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Update for April 26, 2010 – May 2, 2010

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

News and Views

Disney Magic changes end-of-year itinerary | MousePlanet Meet at the Magic Kingdom, May 15! | Free dining coming? | Eat to the Beat concert schedule announced | Character location changes coming | New location added for Dine with an Imagineer | Who Wants to Be a Cast Member? | March of Dimes Thank You! | Construction update | Quick takes

Disney Magic changes end-of-year itinerary

The Disney Cruise Line has announced a schedule change for the Disney Magic's last sailing of the year. The 10-night sailing is being split and modified into two five-night sailings, both with one stop in Nassau and two stops at Castaway Cay. The new itineraries are:


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5-Night December 29, 2010 itinerary:

  • Wednesday, December 29, 2010 – Port Canaveral
  • Thursday, December 30, 2010 – Disney’s Castaway Cay
  • Friday, December 31, 2010 – Nassau, Bahamas
  • Saturday, January 1, 2011 – at sea
  • Sunday, January 2, 2011 – Disney’s Castaway Cay
  • Monday, January 3, 2011 – Port Canaveral

5-Night January 3, 2011 itinerary:

  • Monday, January 3 – Port Canaveral
  • Tueday, January 4 – Disney’s Castaway Cay
  • Wednesday, January 5 – Nassau, Bahamas
  • Thursday, January 6 – Disney’s Castaway Cay
  • Friday, January 7 – at sea
  • Saturday, January 8 – Port Canaveral

The Disney Wonder will be at Castaway Cay on Friday, January 7, 2011, starting its repositioning voyage through the Panama Canal, preventing the Magic from spending its last day before docking at Castaway Cay. The Wonder is headed west to make room for the Disney Dream, which is scheduled to have its first cruise from Port Canaveral on January 26, 2011.

Those currently holding a reservation for the December 29, 2010 sailing on the Disney Magic should have already been contacted and advised that the itinerary is changing. Guests will have the option to re-book on a different itinerary or cancel their cruise completely. If you were looking to cruise at the holidays but didn't want to do a 10-day cruise, this may be your opportunity to grab one of those cabins on one of the five-night itineraries.

The decision to modify the sailing is reportedly based on feedback from guests who are looking for more options for a holiday cruise sailing.

MousePlanet Meet at the Magic Kingdom, May 15!

Will you be at Walt Disney World the third weekend in May, maybe for the D23 Flowers & Fireworks event? Come to the MousePlanet meet at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday, May 15 at 2:00 p.m. at the gazebo just past Aloha Isle in Adventureland! Meet Mark Goldhaber and visit with other MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners. We'll have some MousePlanet buttons to hand out, and maybe some hats and classic mini-MouseAdventure packets. If you're attending Flowers & Fireworks, you've got until 5:00 p.m. to check in at the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, so there's plenty of time to attend the meet and still check in on time.


Here's where the meet will take place. Stop on by! Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Free dining coming?

We are hearing rumors of a new discount offer that may appear this Thursday, of a free dining offer valid from August 15 through October 2. This offer is apparently being offered on Thursday, April 29 only to Disney Rewards Visa cardholders, after which it becomes available to the general public on Sunday, May 2. There are many conflicting stories of what the dining offer may be, ranging from Quick Service dining for all resorts to the same as last year, which was Quick Service dining for stays at value resorts and standard Dining Plan for all other resorts. Our money is on Quick Service for value and moderate resorts (same as a PIN code postcard offer this spring) and the standard Dining Plan for deluxe and deluxe villa resorts. Of course, those getting the Quick Service plan would have the option to purchase the standard plan for the cost of the difference between the regular cost of the plans. In any case, if you're planning to travel to Walt Disney World late summer or early fall, keep your eyes open later this week to be able to jump on this offer when it's announced, as popular dates may disappear quickly.

