Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for December 27, 2011 – January 2, 2012
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions
New/Returning Tower of Terror race pushes Wine & Dine back to November | The Year of More Magic, One More Disney Day, what will it be? | Disney's Hollywood Studios amps up the entertainment for year's busiest week | Lots of queue modifications coming; is it a sign of something bigger? | Disney Cruise Line cancels four sailings for December 2012 | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd update
The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon is shifting from the first weekend of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to the last to make room for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler race on that first weekend. The race hearkens back to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K, which was run from 2007 to 2009. In 2007, there was also a 6.5-kilometer race in conjunction with the 13K, and in 2009 there was a 5K. There was no other race in 2008.
The new 10-mile (16-kilometer) race runs September 29, 2012, on a course that goes through the set of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, past the Sorcerer's Hat, and finish down Sunset Boulevard near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction. The race will be followed by a post-race party with live music, access to marquee attractions (including Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Star Tours, and—of course—The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror), and character interactions. The party runs until 3:00 a.m.
The Tower of Terror race weekend also includes a 5-kilometer race and kids' races, as well as the now-traditional Health and Fitness Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Registration opens February 14, 2012, at runDisney.com.
The 2012 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend takes place November 9 and 10.
Disney Parks announces the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler race.
An advertisement during the telecast of the Disney Parks Christmas Parade over the weekend showcased the upcoming surprise announcement to be shown on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve on Disney-owned ABC. The commercial also showed the URL "OneMoreDisneyDay.com," which appears to be a shell for more information to be added later.
This is likely to be the first announcement of the Year of More Magic, where part of the "more magic" is the extra day on the calendar for leap year. Rumored aspects of the celebration/promotion include Disney parks staying open for 24 hours on February 29 and other enhancements. Watch your TV for details on Saturday night, or check back here in this park update next Tuesday for more information (we're publishing on Tuesday again next week due to the New Year's holiday.)
From now through Saturday, the special holiday entertainment will take place at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special will take place in the ABC Sound Stage daily at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30, 1:30, 3:45, 4:45, 5:45 p.m. The Premier Theater plays Disney animated shorts daily. Mickey's Christmas Carol will be shown at 11 a.m. and 1, 3, 5, and 7 p.m. Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice will be shown at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, and 7:30 p.m. Phineas and Ferb: A Very Perry Christmas will be shown at 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, and 6:00 p.m.
Headline entertainment will also be increasing through Saturday, as Fantasmic will increase to three showings per night, and Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will go to four performances per day.
Take a look behind the scenes at work on creating the new Muppets-themed Midship Detective Agency game for the Disney Fantasy.
Send us your menu photos
Click on the "Dining" section from our Walt Disney World Guide to see our complete list of of the park restaurant menus from Walt Disney World. Please help us keep the menus up to date! Send photos or scans of park menus to email@example.com to help us keep our listings updated.
Over the last couple of weeks, Disney has submitted permit applications with Orange County to modify the queue on a number of attractions. Epcot attractions listed are The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Spaceship Earth. Disney's Animal Kingdom attractions are Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest. Disney's Hollywood Studios had four attractions on the list, with Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Theater of the Stars (home of Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage), Toy Story Midway Mania, and Fantasmic.
All permits carry an expiration date of October 1, 2012. It would seem that there is some sort of major initiative to modify a number of attraction queues between now and the resort's 41st birthday. No official word on what's coming yet, but it's quite likely that there will be some sort of interactive queue upgrades, whether for the Next Generation Initiative or some other enhancements. It is a bit of speculation on our part, but we have a feeling that the upgrades will likely be officially announced to the press as part of the New Fantasyland press event, though they may open earlier.
Disney has announced that, in preparation for the upcoming itineraries for 2013, the Mexican Riviera sailings for the Disney Wonder cruise ship departing December 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2012, will no longer be offered for sale, and guests with existing reservations are being contacted and offered to select from another 2012 sailing.
If you are booked on one of the affected cruises and have not yet been contacted, you may have already been automatically moved to the December 2, 2012, Mexican Riviera sailing. Please contact your travel agent or call Disney Cruise Line to confirm your status at 866-325-3905.
