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Update for April 9 – April 16, 2006

Go directly to: News & Views | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Park Events | Discounts/Promotions | Park Hours | Events/Entertainment Schedule

News and Views

Everest opening event

On Friday, Walt Disney World officially opened Expedition Everest at its annual spring press event. The opening ceremony featured a ceremonial garland being cut by Winter Olympics snowboard halfpipe gold medalist Hannah Teter, and an official first trainload that included the six stars of the Disney Channel movie High School Musical.


Disney President and CEO Bob Iger dedicates Expedition Everest. Image ©Disney.

In his remarks at the event, Disney President and CEO Bob Iger noted that "Expedition Everest is a shining example of what we do best at Disney—create unique, high-quality and innovative experiences to delight our guests from around the world. Though our mountain may be slightly smaller in scale to the one you find in Asia, it is remarkable in its authenticity."

"The same is true of our base camp's attention to detail," he continued. "These elements are all part of the magic of our storytelling so our guests feel literally and figuratively transported to another world—a world where fantasy is real and the reality is fantastic."

Disney also used the occasion to promote the three Everest-related television programs on the various Discovery networks that I noted a couple of weeks ago, as well as promoting other upcoming and recent changes at the resort (most of which have also been noted in previous Park Updates).

Walt Disney World President Al Weiss introduced the changes by stating that "We're always adding innovation, creativity and entertainment value to our resort, and we've got some great things on the horizon—on our property and beyond."

Among the changes announced include:

  • A new Finding Nemo-themed show will open in the Theater in the Wild late this year (more details below)
  • A new Finding Nemo-themed attraction will open in The Living Seas pavilion this fall (more details below)
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction will reopen from a refurbishment in July with characters from the movie (more details below)
  • The opening of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Princess Room and Adventure Room at World of Disney
  • The nearly-complete renovations at the Contemporary and Polynesian Resorts (work will be complete this summer)
  • The construction of the new All-Star Music Family Suites (the first rooms will officially be available June 4, and all 192 suites will be complete by October 13)
  • The Disney's Magical Express service will continue past 2006 and will remain "free"; and
  • the Mediterranean itineraries for the Disney Magic during summer 2007.

Also announced at the ceremony were some of the results of the Expedition Everest: Mission Himalayas project, where they found several plant and animal species previously unknown to science. On Thursday night, $500,000 in grants were given to celebrity wildlife advocates, bringing the total amount awarded by the Disney Wildlife Conservation fund over $10 million. There are more details on these stories below.

Confirmed: Finding Nemo – The Musical coming to Animal Kingdom

As we reported nearly a year ago, a Finding Nemo-themed show will be debuting at the Theater in the Wild in Dinoland, U.S.A. late this year. Work to enclose the former home of Tarzan Rocks continues amid preparations for the debut of Finding Nemo – The Musical. The show will be along the lines of the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show at the Disney-MGM Studios, in that the show will rely heavily on puppets, dancers, acrobats and animated backdrops in a theater made to look as if it is undersea through the use of lighting, sound, and special effects.


Concept art shows a planned stage scene in Finding Nemo – The Musical. Image © Disney.

In announcing the show during the opening festivities for Expedition Everest, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Jay Rasulo said "We are truly excited to bring this beloved story to life at Disney's Animal Kingdom in this new musical spectacular. It is our goal to bring the undersea 'Nemo' characters to Disney's Animal Kingdom in a live setting in a way that captures what is truly special about the film. This production will meet that challenge in a dynamic and wholly original way to bring us into the fantastical ocean world."

The show features original songs by Tony Award-winning Avenue Q composer Robert Lopez and a cappella musical Along the Way composer Kristen Anderson-Lopez and is directed by Peter Brosius, artistic director of The Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis. The show also features theatrical puppetry by Michael Curry, who designed the character puppets seen in the Broadway version of Disney's The Lion King.

In retelling the story from the blockbuster smash from Pixar, the main characters (such as Nemo, Marlin and Dory) will be represented by live performers operating larger-than-life puppets, while the lesser characters will be portrayed by various styles of puppetry, including rod, bunraku and shadow.


