Walt Disney World today announced a trifecta of new discounts, some of which run through the end of September 2011.
Free dining is back, with the same split-level implementation as has been the case recently. Those staying at value resorts will get the Quick Service Dining Plan for free, while those in moderate, deluxe and deluxe villa accommodations will get the standard Disney Dining Plan for free.
Free dining is available on select dates from this October through next September:
You must book free dining by December 20. You can make your reservations online or by calling Walt Disney World at 407-939-7926 or your travel agent and using booking code NL7.
Room-only reservation discounts are available for selected nights from October through mid-February. Guests receive discounts of 25 percent at value resorts, 30 percent at moderates, 25-40 percent at deluxes (varies by resort) and 40 percent at deluxe villa resorts. Discounts are available:
You must book room-only discounts by November 21. You can make your reservations online or by calling Walt Disney World at 407-939-7796 or your travel agent and using booking code AK9.
Free Disney Gift Cards
If you book room-and-ticket package and would prefer a Disney Gift Card to free dining or a room discount, you can get a $500 gift card for stays of 5 or more nights at deluxe or deluxe villa resorts, $300 for moderate resorts or $200 for value resorts on a non-discounted Magic Your Way room and ticket package. This offer is valid for the same dates as the room-only discounts:
You must book room-only discounts by November 21. You can make your reservations online or by calling Walt Disney World at 407-939-7926 or your travel agent and using booking code ZH9.
[Update: Since the blog post, MousePlanet reader Steve has notified us that he was unable to use code AK9 for dates after December 31, 2010, and that he needed to use code MM2 for reservations starting on or after January 1, 2011.]
Passholders can save 30 to 42 percent off their room rates for stays at Walt Disney World from October through the end of the year. Rates vary depending on your dates of travel and the resort category at which you are staying.
For any stay from October 3 through December 25 (except for the Thanksgiving weekend of November 24–26), you get some great discounts:
You can book the deal from now through your day of arrival, though the rooms may go fast. 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 XO7 if booking via the special reservations phone line for this offer (407-939-7420) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
Some new images from the Disney Dream cruise ship have been released. Construction of the Buena Vista Theatre is progressing quickly, and the 399-seat theater is just about ready for seats to be installed. Photo © Disney.
(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.
The lineup for the 28th annual Night of Joy has been released. The two-night event is celebrating its return to the Magic Kingdom after two years at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and will take place from 7:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on September 10 and 11. Here is the list of acts with show times and locations (subject to change, as always):
Friday, September 10
Saturday, September 12
Tickets are on sale now for $49.95 (one night) and $89.95 (two nights) at 407-W-DISNEY (407-934-7639) or at the Night of Joy Web site (link). One-night tickets will cost $57.95 on event nights, if available. Group packages for two nights of the event, plus admission to either DisneyQuest or a water park for $84.95 per person are available by calling 877-NITE-JOY (877-648-3569) or at the Night of Joy Web site.
Now that the "Last Tour to Endor" crew has cleared out with the Star Wars Celebration V crowds, D23 has announced a Star Tours Final Flight event to take place on the evening of Tuesday, September 7, which is the last day of operation before Star Tours closes for renovations.
Event check-in begins at the main entrance at 8:30 p.m. on September 7 after the park closes at 7:00 that day. Guests will get a commemorative boarding pass and be escorted directly into Star Tours. After the ride, guests will be escorted back out of the park. After the event, the next public rides will take place in May, 2011 with Star Tours: The Adventures Continue!
Walt Disney World buses will not be operating by the end of the event, so either bring your own transportation or be prepared to walk to the Boardwalk to hop a bus to a transfer point to get to your resort.
While the event will be free, there will be a $5 ticket processing fee. Only D23 members can sign up, and can request a ticket for themselves and one guest. D23 membership numbers will be required at reservation time, and membership cards and photo IDs will be required at check-in.
Tickets become available for the event this Thursday, August 26, at 1:00 p.m. EDT. There will only be 225 tickets made available for the event, so be ready to reserve your ticket! The link for ticket sales will become available on the D23 Web site (link).
The 2011 D23 Expo is scheduled for August 19-21 at the Anaheim Convention Center, and Disney opened ticket sales last Thursday morning, exactly one year before the convention starts. Package and price details were announced Wednesday morning, leaving some fans asking why the club couldn't have given more than 24 hours notice before expecting fans to purchase some of the pricier options.
Prospective attendees can purchase one-day general admission tickets that range from $30 to $47 for adults, or three-day passes for $85 to $136. Disney is offering the deepest discounts to D23 members, and people who purchase their tickets before December 31, 2010. The full schedule of ticket and package options is available on the D23 Web site (link). Disney has announced very few details of the 2011 event, saying, "We're still hard at work finalizing plans for the D23 Expo 2011," so members who purchase tickets a full year in advance are doing so without really having any idea of what the second-ever Expo will really offer.
