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News and Views

New projection system used at Epcot

The new Pani projection system tested at Disneyland in preparation for its 50th birthday (link) appears to have made its first appearance at Epcot on July 4. During the Independence Day festivities at the park, the system was used to project images of American icons on the surface of Spaceship Earth. A couple of images are available over at WDWMagic (link).


July Fourth crowds were so large, guests were forced to sit on the floor at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe due to the lack of tables. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Targeted audio system sounds off at Innoventions

A General Motors exhibit at Innoventions now features Audio Spotlight technology. This technology, invented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and distributed by Holosonics, creates high-quality sound in narrow beams, much like a flashlight creates a narrow beam of light.

The GM exhibit displays the Juno, a “state-of-the-art” vehicle with a sound system consisting of four Audio Spotlight discs, one over each seat. Using this technology, each passenger in the vehicle can hear their own sound, without hearing anyone else's. Everyone can choose their own audio.

According to the Holosonics press release, “The Audio Spotlight technology is also used in Innoventions to wow the crowd with its unique focused acoustical beams—sound literally flies by the crowd's faces, and travels around the room, often resulting in dropped-jaws and gasps from the crowd.”


Crowds on July 4 were so large that the line for the Haunted Mansion was wrapped through the old queue area for the Mike Fink Keelboats. Photo by Brian Bennett.

One more bullet train hurdle cleared, more rhetoric

The saga of the high-speed rail system mandated under a Florida constitutional amendment took another step forward last week, as a determination was made last week that there were no land-use restrictions on the land along the Greeneway (S.R. 417) near Hunter's Creek. It was originaly believed that the land for the highway came with a restriction on usage of the land that would prevent the railway from being built alongside it. Now that the usage issue has been resolved, the Florida High Speed Rail Authority is now free to negotiate with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority over the right to build the railroad.

In other high-speed rail news, Universal Orlando President Bob Gault sent a letter to hundreds of businesses in Central Florida to try to convince them to help repeal the $3 billion rail project. The letter pushes the idea that the money would be better spent on other state initiatives.


Even the queue for the Timekeeper had a wait on July 4. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Entertainment announced for Tom Joyner Party

A number of acts have been announced for this fall's Tom Joyner Family Reunion Weekend (link) at Walt Disney World. So far on the bill for the Labor Day weekend event are: Alicia Keys, Big Boi (from OutKast), Omarion, Marques Houston, Oryan, Chingy, Monica, Twista, Kem, New Edition, Hammer, Doug E. Fresh, Carl Thomas, Lil iRocc, Chic, Lil J Jay, CoCo Brown (PhatCat Players), Dr. Bobby Jones, Shirley Caesar and Fred Hammond. Additional performers will be announced throughout the summer.


The Hall of Presidents, arguably the most patriotic attraction at the Magic Kingdom, played to 80 percent full houses on Independence Day. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Some artists announced for “Eat to the Beat” concert series

Five acts have been confirmed for this year's "Eat to the Beat" concert series during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival this October and November. Signed on so far are Three Dog Night, Kool and the Gang, Beach Boys, Chubby Checker, and Eddie Money. Dates for those acts, as well as the names of other performers, have not yet been released.


Crowd control routed guests through backstage areas to diffuse some of the mass of humanity on Main Street. Photo by Brian Bennett.

New Disney's PhotoPass

On June 23, Disney Enterprises in Burbank filed three trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “Disney's PhotoPass.” According to the paperwork filed, this new system is described as:

  • Sales of photographs offered for sale through the Internet, stand-alone kiosks and through retail shops.
  • Encoded cards used to store photographs.
  • On-demand printing services for photographs.

There is some speculation as to what the new system is, but one theory we are offering to our readers is that this may be a new way for the Disney parks to handle photos taken of visitors throughout the park. Depending on the extent of the program, these could include guest photos taken by roaming photographers (for example, in front of Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom), official character meet-and-greet photos, as well as souvenir ride photos. Guests could be given a physical ticket (or pass) with a code number that lets them retrieve their photos online after their trip, or they might be able to purchase a pass that they can keep during their trip, which allows them to store digital photos as they are taken of them through the park.

