Home » The 8 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World This Week (October 21-27, 2019)

The 8 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World This Week (October 21-27, 2019)

This week at Walt Disney World, Star Tours gets a new destination, an unexpected price hike is announced, plus a new weekly event is announced for Disney’s Animal Kingdom! 

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal confirms an ambitious opening target for Universal’s Epic Universe, plus SeaWorld parks announce an amazing new dining deal! 

1. Star Tours gets another new destination for the opening of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Image: Disney

Just as they did for the premieres of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Tours will be adding a new destination from the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker film: Kef Bir. This ocean moon was featured in the recently-released trailer for this upcoming film, and though details are scarce at the moment about what exactly Star Tours’  visit to this new location will entail, Disney has released the above concept art showcasing this new location. 

Though Star Tours isn’t technically in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the final sequence in this attraction “connects” it to this land (both at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland), and hopefully this new addition will bring Star Wars fans to the parks during the busy holiday season

2. 2019 Disney holiday TV special filming to take place early next mont

As they have done in years past, Disney will be taping several holiday TV specials at Walt Disney World for ABC and Freeform. This year’s filming will kick off at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on November 7, and will then travel to the Magic Kingdom on November 9 and 10. No parade will be filmed at Walt Disney World this year, but stage show performances including musical guests and celebrity appearances will be shot over these three days. 

3. Pin Thursdays announced for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Chip and Dale pins

Image: Martin Lewison, Flickr (license)

Beginning this week, every Thursday, guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be able to visit select merchandise locations to trade Cast Members for limited edition or limited release pins. Guests can visit the Discovery Trading Company and the Africa hub cart to get these special pins. 

4. McDonald’s near Disney’s Animal Kingdom set to close this week for massive refurbishment

Image: McDonald’s

The McDonald’s restaurant near Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be closing for an extensive refurbishment on October 30 2019, and will remain shuttered for the rest of the year with a planned reopening happening sometime n 2020. This refurbishment will bring an updated look to this restaurant. 

5. Mobile Order expands at Disney Resort Hotels

Capt. Cooks

Though Mobile Order was rolled out at all Walt Disney World theme parks almost simultaneously over a year ago, this service has been a bit slower to come to Disney’s resort hotel. However, as of this week. this service has rolled out at several additional Walt Disney World resort eateries, including the following:

  • Capt. Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • The Artist’s Palette at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
  • Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Riverside Mill Food Court at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
  • Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort 

6. FuelRod ends free swap policy

 Image: FuelRods

Back in 2016, Disney introduced a new convenience across Walt Disney World that brought mobile charging device kiosks to select locations in all four theme parks (as well as Disney Springs). Sponsored and maintained by FuelRod, these new kiosks (each themed to the park where they are located) allowedguests to purchase a fully-charged FuelRod portable charging device for $30, and then exchange depleted chargers at any FuelRod kiosk (including other kiosks around Walt Disney World) for another fully charged FuelRod charger instantly whenever they would like, for as long as they wanted.

However, it looks like FuelRod is ending this policy at Disney parks (free swaps have been long gone at other FuelRod locations for a long time now, including Universal Orlando Resort), and starting in November swaps will cost $3 each. 

7. Universal’s Epic Universe confirmed to be targeting 2023 opening

Image: Universal

Though it was not confirmed in Comcast’s recently released financial results, during an earnings call, a Comcast executive let the opening target for Universal’s Epic Universe slip, saying: “We recently announced we are doing a fourth gate in Orlando in 2023. We think the theme park business is a great business for us.” 

8. All-season dining pass now available at SeaWorld parks

Spice Mill

All-Season Dining passes are now available for purchase for annual passholders at SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Aquatica, and Adventure Island. Guests who purchase this pass can enjoy lunch and dinner every time they visit a park, every single day they have valid admission (including holidays!)