DVC Resale Market’s Disney Parks News for August 2019
Over the past few weeks, Disney has revealed a ton of news about its theme parks and resorts. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get right to it in the latest edition of Disney Vacation Club News.
The Walkway We’ve Wanted
A few years ago, the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) finally added a presence at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Ever since then, DVC members have hoped for a desperately needed feature at the hotel.
While the Grand Floridian is a monorail resort, many guests would prefer to walk straight to Magic Kingdom. It’s good exercise and removes reliance on Disney transportation.
Well, I have some great news! Park officials have confirmed that they are building a walkway from the Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom. It’s a huge amenity that will enrich your future DVC stays at the resort.
Speaking of Disney Transportation…
The other massive logistics update centers around the Disney Skyliner. Originally planned as a late-2019 opening, the Skyliner project has run way ahead of schedule.
For months now, Imagineers have run open-air tests on the new gondola system. During this timeframe, Disney fans have speculated about the opening of the latest form of transportation. We now know when the Skyliner will officially begin.
The announced date is September 29th. Yes, we’re less than two months away from gondola rides to and from Disney resorts and theme parks!
All the Star Wars News That’s Fit to Print
A month before the Disney Skyliner’s debut, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will become the hottest spot at Walt Disney World. On August 29th, this park introduces Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, a seminal moment in Disney history.
For many DVC members, I have even better news. Plenty of frequent Disney guests purchase an annual pass. Those who have bought a Platinum Pass may have exclusive access to Star Wars Land during August.
Disney will host Passholder previews at Galaxy’s Edge on select August dates from the 17th through the 21st. The company’s already opened the booking window for these events, and a few sellouts are already reported. Presuming that you have a Platinum Pass and want to attend an event, you should contact Disney immediately.
The other shocker at Walt Disney World involves Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Described as the most complex E-ticket attraction ever, this ride has been the subject of intense speculation for a couple of years now.
We recently learned its opening dates at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The surprise is that Hollywood Studios will open their version first. The launch date for Rise of the Resistance in Orlando is December 5th, 2019. The Happiest Place on Earth will have to wait a bit longer. The Disneyland version of the attraction won’t debut until January 17th, 2020.
While we’re on the subject of Disneyland, we should discuss the bizarre events that unfolded during the week of July 4th. On the actual holiday, one of the most trafficked park days of the year, Disneyland experienced a 6.4 earthquake, the most severe one to shake this Southern California resort in 25 years.
Amazingly, less than 48 hours later, the park suffered an even worse earthquake, one that registered 7.1 on the Richter scale. On both occasions, the park closed rides. And cast members also evacuated the entire Star Wars Land section as a precautionary measure.
Thankfully, no one was injured, and no Disney property was severely damaged. It was just a weird situation that happened at the worst possible time.
Significant Changes in Store for Future World
Disney fans understand that Epcot is currently in a transitional phase. In coming years, the park will look much different than it does right now. Getting to the future date will involve a great deal of temporary upheaval in the Future World section.
Over the last month, we’ve learned part of the opportunity cost for a better Epcot. Disney has confirmed that they will close several iconic parts of the park, starting with the Fountain of Nations on September 8th.
That date also marks the final operating day for several Innoventions attractions and areas like Nanooze Break, Colortopia, and the Character Spot.
Also apparently closing for good are Electric Umbrella and Club Cool, while Fountain View aka the Starbucks location will shut down. Disney suggests that you should still get Starbucks elsewhere during the construction phase of Epcot’s changes. Electric Umbrella and Fountain View will stay in operation until November 23rd, but everything else is gone on September 8th.
These changes are so sweeping and dramatic that even Disney’s biggest moneymakers will experience some short term modifications. Mouse Gear, Art of Disney, and Pin Central will all relocate until new facilities are ready.
To those of us who have been visiting since childhood, Epcot’s going to look very strange for a while. In a few years, we’ll be grateful for the changes, though. After all, Future World should never seem dated, right?
A New Resort Option
While Disney has upgraded other resorts by connecting them to the Disney Skyliner, the company has added to another resort in a more ambitious way. During July, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort unveiled the Gran Destino Tower.
