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Update for February 15, 2010 – February 21, 2010

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

News and Views

Summer Nightastic | Room-only Discounts | Disney Magic delayed | Give a Day, Get a Disney Day | Construction update | Quick Takes …

Disney to combat Potter with Summer Nightastic

With The Wizarding World of Harry Potter set to draw Walt Disney World visitors to Universal Islands of Adventure, Disney has brought a concept over from Disneyland to see if they can bring the guests back—at night, at least. "Summer Nightastic!" is a new promotion that brings back one night-time classic and introduces a new one. Jeff Kober reported on the press event announcement last week.


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The Main Street Electrical Parade will return to the Magic Kingdom in early June, replacing SpectroMagic. The Wishes fireworks show will also go on hiatus from the Magic Kingdom, being replaced by an as-yet-unnamed show for the summer. The new entertainment is scheduled to run through late summer, most likely some time in August. Also scheduled is a new drop sequence for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios. New special effects are also rumored to go with the new drop sequence.

The Main Street Electrical Parade will be moving over from Disney's California Adventure, where it will be going on hiatus effective April 19 to allow for better crowd control surrounding the new World of Color nighttime extravaganza. The Tinker Bell lead float and Pinocchio and Snow White units will be new to the Magic Kingdom.

Also on tap are the return of the Sounds Like Summer concert series at Epcot and extended park hours for Disney's Animal Kingdom. The concerts, which take place at the America Gardens Theater, feature a variety of "tribute" bands, which attempt to replicate the concert experience of popular bands. Disney's Animal Kingdom will be open until 7:00 many nights during the summer.

Disney is hoping that these promotions will bring guests back to the Disney parks in the evening after they have gone to Islands of Adventure to see the Potter attractions. We'll have to wait and see how successful they are.


The stage is set for Walt Disney World's "What's New, What's Next" presentation last Wednesday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton talks about Summer Nightastic. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Save big with room-only discount rates

You can save 25 to 45 percent off your room rates for stays from now through late summer. Rates vary depending on your dates of travel, the length of your stay, and the resort category at which you are staying.

For any stay from now through August 14 (except for March 28 to April 10, you get some great discounts:

  • Value resorts: 25 percent off
  • Moderate resorts: 30 percent off
  • Deluxe Resorts: 35 percent off
  • Deluxe Villa Resorts: 40 percent off.

For stays of five or more nights from now through June 3 (except for March 28 to April 10, the discount is five percentage points higher:

  • Value resorts: 30 percent off
  • Moderate resorts: 35 percent off
  • Deluxe Resorts: 40 percent off
  • Deluxe Villa Resorts: 45 percent off.

The deal can be booked from now through March 27, 2010. The number of rooms available at these rates are limited. Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World web site (link) or by using code QNY if booking via the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-7607) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

Disney Magic delayed by high winds; schedule altered

Gale force winds disrupted the schedule of the Disney Magic this past weekend, as the high winds prevented the ship from leaving Castaway Cay on Friday, keeping the ship at Disney's private island through Saturday. The ship was due back in port on Saturday to unload passengers and load up for another departure on its next cruise Saturday afternoon. The delay prevented the ship from returning to port until Sunday.

Those waiting to board the Magic were rerouted back to Walt Disney World and were offered 20 percent off of their current voyage, given $100 per cabin in shipboard credits plus $20 per person in credits for the cost of dinner on Saturday, offered overnight accommodations for Saturday night and given day tickets to Epcot. They were also given the option of canceling their cruise with no penalty and a full refund. Those whose return was delayed were offered 20 percent off of a future cruise and free cell phone calls to change travel arrangements. Those who booked their air travel through Disney had their travel arrangements taken care of for them.

An additional problem was posed by the fact that the Disney Wonder was also in port on Sunday, on its normal schedule. The Magic was forced to dock at another terminal to avoid disrupting the Wonder's schedule.

