MousePlanet Walt Disney World Update for February 27 – March 5, 2018

Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 27 – March 5, 2018

by Alan S. Dalinka, contributing writer

Walt Disney World Resort Update for February 27 – March 5, 2018

Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions

Writer’s note: It may be hard to believe that there are still places at Walt Disney World Resort that I have never visited, but it is true. With approximately 40 square miles, it does not surprise me that I still have not seen it all, but, this past week, I had the opportunity to explore a bit of the Resort that I had not before. Specifically, Walt Disney World Golf, operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management (for roughly the past six years and Disney itself before that), invited me to participate in a “test and adjust” preview of its new FootGolf game at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. To get to the course, I got to drive past the gatehouse off of Floridian Way that leads to Shades of Green Resort, owned by the U.S. Department of Defense as a vacation spot for United States military service personnel and their families (and, formerly, The Golf Resort and the Disney Inn), and three of the four Walt Disney World Golf Courses. I also got to visit the Pro Shop and play a round of FootGolf (which you can read about below).

Walt Disney World Golf Pro Shop is located next to the Shades of Green Resort adjacent to thee Walt Disney World Golf Courses: Magnolia, Palm, and Oak Trail. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival gets underway tomorrow (Wednesday, February 28), and I am sure I will be there a bunch of times before it ends its run on May 28. I will have more highlights to share next week following the upcoming Media Day, but if you have questions you would like me to ask of the Festival organizers, please be sure to send them to me by Friday. For now, we know that Passholders will be able to get wristbands (for themselves and up to three guests) for reserved seating for Garden Rock concerts at Epcot, but, so far, the location of wristband distribution has not yet been revealed. In the meantime, there are plenty of flowers, gardens and topiaries already in place, and I have more photos of them to share this week. So, let’s get to the News first to get started.

News and Views

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Will “Party for the Planet” for its 20th Anniversary | FootGolf Now Available on Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course | Changes Coming to Pirates of the Caribbean | New OtterBox Mobile Cases Featuring Disney Art Available | Epcot Concert News & Calendar | Views around the World | This and That | Crowd Forecast

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Will “Party for the Planet” for its 20th Anniversary

The annual “Party for the Planet” celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will expand to two weeks this year to celebrate Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 20th anniversary, from Earth Day, April 22, through May 5. The event will kick off with a special welcome celebration for the park’s 20th Anniversary and Earth Day on April 22 in front of the Tree of Life, featuring music, dancers, and Disney characters. There will be special “exclusive” Disney PhotoPass opportunities, including frames that are part of the “Reverse the Decline” campaign, and special Wilderness Explorers badge locations during the run of celebration all around the park.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch (just a train ride away from Harambe), will have a featured role in the celebration as well. It will offer special backstage experiences allowing guests opportunities to learn about animal nutrition, to visit the veterinary hospital, and to hear how Disney promotes wildlife conservation. Even before the celebration begins, starting April 1 (and also available until May 5), a special limited-time adventure tour named “A Path Less Traveled – Disney’s Animal Kingdom 20th Anniversary” take guests backstage at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, plus check on the homes of the purple martins that migrate to the park, spend an hour with the elephants on the Caring for Giants tour (which I previously wrote about back in November), and enjoy VIP premium seats for viewing Rivers of Light. The limited-time tour experiences are spread out through the day, beginning at 11 a.m. daily (with check-in at the Curiosity Animal Tours Kiosk at 10:30 a.m.), for $59/guests (including a snack option but not tax, though discounts are available); reservations and information are available at (407)WDW-PLAY.

During the “Party for the Planet,” there will be six different “Tiffins Talks,” themed dinners hosted by animal experts at Tiffins signature restaurant. The restaurant will also feature a special-edition lunch menu during the celebration. Themed treats will be available at other locations around the park as well.

Special merchandise, including limited-edition merchandise, will be available throughout the celebration as well. New Penny Press designs featuring the Disney Conservation Fund will be available for a limited time. There will also be special-edition, limited quantity, print created by Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde (who is scheduled to be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. at Discovery Trading Company to personally sign copies).

April 22 will also be the official debut of the new show, “UP! A Great Bird Adventure” featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney-Pixar film UP on the Caravan Stage that previously featured the “Wonders of Flight” show. The new adventure includes encounters with exotic birds from around the world. The show, of course, is expected to continue beyond the celebration.

“UP! A Great Bird Adventure” debuts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on April 22. Concept Art ©Disney.

On Memorial Day weekend, a few weeks after the “Party for the Planet” wraps up, and the Incredible Summer gets underway around Walt Disney World Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will debut its “dino-tastic” celebration with Donald Duck and friends in DinoLand, U.S.A. As the story goes, Donald discovers that his bird ancestors were, in fact, dinosaurs. The area will feature new decor and some rare character appearances, like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more. The “truck-o-saurus” stage will have DJ-hosted nighttime dance parties.

