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Update for January 28 – February 3, 2014

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News and Views

Epcot Flower & Garden returning in March | Splitsville Luxury Lanes to host Tables in Wonderland event | New friends join Disney Junior Play 'n Dine | Annual passholders Fastpass+ testing begins | Quick takes | Crowd update

Epcot Flower & Garden returning in March

The International Flower & Garden Festival returns to Epcot this coming March 5 to May 18, and continues last year's crossover into Food & Wine Festival territory with its Outdoor Kitchens section in addition to the usual floral displays, topiaries, and seminars.

Each country in the showcase will have a kiosk with food and beverages that highlight the produce grown in the areas nearby and making the connection of food from field to table. Some highlights of the menu items include:

  • Mexico – Crab tostadas with chipotle aioli and salsa in the Jardin de Fiestas.
  • China – A spring pancake with grilled chicken and green apple at the Lotus House.
  • Germany – Savory bread pudding with spring peas and wild mushroom ragout at the Bauernmarkt.
  • Italy – Green asparagus and lobster with a garden cocktail sauce at Primavera Kitchen.
  • Japan – Stir-fried veggies and soba noodles served in a bun at Hamai.
  • Morocco – Spiced lamb kebabs with couscous salad at Taste of Marrakesh.
  • American Adventure – A pork slider with cole slaw at The Smokehouse.
  • France – A ratatouille tart with goat cheese at L’Orangerie.
  • United Kingdom – Heirloom tomatoes with house-made mozzarella, Minus 8 Vinegar and basil at The Cottage.
  • Glass Marketplace – Sweet beverages at Fruits by the , with watermelon passion fruit cocktail, non-alcoholic wild berry slush, blueberry beer and wine, mango wine, gluten-free raspberry ale, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
  • Pineapple Promenade – Dole Whip with Florida-made spiced rum.
  • Florida Fresh Marketplace – Watermelon salad with pickled red onions, baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction; shrimp and stone-ground grits with andouille sausage, zellwood corn, tomatoes and cilantro; and angel food cake with Florida berries.

The Flower Power concert series slate has also been set, including the addition of two new acts: Gary Lewis and The Playboys and The Alan Parsons Live Project. There are three shows every evening from Friday to Sunday at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

  • March 7–9: The Guess Who
  • March 14–16: Gary Lewis and The Playboys
  • March 21–23: The Orchestra Starring Former Members of ELO
  • March 28–30: The Lovin' Spoonful
  • April 4–6: Paul Revere & The Raiders
  • April 11–13: Village People
  • April 18–20: The Grass Roots
  • April 25–27: Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone
  • May 2–4: STARSHIP Starring Mickey Thomas
  • May 9–11: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
  • May 16–18: Alan Parsons Live Project

Also appearing are many HGTV and DIY Network personalities, who will be giving talks on home improvement and gardening. For a full schedule of events, including a list of the seminars that have been announced to date, consult the official site at EpcotinSpring.com.

Splitsville Luxury Lanes to host Tables In Wonderland event

The next Tables in Wonderland event takes place at Splitsville Luxury Lanes in Downtown Disney. The event showcases the food offered at the bowling venue, while providing attendees with the opportunity to bowl a few frames with an assigned team. The food is arranged at five food stations and is paired with appropriate drinks. The cost is $90 per person, and includes tax, gratuity, food & beverage, bowling, and a pair of socks. The featured menu is:

  • Made-to-Order Rice Bowl Station
    • Grilled Chicken Breast, Sushi Rice, Stir-fried Vegetables, and Tataki Sauce
    • Paired with Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio
  • Sushi Station
    • A variety of fresh, hand rolled Sushi
    • Paired with Sake
  • Pizza/Slider Station
    • Cheeseburger Sliders:  Caramelized Onion, Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle & Special Slider Sauce
    • Filet Sliders: Thick slices of Beef Tenderloin topped with an Onion Ring and Horseradish Cream
    • Margherita Pizza: Mozzarella, Roma Tomatoes, Basil, and Tomato Sauce on a Honey Wheat Crust
    • Meat Lovers Pizza: Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Bacon and Seasoned Ground Beef.
    • Paired with a selection of Craft Beers
  • Made-to-Order Salad Station
    • A chef created Salad with your choice of Lettuce, Fresh Vegetables, Cheeses and Dressings
  • Dessert Table
    • Fresh Baked Brownies
    • Chef’s Carrot Cake- Fresh Baked with Cream Cheese Frosting

Reservations will open on Friday, January 31 at 10 a.m. To book, call 407-938-PINS (407-938-7467) extension 104, or email kingpin@splitsvillelanes.com.

