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Update for May 22 – 28, 2006

Go directly to: News & Views | Coming Soon | Trivia of the Week | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Park Events | Discounts/Promotions | Park Hours | Events/Entertainment Schedule

News and Views

Mission: Space debuts spin-free version

Mission: Space "lite" officially debuted on Friday, offering riders the choice of joining the "green team" or the "orange team" for two different experiences on the popular Epcot attraction.

As I reported a couple of weeks ago, Walt Disney World announced on May 2 that Mission: Space would debut a second ride profile this summer, offering a "mild" ride to go with the normal "wild" ride profile. Implementation was delayed while logistics for multiple queues and Fastpass distribution were developed.

On Friday, the existing stand-by entrance became the stand-by line for Orange Team (normal high-G version), while the former Single Rider entrance became the stand-by line for Green Team (non-spinning version). A single Fastpass queue will have riders steered to their correct team as they approach the merge point. Riders will be issued an orange or green "launch ticket" before entering the building, and will be directed to the proper line.

In the new "green" version, the centrifuge motors will be turned off, but the other capsule motions will still be in place, so that riders will not just be watching a movie in fancy seats, but will get some of the feeling of the original without the high and low G-forces created by varying spin rates of the centrifuge.

In addition to the standard warnings that people with high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness or other medical issues should not ride, the Orange Team launch ticket includes the note that "[i]f you are uncertain whether orange team – more intense training is right for you, we strongly encourage you to select green team – less intense training." The reverse side of the ticket includes messages in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Japanese telling the rider to ask a uniformed ride attendant for important safety instructions in their language, which should help to blunt the criticism that foreign guests might not understand the warnings in the queue—which are only in English—and might not see any warnings in their own language, which are only available on the foreign-language park maps.

While Disney continues to claim that the change has nothing to do with the two deaths of two guests following their rides on the attraction, it's hard to believe that there was absolutely no relationship, whether it be due to liability or to perception resulting from the incidents. Waits at the $100 million attraction had dropped to 10 minutes at times over recent weeks, perhaps due to people being afraid that they might also have an undiagnosed condition that could lead to death after riding Mission: Space. (Both deaths were determined to be due to aggravation of undiagnosed pre-existing conditions in the riders.) By presenting an alternate option that will allow people who are uncertain about their health to still get a good feel for what the attraction is about, Disney will bring back a large group of people who might not otherwise give the attraction a second look. The move appeared to be successful, as wait times reached 40 minutes on Friday morning. It may take some time to confirm any trend changes, however.

While Disney does allow occasional "test flight" mode rides on Star Tours as may be requested when crowd levels allow, this is the first permanent modification of an attraction to allow multiple levels of intensity. No changes have been made to the "Orange Team" version of the attraction, and there are no plans to change the 44-inch height requirement, as that relates to the design of the on-ride restraints and their ability to restrain individuals down to that size.

While there will be those who think that they're up for the wild ride and will have difficulty with it, and those with undetected ailments will still ride not knowing that they're in danger, people who ride just so that they won't miss out on seeing the attraction will now have a safer alternative.


7'3" Peter Mayhew, who portrayed Chewbacca the Wookiee, and 3'6" Warwick Davis, who portrayed Wicket the Ewok, discuss the Star Wars movies during Star Wars Weekends at the Disney-MGM Studios. Photo by Brian Warneke.


Wicket's Warehouse is the temporary home of a great deal of Star Wars-themed merchandise. Photo by Brian Warneke.


The shelves at Wicket's Warehouse are fully stocked. Photo by Brian Warneke.


A 3/4-scale X-Wing sits at Wicket's Warehouse for photo opportunities. Photo by Brian Warneke.

New Studios character meal details

As we reported on April 3 and updated May 1, the new character meals at the Hollywood and Vine restaurant in the Disney-MGM Studios will be called "Play N Dine" and themed to Playhouse Disney. It is now confirmed that the characters to be appearing are Jo Jo and Goliath from Jo Jo's Circus and June and Leo from The Little Einsteins. The characters will sing and dance to songs from Playhouse Disney during the meals, which debut on June 25.

