This week at Walt Disney World, an unexpected replacement comes to Tomorrowland, walls come down at Disney's Hollywood Studios, plus a Disney Springs refurbishment is confirmed and annual passholders get extended discounts.
Programming note: Though we normally devote some time to Orlando-area parks outside Lake Buena Vista, there has been so much going on at Walt Disney World over the past seven days that we decided to forgo the “beyond” this week. You’ll hear about all the news from Universal Orlando Resort, Busch Gardens Tampa and SeaWorld Orlando in next week’s update
1. Stitch's Great Escape morphing into "Alien Encounter" Character Greeting
Eagle-eyed guests visiting the Magic Kingdom over the weekend may have noticed that the signage for Stitch’s Great Escape has been removed from Tomorrowland, and has been replaced by a sign that says Stitch's Alien Encounter Character Greeting. While this change has not been officially announced, we'd guess Disney is in the process of converting this space into an area where guests can take a photo with the Stitch Audio-Animatronic used in the show.
2. Annual Passholder discounts extended
Last year Disney introduced a special 20% off discount for dining and merchandise for Annual Passholders in celebration of Walt Disney World's 45th Anniversary. And now is looks like these discounts have been extended, with the dining discount now available until December 23, 2017 and the merchandise discount now in effect until further notice.
It was announced earlier this year that the Muppets Courtyard, along with a portion of the former Streets of America, is being re-imagined by Walt Disney Imagineering to become a new area called Grand Avenue. And now, that area, along with the Baseline Tap House watering hole, is now open for guests at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Though there isn't much to this new area, it's nice to see walls at this park coming down for a change instead of going up.