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News and Views

Meeting Nemo – Beginning Friday, May 30, the Magic Kingdom Park hosts two enhancements to promote Disney and Pixar's newest movie, Finding Nemo:

  • A "Meet and Greet" at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) – Guests can meet Nemo and some "Seaweed Friends" at Westgate near the Ferryboat landing. Sets will be for 4 hours in the morning between 8:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
  • A "Pre-Parade" float will travel the parade route before the 3:00 p.m. Share a Dream Come True Parade. Nemo and his "Seaweed Friends" will be stationed after the Grand Marshal unit before the parade.

African elephant successfully delivers calf at Disney's Animal Kingdom – Amid great anticipation, the Animal Care team at the Walt Disney World Resort welcomed the first African elephant calf to be born at Disney's Animal Kingdom on Thursday, May 22 at 10:05 p.m.

The first-time mother was in labor on and off for four hours before giving birth to the 296-pound calf, which was conceived through artificial insemination on August 25, 2001. This is the fourth surviving African elephant calf in North America to have resulted from an artificial-insemination procedure.

Both the calf and the mother are doing fine so far according to veterinarians and elephant managers, who are cautiously optimistic about the calf's likelihood for survival. Guest will eventually be able to monitor the calf's progress on camera monitors at Rafiki's Planet Watch at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Kissimmee: Operation Vagrant - Kissimmee police has raised the ire of residents and visitors alike with "Operation Vagrant," its new campaign in which undercover officers dress like the homeless — complete with fake teeth, tattered clothes and shopping carts — and radio ahead to other officers who hand tickets to speeders and lawbreakers. Not wanting to deceive motorists, these cops even carried signs warning drivers that a sheriff's traffic sting was going on. Next time you see a bum on International Drive, keep your quarters in your pocket; you might need it to pay for your speeding ticket.

Better than your uncle's vacation slides – The Travel Channel is showing its series on theme parks this week:

  • Thursday, May29: Theme Park Road Trip, part 1 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 5: Theme Park Road Trip, part 2, at 7:00 p.m.

Consumer Reports releases amusement park ratings – No surprise for Walt Disney World fans, the June 2003 issue of Consumer Reports magazine ranked Epcot as the park with the highest overall customer satisfaction rating (based on a survey of 2500 people for factors such as value, rides, shows, staff, souvenirs and crowds). The other WDW parks are close behind, with Disney Studios and Magic Kingdom ranking second and third respectively. Disney's Animal Kingdom ranked seventh, but still managed to pull ahead of both Disneyland. While the information presented in the article may not be new for MousePlanet readers, the comparison against other major U.S. parks is worth purchasing the issue.

Revenge of the Vivendi – Financially stressed Vivendi recently announced "Revenge of the Mummy," a new ride-through attraction being developed for both of its Florida and Hollywood Universal Studios parks. Even though Vivendi has already announced its desire to sell off its parks, it hopes the $80 million price tag will keep the parks competitive with Disney parks, which are busy constructing their own ambitious attractions, including Mission: Space in Epcot, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure.


The artist conception, of the Revenge of the Mummy attraction at the Universal Studios parks on both U.S. coasts, evokes the sense of mystery and unknown thrills. This ambitious attraction is expected to finish in Spring 2004. PRNewsfoto.

"This really is the latest evolution for the entire ride industry," said Scott Trowbridge, vice president of design and creative development for Universal Parks & Resorts. "The 'Revenge Of The Mummy' ride is the next threshold attraction in our industry — there is no other ride like it anywhere."

Billed as "psychological thrill ride," the attraction will hurtle passengers through Egyptian sets, chambers, passageways and tombs in vehicles that will move both backward and forward. During the ride, which will last about five minutes, they'll pass through a "ceiling of flame" hovering inches overhead and encounter a skeleton warrior that will leap onto their vehicles.

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

The Theater in Epcot's China Pavilion, which was closed for refurbishment March 26 to May 22, has opened with a new movie about China. The gallery, merchandise shop and restaurants continue to operate.

