Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 21, 2023by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
Walt Disney World Resort Update for November 21, 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
It's a really long Walt Disney World Resort Update this week, as travel, schedules, and life didn't all add up to getting an update published last week as I'd hoped. Sure, in the November 7 Update, I wrote the next update would be later than usual, but I didn't expect that to mean a whole week late.
In any event, tropical storm season is in its final days (it ends November 30, but, of course, the storms don't know how to read a calendar), and as we head into Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and so forth, and then the last set of winter holidays and the final weeks of 2023, I thank you all for following along with these updates and our MousePlanet social media channels. Your loyalty to MousePlanet is one of the reasons why we get invited to cover events, and I'm thankful for the opportunities. I strive to provide you with honest coverage of what's going on around Walt Disney World Resort, and hope that you find the information I pass along useful to your visit planning.
In any event, I was again out of town while there were three invited media events since our last update: the first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party for 2023 at Magic Kingdom, the first-ever Disney Jollywood Nights at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and the 14th Annual Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. Thanks to our correspondents who covered the events for MousePlanet, and I made sure our social media channels were populated with the content they gathered as each of those events were going on.
In this update, I've included our correspondents' reports from each of the events, in addition to the latest news and views, starting with...
EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Returns January 12 through February 19, 2024
Though we are not yet at the start of the last EPCOT festival of 2023, EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays, it's time to start looking ahead to the first festival of 2024, EPCOT International Festival of the Arts. This past week, Disney Parks Blog shared details for the festival's January 12 to February 19, 2024 run.
Get your paintbrushes ready! 🎨 ✨ The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts 2024 returns Jan. 12 through Feb. 19 and we’re revealing 5 new details: https://t.co/nifAAu3PNK pic.twitter.com/CT4WAV42eW— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 17, 2023
One of the major highlights of the newest annual Festival of the Arts is the three times nightly Disney on Broadway Concert Series on the America Gardens Theatre stage. In each concert, a pair of singers who have performed on Broadway in Disney-produced shows take stage and sing numbers from the Disney on Broadway songbook. This year's schedule includes several returning favorites. As in past years, two performing pairs are featured for about two weeks. Unlike past years, however, this year's schedule doesn't include a concluding performance with four performers taking the stage together.
- Caissie Levy and Patti Murin (Frozen) – Jan. 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23
- Heidi Blickenstaff (Freaky Friday and The Little Mermaid) and Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast) – Jan. 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 24
- Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast) and L. Steven Taylor (The Lion King) – Jan. 26, 28 and 29; Feb. 1, 3, 5, 6
- Kissy Simmons (The Lion King) and Josh Strickland (Tarzan) – Jan. 27, 30, 31; Feb. 2, 4, 7, 8
- Mandy Gonzalez (Aida) and Michael James Scott (Aladdin and Tarzan) – Feb. 9, 11, 12, 15, 18, 19
- Bradley Gibson (Hercules and The Lion King) and Shoba Narayan (Aladdin) – Feb. 10, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19
Dining packages that include guaranteed seating for a specific Disney on Broadway concert will be available at eight EPCOT restaurants. Online reservations opening on December 19, and, once again, a same-day, walk-up package option will be available at Regal Eagle Smokehouse:
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
- Biergarten Restaurant
- Coral Reef Restaurant
- Garden Grill Restaurant
- Rose & Crown Dining Room
- Le Cellier
- Spice Road Table
- Regal Eagle Smokehouse – same-day, in-person walk-up packages only
The festival celebrates the peforming, visiual, and culinary arts in various ways. A stage at World Showcase Plaza will again feature musicians, live painting artists, and the acrobatic feats of Art Defying Gravity.
Animation Academy will again be held daily at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the America Gardens Theatre, teaching how to draw a Disney character. The Expression Section: A Paint by Numbers Mural returns to one of the many construction walls in the park (which is rather unpredictable right now, as Disney has previously said that much or all of the World Celebration construction should be complete by the end of 2023). The paint-by-numbers mural changes every few days as they're completed, usually with the same image reappearing a few times during run of the festival. In the past, guests have received a postcard or bookmark souvenir as a completion gift when they complete painying some squares on the mural.
