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Update for October 1 – 7, 2013

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News and Views

Additional Disability Access Service details | Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade concept art revealed | New food in the parks | Share your Disney Side | Merchandise update | Quick takes | Crowd update

Additional details on the new Disability Access Service

President of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations Meg Crofton released an official statement regarding the pending changes to the assistance program for guests with disabilities that was shared in this week's Disneyland Resort Update. The changes are aimed at tightening up the system to curb abuse.

According to details posted online by a Walt Disney World cast member, the policy being implemented in Florida involves guests obtaining a Disability Access Service card at Guest Relations. The cards become linked to the individuals by a photo, with their name entered into a database. Those using wheelchairs, electric scooters, or tagged strollers will not need to get a card, as most queues are accessible.

Different parks may have subtle differences in implementation depending on the accessibility of different areas, but the post appears to be generally accurate from what we have heard.

New concept art for Disney Festival of Fantasy parade

Disney has released additional parade float details for the new Festival of Fantasy parade that is coming to the Magic Kingdom in spring 2014. The parade will focus on the stories of Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, and Tangled. The new floats released feature characters from The Little Mermaid and Brave. Ariel rides on a clamshell with Flounder surrounded by her sea friends, while Merida stands atop a float shaped like a giant bagpipe with her three bear-form brothers. 

The new parade is replacing the current Celebrate a Dream Come True parade, which ends its daily run on Friday, December 20. Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It then fills in the gap of the daytime parade after the holiday season is complete before Festival of Fantasy takes over in the spring. See the Disney Parks Blog for photos.

New food items at the parks

On a recent trip, we noticed some menu changes at some of the food locations around the parks—so of course we had to try a few.

The ABC Commissary at Disney Studios has replaced the chicken curry with a couscous, quinoa, and arugula salad topped with a choice of protein.


Couscous, quinoa, and arugula salad with salmon is a nice healthier alternative to burgers and fries. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

We chose the salmon, which was nicely prepared and not too dry (as can often happen with fish). The salad, however, contained kalamata olives, which are not listed on the menu description. If you are not a fan of them, you might try requesting that they leave them out. 


The sign shows the two flavors of gourmet cake cups available for $4.19 each: the Mad Hatter Mocha, and the Cheshire Cupcake. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

The Cheshire Cafe at the Magic Kingdom also features a new snack item: the cake cup. The cups have layers of cake and mousse or whipped cream, depending on the flavor of choice.


A cast member holds the Mad Hatter Mocha cupcake. Photo of Stephanie Wien.

Share your Disney Side

Disney has launched a site to encourage guests to share their visits at the Disney theme parks or wherever they show their "Disney side." The Disney Side site aggregates public posts from Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Google+, and Facebook that are posted with the hashtag #disneyside. This site is another step in the company's embrace of social media as a way to promote its product with the help of users. 

Merchandise update

This week's photo roundup includes more new merchandise from around the resort.


The United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot has a new selection of apparel and other items from popular British television shows. These shirts are aimed at fans of the "Monty Python's Flying Circus" TV show. Photo by Stephanie Wien.


"Doctor Who" fans can pick up a whole range of merchandise, including these mugs and magnets featuring Daleks, a well-known Doctor Who adversary. Photo by Stephanie Wien.


"Downton Abbey" apparel rounds out the the selection. Photo by Stephanie Wien.


Villains have started to pop up in all kinds of places, including this rather chic-looking Maleficent on a scarf. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

Registration now open for MouseAdventure World Explorers

Join us on November 16 and 17 for an exploration of Walt Disney World like no other. Our fifth Florida MouseAdventure event takes players all around Walt Disney World in a two-day challenge that is sure to make you see WDW in a whole new light.

Registration for our two-day MouseAdventure World Explorers event in Walt Disney World is now open online at MouseAdventure.com.

Pricing for this two-day event is $175 for a team of at least two players up to a maximum of four players. Registration does not include park admission (park hopper admission is required; water park admission is not).

The Coast to Coast Challenge

Every team that participated in the Spring 2013 MouseAdventure event in Disneyland and plays in MouseAdventure World Explorers V in Florida, will receive a special recognition of their dedication.

And, for the true competitors, there will be a special prize awarded to the team with the highest combined score for the Spring 2013 MouseAdventure Musical event at Disneyland and MouseAdventure World Explorers V in Florida. This prize will be awarded at the resort results meet in Florida.

