The return to pre-pandemic normal continues with more re-openings, a sneak peek at a new restaurant and menus, the next generation of MagicBands arrives, and more below in this week’s Disney news roundup.
1 – NEW MagicBand+ Now Available at Walt Disney World
On July 27, the highly anticipated MagicBand+ launched at Walt Disney World. The new product will enhance guest visits to Walt Disney World Resort throughout the vacation destination’s 50th-anniversary celebration and beyond. The next-generation MagicBand+ will retain the popular features of MagicBand 2 and add new functionality to unlock experiential moments of magic throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks and resorts. All guests can buy MagicBand+ at select stores across Walt Disney World and online at shopDisney, starting at $34.99. In addition, guests may continue to use their existing MagicBand and Disney MagicMobile, available on eligible devices, to enjoy other features, such as park entry. MagicBand2 will continue to be available for purchase as well. Learn more about MagicBand+ and see some of the designs available at the link below. MagicBand+ will be available at Disneyland Resort later this year.
2 – Sneak Peek at the Upcoming BoardWalk Deli Coming to Disney’s BoardWalk
Last week, we shared the news that the BoardWalk Bakery is closing and will reopen as BoardWalk Deli. This week, Disney shared menus and photos of some of the items that will be available. Learn more at the link below.
3 – Victoria & Albert’s Restaurant Now Open
Victoria & Albert’s has reopened at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The penultimate signature dining experience has been closed since March 2020. At Victoria & Albert’s, every member of the team strives to deliver a flawless dining experience, combining the perfect balance of creativity with a passion for impeccable service. A recipient of the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award since 2000 and Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Award since 2018, the restaurant is the only one in Florida to be honored with both awards and one of only 26 nationwide. Learn more about the restaurant at the link below, including the recently reimagined interiors.
4 – Merida Meet & Greet at Fairytale Garden Reopens at Magic Kingdom
In June, Disney announced that more meet-and-greet locations would reopen at Walt Disney World. This week, Merida’s meet and greet reopened to guests. Merida welcomes guests throughout the day at her Fairytale Garden in Fantasyland near the Teacups and across from Cosmic Rays. Be sure to check the My Disney Experience app for up-to-date greeting times.
5 – Another Night Sold Out for the 2022 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
It’s hard to believe, but the Halloween season at Walt Disney World kicks off in under two weeks. The first party is on August 12! Ticket sales have been slower than in the past, and only two parties have sold out at the moment. We recently shared that Halloween night is sold out, and the party on August 16 has also sold out this week. The party on August 16 is priced at $109, making it one of the cheapest nights. Interestingly, it is the second party and is on a Tuesday. Other parties priced at $109 are still available. Learn more about the upcoming party at the link below.
6 – Disney Cruise Line Celebrates Disney Wish with New ‘Wishes Set Sail’ Initiative to Empower Local Youth
In celebration of the Disney Wish’s inaugural season, Disney Cruise Line (DCL) announced that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida (BGCCF) is one of the first youth initiatives to receive funding as part of its all-new ‘Wishes Set Sail’ campaign.
Earmarked for BGCCF Brevard County Branches, DCL’s donation will support education and career development programs, with a special emphasis on the maritime and hospitality industries.
“Disney Cruise Line is excited to continue supporting our valued port communities and contributing to critical youth initiatives through this new program,” said Disney Cruise Line Senior Vice President & General Manager Sharon Siskie. “We’re proud of the 25-year relationship we have with Canaveral Port Authority and Brevard County and are dedicated to continuing our commitment to this area. Our hope is that this donation will empower local students and help their wishes set sail.”
Captain Minnie Mouse and Disney Ambassador Ali Manion visited the Cocoa Branch of the BGCCF to celebrate the launch of this campaign. Making her debut in 2019, Captain Minnie empowers girls and young women to pursue careers in the cruise industry and chart a course for success.
The Walt Disney Company has enjoyed a long-time partnership with the BGCCF, which aims to provide a safe place to learn and grow for more than 7,000 at-risk children throughout the region while enabling them to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.
“We are truly thankful for our continued partnership with Disney Cruise Line, particularly as we look to create new initiatives that will spark our members’ interest in our programs,” said RaQuel Hinton, Senior Service Director for the organization’s Cocoa Branch. “The Wishes Set Sail support will open new doors for our members to explore careers in the maritime and hospitality industries, which many of them have yet to experience.”
In total, Disney Cruise Line will distribute $400,000 to local youth initiatives in DCL’s key port communities throughout the Disney Wish’s inaugural season. Wishes Set Sail adds to Disney Cruise Line’s initiatives that inspire youth to pursue maritime careers.
Other efforts include special programming in youth activity spaces onboard where young captain hopefuls, together with Captain Minnie, practice their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills in fun, maritime-themed challenges and games that test their problem-solving and nautical abilities. In 2019, Disney Cruise Line also introduced a scholarship program in partnership with the LJM Maritime Academy in Nassau for female cadets aspiring to become ship captains and shipboard leaders. The scholarships include tuition to the three-year program – two years of study at the academy and one year of service aboard a Disney ship.
