Walt Disney World Announces New Dates for ‘Disney After Hours’ for Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World announced earlier today that ‘Disney After Hours’ will continue for the Magic Kingdom into the winter of 2018 and into 2019, with dates available from December 3, 2018 until March 7, 2019.

As before, when attending this event guests can get in as early as 7 PM to experience the fireworks before hitting more than 25 attractions and experiences with little to no wait!  The event also includes complimentary ice cream novelties and beverages.

The new dates and times are:

  • December 3: 10 PM – 1 AM
  • December 10: 10 PM – 1 AM
  • January 7: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • January 17: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • January 24: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • January 28: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • February 7: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • February 14: 9 PM – 12 AM
  • February 28: 8 PM – 11 PM
  • March 7: 9 PM – 12 AM

The cost of the event has risen by $6, and is now $125 plus tax for ages 3+ with advance purchase, or $129 for day of. Passholders and DVC can get a discounted rate of $95 for an advance purchase. Theme park admission is not required.

I have not had to attend a ‘Disney After Hours’ event yet, though it looks like one of the new dates might be during my next trip.  This is definitely something I am considering.  Everyone that I know who has gone has loved the event.

You can purchase tickets by calling 407-827-7185 or by going online.

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Disney Announces Oga’s Cantina Coming to Galaxy’s Edge

Disney has given us another glimpse into what Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be like yesterday when it announced that Oga’s Cantina will be coming to Galaxy’s Edge in 2019.

According to Scott Trowbridge of Walt Disney Imaginering, “Visitors come to this notorious local watering hole to unwind, conduct shady business, and maybe even encounter a friend…or a foe. Run by an intriguing alien proprietor, Oga Garra, the cantina adheres to a strict code of conduct that tries to keep its unruly patrons in check. But with a history of being a smugglers’ safe haven and a popular stopping point for those seeking to avoid the authorities, you can bet that the cantina has a story or two to tell.”

In describing the cantina, Trowbridge added, “Oga’s Cantina is the kind of establishment that attracts some of the most interesting and disreputable characters in the galaxy. And you never know when a stormtrooper or a familiar face will show up. Patrons of the cantina come from across the galaxy to sample the famous concoctions created with exotic ingredients using “otherworldly” methods, served in unique vessels. With choices for kids and libations for adults, the cantina will make for a great stop!”

According to the announcement, the musical entertainment will be provided by an old friend of ours, RX-24, the former StarSpeeder 3000 pilot droid from Star Tours. Captain Rex has re-envisioned himself as the cantina’s quirky and talkative DJ.

Trowbridge encourages guests to be ready to listen to some unique music, taste the best drinks in the galaxy, and be surrounded with a colorful cast of characters.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge promises to be a totally immersive experience and Oga’s Cantina certainly seems to be following that promise, making it what seems like a must-see experience for guests.

Oga’s Cantina will be coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019 at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

TRON Attraction Update: Walt Disney World Railroad & Tomorrowland Speedway Operations to be Affected

Last summer at the D23 Expo Disney announced plans for a  TRON-style attraction that would be added to Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom and would open sometime in 2021.

The new attraction will be located in an entirely new area next to Space Mountain.

If you weren’t already excited about this new attraction, Disney has updated us with some related adjustments to two nearby attractions,meaning construction is now getting serious.  According to Disney, both the Walt Disney World Railroad and The Tomorrowland Speedway operations will be interrupted during the construction of the new TRON coaster.

The Walt Disney World Railroad will temporarily take up residence at the Main Street Station starting sometime this December, pausing its grand-circle tours of Magic Kingdom. During this time, guests will be able to get an up-close look at the railroad and take advantage of one-of-a-kind photo opportunities.

The Tomorrowland Speedway will also close for a portion of 2019, as the track is adjusted for the new attraction.  The railroad will reopen in the summer of 2019.

The new Tron attraction which will debut in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021, is based on TRON Lightcycle Power Run that is located at Shanghai Disneyland.

The TRON Lightcycle Power Run debuted on Shanghai Disneyland’s opening day and quickly became the highest-rated attraction at the park.

I personally cannot wait for this attraction.  I was excited when the announcement was made at the D23 Expo and now that construction has moved along far enough for them to start moving or adjusting portions of the nearby existing attractions I’m getting even more excited.

If you were planning on being in Walt Disney World while the operations of the Speedway and the Walt Disney World Railroad will be affected please be aware of the adjusted operations.

 

Walt Disney Company Plans to Eliminate Plastic Straws by Mid-2019

The Walt Disney Company announced today that they are planning on eliminating single-use straws in all of its owned and operated locations by mid-2019.  This will include all of Disney’s theme parks with the exception of Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea.