Eat to the Beat concert schedule announced

Disney has released the schedule for this fall's Eat to the Beat Concert Series during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The concerts, as always, take place at the America Gardens Theatre nightly at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. The line-up (which, as always, is subject to change) showcases several new acts, such as Howard Jones, Rick Springfield, Air Supply and Sugar Ray, and includes:

  • October 1–3: Taylor Dayne
  • October 4–5: Kool & The Gang
  • October 6–8: Sugar Ray
  • October 9–10: Taylor Hicks
  • October 11–12: Air Supply
  • October 13–15: Sister Hazel
  • October 16–17: Howard Jones
  • October 18–19: Exposé
  • October 20–21: 38 Special
  • October 22–24: Night Ranger
  • October 25–27: Billy Ocean
  • October 28–31: Starship starring Mickey Thomas
  • November 1–3: Boyz II Men
  • November 4–5: Roger Hodgson, formerly of Supertramp
  • November 6–7: Jon Secada
  • November 8–9: Hanson
  • November 10–11: Rick Springfield
  • November 12–14: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, which opened the series last year, is the closing act this time around.

Character location changes coming

The WDW Character Hunt site has posted a bunch of information (link) about rumored and confirmed character changes coming in the next couple of weeks.

During Star Wars Weekends, Asajj (Clone Wars) will be available for meet and greets, and will be trading out with Ahsoka near the entrance to the Premiere Theater. The two are also joining the Jedi Training Academy. Commander Cody is getting an updated look as well.

Characters from Up are leaving the Studios as of Sunday, and reportedly moving to The Oasis at Disney's Animal Kingdom on May 9. They will be replaced at the Art of Disney Animation by Lotso Huggin' Bear from Toy Story 3 on May 9.

Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow have replaced Liverlips and Shaker (from Country Bear Jamboree) in the Frontierland Hoedown Happening.

Goofy will soon be appearing in pirate garb near the entrance to the Pirates League in Adventureland.

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger are moving from the Train Station in Mickey's Toontown Fair to Town Square on May 9.

At the Magic Kingdom effective May 9, Bert and Mary Poppins are scheduled to appear at Cinderella's Golden Carousel in Fantasyland, with Prince Eric and Ariel at the Adventureland Veranda. Wendy will be with Peter Pan in Fantasyland, Stitch moves from Adventureland to Tomorrowland, while Lilo leaves the park. Chip and Dale shift from Town Square to Tomorrowland, and Snow White moves from Town Square to the Wishing Well.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, also effective May 9, Jojo is leaving Playhouse Disney but still appear at Play 'n' Dine while Goliath is disappearing. Handy Manny begins appearing at Play 'n' Dine, and the Sorcerer's Hat will regularly host Piglet, Pooh, Donald, Daisy, Minnie, and Stitch.

Lilo and Stitch will begin appearing at Typhoon Lagoon on May 9, while Goofy will start appearances at Blizzard Beach on the same day.

New location added for Dine with an Imagineer

Dine with an Imagineer is now being offered at dinnertime at the Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk Resort. Recently only offered for lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney's Hollywood Studios, this popular meal offers you the chance to chat with an Imagineer about what it's like to work in the creative division that creates Walt Disney World's theme park attractions and resort projects. The upcoming trial will be offered every two weeks on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. Dinner costs $85 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Wine pairings and a souvenir plate signed by the Imagineer are available at extra cost. Upcoming scheduled dates are May 4 and 18, and June 1, 15 and 29. To book this meal, call the Walt Disney World Dining Line at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

Who Wants to Be a Cast Member?

Walt Disney World is staffing up for the coming summer peak season. Available roles may include:

  • Airport Representative
  • Attractions
  • Bell Services
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Hostess
  • Bus Driver
  • Costuming & Cosmetology
  • Culinary
  • Custodial
  • Entertainment
  • Front Desk
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry Services
  • Lifeguarding
  • Luggage Representative
  • Maintenance
  • Merchandise
  • Quick Service Food & Beverage
  • Disney's PhotoPass Photographer
  • Recreation
  • Reservation Center
  • Security
  • Table Service Food & Beverage
  • Transportation
  • Vacation Planner

Go the the Disney Careers Web site (link) for more information.

March of Dimes Thank You!

Yesterday, I walked for the fifth time 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. In the last five years (including this year), largely through the generosity of MousePlanet readers, we have managed to raise over $18,000 to support this worthy cause. This year, my total came in at over $3,300, well short of my goal but still a substantial total. Team MousePlanet as a whole came in at over $3,500. To those who donated this year (and especially those who are kind enough to donate every year), a huge thank you! If you were thinking of donating but never got around to it, the donations pages will remain up for a few weeks yet, so there's still time to help by contributing. And if you want to join us next year, we'll announce the team sign-ups early in 2011. For more information about why I walk, or to donate, please go to my fundraising page (link). Join me and help be a part of saving babies! Let's help to make sure that new parents bring their babies home from the hospital, and don't have to visit them at the cemetery.

