From the earliest Galaxy’s Edge announcement of a “late Fall” opening at Disney World, everyone seemed to assume that the actually opening date would be in late December 2019. Then, about a month or two ago, Disney changed the opening date to “Fall” of 2019. Still, I think most people still assumed this meant November.
Personally, I still think September seems too early for an actual opening, but maybe late October is workable. Of course, hurricane season is still months away from hitting Florida and that always has potential to cause some constructions delays. I guess we’ll know more (maybe?) on Thursday.
From March 1 to May 29 this year, Epcot is hosting my favorite festival: the Flower & Garden Festival. Below is a collection of some my favorite coverage of this year’s event. Elyssa and I plan to be done there in April to see some of this stuff first hand, but–for now–we’ll point you to some other sources to show you what is going on.
As with Food & Wine, the best coverage of the individual items available at these these Kitchens comes from Josh over at easyWDW. Here are the link to his various reviews: (the NEW indicator means a new Kitchen this year, not a new review from Josh)
For more food coverage, Tessa Koten at TouringPlans has a list of her favorite items (which she labels as “family friendly”, though I don’t understand what about those items makes them such), and Robert Niles, over at Theme Park Insider has a brief write-up of some of the items he sampled.
Even though there is a growing emphasis on the Outdoor Kitchens, the original draw of the Flower & Garden Festival (and what really makes it special for me) is the wide array of topiaries that Disney puts out . As you would imagine, there is a lot of photography.
Cory Disbrow has some coverage in his signature style at the end of this post and
Josh over at easyWDW has a walk around Future World as well a detailed look at the Festival Center (which is only open from 10am to 5pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The only “issue” with Josh’s review is that it might be comprehensive enough for you to just skip the Festival Center all together.
If you’re someone who prefers to listen to your Flower & Garden coverage, then Lou has got you covered over at WDW Radio. On the other hand, if you’re someone who wants to watch some video coverage, then check out these videos from the DIS covering overall highlights:
and the more general “exploring” of the Festival:
The Disney Food Blog also has a video covering (you guessed it) the food:
Pretty much the entire world is reporting that tomorrow will be a Disney World price increase (See, e.g., WDW News Today and The DIS.) The rumors include increases in the range of 2-5 dollars (depending on the “season” and the park) for single day tickets–there will probably be a similar increase on the “per day” rate for multi-day ones–, with annual passes getting a rumored increase of $10 to $30 depending on the level. If you were going to buy tickets directly from Disney in the next week or so, it might be worth buying your tickets today. If you frequently use a third party reseller, they will probably have stock at the old prices for another week or two.
Here are the new prices for new multiday tickets (Non-Park Hopper / Park Hopper):
2 Day (199 / 259) from (202 (??) / 257)
3 Day (289 / 349) from (290 (??) / 349)
4 Day (350 / 425) from (325 / 394)
5 Day (370 / 445) from (340 / 409)
6 Day (390 / 465) from (355 / 424)
7 Day (410 / 485) from (370 / 439)
8 Day (420 / 495) from (380 / 449)
9 Day (430 / 505) from (390 / 459)
10 Day (440 / 515) from (400 / 469)
and here’s the update to out of state / non-discounted annual passes:
If you already have a trip planned (or are seriously considering a trip) it really might be a good time to buy your Disney World tickets. You can find the best deals on tickets at the TouringPlans tickets price calculator. (Also, as a reminder, some of these 3rd party sellers will have the “old pricing” tickets in inventory for a few weeks after the increase. If you don’t buy your tickets today, you might want to at least check the 3rd party sellers listed at TouringPlans before buying them direct at the new pricing.)
On Wednesday night, the Osborne Lights faded to black for the last time. Thankfully, a lot of our favorite Disney blogs were there to cover the event (and give people like me–who couldn’t be there in person–a chance to see what the Lights were like in their final moments):
If you want to get the most in-depth summary of everything (especially in the context of overall Studios touring strategies), I recommend that you check out this post by Josh over at easyWDW. In addition to covering all new entertainment and new food items, he also explains how to best fit a visit to the Launch Bay into your day:
If you do want to do the meet and greets [available at the Launch Bay], I suggest visiting as late in the evening as possible and ideally 90 to 120 minutes before close. … The benefit of going late is that we know for a fact how morning touring goes, so we can stick to the tried and true strategy there and enjoy short waits at Toy Story, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and other Meet and Greets.
Based on recent treads in crowd levels, Josh’s strategy makes a ton of sense. Take advantage of the lower crowd levels associated with rope drop to get the most popular attractions out of the way and then visit the Launch Bay when most people probably already have. It will also be interesting to see what the crowd levels are like in the Launch Bay after it has been open for a few months.
