Quantcast
MousePlanet.com


Update for August 13 – August 19, 2012

Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions | Comments

News and Views

Reminder: Get your Food and Wine tickets | New Fantasyland to open December 6 at Magic Kingdom; previews start November 19 | Mangum takes Imagineering leadership position at Walt Disney World; Avatar land moving forward? | Calling all with a spirit of adventure! MouseAdventure: World Explorers comes to Magic Kingdom! | D-Tech Me Princess experience to debut at World of Disney | Major overhaul coming to food offerings at Epcot's France pavilion | Great Irish Hooley comes to Raglan Road | Disney announces 2013 Military Salute offers | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd Update

Reminder: Get your Food and Wine tickets

Are your dialing fingers ready? Reservations for all ticketed events at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival open at 7 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 14! You'll need to call 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378) to make your reservations. Everything from the Party for the Senses to the "3D" Disney's Dessert Discovery to culinary demonstrations and everything in between. You can find out more about all of the special events at the Food and Wine Festival website.

New Fantasyland to open December 6 at Magic Kingdom; previews start November 19

Last Wednesday morning, I posted on my blog:


advertisement

At long last, the waiting is almost over. We finally have a date. The bulk of the New Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World will officially open on December 6. There will be passholder and DVC previews and likely some previews for all guests starting November 19.

Included in the new section of the land opening later this year are:

  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Be Our Guest Restaurant
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Ariel’s Grotto
  • Gaston’s Tavern
  • Bonjour! Village Gifts

The ride portion of the Little Mermaid attraction will be identical to the version of the ride at Disney California Adventure park, though the queue and entire exterior theme will be completely different. The attraction will have Fastpass. Enchanted Tales with Belle is a plussed-up meet-and-greet that is expected to be so spectacular that it will also open with a Fastpass entry. Ariel's Grotto will be your place to meet and greet the popular aquatic princess.

Be Our Guest Restaurant will be a completely new concept in Disney dining. The location will provide enhanced quick service at lunch, then turn into a table service location with reservations for dinner. It is likely that Be Our Guest may require as early reservations as Cinderella's Royal Table. Gaston's Tavern will provide another dining location in previously-sparse Fantasyland. Bonjour! Village Gifts will be the area's merchandise location.

The first part of Storybook Circus opened earlier, featuring the re-themed Barnstormer featuring Goofy as The Great Goofini, the double Dumbo spinner attraction, and the Carol Pacific railroad station. The last pieces of Storybook Circus, Pete's Silly Sideshow meet and greet location and Big Top Souvenirs, are expected to open before November.

Exact dates for Passholder and DVC previews have yet to be announced, but they will likely precede the previews for all guests. Keep your eyes open, and we'll keep you up to date as we find out the news.

After the big opening in December, the only remaining pieces of New Fantasyland (at least, those that have already been announced) will be Princess Fairytale Hall, a mega-princess meet and greet location, opening in 2013 and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, opening in 2014.

What do you think of this? Let us know in the comments below or on our MousePad discussion forums!

Reservations for the 550-seat Be Our Guest Restaurant opens later this month (the date is yet to be revealed), and the restaurant opens effective November 19.

Enchanted Tales with Belle will be a new kind of meet-and-greet, with guests entering through Maurice's workshop, passing through a Magic Mirror, and ending in the Beast's library where they will interact with Belle, Lumiere, and the enchanted wardrobe.


The 320-suite Lion King wing of Disney's Art of Animation Resort opened last Friday. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Simba overlooks the new wing from Pride Rock. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


You can step up to Rafiki to have your picture taken. This introduces a time-old problem for this resort. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


While some characters seem like they are far enough away to be "untouchable"… Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Increased signage has been put in place to remind guests not to climb up on the log and join Simba, Timon, and Pumba. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


A jungle entrance into one of the wings provides a little more "greenery." Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Elephant Graveyard provides a small play area while Shenzi, Banzai and Ed eye guests from above. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Lion King wing is one long corridor with Simba on one end and Scar on the other. The backdrop of the buildings change from a bright savannah to a jungle theme (where Timon & Pumba are) to a grey set of greens where Scar and the hyenas reside. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Just as Rafiki welcomes you by Pride Rock on one end, Zazu welcomes and warns you of Scar from the other end. The entire wing in its own way, tells a well laid-out story. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Mangum takes Imagineering leadership position at Walt Disney World; Avatar land moving forward?

Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Vice President and Producer Kathy Mangum has been transferred from the Disneyland Resort to a new position at the Walt Disney World Resort. The WDI executive, who most recently led the Cars Land project at Disney California Adventure park, is the new Executive Producer for Walt Disney World, which essentially puts her in charge of all projects at the resort. The WDI Senior Vice Presidents in charge of the parks, Joe Rohde (Disney's Animal Kingdom) and Eric Jacobson (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios), will report to Mangum. She arrives as major projects come to fruition in the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland and Epcot's re-imagined Test Track.

Speculation has already begun on what the next major project might be at Walt Disney World, and it looks like it will be the Avatar-based land at Disney's Animal Kingdom announced last September. Mangum's success in translating the animated world of Cars to the theme parks would seem to fit well with the project's requirements to bring the fantastic world of Pandora to life.

Confirmation that the Avatar project is next up comes straight from the mouth of Bob Iger in an interview with Business Week, in which Iger said, "We’re building out Fantasyland now in the Magic Kingdom, then we’ll add Avatar Land." But that's not the only indicator.

The very reliable Honor Hunter writes on his Blue Sky Disney blog that the "blue sky" phase of design may be ready to move to the next phase, and that the land will be approximately 10 to 12 acres (Cars Land is 12 acres). He further notes, "There will be at least three attractions (rides) in the land with plenty of places to eat exotic, foreign foods and shop for strange, alien merchandise. Of those attractions, at least one will involve a flight simulator technology that will be heavily modified from the ones used for 'Soarin' Over California.'"

Discussion over the name of the new land, according to Hunter, is mostly focusing around three candidates: Pandora, The World of Pandora, and Pandora: The World of Avatar. It appears that the leading candidate is the last of those.

What other indicators are there that "Pandora: The World of Avatar" is moving forward?

About a week ago, a number of balloons were seen flying tethered at varying heights at Disney's Animal Kingdom before the park opened. Disney flies balloons at various elevations of key structures in this common method to determine what the sightlines of an area would be like. Based on the reported location of the balloons, the new land would go in the Camp Minnie-Mickey area. Locating the new land in this location (which at one time was the planned site of the Beastlie Kingdomme land) would likely require the closure of the Festival of the Lion King theater. An unconfirmed report claims that the show will be shut down for just such a purpose in January. Of course, 10-12 acres would be a tight fit there, and the vacant space between Africa and Asia could much more easily accommodate the site. We probably won't know for sure until earth-moving starts.

So what new advances could we see in such a land? Disney Research has published information about a new project called "Botanicus Interacticus," a "technology [that] can be used to design highly interactive responsive environments based on plants, developing new forms of organic, living interaction devices as well as creating organic ambient and pervasive interfaces." Basically, they've created a control system that uses a plant (real or artificial) as an input device. The input could then theoretically be used to control the movement of the artificial plant itself, making it seem like the plant is interacting with the user. What better way to create a living, interactive plant?

The pieces are starting to fall into place, and—while we won't know how the second and third Avatar movies will do at the box office—it looks like there's an excellent chance that the new land will indeed come online in the 2015-2016 time frame as originally planned.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!


The 864-room Little Mermaid wing is still under construction. Ariel will be at the far end of this wing. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Ursula will ooze out of on one side, while Triton faces her from the other. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Calling all with a spirit of adventure! MouseAdventure: World Explorers comes to Magic Kingdom!

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.

D-Tech Me Princess experience to debut at World of Disney

Given the success of the Carbon Freeze Me Experience during Star Wars Weekends, it was only a matter of time before Disney found another way to utilize the "D-Tech Me" technology to make truly personalized merchandise. Starting August 26 at the World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, guests ages 3-12 can have their face appear on a 7-inch Disney Princess figurine.

As with Carbon Freeze Me, in 10 minutes, cameras capture many angles of a guest's face to be processed for the figure. Instead of being placed in the stead of Han Solo's face on the iconic block of carbonite, kids can choose from figures of Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Tiana to display their face. The guest's hair, skin, and eye color will appear on the doll. The guest will also receive a Princess silver link necklace with a choice of colored gem charm.