As with dinner at the restaurant, the character breakfast and lunch will be served buffet style. Breakfast will feature Mickey waffles, frittatas and fresh fruits and pastries, while lunch will include baked salmon with citrus butter, multigrain pasta and salads among dozens of other selections, including a dessert and sundae station.

Breakfast (to be served 8:00-11:20 a.m.) will cost $22.99 for ages 10 and up, $12.99 for ages 3-9, while lunch (to be served 11:40 a.m.-2:25 p.m.) will run $24.99 for ages 10 and up, $13.99 for ages 3-9. Reservation are available now via the Walt Disney World Dine Line, 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3563).

Limited Passholder and Florida resident discounts released for summer

Very limited discounts were released for Passholders and Florida residents last week. Rather than the all-resorts rates that we've seen in the past, the new rates are very specifically targeted to five resorts – two Disney Vacation Club resorts and three deluxe resorts, indicating that bookings property-wide are up, with only these five resorts selling below the expected point, necessitating the issuing of discounts.

The released discounts are for July 5 through August 5 at the Old Key West Resort, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Yacht Club Resort, Beach Club Resort and BoardWalk Inn Resort. (The Beach Club Villas and BoardWalk Villas are not included in the discount.) Discount rates at the DVC resorts begin at $159 per night for a studio room, and rates at the deluxes start at $189 per night in a standard room. Other levels of accommodations at those resorts are also available at higher rates. A limited number of rooms are available at the discounted rates.

To receive the discount, you can either make your reservations through the Passholder or Florida resident Web sites, through travel agents or by calling the special Passholder or Florida resident phone numbers (available at the respective Web sites). Passholders should reference promotional code EZT or EZU, while Florida residents should reference promotional code EZW.

At check-in, Passholders will be required to show an annual pass or exchange voucher, and Florida residents will be required to show proof of Florida residency.


A new sign has gone up on the construction walls around the Pirates of the Caribbean. Photo by Indy.

2007 rates show change of seasons

Disney has released new room rates for 2007, and they've introduced a new twist for folks staying at value and moderate resorts during the summer. A new season level has been introduced and season dates have been moved around. Deluxe resorts and Disney Vacation Club Resorts are not affected.

Regular Season used to run from immediately following the Easter peak through late August, at which point Value Season would begin. Starting next year (only for value and moderate resorts, though), Summer Season begins the Thursday before Memorial Day and runs through the first Saturday night in August. Value Season now begins the first Sunday night in August. In addition, prices at moderate resorts have gone up by about $10 per night.

Summer Season rates are approximately midway between Regular Season rates and Peak Season rates. For example, Regular Season rates (April 15 through May 23, plus most of October and November) at a value resort are $99/night for a standard room and $111 for a preferred room, while Peak Season rates in those rooms are $119 and $127, respectively. Summer Season rates for those rooms will run $109 and $121.

At a moderate resort, Regular Season rates are $165 for a standard room, $185 for a water view, king bed or preferred location room; Peak Season rates are $185 and $210, while Summer Season rates are $175 and $195.

This addresses trends of value resort bookings going up during Memorial Day weekend, staying high through the first half of the summer and then dropping once August arrives. This year, the trend is being addressed by only providing Passholder and Florida Resident discounts at a few deluxe and DVC resorts, rather than at all resorts. Expect further changes in the future as booking patterns change and Disney shifts rates to match demand.

Thanks to MousePlanet sponsors Small World Vacations (link) and MouseSavers.com (link) for the rate and season information.

Increase in tourist tax may be in the offing

More extra costs could find their way into your Disney travel budgets in the near future. Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, as well as representatives from the major theme parks and the hoteliers' lobbying group have all agreed on a plan that would raise the hotel room tax by one percentage point and impose an additional $2 surcharge on rental cars. The tax and surcharge cannot be implemented without legislative approval, however.

