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News and Views

Disney suspends Chartrand again

Michael Chartrand, who was acquitted earlier this year on charges that he fondled a 13-year-old girl while portraying the character of Tigger, has been suspended again by Disney, this time for allegedly shoving two other workers.

On August 29, Chartrand was portraying Goofy at Disney's Animal Kingdom when he allegedly approached two Kodak photographers taking photographs of guests and shoved each one in the chest. The photographers, one male and one female, allegedly shoved “Goofy” back, thinking that he was a friend of theirs joking around. When they went backstage and saw Chartrand remove his costume head, they realized that it was not their friend, and informed their bosses, who notified Disney. Disney contacted the sheriff's office.

Chartrand's attorney, Jeffrey Kaufman, said that Chartrand was playing around with them because he was just being Goofy, and that the shoving was just playing around and part of “routine horseplay” between characters and greeters to entertain guests. “Of course he was goofing around, because he was Goofy!” Kaufman said.

While he was reinstated after his acquittal by Disney on August 6, Chartrand did not work his first shift until August 13 through 20. Chartrand was again suspended indefinitely without pay by Disney for the latest incident on August 30.

Kaufman claims that Disney is trying to get rid of Chartrand because they see him as a liability. “Now it's 'Goofy Gone Wild,'” Kaufman said. “He just can't catch a break.”

The sheriff's office has not been able to process a report due to the backlog caused by hurricanes Charley and Frances.

Ivan and Jeanne disrupt Disney Cruise Line itinerary

While Hurricane Ivan bypassed Walt Disney World, its passage still left devastation in its wake. Aside from the damage to the Gulf Coast of the U.S., many Caribbean islands, including Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, suffered terrible damage.

The Disney Magic, originally scheduled to cruise the Western Caribbean last week, changed its itinerary to the Eastern Caribbean in order to miss the storm. It is unknown whether next week's Western itinerary will be followed. We were told that if the port at Grand Cayman is open, the ship will stop. If not, they will find an alternate port to stop at.

This week's scheduled Eastern itinerary for the Magic and the Disney Wonder may be disrupted by Hurricane Jeanne's progress through the Bahamas, though as of Friday, Disney was stating that no itinerary changes for this week had been confirmed. The changes will be made depending on the path of the storm.

Charley and Frances cause Hotel Royal Plaza to close until March

The passage of hurricanes Charley and Frances left one major casualty on Walt Disney World property. The Hotel Royal Plaza on Hotel Plaza Boulevard near Downtown Disney has closed until next March in order to repair a substantial amount of water damage. Over 150 employees have been laid off while the repairs are completed, and more may be in the offing.

The hotel is working to rebook all guests with reservations between now and the end of February into other hotels at the same rate. If you have not been contacted, you can call your travel agent or call the hotel directly at 407-827-3420. The hotel will undergo some renovation at the same time as the repairs, so we can hope that it will emerge in better shape than it was before the storms. If you rebook on your own, please let the hotel know, so that they can attend to other guests' needs.

Transforming The Land (pavilion)

As we've been reporting, The Land pavilion in Epcot is closing January 2 through approximately mid-March so the new Soarin' ride can be completed. We've learned details of some of the other work scheduled to take place during that time.

  • Installation of a new elevator and escalators to help ease guest flow to and from the lower level of the pavilion.
  • Closure of the Sunshine Season Food Fair, to be replaced with a smaller resturant with seating in the center of the pavilion.
  • Removal of the balloons and fountain from the pavilion.
  • Addition of Fastpass facilities for Soarin', and a gift shop will be opened where Food Rocks stood.

It's also rumored that the pavilion may be receive/suffer an “entire retheme.” It's not entirely clear what that might entail, though I've heard from other sources that it may involve a new color scheme, new music, and other changes.

Alaska Airlines offers Kids Fly Free to Orlando deal

Alaska Airlines has announced another round of its popular Kids Fly Free promotion to Orlando for travel through December 15, 2004. The offer is valid for children ages 2 to 11 accompanied by an adult with the purchase of an Alaska Airlines Vacations package by September 30, 2004.

Vacation packages include round-trip airfare from Seattle, Portland or Boise to Orlando, airport transfers via Mears Transportation, three or more nights accommodations at Disney Resort Hotels and Ultimate Park Hopper tickets for travel between September 30 and December 15, 2004. Those buying the package also receive two Disney trading pins and a choice of one round of miniature golf at Winter Summerland or Fantasia Gardens, one Leave A Legacy tile at Epcot, $25 off dining at Planet Hollywood located in Downtown Disney West Side. or a specially designed Disney Character poster.

To book Kids Fly Free, call Alaska Airlines Vacations at 1-800-468-2248.