Disney claims that this elimination amounts to a reduction of more than 175 million straws and 13 million stirrers annually.

Disney appears to be joining the trend that was recently spearheaded by the announcement from Starbucks earlier this month that they would phase out single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 stores worldwide by 2020.

In addition to the Walt Disney Company and Starbucks, McDonald’s announced in June that it would scrap plastic straws from restaurant locations in the U.K. and Ireland and replace them with paper straws, starting in September. Vail Resorts, owner of Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe and sister resorts in Colorado, Utah, British Columbia, Vermont and the Midwest, has also banned plastic straws.

“Eliminating plastic straws and other plastic items are meaningful steps in our long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Consumer Products. “These new global efforts help reduce our environmental footprint, and advance our long-term sustainability goals.”

For guests staying at Disney hotels or traveling on Disney cruise ships, there are additional changes coming.

Over the next several years there will be a transition to refillable in-room amenities, a move that is expected to reduce plastic by 80 percent, the company estimates.  This has been rumored to be going property-wide for a while now after Walt Disney World had previously begun implementing this at some of its resorts earlier.

Disney also said they plan on reducing the number of single-use plastic shopping bags in owned and operated parks and on cruise ships, offering guests the option to purchase reusable bags.

It will be interesting how guests respond to the new straw policy.  I personally don’t care whether I have a straw with my drinks.  I only use the plastic ones Disney provides at sit-down restaurants because they toss it at my glass.  I refuse to use the paper ones because I find that they don’t last a meal and that they disintegrate in my beverage.  While I do use the plastic straws at quick-service restaurants, I’ll adapt and just not use anything.  There are people that I know that cannot drink anything with ice in it without a straw or use a straw with any drink either out of preference or necessity.  How these guests respond is anyone’s guess.  Many people have already mentioned that they’ll bring their own straws, some reusable, some not.

I personally wouldn’t be surprised if at some time in the near future Disney starts selling Disney themed/branded re-usable straws in its parks.

Equally interesting will be the implementation of the “decreased number of single-use plastic shopping bags” in the parks.  I suspect that what’s probably going to happen is purchased items won’t automatically be placed in a bag and that guests will be asked if they want a bag.  At that point they will be offered the “opportunity” to purchase a re-usable bag.  I imagine Disney will still have to use bags for guests that want purchased items transported to the front of the parks to be picked up later or if guests want their items sent back to their resort.

Okay….now it is time for my cynical take on this.

I’m sure some part of the Disney Company is doing this for the sole concern of the environment.  I have no doubt that this is contributing to the decision.  I suspect that the biggest reason for this decision is financial and if there is a PR win that comes with it…so be it.

Look at it this way…

Disney spends a lot of money having someone make straws for all of their restaurants and beverage carts.  They know that with this change people will use fewer straws provided by Disney, even the paper straws.  People will just use less of them.  This means Disney spends less money.

The same in regards to the bags.  Some guests will decide not to use bags or will purchase the re-usable bags.  Again, less money spent on plastic bags.

If in fact Disney decides to offer Disney-themed or branded re-usable straws this is a new found revenue stream.  Also, Disney mentioned that instead of plastic bags they will “offer” re-usable bags.  We all know that this means “sell” don’t we?  Again…a new revenue stream.

So, Disney spends less money, finds new revenue streams and they come off as environmentally friendly.  It’s a win-win-win situation.

 

Monte Cristo Sandwich Removed from Menu at Woody’s Lunch Box

If you have enjoyed the Monte Cristo Sandwich at Woody’s Lunch Box or were looking forward to trying it, I have some bad news.

According to multiple guest sources the Monte Cristo Sandwich has been removed from the menu at Woody’s Lunch Box in Toy Story Land.  This was confirmed when I checked the menu on Walt Disney World’s website.

According to Orlando Theme Park News, cast members state that they are being told that the sandwich was removed because it wasn’t popular enough.   According to sources the sandwich was officially taken off the menu on July 15.

From comments that I’ve seen online, the sandwich has had mixed reviews.  Many people critical of the sandwich have stated that it wasn’t a true Monte Cristo, and fell short of the one served at Café Orleans in New Orleans Square in Disneyland. Other guests who have enjoyed the sandwich say they liked it for what it was, despite it not being a true Monte Cristo.

Rivers of Light Dessert Party Now Available for Reservations

If you are fan of dessert parties at Walt Disney World, today Disney Dining has opened reservations for a new Rivers of Light Dessert Party at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

According to Disney, guests will need to begin checking in 60 minutes prior to the main show (8:15pm for a 9:15pm show) at the Rivers of Light Asia Viewing Area Terrace which is  located across from Expedition Everest.