When booking, you need to provide:

  • Tables in Wonderland Ticket Number – this number starts with a park code (for example, if you purchased your membership at Epcot, it will state WEC)
  • First and last name, and shoe size of everyone in your party (maximum per party is 10)
  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Personal email address
  • Special dietary needs, if any

New friends join Disney Junior Play 'n Dine

Two new characters have joined the Disney Junior Play 'n Dine at Hollywood & Vine in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First join Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Handy Manny. New musical numbers from the shows have also been integrated into the dining experience. Character dining occurs at breakfast and lunch. Reservations can be made online through the Disney World site

 Annual passholders Fastpass+ testing begins

Walt Disney World has begun to roll out testing of the Fastpass+ system for annual passholders. Select passholders are being contacted and given access to book Fastpass+ even if they don't have an upcoming resort reservation. Passholders are permitted to book up to seven days of Fastpass+ reservations for every 60 days on a rolling basis. However, the program is in its early stages, so changes may come before it is finally rolled out to everyone.

Quick takes…

...The Team Mickey store in Downtown Disney has closed permanently for renovation. It will reopen in June as the Marketplace Co-op, featuring a variety of merchandise from small vendors.


The Main Street Confectionary is still open while its facade undergoes refurbishment. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

...A new quick service location has opened at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney. The Smokehouse menu includes pulled pork and chicken sandwiches, beef brisket, turkey legs, and ribs.

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Crowd Forecast

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Enjoy low crowds this week at Walt Disney World! 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, January 28, 2014 2 / 10
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2 / 10
Thursday, January 30, 2014 1 / 10
Friday, January 31, 2014 3 / 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!

  • Thursday is the best day to visit the Magic Kingdom.
  • The resort crowd level on Saturday is 4 out of 10.
  • Following a Touring Plan is important when crowd levels spike at the park you're visiting!

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Get Disney World wait times on your iPhone, Android or Smartphone.
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Resort Events

2014

runDisney events and capacity updates

2014

  • Disney's Princess Half-Marathon Weekend – February 21–23
    • February 21: Disney Royal Family 5k – 85%
    • February 21–22: runDisney Kids' Races – 85%
    • February 22: Enchanted 10k – Sold Out
    • February 23: Disney's Princess Half Marathon – Sold Out
    • February 22–23: Glass Slipper Challenge (Enchanted 10k and Disney's Princess Half Marathon) – Sold Out
  • Expedition Everest Challenge – May 3
    • Expedition Everest Challenge – Sold Out
    • Family Edition – 64%
    • Kids Races – 52%
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend – October 3–4
    • Early Passholder registration opens February 5
    • Regular registration opens February 11
  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 7–8
    • Early Passholder registration opens February 26
    • Regular registration opens March 5

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

  • Casey's Corner – closed through February 15 for refurbishment.
  • Splash Mountain – closed through March 22 for refurbishment.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed through January 30 for refurbishment.
  • Liberty Belle Riverboat – closed through January 30 for refurbishment.
  • The Barnstormer – closed February 3–5 for refurbishment.
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority – closed February 10 through March 27 for refurbishment.
  • The Plaza Restaurant – closed February 17 through March 15 for refurbishment.
  • Pinocchio Village Haus – closed February 17 through March 30 for refurbishment.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed April 7–9 for refurbishment.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – closed April 28–30 for refurbishment.

Epcot

  • No known refurbishments at this time.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Studio Backlot Tour – closed through March 1 for refurbishment.
  • AFI Showcase – closed through March 1 for refurbishment.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Festival of the Lion King – closed for move to its new theater, currently under construction. Estimated to be closed until July/August 2014.

Resorts

As reported in July, some refrigerators in non-Disney Vacation Club rooms at Walt Disney World are being replaced due to a product defect. All Walt Disney World Resort rooms with the exception of DVC Villas, the family suites at the Art of Animation and All-Star Movie resorts, and the cabins at Fort Wilderness are impacted. Disney says "the schedule for replacing the refrigerators at these Resorts is expected to last several months."

