Last Tuesday, Disney Parks announced its promotion for 2013, called "Limited Time Magic," with a 25-foot-tall, 45,000-pound ice castle in Times Square, New York, and a great deal of fanfare. The promotion is actually more like a series of 52 one-week-long promotions, though some may be longer or shorter. Each promotion will disappear to be replaced by another.
While this seems to be an Attention-Deficit Disorder version of an annual promotion, there may be a method to this madness. With attendance at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts virtually assured next year due to this year's debut of New Fantasyland on the East Coast and the reinvigorated Disney California Adventure on the West Coast, this appears to be giant market research experiment. With various promotions during the year, which one will draw the biggest increases in guests? If an idea flops tremendously, it's only one week at a time, with attendance still buoyed by the overall interest level. It's a great chance to try out all of those interesting ideas that nobody has any idea whether or not they'll be successful.
While most of the promotions are yet to be released, Disney did announce several with the Times Square event:
The various promotions will be announced via a variety of methods, including the Disneyland and Walt Disney World websites, Facebook, Twitter, and the Disney Parks Blog, "adding to the element of surprise" and also boosting traffic to each of those venues.
Last Tuesday, a slimmed-down Country Bear Jamboree returned from a two-month refurbishment. The show was noticeably lighter, both in run time (around 10 minutes instead of 15) and in fat jokes.
Two songs and much of the banter between the bears and their wall-hung companions (Melvin the bull moose, Max the buck, and Buff the buffalo) were removed in an attempt to decrease the show's run time and to make it more enticing for guests. While many will miss "Pretty Little Devilish Mary," "Fractured Folk Song," and the jokes, the core of the show and the overall theme have been retained (the excisions that I will personally miss the most are the extra few bars at the end of "Bear Band Serenade" and the ending of the additional Bear Band songs where Baby Oscar squeaks his teddy bear to close the song).
Compare the new, shorter version here with the original version below to see the differences.
The original Country Bear Jamboree ran about five minutes longer than the revised version.
Concerns of many fans on the Internet that many of the politicallybincorrect songs (such as "Mama, Don't Whup Little Buford" and "Tears Will Be The Chaser For Your Wine") would be removed proved unfounded, as those songs remained intact.
In addition, the bears themselves and much of the theater received a much-needed refurbishment. The bears all have new fur and clothing, and the theater and sound are much cleaner than they have been in a long time. Walt Disney World released a video of a group of Imagineers talking about the refurbishment.
Imagineers explain their approach to the changes at Country Bear Jamboree.
Let us know what you think of the changes in the comments below.
Registration for MouseAdventure: World Explorers IV has been extended one week until this Friday, October 26. 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. Registration will close on Friday, October 26 at 11:00 p.m. (EDT), or when the event sells out. For more information, check out the MouseAdventure information page.
Stacey J. Aswad, best known to Walt Disney World Resort guests from her appearances on resort TV, jokes around with guests between takes for new "Must See" scenes in New Fantasyland. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Walt Disney World has announced the schedule of fireworks at the parks for New Year's Eve. Let's take a look around the property:
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org to help us keep our listings updated.
With New Fantasyland opening for dress rehearsals, the construction walls are now down around all of the Fantasyland walls that separate the Castle Courtyard from the Fantasyland Forest. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The Epcot Character Spot meet-and-greet location has closed for refurbishment (expected to run through February), but an interim Character Spot location has opened nearby. The temporary, smaller location is located in the center of the southwest Innoventions building, in a room that was once used for the Imagineering Labs demonstration of what is now the Aladdin attraction at DisneyQuest. You can be enter the area through any of four entrances.
The location only has space for three characters, so Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto will occupy the space, which has a backdrop mural featuring Spaceship Earth, the Imagination pavilion, and the monorail. Donald will not appear at Epcot in his standard garb during the refurbishment (though he'll still be available in his Three Caballeros costume at the Mexico pavilion). Goofy will move to the position at the old Leave a Legacy sales location to the right of the Leave a Legacy plaza near the main entrance. Stitch, who used to meet there, has left Epcot for now.
Thanks to Kenny "the Pirate" White for some of the details.
Disney Cruise Line has received a couple of top awards recently, grabbing the top spot for Family Cruises for the fourth consecutive year in Travel + Leisure magazine's World's Best Awards and number 1 in the Large Cruise Ship Line category in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. Three ships were named to the "Top 100 Cruise Ships of the World," with the Disney Magic at number 1 and the Disney Dream and Disney Wonder tied for number 2. Disney Cruise Line also ranked in the top five Large-Ship Cruise Lines for the eighth time in a row in the Travel + Leisure survey.
We finally know which characters from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides were slated to be added to the Pirates of the Caribbean in Magic Kingdom's Adventureland. Mermaids made their first appearance at the attraction last week. They are in the water between the mist screen and the first beach scene. In addition, there is a mermaid skeleton in the boat in the first beach scene. For details, check out the video below from our friends at Attractions magazine.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
…Passholders received an email last week apologizing for the difficulty in signing up for the New Fantasyland previews last Monday. The email noted that Disney is "working quickly to create additional preview opportunities." Details are expected to be released by the middle of this week via email and on the Passholder website and Facebook page. We'll have whatever information is released in next week's Update.
