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News and Views

Goofy sues Disney Cruise Line

WFTV.com is reporting that Goofy is suing Disney. (link) At least, a man who assisted in the portrayal of Goofy (preserve the Magic) on the Disney Magic is. Eric Ford is complaining that the combination of poor visibility inside his costume, lack of marks on stage and an error by a stagehand combined to cause him to be in the wrong location at the end of a performance, and the curtain literally came down on him—it hit him on the head. (Theatrical curtains can be extremely heavy, and frequently have large metal pipes in them to keep them even and cause them to lower quickly.) He's asking for $300,000.

Dobson wins WDW Marathon

Congratulations to Matthew Dobson, who won yesterday's Walt Disney World Marathon in a time of 2:27:58. The winner in the women's division was Kim Donaldson, in 2:59:13. Winners in the Walt Disney World Half-Marathon were Clinton Verran (men, 1:05:42) and Kim Pawelek (women, 1:18:12).

MousePlanet's Lani Teshima and Alex Stroup were among the finishers of the Half-Marathon—congratulations!

Reminder: Registration for the 2005 Walt Disney World Marathon and Half-Marathon opens today. Hurry up and get your entry in! The Half-Marathon sold out in a record six days for 2004.

Buena Vista Drive to be extended to meet new highway west of Walt Disney World

The Reedy Creek Improvement District has just awarded a contract for construction of 2.5 miles of a four-lane roadway, four bridges and ten ponds to a California-based company. The roadway will connect West Buena Vista Drive with the soon-to-be-built State Route 429 (Western Beltway) to the west of Walt Disney World. One pair of bridges will carry the road across Reedy Creek, and the other pair will take the road over a canal at the west end of the project. The project is expected to begin this month and end early next year.

Cypress Gardens aims to reopen by Memorial Day

Kent Buescher, the Georgia man who bought Cypress Gardens, hopes to have the park back open by Memorial Day. While the famous water ski show and Southern Belles would likely remain as attractions, Buescher is also looking at adding five or six roller coasters and a water park as part of Phase I, which could take 12 to 18 months to complete.

Mickey-shaped cucumbers?

Using the same technology that helped the Japanese create square watermelons in the 1980s (growing forms placed over young plants), Disney horticulturists at the hydroponic gardens at Epcot's Land pavilion have created Mickey Mouse-shaped cucumbers. Served at the Garden Grill Restaurant at the pavilion, the cucumbers are meeting with guest approval. Each cucumber grows in about seven to ten days, and two to three cucumbers are produced by the gardens each day. What's next, Donald-shaped rutabagas? Goofy-shaped squash?


Mickey Mouse and Goofy led a salute to NASA last Friday in front of the Mission: Space attraction, as thousands of theme park guests and employees signed a giant, congratulatory postcard to NASA. The card congratulates NASA on the successful landing of the Mars Rover "Spirit." Here, Epcot guest Jenna Caceci, 9, of New Milford, Conn., prepares to add her signature to the card. (Photo: Gene Duncan/Disney)

Disney salutes Mars Rover mission with giant postcard

To celebrate the success of the Mars rover Spirit and the astonishing photos that it has already sent back home to Earth, Disney has seized on a way to tie it to its own Mars-themed attraction. In front of Epcot's Mission: Space pavilion on Friday, Disney cast members, Epcot guests and Mickey Mouse and Goofy signed a giant postcard on Friday outside the attraction, which was to be mailed to NASA to congratulate them on their accomplishment.

Another group plans gay-themed weekend at WDW

Father's Day weekend will mark the Family Pride Weekend at Walt Disney World. (link) The event is being organized by the Family Pride Coalition, an advocacy group for LGBT parents and their families. Included are a family dance, a kids' night out, family brunches and the coalition's 25th anniversary gala dinner.

Ears to the ground

…The single-rider line experiment at Splash Mountain has been discontinued, and will not return in that form. Apparently, guests don't enjoy being stuck in a seat with a stranger on a wet ride.

…During the holidays, Walt Disney World experienced its "Best Day Ever" and "Best Week Ever" and Epcot reached an all-time daily attendance record on New Year's Eve (rumored to be 79,229 guests).

…The extension to the village of Anandapur at the base of Expedition: Everest appears to be proceeding well.

