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Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2017

Below are the latest updates we have for the 2017 book:

If you pre-ordered

Please read this article about the first printed copies of the Unofficial Guide. Any questions should go to the publisher of the Unofficial Guides through their contact page. TouringPlans has no additional information about the new copies.

Part 1 - Planning Before You Leave Home

P. 49 In the "When to Go to Walt Disney World" calendar, in June, remove the reference to Star Wars Weekends. The Star Wars Weekends event has been discontinued.

Part 2 - Making the Most of Your Time and Money

P. 66 In the Tickets, Biometrics, Wristbands and RFID section, add the following information:

Beginning in the summer of 2016, Disney began asking for biometric finger scans for children ages 3-9, as well as for adults and children ages 10+. Younger kids may have a parent or other adult provide their scans, or Disney may ask to photograph the child for admission verification purposes.

P. 109 - Cheetah Hunt is not the longest roller coaster in Florida; it has been surpassed by Mako at SeaWorld.

Part 4 - Dining in and Around Walt Disney World

P. 341 The Disney Springs restaurants Frontera Cocina and Chef Art Smith's Homecoming (a name change since the previously announced Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine) are both now open. Replace the current entries with the following:

Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming

Reservations: Recommended. When to Go: Lunch or dinner. Cost range: $16-$41 (child $9-$12). Service: Too new to rate.Friendliness: Too new to rate. Parking: Disney Springs garage. Bar: Full service. Wine selection: modest. Dress: Casual. Disabled access: Yes. Customers: Disney guests; locals. Lunch and dinner: Sun-Thurs 11:00 a.m – midnight, Fri-Sat 11:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. Location: Disney Springs. Phone: 407-560-0100.

Setting and atmosphere: Florida farm-style décor with a reclaimed wood and mason jar vibe. Dining rooms chairs are covered in faux burlap sacks. Florida born and raised, Art Smith is Oprah Winfrey’s former private chef and is well known for his appearances on Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America.

House specialties: The 200-seat Homecoming focuses on Smith’s takes on traditional Southern cooking, highlighting Florida’s produce and seafood bounty with dishes he’s known for: pimento cheese, deviled eggs, Lowcountry shrimp and grits, biscuits and sawmill gravy, and chicken and dumplings. Sweets from his bakery will be shipped in daily. Cocktails feature artisanal moonshine.

Other recommendations: Our kryptonite is the “Fried Chicken and Doughnuts” (yes, you read that right), a platter of fried chicken served with house-made sugar doughnuts and KC Greens.

Summary and comments: There’s some menu overlap with the nearby House of Blues restaurant. We’d eat here for the calmer atmosphere and fresher food.

Frontera Cocina

Reservations: Recommended. When to Go: Lunch or dinner. Cost range: $14-34 (children $9). Service: Too new to rate. Friendliness: Too new to rate. Parking: Disney Springs garage. Bar: Full service. Wine selection: modest. Dress: Casual. Disabled access: Yes. Customers: Disney guests; locals. Lunch and dinner: Sun-Wed 11:00 a.m –10:00 p.m., Thurs-Sat t 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. Location: Disney Springs. Phone: 407-560-9197.

Setting and atmosphere: Though the exterior presents with muted beige walls and white accents in meant to evoke classic Florida waterfront architecture, bright pops of color from the centerpiece chandelier and bar accents highlight the sleek and modern eatery’s interior, made casual by exposed duct work and cozy dark wood furnishings. The open show kitchen and "Wall of Fame" shelves packed with specialty liquors and wines are bathed in natural sunlight from the large windows on nearly every wall, showcasing the springs and outdoor patio from the back dining room of the restaurant.

House specialties: Traditional Yucatecan sikil pak pumpkin seed dip, familiar build-your-own Carne Asada tacos, Cocina ancho-marinated half chicken served with highly-lauded queso añejo mashed potatoes, Frontera margarita and specialty agave flights, as well as the pecan pie bar (a family recipe from Chef Rick Bayless’ grandmother).

Other recommendations: House-made-to-order guacamole, Shrimp and bay scallop Coctel verde, mushroom torta with chipotle-garlic mojo, carnitas, red chile chicken enchiladas, Mexican “Cola” (Avión blanco tequila, tamarind, Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, with a black ant salt rim), and coconut lime quatro leches cake. The dessert menu is small; kids may be happier with a dessert from the nearby Sprinkles cupcake shop.

Summary and comments: If you want Frontera Cocina food on the go, there’s a take-away window offering chips and guac, two kinds of tacos, soft drinks, beer, and margaritas.

P. 357 Flying Fish has been re-opened. Revise the restaurant's entry.

Flying Fish

Reservations: Recommended. When to Go: Dinner. Cost range: $37-64 (child $13-17). Service: Too new to rate. Friendliness: Too new to rate. Bar: Full service. Wine selection: Extensive. Parking: Valet ($25) or Boardwalk hotel lot. Dress: Dressy casual. Disabled access: yes. Customers: Hotel guests, locals. Dinner: 5:30 -10:00 pm Sun-Thurs, 5:30-10:30 pm Fri-Sat.

Setting and atmosphere: A palette of blues and golds, along with many bubble- and fish-shaped lighting fixtures, provides a tasteful under-the-sea atmosphere.

House specialties: Appetizers include corn-encrusted wild Gulf shrimp and “A Tour of the Coast,” featuring rock shrimp, Florida Coast Grouper Cheek, blue mussels, and local middleneck clams. Entrees include a daily special fish, wild Alaska coho salmon, and lobster pasta. If you’re not in the mood for seafood, try the Wagyu filet mignon or bison strip loin.

