Latest News and Updates from Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Orlando

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?

spice road 7

New! FastPass+ Test Expanding to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot: As part of the ongoing testing process for MyMagic+ , the test will expand to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. This testing builds on the success of the current tests in progress at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and Magic Kingdom park. Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 21 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Thursday, Jan. 23 at Epcot, the FastPass+ test allows Guests (including those not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel) visiting any of the theme parks the ability to make three FastPass+ selections for the current day at that theme park using FastPass+ kiosks. Disney’s FASTPASS Service (using paperFASTPASS tickets) will not be available throughout the duration of this test at any of our theme parks.

New! Spice Road Table Opening Date Jan 20 in Morocco Pavilion at Epcot: Last week, we reported Spice Road Table was in soft opening stages and this week it’s officially open! With fantastic views of World Showcase Lagoon and IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from almost every angle of the restaurant, pretty Spice Road Table officially opened Jan 20, 2014, an authentic taste of the Mediterranean at the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot. Along with the new eatery, there’s live entertainment from Mo Rockin’ Band, henna tattoos, a “juice” bar and a shop stocked with great Mediterranean flavors to carry home (from olives to spicy harissa and mint tea). It’s a lively spot, not to mention it’s gorgeous and the small plates (tapas-style) foods are great!

spice road 1

Reminder! Monorail Service Unavailable: Beginning January 21, monorail service on the Magic Kingdom Resort and Express beams will be temporarily unavailable on weekdays during non-peak times, between 11:30am and 7:00pm, to accommodate planned maintenance. During this temporary adjustment watercraft and additional buses will be available. The Epcot line is not affected.

New! The Smokehouse Now Open on Downtown Disney West Side: The Smokehouse is now open. This new quick service restaurant serves up barbeque and smoked favorites outside the House of Blues on the Downtown Disney West Side. Reservations are not required and prices range from $6.99 to $12.99. At this time, Disney Dining plan is not yet accepted. Quick service entitlements will be accepted in the future.

New! D23 Destination D Announced for Walt Disney World July 26-27: Destination D: Attraction Rewind is the name of this year’s big event, taking place July 26 and 27 at Walt Disney World. The event will give guests the opportunity to visit — or revisit — beloved Disney attractions of the past, featuring Disney archivists, Imagineers, Legends and luminaries. Attractions included in the celebration will be Adventure Thru Inner Space, If You Had Wings, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with rare concept art and images, vintage video, and stories. There will also be several presentations dedicated to the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, which spawned beloved attractions like it’s a small world and Carousel of Progress.

destination d23

D23 Fanniversary Celebrations Announced: For the third year in a row, D23 will hit the road, visiting cities across the U.S. to commemorate dozens of magical Disney milestones celebrating landmark anniversaries this year. Hosted by Disney archivists and the D23 Team, D23?s Disney Fanniversary Celebration events will be held in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, New York City, Seattle, and other cities in fall 2014. Fanniversary 2014 will revisit some of the most beloved theme park attractions, animated and live-action films, characters, TV series, and more than 90 years of Disney history including Donald Duck, the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, Sleeping Beauty, Haunted Mansion, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, The Little Mermaid, and many more. Fanniversary events will be open to the public, with special admission prices and surprises created for D23 Members in attendance.

New! Super Bowling Spectacular 2014: Come out for the Big Game and support a great cause!  Clean the World’s (an Orlando-based non-profit that saves lives around the world with recycled hotel soap)  is hosting it’s 2nd annual Super Bowling Spectacular on Sunday, February 2, starting at 5:30pm at Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney® West Side.  It is the place to be for the Big Game! Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.cleantheworld.org/bowl.  Cost: $85 per person includes 3 hours of food and drink. (Bowling will not be available for this price). Everyone in the party must be 21 or over with valid photo ID.

Highlights:
• Complimentary appetizers and buffet from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
• Open bar from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
• Three full bars serving premium brands
• 40 flat-screen TVs all showing the game
• Free parking

New! Aladdin and Jasmine Temporary Greeting Location Update: Now – Feb.13, Aladdin and Jasmine will be meeting Guests at the entrance to Adventureland (just before the bridge). This is a slight change as we previously reported they were meeting at the Veranda Porch. When the refurbishment of the Agrabah Bazaar completes next month, they will return to their usual location.

New! Winter Summerland – Winter Course Closed for Refurb: Beginning Monday, January 20, the Winter course at Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf will be closed due to refurbishment. The course will remain closed until further notice. The Summer course will still be available for Guests to play from 10:00am – 11:00pm daily.

Reminder! New characters coming to Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood & Vine on Jan. 26, 2014: Starting Jan. 26, 2014, Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First will join the cast of Disney Junior Play n’ Dine at Hollywood & Vine. Guests will get the chance to meet Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First and dance along with them during a fun, new musical number right there in the restaurant!

