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Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2019

Below are the latest updates we have for the 2019 book:

Page 531 - The Swiss Family Treehouse attraction description accidentally contains part of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction description.

Page 686 - Transformers: The Ride 3-D is incorrectly labeled as #20 on the map. It should be #19.

Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2018

Below are the latest updates we have for the 2018 book:

D23 News

The 2018 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World had already gone to press when Disney made several major announcements including:

Please check back for updates to our touring plans, FastPass+ recommendations, and maps. The touring plans on our site for subscribers reflect the current status off all attractions.

Part 1 - Planning Before You Leave Home

Page 35 - In the section titled 60 Days Before Your Trip, note that Disney resort guests can make FastPass+ reservations beginning at 7 a.m. Eastern. (The text says midnight.)

Page 36 - In the section titled 30 Days Before Your Trip, note that day guests can make FastPass+ reservations beginning at 7 a.m. Eastern. (The text says midnight.)

Page 40 - The My Disney Experience app has been updated. Along with the website, Disney offers a companion app on iTunes, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore for Android (search for “My Disney Experience”). It includes park hours, attraction operating hours and descriptions, restaurant hours with descriptions and menus, the ability to make FastPass+ and dining reservations online, GPS-based directions, counter-service meal ordering, and more. My Disney Experience is optimized for the latest phones and tablets, so some features may not be available on all devices.

Page 51 - In the section titled April, Easter's date in 2018 should be listed as April 1, 2018.

Page 53 - In the section titled November, it is insinuated that the Wine & Dine Half Marathon occurs at night. While this was once true, the race has been moved to the morning hours.

Page 54 - Epcot's "Holidays Around the World" has been renamed. It is now called "Epcot International Festival of the Holidays." The slightly reimagined event will include food booths offering seasonal dishes, a holiday scavenger hunt with Chip and Dale, and an addition to the nighttime spectacular, in addition to the usual World Showcase storytellers and the Candlelight Processional.

Page 55 - Holidays at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In previous years, DHS hosted the much beloved Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. The construction related to the new Toy Story and Star Wars lands forced the curtailment of the Osborne Lights. The new Hollywood Studios holiday offerings include enhanced decorations in the Echo Lake area of the park, “Sunset Seasons Greetings” (a projection of holiday images onto the Tower of Terror attraction), and “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam!” (a holiday-themed light, laser, and fireworks show).

Part 2 - Making the Most of Your Time and Money

Pages 64-68 - Beginning February 11, 2018, Disney World increased ticket pricing. New rates can be found on our blog post here:

Page 71 - The pricing for United Kingdom tickets is incorrect. The 14 day ticket is 419 pounds not 299 as listed and the child's ticket is 399 pounds.

Page 75 - The Express Bus Transportation service has been discontinued.

Page 103 - FastPass+ Available for Purchase. The days of Disney attraction access being equally available to all appears to be drawing to a close. In January 2018, Disney began testing “Disney Signature Services” with guests of some Disney concierge-level guests. For an extra $50 per person, per day, guests with a minimum three-day park ticket will be able to:

We’re not sure exactly how FP+ for purchase will play out, but we wouldn’t be surprised to ultimately see Universal-style fee-based VIP attraction access available to any park guest willing to part with copious amounts of cash.

Part 3 - Accommodations

In October 2017, WDW began allowing guests with dogs to stay at four on-site resort hotels: Art of Animation, Port Orleans Riverside, Yacht Club, and the cabins at Fort Wilderness (dogs had previously been allowed at some of the Fort Wilderness campsite loops). There is a daily rate upcharge and a host of rules related to the now dog-friendly resorts. See our blog post for details: A Doggone Good Primer to Disney's Dog-Friendly Hotels

Pages 122 and 151 - The WDW resort childcare centers will be closing on July 31, 2018. In-room sitting services will still be available.

Page 136 - The nightly rate for extra adults at WDW hotels has changed. For any extra adults in the room (more than two), the nightly surcharge for each extra adult is now $15 at the Value resorts, $25 at the Moderates, and $35 at the Deluxes, plus tax.

Page 175 - A poolside salon, Salon by the Springs, opened at Wilderness Lodge in late 2017, in a space formerly occupied by a pool bar. The salon offers hairstyling, manicures, and pedicures.

Pages 192-196 The Swan and Dolphin have completed a three-year renovation of all guest rooms and main lobby spaces. Key components of the refurbishment include new bedding and carpets in the guest rooms and hallways. Rooms also have more electrical outlets, new air conditioning units, and new televisions. In addition to updated décor, the Dolphin lobby has a larger bar area, called Phins, and a grab-and-go restaurant, named Fuel.

