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News and Views

La Nouba debuts new price tiering

Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba has introduced a new tiered pricing scheme. Tickets are broken into three categories:

  • Category 1, for seats in Section 103 and the front portions of Sections 203, 204, and 205, sell for $82 for age 10 and up and $49 for children 3-9.
  • Category 2, which is most of the rest of the theater, sell for $72 for age 10 and up and $44 for children 3-9.
  • Category 3, only available through the box office, are in the very outside seats of the upper level in Sections 201 and 207 and the outside of the last couple of rows in Sections 202 and 206, and sell for $59 for ages 10 and up, and $39 for children 3-9.


Mission: Space Mickey and Goofy work the crowd. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Coming attractions

At a recent seminar for business writers, WDW Resort President Al Weiss confirmed that the 2,000-person media event this week will include new attraction announcements. Most likely to be announced, based on visual and anecdotal information, are:

  • A Florida version of Soarin' Over California from Disney's California Adventure park, to be located between The Land and Imagination!
  • A version of Walt Disney Studios Paris' “Moteurs… Action!” automobile stunt show, to be located in the former Residential Street area in the Disney-MGM Studios
  • Stitch Escape!, to replace the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter
  • The 2004 debut of Haunted Mansion Holiday.

At the same press conference, when asked about new parks, Weiss said that while Disney has approval to build up to seven parks on the property, a fifth park in Florida will not be planned until the first four parks are filled to capacity. On the subject of international expansion, he mentioned South America and Korea as possible candidates.


The stage has gone up for this week's big press event. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Broggie engine to be rededicated

Michael Broggie, Roger Broggie, Jr., and other members of the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society will be at Walt Disney World on Tuesday, October 21 for the rededication of the brass and green Roger E. Broggie steam locomotive on the Walt Disney World Railroad. Roger Broggie, Sr., who died in 1991, built the Carolwood Pacific Railroad in Walt Disney's backyard in 1949, and became the first Imagineer. He found and purchased the four steam engines in use at Walt Disney World in Mexico for $800 apiece and oversaw the rehab work in Tampa as they were prepared for the 1971 opening of the Resort. The younger Broggies will give a presentation in the Walt Disney Story Theater about their childhood, their father, and Walt Disney.

Woman who had heart attack on Hulk coaster dies

The 34-year-old mother of two from Jensen Beach, Florida, who had a heart attack on the Hulk coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure on Tuesday, September 23, never regained consciousness and was removed from life support on Saturday, September 27. The ride reopened on Thursday, September 25.

Has Anybody Seen This Moron?

In a scene vaguely reminiscent of a fatality a couple years ago, a park guest again exited a Splash Mountain log early. Our own Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix had quite the surprise when she found herself passing a woman standing on the side of the canal, just before the first lift, during a ride on Splash Sunday morning.

When asked what she was doing, the woman responded that she couldn't do the drop and was going to take a picture of her party as they went down the big drop (which is visible from that point).

Adrienne's log continued on its way, and the rest is pieced together from obvservation and a conversation with a security CM.

Apparently the woman got her desired photo and then began climbing the stairs next to the lift to get to an emergency exit at the top. At this point the woman became visible on a camera and the ride was immediately put into an e-stop.

A cast member could then be heard over the PA telling the woman to remain where she was, then telling her to not go into the building. And finally, telling her to come back out of the building. These warnings went unheeded, and according to the security CM, she made it through the building out another exit, accross the train tracks, and then they lost track of her.

Obviously, just about the stupidest thing a guest can do it exit a ride vehicle early, without assistance. Two years ago, a guest was killed on Splash Mountain when he climbed out of his log, fell into the water and was hit by the next log.

If guests insist on doing stupid stuff like this, the Disney lawyers can hardly be blamed for the sometimes too-far pursuit of safety. If this keeps happening on Splash, we wouldn't be suprised if they eventually belt you in.

However, there is also no good reason for there to be a portion of the ride out of camera range.

Ears to the ground

…Jetsgo (link) begins non-stop service from Montreal's Dorval International Airport to Orlando Sanford airport on November 1.

…Pal Mickey is a bit more expensive now. A recent price increase brings the tab for one of the plush park guides to $60, including tax.

…The rehab of the Animation tour attraction will include the removal of the Return to Neverland film featuring Robin Williams and Walter Cronkite, the addition of a new live introduction with an animator interacting with Mushu (lifted from the other, more recent Animation attractions in other Disney parks), and a new opportunity at the end of the tour to take a lesson in drawing a Disney character.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Big Thunder Mountain is scheduled to be closed for refurbishment through Saturday, November 22.
  • The Swiss Family Treehouse is closed for refurbishment through Friday, October 24.
  • Mickey's PhilharMagic is currently doing hit-or-miss sneak previews, and may not have time for a soft open before the official grand opening on Wednesday, October 8.
  • Wishes: a Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, the new fireworks show for the Magic Kingdom, debuts to the press on Wednesday, October 8, and premieres to the general public on Thursday, October 9 at 9:00 p.m. The final showing of Fantasy in the Sky will be Monday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m.
  • The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter closes for good on October 12. It then undergoes a major rehab and reopen in mid- to late-2004 as Stitch Escape!

