Home » The 7 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World This Week (April 1-7, 2019)

The 7 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World This Week (April 1-7, 2019)

This week at Walt Disney World, a special Haunted Mansion event is announced, the Disney Villains come to the Magic Kingdom After Hours, plus Epcot kicks off its Food and Wine Festival…on the same day as the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening! 

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 ResortBusch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando in next week’s update!

1. 2019 Epcot Food and Wine Festival kicks off August 29 

Image: Disney

Disney has announced that the 2019 Epcot Food and Wine Festival will be longer than ever at 87 days, running from August 29 to November 23 2019. And if that opening date sounds familiar to you, that might be because it is also the day that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is either insane from an operations standpoint or clever counterprogramming. 

2.  Bo Peep meet and greet coming to Toy Story Land this summer

Image: Disney

Just in time for the summer opening of Toy Story 4, a new character will be coming to meet guests this summer: Bo PeepT This new character will be appearing in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, joining characters Woody, Buzz and Jessie. No specific start date has been confirmed yet, but we will likely learn more about this upcoming character experience in just a few weeks. 

3. Haunted Mansion gets on-Ride PhotoPass Photo and limited-time one-day event

Image: Disney

This week Disney added an on-ride PhotoPass capture that takes photos of guests in their Doom Buggies surrounded by playful spirits, and in celebration of this new addition (which happens to be the 13th PhotoPass on-ride addition at the Magic Kingdom) Disney is hosting a special one-day event next week on April 13th, which will include the following:

  • Beginning at 9:00 AM, there will be a photographer near the exit of the Haunted Mansion offering a “Tomb Sweet Tomb” prop, available during daylight hours. This photographer will also capture a chilling Animated Magic Shot.
  • Fans dead set on capturing even more frightfully fun photos, the photographer near the hearse in front of the Haunted Mansion will possess the ability to make the Hitchhiking Ghosts appear in their photo.
  • In addition, guest can come head to head with a Hatbox Ghost Magic Shot when they visit the photographer near the entrance to the Liberty Square Riverboat.
  • In the evening, hurry back for a few more spook-tacular photos! The photographer outside of Memento Mori will capture the orbs that surround this eerie estate. Weird glows gleam where spirits dwell!
  • Guests also find the caretaker’s lantern available near the Haunted Mansion exit after sundown.
  •  Inspired by the famous clock inside of the Haunted Mansion, a special Midnight Fright Delight “browkie” will be available at the Liberty Square Market for $6.99 + tax.

  • The Cadaver Dans ghostly quartet will make a special appearance, conjuring up scary-good tunes after the sun goes down in Liberty Square.

4.  Disney Crown Collection introduced for “upscale” Walt Disney World offerings

Image: Disney

Disney has introduced the new “Crown Collection by Disney” which has all the “upscale” Disney experiences in one place, including VIP Tours, Chef’s Table Dining experiences and private in-park events. You can check out this new collection here

5. New dining upcharge experience announced for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has announced a new, progressive dining experience debuting this summer called Circle of Flavors: Harambe at Night. This experience will include sights, sounds, and flavors honoring some of the most majestic and endangered African animals while celebrating Disney’s classic film, The Lion King

This new experience will kick off July 24, and will feature an array of sweet and savory treats, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, a relaxing train journey on the Wildlife Express to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, photo opportunities with familiar characters, a meal at the Harambe Market and activities for the whole family. Along the way, Guests will have the opportunity to learn more about the Big Five – lion, Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, and rhinoceros – the challenges they face, and how Disney is working to protect them.

Circle of Flavors: Harambe at Night will cost $125 plus tax for adults and $99 plus tax for children ages 3-9, and separate park admission is required. Reservations can be booked starting April 3 by calling (407) WDW-DINE or visiting disneyworld.com/dine. 

6. Disney Villains After Hours announced

Image: Disney

Beginning this summer on select nights the Magic Kingdom will host Disney Villains After Hours which will once again feature limited guest numbers, complimentary snacks and access to most attractions. However, in addition to the standard After Hours offerings, this plussed up event will include the following Villains-inspired enhancements:

  • Hades and Meg from “Hercules” will set the castle stage ablaze in an all-new stage show, Villains Unite the Night, which will also feature appearances by other notable baddies including Jafar, The Queen, Dr. Facilier and Maleficent.
  • Maleficent the Dragon (as seen in the Festival of Fantasy parade) will be let loose for the first time at night – breathing fire as she creeps through the park as a one-of-a-kind experience for After Hours guests.
  • Plussed versions of Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain will have villain-inspired enhancements and overlays
  • A variety of special food & beverage offerings will also be available for purchase, including desserts, drinks and dishes inspired by The Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil, Maleficent, Hades, Dr. Facilier and even Emperor Zurg.
  • Special merchandise themed to villains will also be available for purchase.

This brand new Disney Villains inspired event will be available beginning this summer, and is being offered on the following dates: 

  • June 6, 13, 20, 27 2019
  • July 1, 11, 18, 25 2019
  • August 1, 8 2019

As you might expect, Disney is going to be charging guests extra for this plussed up version of Disney After Hours at the Magic Kingdom. Instead of the usual $125 ticket price ($95 for DVC/ Annual Passholder)  tickets to this upcharge experience will cost $139 plus tax in advance ($109 for DVC and Annual Passholders), or $144 plus tax on the event night. Tickets for this special Disney Villains After Hours event will go on sale in just a few weeks on April 29th. 

7. New handling fee being charged for deliveries to Disney hotel rooms

 christiantlambert, Flickr (license)

Image: christiantlambert, Flickr (license)

This month it was announced that Walt Disney World Resort hotels would begin charging a service fee for direct room deliveries of packages and groceries, (the latter of which was a service that was formerly free). Under the new policy, effective immediately, guests will now be charged a $6 flat fee for direct to room deliveries of any kind. Pickup at the lobby continues to be complimentary.