Imagineers give a tour of the dining rooms at Be Our Guest Restaurant in New Fantasyland.
…Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Van Schweetz will begin meeting guests this coming Sunday, October 28, and the Magic of Disney Animation attraction in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
…There appears to be lower-than-expected demand for the D-Tech Me Princess experience at the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney Marketplace. The experience, which debuted August 26, has lowered pricing across the board for its various items. The 7-inch D-Tech Me Princess figurine has dropped from $99.95 to $84.95, additional replica 7-inch figurines are down from $74.95 to $64.95, and add-on 3-inch D-Tech Me Princess Ornament dropped from $39.95 to $34.95. All existing conditions continue, including the recommendation for reservations and the $25 cancellation fee for no-shows and those who cancel within 48 hours of their scheduled experience. The experience will continue to be offered through November 24.
The Alice in Wonderland-themed wet play area at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has been completed between the main resort building and the new Disney Vacation Club building currently under construction. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
New monitors are being piloted at at the bus stations at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. These screens display more specific arrival times for buses to various destinations. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
…New merchandise related to Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid is now available at Sir Mickey's, behind Cinderella Castle. The line includes apparel, drinkware, plush, and more. An interesting item in the collection is the dinglehopper hair brush.
…This will be the last year for the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World. The sponsor will not be renewing its contract after this year, and the tournament on Walt Disney World's Magnolia and Palm courses will need to sign a new sponsor for next year's edition. This year's tourney takes place November 8-11.
…Registration for the featured race of 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 78 percent full, Stroller Walk is 93 percent full, runDisney Kids Races are 74 percent full, and the Wine & Dine Finish Line Party is sold out.
…Registration for the featured events of the January 10–13, 2013, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend are full, including the Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, the full Marathon, and the Half Marathon. The Runner's World Challenge is also sold out. The Disney Family Fun Run 5K still has room at 81 percent full, the runDisney Kids' Races are 55 percent full, and the Pasta in the Park Party is 54 percent full. Space for the featured races is still available through Team in Training and other groups with reserved spots.
…Registration for the February 22–24, 2013, fifth annual Princess Half Marathon Weekend is open. The individual and team Half Marathons are 75 percent full. The Race Retreat is 80 percent full, the post-5K breakfast is 54 percent full, and the Pasta in the Park Party 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 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."
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A Passholder discount is available for most dates through December 24. 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. Campsites, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, and standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts range from 20-35 percent and availability varies by date.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-7859 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code Q5M. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
A free dining package for 2013 is now available for citizens of the United Kingdom. The package is valid for arrivals in 2013 between January 13 and March 19, as well as April 7, through December 8. The package includes not only a free Disney Dining Plan, but also a $100 gift card and a 14-day ticket for the price of a 14-day ticket. The deal is valid for a free Quick-Service Dining Plan at Moderate resorts and a free standard Dining Plan at Deluxe resorts. You must book by November 15, 2012 to get this deal.
You can now can book a room-only reservation at select Walt Disney World resorts for 15-35 percent off of standard rates most nights from January 2 through March 7, except January 18-20. Reservations must be booked by December 31.
Guests can receive 35 percent off at all Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts, except for Disney's Wilderness Lodge and the Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, which both offer 25 percent off..
30 percent discounts are available at most Moderate Resorts, including Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort, and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort Cabins.
Guests can also get a 25 percent discount at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, and Disney's Pop Century Resort
Fifteen percent discounts can be had at Disney's Art of Animation Resort, family suites only. Standard rooms in the Little Mermaid-themed section are excluded. Also excluded are Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, All-Star Music Resort, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, and Fort Wilderness campsites.
The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-7661 or your favorite travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
You can now book a room-only reservation at select Walt Disney World resorts for discounts on room, ticket, and dining packages most nights from January 2 through March 7. Value Resort package discounts apply to Quick-Service Dining Plans, while Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villas Resorts all offer discounts on the standard Disney Dining Plan. Reservations must be booked by December 31.
Packages are available at all resorts except for the standard rooms in the Little Mermaid-themed section of Disney's Art of Animation Resort, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, and Fort Wilderness campsites.
The discount codes offer are Q8J (for Disney Visa cardmembers) and T64 (for Disney Visa cardmembers) for Value resorts and Q83 (for all guests) Q85 (for Disney Visa cardmembers) for all other resorts. We do not have word on the general-availability codes yet.
The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website or by calling 407-939-7661 or your favorite travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
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 before you arrive 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, and Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
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.
You cannot use these tickets before October 1, 2012, and they expire after September 28, 2013. Blockout dates are December 24 to 31, 2012 and March 24 through 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.
You may upgrade the tickets 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 through 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.
(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.