The tax must be approved by a vote of the Orange County Commission, requiring at least five of a possible seven votes. The county and city are still negotiating the spending plan for the proceeds of the bed tax. The surcharge was approved by the Florida legislature, but it is uncertain whether Governor Jeb Bush will sign or veto the measure. The surcharge faces further approval requirements by voters on the November ballot, but it can only be placed on the ballot if the funding agreement is approved by both the Orange County Commission and the Orlando City Commission in a matter of a few days. Both bodies meet early this week to consider the matter.

The new levy would increase the taxes at Disney hotels from 11.5 percent to 12.5 percent at hotels in Orange County. The hotels in Osceola County (Animal Kingdom Lodge and the All-Star Sports, Music and Movies Resorts) would presumably be unaffected and would remain at 13 percent.

The bed tax would be used to pay for promotion of tourism as well as construction of a new performing arts center, renovation or replacement of the TD Waterhouse Centre and renovation of the Citrus Bowl. The proceeds would be split roughly in half, with the balance of the distribution shifting after the first two years. The tax is expected to raise about $25 million per year.

The rental car surcharge, expected to raise $34-$38 million per year, would provide 25 percent of the proceeds to the Lynx public bus system, which would help to stabilize the funding for that community resource.

The tourism executives involved in the deal included Walt Disney World President Al Weiss, chief executives from Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando, and leaders of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association.


Lightning McQueen is available for meet-and-greets at the Disney-MGM Studios. Photo by Brian Warneke.


Mater the tow truck is also out and about at the Studios. Photo by Brian Warneke.

Airport fees may also rise

The tax on hotel rooms isn't the only cost that might be going up for Walt Disney World visitors. Orlando International Airport (OIA) is considering an increase in the facility fee from $3 to $4.50, to bring it into line with the fees charged by other major airports.

The passenger facility charge program, created by the FAA in 1990 to help airports raise money for projects, has a maximum fee of $4.50, which the other top airports have already been charging passengers. OIA jumped from 14th busiest in U.S. and 24th busiest in world to 12th and 21st between 2004 and 2005, according to Airports Council International (ACI), with 34.1 million passengers passing through the airport.

The airport will use the funds to pay for a new baggage conveyor system and security system improvements, and possibly a second terminal when the passenger levels create the need. By raising the money through an increase in passenger fees instead of landing rights and gate fees, the airport is avoiding the imposition of a further burden on the already financially-precarious airlines. The airport expects the fees to generate $1.1 billion in revenue over the next 12 years.

The increase has not yet been approved by the Greater Orlando Airport Authority, which is expected to vote on the increase in the near future.

… However, baggage handling at airport improves

Last Monday marked the start of a new program at Orlando International Airport that should speed passengers on their way between the check-in counter and the terminal gates.

Back on April 24, I reported on the upcoming change, whereby an airport contractor would begin handling passenger luggage between the check-in counter and the baggage screening machines so that there would be no need for passengers to drag their own bags to the counter to check them in and get their routing tags, and then back to the machine for screening.

Not only does this cut down on the time that passengers need to spend moving luggage, but it will also free up the Transportation Security Administration officers from loading the baggage into the machine, allowing the airport to dedicate more officers to screening the baggage and passengers. Lines had recently been exceeding 45 minutes during peak travel times.

The implementation date gives the airport a week and a half to work any bugs out of the change before the Memorial Day Weekend rush hits.


The new Beauty and the Beast stamp is immortalized as a topiary at Epcot. Photo by Catherine Sowa.


Cinderella and her prince look charming in their stamp topiary. Photo by Catherine Sowa.


Lady and the Tramp's topiary looks divine. Photo by Catherine Sowa.


Mickey and Minnie have fun in their stamp topiary. Photo by Catherine Sowa.

Gay Days feud easing?

There's been a change in the landscape of the Gay Day vs. Gay Days feud this year. Doug Swallow, one of the original founders of the event and owner of gayday.com, has leased his site to Johnny Chisholm, promoter of the One Mighty Weekend events that have been a staple of the weekend for many years. Swallow has been reported as saying that he "didn't want to deal with all the drama and headaches this year."

