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News and Views

Battered by Charley, resort survives

Like a bruised and battered prizefighter, still on his feet, Walt Disney World opened its theme parks for business on Saturday morning in the wake of Hurricane Charley, the first hurricane to hit Central Florida in 44 years. Charley hit the area as a Category 2 hurricane, with sustained winds of 90 mph and gusts up to 105 mph.

The storm, which caused an estimated $3.2 billion damage in Orange County alone, swept through the area in bands on Friday. The first band of the storm passed through at approximately 2:00 p.m., with a second band at around 4:45. The wind then picked up at 6:00, getting worse until the worst arrived at around 7:45. The winds raged for the next two hours, with the eye of the hurricane passing over Kissimmee.


This satellite image shows Hurricane Charley near Florida. The eye of Hurricane Charley came ashore near Fort Myers, the strongest hurricane to hit the west Florida coast in more than 40 years. Image from NOAA, NESDIS, Satellite Services Division.

Friday the 13th

The day started out cautiously, with sparse crowds taking advantage of the early opening of the three theme parks to open on Friday the 13th. The Magic Kingdom, Disney-MGM Studios, and Epcot theme parks all opened at 8 a.m., with Blizzard Beach opening at 9 a.m. Epcot's World Showcase opened at 10 a.m. However, all parks closed at 1 p.m., as authorities had asked that all traffic be off the roadways by 3 p.m. Disney's Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon and Downtown Disney were closed, and performances of the Spirit of Aloha luau dinner show at the Polynesian Resort, and Hoop-Dee-Doo dinner show at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Cirque du Soleil, all Grand Gathering experiences, and the final E-Ride Night of the year were all cancelled.

Fort Wilderness was evacuated and all guests relocated to Disney's Port Orleans Resort, the closest moderate resort to the campground. Residents of Tampa, who were under evacuation orders, all headed inland to hotels in Orlando, only to discover that they had traveled right into the path of the storm.

Guests entering the parks on Friday morning were handed a piece of paper stating:

“If this park closes early today due to Hurricane Charley, your theme park admission will be automatically reactivated for use at a later date. If your theme park admission has an expiration date, in the event of an early closing, please present your ticket at your resort Front Desk for further assistance. If you have any questions, please visit Guest Relations or the Front Desk at your resort. We hope you enjoy your day.”

Papers slipped under the doors of resort guests asked them to stay inside during the storm, and that they would be advised when it was safe to go out. Disney characters visited the resorts, box meals were distributed, and singalongs were organized in the large public areas. Finding Nemo, Brother Bear and Monsters, Inc. were shown continuously on three channels of resort television.

Ride-out crews were deployed to all parks to guard against damage. All outdoor vending carts were tied down to the pavement, all signs were secured with heavy rope, and even the tops of the gas lamps on Main Street, U.S.A. were secured. Windows were taped, doors were sandbagged, and everything was locked down tight.

The aftermath

Reports indicate that power was only lost for short periods of time at some hotels, but otherwise Disney retained power throughout the storm. The outlying areas were not so lucky. Hundreds of thousands of people in Central Florida were without power. It appeared that many would not have service restored for seven to 10 days, as priority was being given to hospitals, water treatment plants, and other public services. Second on the list were other public businesses, such as restaurants and shopping malls.

Trees were down throughout the area, blocking roads and crushing houses and cars. MousePlanet's Mike Scopa, on vacation at Walt Disney World, reported that downed trees were everywhere, though cleanup was proceeding quickly. Mike also reported gas stations destroyed by trees, and those that were open had 30 to 40 cars in line to fill up. All of those who headed to the Orlando area from Tampa started heading back, turning Interstate 4 into a huge parking lot. The hotel rooms vacated by the coastal refugees were taken by local residents looking for a place to stay with electrical power.

Orlando International Airport did not allow flights out until late Saturday afternoon, and several airlines were not flying until Sunday. All airside buildings had varying degrees of damage. Southwest Airlines was unable to fly on Saturday due to damage to the airside terminal building. Most major airlines were allowing passengers scheduled to fly into or out of Orlando to reschedule flights at no charge. Each airline had its own date range for this offer. It is recommended to call your airline to verify that your flight will be departing on time for the next few days.

Of the other theme parks in the area, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, as well as SeaWorld Orlando, opened on Saturday. SeaWorld's Discovery Cove park remained closed until Sunday.

Disney after the storm

On Saturday, Walt Disney World opened three of its four theme parks. Disney's Animal Kingdom remained closed due to a shortage of animal-handling cast members, reports Mike Scopa. Other reports also indicate a great deal of debris in the Dinoland and Africa sections of the park, with problems getting the jeep vehicles out onto the safari track. Typhoon Lagoon was also closed for the day because of short-staffing.

