Um…in case you haven’t noticed…the Disneyverse is EXPLODING with news right now!!!
From that unfortunate Skyliner Gondola System incident and the debut of Epcot Forever to the new (and AWESOME!) Epcot Experience and PRICE INCREASES (but also Mega Hotel DISCOUNTS?!), so much has happened since the start of October!!
Let’s unpack the latest Disney news bomb together!
Disney World Skyliner Breakdown
In case you missed it, Disney World’s new Skyliner Gondola System opened to the public on September 29. Unfortunately, an incident occurred a mere six days after the new transportation system opened.
During the incident on October 5, there was a pile-up of gondolas at the Riviera Resort station, and the entire Epcot to Caribbean Beach line was shut down. Some guests were stuck in the gondolas for upwards of three hours, but they did thankfully have access to water and cooling packs under their seats.
Since the accident, the Skyliner has temporarily ceased operations.
Disney has recently released a statement on the incident: “We have a team diligently looking into the cause of the malfunction on the Epcot line of the Disney Skyliner. We have been in contact with the guests, many of whom were on the Skyliner for more than three hours until we were able to restart the system. We express our sincere apologies for the inconvenience and continue to work with each guest individually.”
We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about the status of the Skyliner Gondola System!
Disney World Price Increases 🙄
Yet ANOTHER change occurred on October 1, and this one didn’t make us as jazzed as the others. We’re talking about price changes, y’all. 🙁
We’ve seen price increases on just about everything from Mickey pretzels and popcorn, to root beer floats and so much more. Weirdly, white milk at Fairfax Fare in Hollywood Studios has actually decreased in price, but chocolate milk has increased in price by 40 cents. Why no love for the choc-y milk drinkers?!
Also, refillable mugs have risen in price from $18.99 to $19.99 for the length of a resort stay.
MEGA Hotel Discounts!!
Given all the price increases on food, we’re happy to say there are some new DISCOUNTS for 2020!
Disney Resort Hotel Discount PLUS Free Gift Card Offer for January-April 2020
If guests booking this offer decide to upgrade their room-only reservation to a package including a minimum 6-day theme park ticket for everyone in the room, they will also receive a $30 USD Disney Gift Card per person (ages 3 and up) on the reservation. Note that you MUST upgrade to a room + tickets package to get the gift card.
Bookings at Disney Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villa Resorts save up to 25%. Bookings at Disney’s Moderate Resorts save up to 20%. Bookings at Disney’s Value Resorts save up to 15%.
Free Dining for Kids Offer for January-March 2020
With this brand new offer, kids ages 3-9 get a FREE DISNEY DINING PLAN with eligible package bookings from January 1-March 7, 2020.
We’ve got all the details for this one right here: Disney World Free Dining for Kids in 2020! Note that this offer is only available for Disney’s Value Resort Hotels at this time.
Annual Passholder Room Discounts for January – April
If you’re a Disney World Annual Passholder, this discount is for you!
For most nights from January 1 through April 25, 2020, Annual Passholders can save 25% to 35% at select hotels. Select Deluxe Resorts will offer up to a 35% discount, select Moderate Resorts will offer up to 30% savings, and select Value Resorts will save up to 25%. Select Deluxe Villas reservations can also save 35% with this offer.
U.S. Military Resort Discounts Throughout 2020
Active and retired U.S. military personnel are eligible for room-only discounts for dates throughout 2020 as well. This offer can be booked through December 18 and can not be combined with any other offers. The offer (which Disney described as “great rates”) will be valid most nights from January 1 to April 4 and April 19 to December 18, 2020.
There are exclusions for this offer (as with all other offers). For more information, click here. To book using the 2020 military Resort offer, call (407) 939-7825.
Disney also recently released information about a military discount for Park tickets, too. Read about the ticket offer here.
A huge thanks to Small World Vacations for the information on these new offers!
Epcot Forever Debuts!
On Tuesday, October 1, Epcot’s NEW nighttime spectacular — Epcot Forever — debuted in replacement of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Before IllumiNations’ permanent replacement, HarmonioUS, arrives in 2020, Epcot Forever serves as the temporary nighttime spectacular!
