Latest Disney and Orlando News and Events This Week

There are new things popping up every day at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.  Join us every week to read about “What’s New” in Disney news and at Universal Orlando!

What’s New This Week?

Walt Disney World Limited Time Magic Art

 

Walt Disney World Resort in Florida

New! Limited Time Magic – Bring Home the First All-New Art Merchandise for 2014:  Calling all Disney fans: you voted and we listened! In celebration of the final Limited Time Magic surprise of the year, be the first to purchase all-new art merchandise for 2014 when it debuts at Walt Disney World Resort. Decorated by a design you helped select at the start of 2013, you can find this new art adorning a range of keepsakes, including a mug, T-shirt, ladies tee, timepiece and D-Tech iPhone case. So stop by World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney area and take home your very own lasting piece of Limited Time Magic! Plus, starting December 27, 2013, you can also discover limited amounts of this new merchandise available for purchase online, including a special, online-only deluxe print signed by artist Patty Landing.

New! Holiday Crowds Have Arrived! It’s a very busy week at the Disney Parks. Christmas through New Years is one of the busiest times of year for the parks. If you are visiting, be prepared for potential park closures when capacity limits are reached. There are different levels of closings. Be sure to ask a Cast Member if there are any closures before leaving a park or park hopping.

New! Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade Airs Dec. 25: Tune in to the magic on Christmas morning! You don’t want to miss the 30th Annual Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade airing December 25 on the ABC Television Network. It’s a coast-to-coast celebration with show hosts Nick Cannon and Neil Patrick Harris. Check your local listings for air times.

New! New Year’s Eve at Magic Kingdom Park: Guests can ring in the New Year with not one, but two nights of celebration at Magic Kingdom Park! On both Dec. 30 and 31, the park will host an extended line-up of nighttime fun:

  • 7:00 p.m. Main Street Electrical Parade
  • 8:15 p.m. Celebrate the Magic
  • 8:30 p.m. Holiday Wishes – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season
  • 11:35 p.m. Celebrate the Magic
  • 11:50 p.m. Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks

There will also be DJs at Cinderella Castle and in Frontierland throughout the night to keep the party going.

Dec. 31 only, party hats and horns will be available for Guests while supplies last:

    • Splash gate – 4 p.m.
    • Near Rockettower Plaza stage – 4 p.m.
    • Rose Garden – 4:30 p.m.

New! New Year’s Eve at Epcot: Epcot will once again host a popular New Year’s Eve celebration. Park Hours – Dec. 31

  • Future World: 8 a.m. – 1 a.m. (Jan. 1, 2014)
  • World Showcase: 9:30 a.m. – 1 a.m. (Jan. 1, 2014)
  • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth:
    • 6:30 p.m. (Holiday finale)
    • 11:40 p.m. (NYE Countdown)

Hats & Horns for Guests will be available 6-9 p.m.

NYE Entertainment will include:

    • Character Spot – 8 a.m. – 1 a.m.
    • DJs
      • Future World West Fountain Stage, 7-11:35 p.m., 12:10-1 a.m
      • America Gardens Theatre, intermittent from 2 p.m. – 12:40 a.m.
      • China, 7-11:35 p.m., 12:10-1 a.m.
      • Italy,  7-11:35 p.m., 12:10-1 a.m.
      • United Kingdom, intermittent from 7:30 p.m.- 12:15 a.m.
    • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth
      • 6:30 p.m. (Holiday finale)
      • 11:40 p.m. (NYE Countdown)

New! Year’s Eve at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  There will be stage pyrotechnics and special effects at the Sorcerer’s Hat stage during the Mulch, Sweat and Shears sets at beginning at 8:30 p.m. At midnight, the “Light’s! Camera! Happy New Year!” fireworks show will be presented above the Sorcerer’s Hat stage!  Additionally, Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special will have shows at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m., and 11 p.m.