The selected figurine will be printed using a 3D printer (the figurines are said to have a feel like a "resin-like powder material") and shipped directly to the guest's home within five to six weeks. The cost for the experience is $99.95 plus $15.95 shipping, including the seven-inch figurine. Additional replica seven-inch figurines can be purchased for $74.95, and additional three-inch replicas are available for $39.95. Canadian and international shipping begin at $75.


Some say these figurines are marvelous, others say they're creepy. What do you think? Image © Disney.

The D-Tech Me Princess experience is only a test, and it is expected to run through November 24. It is uncertain yet whether it will continue to be offered or will be offered again at a later time, or if this will be the only opportunity.

Reservations for the experience are available now by calling 407-WDW-TECH (407-939-8324). Children must be ages 3 to 12 to participate, and must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age during the entire experience. A credit card number is required to reserve the experience, and the card will be charged a $25 cancellation fee for no-shows or cancellations within 48 hours of the scheduled experience.

Some fans are very excited about the offering, and are complaining about the fact that those over the age of 12 cannot participate. Others are shocked by the offering and proclaim the dolls "creepy." What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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.

Major overhaul coming to food offerings at Epcot's France pavilion

The dining options at Epcot's France pavilion are in for a drastic change late this year. While the Chefs de France brasserie downstairs and the crepe and wine kiosks along the World Showcase Promenade will remain unchanged, the rest will have a whole new look.

Bistro de Paris is currently closed through December 1 for major renovations. According to a story on the Disney Parks Blog, the restaurant is getting a less formal atmosphere. The location will have a "new name, new dining room, new costumes for the servers, new menu," according to company head Jerome Bocuse. The goal is elegant but not stuffy.

A new bakery is under construction behind the theater exit area, and should open in mid-December as the new location of Boulangerie Patisserie. The shop will have a show bakery, where all of the baking for the pavilion's restaurants will be done in a bread oven, and the new 90-seat Boulangerie will have an expanded menu that includes salads and sandwiches. Once the new bakery opens, the former location is converting to a new Glacier ice cream parlor. There's no projected date yet for Glacier's opening.


Signage for The Crows Nest building has been moved to a location at the main Pirates Bazaar. There's no word yet on what will happen to the former ticket building. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


While difficult to see in the dark, the entire space between the new Fantasyland construction and Pinocchio's Village Haus was flooded after a storm. Crews had to push the water to a small drain near the carousel. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Great Irish Hooley comes to Raglan Road

Over Labor Day weekend, Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island hosts its first "Great Irish Hooley," a boutique Irish festival similar to those found in Ireland and some U.S. cities. The event, taking place from August 31 through September 3, features food, beverages, music, dancing, face painting, and more. Performances at the event include:

  • Full Set (Friday through Monday), a popular Irish band whose debut album was released last year;
  • Elevation (Saturday and Sunday), a U2 tribute band;
  • Creel (all weekend), Raglan Road's house band;
  • The Raglan Rogues (Thursday through Monday), a Dublin band performing Irish folk & traditional tunes;
  • Danny Burns (Friday through Monday), Irish ballads and contemporary Irish music;
  • Johnny "Snaggs" Norton (Saturday through Monday), Irish folk, ballads, and traditional sing-alongs; and
  • The Raglan Road Irish Dancers (all weekend), the six-member house dance troupe.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday will feature Irish dance workshops and two-hour Ceili (KAY-lee) set-dancing events.

For more information, check out the event website or call (407) 938-0300.


Within the last couple of months, Disney has finally "released the Genie" and remodeled the Cybrolator. It now simply serves as an elevator to the third floor. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


On the third floor, which serves as a "central plaza" to Disney Quest, they now have a very nice electronic tip board. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Pinocchio in the Create It space looks overdue for a clean up. The attraction "Magic Mirrors" that accompanied him has since long been removed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Disney announces 2013 Military Salute offers

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 $156 per ticket, plus tax (up from $138 last year), or with both the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options for $184 per ticket, plus tax (up from $165). No Base ticket is available with this offer.

