Home » Weekly Orlando Theme Parks Rumor and Refurbs Update (January 11, 2014)

Weekly Orlando Theme Parks Rumor and Refurbs Update (January 11, 2014)

This is the weekly rumor and refurbishment update for Orlando-area theme parks for the week of January 5, 2014.

Walt Disney World:


Back on December 18, 2013 Disney’s Animal Kingdom forever discarded the old fashion paper FastPasses in favor of the new and supposedly improved FastPass+ (don’t plusses make everything better? Of course!). Apparently, testing of FastPass+ for all guests is going better than expected because Disney is about to make the largest move yet. Starting tuesday, january 14, 2014, FastPass+ will be available to ALL guests vsisiting the Magic Kingdom. The same rules that applied to Animal Kingdom back in December are now being copied over to the Magic Kingdom. That means this is the end for paper FastPasses at the most visited theme park in the world.

Disney resort guests can make FastPass+ reservation sixty day in advance, while non-Disney resort guests can make FastPass+ selections inside the park for the same day. That means if you are going to visit the Magic Kingdom but are not staying on property, you can make your three FastPass+ selections when you get to the Magic Kingdom at a MyMagic+ kiosk.

FastPass+ will be your only option at the Magic Kingdom starting January 14, 2014

If by any change you are reading this before January 14, 2014 and are at the Magic Kingdom, I recommend you pick up as many different paper FastPasses for your favorite attractions. I personally have a stack of unused FastPass’s because I keep thinking one day they will be as valuable as the old A,B,C,D,E tickets that were in use until the 1980s.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot will still be distributing paper FastPasses, but rumors point to Disney converting all the theme parks by the end of the month or by spring at the latest.

The Disney resorts have begun making the transition to becoming ‘MagicBand-only’, meaning they will not be issuing Key to the World cards to guests. You can ask for a card if you don’t like the MagicBand, but they will not have a magnetic strip to access the FastPass machines at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

The dates for the rest of the conversion is below:

  • January 13 – Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
  • January 14 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • January 15 – Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • January 16 – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • January 17 – Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
  • January 20 – Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds

Any resorts not listed above means the resort has already converted.

Animal Kingdom:

Camp Minnie-Mickey closed this past week for construction on the new Avatar-themed land, expected to be completed by 2017.

Magic Kingdom:

Work has begun on the outdoor patio seating area at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. The area will be enclosed to increase the air-conditioned capacity of the quick service restaurant. Although I believe there are much better quick service dining options at the Magic Kingdom, Cosmic Ray’s is very popular and indoor seating can become a hassle to find during peak hours. The seating area should be completed in February.

The famous castle float is the last segment of the Celebrate Come True Parade that nobody hopes will return.

The Magic Kingdom’s Celebrate a Dream Come True parade came to an end this past week. Replacing the five year old parade will be Disney’s Fantasy of Festival parade that will debut in spring of 2014. Until then, there will be no daytime parade at the Magic Kingdom.


Walt Disney World:

  • Studio Backlot Tour: January 5, 2014 – March 1, 2014
  • Festival of the Lion King: Closed January 5, 2014 reopens in summer of 2014
  • Splash Mountain: January 6, 2014 – March 21, 2014
  • Casey’s Corner: January 6, 2014 – February 15, 2014
  • Agrabah Bazaar: January 6, 2014 – February 2, 2014
  • Liberty Square Riverboat: January 21, 2014 – January 30, 2014
  • Disney’s All Star Sports Resort: The Surf’s Up pool will be closed January 6, 2014 – January 24, 2014
  • Disney’s Monorail System: The resort and express monorails will not be operational between 11am to 7pm on weekdays from January 21, 2014 to March 31, 2014.

Universal Orlando:

  • Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue: January 5, 2014 – January 31, 2014
  • Disaster!: January 13, 2014 – January 19, 2014
  • TWISTER: January 20, 2014 – February 1, 2014
  • Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls: January 6, 2014 – February 1, 2014