Quantcast
MousePlanet.com


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

News and Views

Disney's Enviromentality pays off in awards

Disney's environmental initiatives at two Walt Disney World resorts were recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection with two of the first four Green Lodgings awards to be given out at ceremonies last Wednesday at the Boardwalk resort.

The award is given to hotels with “innovative and imaginative programs to conserve natural resources, reduce waste, minimize pollution and reduce costs.”

The Boardwalk Resort was recognized, in part, because of the addition of sensors on all outdoor lighting and the bulk purchase of chemicals. The Coronado Springs Resort received the award for irrigating the landscaping using reclaimed water and for installating carbon dioxide sensors in the resort's huge convention center.


Coronado Springs was one of two WDW resorts to win recognition for environmentally friendly practices. Photo by Alex Stroup.

The other two hotels receiving the award on Wednesday were the Hilton University of Florida in Gainesville and the Hyatt in Bonita Springs.

Disney appears to be trying to capitalize on this award, as an Internet-based survey of a voluntary panel asked questions regarding a possible environmentally-friendly hotel. The panel was asked to rank the importance of various environmentally-friendly features such as:

  • Soap pump instead of individual bars
  • Frequent point program based on electricity/water usage
  • Low wattage lights
  • Low water flow toilets
  • Environmentally friendly paper products
  • Bins to separate recyclable waste
  • Automated control of air conditioning
  • Garden within hotel
  • Electric vehicle rentals
  • Descriptive signs indicating building's environmental aspects
  • Environmentally non-damaging cleaning products
  • Organic food offerings at hotel restaurant
  • Environmentally educational play area
  • Recyclable room pieces (tables, chairs, etc.)
  • Certification as environmentally friendly building
  • Rainwater collection for landscaping
  • Solar power
  • Double-paned insulated windows

Of course, surveys do not mean that anything is actually in the works, and this survey may not amount to anything. However, with the increase in eco-tourism, Disney has another market to target. And, as we know, Disney relentlessly seeks out any market that is out there that they have not yet targeted. We'll just have to wait and see if anything comes of this.

Nights of Joy expands to three nights

Twenty-four acts that have collectively received 165 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards and 21 Grammy Awards will perform at this year's Nights of Joy event at Walt Disney World, which has expanded to three nights this year. This marks the biggest lineup of performers in the event's 22-year history. In light of the early sellouts of the contemporary Christian music event, a Thursday night has been added, as the event will be held on September 9-11 this year.

Following an early Magic Kingdom close each night, performances will take place at several stage locations between 7:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Many attractions will also be open during the event.

Advance tickets are $36.95 (plus tax) for one night, $59.95 (plus tax) for two nights and $79.95 (plus tax) for three nights, and will be available beginning April 21 by calling 407-W-DISNEY or online (link). Tickets will also be available at Florida locations of Family Christian Stores. One-day tickets on event days—if available—are $41.95.

Performers will include:

Thursday, September 9

  • Michael W. Smith
  • Avalon
  • Jars of Clay
  • Point of Grace
  • 4HIM
  • FFH
  • Mark Schultz
  • Across the Sky

Friday, September 10

  • Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Third Day
  • Rebecca St. James
  • Skillet
  • Stryper
  • SONICFLOOd
  • downhere
  • Warren Barfield

Saturday, September 11

  • Kirk Franklin
  • Jaci Velasquez
  • CeCe Winans
  • 12 Stones
  • Salvador
  • Jeremy Camp
  • Joy Williams
  • Jump 5

It is Time Racers, thought not what it once was

Last week, we reported the closure of the AT&T Global Neighborhood and speculated as to whether it was a straight rehab or the installation of the rumored Time Racers post-show. Word is leaking out of Imagineering that it is indeed Time Racers. Time Racers, originally planned as a Spider-Man-type of attraction to run through what is now and will continue to be Spaceship Earth, has been re-Imagineered as a simulator-based post-show.

