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! Here are the latest “what’s new” from our insider friends at Destinations in Florida Travel.
What’s New at Disney World in Florida
New! Limited Time Magic - Delight in Duffy’s Secret Santa Celebration, Dec 9 – 15: Celebrate Secret Santa Week at Magic Kingdom park, where Duffy the Disney Bear and a few of your favorite Disney friends are getting into the holiday spirit! As part of Limited Time Magic, stop by the Town Square Christmas Tree on Main Street, U.S.A. where you can receive a warm winter hug from Duffy, dressed up in his Christmas finest. Plus, when you visit other Disney friends throughout the park, they’ll each have a specially decorated keepsake card just for you—visit each Disney pal to collect them all! It’s yet another magical holiday offering, only from Limited Time Magic.
New! Limited Time Magic - Tour Magic Kingdom Park with Vice President Phil Holmes: See Magic Kingdom park from an all-new point of view as you hear stories from an opening day Cast Member who also happens to be the park’s vice president! As part of Limited Time Magic, you’re invited to register for an opportunity to join Phil Holmes, vice president of Magic Kingdom park, on a walkthrough of the original Walt Disney World theme park. Space was extremely limited. Registrations completed via Disney Parks Blog on Friday, Dec 6. Tours to take place December 9 – 11, 18 and 20, 2013.
New! Magic Kingdom to Offer Park to Park Buses: Phase I of the Magic Kingdom Park third bus loop opened Nov. 24. The new bus loop allowed larger buses to offer transportation between certain resorts and the Magic Kingdom. The next phase opens December 15 and offers park-to-park buses to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
New! Imagineers Add a Piece of Snow White’s Scary Adventures to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom Park: Our friends at Walt Disney Imagineering recently reached another milestone in the construction of the attraction with the overnight addition of a few scenic elements guests will encounter at the top of the mine train’s first lift. When mine cars pull out of the load area, they’ll travel up the track to the top of the mountain, where a jib crane sits topped by two ominous vultures, the latter of which originally appeared in the park’s original Snow White’s Scary Adventures attraction. This is the last stop before the mine train’s cars plunge into a mine shaft.
New! La Nouba” by Cirque du Soleil Celebrates 15th Year: Walt Disney World’s own Cirque du Soleil show is celebrating it’s 15th anniversary this month. The official 15th anniversary date for “La Nouba” is December 23, but we’ll celebrate the milestone with a special pre-show moment during the 6 p.m. performance on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Tickets are still available.
New! Mobile Magic App to Discontinue Service Beginning 12/23/13: Not to be confused with the newer My Disney Experience App, The Disney Mobile Magic app is no longer available for download in the iTunes App Store or Android Market and will discontinue service on December 23 to mobile devices that already have it installed. The app was developed under a contract with Verizon, which ended earlier this year. Until service is discontinued, this app may display incorrect information for Guests.
New! Merchandise Events:
Dec. 9-15: Larry Dotson, Disney Artist signing at the Art of Disney from 1 – 10 p.m.
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.
Dec 13 – 14: Dale of Norway event at the Puffins Roost in Norway Pavilion at Epcot. Receive a complimentary Dale of Norway hat with your purchase of any Dale of Norway sweater.
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.
December 17: Calling all Traders! Disney Trading Night will take place December 17 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. So if you are looking to meet avid and novice traders, make friends, or share stories about your collections, then this is the place for you. Reminders: The specific location of Trading Night will be in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill Restaurant area, adjacent to the lobby. Space is extremely limited. Please limit the number of items that you choose to bring.
Closures and Refurbishments
- New! The connecting walkway between Ariel’s Grotto and Storybook circus will be closed Dec 2 – 6.
- “it’s a small world” 12/02/13 – 12/12/13
- 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
- Liberty Square Riverboat 01/21/14 – 01/30/14
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Kali River Rapids 12/02/13 – 12/13/2013
- Note: Due to the refurbishment, there are some food and beverage changes in the area as well. Maharajah Jungle Trek kiosk is closed through Dec. 13 and the Kali River Ice Cream cart will offer nuts during this time.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
Closed for annual refurbishment 10/27/13 – 12/21/13
Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
Closed for annual refurbishment 01/06/14 – 03/17/14
Disney’s All Star Sports Resort
- End Zone Food Court Closed 08/05/13 – 12/20/13
- Arcade closed during this time frame as it will be used as a temporary Food Court with “Grab & Go” items 07/29/13 – 12/20/13
Surf’s Up Pool 01/06/14 – 01/24/14
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
Quiet Pool 12/02/13 – 12/03/13
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 Pop Century Resort
Hippy Dippy Pool 12/09/13 – 12/11/13
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.