New! New Year’s Eve at DisneyQuest: For guests seeking a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party, this is a perfect option. The fun kicks off at 8 p.m. on December 31, 2013, and lasts until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day. In addition to five floors of virtual fun, guests can also enjoy dinner (included with admission), dancing and  Disney characters! The event includes unlimited video games, plus all the regular DisneyQuest attractions (except for Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster, which will be converted into a dance floor), there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. The New Year’s Eve countdown will be especially colorful. This event typically sells out, so be sure to get your tickets early; they’re $55 in advance and $65 the day of the event (if available).

New! New Year’s Eve at Downtown Disney:  Downtown Disney will feature DJ dance parties and live entertainment in all three districts plus a variety of food and beverage offerings including unique menu items from the new Disney Food Trucks and cocktails, beer and wine throughout property. (Tip: Walt Disney World Resort guests should plan to take Disney bus transportation and drivers should allow extra time as heavy traffic is expected.)

New! Check out Cast Gingerbread-house Displays Dec. 23-27: Stop by the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Resort between Dec. 23-27 to check out this year’s Cast gingerbread-house displays.

New! 2014 Disney Dollars Mountains Series available at Disney Parks: The 2014 Disney Dollars Mountains Series is now available for purchase at Disney Parks! Disney Dollars is the official currency of the Walt Disney World Resort, The Disney Stores in the United States and Puerto Rico, and the Disneyland Resort and can be purchased or tendered for their equal value in U.S. currency. This fun, new series features the Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain attractions on three different bills. A limited supply is currently available so be sure to stop by any of the following locations to pick yours up:

  • Walt Disney World locations include Guest Relations located in the theme parks and Downtown Disney Marketplace and Concierge and Front Desks in resorts, and the information Desk at the World of Disney Store at the Downtown Disney Marketplace.
  • Disneyland Resort locations include City Hall, Star Trader, Gag Factory, and Vacation Planning Booths.
  • Disney California Adventure Park locations include Guest Relations and Vacation Planning booths.
  • Downtown Disney Anaheim location: World of Disney
  • Disneyland Resort hotels include Mickey in Paradise and Fantasia

New! “Star Wars” Weekends 2014 Dates Announced: The dates for the 2014 “Star Wars” Weekends have been announced. “Star Wars” Weekends will be held every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from May 16 – June 8, 2014. Weekend I: May 16 – 18, 2014, Weekend II: May 23 – 25, 2014, Weekend III: May 30 – June 1, 2014, Weekend IV: June 6 – 8, 2014.

New! Night of Joy Dates and Performers Announced: The 32nd annual Night of Joy event will be held Friday, September 5, and Saturday, September 6.

Friday, September 5, 2014:

  • Hillsong United
  • Chris Tomlin
  • Matthew West
  • For King & Country
  • Mandisa
  • Building 429
  • Matt Maher
  • The Neverclaim

Saturday, September 6, 2014:

  • Skillet
  • Casting Crowns
  • MercyMe
  • Israel Houghton & New Breed
  • Britt Nicole
  • Colton Dixon
  • Rhett Walker
  • We As Human
  • One Girl Nation

New! Merchandise Events:

  • Now – December 29: The holiday collection from Precious Moments doll maker Linda Rick is now available at Once Upon A Toy in the Downtown Disney Marketplace and Heritage Manor at the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot. Representatives will be on hand daily at both locations, so be sure to stop by and find new ones to add to your collection, or pick one up for someone on your holiday list.
  • December 16 – 23: Artist David E. Doss is back! David will be appearing daily at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, and will return later in the month from December 27 – 30.
  • D-Tech on Demand Comes to Disney Truck Shop at Downtown Disney West Side for the Holidays. A place to personalize and customize your own electronic accessories, D-Tech will be visiting Downtown Disney West Side during the holidays for a sneak preview of the store at the Disney Truck Shop.

