Home / News / NEWS ROUNDUP: Skyliner Opening, Illuminations Final Act, Epcot Forever Sneak Peek, Candlelight & Festival of the Holidays News, Tron Coaster Update, Port Orleans Changes & More

NEWS ROUNDUP: Skyliner Opening, Illuminations Final Act, Epcot Forever Sneak Peek, Candlelight & Festival of the Holidays News, Tron Coaster Update, Port Orleans Changes & More

This week at Disney World brings the end of an era and the close of one of our favorite experiences. It also brings the opening of a brand-new form of transportation around the Disney World Resort. Disney released more Festival of the Holidays news along with names of additional Candlelight Processional narrators. Don’t miss the sneak peek of the new Epcot nighttime show and the progress update on the new Tron rollercoaster in Magic Kingdom. Disney World announced a new package available for the week of Christmas. All this and more below.


1 – New Disney Skyliner Opening Soon

We’re less than a week from the opening of the newest transportation option at Walt Disney World—the Disney Skyliner! Disney recently released a sneak peek video of traveling in the gondolas. Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Jennifer Fickley-Baker:

We’re primed for take-off, as Walt Disney World Resort is about to glide into a new transportation era.

When Disney Skyliner takes flight, September 29, 2019, guests aboard this complimentary transportation system will see one-of-a-kind views of woodlands, waterways and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot – with familiar Disney pals appearing to be along for the ride.

Check out the video below for a first look at stunning vistas seen along the Disney Skyliner routes.


Disney Skyliner conveniently connects Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios with four resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort, a Disney Vacation Club resort that will open Dec. 16, 2019. With approximately 300 vacation homes, including various accommodation types, Disney’s Riviera Resort will be available for traditional hotel reservations as well as membership sales.

To go along with five artful loading stations along the line, each cabin will be stylish in one of eight vibrant colors and feature sleek curved lines. Many of the nearly 300 cabins will feature graphics based on Disney films, attractions, and characters – giving the sensation that Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Goofy, Chip ‘n Dale, the Pirates of the Caribbean and many others have joined the fun.

Each Disney Skyliner cabin can accommodate up to 10 guests, including those traveling with wheelchairs or assistive devices. With the system in constant motion, guests will arrive at their destination in minutes; and they’ll arrive relaxed – in the comfort of cabins mindfully tailored for the Florida climate.

In addition to convenient theme park access, guests staying at Disney Skyliner resorts will have quick-and-easy transportation to a world of other dining and entertainment options. These include all the fun of Disney’s BoardWalk entertainment district, access to Epcot through the International Gateway station, and restaurants and recreation found at the multiple resort hotels serviced by Disney Skyliner.

2 – Disney Skyliner Preview Event

We’ll be attending a preview media event of the Disney Skyliner on Friday, September 27! We’ll be sharing video and photos on our Instagram account and through our Instagram Story. We’ll also be sharing our review and thoughts on the temperature inside the gondolas!

Click here to follow us on Instagram for our event coverage.

3 – Last Chance to See Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

It’s hard to believe that the end of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth is a week away. Disney Cast Member Shawn Slater shares more below:

After a dazzling 20-year run, we’ll soon be bidding a fond farewell to “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” at Epcot. Begun as part of the Millennium Celebration, which started in October 1999, this nighttime spectacular has touched the hearts and minds of millions of guests over the past two decades. Personally, this show is very special to me and my wife, Laurel. We saw it on our first date back in 2000 and later got married at Epcot, so every time we see the show, it brings back a flood of memories.

If you love “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” too, you still have a few more nights left to catch this classic Epcot show before its final performance on September 30, 2019. So gather around World Showcase Lagoon for your last chance to enjoy this breathtaking display of lasers, lights, and fireworks – and don’t forget to pick up “IllumiNations” merchandise as well.

With the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival taking place right now, we’ll definitely be heading out to the park to make a new memory with “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” and we’re looking forward to the October 1 debut of the all-new fireworks spectacular, “Epcot Forever.”

I hope you’ll join us in embracing the future… and all the magical possibilities to come.


4 – Peek Behind the Scenes of New Nighttime Spectacular ‘Epcot Forever’

Even though Illuminations is ending, we don’t have to wait for a new nighttime show. The new show ‘Epcot Forever’ will debut on October 1 and we’re very excited. Disney Cast Member Shawn Slater shares more below:

Making its debut [soon], “Epcot Forever” will be an all-new, limited-time spectacle of fireworks, music, lighting, lasers and choreographed special effects kites. The show takes us on a journey through the past, present, and future of Epcot, featuring a stirring collection of songs that paint a colorful picture of the park, with a look towards the future and all the magical possibilities still to come.

Disney Parks Live Entertainment is busy getting “Epcot Forever” ready for opening day. At the D23 Expo last month, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek shared a special sneak peek at some of the work taking place behind the scenes. Take a look (and listen)!


