Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 7, 2023

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 7, 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 (or, for Disney Parks Blog photos, the article cited will open). For Instagram, Threads, Facebook or X (the social network formerly known as 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

I'm back from my visit to Chicago, which included temperatures from 72° down to 27°, and it snowed on Halloween—the real stuff rather than what you see at Walt Disney World Resort during the holiday season. Of course, Mickey Mouse and friends will soon be lighting up Chicago's Magnificent Mile, as Walt Disney World Resort has been a presenting sponsor of the annual parade for more years than I can remember. The parade is usually also televised by the Disney-owned ABC 7 Chicago station, and, in past years, I've seen it syndicated to other ABC affiliates, including WFTV-9 here in Central Florida. Check your local listings.

With Halloween now past, Walt Disney World Resort has begun its quick transition to the winter holiday season. Decor is already up at Magic Kingdom and is beginning to appear in other places around the resort. The first 2023 edition of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is this Thursday, November 9 at Magic Kingdom, and the first ever Disney Jollywood Nights after-hours party is this Saturday, November 11th at Disney's Hollywood Studios. MousePlanet has been invited by Disney to these events, and our correspondents will provide highlights on our social media channels and our next Walt Disney World Resort Update (which will probably be published on Thursday next week rather than our usual Tuesday spot).

Thanks, as always, to Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix for keeping an eye on the Florida resort while I was away last week, and to our correspondents who will cover events around the resort this week while I am attending to other commitments. Of course, as we head in to the holiday season, thanks to you, our readers, for sticking with us for another year. If there is something around the Walt Disney World Resort you would like us to cover that we have missed, please let us know in the comments here or on social media. In 2024, I hope to have some new and improved ways of having you get in touch, but, more on that when the pieces fall in to place.

New Details of Luminous The Symphony of Us - Debuting at EPCOT on December 5

This past week, Disney Parks Blog provided some additional details about EPCOT's new nighttime spectacular "Luminous The Symphony of Us" which is scheduled to debut on World Showcase Lagoon on December 5. The new nighttime spectacular will replace the "temporary" EPCOT Forever show which returned when EPCOT ended the run of "Harmonious" which was previously announced as the "permanent" new nighttime show which debuted with the start of Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary celebration.

Disney describes the new show as akin to a "beautiful piece of music," and says that the show is "made up of a series of movements, each representing life experiences that we have in common, showing us that we’re more alike than we are different." Two new original songs have been written for the show, which will also feature new arrangements of selected Disney songs.

Disney says the show will begin with "voices from each pavilion welcoming us to this great gathering." The show's first movement will introduce the first new original song, “Heartbeat Symphony.” The show will then include a multilingual arrangement of “You’ll Be in My Heart,” “Proud Corazón,” and classic songs like “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and “Friend Like Me.” The show will also include “So Close” from Disney’s Enchanted, “When She Loved Me,” “Remember Me,” “Into the Unknown,” “I See the Light” (from Tangled), and will conclude with the second original song, entitled “Beating of our Hearts.”

Lots of hardware is again on World Showcase Lagoon, presumably for Luminous.

The visible show hardware looks a lot like the Harmonious video screens that folks referred to as the "tacos" (because of their shape) but without the video screen.

Construction equipment was docked next to the American Gardens Theatre (where the Illuminations "globe" used to be docked in the hours before showtime.

The tents along World Showcase Lagoon likely are the temporary home of show control stations, as Luminous testing was reportedly underway last week. Refurbishment continues at Canada pavilion in the distance.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka. (Sorry that the afternoon sun resulted in some darker-than optimal photos.)

Pinar Toprak, who previously composed the new EPCOT anthem (which can be heard by Spaceship Earth, particularly at night), worked on the score for the new show. Voice talent in the new show includes singer/songwriter Sheléa and Katharine McPhee.

Additional Views of EPCOT

After I got back to Central Florida last week, I managed to make a visit over to EPCOT on Saturday. With it being runDisney's Wine & Dine race weekend during Food & Wine Festival, however, the World Showcase Promenade was filled with guests, making navigating the park a bit of a challenge.)

The construction walls near Connections Cafe and Creations Shop have been moved further towards the center of the plaza, revealing the new pavers surrounding the trees in this "World Celebration" area (that formerly was the center of Future World.

The widened walkway now shows off different bands of materials and colors.

The wider walkways of World Showcase Promenade were very crowded with guests on Saturday afternoon. As a runDisney weekend during EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, it was not surprising to see large crowds.

The left part of the crowd in this photo was just one of the many long queues for purchasing food and beverage at the kiosks around the park.

Pretty much anywhere I strolled Saturday afternoon along World Showcase Promenade was crowded with guests.

While EPCOT does not fully join in the winter holiday celebrations around the Resort until nearly Thanksgiving because of the Food & Wine Festival, some of the holiday decor is already being installed. This is France pavilion.

If you want to get away from the crowds during a busy Festival, many attractions have low attendance: this is the pre-show area for Canada Far & Wide, the CircleVision 360 show, when I wandered in just a minute or two after the previous showing was loaded and the time until show sign displayed 14 minutes. I attended a showing of the "Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along" at France pavilion that was only approximately ¼ capacity.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend 2023 Now Complete

Orlando runner Ian Bordelon won the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon for the second straight year this past Sunday, crossing the finish line nearly two minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Disney says that his winning time of 1:11:38 is only about a minute off from the race record of 1:10:24, set by Jason Simpson in 2016.

