All-Star Movies Resort Scheduled to Re-Open on February 2021

Walt Disney World has announced that its All Star Movies Resort at Walt Disney World will re-open on February 9, 2021.

The resort shutdown during the original COVID-19 closure earlier this year in March. Disney has not yet announced a re-opening date for the other All Star Resorts.

Reservations for All Star Movies are now being accepted.

The following Disney Resort hotels are now open and accepting new reservations:

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Winter Summerland Mini Golf to Re-Open at Walt Disney World

With the fall season beginning and the winter season on the horizon in Florida, Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf will be re-opening to guests beginning on November 6th at Walt Disney World Resort.

Winter Summerland Miniature Golf offers two uniquely themed 18-hole courses, each with their own distinct musical soundtrack. As the name implies, one course draws inspiration from the winter season, including snow castles and ice hockey rinks. The second course represents all things related to summer. Guests navigate surf boards, sand sculptures and even a melted snowman.

When Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf re-opens, Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf will close for the season on November 5th and re-open on January 31st next year.

Characters Returning to Chef Mickey’s

Walt Disney World has indicated that Mickey Mouse and friends will return to Chef Mickey’s starting on December 16th at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Disney has also indicated that along with the return of characters,  there will be new menu items that will debut.  When the breakfast returns it will now be an all-you-care-to-eat family style breakfast instead of the previous buffet offering.

As we have seen at other Walt Disney World character meals, the characters will parade though the restaurant instead of visiting tables as they have previously done.

While Disney has not specifically mentioned it, I would expect that they will be returning the price to what it was previously when it had characters.

Reservations for Chef Mickey’s character breakfast will become available on October 17th.

It’s been years since we’ve been to Chef Mickey’s. We considered the character interaction subpar and the buffet food barely average….and it’s the noisiest meal I’ve ever experience…ever. We ate at Garden Grill and Topolino’s last month when we were visiting Walt Disney World and I actually think the way they’re doing the characters is an improvement. With this and the menu changes…if they stay….might actually get us to return.

The other thing that’s important to note….

This significantly increases the number of character breakfasts and character meals available to guests on property.  So, if you are looking for a character meal, this is really good news.

Walt Disney World Adds Three Quick Service Eating Options at Magic Kingdom, Adjusts Operating Hours of Three Eating Options at DHS

Walt Disney World has opened two more quick service options at the Magic Kingdom as the park continues it’s phased re-opening from the COVID-19 shutdown.

In Fantasyland the Friar’s Nook has re-opened along with the Advetnureland Spring Roll Cart.  Both re-opened yesterday.

In Tomorrowland, The Lunching Pad will also re-open on October 9th.

Meanwhile at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney announced new operating hours at three restaurants.  These new hours will go into effect on October 4th.

Disney will be changing the closing time for Backlot Express from 4 PM to 5 PM.

PizzeRizzo will reduce hours to 11 AM – 5 PM from the previous 11:30 AM – 6:30 PM.

Ronto Roasters will get it hours reduced to 9:30 AM – 3 PM (currently 9:30 AM – 8 PM). Ronto Wraps will still be available at Docking Bay 7 after Ronto Roasters closes each day.

Yee Haw Bob Jackson’s Show Not Returning

In a Facebook post Yee Haw Bob Jackson announced that his show will not be returning to Walt Disney World.

Bob and his show at Port Orleans Resort have been very popular.  He will be missed..

Disney to Layoff 28,000 Cast Members at US Parks

Today Disney has announced that it will make a drastic reduction in its workforce at its domestic parks.  Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro announced that Disney will be laying off 28,000 cast members. He also stated that  67% of these layoffs will be part-time cast members.

In a statement, D’Amaro publicly mentions the state of California’s reluctance to allow for the re-opening of Disneyland as one of the driving factors. In a note sent to cast members. D’Amaro states that, “We will be scheduling appointments with our affected salaried and non-union hourly employees over the next few days.” It appears the action will happen soon.

Walt Disney World currently employs approximately 70,000, with Disneyland Resort employing around 30,000. It isn’t at this time clear how the layoffs will be distributed across the two coasts.

Both Disneyland and Walt Disney World closed in mid-March due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Walt Disney World re-opened in mid-July.  Disneyland Resort still remaining closed.

Walt Disney World Ends The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra’s Run After 32 Years

In a Facebook post, The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra announced that their run at Walt Disney World and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort will end on October 3rd.

In the announcement the group stated –

It’s hard to find the words but, sadly, our days at the Grand Floridian are over. In fact, as of Oct 3, 2020, our days at WDW will come to an end as well.
The company brought us out of furlough, changed our name to “The Disney Society Orchestra,” closed us out of the GF to play a show of Disney themed show tunes at the Theater of the Stars in Hollywood Studios. We’ve been playing 9 shows a day, 7 days a week since Aug 2nd. The music is a far cry from the closely knit harmonies & sounds we became known for at the GF but. the guys are real pros and they sound great!
Well… Two weeks ago we got notice that the theater is going dark and our last day of work will be Saturday, Oct 3, 2020. As we all know, these are very uncertain times and can’t say what will happen from one day to the next.
So after 32 years of playing together and playing music we love… we’re done. We are so thankful for the opportunity to play in a beautiful setting for the hotel guests and friends we have met & made over the years. We’ll never forget you and how wonderful you’ve made us feel. We will miss you!
Thank you-thank you- thank you!
Whenever we’ve ever been to the Grand Floridian listening to the orchestra has always been a great experience.  They will be missed.
There haven’t been any details released as to why this is happening.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Candlelight Processional Go on Hiatus

It came as no great surprise that Walt Disney World announced yesterday that Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Castle Dream Lights, Jingle Bell Jingle BAM! and Candlelight Processional at EPCOT will not be taking place this year. As expected, physical distancing requirements and limitations on mass gatherings make those events impossible to host.

