Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 18, 2023by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for October 18, 2023
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Writer's Note, News & Views
At EPCOT, Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, had its official grand opening on October 16. This brand new walking trail is located in the "neighborhood" of the park now known as "World Nature" (formerly Future World West), which Disney describes as "dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty and balance of the natural world." The attraction's entrance faces The Seas with Nemo and Friends and is in the vicinity of The Land pavilion. The attraction has been operating in a "soft opening mode" for the past couple of weeks, and it had various previews underway going all the way back into summer.
Follow Heihei for a splashy tour through the all-new Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. Tag your sidekick and join the journey! 💦🐓 pic.twitter.com/tv1P9ozIIo— Walt Disney World (@WaltDisneyWorld) October 16, 2023
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana allows guests of all ages to "engage with water in magical ways like Moana did with the ocean – from a simple greeting to a high five or even a crashing wave of fun." The trail is self-guided. Guests visiting the attraction can choose wet or dry paths through the attraction and can emerge from it completely soaked (like toddlers probably will choose to do by playing in one of the splash pad areas) or at levels of wetness that do not exceed misted by a bit of spray in the wind.
As an entirely outdoor attraction, its operation can be subject to weather. Lightning in the vicinity of EPCOT, for example, will shut the entire attraction down, as I saw in-person during an invited media preview. The MyDisneyExperience app says that some aspects may close during inclement weather, which further suggests to me that parts may close even without lightning in the vicinity. High winds, for example, would probably make some features unusable. The MyDisneyExperience app further says that wheelchair access is available only on the dry path, and that service animals must also remain on the dry path (and that caution is required in some areas).
As was true during the soft opening phase, EPCOT may use a virtual queue for visiting the attraction, "during times of high demand." If a virtual queue is in use, EPCOT guests an enter it starting at 9 a.m. and must be in the park to do so using the MyDisneyExperience app. When a virtual queue is in use, there will not be a separate standby queue. Guests may only enter the virtual queue once per day. Moana, herself, has a new meet and greet location near the attraction as well, presumably with a traditional standby queue.
Disney Parks has posted a video that is over an hour in length featuring "the sights and sounds, recorded in binaural audio, of EPCOT's newest attraction in World Nature, Journey of Water: Inspired by Moana." Video Courtesy Disney Parks.
Disney has promoted the opening of the attraction as tied to The Walt Disney Company's celebration of its 100th anniversary, but other than the fact that its official opening date fell on October 16, the anniversary of Roy and Walt Disney's founding of the studio which eventually became the company, this permanent addition to the park has been in the works for quite some years as part of the overall "transformation" of EPCOT that is now scheduled to conclude later this year. Indeed, as I have mentioned before, other than themed merchandise, food and beverage, and a little bit of decor, there is very little at Walt Disney World Resort truly celebrating the centennial milestone on the level that Disney has celebrated other things like the Millennium, the "Year of a Million Dreams," Walt Disney's 100th birthday, the Resort's 25th Anniversary, and, most recently, the Resort's 50th Anniversary.
New Mural To Decorate Part of the Queue for Tiana's Bayou Adventure
With more than a year to go until the expected debut of Tiana's Bayou Adventure at the former site of Splash Mountain at both Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and at Disneyland in Anaheim, Disney Parks Blog this week shared a first look at a new mural that will decorate the queue of the attraction on both coasts. Walt Disney Imagineering has collaborated with Louisiana artist Malaika Favorite to create the mural providing the backstory of the attraction and continuing the storyline from the Disney animated film The Princess and the Frog.
FIRST LOOK: New mural coming to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at @WaltDisneyWorld and @Disneyland! ✨🎨 Check out the story of the artist behind this masterpiece and her partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering to bring it to life: https://t.co/Foud6o2YGf pic.twitter.com/cSEfcNS5u6— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) October 12, 2023
The new mural will be displayed on two of the building’s exterior walls when entering the indoor queue. The mural will tell the story of Tiana’s "professional journey and the creation of Tiana’s Foods." As Disney Parks Blog explains, "When Tiana was young, her father made her promise to 'never, ever lose sight of what is really important,' and the mural will reflect those elements: family, friends, food, music, art, and bringing folks together." As with other aspects of the development of this attraction, Disney says it is looking to New Orleans for its inspiration: "numerous murals and other works of art ... decorate building exteriors throughout New Orleans," according to Disney, and "Princess Tiana’s desire to adorn the location with art is in keeping with the spirit that artwork is to be enjoyed and accessed by everyone."
Views of Disney's Animal Kingdom
With yesterday's daytime high hovering right around 70° rather than approaching 90°, I decided to brave the so-called "fall break crowds" (apparently a number of schools around the country have a mini break this week; the old man at the keyboard writing this sentence never experienced such a thing) and headed over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom for a few hours. By waiting until late in the afternoon to attempt to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris, the posted standby time finally dropped from 60–70 minutes down to 20 minutes, and the wait was actually less than that. In the cooler weather, you often get a bit more animal activity when visiting the attraction, and that was true (even if the lions were doing their usual sleeping thing).