To participate in this challenge, teams must have a score from the Spring 2013 MouseAdventure Musical event at Disneyland (Basic or Advanced division) and complete the Fall 2013 event in Walt Disney World. The majority of players from the team must participate in both events.

Quick takes…

…Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is celebrating its 25th anniversary today with a 9:00 a.m. boat parade on Barefoot Bay, as well as a fountain dedictaion at Old Port Royale.

…The Chase Lounge at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival features a Coke Freestyle machine this year, giving visitors a larger selection of Coke products. Here's hoping the lines don't get too long from people trying to decide what to sample.

…The Villains Mix & Mingle show at the Magic Kingdom is now using the castle projectors, creating a dramatic backdrop for its Not-So-Scary Halloween Party show.

…A MyMagic+ kiosk has been placed in the breezeway between Frontierland and Adventureland. Guests can scan their MagicBand to check on existing Fastpass+ times as well as schedule new ones.


A park guest uses the kiosk to check on Fastpass+ times. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

...Good luck to all of the runners and walkers participating in the Tower of Terror 10-Miler weekend events this coming weekend!

We are looking for you!

Do you write or blog about Walt Disney World or Disney-related topics? Do you have a Disney-related YouTube channel or independent website? If so, we want to meet you. MousePlanet is looking for established writers to cover new areas of the Disney universe, including the international Parks and Resorts.

If you are interested in learning how your blog or site can work with MousePlanet, or you have an idea for a great new column, please contact us—we'd love to hear from you!

Crowd Forecast

Advertisement

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."

Nice crowds this week leading up to the Tower of Terror 10 miler 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, October 1, 2013 2 / 10
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 2 / 10
Thursday, October 3, 2013 1 / 10
Friday, October 4, 2013 1 / 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!

  • Friday is the best day to visit the Magic Kingdom.
  • The resort crowd level on Saturday is 3 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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Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Stephanie here.
Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.

Resort Events

2013

2014

runDisney events and capacity updates

2013

  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend – October 4–5.
    • October 5 (a.m.): Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run – Sold Out
    • October 5 (a.m.): runDisney Kids' Races – 82%
    • October 5 (p.m.): The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler – Sold Out
    • October 5 (p.m.) – 6 (a.m.): Disney Villains Hollywood Bash – 89%
       
  • Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 8–9.
    • November 8 (p.m.): Wine & Dine Pre-race Taste – 94%
    • November 9 (a.m.): runDisney Kids' Races – 60%
    • November 9 (a.m.): Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K – Sold Out
    • November 9 (p.m.): Wine & Dine Half Marathon – Sold Out
    • November 9 (p.m.): Finish Line Party – 93%

2014

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 9–12.
    • January 9: Family Fun Run 5K – Sold Out
    • January 10: 10K – Sold Out
    • January 11: Half Marathon – Sold Out
    • January 12: Marathon – Sold Out
    • January 11-12: Goofy Challenge (half and full) – Sold Out
    • January 9–11: runDisney Kids' Races – 53%
    • January 9–11: Pasta Party in the Park – 51%
    • January 9–12: Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, half, and full) – Sold Out
       
  • Disney's Princess Half-Marathon Weekend – February 21–23.
    • February 21: Disney Royal Family 5k – 50%
    • February 21–22: runDisney Kids' Races – 50%
    • 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

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

  • Peter Pan – closed through November 13 for refurbishment.
  • Walt Disney World Railroad – closed through November 20 for refurbishment.
  • Splash Mountain – closed January 6, 2014 through March 22, 2014 for refurbishment.

Epcot

  • No known refurbishments.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Playground – closed through November 19 for refurbishment.
  • Both parades (Disney Channel Rocks and Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade) have ended their run. No new parades have been announced.
  • Disney Hollywood Studios closes at 6 p.m. on October 26 for a private event.

Animal Kingdom

  • No known refurbishments.
  • Festival of the Lion King scheduled to move to a new theater—currently under construction—sometime in 2014. No dates have been announced.

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. Remember, Value resorts do not include in-room refrigerators.