Although the main holiday events will be missing in 2020, Disney did announce that beginning November 6th and running through December 30th this year, guests will still be able to enjoy festive décor, themed merchandise, seasonal food & beverage offerings and entertainment all across Walt Disney World Resort.

In the announcement Walt Disney World stated that the parks will continue the cavalcades that were introduced when the parks re-opened in July, this time with seasonal twists celebrating the holidays. The very popular Toy Soldiers will join the Main Street Philharmonic for one of the seasonal mini-parades at the Magic Kingdom.

When night falls,Disney plans of presenting  special projection effects that will give a festive look to Cinderella Castle this year. The appearance of the iconic castle will be transformed with a rotating series of designs including a whimsical Christmas sweater and a regal overlay of red, green and gold ornamentation.

Minnie Mouse will also be hosting a yuletide gathering for all her friends at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios beginning November 6th. Santa Goofy will also be there..

Beginning November 27th, EPCOT will  be celebrating highlights from the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. Holiday kitchens will be returning around World Showcase promenade with favorites like American Holiday Table featuring Slow-roasted Turkey with Stuffing and Bavaria Holiday Kitchen with dishes like Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl.

Inside the World Showplace, JOYFUL!, will present a journey through R&B, Gospel, contemporary and traditional Christmas and holiday music. Also, the Voices of Liberty will perform at the America Gardens Theatre stage for a special concert of favorite carols and songs of the season.

At the resorts, decor will be on full display, but gingerbread displays will not be present this year.

At Disney Spring snowfall will occur each night within Town Center, West Side and The Landing. In addition, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will transform into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar with a limited-time menu of festive favorites. The Tree Trail will not be returning, but the trees will be spread throughout the property.

Finally, Santa Claus will wave to guests as he makes pop-up appearances at each park, as well as Disney Springs,  but will not be available for meet and greets. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, for example, he will sail down Discovery River on a special flotilla.

Walt Disney World Delays Re-Opening of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Walt Disney World announced today that it will be delaying the re-opening of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort until summer 2021.

Disney has also indicated that it will be refurbishing the hotel beginning in October, which will include changes to the Great Ceremonial House and guest rooms.  Details on the refurbishment to be announced at a later date.

The Villas and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will remain open during this refurbishment.

“As we continue to reopen additional Disney Resort hotels to Guests, we are modifying the reopening date for Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort which will reopen next summer. This schedule adjustment also allows us to complete some refurbishment work at the Resort hotel, including enhancements to the Great Ceremonial House and Guest rooms. We expect work to begin in early October and look forward to sharing more about these changes in the future. The Villas and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will remain open during this refurbishment.”

Here is the revised resort hotel re-opening schedule:

  • September 21 – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • October 14 – Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • November 1 – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Summer 2021 – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney’s All Star Resorts, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, Disney’s Beach Club and BoardWalk Inn continue to remain closed until further notice.

Impasse with Actor’s Equity Union Ends…Performers to Return to Work at Walt Disney World

In an article posted yesterday we announced that the State of Florida will begin providing COVID-19 Testing for cast members and guests the Disney Maingate Complex starting August 14th.  After this announcement, the Actor’s Equity Union signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney for Equity performers to return to work at the Walt Disney World theme parks.

Disney officials said in a notice to its workers that there would be a dedicated testing lane for its workers and their families, and that reservations could be made for testing.

“As a reminder, testing is voluntary and cast members will not be paid for testing time,” the notice said.

In a statement, Kate Shindle, president of the Actors’ Equity Association stated –

“We have been consistent that testing is an important part of ensuring a safe workplace for Equity performers, and today, I’m pleased to see that Disney World has agreed.  With the news that Disney will make testing available for Equity performers and others in the park, I’m happy to announce that Equity’s executive committee has signed a memorandum of understanding with Disney for Equity performers to return.”

The Actors’ Equity Association represents 51,000 stage performers nationwide, including about 750 at Disney World.

Disney released a statement later Wednesday stating that allowing the testing location was not in response to union demands.

“Our actions support all cast and our community at large,” the statement said.

The union began pushing Disney World to offer testing for its members in late June, before the park’s July reopening. The actors could not do their jobs wearing masks or keeping social distance, according to the union.

Equity Cast Members make up a significant portion of Walt Disney World’s live entertainment performers, which include shows such as, Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Festival of the Lion King and various castle shows.

The return of those performers would pave the way for Disney to resume shows should it wish to do so. It needs to be stated though that though a return of these shows is possible and very likely at some point, no return date or time table for their return has been indicated by either Disney or the Equity Union.  Presumably rehearsals would need to take place.  How long this could take is unknown at this time.

So, even though we don’t know a return date, it appears another part of the special Disney magic will be returning to Walt Disney World.