A group of singers performs a portion of Finding Nemo – The Musical at the press event. Photo by Jenny Suede.

The show also represents many firsts for Disney. It is the first time Disney has taken a non-musical animated feature and transformed it into an original musical production. It is also the first major musical produced for Walt Disney World Resort by Disney Creative Entertainment, which has previously produced such shows as Disney's Aladdin (at Disney's California Adventure), The Lion King (at Hong Kong Disneyland), Twice Charmed (on the Disney Cruise Line), and The Golden Mickeys (at Hong Kong Disneyland and on the Disney Cruise Line).

I received a review of the preview of the show from MousePlanet reader Johnny Suede that I'll pass along to you here:

Finding Nemo – The Musical will be a 30-minute stage show with six original songs composed by Tony Award winner Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez , with puppets created by The Lion King's Michael Curry. The song previewed for the press was called "Big Blue World," and the song takes place as Nemo is about to go to school with Mr. Ray for the first time. Father Marlin is, of course, a complete stress case at the prospect of losing his son to the great big ocean. While there were no set pieces constructed, Executive Vice President of Creative Entertainment Anne Hamburger implored the assembled press to "put your creative hats on, and I want you to imagine this: extraordinary scenery, larger than life costumes, great puppets and a beautiful undersea world. Think aquamarine. Think blue. Think snorkeling. Think coral. Think lots of undersea water creatures as a background to the wonderful song you are going to hear today called 'Big Blue World'". The stage was a sparse affair with the only light coming from a lone conceptual drawing of the Nemo musical and a semi circle of music stands for the performers.


Singers performs a scene from Finding Nemo – The Musical at the press event. Photo by Jenny Suede.

Chock full of plucky strings, bubbly synth and chimes, "Big Blue World" is a great back and forth between an over-eager Nemo, who is bent of seeing it all, and the always neurotic Marlin, who would be just as happy if Nemo waited one more year before going off to school. I do not want to spoil the song here, but needless to say, Nemo wants to meet everyone in the ocean, from the sea turtles to the sharks, while Marlin is worried about his son becoming "Clown Fish Filet." The song manages to hit that classic Disney cadence of staccato talk-singing verses that hash out the plot, while broken up by a chorus that has soaring vocals on par with "Part of Your World". The standout highlight of the entire performance was without a doubt the actress who performed Nemo, whose name unfortunately escapes me.

While I am generally cynical when it comes to musicals, in large part to having to endure Val Kilmer as Moses in "The Ten Commandments," my photographer was in tears by the conclusion of the song, which to me speaks volumes of the show's potential impact. From a technical aspect, the song itself had a few rough patches, most notably the glaring flat note by the actor playing Marlin, as well as a very uneven audio mix that at one point completely drowned out the female section of the chorus, and a few instances of feedback. However, while there were some technical problems, we were reminded that this was only the second time that the group had performed the song together; and seeing as the show itself does not open until late fall/early winter, I think everyone will be in for a treat.

"Clamobiles" to bring you into Nemo's Seas

The old sea cabs at The Living Seas are being replaced by "clamobiles" as the pavilion's Nemo-themed makeover nears completion, Walt Disney World President Al Weiss confirmed during remarks at the opening of Expedition Everest. "The Seas with Nemo & Friends" will open as a new attraction in the pavilion this fall, featuring new technology (probably similar to that being installed at the Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland) that will make it appear that the stars of Finding Nemo are actually swimming along with the 65 species of marine life inside the huge tank.

The attraction will supposedly take place immediately following the events of the movie. After boarding your "clamobile" at a coral reef, you meet Mr. Ray and his class on a field trip as they find that Nemo has wandered off. You join the search, meeting Dory, Bruce, Marlin, Squirt and Crush along the way. The attraction has a musical finale that provides a happy ending.


Guests will first meet Mr. Ray and his class on a field trip in this concept art for The Seas with Nemo & Friends. Image ©Disney.


Concept art for The Seas with Nemo & Friends shows Dory, Marlin and Nemo appearing to swim amongst the denizens of the massive tank at The Living Seas. Image © Disney.