…The Courtyard by Marriott on Hotel Plaza Boulevard has apparently changed hands, and is now a Holiday Inn.

…The first phase of the addition of Finding Nemo characters is up and running inside and outside the Living Seas building, with a meet-and-greet area outside the pavilion and a "Nemo and Friends" section on the first floor as you enter the Seabase Alpha portion of the attraction. Phase II is expected to begin later this spring.

it's a small world is rumored to be closing for a rehab in the April time frame. The 12-18 month rehab would include repainting and repairing the sets, upgrading the lighting and sound systems, asbestos removal, doll repair and, perhaps, roof repair and facade work.

…The rumor that Haunted Mansion Holiday will be coming to the Magic Kingdom sounds more plausible, but it is still not confirmed.

…Walt Disney World is cutting over from walkie-talkies and radios to Nextel cell phones. Cell towers are being installed around the properties to extend the infrastructure for the system. No word on whether or not Nextel is being forced to sponsor an attraction as part of the deal.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter has closed for good. It is now undergoing a major rehab and will reopen this fall as Stitch's Great Escape!
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress opens from park open to park close for the duration of the Stitch's Great Escape! construction.
  • Timekeeper opens from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. for the duration of the Stitch's Great Escape! construction.
  • Country Bear Jamboree will be closed from Jan. 12-16 to return to its usual program from the Christmas show.
  • The Frontierland Shootin' Arcade will be closed for refurbishment Jan. 21 and 22.
  • The Liberty Square Riverboat will be closed for refurbishment from Jan. 17 - Feb. 8.
  • The Astro Orbiter will be closed for refurbishment from Jan. 26 - March 1.
  • Mickey's Star Traders will be closed for refurbishment through early April.
  • Adventureland now opens at 10 a.m. on non-peak days, but opens with the rest of the park (except for Jungle Cruise) on Sundays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Epcot

  • The Wonders of Life pavilion went to seasonal operation on Jan. 5. The Pure and Simple eatery and the Well and Goods Limited shop will remain closed, while the Body Wars, Cranium Command, and The Making of Me attractions will now be open on a seasonal basis. No word yet on the Frontiers in Medicine, Sensory Funhouse, Goofy about Health, and Sports Fitness Areas.
  • It is expected that the Universe of Energy will close for a short rehab in March to remove the ExxonMobil signage after their pavilion sponsorship ends.
  • It appears that the Living Seas pavilion will closing for a rehab in the April time frame. Rumors are strong that Audio-Animatronic characters from Finding Nemo will be added to the pavilion.
  • Food Rocks has closed permanently to make way for the entrance to the new Soarin' Over California attraction.
  • The Behind the Seeds Walking Tour of the greenhouses at The Land has been discontinued during reconstruction of the Food Rocks area into the queue for Soarin'. The tours are expected to resume upon completion of the construction.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Fantasmic! will be closing from Jan. 26-30 for a regular maintenance rehab.
  • The Backlot Tour will be closed through April 1 to allow construction vehicles free access to the stunt show construction site.
  • The Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage show at the Theater of the Stars will be closed for refurbishment Feb. 2 - 6.
  • Sets from the upcoming Haunted Mansion movie are now open in the old Backstage Pass soundstage and will be open through March.
  • Residential Street at the Disney-MGM Studios has been closed and demolished and construction has begun to turn the site into an American version of the popular Moteurs… Action! stunt show from the Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris.
  • New York Street is undergoing a great deal of construction to change some facades to represent Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. We do not yet have a target completion date for the newly-titled Big City Street yet.
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights is reported to be returning on New York Street/Big City Street this year.

Animal Kingdom

  • Kali River Rapids be closed for refurbishment from Jan. 20 - 30.
  • TriceraTop Spin will be closed for refurbishment from Feb. 9 - March 16.

Resorts

  • Pop Century Resort - Has officially opened.
  • 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 nearing completion of the refurbishment of longhouses. Each longhouse under rehab is walled off and isolated during its rehab. Niue and Rarotonga are the last remaining longhouses currently scheduled to undergo rehab, and are tentatively scheduled for Jan. 18 - May 2.
  • Shades of Green - Major construction and rehab is ongoing at this MWR-run resort for the military. It is currently expected to reopen in March.
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa (a Disney Vacation Club resort) has an announced grand opening date of May 27. Reservations are now available.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon is closed for refurbishment through Feb. 28.

