Walt Disney World News August 2023

Crescent Lake area view from the beach at Yacht and Beach club looking out toward a dock with a lighthouse at the end, BoardWalk resort behind it over the water and a cotton candy sunset painting the sky

It’s absolutely wild that spooky season starts in August in Orlando! Here we are, at the beginning of the month, just days away from the first Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party. While it may seem early to start, having two and half full months of these events gives more people the opportunity to celebrate Halloween at Disney World. Guests can choose from August, September or October for a seasonally themed trip. The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is also happening already. So what else is happening with Disney World news August 2023 updates? The newest attraction for visitors this summer is Tron Lightcycle / Run. We should be getting close to a new nighttime show debuting at Epcot and the opening of the Moana water exhibit in the park too. 

With continued reopenings, regular refurbishments and new rides and restaurants, there’s so much more to know! We’ve got it all for you here each month. Whether you’re planning your next vacation or hoping to be inspired to book one, we hope this Walt Disney World news and updates roundup helps to keep you in the know. Here on the blog, we aim to keep DVC Members and Disney fans up to date with information that can enhance their next Disney World vacation. Let’s see what other Walt Disney World news August 2023 has in store for us. If you’re planning one, have a magical trip!

Disney Dates to Remember | Disney World News August 2023

Here we have some Disney World news related dates to note. 

July 27 – November 18 | Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

July 28 | New Haunted Mansion movie in theaters

August 11 – November 1 | Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (select dates)

Now through August 13th | Flavors of Florida at Disney Springs

September 22 – December 31 | Disney 100 at Epcot 

Disney 100 Resort Mugs from Disney World that are purple with silver accents and have Mickey and Minnie in special attire on them
Disney 100 at Disney World will take place September 22nd through the end of 2023 | Disney World news August 2023

Continued Reopenings At Walt Disney World Resort

We’ve been covering Disney World’s post reopening come back for quite a while now. Disney World reopened in 2020 running a very lean operation. So many things have returned to the parks and resorts but many have not. There are still many temporarily unavailable closures. Some of which may greatly impact your trips. We want to help you set expectations and plan your trip based on what is available.

Some things to know before you go:

  • Trams are not back at Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
  • Park Hopping is still only available after 2:00 p.m. 
  • The Disney Dining Plan isn’t currently available in 2023 but returns in 2024.
  • 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian is still closed and…
  • The tea room at the Grand Floridian is still closed but resort construction has reached the lobby..
  • The Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage has not returned to Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
  • The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques at the Grand Floridian and Disney Springs are not open.
  • It’s A Wonderful Shop, Stage 1 Company Store, In Character and Disney Studio Store are still closed at Hollywood Studios.
  • Disney says DVC pool hopping is still suspended.
  • Saratoga Springs Senses Spa and Beach Club’s Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness are still closed.
  • Services like having your purchases delivered to the front of the park or to your room are paused.
  • Disney Annual Passholders still need park reservations to visit parks for a full day.
  • Many shows have not reopened yet like: Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Citizens of Hollywood, Jedi Training, Citizens of Main Street, Main Street Trolley Show, Move It! Shake It! Street Party, Once Upon a Time, The Jeweled Dragon Acrobats, Swotu Waya Pandora Drummers, Pandora Utility Suit Pilot and more.

We do our best to continue to share things as they return. Disney shared this year that they understand the value of a Disney vacation is in question to many visitors and potential guests. As much as sales and deals are welcome, I think reopening everything in the parks is just as important to perceived value. 

Souvenir Passports Return to Epcot

On your next trip to Epcot, you might see that more magic has returned. Epcot passports are now for sale again at gift shops inside the park. Guests love to experience a little something in each country and it’s fun to take this around for stamping. With the return of this and the International Cast Members, touring World Showcase is a bit more special. Look for the following Kidcot Fun Stops to get your passport stamped:

  • Mexico Pavilion (near Mexico Folk Art Gallery) 
  • Norway Pavilion (at The Puffin’s Roost) 
  • China Pavilion (near the exit of Reflections of China) 
  • Germany Pavilion (at Volkunst) 
  • Italy Pavilion (outside, near La Bottega Italiana) 
  • American Adventure Pavilion (outside, near Art of Disney) 
  • Japan Pavilion (in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery) 
  • Morocco Pavilion (at the Marketplace in the Medina) 
  • France Pavilion (at Souvenirs de France) 
  • United Kingdom Pavilion (at The Toy Soldier) 
  • Canada Pavilion (at the exit of Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360)

Bob Iger Signs on For Longer as CEO

This might be the most important bit in our Disney World News August 2023 roundup. Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger has agreed to continue to lead the brand for longer than originally stated. When he returned to the position in 2022, the initial agreement was a two year contract and that Bob Iger would help with the selection and transition of his still unannounced successor. His contract has now goes through through December 31st, 2026. The following was shared online by Disney:

“Since my return to Disney just seven months ago, I’ve examined virtually every facet of our businesses to fully understand the tremendous opportunities before us, as well as the challenges we’ve been facing from the broader economic environment and the tectonic shifts in our industry. On my first day back, we began making important and sometimes difficult decisions to address some existing structural and efficiency issues, and despite the challenges, I believe Disney’s long-term future is incredibly bright,” said Iger.

“But there is more to accomplish before this transformative work is complete, and because I want to ensure Disney is strongly positioned when my successor takes the helm, I have agreed to the Board’s request to remain CEO for an additional two years. The importance of the succession process cannot be overstated, and as the Board continues to evaluate a highly qualified slate of internal and external candidates, I remain intensely focused on a successful transition.”

The next CEO is still in question. Bob Iger came out of retirement after his replacement, Bob Chapek, made a long string of choices that disappointed and angered fans of all kinds. The Walt Disney Company is still working to chart its course forward after Chapek’s time at the helm.

Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs has $59 tickets this summer

Cirque du Soleil Disney Springs $59 Summer Deal

There is a $59 ticket summer deal at Drawn to Life through the end of September. The Cirque du Soleil show at Disney Springs is themed to Disney animation and simply beautiful to watch. This is a newer show that debuted only in the last few years replacing the long running La Nouba. You can read our Cirque du Soleil Drawn to Life review for more information about the show. This is an excellent deal. The stage is very big and the seats are stadium style seemingly three quarters around the stage. All seats are good seats here. 

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Shows Its Royal Side

Tiana’s attraction in Frontierland, formerly Splash Mountain, was crowned this summer with a big icon. The water tower that serves as part of the attractions storyline theming is now in place. You’ll be able to see this on your next visit as it beams proudly above the construction walls. You’ll notice two stars on the tiara, meant to symbolize Ray and Evangeline. Some major landscaping changes have also happened in the area, changing the exterior of the ride quite a bit. We’ll have to see how it all turns out when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in 2024.

Grand Floridian construction has reached the final building for the hotel’s major renovation

Grand Floridian Construction Continues

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has been undergoing a massive resort wide refurbishment for years. The Big Pine Key building renovation that expanded the amount of DVC capacity was first. Since then, each building has a new roof, fresh paint and total room refurbishments inside. With all new furniture and furnishings, the rooms are completely new and totally different in their new Mary Poppins Returns themed bright colors. The last building to be worked on is the lobby.

This summer the Grand Floridian lobby building has quite a bit of scaffolding and exterior construction walls from the lobby entrance all the way down to Gasparilla Island Grill. Some items from inside the shuttered 1900 Park Fare restaurant were for sale at a local shop. This gives us the hint that work is possibly being done inside this popular venue as well. Temporary trees have been placed outside of the tea room, potentially as a privacy screen. We can expect the tea room to get some shining up too it seems. Every space at the Grand is new with both Citricos and Victoria and Alberts receiving interior redesigns or refreshes before reopening.

Spaces on the second floor of the lobby building around Citricos and inside the restaurant have window coverings because of the construction so you can’t see out. This is one of the most enchanting places to dine at Disney but if the windows being covered will lessen your experience you may want to hold off on visiting.