Timekeeper open—for now

Timekeeper reopened yesterday, March 14, for the spring break season. It appears that it will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. No word on how long it will be open, but don't plan on it lasting beyond Spring Break/Easter season.

Epcot Friendship service increased

For at least part of the day, it appears that the Epcot Friendship boats will be running more frequently. From 2 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., two Friendships will run, one between Canada and Morocco, and one between Mexico and Germany. While still less than the old days when two boats ran each route for a total of four in the water concurrently, it will still be quicker transportation than the current one-boat, Canada-Morocco-Germany service, which will continue from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Main Street shuffle

Merchandise is being moved around between the stores on Main Street U.S.A., as the Disney merchandising machine tries to find a way to get you to part with even more of your dollars. Housewares from the Market House have already been moved to the Emporium during the last week. With that completed, the Market House will be closing to become a toy store. The Emporium mini-mall on the west side of Main Street will be reorganized. Men's clothing will join the athletic merchandise at the Main Street Athletic Club. Women's fashions are being moved to Clothiers. A new children's section has been targeted for the Center Street area. Rumors also continue to fly that Uptown Jewelers, the Exposition Hall the Main Street Gallery, the Gallery, and The Chapeau may also be seeing changes.

Buh-bye Tomorrowland Stage

In early June, the Tomorrowland Stage is tentatively scheduled for demolition. It is expected that a temporary stage will be constructed in the same general area to help accommodate the Magic Music Days performers. The temporary venue, smaller than the current one, is expected to be closer to Carousel of Progress and angled more towards the Speedway.

The Galaxy Palace Theatre continues to receive refurbishments and cleaning. It is still expected that a new, large-capacity indoor theater will be built by 2007, either over a filled-in 20,000 Leagues lagoon or in place of the Galaxy Palace Theater.

Ears to the Ground

…FutureWorld East will be closing early tomorrow night for a special event. Universe of Energy will start its last show at 6:00, allowing a 6:45 close. Innoventions East, Test Track and Mission: Space will close at 7:00.

…A Jungle Cruise boat (reportedly the Mongala Minnie) started to take on water last Wednesday just past the hippo pool. According to some reports, the female skipper did not have a radio and borrowed a guest's cell phone to call 911 and get connected with WDW response teams. Nobody was hurt, but they closed the ride for inspection for the rest of the day. This is apparently the first incident of this kind in Walt Disney World history.

…Latest word to leak out is that Stitch's Great Escape is well ahead of schedule and may soft open early to-mid summer. On another note, new reports seem to confirm the original rumor that there will be no minimum height requirement in the attraction.

…It looks possible that Epcot's Wonders of Life pavilion will be open for the spring break season, with the Pure and Simple food location being open, as well.

…It is rumored that a Mickey's Three Musketeers pre-parade will start running in the Magic Kingdom on Saturday, August 7, supposedly the day that the direct-to-video feature hits the stores.

Aunt Polly's will be reopening on Saturday, March 14.

…The Haunted Mansion merchandise cart will be returning next week after a lengthy rehab. The merchandise will be moved back from the Yankee Trader, where it was temporarily located during the rehab.

…Look for a Fastpass installation at the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway late this year or early next year.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • it's a small world is rumored to be going down for rehab from June 7 of this year through March 18, 2005 for upgrades to the lighting, audio, and electrical systems, rehabs to sets and Audio-Animatronic figures, asbestos abatement, roof repair, regular water maintenance (draining and refilling), and the possible addition of a new scene.
  • 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 upcoming schedule of peak days shows that the land will open at 9 a.m. every day from now through March 25.
  • The Hall of Presidents and the Country Bear Jamboree also open at 10 a.m. every day.
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures will be closed for refurbishment from April 19 through May 21.
  • The Sword In the Stone show is not performing on March 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, and 29.

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.

  • Construction of Soarin' Over California at Epcot. Photo by Brian Bennett.

