Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for July 16 – 22, 2012
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions | Comments
Free dining offers released for late September through mid-December | 2013 Dining Plan prices and packages released | runDisney and Runner's World partner on 2013 Marathon weekend events | Encore! Cast Performing Arts performs for charity this week at Disney's Hollywood Studios | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd Update
Last Monday, Walt Disney World announced a free dining offer for Disney Visa card members, which became available to all guests on Thursday. The offer is valid for stays most nights September 30 through October 4, October 19 through November 1, November 9-15, November 23-29, and December 10-13, 2012. As with the most recent offers, guests staying at Value resorts receive a free Quick Service Dining Plan, while guests staying in Moderate, Deluxe, or Deluxe Villa accommodations receive the standard Disney Dining Plan. Guests can upgrade their dining plan for the usual difference in price between each dining plan.
The offer is only available for packages including room, tickets, and dining, and all members of the party much purchase the same package and tickets. Minimum length of stay is three nights with two-day base tickets; maximum stay on the package is 14 days. Some blackout dates apply.
Campsites, 3-bedroom villas, and the Little Mermaid standard view rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included in this offer, and you must book by September 29 to get this offer.
Remember: If you're planning to play MouseAdventure: World Explorers IV on November 3, you can get free dining as long as you arrive by the preceding Thursday, November 1.
You can make your reservations through the Walt Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-7631 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code F8Z (Disney Visa) or X9N (general availability) for Value resorts or D85 (Disney Visa) or I87 (general availability) for Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villa Resorts.
Thanks to Mary Kraemer of MouseEarVacations.com for some of the details on the offer.
FOX 35 News Orlando got a look behind the construction walls of New Fantasyland and was allowed to shoot some video there.
Calling all with a spirit of adventure!
Registration is now open for MouseAdventure: World Explorers IV! The fourth annual running 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.
The details of next year's dining plans are now available, and you can book your package trip for 2013 now on the Walt Disney World Web site or via phone. Packages can be booked up to 499 days in advance, so today you can book for stays with departure dates up to and including November 27, 2013.
The basic Dining Plan and the Deluxe Dining Plan again carry variable prices this year. There's a $1.35 to $2.30 differential for adults and $1.00 to $2.07 for children ages 3 through 9 on those plans for the peak seasons of February 14-23, March 14 through April 6, May 31 through August 3, and December 20-31. The adult price differentials have actually shrunk, while the child price differentials have increased. The basic plan price varies from $55.59 to $56.94 for adults and $17.16 to $18.16 for children, up $3.40 to $4.05 for adults and $2.14 for children. The Deluxe plan price runs $99.97 to $102.27 for adults and $26.84-$28.91 for children, an increase of $12.70 to $14.45 for adults and $3.05 to $3.12 for children.
The Quick Service Dining Plan is now $37.58 for adults and $14.32 for children, up $2.59 for adults and $2.32 for children. The Premium Dining Plan is up $10 for both adults and children to $189 (adults) and $139 (children), while the Platinum Dining Plan is up $10 for adults and $9.01 for children to $249 (adults) and $179.01 (children), respectively.
Here's a run-down on the pricing for all dining plans:
Daily cost per adult
Daily cost per child
|Quick Service Dining Plan||$37.58||$14.32|
|Dining Plan||$55.59 - $56.94||$17.16 - $18.16|
|Deluxe Dining Plan||$99.97 - $102.27||$26.84 - $28.91|
|Premium Dining Plan||$189.00||$139.00|
|Platinum Dining Plan||$249.00||$179.01|
The Wine and Dine add-on package that was discontinued in 2012 has not returned for 2013.
The plans are largely unchanged from last year. In fact, the only difference that we could find was that the PhotoPass CD is apparently no longer included with the Platinum Plan.
