The 10 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (June 19-25, 2017)

This week at Walt Disney World, two refurbishments get extended, Epcot releases the schedule for this year’s Eat to the Beat concert schedule, plus a surprising Disney Dining Plan perk for 2018 is announced

Outside Walt Disney World, a new dining experience is announced for one of Universal Orlando Resort’s hotels, plus SeaWorld Orlando quietly re-opens a reimagined animal exhibit.

1. Refurbishments for Hall of Presidents and Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away extended

This week was supposed to see the reopening of two attractions currently down for refurbishment: the Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom and the Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away, but it looks like these openings have been delayed. And while the Star Wars show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios should return in just a few weeks, with some stage improvements, it looks like there is no date yet for when the Hall of Presidents might reopen, as there are reportedly some issues behind the scenes with the latest update to this attraction.

2. Disney releases pricing information for new, expanded dining plan for 2018

One of the big incentives Walt Disney World offers its resort guests every year is the Disney Dining Plan, which is only available for those staying on property and may or may not be a good deal for hungry guests looking to save some moneydepending on who you ask. Earlier this week Disney released details about updates to this plan for next year, and in addition to the usual price hike, Disney also surprised us by introducing a new perk as well: beginning next year guests using the Disney Dining Plan will be able to use their beverage entitlement (at either quick service or table service locations) to order “specialty” beverages with their meals, including alcohol for guests 21 and over. You can read more about this development here.

3. DisneyQuest auction set to take place July 4

Image: Disney

It’s hard to believe, but there’s just over a week left for guests to experience DisneyQuest, which will close forever after its final day of operation on July 2. And now we know what will happen to some of the video games inside this location: beginning on July 4th at 7:00 AM and lasting through July 6th at 9:00 AM, Disney Cast Members will have the opportunity to take home a piece of this attraction by purchasing arcade games from the iconic indoor interactive theme park through an online auction. A portion of all proceeds will support local charities, and this special auction is only available for currently-employed Cast Members.

4. Dockside Margaritas at Disney Springs to feature Adventurer’s Club cocktails items for a limited time

Image: Disney

From June 29th through September 28th, the Dockside Margaritas location at Disney Springs will be celebrating Throwback Thursday every week with four different drinks from Downtown Disney past, including the “Kungaloosh” from the Adventures Club.

5. Performers announced for the 2017 Eat to the Beat concert series at Epcot

Image: Disney

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival begins in just two months on August 31st, and Epcot has gone ahead and announced the full Eat to the Beat concert lineup for this year’s event. As in years past, performances take place at 5:30 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:00 PM daily, and are included in Epcot admission. This year has a number of new performers, including Kenny G, Postmodern Jukebox, Blue October and more.

Here is the complete line-up:

