Around the Mouse: Walt Disney World News, January 2, 2015

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: a new Sunglass Hut coming to Magic Kingdom and Typhoon Lagoon, changes in park hours, a new quick service dining location coming to Animal Kingdom, and so much more!

What’s New This Week?

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Magic Kingdom Park

Reminder! Dole Whip to Be Offered at Sunshine Tree Terrace: On December 24, Disney Parks Blog announced that the famous Dole Whip pineapple soft serve will also be available at Sunshine Tree Terrace at Magic Kingdom. Previously, it was only available at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom Park.

New! Sunglass Hut Coming to Magic Kingdom: Island Supply by Sunglass Hut in Adventureland will re-open on Jan. 8 and feature Sunglass Hut products.

New! Magic Kingdom Park Hours Extended: Magic Kingdom will be extending operating hours on Saturday, January 10, 2015 . Park close has been changed from 10:00pm to 11:00pm.

Reminder! Golden Coach from ‘Cinderella’ Movie in Pre-Parade: As a special holiday offering, guests visiting Magic Kingdom Park will have the opportunity to see the actual coach featured in the upcoming live-action Disney film, “Cinderella.” A team of white horses will pull the dreamlike carriage in special pre-parade appearances through the park and down Main Street, U.S.A. The stunning, golden coach from the film will be gracing the parade route at Magic Kingdom Park through the holidays. This appearance will also be available prior to daily performances of the “Disney Festival of Fantasy” Parade January 1 – 4.

Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration TV Special

Epcot

New! Experience Holiday Fragrances from Guerlain: From December 31- January 2, Guests who visit the La Signature Shoppe in the France Pavilion and purchase $150 or more in Guerlain products will receive a complimentary fragrance sample. Bottle engraving will also be available from 12-8 p.m. with any Guerlain fragrance purchase.

New! IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party Reservations Now Open for January and February: This sparkling soiree will take place select Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at Epcot’s Showcase Plaza — an exclusive setting perfect for viewing “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.” Sample sweets from around the globe, such as traditional Moroccan baklava, Italian tiramisu, French chocolate ganache tarts and more. IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party reservations are now open for January and February. Cost to attend is $49 for adults and $29 for children ages 3-9. For reservations, visit Disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Reminder! New Holiday Cupcake Available through Jan 4: Guests can enjoy a delicious Holiday gingerbread cupcake at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For just $5.19 each, the Holiday 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 cupcake is included in Disney Dining Plan and available through Jan. 4.

Reminder! The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special Returns: Once again, alumni of the former Comedy Warehouse will reunite for “The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special” at Superstar Television Theater from December 20 –  January 4. This offering is part of the second FastPass+ experience group for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Click here for our VIDEO highlights of the Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom

New! Creature Comforts To Become Quick Service Restaurant: Creature Comforts at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will close after park close Jan. 4. It will reopen in summer of 2015 as a quick-service restaurant. Guests can buy merchandise that was sold in Creature Comforts in other Disney’s Animal Kingdom stores. The MyMagic+ service center that was located in Creature Comforts will also close. The service center will reopen in a new location in spring of 2015.

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Update! New Temporary Character Greeting Location Changes: Guests can now meet Daisy across from Creature Comforts on Discovery Island through Dec 31. Daisy will continue to greets Guests at Tusker House with character dining reservations. Guests can meet Tarzan daily along the Discovery Island Trail through Jan 3. Disney’s Photo Imaging is not at this character greeting location. Pocahontas is greeting Guests intermittently at the Discovery Island Character Landing location through Jan 3.

New! Discovery Island to Have Additional Construction Walls in January: Disney’s Animal Kingdom is well on its way to bringing the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park to life. As this work continues, additional construction walls will be placed on Discovery Island to accommodate the expansion efforts. Walls will go up in front of Flame Tree Barbecue for area development. These walls are anticipated to remain into March. Walls will also surround much of Island Mercantile as the area in front of the location is enhanced to coincide with the other Discovery Island/Hub work. The location will remain open, and at this time, the MyMagic+ kiosks will remain operational, too.