The buildings that are home to The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian are unbothered at this time. The main DVC building with its own lobby had some soft refurbishments over the last few years. This included new upholstering on the first floor furniture along with new rugs, both in flamboyant floral prints. The penguin fountain in the DVC building lobby received some major attention with a cleaning and repainting in the last few years. See our DVC resort refurbishment schedule for more information on this resort and others.

Flavors of Florida at Disney Springs

This summer guests can enjoy some sweet and savory new tastes inspired by Florida at Disney Springs. The culinary event lasts through August 13th this year and has offerings at over 30 locations around the shopping and dining complex. Fans of The Orange Bird, be on the lookout for cute and themed, treats. See more on the Flavors of Florida event guide.

Disney Inspired Candles Store Coming to Disney Springs

There are so many smells at Disney that bring back the happiest of memories. The sweet scents of Main Street U.S.A. and resort lobbies are some of the most beloved. Bowes Signature Candles started selling those scents in candle form at Disney Springs years ago. You may have seen the kiosk in the center aisle of the Marketplace Co-Op. They also sell scented oils and diffuse lovely and familiar aromas in the area. Later, the candle company took over the end of the Disney’s Days of Christmas Store. This small section of the store used to have a collection of Halloween goods at one point. A do it yourself candle making experience has also been part of Bowe’s Signature Candles offerings.

Aside from the specific Disney scents offered, Bowes has holiday and seasonal scents year round. Fresh, crisp fall and cinnamon, sprinkled Christmas candles were both at the Christmas store location in March. Soon guests can visit a Bowes Signature Candles storefront on the West Side of Disney Springs beginning in the fall of 2023. This new location is taking over the former cigar shop in the area. 

Disney vs. DeSantis Continues

What’s this about: The battle between Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, and The Walt Disney Company is still ongoing. In short, Disney is alleging that Ron DeSantis is infringing on their right to free speech. When Disney came out against legislation of his they disagreed with, he dismantled a longstanding district the company operated in in Florida. Many additional actions that can be seen as attacks by the governor have since occurred. Disney says these efforts are retaliatory, and so, they are suing those involved. The governor is countersuing. Both parties are asking for the other party’s charges to be dropped. There are many more details, surely more eloquently notated by others, but this is enough to get caught up. The timing of the case is now being worked on. Disney is asking for 2024 while the governor, who is running for president, is asking for 2025 after the election.

Why this matters to theme park fans:

Upon reopening, Disney took their time bringing the parks back. The parks still aren’t all the way back to normal really. With covid restrictions behind us, it has many wondering what the hold up is. Bob Iger returned as CEO in the fall of 2022 and quickly made big changes, pulling power and funds and laying off 7,000 people. Still, it seems like Walt Disney World could be bracing for impact. Perhaps, this Reedy Creek Improvement District situation has a bigger impact than we can measure.

We’ve heard Bob Iger say they company wants to invest $17 billion in future projects in Florida. Josh D’Amaro stated some of that number has actually already been spent on current projects. But the threat to hold back development at Disney World affects future guests and potential cast members. It could be the difference between getting new rides or not or how in depth refurbishments go.

Disney 100 popcorn box that's lavender with dark purple Mickeys with a lens flair sparkling on it
Disney 100 popcorn box at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney 100 Lineup Clarified, Dates Announced

The 100 year anniversary of what is known today as The Walt Disney Company is being celebrated at Epcot later this year. The celebrations kicked off at Disneyland earlier this year. Walt Disney World fans have been waiting for clarification on what to expect for the anniversary. We’ve known the Disney 100 Disney World celebration would include characters in special costumes and themed lighting on Spaceship Earth. The nighttime show debuting at Epcot also lines up with this time period.

The under construction Moana walk through water experience has had some previews for Cast Members. It’s slated to open in the fall of this year but it seems like it could open soon. Other parts of the park that are under construction don’t seem to be part of the Disney 100 celebration. At least not as of now. It will be wonderful to see Epcot’s current construction complete.

Monorail Signs Light Up Now Too

On your next visit to the Transportation and Ticket Center near Magic Kingdom, take a look at the refurbished monorail signs. They now light up like the real ones do! The under monorail lights on the Disney transportation method was a fantastic addition for Disney World’s 50th celebration. It’s fun to see this small enhancement made to the signs that go with them here.

