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Update for August 2, 2010 - August 8, 2010

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

News and Views

Main Street Electrical Parade extended indefinitely | New show coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios | New character experience with Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder | AAA Travel Disney dream vacation sweepstakes | Radio Disney contest | Monorail expansion | Walt Disney World and HP | The Aulani Story | Construction update | Quick takes

Main Street Electrical Parade extended indefinitely

The Main Street Electrical Parade, which returned to the Magic Kingdom from Disneyland in California as part of Summer Nightastic! was only supposed to run from June 6 through August 14. Disney announced, however, that the parade will continue to run indefinitely after Summer Nightastic! ends.


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The iconic pageant of illuminated floats dates to 1972 when it first debuted at Disneyland, where it became an instant hit. Prior to its current Florida run, the parade last performed at the Walt Disney World Resort from 1999 into 2001. New elements that were added this summer include:

  • Tinker Bell leading the procession from a basket of a balloon floating above a magical garden shimmering in fairy light; and
  • Pinocchio and the boys from the Pleasure Island sequence of the classic film, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on a diamond mine float.

(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.

New show coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

A live, rock-concert style show with music from a variety of Disney Channel hits including the High School Musical series, Camp Rock and Star Struck will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios onFriday,  October 22. The show replaces High School Musical 3: Senior Year – Right Here! Right Now!, which has its last performance on Saturday, October 2.

New character experience with Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder

Disney has released a behind-the-scenes featurette of its upcoming film, Tangled. Check out the clip below.

Beginning Friday, October 15, Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder from Tangled will be part of a new “play and greet” experience in the Fairytale Garden at the Magic Kingdom. This will replace Storytime with Belle, which ends on September 12.

AAA Travel Disney dream vacation sweepstakes

Now through August 31, AAA Travel is sponsoring a sweepstakes. The grand prize is a AAA Vacations package at Walt Disney World or the Disneyland Resort including accommodations, four 5-Day Disney Theme Park tickets, a $1,000 gift card from AAA, and roundtrip airfare for four. There are also weekly drawings for prizes, such as a new or renewal one year AAA membership or two 2-Day Walt Disney Word Resort Magic Your Way Theme Park tickets with Park Hopper option.

To enter, go to the AAA Web site (link) and complete the on-line entry form. Official sweepstakes rules and restrictions apply.

Radio Disney contest

Radio Disney’s “Get Animated with ‘Phineas and Ferb’ and Build Your Own Vacation! Sweepstakes” will award one grand prize winner $10,000 to build a dream vacation and a spot as an animated character in an episode of the Disney series. The winner also gets 20 Zhu Zhu pets and play sets from the contest’s sponsor.

You must be 16 and under and have a parent’s permission to enter the contest. Listeners can call Radio Disney toll free at (877) 870-5678 for a chance to win 100 contest entries, enter the code word of the day online at RadioDisney.com (link), or via text to DISNEY (347639) for a single entry (data charges may apply). The winner will be announced September 27 on Radio Disney.

Monorail expansion

The Walt Disney World monorail will soon be expanding, but not by much. Disney plans to build a maintenance spur off the system’s Epcot line to serve as a permanent staging area for one of its work tractors. Work tractors are used to tow broken trains and inspect and repair the track. Additionally, the spur line will have enough room for a train. This will be the first track addition project since the Epcot loop was added in 1982. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Walt Disney World and HP

Computer manufacturer HP currently sponsors the Mission: SPACE attraction at Epcot. And now, Walt Disney World is expanding its business relationship with HP. HP will be the official imaging, printing, and PC partner for the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

This deal will include naming rights for the fieldhouse at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The fieldhouse will have an HP creation zone where people can download, design, and enhance commemorative photos of events, and purchase them in the form of various products at its retail venue. Various other locations around the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will feature HP TouchSmart PCs.

The Aulani Story

Disney recently hosted its first “hard hat” tour of the Disney Vacation Club's newest resort, Aulani, currently under construction on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Hawaii Magazine has some great pictures (link) and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper has a great retelling of the Aulani story as conceived by Disney Imagineers (link). To summarize, Aulani’s layout is in the shape of an ahupuaa, or mountain-to-sea land division which was an ancient system of land division in Hawaii. The two towers represent mountain ridges on either side of a valley filled with water flowing from make-believe springs and rivers into fishponds and pools, and seemingly into the Pacific Ocean. In the fictional Waikolohe Valley, which Disney translates to “mischievous water,” springs will squirt, spray, or barrel over unsuspecting guests. Aunty’s Beach House, the kid’s club, will look like a home in Punaluu with artificial mountain showers outside and representations of geckos racing along the wall inside.