5 – Two More ‘Candlelight Processional’ Narrators Announced, Holiday Kitchen Offerings and Cookie-Stroll Adventures Set for Epcot International Festival of the Holidays 2019

We’ve got less than 95 days until Christmas and Epcot’s Festival of the Holidays is looking shaping up to be its best festival yet! Disney Cast Member Jennifer Fickley-Baker shares more below:

Fall begins September 23 with the autumnal equinox, and visions of holiday happenings already are dancing in our heads! The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth is gearing up for a glittering music-and-entertainment-filled, treat-forward kickoff Nov. 29. The annual event, enhanced park-wide with sparkling holiday lights and festive decor, will continue through Dec. 30, 2019.


In a July, we announced quite a few celebrity narrators for this year’s beloved “Candlelight Processional,” and now we have two more vibrant stars slated to appear. Film and television actress, director, and wildlife conservationist Isabella Rossellini will be the Candlelight storyteller December 8-10; and actress, author, activist and Oscar winner Marlee Matlin will appear December 27-28. They join a stellar cast of narrators that kicks off with Ming-Na Wen, actress and voice of Disney animated heroine Mulan, November 29-Dec. 1. Performed at the America Gardens Theatre, the “Candlelight Processional” is a heartwarming and rousing show featuring a live orchestra, massed choir and celebrity telling of the traditional Christmas story.


From day one of the festival, 13 Holiday Kitchens plus additional food-and-beverage locations (more than 25 in all) across Epcot will serve a delectable array of bites, sips, and creative treats.  Your holiday tasting journey might begin with Slow-Roasted Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Cranberry Sauce at the American Holiday Table. Between the Morocco and France pavilions, you’ll find the new Smoked Salmon Potato Latkes at the L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen (where the Pastrami on Rye with House-made Pickles and Deli Mustard is a returning favorite). Then discover other new bites including Canadian Wild Rice and Ham Soup with Pretzel Roll at the Yukon Holiday Kitchen, which also brings back its popular Seared Verlasso Salmon with Crown Maple Whisky Glaze, Parsnip Silk, Apple Chutney and Hazelnut Croquant.

The Holiday Cookie Stroll is rewarding fun for the family and gives everyone a chance to explore the festival with baked goodies offered at several Holiday Kitchens. As your taste buds tingle just thinking of these mouth-watering treats, we decided to list each location for your planning and strolling pleasure – choose any five cookies featured in your Festival Passport, collect matching stamps and receive a complimentary Santa Mickey Sugar Cookie at the Holiday Sweets & Treats location:

  • Bavaria Holiday Kitchen: Linzer Cookie
  • American Holiday Table: Gingerbread Cookie
  • Yukon Holiday Kitchen: Peppermint Pinwheel Cookie
  • Feast of the Three Kings: Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
  • L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen: Black and White Cookie

If you’re caught with your hand in the cookie jar, don’t worry! You can purchase a Cookie Stroll Cookie Jar at one of the World Showcase Holiday Markets while supplies last.

The “Candlelight Processional” is performed three times nightly at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. – guaranteed seating is available by booking a Candlelight Processional Dining Package at or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

6 – Expanded Lounge and New Café Coming to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter

Hanging out at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter is one of our favorite things to do while staying there. Disney recently announced an expansion of one of its lounges and a dedicated stand for those famous delicious beignets! Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Jennifer Fickley-Baker:

If you didn’t know this about me, I love all things fall. And as we’re about to officially fall into the autumn season, it feels like the perfect time to stop by Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter for one of my favorite treats: pumpkin spice beignets! Best of all, there’s even sweeter reasons to stop by the resort coming this fall.

Soon, things will be jazzed up even more at the resort’s lounge: Scat Cat’s Club. The club will expand to a larger space to serve up signature beverages and flavorful bar options offering a taste of the “Big Easy” in a lounge inspired by the French Quarter in New Orleans.

And just like the French Quarter always has music playing, Scat Cat’s Club will continue to fill the room with entertainment authentic to the New Orleans story, featuring live jazz music five nights a week.

With the expansion of Scat Cat’s Club, the famous beignets will soon be available throughout the day at an all-new location near the lobby, Scat Cat’s Club – Café, making it easier to pick up a piping hot batch. The beignets are made in-house daily, available in classic as well as my favorite seasonal flavor, and many are even served in a signature Mickey-shape!

Whether you’re staying at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter or craving some sweet beignets and lively music, you’re invited to swing by Scat Cat’s Club to enjoy its timeless charm and new offerings starting this October.

7 – Food Guide to WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs

The fall season is officially here, and in addition to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, there is another great option to taste the flavors of the season. From now until November 4, you can enjoy the ‘WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs.’ There is an excellent variety of foods and beverages to enjoy.

Click here for the Foodie Guide for WonderFall Flavors at Disney Springs.


