Last Tuesday, the Disney Cruise Line took another major step toward the arrival of its next generation of cruise ships with the keel laying of the Disney Dream, the first of its two new ships, scheduled to begin sailing in early 2011. The keel laying ceremony at the Meyer-Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany was presided over by Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz. The ceremony marks the occasion when the first section of the ship is lowered into the building dock.
Part of the ceremony includes a coin being placed under the keel for good luck. The placing of the coin was done by veteran Disney Captain Tom Forberg, assisted by Donald Duck, who did some pixie-dusting of the coin. Forberg was recently named master of the Dream. He also launched the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, the line's first two ships. The fourth ship, the Disney Fantasy, will begin sailing in 2012. Each of the two new ships will feature 1,250 staterooms and weigh 128,000 tons.
Construction continues on the Dream, with complete, pre-fabricated hull sections being joined together in block units and then brought together to form the ship. It will take 80 blocks to build the ship, with the first one laid weighing approximately 380 tons.
Video highlights of the keel laying ceremony.
"Since our inception, families have come to know and love Disney Cruise Line, and they are looking for additional ways to enjoy all that we have to offer," Holz said during the ceremony. "Our fleet expansion will allow us to satisfy demand on both the East and West coasts of the United States while also giving us the flexibility to explore additional global destinations for our Guests."
Both the Dream and the Fantasy will make their home port at Port Canaveral, Florida, currently the home port of the Wonder and the Magic. When the Dream arrives in 2011, the Wonder will move its home to the Port of Los Angeles. There is no word yet on whether the Magic will move elsewhere when the Fantasy arrives.
More information on the design of the ships, as well as itineraries for 2011, will be announced at the D23 Expo in September.
Orlando International Airport has been named as one of 13 locations to be added to the initial 7 locations in an expanded pilot test for the Department of Homeland Security's Global Entry, Trusted Traveler Program. Using a biometric scanning machine, the program expedites international arrivals for U.S. citizens. Enrollment in the program costs $100 for five years of participation. The program reportedly speeds up arrival time by as much as 75 percent.
MouseAdventure's Summer Warm Up
Congratulations to MousePlanet reader SavageGirl for being the first to post the correct answer to our Week 8 quest. If you'd like to check your own answers, download the Quest 8 answer key (link).
Quest #9 is a little something we like to call... the Evil Paragraph (link). (Since the Quest 8 answer was in several parts, the name of the hotel where Pluto stayed during his trip is the password you'll need to open Quest #9) Remember, you can solve this quest at home using information found online at MousePlanet.com. Once you think you've solved the puzzle, visit our MousePad discussion boards and post your answer (link). The first person to post the correct answer to our MousePad discussion boards will win their very own copy of the MouseAdventure: Personal Edition packet, filled with quests from the Disneyland Resort. Good luck!
The Inaugural MouseAdventure event at Walt Disney World will take place on Saturday, November 14, 2009!
The day will begin with a private breakfast at the Odyssey Center prior to park opening, followed by a six-hour fun-filled race around Epcot park for a fresh look at things in the park that you never noticed before! The first part of the game will be in the classic MouseAdventure format, sending you on quests throughout Future World. After completion of that portion, teams will engage in an Enchanted Race around World Showcase to the finish line!
Walt Disney World scored big in the 2009 Gold Key and Gold Tee Awards from Meetings & Conventions magazine. Five Disney convention resorts received Gold Key awards, and the resort as a whole won the Gold Tee award. The Gold Key, which ranks the best meeting properties in North America, went to the Boardwalk, Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. This is the twenty-second year that at least one Disney resort has been so honored. The Gold Tee is awarded on several criteria, including golf course conditions and difficulty, meeting facilities and accommodations. Disney received the Gold Tee for the 15th time.
The second MEAC/SWAC Challenge game to be sponsored by Walt Disney World will take place at the Citrus Bowl at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 6. The game, the fifth overall in the series, pits defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) title holder South Carolina State against last years Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champ Grambling State University. The two conferences of Historically Black College and University teams sport a total of 25 schools. The MEAC leads the SWAC 3-1 in the series.