Note: The Premium and Platinum plans are no longer available for stays of fewer than three days. This is to address the issue of guests booking a one-day Platinum plan before or after the rest of their stay and taking advantage of as many added-cost features as possible in the one day to get a value of multiples of the cost of the plan, such as the $229 Backstage Magic tour, followed by a $145 facial massage at the Saratoga Springs Spa, and finishing up with a $135 dinner at Victoria & Albert's. As it's not likely that guests will be running up such a huge tab every day of a three-day-plus vacation, Disney is less likely to take a huge loss on the plan.
For more information, Disney offers PDF files for each plan: Quick Service Dining Plan, standard Dining Plan, Deluxe Dining Plan, Premium Plan, and Platinum Plan. As with every year's initial release of the plan, many third-party operating participants may not be listed on the plan brochure, but it's expected that, by the time that 2013 rolls around, all the usual locations will be on the plan.
Summer means large groups of youth guests from Brazil. Distinguished by their colored shirts and/or backpacks, they travel in large groups usually led by pennant-carriers to keep the groups together. Careful planning and the strategic use of FastPass tickets help you to avoid being overwhelmed by these crowds. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Challenges in dealing with the large groups in counter service restaurants like Restaurantaosaurus have been addressed by staffing the locations with cast members that can speak Portuguese, and by seating guests during peak meal times rather than letting them seat themselves. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
At some dining locations, you will also find signs at tables kindly inviting you to move on after you've completed your meal so that others may have a seat. The tri-fold sign is in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon's featured events have been designated Runner's World Challenge events. Runners willing to fork over some big bucks will get a premium package including lodging and special private events.
Runner's World magazine designates a handful of races each year to provide special guidance and incentives to participants. The package for the Runner's World Challenge at Walt Disney World includes a three night stay at Disney's Yacht or Beach Club Resort, standard room, double occupancy, from January 11-14, 2013. Those signing up will also receive:
- Entry into the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon, Half Marathon or Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge with preferred corral placement
- A 16-week training plan designed by the Runner's World experts, and "Chief Running Officer" Bart Yasso, who has coached hundreds of elites, celebs, and everyday runners
- Weekly e-mails from Yasso with guidance on training, nutrition, injury prevention, and motivation
- One year of access to the Runner's World Challenge experts on nutrition, training, and injury-prevention
- Access to a private Runner's World Challenge website, where you can connect with other runners training for the race
- Private packet pick-up and hospitality suite at the resort
- A commemorative 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend keepsake gift
- A copy of The Runner's World Complete Book of Running
- A Runner's World Challenge tech shirt
- A four-month premium membership to Runner's World Personal Trainer, the magazine's interactive training log
- Pre-race course strategy session with the Runner's World experts and editors (on the afternoon of January 11, 2013 for the Half Marathon/Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge runners, or on January 12, 2013 for the Marathon/Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge runners)
- Exclusive shakeout run with the Runner's World editors
- Entry to the Pasta in the Park Party on Saturday night, January 12, at Epcot with Runner's World VIPs & editors
- Private group motorcoach or similar transportation to and from the start and finish lines from the hotel (exact type and schedule of such transportation to be determined by Disney)
- Entry to the Race Retreat which includes pre and post race hot and cold beverages, dedicated stretching area, and private portalets & bag check, post-race buffet, massage and live results
- Post-race celebration on Sunday night at the Cool Down at Downtown Disney
If you've already purchased entry to the Marathon, Half Marathon or Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, you will have your registration fee refunded if you purchase a Runner's World Challenge package. Packages start at $1,649.00 plus tax for the Marathon and Half Marathon and $1,899.00 plus tax for Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge.
Registration fees are nonrefundable. Registration is subject to availability. Dates, times, and prices are subject to change. All races and corral placement are subject to eligibility requirements and capacity limits.
Russell now greets guests at the Wilderness Explorers Animal Kingdom Meet Up. He will be the main character in an interactive game being planned for Disney's Animal Kingdom later this fall. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Nets are completely up in those portions of the queue for It's Tough To Be A Bug that are under the umbrella of the Tree of Life. Unfortunately, leaves and palms falling on the net are difficult to remove and can darken the already shaded pathway. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
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 email@example.com to help us keep our listings updated.
