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Update for January 14, 2014 – January 20, 2014

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

News and Views

Marathon Weekend concludes | Spice Road Table opens | Traditional Fastpass loses more ground | Maleficent joins the Festival of Fantasy | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd update

Marathon Weekend concludes

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend took place this past week around the resort, beginning on Wednesday with the opening of the fitness expo and on Thursday with the first race, the 3.1-mile Family Fun Run 5K. This race was the first step for those who had signed up for the Dopey Challenge, which required participants to complete a 5K, a 10K, a (13.1-mile) half-marathon, and a (26.2-mile) full marathon on consecutive days (for a total of 48.4 miles). There were approximately 50,000 entrants in the race events taking place over the extended weekend. It was the inaugural year for the (6.2-mile) 10K course, which passed through Epcot and then looped around Boardwalk and Beach Club. 

The two Brazilian men who have traded off first place in the marathon the past few years were at it again on Sunday, with Fredison Costa beating Adriano Bastos to the line. Costa finished in 2:21:39, while Bastos took 2:22:55. The women's winner was Angela Brito of Ecuador, with a time of 2:47:44. 

Although there are always winners, many more stories are told in the rest of the pack. One of these was highlighted by runDisney on the Disney Parks Blog; a mother and daughter reunited to run the half marathon together after 40 years of separation.


A mother and daughter reunite at the Walt Disney World Marathon. YouTube video by Disney.

Congratulations to all who completed a race this past weekend, including our Team MousePlanet participants. Staff member Lani Teshima completed the inaugural Dopey Challenge, and was still smiling after 48.6 miles over four days!

Spice Road Table opens

Morocco's new restaurant, Spice Road Table, quietly opened at Epcot over the weekend for walk-up diners. The new location offers a tapas-like menu, with small plates to share. There is indoor as well as outdoor seating that allows for views of Illuminations on the lagoon, although views of some parts of the show will be somewhat obstructed by the nearby islands.


Spice Road Table's menu includes some sampler platters as well as individual small plates. Photo by Stephanie Wien.


The host podium for Spice Road Table sits in front of the arched entrance to the indoor seating. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The outdoor seating area is shaded, with views of the lagoon. Photo by J. Jeff Kober. 

There is a standing bar area inside the restaurant for those who just want to sample some of the drink offerings. The full bar features beer, wine, and spirits from several Mediterranean countries, including Greece, Morocco, Turkey, and Spain. The neighboring gift shop has also reopened, offering packaged food and drink as well as apparel and other gift items.


The shop next to the restaurant has several sections featuring different products. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The Souk Al-Magreb gift shop contains items including tagines, a traditional Moroccan cooking tool. Photo by Stephanie Wien.


This area is set up to offer henna tattoos during the day. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Reviews of the new location have been mixed, with many criticizing the prices versus the size of the servings offered. The location hasn't been busy yet, but that is likely to change as word spreads and the restaurant is added to the online reseration system.

Traditional Fastpass loses more ground

Tuesday was the last day for traditional Fastpass at the Magic Kingdom. All paper Fastpass machines will be removed and attractions will only be reserved via the Fastpass+ system. Those guests who are not staying at a Disney resort must book their Fastpass+ on arrival at the resort. MousePlanet contributing writer Jeff Kober has some tips on how to navigate this process on MousePlanet today.

Maleficent joins the Festival of Fantasy

After several teases, the Disney Parks Blog revealed a new float for the upcoming Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom, featuring Maleficent's dragon form. The new float has a very steampunk feel, giving the appearance that the dragon is constructed of riveted-together sheet metal. The dragon joins several other floats that have been previously revealed in sketches. The float is 35 feet long and 26 feet tall; the height of the parade floats will affect this year's holiday decorations, which will not be able to drape across Main Street.


The dragon float is featured in the Festival of Fantasy parade set to debut in the spring. Photo (c) Disney.

Construction Update

J. Jeff Kober shares some construction photos from around the resort this week.


The holiday decorations as well as the "Let the Memories Begin" signage have been removed form in front of the train station. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


An area in Liberty Square is blocked off for refurbishment. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Most of the shops in Adventureland are blocked off by a tarp. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


The outdoor areas at Cosmic Ray's are being enclosed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Seven Dwarfs Mine Train elements are nearing completion. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Trees and fencing establish a barrier between riders and the track. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Work continues over the weekend to complete the loading area for the attraction. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Quick takes…

...Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba will be dark until January 20 for a cast break.

...The newly-renovated Dawa Bar has been moved closer to the Tusker House building from its previous location. The size has been expanded and bar seating has been added.


The Dawa Bar can seat more people at the bar instead of using neighboring tables. Photo by Stephanie Wien.

...Typhoon Lagoon will be closed on January 15-16 due to predicted low temperatures.

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Crowd Forecast

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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 14, 2014 3 / 10
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 1 / 10
Thursday, January 16, 2014 1 / 10
Friday, January 17, 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!

  • Wednesday 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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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

2014

runDisney events and capacity updates

2014

  • Disney's Princess Half-Marathon Weekend – February 21–23
    • February 21: Disney Royal Family 5k – 68%
    • February 21–22: runDisney Kids' Races – 74%
    • 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

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 January 21–30 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 through 9 for refurbishment.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – closed April 28 through 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.

  • All-Star Sports
    • Surf's Up Pool – closed through January 24 for refurbishment.
  • Polynesian
    • Never Land Club Children's Activity Center – closed for refurbishment January 28, 2014 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.
  • Port Orleans Riverside – Magnolia Bend Building 80–85 pool deck closed January 20–21 for refurbishment.
  • Saratoga Springs – Congress Park Pool closed January 22–23 for refurbishment.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – closed January 6 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 Paradise Island are temporarily closed for ongoing construction work.
  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays.
  • Winter side of the Winter Summerland mini golf course will close for refurbishment on January 20.

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 from January 5 to March 5, 2014 and March 14 through April 12, 2014

A discount of up to 35 percent off regular room rates is available at select resorts for most nights from January 5 to April 12. Advance reservations required; book before December 31.

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).

  • 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

Save up to 30% on Walt Disney World resort rooms March 6, 2014 through March 13, 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. Full details on the offer website.

Discounts include:

  • Up to 15% off Value Resorts – Disney's All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Pop Century.
  • Up to 20% off Moderate Resorts – Disney's Port Orleans Riverside, Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, the Cabins at Fort Wilderness.
  • Up to 30% 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 30% off Disney Vacation Club (Deluxe Villa) Resorts – Disney's Old Key West, BoardWalk Villas, Beach Club Villas, Saratoga Springs

Save up to 30%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights March 14-April 12 and April 20-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% 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% 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% 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 Jan. 6 - 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 from January 4 to April 12, 2014

Annual passholders enjoy a discount of up to 37 percent off regular room rates at select Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts from January 4 to 18 and March 14 to 29, 2014. 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 January 4 to 18 and 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

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

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-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 from January 4 to 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 January 4 to 18 and 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 January 4 to 18 and 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

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

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

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(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.