However, that doesn't mean that the GayDays.com group, headed by Tom Manley and Chris Alexander-Manley, is the sole arbiter of the parks schedule this year. (Last year, the two feuding factions ran different schedules for visiting the parks.) This year, Chisholm's site is publicizing park dates as Epcot on June 2, Magic Kingdom on June 3 and Animal Kingdom on June 4. Manley and Alexander-Manley have Animal Kingdom on June 1, the Disney-MGM Studios on June 2, Magic Kingdom on June 3 and Epcot on June 4. Participants will again have to choose which schedule they plan to follow, and allegiances will again be tested.

Host hotels are also being pitted against each other, as Chisholm's outfit will be based at the Buena Vista Palace and GayDays.com will be at the Hotel Royal Plaza. Both hotels are sold out. GayDays is returning to its longtime home at the Hotel Royal Plaza from the Sheraton World Hotel, now that the Royal Plaza has reopened from its post-hurricane renovations.

As always, however, the event has not gone unnoticed by the conservative Christian Action Network, which in the past has participated in such events as a protest against the event at the Florida State Capitol and hosting a reception at Disney annual shareholder meetings. This year, the group is raising money to fly a hot air balloon over Orlando to "ensure that parents are notified about the events going on for Gay Days at Disney."

The weekend has grown each year, and infuses well over $100 million dollars into the local economy.

Here's hoping that the two groups can settle their differences and host one park schedule next year.

One cast member dead, one injured in head-on crash near Magic Kingdom

Early Thursday morning, one Disney employee died and another suffered serious injuries in a head-on collision at the western end of Vista Drive, the roadway that leads past Fort Wilderness. Phillip Stitzer, a 24-year-old merchandise employee, lost control of his vehicle as he headed westbound toward World Drive around 12:30 a.m. and swerved into the eastbound lanes, hitting a car driven by Kuang Wu, a 60-year-old chef at the Polynesian Resort. Stitzer is suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Wu's car rolled onto its roof after the impact, and he was pronounced dead on the scene. Stitzer was in critical condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, blood was drawn from Stitzer for drug and alcohol testing after troopers found signs of drinking.

No charges have been filed yet, pending the outcome of an investigation.


The Main Street Athletic Club is closed for renovations. Photo by Mike Scopa.


Keystone Clothiers is also closed for renovation. Photo by Brian Warneke.


The construction walls for Keystone Clothiers go all the way around the building. Photo by Brian Warneke.

"The Goofy" jumps toward "full"

Time is running out if you're planning to sign up for the Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge during the 2007 Marathon Weekend. In the last week, registration for the 3,000 available slots jumped from 50 percent to 70 percent full. Once all the spots are gone, even if you sign up for both races you will not receive a Goofy medal.

The numbers indicate that registration is around 90 percent of last year's number of entries with over six months left before the races. To register or to check the status of the event, go to the race Web site (link). [Read our WDW Marathon Guide.]

Disney confirms ESPNU Classic for November at the Milk House.

Two arms of the Walt Disney Company are coming together to produce The ESPNU Classic, a new eight-team, 12-game college basketball tournament at the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World over the Thanksgiving weekend, it was officially announced on Tuesday. Nine games will be broadcast on ESPN2, while the other three will be broadcast on ESPNU. All will be televised live.

Participating teams include five teams that made post-season appearances this year: Arkansas, Minnesota, Montana, Southern Illinois and West Virginia. Also participating will be Marist, Virginia Tech and Western Michigan.

The tournament, which will be run under the auspices of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, will take place November 23, 24 and 26. Four games will be played on each day, with each team playing daily. The two undefeated teams will face off in a championship game on the last day, with the remaining teams playing consolation games. Pairings and game times will be announced at a later date.


A panda topiary sits outside the China pavilion at Epcot. Photo by Catherine Sowa.


The American Adventure features a red-white-and-blue star topiary outside. Photo by Catherine Sowa.

Release of papers on the web creates more "Buzz"

A treasure trove of documents relating to the history of Walt Disney World and other theme parks around the globe will soon be available online. The University of Central Florida is digitizing about 150 of the 1,000 documents donated to its library by Harrison "Buzz" Price and making them available on the Web.

