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News and Views

May the Force vacation with you – The extremely popular Star Wars Weekends is coming to Disney-MGM Studios again in 2003 over five weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) in May and June. The dates are: May 16 – 18, May 23 – 25, May 30 – June 1, June 6 – 8, and June 13 – 15.

All special activities are included with regular Disney-MGM Studios admission. There are no additional fees or admission charges.

The weekends not only include appearances by dozens of characters from the Star Wars films, but opportunities to meet some of the celebrities from the six Star Wars films — Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, and Attack of the Clones — are a key part of the events.

Anthony Daniels, who has starred as C-3PO in all five films, is slated to at the park during the opening weekend of May 16-18, 2003.

Other characters you might be able to meet include Queen Amidala, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Greedo, Zam Wessel, and Jango Fett.

A special edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire — Play It! runs during the weekends, featuring Star Wars trivia questions and appearances by some of the characters. Other Star Wars trivia contests and games are scheduled near Star Tours, and a special arcade set up to show off many Star Wars-based games.

Jedi Training Academy sessions will give children the chance to learn more about the force, including jousting (using a lightsaber, of course) with none other than Darth Vader.

Of course, many Star Wars collectibles and other merchandise will be available for sale during the weekends including trading pins, posters, and limited-edition items.

St. Patrick's Day at Pleasure Island – 'Sham-rock' and roll at Pleasure Island March 14 – 17, as the nighttime entertainment district celebrates St. Patrick's Day. The island turns green with live music and videos by Irish artists, as well as leprechauns, green specialty beverages, and access to Pleasure Island's eight fun-filled clubs.

The St. Patrick's Party at Pleasure Island is included in regular Pleasure Island admission. For more information, contact the Downtown Disney Information Hotline at (407) 939-2648.

Disney's Aladdin Brings Fun and Adventure Aboard Disney Cruise Line

Children aboard Disney Cruise Line ships can now treat their imaginations to flying carpets, magic lamps and genies in the newest children's programming themed after Disney's animated feature, Aladdin.

Aladdin's Fun Adventures is designed for 3- and 4-year-olds, one of the five different age sets in the most extensive children's programming operation at sea.

Highlights include:

  • A magic carpet ride – kids atop carpets pretend they are flying through the nights of Arabia.
  • A treasure hunt through the Cave of Wonders – kids make a jewel chest out of their finds.
  • A marketplace outing to “find” fruits and vegetables around Disney's
  • Oceaneer Club.
  • A memory game using Aladdin characters.
  • Sing-along songs from the soundtrack.

Disney's Aladdin, one of the most beloved and popular motion pictures of all time, inspired this colorful new program. With almost an entire deck devoted to children's programming, Disney Cruise Line has interactive, hands-on activities that were specifically designed with five different age groups in mind.

Pagers are available to parents with children in the programming areas so that they're never out of reach while enjoying the ship's adults-only areas. In addition, children are provided with wristbands identifying the child's name, parent's pager number and any allergies they may have.


Promotional image &copy Disney

On your mark, get set, register! Registration for the 2004 Walt Disney World Marathon and Half-Marathon is now available at the Disney Sports Web site. Both events, scheduled for Sunday, January 11, 2004, are extremely popular, and registration fills to capacity by the summer. See our recent article, "Agony of Da Feet," for a close-up look at the 2003 marathon.

Run farther, pay less – Disney Vacation Club Members can register for the 2004 Walt Disney World Marathon at a special discounted rate. DVC members can find discount details in the members-only section of the DVC Web site.


Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

The Blizzard Beach refurbishment, originally scheduled to end on March 2, has been extended to Sunday, March 16, 2003.

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

Toontown Barnstormer is closed for refurbishment March 2 – March 7.

The Theater in the China Pavilion closes for refurbishment March 26 – May 22. The Gallery, merchandise shop and restaurants will continue to operate.

Great Movie Ride is closed for refurbishment February 24 – April 13.


Park Events

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 7-9 and 14-16 – After-hours Annual Passholder event at Disney-MGM Studios. APs can ride Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

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.

May 15 through 18 – 5th Annual Celebration of Walt Disney Art Classics cruise and mini-convention aboard the Disney Wonder

May 16 - June 15 –Star Wars Weekends. Get more information in Brian Bennett's WDW Trip Planning Guide on Star Wars Weekends.

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 16-20, 2003 – Pin Trading Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder


Current Discounts & Promotions

Whatcha doing in April? MouseSavers.com is reporting some fabulous rates for last-minute travel on the Disney Cruise Line. If you can sail on April 12, you can try out the hot new 7-day Western Caribbean itinerary for just $799.

Prices are per adult, based on double occupancy, and the usual taxes apply. Only 50 cabins are available at this rate. If April 12 is a little too soon to travel, MouseSavers has a list of Disney Cruise Line Magical Rates, available for departures through January 2004.

Disney Club Spring Dream Maker Packages - MouseSavers.com is reporting that Disney Club members can receive an additional a $100 discount on Dream Maker packages, for check-in March 1 through 31.

Prices start at $428 for adults, $223 for juniors and $178 for kids staying in the same room. Book by March 28, using the discount code from MouseSavers.com.

The Disney's Atlanta Braves Spring Training Vacation package is available now for booking. A two-night package starts as low as $273 per person based on double adult occupancy at a select Disney value resort and is valid for travel most nights from Feb. 20 through March 27, 2003. Junior rate for this package is $184 per guest ages 10-17 and child rate is $151 per guest ages 3 to 9. Packages must be booked by March 25, 2003. Additional game tickets are available, as well as additional nights and other resorts at varying rates.

Included with the Atlanta Braves Spring Training package, you can also attend team workouts (earlier that same day) and any other general admission events taking place at the Disney's Wide World of Sports complex that day.

Going camping? MouseSavers.com is reporting special rates at Fort Wilderness.

  • Partial hook-up campsites $35
  • Full hook-up campsites $45
  • Cabins from $169

These rates are available for campsites April 27 - June 7, and for cabins April 27 - July 3. You must book by March 8, using the discount code found at MouseSavers.com.

Annual Passholders can receive 10% off the price of their lunch meal at selected Walt Disney World Resort hotel restaurants - and the discount is good for up to three guests. The offer is valid Monday - Friday. Call 407-WDW-Dine for locations and reservations.


Park Hours

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
3/3
3/4
3/5
3/6
3/7
3/8
 

MK 9a–8p
EF 9a–7p

EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–8:30p
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–8p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–7p
AK 9a–5p
BB Closed
TL 10a–5p
3/9
3/10
  • 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–8p
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 3/3

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 7p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Tuesday 3/4

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

 

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Wednesday 3/5

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Thursday 3/6

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Friday 3/7

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Saturday 3/8

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 7p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Sunday 3/9

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic! 7p

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade 4p
Monday 3/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7:15p

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.