8 – Tron Lightcycle Run Construction Update

Construction is coming along nicely on the Tron Lightcycle Run coaster coming to Magic Kingdom. The Tron coaster is part of the many new attractions that will be ready for the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World! We can’t wait. Find out more below.

Click here for video and a photo of the latest construction of the coaster.

Click here for our rundown of everything that’s coming for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary!

9 – There’s a New Great Big Tomorrowland Sign

Earlier this summer, Disney removed the old Tomorrowland sign on the bridge connecting the Hub and Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland is getting somewhat of a makeover as Disney is preparing for the 50th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World resort. Early last week, the new sign was installed. Reactions have been mixed. Many love the new sleek modern look while others think it’s quite dull. We’re still not sure what to think! Check out the new sign by heading to our Instagram post by clicking the link below.=

Click here to see the new Tomorrowland Sign.

10 – Celebrate the Holidays with the Ultimate Disney Christmas Package-Limited Availability

If you’re thinking of visiting Walt Disney World during Christmas week, you’ll want to check out the Ultimate Disney Christmas Package. Disney Cast Member Avery Maehrer has all the details below.

There are so many wonderful vacation experiences to choose from when celebrating the most magical time of year at Walt Disney World Resort, but this year’s Ultimate Disney Christmas Package has quickly become a guest favorite.

With very limited availability remaining due to its high popularity, this package presents you with an itinerary full of Yuletide offerings, including a five-night stay at a select Disney Resort hotel from Dec. 21-26, 2019, four-day theme park tickets with the Park Hopper Option and some exclusive holiday experiences just for guests on this package – giving the whole family festive fun to enjoy. The package can be booked through Oct. 26, or until it sells out.

Credit: Disney

The holiday season is such a special time at The Most Magical Place on Earth, from snow-filled strolls down Main Street U.S.A. to festive nighttime entertainment. New décor at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays and dazzling shows at Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are just a few of the holiday happenings taking place across all four theme parks.

To get details about the Ultimate Disney Christmas Package while it’s still available and learn more about other special offers and help to book your vacation, call our travel partners Magical Vacation Planners at (407) 442-0227. You can also get a no-obligation, FREE vacation quote by clicking here.  Their services are free to you, and they can answer any questions you may have.

11 – Disney Parks, Experiences & Products Chairman Bob Chapek Gives Walt Disney World Cast a Sneak Peek of Mickey’s Runaway Railway

The transformation of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is almost complete. We are eagerly awaiting Mickey’s Runaway Railway, which is opening in spring of 2020. Recently Disney Cast Members were surprised with a sneak peek at the new attraction. Here are all the details from Disney Cast Member Jennifer Fickley-Baker:

Recently, cast members from Disney’s Hollywood Studios were treated to a surprise sneak peek of the progress underway at the Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction – by none other than Disney Parks, Experiences & Products Chairman Bob Chapek himself!

The attraction, which will open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in spring 2020, will put guests inside the unpredictable world of Disney Channel’s Emmy® Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts. Once they step into the cartoon world of Mickey and Minnie, they’ll board a train with Goofy as the engineer. Then, one magical moment after the next leads to an out-of-control adventure filled with surprising twists and turns. The attraction will use an original story, lovable theme song, state-of-the-art technologies, and dazzling visual effects to create an unforgettable multidimensional experience.

Check out the video above for a look at the cast members’ fun surprise moment.


What’s New & Coming Soon at Disney World!

It’s a very exciting time growth and development at Walt Disney World. In fact, there are so many new things opening, coming and happening, it’s hard to keep track. Here’s a cheat sheet to help keep things straight and make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Now Open

Click here for everything you need to know at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – Select Dates Now Through November 1

Click here for the 11 Can’t-Miss Experiences at the 2019 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Now Open Through November 23

Click here for our 2019 Epcot Food & Wine Preview

NBA Experience at Disney Springs – Now Open

Click here for our review and what you need to know about this fun new experience.

Reimagined Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – Now Open

Click here for our review and walkthrough with photos and video.

Coming Soon to Disney World!

Disney Skyliner – September 30, 2019

Click here for what we know about Disney’s newest form of transportation.

Epcot Forever – October 1, 2019

After saying goodbye to Illuminations: Reflections of Earth on September 30, 2019, a brand-new nighttime show, Epcot Forever will debut. (See link below for more information)

Epcot Reimagined – Now Through Fall 2021 for Walt Disney World’s 50thAnniversary

Click here for a complete rundown of what’s coming to the new Epcot including closures.

New Cirque du Soleil Show – April 17, 2020

Click here for everything we know about this new show!

Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration – 2021

Click here for our rundown of everything that’s coming for Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary!

Star Wars Hotel – unknown

Click here for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser-What We Know So Far About the Upcoming Star Wars Themed Hotel Coming to Disney World

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!