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Update for January 26 – February 1, 2009

Go directly to: News & Views | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions

News and Views

Buyouts | "New" parade and more "Celebrating" | Treehouses and more DVC news | Idol previews | WDW College Program | Construction update | Quick Takes …

Executive buyout program launched; results uncertain

The announcement last week that Disney Parks & Resorts would be offering buyouts to 619 senior employees at director-level and above prompted two blog entries here at MousePlanet. In I wrote my blog last Thursday night:


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On Wednesday, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced a Voluntary Separation Plan (VSP) for domestic Parks and Resorts executives to achieve further reductions in the cost of running the company's massive theme parks business.

In a statement regarding the offering, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Executive Vice President for Worldwide Public Affairs Leslie Goodman said that "[t]his immediate action is designed to allow us to effectively manage our business while we continue to deliver an outstanding guest experience and remain focused on achieving long term growth."

The VSP is one of "a number of initiatives to contain costs and maximize efficiency. Given the continued uncertainty of the economic environment, we must manage our business even more productively," said Goodman.

In all, 619 executives throughout Walt Disney Parks and Resorts were offered the buyout. The bulk of the executives are based in Orlando, with 313 people from Walt Disney World, the Disney Cruise Line and the Disney Vacation Club getting the proposed package. Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, California was the next hardest hit, with 193 execs on the line. 91 people at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and 22 at Disney Parks and Resorts corporate offices in Burbank rounded out the group.

Voluntary Separation Plans are Disney's way of trying to reduce the workforce without laying anybody off. It has done so many times over the years, with varying degrees of success, according to former cast members who spoke to MousePlanet.

A current Disney executive familiar with the plan confirmed that the VSP was offered to all executives at director-level and above, with the exception of those under contract or with unique circumstances who are ineligible to participate in the plan. The company had a long-range plan of consolidating the executive workforce and saving money by shrinking the executive ranks through attrition, but the faltering economy has accelerated the timeable, necessitating the VSP. The goal of the plan is to reduce the size of the executive workforce, and positions will definitely be going away, even if the economy recovers and resort income returns to prior levels.

This plan is targeted specifically at the executives and not at the front line, and nothing is under consideration at this time beyond this initiative. The executive assured MousePlanet that those affected by this buyout plan are upper-level employees and no impact on guest contact level employees is expected at this time. Of course, if the economy remains sour and income continues to drop, further measures may become necessary; however, nothing is on the table or under consideration at this time.

The executive that we spoke with does not have information on how many executives are expected to take the buyout package, nor were they able to provide how many must take it to avoid involuntary separations, a.k.a. layoffs. We'll have to wait and see on that. In the meantime, here's hoping that the projections in the consolidation plan are accurate, that the necessary number of volunteers is met, and that those who stay can be efficient and effective under the consolidation plan. (And, of course, that the economic strain subsides and revenue at the resorts do not drop further.)

Meanwhile, Jeff Kober used the occasion for his first blog post last Thursday morning:

Disney Offers Buyouts to Executives—Again!

The LA Times wrote that The Walt Disney Company is offering buyouts to 600 executives within the company.

I say "again" in the title of this article, because that's what Disney does every time there is a turndown in the economy. It trims back by offering packages to it's leadership team. It's a sort of good and bad Russian Roulette game that you get to play when you're on top. To be honest, I've known several individuals who wait around for the "package" to be offered. It's as close to a golden parachute as they will get in their position. Still others who are not ready to move on walk around like the living dead wondering if enough are going to take the package, whether they themselves should take the package, or whether they are going to be asked to take a lesser package.

In one way, it's a good thing. Like the bushes and trees around my house, they have to be trimmed every once in a while. I would rather see them trim at the top, then to trim key important people, like Circuit City did when they got rid of the actual employees who knew what was going on. Still, it's a move that tends to paralyze productivity within the organization. And I believe organizations succeed best when they are taking action and are on the move in difficult times. Now is the time to take action as a company, and not to play games among your senior leadership

We'll have more information as this story (and others regarding Disney's response to the slowing economy) develop.


The Golden Oak Outpost is now open, serving three different entrees (chicken strips, chicken sandwich, veggie flatbread), snacks, and various drinks. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


Lines have been long at the Golden Oak (in both directions), partly because Pecos Bill's is closed for the next three to four weeks. El Pirate Y El Perico will also be open until Pecos Bill reopens his doors. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

"Celebrate Today" with "new" parade and more

The "[insert this year's name here] Dreams Come True Parade" got its latest revision on Friday, as the former Share a Dream Come True and Disney Dreams Come True parades became the Celebrate Dreams Come True Parade. The Grand Marshal car has been moved from a pre-parade to directly behind the new banner proclaiming the parade's name. There are dancers throughout the parade, between each float, all with the same "celebrate"-themed costumes. The dancer costumes are no longer themed to each float, for whatever reason.


