Home » The 4 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World This Week (September 28-October 4, 2014)

    The 4 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World This Week (September 28-October 4, 2014)

    Puerto Rico

    This is the weekly news, rumors and refurbishments update for Walt Disney World for the week of September 28, 2014.

    Here are the four biggest updates from around the resort for the past seven days…

    1. Is Puerto Rico getting a World Showcase Pavilion at Epcot?

    A newspaper in Puerto Rico is reporting that investors are looking to expand Puerto Rico’s presence in Epcot beyond the Food and Wine Festival Kiosk

    Puerto Rico

    Puerto Rico currently has a three-year contract for the Food and Wine Festival kiosk. Afterwards, a group of private companies are looking to invest $100 million between 2017 and 2027 to establish a permanent pavilion.

    This is by no means a declaration that a new pavilion is on its way to Epcot, but I wouldn’t mind.

    2. Maelstrom closes for good

    This is a reminder that Maelstrom is finally closing and will not reopen until 2016 as a Frozen themed attraction. Its final day of operation will be October 6, 2014.


    No date has been given as to when the Frozen attraction and meet-and-greet will open, but expect an 18-month construction period. The budget for the makeover is rumored to be around $75 million.

    I might be the minority, but I am not saddened by the closure. Maelstrom was not what I considered a quality attraction and characters have been invading Epcot for over a decade (not that I condone it, but that’s a different discussion).

    I’m mostly curious how Imagineering will increase the ride system’s capacity. Maelstrom can currently operate at 700 – 900 guests per hour. That is a dismal number. Compare that to the recently opened Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that can operate at roughly 1,600 guests per hour. Wait times will sky rocket come 2016, unless there is a dramatic change.

    3. Jonathon Groff and Joe Morton are joining the lineup for the Epcot Candlelight Processional

    Candlelight Processional

    The voice of Kristoff in Disney’s “Frozen” and Joe Morton from “Scandal” will be heading to Epcot for the Candlelight Processional.

    Here’s an updated list of the celebrity narrators:

    • Jodi Benson – 11/28 – 11/29
    • Neil Patrick Harris – 11/30 – 12/2
    • Jonathan Groff – 12/3 – 12/4
    • Whoopi Goldberg – 12/5 – 12/6
    • TBD – 12/7 – 12/9
    • TBD – 12/9 – 12/11
    • Joe Morton – 12/12 – 12/14
    • Chita Rivera – 12/15 – 12/17
    • Ana Gasteyer (New) – 12/18 –12/20
    • Marlee Matlin – 12/21 – 12/23
    • Isabella Rossellini – 12/24 – 12/25
    • Blair Underwood – 12/26 – 12/27
    • Steven Curtis Chapman – 12/28 – 12/30

    The Candlelight Processional is presented at the American Gardens Theater at 5:00pm, 6:45pm, and 8:15pm. Narrators are subject to change without notice.

    4. Wandering Oakens Trading Post and Frozen Snowground is now open


    A new Wandering Oaken’s has opened by the Streets of America. Located in the old American Film Showcase, the new Wandering Oaken’s features a snow playground instead of the ice skating rink. The previous Wandering Oaken’s that opened in July was located in Soundstage 1 next to Toy Story Midway Mania and has closed. This is largely rumored to be for a Toy Story expansion, adding a second track to the ride to alleviate the painfully long queues that plague it.

    The shift in location positions Wandering Oaken’s closer to the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing Along”. It is also a prime location during the holiday season when guests are directed towards that location to view the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.