There are always new and exciting things happening at Disney World. Here are some things we are looking forward to this month.
Rivers of Light Dessert Party (starting August 6th)
In what seems like the never-ending introduction of add ons, Rivers of Light, the night show at Animal Kingdom is getting it’s own dessert party.
Similar to the fireworks dessert parties at the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, you’ll get to view Rivers of Light from a reserved area and an hour at a dessert (and app) buffet plus beverages. For a cost of course.
This new party will be nightly starting August 6th. It will cost $79 for adults and $47 for children, in addition to park admission. Tickets available here.
runDisney Race Registrations (various starting August 7th)
If you’ve read our runDisney Basics post and now can’t wait to sign up for a race (or 2), this month is your chance. Registration for both the Princess Half Marathon Weekend and the Star Wars races happens this month.
2019 Princess Half Marathon Weekend
The popular Princess Half Marathon Weekend will be held February 21st-24th, 2019. The races are, you guessed it, Disney Princess themed. But have no fear guys, there are plenty of Princes running too.
In addition to a half marathon, there will be 5k and 10k races, and kids races too. And of course, challenges for those who care to run more than 1 race.
Registration opens August 7th at 12 noon Eastern (9:00 a.m. Pacific). Registration often sells out quickly, so I recommend setting an alarm to sign up right when registration opens. You can sign up here.
Star Wars Races
For those more interested in intergalactic running, the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend will be April 4th-7th, 2019. Unlike past years, this will bring the lightside and the darkside together. There will be a 5k, 10k, half marathon, kids races, and, of course, challenges.
If you aren’t able to make it to Disney World, you can participate in the 2019 Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon. You can run anywhere, and even break up the distance over multiple days between January 3rd-March 31st, 2019.
Registration for both the weekend and virtual half opens August 28th at 12 noon Eastern (9:00 a.m. Pacific). Registration often sells out quickly, so I recommend setting an alarm to sign up right when registration opens. You can sign up here for Star Wars Rival Weekend and here for the virtual half marathon.
If you are a DVC member or have an Annual Pass, you can sign up early starting on August 23rd at 12 noon Eastern (9:00 am Pacific).
Festival of the Lion King Dining Packages (starting August 13th)
The Animal Kingdom is adding a new dining package with priority seating for the Festival of the Lion King show. These packages are similar to those available for Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Candlelight Processional during the holidays at Epcot.
However, unlike at the other parks where you get a choice of different restaurants for different prices, you have to dine at Tiffins for these packages. The different tiers are based what you get with your meal, not the meal itself.
Tier I gives you access to VIP priority seating at the Festival of the Lion King show and a special safari tour. It costs $99 for adults and $49 for kids.
With Tier II, you just get priority seating at the show. It costs $74 for adults and $29 for kids.
Unlike Fantasmic and the Candlelight Processional, the Festival of the Lion King plays every day multiple times a day, so there is a serious question of value with these packages.
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (various starting August 17th)
Believe it or not, Halloween at Disney World starts in August, August 17th to be exact. The Magic Kingdom will be in full fall glory, for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP).
MNSSHP is a Halloween themed hard-ticket event. The party parade – Boo to You – is very popular. As is Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular, the castle stage show. There are even themed fireworks, Hallowishes.
As with all fireworks, there is a dessert party add on for $84 (on top of the cost of the party ticket).
If dance parties are your thing, there are 2 for your enjoyment during the party – Monsters Scream O-Ween Ball in Tomorrowland featuring Monsters, Inc. characters, and a new Disney Junior dance party.
For those who play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, there will be a party exclusive Orange Bird card.
New this year, there will be overlays on some of the rides including Mad Tea Party, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain. Pirates will have an interact
And it wouldn’t be Halloween without costumes. Normally adults are not permitted to wear costumes at the parks, but the rules are different for party nights. It isn’t a complete free for all, so be sure to check the rules here.
