This Week’s Disney and Orlando News and Events

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 Resort in Florida

super bowl parade 2014

Seahawks Linebacker & MVP Malcolm Smith ‘Going to Disney World’ to Celebrate Super Bowl XLVIII Victory: Malcolm Smith of the Seattle Seahawks continued a magical tradition Sunday night following his team’s 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. During the post game, on-field celebrations, Smith beamed into the cameras and shouted those five words that for decades have become synonymous with Super Bowl victory celebrations: “I’m Going to Disney World!” He appeared the following day, Feb 2, 2014 in the Disney Super Bowl Parade at Magic Kingdom.

New! Special “Valentine’s Day” Items on Walt Disney World Resort Menus: Though completely unadvertised, you may find there to be special Valentine’s items on some Walt Disney World Resort menus. When you call 407-WDW-Dine, they will have no information on these items. They appear to be at the complete discretion of the restaurant. One that we have come to know and love in recent years is found at Kona Cafe. It’s Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Topping, Choice of Bacon or Sausage! The price in the past was $9.99. We’re checking them out on Thursday, Feb 6th! Items such as this may appear or disappear from the menu at any time.

red velvet pancakes

New! Update Coming to My Disney Experience App: a new, significant update of My Disney Experience will be available soon for Apple devices. (The corresponding update for Android devices will be released this spring.) With this update, the app’s performance will be improved significantly, and the ease of navigation will be enhanced. Additional enhancements in this update to the Apple app include the following.

  • A new home screen immediately displays the Guest’s plans and includes a quick-access menu that features streamlined navigation to information about attractions, characters, dining, restrooms, entertainment, shopping and more.
  • The Attractions tab on the quick-access menu tells users what the closest attractions are (as well as their current wait times) and pinpoints them on the map. There’s even a button that takes Guests right to the FastPass+ selection screen for that attraction, if applicable.
  • The Characters tab lists Disney characters alphabetically and tells Guests where they can meet them.
  • The Dining tab lists restaurants nearby and includes links to view menus and make reservations.
  • The Restrooms tab helps Guests quickly find the nearest facilities.
  • Using the Entertainment tab, Guests can find offerings throughout the day and add it to their itinerary to generate a reminder prior to show time. (This is not a reservation.)

New! Rosetta joins Tinker Bell in Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook: Rosetta joins Tinker Bell in Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook on Feb. 4. At this time, Periwinkle will fly back home and will no longer be available for meet and greets.

New! Epcot’s Ziti Sisters Final Performance: Effective Sunday, February 23, the Ziti Sisters atmosphere entertainment group that performs in World Showcase/Italy will be closing. The last day of performance will be Saturday, February 22. Epcot continues to have a rich mix of atmosphere entertainment throughout the World Showcase pavilions.

New! Flower Power Concert Series Lineup Announced: The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is just about one month away and today we’re happy to share this year’s Flower Power Concert Series lineup with you. concerts taking place Friday – Monday at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m., at the America Gardens Theatre.

  • March 7-9 – The Guess Who
  • March 14-16 – Gary Lewis and the Playboys NEW
  • March 21-23 – The Orchestra Starring Former Members of ELO
  • March 28-30 – The Lovin’ Spoonful
  • April 4-6 – Paul Revere & The Raiders
  • April 11-13 – Village People
  • April 18-20 – The Grass Roots
  • April 25-27 – Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone
  • May 2-4 – STARSHIP Starring Mickey Thomas
  • May 9-11 – Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
  • May 16-18 – Alan Parsons Live Project NEW

New! Mechanical Kingdoms ~ Steam-Driven Visions of a Victorian Future Art to Debut at Disney Parks: Steampunk and Disney fans alike, this one’s for you! On February 22, The Disney Gallery at Disneyland park will unveil a new exhibit titled Mechanical Kingdoms ~ Steam-Driven Visions of a Victorian Future. Steampunk, a subgenre of science fiction loosely built around retro-futuristic visions of a steam-powered society, has been gaining popularity over the past several years. If you are a fan of Steampunk then mark your calendar now, because as part of the Steampunk launch, we will host artist signings at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Design Group artists, Costa Alavezos, Alex Maher and Mike Sullivan will appear from 2-5 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace on Feb 22.

statue 1

New! Portable Mobile Phone Chargers Sold at Walt Disney World: If your cell phone or tablet is in need of a charge, you can now purchase portable chargers in various Merchandise stores in the theme parks and resorts. As we become more reliant on our mobile devices for MyMagic+, it’s a good idea to pick one of these chargers up.

