Every week is a busy week when it comes to Disney news. To help you keep up with all of the updates coming out of Walt Disney World and other Disney resorts, here’s WDWNT’s weekly recap of the Disney news from January 20–26!
Walt Disney World
- Heavy machinery arrived at the Magic Kingdom parking lot expansion site for storm water improvements
- The start of monorail service to EPCOT is now delayed until 10 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays while the beam undergoes maintenance
- Work on the walkway from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa to the Magic Kingdom progresses. We finally got a look at the bridge that allows guests to cross the Electrical Water Pageant canal in the closed position
- Guests can no longer exit the Transportation and Ticket Center by Mickey’s Gift Station. Guests are being redirected to a temporary exit back through the security screening area to the right
- In a photo report, we look at refurbishments at the Cheshire Cat Cafe, digital signboards in Adventureland and Tigger doing what he does best: bouncing
- Valentine’s Day decor and merchandise has started to arrive at the park! Isn’t it lovely?
- Panels are going up to enclose the show building for TRON Lightcycle Run. The Game Grid approaches!
- Splash Mountain is undergoing its annual refurbishment, with crews working on the drop section. We’ll be zipping to the Briar Patch in no time!
- While the Walt Disney World Railroad remains closed to accommodate the construction of TRON Lightcycle Run, the stationary train exhibit is moving from the Main Street U.S.A. station to the Fantasyland Station on Monday
- Well, that escalated quickly: the entire facade of City Hall on Main Street U.S.A. is covered by scaffolding and plain beige scrim
- Bad news for any budding buccaneers: the Pirates League sails into the sunset July 27
- The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is well underway. This week, we looked at the character decals hidden around World Showcase, sampled the offerings at Pop Eats! and looked at the walkway art and living statues
- If you’d like to plan your visit to the festival, be sure to download our PDF guide and use our cost calculator spreadsheet. They’re packed with information and are absolutely FREE!
- On the construction front, the building frame of the former Innoventions West has been completely removed, leaving a void in our hearts that can only be filled with Beverly. Construction walls now surround the former EPCOT Character Spot
- There’s a new gallery at the France pavilion paying tribute to stage and screen adaptations of classic French literature with “Tales As Old As Time: French Storytelling on Stage and Screen”
- Speaking of the France Pavilion, new details are being added to the building facades that are part of the pavilion’s expansion area opening this summer, including themed chimneys
- Meanwhile, French hard cider will be on the menu at La Creperie de Paris when it opens. Taste testing is currently underway!
- In a photo report, we show off new merchandise locations and the ongoing transformation of the park entrance area
- Work on Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts and Barbecue races to completion, with new framing and decorative railing being installed, along with the most important part of the restaurant: the pit and its surrounding seating area. Plus, new tables have arrived
- As the EPCOT Experience prepares to expand its food service offerings, more tables and chairs are being found around the building
- Hop a ride on the monorail and check out all the construction work happening in Future World and on the new security entrance. It’s getting near complete!
- Good news! The torches around World Showcase are getting refurbished ahead of the premiere of HarmonioUS. Bad news! They won’t be lit for the rest of EPCOT Forever’s run! Though, depending on how you feel about EPCOT Forever, that may actually be good news
- As long as we’re talking HarmonioUS, the barges that will serve as the base of the new technology of this nighttime spectacular were delivered, and we have a look at them
- The Innoventions East bypass is nearing completion, making it easier to access the future homes of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Play! Pavilion
- Paint is peeling over at Cool Wash, which is bad. But crowds were low (except for the “Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along”), which is good!
- Construction walls are up around Mission: SPACE, as they prepare the entrance to nearby Space 220 Restaurant. The attraction remains unaffected by the work
- The refurbishment of Test Track is well underway, with the area around it getting repaved and re-landscaped while the attraction is down
- The newest addition of construction walls has made it extremely difficult to navigate the center of Future World. For anyone who ever wanted a maze at EPCOT, this one’s for you!
- Later that day, we discovered that the pathway leading to Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind from Future World East has opened. It’s great if you want to walk up to a ride that isn’t open yet
- It was a cold day in EPCOT when we found a taped-up Coca-Cola vending machine
- Our own Cassie Calkins listed her top five favorite World Showcase pavilions, and now we want to know yours!
