The wand, crane and stars are all gone from Spaceship Earth. The only remaining vestiges of the "adornment" are the metal supports for the stars that once "graced" the Geosphere. Those will be removed from inside the structure very quickly, and the "Bucky ball" will once again stand clean and proud.
The "Muppet Mobile Lab" that was tested at Disney's California Adventure early this year went through some additional testing last week at Epcot. The Animatronic marvel, perched Segway-like on two wheels (Disney Imagineers purportedly consulted with Segway engineers), features Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his ill-fated assistant, Beaker, rolling around Future World and interacting with guests. The operators/voices of the contraption are unseen.
The Muppet Mobile Lab goes out for a test spin with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker rolling about Epcot's Future World. Photo © Disney.
Again, this was a test and there's no guarantee if or when they might appear again. Still, it's nice to know that Imagineering is playing around with cool toys like these.
The Canada pavilion is expected to open on Friday with a new film designed to disspell many myths about Canada and to show a more modern look at Canada than the 25-year-old original. While the original O Canada! showed beautiful landscapes and and diverse cultures of Canada, it didn't give a complete picture of the country and its people.
Aiming to remedy that, the new 14-minute film features Canadian actor Martin Short as a narrator taking guests on a tour of the country that not only features stunning landscapes but also performqances by Cirque du Soleil (based in Montreal), the Calgary Stampede and more. 2006 "Canadian Idol" winner Eva Avila sings on the soundtrack. The new O Canada! contains 65 percent new footage.
Walt Disney Imagineering worked closely with the Canadian Tourism Commission and Canada's tourism leaders to provide content to update the film.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office is looking for more witnesses to the "line rage" incident that took place back on May 27. Victoria Walker is scheduled to go on trial October 29 on charges of felony battery for allegedly attacking Aimee Krause because, she claimed, Krause and her children had jumped in front of her in line for the Mad Tea Party attraction.
While several witnesses were found in the days following the attack, the Sheriff's Office is looking for any additional witnesses that they can find due to the increased media attention surrounding the case.
If you were at the attraction and witnessed the incident, please call 407-939-3200 and ask for Detective Kelly Boaz.
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!
For those Disney artwork collectors and Thomas Kinkade fans, registration is now open for the Morning Star Breakfast at which Kinkade's latest Disney painting, A New Day at the Cinderella Castle, will be unveiled. The event will be held from 8:30-10 a.m. on Saturday, October 20. For $150 per person, attendees will receive a "sumptuous breakfast at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa," the unveiling of the A New Day at the Cinderella Castle painting, a meet & greet with Thomas Kinkade and family, the opportunity to pre-purchase the artwork (gicle on canvas and/or paper) with a guarantee that all product purchased by event guests will be hand signed by Thomas Kinkade, and a commemorative event gift.
If you can't make the breakfast, remaining inventory will be available later that day, with an additional meet and greet scheduled from 11 a.m.1 p.m. at the Main Street Exposition Hall in Town Square at the Magic Kingdom. All pieces purchased at the Exposition Hall on that day are also guaranteed to be hand signed by Thomas Kinkade.
Both the gicle on canvas and gicle on paper will be available in standard numbered and artist's proof limited editions, and will be available both framed and unframed, at prices ranging from $230 (gicle on paper, 18"x24", unframed) to $2,410 (gicle on canvas, 30"x40", framed). Shipping is extra, at prices ranging from $49.95 to $84.95.
To register for the event, or for more information, go to the Disney Gallery web site.
There will be a limited-edition cel signing event taking place at the Disney-MGM Studios on September 22 from 10 a.m.1 p.m. and 2 p.m.5 p.m. as Gala Premiere, the latest addition to the Ink & Paint series, debuts. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the cel's artists, Costa Alavezos, James Bonserio, Erin Magill, Theodora M. DeLaney, David Rippberger, Lynn Rippberger, and Sharon K. Vincent. The cel will be available in five configurations, from unframed ($125) to $290 (gold frame). Shipping cost will be based on the dollar value of the order. An exclusively designed pin is available with the first 1000 orders placed for a framed cel only. The cel is limited to an edition size of 2,000.
