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Update for June 18 – 24, 2012

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News and Views

First group of Candlelight Processional narrators announced | Wraps come off Casey Jr., second Dumbo spinner | New Dooney, D-Tech coming soon | Trade pins & Vinylmation at "Mickey's Circus" | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd Update

First group of Candlelight Processional narrators announced


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The first batch of narrators has been announced for this year's Candlelight Processionals at Epcot. Many favorites are returning, including Gary Sinise (fresh off his narration at Disneyland last year) to his traditional Christmas slot that he held from 2001 to 2004, as well as 2006 and 2007. Also returning are Isabella Rossellini, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Jodi Benson (for the first time since 2002), Trace Adkins, and Marlee Matlin. Matlin has appeared nearly every year since 2001, with the exception of 2003 and 2009, and has been the final narrator of the season since 2006 (again, with the exception of 2009). In fact, the only first-time narrator announced so far is Olivia Newton-John.

The traditional telling of the Christmas story with a mass choir and 50-piece live orchestra runs from the night after Thanksgiving through December 30 at the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot three times nightly, at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.

Here are this year's narrators (as always, subject to change):

  • November 23–25: Isabella Rossellini
  • November 26–29: Neil Patrick Harris
  • November 30–December 1: Whoopi Goldberg
  • December 2-4: TBD
  • December 5-7: TBD
  • December 8-10: TBD
  • December 11–13: Jodi Benson
  • December 14–16: Olivia Newton John
  • December 17-19: TBD
  • December 20–22: Trace Adkins
  • December 23–25: Gary Sinise
  • December 26-28: TBD
  • December 29–30: Marlee Matlin

Candlelight Processional dining packages will go on sale next Tuesday, June 26. The popular dining packages provide a prix fixe dinner at Epcot's table service dining locations and guaranteed seating for the Processional. While pricing has not yet been announced for this year, last year's pricing should provide a good ballpark estimate.


Permanent net structures have been constructed above the walkways around the Tree of Life on Discovery Island at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The nets disrupt the feeling of openness previously experienced on the trails. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The erection of the permanent net structures was prompted by the falling of this artificial limb now lying backstage. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Wraps come off Casey Jr., second Dumbo spinner

Last Friday, as guests were pouring into Disney California Adventure to check out the new Cars Land, Walt Disney World was quietly pulling the wraps off of more of Storybook Circus at the Magic Kingdom.


The signage for the Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station in Magic Kingdom's Storybook Circus resembles a railroad crossing sign. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station is now open and drenching guests on the roundtable in front of the Carolwood Park Station. In addition, while final adjustments are still taking place in preparation for allowing guests to ride, the walls around the second spinner at Dumbo the Flying Elephant have come down, letting guests get a look at the attraction's final appearance.


Casey Jr. and the giraffe and elephant cars soak guests from the rails in the center of the turntable. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

While the second Dumbo spinner and the interactive, air-conditioned queue area won't officially open until next month, the removal of the walls and the preview images of the queue seem to indicate that there may be soft openings very soon.


The monkeys on the clown wagon fire water back at Casey on one side. There is some serious soaking going on. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The camels returning fire at Casey from the other side pump out a lot more water than the spitting camels near Aladdin. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The Casey Jr. area will virtually guarantee that you get soaked if you venture onto the wet play deck, as there are many sources of water all around, which provide tremendous amounts of water from many angles.


Casey Jr.'s eyes open and close, but there is a railing around the engine preventing guests from boarding the locomotive. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Towels, water shoes, sunscreen, and more are available from the nearby mercantile wagon. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

While the Casey Jr. engine originally appeared to have an open space for kids to climb in and sit, a short railing has been constructed around it to keep little ones from getting in. It would appear that the open space design was not necessarily run past Disney's liability attorneys before construction began.


The second spinner for Dumbo the Flying Elephants has been revealed, but the spinner and the interactive queue will not officially open until next month. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Speaking of Disney's liability attorneys closing things off, the former Tigger Bounce section of the queue for The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh also reopened as a meet-and-greet last week. Guests can meet Pooh and friends throughout the day at "A Place for Friends to Meet."