The EPCOT parking lot was one of the major staging grounds for the 2023 edition of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Renee Kearns, was the top female finisher, with a time of 1:23:55. Her husband, Ryan Kearns, actually finished second among the men at 1:13:12.

In the wheelchair division, Heather Sealover from Bossier City, Louisiana finished first with a time of 1:02:33, while Nicholas McCoy of Boerne, Texas was the first male finisher at 1:10:34.

The next runDisney race event is the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, January 3–7, 2024. It features a 5K, 10K, 13.1-mile half-marathon and 26.2-mile full marathon, we asll as the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge (half-marathon and marathon) and the Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, half-marathon and marathon).

This & That & Reminders…

…Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party gets underway on select nights at Magic Kingdom November 9 to December 22. 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). Some dates are sold out, including the first party, so if you want to go, be sure to book your tickets in advance. Tickets vary by date from, $159 to $199 per ticket, plus tax, and are $10 less for children ages 3-9, and some dates offer discounts to Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members. All the details and tickets are available on this page of DisneyWorld.com. MousePlanet has been invited to media night at the first party, and our correspondents will share the sights on our social media outlets and in our Update next week. In the meantime, Disney Parks Blog has provided a holiday foodie guide, not just for the party, but the whole Resort.

The Very Merry Christmas Party-specific Foodie Guide is here:

…And, while talking about Christmas around Walt Disney World, the Gingerbread displays are going up around the Resort.

…Asha from the upcoming Disney animated film Wish is now meeting and greeting guests at EPCOT at a special location near the entrance to World Showcase.

…REMINDER: The 14th Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic is coming up later this week 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. MousePlanet has been invited to media night at the event, and our correspondents will provide highlights on our social media channels and in our next Update.

…REMINDER: 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.

Raglan Road Thanksgiving Menu 2023

…Elementary, middle, and high school teachers can enter to win a Walt Disney World Resort vacation in the "Imagination Campus Sweepstakes." Twelve winners will each get a four-day, three-night stay at the Walt Disney World Resort, and will have the special opportunity to experience "exclusive insights" into Disney Imagination Campus and network with the other winners. Eligible teachers can enter the sweepstakes through January 13, 2024. For eligibility requirements and details visit: DisneyImaginationCampusTeachersSweepstakes.com. Disney says that there is no purchase necessary to enter or win and that a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. The sweepstakes is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.), and entrants must be 21 years of age or older, and be teachers. Void where prohibited by law. Full official rules on the website, and MousePlanet is in no way affiliated with this sweepstakes which is sponsored by Disney Destinations, LLC.

…REMINDER: Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic event nights have been announced for 2024. The complimentary, after-hours events feature select attractions with shorter-than-usual wait times, plus character greetings, entertainment and more:

  • Disney's Animal Kingdom – February 27, 2024 and April 23, 2024.
  • EPCOT – January 25, 2024 and March 1, 2024.
  • Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – June 4, 2024 and July 11, 2024.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – August 27, 2024.

Registration generally opens first for eligible Disney Vacation Club 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(s). Pending availability, all other eligible Members may try their luck at reservations for the event about a week later. A link to the event registration is posted online shortly before the registration windows open. Keep an eye on your email or the event website for updates. A final 2023 Moonlight Magic event was recently added to the calendar: December 13, 2023 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Registration opens November 28, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time for eligible members with a resort reservation, and on December 5, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time for eligible members without a reservation. Disney Vacation Club Members are limited to attending one Moonlight Magic event per theme park, per calendar year.

…Off the East Coast of Florida, OK, over in The Bahamas, Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, Disney Cruise Line’s newest, one-of-a-kind retreat on the island of Eleuthera is continuing to take shape to welcome its first guests in 2024. This week, Disney Cruise Line provide more details on Disney Parks Blog about what visitors will find at the new destination exclusive to select Disney Cruise Line sailings.

SPECIAL REMINDER: Give Kids The World Village to Welcome Guests For 2023 VIP Holiday Tours

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.

In the Area

The family-owned business, Earth Illuminated at The Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive, invited MousePlanet to explore its recently opened attraction. Its website, EarthIlluminated.com provides this description of the venue:

Earth Illuminated invites guests of all ages to re-discover the beauty of creation through unique sights and sounds. The experience features vibrant theatrical lighting and sound design to immerse viewers in over 40 unique scenes from air, land, and sea. We believe that the beauty of the Earth doesn’t exist unless there’s a viewer to see it.

The walk-through attraction strives to provide artistic scenes that guests can explore and photograph (and take selfies). Its creators do not intend it as a strictly "Instagram-able" place, like some of the pop-ups we have seen, and they provide context for the scenes through a story that runs throughout the venue and is first introduced by a short video.

Earth Illuminated is located at The Pointe Orlando, near The Improv on the second level.

Earth Illuminated welcomes guests of all ages to its walk-through experience.

More than 40 scenes are presented in the attraction, many with seating set to provide photo opportunities.

Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.

The venue welcomes guests of all ages, Wednesdays through Sundays, from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. Tickets start at $35, and the venue offers a date night bundle, as its creators encourage dating couples to explore its sights together.

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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.

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.

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