begun at @WaltDisneyWorld Resort! ✨ Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month starts today with so much to enjoy, including special Photopass Magic Shots, merchandise and more: https://t.co/MEiWv4iLDB pic.twitter.com/wcBPMNp5oM— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) September 15, 2023
…REMINDER: Speaking of Disney Springs, on November 28, 2023, Wine Bar George is offering a new Sparkling Wine Experience: Learn How to Taste Wine with a Master Sommelier. Guests will learn to taste wine like a professional with a "blind" tasting of six different sparkling wines and hear firsthand from George about his journey through the wine world and what it takes to become a Master Sommelier. The 90-minute event led by George with the selection of sparkling wines hand-selected by him includes cheese and charcuterie. Doors and the event open at noon, and the event begins at 1:30 p.m. Tickets, including fees, are $126.97 per person are nonrefundable and are available on this page of eventbrite.com.
…The Edison at Disney Springs is offering up "The Cocktail Archives: A Historic Perspective of Mixology" with a way to "sip and taste your way through the decades" with crafted cocktails representing various eras from Victorian London through 21st century America. The event is October 21, 2023, starting at 11:30 a.m., with era's drinks paired with small bites. Tickets are $75 per person for general admission, or $90 for guaranteed seating with access. Either ticket option can be upgraded to Platinum service for an additional $40. Platinum service includes premium cocktail ingredients at some stations, plus a bonus food and cocktail station featuring A5 Wagyu Tataki. Tickets are limited and can be purchased on this page of Tock. Guests must be age 21+.
…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: As the Resort's three month long Halloween celebration approaches its final weeks, Disney Parks Blog has shared more food and beverage offerings for the season and a new Foodie Guide.
Try these treats if you dare. 🎃👻 We've got more #Halloween treats on the way to @WaltDisneyWorld Resort! Unwrap them all in the latest #DisneyEats Foodie Guide: https://t.co/zqk5UhtIpx pic.twitter.com/krdtKSDIfw— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) September 19, 2023
…As Halloween approaches, Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs has added a selection of candy-filled shakes for all ages, as well as some adults-only beverage concoctions. As we shared a few weeks back, some newly displayed Halloween genre-appropriate Hollywood memorabilia are on display around the restaurant, and, of course, new Halloween merchandise is available in its shop.
Planet Hollywood is located at Disney Springs opposite the escalators for the Orange Garage. It is the flagship location of the Planet Hollywood brand.
This summer, Planet Hollywood hosted me for a sampling of its menu and to show off its new Halloween merchandise.
File Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
…REMINDER: Speaking of Halloween, Disney Vacation Club will hold complimentary "Meet & Treat" events inside the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk including Disney Characters and treats from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 9, 2023, Tuesday, October 10, 2023, Monday, October 30, 2023, and Tuesday, October 31, 2023. There is no registration for this event (though it is subject to capacity limits); DVC Members eligible for Member Extras who have a qualifying Disney Resort hotel reservation (including at Vero Beach) that includes a party date may attend with up to 4 additional guests. No RESORT PARKING is available specifically for this event. Check DisneyVacationClub.com for eligibility and other important information.
…Looking to add some Disney character to your Halloween pumpkin carving? Disney Parks Blog has published some stencils to help you out. Of course, just as Disney warns: "Always use caution when handling sharp objects, and arts and crafts tools. Please supervise children who are helping or nearby."
…REMINDER: The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic has released the menu for its upcoming Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, taking place Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11. The menu for the 14th edition of the event includes more than 20 items, with both new dishes and returning favorites from the hotel’s resident restaurants and lounges, and festival-exclusive pop-ups. Over the course of the two-night event, guests will explore a wide range of cuisines with Mexican, Italian, sushi, steak, seafood and barbecue all available throughout the event’s food stations, with different menus each night. In addition, guests will be able to choose from a selection of more than 150 wine and beverages from around the world. The full menus are available at swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com/eat/menus/. For those not already familiar with the event, the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic offers guests unlimited tastings at outdoor stations with live entertainment on the hotel’s scenic causeway from 5:30-9 p.m. on November 10 and November 11. For more information and the add-on seminars available, visit swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com. MousePlanet has been invited to a preview later this month, and we'll share more details when we learn them.
