You may recall that we reported on a trial program at the Polynesian Resort two years ago that allowed guests to check in to the resort up to 10 days before arrival by calling a special phone number and providing their estimated time of arrival, method of payment, and the names of each member in their party. This provided them the ability to have an expedited check-in upon arrival, as their entire check-in packet would be prepared and ready for them when they arrived.
Now, TouringPlans.com is reporting (link) that they are hearing a rumor that Disney's Online Check-In service will allow guests to essentially do the same thing come January, except it will be done online instead of via phone call. Again, it looks as if there will be a maximum 10-day advance opportunity for this service.
The service would put Disney on an even par with many of the major hotel chains that offer express check-in options to those who have provided their credit card and other information in advance. Some car rental companies are also now offering this type of service, where those who check in prior to their arrival at the rental location get an expedited method to pick up their cars.
Interestingly, the DisneyOnlineCheckin.com and DisneysOnlineCheckin.com domains are currently active and pointing to Disney's online reservations system. It'll be interesting to see if this service does indeed come online in the near future.
The entry floral display at the Magic Kingdom is festive for the holidays. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
The red of the poinsettias really stand out against all of the greenery. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
The Atlanta Braves Major League baseball team returns to Disney's Wide World of Sports in February for their 12th year of spring training at the complex. This year the Braves will play a record-high 18 games at Champion Stadium, including two exhibition games against World Baseball Classic teams—one against Panama (on March 3) and one against Venezuela (March 5).
In addition, the schedule includes two games each against the New York Mets (March 17 and 21), New York Yankees (March 4 and 28) and 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies (March 1 and 8). The Houston Astros will be three-time guests, visiting on February 26 and March 6 and 15.
Camp gets underway when the pitchers and catchers report on February 14, while position players report on February 17. Full-squad workouts begin the next day.
Tickets for individual games go on sale at 10 a.m. on January 10 through Ticketmaster and at the Wide World of Sports box office. Prices start at $15 for general admission lawn seats and go up to $28 for lower-level reserved seating. There is a $4 upcharge for games featuring the Mets, Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
Atlanta Braves Spring Training Ticket Prices:
|Seat Location||Season||Individual Game|
|Lower Level Reserved||$425||$28|
|Upper Level Reserved (Rows A-L)||$340||$24|
|Upper Level Reserved (Rows M-W)||$323||$22|
|Bleacher Reserved (Sections 104-106)||$340||$24|
|Bleacher Reserved (Sections 101-103)||$323||$22|
|Grass Berm - General Admission||$255||$15|
(Add $4 per ticket for Premium Games: Yankees, Mets and Red Sox)
Three- and five-game mini-packs of seats in upper reserved (rows A-L) and bleacher reserved sections are also available again, and those tickets are on sale now. The five-game pack costs $128 and includes tickets for games on March 12 (Nationals), March 15 (Astros), March 17 (Mets), March 20 (Marlins) and March 28 (Yankees). Three-game packs cost $76 and are available for the first half (Phillies on March 1, Yankees on March 4 and Astros on March 6) or the second half (Pirates on March 24, Tigers on March 27 and Red Sox on March 30). More information is available by calling 407-WDW-GAME (407-939-4263) or at the Wide World of Sports Web site (link).