New! Disney Vacation Club launches Membership Magic: Disney Vacation Club is giving Members even more to love with the launch of Membership Magic on Jan. 29. The new program offers Membership enhancements, exclusive experiences and special offers just for Members and their Guests.  Initial offerings as part of the program launch include:

  • Recreation Magic featuring Magic Kingdom Fireworks Cruises and weekly largemouth bass tournaments on Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon
  • Culinary Magic with special dining experiences at some of the top Disney restaurants
  • Weekly Member Night at Splitsville Luxury Lanes
  • “Me Time” Magic that gives Members and their Guests exclusive access to Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Limited time Annual Pass offers for Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort
  • And much more! Contact Member Services for details.

Reminder: Guest Room Refurbishments at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: Guest rooms and buildings throughout Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be refurbished through August. The current building under refurbishment is Boca Chica. Work began Feb. 2.

 New! Merchandise Events:

  • February 7 – 9: Heather Swanepoel from Rinse Bath and Body Co. will be at Port of Entry in Epcot each day throughout the weekend as she showcases the latest skin moisturizers, facial masks and scented soaps, among other items. A guest favorite: The flavored lip balm.
  • On Feb. 8, Rosemary Begley will be at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park to sign some of her latest pieces from 1-3 p.m. at Disney Outfitters, located on Discovery Island. Rosemary has four deluxe prints that were inspired by Kilimanjaro Safaris including lions, zebras, elephants and a giraffe.
  • February 12 – 16: Artist Greg McCullough will be on hand for a special artist showcase at Art of Disney in Epcot. Greg will also be available February 26 – March 2 at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Closures and Refurbishments

Magic Kingdom

  • Casey’s Corner Jan. 6 – Feb. 15, 2014
  • Splash Mountain Jan. 6 – Mar. 21, 2014
  • Splashdown Photos Jan. 6 – Mar. 21, 2014
  • Agrabah Bazaar Jan. 7 – Feb. 13, 2014
    • Aladdin and Jasmine will be greeting Guests at the entrance to Adventureland (just before the bridge).
  • Liberty Square Riverboat Jan. 21 – 30, 2014
  • Monorail – MK Express Jan. 21 – Mar. 21, 2014
  • Barnstormer Feb. 3 – 5, 2014
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority Feb. 10 – Mar. 27, 2014
  • Pinocchio’s Village Haus Feb. 17 – Mar. 30, 2014
  • The Plaza Restaurant Feb. 17 – Mar. 15, 2014
  • Big Thunder Mountain April 7 – 9, 2014
  • Pirates of the Caribbean April 28 – May 1, 2014

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Monsters Inc. Meet & Greet Jan. 29 – Feb. 8, 2014
  • Backlot Tour Jan. 5 – Mar. 1, 2014

Epcot

  • None

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Festival of the Lion King  Jan. 6, 2014 – tbd
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey Jan. 6, 2014 permanent closure

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

  • Closed for annual refurbishment Dec. 22, 2013 – Mar. 17, 2014

Disney’s All Star Sports Resort

  • Grand Slam Quiet Pool Deck Feb. 11 – 13, 2014
  • Sports – Resort Lobby Construction Feb. 17 – March 9, 2014
  • Game Point Arcade – Closed due to Lobby/Corridor work Feb. 17 – March 9, 2014

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas

  • Kiddie Pool Wet Deck – Only wet deck is closed, pool will remain open Jan. 21 – Feb. 14, 2014

