The 9 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (June 5-11, 2017)

This week at Walt Disney World, Disney confirms plans for its D23 Expo, a big MyMagic+ loophole is closed, plus a Disney Springs closure is confirmed and a stealthy price hike takes effect!

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort expands its virtual queue system, the Aventura hotel is detailed, plus LEGOLAND announces a new free pass offer.

1. Star Wars Land to get extensively detailed at D23 Expo

Image: Disney

Though we already figured Disney would use the upcoming D23 Expo to give us a first look at its plans for Star Wars Land, it looks like Disney will actually be providing the first real look inside this new land during this event, as it was announced this week that guests attending this year’s event will be able to explore an entire pavilion dedicated to the Star Wars-themed lands coming to both Disneyland park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which will have artwork, models, and more based on these under construction lands.

2. Disney cracks down on unauthorized FastPass+ usage

This week Disney closed a MyMagic+ loophole that was allowing guests to book FastPass+ reservations through My Disney Experience using an unexpired ticket or a MagicBand without any attached admission, and then use those FastPasses in the park. However, Disney has now added a stipulation that guests must use the same account to both make FastPass+ selections and gain entry into the park on the day the FastPass+ selections are to be used.

Guests who have previously made FastPass+ selections on tickets not used for theme park admission on same day may see their My Disney Experience app temporarily locked, and the app will prompt them to call the My Disney Experience Support Center to solve the issue.

3. Disney Pixar Short Film Festival gets short refurbishment this week

The Disney Pixar Short film festival will be going on a quick hiatus this week, as a last-minute refurbishment was confirmed to be beginning Monday June 12th. However, this refurbishment won’t last long, as this attraction will reopen to guests on June 19th. It is unknown what, if any, changes are being made to this attraction during this weeklong temporary closure.

4. Mobile Order comes to the Magic Kingdom

Cosmic Rays

Image: Disney

After expanding to Pizzafari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom earlier this week, it was announced that the new Mobile Order system will be coming to the following five Magic Kingdom restaurants this summer:

  • Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
  • Pinocchio Village Haus
  • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café
  • Columbia Harbour House

5. Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe to close forever in a few weeks

Image: Disney

It has been confirmed that the Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe, which is located at Disney Springs’ West Side near the AMC movie theater, will be closing forever on August 1, 2017. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as this location had kind of gotten lost in the shuffle with all of the other dining options that have been recently introduced at Disney Springs. However, the good news here is that, at least for now, there are no plans to close the Wolfgang Puck Express in the Marketplace area of Disney Springs, and Disney is actually planning to open a new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in the Town Center area as well sometime next year, so this franchise isn’t totally disappearing forever.

6. Memory Maker goes up in price

Cinderella Castle Photographer

Image: Disney

Earlier this week Disney unexpectedly increased the price for its Memory Maker PhotoPass add-on by a moderate amount. Previously the price for the standard Memory Maker product was $169, but guests were able to purchase this unlimited photo download service at a discount if they bought it three days in advance or more for $149.

However, under the new pricing scheme (which is unfortunately already in effect) the cost for this add on has increased to $199 for the standard Memory Maker add-on. Guests who purchase in advance will be still be able to get a discount, but will now have to pay $169, which was of course the full price just a week ago.

Olaf Magic Shot

Image: Disney

Though this revelation may come with a bit of sticker shock, the silver lining is that Memory Maker still remains a free “perk” for annual passholders, which is yet another reason why visitors to Walt Disney World may want to consider buying an annual pass during their next visit to the resort, even if they don’t live in Florida.

7. The Fast and the Furious – Supercharged confirmed to open at Universal Studios Florida next year and use queue-less technology

Image: Universal

Over at Universal Studios Florida, it was announced that the new Fast & Furious – Supercharged attraction is now officially scheduled to open in Spring 2018. However, perhaps more interestingly, it was also confirmed that this new attraction will use the Virtual Line experience first pioneered in the Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon attraction, which requires guests to reserve a ride time in advance if they want to experience it. There will not be a standby option.

This is certainly an interesting development, as Universal has already made a big gamble on virtual queues with its new Volcano Bay water park, which was built from the ground up without lines, with mixed results so far. However, it looks like Universal Orlando Resort is going full steam ahead with its plan to offer an experience that echoes that of Walt Disney World’s FastPass+, and Fast & Furious – Supercharged will be furthering that goal when it opens early next year.

8. Additional details and rates released for Aventura Hotel

Though we have another year to wait before Universal Orlando Resort’s Aventura Hotel opens in summer 2018, Universal released the 360-degree YouTube video above, which showcases the exterior and interior of the 600-room hotel that will be located near the new Volcano Bay water park.

And if you like what you see, reservations for the hotel are being accepted now for stays beginning August 1, 2018. Room rates start at $97 a night for a seven-night stay or $116 a night for four nights. And for those who want to get a jump on their vacations but don’t want to break the bank, Universal has announced that seven-night stays for Aug. 1-Dec. 20, 2018 if booked by Sept. 30, 2017 will also include a $100 dining credit while four-night stays will include a $50 dining credit.

9. LEGOLAND Florida teacher pass now available


In celebration of the end of the school year, LEGOLAND Florida has announced that all certified teachers in the state are able to enjoy a free “Teacher Pass,” which offers a year of unlimited admission to all Merlin attractions in Florida, including LEGOLAND Florida theme park and the attached water park, the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and the SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando.

The Florida Teacher Pass is available to all educators that are currently certified by the Florida Department of Education who teach grades pre-K through 12, and guests wanting to take advantage of this offer will need to bring a recent paystub, current Florida photo ID, and valid FDOE Professional or Temporary Certificate to the ticket window at the entrance of LEGOLAND Florida, The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, or SEA LIFE Orlando. You can learn more here.



-From Theme Park Tourist, June 11, 2017 by Amanda Kondolojy



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