For over six and a half years, I've been the only one writing these Walt Disney World Resort Updates.
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.
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
Week 2, May 28-30
Week 3, June 4-6
Week 4, June 11-13
The new "TRONorail" took to the track for the first time on Friday. Here's a video from Disney showing off the new imagery.
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:
Rock/Pop Up Tempo:
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!
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
…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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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:
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).
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:
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:
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).
(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.