Last Friday, Annual Passholders received an email announcing 11 more days of Passholder previews for New Fantasyland. Information also became available on the Passholder website. Access to previews will be through a sweepstakes format, designed to avoid the problems experienced two weeks ago, when registration crash the website multiple times, and the site refused to recognize the pass numbers of Premier Passholders (whose passes are good at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World) as valid.
While guests are being steered through the Walt Disney World Annual Passholder site, the preview sweepstakes (which will admit up to 64,860 groups of up to eight Passholders over the 36 previews) are actually being operated through the Disneyland website. Both the sign-up form and the sweepstakes rules are hosted on that site. We're uncertain what that means for those who operated the last sign-ups via the Walt Disney World website. Passholders can sign up through 3 a.m. Wednesday morning (midnight on the West Coast, since the sweepstakes are being hosted out there). Winners will receive notification on or about November 2. If you've already gotten into a preview this coming weekend, you are not eligible to win admission to another preview.
The daily previews are from November 6 through 18, except for the November 10 and 11 Veteran's Day weekend. This basically fills all dates between the existing previews this coming weekend and New Fantasyland's official open previews that begin November 19. On those days when the park hosts Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, the park closes to day guests at 7:00 p.m. (November 9, 12, 15, and 16), the two daily previews are scheduled for (9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 5:00 p.m.). On all other dates, the park is extending its hours to 1:00 a.m. and hosting four previews per day, each lasting three and a half hours (8:00 to 11:30 a.m., 12:30 to 4:00 p.m., 5:00 to 8:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.). The park close at midnight. on November 18, but Extra Magic Hours will keep the park open until 3 a.m.
With so many sessions, the sweepstakes will not hold different entry groups for the Ariel and Belle itineraries. Instead, winners will be able to select one of two itineraries on the day of the event, based on availability.
Passholders can enter the sweepstakes for as many sessions as they'd like. While you can only win admission to one session, the more sessions you enter, the greater your chances of winning. You may not trade your preview entry for other sessions, and all members of your group of up to eight guests must be passholders as of October 26 and at the time of the preview.
The final line-up 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. First-time narrator Olivia Newton-John was dropped, and Lea Salonga has taken her place. Geena Davis has taken over the opening dates from Isabella Rossellini. Dates where narrators had yet to be announced are now scheduled with Andy Garcia, Blair Underwood, James Denton, and Alfre Woodard.
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.
This year's narrators (as always, subject to change) are:
A roof at the restroom complex receives its thatching. To its left, a rock wall helps to hide the view of the Haunted Mansion, while a small rock bridge guides guests through the area. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Candlelight Processional dining packages are now on sale. The popular dining packages provide a prix fixe dinner at Epcot's table service dining locations and guaranteed seating for the Processional.
Meet Walt Disney World Resort Update editor Mark Goldhaber and other MousePlanet readers this Sunday, November 4, at 10:30 a.m. for a MousePlanet meet-up. We will meet between the entrance to Storybook Circus and Dumbo the Flying Elephant at 10:30, spend a few minutes chatting, then see if we can fill one or both Dumbo spinners. If the line is short enough and we get off the attraction early enough, we'll hang out and chat some more. Mark's attending the DVC preview of New Fantasyland at 12:30, so if you'll be there too you can explore the new area with us!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to help us keep our listings updated.
Walt Disney World is changing its policy regarding third-party scooter rentals, starting this Thursday. According to Disney spokeswoman Kathleen Prihoda:
Walt Disney World Resort has selected five preferred vendors that have agreed to rent our resort guests only those Electric Conveyance Vehicles (ECVs) that, based on size and speed, are the safest for use in our theme parks, resort hotels and on our transportation system. Those vendors are Buena Vista, Best Price, C.A.R.E., Apple Mobility and Scooter Bug.
We will recommend the preferred vendors to our guestsand allow them to drop off and pick up their devices at our resort hotels, without the need for guests to be present. All other vendors will have to arrange drop off and pick up directly with guests and will not be able to leave devices unattended.
In other words, Disney will only store scooters for those using one of the five approved providers. Anyone using a non-approved provider (such as Walker Mobility or Scooter Vacations) would need to be present for the delivery and return of the scooters, which might require long periods of time waiting for the provider's truck to arrive, and will create logistics issues for the providers.
This fun video from the Disney Parks Blog features Gary Buchanan, one of the funniest guys I've met, trying to get through all 29 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Marketplaces.
The Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream cruise ships both changed their itineraries late last week to avoid Hurricane Sandy. Both ships substituted a day at sea for their scheduled stops at Castaway Cay on Thursday and Friday, respectively. There have been reports of major storm damage aboard the Fantasy, including damage to both Palo and Remy restaurants. Meanwhile, Sandy's path took the storm directly over Castaway Cay. We've asked Disney Cruise Line for additional information about the status of the island and the ships, but have not received a reply as of publication time.
