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News and Views

As promised last week, we have more photos from Brian Bennett this week. Most of them are of the new décor on the castle. Once again, they are spread throughout the Update. Enjoy!


The new castle décor, the stage set for Cinderellabration and the newly cleared Central Plaza hub are visible from Main Street, U.S.A. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Night of Joy lineup announced, tix on sale now

The entertainment line-up for the 23rd annual Night of Joy (link) has been announced, with MercyMe, Casting Crowns, and Steven Curtis Chapman headlining the festivities. The event, which takes place September 9 and 10 this year, takes place in the Magic Kingdom after regular park operating hours.

The entertainment on September 9 features Steven Curtis Chapman, MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Audio Adrenaline, Mark Schultz, Nicole C. Mullen, Big Daddy Weave, Matthew West, Vicky Beeching and a contest winner from the Gospel Music Association's Music in the Rockies event.

The roster for September 10 includes newsboys, tobyMac, Donnie McClurkin, Cece Winans, Kutless, Tree 63, Superchic[k], Further Seems Forever, stellar kart, Kierra “KiKi” Sheard and a contest winner from the Kellogg's Gospel Sing Off 2005.

Tickets for the event went on sale last Friday. Single-night tickets are $37.95 plus tax (in advance) and $42.95 plus tax (at the gate, if available). Two-night tickets are $61.95.


From the hub, the golden overlay is even more apparent. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Lagoon site not themed as a meet-and-greet

The former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea lagoon area across from The Many Adventures of Winnie–the–Pooh attraction is not going to open as a dedicated meet–and–greet (although there is the possibility of character greetings there as well). The area will be a children's play area featuring slides, climbing structures and interactive pop-jet fountains. The area will be called “Pooh's Playful Spot,” and will open around September.


The magic mirror-themed “stained–glass window” currently only shows Sleeping Beauty Castle from Disneyland, but begins cycling through the castle from all of the Magic Kingdom-style parks after the “Happiest Celebration” promotion starts. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Roadway closures postponed

One day after we published information about work on entrance archways causing roadway closures around the resort property, Walt Disney Imagineering realized that spring break was causing high crowd levels, and extended park hours and postponed the road work. The work is now tentatively scheduled for next week after the traffic volume dies down again. Keep an eye out for inbound roadway closings next week between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Hotel Plaza Boulevard, World Drive, Osceola Parkway and Epcot Drive.


From below, the massive size of the magic mirror is more apparent. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Contemporary to undergo construction; DVC coming?

The South Garden Wing of the Contemporary Resort is closed for refurbishment May 30 through October 31. This first phase of a major renovation for Disney's oldest resort hotel is badly needed, with the resort really showing its age. We hear that the new room decor will be done in earth tones with white duvets. The furnishings will be more up-to-date as well, with glass and steel desks and flat-screen or plasma televisions. Reportedly, a model room has been completed and looks very nice.

The rumors that we hear is that the entire resort is repositioning to target a specific clientele. Or, rather, two specific clienteles. Supposedly, the buildings in the South Garden Wing will be gutted and rebuilt as Disney Vacation Club villas. The remainder of the hotel would be modified to target conventions, with families with children to be steered toward the Wilderness Lodge. We are still trying to confirm these changes.


The White Rabbit, a tea pot & cup, the Mad Hatter's hat, and the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland populate the Westernmost turret of the castle. Photo by Brian Bennett

Soarin', Living with the Land both feature Fastpass when pavilion returns

While the news that the soon-to-open Soarin' will be a Fastpass attraction was expected, many were surprised that the Living With The Land boat ride is apparently retaining its Fastpass status, as well. Once The Land pavilion reopens, the official list of Epcot attractions with Fastpass will include Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, Living with the Land, Maelstrom, Mission: Space, Soarin', and Test Track.


Simba, Puumbaa and Timon from The Lion King occupy the turret next to the Alice characters. Photo by Brian Bennett

New organic/special foods store opening in Celebration

Visitors looking for organic and other special foods in the Walt Disney World area now have a new place to shop. The Town Center Market and Bakery is now available in Celebration. The store features a variety of organic and ethnic foods, including organic produce, gourmet condiments and soups, organic cereals, baked goods, freshly prepared sandwiches, sodas, and ice cream. The brand new store is near the town square where Goodings used to be, on Market Street in Celebration. Thanks to MousePlanet reader Teri for this information.