Epcot Forever revolves around a soundtrack of music that guests have loved at Epcot for years. The musical score, which was recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, includes classic Epcot tunes such as “Tomorrow’s Child”, “Listen to the Land”, and “One Little Spark” for all you Figment fans!
In addition to lasers, fireworks, and lighting displays, Epcot Forever also features a kind of kite technology never before seen in Disney World. These special effects bring some really unique artwork to the sky over World Showcase Lagoon.
The show clocks at about 11 minutes but it went by in the blink of an eye! It’s definitely not as grand or dramatic as other Epcot spectaculars have been, but it’s a great stand-in while we wait for the official replacement for IllumiNations.
Epcot Experience Debuts!
Also on October 1, the NEW Epcot Experience opened in the Odyssey Events Pavilion. And y’all — it’s AWESOME.
Inside you’ll find never-before-released details about Epcot’s future and where it’s headed after this major transformation through “engaging and interactive exhibits that allow you to step inside the relentless innovation, energy, and excitement.”
In the main display room, you are encircled by a 360 widescreen with a large three-dimensional model of Epcot at its very center. During a 12-minute presentation, the display changes to give a glimpse of Moana’s Journey of Water…
…the upcoming Mary Poppins attraction…
…and the Play Pavilion!
While the showroom is undoubtedly the main attraction, there were other parts of the exhibit to explore! We saw colorful posters detailing some old Epcot attractions as well as some new ones to come.
There were also four special photo opportunities including this Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind background…
…Mary Poppins–inspired backdrop…
…and this Spaceship Earth background!
NEW Food and Wine Festival Booths!
ALSO on October 1, two new Epcot Food and Wine Festival booths opened!
You’ll find The Donut Box in Future World over by Test Track at Epcot next to the other new-to-the-festival booth, Cool Wash. The menu is fairly small but includes some unique items like Sweet Corn Fritters.
The standout on the menu is the Sweet Corn Fritter, which features Fresno and Red Pepper Jelly for $5.50 or a Disney Dining Plan snack credit. These were fresh, crunchy, and absolutely delicious. The addition of the pepper jelly is wonderful, as well. Don’t miss out on these!
We also thoroughly enjoyed the Strawberry-dusted Yeast Donut Holes ($4 or a snack credit)…
…and the Black and White Coffee Cocktail ($14)!
Cool Wash is home to assorted Coca-Cola slushies ($6, non-alcoholic) which include special mix-ins such as Spice Drops, Candy Pebbles, Boba Pearls, and Pop Rocks!
You can either choose a suggested combination or create your own concoction! Either way, this is a cute, fun, customizable drink for the kiddos…and for the big kids (like you and me), too.
During our first visit to Cool Wash, we also tried the Coca-Cola Orange Vanilla with St. Petersburg Gin ($13.50) which tasted…fine. The super cool glass was worth it for us though!
…and a combination of Jack Daniels, frozen Coke, and cherry flavoring — which we really enjoyed!
Plant-Based Menus ALL OVER THE PLACE!
Plant-based menu items have officially arrived at ALL quick-service and table-service restaurants in Walt Disney World.
Every table-service restaurant now has a plant-based appetizer, entree, and dessert. And we had the opportunity to try out a few of these new menu items! You can check out our reviews of these items here (spoiler alert: we LOVED the Cauliflower Rice Risotto from The Crystal Palace).
In order to help guests better navigate all of the new menu items, Disney has also introduced a new one-stop-spot so that guests can see all of Walt Disney World plant-based items Disney has to offer. AND THERE’S A TON!
You can find this master list by going to disneyworld.con/PlantBased. This website organizes all of the plant-based menu items by park, resort, water park, or location. This is a really great resource for those who have a plant-based diet to check out if when trying to figure out where to make a reservation.
You can also look for this leaf icon on Disney World menus if you’re looking for plant-based menu items!
It’s hard to believe all this news came out in the past week, but we all need a big ol’ NAP! As always, stay tuned to Disney Food Blog for the most up-to-date news from the Disney parks and resorts.
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Are you going to take advantage of Disney World’s 2020 discounts? Let us know in the comments below!