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 December 16–22!
Walt Disney World
- It was confirmed that Disney and Virgin Trains USA are in “advanced stages” of talks to build a Walt Disney World terminal
- The all-new McDonald’s restaurant has started to take shape over by the All-Star Resorts
- Yet another new character bus wrap has been spotted in the resort, and this time it was a speedy Lightning McQueen design
- Guests using Mobile Ordering at select dining locations can now select whether their food should be packaged “For Here” or “To-Go” when placing their orders
- Check out this week’s photo report for the Magic Kingdom, including construction progress on TRON Lightcycle Run, Pluto’s model moment and more!
- We reviewed the new limited-time breakfast offerings over at The Friar’s Nook, including Sausage Gravy Tots, Cinnamon-Sugar Donut Holes and a Croissant Sandwich
- To compensate for an extremely rainy Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Disney offered guests a complimentary 1-day ticket or event ticket exchange
- New themed digital tip boards were installed
- Following the fire that broke out last week, Big Top Souvenirs has reopened
- A permanent new security screening area has opened at the park entrance
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will close for refurbishment in May
- The special holiday entertainment and attraction overlays from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be available for all guests during Christmas week
- It was confirmed that Disney Villains After Hours events will return in February 2020, with a new Villains’ Cursed Caravan attraction and more
- We tried the new “I Lava You” Dole Whip float from Sunshine Tree Terrace
- Some very good news this week: “The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History” is coming back for a limited time through the end of December
- A new TRON Lightcycle Run photo-op has been installed with the new ride vehicles guests can try out
- Check out this week’s photo report for EPCOT, including the new Art of Disney store, more new concrete in the France pavilion and more!
- A new entrance marquee has been unveiled for the upcoming “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” show in the Canada pavilion
- A permanent “Awesome Planet” sign has been installed in The Land pavilion
- In the American Adventure pavilion, a new entrance and outdoor seating area was revealed ahead of the grand opening of the Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts and Barbecue restaurant, and a new Art of Disney location opened at Heritage Manor
- We now have a clearer image of what the Inside Out meet and greet location will look like, as the new Imagination Land backdrop was revealed
- A new restroom facility opened on the World Showcase promenade
- The Future World construction walls are now sporting bold, themed directional signage; the Moana – Journey of Water attraction construction walls now feature characters; and the walls at the entrance of the park have come down, revealing new walkways and planters
- In Mouse Gear, it looks like the remodeling work has begun in earnest, as we noticed that cash registers were removed
- As details are revealed for the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival 2020, new performers were announced for the Garden Rocks concert series
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Official procedures were confirmed for park open Boarding Groups and backup boarding groups for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- We reviewed the new Wookie Oatmeal Cookie Sandwich from Backlot Express (it was very chewy!)
- A new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker exhibit was installed at Star Wars Launch Bay, whilst scenes from the new movie debuted on Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
- It would appear Disney now has no plans to add roaming droids to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Check out this week’s photo report for Animal Kingdom, including a look at the Avatar Flight of Passage restrooms, Harambe House, Kevin appreciation and more!
- Guests had to be evacuated from Avatar Flight of Passage earlier this week following a reported fire at the attraction
- The exterior work and signage is complete at the new Club 33 location Harambe House
- We reviewed this limited-time Avatar Ten-Year Anniversary cupcake
- New mid-queue restrooms opened in Avatar Flight of Passage
- A guest was arrested at Animal Kingdom for being in possession of a firearm
- Check out this week’s photo report for Disney Springs, featuring long lines for Santa, West Side construction and more!
- The former Bongos Cuban Cafe has been almost entirely demolished
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
- There’s some very impressive gingerbread creations over at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort as part of a cast member competition, including an incredible Lilo & Stitch shack and a resort replica
Disney’s Riviera Resort: Now Open!
- Watch the Grand Opening Ceremony for Disney’s Riviera Resort, which features some very special guests!
- Of course, we had to try all the restaurants across the newest Walt Disney World Resort hotel, including the highly-anticipated Topolino’s Terrace. We tried tiny Madeleines, Bouchon Brownies, Gold-Topped Tarts and more afternoon pastries from Le Petit Cafe. Cinnamon Crumble “French Toast” Bread Pudding, Lemon-Blueberry Pancakes, Breakfast Pizza and more were enjoyed at Primo Piatto. Best of all, we must say that the new Topolino’s Terrace character breakfast is one of the best there is!
