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News and Views

Disneyland turns 50, but WDW gets gifts!

As MousePlanet reported last week (link), Disney announced its plans for “Disney's Golden Celebration,” a worldwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland. The celebration will spread to all of Disney's theme parks around the world, with the lion's share of new attractions to come to Walt Disney World.

Many of the plans for the Florida parks had been previously announced, but there were also some surprises. Among the already-known attractions were the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at the Disney-MGM Studios, Soarin' at Epcot (which was confirmed to have a direct lift of the California version of the movie, disproving the story we ran last week stating that it would be a new movie—we'll try to follow up with our source), and Expedition: Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Previously unreported or unverified announcements included Cinderellabration, a new show for the Magic Kingdom imported from Tokyo Disneyland; a Hong Kong Disneyland preview center at Epcot; and Lucky the Dinosaur (link) will begin walking around Dinoland USA at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

As previously reported here, the Disney Cruise line will temporarily move the Disney Magic to the West Coast next summer. The ship sails two 2-week repositioning cruises through the Panama Canal, and 12 one-week cruises from the Port of Los Angeles.


Construction continues on the new Soarin' attraction, to open as part of the celebration of Disneyland's 50th anniversary. Photo by MousePlanet reader George L.

Lagoon work continues in Fantasyland

There are currently plans to move the Magic Kingdom costuming center from underneath Fantasyland to the rear of the park near the monorail and train roundhouse. It is unknown if these plans are related to the work underway at the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea lagoon.

The lagoon is being drained and then filled with earth in preparation for being turned into a future attraction. There are some concerns about the draining of the lagoon in that over the years the weight of the water may have caused shifting and settling of the utilidor walls below.

The prevailing reports have the space being used for a Hundred-Acre Wood meet-and-greet in the short term, while groups of Imagineers present many strong ideas for the long-term use of that space.


The load area of the former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction is high and dry as the water is drained from the lagoon. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Pop Century experiences some shakeout issues

Pop Century is experiencing a few issues. The issue spurring the most concern is the parking problem. The upcoming summer months will be the first extended high traffic season in which Pop Century has been open. Recent high traffic weeks in February and in April have found guests parking illegally because of the lack of parking spaces at the resort.

In addition, the entire Pop Century resort contains televisions that currently do not allow guests to view videos they may have made during visits to the parks. The connections are there but the television menu screen does not offer an auxiliary video option.


The ride track in the launch area of the former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction emerges from underwater. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Great Movie Ride news

The Great Movie Ride last week received a fresh copy of the film guests are treated to at the end of the movie. No one ever got to see it, though, as a mishap with the projector and projector lamp melted the film.

There's a new hidden Mickey on the Hollywood Mural on the loading platform of The Great Movie Ride. Look for Mickey's sillohuette in the next to last house on the right side of that mural.


The Saratoga Springs Resort welcomes its first guests next Monday. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Lights, Motors, Action! update

Work on the set for the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show is continuing at a rapid pace. The Mediterranean fishing village facade is almost complete and the stadium itself is approaching a point where you can judge as to the size of the structure. In addition, stunt cars have arrived. Mike Scopa noted a few VWs and a Firebird last week.

Tourism industry on the rebound

Orlando's tourism industry got ahuge boost this week when Disney announced that they would be hiring 2,000 seasonal workers for this summer. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld said that they plan to hire 2,000 and 900 workers, respectively.


It appears that Disney is implementing a new room door lock system at the Saratoga Springs Resort. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Reedy Creek signs power contract

The Reedy Creek Improvement District has signed a deal to buy its power from Progress Energy Florida. The district, which serves as a governmental authority over the land that Walt Disney World sits on, had previously bought their wholesale electricity from the Orlando Utilities Commission. The new five-year deal takes effect in January 2006. There is no word whether Progress Energy Florida is interested in taking over sponsorship of the now-sponsorless Universe of Energy attraction at Epcot.

Mission: Space has sent six to hospital in first eight months

According to documents submitted to the Florida Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection by Disney, six people were sent to a hospital following rides on Mission: Space. Three were admitted for chest pains, two for nausea, and one “wasn't feeling well.” Disney says that the six, all over 55, probably should not have ridden the ride. Four of the six had pre-existing medical conditions. One had diabetes, and three had undergone heart surgery.