- The Test Track refurbishment continues
- Two Guest Experience Team Cast Members are now assisting guests at temporary locations in EPCOT
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Get ready to reserve an appointment with Hondo Ohnaka, because FastPass+ reservations for Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run are now available for February 19 and later! Get them while they’re there
- And with that news, it’s no surprise that the FastPass+ tiers at the park are changing yet again, with Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Slinky Dog Dash becoming the lone two Tier One attractions
- Be sure to set your alarms, because Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open at 7 a.m. more often in late January and early February and 8 a.m. for most of February!
- In a photo tour around the park, loading delays on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance caused the rest of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to fill up quickly, even causing long waits at Ronto Roasters! Also, the holiday decorations are down, which is the perfect time to debut a new ornament set
- Speaking of loading delays, Rise of the Resistance delayed the start of boarding for seven (yeah, seven) hours on Tuesday
- A new reusable bag debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios featuring the new park logo
- The holidays may be over, but the crowds never die. Walk it off with this photo tour
- There are some new plant-based items at the Hollywood Brown Derby, and they don’t disappoint
- Outside of It’s a Wonderful Shop, newly-repainted snow has left its mark… a yellow mark
- Even less appealing than fake yellow snow is the very real dirt and peeling paint of Toy Story Land. Andy, clean up your toys once in a while!
- Just days later, the line for Ronto Roasters is empty! Now’s the time to grab a wrap
- The countdown is on to the opening of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. This week, we got a new addition to the Mickey Mouse shorts poster art series with “Tokyo Go!”
- Construction walls have gone up with concept art around the future entrance to Roundup Rodeo BBQ at Toy Story Land. I wonder what kind of wood Woody uses for barbecue?
- Costumes from “Descendants 2” are on display at Walt Disney Presents
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- We take a stroll around the park and focus on some of the cool signage (neat!) and a 210-minute wait for Flight of Passage (less neat!)
- Construction of the new security area outside the park has gone vertical
- How sweet it is! We’ve got a rendering of the exterior of the M&M’s retail store coming to Disney Springs
- In need of a new ‘do? Looking to lose a little scruff? The Art of Shaving has set up a barber station inside Marketplace Co-Op
- The opening of City Works Eatery and Pour House is imminent, with TVs on and what looks like Cast Members preparing for the grand opening
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
- Citricos is scheduled to undergo a refurbishment starting next month, though the restaurant is expected to remain open (with a modified menu) during the changes
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
- Ride like the wind for the new Bullseye Peanut Butter Cupcake at the Artist’s Palette, while you can trot right past the S’mores Brownie
Reflections — A Disney Lakeside Lodge
- Heavy construction equipment has arrived at the site of the future resort hotel, while green walls completely cover the beach around the resort site
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Little buckaroos can play to their heart’s content at the new Settlement playground, now open between Crockett’s Tavern and the Settlement Trading Post
- It’s alive! The former Downtown Disney District sign that was removed in April 2019 has resurfaced as a Disneyland Resort sign at the Toy Story Parking Area
- While not nearly as severe as the situation in China, the coronavirus outbreak has prompted some guests at the Disneyland Resort to take precautions, with a rise in guests wearing protective masks
- Refurbishment-mania has overtaken Fantasyland. Construction walls surround Snow White’s Scary Adventures with new art and themed scrim, while King Arthur Carrousel has also closed for refurbishment
- Refurbishment has also come for the Haunted Mansion as they take the holiday decorations down. The attraction will be closed longer than usual for cosmetic enhancements, including “lighted steel panels!”
- We got a new look at concept art for the “Magic Happens” parade before it kicks off next month, including floats inspired by “Cinderella,” “The Sword in the Stone” and “The Princess and the Frog”!