Before the global pandemic Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack had meet and greet locations in DinoLand U.S.A. Now, they occasionally appear in flotillas on Discovery River.
It is actually autumn at Disney's Animal Kingdom, though the foliage and the guests do not fully reflect that.
Like the other parks, the "50" medallions have been removed from the golden character sculptures added for the Resort's anniversary celebration, and the pieces are staying in place.
Blue sky over the park on a "cool" Central Florida afternoon is a welcome sight, even with the Imagineered snow atop Expedition Everest.
Aboard Kilimanjaro Safari, with Halloween near, is it a surprise to spot one of the "ghosts of the forest?"
One of the recently born zebras was standing within view of both Kilimanjaro Safari vehicles and the spot where guests dining at the savannah overlook (probably a Wild Africa Trek expedition) could see it.
In Harambe Marketplace, construction of a new building has been going on since at least this summer. There is no signage advertising what is to come and it appears to be connected to both the retail location on the right and a food and beverage location behind it.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
And, for those wondering, yes, Moana still has a meet and greet location along Discovery River near DinoLand U.S.A.
This & That & Reminders…
…Speaking of Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney Vacation Club made a "surprise and delight" type announcement this week that an additional Moonlight Magic event has been added to the calendar on December 13, 2023 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The complimentary, after-hours event featuring select attractions with shorter-than-usual wait times, character greetings, entertainment and more will open for registration to eligible members (namely, those that have bought a certain number of points directly from Disney) with a qualifying Disney Resort hotel reservation on the event date beginning on November 28, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Pending availability, all other eligible Members may try their luck at reservations for the event on December 5, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. DVC says the link to the event registration will be posted online shortly before the registration windows open.
…FINAL REMINDER: The newest Passholder magnet featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit is 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.
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.). File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
…As we reported last week and as we have been reminding you over the summer months, the 14th Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic is coming up on November 10 and 11. The event is open to the public (not just those staying at the Swan or Dolphin), and offers attendees unlimited tastings at more than 25 outdoor stations including more than 25 food dishes and more than 200 wine, beer, and spirits samplings and different menus each night of the event. The event takes place along the scenic causeway between the Swan and Dolphin hotels from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. on both nights, and also includes live entertainment. Tickets are $185 per person (plus fees and tax) at swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com.
With this year's Food & Wine Classic taking place during Veterans Day, Swan and Dolphin Resort has partnered with Friends of the Fisher House Orlando and is providing the local organization with a charitable contribution from the event. Orlando's Fisher House provides free accommodations and resources for military and veteran families while a loved one is receiving medical treatment. Later today, we'll debut a Reel on Instagram and Facebook highlighting this organization as well. You can read more about the organization at OrlandoFisherHouse.org.
MousePlanet was invited to a media preview earlier this month.
…Looking ahead to Thanksgiving, Raglan Road at Disney Springs has published its special Thanksgiving Day menu. On Thanksgiving, guests also can order from the regular all-day dinner menu at listed prices, including vegan and vegetarian options. Thanksgiving dinner will be available from restaurant open at 11 a.m. to close at 10 p.m. Guests can order at the patio, at any of the bars, and even get takeout from the bar areas. Live entertainment begins at 4:30 p.m. inside the restaurant and 6 pm on the patio, weather permitting. Reservations are recommended by calling: (407)938-0300 or online at RaglanRoad.com.
…UPDATED 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. NEWAdditional blind tasting experience dates have been added, including December too on this web page.
…FINAL REMINDER: 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+.
…The Edison at Disney Springs is also offering up its unique Halloween cocktail throughout October: The Blood Donor is served in a blood bag and combines Aperol, Solerno, Espolòn Silver, lime juice and simple syrup to make a vivid crimson concoction that it says is "eerie, yet delicious."
…Next door, at Maria and Enzo’s at Disney Springs, the mixologists are serving up Halloween beverages "inspired by the works of American mystery and horror writer Edgar Allan Poe," after 4 p.m. this season:
- Red Death – $22
Espolon, combier, lime juice, sour mix, hibiscus syrup, garnished with masquerade mask
- Tell-Tale Martini – $22
Vanilla vodka, chambord, pama, lemon juice, grape simple and candy eye
- Raven’s Glare – $22
Lemon cookie margarita featuring Espolon, combier, lemon juice, sour mix, cookie syrup, garnished for the season
*Try all three of the dark and dreamy Halloween creations with Cask of Halloween Spirits flight for $31*
- Fall of the House of the Apples – $22
Pear and apple brandy cocktail with St. George Spiced Pear Liqueur, absolut pear, apple juice and ginger ale, with apple gummy garnish
- Black Bird Brew – $17
Fruity and festive mocktail with sour apple, grape, sprite, glow cube, halloween garnish
…At nearby Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs, its Halloween concoction is the Tokyo Ghoul: $18, made with Hendrick's Gin, midori, cointreau, yuzu, lemon, monin agave and ginger bitters.