There are thirteen warning signs before riders actually enter a ride vehicle. The warnings suggest that those suffering from motion sickness, high blood pressure, heart and other medical problems not ride the attraction. Disney leaves the final decision up to the rider, however. It is uncertain what, if any, action will be made in response to this statistic.


The “it's a small world” attraction is now closed for 9-10 months for a major overhaul. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Ears to the Ground

…Tickets for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party went on sale last weekend.

…Star Wars Weekends begin this week, with celebrity guests Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) & Jake Lloyd (young Anakin Skywalker).

…The new Saratoga Springs Resort welcomes its first guests next Monday.

…Stryper has been added to the lineup of bands for the Night of Joy in September.

…Progress is continuing rapidly on Stitch's Great Escape. If you walk near the old Alien Encounter attraction at night you can even hear a few Stitch giggles emerging from behind the construction walls.

…While the Wonders of Life pavilion may be open a good portion of the summer to suck up the expected overflow crowds, it will most likely run under reduced operating hours. Check the Park Operating Hours guidesheet for up to date information.

…There is some talk that the “O Canada!” film may be replaced in the next year or so. No announcement has been made regarding this change but Disney and Canada are currently discussing this possibility.


Have any interesting news or rumors? Let us know.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures


The Enchanted Grove still has another two weeks left in its rehab. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Magic Kingdom

  • it's a small world” – closed on May 2 for rehab through Spring 2005. Originally scheduled for Jun 7 through March 18, the rehab was moved up approximately 5 weeks to ensure that the ride will be ready for next spring break season. The work is expected to be 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), replacement of boats, and the rumored swapping of the entry and exit queues for better traffic flow.
  • 20,000 League Under the Sea lagoon- has been walled off to “clear the land as well as add landscape for future use.” The work is expected to run through November.
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress– expected to remain open for the duration of the Stitch's Great Escape construction.
  • Timekeeper– returned to seasonal operation.
  • Adventureland – now opens at 10 a.m. on non-peak days, but opens with the rest of the park (except for the Jungle Cruiseand the Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management) on Sundays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
  • El Pirata y el Perico– is closed through May 14 for a rehab.
  • Splash Mountain– opens at noon from May 10-14 for final work related to the rehab that caused late openings earlier this year.
  • The Hall of Presidentsand the Country Bear Jamboreealso open at 10 a.m. every day.
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures– reopens today.
  • The Enchanted Grove– closed for rehab through May 23.
  • Mickey's Toontown Fair train station- is rumored to be slated for replacement between May 3 and June 11.


The pub area of the Rose & Crown in Epcot is closed through the beginning of July. The restaurant portion remains open, and a beer tent is set up for those who still need a British ale. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Epcot

  • The Universe of Energy– expected to close for a short rehab shortly to remove the ExxonMobil signage now that its pavilion sponsorship has ended.
  • Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room– the pub portion will be closed until just before July 4. The rehab is rumored to include a complete rebuild on the pub portion and the building of a divider between the pub and the restaurant.
  • Food Rocks– closed permanently to make way for the entrance to the new Soarin' Over Californiaattraction.
  • The Behind the Seeds Walking Tourof the greenhouses at The Land – 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 Lifepavilion – open seasonally. The Pure and Simpleeatery and the Well and Goods Limitedshop will remain closed, while the Body Wars, Cranium Command, and The Making of Meattractions will now be open when the pavilion is open.


A flat painting serving as a backdrop for the San Francisco portion of Big City Street at the Studios nears completion. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Residential Streetat the Disney-MGM Studios – closed and demolished and construction is well underway to turn the site into the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, an American version of the popular Moteurs… Action!stunt show from the Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris.
  • Star Tourswill be closed for rehab from July 16 - August 1.
  • The Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure– closed for rehab May 3 to June 30.
  • New York Street– undergoing a great deal of construction to change some facades to represent Chicago and San Francisco. The Chicago facades appear to be complete, while San Francisco is underway. The target completion date for the rest of the newly-titled Big City Streetis October 2.
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights– is now confirmed to be returning this year on Big City Street, from November 24 through January 2.

Animal Kingdom

  • Dinosaur– is closed for refurbishment through June 4. Rumor has it that the problematic Fastpass merge point will receive some attention to improve crowd flow.