In the interim, if you have a reservation at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel and need a refrigerator for medical reasons, we recommend contacting your resort directly to inquire about availability during your trip. The hotel should be able to arrange for one if your room does not yet have a new refrigerator, but supplies may be limited while they work to replace all of the malfunctioning units.

  • Bay Lake Tower children's play area – closed until February 7 for refurbishment.
  • Polynesian
    • Never Land Club Children's Activity Center – closed for refurbishment through January 1, 2015.
  • Port Orleans French Quarter – Doubloon Lagoon Pool closed through February 28 for refurbishment. Transportation will be provided for guests to use the Ol' Man Island pool at Port Orleans Riverside during this period.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – closed through March 17 for annual refurbishment.

Elsewhere

  • The Resort and Express monorail beam closes between 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily starting on January 21 for maintenance.
  • Disney Osprey Ridge Golf Course – permanently closed to play.
  • Downtown Disney Lots H, I, J, and K (in Westside area) closed until further notice for Disney Springs construction.
  • Downtown Disney Bridge 4 and restrooms on Pleasure Island are temporarily closed for ongoing construction work.
  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Note: MousePlanet does not edit past Updates to reflect price increases; for up-to-date prices, check the most recent Walt Disney World Resort Update. For your convenience, we have grouped the discount offers based on the intended audience. Check out the category that best matches you, and pick the offer that works best for you. And keep those tips coming—let us know if you find a better or different offer, so we can share it with other readers!

Discounts for Everyone

Save up to 30%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights March 14 through April 12 and April 20 through June 15, 2014

Upgrade to a room and ticket package and get one more ticket day free. (Minimum 4-day Magic Your Way ticket required.)

Offer Details:

  • Save up to 30 percent at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, Disney's BoardWalk Inn & Villas, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard/pool view rooms), Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney's Old Key West Resort and Disney's Wilderness Lodge (standard/woods view)
  • Save up to 25 percent at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Port Orleans - Riverside and Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • Save up to 20 percent at Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Beach Club Resort Villas, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (savanna/club rooms) & Villas, Disney's Wilderness Lodge (courtyard/club rooms) & Villas, Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, Disney's All-Star Music and Disney's Pop Century Resort

Book now through March 31, 2014


Memory Maker pre-arrival discount

Disney's PhotoPass service provides a discount on Disney Memory Maker pre-arrival packages. For $149 plus tax, Walt Disney World guests will be able to digitally download any photos associated with their Memory Maker account, including photos taken on attractions. The advanced purchase price is a $50 savings. Applicable taxes are charged to all orders.

This special offer is only available from this link, and must be made more than three days prior to arrival at the Walt Disney World Resort. All sales are final, and not eligible for an exchange or refund.


Discounts for Annual Passholders

Room discounts through April 12, 2014

Annual passholders enjoy a discount of up to 37 percent off regular room rates at select Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts March 14–29. Advance reservations required; other discounts available during this time period. Must book before April 12.

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. 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 (annual passholder login required).

You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World 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).

From March 6–13 (Spring Break travel):

  • Up to 20% off Value Resorts – Disney's All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Pop Century.
  • Up to 25% off Moderate Resorts – Disney's Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
  • Up to 35% off Deluxe Resorts – Disney's Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard or pool view), Contemporary, Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge (standard or woods view).
  • Up to 35% off Disney Vacation Club (Deluxe Villa) Resorts – Disney's Old Key West, BoardWalk Villas, Beach Club Villas, Saratoga Springs

From March 14–29 :

  • Up to 25% off Value Resorts – Disney's All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Pop Century.
  • Up to 30% off Moderate Resorts – Disney's Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
  • Up to 37% off Deluxe Resorts – Disney's Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard or pool view), Contemporary, Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge (standard or woods view).
  • Up to 37% off Disney Vacation Club (Deluxe Villa) Resorts – Disney's Old Key West, BoardWalk Villas, Beach Club Villas, Saratoga Springs

Check with a travel agent or Walt Disney World for other rate discounts during this time period.


Discounts for Disney Rewards VISA & Debit Card Holders

Room and ticket discount for travel dates from February 24 through June 15

No discounts available March 6–14 and April 13–19. Buy a minimum four day ticket and get a day free.

