Home » The 9 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (November 9-15, 2020)

The 9 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (November 9-15, 2020)

 This week at Walt Disney World, Disney increases capacity after confirming a big theme park loss, Disney’s Animal Kingdom reopens a long-closed attraction, and fireworks testing kicks off at the Magic Kingdom. 

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal releases a walkthrough of their new holiday tribute store and SeaWorld offers some deep discounts for black Friday.

1. Disney-owned theme parks lose $1 Billion during most recent quarter

This week, the Walt Disney Company released quarterly financial results, and as you might expect, the news was not good as revenues for the quarter were $14.71 billion, with a loss per share of 20 cents, which is less than what was projected by some financial analysts. Disney has estimated that the impact of COVID-19 for the fourth quarter has been $3.1 billion in total, with $2.4 billion of that coming from slowdowns in the Parks, Experiences and Products segment, which saw a 61% reduction in revenue year over year to $2.58 billion. For the theme parks specifically, the operating loss during the quarter is $1.1 billion, largely due to the ongoing Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line closure.

2. Fireworks testing happening this week 

Several weeks ago Universal Orlando Resort began testing a return of nighttime spectacular shows during park hours, and though it looks like they won’t be bringing shows back in a meaningful way in 2020, it looks like Disney will be doing some tests of their own, as fireworks testing is scheduled for the Magic Kingdom area early next week on Monday night after hours. Of course, this isn’t by itself a sign of a return to nighttime spectaculars just yet, but we do know that Disney is looking to a return to a more status quo experience….

3. Disney officially increases theme park capacity

Earlier this week Disney CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that the Walt Disney World theme parks will be increasing theme park capacity to 35%, up from 25% ahead of the holiday season. Right now it unclear if the parks are transitioning to higher capacity or have already moved to higher capacity, but either way, the next time you visit the theme parks, expect more guests than what was previously seen since the theme parks reopened in July. 

4. Affection Section petting zoo reopens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

This weekend the animal petting zoo “Affection Section” area of Rafiki’s Planet Watch reopened, giving guests the opportunity to once again get up-close with the park’s resident goats and sheep. This reopened area should now be available daily at this park for the foreseeable future as we head into the holiday season. 

5. No-stop security checkers now installed at Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World has been installing new no-stop security scanners all across the resort to reduce the need for close interactions during bag check, and now these scanners have made their way to Magic Kingdom’s main entrance, completing the roll-out to all four Walt Disney World theme parks.

6.  Harambe Market reopens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The popular Harambe Market outdoor quick service eatery at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will operate from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on weekends and other select busy days beginning this weekend. As with other quick serve locations, ordering will be via Mobile Order on My Disney Experience and there will likely be a limited menu available at first. 

7. New limited time Disney Music show kicks off at EPCOT next year

 Disney has announced that it will be debuting a new show that will be a “showcase” of the Disney Songbook featuring the Voices of Liberty vocal group early next year as part of the slimmed down EPCOT International Festival of the Arts in 2021, which was confirmed just a few weeks ago. Details about this new show is scarce, with Disney’s official website simply confirming that the Voices of Liberty will be performing songs by various well-known Disney composers and lyricists. 

This new entertainment offering is likely meant as a substitute for the Disney on Broadway concert series, which has officially been put on hold this year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and will be performed at the America Gardens Theatre.

8. Universal releases walkthrough video of new Holiday tribute store

Universal Orlando Resort announced its plans for the holiday season last week, which included the first ever holiday Tribute Store which is now open in the space that was formerly used for the Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store. And if you’re wondering how Universal brought this holiday wonderland to life you’re in luck as Universal has released a multi-room walkthrough, which you can see above. 

9. SeaWorld announces Black Friday deals, available now

And speaking of the holiday season, SeaWorld has announced a number of limited time “Black Friday” deals that are available via its website here, including: 

  • You can purchase annual passes for yourself or as gifts which come with an extra three months, giving buyers 15 months for the price of 12.
  • The 2021 Fun Card, which comes with the rest of 2020 for free, can be purchased at a $40 off discount.
  • You can also save 60% off daily admission tickets to SeaWorld Orlando and a two-visit pass that also includes Aquatica.