BB-8 To Greet Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios This Spring

Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have more Star Wars fun to look forward to this spring when BB-8, the loyal droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, begins character greetings at the park’s Star Wars Launch Bay.

BB-8 will appear in addition to Kylo Ren and Chewbacca, two characters from the Star Wars galaxy who guests regularly encounter at Star Wars Launch Bay. In addition to character greetings, the location also offers guests the chance to explore galleries full of treasured memorabilia and authentic replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, including some from the latest film in the franchise, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Star Wars Launch Bay is just one experience that has debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the delight of Star Wars fans over the past two years: “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” daytime show features characters from around the Star Wars galaxy; while the guest-favorite “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” nighttime spectacular lights up the park each night. Guests age 4-12 can also become Jedi recruits and put their skills to the test in an unforgettable battle against villains like Darth Vader or the Seventh Sister Inquisitor. And just a few months ago, the park’s Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction began offering guests randomized destinations, making different planetary destinations possible for every galactic journey.

Walt Disney World Announces Expansion of Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach Resorts

Walt Disney World on Thursday unveiled expansion plans for its Coronado Springs and Caribbean Beach hotels.

The expansion at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will include a new 15-story tower that will add 500 rooms, featuring suites and concierge level services. The resort will also refurbish its current resort rooms and transform its landscape with floating gardens and an island oasis that connects the resort through a series of bridges.

The new tower overlooking Lago Dorado, the resort’s centerpiece lake, will allow guests to experience something truly unique, rooftop dining with panoramic views of popular nighttime fireworks from nearby Disney theme parks.

Also there will be additions to the Caribbean Beach Resort, including new waterfront dining and retail shopping areas at the Centertown marketplace. Disney said in a blog post “this centralized location will offer the resort’s guests more convenient access to services, amenities and dining.”

The Southwestern-themed Coronado Springs opened 20 years ago, aiming to capture the convention market.

Caribbean Beach Resort has been around since the late 1980s.

Morimoto Asia and Wine Bar George Partnering for ‘Wok and Wines’ Pairing Dinner Event

Morimoto Asia and Master Sommelier George Miliotes will be partnering  to bring a special dining event to Disney Springs – “Wok and Wine.”

The event will cost $150 per guest (excluding tax and gratuity) and will take place on February 28, 2017 at 7:30pm. Tickets are available in advance online.

This special collaboration wine dinner is created by Executive Chef Yuhi Fujinaga and will showcase a selection of modern Pan-Asian dishes. Master Sommelier George Miliotes will pair each course with wines that will be served at his wine bar also located in Disney Springs. The dinner will feature the following:

1st Course:
Bluefin Toro Tartare, soy caviar, Jamon Iberico Crisps
Dom Ruinart Rosé Champagne, France

2nd Course:
‘Bag of Pho’ local lionfish, Hudson Valley Foie Gras dashi, mitsuba, rice noodles
Raats Original Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch-South Africa

3rd Course:
Slow Roasted Crispy Baby Pig, Chinese black bean trotter jus, hot spring Jidori egg
Selbach-Oster Riesling Feinherb, Mosel-Germany

Dessert Course:
Green Tea Panna Cotta
Broadbent Colheita Madeira, Portugal

Geyser Point Bar & Grill Opens at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Opening today at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is the new Geyser Point Bar & Grill, where guests can grab a bite as they enjoy the resort’s rustic beauty.

Geyser Point Bar & Grill Opens at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World Resort Geyser Point Bar & Grill Opens at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World Resort

Located along the water’s edge, Geyser Point is designed with cedar beams and natural stone to fit into the design that’s reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest (especially cool after dark with campfires and the iconic Electrical Water Pageant on Bay Lake).

At the bar, artisanal sips add an authentic touch to beverage menus, including drinks which feature Pacific Northwest brewers and distilleries, and wines focusing on heritage varietals grown in Oregon and Washington.

Moscato Colada from Geyser Point Bar & Grill Opens at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Whipper Snapper Sour from Geyser Point Bar & Grill Opens at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Small plates pair beautifully with beverages, including crispy fried oysters with miso tartar sauce; edamame with chili salt; cheesy barbecue brisket with house-made chips; “Shrimp on a Wire” with miso-lime vinaigrette, togarashi (Japanese spice mixture), shishito peppers and chili-aioli; salmon rillettes with sourdough crisps, and handcrafted charcuterie.

