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Update for September 4 – September 9, 2007

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

Old Key West to offer lease extension, for a price | MousePad theme park discussion forums restructured | MouseFest registration is now open! Join us there! | "Bounce-back" free dining being offered again | US Airways now Magical | Teppan Edo re-opening delay fallout | Disney worker arrested on baby porn charges | Check out the latest merchandise at our store! | Construction update | Quick Takes …

Old Key West to offer lease extension, for a price

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members with ownership interests in Disney's Old Key West Resort (legally known as "Disney Vacation Club at Walt Disney World Resort") received a letter last week informing them that there would be a vote on September 24 at the Contemporary Resort Convention Center to consider an offer to extend the lease on the resort.


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The deal would have Disney Vacation Development (DVD), which owns the land, extend the lease to the Disney Vacation Club Management Corp. (DVCMC) for an additional 15 years (through January 31, 2057) for the sum of $25 per vacation point for the entire resort. DVCMC would then levy a special assessment against DVC members of the same $25 per vacation point in order to extend their leases to 2057. The assessment would be due and payable by February 29, 2008.

Members would then have the option of either paying the assessment and extending to 2057 (the same expiration date as the new ownership interests in the Animal Kingdom Villas) or paying the assessment by "executing a deed (with the formalities required by Florida law) conveying to DVD their Ownership Interest for the period from January 31, 2042, to January 31, 2057."

Since DVD is the authorized voting representative for all DVC members that do not elect to vote otherwise, DVD plans to vote to approve the deal. In other words, the September 24 vote is just a formality.

There are many issues surrounding this plan. For those that elect not to extend their ownership interest, can they change their mind and re-purchase their extra 15 years from DVD later on? If they don't extend, what will that do to the resale value of the points? Some discussion forums are speculating that DVCMC may offer a special deal to reduce the assessment by as much as $10 per point, though that remains to be seen. Why is Old Key West the only one receiving this offer? What about the rest of the 2042-class resorts (Hilton Head, Vero Beach, BoardWalk, Beach Club and Wilderness Lodge)? Why are they forcing this decision on DVC members (who will have about five months to make up their minds, complete their financing and pay in full) 35 years in advance?

You can join the discussion of this topic on our MousePad discussion forums.

MousePad theme park discussion forums restructured

We have made some changes to the forum structure on MousePad. We know that questions related to trip planning can get lost amid the general chatter of the resort forums, so we've created sections devoted just to trip planning topics. We think this is going to make it easier for readers to ask for help, and to help other members. We've also moved the Trip Reports forums to be with their related theme parks.

The biggest change has been made within the Walt Disney World section, because we know that planning a trip to Florida is usually a more complicated process. We reserve the right to further split or merge the sub forums if we don't think they are doing what we expected them to do.

Here is the structure we will be creating:

Everything else—Entertainment, the Lounge, etc.—will remain the same.

We have not gone through the previous resort-level forums to move existing threads to their new topic forum. Those can all be found in the News and Current Events forums. New threads on trip planning topics should be started in the appropriate forum.

Why not stop by, check them out, and let us know what you think!


The construction wall around the Sorcerer's Hat is only for upgrading the light show effects to a new LED system. Sorry, it's not going away. Photo by Jack Chandler.

MouseFest registration is now open! Join us there!

This year, due to the success and ever-increasing size of MouseFest, the cost of holding the event is rising rapidly. While all participating communities are contributing and some (like MousePlanet) are providing underwriting sponsorships, it's still not enough to cover all of the costs of the event.

That's why the MouseFest Organizing Committee is asking all attendees to register for MouseFest. Registration is not required, but registered attendees will receive additional benefits not available to unpaid attendees. Many questions about registration are answered in the registration FAQ on the MouseFest site. Other questions or discussion can be directed to the MouseFest Registration thread on our MousePad discussion forums.

Whether you decide to register or not, please fill out our pre-arrival survey, which will help us to gauge attendance figures.

MouseFest has also 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.

