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‘IllumiNations: Reflections Of Earth’ End Date Announced & Other Disney News This Week

Every week I gather the latest news from Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and other Disney parks to help you keep up with all of the changes. Here is the most recent Disney news for the week of April 8-14, 2019:

1. ‘IllumiNations’ Will End On…

This week, Disney announced that IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will end on Sept. 30, 2019. That also means new temporary show Epcot Forever will debut on Oct. 1, 2019. The show is said to have fireworks, music, lighting, lasers, and even choreographed, special effects kites (image below), which will take guests through the past, present, and future of Epcot. The best part of the new show is it will be set to classic Epcot tunes. Epcot Forever (watch a sneak peek here) will run into 2020 until the next nighttime spectacular debuts and becomes a permanent fixture.

Photo of Epcot Forever concept art
Image: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

2. ‘MVMCP’ Tickets Are Officially On Sale

You can now purchase tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The dates are as follows:

  • November: 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24
  • December: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22

Tickets range in price from $99 to $139, depending on the day. If you purchase tickets prior to the day of the event, you can save $10, except for Dec. 20 and Dec. 22, in which only Same-Day Sales Pricing applies. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members will also receive a discount. Click here to check out the calendar and to purchase tickets.

3. You Can Now Use MaxPass For ‘Fantasmic!’ & ‘World Of Color’

Here is some major news for Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure guests — you can now use MaxPass to make digital FASTPASS selections right on your smartphone for both Fantasmic! (Disneyland) and World of Color (DCA). Paper Fastpasses are still available for both shows.

4. The Tasting Sampler Is Returning To Animal Kingdom

You can once again enjoy the Tasting Sampler at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The sampler costs $50 and includes two digital value cards: one $50 card that can be used at over 40 outdoor food and beverage locations throughout the park (and does not expire), and a bonus $10 card that can be used at select quick-service restaurants after 5 p.m. from April 12 through April 22, 2019. You can purchase anything on the menus. The sampler can be purchased through April 22 at noon by visiting Offers.Disney.com and using the code DAKDINEBONUS. Click here to check out the participating locations and the new and returning food and beverages available for purchase!

5. More Exclusive Flower & Garden Merchandise For APs

As you can see below, there is new Flower & Garden Festival merchandise now exclusively available for Annual Passholders at Mouse Gear and Odyssey. APs can select from a Tervis stem glass, Minnie mug, ladies tank top and baseball cap, as well as a Goofy mug, T-shirt and baseball cap. Of course, Passholders will receive a 20 percent discount.

6. Catch A Sneak Peek Of ‘Aladdin’

Prior to its release on May 24, you can watch a special preview of scenes form Aladdin beginning April 19 on the Disney Cruise Line, at the Main Street Opera House in Disneyland park’s Town Square, and at the Walt Disney Presents attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

7. ‘Beauty & The Beast’-Inspired Lounge Coming To Grand Floridian

Now here is some exciting news, especially for Beauty and the Beast fans. A new bar and lounge inspired by the 2017 live-action film is coming to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa this fall. The lounge will replace Mizner’s Lounge and Commander Porter’s. There will be four different spaces, all inspired by Belle and the Beast, which include:

  1. There will be a signature bar with a gold chandelier fashioned after Belle’s ball gown and with subtle nods to the Beast’s magical rose.
  2. The formal library will feature baroque designs and French furnishings inspired by Belle and will also have hints of the Beast’s friends.
  3. The garden room is said to be a whimsical space that draws inspiration from the enchanted forest surrounding Beast’s castle.
  4. Finally, there will be an outdoor patio evoking the romance of Beast’s garden terrace.

8. Celebrate Earth Day With Party Of The Planet Celebration

As always, Animal Kingdom will be honoring Earth Day with its annual Party for the Planet celebration, held this year on April 20 through April 22. There will be unique character experiences, special entertainment, and commemorative PhotoPass opportunities. Guests will also be able to meet with animal care experts, animal educators, and conservation experts, along with being able to watch animal feedings and training experiences to learn how Disney cares for its animals.

There is also are opportunities to meet the Joe Rohde, Walt Disney Imagineer and force behind the concept and design of Animal Kingdom.First, you can book the special dining experience, Tiffins Talks, which will be held from April 20-22 from 1-3 p.m. During this 4-course lunch experience, which costs $199 plus tax and gratuity and requires separate park admission, will allow you to meet and chat with Rohde. To make reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE.

Secondly, you can also meet Rohde at Mombasa Marketplace on April 20 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m, in which he’ll sign his own artwork, a lion print that will be on sale for the event (only two items will be signed per guest, and a valid receipt for proof of purchase is required). A wristband is required to meet him, and there are only a limited amount distributed with the purchase of his art. Furthermore, on Earth Day, April 22, you can purchase all kinds of Lion King merch at Mombasa Marketplace, including a Simba mug, Hakuna Matata Spirit Jersey, a Simba youth baseball cap, and more.

9. The Disney Ticket Center

For guests who need ticket assistance, they can visit the new Disney Ticket Center located at Disney Springs Town Center, near the Welcome Center and Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza. This is the perfect spot to visit for all your ticket needs, including:

  • Purchasing and upgrading Disney theme park tickets
  • Picking up will call tickets, like for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
  • Purchasing or renewing annual passes
  • Purchasing and upgrading Military Salute tickets
  • Making Disney Springs restaurant reservations

For anyone who needs general help, there is still a Guest Relations team at the Welcome Center to assist with lost and found items, currency exchange, and any other questions. The Disney Ticket Center is open Sunday-Thursday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

10. ‘Star Wars’: Galaxy’s Edge Coca-Cola Products

Those visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland and Disney World will be able to purchase Coca-Cola products. However, these particular beverages will be specially-themed to the land with the names translated into Aurebesh. Check them out below!

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!

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Featured Image: Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

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