Category Archives: Walt Disney World

News & discussion from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Hurricane Irma – Summary of Impact

Hurricane Irma kept us in suspense for over a week as we watched her strengthen and slowly move across the Atlantic.  Even in her last throes she surprised us with a move inland and aimed more directly at central Florida than was predicted.

The Walt Disney World resort closed all four parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, and sensitive locations like Fort Wilderness beginning over the weekend.  The airport and parks remained closed Sunday to Monday.  The strongest part of the storm hit overnight and brought landscaping damage, some water and minor building damage.  The four parks reopened, with some rides still temporarily closed, on Tuesday, September 12.  MCO began limited operations on Tuesday, with full operations beginning as airlines and staff return.

rain at riverside

Summer rain storm – not Irma

Going forward, the resort will continue to be cleaned up and gradually reach full, normal operations.  If you have a vacation planned for the near future, you will find most of your visit run as usual.

Airlines will take some time to recover from mass cancellations across Florida.  Check your flight status directly with your airline as you approach your trip so you are aware of any changes before arriving at the airport.

Disney Cruise Line shortened a Dream Bahamian cruise and a Fantasy Caribbean cruise to return to Port Canaveral early on Thursday, September 7.  The ships sheltered in Cozumel during the storm.  Two Bahamian cruises aboard the Dream and 1 Caribbean sailing on the Fantasy were cancelled.

Port Canaveral is steadily preparing to reopen to cruise traffic.  The ships should pick up their regular schedules on September 15 and 16 for the Dream and Fantasy respectively.

Itinerary changes have not been announced, but are expected.  The US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, which are the backbone of an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, were badly hit by Irma’s Category 5 ferocity.  See a satellite view of the destruction from NASA.

We hope you, dear reader, are safe at home.  Our thoughts go out to everyone impacted by Irma as well as Harvey.  Thank you to all the Cast who worked through the storm and kept everyone safe!

What to Expect: 2018 Walt Disney World

Picking the dates of your Walt Disney World vacation is one the first decisions you’ll make.  If you’re not sure when you’d like to travel and would like an easy overview to help you decide, you’re in the right place!  Already selected your trip dates and want a little more insight into that time of the year?  Scroll down to find out more!

(Event dates accurate as of 8/2017. Some events have not released 2018 dates and will be updated as more info becomes available.)

January

  • Marathon Weekend January 3-7
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 15
  • Pro Bowl in Orlando Jan 28
  • Festival of the Arts in Epcot starting January 12. New for 2018, this occurs all week with special entertainment on the weekends.
  • Crowds higher through the first weekend after New Year’s and around MLK Day
  • Ride and hotel pool refurbishments common.  One water park closed for annual maintenance.
  • Blizzard Beach closed through January 6.  Typhoon Lagoon closes January 7.
  • Weather can vary, be sure to check forecasts and pack accordingly.  Cold weather, 50s and below, can close the only open water park.

February

  • Mardis Gras February 13
  • President’s Day February 19
  • Princess Half Marathon February 22-25
  • Festival of the Arts in Epcot ends February 19. New for 2018, this occurs all week with special entertainment on the weekends.
  • Crowds higher around Mardis Gras and President’s Day, otherwise a slow month.
  • Ride and hotel pool refurbishments common.  One water park, Typhoon Lagoon, closed for annual maintenance.
  • Weather can vary, be sure to check forecasts and pack accordingly.  Cold weather, 50s and below, can close the only open water park.

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My High and Low of 2017 D23 Expo Announcements

If you haven’t heard, more announcements than I can count on two hands were made at 2017’s D23 Expo.  Many of these have been floating around as rumors for some time, but some took me by complete surprise.  If you need a refresher on the announcements, here is a recap post from the Disney Parks Blog.

Out of all the announcements made, here are the highs and lows I can’t stop thinking about!

High
Third ship added to Disney Cruise Line expansion
Last year Disney Cruise Line announced two new ships (similar in size to the Dream and Fantasy) that would launch in 2021 and 2023.  DCL has been quiet since the announcement, so a surprise third ship due in 2022 is icing on my I’m-excited-by-the-idea cake.  So little is known about this expansion it’s hard to be excited about specifics.  I remember when the Dream and Fantasy launched in 2011 and 2012 and I’m ecstatic to see more ships expand the line.  I can’t wait to see what destinations and experiences this brings to Disney Cruise Line!

Space restaurant in Epcot
Normally I give a big eye roll to restaurant announcements for Epcot, but the new space themed restaurant near Mission Space has me pumped.  The kid inside me, who wished to go to space camp, who watched Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century more times than you could guess, cannot wait for opening day!  I don’t care what space food they feed me, I’m ready to make my reservation!

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innkeepers club lounge

Boardwalk Innkeepers Club Review

The Innkeepers Club is the concierge level of the Boardwalk Inn.  Club Level at Walt Disney World hotels involves a designated set of rooms, pre-arrival concierge services, on-site concierge desk, and Club Lounge.

