Home / News / NEWS ROUNDUP: Four New Dining Locations Announced, Star Wars Reservations Now Open, New Fireworks Sneak Peek, New Merch & a Bunch More

NEWS ROUNDUP: Four New Dining Locations Announced, Star Wars Reservations Now Open, New Fireworks Sneak Peek, New Merch & a Bunch More

You can tell summer is coming to an end because the news from Disney World is definitely picking up. Disney made a slew of food-related announcements this week including four new dining options coming to Disney Springs and a laundry list of new food items around property. Also, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is right around the corner and guest can now begin making a reservation for experiences in the new land. Disney World fans were abuzz earlier this summer with news that a new fireworks show would debut in 2019 at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We got a preview of the new show and can’t wait to share it with you. All this and a bunch more below.


1 – Disney Announces Four New Dining Locations Coming to Disney Springs & New Menu Items Around WDW

Just when we thought Disney Springs couldn’t get more awesome, Disney has announced four new dining locations coming in the near future. The already popular food destination will receive one table service, a food truck, a food stand, and a quick-service location. In addition to these new dining locations, other new menu items were announced all over Disney World!

Click here to learn more about the table service restaurant.

Click here to learn about the other locations at Disney Springs and more foodie news for Walt Disney World.

2 – Reservations Open for Three Star Wars-Galaxy’s Edge Experiences

The opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is so close, and we are super excited to finally experience Star Wars in a brand-new way! This week Disney announced reservations for three different experiences in the land are now open. While some limited walk-ups will be available, we highly recommend making reservations in advance. Besides saving you time waiting in line, reservations will also guarantee admission to Galaxy’s Edge. Availability may be limited, so sure to check back often. To learn more, click here!

3 – First Look at New Halloween Fireworks Show Revealed

The fall season is almost here, and Friday, August 16, is the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! That means we can expect fall decorations to pop up at Magic Kingdom this week! Headlining the Halloween party, a brand-new fireworks show will debut featuring Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Disney has released a few more details about the new show and has released a video sneak peek! Click here to learn more!


4 – Florida Resident Halloween Party Discount

Speaking of the Halloween Party, did you know Florida residents get a $10 off party admission? Just be sure to be logged into your MyDisney Account to see the discounted price. The Halloween Party runs from August 16 through November 1 on select nights.

5 – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Merchandise Events

As we gear up for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney is offering multiple Star Wars merchandise events that give you the chance to meet up with Star Wars authors, voice talent, and artists. Click here to learn more.

6 – The Newest Spook-tacular Wishables Collection Has Arrived at Disney Parks

We love the Haunted Mansion and what a better way to show how much you love the attraction with brand new Wishables! Disney Cast Member has all the details below:

It might not be time to put on your Halloween costume just yet, but it is time to celebrate the spookiest attraction at Disney Parks this #WishablesWednesday. That’s right, this month’s Wishables collection, out today, celebrates the classic attraction that opened at Disneyland park 50 years ago this month! These are the kind of hitch-hiking ghosts that you want to follow you …. All the way home!

Credit: Disney

50 years of happy haunts and grim-grinning-ghosts certainly make a visit to the Haunted Mansion a must-do experience celebrated by fans around the world. With this new collection inspired by the classic attraction, you can add some spooky fun to your growing Wishables collection. Did you know that the hitch-hiking ghosts have names? You can pick up the open edition, Gus the prisoner, or one of the other ghosts in the blind bags — Ezra the skeleton, Phineas the traveler, Constance the bride or the Hatbox Ghost!

Pick up the newest Haunted Mansion Wishables collection during your next trip to Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, or on shopDisney starting on August 14. Then don’t forget to share your next Wishables adventure using #DisneyParksWishables and #WishablesWednesday, we love seeing where you bring your Wishables during your Disney vacation!


7 – Lauren Daigle Brings Pop Passion to the Eat to the Beat Concert Series at the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

One of our favorite parts of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. This year there are so many amazing acts making their way to Epcot. We’re especially excited for the very popular, Lauren Daigle, who will make her first appearance at Epcot. Recently Disney chatted with her. Disney Cast Member Charles Stovall has all the details below:

It seems everywhere one turns around the pop music scene these days, you will see Lauren Daigle.

Billboard Hot 100Chart – check!

Daytime Talk Shows – been there!

Nighttime Talk Shows – done that!

Lauren even won two Grammy Awards this year!

And we are so thrilled to have her performing at this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. As a part of the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, Lauren is scheduled to perform Sept. 9 and 10.

