We’re already in the last month of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party! If this event is on your wishlist this year, I hope you have tickets already. The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is fully open and now has additional booths. So what else is happening with Disney World news this time of year? For starters, we have date announcements for the new nighttime show debuting at Epcot and more. Let’s see what other Walt Disney World news October 2023 has in store for us.
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, including the tips in this Disney World News October 2023 info. 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. If you’re planning one, have a magical trip!
A special note for all Disney Vacation Club Members who have a March use year. This is your reminder to bank points by October 31st! For more information see: What Does Disney Vacation Club Use Year Mean?
Disney World News October 2023 Dates to Remember
Here we have some dates related to Disney World news October 2023 and beyond.
July 27 – November 18 | Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
August 11 – November 1 | Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (select dates)
September 22 – December 31 | Disney 100 at Epcot
September 22 – December 31 | Mickey & Minnie in Platinum costumes at Epcot
October 16 | Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana opens at Epcot
November 11 – December 20 | Disney Jollywood Nights (select dates)
December 5 | New Epcot firework show, Luminous The Symphony of Us, debuts
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.
With so many shows that haven’t returned, it’s good to know a new Vice President of Live Entertainment at Walt Disney World Resort has been named. David Duffy joins the magic in Orlando from Disneyland Paris.
Some things to know before you go:
- 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, Serveur Amusant, Swotu Waya Pandora Drummers, Pandora Utility Suit Pilot and more.
We do our best to continue to share things as they return.
Trams Return to Epcot and Hollywood Studios
Since Disney World closed in 2020, both Epcot and Hollywood Studios have not had parking lot trams for guests. It was originally announced in late 2021 that trams would be returning to Walt Disney World theme parks in 2022. Trams came back to Magic Kingdom in December of 2021 and Animal Kingdom in May of 2022. Epcot and Hollywood Studios went without any courtesy trams for years. Guests can now catch a break on their way to or from the park. At Epcot, the surrounding area and parking lot names have changed since the trams have been gone.
Is DVC Reflections ever happening?
Something else that was put on pause, or possibly cancelled, during the pandemic is the addition of a brand new Disney Vacation Club resort in the Magic Kingdom area. The land was all cleared for the project which brought hundreds of new hotel rooms to a space nestled between Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Camp Ground and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Reflections construction seemed to stop just short of going vertical. Will construction on the Reflections resort ever resume? One construction related permit was recently renewed giving us hope. With The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort Disney Vacation Club launching, the permit could also just be for that construction. We’ll keep you updated as more is revealed.
Extended Evening Hours Debuts at Animal Kingdom
Another pre-pandemic perk lost is Extra Magic Hours. There are additional hours available for resort guest but things have changed. Every day, all Disney World resort hotel guests can enjoy early entry into the parks, thirty minutes before the park officially opens for the day.
As for late nights, only deluxe resort guests have access to what is called Extended Evening Theme Park Hours. This is like an Extra Magic Hours replacement but only available to those staying at the top tier of Disney resorts. Disney has confirmed this will be offered through 2024. This of course does include Disney Vacation Club resort guests.
Other parks have hosted this but for the first time, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will have this offering. Extended evening hours at Animal Kingdom are available on the following dates so far:
The following attractions are advertised to be open but Disney also says they are subject to change and may not always be operational.
Avatar Flight of Passage
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
It’s Tough to be a Bug!
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
Na’vi River Journey
Pandora at night was originally advertised as a must do. Since the parks reopened in 2020, Animal Kingdom has not really stayed open for guests to enjoy this land that glows. Extended Evening Theme Park Hours gives certain guests the chance to enjoy this land at night again.
Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana DVC and Passholder Previews
A preview for Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana is happening for DVC Members before the attraction officially opens on October 16th, 2023. Only Members eligible for Member Extras can attend.
There is also an annual passholder preview on the same dates. Both previews will utilize a standby line or virtual queue based on Disney’s discretion.
Some information you should know from Disney:
In order to attend, you and your Guests must have valid theme park admission to EPCOT (sold separately) and a theme park reservation for EPCOT on the day of the preview event. If your theme park reservation is for a different theme park or if you enter EPCOT after 2:00 PM without a park reservation, you will not be eligible to participate in a preview that day.
Members and up to 4 additional Guests must also have a valid EPCOT park reservation and valid admission to EPCOT on a preview event date.
The DVC Member previews will take place on the following dates from park open to 5:00 p.m.:
Sunday, September 24th, 2023
Monday, September 25th, 2023
Tuesday, September 26th, 2023
Wednesday, September 27th, 2023
Thursday, September 28th, 2023
Friday, September 29th, 2023
Sunday, October 1st, 2023
Monday, October 2nd, 2023
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023
Wednesday, October 4th, 2023
Cake Bake Shop Opening Delayed
The Cake Bake shop coming to Disney’s BoardWalk quietly received a change in opening time frame. Once anticipated to open in 2023, the exterior now says coming soon and is expected in early 2024. The building is still very much just an open foundation and support beams. It’s been fun to see the transformation of the former ESPN restaurant into something shiny and new.
