The 8 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (October 2-8, 2017)

This week at Walt Disney World, an upcharge experience outside the Magic Kingdom returns after a hiatus, a new attraction opens in Tomorrowland, and new discounts for 2018 are announced.

Outside Walt Disney World, SeaWorld eyes a potential (partial) buyer, plus Universal makes some changes to its Bill and Ted show.

1. Magic Kingdom Ferrytale Fireworks upcharge returns to the Magic Kingdom

Wishes Fireworks
Image: Disney

Back in 2015 Disney introduced a upcharge event that allowed guests to cruise on one of the Seven Seas Lagoon’s Ferryboats and enjoy desserts and drinks with the night’s fireworks spectacular. And now it looks like this event has returned for 2017.

Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparking Dessert Cruise will once again be available for guests beginning December 1 2017, and will set sail every Friday and Sunday through January 28 2018.The event begins 75 minutes prior to the start of Happily Ever After fireworks, and lasts for 90 minutes.

Reservations are now available and can be made online or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Admission costs $99 for adults and $69 for kids aged 3-9, per person, including tax and gratuity. A 10% discount is available for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Members.

2. Refurbishment for Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away scheduled

Earlier this year Star Wars: A Galaxy Far Far Away closed for refurbishment to allow for the installation of mobile stages. However, for whatever reason this installation was unsuccessful, and the current, stationary stage was re-added to the front of the park. However, it looks like Disney is re-attempting this refurbishment, with the attraction now scheduled to be closed from October 10 through October 23 2017. Interestingly, during this refurbishment characters that normally appear as part of the show will be meeting guests around the park.

3. Stitch’s “Alien Encounter” Character Greeting now open

Image: Disney

Eagle-eyed guests who visited the Magic Kingdom last week may have noticed that the signage for Stitch’s Great Escape has been removed from Tomorrowland, and has been replaced by a sign that says Stitch’s Alien Encounter Character Greeting. And now this new(ish) experience is open for guests to experience daily inside Tomorrowland.

 4. More seasonal treats now available for fall

Image: Disney

Now that fall is in full swing, several Disney Springs locations are offering seasonal treats for guests. First up is Vivoli il Gelato, which is offering a number of limited time seasonal specialties like “The Nutty Ghost” sundae & fresh pumpkin gelato.

Next up is D-Luxe Burger, which is offering a Pumpkin milkshake as its seasonal flavor for October.

Finally, in celebration of Oktoberfest, Disney Springs has introduced a limited time the Bratwurst and Spaetzel dish at the B.B. Wolf’s kiosk and a rich Oktoberfest Poutine (made with crumbled bratwurst, cheese curds, and gravy made with stout beer) at The Daily Poutine kiosk.

5. Yachtsman Steakhouse now serving casual breakfast and lunch

Image: Disney

The Yacht and Beach Club will be opening the all-new Ale and Compass restaurant and lounge later this month, and in preparation for this opening the temporary location for The Captain’s Grille is now permanently closed. However, as this new restaurant isn’t quite open yet, the Yachtsman Steakhouse is offering a casual breakfast and lunch service with menu items like a fried egg sandwich, a pastry board, Omelet or Mickey Waffles for breakfast, and lunch options including Grilled Chicken Salad, Blackened Fish Tacos, Grilled Chicken Sandwich or a Shaved Beef Sandwich. This is not intended to be a permanent offering and will only be available through October.

6. New Disney discounts for 2018 now available

Disney is once again offering its Play, Stay, Dine Package offer in early 2018, which allows guests to save on packages that include room, theme park tickets, and dining. Guests will need to book this package through December 22, 2017, with travel dates between January 1 and March 10, 2018. Here are the details

  • The Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan is included with Value Resort hotel packages, and guests will receive 40% off the full price
  • The Disney Dining Plan is included with Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resort hotel packages, and guests who book this package will receive 45% off the full price, as well as a small < 10 % room discount.
  • Minimum length of stay is 3 nights, the maximum is 14 nights
  • Offer excludes the following resorts: Port Orleans – French Quarter, All Star Movies, Villas at Grand Floridian, Bay Lake Tower, Bungalows at Polynesian Bungalows & Villas, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins, Little Mermaid (i.e. Standard) rooms at Art of Animation Resort, Campsites and 3-bedroom villas.

Disney is also offering a “kid-sized” version of this deal that includes two adults and one child under 9, but the discount for this promotion is identical to the regular deal.

If you are looking for a room-only discount in early 2018, Walt Disney World has you covered through the Gift of Magic offer in early 2018. This offer allows guests to save up to 25% off the room portion of a package at official Walt Disney World resorts for most dates from January 1st through April 4th, 2018 (booked by December 22, 2017) with no minimum stay required. Savings is based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Here’s the discount breakdown:

  • Up to 15% off most Value resort rooms
  • Up to 20% off most Moderate resort rooms
  • Up to 25% off most Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resort rooms

Like with the Play, Stay and Dine package, Disney is also offering a “kid-sized” version of this deal that includes two adults and one child under 9, but like the package deal the discount for this promotion is identical to the regular deal, and it makes no difference which one you book.

7. LEGOLAND owner Merlin reportedly interested in purchasing Busch Gardens

Cheetah Hunt from a distance

Image: Busch Gardens

Merlin, which owns Legoland parks across the world, has reportedly made a bid for part of SeaWorld according to the Orlando Sentinel, potentially just the Busch Gardens parks. This could be an issue as SeaWorld prefers an outright sale, but with the parks in such dire straits, reports indicate that SeaWorld is exploring the possibility. According to those with knowledge of the situation, Merlin’s corporate policy does not allow for the keeping of marine mammals, so a full sale would simply not be possible. However, if a deal can be struck for Busch Gardens, we could see some major shakeups for the global theme park landscape very soon, as Merlin is already the second-largest theme park operator around the world (Disney is first),and such an addition could give Merlin a real shot at being number one.

8. Universal Studios Florida makes changes to Bill and Ted show following Las Vegas tragedy

Bill &amp;amp;amp; Ted

Image: Universal

According to several sources Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure has made several modifications to their script in light of the recent tragedy in Las Vegas. References to music festivals and the death of one of the characters have been removed, and are not expected to return before the end of the event in November.

 

-Courtesy of our friends at Theme Park Tourist and Amanda Kondolojy, October 8, 2017

 

 

 

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Don Korta

Tina & Don Korta are parents to 7 children and 4 grand children along with being the Owners of "Destinations with Character Travel".

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