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Update for March 31 – April 6, 2008

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

News and Views

Epcot Power outage | New discounts | MVMCP, MNSSHP dates | Adventures by Disney discounts | Disney's Animal Programs top ten | A personal appeal | Quick Takes …

Power outage briefly dims Epcot

Last Friday, a circuit breaker tripped at Epcot, shutting down power to the park's main entrance and part of Future World. Power was restored to the areas in 30-60 minutes, but it took additional time to get the attractions up and running due to standard startup and safety testing procedures. World Showcase and the rest of Future World were unaffected.


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Walt Disney World spokeswoman Kim Prunty told MousePlanet:

"A circuit breaker at Epcot tripped around 11:30 a.m. today. This caused the park to experience a sudden change in voltage, much like you might experience when your lights briefly flicker during a thunderstorm.

"Parts of Future World and the Main Entrance were the only areas that actually lost power because they are on the circuit that tripped. Power to the impacted parts of Future World was restored within around 30 minutes. Power to the main entrance area was restored in about an hour.

"Whenever there is a change in voltage, many of our attractions come to a stop. And, in some cases, we have to escort guests off the attraction in order to re-start them, as was the case today. Most attractions are back up and running at this time [3:00 p.m.]."

The park was working with guests on an individual basis to resolve complaints.


The Kingdom Tower DVC resort continues to climb. Some pillars to support the fourth-floor walkway to the Contemporary Resort are now in place. Photo by Brian Warneke.

New discounts announced

New spring discounts were announced last week, with a room-only discount among the options this time. The discounts, for travel dates of April 20 through May 21, can be booked from now through April 19. Deluxe resorts have a better discount, but availability is limited.

For Magic Your Way packages without the Dining Plan, use code AXQ. Magic Your Way with the Dining Plan is code AXR. Magic Your Way with the Deluxe Dining Plan is code AXT. To get the room-only discount, use code CMB.

Our thanks to Sue Pisaturo of MousePlanet sponsor Small World Vacations for the information!

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!

Very Merry, Not So Scary dates

Tickets go on sale May 1 for this fall's Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party hard-ticketed events at the Magic Kingdom.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party will be held on a whopping 25 nights from mid-September through Halloween night (up from 20 nights last year), running September 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 28, and 30, October 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 31. The September 5 start date is the earliest ever by over a week, taking a night previously used for the Night of Joy event (which has moved to Disney's Hollywood Studios this year). Tickets prices are not yet available, though it's likely that there will be some advance purchase, Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Club discounts for selected nights. It's also a good bet that prices will be higher than last year.

Note: The second annual Tower of Terror 13K race is on October 25, which is the last weekend before Halloween. Although tickets for the party are historically very popular for Halloween night itself, expect tickets for that weekend (October 24 and 26) to be particularly popular among those who plan to go to WDW for the race at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party will be held on 18 nights from mid-November to late December (down from 19 nights last year), running November 10, 11, 14, 16, 20, 21, 30 and December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 19. As with the tickets for the Halloween Party, prices are not yet available, but there will likely be some discounts for selected nights. A price increase here is also likely.

For those planning ahead, the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party meet at MouseFest 2007 is all but confirmed for December 11.


This view from above shows the Mickey, Minnie and Goofy topiaries that welcome guests to the 15th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Brian Warneke.

 


The Wonders of Life pavilion has been transformed into "Garden Town" as the Festival Center. Photo by Brian Warneke.

 


Nautical flags designed into this year's parterre spell out a message to festival guests. Photo by Brian Warneke.

Spring discounts bloom at Adventures by Disney

Adventures by Disney announced its spring booking deal last week, which offers a savings of up to $650 per adult and $600 per child when they book select adventures now through May 31. The specific trips involved in the offer are:

  • Grande Espana (Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, 9 Days/8 nights)
  • Taste of Tuscany (Rome, Tuscany, 7 Days/6 Nights)
  • Path to Pura Vida (Costa Rica; San Jose, Arenal, Manuel Antonio, Quepos, 7 Days/6 Nights)
  • Spirit of America (Philadelphia, Williamsburg, Washington D.C., 8 Days/7 Nights)
  • Imperial Cities (Vienna, Prague, Salzburg, 8 Days/7 Nights)
  • Backstage Magic (Hollywood, Disneyland Resort, 6 Days/5 Nights).

