Recent News

Big Changes for Disney’s Coronado Springs and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resorts

by on February 16, 2017

There are some thrilling new changes that are on the horizons for two of Walt Disney World’s moderate category resorts.

The first is an expansion of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, which will be getting a new 15-story tower adding 500 rooms to the resort. The tower, which will overlook Lago Dorado, the resort’s lake, will include suites and concierge level services. Oh and there will be unique rooftop dining added to this new tower with a great view of some of the theme park’s fireworks spectaculars. Of course, Coronado Springs’ current rooms will be getting a refurbishment. Oh and the landscape of the resort will gain floating gardens and an island oasis that will connect the resorts through a series of bridges.

Here is a look at what to expect with the new work at Disney’s Coronado Springs.

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How Pandora Will Impact Crowds At Animal Kingdom – A Crowd Calendar Update

by on February 13, 2017

Pandora: The World of Avatar opens officially at Animal Kingdom on May 27, 2017 and crowds will flock to the park to take in the new attractions. Expect to wait 200 minutes or more to experience the new attractions during the first week of operation. We also expect wait times at other Animal Kingdom attractions to increase 15% when the new Pandora attractions open, and we expect that increase to last throughout most of the summer.

The last major addition to a Disney Park was New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. The expansion ended with the opening of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train on May 28, 2014, two days after Memorial Day. Wait times at Magic Kingdom rose dramatically after the headliner opened, not just at nearby Fantasyland attractions but across the park. Animal Kingdom doesn’t draw the same crowds that Magic Kingdom does, and Pandora likely won’t have the same draw that New Fantasyland did, but it is reasonable to expect a significant bump in attendance. The new Pandora attractions will see extreme wait times throughout the summer, but we expect rides like Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris to see wait times go up, as well.

As a result, we are updating the Crowd Calendar to reflect the announcement of Pandora’s official opening date. In addition, we are making a few minor updates to other dates and parks in line with our most recent analysis.

Other New Developments That May Affect Crowds

  • Disney announced an increase to Walt Disney World ticket prices, with costs going up as much as 10% for certain multi-day tickets. A price increase can lead to a small dip in attendance, either through shorter or fewer trips. What we don’t yet know is how much this price increase will affect crowds, given the opening of Pandora and other developments.
  • We expect Disney’s Hollywood Studios to drop its evening Extra Magic Hours program. We also expect the Animal Kingdom to add evening Extra Magic Hours, and Magic Kingdom not to replace its evening parade (at least with anything new or notable) for the next few months. The net effect of those changes should be to push evening crowds to the Animal Kingdom. We’ve never seen this situation before, though, and we don’t know how much the price increase in park hopper tickets will discourage people from visiting a second park per day.

Is Pandora Animal Kingdom’s New Fantasyland?

It may take our models up to 30 days to recognize the impact of these changes. We’ll adjust each park’s crowd predictions based on that and post something to the blog explaining the changes as we get them.

What’s Behind These Crowd Calendar Updates

Here is a brief description of what you will see on the latest crowd calendar. As always, the crowd levels are subject to change as they are based on the information available to us at the time we make the predictions. We always encourage you use a touring plan as the best defense against any size crowd – they work, so use ’em!

February

The rest of February will see some minor changes that reflect dips in wait times we have seen in late January and early February, mostly at Hollywood Studios. The calendar is currently not predicting a large boost in wait times at Animal Kingdom when Rivers of Light begins regular performances but that may have to be revised once we see what happens after February 17. Unless you are visiting specifically to see the show, try to avoid that park, especially in the evening.

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Disneyland Ticket Pricing Breakdown

by on February 12, 2017

Disneyland Ticket

©Rikki Niblett

It’s that time again. Time for the annual Disneyland ticket price increase.

Last year, Disneyland introduced seasonal pricing. That continues going forward and means that each month is divided into being either a value, regular, or peak day. The new system will work as follows: If you’re visiting in September, you’ll pay value pricing. If you want to visit around the holiday week of Christmas and New Year’s, you pay peak pricing.

