2017 Epcot Candlelight Processional Narrators

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Disney Legend Kurt Russell, who has starred in Disney films from the 1960s to 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” will read the Christmas story this year – as well as gold- and silver-medal-winning gymnast Laurie Hernandez. Two veterans of the event – actress/comedienne Ana Gasteyer and Jodi Benson, voice of Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” – complete this year’s list. 

Here is the full list of narrators (everything subject to change, of course):

  • Nov. 24- 26 – Laurie Hernandez – NEW!
  • Nov. 27-28 – Matt Bomer – NEW!
  • Nov. 29 – 30 – Ana Gasteyer
  • Dec. 1-3 – Whoopi Goldberg
  • Dec. 4-5 – Pat Sajak – NEW!
  • Dec. 6-8 – Jodi Benson
  • Dec. 9-11 – Kurt Russell – NEW!
  • Dec. 12-14 – Warwick Davis – NEW!
  • Dec. 15-17 – Trace Adkins
  • Dec. 18-21 – Neil Patrick Harris
  • Dec. 22-24 – CCH Pounder – NEW!
  • Dec. 25-27 – Jaci Velasquez
  • Dec. 28-30 – Chandra Wilson

The Candlelight Processional presents the traditional story of Christmas in truly spectacular fashion – with a celebrity narrator, a 50-piece orchestra and a massed choir.

The processional is performed three times per night (5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.) during the holiday season at the America Gardens Theatre. These packages, available on select nights, include a delicious meal and a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances. Availability is limited.

In addition to lunch and dinner packages, breakfast options are available at some favorite restaurants in and near Epcot like Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and The Garden Grill. Breakfast, lunch and dinner options are also available this year at Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort,** with breakfast and dinner options being offered at Trattoria Al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk.

Candlelight Dining Packages for breakfast start at $35 plus tax per person for adults and $21 plus tax per person for children, ages 3-9. Candlelight Dining Packages for lunch and dinner start at $44 plus tax per person for adults and $15.50 plus tax per person for children, ages 3-9.

Epcot provides an extravaganza of holiday entertainment, merchandise, food, beverages and festivities where guests can celebrate at Epcot throughout the holiday season. Time-honored traditions come alive through the sights and sounds of the countries of World Showcase, and live performances enliven the park throughout the day.

Dogs Welcome At Walt Disney World Hotels

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Beginning this Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, for the first time ever, Walt Disney World® Resort will be welcoming Guests – and their dogs – to four of its resort properties!

Four Walt Disney World resort hotels have been designated dog friendly. Each property’s per night / per room pet-cleaning rate is:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort $50/night
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort $50/night
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort $75/night
  • Cabins at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort $50/night

A maximum of two dogs per guestroom can be accommodated. Each Guest room will have easy access to outdoor pet walkways for exercise and green spaces with pet relief areas. 

At check-in, Pluto’s Welcome Kit includes mat, bowls, a pet ID tag, courtesy plastic disposable bags, puppy pads and dog walking maps. Also included: a Pluto “Do Not Disturb” door hanger indicating to hotel staff that a pet is in the room.

Disney enjoys a partnership with Best Friends Pet Care, an on-property full-service facility that can provide assistance with pet daycare and other pet services (fees apply).
Pet merchandise is coming soon to participating resorts.

While dogs will be allowed to stay in Guest rooms, they will be expected to be well behaved, leashed in public resort areas and properly vaccinated.

Please read the below restrictions and policies about the new dog-friendly trial program (subject to change)

  • Only dogs will be allowed in Guest rooms, and there is a limit of two dogs per Guest room. 
  • Guests are responsible for the proper care, behavior and waste maintenance of their dogs throughout the Resort. 
  • Dogs must be well-behaved and are not allowed on furniture in public areas. 
  • Dogs should be supervised at all times while staying on Resort property and should not be left unattended in your Guest room for more than 7 hours. 
  • Dogs should remain silent if left unattended in your Guest room. If noise is heard, you will be called to address the noise within 30 minutes. 
  • Please display the provided “Do Not Disturb” door hanger outside your room to alert Cast Members that dogs are present. 
  • Housekeeping service in Guest rooms with dogs is only available when Guests are present. Please dial the Housekeeping button on your in-room telephone to schedule a cleaning time at your convenience.
  • Please leash or restrain your dogs at all times while in public spaces on Resort property. 
  • Only licensed service animals are allowed in Food & Beverage locations, the Club Lounge, Pool Areas, Fitness Centers and other public Guest areas. 
  • Guests with dogs are allowed to use some Resort transportation services, including Disney’s Magical Express® and Minnie Van™. In order to use Resort transportation, dogs must remain in pet carriers for the duration of transit. All other Resort transportation and public transportation, including Walt Disney World® Monorails and Friendship Boats, are available to Guests with licensed service animals only.
  • Dogs are not permitted in Theme Parks and Disney Springs®. Only licensed service animals are allowed in these Guest areas. 