The new parade banner and the Grand Marshal car lead the parade off. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

 


The first group of dancers follows the lead car. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Mickey and Minnie are aboard Mickey's float, which has been redecorated and moved to the front of the parade. There are minor changes to some of the floats, others remain the same as in the last iteration of the parade. In all, there are probably fewer changes to the parade this time than there were when the snowglobes were removed during the "Share" to "Disney" conversion.


Mickey's float has gotten a new paint job and party favors decorate that back.. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


More dancers precede the float with characters from Aladdin and Dumbo. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

The venerable Castle float now has clouds and Mickey balloons added to it for the new theme, and the characters are now dressed in party suits. The banner atop the front of the float now reads "Celebrate Today."


Another group of dancers wears the same generic "Celebrate" costumes. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

The parade makes three stops for performances. The first stop is in Frontierland, with the other two stops being on Main Street – one between Center Street and the Hub and the other between Town Square and Center Street.


Goofy shows off his party duds aboard the castle float. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Disney filmed the debut performance of the parade for promotional use, and we'll probably see it appear on the Public Relations site shortly.


The new "Celebrate Today" banners are starting to appear. Photo by Jeff Kober.

Meanwhile, "Celebrate Today" banners are finally starting to appear in Town Square, and there's another sign of the new promotion near City Hall. One of the carts formerly used in the Main Street Family Fun Day Parade is being used to hold piles of all of the different Celebration buttons so that you can just walk up and take a button or buttons for whatever you happen to be celebrating.


A "Celebrate" cart near City Hall lets you pick your own celebration button. Photo by Jeff Kober.


Birthday, honeymoon, anniversary, first visit, reunion, and the generic Celebrate! buttons are all available. Photo by Jeff Kober.

But that's not the only place that celebration media is being added. At the Tomorrowland Speedway, signs were standing by to be attached to the back of the cars of celebrating guests, including a "Just Married" sign. Birthday and anniversary signs were available, as well.


A "Just Married" sign waits for honeymooners to ride the Tomorrowland Speedway. Photo by Jeff Kober.

Treehouses on sale and more Disney Vacation Club news

With the 60 Treehouse Villas targeting a Summer 2009 opening, sales have begun on the additional Disney Vacation Club points now available at the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa to those members looking to add on points. The treehouses, which have become another lodging category at the resort, have been added to the points charts for 2009 and 2010. While the three-bedroom, two-bath villas sleep nine, they will carry the exact same point cost per night as a standard two-bedroom unit. In case you've forgotten since we first reported the information, the treehouses have two bedrooms with one queen bed in each, a third bedroom with a pair of bunk beds, and a living room with a queen-size sofa bed and twin sleeper chair. You won't be able to put all nine around the same table to eat, though, as the dining table seats six and there are three other seats at the island sink/bar area.

The Disney Vacation Club is also making modifications to its point allocations within each resort. To address issues with inventory of available rooms and interest in affordable weekend stays, DVC has adjusted its point charts for 2010 as the 11-month window for home resort reservations approaches. The new change decreases the weekend point costs during certain times of year, while increasing the costs of Sunday-Thursday nights during the same time periods. The cost of full week stays will remain approximately the same as before.

The DVC's wait-list process has seen some revisions, as well. As of this coming Sunday, members can only have two concurrent active wait-list requests per year. For example, a member can have a wait-list request for the Beach Club Villas in March of their 2008-2009 use year and at the Boardwalk Villas in May of their 2008-2009 use year. They can add a wait-list request for Bay Lake Tower in November of their 2009-2010 use year, but they can't add a wait list request at the Animal Kingdom Villas for April of their 2008-2009 use year until either their Beach Club or Boardwalk reservation becomes expired, matched, canceled or reconciled. DVC hopes to free up more resort rooms due to fewer rooms being held "just in case" and also improve overall response time because confirmations can be sent more quickly with shorter wait lists. In addition, with less time spent on maintaining wait lists, cast members can spend more time handling calls and addressing member issues.

While this is not a DVC-specific news item, we'll list this here because of the location. With the Kidani Village annex of the Animal Kingdom Villas scheduled to open on May 1, Sanaa (pronounced sah-NAH), the new table service restaurant located at the resort will open reservations for Disney Vacation Club members on February 16 and for all others on February 23. The early DVC reservations must be booked through Member Services, while the general availability reservations can be made through the regular Walt Disney World Dining Line, 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). Sanaa (Swahili for "artwork") will serve lunch and dinner, featuring flavors of the historical spice route of the 1400s through Africa, India, China and Europe.


The Stitch stage is taking shape near the TTA track in Tomorrowland. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


Meanwhile, a huge swath of the rest of Tomorrowland is under construction. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


Nearby, the Galaxy Palace Theater continues to disappear. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


It's unknown what will happen to annual performances traditionally given in the theater. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


Across the way, the restrooms near Auntie Gravity's and Mickey's Star Traders are closed for refurbishment, as is the walkway and planter nearby. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Sign up now for DVC and Passholder previews of The American Idol Experience

The American Idol Experience is in soft-open status, but you can get an advance reservation if you're a Disney Vacation Club member or an annual Passholder. Access to the reservations is from the DVC member and Passholder sites, respectively. Passholders definitely get the primo perks on this one, as DVC members can get access to be in the audience for the 11:00 show each day from February 5-8. Not only do Passholders get their choice of just about every other show on each of those days, they can also reserve audition times on each day, with available reservations at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon. The slots are going to go quickly, so go sign up now!

For more information on the American Idol Experience process and a complete list of songs that you can sing on stage, see Jeff Kober's great article from last Friday.


Your first audition at The American Idol Experience comes in a small room before a single judge behind a desk. Photo by Jeff Kober.


If you manage to make it past both auditions, you get to perform on this replica of the real American Idol stage. Photo by Jeff Kober.


The stage is so authentic-looking that past Idols were caught looking for the few stairways that weren't replicated. Photo by Jeff Kober.


If you don't win at Idol, you can still claim that you're going to do it. Photo by Jeff Kober.

Fall Walt Disney World College Program news

For those interested in signing up for the Walt Disney World College Program this fall, last Wednesday Shoshana Lewin blogged some information that you need to know:

The Walt Disney World College Program is currently looking for students to participate in the following sessions for 2009:

  • 2009 Fall: approximately August through early January
  • 2009 Fall Advantage: approximately May/June through early January
  • 2009 Fall Advantage Quarter: approximately June through early January (only available to students attending schools on the Quarter/Trimester Academic Calendar)
  • Culinary:ongoing school demonstrations and interviews that will coincide with students' time frames

Note: There will not be a Summer-only opportunity available for first time participants.

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Participants must be currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time student in a college or university within the United States and have completed at least one semester.
  • Participants must meet their school's requirements for participation (G.P.A., grade level, credit hours earned, etc.). This varies by school, so please check with a faculty member to see if you are eligible to participate in the program.
  • Participants must be at least 18 years old by the time the program begins.
  • Participants must also have unrestricted work authorization in the United States.

To view the online e-presentation, see a list of campus visits, or for more information, visit the College Program Web Site (link).


As the scaffolding is dismantled, the final appearance of Bay Lake Tower is becoming apparent. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


The SkyWalk bridge from "BLT" to the Contemporary is nearing completion, as well. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

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).

Construction update

Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:

  • Magic Kingdom's Jungle Cruise – replacing of existing ventilation fans and duct work in the Cambodian Ruins Tunnel with new and rewire.
  • Magic Kingdom's Cosmic Ray's – work on building, plumbing, electric, fire alarm and HVAC.
  • Epcot's Mexico pavilion – renovating of existing bathrooms.
  • Epcot – installing of  permanent power on the roof above the turnstiles at the Main Entrance, in the planter along the Rose Walk, in the planter along the Butterfly Path, in the berm/planter in front of the Mission Space pavilion and in the planter along the promenade in front of the American Adventure pavilion.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios's Tram entrance facade/Monihan's – repairing facade framing connections.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios' Special Effects Tank – repairing and replacing of catwalk steel, grating & supports, prop scaffold, & effect dump tank.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios' Catastrophe Canyon – replacing deteriorated/corroded electrical raceway/wire/junction boxes/support.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios' Keystone Clothiers – demolishing and replacing the upper plaster facade.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom's  Restaurantosaurus – working on building, electrical and plumbing.
  • Downtown Disney's Summer Sands – providing power to 7 locations, also provide emergency lighting as required.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa's Building 8 (Boca Chica) and Building 9 (Big Pine Key) – providing labor and materials to perform exterior painting and stair repairs.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa's Park Fare Photo Imaging/ATM – demolishing portion of existing phone room to accommodate new ATM includes all electrical.
  • Fort Wilderness Campground – installing merchandise trailers at Visual Display Complex.