The attraction exits into the rest of the pavilion, now known simply as "Sea Base." The existing attractions, such as Turtle Talk with Crush and Bruce's Shark World, will continue to operate as before.

"Expedition Everest: Mission Himalayas" a success

Announced at last spring's Walt Disney World press event, Expedition Everest: Mission Himalayas was a real?life scientific expedition to the Himalayas to explore "the realm of the yeti," undertaken in conjunction with Conservation International and Discovery Networks.


The Expedition Everest: Mission Himalayas team poses along a road through a mountain pass in China's Sichuan province. Photo © Conservation International.

The expedition took place from August through October of last year, and explored certain regions of China and the eastern Himalayas – remote areas known as biodiversity hot spots – that are thought to be havens for undiscovered species of plants and animals. The mission was a success, and some of the findings were presented at the opening ceremonies of the Expedition Everest attraction.

The discoveries and observations included:

  • A giant hornet so deadly, locals call it the 'Yak Killer'
  • A beetle that buries birds and small rodents in subterranean crypts to feed its offspring
  • An endangered jumping mouse
  • Two ancient plant species, including one that is an important source for cancer drugs (Taxus wallichiana); and
  • Several new species of amphibians, insects and ants.

Some of the results of the expedition will appear on Corwin's Quest: Realm of the Yeti, premiering this Saturday at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) on Discovery's Animal Planet. Full results will be shared with numerous entities, such as the Chinese government, environmental organizations and scientists to develop conservation strategies to protect the unique species of the region.


Does the "Yak Killer" hornet found by Expedition Everest: Mission Himalayas in Nepal have a "Hidden Mickey" on its forehead? Photo © Dr. Gary Alpert.

"By weaving the scientific discoveries and cultural research into the storyline of Expedition Everest, park visitors are provided with a unique opportunity to learn about the environmental heritage of this region. The experience created by Disney is much more than just the physical thrills of a high-speed journey through the domain of the world's tallest mountain," said Dr. Russ Mittermeier, president of Conservation International. "We are thrilled with Disney's dedication to conservation through their scientific and financial contributions to the expedition."

Cleese, Rossellini, Goodall among recipients of conservation awards

Last Thursday night, five renowned conservation celebrities received awards of $100,000 for their causes in ceremonies preceding the opening of the Expedition Everest attraction. The awards were presented by the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, which passed the $10 million mark in total awards at the ceremony. The fund has benefited nearly 500 wildlife projects around the world.

Actor/comedian John Cleese, perhaps best known as one of the founders of the Monty Python troupe, founded an organization called Conservation Matters. He plans to use his award to support the Jersey Wildlife Trust in the U.K. and the Santa Barbara Zoo special survival programs in the U.S.

Actress Isabella Rossellini, daughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini, will share her funds with the Andean Cat Alliance/Wildlife Conservation Network and The Howard Gilman Foundation, where she serves as trustee and plays an active role in supporting developing entrepreneurs internationally.

Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall will use the award through her institute to support a variety of efforts, including the Roots 'N Shoots program, a global effort to engage children in caring about animals, with chapters in more than 90 countries.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, one of the world's foremost authorities on the African elephant, through his Save the Elephants group, will use the funds to continue studies of elephants in Kenya that have spanned more than 30 years.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai (the first African female recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize) created the "Greenbelt Movement," which mobilized thousands of women in Africa to plant trees. She expects to expand her efforts to focus on cultural diversity, greening the Earth, and good governance.

Rossellini and Douglas-Hamilton are both involved with the World Conservation Network, Rossellini as a board member and Douglas-Hamilton as a partner.

"Animals have been a part of Disney history since Walt's first sketch of Bambi, and today we celebrate Disney's conservation contributions by providing support to those who are making a difference for animals and the environment," said Dr. Beth Stevens, vice president of Disney's Animal Kingdom. "We selected these special individuals because each brings a personal passion to studying and saving endangered species and lands."

Star Wars Weekend guest list starts to firm up

Most of the guests for Star Wars Weekends at the Disney-MGM Studios have now been announced, with Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok) appearing each week as the event's host. In addition to Davis, each weekend will feature two Star Wars personalities. Five of the eight slots have been announced, and the others should be available soon. Here's the schedule so far:

  • May 19 – 21
    • Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
    • Rick McCallum (Producer)
    • Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)
  • May 26 – 28
    • TBA
    • TBA
    • Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)
  • June 2 – 4
    • Jay Laga'aia (Captain Typho)
    • TBA
    • Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)
  • June 9 – 11
    • Jeremy Bulloch (Bobba Fett)
    • Temura Morrison (Jango Fett)
    • Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)

Thanks to Matt Hochberg of MGMStudios.org (link) for this information. Today's WDW Today podcast (link), which will be available online this morning, focuses on Star Wars Weekends and what to expect there. The podcast features Hochberg, MousePlanet's Mike Scopa (link), Len Testa of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (link) and Mike Newell of MouseWorld Radio (link).

"Queen of Soul" to headline Tom Joyner Family Reunion

Aretha Franklin will be heading the list of entertainment at this year's Tom Joyner Family Reunion (link) at Walt Disney World. The annual Labor Day weekend event, hosted by the popular radio host, was first held in 2003. This year will be the third time that the event is held, as it was cancelled due to Hurricane Frances in 2004.

In addition to Franklin, the event will feature performances by NeYo, Chris Brown, Kirk Franklin and Sinbad. This year, while the Family Reunion will again be based at the Coronado Springs Resort, event packages may also be booked at the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. Attendees will also have the option of booking their package for up to four nights, as opposed to the previous maximum of three nights.

Pleasure Island update

Demolition at Pleasure Island is apparently proceeding quickly enough on the Hub Stage and the adjacent shops that a new stage (unknown yet as to whether it's temporary or permanent) will be ready for next weekend, as Pleasure Island stalwarts Stormbringer are scheduled to be performing at the "Water Front Stage." I can only assume that this will be a stage in the open plaza area that they're constructing in that location.

Pop Suites

We've been able to confirm that, as reported back in October, the second half of the Pop Century Resort (The Legendary Years, 1900s – 1940s) will open with all rooms as family suites. The existing buildings will not be torn down and rebuilt, as some rumors suggest. They will undergo a similar conversion to what is being done to create the All-Star Music Resort Family Suites. I do not as yet have any projected start date or opening date for the resort.


Family suites at the Pop Century Resort are expected to be furnished in a similar manner to the All-Star Music Family Suites. Image © Disney.

A personal request

I've decided to finally get off of my fat butt and do a public, fitness-related activity. It took a fund-raising event to do it. On April 30, I am participating in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica event. I'm walking three miles and hoping to raise a bunch of money for a good cause. The cause is very personal to me, because it was therapies funded and developed by the March of Dimes that enabled my son to survive after he was born twelve weeks prematurely.

I'm really not good at asking for things, because I don't like to do it, but I'd really like to ask you to consider giving what you can to this worthy cause. Please go to my fundraising page at for more information or to donate. Thanks in advance for your consideration!

If you're interested in giving to causes championed by those of us in the Disney Internet community, and would like to give to others in addition to the March of Dimes, you might want to consider supporting Deb Wills (of AllEarsNet.com) in the Avon Foundation Walk for Breast Cancer (link) or Lou Mongello (of DisneyWorldTrivia.com) in collecting money for the Starlight Starbright Foundation (link).

Quick takes …


An early concept for a change to the exterior of Pirates of the Caribbean places debris from a shipwreck outside the attraction's entrance. Image © Disney.

Pirates of the Caribbean has now opened for the peak Easter season. The attraction will remain open through April 30 before closing again to complete its refurbishment. The only scenes with regular refurbishment remaining are the dunking of the mayor and the auction scene. The remainder of the work will be the installation of Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa and Davy Jones, which we've already detailed in earlier Park Updates. The attraction is scheduled to reopen on July 7, though a soft opening is expected around July 1.

Ellen's Energy Adventure at the Universe of Energy pavilion will be closed for refurbishment from May 1 – 14. The focus of the work will be to replace the carpeting and screens in Theater 1 (where guests load and unload from the "moving theaters"). Other repairs will be made throughout the pavilion as time allows.


