A Few Newsworthy Notes and Happenings at Walt Disney World

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Today, I’m bringing you a list of a few newsworthy pieces of information of things that are taking place at Walt Disney World that I wanted you all to be aware of.  Some of them are upcoming refurbishments, as well as a few other bits of information.

First, let’s look at some upcoming refurbishments that are on the calendars.

  • I’ve mentioned before that Disney’s Polynesian Resort is slated to begin a massive refurb in the Great Ceremonial House, and one of those refurbishments includes the quick service restaurant Capt. Cook’s. (A favorite of mine…they not only serve my favorite entree, the adult grilled cheese, but also Tonga Toast AND they have a Dole Whip machine!) The start of this refurbishment was previously unknown, but now it looks like it will begin on March 28 and will last until sometime in June. A replacement dining option will be available for guests during the refurbishment.

  • At the Magic Kingdom, three attractions are slated to be closed for refurbishments. First, Swiss Family Treehouse will be closed for refurbishment from March 17-28, reopening on March 29. Also, Astro Orbiter will see a very lengthy summer refurb, as it will be closed from May 3 through August 20, reopening August 21. Finally, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover had a refurbishment that was slated to take place earlier this month; that has been pushed back, and it will now be under refurbishment from May 3 – July 1, reopening on July 2. For the full list of attraction refurbishments, make sure to check out our Refurbishment Page.

Now, for the other news items that I wanted to share:

  • A few changes have occurred at some of the marinas across Walt Disney World property. Watercraft rentals are now discontinued at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. (Watercraft transportation that takes place at Old Key West and Port Orleans continues.)
  • A new small table service dining location has opened up to guests at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Called Las Ventanas, this small dining room, which was located next to Rix Lounge and was formerly a private dining area for the lounge, now serves both breakfast (from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.) and lunch (from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.)  Menu items include dishes with a southwestern/Mexican flare to them.

As you can see, there are lots of little pieces of news that have been floating around. Thoughts?

Rikki Niblett

I am a co-host of the Be Our Guest Podcast and do lots of other fun Disney stuff all around the interwebs! You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @RikkiNibs or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rikkinibs

36 thoughts on “A Few Newsworthy Notes and Happenings at Walt Disney World

  • March 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm
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    Great update. Thanks for keeping us up on what’s going on. It helps tremendously, especially when we have trips planned soon.

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  • March 5, 2014 at 2:34 pm
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    Any idea why they are no longer renting watercraft?

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    • March 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm
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      No…nothing definitive. I have a few theories, but no definitive reason. My biggest guess…possibly due to the construction taking place at Disney Springs…but that’s only a guess.

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      • March 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm
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        I read that the third partie company that operates the rentals was not making a profit. They decided not to continue…….a shame that Disney would not take over.

      • March 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm
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        That’s another theory I’ve heard that could well be possible.

  • March 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm
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    With the Peoplemover closed in May where will I take my quick cat naps during the 24-hour Rock Your Disney Side event? I guess it’ll have to be the Hall of Presidents.

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    • March 5, 2014 at 4:07 pm
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      You could always cat nap in The Carousel of Progress 🙂

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  • March 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm
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    I heard that the self-serve dole whip machine will NOT be available during the refurb. Any confirmation on this?

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    • March 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm
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      I have heard that as well. I’ve heard the regular menu items will be offered, but no Dole Whips at the temporary location.

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  • March 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm
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    Oh, No! Oh, No! We are not scheduled to arrive until May 3rd.

    So if we arrive at NAS JAX at 3:30 and make it into a car by 4:30, we can make it to Port Orleans Riverside by 7. My friends have to convert their military ticket vouchers into actual tickets, but the lines should be short.

    Do you think I can convince them that we have time to ride the People Mover before a 9 PM Reservation at California Grill to eat/watch fire works. Or maybe I could run and get on the TPP while they convert their tickets.

    (Yes, I go to the World often enough that an annual pass makes since while living on a foreign military base.)

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    • March 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm
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      I am taking a newbie to run in the Expedition Everest Race!!

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      • March 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm
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        It will actually be closed starting on May 3. May 2nd is the last day of operations before the refurb starts.

        Yay for running the Expedition Everest Challenge though! 🙂 Good luck!

  • March 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm
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    Do you know if strictly the watercraft equipment is discontinued at Port Orleans, or are the Surrey Bikes and Horse drawn carriage rides out now, too? We were really hoping to utilize those two options during our upcoming trip there. I will be bummed it it’s not longer an option.

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    • March 6, 2014 at 2:40 pm
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      It is strictly the watercraft. Those other options should be fine to experience! Have fun!

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  • March 5, 2014 at 6:04 pm
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    Why would they close the Astro Orbiter all summer? My kids love to ride that at night. They will be so upset! That seems like a long time for that simple ride.