FootGolf Now Available on Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course

In addition to offering its traditional nine golf holes, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course now offers a full 18-hole FootGolf course experience. Certified by the official sanctioning body of the sport, the American FootGolf League, the course allows players to kick a regulation (size #5) soccer ball from FootGolf designated teeing grounds to a special 21-inch diameter hole. The tee area is marked by orange markers and the hole is marked by an orange flag (each golf hole is marked by a blue pin flag).

Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course can be played as a traditional 9-hole golf course or as an 18-hole FootGolf course. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney’s Oak Trail FootGolf teeing grounds have orange markers. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney’s Oak Trail FootGolf flags are orange. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Like regular golf, players try to get the ball in the hole in as few kicks (rather than strokes) as possible. Each hole has a “par” score, and the bunkers, hazards and other features of the golf course are all part of the game – though, fortunately, there is no over-water play required. The holes range from about 65 yards (par 3) to about 207 yards (par 5). A round of 18 holes of FootGolf should take about the same amount of time as 9 holes of regular golf – about 2 hours 15 minutes; tee times for FootGolf may be interspersed with regular golf tee times.

I was invited to experience a round of FootGolf last week during its “test and adjust” period. It was fun to explore a part of Walt Disney World Resort that I had never experienced before and, with friends or family up for trekking the over 2,438 yards of the course, I would do it again – especially now that I am a Walt Disney World Platinum Plus Passholder (the “Plus” like the “Water Parks and More” add-on, does include greens fees on Disney’s Oak Trail). Even for folks that are not Passholders, the current rate is only $10/person (plus ball rental, if needed). Expect to see a great deal of Florida wildlife too – I saw wild turkeys and turtles, for example. Proper golf attire is required.

Several wild turkeys walk the grounds of Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Many turtles can be seen around Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

For reservations or more information, call (407)WDW-GOLF or visit Players may bring their own soccer ball or rent one. Players can play as a single or in groups up to a foursome (though, with less than four players, you may be grouped with others, just like in golf). Walt Disney World Golf is operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management.

Guests staying at Walt Disney World Resorts are afforded the same benefits when playing FootGolf as regular golf: namely, free taxi service to and from the course (which, for those that do not know, is located next to Shades of Green near the Transportation and Ticket Center). Ask at the front desk of your Resort for the taxi voucher and obtain one at the Pro Shop for your return ride.

Shades of Green Resort is open to active and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Only guests staying at Shades of Green Resort or those playing golf may visit this area of Walt Disney World Resort. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Changes Coming to Pirates of the Caribbean

Last July, we reported that Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom would close for a refurbishment at some point in 2018 for installation of a reimagined auction scene where the redhead would join the ranks of the pirate crew. Well, it appears that time has come. On Sunday, Pirates of the Caribbean shut down for a refurbishment scheduled to last until mid-March.

Saturday afternoon, I went for what was probably my final voyage past this version of the auction scene on Pirates of the Caribbean. Video by Alan S. Dalinka

Based on the concept art Disney released last summer, the banner in the auction scene—which currently reads, “Take a Wench for a Bride” will be replaced with a new banner reading “Surrender Yer Loot.” Wealthy townspeople are shown hauling their household treasures to the steps under the watchful eye of the pirates, including a gun-toting redhead.

The famous redhead takes on a new role in the updated auction scene coming to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Walt Disney World. Photo © Disney.

We will report further when we learn details about the attraction’s reopening. At the time of writing this Update, FastPass+ reservations are “unavailable” through March 18 and from March 19-22 the My Disney Experience App says that there “are no more FastPass+ times for this experience, but standby may be available.”

New OtterBox Mobile Cases Featuring Disney Art Available

Like Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix reported yesterday in the Disneyland Resort Update, new OtterBox mobile cases featuring Disney castle artwork are now available at Disney Parks. They join other Disney Parks OtterBox cases at locations around Walt Disney World Resort (see the list of locations on Disney Parks Blog).

OtterBox displayed some of its newest Disney Princess mobile cases in the Visa Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex during the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

While visiting the runDisney Expo for the Disney Princess Half Marathon this past weekend, OtterBox also showed off some of its new Disney Princess cases. Representatives said that folks can look for these cases online in coming weeks. You may have noticed that Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side is “presented by OtterBox.” We noted just last week that Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is now “Supported by OtterBox” and the company representatives said that we can expect to see additional sponsorships around Disney Parks in the future.

Wild Africa Trek is now “Supported By” OtterBox. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Epcot Concert News & Calendar

Just Added: The Jazz Ambassadors of The United States Army Field Band will appear at Epcot on March 1 to perform three special concerts in the America Gardens Theatre at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8 p.m. Formed in 1969 and sometimes referred to as “America’s Big Band,” the 19 members of The Jazz Ambassadors play big band, swing, contemporary jazz and patriotic music.