Inside the Contemporary, the Outer Rim Lounge is now serving again, while work at Chef Mickey's continues. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


Chef Mickey's is a world of walls, leaving a path for people to walk through, while the southern end of the Contemporary Tower is also undergoing refurbishment. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


The dining area at Chef Mickeys sits dormant, waiting for the restaurant to welcome guests. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


The buffet awaits guests, as well. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Quick takes …

…Interestingly, while the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure is scheduled to open this Wednesday, the Passholder site is stating that there will be the ability for Passholders to sign up for a guaranteed reservation to experience the attraction between February 26-March 1. Sign-ups begin on Thursday, February 5 at 10 a.m. So if you want a reserved slot to try it out a month after it opens, be ready to head to the Passholder site next week.

Conde Nast Traveler magazine has released the results of their ninth annual "Reader's Cruise Poll" and the Disney Cruise Line came out on top in the large ships (more than 1,500 passengers) category (link). The Disney Wonder ranked number 1 in that category, with the Disney Magic coming in fourth. The Wonder's Spa also came in fifth overall in Best Cruise Spa (link). The awards were based on the votes of 11,000 Conde Nast Traveler readers, who rated more than 400 ships. Ships were ranked in seven categories, including itineraries, shore excursions, crew/service, cabins, food/dining, activities/facilities and design/layout. The 88.4 and 85.9 scored by the Wonder and the Magic, respectively, make DCL the cruise line with the highest scoring average in the large ship category. The Spa rating for the Wonder was actually the second-highest score for spas in the large ship category (three were medium ships), behind Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas, which didn't rank in the top 25 large ships overall. You can see the complete results at the Conde Nast Traveler Web site (link).

…The 2010 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge is already 55 percent full, so if you're interested you probably want to sign up soon (link).

…The final field has been announced for the 2009 Old Spice Classic (link). The fourth annual college basketball tournament will again be held Thanksgiving weekend at The Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. This year's tourney will feature Alabama, Baylor, Creighton, Florida State, Iona, Marquette, Michigan and Xavier. Iona will serve as the host school from the tournament's host conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Past winners include Arkansas (2006), North Carolina State (2007) and Gonzaga (2008).

…Walt Disney World resorts have outsourced the business centers and package handling to Ikon Office Solutions. The company, which had previously expanded services to include technology training and consulting before falling back to its roots in office services, will take over the business centers at the convention resorts: Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Contemporary Resort, Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Boardwalk Resort and Coronado Springs Resort. Ten Disney cast member positions were cut, though those employees were reportedly offered similar positions with Ikon.

…Walt Disney World welcomed its first-ever Ruppell's Griffon Vulture chicks earlier this month when two chicks were born at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. While the chicks each weighed less than six ounces and were about eight inches long when hatched, they could reach up to 15-20 pounds and up to three feet in height, with a wingspan of up to eight feet. The Ruppell's Griffon Vulture is a threatened species, but its population is declining and it could become endangered if its current decline in population continues.

…Join the MousePlanet and MouseStation Podcast groups on Facebook, 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!


Behind the construction wall at the Magic Kingdom's entrance is just a planter waiting for work to be completed. Photo by Bruce Danderline.


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

  • Jan. 30-Feb. 1. National Dance Team Championship (link).
  • Feb. 5-8. Passholder and DVC previews of American Idol Experience.
  • Feb. 7-8. UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • Feb. 12. American Idol Experience press event.
  • Feb. 13-16. TwirlMania (link).
  • Feb. 14. American Idol Experience grand opening.
  • Feb. 15-Mar. 30. Atlanta Braves Training Camp.
  • Feb. 27-Mar. 1. ESPN The Weekend.
  • Feb. 28. ESPN The Weekend 5K.
  • Mar. 6-8. Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
  • Mar. 14-15. UCA National All Star Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • Mar. 18-May 31. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
  • Apr. 24-27. USASF/IASF Dance and Cheerleading World Championships (link).
  • May 17. Florida Half Ironman Triathlon (link).
  • Sep. 20. Athletes for a Cure Triathlon (link).
  • Dec. 7-12. Pop Warner Super Bowl (link).
  • Jan. 7-10, 2010. WDW Marathon Weekend (link).

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

Epcot

  • Tutto Italia Ristorante – is now open, but will close at a date to be determined to be completely remodeled.
  • Ellen's Energy Adventure – closed for refurbishment to March 22.
  • 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.
  • Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure – has been delayed. It continues testing and will open in "early 2009."