2009 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Home Schedule
|Thursday, Feb. 26||Houston Astros||1:05 p.m.|
|Sunday, March 1||Philadelphia Phillies||1:05 p.m.|
|Tuesday, March 3||World Baseball Classic Exb. (Panama)||1:05 p.m.|
|Wednesday, March 4||New York Yankees||1:05 p.m.|
|Thursday, March 5||World Baseball Classic Exb. (Venezuela)||2:05 p.m.|
|Friday, March 6||Houston Astros||7:05 p.m.|
|Sunday, March 8||Philadelphia Phillies||1:05 p.m.|
|Thursday, March 12||Washington Nationals||1:05 p.m.|
|Sunday, March 15||Houston Astros||1:05 p.m.|
|Tuesday, March 17||New York Mets||1:05 p.m.|
|Thursday, March 19||Detroit Tigers||7:05 p.m.|
|Friday, March 20||Florida Marlins||1:05 p.m.|
|Saturday, March 21||New York Mets||1:05 p.m.|
|Tuesday, March 24||Pittsburgh Pirates||6:05 p.m.|
|Thursday, March 26||Toronto Blue Jays||1:05 p.m.|
|Friday, March 27||Detroit Tigers||1:05 p.m.|
|Saturday, March 28||New York Yankees||1:05 p.m.|
|Monday, March 30||Boston Red Sox||1:05 p.m.|
The "Sharing the Magic" statue of Roy O. Disney sitting on a bench with Minnie Mouse has been removed in preparation for the installation of the broadcast stage for the Christmas Parade taping. The stage will go up after Thanksgiving and the tapings will occur the first weekend of December. Once the tapings are over, the Magic Kingdom Christmas tree will be erected here. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
In front of what will soon become Santa's in-park home in the Tour Guide Gardens, two toy soldiers stand sentinel over the countdown sign. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
Saturday, November 15 marked the opening of the new Contempo Café at the Contemporary Resort. The 114-seat quick-service eatery is located on the former site of the Concourse Steakhouse, adjacent to Chef Mickey's.
The Café features electronic menus and ordering kiosks, where you can select your own meals. Once you finish that, you can pick up your side items, beverages and desserts before going to the register, where you pay for your food and get a pager to alert you when your food is ready.
The Concourse Steakhouse salad returns as a menu option at the new location, and other dishes include a spicy mahi sandwich, marinated beef flatbread and chicken basil pasta.
The Contempo Café opens at 6 a.m. each morning, and begins serving hot breakfast at 7 a.m. At 11 a.m., lunch options become available, and the location switches to dinner at 5 p.m. Food is served until midnight.
The wreaths and garlands are once again suspended over Main Street, U.S.A. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
It appears that someone was getting proposed to in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. last Wednesday. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
Last Tuesday, Walt Disney Imagineering won four of the 17 Thea Awards presented by the Themed Entertainment Association. Epcot won the Thea Classic Award, the Muppet Mobile Lab won the Technical award, and Disney took two Live Show awards, one for Finding Nemo – The Musical at Disney's Animal Kingdom and one for Legend of Mythica at Tokyo DisneySea. This brings Imagineering's total Thea collection to 33 in the 15 years of the awards. In addition, several current and former Imagineers and Disney Legends have received Lifetime Achievement Awards. The awards will be presented at a black-tie dinner at the Disneyland Hotel on March 7, 2009.
Meanwhile, Richard and Robert Sherman were awarded the 2008 National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush in the East Room of the White House last Monday (link). Other honorees this year included actress Olivia de Havilland, the Ford's Theatre Society, Spider-Man creator Stan Lee, jazz musician Hank Jones and the José Limón Dance Foundation. In addition to their movie scores for Disney, the Sherman Brothers created many memorable theme park attraction music, including "it's a small world," "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," "One Little Spark," "The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room," and more.
The trolley show performers are in red and green for the holiday season. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
The trolley itself is also decked out for the season. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
The Dreamers have been selected. One-hundred teens from 22 states plus the District of Columbia will participate in Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey, February 12-15, 2009, at Walt Disney World Resort. The winners will get to hear from entertainment celebrities and professional athletes, and learn about careers in everything from culinary arts to set design and more. Through guest speakers, interactive workshops and presentations, the teens will get a chance to get the tools to make their dreams a reality. While the judges selected some Dreamers from as far west as California, it's still a predominantly East Coast-centric group, with more than half coming from just six states: Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. For more information, go to the Steve Harvey web site (link).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (link). Please note that there is a 5 MB limit on total attachments in a single email.