Coming onto the music scene in 2013, Lauren has slowly taken the industry and pop music fans by storm with power vocals and empowering lyrics on songs such as “How Can It Be?,” “You Say” and “Oh, Lord.” Her latest record, “Look Up Child,” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100Charts and has since been certified Gold! The new single “Rescue,” just came out and is already making waves.

We caught up with Lauren before a recent appearance in Central Florida where she talked about her musical journey, the excitement of the last two years and her love of eating around Walt Disney World.


The 24th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival runs from August 29 to November 23, 2019. A culinary mashup of global cultures and gourmet innovation, the Festival brings irresistible bites, sips, entertainment and family fun to Walt Disney World Resort. This year’s Festival will add a dozen extra days, expanding the foodie celebration to a delicious 87 days.

Epcot guests can begin with the aromas and flavors of 30 festive global food and wine marketplaces that extend from Future World to encircle the World Showcase promenade. Guests also can explore opportunities for special tastings and pairings, plus premium dining events featuring chef personalities.

Guests can also get their gourmet groove on during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series that runs three times nightly August 29-November 19. Eat to the Beat Dining Packages, available at select table-service locations, will include guaranteed concert seating. Reservations for special programming and premium festival events including Eat to the Beat Dining Packages can be made by calling (407) WDW-FEST.

8 – Find Out How The Lion King’ Protect the Pride’ Campaign is Helping Save Lions

Many of our readers know that Disney has been working to ‘Protect the Pride’ this summer. Saturday, August 10 was World Lion Day, and was a great opportunity to bring more awareness to the campaign that is working to double the number of lions in the wild by 2050. Disney Cast Member Scott Terrell has all the details below:

We’ve been talking a lot about lions lately, in celebration of Disney’s The Lion King, which came roaring into theaters on July 19. Through the “Protect the Pride” global campaign, Disney is helping to address the crisis facing lions and other wildlife across Africa by supporting the Wildlife Conservation Network’s (WCN) Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) and its vision to double the number of lions in the wild by 2050.

Since 1995, the Disney Conservation Fund has directed more than $75 million to save wildlife and protect the planet. And now, Disney has already donated more than $2 million to WCN’s LRF and its partners, and will make additional grants as well as invite fans to participate and help increase the donation—for a total contribution of up to $3 million.

How is this helping to save lions? The LRF supports a variety of partner organizations working in Africa with a three-pronged approach to lion recovery: investing in conservation projects on the ground, developing campaigns that support the protection and revitalization of Africa’s lion population, and expanding collaborations among organizations. The LRF directs 100 percent of all contributions to projects that recover lions, with zero administrative fees or overhead.

Enjoy this video featuring some of the many inspiring and incredible conservationists supported through the Lion Recovery Fund as they share the challenges facing lions and actions they are taking to save them.


These individuals were among more than 80 of the world’s leading lion conservation experts who assembled at Walt Disney World Resort earlier this year during the Lion Footprint Forum. We were proud to be able to host this event with WCN – it was the first meeting of its kind in 20 years —bringing together lion conservationists and philanthropists to collaborate on the challenges and opportunities to recover lions.

If these conservationists leave you inspired to help “Protect the Pride,” there’s still time to join the effort:


9 – Walt Disney World Resort to Serve as Official Host of 2022 Special Olympics USA Games

Disney has announced that they will serve as the official host of the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games! Cast Member Reggie Roberts has all the details below:

The excitement is building as plans for one of the nation’s most inspiring sporting events – Special Olympics – come together for the 2022 USA Games.

And guess what?

On Thursday, Walt Disney World Resort announced it will serve as the official host of the 2022 Special Olympic USA Games, which will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. These games will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Special Olympics Florida.  An event of this scale happens because of the thousands of dedicated volunteers who are passionate supporters and super fans, which is why Disney is also proud to be the Presenting Partner of the 2022 USA Games Volunteer Program.

Credit: Disney

Holding the event at Walt Disney World Resort continues the long standing relationship the company has with Special Olympics, which also includes additional sponsorship and in-kind support for the USA Games, as well as employee volunteers.

For the first time in the Games’ history, athletes were invited to create the logo for the 2022 USA Games.  Nine athletes contributed to the design, including four from the state of Florida. The new logo was unveiled as part of a ceremony held on Thursday.

10 – NBA Experience Opens Monday, August 12

Over at Disney Springs West End, the NBA Experience will enjoy its grand opening on Monday, August 12. Disney developed this one-of-a-kind environment in collaboration with the NBA, where guests enter the world of professional basketball. The high-energy, family-friendly venue is packed with 13 different basketball-related activities across 44,000 square feet and two floors.

