The 10 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (And Beyond) This Week (September 19-25, 2016)

-Reported by Theme Park Tourist

This week at Walt Disney World, one of the most reviled attractions in the resort’s history is confirmed to be going seasonal, an out of the way Disney’s Hollywood Studios dining location is closing forever, plus a new deal debuts for non-Disney hotel guests and Joffrey’s offers guests a $1 cup of coffee in celebration of a special day this week!

Outside Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens Tampa kicks off its annual Howl-O-Scream event, SeaWorld looks forward to the opening of its Halloween Spoooktacular, plus Universal Orlando Resort officially opens its newest dining location!

1. Stitch’s Great Escape is confirmed to be moving to seasonal operation beginning next month

Image: Disney

Undoubtedly, the biggest news this week was that Stitch’s Great Escape, one of the most reviled attractions in Disney history, would be discontinuing daily operation as of October 2, 2016. However, instead of simply shuttering this attraction for good this fall, it was instead confirmed that Stitch’s Great Escape would be operating seasonally for the remainder of this year and the beginning of 2017. According to Walt Disney World’s official calendar, after the attraction closes on October 2nd, it will only operate for just over three weeks, during the following two “peak” time periods at the Magic Kingdom:

  • November 19th-26th, 2016
  • December 17th, 2016 through January 2nd, 2017

You can read more about this development (and what is likely replacing it once it closes for good) here.

2. Writer’s Stop to officially close this week

The Writer’s Stop is a unique snack location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that was famous for its comfy chairs, coffee house vibe, and of course its iconic Carrot Cake Cookies. And while this out-of-the-way spot was originally scheduled to close as part of the massive Disney’s Hollywood Studios closure earlier this year, the Writer’s Stop got a bit of a reprieve, and functioned as a lounge for the nearby Sci-Fi Dine in Theater for the summer.

However, it looks like the stay of execution for the Writer’s Stop has finally ended, as this location will be officially closing on September 26, 2016. And while this is certainly sad for fans of this lesser-known spot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the good news is that the iconic carrot cake cookie will continue to be available at the Sweet Spells snack location on Sunset Boulevard.

3. Walt Disney World Good Neighbor quick service dining discount offered

Image: Disney

Beginning this week, guests who book a Walt Disney Travel Company package at a Disney affiliated hotel with a minimum 3-day ticket, will be able to access a special new deal that allows them to purchase Quick Service dining cards at a discount rate.

For each day of theme park admission, adults in the party will receive $40, and children will receive $15 in quick-service dining gift cards, but will only have to pay $35 per adult/per day and $12.50 per child/per day. So for instance, a party of four with two adults and two children with a 3-day ticket included in their package would qualify for $330 in Disney Quick-Service Dining Gift Cards, but will only need to pay $285, using this discount.

This new deal is available for guests staying at the following hotels:

  • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando
  • Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels
  • Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotel

Guests can book this offer now through April 1, 2017 and is valid for travel dates between September 26, 2016 and April 4, 2017.

4. Joffrey’s Coffee kiosks offer $1 coffee deal for one day only

Image: Disney 

National Coffee Day is September 29, and to celebrate Joffrey’s kiosks throughout Walt Disney World Resort will be offering allowing guests to purchase a hot (16 oz.) or iced (24 oz.) cup of coffee for only $1 on this special day!

5. Pop-up bar appears in Pixar Place

Though rumors about a new pop-up bar at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror earlier this year proved to be false, Disney has added a temporary drinking location in Pixar Place that serves a number of Toy Story-inspired drinks, including the following:

  • The Sandbox: A refreshing mix of Parrot Bay Coconut Run, Midori Melon and a splash of citrus juices
  • Prospector’s Punch: Bacadri Limon and Amaretto joined with pineapple and cranberry juices.
  • Deep Space Odyssey: Bacardi Limon and Blue Curaco mixed with a splash of pineapple juice, sweet and sour mix and Sprite.

In addition to these specialty drinks, this location also serves a number of beers and a Margarita featuring Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila.

6. Doctor Strange character experience coming to Walt Disney World

Image: Marvel

Several days ago Stitch Kingdom uncovered a casting notice that implies that a Doctor Strange character experience will be debuting sometime in the near future at Walt Disney World. While the call says this will be a “limited engagement” (and doesn’t specify a park), it does suggest that Disney will be bringing a Marvel character to one of its theme parks in the very near future, which could be a violation of the pre-existing Marvel contract with Universal (though presumably Disney is confident it isn’t).

7. Disney confirms in-park celebration for the 45th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom

Image: Disney

The Magic Kingdom will be celebrating its 45th operating year in just a few days, on Saturday, October 1, with some special activities happening inside the the park to mark this special occasion, including the following:

  • Entertainment: There will be a special presentation on the Cinderella Forecourt Stage at 9:30 AM commemorating this anniversary.
  • Merchandise: There will be a limited release t-shirt and pin available at the Emporium, with other commemorative products available for purchase throughout the park both on the actual anniversary date and throughout the rest of the year.
  • Food & Beverage: Themed treats will be available at Main Street Bakery and Gaston’s Tavern. Though these have not been detailed yet, we’d bet a special cupcake will be in the lineup (is it even really a special event if there isn’t a commemorative cupcake?)

In addition to the list above, rumors are circulating that some rare characters might make an appearance as part of the festivities, and guests who stop by this park may recieve a commemorative button as well.

8. The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen now open

Image: Universal Orlando Resort 

Though this new dining location at Universal Orlando Resort has been open intermittently during an extensive preview period, The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal’s CityWalk is now officially open every day from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

9. Howl-O-Scream 2016 kicks off

Though Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights event got underway last week, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay kicked off its own Howl-O-Scream event earlier this week. This year’s event, Evil Encore, will take place Thursdays through Sundays from September 23 to October 30, 2016. This year’s event includes several returning houses, including Unearthed, Death Water Bayou, and Zombie Containment Unit 15. In addition, the following two new houses are making their debut:

  • The Black Spot: An infamous pirate has you marked for death and he has you right where he wants you.
  • Motel Hell: Nightmares become reality at this deserted motel once you realize why it’s conveniently vacant.

In addition, this year will see the return of “roving hordes” scarezones, which will place scareactors in every corner of the park, with no “safe zones” anywhere!

10. SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular starts this weekend

Halloween Spooktacular

Image: SeaWorld Orlando

And finally, next week will see the last of the Orlando theme park Halloween events get underway: SeaWorld Orlando’s annual Halloween Spooktacular. This annual event will again allow guests of all ages to trick-or-treat around Shamu Stadium, and take part in the following special activities that are included with admission:

  • Penelope’s Garden Party: SeaWorld’s Bayside Pathway comes to life each weekend with a live DJ, a variety of craft opportunities, bubbles floating overhead and colorful sea-themed characters guests can meet in a festive atmosphere.
  • Spooktacular Dance Party: Kids can join Princess Penelope and her under-the-sea friends for a party in the Village Square one hour before the park closes where they can participate in line-dancing favorites as clouds of bubbles fill the evening air.
  • Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween: The Count is feeling lonely this Halloween, and it’s up to guests and the lovable monsters from Sesame Street to get him into the Halloween spirit during this fun, interactive show.
  • Seasonal Pets Ahoy: A special Halloween version of Pets Ahoy is presented on event days.

The SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular takes place during regular park hours every weekend in October.

 

 

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