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News and Views


The ponds in Epcot's Future World West side are drained for a couple of weeks for cleaning and maintenance, and refilled this past weekend. Photo by Don Jones.

Service Trades Council agrees to contract with Disney… or does it?

After having picketed at the opening of the New York City World of Disney store, a Disney On Ice performance in Philadelphia, and the Orlando International Airport over the last few weeks, the Service Trades Council, a collective bargaining unit for six union locals representing about 22,000 Disney employees, announced Thursday night that it had reached agreement with Disney on a new contract. The council, which only a day earlier had asked its members to vote down a contract proposal and to grant it permission to call a strike, agreed to the contract at a negotiating session that lasted into Thursday evening.

However, the Council is not entirely agreed on the contract. Two of the member unions were not present at the negotiations—they were not even aware that the negotiations were going on in the first place. Teamsters Local 385—representing the character department, laundry, Tri Circle D Ranch staff and parking attendants—and Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees (HERE) Local 362—representing attractions, custodial and vacation planners—were angry that they were not informed that the negotiations were carried out behind their backs, and urged their combined 6,000 members to vote down the agreement, which was largely identical to the agreement from Wednesday that the council was urging its members to vote down.

Joe Condo, head of the Council, said he met with a Disney negotiator to discuss side issues affecting only Transportation Communications International Union Local 1908, the union that he represents. Representatives of two other unions arrived, one to discuss strike issues with Condo, another to take Condo to the airport. Negotiations on the whole contract suddenly began, and an agreement was made between the three union negotiators and the Disney negotiator. A fourth union was contacted about the agreement and consented to the tentative contract.

While leaders of the two excluded unions claimed that the agreement was reached at a secret meeting, Condo claimed that the meeting was not secret because it took place in a hotel lobby. The Teamsters have filed an unfair labor practices charge with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming that the four unions involved in the agreement broke Service Trades Council rules by not inviting the Teamsters and HERE 362 representatives to the negotiation, and further accuses Disney of not bargaining in good faith by not negotiating with all of the unions at the end. It is not known why the other unions were not invited to the negotiation, as there most likely would have been time for them to arrive between the time that the meeting began in the afternoon and the time that it ended at 7 p.m.

In the meantime, a meeting has been scheduled for Monday for all six union heads and Disney to formally discuss the last offer. However, Teamsters and HERE 362 officials have stated that if the agreement is not changed, they will still ask their members to vote it down.

It appears that some internal politics are going on within the Service Trades Council. Indeed, we're hearing some rumors that there is grumbling among some rank-and-file members of either dissolving the Council or at least some of the member unions breaking away. With legal action already having been taken by one union against others, this divisiveness within the ranks does not bode well for the future of the Service Trades Council.


This section of the Living Seas at Epcot has been closed for the addition of the next phase of the Finding Nemo overlay. Photo by Don Jones.

Craft Maintenance Council does come to agreement, vote results pending

Last weekend, Disney came to agreement with the Craft Maintenance Council on a new agreement. The approximately 4,000 employees represented by the Craft Maintenance Council—including computer technicians, ride maintenance staff, resort and restaurant maintenance staff, painters, carpenters, horticulturists, and other maintenance staff—voted on the contract last Wednesday. Contract results were expected on Saturday, but had not been published at press time.

Bullet train amendment repealed

On Election Day, Floridians voted by a large margin to repeal the high-speed rail amendment that was added to the state constitution four years ago. While the project is no longer mandated by the state constitution, several laws authorizing the project are still on the books. There is no word yet as to whether the laws will be repealed, modified, or left in place to slowly proceed. However, it's expected that the project will be disbanded, sooner rather than later.


The new San Francisco street in the Streets of America area shows a convincing illusion of depth. Photo by Don Jones.

Super Soap Weekend events

This Saturday and Sunday mark the return of Super Soap Weekend to the Disney-MGM Studios. Over 30 stars from the ABC daytime dramas All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital are scheduled to appear. Special events will include celebrity autograph sessions, celebrity motorcades, special merchandise for the event and from the shows, a special talk show, live concerts featuring the soap stars, an audition opportunity for a lucky few, and a special soap-themed version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire – Play it! where contestants get to share the “hot seat” with ABC soap stars.