Construction work continues on Expedition: Everest. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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 reopened March 21. Phase II involves 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– nearing completion of the refurbishment of longhouses. Each longhouse under rehab is walled off and isolated during its rehab. Rarotonga is the last remaining longhouses currently scheduled to undergo rehab, and was tentatively scheduled through May 2. However, it appears that the rehab on that longhouse has not been completed yet. There is currently no completion date available. Tokelau, Tahiti, and Rapa Nui have not yet been refurbished, but they have not yet been scheduled, either.
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort– The main pool will be closed from September through the end of the year for construction of a new water slide.
  • 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

  • No current water park rehabs underway.

Elsewhere

  • World Drive– is undergoing a repaving project through the end of May. Watch for delays and lane closures along this main route into the resort.
  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba– performing Tuesdays through Saturdays, but will be closed June 20-July 5, August 22-25, October 17-20, and December 5-13.
  • The All Star Cafeat Disney's Wide World of Sports complex – now closed Monday-Wednesday. It is open Thursday-Sunday, from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Park Events

Ongoing

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

May 2004

  • Danskin Women's Triathlon(link). May 16.
  • 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 – June 13.

June 2004

  • Gay Days(link). June 3–6.[Not official WDW events.]
  • National Kidney Foundation 5K for Organ & Tissue > Donation Awareness (link). June 12.
  • Family Pride Coalition Weekend(link). June 17–20.[Not official WDW events.]

July 2004

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

September 2004

  • Tom Joyner Family Reunion Weekend (link).September 2–5.
  • Nights of Joy (link). September 9–11.
  • Disney's International Distance Triathlon(link). September 26.

October 2004

  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival(link). October 1 – November 14.
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party(link). October 1, 3, 8, 12, 14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29 and 31.
  • 2004 Komen Central Florida Race For The Cure 5K(link). October 9.
  • Disney's 10K Classic(link). October 10.
  • Funai Classic at Walt Disney World(link). October 21–24.
  • 999 Happy Haunts event.Dinner, October 25. Gathering, October 27.

November 2004

  • Super Soap Weekend(link). Dates in early November TBA.
  • Festival of the Mastersat Downtown Disney(link). November 12–14.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party(link). November 28 and 30, December 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 17.
  • Festival of the Seasonsat Downtown Disney(link). November 26 – December 24.
  • Holidays Around the World(link). November 26–December 30.

December 2004

  • New Year's Evecelebrations 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.

February 2005

  • Atlanta Braves Training Campat Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link). Dates in February through April TBA.

Current Discounts & Promotions

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 MouseSaversfor 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).

Gaylord Palms to pay for gas

Guests of the Gaylord Palms Resort will receive a $75 credit to cover the higher cost of gasoline for stays of at least three nights from June 15 through September 6. The Orlando-area resort will provide the room credit to guests who make a reservation using the promotion code FREEGAS. It is not a requirement that guests drive to the resort in order to get the discount.

Disney's Summer Price Slice returns

Summer Price Slice is back with special-value greens fees on tee times after 10 a.m. daily from May 17 through September 30 on Disney's five championship courses.

Golfers can test the premier Osprey Ridge course after 10 a.m. for $65 (compared to a normal seasonal greens fee of $119) or Eagle Pines for $50 (compared to a normal seasonal fee of $109). Post-10 a.m. rounds on the Magnolia, Palm or Lake Buena Vista courses are $45 (compared to a normal seasonal fee of $99). Cart is included.

Disney's Summer Price Slice also gives golfers the opportunity to play afternoon rounds late into the day. Golfers can take on Osprey Ridge after 3 p.m. for $35 ($30 after 5 p.m.). Eagle Pines, Magnolia, Palm and Lake Buena Vista start at $30 after 3 p.m. ($25 after 5 p.m.).

For tee times, guests may call 407-WDW-GOLF (407-939-4653). Visit the Walt Disney World Golf Web site for more information (link).

Plan ahead and save a few bucks

The Walt Disney World Resort is encouraging visitors to buy it theme park tickets before leaving home, by offering a slight discount on advance purchases. You can save as much as $26 per adult, per ticket with the “Advance Purchase Savings” program. These prices are before the 6.5 percent Orange County sales tax.