Captain Barbossa is shown aboard the Wicked Wench in this concept art for the updated Pirates of the Caribbean. Image © Disney.

…As I reported a couple of months ago, Thursday was the last day on the job for George Britton, the only foreman that the Walt Disney World Railroad has ever had. To mark the occasion, he was presented with a window that will eventually be installed above Main Street, U.S.A.

Coming soon

  • April 8 – 16, May 26 – 29, DVC members may not pool-hop on these dates
  • April 21 – June 11, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
    • Flower Power Concert Series
      • April 21 – 24, The Nelsons
      • April 25 – 27, The Buckinghams
      • April 28 – May 1, Gary Puckett
      • May 2 – 4, The Grass Roots starring Rob Grill
      • May 5 – 8, Paul Revere & The Raiders
      • May 9 – 11, The Association
      • May 12 – 15, Davy Jones
      • May 16 – 18, The Tokens
      • May 19 – 22, B.J. Thomas
      • May 23 – 25, Felix Cavaliere's Rascals
      • May 26 – 29, The Guess Who
      • May 30 – June 1, Tony Orlando
      • June 2 – 5, Arlo Guthrie
      • June 6 – 7, The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie
      • June 8 – 11, Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone
    • Themed weekends
      • April 21 – 23, Premiere Weekend
      • April 28 – 30, Party in the Garden
      • May 5 – 7, Art In The Garden
      • May 12 – 14, Mother's Day
      • May 19 – 21, Characters in Bloom
      • May 21, Teddy Bears and Dolls, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
      • May 27 – 29, Memorial Day
      • June 2 – 4, I Dig Bugs
      • June 9 – 11, Festival Farewell Weekend
  • May 19 – June 11, Star Wars Weekends
    • May 19 – 21, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Rick McCallum (producer), Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)
    • May 26 – 28, TBA, TBA, Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)
    • June 2 – 4, Jay Laga'aia (Captain Typho), TBA, Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)
    • June 9 – 11, Jeremy Bulloch (Bobba Fett), Temura Morrison (Jango Fett), Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)

Trivia question of the week

What is the significance of the chemical formulas on the pipes running through the queue area of the Dinosaur attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom?.

(Answer will be posted next week.)

Answer to last week's question: The Living Seas was originally sponsored by United Technologies.


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.
Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress – has been returned to the list of "seasonal" attractions, so its open status may change at any time.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – is not operating due to refurbishment, and will return to service on July 1.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – has completed the first part of its refurbishment and is currently open through April 30 for the peak Easter crowds. The attraction will close again on May 1 through July 1 for the addition of characters from the movie that was inspired by the ride.
  • Timekeeper – is closed for good.
  • Cinderella's Surprise Celebration – reportedly returns after the 18-month “Happiest Celebration on Earth” festivities end.

Epcot

  • Ellen's Energy Adventure – will close for refurbishment May 1 – 14.
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends – will open this fall in The Living Seas.
  • The Wonders of Life pavilion – is closed for good.

Disney – MGM Studios

  • No current refurbishments.

Animal Kingdom

  • Expedition Everest – officially opened on Friday.
  • Finding Nemo – The Musical – will open in the Theater in the Wild late this year.

Resorts

  • Polynesian Resort – Work is now underway on the complete refurbishment and upgrading of rooms and hallways in all buildings, which is expected to be completed this summer.
  • Contemporary Resort – Work is now underway on the complete refurbishment and upgrading of rooms and hallways in the tower building and both garden wings, and is now expected to be completed this summer.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – Phase I's four buildings and Phase II's eight units are complete, Construction on Phase III is underway, with the six units expected to be completed in 2007.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – Will close for annual refurbishment October 29, and will reopen some time in December.
  • Blizzard Beach – Will close for annual refurbishment when work on Typhoon Lagoon is complete, and will reopen some time in Feburary or March.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays.

Park Events

April 2006

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. April 21 – June 11. Epcot comes alive with topiaries, other floral displays, gardening demonstrations and the “Flower Power” concert series (link).
  • Grad Nite. April 28-29, May 5-6. High school seniors take over the Magic Kingdom after an early closing and party all night (link).