Sebastian and Flounder from The Little Mermaid visit the turret just to the right of the magic mirror. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Baby-swap procedure correction

After publishing what I had thought was a change to the baby swap procedures last week, I got a number of e–mail stating that the “new” procedure of re-entering through the Fastpass queue rather than the exit walkway has been the case for some time. Apparently, my memories of going in through the exit were further in the past than I thought. My apologies for not realizing it.

Vero to get a bit noisy from refurbishment

We are hearing that guests with reservations at Disney's Vero Beach Resort are being informed about roof construction scheduled between April 4 and September 9. The highly visible work is expected to cause a great deal of noise.


Victor, LaVerne, and Hugo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame stand atop the ramparts on the eastern side of the castle. Photo by Brian Bennett

Ears to the ground

…When the Playhouse Disney show returns from next week's refurbishment, it will also feature Fastpass machines instead of the current manually distributed passes. That means that you won't be able to get a Fastpass for the show and immediately grab one for another attraction.

…The Irish Pub that is soon to open in the old Pleasure Island Jazz club now has a name: Raglan Road.


Kaa and King Louie from The Jungle Book play atop the easternmost turret as Hunchback's Hugo looks on. Photo by Brian Bennett.

…International guests can now join stateside visitors in getting a video record of their self-made coasters. DisneyQuest has begun offering PAL format videos of CyberSpace Mountain ride experiences.


Peter Pan and Wendy fly to the top of the tallest turret. Tinker Bell was put into place over the weekend. Photo by Brian Bennett.

…Peak season crowd control measures are being used again last week and this week. As the Magic Kingdom parking lot gets full, cars are being diverted to Epcot's lots and guests must travel to the Transportation and Ticket Center via monorail. In addition, the exit path through the backstage area behind Main Street, U.S.A. from Tomorrowland and Adventureland may be utilized as needed during the SpectroMagic parade and Wishes fireworks show to avoid the usual crowd gridlock.


Outside the Magic Kingdom, a more permanent-looking tent now protects the ticket vending machines from the elements. Photo by Brian Bennett.

…Due to holiday crowds, shops in Pleasure Island are opening at 3 p.m. through April 2. Clubs are open at their own later scheduled times.

…The Easter Bunny is hanging around past the holiday and continue to meet and greet in Town Square through April 1.


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. E–mail us here.


The newly redone Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station is open for business. Photo by Brian Bennett.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • 20,000 League Under the Sea lagoon – most of the area has reopened, featuring corral–type planters and more walkway space. The remainder is transforming into a Hundred Acre Wood-themed children's play area featuring slides, climbing structures, and interactive pop-jet fountains. The area, to be called “Pooh's Playful Spot,” is expected to open around September..
  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress – refurbishment planned, date uncertain.
  • Timekeeper – opens seasonally. The attraction is currently open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Saturday, April 2.
  • 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.
  • Stitch's Great Escape – is running at half-capacity while the show is upgraded. Work on the first theater has been completed. We do not have an expected completion date on the second theater yet.
  • Cinderella's Surprise Celebration – last performance was Saturday, February 26. Reported to be returning after the 18-month “Happiest Celebration on Earth” festivities end.
  • Cinderellabration – preview performances are underway. Cast previews are scheduled for April 4–5. Official opening is May 5. Expected to run until the end of the 18-month “Happiest Celebration on Earth” festivities.

Epcot

  • Entire park – closes at 3 p.m. on May 5 for the “Happiest Celebration on Earth” press event.
  • Soarin' – officially scheduled to open on May 5, but soft openings are already underway. Cast previews are April 8–10, and passholder and DVC previews are April 15–17 during park hours.
  • The Behind the Seeds Walking Tour of the greenhouses at The Land – discontinued due to construction of the queue area for Soarin'. Will resume when the pavilion reopens.
  • The Land pavilion – closed thru April 26 for completion of the retheming to match the new 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 is currently open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Saturday, April 2.

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 on May 4. Cast previews are scheduled for April 6–7. Daily preview performances for the public are underway for test-and-adjust purposes. Show times are subject to change, and there is no guarantee that the show will run on a given day. Fastpass tickets are available beginning at 9 a.m. each day.
  • Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage! – closed April 4–10 for show change-out. A JoJo's Circus segment is replacing the Rolie Polie Olie segment. The show returns with newly installed Fastpass machines to replace the manually distributed system currently in place.