Up-to-date vaccination records must be available upon request. 

Cancelations at Walt Disney World Resort Announced

In anticipation of inclement weather associated with Hurricane Irma, please note the following event cancelations at Walt Disney World Resort.

Night of Joy at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex has been canceled on Saturday, September 9, 2017. The performances on Friday, September 8 will take place as planned. Guests with tickets for Saturday are welcome to attend Friday’s event instead by exchanging their tickets at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Box Office after 4 PM Friday. Requests for a full refund for either event night will be honored.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party has been canceled on Sunday, September 10, 2017. The event will take place as planned on Thursday, September 7. Guests are invited to exchange their Sunday, September 10 event tickets for one of the following options: Tickets to attend another Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, tickets to attend an upcoming Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, 1 Day Magic Your Way Tickets with Park Hopper Option, to be used within the next 2 years, receive a full refund for event tickets

To redeem these offers, Guests should call (407) 939-7818 by January 31, 2018 between the hours of 7:00 AM and 11:00 PM., or email us at Ticket.Inquiries@DisneyWorld.com. Please have your tickets available so we may process your request for you as quickly as possible. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

Darren Wittko, Specializing in Disney Destinations

Sleepy Hollow Event at Ft. Wilderness Resort

Return to Sleepy Hollow at Disney's Ft. Wilderness Resort

Return to Sleepy Hollow at Disney's Ft. Wilderness Resort

The “Return to Sleepy Hollow” offering includes a group viewing of the 1949 Disney animated classic film “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” inside Disney's Ft. Wilderness Resort's historic Tri-Circle-D Ranch stables. Be on the lookout for galloping ghosts and be ready for an up close and personal encounter with the Headless Horseman.

The Return to Sleepy Hollow offering will take place at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground: Sept. 29-Oct. 2, Oct. 5-9, 12-16, 19-23 and 26-31, at 8 and 10 p.m.

To reserve this experience call 407-WDW-TOUR. General seating costs $22 per person, premium seating, which includes a priority photo opportunity with the Headless Horseman and a Halloween treat bag, costs $38 per person.

Guests in both seatings, age 3 and older, will also receive an exclusive limited edition pin. Guests age 2 and younger receive complimentary admission with their families, but are asked to sit in a parent’s lap.

Darren Wittko Specializes in Disney Destinations

New VIP Tour at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park

I'm excited to announce the newest addition to the Enchanting Extras Collection — the Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park!

You can prepare for an adventure like no other as this tour gives you the opportunity — as the park transitions from day to night — to experience the magic of nature in a totally unique way. Tour guides share detailed knowledge while you explore the Disney’s Animal Kingdom lands to observe the critters, creatures and other denizens of the park. Plus, you get to enjoy certain attractions with expedited FastPass+ access. The Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour is a great way for you to make the most of your time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

The tour takes approximately four hours, and there is a discount available for Disney Visa cardholders and Annual Passholders.

Separate park admission is required. For more information about the Enchanting Extras Collection or to make reservations, call 407-WDW-PLAY (939-7529)

By Darren Wittko

Now available – Minnie Van service at Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Minnie Van Service Begins

Walt Disney World Resort just launched a new transportation pilot called Minnie Van service. Announced earlier this month at D23 Expo 2017, this new transportation service is now available for guests staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.

Through a collaboration with Lyft, guests at these resorts can arrange their own private Disney vehicle right from the Lyft app on their smartphone. With Minnie Van service, Disney cast members will then whisk you away to wherever you want to be at Walt Disney World Resort. This service accommodates up to six guests and provides two versatile car seats so even the tiniest of passengers can travel in style!

Minnie Van service will be available between 6:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. (subject to change). Guests staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts can learn more by visiting their Bell Services desk.

By Darren Wittko, Specializing in Disney Destinations

Mission: SPACE at Epcot Offers New Out of This World Experiences

New Experiences Coming to Mission Space at Epcot

New Experiences Coming to Mission Space at Epcot

Starting Aug. 13, 2017, Epcot will relaunch Mission: SPACE with a brand new experience and an enhanced version with 2 very different experiences. 

