Home / News / NEWS ROUNDUP: New Holiday Experience Coming to AK, New Limited-Time Passholder Perks, New Vacation Package Introduced, New Eat to the Beat Acts Announced, Celebrate Haunted Mansion & More

NEWS ROUNDUP: New Holiday Experience Coming to AK, New Limited-Time Passholder Perks, New Vacation Package Introduced, New Eat to the Beat Acts Announced, Celebrate Haunted Mansion & More

As the summer winds down, activity at Disney World heats up. Preparations for the holiday seasons are underway, and more news means we’re even more excited for fall and the holidays. Disney announced a whole new holiday experience and decorations coming to Animal Kingdom this winter, along with new limited-time annual passholder benefits. All the grim ghost will be grinning even wider this month with a special 50thAnniversary celebration of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion that is spilling over to Disney World. Food & Wine Festival is right around the corner, and new acts have been added for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. Check out the full schedule below. Also, Disney has introduced a great new vacation package just for first-time visitors. All this and more below.


1 – A Magical New Holiday Experience is Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The holiday season is always a magical time at Disney World. Animal Kingdom will have brand new entertainment and décor for the holiday season! Disney Cast Member Shawn Slater has all the details below:

This holiday season, guests visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom will find festive new entertainment and holiday décor in every land of the park, from DinoLand, U.S.A. to Pandora – The World of Avatar. On Discovery Island at the heart of the park, the magic of the holidays will truly come to life, with incredible experiences both day and night.

It all begins when you cross the bridge to Discovery Island, finding yourself in the midst of a celebration of winter, hand-crafted by the eclectic community of artists who make the island their home. The village is filled with sparkling white holiday decorations. Colorful, animal-inspired luminaries line the rooftops, and wireframe lanterns in the shape of beautiful birds can be found perched throughout the area.

Credit: Disney

A holiday gathering of winter animals – realized in the form of life-size, artisan-sculpted puppets – frolics on Discovery Island during the day. Reindeer, foxes, polar bears, penguins and more interact with guests, accompanied by serenading musicians as they create a playful atmosphere of festive fun.

As day becomes night, the rooftop luminaries and bird lanterns all around Discovery Island bring a warm and festive glow to the entire village. At the center of everything, the Tree of Life awakens with a series of wintry tales, complemented by a familiar and heartwarming holiday-inspired musical score. Between awakening moments, the Tree of Life continues to shimmer and sparkle throughout the night, alive with the magic of nature and the spirit of the holidays.

2 – New Limited-Time Fall Passholder Offerings at Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Complimentary passholder magnets are one of the great benefits of being an annual passholder at Walt Disney World. In the last year, Disney has been offering themed magnets during Epcot’s festivals featuring some of our favorite Disney characters. This year, during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, two new passholder magnets will be available at Epcot. We’re really excited as well for a magnet that will be available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Click here for all the details!


3 – Celebrate All Things Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World on August 9

999 happy haunts? Always room for one more. We all know and love the Haunted Mansion. We are very excited to celebrate the attractions 50th anniversary in Disneyland. Here at Walt Disney World, there will be exclusive merchandise and themed treats! To learn more click here!

4 – Book A ‘My First Disney Getaway Package’ Walt Disney World Resort Stay Now

First trips to Disney World are always so special. Now, Disney World is offering a ‘My First Disney Getaway Package’ for families of three! Disney Cast Member Jennifer Fickley-Baker has all the details below:

My husband and I recently welcomed a baby boy into our family – and I simply cannot wait to take him on his first trip to Walt Disney World Resort! Nothing compares to watching a little one meet Mickey Mouse or a favorite Disney Princess at Magic Kingdom Park or take in the colorful sights and sounds of “Festival of the Lion King” and marvel at Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s animal inhabitants.

If you’re a family of three looking for the right time to take your little one on his or her first visit, then we have a new package deal you simply can’t miss!

Credit: Disney

The My First Disney Getaway Package costs $999 and includes a two-night stay at a select Disney’ All-Star Resort for two adults and one child (age 3-9), plus one-day admission to Magic Kingdom Park and one-day admission to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Package guests will also receive one stroller rental per day (subject to availability), as well as a reusable merchandise bag that contains a plush toy, autograph book and pen, and a pair of “My First Visit” Mickey Ears!

The My First Disney Getaway Package can be booked now through September 24, 2019, for travel dates occurring most Sunday to Wednesdays between August 11 through September 25, 2019.

For a no-obligation, FREE Quote on the My First Disney Disney Getaway or any other 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.


5 – New Acts Added to the Eat to the Beat Concert Series

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival will be here before you know it. One of the highlights of the festival is attending the free Eat to the Beat concerts. The final schedule is almost complete, with only one weekend left without an act scheduled. Check out the latest schedule below.

