Disney News – from Animal Kingdom to extra hours at Magic Kingdom


This Weeks Disney World Parks & Disney News

There is so much happening at Walt Disney World, with Disney in general and even at Universal Studios Orlando.  We have a packed show for you on Mouse Chat, so let’s get started.

  1. New Disney App coming to Walt Disney World – There is a rumor that a new Disney World App is coming that allows you to chat with a cast member and also has Magic Lenses.  The App looks like it will be multi lingual.
  2. Disney announced Frozen 2 is on it’s way –  There is no release date or details yet.
  3. Disney Animal Kingdom Night Time Safari – Announces Kilimanjaro Safaris will have night time hours around April 22 for the nighttime safaris. There will be different activity at night time and exterior lighting.  There is a new habitat also with a sunset type glow so you can see the new spotted dags and hyenas.  The Safaris will be different than the daytime safaris at Animal Kingdom.  The vehicles will have a different route during the night time safari and will stop more often.    Are you excited to try this new Disney safari?
    Listen to our full Mouse Chat show here. Here’s what happening at Walt Disney World.

  4. New Disney World Magic Kingdom Event – Disney is testing a ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom on some nights in April and May.Dates: April 14, 21,28  & May 5, 8, 12 & 19. 
    Price: The cost is $149 per person. The ticket allows you to enter the Magic Kingdom at 7 PM, the park closes at either 10 or 11 PM on most of these nights.  You get to stay 7 PM – 1 AM or 7 PM – 2 AM on some of these nights.  So you get about 3 extra hours.  Is this worth the cost for your family?  Please let us know by leaving a comment below.Here is the story from Disney Parks Blog:

    New ‘Disney After Hours’ Provides Loads of Nighttime Fun at Walt Disney World Resort

    by Charles Stovall, Public Relations Manager

    Certainly the Magic Kingdom is fun during the day time, but at night, there is a special kind of “magic” – pun intended – that happens, with everything lit up. From the colorful spires of Cinderella Castle to the twinkling lights of Storybook Circus in Fantasyland, the park comes alive in a very unique way.

    My favorite is Dumbo, the Flying Elephant at night. The view is just breathtaking.

    Starting today, guests will have the opportunity to experience more of that nocturnal splendor and enjoy more time in the park with “Disney After Hours,” a special, ticketed event at Magic Kingdom taking place on select nights throughout April and May.

    This event will enable participants to enjoy more exclusive time in Magic Kingdom – with quicker than typical access to popular attractions like Space Mountain and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and character greetings like the ones in Town Square and Princess Fairytale Hall. Ice cream novelties and bottled beverages also will be available for guests during the three hours of the event. [NOTE: Disney Resort Guests will continue to be able to enjoy Extra Magic Hours, while this new event takes place on different dates and is another option for enjoying Magic Kingdom.]

    5. Disney Hollywood Studios Muppets – The Disney Hollywood Studios Muppets area will be called the Muppet Courtyard.  There are also rumors that some new Muppet themed attractions might be coming and this could be a new land.  But nothing official.

    6. Universal Studios opens a Willy Wonka like chocolate factory restaurant – The new themed restaurant will be at Universal Studios Orlando City Walk.

    From Universal Studios Blog:

    The brilliant minds behind Universal’s attractions and its culinary concepts have come together to deliver the next level of dining at Universal CityWalk.

    Opening later this year, The Toothsome Chocolate Factory will transport you into a 19th century-inspired Steampunk chocolate factory. You’ll indulge your appetite amidst towering smoke stacks, funky gadgetry, and staff wearing unique Steampunk fashion.

    universal studios orlando chocolate factory

    And that’s only the beginning.

    The food will take your imagination to new heights with a menu that features unique twists on classic steak, seafood and pasta entrees, gourmet burgers, sandwiches, incredible salads, all-day brunch and so much more. And the desserts will be simply…stunning.