New 2014 Promotion Begins – Disney Family Time Resolutions: Disney launched  disney.com/resolutions  where Disney celebrities are sharing how they plan to resolve to spend more time with family in 2014. A new video will be uploaded everyday in January. On disney.com/resolutions, they are also awarding a vacation-a-day from December 31, 2013 through January 31, 2014! So enter every day for your chance to win because this is the year to spend more quality time with the people you love most. Good luck!

New! Merchandise Events:

  •  Jan. 23-26 – Refresh your skincare routine with Guerlain’s ultra-effective in-depth treatments from Orchidée Impériale Skin Care. Infused with orchid extracts, Orchidée Impériale helps promote skin renewal, youthfulness and luminosity. Come experience the benefits of the orchid at La Signature Shoppe inEpcot®. Jan. 23-26, Guests who purchase $100 or more of Guerlain products will receive a complimentary product sample.
  • Jan 24 – Vinylmation Combo Pack Figure: The Indiana Jones series launched on January 10 at the D Street locations in Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, and on the Disney Parks online store. This series was designed by Thomas Scott, lead Vinylmation artist with Disney Design Group, and features characters from the first Indiana Jones film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Disney artist Maria Clapsis designed the combo pack figure which will be released on January 24.
  • Keep an eye out for special Disney Pin and Vinylmation releases this month in the Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Closures and Refurbishments

Magic Kingdom

  • Casey’s Corner 01/06/14 – 02/15/14
  • Splash Mountain 01/06/14 – 03/21/14
  • Splashdown Photos 1/6/14 – 3/21/14
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin 01/13/14 – 01/16/14
  • Agrabah Bazaar 1/13/14 – 1/16/14
    • Aladdin and Jasmine will be greeting Guests at the entrance to Adventureland (just before the bridge).
  • Liberty Square Riverboat 01/21/14 – 01/30/14
  • Barnstormer 2/3/14 – 2/5/14
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority 2/10/14 – 3/27/14
  • Pinocchio’s Village Haus 2/17/14 – 3/30/14
  • The Plaza Restaurant 2/17/14 – 3/07/14

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Monsters Inc. Meet & Greet 1/5/14 – 1/19/14
  • Backlot Tour 1/5/14 – 3/1/14

Epcot

  • None

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Festival of the Lion King 1/6/14 – tbd
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey 1/6/14 – permanent closure

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

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

Disney’s All Star Sports Resort

  • Grand Slam Quiet Pool Deck 2/11/14 – 2/13/14

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas

  • Kiddie Pool Wet Deck – Only wet deck is closed, pool will remain open 1/21/14 – 2/14/14

Disney’s Boardwalk Villas

  • Villas Quiet Pool & Spa 2/3/14 – 3/7/14

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

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

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Bay Lake Tower Kiddie Pool Wet Deck – Only wet deck is closed, pool will remain open. 1/13/14 – 2/7/14
  • Monorail – Magic Kingdom Resort – Restricted Service – Monorail service will be temporarily suspended on weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Buses and watercraft transportation will be available. 1/21/14 – 3/21/14

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  • Victoria & Albert’s 1/19/14 – 1/29/14
  • Guest rooms and buildings throughout Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be refurbished starting in early January and scheduled to complete in August. Guest buildings will be taken out of inventory and will not be occupied by Guests while work is being performed.
  • Monorail – Magic Kingdom Resort – Restricted Service – Monorail service will be temporarily suspended on weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Buses and watercraft transportation will be available. 1/21/14 – 3/21/14

Disney’s Old Key West

  • Sandcastle Pool 1/13/14 – 1/31/14
  • Goods to Go 1/20/14 – 1/30/14
  • Gurging Suitcase 2/5/14 – 2/28/14

Disney’s Polynesian Resort ­ 

  • Volcano Pool Slide 1/13/14 – 1/31/14
  • The Never Land Club 1/24/14 – 4/11/14
  • 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.
  • Monorail – Magic Kingdom Resort – Restricted Service – Monorail service will be temporarily suspended on weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Buses and watercraft transportation will be available. 1/21/14 – 3/21/14

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
  • Paddock Pool 02/1/14 – 02/13/14

Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

  • Yacht Club Quiet Pool 1/21/14 – 2/7/14
  • Beach Club Quiet Pool 2/3/14 – 2/4/14

Downtown Disney® Area

  • Cap’n Jack’s Marina – Closed
  • Parking Lots H,I,J,K Closed
  • Fuego – closed
  • Wetzels Pretzels – closed 10/20/13
  • Team Mickey Athletic Club 1/27/14 – 6/13/14

Disney Golf Courses / Miniature Golf

  • Winter course at Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf will be closed due to refurbishment.

Disneyland Resort in California

long lost friends 1

New! Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree Character Roundup at Disneyland Park: If you’re looking for a place to have a rootin’ tootin’ good time with some of your favorite Disney friends – then listen up, partner! Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree Character Roundup in Frontierland at Disneyland park is the place to find Disney characters and more! You can even watch trick ropers and meet some of our famous Disneyland Resort horses. Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree Character Roundup is open Fridays through Sundays, so stop on by!