Page 230 - Beginning in January 2018, seven hotels in the Disney Springs area (Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista, Holiday Inn Orlando - Disney Springs, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando, Best Western Lake Buena Vista, and B Resort & Spa) began offering perks previously only available to the Disney-owned hotels and the Swan & Dolphin. Guests of these hotels will have access to Disney Guest Extra Magic Hours and will be able to access FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance, rather than the previous 30 days in advance. These enhancements make the guest stay slightly closer to the on-site experience from an amenities perspective.

Page 241 - During the regular Free Dining promotions, the Standard Dining Plan was previously offered with a stay at a Moderate Resort. Beginning in 2018, the Quick Service Dining Plan was the only option offered for Moderate Resorts with the Free Dining promotion.

Pages 264 and 266 - Note: We have recommended All Star Vacation Homes rentals for many years, considering it to be one of the best sources for Orlando area vacation home rentals. However, there has been a change in ownership which is causing us to moderate our endorsement. We've heard guest complaints that All Star Vacation Homes has been unresponsive to answering guest questions and slow in responding to calls and emails. We will be examining this further.

Part 4 - Dining In and Around the World

Page 325 - Reservations are now available for several WDW restaurants via the OpenTable. Currently, Artist Point, Boatwrights, the Wave, the Grand Floridian Cafe, Sanaa, and Flying Fish are listed on the OpenTable app, though this list is certainly subject to change. If you're having trouble getting a dining reservation through the usual Disney channels, it may be worth checking this option as well. As a bonus, if you book through OpenTable, you won't be subject to the same no-show penalty fee that you will be charged if you miss your reservation without cancelling.

Page 340 - Satu'il Canteen is now open

Page 341 - The newest dining experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is BaseLine Taphouse, a bar located in the space formerly occupied by the Writer’s Stop. BaseLine Taphouse offers a tiny food menu, just three snack options, and an extensive selection of beers, wines, and hard ciders on tap, as well as craft cocktails. With limited offerings for children, this is not a great option for families, but it’s a fun place for adults looking for a drink or small bite.

Page 357 - Satu'il Canteen serves breakfast seasonally.

Page 357 - Yak & Yeti Local Cafe now serves breakfast.

Part 5 - Walt Disney World with Kids

Page 454 - Lilo’s Playhouse at the Polynesian is now open for guests of all WDW resort hotels from 10:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. You must stay with your child during this time (it’s not babysitting), but it can be a nice way to check out the facilities or to acclimate your child if you’re thinking of doing evening drop-off. There is no fee to stay and play, but there may be fees for individual craft activities and the like. Be sure to call the club to confirm hours and availability.

Page 454-455 - The WDW resort childcare centers will be closing on July 31, 2018. In-room sitting services will still be available.

Part 7 - Arriving and Getting Around

Page 487 - 5. GETTING TO DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM FOR PARK OPENING If you're staying on-property and are planning to arrive 2 hours or more before official opening to ride Flight of Passage, drive your own car or use Uber, Lyft, or a taxi instead of waiting for Disney transportation.

Page 496 - The Express Bus Transportation service has been discontinued.

Page 501 - Disney launched its own ride-sharing service in summer 2017. Called "Minnie Vans", it's a fleet of 27 Chevrolet Traverse minivans painted in Minnie's distinctive red and white polka dots. Two of the vans are equipped to handle ECVs and wheelchairs plus 4 other passengers; the other 25 vans hold 6 passengers. All vans have two child seats. Fares are a flat $25 and the vans only travel within Walt Disney World (so you can't take them to an off-site hotel or restaurant). That's 75-100% more expensive than most UberX fares over the same distance. Also, you have to use the Lyft ride-sharing app, and ask a member of a Disney hotel bell service staff to text your cellphone a special code to enable the Disney service within the Lyft app. If all of that sounds like an expensive hassle, here's where it makes sense: If you've got 5 or 6 people; or a wheelchair; or you need a car seat, the fares are competitive with Uber. Also, the Minnie Vans drop off and pick up at the Magic Kingdom entrance, allowing you to bypass the monorail. And if you're headed to the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, they'll drop off and pick up right at Pioneer Hall, saving you at least two bus rides. Disney is also now testing Minnie Van service to Orlando International airport for $150. Airport service is currently only available to concierge level guests at some resorts.

Page 503 - The new gondola system is called Skyliner.

Part 8 - Bare Necessities

Page 512 - Update locker locations and pricing. Lockers are located at the right side of the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, to the right of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, at Epcot’s International Gateway, to the right of the entrance at DHS, and to the left of the entrance at Animal Kingdom. The cost is $7 per day for small lockers and $10 per day for large lockers at the theme parks and both water parks. There are jumbo lockers at Epcot and Magic Kingdom only, for $15 per day.