    Here’s a sneak peek of some of the milkshakes to get your mouth watering:

    • Chocolate x5: An explosion of chocolate with chocolate spirals, chunks, ice-cream and whipped cream.
    • Bacon Brittle: A fun twist on a breakfast favorite with bacon ice cream, bacon brittle, chocolate covered bacon and bacon caramel.
    • Espresso Buzzzz: A coffee lover’s dream with coffee ice-cream and chocolate covered beans.
    • Red Velvet: A milkshake topped with a Red Velvet cupcake… enough said.
    • Key Lime Pie: We’ve taken this classic Florida dessert and turned it into a delicious shake. You’ll even get a slice of pie on top!

    The sundaes are anything but ordinary with flavors like Salted Caramel Flan, Chocolate Brownie Bark and S’mores. This extreme twist on a summer favorite features layers of chocolate ice-cream, chocolate sauce, marshmallow cream and graham crackers.

    You’ll even be able to watch chocolate creations being made—and purchase your very own from the restaurant’s retail shop to take home and enjoy.


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Author: Steve Griswold

Steve Griswold - You can follow Steve Griswold and "The Real Life Griswold Family" here on Mouse Chat - a Weekly Disney Podcast covering everything from Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line. Also follow the Griswold Road Trips - Disney Edition show at: www.GriswoldFamilyVacations.com and on Twitter and Instagram @GriswoldVac Media Contact: Steve Griswold Phone: 678-815-1584 Email: Steve@MouseChat.net

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  1. Listening to your podcast every Monday is my trick for chasing away the Monday Blues — perfect dose of Disney mixed with goofy adults (and sometimes adult humor! AstroGlide LOL). I found your show about two months ago and have been listening faithfully since then — currently working my way through your archives.

    What does a meet-up consist of? Just meet up and chat with fellow Disney fans?

    I want to give kudos to Sharpy, I’ve always been firmly in the “Animal Kingdom is a Half-day Park” group but his excitement and passion for AK has me looking forward to the visiting the park again to explore all the things we’ve previously just ran by (Animal Trails, Conservation Station, Rafiki’s Planet Watch).

    Lastly, with all your expertise, if you had 7 days at Disney — how would you split your time between the parks? In this scenario you have three kids, various ages, one of which is a crazy toddler, and you do not have the park hoppers option on your tickets.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jennifer,

      I sometimes hate Mondays and hope the podcast helps everything get the week started. Glad we can help with your Mondays a little bit.
      Ugh, how would I split my time between the parks over 7 days. Hmmm, I personally like down time at a Disney resort so I’d mix that in there and we like to park hop, but it’s not for everyone and takes up valuable time getting from park to park. But we tour Disney differently now when we go and just like to meet up with friends in the park and not really worry about what we are going to ride. We have a meet up coming in early December. We usually get a good group of Disney fans together and do an activity and also just catch up on Disney news.

      Have a wonderful Monday,

      Post a Reply
    • Hi, Jennifer, Thanks for listening to Mouse Chat. We have a meet up usually every year at WDW. We get together and normally enjoy Epcot’s Food and Wine festival together and do some other activities. This year the Mouse Chat meet up will be in December so we are figuring out what to set up.

      For your Disney Park days, just make sure you plan your dining, Fastpasses etc all for one park so you can take advantage of everything without the Park Hopper added. We like to plan breaks, so we stay at a close Disney World hotel and might go back to the hotel for lunch or a nap when our little ones need a break.

      Have a great time

      Post a Reply
  2. Hey Mousechatters! I’m a long time listener & wanted to send a big ‘Thank You’ for such a great podcast! I listen every week during my Monday runs and y’all really help the miles pass! I’m sure other runners think I’m crazy when I start laughing to myself because of all of you! I am planning a trip in November for my 30th Birthday/Wine & Dine Half Marathon and all the tips, trips and news are super helpful!! Keep up the great work!

    Excitedly awaiting next weeks episode,

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Kelley, Glad to hear we help with your Monday runs. I need to get myself on some exercise program. Have a fantastic time at Walt Disney World for your birthday and thanks for listening.

      Have a great Monday,

      Post a Reply
  3. Hello Mouse Chat. I’m a fairly new listener. But, since discovering your Podcast a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been binge listening to your archives. Your show is funny and informative. Thank you!

    My husband and I and our two kids (ages 8 and 4) are planning a 7 night trip to WDW for October and I’m getting ready to make our ADRs.

