Around the Mouse: Walt Disney World News, November 23, 2014

There are exciting new things popping up every day at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida!  Join us every week to read about what’s new “Around the Mouse.”  This week’s Walt Disney World news update features: Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration, new holiday experiences at Epcot, “Big Hero 6” meet & greet, and so much more!

What’s New This Week?

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Magic Kingdom Park

New! Changes to Park Hours: Park open time changed from 9:00am to 8:00am for 11/21-11/29.

New! ‘Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration’ Filming: All guests are able to be part of the “Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration” filming on Monday, Dec. 8 or Tuesday, Dec. 9. The “Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration” is a complex production, so the filming schedule is in a continual state of development and cannot be shared in advance, but guests will be able to stand on Main Street and in the castle hub area to watch as filming takes place.

Reminder! Adjusted Times for Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party: Due to concrete work on Main Street, U.S.A., Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! will be presented at 12:30 and 5 p.m. on Nov. 18 & 19.

Reminder! Single Day Memory Maker Add On Test Continues: The Memory Maker single-day add-on test at Magic Kingdom has been extended through Dec. 27. Through this test, a new Memory Maker add-on is available for sale to Guests when purchased with a one-day Magic Your Way ticket or a ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This package is sold exclusively at Vacation Planning at the Transportation and Ticketing Center. Magic Kingdom merchandise shops are not able to sell this product. The price is $39.

Reminder! Jack Skellington Brings a Touch of Christmastown to Walt Disney World: The Pumpkin King himself, Jack Skellington, has decided to join the holiday celebration at Walt Disney World Resort by dropping in on Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park. Head back to Storybook Circus during the party, and you’ll find Jack making Christmas as “Sandy Claws” – just don’t count on any gifts from him turning out quite right. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, which is separate from regular Magic Kingdom Park admission, takes place on select nights through December 19.

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Epcot

New! New Experiences Coming to Holidays Around the World at Epcot: For the 2014 holiday season, new Holidays Around the World experiences in Mexico, Morocco, and China join returning favorites such as “Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season,” the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. In Mexico, guests will enjoy the songs and traditions of “Fiesta de Navidad,” featuring colorful dancers and mariachis, who celebrate the holiday customs of Mexico in an interactive, musical performance. A Moroccan storyteller invites guests to join her on a journey to experience the gaiety of festivals, holiday traditions, and celebrations that are like the “spice of life” across Morocco. And the China pavilion bursts to life with the vibrant Chinese Lion Dance, bringing good fortune and happiness to all in honor of major holidays such as the Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival.

Reminder! Tastes From Around the Globe at Epcot Holidays Around the World: Holidays Around the World at Epcot where the World Showcase countries reflect the seasonal traditions – including tastes of homelands far, far away takes place November 28 – December 30, 2014. Here’s a small sample of what’s in store: Starting our stroll at Promenade Refreshments, try the Turkey Waffle – a filling sweet potato waffle with roast turkey and green bean casserole (all-in-one holiday dinner). Then head to Canada for pecan-maple bark, a nod to our Northern neighbor’s bounteous maple sugar production. Next door in the United Kingdom, it’s hot applejack cider with whiskey and a blend of seasonal spices – sip while you listen to stories of Father Christmas. Additional treats can be found in each of the other pavilions as well.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

New! Changes to Park Hours: Park Close extended from 9:00pm to 10:00pm on 11/24 – 11/29.

Reminder! “Big Hero 6 Meet and Greet Now Available: The stars of Disney’s new animated comedy-adventure, “Big Hero 6,” are flying into Disney’s Hollywood Studios to greet their fans. Guests will be able to meet Hiro Hamada and his huggable buddy Baymax inside The Magic of Disney Animation attraction, where they can tour the lab at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology and pay a visit to Hiro’s garage workshop. Disney’s “Big Hero 6” opens in theaters in 3D on Nov. 7. They are meeting guests in the location formerly used by Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope. Ralph and Vanellope can be seen in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.

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Reminder! Festive Fall Cupcake Available Starting Nov. 3: Beginning Nov. 3, Guests can enjoy a delicious harvest pumpkin cupcake at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For just $5.19 each, this festive fall cupcake will be available at the following quick service locations: FairFax Fare, Pizza Planet, Starring Rolls, Backlot Express, ABC Commissary, Studio Catering Co., Rosie’s All American Café, The cupcakes are included in Disney Dining Plan and available through Nov. 30.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

New! Changes to Park Hours: Park Open changed from 9:00am to 8:00am on 11/18 and 11/20-11/28.

New! Holiday offerings at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: The holidays are gearing up at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Guests will soon be able to experience the sights and sounds of the season.