The next night, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival’s Garden Rocks Concert Series kicks off at the America Gardens Theatre on March 2. Returning acts include Night Ranger (“Sister Christian”) which opens the series March 2-5, and The Spinners, known for “Working My Way Back To You,” the final Festival weekend May 25-28. Several new bands will perform at Epcot for the first time: Foghat (“Slow Ride”); Smash Mouth (“All Star”); Lonestar (“Amazed”); and Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles (“Hotel California”). Other bands new to the Garden Rocks series will be Rick Springfield (“Jessie’s Girl”), Survivor (“Eye of the Tiger”) and Jo Dee Messina (“Stand Beside Me”).

For the convenience of our readers, we list all of the performances in our Google Calendar of Epcot Events. You can also add it to any Calendar that supports the iCal format (like iPhone and Mac) by copying this link.

The calendar is provided “As is, where is” and without any guarantees, as a courtesy. Given the effort it took to create it, we do respectfully request that you do not post our entire calendar on another site without first asking our permission. We do not know why Walt Disney World Resort has not created this sort of functionality outside of the My Disney Experience app itself.

Views Around the World

As preparations for the February 28 start of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival were in full swing this week, my Views this week continue my theme of seeing something at Walt Disney World Resort that I had not visited before: a runDisney Expo. As usual, photo captions provide you with bits of news too.

Magic Kingdom

The latest refurbishment is underway on Main Street U.S.A. behind a fully illustrated scrim. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Behind Cinderella Castle, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is surrounded by a construction scrim, but it continues to operate during most park hours. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


During this brief time between Festivals, Epcot has a simple floral display at the entrance. By next week’s Update, the entrance display for the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be in place and the Festival underway. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This year, topiaries of Donald and his Nephews occupy the garden opposite Pin Central right “behind” Spaceship Earth. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Figment topiary is now located in the “center” of Future World, between the Fountain and World Showcase. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

One of the butterfly topiaries stands between the Fountain plaza and the (not yet open) butterfly house. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Buzz Lightyear topiary again stands in front of Mission: SPACE. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Over the weekend, “Cars” topiaries were being installed along the path between Future World West and the “center” of Future World (near Mouse Gear). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Future World flower beds are already becoming more vibrant. Just to the right of this photo, the floating gardens are also in place in the ponds. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

More butterfly topiaries are located in World Showcase Plaza. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Nearby, topiaries of Bambi and friends are in a new location this year. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Topiaries of Winnie the Pooh and friends are located near the United Kingdom pavilion. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Belle topiary and the Beast topiary again stand in front of the France pavilion . Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

At the Italy pavilion along the World Showcase Promenade, the tall evergreens have been removed, opening up a more expansive view across the Lagoon. Across from this view, the topiaries of Lady and the Tramp are on display. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Lion King topiaries are again installed along both sides of World Showcase Promenade in the African Outpost area. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Spring colors are in bloom around Echo Lake. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

While construction continues on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ahead of its announced 2019 debut, some of its mountains appear to “float” like those over at Pandora-The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The concept art, however, suggests that they will not float when complete. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

New Disney’s Hollywood Studios merchandise is available in the park. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Graduation Mickey, Minnie and Stitch are for sale at Once Upon a Time store on Sunset Boulevard. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Also on Sunset Boulevard, Reel Vogue now is nearly entirely devoted to Toy Story merchandise ahead of the upcoming Incredible Summer, in general, and the June 30 opening of Toy Story Land. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Construction walls at the future entrance to Toy Story Land now include “Coming June 30, 2018” signs. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Outside the park gate, construction continues on a station for the future Disney SKyliner transportation system. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

In the parking lot, as its refurbishment continues, watch the ground for new row numbers – some of which are now three digits. HDR Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As parking lot and bus loop construction continues outside the park gate, it has become increasingly important to look for directional signs showing which way to turn to find buses and the walkway to Epcot and its resorts. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

From the walkway back toward Epcot and its resorts, the latest view of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios skyline shows some of the future Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge landscape. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

runDisney at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Disney Princess Half Marathon’s Expo was held in the brand new facility, The Arena, at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with Cinderella’s carriage parked out front. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Expo included photo opportunities, like this wall, as well as actual character appearances. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Inside, The Arena, guests could find a large assortment of runDisney general and Disney Princess Half Marathon specific merchandise. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Several pieces of Disney Princess Half Marathon celebrated the event’s 10th Anniversary. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

The Expo also sold Dooney & Bourke pieces dedicated to the race; nearby there was Pandora jewelry as well as Alex and Ani merchandise as well. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

In the nearby (recently renamed) Visa Center, many vendors displayed race-related merchandise, including (as discussed in the This and That below, OtterBox). Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

This and That

…Last month, Disney’s Animal Kingdom welcomed the first hippo to be born at the park in thirteen years. Last week, the park revealed the baby hippo calf is male and has been named Augustus. The calf and his mom Tuma may be spotted on Kilimanjaro Safaris and Wild Africa Trek. Because Nile hippos are a vulnerable species with a declining population, Augustus’ parents, Tuma and Henry, were chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as part of its effort to ensure healthy and diverse animal populations for the future.