The party begins at 7pm, and requires a special ticket. You may be able to get in as early as 4pm with a party ticket. This was true of past years, but we’ve seen rumors that this will no longer be the place.
Even if you don’t plan on going MNSSHP, you should be aware of it because the Magic Kingdom will close early.
In August, the parties will be on August 17th, August 24th, August 28th, and August 31st. Tickets start at $85 and are available here. Note you have to buy a ticket for a specific night.
Disney PhotoPass Day (August 19th)
In celebration of World Photo Day, DisneyPhotoPass Day will be August 19th. There will be special characters, photo ops, and exclusive Magic Shots (photos taken by Disney PhotoPass Photographers with a little digital magic added). Not many details have been released yet, but check here for a run down on last year’s event. Follow us on Twitter for more details once they are released.
The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival (starting August 30th)
It is the most wonderful time of the year. No, not that most wonderful time of the year. It’s the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Well it will be August 30th.
Unsurprisingly, the International Food and Wine Festival features food and wine (and other tasty beverages) from around the world at different marketplaces throughout Epcot. There are also culinary demonstrations and seminars, concerts, and, of course, special merchandise.
For more basics on the Festival, check out our rundown on last year’s Food and Wine Festival here. The Festival doesn’t change much from year to year, so the tips still apply.
Flavors from Fire, one of our favorite new booths from last year is returning with it’s yummy dishes. In fact, many of the food and drinks we loved from last year are returning. For a full list of this year’s menus, click here.
Perennial favorite Canada Marketplace is returning in its full glory and we are thrilled. For our review of last year’s marketplace, click here.
It’s not all repeats this year. Disney has tried to make the Festival more kid friendly adding a new playground, candy sushi making class, and Junior Chef Kitchen on Sundays.
There will be a new Mimosa Bar in the Festival Center, which is where you will find us if you are looking. They have also added a new low-cost seminar – Food and Beverage Pairings – Fridays through Sundays.
Stay tuned for more Food and Wine Festival updates as we get closer, and reviews after the Festival gets started.
New Exhibit in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot (all month)
A new exhibit has finally opened in the Mexico Pavilion. Finally because Disney started installing this exhibit almost a year ago. Mirror de los Muertos is an interactive screen/mirror where you get to customize a skeleton to transport you to the Land of the Dead from the movie Coco. Tap your MagicBand and you can save your creation to the My Disney Experience App.
New Exhibit in the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot (all month)
The American Heritage Gallery in the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot has a new exhibit – Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art. This exhibit showcases contemporary and historic Native American art and artifacts. This should be a long term exhibit that will be refreshed periodically with new art and artifacts.
Future Happenings (to Book Now) (various)
The D23 Expo is a biennial conference full of insider Disney information. Think Comic-Con for Disney. During past Expos, Disney has announced park news such as Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. The 2019 D23 Expo will be held August 23rd through August 25th, 2019. But tickets will be on sale August 23rd (of this year). Tickets will be available here.
And it good news for all Pluto lovers, the pet friendly policy at some of the Disney resorts is becoming permanent. So now you can bring Pluto along on your Disney vacation, for a fee of course. As of now, here are the participating resorts and prices (on top of the room cost):
- Art of Animation – $50/night
- Port Orleans Riverside – $50/night
- Cabins at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness – $50/night
- Yacht Club – $75/night
New Merchandise to Check Out (all month)
Disney is known for it’s limited edition refillable cups and popcorn buckets. Animal Kingdom is getting in on the fun with an adorable canteen/flask. It is available at Mahindi Popcorn (in Africa), Feeding Ground (on Discovery Island), and at ice cream carts throughout the park.
New Food to Try and other Food News (various)
(Since menus at Disney change all the time with no notice, we’ve included some new/notable releases that should be tried soon before they disappear. Follow along on Instagram and Twitter for more updates.)