All cast members available to report, whether scheduled to work or not, were asked to go to their work location for assignments. Despite that, Mike Scopa reported that the Magic Kingdom was barely at half-staff. Many restaurants were closed part or all of the day; those open were half-staffed, and it appeared that much of the staffing was being done by managers, still in their suits. Mike noted that Disney did a very good job of handling everything, though it was still obvious that they were shorthanded.

Despite the fact that the parks were open, there was still a lot of damage that was not yet cleaned up. Seven to eight trees were reported downed at the Pop Century Resort. Magic Kingdom attractions surrounded by trees, such as the Walt Disney World Railroad and the Jungle Cruise, remained down for debris removal. There were two or three trees near Cinderella Castle that were still down, trees were reported down in front of the Brown Derby at the Studios, and other debris was everywhere, but progress was made througout the day and the parks were in much better shape by Sunday.

Other damage included the loss of the awning over the entrance to Test Track, the destruction of an 80-foot section of canopy outside the entrance to the Cirque du Soleil building, and trees down at all resorts.

Get 'em open

On Saturday, most of Walt Disney World was open, with the exception of the Animal Kingdom and Typhoon Lagoon parks, all golf courses and the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. The Magic Kingdom remained open for an hour longer than originally scheduled, with an extra showing of the SpectroMagic parade. The Animal Kingdom park opened on Sunday, though Typhoon Lagoon remained closed until today.

In the meantime, crews rushed to get resort pools open. Guests were encouraged to take their own cars to the theme parks, as the reduction in available staff was expected to cause delays on bus routes. Bus service from Orlando was reduced or unavailable. All of this combined to result in smaller crowds in the parks. Fastpass was not in service at any location, which resulted in more people waiting in lines.

Cleanup continues

Those in the Central Florida area are being asked to conserve water and electricity, as both are scarce at the moment. In addition, everyone is being asked to try not to use their cell phones except in an emergency because of the loss of power to cell towers and increased usage by emergency personnel.

Cleanup continues, though many in the area have lost their houses, cars, or both. Many of those with houses are without power. Shelters are filled. Stores are reporting runs on chain saws and portable generators, as people try to remove debris and power their houses.

Walt Disney World reports that DisneyHand, worldwide outreach for The Walt Disney Company, will contribute a total of $100,000 to the American Red Cross and the Heart of Florida United Way to assist the Central Florida community and other areas affected by the hurricane.

While other hurricanes have come through Central Florida, all have done so after being downgraded to tropical storms or tropical depressions. The last full hurricane to hit the area was Hurricane Donna in 1960, a full four years before Walt Disney even decided on the location for his new resort.

But there's more

Despite the fact that our coverage centers on the Walt Disney World area, the worst damage was in the Port Charlotte area (160 miles southeast of WDW, on the Gulf Coast), where Hurricane Charley first made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145 mph, with wind gusts reported at 180 mph in Punta Gorda.

If you wish to offer assistance in any form, we suggest that you contact the American Red Cross (link).

Our thoughts and prayers here at MousePlanet are with those who have been affected by this terrible storm.

Contemporary floods from burst hot water pipe

Just before 7:00 last Monday evening (well before the arrival of Hurricane Charley), a hot water pipe burst on the 12th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort, flooding 80 rooms between the 12th and 5th floors. The hotel was temporarily evacuated, the pipe was repaired, and guests were allowed to return to the hotel. Those guests whose rooms were flooded were moved to alternate locations, either within the Contemporary or at other resorts.

MousePlanet reader Jeff Hayes was in the room in which the pipe burst, and said that Disney's response to the problem was quite rapid:

“I made the original call to the operator alerting them of the pipe burst, and they had someone from maintenance up to the 12th floor outside my room in just under 10 minutes by my watch. From there on, people arrived quickly and seemed to set the whole evacuation process and cleanup in motion very quickly. I saw a number of people working late into the evening, working with guests to find other accommodations and providing them with information. And there were a number of people on hand hard at work very early the next morning."

All those scheduled to eat at the California Grill on the top floor of the hotel, including Jeff's working dinner and a wedding party, had their meals relocated to other restaurants (in both of the above cases, dinner was moved to the Grand Floridian).