See more magic under construction in our DVC Resort Refurbishment Schedule. Disney’s BoardWalk Villas have so many dining options within reach. A sweeping resort renovation has upgraded the lobby, rooms, lounge and restaurant spaces in the last few years. See DVC resale contracts at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas.
Mirabel Meeting at Magic Kingdom and Encanto at Disney World
The Mirabel meet and greet is now open at Magic Kingdom! Right next to Cinderella Castle, she meets in Fairytale Garden which is dressed up to look like the courtyard outside of Casa Madrigal. This is one of a few opportunities to experience Encanto at Disney World. Here’s a sample of what times might look like but check the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit to confirm:
Grand Floridian Direct Prices Go Up
DVC goes up in per point prices at random and one property being actively sold is getting a price hike. The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort has been priced at $217 directly from Disney since sales reopened after the recent DVC expansion at the property. This is the same price as two other resorts being actively sold at this time including Aulani Disney Vacation Club Villas and Disney’s Riviera Resort.
The Grand Floridian is now $230 per point in 2023 as listed on the DVC website. This is still lower than the pre-expansion price in 2021 of $255. The Villas at Disneyland Hotel is also sold for $230 per point directly from Disney Vacation Club.
We can wonder if this means many of these Grand Floridian points have sold. Perhaps the price has gone up because Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa has received such an extensive renovation as well and is practically brand new. We don’t get an explanation for these kinds of price changes but we can use related information to draw conclusions. This certainly makes DVC resale even more appealing in terms of price. See DVC resale Grand Floridian listings.
Destination D23 Disney World News October 2023
Another big D23 event happened at Disney World recently. At Destination D23, we finally got more information about what’s coming to Disney World. First we found out the opening dates, shared above and below, for many promised offerings like Figment, now meeting guests, and the new Epcot fireworks show which will debut December 5th.
There was also mention of additions to Walt Disney World Resort that replace some of the expansions we’ve already been told about. The newest potential renovation and addition includes a tropical Americas themed land taking over Dinoland at Animal Kingdom. The Madrigal house would go here, instead of Magic Kingdom, and the Dinosaur ride would be re-themed to Indiana Jones. What’s behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad then? There’s still a lot being figured out apparently and we don’t have any solid information or opening timeframes.
Disney Announces Additional Investments
Within just a few weeks of the previous announcements, leaders at the company shared additional news at an investor summit about future investments in the Disney Parks, Experiences and Products segment of the company. From The Walt Disney Company:
“The Walt Disney Company is developing plans to accelerate and expand investment in its Parks, Experiences and Products segment to nearly double capital expenditures over the course of approximately 10 years to roughly $60 billion, including by investing in expanding and enhancing domestic and international parks and cruise line capacity.”
And from Josh D’Amaro Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products specifically:
“We have a wealth of untapped stories to bring to life across our business,” said D’Amaro. “Frozen, one of the most successful and popular animated franchises of all time, could have a presence at the Disneyland Resort. Wakanda has yet to be brought to life. The world of Coco is just waiting to be explored. There’s a lot of storytelling opportunity.”
This is great news for Disney World fans. We’ve seen a slow down and a complete stop in growth at Disney when it comes to new additions over the last few years. So much construction fell behind and took years longer to complete than anticipated. If you’ve been visiting Walt Disney World Resort for many years, you might feel that the parks are different these days. While an impressive amount of DVC resort refurbishments have been completed over the last few years, there isn’t anything solid to look forward to being built at the parks. This announcement shows a shift in interest from surviving the pandemic to thriving in a post pandemic travel world. And now we await specific land and attraction announcements along with groundbreaking and opening timeframes…
Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties Sold Out October 2023
Disney World’s spooky yet adorable Halloween event has been taking place every week at Magic Kingdom since mid-August. Most of the lowest priced nights sold out quickly. Every year we usually see a similar pattern in ticket sales. Halloween night at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party sells out first in the summer. Then as the party approaches, nights with the cheapest tickets start to sell out. This usually means event nights discounts are available to those with a Disney World annual pass and eligible Disney Vacation Club Members.
There are some new and updated details at Not So Scary in 2023. Mickeys’ Boo-To-You Parade has some enhancements including new costumes and characters. The fall themed unit of Boo To You now has dancing scarecrows. In the past these duet-ing dancers wore country style attire like jean shorts, boots and cowboy hats. You’ll also see Ursula float by, similar to the three fairies in Festival of Fantasy. It’s quite the neat effect. Clarabelle Cow, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck are also in the parade in their Sanderson Sisters costumes. Outside the park, keep an eye out for color changing monorails in Halloween colors, too!