At the Dessert Party guests will be able to enjoy themed desserts and savory snacks. Drink selections include specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, iced tea, lemonade and water.

When the show is about to start, you will head down to the VIP Seating Area for a viewing of Rivers of Light.

Pricing
Admission is $79 per adult and $47 per child (ages 3 to 9) including tax; gratuity not included or required. Separate Disney’s Animal Kingdom park admission is also required.

Please note that the menu items are subject to change and the experience may be changed or canceled without prior notice.

Reservations
Book online or call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

‘Disney Junior Dance Party!’ Coming This Fall to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Do you have a little one and do you and them love Disney Junior?  Well….do I have good news for you if you’re planning on visiting Walt Disney World this fall.

Today Disney announced that an all-new Disney Junior show will be coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios this fall. “Disney Junior Dance Party!” will be, according to Disney, a high-energy, live show that is inspired by the most popular Disney Junior shows on TV such as “Mickey and the Roadster Racers,” “Doc McStuffins,” “The Lion Guard” and the newest hit series “Vampirina.”

The new show will be a musically infused, interactive concert, hosted by Finn Fiesta and a DJ, named Deejay, of course, who involve guests, especially little guests, in all the fun. This will include live appearances from some of your favorite characters and fun music from Disney Junior.

Minnie Van Service Now Available to all Walt Disney World Guests

Last summer at the D23 Expo Disney announced that the Minnie Van service would become available at Walt Disney World. Today Disney announced  that the service will be available for everyone at Walt Disney World, through the Lyft app.

Opening the service to all Walt Disney World guests comes after phasing it in over the Disney resorts, but initially restricted to only guests staying at those resorts.  As stated above, the service is now available to everyone that is visiting Walt Disney World..

The Minnie Van service offers a comfy and convenient way for guests to travel to and from the theme parks, to dining reservations at resort hotels, family gatherings, shopping sprees at Disney Springs and much more in no time at all.

All guests have to do is download the Lyft app on their mobile device, open it from anywhere at Walt Disney World Resort and select the Minnie Van service option. Then, follow the following steps:

  • Confirm your current pickup location.
  • Enter your Walt Disney World Resort destination and tap “Request.”
  • The app will display a map tracking the vehicle en route and give you an identifying vehicle number to help you spot your car.

With Lyft, guests can request the service with their smartphone and pay right through the app.

The service is available between 6:30 AM and 12:30 AM.

Disney Announces “Opening Seasons” for Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The galaxy that was far, far away and a long time ago just got a little closer.

On Tuesday, Disney announced that the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open in summer of 2019 at Disneyland and in late fall 2019 at Walt Disney World.

Up until this point, all Disney has said about possible opening dates for either location was they would open in 2019.

While the announcement does not indicate a month or a date for the openings, it does indicate a couple of things.  First of all, it somewhat coincides with a lot of the rumors that the Disneyland version would open sometime during the summer next year.  With the statement of “Late Fall 2019” for the Florida version, this seems to confirm that construction there is behind Disneyland’s, which is in line with what many of us thought.  There had been rumors that construction at Walt Disney World had been closing the gap.  Either that speculation was wrong or if they have closed the gap that construction was even further behind than we had thought.

No specific date summer date was announced for the Disneyland opening.  There have been rumors that the actual date may be as early as late June or early July.  There also has been speculation, especially with how the return of Fantasmic in 2017 was handled, that Galaxy’s Edge may not open until sometime around the D23 Expo which returns to Anaheim August 23-25, 2019.

At this point, it’s all speculation and no one really knows.  Hopefully we’ll get more detailed information soon, but I personally would expect anything substantial until early spring 2019.

Walt Disney World Announces Dates for Epcot International Festival of Holidays and Candlelight Processional for 2018

Earlier today Walt Disney World announced that the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays this year will take place November 18 thru December 30, 2018.

Even though we have not been able to visit Walt Disney World in November or December for a few years, this time of year has always been a favorite time to visit for me and my family.  One of our favorite things to do during this time of the year at Epcot is to attend the Candlelight Processional.

The Candlelight Processional will be returning again this year and for the first time, this popular holiday tradition will debut for the season on Thanksgiving (November 22nd) and run through December 30th.

The Candlelight Processional is a holiday must-do for many Epcot guests.  The program is a retelling of the traditional Christmas story read by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a massed choir and live orchestra.

At this time celebrity narrators have not been announced.

Also…even though Candlelight Dinner packages have been popular in the past and are expected to return, Disney has not yet released any information regarding this.

A couple of months ago Disney announced the dates for this year’s “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party“.