Disney News Weekly News

‘IllumiNations’ Is Ending & Other Disney News This Week

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Last Updated on February 25, 2019 by Allyson

Every week I gather the latest news from Walt Disney World and Disneyland to help you keep up with all of the changes. Here is the most recent Disney news for the week of Sept. 17-Sept. 23, 2018:

1. Major News About ‘IllumiNations: Reflections Of Earth’

Did you hear? After almost 20 years, Epcot’s nighttime spectacular IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is coming to an end. As revealed by Disney on Sept. 17, the beloved show is currently set to run until the end of summer 2019 and will be replaced by a new nighttime-fireworks spectacular. Details regarding the new show have yet to be announced.

2. Sad News For Oswald Fans

According to WDW News Today, Oswald character meetings are no longer happening at Disney California Adventure in Disneyland. Disney has not confirmed this news and further details are not available at this time.

3. A New Schedule For Hollywood Studios’ ‘Star Wars’ Show

As reported by WDWMagic.com, Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away at Hollywood Studios will soon have a seasonal operating schedule. The plan is to reportedly cease daily shows beginning Sept. 29, 2019. That said, the website reports it “will resume later in the year.” According to WDW News Today, the show is “going dark for 5 weeks due to concrete work” after Sept. 29, 2018 and will return in November.

4. Splash Mountain’s Ziploc Baggies Are Finally Here

First of all, how cute are these bags? Awhile back, it was reported that Ziploc was Splash Mountain’s newest sponsor and bags would be distributed come Aug. 1. There was a delay for some time, but now the Splash Mountain-themed baggies are here, as reported by Blog Mickey. The bags will be handed out on a first come, first serve basis for anyone wanting to protect their items from getting wet. Riders are also encouraged to recycle the bags after the ride ends, or people can keep them as a souvenir.

5. Huge Allergy-Friendly Menu News

Disney World’s allergy-friendly menus are now available when browsing menus online, but that’s not the only good news. Allergy menus are also available on Mobile Order through the My Disney Experience app! How great is that? That said, it appears you can only orer from the allergy menu at only bigger quick service restaurants (i.e. Columbia Harbour House, ABC Commissary, etc.) when using Mobile Ordering. Also, thanks to Alexis’s Gluten Free Adventures for initially sharing this news on Facebook on Sept. 17!

Walt Disney World, Allergy-Friendly Menu, Mobile Order

6. An Exciting New Tour At Animal Kingdom

On Sept. 19, Disney announced there is a new tour coming to Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. It is called Up Close With Rhinos, a 60-minute backstage animal experience starting on Nov. 1. The guided tour will give guests a behind-the-scenes look at how the white rhinos seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris are taken care of and what Disney is doing to save the endangered species. Guess what? There’s also a chance guests might be able to touch a rhino. The tour will be offered daily and costs $40 plus tax with a discount given to select passholders and Disney Vacation Club members. Appropriately, reservations can be made starting on Sept. 22, aka World Rhino Day.

7. ‘Move It! Shake It! Dance It! Street Party’ Really Is Over

Awhile ago there were rumors Disney World’s Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party would soon be ending at Magic Kingdom. Well, this past week, Disney officially announced new plans for the street party. Beginning Jan. 18, 2019 Disney World is introducing Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration, which will bring new music, dancing, and other fun to the Magic Kingdom.

First up is the Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party. This experience will invite guests to dance with Mickey, Minnie, and their friends in front of Cinderella Castle and jam to new arrangements of “Mickey Mouse Club” songs.  You should also be on the look out for the Dapper Dans and other Main Street, U.S.A. entertainers singing songs in honor of Mickey and Minnie. There will also be Mickey and Minnie-themed merchandise and food. Because this is a Surprise Celebration, guests can also expect more Limited-Time Magic entertainment and other experiences to arrive at Magic Kingdom during the Surprise Celebration.

8. Goodbye Star-Lord & Groot, Hello Mike & Sully

Disney also announced a meet and greet with Mike & Sully from Monsters, Inc. will be coming to Hollywood Studios. The experience will replace Star-Lord and Baby Groot (this meet and greet ends Sept. 29, 2018) inside Walt Disney Presents, according to WDW News Today. Guests can begin meeting Mike & Sully come Jan. 18, 2019.

9. Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy News

Disney also announced Lighting McQueen’s Racing Academy is coming to Hollywood Studios sometime in spring 2019. The experience will be located near Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, where guest will come face-to-face with Lightning McQueen himself, who will showcase what he’s learned over the years about racing. You can also meet Cruz Ramirez outside the Racing Academy.

10. A ‘Lion King’ Dance Party

Beginning Jan. 18, 2019, the 25th anniversary of The Lion King will be celebrated at Animal Kingdom with Timon and Rafiki at the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party on Discovery Island. There will also be 3D photo opportunities re-creating scenes from the beloved film.


11. The Incredibles Are Coming To Hollywood Studios

On Jan. 18, 2019, Pixar Place will transform into a Metroville city block from The Incredibles. Near the end of the block, a party celebrating Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, and Frozone will be held. Not only will there be a special meet and greet with Edna Mode, but park goers should look for clues to the whereabouts of Jack- Jack.

12. Epcot International Festival of the Arts Dates

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts will take place Jan. 18-Feb. 25, 2019. The Disney on Broadway Concert Series will also return, but it’s expanding to seven days a week.

13. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Dates

As for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, it will take place March 6-June 3, 2019. In more good news, the Garden Rock Concert Series will also expand to seven days a week.

Walt Disney World, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Goofy Topiary

14. Breakfast Is Coming To The Plaza Restaurant

In early September, there were rumors breakfast was coming to The Plaza Restaurant at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Well, Disney confirmed reports on Sept. 21 (via WDW News Today). Starting Nov. 4, 2018 through Jan. 5, 2019, breakfast will be served daily from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

15. Rafiki’s Planet Watch Might Be Closing

[UPDATE: On Sept. 28, Disney confirmed (via WDW News Today) that Rafiki’s Planet Watch will in fact reopen in spring 2019 after an “extensive refurbishment.”] According to multiple reports, Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Animal Kingdom is closing starting next month on Oct. 21. No other official details are available at this time. Disney has not commented or confirmed this news.

That’s it for Disney news from this past week. I’ll continue to collect park updates, so be sure to keep your eyes open for my weekly news post!

Featured Image: Courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

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