New 2014 Promotion Begins – Disney Family Time Resolutions: Disney launched  disney.com/resolutions  where Disney celebrities are sharing how they plan to resolve to spend more time with family in 2014. A new video will be uploaded everyday in January. On disney.com/resolutions, they are also awarding a vacation-a-day from December 31, 2013 through January 31, 2014! So enter every day for your chance to win because this is the year to spend more quality time with the people you love most. Good luck!

New! Merchandise Events

  • January 25 – 26: Rounding out our artist showcases at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District is M. Andonia who will appear from 1 – 4 p.m. each day.
  • January 25 – 26: Meet artist Bob Elias from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Disneyana in Disneyland park, as he signs some of the newest pieces in his collection.

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to download the latest renovations and closures at Disneyland.

 

Universal Orlando Resort

hp2

Reminder! Harry Potter Celebration Event This Weekend: Join Harry Potter™ fans from around the world for interactive experiences, exciting demonstrations, and more during A Celebration of Harry Potter™ at Universal Orlando® Resort, January 24 – 26, 2014. Come and celebrate all of Harry Potter’s adventures with interactive experiences, exciting demonstrations, and more. The celebration kicks off with a Harry Potter™ Tribute on Friday – a special evening event featuring select cast members and award-winning artist, Kazu Kibuishi, who recently reimagined the Harry Potter book covers.

Other special activities over the weekend include:

  • A wand masterclass hosted by Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, featuring Wand Combat choreographer Paul Harris and a special guest
  • Q&A sessions with members of the Harry Potter cast
  • Panel discussions that cannot be missed with MinaLima – creators of the graphics seen in the movies
  • Pottermore – an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Pottermore.com – the free interactive website from J.K. Rowling (Saturday & Sunday)
  • Plus, guests can explore the one-of-a-kind Harry Potter Expo with interactive activities for fans including a vignette of movie props from Harry Potter: The Exhibition and The Sorting Hat™ experience.
  • And More

Reminder: Live Webcast about Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley Jan 23: James Phelps hosts a LIVE webcast on Jan 23 at Universal Orlando to reveal everything about Diagon Alley! Sign up now at www.universalorlando.com/webcast

New! Universal Releases New Trailer for Diagon Alley: Another new trailer has been released and is building excitement for Diagon Alley, which will open in 2014 at Universal Orlando Resort.

Mardi Gras Dates and Concerts Announced: It’s the most spectacular celebration of the Big Easy spirit outside of New Orleans itself – Mardi Gras at Universal Studios®. Bring the whole family for a party filled with music and fun as only Universal Orlando® Resort can throw. Feb 8 – May 21, 2014. This year’s concerts include Robin Thicke (Feb 22) and The Wanted, May 10, plus 18 other concerts:

  • FEB 8 DAUGHTRY
  • FEB 15 BARENAKED LADIES
  • FEB 16 THOMAS RHETT
  • FEB 22 ROBIN THICKE
  • MAR 1 COLLECTIVE SOUL
  • MAR 8 PRINCE ROYCE
  • MAR 14 CODY SIMPSON
  • MAR 15 FOREIGNER
  • MAR 21 TO BE ANNOUNCED
  • MAR 22 GAVIN DEGRAW
  • MAR 28 TO BE ANNOUNCED
  • MAR 29 TO BE ANNOUNCED
  • APR 5 SKILLET
  • APR 12 LYNYRD SKYNYRD
  • APR 19 KOOL & THE GANG
  • MAY 3 NELLY
  • MAY 10 THE WANTED
  • MAY 17 TO BE ANNOUNCED
  • MAY 24 TO BE ANNOUNCED
  • MAY 31 TO BE ANNOUNCED

New! Comedian Ralphie May Performs at Hard Rock Live Orlando Jan 24: The comedian Ralpie May will be performed at Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando Resort on January 24, 2014. Tickets are $35 for reserved seating. Reserved balcony tables are available for purchase through the Hard Rock Live box office at 407-351-5483.

Kids Eat Free at Loews: The program has been extended to include dates of January 5 – March 13, 2014, with a minimum of a 3-night stay at our on-site deluxe Loews hotels, kids can enjoy meals at our resorts!

• Valid for breakfast, lunch & dinner (during restaurant hours of operation)
• One FREE kids meal with purchase of EACH adult entrée
• Children up to 9 years old
• Valid for kids menu and buffets only
• Beverage included (select drinks only)
• Gratuity included on the kids meal only

Telemundo’s hit Sunday night reality show, “La Voz Kids” will be taping at Universal Orlando® Resort: January 18–22 at 1:30PM & 5:00PM. Come see a wide variety of young talented singers competing to be the next music star and be part of the audience.

Closures and Refurbishments

  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®: 1/6 – 2/1
  • Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue™: 1/5 – 1/31
  • Disaster!SM- A Major Motion Picture Ride…Starring YOU: 1/13 – 1/19
  • TWISTER…Ride It Out®: 1/20 – 2/1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.