Welcome to the Holiday Season (according to the Disney calendar)! It’s our weekly round-up of all the Disney Parks news to come out within the past 7 days! No rumours or hearsay…just good old-fashioned official Disney announcements (and our personal commentary), broken down into bite-sized pieces so you can get all of the important info right at your fingertips. So, without further ado, please enjoy the November 4th, 2019 edition of New Week, New Dis!
Walt Disney World
New After Hours Dates Announced
Magic Kingdom Park
- January 23, 27 & 31
- February 3, 10, 17 & 24
- March 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30
- April 5, 13, 20 & 27
- May 5, 11, 18 & 25
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- January 9, 16, 22, 30 (already announced)
- February 6, 13, 19, 27 (already announced)
- March 5, 12, 19, 26 (already announced)
- April 1, 7, 14 & 22
- May 2, 9, 16, 19 & 26
The After Hours events are limited-ticket events that give guests an opportunity to experience the parks with very limited crowds. Almost all attractions have no (or next to no) wait times during the 3-hour event. Take a look at our review for the Magic Kingdom After Hours event here.
At $129 USD ($99 USD for Passholder and DVC Members), the price has gone up by $4 compared to last year. This makes them more expensive than some Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties. For the price, you do get complimentary ice cream snacks, popcorn and select drinks. Add to that, the fact that the park is next to empty and it can be worth it for some guests.
We believe all of the After Hours events are geared towards adults. There is no discount for kids, and a family of 4 is paying a hefty price just to stay up late and ride the rides.
Villains After Hours Dates Announced
Alongside the regular After Hours events, Disney is bringing back the popular Villains After Hours events at the Magic Kingdom. 24 event dates from February 7th to July 10th have been added to the calendar. This special After Hours event offers unique experiences throughout the park. The biggest addition to the event is the “Villains Unite the Night” stage show. Hades and Meg from “Hercules” are hosts for this show at the foot of Cinderella Castle. Other villains joining them onstage include Jafar, The Queen, Dr. Facilier and Maleficent.
Speaking of Maleficent, the other major draw to this event is the fact that the Maleficent dragon from the Festival of Fantasy Parade will make an appearance in the park, traveling along the usual parade route. Seeing it at night is a great photo opportunity and something you won’t experience any other time.
The rest of the event features other villain-inspired experiences, but also with complimentary snacks and low wait-times for rides. Think of it like a lite version of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, except the crowds are much, much lower.
The reason for the lower crowds is the fact that the event also has limited ticket sales. The 3-hour event does come in at a whopping $145 USD if you purchase in advance (Passholders and DVC Members pay $115 USD). This makes it the most expensive special event ticket that Disney has to offer. Similar to the regular After Hours events, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons. Yes, it’s a fairly unique opportunity, but it’s quite the pricey ticket.
New Mickey Meet-and-Greet in Epcot
Mickey Mouse will be moving from his current Epcot Character Spot greeting into a new home in early 2020. Just inside the entrance to the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival, Mickey will be meeting guests in a redesigned space. Some of Mickey’s feature roles in short films will also be added to the festival line-up.
While it’s unfortunate to break up the gang at the Epcot Character Spot, it’s not overly surprising that Disney is using the Epcot transformation to try and bring some new life to the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. Even when Captain EO was nearing its last days in the space, there weren’t exactly huge crowds trying to get in.
While the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival is a great place to relax and take a breather (especially with young kids on a hot summer day), the space has been under-utilized. The addition of a Mickey meet-and-greet will hopefully give the place a breath of fresh air and a much-needed upgrade.
Sneak Peak at the Holidays at Animal Kingdom
All sorts of brand-new festive entertainment is in store for Animal Kingdom during the holidays. Starting November 8th, 2019, guests will start to see the park full of unique lanterns adorning the buildings and special Holiday Tree of Life Awakenings shows in the evening.
The thing I’m looking forward to the most is the Discovery Island animal puppets that were announced. This week, Disney released a short video giving us a brief look at the new pieces:
They look incredible and I can’t wait to see them interacting with guests and each other over the holiday season.
Regal Eagle Smokehouse coming to Epcot
When the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot saw some construction walls go up, we learned that a new quick-service restaurant would be coming to the space. This week, Disney announced that the Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue would be opening up this winter. You can pretty much guess what will be featured here: Burgers, Pork, Chicken and Beef. If your mouth isn’t watering already, it will be soon.
Texas beef brisket, South Carolina smoked sausage, Kansas City smoked chicken, Memphis dry-rub pork ribs and North Carolina chopped smoked pork butt will certainly entice any barbecue fans out there. Plus, a burger topped with BBQ pork and a fried onion ring! Called a salute to barbecue, this smokehouse will also feature 4 different house-recipe sauces:
- Spicy Mop Sauce – inspired by Texas-style “mop”
- Sweet BBQ Sauce – inspired by classic dry rub seasonings
- Vinegar-based Sauce – inspired by North Carolina’s tradition of vinegar and pepper
- Tangy Mustard Sauce – often referred to as “Carolina Gold”
And for anyone wondering (like we were), a good ole Google search tells us that “mop” sauce is a thin liquid, often based on tomato juice, vinegar, apple cider, beer, or a combination of these ingredients, that’s brushed or “mopped” onto food numerous times during cooking.
Break out the bibs and wet-naps, this winter will see some brand-new barbecue make its way to Epcot.
Lunar New Year Returns
In 2020, Disney California Adventure park will celebrate Lunar New Year from January 17th to February 9th. Commemorating traditions from Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures, this celebration features an array of cuisine, décor, activities and multicultural performances.
It’s the Year of the Mouse, bringing good fortune and some unique experiences, including “Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession”, a bright and bold performance featuring Mulan as your host, alongside her signature dragon-pal Mushu.
Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival
2020 will also see the return of the Food & Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure park. From February 28th to April 21st, more than a dozen Festival Marketplaces will pop up. Each marketplace features small plates, specialty wines and craft beers. Fans of Epcots Food & Wine Festival should already have a sense of what this festival has to offer over in California. Live entertainment, culinary demonstrations and seminars and, of course, a host of unique dishes to try.
Disney Cruise Line
Enchancements to the Disney Wonder
This week, Disney Cruise Line gave us an inside look at new spaces opened on the Disney Wonder. The newest signature area on the ship is the French Quarter Lounge, giving guests of all ages a place to immerse themselves in the world of Princess Tiana. The Wonder also unveiled the Cove Café, and adults-only lounge, and a redesigned Vibe – a place built exclusively for teens: