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MouseStation 162 - MousePlanetWatch news

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Walt Disney World News

  • Last Wednesday, Disney Cruise Line announced that it has finalized an agreement with Port Canaveral to extend the company's current contract for 15 additional years. DCL will use Port Canaveral as the home port for its two new, as-yet-unnamed ships scheduled for completion in 2011 and 2012, at least through 2014. DCL later said that it was considering joining all of the other cruise lines in imposing a fuel surcharge. If it does, however, it won't take effect until at least April, and it will not impose the charge on people who have already booked their cruise.
  • The 15th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival officially opened last Wednesday, kicking off 75 days of horticultural bliss at "Disney's Discovery Park." That must mean that it's time for… the first press release about the 13th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! This year's event will be held September 26 through November 9.
  • Registration has now opened for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K race, to be held on Saturday, October 25 at 10 p.m. The race is restricted to those age 11 and over. While the race Web site mentions a 6.5K race in passing, there are no race details and no registration information for the 6.5K, so it's likely that the shorter distance is history and the page just needs some additional editing.
  • Following a traffic stop, Brevard County officers arrested a suspect in the case of scamming Walt Disney World hotel guests. A former Disney cast member, 23-year-old Jason MacLaren, is accused bilking 45 Walt Disney World guests out of $30,000.
  • Orlando International Airport has been honored by two different groups, ranking ninth in the world in the Forbes magazine "most wired airport" overall rankings and taking two awards in the national Best Concessions Awards at the annual Airport Revenue News (ARN) Conference and Exhibition. Meanwhile, the gateway airport for most Walt Disney World visitors who arrive by air also announced a change in security screening procedures and also suffered some operational difficulties affecting some arriving international passengers.
  • There are too many new permits this week to report them all on the podcast, as the latest construction paperwork filed with Orange County indicates replacement of the existing parquet wood floor, sub flooring and custom printed vinyl carpet (laser cut) at Minnie's House, replacement of existing condiment bars at Pecos Bill's Tall Tale Inn & Cafe and Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe with new WunderBar, replacement of the Liberty Square bridge, early work package for the Northeast Resort Parcel (Four Seasons/Eagle Pines parcel) and Flamingo Crossings Phase I, work on animal barns at the Disney's Animal Kingdom and clearance for Imagineering to install the Toy Story Mania showset package.
  • Quick Takes:
    • The mystery of the Frontierland construction walls near the fry cart in a photo in last week's Update has been solved. There was apparently a blockage in the AVACS waste system underneath the Magic Kingdom, and in order to bypass the damaged section, some work above ground is needed.
    • The Fantasyland construction wall near Dumbo, also in a photo in last week's Update, is apparently to hide the construction of a permanent, better-themed DVC location.
    • It appears that the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway is dropping the "Indy" and becoming simply the Tomorrowland Speedway.
    • Wolfgang Puck Express at the Downtown Disney Marketplace has reopened with double its previous seating capacity, as well as some menu changes. The restaurant had closed in January for the changes.
    • The new closing date for the Concourse Steakhouse at the Contemporary Resort is May 31.
    • A third case of Legionnaires' disease in a patron of a Quality Suites hotel near Universal Studios was confirmed last week. Most of the hotel has reopened, but 12-15 of the 150 rooms and the hotel's hot tub remain closed during remediation.
    • The Doubletree Guest Suites Hotel in the Downtown Disney Resort Area has received Green Lodging certification from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Note: MousePlanet.com is serving as resident expert for the Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels, providing travel tips, video narration and other assistance.
    • Fans of the Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant chain will be pleased to know that a new location will be opening in the Crossroads Shopping Center, near Hotel Plaza Boulevard, late this year.
    • The Disney Channel Games Concert will take place from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex on May 3, featuring performances by The Cheetah Girls, Jonas Brothers and other Disney Channel performers.
    • Toy Story Mania is now slated to open in "late May." Depending on the timing, MousePlanet may be able to provide an early look at the attraction.
    • Voting has now closed in the Dream CMO contest, and the three finalists will be announced in early April.
    • The Walt Disney World Boys & Girls Club in Pine Hills officially opens today, thanks in part to funding of $1 million from Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Worldwide Outreach. Disney has pledged an additional $750,000 toward a teen center for the Tupperware Brands Boys & Girls Club in Osceola County.

This and other news can be found in this week's Walt Disney World Park Update.