Kid’s Chalk Art returns to "the bridge to World Showcase Plaza" daily from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. allowing "little ones to create their very own chalk masterpieces." Lots of Disney PhotoPass opportunities typically are exclusive to the festival as well, featuring walk-in scenes inspired by famous painints, and the chalk art section usually includes some walk-in 3D works too.
As for culinary arts, more than 15 Food Studios throughout the park offer up what Disney describes as "delectable flavors with an artistic twist," which usually means that the food is plated very artistically. While this tends to make the kiosk queues even a bit slower than the other festivals, it has historically resulted in visually impressive plates. Flavors can vary, but for those who enjoy very sweet cake, Disney has shared that The Rainbow Cake with freeze-dried Skittles bite-sized candies is returning, and will be available at Figment’s Inspiration Station at the Odyssey: Art, Food and Little Sparks of Magic. Red Wine-braised Beef Short Rib with parsnip puree, broccolini, baby tomatoes and balsamic glaze will return to Pastoral Palate
Naturally, the festival includes merchandise. Figment’s Brush with the Master’s Scavenger Hunt is a returning opportunity to purchase a map and stickers at Creations Shop, Port of Entry, or World Traveler and then, search for Figment "hiding inside art inspired by famous works at each World Showcase pavilion." A map returned with the stickers applied results in a special "prize" (subject to available supply). Of course, whether you buy a map to play for the prize or not, everyone can just look for the Figment-themed picture frames around the park.
Of course, before the Festival of Arts gets here, it's just about time for the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays to get underway. From November 24 to December 30, over 15 holiday kitchens will feature bites and sips inspired by holiday traditions from around the world. Disney Parks Blog has published its Foodie Guide.
Make your foodie list because the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by @AdventHealth is just around the corner! 🎄🍪 Unwrap all the festive delights on the way in this year's #DisneyEats Foodie Guide: https://t.co/OnJhESDnLf pic.twitter.com/lR5V5lsxWL— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 9, 2023
During the Festival of the Holidays, holiday storytellers sharing holiday traditions from around the world return to World Showcase. “JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season” performs Christmas and Kwanzaa songs on stage throughout the day (in recent past years, performances have been in World Showcase Plaza, and that is our expectation as of publication). Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt returns (buy a map and stickers, hunt for Olaf, redeem for a prize). And, finally, Candlelight Processional—the re-telling of the story of Christmas featuring a celebrity narrator and songs performed by a live orchestra and mass choir takes place three times nightly on the American Gardens Theatre stage.
Additional Views of EPCOT
EPCOT's transition to the Festival of the Holidays is nearly complete. The park entrance plaza still had the Food & Wine Festival installation in the planter boxes this weekend, but pretty much all of the other holiday decor seemed to be in place.
Creations Shop is stocked with holiday merchandise, and its window facing World Showcase is dressed for the season.
The Christmas tree is in place at The America Adventure and its Holiday Kitchen, the American Holiday Table, appears just about ready for the Festival.
Photos by Alan S. Dalinka.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Takes Place on Select Nights at Magic Kingdom Through December 22
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is underway on select nights at Magic Kingdom through December 22. The long-established hard-ticket event is held 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). Most of the remaining 2023 dates are sold out, 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 to 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.
Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree is back in its usual spot in Town Square now that it’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party time. #mvmcp #verymerry #verymerrychristmasparty #MagicKingdom #WaltDisneyWorld— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) November 10, 2023
Invited media pic.twitter.com/lOeTIYM2Wl
Photo by Dave and Nan Kent.
As we previously shared, MousePlanet was invited to a hosted media night at the first party of the season on November 9. MousePlanet contributing writers Dave and Nan Kent attended and provided some highlights during the night, which I shared on our social media outlets. They have paid to attend editions of this party in some past years; this is their report on this year's edition of the party as hosted media guests.
Photos by Dave and Nan Kent.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is always a great opportunity to experience the Magic Kingdom with a relatively small group of guests. A couple of attractions had holiday-related elements. The Jungle Cruise was transformed into the Jingle Cruise with the addition of Christmas lights and decorations, as well as renamed boats to suit the occasion (for example, Candy Cane Connie and Eggnog Annie). Space Mountain featured Christmas music. While these attractions had longer lines, possible due to the special “holiday twist,” classic rides like Pirates of the Caribbean were a walk-on.
