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News and Views

Gay Day/Gay Days 2005 to visit Walt Disney World this weekend

For the 15th consecutive year, Gay Day is being held at Walt Disney World. As has been the case in recent years, two competing groups will be holding events this year. However, this time they will be hosting events in different parks on the same day.

Doug Swallow, who originated the event back in 1991, has listed the following park schedule on his GayDay.com (singular) site (link):

  • Thursday, June 2 – Disney–MGM Studios, Cirque du Soleil
  • Friday, June 3 – Golf at Eagle Pines course, Epcot, late–night Typhoon Lagoon
  • Saturday, June 4 – Islands of Adventure, late–night Disney–MGM Studios
  • Sunday, June 5 – Magic Kingdom
  • Monday, June 6 – Disney's Animal Kingdom

Many other events are listed on that site. The GayDay.com event headquarters is at the Wyndham Palace resort on Hotel Plaza Boulevard.

Chris Alexander–Manley, who arguably turned Gay Day(s) into a major event starting in 1998, lists the following park events on his GayDays.com (plural) site (link):

  • Thursday, June 2 – Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Friday, June 3 – Disney–MGM Studios, late–night Typhoon Lagoon
  • Saturday, June 4 – Magic Kingdom, late–night Disney–MGM Studios
  • Sunday, June 5 – Epcot

Many other events are also listed on that site. The GayDays.com event is hosted at the Sheraton World resort on International Drive and Freedom Resort and Spa on State Route 192.

Both groups are hosting their own competing travel expositions, and both are advertising many events held by third parties, notably the late–night parties at Typhoon Lagoon and the Disney–MGM Studios hosted by promoter Johnny Chisholm.

The GayDayS events also include a wedding (link) for the third year in a row, coordinated by wedding planner Sascha Voss.

MousePlanet will be presenting a closer look at the Gay Day/Gay Days events at Walt Disney World and Disneyland in an article later this summer. If you are going to be at Walt Disney World this weekend, either independently or as a participant, let us hear from you regardless of whether you're in favor of the event or against it.


Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs topiaries at the 2005 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Lani Teshima.

Group ends Disney boycott after nine years

As we reported last week in our inaugural Company Update column, the American Family Association announced on Tuesday that it was ending its nine-year boycott of the Walt Disney Company, pointing to a need to focus their efforts elsewhere, as well as some positive signs at Disney, including the impending resignation of CEO Michael Eisner.

In a statement on the organization's web site, AFA President Tim Wildmon said that while the Disney boycott gave the organization a major platform to espouse their views for a few years, since 2001 Disney almost became “lost among the other battles being fought on a crowded cultural battlefield.”

In addition, the split with Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein, promotion of the Night of Joy events at Walt Disney World, and the upcoming release of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie were cited as reasons for the end of the boycott.

Wildmon did not say that Disney was completely off the hook, however. “If, for example, Disney removed the clear Christian symbolism from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe film, then all bets would be off,” he said. “So I guess one could say that, as far as we?re concerned, Disney is on probation.”

While the American Family Association was one of the leaders of the boycott, it was not the largest organization involved. The Southern Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God were also involved in the boycott, and indeed still support it.


There appears to be an eighth dwarf as a Stitch topiary stands behind the original seven dwarfs at the 2005 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Lani Teshima.

Disney chefs do dry run for James Beard Foundation dinner at Wonders of Life pavilion

Last Friday night, the Disney Dining Experience hosted a private members–only dining event in the VIP Lounge of the Wonders of Life pavilion. The dinner was a test run for a group of Disney chefs who will be presenting to the James Beard Foundation in New York City on June 17. The “Flavors of Disney” dinner, presented by five Disney chefs and two Disney sommeliers, costs $100 for Beard Foundation members and $125 for guests. It will be held at the Beard House on West 12th Street. For more information, see the James Beard Foundation Web site (link).


A troll topiary stands outside the Norway pavilion during the 2005 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Lani Teshima.

Ears to the ground

…The planets are back up at the Astro Orbiter, and they may be spinning again. There are some good photos of the planets at D–Troops.com (link). They also have photos of the Goofy & Pluto statuettes that have returned to the hub.

…The Star Wars Weekend event continue this weekend with celebrity guests Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) and Don Bies (Unit Supervisor/R2–D2 Operator – Episode III).

…The 2005 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival comes to a conclusion this weekend, featuring a Flower Power concert by Arlo Guthrie and a Great American Gardeners Series presentation by Tom MacCubbin.


