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News and Views

MousePlanet columnist Mike Scopa is taking a well-deserved vacation at Walt Disney World, and he checks in with these updates:

Osborne lights out – Residential Street, an area in Disney-MGM Studios that houses facades of the homes used in television shows, is being razed to construct a new attraction, said to be opening in 2004. The rumors circulating include a Hollywood car stunt-type of show - probably an Americanized version of the Moteurs, Action! Stunt Show Spectacular from the Walt Disney Studios is Paris.

For now, Residential Street is off-limits for the Backstage Tours. That might not be a great loss, but Residential Street is far more famous as the setting for the annual Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. An annual tradition that goes back eight years, many families time their visits to WDW for the holidays to make sure to take in the beautiful sparkling twinkles of the Osborne Lights.

There was a cast event over the weekend to mark the closing of Residential Street. The area is now fully walled off, and demolition has begun on the sets. The tram tour is now taking a new route going behind the animation buildings, and some of the props have been moved to this area. It looks certain that there will be no Osborne lights this year.

Mission: Space update – Although the official testing-preview phase seems to be over for the new Mission: Space attraction in Epcot's Future World, word is trickling out that Disney is still selecting some Epcot park visitors to go on a test ride as they test the various tweaks to the attraction. If you are planning on visiting Epcot this summer, make sure to walk by Mission: Space to see if you can go on a test run.

Once the attraction is up and running, the model planets at the entrance will be spinning — however during the tweaking period, visitors are being selected to ride even when the planets are not spinning. Read: Don't let the planets' lack of movement fool you; it may be running, anyway.

Visitors who have tested out Mission: Space have been writing to Mike about the ill effects they experience after the ride. “The problem is with the spinning motion of the centrifuge, not the G-forces” Mike explained. Mike offers the following tips, which are now being shared by some Mission: Space cast members:

Do not eat for an hour before going on the ride, and look straight ahead during the ride.

Philharmagic almost ready – The external area for Mickey's Philharmagic Orchestra at the Magic Kingdom looks like it's right on schedule, and looks really close to finishing. There is a construction screen in the front, but it looks like it can be easily taken down in half an hour once they are ready to open.

Pleasure Island – The new Florida Indoor Clean Air Act is now in effect, requiring all enclosed indoor workplaces—including resort lobbies, convention spaces, common areas, dining locations and enclosed backstage areas—to be designated as non-smoking.

Although most Walt Disney World Resort locations implemented a smoke-free policy several years ago, the clubs at Downtown Disney - Pleasure Island, resort lounges and the Atlantic Dance Club at Disney's BoardWalk Resort, have all been designated as non-smoking. The Walt Disney World Resort still offers designated smoking-optional hotel rooms.

Disney Cruise Line announces new additions to the seven-night land and sea package – Beginning in 2004, passengers who book a seven-night land and sea package are also eligible for components of Disney's Dream Maker Package.

  • Accommodations at a select Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
  • Two pins and two lanyards per room
  • Choice Feature (one choice per room):
    • Miniature Golf (one per person)
    • Leave A Legacy Tile (up to two images; one per room)
    • A specially designed Disney character themed poster
    • $25 worth of dining at the Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney West Side (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to closing time; merchandise and alcoholic beverages not included)

Current Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

None scheduled


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.

January 11, 2004 – Disney Marathon and Half-Marathon.

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 companion 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 expires 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.
  • 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 for locations and reservations.


Park Hours

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
7/7
7/8
7/9
7/10
7/11
7/12
 

MK 9a-11p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
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 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-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-10p
EW 10a-10p
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
7/13
7/14
7/15
7/16
7/17
7/18
7/19
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-7p
TL 9a-7p

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

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-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-10p
EW 10a-10p
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
7/20
7/21
  • 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-7p
TL 9a-7p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 7/7

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
Tuesday 7/8

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Wednesday 7/9

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 7/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Friday 7/11

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 7/12

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
Sunday 7/13

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 9p, 11p

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 7/14

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


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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.