We enjoyed visiting all of the locations offering a variety cookies and beverages; iced gingerbread & sugar cookies as well as snickerdoodle, red velvet and chocolate chip cookies. Apple cider, eggnog, and hot chocolate were available to drink.
Photo by Dave and Nan Kent.
We missed the old icicle overlay on Cinderella Castle—the projection mapping is nice and constantly changing, but it use to be a special event to see the castle transform. The castle stage show, Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration, featured a couple of live singers and was a fun way to include most of our favorite characters. Even the Three Caballeros got in the act with a rendition of “Feliz Navidad,” and Clarabelle Cow did a great version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” There was a song based on cell phones and texting, with holiday emojis projected on the castle, that seemed a little forced and unnecessary.
Photo by Dave and Nan Kent.
The holiday projections and pyro effects on the castle, combined with popular Christmas songs, made Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks Show standout from typical Magic Kingdom fireworks.
Video by Dave and Nan Kent.
For us, the highlight of any Very Merry is always Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade. We chose to watch the second parade of the evening (at 11:00 p.m.) from a vantage point in Frontierland and were able to get great views of the ground-level dancers and characters as well as all the floats. Every character one could hope to see was in the parade. We always enjoy the Toy Soldiers and the Dancing Reindeer that come before Santa’s Sleigh.
Dave and Nan Kent also provided us with a look at some of the Very Merry Christmas merchandise at Magic Kingdom.
Photos by Dave and Nan Kent.
Hanukkah merchandise is available at Magic Kingdom and other locations around the Resort as well. Photos by Alan S. Dalinka, and Dave and Nan Kent.
In case you have missed it, Disney Parks Blog has provided a holiday foodie guide, not just for the party, but the whole resort.
’Tis the season for holiday treats! 🎁✨ Check out all the festive foods coming soon to @WaltDisneyWorld Resort in this #DisneyEats Foodie Guide to the Holidays: https://t.co/jPiOfiQAiK pic.twitter.com/ChxyL45T8d— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 6, 2023
The Very Merry Christmas Party-specific Foodie Guide is here:
…And, while talking about Christmas around Walt Disney World, the Gingerbread displays are now up around the Resort. We'll bring you photos of them in coming weeks. In the meantime, in case you missed it, Disney Parks Blog provided this year's preview:
Is that gingerbread we smell? That can only mean one thing - gingerbread displays are on the way! Check out all the dazzling gingerbread creations coming to Disney Parks this year! #DisneyEats 🎄 https://t.co/hHnGZ1Is30 pic.twitter.com/0t5inP2uz5— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 3, 2023
Disney Jollywood Nights Debuts at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney Jollywood Nights is the new after-hours, hard ticket event offered on select nights this holiday season at Disney's Hollywood Studios, through December 20, 2023. Tickets remain available as of publication for most of the remaining nights of the event.
Described as merging the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood with the holidays, the new event debuted on November 11, and MousePlanet was hosted as invited media for the event. Notwithstanding the rain that fell during the event night, and other hiccups that seem to occur for every new event, our MousePlanet contributing writer who attended, Tim Ellison, provided content I shared on our social media channels during the event, which he generally enjoyed, and provided this report.
The inaugural night of Jollywood Nights, a brand-new after-hours event at Disney Hollywood Studios, unfolded with the grandeur of a Hollywood premiere. The Studios, adorned in their usual holiday splendor, featured some delightful additions. A new mascot, Ollie, a larger-than-life gingerbread man, made his debut, gracing the park entrance in neon lights and posing as a cutout in front of the Brown Derby.
Tonight’s the debut of Disney Jollywood Nights, the new after-hours holiday party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and MousePlanet has a correspondent attending as invited media. #jollywoodnights #DisneysHollywoodStudios #HollywoodStudios #WaltDisneyWorld pic.twitter.com/4DC6yl2zu3— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) November 12, 2023
One of the event's highlights was undoubtedly the "What's This? Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Sing-Along," held at the Hyperion Theater. This immersive experience transported guests to Halloween Town, where Jack Skellington (the large puppet, previously seen at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party during the fireworks) and his fellow citizens led an unforgettable sing-along of beloved songs from the iconic film.
The Hyperion Theater is transformed from its daytime Frozen-themed sing-along with a new set and appearance by the more-than-lifesize Jack Skellington puppet from Mickey's Not-so-scary Halloween Party.