Closures and Refurbishments

Magic Kingdom

  • Casey’s Corner 01/06/14 – 02/15/14
  • Tomorrowland Speedway 01/06/14 – 01/12/14
  • Splash Mountain 01/06/14 – 03/21/14
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin 01/13/14 – 01/16/14
  • Agrabah Bazaar 1/13/14 – 1/16/14
  • Liberty Square Riverboat 01/21/14 – 01/30/14
  • Barnstormer 2/3/14 – 2/5/14

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Monsters Inc. Meet & Greet 1/5/14 – 1/19/14

Epcot

  • None

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Festival of the Lion King 1/6/14
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey 1/6/14

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

  • Closed for annual refurbishment 01/06/14 – 03/17/14

Disney’s All Star Sports Resort

  • Surf’s Up Pool 01/06/14 – 01/24/14

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

  • Pool slides – pools remain open 01/27/14 – 02/07/14

Disney’s Polynesian Resort ­ 

  • Beach & Sunset Point ­ Access to the east portion of the beach, near the Transportation and Ticket Center, and Sunset Point will be unavailable due to a scheduled refurbishment. However, all other amenities will not be affected. Some rooms in certain room categories in impacted buildings have been taken off the market during the renovation period.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  • Victoria & Albert’s 1/19/14 – 1/29/14

Disney’s Old Key West

  • Goods to Go 1/20/14 – 1/30/14
  • Gurging Suitcase 2/5/14 – 2/28/14

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

  • Doubloon Lagoon Pool – transportation will be provided for Guests to swim at Ol’ Man Island Pool at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside 01/13/14 – 02/28/14

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

  • Congress Park Pool 01/22/14 – 01/23/14

Downtown Disney® Area

  • Cap’n Jack’s Marina – Closed
  • Parking Lots H,I,J,K Closed
  • Fuego – closed
  • Wetzels Pretzels – closed 10/20/13
  • House of Blues – Starting on November 14, The House of Blues at Downtown Disney West Side is expanding its patio, building a new stage and adding a barbecue smokehouse. The House of Blues ticket sales window has moved inside the House of Blues retail shop. The expansion is expected to be complete in mid-January 2014.  During this time, there will be no live entertainment on the Front Porch stage.

 

Disneyland Resort in California

Disneyland Sleeping Beauty Castle Lights

New! Limited Time Magic – Bring Home the First All-New Art Merchandise for 2014:  Calling all Disney fans: you voted and we listened! In celebration of the final Limited Time Magic surprise of the year, be the first to purchase all-new art merchandise for 2014 when it debuts at Walt Disney World Resort. Decorated by a design you helped select at the start of 2013, you can find this new art adorning a range of keepsakes, including a mug, T-shirt, ladies tee, timepiece and D-Tech iPhone case. So stop by World of Disney Store in the Downtown Disney area and take home your very own lasting piece of Limited Time Magic! Plus, starting December 27, 2013, you can also discover limited amounts of this new merchandise available for purchase online, including a special, online-only deluxe print signed by artist Patty Landing.

New! New Year’s Eve at Disneyland Resort: From a New Year’s Cupcake at Jolly Holiday Bakery in Disneyland park to the Napa Rose New Year’s Eve Bash, the Disneyland Resort will ring in 2014 with something fun for everyone.

We’ll start with the Napa Rose celebration. Actually, there are two: an early seating from 5:30 – 7 p.m. with a four-course dinner (think grilled hand-harvested sea scallops and 28-day-aged prime New York beef … Chef Andrew Sutton’s fabulous Wine Country Feast of seasonal classics) and festive decorations. Cost is $125 plus tax and gratuity. The perfect way to start the party early when you have plans later in the evening.

The late seating commences with bubbly at 8:15 p.m. and a dinner dance party with live music – they’re adding a dance floor in the lounge area with hundreds of silver, gold, red and black balloons to create a magical party. Plus hats and party favors, of course.

Start with honeyed profiteroles with goat cheese and cranberry jam, followed by imported Osetra caviar parfait layered with Skuna Bay salmon tartare, cucumber pearls and crème fraîche. You’ll move on to three more courses before a 30-minute “intermission” for dancing, followed by two more courses (including dessert). It’s all perfectly timed to take you to midnight. Dancing goes ‘til 1 a.m.

The five-course tasting menu is $220 plus tax and gratuity (no children’s pricing), plus $65 for a flight of world-class wines for pairing. Chef Sutton also has a delicious vegetarian menu.