Orange Mission: a truly intense experience that lets you feel the force of an actual space launch en route to Mars. On this mission, you’ll dodge meteoroids, slingshot around the moon and attempt a precision landing on the Red Planet’s alien surface. This “mission” has been enhanced with new, HD video to make it even clearer.

Green Mission: a new, family friendly mission that takes you on an exciting orbit around Earth. On this new adventure, you’ll take in sites like the Hawaiian Islands, Italy’s “boot” and the Northern Lights—as seen from space. Before finally landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The height restriction has been changed for the Green Mission side with the addition of new X-2 booster seats allowing children 40-44” to ride.  

By Darren Wittko, Specializing in Disney Destinations. 

 

Disney's Star Wars Resort at Walt Disney World

Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, just confirmed that a Star Wars-inspired resort will debut as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept.

According to Bob, this revolutionary new vacation experience will be a living adventure that allows guests to immerse themselves in an entirely new form of Disney storytelling.

“It’s unlike anything that exists today.” Bob said. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”

By Darren Wittko

Disney Cruise Line Has 3 New Ships on Order

Disney Cruise Line is planning not two, but three new ships in the next phase of expansion. By the time these three ships are sailing, Disney will have nearly doubled the size of its fleet! 

Last year, I told you that two new ships were going to be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany with scheduled completion dates of 2021 and 2023. This additional ship will be built at the same shipyard and is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

 

By Darren Wittko

Space Themed Restaurant Coming to Epcot

Disney unveiled plans to create a new restaurant at Epcot that’ll offer amazing meals with spectacular views high above Earth – from space!

The restaurant, which will be located adjacent to the park’s Mission: SPACE attraction, will invite guests to travel into space for amazing dining experiences in the stars.

By Darren Wittko

New Coaster for Magic Kingdom Park

Disney announced that a new Tron attraction will sit in an entirely new area right next to the Space Mountain attraction at Magic Kingdom Park

The TRON Lightcycle Power Run attraction at Shanghai Disneyland is a coaster-style attraction where riders will board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles. It offers access into the energy, lights and excitement of TRON’s high-tech universe and is one of the most thrilling adventures at any Disney park.

The Tron attraction will open in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

A coaster-style attraction based on Tron is in the works for Magic Kingdom Park. 

 

By Darren Wittko, Specializing in Disney Destinations

EPCOT: New Ride for France Pavilion

Epcot to get a new Ratatouille ride.

Epcot to get a new Ratatouille ride.

Disney announced this week that a Disney•Pixar’s “Ratatouille”-inspired attraction will also be added to the France Pavilion in World Showcase. The attraction will expand the pavilion. Similar to the 4-D attraction Ratatouille: The Adventure that opened at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris in 2014, guests will be able to shrink to Remy’s size and scurry to safety in a dazzling chase across a kitchen with the sights, sounds and smells of Gusteau’s legendary Parisian restaurant. The ride is expected to open in 2021.

It's expected that the Epcot version will be similar to Ratatouille at Disneyland Paris. 

EPCOT: Guardians of the Galaxy to Replace Universe of Energy

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Epcot’s newest E-ticket attraction will be based on the world of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and is the next step in how guests can encounter these characters at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney says this attraction adheres to the original vision of Epcot’s Future World as the place to experience the excitement and adventure offered by space travel. What do you think?

This new attraction will replace the current Universe of Energy attraction, which will close August 13, 2017). The new ride is expected to be ready in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary in 20121.

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This Hollywood Studios Headliner Will Close Aug 13, 2017

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

On Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, you’ll step through the movie screen and join Mickey and his friends like never before. The attraction will put you inside the wacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short where you’re the star and anything can happen. This zany out-of-control adventure features surprising twists and turns, dazzling visual effects and mind-boggling transformations that happen before your very eyes.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature a new story and a new singable attraction theme song as well as a new experience Disney is calling “2 1/2 D.” No glasses required.

In order to begin to prepare the new home of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at the Chinese Theatre in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, August 13, 2017 will be the final day of operation for The Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies.

Until August 13, you can still relive some of the greatest movie moments in history on the Great Movie Ride attraction.

By Darren Wittko

President Trump Will Star in The Hall of Presidents

President Trump to have a speaking role in the new Hall of Presidents opening late 2017. 

President Trump to have a speaking role in the new Hall of Presidents opening late 2017. 

Since the Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971, The Hall of Presidents has brought together a one-of-a-kind look at the office of the President of the United States through film and the magic of Disney’s Audio-Animatronics technology. Despite some media reports to the contrary, President Trump will have a speaking role in The Hall of Presidents, like every president since 1993. Disney has been working closely with the current White House — just as they have with previous administrations — and the president’s recording session has been scheduled. The attraction will re-open in late 2017.

