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Update for March 22, 2010 – March 28, 2010

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

News and Views

Week off | Star Wars Weekends guests | American Idol Experience | Construction update | Quick Takes …

A week off? Unthinkable!

For over six and a half years, I've been the only one writing these Walt Disney World Resort Updates.


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Next week, I'm taking the week off. I'm working to bring in another one or two people to write this column so that I can take the occasional week off for family matters, vacation or just to catch my breath (which is largely the same reason for cutting the MouseStation podcast back to once a week, starting this week).

Julie China will be writing the Update next week, and I hope that you enjoy her style. I'll be back the following week.

Star Wars Weekends celebrity guests announced

The list of celebrity guests for this year's Star Wars Weekends has been released. It seems that the event will be going with dual hosts this year, with Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and Ashely Eckstein (Ahsoka in "The Clone Wars") hosting each weekend. Each week, the celebrity guests will appear at meet-and-greet sessions, "star conversations," and in a motorcade as part of the event's daily parade. As always, many constumed characters from the entire Star Wars sage will also appear.

Here is the list of celebrity guests.

Week 1, May 21-23

  • Temuera Morrison – Jango Fett and all of the clone troopers in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith)
  • Daniel Logan – Boba Fett and all of the clone cadets in Attack of the Clones
  • Dee Bradley Baker – voice of all of the clone troopers in "The Clone Wars"

Week 2, May 28-30

  • Matthew Wood – voice of General Grievous and battle droids in Revenge of the Sith and "The Clone Wars", sound editor on Episodes 1-3 and "The Clone Wars"
  • Lorne Peterson – veteran model-maker who worked on all six movies
  • Tom Kane – voice of Yoda and narrator in "The Clone Wars"

Week 3, June 4-6

  • Billy Dee Williams – Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi
  • Ray Park – Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace
  • Dave Filoni – supervising director of "The Clone Wars"

Week 4, June 11-13

  • Ray Park
  • Peter Mayhew – Chewbacca in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith
  • James Arnold Taylor – voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Plo Koon in "The Clone Wars"


The new "TRONorail" took to the track for the first time on Friday. Here's a video from Disney showing off the new imagery.

American Idol Experience gets new song list

There's a new list of songs available for guests to choose from when auditioning for and participating in the American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photos of the complete list were posted last week via Twitter by attraction host Sean Klitzner (link). Here's the complete new song list:

Country:

  • Achy Breaky Heart
  • All-American Girl
  • Amazed
  • Boot Scootin' Boogie
  • Breathe
  • Do You Believe Me Now
  • How Do I Live (Without You)
  • I Hope You Dance
  • I Like It, I Love It
  • I Told You So
  • Independence Day
  • It's Good to Be Us
  • Life is a Highway
  • Lost
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman
  • My Wish
  • Our Song
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • This Kiss
  • Walkin' After Midnight
  • What Hurts the Most

Disco/Dance:

  • Best of My Love
  • Fame
  • Hot Stuff
  • I Will Survive
  • Knock on Wood
  • Last Dance
  • Rach Out, I'll be There
  • Never Can Say Goodbye
  • New Attitude
  • You're the First, the Last, My Everything

R&B:

  • 100 Ways
  • Ain't No Mountain High Enough
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg
  • For Once in My Life
  • Get Ready
  • I Heard it Through the Grapevine
  • I Want You Back
  • I Wish
  • I'll Be There
  • Listen
  • Midnight Train to Georgia
  • No One
  • RESPECT
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered
  • Stop! In the Name of Love
  • Superstition
  • Then Came You
  • Turn Your Love Around
  • Vision of Love
  • You Are the Sunshine of My Life
  • You Keep Me Hangin' On
  • (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
  • You're All I Need to Get By

Disney songs:

  • Best of Both Worlds
  • Bet On It
  • Breaking Free
  • Circle of Life
  • Colors of the Wind
  • Ever Ever After
  • Go the Distance
  • Part of Your World
  • Reflection
  • Rock Star
  • This Is Me
  • You'll Be in My Heart

Latin:

  • 1-2-3
  • Bailamos
  • Just Another Day
  • La Bamba
  • Let's Get Loud
  • Smooth
  • Turn the Beat Around
  • Waiting for Tonight

Rock/Pop Ballad:

  • Ain't No Sunshine when She's Gone
  • All Around Me
  • A Moment Like This
  • Alone
  • Battlefield
  • Black Velvet
  • Bubbly
  • Crush
  • Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  • Drops of Jupiter
  • Home
  • I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
  • If it Makes You Happy
  • In Love with a Girl
  • Iris
  • Just Once
  • Kiss from a Rose
  • Light On
  • Looks Like We Made It
  • Love Song
  • Stand By Me
  • Sober
  • Somebody to Love
  • The Climb
  • Unchained Melody
  • What a Wonderful World
  • Your Song

Rock/Pop Up Tempo:

  • Big Girls Don't Cry
  • "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
  • Born to Be Wild
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Breakaway
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Don't Stop the Music
  • Express Yourself
  • Face Down
  • Footloose
  • Hit Me with Your Best Shot
  • Holding Out For a Hero
  • I Can See Clearly Now
  • I Don't Want to Be
  • I Feel the Earth Move
  • I Wanna Dance with Somebody
  • If Everyone Cared
  • It's Not Over
  • La La Land
  • Old Time Rock and Roll
  • Over You
  • Rock with You
  • Since U Been Gone
  • Suspicious Minds
  • Sway
  • The Great Escape
  • The Power of Love
  • Walkin' in Memphis
  • Walking on Sunshine
  • What About Now
  • You Really Got Me Now
  • You're My Best Friend

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:

  • Epcot Germany pavilion – electrical work at Clock & Stein store.
  • Epcot Italy pavilion – electrical work at Labottega store.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – structural work on Soundstage #1.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – bathroom modifications near Soundstage #1.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – entrance area Coca Cola kiosk canopy installation.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – mechanical work.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Beastly Bazaar – minor wood repair, paint building.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 1900 Park Fare – installation of appliances in main kitchen.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Narcoossee's – installation of appliances in main kitchen.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – replace tennis court fence, electrical work.
  • Grand Floridian Wedding Pavilion Chapel – repairs and painting.
  • Polynesian Resort Volcano pool – interior repairs.
  • Old Key West Resort – replacement of air conditioning units in Buildings 63 & 64.
  • Port Orleans Resort – removal of DCA modular building and storage unit along with associated utilities.
  • Port Orleans Resort – coat flat roof.
  • Coronado Springs Resort Convention Center – electrical work.
  • Northeast Resort Parcel – Phase 1A/1B infrastructure construction.
  • Northeast Resort Parcel – Phase 1A/1B area development package.

Quick takes …

…The refurbishment of the Blizzard Beach water park was lengthened by three days, with the park returning to service this coming Tuesday instead of yesterday. Refurbishment of the Teamboat Springs family raft ride will take much longer, with the attraction not completing its refurbishment until mid-May.

…The Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station has reopened for the busy Easter season. Visit while you can!

…Starting this Thursday on the Disney Wonder and this Saturday on the Disney Magic, guests who are found smoking inside their staterooms will be charged a $250 "stateroom recovery fee." The fee is to recover the costs related to a deep cleaning of the room, which includes air filter replacement, carpet extraction, and cleaning and replacement of drapes, comforters, blankets and pillows. The Disney Dream will also be subject to this fee when it launches next year.

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Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.

Coming up

  • March 3 – May 16: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
  • April 23–25: USASF/IASF Dance and Cheerleading World Championships (link).
  • April 23, 24, 30, May 1. Grad Nite (link).
  • May 21–June 13: Star Wars Weekends (link).
  • June 12: Expedition Everest Challenge (link).
  • July 14–27: ESPN RISE Games.
  • August 27–29: Disney's Pin Celebration: Trade City, U.S.A. (link).
  • October 1–2: Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon (link).
  • October 1–November 14: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
  • November 11–14: Childrens Miracle Network Classic (link).
  • November 25–28: Old Spice Classic.
  • January 6–9, 2011: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (link).

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Tinker Bell’s Fairy Treasures – closed for remodeling to include a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique PhotoPass location.
  • Cinderella Castle – facade refurbishment through March 31.

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 through March 27.
  • Studio Catering Company – closed for refurbishment through March 27.
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closed for refurbishment through March 27.
  • MuppetVision 3-D – closed for refurbishment April 24 – May 14

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Resorts

  • Wilderness Lodge Silver Creek Springs pool slide – closed for refurbishment through March 31, 2010. Guests may use the Silver Creek Springs Pool and the Hidden Springs Pool, as well as the pool and slide at Disney's Contemporary Resort, during the refurbishment.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – closed through March 23 for refurbishment.
  • Blizzard Beach Teamboat Springs – closed through May 15 for refurbishment.

Elsewhere

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

Current Discounts & Promotions

Walt Disney World 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

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).

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).


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.