Giant can structure celebrates volunteers for "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day"

At a press event featuring the unveiling of the world's largest can structure (a record verified by Guinness World Records), Walt Disney World announced that the "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" promotion had had 600,000 people sign up to participate in the first six weeks.

"With the launch of our 'Give a Day, Get a Disney Day' program, we hoped to spark something truly special," new Disney Parks Chairman Thomas Staggs said. "But even we have been overwhelmed with the response."

The can structure of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto over a wall proclaiming "Celebrate Volunteers!", made from 115,527 cans, took four days and over 500 "man hours" to construct. Following the event, the cans were boxed up by volunteers to go to food banks in Miami, Orlando and Atlanta, representing about 70,000 meals.

The event continued throughout the day, including a convoy of trucks led by Kermit and Miss Piggy taking the cans out of the park; a Dinner: Impossible meal cooked by the Food Network's Robert Irvine and his team; and a concert starring Disney Channel stars that culminated in two duets by Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato, including their new song "Make A Wave" that is part of Disney's Friends for Change campaign to save the environment.


A world-record can structure depicts Pluto, Donald Duck, Mickey and Goofy peeking over a can wall. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


(l. to r.) Disney Parks chairman Thomas Staggs, HandsOn Network co-founder Michelle Nunn, Mickey Mouse, Ty Pennington and Maria and Neil Bush (chairman of the board for the Points of Light Foundation). Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Ty Pennington and Kermit the Frog joke around at the press event. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

A personal appeal, for the fifth year

On April 25, I will once again be walking to raise money for the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Over the last four years, largely through the generosity of MousePlanet readers, we have managed to raise over $15,000. This year, let's do something special. My personal goal is to raise $5,000 this year. But you can help in ways other than donating to my walk. This year, for the first time, you can walk with me. Even if you aren't in the Albany, NY area, you can virtually walk with me by joining Team MousePlanet and walking at the March for Babies in your own area. For more information about why I'm walking, or to donate to my walk, please go to my fundraising page (link). To sign up to join Team MousePlanet, please go to the team page (link). Join me and help be a part of saving babies! Let's show how big a heart MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners have!

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom Columbia Harbour House – installation of vinyl tile in second floor serving area.
  • Epcot Innoventions – KUKA Rockin Robots exhibit package (amended).
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Great Movie Ride EER rooms – electrical.
  • River Country – removal/demolition of the Nature Walk Boardwalk.
  • Bay Lake Tower – Lock-off renovation mock-up (selective demo and renovation).
  • Fort Wilderness Resort Pioneer Hall – completion of the rehab.
  • Fort Wilderness Resort Loop 1700/1900 comfort station – completion of the rehab of the guest restroom/laundry room.
  • Beach Club Resort – rehab of guest laundry.
  • Boardwalk Resort Seabreeze Point – carpentry.
  • Old Key West Resort main pool equipment building – replacement of heater.
  • Coronado Springs Resort Casitas buildings 1-5 – demolition and replacement of concrete.
  • Coronado Springs Resort Convention Center kitchen – replacement of heater in dishwasher.


Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees rides in a victory parade last Monday in the Magic Kingdom. Photo © Disney (Kent Phillips, photographer).

Quick takes …

…We've received a report that the Breathless the mahogany speedboat that departs for daytime, sunset and Illuminations cruises from the Bayside Marina at the Yacht Club Resort, crashed into one of the bridge supports on Crescent Lake on Friday night. No word on the damage yet.

…Mary J. Blige provided the keynote speech at Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey (link) over the weekend. 100 Dreamers were treated to motivational speeches and hands-on experiences at Disney positions.

…The Magic Kingdom park will close early April 23, 24, 30 and May 1 for Grad Nite (link).

…The giant LED screen attached to the forward funnel on Deck 9 of the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder cruise ships, formerly known as "Ariel Vision" has been renamed to "Funnel Vision Television" to match the name being used on the new Disney Dream, scheduled to set sail early next year.