…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, is 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. Note: Contest ends October 16, 2023.
…Beyond Walt Disney World, but including Orlando next Spring, "Disney Princess – The Concert," the music of Disney’s princesses performed by Broadway stars will return for a 39-city U.S.A. tour. Fans attending the concert are encouraged to dress up "in their best royal attire for an unforgettable evening," as the Broadway stars perform 30 iconic Disney songs, including favorites like “Part of Your World,” “Let It Go,” “A Whole New World,” “Just Around the Riverbend,” and “How Far I’ll Go.” Tickets are on-sale at disneyprincessconcert.com. Tour dates are:
- 5 – Memphis, TN – Orpheum Theatre
- 6 – Springfield, IL – UIS Performing Arts Center
- 7 – Appleton, WI – Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
- 8 – Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre
- 9 – Kalamazoo, MI – Miller Auditorium
- 10 – Chicago, IL – Rosemont Theatre
- 12 – Fort Wayne, IN – Embassy Theatre
- 13 – Detroit, MI – Fox Theatre
- 14 – Indianapolis, IN – Clowes Memorial Hall
- 15 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater
- 16 – St. Louis, MO – Fox Theatre
- 17 – Oklahoma City, OK – Civic Center Music Hall
- 19 – Denver, CO – Buell Theatre
- 21 – San Jose, CA – San Jose Civic Center
- 22 – Anaheim, CA – City National Grove Anaheim
- 23 – Mesa, AZ – Mesa Arts Center
- 24 – Long Beach, CA – Terrace Theater
- 26 – Eugene, OR – Hult Center
- 27 – Spokane, WA – First Interstate Center for the Arts
- 28 – Seattle, WA – McCaw Hall
- 29 – Boise, ID – Morrison Center for the Performing Arts
- 30 – Salt Lake City, UT – Eccles Theater
- 2 – San Antonio, TX – Tobin Center
- 3 – Austin, TX – Long Center
- 4 – New Orleans, LA – Saenger Theatre
- 5 – Birmingham, AL – BJCC Concert Hall
- 6 – Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall
- 7 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – AuRene Theater
- 8 – Orlando, FL – Steinmetz Hall at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
- 10 – Greensboro, NC – Tanger Center
- 11 – Columbus, GA – RiverCenter
- 12 – Charlotte, NC – Ovens Auditorium
- 13 – Atlanta, GA – Fox Theatre
- 14 – Durham, NC – Durham Performing Arts Center
- 16 – Schenectady, NY – Proctors
- 17 – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Center for the Arts
- 18 – Providence, RI – Providence Performing Arts Center
- 19 – Rochester, NY – Kodak Center
- 20 – Buffalo, NY – Shea’s Buffalo Theatre
"Disney Princess—The Concert" returns for a 39-city U.S.A. tour in Spring 2024. Video courtesy Disney Music.
…Looking for work in the Walt Disney World neighborhood? Caribe Royale Orlando is set to host a job fair for its Stadium Club, expected to open in early 2024. Caribe Royale says, "Stadium Club will be the city’s most high-tech and immersive experiential sports entertainment destination, fusing the energy of a nightclub with the comfort and ease of a neighborhood sports bar." Job fairs will be held October 11, 2023 and November 2, 2023, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Grand Caribe Convention Center at Caribe Royale Orlando Resort, 8101 World Center Drive, Orlando, FL 32821. Parking is complimentary, and directions to job fair parking will be well-marked. Attendees are required to adhere to a professional dress code and are advised to bring along copies of their resumes. Positions Available: Barback, Bartenders, Servers, Lead Cook, Cooks, Lead Steward, Stewards, Host/Hostess, Busser, Food Runner, Floor Supervisor, and Sports Simulator Attendant. For more information and online applications, visit: stadiumclub.com/hospitality-jobs-orlando.
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