In preparation for the opening of the new, expanded Boulangerie Patisserie, the entire Souvenirs de France shop is closed. Guests visiting Impressions de France enter and exit through the front entry. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Fans of the brunch at Palo aboard the ships of the Disney Cruise Line may be interested to know that a new Champagne brunch has been added to Remy, as well. The French-themed restaurant on board the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy has a set menu, as opposed to the buffet at Palo, but still features amazing food options.
The jacket-optional meal is served on all cruises of four nights or longer.
Take a look at the new meal experience.
The brunch is a six-course meal that starts in the wine room with Champagne and pata negra (a fine Spanish ham). Guests are then seated for the remaining courses. The brunch costs $50 per person, and a $25 Champagne flight (Taittinger Prestige Cuvée Rosé, Pommery Gold and Moët & Chandon Ice) is available with the brunch.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
The Living Statues previously found at various pavilions at Epcot's World Showcase have returned to Walt Disney World, with a twist. The theme and costuming has changed, and they're now located at Downtown Disney West Side near Paradise 37 and Curl by Sammy Duvall.
…Wreck-it Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz are now appearing daily from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 2:40 to 6:00 p.m. (until 5:30 p.m. Friday) in the Magic of Disney Animation at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
…The plains zebras were placed into the final savanna on Kilimanjaro Safaris last Tuesday. The zebras can be seen from the former locations of the "Little Red" truck and the poacher's camp.
…Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on Halloween night is now sold out. All other dates are still available.
…Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at World of Disney opens at 8:00 a.m., an hour earlier than normal, this Tuesday and Wednesday. This will provide some extra time for the little princesses to get ready for Halloween.
…While the Test Track attraction is not yet ready to open, its facade is being revealed this week. Moving closer to the December 6 official opening.…
The Studio Backlot Tour is closed until mid-November. While it is not uncommon to shut down this attraction during softer attendance seasons of the year, it is rumored that a number of changes will be made to this attraction. The American Film Institute Showcase is also closed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
…Two new purchase-with-purchase offers are now available. Passholders can purchase a 2-glass Commemorative Collection double old-fashioned glass set for $13.95 plus tax with purchases of $40 or more at select theme park merchandise locations. New collections become available on the first of each month (October: Minnie Mouse, November: Pluto, December: Goofy, January: Donald Duck, February: Mickey Mouse). All guests can get a special Jiminy Cricket Plus for $12.95 plus tax for purchases of $25 or more, or a themed throw blanket for $18.95 plus tax with purchases of $40 or more.
…Special deals are now available for resin ear hat ornaments and D-Tech smart phone clip cases. At Walt Disney World Resort, you can get three ear hat ornaments for $50 plus tax (normally $21.95 each). Online at the Disney Parks online store is a deal for four hats for $75 (and free shipping if you use the code SHIPTODAY). Whether at the resort or shopping online, you can get two D-Tech smart phone clip cases with ticketed retail prices of $32.95 each for a total of $50 plus tax. The deals run through early January.
A cast member showcases the sale packages Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards. Each set includes a mystery card from one of the last 10 of the set, as well as some additional games. You can still get a regular pack of cards at the game dispatch locations in the Main Street Firehouse and behind the Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
…The Kidcot Fun Stops around Epcot's World Showcase now offer Agent P in addition to Duffy the Disney Bear as figures on a stick that children can color in.
…Apparently, the Disney Fantasy may be having some trouble filling up all of its berths just a few months after its launch. A new offer lets Disney Vacation Club Members book a seven-night cruise aboard the Fantasy in a verandah stateroom from now through early December (except Thanksgiving week) for just $945 per person plus fees and taxes of about $80 per person. DVC Members can call (888) 885-3770 toll free and mention booking code DVC_CASH to receive the offer. The offer is only good on cash cruises and not on cruises taken with DVC points. Once booked, members must fax a copy of their membership ID to (407) 566-7587 within 48 hours of booking.
Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality is up and running near Bongo's Cuban Cafe at Downtown Disney. This temporary, free attraction is scheduled to remain open through December 2. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
…Passholders can get complimentary admission for themselves and up to three guests to this year's Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, taking place November 8 to 11. The PGA Tour event is held on the Palm and Magnolia Golf Courses. Passholders must present their passholder ID at the ticket tent to receive the event passes. Attendees must park in the Magic Kingdom parking lot and take a shuttle bus from the lot to the golf course.
…Fresh-A-Peel at Downtown Disney has changed its name to Bodie’s All-American. The healthy food options remain the same at the counter that shares space with Pollo Campero and Babycakes NYC.
…Typhoon Lagoon has closed for its annual refurbishment.
…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 90 percent full, Stroller Walk is 93 percent full, runDisney Kids Races are 88 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 87 percent full, the runDisney Kids' Races are 57 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 78 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."
Join our networks
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.