For those who wanted even more from their Expo experience, Disney offered two high-ticket packages:
All 50 Sorcerer Packages sold out despite the high prices, short notice, and what was (from accounts posted on the D23 Facebook page, a serious but all-too-common) problem with the online event registration system when tickets went on sale Thursday morning, but the Premiere package was still available as of this past weekend (a full list of the benefits for each package is available on our MousePad discussion boards).
By setting aside as many as 300 elite-package seats for the arena presentations before the general admission crowd has had a chance at tickets, some are complaining that Disney will likely prompt conventioneers to get in line even earlier to secure seats for popular panels. Readers who have attended the San Diego Comic-Con International convention and similar events say that premium packages are the norm, and that waiting in line is just part of the fun.
Thinking about getting married at Walt Disney World? Planning just became a bit easier and more comforting. Franck's Bridal Studio has gotten a makeover, with two new planning rooms, newly designed furnishings, additional computers and televisions and new online tools for those planning weddings from afar.
The studio is holding an open house this coming Saturday to check out all of the new enhancements. Stop by Franck's between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday to chat with wedding experts, take photos at Picture Point, and view samples of everything from cakes to place settings and decor. Parking is free at Disney's Wedding Pavilion.
Franck's (link) is named after Martin Short's wedding planner character in Disney's remake of Father of the Bride, and is a re-creation of the character's studio. The Victorian summerhouse adjacent to the Fairytale Wedding Pavilion features French provincial furniture and antique gilded portraits.
The online part of the makeover includes a new Facebook application (link) that actually allows guests to accept RSVPs and purchase room nights, among other new features.
In an interview with the Disney Parks Blog (link), Richard Debler announced some more information on La Hacienda de San Angel at Epcot's Mexico pavilion. Debler is president of San Angel Inn LLC, which also runs the San Angel Inn Restaurante and a Cava del Tequila inside the main Mexico pavilion building. The major expansion of the Cantina de San Angel is scheduled to soft-open in mid-September, and is taking reservations for seatings starting October 15.
The restaurant will seat 250 indoors for table service at dinner. During lunch, in addition to the 150 outdoor seats on the terrace, an additional 100-150 seats inside the air-conditioned dining room will be available. La Hacienda will feature a number of appetizer items, as well as skillet entrees, while the Cantina will focus on tacos. In both cases, the menu will skew more toward authentic Mexican rather than Tex-Mex. Both wil feature new lines of margaritas, and La Hacienda will showcase tequila flights, similar to that at La Cava.
Both locations will participate in the Disney Dining Plan, with meals running 1 credit, except for larger entrees intended for two guests to share, which will require 2 dining credits.
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
…Applications for the 2011 Walt Disney World Moms Panel will be open from September 13-17. If you're interested in applying, good luck! Let us know how you do!
…The Disney Cruise Line is holding a sweepstakes on Facebook. Winners will receive a free 7-night cruise with their choice of itinerary: Mexican Riviera, Eastern Caribbean or Western Caribbean. You can enter through September 30 (link).
…Chef Mickey's will be offering a Character Lunch from 12:30-2:30 p.m. during the free dining period.
…Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba is looking to boost attendance with some choice discounts. Florida residents, Annual Passholders and members of Cirque du Soleil's "Cirque Club" can get up to six Category 2 seats per transaction at $50 per ticket, subject to availability, for performances through October 23. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and can be purchased up to 30 days prior to the show date. For tickets, call 407-WDW-SEAT (407-939-7328) (passholders should call 407-939-7604), go to the Cirque du Soleil website (link) or visit the box office at the plaza level of the theater.
…This year's New Year's Eve performances of Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba will feature a limited edition commemorative La Nouba trading pin, only the second official trading pin unique to Cirque du Soleil. Pricing for New Year's Eve tickets range in price from $67 to $133 plus tax for adults and $54 to $109 plus tax for children ages 3-9. For tickets, call 407-WDW-SEAT (407-939-7328), go to the Cirque du Soleil website (link) or visit the box office at the plaza level of the theater.
…Harrison "Buzz" Price, who determined the optimal locations for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, passed away Sunday, August 15, at the age of 89. Price, who worked for the Stanford Research Institute at the time, recommended Anaheim to Walt Disney as the best location for Disneyland despite it being far from the population centers at the time. Working for his own company, Economics Research Associates, he later recommended Orlando as the prime spot for Walt Disney World, despite the same issues. Price eventually conducted 150 studies for Disney, including site analysis for Tokyo Disneyland, as well as 3,000 projects for other clients. Price was named a Disney Legend (link) in 2003. He was also awarded the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA), and inducted into the Hall of Fame for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). Price published his memoirs and best practices in "Walt's Revolution – By the Numbers," (link) in 2003.