The tickets may not be used before October 1, 2012, and expire after September 28, 2012. Blockout dates are December 24 to 31, 2012 and March 24 to April 4, 2013 at all ticketed locations, and July 4, 2013 at Magic Kingdom park only.

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. Tickets may be purchased by active and retired military personnel for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. 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.

In addition, specially priced rooms are available to active and retired U.S. military personnel at select Walt Disney World resorts for stays most nights from October 1, 2012 through September 28, 2013, except for November 24, 2012, December 23 to 31, 2012, and March 25 to April 4, 2013.

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

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom Space Mountain – electrical.
  • Magic Kingdom Pecos Bill's restrooms – refurbishment.
  • Magic Kingdom Main Street, USA building MO7 – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Sir Mickey's – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Ferry Boat Landing – repairs.
  • Transportation & Ticket Center Ferry Boat Landing – repairs.
  • Transportation & Ticket Center Lost & Found Parking Lot – landscaping.
  • Epcot Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion – directional signage.
  • Epcot Universe of Energy – mechanical and electrical work.
  • Epcot Main Fountain – repair of the carbon dioxide monitoring system.
  • Epcot Mission Space – construction.
  • Epcot Norway pavilion – replacement of shunt trip breaker with contactor.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios MuppetVision 3D – construction.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Star Tours – construction.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest – construction.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Tree of Life – construction.
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace DVC kiosk – general construction.
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa doors only – carpentry.
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort main tower – general construction.
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort South Garden Wing and main tower ADA parking – contractors general conditions.
  • Disney's Polynesian Resort Building 2 room 2225 only – mechanical.
  • Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts main building – electrical.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort Community Hall – general construction.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort east courtyard grass area – contractors general conditions.
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort – tower graphics.
  • Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort doors only – carpentry.

Quick takes …

…When the Walt Disney World Moms Panel opens its application period next month, in addition to general-interest moms (and dads) Disney is also looking for some specialists, including sports team moms (who plan sports events such as cheerleading, soccer, and football), international travelers, and Spanish-speaking moms. Stay tuned; we'll let you know when we get an opening date for the application process.

…At Pete's Silly Sideshow, the new meet-and-greet location in Storybook Circus, there will be two paths to meet four of your favorite Disney circus friends. The first path will take you to meet Minnie Magnifique the circus star and Madame Daisy Fortuna the fortuneteller. The other path leads to daredevil The Great Goofini and snake charmer The Astounding Donaldo. Mickey Mouse will continue to greet fans at his magic show dressing room in the Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A.

…The Disney Vacation Club is closing its last Doorway to Dreams location at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island, New York, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The sales center closes on November 3, less than two months after the suburban Chicago location closes on September 14. DVC is keeping its sales center at Tokyo Disney Resort open.

…Walt Disney World cast members donated a record 3.1 million school supplies and 13,000 backpacks to Central Florida students last Thursday. Busloads of supplies were distributed to schools from five local counties. School superintendents from Orange, Osceola, Lake, Seminole, and Polk counties were on hand to receive the donations. The Back-to-School Supply Drive took 2,300 volunteer hours from cast members over the past month to collect and sort the supplies. The previous weekend, a Family Day event brought the spouses, siblings, and children of cast members to help with the effort. This year's effort surpassed last year's 13,000 backpacks and 2.1 million supplies. The Supply Drive is one of the many ways Disney shows its support of education and children in Central Florida.

…Registration for the February 22–24, 2013, fifth annual Princess Half Marathon Weekend is now open.

…Registration for the September 28–29 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend is full. The related runDisney Kids' Races are now 67 percent full and the Disney Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run is now 73 percent full, and the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash after-party is 68 percent full.

…Registration for the November 9-10 Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is full. There are still some opportunities available to run the race via charity groups and travel operators. Look for details at the event website. The related Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K is 52 percent full, and runDisney Kids Races are 51 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 88 percent full, the full Marathon is 83 percent full, the Half Marathon is 72 percent full, and the Disney Family Fun Run 5K is 51 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

Advertisement

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."