Last month we told you guys that Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian Village Resort was set to close for restoration after July 4th. Turns out the rumor mills were a little premature. We are now getting reports that it will close on August 5th for approximately 3 months, reopening in November. Tambu Lounge is famous (infamous) for serving ‘Ohana’s famous bread pudding and Lapu Lapu, a rum drink served in a pineapple.
During the renovation a temporary bar will still be serving, but there will be no seating. This is still just a rumor. Follow along on Twitter and we’ll let you know once it is confirmed.
Port Orleans – French Quarter Resort has new beignet options that we can’t wait to try. Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is the New Orleans style quick-service restaurant at the resort. Now you can have the famous Mickey shaped beignets that were previously only available at Disneyland. And you can get them in a sundae.
If you want your beignets with a side of alcohol, Scat Cat’s Club, the resort’s lounge, has Baton Rouge Beignets a.k.a. boozy beignets. You get to squeeze a tube of baileys, kahlua or rumchata into the (regular shaped) beignets.
For those of you obsessed with eating cookie dough – and lets be honest, who isn’t – you’ll now find edible chocolate chip cookie dough in all the food courts at the All Star Resorts.
The Magic Kingdom
Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom has started serving a prix fixe only dinner. The appetizer choices include French onion soup, lobster bisque, charred octopus, and a charcuterie plate. You also get your choice of an entrée. Everyone gets the same dessert, a trio, that includes the grey stuff (and yes, it’s delicious). The cost is $55 for adults and $35 for kids. So far reviews have been pretty positive, and we are thinking of giving it a try on our next trip.
Storybook Treats in Fantasyland has 2 new dessert options – the Peter Pan Key Lime Float and Twinkie Sundae. We had the chance to try the Peter Pan Key Lime Float, which is key lime ice cream and sprite with a chocolate feather. It is delicious and very refreshing on a hot, Florida summer day. But the ice cream isn’t creamy, more like a soft serve sorbet. And careful because the chocolate feather melts just like the ice cream.
Also in Fantasyland, Friar’s Nook added pub tots to their loaded tot options. They have also added a brat, and a secret vegan brat.
Golden Oak Outpost, a quick-service kiosk in Frontierland, has some great new snack options. On the savory side there are jalapeno poppers and fried cauliflower. We got a chance to try the jalapeno poppers, which were really good. Crispy, with a great kick. But the portion size leaves a lot to be desired. And don’t bother with the sauce is comes with, ask for creamy garlic ranch that comes with the cauliflower. Don’t settle for the pre-packaged ranch either. If you have a sweet tooth, there are 2 milkshakes also available, Rocky Road and Dulce de Leche, both made with real ice cream. And the Dulce de Leche has bacon. If you want to enjoy your snacks in the A/C, cross the path to blissfully cool Pecos Bill.
Speaking of Pecos Bill, the quick-service restaurant in Fronteirland, veggie nachos are now on the menu. They may seem plain, but you get to load them up from the fixin’ bar, which makes them a pretty good deal.
Skipper Canteen, the newest table service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, has a secret menu of sorts. The newest special is bang bang shrimp.
The ice cream of the month at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor is chocolate fudge. And next door at the Plaza Restaurant the milkshake of the month is extreme cookies and cream.
In the Animal Kingdom, Tiffins has a new prix fixe lunch option. Tiffins is the signature restaurant in Animal Kingdom. For $35, you can get an appetizer and an entrée, or an entrée and a dessert. The prix fixe option is only available from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
There is also a new dinner option at Animal Kingdom. Pizzafari, a quick-service restaurant on Discovery Island, has a new family-style dining experience. This set menu isn’t all you can eat, but you’ll get a serving per person for $20 for each adult and $12 for each kid.
Over in Pandora, Satu’li Canteen, the quick-service restaurant, has added a new protein bowl, and new bases for the bowls.
