Quantcast
MousePlanet.com


Go directly to: News & Views | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Park Events | Discounts/Promotions | Park Hours | Events/Entertainment Schedule


News and Views

New priorities for Priority Seating

Walt Disney World's Priority Seating program—the Disney version of restaurant reservations—has been in a state of upheaval this past week. Three different versions of a new “official” policy have been circulated around the Internet, causing confusion and concern among vacation planners.

The original version of the policy would have divided visitors into two tiers, with those who booked packages through the Walt Disney Travel Company and paid a deposit being allowed to make their Priority Seating requests six months in advance, while everyone else—Disney Vacation Club members, AAA package holders, visitors who only booked a Disney resort hotel room instead of a package, annual passholders, Florida residents—would have had to wait until 90 days before their trip, after all of the Travel Company visitors had three months to claim the most desirable seats and reservations.

Fortunately, this new idea was scrapped — quickly. Effective today, all visitors can make their reservations 90 days in advance for most restaurants. This new policy puts everyone on equal footing again; resort hotel guests won't have a better chance to get reservations at Cinderella's Royal Table than day trippers.

Some locations, listed below, have their own policies, and there has been no change to the reservation process for recrational activities.

Bistro de Paris 30 days in advance
Disney's Spirit of Aloha 2 years in advance
Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue 2 years in advance
Victoria & Albert's (Chef's Table) 180 days in advance
Candlelight Processional Dinner Package Check for posted dates
Mickey's Backyard Barbecue 90 days, when offered

Mission: Space, ready for launch

Walt Disney World annual passholders were invited to ride Mission: Space this weekend during a special AP-only preview. The ride has been operating for limited tests for the last month, and is scheduled for an official soft open (sneak preview) on Friday, August 15.

Now Disney has announced that Mission: Space will have a soft, soft opening. Starting Sunday, August 10, the ride operates during normal Epcot park hours.

At this rate, by the time this attraction has its official press event and grand opening celebration in the fall, there won't be anyone left who hasn't been on the ride.

The days keep getting shorter

August marks the end of the summer vacation season, and Walt Disney World will start cutting park hours begining Sunday, August 10.

Both water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) close an hour early at 6 p.m., from their 9 to 7 schedule, through Saturday, August 23. Their hours then drop again to a 10-6 schedule.

Animal Kingdom will start closing an hour earlier begining Saturday, August 16.

Disney-MGM Studios will move to a 9 to 8:30 schedule most days, starting Sunday, August 17.

Epcot will stick to its usual schedule, and the Magic Kingdom will close anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., depending on the day.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • The Swiss Family Treehouse will be closed for refurbishment Sunday, September 7 to Friday, October 24.
  • Big Thunder Mountain will be closed for refurbishment from Sunday, August 24 to Wednesday, November 19.
  • Mickey's PhilharMagic is reportedly slated to open on Thursday, 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 Friday, August 15 (with a soft, soft opening on Sunday, August 10), with the official opening slated for October (reportedly Thursday, 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

  • Magic of Disney Animation will be closed for refurbishment September 1, 2003 - October 31, 2003.
  • 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 2004

  • Disney's Health and Fitness Expo (link) [January 9 & 10]
  • FamilyFun Magazine Family Fun Run (link) [January 10]
  • Disney Marathon and Half-Marathon [January 11]

April 2004

  • Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival [April 16 – May 30]

May 2004

  • Walt Disney World Inline Marathon (link) [May 2]

Current Discounts & Promotions

Florida resident rates for WDW resort hotels

MouseSavers.com is reporting some great new Fall rates at select Disney resorts. These rates are for stays starting August 24 to October 1. Book using the code from the MouseSavers Web site. Some sample rates:

  • All Stars - $49 standard
  • Moderates - $79 standard, $89 preferred or king room
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge - $109 standard
  • Wilderness Lodge - $109 standard, $129 woods view, $260 concierge
  • Contemporary - $190 standard garden wing
  • Boardwalk/Beach Club/Yacht Club - $199 standard
  • Polynesian - $209 garden view

Great rates at the Swan and Dolphin

Are you planning a trip this fall? Check out these two offers from the Swan and Dolphin:

  • $99 per night, plus tax and resort fee, between August 28 and September 9. Rates include a free upgrade, and are subject to availability.
  • WDW Annual Passholders can book rooms as low as $139 per night, plus tax and resort fee, through the end of 2003, including a FREE upgrade! Rates include a free upgrade, and are subject to availability.

Get more details and the discount codes at MouseSavers.com.

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
 
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-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
8/12
8/13
8/14
8/15
8/16
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
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 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p
MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-10p
EW 10a-10p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p
MK 9a-9:30p
EF 9a-6p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p
8/17
8/18
  • 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-8:30p
AK 9a-5p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
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
Tuesday 8/5

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 8/6

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 8/7

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
Friday 8/8

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 8/9

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

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p
Sunday 8/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

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 8/11

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


Talk about this article and more, on the MousePad community forums.


(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.