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 October 7, 2019 edition of New Week, New Dis!
Walt Disney World
Kids Dining Offer
This week, Disney announced a new vacation package offer directed at families with kids (ages 3-9). When you buy a non-discounted 3-night/3-day package for you and the kid(s) that includes a room at a select Disney Value Resort hotel, theme park tickets and a dining plan, you will receive the kids (ages 3-9) dining plan for free. This special offer is valid for arrivals most nights from Jan. 1 – March 7, 2020 when you book through Jan. 1, 2020. Plus, receive one “Frozen Welcome Pack” which includes themed merchandise, one stroller rental for the duration of the stay, a photo and tasty treats. Guests may also ask about packages for other lengths of stay.
All in all, this can be a savings for families already planning on getting a dining plan, but it may not be worth it for Canadians who were not planning on using any Disney Dining Plan. Right now, getting the Canadian Resident Ticket offer may be a better savings, but be sure to check them both out to see which is the better offer for you. That is one of the benefits of having a Travel Agent who specializes in Disney Vacations…they can find the better offer for you and save you the hassle.
Disney Skyliner Incident
We couldn’t go this week without mentioning an unfortunate incident involving the new Disney Skyliner. An issue with the gondolas knocking into one another at the Riviera Resort station stranded many passengers on the Epcot line this week. Some guests waited hours before eventually being evacuated. Thankfully, Disney has emergency kits inside each gondola for guests who are left waiting, but it was a sour note to end Disney’s first week of operation for the Skyliner.
While we don’t know much information, Disney has closed the Skyliner until they can determine what the issue was and verify that it is safe to operate again. Until they have finished inspecting the Skyliner, we won’t know when it may return to operation. I can only hope this was a glitch or a blip in the system for Disney as they did extensive testing for months prior to its initial launch. We’ll post more when we know more.
Epcot Experience Opens
This week, with the arrival of Epcot Forever, the new nighttime spectacular, the Epcot Experience also made its debut. This immersive space gives guests an artistic glimpse at the changes coming to Epcot over the next few years. Highlighting new attractions, reimagined areas and more, this space shows a continuous 12-minute film on a 360-degree screen focusing on the new additions. The new attraction posters, alongside historical Epcot artifacts are also on display as well as a Photo spot to give the illusion you’re standing on top of Spaceship Earth.
Early Morning Magic returns to the Magic Kingdom
Starting November 13th, Early Morning Magic will return to the Magic Kingdom. This separate-ticket event gives guests exclusive access to select Fantasyland attractions as well as breakfast in the park. As always, attractions are subject to change, but Early Morning Magic usually features Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Princess Fairytale Hall, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, it’s a small world, Mad Tea Party and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. Event-only access to the attractions runs from 7:45am-9am with breakfast at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café available from 8am-10am.
In addition to a regular park ticket, this event costs $89 USD per adult and $79 per child. It’s not cheap, but it’s essentially a breakfast and over an hour in Fantasyland with practically no wait time (Seven Dwarfs can still be 5 to 10 minutes depending on attendance. While we know it can appeal to guests who want to do everything in Fantasyland, an effective use of Extra Magic Hours can also be just as beneficial. You’ll have to weigh the costs/benefits for your own vacations. Currently, the dates for Early Morning Magic are listed until early April 2020, but if Disney continues the After Hours Events, we think that may be a better use of your money if your sole goal is to get on attractions.
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party announced
In a celebration of the season, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is making its return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. From November 8th 2019 to January 5th 2020, this projection show and fireworks spectacular takes the place of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular over the holidays. With the return of the show comes the return of the dessert party, featuring warm cheese fondue with pretzel bread, Yule Log cake, Caramel apple verrine, not to mention a host of different cookies. Chip and Dale are also present as a character greeting throughout the event. When it’s time for the show, guests are escorted to a VIP viewing area to see both the “Wonderful World of Animation” as well as Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
Prices range from $89-$99 USD per adult and $53-$59 USD per child (3-9). If you have been to Walt Disney World a number of times, this is a special way to add more magic to your vacation, though we don’t typically recommend it for first-timers as you miss out on some valuable park time and there are plenty of great viewing points for non-dessert party guests. If it sounds like something for you, head over to Disney’s website to make your reservations!
Guests who utilize Disney’s PhotoPass service and have purchased the Memory Maker for their vacations (or are annual passholders) now have an option of purchasing a USB backup of all their photos. For $34.95 USD, plus taxes and shipping, guests can get a USB flash drive containing their photos and have it shipped home.
It’s not overly expensive, but it is an added cost. Essentially it just prevents you from having to download all of your photos and back them up on a flash drive yourself. If you think that’s too tedious or too technical, then the USB might be the perfect purchase for you. For everyone else, you can probably save yourselves a few dollars and do the backing up on your own.
New Avengers Experience comes to the VOID
In Downtown Disney, the VOID has continued to be a hidden gem for guests who are looking for a hyper-reality experience. The VOID is now debuting a brand-new experience for guests to try – Avengers: Damage Control. This new story enlists guests to test Shuri’s latest prototype design, Emergency Response Suits. Combining Stark and Wakandan tech, guests are recruited to fight side by side with Avengers like Doctor Strange, the Wasp, Ant-Man and more!
Having experienced Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, I’m personally really jazzed about a new adventure. The VOID is unlike any virtual reality I have ever tried and it’s so immersive that I have a hard time explaining it to friends. Think virtual reality beyond just one room and with real sensations and props to interact with. Check out the VOID for more information!
Reimagining Tower of Terror
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disneyland Paris is set to debut three new storylines this Fall. Still under the Twilight Zone umbrella, these new stories will feature a “precocious young girl” as the starring character. She will implore guests not to cross over into the Twilight Zone, but when her warnings are ignored, expect the same level of thrill ahead. Three separate ride sequences will be created using brand-new illusions, audio soundtracks and media sequences.
As someone who loves the original story for Tower of Terror, I’m extremely excited to see the Disney Imagineers add a new story, while still keeping it with the Twilight Zone theme. I understand Disneyland in California making the change to support the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, but there’s something so iconic and classic Hollywood about the original Tower of Terror and I love seeing it preserved here for future generations.