Update for October 19 – October 25, 2009

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

News and Views

Wine & Dine Half Marathon | Wine & Dine Golf Walk | Monorail wrecks to be fused | Sum of All Thrills now open | ESPN Innovation Labs | Construction update | Quick Takes …

Wine & Dine Half Marathon means death knell for Race for the Taste, Tower 13K

If you're not a marathon (or half-marathon) runner but find 10K-15K races the perfect distance for you, it appears that Disney is done with you. More interim-distance races are disappearing at Walt Disney World in favor of long-distance runs. The latest casualties, the Race for the Taste 3K and 10K (final run on October 11) and the Tower of Terror 5K and 13K (final run on this coming Saturday night, October 24), are being replaced by the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Previously, the Minnie Marathon 15K and Go Red for Women 5K were replaced by the Disney's Princess Half Marathon.


The new Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon will be another nighttime race (thus not causing as much of a traffic nightmare for those trying to get to the parks in the morning), and will culminate in an after-hours private party at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The two-day event (there will be a Health & Fitness Expo, a "family fun run" 5K, a kids' race and many of the other trappings of Disney's major road races) will take place on October 1-2, 2010.

The race will start at the (soon-to-be) ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and finish inside Epcot, with a likely pass through Disney's Hollywood Studios along the way. A new twist is that, if one of you doesn't mind not crossing the finish line, you can have the option of running as a two-person relay team. Of course, it's yet to be seen how many people will be satisfied by running about six and a half miles without finishing the race.

Registration opens November 16 at (link), but you can go there now for more information about the race.

Wine & Dine while watching Disney's golf tournament

Next month's Children’s Miracle Network Classic will take a cue from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which will wrap up just days before the tournament tees off with defending champion Davis Love III trying to hold off a field hungry to take this year's title. On Friday through Sunday of the tournament, the Wine & Dine Walk will present food, beer and wine stations at key holes along the back nine holes of the Magnolia Golf Course. The stations will feature selected tastes from some of Walt Disney World's restaurants, including The Wave, Sanaa and The Turf Club Bar & Grill, with prices ranging from $3.25 to $7.50.

Admission to the course for the tournament is available on-site, with daily tickets costing $10 and weekly badges cost $20. You can also pre-purchase tickets through (link). Don't forget that Disney Rewards Visa cardholders can get in free, along with three of their friends.

Here's a rundown of what's on the menu:

Hole No. 11: Captain's Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

  • Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce – $6.25
  • Lobster Roll – $7.50
  • Wine Pairing: Fess Parker Chardonnay – $3.25
  • Beer Pairing: Samuel Adams (16oz Draft) – $6
  • Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
  • Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Hole No. 13: The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

  • 5 Spice Chicken Wrap – $4.25
  • Avocado and Citrus Salad – $3.25
  • Wine Pairing: Trimbach Gewurztraminer – $3.75
  • Beer Pairing: Wolover’s Organic Pale Ale – $6.75
  • Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
  • Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Hole No.15: The Turf Club Bar & Grill at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

  • Chicken and Artichoke Flatbread – $4.25
  • Lamb Chops – $5.75
  • Mickey Ravioli – $3.75
  • Wine Pairing: Schweiger Cabernet Sauvignon – $3.50
  • Beer Pairing: Saratoga Lager – $6.75
  • Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
  • Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Hole No.17: Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village Annex

  • Chicken with Red Curry Sauce served with Basmati Rice and Naan Bread – $4.25
  • Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce served with Basmati Rice and Naan Bread – $4.25
  • Wine Pairing: Conundrum White Blend – $4.25
  • Beer Pairing: Kingfisher Premium Lager (from India) – $6.75
  • Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
  • Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Hole No. 17: Disney’s Wide World of Sports Café

  • Gelato Cookie Sandwich – $2.50
  • Wine Pairing: Magicale Sparkling Blush Wine – $3.50
  • Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
  • Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

Putting Green: Disney’s Wide World of Sports Café

  • BLT – $3.50
  • Chicken Kabob – $4.50
  • Wine Pairing: King Estate Pinot Gris – $3.50
  • Beer Pairing: Blue Moon Belgian Wheat – $5.50
  • Bud Light (16oz) – $5.50
  • Bud Light Lime (16oz) and Michelob Ultra (16oz) – $6.50

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!

Registration is now open for MouseAdventure Holiday: Reindeer Games
Saturday, December 12, 2009 at the Disneyland Resort!

There is still room for your team to join our first-ever holiday edition of our popular MouseAdventure event. This family-friendly format is a great way to enjoy the holiday season at Disneyland, and is perfect for new teams who want to try their skills at MouseAdventure.

