Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 2/26/15

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Welcome back to this brand new edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes!  (Crowd cheers…ok…maybe not…but a girl can dream.) This week has been very fruitful with little tidbits to share with you all; I’ve got lots of refurbishment news, details on Be Our Guest Restaurant, new information on Avatarland, and more!

  • Wow! There are a lot of refurbishments that have been scheduled for Walt Disney World. Let’s start at the Magic Kingdom. First, for those traveling in the summer, you will unfortunately not get to experience Pirates of the Caribbean. The attraction, which has been riddled with problems lately, will be seeing a 4+ month refurbishment, from May 11 through September 25, reopening September 26. No word on what the refurbishment will entail, but it is certainly necessary. There will also be a two day refurbishment of Stitch’s Great Escape in early March, March 1 and 2. The attraction will reopen on March 3. For those visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom for barbeque, you’ll have to wait a little longer, because Flame Tree Barbeque’s refurbishment has been pushed back to last until April 22, reopening April 23. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it would appear that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will be closed for a refurbishment from April 20-24, reopening on April 25. Also, Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed September 7-10, reopening on September 11. You can always keep up with the latest refurbishments on our refurb page.
  • So I don’t usually share the videos that Disney posts, but I will if I find them particularly newsworthy…like today, where they posted one hyping up Avatar for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s nice to finally see some more information about the project. The new concept art shown in the video is quite gorgeous, but what really impressed me was when they finally showed some of the bioluminescent aspects. It almost reminds me of being under the sea, seeing a unique type of illuminated coral. These additions will certainly make Animal Kingdom a destination once the sun sets. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the video:


  • For those of you curious about the full details of obtaining a reservation for Be Our Guest Restaurant’s lunch option, I’ve got them! Reservations may be made up to 180 days in advance by visiting www.mydisneyexperience.com or by calling (407) WDW-DINE and a credit card guarantee is required at that time. Guests who cannot make their reservation and do not cancel the day before will be charged a $10 no-show fee per guest on their provided credit card. Guests making reservations should know that this is still considered a counter service location, so they will be required to find a table on their own; no tables are reserved for guests. For those who wish to pre-order their meal, they may do so anywhere from 30 days prior to 5 minutes in advance OR guests may place their order when they arrive at the restaurant.  For those pre-ordering their meal, do keep in mind that payment will be required at the time of the arrival to the restaurant. Finally, walk-ups will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, but given the popularity of the restaurant, I would expect that actually obtaining a walk-up will be very hard to actually achieve.
  • We haven’t yet started the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, but for the planners out there, we already know the dates for 2016’s event. Next year’s Flower and Garden Festival will be held from March 2 through May 15.  For those who are visiting the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival this year, make sure to check out the special park map.
  • For those of you looking for the fantastic Disney Parks Collection of the PANDORA jewelry line, you now have a dedicated spot to visit. Guests can now visit a dedicated space in Uptown Jewelers on Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom.
  • When the Marketplace Co-op was first introduced at Downtown Disney, it was mentioned about how it would be used as a testing ground for new concepts and that stores would be able to be changed out. Well, it looks like the first boutique area is closing, another option is expanding, and another option is moving in. The WonderGround Gallery, which sells unique artwork, will be moving into the spot being vacated by the Beautifully Disney makeup location. In addition, The Sign Shop, which will offer Disney Parks-inspired signs for sale, will take the place of the WonderGround Gallery’s former space.
  • Speaking of Downtown Disney, the Village Causeway recently opened and with the opening of this walkway was also the opening of a few new kiosks. They include:
    • Kate and Leo: Designed to evoke a world of curiosity, creativity and imagination, this charming cart features children’s toys, travel games, magnetic story boards, beautiful art supplies and more,
    • Icon Jewellery by Bico: Offers jewelry for men and women, featuring iconic and inspirational designs focusing on concepts like love, protection, strength, and luck. Each piece can be customized and is crafted from hand-polished, fine grade pewter and enhanced with materials like Swarovski crystals, New Guinea rosewood and genuine leather.
    • Flour and Sugar: Giving guests a taste of the Sunshine State, this shop offers fresh-baked, all-natural gourmet cookies with Florida flavors like coconut, key lime, strawberry and more.
    • Florida Bath Company: Specializes in unique, Florida-themed bath products such as bath bombs, salts and soaps, made with home-grown ingredients including organic vegetable juices and essential citrus oils.
  • Typhoon Lagoon is testing a direct bus route from select resorts until March 28. During the test, buses will operate approximately every 20 minutes, with service beginning 30 minutes prior to park opening and ending 1 hour after park close.  The resorts that are included in the test are:
    • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge/Disney’s Contemporary Resort to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
    • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort/Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
  • Throughout the year, both Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot help to celebrate animals and conservation through special wildlife-inspired events. At these one day events, Disney offers guests the opportunity to learn more about the message being conveyed for the day, participate in special activities, and more. This year’s event dates are:
    • March 5: Spring Forward (celebrating amphibians) – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
    • April 22: Earth Day/Party for the Planet  – Disney’s Animal Kingdom/Epcot
    • May 9: International Migratory Bird Day – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
    • May 21: World Turtle Day – Disney’s Animal Kingdom/Epcot
    • June 3: World Oceans Day – Epcot
    • June 11: Pollinator Day – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
    • July 30: Big Cat Day – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
    • August 20: Primate Day – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
    • September 24: Elephant and Rhino Day – Disney’s Animal Kingdom

That’s gonna do it for today! Thoughts?

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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

One thought on “Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 2/26/15

  • March 8, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Isn’t it unusual for wdw to close an attraction for refurb in the summer season, and for all of the season at that? Seems to me there will be a lot of unhappy people finding out it is closed.


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