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This week's Walt Disney World news includes, new details released for Epcot's first signature event of 2019, new characters move into the Imagination pavilion, plus some interesting changes come to Disney Springs! 

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort opens the Stranger Things house from Halloween Horror Nights for one day only, plus an interesting new feature comes to the official Universal app! 

1. Ralph and Vanellope on their way to Epcot

Image: Disney

Disney is building a new character meet and greet experience inside the Imagination Pavilion, which will be a "new experiment [at the] Imagination Institute, creating a portal into other dimensions", Confirmed to be opening this winter, the first character "portal" inside this newly re-purposed space will bring guests into the internet so they can meet Ralph and Vanellope. More unannounced characters will be added in this new character area with their own "portals" next year. 

2. New discounts available for Florida Resident tickets

Image: Disney

Though Disney just increased prices for annual passholders (which will of course increase revenue in the long term as existing passholders renew at higher rates), in the short term Disney is looking to try and get more guests in the park, and is offering a new discounted ticket deal just for Florida residents. 

Beginning this week and running through December 16th, Florida residents can purchase discounted 3-day and 4-day date-based park hopper theme park tickets that begin at $71 (a 30% savings) a day and $59 (a 40% savings) a day, respectively. This new deal can only be purchased through the Walt Disney World website or at a resort ticket counter. 

3. Details for 2019 Epcot Festival of the Arts released

As the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival winding down Epcot is looking towards the Festival of the Arts, kicking off in a few short weeks on  January 18 2019, and running for 39 days through February 25 2019.

For 2019's event the Disney on Broadway Concert Series willto seven days a week during the festival, and will have new and returning broadway talent including the following duos: 

  • Kerry Butler (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Kevin Massey (“Tarzan”)
  • Meredith Inglesby (“The Little Mermaid”) and Steve Blanchard (“Beauty and the Beast”)
  • Arielle Jacobs and Adam Jacobs (“Aladdin”)
  • Heidi Blickenstaff (“Freaky Friday”) and Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins”)
  • Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”) and Josh Strickland (“Tarzan”)
  • Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White (“The Lion King”)
This year will also feature 13 food studios, free 30-moinute seminars, and plenty of new artwork to both view and purchase. 
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