Reminder! Flame Tree Barbecue to Close Temporarily Starting Jan. 5: Beginning Jan. 5, construction will start at Flame Tree Barbecue, which will result in an approximate three month closure. During the refurbishment, which is anticipated to last until early April, enhancements will be made to the location by adding additional covered seating areas, covering choice Guest walkways to some pavilion seating areas and extending the roof over the main building to offer additional cover for Guests waiting to place their order. Since the food offerings at Flame Tree Barbecue are favorites amongst Guests, a selection of them will be offered at existing kiosks throughout the park during the downtime.

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

New! River Roost Lounge at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside Serving Breakfast: Now through Jan. 3, River Roost lounge at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside will now be serving select breakfast items. This short test will give Guests the opportunity to experience a secondary location for breakfast. Available from 8 a.m. to noon daily, this new menu features select breakfast items including assorted pastries, breakfast sandwiches, cereals, oatmeal and an assortment of specialty coffees.

Reminder! New menu at Muddy Rivers at Disney’s Port Orleans thru Jan 10: Muddy Rivers at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside is now offering a new menu featuring grab-and-go food for Guests. This poolside bar located on Ol’ Man Island will feature the same packaged options as what is offered in the Riverside Mill food court. This new menu will be included as part of the Disney Dining Plan and will be available until Jan. 10. Cocktail service is now available on Ol’ Man Island allowing Guests to order and receive food and drinks directly from their poolside lounge chairs. This service will run daily from noon to 6 p.m. (weather permitting).

Reminder! Trattoria al Forno Opened at Disney’s BoardWalk: Trattoria al Forno, a new casual Italian restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, is now open. From tempting regional specialties to crowd-pleasing classics, this new Walt Disney World Resort restaurant offers diners an authentic taste of Italy.  With four distinct dining areas, authentic Italian cuisine and top-notch Italian wines, the Trattoria al Forno story was inspired by the authentic Italian menu and the rich storytelling of the turn-of-the-century boardwalk setting.

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Reminder! Sanaa Lounge Relocation at Disney’s Kidani Village: Over the next few weeks, the lounge in Sanaa will be temporarily relocated during dinner hours to accommodate more Guests for the peak holiday season. Our Food & Beverage team will be operating the Sunset Savanna Lounge in the Palace Library beginning Sunday, Dec. 21, through Saturday, Jan. 3, from 4 p.m. to  midnight. The Palace Library is located near the lobby at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village. Assorted wines, beers and Sanaa signature drinks will be available for Guests to purchase.

Walt Disney World Resort- General

New! Winter Summerland Refurbishment: Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course will be closed for refurbishment beginning Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015.

New! Downtown Disney Project Updates: Here is a snapshot of several projects underway this week at the Downtown Disney Area.
Recent openings & key updates:

  • Hilltop Restrooms
  • PI bypass causeway closes Jan. 5
  • Full access on levels 1-4 in the parking garage

Work continues on the following:

  • New Margarita Bar in the Marketplace
  • Buena Vista Drive roadwork
  • Marketplace and Entrance 3 (near Team Disney) pedestrian bridges
  • Buena Vista Drive roadwork
  • Marketplace Causeway
  • Town Center
  • East Garage
  • The Springs

New! Walkway Permanently Closed at Downtown Disney: The temporary boardwalk behind Paradiso 37 will close to through traffic permanently. As before the holidays, the west half of the boardwalk will remain open with access to the boat dock. The section near the Hangar and Paradiso will be closed and removed.

New! New Sunglass Hut at Typhoon Lagoon: Typhoon Lagoon will re-open on Jan. 4 with a Sunglass Hut store (Sals Shades by Sunglass Hut) located within Singapore Sals.

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Merchandise Events

January 1 – 4: Artist Larry Dotson will be on hand to kick off the New Year with special appearances and signings at Walt Disney World Resort, January 1 – 4 at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park and January 8 – 11 at Art of Disney, Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Now – January 5: Get dolled up! Stop by Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace and meet representatives from Precious Moments Dolls who will be wrapping up this season’s showcase.

January 6 – 8: Fall in love with the latest fragrance, The Essence of Norway, from Laila Inc. Fragrance Designer Geir Ness will be available for a special appearance and signing from Noon to 6 p.m., each day, at The Puffin’s Roost in the Norway Pavilion at 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.