For more information on the event, go to the Disney Gallery web site.
Last Thursday, Walt Disney World Resort was honored by the American Lung Association of Florida and Florida Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros for its decision in May to make all of its 24,000 hotel rooms smoke free. The recognition was based on the decision's effect of reducing the exposure of employees and guests to the hazards of secondhand smoke.
"As the largest single-site employer in Florida, this demonstrates how much we are able to do when we put our minds and hearts into it," said Erin Wallace, senior vice president of operations, who accepted the award for Walt Disney World Resorts. "We have the potential to make a powerful and focused impression every year on millions of guests from around the world, and in particular, children."
The Disney Store (now owned by The Children's Place under license from Disney) is holding its own Year of a Million Dreams contest called the "Dream It. Be It. Sweepstakes," which runs through October 1. Five Grand Prizes of a five-day, four-night trip for four to Walt Disney World will be awarded. The prizes include round-trip air transportation, Disney's Magical Express ground transportation, a hotel room, and five-day Magic Your Way tickets with Park Hopper options.
Five first prizes of a three-day, two-night trip for four to Disneyland include air transportation, ground transportation, a hotel room and three-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Tickets. Ten second prizes of four 5-day Walt Disney World Magic Your Way passes with Park Hopper option will be awarded, as will ten third prizes of four 3-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Tickets. Fifty fourth prizes of $100 Disney Enterprise Gift Cards will also be awarded.
Residents of the United States (excluding Alaska), the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are of the legal age of majority at time of entry may enter any time through October 1 by any of three methods. However, only one entry per person and/or email address may be submitted throughout the sweepstakes period. To enter in person, fill out the entry form available on special displays at participating Disney Store locations, while supplies last. The enter via mail, hand-print your name, complete home address (no PO boxes), daytime phone and date of birth on an approximately 3"x5" piece of paper, place it into a hand-addressed, postmarked outer envelope and mail to Dream It Be It Sweepstakes, PO Box 1205, Elmhurst, IL 60126. Or, if you have an email address and are willing to register at Disney.com, you can just enter online.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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 last week:
MouseFest has arranged for a special discounted rate at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort for MouseFest! Stay near the heart of MouseFest action within walking distance of Epcot(r), Disney-MGM Studios, Disney's BoardWalk entertainment district, Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf courses, and Saturday's MouseFest's Mega Mouse Meet at the Walt Disney World Dolphin. To learn more about this offer, visit the MouseFest.org web site.
Registration for Disney endurance races seems to be filling at a quicker pace. The Tower of Terror 13K is now at 75 percent capacity, while the Family Fun Run 5K during Marathon Weekend is at 60 percent. The Tower of Terror 6.5K, the Walt Disney World Marathon, Half Marathon and the Goofy Challenge are all sold out.
We have received a report that the Big River Grille and Brewing Works is open during its refurbishment, temporarily using the Atlantic Dance Hall at the end of the BoardWalk.
The Lake Buena Vista Golf course will be closed through the end of September.
Honey I Shrunk the Audience will be closed from September 1023 for a reported redesign of the queue area.
As it nears the end of its renovation the Grosvenor Resort on Hotel Plaza Boulevard will be getting a new name on Saturday: the Regal Sun Resort.
Editor's note: next week's Walt Disney World Park Update will be published on Tuesday, September 4th due to the Labor Day holiday.
This week's question: This week's question was submitted by MousePlanet reader Melissa. What was removed from Space Mountain after the advent of the FastPass? Stay tuned to next week's park update for the answer.
The answer to last week's question: "What type of power source (plug in, battery, etc) does the globe used in EPCOT's Illuminations: Reflections of Earth use?", which was submitted by MousePlanet reader David Scherer, is:
It uses rechargable batteries that are at the base of the globe; there is actually a pool backstage that they take the globe to after the park closes in order to recharge it overnight, and then bring it onstage again before the fireworks show the next evening.
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 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.