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News and Views

Dining and Candlelight (Processional)

You can now make your reservations for the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package. The package is available at 12 Epcot restaurants, broken into three tiers costing $28.99, $34.99, and $41.99. (The children's meal at all locations costs $10.99.) The price will get you dinner at one of the 12 restaurants and reserved seating for the Processional show. In the past, it also got you a discount shopping coupon valid for the night of your package, but we have not received information on whether or not that will be included this year.

The dates of the Candlelight Processional for 2003 are Friday, November 28 through Tuesday, December 30, except Sunday, December 7. Narrators have not yet been announced. Call 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463) for more information and reservations.

Yum!

The International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot will feature many new experiences this fall. Among the new festival booths and events are “Eat Your Colors,” a nutritional experience for kids and their parents; “Piedmont, Italy: The Land of Chocolate” (need I say more?); “From the Grove to the Glass,” presented by the Florida Citrus Growers; “Great Beers of the World” (again, need I say more?); and even more.

In addition, the schedule for the “Eat to the Beat” concert series during the Festival has been announced:

  • October 18 - 22 – Sister Sledge
  • October 23 - 27 – The Spinners
  • October 28 - November 1 – Three Dog Night
  • November 2 - 6 – The 5th Dimension
  • November 7 - 11 – Chic featuring Nile Rodgers
  • November 12 - 16 – Chubby Checker & the Wildcats

Another home for Reedy Creek's Bravest

The fourth fire station for the Reedy Creek Improvement District's emergency services department is now located near the Wyndham Palace on East Buena Vista Boulevard, located across from Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. It features a red, white and blue color scheme, and such themed elements as an oversized fireman's helmet and hydrant. It also has a giant fire hose that winds around the building and ends in a fountain in a giant “puddle.” The design reflects the country's patriotic support of firefighters and police after the September 11 attacks. Disney's second fire rescue station, which is located further west on Buena Vista Boulevard near Epcot Resorts Boulevard, uses oversized black-and-white Dalmatian spots.

Watch your feet!

We are now seeing reports that Disney is requiring all riders on Kali River Rapids to wear shoes for “health reasons” during the ride. If you don't want to soak your sneakers or other sensitive footwear, you might want to take a pair of water shoes or waterproof sandals with you to Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Big Thunder Mountain– through Saturday, November 22.
  • The Swiss Family Treehouse – Sunday, September 7 to Friday, October 24.
  • Mickey's PhilharMagic is slated to open on Wednesday, October 8. An Annual Passholder preview will be held on September 20-21, and a soft opening is expected on September 30.
  • Wishes: a Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, the new 12-minute fireworks show for the Magic Kingdom, is expected to debut on October 8.
  • The Fantasyland Character Festival Meet and Greet location has been temporarily closed. There is currently no date set for reopening.

Epcot

  • Mission:Space is now in soft opening status, with the official Grand Opening slated for Thursday, October 9. Epcot will close to the public at 3:00pm on that day.
  • We've heard that the Eiffel Tower at the France pavilion in World Showcase has been removed for repair and repainting. It is expected to return to its usual spot by December.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Magic of Disney Animation – September 15 to November 16.
  • 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.
  • Rock 'N' Roller Coaster – September 7 - September 14 for brake replacements and other rehab work.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will receive a lot of rehab work in September—reportedly on the ride control system and cable replacements— but will only be closed from September 22 through 26. One side of the tower will be closed from September 18 to 21. Both sides will be down from September 22 to 26, and the Tower opens again running one side only from September 27 to November 17. Capacity will be decreased during the rehab, but will be offset by smaller off-season crowds smaller crowds.
  • Sets from the upcoming Haunted Mansion movie are scheduled to open in the old Backstage Pass soundstage on October 6.
  • The Brown Derby Restaurant – September 14 to 20 for rehab.

Animal Kingdom

  • Festival of the Lion King – This popular show at Animal Kingdom is closed through September 19 for work on enclosing the open-air theater.

