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Update for July 19, 2010 - July 25, 2010

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News and Views

15th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival | Food | Monorail pilot gets electric shock | New additions to Disney’s Animal Kingdom | A new adventure is heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom | Construction update | Quick takes

15th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

As Mark Goldhaber reported in his May 31 Update, the 15th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which takes place October 1 through November 14, carries the theme, “Celebrating 15 Years of Delicious Discoveries.” Festival information is now available on the Walt Disney World Web site (link), where you can now find all 27 International Marketplaces, including the new Belgium and South Korea marketplaces, together with a listing of all their food and drink offerings—you will now be able to try the kalbi (Korean barbecue short rib) and pickled kimchi vegetables.


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The Festival information also includes a schedule for the Eat to the Beat! concerts, which will be held daily at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. This year's scheduled performers are:

  • Taylor Dane
  • Kool & The Gang
  • Sugar Ray
  • Taylor Hicks
  • Air Supply
  • Sister Hazel
  • Howard Jones
  • Expose
  • 38 Special
  • Night Ranger
  • Billy Ocean
  • Starship starring Mickey Thomas
  • Boyz II Men
  • Roger Hodgson
  • Jon Secada
  • Hanson
  • Rick Springfield
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

The Festival features free and low cost seminars and demonstrations, as well as special and signature events, including the Party for the Senses, Food and Wine Pairing Meals, Mexico Tequila Tastings, Cheese Seminars, Epcot Wine Schools, Signature Dining Events, French Regional Lunches, Celebrating Family and Friends in the Kitchen, Sweet Sundays, and more. . Advance reservations are required for the special and signature events.

The new First Bites Opening Reception at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will be held on September 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Festival Welcome Center. This sneak peek of the Festival features samplings from the International Marketplaces, Wine Seminars, Culinary Demonstrations, merchandise locations, celebrities and entertainment. The cost for this special event is $195 per person plus tax (gratuity is included).

The new “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery will be held on October 8, 15, 21, and 28, and November 5 and 12 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and will feature a variety of desserts, samplings of cordials, and V.I.P. viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. The cost for this special event is $45.00 per person plus tax (gratuity is included).

You can start making reservations on July 20 at 7:00 a.m. EST. Call 407 WDW-FEST (407-939-3378). Epcot theme park admission is required. Some Epcot International Food & Wine Festival events require ticket fees in addition to admission to Epcot. Availability is limited for some events. Events may be rescheduled or canceled at any time.

Throughout the 15th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, you will find lots of festival-related merchandise. Some of the cool offerings will include the 15th Annual Food & Wine Festival poster, various festival kitchenware, limited edition Festival pins, a tote bag, hat and tee-shirt. The poster was created by artist Tim Rogerson who will be appearing at the Festival gift shop located near the Canadian Pavilion on October 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, and 31, and November 6, 7, 13, and 14. For more information, visit the Disney website (link)

(Mouse)Adventure is Out There! Join us October 9!

Are you ready to earn more merit badges for your sash? We've released more information about our next MouseAdventure: World Explorers event, which takes place Saturday, October 9, 2010, at Disney's Animal Kingdom park.

The day begins with a breakfast before park opening at Restaurantosaurus, and concludes with a resort meet later that night to announce the results, with results posted on MousePlanet.com in the following week.

Registration is now open! Cost is $175 for a two-player team, plus $35 per additional player up to a total of four players per team. That registration fee gets you an early morning escort through the not-yet-opened park to breakfast, the breakfast itself, and the fantastic, fun-filled game. It does not include admission to Disney's Animal Kingdom park, which is your responsibility.

For more information about MouseAdventure and this event in particular, check out our MouseAdventure site and subscribe to our MouseAdventure newsletter.

Monorail pilot gets electric shock

Walt Disney World monorails were out of service for a short time on Saturday evening when a monorail pilot received an electric shock while flipping a switch. The pilot was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released.