Part 9 - Magic Kingdom

Page 517 - Map entry #32 Stitch’s Great Escape is now called Stitch’s Alien Encounter Character Greeting

Page 534 - The Hall of Presidents reopened in December 2017. Technical aspects of the show, including sound and projection, have been upgraded. The new script includes a speaking segment by Donald Trump.

Pages 550-551 - Stitch’s Great Escape appears to be permanently closed. The attraction signage has been replaced with a sign reading “Stitch’s Alien Encounter Character Greeting.”

Page 556 - In our description of the nighttime show Once Upon A Time, we say that Gaston turns back into a prince. It is, of course, Beast, who returns to his former human self.

Part 10 - Epcot

Page 572 - Map item #25 Ellen’s Energy Adventure (Universe of Energy) is now permanently closed.

Page 574 - Not to be Missed at Epcot chart lists Frozen Ever After as in Future World. It is in World Showcase.

Page 580 - Ellen's Energy Adventure has closed permanently.

Page 581 - The height requirement for Mission: SPACE is now 40 inches.

Page 582 - Mission: SPACE got a new "Green team" ride film in mid-2017, featuring an orbital flight around the Earth. It's a relatively smooth experience, mild enough for first-time astronauts.

Page 585 - Epcot's Circle of Life attraction is permanently closing on February 3, 2018.

Part 11 - Disney's Animal Kingdom

Page 610-611 - Map items #2 & 14, Flight of Passage and Na'vi River Journey respectively, are reversed on the map.

Page 610-611 - Map attractions item #8 (Flights of Wonder will be discontinued on Dec 31, 2017.

Page 626 - Flights of Wonder will be discontinued on Dec 31, 2017. The attraction will be replaced sometime in spring 2018 with a bird-related show featuring Russell and Dug from the Pixar film Up.

Part 12 - Disney's Hollywood Studios

Page 642 - Map item #7 The Great Movie Ride is now permanently closed.

Page 642 - Map item #21 Walt Disney: One Man's Dream has been renamed. It is now called Walt Disney Presents.

Page 644 - The name for the new Star Wars land has been announced. It is Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

Page 649 - The Great Movie Ride has closed permanently. It will be replaced by Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. No opening date has been set, and we expect that to happen after 2018.

Page 663 - Walt Disney Presents (formerly Walt Disney: One Man's Dream) includes model art for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and Toy Story Land and concept art for the Mickey’s and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad (which is replacing the now shuttered Great Movie Ride).

Part 13 - Universal Orlando and SeaWorld

Page 676 - Map item #7 Dragon Challenge is now permanently closed.

Page 685 - Dragon Challenge is now permanently closed.

Part 15 - Behind the Scenes and VIP Tours at WDW

Page 742-43 and 745 - There is an Backstage tour at Animal Kingdom: Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour. Tour length: 4 hours. Cost: $249 per person. Focus: Thrill rides and nighttime experiences at AK. Days available: Thurs, Sat, Sun, with some blackout dates. The Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour allows guests to cut the line at some of the Animal Kingdom’s most popular attractions, including Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safari, Dinosaur, and both Pandora rides. Additional perks include reserved seating for Rivers of Light, special snacks and beverages (both soft drinks and alcoholic items), a souvenir lanyard, and other swag.

Part 16 - Disney Springs, Universal Citywalk, Shopping, and Nightlife

Page 749 Map. - The Characters in Flight balloon ride (item BB) has had a name change. It is now called Aerophile.

Page 749 Map. Item 33 Marketplace Fun Finds has closed. That location is now called Star Wars Trading Post.

P 752 Add item to Disney Springs Marketplace. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire is an immersive virtual reality experience produced by LucasFilm. Buy tickets in advance at

Part 17 - Recreation, Sports, and Spas

Page 769 - The Atlanta Braves spring training residence at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will be ending after the 2018 season.

Touring Plans and Clip-Out Section

Page 829 - Epcot two-day early riser touring plan. Eliminate Ellen’s Energy Adventure step and map designation.

Page 831 - Hollywood Studios one-day touring plan. Eliminate Great Movie Ride step and map designation.

Page 832 - Hollywood Studios one-day touring plan when Toy Story Land opens. Eliminate Great Movie Ride step and map designation.

Page 846 - In the section titled "Good Places to Rest in Disney's Hollywood Studios," the name of the Toluca Legs Turkey Co. has changed to Sunshine Days Cafe.

Last updated on November 2, 2018

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