Guests can meet friends from the Hundred Acre Wood at the redesigned area that formerly housed the Tigger Bounce portion of the queue. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Calling all with a spirit of adventure!

Are you ready for MouseAdventure: World Explorers IV? The fourth iteration of the scavenger hunt/puzzle quest/race through Walt Disney World's parks takes place on Saturday, November 3 at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom (the game has been going on at the parks of the Disneyland Resort for more than 11 years now). Do you think that you know the Magic Kingdom? We bet you don't know it as well as you think you do. Test your wits against those of our puzzle masters. For more information, check out the MouseAdventure information page. Registration opens next week!

New Dooney, D-Tech coming soon

Last week, the Disney Parks Blog announced information about the arrival of new Dooney & Bourke and D-Tech collections at Walt Disney World this summer. Images from both collections could be seen in the show notes for the June 7 episode of the MouseStation podcast, which featured a chat with Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager for Walt Disney World.


Three new Disney-themed patterns for Dooney & Bourke bags will debut this summer. Photo © Disney.

Three Dooney & Bourke lines are coming, with two guaranteed to be released at an event at TrenD in Downtown Disney Marketplace on July 14. The store will open at 9:30 a.m., with a meet-and-greet opportunity with Dooney & Bourke creative director Ian Ray and Disney Design Group artist Susan Foy taking place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

A retro Walt Disney World print will be available at prices rangine from $85-$285 for tassel bag, satchel, cross-body letter carrier, barrel bag, wristlet and the tablet case styles. A Disney character charm pattern will be available on a black background as a pocket tote, satchel, wristlet, and tablet case, while a letter carrier, wristlet, and barrel bag will be available in a white background version. The third line, a nylon version of a classic sketch print, might be available at the event, but may nto be released until later. That pattern will be available in backpack, satchel, letter carrier, and pocket satchel formats.

Meanwhile, D-Tech mobile phone cases for the five most popular Android phones on the market will be released later this summer. The selected models are HTC Droid Incredible 2, HTC Thunderbolt, HTC Evo 4G, Samsung Infuse 4G, and Motorlola Atrix 4G. Three designs are omcing this summer, with more coming in the fall.


Three graphic images will be available on Android phone cases this summer from D-Tech. Photo © Disney.


Android phone cases will be available for the five most popular models. Photo © Disney.

iPhone 4/4S owners will have some new designs, as well. Two limited edition cases (edition size of 2,012) have already been released for the opening of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park, but there's more coming next month. three more limited edition cases (also edition size of 2,012) will be released in July featuring classic logos from Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, as well as a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction poster. Open-edition jewel-covered cases featuring Sorcerer Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Jack Skellington will be released over the summer.


New open and limited edition iPhone cases will also be available this summer. Photo © Disney.

Send us your menu photos

Click on the "Dining" section from our Walt Disney World Guide to see our complete list of of the park restaurant menus from Walt Disney World. Please help us keep the menus up to date! Send photos or scans of park menus to menus@mouseplanet.com to help us keep our listings updated.

Trade pins & Vinylmation at "Mickey's Circus"

This year's (pin and Vinylmation) trading event at Walt Disney World will be themed as "Mickey's Circus" and will take place September 7 to 9, it was announced last week. The theming was chosen to honor the opening of the Storybook Circus area in the Magic Kingdom park. The event will again take place at Epcot's World Showplace pavilion.


Special limited-edition pins will be available at the Mickey's Circus trading event at Epcot. Photo © Disney.

There will be 26 pin items designed exclusively for the event, as well as special 9-inch and 3-inch Vinylmations—and dual-size sets. Pin items include a drawstring pouch trading bag, boxed sets, individual pins, and Passholder-exclusive items. One new set will be a Disney Villains mystery set.

At this year's event, the two merchandise lines will be separated. Pin trading events will take place on September 7 and 8, while September 9 will be devoted to Vinylmation trading.

The pin event costs $120 per person, and includes:

  • A jumbo-sized pin of Ringmaster Mickey including pin-on-pin elements
  • A four-pin boxed set with characters from it's tough to be a bug
  • First opportunity to pre-purchase limited edition pins designed for the event
  • Artist signings
  • A$30 gift card redeemable at Epcot food & beverage locations
  • Trading activities and games, and more.