Haunted Mansion Closing for Quick Refurbishment

The Disney World website was updated to say, “From August 7 to August 9, 2023, Haunted Mansion will be closed for routine refurbishment.” Since the last D23 Expo we’ve known that the Disney World attraction would be getting a Hatbox Ghost character. This addition is supposed to debut in 2023. The new Haunted Mansion film hit theaters July 28th. We’ll see what ghoulish delights await us after the Haunted Mansion refurb.

New Addition to Disney’s BoardWalk

Guests of Disney’s BoardWalk Villas will soon have more delicious options to try. Blue Ribbon Corn Dogs announced on their Instagram they they will open at the resort later this year, taking over the BoardWalk To Go outdoor food stand. If Blue Ribbon Corn Dogs sounds familiar, you might know them from Disneyland. In addition to a classic dog, the menu also has wild pairings like a corn dog that has a pickle inside it too with a peanut butter drizzle on top. We’ll have to see what’s on the menu at BoardWalk. We’ve been talking about the big changes happening at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn for a while in our DVC resort refurbishment schedule.

World Showcase Lagoon sits still in front of the UK pavilion across the water at Epcot
World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival 2023

The 2023 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival dates are July 27th through November 18th. We’re into the deliciousness of this year’s festival but some food booths open later on. For example, The Noodle Exchange opens August 15th and the new Char & Chop opens later this fall. The four new Global Marketplaces, or food booths, are Char & Chop, Wine & Wedge, Bubbles & Brine and Swirled Showcase!

This year, Muppets fans have something to explore. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker are in videos at the Odyssey building at Brew-Wing Lab.

Not on the list this year is Appleseed Orchard. This offering was indoors at the Canada pavilion for a few years, closing the attraction during the festival. The Canada Far & Wide attraction is instead open for the festival this year. This gives those who may only visit in the fall a chance to enjoy Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy narrate this show that debuted in January of 2020. 

Some new menu items this year include:

The Alps Dark Chocolate Fondue with berries, pound cake, and meringues.

The Fry Basket Pickle Fries with dill ranch.

Brew-Wing Lab Orange-Cardamom Wings.

Fort Wilderness Restaurants Reopening

You can say howdy to homestyle eats at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground again. Trail’s End and Crockett’s Tavern have reopened. Trail’s End, once a favorite buffet among many visitors, is now a marketplace quick service restaurant. Crockett’s Tavern is bigger with an indoor, outdoor lounge with more space for guests. The DVC addition switchover to The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort Disney Vacation Club is expected to happen next year.

Mears Connect and Sunshine Flyer are Merging

When Disney stopped offering the complimentary Disney’s Magical Express airport shuttle, other companies stepped in to offer the service for a fee. Mears offered Mears Connect. This was the company who ran Disney’s Magical Express with Disney. Sunshine Flyer was another offering to step up, the two in competition with each other. In July of 2023, the companies announced they would be joining forces starting August 1st, 2023. The new name of the airport shuttle service is Mears Connect Driven by Sunshine. The name leads one to think the train themed Sunshine Flyer motor coaches may still be in use.

“While we have been competitors in the past, we have always shared the same goals to provide guests with safe, reliable, cost effective, stress-free travel between the airport and Walt Disney World resorts. By merging operations, sharing ideas, expanding services, collaborating on what’s best for the guest, we believe we can provide an even better guest experience given the challenges and opportunities in today’s travel market.” -Rebecca K. Horton, Chief Operating Officer of Mears Transportation

Guests can call the 24 hour hotline with questions regarding new reservations: (407) 423-5566. For email, contact mearsconnect@mears.com. Will this impact reservations? Mears Connect reservations will remain the same. Sunshine Flyer guests traveling between July 14th and July 31st should expect an email to confirm travel instructions.

Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Dessert Party

Guests can now buy a spot for a Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular Dessert Party. Tickets to the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are not part of this experience. They must be purchased separately. Dessert parties for guests age 10 and older are $114 including tax and gratuity. Guests ages 3 to 9 are $69 with tax and gratuity included. If a seated firework viewing experience at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant with sweets and drinks sounds enjoyable to you, this is it. The dessert is buffet style. Disney says this includes:

  • Delicious desserts prepared by our pastry chef, such as chocolate-dipped strawberries and devil’s chocolate mousse
  • A variety of cheeses
  • Refreshing beverages, including an assortment of beer and wine for Guests ages 21 and over with a valid form of identification

Eligible Disney Vacation Club Members Save 20% on a Disney VIP Tour at Disney World

We know many DVC Members have some combination of direct and resale points. You may also be a Member who purchased direct and enjoys reading our updates. If you are eligible for Membership Extras, there is a special 20% off discount you can use on VIP tours at Disney World this August and September. Starting August 15th you can call (407) 560-4033 to book. From Disney:

  • Offer is valid for a VIP Tour on select dates from August 15, 2023 through September 30, 2023 (subject to blockout dates: September 2, 2023 through September 4, 2023).
  • All tours must be booked for a minimum duration of 7 continuous hours, and your party may include up to 10 Guests, including infants.

Extended Evening Theme Park Hours at Hollywood Studios Return

Guests of deluxe resort hotels have been able to enjoy a special perk for staying at a top tier resort. This of course includes Disney Vacation Club properties. Extended Evening Theme Park Hours, available to those staying at deluxe resorts, replaced Extra Magic Hours which was available for all Disney resort guests. This is not an every day offering like Early Theme Park Entry but instead at certain parks on select nights. Extended Evenings are most commonly at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. However, Hollywood Studios has some dates coming up. From Disney:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Please note, extended evening hours are available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on September 30, October 5, October 11, October 19 and October 25, 2023.

  • Alien Swirling Saucers
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
  • Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Slinky Dog Dash
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

The following are participating hotels for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours:

Deluxe Resorts

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Disney Vacation Club Resorts

Others

  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  • Walt Disney World Swan Reserve
  • Shades of Green on Walt Disney World

Recent Disney World Updates to Know and Remember

Here we’re keeping track of recent Disney World news we’ve already talked about that you’ll want to keep in mind for any upcoming trips.

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival takes place through November 18th.

The new Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant is open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny park offerings open through August 15th.

Narcoossee’s is open at the Grand Floridian after refurbishment.

The nighttime shows at Magic Kingdom and Epcot are Happily Ever After and Epcot Forever again.

TRON Lightcycle / Run is open at Magic Kingdom via virtual queue and Lightning Lane.

You can buy a Disney Annual Pass for Walt Disney World again.

Annual Passholders can enter the parks after 2:00 p.m. with no reservations, except for Magic Kingdom on the weekends.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2023 tickets are on sale.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets are on sale.

Jollywood Nights, the new Hollywood Studios holiday special ticketed event, tickets are on sale.

Disney Genie+ now has park specific pricing by day.

Characters have returned to Pixar Place at Hollywood Studios.

Live action Ariel is meeting guests at Hollywood Studios.

See additional information that may impact your hotel stay in our DVC resort refurbishment schedule.

DVC Resale Experts Can Help

DVC Resale Experts is a licensed real estate broker with a team that specializes in resale DVC. Whether you’re adding on points, buying or selling Disney Vacation Club, the Experts can help you find the right price to place a bid with or list your contract for. Our independent, licensed real estate agents are former Disney Vacation Club Guides. They have decades of pixie dusted experience selling DVC and delight in providing excellent service to their clients. The Experts have seen it all and are happy to answer your questions throughout the process.

It’s still a great time to buy DVC resale. You can keep up with DVC resale average prices in our monthly series.

DVC resale prices can pleasantly surprise Members interested in selling DVC. See our resale DVC listings for a look at real time availability and pricing. Ready to sell DVC? Get in touch for a complimentary valuation of your specific contract today. There may be someone waiting on our Buyer Wish List for a contract just like yours.

Disney Blogger Nicole and Disney CEO Bob Iger

Sparkly Nicole

Nicole is a native Floridian who attended the University of Central Florida and decided to call the land of theme parks home. She’s been sharing magical tips, tricks and Orlando travel and tourism favorites online for over a decade.

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