Register For MouseAdventure Holiday: Reindeer Games!

For Disney monorails, 1/2 Pink + 1/2 Purple = Teal

What do you do when you have two mostly undamaged monorail trains still emotionally tied to a fatal accident? Walt Disney World is taking the remnants of Monorail Purple and Monorail Pink to create a complete train, to be called Monorail Teal. The colors Pink and Purple will be retired. The new train is expected to be ready later this year.

The resort has been operating 10 monorail trains since the accident on July 5. Once Monorail Teal begins service, the line will still be one short of its full complement of 12 monorail trains. An additional train is expected to arrive some time next year.

Monorails Pink and Purple were damaged in the fatal accident that killed pilot Austin Wuennenberg, 21, when—due to a track switching error—Monorail Pink accidentally backed up into Monorail Purple, crushing Wuennenberg. Monorail Pink's driver had been told that a switch track had been moved to send him back through an empty Magic Kingdom Resorts Line station, when instead the switch had not been made and he plowed into Monorail Purple, which was in the Epcot station.

Many in the Internet community wanted Disney to honor Wuennenberg in some fashion with a new monorail, but there has been no tribute announced at this time. Such a tribute would be out of character for the resort, as it is not a standard practice to establish permanent tributes to individual cast members, even any of those who were fatally injured on the job. The most permanent tribute that can likely be made is a change in procedures to ensure that such an accident does not happen again.

Sum of All Thrills now delighting guests

As we noted last week, the new Raytheon exhibit, "The Sum of All Thrills," debuted at Innoventions last Wednesday, the first ride to be located in the exhibit space. The attraction experience begins in the Briefing Room, where you will learn a little bit about the science and mathematics behind your ride. Next up, you head for the Design Lab, where you use a special touch-screen table that allows you to use virtual rulers and speed dials to design your ride. The table can work with you in six languages.

At your table, you first select how wild your simluator ride will be: bobsled, roller coaster or jet plane. Next, you'll you your virtual tools to select your ride path, including corkscrews, inversions and steep hills. You'll need to use mathematical and engineering principles to make sure that you have enough speed and momentum to make it to your next ride element.

When you're done, your ride's specifications are saved to a special card, that is swiped at your next stop: the Launch Station. When your card is swiped, your ride's information is uploaded to the simulator. From there, you are seated in a two-person cabin at the end of a KUKA robot arm, where you are strapped in and a 3-D video hood is lowered over your head and upper body.

Once the ride starts, you get to virtually experience the ride that you just designed. The 3-D video shows the first-person view on your virtual ride, while controlled air motion simulates the wind rushing past you. Your card is reportedly valid for six months, so if you want to ride the same design of (or focus on fine-tuning) the ride that you've already built, you can do that. Early reviews are very positive, and accounts indicate that it is similar to CyberSpace Mountain at DisneyQuest in Downtown Disney, but much more realistic.

ESPN Innovation Lab opens

Inside the soon-to-be-renamed ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the ESPN Innovation Lab has begun changing the way that fans will experience the games that they watch on television. While the lab officially opened on Friday, the lab has been in operation for a few months. In fact, two of the innovations developed this past summer are already in use.

Ball Track, used for the Home Run Derby during Major League Baseball's All-Star festivities, shows the track of home run balls, showing the distance and height of the ball in-flight, updating continuously as the ball is still in the air, utilizing Doppler radar. ESPN Snap Zoom allows an extreme closeup on a freeze-frame image. It has been in use on Monday Night Football since September 28.

“The ESPN Innovation Lab is an extension of ESPN’s commitment to being a leader in technology,” said Chuck Pagano, executive vice president, technology, ESPN. “This cutting-edge production house will foster creativity and the development of new tools to provide fans the best on-air coverage of sporting events.”

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom Crystal Palace Restaurant – carpentry, electrical, gas and plumbing work.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Animation Building – tying of existing electrical into pre-action panel to repair "Up" system.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Backstage Tour – special effects tank electrical work.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios ABC Commissary – counter and hood modifications.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Soundstage #1 – electrical work.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Soundstage #1 – truss and curtain.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Rosie's Cantina – replacement of existing ice bin and machine.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Studio Catering Company – kitchen refurbishment of the counter.
  • Typhoon Lagoon interactive fountains – boatwash filtration.
  • Typhoon Lagoon Crush 'n' Gusher – boiler replacement.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – carpentry, building and roofing work.
  • Downtown Disney Stroller Shop – minor building work.
  • Grand Floridian Resort – carpentry and electrical work.
  • Beach Club Resort – carpentry and electrical work.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort High Rock Springs pool whirlpool spa – apply new interior pool finish.
  • Pop Century Resort Computer and Bowling Pin pools – apply new interior pool finish.

