Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for November 2 – November 8, 2009
Go directly to: News & Views | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions
Disney Dream | Adventures by Disney/Disney Cruise Line offer | Princess Tiana debuts | Disney mobile apps | Flower & Garden | Construction update | Quick Takes …
Last Thursday, the Disney Cruise Line debuted its new ship, the Disney Dream, at a spectacular press event in New York City. The ship has a huge number of new innovations that will make the new ship a true Dream. To view the entire event, you can still access it online (link).
Amazing new developments include a first-of-its-kind water coaster called the AquaDuck, interior cabins with high-definition screens giving the appearance of portholes with real-time views outside the ship (and special visits from Disney characters), animated artwork on the walls, and a night club where high-definition screens show time-appropriate views of famous cities.
Kids have not been forgotten, as the ship also features a nursery themed to "it's a small world"; Oceaneer's Club rooms themed to Andy's Room from Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. and Pixie Hollow; and Oceaneer's Lab with more amazing entertainment than ever before. Both the Oceaneer's Club and Lab feature 103-inch screens on which Crush and Stitch will interact with the kids. For older kids, there's Edge—located inside the forward funnel—which is aimed at those ages 11-13, and Vibe—a nearly 9,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor club—for guests ages 14-17.
The ship will also feature two theaters found on the other ships, the Walt Disney Theater and the Buena Vista Theater, but both will now offer entrances from two decks. A new show, Villains' Night Out, has been announced, but it wouldn't be surprising to hear about other new productions between now and the first sail date, which is more than 14 months away. Of course, the movie screen at the Buena Vista Theater is 3-D capable.
If 55 minutes is too long for you to watch the full press event at the link above, click to check out the short overview of the new ship!
Animator's Palate will return, in an enhanced form, but the other two restaurants have been replaced by two new ingenious concepts. Royal Palace (which is in the Triton's/Lumiere's spot) is inspired by Disney's most famous princess films, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty. Enchanted Garden is a more casual restaurant (known as Parrot Cay on the other ships) inspired by the gardens at Versailles, and the room will magically turn from day to night. Of course, what would a Disney cruise ship be without Palo, the adults-only restaurant?
After hours, The District—the nighttime entertainment district—features five lounges, such as Pink, a champagne bar; Skyline, the aforementioned club with views of the skyline of various iconic cities; and Evolution, a butterfly-themed modern dance club.
Click to take a virtual ride on the AquaDuck water coaster!
The Senses Spa & Salon has an amazing 17 indoor treatment rooms and private outdoor verandahs, while the special Rainforest area within the spa provides steam, heat and hydrotherapy treatments.
Rachel Quinn, formerly of both the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder, will be the cruise director for the new Disney Dream.
So when will the ship set sail? Its maiden voyage is set for January 26, 2011, and you can start making reservations next Monday, November 9 (if you're a Gold or Platinum level Castaway Club member, you can book today!). It will sail alternating three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas and Castaway Cay. During the summer, the ship will sail four- and five-night cruises featuring two stops at Castaway Cay.
To learn more, you can go to the Disney Cruise Line Web site (link), call the Disney Cruise Line at 888-DCL-2500 (888-325-2500) or contact your travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
Buy an Adventures by Disney vacation, get a Disney Cruise free!
How would you like to get two upscale Disney vacations for the price of one? From now through January 15, if you book select Adventures by Disney vacations at the nondiscounted regular rate, you'll get a free three-night Disney Cruise Lines Bahamian cruise that you can take through late 2011. Government taxes and fees, as well as transportation to and from Port Canaveral, are not included.
As of this writing, there are 128 eligible Adventures by Disney departures to 19 destinations, and three 2010 cruises and four 2011 cruises that are eligible. For more information on the eligible trips and the offer in general, go to the Adventures by Disney Web site (link).
The offer is only valid for new bookings, and most 2010 Adventures by Disney bookings are included. A certificate redeemable for the three-night Bahamian cruise will be mailed to you 25 days prior to the land package departure date. A completed cruise certificate must be submitted to Disney Cruise Line before December 31, 2010 and sailing must occur between February 1, 2010 and December 15, 2011.
For more information, you can call Adventures by Disney at 877-728-7282 or contact your travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
The Pelican Plunge play area is assembled and floating out behind the current snorkel rental shack. When the breakwater is completed, it will be floated out and installed in place. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Come out and play with MousePlanet!