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  • March 6, 2014 at 4:13 am
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    Thanks for the update, I knew about the people mover which was BAD news for us as we love this, but we arrive June 30th, so hopefully its not delayed any further and we will get to ride it during our 2 weeks in WDW. As for the loss of watercraft rentals at CB, I am gutted, this is the first time we’ve stayed at a moderate, and I was really looking forward to renting one of those two person boats for a bit of fun 🙁 Can you still rent watercraft at Downtown Disney? Or have a missed a post that said that was no longer available either?

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    • March 6, 2014 at 2:41 pm
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      As far as my understand, there is no more watercraft rentals that float on the Sassagoula, so no more renting watercraft at Downtown Disney either. (Actually, I think I read they just dismantled the marinas there too.)

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      • March 7, 2014 at 3:45 am
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        Thanks Rikki, thats such a shame! We meant to do the whole boat rental last trip (2012) but never got around to it, now it looks like we’ve missed the chance completely:( Still lots of other good stuff to do eh?

      • March 7, 2014 at 9:32 am
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        Julie, try any of the marinas at the monorail resorts or the Wilderness Lodge. You can zip all over Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Really fun to view the resorts and the Magic Kingdom from a different perspective! It is my understanding that the Sea Raycers at these locations can go faster than the ones that were at Downtown Disney or on the Sassagoula River. You can also try the marina at the Yacht and Beach club.

      • March 7, 2014 at 11:34 am
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        Thanks Annie, I never thought of that! Think I might just be taking a trip to the Wilderness Lodge:)

  • March 6, 2014 at 10:03 am
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    Is it me, or does it seem like this year is seeing more “major” refurbishments and changes then in the past? (Put the whole my magic, fastpass+ rollout aside).

    Maybe it’s the whole Disney Springs construction project that makes it feel like that.

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  • March 6, 2014 at 11:18 am
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    While it’s a bummer that all these refurbs take place during everyone’s trips, I definitely benefitted from the TTA being pushed back, as it was open during our Feb trip! I went to the Magic Kingdom so bummed that we wouldn’t be able to ride it, but much to my surprise and delight, we could!!!

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  • March 6, 2014 at 11:59 am
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    I’m so glad that Disney works so hard to keep everything fresh and beautiful for all of their guests – but I’m sad that the TTA will be down when I’m there. 🙁

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  • March 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm
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    The rumour I want to know about is what date will off-site Disney guests be allowed to pre book their Fastpass+ tickets. Iunderstand it will be for a trial period but when?

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    • March 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm
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      I hear it’ll be toward the end of this month. Depends on how well the software update goes for the FP+ system. Fingers crossed.

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  • March 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm
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    What a bummer about TTA! We arrive on May 3rd! Hopefully Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride will be open by then! Any word on dates?

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    • March 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm
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      I’d be really surprised if it wasn’t fully operational by May 3, Roy.

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      • March 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm
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        Thanks Len. I’m checking on my reservations daily in hopes Seven Dwarfs will show up in FP+.

      • March 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm
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        That’s what I was thinking too. If they’re having a media event on April 30th, I would assume they would want that attraction open for that.

  • March 7, 2014 at 5:59 am
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    Bummer about the self serve Dole Whip machine. We are arriving at the Poly May 5-May 12. Any ideas where else we can get this fab treat?

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    • March 7, 2014 at 11:10 am
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      You can get them in. Magic Kingdom in Adventureland or in Epcot during the flower and garden festival.

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  • March 7, 2014 at 9:44 am
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    OH NO!! We arrive March 29 and were planning on visiting Captain Cook’s for Dole Whip multiple times! (we are not going to Magic Kingdom this trip, and do not have park hoppers.) Not being able to get Dole Whips will be a HUGE disappointment for my family. Does anyone know if you can still do the 1-hour “shopping pass”?? Just so we can run into Magic Kingdom to get our Dole Whip fix. Or maybe Dole Whip will be added to the Fantasy Fare food truck?? Please???

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  • March 7, 2014 at 11:12 am
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    Are you going to Epcot? They’ll be available during the flower and garden festival. You can also add coconut or rum to the ones in Epcot!

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  • March 7, 2014 at 8:13 pm
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    I just finished sending Disney an email letting them know exactly how disappointed I am that they discontinued boat rentals at Riverside. Those boats are part of the charm and magic of the place and I can’t even imagine what it must look like without them. The Sassagoula River was the perfect place to explore with a pontoon boat and enjoy some quiet time away from the parks. You can’t even compare it to boating on Bay Lake! Disney completely blew it by eliminating the boats from Riverside. If you agree, then let them know it!

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  • March 9, 2014 at 11:42 am
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    Sad to hear the astro orbiter will be closed for refurbishment when we are at Disney World in June. My husband has never been on the ride in 20 years of Disney visits! His wait will have to continue!

    Reply

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