Quick takes …

…Best wishes on a happy retirement to Art Lark, better known as "Art the Greeter," a beloved figure at the Beach Club Resort since 1993. The 63-year-old Lark is a favorite of many, even inspiring a Facebook page with over 1,100 fans. Saturday was Art's last day on the job in his nautical uniform. There's a nice farewell tribute to him in the Disney Parks blog.

…If you thought that the weather in October was too cool for running the Expedition Everest Challenge, guess what? It's going to get much hotter. Next year's running will take place on June 12, 2010. Of course, it won't be the rainy season yet, so that would help change it from this year's deluge.

…The Chef Remy Audio-Animatronic figure that has been entertaining diners at Les Chefs de France restaurant at Epcot's France pavilion has escaped his original termination date in September and will continue to appear at the restaurant for the forseeable future. According to comments by Disney Parks Social Media Director Thomas Smith, responding to a question about his blog post, it appears that Walt Disney Imagineering's smallest Audio-Animatronic creation to date will still be gracing his serving cart next March. That's about as close to permanent as it gets these days.

…It seems that there's another neat benefit during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party: Free face painting! We're hearing that the Pete's Paint Shop location in Mickey's Toontown Fair is waiving the usual fee of $8 to $15 for the artwork.

…If you live in the UK, you can nominate your town, city or village to become Walt Disney World's twin town. You must submit your entry by November 22. Winners will be invited to the official "twinning" ceremony at Walt Disney World, plus four tickets for you and your friends to a Disney party celebrating the twinning of your town. For more information and to enter, go to the contest Web site (link).

…Peter Pan's meet-and-greet location is now between Mickey's Philharmagic and Tinker Bell's Fairy Treasures in Fantasyland.

…We thought that we had reported this earlier, but apparently not. Thumper and Miss Bunny are now doing meet-and-greets at Camp Minnie Mickey at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

…Congratulations to everyone who made it through to Round 2 of the Disney World Moms Panel selection process!

…The 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon is now at 87 percent of capacity, the and Mickey's Marathon Kids' Fest is at 92 percent. The Half Marathon, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge and Family Fun Run 5K are already sold out. Your only shot at getting into the Half Marathon or Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge would be to contact one of Disney's group or charity registration aggregators (link). Time is running out! Register now (link)!

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Coming up

  • Sept. 4, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29, Oct. 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 29, 31, Nov. 1. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
  • Sept. 25 - Nov. 8. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
  • Oct 24. Tower of Terror 13K and 5K (link).
  • Nov. 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 29, Dec. 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17,18. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
  • Nov. 10 - Jan 3, 2010. Castle Dreamlights.
  • Nov. 10 - Jan. 3, 2010. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
  • Nov. 12-15. Children's Miracle Network Classic (link).
  • Nov. 13-15. Festival of the Masters (link).
  • Nov. 14. MouseAdventure! (link).
  • Nov. 17 - Dec. 24. Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney.
  • Nov. 26, 27, 29. Old Spice Classic (link).
  • Nov. 27 - Dec. 30. Holidays Around the World at Epcot.
  • Nov. 27 - Jan. 3, 2010. Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.
  • Dec. 7-12. Pop Warner Super Bowl (link).
  • Jan. 7-10, 2010. WDW Marathon Weekend (link).
  • Jan. 15-17. UCA National College Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • Feb. 5-7. National Dance Team Championship (link).
  • Feb. 12-14. UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • Feb. 19-22. TwirlMania 2010 (link).
  • Feb. 27. Contest of Champions Nationals: School & Youth Rec Cheer (link).
  • Feb. 27. Contest of Champions Nationals: All-Star Cheer & Dance (link).
  • Mar. 3 - May. 16. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
  • Mar. 5. Contest of Champions Nationals: Studio Dance (link).
  • Mar. 6-7. Contest of Champions Nationals: School Dance (link).
  • Mar. 7, 2010. Disney's Princess Half-Marathon (link).
  • Mar. 12-14. UCA National All Star Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • Apr. 23-25. USASF/IASF Dance and Cheerleading World Championships (link).
  • Jun. 12. Expedition Everest Challenge (link).
  • Oct. 1-2. Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon (link).

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Space Mountain – closed April 19 through November 21, 2009 for major refurbishment.


  • The Bijutsu-kan Gallery at the Japan pavilion is currently closed for installation of a new exhibit.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.


  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed November 30, 2009 through January 13, 2010 for annual refurbishment.
  • Blizzard Beach – closes for annual refurbishment on January 14, 2010.