Room discounts include:

  • 5% off All Star Movies, Port Orleans French Quarter, Bay Lake Tower, suites at Coronado Springs
  • 15% off Art of Animation family suites
  • 20% off select rooms at Wilderness Lodge & Villas, Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas, Beach Club Villas
  • 25% off Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans Riverside, Cabins at Ft Wilderness
  • 30% off Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Boardwalk Villas, Wilderness Lodge, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Polynesian Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge

20% off select guided tours

Disney Visa cardholders receive 20% off the non-discounted price of selected guided tours for up to 10 people. The cardholder must participate in the tour, and pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card. Tours included:

  • Magic Kingdom Park
    • Disney's Family Magic Tour
    • Disney's Keys to the Kingdom Tour
    • Disney's The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour
    • Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour
  • Epcot
    • Gardens of the World (offered seasonally)
    • The UnDISCOVERed Future World
    • Disney's Dolphins in Depth
    • Epcot DiveQuest
    • Epcot Seas Aqua Tours
    • Epcot Behind the Seeds (15% discount)
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
    • Wild by Design
    • Backstage Safari
  • Multiple Theme Parks and Backstage Areas
    • Backstage Magic
    • Disney's Holiday D-Lights (offered seasonally)
    • Disney's Yuletide Fantasy (offered seasonally)

10% off select restaurants

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10% off the check when you pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Discount excludes alcohol.

  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Sanaa (Lunch)
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort – The Wave (Breakfast and Lunch)
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – Trail's End Restaurant (Breakfast and Lunch)
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort – Olivia's Café (Breakfast and Lunch)
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Turf Club (Lunch)
  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge – Whispering Canyon Café (Lunch)
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort – Captain's Grill (Breakfast and Lunch)

10% off merchandise

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10% off at participating Disney-owned retail location when you spend a minimum of $50 and pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Read all of the restrictions on the Disney Visa website.


Free 5x7 character photo at a private meet and greet location at Epcot

Present your Disney's Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a private character meet and greet at Epcot for the cardholder and up to 5 guests. The event is hosted daily from 1pm - 7pm inside Innoventions West at Epcot. You'll receive one free 5 x 7 character photo per day.


Discounts for Florida Residents

Room discounts through April 8, 2014

Florida residents enjoy a discount of up to 37 percent off regular room rates at select Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts from March 14 to 29, 2014. Advance reservations required; other discounts available during this time period. Must book before April 8.

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. 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.

You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World 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).

From March 6 to 13, 2014 (Spring Break Travel):

  • Up to 20% off Value Resorts – Disney's All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Pop Century.
  • Up to 25% off Moderate Resorts – Disney's Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
  • Up to 35% off Deluxe Resorts – Disney's Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard or pool view), Contemporary, Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge (standard or woods view).
  • Up to 35% off Disney Vacation Club (Deluxe Villa) Resorts – Disney's Old Key West, BoardWalk Villas, Beach Club Villas, Saratoga Springs

From March 14 to 29, 2014:

  • Up to 25% off Value Resorts – Disney's All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Pop Century.
  • Up to 30% off Moderate Resorts – Disney's Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
  • Up to 37% off Deluxe Resorts – Disney's Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard or pool view), Contemporary, Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge (standard or woods view).
  • Up to 37% off Disney Vacation Club (Deluxe Villa) Resorts – Disney's Old Key West, BoardWalk Villas, Beach Club Villas, Saratoga Springs

Check with a travel agent or Walt Disney World for other rate discounts during this time period.


Discounts for U.K. Residents

2014 Free Dining offer for U.K. residents

2014 Free Dining offers for U.K. 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 U.K. residents only.




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


Comments

Discuss this article on MousePad. (Direct link to the article's thread)


(Send an email to Stephanie Wien)

Growing up in Upstate New York, Stephanie (@MPStephanie) made frequent family trips to Walt Disney World in Orlando, which instilled an early love for Disney theme parks. When her work took her to Orange County in California, she naturally became a frequent visitor to Disneyland, and developed a love for the park that started it all. Stephanie now lives in San Francisco's East Bay area and works as an environmental engineer. She has also completed many runDisney races, including the Walt Disney World marathon in 2007 and 2008 as a part of Team in Training, and the Goofy Challenge in 2013. She makes as many trips as she can to experience the Disney magic, especially as part of the MouseAdventure staff team.