  • 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 is open seasonally. 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 when the pavilion is open.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Residential Street at the Disney-MGM Studios has been closed and demolished and construction is well underway to turn the site into Lights, Motors, Action!, an American version of the popular Moteurs… Action! stunt show from the Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris.
  • The Backlot Tour is closed through April 1 to allow construction vehicles free access to the stunt show construction site. Once the stunt show opens, the tour will run two routes. The first route, when the stunt show is not running, will go through the stunt show set. The second route, during the stunt show, will bypass the stunt show set.
  • Sets from the Haunted Mansion movie are now open in the old Backstage Pass soundstage and is open through April 2004.
  • The "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" Movie Set Adventure will be closed for rehab May 3 – June 30.
  • New York Street is undergoing a great deal of construction to change some facades to represent Chicago and San Francisco. 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 scheduled to return from refurbishment on Wednesday, March 17.
  • Dinosaur will be closed for refurbishment from April 19 through June 1.

Resorts

  • 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 Sunday, March 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 has now reopened.
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa (a Disney Vacation Club resort) has an announced grand opening ceremony date of May 27, however guests may stay at the Resort beginning May 17. Reservations are now available.

Water Parks

  • There are no current water park rehabs underway.

Elsewhere

  • Magic Kingdom gas station has reopened as Hess Express.
  • BoardWalk gas station is scheduled to reopen today as Hess Express.
  • Pleasure Island gas station closed March 10 and reopens March 30 as Hess Express.
  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba is performing Tuesday through Saturday, but is closed 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

  • Atlanta Braves training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link). Now through April 2.

March 2004

  • 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). Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, May 14 to June 13.

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 9 – 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

All-guests discounts for hotel-only and Dream Maker packages now available

Discount rates for Annual Passholders, Florida Residents, and general guests for stay from April 18 through July 4 are now available. Visit MouseSavers for more details.

Disney Visa hotel-only and Summer Dream Maker discounts announced

MouseSavers has posted prices and rate codes for hotel-only reservations and Dream Maker packages. The rates are now available for booking. Vacations must be taken between April 18 and July 4. Reservations must be made by April 17. Visit MouseSavers for more details.

April-June discount codes for Fort Wilderness

MouseSavers is reporting new discount codes for stays at the Fort Wilderness campground for check-ins April 18 through June 5. Reservations must be made by March 31, and rates are subject to availability. Visit 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 May 2004.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
3/15
3/16
3/17
3/18
3/19
3/20
 

MK 9a-11p
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-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-5p
TL 10a-5p

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

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

MK 9a-10p
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

3/21
3/22
  • 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-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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through May 2004.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 3/15

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 3/16

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p, 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 3/17

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 3/18

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 3/19

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 3/20

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 3/21

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 3/22

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4p

Fantasmic 7:30p

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 3/15

Elliot Dyson

Kabang

 

The Strokes with The Sounds (main room), $25 advance/$27.50 day of show 8:15pm

Tuesday 3/16

Elliot Dyson

Kabang

 

 

Wednesday 3/17

Elliot Dyson

Kabang

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

Thursday 3/18

Funky Blues Messiahs

Fifth Year Crush

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

Friday 3/19

Funky Blues Messiahs

Fifth Year Crush

Frankie & the West End Boys

Solo Entertainment presents Hector and Tito (main room), $40 and up 9pm

Sean Costello (Blues Kitchen), free 11pm

Saturday 3/20

Funky Blues Messiahs

Fifth Year Crush

Frankie & the West End Boys

Story of the Year with Hazen Street, Near Miss and Adair (main room), $12 advance, $14 day of show 9pm

Sean Costello (Blues Kitchen), free 11pm

Sunday 3/21

Joy Wright

Fifth Year Crush

 

The Heavenlyettes(gospel brunch), $30 adult, $15 child (3-9) 10:30am

FUEL with Breaking Benjamin (main room), $17.50 advance/$19.50 day of show 7:30pm

Monday 3/22

Joy Wright

Fifth Year Crush

 

A Special Evening with Nickel Creek (main room), $17.50 advance/$19.50 day of show 8pm



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.