New additions to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Three male baby warthogs were born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on July 1. The baby warthogs will be joining the other animals on the Kilimanjaro Safaris savannah in several weeks. That brings the total number of warthogs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to four males and two females.


© Disney

Also joining Disney’s Animal Kingdom family are two male scimitar-horned oryx calves, born in late June. These animals are extinct in the wild, Disney’s Animal Kingdom now has four males and five females. Some very lucky guests were able to view one of the births at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A date has not been set for the calves to go out on the Kilimanjaro Safaris savannah.

A new adventure is heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

A new adventure is coming soon to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Starting later this year, small groups of guests will have an opportunity to participate in a guided trek into unexplored areas of the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition’s Harambe Reserve. The Kilimanjaro Safaris is set on a 100-acre savannah with African animals, including giraffes, zebras, elephants, ostriches, white rhinos, and wildebeest. During this immersive adventure, Guests will spend time observing wildlife on the savannah and learn about the animals and their behaviors from their Disney guide. Guests will then board a unique vehicle specially designed for the rest of the tour.

Walt Disney Imagineers are still working on the details. Reservations for this tour will not begin until later this year. There is no information yet as to price or start date.

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom – Casey’s Corner signage work.
  • Magic Kingdom – more Fantasyland construction.
  • Magic Kingdom – Dumbo the Flying Elephant FastPass clock construction.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Dinosaur building rehab (electrical, mechanical, concrete, architectural, and structural work).
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Thatch roof repairs to Kilimanjaro Safaris exit bridge, Mombasa Marketplace, Pangani Trail entrance, Pangani Trail overlook, Tusker House, Harambe Fruit Market, train station roof, and Africa refreshment cart.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Backlot Express restaurant roofing and painting.
  • Epcot – Innovations East auto-door signage work.
  • Epcot Germany Pavilion – Glas und Porzellan shop rehab to make room for Karamelle-Kuche.
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – Custom House carpentry work.
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – painting buildings in Congress Park and The Springs.
  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – Custom House electrical work.
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort – Porte cochere carpentry work.
  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course – carpentry work on 1st tee and 9th tee bridges.
  • Magnolia Golf Course – roofing work on 4th tee comfort station.


Wilderness Lodge Construction (photo by Todd Perlmutter).


More Wilderness Lodge Construction (photo by Todd Perlmutter).

Quick takes …

…Is Fastpass coming to Dumbo the Flying Elephant? I can confirm that paperwork has been filed to construct a FastPass clock for Dumbo. See my construction update above.

…Disney’s Old Key West Resort is getting a facelift. According to the official Disney blog, the refurbishment that is taking place building-by-building will include flat-panel TVs, granite countertops, an added sleeper chair in one and two bedroom villas, and new bedding, pillows, drapes, rugs, chairs, carpeting, lamps, and furniture. (link)

…According to wdwmagic.com, certain Magic Kingdom quick service dining locations are giving out coupons on their receipts for 20 percent off merchandise at select merchandise locations at Walt Disney World through July 24, 2010. The coupon is only valid from 9:00 a.m. to midday.

…Registration for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend is officially open (link). The women–focused event is open to runners of all types. Kids’ races, a Family 5K, health and fitness expo and the half marathon are all Princess themed, and takes place February 25–27, 2011.

…The 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon is 50 percent full, the Half Marathon is 70 percent full, and the Goofy Race–and–a–Half Challenge is 55 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 Web site (link).

…The Inaugural Disney Wine & Half Marathon is 86 percent full and the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon is 85 percent full. The Kids Races are 55 percent full. Both adult events will take place at the Walt Disney World Resort on October 2 at 10:00 p.m. on a brand new marathon course. For more information, go the ESPN Wide World of Sports Web site (link).

