Quantcast
MousePlanet.com


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

News and Views

John Hench dies

John Hench, one of Disney's foremost experts in the art of visual storytelling, passed away early Thursday morning after a brief illness. Hench, Disney's pre-eminent color expert, had a hand in the design of all 10 of Disney's theme parks, and was also involved with Hong Kong Disneyland. From the concept design of Space Mountain to the color selection for all of the Disney theme park castles, Hench's nearly 65 years with the company were influential in all that the company did, and earned him Disney Legend status in 1990. At Walt Disney World, Hench came up with idea of having canals follow natural contours of land instead of digging in a grid, contributing a great deal to the natural beauty of the Resort. Honored as “Dean of Design” on the Main Street window for the “Walter E. Disney Graduate School of Design & Master Planning” (“We Specialize in Imagineering”), Hench was 95 years old. To find out more about John Hench and his incredible contributions to the Walt Disney Company, read tomorrow's article in our Foundations of Magic column.

Do as we say, not as we do

Walt Disney World guests with disabilities who use electric Segway human transporters, rather than wheelchairs or electronic convenience vehicles (“scooters”), are in for a rude shock. While Segways are also on display at Innoventions and Disney employees use Segways to zip around Epcot, Segway-riding guests are not allowed to bring their devices into the parks with them. A number of the approximately 6,000 Segway units sold to date are being used by people with disabilities instead of other mobility aids. People suffering from Parkinson's disease and Multiple Sclerosis use it, as well as some quadriplegics who can function as paraplegics with the device. However, since the Segway is not approved by the FDA as a medical device, the manufacturer cannot market it specifically for that purpose. Officially, Disney won't allow the Segway in the parks for the same reason, stating that it's hard to accommodate two-wheeled vehicles.

Walt Disney World is not the only place to ban Segways. They are also prohibited at the two Disneyland Resort parks in California and at SeaWorld Orlando. The City of San Francisco has also banned the vehicles for safety reasons. However, Universal Orlando apparently does allow the Segways.

So if you're a Segway rider and you're planning to visit Walt Disney World, plan on renting a wheelchair or ECV, because you cannot bring your usual ride into the parks.

Grosvenor Resort declares bankruptcy, seeks to restructure debt

The Grosvenor Resort at Walt Disney World filed for bankruptcy last week. The 626-room, 19-story hotel filed under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, so it can continue operations protected from creditors while coming up with a plan to reorganize its debts. The hotel, located in the Downtown Disney area, has enough cash on hand to operate, but was unable to restructure its debt to its primary creditor, Orix Credit Alliance. Orix filed for foreclosure last June. The Grosvenor plans to pay off all debts in full over “a couple of years.” The Grosvenor originally opened in 1972 as the Americana Dutch Resort, and was bought by the current owners and converted to the Grosvenor in 1986.

Bonnet Creek Resort progresses

The 482-acre Bonnet Creek Resort is nearing completion of its infrastructure, including roads, sewer and water. However, it still does not have a hotel tenant. There is enough room for four hotels with almost 3,000 rooms on the site between Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort and Epcot Boulevard, but so far the only construction is the 700-unit timeshare facility being built by Fairfield Resorts, scheduled to open later this year. Fairfield also has an option on another parcel that could hold another 350 timeshare units. Brooksville Development Corp., the Resort's master developer, is hoping to attract upscale hotels for the remaining parcels. There will also be an 18-hole golf course on the site.

Mickey-head cucumber redux

As we reported in the January 12 Update (link), horticulturists at Epcot's The Land pavilion are cultivating Mickey-head shaped cucumbers for use at the Garden Grille restaurant. Reader Erik Sojka has contributed a photo showing just how these cucumbers are formed. You can see below how the cucumbers are grown inside Mickey-head shaped molds to create the shape.

Three bongos from Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World are among 18 from zoos around the U.S. being relocated to Kenya.
A Disney horticulturist tends to cucumbers in Mickey-shaped molds. Photo by Erik Sojka.

Kodak adds new technology for purchased character photos

When guests have their photos taken by Disney photographers with their favorite characters at the Judge's Tent in Mickey's Toontown Fair, they will be able to immediately purchase it either at the exit of the Hall of Fame or at the Town Square Exposition Hall. The photos will be transmitted from the camera directly to the photo locations using wireless technology, eliminating the need to physically transport the camera memory cards back and forth.

