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News and Views

New Year’s Eve, standing room only – The Magic Kingdom and Epcot closed their gates to new visitors around 5:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, leaving guests with a choice between ringing in the new year at Disney-MGM Studios or Downtown Disney.

To Epcot... and Beyond! – We hear that Disney is planning a character breakfast with Buzz Lightyear and friends, to begin sometime in 2003 at the Odyssey Restaurant in Epcot.

The 10th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon is fast approaching! – Check out the Park Events section below for a complete event itinerary for runners and spectators alike. Several MousePlanet staffers and readers will be participating in this marathon, and we wish them the best of luck.

Out with the old, in with the new Effective January 1, American Express is no longer the official credit card of Walt Disney World. The Resort no longer honors American Express discounts and benefits, and you cannot choose a Disney vacation in the American Express Membership Rewards program. These changes pave the way for the planned introduction of a Disney-branded Visa credit card this spring. Details are sketchy about this new credit card, but you can find answers to some basic questions about the program at Disney Online Guest Services.

If you would like to be notified the instant you can apply for this new card, visit this “secret link” on the Disneyland.com site. The entry page asks you for a nonexistent 6-digit passcode just choose any link from the “Select Option” pull-down box, and you are taken to a screen where you can provide your e-mail address. If you prefer to register by phone, call 1-888-688-4868.

Those who apply for the card between March 4 to 24 receive a collectible pin, and get “Cardmember since Day 1” embossed on their card.


Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Blizzard Beach is currently closed for refurbishment.

The Shipwreck Slide located at Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort will be closed for refurbishment January 3 through April 4, 2003. The pool areas at Stormalong Bay will remain open while the pool slide undergoes enhancement.


The Saratoga Springs Resort under construction near Downtown Disney. Photo by Brian Bennett.


Park Events

The 10th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon is fast approaching! – The marathon and half-marathon happen in the wee hours of Sunday, January 12, but there are a lot of activities scheduled around the main event. Even if you are not running, we encourage you to take some time on Sunday to cheer on the participants.

WEEKEND ITINERARY

Friday, January 10, 2003

Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo, 8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

The FamilyFun Magazine Family Fun Run
Race Day Registration: 6:00 a.m.
Race Start: 7:30 a.m.
Epcot

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Marathon & Half Marathon Race Day
Wheelchair Start: 5:55 a.m.
Start: 6:00 a.m.
Epcot

Monday, January 13, 2003

Awards Ceremony, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Finisher Certificate Distribution, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex

DISNEY’S HEALTH & FITNESS EXPO @ CORONADO SPRINGS

Friday, January 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

For the first time in the event’s history, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will host Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo. Parking will not be available at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort (but will instead be available at Blizzard Beach). The Expo features two days of celebrity runner appearances, seminars on training, racing, and nutrition, and the opoportunity to experience the latest in running and fitness equipment, apparel, and technology. Each seminar will last one hour and will include both Q&A and autograph sessions. TV and radio race commentator, Creigh Kelley, will host. The Expo is free to the general public.

SPECTATOR VIEWING

Invite your friends and family to participate in the 10th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend celebration. Spectators are welcome to view the race at the start, finish, and designated locations along the course. For more information about spectator viewing, visit Disney’s marathon Web page.

Of the many viewing areas, the following are the most notable:

EPCOT CENTER DRIVE – START

Viewing the start of the race: It’s very early in the morning, but this is also the most exciting part of the event. In the past, Disney has always provided a great start, with fireworks!

5:55 a.m. – Wheelchair Participants start.
6:00 a.m. – Runners start.
When you arrive at the Epcot parking area, look for illuminated signs that read Spectator Viewing. Viewing will be allowed along Epcot Center Drive.

HALF MARATHON FINISH

Half Marathon Finish – 7:10 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; Mile 13.1
The Half Marathon finish will occur in the Pluto Parking Lot at Magic Kingdom Park. Signs will also guide you to additional Marathon viewing along Floridian Way and on Bear Island Road. When viewing, please stay on the grass area allowing runners full access to the roadway.

EPCOT

This is the last mile of the full marathon, and the time when the participants can most use your cheering up. Bring your noisemakers, good spirits, and loud voice as you clap, cheer, holler, whistle and scream to encourage people to finish that last mile.

8:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; Miles 25 to 25.9
(Accessible by Monorail or car.) During this period, Epcot will be open to the general public. Theme park admission tickets are required.

MARATHON FINISH

The finish area is always the most emotional, as you see ordinary people accomplish this incredible physical feat. Expect large crowds – but if you know someone who is running the marathon, seeing them cross the finish line is priceless. [Tip: Go early if you want to see the competitive winners cross the finish line. The rest of the pack, however, continue to finish all the way to 1:00 p.m., and will probably appreciate your applause and cheering more.]

