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The 9 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (September 13-20, 2015)

This week at Walt Disney World, yet another “roaming” character test is announced for the Magic Kingdom, the resort gets an “official” popcorn, plus two new upcharge events for the holiday season are announced for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks off in style! 

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal kicks off Halloween Horror Nights, SeaWorld announces an exclusive event just for annual passholders plus Busch Gardens adds some new residents to one of its most popular animal exhibits!

1. New roaming character test to take place next week at Magic Kingdom 

Just a few weeks after a limited time roaming character interaction test featuring Flynn Rider concluded, Disney has announced a new character test featuring another popular character: Peter Pan. In the morning hours of September 20-23, Peter Pan will be roaming around Fantasyland, exploring the land and constantly moving and interacting with guests. This test will be a lot like the Flynn Rider test, focusing on interactions over traditional meet and greet experiences, which means guests who see him may not be able to get autographs or pictures, as he’ll be constantly on the move. This new early morning test will not affect the regular Peter Pan meet and greet, which will continue to be available in the afternoon near the queue of the Peter Pan's Flight attraction.

2. PopSecret becomes Fantasmic sponsor and official popcorn at Walt Disney World

Disney has entered into a long-term alliance with Diamond Foods to make PopSecret brand popcorn the official popcorn of Walt Disney World Resort. In addition, the PopSecret brand will also become the official sponsor of Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Though this alliance shouldn’t change much (unless you have an aversion to the PopSecret brand of popcorn), guests can expect to see some new signage around Fantasmic! and on the paper guidemaps, effective immediately.  

3. Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights upcharge events revealed

In anticipation of the big crowds expected to show up for the final year of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, two new upcharge events have been announced for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. First up is The Merry & Bright Dessert Party, which will take place from November 6 to December 24, 2015 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (excluding November 17, December 9 and December 18). This event will be essentially identical to last year’s dessert party and will feature a number of treats and drinks for guests to enjoy inside a special reserved viewing area for the lights. Guests will also receive an exclusive roll-up blanket souvenir. Tickets are priced at $69 per adult or $39 for children aged 3 to 9.

The second event is the Merry and Bright Dinner Reception which will be offered from January 1 - 3 2016, and will feature a dinner buffet with holiday-themed items, including shrimp, beef and turkey served with wine, beer and other specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Guests who attend this event will receive a custom shadow box souvenir featuring their own Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. This event will cost $99 per adult, and $54 ages 3-9.

4. Narcoossee's to offer Waterfront Brunch this fall

Narcoossee's at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort has announced a new Waterfront Brunch seating, which will start being offered on November 22, 2015. This new meal setting will feature a prix fixe menu which will cost $69 for adults, and $41 for ages 3-9, or two table service credits for those on the Disney Dining Plan.

The brunch will begin with a choice of specialty beverage (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and will include a pastry basket for the table, choice of appetizer including Onion Soup Gratin, Seafood Charcuterie, Shrimp and Grits, and Artisanal Cheese and choice of entrée including Brioche French Toast, Croque Madame, Lobster Egg Benedict, Chicken and Waffles, Omeltte, Salmon and Steak & Eggs. 

5. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks off with sold out event

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party officially kicked off the Halloween season in Orlando this past week with a sold out event that saw the debut of the new Hocus Pocus castle show plus new elements of the Boo-to-You parade. Because the first night of the event was sold out, guests reported extended waits for meet and greets (Jack and Sally never dipped below two hours, according to eyewitnesses) and long lines for treat stations.  However, subsequent events look like they’ll be at least a little bit calmer as the initial excitement from the first event dies down.

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My husband and I went to the Mickey's not so scary Halloween event on Friday. Most ride times were low but lines for candy and characters were long up until the firework show at 10. After that, everything had significantly shorter wait times. Hocus pocus show and the fireworks was a great highlight of the night.

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