Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for June 7, 2010 – June 13, 2010
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions
Summer Nightastic! kicks off | Marathon unveils new twists | Disney Dream takes big step toward completion | Former clerk stole credit card numbers | World's Largest Swimming Lesson at Typhoon Lagoon | Construction update | Quick takes
Summer Nightastic officially debuted at Walt Disney World over the weekend, with the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade and the re-debut of the Summer Nightastic Fireworks Spectacular (the fireworks is a slightly "re-imagined" version of the Magic, Music and Mayhem fireworks previously shown during the Pirate & Princess Parties) at the Magic Kingdom. Also, the new drop sequences at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Rock and Glow Dance Party at Disney's Hollywood Studios got underway. The Sounds Like Summer concert series started last Tuesday at Epcot.
The Main Street Electrical Parade features new units previously only seen at the Disneyland Resort, including a Pinocchio unit, a Seven Dwarfs Mine unit and the lead Tinker Bell float. The special entertainment and the new drop sequences are scheduled to run through August 14. The Sounds Like Summer concert series will wrap up July 31.
Get a first look at the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade.
Take a look at some of the changes to the Main Street Electrical Parade, as well as how the "bug" spinning units are operated.
The 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon unveiled two new interesting features for next year's race. First, marathon finishers receive complimentary admission to a Walt Disney World theme park the next day. Those with finisher medals get into the parks for free on "Marathon Monday."
In addition, for the first time the race medal for the marathon will be determined by an online vote. From now through July 28, you can go to the Disney World Marathon site (link) and vote for your choice of three candidate medals designed by Jostens.
After 55,500 registered to run in the 2010 races, it's time to register for next year's event. The Half Marathon is already half full, so if you're planning to run, head on over to the marathon site (link) and sign up now!
Check out the new features added to the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon.
On May 31 at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, a 260-ton piece of the ship's bow was added to the Disney Dream cruise ship, completing the the physical assembly of the ship. The bow was the last of the 80 building blocks to be put in place. Attention now turns to getting the interior of the ship set up. The nightclubs, restaurants, theaters, childrens spaces, cabins and other spaces will be installed and outfitted before the ship's maiden voyage on January 26, 2011, when it sails from Port Canaveral, Florida for the first time.
Take a look at how the ship is coming together.
Proving that bad apples can pop up anywhere, a former front-desk clerk at the Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and Disney's Old Key West Resort has been arrested for stealing almost 180 credit card numbers, leading to over $83,000 in bogus charges. Ana Rosa, 40, is charged with attaching card scanners to front desk computers at the resorts between September and early January. Rosa admitted to placing the devices there in November.
If you stayed at either Saratoga Springs or Old Key West between the beginning of September 2009 and early January 2010, you should probably check your credit card statements to see if there are any unexpected charges there.
Rosa was reportedly working with a man who promised to pay her $500 per month for the scanned credit card information, though she claimed that he still owed her money. Rosa pleaded guilty on May 27 to fraud and related activity in connection with a credit card, and to aggravated identity theft. The former carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years, while the latter's maximum sentence is two years. Each charge carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
Disney is changing the way that they monitor employees in the wake of this crime.
One way to prevent your credit card from being stolen when it's being swiped is to prevent it from being swiped in the first place. If you use Disney's Advance Check-In option, you can give them your credit card number prior to check-in. When you arrive, your credit card number is already on file and will not be swiped again. If you charge everything you buy to your room, the only thing that will be swiped is your Key to the World card, which will not carry any information related to your actual credit card number.
by J. Jeff Kober
If you were present at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon on Thursday, June 3 last week, you had the opportunity to participate in the world's record for the largest swimming lesson ever. Walt Disney World played host to this event, which was also played out at exactly the same time around the world in pools and beaches everywhere. This included locations as far reaching as Zambia, Lebanon, Dubai, and South Korea. Along with Mickey and Goofy, Rusty Gaines, a three time Olympic winner, appeared at the Typhoon Lagoon event, along with his family to participate in the event.
Officials from Ellis and Associates led the swim lesson. Ellis and Associates are responsible for all lifeguard training across Walt Disney World and are noted for a perfect record in no drownings. They have been a key partner in working with Disney on aquatic safety. They estimated some 10,000 people participated in the event. The message here is that with summer starting, everyone can learn basic techniques to prevent drowning in water. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1-14. To learn more water safety tips, see the World's Largest Swimming Lesson site (link).
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion – electrical work.
- Magic Kingdom Hall of Presidents theater and rotunda – electrical work.
