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News and Views

We're going to MouseFest!

MousePlanet is providing you with an unprecedented East Coast opportunity to meet our staff at MouseFest 2004 (link) in December. Along with representatives from many other Web sites and guide books, MousePlanet is attending the event at Walt Disney World in force. Come and meet Brian Bennett, Mark Goldhaber, Sheila Hagen, Mike Scopa, Lani Teshima and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix at the Mega Mouse Meet and around the parks!

Are you an East Coaster and wonder what the Disneyland Resort-based MouseAdventure is like? We'll have a Mini-MouseAdventure in the event program. Take the challenge and get a special finisher's button! We may also have some samples from previous MouseAdventures for you to view during the Mega Mouse Meet.

If you're planning to come, let us know! Either send an e-mail or post a message to the MouseFest thread on our discussion boards (link). If you choose to send e-mail, please put “MouseFest” in the subject to allow for better sorting of e-mail.

Vero closed again

Disney's Vero Beach DVC Resort is undergoing another cleanup in the wake of Hurricane Jeanne. This is the second hurricane to score a direct hit on the property, as both Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne made landfall on top of the resort. As with the aftermath of Frances, water damage to the carpets and other areas, severe beach erosion, and damage to Sonya's and the children's wet play area are the major problems. The resort is currently scheduled to reopen on November 1. In the meantime, guests who were scheduled to stay at the resort are being contacted and can transfer their reservations to other Disney resorts, rebook for a later date, or cancel outright with no penalty.

Now it's time to say good-bye

The Mouseketeer Clubhouse at Disney's Contemporary Resort closed on Friday. It appears that this is a permanent closure. The remaining child activity centers at the resort will continue to operate. Guests can sign their children up for visits to the Sandcastle Club at the Beach Club, Simba's Clubhouse at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Mouseketeer Clubhouse at the Grand Floridian, the Cub's Den at the Wilderness Lodge or The Neverland Club at the Polynesian Resort.

Disney union rejects contract again by another huge margin

The Service Trades Council Union, the umbrella organization covering six unions representing 22,000 employees at Walt Disney World, has rejected a contract proposal by another landslide vote. While the 3,659-to-96 vote was not quite as one-sided as the 4,122-to-15 vote in August, Friday's vote again sends a message to Disney that the union members are not happy with what they are offering. The 2.6 percent yes vote is more than the 0.36 percent vote last time, but still obviously not even a start toward a positive ratification vote.

The represented employees include costumed characters, ticket-takers, food service workers, housekeepers, bellhops, stage technicians, bus drivers, and lifeguards.

While Disney upped its offer to a 4 percent pay raise and a minimum $400 annual bonus under the proposed three-year contract (up from a 1 percent raise and a one-time bonus of $500 in August), the major sticking point is still health care coverage. Disney is asking rank-and-file workers to pay the same rates as executives for health coverage. Other remaining issues of contention include the elimination of some overtime provisions and the elimination of a pension plan for new hires in favor of a 401K plan.

The union plans to demonstrate at the opening of the new World of Disney store on New York City's Fifth Avenue tomorrow. While the union is not currently planning a strike, they have refused to rule it out. There has never before been a strike at Walt Disney World.

The current contract, originally scheduled to expire May 1, has been extended until October 22. Talks resume next Tuesday.

New animation attraction opens this month

The Magic of Disney Animation reopens to the public in its new, animation studio-less form later this month. Annual Passholders can have a sneak preview October 15 to 17 from noon until 6 p.m. each day, and the attraction officially reopens on October 18.

The revamped attraction no longer features a look at actual animators working on an actual film, but rather more resembles the animation attraction at Disney's California Adventure, with four separate experiences:

  • At the Animation Station – you can “interact, play and create your own animation.”
  • At Drawn to Animation – an animator has a “live conversation” with Mushu, the dragon character from Mulan, as they explain how animated characters are brought to life.
  • At the Animation Academy – you can sit at an animator's desk and learn how to draw a Disney character.
  • And, of course, meet & greets – There will be an opportunity to greet and take photos with your favorite Disney and Pixar characters, including from the upcoming Disney/Pixar film The Incredibles.

It appears that the Ursula's Grotto and Beast's Library areas from DCA did not make the transition, despite the popularity of those areas.

Mosquitoes came, blew away, returning again

The large amounts of standing water left by Hurricanes Charley and Frances were wonderful breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Record numbers of the pests were seen after each storm. Then Hurricane Frances blew away the mosquitoes from Charley, and Hurricane Jeanne blew Frances' mosquitoes away. Again the number of the bugs has been extremely low over the last week or so. But mosquito eggs developing in the standing water left by Jeanne should be ready to hatch this week. If you're leaving for a trip to Walt Disney World in the next week or two, make sure to bring along bug spray containing DEET (or buy it once you arrive). Remember that there should be no more than 10 percent DEET when applying to children, and 20 to 30 percent for adults.

