Get those dialing fingers ready! Reservations for special events during the 12th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival open at 7 a.m. next Monday morning, August 6. Special dinners, wine schools and the extremely popular Party for the Senses grand tasting will all go fast, so set your speed-dial to 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378).
More detailed information about the events is expected to be released this Friday, August 3, on the Walt Disney World Web site.
Time is running out to cash in on a special promotion from MousePlanet sponsor Small World Vacations.
Book a new Walt Disney World, Disneyland or Disney Cruise vacation July 1 through August 1, 2007, with Small World Vacations and get one free collapsible sturdy backpack. Backpack will be mailed with final documents. If the reservation is canceled, this offer is null and void. Travel must be complete by December 31, 2008.
This offer is not valid on previously booked reservations or room only reservations.
Let them know that you found Small World Vacations on MousePlanet and include the word "Backpack" in the special request section of the price quote form.
Offer good while supplies last. Substitution may be necessary if supplies are exhausted.
Next January's Walt Disney World Marathon continues to sell well, and is currently at 85 percent of its registration capacity. The Family Run Run 5K during Marathon Weekend is at 50 percent of capacity. The Half Marathon and Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge sold out long ago.
Meanwhile, October's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror races are selling well, with the 13K at 50 percent of capacity and the 6.5K race at 70 percent of capacity.
If you're considering signing up for any of these races, you might want to do it soon. While you're at it, check out our Disney running guide.
This is one of the kind of stories that never seems to get enough recognition. Disney College Program cast member Paul Sherrer, a former U.S. soldier, was working in Bell Services at the Port Orleans Riverside resort when he performed another heroic act.
Sherrer was returning to the resort's main building after delivering some luggage when he heard some commotion at the resort's marina. He hopped onto his Pargo (luggage) golf cart and raced to the marina to find an upset young girl who said that her 4-year-old brother had slipped and fallen into the river.
"I jumped off the Pargo at full speed [into the water] and felt around on the bottom," said Sherrer. "I found him and pulled him up to safety."
Sherrer's actions were celebrated by Disney on July 10. Vice President of Resort Operations and Transportation Kevin Myers presented Paul with a letter from Meg Crofton, president of the Walt Disney World Resort, commending him for his bravery.
Kudos to Sherrer for his quick thinking, quicker action and bravery in rescuing the boy. Here's to the cast members that truly give their all for guest safety!
Get your MousePlanet gear!
The MousePlanet.com store is now open for business (link)! You can get shirts, mugs, hats and even a Teddy Bear! Check it out and show your MousePlanet pride!
As expected, Disney has signed a six-year deal with the Children's Miracle Network for a new sponsorship for the PGA Tour stop at Walt Disney World. The tournament, most recently called the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World through last year, will now be known as the Children?s Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart. The agreement, which extends through 2012, begins with this year's tournament. The tournament runs from October 29 November 4, with the first three days being practice rounds and the tournament running November 14.
The cost of sponsoring the tournament will be underwritten by Children's Miracle Network corporate partners. The fundraising done in conjunction with the tournament will benefit the network's 170 children's hospitals.
The tournament has previously been known as the Walt Disney World Classic, the Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Golf Classic, the National Car Rental Golf Classic, and the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World.
Joe Durant will defend his title in the event this fall.
As we first reported on last week's MousePlanetWatch podcast, last Tuesday a roadway-sign crisis caused major headaches for visitors trying to get to Walt Disney World on Interstate 4.
I-4 near Walt Disney World was closed to all traffic for most of the day on Tuesday due to difficulty in removing a stubborn 40-ton sign and truss at the Osceola Parkway overpass. Crews working on the new interchange between I-4 and U.S. Highway 192 overnight Monday night tried to remove the sign using a single crane, but it would not release its connection to the support posts properly. They tried to put it back in place for removal Tuesday night, but it would not go back and remain steady. They tried to remove it again, but it still would not release from the supports. Then the crane became unstable and they shut the road down just after 4 a.m.
Two more cranes were brought in to hold the truss up while they repositioned the first crane, but the median couldn't safely support the cranes due to excessive water, so plywood had to be brought in to stabilize the additional cranes. Originally, the truss was going to be laid across all six lanes of the highway, but due to the traffic backup that developed throughout the day, they decided to put the sign and truss down in the median.
Meanwhile, traffic in both directions was backed up for miles and miles, and all of the traffic that was diverted off of the highway found itself in bumper-to-bumper traffic along the alternate roadways, with no marked detour routes. Some were stuck in traffic for many hours.
The truss finally came down just after 1 p.m., then the equipment had to be removed from the roadway. Westbound lanes opened by 2 p.m., with the eastbound lanes joining them within an hour.
Want to help MousePlanet upgrade our park guides? We're looking to add menu information for all restaurants to our Walt Disney World Park Guide (link). Send photos or scans of menus (no fair copying from other web sites) to email@example.com (link). Please note that there is a 5MB limit on total attachments in a single email.
This week's listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last two weeks:
A bunch of limited-edition and open-edition pins will be released on October 1 in honor of Epcot's 25th anniversary. The pins can be seen at the DizPins web site.
One new attraction refurbishment was added this week, one was extended and one was moved. The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacres Farm will now close for refurbishment August 20-24. The refurbishment of O Canada for installation of the new film was extended to August 631 (from August 2024). Astro Orbiter had its refurbishment pushed back to September 922 (from August 1225).
The Official All-Star Cafe at Disney's Wide World of Sports will close September 23. It is expected to reopen on November 20 as a quick-service restaurant offering fresh soups, salads and sandwiches. It seems that guests were looking for something to be eaten quickly between events, rather than a leisurely meal that might run beyond their available time.