Ears to the ground

…Rumors that Who Wants to be Millionaire – Play it! at the Disney-MGM Studios would be closing are premature. Despite the fact that the same attraction closed at Disney's California Adventure back in August, the Florida version will remain open, at least through early next year. The syndicated version of the show, featuring Meredith Vieira, will be taping shows the week of January 12 to 16.

Mousefest

Are you planning to attend Mousefest 2004 (link)? Let us know! MousePlanet is well represented by Brian Bennett, Mark Goldhaber, Sheila Hagen, Mike Scopa, Lani Teshima, and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix. 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.


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 Nov. 19, with the walls tentatively coming down on Nov. 11.
  • The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter – closed for good to be replaced with new Stitch's Great Escape. Cast, Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Club previews were last week, official grand opening press event is Nov. 16, count on soft openings this week.
  • 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.
  • Ariel's Grotto – closed Sept. 13 – Nov. 11 for theme-matching with the 20,000 Leagues Lagoon reclamation.
  • Cinderella's Carousel – closed Nov. 9–11.
  • Country Bear Jamboree – closed Nov. 15–20.
  • The Hub area in front of the castle – undergoes more refurbishing in January 2005 in preparation for the Cinderellabration show coming later in the year.
  • Cinderella's Royal Table – closed for rehab Jan. 17–27, 2005. Lunch and dinner resume on Jan. 28; character breakfasts return Jan. 29.
  • Astro Orbiter – closed Jan. 2 – Feb. 16, 2005.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – closed Jan. 10 – Feb. 12, 2005.
  • Cinderella's Surprise Celebration – last performance on Feb. 26, 2005. Expected to return after the 18-month “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” celebration ends.
  • Cinderellabration – begins preview performances in March 2005. Expected to run until the end of the 18-month “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” celebration.

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, which is officially scheduled to open in May 2005, but may have an earlier soft opening.
  • 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 – closes Jan. 2 – March 31, 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 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. Scheduled debut: May 2005.
  • New York Street – undergoes construction to change facades to represent Chicago and San Francisco, and renamed the Streets of America Backlot.
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights – returns on the Streets of America backlot, Nov. 24 – Jan. 2.

Animal Kingdom

  • Lucky the Dinosaur – is scheduled to debut in Spring 2005.

Resorts

  • Port Orleans Resort – Ongoing two-year extensive rooms rehab: French Quarter now open. Riverside going through a rehab. The Magnolia Bend mansions are being worked on one by one, followed by Alligator Bayou closing in sections.
  • Polynesian Resort – refurbishment nearly complete. Longhouses under rehab are walled off and isolated. Room refurbishments are resuming. Scheduled: Rapa Nui Jan. 3 – April 1, 2005, Tahiti April 24 – Aug. 17, 2005. Tokelau, not yet refurbished, is not yet scheduled.
  • Old Key West Resort – The main pool is closed through mid-December to construct a new themed water slide.
  • BoardWalk Resort – work on the piping system take place in corridors outside some guest rooms daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through summer 2005. No work is scheduled inside guest rooms.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – 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.
  • Yacht and Beach Club Resorts – An overall refurbishment of the Stormalong Bay pool area at the Beach Club is running through early 2005. Certain sections of the pool will be unavailable at various times during the project. Those parts of the main pool not immediately being worked on will remain available for use. The first portion of the work should be completed by Dec. 23. The main Shipwreck Slide will be closed only from Jan. 3 to Feb. 25, 2005, due to a painting project in that area.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – Construction continues on the 86,000 square foot exhibit hall that is scheduled to open in the Spring 2005. Construction noises may be audible throughout the Casitas section of the resort during the daytime construction.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – undergoes its annual refurbishment from Oct. 24 – Dec. 11.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – closes for its annual refurbishment from Dec. 12, 2004– March 12, 2005. It is expected to reopen with a new water coaster.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays–Saturdays, but closes Dec. 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.
  • Disney's Vero Beach Resort (a Disney Vacation Club resort) – still closed due to hurricane damage. The resort soft opens today, but some common areas may remain closed for repairs, including Sonya's and the Tiger Lily wet deck.