Luke and Leia pose for photos in front of the Tattooine Traders store at Disney–MGM Studios' 2005 Star Wars Weekend. Photo by Lani Teshima.

…The name of the village at the foot of Expedition: Everest will be Serka Zong.

…High–speed Internet access is expected to roll out to the remaining Disney–owned resorts (including the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds) between now and next April.

…We're hearing that a kiosk for the Virtual Magic Kingdom online game opens at the Main Street Cinema this week with a cast member available to assist you in opening an account, creating a character, and so forth. The first in–park quest, which would allow you to earn credits or other prizes in the online game, is expected to be available at that location on June 13.


The evil Emperor Palpatine is out and about at Disney–MGM Studio's 2005 Star Wars Weekend. Photo by Lani Teshima.


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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 closed.
  • Jungle Cruise, the Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management, the Hall of Presidents and the Country Bear Jamboree – opens at 10 a.m. every day.
  • Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station – is closed from May 22 – June 11.
  • Cinderella's Surprise Celebration – reportedly returns after the 18–month “Happiest Celebration on Earth” festivities end.


The Star Tours exterior is prepared for a session of the Jedi Training Academy at Disney–MGM Studios' 2005 Star Wars Weekend.

Epcot

  • The Wonders of Life pavilion – opens 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 closed.

Disney–MGM Studios

  • No current refurbishments.

Animal Kingdom

  • Lucky the Dinosaur – is scheduled to appear in May – July, 2005.
  • Expedition Everest – is scheduled to open in Spring 2006. The likely official opening date is April 22, which is both Earth Day and the park's birthday, but previews may start as early as February 2006.


A Star Wars poster advertises a special edition of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire – Play It at Disney–MGM Studio's 2005 Star Wars Weekend. Photo by Lani Teshima.

Resorts

  • Polynesian Resort – is nearing completion of the refurbishment of longhouses: Tahiti through August 17; Tokelau through September. Work is now beginning on the complete refurbishment and upgrading of all rooms and hallways, which is expected to be completed by June 2006.
  • Contemporary Resort – The South Garden Wing is closed for refurbishment from through October 31. Rumors indicate that the buildings may be completely gutted and rebuilt as Disney Vacation Club villas. No confirmation of the conversion yet. After the South Garden Wing is complete, renovations will continue through the rest of the resort, which is expected to run through November, 2007.
  • 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 – Vonstruction of four buildings of Phase I complete; Phase II's eight units are opening one each month, through October 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.
  • Disney's Vero Beach Resort (DVC Resort) – Roof repairs due to hurricane rehabilitation are ongoing and scheduled to run through late November.
  • Walt Disney World Swan Hotel – Repainting of the building's exterior is underway. Regular hotel operations are not affected.


Boba Fett walks past the Darth Vader meet–and–greet queue at Disney–MGM Studios' 2005 Star Wars Weekend. Photo by Lani Teshima.

Water Parks

  • No current refurbishments.

Elsewhere

  • Magnolia Golf Course – Closed for major renovation through September 10.
  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. There will be no performances Jun 5–20.

Park Events

Ongoing

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link). Through June 5.
  • Star Wars Weekends (link). Fridays – Sundays, through June 12.

June 2005

  • Gay and Lesbian Days at Walt Disney World (link1 | link2). June 2–5.
  • National Kidney Foundation 5K (link) June 11.

July 2005

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp (link). July 29 – August 17.

September 2005

  • Tom Joyner Family Reunion (link). Sept. 2–4.
  • Night of Joy (link). Sept. 9–10.
  • Walt Disney World 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, 6, 7, 11, 13, 16, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31.

October 2005

  • Komen Central Florida Race for the Cure 5K (link) Oct. 8.
  • Disney's Race for the Taste 10K (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

  • Pop Warner Super Bowl (link). Dec. 4–10.
  • 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

Late–summer Passholder and Florida resident rates are out

Annual Passholder and Florida Resident discounts have been released for July 5 through August 27, with rates starting at $74 per night for value resorts and $99 per night for moderate resorts. Discount codes are EXE for passholders and EXF for Florida residents. 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
2005
     Through June 30
$87
$97
     July 1 – July 4
$117
$127
     July 5 – Aug 13
$87
$97
     Aug 14 – Sept 29
$83
$93
     Sept 30 – Oct 22
$107
$117
     Oct 23 – Nov 22
$87
$97
     Nov 23 – Nov 26
$107
$117
     Nov 27 – Dec 22
$87
$97
     Dec 23 – 27
$133
$143
     Dec 28 – 31
$179
$189

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

Disney's Summer Price Slice discount returns to golf courses

Summer Price Slice is back with reduced–price greens fees on tee times after 10 a.m. daily from May 2 through Sept. 29 on Disney's five 18–hole golf courses.