Grilled Portobello Salad from Geyser Point Bar & Grill

Salmon Rillette from Geyser Point Bar & Grill Opens at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Bison Burger from Geyser Point Bar & Grill Opens at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a quick-service walk-up window next to the bar makes it easy to order and dine alfresco.

Breakfast includes everything from scrambled eggs with sausage and bacon to crab cakes Benedict and maple-cinnamon pancakes. For a lighter bite, seasonal fruit is served with lavender honey-yogurt, and steel-cut oatmeal is topped with dried fruit and nuts. For kids, scrambled eggs, buttermilk pancakes and granola with apples, strawberries and honey-yogurt dip is on the menu.

The quick-service lunch and dinner menu, available at the walk-up window includes:

  • Bison burger with Tillamook Cheddar, sweet onion straws and marionberry barbecue sauce
  • Classic bacon burger with Tillamook Cheddar
  • House-smoked turkey sandwich with cranberry mayonnaise
  • Lump crab cake sandwich with house-made Canadian bacon and spicy cabbage-carrot slaw
  • Grilled salmon BLT with lemon-caper mayonnaise
  • Salad with grilled Portobello, zucchini, roasted red peppers, tomato and multi-grain salad with goat cheese dressing
  • Grilled chicken or salmon with arugula and romaine, apples, seasonal berries, hazelnuts and red wine vinaigrette
  • Seasonal fruit plate with lavender honey yogurt
  • For dessert there’s seasonal pie and a chocolate brownie mousse with caramel popcorn and toasted meringue

Kids’ all-day menu:

  • Grilled chicken strips with dipping sauces, apple or veggie sticks
  • Finger Food Sampler with sliced smoked turkey, Tillamook Cheddar, spiced apple jam, grape tomatoes and sourdough crisps.

Walt Disney World Introduces New Multi-Day Ticket Pricing and Park Hopper Plus Option

Today Walt Disney World released the specifics of the tickets price increase and it includes new 2017 multi day ticket pricing. A $20 discount can be had on 3 days and beyond for buying tickets in advance from Disney, the pricing listed here is for purchasing at ticket windows or guest relations.

With the Park Hopper Plus Option, Guests can visit more than one theme park on the same day and are also entitled to visit the following other gated attractions:

  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
  • DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park until closure in the summer
  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course (greens fees for one round of golf)
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (valid only on event days, some events require an additional charge)
  • Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course (one round before 4:00 PM)
  • Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (one round before 4:00 PM)

Tickets Expire 14 days from first use, and issued tickets expire on 12/31/2018.

Pricing for all ticket options are as follows:

2 Day Park Tickets

2 Day – Adult $211.94, Child $199 – 2016 pricing was Adult $215.16, Child $202.35
2 Day Hopper – Adult $275.84, Child $263.06 – 2016 pricing was Adult $273.71, Child $260.93
2 Day with Park Hopper Plus Option – Adult $291.81, Child $279.03

3 Day Park Tickets

3 Day – Adult $329.09, Child $309.92 – 2016 pricing was Adult $308.85, Child $289.68
3 Day Hopper – Adult $392.99, Child $373.82 – 2016 pricing was Adult $367.43, Child $348.26
3 Day with Park Hopper Plus Option – Adult $408.96, Child $389.79

4 Day Park Tickets

4 Day – Adult $394.05, Child $372.75 – 2016 pricing was Adult $346.13, Child $324.83
4 Day Hopper – Adult $473.93, Child $452.63 – 2016 pricing was Adult $419.61, Child $398.31
4 Day with Park Hopper Plus – Adult $489.90, Child $468.60

5 Day Park Tickets

5 Day – Adult $415.35, Child $394.05 – 2016 pricing was Adult $362.10, Child $340.80
5 Day Hopper – Adult $495.23, Child $473.93 – 2016 pricing was Adult $435.59, Child $414.29
5 Day with Park  Hopper Plus Option – Adult $511.20, Child $489.90