Photos by Tim Ellison.
Another new show exclusive to the event was "Disney Holidays in Hollywood," a holiday TV special-themed spectacle featuring special guests Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. This song-and-dance extravaganza showcased Tiana performing a new holiday song written especially for the show, alongside Belle's rendition of "As Long As There's Christmas." No holiday show would be complete without a performance by Mickey and Minnie, who delighted the audience with a Disneyfied rendition of "Deck the Halls."
Disney Holidays in Hollywood is a new show just for Disney Jollywood Nights featuring Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. #jollywoodnights #DisneysHollywoodStudios #HollywoodStudios #WaltDisneyWorld— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) November 12, 2023
Invited media pic.twitter.com/7os7y6GPez
Jollywood Nights offered an abundance of delectable treats, ensuring that no palate was left disappointed. The only challenge was choosing from the vast array of options. Guests could indulge in special dining options throughout the park with event-only small plates at the Brown Derby, accompanied by a jazz pianist, and live music and a specialty bar at The Twilight Soiree at the Hollywood Tower of Terror.
SHIMMERING SIPS — The Tip Top Club at Tower Courtyard, the Twilight Soirée during Disney Jollywood Nights #jollywoodnights #DisneysHollywoodStudios #HollywoodStudios #WaltDisneyWorld— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) November 12, 2023
Invited media pic.twitter.com/Ng3oYXDHu9
What's a Disney event without the opportunity to meet and greet your favorite characters? Jollywood Nights provided ample opportunities to capture cherished moments with beloved Disney pals in brand-new event costumes in the Animation Courtyard. Wait times for open attractions were remarkably short, allowing guests to easily squeeze in a few rides. For those seeking to experience Rise of the Resistance, booking a boarding group early was recommended.
At Disney Jollywood Nights, Mickey and friends have all new costumes to meet and greet in the animation courtyard fresh from “wrapping for a movie” and inviting guests onto the movie set. #jollywoodnights #DisneysHollywoodStudios #HollywoodStudios #WaltDisneyWorld pic.twitter.com/sfguKb49aU— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) November 12, 2023
The night concluded with a delightful, yet rainy, viewing of Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam, which was available exclusively for the event this year.
Despite some operational tweaks that required attention, overall, the event was a resounding success. With countless activities to keep guests engaged throughout the four-hour event, Jollywood Nights offered an immersive experience filled with holiday cheer. Whether you're a seasoned Disney aficionado or a first-time visitor, Jollywood Nights is sure to bring smiles and holiday spirit to all who experience it.
Beyond Tim's comments above, one of the criticisms I saw oft-repeated on social media during the opening night of the event was the lack of event-specific merchandise. Given how many events focus on merchandise in the parks these days, this was surprising to me. Should this event return in future years, the odds favor more merchandise, too. There were also a number of folks on social media who reported very long lines for the specialty food and beverage offerings at the event. I know that Tim didn't get much of an opportunity to experience that, and, rain prevented him from getting to see some of the characters he'd hoped to see, and to get a photo of the neon sign photo opportunity at the event.
The planDisney panel has posted a "Beginners Guide" for the new event. Disney Parks Blog also posted five highlights to catch during an event night:
While at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Tim also discovered that Santa's meet-and-greet location at the park (which operates during regular park hours) had moved to a new location this year in the It's a Wonderful (Christmas) Shop in the Muppets Courtyard area near PizzeRizzo and Mamma Melrose. Sunset Seasons greetings has also returned to Sunset Boulevard, and its shows continued during the event.
Photos by Tim Ellison.
Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Classic 2023 Follow-Up Report
MousePlanet was invited to cover the event as hosted media on November 11, the second night of the 14th Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. The annual two-night event offers attendees unlimited tastings outdoor stations including more than 200 wine, beer, and spirits samplings and different menus each night of the event. It takes place along the scenic causeway between the Swan and Dolphin hotels, a not-too-distant walk or Friendship boat ride from both EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios.