Epcot

  • Mission:Space is now in soft opening status, with the official Grand Opening slated for Thursday, October 9. Epcot closes to the public at 3:00pm on that day.


A large construction crane behind Epcot's The Land. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Magic of Disney Animation is closed for refurbishment through November 23.
  • 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.
  • Due to the loss of Residential Street, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights will not be presented this holiday season. It is expected to return in some form for 2004.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is receiving a lot of rehab work through November, reportedly on the ride control system and cable replacements. The Tower opens again running one side only through Monday, November 17. Capacity will be decreased during the rehab, but should be offset by smaller off-season crowds.
  • Sets from the upcoming Haunted Mansion movie are scheduled to open in the old Backstage Pass soundstage on October 6.

Animal Kingdom

  • No known closures at this time.

Resorts

  • Boardwalk Resort - The Keister Coaster slide is closed through October 29 for refurbishment. During this time, the 190,000 gallon Luna Park pool will remain open, and guests will also have the option of using the Stormalong Bay pool complex at the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.
  • Pop Century Resort - This resort officially opens 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 seeing 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 October 26.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – undergoes refurbishment beginning in late December.

Elsewhere

  • The All Star Cafe at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex is now closed Monday-Wednesday. It is open Thursday-Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Park Events

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 – Included with park admission, sample wine and food from 25 countries (link). October 18 to November 16.


Booths for the Food & Wine Festival have appeared in Epcot. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

  • The Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort will feature many of the world's top golfers, including Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Scott Hoch, Lee Janzen, European Ryder Cup captain Bernhard Langer, PGA champion Shaun Micheel, 2003 Hall of Fame inductee Nick Price and Scott Verplank. Tiger Woods is also expected, though he has not formally committed yet. The tournament will take place on the Magnolia and Palm courses. October 23 to 26.
  • 999 Happy Haunts Ball at the Magic Kingdom. October 27, 28, and 29.

November

  • Festival of the Masters - 150 artists and their creations on display at Downtown Disney's West Side. November 7 to 9.
  • ABC Super Soap Weekend at the Disney-MGM Studios. November 8 and 9.
  • Pin Trading Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. November 16-20.
  • Festival of the Seasons at Epcot featuring lighting displays, fun window displays, and more. November 28 to December 24.
  • Holidays Around the World at Epcot lets you celebrate holidays in the style of the World Showcase countries. November 28 to December 30.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom – Order by phone at (407) W-DISNEY (934-7639). November 30, December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 19.

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.

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

New Disney Visa Dream Maker Package - Kids Stay Free!

Mousesavers.com reports that there is a new Disney's Visa “Kids Stay and Play Free” Package, available most nights 1/4/04-6/12/04, where when you buy a full-price Walt Disney World Dream Maker Package with your Disney?s Visa card, for each adult on the package, one child (3-9) gets a free Ultimate Park Hopper pass for the length of stay. 4-night minimum. Plus you receive $100 in Disney Dollars per package at check-in!

Winter Dream Maker Package

Mousesavers.com is also reporting that there is a special Disney Visa Winter Dream Maker package starting at $99 per adult per night. The package includes a room at a Disney Value resort and an Ultimate Park Hopper ticket. For example, you can save about $230 on a three-night stay for two adults at the All-Star Movies resort, specially priced at $661 (including taxes). The package also includes a $50 bonus in Disney Dollars. Dates are November 2 through December 25, with blackout dates of November 25 to 27, and you must book by October 14. To book this package, contact a Disney Specialist travel agent and ask for booking code ZXBL for a Value resort or ZXBM for Moderate, Deluxe or Home-Away-From-Home resorts.

Free continental breakfast at Celebration Hotel through MouseSavers

Mousesavers.com has an exclusive offer (link) of a free daily continental breakfast for two at the Celebration Hotel, along with special rates, for stays from now through December 31. Reservations must be booked by October 15.

Great rates at the Swan and Dolphin

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

  • 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.

Military Salute hotel and cruise discounts available

Active U.S. Military personnel or spouses are also eligible for a 40% savings per night (based on the non-discounted price of the same room) at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels, and special rates on Disney Cruise Line sailings. This offer is available most nights through December 19, 2003 at Walt Disney World, and for most sailings through December 18 on the Disney Cruise Line. Hotel rooms and staterooms are limited at this special rate.

For more information, call (407) 939-7424 for Walt Disney World, and (800) 951-2659 for the Disney Cruise Line. You must be 18 or older to call these numbers.

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.

Annual Passholder and Florida resident rates available

WDW Annual Passholder and Florida resident rates are available at select Walt Disney World resorts for check-ins October 2 through November 24, and November 28 through December 26. Discounts range from approximately 30-45% off regular rack rates.

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% 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 Mondays through Fridays. Call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) for locations and reservations.


Park Hours

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
10/6
10/7
10/8
10/9
10/10
10/11
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/12
10/13
  • 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-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-7:30p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-5p
TL 10a-5p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 10/6

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks 8p (Final performance of this show)

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 10/7

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 10/8

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 10/9

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p (Public premiere of new show)

 

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p, 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 10/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 10/11

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 10/12

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 10/13

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

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.