September 29–October 5: Disney News of the Week

The last seven days have been quite eventful at the Disney parks, as Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot all celebrated birthdays and several new offerings and experiences debuted. Here is the major park news from the past week:

The Disney Skyliner Opens

Disney World’s Skyliner system officially opened to all guests on September 29. This highly anticipated new transportation system now connects two Disney theme parks – Epcot and Hollywood Studios – with four Disney resorts, which are Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera.

Sadly, an accident occurred on October 5 in which several cabins crashed into each other at one of the stations, leaving many guests stranded in the air for several hours. Thankfully, no one was injured that we know of (according to the reports we have read). Because of this, all Skyliner transportation has ceased for the time being, and it is unknown at this point when operation will resume.

IllumiNations Comes to an End and Epcot Forever Debuts

Epcot Spaceship Earth Mouse Pals

After twenty years, Epcot’s nightly spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, had its final show on September 30th. A temporary replacement show, Epcot Forever, then debuted the next night on Epcot’s 37th Anniversary. Epcot Forever will continue as the nightly spectacular until some time in 2020, when the permanent show – HarmonioUS – will debut. You can learn more about Epcot’s long running IllumiNations spectacular in our YouTube video featuring history and facts about the show:

2020 Walt Disney World Resort Discounts

Magic Kingdom Parking Lot Gate Mouse Pals

Walt Disney World has announced new resort discount offers for next year, including a special discount available for the new Riviera Resort hotel. Guests can save anywhere from 15–25% at select resorts with this offer, depending on the resort level. To learn more about this 2020 discounts, visit Disney’s official website.

More Early Morning Magic Hours Added for Magic Kingdom

Disney World has added more Early Morning Magic Hours to Magic Kingdom on select days beginning on November 13, 2019. These Early Morning Magic Hours is a hard-ticket event that cost $89 per adult and allows guests to ride only certain attractions in Fantasyland for a limited amount of time before day guests are allowed into the park (this is not to be confused with Extra Magic Hours, which are free to Disney Resort guests and generally include most of the attractions in the park). To learn more about Early Morning Magic Hours, visit Disney’s website.

Behind the Scenes Look at Animal Kingdom’s New Holiday Offerings

Tree of Life Projection Mouse Pals Animal Kingdom
light projection on the Tree of Life

Earlier this year, Disney Parks Blog announced that new holiday offerings would be coming to Animal Kingdom this holiday season. This week, a new behind-the-scenes video was unveiled, along with new details about the festivities, including special animal-themed lighting and puppets, new Tree of Life scenes, unique holiday displays, and characters dressed in special outfits. You can watch the behind-the-scenes video below:

Reservations Now Available for Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party

Jingle Bell Jingle Bam Christmas Firework Show Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World Mouse Pals

Disney World’s Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Christmas firework show is returning this holiday season, and it is a blast! Last year, we were able to stand quite close to the Chinese Theater (where the projection show takes place) and we really enjoyed the show.

As of this past week, reservations are now available for the optional Christmas-themed dessert party that goes along with this show at Hollywood Studios, and new details about the party were also provided. To read about this year’s menu and see pictures of the some of the food and beverage options, head over to Disney Parks Blog.

If you’d like to see last year’s show in full, you can watch our video below. We did not purchase dessert party tickets, so we were not in the reserved viewing section, but we still had a pretty great view!

“Avengers” Virtual Reality Experience Coming to Downtown Disney


While we’ve still got a way to go before phase one of the Avengers Campus opens at Disney California Adventure, the VOID at Downtown Disney will soon give guests the opportunity to become superheroes themselves in an all-new Avengers VR experienceAvengers: Damage Control. The VOID has offered several different Disney-themed virtual reality experiences in the past, including Star Wars and Wreck-It-Ralph, but this will be an all new experience in which guests will get to team up with well known heroes such as Dr. Strange and Ant-Man. As far as we know, this experience has only been announced for Disneyland’s Downtown Disney shopping area and will unfortunately not be available at the VOID in Disney Springs (at least not at this time). The Avengers: Damage Control VR experience will open on October 18th.

Disney World Now Offering Flash Drive Upgrade for PhotoPass


Disney Parks unveiled a surprising new add-on offering for PhotoPass and Memory Maker this past week, which is a USB Flash Drive. Guests can purchase this Flash Drive for $34.95 and any PhotoPass photos and videos available on their Disney accounts at that time will be loaded onto it. Since the Memory Maker package and individual PhotoPass photos are rather expensive already, and considering that USB drives can be purchased at most major retail stores for much less than $34.95, this doesn’t seem like the best deal to us at this time, but perhaps more benefits will be announced in the future or will be added at some point.

That’s all the major Disney park news announced over the past week! Don’t forget to sign up for our weekly Mouse Pals newsletter to have our articles sent right to your inbox!

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