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News and Views

Soarin' over... where, exactly? Epcot Guest Relations cast members have been told that a new “E-ticket attraction” will open in 2005. Disney will officially announce the new attraction later in the fall, but widespread speculation is that this will be a copy of “Soarin' Over California” ride from Disney's California Adventure park. Construction is slated to begin in August in the backstage area between the Imagination! Pavilion and The Land. While the online Disney community is pretty certain about the type of ride, nobody knows if Disney is going to produce a new film for the Florida version, or simply recycle the California footage.

Cows and beagles and mice, oh my! Many tourists are familiar with the famed Cow Parade, a public art exhibition that began in Chicago in 1999 and has become an international event. Corporations and individuals sponsor life-size cow sculptures, which are then painted and decorated by local artists and set on display around different host cities each summer.

With the popularity of the Cow Parade, several other versions of the event have cropped up, such as “Trail of the Painted Ponies,” “Potato Heads on Parade,” and the upcoming “Linus Blankets Saint Paul” exhibits.

Now the people who were responsible for scattering painted cows around Illinois and Snoopy sculptures around Minnesota have turned their attention to a mouse — Mickey Mouse, to be specific.

Starting this November, 76 six-foot polyurethane Mickey Mouse statues will appear at Walt Disney World as part of the “75 Years with Mickey” promotion. The sculptures will be decorated by celebrities such as Drew Carey and John Travolta.

R.I.P. Betsy – Betsy, a 6-year-old giraffe who roamed through Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari attraction, was struck and killed by lightning last Monday. Disney officials said that the thunderstorm came upon the park too quickly for animal handlers to move the animals indoors. Although the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction is protected with lightning rods, visitors to WDW last week said the storms were very intense, striking both Splash Mountain and the Monorail line. Betsy was the first animal to be killed by lightning at the park.

The Magic Kingdom prepares for PhilharMagic – Mission: Space is not the only new attraction vying for the spotlight. The Magic Kingdom is getting ready to unveil Mickey's PhilharMagic this October, when the 3-D film makes its debut.

As described by Disney, PhilharMagic “follows the adventures of Donald Duck as he pursues Mickey Mouse's sorcerer hat through a musical world of characters and scenes from several famous Disney animated films.”

The film will be shown on a 150-foot-wide seamless screen—the largest built for an attraction by Walt Disney Imagineering—that will wrap around the audience, and provide an immersive experience.

Florida residents save on Disney cruises – Disney Cruise Line is offering special savings for Florida residents on select cruise vacations for late summer and early fall dates. Florida resident rates start at $349 for three-night cruises, $399 for four-night cruises and $599 for seven-night cruises.

Special rates for Florida residents apply to most three-night itineraries departing between August 28 and October 2, most four-night itineraries departing between Augugst 31 and September 28 and seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries departing between August 30 and September 20.

Itinerary
Rates
Dates
3-Night $349 8/28, 9/11-10/2
4-Night $399 8/31, 9/7, 9/21, 9/28
7-Night $599 8/30-9/20

Rates are per person, based on double occupancy and subject to availability. Government taxes and fees are not included. At least one adult guest per stateroom must be a Florida resident. Proof of residency is required.

Disney's seven-night Caribbean cruise vacations depart every Saturday from Port Canaveral alternating between a western Caribbean itinerary (Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Castaway Cay) and an eastern Caribbean itinerary (St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Castaway Cay). Three- and four-night sailings depart every Thursday and Sunday, respectively, from Port Canaveral and call at Nassau, Grand Bahama Island and Castaway Cay.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Mickey's PhilharMagic is reportedly slated to open on October 8, with a soft opening in late September.
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress is now open for summer hours, most likely through mid-August.

Epcot

  • Mission:Space will have its soft opening on August 15, , with the official opening slated for October (reportedly October 9).
  • The Universe of Energy is undergoing an exterior refurbishment, apparently focusing on the fountain area out front. The attraction will not go down during the rehab. In addition, there's an unconfirmed rumor that Exxon/Mobil may be terminating their sponsorship next spring.

Disney Studios

  • Residential Street at the Disney-MGM Studios has been closed and is undergoing demolition to prepare the site for a new “E-ticket stunt-show attraction” believed to be an American version of the popular Moteurs… Action! stunt show from the Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris.

Animal Kingdom

  • Festival of the Lion King – An unconfirmed rumor has it that that this popular show at Animal Kingdom will be down from August 24 through September 19 for work on enclosing the open-air theater.

Resorts

  • Boardwalk Resort – Construction here is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – undergoes refurbishment beginning November 1.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – undergoes refurbishment beginning in late December.

Park Events

September

  • Night of Joy [September 5-6] – 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).
  • National Kidney Foundation of Florida 5K Fun Run/Walk Race (link) [September 6]
  • Disney's Pin Celebration at Epcot [September 19-21]
  • 22nd Annual World Airline Road Races (link) [September 24 - 27]
  • Tri-America Triathlon Series Finale (link) [September 27 & 28]

October

  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom [October 3, 5, 10, 14, 16, 19, 24, 26, 30 and 31]
  • Disney's 10K Classic (link)[October 12]
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival [October 18-November 16] – Included with park admission, sample wine and food from 25 countries
  • 999 Happy Haunts Ball at the Magic Kingdom [October 27, 28, and 29]

November

  • Pin Trading Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder [November 16-20]
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom [November 30, December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 19] – Order by phone at (407) W-DISNEY (934-7639)

December

  • Doll & Teddy Bear Weekend [December 7]

January

  • Disney's Health and Fitness Expo (link) [January 9 - 10, 2004]
  • FamilyFun Magazine Family Fun Run (link) [January 10]
  • Disney Marathon and Half-Marathon [January 11]
  • 2004 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival [April 16 through May 30]
  • Walt Disney World Inline Marathon (link) [May 2]

Current Discounts & Promotions

Florida residents save on Disney cruises

Disney Cruise Line is offering special savings for Florida residents on select cruise vacations for late summer and early fall dates. Florida resident rates start at $349 for three-night cruises, $399 for four-night cruises and $599 for seven-night cruises.

Special rates for Florida residents apply to most three-night itineraries departing between Aug. 28 and Oct. 2, most four-night itineraries departing between Aug. 31 and Sept. 28 and seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries departing between Aug. 30 and Sept. 20.

Itinerary
Rates
Dates
3-Night $349 8/28, 9/11-10/2
4-Night $399 8/31, 9/7, 9/21, 9/28
7-Night $599 8/30-9/20

Rates are per person, based on double occupancy and subject to availability. Government taxes and fees are not included. At least one adult guest per stateroom must be a Florida resident. Proof of residency is required.

Free 5-day Park Hopper for Active Military

Disney is offering a special for active duty military — a free five-day park hopper ticket, 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. See their official Web site for more information.

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.

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

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

  • 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

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
 
7/28
7/29
7/30
7/31
8/1
8/2
 

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-9:30p
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
8/3
8/4
8/5
8/6
8/7
8/8
8/9
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-7p
TL 9a-7p

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

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-7p
TL 9a-7p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
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-10p
EF 9a-10p
EW 10a-10p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-7p
TL 9a-7p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-7p
TL 9a-7p
8/10
8/11
  • 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-10p
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 7/28

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, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Tuesday 7/29

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, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Wednesday 7/30

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, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Thursday 7/31

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 8/1

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 8/2

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 8/3

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 8/4

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


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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.