Seasonal pricing only impact 1 day tickets. Those who purchase multi-day tickets will not see seasonal pricing.

Here’s what this all means for Disneyland tickets:

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Walt Disney World Ticket Pricing Breakdown

by on February 12, 2017

Walt Disney World Ticket Pricing

©Disney

Yesterday, I shared with you that Walt Disney World tickets will be increasing beginning today. In addition, to that, there were a few other changes that occurred as well that include:

  • Pricing that includes a range of options
  • All new tickets will have an expiration date that the ticket must be used by. (Previously, only one day tickets expired.) This means that unused tickets must be used by a certain date or they will expire. (Example, right now, tickets purchased today must be used by December 31, 2018.) Anyone who holds an expired ticket will be able to exchange it for a credit that can be used towards purchasing a new ticket of equal or greater value. Unused tickets that have been purchased prior to Sunday, February 12 will remain valid and not carry expiration dates.
  • Guests can receive a $20 discount on any 3-Day to 10-Day Magic Your Way Ticket purchased in advance through Disney.
  • The Water Park Fun & More and Park Hopper Ticket will now be called Park Hopper Plus. Water Park Fun & More will be discontinued by itself.   The Park Hopper Plus will include the ability to visit more than two parks in a day, as well as a certain number of visits to your choice of Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, Fantasia Gardens Mini-Golf Course, Winter Summerland Mini-Golf Course, or ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Last year, Disney introduced seasonal pricing at Walt Disney World. That will continue this year for one day tickets. With the seasonal pricing, each month is divided to include value, regular, and peak days. You would pay Value Season pricing if you visited in September, but if you visit in December during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, you will pay Peak Pricing. Those who purchase multi-day tickets or are purchasing an annual pass do not currently see seasonal pricing.

Here is the full breakdown of ticket pricing for Walt Disney World:

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Disney Ticket Price Increase Happening Tomorrow

by on February 11, 2017

Ticket Price Increase

©Disney

It’s that time again. Time when Disney annually increases their ticket prices. So this is your official warning. Rumors are indicating that tickets will be increasing in price for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World tomorrow, Sunday, February 12.

Here are the changes that we are expecting to see for Walt Disney World:

    • Pricing that includes a range of options
    • All new tickets will have an expiration date that the ticket must be used by. (Previously, only one day tickets expired.) Anyone with an expired ticket will be able to exchange it for a credit to purchase a new ticket of equal or greater value. Tickets that have been purchased prior to Sunday, February 12 will remain valid and not carry expiration dates.
    • Guests can receive a $20 discount on any 3-Day to 10-Day Magic Your Way Ticket purchased in advance through Disney.
    • The Water Park Fun & More and Park Hopper Ticket will now be called Park Hopper Plus. Water Park Fun & More will be discontinued by itself.   The Park Hopper Plus will include the ability to visit more than two parks in a day, as well as a certain number of visits to your choice of Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, Fantasia Gardens Mini-Golf Course, Winter Summerland Mini-Golf Course, or ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Disney has recently been increasing ticket pricing in February for the past few years. Last year, Disney introduced seasonal pricing at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. With the seasonal pricing, each month is divided to include value, regular, and peak days. So, for example, if you plan to visit in September, you would pay value pricing. If say, however, that you want to visit around the hectic holiday week of Christmas and New Year’s, you pay peak pricing. Keep in mind that seasonal pricing only impacted 1 day tickets. Those who purchase multi-day tickets or are purchasing an annual pass do not currently see seasonal pricing.

I’ll make sure to have the full pricing details for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland 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.

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Full Outdoor Kitchen Menus for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

by on February 10, 2017

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

©Rikki Niblett

We are two and a half weeks out from the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival! This year’s festival will take place from March 1 and lasts until May 29. (That means 90 days of gardens, character topiaries, entertainers and most importantly, food and drink offerings.)

At this year’s Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, we will see the introduction of two brand new Outdoor Kitchen marketplace kiosks that will join the 13 returning booths. They are Northern Bloom, which focuses on fantastic fare from Canada and The Berry Basket, which will serve dishes that include berries.

