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Update for April 1 – 7, 2013

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News and Views

Boy hospitalized after incident on Disney Fantasy cruise ship | New room discount for Disney Visa Cardholders | Tables in Wonderland Flower Power Happy Hour event | New Disney Vacation Club incentives | Construction notes | Quick takes | Crowd update

Boy hospitalized after incident on Disney Fantasy cruise ship

The Orlando Sentinel reports that a 4-year-old boy was airlifted to an Orlando-area children's hospital Saturday afternoon after being pulled from a pool onboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship. The incident reportedly took place before 3:00 p.m., while the ship was still docked in Port Canaveral prior to it leaving port on a seven-day Caribbean cruise.

The Sentinel reports that the family departed the ship after the child was transported, and the Fantasy left Port Canaveral about 45 minutes later than usual. Disney spokeswoman Rena Langley told the Sentinel, "We're focused on assisting the family. Clearly, our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

Disney confirmed for MousePlanet that the incident took place before the scheduled lifeboat drill. The pools are open from the time passengers are allowed to embark and remain open, weather permitting, until the mandatory lifeboat drill. There are no lifeguards on duty at any of the pools. There is no update as to the condition of the child at this time.

New room discount for Disney Visa Cardholders

MousePlanet sponsor Small World Vacations has information about a new discount available for Disney Visa cardholders. The new promotion offers discounts of 5 to 30 percent off room-only bookings for most dates June 13 through August 14. You also have the option of adding non-discounted tickets and dining plans. You must book rooms by June 14 to qualify.


These new props arrived in the shops of Agrabbah just this last week. They are part of the new Pirates Adventure: Jewels of the Seven Seas game being installed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

As with all discounts, rooms available at these rates are limited, and minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. No group rates or other discounts apply. Suites, three-bedroom Grand Villas, and standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts vary by accommodation type and date, and availability varies by date. Discount percentages shown below are on room only. You can add non-discounted tickets and dining.

Resort Category Resort Name Discount
Value Resorts All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Pop Century, Art of Animation Suites – 15% 15%
All-Star Movies 5%
Art of Animation Suites only (Standard Mermaid Rooms are not included) 15%
Moderate Resorts Disney's Riverside, Coronado Springs Caribbean Beach 20%
Disney's French Quarter 15%
Disney's Coronado Springs Suites 5%
Deluxe Resorts Disney's Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge 30%
Disney's Wilderness Lodge 20%
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Club Level 5%
Disney's Deluxe Resort Suites – limited availability 5%
Disney Vacation Club Resorts Disney's Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Beach Club Villas, BoardWalk Villas 30%
Disney's Villas at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Kidani and Jambo House) 5%
Disney's Villas at the Wilderness Lodge 20%
Disney Vacation Club Grand Villas are not included 0%
 

Tables in Wonderland Flower Power Happy Hour event

Tables in Wonderland members are invited to register for the Flower Power Happy Hour prior to the Village People concert on Friday, April 19.

The event begins with a cocktail hour at the American Adventure Parlor, with a hors d'oeuvres menu that includes "Go West" Whiskey BBQ Pork with Roasted Corn and Onion Fries; "Macho Man" Dark Roast Coffee Crusted Tuna on Hearty Grain Crisp and Kahlua Mayonnaise; and "In The Navy" Sea Salt Quick Pickled Cucumber Sushi Roll with Nori, Thick Soy and Sesame, plus beer, wine and specialty beverages.

Participants also receive reserved seating for the Village People show at the Flower Power Concert Series, and a reserved viewing area for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Tickets are $52.88 per person, including tax and gratuity. Tables in Wonderland members can register on the event website starting at 10am (EST) on Monday, April 1. The event is limited to just 60 guests.


Iron Man 3 Monorail on one of the Magic Kingdom circuits. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

New Disney Vacation Club incentives

The Disney Vacation Club has announced new incentives for existing members to add on points at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas or the Disney Vacation Club Villas in Aulani. Members who purchase at least 100 points at either of these properties will receive a discount of at least $500 on their contract, and will receive their choice of either four free 5-day Park Hopper tickets for Walt Disney World, or exchange certificates for two Disneyland Resort Premium Annual Passports.

There is too much legal fine print to include here, so interested DVC members can visit the special offer page for more details.


The Easter Pre-Parade comes down Main Street, U.S.A. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Construction notes

A few interesting items appeared in the construction permit paperwork filed with Orange County last week.

  • A "temporary Visa kiosk" is to be installed near the Haunted Mansion queue in Libery Square. There's also a paving project starting in the area.
  • Three permits were filed for meet-and-greet areas inside Epcot, including Aurora in the France Pavillion, Donald Duck in the Mexico Pavillion and Goofy in Future World West. Another permit was filed for a Goofy meet-and-greet inside Animal Kingdom.
  • Graphics for the Wilderness Explorers interactive game are set to be installed inside Animal Kingdom. The permit lists sign locations as Conservation Station, Conservation Train Station, Restaurantosaurus Dinosaur, Island Merchantile and Yak & Yeti Restaurant. Still no word from Disney when the game will open.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom also pulled a permit for roofing work on the Theater in the Wild. We've speculated that the Festival of the Lion King might temporarily move to this theater when Camp Minnie-Mickey closes to make room for the Avatar expansion, and before the new FotLK venue behind Tusker House is ready to open, so this might be a step in that direction.
  • Roof repairs will also be made on the former Mannequin's Dance Palace building in Downtown Disney, suggesting the existing building will be retained for use in the Disney Springs project, and not torn down during the construction.
  • A sign permit was issued to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort for installation of new exterior signs and graphics relating to the "Grand Floridian expansion." Disney has yet to official confirm that the new building is a Disney Vacation Club property.

