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News and Views

Lights, Motors, Action accident; more conflicting preview information

Wednesday's 5:45 preview performance of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show at the Disney–MGM Studios came to a sudden end when two cars crashed into each other, injuring one stunt driver. The accident occurred in front of an audience of about 2,200 guests. It is rumored, but not confirmed, that Disney CEO-elect Robert Iger was in attendance at that performance. It is known for a fact that Iger had been spending several days at the resort walking around and taking in some of the new attractions in the parks.

During the opening “ballet” sequence, one of the black “pursuit” cars clipped the side of a building on the set at around 50 mph. The impact caused the car to spin out and collide with the red “hero” car, which them became wedged under a “bridge” set piece. The driver of the red car had to be cut from the car by Reedy Creek emergency services personnel, and was treated and released at a nearby hospital. The driver aggravated an existing back injury sustained while performing in the original Paris version of the stunt show, but is OK and driving again; however, he has been restricted from real stunts for at least two weeks. The only new injury that he sustained was a broken thumb.

Despite the crash, the show was performed again on Thursday.

In addition, the conflicting information on the show continues. On the heels of last week's word that the preview schedule had been stepped up to daily test–and–adjust performances, we are now hearing that there will be no scheduled public shows in April, although “they may have one or two shows a week.” Perhaps the increased schedule was due to the Easter crowds, and with attendance levels falling back to normal the performances are no longer necessary.

According to our source, “During this time they will hone in the skills and fix the vehicles as well as test certain what–if situations that will prepare them for the event should it happen during a show.” The show is expected to permanently reopen to the public on May 5, following the official opening press event on the evening of May 4. However, it is still uncertain whether or not the jet skis will be ready by then. These schedule changes are reportedly unrelated to this week's accident.

Soarin' previews continue; a narrated tour of the queue and other Land news

After a temporary halt to previews to resolve a technical issue, Epcot's Soarin' attraction is continuing previews for all guests via an entrance adjacent to the Imagination pavilion. MousePad reader marktips has posted an excellent and lengthy description of the attraction queue (link), which sounds quite pretty. Here is some additional queue information from a Disney press release:

As guests begin their journey and walk to their boarding gate, they pass through the Great Hall, the attraction's main embarkation area. Lining the wall of the Great Hall are five 20-foot-wide photographic vistas showing Earth's varied environments in vibrant detail. Organized by biomes, or eco-zones, they highlight Earth's diverse natural beauty—the burnt orange of the desert landscape, the emerald green of the rainforest, the crystal blue of the Arctic, the majestic purple of mountains and the multi-colored brilliance of the deciduous forest. Under each biome depiction is a large, flat-screen monitor showing fun facts and quizzes about the eco-zones.

In keeping with the theme of flight, the design of the attraction's other pre–show areas (ticketing, skyway, concourses, gates) are suggestive of a stylish airline terminal, with cast members dressed as though they are part of a fashionable flight crew.

In other news of The Land pavilion, the Garden Grill Restaurant at Epcot's Land pavilion has again extended its refurbishment. The new target return date is July 7.

Part of The Land entrance ramp has been revealed, with only the walkway up the building itself blocked off. A sign for the Soarin' attraction has gone up near the entranceway murals. Part of the new disabled access ramp into the building is now visible. Most of the plants have been put into the planters, but a few are still out in buckets.

Epcot news roundup

…Last Friday, the Hong Kong Disneyland Preview Center opened at Epcot's China pavilion. The center features blueprints, attraction models and more information on the meeting of Disney design and Chinese culture.

…Banners are up at the American Adventure, France, Japan and China pavilions, featuring images of each country's respective Disney castles announcing the Happiest Celebration on Earth and each national park's opening date. The American banner features Disneyland.

…Turtle Talk with Crush at the Living Seas pavilion is so popular that guests may have to wait in line through two complete shows before getting in to see the show themselves. The popularity of this attraction despite the lack of major advertising is probably why there is virtually no advertising for it—it doesn't need it!

…The facades of the France pavilion have been refurbished and look great. The facade outside the exit of the O Canada attraction at the Canada pavilion is next to get a touch–up, as construction walls are already up. This will not affect the attraction.

…A new walkway from Test Track is under construction. The path allows traffic to flow between the attraction and Innoventions Plaza without having to travel through the MouseGear shop or Innoventions.

…Refurbishment of the America Gardens Theater is proceeding quickly. A small Colonial–style building in the center rear of the theater is now visible. The two structures that formerly flanked the rear of the theater, and which previously provided some covered seating while supporting rigging for lighting and sound equipment, have been completely removed.