These are the anticipated completion dates for Aulani:

  • August 29, 2011: 200 hotel rooms and 73 DVC 2-bedroom units will open.
  • End of 2011: Another 130 rooms and 134 DVC units will open.
  • Some time in 2013: The remaining 274 DVC units open.

To make a room reservation, visit the Disney Aulani Web site (link) or call toll free 866-44-DISNEY (866-443-4763).

See MousePlanet's coverage of the resort's groundbreaking ceremony from November 2008 here.

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom – parade route electrical work.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lion King trailer – electrical, plumbing, framing, and floor covering work.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios Adrian and Edith’s Head to Toe Shop – construction work.
  • Epcot Imagination! Pavilion – air handling unit replacement.
  • Epcot Innoventions West – air handling unit replacement.
  • Epcot Spaceship Earth – air handling unit replacement.
  • Epcot Soarin’ – air handling unit replacement.
  • Epcot Test Track – air handling unit replacement.
  • Epcot American Adventure – air handling unit replacement.
  • Epcot Germany Pavilion – exterior façade repairs.
  • Epcot Mexico Pavilion – graphics work.
  • Epcot Norway Pavilion – air handling unit replacement.
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Jostens Center – structural support installation.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Boca Chica electrical work.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Citricos installation of appliances.
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Sugar Loaf Key, Conch Key, Boca Chica, and Big Pine Key installation of appliances.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort – Volcano pool installation of outlet pedestal.
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Grandstand pool – remove and install new pavement surface.
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – replace loading dock gates.

Quick takes …

…We’re hearing that the ticket price hike that has taken place on the first Sunday in August for the last few years has apparently been pushed back to mid-week. MousePlanet will report on that with blog posts when the new prices are released, and we’ll have a summary in next week’s Update.

…Six Kemp’s Ridley and two Green sea turtles injured by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are undergoing rehabilitation at the Walt Disney World Resort. In addition, the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund has donated $100,000 to help with environmental and animal rescue efforts.

…Via Napoli in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot will be opening even earlier than anticipated. The restaurant will be open starting today for walk-ins (you can start making reservations this Friday on August 6 for dates September 10 and onward).

…According to the Disney Parks blog, Chef Dee Foundoukis of Kouzzina by Cat Cora, located at Disney’s Boardwalk, recently taped an episode of the Food Network’s Iron Chef America  with Iron Chef Cat Cora.

…The United Nations General Assembly declared 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity with the goal of significantly reducing the rate of global biodiversity loss. On July 28, Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrated the International Year of Biodiversity at Rafiki’s Planet Watch with informative activities, games, and presentations, including animal meet–and–greets and “biodiversity bingo.”

…Congratulations to Shut Up and Let Me Row… HEY! from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge who won this year’s Canoe Races of the World, also known as C.R.O.W. C.R.O.W. is a cast member canoe race around Tom Sawyer’s Island held pre-dawn on the Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom. Cast members compete for bragging rights and to have their team name inscribed on an award plaque.

…According to the Orlando Sentinel, Walt Disney World has begun negotiating a new employment contract with a coalition of unions representing half of the resort’s 58,000 workers that include housekeepers to stagehands, to costumed characters and monorail pilots. The current three-year contract expires October 2.

…The 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon is 55 percent full, the Half Marathon is 75 percent full, and the Goofy Race-and-a-Half Challenge is 60 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 and the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Relay have both reached capacity. The Kids Races are 55 percent full, and you can also still register for the Mickey's Halloween Family Fun Run 5K. 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).

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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 through October 22.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment August 16–25.

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, soft-opens today, August 2.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Star Tours – closed for refurbishment September 8, 2010 through May 16, 2011.
  • Toy Story Mania – closed for refurbishment August 16–28.
  • 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 January 9, 2011 through March 19, 2011 for refurbishment.

Elsewhere

  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course – closed August 16 through August 22.
  • Magnolia Golf Course – closed August 9 through August 15.
  • Palm Golf Course – closed August 2 through August 8.
  • Osprey Ridge Golf Course – 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 Annual 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).

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.


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.