Disney’s Boardwalk Villas

  • Villas Quiet Pool & Spa Feb. 10 – Mar. 14, 2014

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

  • Pool slides – pools remain open Jan. 27 – Feb. 7, 2014

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • Bay Lake Tower Kiddie Pool Wet Deck – Only wet deck is closed, pool will remain open Feb. 10 – 28, 2014
  • 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.Jan. 21 – Mar. 21, 2014

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  • 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.Jan. 21 – Mar. 21, 2014

Disney’s Old Key West

  • Gurging Suitcase Feb. 5 – 28, 2014

Disney’s Polynesian Resort ­ 

  • General Construction Dec. 2013 – Mar. 2015
  • The Never Land Club Jan. 28 – Apr. 27, 2014
  • Great Ceremonial House Lobby March – December 2014
  • 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. Jan. 21 – Mar. 21, 2014

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 Jan. 13 – Feb. 28, 2014

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

  • Paddock Pool Feb. 1 – 13, 2014

Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

  • Yacht Club Quiet Pool Jan, 21 – Feb. 7, 2014
  • Beach Club Quiet Pool Feb. 3 – 4, 2014

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
  • Bridge between the West Side and Pleasure Island is temporarily closed through this fall as work on The Landing continues. Additional temporary closures include the “top of the hill” on Pleasure Island and the nearby restrooms
  • Walls are up in Keith’s Park (between LEGO and T-REX) to divert Guest traffic around the site of the upcoming Marketplace Causeway project. When complete later this year, this land bridge will span between Rainforest Café and LEGO Imagination Center and will provide Guests with multiple ways to explore the Marketplace and will offer picturesque views of Village Lake.

Disney Golf Courses / Miniature Golf

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

Disneyland Resort in California

electric charging station

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Now Available at Disneyland Resort: Twenty ChargePoint charging ports have been installed on the first floor of the Mickey & Friends parking structure for guests with electric vehicles! Guests can begin using them today by scanning their ChargePoint card or by easily registering for a free ChargePoint account at the charging station, or online at http://www.chargepoint.com. Guests arriving at the Mickey & Friends parking structure can ask a cast member for directions to the charging stations. Separate charging stations are also available to cast members for a total of 30 charging ports at the resort.

New Orleans Bayou Bash: Feb 7 through March 4: It’s almost time to let the good times roll at Disneyland park with the return of New Orleans Bayou Bash! The tastes of New Orleans are kicked up for the high-energy New Orleans Bayou Bash! at Disneyland park. Celebrate with Princess Tiana, jazz music and street performers food delights of New Orleans and more!

New! Mechanical Kingdoms ~ Steam-Driven Visions of a Victorian Future Art to Debut at Disney Parks: Steampunk and Disney fans alike, this one’s for you! On February 22, The Disney Gallery at Disneyland park will unveil a new exhibit titled Mechanical Kingdoms ~ Steam-Driven Visions of a Victorian Future. Steampunk, a subgenre of science fiction loosely built around retro-futuristic visions of a steam-powered society, has been gaining popularity over the past several years. If you are a fan of Steampunk then mark your calendar now, because as part of the Steampunk launch, we will host artist signings at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort. Meet artists Dave Avanzino, Jim Crouch, Jeremy Fulton, Brian Kesinger, Noah, Mark Page, Michael Peraza and Javier Soto from 9 – 11 a.m. at Disneyana.Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace on Feb 22.

drawing feb 5

New! Merchandise Events

  • February 7 – 9: So sweet! Be sure to stop by and meet Precious Moments doll maker Linda Rick who will be appearing throughout the weekend from 12 – 10 p.m. at China Closet in Disneyland park as we celebrate the release of her Valentine’s day collection.
  • February 8: Mini-Makeovers, or should I say “Minnie”-Makeovers, will be taking place from 1 – 5 p.m. at Disney Vault 28 in the Downtown Disney District to celebrate the release of the Pop of Minnie collection from Beautifully Disney!
  • February 15 – 16: Meet local artist Katie Kelly from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Off the Page in Disney California Adventure park. Her newest piece features Alice so make sure you stop by and take a look at this ‘wonder’ful work currently in progress.