Phase 2 of the Animal Kingdom Villas Kidani Village opens tomorrow, including the new Pembe Savanna, which will feature okapis, red river hogs, impala, waterbuck, blue cranes and spur-winged geese. The six-acre savanna and the remaining 160 villas complete the Disney Vacation Club resort, which will feature 449 two-bedroom equivalent villas.
Catch-up time! Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last two months:
Special thanks to Brian Henry for unlocking the secret of the recent change to the search function on the Orange County Comptroller's Web site!
…It appears that the test of the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party at the Tomorrowland Terrace has been a big success. The party will continue, though not every night. Call the Disney Dining Line, 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) to see if it will be offered during your vacation.
…Last week, we reminded you that the appearances of Chef Remy at Les Chefs de France was scheduled to end September 4. It now appears that the test of this has also been a success, as recent Disney audition notices include casting for this mini-show at the restaurant.
…The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will now begin November 10, two and a half weeks before their originally-scheduled November 27 date. This new date is more in accordance with their debut date last year, and matches the debut date for this year's Castle Dreamlights.
…La Cava del Tequila opened last week at Epcot's Mexico pavilion. Featuring more than 70 types of authentic tequila, ranging from $8 to $50 for a drink, the lounge is connected to the San Angel Inn Restaurante inside the building's courtyard. The drink menu also features margaritas. The tapas-style food menu includes mahi mahi tostadas with diced mango and avocado, blue crab toastadas with chipotle mayo and Valentina sauce. The 30-seat lounge is open from noon until the park's closing time.
…The 2010 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge is now full. The Walt Disney World Marathon itself is now at 77 percent of capacity, the Family Fun Run 5K is at 90 percent and Mickey's Marathon Kids' Fest is at 60 percent. The Half Marathon is already sold out. Time is running out! Register now (link)!
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From now until September 26, if you book a three- to fourteen-night, non-discounted Magic Your Way package, you'll get Disney's dining plan for free.
The offer is good for stays on most nights September 27 – December 17, 2009, except November 25-28, the Wednesday through Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.. This time, the free dining comes with a twist: while the package stays the same if you book at a moderate, deluxe or villas resort, free dining packages at value resorts will be the quick service dining plan instead of the basic dining plan. You should be able to pay to upgrade your plan, but the "free" value of the deal at the values will be $29.99 per day for adults, $8.99 for children instead of $39.99 per day for adults, $10.99 for children. For a family of four with both children under age 10, that's a difference of $24 per day. For a family of four with both kids age 10 and up, it's a difference of $40 per day. Please be aware of that before you choose your resort!
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 September 26!
MousePlanet sponsor Gaylord Palms Resort has announced a new set of nights for a special promotional rate of $119 per night (Reserve now!). Why stay off property? Because you can get luxury accommodations for the price of a Disney moderate, just a mile from Disney property. Many other nights are available for $129 per night (see below). The following dates are now available at $119 per night:
There are 32 more nights that you can stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort for just $129 pr night! Combined, these rates are available for approximately 2 nights out of every 3 for the rest of the year! Check out the special MousePlanet reader discount rate (Reserve now!) today! The special $129 per night rates are available on the following nights:
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.
Passholder rates for August 9 – December 24, 2009 have been released. Rates are available for all dates except for November 25– 28, the Tuesday through Saturday of Thanksgiving week. Under this promotion, the starting rates at these resorts are:
The Disney Dining Plan may also be added to these discounted reservations. The number of rooms available is limited and minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday and Saturday arrivals. These rates may be available through your date of arrival. Reservations may be booked through the Passholder web site or by using codes EQA (8/9-10/3) or NBM (10/4-12/24) 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).
Discount room-only rates are now available to the general public for dates from October 4 – December 24. These rates are blocked out from November 25– 28, the Tuesday through Saturday of Thankgiving week. Under this promotion, the starting rates are:
These rates must be booked by September 26. 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 Walt Disney World web site or by using code FSC if booking via the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-6244) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (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), 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.