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom Mickey's Star Traders – electrical upgrades.
  • Epcot Germany pavilion – electrical work related to VFD installation.
  • Downtown Disney Bongo's Cuban Cafe – repair stair.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Victoria & Albert's – installation of appliances.
  • Contemporary Resort – plumbing work on sanitary lines.
  • Wilderness Lodge – electrical upgrades for telephone room and ground wire upgrades.
  • Wilderness Lodge valet parking lot – asphalt roadwork.
  • Yacht & Beach Club Resorts – replacement of awnings.
  • Coronado Springs Resort security kiosk – electrical upgrades related to closed circuit TV enhancements.
  • Caribbean Beach Resort security kiosk – electrical upgrades related to HVAC upgrades.
  • Regal Sun Resort – demolition of old trash dumpster pad and installation of new pad.

Quick takes …

…If you're planning on buying tickets for hard-to-get nights of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and/or Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (all party dates listed below), don't forget that tickets go on sale this Saturday.

…The Photopass $99 Pre-Arrival PhotoCD is back. Prepurchasing the PhotoCD costs $99.95 (vs. $149.95 if purchased after your visit). Pre-ordering the Disney's Ultimate Memory Package costs $149.95 (vs. up to $229.90 if purchased separately after your visit). Note that this offer only applies to photos taken after your prepurchase, so you can't buy this halfway through your trip and hope to include Photopass tickets that you've already taken. You'll need to log in or create a Disney’s Photopass account to take advantage of the offer. Please visit the special pre-arrival offer page (link) for more information.

…With the Fantasmic dining packages requiring early dining times, it was only a matter of time before this happened. The Fantasmic dining package is now available for lunch seatings at Mama Melrose's and The Hollywood Brown Derby. As with the dinner packages, the lunch packages provide designated seating for Fantasmic.

…Reportedly, the MuppetVision theater refurbishment will include complete replacement of the carpet and restoration of in-theater effects. Now, if only they'd do some restoration work on the film.…

…The Florida Legislature has approved a bill that would overturn a 2008 State Supreme Court ruling that invalidated signed parental waivers for those participating in potentially risky activities. Walt Disney World and other tourist locations had opposed the court decision, stating that they would be hit with many frivolous lawsuits for children that were injured through their own actions. Activities involved range from riding on personal watercraft to horseback riding to many other potential activities around the state.

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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

  • March 3 to May 16: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link).
  • April 23, 24, 30, May 1. Grad Nite (link).
  • May 21 to June 13: Star Wars Weekends (link).
  • June 12: Expedition Everest Challenge (link).
  • July 14–27: ESPN RISE Games (link).
  • August 27–29: Disney's Pin Celebration: Trade City, U.S.A. (link).
  • September 5. Trek Women's Triathlon (link).
  • September 3, 8, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28, and 30, October 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, and 31, and November 1. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
  • October 1–2: Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon (link).
  • October 1 to November 14: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
  • November 8, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 28, and 30, December 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 17. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
  • November 11–14: Childrens Miracle Network Classic (link).
  • November 12–14: Festival of the Masters (link).
  • November 25–28: Old Spice Classic (link).
  • December 4–11. Pop Warner Football Championships (link).
  • January 6–9, 2011: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (link).

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Ariel's Grotto – closed permanently to make way for the Fantasyland Forest makeover.
  • Pooh's Playful Spot – closed permanently to make way for the Fantasyland Forest makeover.
  • Scuttle's Landing – closed permanently to make way for the Fantasyland Forest makeover.
  • Baby Care Center – closed for refurbishment May 14–20.

Epcot

  • Cantina de San Angel – closed for major renovation in January and is tentatively set to re-open September 24. Taqueria Del Lago remains open.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Resorts

  • Pop Century Fast Forward Arcade – closed for refurbishment May 10–13.
  • Yacht & Beach Club Stormalong Bay shipwreck slide – closed for refurbishment May 3–31. Guests at the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts may use the Luna Park pool at the Boardwalk Resort if they wish access to a pool slide during their stay.

