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Update for May 3, 2010 – May 9, 2010

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

News and Views

Split–level Free Dining is Back at Walt Disney WorldCaptain EO returns to the Walt Disney World Resort | MousePlanet Meet at the Magic Kingdom, May 15 | Walt Disney World parks make top attendance list | Toy Story Mania introduces new game | Woman injured in boating accident | Elephants bee-ware | Construction update | Quick takes

Split-level Free Dining back at Walt Disney World

Mark Goldhaber originally posted this information on his blog on April 30, 2010

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Free dining has returned to Walt Disney World. Disney Rewards Visa cardholders can book now, while the offer will be extended to the general public on Sunday. As it was last year, the deal will be a split-level offer. Guests booking a stay at a value resort will receive the Quick Service Dining Plan, while those booking moderate, deluxe or deluxe villa accommodations will receive the standard Disney Dining Plan. The offer requires a minimum three-night stay, and must include park passes for all guests.

The offer is valid for stays most nights from August 15 through October 2, and must be booked by August 14. Availability is limited, and some restrictions may apply. Call or call your travel agent and use code QD4.

Update: A similar offer open to the general public is being released today (May 3). The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World web site (link) or by 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).

Captain EO returns to the Walt Disney World Resort

Unseen in Florida since closing its curtain in 1994 after a several-year run, Captain EO, featuring the late Michael Jackson, returns to the Walt Disney World Resort this summer, just months after it reopened at Disneyland Park earlier this year. The 17-minute musical space-fantasy adventure film is scheduled to open at Epcot on July 2, replacing Honey, I Shrunk the Audience at the Imagination pavilion.

The film, which had its original run in Epcot from 1986 to 1994, features Michael Jackson as Captain EO and a crew of Disney-created space characters on a mission is to deliver a gift to the Supreme Leader, played by Anjelica Huston. During their journey, the group uses the power of dance, light, and music to turn a colorless planet into a world of color and happiness. The film features two songs, “We are Here to Change the World” and “Another Part of Me.”

The attraction also opens at Disneyland Paris on June 12 and Tokyo Disneyland on June 30.

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.

Walt Disney World parks make top attendance list

The Themed Entertainment Association, in association with Economics Research Associates, has released its annual list of the most attended theme parks in the world (link). As with previous years, the Disney theme parks dominate the top of the list, with all four Walt Disney World theme parks ranked in the top 10. While the Florida Disney parks were on the list, the Disney theme parks from around the world also made it into the top 10, with the exception of Disney's California Adventure park (which was #11), and Hong Kong Disneyland, which while still on the list, is all the way down at #17. According to its official report, the following is the top 25 based on attendance from 2009:

  1. Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
  2. Disneyland Park, California
  3. Tokyo Disneyland,Japan
  4. Disneyland Park Paris, France
  5. Tokyo Disney Sea, Japan
  6. Epcot, Walt Disney World
  7. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
  8. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
  9. Universal Studios Japan
  10. Everland, South Korea
  11. Disney’s California Adventure, California
  12. SeaWorld Florida
  13. Universal Studios Florida
  14. Ocean Park, Hong Kong
  15. Nagashima Spa Island, Japan
  16. Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando, Florida
  17. Hong Kong Disneyland
  18. Yokohama Hakkeijima Spa Paradise, Japan
  19. Universal Studios Hollywood, California
  20. Lotte World, South Korea
  21. Seaworld California
  22. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida
  23. De Efteling, Netherlands
  24. Tivoli Gardens, Denmark
  25. Walt Disney Studios Paris

As with last year, both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach from Walt Disney World again finished first and second in attendance for water parks.

Toy Story Mania introduces new game


Photo © Disney

New characters from the upcoming Disney Pixar film Toy Story 3 are being added to Toy Story Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios later this month. The new game, called "Rex and Trixie’s Dino Darts," invites riders to shoot their virtual darts at balloon targets in a primeval world filled with volcanoes and lava balloons. You’ll be cheered on by Rex (the nervous Tyrannosaurus rex) and his new friend Trixie (a blue Triceratops and one of the new characters in the film). The new game will replace Bo Peep’s Baaa-loon Pop.

In other Toy Story 3 news, Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear, another new character in the film, will be appearing at the Art of Disney Animation and in the Block Party Bash Parade starting May 9.

Publicity for the film, scheduled for a wide release on June 11, is going full-bore. Most recently, Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear made an appearance on a couple of fake TV commercials on the Internet. The first is an original toy commercial circa 1983, while the second is a toy commercial from Japan.

