April 30, 2014
There are new things popping up every day at the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort. Join us every week to read about “What’s New” in Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando! This week features a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train update, FastPass+ enhancements and special events at Disney World and Universal Orlando!
What’s New This Week?
Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
New! FastPass+ Service Enhanced Allowing Additional FPs and Park Hopping: As part of the test-and-adjust process for MyMagic+, Guests will be able to make additional FastPass+ selections once they use their initial selections. Here’s how it works:
- Guests will be able to make an additional FastPass+ selection at an in-park kiosk after they have used their original selections or after the arrival windows for all unused selections have passed.
- Guests will be able to make one additional selection at a time, based on availability. After they use that additional selection (or the arrival window passes), they can go to a FastPass+ kiosk to make another selection, and so on. (The additional FastPass+ selections must be made at an in-park kiosk only.)
- Guests will be able to make their additional selection(s) for an experience at which they already used a FastPass+ selection earlier that day.
- Guests with valid park-hopper tickets will be able to make their additional selection(s) at another park. Those selections must be made at a kiosk in the park where the desired experience is located.
- At Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Guests will be able to make additional selections from any available experience in either experience group.
- While all additional selections must be made at a FastPass+ kiosk at this time, Guests will be able to view and modify their additional selections on their mobile device using My Disney Experience.
New! FastPass+ Kiosks Available in Spanish: Beginning April 28, all FastPass+ kiosks will offer full functionality in Spanish. Before touching a MagicBand or ticket to the touch point, the Guest can choose “Español” from the home screen to enter the Spanish options. They then can make their FastPass+ selections or modifications in Spanish. Additional languages are expected to be added in the coming months.
New! Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Updates: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train achieved another milestone last week, when Walt Disney Imagineering removed the final construction walls from around the attraction. We have been able to look at the beautiful new queue and even watch Wishes fire off over-top of the Magic Kingdom’s newest mountain! The attraction is still not quite ready, as evidenced by some final testing that was also still taking place. In the photo below, you can see Imagineers performing what is sometimes called “reach” or “envelope” testing. This process is designed to ensure guests will not be able to reach anything outside the ride vehicle that could potentially hurt them. So, while we still do not have an official opening date for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, we do know there will be an event for the media this week which will include a dedication of the new attraction. Stay tuned!
New! Some Attractions and Areas Unavailable May 1 – 2: As part of private media sneak peek, members of the media will be visiting Magic Kingdom Park on May 1 and 2, to learn more what’s happening at Walt Disney World Resort. Select areas in New Fantasyland will be closing early on May 1; plus there will be a delayed opening of Storybook Circus and parts of Tomorrowland on the morning of May 2.
- May 1, closing at 5 p.m.: Gaston’s Tavern, Bonjour! Village Gifts, Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Hundred Acre Goods and Storybook Treats.
- May 2, opening at 11 a.m.: Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Barnstormer, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Big Top Souvenirs and Tomorrowland Speedway.
- May 2 opening by 1 p.m.: Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
- Times subject to change.
New! Disney’s Hollywood Studios Celebrates 25 Years: On May 1, 2014, Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrates its Silver Anniversary with a few special events, merchandise and food! 25th anniversary commemorative merchandise will be sold (while supplies last). A shop dedicated entirely to 25th Anniversary Merchandise will be created at Sound Stage 1 (between Toy Story Midway Mania! and Studio Backlot Tour). Guests will find all sorts of 25th Anniversary memorabilia, from shirts to hats to pins there will even be a Duffy dressed to celebrate the 25th Anniversary. Limited edition sketches and a 25th Anniversary cel have been created and will be available for purchase as well. Not to be forgotten, a 25th Anniversary Chocolate Nutella Cupcake will be sold at several of the quick service dining locations during the day. Here is the schedule of events:
- At 10 a.m., Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will take the stage with Disney’s Hollywood Studios Vice President Dan Cockerell to start the celebration day, honoring some of the 25-year cast members during a shortre-dedication ceremony.
- A special motorcade — “Stars of the Studios” — will make its way down Hollywood Blvd. beginning at 7 p.m. and feature many of the famous characters showcased throughout the park. Mickey and Minnie will be joined by television and film stars including Captain Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Doc McStuffins, Wreck-It Ralph, Venellope, Sofia the First and more.
- Following the motorcade, the area in front of the park’s Sorcerer Hat Stage will become a dance party before a fireworks show ends the day in grand fashion at 9:30 p.m. The pyrotechnics show, which will be high in the sky above the Sorcerer Mickey Hat, will pay tribute to 25 years of show business stories that have been told throughout the park.