Disney Parks Blog shared video of baby hippo calf Augustus. Video ©Disney.

…With the Oscars – the 90th Academy Awards coming to the Disney-owned ABC-TV network on March 4, you again can have the opportunity to take a photo with an actual Oscar statuette inside Walt Disney Presents in Disney’s Hollywood Studios until that night.

An actual “Oscar” statuette is on display and available for photos inside Walt Disney Presents at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…The Atlanta Braves have begun their twenty-first (and final) season of spring training at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Home games include the Nationals (March 1), the St. Louis Cardinals (March 3 & 17), the New York Yankees (March 9 & 24), and the 2017 WOrld Series Champion Houston Astros (March 8). Games include Disney character appearances and kids activities. The full schedule and tickets are available at, Ticketmaster outlets including by phone at (800)745-3000, and at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Box Office.

…Victor Da Costa Mendoza of Spain won the 10th annual Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday, with a winning time of 1:19:03. Just behind him, the women’s division winner, Dani Cook, of Fort Collins, Colorado, finished with a winning time of 1:20:31. In fact, the women’s second and third place finishers also had times better than all the men other than Mendoza: Natasha Baskin from Montverde, FL (1:22:52), and Elle Ellender from Hilton Head, SC (1:24:38), respectively. The second and third place men’s division winners were Mark Ruhsam of Orlando, FL (1:27:26) and Zachary Thomas of Austin, TX (1:28:49). More than 53,800 runners participated in runDisney’s Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend which it says is “the largest women-focused running event in the country.”

As usual with a runDisney event, Disney Princess Half Marathon temporarily closed some roads and walkways around the Resort over the weekend. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…Tickets are now on sale for the next edition of Star Wars: Galactic Nights event on May 27, 2018, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Ages 10+ @ $129; Ages 3-9 @ $124 (not including tax). Visit this page of for more information and to purchase tickets. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can get a $10/ticket discount (follow instructions on the site to log in). No new details about this edition of the event have been published yet, though we know it follows the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Like the last edition of the event back in December, the advertised details of the event include a “one-night only panel discussion taking you behind the scenes at the all-new land, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” plus character encounters and special photo opportunities, a projection show on the Hollywood Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard (previously called Star Wars: Galactic Destinations, but, so far, not named in the announcements we have seen), Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away stage show, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (for younglings only), Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks, special food and beverage offerings, special merchandise, and, of course, most of the park’s attractions open for the duration of the event with shorter waits (mostly because the attendees are mostly waiting in lines to meet characters).

…While talking about all things Star Wars, this weekend I ventured with some friends over to St. Petersburg, Florida, to visit its Museum of Fine Arts and see the Smithsonian traveling exhibition “Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars and The Power of Costume” which includes many pieces from the entire Star Wars universe in partnership with the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and, of course, Lucasfilm Ltd. The museum is about an hour and a half drive from Walt Disney World Resort (traffic permitting) and the exhibition continues through April 1. Its next scheduled stop is Detroit Institute of Arts, May 20 through September 30, 2018, in Detroit, Michigan.

Highlights of the “Star Wars and The Power of Costume” exhibit include the “Slave Leia” costume and several droids. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

…With the 2018 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival set to start tomorrow, Wednesday, February 28, and run all the way until May 28, we will be bringing you lots of additional coverage in the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, Disney Parks Blog has already published its Foodie Guide to Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival to whet your apetite.

…You can also now book the Epcot “Gardens of the World Tour – Spring Edition” by calling (407) WDW-TOUR. The three hour walking tour explores the garden beds, shrubs, hedges and topiaries “around the world” during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The tour is $85/guest plus tax and does not include (but does require) admission to Epcot in the price; bottled water will be provided during the tour.

…Beginning July 27, Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom will offer a new “enhanced” prix fixe dinner menu of French-inspired dishes and new offerings. The three course dinner includes choice of appetizer and entree, followed by a personal dessert platter. Disney Parks Blog has a run down of some of the new menu items and says that the dessert and kid’s menus are still being finalized. Reservations are now open online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

…And, while we are talking about food, congratulations to the team at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The restaurant received the AAA Five Diamond Award for the 18th consecutive year (there are only 68 Five Diamond restaurants in North America). For the first time ever, the restaurant also received the 2018 Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award (there are only 64 recipients world-wide). Victoria & Alberts is the only restaurant in Florida to receive both awards. You can read more information about the restaurant at; reservations can be made online or by calling (407)WDW-DVNA up to 180 days in advance (and, from personal failed experience, they can be a hard reservation to get).