Disneyland News

  • Just days after the new Pixar Play Parade officially debuted at Disney's California Adventure, an incident with one of the floats sent the show into an early hiatus.
  • The Re-Imagineering blog posted a letter last week from Kevin L. Blair, son of Disney artist Mary Blair, protesting rumored changes to the "it's a small world" attraction in Disneyland.
  • MousePlanet reader Gone2Disneyland found a report on TheRaider.net (link) that Disneyland will hold auditions on Tuesday, April 1 for the "Indiana Jones Summer of Hidden Mysteries" show.
  • The loss of the Disney Gallery as an event venue has seemingly done nothing to slow down Disneyland's merchandise department, which updated the Disney Gallery Web site with a host of new merchandise events.
  • Other stuff:
    • MousePlanet reader cstephens alerted us to an ESPN Radio event to be held at Disneyland on Friday, April 4.
    • What's in a name? There's been a bit of chatter on our MousePad discussion boards about the "official" name of DCA's new attraction. Official Disney press releases refer to the attraction as "Toy Story Mania," but a sign reading "Midway Mania" was installed on the attraction's facade late last week. The next day, an additional panel was added, and the sign now reads "Toy Story Midway Mania."
    • The often-overlooked "Seasons of the Vine" film attraction outside the Golden Vine Winery closes next Sunday on March 30, reportedly to make room for a preview center that will display concept art and scale models of the DCA renovation project.
    • The Annual Passholder redemption center in Disney's California Adventure has closed. Main ticket booths have been supplied with printers to enable them to print replacement and renewal Annual Passes for passholders who already have a photo on file. New passholders and those who need to update their photo will still go to the Bank of Main Street inside Disneyland park to receive their passes.
    • The Bank of Main Street is getting a new ATM facing onto Main Street. A cast member says the current ATM, located on the side of the building, is too hard for guests to spot.
    • Winners of the one-night stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite are also offered the opportunity to serve as the Grand Marshal of Disneyland's Parade of Dreams, and now those winners will take to the street in a new parade vehicle.
    • Voting ended this weekend for the "Top 10" finalist round of the Chief Magical Official competition, sponsored by Disney and CareerBuilder.com.
    • Brady McDonald of the Los Angeles Times reported last week that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will finally make his promised visit to Disneyland sometime in mid-May (link).
    • We've added Magic Morning and Toontown Morning Madness days to the Park Schedule/Blockout Dates section of the Disneyland Park Update.

This and other news can be found in this week's Disneyland Park Update.

The Walt Disney Company News

  • Last Thursday, The Walt Disney Company confirmed that it is in discussions regarding possibly buying back what's left of The Disney Store chain in North America from The Children's Place. Disney would take over about 220 stores, with the remaining 115 closing, according to reports. Disney sold the chain to The Children's Place in November 2004, after overexpansion and problems with the product mix had caused the stores to be a major drag on revenues.
  • If you're one of those Spectrobes fans out there, get ready for the game's sequel. Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals for the Nintendo DS will begin shipping in September. The new game builds on the story line and the features of the original game, and includes a new online battle system that allows gamers to play together using the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection.
  • Disney is partnering with NatureSweet to promote a healthy snack of bite-size tomatoes. The Cherub-branded grape tomatoes will contain codes in the pakcages that will allow kids to download songs from the Disneymania 6 CD at www.cherubsradiodisney.com before the CD is released on May 20. The deal also includes advertising on Radio Disney, a sweepstakes, promotions and other events. The download offer and the sweepstakes will both run through June.
  • Disney is apparently planning to remake and reimagine the Famous Five, characters from a series of children's book by Enid Blyton back in the 1940s, for a new series of books and an animated TV series. The new Famous Five reportedly centers around the children of the original characters. The multi-cultural team uses modern technology and is edgier than the original group. It's targeted for a May launch in the U.K.
  • Disney and Borders Books have announced a contest whereby Borders Rewards members with children ages 6-11 can be eligible for a chance to create a brand new fairy for inclusion in an upcoming Disney Fairies book and win a five-day/four-night trip for four to Walt Disney World, including a one-night stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite.
  • While their fans wait for the new "J.O.N.A.S." TV series pilot, the Jonas Brothers are putting together a reality series of short segments for the Disney Channel called "Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream." The series will show the three brothers on tour - on stage, in rehearsal and just interacting with their family.
  • The next Cheetah Girls TV movie, to be called "The Cheetah Girls One World" will reportedly be shot in India as the girls take roles in a Bollywood movie. The movie is set for an October premiere on Disney Channels around the world as the marketing might continues to try to expand Disney franchises around the globe.
  • College Road Trip and Step Up 2: The Sreets both did well at the box office this week, despite the competition.

Administrative stuff

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Wrapping up

On April 27, Mark will be walking to raise money for the March of Dimes for the third time. Please consider supporting him. The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

 

 

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).