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Update for May 27 – June 2, 2013

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News and Views

Magic Kingdom kicks off the summer season | Passholder room discounts for Summer | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd update
Note: The weekly Walt Disney World Update is now published on Tuesdays.

Magic Kingdom kicks off the summer season

Friday's Monstrous Summer All Nighter drew much larger crowds than 2012's One More Disney Day, and although the Magic Kingdom parking lot filled to capacity and large crowds packed the park, the gates stayed open for the entire event. The highlights of the event included special food offerings around the Magic Kingdom, a royal dance party in front of Cinderella Castle, the debut of the updated "Celebrate the Magic" projection show, and a very special "kiss goodnight" with pajama-clad characters at the Main Street train station.


Thousands gather outside the Magic Kingdom for the start of the Monstrous Summer All Nighter. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Mike and Sully of "Monsters University" join Fire Chief Smokey Miller in opening the park. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The first guests enter the Magic Kingdom for the Monstrous Summer All Nighter as the sun rises over Main Street, U.S.A.


The first guests arriving for the 24-hour event at the Magic Kingdom receive an event button. The Monster-style cupcake is available through the summer. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Mickey and Minnie greeting guests coming to and from the 24-hour party at the Magic Kingdom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Passholder room discounts for Summer

One annual passholder discount ends next week and another begins. Both offer room-only discounts, though dining package can be added:

Passholder room discounts April 2 through June 3

A discount for annual passholders is available for most dates through June 3. 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. 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).

Passholder room discounts June 4 through August 15

A discount for annual passholders is available for most dates June 4 through August 15. Advance reservations required.

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, 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. Moderate and Deluxe Resort suites may be available at a lower discount - check with your travel agent. Full details on the offer website. (AP login required)

You can add regular-price dining plans to these discounted room rates, but the booking is then considered a package and subject to package deposit and cancelation rules. Since dining can be added anytime up to arrival, we recommend that you add dining just before your trip.

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).

Resort Category Resort Name Discount if booked by 6/19 Discount if booked by 8/15
Value Resorts Disney's All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Pop Century, Art of Animation Family Suites Up to 20% Up to 15%
Moderate Resorts Disney's Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Up to 25% Up to 20%
Deluxe Resorts Disney's Yacht and Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard view), Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge Up to 35% Up to 30%
Disney Vacation Club Resorts Disney's Beach Club Villas, Old Key West, BoardWalk Villas, Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, Saratoga Springs, Bay Lake Towers Up to 35% Up to 30%

 

Construction update

J. Jeff Kober took some of the Monstrous Summer All Nighter catching up on the construction taking place around the Magic Kingdom.


Sunrise hits the Prince Eric's Village and the Seven Dwarf's mountain. This side of the mountain is far more complete than any other. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


In comparison is the side facing the Mad Tea Party, which is the most incomplete portion of the exterior. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Mad Tea Party has re-opened after being closed for several weeks for refurbishment. No significant additional enhancements have been added, though the images from the aerial view of Fantasyland showed a glass roof similar to the one at Disneyland Paris. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


New props are still being added to the Big Thunder Mountain queue, such as this Assay Report. Still, the portrait of Barnabas Bullion, aka Tony Baxter, has not returned after having been defaced by guests. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Quick takes…


A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas interactive treasure hunt has officially opened at the Magic Kingdom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The first sign was installed outside the pending Starbucks shop on Main Street, U.S.A. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Cheer cones from previous parades are modified into mobile guard posts for the Storm Troopers during Star Wars Weekends, rather than the Storm Troopers patrolling from the top of the main entrance. Guests were anxious about walking past them, until Cast Members urged them to continue through. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi, guests are invited to help put together a Lego portrait. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

We're Hiring!

Are you interested in writing for MousePlanet? We're currently looking for columnists to cover new areas of the Disney universe. We're especially looking for Florida locals to provide photos and information for the weekly Walt Disney World Update

If you are interested in contributing to the weekly Updates, or you have an idea for a great new column, please contact us—we'd love to hear from you!

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."

Enjoy these next couple of weeks of mid-level crowds before the busy Summer season begins. 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, May 28, 2013 6 / 10
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 5 / 10
Thursday, May 30, 2013 5 / 10
Friday, May 31, 2013 4 / 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!

  • Tuesday is the best day to visit the Magic Kingdom.
  • The resort crowd level on Saturday 4 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

2013

  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend (October 4–5) – Registration is open for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler, Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, Kids Races, Disney Villains Hollywood Bash.
  • Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (November 8–9) – The Wine & Dine Half Marathon is now sold out. Registration is still open for Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K, Kids' Races, Wine & Dine Finish Line Party.

2014

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January 9–12) – Sold out: Walt Disney World Half Marathon, WDW 10K, Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Dopey Challenge, Runner's World Challenge. Registration is still open for the Walt Disney World Marathon, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, Family Reunion Breakfast and Pasta in the Park Party.
  • Disney's Princess Half-Marathon Weekend (February 21–23) – 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. runDisney has announced a special achievement for those running both the Princess and Tinker Bell half marathons.

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

  • Main Street Bakery – closed through June 18 for conversion to Starbucks location. Expected to open June 19, 2013.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – closed June 27–20 for refurbishment.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed June 22 & 23 for refurbishment.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean - closed June 27–30 for an "animation refurbishment."
  • Prince Charming Regal Carousel – closed August 1–21 for refurbishment.
  • Liberty Belle - closed August 5–9 for refurbishment.
  • Jungle Cruise - closed August 19 through September 30 for refurbishment.
  • Cinderella's Royal Table - closed September 10–13 for refurbishment.
  • Princess Fairytale Hall – opens 2013.
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.