About Disney Cruise Line: Since its launch in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has established itself as a leader in the cruise industry, providing a setting where families can reconnect, adults can recharge and children can experience all Disney has to offer. Today, Disney Cruise Line continues to expand its blueprint for family cruising with a fleet of five ships — the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wish — and two more ships planned in 2024 and 2025. Guests can sail out of ports around the world on exciting itineraries to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska and Europe, among others. The homeport for Disney Cruise Line remains Port Canaveral, Florida, where it has its own specially designed terminal.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida: Since 1944, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida has provided at-risk children from the local community, between the ages of 6 and 18, with a safe place to learn and grow. Our membership totals more than 7,000 young people at 36 Clubs and middle school sites in Brevard, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Sumter Counties. The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.
7 – 15TH ANNUAL TOUR DE TURTLES UNDERWAY FROM DISNEY’S VERO BEACH RESORT
On July 30 at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, researchers from the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) and Disney Conservation Team Wildlife released two sea turtles as part of the 15thannual Tour de Turtles “migration marathon.” Tour de Turtles is a fun, educational initiative that follows the migration of sea turtles from their nesting beaches to their feeding grounds. Each turtle swims to raise awareness about various threats to sea turtle survival.
The Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) and Disney Cruise Line are each sponsoring a turtle this year, whose names, Neytiri and Ronal, are inspired by the upcoming premiere of “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Through the use of satellite telemetry, STC will track these two turtles along with 19 others to determine how far and where sea turtles swim during their annual migration. The one to swim the furthest distance wins Tour de Turtles!
“Disney’s commitment to sea turtle conservation in Vero Beach spans almost 20 years, and we are very proud to have recently watched our 1 millionth sea turtle hatchling leave the nest and shuffle its way to the ocean,” said Mark Penning, Vice President of Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment (ASE). “Southeast Florida hosts one of the largest nesting aggregations of loggerhead sea turtles in the world. To ensure Disney’s Vero Beach Resort continues to provide the best habitat for nesting sea turtles, Disney Conservation Team Wildlife conducts daily surveys on the resort’s beachfront to identify, mark and monitor sea turtle nests while engaging guests in our conservation efforts.”
The data collected during Tour de Turtles helps researchers, conservationists and governing agencies make more informed decisions about sea turtle conservation methods and policies. Since the launch of the event in 2008, STC and Disney have collaborated to study 26 loggerhead sea turtles outfitted with satellite transmitters and released from Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. The Disney Conservation Fund has also directed more than $4.7 million to help global sea turtle conservation.
“Since our very first Tour de Turtles, Disney has been an invaluable supporter of the event and our organization,” said David Godfrey, Executive Director of STC. “In addition to learning new information about sea turtle behavior, Disney’s support has allowed us to develop new training programs for local students to learn about the tools, technology and techniques sea turtle scientists use every day.”
The Disney Conservation Fund recently awarded a grant to STC to develop two educational initiatives that will train Brevard County youth to become future stewards of the environment and sea turtle conservation. The Sea Turtle TECH (Technology Education Challenges Horizons) mentorship program and Conservation Career Training Program provide STEM-focused activities to introduce students from diverse and underserved communities to the fundamentals of protecting sea turtles. Students in these programs attended this year’s Tour de Turtles event to better understand how this and other outreach initiatives play a crucial role in protecting sea turtles.
In addition to Tour de Turtles, Disney Conservation Team Wildlife studies and monitors sea turtle nests during the summer nesting season along the five-mile coastline at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. From approximately May to October, Disney Vacation Club members and resort guests also have the opportunity to assist the sea turtle conservation team by joining outings to observe sea turtles while learning how they can protect sea turtles through their own daily actions.
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, a Disney Vacation Club Resort, offers spacious vacation villas along the pristine Atlantic coastline. The resort is located less than a two-hour drive from the Walt Disney World Resort, and its design reflects the Treasure Coast region where it is situated. Disney Vacation Club, a leader in vacation ownership, debuted in 1991 with a flexible, vacation points-based system rather than the traditional fixed-week timeshare model. Disney Vacation Club Members are able to choose from among a variety of exciting vacation destinations, including a stay at any Disney Vacation Club Resort or one of thousands of other vacation options in destinations around the world.
Tour de Turtles is a research and education program of the Sea Turtle Conservancy and is an example of Disney Planet Possible at work. To learn more and follow the turtles’ migration, visit the Tour de Turtles website at www.tourdeturtles.org.
What’s New and Happening Now at Walt Disney World Resort
The New Normal – Visiting Walt Disney World During the Current Covid Restrictions
Disney Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane – New Planning Tools & Paid Access to Lighting Lane
Now through November 19, 2022 – 2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival
Now Open – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Now Through Spring 2023 – The Most Magical Celebration – 50 Years of Walt Disney World
Now Through August 28, 2022, on Select Nights – Disney H2O Glow After Hours
New Openings at EPCOT – As Part of the Historic Transformation of EPCOT
Now Open – Drawn to Life
Coming Soon to Walt Disney World
August 12-October 31, Select Nights – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom
November 8-December 22, Select Nights – Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom
New & Coming Soon to Disney Cruise Line
The Disney Wish
Itineraries in 2022 and 2023
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