…In 2008, the Kona Cafe Coffee Bar at Disney’s Polynesian Resort changed to morph into a sushi bar called the Kona Island Sushi bar later in the day. The official Disney blog has confirmed that the sushi bar is here to stay (link). The Kona Island Sushi bar is located right outside the Kona Cafe near the monorail and is open daily from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

…On the heels of the FIFA World Cup, nearly 200 elite youth soccer teams from around the world, including the Haitian National Women’s Under 17 team, competed in the Disney Cup International Youth Soccer Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort, July 12-17. Clubs featuring boys and girls (ages 9-17) from 18 countries created the largest field in the tournament’s 12-year history.

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

Coming up

  • 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

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.
  • it's a small world – closed for refurbishment August 1 through October 22.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment August 16 through August 25.

Epcot

  • 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 some time in August.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Star Tours – closed for refurbishment September 8, 2010 through May 16, 2011.
  • Toy Story Mania – closed for refurbishment August 16 through August 28.
  • One Man's Dream – closed for refurbishment August 16 through November 2.

Animal Kingdom

  • Flame Tree Barbeque – closed August 9 through September 19.

Resorts

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed October 31, 2010 through January 8, 2011 for refurbishment.
  • Blizzard Beach – closed starting January 9, 2011 through March 19, 2011 for refurbishment.

Elsewhere

  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course – closed Mondays only June 21 through July 26 for refurbishment. Closed August 16 through August 22.
  • Magnolia Golf Course – closed Wednesdays only June 23 through July 28 for refurbishment. Closed August 9 through August 15.
  • Palm Golf Course – closed Tuesdays only June 22 through July 27 for refurbishment. Closed August 2 through August 8.
  • Osprey Ridge Golf Course – closed Thursdays only June 24 through July 29 for refurbishment. Closed August 23 through August 29.
  • Oak Trail Golf Course – Closed August 30 through September 3.
  • 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.

Current Discounts & Promotions

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), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (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), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

Room-only discount rates available for Passholders and the general public through October 2

Everyone can save 15 to 30 percent off your room rates for stays from August 15 through October 2. Rates vary depending on your dates of travel and the resort category at which you are staying.

For any stay from August 15 through October 2, you get some great discounts:

  • Value resorts: 30 percent off
  • Moderate resorts: 30 percent off
  • Deluxe Resorts: 40 percent off
  • Deluxe Villa Resorts: 40 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), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

If you're a Passholder, you can get even deeper discounts. Passholders can save 35 to 42 percent off their room rates for stays at Walt Disney World this fall. Rates vary depending on your dates of travel and the resort category at which you are staying.

For any stay from August 15 through October 2, you get some great discounts:

  • Value resorts: 35 percent off
  • Moderate resorts: 35 percent off
  • Deluxe Resorts: 42 percent off
  • Deluxe Villa Resorts: 42 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 SIA if booking via the special reservations phone line for this offer (407-939-7617) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (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 to 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), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (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), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

Free dining extended for selected dates through late December

Walt Disney World extended its free dining offer for “select arrival dates,” originally available through October 2, to run through late December, and although Disney's Web page only lists Value and Moderate resorts for the discount, it is also available at Deluxe and Deluxe Villas resorts. The offer has a number of "blockout dates," so you may need to shift your arrival date one direction or another to qualify for the promotion. According to Mouse Ear Vacations travel agent Mary Kraemer, the offer is valid for arrivals from August 15 to October 7, October 22–28, November 12–18, November 27 to December 2, and December 10–21.

To qualify, you must purchase a non-discounted Magic Your Way package (hotel room and length-of-stay admission ticket) for each member of your party. If you book at:

  • A Deluxe or Standard Resort – Receive the Disney Dining Plan: One table-service meal, one quick-service meal, and one snack per day for each member of your party (ages 3 and up)
  • A Value Resort – Receive the Disney Quick-Service Dining Plan: Two quick-service meals and two snacks per day for each member of your party (ages 3 and up), plus a refillable mug to use at your hotel.

The booking deadline remains August 14. 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 TF5 if booking via the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-7918) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.

 



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(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.