The Surfboard Bay pool at the All-Star Sports Resort closes for refurbishment from August 27 October 4. Guests can still use the Grand Slam pool or they can use any of the feature pools at the other All-Star Resorts. Since all value resorts are pretty much booked solid due to the summer free dining promotion, you may experience much difficulty if you want to move your room to another resort with an open feature pool, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
This week's question: This week's question was submitted by MousePlanet reader Jonathan Heigl What area is the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad modeled after? Stay tuned to next week's park update for the answer.
The answer to last week's question: "Why is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror painted in that "off pink" color?", which was submitted by MousePlanet reader Nicholas Steinhoff, is:
While WDW does a good job of keeping park guests from seeing things outside the parks, the Tower of Terror is easily visible from one area of Epcot: the World Showcase Plaza, between the two gift shops at the northern end of the lagoon. From this area, the Tower rises up directly behind the Morocco pavilion. In order not to be too distracting, the Tower was painted in a color very close to the color of Morocco. [Mark's note: This also drove the Moorish architecture style of the building.]
This week's question drew a number of email from folks anxious to prove their knowledge, including Mike Andrews, who provided a photo, taken from the small bridge between Mexico and the old Odyssey restaurant.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is themed to fit in behind Epcot's Morocco pavilion. Photo by Mike Andrews.
Do you have a trivia question that you'd like to share? If we choose to use your question, we'll give you credit in the Update. Email us here.
MousePlanet sponsor Hotel Royal Plaza, in the Downtown Disney resort area, has enhanced its deal for MousePlanet readers. From now through the end of the year, anyone booking their stay through the MousePlanet web site has been able to receive discounted rates up to 20 percent off on all room types. Now, for a limited time, you can get even more! The discounted rates now include free breakfast for two in the Giraffe Caf!. Plus children 10 and under always eat breakfast for free! (Two children 10 and under eat free from the kids menu when accompanied by an adult dining from the regular menu.)
The completely-remodeled 394-room resort is located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard, just a few minutes' walk from Downtown Disney. Bus service to all Walt Disney World theme parks is included with your stay. Their Giraffe Caf restaurant, Giraffe Tavern sports bar, Marketessen deli-style caf and Sips Pool Bar are ready to serve you.
We'd like to invite you to try their hospitality!
Disney has released discounted room rates for passholders and Florida residents through most of the summer. Discounts are available for select Disney Vacation Club and deluxe resorts from June 3 through August 4, and for select moderate resorts between July 1 and August 4.
For passholders, the DVC rates start at $164 per night plus tax in a studio at the Old Key West or Saratoga Springs Resorts. Prices go up from there depending on the resort and accommodations. In addition to those two DVC resorts, discounts are also available at the Yacht Club, Beach Club and BoardWalk Resorts. Rates at the moderates start at $139 per night. For Florida residents, the DVC rates start at $169 per night and the moderates start at $145 per night. Minimum stay requirements apply for Friday and Saturday arrivals.
All rates can be booked up until the date of arrival. Passholders and Florida residents can book via your respective web sites, by calling your travel agent (Small World Vacations is MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel provider) or by calling 407-560-7277 for passholders or 407-560-7722 for Florida residents.
Passholder discount codes are FDL (DVC/Deluxe) and FDJ (Moderates). Florida resident discount codes are FDP (DVC/Deluxe) and FDN (Moderates).
Disney has released discounted room rates for passholders and Florida residents for August and September. Discounts are available for select Disney Vacation Club and deluxe resorts for most nights from August 5 to September 29, and at moderate and value resorts for most nights August 59, August 1229 and September 229.
For passholders and Florida residents, the DVC rates start at $164 per night plus tax in a studio at the Old Key West or Saratoga Springs Resorts. Prices go up from there depending on the resort and accommodations.
In addition to those two DVC resorts, discounts are also available at all deluxe resorts, with passholder rates $5 per night less than Florida resident rates. Some sample rates are garden view rooms at the Polynesian ($249 passholder/$254 resident), Contemporary ($225/$230) and Grand Floridian ($295/$300).
Rates at the moderates start at $94 per night for passholders and $99 per night for Florida residents. Value resorts start at $64 for both passholders and Florida residents.
Minimum stay requirements apply for Friday and Saturday arrivals. All rates can be booked up until the date of arrival. Passholders and Florida residents can book via your respective web sites, by calling your travel agent (Small World Vacations is MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel provider) or by calling 407-560-7277 for passholders or 407-560-7722 for Florida residents.
Discount codes are FDR (passholder) and FDT (Florida residents).
Disney's popular summer golf discount program, Disney's Price Slice, will return from May 14 through September 27. During that time, a round of golf at any of the Walt Disney World courses will be less expensive after 10 a.m. daily, due to the heat of the summer season. The Magnolia, Palm, Eagle Pines and Osprey Ridge courses will carry a fee of $55, while the Lake Buena Vista course will cost $45. Rates include the use of an electric cart, and are $34-$44 cheaper than regular rates.
The rates include the use of an electric cart and are discounted from the before-10 a.m. prices of $99 for resort guests/$109 for day visitors (Magnolia and Osprey Ridge), $89 for resort guests/$99 for day visitors (Palm and Eagle Pines) and $79 for resort guests/$89 for day visitors (Lake Buena Vista). 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's front page still appears to have difficulty with browsers other than Internet Explorer. Once you get past the front page, you should be all right.
(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.