Plus…. Sunshine Seasons no longer serving breakfast, Character odds n’ ends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and more Walt Disney World news!
Let’s kickoff 2016 and the January edition of the WDW Radio Newswire at Epcot. For this one, we venture through the western breezeway and over to The Land pavilion, where Soarin’ has officially closed its doors, as preparations are now fully underway for the attraction’s transformation to Soarin’ Around The World. The attraction closed up on Monday, January 4th, with a re-opening date of “Summer 2016” being displayed on a sign at the entrance to the pavilion. Construction has been ongoing on a third theater for the attraction for several months now, and a new film has already been shot featuring scenic global sweeps of areas like the Great Wall of China, The Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and more. A version of Soarin’ Around the World will debut first at Shanghai Disneyland, as well as at Disney’s California Adventure and Epcot.
For more news out of The Land, let’s venture back upstairs and head over to the Garden Grill. Chip n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast is now officially open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with reservations for all three meals available for booking now. Breakfast had been in a trial period the past few months, but as of Monday, January 4th, breakfast is officially on the menu! Meanwhile, the nearby quick-service spot Sunshine Seasons has ceased serving breakfast. The restaurant used to open up at 9am, with breakfast options available until 11am. As of Monday, January 4th, the restaurant now opens at 11am, with no hot breakfast offerings available. I found this quite disappointing on my trip to Epcot last week, as my brother and I were looking forward to quick-service breakfast at Sunshine Seasons. Fountain View is now the lone place in Future World to grab a quick-service breakfast. Let’s hope this change is short lived! (Be sure to check out more news and notes from my trip at the end of this article)
Time to park-hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios now, as an extensive closure is set to begin at Pizza Planet. The restaurant will close up shop on Tuesday, January 19th, with a re-opening date scheduled for Monday, November 7th. That’s a closure of nearly ten months! A closure of that length, combined with the upcoming Toy Story Land being built across the park, could very well spell the end for this incarnation of Pizza Planet (I’d expect a new Pizza Planet restaurant to be a part of Toy Story Land when it opens up next year). It’s already been confirmed by Disney the restaurant will re-open as a quick-service pizza place, but I’d expect the theme to be completely different when it does. The presence of the Muppets literally next door would be an obvious (and glorious!) choice, but only time will tell.
For more news out of DHS, let’s venture over to the nearby Streets of America, as two popular Character Meet and Greets have recently been discontinued. The Phineas and Ferb and McQueen and Mater Meet and Greets closed up at the end of the day on Monday, January 4th. However, McQueen and Mater were still meeting and greeting with Resort guests who had Magic Bands when my brother and I visited DHS on Wednesday, January 6th. I’d imagine the location is dark by now though. In related news, a new Character Meet and Greet area is currently being built across from Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. No official word on who may be meeting and greeting there upon completion, but given its location, I’d expect it to be Star Wars-related characters.
For our final bit of news, let’s hop over to Magic Kingdom Park and make our way deep into the heart of Adventureland. It was recently announced The Magic Carpets of Aladdin will be seeing some downtime at the end of the month. The attraction is slated to cease operations on Monday, January 25th, with flights over Agrabah set to resume on Thursday, February 4th.
Well, that’s gonna do it for the January edition of the WDW Radio Newswire, but before I wrap things up, my brother and I just got back from WDW last week, and I had a few quick bits to share with you!
. We ate at Trail’s End for the first time and LOVED it!! We’ve always been a Hoop-Dee-Doo family, but we’ll make time for this one every trip from now on, and I suggest you and your’s do the same!
. While we’re on the subject of food, The French Dip Burger at Electric Umbrella was absolutely amazing! Try it!
. The Transportation Cards are still available from most Monorail, bus, and boat operators! We started collecting on Day 3 of our trip, and we gathered up nearly all of the 27 cards in the latest series. The quest is like a scavenger hunt and we definitely got wrapped up in the chase. They’re super fun to collect and make great free souvenirs!
. Most of the swimming pools around property close at 9pm now. This one was pretty disappointing for us, as on previous trips we’ve been big fans of the late night swim. Pool activities after midnight may be a bit late, but they can certainly keep them open later than 8 or 9pm!
. Innoventions is alive and well! We ventured in and scoped out the latest exhibits and we were very happy we did! Colortopia was awesome! I highly recommend it to all ages and there’s even an app you can download to interact with the attraction well after you’ve left the park. Sum of All Thrills was packed too, as wait times reached 40 minutes when we were there, second in the park only to Test Track.
Well, that’s a wrap for this edition. But, I’ll be back again next month with lots more news, notes, and happenings from Walt’s beloved Florida Project!
Don Myers has covered news and recent events in Walt Disney World for the WDW Radio Blog since 2011. He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say… the rest is history! Don was also a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine, submitting over 30 articles and 7 cover stories for the publication from 2009 to 2012.