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.-9 p.m.

Park Events

Ongoing

  • Celebrate Mickey… 75 InspEARations showcases 75 very special interestingly decorated Mickey statues to celebrate Mickey's 75th birthday throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. now through April 2004.

Jan.

  • National College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship (link) Jan. 16-18.
  • Annual Passholders' Cruise (4 nights) on Disney Wonder. Jan. 25.
  • National Dance Team Championship (link) Jan. 31 - Feb. 1.

Feb.

  • This is Love merchandise event (2605). Feb. 4.
  • National High School Cheerleading Championship (link) Feb. 7 & 8.
  • Atlanta Braves training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link) Feb. 15 - April 2.
  • TwirlMania - The Twirler's Championships (link). Feb. 20-23.

March

  • National Cheerleading and Dance Championship (link) March 13 & 14.
  • Lights! Camera! Pins! pin trading event (link). March 27.

April

  • Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival (link). April 16 – June 6.

May

  • Walt Disney World Inline Marathon (link). May 2.
  • Florida Half Ironman Triathlon (link). May 23.
  • Disney Vacation Club Member Homecoming event/Saratoga Springs opening. May 25-27.
  • Star Wars Weekends (link). Weekends in May and June TBA.

June

  • Gay Days (link). June 3–6. *
  • Family Pride Coalition Weekend (link). June 17-20. *

September

  • Nights of Joy (link). September 10 & 11.

October

  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (link). October 1 - November 14.
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (link). Dates in October TBA.
  • Disney's 10K Classic (link). October 10.
  • Funai Classic at Walt Disney World (link). October 21-24.

November

  • Super Soap Weekend (link). Dates in early November TBA.
  • Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney (link). November 12 - 14.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (link). Dates in November and December TBA.
  • Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney (link). November 26 - December 24.
  • Holidays Around the World (link). November 26 - December 30.

December

  • New Year's Eve celebrations at Pleasure Island (link) and Atlantic Dance (link). December 31.

Jan. 2005

  • Disney's Health and Fitness Expo (link). Jan. 7 & 8.
  • FamilyFun Magazine Family Fun Run (link). Jan. 8.
  • Disney Marathon (link) and Half-Marathon (link). Jan. 9.

* Not official WDW events


Current Discounts & Promotions

More discount codes announced

Walt Disney World has announced new discount codes for Annual Passholders, Florida residents, and the general public for check-ins Feb. 12 through April 17. General public rates start at $79 per night, while AP and Florida rates start at $74 per night. Visit disneyworld.com or MouseSavers for more details.

Florida resident Play Four Days pass returns

Disney's Play 4 Days pass for Florida residents is again on sale. The special pass is essentially a four-day park hopper pass for Florida residents that is available for $109 plus tax. The pass is good for theme park visits from Jan. 4 through June 4, with blockout dates April 3-15 for the peak Easter week season. Passes are available at Walt Disney World theme parks, Florida Disney Stores, AAA offices. The cost of a Play 4 Days pass may be applied to a Florida resident Annual or Seasonal pass. For more information, guests can either visit disneyworld.com/play4days or call 407-WDW-4DAYS.

Deep discount codes announced

Walt Disney World has announced new discount codes for Annual Passholders, Florida residents, and the general public for check-ins Jan. 1 to Feb. 11. General public rates start at $55 per night, while AP and Florida rates start at $49 per night. These rates are also available with DreamMaker packages. Visit disneyworld.com or MouseSavers for more details.

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

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through March.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
1/12
1/13
1/14
1/15
1/16
1/17
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

1/18
1/19
  • 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-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-7p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-5p
TL closed

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through March.

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 1/12

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 3:45p

Tuesday 1/13

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 6:30p

Wishes Fireworks 7:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Wednesday 1/14

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 3:45p

Thursday 1/15

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 3:45p

Friday 1/16

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 3:45p

Saturday 1/17

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 3:45p

Sunday 1/18

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 3:45p

Monday 1/19

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 3:45p



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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.