- If you’ve been hoping that Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run would be added to MaxPass, don’t get your hopes up. As of right now, the attraction is expected to remain standby only for the foreseeable future. Sorry to “tell you the odds”
- Guests can now use Apple Pay to purchase MaxPass using the Disneyland App
Disney California Adventure
- Work keeps swinging along on the new Spider-Man attraction at Avengers Campus, while a new mystery structure has gone vertical! There’s less good news for sightlines in Cars Land, though
- Get your rides in before Jessie’s Critter Carousel closes for a brief refurbishment from late February through early March
- Events and entertainment for the 2020 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival have been announced, including the new Disney Culinary Adventure Tour
- Dry January at Disney California Adventure means Grizzly River Run is closed for its annual refurbishment while the attraction undergoes maintenance and gets a touch-up
Downtown Disney District
- We took a stroll around the Downtown Disney District and noticed new merchandise, grabbed a bite at Marceline’s Confectionary, checked in on the construction at Jamba Juice and saw the neon trees were losing their neon
Disneyland Resort Hotels
Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
- There’s a new Sorcerer Mickey Cupcake at GCH Craftsman Grill, which is basic but looks really pretty. It was so pretty that we took it to Disney California Adventure for a photoshoot
- The first piece of concept art has been released for the new 12-story Disney Vacation Club Tower being built at the Disneyland Hotel. Here’s hoping it goes better than the cancelled hotel project
Tokyo Disney Resort
- Work on the Tokyo Disneyland entrance plaza is progressing, with scaffolding coming down, bricks being laid, lights being installed and trees being planted
- Scaffolds are also coming down as part of the New Fantasyland expansion
- The classic version of Country Bear Jamboree has returned to Tokyo Disneyland, while the Haunted Mansion removes its holiday theming
- A sweet dessert plate arrived at Center Street Coffeehouse for Very Very Minnie
- Resort profits are down 6%
Shanghai Disney Resort
- With the coronavirus outbreak sweeping China, the Shanghai Disney Resort closed this week over guest safety concerns and is issuing refunds to guests whose trips were cancelled
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
- Not long after Shanghai Disney Resort closed over the coronavirus outbreak, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort followed suit and closed on Saturday. Previously, the park had reportedly suspended face character meet-and-greets for cast member safety
- Before closing, an adorable Baby Simba popcorn bucket debuted at Hong Kong Disneyland and is likely to come to all Disney Parks, including Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort, in the near future
- Guests at Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, Disney Ambassador Hotel or Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta can purchase a plush badge and tote bag set that’s uniquely themed to each hotel
- Head back to the future with new Tomorrowland merchandise at Walt Disney World, including a D-Tech On Demand MagicBand and phone cases, along with apparel themed to the Astro Orbiter, the PeopleMover and Space Mountain. We later found the PeopleMover phone case available at Disneyland Park (still themed to the Walt Disney World version)
- A new designer Minnie Mouse ear headband by John Coulter debuted at EPCOT as part of the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, and we have photos from launch day
- Hop on your Tauntaun and check out this new Star Wars Hoth Spirit Jersey available at Disneyland
- Ring in the Year of the Rat with new Lunar New Year 2020 merchandise at EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including T-shirts, a Spirit Jersey, decorations and more
- Pay tribute to the Fab Five with new apparel including a sweatshirt and socks at Disneyland Park
- New Pink Peony Minnie ear headbands are in bloom at Disneyland Park, and they looked like they could be heading to Walt Disney World soon. Days later, they did!