MousePlanet will be hosting five events at MouseFest, with staff writer David Koenig hosting a sixth. For a complete listing of events and for RSVP information, check out our MouseFest information page.

"Bounce-back" free dining being offered again

Guests currently staying at Walt Disney World are receiving flyer offering a special "bounce-back" offer for free dining. Guests staying at a Disney resort between August 31 and September 30 can book a return trip between August 30 and September 27 next year for free dining with a Magic Your Way package using code ZSM. The cast member booking the trip will verify that you are currently staying in a Disney resort in order to book the trip.

Thanks to Sue Pisaturo of MousePlanet sponsor Small World Vacations for this information.

Disney ran a similar promotion last year between mid-November and the end of the year. This is probably a good indication that we'll see another last-summer free dining offer appear next spring, though it's no guarantee.

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!

US Airways now Magical

Disney's Magical Express has signed on another carrier. On Wednesday, US Airways becomes the ninth carrier to participate in the resort check-in program. This addition means that eight of the nine largest carriers at Orlando International Airport are participating in the program. The lone holdout is the largest of them all. Southwest Airlines, with 19.27 percent of all traffic at the airport in 2006, is still working on an agreement with Disney and Bags Inc. to participate. The difficulties appear to be in synchronizing the reservations systems. They hope to have a deal in place by early next year.

The airlines that are signed on—AirTran, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, jetBlue, Northwest, United (including Ted) and now US Airways—were responsible for nearly 62 percent of all passengers flying into Orlando International in 2006. Once Disney gets Southwest signed, that will give over 81 percent of all passengers the eligibility to use the service.

International travelers still cannot use the service, though Bags Inc. is working with airlines to hammer out logistics and security now that it has got approval from the Transportation Security Administration. They hope to add some international flights by year's end.

Both Disney and the airport are pleased with the service. Disney gets the guests to spend more time on property without the worry of getting to the airport in time and (for arriving guests) to spend more time in the parks instead of in the airport. The airport has shorter lines at check-in lines, less luggage to get through the screening machines in the lobby, and (for incoming passengers) less luggage to put in the baggage claim carousels.


The test of the repurposed FountainView Ice Cream Parlor has proven so popular that the shop's hours have been extended to 12:30 – 8:30 p.m. Photo by Jack Chandler.

Teppan Edo re-opening delay fallout

Due to the delayed re-opening of the Teppan Edo (formerly Mitsukoshi Teppanyaki) restaurant at Epcot's Japan pavilion, those with reservations at the restaurant through the end of October are receiving phone calls from Disney Dining to move their reservations to other restaurants. Those being moved are also being offered "VIP viewing of Illuminations." Apparently, the World Showcase Plaza area between the two souvenir buildings will be roped off and reserved for those who have been inconvenienced by the unavailability of their dining preference.

For those who don't want to wait to be called by Disney Dining, MousePad member Beach Gal has posted a phone number that you can use for this purpose only. As Beach Gal notes, "If you had a reservation at the Teppanyaki Restaurant in the Japan Pavilion of Epcot and wish to make a new reservation, call this number: 800-711-4344. This number is strictly for guests who had a reservation at the Teppanyaki Restaurant. Guests may not use this line to skip the 407-WDW Dine number."

If you've been affected by this change, let us know how it worked out for you, either by posting to the MousePad thread or sending us email.

Disney worker arrested on baby porn charges

A Disney food services worker was arrested Thursday evening as he left work at the Disney-MGM Studios on federal child pornography charges. Tony Guerra was caught by the FBI's "Innocent Images" task force after he contacted an Australian undercover agent posing as a 32-year-old mother of two. He was allegedly looking for "hardcore videos involving babies" and sent the agent 63 still photos and four videos of baby pornography. Investigators reportedly found thousands of images on his computer after searching his apartment in Kissimmee.

Guerra had been working at Disney for a year. Disney spokesperson Kim Prunty told MousePlanet, "We take allegations of this nature very seriously. He has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the charges."

