Walt Disney World is in the beginning phases of prepping for Halloween, and we’re finally starting to get used to visiting the parks to write these updates for you, even if it is still a bit jarring to see how empty it is. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, with the rollout of more restaurant openings, changes coming to the Polynesian Resort, plus a trip to the Magic Kingdom. Grab an umbrella, because today’s visit gets a bit wet!
Meal Time! Select Dining Locations Reopening
While the Walt Disney World theme parks reopened back in July, not all of the shops and restaurants were included. As a result, some favorite dining locales have remained closed due to extremely-limited guest capacity and fewer Cast Members staffed. While capacity is still limited, some locations are finally preparing to re-open. Here’s what’s on the way:
September 4th: Gaston’s Tavern
A delicious snacktime spot returns; Lefou’s Brew and those ginormous cinnamon rolls!
September 24th: Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom
While the typical princess interactions are paused for now, you can once again dine inside the iconic Cinderella Castle.
September 25th: Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Minnie’s Halloween Dine returns! This time around, a “monster feast” will be brought right to your table, instead of the usual buffet-style setup. Minnie, Mickey & friends will still be there, dressed in their Halloween best, waving and posing for photos from a safe distance.
October 8th: ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The ABC Commissary will once again offer up their quick-service lunch fare. It is unknown when reservation and dinner service will return.
Reservations for Cinderella’s Royal table and Minnie’s Halloween Dine at Hollywood & Vine will be available via disneyworld.com and the My Disney Experience app beginning September 11th.
Moana Headed to Polynesian Village Resort
Walt Disney World originally planned to reopen the Polynesian Village Resort on October 4th of this year. However, the opening has been pushed back until the summer of 2021. With lower than expected crowd levels, the resort hotel will instead undergo an extensive refurbishment with enhancements for the Great Ceremonial House and guest rooms.
According to an article from Orlando Sentinel, a Disney spokesperson stated that some of the upcoming changes to the rooms will take inspiration from Moana, with new Pacific Ocean-inspired color scheme and details from the film.
What do you think of the potential changes? Check out the article below for more!
Waves of Change – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Reopening Delayed by Moana?
Mini Hollywood Studios Report
One of our contributors, Laura, stopped by Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week just in time for the Mulan preview debuting at Walt Disney Presents! Let’s take a peek at the park…
As we’ve observed since the park’s reopening, crowds tend to thin out in the afternoon – especially after the last Rise of the Resistance virtual queue opening at 2PM.
Yes, these photos were taken right in the middle of the day . . .
Heading down Sunset Boulevard; Theater of the Stars has reopened and is now the temporary home of The Disney Society Orchestra:
The band plays familiar and favorite tunes from Monster’s Inc., Toy Story, Star Wars, The Little Mermaid and, of course, Beauty & the Beast.
Friends from the Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage! show make an appearance during the concerts:
Now heading into Walt Disney Presents for the Mulan additions…
We’re moving past all of the Disney Parks and Walt Disney memorabilia. Just before heading into the preview, you can see the two costumes from the new movie on display in the theater’s lobby:
The Mulan sneak peek runs continuously throughout the day at Walt Disney Presents. Early Premier Access is now available via Disney+, while regular Disney+ subscribers can access the film December 4th at no additional cost with their subscription.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios currently closes at 8PM, here’s a look at the mass exodus shortly after closing:
For it being the end of the day, there sure aren’t a lot of people. Very different than the before times.
Magic Kingdom Meanderings
We spent some time at Magic Kingdom earlier this week as well, here’s what we discovered!
Arriving shortly after 11AM on a weekday, the “crowds” were definitely manageable:
The first of many character cavalcades of the day, the Party Up! float featured Goofy, Max, Clarabelle Cow and José Carioca:
After the float passed, we have a better glimpse at Main Street crowd levels:
Cinderella Castle is looking gorgeous!
Let’s head in. I’m still not used to seeing the castle with no other guests in clear view…
You can typically gauge how busy the park is by the look of Fantasyland, especially around Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and Peter Pan’s Flight…
Peter Pan’s Flight was a true 25-minute wait, while Small World was posted at 10.
Passing Haunted Mansion…
We noticed the Frontier Trading Post finally reopened! With any Disney gift shop right now, Cast Members are keeping count of guests entering and exiting. The Trading Post’s layout is on the small and intimate side, I recommend treading very carefully here.
We briefly stopped inside to check out the new Halloween pins. These designs are super cute— we’re loving the retro pie-eyed characters!
Check out those adorable Mickey & Minnie pumpkins! They definitely came home with me…
For more about Halloween at Walt Disney World, be sure to check out the article below.
Walt Disney World Update – Halloween Lives On After All
Moving onto Adventureland, we stopped by Aloha Isle for a Kakamora Float, the Moana-inspired sweet treat. Coconut soft serve with pineapple juice, blue curaçao syrup and an adorable chocolate Kakamora cake pop— complete with a white chocolate sand dollar hat! Reminiscent of a non-alcoholic piña colada, this wasn’t overly sweet and helps cool off the 90+ degree heat!
The clouds were looking grey by the mid-afternoon, so we ducked into Pirates of the Caribbean which was posted at a low 10-minute wait…
Across the way, Captain Jack Sparrow occasionally makes an appearance for some fun conversation and distanced-photo opps:
Upon exiting Pirates, Plaza del Sol Caribe Bazaar now has the new Jungle Cruise merchandise available (you may have seen this collection in a recent Disneyland update!):
Waiting out the rain in Adventureland…
Just a few minutes later, the sun was out again!
And we’ve made it back to Cinderella Castle. The moat is refilled and looking great, the castle’s makeover is complete:
Due to the quick and spotty showers, the Rainy Day Cavalcade made an appearance:
Time to head home…
On our way out, we noticed some of the newer Halloween merchandise additions now at the Emporium:
How about this cute candy corn countdown castle? (Say that three times fast?)
A Candy Corn Witch Hat headband joins the Halloween Candy Minnie Ears:
Now it’s time to say goodbye… but first, one more cavalcade!
A full cast of characters await our grand exit, atop the train station:
During our time on this specific weekday, we saw only one guest with their mask below their nose, while social-distancing was mostly adhered to. A major improvement in guest behavior.
Attending theme parks right now is a very personal decision. It’s certainly not for everyone. Walt Disney World has been open for almost two months. And while Disney has laid the groundwork to provide a safe and clean environment, it’s still up to us—the guests— to keep each other as safe and healthy as possible. Seeing so many guests doing the right things this week made us hopeful that Disneyland will finally be able to successfully reopen as well. And it looks like that is finally in the works:
Disneyland Working With State On Reopening Plan
Time To Make New Magic
Theme parks are reopening, and whether you are ready to travel yet or not, there’s no better time to lock in low rates on future travel. But waiting on hold and not knowing what questions to ask isn’t the magical part of a vacation. That’s why MiceChat has partnered with Get Away Today to handle all the difficult stuff for you . . . all for no extra cost. That’s right, they do all the work and it doesn’t cost you extra. In fact, it can actually save you money.
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Give your family something to look forward to:
Let’s Hear From You
We hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to Walt Disney World. Is there a restaurant reopening you’re looking forward to? Are you watching Mulan on Disney+ this week? What do you think of Cinderella Castle’s finished makeover? Do you think character overlays for hotels like the Polynesian are necessary? If so, what characters should represent the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary? Share your thoughts in the comments below. And be sure to let us know if there’s anything specific you’d like us to check out for you in the weeks to come
Take care, and have a magical day!