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News and Views

So long, Skippy

PHOTO: Transport chamber.
One last look at the transport chamber at ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter before closing. MousePlanet photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter at the Magic Kingdom has now closed for good, beginning its long rehab into “Stitch's Great Escape.” The new show is expected to debut next October. In the meantime, Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress and Timekeeper are now open during the Alien rehab.

Keep checking those Magic Kingdom schedules online

Disney has been extending the scheduled hours for the Magic Kingdom on-the-fly over the last week. On at least three occasions, the park has been closing an hour or more after the time printed in the weekly Times Guide, and adding additional fireworks or performances of SpectroMagic. For the latest park hours, check out the Disney World Web site (link), or check for updated Times Guides at your resort or theme park of choice.

Construction continues at Studios

 


Cranes continue work the change the facades of New York Street for its transformation into Big City Street. MousePlanet photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The conversion of New York Street to Big City Street continues, while work on the Moteurs... Action! stunt show copy proceeds at a good clip, as well.

PHOTO: Moteurs site.
The new restroom building (seen in the photo as the grey building on the foreground. The stadium with theater-style seating for Guests is slightly visible in the background. MousePlanet photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Get those Halloween tickets fast!

The October 31 Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party has sold out. Other dates may sell out as well—especially the weekend dates, plus October 30 and November 1.

Searching for a Yeti at Animal Kingdom


The footing for the Asia side of the new bridge from Dinoland nears completion. MousePlanet photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Site prep work is still ongoing for Expedition Everest, with the base of the new bridge ready on the Asia side, and ground work continuing in preparation for the beginning of vertical construction.

Everest construction
Prep work continues for the beginning of vertical construction for Expedition: Everest. MousePlanet photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

Made-for-TV IRL event at Epcot on October 25

The annual Indy Racing League Championship Celebration will be held at World Showplace at Epcot on October 25. The invitation-only event will air at a later date on ESPN.

IRL drivers are expected to participate in autograph sessions, parades and other special activities across Walt Disney World Resort in the days leading up to the Championship Celebration.

Ears to the ground

…Some cast members have told us that Food Rocks at Epcot's The Land pavilion will be closing its doors on January 3, 2004, to be replaced with an enlarged queue for the new Soarin' Over California attraction. Other cast members say that nothing is official yet. Stay tuned for more info.

…Toon Park in Toontown at the Magic Kingdom has been completely rebuilt within the last month or so.

…Donald's Boat in Toontown at the Magic Kingdom is now running all water attractions again.

…Rehabs of the Keister Coaster at Disney's Boardwalk Resort and Stormalong Bay at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts are proceeding well.


Welders work on the steel rods supporting the railing at the Keister Coaster at Disney's Boardwalk Resort. MousePlanet photo by Mark Goldhaber.


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 now officially open.
  • Wishes: a Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams, the new fireworks show for the Magic Kingdom, has now replaced the venerable Fantasy in the Sky show.
  • The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter closed for good on October 12. It is now undergoing a major rehab and will reopen in mid- to late-2004 as Stitch's Great Escape!
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress will be open from park open to park close for the duration of the Stitch's Great Escape! construction.
  • Timekeeper will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the duration of the Stitch's Great Escape! construction.
  • Adventureland now opens at 10 a.m. on non-peak days.

Epcot

  • Food Rocks may close on January 3 to make way for the entrance to the new Soarin' Over California attraction.
  • The Eiffel Tower structure at the France pavilion is due to return from rehab in December.

Disney-MGM Studios

PHOTO: Big City Street site. width=
Work continues on the transformation of New York Street to Residential Street at the Disney-MGM Studios. MousePlanet photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.

  • 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 will be 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 now open in the old Backstage Pass soundstage.

Animal Kingdom

  • No known closures at this time.

Resorts


Workers continue repair work on one of the bridges at the Stormalong Bay feature pool at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. MousePlanet photo by Mark Goldhaber.

  • 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 Boardwalk Resort guests will also have the option of using the Stormalong Bay pool complex at the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts (ID may be required).
  • 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. Tuvalu is scheduled for rehab October 20, 2003, through January, 2004. Niue and Rarotonga are the only other longhouses currently scheduled to undergo rehab, and are tentatively scheduled for January 18 to May 2, 2004.
  • 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 from October 26 through December 13.
  • Typhoon Lagoon undergoes refurbishment beginning on December 14.

Elsewhere

  • The All Star Cafe at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex is now closed Mondays through Wednesdays. It is open Thursdays through Sundays, 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.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Included with park admission, sample wine and food from 25 countries (link). October 18 to November 16.
  • 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!

That there is a new Disney's Visa “Kids Stay and Play Free” Package, available most nights January 4 through June 12, 2004, 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! Go to Disney's Kids Free Web page (link) for more information, or call your travel agent and book using package code ZXFA. You must book your package by January 2, 2004.

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 percent 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
 
10/20
10/21
10/22
10/23
10/24
10/25
 

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

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

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

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

10/26
10/27
  • 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-6p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-7p
AK 9a-5p
BB closed
TL 10a-5p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 10/20

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 7:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 10/21

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 10/22

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 7:30pm

Wishes Fireworks 8:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 10/23

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 7:30pm

Wishes Fireworks 8:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 10/24

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 10/25

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 7:30p, 9:30p

Wishes Fireworks 8:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 10/26

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 10/27

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

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.