MousePlanet was invited to tonight’s edition of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. We’ll have a wrap up in next week’s Walt Disney World Resort Update and some highlights here on social media from our correspondents.#SwanDolphinClassic #swandolphin pic.twitter.com/W0QAiwx9e8— MousePlanet (@MousePlanet) November 11, 2023
Our correspondents, Dave and Nan Kent, were first-time attendees at the event. We shared highlights on MousePlanet's Instagram Story during the event, and they remain viewable as a highlight on our profile page. Here are their comments about the experience:
If you had to use one word to describe this event, it would be “overwhelming.” With 85 beverage stations and 28 food stations, we were only able able to scratch the surface of all the possibilities. Each person was given a wine glass and all beverage stations had pitchers of water we could use to rinse out our glasses before sampling something new. We visited the Food & Wine Classic Store, located in Java at the Swan, to check out exclusive event merchandise. We thought it was a strange place for the merchandise since it was so far away from the main food and wine area. Proceeds from merchandise, as well as the raffle, went to Friends of Fisher House, a home away from home for veterans and their families, located on the grounds of major VA medical centers and military hospitals all across America. There was also a Carnaval Corner with a few typical carnival games; proceeds from these games went to support The Children’s Miracle Network.
We limited our drinking to sampling some of the wines, although there was plenty of spirits and beers available to try. We really enjoyed visiting many of the food stations—some of our favorites were:
- Charred Teriyaki Marinated Tiger Prawns with Matsutake Mushrooms
- Dragon Rolls of Crispy Shrimp, Yellow Fin Tuna, Haas Avocado, Cream Cheese, Kewpie Mayonnaise, Eel Sauce
- Grilled Chicken BLT
- Butter Poached Bay Scallops (we had seconds of this)
- Blood Orange and Raspberry Tart (we also had seconds of this)
The band on the main stage was Epic, one of the regular local bands that plays at EPCOT on weekdays during Flower & Garden and Food & Wine festivals. They did a good job of covering a lot of different styles and eras of pop, rock and soul. Over in the For The Love Of Florida area music was provided by the Jimmy Davis Trio (actually a quartet on Saturday night.)
It was a shame we had a 30-minute drive home, otherwise we would have felt more comfortable sampling a larger selection of beverages. All in all it was a very impressive event and a lot of fun.
We expect that Swan & Dolphin Resort will announce the dates of the 15th Annual Classic in the coming months, and we will share them in our Walt Disney World Resort Update when they do. As the event took place on Veterans Day, Swan & Dolphin Resort paid homage to veterans with a $10,000 donation Friends of Fischer House, and we previously highlighted the organization in a Reel following the event's media preview last month.
This & That & Reminders…
…Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be awarded a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Attraction in 2024 by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). The Internationally recognized Thea Awards acknowledge exceptional achievements in the themed entertainment industry and celebrate the creative teams who bring immersive experiences to life. Disney Parks Blog shared the details of the honor.
We’re proud to announce Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at @WaltDisneyWorld has earned a prestigious Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Attraction! Learn more about this exciting achievement: https://t.co/lx2FHcwUSv pic.twitter.com/fLU4ghZB6t— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 15, 2023
…Starting tomorrow night, November 22, one of Spaceship Earth's nightly lighting schemes will celebrate the new Disney animated feature Wish in its show rotation. As of publication of this Update, there are three lighting schemes in the nightly rotation with the following music: "EPCOT Anthem," originally launched with the Beacons of Magic for the 50th Anniversary of the Resort; "You're Welcome" from Moana saluting the opening of Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana; and "When You Wish Upon a Star" saluting the Disney100 celebration.
STARting November 22nd, Spaceship Earth will illuminate the EPCOT sky with special colors & lights featuring the brand-new song, "I'm a Star," now available from #Wish - in theaters November 22nd! Tag someone who makes YOU feel like a star below and share this dazzling new tune! pic.twitter.com/tsk3MPUYdX— Walt Disney World (@WaltDisneyWorld) November 8, 2023
…REMINDER: Asha from Wish is now meeting and greeting guests at EPCOT the gazebo near World Showcase Plaza at various times throughout the day.
…REMINDER: EPCOT's new nighttime spectacular, "Luminous: The Symphony of Us" will debut December 5. The large pieces of hardware for the new show appear to be such that they will be floated in to position as evening approaches rather than remain in the World Showcase Lagoon as they did for the brief run of "Harmonious." MousePlanet has been invited by Disney to the show's debut, so stay tuned for additional coverage.