…Finally, St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. We previously have mentioned the Raglan Road Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival bringing three days of “non-stop live Irish music, family fun and late-night revelry” to Disney Springs with eight award-winning bands on the pub’s Grand Room and Patio stages from March 16-18. The Raglan Road Irish Dancers will also perform throughout the Festival. On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, guests will be seated on a first-come, first served basis with a $10 cover charge for guests 18-and-older. You can now read more information about the Festival and the bands on the Festival’s web page. Reservations can be booked for the other Festival Dates by calling (407)938-0300. Raglan Road wants you to celebrate the “right” way:

  1. Please don’t call the holiday “St. Patty’s.” It’s either “St. Patrick’s Day” or “St. Paddy’s.”
  2. A shamrock has three leaves (not four – that would be a clover).
  3. Americans invented the St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1737 in Boston.
  4. Most Irish pubs do a full month’s business on St. Patrick’s Day.
  5. Guinness sell 13 million pints on St. Patrick’s Day versus the usual 5 million daily.
  6. Raglan Road is America’s #1 Irish Pub.
  7. Green beer is an American invention. Raglan Road does not serve green beer.

…The MousePlanet Newsletter is here! The newsletter contains a recap of the week’s articles (in case you miss a day), news that may have developed since the weekly Updates were published, and tips about what’s happening at the Disney theme parks for the coming weekend. We’ll also include a fun bonus, such as an Eye Spy or a trivia question. To subscribe to our free newsletter, just enter your email in the box below.


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Crowd Forecast


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Our Disney World Crowd Calendar shows you the least crowded park to visit every day of the year, customized Touring Plans save you hours in line for Disney’s best rides, honest restaurant reviews, how to save on Disney tickets, the best hotel rooms to ask for, and so much more. Everything can be accessed on our site or on Lines – Mobile Wait Times App which also shows to current and estimated wait times for attractions.

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

Date Overall
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 5 / 10
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 5 / 10
Thursday, March 1, 2018 5 / 10
Friday, March 2, 2018 5 / 10
Saturday, March 3, 2018 6 / 10

Check out the Disney World Park Crowd Levels page on for park-specific predictions and recommendations on which days to visit and avoid particular parks!

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Resort Events

Check here to see if a park event might fall during your next trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. If you know of any in-park events, official or unofficial, that should be listed here, please send us an email.

2018 Resort Events

  • 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival – February 28 – May 28, 2018
  • Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom – March 1 & 8.
  • MouseAdventure (unofficial event) – March 3, 2018. See for more information.
  • Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side Weekend – April 19 – 22, 2018.
  • Dapper Day – Magic Kingdom: April 28, 2018; Epcot: April 29, 2018; Park TBD: November 27-18, 2018
  • Star Wars: Galactic Nights event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – May 27, 2018
  • Gay Days at Walt Disney World 2018 (“#RedShirtDays” – unofficial events) – Disney’s Animal Kingdom: May 31;
    Disney’s Hollywood Studios: June 1; Magic Kingdom: June 2; Epcot: June 3
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom – TBA
  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 1-4, 2018
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – TBA
  • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic – October 26-27, 2018
      –Sunday Bubbles Brunch – October 28, 2018.
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom – TBA
  • Holidays at Walt Disney World – TBA
  • Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – TBA
  • Candlelight Processional at Epcot – TBA

2019 Resort Events

If you participate in (or are considering signing up for) runDisney events, visit our Team MousePlanet forum on the MousePad discussion board, where you can join our community of health-minded readers and staff. For current information on runDisney registration dates and capacity, see Lorree Tachell’s runDisney Race Capacity Updates in the Team MousePlanet forum on our MousePad discussion board.

2018 Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic Events (Including Event Reservation Opening Dates)

Introduced in 2017 as part of Membership Magic Ever After, complimentary Moonlight Magic events invite Disney Vacation Club Members (that are eligible for the Membership Extras benefits) and their guests to visit Disney Parks at the end of their regular operating hours and after the park has closed to the public. Members (and their parties) with reservations find shorter-than-usual wait times on popular attractions, meet rare characters, enjoy complimentary refreshments, have dance parties, and more. Please note that, in order to allow as many Members as possible to enjoy Moonlight Magic, only one event date for each participating park is available per Membership. Visit during specified reservation windows to (attempt to) secure access to the event as well as to find additions to the Moonlight Magic event slate, updated party hours, and transportation information. As a bonus for reading this far, DVC Members looking to make reservations for Moonlight Magic at Disney’s Animal Kingdom may notice that we have provided a jump link to the reservations page (the dates reservations open will take you to the appropriate page; Members with reservations need to have their reservations number handy; all Members will need their DVC ID number handy.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Note: Not all attraction closures have been officially confirmed by Disney, and are all subject to change at any time. All refurbishment schedules are estimates only. We recommend checking for updates as you plan your visit. All information is subject to change without notice. To get the most recent updates, visit or use the MyDisneyExperience App on your iOS or Android device.