Epcot

  • Fountain View Ice Cream – closed through early September for conversion to Starbucks location.
  • France pavilion ice cream shop – scheduled to open June 2013 at site of the former bakery.
  • New restroom between America and Japan pavilions – scheduled to open Fall 2013.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Muppet*Vision 3D – closed August 6 through September 2 for refurbishment.
  • Both parades (Disney Channel Rocks and Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade) have ended their run. No new parades have been announced.

Animal Kingdom

  • No known refurbishments.

Resorts

  • All Star Movies – feature icons refurbishment through September 20.
  • All Star Music
    • Feature icons refurbishment through September.
    • Billboard replacement on Broadway buildings 7 & 8 – June 7–27
    • Melody Hall guest check in parking renovation – June 13 through August 7
  • All Star Sports
    • Feature icons refurbishment through September 20.
    • Soft goods replacment in guest rooms through June 7
  • BoardWalk - guest parking lot renovation June 3–20
  • Caribbean Beach - Jamaica Village building painting and repairs through June 28
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort
    • California Grill closed through late summer for refurbishment.
    • Second floor lobby wall covering replaced through June 24
    • Renovation of the 14th floor suites and concierge lounge through June 28
    • Soft goods replacement in Contemporary Tower and south Garden Wing guest rooms through July 5
    • Guest elevator renovations – through December 8
  • Fort Wilderness - Bridge 80 replacement through June 3
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
    • Beach area closed through mid-June for refurbishment.
    • Beach pool slide closed May 27 through June 1 for refurbishment, and the entire Beach pool area closed May 30 through June 1. The Courtyard pool remains open.
  • Polynesian – soft goods replacment in guest rooms through October 4
  • Pop Century
    • Feature icons refurbishment through October 2
    • '70s and '80s guest parking areas refurbishment June 17–28
  • Port Orleans French Quarter
    • French Quarter Square brick refurbishment through June 6
    • Atrium and lobby renovation through June 23
    • Bridge and bus stop vine removal and painting through August 30
  • 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 remains open during this time.
  • Wilderness Lodge
    • Soft goods replacment in presidential and vice-presidential suites through June 28
    • Main building exterior repairs through August 5

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon - closed October 27, 2013 through January 4, 2014 for refurbisment.

Elsewhere

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

Current Discounts & Promotions

Discounts for everyone

Free Dining in September

First Disney announced a new Free Dining offer for U.K. residents, then an offer for Disney Visa cardholders visiting selected dates this September. Now the September Free Dining offer is available without using a Disney Visa card. Check in at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel from September 2 to 25 and stay three to 14 nights, and everyone in your party gets free dining. Stay at a:

  • Value Resort – receive the Quick Service Dining plan for free. You can upgrade to the Standard or Deluxe dining plan by paying the difference.Moderate, Deluxe, or
  • Deluxe Villa Resort – receive the Standard dining plan. You can upgrade to the Deluxe dining plan by paying the difference.

There are some restrictions:

  • You must purchase a 2-Day (or longer) Magic Your Way ticket for very member of your party.
  • You must book your travel by July 31.
  • You must book the same tickets and dining plan for every member of your party.
  • Children ages 3–9 must order from the children's menu where offered; children under age 3 are not eligible for free dining.
  • This offer excludes the campsites at Fort Wilderness, the Little Mermaid rooms at the Art of Animation Resort, and all 3-bedroom Villas.

For full details, visit the Disney special offer site.

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.

Discounts for Annual Passholders

Passholder room discounts April 2 through June 3

A discount for annual passholders is available for most dates through June 3. 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. 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).

Passholder room discounts June 4 through August 15

A discount for annual passholders is available for most dates June 4 through August 15. Advance reservations required.

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, 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. Moderate and Deluxe Resort suites may be available at a lower discount - check with your travel agent. Full details on the offer website. (AP login required)

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).

Resort Category Resort Name Discount if booked by 6/19 Discount if booked by 8/15
Value Resorts Disney's All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Pop Century, Art of Animation Family Suites Up to 20% Up to 15%
Moderate Resorts Disney's Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Up to 25% Up to 20%
Deluxe Resorts Disney's Yacht and Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard view), Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge Up to 35% Up to 30%
Disney Vacation Club Resorts Disney's Beach Club Villas, Old Key West, BoardWalk Villas, Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, Saratoga Springs, Bay Lake Towers Up to 35% Up to 30%

 

Discounts for Disney Visa cardholders

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 to 30 percent off room-only bookings, with the option of adding non-discounted tickets and dining plans if desired. Rooms must be booked by June 14 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.

Discounts for Florida residents

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.

Florida resident hotel offers

The Waldorf Astoria Orlando has announced Florida resident rates valid through September 5. Residents receive 10 percent off of the best available rate, along with free transportation to the Walt Disney World Resort. Book using the Florida resident offer website.

The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort has announced Florida resident rates valid through September 5. Residents receive 10 percent off of the best available rate, along with free transportation to the Walt Disney World Resort. Book using the Florida Resident offer website.

Discounts for US Military

2013 Military Salute offers

From now through September 28, 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.

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.

Discounts for UK residents

2014 Free Dining offer for UK residents

2014 Free Dining offers for UK residents have been released. From the information posted on the Virgin Holidays website, it appears the 2014 program offers free Quick Service Dining Plan plan when booking at a Moderate resort, and free Dining Plan when booking at Deluxe resorts, Old Key West or Saratoga Springs. There are also offers for a free $200 Disney Gift Card and/or a 14-day ticket for the price of a 7-day ticket depending on travel dates. These particular offers are valid for UK residents only.


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.