Around the Mouse: Walt Disney World News, September 20, 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: Frozen changes coming to the parks including the Epcot attraction and the holiday season – also Animal Kingdom celebrations and more information on the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

What’s New This Week?

Frozen Ice Palace Cinderella Castle

New! “Frozen” Attraction Coming to Epcot: Walt Disney World has made “Frozen” a part of the guest experience in a number of ways already and  guests have loved them as well as asked for more. Last week, Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced that they’re starting construction at Walt Disney World Resort on a brand new “Frozen” attraction at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot (opening early 2016).  The new attraction, which replaces Maelstrom, will take guests to Arendelle and immerse them in many of their favorite moments and music from the film. The pavilion will also include a royal greeting location where Anna and Elsa can meet guests. The last day of operation at Maelstrom is October 5, 2014. Can’t make it to Epcot before then?  Take one last ride on Maelstrom in our VIDEO below:

New! “Frozen” Characters Magic Kingdom Park Presence Expanded: “Frozen’s” popular characters will also have a bigger presence at Magic Kingdom Park this holiday season. In addition to the ongoing character appearances, Queen Elsa will use her powers to transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace every night starting November 5th. And Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party-goers can see Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf in “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.”

New! Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! Elements Extended at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:  Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can continue singing along to “Frozen” songs with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna at The First Time in Forever Sing-Along show — it’s been extended indefinitely! Wandering Oaken’s will set up shop closer to the show through the holiday season and will feature a larger play area with real snow (in Florida!). The Royal Procession and Frozen Fireworks will come to an end as previously announced on September 28th.

New! Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Celebrate Elephants and Rhinos Sept. 23: For guests interested in elephants, rhinos, and conservation efforts for these great animals, September 23 will be a great day to visit as Conservation Station hosts Elephant and Rhino Day, a celebration dedicated to two beautiful, but endangered animal species. Education cast members will staff hands-on activities, the work of the Animal Nutrition Center will be highlighted and Animal Keepers from the Elephant, Savannahs, and Ituri Forest teams will be present to share information and answer questions related to the animal-care profession. Guests will also have the opportunity to speak with representatives from various conservation organizations including the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to learn more about opportunities to get involved.

Animal Kingdom to Celebrate Elephants and Rhinos Sept. 23

New! Change to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park Hours: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be extending operating hours for Saturday, Sept 27.  Park close changed from 5:00pm to 6:00pm.

New! Halloween Decor Installed in Magic Kingdom Park: It may not be fall yet, but Magic Kingdom Park is already in the Halloween spirit. Fall and Halloween decor are now found throughout Magic Kingdom park, including fall garland, illuminated pumpkins, scarecrows and more.

Fall decor MK

New! Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Begins This Week: The 19th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival kicks off Sept. 19 and runs through Nov. 10 – giving Guests 53 days to taste their way around the world. With new premium experiences, musical acts and culinary experiences, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy. This year, enjoy a culinary adventure with three new marketplaces, a new after hours street party and all-new Eat to the Beat dinner packages. The three new marketplaces, Puerto Rico, Patagonia and Farm Fresh– will inspire any picky eater to become a connoisseur of new cuisine. After tasting perfect pairings of the 28 International Marketplaces, party in the streets at Epcot Food & Wine Festival new experience – Late Nights LIVE! on Thursday nights, from 9:45 p.m. to 1 a.m. dance the night away with musical performances, a live DJ and entertainment, and receive six food and beverage items from select marketplaces between the United Kingdom pavilion and World Showcase Plaza ($79 per person). For the first time in the festival’s history, you can pair a delicious meal with a guaranteed seat for one of the rockin’ Eat to the Beat concerts at the America Gardens Theatre. (Prices vary based on dining location.)

Update! New Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Late Nights – LIVE! Now Thursdays Only: Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE! street party will run from 9:45 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Thursday during the festival between the United Kingdom Pavilion and World Showcase Plaza. When first announced, this event was planned to be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but now it’s currently only offered on Thursdays. The event includes six tastes (food and beverages) from select marketplaces, live music, entertainment, and a DJ. Cost is $79, plus tax. Admission to Epcot is not required after 9 p.m. for guests who have purchased credentials to the event. It can be booked up through the day of the event.

