With the announcement of Downtown Disney’s conversion to Disney Springs, many were hopeful and excited about the changes to the shopping and dining district. One place that I think most people thought would be on the chopping block was Planet Hollywood. The restaurant has consistently poor reviews and well, let’s face it, Planet Hollywood’s are a thing of the 90s. However, with the announcement of Disney Springs also came the news that Planet Hollywood was staying. Granted not in the same form; it was to be converted into what will eventually be called the Planet Hollywood Observatory.
The details were released that the restaurant will see a complete redesign on the outside, with a gorgeous new brick exterior, a new water tower (built from the neon sign that is currently present), and an expanded outdoor terrace and bar. The look is much less gaudy than what is currently there.
Welcome back to this brand new edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes! (Crowd cheers…ok…maybe not…but a girl can dream.) This week has been very fruitful with little tidbits to share with you all; I’ve got lots of refurbishment news, details on Be Our Guest Restaurant, new information on Avatarland, and more!
Wow! There are a lot of refurbishments that have been scheduled for Walt Disney World. Let’s start at the Magic Kingdom. First, for those traveling in the summer, you will unfortunately not get to experience Pirates of the Caribbean. The attraction, which has been riddled with problems lately, will be seeing a 4+ month refurbishment, from May 11 through September 25, reopening September 26. No word on what the refurbishment will entail, but it is certainly necessary. There will also be a two day refurbishment of Stitch’s Great Escape in early March, March 1 and 2. The attraction will reopen on March 3. For those visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom for barbeque, you’ll have to wait a little longer, because Flame Tree Barbeque’s refurbishment has been pushed back to last until April 22, reopening April 23. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it would appear that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will be closed for a refurbishment from April 20-24, reopening on April 25. Also, Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed September 7-10, reopening on September 11. You can always keep up with the latest refurbishments on our refurb page.
So I don’t usually share the videos that Disney posts, but I will if I find them particularly newsworthy…like today, where they posted one hyping up Avatar for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s nice to finally see some more information about the project. The new concept art shown in the video is quite gorgeous, but what really impressed me was when they finally showed some of the bioluminescent aspects. It almost reminds me of being under the sea, seeing a unique type of illuminated coral. These additions will certainly make Animal Kingdom a destination once the sun sets. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the video:
For Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the event will be held on select nights from September until November; the first party starts later than it did last year; the kick-off date is September 15 and parties will take place up until November 1. Overall, there will be 25 parties total to celebrate the spooky season. Dates for the 2015 season are:
Beginning tomorrow (Sunday, February 22, 2015), if you’ll be traveling to Walt Disney World, entering a theme park is going to be more expensive.
For the first time ever, Disney has increased the price of a Magic Kingdom single day park ticket past the $100 mark: a one-day ticket to just the Magic Kingdom will now cost $105 for those ages 10 and up, an increase of $6. Ticket prices also increased for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with a one-day ticket costing $97 for those ages 10 and up, a $3 increase.
Other Magic Your Way base tickets have jumped about $11 per ticket (with a few exceptions).
It’s not just Magic Your Way base tickets that have increased in price. All options have increased, with minor increases to Park Hoppers, as well as the Water Park Fun & More options – both of which increased about $4. (Again, there are a few exceptions.) Also, the Park Hopper plus Water Park Fun & More combined ticket option increased by $4.
I do have some bad news for those of you who like to purchase the No Expiration option. Disney will no longer offer the No Expiration option, and now all tickets will expire 14 days after first use.
This is your official warning! It’s apparently time for that annual event – the Walt Disney World ticket price increase. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic Kingdom will see a price increase that will raise the cost of a one day ticket to $105, plus tax, for adults (ages 10 and up.) This will finally take the Walt Disney World Resort over the $100 mark, making it the first theme park to do so.
In addition, it would seem that tickets for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also be increasing; guests can expect to pay $99 for an adult one day ticket (ages 10 and up.).
Of course, with the one day ticket price increases, it is also extremely likely that all other Magic Your Way ticket prices will also increase. These change are expected to occur over the weekend. (Prices will very likely increase for Sunday morning.)
Rumors indicate that Disneyland may also see price increases, and of course, if Walt Disney World does increase their prices this weekend, then it will be highly likely that other Orlando theme parks (like Universal Orlando Resort) will also see increases.
I’ll make sure to have the full pricing details for you as soon as they are released.
If you’ll be traveling to Walt Disney World this year, consider purchasing your tickets now and remember that our Price Comparison Tool can help you find the least expensive tickets for your needs.