…Space 220 at EPCOT has released a brand new set of culinary-inspired cards. The limited-edition collectible items celebrate food and beverage innovation with artful illustrations paired with insightful space trivia. They are designed to educate and entertain guests of all ages from around the world. The cards will be personally delivered intermittently to guests by Space 220 Restaurant’s Executive Chef Marc Kusche during his daily table visits. This is the first in a multipart release of the limited run series that Space 220 will be distributing over the next year. New artwork and trivia will be included on each additional card set. The culinary cards have been developed as another surprise and delight to further enhance the guest experience at Space 220 at EPCOT.
…FINAL 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.
…Additional venues at Disney Springs have shared some of their Thanksgiving and winter holiday plans with us, and we pass them along here:
This Turkey Day, visit Maria & Enzo’s and Enzo’s Hideaway for delicious Thanksgiving specials with an Italian twist. Please see below for the signature items served on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23. Reservations are strongly recommended.
- Arancini di Zucca – Pumpkin risotto fritters, fresh mozzarella, parmigiano crema, pumpkin seed pesto, toasted pumpkin seeds. $19
- Porchetta di Tacchino – Herbed heritage turkey, crispy pancetta, Brussels sprouts, polenta “dressing”, butternut squash, cranberry agro dolce. $39
- Crostata di mele – Rustic warm apple pie, olive oil caramel, vanilla gelato. $16
Breakfast with Santa at Maria and Enzo’s at Disney Springs : Breakfast with Santa is an enchanting experience that will include a delicious breakfast spread of classic menu items, a visit with Santa Claus and his merry band of elves, family-friendly holiday activities, take-home treats, and a keepsake photo. After enjoying breakfast, guests will get to meet Santa. Children can share their holiday wishes with him and will receive a keepsake photo from their special meet and greet. The event runs select dates Nov. 24-Dec. 24, and tickets are $45 for children and $69 for adults.
Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs (9 am to 11 pm)
Earl of Sandwich will provide its fan-favorite seasonal offerings this year, including its Holiday Ham and Holiday Turkey.
- Holiday Ham – Ham, cinnamon sweet potato ok mash, cranberry sauce & cheddar
- Holiday Turkey – Turkey, cornbread stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce & mayonnaise
Jaleo at Disney Springs (11:30 am to 11 pm)
On Thursday, Nov. 23, Jaleo at Disney Springs will be open and offering a variety of Thanksgiving specials, made with Spanish flare. Please see below for full menu details, and be sure to make your reservations here.
- “Thanksgiving” Croquetas – Creamy bechamel fritters with turkey, traditional stuffing, and cranberry garnish ($12)
- Paella de Costilla Iberica y Butifarra – Paella with Iberico pork ribs, mini butifarra sausage, lagrima sofrito, mushrooms and artichokes ($190)
- Sopa de Calabaza – Warm butternut squash soup ($8)
- Datiles con Tocino – Bacon wrapped dates with apple mustard aioli ($14)
- Salpicón de Mariscos – Salpicon of shrimp, octopus and lobster ($18)
- Tarta de Queso con Calabaza – Basque style cheesecake with pumpkin ($15)
On Christmas Day, Jaleo at Disney Springs will offer a limited-time menu of festive Spanish recipes:
- Sopa de lentejas – Stewed lentils with chorizo, butifarra and vegetables ($14)
- Canelones de rabo de toro y foie – Pasta stuffed with oxtail with a foie gras and bechamel sauce ($24)
- Carrilleras de cerdo con puré de patatas – Braised pork cheeks with wild mushrooms and potato puree ($24)
- Pollo a la Catalana – Half roasted Catalan style chicken with prunes, raisins, pine nuts and Oloroso wine ($36)
- Lubina al “Pil Pil” – Mediterranean Seabass with classical “Pil-Pil” sauce ($56)
Holiday Cocktails – running now through Dec. 31
- Yokai – Morimoto Knob Creek Bourbon, Monin Caramel Apple Butter, Chambord, MSG, Prosecco ($19)
- Kyuri and Spicy – Cucumber-Infused Espolon Blanco Tequila, Jalapeno, Ginger Liqueur, Ancho Reyes, Velvet Falernum, Lime, Monin Agave ($18)
- Toji Moon – Absolut Mandarin Vodka, Sake, Monin Habanero-Lime, Lemongrass, Yuzu, Celery Bitters ($16)
- After Midnight – Courvoisier vs Cognac, Legent Bourbon, Ginger, Orgeat, Grapefruit, Lemon, Cinnamon Syrup, Black Walnut Bitters ($17)
- Forever Young – Barrel Aged for 2 Weeks- Aviation Gin, Aperol, Carpano Antica, Blood Orange Liqueur, Mole Bitters ($18)
- Maker Mark Flight – Makers Cask Strength, Makers 46, Morimoto Maker’s Mark Private Select – From Chef to Bar, Morimoto Maker’s Mark Private Select – A5 – Spring Staves ($36)
Chicken Guy! Disney Springs (and its Winter Park location)
This Nov. 21, Chicken Guy! is launching two new flavors of deliciously hand-spun milkshakes available throughout the holiday season. Shakes are $6.49 for a regular and $6.99 for a large at Winter Park, and one size for $6.99 at the Disney Springs location.