Closures and Refurbishments

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

Universal Orlando Resort

New! Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food Grand Opening at CityWalk February 5: Take a journey through the cantinas, street carts, and markets of Mexico City for the best food you’ve never had at Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food. Only the freshest ingredients–diced, marinated, roasted, or grilled to perfection–are used to create the craveable Mexican street food fare that fills your senses and satisfies your hunger.

antojitos food

New! Starbucks Opens at Islands of Adventure: Coffee fans rejoice – Starbucks is now open at Islands of Adventure! Stop by to enjoy fresh breakfast sandwiches, Paninis, yogurt and more! Starbucks can be found in the former location of Arctic Express and they have free WIFI!

New! Additional Mardi Gras Concert Series Lineup 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 A GREAT BIG WORLD
  • MAR 22 GAVIN DEGRAW
  • MAR 28 TO BE ANNOUNCED
  • MAR 29 WEEZER
  • 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 CHER LLOYD
  • MAY 31 HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS

New! Harbor Nights Returns to Portofino Bay Hotel Feb 7: Experience a luscious pre-Valentine’s party at Portofino Bay Hotel’s Harbor Nights Romantico, a wine, food and music event designed to capture the romantic ambiance of the Mediterranean. Featuring 15 select wines and sparkling wines, gourmet foods, and live music by The Buzzcatz, Harbor Nights takes place under the twinkling lights of the majestic Harbor Piazza. You can view the menu (PDF file) or you can purchase tickets online. General admission: $45 in advance/$55 at the door
VIP/reserved tickets: $75 online only (reserved seating includes private wine station, passed hors d’oeuvres, plus all the benefits of a regular Harbor Nights ticket!) For more information and reservations or call 407-503-1200.

New! Queens of the Stone Age Play Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando: Friday Feb 7, 9:00 pm. COST: $56.50 Balcony Tables, $51.50 Lower Balcony, $46.50 Upper Balcony, $36.50 GA Standing Floor.

New! B-Street Band – A Night of Springsteen to Play Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando: Sat Feb 8, 8:00 pm. The HARDEST WORKING & LONGEST RUNNING tribute band with an average of 200 performances/year over the last decade! Originating out of NJ, the BStreetBand is the ONLY Springsteen Tribute to perform with E Street Band members Miami Steve, Max Weinberg, Garry Tallent, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez, and the Big Man Clarence Clemons. Yes, even the Boss himself has seen the band. The band has opened outside for Bruce at several venues including Wells Fargo, the Prudential Center, Izod Center, Wachovia Center, XFinity Live , and on the steps of the Philadelphia Spectrum’s final 4 shows. COST: $10 Reserved Seating, General Admission Standing Perimter FREE with GA Ticket.

New! Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is Now Hiring: Loews Hotels is seeking motivated and enthusiastic hotel and hospitality candidates to be part of the opening team for the newest on-site hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Positions in the highly anticipated 1,800-room hotel include: food and beverage, rooms, front office, housekeeping, recreation, engineering, security, and stewarding. Loews Hotels is hosting a grand hire event to interview candidates for the exciting opportunities available at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Interested candidates can register online to attend the Grand Hire Event at www.CabanaBayJobs.com.

Closures and Refurbishments

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

  • Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges®: 2/2 – 2/14
  • Jurassic Park River Adventure®: 2/18 – 2/27

Universal Studios

  • TWISTER…Ride It Out®: 2/1 – 2/7
  • Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 2/5, 2/6, 2/8, 2/10, 2/14 & 2/15 No shows scheduled

Siera is a travel agent with Destinations to Explore, an authorized Disney Vacation Planner and Universal Orlando Agency of the Year 2010, 2011, and 2012. 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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