Entertainment – Beginning Nov. 19, the DinoLand Dance-A-Palooza adds special holiday music and décor for the season. Throughout the park, Guests will be able to visit and take photos with favorite Disney friends, each donning their holiday best.

Food & Beverage – Thanksgiving and Christmas meal offerings will be available at Flame Tree Barbecue and Tusker House Restaurant. Thanksgiving dinner will be available at Flame Tree Barbecue from Nov. 23 – 29. Guests also can make reservations at Tusker House Restaurant during all three meal periods on Dec. 25. Additionally, beginning Nov. 23, holiday-themed desserts will be available throughout the park and give our Guests a sweet treat option while exploring during their visit.

Merchandise – Traditional holiday merchandise is now available throughout the park. New this year, Guests can get ornaments and stockings with animal print at Mombasa Marketplace and Island Merchantile, which is perfectly fitting to the park. Additional carts featuring holiday headwear will be set Thanksgiving week.

New! Baby Meerkats on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail: The slender-tailed meerkat lives in open dry areas and savannas. They avoid deserts, forests and hilly terrain, especially hard or stony ground. Disney’s Animal Kingdom meerkats have developed splinter groups, and there have been several births this year. Take a walk down the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and see if you can spot them

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

New! Siesta’s Cantina Serving Breakfast at Coronado Springs Resort: Beginning Sunday, Nov. 16, Siesta’s Cantina near the Dig Site pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will serve quick-service breakfast. From 7–11 a.m., Siesta’s Cantina will offer items such as breakfast sandwiches, Mickey waffles and a special “Viva la Vida Breakfast,” which features oatmeal with strawberries and pecans, seasonal fruit and your choice of muffin. Coffee, hot chocolate and other nonalcolic beverages will also be available. This location will be especially convenient to Guests staying in the Cabanas and Ranchos areas. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted.

New! Spectacular ‘Frozen’ Gingerbread Castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Take a look at this amazing time-lapse video of the all-new Gingerbread Holiday Ice Castle at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, inspired by Disney’s blockbuster film, “Frozen.” Soaring in the resort’s Grand Canyon Concourse, the 17-foot-tall masterpiece is visible from the monorail as guests head to and from Magic Kingdom Park. While it took months to bake all the sweet components, pastry chefs spent five days building the Holiday Ice Castle that’s also inspired by Mary Blair’s “it’s a small world.” Adorned with sugar snowflakes, gingerbread shingles and chocolate-coated trees, look for Anna, Elsa, Olaf,Kristoff and his sidekick Sven created with sugar, chocolate and an assortment of candy. All in all, the pastry chefs whipped up 311 pounds of honey, 514 pounds of flour, 212 eggs, 67 pounds of spices, 222 pounds of icing and 423 pounds of chocolate. The Ice Castle has more than 1,500 gingerbread shingles! There are 14 “Hidden Olafs” in the display, too!

 

Reminder! Disney’s Polynesian Refurbishment Causes Closure at Kona Cafe: Nov. 20 On Thursday, Nov. 20, from approximately 6 a.m.-5 p.m. there will be some crane activity, located on the back dock of the resort. For your safety, certain walkways and backstage hallways will be inaccessible throughout this timeframe. Please also note that Kona Cafe will be closed for breakfast and lunch on this day but will open at 5 p.m. for dinner.

Reminder! Cinderella’s Dining at Cítricos–Breakfast and Brunch with the Disney Princesses: Beginning January 8, 2015, the Disney princesses will welcome guests to Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa while we spruce up Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom Park. Reservations are available for Walt Disney World Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members beginning December 3. Reservations open to all guests on December 4. Cinderella will be there to greet guests as they arrive, and the Disney princesses will visit each table for photos and autographs during the dining experience. Breakfast and brunch hours are 8 a.m.-2:20 p.m., and cost is $49.99; $31.99 ages 3-9. The experience is on the Disney Dining Plan (2 entitlements). Cinderella’s Royal Table is expected to reopen in March.

Walt Disney World Resort- General

New! Watch for Discount Coupons on Receipts: Guests who visit certain quick-service locations in WDW theme parks Nov. 18, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015, will receive a coupon attached to their receipt. The coupon offers 20% off their purchase at participating merchandise locations from store opening until 1 p.m. between Nov. 18, 2014 through Jan. 5, 2014.

New! Disney Infinity 2.0 Ready To Roll Across Walt Disney World Resort This Month: To celebrate the release of Disney Infinity 2.0, guests will soon find five Walt Disney World Resort busses with specially designed wraps. Walt Disney Imagineering created these new wraps featuring characters from the game. They are the same team that designed the previous Walt Disney World monorail wraps.

