Update for June 14, 2010 – June 20, 2010
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Disney backs off flex-serve dining venue | WDW News from Disneyland | World Cup Fever hits Walt Disney World | Disney Cruise Line to cross the Pacific? | A Match Made at Disney | Construction update | Quick takes
Slated to be the first flexible service restaurant at Walt Disney World offering quick-service food at lunch and table service for dinner (with the venue split into an all-day 150-seat quick service location and a 250-seat dinner-only table service venue), La Hacienda de San Angel will not go that route after all. It is unsure whether the loss of the pilot location will have any impact on the plans for the Be Our Guest restaurant scheduled to open in the Beast's Castle in the Fantasyland Forest expansion slated to open in 2012.
Splitting the location will mean a respite for La Cantina de San Angel, which was to be replaced by the new La Hacienda. La Cantina will open daily with World Showcase at 11 a.m. and feature chicken and beef tacos, nachos, cheese empanadas, churros, and guacamole, and chips. The location will feature outdoor seating.
La Hacienda will open daily at 4 p.m. and will feature a variety of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Appetizers will include queso fundido, a taco trio with three different meats and black bean soup. Among the entrees will be a mixed grill for two, a seafood mixed grill, roasted shrimp, flank steak and grilled red snapper. Desserts include chocolate churros, sweet tamales and fruit empanadas.
There was some interesting news for Walt Disney World fans during last week's Disneyland What's New/What's Next presentation. The event, while aimed at the Disneyland-centric press (see our live coverage page from last week and today's Disneyland Resort Update for all the details), included some items of interest on both coasts.
Star Tours closes on July 27 at Disneyland Park and September 8 at Disney's Hollywood Studios for its upgrade to a new experience. The presentation revealed a few new details beyond what we'd heard thus far. The revamped attraction will now take place between Star Wars Episode III (Revenge of the Sith) and Episode IV (A New Hope) and will feature two different itineraries for the updated StarSpeeder. While the pod racing on Tatooine seen during the D23 Expo will be one destination, passengers may also visit the Empire's homeworld of Coruscant. A new image was also released showing an image from that destination.
In other news, more images of models and partially completed animatronics were shown for The Little Mermaid – Ariel's Undersea Adventure, which debuts in 2011 at the Disney California Adventure theme park and in 2012 in the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland Forest expansion.
FIFA World Cup viewing parties are being held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill, with 25 of the games featuring ESPN's new live 3D television technology, which premiered during the South Africa vs. Mexico match last week. The venue is servicing a limited breakfast menu for the 7 a.m. game and lunch for the 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. games. From June 26 to July 10, there will be a buffet with guaranteed seating. There will even be a special viewing area for the final on July 11. You can get reservations by calling the WDW dining line at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).
The location is being used as a testing ground for the 3D technology. The feature is just one of many new developments to come out of the ESPN Innovation Lab at the Wide World of Sports Complex. ESPN will features nearly 100 live sporting events in 3D during its first year.
If you'd prefer not to try the 3D viewing, Raglan Road at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island will open at 10 a.m. during the tournament to show World Cup games on two 50-inch TV screens. You get get a full Irish breakfast all day, and they'll also be offering happy hour drinks and food specials. You can also watch at the ESPN Club at the Boardwalk Resort. They'll start service at 10:30 a.m. for all game days through June 29, as well as July 2 and 3.
At the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference on June 2, Disney CEO Bob Iger gave a little look into some of the upcoming possibilities for the Disney Cruise Line. In response to a question from moderator Andrew Slabin of GLG Partners, Iger noted that Disney "had an opportunity with two new ships to expand our horizons, no pun intended, with more itineraries and we are going to take advantage of that with Alaska, Southern California, and Mexico and parts of Europe. Maybe down the road, Asia or Hawaii."
This can certainly be taken as an indication that Disney is at least exploring the possibility of bringing one of the expanding Disney Cruise Line fleet to new destinations in the Pacific, each of which would provide wonderful opportunities for synergy. Docking a ship in Hawaii would provide the ability to promote land-and-sea vacations at the new Aulani Resort & Spa (link), a combined Disney Vacation Club resort and hotel, currently scheduled to open in fall 2011.