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
Tinker Bell's Treasures remains open while facade and roof repairs take place. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
Workmen touch up faded railings at the Magic Kingdom's Resort Launch dock. Photo by Bruce Danderline.
MousePlanet is hosting or co-hosting a number of events at MouseFest 2008, and we'd love to see you there! Here's a list of what we've got planned so far:
For more information on these meets, check out MousePlanet's MouseFest page!
MousePlanet/MouseFest shirts now available!
…Walt Disney World has rolled out the new "Every Tree Has Character" tote bag at merchandise locations across the property. The reusable/recyclable bag has an image of a Mickey Mouse-eared topiary on it, and 10 percent of the retail price of each bag will go directly to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.
…Ground was broken last Wednesday for Disney's upcoming resort at Ko Olina in Hawaii. Contributing writer Ryan Kawailani Ozawa will have more on this story in a special article tomorrow.
…The 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon is 99 percent full. If you're looking to participate, sign up now before the remaining slots are gone!
…Ellen's Energy Adventure will be closed for refurbishment January 5 – March 22.
…While you're enjoying your Thanksgiving morning this Thursday, John Lasseter will be in New York City, enjoying the opportunity to be a balloon handler for the new Buzz Lightyear balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios and Chief Creative Executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, will be there with the new balloon celebrating next year's re-release of Toy Story in 3-D on October 2, 2009. That will be followed by the 3-D re-release of Toy Story 2 on February 12, 2010 and the new Toy Story 3, also in 3-D, on June 18, 2010.
…Cheers to the Voices of Liberty, who performed in front of a Presidential audience last Wednesday at the dedication of the new Star-Spangled Banner Gallery during the reopening festivities for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
…By request, we've created some special T-shirt designs for MouseFest! We've set up a separate CafePress store with those designs here. There's still plenty of time to order your shirt and get it before MouseFest starts!
…MousePlanet has recently joined the Facebook nation. We're just getting started, but you can join the MousePlanet and MouseStation Podcast groups, or become a fan of MousePlanet or the MouseStation. If there's something that you'd like to see us do on Facebook, let us know!
From now until December 20, if you book a four-night, four-day non-discounted Magic Your Way package, you'll get three additional nights (including tickets) for free.
The offer is good for stays on most nights January 4-April 4 and April 19-June 27, 2009.
As a bonus, if you travel between January 4 and March 29, you'll get a $200 Disney Gift Card that you can use to pay some of the costs during your stay. It's also valid at Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Store and disneyshopping.com.
Packages start at net prices of $46 per person per day for a family of four in a standard room at a Value Resort from January 4-February 12 (total package price $1,271). For February 13-April 4, the package price is $1,466 for a per day, per person cost of $53 at a Value resort. Those prices are based on families of two adults, one junior and one child.
Packages for other resorts and lengths of stay are also available.
Here's Disney's rundown on pricing and savings:
|Disney Value Resorts||Disney Moderate Resorts||Select Disney Deluxe Resorts||Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts|
|$1,271 ($316 savings)
Jan. 4-Feb. 12, 2009
|$1,571 ($541 savings)
Jan. 4-Jan. 12, 2009
Jan. 19-Feb. 12, 2009
|$1,981 ($848 savings)
Jan. 4-Feb. 12, 2009
|$2,228 ($1,034 savings)
Jan.12-Feb. 9, 2009
|$1,466 ($484 savings)
Feb. 13-April 4, 2009
|$1,778 ($718 savings)
Feb. 13-April 4, 2009
|$2,498 ($1,281 savings)
Feb. 13-April 4, 2009
|$2,611 ($1,320 savings)
Feb. 16- April 4, 2009
|$1,375 ($416 savings)
April 19-May 21, 2009
|$1,666 ($634 savings)
April 19-May 21, 2009
|$2,206 ($1,017 savings)
April 19-May 21, 2009
|$2,363 ($1,135 savings)
April 19- May 21, 2009
|$1,421 ($450 savings)
May 22 –June 27, 2009
|$1,733 ($685 savings)
May 22-June 27, 2009
|$2,206 ($1,017 savings)
May 22-May 25, 2009
June 2-June 27, 2009
|$2,363 ($1,135 savings)
May 22 –June 27, 2009
Prices are based on two adults, one junior (ages 10 to 17) and one child (ages 3 to 9) in a standard room at a Value Resort, Moderate Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Deluxe Resort) or a studio at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (Deluxe Villa Resort). Savings are based on the non-discounted price of a 7-night/7-day Magic Your Way package. The discount code for this offer is IUZ.