Quick takes…

…Registration for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January 9–12, 2014) opens on next Tuesday, April 9, but Disney Vacation Club members can register starting April 3 and receive a discount on selected events during the Member Early Registration period. Visit the special offer page for details and to register.

Events include the Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Kids Races, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, Dopey Challenge, Family Reunion Breakfast, Pasta in the Park Party.

…Walt Disney World visitors now have the opportunity to sample some of the food items created for the new Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim. Marketplace Snacks has introduced two new "cone-coctions" served in a bread cone filled with your choice of Chili Cone Queso or turkey meatballs with provolone cheese and marinara sauce. Both are $9.50, and come with a bag of chips. No word if this is a permanent addition or just another option added during the busy spring break period, but the location has a new menu sign listing the two new offerings.

…This week's Limited Time Magic event is a continuation of the Year of the Ear theme, with a new strawberry design Ear Hat being released at select locations inside Epcot park. If you think this hat looks familiar, you're right - limited quantities were released at the begining of the Flower and Garden Festival.


The Year of the Ear continues with the release of this Limited Time Magic Strawberry Ear Hat at Epcot. Photo (c) Disney.

…Author Ridley Pearson will be at Walt Disney World April 10-11, 2013 to sign copies of his latest Kingdom Keepers book, "Kingdom Keepers VI: Dark Passage." The signing events are April 10 at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace from 4 - 6pm, and April 11 at The Writer's Stop inside Disney Hollywood Studios park from 9:30 - 11:30am. Theme park Admission is required to attend the April 11 signing. Pearson will only sign books purchased at the appearance location each day, and wristbands will be distributed to customers on a first-come, first-serve basis. A limited number of wristbands are available, and the line will close once all wristbands are distributed. Disney asks that you bring no personal items to be signed. More information is available on the Disney Parks Blog.

…Jeff Kober spotted a new Sun Forecast sign at Blizzard Beach this week. While not yet in use, the sign, sponsored by Coppertone, provides a UV reading and SPF recommendation.


This new sign sponsored by Coppertone provides a UV reading and SPF recommendation for visitors to Blizzard Beach. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

…Blizzard Beach is also the first of Disney's venues to completely do away with the traditional turnstile in favor of the RFID-activated gates. Jeff noted that the new configuration can be somewhat confusing for people trying to find the exit.


Blizzard Beach is the first park to completely remove its entrance turnstiles. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

…The Walt Disney World Resort awarded $1.5 million in Helping Kids Shine grants to 59 Florida nonprofit organizations at a ceremony in Orlando last week. Mickey Mouse and Goofy were on hand at the Orlando Repertory Theatre as the grants were announced.


Spring Break crowds leave this Big Thunder Mountain Cast Member trying to identify the end of the standby queue. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Join our team!

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Crowd Forecast

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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."

High crowds expected during the week but should ease up this weekend. 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, April 2, 2013 10 / 10
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 9 / 10
Thursday, April 4, 2013 9 / 10
Friday, April 5, 2013 8 / 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!

  • Sunday is the best day to visit the Magic Kingdom.
  • The resort crowd level on Saturday 8 out of 10.
  • 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.

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Resort Events

2013

2014

runDisney events

An update on upcoming runDisney events and their registration statuses:

2013

  • Expedition Everest Challenge (May 4, 2013) – Sold out: The Challenge and the Family Edition. Still available: Kids Races for kids ages 4 to 10 and tickets for the pre-race picnic and the post-race party.
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend (October 4–5, 2013) – Registration is open for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler, Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, Kids Races, Disney Villains Hollywood Bash. The 10-Miler is now 61 percent full.
  • Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (November 8–9, 2013) – Registration is open for Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K, Kids' Races, Wine & Dine Finish Line Party). The half marathon is now at 61 percent full.

2014

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January 9–12, 2014) – General registration opens on Tuesday, April 9; DVC members can register early starting April 3. Events include the Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Kids Races, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, Dopey Challenge, Family Reunion Breakfast, Pasta in the Park Party.
  • Disney's Princess Half-Marathon Weekend (February 21–23, 2014) – Registration opens on Tuesday, June 11. Events include Disney's Princess Half Marathon individual and team events, Disney Royal Family 5K, Kids Races, post-5K Breakfast, and Pasta in the Park Party.

