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News and Views

Ears to the ground

…Disney-MGM Studios is getting a new Fastpass location, for the Al's Toy Barn character meet-and-greet. What next, bathroom Fastpasses?

…The new show at the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon is called Goofy's Country Dancing Jamboree, and is expected to soft-open to cast members and visitors on on June 26, 27 and 30. The show officially opens on Tuesday, July 1.

…Chip & Dale are vacating the Liberty Tree Tavern character dining experience as soon as the new show opens at the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon. They will be replaced with either Donald and Daisy, or Meeko, Suzy and Perla.

…WDW is getting a new fireworks show, tentatively called “Wishes,” and created by the same people who designed Disneyland's popular “Believe…” show. The new show should open in October, in time for a major fall press event covering Philharmagic and Mission: Space.

Last chance to book Disney's Fairytale Vacation Package – Because of what Disney calls a “huge demand,” the company has extended travel dates for its “seven nights for the price of a four-night package” offer. You must book this vacation offer by Sunday, June 29, for travel dates most nights between Friday, July 4 and November 20, 2003.

Disney's Fairytale Vacation Package includes:

  • A stay of seven nights at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel
  • An Ultimate Park Hopper ticket (featuring unlimited admission to the four Disney theme parks, two water parks, and Pleasure Island, DisneyQuest, and Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.)
  • A Mickey's PhilharMagic character print and pin, together in a frame

You can book the package by referencing booking code ZRFS at the Walt Disney World Web site (link), by calling Walt Disney World Resort at 407/W-DISNEY, or by contacting a local travel agent.

Ready to brave Walt Disney World for the Fourth of July? WDW has announced the schedule of activities for the Fourth of July holiday. If you're planning to brave the crowds that day, be sure to read Mike Scopa's very helpful column about what to expect, and take along this handy reference guide:

  • Magic Kingdom – a special edition of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks featuring patriotic music and pyro ringing the park is scheduled for 9 p.m.
  • Disney-MGM Studios – the Sorcery in the Sky fireworks show is scheduled for 9 p.m.
  • Epcot – a day-long patriotic celebration, including special shows and meet-and-greets with Disney characters in colonial costumes, to end with an enhanced Fourth of July version of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” at 10 p.m.
  • Downtown Disney Pleasure Island – three nights of patriotic-theme activities and decorations are scheduled for July 3, 4 and 5. Offerings include All-American theme bands on West End Stage and in The Jazz Company, and a special midnight fireworks salute following the national anthem. Special merchandise will be available. The patriotic celebration is included in regular Pleasure Island admission.

The curtain is up at Epcot – The first Epcot World Music Concert Series represents a wide variety of international styles that blend diverse cultures through the fusion of music. Upcoming acts scheduled at America Gardens Theatre are:

  • Richard Wood, July 1-13: Canadian Wood is a fiddling virtuoso and stunning showman who takes folkloric music like the Celtic jig and turns it modern.
  • Brother, July 15-27: This Australian rock band folds electrifying guitar techniques and riffs into astounding sounds sure to captivate World Showcase audiences.
  • Baka Beyond, July 29-August 10: Known as the original African Celtic crossover band, the group includes musicians from six countries in the Celtic fringes of Europe and the West Coast of Africa who blend beautiful harmonies and melodic rhythms.

Show times for the Epcot World Music Concert Series are daily at 5:45, 7:00 and 8:15 p.m., except Mondays when local acts perform.

You talkin' to me? Walt Disney World has been testing personal language translation headsets, and plans to take the program public beginning Monday, July 14. The headsets incorporate wireless radio frequency (RF) technology—the same that makes Pal Mickey talk, and Magical Moments pins light up—to provide synchronized narration in five languages.

Currently, more than one dozen attractions at Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney-MGM Studios support the translation units, which let visitors listen to the ride narration in their native language of French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, or Spanish. Future expansion plans include Disney's Animal Kingdom and more than 30 attractions property-wide by fall 2003.

Visitors can obtain the translation units at Guest Relations locations in each park at no charge, but must leave a $150 refundable deposit.