  • All-Star Sports
    • Arcade closed for conversion into a temporary grab-and-go food location. Expected to reopen in December.
    • Food court closed through mid-December for refurbishment. During this time, snacks and drinks will be available from a grab-and-go location in the former arcade. Hot food will be available from the All-Star Music Food Court, and Disney will offer bus service between the resorts.
  • Polynesian – Access to the east portion of the Polynesian Beach (closest to the Transportation and Ticket Center), as well as Sunset Point will be unavailable due to a scheduled refurbishment. Some rooms in certain room categories in impacted buildings have been taken off the market during the renovation period. No completion date given at this time.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed October 27, 2013 through January 4, 2014 for refurbishment.

Elsewhere

  • Disney Palm Golf Course – closed through mid-November for refurbishment.
  • Disney Osprey Ridge Golf Course – permanently closed to play.
  • Downtown Disney Lots H, I, J, and K (in Westside area) are closed until further notice for construction of Disney Springs.
  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. Will not be performed on the following 2013 dates: November 5–6

Current Discounts & Promotions

Discounts for everyone

Room discounts through December 23

A discount of up to 30% off regular room rates is available at select resorts for most nights from August 16 through September 26. Advance reservations required.

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.

Book by November 3 for reservations from November 10 through November 22 and November 30 through December 23.

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
Value Resorts Disney's All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, All-Star Movies, Pop Century, Art of Animation Family Suites* (*select nights only) Up to 15%
Moderate Resorts Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness Up to 20%
Deluxe Resorts Disney's Yacht Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard or pool view), Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge Up to 30%
Disney Vacation Club (Deluxe Villa) Resorts Disney's Old Key West, BoardWalk Villas, Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Saratoga Springs Up to 30%

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

Save up to 35% on Walt Disney World resort rooms through November 22 and November 30 to December 24

Florida resident rates for resort hotels (excluding Art of Animation Little Mermaid rooms, Fort Wilderness campsites, the Villas at Grand Floridian, and 3-bedroom villas). Book through December 14.

Discounts include:

Resort Name Discount
Art of Animation Family Suites (select dates only), All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and Pop Century 20%
Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort (excluding suites), Port Orleans French Quarter, Fort Wilderness Cabins, Contemporary, Bay Lake Tower, Beach Club, and Beach Club Villas 25%
Animal Kingdom Lodge (pool and standard views), BoardWalk Inn, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club 35%
BoardWalk Villas, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and Wilderness Lodge Villas

35%

Read full details here (passholder login required).

Up to 35% off Tickets to Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba

Passholders can purchase $69 (plus tax) Category 2 tickets or $79 (plus tax) Category 1 tickets for Tuesday to Saturday performances on the following dates:

  • Now through November 2, 2013
  • November 7 to November 23, 2013
  • December 3 to December 20, 2013

Passholders may purchase tickets for themselves and up to 3 guests. Advanced purchase required. A current, valid annual pass must be presented at the box office to receive the discount when picking up tickets. To purchase tickets, call (407) 939-7328.


Discounts for Disney Visa cardholders


 

20% off food at Paradiso-37 in Downtown Disney through October 31

Disney Visa cardholders receive 20% off food purchases when you pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card until October 31, 2013. Cardmembers must bring a printed coupon (available at the Disney Rewards site) to be eligible for the discount. Discount applies to food only.

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)
  • Downtown Disney Area – Cap'n Jack's (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 recieve one free 5 x 7 character photo per day.


Discounts for Florida residents

Save up to 35% on Walt Disney World resort rooms through November 22 and November 30 to December 24

Florida resident rates for resort hotels (excluding Art of Animation Little Mermaid rooms, Fort Wilderness campsites, the Villas at Grand Floridian, and 3-bedroom villas). Book through December 14.

Discounts include:

Resort Name Discount
Art of Animation Family Suites (select dates only), All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and Pop Century 20%
Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort (excluding suites), Port Orleans French Quarter, Fort Wilderness Cabins, Contemporary, Bay Lake Tower, Beach Club, and Beach Club Villas 25%
Animal Kingdom Lodge (pool and standard views), BoardWalk Inn, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club 35%
BoardWalk Villas, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and Wilderness Lodge Villas

35%

Read full details here.


Discounts for UK 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 is now back in Upstate New York and working as an engineer. She has also completed several runDisney races, including the Walt Disney World marathon in 2007 and 2008 as a part of Team in Training, and is currently training for 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.