It's the last week of big summer crowds at Walt Disney World! TouringPlans.com can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist pitfalls, and will help you avoid the dreaded tour groups, with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines - Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. Now more than ever, it's a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

Date Overall
Tuesday, August 14, 2012 8 / 10
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 8 / 10
Thursday, August 16, 2012 9 / 10
Friday, August 17, 2012 9 / 10

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!

  • Crowds will remain high this week, but tail off a bit at the end of the week.
  • If visiting Epcot, remember that Test Track is closed until Fall 2012; plan your FASTPASS strategy accordingly.
  • An air-conditioned play/waiting area, FASTPASS, and twice as many ride vehicles are now available at Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. Expect more pleasant (and possibly shorter) waits!
  • 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.


 

Join our networks

Facebook

MousePlanet

MouseAdventure
The MouseStation Podcast
 

Twitter


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.

Coming up

  • August 14: Reservations for special events 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.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Snow White's Scary Adventures – closed permanently for conversion to Princess Fairytale Hall.
  • Country Bear Jamboree – closed for refurbishment August 22 – October 16.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – closed for refurbishment October 9.
  • 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.
  • Ariel's Grotto – opens by 2012 holiday season.
  • Princess Fairytale Hall – opens 2013.
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.

Epcot

  • Test Track – closed through November 30 for "reimagining."
  • Bistro de Paris – closed through December 1 for refurbishment.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closed for refurbishment September 10-14

Animal Kingdom

  • No known current refurbishments.

Resorts

  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Grand Floridian Spa closed through mid-2013 for refurbishment.
  • 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 Yacht Club Resort Yachtsman Steakhouse – closed for refurbishment August 27 through September 15.
  • 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 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.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed October 28 through January 5, 2013 for annual refurbishment.
  • Blizzard Beach – January 6, 2013 through March, 2013 closed for annual refurbishment.

Elsewhere

  • 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:
    • September 18 to 22
    • November 27

Current Discounts & Promotions

Free dining offers released for late September through mid-December

Walt Disney World has announced a free dining offer for Disney Visa card members and the general public. 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 10-20, 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.

MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

Special Summer PhotoPass+ deal

Disney's PhotoPass service has announced a new summer discount on Disney PhotoPass+ pre-arrival packages. For $169.95 plus tax, Walt Disney World guests receive a voucher to exchange for a PhotoPass+ card upon arrival at the resort, a Photo Gallery CD with over 400 stock photos ($39.95 value), a unique code to create and order a photo CD upon return from their trip ($169.95 value), print packages at select dining locations ($29.95 value each), and digital photos from select attractions ($14.95 value each). Applicable taxes will be charged to all orders.

This special offer is only available from this link or by calling the Guest Support line at 407-560-4300, and only prior to arrival at Walt Disney World Resort. All sales are final, and not eligible for an exchange or refund.

The package may take as long as 14 days to arrive, and you must bring your voucher from the package to redeem it, so make sure that you order far enough in advance to allow your materials to arrive.

Attractions currently participating in the program are Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur. Current participating restaurants are 1900 Park Fare, 'Ohana, Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, Chef Mickey's Cinderella's Royal Table, Tusker House Restaurant, Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.

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.

MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

Passholder room discounts for August and September

A Passholder discount is available for most dates August 17 through September 29. 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 25-35 percent and availability varies by date.

You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-7635 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code W9G. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

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).

2011-12 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.

2013 Military Salute offers

From now through September 28, 2013, 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 $156 per ticket, plus tax (up from $138 last year), or with both the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options for $184 per ticket, plus tax (up from $165). No Base ticket is available with this offer.

The tickets expire and may not be used before October 1, 2012, or after September 28, 2012. Blockout dates are December 24-31, 2012 and March 24-April 4, 2013 at all ticketed locations, and July 4, 2013 at Magic Kingdom park only.

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. Tickets may be purchased by active and retired military personnel for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. 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.

In addition, specially-priced rooms are available to active and retired U.S. military personnel at select Walt Disney World resorts for stays most nights from October 1, 2012 through September 28, 2013, except for November 24, 2012, December 23-31, 2012, and March 25-April 4, 2013.

For complete information regarding Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets and discounted resort rates, 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.


Comments

Discuss this article on MousePad. (Direct link to the article's thread)


(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.