- Frozen Peppermint Cocoa Shake – Vanilla soft serve, hot cocoa mix, peppermint and crushed candy cane pieces, topped with marshmallow whipped cream, mini marshmallows and a chocolate drizzle.
- Holiday Cookie Shake – Vanilla soft serve, blended with sugar cookies, marshmallow whipped cream, mini m&m's & holiday sprinkles, topped with a special holiday cookie.
Starting now until Dec. 30, Pepe will offer half-price frozen or regular sangrias with the purchase of any Spanish-style sandwich on the menu. Perfect for on-the-go dining, Pepe by José Andrés is known for its Spanish food truck fare from international culinary innovator José Andrés. Guests can indulge in an extensive menu of hot and cold Spanish-style sandwiches like bocatas and bikinis, plus salads, soups, sides and desserts. For refreshing beverages, white and frozen Spanish sangria are available, as well. See the full menu here.
A perfect place for quick-service, Italian specialties, Pizza Ponte provides an assortment of house-baked sweet-and-savory pastries and handmade sandwiches, plus Pizza al Taglio and Sicilian-style pizza by the slice, ranging in toppings from tomato, cheese and basil to spicy salami or forest mushroom. Fan-favorites include the Big Roman, the biggest slice of pizza on Disney property. Italian beer and wine are available for guests, as well. See the full menu here.
Planet Hollywood has transformed into a winter wonderland decked out in boughs of holly, wreaths, twinkling lights, trees, and more, designed to create an unforgettable holiday dining experience for all our guests. The delightful, seasonal ambiance is perfect for celebrating with friends and family during this magical time of year.
NEW! Frosty the Snowman Shake is available throughout the holidays!
- Mint chocolate chip ice cream adorned with red and green Christmas candies, sprinkles, and holiday mints topped with homemade whipped cream and a marshmallow snowman popping out with a candy cane.
Holiday Photo Opportunities: Discover a plethora of stunning backdrops that are perfect for capturing the spirit of the season in the lobby. Stroll down Candy Cane Lane, a charming street lined with oversized candy canes, giant lollipops, and colorful holiday lights in the Merchandise Shop.
NEW! Holiday Merchandise
- Black, long-sleeve spirit jersey emblazoned with candy-cane Planet Hollywood across the back and candy canes on the front chest.
- Black, short-sleeved t-shirt with red Planet Hollywood logo surrounded by colorful holiday lights.
Magnificent Holiday Decorations
- Christmas Trees: Towering, beautifully decorated Christmas trees welcome guests into the lobby and throughout the four floors.
- Twinkling Lights & Festive Garlands: The entire restaurant is aglow with thousands of twinkling lights and greenery that winds gracefully around bannisters and seating areas, casting a soft, inviting radiance and delightful atmosphere that fills the rooms.
Holiday Music Fills the Air: To complete the ambience and atmosphere, sounds of classic holiday tunes play on the large video wall, enhancing the experience.
Also, Planet Hollywood is one of the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll distribution locations, so Guests may pick up their maps to participate in the jolly event with 19 sparkling trees filling the town with cheer!
…Before we leave our discussion of Disney Springs, Cirque du Soleil has a limited-time Black Friday offer to share: Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil and Disney is offering tickets at up to 25% off now through November 28, 2023, for performances through December 2024. Tickets can be purchased at cirquedusoleil.com/drawn-to-life or at the Disney Springs box office by mentioning the Black Friday offer and are subject to availability and exclusions.