Water Parks

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

Elsewhere

  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course – closed May 17–27 and Mondays only June 21 through July 26 for refurbishment.
  • Magnolia Golf Course – closed May 24 through June 3 and Wednesdays only June 23 through July 28 for refurbishment.
  • Palm Golf Course – closed June 1–10 and Tuesdays only June 22 through July 27 for refurbishment.
  • Osprey Ridge Golf Course – closed June 7–17 and Thursdays only June 24 through July 29 for refurbishment.
  • Oak Trail Golf Course – closed June 14–20 for refurbishment.
  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Passholders save 35-45 percent at select Walt Disney World resorts through June

Passholders can save 35 to 45 percent off their room rates for stays through June 3. Rates vary depending on your dates of travel and the resort category at which you are staying.

For any stay from now through June 3, you get some great discounts:

  • Value resorts: 35 percent off (1-3 nights) or 40 percent off (4 or more nights)
  • Moderate resorts: 37 percent off (1-3 nights) or 40 percent off (4 or more nights)
  • Deluxe Resorts: 42 percent off (1-3 nights) or 45 percent off (4 or more nights)
  • Deluxe Villa Resorts: 45 percent off (1-3 nights) or 45 percent off (4 or more nights).

The deal can be booked from now through your day of arrival. The number of rooms available at these rates are limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World Passholder web site (link) or by using code QIJ if booking via the special reservations phone line for this offer (407-939-1303) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

Room-only discount rates available for Passholders and the general public through mid-August

Everyone can save 15 to 30 percent off your room rates for stays from May through mid-August. Rates vary depending on your dates of travel and the resort category at which you are staying.

For any stay from May 2 through August 14, you get some great discounts:

  • Value resorts: 15 percent off
  • Moderate resorts: 20 percent off
  • Deluxe Resorts: 25 percent off
  • Deluxe Villa Resorts: 30 percent off.

The deal can be booked from now through the day of your arrival. 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 ID6 if booking via the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-7515) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

If you're a Passholder, you can get even deeper discounts. Passholders can save 30 to 40 percent off their room rates for stays at Walt Disney World this summer. Rates vary depending on your dates of travel and the resort category at which you are staying.

For any stay from June 3 through August 14, you get some great discounts:

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

The deal can be booked from now through your day of arrival. The number of rooms available at these rates are limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World Passholder web site (link) or by using code KD5 if booking via the special reservations phone line for this offer (407-939-5684) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

Disney Rewards Visa kids stay, play, and dine free package

Disney Rewards Visa cardholders can take advantage of an exclusive offer when they purchase a 4-night/5-day Magic Your Way Vacation that includes room, theme park tickets and the Quick Service Dining Plan for most nights between March 14 and August 14. When you purchase the package, kids (ages 3-9) will receive 5-day theme park tickets and the Quick-Service Dining Plan for free. This discount must be booked by April 24. Reservations may be made by using code OD3. Deposit must be made at the time of booking with your Disney Rewards Visa credit or debit card.

The number of rooms available at these rates are limited. To reserve a package, call the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-7607) or contact a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

"Kids Stay and Play Free" offer extended to general public

The "Kids Stay, Dine and Play Free" offer that has been available to Disney Rewards Visa cardholders has now been extended to the general public, but without the "Dine" part of the offer. Additionally, the "stay" portion of the deal really doesn't have much value, since the cost of the room doesn't change whether there are kids in the room or notbut the free park passes may provide some needed relief in your travel budget.

The new offer also has a much shorter valid timeframe. The Disney Rewards Visa offer is good from now through August 14 (though you must book by April 24), while the general public offer is only good from May 2 through June 3 (though you have until May 8 to book it.

In the new offer, kids ages 3-9 staying in the same room as an adult (limit four guests per room) can get free standard Magic Your Way passes for the length of the vacation package. Reservations may be made by using code BF4.

The number of rooms available at these rates are limited. To reserve a package, you can book online (link), call the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line for this offer (407-939-7905) or contact a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

Military discount

Active and retired U.S. Military personnel can save up to 40 percent on rooms at select Disney resorts for most nights through September 30. This discount must be booked by July 31. Reservations may be made by using code OUQ (room only), OUR (with Quick Service Dining Plan), OUS/OUT (with regular Dining Plan), or OUU (with Deluxe Dining Plan).

The number of rooms available at these rates are limited. To reserve a room with the Military discount, call the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-7607) or contact 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.