This week at Walt Disney World, a big security change shakes things up, PhotoPass prices get shuffled around plus a new attraction at Epcot gets a slight delay
Unfortunately, aside from the aforementioned security changes (which went into effect not only at Walt Disney World, but at all Orlando parks) there was not a lot of news out of Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando or any of the other central Florida parks this week, but fear not, we’ll get back to the parks outside Walt Disney World soon. But for now, let's get this week’s biggest development out of the way…
1. Disney adds metal detectors and changes security policies
The biggest news out of Walt Disney World this week was the addition of additional security measures that include requiring guests to walk through metal detectors, undergo wand searches, and abide by several rule changes. The most notable of the rule changes include a ban on toy guns property-wide (they cannot be sold or brought into the park) and the prohibition of costumes for all guests over 14. That last point has caused some concern for fans who enjoy getting dressed up for the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party, but Disney has confirmed via Twitter that as of right now, adult costumes are not allowed for any reason at any park. We have a lot more in-depth information about the security changes at Walt Disney World (as well as Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando) here.
2. PhotoPass changes take effect
Disney’s PhotoPass service went through a number of changes this week, including reducing the prince of the standard Memory Maker package (which can be used by guests on the same day as it is ordered) to $169, down $30 from its previous $199 price point. The price of the advance purchase Memory Maker package, (which has a 3 day delay before it can be activated and used), was also cut and is now priced at $149, down $20 from its original $169 price point.
In addition to these two price drops, Disney has also introduced a new product: Memory Maker One Day. This new product allows guests to download digital versions of all of their PhotoPass images from a single day for the low price of $59, which is less than half the cost of a dozen paper PhotoPass prints. Interestingly, this new product can be used either during the current day or can be retroactively applied to a single day in the past (up to 30 days previously). The only catch here is that this new feature can only be purchased from within the new version of the My Disney Experience app, and is not available to buy in the park. Given the nature of this service, advance purchase is also not available.
3. Baymax returns to Epcot
Baymax has returned to Walt Disney World, in an all-new meet and greet area at Epcot, right in the heart of Future World. Earlier this week Disney unveiled a newly expanded Character Spot location on the west side of the park in an unused corner of what used to be Innoventions West. Sadly, Hero has not returned, as Baymax is only meeting guests solo. This is expected to be a permanent meet and greet area.
4. Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival almost ready to open
Though the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival was supposed to open this past Saturday at Epcot, it looks like the finishing touches are being put on this attraction at the Magic Eye Theater. Though the signage is all in place outside the theater, it looks like we’ll have to wait another day or two before we can check out this new experience.
5. Pirates roam Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom
Roaming characters aren’t exactly common at the Magic Kingdom, but a limited time test is going on that could see many more added to Adventureland. Unnamed Pirate characters have been roaming the area outside of Pirates of the Caribbean over the past few ways, stopping to talk and interact with guests, but not taking pictures or signing autographs. Essentially, these pirates are like the Citizens of Hollywood at Disney's Hollywood Studios, but for Adventureland. It is unknown for how long these pirates will continue to roam, but for now they are a charming part of an area that is too often sped through on the way to a FastPass+ reservation.