Check out the latest merchandise at our store!

Have you visited the MousePlanet and MouseStation Podcast CafePress stores? There's all sorts of cool logo-wear and other stuff that will help you deal with the end-of-summer blahs or the back-to-school blues. Check it out!

Menus wanted!

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 menus@mouseplanet.com (link). Please note that there is a 5MB limit on total attachments in a single email.

Construction Update

This week's listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County last week:

  • The Backlot Theater at the Disney-MGM Studios will have the stage and showsets demolished, with selective electrical demolition as well. The theater once hosted The Spirit of Pocahontas and Hunchback of Notre Dame mini-musicals, and now serves as off-season storage for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. With the lights going up, it may be that the theater will be taken down for a possible expansion of the park in the area behind the Muppet Theater area.
  • A permit was filed to "Install partition walls, install outlets and LAN" for a project called "DMS High School Musical." Could a stage show be in the offing, or is it just for backstage support services?
  • The ABC Theater at the Disney-MGM Studios is getting a rehab; reworked exterior, accessibility modifications, new doors and carpet, and new power and lighting.
  • Partition walls, a stage platform and show sets will be installed for a new Velcro exhibit at Epcot's Innoventions West. Could a Velcro Wall attraction be in the works?
  • A new pass through window is being installed in the pasta room as part of the Tutto Italia Phase I project.
  • A new E-stop control box will be installed on the steam engines at the Magic Kingdom.
  • New fiber optic cabling, conduit and electrical circuits will be installed at the Transportation and Ticket Center Bus Parking Lot to support the Magic In Motion bus dispatch project.
  • Five drinking fountains at the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course will be modified during the course's refurbishment.
  • A new concrete cart path through existing landscape berm will be created for the Disney's Magical Express carts at the Pop Century Resort.
  • The Disney's Magical Express resort check-in location at the Animal Kingdom Lodge will be upgraded.
  • New shingles will be installed at the BoardWalk Inn and ESPN Club, including the quiet pool building and the porte cochere/lobby building.
  • A new roof structure will be built over the valet desk at the Wilderness Lodge's porte cochere.
  • Two new security arm gates will be installed at the Caribbean Beach Resort, one at Caymen Way and one on Victory Way.
  • A new emergency generator fuel tank is being installed at the Grand Floridian Resort.
  • A new heater is being installed in the Calypso Pool at the All Star Music Resort.
  • Some work will be going on at Village Lake to try to counteract shoreline erosion along Pleasure Island.


Work on Tusker House is progressing nicely. The restaurant is on target to reopen on November 17 in its new configuration as a buffet. Photo by Jack Chandler.

Quick takes …

…The 2008 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be even longer than last year, starting more than two weeks earlier than before. The 15th annual event starts on Wednesday, March 19 and run through Sunday, June 1 – a whopping 75 days. Something tells me that the Flower Power concert series will feature a bunch of acts who have never played Disney before.

…Walt Disney World has increased their parking fees by one dollar across the board as of this past Saturday. Car and motorcycle parking now costs $11, up from $10. Campers and trailers cost $12, up from $11. Buses and tractor trailers cost $15, up from $14. Parking for resort guests and passholders remains free.

…A tower crane has now appeared on the site of the DVC resort being built adjacent to the Contemporary Resort as vertical construction is under way.

…The Tower of Terror 13K continues to fill at an increasing pace, and was at 85 percent of capacity at press time. It will likely soon join the Tower of Terror 6.5K, plus the Walt Disney World Marathon, Half Marathon and Goofy Challenge in sold-out status. Disney's Family Fun Run 5K during Marathon Weekend is currently holding at 60% of the registration capacity.

…ESPN The Weekend will return to Disney's Hollywood Studios (start getting used to the new name) for the fifth time February 29 through March 2. The Leap Weekend events will be presented by Dick's Sporting Goods.

…There are now rumored dates to go with the "Illuminations globe being refurbished" rumor. Expect the video screens to be replaced by additional pyrotechnics from September 5–23.

