Home » The 7 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (August 12-18, 2019)

The 7 BIG Updates from Walt Disney World (and Beyond) This Week (August 12-18, 2019)

This week at Walt Disney World, Disney announces two new ticket types, some unplanned refurbishments get longer, plus some character changes come to Disney parks and resorts!

Outside Walt Disney World, Universal announces all of the final new details for its Halloween Horror Nights event, including a brand new nighttime spectacular show. 

1. New Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Pass now available for purchase

Image: Disney

Seemingly in response to the popularity of Universal Orlando Resort’s Frequent Fear pass for Halloween Horror Nights (which offers entry to multiple event nights), Walt Disney World has announced that for the first time ever they will be offering a “party pass” for this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Guests with this special pass will have access to most party nights, excluding October 31 2019. Pricing is $299 plus tax for ages 10 and above, and $284 plus tax for ages 3-9.

Supplies of this ticket are very limited, so guests looking to purchase one will have to do so at either Guest Services or any ticket window. This special ticket can not be purchased online. Guests who already have tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party can upgrade their ticket to a Party Pass by calling 407-939-4295 and paying the difference. 

2. Disney debuts the Mid-Day Magic Ticket

Image: Disney

And speaking of new ticket types, Walt Disney World is launching a brand new Mid-Day Magic ticket option for guests, which grants access to the parks after noon. Guests can purchase this ticket with several options including multi-day and park hopper. Here’s the basic price breakdown:

  • A 2-day ticket costs $88 a day, plus tax (from $176 total, plus tax)
  • A 3-day ticket costs $84 a day, plus tax (from $252 total, plus tax)
  • A 4-day ticket costs $79 a day, plus tax (from $316 total, plus tax)

Though the base ticket only includes one park per day, a Park Hopper Option (or Park Hopper Plus) can be added on for an additional fee. Disney FastPass+ selections before 12:00 PM will not be valid with the Mid-Day Magic ticket, and guests who are staying on property can not use this ticket to gain access to morning Extra Magic Hours.

3. Special annual passholder character meet and greets coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Beginning August 29th Disney will have the following special character meet and greets around Disney’s Animal Kingdom just for annual passholders:

  • Meet Baloo near Creature Comforts from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
  • Greet Jane and Tarzan near Island Mercantile in Discovery Island from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
This special character offering will only be available for annual passholders for a limited time, and though no end date has been set yet, we’d guess these characters will move on before the holiday season. 

4. Primeval Whirl closed indefinitely

Several months ago on June 17, the Walt Disney World Resort released an advisory informing Guests that Primeval Whirl would be closed until further notice due to unspecified technical issues. However, Disney assured guests that this ride would reopen in July. And of course, it never did. But Disney said the closure was being addressed and the attraction would open in September. However, guests with FastPass+ reservations for this attraction in September and October are reporting that their reservations are being cancelled, casting doubt on the idea that this ride will reopen this fall. 

This closure is very stange as we don’t really know exactly what is happening with this attraction, or why it closed in the first place. However, with this unexpected closure being extended again and again, we’re starting to wonder if this attraction will ever reopen, or if whatever issue that caused it to close in the first place is just too big to be fixed at this point. 

5. Astro Orbiter extends unplanned refurbishment

Image: Disney

And speaking of unplanned refurbishments, the Astro Orbiter at the Magic Kingdom, which has been closed since July and had a tentative reopening date of August 15 2019, will now be closed through September 19, 2019, reopening to guests on September 20, 2019

6. Wandering characters come to Disney resorts

Image: Disney

Disney is bringing back wandering characters for a trial run this fall at some of its resort hotels! Here’s what characters are meeting guests, and at which resort:

  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: Chip and Dale can be found in and around the lawn area at Wilderness Lodge.
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Chip and Dale will be interacting with guests at the Contemporary Resort playing lawn games like corn hole.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto canl be found in the lawn outside of the Great Ceremonial Hall.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: Pooh and Tigger can be found around the various sidewalks at the resort, whereas Mary Poppins can be found by Main Pool topiaries. Alice and the Mad Hatter will be found in and around the Mad Hatter Tea Party pool.
  • Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts Daisy, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy will be in and around the pool area ready to catch some sun with guests.
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Resort Daisy, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy will also be around the pool area at the BoardWalk to partake in the fun.
Right now this is only a test, so we’re not sure how long these characters will be available, or if Disney has plans to make wandering characters a permanent part of these Disney resorts moving forward.  

7. Universal announces final details for Halloween Horror Nights, including a new nighttime spectacular. 


Image: Universal

Though it seems like Disney is taking a page from Universal’s book with the addition of the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Pass, Universal seems to be taking notes from its neighbor next door as well, and are closing out Halloween Horror Nights event evenigns with a new nighttime spectacular: Halloween Marathon of Mayhem. This new show will take place at the Universal Studios Florida lagoon and will feature scenes from Stranger Things, Ghostbusters, Universal’s Classic Monsters and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, all projected onto giant water screens. The show will also include 100 water fountains, special effects, electro music, lasers and more. Marathon of Mayhem will run three times every evening at 10 p.m., 11 p.m., and 12 a.m. 

In addition to this new nighttime spectacular, Universal has revealed its full scarezone lineup, which inlucdes the following: 

Image: Universal

Zombieland: Double Tap It’s time to brush up on those rules of survival. Based on the hit film and its upcoming sequel, this scare zone puts you in the middle of the United States of Zombieland. The infection has spread and bloodthirsty zombies are everywhere. The most important rule to remember: Always double tap.

Rob Zombie Hellbilly Deluxe You know his music, now it’s time to live it. Step into the heavy metal horror of Rob Zombie’s music and imagery in this pulse-pounding scare zone. From otherworldly beings to brutal maniacs, you’ll come face-to-face with his twisted creations as the music cranks to a frenzy.

Anarch-cade An 80s-inspired arcade has taken over Avenue of the Stars. At first glance, you may think it’s a party. However, you quickly learn that “Game Over” means a permanent end for you. A gang of neon slashers are out to play and this is one game you won’t want to lose.

Vanity Ball Beauty is pain. Literally. In the streets of Hollywood, your flesh becomes the canvas as blade-wielding artists slice up willing participants into horrific living works of art. Here, going under the knife takes on a whole other meaning.

Vikings Undead We’re all familiar with the brutal Viking warriors. It’s terrifying enough thinking about facing them alive. Now picture facing them as the undead. They have risen and laid siege to Central Park with an onslaught of gore. Bloodlust never dies.

Finally, Universal has confirmed the final haunted house for this year’s event, and it’s based on another Rob Zombie property: House of 1000 Corpses:

Image: Universal

Come face-to-face with the psychotic Firefly family and their collection of blood and gore. Watch “The Legend of Doctor Satan” come to life right before your eyes. Keep a lookout for the latest addition to Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen, Fish Boy! And if you’re lucky, you’ll escape the house as fast as a rabbit, minus the fluffy bunny costume and tragic ending.