This week's Limited Time Magic experience is "Long-Long Friends Week," with many rarely seen Disney characters showing up for meet-and-greets at the Magic Kingdom. The characters are available January 21–27, from 9 a.m. through 4 p.m., in the Town Square area, meeting for approximately 30 minutes every hour.
The characters are not actually signing autographs, probably because there was no time for them to practice to do the signatures consistently, so they are handing out pre-signed cards at each location. Here's a rundown of who's located where:
Uncle Scrooge and Professor von Drake are listed "As Seen on Duck Tales," but von Drake only made an appearance in one episode of that show. Perhaps it was just the easiest way to relate the two characters.
Mary Poppins, Marie (from The Aristocats) and Pluto, who normally meet in Town Square, have been relocated for the week. Poppins is in Fantasyland, and Pluto and Marie are in Storybook Circus.
As always, you can find out the latest Limited Time Magic promotions on the Disney Parks Blog, at the Limited Time Magic website, via Twitter hashtag #LimitedTimeMagic, or here in the weekly Update.
A large piece of completed rockwork is located near the fence that divides the construction from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Mad Tea Party. The rocks will likely serve as part of the dividing line between the Castle Courtyard and the Enchanted Forest. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Habit Heroes has reopened at Epcot's Innoventions. The exhibit, which opened and closed in a matter of weeks last February, has been completely reworked, as has the related website. Following the backlash that followed the controversial original, Walt Disney Imagineering and exhibit sponsor Florida Blue went back to the drawing board and have apparently found a way to promote healthy behavior without demonizing those who are not slender and fit.
Gone are the characters stereotyping overweight kids as evil, and heroes "Callie Stenics" and "Will Power" are nowhere to be seen. Instead, Director Jin leads a team of Agents Quench, Fuel, and Dynamo, whose specialties are hydration, nutrition, and activity, respectively. The villains are now Scorchers (which dehydrate you), Blocker Bots (that keep you from selecting healthier food choices), and Sappers (which weigh you down and sap your energy), matching the specialties of the three agents.
While I haven't seen all of the details of the new exhibit yet myself, early reports indicate that the new focus of the new Habit Heroes is positive for all, without browbeating any segments of the population. Overall, a good job in fixing something that had originally gone horribly wrong.
Send us your menu photos
Click on the "Dining" section from our Walt Disney World Guide to see our complete list of of the park restaurant menus from Walt Disney World. Please help us keep the menus up to date! Send photos or scans of park menus to email@example.com to help us keep our listings updated.
The "Mickey Check" announced last June, which first appeared at quick service locations and on some packaged Disney-branded retail snacks last November, has finally been rolled out to all table service locations as well. The logo marks choices on kids' menus that meet Disney's nutrition guidelines.
The logo makes it easier for kids and parents to tell at a glance which options are healthier. Parents can easily say "you can choose whichever meal you like, as long as it has a Mickey Check." Complete meals must be ordered without substitutions and include at least three of the following food groups: fruits and vegetables; whole grains; lean protein, beans, eggs, and nuts; or low-fat dairy. In addition, all limit saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and calories.
Unfortunately, though, the Mickey Check is not available on adult meals. It would be nice to have an easy way to check which meals are healthier without having to analyze each ingredient in the meal. Perhaps that's something that Disney can add in the near future. Please?
The events and pricing for this year's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Ten-Miler weekend have been announced, though registration does not appear to be open yet and no date for that is available. The events will run October 4–6, 2013.
Disney's Health & Fitness Expo will be open on Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5. The Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run and the runDisney Kids Races will take place during the day at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and the Tower Ten-Miler will take place that evening, starting and finishing at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The Disney Villains Hollywood Bash will follow the race, and an awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, October 6.
The entry fee for the headline race is $135 if you register by March 26. On March 27, the fee goes up to $150, and it goes up again to $165 on May 22. For the Happy Haunted 5K, registration fee is $50 per person, and fees for the runDisney Kids Races are $10 per Kids Dash participant and $30 per Mickey Mile Run participant. Attendance cost for the Villains Bash has not yet been announced. We'll let you know when registration for the races opens.
Another musical Sunday Brunch option is now available at Downtown Disney. Joining the House of Blues' popular Sunday Gospel Brunch, the Rollicking Raglan Sunday Brunch will be served every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island. The menu will feature a variety of dishes, including the Full Irish Breakfast that features sausage, black and white pudding, bacon, roasted tomato, mushrooms and fried eggs with potato "roasties." Entertainment begins at noon, with the house band Creel and performances by the Raglan Road Dancers.
Brunch entrees range from $8 to $26, and include Smoked Salmon Omelette, Pancakes Diaspora, Kevin's Ham Schnitzel, Eggs En Cocotte, and more. Lunch and dinner menu items are also available.