Other recommendations: Flying Fish offers a five-course Chef’s Table meal that is popular with guests celebrating special occasions. The dessert menu is light and imaginative, get one to share.

Summary and comments: Flying Fish reopened in August 2016, following a lengthy refurbishment. Both the interior design and the menu saw extensive overhauls. The most important change was a change in the lead chef, now Tim Majoras. The emphasis on seasonal seafood remains, with a modern flair. A new companion bar, AbracadaBar, offers specialty cocktails served with a side of magic, literally. The premise is that this was a watering hole for magicians and their lovely assistants, until they all mysteriously vanished one evening long ago. Waitstaff perform illusions and the décor includes vintage magicians’ props. Signature drink names evoke a magical past including: The Conjurita, The Parlor Trick, Elixir, and our favorite, Pepper’s Ghost, named for the illusion used in the Haunted Mansion attractions dining room scene.

P. 371 The Plaza now only accepts reservations from 11:00 a.m. until noon. The rest of the day, the restaurant will serve walk-up guests only.

P. 374 Sanaa now serves breakfast from 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Breakfast is quick service, not the full table service available at lunch and dinner. Offerings include hot food such as eggs, waffles, and bacon, as well as a small section of grab-and-go cold foods.

Part 7 - Arriving and Getting Around

P. 474 In the Transportation Time chart, the current “#” footnote should be deleted. Replace with: Prior to 4:00 p.m. all transportation between the theme parks and Disney Springs requires a transfer at a nearby resort. After 4:00 p.m., buses run directly from the theme parks to Disney Springs. There are no buses from Disney Springs directly to the theme parks.

Part 9 - The Magic Kingdom

P. 524 Stitch's Great Escape is now open seasonally. Expect it to be operational only during holidays and high crowd times.

P. 527 In the Live Entertainment section, Castle Fourcourt Stage subsection, add a new entertainment offering: The Royal Welcome of Princess Elena of Avalor.

The Royal Welcome of Princess Elena of Avalor. *** [three stars]. This quick six-minute show is performed several times per day on the Castle Forecourt stage. Cinderella and Prince Charming introduce Crown Princess Elena of Avalor to the Magic Kingdom. Elena, the star of the Disney Channel series “Elena of Avalor,” is Disney’s first Latina princess. During this performance, Elena chats with Cindy and Charming, using both English and Spanish, and sings her signature song, “My Time.” If your kids are fans of the Elena TV show, then it may be worth stopping to watch, otherwise it’s an easy thing to skip. Check the daily Times Guide for show times.

P 527 In the Castle Forecourt live entertainment section. ADD a new show.

The Royal Welcome of Princess Elena of Avalor. *** [three stars]. This quick six-minute show is performed several times per day on the Castle Forecourt stage. Cinderella and Prince Charming introduce Crown Princess Elena of Avalor to the Magic Kingdom. Elena, the star of the Disney Channel series “Elena of Avalor,” is Disney’s first Latina princess. During this performance, Elena chats with Cindy and Charming, using both English and Spanish, and sings her signature song, “My Time.” If your kids are fans of the Elena TV show, then it may be worth stopping to watch, otherwise it’s an easy thing to skip. Check the daily Times Guide for show times.

P. 527 Live Entertainment in the Magic Kingdom. DELETE the Celebrate the Magic section. This show was discontinued on 11/4/16.

P. 527 Live Entertainment in the Magic Kingdom. ADD a new offering, The Muppets Present ... Great Moments in American History.

THE MUPPETS PRESENT … GREAT MOMENTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY This oddball take on American History is hosted by James "J.J." Jefferson--the town crier of Liberty Square--and Sam the Eagle, the most patriotic of Muppets. Joined by Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo, the show is performed several times daily. There are multiple versions of the show, some include singing, some storytelling, but all contain the Muppets' famous humor. The Muppets Present...Great Moments in American History is performed outside, near The Hall of Presidents.

P. 530 Disney discontinued its popular regular evening parade, the Main Street Electrical Parade, in October 2016. No word yet on a replacement. There are still evening parades during special events and parties such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Part 10 - Epcot

P. 552-553 The only currently functioning attraction in Innoventions is Colortopia by the paint company, Glidden. Colortopia has interactive kiosks where you can see how the rooms in your house look with different color schemes. A preview is available at mycolortopia.com.

P. 553 Remove the entire Sum of All Thrills section. This attraction has been discontinued.

P. 567 Strike the word "First" in the 2nd paragraph of the Frozen Ever After Description. It should read:

(The former unloading area is now also used to load, and the old post-show area became a beautifully detailed village queue, complete with Wandering Oaken's shop to walk through.) There's a short, mild section where you're propelled backwards for a few seconds as Elsa entreats you to "Let It Go," followed by a short downhill and small splash that most kids should take in stride.

P. 573 The flag corps is no longer performing in the Italy pavilion.

Part 11 - Disney's Animal Kingdom

P. 603 The Jungle Book show, mentioned in the Rivers of Light entry, has been discontinued.

Part 13 - The Water Parks

PP. 713-716 The Shark Reef attraction at Typhoon Lagoon is now permanently closed.

Part 19 - Disney Springs, Universal Citywalk, Etc.

P. 741 The World of Coke store is now open.

Clip Out Touring Plans

PP. 812-819 Remove Touring Plan steps referencing an evening parade. There is no longer an evening parade during regular Magic Kingdom operations (Even parades during special events such as Mickey's No So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party still exist.)

PP. 813 and 820-824 Remove Touring Plan steps referencing The Sum of All Thrills. The Sum of All Thrills is now permanently closed.

Last updated by Erin Foster on November 6, 2016