8:20 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
(Accessible by Monorail or car.) The Marathon finish occurs in the Imagine Parking Lot at Epcot and theme park tickets are not required for viewing. Signs will direct you back to the Family Reunion Area once you arrive at Epcot via Monorail, bus, or car. Buses returning to Walt Disney World Resorts board from the Family Reunion area.

AWARDS

Overall male and female winners of the Marathon will be crowned at the victory stand immediately following the finish. Each participant who completes the Marathon in 7 hours or less and Half-Marathon in 3.5 hours or less will receive a commemorative finisher’s medallion upon completion of the race. The top five finishers will be awarded in each age group category. In addition, the top three male and female finishers will be awarded in the wheelchair division, along with the top male and female finishers in the masters division. Awards will be distributed at the Awards Ceremony, January 13, 2003 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex.

POST RACE CELEBRATION @ PLEASURE ISLAND

Marathon and Half Marathon participants are invited to become castaways on a party island where there’s a nightclub haven for everyone. Join us on January 12, 2003 from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. for a Post Race Celebration at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island. Dance the night away to the music made before CDs were around at 8TRAX, laugh it up at the Comedy Warehouse or wallow in the silky-smooth sophistication of the Pleasure Island Jazz Company. Marathon and Half Marathon participants will receive an admission ticket to Downtown Disney Pleasure Island, valued at $19.95, when they present their race number at the ticket window. An additional three tickets may be purchased for 50% off the normal ticket price for $10.62 per person (tax inclusive). Please show your number and a valid photo ID at the ticket booth to receive your ticket and discount.

FINISHER’S CERTIFICATE

NEW FOR 2003! All Marathon and Half Marathon finishers will be mailed their finisher’s certificate along with their Event Recap in March. Results will be posted at Disneys Wide World of Sports Complex and at the Awards Ceremony. A complete list of searchable results will be posted at the Disney World Sports Web site.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Mickey’s Parti Gras Pin Event – Saturday, February 1, 2003. $115 per person. Register online at the Disney Event Services Web site. Annual Passholders qualify for a 10% discount on the event package when they register by January 8. If you have already registered, you can still receive the discount by faxing a copy of your pass to Disney Event Services.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Mickey’s Parti Gras Pin Event Public Day – Sunday, Februay 2, 2003. Disney has just announced a public day to be held after the Parti Gras Pin Event. The public day will be held at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, at the Island Mercantile. Event guests will be able to purchase any remaining event merchandise from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. After 10:00 a.m., any remaining non-exclusive merchandise will made available to all park guests.

Upcoming events

Feb 27 through March 28 – Atlanta Braves Spring Training exhibition games at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex. Tickets go on sale January 4. Buy tickets in person at the Disney Wide World of Sports box office, or call Ticketmaster at 407-839-3900.

March 30 – First-ever Walt Disney World Inline Marathon. Get more information at the Disney Wide World of Sports Web site.

April 25 through June 8 - 10th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

June 3 through June 9 - Gay Days 2003. This unofficial event is not sponsored by Disney. Event information can be obtained from the event sponsor.

June 14, 2003 – “Mickey’s Toon Town of Pins” at the Magic Kingdom

September 19-21, 2003 – “Disney’s Pin Celebration” at Epcot

November 16-19, 2003 – Pin Trading Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder


Current Discounts & Promotions

MouseSavers.com is reporting new hotel discounts for Florida residents and the general public. The discounts are valid for stays beginning February 17 through April 9.


Park Hours

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
1/6
1/7
1/8
1/9
1/10
1/11
  MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–6:30p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
1/12
1/13
1/14
1/15
1/16
1/17
1/18
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
MK 9a–9p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
1/19
1/20
  • MK = Magic Kingdom
  • EF = Epcot, Future World
  • EW = Epcot, World Showcase
  • MGM = Disney-MGM Studios
  • AK = Animal Kingdom
  • BB = Blizzard Beach Water Park
  • TL = Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p

MK 9a–7p
EF 9a–7p

EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 1/6

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Tuesday 1/7

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 6:15p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

 

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Wednesday 1/8

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Thursday 1/9

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 6:30p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Friday 1/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Saturday 1/11

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 7p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Sunday 1/12

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Monday 1/13

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Tuesday 1/14

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 6:15p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

 

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Wednesday 1/15

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Thursday 1/16

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Friday 1/17

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Saturday 1/18

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 7p, 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Sunday 1/19

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Tapestry of Dreams 6:10p, 7:45p

IllumiNations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p


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(Send an email to Mark Goldhaber)

Mark (@MPMark) is a veteran of dozens of trips to Walt Disney World starting in 1972, with a few Disneyland trips thrown in for good measure. As a Disney stockholder and a Disney Vacation Club member, Mark is always in touch with what's going on with The Mouse. Mark serves as MousePlanet's Walt Disney World content coordinator. Mark is a senior information technology manager working for the State of New York. He lives in the suburbs outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son.