Eat to the Beat 2019 Schedule

  • Plain White T’s
    August 29 through 31
  • Sawyer Brown – NEW!
    September 1 through 2
  • MercyMe
    September 3 through 4
  • Grace Kelly – NEW!
    September 5 through 6
  • Zach Williams – NEW!
    September 7 through 8
  • Lauren Daigle – NEW!
    September 9 through 10
  • Jimmie Allen – NEW!
    September 11 through 12
  • Tiffany
    September 13 through 15
  • The Allman Betts Band
    September 16 through 17
  • Everclear
    September 18 through 19
  • STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
    September 20 through 22
  • Postmodern Jukebox
    September 23 through 24
  • Blue October
    September 25 through 26
  • Mark Wills
    September 27 through 29
  • Sugar Ray
    September 30 through October 2
  • Taylor Dayne
    October 3 through 4
  • India – NEW!
    October 5 through 6
  • 98°
    October 7 through 9
  • Boyce Avenue – NEW!
    October 10 through 11
  • Southern Avenue – NEW!
    October 12 through 13
  • Kenny G
    October 14 through 15
  • 38 Special
    October 16 through 17
  • Baha Men
    October 18 through 20
  • Billy Ocean
    October 21 through 22
  • Sheila E
    October 23 through 25
  • High Valley
    October 26 through 27
  • Hanson
    October 28 through 30
  • Sheena Easton
    October 31 through November 1
  • Kris Allen – NEW!
    November 2 through 3
  • Boyz II Men
    November 4 through 6
  • The Hooters
    November 7 through 8
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
    November 9 through 11
  • TBD
    November 12 through 14
  • BBMAK – NEW!
    November 15 through 16
  • Spanish Harlem Orchestra – NEW!
    November 17 through 18
  • DCappella – NEW!
    November 19

6 – First Look: NBA Experience at Disney Springs is a Slam Dunk!

Disney Cast Member Jeremy Schoolfield has all the details below:

Last week I had the good fortune to step inside the new NBA Experience at Disney Springs as part of Disney cast member previews. I’m here to share some of my first impressions, as well as our first official photos from inside! This one-of-a-kind destination was created by Disney in collaboration with the NBA to make you feel what it’s like to walk in the footsteps of NBA and WNBA champions.

Ahead of its August 12 grand opening, I had a blast trying out the venue’s 13 basketball-related activities. Dribble, for example, works on your ball-handling skills, while Dunk! features an adjustable rim so you can make a highlight-reel slam. Over in the Arcade, you can challenge your friends and family to get the high score in the classic Pop-A-Shot game, or check out Trivia to see who knows the most about the NBA and WNBA.

You can participate in these activities in any order you choose, and return to them throughout your visit to NBA Experience to improve your scores and skills.

Credit: Disney

To get you pumped up for the debut of this new destination, here are five takeaways from my preview of NBA Experience:

All About the Guest – This place is all about you – almost every activity encourages you to be an active participant. I recommend you complete the optional registration once you’re inside; this allows you to customize and personalize your experience by adding your own nickname and choosing your favorite NBA or WNBA team. Your team’s logo will be associated with you throughout your stay on various leaderboards and signage, and when you try the Shoot! activity, the court magically transforms to make it feel like you’re in your favorite team’s home arena! Plus, you can choose different basketballs to best fit your hand size (NBA, WNBA or Youth) and set your own skill level – if you’ve never even picked up a basketball before, don’t worry, NBA Experience has you covered.

Immersive Environment – Walking into NBA Experience feels like stepping onto center court of an arena, complete with huge overhead video monitors, pulsing music and swirling lights. Whether you’re a huge NBA fan or wouldn’t know what the inside of a basketball arena looks like, you will get swept up in the energy. That stunning entry sets the tone for the whole place; I lost track of time as I moved from one activity to the next, completely absorbed in what I was doing.

Authenticity – Walt Disney Imagineering worked closely with the NBA to ensure NBA Experience is authentic. The hoops are regulation size (unless you need them adjusted to dunk!), and team and league logos are all over. Everything just feels right. For those new to the game, this is a great way to learn all about the league, its players and the game as a whole, straight from the source. If you’ve ever been curious about the NBA or WNBA, let your journey into fandom begin here!

Interactive Technology – For how physically fun NBA Experience is, it’s also a high-tech environment. When I first entered the building, I immediately went over to the massive touchscreens in the Champions area and started looking up my favorite championship teams. You can dive deep into league history, with notes about each of those legendary teams along with photos and video highlights. I also thoroughly enjoyed Replay, the activity that challenges you to make the right call in three different scenarios using your own personal interactive replay station; you can view the play from different angles, zoom in on key moments, and move the video forward and backward before deciding to confirm or overturn the call. Going back to my earlier point, Replay feels so real – I could easily imagine NBA or WNBA replay officials sitting at a very similar setup every night of the season.

Inspirational – After spending a good amount of time inside NBA Experience, I realized there’s a fundamental principle that runs throughout the entire place – it’s inspirational. Everyone around me was constantly encouraging me to do my best. Or, sometimes, the activity itself is the inspiration all its own, such as Dribble. Here a virtual coach kept saying things like “Good job! Keep it up! Keep going!” as I was working my way through a series of ball-handling drills. NBA Experience focuses on your successes, and always encourages you to do better.

Keep checking Disney Parks Blog for more on NBA Experience as we prepare to open this groundbreaking new destination at Disney Springs. You can pre-purchase tickets now wherever Walt Disney World tickets are sold. It’s almost time to lace up your shoes!

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!