What’s New Around the Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Universal Orlando Resorts

New things pop up at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and Universal Orlando Resort daily.  Join us each week to read about “What’s New” around the Disney resorts and Universal Orlando!

Walt Disney World Resort in Florida

super bowl

Seahawks Linebacker & MVP Malcolm Smith ‘Going to Disney World’ to Celebrate Super Bowl XLVIII Victory: A magical tradition continued Sunday night following the Seahawks 43-8 win over the Broncos when Malcolm Smith of the Seattle Seahawks  beamed into the cameras and shouted those five words that everyone expects of a Super Bowl victory celebration: “I’m Going to Disney World!”

New!  Special “Valentine’s Day” Items on Disney World Resort Menus: Some special, and unadvertised, items can be found this Valentine’s Day on some Walt Disney World resort menus.  These items will be at the discretion of the restaurant.  One of our favorites is the Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Topping and a choice of bacon or sausage at Kona Cafe.  This item was priced at $9.99 in the past.  Be sure to ask if your favorite restaurant will ahve a special offering to celebrate this Valentine’s Day.

red velvet pancakes at kona

New!  Update Coming to My Disney Experience App: A new, significant update is coming soon for My Disney Experience on Apple devices.  (The Android update will be released later this spring.)  With this update, performance will improve significantly, and the ease of navigation will be enhanced.  In addition this update will provide:

  • A new home screen shows Guest’s plans and includes a quick-access menu with streamlined navigation to information about attractions, characters, dining, restroom, shopping and more!
  • The Attractions tab on the quick-access menu tells users the closest attractions, as well as current wait times, and pinpoints them on a map.  Believe it or not, there will even be a button that will take you right to the FastPass+ selections for that attraction, if applicable.
  • Characters will be listed alphabetically on the Characters tab along with where the characters are located.
  • 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.

New!  Rosetta joins Tinker Bell in Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook: Starting February 4th Rosetta will join Tinker Bell in Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook.  At this time, Periwinkle will fly back home and 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 Italy in the World Showcase will be closing.  The last day of performance will be Saturday, February 22nd.  Epcot will continue to offer a variety of atmosphere entertainment through the World Showcase.

New!  Flower Power Concert Series Lineup Announced:  The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is about a month away and we’re thrilled to share the Flower Power Concert Series lineup for the year.  Concerts take place Friday through Monday at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8pm at the America Gardens Theater.

  • March 7-9 – The Guess Who
  • March 14-16 – Gary Lewis and the Playboys
  • 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!  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-futurisitc visions of a steam-powered society, has been gaining popularity over the past several years.  If you are a fan of Steampunk then mark you calendar now, because as part of the Steampunk launch, artist signings will be hosted at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.  Disney Design Group artists, Costa Alavezos, Alex Maher and Mike Sullivan will appear form 2-5 pm at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace on February 22nd.

SPM984652-511x465

New! Portable Mobile Phone Chargers Sold at Walt Disney World: If your battery is running low while roaming the parks you can now purchase portable chargers in various Merchandise locations in the theme parks and resorts.  As we become more reliant on our mobile devices for MyMagic+, portable chargers can be a lifesaver during your vacation!

New!   Disney Vacation Club Launches Membership Magic: Disney Vacation Club is giving Members even more to love with the launch of Membership Magic on January 29th.  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 large mouth 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 and 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 and Spa will be refurbished through August.  The current building under refurbishment is Boca Chica.  Work began February 2nd.

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
  • 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 – Mar 9, 2014
  • Game Point Arcade – Closed due to Lobby/Corridor work Feb 17 – Mar 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 Jan 27 – Feb 7, 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 11:30am and 7:00pm.  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 stating 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 suspsended on weekdays between 11:30am and 7:00pm.  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 Mar – Dec 2014
  • Beach & Sunset Point Access to the east portion of the beach, near the Transportation and Ticket Center, and Sunset Point Access to the east portion of the beach, near the Transportation and Ticket Center, and Sunset Point will be available 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 suspsended on weekdays between 11:30am and 7:00pm.  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 Marketplaces Causeway project.  When complete later this year, this land bridge will span between Rainforest Cafe and LEGO Imagination Center and will provide Guests with multiple ways to explore the Marketplace and will offer picturesque views of Village Lake.

Disney Gold Courses/Miniature Golf

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

Disneyland Resort in California

car charger at disneyland

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 resorts.

New Orleans Bayou Bash: Feb 7 through Mar 4 – It’s almost time to let the good times roll at Disneyland park witht he return of the 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-futurisitc visions of a steam-powered society, has been gaining popularity over the past several years.  If you are a fan of Steampunk then mark you calendar now, because as part of the Steampunk launch, artist signings will be hosted at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.  Disney Design Group artists, Costa Alavezos, Alex Maher and Mike Sullivan will appear form 2-5 pm at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace on February 22nd.

steam driven

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 12-10pm 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 the ‘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.

authentic mexican

New!  Starbucks Opens at Islands of Adventure: Get your caffeine fix now at Islands of Adventure where Starbucks is open!  Stop by to enjoy fresh breakfast sandwiches, paninis, yogurt and more!  Starbucks can be found int he former location of Arctic Express.  Bonus, 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.

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 & music event designed to capture the romantic atmosphere 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 and purchase tickets online.   Tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door. VIP tickets are $75 online only.  For more information and/or reservations call 407-503-1200.

New!  Queens of the Stone Age Play Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando: Fri, Feb 7 at 9:00 p.m.  Cost is $56.50 for balcony tables, $51.50 for Lower Balcony, $46.50 for Upper Balcony and $36.50 for General Admission/Standing Floor.

New!  B-Street Band – A Night of Springsteen to Play Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando: Sat, Feb 8 at 8:oo pm.  The hardest working and longest running tribute band with an average of 200 performances a year over the last decade!  Originating out of New Jersey, the B-Street Band 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 for Bruce at several venues including Wells Fargo, the Prudential Center, Izod Center, Wachovia Center, XFinity Live and on the steps of the Philidelphia Spectrum’s final four shows.  Cost is $10 for reserved seating, while General Admission/Standing Perimeter is FREE with a GA ticket.

New!  Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is Now Hiring: Lowes 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 int he highly anticipated 1,800 room hotel include: food and beverage, rooms, front office, housekeeping, recreation, engineering, security and stewarding. Lowes 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

Universals 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

To book your family’s magical vacation please contact Gretchen, an agent with Destinations in Florida, at gretchen@destinationsinflorida.com or 818-519-0777.

 


This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Also As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Chip and Co Past Writers and Friends