The Encore! Cast Performing Arts group celebrates its tenth annual production to raise funds for charity this week, as the group presents "Finding Wonderland" at the Premier Theater inside Disney's Hollywood Studios July 15, 16, 19, 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. each night. Over 500 Disney cast members will sing, act, dance, play music, and act as color guard in the performances, a celebration of the best moments from the last decade of Encore. The show's plot follows the journey of a person seeking to discover a way back to a place he's always dreamed of. Along the way, the person stumbles upon friends and foes, triumphs and defeats, all the while certain he was meant for something more.
The performances will have reserved seating inside the theater, and E-tickets can be purchased online using Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express cards. Online ticket sales will close two-and-a-half hours prior to showtime each evening. Although unsold tickets may be available at the door (Cash Sales Only), advance sales are highly encouraged due to the reserved seating configuration and limited seating capacity.
Tickets cost $15-$35 per person ($10 for children), and park admission is not required for the event (though parking is not included in the price). The E-tickets purchased online grant you admission to Disney's Hollywood Studios beginning at 6:45 p.m. on show nights. Separate Theme Park Admission is not required, though the doors to Premier Theater will open at approximately 7:00 p.m. Due to limited indoor/covered waiting area and the potential for inclement weather, as well as the benefit of reserved seating, Encore! requests that you plan to arrive at the Premier Theater no earlier than 7:00pm for your own comfort.
This year's charity beneficiary is A Better Life Pet Rescue, a group that promotes the adoption of rescued animals throughout Central Florida. Since its inception, Encore has donated all proceeds from ticket sales to local charities, raising more than $175,000 to date. Past recipients include: the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, United Arts of Central Florida, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, A Gift for Teaching and the Base Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation, among others. More than 50,000 volunteer hours go into preparing Encore performances each year from early concepts to sold-out shows.
Concessions will be available before the show and during the 15-Minute Intermission. Concessions proceeds will also benefit the charitable beneficiary, and concession sales are cash only.
For more information or to buy tickets, visit the official Encore website.
Most of the construction effort has gone into building new paddocks for the zebras behind these gates. Though difficult for guests (and cameras) to see, that part of the construction has now gone vertical. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Magic Kingdom Main Street U.S.A. – mechanical repairs on water and gas valves.
- Magic Kingdom building MO5 – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Liberty Square Market – Craisins sign.
- Magic Kingdom Aunt Polly's – mechanical.
- Magic Kingdom entrance – ferryboat & monorail signage.
- Epcot Universe of Energy – mechanical and electrical work for screens replacement.
- Epcot Norway pavilion – fire sprinkler repairs.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Toy Story Midway Mania – construction.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Sound Stage 4 – AV/SC.
- Pluto Park boneyard – general clean up and routine maintenance.
- Blizzard Beach ticket booth – "S.A.M.S. Project" electrical.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Convention Center – mechanical.
- Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – electrical repairs.
- Disney's Yacht Club Resort Convention Center – mechanical.
- Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts Hurricane Hanna's expansion – rehab.
- Disney's Beach Club Resort Cape May Cafe – equipment installation.
- Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Magnolia Bend path of travel modifications – concrete.
- Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Magnolia Bend buildings 80 & 85 – finishes.
…Are you ready for Disney Parks air fresheners? Starting in August, you'll be able to buy air freshener cards for $5.95 that smell (and look) like a turkey leg, a Mickey premium ice cream bar, a candy apple, and a Mickey Mouse waffle.
…From now through September, Disney Parks will be releasing a series of 40 ear-hat-shaped ornaments for $19.95 each. The ornaments will also be offered through the online store. Most are in a limited series of 6,500 units. Some may even be made into full-sized ear hats later on.
…If you're willing to shell out around $385 plus tax, the Disney Florist has a pretty comprehensive Mickey's Spooktacular Celebration 2012 package that you can have set up in your room while you're out in the parks. Depending on which web page you look at, the package will be availalbe starting either August 19 or September 10.