New Food and Wine Booths Debut at Epcot
Any chance to get a Dole Whip is worth noting. It looks like Epcot now has another place for the favorite treat! The pineapple soft serve has been available at Epcot for years. However, this new location brings a perfectly placed position for it. The temporary location for Starbucks near the Canada pavilion has been empty for quite a while. The front now has a sign that reads Swirled Showcase and soft serve delights for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. What a cute name. This walk up window is conveniently positioned for a Dole Whip stop on your way into or out of World Showcase. Also available at Swirled Showcase, guests will find fun options like the Mickey Shaped Liquid Nitro Cake for $4.75.
The Wine and Wedge booth has wine and cheese offerings. Char and Chop features meats, one plant-based, and assorted beer options. Bubbles and Brine is probably the priciest booth and has a couple of seafood items and some fancy bubbly drinks like Dom Pérignon.
Disney 100 Mickey and Minnie Costume Meet and Greet and More
We’ve known that Epcot would be the center of the Disney 100 celebration at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The celebration is now underway and there is new magic to enjoy through December 31st, 2023. All of these offerings are now available in the park every day.
Disney 100 Mickey and Minnie: The ultimate hosts are now dressed for the occasion! Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse meet at the Pixar Short Film Festival next to the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot. These platinum, sparkly outfits feature rich, blue accent colors. A lovely and magical combination.
Mickey Popcorn Bucket: A Mickey balloon popcorn bucket is now available in Epcot for the celebration. Other Disney 100 merchandise has debuted over the last so many months. Look in the parks and at your resort’s gift shops for special items celebrating the anniversary of The Walt Disney Company. The Disney 100 rhinestoned Mickey statue pictured was found at the Screen Door General Store at Disney’s BoardWalk Villas.
Spaceship Earth Points of Light: See twinkles, sparkles and Mickeys in Disney’s signature blue on Spaceship Earth for the celebration. This colorful show is just a few minutes long but brings, a wonderful energy to the front of the park. The splashes of color and “When You Wish Upon a Star” theme make this one of the best Spaceship Earth light experiences yet!
There’s more fun later in the year when the new Epcot firework show, Luminous The Symphony of Us, debuts December 5th, 2023. See more details of the Disney 100 year anniversary celebration at Disney World and elsewhere.
Soarin’ Over California Returns
The original Soarin’ attraction is now playing at Epcot. This is stated to be a short term offering for the Disney 100 celebration at Epcot. Soarin’ Around the World replaced the California version in 2016. The attraction has many memorable scents and scenes fans know and love and is more serene than the globe traveling version with no startling transitions. Orange groves anyone?
Figment Now Meeting at Epcot
In characters at Disney World news, October 2023 has some fun changes. There’s a lot going on at the Imagination Pavilion these days! As Disney promised last year, Figment is now meeting with guests in the same building as the attraction. This is not the meet and greet with the small life sized Figment and his friend Dreamfinder. Instead, Figment meets alone and is the height of a grownup. This purple dragon is huggable and meets in the morning through the afternoon. Make sure you include your Figment visit before it gets too late in the day. Check the My Disney Experience app for times on the day of your visit.
Disney vs. DeSantis Continues
In other Disney World news October 2023, Disney is still engaged in legal battles with the Florida Governor. The most recent update is that the judge is still working on the timing of the case. Both parties’ proposed timelines were considered unreasonable.
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. There are other actions seen as attacks by the governor. 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 under consideration. Disney is asking for 2024 while the governor, who is running for president, is asking for 2025 after the election.
The latest: Disney has received much public support on this. To no surprise, many fans of the company have openly cheered for The Walt Disney Company in this matter. Now journalists and Republican former leaders have put forth support for Disney’s right to free speech without government retaliation.
It seems because Ron DeSantis is running for president, he says he has moved on from the feud with Disney and wants them to drop the lawsuit. He still wants to keep the efforts Disney is suing for in place though so that seems unlikely.
Why the Disney DeSantis lawsuit matters
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. At this point, Disney has committed to spending on investments at the parks. How it all plays out could certainly be affected by these legal outcomes.
Recent Disney World Updates to Know and Remember
Here we’re keeping track of recent updates we’ve already talked about that you’ll want to keep in mind for any upcoming trips.
The new Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant is open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The nighttime shows at Magic Kingdom and Epcot are Happily Ever After and Epcot Forever again.
TRON Lightcycle / Run is open at Magic Kingdom and uses 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 Very Merry Christmas Party tickets are on sale.
Jollywood Nights, the new Hollywood Studios holiday special ticketed event, tickets are on sale. Nights have started selling out.
Disney Genie+ now has park specific pricing by day.
The Mirabel meet and greet is open at Magic Kingdom.
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
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