- Magic Kingdom Space Mountain – electrical work.
- Magic Kingdom Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – electrical upgrades.
- Epcot Spaceship Earth ELTS – electrical upgrades.
- Epcot Mission Space ready rooms and Advanced Training Lab – electrical work.
- Epcot Living Seas ELTS – electrical upgrades.
- Epcot Club Cool ELTS – electrical upgrades.
- Epcot World Showplace exhibition tent – electrical work.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Toy Story Midway Mania ELTS – electrical upgrades.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Rock 'n' Roller Coaster unload area – structural work.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Animation Tour masking screen – structural work.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Dinoland USA air compressor pad – concrete pad.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom white rhino building – install freezer box.
- Grand Floridian Resort Wedding Pavilion Franck's Studio, chapel, bride's vestibule – refurbishment of area, restroom upgrades.
- Old Key West Resort – replace air conditioning units.
- Caribbean Beach Resort Old Port Royale Shutters – doors.
…As we noted here last month, MouseAdventure—MousePlanet's popular game event—is returning to Walt Disney World on October 9, 2010, for a day's adventure through Disney's Animal Kingdom. More details are expected to be announced soon, but we will again start with breakfast inside the park before the start of the game and run for several hours through the park. Pricing has not yet been finalized, though we're working to keep it the same as last year ($175 per two player team + $30 for each additional player). Are you ready to try to earn your merit badges for your sash? To make sure that you're among the first to know anything that there is to know, please sign up for our MouseAdventure Walt Disney World mailing list.
…We've got the pricing for the two new events being added to this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, taking place October 1 through November 14. The 15th annual festival features a new Delicious Discoveries First Bites event for $195 plus tax (not including park admission) on September 30, presenting a preview of the food, wine, seminars, demos, celebrities and entertainment for the Festival. Every Friday during the festival will be the "3D" Disney's Dessert Discovery for $45 (not including park admission), and featuring sweets, cordials and wine, plus VIP viewing of Illuminations. Reservations open soon at 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378).
…Asante, a male giraffe owned by the San Diego Zoo but raised at Disney's Animal Kingdom, was euthanized at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri after it suffered a severe neck misalignment during transportation to the zoo. The 10-year-old giraffe passed a medical examination before he left Florida on Tuesday, but arrived on Wednesday with the broken neck. Asante's injury had caused his back legs to be paralyzed, which indicated that his spinal cord was damaged. The 15-foot-tall, 2,500 pound giraffe was sent to Springfield as part of a giraffe breeding program. An article in the Springfield News-Leader (link) has a photo of Asante after he arrived. A necroscopy was performed last week, but there are no results available at this time.
…Bookings continue to rebound at Walt Disney World, despite the decrease in promotions. This means that it's likely that promotions will continue to decrease, both in the number of rooms available for each promotion and the added value with the promotions. If you're waiting to see a deep discount materialize, you may be waiting a long time.
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- 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.
- October 9. MouseAdventure at Disney's Animal Kingdom (link).
- November 8, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 28, and 30, December 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17 and 19. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (link).
- November 11–14: Children’s 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).
- February 25–27, 2011: Disney’s Princess Half Marathon
- 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.
- it’s a small world – closed for refurbishment August 1 through October 22.
- Cantina de San Angel – closed for major renovation, tentatively set to re-open September 24 as Hacienda de San Angel. Taqueria Del Lago remains open.
- Honey I Shrunk the Audience – closed to make way for Captain EO.
- Star Tours – closed for refurbishment beginning September 8.
- No currently scheduled refurbishments.
- Saratoga Springs Resort – Paddock quiet pool closed for conversion to new feature pool opening in 2011.
- No currently scheduled refurbishments.
- Lake Buena Vista Golf Course – closed Mondays only June 21 through July 26 for refurbishment.
- Magnolia Golf Course – closed 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.
- McDonald's at Downtown Disney – closed permanently; the location will be converted to Pollo Campero, opening this fall.
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. You must book this discount 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 not but 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).
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).
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(Send an email to Mark Goldhaber)
Mark (@MPMark) is a veteran of many trips to Walt Disney World starting in 1972, with a few Disneyland trips thrown in for good measure. He is also a Disney stockholder and a Disney Vacation Club member. Mark brings you the latest news about Walt Disney World in the weekly Walt Disney World Update. He also fills you in about behind-the-scenes stories and other points of interest in his World View column and occasionally contributes stories about the Walt Disney Company itself in the Business of Magic column. Mark is an information technology administrator working for the State of New York. He lives in the suburbs outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son.