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Studio Backlot Tour – closed for refurbishment January 4 – February 28.
  • American Film Institute Showcase – closed for refurbishment January 4 – February 28.
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid – closed for refurbishment January 27– 29.
  • The American Idol Experience – under construction in the soundstage that formerly hosted Superstar Television and Doug Live! Currently in soft-open status, with the official press event scheduled for February 12 and the grand opening scheduled for February 14.

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Resorts

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge – Phase 1 of the Kidani Village annex building for the Disney Vacation Club's Animal Kingdom Villas is expected to open in May 2009, with Phase 2 opening in September 2009. Jambo House construction is complete.
  • Yacht and Beach Club Resorts – Stormalong Bay pool area under refurbishment to late March. The pool will remain open, but sections will close one at a time for work. The three quiet pools will remain open during that time, and the Luna Park pool at the BoardWalk Resort, with its Keister Coaster water slide, will also be available during the work on the Flying Jib slide.
  • Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary Resort – Construction continues. The resort opens fall 2009.
  • Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Construction continues. The resort opens summer 2009.
  • Port Orleans Riverside – Ol' Man Island pool area closed February 2 - March 28 for refurbishment.
  • Fort Wilderness Campground – Meadows pool area closed for refurbishment to March 13.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – Closed for its annual refurbishment to March 21. Major work is required on the wave generation machine.

Elsewhere

  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Walt Disney World Buy 4, Get 3 Free deal!

From now until March 29, 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 now-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 to 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 March 29!

Walt Disney World room-only deal for everyone!

From now until January 4, everyone can book a deep-discounted rate for reservations most Sunday through Thursday nights through April 2. Lowest rates are through mid-February, with discounted but not quite as low rates from then through early April.

Room rates start at prices of $49 per night for a standard room at a Value Resort from January 4-February 12. For February 16 to April 4, the Value Resort rate is $74 per day. Rates at other resorts are also available.

Here's Disney's rundown on pricing:

Disney Value Resorts Disney Moderate Resorts Select Disney Deluxe Resorts Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts
$49
Jan. 4-Feb. 12, 2009

$94
Jan. 4-Jan. 15, 2009
Jan. 19-Feb. 12, 2009

$154
Jan. 4-Jan. 15, 2009
Jan. 19-Jan. 31, 2009
Feb. 7-Feb. 12, 2009

$189
Jan.4-Jan. 15, 2009
Jan.19-Feb. 12, 2009

$74
Feb. 16-April 2, 2009
$124
Feb. 16-April 2, 2009
$229
Feb. 16-April 2, 2009
$244
Feb. 16- April 2, 2009

Prices do not include tax and are based on a standard room at a Value Resort, Moderate Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (Deluxe Resort) or a studio at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa or Disney's Old Key West Resort (Deluxe Villa Resort). The discount code for this offer is OZ.

To book these packages, go to the Walt Disney World Web site (link), call 407-939-7545 or contact one of MousePlanet's Preferred Disney Travel Providers, Small World Vacations (link) and MouseEarVacations.com (link). Just remember to book by March 29!

 

Disney Cruise Line offers "Kids Free" deal

Disney Cruise Line now offering a "Kids Free" promotion. The deal offers free passage (plus government taxes and fees) for children ages 12 and under on three-night voyages when traveling with two full-fare paying passengers in the same cabin. The offer is valid on most sailings from January 22 through May 28 in a variety of stateroom cabins.

To book your "Kids Free" cruise, visit the Disney Cruise Line Web site (link), call 888-325-2500, or contact one of MousePlanet's Preferred Disney Travel Providers, MouseEarVacations.com (link) or Small World Vacations (link) and make sure to use booking code "FREE." For more information on other discounted cruises from MouseEarVacations.com, check out their list of cruise discounts for MousePlanet readers here on the MousePlanet site.

Gaylord Palms deepens discounts!

The Gaylord Palms Resort has announced even deeper discounts for MousePlanet readers (link). On 84 selected nights through the end of June, the resort has rooms at a low rate of $159 per night. This offer is available on the following nights:

  • January 20-25
  • February 21-22, 25-28 (also, February 2-14 is another exclusive special of $189)
  • March 5-6, 8, 11, 15-17, 21-29
  • April 1-8, 12-15, 17-19, 24-27
  • May 1-3, 6, 10-11, 15-16, 20-27
  • June 2-6, 9-17, 20-23, 28-30

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.

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 rates for early 2009 released

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 to February 12. Moderate resorts are available January 4–17 and January 21 to February 12. Saratoga Springs is available January 1 to 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 Cruise Line half-price deposits for online reservations, for a limited time

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).


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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.