…Construction walls have been erected in the area adjacent to the Outpost area where the Australia and Andalucia, Spain locations were set up for past Food & Wine Festivals, but there's no word on what's being built there. We don't know of any Flower & Garden Festival displays targeted for that area.

Radisson Resort Parkway announces special rate available this week only!

Radisson Resort Parkway, a MousePlanet sponsor, has announced a special new rate discount available for MousePlanet readers. This exclusive rate of $97.95 per night is only available through the Internet. Rates are valid for April 2 – June 16, and must be reserved by April 10.

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

ESPN Great Outdoor Games to come to Walt Disney World

In yet another case of synergy run wild, the 2005 ESPN Great Outdoor Games will be held at Walt Disney World July 7–10 for broadcast the following week on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. The majority of the games will be held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, with rifle and shotgun events taking place at the Tenoroc Range in Lakeland.

Competition events include ATV skills, target sports, timber events and sporting dogs. The fishing event has been discontinued, as ESPN's BASS fishing events are large enough to now stand on their own.

The competition are sponsored by regional cable provider Bright House Networks.

Happiest Celebration on Earth schedule

In case you're looking to avoid the media crush (or try to squeeze in and see what they see), the schedule for media events for May 4–6 has been released. Here's where the press will be:

  • Wednesday, May 4: Disney-MGM Studios (4:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.)
  • Thursday, May 5: Magic Kingdom (5:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.), Epcot (4:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.), with the Global 50th Anniversary Ceremony taking place in the Magic Kingdom at 1:00 p.m.
  • Friday, May 6 Disney?s Animal Kingdom (5:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.)

Ears to the ground

…Crowds at the Magic Kingdom last week were large enough to trigger phased closings on more than one occasion last week.

…The magic mirror on Cinderella Castle has begun rotating the images of the castles from all five Magic Kingdom-style theme parks around the globe.

…We are hearing that this year's first Star Wars Weekend will feature Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett).

…Epcot has new souvenier cups with light-up images of the Illuminations fireworks on a semi-opaque container. There are clusters of three LED lights in the base that make the whole thing sparkle, flashing through red, blue and green makes for a really cool night-time effect.

…Expect to see a Disney Vacation Club Preview Center crop up in Anaheim later this year. The announcement should come in May. No word on DVC resorts out west at this point, though. They'll just be selling the inventory at Saratoga Springs that hasn't moved yet, as well as any additional inventory created at the BoardWalk when the Preview Center there has completed its conversion to vacation villas.


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

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 –reportedly returns 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'. Resumes 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.
  • America Gardens Theater – undergoing refurbishment, but should reopen in time for the Flower & Garden Festival's Flower Power concert series.

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 runs on a given day. Fastpass tickets are available beginning at 9 a.m. each day that the show runs.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Park Events

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.

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 Cost 1-day 2-day 3-day 4-day 5-day 6-day 7-day 8-day 9-day 10-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 Expiration N/A $209 / $186 $261 / $227 $280 / $243 $308 / $270 $321 / $282 $334 / $295 $382 / $342 $392 / $395 $399 / $347
Advance Purchase Discount N/A N/A N/A N/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 June 2005.

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

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

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

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

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

MGM 9a-8:30p
AK 9a-5p
BB 9a-6p
TL 9a-6p

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

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

4/10
4/11
  • 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
  • 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-6p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through June 2005.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
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

Tuesday 4/5

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

Wednesday 4/6

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

Thursday 4/7

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

Friday 4/8

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

Saturday 4/9

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

Sunday 4/10

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 4/11

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 4/4

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

 

Tuesday 4/5

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

 

Wednesday 4/6

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

 

Thursday 4/7

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

Sevendust with Skindred (main room), $19 advance/$22.50 day of show; 8 p.m.

Pat Ramsey (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Friday 4/8

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

Thermasilk presents Ashlee Simpson with Pepper's Ghost and The Click Five (main room), $35 advance/$37.50 day of show; 8 p.m.

Pat Ramsey (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Saturday 4/9

Kabang

 

Virgin College Mega Tour 2005 Presented by Dentyne Fire and Dentyne Ice Featuring Cake, Gomez and Robbers on High Street (main room), $29.50 advance/$32.50 day of show; 8 p.m.

Bird Dog Bobby (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Sunday 4/10

Kabang

 

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

Monday 4/11

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.