Not satisfied with all that, Animal Kingdom has added a new lounge to Restaurantosaurus, in DinoLand U.S.A.. After 5 p.m., part of the restaurant becomes a lounge with drinks and small bites. There are tables, but no sit-down bar. This trial run is scheduled to last about 3 months, and, if the not so stellar reviews are to be believed, it won’t last past that.
In sad news, Nomad Lounge has replaced the amazing brisket poutine with truffle poutine. Basically they just took out the meat. They also added black eyed pea fritters and impossible burger sliders to the menu.
Woody’s Lunch Box, the new counter-service restaurant in Toy Story Land, has already lost a few items from its opening day menu. But there is one new addition of sorts. You can now get an adult float by adding ice cream to the Grown Up Lemonade.
In celebration of a new musical act, the popcorn cart in Canada now has a blueberry frozen drink. Over in the China Pavilion, Joy of Tea has a new Milk Cap Tea.
Heading to Future World, there is a new Boston cream cupcake at Fountain View, a.k.a. Starbucks. Sunshine Seasons, the quick-service restaurant in the Land Pavilion also has a new dessert – chocolate mousse with cookies and cream crumbles.
Paddlefish in Disney Springs is hosting a Rooftop Wine Experience on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month featuring small bites and wine pairings. August 14th will be South American Reds. August 28th will feature a Tour of Italy. The event is from 5-6 p.m. Tickets are available here for $40 (21+).
Sprinkles Cupcakes has a new seasonal cupcake, s’mores, available only through August 12th.
Terralina Crafted Italian, the newest restaurant in Disney Springs, has a late night happy hour Sundays-Thursdays from 9-11 p.m. with $5 beers and ½ price wine on the patio.
Chicken Guy, a quick-service counter, just opened on the side of Planet Hollywood. In addition to chicken (of course), they also have frozen treats, and the triple double mint is calling my name.
Refurbishments and other Attraction News (various)
No one wants to get excited for an attraction or restaurant only to find it closed when you are there. This month’s closures:
- Liberty Square Riverboat at Magic Kingdom – all month (extended)
- Be Our Guest Restaurant – August 20th-24th
- Kringla Bakeri og Kafe (Norway) at Epcot – all month
With the extension of the Liberty Square Riverboat refurbishment at the Magic Kingdom, we are being told that Tiana’s Riverboat Ice Cream Party and Festival of Fantasy Parade Viewing will not be returning at all.
Splash Mountain, also at the Magic Kingdom, is now sponsored by Ziploc. Normally we aren’t all that interested in corporate sponsors, but this one comes with free stuff for guests. You’ll get a free Ziploc bag to keep your stuff dry on the ride. Albeit in limited quantities, so you should have alternatives.
This month is the last month to catch Disney Junior Live on Stage at Hollywood Studios. It will end September 1st.
Also at Hollywood Studios, Star Tours has returned to randomized sequences again. About a year ago, Star Tours changed over to only scenes from Star Wars Episode VII: The Last Jedi. Now it is back to a new adventure for every ride. We nerds are excited for the repeatability of the ride to return.
Expedition Everest in the Animal Kingdom is long overdue for a refurbishment. Rumor has it that may be happening soon. The bad news is it will likely be a long refurb. The good news is the Yeti should be fixed. For those who aren’t aware, the Yeti on the ride was supposed to move, but broke shortly after the ride opened. We are hopeful to check out the ride in all its intended glory once it reopens.
The Electrical Water Pageant has new times through August 18th:
- Polynesian – 8:40 p.m.
- Grand Floridian – 8:55 p.m.
- Wilderness Lodge – 9:35 p.m.
- Fort Wilderness – 9:45 p.m.
- Contemporary – 10:05 p.m.
That’s all for this month. Disney likes to keep us on our toes and coming back, so don’t be surprised if there are more new things announced throughout the month. We will be keeping you updated on Twitter and Facebook.
Will you be heading to Disney World this month? What are you most looking forward to? Leave a comment and let us know.