…The Disney Magic returned to Port Canaveral over the weekend, after spending the summer touring the Mediterranean. The ship has resumed its normal schedule of 7-day Caribbean cruises.

Raglan Road Irish Restaurant & Pub will be celebrating "Half Way to St. Paddy's Day" on September 14 and 15. The events, taking place after 5 p.m. each day, will feature such entertainment as U2 tribute band "Elevation," the house Irish band Tuskar Rock, and champion Irish dancer Danielle Fitzpatrick.

…The Yak & Yeti Restaurant in Asia at Disney's Animal Kingdom is currently expected to open on November 14. Tusker House is on target to reopen on November 17 in its new configuration as a buffet.


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.

Coming soon

  • Sept. 7 – 8. Night of Joy.
  • Sept. 7 – 9. Disney's Pin Celebration.
  • Sept. 9. Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K.
  • Sept. 23. Walt Disney World Triathlon.
  • Sep. 14, 21, 28, 30, Oct. 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, Nov. 2. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
  • Sep.28 – Nov. 11. 12th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. [View our special Park Guide page.]
  • Nov. 19-25, 2007 and Dec. 16, 2007-Jan. 2, 2008. DVC members may not pool-hop on these dates.

Walt Disney World trivia question of the week

This week's question: This week's question was submitted by MousePlanet reader Jimmy McKinley. What is the oldest attraction in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom? Stay tuned to next week's park update for the answer.

The answer to last week's question: "What was removed from Space Mountain after the advent of the FastPass?", which was submitted by MousePlanet reader Melissa, is:

Future news Televisions!

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.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

Epcot

  • Spaceship Earth – closed for refurbishment July 9 – November 13. Removal of the wand is expected to be completed by late September.
  • Mitsukoshi Teppanyaki – closed for refurbishment through October 31. It will reopen on November 1 with a new name: Teppan Edo.
  • Tempura Kiku and Matsunoma Lounge – are being reconfigured into a new dining experience to be called Tokyo Dining, to open fall 2007.
  • L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante – will close on August 31 and reopen under new management on September 1 under the name "Tutto Italia." Tutto Italia will close in the spring of 2008, will be completely remodeled, and reopen in fall 2008 under yet another new name.
  • Illuminations: Reflections of Earch – the globe used in the show is rumored to be removed from the show from September 5–23 for major upgrades; it will be replaced by additional pyrotechnics.
  • Honey I Shrunk the Audience – will be closed from September 10–23 for a reported redesign of the queue area.
  • The American Adventure Pavilion – the American Heritage Gallery is closed through September 26 for installation of a new exhibit.
  • The Wonders of Life pavilion – has again closed, perhaps forever and perhaps just until next Thanksgiving weekend. It appears that The Making of Me is being dismantled to clear the central area for use as part of events for the 2007 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
  • Nine Dragons – closes in early 2008 for renovations that include the creation of an exhibition kitchen.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Rock 'n' Roller Coaster – closed for refurbishment September 4 – October 4.
  • Mickey Avenue – closed through at least next spring for installation of the Toy Story Mania attraction and related theming.

Animal Kingdom

  • Yak & Yeti Restaurant – the new combined full-service and quick-service restaurant opens November 14, 2007.
  • Tusker House – closed August 20 – November 17 for conversion to a buffet restaurant with a character breakfast.
  • Restaurantosaurus – Donald's Breakfastosaurus will end November 5. The McDonald's-based restaurant will remain open for lunch and dinner.