  • 8/31 – 9/1 – Delta Rae (“Bottom of the River”)
  • 9/2 – 9/3 – The Hooters (“And We Danced”) NEW
  • 9/4 – 9/5 – Baha Men (“Who Let the Dogs Out”) NEW
  • 9/6 – 9/7 – Fuel (“Shimmer”)
  • 9/8 – 9/20 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas (“We Built This City”)
  • 9/11 – 9/12 – Lauren Alaina (“Road Less Traveled”) NEW
  • 9/13 – 9/15 – Plain White T’s (“Hey There Delilah”)
  • 9/16 – 9/17 – Sister Hazel (“All For You”)
  • 9/18 – 9/20 – Air Supply (“All Out Of Love”)
  • 9/21 – 9/22 – David Cook (“Light On”)
  • 9/25 – 9/27 – Sugar Ray (“Every Morning)
  • 9/28 – 9/29 – .38 Special (“Hold On Loosely”)
  • 9/30 – 10/1 – Mark Wills (“19 Somethin’”)
  • 10/2 – 10/3 – American Authors (“Best Day of My Life”)
  • 10/4 – 10/5 – Christopher Cross (“Sailing”)
  • 10/6 – 10/8 – Devon Allman (“Rugged ad Dirty”) NEW
  • 10/9 – 10/11 – Dennis DeYoung: The music of STYX (“Come Sail Away”)
  • 10/12 – 10/13 – Taylor Dayne (“Tell It To My Heart”)
  • 10/14 – 10/15 – Jeffrey Osborne (“On The Wings of Love”)
  • 10/16 – 10/17 – Postmodern Jukebox (Various Hits) NEW
  • 10/18 – 10/20 – 10,000 Maniacs (“Because the Night”) NEW
  • 10/21 – 10/22 – Toad The Wet Sprocket (“Walk on the Ocean”)
  • 10/23 – 10/24 – Kenny G (“Songbird”) NEW
  • 10/25 – 10/26 – Billy Ocean (“Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car”)
  • 10/27 – 10/29 – Tiffany (“I Think We’re Alone Now”)
  • 11/2 – 11/3 – Blue October (“Into The Ocean”) NEW
  • 11/4 – 11/5 – Living Colour (“Cult of Personality”)
  • 11/6 – 11/8 – Boyz II Men (“End of the Road”)
  • 11/9 – 11/11 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (“Go Daddy-O”)
  • 11/12 – 11/13 – Squeeze (“Tempted”) NEW

6. Nightly Extra Magic Hours extended at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Image: Disney Earlier this year Disney made the unprecedented announcement that resort guests would have daily access to Pandora – The World of Avatar after park closing for nightly Extra Magic Hours inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And while this offering was originally scheduled through mid-July, it has proven to be incredibly successful, and last week it was confirmed that Disney has extended this special offering into mid-August. In addition, Disney has added extra Rivers of Light showings during these nightly events as well.

7. FuelRod Kiosks expand to Walt Disney World hotels

 

Image: FuelRods

Last year Disney started installing FuelRod kiosks that allowed guests to purchase fully-charged FuelRod portable charging device for $30. These kits include a FuelRod charger, 6” USB Type-A to micro-USB cable (compatible with most Android devices), an Apple 30-pin to USB cable (compatible with iPhone 4S and below), and an Apple Lightning to USB cable (used for iPhone 5 and above). And perhaps most conveniently, guests can exchange depleted chargers at any FuelRod kioks for another fully charged FuelRod charger instantly whenever they would like, for as long as they want.

This addition has proved to be quite a hit, with Disney installing almost a dozen additional FuelRod stations around the theme parks and Disney Springs over the last year. And now, to cope with even more demand, Disney has installed FuelRod kiosks at every single resort, effective this week.

8. Lowe’s Sapphire Falls at Universal Orlando Resort adds Caribbean dinner show

Image: Loews 

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando Resort has added a weekly dinner show named Caribbean Carnaval which will take place every Wednesday at the resort’s Cayman Court, a covered, open-air pavilion. This special experience includes an all-you-can-eat buffet, select drinks (including Planter’s Punch) and colorful entertainment featuring musicians and dancers who represent a 45-minute tour through the Caribbean. Cost for adults is $69 per guest ($35 for ages 3-9).

9. SeaWorld quietly reopens dolphin nursery

Image: SeaWorld

Without almost any announcement whatsoever, SeaWorld Orlando quietly reopened the completely redesigned Dolphin Nursery, which now includes a new underwater viewing area, and information screen. As in the past, trainers are on hand to feed the animals and give periodic talks about the baby dolphins.

10. Aquatica hosts world’s largest swim lesson

Image: SeaWorld

Aquatica hosted the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson last week on Thursday, June 22nd, with guests helping set a world record for most people participating in a swimming lesson. U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines was onsite to lend a helping hand with the lesson and meet participants. Each park Guest that participated received a special certificate upon completion.

 

 

-From Theme Park Tourist, June 25, 2017 by Amanda Kondolojy

 

 

 

 

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