To book these packages, go to the Walt Disney World Web site (link), call 407-939-7928 or contact one of MousePlanet's Preferred Disney Travel Providers, Small World Vacations (link) and MouseEarVacations.com (link). Just remember to book by December 20!
The Disney Cruise Line has also announced a major deal, offering a 3-night Bahamian cruise next fall for only $99 per person (double occupancy) when you book a 4- or 7-night cruise on select dates this winter, when you book the first cruise by December 15. Eligible winter cruises have sailing dates from January 31 through March 8 and March 21 through March 28, 2009. The $99 3-night cruise (in the same stateroom category as the original cruise) is valid for dates between August 13 and December 17, subject to availability.
At the time of the first sailing, you will receive a voucher with instructions for booking your 3-night cruise. Those cruises must be booked between April 6 and May 30, 2009. At least one person from the original party much travel on the second cruise. You must use booking code FBO to receive this offer. For more information, go to the Disney Cruise Line Web site (link).
You can book through the web site, by calling 800-951-3532, or by contacting one of MousePlanet's Preferred Disney Travel Providers, Small World Vacations (link) and MouseEarVacations.com (link). Just remember to book your first cruise by December 15!
MousePlanet sponsor Gaylord Palms Resort and Spa is offering MousePlanet readers an even deeper discount than our usual 15 percent off of "regular" rates (which are already a deeper discount that you'd get by calling the hotel directly, by calling a travel agent, or by using Expedia, Orbitz or any other channel).
A special $109 per night deal is available from November 20 – December 1 and from December 14-15. You can only get it by clicking here. Rates that include two admissions to ICE (a $40 value) are just $30 more! You can get the special Just Chillin' ICE deals by clicking here.
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.
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!
It looks like things are starting to slow down a bit, as Disney has rolled out an open-to-all discount rate good most Sunday-Thursday nights between now and December 23. The only missing dates are Thanksgiving week (November 23-27) and Pop Warner week (December 7-11). Value resorts start at $59 per night, which in some cases (like next week) appear to be below the Passholder rates. The number of rooms available is very limited, so even though the offer remains available through December 7, it's best to book now if you want to get one of these rooms! You'll need to either click "Special Offers" on the Walt Disney World site or ask for booking code DMK if you're booking via phone (407-939-7606) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are Small World Vacations (link) and MouseEarVacations.com (link).
Walt Disney World Annual Passholder discounts on rooms and dining plans are now available. 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):
Passholder rates for January 1 – February 12, 2009 have been released, with value resorts starting at just $49 per night, moderate resorts starting at $89 per night. Select deluxe resorts (Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges) starting at $144 per night and studio accommodations at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa starting at $179 per night. The rates at value and deluxe resorts are valid January 2–15 and January 19 – February 12. Moderate resorts are available January 4–17 and January 21 – February 12. Saratoga Springs is available January 1 – February 12.
The number of rooms available is limited and minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday and Saturday arrivals. Reservations may be booked through the Passholder web site or by using code DYS if booking via the Passholder phone line (407-939-7722) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).
Disney Visa cardholders have access to a special deal—free dining for stays most nights from September 28 – October 11, November 9–22 and December 14–20. A limited number of packages have been allocated, so you'll need to book quickly. Call 407-939-7635 or your travel agent and ask for offer QXZ. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are Small World Vacations (link) and MouseEarVacations.com (link).
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. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).
(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.