If we hear more about this new trademark application, we will be sure to pass it on to you.

Ears to the ground

…The planned Star Tours rehab has been pulled from the schedule at the Studios.

…The new pet store at Downtown Disney that we mentioned last week is called Disney Tails, and it has taken over about half of the former Pooh Corner shop. It's attached to the Disney at Home Garden Center. Reportedly, it carries animal treats, perfumes, tags, clothes, etc.


Another photo of guests routed backstage. Bad show, but safety comes first. Photo by Brian Bennett.


Have any interesting news or rumors? Let us know.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • it's a small world” – closed for rehab through March 18, 2005. 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 and more stroller parking. The audio upgrade will include a return to a cleaned-up copy of the stereo soundtrack heard at the 1964 World's Fair, which has been very well received since it returned to Disneyland a couple of years ago.
  • 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 21.
  • The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter – closed for good. It is now undergoing a major rehab and reopens in fall 2004 as Stitch's Great Escape. The official opening of the new attraction now appears targeted to October 1.
  • 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. The attraction will be open for the summer season from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. through August 14.
  • Adventureland – now opens again with the rest of the park daily with the exception of the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management, which still open at 10 a.m. There is a rumor that the Jungle Cruise will open with the rest of the park for the summer, from mid-June through mid-August.
  • The Hall of Presidents and the Country Bear Jamboree also open at 10 a.m. every day.
  • Tomorrowland Indy Speedway - remains open during its rehab, which will continue through August 8.
  • Tom Sawyer Island - will be closed from July 25 – September 25.
  • The Enchanted Grove – has returned from rehab.
  • Mickey's Toontown Fair train station – will be torn down and rebuilt between May 10 and June 18. The only stops made by the Walt Disney World Railroad during that time will be Main Street, USA and Frontierland, though the train will stop to take on water in Toontown once every three trips around the park. Guests will not be allowed to board or exit the train during that time.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – down for rehab September 13 – October 15.
  • Ariel's Grotto – down for rehab Sept. 22 - Nov. 19 for theme-matching with the 20,000 Leagues Lagoon reclamation.
  • Astro Orbiter – down for rehab January 2 – February 16, 2005.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – down for rehab January 10 - February 10, 2005.


The rebuilt Toontown Fair train station has returned to service, looking just like its temporary-structure predecessor. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Epcot

  • The Universe of Energy – may close for a short rehab at any time to remove the ExxonMobil signage now that its pavilion sponsorship has ended.
  • Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room – the pub portion is closed until late July. 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 California attraction.
  • The Behind the Seeds Walking Tour of 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 Life pavilion – open seasonally. The Pure and Simple eatery and the Well and Goods Limited shop have been removed, while the Body Wars, Cranium Command, and The Making of Me attractions will now be open when the pavilion is open.


As reported last week, Yankee Traders has returned to selling housewares. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Residential Street at 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.
  • The Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – rehab has been extended through July 12.
  • New York Street – undergoing a great deal of construction to change some facades to represent Chicago and San Francisco. Previously believed to be renamed Big City Street, the newly-confirmed name of the area will be the Streets of America Backlot. The target completion date is October 2.
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights – returns this year on the Streets of America backlot, from November 24 through January 2.

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently reported rehabs.

Resorts

  • Port Orleans Resort – A two-year extensive rehab of this resort's rooms is ongoing. For Phase I, French Quarter has reopened. Phase II is underway, and 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. Room refurbishments at the Polynesian Resort are resuming. Rapa Nui is scheduled for January 3 through April 1, 2005, and Tahiti will get its makeover from April 24 through August 17, 2005. Tokelau has not yet been refurbished, but has not yet been scheduled, either.
  • The Never Land Club at Disney's Polynesian Resort - will be refurbished through June 30, 2004. Operations have been moved to the Tangaroa Terrace during this time.
  • 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 new Disney Vacation Club resort) – now open. Construction continues on the rest of the resort; the other three buildings of Phase I are due by the end of the year, the eight units of Phase II are due in 2005, and the six units of the newly-announced Phase III are due in 2007. Phase III will involve the razing of the old Fairway Villas.