Chucky takes the Bucs back to Mickey's for training camp – Head coach Jon Gruden takes his Super Bowl champ Tampa Bay Buccaneers back to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex for pre-season training camp this summer.

The Bucs, who trained at Disney's 200-acre international sports complex for the first time in 2002, were the first NFL team to conduct training camp at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The team's 2003 training camp runs from Saturday, July 19, and the team workouts are free and open to the public.

Fans will have the opportunity to see Gruden (nicknamed “Chucky” for his resemblance to the doll from the movie Child's Play, from his days as coach of the Oakland Raiders) and Bucs star players, including Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, Keyshawn Johnson, and Brad Johnson when the team takes the field at Disney for “two-a-day” practices, which are tentatively scheduled for 8:35 to 10:45 a.m. and 2:45 to 4:45 p.m.

The team will be away from July 29 to August 3, with Tampa Bay opening its preseason game schedule against the New York Jets on Saturday, August 2 in the American Bowl in Tokyo, Japan.

The Bucs are expected to conclude training camp at Disney on Friday, August 15.

For more information, fans may call (407) 939-GAME (4263). Fans can also visit Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex Web site (link) or the official Buccaneers Web site (link).

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh will be closed for refurbishment until June 27. Pooh's Thotful Shop will be open during this refurbishment.


Park Events

Upcoming events

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 (934-7639).

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.

October 27, 28, and 29 – Magic Kingdom's “999 Happy Haunts Ball.”

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 (934-7639).

December 7, 2003 – Doll & Teddy Bear Weekend.

April 16 through May 30, 2004 – 2004 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.


Current Discounts & Promotions

Free 5-day Park Hopper for Active Military, as well as discounted companian tickets. Offer valid through December 19, 2003 and includes all active military personnel, including Coast Guard, as well as activated National Guard and Reservists.

Play 4 Days pass – Florida residents can purchase a new four-day ticket for just $109, plus tax. (That's almost 1/2 the price of a regular four-day park-hopper ticket) The ticket is valid for four admissions from now until September 30, 2003. These tickets are park-hoppers and the only block-out date is the Fourth of July.

Residents can purchase just one ticket per person, per day, so your out-of-town relatives must buy their own, regular-priced admission. Tickets are non-transferable, and you must show a valid ID each time. These tickets can be applied towards the cost of any Annual Passport, as long as you upgrade by October 31, 2003. (Your annual pass will expire one year from the date you first used your Play 4 Days Pass).

The Play 4 Days pass can be purchased at any WDW park ticket window, local AAA offices, Florida Disney Stores, by phone at (407) 939-4329 or on the WDW Web site (link).

Plan ahead and save a few bucks – The Walt Disney World Resort is encouraging visitors to buy their theme park tickets before they even leave home, by offering a slight discount on advance purchases. You can save as much as $22 per adult, per ticket with the 'Advance Purchase Savings' program.

You can also receive these Advance Purchase Savings with packages purchased through AAA.

Multi-Day Tickets
Gate Prices
Advance Purchase Price
Savings
4-Day Park Hopper: Adults
$208
$192
$16
Children ages 3 - 9
$167
$152
$15
5-Day Park Hopper: Adults
$239
$217
$22
Children ages 3 - 9
$192
$172
$20
5-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$269
$247
$22
Children ages 3 - 9
$216
$197
$19
6-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$299
$277
$22
Children ages 3 - 9
$240
$222
$18
7-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$329
$307
$22
Children ages 3 - 9
$264
$247
$17

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)
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 $109 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 (939-3463) for locations and reservations.


Park Hours

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
6/23
6/24
6/25
6/26
6/27
6/28
 

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

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-11p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
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
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
6/29
6/30
7/1
7/2
7/3
7/4
7/5
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

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

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
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
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-12a
EF 9a-10p
EW 10a-10p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
7/6
7/7
  • 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-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 6/23

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Tuesday 6/24

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Wednesday 6/25

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Thursday 6/26

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Friday 6/27

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Saturday 6/28

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Sunday 6/29

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Monday 6/30

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 10p

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.