Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 10, 2024

by Alan S. Dalinka, staff writer
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Walt Disney World Resort Update for January 10, 2024

Writer's Note, News & Views

So, as you may recall from our past Walt Disney World Resort Updates, as of yesterday, January 9, 2024, park reservations for date-based tickets are no longer necessary when visiting the theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort. Dining Plans purchased with hotel packages also went into use yesterday, along with all-day park hopping(subject to blockouts and reservations for attending a first park without a date-based ticket). For those without date-based tickets, like Annual Passholders, new policies go into effect later this month, like the "Good to Go" calendar that Disney says it will publish with an initial set of dates on the My Disney Experience app tomorrow, January 11.

How was your Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend? Rain shortened the half marathon on Saturday, and the Resort was crowded by all reports I saw. Two Brazilian training partners dueled for the big race on Sunday: Vanilson Neves edged countryman Daniel dos Santos for the second time in the last three years to win the Walt Disney World Marathon. Neves' time of 2:26:51 was only seconds ahead of dos Santos (2:27:25), and Prescott Leach of Waltham, Massachusetts (2:28:17). runDisney says Neves' victory marked the 17th time in the last 19 years that a Brazilian has won this race, which attracts thousands of runners from around the country and beyond.

In the women’s division, Stephanie Muscat of Grand Rapids, Michigan was a surprise winner given it was her first-ever marathon. Muscat, who is originally from England and was a competitive swimmer in college, crossed the finished line well ahead of the field to post her winning time of 2:48:08, which was five minutes ahead of Georganne Watson of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania (2:53:12) and Samantha Palmer of Gainesville, Florida (2:53:48).

Brian Siemann of Savoy, Illinois won the wheelchair division for the eighth straight time (1:58:18), finishing more than an hour ahead of second-place finisher Mike Greer of Canada (3:22:32). And Heather Sealover of Bossier City, Louisiana was the first woman wheelchair finisher (2:04:38), ahead of Liden Williamson of Seguin, Texas (2:07:18).

Many charities raise money in connection with the race weekend. Doug and Laurie Flutie welcomed the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism’s team of runners, known as Dougie’s Team for the Marathon Weekend. Its runners raise money for programs that benefit people and families who are affected by autism, and come together not only to race, but to be active members of a community celebrating and empowering autism voices at the STARS of the Spectrum event that afternoon. The Flutie Foundation’s event at Planet Hollywood in Disney Springs hosted over 100 guests including Dougie’s Team runners and local Flutie supporters (which included me in 2023, but I was unable to attend). Guests connected with each other in an inclusive environment as the foundation’s STARS of the Spectrum performed musical acts. Alongside the founders, Doug and Laurie, were Big Brother reality TV star and autism self-advocate Britini D’Angelo, rapper from St. Louis C-Quig, local singer-songwriter Cierra June, sibling duo from Florida Jake & Sky Velazquez and more all-star self-advocates. For more information on The Flutie Foundation, STARS of the Spectrum and Dougie’s Team, visit: https://flutiefoundation.org.

Next weekend, the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend returns to the Disneyland Resort in California, and MousePlanet's Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix will be there cheering on the runners. The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is the next set of races at Walt Disney World: February 22-26.

Last Chances to See the Country Bear Jamboree: January 26, 2024

Our 2023 recap in last week's Walt Disney World Update included the Destination D23 announcement that the Country Bears would be singing new songs and performing a new act in 2024, Yesterday, Disney Parks Blog announced that Magic Kingdom's Grizzly Hall, home of the Country Bear Jamboree will close January 27 to make way for the new Country Bear Musical Jamboree to debut this summer. To be clear, that means that guests' last chance to see the current version of the Country Bear Jamboree show currently playing in Frontierland will be January 26.

At Destination D23, Disney shared a behind the scenes video of a recording session for the new show coming later this year, and it is available for viewing on YouTube (and embedded here).


The Country Bears will sing new songs and have a new act starting sometime this summer at Magic Kingdom. Video Courtesy Disney Parks.