  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. There will be no performance November 17, 2009.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Gaylord Palms debuts new exclusive rate specials

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:

  • July 23 – July 28
  • August 1 – August 10
  • August 13 – August 16
  • August 18 – August 27
  • August 30 – September 2
  • September 6 – September 16
  • September 18 – September 20
  • September 25 – September 27
  • November 22 – December 1
  • December 11 – December 25

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:

  • October 2 - October 5
  • October 13 - October 18
  • October 23 - October 24
  • October 29 - October 31
  • November 3 - November 7
  • November 12 - November 15
  • December 2 - December 5
  • December 9 - December 10
  • December 26 - December 27

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.

Walt Disney World offers new "Free Nights" discount, with some twists

Walt Disney World has released a new version of the "Buy-4-Get-3-Free" deal offered earlier this year, for most dates from November 1, 2009 through March 27, 2010. There are three twists to this version, though.

The first twist is that the Buy-4-Get-3 deal is only for stays at moderate resorts and up. If you're staying at a value resort, the deal becomes a Buy-5-Get-2-Free. This cuts the net difference in price between values and moderates by about 40 percent, with comparative sample 7-night vacations in November for a family of four differing by $152. This will help to convince many families "on the bubble" to opt for moderate resorts, thus clearing more availability for those who can only afford value resorts.

The second twist is that you must buy park passes for the length of your stay. No more annual passholders doing the "buy a one-day pass and get the free room nights" trick. If you're staying at a moderate and up, you'll need a four-day pass and at a value you have to buy a five-day pass. This results in the net park pass savings of $9 per person at moderate and higher resorts and $6 per person at values. Of course, if you were hoping to do the one-day purchase if you hold annual passes, it's an extra $146 per person at moderates and up and $149 per person at values.

The third and final twist is that you will not get free days on your dining plan with this deal. You can buy the dining plan with the discount, but you'll have to pay for all seven days. That's $120-$141 per adult and $30-$39 per child (moderate and up) or $80-$94 per adult and $20-$26 per child (value) that you're paying that you didn't have to pay in this spring's offer.

Despite that, it's still a nice discount on the room and park passes for those without annual passes. If you were looking for a reason to add a trip in the next few months, now is the time! The offer is good November 1-20, 2009; December 10-24, 2009; and January 1-March 27, 2010.

These rates must be booked by December 20. The number of rooms available is limited. Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World web site or by using codes GQA (value resorts) or UJX (moderate resorts and above) if booking via the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-1318) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

Passholder discounts through end of 2009

Passholder rates for August 9 through 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:

  • Value resorts – $64 per night (8/9-8/17, 8/28-9/22, 10/2-10/2), $69 per night (10/4-11/24), $54 per night (11/29-12/17) and $89 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Moderate resorts – $89 per night (8/9-8/18, 8/22-9/23, 9/27-10/3), $99 per night (10/4-11/24), $89 per night (11/29-12/17) and $124 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Select deluxe resorts (Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk) – $234 per night (8/28-10/3)
  • Select deluxe resorts (Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge) – $169 per night (10/4-11/24), $139 per night (11/29-12/17) and $229 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Studio accommodations at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, and Old Key West Resort – $159 per night (8/9-10/3), $189 per night (10/4-11/24), $169 per night (11/29-12/17) and $249 per night (12/18-12/24).

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 (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

Room-only discounts for the general public through end of 2009

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:

  • Value resorts – $74 per night (10/4-11/24), $84 per night (11/29-12/17) and $94 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Moderate resorts – $109 per night (10/4-11/24), $96 per night (11/29-12/17) and $134 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Select deluxe resorts (Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge) – $179 per night (10/4-11/24), $149 per night (11/29-12/17) and $239 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Studio accommodations at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, and Old Key West Resort – $199 per night (10/4-11/24), $179 per night (11/29-12/17) and $259 per night (12/18-12/24).

These rates must be booked by October 31. 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 (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

Disney Cruise Line offers "Kids Sail Free" deal

Now is a great time for families to book a Disney cruise, as the Disney Cruise Line has announced a "Kids Sail Free" promotion for most 3- and 4-night Bahamian sailings from January 7 through through April 15, 2010 and 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings from April 24 through May 26, 2010.

Children age 17 and under can sail free when traveling with two full-fare guests in the same stateroom, though government taxes and fees must still be paid for the kids. The offer applies to stateroom categories 4 through 12 and the number of stateroom categories are limited. Other special offers, discounts or onboard credits to not apply, though additional terms and conditions may apply.

Reservations may be booked through the Disney Cruise Line Web site (link), via the Disney Cruise Line Reservations phone line (800-951-3532) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link). You must use booking code KFO to receive this deal.

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.