Asian destinations would provide multiple opportunities for Disney, as possible land/sea packages could include Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland (currently planned to open by 2013) resorts.
The huge amount of capital spending on Disney's parks, resorts and cruise ships ramped up last year, and is expected to continue through 2014, according to Iger. After that date, it is likely that the pace of development spending will slow down significantly.
Have you ever felt that you and your spouse were fated to meet, and even found that you had the possibility of meeting earlier in your lives? In a story from eight years ago just making the rounds of the Internet now, a Florida couple not only felt that way,but they have proof that there were mere feet from each other at Walt Disney World when they were 3 years old.
While selecting old family photos to include in a slideshow for their wedding reception, Donna Balzano came upon a photo of her and her two brothers posing with Mr. Smee on Main Street USA in 1980. When she showed it to her fiance Alex Voutsinas, he was shocked. He thought that the man pushing a stroller in the background looked like his father. He took the photo and raced to his mother's house where, after searching their own photo archive, found photos of his father from their trip to Walt Disney World, and his father was wearing the same clothes. It was his father, pushing him, in the background of Donna's photo. They had photographic evidence that they were in the same place at the same time twenty-two years earlier.
Donna and her family had just moved to Florida from Long Island, New York, and were making their first visit to Walt Disney World (which still only had one theme park at the time). Alex's family lived in Canada at the time, and were also making their first Disney trip.
Donna and Alex had told the story to their friends many times over the years, but when a friend convinced Alex to post the story on his Facebook page on May 30, the story exploded and all sorts of major media were reporting the story and trying to get them on the air. Proof once again that Walt Disney World is all about connecting people.
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland Transportation Authority – Peoplemover graphics package.
- Magic Kingdom Main Street Exposition Hall – marquee package.
- Magic Kingdom Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin – door replacement.
- Magic Kingdom The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – complete construction work.
- Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle round elevator – installation of water cooled oil cooler.
- Magic Kingdom Emporium – relocation of point-of-sale terminal.
- Epcot Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion – installation of emergency eye wash/shower at chemical feed station.
- Epcot Garden Grille Restaurant – mechanical work.
- Epcot Imagination pavilion – Captain EO graphics package.
- Epcot Innoventions West – Chase Visa Photo Place package.
- Epcot Innoventions area – mechanical elevator upgrade work.
- Epcot San Angel Inn Restaurante – replacement of floor sink trap under hot line in kitchen.
- Epcot Biergarten Restaurant – concrete work.
- Epcot Rose & Crown Pub – mechanical work.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Art of Disney Animation – complete construction work.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom siamang building – complete construction work.
- Typhoon Lagoon – complete construction work.
- Downtown Disney World of Disney – complete construction work.
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – results board package.
- ESPN Wide World of Sports COmplex – Jostens Center banner package.
- Grand Floridian Wedding Chapel – carpentry work.
- Grand Floridian Resort – replacement of 10" and 4" back flow preventers in main mechanical room.
- Contemporary Resort fourth floor – installation of ceiling tile/grid.
- Contemporary Resort main tower building – mechanical work.
- Polynesian Resort Great Ceremonial House – carpentry work.
- Yacht & Beach Club Resorts Boardwalk wood deck – carpentry work.
- Beach Club Villas – carpentry work.
- Port Orleans Riverside Ol' Man Island – signage.
- Port Orleans Riverside Commercial Building – signage.
