At Travel Beat we have all the “other” news from the last week or so—the stuff that wasn’t big enough to stop the presses for. What did the newsroom bring us this week? (Sneak peek: it’s a smorgasbord.) Bullets are just ahead if you’re in a hurry, and more details follow below. Don’t forget to check out the Headline News Recap, in case there was something you missed!
- Country Bear Jamboree Closing for Refurb January 27
- Magic Keys Were Sold For a Few Hours
- Icon of the Seas Arrives in Miami
- Tortilla Jo’s Closing at Downtown Disney
- D23 Tickets Will Go on Sale March 26
- Adventures by Disney Adds Holland and Belgium River Cruises
- Good to Go Days Added to WDW Annual Pass Calendar
- Moana Stage Show Announced for Disney Treasure
- Festival of the Arts Begins at EPCOT
- Headline News Recap
Country Bear Jamboree Closing for Refurb January 27
It was previously announced at Destination D23 that Country Bear Jamboree would be getting a new act. This week, Disney shared that the final performance of the current show will be on January 26. On January 27th, the attraction will close for refurbishment. When it reopens later this summer, the lineup will include new, reinterpreted Disney tunes in a wide range of country styles, paying homage to the Opry-style shows of Nashville. Disney has also announced that the new show will include “easter eggs from the beginning to the end”.
Magic Keys Were Sold For a Few Hours
Last week’s headlines included the news that Magic Keys for Disneyland would be sold beginning on January 10. And they were — for a very short while. The Inspire, Believe, and Enchant keys sold out in a little under 6 hours for new purchases, although renewals are still available. And the So-Cal only Imagine key sold out before the next day was over.
Icon of the Seas Arrives in Miami
Royal Caribbean’s brand new ship – currently the biggest in the world – arrived in Miami this week to much fanfare. Next up: ship’s christening on January 23, followed by her maiden voyage beginning on January 27.
Tortilla Jo’s Closing at Downtown Disney
Tortilla Jo’s will be closing at Downtown Disney on March 31, 2024. The Quick Service Taqueria outlet will remain open a couple of weeks longer before shutting its doors on April 13. The closures come as the Downtown Disney District continues to be reimagined as part of a multi-year transformation.
D23 Tickets Will Go on Sale March 26
D23, the biennial fan event that often sees major announcements about changes or additions to the Disney Parks, will be held on August 9-11 in Anaheim. Disney announced this week that tickets will go on sale on March 26, 2024. In addition to the ticket news, Disney announced a D23 event for Brazil in November; more details will presumably be forthcoming.
Adventures by Disney Adds Holland and Belgium River Cruises
Adventures by Disney released its 2025 Small Ship itineraries and there’s a brand new pair of river cruises to Holland and Belgium. Both itineraries will include a variety of destinations and activities highlighting the area’s unique culture, lifestyle, and landscape, all supported by Adventures by Disney Guides. There are four sailings of the Holland and Belgium river cruise, including one Disney Vacation Club member-exclusive sailing and one adults-only sailing. A single sailing of the Tulip Cruise during the height of tulip season departs in April.
Booking for these 2025 adventures opens this week, according to the following schedule:
- Jan. 16, 2024 – Adventure Insiders with 3+ previous Adventures
- Jan. 17, 2024 – All Adventure Insiders
- Jan. 18, 2024 – Disney Vacation Club Members, Disney Cruise Line Gold & Platinum Castaway Members, Golden Oak Residents
- Jan. 19, 2024 – Bookings open for general public
Select departures are eligible for an Early Booking savings of $500 or more when booked by April 15, 2024. To reserve your spot, head to the Adventures by Disney site or talk to your favorite travel agent.
Good to Go Days Added to WDW Annual Pass Calendar
The big news this week was the end of park pass reservations at Disney World for those holding date-based tickets. But Annual Passholders have their own reason to rejoice, as the first good-to-go days were added to the Passholder Park Pass calender. (Say that five times fast!). The initial selection is pretty skimpy, with about 1-2 days per week making an appearance between now and February 1. We’re hoping that the frequency increases over time, because honestly once you’ve loaded up the calendar to check you’ve done enough work that you didn’t save much over making the reservation.
Moana Stage Show Announced for Disney Treasure
Disney had previously announced that the third stage show on the Disney Treasure would feature Moana, back in October 2023. This week we got more details. “Disney The Tale of Moana” will start out in Motunui in the modern day. Vibrant dance and songs in English and a mixture of Polynesian languages will tell the story of how Moana is chosen by the ocean to restore the heart of Te Fiti.
The stage production will feature puppets, set design that leans heavily on the culture of the Polynesian islands, and the song “Warrior Face” that was written for the movie and is on the soundtrack, but didn’t make it into the final cut. The show is designed to use the entire theater, including one scene where a giant manta ray sails over the audience as twinkling stars light the sky (ceiling) above. In case you’ve lost track of everything that’s planned for the Treasure, you can find the full list of what we know here: UPDATES: Disney Cruise Line Announces Details About Its Newest Ship, The Disney Treasure.
Festival of the Arts Begins at EPCOT
The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts launched yesterday at Disney World. The biggest wait our team encountered was at the brand-new booth Cuisine Classique, where Cast Members were clarifying that dishes are not prepared until they are ordered and the wait would be longer. The dishes at this booth aren’t new; they’re favorites from the Craftsman’s Courtyard that moved over when that Studio got a whole new menu. We’ll have more coverage of the Festival throughout the week, including a review of the Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine dishes on Monday.
For those of you not planning to attend the Festival, you can follow along at home. One of the Festival highlights is the huge paint-by-numbers mural that lets guests pick up a paintbrush. Disney has released a pair of color-by-number images of Figment that you can download.
Headline News Recap
As we head into a slower season, Disney has released a Florida Resident special ticket: New Florida Resident Ticket Offer for Early 2024 at Disney World
And, while the big Festival news at Disney World this week was all about Festival of the Arts, Disneyland’s Lunar New Year Festival starts in just a couple of weeks. Menus for the Festival are out! 2024 Lunar New Year Festival Menus at Disneyland
That’s it for this week’s Travel Beat. What news are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!