Do you participate in (or are considering signing up for) runDisney events? Visit our Team MousePlanet forum on the MousePad discussion board, where you can join our community of health-minded readers and staff.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Snow White's Scary Adventures – closed permanently for conversion to Princess Fairytale Hall.
  • Main Street Bakery – closed through May 18 for conversion to Starbucks location.
  • Mad Tea Party – closed April 10 through May 21 for refurbishment.
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress – closed May 13–15 for refurbishment.
  • Cinderella's Royal Table – closed May 13–16 for refurbishment.
  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel – closed May 28 through June 10 for refurbishment.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – closed June 17-20 for refurbishment.
  • Princess Fairytale Hall – opens 2013.
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.


Splash Mountain has just ended a fairly short, but extensive rehab. It is the last of the three mountains to go through a long refurbishment, with Space Mountain updated in 2009 and Big Thunder Mountain in 2012. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


In addition to a lot of repair work, the mountain and the scenes inside Splash Mountain have been completely re-painted and touched up. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


A peek behind the construction wall at the track being installed for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Magic Kingdom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Several stories of scaffolding surrounds the rockwork for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Epcot

  • Fountain View Ice Cream – closed April 8 through early August for conversion to Starbucks location.
  • France pavilion ice cream shop – scheduled to open June, 2013 in location of former bakery.
  • New restroom between America and Japan pavillions – scheduled to open Fall 2013.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Disney Channel Rocks – last performance April 6.
  • Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade – last performance on April 6


Costumes from Once Upon a Time are on display at the ABC Commissary inside Disney Hollywood Studios. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Costumes commemorating the 50th anniversary of General Hospital are on display at the ABC Commissary. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Animal Kingdom

  • No known refurbishments.

Resorts

  • Disney's All-Star Movies Resort - Duck Pond pool closed for refurbishment April 1-12. Fantasia pool will remain open.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort – Boardwalk Bakery closed through April 1 for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort – California Grill closed through late summer for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort – Fitness Center closed through April 4 for refurbishment. A temporary fitness center is available.
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – Beach area closed through mid-June for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – Beach pool slide closed May 27-June 1 for refurbishment, and the entire Beach pool area closed May 30-June 1. The Courtyard pool will remain open.
  • Disney's Pop Century Resort – Hippy Dippy Kiddy Pool refurbishment April 1-26.
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Spa closed through summer for conversion to Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort.The spa at the Grand Floridian is open during this time.
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Grandstand pool closed May 13-31 for refurbishment. The High Rock Springs Pool will be open.

Water Parks

  • No known refurbishments.


Blizzard Beach re-opened this week in time for Spring Break crowds. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. Will not be performed on the following dates in 2013:
    • May 14–18
    • May 21–25
    • July 23
    • September 17–21
    • November 5–6

Current Discounts & Promotions

Disney Visa Cardholder room discounts for June 13 through August 14

A Disney Visa Cardholder discount is available for most dates June 13 through August 14. The new promotion offers discounts of 5% - 30% off room-only bookings, with the option of adding non-discounted tickets and dining plans if desired. Rooms must be booked by June 14, 2013 to qualify.

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, three-bedroom Grand Villas, and standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts vary by accommodation type and date, and availability varies by date. Discount percentages shown below are on room only. You can add non-discounted tickets and dining.

Resort Category Resort Name Discount
Value Resorts All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Pop Century, Art of Animation Suites – 15% 15%
All-Star Movies 5%
Art of Animation Suites only (Standard Mermaid Rooms are not included) 15%
Moderate Resorts Disney's Riverside, Coronado Springs Caribbean Beach 20%
Disney's French Quarter 15%
Disney's Coronado Springs Suites 5%
Deluxe Resorts Disney's Contemporary, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge 30%
Disney's Wilderness Lodge 20%
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Club Level 5%
Disney's Deluxe Resort Suites – limited availability 5%
Disney Vacation Club Resorts Disney's Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Beach Club Villas, BoardWalk Villas 30%
Disney's Villas at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Kidani and Jambo House) 5%
Disney's Villas at the Wilderness Lodge 20%
Disney Vacation Club Grand Villas are not included 0%

Thanks to MousePlanet sponsor Small World Vacations for the information.

Passholder room discounts for April through early June

A Passholder discount is available for most dates April 2 through June 3. Passholders can book this discount through the day of arrival if rooms are still available. The discount is a two-level discount, with a lower price per room if the room is booked by March 31.

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, three-bedroom Grand Villas, and standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts vary by accommodation type and date, and availability varies by date.

You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-7926 or your favorite travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

Florida residents get special discount tickets through June

Florida residents can get discounted three- or four-day tickets through early June. The Discover Disney ticket provides three days of base admission for $119 plus tax, or four days for $129 plus tax. The Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun & More Options can be added for just $28.50 each, plus tax. The tickets are priced the same for adults and children.

Tickets are available for purchase from now through June 3, and may be used through June 7. Passes may not be used during the Easter peak weeks from March 23 through April 5.

For more information or to purchase tickets, check out the special deal website or call 407-939-1283.

PhotoPass+ pre-arrival discount

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 more than 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 might 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.

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.

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 four-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.


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Adrienne here.


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(Send an email to Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix)

Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix (@MousePlanetAVP) is an original MousePlanet staffer and manages to find time for all of this while running two retail stores, MouseShoppe and CharmingShoppe.