Join us on November 15 in Epcot or at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
If you're going to be at Walt Disney World the weekend after Veterans Day but won't be playing MouseAdventure, you'll still have a chance to attend a MousePlanet meet! There'll be two meets on Sunday, November 15, the day after MouseAdventure. You can meet Mark Goldhaber for some chocolate mousse at Boulangerie Patisserie at Epcot's France pavilion at 1:00 p.m. That evening, there'll be another meet at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Meet Mark Goldhaber at the Tomorrowland entrance to the Rose Garden about 15 minutes before the Holiday Wishes nighttime spectacular. If you're planning to attend, be sure to let us know so we can have enough MousePlanet buttons and other stuff for everyone!
The Princess and the Frog's Princess Tiana made her debut at Walt Disney World last Monday, with appropriate fanfare and pyrotechnics. The welcoming ceremony took place Monday morning, and was followed by a "second line" parade down Main Street. Later on, a festive parade made its way through Frontierland and Liberty Square to the Liberty Belle's dock, where the parade and 30 preselected guests embarked for Tiana's Showboat Jubilee!, a shipboard performance designed to entertain those watching the boat from Frontierland.
Princess Tiana's welcoming ceremony and Tiana's Showboat Jubilee!
The Showboat Jubilee is scheduled to run three times each day through January 3. The characters and selected guests will enter and exit from the backstage door near the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon. Tiana's permanent meet-and-greet location will be in the back of Liberty Square, behind the Christmas Shop. Hopefully there will be enough separation between the queueing area and the smoking area back there.
The show will debut at Disneyland Park this coming Friday, November 6. Meanwhile, Tiana-themed makeovers are now available at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at both the Magic Kingdom and World of Disney locations. Children must be age 3 or older.
The movie The Princess and the Frog opens in New York and Los Angeles on November 25, and expands nationwide on December 11.
Disney Parks and Resorts has finally released some screen shots for its upcoming Mobile Magic application, which will be offered exclusively to Verizon Wireless subscribers. The application will provide wait times, FastPass return times, character greeting information and more for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
The application will provide actual wait times based on Disney's internal systems, current FastPass return windows (if FastPasses are still available), and a GPS-based mobile map that will show you exactly where you are and where you're going. Thanks to the GPS, these details are only available for the park that you are currently located in. If you want to check another park, if you're not in the park, or if you're using the Disney Parks mobile Web site (which will also be launched "soon"), you'll get less detail. Wait times will be now/moderate/high demand, FastPasses will be yes/limited/no availability and meet-and-greet info will be limited.
If you're not a Verizon Wireless subscriber, you'll still be able to use the Disney Parks Mobile Web site and text messaging portal. You just won't get access to the detailed information provided to the folks on Verizon.
The application will be available for purchase soon, and you'll be responsible for the message and data charges if you don't have an unlimited plan.
For screen shots of Mobile Magic, check out the entry on the Disney Parks & Resorts Blog (link).
The 17th Epcot Flower & Garden Festival will again run for 75 days, but will start earlier than ever. The festival will run from March 3 through May 16, 2010. This year's entry plaza topiary will have a North American theme with a live waterfall and pond features. It'll have Goofy trying his hand at fly fishing, Daisy Duck roasing marshmallows and Pluto camping out in a "pup tent."
New features this year include Bambi's Butterfly House, which is double the size of the former Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden. The butterfly house has moved from Future World East to Future World West, and expands to 3,500 square feet. A Bambi topiary will join the butterfly displays this year.
Also new are a victory garden near the American Adventure pavilion featuring topiary representations of the "Fab Five," an expanded Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, an "American Gothic" scene featureing Mickey and Minnie Mouse at World Showcase Plaza, and a Pirates Adventure Zone next to the Germany pavilion.
More than 70 topiaries in all will decorate Epcot, and the Fragrance Garden at the France pavilion and a bonsai garden at the Japan pavilion will return.
This year's Flower Power concerts will again be restricted to Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights this year, with acts including Jose Feliciano, Davy Jones, Chubby Checker & The Wildcats, Tony Orlando, Fran Cosmo (former lead singer of Boston), and more.
Other returning features include Disney Gardening at Home presentations, the Great American Gardeners series, the Garden Town Festival Center and special themed weekends, which include Art in the Garden (March 26-28), Florida Farmer’s Market (April 23-25). and I Dig Bugs event (April 30-May 2).