I have the full list of the different Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchens you’ll find this year, as well as the great drinks and food you can experience at each kiosk. Who’s ready to eat? 

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New Happily Ever After Nighttime Spectacular To Debut at Magic Kingdom

by on February 9, 2017

Happily Ever After

©Disney

Are you ready for a new Magic Kingdom nighttime spectacular? The new show called Happily Ever After will debut May 12.

Happily Ever After will showcase some of the greatest adventures Disney characters have taken to achieve their dreams. It is a story of friendship, perseverance and overcoming obstacles. The nighttime spectacular will feature the latest in fireworks, pyrotechnics and lasers. The show will include a brand new, original score. Oh and we can’t forget the state-of-the-art projection mapping technology that’s been utilized more and more recently by Disney.

This new 18 minute show will feature more Disney characters than ever before including moments from Moana, Brave, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, The Princess & The Frog, Aladdin and more. The show will also feature Quasimodo from Hunchback of Notre Dame who will swings from the turrets, Woody and his pals from Toy Story recreate the castle entirely out of toys, and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty envelops the castle in her signature green flames.

The story will begin with scenes of fantastic dreams full of hope, wonder, magic and light. Of course, as with most Disney nighttime spectaculars, the Disney villains will attempting to quash those dreams and forcing the heroes to fight for what they believe in. Characters will have to overcoming their fears, the heroes will triumph and are celebrated with fireworks. 

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Rivers of Light to Debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on February 9, 2017

©Disney

I feel like I’ve written this blog post before…only to have things change. But now, it appears as though the long wait is finally over. According to Disney’s website, Rivers of Light will begin enchanting Guests starting on Friday, February 17.

The show, which as many well know was fraught with delays and issues, currently appears to be scheduled at 7:15 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through March 11.  Then things begin to change with the schedule and get kind of confusing.

Beginning March 12, showtimes change to 8:45 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. That lasts through April 8. Beginning April 9, Rivers of Light will have two shows each and every night – one at 8:30 p.m. and one at 9:45 p.m. leading up to the Easter holiday. Starting April 23, the park will go back to having only one showing nightly at 8:45 p.m. The final schedule change will begin April 30, when Rivers of Light will take place beginning at 9:30 p.m. each evening. Currently, the schedule has only be released through the end of June. FastPass+ reservations are now available. 

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Doc McStuffins to Meet Guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on February 8, 2017

©Disney

If you have a Disney Junior fan, then you know all about Doc McStuffins. Later this month you’ll have the opportunity to meet Doc at Disney’s Animal Kingdom just outside the veterinary clinic of Rafiki’s Planet Watch. The popular toy doctor will make daily visits meeting with guests and signing autographs. While there, stop and  learn a about conservation efforts and how Disney’s vets care for the animals that live at the park.

Guests will still be able to meet Doc McStuffins in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios where she appears alongside fellow Disney Junior stars Sofia the First and Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. In addition, Guests looking for Doc McStuffins will also still be able to see her at Disney Junior Play n’ Dine for breakfast at Hollywood & Vine, as well as at Disney Junior – Live on Stage, also found in the Animation Courtyard.

No official date has been announced, so stay tuned to the blog for further details.

Jostens Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports to be Renamed

by on February 8, 2017

ESPN Wide World of Sports

©Rikki Niblett

The ESPN Wide World of Sports has been going through a lot of changes over the past few years.  Well, there’s another change that’s occurring and that’s that beginning on February 11, the Jostens Center will be renamed as the J Center. This change is due to the Jostens sponsorship ending.

The J Center is a multi-purpose arena for the ESPN Wide World of Sports. It houses basketball and volleyball courts, plus more. The J Center is home to multiple national championships held throughout the year, as well as host to the health and fitness expos during runDisney weekends.

Overall, the entire ESPN Wide World of Sports complex is seeing an expansion with seating for over 8000 guests, a performance and warm-up space, and a new multi-use sports and entertainment venue with the ability to host 6 regulation basketball courts, 6 regulation volleyball courts or concert configurations.

Stay tuned to further changes that may be occurring at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.