May 2006

  • Disney's Minnie Marathon Weekend 5K and 1 Mile (link). May 6. The short runs of the ladies-only running weekend take place at and near Downtown Disney. Registration is now open (link).
  • Women Run the World 15 K (link). May 7. The course starts at Animal Kingdom, goes through the Studios and ends at Epcot. Registration is now open (link).
  • Danskin Women's Triathlon. May 13-14. Athletes compete in a 400 yard swim, a 9 mile bike ride, and a 2 mile run (link).
  • Epcot Teddy Bear and Doll Weekend. May 18 – 21. Collectible bears and dolls at Epcot (link).
  • Star Wars Weekends. May 19-21 and 26-28, and June 2-4 and 9-11. The popular event is slated to return to the Studios in 2006 (link).
  • Gay Days 2006. May 31 – June 4. The 16th annual gathering of the GLBT community at Walt Disney World (link1 | link2).

July 2006

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex (link). July 29 – August 17. The NFC South champions prepare for the 2006 campaign, with practices open to the public.

September 2006

  • Tom Joyner Family Reunion. Sept. 1 – 4. The radio host's annual gathering returns for another year (link).
  • Night of Joy. Sept. 8 – 9. Disney's annual Christian music festival (link).
  • Disney's Pin Celebration. Sept. 8 – 10. This year's event is themed as "It All Started With … Walt" (link).
  • Walt Disney World Triathlon. Sept. 24. Athletes compete in a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike ride, and a 10K run (link).
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Sept. 29, Oct. 2, 5, 6, 10, 12, 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24, 26, 27, 30, 31. Get your costumes ready. The Disney characters will certainly be wearing theirs. (link).
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Sept. 29 – Nov. 12. The annual celebration of things gustatory, plus the Eat to the Beat concert series (link).

October 2006

  • Disney's Race for the Taste 10K. Oct. 8. The annual Disney 10K race continues its association with the Epcot Food & Wine Festival (link).
  • Funai Classic at Walt Disney World. Oct. 16 – 22. Lucas Glover will try to defend his title at the 36th annual fall golf classic on the Palm and Magnolia courses (link).
  • Disney Pin Cruise. Oct. 29 – Nov. 2. This year's cruise is themed as "Cruisin' Through Time" (link).

November-December 2006

  • Festival of the Masters. Nov. 10 – 12. Disney's annual arts festival at Downtown Disney's West Side, now sponsored by Sharpie! (link).
  • ABC Super Soap Weekend. Nov. 11 – 12. Your favorite ABC soap opera stars converge on the Disney-MGM Studios (link).
  • Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. Dates TBA. Jennings Osborne's amazing display returns to the Studios (link).
  • Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade. Dates TBA. The Animal Kingdom Parade trades its Jammin' for Jingle in this holiday makeover (link).
  • Holidays Around the World. Dates TBA. Epcot's World Showcase gets storytellers, special entertainment and crafts for kids, the Lights of Winter and a spectacular Christmas tree (link).
  • Festival of the Seasons. Dates TBA. Downtown Disney gets a holiday makeover (link).
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Dates TBA. Snow on Main Street, free hot cocoa and cookies. What's not to like? (link).

December 2006

  • Pleasure Island New Year's Eve. Dec. 31. Pleasure Island celebrates the actual New Year (link).
  • New Year's Eve at Cirque du Soleil. Dec. 31. Cirque puts on special New Year's performances (link).
  • Atlantic Dance Hall New Year's Eve. Dec. 31. Ring in the New Year at the BoardWalk's own dance club (link).

January 2007

  • Walt Disney World Half-Marathon. Jan. 6. Registration now open (link). [Read our WDW Marathon Guide.]
  • Walt Disney World Marathon. Jan. 7. Registration now open (link).