…On Disney Springs West Side, Jaleo, all season long, is offering the Apple & Saffron signature mocktail, made with Seedlip Garden, apple juice, lemon, saffron and Fever-Tree Club Soda.
…REMINDER: Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party continues 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: Speaking of Halloween, Disney Vacation Club is holding 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 30, and Tuesday, October 31, 2023. There's no registration for this event (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 four additional guests. Resort parking is not available specifically for this event. Check DisneyVacationClub.com for eligibility and other important information.
…If you're a TikTok user (and we at MousePlanet haven't gone down that social media road) who's a Disney fan, you may be interested to know that in honor of The Walt Disney Company's 100th anniversary, Disney has partnered with TikTok on "a first-of-its-kind destination within TikTok that invites Disney fans to a unique interactive experience where stories, magic, and memories come together." More than 48 Disney handles are participating in a four-week activation in 24 regions around the globe. You can watch videos from across Disney's brands, create your own videos with Disney music and effects, play daily Disney trivia, and collect and trade "Character Cards" of favorite characters to win unique profile frames to show off your fandom.
SPECIAL REMINDER: Give Kids The World Village to Welcome Guests For 2023 VIP Holiday Tours
Repeating from last week as a reminder, Give Kids The World Village, the 84-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort in Central Florida, provides critically ill children and their families with weeklong, cost-free vacations including accommodations in whimsical villas, transportation, donated attraction tickets, meals and much more. Since the organization was founded in 1986, Give Kids The World has welcomed more than 160,000 families from all 50 states and over 75 countries.
Give Kids the World Village is decorating its resort for the holidays. It is inviting the public to see the resort on select nights with VIP Holiday Tours with ticket proceeds benefiting its mission of providing cost-free week-long Central Florida vacations to critically ill children and their families. File Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Back during the holidays in 2020, when they couldn’t host the kids and their families, they worked with their partners to create the Night of a Million Lights event nights and invited the public to visit the village to see holiday lights and decorations with the proceeds of those events benefiting the village and its mission. They had another set of Night of a Million Lights events back in 2021 at the Village when it had partially reopened, and then, last year the event moved over to Island H2O Water Park because the Village had fully reopened to Wish kids and their families.
For 2023, the Village is back to full force, and, in fact, is hosting more families than ever just this month. They also wanted to get back to sharing the holidays with the public as much as they can while serving their guest families, so this year they are offering VIP guided tours on November 17 and 18, December 1, 2, 15, 16, 21, and 22 only. Timed Tickets are available at GKTW.org/holidayvip for $59.99 per person (plus a ticket fee). Ticket sales fully benefit the Village and its mission.
The guided tours will include select venues on the Avenue of Angels lit with 1.6 million lights, vignettes decorated by GKTW partners, props and photo opportunities, and more. If you want to take it to another level, groups of up to 30 can arrange for special Balcony Dessert Parties by contacting the Village.
Give Kids the World Village invited MousePlanet and other media to a preview on October 3, 2023, to help get the word out. File Video by Alan S. Dalinka.
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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.
There are currently published offers for bookings by December 15, 2023, with savings up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays select nights through March 24, 2024; stays most nights February 25, 2024 through March 24, 2024 feature savings up to 30%. These early booking discounts are detailed specifically at DisneyWorld.com/Save. As always, there are additional offers for Florida residents, Annual Passholders, U.S. Military members and more when you look at the full list of offers.
For Florida residents that wish to visit only on weekdays, they can now purchase a 4-Day Disney Weekday Magic Ticket for just $59 per day, plus tax (total price: $235 plus tax), or a 3-Day ticket for $72/day plus tax (total price: $215 plus tax), or a 2-Day ticket for $98/day plus tax (total price: $195 plus tax). Tickets are valid weekdays only between October 2 and December 22, which, interestingly enough, has no blockout dates which means that unlike all Annual Passes other than the IncrediPass, these tickets are valid on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Park hopping can be added to this ticket type for $40 plus tax; the Water Park and Sports Option can be added for $35 plus tax; the Park Hopper Plus option (which is sort of a combo of the prior two) for $55 plus tax. For theme park entry, Disney Park Pass reservations are required, but the tickets do not need to be used on consecutive days; all tickets expire December 22, 2023.
Save 20% this fall at Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels. Special rates are available to book now through November 30, 2023, for stays now through December 21, 2023, based on availability. Some blackout dates may apply, and availability may be limited. The rates do not include Resort Service Fees or daily parking fees (if applicable), taxes, or gratuities. The offer is exclusively available through the promotion website and is not valid with any other special offers, promotions, existing reservations, or groups. The Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels include B Resort & Spa, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando, Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Holiday Inn Orlando Disney Springs, and Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista. All Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels are conveniently located in the Walt Disney World Resort with spacious accommodations, luxurious amenities, dining and recreation offerings. Each resort is an Official Walt Disney World Hotel and is within walking distance of Disney Springs via pedestrian sky bridge.
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