…We have a little more information about the Werther's Candy Shop we told you about last month that's opening in Epcot's Germany pavilion this fall. The official name will be Karamelle-Küche, which is German for “caramel kitchen” and it will replace the Glas und Porzellan shop. Cast members will make fresh caramel popcorn, caramel apples, caramel-covered strawberries and marshmallows in a show kitchen in the shop. You'll also be able to buy gourmet snacks including fudge, brownies, cupcakes, cookies and, of course, caramels. Storck, makers of Werther’s Original Caramels, are behind the shop, and since it's their only free-standing retail location in the world, you'll be able to find some unique items there in addition to the usual Werther's Original candy. The location is expected to open in late September, in time for this fall's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
…With the seatings for the Fantasmic! dining package being so early, Disney's Hollywood Studios is finally offering the package as a lunch. The Fantasmic! lunch package can be booked on all dates when the show is scheduled, and is offered at both The Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano. As with the dinner package, at the end of your meal you'll receive a voucher that will allow you to arrive 30-45 minutes prior to the show and still have get a seat in the right two sections of the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre. On days with two performances, the package is only valid for the first show. You can make reservations up to 180 days in advance by calling the Walt Disney World Dining Ling at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).
…A new limited edition cel featuring Toy Story Mania will be released on Saturday at Disney's Hollywood Studios, in conjunction with an artist signing event. Disney Design Group Artist Costa Alavezos and Ink and Paint Artists James Bonserio, Erin Magill, Theodora M. DeLaney, David Rippberger, Lynn Rippberger and Sharon K. Vincent will be signing the cel on Saturday at the Studios Animation Gallery from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m. The cel will be available unframed for $125, and in various framed configurations at price points ranging from $215 to $290. The cel has an edition size of 1,500 pieces, and an exclusively designed pin will be available with the first 750 orders placed for framed cels. For more information about the cel and on pre-ordering the cel, check out the Art of Disney Parks website (link).
…Walt Disney World Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members will get a shot at discounts of up to 50 percent select merchandise items at the World of Disney store in the Downtown Disney Marketplace during a special pre-opening sale on July 24, 2010. From 6:30-9:00 a.m., there will be special markdowns, doorbuster deals, and other surprises for eligible guests. You must present a valid Annual Pass or DVC Membership Card, as well as a government-issued photo ID in order to get into this sale. The first 1,000 shoppers will even get a complimentary gift. Please note that these offers are only available in the store itself during those hours, and they can't be combined with other offers. Deals are only valid while supplies of merchandise last.
…Disney's Animal Kingdom's newest elephant, Luna, has begun joining the herd on the savannah at the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction. Luna, born on May 20, met the other members of the herd and even took a swim test in preparation to go onstage. Luna and her mother Donna will spend part of their time in the onstage portion of the savannah with the rest of the family group and the rest of the time backstage. Their time onstage will increase gradually until Luna joins the herd full-time.
…Congratulations for former Walt Disney World cast member Montego Glover, who although she did not win, was nominated for a Tony Award last night as best leading actress in a musical for her role as Felicia in Memphis. The Tony went to Catherine Zeta-Jones for her role as Desiree Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Glover was one of the original cast members in the lead role of Kibibi in "Festival of the Lion King" at Disney's Animal Kingdom, as well as opening American Vybe at Epcot and "Tarzan Rocks" at Disney's Animal Kingdom. She also performed in other roles (including as substitute at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue) during her three years at the resort.
…The 2011 Walt Disney World Half Marathon is 60 percent full, and the Goofy Race-and-a-Half Challenge is 50 percent full. If you're interested in participating in these races, now's the time to sign up! You can register at the official Walt Disney World Marathon website (link).
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- June 6 to August 14: Summer Nightastic! (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.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment August 16-25.
- 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.
- Via Napoli – new pizzeria under construction, tentatively set to open September 24.
- Honey I Shrunk the Audience – closed to make way for Captain EO.
- Captain EO – opens July 2.
- Star Tours – closed for refurbishment beginning September 8.
- Toy Story Mania – closed for refurbishment August 16-28.
- Walt Disney: One Man's Dream – closed for refurbishment August 16-November 2.
- No currently scheduled refurbishments.
- Saratoga Springs Resort – Paddock quiet pool closed for conversion to new feature pool opening in 2011.
- Typhoon Lagoon – closed for refurbishment November 1-December 31.
- Lake Buena Vista Golf Course – closed Mondays only June 21 through July 26 for refurbishment.
- Magnolia Golf Course – closed Wednesdays only June 23 through July 28 for refurbishment.
- Palm Golf Course – closed 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 is being 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. 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 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.