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The 10 BIG Updates From Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (March 21-27)

This week at Walt Disney World, two expensive new upcharge events are revealed, some interesting character shuffles hit the Magic Kingdom, plus dates are announced for 2016's editions of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Outside Walt Disney World, three area roller coasters reach some big milestones, plus SeaWorld Orlando announces a limited-time deal for Florida residents who are thinking about purchasing an annual pass.

1. New upcharge events for the Magic Kingdom revealed

This week was a big one for guests who are looking to get a little something extra during a trip this year to the Magic Kingdom. First up, Disney announced Magic Kingdom After Hours, which is a new event that will be held on select nights after the park closes and will allow a limited number of guests to experience the park without massive crowds. This event will cost guests $149 each (adults or children), and you can learn more about it here.

If you are less of a night owl, Disney is also offering a new early bird event that will give guests access to some of Fantasyland’s most popular attractions before the park opens on select mornings. Known as Early Morning Magic, this event will also include a breakfast buffet, and will cost $69 for adults ($49 for kids). You can learn more here

Though there has been some speculation that these events will be replacing Extra Magic Hours, that seems unlikely and we haven't heard anything that would suggest that Disney is considering such a move. 

2. Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps from Zootopia debut at the Magic Kingdom

Image: Disney  

Zootopia is a bona fide hit at the box office and while main characters Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde don’t have their own meet and greet at Walt Disney World quite yet, they made their official Magic Kingdom debut this week on Saturday, March 26th as part of the Move it Shake It, Dance it and Play it street party at the Magic Kingdom. Though this duo won’t be able to stop for autographs or selfies, they will be able to dance along with guests during this daily event.

3. Marie replaced by Stitch at the Magic Kingdom

Image: Disney 

Marie from the Aristocats saw her final day meeting guests at the front of the Magic Kingdom earlier this week on Friday, March 25th. Replacing her immediately was Stitch, who was recently kicked out of Tomorrowland but made his Main Street USA debut on March 26th. This shuffle is expected to be a permanent change. 

4. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party dates and updated costume policy confirmed 

Image: Disney

This week Walt Disney World confirmed that 2016's edition of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will start earlier in September and will now encompass 29 event nights, up from the 25 event nights that comprised 2015's edition. Here are the official dates for this year's party: 

September – 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29, 30

October – 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31

In addition to confirming the dates for this longer-than-usual event, Disney has said that they will be relaxing their adult costume ban on party nights, with a few notable exceptions. You can get more details about the changes to Disney’s costume policy for this event here.

5. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party dates confirmed 

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Image: Disney

Disney also confirmed the dates for 2016’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party as well this week, which are as follows: 

November: 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29

December: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

While Disney has not made any announcements about what new experiences guests will be able to enjoy at this year’s party, we’ll probably get more information this fall as we move closer to this holiday event.

6. Magic Kingdom parades and fireworks removed from FastPass+ lineup starting next month

Earlier this week Disney announced that beginning in mid-April, FastPass+ reservations for Wishes, the Festival of Fantasy Parade and the Main Street Electrical Parade will no longer available for guests to make via My Disney Experience. This move is expected to be permanent and definitely has some interesting implications for the future of the Magic Kingdom, which you can read about here.

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