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News and Views

Mousefest

Wow, what an amazing time we're having at Mousefest 2004 (link)! The Mega Mouse Meet on Saturday was overwhelming. Thanks to all of you who took time out of your Walt Disney World vacations (or indeed, made a special trip) just to see li'l ol' us! We'll continue our wrapup coverage of MouseFest over the next couple of weeks, but we just want to express our gratitude to all of the readers who came and made this event so successful. (Thanks also to Deb Wills and Jennifer and Dave Marx for putting the whole event together!)
– Brian Bennett, Mark Goldhaber, Sheila Hagen, Mike Scopa, Lani Teshima, Jeff Moxley and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.


Greetings from MouseFest! We'll be back with a lengthier Park Update next week. MousePlanet staff eagerly await the throngs before the doors open to the public. From left: Mark Goldhaber, Sheila Hagen, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, Jeff Moxley, Lani Teshima, and Mike Scopa (and Stitch). Photo by Mark Leventhal.

Yet another contract voted down

Another contract vote, another rejected contract. Last Thursday, members of the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America Local 603 shot down a contract proposal for the second time in two weeks. The 263-to-45 vote was just marginally closer than the 296-to-26 vote on November 24. The union's existing contract expired on Friday.

Disney was to meet with the union, which represents over 1,000 Disney security guards, on Friday to discuss an contract extension. After the extension is nailed down, both sides will take some time before resuming negotiations. The difficulty with these contract negotiations comes on the heels of the settlement of the Service Trades Council contract after months of fighting.

Ears to the ground

…Cypress Gardens officially reopened for business on Thursday with the traditional Southern belles, the water ski show, the new rides (of course) and other entertainment including the “stilt birds,” who performed as “Ciriklit” at Epcot many years ago.

…One rumor being heard more and more is that the Stitch's Great Escape attraction will go down for a complete overhaul early next year, in a fashion similar to Alien Encounter, the ride that it replaced.

…A six-foot-tall Figment is now meeting and greeting guests at Epcot.

…It's looking better for Wonders of Life to be open during The Land's closure.


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." Reopens soon.
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress – expected to remain open for the holiday season, then will go down for major rehab.
  • Timekeeper – opens seasonally. It will likely be open for the last two weeks of December, but that is not confirmed yet.
  • Jungle Cruise, the Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management, the Hall of Presidents and the Country Bear Jamboree – open at 10 a.m. every day.
  • 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 – will be closed for rehab January 17–27, 2005. Lunch and dinner will resume on January 28, while character breakfasts will return on January 29.
  • Astro Orbiter – closed January 25 – March 12, 2005.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – closed January 10 – February 12, 2005.
  • Cinderella's Surprise Celebration – last performance on February 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

  • Soarin' – 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 construction of the queue area for Soarin'. Expected to resume upon completion of the construction.
  • The Land pavilion – will close January 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 will be open December 18–31, and it is rumored but not confirmed that it will be open next January – March during the closure of The Land pavilion.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, an American version of the popular Moteurs… Action! stunt show from the Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris – is officially scheduled to debut in May 2005.
  • Streets of America Backlot – undergoing construction to change facades to represent Chicago and San Francisco. Formerly known as New York Street.
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights – returns this year on the Streets of America backlot, November 24 – January 2.
  • Fantasmic – will not be performed January 24-26.

Animal Kingdom

  • Lucky the Dinosaur – is scheduled to debut in Spring 2005.
  • Expedition Everest – is scheduled to open in Spring 2006.

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 first be worked on one by one, and will be 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.
  • Old Key West Resort – The main pool is closed through mid-December to construct a new themed water slide.
  • BoardWalk Resort – Conversion of the previous Disney Vacation Club sales center into 19 additional villa-style accommodations will continue through June. The second floor villas located directly above the project area will not be available for booking during the construction. In addition, a major pipe replacement project is underway in corridors outside 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 December 23. The main Shipwreck Slide will be closed only from January 3 to February 25, 2005, due to a painting project in that area. During the work on the slide, Yacht and Beach Club guests may use the Keister Coaster slide and Luna Park pool at the BoardWalk Resort.
  • Yacht Club Resort – A siding renovation project is expected to continue through mid-2005.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – Construction continues on the 86,000 square foot exhibit hall that is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2005. Construction noises may be audible throughout the Casitas section of the resort during the daytime construction.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – is closed for its annual refurbishment from December 12, 2004 – March 12, 2005. It will reopen with a new water coaster, called the Crush 'N' Gusher.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays, but closes December 5–14 and 26.
  • 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

  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (link). December 14, 16, & 17.
  • Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights (link). November 24 – January 2.
  • Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney (link). November 26 – December 24.
  • Holidays Around the World (link). November 26 – December 30.