The new technology is currently in a testing phase. The test began on January 25 and is scheduled to conclude on March 7.

More reduced hours on Magic Kingdom's west side

The Magic Kingdom's west side, already running attractions and merchandise locations on shorter hours in Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square, is getting hit again with hour reductions. From now through Monday, March 1, Liberty Square's merchandise locations are open from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Frontierland locations are reduced, with Big Al's opening at 10 a.m., and the Trading Post, Prairie Outpost & Supply, and Briar Patch opening at 11 a.m. The Trading Post and Briar Patch are closing at 6:30, Prairie Outpost & Supply are closing at 7:30, and Big Al's are closing at park close.

Over in Adventureland, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, and the Swiss Family Treehouse open at 9 a.m. on Feb. 12 through 24, 26, and 28, with the rest of the land opening at 10 a.m. On all other days, the entire land opens at 10 a.m. El Pirata Y el Perico Restaurante opens on Feb. 12 through 16, and Feb. 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Let's go cruising

Staff Writer Shoshana Lewin recently returned from a seven-night cruise on the Disney Magic cruise ship, where rumors and gossip of a possible West Coast move were swimming. At several crew Q-&-A sessions, staff members said they were looking at new itineraries, and were vague about European and Alaskan voyages. But when it came to California, the phrase of choice was “no comment” and an occasional smile.

Shoshana then asked a future cruise consultant, if there were going to be cruises on the West Coast in 2005 (to coincide with Disneyland's 50th) how early would bookings start, and she was told there would be more information in two to three months. It is uncertain if this would be a new ship or if one of Disney's two ships, the Magic and Wonder, would reposition, since both ships have the ability to pass through the Panama Canal.

Brady answers the “What's Next?” question again

In the 34th installment of the “What's Next?” series of commercials, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said, “I'm going back to Disney World!”

Last Monday, Brady made good on his promise. The Super Bowl MVP rode down Main Street U.S.A. in an “antique” vehicle with his mother and Mickey Mouse, followed by Minnie Mouse and the rest of his family and friends in the Main Street fire truck. Behind the fire truck, cheerleaders with red, white and blue balloons accompanied a lively marching band. At one point, Brady moved among the crowd signing autographs. When the procession reached Main Street, U.S.A., colorful Patriot red and blue streamers showered down upon the group.

For broadcast on the West Coast, an “I'm going back to Disneyland!” version was also shot. We have no word on whether he's going to keep that promise, too.

Ears to the ground

…For those who want to buy smaller bottles of water, Walt Disney World outdoor vending (ODV) is currently testing 12-ounce Dasani water bottles at the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks at their vending cart locations. This test began on January 7, and is planned to run until Sunday, March 28.

…There is a rumor going around that the upcoming Living Seas rehab will include an interactive “Talk to Crush” feature similar to the “Talk to Stitch” feature currently at Disneyland's Innoventions. The rehab may also possibly include the long-hoped-for return of the sea cabs, depending on the increase of traffic in the pavilion.

…There is another rumor that Toontown Fair Train Station will receive a complete rebuild in the near future.

…Apparently, when Timekeeper went to seasonal operations, the miniature version of Mickey's Star Traders in the queue area closed, as well.

…Brian Bennett reports that the Rose & Crown at Epcot's U.K. pavilion has removed the prime rib from the menu and replaced it with a grilled ribeye steak very heavily laced with garlic. They have kept the Yorkshire pudding, though he wonders why, since they don't serve any au jus any longer.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • The Astro Orbiter is closed for refurbishment through March 1.
  • The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter has closed for good. It is now undergoing a major rehab and reopens in fall 2004 as Stitch's Great Escape.
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress is expected to remain open for the duration of the Stitch's Great Escape construction.
  • Timekeeper has returned to seasonal operation.
  • Mickey's Star Traders is closed for refurbishment through early April as part of the Stitch rehab.
  • Adventureland now opens at 10 a.m. on non-peak days, but opens with the rest of the park (except for the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management) on Sundays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The following schedule has been announced for February. The early-opening portion of Adventureland opens at 9 a.m. on February 12 through 24, 26, and 28, and the rest of the land opens at 10 a.m. All other days, the entire land opens at 10 a.m. El Pirata Y el Perico Restaurante opens February 12 through 16 and 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Hall of Presidents and the Country Bear Jamboree also opens at 10 a.m. every day except as noted below.
  • Splash Mountain open at noon on weekday mornings from Jan. 25 through Feb. 12 for exterior painting. On those mornings, Country Bear Jamboree returns to 9 a.m. openings.