…A Disney bus was hit by a car near Disney's Hollywood Studios last Friday afternoon. The bus, carrying 26 passengers, was hit by a PT Cruiser near the entrance to the park. The Floridan Highway Patrol stated that the Disney bus driver was not at fault, and that there were no injuries in the accident. Some reports on Twitter stated that the car "T-boned" the bus, striking it in the middle of its side.
…Piggybacking on the 15th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival this year, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is presenting its first annual "Food & Wine Classic at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin" on October 8 and 9. The event will feature a choice of six beverage seminars from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and a culinary festival with live music and tastings from the resort's restaurants and lounges from 5:30-9:30 p.m. each evening. Samplings will differ from night to night. The resort is offering special one- and two-night packages (starting at $169 per night) that include seminars and tastings for two, while advance purchase event-only tickets are available for $50. Food and wine samplings can also be purchased a la carte on the day of the event. Tasting stations will be located along the causeway between the Swan and Dolphin hotels. For more information and to make reservations or buy tickets, visit the event website (link) or call 800-227-1500. For the hotel package, refer to rate code "FWCLAS."
…The Best Friends Pet Resort opens September 1 at Walt Disney World, across from the Port Orleans Riverside Resort. The 27,000-square-foot facility can handle not only cats and dogs, but hamsters, guinea pigs, birds and even pot-bellied pigs. The location is available to park and resort guests, but also to off-site guests, and provides both overnight and day care for pets. It's build to accommodate 270 dogs, 30 cats, and a small number of other pets. When it opens, it will replace the five existing pet care centers at the four theme parks and Fort Wilderness Resort. For reservations or more information, visit the Pet Resort's website (link). You can also book reservations by calling 877-4-WDW-PETS (877-493-9738).
…The Disney Cruise Line's terminal at Port Canaveral is continuing its makeover, as Re Freshes Cafe closed yesterday to clear the way for the future Concierge Guest check-in area.
…The Disney STEP Classic will return to Disney's Hollywood Studios September 3-5. This year, instead of taking over the stage of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, performances will instead take placed in the air-conditioned comfort of the Premiere Theatre on the Streets of America Backlot. Produced in cooperation with the National Step Show Alliance (NSSA), the event was created in 2008. This year features two new twists; first, compulsory moves will be a part of the competition for the first time, and second, the winning teams will be showcased during pre-game festivities for the Disney-sponsored MEAC/SWAC Challenge college football game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, with the winning team also recognized during the half-time show. The 6th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge this year features the Delaware State Hornets and the Southern University Jaguars.
…Walt Disney World has now taken in 32 sea turtles impacted by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, endangered Green Turtles, and Kemp's Ridley Turtles, one of the most endangered species of sea turtle in the world. All have completed initial veterinary exams and are responding well to treatment. Disney animal care experts are trying to increase the turtles' body weight and strength to allow them to swim in the open ocean when they are released back into the wild. In addition to working with the turtles, the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund has donated $100,000 to various groups in support of environmental and animal rescue efforts.
…Fodor's Travel has announced its 2010 Choice Gold Awards, and resorts at Walt Disney World's top and bottom ends are among the honorees. The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa was among the 10 resorts honored as the Best Destinations Wedding Hotel, while the All-Star Movies, Music and Sports Resorts were among the honorees in the Best Hotels for Kids and Families in the United States category. For a list of the 10 winners in each of the 10 categories, visit the Fodor Web site (link).
…Walt Disney World has once again been recognized by the Good Sam Club as the most "RV-friendly" Tourist Attraction/Amusement Park/Museum. Walt Disney World is a perennial winner of the Welcome Mat Award since it was introduced in 2002 by the world's largest membership organization of recreational vehicle (RV) owners. The Welcome Mat Awards recognize businesses that offer top service to RV enthusiasts.
…Disney's handheld assistive device for guests with disabilities was recently presented with the New Product Award by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the engineering profession and society.
…Walt Disney World cast members have donated more than 2 million school supplies this year through the resorts annual back-to-school supply drive. Last week, hundreds of Disney VoluntEARS sorted the school supplies and distributed them to local students and teachers through the A Gift For Teaching and S.T.A.R.S. (Supplies To Assist ouR Student) organizations. The supplies include boxes of crayons, rulers, folders, packs of notebook paper, and backpacks. The supplies went to students in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, and—for the first time—Lake and Polk counties.
…To recognize the 251,000 hours spent by Walt Disney World VoluntEARS in 2009, the Walt Disney Company is donating a total of $627,050 to their favorite charities and causes. More than 800 VoluntEARS are being honored with EARS to You grants of up to $1,000 to the non-profit organization of their choice. The funds will go to approximately 250 local groups.
…The 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon is 65 percent full, the Half Marathon is 77 percent full, the Goofy Race-and-a-Half Challenge is 70 percent full, and the Disney Family Fun Run 5K 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 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 80 percent full and the Mickey's Halloween Family Fun Run 5K is 70 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 or to register, go the ESPN Wide World of Sports Web site (link).
Join our networks
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:
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:
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).
(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.