The 8 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World This Week (March 6-12, 2017)

This week at Walt Disney World, we got a ton of new updates about Pandora – The World of Avatar, plus Disney confirms additional details about an upcoming upcharge event, and an attraction we had all assumed would never see the light of day again comes back for a limited time!

Programming note: Though we normally devote some time to Orlando-area parks outside Lake Buena Vista, there has been so much going on at Walt Disney World over the past seven days that we decided to forgo the “beyond” this week. You’ll hear about all the news from Universal Orlando Resort, Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando in next week’s update!

1. Stitch’s Great Escape to open this week for limited time

Image: Disney

Though we had previously assumed that Stitch’s Great Escape wain after last year’s holiday season, it looks like this attraction is still clinging on to existence, and will be open for four days next week, from March 13 through to March 17. We have no way of knowing if or when this attraction will operate beyond that, so if you like this attraction, make sure you stop by next week!

2. Entertainment details announced for Star Wars: Galactic Nights

Image: Disney

Though it was announced earlier this year, Disney has released some new details regarding the entertainment that will be available during the upcoming Star Wars Galactic Nights special event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on April 14, 2017. Vanessa Marshall, the voice of Hera Syndulla from Star Wars Rebels (and former Star Wars Weekends guest), will serve as host of the Inside the Saga: Celebrity Talk Show, which will now take place at the Epic Theater. The Inside the Saga pre-show will feature Star Wars Show hosts, Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni.

3. Additional Rivers of Light show added to the regular schedule

Beginning this week, the new Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular will be performed twice nightly on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, with performances at 8:45 PM and 10:00 PM. On nights when Rivers of Light is performed, the park will be closing to Guests at 9:30 PM

4. New details released for Pandora – The World of Avatar attractions

We’re only a few weeks away from the long-awaited debut of Pandora – The World of Avatar, and as is generally the case when leading up to a big opening, Disney has been filling in a few of of the details when it comes to what guests can expect from this brand new land.

First up, we learned a lot about the new Avatar – Flight of Passage attraction, which will carry a 44 inch height restriction, and will have a 3D screen element that will require special “flight goggles”, similar to those currently in use at Toy Story Midway Mania.

Image: Disney/ABC

However, perhaps more interestingly, it has been confirmed that guests who board this attraction will ride in a so-called “link chair”, which it looks like guests will either sit or straddle, with some kind of harness attaching to the back (similar to that used in the Tron: Lightcycle Power Run roller coaster at Shanghai Disneyland). Viewers may also notice that this ride vehicle includes handlebars, implying that there will be some extreme vertical/lateral movement, which would explain the high 44 inch height restriction.

Conversely, it was also confirmed this week that the other ride in Pandora – The World of Avatar, Na’vi River Journey, will have no height restriction and will use projections as well as animatronics to bring the world of Pandora to life.

5. New menu items detailed for Pandora – The World of Avatar

Image: Disney

One of the components of Pandora – The World of Avatar that we’re most excited to experience is the local cuisine! This new land will have two dining establishments; Satu’li Canteen, which will be a “fast causual” dining establishment open for lunch and dinner, and Pongu Pongu, which will be a watering hole with drinks and small plates.

Image: Disney

While full menus have not yet been released, we do know that Satu’li Canteen will have plenty of “healthy” dishes that feature wholesome grains, fresh vegetables and hearty proteins that have an “otherworldly” look to them, as you can see above.

Image: Disney 

Fare at Pongu Pongu should look a little more familiar, especially as much of the menu will consist of libations with familiar ingredients. However, there will be a very interesting snack at this location: Lumpia, a crispy pineapple-cream cheese spring roll, which is pictured above.

6. Caribbean Beach Resort refurbishment impacts announced


Last month Disney confirmed that it is reimagining the Caribbean Beach resort, and now that construction at this hotel has kicked off, we know a little bit more about what kind of impacts guests who stay at this hotel for the next two years will experience.

Though some light construction has already started, it looks like things are going to ramp up in May 2017, with the Martinique and Barbados islands unavailable from this date forward. In addition, May will bring closures to many of the resort’s dining options, including the Old Port Royale Food Court, Shutters at Old Port Royale and the Banana Cabana Pool Bar. And while that is certainly a big list, Disney has announced some temporary dining options for guests, including:

  • A Caribbean-style buffet for breakfast and a la carte offerings for dinner.
  • A selection of grab-and-go meals available for purchase throughout the day in three island markets in the Aruba, Jamaica and Martinique regions of the resort.
  • In-room pizza delivery
  • A new quick service window will open near Trinidad island this summer

Though Disney is certainly going the extra mile to try and ensure guests are as comfortable as possible during this refurbishment, guests who have stays booked at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort through this summer and beyond have reported that Disney has even reached out to them with compensation offers for the inconvenience that have included $25 Disney Gift Cards for each night of a confirmed stay or offers to re-book somewhere else. Disney has been reaching out to guests directly with compensation offers, but if you have a stay coming up and have not heard anything yet, you may want to make a quick call to get more information.

7. Sunday roast now available at Rose and Crown

Image: Disney

Earlier this month, a traditional British favorite, the Sunday Roast, was added to the menu at the Rose & Crown Dining Room at Epcot. This traditional British meal will only be served on Sunday and will alternate weekly among Roasted Pork, Turkey or Lamb with Mint Sauce. Customary sides such as roasted potatoes, peas and carrots, sage and onion stuffing, Yorkshire pudding and gravy will accompany the roast.

8. New premium tea tour debuts for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Elsewhere in the UK pavilion at Epcot, Disney has announced that in addition to the standard Tea Garden Tour that has historically been a part of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival for the last decade, a new “premium” version of this tour is now available for $15 per guest.

This special experience expands the general tea tour experience to 45-minutes and includes a special post-tour refreshment of scones with Earl Grey butter, clotted cream and jam, and, tea. This new tour is offered daily at 9:45 AM (before the World Showcase opens) and can only be booked by calling 407-WDW-TOUR.


  • originally in Theme Park Tourist by  , Sunday, March 12, 2017 05:31



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Don Korta
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