The first 750 Guests who register for the event will also receive a limited edition early registration pin. Anyhone registering by tomorrow will pay $105 instead of $120.

Other special experiences available for the pin event include a special Opening Acts Breakfast the morning of September 7 (for $40) that provides

  • A breakfast buffet
  • An exclusive pin
  • Extra trading time before the event itself opens. .

Mickey's Circus Big Top Dessert Reception takes place after the pin portion of the event concludes on September 8 (also for $40), and includes extra trading time after the event, a dessert buffet, an exclusive pin, and a special viewing area for Illuminations. You must be registered for the pin event to sign up for the breakfast or dessert events.

The Vinylmation event costs $60 per person, and includes

  • A 3-inch and 1.5-inch Vinylmation set featuring Mrs. Jumbo and Dumbo
  • First opportunity to pre-purchase new Vinylmation figures designed for the event
  • Artist signings
  • A$15 gift card redeemable at Epcot food & beverage locations
  • Trading activities and games, and more.

The separately ticketed events do not include admission to Epcot, which is required for admission to the event venue at World Showplace.

To look at the merchandise catalogs for the events or for more information, go to the event sites for the pin event and the Vinylmation event.


Draped clam shell vehicles await installation in the new Little Mermaid attraction opening in Fantasyland Forest later this year. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Construction update

The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:

  • Magic Kingdom Pecos Bill Tale Tale Inn & Cafe – menu shrouds.
  • Magic Kingdom Dumbo the Flying Elephant – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Mickey's PhilmarMagic – Fastpass package.
  • Magic Kingdom Hall of Presidents – electrical.
  • Epcot Electric Umbrella – menu board.
  • Epcot Mexico pavilion Ring Carver's Cart – renovation.
  • Epcot Japan support shop stock room – air handler relocation.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Fantasmic area backstage – general construction.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Guest Relations doors – general construction.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios backstage – electrical work.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Primeval Whirl – electrical.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Island Mercantile – roofing.
  • Transportation & Ticket Center East Gate building – electrical.
  • Downtown Disney West Side Wolfgang Puck Cafe – reroofing of modified bitumen felt areas and repainting of stucco exterior.
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (doors only) – mechanical.
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort 15th floor mechanical room – contractors general conditions.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House (doors only) – mechanical.
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort fitness center – removal of flooring, construction of electrical trenches, and installation of new flooring.
  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Cayman Way and Victory Way arm gates – electrical.
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort – mechanical.
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Cabanas lodge buildings – finishes.
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort El Centro – piping conversion mechanical.
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – electrical.
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – finishes.
  • Disney's Golden Oak Resort – operable vehicular gates.


Test Track vehicles are being painted and prepared for the attraction's reopening this Fall. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Quick takes …

…The Cars-themed wing of Disney's Art of Animation Resort officially opens today.

…Victoria & Albert's, Walt Disney World's flagship restaurant, has earned its 13th consecutive AAA Five-Diamond Award. The restaurant, at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is one of only 53 restaurants (out of the 28,000 reviewed this year) to achieve a five-diamond rating, and one of only 21 to have held that ranking for 13 or more consecutive years. Reservations are available by calling 407-WDW-DVNA (407-939-3862). The prix fixe dinner in the main dining room runs $135 per person for six courses, or $200 with wine pairings, while the exclusive Chef's Table and Queen Victoria's Room each cost $210 per person for 10 courses, or $315 with wine pairings.

…The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue has now opened reservations for October through December. However, they have made modifications based upon an apparently successful test from earlier this year, and seating times are now an hour earlier. This should help with the difficulty in filling the former 9:30 show. New seating times are now 4:00, 6:15, and 8:30 p.m.

…Disney Phineas and Ferb Agent P's World Showcase Adventure was in soft-open status at Epcot over the weekend. Watch for an official opening within the next two weeks.