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

New! Grand Floridian Dining Locations Serving Daily Specials: Beaches Pool Bar & Grill and Gasparillas Island Grill are now serving daily food specials. If you are searching for some quick, special and delicious, keep these dining locations in mind! Specials include:

  • Sunday – Hot Pastrami Sandwich
  • Monday – Barbeque Chicken Sandwich
  • Tuesday – Philly Cheesesteak
  • Wednesday – Patty Melt
  • Thursday – Pork Nachos
  • Friday – Blackened Salmon Sandwich
  • Saturday – Falafel Flatbread

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Reminder! Garden View Tea Room Now Open After Refurbishment: The Garden View Tea Room has opened its doors to continue offering our unique tea time experiences, My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea and Afternoon Tea. Seating will be available at My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Afternoon Tea seating will be available daily from 2-5 p.m.

Reminder!  Trattoria al Forno Coming to Disney’s BoardWalk: With opening planned for December, Disney has shared the first details for Trattoria al Forno, the new restaurant for Disney’s BoardWalk. A “trattoria” is an Italian restaurant serving simple food, and “al forno” is Italian for “food baked in an oven,” and this new spot will showcase Old World techniques, including handcrafted mozzarella made daily, cavatelli (small dumpling-shaped pasta) and a variety of Neopolitan-style pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens. Slices of paper-thin Italian meats, served with a variety of olives and caponata, satisfying pastas, velvety seasonal risottos and fresh seafood and vegetables will celebrate the delectable diversity of Italian cuisine with authentic ingredients and recipes from Italy’s various regions. Classic Italian desserts and authentic Italian Wines will also be served. This restaurant opens in the space that is currently Kouzzina. The last day for operation of Kouzzina is September 30th.

Reminder! Wine Pairings at Martha’s Vineyard at Disney’s Beach Club Resort: New late-afternoon wine pairings combine food and wine with a little enlightenment, with wine experts on hand to talk about what you’re sipping at Martha’s Vineyard at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Upcoming dates are 4-5:15 p.m. September 4, September 25, October 2 and October 30. Wineries aren’t yet announced (the last one was France’s Louis Jadot), but the Disney chefs are having fun with pairing delicious food with whatever is poured. It’s an intimate setting – no more than 18 guests, and the conversation flows with the wine. Cost varies, but is in the $20-30 range for three wines paired with three small plates, and price depends on what’s being poured. For reservations, call 407-934-3833.

Walt Disney World Resort – General

runDisney Goofy Giveback

New! Additional Registration Capacity Available for 2015 WDW Marathon Weekend: Based on the overwhelming guest response runDisney is pleased to announce the “Goofy Giveback,” a unique opportunity for you to participate in the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon. Starting Sept 16th, a limited number of Goofy registrations are again available. runDisney is breaking up the challenge and opening up additional individual registrations for the 2015 Walt Disney World® Half Marathon and Marathon. You can register for these events by visiting runDisney.com. This unique registration period will remain open for 39 days representing the total miles covered in the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. You have until October 24th or until both races reach capacity to take advantage of this special opportunity.

New! New Vera Bradley Design Coming to Downtown Disney Sept 19:  Known for their stylish quilted cotton luggage, handbags and accessories, Vera Bradley has been infusing color into all aspects of women’s lives for more than 30 years. The Disney Collection by Vera Bradley launched last year and has become very popular. The newest color, Disney Dreaming, will be coming to Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney Marketplace on September 19. The color features Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse dreaming of Disney fun. There will be a variety of styles available with this color including a Hipster Bag, a Zip ID Case, a Vera Bag and more. In early 2015, the team will introduce a duffle and an ultimate backpack with this color. These items will also be found in select Disneyland Resort locations and on the Disney Parks online store later in October. For the online store, visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/VeraBradley where you’ll also find several previously released colors.

disney Dreaming Vera Bradley

New! New Dooney & Bourke Bags Coming to Epcot September 29: With the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival returning to Walt Disney World Resort comes some additional exciting news. The Disney Theme Park Merchandise team is releasing a specially designed Dooney & Bourke collection inspired by the annual festival. According to the Disney Parks Blog, when designing the new colorful pattern, Disney Design Group artists were inspired by marketing artwork featuring Chef Mickey Mouse. Three of the items will contain a unique leather hangtag that has the event logo (the wristlet will not have this hangtag). The four new items will be released at the Festival Center in Epcot starting September 29.

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Merchandise Events

  • September 17 – 21: Artist Greg McCullough will be appearing this month at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace.
  • September 18 – 22: Look for the latest releases from Precious Moments doll designer and artist, Linda Rick, including her newest collection inspired by “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Linda will appear throughout the day (each day) at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace.
  • September 27: The next hand-painted Ink & Paint Cel, titled “Summertime Pals,” is set to debut at Animation Gallery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios on September 27, 2014. Meet the artists from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.– 5 p.m. on the day of release.

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.