The first commercial is a vintage ad from 1983:

 

The second commercial markets the purple bear in Japan:

Woman injured in boating accident

A woman was injured last week in a boating accident near the Treehouse Villas when the two-seat "Sea Raycer" motorized boat she was riding in collided with a Disney ferry.

Barbara Wormald, of Celebration, Florida, and Skipton, England, was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center by ambulance. Authorities said she was treated for back pain, a collapsed lung, and fractured ribs.

Wormald's husband, Michael, was driving the Sea Raycer at the time of the collision, and was uninjured. The boat was rented from Downtown Disney.

Walt Disney World released a statement on the incident: “We resumed operations after the collision, on the same day. All other comment must come from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, which is conducting an investigation.”

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is investigating this incident.

Elephants bee-ware

A team of researchers from Save the Elephants, Oxford University, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have discovered a new alarm call made by elephants in response to the threat of bees. Working with herds of elephants in Kenya, scientists theorize that a unique rumble may warn other herd members of the presence of bees, prompting pachyderm retreats even when no bees are present.

Using hidden microphones, the scientists recorded the elephants’ vocal reaction to bees and then replayed the elephant rumblings without bees present. The elephants behaved the same way they did when bees were present, by shaking their heads, throwing dust in the air, and running away from the area.

“The purpose behind these studies is to find a novel way of keeping elephants from raiding the crops of local communities, and thereby reducing human-elephant conflict,” according to Joseph Soltis, Ph.D., research scientist at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “As human populations expand, they move into elephant territory and elephants and people end up sharing the same space. One of the consequences is that elephants start raiding crops, which can end up harming both people and elephants.”

Construction update

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

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tusker House Restaurant – service bar carpentry work.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios Studio Backlot Tour – re-roof soundstage.
  • Magic Kingdom Adventureland – basement tunnel area electrical work.
  • Magic Kingdom Astro Orbitor – elevator gantry painting.
  • Magic Kingdom Baby Care Center – carpentry work.
  • Magic Kingdom Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – electrical work.
  • Magic Kingdom Cinderella’s Castle – mechanical work.
  • Magic Kingdom The Diamond Horseshoe – replace doors.
  • Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Rail Road – Main Street Station roof work.
  • Transportation and Ticket Center – restroom rehab.
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Bay Lake Tower loading dock concrete work and Contemporary Tower loading dock improvements.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – mechanical room repairs.
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter – replace carpet.

Quick takes …

…Disney Cast Members are retrofitting more than 1000 theatrical spotlights and floodlights around the Walt Disney World Resort with more efficient and longer-lasting light fixtures. Some of the fixtures include LED lights which can be 330 percent more efficient than other lights. Engineers estimate this one small change will save more than 2.5 million kilowatt hours annually, which is enough power to light 1135 homes for a year.

…It has been reported that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is currently offering Fastpass for the Festival of the Lion King, Flights of Wonder, and Finding Nemo the Musical. The Fastpass kiosk for all three is located near the entrance to It’s Tough to Be a Bug. It is not known when Fastpass distributions for these shows will end.

…Tickets are now on sale for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. All party dates are listed below.

…Ricky Brigante of inside the Magic is reporting that Disney’s Imagineers are testing a new, temporary interactive game in the queue of The Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom featuring “The Dread Family.” Follow this link for more information.

…The Disney Magic cruise ship has arrived in Europe to begin its first Mediterranean cruise of the season. On board, the Metro Pub has been renamed 687, in honor of the Disney Dream (687 is the keel number of the Dream at the Meyer Werft shipyard).

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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).
  • 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 14, 18, 21, 23, 25, 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 (link).
  • September 5: Trek Women’s Triathlon (link).
  • September 10–11: Night of Joy (link).
  • 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 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17 and 19. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (link).
  • 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 is 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 is 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 is 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 extended

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 through October 2. 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 June 30. 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 is 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 for the general public extended

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 general public offer is good from May 2 through October 2 (you must book by August 14).

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 is 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 is 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 Julie China)

Julie China first visited Disneyland in 1974 when she was very, very young. She re-discovered the Disney theme parks during her 1993 honeymoon to Walt Disney World. Ever since then, Julie and her husband have made annual, and sometimes even multiple trips each year, to Disney World. Julie funds her Disney vacations by working as an attorney in Honolulu, Hawaii.