The Hall of Presidents is getting a new show, and a complete theater upgrade including a new sound system, lighting and high-definition projection system. The multi-screen viewing experience you may have seen in prior versions of the attraction is returning with an even wider vantage point of our country’s history.

by Darren Wittko

Annual Passholder Offer for Express Transportation

Express Transportation | Walt Disney World 

Express Transportation | Walt Disney World 

Now you can breeze between all 4 theme parks with fast, nonstop service that drops you inside the main gates—and closer to the magic—so you can start playing right away.

If you have tickets with the Park Hopper Option (or a Walt Disney World annual pass), adding Express Transportation is a great way to pack even more fun into your day. We’ll take you directly to the drop-off location inside the theme park you want to visit next—with no waiting to reenter at the gate.

No matter which theme park you’re in, when you’re ready to enjoy any of the others, just make your way to our Express Transportation check-in location, where a Cast Member will escort you to your vehicle.

Express Transportation service:

departs approximately every 30 minutes.
is available each day from 10:00 AM until park closing.*
travels directly between each of the theme parks—with no other stops along the way.
lets you off inside the main gate, so you’re in the middle of fun from the moment you arrive!
gives you unlimited transfers between all 4 theme parks—for as long as your Express Transportation ticket is valid.

 

By Darren Wittko, Disney Destinations Specialist

Pirates of the Caribbean Gets PhotoPass

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Beginning June 19, 2017 at Pirates of the Caribbean in Magic Kingdom Park, Disney PhotoPass Service will be available for on-ride photos. Your photo will be automatically associated to your account, where it can be viewed at MyDisneyPhotoPass.com and in the My Disney Experience mobile app alongside all of your vacation memories from Disney PhotoPass Service.

 

by Darren Wittko, Specializing in Disney Parks and Resorts

New Epcot Dessert Party Available Today!

Frozen Ever After Dessert Party at Epcot

Frozen Ever After Dessert Party at Epcot

Starting July 17, 2017 there will be a new way to experience “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” at Epcot. Reservations open today, June 15, 2017, for the new Frozen Ever After Dessert Party, plus a special opportunity to enjoy the Frozen Ever After attraction!

The party, overlooks World Showcase Lagoon and feature décor, drinks, desserts and snacks inspired by the beloved film, “Frozen.” Frozen Ever After Dessert Party Guests will have reserved seating. Specialty cotton candy lemonade or “melted snow” and other non-alcoholic beverages will be offered to Guests of all ages. Adults 21 years and older can enjoy alcoholic beverages such as a piña colada, margarita or “Summertime Punch,” a refreshing blend of prickly pear syrup, vodka, lemonade and ginger ale.

After “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” Guests of the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party will be escorted to the Norway Pavilion for a special ride on the popular Frozen Ever After attraction. 

The Frozen Ever After Dessert Party is $79 for Guests ages 10 and above, $47 for ages 3 to 9—tax and gratuity included. Reservations are now open for dates beginning July 17, 2017 and can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

Holiday Dessert Parties at Walt Disney World

Tickets are now available for holiday party nights at Walt Disney World Resort! Special add-on dessert parties are available on select nights for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this fall and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this winter. 

Dessert parties are now available at Magic Kingdom Park this holiday season. 

Dessert parties are now available at Magic Kingdom Park this holiday season. 

 

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Dessert Party 

At Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Dessert Party, you can indulge in Halloween-themed eats, including chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate mousse, cupcakes, ice cream, seasonal fruits, cheeses and other ghoulish goodies created daily by Disney's master pastry chef. Specialty drinks, signature lemonades, coffee, tea and hot chocolate will also be served. 

This Magic Kingdom dessert party offers prime views of the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular over Cinderella Castle. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Dessert Party takes place select nights Aug. 29 – Nov. 1, 2017.

 

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Before the holiday fireworks, you'll discover a host of holiday-themed cupcakes and desserts prepared by Disney's master pastry chef, along with a buffet of sweet treats – like chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate mousse, ice cream, cheeses and fresh, seasonal fruits. And raise a cup of good cheer with sparkling cider, signature lemonades, specialty Christmas drinks, hot chocolate, coffee or tea, and then marvel as the sky above explodes with color, music and lights!

Both parties will be held at the Tomorrowland Terrace. The cost is $79 plus tax for adults; $47 plus tax for children ages 3-9. Magic Kingdom Theme Park admission is required. 

 

By Darren Wittko