We'll have our 2010 Flower & Garden Festival page up in the near future.
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Epcot overall World Showcase and Future World – replacement of existing concrete caulking with new caulking.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Voyage of the Little Mermaid – lighting enhancements.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Doubloon Lagoon – installation of five new doors at Mardi Grogs and Pool Pump Room.
- Port Orleans French Quarter River Walk – fence post pedestal handrail repairs.
- Port Orleans French Quarter commercial building – entry road concrete replacement.
- Palm and Magnolia Golf Courses – erosion repair.
…You can now get personalized Mouse Ear hats at Epcot! Embroidery services are now available at MouseGear.
…Just a reminder that the booking window for Advance Dining Reservations (plus recreation and tour bookings) went back up from 90 to 180 days last Tuesday. The "arrival date plus 10" rule is still in effect. To do that math for you, as of today you can book your dining for stays with arrival dates from now through May 1. If you have a hotel reservation with an arrival date of January 25 or later, you should have already received a phone call to this effect.
…Saturday night at Downtown Disney, guests noticed a man with a gun in a restroom. They immediately notified Disney Security. Three off-duty police officers responded and caught up with the man, 24-year-old Frankie Gonzalez. When Gonzalez began trying to get away from them, a 9mm Glock handgun loaded with 14 rounds fell from his front waistband. According to the police report, the frame and slide portions of the gun had different serial numbers. The serial number of the frame portion matched that of a handgun reported lost by the Orlando Police Department. Gonzalez was charged with carrying a concealed firearm and resisting arrest without violence. WFTV is reporting that Gonzalez is a known gang member.
…A 19-year-old Fort Lauderdale man was arrested last Sunday for fondling a 30-year-old woman in the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon. Caesar Pinto was charged with sexual battery and also issued a trespassing warning banning him from Disney property. While the number of incidents this year at the Disney water parks is alarming, it should be noted that Disney and Sheriff's deputies have excelled in catching these criminals.
…The Disney Institute, Disney's professional development instruction arm, has released the dates of its public courses through the end of 2010. If you were looking to learn how to bring Disney practices into your business from Disney itself, you can find when courses will be given at the Disney Resorts and in a few other select cities. Go to the Disney Institute Web site (link) and click the "Events" tab.
…SeaWorld is upping its one-day ticket price to $78.95, just a nickel less than Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando's one-day, one-park price. However, the cost of a Florida resident "Fun Card" deal will actually be dropping. Disney and Universal raised their prices at the beginning of August.
…To assist MousePlanet readers who want to participate in The Year to Volunteer, we're looking for readers to act as MousePlanet hosts at qualifying volunteer opportunities across the country. While details of specific opportunities won't be available until after the promotion begins in January, we already have MousePlanet readers and staff in Tucson, Arizona; Ventura County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, Orange County, San Francisco Bay Area and Fresno/Bakersfield, California; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Buffalo, New York; upstate New York; Southern Oregon; Southern Utah; and Houston, Texas; who have expressed interest in coordinating a local volunteer event. If you would like to coordinate and host a group volunteer event in your area, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll keep you in the loop as more information becomes available. Hosts will be responsible for selecting a volunteer opportunity from the HandsOn Network site (which means you get to choose a program or organization that's important to you!), and coordinating with local MousePlanet readers who want to volunteer for your activity. To give readers the most time to use their tickets, we encourage hosts to schedule their activities early in the year.
…The 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon is now at 90 percent of capacity, the and Mickey's Marathon Kids' Fest is at 99 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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- 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.
- 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).
- Space Mountain – closed April 19 through November 21, 2009 for major refurbishment.
- Mad Tea Party – closed November 3-5, 2009 for refurbishment.
- Crystal Palace Restaurant – closed for refurbishment January 3 - February 15, 2010.
- The Bijutsu-kan Gallery at the Japan pavilion is currently closed for installation of a new exhibit.
- No currently scheduled refurbishments.
- No currently scheduled refurbishments.
- No currently scheduled refurbishments.
- Typhoon Lagoon – closed November 1, 2009 through January 9, 2010 for annual refurbishment.
- Blizzard Beach – will close for annual refurbishment on January 14, 2010.
- Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. There will be no performance November 17, 2009.
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 MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).
Passholder discounts through end of 2009
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:
- 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 MouseEarVacations.com (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 December 20. 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).
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 MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link). You must use booking code KFO to receive this deal.