Resorts

  • All-Star Sports Resort – All buildings will be renovated between June 2007 and February 2008. The Surfboard Bay pool will be closed August 27 – October 4 for refurbishment. Guests can use the Grand Slam pool at All-Star Sports or the feature pools at the other All-Star resorts.
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge – Much of the resort's main buiding (Jambo House) is closed through the beginning of October during conversion of rooms for the Animal Kingdom Villas DVC resort. Construction of the Kidani Village annex building for the villas is expected to take until spring 2009.
  • Boardwalk ResortBig River Grille and Brewing Works is operating out of the Atlantic Dance Hall during a refurbishment August 18 – September 1.
  • Caribbean Beach Resort – The feature pool will be closed for renovation January – June, 2008. Exact dates have yet to be announced.
  • Fort Wilderness ResortHoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue will not be performed on Tuesday or Wednesday between September 4 and October 24.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Building 6 (Concierge) will be closed in September for a full refurbishment. 1900 Park Fare restaurant is closed for refurbishment through October 1.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa – All buildings are now complete and open.
  • T-Rex Cafe – reportedly opens in Downtown Disney in early 2008.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – closed for annual refurbishment January 6 – March 8.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed for annual refurbishment October 28 – January 5

Elsewhere

  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course – closed through the end of September.
  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. No performances September 23–October 1, November 25–27.
  • Official All-Star Cafeat Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex – closes on September 23, and is expected to reopen on November 20 as a quick-service eatery.

Park Events

September 2007

  • Disney's Pirate & Princess Party (link). Aug. 11, 15, 18, 21, 24, 28, 31 and Sept. 3. A rerun of this past winter's new hard-ticketed event celebrates the pirates and princesses in all of us.
  • Tom Joyner Family Reunion (link). Aug. 31 – Sept. 3. The radio host's annual gathering returns for another year.
  • Mickey's Pin Trading Night at Yacht & Beach Club Resort (link). Sep. 6. A special 2-hour edition of the event helps to kick off Disney's Pin Celebration.
  • Night of Joy (link). Sept. 7 – 8. Disney's annual Christian music festival.
  • Disney's Pin Celebration (link). Sept. 7 – 9. This year, the event's theme is "Where Dreams HapPin". Registration opens May 9.
  • Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K (link). Sept. 9. The annual fund-raising event to fight breast cancer will be run at Disney's Wide World of Sports this year.
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (link). Sep. 14, 21, 28, 30, Oct. 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, Nov. 2. Get your costumes ready. The Disney characters will certainly be wearing theirs.
  • Walt Disney World Triathlon (link). Sept. 23. Athletes compete in a 1.5K swim, a 58K bike ride, and a 10K run. Registration opens soon (link).
  • Mickey's Pin Trading Night at Contemporary Resort (link). Sep. 28. The popular 3-hour event returns to Fantasia Ballroom G.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (link). Sep.28 – Nov. 11. The 12th annual celebration of things gustatory, plus the Eat to the Beat concert series.

October 2007

  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (link). Sep. 14, 21, 28, 30, Oct. 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, Nov. 2. Get your costumes ready. The Disney characters will certainly be wearing theirs.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (link). Sep.28 – Nov. 11. The 12th annual celebration of things gustatory, plus the Eat to the Beat concert series.
  • Race for the Taste 10K (link). Oct. 7. The annual October classic steers runners through the Disney-MGM Studios and Epcot. Registration is now open (link).
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K and 6.5K (link). Oct. 27. Disney's first night-time endurance event is Halloween-themed, and concludes witha big after-party. Registration is now open (link).

November 2007

  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (link). Sep.28 – Nov. 11. The 12th annual celebration of things gustatory, plus the Eat to the Beat concert series.
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (link). Sep. 14, 21, 28, 30, Oct. 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, Nov. 2. Get your costumes ready. The Disney characters will certainly be wearing theirs.
  • Disney Golf Classic (link). Nov. 1–4. Joe Durant returns to defend his 2006 title.
  • Festival of the Masters (link). Nov. 9–11. Disney's annual arts festival at Downtown Disney's West Side.
  • ABC Super Soap Weekend (link). Nov. 10 – 11. Your favorite ABC soap opera stars converge on the Disney-MGM Studios.
  • Pirates of Castaway Cay pin cruise (link). Nov. 11-15. Pirates, pins and a Disney cruise, all rolled into one.
  • Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (link). Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008. Jennings Osborne's amazing display returns to the Studios.
  • Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade (link).Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008.The Animal Kingdom Parade trades its Jammin' for Jingle in this holiday makeover.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (link). Nov. 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30, Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21. Snow on Main Street, free hot cocoa and cookies. What's not to like?
  • Old Spice Classic (link). Nov. 22, 23, 25. ESPN Regional presents the second annual 8-team, 12-game tournament, featuring George Mason, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Penn State, Rider, South Carolina and Villanova.
  • Holidays Around the World (link). Nov. 23 – Dec. 30. Epcot's World Showcase gets storytellers, special entertainment and crafts for kids, the Lights of Winter and a spectacular Christmas tree.
  • Festival of the Seasons (link). Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008. Downtown Disney gets a holiday makeover.