The Innkeepers Club is located on the 4th floor of the Boardwalk Inn.  Most of the Club Level rooms are located inside the keyed access door (use your Magic Band to open) next to the Club desk.  A few rooms on floor 4 and 3 are located outside of the controlled access hallway, and all of the Garden rooms are located on the ground level below this. There are Standard Rooms that sleep up to 5 +1 child under 3 and face the Boardwalk or the Gardens/leisure pool. There is a Deluxe Room that sleeps 6 adults +1 child under 3 that face the Boardwalk. The Garden Rooms sleep 2 +1 child under 3. A few special suites are also part of the Innkeepers Club.

boardwalk

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Fall 2017 Walt Disney World Discount

New room discounts were released for select dates October through December 2017!  There are also package versions of this same discount.  Some weekend and holiday check-in dates are excluded from the discount.

If you’re thinking of a trip this year, now is the time to book!  Some popular travel dates are already sold out at many hotels, so the earlier you can book the more options you’ll have for your hotel and room type selection.  Request your free Walt Disney World Quote today!

Magical Holidays 2017 Room Discount

You can save up to 20%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort Hotels for stays most nights Oct. 8-Dec. 24, 2017.

Booking and Travel Windows:

  • Book by Oct. 7 for stays most nights Oct. 8-Dec. 24, 2017.
  • Book by Dec. 24, 2017 for stays most nights Dec. 8-24, 2017.

When you stay at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you’ll enjoy benefits like first access to Disney FastPass+**planning, complimentary MagicBandsExtra Magic Hours in a Theme Park each day to enjoy select attractions (valid Theme Park admission and Resort ID required), complimentary transportation and standard parking, plus more!

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional adult per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas, campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid standard rooms. 20% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings may be available for other Disney Resort hotels.

**Valid Theme Park admission and online registration required. Disney FastPass+ attractions and entertainments experiences, the number of selections you can make and available arrival windows are limited.

Book 2018 Walt Disney World Vacations

2018 Walt Disney World rooms and packages are now available for booking!  From the initial release, rooms are only available 499 in advance.  By August 19, 2017 all 2018 Walt Disney World hotel rooms will be available to book.

There are some changes to the Magical Extras included with Magic Your Way Packages.  Changes to these discounts are normal.

The big news for 2018 packages is a change to all Dining Plans.  New for 2018, your beverage credit at quick service and table service meals may be redeemed for alcoholic drinks (age 21 and over, photo ID required, where available.)  Here are the new options for meal beverage redemption-

  • Soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Hot chocolate
  • Smoothie
  • Milkshake
  • Beer or cider*
  • Wine or sangria*
  • Mixed drinks*
    *Must be 21 and over, photo ID required

Note that these new drinks options are only for meal credits.  You cannot redeem a snack credit for an alcoholic beverage.  Redeeming your meal drink for an alcoholic beverage results in 1 single serving drink.

One change that is not unique to 2018, but will affect all 2018 packages, is the new ticket structure.  Ticket add-on options have been streamlined, allowing you to select Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus.  The new Park Hopper Plus ticket includes admissions to Disney’s two water parks.

Another prior change that continues for 2018 is that 1-Day theme park tickets cannot be included in a Magic Your Way Package.  If you need only a 1-Day ticket you will buy your ticket separately from your room accommodations.

Memory Maker can currently be added with an advance purchase discount at $169.  Adding Memory Maker to your package is a great way to lock in the price while benefiting from package payment policies.  Memory Maker that is added within 3 days of usage is priced at $199.  Memory Maker allows you to download all of your Photopass photos, including on-ride photos!

We’re ready and waiting to send you a free, no-obligation quote for your 2018 Walt Disney World vacation!  It’s ideal to book 6 months or more in advance for best hotel availability, so now is the perfect time to start planning your next Disney vacation!

2017 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tickets

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets are now on sale!  Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place on select dates in November and December.  The party features themed entertainment, characters, cookies, a unique parade and fireworks.  These parties take place in the Magic Kingdom from 7 pm to midnight and the park is closed to all non-ticketed guests.

Save time and money by purchasing your tickets in advance.  Parties can sell out, especially the most popular dates, so be sure to purchase in advance.

There are three options for free ticket delivery.  Print at home is quick and easy.  Standard domestic US delivery is free via USPS.  Will call allows you to pick up a ticket on property.

2017 party dates and prices are listed below.  Prices do not include tax.  Party tickets are purchased separately from vacation packages and are non-refundable.  Party tickets can be linked  in My Disney Experience.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2017

November 12, 14, 16 – $89/adult, $84/child 3-9 advance purchase

November 9 – $94/adult, $89/child 3-9 advance purchase

November 10, 17, 26, 28; December 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17 – $95/adult, $90/child 3-9 advance purchase

December 8, 15 – $99/adult, $94/child 3-9 advance purchase

December 19, 21, 22 – $109/adult, $104/child 3-9 advance purchase

If you’re planning to visit Walt Disney World at the end of this year, book now before your favorite hotel sells out.  Submit your quote request today!

2017 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tickets

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets are now on sale!  Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party takes place on select dates in August, September, October, and 1 date in November.  The party features themed entertainment, characters, trick or treating, a unique parade and fireworks.  These parties take place in the Magic Kingdom from 7 pm to midnight and the park is closed to all non-ticketed guests.