6 Day Park Tickets

6 Day – Adult $436.65, Child $415.35 – 2016 pricing was Adult $378.08, Child $356.78
6 Day Hopper – Adult $516.53, Child $495.23 – 2016 pricing was Adult $451.56, Child $430.26
6 Day with Park Hopper Plus Option – Adult $532.50, Child $511.20

7 Day Park Tickets

7 Day – Adult $457.95, Child $436.65 – 2016 pricing was Adult $394.05, Child $372.75
7 Day Hopper – Adult $537.83, Child $516.53 –  2016 pricing was Adult $467.54, Child $446.24
7 Day with Park Hopper Plus Option – Adult $553.80, Child $532.50

8 Day Park Tickets

8 Day – Adult $468.60, Child $447.30 – 2016 pricing was Adult $404.70, Child $383.40
8 Day Hopper – Adult $548.48, Child $527.18 – 2016 pricing was Adult $478.19, Child $456.89
8 Day with Park Hopper Plus Option – Adult $564.45, Child $543.15

9 Day Park Tickets

9 Day –  Adult $479.25, Child $457.95 – 2016 pricing was Adult $415.35, Child $394.05
9 Day Hopper – Adult $559.13, Child $537.83 – 2016 pricing was Adult $488.84, Child $467.54
9 Day with Park Hopper Plus Option – Adult $575.10, Child $553.80

10 Day Park Tickets

10 Day – Adult $489.90, Child $468.60 – 2016 pricing was Adult $426, Child $404.70
10 Day Hopper – Adult $569.78, Child $548.48 – 2016 pricing was Adult $499.49, Child $478.19
10 Day with Park Hopper Plus Option – Adult $585.75, Child $564.45

Walt Disney World to Increase Ticket Prices Sunday

Prices for tickets and annual passes at Walt Disney World will increase Sunday, while the resort will also make changes in policies regarding online purchases and expiration dates.

Disney last year introduced seasonal one-day ticket pricing, with three tiers based on time of year.  For most Disney theme parks, mid-tier tickets will cost $107, up from $102. Peak season tickets – generally for spring break, summer and Christmas break – will cost $119, up from $114.

A one-day visit during the least-popular value days will cost $99, up from $97.

The Magic Kingdom has a premium tacked on to its admission. Prices will rise for value and regular seasons, but the peak price will remain unchanged at $124. A mid-tier ticket will rise to $115 from $110.

Prices are for adults do not include tax. Tickets for children 3 to 9 will also become more expensive.

Annual-pass prices will also increase Sunday. Florida-resident gold passes with blockout dates during Christmas and spring break will cost $559, up from $549. Platinum passes with no blockout dates will cost $679, up from $649.

“Our pricing provides guests a range of options that allow us to better manage demand to maximize the guest experience and is reflective of the distinctly Disney offerings at all of our parks,” the company said in a statement.

Prices for Disney tickets have typically risen each February.

Also starting Sunday: Visitors buying tickets online or on their phones can save $20 on Magic Your Way bundles from three to 10 days.  SeaWorld and Universal Orlando also charge less for online purchases.

And all tickets will have expiration dates starting Sunday, not just single-day tickets. The dates will vary.

Disney World visitors typically buy multi-day tickets or passes rather than making single-day visits.

The price increases go into effect a few months before a new land based on “Avatar” will open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Overall, attendance declined 1 percent at Disney’s domestic theme parks in fiscal 2016. On Tuesday, the company reported the number of domestic visitors fell 5 percent year over year for the first fiscal quarter. The company blamed the decline on factors including Hurricane Matthew and a Christmas holiday shift. Seasonal pricing could also be encouraging visits during less busy times, executives said.

“However, the fact that Disney was still able to increase its theme-parks segment’s revenue by 6 percent and operating profit by 13 percent is exactly why it’s going to go through with this month’s inevitable hike,” analyst Rick Munarriz wrote Friday on the Motley Fool financial website. “Disney is learning to make more with less, and it won’t stop until revenue and earnings suggest otherwise.”

Still, the company could be reaching the point of pricing out potential visitors, said Bob Boyd, an analyst with Pacific Asset Management.

“We believe it’s going to become increasingly difficult for Disney to continue raising theme-park prices,” he said in an email.