Thus far, the site (link) is having technical difficulties and has been unavailable each time that we checked it. However, the university plans to get it back online as soon as possible.

Price, an economic consultant that performed the feasibility studies, market analysis and site selection for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, among other parks and resorts, donated dozens of boxes of papers to the school in late 2003. Some papers are available to researchers now, others restricted to only become available in 2012, and still more to become available after his and his wife's death.

Included among the papers is information about the proposed Disney Down Under Resort considered for Queensland, Australia in the 1990s and information about Disney's attempt to create a ski resort at Mineral King in California. Other papers include an economic impact report on the then-proposed Walt Disney World and a feasibility study of River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.


The children's fur costumes from the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe are on display in the queue for The Great Movie Ride. Photo by Mike Scopa.

Quick takes …

…While the official Walt Disney World podcasts are currently on hiatus for retooling, host David Brady is producing podcasts about the Star Wars Weekends for StarWars.com (link).

Jiko – The Cooking Place at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was recognized for "Best Independent Operator Menu" in the 2006 Nation's Restaurant News MenuMasters Awards.

…The Disney Cruise Line was recently honored by Porthole Cruise Magazine with their 2005 Reader's Choice Award for Most Family-Oriented Line, as voted by the readers of Porthole Cruise Magazine.

…Tom McAlpin, president of the Disney Cruise Line, was named to the board of directors of the Make-A-Wish Foundation last week. The cruise line has been helping to grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses for the past eight years. McAlpin reported decided to get more involved with Make-A-Wish during a gala event aboard the Disney Magic to benefit the organization last summer in California as part of Disneyland's 50th birthday celebration (link).

…For those who are interested, Mark Goldhaber will again be making a guest appearance on the WDW Today podcast (link) both today and Wednesday.


Coming soon

  • Through June 11, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
    • Flower Power Concert Series
      • May 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
      • May 27–29, Memorial Day
      • June 2–4, I Dig Bugs
      • June 9–11, Festival Farewell Weekend
  • Through June 11, Star Wars Weekends
    • May 26–28, Jake Lloyd (young Anakin Skywalker), Matthew Wood (sound editor, voice of General Grievous), Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)
    • June 2–4, Jay Laga'aia (Captain Typho), Orli Shoshan (Shaak Ti), Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)
    • June 9–11, Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett), Temura Morrison (Jango Fett), Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok)
  • Through June 5, no Cirque du Soleil performances
  • May 26–29, DVC members may not pool-hop on these dates
  • May 31 - June 4, Gay Days 2006, the 16th annual gathering of the GLBT community at Walt Disney World (not Disney-sponsored)

Trivia question of the week

What is the license plate number of the Star Speeder whose owner is paged in the queue for Star Tours because it is parked in a "no-hover zone"?

(Answer will be posted next week.)

Answer to last week's question: 276 tons of steel were used in constructing the 180-foot-tall Cinderella Castle.


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

  • Pirates of the Caribbean – is closed through July 1 for the addition of characters from the movie that was inspired by the ride.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – is not operating due to refurbishment, and will return to service on September 22.
  • Timekeeper – is closed for good.
  • Cinderella's Surprise Celebration – reportedly returns at the beginning of November, following the final performance of Cinderellabration.

Epcot

  • 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

  • Finding Nemo – The Musical – will open in the Theater in the Wild late this year.

Resorts

  • All-Star Music Resort – Conversion of the Jazz Inn buildings to Family Suites continues. Building 2 is in process, and building 9 will be next.
  • 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.
  • Wilderness Lodge – Work is now underway on the replacement of furniture in all rooms, which is 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

  • Blizzard Beach – Will close for annual refurbishment October 29, and will reopen some time in December.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – Will close for annual refurbishment when work on Blizzard Beach is complete, and will reopen some time in February or March 2007.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. Also, no performances May 21 – June 5, July 30 – August 1 and September 17–25.

Park Events

Ongoing

  • 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) at the 13th annual event.