Jeff continues:

“After the water was turned off and the flooding subsided, I was able to get back into my room and get a dry pair of socks and shoes. I then joined my dinner party at the California Grill for what was suppose to be a working dinner. We were informed, shortly after arriving, by the Disney people that we were meeting with, that they were evacuating the hotel. We walked down the service stairs to the lobby. They were using some of the elevators to evacuate guests, but they were a bit crowded so we took the stairs. Because I was in the restaurant, I can't tell you how the word was spread to others. There did appear to be a lot of Disney people going door to door and assisting guests. And I never saw anyone really panic. It wasn't that kind of event. It all seemed very orderly.”

Jeff was eventually returned to his room later that night. He said, “I was escorted to my room to pack up my things and given a room in one of the [Contemporary's garden] wings. I can't say I was treated any differently than anyone else. I was asked the next morning if I wanted to file a damage claim, but declined. Other than some damp clothing from the steam in my room and few small problems with bathroom items, there wasn't much to worry about.”

While maintenance issues are not unexpected in 30-year-old-plus hotels, Disney appears to have been well-prepared to respond to the situation.

Disney fined $6,300 in February's death of parade worker

The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has issued a $6,300 fine against Walt Disney World in the February 11 death of Javier Cruz [read our coverage]. Cruz was run over by a float after getting his foot caught in it while portraying the character of Pluto. Disney was given 15 days to contest the citation and 10 days to prove that corrective action had been taken.

The violation was categorized as “serious” due to the fact that employees were exposed to danger from motorized vehicles. Disney was cited for not following their own safety procedures. While Cruz was in an area that was supposed to be free of all cast members, that rule was frequently disobeyed, and supervisors did not attempt to enforce it.

Disney is expected to meet the August 20 deadline for implementing changes by creating barriers to stop people from walking between the sections of a float and making sure parade procedures are followed properly.

The maximum fine for a “serious” violation is $7,000, though fines up to $70,000 can be imposed on repeat or willful violators. Disney received a 10 percent reduction due to its good safety record, according to the director of OSHA's Tampa office.

In a written statement, Disney said that it plans to review its safety measures with OSHA to make sure that it has a safe working environment for cast members. It went on to say, “The safety and security of our guests and cast members is a top priority. We continue to keep Javier Cruz's family and friends in our thoughts and prayers.”

Pleasure Island to lower prices, extend general public opening trial

The cost of one-day Pleasure Island tickets is going down, and guests without tickets will continue to be able to walk through the area—at least for the near future. In a test starting yesterday, ticket prices were lowered from $20.50 to $16.95 (plus tax) for a one-day pass. Prices for Park Hopper passes that include Pleasure Island admission remain unchanged. During the test, Downtown Disney guests will continue to be able to travel through Pleasure Island from the West Side and Marketplace. There is no word yet on the length of the trial.

Candlelight Processional details released

This year's Candlelight Processional at the America Gardens Theater in Epcot runs from November 26 through December 30. Performed each evening at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 at America Gardens Theatre, Candlelight Processional features celebrity narrators who retell the Christmas story, backed by a massed choir and a 50-piece orchestra.

A tentative list of narrators for 2004 has been released:

  • Rita Moreno (November 26–28)
  • Heather Headley (November 29 – December 1)
  • Kirk Franklin (December 2–4)
  • Jim Caviezel (December 5–7)
  • Marlee Matlin/Jack Jason (December 8–10)
  • Joshua Morrow (December 11–13)
  • Hal Holbrook (December 14–16)
  • Steven Curtis Chapman (December 17–19)
  • Edward James Olmos (December 20–22)
  • Gary Sinise (December 23–28)
  • LeVar Burton (December 29–30)

A special dining package that includes reserved seating is again available with tiered pricing. Tier 1, at $28.99 per adult, includes the Garden Grill, Biergarten and Akershus restaurants. Tier 2, at $37.99 per adult, features dinner at San Angel Inn, Restaurant Marrakesh, Nine Dragons and the Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room. Tier 3, at $44.99 per adult, includes dinner served at Chefs de France, the Coral Reef restaurant, L?Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante, Le Cellier Steakhouse and Mitsukoshi Teppanyaki Dining Room. Dinner for children ages 3–11 is $11.99 for all tiers. All prices include gratuity but not tax. The packages, which do not include park admission, become available via the WDW dining line at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) beginning Thursday, September 2.

Grosvenor exits Chapter 11

In our February 9 Update, we reported that the Grosvenor Resort at Walt Disney World had filed for bankruptcy reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, but planned to continue operations and to restructure debt to pay off all debts in full over “a couple of years.” It appears that it has succeeded in its plans, and in a rare instance, has emerged from Chapter 11 without a change in ownership.

The resort will pay off the $51 million that it owes its secured lender, Orix Credit Alliance, plus interest. The original loan was continued with an additional five years added for repayment, to be completed in January 2010. Other creditors, mostly food, linen, transportation and other service vendors, will receive the approximately $1 million owed them, plus interest, over five years.