The price of preferred parking, an option added last year, will rise to $40 instead of $35. Preferred parking is one of many perks Disney has added to generate more revenue from guests with the means to pay extra for them.

Also, Disney will eliminate the “water park fun and more” standalone option, which had combined admission to Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon with a golfing outing or a visit to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Visitors can still get the combo with a park hopper ticket.

From the Orlando Sentinel

BREAKING – Disney to Soft Open Rivers of Light Tonight

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will soft open on Friday February 10th for all guests.

FastPass+ is now available for tonight’s show, which begins at 7:15pm.

Disney announced yesterday that Rivers of Light officially opens on February 17th.

From WDWMagic

Walt Disney World Opens Reservations for Rivers of Light Dining Package

“Rivers of Light,” the new nighttime show that debuts February 17 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will wow guests with live performers, a soaring musical score, grand theatrical imagery and innovative water special effects that celebrate the relationship between animals and nature. The new show comes to life on select nights after dark on the Discovery River between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest.

The park’s culinary team is working on special dining packages at both Tiffins and Tusker House Restaurant to add to the special evening.

Similar to the popular “Fantasmic!” Dining Packages at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the “Rivers of Light” Dining Package includes reserved seating at the new show. At all-you-care-to-eat Tusker House, you can choose the breakfast, lunch or dinner buffet on the day of the show (but you have to dine at least 2 ½ hours before the show). Breakfast is $37, $23 ages 3 to 9, plus tax and gratuity; lunch and dinner, $49, $30 ages 3 to 9, plus tax and gratuity. Tusker House Restaurant is on the Disney Dining Plan and counts as one table-service meal.

At Tiffins, “Rivers of Light” Dining Packages are available at both lunch and dinner. Choose your favorite appetizer, entrée, dessert plus a non-alcoholic beverage. Dining must take place at least two and a half hours prior to showtime. Cost is $67, $32 ages 3 to 9 plus tax and gratuity. Tiffins accepts the Disney Dining Plan, and counts as two table-service meal entitlements.

Reservations are now open and can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dining or calling 407-WDW-DINE.

‘Happily Ever After’ Nighttime Spectacular Will Debut at Magic Kingdom May 12th

“Happily Ever After,” a new nighttime spectacular that will combine the magic of Disney storytelling, beloved Disney characters, fireworks and so much more, will debut at Magic Kingdom Park on May 12.

The spectacular will inspire guests to seek out and find their own “Happily Ever After” by showcasing some of the greatest adventures Disney characters have taken to achieve their dreams. The show will feature the latest fireworks and pyrotechnics and original animation, plus a heart-tugging original score. And thanks to the inclusion of state-of-the-art projection mapping technology, more Disney characters than ever before will be featured in the show, including moments from “Moana,” “Brave,” “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia,” “The Princess & The Frog,” “Aladdin” and many others.

The Fireworks Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace will continue to offer up a scrumptious way to view the nighttime fun as “Happily Ever After” makes its debut.

Rivers of Light Finally Gets Official Opening Date

For more than a year, Disney’s Animal Kingdom has continued its evolution to a day-to-night park by introducing a rich variety of new nighttime experiences – from Kilimanjaro Safaris after sunset and fine dining at Tiffins, to the vibrant entertainment at the Harambe Wildlife Parti and Discovery Island Carnivale. And when the Tree of Life awakens after dark, it is truly a sight to behold!

Today, Disney announced one of the park’s newest nighttime experiences, “Rivers of Light,” will make its official debut on February 17.

Continuing the grand Disney tradition of innovative, after-dark entertainment, “Rivers of Light” combines live performance, floating set pieces, a soaring musical score, fountains and more in a celebration of animals and nature. The story magically unfolds on the broad natural stage of the Discovery River, conveying the uplifting spirit of an ancient and timeless lantern ceremony and filled with symbolism, storytelling and plenty of heart.

FastPass+ is now available for Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  To make dining or FastPass+ reservations for this new show, visit MyDisneyExperience.com or the My Disney Experience app.

And don’t forget that the next step in the expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom – the grand debut of Pandora – The World of Avatar – will take place on May 27, 2017.