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New! MagicBands Bring More Pixie Dust to Disney Infinity: Disney Interactive’s gaming platform Disney Infinity joined with Disney Parks to offer Walt Disney World Resortguests with a MagicBand a special surprise. In the recently released edition of the game, Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition), only guests with a MagicBand can unlock the enchanting charm of the “it’s a small world” attraction into their very own Toy Box creation. Guests unlock the download of “it’s a small world” for their Toy Box by placing a MagicBand over the Disney Infinity Base. The Base will detect the presence of a MagicBand, and then will instantly unlock the “it’s a small world” download with no online connectivity required.

New! “Springs Bottling Co.” Marquee Signals the Future of Disney Springs: As Downtown Disney continues it’s multi-year transformation into Disney Springs, glimpses of the future are already starting to appear throughout the property. Significant progress is being made on the first phase of Disney Springs known as The Landing. One example of this is the recent installation of the “Springs Bottling Co.” marquee that adorns the future Morimoto Asia building. This sign represents the Disney Springs storyline, which places the Morimoto Asia building as the area’s bottling company. The interior of Morimoto Asia will showcase bottling company themes to pay tribute to the history of Disney Springs. Set along the waterfront, The Landing will be home to unique boutique shops and memorable dining experiences including Morimoto Asia and The BOATHOUSE, opening in spring / summer 2015, along with many more experiences that will be shared in the coming months. Keep an eye on the marquee, which in the coming weeks will brighten the area at nighttime – it’ll be quite the sight.

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New! Waterview Stage Now Open at Disney Springs: Located adjacent to the recently announced site for The BOATHOUSE, the Waterview Stage is now offering nightly entertainment, along with great views of Village Lake. Be sure to pick up a Times Guide for specific showtimes.

New! Food Truck Park Coming Soon to Downtown Disney / Disney Springs: Opening later this month, the Food Trucks at Exposition Park on the West Side will be a permanent home for the owned-and-operated Downtown Disney food trucks. Located along the water, the Food Trucks will serve mouthwatering culinary creations daily, such as chicken & waffles and tandoori spiced shrimp. The area will also offer additional seating for diners as well as shaded areas during the day.

Disney Springs

New! Santa Chalet Technology Test beginning Nov. 14: Guests visiting Santa at the Downtown Disney Marketplace will have a new way to wait this year if the queue reaches beyond 30 minutes. How it works:

  • If the queue to see Santa is more than 30 minutes, Guests will be directed to a podium where they may choose to receive a text message or pager when it is time to return to the queue.
  • Guests are invited to explore the Marketplace to enjoy the holiday entertainment and nearby shops.
  • Once paged, Guests should return to the queue for an anticipated 20-minute wait.

New! Disney Gift Card Pin with Purchase Promotion: Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 18, select locations at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will offera special-edition pin free with activation of a Frozen-themed $75 Disney Gift Card. The promotion is anticipated to be especially popular with Guests who enjoy collecting unique Disney pins. The cards should be on display through Jan. 6, 2015 (or until supplies are depleted).

Reminder! Downtown Disney Parking Garage to Open Nov 20: The West Side Garage is nearing completion at Downtown Disney. This week, Cast Members have begun parking in the garage. It is expected that they will open additional levels of the garage to Guests on Nov. 20. As Downtown Disney undergoes the transformation into Disney Springs, parking access will continue to fluctuate and change to make way for future expansion.

Reminder! Dining Reservations Enhancements Coming Nov 18: As an enhancement to the Guest dining reservations booking system, the booking window will be adjusted for dining reservations at Walt Disney World Resort.  Effective Nov. 18, Cast Members will be able to assist guests with making reservations such that reservations may be made up to 20 minutes in advance for available seatings at Walt Disney World Resort.

Merchandise Events

November 21 – 22: Take part in a Disney artist showcase with Joe Kaminski, Alex Maher, Tim McCloskey and Darren Wilson, November 21 from 6 – 8 p.m. and November 22 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

November 21 – 23: Precious Moments doll designer Linda Rick will be on hand for the debut of her Holiday Princess Collection. Look for special appearances by Linda, November 21 – 23 at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace and November 27 – 30 at Santa’s Village at American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot.

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.

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About Siera Duiser

Hello, my name is Siera and I am a travel agent with Destinations to Explore. I have always loved to travel and have had the opportunity to travel to thirteen different countries so far. I have also been to many different parts of the United States. I love sharing about the places I have been and the places I would love to see as well as some tips and tricks I have learned along the way.