Disney Golf Courses
Disney’s Palm Golf Course Closed 06/12/13 – 12/14/13
New! Limited Time Magic - Embark on an Adventure for Elf Days, Dec 9 – 15: Train to become one of Santa’s secret helpers during Elf Days—a yuletide Limited Time Magic event happening at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in Disney California Adventure Park. Santa’s elves are looking for a few good Guests to join their ranks… but only if these recruits can tackle a series of master challenges! From the Jingle Bell Bridge to Stocking Stuffers and Present Tracking, test your bravery by taking on each task. Not only will you receive your own official Elf name and learn the secret Elf Handshake, but you can even take a photo flying in Santa’s sleigh! So slip on those curly-toed shoes—before you know it, you’ll be jingling all the way!
New! Limited Time Magic - Walk Buena Vista Street with an Imagineer, Dec 9 – 13: Revel in the spirit of the 1920s on a tour of Buena Vista Street, one led by a Disney Imagineer! As part of Limited Time Magic, you’re invited to register for an opportunity to explore the re-imagined entrance at Disney California Adventure Park. Much like how Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Park evokes the nostalgia of Walt Disney’s childhood, Buena Vista Street recalls the vibrancy Walt encountered when he first arrived in Los Angeles. It’s a perfect occasion to learn details directly from an Imagineer—with a focus on architecture, design, music and even the replica of an authentic Red Car Trolley. Space was extremely limited. Registrations completed via Disney Parks Blog on Friday, Dec 6.
New! Award-Winning Producer Jerry Bruckheimer Set to Appear at Disneyland Park: Multi-award winning producer Jerry Bruckheimer will be appearing on December 14 at Disneyana Shop on Main Street, U.S.A., for a special signing from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. of “Jerry Bruckheimer: When Lightning Strikes | Four Decades of Filmmaking,” authored by Michael Singer.
- December 14-15: Check out the latest works from artist Jackie Huang at WonderGround Gallery in the Downtown Disney District. Meet Jackie from 1 – 4 p.m. each day.
- December 14-15: If you have been waiting for the perfect time to order one of artist Dave Avanzino’sCustom Letter Plaques or purchase other pieces in his collection, then you’re in luck! There’s no time like the present. Dave will be appearing Dec. 14 from 2 – 8 p.m. and December 15 from 11 a.m. -7 p.m. at Disneyana on Main Street, U.S.A. inside Disneyland park.
- Finally, rounding out the month is artist Noah, who will be appearing from Dec. 6, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28from 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.
New Events this Week! Downtown Disney Winter Village at the Disneyland Resort: An entire Downtown Disney Winter Village sprung up around ESPN Zone and AMC Theatres on Thursday, November 14, adding extra cheer to the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort. Various activities were described in a previous blog post, but new activities are starting up this week, including Carolers on December 5 and December 16-25, Anaheim Ballet performing scenes from “The Nutcracker” on December 5 and 19, and Downtown Disney Unwrapped, a presentation of fun gift ideas beginning Friday, November 29 (Black Friday).
Closures and Refurbishments
Click here to download the latest renovations and closures at Disneyland.
Universal Orlando Resort
New! BIG Discount on New Cabana Bay Beach Resort Family Suites: Be among the first to stay at Universal Orlando Resort’s NEW Cabana Bay Beach Resort and SAVE BIG with a preview offer! Experience Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s new family suites (sleeps up to six) with rates starting at $104 per night for a seven-night stay to $134 per night for a three-night stay. Book now for stays from March 31 to June 14, 2014. Don’t miss out on this HUGE discount!
Universal Holidays Began Dec 7: Universal Holidays run December 7 – Jan 4, 2014! Many of the holiday favorites are returning this year.
Universal Island of Adventure:
- Jump into the festive fun with The Grinch™ & Friends Character Breakfast, and take photos with many of your favorite Dr. Seuss friends.
- Celebrate Grinchmas™ in Seuss Landing™, where you and your family can see The Grinch™ in a live holiday show, meet the old green meanie in person, and have your picture taken with him.
Universal Studios Florida:
- Fill your heart with cheer during the Macy’s Holiday Parade™, featuring balloons and floats direct from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® in New York City!
- Keep the holiday fun coming with two more live shows: A Barney® Holiday, and The Blues Brothers® Holiday Show.
- Top it all off with the award-winning sounds of Mannheim Steamroller, performing live in concert on select Saturday and Sunday nights in December. Catch them performing live on the Music Plaza stage December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22, 2013.
Details Revealed About Harry Potter Celebration Event:
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
Closures and Refurbishments
Cinematic Spectacular will not be shown on December 11 & 12.
If you are ready to book your family vacation, call the experts at Destinations in Florida. Call 877-918-8941 or request a price online. Be sure you mention Couponing to Disney for a free phone call from Mickey Mouse!