…The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is repeating a promotion from last year, honoring the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. Residents of Louisiana receive a free night at the resort when booking two nights at standard price. The vacation must be booked by February 28, but the vacation does not have to be taken for a full year. Valid Louisiana state identification must be presnted upon check-in. For more information and to make reservations, you can call 1-800-227-1500 and use promotion code SDBOWL. This matches the deal given to Pennsylvania residents following the Pittsburgh Steelers' victory in Super Bowl XLIII.

…The Maya Grill will be switching its breakfast service from a buffet to table service as of February 23.

…The latest baby to join the family at Disney's Animal Kingdom is a white-cheeked gibbon born a couple of weeks ago. The male baby has not yet been named. His mother, Melaka, is doing fine. He also has two sisters, Suki and Tuyen. The white-cheeked gibben is part of a Species Survival Plan program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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The Year to Volunteer

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, several of our volunteers hosts said they want to start coordinating their local events. To help facilitate these activities, we've created a new MousePlanet Volunteers section of our MousePad discussion board devoted entirely to the Year to Volunteer events.

If you would like to coordinate and host a group volunteer event in your area, please visit our MousePad discussion board for more information on how to list your event (link). 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.

Hosts from Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, southern Utah, southern Nevada and southern Arizona have already started discussions for their area, and are looking for local readers to join their activities. If you live in one of these areas and want more information about local events, please visit MousePad and join the discussion (link).

 


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 up

  • February 12–14: UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • February 19–22: TwirlMania 2010 (link).
  • February 27: Contest of Champions Nationals: School & Youth Rec Cheer (link).
  • February 27: Contest of Champions Nationals: All-Star Cheer & Dance (link).
  • March 3 – May 16: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
  • March 5: Contest of Champions Nationals: Studio Dance (link).
  • March 6–7. Contest of Champions Nationals: School Dance (link).
  • March 7, 2010: Disney's Princess Half-Marathon (link).
  • March 12–14: UCA National All Star Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • April 23–25: USASF/IASF Dance and Cheerleading World Championships (link).
  • April 23, 24, 30, May 1. Grad Nite (link).
  • June 12: Expedition Everest Challenge (link).
  • October 1–2: Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon (link).

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

Epcot

  • Cantina de San Angel – closed for major renovation in January for an undetermined period of time. Taqueria Del Lago will remain open.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Studio Backlot Tour – closed for refurbishment February 15 through March 27.
  • Studio Catering Company – closed for refurbishment February 15 through March 27.
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closed for refurbishment February 15 through March 27.

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Resorts

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – closed through March 20 for refurbishment.

Elsewhere

  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Downtown Disney Marketplace – closed through March 5 for refurbishment.
  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Current Discounts & Promotions

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 announces new gift-card-with-stay vacation package offer

Walt Disney World has announced an offer that will give you a free Disney Gift Card select vacation packages. The offer is good on vacation packages of five days or longer, and the size of the gift card varies depending on the resort category at which you are staying.

Stays at at Value resorts get you a free $300 gift card per room (essentially $60 per night), Moderate resorts qualify for a $500 gift card per room ($100 per night) and Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts qualify for $750 per room ($150 per night). Obviously, the per-night average decreases for longer stays.

The deal is good for stays through June 3, 2010, with blackout periods depending on resort category, and can be booked from now through March 27, 2010. The eligible nights are:

  • Value resorts – now through March 27, April 11 through June 3;
  • Moderate resorts –  now through March 27, April 11-June 3;
  • Deluxe ande Deluxe Villas resorts – now through March 27, April 11 through June 3; and

The gift cards can be used for merchandise, recreation, dining, special event tickets, sports, recreation, tours and more at participating locations throughout Walt Disney World.

The number of rooms available at these rates are limited. Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World web site (link) or by using code QGX if booking via the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-7607) 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 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) and Small World Vacations (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.