This is the weekly rumor and refurbishment update for the Orlando-area theme parks for the week of March 23, 2014.
Walt Disney World
Advance FastPass+ and MagicBands will now be available to all guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort. Starting March 31, 2014, guests with a Magic Your Way ticket will be able to make FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance. This is the same rule that applies to Annual Passholders.
To begin making FastPass+ reservations, guests simply need to link their Magic Your Way ticket to the My Disney Experience website. That also allows the guests to manage his or her FastPass+ reservations from the My Disney Experience app on their smartphone. This should greatly decrease the long lines that currently exist at the MyMagic+ kiosks in the parks. If a guest does not have a smartphone, they can still make advance FastPass+ selections at home and the kiosks will be available as well.
Guests staying on property at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts and Annual Passholders receive complimentary MagicBands and now offsite guests will have to option to purchase MagicBands. The MagicBands will cost $12.95, but is not required to access FastPass+. The guest’s Magic Your Way ticket will work in place of a MagicBand.
Resort guests will still have the advantage of selecting FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts are now included.
I just want to remind everyone that FastPass+ is not required to experience an attraction. The standby line is still available and will allow you to visit every attraction in Walt Disney World with a posted wait time. FastPass+ simply allows you to decide which three attractions you want to experience with a minimum wait time before arriving at the park. FastPass+ should not dictate what you can and cannot do. Don’t let wait times scare you because sometimes the queue is an important part of the attraction.
Visiting Walt Disney World is more than just how many times you can ride Space Mountain, it’s about enjoying the atmosphere of the parks and the people you are with. If you want to experience non-stop thrill rides, then visiting Universal with an Express Pass is a great option (I felt like the President with an Express Pass).
The Innoventions buildings in Epcot’s Future World are going to be receiving a new paint job. The buildings in question are between Mission Space and the Land Pavilion, located right behind Spaceship Earth.
Disney is currently in the process of testing several paint schemes near Club Cool and Mouse Gears.
My personal favorite is the light shade of grey or dark blue. These colors are very similar to the colors used on the refurbished Fountain View that opened last year.
Future World is beginning to look dated and changing the color palate is the easiest and most effective way to improve the setting. It will be very interesting to see what the final result will be and if any more design changes are in the works for Future World.
Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
Kouzzina by Cat Cora will be closing after September 30, 2014. The restaurant opened in 2009 and no reason has been given for the closure. A new dining venue will open in that location in late 2014.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort opens on March 31, 2014 to the paying public. It is Universal Orlando’s fourth and most affordable resort offering family suites for a low price.
I will be visiting the resort in about a month to give my review. It is important to note that the Cabana Bay Beach Resort does not offer a complimentary Express Pass. The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Loews Royal Pacific Resort all offer a complimentary Express Pass for each guest.