It is very rare for companies to emerge from Chapter 11 without reductions of debts, but the improving tourism economy has allowed the Grosvenor to do just that. The only remaining issue is back pay for workers fired during a strike eight years ago and reinstated by court order six years ago. That debt, when finally settled, will also be paid in full.

Broadway news: Time running out for Aida

After a run of over four years, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida close its curtains on New York's Broadway on Sunday, September 5. Opening on March 23, 2000, the show was favorably received and won four Tony Awards, one Grammy, one Drama Desk and one Drama League award. Now there are just three weeks left to catch this show on Broadway. The touring productions will continue, but those wishing to catch it on Broadway will be out of luck. Tickets are available through the Palace Theater box office and Ticketmaster.

Whoops!

In last week's Update, an Ears to the ground item stated, “We hear that Test Track has switched the standby and Fastpass return queues, where standby guests will now have to go all the way to the left and Fastpass return will be to the right.” Well, the information was good, but we reported it incorrectly. Standby was on the left and Fastpass was on the right. Now, Fastpass is on the left and Standby is on the right. This works well, as it allows the longer Standby line to use the longer right-side line and lets more people wait indoors. We apologize for the confusion. Thanks to MousePlanet reader Amy for pointing this out.


Have any interesting news or rumors? Let us know.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • it's a small world” – closed through March 18, 2005 for rehab (info).
  • 20,000 League Under the Sea lagoon – walled off to “clear the land as well as add landscape for future use” through November 19, with the walls tentatively coming down on November 11.
  • The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter – closed for good to be replaced with new Stitch's Great Escape, scheduled to open October 1.
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress – expected to remain open for the duration of the Stitch's Great Escape construction, then will go down for major rehab.
  • Timekeeper – seasonal – finished summer run on August 14.
  • Adventureland – opens with the rest of the park daily with the exception of the Jungle Cruise and the Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management, which open at 10 a.m.
  • The Hall of Presidents and the Country Bear Jamboree – open at 10 a.m. every day.
  • Tomorrowland Indy Speedway – remains open during its rehab. Work on the grandstand and other support areas runs through mid-August, track work through late September.
  • Fantasyland Skyway building area – under rehab through September 30. The waterfall, bridge and pond to be replaced with a meet-and-greet for Snow White and a new stroller parking area for “it's a small world.”
  • Tom Sawyer Island - closed through September 25; Rivers of America unaffected.
  • Jungle Cruise – closed August 22 – September 5.
  • Liberty Square - Disney has stated that this "land" will not be operating September 9 - 18, 2004.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed September 13 – October 15.
  • Ariel's Grotto – closed September 22 – November 19 for theme-matching with the 20,000 Leagues Lagoon reclamation.
  • The Hub area in front of the castle – undergoes more refurbishing in January 2005.
  • Astro Orbiter – closed January 2 – February 16, 2005.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – closed January 10 – February 12, 2005.

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 – returned from rehab.
  • 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'. Expected to resume upon completion of the construction.
  • The Land pavilion – expected closure January – March 2005 for completion of the Soarin' attraction.
  • 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 now open when the pavilion is open. It appears that the pavilion will not open this summer, which does not bode well for the future.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Residential Street at the Disney-MGM Studios – closed and demolished and construction 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 Magic of Disney Animation – closes for rehab September 13-24.
  • New York Street – undergoing 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 is the Streets of America Backlot. The target completion date: October 2.
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights – returns this year on the Streets of America backlot, November 24 – January 2.

Animal Kingdom

  • Pocahontas and her Forest Friends – closes September 7-11.
  • Festival of the Lion King – closes September 16-18.
  • The Boneyard – closes for rehab September 20 – October 14.

Resorts

  • Port Orleans Resort – Ongoing two-year extensive rehab of its rooms. Phase I's 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 are resuming. Scheduled: Rapa Nui January 3 – April 1, 2005, Tahiti April 24 – August 17, 2005. Tokelau, not yet refurbished, is not yet scheduled.
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort – The main pool closes September 6 through the end of the year to construct 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

  • Blizzard Beach – closes for its annual rehab on October 24..

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays, but closes 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. Open Thursday–Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Park Events

Ongoing

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link). July 31 – August 19.

September 2004

  • Tom Joyner Family Reunion Weekend (link). September 2–5.
  • Disney's Soccer Showcase Qualifier (link). September 4-6.
  • 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 & 30, December 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, & 17.
  • Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney (link). November 26 – December 24.
  • Holidays Around the World (link). November 26 – December 30.