Current Discounts & Promotions

Free dining plan back, for a limited time

Perhaps the best-received package in recent Disney history, the "Stay, Play and Dine" free dining plan is back. Packages purchased by June 4 for stays from August 13 – September 30 will receive the Disney Dining Plan for free. Essentially, it's the Magic Your Way Plus Dining package for the price of a standard Magic Your Way package. That's a savings of $37.99 per night per adult (ages 10 and up) and $10.99 per night for children (ages 3-9). Add it up and a family of four with kids ages 3-9 will save $97.96 per night, and a family of four with kids over age 9 will save a whopping $151.96 per night.

Disney Visa cardholders can use request code YWL when booking, while the general public should use code YWX.

Passholder discounts now available through June 3

Passholders discounts are now available on the passholder web site for vacations from April 23 through June 3. When calling by phone, use booking code EZN or EZO. Florida resident discounts for the same dates are available on the resident web site, using booking code BOR. Passholder rates start at $74 per night for value resorts, resident rates start at $79 per night for the values.

Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration releases rates through the end of 2006

The Radisson Resort Parkway is now the Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration! The resort, a MousePlanet sponsor, has announced their standard rates through the end of 2006. Note that the nightly rates do not include a $7 per night resort fee.

 
Standard View
Pool View
Bed & Breakfast Package
Sleep Number – Standard View
Sleep Number – Pool View
2006
     Through April 12
$145
$155
$164
$155
$165
     Apr 13 – 16
$175
$185
$194
$185
$195
     Apr 17 – 22
$145
$155
$164
$155
$165
     Apr 23 – 29
$115
$125
$134
$125
$135
     Apr 30 – May 24
$95 (M-F)
$105 (S,S)
$105 (M-F)
$115 (S,S)
$114 (M-F)
$124 (S,S)
$105 (M-F)
$115 (S,S)
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
     May 25 – 29
$125
$135
$144
$135
$145
     May 30 – June 8
$95 (M-F)
$105 (S,S)
$105 (M-F)
$115 (S,S)
$114 (M-F)
$124 (S,S)
$105 (M-F)
$115 (S,S)
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
     June 9 – 29
$105 (M-F)
$115 (S,S)
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
$124 (M-F)
$134 (S,S)
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
$125 (M-F)
$135 (S,S)
     June 30 – July 8
$125
$135
$144
$135
$145
     July 9 – Aug 19
$105 (M-F)
$115 (S,S)
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
$124 (M-F)
$134 (S,S)
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
$125 (M-F)
$135 (S,S)
     Aug 20 – Oct 5
$95 (M-F)
$105 (S,S)
$105 (M-F)
$115 (S,S)
$114 (M-F)
$124 (S,S)
$105 (M-F)
$115 (S,S)
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
     Oct 6 – Nov 4
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
$125 (M-F)
$135 (S,S)
$134 (M-F)
$144 (S,S)
$125 (M-F)
$135 (S,S)
$135 (M-F)
$145 (S,S)
     Nov 5 – 25
$105 (M-F)
$115 (S,S)
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
$124 (M-F)
$134 (S,S)
$115 (M-F)
$125 (S,S)
$125 (M-F)
$135 (S,S)
     Nov 26 – Dec 19
$95
$105
$114
$105
$115
     Dec 20 – 25
$115
$125
$134
$125
$135
     Dec 26 – 31
$175
$185
$194
$185
$195

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

Magic Your Way ticket price guide

Walt Disney World's entire ticket price structure changed as of January 2, 2005, to the new “Magic Your Way” passes, and prices increased on January 1, 2006.. Advance purchase discounts are only available on tickets above the base ticket of at least 4 days, with higher discounts on those tickets with both options.