Water Parks

  • No current water park rehabs underway.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays, but will be closed August 22–25, October 17–20, and December 5–13.
  • The All Star Cafe at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex – now closed Monday-Wednesday. It is open Thursday–Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Park Events

July 2004

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link). July 31 through August 19.
  • E-Ride Nights at the Magic Kingdom. July 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, 30.
  • “ESPN The Weekend” (link). July 31 and Aug. 1.

August 2004

  • E-Ride Nights at the Magic Kingdom. August 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13.

September 2004

  • Tom Joyner Family Reunion Weekend (link). September 2–5.
  • Nights of Joy (link). September 9 – 11.
  • A Family Pin Gathering - Disney's Pin Celebration 2004 (link). September 10 – 12.
  • 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 (link). October 25-27.

November 2004

  • Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney (link). November 12–14.
  • Super Soap Weekend (link). November 13-14.
  • 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 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.

February 2005

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

April 2005

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link). Dates in February through April TBA.

June 2005

  • Gay and Lesbian Day at Walt Disney World (link). June 2-5.


Current Discounts & Promotions

New August Dream Maker package discount

A new specially priced Dream Maker package is available for most nights from August 1–28. The discount is on the room portion of the package only. Reservations must be made by July 31. See the Walt Disney World Web site (link) or MouseSavers (link) for more information.

Florida Resident discount through August

A Florida Resident discount is available on rooms at Walt Disney World for stays from now through August 28. There are different codes for the standard discount and for Florida residents who are also Disney Visa cardholders. See the Walt Disney World Web site (link) or MouseSavers (link) for more information.

Florida Resident Cirque du Soleil La Nouba special

Florida residents can receive 20 percent off Category Two tickets at Cirque du Soleil in Downtown Disney's West Side from June 1 – September 30, 2004. Blackout dates August 22–25. Proof of residency and advance purchase are required. The discount is not available at the ticket window, and there is a limit of four tickets per transaction. To order call 407-939-1282.

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 Sept. 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 through Sept. 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). For information on the Walt Disney World golf courses Web site (link).

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 $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 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 September 2004.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
7/5
7/6
7/7
7/7
7/8
7/9
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

7/10
7/11
  • 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-9p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-7p
TL 9a-7p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through September 2004.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 7/5

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 7/6

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 7/7

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 7/8

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 7/9

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 7/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 7/11

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 7/12

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 9p

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 7/5

Joy Wright

80Z All Stars

 

 

Tuesday 7/6

Beautiful Bobby Blackmon

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

 

Wednesday 7/7

Beautiful Bobby Blackmon

Frankie & the West End Boys

Fifth Year Crush

 

Thursday 7/8

Groove Logic

80Z All Stars

Fifth Year Crush

Drowning Pool with FLAW, Dropbox and Atom Ship (main room), $15, 8pm

Jay Owens (Blues Kitchen), free, 11pm

Friday 7/9

Groove Logic

80Z All Stars

Fifth Year Crush

HOB and Solo Ent. Present Bacardi Presentation of Obie Bermudez (main room), $12.50 advance, $17.50 day of show, 10pm

Honeyboy (Blues Kitchen), free, 11pm

Saturday 7/10

Groove Logic

80Z All Stars

Fifth Year Crush

David Benoit with Russ Freeman (main room), $22.50 and up, 8:30pm

Midnight Ramblers (Blues Kitchen), free, 11pm

Sunday 7/11

Elliot Dyson

80Z All Stars

 

The Heavenlyettes (gospel brunch), $30 adult, $15 child (3-9), 10:30am, 1p

Shinedown with Soil (main room), $13 advance, $15 day of show, 7pm

Monday 7/12

Elliot Dyson

80Z All Stars

 

 



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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.