Epcot

  • It is expected that the Universe of Energy will close for a short rehab in March to remove the ExxonMobil signage after its 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 for Phase II of the Nemo rehab.
  • 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.
  • The Wonders of Life pavilion went to seasonal operation on January 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.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • The Backlot Tour is closed through April 1 to allow construction vehicles free access to the stunt show construction site.
  • Sets from the Haunted Mansion movie are now open in the old Backstage Pass soundstage and is open through April 2004.
  • 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. The Chicago facades appear to be complete, but we do not yet have a target completion date for the rest of the newly-titled Big City Street.
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights is reported to be returning on New York Street/Big City Street for this year.

Animal Kingdom

  • TriceraTop Spin is closed for refurbishment from February 9 to March 16.
  • Dinosaur is rumored to be scheduled for a three-month rehab from April through June.

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 and reopens on May 21. Phase II will involve Riverside going through a phased rehab. The Magnolia Bend mansions will go down one by one, followed by Alligator Bayou closing in sections.
  • Polynesian Resort is 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 through 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 2004.
  • 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 February 28.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba will be closed February 15-16, March 14-17, June 20-July 5, August 22-25, October 17-20, and December 5-13.
  • 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 (link) showcases 75 very special interestingly decorated Mickey statues to celebrate Mickey's 75th birthday throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Now through April 2004.

February 2004

  • Atlanta Braves training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link). February 15 – April 2.
  • TwirlMania - The Twirler's Championships (link). February 20 – 23.
  • Mardi Gras at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island. February 20, 21 & 24.

March 2004

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

April 2004

  • Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival (link). April 16 – June 6.
  • Grad Nights (link). April 23, 24, 30, and May 1.

May 2004

  • 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 2004

  • Gay Days (link). June 3–6.[Not official WDW events.]
  • Family Pride Coalition Weekend (link). June 17-20.[Not official WDW events.]

July 2004

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link). Dates in July and August TBA.

September 2004

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

October 2004

  • 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 2004

  • 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 2004

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

January 2005

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

Current Discounts & Promotions

Discount codes for February–April

Walt Disney World has announced new discount codes for Annual Passholders, Florida residents, and the general public for check-ins February 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 January 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, either visit the Play 4 Days Web page (link) or call 407-WDW-4DAYS (407-939-4329).

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

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through April 2004.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
2/9
2/10
2/11
2/12
2/13
2/14
 

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

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

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

2/15
2/16
  • 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-10p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-7p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-5p
TL closed

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through April 2004.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 2/9

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

Tuesday 2/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 7p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 2/11

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

Thursday 2/12

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 4p

Friday 2/13

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 7p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 2/14

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 2/15

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 2/16

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Downtown Disney Entertainment

(Separate admission required)

Jazz Club
West End Stage
Rock & Roll Beach Club
House of Blues
Monday 2/9

Joy Wright

80Z All Stars

 

 

Tuesday 2/10

Joy Wright

Kabang

 

 

Wednesday 2/11

Joy Wright

Kabang

Frankie & the West End Boys

MxPx with Sugarcult, From Autumn to Ashes and Billy Talent (main room) 7pm

Thursday 2/12

Groove Logic

80Z All Stars

Frankie & the West End Boys

Opeth with Moonspell and Devildrive (main room) 8pm

Jay Owens(Blues kitchen) 11pm

Friday 2/13

Groove Logic

80Z All Stars

Frankie & the West End Boys

Gilberto Santa Rosa Valentines Party "El Caballero de la SALSA le canta al Amor" (main room) 9pm

Twinkle Schascle (Blues kitchen) 11pm

Saturday 2/14

Groove Logic

80Z All Stars

Frankie & the West End Boys

Wisin Y Yandel Valentine's Day Party with Alex Y Fido Y DJ Lemo (main room) 7:30pm

Twinkle Schascle (Blues kitchen) 11pm

Sunday 2/15

Elliot Dyson

80Z All Stars

 

Anita Singleton & The Gullah Kin Folk (gospel brunch) 10:30am

Monday 2/16

Elliot Dyson

80Z All Stars

 

 



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.