This new 15-story sky rise adds 545 rooms, 50 of which are suites, to the existing hotel campus. These accommodations are luxurious and modern, especially by Moderate Tier standards. Better yet, the state-of-the-art facility comes with two fabulous restaurants and a lounge.
The place that you’ll hear the most about is Tolédo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood, the restaurant that sits atop the hotel. Yes, it’s a rooftop restaurant that provides scintillating views of several major theme park landmarks. The adjoining Dahlia Lounge is a wonderful place to grab a drink and enjoy the rooftop setting. Finally, there’s Three Bridges Bar & Grill, a breathtaking place built into the water of Lago Dorado.
DVC members will have a lot of fun checking out these new restaurants, all of which provide idyllic perspectives of gorgeous Disney landscaping.
Holiday Disney News
Disney’s announced some significant improvements for some of your favorite holiday events. At Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, several changes are in store for party-goers.
Disney will replace HalloWishes with Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular, a fireworks and laser show hosted by Jack Skellington. Meanwhile, kids will love the new treat trail set up near Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. And everyone will enjoy the new Incredibles and Buzz Lightyear floats during the Boo to You Parade.
Even bigger changes are in store for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Disney will introduce yuletide ride overlays for several attractions. The most noteworthy one is Tomorrowland Speedway, which will decorate its ride course with thousands of lights and other festive touches.
For the first time, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor will host a special holiday show as part of the celebration. Space Mountain will also have special lighting and holiday music during its STARPORT journey, as will Mad Tea Party. Finally, this ticketed event will also feature a special nightly presentation, Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks.
Not to be outdone, Disneyland will also get into the swing of things this holiday season. Beginning on November 8th, the Disneyland Resort will convert to the Merriest Place on Earth.
The highlight is the holiday version of Disney California Adventure’s nighttime show, World of Color – Season of Light. The Festival of Holidays will also return for 2019. And Cars Land will once again become the jolliest of all themed lands. You definitely won’t want to miss the holiday ride overlays, Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl and Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. And yes, the beloved Haunted Mansion Holiday is back, too!
November and December are always the most magical times to visit Disney theme parks, aren’t they, fellow DVC members? I feel a warming glow simply by thinking about past nights spent staring at Disney holiday decorations.
Park and DVC Updates
Let’s take a look at some other Disney news for the month. For starters, I have terrific news for fans of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Conservation Station is back after a renovation. At the time of its closure, this series of attractions wasn’t sure to return.
Thankfully, Disney did the right thing and brought back one of the most integral parts of the Animal Kingdom experience. Kids can once again visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch and learn about the importance of environmentalism. And it’s even more fun now thanks to the Animation Experience! This new show reveals how real animals inspired fictional Disney animated characters over the years.
The other huge park news is the arrival of a fleet of new Disney buses. Modeled after Disney’s Sensational Six, these buses have wraps based on your favorite characters. Individual buses celebrate Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck.
You’ll undoubtedly see this fleet coming since they’re so stylish. Once you’re inside, you’ll appreciate some smart changes to the design of each vehicle. Every seat comes with a USB port where you can play in smart devices and re-charge them. It’s a long-overdue step that I’m grateful Disney has taken.
At Epcot, the biggest news is that Takumi Tei is now open. This Signature Dining experience is located at the Japan Pavilion at the World Showcase. By all accounts, it’s one of the best meals you’ll ever eat at Walt Disney World. However, please be aware that it’s also one of the most expensive. And this place doesn’t currently accept the Disney Dining Plan.
In the Epcot area, DVC fans should be aware that the planned refurbishment at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is delayed a few weeks. Guests staying at Disney’s Beach Club Villas during the week of August 6th catch a break here, as your beloved restaurant will remain open at this time.
Alas, I’ve got bad news for those of you visiting from August 26th through the end of the year. The soda shop will apparently remain closed during this timeframe.
Switching coasts, Disney’s Grand Californian Resort & Spa has introduced a new restaurant, bar, and lounge area. Called GCH Craftsman Bar & Grill, this poolside eatery is worth a look for its style as much as its food. The clinker brick and stone columns reinforce the hotel’s overall American Craftsman aesthetic.
What are you most excited about among the additions to Disney World mentioned in this August news blog: Gran Destino, the Skyliner, the walkway from Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom, Galaxy’s Edge or something else? Please feel free to share below in the comments.