…Registration for the February 22–24, 2013, fifth annual Princess Half Marathon Weekend is now open. The special fifth annual Disney's Princess Half Marathon medal will have a tiara theme. Weekend events include Disney's Princess Half Marathon, Disney Royal Family 5K, runDisney Kids Races, Disney's Fit for a Princess Expo, Pasta in the Park Party, Breakfast Race Retreat, and ChEAR Squad.
…Registration for the September 28–29 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend is now full. The related runDisney Kids' Races are now 57 percent full and the 5K is now 56 percent full, and the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash after-party is 52 percent full.
…Registration for the November 9-10 Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is 86 percent full.
…Registration for the January 10-13, 2013, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is now open. Registration for Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge is 85 percent full, the full Marathon is 70 percent full, and the Half Marathon is 61 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 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."
Join our networks
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.
Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.
- 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.
- October 2-3: D23 Sip & Scream.
- 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.
- Snow White's Scary Adventures – closed permanently for conversion to Princess Fairytale Hall.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment August 4–10.
- Country Bear Jamboree – closed for refurbishment August 22 – October 16.
- Be Our Guest Restaurant – opens by 2012 holiday season.
- Maurice's Cottage – opens by 2012 holiday season.
- Gaston's Tavern – opens by 2012 holiday season.
- Bonjour Village Gifts – opens by 2012 holiday season.
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid – opens by 2012 holiday season.
- Princess Fairytale Hall – opens 2013.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.
- Test Track – closed through November 30 for "reimagining."
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closed for refurbishment September 10-14
- No known current refurbishments.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Grand Floridian Spa closed through mid-2013 for refurbishment.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Narcoossee's closed through July 22.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Citricos closed July 23 through August 4.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Beach Pool Bar closed through August 24.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Sandy Cove shop closed August 21 through December.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Courtyard Pool closed August 24 through November for addition of zero-entry area.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Gasparilla Grill & Games closed August 24 through December.
- Disney's Contemporary Resort – California Grill closed January 6, 2013, through late summer 2013 for refurbishment.
- Disney's Beach Club Resort – Cape May Cafe closed for refurbishment July 9 through August 3.
- Disney's Yacht Club Resort Yachtsman Steakhouse – closed for refurbishment August 27 through September 15.
- Disney's Yacht Club Resort – building exterior repaired and refinished through August 3.
- Disney's Yacht Club Resort – rooftop HVAC hot water piping replaced January 9 to September 28.
- Disney's 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.
- Disney's Coronado Springs Resort – Ranchos buildings experiences tile roof repair and replacement through July 27.
- Disney's 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 are closed periodically throughout this period.
- Typhoon Lagoon – closed October 28 through January 5, 2013 for annual refurbishment.
- Blizzard Beach – closed for annual refurbishment starting January 5, 2013.
- Oak Trail Golf Course – closed 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 to 22
- November 27
Discounted rooms and packages released for late summer/early fall
A new room-only discount has been released for this summer. The discount is available for stays most nights from August 15 through September 29 and must be booked by August 14.
Discounts vary by resort:
- 30 percent: Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney's Old Key West Resort, Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Disney's BoardWalk Inn, and Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard view)
- 25 percent: Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, and Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins
- 20 percent: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Disney's All Star Sports Resort, Disney's All Star Music Resort
- 15 percent: Disney's All Star Movies Resort
Other room types may be available at varying rates.
This discount does not include suites, 3 bedroom Grand Villas, and Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
No other discounts or group rates apply. The number of discounted rooms at these rates are limited, and additional minimum stay lengths may apply for weekend arrivals.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-1894 or your favorite travel agent and using discount code T47.
Passholder room discounts available through August
A Passholder discount is available for most dates July 22 through August 14. Passholders can book this discount through the day of arrival if rooms are still available. As with all discounts, rooms available at these rates is limited, and minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. No group rates or other discounts apply. Suites, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, and Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included.
Discounts range from 20-30 percent and availability varies by date.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-7283 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code C87. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
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.