Ears to the ground

…Disney Cruise Line is changing its Western Caribbean itinerary for the Disney Magic until the November 6 cruise due to Hurricane Ivan. Apparently, Grand Cayman was so badly damaged that they are bypassing the port call there and rerouting the ship to Costa Maya, Mexico.

…Registration for the 2005 Walt Disney World Marathon is now closed. You can still sign up for the Family Fun Run 5K and Kids' Races (link).

…The Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure is closed until further notice due to damage from Hurricane Jeanne.

…The construction wall around Stitch's Great Escape has come down and been replaced by planters. In the past, this has been a sign that a new attraction is almost ready for soft openings. We'll keep an eye on this situation.

…The Main Street Ice Cream Parlor has a new sponsor. Edy's Ice Cream has recently signed on.


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.
  • Fantasyland Skyway building area – reopened September 30. The waterfall, bridge and pond have been replaced with a meet-and-greet for Snow White and a new stroller parking area for “it's a small world.”
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed September 13 – October 19.
  • Ariel's Grotto – closed September 13 – November 11 for theme-matching with the 20,000 Leagues Lagoon reclamation.
  • Frontierland Shootin' Arcade – closed September 18 - October 9.
  • Cinderella's Carousel – closed November 2 - 14.
  • 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 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.
  • New York Street – undergoing construction to change 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 Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights – returns this year on the Streets of America backlot, November 24 – January 2.
  • The Magic of Disney Animation – closed September 13 – October 17 (Annual Passholder preview - October 15-17.)
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closed until further notice due to damage from Hurricane Jeanne.

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 goes 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 – undergoes its annual refurbishment from October 24 - December 11.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – closes for its annual refurbishment on December 12.

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

October 2004

  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (link). October 1 – November 14.
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (link). October 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.
  • Join MousePlanet at MouseFest (link). December 9-13.
  • 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.

Radisson Resort Parkway announces rates through 2005

Radisson Resort Parkway, a MousePlanet sponsor, has announced their rates through the end of 2005, and has reduced their rates for much of the rest of this year. 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
now - 10/18/04
$65.00
$75.00
$83.00
10/19/04 - 10/23/04
$99.95
$109.95
$117.95
10/24/04 - 12/21/04
$69.95
$79.95
$87.95
12/22/04 - 1/1/05
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
1/2/05 - 2/3/05
$79.95
$89.95
$97.95
2/4/05 - 2/16/05
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
2/17/05 - 2/20/05
$119.95
$129.95
$137.95
2/21/05 - 3/17/05
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
3/18/05 - 4/9/05
$119.95
$129.95
$137.95
4/10/05 - 4/16/05
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
4/17/05 - 6/29/05
$89.95
$99.95
$107.95
6/30/05 - 7/4/05
$99.95
$109.95
$117.95
7/5/05 - 8/13/05
$89.95
$99.95
$107.95
8/14/05 - 9/29/05
$79.95
$89.95
$97.95
9/30/05 - 10/22/05
$89.95
$99.95
$107.95
10/23/05 - 12/22/05
$79.95
$89.95
$97.95
12/23/05 - 12/31/05
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95

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

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 December 2004.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
10/4
10/5
10/6
10/7
10/8
10/9
 

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

MK 9a-9p
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

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

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

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

10/10
10/11
  • 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-7:30p
AK 9a-5p
BB 10a-5p
TL 10a-5p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through December 2004.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 10/4

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Kool and the Gang 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 10/5

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Kool and the Gang 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 10/6

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Starship 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 10/7

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Starship 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 10/8

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 7p-12p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Starship 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 10/9

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Starship 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 10/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Starship 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 10/11

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: The Beach Boys 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Downtown Disney Entertainment

(Separate admission required)

Jazz Club
West End Stage
Rock & Roll Beach Club
House of Blues
Monday 10/4

Elliot Dyson

 

Kabang

Foundation and House of Blues Presents The Punk Voter Tour Featuring Anti-Flag, Midtown, Strike Anywhere, The AKA's and Mike Park (main room), $12 advance/$14 day of show; 7pm

Tuesday 10/5

Elliot Dyson

 

Kabang

 

Wednesday 10/6

Elliot Dyson

 

Kabang

Social Distortion with Tiger Army and The Explosion (main room), $25; 8pm

Thursday 10/7

Eric Essix

 

Stormbringer

Social Distortion with Tiger Army and The Explosion (main room), $25; 8pm

Friday 10/8

Eric Essix

 

Stormbringer

An Evening with Joe Satriani (main room), $29.50; 8:30pm

Lee Boys (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Saturday 10/9

Eric Essix

 

Stormbringer

Lee Boys (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Sunday 10/10

Barbara Trent

 

Stormbringer

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

Monday 10/11

Barbara Trent

 

Kabang

Home Grown with Spitalfield, Denver Harbor and Halifax (main room), $10 advance/$12 day of show; 7pm



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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.