While we were away on an actual visit to Disney World, we fell a little behind on the various bits of news that came out over the past couple of weeks. We intend to rectify that situation with today’s special, double sized, edition of Rope Drop [dot] Net’s News Nuggets:
Rumor of a Pizza Planet getting a Muppets-based Re-Theme Pizza Planet is closing on January 11, 2016, and Tom Corless from WDW News Today suggests this could pave the way for a Muppets-based re-theme for the restaurant. Tom’s track record has been pretty stellar recently, so I’m inclined to believe this will happen until someone else tells me otherwise.
UberBLACK now available for rides from Orlando’s MCO Airport It’s not as good as having uberX available, but it’s a start. Elyssa and I have used various flavors of Uber a few times while at Disney World and (while Elyssa isn’t a huge fan of the “sharing economy” overall) it has been invaluable for things like early morning ADRs.
Tiffins Restaurant Coming to Animal Kingdom in 2016 Disney has said this new “Signature” restaurant “will celebrate the art of traveling, featuring a diverse menu drawing from places that inspired the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.” The restaurant will be open for both lunch and dinner (and you assume will be table service for both if it’s getting the “Signature” label) and will apparently “include waterfront views from comfortable indoor and outdoor seating areas.”
Captain EO shows to end on December 6, 2015 The theatre is going to show a “Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival” when Captain EO’s run ends. I hope, however, that there are bigger plans for the Imagination Pavilion before too long.
Epcot’s Fastpass+ tiers to change in January, 2016 With Captain EO going away, and Soarin’ closing for a lengthy refurbishment, I assumed something like this would happen. The big change is that Mission: SPACE (both versions) becomes Tier 1. (I assume when Frozen Ever After opens, it will also be at the tier 1 level.)
Colortopia has opened in Innovations East at Epcot I, admittedly, never really give these smaller attractions in Innovations much of a look. That said, I’d rather they actually have something in that space than just have a building full of construction walls and hallways.
UPDATE: Based on the comment from Kenny the Pirate (see below), I reached out to WDW News Today via Twitter to ask if there was any confirmation about this story (especially since the Disney “Star Wars Weekend” page mentions Summer of 2016.) I’ll include the response tweet below, and you can read the full interaction here. Personally, I have found Tom Corless and WDW News Today to be very reliable when it comes to “early” reporting of stories. Still, without official confirmation from Disney, I wrote the original article to say that it “appears” Star Wars Weekends would be replaced. In summary, though I think it would make logical sense for the event to go away as construction on Star Wars Land begins, and though I think WDW News Today has a solid track record on this kind of thing, I will let you make your own decision about what you think might happen.
@kivus I have spoken to people within the company, but Disney themselves is not ready for a formal announcement
Unfortunately, the above linked news reports give no indication that Season of the Force will feature the same interactions with Star Wars characters (and the celebrities who play them) that Star Wars Weekends used to. Instead, the reports only mention “special snacks”, “special merchandise”, and the previously mentioned new fireworks show as Season of the Force-only enhancements.
In addition to the restoration work and new paint inside the attraction, we added some enhanced special effects, including new cannons with water-based smoke and strobes for weather effects. There are also a handful of new scents to experience at different areas of the attraction.
We also took the opportunity to enhance the Audio Animatronic figures in this fan-favorite attraction at Magic Kingdom Park. Each character was rebuilt and fitted with new costumes and now appear even more realistic and authentic, including Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa.
Though I couldn’t resit WDW News Today images, I think I’m going to skip the various video ride-throughs of the ride that I’m sure will pop up over the next few days. I will wait to see all the changes, first hand, on my next trip.
Tom Corless of WDW News Today also reports that fan-favorite quick service restaurant, Pecos Bill, will be getting a whole new, Mexican food based menu. The change will reportedly occur during a 3 day closure that starts today, September 28, and lasts through my birthday, September 30. Tom also gave his theory on what this could mean for the future Tortuga Tavern on Twitter:
@easywdw yeah, I expect Tortuga might get a table service conversion next year
Based on what I’ve seen over the past couple of days, I would encourage you to keep an eye on WDW News Today for future development on the restaurant changes in Adventureland (Yes, I know Peco Bill is technically in Frontierland, but I always enter from the Adventureland side.) Personally, I can’t wait to hear more news about the upcoming Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen
Over at the WDW News Today Twitter Feed, someone (Tom Corless?) is giving an early look at the updates to Pirates of the Caribbean before it re-opens tomorrow (it’s in soft open now.) I’m sure there will be about 700 “reviews” of the changes in the next few days, but can you really wait that long?
A number of sites, including easyWDW and WDW News Today are reporting that the Jedi Training Academy will be closing for about 8 weeks on October 4th to revamp the show to tie in more with the Star Wars Rebels cartoon (admittedly, a really well done show.) For me, the biggest bummer is that Scout and Elyssa, Jr. will never be able to do this:
Tom also breaks down some of the entertainment schedule changes:
Fireworks are now 30 minutes later than in previous years, while the first parade is 20 minutes later and the second a full 45 minutes later than last year. There are 4 castle stage shows compared to the usual 3, likely because it is a new show for this year.