December 2004

  • 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 (link1)(link2). June 2–5.

September 2005

  • Night of Joy (link). Dates TBA.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (link). September 30 – November 13.

October 2005

  • Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (link). Dates TBA.
  • Funai Classic at Walt Disney World (link). October 2023.

November 2005

  • Super Soap Weekend (link). Dates TBA.
  • Festival of the Masters (link). November 1213.

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.

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
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 February 2005.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
12/13
12/14
12/15
12/16
12/17
12/18
 

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

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

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

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

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

MK 9a-12a
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9:30p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-5p
BB closed
TL 10a-5p

12/19
12/20
  • 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-11p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9:30p
MGM 9a-8p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-5p
TL closed

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through February 2005.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 12/13

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 6p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

Candlelight Processional - narrator Joshua Morrow 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Illuminations! 9:30p

Hollywood Holly-Day Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade 3:45p

Tuesday 12/14

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 7p-12a

Candlelight Processional - narrator Eartha Kitt 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Illuminations! 9:30p

Hollywood Holly-Day Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade 3:45p

Wednesday 12/15

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 6p

Wishes Fireworks 7p

Candlelight Processional - narrator Eartha Kitt 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Illuminations! 9:30p

Hollywood Holly-Day Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade 3:45p

Thursday 12/16

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 7p-12a

Candlelight Processional - narrator Eartha Kitt 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Illuminations! 9:30p

Hollywood Holly-Day Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 6:30p

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade 3:45p

Friday 12/17

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (Sold out) 7p-12a

Candlelight Processional - narrator Steven Curtis Chapman 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Illuminations! 9:30p

Hollywood Holly-Day Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 6p

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade 3:45p

Saturday 12/18

Share a Dream Come True Parade 2p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Candlelight Processional - narrator Steven Curtis Chapman 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Illuminations! 9:30p

Hollywood Holly-Day Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade 3:45p

Sunday 12/19

Share a Dream Come True Parade 2

SpectroMagic Parade 10p

Wishes Fireworks 11p

Candlelight Processional - narrator Steven Curtis Chapman 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Illuminations! 9:30p

Hollywood Holly-Day Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade 3:45p

Monday 12/20

Share a Dream Come True Parade 2p

SpectroMagic Parade 10p

Wishes Fireworks 11p

Candlelight Processional - narrator Edward James Olmos 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Illuminations! 9:30p

Hollywood Holly-Day Parade 3:30p

Fantasmic 7p

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade 3:45p

Downtown Disney Entertainment

(Separate admission required)

Jazz Club
West End Stage
Rock & Roll Beach Club
House of Blues
Monday 12/13

Elliot Dyson

 

Leonard Brothers

 

Tuesday 12/14

Elliot Dyson

 

Leonard Brothers

 

Wednesday 12/15

Elliot Dyson

 

Leonard Brothers

 

Thursday 12/16

TBA

 

Leonard Brothers

Jim Bean Live Presents Hoobastank with Three Days Grace and Letter Kills (main room), $17.50 advance/$19.50 day of show; 8pm

Bill Wharton and The Ingredients (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Friday 12/17

TBA

 

Leonard Brothers

Hatebreed with Sick Of It All, Terror, Full Blown Chaos & No Warning: Xbox Presents GWAR with Dying Fetus and All That Remains (main room), $15 advance/$17.50 day of show; 8:20pm

Bill Wharton and The Ingredients (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Saturday 12/18

TBA

 

Leonard Brothers

Nonpoint with Dry Kill Logic, Burn Season and Gargamel (main room), $15; 8pm

Bill Wharton and The Ingredients (Blues Kitchen), free; 11pm

Sunday 12/19

TBA

 

Kabang

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

TBA (main room), $17.50 advance/$19.50 day of show; 7:30pm

Monday 12/20

TBA

 

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.