December 2007

  • Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (link). Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008. Jennings Osborne's amazing display returns to the Studios.
  • Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade (link).Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008.The Animal Kingdom Parade trades its Jammin' for Jingle in this holiday makeover.
  • Holidays Around the World (link). Nov. 23 – Dec. 30. Epcot's World Showcase gets storytellers, special entertainment and crafts for kids, the Lights of Winter and a spectacular Christmas tree.
  • Festival of the Seasons (link). Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008. Downtown Disney gets a holiday makeover.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (link). Nov. 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30, Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21. Snow on Main Street, free hot cocoa and cookies. What's not to like?
  • Pop Warner Super Bowl (link). Dec. 2 – 8. Football players and cheerleaders invade the resort for the pigskin championships.
  • MouseFest 2007 (link). Dec. 2 – 10. The annual gathering of the Disney Internet community takes place at sea from Dec. 2 – 6 and on land from Dec. 6 – 10.
  • Pleasure Island New Year's Eve (link). Dec. 31. Pleasure Island celebrates the actual New Year.
  • New Year's Eve at Cirque du Soleil. Dec. 31. Cirque puts on special New Year's performances.
  • Atlantic Dance Hall New Year's Eve (link). Dec. 31. Ring in the New Year at the BoardWalk's own dance club.

January 2008

  • Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (link). Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008. Jennings Osborne's amazing display returns to the Studios.
  • Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade (link).Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008.The Animal Kingdom Parade trades its Jammin' for Jingle in this holiday makeover.
  • Festival of the Seasons (link). Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008. Downtown Disney gets a holiday makeover.
  • Walt Disney World Half-Marathon (link). Jan. 12. Registration is closed.
  • Walt Disney World Marathon (link). Jan. 13. Registration is closed. [Read our WDW Marathon Guide.]

February 2008

  • ESPN – The Weekend (link). Feb. 29 – March 2. Synergy strikes again as Disney's flagship cable network returns to the Disney's Hollywood Studios.

March 2008

  • ESPN – The Weekend (link). Feb. 29 – March 2. Synergy strikes again as Disney's flagship cable network returns to the Disney's Hollywood Studios.
  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link). March 19 – June 1. Epcot comes alive with topiaries, other floral displays, gardening demonstrations and the ?Flower Power? concert series at the 14th annual event.

April 2008

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link). March 19 – June 1. Epcot comes alive with topiaries, other floral displays, gardening demonstrations and the ?Flower Power? concert series at the 14th annual event.

May 2008

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link). March 19 – June 1. Epcot comes alive with topiaries, other floral displays, gardening demonstrations and the ?Flower Power? concert series at the 14th annual event.

June 2008

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link). March 19 – June 1. Epcot comes alive with topiaries, other floral displays, gardening demonstrations and the ?Flower Power? concert series at the 14th annual event.
  • Gay Days 2008 (link1 | link 2). June 6 – 9. The 18th annual gathering of the GLBT community at Walt Disney World.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Hotel Royal Plaza offers discounts to MousePlanet readers

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!

August/September passholder, Florida resident discounts announced

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 5–9, August 12–29 and September 2–29.

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 Price Slice golf rates are back

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.

For ticket prices, park hours, and entertainment schedules, please go here.


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.



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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.