Animal Kingdom

  • Lucky the Dinosaur – is scheduled to appear in May – July, 2005. Official debut is May 6.
  • Expedition Everest – is scheduled to open in Spring 2006.

Resorts

  • Polynesian Resort – nearing completion of the refurbishment of longhouses: suites in Tonga through May 10; Tahiti April 24 – August 17; Tokelau May – September. Work on the Great Ceremonial House also appears to be underway: stores moving to the main lobby area; Captain Cook's Snack Company expanding to fill the rest of the rear of the building.
  • Contemporary Resort – The South Garden wing will be closed for refurbishment from May 30 to October 31. Rumors indicate that the buildings may be completely gutted and rebuilt as Disney Vacation Club villas. No confirmation of the conversion yet.
  • BoardWalk Resort – Conversion of the previous Disney Vacation Club sales center into 19 additional villa-style accommodations through June, and the second floor villas located directly above the project area not available for booking during the construction. Major pipe replacement project underway in corridors outside guest rooms daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. through summer 2005. No work scheduled inside guest rooms.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – Phase I's construction of four buildings complete; Phase II's eight units will open one each month, beginning in March 2005; Phase III's the six units due in 2007, involves razing the old Fairway Villas.
  • Yacht Club Resort – Siding renovation project to continue through mid-2005.
  • Beach Club Resort – The Sandcastle Club child care center closed thru March 31 to refurbish Atlantic Wear & Wardrobe Emporium. Harbor Club at the BoardWalk Resort reopens for that three-month period. Sandcastle Club reopens April 1.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – Exhibit hall construction continues; scheduled to open spring 2005. Construction noises may be audible throughout the Casitas section of the resort during the daytime construction.

Water Parks

  • No current refurbishments.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. There are no performances June 5–20.
  • 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

  • Atlanta Braves Training Camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link). Thru March 31.

April 2005

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link). April 15 – June 5.
  • Disney Grad Nights (link). April 22, 23, 29, 30.
  • Pin Route 498 pin event (link). April 30.
  • Walt Disney World Inline Marathon Fitness Expo (link). April 30 – May 1.
  • All Star Kids Inline Classic (link). April 30.

May 2005

  • Walt Disney World Inline Marathon & Half-Marathon (link). May 1.
  • Danskin Women's Triathlon (link) May 15.
  • Star Wars Weekends (link). Fridays – Sundays, May 20 – June 12.
  • Florida Half Ironman at Walt Disney World (link) May 22.

June 2005

  • Gay and Lesbian Day at Walt Disney World (link1 | link2). June 2–5.
  • National Kidney Foundation 5K (link) June 12.

September 2005

  • Tom Joyner Family Reunion (link). Sept. 2–4.
  • Nights of Joy (link). Sept. 9–10.
  • Disney's International Distance Triathlon (link) Sept. 23–25.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (link). Sept. 30 – Nov. 13.
  • Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (link). Sept. 30, Oct. 2, 4, 7, 11, 13, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31.

October 2005

  • Disney's 10K Classic (link) Oct. 9.
  • Funai Classic at Walt Disney World (link). Oct. 20–23.

November 2005

  • Festival of the Masters (link). Nov. 11–13.
  • Super Soap Weekend (link). Nov. 12–13.
  • Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights (link). Nov. 23 - Jan. 8, 2006
  • Holidays Around the World (link). Nov. 25 – Dec. 30.
  • Festival of the Seasons (link). Dates TBA.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (link). Nov. 27, 29, Dec. 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20.

December 2005

  • Pleasure Island New Year's Eve (link). Dec. 31.
  • New Year's Eve at Cirque du Soleil (link). Dec. 31.
  • Atlantic Dance Hall New Year's Eve (link). Dec. 31.

January 2006

  • Disney's Health and Fitness Expo (link). Jan. 6 & 7.
  • FamilyFun Magazine Family Fun Run (link). Jan. 7.
  • Walt Disney World Half-Marathon (link). Registration now open. Jan. 7. [Note: The full- and half-marathons are now held on separate days. Read our WDW Marathon Guide.]
  • Walt Disney World Marathon (link). Registration now open. Jan. 8.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Summer passholder and Florida resident rates are out

Annual Passholder and Florida resident resort discounts valid most nights from April 17 through July 4 have been announced. Rates start at $74 for value resorts and $104 for moderates. See the Passholder web site (link) or MouseSavers (link) for more information.