Fantasmic – The steamboat is back in show at Fantasmic! in Disney Studios park.

Great Movie Ride at Disney-MGM Studio closed for refurbishment on February 24. The ride was originally scheduled to return on April 13, then the closure was extended to June 29. It has apparently been pushed forward again, to reopen on June 7 or June 9.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh will be closed for refurbishment April 25, 2003 - June 27, 2003. Pooh's Thotful Shop will be open during this refurbishment.

The Theater in Epcot's Canada Pavilion will be closed June 9-June 13.


Park Events

Upcoming events

April 25 through June 8 - 10th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Also see the May 19 Park Update: WDW column for details.

May 16 - June 15 - Star Wars Weekends. Also see the May 19 Park Update: WDW column for details.

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 5-6, 2003 - Night of Joy. An evening of Contemporary Christian Music at Magic Kingdom. $35.95 for one night (all ages) or $57.95 for both nights. Buy tickets online or call (407) W-Disney.

September 19-21, 2003 - Disney's Pin Celebration at Epcot.

October 3, 5, 10, 14, 16, 19, 24, 26, 30 and 31 - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom.

October 18-November 16, 2003 - Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Included with park admission, sample wine and food from 25 countries.

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

November 30, December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 19 - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom. Order by phone at (407) W-DISNEY.


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
(S - Th)

Courtyard View
Weekends
(F, Sa)
Pool View
Weekdays
(S - Th)
Pool View
Weekends
(F, Sa)
4/27 - 6/4
$63
$73
$73
$83
6/5 - 6/7
$109 (all days)
$119 (all days)
6/8 - 8/9
$73
$83
$83
$93
8/10 - 8/30
$63
$73
$73
$83
8/31 - 10/2
$59 (all days)
$69 (all days)
10/3 - 11/1
$73
$83
$83
$93
11/2 - 12/18
$63
$73
$73
$83
12/19 - 12/23
$83 (all days)
$93 (all days)
12/24 - 12/31
$99 (all days)
$109 (all days)

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

  • New Fairytale Vacation Packages can mean savings of 40% or more when you visit Walt Disney World. Read all about this amazing new offer at MouseSavers.com.
  • Florida residents can stay on property for as little as $59 at the All Stars, $74 at moderate resorts, and $124 at Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge. These rates are valid for arrivals between April 27 and July 3, 2003.
  • Disney's Visa card holders can purchase specially priced Dream Maker packages for check-ins most nights from May 26 to August 3. You do not need to use your Disney Visa to book Disney Visa Summer packages, but you must provide your account number to qualify.
  • Florida residents can buy a “Play 4 Days” Pass for just $116 per person. The park hopper pass is good for any four days between April 1 through September 30, 2003. (July 4 is the only day excluded)
  • Cruise Deals – MouseSavers has a list of Disney Cruise Line Magical Rates, available for departures through January 2004, and early-booking discounts for Fall 2003 itineraries.

If you are itching to break in your new Disney Visa card, you can receive a $50 onboard credit when you book a Disney Cruise Line vacation and pay with your Disney Visa. The offer is good for sailings through the end of this year. When you charge your cruise to your Disney Visa, you pay no interest for six months.

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 through Friday. Call 407-WDW-DINE for locations and reservations.


Park Hours

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
5/26
5/27
5/28
5/29
5/30
5/31
 

MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-9:30p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
6/1
6/2
6/3
6/4
6/5
6/6
6/7
MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-9:30p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-9:30p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-7p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
6/8
6/9
  • 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-8p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 5/26

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

 

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Tuesday 5/27

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

 

 

Illuminations! 9p

 

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Wednesday 5/28

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 8:45p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 9:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Thursday 5/29

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Friday 5/30

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Saturday 5/31

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 8:45p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 9:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Sunday 6/1

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

 

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Monday 6/2

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 9:45p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

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.