December 2004

  • Disney's Soccer Showcase (link). December 27-January 2, 2005.
  • 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 – April TBA.

April 2005

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link). April 15 – June 5.

May 2005

  • Star Wars Weekends (link). Weekends in May – June TBA.

June 2005

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

Current Discounts & Promotions

Room discounts through September, now for APs, Florida and Canada residents

Discounts are available on rooms at Walt Disney World for stays from August 29 through September 29. Reservations must be made by August 28. Additional discounts were also announced for Annual Passholders, Florida residents, and Canadian residents. See the Walt Disney World web site (link) or MouseSavers (link) for more information.

Play 4 Days is back

The Florida Resident Play 4 Days Ticket allows Florida residents four days of play in Disneys four theme parks between July 30 and Nov. 21, 2004 for $119 per person ($126.74 including tax). Park-hopping is permitted on the days used. The ticket is available at Disney theme parks, Florida Disney Stores, and other locations such as Florida AAA offices. Proof of Florida residency is required.

New September Dream Maker package discount

A new specially-priced Dream Maker package is available for most nights from August 29 - September 29. The discount is on the room portion of the package only. Reservations must be made by August 28. See the Walt Disney World web site (link) or MouseSavers (link) for more information.

Special Night of Joy package available

A new Night of Joy Travel Package is available starting at $149 per person, per night based on double adult occupancy at Disney Resort. The Night of Joy Travel Package features: three-night accommodations at a Disney Value Resort; one Ultimate Park Hopper Ticket good for all Walt Disney World theme parks and more from check-in day through check-out day; and one three-day Night of Joy Ticket for Disney's 22nd annual Christian music celebration in Magic Kingdom. The package also includes an Official Walt Disney World Travel Company luggage tag (one per person), two souvenir Disney trading pins and two lanyards (per room) plus a Choice Feature such as miniature golf, a Leave a Legacy tile at Epcot or savings on a dining experience at Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney West Side. Reservations must be made by August 28.

Rate reductions at Radisson Resort Parkway

Radission Resort Parkway, a MousePlanet sponsor, has reduced their rates even more. Rates have been dropped effective immediately to September levels. Book now through the end of September for ratest starting at $75.95. In addition to these reduced rates, guests can receive a complimentary upgrade to deluxe pool view accommodations for the remainder of 2004 simply by typing in the code of UPGR in the promotional field of the reservation.

Courtyard View
Deluxe Pool View
Bed & Breakfast Pkg Courtyard View
8/9/04 9/30/04
$75.95
$85.95
$93.95
10/1/04 12/23/04
$84.95
$94.95
$102.95
12/24/04 12/31/04
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95

Click here for more information, or here to make reservations now.

2005 rates will be available shortly.

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 are June 20 – July 5 and 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 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). 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 October 2004.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
8/16
8/17
8/18
8/19
8/20
8/21
 

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8:30p
AK 9a-7p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

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

MK 9a-9p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8:30p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

MK 9a-9p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8:30p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

MK 9a-9p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8:30p
AK 9a-6p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8:30p
AK 9a-5p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

8/22
8/23
  • 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-8:30p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8:30p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

MK 9a-8:30p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8:30p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through October 2004.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 8/16

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 8/17

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 8/18

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 8/19

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 8/20

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 8/21

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 8/22

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 8/23

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8:30p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p

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 8/16

Joy Wright

Kabang

 

 

Tuesday 8/17

Joy Wright

Kabang

 

Ozomatli with Kinky and Del Castillo presented by Coors Light (main room), $19.50; 8 pm

Wednesday 8/18

Joy Wright

Kabang

Tinman Jones

 

Thursday 8/19

Sisaundra Lewis & Sounds of Soul

80Z All Stars

Kabang

O.A.R. with Howie Day (main room), $27.50; 7:30 pm

Freight Train Annie (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Friday 8/20

Sisaundra Lewis & Sounds of Soul

80Z All Stars

Kabang

Local Chronic featuring Still Nave and Canvas (main room), $5 for 21 & up/$7 all others; 9 pm

Percy Strother (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Saturday 8/21

Sisaundra Lewis & Sounds of Soul

80Z All Stars

Kabang

Parafora Music & Budweiser TRUE Music present Jam Session featuring Sonar, Blackhouse Secrets, One Drop and Florgasm (main room), $5 for 21 & up/$7 all others; 8pm

Bird Dog Bobby (Blues Kitchen); free, 11pm

Sunday 8/22

Elliot Dyson

80Z All Stars

 

Golden Aires (gospel brunch), $30 adult, $15 child (3-9); 10:30am, 1pm

Monday 8/23

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.