May 2006

  • 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. 15, 22, 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 11th 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. Nov. 13, 17, 27, 28, 30, Dec. 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 19, 21, 22. Snow on Main Street, free hot cocoa and cookies. What's not to like? (link).

December 2006

  • MouseFest 2006. Dec. 3–11. The annual gathering of the Disney Internet community takes place at sea from Dec. 3–7 and on land from Dec. 7–11 (link).
  • 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, Florida resident discounts still available through June 3

In addition, Passholders discounts are still 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.

Cirque discounts for Passholders and DVC members

Passholders and DVC members get 25 percent off Category 2 admission to performances of Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba through September 30, 2006. Each passholder or DVC member can buy up to four tickets. Tickets should be purchased by phone at 407-939-7604 up to 30 days in advance, and must be picked up at the box office with valid Passholder or DVC identification. The offer is not valid on Saturday shows during July, and the show will not be performed on Sundays and Mondays, as well as May 21 ? June 5, July 30 ? August 1 and September 17?25.

Golf Price Slice returns

A round of golf at Walt Disney World will be less expensive after 10 a.m. again this summer as the resort is bringing back the Disney's Price Slice promotion. From May 22 through September 30, greens fees will be "sliced" to $55 for the Magnolia and Eagle Pines courses, $49 for the Palm course and $45 for the Lake Buena Vista course. The rates include the use of an electric cart and are discounted from the before-10 a.m. prices of $89 (Magnolia and Eagle Pines), $79 (Palm) and $69 (Lake Buena Vista). The Osprey Ridge course is not involved in the promotion, as it will be closed from May 15 through September 23 for refurbishment. The Tifdwarf grass on the greens is being replaced by TifEagle turf, tee boxes are being laser leveled and other work will also be done. The annual makeover of a selected course has been extremely well-received, with the Palm course going first in 2004 and the Magnolia getting upgraded last year. It is unknown at this time whether the Eagle Pines or Lake Buena Vista course is scheduled for next year. To reserve a tee time, call 407-WDW-GOLF (407-939-4653) or go to the Disney Golf Web site (link). Note that the site appears to have difficulty with browsers other than Internet Explorer.

New Radisson offer

The Radisson Resort Orlando - Celebration, a MousePlanet sponsor, has announced reduced rates for MousePlanet readers from now through July 8. Rates start at $85 per night from now through June 1, and at $95 per night from June 2 through July 8.

Click here for more information, or here to make reservations now. These special rates and discounts are for MousePlanet readers, so remember to book through our links here.

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 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 November 2006.

Sun
Mon
Tues
Wed
Thurs
Fri
Sat
 
5/22
5/23
5/24
5/25
5/26
5/27
 

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

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p

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

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

MK 9a-11p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p

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

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

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

5/28
5/29
5/30
5/31
6/1
6/2
6/3

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

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

MK 9a-11p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p

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

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

MK 9a-10p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p

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

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

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

6/4
   

MK 9a-11p
EF 9a-7p
EW 11a-9p
MGM 9a-10p
AK 9a-7p
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 November 2006.

Theme Park Events

Magic Kingdom
Epcot World Showcase
Disney-MGM Studios
Animal Kingdom
Monday 5/22

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower Power Concert Series: B.J. Thomas 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 5/23

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower Power Concert Series: Felix Cavaliere'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

Wednesday 5/24

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower Power Concert Series: Felix Cavaliere'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 5/25

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower Power Concert Series: Felix Cavaliere'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

Friday 5/26

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower & Garden Festival Memorial Day Weekend

Great American Gardener Series: Pat Lanza 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: The Guess Who 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Star Wars Weekends

Celebrity Guests: Warwick Davis (host), Jake Lloyd, Matt Wood

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 5/27

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower & Garden Festival Memorial Day Weekend

Great American Gardener Series: Pat Lanza 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: The Guess Who 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Star Wars Weekends

Celebrity Guests: Warwick Davis (host), Jake Lloyd, Matt Wood

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 5/28

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower & Garden Festival Memorial Day Weekend

