WDW Changes and Other News

By Laurie Smith

NIGHT OF JOY

This event will be split into to parts due to the lack of sufficient guest friendly stages. The concerts will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports at indoor and outdoor venues. There will be dedicated buses from the concerts to Magic Kingdom. Event attendees will receive a night of fellowship at MK. This year I attended and it was an unfair event at times. Guests stood in line for hours the first night only to not get in as nobody left their spot. There wasn’t enough room for people who had one chance to see a favorite musician. I loved the event but not being told to queue up in the middle of exiting guests. It will be bad to have to go to one location or the other, but good that there will be more room for guests.  http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/09/disneys-night-of-joy-expands-in-2016/

Downtown Disney aka Disney Springs

I already told you about Morimoto and will soon share my experience at the fun Hangar Bar. The third dock is open so we now can take the ferry to The Landing (Pleasure Island). You take a bus to Marketplace then a ferry half or all the way across Disney Springs or start in the middle if you use the parking garage. Stay to your right when driving to Disney Springs as there is a new ramp and bridge that gives access to the parking garage. All three pedestrian bridges are up with the one across Buena Vista just open. Now you can park across the street from Disney Springs then walk across the street without lights or traffic. All walls are down except in Town Center. They are installing a bridge connecting Town Center with the rest of Disney Springs. There is construction next to Paradiso 37. JOY!!! Paradiso 37 has had all stairs removed and now guests can stroll into the restaurant. This change makes the restaurant sit right on the street level so that guests can interact with hostesses and see the venue. The second parking garage has pillars up for the third or fourth floor. Remember to look at the numbers as you enter the parking garage as 792 spaces are open on the 5th floor while you are on the second floor looking for one of 15 spaces. I have parked on the fifth floor twice this week and both times parking was about 7 deep in the row nearest the elevator. House of Blues has discontinued the popular Service Industry Night.

Hollywood Studios

We have told for a year that change is coming.  In the past year, or so, we lost AFI Showcase, tram tour, American Idol, Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, Magic of Disney Animation, and the Animation Academy. The beloved hat is gone, as are the parades. Mulch, Sweat, and Shears was a fun show that is gone. This year will be the last year for the Osbourne Lights. One Man’s Dream will be closing while the theater is used to screen a preview of The Good Dinosaur. Minnie Mouse packed her bags and has moved from Center Stage to Disney Jr. Live on Stage area.

Star Wars Weekends

Star Tours will get a new scene inspired by the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A preview center will be called Star Wars Launch Bay where guests can see up and coming Star Wars items instead of learning to draw at the Animation Academy. The Launch Bay will have a small retail area and a cafe.  Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple will offer new characters and a villain from Star Wars Rebels.

Epcot

One year since Maelstrom was shut down. Duffy was removed from Epcot and Daisy Duck is moving into his home. Daisy Duck was removed from Animal Kingdom so that Flik could take up her spot near Creature Comforts. Glidden will sponsor Colortopia that opens in Innoventions East (Test Track side) this year. Innoventions West is closed for a new guest experience but the Character Spot will remain open. SOARIN’ is going to become a world experience and receive updated equipment and a third theater.

Magic Kingdom

On the first of October, the hair wrap locations and ring carver locations closed but are available elsewhere in Walt Disney World. Liberty Tree Tavern and the Diamond Horseshoe should open on November 19th. On November 20th, Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour and the Railroad will reopen. Peter Pan’s Flight will be closed November 2 through November 7, 2015.

The hub expansion has made getting around way way easier. Jungle Skipper Canteen should be having soft openings soon. Pecos Bill has a new menu with fajitas and burritos.

Animal Kingdom

Flights of Wonder will be closed through November 5th and Primeval Whirl will be closed until November 12th. Pizzafari will be closed until November 14th, but their restroom will remain open. They are promising Rivers of Light and a nighttime safari next Spring, work is progressing. A new snack stand will open up where the Fastpass booth was at Everest.

Random Updates

Disney’s Blizzard Beach will close for refurbishment from October 4, 2015 through January 2, 2016 then Typhoon Lagoon will close for annual refurbishment.

All Star Sports will close Grand Slam Pool from October 26 through December 18, 2015.

Boardwalk Inn will have painting and repairs done through May 5, 2016.

Contemporary Resort will give out a bag of popcorn with the movie under the stars. The marina will be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m through next March.

Coronado Springs resort will close the Salon, Casitas Leisure Pool and the fitness center until October 19th.

Polynesian’s East Leisure Pool will remain closed until January, 2016.

Port Orleans will close French Quarter Kiddie Pool until Christmas, 2015.

Wilderness Lodge closes on October 26th the Hidden Springs Quiet Pool, Resort Beach & Marina, Playground and Fire Pit until 2017.

Caribbean Beach Resort’s bridge Connecting the Aruba and Jamaica Islands to Old Port Royale will be under refurbishment and unavailable to pedestrian traffic through November 26, 2015. Shuttles will be available every 15-20 minutes, from 6:30 a.m.-12:30 a.m., from the parking lot closest to the impacted buildings. Guests should look for their island’s name on the shuttle when returning to their rooms. Boat transportation will be available from 9 a.m.-dusk, traveling between the Aruba beach to Barefoot Bay Bike Works.

Pirates of the Caribbean Spoiler – The lighting and audio are much improved. The mermaids are gone except the dead one on the beach. There are a few new pirates and the jug of whiskey is on fire, so it seems.

Remember:  Exclusive Thanksgiving Day feast will be held on Thursday, November 26, 2015 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Fantasia Ballroom at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The event also features live entertainment and Disney characters dressed in colonial attire. Prices are $68.80 per adult (age 10+) and $30.50 for ages 3-9. These rates do not include tax or gratuity.  Reservations are via DVC Member Services.

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