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 $63/$52 $125/$103 $181/$149 $195/$160 $199/$162 $202/$164 $204/$165 $206/$167 $208/$169 $210/$171
w/ Park Hopper option $103/$92 $165/$143 $221/$189 $235/$200 $239/$202 $242/$204 $244/$205 $246/$207 $248/$209 $250/$211
w/ Water Park Fun & More option $113/$102 $175/$153 $231/$199 $245/$210 $249/$212 $252/$214 $254/$215 $256/$217 $258/$219 $260/$221
  (plus 3) (plus 3) (plus 3) (plus 4) (plus 4) (plus 5) (plus 6) (plus 6) (plus 6) (plus 6)
w/ both options $153/$142 $215/$193 $271/$239 $285/$250 $289/$252 $292/$254 $294/$255 $296/$257 $298/$259 $300/$261
w/ both options, no Expiration N/A $225/$203 $281/$249 $305/$270 $329/$292 $342/$304 $359/$320 $406/$367 $428/$389 $435/$396
Advance Purchase Discount – 1 option N/A N/A N/A $2/$2 $5/$3 $7/$4 $8/$4 $8/$4 $8/$4 $8/$4
Advance Purchase Discount – 2 options N/A N/A N/A $12/$10 $15/$11 $17/$12 $18/$12 $18/$12 $18/$12 $18/$12

Park Hours

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through October 2006.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
4/10
4/11
4/12
4/13
4/14
4/15
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/16
4/17
4/18
4/19
4/20
4/21
4/22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/23
   

MK 9a-12a
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-8:30p
AK 9a-6p
BB 10a-6p
TL 10a-6p

  • 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

Entertainment Schedule

Hours and entertainment schedules are currently available through October 2006.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 4/10

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 4/11

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 4/12

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 4/13

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 4/14

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 4/15

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 4/16

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 4/17

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 4/18

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 4/19

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Thursday 4/20

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 4/21

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower & Garden Festival Premiere Weekend

Commemorative U.S. Stamp Release: The Art of Disney Romance 9:30a

Great American Gardener Series: Paul James 11a, 2p

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

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 4/22

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

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower & Garden Festival Premiere Weekend

Great American Gardener Series: Paul James 11a, 2p

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

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p, 10p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 4/23

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower & Garden Festival Premiere Weekend

Great American Gardener Series: Paul James 11a, 2p

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

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5p

Fantasmic 8:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Fort Wilderness movie schedule for April 2006

Movies begin at 8:40. Movies are preceded by a campfire at 7:30 and a singalong at 8:00.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat

 

10
Mary Poppins

11
Valiant

12
Peter Pan

13
The Emperor's New Groove

14
Monsters, Inc.

15
Herbie: Fully Loaded

16
Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo

17
Finding Nemo

18
The Parent Trap (PG)

19
Toy Story 2

20
Aladdin

21
The Princess Diaries 2

22
Tarzan

23
Mulan

24
Around the World in 80 Days (PG)

25
The Apple Dumpling Gang

26
Sleeping Beauty

27
Pete's Dragon

28
Cinderella

29
The Incredibles (PG)
30
The Rescuers Down Under
           

Downtown Disney Entertainment

(Separate admission required)

Rock & Roll Beach Club
House of Blues
Monday 4/10

Blue Stone Circle

 

Tuesday 4/11

Leonard Brothers

 

Wednesday 4/12

Leonard Brothers

 

Thursday 4/13

Leonard Brothers

Alan Parsons Live Project (main room), $19.50 advance/$22.50 day of show; 8:30 p.m.

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

Friday 4/14

Leonard Brothers

Pretty Ricky with Special Guest Marco Hernandez (main room), $22.50 advance/$25 day of show; 8:30 p.m.

T. Broussard and The Zydeco Steppers (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Saturday 4/15

Frankie & the West End Boys; Stormbringer on the Water Front Stage

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

Sunday 4/16

Stormbringer

Daniel James (gospel brunch), $31 adult, $16 child (3-9); 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m.

Monday 4/17

Stormbringer

 

Tuesday 4/18

Stormbringer

UB 40 with Special Guest Elan (main room), $27.50 advance/$29.50 day of show; 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday 4/19

Frankie & the West End Boys

 

Thursday 4/20

Frankie & the West End Boys

Lil Ed (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Friday 4/21

Frankie & the West End Boys

Joe Satriani with Special Guest Eric Johnson (main room), $32.50 advance/$35 day of show; 8 p.m.

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

Saturday 4/22

TBA

The Jukies (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Sunday 4/23

TBA

The Brothers in Harmony (gospel brunch), $31 adult, $16 child (3-9); 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m.

Lil Flip and Chamillionaire (main room), $19.50 advance/$TBA day of show; 8:30 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.