    We’ve been to Disney several times but this will be our first time not staying on property and not using the meal plan:(

    I was wondering if you could please recommend a few counter service and sit-down restaurants where we can get the best value for our dollar (as opposed to meal credit).

    Thanks again and keep up the great work on the podcast!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Eileen,

      Thanks for listened and welcome. Hmm Best value for your dollar at Disney World restaurants. There are a bunch. For example I like Be Our Guest for lunch at the Magic Kingdom vs. dinner. It’s better than burgers and fries at a traditional park restaurant and you don’t have the high dinner price. I feel like Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs is a good deal, but it’s not a fancy meal. Yachtsman Steak House at Disney’s Yacht Club is not cheap but for a signature restraunt I feel like I am getting what I paid for; great steaks, perfect service and a nice Disney World resort and atmosphere. Listen to some of our past shows too, we have eaten at so many places it’s hard to pick just a few.

      Have a great vacation at Walt Disney World.


      Post a Reply
  4. I don’t know why there is something so sad to me about the Old MGM Studios going away. I loved the stage your and watching the animators and the old Hollywood feel. Now I feel like it’s s theme park without a theme.
    Im a huge Star Wars fan, but I still don’t see it toy story, tower of terror and 50s prime time will fit a single theme. I really hope there is a plan for this previously awesome but totally neglected park.

    Post a Reply
    • Dan I think DHS will have a great rebirth, just like Disneyland’s California Adventure park. It will not have a specific theme but a nice old Hollywood feel with some amazingly themed lands. It should be great but I think it’s going to be 4-5 years to get everything done if I use Avatar land as a gauge.


      Post a Reply
  5. I recently started listening to your podcast and I love it!
    I’m from Orlando and consider Disney my home. Both of my parents are Disney Cast Members and I spend a lot of time there.
    Recently I moved to Tallahassee, FL to start college, and your podcast helps me connect with home when I’m away.
    I’m pretty excited about the new Kilimanjaro Safaris. I’m with you Sharpy, I obviously don’t want to ride a 45 minute ride to see sleeping animals…but I probably will anyway!

    Thanks for all you do! Can’t wait to listen to next week’s episode!

    Post a Reply
    • Great to hear Emma and good luck at college. Yeah I am sure the Safari will be fun but it might be challenging in areas to see animals at night. You can still sneak down to WDW on the weekends and enjoy it, so don’t let it get you too home sick. 🙂


      Post a Reply
  6. So excited to hear about the Mouse Chat event that is being planned for December! We have already started our Christmas trip planning for December 1st-6th and now there is something else to get even more excited about. I get to meet the Mouse Chatters! This trip just keeps getting better and better!

    The podcast keep me in the WDW zone and the banter of the group is great. Thank to all of the team for their work in putting together such a treat for your listeners.

    Counting down the days…


    Post a Reply
  7. Hello! I am a new listener and so excited that I found your podcast! I have been listening to your archived shows during my commute and they have made my whole work day brighter! I love the Disney news, Disney “nerd” chatter, and your varying opinions on all things Disney.

    It has been nearly a year since my last Disney trip and I am just dying to go back! I am carefully planning our next trip being mindful of our budget and family/work schedules but sometimes it is hard to be patient! Your cheerful show brings a little Disney Magic into my day, makes the wait a bit easier, and also helps me plan.

    Keep up the good work! I can’t wait to hear new episodes!


    Shelley in Houston, TX

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Shelley, We are so glad we can make your work day a little brighter. Hopefully you can get a trip back over to Walt Disney World soon. Until then we will have loads of shows for you with tips and advice.

      Thanks for listening,


      Post a Reply
  8. I really hope they expand the Muppet area and add some new attractions there – I love the Muppets! I started listening to Mouse Chat because my sister recommended it, and I am so happy that she did. I love listening on my way to and from work (sometimes I stay in the car a few extra minutes after I arrive, just to keep listening). Lauren has been helping with booking our family vacation to Disneyland this year and a Disney Cruise for 2017 and her advice and help has been wonderful. Finally, I have to give a shout-out to Sharpie – I love the puns, keep ’em coming.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Stephanie. I love the Muppets too and can’t wait to see more Muppets in the Disney parks. We got to meet the Muppets on Disney Cruise Line awhile back too.