Ears to the ground

…To get ready for Halloween, Disney gardeners have added a third Mickey-shaped edible plant to their repertoire. In addition to the cucumbers and watermelons that were grown into Mickey-head shapes using plastic forms, Disney horticulturists have added a round form that will encourage pumpkins to grow with two ear-like protrusions from the main sphere. Mickey Mouse pumpkins will be visible at the resort in time for the holiday.

...Disney's Vero Beach Resort reopens today (Monday) after a brief closure due to the impact of Hurricane Frances. Limited repair work continues is specific areas, including Sonya's restaurant and the children's wet deck, which are currently closed. Member reservations began being taken late Friday.

…On Friday afternoon, a special invitation was extended to Disney Visa cardholders to attend a special preview of the Cinderella's Princess Court show at the World of Disney on September 29, 30 and October 3 at the new World of Disney store in New York City, formerly the flagship 5th Avenue Disney Store. The available slots were gone in a matter of hours. These free preview showings come before the show's grand opening. Apparently, once the show opens, the ticket price will be a whopping $75! The show and store will have their grand opening on Tuesday, October 5. Early details about the show are available online at WorldofDisney.com (link).


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. Latest word is AP/DVC previews November 5-7, official grand opening press event November 16, soft openings TBA.
  • 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 – opens seasonally.
  • 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.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed September 13 – October 15.
  • Ariel's Grotto – closed September 13 – November 11 for theme-matching with the 20,000 Leagues Lagoon reclamation.
  • Frontierland Shootin' Arcade ? will not be operating September 18 - October 9.
  • 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.
  • The Electrical Water Pageant on Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake – was reportedly back in operation on August 23 following faster-than-expected repairs to one of the floats damaged by Hurricane Charley.

Epcot

  • The Universe of Energy – may close for a short rehab at any time to remove the ExxonMobil signage that has remained for an inexplicably long time since its pavilion sponsorship ended.
  • Food Rocks – closed permanently to make way for the entrance to the new Soarin' 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. The pavilion did not open this summer, which does not bode well for the future. However, it is expected to be open next January – March during the closure of The Land pavilion.

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

  • 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 is closed through mid-December to construct a new themed water slide.
  • Disney's BoardWalk Resort – portions of the resort will see work on the piping system take place in corridors outside guest rooms daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through summer 2005. No work is scheduled inside guest rooms.
  • 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 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

September 2004

  • 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

  • Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships (link). December 5 - 11.
  • 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

  • Twirl Mania - The Twirler's Championships (link). February 18 - 21.
  • 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.
  • Walt Disney World Inline Marathon (link). April 30 - May 1.

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 and Dream Maker discounts through December

Room discount codes for Annual Passholders, Florida residents, and regular guests were announced last Wednesday by Walt Disney World, as were codes for Dream Maker packages. The available rooms were snapped up at a record pace, and some days are already sold out of rooms available at the discount. The codes are good through Christmas Day. (Though if you check in before that date and leave later, you may be able to apply the code to your whole stay.) Reservations must be made by October 10. Dream Maker rates start from $326 per adult, $233 per junior (ages 10-17) and $188 per child for 3 nights at a Disney World Value Resort. 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 Disney's 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.

Rate reductions at Radisson Resort Parkway

Radission Resort Parkway, a MousePlanet sponsor, has reduced their 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.

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 November 2004.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
9/20
9/21
9/22
9/23
9/24
9/25
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

9/26
9/27
  • 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-8p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-5p
TL 10a-5p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through November 2004.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 9/20

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 9/21

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 9/22

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 9/23

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 9/24

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 9/25

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 9/26

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 9/27

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 8p

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 9/20

Elliot Dyson

 

Kabang

 

Tuesday 9/21

Elliot Dyson

 

Kabang

 

Wednesday 9/22

Elliot Dyson

Latin Rhythm Nights

Fifth Year Crush

HOB & Fat Harry Productions present Flogging Molly with Street Dogs and The Briggs (main room), $15 advance/$17.50 day of show; 8pm

Thursday 9/23

Bobby Pickwood

 

Fifth Year Crush

Soulfly with Ill Nino, Twisted Method and Twelve Tribes (main room), $17.50 advance/$19.50 day of show; 7:30pm

Beautiful Bobby Blackmon (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Friday 9/24

Bobby Pickwood

 

Fifth Year Crush

Face to Face with TBA (main room), $15 advance/$17.50 day of show; 8pm

Pat Ramsey (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Saturday 9/25

Bobby Pickwood

 

Fifth Year Crush

Daddy Yankee "Barrio Fino Live" Featuring Wisin Y Yandel with Wilo Y Capone, Versace and Brenalys (main room), $37 advance/$42 day of show; 10pm

Pat Ramsey (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Sunday 9/26

Barbara Trent

 

Fifth Year Crush

Apostle JL Cash and Praise (gospel brunch), $30 adult, $15 child (3-9); 10:30am, 1pm

An Evening with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic (main room), $25 advance/$27.50 day of show; 7:30pm

Monday 9/27

Barbara Trent

 

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.