"This is a great savings opportunity for families who have been considering a unique vacation experience overseas or across the country this year," said Ed Baklor, senior vice president, Adventures by Disney. "From walks through Prague's historic royal quarters or a backstage look at Disney's dream makers, our trips are planned from start to finish so families can concentrate on having fun, while making memories that will last a lifetime."

For more information regarding the spring booking offer and to take advantage of the savings, you can call Adventures By Disney directly at 877-728-7282 or contact your favorite Disney-specialist travel agent. (Small World Vacations is MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel provider.)

Disney's Animal Programs top ten accomplishments celebrate 10 years of Disney's Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World is celebrating the upcoming tenth anniversary of Disney's Animal Kingdom by touting the top 10 accomplishments of the behind-the-scenes Disney's Animal Programs team:

  1. Repatriating White Rhinos
  2. Spreading the Conservation Message
  3. Bringing Back the Micronesian Kingfisher
  4. Caring for Elephants
  5. Conserving the Cotton-top Tamarin
  6. Funding to Save Wildlife and Wild Places
  7. Administering World-Class Health Care
  8. Saving Sea Turtles
  9. Testing “Animal I.Q.”
  10. Reaching out to the Professional Community

In addition, Disney's Animal Kingdom held a backstage press event to show what goes into the care and feeding of the diverse animal population at the theme park. MousePlanet's Jeff Kober was able to attend, and his story on that experience will run this Thursday.

Help us keep our menu listings up to date!

Did you know that MousePlanet now has menu listings (link) for all theme park restaurants at Walt Disney World and many resort restaurants? You can help us keep them up to date! Send your photos, scans or other copies of restaurant menus (no fair copying from other Web sites) to menus@mouseplanet.com (link). Please note that there is a 5 MB limit on total attachments in a single email.

A personal appeal, for the third year

On April 27, I'll be walking to raise money for the March of Dimes again. The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Without therapies, medications and treatment regimens developed under grants from the March of Dimes, my son would not be alive today. So, you see, this is a very personal cause for me. I want to help the March of Dimes in order to help the next baby that's born too soon.

Last year, through the generosity of friends, family, co-workers and MousePlanet readers, we managed to raise $4,025. This year, let's beat that. Let's see if we can raise $5,000. I think we can. For more information, or to donate, go here.

Quick takes …

…The Cheesecake Factory Express location inside DisneyQuest will close up shop when its 10-year lease expires in next month. Lured by the vision of DisneyQuest locations around the country, each with a Cheesecake Factory Express location inside, the chain signed on board in 1998. A second DisneyQuest in Chicago did open, but closed soon after. Planned locations in Philadelphia and Boston never broke ground. Once the idea of a DisneyQuest chain died, Cheesecake Factory decided to exit the one-of-a-kind Florida location at the end of its lease. Cheesecake Factory Express will be replaced by FoodQuest, a Disney-owned and -operated counter service location with a similar menu to the current offerings. The 55 employees at Cheesecake Factory Express will have the opportunity to apply for positions at other Cheesecake Factory locations, FoodQuest and other Walt Disney World restaurants.

…The Disney Cruise Line is considering the imposition of a fuel surcharge on future cruises. If it does decide to move forward with such a charge, it has already been announced that the charge would not be retroactively imposed on any guests who have already booked their cruises. It's likely that this decision is an outgrowth of last summer's attempted retroactive imposition and later rescinding of additional port charges on those taking this summer's trans-canal repositioning cruises.

…The Atlanta Braves wrapped up their spring training residence at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex with the third-highest attendance total in the 11 years that they've been there. The crowds included their largest-ever single-game attendance mark of 11,606 against the Detroit Tigers on March 20, as well as their 10th largest crowd ever against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 9 and their 13th largest crowd ever against te New York Mets to wrap the season up on March 27. The 138,811 fans were less than last year's 143,310 and 2006's 150,465 (which featured one more game).

…The first 2,500 kids 14 and under attending each of the Tampa Bay Rays three games against the Toronto Blue Jays at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, April 22-24, will receive limited edition Rays mini baseball bobbleheads of Disney characters. The bobbleheads will feature Donald Duck (April 22), Goofy (April 23) and Mickey Mouse (April 24) in Rays attire.

…The Orange County Health Department said last week that tests of the Quality Suites near Universal Studios believed to be linked to the outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease have shown that the hotel was not the source of the outbreak. The investigation into finding the source continues.

