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Update for May 17, 2010 – May 23, 2010

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News and Views

Disney announces new Art of Animation Resort | Star Tours closing date now setHacienda de San Angel to open in September | Construction update | Quick takes

Disney announces new Art of Animation Resort

The second phase of the Pop Century Resort finally begins construction, and as expected, features mostly family suites. What was unexpected, however, was that instead of the long-planned Legendary Years (covering the decades from the 1900s through the 1940s), the new construction does way with the decades format altogether, and will feature four Disney animated movies—The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars—and be named Disney's Art of Animation Resort.


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The resort will have almost 2,000 new units, with 1,120 family suites located in the The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars sections, and 864 rooms in the Little Mermaid section. The suites will be designed similarly to the ones already in use at the All-Star Music resort, with a living room and a bedroom to allow larger families room to spread out.

“We are always looking for opportunities to expand and enhance our Walt Disney World offerings, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is a great example of those efforts. This new resort will feature some of our most beloved characters and stories in a unique and special way that we think our guests will really enjoy,” said Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “This project also underscores our optimism about the future, as we continue to invest in new experiences for our guests around the globe.”

“These themes have both compelling storylines and vivid visuals, which will come together to create a truly memorable, immersive resort experience,” said Eric Jacobson, Senior Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering. “With more multi-generational families vacationing together, guests are looking for places where they can play together and stay together. This resort was designed with the needs of families in mind, as we continue the Disney tradition of providing a great guest experience for every taste and budget.”

The resort will open in phases. Construction on all resort rooms is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.


Space Shuttle Atlantis lifts off over Epcot's Mission: Space pavilion. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Star Tours closing date now set

Last week, we told you about the Last Tour to Endor event this summer, which celebrates Star Tours before renovations start to upgrade it to Star Tours 2.0. We now have the official closing date for the attraction: September 8. We have no official word yet on a reopening date, but it is believed to be in May 2011, in time for next year's Star Wars Weekends.


Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is closed for brief refurbishment. Photo by Mark Goldhaber


Disney has sold the Power Rangers back to Haim Saban. If you want to see them at Disney's Hollywood Studios, you'll need to do it by August 7. Photo by Mark Goldhaber


Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear, a character being introduced in the upcoming Toy Story 3 movie, is now doing meet-and-greets at the Art of Disney Animation at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Mark Goldhaber

Hacienda de San Angel to open in September

The Hacienda de San Angel (previously Cantina de San Angel) opens this September at Epcot's Mexico pavilion, offering 150 outside seats and 250 inside seats. As we previously mentioned, it is slated to serve lunch as quick-service, and then convert to table service for dinner. This is the first test of the new dining style planned for the Be Our Guest restaurant in the new Fantasyland Forest area of the Magic Kingdom.


Construction walls across the back of Fantasyland block off the Fantasyland Forest construction and offer three looks at what's coming. This mural promotes the Little Mermaid attraction. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.


This mural promotes Belle's Cottage, where Belle's storytelling will eventually move. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.


The third mural depicts Beast's Castle, which will be the home of the Be Our Guest dining experience. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.


Elsewhere in Fantasyland, the tree from Pooh's Playful Spot has been moved across the walkway to a spot in front of the queue for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom Pecos Bill's – electrical work.
  • Magic Kingdom The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – electrical work.
  • Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle – electrical work.
  • Magic Kingdom Space Mountain – electrical work.
  • Magic Kingdom Car Barn – electrical work.
  • Magic Kingdom MO7 – rehab package.
  • Epcot China bascule bridge – electrical work.
  • Epcot America Gardens Theatre – plumbing work.
  • Epcot Future World – Wayfinding signs package.
  • Epcot Africa Cool Post – replacement of floor sink and drain line to main, relining of main.
  • Disney's Hollywoood Studios Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – electtrical work.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios The Dip Site – replacement of kitchen equipment.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Muppet Theater – boiler replacement.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Star Tours – mechanical work.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom – installation of service bar.
  • Downtown Didney Chase kiosk – electrical work.
  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course Hole # 7 – bridge repair carpentry work.
  • Grand Floridian Convention Center – replacement of air walls.
  • Yacht Club Lighthouse, Beach Club Resort, Yacht Club Convention Center – structural and siding repairs.
  • Yacht and Beach Club Resorts – carpentry work.
  • Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villas – carpentry, plumbing and electrical work.
  • South Central Resort Parcel Project – installation of Walt Disney Imagineering and contractor site trailers.
  • Northeast Resort – sales center and gatehouse construction package.


Many locations on Main Street USA are under wraps for facade refurbishment. Main Street Clothiers is one. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.


Casey's Corner is undergoing refurbishment as well. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.


The construction at Casey's wraps all the way around to the First Aid Center courtyard. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Quick takes …

…The Rock N’ Glow Dance Party offers guests the opportunity to dance the night away to music provided by DJs during Summer Nightastic in the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster plaza, nightly except for Mondays and Wednesdays.

…This fall, a Werther's Candy Shop replaces the Goebel Shop in Epcot's Germany pavilion, giving visitors a chance to watch candy made fresh on site in a giant cauldron.

…For those wondering, the Via Napoli pizzeria coming to Epcot's Italy pavilion is expected to offer table service dining.

…The signage for Captain EO will be a little familiar when the 3-D movie reopens at the Imagination pavilion in a couple of months. Apparently, the attraction's original sign was saved for reuse when the attraction returns.

…The PB&J pizza is no longer available on the buffet at Chef Mickey's due to peanut allergy concerns, but you can still get it created for you on demand if you ask for it. New additions to the buffet include Baked Potato Puffs, turkey hash and a veggie quiche in puff pastry.

…Disney continues to quietly extend the 10 percent off on merchandise at selected in-park stores for Annual Passholders. The current extension is good through the end of May.

…New marketplaces coming this fall to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival include Belgium, Singapore, and South Korea.

…A special paid preview for the Food & Wine Festival called the Food & Wine Delicious Discoveries will provide guests a chance to preview the new cuisine coming to the festival, including dishes from Belgium.

…The 2011 Walt Disney World Half Marathon is now 50 percent full. If you're not sure whether or not you want to participate, it's time to make up your mind! Register now (link)!


If you want to see SpectroMagic before it "glows away" for the summer, make sure that you stop by soon. Its last night is June 5, with the Main Street Electrical Parade replacing it the next night. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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

Coming up

  • 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 at Hacienda de San Angel. Taqueria Del Lago remains open.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Resorts

  • 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.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort – Paddock quiet pool closed for conversion to new feature pool opening in 2011.

Water Parks

  • McDonald's at Downtown Disney – closed permanently; the location will be converted to Pollo Campero, opening this fall.
  • Blizzard Beach Teamboat Springs – closed through May 31 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 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.