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Update for November 26 – December 2, 2013

Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions | Comments

News and Views

Glow with the Show added to Osborne Lights | What's atop Spaceship Earth? | No room key for you | Jingle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom | Norsk Kultur exhibit opens | Construction Update | Quick takes | Crowd update

Glow with the Show added to Osborne Lights

Glow with Show ears have spread from California to Florida, and have been integrated into the seasonal Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights display at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The ears are available for purchase in gift shops on Hollywood Boulevard, as well as at a kiosk on the Streets of America right in the middle of the lights display.


A rack of ears sits at one end of the Streets of America. Photo by Jeff Kober.


The News kiosk displays racks of Glow with the Show ear hats. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

The ears are most active when the lights are dancing to the music, and glow randomly in between. On a recent visit, we spotted a few people sporting the ears, but not enough to really appreciate the effect.


A child on her parent's shoulders sports a pair of Glow with the Show ears. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

What's atop Spaceship Earth?

Although it sometimes appears discolored, something strange is going on with the Spaceship Earth globe lately. It appears to be growing some sort of Chia Pet hair. Perhaps this is early preparation for the Flower & Garden Festival? Hopefully someone will take a power washer to it sooner rather than later, or we might have a new ecosystem on our hands, and there's only room for one Land pavilion in Future World.


Spaceship Earth is looking a little fuzzy lately. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

No room key for you

Starting last week, guests staying at the Pop Century are only being offered a Magic Band to use as a room key and tie to their admission media. They are not being given Key to the World cards as a backup for the Magic Band, as guests at other resorts are. If guests wish to opt out of the Magic Band program, they must state a reason for opting out, even though representatives are still calling this period a "test."


Magic Band units come boxed and ready for guest use. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

Jingle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom

The Jingle Cruise makeover at the Magic Kingdom has been open since early November, and despite fears that it might involve the animals wearing tiny Santa hats, the additional decor is almost exclusively kept to the queue areas. Trader Sam does have some extra festive attire though.


Poinsettia blooms and candy canes add some festive flair to the entrance. Photo by Stephanie Wien.


A Jingle Cruise skipper sports a jungle version of a Santa hat. Photo by Stephanie Wien.


The jungle version of a Christmas tree is made of palm fronds and ferns. Photo by Stephanie Wien.


Even the boat names have been given a holiday makeover. Photo by Stephanie Wien.


Santa watches over the exit. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

We were able to get a full ride-through video of the Jingle Cruise. The typical skipper jokes have been adjusted for the holiday edition.

Norsk Kultur exhibit opens

The new Stave Church exhibit in Norway, "Norsk Kultur," has opened in conjunction with the release of Frozen. The exhibit holds to the spirit of the previous exhibit, tying the historic artifacts to scenes from the film while still keeping the focus on the real-life items.


A sleigh with a reindeer-hide blanket rests on simulated snow. Photo by Jeff Kober.


Musical artifacts, including an elaborately decorated fiddle, fill a display case. Photo by Jeff Kober.

Construction Update

Take a quick trip with us around the resort to check on construction progress:


Disney Springs construction continues in the former Pleasure Island area; this photo is the site of the former Beach Club. Photo by Jeff Kober.


The retail shops that were located next to Mannequins have been completely removed. Photo by Jeff Kober.


The boardwalk bypass around Pleasure Island includes boat launches and views over the water. Photo by Jeff Kober.


The future site of the Downtown Disney Starbucks is replacing the former location of Wetzels Pretzels and Haagen Dazs ice cream. Photo by Jeff Kober.


Fit2Run is open next to Curl in Downtown Disney's Westside. Photo by Jeff Kober.


Digital posters have been added in the Mickey Mouse character greeting area of the Magic of Animation as part of the Next Gen experience. Photo by Jeff Kober.

Quick takes…

…Based on construction walls and a sign stating "Please pardon our Pixie Dust. We are Grinding for an all new Brew," the Starbucks at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be located at the intersection of Pixar Place and Mickey Avenue, right near Toy Story Mania.

…The third Magic Kingdom bus loop has opened and bus stops will begin transitioning. Park-to-park buses will move from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the Magic Kingdom loop starting on December 15.

…Limited Time Magic from November 24 to December 1 is "Bite into a Magical Thanksgiving Celebration" featuring seasonal treats at all of the theme parks. Tony's Town Square Restaurant and Sleepy Hollow at Magic Kingdom will have special pumpkin items, as well as seasonal Starbucks offerings at Main Street Bakery. Pumpkin cupcakes are available at Disney's Hollywood Studios quick-service locations including Studio Catering Co., and the park's bars feature seasonal specialty drinks. Epcot's Sunshine Seasons has pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin muffins.

…The Walt Disney Company confirmed that Avatar Land is expected to open in 2017 in its 10-K report released last week.

…Starbucks in the Orlando area, including the locations at Walt Disney World, are testing a new holiday drink: the Cherries Jubilee Mocha. The drink is a standard mocha with the addition of cherry syrup and topped with a cherry drizzle and chocolate. The drink may be ordered hot or cold, and was a popular choice of the staff on our recent visit.

…The menu at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom has changed. The shredded beef sandwich and the quinoa salad are gone, and have been replaced by a chicken or vegetable curry option.

…Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards are being distributed a little differently these days. In order to pick up new cards, a player must activate his key card at a game window on the same day. You can check at the distribution locations on Main Street or in Liberty Square if you don't remember where you left off.

Question of the week

MousePlanet reader yedliw from Rochester, New York is planning a trip to Walt Disney World and is looking for opinions on the park tours. Have you been on one of the guided tours offered, such as the Keys to the Kingdom tour? Share your thoughts and experiences on our MousePad discussion forum.

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Crowd Forecast

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Walt Disney World enters one of the busiest weeks of the year; arrive early and bring a good touring plan. 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, November 26, 2013 9 / 10
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 9 / 10
Thursday, November 28, 2013 8 / 10
Friday, November 29, 2013 9 / 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 is 8 out of 10.
  • Following a Touring Plan is important when crowd levels spike at the park you're visiting!

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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

  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – December 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20.
  • Candlelight Processional – November 29 through December 30. Dining packages on sale now.
  • Pop Warner Football – December 6–14. Participants are staying at Disney's All-Star Resorts, Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, and Pop Century Resort.
  • Holiday Time at Walt Disney World – through January 5, 2014
  • Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – through January 5, 2014

2014

runDisney events and capacity updates

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 – 66%
    • January 9–11: Pasta Party in the Park – 56%
    • 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 – 58%
    • February 21–22: runDisney Kids' Races – 60%
    • 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

  • "it's a small world" – closed December 2–12 for refurbishment.
  • Splash Mountain – closed January 6 through March 22, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • Casey's Corner – closed January 6 through February 15, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed January 13–30, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • Liberty Belle Riverboat – closed January 21–30, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • The Barnstormer – closed February 3–5, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority – closed February 10 through March 27, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • Pinocchio Village Haus – closed February 17 through March 30, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • The Plaza Restaurant – closed February 17 through March 15, 2014 for refurbishment.

Epcot

  • No known refurbishments at this time.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Studio Backlot Tour – closed January 5 through March 1, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • AFI Showcase – closed January 5 through March 1, 2014 for refurbishment.

Animal Kingdom

  • Kali River Rapids – closed December 2–13, 2013 for refurbishment.
  • Festival of the Lion King scheduled to close on January 5, 2014 for move to a new theater—currently under construction. Estimated to be dark for six months.

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.

  • 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.
  • Pop Century – Hippy Dippy Pool closed December 9-11 for refurbishment.
  • Polynesian
    • Never Land Club Children's Activity Center – closed for refurbishment January 1-April 1, 2014.
    • Access to the east portion of the Polynesian Beach (closest to the Transportation and Ticket Center), as well as Sunset Point will be unavailable until December 2013 due to a scheduled refurbishment. Some rooms in certain room categories in impacted buildings have been taken off the market during the renovation period.
  • Port Orleans French Quarter – Doubloon Lagoon Pool closed January 13-February 28, 2014 for refurbishment. Transportation will be provided for guests to use the Ol' Man Island pool at Port Orleans Riverside during this period.
  • Port Orleans Riverside – Magnolia Bend Building 80-85 pool deck closed January 20-21, 2014 for refurbishment.
  • Saratoga Springs – Congress Park Pool closed January 22-23, 2014 for refurbishment.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed through December 21, 2013 for refurbishment.
  • Blizzard Beach – closed January 6-March 17, 2014 for refurbishment.

Elsewhere

  • Disney Palm Golf Course – closed through December 15 for refurbishment.
  • 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.
  • 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

Room Discounts Through December 23

A discount of up to 30 percent off regular room rates is available at select resorts for most nights from November 10 through November 22 and November 30 through December 23. 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).

  • Up to 15% off 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 20% off Moderate Resorts – Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
  • Up to 30% off Deluxe Resorts – Disney's Yacht Club, BoardWalk Inn, Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard or pool view), Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge.
  • Up to 30% off Disney Vacation Club (Deluxe Villa) Resorts – Disney's Old Key West, BoardWalk Villas, Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Saratoga Springs

Save up to 35% on Walt Disney World resort rooms January 5, 2014 through April 12, 2014

Special 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 31. Advanced booking required. Use booking code JHO.

Discounts include:

  • Up to 15% off – Art of Animation Family Suites
  • Up to 20% off – All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, Pop Century
  • Up to 25% off – Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge Villas, Wilderness Lodge (courtyard view and club level), Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans Riverside, Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • Up to 35% off – BoardWalk Villas, BoardWalk Inn, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Beach Club Villas, Yacht & Beach Club, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Animal Kingdom Lodge (pool and standard views), Contemporary, and Wilderness Lodge (standard and woods views)

Additional details are available on our MousePad forum.


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:

  • Up to 20% off – Art of Animation Family Suites (select dates only), All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and Pop Century
  • Up to 25% off – 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
  • Up to 35% off – Animal Kingdom Lodge (pool and standard views), BoardWalk Inn, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club
  • Up to 35% off – BoardWalk Villas, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and Wilderness Lodge Villas

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 Rewards VISA & Debit Card Holders

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:

  • Up to 20% off – Art of Animation Family Suites (select dates only), All-Star Music, All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and Pop Century
  • Up to 25% off – 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
  • Up to 35% off – Animal Kingdom Lodge (pool and standard views), BoardWalk Inn, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, and Yacht Club
  • Up to 35% off – BoardWalk Villas, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, and Wilderness Lodge Villas

Read full details here.


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 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.