We’ll be there to cover the Grand Opening ceremony featuring NBA, WNBA, and ESPN personalities as well as Disney and NBA executives. The ceremony begins at 9:30 am EST. Be sure to follow us on Instagram where we’ll be adding to our Story all morning with clips of the opening ceremony, along with photos and video of some of the activities you can experience. Finally, look for our full review next week!

11 – Central Florida Students from Boys & Girls Clubs Among First to Experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World Resort

This week Central Florida students from the Boys & Girls Clubs enjoyed time in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge—before its opening to the public on August 29. Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Tajiana Ancora-Brown.

“Bright suns” from Batuu!

It was a very special day in the galaxy far, far away, as more than 1,000 local students from Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida visited Walt Disney World Resort for a special community preview of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The preview continues a 50-year partnership between Disney and Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida to provide imaginative and memory-building experiences to local children and families. As some of the first guests to travel to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the students experienced the land’s immersive storyline firsthand. They tasted blue milk and other treats, met familiar faces from the galaxy and were also among the first to climb into the cockpit of the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy” and try their hand at piloting the Millennium Falcon.


This is the first of several Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge community experiences, which will also bring over 140 Wish families staying at Give Kids the World Village into the new land.


12 – Applications Now Open for 2020 Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort

High school students can apply now for the 2020 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence magazine. This annual life-changing mentoring program will take place March 12-15, 2020, at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The application window is open now through October 31, 2019. With celebrity speakers, out-of-the-classroom learning and countless emotional moments, the program helps 100 select students, ages 13-19, from across the United States jump-start their life goals and pursue their dreams.

Disney Dreamers Academy turns the entire magical setting of Walt Disney World into a vibrant classroom. Students participate in a series of sessions and workshops designed to help them imagine bright futures, make exciting discoveries and learn how to put their goals into action. Disney Dreamers engage in a wide variety of experiences at Walt Disney World while working side by side with celebrities, community and industry leaders and Disney cast members.

For more than a decade, Disney Dreamers Academy has inspired young people from across the country by fueling their dreams and showing them a world of possibilities as they prepare for the future. Each year, students participate in hands-on, immersive career seminars in a wide range of disciplines found at Walt Disney World. Students learn how to improve their communication skills, discover what it means to be a leader and acquire networking strategies, among other skills. They are also inspired by celebrity speakers and other special guests who share their stories and provide insights on how to achieve their life goals.

Disney Dreamers Academy is focused on challenging young people to relentlessly pursue their dreams through the “Be 100” campaign. This aspirational initiative is inspired by the powerful impact Disney Dreamers Academy has made on graduates, who have gone on to become doctors, nurses, engineers, pilots, journalists and more. Some have started their own public relations firms, while others have worked with national political leaders.

Applicants must answer essay questions about their personal journeys and dreams for the future. Students are selected based on a combination of attributes, including strong character, positive attitude and determination to achieve their dreams. A parent or guardian accompanies each student on the trip.

This four-day, all-expenses-paid experience at Walt Disney World will continue to help change the lives of young people in 2020. For more information or to apply, visit

13 – Amidst Period of Record Expansion for Walt Disney World Resort, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Contributed More Than 7,000 Jobs to the Central Florida Area

With the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge set for August 29, Walt Disney World Resort continues its position as being a “force” for Florida and the economy, contributing more than 7,000 jobs to the Central Florida region since the beginning of the project in 2016. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, totaling 14 acres, is the largest single-themed land created in a Disney Park. It transports Guests to the planet of Batuu and pushes the boundaries of innovation and creativity, providing customized experiences to everyone who visits.

Credit: Disney

Among these new jobs are 1,700 operational roles, including leadership positions, entertainment performers, attractions engineers, and food and beverage and merchandise hosts and hostesses. These exciting expansions offer our Cast Members new opportunities to expand their skills and grow their careers all across our Resort. In addition, jobs were created due to the support of both small and large Florida-based companies contributing more than 5,500 local trade, artisan and construction roles.

“The anticipation for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is unlike anything else we’re experiencing at Walt Disney World Resort,” said Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president, Walt Disney World Parks. “Our Cast Members make our parks uniquely special and we couldn’t create any of the memorable and immersive experiences for our Guests without their talents, passion and dedication.”

As part of the opening, the 1,700-member team had unique opportunities to learn about the story of this amazing new land, received specialized name tags and could customize their costume by hand-selecting apparel and accessories from an array of Resistance- and First Order-themed options, creating a unique Batuuan look and fully integrating them into life on the planet.

“I have such pride in our Cast Members and am so confident in the opening team as they bring Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to life,” said Phil Holmes, vice president of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. “This opening team is unparalleled and sets the stage in delivering out-of-this-galaxy experiences with guests traveling to Black Spire Outpost.”

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


About Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!