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
$219
$202
$17
     Children ages 3 - 9
$176
$162
$14
5-Day Park Hopper: Adults
$249
$230
$19
     Children ages 3 - 9
$200
$184
$16
5-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$282
$259
$23
     Children ages 3 - 9
$226
$208
$18
6-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$312
$288
$24
     Children ages 3 - 9
$250
$231
$21
7-Day Park Hopper Plus: Adults
$342
$316
$26
     Children ages 3 - 9
$274
$253
$21

Annual Passholders

Receive 10 percent off the price of their lunch mealat 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 July 2004.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
5/10
5/11
5/12
5/13
5/14
5/15
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

5/16
5/17
  • 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-9p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through July 2004.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 5/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade3p

Wishes Fireworks9p

Disney Gardening at Home: Big Show, Little Dough11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert: Dave Mason5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations!9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade5:30p

Fantasmic9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade4p

Tuesday 5/11

Share a Dream Come True Parade3p

SpectroMagic Parade9p

Wishes Fireworks10p

Disney Gardening at Home: Big Show, Little Dough11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert: Dave Mason5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations!9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade5:30p

Fantasmic9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade4p

Wednesday 5/12

Share a Dream Come True Parade3p

Wishes Fireworks9p

Disney Gardening at Home: Big Show, Little Dough11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert: Dave Mason5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations!9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade5:30p

Fantasmic9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade4p

Thursday 5/13

Share a Dream Come True Parade3p

Wishes Fireworks9p

Disney Gardening at Home: Big Show, Little Dough11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert: Dave Mason5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations!9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade5:30p

Fantasmic9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade4p

Friday 5/14

Share a Dream Come True Parade3p

Wishes Fireworks9p

Great American Gardeners Series: P. Allen Smith11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert: The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations!9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade5:30p

Fantasmic9p

Star Wars Weekends celebrity guests: Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) & Jake Lloyd (young Anakin Skywalker)

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade4p

Saturday 5/15

Share a Dream Come True Parade3p

SpectroMagic Parade9p

Wishes Fireworks10p

Great American Gardeners Series: P. Allen Smith11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert: The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations!9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade5:30p

Fantasmic9p

Star Wars Weekends celebrity guests: Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) & Jake Lloyd (young Anakin Skywalker)

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade4p

Sunday 5/16

Share a Dream Come True Parade3p

Wishes Fireworks9p

Great American Gardeners Series: P. Allen Smith11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert: The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations!9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade5:30p

Fantasmic9p

Star Wars Weekends celebrity guests: Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) & Jake Lloyd (young Anakin Skywalker)

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade4p

Monday 5/17

Share a Dream Come True Parade3p

Wishes Fireworks9p

Disney Gardening at Home: Plants With Flavor11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert: The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations!9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade5:30p

Fantasmic9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade4p

Downtown Disney Entertainment

Separate admission required.

Jazz Club
West End Stage
Rock & Roll Beach Club
House of Blues
Monday 5/10

Elliot Dyson

Bluestone Circle

 

 

Tuesday 5/11

Elliot Dyson

Kabang

 

Ill Nino with Flaw, 40 Below Summer and TBA (main room), $16 7:30pm

Wednesday 5/12

Elliot Dyson

Kabang

Five Star Iris

Huey Lewis & The News with TBA (main room), $32.508pm

Thursday 5/13

Scott Jeffrey's Band

Kabang

Five Star Iris

Better Than Ezra with TBA (main room), $168:30pm

Laura Blackley Band (Blues Kitchen), free11pm

Friday 5/14

Scott Jeffrey's Band

Kabang

Five Star Iris

Skid Row with TBA (main room), $159pm

Pocket Change (Blues Kitchen), free11pm

Saturday 5/15

Scott Jeffrey's Band

Kabang

Five Star Iris

Pocket Change (Blues Kitchen), free11pm

Sunday 5/16

Joy Wright

Kabang

 

Daniel James and Revelation (gospel brunch), $30 adult, $15 child (3-9)10:30am, 1p

Rick Springfield with Jeff Adams (main room), $27.50 advance, $29.50 day of show7:30pm

Monday 5/17

Joy Wright

Kabang

 

 



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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.