DVC golf discount, bonus

Walt Disney World golf courses are now offering Disney Vacation Club members free club and shoe rentals through March 31, 2005. DVC members can also purchase a DVC Annual Golf Membership for $50 plus tax. The golf membership grants special prices and perks at the WDW golf courses.

Radisson Resort Parkway announces rates through 2005

Radisson Resort Parkway, a MousePlanet sponsor, has announced their rates through the end of 2005.

 
Courtyard
View
Deluxe Pool View
Bed & Breakfast Pkg - Courtyard View
2005
     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 entire price structure has changed as of January 2 to the new "Magic Your Way" passes. Advance purchase discounts are only available on tickets above the base ticket of at least 5 days.

Adult/Child Total Cost1-day2-day3-day4-day5-day6-day7-day8-day9-day10-day
Base Ticket$59.75 / $48$119 / $96$171 / $137$185 / $148$193 / $155$196 / $157$199 / $160$202 / $162$205 / $164$209 / $167
W/ Park Hopper$94.75 / $83$154 / $131$206 / $172$220 / $183$228 / $190$231 / $192$234 / $195$237 / $197$240 / $199$244 / $202
W/ Plus Pack$104.75 / $93$164 / $141$216 / $182$230 / $193$238 / $200$241 / $202$244 / $205$247 / $207$250 / $209$254 / $212
 (plus 2)(plus 2)(plus 2)(plus 3)(plus 3)(plus 4)(plus 5)(plus 5)(plus 5)(plus 5)
Premium Ticket$139.75 / $128$199 / $176$251 / $217$265 / $228$273 / $235$276 / $237$279 / $240$282 / $242$285 / $245$289 / $247
Premium, No ExpirationN/A$209 / $186$261 / $227$280 / $243$308 / $270$321 / $282$334 / $295$382 / $342$392 / $395$399 / $347
Advance Purchase DiscountN/AN/AN/AN/A$7/$6$9/$7$11/$9$11/$9$11/$9$12/$9

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 May 2005.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
3/28
3/29
3/30
3/31
4/1
4/2
 

MK 8a-12a
EF 9a-9p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 8a-8p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-7p

MK 8a-12a
EF 9a-9p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 8a-8p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-7p

MK 8a-12a
EF 9a-9p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 8a-8p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-7p

MK 8a-12a
EF 9a-9p
EW 11a-9p

MGM 9a-10p
AK 8a-8p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-7p

MK 8a-12a
EF 9a-9p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-9p
AK 8a-8p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-7p

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

4/3
4/4
  • 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
  • Italics = Morning Extra Magic Hours
  • Bold = Evening Extra Magic Hours

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

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through May 2005.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 3/28

Share a Dream Come True Parade 12:30p, 3:30p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 7:30p, 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 3/29

Share a Dream Come True Parade 12:30p, 3:30p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 7:30p, 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 3/30

Share a Dream Come True Parade 12:30p, 3:30p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 7:30p, 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 3/31

Share a Dream Come True Parade 12:30p, 3:30p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 7:30p, 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 4/1

Share a Dream Come True Parade 12:30p, 3:30p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 7:30p, 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 4/2

Share a Dream Come True Parade 2p

SpectroMagic Parade 8p, 10p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 4:30p

Fantasmic 7:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 4/3

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 4/4

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Downtown Disney Entertainment

(Separate admission required)

Rock & Roll Beach Club
West End Stage
House of Blues
Monday 3/28

Stormbringer

 

 

Tuesday 3/29

Stormbringer

 

 

Wednesday 3/30

Kabang

 

 

Thursday 3/31

Kabang

 

Unsung Zeros -- A Farewell Show with In Passing, Abagnale and My Getaway (main room), 21 & up free/$7 all others; 7 p.m.

Jay Owen (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Friday 4/1

Paul James

 

Papa Roach with Trust Co. and No Warning (main room), $15 advance/$17.50 day of show; 8:30 p.m.

Albert Castiglia (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Saturday 4/2

Paul James

 

Cassandra Wilson with TBA (main room), $17.50 and up; 8 p.m.

Jimbo Mathis & Knockdown South (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Sunday 4/3

Paul James

 

Apostle JL Cash and Praise (gospel brunch), $30 adult, $15 child (3-9); 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m.

Foundation/HOB Presents Rise Against with Alexisonfire, Brazil and Black Maria (main room), $12 advance/$14 day of show; 6:30 p.m.

Monday 4/4

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

 



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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.