- The Neff x Disney Minnie collection debuted at Walt Disney World, and there are new tops celebrating the ultra-cool Minnie Mouse
- Who doesn’t love a good keychain? Who doesn’t love the Fab Five? If you agree, these new Fab Five keychains at Walt Disney World might be for you
- “Minnie Mouse: The Main Attraction” merchandise has launched at the Disneyland Resort
- Tired of the World of PIXAR merchandise? Disney sure hopes not, as even more from the collection arrived at Walt Disney World this week
- New artsy D-Tech phone cases arrived at EPCOT in time for the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
- It’s a beautiful bella notte with this “Lady and the Tramp” windbreaker at Disney California Adventure. Of course, if you want something for your furry friend inspired by the classic film, check out this pet bowl and feeding mat at Walt Disney World
- Add some flair to your jacket or backpack with new Baby Pegasus and Marie patches at Disneyland Park
- Boogie back to the age of disco with this 70s-inspired button down shirt at the Disneyland Resort
- Put some bounce in your hair with a new Loungefly Luxo Ball Mickey ear headband at Walt Disney World
- Adventure is on your phone with this new “Up” iPhone case at Disneyland Resort
- Feel like royalty with these new Disney Princess tiara pins, now available at Disneyland Resort
- New basketball-inspired women’s clothing has arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Insert NBA Experience joke here
- If you’re in the mood for Disney Park Pals inspired by British literature, you’re in luck. Winnie the Pooh and the Cheshire Cat have joined the merchandise line at the Magic Kingdom
- Keep your cards and ID safe with Mickey, Madame Leota and more with new cardholders at the Disneyland Resort
- Get a look at the many, many items commemorating Very Very Minnie at Tokyo Disneyland! And don’t worry, there’s more on the way
- Add some Mickey magic to your pomp and circumstance with the Class of 2020 Mickey ear graduation cap at the Magic Kingdom!
- Live the park life with the Park Life OtterBox phone case and vintage-style halter top, now available at Walt Disney World
- Let out your inner Rapunzel with this new Pascal shoulder plush available at Disneyland Park — coming soon to Walt Disney World and shopDisney
- Keep the snacks outside the fridge with these new Disney Parks dessert and snack magnet sets at Disney’s Hollywood Studios featuring Dole Whips, Mickey waffles, Minnie macarons and a Mickey doughnut
- He’s conquered all merchandise worlds, and now, “Baby Yoda” has made it to a Lovepop greeting card available at Disney Springs
- Have royal work of art on your phone with these new Disney Princess watercolor D-Tech On Demand phone cases at Walt Disney World
- The “Monsters, Inc.” Disney Tails pet accessories line found the right door and made its way to Disney Springs!
- New pearl jewelry featuring Minnie Mouse and Marie has rolled into the Magic Kingdom
- Minnie, Cinderella and Park snacks watches made their way to the west coast at Disneyland Resort
- New vintage rainbow Mickey merchandise added a pop of nostalgic color to Walt Disney World
Entertainment and Media
- “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” crossed the $1 billion mark at the box office as the film slipped into fifth place domestically
- Get ready to enjoy “The Mandalorian” in Munich and “The Imagineering Story” in Innsbruck as Disney+ launches in Western Europe on March 24!
- The new and final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” debuts on Disney+ February 21, and we have a new trailer and poster for it
- In less happy Star Wars Disney+ news, production has been suspended (but not cancelled) on the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, with the crew filming in London being sent home
- Want to know what Bo Peep was up to between “Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 4”? Find out in “Lamp Life,” a new animated short premiering January 31st on Disney+
- Remakes are a song that never ends at Disney, as the studio is developing a live-action remake for “Bambi.” Let’s hope it’s more “live-action” than “The Lion King”!
Other Disney News
- Disney has put the cats out, as Si and Am of “Lady and the Tramp” have been removed from the Disney Cats pin trading set due to outdated cultural depictions. On the bright side, if you’ve ever wanted a pin of Rufus of “The Rescuers,” now is your time!
- “Onward” is getting ready to work its magic, with a special sneak peek coming February 7 to the Tomorrowland Theater at Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Presents at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney Cruise Line
- Set sail with WDW News Today personalities and fans aboard the Disney Dream this August with WDWNT The Cruise!
- From mittens to Minnie ears, we’ve got plenty of neat items on the WDWNT Prize Wall!
- Our own Jason Diffendal feels that the virtual boarding pass system for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance has some serious flaws, and he’s got some solutions on how to fix them
WDW News Today
Make sure you catch up on the News Today episodes from this week!
News Today 1/24/20 – Coronavirus Closes Shanghai Disney, Galaxy’s Edge Adds FastPass, Tiers Change
News Today 1/22/20 – Tokyo Fantasyland Update, Rise of the Resistance Downtime, Simba Popcorn Bucket
News Today 1/20/20 – Three New Films Debut at Epcot, Festival of the Arts, Lunar New Year
That’s all the Disney news for this past week! Make sure you check back at the end of each week for our weekly recaps!