Star Wars Weekends are rapidly approaching; we are only 3 months away from Weekend I! This year the event takes place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on weekends (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) from May 15 through June 14.
Star Wars Weekends dates for 2015 are:
Weekend I: May 15-17
Weekend II: May 22-24
Weekend III: May 29-31
Weekend IV: June 5-7
Weekend V: June 12-14
The excitement is ramping up as new details are starting to trickle out about this year’s events, like that fact that once again performing hosting duties each weekend will be character actor, James Arnold Taylor, who voiced Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars: Clone Wars.”
In addition to his general hosting duties, he will also be hosting the “Stars of the Saga” talk show, where he will interview some of the many celebrities that appear during Star Wars Weekends. The “Stars of the Saga” show will be taking place in an all new venue this year, the Theater of the Stars, allowing for more Guests than ever to experience the show. (The Theater of the Stars is where Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is held, however don’t despair Beauty and the Beast fans! The show will still also be performed in the Theater of the Stars during Star Wars Weekends.)
Many people dream of walking the red carpet, hearing people shouting at them “Who are you wearing?” and seeing that beautiful golden statue in front of their eyes. Well, while I can’t guarantee you’ll ever get to experience taking part in the Oscars, I can guarantee you’ll get to experience a really neat and unique opportunity. You see, for a limited time, until February 22, Guests who visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and take a photo with a gorgeous Oscar statuette.
The opportunity is being billed as the “My First Oscar Moment” and will be taking place during park hours inside The Magic of Disney Animation building. To find the photo opportunity, guests need to head to the location where Minnie Mouse meets (the section marked “Drawing Room”). The room has been taken over temporarily by the “My First Oscar Moment” experience, so Guests will be able to find Minnie in the hub area.
During the opportunity, Guests will get to walk the red carpet and pose with the Oscar statue, against a signature backdrop similar to one you’ll see the actual Oscar winners pose against, just moments after they win the golden statue. Guests are encouraged to post their unique photos to social media using the hashtag, #Oscars.
The 87th Oscars are airing this Sunday, February 22, on ABC at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT and will feature host Neil Patrick Harris.
Soon Guests won’t need to check-in before heading to their rooms.
A brand new perk is currently rolling out for Walt Disney World Guests to participate in–eligible Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel will have the option to go directly to their hotel room, bypassing the hotel’s front desk.
In order to take advantage of this new perk, once a Guest has customized, ordered, and had their MagicBands shipped to their home, they will receive an email, letting them know that Direct-to-Room Check-In is available to them. Keep in mind that the MagicBands must be in the Guest’s possession at the time of arrival at the hotel. (If you’ll remember, MagicBands are used as room keys now. If you don’t have your MagicBand on you, you won’t be able to enter your room.)
In addition, in order to be eligible, Guests must have also paid their reservation in full. Finally, in order to participate, Guests must have completed the Online Check-In process, which includes providing a credit card and PIN number, which allows Guests to easily use their MagicBand for charging privileges once they arrive, as well as providing at least one method of communications, either phone number or email. If a Guest has completed all eligibility steps, they will receive a message via email and/or text prior to their arrival notifying them of their room number and that they have the option of going directly to their room.
If you want to have the opportunity to see and feel what NASCAR drivers experience or drive an exotic car, time is running out! News broke today that the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway will be closing sometime in June. The race track, which can be found in the Magic Kingdom’s parking lot, allows guests to participate in both ride-alongs, as well as get behind the wheel themselves. The speedway is being closed to make way for transportation improvements, however, there is no word on exactly what improvements will be occurring.
The Richard Petty Driving Experience has been a unique activity for many to participate in. For those who are huge NASCAR fanatics, this was a great way to get a feel of being out on the course. Just a few years back, in addition to allowing guests behind the wheels of race cars, they could also choose to participate in the Exotic Car Experience, letting guests drive fast cars like Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and more. Also, just this past year, another new option was added for those with kids who wanted to feel the need for speed. They could participate in the Piston Cup Junior Ride Along program, riding in cars that were reminiscent of those that could be seen the movie Cars.
We are just two weeks out from pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training. Plus, games begin for the Atlanta Braves in a little less than a month at Champion Stadium in World Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Single day tickets are currently on sale for the 18th Spring Training season at the complex.
This year, the Atlanta Braves will play some fantastic teams, including the New York Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles, the Boston Red Sox, the Detroit Tigers, and the Washington Nationals. Games start on March 4 and go all the way until April 4. Most take place during the afternoon, but there are a few evening games included in the mix too.