…We have added listings for the Walt Disney World Resort guided tours to our MousePlanet Reader Review system. We invite you to share your thoughts and ratings of any of the 16 guided tours presented at Walt Disney World.

…Have you ever found yourself in a scene that seemed right out of romantic moment in a Disney movie like one of these classics? Have you ever dressed up as or felt like a Disney princess? If so, we want you to share your moment by entering MousePlanet's Enchanted Photo Contest. You can find all of the details on our contest Web page. The deadline to enter is Thursday, April 11.


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

  • March 19 – June 1. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. [See our Park Guide Page.]
  • April 1, 4, 6, 11, 16, 23, May 2, 9, 16, 21, 26, 31, June 4. Mickey's Pirate & Princess Party.
  • Apr. 18, 19, 25, 26. Disney Grad Nite.
  • April 26–27. USASF Cheerleading & Dance Worlds.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

Epcot

  • Illuminations – the LED globe is scheduled to be removed from the show for a major refurbishment, possibly in early summer. The length of the refurbishment is not known. The show was tested without the globe on February 27.
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante – is now open, but will close in the spring to be completely remodeled, and will reopen in the fall under yet another new name.
  • The Wonders of Life pavilion – has again closed as such, and most likely will only be used as a Festival Center until a new sponsor is found.
  • Nine Dragons – closes April 6 – November 30 for renovations that include the creation of an exhibition kitchen.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Journey Into Narnia: Creating The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – closed for refurbishment and likely conversion to a Prince Caspian theme, January 2 – May 23.
  • Mickey Avenue – closed through spring for installation of the Toy Story Mania attraction and related theming.
  • The American Film Institute Showcase – closed for refurbishment April 1 – May 1.
  • "American Idol" – under construction in the soundstage that formerly hosted Superstar Television and Doug Live!. Scheduled to open in late 2008.

Animal Kingdom

  •   No known current refurbishments.

Resorts

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge – Construction of the Kidani Village annex building for the Disney Vacation Club's Animal Kingdom Villas is expected to take until spring 2009. Jambo House construction is now complete.
  • Beach Club Resort – the quiet pool will be closed from March 31 – April 11.
  • Caribbean Beach Resort – Feature pool closed for renovation January 7–mid-September. Temporary "child-sized" slides will be added to the quiet pools in the Jamaica and Barbados Villages while the main pool is closed.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – One side of the Jaguar slide at the main feature pool will be closed for rehab March 31 – April 30. The pool will remain open during the work.
  • Yacht Club Resort – the quiet pool will be closed April 14–21.

Water Parks

  • No known current refurbishments.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays.
  • T-Rex Cafe – reportedly opens in Downtown Disney in late 2008.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Orlando Fun Tickets offering 5 days for the price of 3

For a limited time, MousePlanet discount ticket partner Orlando Fun Tickets is currently offering a free upgrade to a 5-day Park Hopper pass when you purchase a 3-day Park Hopper. Check out the special offer or any of the other great prices on tickets at OrlandoFunTickets.com!

Passholder discounts announced, Disney Dining Plan available

Annual Passholder and Florida Resident discounts have been announced for March through May. From March 30 through May 21, room-only discount rates are available, with Passholder rates being anywhere from $5 to $15 less than Florida resident rates. Passholders should use code FJC or FJD for Sunday-Thursday nights, while Florida residents should use FJK. The Passholder weekend rate code during that period is FJG.

In addition, the Disney Dining Plan will now be available to Annual Passholders, even on room-only reservations. To add the Dining Plan during the March 30 through May 21 AP discount period, Passholders should use code ANA, and the Deluxe Dining Plan requires code ANC. For other dates that do not have an effective Passholder discount, reservations for the Dining Plan should use code ADS and for the Deluxe Dining Plan should use code ADU.

Special offer for free upgraded passes on Magic Your Way packages

As reported before, Magic Your Way package reservations for stays most Sunday-Thursday nights between March 30 and May 21 will get free upgrades on their base Magic Your Way tickets to include Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options. Codes are available for Magic Your Way packages with no dining (APV), basic Dining Plan (APF) and Deluxe Dining Plan (APH).

The number of packages available at these rates is limited. Those with existing reservations may be able to modify their reservation if space is still available that their resort for their dates.

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.



Talk about this article and more, on the MousePad community forums.


(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.