…REMINDER: 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.
✨📚 Teachers sweepstakes alert! 📚✨ Disney Imagination Campus invites teachers to enter for a chance to win a 4-day celebratory event at @WaltDisneyWorld during National Teacher Appreciation Week. Learn how to enter: https://t.co/mRpbRWNqgA pic.twitter.com/fIp3Yh3eVi— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 2, 2023
…Through December 10, 2023, Impossible Foods is running an ImpossibleSweepstakes which includes opportunities to win a trip for up to four to Walt Disney World Resort from Impossible Foods, including airfare, 4 nights of accommodations in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, 4 days of Walt Disney World theme park tickets for each guest, and more. There are also other prizes, including food prizes. Full details on the linked website. MousePlanet is not affiliated with or responsible for this contest.
…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.
…Disney Parks Blog has shared some of the details of the annual ABC-TV Disney Parks holiday celebrations coming to the Disney-owned broadcast network (and then followed the next day with on-demand streaming on the Disney-owned Disney+ and Disney-controlled Hulu streaming services. Derek and Julianne Hough return to host "The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration" airing on ABC on Sunday, November 26 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EST). They are joined by country music star Mickey Guyton and "The Golden Bachelor" host Jesse Palmer as co-hosts for the 40th anniversary of "Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade" airing on ABC on Monday, Dec. 25 (10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST/9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. PST). Segments have been pre-recorded at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Aulani, and aboard Disney Cruise Line ships.
It's time for the tree-mendous return of the #DisneyHolidayCelebration! 🎄✨ Watch @Disney magic on @ABCNetwork November 26th with festive performances from #WaltDisneyWorld & @DisneyAulani. Tag a friend you're excited to watch with. pic.twitter.com/n4A75SHLuw— Walt Disney World (@WaltDisneyWorld) November 17, 2023
hellip;Celebrating the 58th anniversary of Disney's announcement of "The Florida Project" which became The Walt Disney World Resort, and coinciding with the recent IAAPA 2023 Expo amusement industry trade show at Orange County Convention Center, Disney shared the results of a study it commissioned about the Resort's economic impact in Florida (which, of course, also comes in the context of the company's on-going battle with the State of Florida). The study reports that in fiscal year 2022, Disney generated $40 billion in economic impact in Florida. “Disney is an economic catalyst to the state of Florida generating billions in economic activity, either directly, or indirectly through its supply chain and the spending of employees,” said Adam Sacks, President of Tourism Economics, a division of Oxford Economics, the entity Disney commissioned to conduct the study. “Disney is also vital to the funding of public services, as it generated taxes of $6.6 billion in 2022, including state and local taxes of $3.1 billion. Additional "fun facts" Disney points to in the study are reported in Disney Parks Blog.
🎢☀️ This week marks 58 years since the “Florida Project” was announced. @WaltDisneyWorld continues to fuel Florida’s economy, jobs and tourism as shown in a new @OxfordEconomics study.— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 14, 2023
⬇️ Here are the findings: pic.twitter.com/HDvZTEHY40
🪙 In fiscal year 2022, $6.6 billion was generated in tax revenue by Disney, including $3.1 billion in annual state and local tax revenue in Florida. pic.twitter.com/wE6FJkthF2— Disney Parks (@DisneyParks) November 14, 2023
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. Remaining scheduled dates are December 1, 2, 15, 16, 21, and 22. 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.
…This past week, Disney Cruise Line opened its second permanent cruise terminal in Florida at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale. Disney Dream began sailings from the new dedicated yesterday, November 20. Disney Magic will begin sailings from the new terminal on May 9, 2024. Itineraries from the new terminal include a mix of three-, four- and five-night cruises to tropical destinations in The Bahamas and the Caribbean.
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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.
NEW Walt Disney World just launched its newest offer for families looking to book their spring travel – the Kids Play & Dine for 50% Off. For stays from March 3 through June 30, 2024, children (ages 3 through 9) theme park tickets and dining plans are half off with the purchase of a 4-night, 4-day Walt Disney Travel Co. package that includes a room at a Disney Resort hotel, theme park tickets, and a dining plan. Guests can book packages now at this page of DisneyWorld.com.
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.
Final Fall Discount Reminder: 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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