For reservations, call 714-300-7170. Valet is complimentary.

Other celebrations, special tastes for New Year’s Eve:

  • Look for menu specials in Disneyland park at Carnation Café on Main Street U.S.A. (surf and turf with shrimp and sirloin steak); at French Market (roasted pork chop with Calvados applesauce, braised greens and sweet potato soufflé); at Blue Bayou (a seafood pot pie); and Cafe Orleans (flat iron steak with bone marrow demi-glace, garlic mashed potatoes and acorn squash).
  • Flo’s V8 Café at Disney California Adventure park will offer meat loaf with Coca-Cola barbecue sauce and two sides.
  • Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel has a prixe fixe, three-course menu for $65 that includes spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette, filet and lobster and chocolate paté.
  • Storyteller’s Café at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa has a prixe fixe two-course dinner with with porcini-rubbed rib-eye with scampi-style prawns, mashed potatoes and Cabernet demi-glace, and a duo of dark chocolate and Bailey’s crème brûlée with espresso cookies for $29.99.
  • And who can resist a New Year’s Eve cupcake? Especially the New Year’s Cupcake with dark chocolate cake, Nutella filling, Belgian white chocolate frosting with black and silver decorations, silver disco dust, a chocolate Mickey, chocolate truffle and bow tie? That’s a party on a plate! Look for it at Jolly Holiday Bakery,Fidler, Fifer & Practical Cafe and Pacific Wharf Café at Disney California Adventure park, and White Water Snacks at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

Merchandise Events

  • Artist Noah, who will be appearing from Dec. 6, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28 from 7 – 10p.m. at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District as this months’ artist in residence. Be sure to stop by and check out his newest work, The Kid in Me.

Closures and Refurbishments

Visit http://destinationsinflorida.com/disneylandrehab.pdf to download the latest renovations and closures at Disneyland.

 

Universal Orlando Resort

New! Universal Releases Trailers for Diagon Alley: Two new trailers have been released and are building excitement for Diagon Alley, which will open in 2014 at Universal Orlando Resort.

Diagon Alley Trailer 1  – Empty Places

 

 

Diagon Alley Trailer 2 – Adventure Continues

 

New! Harry Potter Cast Members Appearing Live at A Celebration of Harry Potter: Special guests Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and James Phelps (Fred Weasley) and Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) will be attending “A Celebration of Harry Potter” event at Universal Orlando Resort January 24-26 to make it even more magical. Be sure to join us for three days of unforgettable fun for all the family!

Leaky Cauldron Restaurant Announced for Wizarding World of Harry Potter Expansion – Diagon Alley:  In May 2013, Universal Orlando announced the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Expansion as Diagon Alley. We’ve been awaiting more details ever since! During a media event this week, Universal Orlando officially announced that the Leaking Cauldron from the Harry Potter films will be part of the Diagon Alley expansion. This restaurant will offer guests a place to rest, enjoy some unique food offerings while immersed in Harry’s world.

Universal Orlando Unveils Plans for Universal CityWalk Expansion: Universal Orlando announcedrecently that it will open eight new venues across CityWalk throughout 2014 as part of a bold growth strategy designed to complement the entertainment complex’s already popular collection of national brands. The new venues include Hot Dog Hall of Fame, featuring iconic hot dog creations from some of our nation’s most famous ball parks. Additions also include CowFish, an innovative and trend-setting concept out of Charlotte, North Carolina with a signature dish called “Burgushi;” and popular frozen treat spots Cold Stone Creamery and Menchie’s. Original concepts include Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, a unique tapas-style restaurant, Bread Box, a home-style sandwich shop;  A new modern Italian kitchen concept, where guests can watch as the culinary team handcrafts their pasta from scratch; and Red Oven Pizza Bakery – Universal’s first-ever Neopolitan-style pizza bakery, which is now open. Exact opening dates will be released at a later time.

Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida. She would love to help you plan your next vacation at no cost to you. Request your free, no obligation quote on the right side of the page or email siera@destinationsinflorida.com for more information. 

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