…Last Thursday, Walt Disney World water parks again participated in the annual attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Swimming Lesson. While the counts are still being tabulated from the over 500 host locations in 20 countries on 5 continents, it's a good bet that the record (of over 20,000) was again eclipsed this year. All 45-minute lessons began at 11 a.m. EDT. This year, Disney's event took place at Blizzard Beach (Typhoon Lagoon was the event site for the previous two years).…The 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge takes place May 4, 2013. No date has been released yet for the opening of registration.

…The 2013 Princess Half Marathon weekend takes place February 22–24, 2013. Registration opens Tuesday, July 10 at 12:00 p.m. EDT.

…Registration for the September 28–29 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend is now full. There is a waitlist in case additional spots become available. The related runDisney Kids' Races are now 54 percent full and the 5K is now 53 percent full. A one-mile race has been added to the runDisney Kids' Races.

…Registration for the November 9-10 Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is 74 percent full.

…Registration for the January 10-13, 2013, Disney Marathon Weekend is now open. Registration for Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge is 72 percent full and the full Marathon is 53 percent full.

…The MousePlanet Newsletter is here! The newsletter contains a recap of the week's articles (in case you miss a day), news that may have developed since the weekly Updates were published, and tips about what's happening at the Disney theme parks for the coming weekend. We'll also include a fun MouseAdventure bonus, such as an Eye Spy or a trivia question. To subscribe to our free newsletter, go to the MousePlanet main page and enter your email address in the top right box labeled "Join the MousePlanet Newsletter." Click Join, then fill out the fields in the registration page, including your first and last name. The Newsletter is free, but you must complete this registration to receive it, even if you may have signed up for one with us in the past.

Crowd update

Avertisement

Crowd information and forecasts are provided by TouringPlans.com, the website of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, to help you better plan your trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. TouringPlans.com gathers wait time data from a team of in-park researchers and users of their Lines mobile phone application, and then predicts crowd levels for the next 365 days. Using a scale from 1 to 10, TouringPlans.com has a 90 percent accuracy of predicting the crowds to within 1 point, helping visitors prepare for their trips so they can "Do more. Wait less."

Check out the Disney World Park Crowd Levels page on TouringPlans.com for park-specific predictions and recommendations on which days to visit and avoid particular parks!

  • If visiting Epcot, remember that Test Track is closed now Fall 2012; plan your FASTPASS strategy accordingly.
  • Following a Touring Plan is important when crowd levels spike at the park you're visiting!

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disney World wait times on your iPhone, Android or Smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.


 

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Coming up

  • June 26: Candlelight Processional dining packages go on sale.
  • July: Remainder of Storybook Circus opens at Magic Kingdom.
  • August 10: The Lion King wing of Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens.
  • August 14: Reservations for Party for the Senses at this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival open.
  • September 7-8: Night of Joy.
  • September 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28, 30, October 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, November 2. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
  • September 15: The Little Mermaid wing of Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens.
  • September 28–29: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend.
  • September 28 to November 12: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
  • Fall (exact date to be determined): Splitsville opens.
  • November 3: MouseAdventure World Explorers IV.
  • November 8–11: Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
  • November 9–10: Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.
  • November 9–11: Festival of the Masters.
  • November 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, and 30, December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 21. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
  • November 22, 23, 25: Old Spice Classic.
  • "In time for Holidays 2012": Little Mermaid- and Beauty and the Beast-themed sections of New Fantasyland open at Magic Kingdom.
  • December 13: Disney Vacation Club Condominium Association annual meeting.
  • January 10–13, 2013: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
  • February 22-24, 2013: Disney's Princess Half Marathon.
  • May 4, 2013: Expedition Everest Challenge.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station – now open!
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures – closed permanently on May 31 for conversion to Princess Fairy Tale Hall.
  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin – closed for refurbishment June 27-29.
  • Enclosed Dumbo queue, – opens in July.
  • Second Dumbo spinner – opens in July.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment August 4-10.
  • Country Bear Jamboree – closed for refurbishment August 22–October 17.
  • Be Our Guest Restaurant – opens by Holidays 2012.
  • Maurice's Cottage – opens by Holidays 2012.
  • Gaston's Tavern – opens by Holidays 2012.
  • Bonjour Village Gifts – opens by Holidays 2012.
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid – opens by Holidays 2012.
  • Princess Fairy Tale Hall – opens 2013.
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.