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Begins Friday

The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts runs January 12 to February 19, 2024. The Festival celebrates the culinary, visual, and performing arts with food and beverage kiosks called "Food Studios," art displays from chalk-creations to those that guests can walk into for photographs and a paint-by-number mural, and the headlining "Disney on Broadway Concert Series" on the America Gardens Theatre stage (three times nightly) and other performing acts like Art Defying Gravity on the World Showcase Plaza stage and other musicians and artists.

With the Festival rapidly approaching, this week, Disney Parks Blog posted its Foodie Guide to the Festival. The "collectable" in the Foodie category is, once again, a Figment-themed popcorn bucket. Like last year's bucket, it is available with rainbow popcorn at Figment’s Inspiration Station at the Odyssey: Art, Food, and Little Sparks of Magic (between Test Track and World Showcase) by Mobile Order (to avoid the chaos and multi-hour queue of the day-of-bucket-debut two years back); unlike the previous two years' popcorn bucket version, this one features a smaller figment inside a brand new representation of Imagination Pavilion.

This & That & Reminders…

…The newest location to offer Disney PhotoPass Service's "Capture Your Moment" personalized 20-minute photo sessions will be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Each Capture Your Moment photo session is $99 and can include up to eight guests, but the photos themselves are not included with the price of a session. Photos can be purchased individually or downloaded at no additional cost with a Disney PhotoPass entitlement such as Memory Maker or Memory Maker One Day, as well as qualifying Annual Passholders with a Disney PhotoPass download benefit. Bookings open on January 17, with sessions offered daily during regular park hours starting January 24. Bookings can be made up to 60 days in advance, and advance reservations are strongly recommended, though a limited number of same-day reservations may be available in the My Disney Experience App. While the photo session does include personalized attention from a photographer in scenic locations in the land, and, possibly, some props to pose with, it does not provide admission to attractions, or Oga's Cantina, or Savi's Workshop.

…UPDATED REMINDER: For those participating in "Dry January" when visiting Walt Disney World Resort, some of the venues around the Resort shared details of some of their alcohol-free options to consider:

Space 220 Restaurant, EPCOT

  • Name of non-alcoholic beverage: Moon Rocks
  • Description: Coconut, Blue Cotton Candy Syrup, Lemonade, Moon Dust, and Moon Rocks served in a collectible cup

Summer House on the Lake, Disney Springs Now Open!

  • Name of non-alcoholic beverage: Waitlist
  • Description: Sparkling rose lemonade, elderflower and lemon
  • Name of non-alcoholic beverage: Pineapple Kick
  • Description: Pineapple, orange and jalapeño agave
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Planet Hollywood, Disney Springs

  • Name of non-alcoholic beverage: Practical Magic
  • Description: Pineapple & orange juices, fresh lemon & lime juices & grenadine

Jaleo, Disney Springs

  • Name of non-alcoholic beverage: Lotus
  • Description: Seedlip Spice, London Essence White Peach and Jasmine soda, vanilla syrup

The Edison at Disney Springs

  • Name of non-alcoholic beverage: Smoke & Mirrors
  • Description:Pineapple Juice, lemon juice, lime juice, orgeat

Tutto Italia Ristorante at EPCOT Walt Disney World has raised its Annual Passholder Discount to 20% through March 31. The offer applies to regularly-priced food and nonalcoholic beverages. Beginning on April 1, the AP Discount will return to 10% and run until the end of the year, exempting certain holidays, special events and dining packages.

…FINAL 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.

…UPDATED 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:

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

Early Registration opens 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 on the other General Registration specified dates. A link to the event registration queue is posted online shortly before the registration windows open. If you are an eligible member and have a hotel reservation for an event date, keep an eye on your email for a registration reminder which also includes the link. All of the relevant 2024 registration dates are now posted on the event website.