Image: Property of Walt Disney World Resort
New Star Wars Weekends Lineup Announced: From Disney Parks Blog: “Celebrities scheduled to attend include Star Wars actors and actresses from the past (from the Star Wars film saga), present (from the popular animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and even the future (from the eagerly anticipated Disney XD animated series Star Wars Rebels). As we previously announced, acclaimed voice actor James Arnold Taylor is the official celebrity host of this year’s event. We’re pleased to announce today that Ashley Eckstein, voice of Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars, a former Walt Disney World Resort parade performer and now a successful fangirl fashion designer, will be the host of a special “Behind The Force” show each weekend. This year, “Behind The Force” will showcase some of the main cast members from Star Wars Rebels. Also of note: Weekend V will feature the most Star Wars celebrities to appear at one time in the event’s history.” For the full celebrity lineup, visit the Disney Parks Blog.
New! Expedition Everest Challenge This Weekend: On Saturday, May 3rd, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme park will host the annual Run Disney Expedition Everest Challenge. The race is a thrill-packed, timed endurance event that combines a 5K nighttime adventure run through Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park with the challenge of a scavenger hunt. Other events this weekend include a Family Edition of the challenger, which includes a shorter run and scavenger hunt in the morning, and kids races, which are short distance dashes. There will also be a post-race party in the evening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom after the Expedition Everest Challenge.
New! First-Ever WNBA Pre-season Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: The first-ever WNBA Pre-season Tournament, featuring the defending champion Minnesota Lynx, Chicago Sky, Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury, will tip off on Friday, May 9, at the HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In addition to the four-game tournament, a full slate of clinics, practices and autograph sessions featuring the WNBA players and coaches will be conducted in conjunction with the AAU Spring Fling II girls basketball event, which will also be hosted at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Over 1,500 girls basketball players from the 3rd through 12th grade divisions will be on site competing in the AAU event. Fans will have an opportunity to purchase tickets for the tournament at the ESPN WWoS Box Office or through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. The two-game package for Friday, May 9, is available for $20, as is the two-game package for Sunday, May 11. A four-game package is available for $35.
New! Downtown Disney Marketplace Bus Drop Off / Pick Up Time Changes: Beginning April 28 and continuing through late May, the Downtown Disney bus stops will have modified hours. Work is being done in this area as part of the Disney Springs project. You may need to allow extra time to walk from the Pleasure Island bus stop to the Marketplace area for early dining or appointments at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The Downtown Disney bus stops will operate with the following hours:
- Marketplace Bus Stop: Noon – Midnight
- Pleasure Island Bus Stop: 8a.m. – 2 a.m.
New! Mr Kamal’s at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Closed for Refurbishment: As of April 28, Mr. Kamal’s is closed for refurbishment and will remain closed through May 10. Since this is a popular location for vegetarian fare, Bradley Falls is open with vegetarian options during this time.
New! Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Refurbishment: Starting on Sunday, May 4, and running through the beginning of September, all Guest rooms at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn will be undergoing a refurbishment. This refurbishment will include new carpets, new tubs, the change to new bed linens, upgrades to the Club-Level lounge and the addition of new ADA-certified rooms.
Reminder: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Continues: This fantastic and colorful festival continues. Here are some of the highlights this week: Flower Power Concert Series performances by STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas, May 2-4 at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 pm.; Designers’ Stage – weekdays, noon and 3 pm will host Karen Chapman, The Foliage First (12 p.m.) Sassy or Classy (3 p.m.) – April 29, 30 and May 1; and Designers’ Stage – Presented by HGTV – Friday-Sunday, noon and 3 pm will host Chip Wade, Elbow Room – May 2-4. Numerous additional presentations take place daily through the day during the entire festival which runs through May 18.
Reminder! New Star Wars Character Meals at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Starts May 4: Star Wars fans are in for a real treat May 4 – Jun 15, 2014! Two new character dining experiences are being added: Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine (Dinner) at Hollywood & Vine and Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine In. More details.
Reminder! Feel The Force Premium Package at Star Wars Weekends: Just announced last week, a new VIP package experience will be available to guests at Star Wars Weekends this year (every Friday-Saturday-Sunday, May 16 through June 15, 2014). This new experience provides Guests with reserved VIP viewing for two of the most popular Star Wars Weekends event spectaculars: the daytime Legends of the Force Celebrity Motorcade and the nighttime Symphony in the Stars fireworks show. In addition to premium viewing, soft drinks, water and snacks will be served for the motorcade and a dessert party will accompany the fireworks show. Guests will also receive a souvenir digital photo card that captures images of the Star Wars characters and events from that day as well as a series of complimentary Star Wars photos. Price: adults $54, children $32 (per day, tax and gratuity included). Discounts do not apply. More details are available here.