Magic Kingdom

  • Pirates of the Caribbean – closed for refurbishment scheduled through mid-March 2018.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment.
  • Stitch’s Great Escape – My Disney Experience lists as “available seasonally throughout the year.”


  • Ellen’s Energy Adventure at Universe of Energy – Closed August 13, 2017
    Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction in approximately 2021.
  • Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable – closed February 3, 2018. Theater to be repurposed.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • The Great Movie Ride – Closed August 13, 2017.
    Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction to open in Chinese Theatre at a date to be announced.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Flights of Wonder (Caravan Stage) – Show Closed on December 31, 2017.
    “UP! A Great Bird Adventure” starring Russell and Dug and their bird friends opens April 22./li>

Blizzard Beach

  • No known closures at this time.

Typhoon Lagoon

  • Seasonal Refurbishment scheduled to end March 18, 2018.

Disney Springs

  • World of Disney – phased store closings for refurbishment underway.
    The Disney Corner opening in Town Center in mid-February to offer select merchandise during refurbishment.
  • DisneyQuest – Closed as of July 3, 2017.
    The NBA Experience expected to open Summer 2019.
  • Portobello Country Italian Trattoria – Closed April 24, 2017.
    Terralina Crafted Italian expected to open in 2018.
  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil – Show closed on December 31, 2017.
    A new Cirque du Soleil show is now in development with its premiere date to be announced.
  • Wolfgang Puck Grand Café – closed August 1, 2017.
    Location is being transformed into Jaleo, a restaurant featuring Spanish cuisine, expected to open 2018.
    A new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is under construction next door to the Coca-Cola Store, expected to open 2018.
    Wolfgang Puck Express continues to operate in its existing location in the Marketplace.


  • Caribbean Beach – Centertown, the resort’s marketplace, will be expanded with new waterfront dining and retail shopping areas. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in Summer 2018, with the overall project completed 2019-20. Due to the work, the following food service and retail locations are currently closed:
    • Old Port Royale Food Court
    • Shutters at Old Port Royale
    • Banana Cabana Pool Bar
    • Calypso Trading Post
  • Coronado Springs – A new 15-story tower overlooking Lago Dorado, the resort’s central lake, will add 500 rooms featuring suites and concierge level services, and a rooftop dining facility that will include panoramic views of nighttime fireworks shows at the Theme Parks. The resort also plans to refurbish current resort rooms and transform some of its landscape. The project is expected to be completed 2019-20.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Note: MousePlanet does not edit past Updates to reflect price increases; for up-to-date prices, check the most recent Walt Disney World Resort Update. For your convenience, we have grouped the discount offers based on the intended audience. Check out the category that best matches you, and pick the offer that works best for you. And keep those tips coming—let us know if you find a better or different offer, so we can share it with other readers.

Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets are rarely offered at deep discounts unless you are a resident of Florida or eligible for U.S. Military Personnel benefits. It is increasingly true that non-Florida residents tend to benefit the most by purchasing tickets in advance (and, of course, being mindful of the rules relevant to those tickets). As prices go up, it becomes even more important to pay heed: Don’t get scammed! Never buy tickets from an unofficial or secondary outlet, such as through eBay or Craigslist. Never rent or purchase tickets from people approaching you outside Disney property stating they have remaining days or leftover tickets. This practice is against the terms of use for Walt Disney World Theme Park admissions, and may result in denial of entry. There is no way to determine if these tickets are valid until you try to use them to enter the parks. Only purchase Disney theme park tickets directly from Disney, an authorized seller, or a travel agency like MousePlanet travel partner Get Away Today.

Get Away Today Logo

In fact, although Get Away Today does not know how long they will be able to continue selling tickets at the prices on its website today, now is a great time to check out the discounts available at the site. Be sure to move the calendar to at least seven (7) days out, to see what ticket options and discounts are available for your planned visit.

Travel Discounts for Everyone

Characters in Flight Tethered Balloon Ride by Aerophile

For a limited time, Groupon is selling individual rides for $11.50 and two person rides for $23. The Groupon certificate cannot be redeemed until 24 hours after purchase, is valid for 90 days, but only on flights from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. (weather permitting). This offer was still available last night (February 19), but could end at any time.

Memory Maker pre-arrival discount

Disney’s PhotoPass service provides a discount on Disney Memory Maker pre-arrival packages. For $199 plus tax, Walt Disney World guests can digitally download any photos associated with their Memory Maker account, including photos taken on attractions. The advanced purchase price is $169, a $30 savings. Applicable taxes are charged to all orders.

