[Editor's Note: Greetings from Walt Disney World! I'm trying not to let MousePlanet intrude too much on a famly vacation, hence this Update is a day late and a little short. I'll have more news and fresh photos for you in next week's Update after I return.]
The addition of a Four Seasons Resort is now clear to proceed following the finalization of the sale of 298 acres of land from the Walt Disney World Company to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. The property, as announced last year, will feature a 445-room Four Seasons hotel, Residence Club (fractional ownership vacation homes) and an 18-hole championship golf course (the existing Osprey Pines course will be enhanced, while the Eagle Pines course is being plowed under to accommodate the construction. In addition, custom single- and multi-family vacation homes will also be built on the site.
The Four Seasons will be built in "Palm Beach" style, with barrel-tiled roofs, columned archways, keystone walls and carved stonework. Site preparation began earlier this year, with vertical construction slated for next year. The project will be built in phases over the next 8-10 years, with the hotel slated to open by 2012.
The Four Seasons hotel will be done in the "Palm Beach: style, as depicted in this rendering.
As I noted in my blog last week, after many months of speculation and monitoring of construction permits and kiosk installation, fans of the popular Disney Channel animated series Disney’s Kim Possible will finally get to join Team Possible in late 2008, when Disney’s Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure will officially join the entertainment line-up at Walt Disney World' Epcot.
According to Disney's official press release, "[a]s guests embark on this international adventure, they will receive an official 'Kimmunicator,' at kiosks throughout Epcot. The interactive, handheld device is designed to help them maneuver through the mission. Using state-of-the-art technology, the interactive device connects guests with a variety of Kim Possible characters who provide clues to stop villains from taking over the world. The highly interactive devices also allow guests to control top-secret equipment hidden inside the World Showcase pavilions, creating an ultra-interactive adventure jam-packed with mystery and excitement."
Guests can play Disney’s Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure in seven of the World Showcase pavilions: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Japan, France and United Kingdom. Each pavilion features a unique mission including distinctive visual events and a different super villain from the animated series. The four World Showcase pavilions not involved in the game are Italy, the American Adventure, Morocco and Canada.
Why is Disney creating an entertainment experience that will have guests looking at screens instead of scenes? "Today's emerging generation expects more immersive personal and interactive experiences in every facet of their lives, including their entertainment choices," added Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering in a statement. "As leaders in family entertainment, Disney theme parks push the envelope by combining state-of-the-art technology with creative storytelling to enhance the overall Disney vacation experience."
While I might not spend time doing this on a first visit to Walt Disney World, with a great deal of experience under my belt and a desire to find new things to do, I might very well grab a Kimmunicator, get in touch with Wade and buddy up with Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable to save the world from the likes of Dr. Drakken, Duff Killigan, Señor Senior, Sr. and their evil cronies. How about you?
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!
Tropical Storm Fay closed Port Canaveral to all ships over 500 tons from Monday through Friday, causing the Disney Wonder and Carnival Sensation to make port in Fort Lauderdale instead on Thursday. The Norwegian Spirit diverted to the Bahamas on Tuesday. Disney and Carnival bused passengers and their luggage to and from Fort Lauderdale, though by all reports it went smoothly thanks to practice from engaging in similar maneuvers during the 2004 hurricane season.
Meanwhile, Fay must have frightened a lot of people out of traveling to Walt Disney World, as the crowd levels that we experienced on Sunday were very low and the performance of Fantasmic that took place a half-hour after park closing didn't fill the amphitheater until nearly show time. Monday crowds at the Magic Kingdom were down as well, with the mid-day wait of just 30 minutes at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Mickey's PhilharMagic being a walk-in at 1:00.
With the southern schools back in session, the economy in rough shape and a tropical storm blowing through, even the free dining package couldn't pull crowd levels up. This fall may turn out to be a great time to visit for those that can afford it.
A crane rises up in the middle of the Magic Kingdom as repairs on the Liberty Square bridge near completion. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.
The Movies, Magic, a Mouse and More collection debuted late last week at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The collection pays tribute to Disney classics Fantasia and
Avanzino contributed the event's title piece, Movies, Magic, a Mouse and More—a mixed-media paper sculpture that is available in a very limited edition of 10. Noble contributed several piece, including two sculptures based on the the Thistle Boys from the "RUssian Dance" segment and the fish from the "Arabian Dance," each with a limited edition of 150 pieces, as well as a limited edition "Fantasia Montage" giclee, available in a limited edition of 20. Alavezos's contribution to the project is a sculpture of Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) with Flora, Fauna and Merriweather, which comes with two Aurora figures—one with a blue dress and one with a pink dress—as the fairies debate over which color the dress should be.
You can get more information on this collection at the Disney Gallery Web site (link).
Work continues on Bay Lake Tower, targeted for completion late next year. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.
Those who weren't able to get their entry in before the competition closed last year will have another chance when the second set of moms is selected this fall. After selecting 12 moms (or, rather, 11 moms and one dad) for the first year of the program, Disney is looking for 16 moms and dads for 2009.
The application process opens September 8 and closes September 19, with interested applicants having to go to disneyworldmoms.com/2009 (link) and answer a series of questions and three brief essays. The essays, as with last year, are about their family, why they are a great Walt Disney World vacation planner and their favorite Disney vacationing tip.
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 email@example.com (link). Please note that there is a 5 MB limit on total attachments in a single email.
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!
How would you like to stay in a three- or four-bedroom vacation home with your own private pool for about the same nightly cost as one of the All Star Resorts? How about a five-bedroom vacation home for less than 60 percent of the cost of an All-Star Family Suite? From now through the end of September, MousePlanet sponsor Advantage Vacation Homes has a limited number of three-, four- and five-bedroom vacation homes, all with private pools, at a special low price of three-bedroom homes for $79 a night, four bedrooms for $89 a night, and 5 bedrooms for $109 a night. Remember, this is a limited offer, and only good through the end of September. When you reserve online or by phone, make sure to tell them that you heard about them on MousePlanet.
Passholder rates are available for late summer and early fall. It appears that both room-only and Disney Dining Plan packages are available. Rates are valid for stays with a check-in date between August 3 and September 27, and can be booked from now through the date of arrival.
The booking code for phone reservations is FKJ.
Sample rates include:
Walt Disney World Annual Passholder discounts on rooms and dining plans as well as discount packages for everyone were released last week. Both discounts are valid for travel dates between September 28 and December 23.
Passholders should use the following Booking Codes when making your reservation (standard passholder discount rules apply):
Fall Magic Your Way package discounts are available to everyone, but must be booked by September 24:
The Disney Cruise Line has announced a special deal where any bookings through the Disney Cruise web site (link) will only require payment of half of the usual deposit, with the other half due with the rest of the final payment. The offer is only good on new bookings, and for category 4-12 cabins only. The offer is available to those booking online or through their travel agents (though the travel agent would have to book the cruise through disneycruise.com for the offer). Bookings are also eligible for the standard $25 onboard credit offer for all online bookings. The deal is available "for a limited time," but there's no word on when the limited time expires.
Discounted ECV rentals for MousePlanet readers through Scooter Vacations
Scooter Vacations, MousePlanet's mobility scooter rental partner, is offering MousePlanet readers a 10 percent discount on their scooter rentals by using code MP10 when making your reservation for any of their five scooter models.
(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.