Great American Gardener Series: Pat Lanza 11a, 2p

Flower Power Concert Series: The Guess Who 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Star Wars Weekends

Celebrity Guests: Warwick Davis (host), Jake Lloyd, Matt Wood

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Monday 5/29

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower Power Concert Series: The Guess Who 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Tuesday 5/30

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower Power Concert Series: Tony Orlando in Concert 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Wednesday 5/31

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower Power Concert Series: Tony Orlando in Concert 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

Thursday 6/1

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower Power Concert Series: Tony Orlando in Concert 5:45p, 7p, 8:15p

Illuminations 9p

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Friday 6/2

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower & Garden Festival I Dig Bugs Weekend

Great American Gardener Series: Robert Bowden 11a, 2p

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

Illuminations 9p

Star Wars Weekends

Celebrity Guests: Warwick Davis (host), Jay Laga'aia, Orli Shoshan

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Saturday 6/3

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower & Garden Festival I Dig Bugs Weekend

Great American Gardener Series: Robert Bowden 11a, 2p

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

Illuminations 9p

Star Wars Weekends

Celebrity Guests: Warwick Davis (host), Jay Laga'aia, Orli Shoshan

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Sunday 6/4

Share a Dream Come True Parade 3p

SpectroMagic Parade 9p, 11p

Wishes Fireworks 10p

Flower & Garden Festival I Dig Bugs Weekend

Great American Gardener Series: Robert Bowden 11a, 2p

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

Illuminations 9p

Star Wars Weekends

Celebrity Guests: Warwick Davis (host), Jay Laga'aia, Orli Shoshan

Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade 5:30p

Fantasmic 9p, 10:30p

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade 4p

Fort Wilderness movie schedule for May 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
 

22
Mighty Joe Young

23
The Hunchback of Notre Dame

24
Homeward Bound

25
Aladdin

26
Cinderella

27
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
28
National Treasure

29
Valiant

30
Herbie: Fully Loaded

31
A Goofy Movie

     

Downtown Disney Entertainment

(Separate admission required)

Rock & Roll Beach Club
House of Blues
Monday 5/22

Stormbringer

 

Tuesday 5/23

Stormbringer

 

Wednesday 5/24

Leonard Brothers

 

Thursday 5/25

Leonard Brothers

Damon Fowler (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Friday 5/26

Leonard Brothers

Skindred with Special Guest Burn Season (main room), $15 advance/$17.50 day of show; 8 p.m.

Beautiful Bobby Blackmon (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Saturday 5/27

Leonard Brothers

Day of Infamy Music Presents Through You CD/DVD Release Party Memorial Day Concert with special guests Irrational, Between the Trees, Aristocracy, and Indegent Focus (main room), $12.50 advance/$15.50 day of show; 7:30 p.m.

Sandy Atkinson and The Modeans (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Sunday 5/28

Quick Shot Paulo

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

Monday 5/29

Quick Shot Paulo

Yngwie Malmsteen with Special Guest Orange Sky (main room), $19.50 advance/$21.50 day of show; 8 p.m.

Tuesday 5/30

Quick Shot Paulo

 

Wednesday 5/31

Quick Shot Paulo

Jack's Mannequin with Special Guest Cute Is What We Aim For and Monty Are I (main room), $17 advance/$19 day of show; 8 p.m.

Thursday 6/1

Leonard Brothers

Grady Champion (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Friday 6/2

Harrydash

Pandora & Alison Burgos / HOB Present Sophie B. Hawkins & Betty of the "L" Word (main room), $19.50 advance/$25 day of show; 9 p.m.

Grady Champion (Blues Kitchen), free; 11 p.m.

Saturday 6/3

TBA

Pandora & Alison Burgos Presents Girls in Wonderland '06 with DJ Kimberly S (Dinah Shore, Aqua Girl) (main room), $25; 9 p.m.

Sunday 6/4

TBA

Chandni N Sharma & Reshma Ohri Presents Jazzy B Live with C Studio Dancers (main room), $20 children/$75 adults; 7:30 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.