Ever since Disney announced that Starbucks would be opening an outlet in each U.S. theme park, here has been speculation on where the shops would appear at Walt Disney World. We've now got the first two locations. The Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom, long in need of some TLC, gets a makeover starting in January, and is reopening as a Starbucks in early summer. The Fountain View Cafe at Epcot closes in March, and reopens mid-summer.
Both locations will carry a full line of Starbucks beverages, as well as breakfast sandwiches and baked goods. We're also hearing that many of the current specialty baked goods at the Main Street Bakery will continue to be available at that location. Cast member costumes and location decor will be designed to match their locations in the parks. There have been very positive reviews of the Starbucks location at Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Café in Disney California Adventure park.
Locations are still to be announced for Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disneyland Parks.
Following the October 30 announcement that The Walt Disney Company was acquiring Lucasfilm Ltd., a great deal of speculation began as to how this would affect the many branches of the company, from studio entertainment and interactive games to merchandise and theme parks. Since we focus on the parks here, we'll limit our speculation to that.
Disney has used Lucasfilm properties in the parks for some time now. From Star Tours to Captain EO to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular in Florida to Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Disneyland to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril – Backwards! at Disneyland Paris, the partnership has been longstanding. So what could Disney do now that they own the whole company?
It's easy to guess at an expansion of the Star Wars presence, as that is the crown jewel of Lucasfilm. My personal favorite idea is the Mos Eisley Cantina Dinner Show. But there's so much more that can be done, such as character interactions, expanded themed areas, attractions, stage shows, DisneyQuest games, and dining establishments—there is much that Disney could do in the theme parks with these properties.
In fact, it really isn't just limited to Star Wars or even Indiana Jones. How about a diner-type eating establishment at Disney's Hollywood Studios based on American Graffiti? An attraction based upon Labyrinth? Even Willow could make interesting fodder for Imagineers. And perhaps most importantly, unlike the Marvel characters, these characters and worlds are not licensed to any other theme parks and could be utilized at any time.
Disney Cruise Line is visiting Jamaica for the first time next fall, as the Disney Wonder sails from the Port of Galveston on a new seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary on seven dates in October and November 2013. The cruises are scheduled to visit Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel. The new itinerary alternates with a seven-night Bahamas itinerary that stops at Key West and Castaway Cay.
Western Caribbean itineraries featuring Jamaica depart on October 5, 19, November 2, 16, and 30, 2013. Bahamian itineraries depart September 28, October 12, 26, November 9, 23, and December 7 and 14, 2013.
The Wonder and the Disney Magic swap home ports next fall, with the Wonder sailing from Galveston next fall and winter after sailing from Miami this year, and the Magic switching from Galveston to Miami. The Wonder heads through the Panama Canal from Miami to the West Coast in May, stopping in Los Angeles before heading to Vancouver for a summer of sailings to Alaska. Ths ship will stop in Los Angeles in September before heading back through the Canal on its way to Galveston. The Magic, which leaves Galveston in May for Europe, currently has no scheduled itineraries after it completes a cruise in Barcelona on September 7 until its October 20 departure from Miami. It's likely that the ship will have a visit to drydock for some upgrades during that time.
You can make your reservation through the Disney Cruise Line website or by calling 888-325-2500 or your favorite travel agent. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
On the other side of the construction walls, work continues on the new restroom complex at the west side of Fantasyland. The brownish rocks to the left are adjacent to Madame Leota's Cart. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.
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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.
When Test Track reopens on December 6, guests will no longer experience the garage-like testing lab pre-show. Instead, they will enter the sleek Chevrolet Design Center to create their own car, truck, or crossover vehicle design, which will be stored on a coded card that they will carry on the attraction with them. The design will be tested during the attraction for capability, efficiency, responsiveness, and power.
While designing their vehicle, guests can select shape, length, width, engine size, front grill, wheels, paint, and accessories before adding the Chevy logo to the vehicle. Once the design is complete and stored on their card, guests ride through a series of performance tests on the attraction while their design is scored on the various attributes.
After exiting the SimCar ride vehicle, guests can see how their vehicle performed against a base vehicle and their fellow riders. Guests will also be able to race their concept vehicles on a digital driving table. Using green screen technology, guests can even create commercials featuring them and their vehicles against various backgrounds, and share them on social media. New and concept Chevy vehicles will also be featured in a showroom environment in the post-show.
There may or may not be soft openings between now and December, but the official opening occurs at a press event on December 6. Watch for a report following the ceremony.
From the entrance to Storybook Circus, you may eventually be able to see three different themes of rockwork. To the left is the construction of the mountain for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the grey rock in the center is Be Our Guest Restaurant and the base of Beast's Castle, and the red-brown rock to the right is Ariel's Grotto and Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is the official name of the walk-though attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios that has now been given an opening date of December 6 (there's that date again). The attraction takes guests through an eerie lost grotto. An interactive pirate skull will gauge guests' fitness to join the crew of Captain Jack Sparrow, presenting various moments from the film series, including a ship-to-ship battle. The attraction will hold dress rehearsals and previews in late November before its official opening.
In a similar game to the Disney Cruise Line sweepstakes game, the Disney Vacation Club has created its own sweepstakes game. The "Disney Vacation Club Getaway Your Way Sweepstakes" gives you a chance to win three years of Disney Vacation Club points.