- During the opening night of the resort a Murphy Bed fell on a guest, leading to all of the Murphy Beds across the resort being marked as “Out of Order”
- Take a look at every piece of opening merchandise (with prices!) available from Disney’s Riviera Resort
- It was announced that the Coach USA “Disneyland Resort Express” bus service will cease operations January 7, and the SuperShuttle at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) ends December 31
- We discovered the Star Wars overlay of Space Mountain is due to be removed during the refurbishment of the ride in January
- The dates of closure for Snow White’s Scary Adventures have been revealed to be January–May 2020 for an extensive overhaul project on the ride
- Disney shared a behind-the-scenes video look at the development of the upcoming “Magic Happens” parade, featuring a recording session with composer Todrick Hall
- The Cars Route 66 Road Trip attraction coming to the Walt Disney Studios Park will open in Summer 2020, and a new logo has been revealed
- Take a look at the recently reopened Autopia attraction in Discoveryland
Tokyo Disney Resort
- Check out this week’s photo report for Tokyo Disneyland, including the Country Bear Jingle Bell Jamboree, One Man’s Dream II: The Magic Lives On finale and more!
- Take a look at the construction progress on The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast in New Fantasyland
- Self-service registers will come to Pan Galactic Pizza Port in Tokyo Disneyland in March 2020
- New Ben Solo and reforged Skywalker Legacy lightsabers are now available at the Disneyland and Hollywood Studios Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge locations
- A new Coco souvenir travel cup is available at Disney California Adventure, as is a new Star Wars: A New Hope resort refillable mug at Walt Disney World
- The magnificent new Maleficent glow wings available from the Magic Kingdom will transform anyone into a Mistress of Evil
- Baby Yoda is still everywhere, as we noticed new designs featuring “The Child” debuted at the Personalized Shirt Lab in the Magic Kingdom, and new phone cases and magnets levitated into shopDisney
- New Anna and Elsa children’s dresses from Frozen 2 arrived at Walt Disney World
- Over in Disneyland Paris, a limited-release reissued collection of Euro Disney Opening Day April 1992 merchandise will hit shelves soon, as will these impressive The Timekeeper (Le Visionarium) Space Mountain, 20,000 Leagues and Ratatouille collector keys
- A pretty pink new The Aristocats Dooney & Bourke purse collection and “Because I’m a Lady. That’s Why!” design dress and Loungefly bag sauntered into Disney Springs this week
- A new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker limited-edition MagicBand landed in Walt Disney World
- An adorable new hat featuring Mickey and Minnie taking a ride on a teacup spun into Walt Disney World
- A new collection of coral-colored apparel is now available at Walt Disney World, including a Spirit Jersey
- A sweet new collection of kitchenware arrived in Walt Disney World, featuring a retro cherry design and Mickey and Minnie
- Cute GM Chevy-licensed Minnie Van toy cars are now available at Walt Disney World
- Colorful and retro new attraction-themed phone cases will come to Tokyo Disney Resort soon
- In ear hat news, these new Bride and Groom Mouse Ear Hats walked down the aisle into Walt Disney World, along with these new Disney Vacation Club icon Minnie Ears we spotted at the Riviera
- A super cute, super fun new “Park Life” merchandise collection landed at Walt Disney World, featuring Loungefly items, plushes, apparel and more!
Entertainment and Media
- The big entertainment news of the week was the highly-anticipated release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Despite problematic initial scores on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, the movie had a very successful release, bringing in a whopping $40 million from the early screenings on Thursday night alone! Read our review of the conclusion to to Skywalker saga here
- In gaming news, the Disney Magic Kingdoms game is running a limited-time The Rise of Skywalker event and has added a new Star Wars expansion to the platform. Similarly, new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker downloadable content is now available for Star Wars Battlefront II
- The new Disney+ original series Diary of a Future President will premiere on the streaming platform January 17
- The latest trailer and new character posters have been revealed for Onward
Other Disney News
- Take a photo tour of the stunningly magical Saks Fifth Avenue Frozen 2 holiday windows in New York City
WDW News Today
Make sure you catch up on the News Today episodes from this week!
News Today 12/17/19 – TRON Lightcycles Arrive, Riviera Resort Opens, Flight of Passage Restrooms
News Today 12/19/2019 – New Train Station at Disney World, No Droids Coming to Star Wars, Murphy Bed
That’s all of the Disney news for this past week! Make sure you check back at the end of each week for our weekly recaps!