Reminder! “A Perfect Petals Brunch Featuring the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley” at Epcot: On Sunday, May 4, this ticketed event will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and will feature the release of a brand new color called “Mickey’s Perfect Petals.” In addition to a brunch and a special gift, event guests will have the first opportunity to purchase seven new items. The event store will also carry some previously released colors from 2013, including “Midnight with Mickey” and “Where’s Mickey.” There will also be a special appearance by Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Vera Bradley. Tickets are $125 and admission to Epcot is also required to attend. To register, please visit DisneyParksMerchandise.com
Image: Disney Parks Blog
New! Merchandise Events:
- Now – May 18: Representatives from Rinse Bath and Body Co. will be on hand throughout the day to help you select the product that is right for your skin at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
- April 21 – May 4: Meet representatives from Kumquat Growers and Tropical Blossom Honey Co. who will be on hand from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., each day on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot.
- May 1 – 4: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson throughout the day at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Not able to make it? Look for Larry later in the month from May 21 – 24 at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park.
- May 2: Meet Disney Design Group artist Casey Jones, who will be on hand to sign the new “Pirates of the Caribbean” Vinylmation Series 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. at D Street in Downtown Disney West Side.
- May 2 – 3: Find the perfect gift for Mother’s Day during the Chamilia Trunk Show taking place throughout the day at Tren-D in Downtown Disney Marketplace.
- May 4: Put some spring in your step with A Perfect Petals Brunch, featuring the Disney Collection by Vera Bradley coming to World ShowPlace at Epcot on Sunday, May 4, 2014.
- May 7 – 11: Artist Greg McCullough returns May 7 – 11 to Art of Disney in Epcot and will appear later in the month from May 21 – 25 at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace and May 28 – June 1 at Animation Gallery at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Closures and Refurbishments
Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.
Universal Orlando Resort
New! Jake’s Beer Festival at Loews Royal Pacific Resort: Join us in Jake’s American Bar and under the outdoor Wantilan Pavilion at Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, where you’ll enjoy samplings of more than 50 beers from some of our favorite breweries, including: Dogfish Head Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, The Traveler Beer Co., Lagunitas Brewing Company, Angry Orchard, New Belgium Brewing and more! Jake’s Beer Festival will also feature specially prepared culinary creations by the hotel’s award winning chefs and live entertainment by Hindu Cowboys. Ages 21 and older only: $35. For reservations and more information, visit or call the concierge at 407-503-3200.
See Boz Scaggs at Hard Rock Live: “Boz” Scaggs is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. He’s performing at Hard Rock Live Sunday, May 4th at 8:00 pm. Cost: $67.50 for First 2 Rows and Balcony Tables. $47.50 for Reserved Main Floor & Lower Balcony. $37.50 for Reserved Upper Balcony.
Reminder! Nelly Set to Perform This Saturday at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras Celebration: The excitement of Mardi Gras continues this Saturday, April 19 with a performance by Nelly! Concert begins at 8:30 pm. Along with the live concert, guests can experience the spirit of the legendary Bayou bash during the dazzling Mardi Gras parade, featuring 12 vibrant floats, including three new additions celebrating Jules Verne’s novel, “Around the World in 80 Days.” Guests can also visit Universal Studios Florida’s very own French Quarter Courtyard to enjoy delectable Cajun cuisine and see performances by bands pulled straight from Bourbon Street.
Reminder! Universal Vacation Discount: For a limited time, Universal Orlando Resort has offered a new discount vacation offer called the “2 Park, 3 Night Getaway.” From only $315 per adult, you can experience an unforgettable journey through Universal’s Islands of Adventure, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! And, right next door, at Universal Studios, you go behind the scenes, beyond the screen, and right into the action of your favorite movies! You can experience it all in one, unique discount vacation package! With this amazing offer, you can choose from free airport transportation or a free $50 gift card. Plus, receive a 3rd day ticket for free if you book by May 9th. Act fast as there is a very limited booking window! View Details.
Closures and Refurbishments
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
- None scheduled
- Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 4/29, 5/1 – 5/4, 5/9 & 5/10 no shows scheduled
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