Purchase must be made more than three days prior to arrival at the Walt Disney World Resort for the discount. All sales are final, and not eligible for an exchange or refund. Both the immediate and discount version of Memory Maker can be purchased at this page of

Travel Discounts for Annual Passholders


For the most up-to-date list of locations offering dining discounts to Annual Passholders, visit this page of

Many dining locations offer Passholders 10% discounts during some or all meal periods (also excluding alcoholic beverages, tax and gratuity).

The latest information on this page of lists discounts at many merchandise locations across Walt Disney World Resort, including locations that continue to offer 20% discounts off regularly priced merchandise.

The latest information on this page of lists discounts for special events and tours at locations around Walt Disney World Resort.

The latest information on this page of lists discounts for sports, recreation, and spas around Walt Disney World Resort.

Magic Strollers, “a Disney featured stroller provider,” is continuing to honor its $5 discount on stroller rental when staying at a Disney Resort Hotel and using coupon code WDWAP18 to arrange your rental. It is listed on the “Passholders Extras” page of the Passholder website with the updated code as of February 19, 2018.

Visit the Special Offers page (filtered for Passholders) and log in with a My Disney Experience account linked to your Annual Pass for information, or call(407)939-4232 to book by phone.

Additional information about available “Passholder Extras” are available here, including a discount of $30 on tickets to one of the remaining Disney After Hours events at Magic Kingdom, a new $35 Sunrise 9 golf offer (including 9 holes of golf, a hot breakfast and 2 beverages between 7 and 8:30 a.m., subject to availability at Disney Golf courses), a new $29 Sunset 9 golf offer (including 9 holes of golf, a light snack and a beer or soft drink, subject to availability in the late afternoon at Disney Golf courses), an Orlando Magic Jersey Offer for purchasing or renewing an Annual Pass at Amway Center in Orlando, a 15% discount on the Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Spa & Salon Discounts around Walt Disney World Resort, Amphicar Tour discounts at Disney Springs, runDisney Early Registration discounts, Best Friends Pat Care discounts, Children’s Activity Centers discounts, and more. It currently also includes an opportunity to enjoy exclusive access to game-day suites on Passholder Suite Day when the Atlanta Braves take on the St. Louis Cardinals on March 17, 2018 (1:05 p.m. game time) at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – packages includes a full ballpark buffet (one hour prior to scheduled first pitch), admission to the game and the opportunity for kids to run the bases after the event (and there is an optional add-on opportunity to step on to the field before the game to watch batting practice): Space is limited, call (407)939-GAME for prices and to reserve your package.

Away from the Resort, Passholders can use code DANCEPARTY to get 20% off of tickets to the new Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour in Jacksonville, Melbourne, Clearwater, and Sarasota Florida, for house seats while supplies last. Visit for more information and tickets.

Very far away from the Resort, Passholders staying 3 or more consecutive nights at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii, can save up to 30% for rooms booked most nights from April 2 through June 7, 2018. Reservations must be made by May 9, 2018. The Passholder must present the annual pass at check-in and must stay in a room on the reservation. (Also applies to Disneyland Resort annual passholders.)

If you know of an offer we haven’t listed, please drop us an email with the details!

Discounts for Disney Rewards VISA Credit Card Holders


To conserve space, we have eliminated some of the participating location details of the Disney Visa Rewards offers from this section. Visit Disney Visa Rewards website for the latest participating location information.

20 percent off Joffrey’s coffee/tea kiosks

Disney Visa cardholders receive 20 percent off their entire purchase at Joffrey’s coffee/tea kiosks throughout Walt Disney World, including Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s, and online at with code: VISABEANS

15 percent off select guided tours

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of selected guided tours for up to 10 people. The cardholder must participate in the tour, and pay with a Disney’s Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card. Discounts are not available on Premium VIP tours, programs exclusive to groups, or group team building programs.

10 percent off select restaurants

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off the check when you pay with a Disney’s Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Offer excludes alcoholic beverages, merchandise, tobacco, room service, holiday buffets, tax and gratuity. Discount does not apply to the following dates: 12/31/17, 1/1/18, 2/14/18, 4/1/18, 5/13/18 and 7/4/18, and may not be available at all meal times. Visit this page of for the latest list of restaurants and restrictions.

10 percent off merchandise

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off at participating Disney-owned retail location when you spend a minimum of $50 and pay with a Disney’s Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Read all of the restrictions on the this page of

Cardholders also receive 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at the following Walt Disney World Resort Operating Participant merchandise locations including Basin, Basin White, Chapel Hats, Good Fortune Gifts and House of Good Fortune, kidsHeritage, Luxury of Time, Marrakesh Emporium Arts & Crafts, Joffrey’s coffee/tea kiosks and Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s, Sperry and Volcom.

15 percent off all Disney spa and salon services

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of any salon treatment valued at $45 or greater or any 50-minute or longer spa service most days at the spas and salons at Walt Disney World Resort. Visit this page of for participating locations and restrictions.