Epcot

  • Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure – closed May 19 to make way for the Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure, which opens in late June.
  • Test Track – closed through November 30 for "reimagining."

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • No known current refurbishments.

Animal Kingdom

  • Affection Section – closed for refurbishment May 3-June 30.

Resorts

  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Grand Floridian Spa closed through mid-2013 for refurbishment.
  • Wilderness Lodge – metal roof seams recoated thorough June 29.
  • Beach Club Resort – Cape May Cafe closed for refurbishment July 9 through August 3.
  • Yacht Club Resort Yachtsman Steakhouse – closed for refurbishment August 27 through September 15.
  • Yacht Club Resort – building exterior repaired and refinished through August 3.
  • Yacht Club Resort – rooftop HVAC hot water piping replaced January 9 to September 28.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort – villa buildings undergo exterior cleaning and painting one at a time between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through August 30.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – Ranchos buildings experiences tile roof repair and replacement through July 27.
  • Pop Century Resort – repairs of concrete deck at Hippy Dippy Pool through September 28. The pool remains open during the work, but some small sections of the pool deck will be closed periodically throughout this period.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed October 28 for annual refurbishment.
  • Blizzard Beach – closed for annual refurbishment upon reopening of Typhoon Lagoon.

Elsewhere

  • Palm Golf Course – closed through June 8 for refurbishment.
  • Oak Trail Golf Course – closed June 6 through September 28 for refurbishment.
  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. For 2012, the show is not be performed:
    • July 24
    • September 18–22
    • November 27

Current Discounts & Promotions

Tables in Wonderland members can save on tickets to La Nouba

Tables in Wonderland members can purchase discounted Category 2 tickets La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil on performances Tuesday through Saturday nights, May 29 to June 27. Prices for members and up to 3 guests are $57.85 plus tax for adults and $46.80 plus tax for children. To purchase tickets, call 407-WDW-SEAT (407-939-7328). Note that a valid Tables in Wonderland ID and advance purchase is required. Tickets must be picked up at the La Nouba box office Will Call window.

Military ticket offer

From now through September 28, 2012, active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with either the Park Hopper or Water Parks Fun and More option for $138 per ticket, plus tax, or with both the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options for $165 per ticket, plus tax. No Base ticket is available with this offer.

The tickets expire and may not be used after September 30, 2012. July 4, 2012 is a blockout date.

Eligible service members include active or retired members of the U.S. military including the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reservists. Disney Military Promotional Tickets can be purchased at Shades of Green or at a participating military base (MWR/ITT) office. There is no tax charged for these tickets but they must be activated at a theme park ticket window. Tickets may also be purchased at Walt Disney World Park Ticket Offices and Guest Relations Offices where tax will be charged. No more than twelve Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased, activated and/or used by any Eligible Service Member or spouse during the life of this promotion, and no Eligible Service Member or spouse may purchase, activate and/or use more than six Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets during any single week of the promotion. One of the Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets purchased on each occasion must be for use by the Eligible Service Member or spouse. This offer is for active or retired members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard. Valid military identification is required. The tickets are non-transferable and may not be resold.

The tickets may be upgraded to Seasonal Passes or Florida Resident Weekday Select Passes (for Florida Residents), or Annual Passes, Premium Annual Passes, or Disney Premier Pass with credit toward the upgrade based on the actual price paid. The no-expiration option and other upgrades, such as additional days, are not available.

For complete information regarding Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets, military personnel may call 407-939-7830, visit the Walt Disney World website, or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.


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(Send an email to Mark Goldhaber)

Mark (@MPMark) is a veteran of dozens of trips to Walt Disney World starting in 1972, with a few Disneyland trips thrown in for good measure. As a Disney stockholder and a Disney Vacation Club member, Mark is always in touch with what's going on with The Mouse. Mark serves as MousePlanet's Walt Disney World content coordinator. Mark is a senior information technology manager working for the State of New York. He lives in the suburbs outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son.