Resorts

  • Pop Century Resort – This resort will officially open on December 14.
  • Port Orleans Resort - A two-year extensive rehab of this resort's rooms is ongoing. For Phase I, French Quarter closed May 4, 2003. Phase II will involve Riverside going down in sections. We have not yet heard a date for completion of Phase I.
  • Polynesian Resort - This resort is seeting the longhouses refurbished one by one. Each longhouse under rehab is walled off and isolated during its rehab. There are only a couple of longhouses remaining. Hawaii is currently in rehab thru October 17, 2003. Concierge has been moved to Tahiti during this period. Tonga is scheduled for rehab September 14-December 20, 2003. Niue is the only other longhouse currently scheduled to undergo rehab, and is tentatively scheduled for January 18 - May 2, 2004. Rarotonga has not received a rehab yet, but is not on the current schedule.
  • Shades of Green - Major construction and rehab is ongoing at this military-run resort. It is currently expected to reopen in March, 2004.
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa (a Disney Vacation Club resort) has a tentative grand opening date of May 1, 2004.

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 to November 16] – Included with park admission, sample wine and food from 25 countries (link)
  • 999 Happy Haunts Ball at the Magic Kingdom [October 27, 28, and 29]

November

  • Festival of the Masters [November 7-9] - 150 artists and their creations on display at Downtown Disney's West Side
  • ABC Super Soap Weekend at the Disney-MGM Studios [November 8-9]
  • Pin Trading Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder [November 16-20]
  • Festival of the Seasons [November 28-December 24] – at Epcot featuring lighting displays, fun window displays, and more.
  • Holidays Around the World at Epcot [November 28-December 30] – lets you celebrate holidays in the style of the World Showcase countries
  • Candlelight Processional [November 28-December 30, except December 7] – features a narrator telling the Biblical Christmas story, backed by an orchestra and a large Cast Member choir. It will be performed three times per night at the America Gardens Theater in Epcot.
  • 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]
  • Disney's Pop Century Resort opens [December 14]

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]
  • Annual Passholders' Cruise (4 nights) on Disney Magic [January 25, 2004]

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

Special Lion King offer for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders

Pre-order The Lion King Platinum Edition DVD or VHS at the Walt Disney World Resort through Thursday, September 20, and receive free shipping and two free gifts: a limited edition plush Simba, and a limited edition pin. The Lion King Platinum Edition DVD will include new scenes and a new song by Elton John, and can be pre-ordered at:

  • Town Square Expo Hall at Magic Kingdom
  • Pin Central at Epcot
  • The Sorcerer's Hat at Disney-MGM Studios
  • Island Mercantile at Animal Kingdom
  • Disney's Pin Traders at Downtown Disney Marketplace

Annual Passholder and Florida Resident Discounts Announced

Mousesavers.com has published information on discount rates for Annual Passholders and Florida Residents on room-only rates. AP rates are valid for check-ins from Thursday, October 2 through Monday, November 24, and Friday, November 28 through Friday, December 26. Resident rates are mostly the same dates, but start on Sunday, November 2 instead of October 2. The rates appear to be approximately 30 to 45 percent off regular rack rates. Availability may be limited, so make those calls now!

Winter Dream Maker Package

MouseSavers.com has the details on specially discounted packages. These rates are available for check-in most nights from Monday, November 10, 2003, through Sunday, February 22, 2004. There are many of rules and restrictions; get complete details on the MouseSavers Web site.

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 Thursday, August 28 and Tuesday, 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.

Cruise discounts

MouseSavers maintains a Magical Rates list, updated with the lowest fares each week. Current specials on three-night cruises start at just $379 per person.

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 August 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.

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 half the price of a regular four-day park-hopper ticket. The ticket is valid for four admissions from now until Tuesday, September 30. 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 nontransferable, 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 Friday, October 31. (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

Annual Passholders

Receive 10 percent off the price of a lunch meal at select Walt Disney World Resort hotel restaurants for the passholder and up to three guests. The offer is valid Mondays through Fridays. Call 1-407-WDW-DINE (939-3463) for locations and reservations.


Park Hours

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
9/1
9/2
9/3
9/4
9/5
9/6
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 9/1

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 9/2

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 9/3

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 9/4

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8:30

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 9/5

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 9/6

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 9/7

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 9/8

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p

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.