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News and Views

You need to be fast just to register – It took just 12 days for 6,000 runners to register for next year's Walt Disney World Half Marathon. The event sold out in record time, less than two weeks after registration opened on March 1. The full Marathon is also filling up fast, with 6000 of the 16,000 slots already registered. If you are considering entering for this January 2004 event, don't put it off another minute. Register at the Disney Sports Web site.

Registration also closed for WDW Inline Marathon – Thanks to an overwhelming response from inline skaters across the United States and around the world, Disney Sports Attractions has announced that registration for the first-ever Disneys Inline Marathon has officially closed. With more than three weeks until the event, more than 1,500 participants from as far away as Hawaii and Denmark have registered to compete in the first inline marathon and half marathon at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida. Both inline races are scheduled for 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 30.

Registration is still available for the All Star Kids Classic scheduled for March 29 at 1 p.m. The event will feature three inline races for kids the 100-meter dash (ages 3-6), 400-meter dash (ages 7-9) and 1600-meter dash (ages 10-12). Registration is available online in advance of the event at (click on road races) or on race day from 10 a.m. to noon. The $5 entry fee is non-refundable.

Sleep in Africa, sail to the Caribbean Disney has just announced that the Animal Kingdom Lodge will be added as an option to 7-night land & sea vacation packages for guests sailing on the Disney Wonder. The hotel will be available for arrivals beginning August 21,2003, and replaces Disney's Wilderness Lodge as a package option.

Spring is busting out all over Epcot! The 10th annual celebration of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be held April 25 – June 8. This spectacular event will dazzle guests with millions of blooms, fantastic flowers, and favorite Disney character topiary.

Bring out your love beads for the Flower Power Concert Series. Showtimes at 5:45, 7:00 and 8:00 pm (subject to change without notice):

  • Davy Jones April 25-28
  • Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas April 29 – 30 & May 1 – 2
  • Felix Cavaliere's Rascals May 3 – 4
  • Classic Rock All-Stars (Rare Earth, Iron Butterfly, Sugarloaf All-Stars) May 5 – 8
  • Paul Revere & The Raiders May 9 – 12
  • Gary Lewis & The Playboys May 13 – 15
  • The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie May 16 – 19
  • The Grass Roots starring Rob Grill May 20 – 22
  • Herman's Hermits featuring Peter Noone May 23 – 26
  • Dave Mason May 27 – 29
  • Gary Puckett May 30 – 31 & June 1
  • The Buckinghams June 2 – 3
  • The Lovin' Spoonful June 4 – 5
  • Arlo Guthrie June 6 – 8

The Festival's favorite topiary couple — Mickey & Minnie — will welcome guests in a display featuring Love, Art, and Music — represented in a 30-foot artist's palette topiary and a floral musical staff. An all-new Disney's "DogGone" Maze for kids makes its debut. All this and more is included in regular Epcot admission. Don't forget to make your reservation for our scrumptious "Mother's Day Weekend" brunch on Saturday and Sunday, May 10 and 11. Space is limited. Call (407) WDW-DINE for priority seating.

Weekend Themes

  • Opening Weekend April 25, 26 & 27
  • Art in the Garden May 2, 3 & 4
  • Mother's Day (Featuring Mother's Day Brunch) May 9, 10 & 11
  • Fun for the Family May 16, 17 & 18
  • Memorial Day May 23, 24, 25 & 26
  • I Dig Bugs May 30 & 31, June 1
  • Closing Weekend June 6, 7 & 8

Take Mom to brunch at Epcot for her special day – The ever-popular "Mother's Day Weekend" Brunch is a highlight of the International Flower and Garden Festival. A sumptuous brunch is held among the fragrance of a million blooms.

  • When: Saturday, May 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, May 11, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Cost: Adults: $29.99 (Gratuity included/plus tax) Children: $12.99

Space is limited. Call (407) WDW-DINE to make your reservation.


Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

The Blizzard Beach water park refurbishment, originally scheduled to end on March 2, has been extended through Wednesday, April 9, 2003.

Main Street Plaza Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom will be closed for refurbishment through Sunday, April 6, 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.

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

Great Movie Ride at Disney-MGM Studio 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 17 St. Patrick's Day at Pleasure Island. 'Sham-rock' and roll at Pleasure Island , 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.

March 29 - All Star Kids Classic, a series of races for youths that takes place as part of Disney's inline skating weekend. Both the marathon as well as Kids Classic are sanctioned by USA Roller Sports, an organization that governs and sanctions skating events around the country.

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

The Radisson Resort Parkway, a MousePlanet sponsor hotel, is offering great rates to MousePlanet readers through December, 2003. Sample rates for selected dates and rooms are listed below. To take advantage of these special rates, make your reservations using the link found on this page.

Date

Courtyard View - Weekdays
(Sun - Thurs)

Courtyard View - Weekends
(Fri, Sat)
Pool View - Weekdays
(Sun - Thurs)
Pool View - Weekends
(Fri, Sat)
2/28/03 - 3/18/03
$81 (all days)
$91 (all days)
3/19/03 - 3/22/03
$97 (all days)
$107 (all days)
3/23/03 - 4/26/03
$81 (all days)
$91 (all days)
4/27/03 6/4/03
$63
$73
$73
$83
6/5/03 6/7/03
$109 (all days)
$119 (all days)
6/8/03 8/9/03
$73
$83
$83
$93
8/10/03 8/30/03
$63
$73
$73
$83
8/31/03 10/2/03
$59 (all days)
$69 (all days)
10/3/03 11/1/03
$73
$83
$83
$93
11/2/03 12/18/03
$63
$73
$73
$83
12/19/03 12/23/03
$83 (all days)
$93 (all days)
12/24/03 12/31/03
$99 (all days)
$109 (all days)

MouseSavers.com is reporting some great rates for travel to Walt Disney World:

  • New hotel discount codes are available for check-ins April 27 through July 3. Sample rates range from at $74 at the All Stars, to $420 for a main lodge concierge room at the Grand Floridian. Travel must be booked by April 26, using the discount codes found at MouseSavers. Note: This is a new discount code that is an even better deal than the one offered just a week ago.
  • Whatcha doing in April? Take advantage of 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 - 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 this special discount code.

  • The Disney's Atlanta Braves Spring Training Vacation package is now available. 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? Enjoy these 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 this special discount code.

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
 
3/17
3/18
3/19
3/20
3/21
3/22
 

MK 9a7p
EF 9a7p

EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p

MK 9a7p
EF 9a7p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
MK 9a7p
EF 9a7p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
MK 9a7p
EF 9a7p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
MK 9a7p
EF 9a7p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
MK 9a8p
EF 9a7p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
3/23
3/24
3/25
3/26
3/27
3/28
3/29
MK 9a7p
EF 9a6p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p

MK 9a8p
EF 9a6p

EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p

MK 9a7p
EF 9a6p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
MK 9a7p
EF 9a6p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
MK 9a7p
EF 9a6p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
MK 9a7p
EF 9a6p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
MK 9a8p
EF 9a6p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p
3/30
3/31
  • 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 9a7p
EF 9a6p
EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p

MK 9a8p
EF 9a6p

EW 11a9p
MGM 9a7:30p
AK 9a5p
BB Closed
TL 10a5p


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 3/17

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic! 7:30p

Mickey?s Jammin? Jungle Parade 4p
Tuesday 3/18

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
Wednesday 3/19

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
Thursday 3/20

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
Friday 3/21

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
Saturday 3/22

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 3/23

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 7:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic! 7:30p

Mickey?s Jammin? Jungle Parade 4p
Monday 3/24

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars & Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic! 7:30p

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.