10 percent off select recreation experiences

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of the recreation experiences listed below:

  • Carriage Rides at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Horseback Trail Rides at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Free character photos at a private meet and greet location at Epcot

Present your Disney’s Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a private character meet and greet at Epcot for the cardholder and up to five guests. The event is hosted daily from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot (enter near the jumping fountains near the exit to the Magic Eye Theater). You’ll receive complimentary downloads of your photos (one time per day), which may be accessed in the MyDisneyExperience App (or website).

Free character photos at a private meet and greet location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Present your Disney’s Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a private character meet and greet at the Star Wars Launch Bay in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the cardholder and up to five guests. The event is hosted daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You’ll receive complimentary downloads of your photos (one time per day), which may be accessed in the MyDisneyExperience App (or website).

Travel Discounts for Military Personnel

2018 Armed Forces Salute Tickets

January 1 through December 19, 2018

  • Four-Day Park Hopper Tickets: $226.00
  • Four-Day Park Hopper Plus Tickets: $266.00
  • Five-Day Park Hopper Tickets: $246.00
  • Five-Day Park Hopper Plus Tickets: $286.00

NOTE: Tickets must be used by December 19, 2018.

U.S. Military personnel can also purchase the Memory Maker product for $98.00 through December 19.

Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets by Eligible Service Members (as defined on Disney or their spouses (but not both), for use by themselves and only family members and friends, as provided by Disney’s rules. These Tickets may not be otherwise transferred, distributed or resold. Limit six (6) tickets purchased by the military personnel (or spouse), and one ticket must be used by that member of the military (or spouse).

U.S. Military personnel can enjoy discounts at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels when booking by December 19, 2018, for stays most nights from January 1 through March 24, 2018, and April 6 through December 19, 2018. Offer excludes moderate and deluxe resorts. Call(407)939-5684 for information and reservations.

Read more information at, visit your base ticket office, or when at Walt Disney World, visit Shades of Green.

If you know of an offer we haven’t listed, please drop us an email with the details!

Travel Discounts for Florida Residents

Discover Disney Tickets

Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets are back: $159/person plus tax for the Discover Disney 3-Day Ticket; $179/person plus tax for the Discover Disney 4-Day Ticket. Tickets must be purchased by June 20 and may be used on any day until June 24, 2018. Park Hopper Option is available for an additional $30/ticket plus tax for the 3-Day Ticket; $37.50/ticket for the 4-Day Ticket. Further information is available and tickets may be purchased on this page of

Disney Select Tickets

At a higher price, but with a whole lot more flexibility that came along with the price increases of February 11, 2018, Florida Residents can also save with the 4-Day Disney Select Ticket (compared to the price of a 4-Day Magic Your Way ticket). There is a smaller discount for a 3-Day Select Ticket, and there is also a discount for 1–Day Tickets with the Park Hopper Option only. For more information visit this page of

  1–Day Ticket+
Park Hopper Option
Florida Resident General Admission  
  Ages 10+ Ages 3-9 Ages 10+ Ages 3-9  
  Value Day





  Regular Day





  Peak Day






Florida Resident
Select Tickets

3-Day Select Ages 10+

3-Day Select Ages 3-9

4-Day Select Ages 10+

4-Day Select Ages 10+


1 Park Per Day






Park Hopper





  • Florida Select tickets expire 180 days after first use. First use must be on or before December 31, 2019.
  • Florida Select tickets do not need to be used on consecutive days.
  • All adults who will use Florida resident tickets must show an acceptable form of proof of Florida residency at a theme park ticket window, or at any Guest Relations location, prior to first use. Pass certificates can be exchanged for valid passes at the same locations.

Spring into 2018 rates for Florida Residents are available for most nights through April 14, 2018. Visit this page of for information or call(407)939-2752.

If you know of an offer we haven’t listed, please drop us an email with the details!

Travel Discounts for Canada Residents

All adult Guests who will use Canadian resident tickets or passes must present valid proof of Canadian residency that includes government-issued photo ID to exchange the certificate for a valid ticket at the Theme Park ticket window or Guest Relations prior to first use. Tickets and options are nontransferable, nonrefundable and exclude events/activities separately priced. Admission is subject to capacity closures and to other restrictions.

Check for the latest offers from Disney.

If you know of an offer we haven’t listed, please drop us an email with the details!

Travel Discounts for U.K. Residents

The website has an updated list of some of the offers available to folks planning ahead to holiday at Walt Disney World Resort from the United Kingdom.

You can see the latest offers for U.K. residents on Disney World’s U.K. packages website. It currently includes an offer for a 14-day ticket for the price of a 7-day ticket and up to four free resort nights on a two-week holiday (valid most school holidays) when booked by 28th March. Package includes Memory Maker and is valid for residents of the U.K. and Ireland only. On select arrivals for stays at Disney Hotels, guests also receive a $100 US Disney Gift Card.

If you know of an offer we haven’t listed, please drop us an email with the details!