If you're looking for a novel way to enjoy the big game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers on February 3, Splitsville Lanes at Downtown Disney West Side is offering an interesting combination of Super Bowl party and fundraiser. For $75 per person, you'll get complimentary appetizers and buffet from 6–9 p.m., and an open bar (actually, all three bars will be open) for the same time period. (Note: You must be 21 or over with valid photo ID to enter the party.) The game will be showing on 40 flat-screen TVs throughout the facility. There will also be indoor and outdoor dining. Open bowling is also available for $20, subject to lane availability.
Part of the proceeds from the evening will benefit Clean the World, an Orlando-based non-profit organization that recycles hotel soap and cleaning products to redistribute to countries around the world to keep people worldwide from dying from diseases that can be prevented with proper handwashing.
Construction has largely complete on an improved bus parking lot adjacent to the Transportation and Ticket Center. The work included creating a new holding pond adjacent to the lot. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
…Another in a series of periodic song choice updates has hit the American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Many of the songs are based upon requests from those auditioning at the park, and is heavy on the country music. There are now 158 songs available for guests to audition with. Here's the list of new additions:
…Walt Disney World has finally officially confirmed the Wilderness Explorers interactive game at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Guests will soon be able to complete challenges and earn more than 30 badges while surveying the park using their field guides. It sounds kind of like MouseAdventure for the masses. It will be interesting to see how the game works and what guest reaction is.
…Another bit of variety in Walt Disney World menus has bitten the dust. Le Cellier in Epcot's Canada pavilion has dropped several menu items in the course of going to an all-day menu. So, for example, the lunchtime burgers will no longer be available, but you can now get the lobster mac and cheese at both lunch and dinner. Yes, the Cheddar Cheese Soup and filet mignon are still available. While it's uncertain whether this is the result of guests complaining that certain dishes were not available at certain meals or just cost reductions by not needing to purchase items to prepare as many different dishes, the change has taken place and the usually-booked-solid restaurant will likely continue to be a top draw year-round.
…This year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will take place from Friday, September 27 through Sunday, November 10.
…The crew of the Disney Dream rescued two stranded boaters last Wednesday. During the last day of the cruise, an announcement was made over the ship's intercom that the Dream was responding to a nearby distress signal. The ship sent out crew members in a lifeboat to rescue the duo, who were given food, water, and medical attention once aboard the Dream. They returned to Port Canaveral on Thursday aboard the ship. In a statement released by Disney Cruise Line, the company noted that "We are proud of our Disney Dream crew members, who skillfully demonstrated their training and commitment to maritime protocols around saving lives at sea."
…Registration for the featured events of the February 22–24, fifth annual Princess Half Marathon Weekend are full, including the individual and team Half Marathons, the Race Retreat, the Pasta in the Park Party and the ChEAR Squad Platinum Package. The Royal Family 5K is 69 percent full, the post-5K breakfast is 84 percent full, and the runDisney Kids Races are 76 percent full (dashes sold out, Mickey Mile 51 percent full). ChEAR Squad is 76 percent full overall, with ChEAR Squad Gold 75 percent full and Silver less than 50 percent full.
…Registration is now open for the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge. The Challenge is now 55 percent full. 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 $30 on March 21.
…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 March 22, except January 18-20. Passholders can book this discount through the day of arrival if rooms are still available.
Guests will receive 35 percent off at select Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts, 30 percent off at select Moderate Resorts, and 25 percent off at select Value resorts. Moderate and Value Resorts have additional blackout dates.
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 standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts range from 20 to 35 percent and availability varies by date.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-1895 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code S6Z. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
You can now can book room-only and Magic Your Way package reservations at select Walt Disney World resorts for 15 to 30 percent off of standard rates most nights from February 18 through June 14, except March 24 through April 1. You must book your reservations by March 7 for nights through March 23 and March 31 for nights through June 14.
Guests can receive 30 percent off at all Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts, except for all Magic Kingdom resorts (Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Wilderness Lodge and the Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge), which offer 20 percent off, and Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, which is not available at a discount. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge only offers the discount for Standard-view rooms.
Discounts of 25 percent are available at all 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 20 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 for family suites at Disney's Art of Animation Resort. 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.
If you add minimum 4-day Magic Your Way tickets to your room to make it a package, you will receive discounts on both your room and tickets.
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 call (407) 939-1283 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 provides a discount on Disney PhotoPass+ pre-arrival packages. For $149.95 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 are 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.
These tickets expire after September 28. Blockout dates are March 24 through April 4 at all ticketed locations, and July 4 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 through September 28, except for 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.