Home » The 8 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World (And Beyond) This Week (December 23-29, 2019)

The 8 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World (And Beyond) This Week (December 23-29, 2019)

 This week at Walt Disney World, tons of closures are coming to Epcot during the first week of the year, a new addition is announced for Disney Springs, plus Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ nighttime spectacular gets plussed up for the new year! 

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort preemptively extends Halloween Horror Nights in 2020 and a SeaWorld special event sells out early. 

1. Mouse Gear on the move at Epcot

Epcot will really be ramping up construction in 2020, and as a result we’re going to see a lot of closures and changes next January. First up, on January 4, 2020, Mouse Gear will have its final day of operation in its current location, and will then reopen the next day in a new temporary location in the former Innoventions East building. The temporary location will also be called Mouse Gear.

2. Tron ride vehicle photo op now available at Tomorrowland

One day later, on January 5, 2020, the current Character Spot will close in Innoventions West. Because of this closure, we will be getting a few character shuffles in the near future including the following:

  • Minnie Mouse will move to the meeting area in the World Showcase Gazebo.
  • Daisy Duck (who formerly met in the gazebo area) will relocate to Future World East.
  • Goofy will meet guests at the park’s main entrance area near Spaceship Earth.
  • Joy will be meeting guests sometime in the future in in the Imagination! pavilion in the ImageWorks area. A new backdrop and greeting area is currently being installed and should be finished soon. 

Sadly it looks like January 5, 2020 will be the last day for guests to meet characters Sadness and Baymax, as these two will not be relocating after this closure. 

3. The Festival of Fantasy parade resumes 3:00 start time

The 3:00 parade has become such an institution at the Magic Kingdom that Disney has even created a line of merchandise themed around the classic tourist question “When is the 3 ‘o clock parade?” And even though the daily Festival of Fantasy parade moved to 2:00 PM through the holiday season, effective January 1, 2020 the parade will move back to 3:00 PM. 

4. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular gets new scenes for the new year

Right now the nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, but when this show ends for the season next week at midnight on January, 1, 2020, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular will return with new scenes inspired by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. We don’t know what these scenes will be quite yet, but it will be nice to see this long-running Star Wars show get a little bit of a refresh with all new scenes, music, and effects. 

5. Swiss Family Treehouse getting a short refurbishment next spring

The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse will be going down for a brief refurbishment next spring beginning on April 27 and lasting through May 3, 2020. The attraction is expected to reopen to Guests on May 4, 2020.

6. M & Ms World moving to Disney Springs

Image: Disney

One of the big “touristy” things many out-of-town visitors do while visiting Central Florida is stop by the M&M’s World shop at the Florida mall. This giant, multi-level “experience” has a wall of M&M’s, plenty of souvenirs and items related to the history of this iconic candy. 

However, it was announced that M&M’s World will be closing down its location at the Florida Mall and will be moving in to Disney Springs’ West Side, taking over the former Curl and Fit2Run stores next to the AMC Theater entrance. Construction on this new location is expected to begin immediately with an anticipated 2020 grand opening date. No closing date for the Florida Mall location has been announced yet, but given the tight timelines for the new Disney Springs location, we’d imagine it will be closing sooner rather than later. 

7. Extra night for Halloween Horror Nights 2020 announced

Earlier this year announced the 2020 dates for the 30th anniversary of this annual event at Universal Orlando, which will take place on 39 select nights from Thursday, Sept. 10 – Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. However, just before Christmas Eve, Universal announced that it was extending the event by a single day, adding November 1, 2020 officially to the event lineup. 

8. New Year’s Eve celebrations at SeaWorld Orlando sold out

Image: SeaWorld

New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest days of the theme park calendar, and if you were planning on spending it at SeaWorld Orlando, you should know that both the Dine With Shamu and and SkyTower upcharge celebration events are now sold out. Guests can still visit the park and see the New Year’s Eve fireworks from Bayside stadium, but they will need to arrive early as all reserved seating is no longer available.