      Thanks for listening,

      Post a Reply
  9. Greetings Mouse Chat folks. I have had season passes in the past and been to the Magic Kingdom around 75 times in the last 10 years. Due to relocation for my work, we frequent the parks at a much lower rate than in years past. Your podcast allows me to stay abreast of the very rapid changes that are coming. My wife and two youngest (10 and 12) daughters are in WDW during spring break… And with your planning recommdations they have hit every ride and dining dining experience with super thick crowd levels. Keep up the great work and thanks for shortening my commute. If you could help me get some time off of work, that would be sweet!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Oliver, Thanks for the message. We are so glad our Disney tips worked out for you. Hopefully we can keep your commutes short and help you plan for the next Walt Disney World vacation.


      Post a Reply
  10. cannot wait for the incredibles 2 — i think they should never make another cars movie and just keep pumping out incredibles

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Amanda,

      Sharpie and I have been waiting for the Incredibles 2 movie for so long. I can’t wait either!


      Post a Reply
  11. I just listened to your podcast that talks about the extra magic hours on select nights for $150. I agree with you that it is a lot of money for a only three hours but can tell you that there definitely is a market for it for folks just like me.

    I will be in Orlando for a conference that ends on Thursday afternoon when this option is available and plan on staying the weekend to visit the Parks. Using this pass would give me a great advantage as I can visit the MK later in the day when it is less crowded and not have to worry about not having a Fast Pass. In addition, I won’t have to “waste” one day of my multi-day pass going in to the park so late.

    I still have to calculate it out, but I think it would be cost effective in a situation like this as there would be no pressure to try and see it all in 4 hours. Seeing all of the MK in 7 hours with only 25% of the crowd is totally do-able and probably worth the extra expense.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Caryn,

      I agree. The Walt Disney World Extra hours on select nights for $150 is a deal if you work it the right way. If you are at Walt Disney World at a conference it’s a deal to pay $150 for night at the Magic Kingdom for one person instead of paying over $100 for the day ticket. Plus you are getting some fun extras and very limited crowds like you said. If you end up going, please let us know what you thought.


      Post a Reply
  12. I just wanted to share some info to put the Magic Kingdom Extended Hours events into perspective. I visited the Magic Kingdom in September 2001 and stayed at All-Star Movies. One of the options then was an E-Ride ticket that allowed you to stay in the park 3 hours after close. You had to be a resort guest and you had to have a park ticket for the day, so it varied from the current program, but it was also only $12.

    We didn’t need to do the E-Ride Night because the parks were deserted due to the tragic events that occurred right before that, but since it had been part of the plan and not a big cost, we decided to do it anyway. Since those tragic events just so happened to occur on my birthday, a magical escape was just what I needed (and a huge reason why I love Disney so much, to touch upon one of the more recent topics). While we had been able to walk on everything during the day, riding Haunted Mansion after midnight and Splash Mountain twice in a row by myself were extra special experiences.

    So, while I was a huge fan of the E-Ride Nights and love Extra Magic Hours, I don’t think that this is a program that I would participate in if I were to visit the World while it was being offered.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Michael,
      I know Disney and everyone in the travel industry had very low attendance for a long long time after 911. 2015 was really the first year we started seeing very few discounts released for Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line over the past few years has been almost impossible to find discounts on. So now in 2016 we are starting to see extra like this extra time at the Magic Kingdom in the morning or at night for a set price. It’s nice to have this as an option, but I’m not sure the times offered or the price point is going to make this something many guests will take advantage of. We will see if these continue or go away.


      Post a Reply
  13. I didn’t think we’d ever do the Disney After Hours event. However we were in Orlando to meet up with some friends from the West Coast. We only had one day for a park and the kids wanted Harry Potter at Universal. However, we all got into our hotel the night before around 6 and realized Magic Kindgom had After Hours until 2 am that night. We decided to go, got there by 7:30 & had six hours of fun with cooler temps, almost no wait times (except for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which was worth it!) and “free” beverages & ice cream. Thoroughly enjoyed the late night at the park, it gave us an extra day of fun. Thanks for the tip that they let folks in starting at 7 pm!

    Post a Reply

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