Save time and money by purchasing your tickets in advance.  Parties can sell out, especially the most popular dates, so be sure to purchase in advance.

There are three options for free ticket delivery.  Print at home is quick and easy.  Standard domestic US delivery is free via USPS. Will call allows you to pick up a ticket on property.

2017 party dates and prices are listed below.  Prices do not include tax.  Party tickets are purchased separately from vacation packages and are non-refundable.  Party tickets can be linked  in My Disney Experience.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

August 25, 29; September 1, 7, 10, 12, 17, 24 – $74/adult, $69/child 3-9 advance purchase

September 19, 26 – $79/adult, $74/child 3-9 advance purchase

September 15, 22, 29; October 1 – $88/adult, $83/child 3-9 advance purchase

October 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26; November 1 – $94/adult, $89/child 3-9 advance purchase

October 6, 13, 20, 27, 29 – $99/adult, $94/child 3-9 advance purchase

October 31 – $115/adult, $110/child 3-9 advance purchase

If you’re planning to visit Walt Disney World this fall, don’t delay in booking your package to secure your preferred hotel.  Submit your quote request today!

Fall 2017 Room Discounts

A new Walt Disney World room discount is now available for late summer to fall 2017!  This offer covers travel dates August 1-October 7, 2017.  This offer overlaps a previous Summer Room discount that covered dates through the end of August.

This room offer also coverts to a package offer when you add theme park tickets.

Construction at moderate hotels has made booking Port Orleans Riverside and Port Orleans French Quarter more competitive, so these hotels are selling out earlier than usual.  This means fewer discounts are available.

If you’d like to travel to Walt Disney World this fall it’s wise to book as soon as possible.  The earlier you book the more hotel and room options we’ll have to choose from.  Request your free, no-obligation quote today!

Enchanted Escape 2017 Room Discount

It’s the perfect time to stay in the middle of the magic! You can save up to 25%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights Aug. 1-Oct. 7, 2017 when you book by Aug. 31, 2017.

With this offer, you can enjoy distinctive Disney Resort Guest benefits and amenities – including early access to Disney FastPass+ planning, Extra Magic Hours, complimentary Resort transportation, standard parking and entertaining amenities!

Plus, you can uncover a magical mix of new and unforgettable experiences when you add theme park admission, including Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

Booking Window: April 24-Aug. 31, 2017
Travel Window: Aug. 1-Oct. 7, 2017

The following room types and Disney Resort hotels are excluded:

  • 3-bedroom villas
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Bungalows
  • Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

*The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms and the Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. 25% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings may be available at other select Disney Resort hotels.

Free Dining for 2017

The most anticipated news every year is the release of the free dining offer!  The Free Dining offer is now available for fall 2017 dates with some changes.

A Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus ticket is required to qualify for free dining.  New for 2017 value and moderate hotels get the Quick Service Dining Plan included.  Deluxe and Villa hotels get the basic Dining Plan included.  You can upgrade to a higher dining plan and pay the difference.

As usual, many dates are excluded from the discount.  This includes all of October, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the first half of November.

There are several hotels excluded from the discount for 2017.  Refurbishment and construction at the hotels has made booking more competitive.  Little inventory was available at the release, and later on it’s common to see only a deluxe or villa hotel available for many dates.  Qualifying for Free Dining typically requires a lot of flexibility and that is even more true this year.

Free Dining 2017

You can get a FREE dining plan when you purchase a non-discounted 5-night/6-day Magic Your Way package that includes a room at a select Walt Disney World® Resort hotel and ticket with a Park Hopper® or Park Hopper Plus Option Aug. 21-Sept. 30, Nov. 14-20, Nov. 25-27, Dec. 8-23, 2017 when they book April 24-July 7, 2017.

With this offer, you can enjoy distinctive Disney Resort Guest benefits and amenities – including early access to Disney FastPass+ planning, Extra Magic Hours, complimentary Resort transportation, standard parking and entertaining amenities!

When you stay at a select Disney Deluxe Resort or Disney Deluxe Villa Resort, you get the Disney Dining Plan with a variety of delicious dining options! When you stay at a select Disney Value Resort or Disney Moderate Resort, you get the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan that allows you to enjoy a quick bite!

Plus, you can uncover a magical mix of new and unforgettable experiences, including Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

Booking Window: April 24-July 7, 2017
Travel Window: Aug. 21-Sept. 30, Nov. 14-20, Nov. 25-27, Dec. 8-23, 2017

Excludes the following room types and Disney Resort hotels:

  • Campsites
  • 3-bedroom villas
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Bungalows
  • Disney’s All Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Additional exclusion for Nov. 14-20, Nov. 25-27 and Dec. 8-23, 2017:

  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Ask about packages of other lengths of stay. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort-The Little Mermaid standard rooms. Dining plan excludes gratuities and alcoholic beverages. Children ages 3-9 must order from children’s menu, if available. Some Table-Service restaurants may have limited or no availability at time of package purchase.