The relevant dates for the 2024 Moonlight Magic events are:

Moonlight Magic Event

Dates

Hotel Reservation Finalization
(Party Size)

by 11:59 p.m. Eastern

EPCOT

 

January 25

March 1

 

-Early Registration

Closed

Closed

n/a

-General Registration

January 11

February 15

n/a

 

 

 

 

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

February 27

April 23

 

-Early Registration

February 1

February 1

January 28

-General Registration

February 8

April 11

n/a

 

 

 

 

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

June 4

July 11

 

-Early Registration

May 2

May 2

April 28

-General Registration

May 9

June 27

n/a

 

 

 

 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

August 27

 

 

-Early Registration

August 1

 

July 28

-General Registration

August 15

 

n/a

 

Remember: eligible Disney Vacation Club Members are limited to attending one Moonlight Magic event per theme park, per calendar year. The Hotel Reservation Finalization (Party Size) deadline is the date by which an eligible DVC Member's qualifying hotel reservation has to have the number of guests listed on the hotel reservation that will be the maximum number of Moonlight Magic guests that can attend an event (if successfully registered); the hotel reservation may be modified after this date subject to the usual reservation rules, but those modifications will not increase the number of attendees that can attend a registered event. Canceling a qualifying hotel reservation after registering for a Moonlight Magic event during the Early Registration window will cancel that registration. The DVC member must attend the Moonlight Magic event to check in with all of their guests present.

…Disney shared views of the new weathervane installed at the future site of Tiana's Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom on several social media channels this week. The attraction taking the place of Splash Mountain which closed last year is expected to open before the end of 2024.

…And speaking of views in the sky, at Disney Springs the other day, I caught a look at a Falcon 9 rocket launch in the sky above Lake Buena Vista.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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While at Disney Springs, I also tried and enjoyed the recently opened EET by Maneet Chauhan, Modern Indian-inspired quick service restaurant.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Finally, before wrapping up, a few more new views of Disney Springs.


World of Disney store has turned over its "first" big merchandise display room from the Disney100 Celebration to the new "Play in the Park" merchandise collection.

The Play in the Park merchandise collection includes nods to all four theme parks, and above the merchandise are stylized signs that bring to mind the signs that once stood at Disneyland Park in Anaheim.

The Play in the Park signage includes nods to lands and neighborhoods within each of the theme parks as well.

Disney Springs is also celebrating "Wellness Month" with banners and some of its other offerings.

Photos 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.

NEW With the start of the New Year, Disney has announced a new Florida Resident ticket deal. Available to purchase starting tomorrow, January 11, the new Florida Resident Disney Thrills Ticket 2-day ticket will be available for $199 (plus tax); a 3-day ticket is $219 (plus tax). This IS NOT A DATE-BASED Ticket, so park reservations ARE required, and it is valid for use beginning January 11 through March 15, 2024 (including weekends). The tickets do not need be used on consecutive days, but park reservations are required and subject to Disney-imposed limits, capacity limits, and availability. For details, including including proof of residency requirements, add-ons like Park Hopper, visit this page of DisneyWorld.com.

Disney+ subscribers can get a FREE dining plan when purchasing a non-discounted 4-night, 4-day Walt Disney Travel Company package that includes a room at a select Disney Resort hotel and theme park ticket with a Park Hopper option. This offer is valid for arrivals most nights July 1 through September 30, 2024. Visit DisneyWorld.com/SpecialOffers for additional offer details!

UPDATED Guests can save up to 35% at select Disney Resort hotels when booking a stay of 5 nights or longer most nights March 25 through October 3, 2024. Visit DisneyWorld.com/SpecialOffers to learn more. If logged in with your My Disney Experience credentials, you can also view Passholder offers where the discount applies regardless of the number of nights for arrivals March 25 to July 7, 2024.

UPDATED For families looking to book their spring travel, Walt Disney World offers the Kids Play & Dine for 50% Off. For stays with arrivals nights from: March 3-24 and April 7-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.

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.

Get Away Today Logo

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.

 

Comments

  1. By wdwchuck

    That Falcon 9 launch was too cool for school! Thanks for including that Alan.

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