Golfers can play the premier Osprey Ridge course after 10 a.m. for $60 (compared to a normal seasonal greens fee of $119) or Eagle Pines for $50 (compared to a normal seasonal fee of $109). Post–10 a.m. rounds on the Magnolia, Palm or Lake Buena Vista courses are $45 (compared to a normal seasonal fee of $89–$94). Prices include golf cart rental.

Disney's Summer Price Slice also gives golfers the opportunity to play afternoon rounds late into the day. Golfers can take on Osprey Ridge after 3 p.m. for $35 ($30 after 5 p.m.). Eagle Pines, Magnolia and Palm start at $30 after 3 p.m. ($25 after 5 p.m.). Rounds at Lake Buena Vista start at $25 after 3 p.m. ($20 after 5 p.m.).

For tee times, call 407–WDW–GOLF (407–939–4653) or go to the Walt Disney World Golf web site (link).

Plan ahead and save a few bucks

The entire ticket price structure changed as of January 2, 2005, 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 July 2005.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
5/30
5/31
6/1
6/2
6/3
6/4
 

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

MK 9a–11p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–10p
AK 9a–6p
BB 10a–6p
TL 10a–6p

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

MK 9a–9p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p

MGM 9a–9p
AK 9a–6p
BB 10a–6p
TL 10a–6p

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

MK 9a–11p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–9p
AK 9a–7p
BB 10a–6p
TL 10a–6p

6/5
6/6
  • 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–11p
EF 9a–7p
EW 11a–9p
MGM 9a–10p
AK 9a–7p
BB 9a–6p
TL 9a–6p

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


Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through July 2005.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney–MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 5/30

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Disney Gardening @ Home: “Virtual Color” 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: Felix Cavalieri's Rascals 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 5/31

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Disney Gardening @ Home: “Virtual Color” 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: Felix Cavalieri's Rascals 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 6/1

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Disney Gardening @ Home: “Virtual Color” 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: Felix Cavalieri's Rascals 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 6/2

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

Wishes Fireworks 9p

Disney Gardening @ Home: “Virtual Color” 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: Arlo Guthrie 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 6/3

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Great American Gardeners Series: Tom MacCubbin 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: Arlo Guthrie 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Star Wars Weekends celebrity guests: Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) and Don Bies (Unit Supervisor/R2–D2 Operator – Episode III)

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 6/4

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Great American Gardeners Series: Tom MacCubbin 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: Arlo Guthrie 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Star Wars Weekends celebrity guests: Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) and Don Bies (Unit Supervisor/R2–D2 Operator – Episode III)

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 6/5

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Great American Gardeners Series: Tom MacCubbin 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: Arlo Guthrie 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Star Wars Weekends celebrity guests: Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) and Don Bies (Unit Supervisor/R2–D2 Operator – Episode III)e III)

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 6/6

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Downtown Disney Entertainment

(Separate admission required)

Rock & Roll Beach Club
West End Stage
House of Blues
Monday 5/30

Leonard Brothers

 

 

Tuesday 5/31

Harry Dash

 

 
Wednesday 6/1

Leonard Brothers

 

 

Thursday 6/2

Fifth Year Crush

Leonard Brothers

Los Lonely Boys with Zayra Alvarez (main room), $25 advance/$27.50 day of show; 8:30 p.m.

Bill Wharton and the Ingredients (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Friday 6/3

Fifth Year Crush

Leonard Brothers

Bill Wharton and the Ingredients (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Saturday 6/4

Fifth Year Crush

Leonard Brothers

Girls in Wonderland 5 Presented by Pandora Events and Alison Burgos Featuring DJ Pride (main room), $25 advance/$30 day of show; 8 p.m. (NOTE: This show is restricted to ages 18 and up only.)

Bill Wharton and the Ingredients (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Sunday 6/5

Leonard Brothers

 

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

Manowar and Rhapsody with Holyhell (main room), $30 advance/$35 day of show; 7 p.m.

Monday 6/6

Leonard Brothers

 

Seether and Crossfade with No Address (main room), $17.50 advance/$19.50 day of show; 8 p.m.



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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.