You may enter by playing the game up to 10 times between now and January 31, 2013, or by sending a postcard to DVC by December 31, 2012. The sole prize will be a "Sample Membership" of three years of points equivalent to the number of virtual points accumulated by playing the game (between 160 and 500). For reservation window purposes, the points will have Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas as their home resort. Check the sweepstakes rules for more information.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
…This year's Wine & Dine Half Marathon featured repeat winners on both the men's and the women's side, once again resulting in an all-Florida victory celebration. Anton Van Zyl, 39, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, won the men's division in 1:14:18, beating runner-up Rolando Cruz Castro by 8 seconds and repeating his wins the last two years. Van Zyl is the only men's winner the event's three-year history. Carrie Majeranowski, 35, of Satellite Beach, Florida, won the women's division in 1:27:16, more than a minute ahead of runner-up Meaghan Munroe. Both winners finished a little more than a minute over their times from last year. MousePlanet staff members Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, Andrew Rich, and Jennifer Rich also successfully completed the event. Congratulations to everyone who finished!
…Congratulations to Charlie Beljan, who overcame being hospitalized after Friday's second round for a panic attack to win the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at Walt Disney World Resort yesterday with a 16-under score of 272. The 28-year-old rookie took the lead during Friday's round and never looked back, notching his first career win by two strokes over Matt Every and Robert Garrigus. Brian Gay was three strokes back, and four others finished four strokes back at 276. With the $846,000 win, Beljan jumped from 139th to 63rd on the 2012 money list and earned a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. This is the 42nd annual tournament at Walt Disney World, which has been held under a number of different sponsors over the years. We are hearing that the tournament is looking for yet another new sponsor for next year. The tournament is held on the resort's Palm and Magnolia golf courses.
…Registration opens for the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge on Tuesday, December 11, 2012. Individual registration starts at $105 per person and team registration start at $210 per two-person team. On January 30, those prices go up to $115 and $225 respectively, and they go up again on March 21 to $125 and $240, respectively. The related runDisney Kids Races for kids ages 4 to 10 has a $20 registration cost. Post-race party tickets start at $49 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $25 for kids (ages 3-9). Those prices go up to $59 and $0 on March 21.
…The Mermaids of Whitecap Bay have been added to Pirates of the Caribbean at the Magic Kingdom. The characters from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides appear in two sequences. After passing through the mist screen projection of Blackbeard, glowing mermaids appear to swim along either side of your boat. The mermaids appeared sort of blurry, but guests did recognize them as mermaids. In the next show scene, the first beach scene, a mermaid skeleton is now within a rowboat next to the standing pirate skeleton. You also hear a mermaid singing just before you go down the waterfall into the battle scene. Other than that, there don't appear to be any changes to the attraction. Let us know what you think of this in the comments below.
…The new Celebrate the Magic castle projection show will be previewed tonight during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. The show officially debut tomorrow night during regular park hours, and runs once nightly during the Christmas Parties at 9:15, and twice on standard days, just before and after the Wishes fireworks show.
The nighttime view from the approach to Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid makes apparent the current sightline issues from the area. It's uncertain how the infringing views of Space Mountain (top center), Storybook Circus (lower center), and the Contemporary Resort (rights) will be blocked, but the futuristic structures seem particularly jarring from the more rural area of the park. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.
…The Voices of Liberty is not performing at Epcot's American Adventure pavilion this Thursday and Friday. Filling the rotunda instead will be the sounds of Cosmic Persuasion, a jazz quartet.
…Unsurprisingly, in the wake of the special Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card given to attendees of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, there is another special Sorcerer card for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Instead of Halloween's Chip 'N' Dale's Bag of Tricks, Christmas sees Wayne and Lanny's Ornament Barrage. The card will be given out to guests during the party. Guests must show their party ticket and wristband at the Main Street Firehouse, and tickets will be punched to ensure that nobody receives more than one card.
…Changes to entertainment during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party include a retheming of the dance party at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café to Club Tinsel and new pre-parade entertainment on Main Street U.S.A. The Main Street celebration will be led by the "Kringle Crew," who will teach guests dance moves including the "Candy Cane Twist," "Hang the Tinsel," the "Santa Shake," and "Drive the Sleigh" while guests wait for the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade to arrive from Frontierland.
…The cost of valet parking at Disney-owned resorts has gone up from $12 to $15 per day. Of course, free self parking will still be available.
…The AMC Downtown Disney 24 now offers "Bring Your Baby" matinees on the first Tuesday of each month. During these movies, the volume is lowered, theater lights are not dimmed as much normal, and strollers and crying babies are welcome. Check with the theater for details.
…Popular Disney publicist Dave Herbst passed away at age 67 on November 2 of a stroke following surgery. Herbst had been with Walt Disney World since 1981. We extend our condolences to Dave's family and friends.
…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 has just a bit of room at 98 percent full, though the Stroller Walk Division of the 5K is sold out. The runDisney Kids' Races are 57 percent full (with more space available in the Mickey Mile than the dashes) 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 85 percent full. The Race Retreat is sold out and the Platinum Package is 98 percent full. The post-5K breakfast is 54 percent full, the runDisney Kids Races are 53 perdcent 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.