Park Events

Ongoing

  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (link). Through Nov. 14.

November 2004

  • Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney (link). Nov. 12–14.
  • Super Soap Weekend (link). Nov. 13-14.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (link). Nov. 28 & 30, Dec. 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, & 17.
  • Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney (link). Nov. 26 – Dec. 24.
  • Holidays Around the World (link). Nov. 26 – Dec. 30.

December 2004

  • Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships (link). Dec. 5-11.
  • Join MousePlanet at MouseFest (link). Dec. 9-13.
  • Disney's Soccer Showcase (link). Dec. 27-Jan. 2, 2005.
  • New Year's Eve celebrations at Pleasure Island (link) and Atlantic Dance (link). Dec. 31.

January 2005

  • Disney's Health and Fitness Expo (link). Jan. 7 & 8.
  • FamilyFun Magazine Family Fun Run (link). Jan. 8.
  • Disney Marathon (link) and Half-Marathon (link). Jan. 9.

February 2005

  • Twirl Mania – The Twirler's Championships (link). Feb. 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

Discounts for early 2005 are out

Resort discounts for the first part of 2005 have been announced. Annual Passholder & Florida Resident discounts are valid for January 2 through February 16, while general & Canada Resident discounts are good for January 2 through April 16. Room-only and Dream Maker packages are available. 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 through November 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 its rates through the end of 2005, and has reduced its 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
2004
     Through Dec 21
$69.95
$79.95
$87.95
     Dec 22 – Jan 1, '05
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
2005
     Jan 2 – Feb 3
$79.95
$89.95
$97.95
     Feb 4–16
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
     Feb 17–20
$119.95
$129.95
$137.95
     Feb 21 – March 17
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
     March 18 – Apr 9
$119.95
$129.95
$137.95
     Apr 10 – 16
$109.95
$119.95
$127.95
     Apr 17 – June 29
$89.95
$99.95
$107.95
     June 30 – July 4
$99.95
$109.95
$117.95
     July 5 – Aug 13
$89.95
$99.95
$107.95
     Aug 14 – Sept 29
$79.95
$89.95
$97.95
     Sept 30 – Oct 22
$89.95
$99.95
$107.95
     Oct 23 – Dec 22
$79.95
$89.95
$97.95
     Dec 23 – 31
$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 January 2005.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
11/8
11/9
11/10
11/11
11/12
11/13
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

11/14
11/15
  • 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 closed
TL 10a-5p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through January 2005.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 11/8

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 7p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

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

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 11/9

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

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

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 11/10

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 11/11

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 7p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 11/12

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 11/13

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 11/14

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 8p

Eat to the Beat Concert Series: Chubby Checker & The Wildcats 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations! 9p

Fantasmic 8p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 11/15

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 6p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

Illuminations! 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

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 11/8

Elliot Dyson

 

Kabang

 

Tuesday 11/9

Elliot Dyson

 

Kabang

Sparta with Further Seems Forever and Copeland (main room), $14 advance/$16.50 day of show; 7:30 pm

Wednesday 11/10

Elliot Dyson

 

Kabang

 

Thursday 11/11

Mike Mac Arthur Group

 

Stormbringer

HOB & Fighting Promotions Presents Local Chronic! Featuring Supervillians, Junkie Rush, Gargamel and Pretty Ugly (main room), 21 & up free/Under 21 $5; 8 pm

Liz Mandville Greeson (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Friday 11/12

Mike Mac Arthur Group

 

Stormbringer

Cradle of Filth with Bleeding Through, Arch Enemy, and Himsa (main room), $20 advance/$23 day of show; 7:30pm

Jeff Prine Trio Featuring Juanita Dixon (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Saturday 11/13

Mike Mac Arthur Group

 

Stormbringer

Jonny Lang with TBA (main room), $29.50 advance/$32.50 day of show; 8pm

Eddie Kirkland (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Sunday 11/14

Barbara Trent

 

Stormbringer

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

Foundation and House of Blues Present The Bouncing Souls with Against Me, Murphys Law, Let It Burn, The Loved Ones (main room), $12; 6:30pm

Monday 11/15

Barbara Trent

 

Kabang

 


Have any interesting news or rumors? Let us know.



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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.