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The 10 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (January 2-8)

This week at Walt Disney World, a truly outrageous upcharge experience gets a price cut, a new discount is announced for annual passholders, plus new experiences are confirmed to be coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom. 

Outside Walt Disney World, the demolition of Wet 'n Wild rolls full steam ahead, plus some exciting new deals are announced for Busch Gardens Tampa! 

1. The Darkroom and Cover Story closing for refurbishment

Image: Disney

The two gift stores on the right side of Disney's Hollywood Studios as you enter the park (right before Starbucks) will be closing for refurbishment tomorrow, January 9th. These stores will then be closed for almost three months, and are expected to reopen on March 24th. It is unknown what is changing during this refurbishment, but we'd imagine some interior remodeling will be going on during this time, and these stores may return this spring with a new theme (in the same way Villains in Vogue turned into Reel Vogue last year after a quickie refurbishment). 

2. Tomorrowland Cabanas get a price cut

Image: Disney 

Late last year, Disney debuted Kingdom Cabanas, a new amenity that allowed guests to enjoy a private tent inside Tomorrowland that came with a number of amenities including device charging stations, snacks, and even a small refrigerator. However, the rental fee for this new option was truly outrageous at $691 per guest. However, it looks like that is changing. 

Like the recent price drop for the Magic Kingdom After Hours event, Disney is reducing the fee to rent these tents down to discounted to $499 per day between January 17th and February 17th, 2017. It is unknown if the price will go up again after this date, or whether this option will simply go away. You can read more about these cabanas here.  

3. New animal experiences now testing at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Over the next several weeks Disney's Animal Kingdom will be testing a variety of new animal experiences around the park. While many of these tests will take place prior to park open, some concepts may be available during regular operating hours in DinoLand, Africa, and Discovery Island. During these unspecified tests, guests may see birds and possibly other small mammals or reptiles outside of their typical locations. 

4. Disney introduces the new Disney Dine-on-the-Go plan at the Magic Kingdom

Image: Disney

Earlier this week news broke that Disney was testing out a brand new tier of Disney Dining plan that would involve only quick service meals. Named Disney Dine-on-the-Go, this new dining offering will debut at the Magic Kingdom on January 12th. Guests who purchase this plan are able to redeem a number of dining certificates at certain times of the day for quick service meals. Each Disney Dine-on-the-Go meal plan costs $29 per guest ($12 for kids 3-9) plus tax and includes the following:

  • One lunch quick-service meal that includes one (1) entrée and one (1) non-alcoholic single-serving beverage
  • One dinner quick-service meal that includes one (1) entrée and one (1) non-alcoholic single-serving beverage 
You can read more about this new dining plan (and learn more about where and when it can be used) here
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