No other word on the December sailings and 2013 itineraries is currently available, other than that they will be announced at a later time.
Get a sneak peek at preparation for the new show "Wishes" aboard the Disney Fantasy.
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Magic Kingdom Peter Pan's Flight – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Cheshire Cafe – roofing, envelope rehab.
- Magic Kingdom Geiger's Counter DVC Kiosk – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Frontierland DVC Kiosk – construction.
- Epcot Future World DVC Kiosk – construction.
- Epcot The Seas with Nemo and Friends – queue modifications.
- Epcot Spaceship Earth – queue modifications.
- Epcot Mexico pavilion – installation of filters.
- Epcot Norway pavilion – installation of filters.
- Epcot United Kingdom pavilion Pooh meet-and-greet – interior work.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Toy Story Midway Mania – queue modifications.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Fantasmic – queue modifications.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Backlot Trailer DVC Kiosk – construction.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Commissary Lane DVC Kiosk – construction.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Sunset Boulevard DVC Kiosk – construction.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Fantasmic – construction.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Kali River Rapids – queue modifications.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest – queue modifications.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Asia DVC Kiosk – construction.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Discovery Island DVC Kiosk – construction.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Dinoland DVC Cart – construction.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Kali River Rapids reservoir – construction.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Kali River Rapids – mechanical.
- Typhoon Lagoon filtration plants – plumbing.
- Typhoon Lagoon – construction.
- Disney's Wilderenss Lodge – structural/roofing.
- Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts Stormalong Bay hot water piping – mechanical.
- Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Convention Building Satellite – construction.
- Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort – construction.
- Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort (Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotel) – low voltage cabling and installation of wireless access points onto existing cabling.
…During the holiday crush, receipts at quick-service restaurants in the parks will have discount coupons for 20 percent off merchandise at select stores if you shop before noon.
…Our friends over at TouringPlans.com are reporting that Test Track may close from April 15 through September 21, 2012 to get an upgrade and to also change the official sponsor from General Motors in general to GM's Chevrolet brand in particular. It's likely that the changes to some of the attraction's vehicles are a preview of some of the new look. We'll have more once this closure is confirmed.
…Registration for the Expedition Everest Challenge on May 5, 2012 is now open.
…Registration is open for events for the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon (scheduled for the weekend of February 24 to 26, 2012). The Princess Half Marathon is 79 percent full, the Royal Famly 5K is 53 percent full, and the Royal Family Kids' Races are 73 percent full.
…Time has run out to register for races during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2012 (on the weekend of January 5 to 8, 2012). All races are now sold out. The only event with registration still available is the Pasta in the Park Party , which is still only 89 percent full.
Crowd information and forecasts are provided by TouringPlans.com, the website of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, to help you better plan your trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. TouringPlans.com gathers wait time data from a team of in-park researchers and users of their Lines mobile phone application, and then predicts crowd levels for the next 365 days. Using a scale from 1 to 10, TouringPlans.com has a 90 percent accuracy of predicting the crowds to within 1 point, helping visitors prepare for their trips so they can "Do more. Wait less."
Join our networks
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.
Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.
- Through January 3, 2012: Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.
- Through January 7, 2012 (except December 8): Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
- Through January 8, 2012: Castle DreamLights.
- Through December 30. Holidays Around the World.
- January 5–8, 2012: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
- February 24–26, 2012: Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
- May 5, 2012: Expedition Everest Challenge.
- March 7 to May 20, 2012: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
- May 18 to June 10, 2012: Fridays through Sundays: Star Wars Weekends.
- September 28-29, 2012: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend.
- September 28 to November 11, 2012: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
- November 9-10, 2012: Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.
- Mickey's Toontown Fair – closed permanently to make way for Fantasyland expansion.
- Main Street Fire House – closed; reopens as headquarters for the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game in early 2012.
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor – closed for refurbishment January 4 to March 27, 2012.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed for refurbishment January 9 to May 27, 2012.
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant – closed for refurbishment and moving to Storybook Circus January 9 to February 17, 2012.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment January 28 to February 3, 2012.
- Main Street Electrical Parade – is notbe performed January 20 to February 10, 2012.
- Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed for refurbishment February 26 to March 10, 2012.
- House of Innoventions – closed through May 2012 for conversion to "green home."
- Tutto Italia – closed January 7 to April 30, 2012.
- Fantasmic – is not performed January 9 to February 12, 2012.
- Studio Backlot Tour – closed for refurbishment February 13 to March 10, 2012.
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closed for refurbishment February 13 to March 10, 2012.
- Kali River Rapids – closed for refurbishment January 23 to February 9, 2012.
- Grand Floridian Spa – closed through mid-2013 for refurbishment.
- Grand Floridian Spa – the canal near Disney's Wedding Pavilion will undergo cleaning January 3-6, 2012.
- Grand Floridian Spa – Basin White shop windows will be replaced from January 23-27, 2012.
- Contemporary Resort – main tower corridor lighting enhancements take place through January 13, 2012.
- Contemporary Resort – repainting and carpet replacement on the Fantasia level of the Convention Center will take place through January 4, 2012.
- Contemporary Resort – main tower balcony wall panel refinishing will take place from January 16 to March 30, 2012.
- Polynesian Resort – Portions of the beach will be worked on one at a time for sand renourishment January 4-16, 2012.
- Polynesian Resort – rockwork clear coat will be applied at Nanea Volcano Pool from January 9 to February 21, 2012.
- Polynesian Resort – Great Ceremonial House atrium ceiling steel refinishing and skylight fabric replacement February 27 to March 23, 2012.
- Wilderness Lodge – Teton Boat and Bike Rental marina dock deck boards will be replaced January 30 to February 17, 2012.
- Wilderness Lodge – metal roof seams will be recoated from January 30 to June 29, 2012.
- Wilderness Lodge – exterior decorative timbers will be repaired and replaced from February 13 to March 12, 2012.
- Animal Kingdom Lodge – repaving of the Jambo House Bus Stop lane will take place from February 22 to March 21, 2012.
- Animal Kingdom Villas – the Kidani Village Pool Slide at the Samawati Springs Pool will be closed from January 9 to February 3, 2012. The pool will remain open. Guests may use the pool slide at Jambo House.
- Yacht Club Resort – building exterior will be repaired and refinished through August 3, 2012.
- Yacht Club Convention Center – lobby refurbishment will take place through March 2, 2012.
- Yacht Club Resort – stamped concrete walkways will be restained January 9-31, 2012.
- Yacht Club Resort – rooftop HVAC hot water piping will be replaced January 9 to September 28, 2012.
- Yacht & Beach Club Resorts – rockwork at Stormalong Bay Pool will receive touchup painting January 9 to February 21, 2012.
- Beach Club Villas – guest room door locks will be replaced January 3-11, 2012. Letters will be placed in the rooms advising Guests the door locks will be replaced. Guests will not need to get new keys as their existing Key to the World cards will work with the new lock.
- Beach Club Resort – guest room door locks will be replaced January 12 to February 1, 2012. Letters will be placed in the rooms advising Guests the door locks will be replaced. Guests will not need to get new keys as their existing Key to the World cards will work with the new lock.
- Yacht Club Resort – guest room door locks will be replaced February 2-22, 2012. Letters will be placed in the rooms advising Guests the door locks will be replaced. Guests will not need to get new keys as their existing Key to the World cards will work with the new lock.
- BoardWalk Resort – exterior staircase slate replacement (from the Lobby level back porch area to the BoardWalk shopping/dining level) will take place from December 5, 2011, to January 27, 2012.
- BoardWalk Resort – roadway rejuvenation will take place from the main entrance road to the bus stop area and through the Conference Center exit area from February 22 to March 21, 2012.
- Old Key West Resort – lobby and Olivia's buildings will undergo metal roof repairs February 23 to May 16, 2012.
- Old Key West Resort – bus and picnic shelters will undergo wood truss repair and repainting Februay 9 to March 30, 2012.
- Saratoga Springs Resort – villa buildings will undergo exterior cleaning and painting one at a time between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through August 30, 2012.
- Saratoga Springs Resort – the Performance Center building will undergo shingle roof replacement through January 27, 2012.
- Saratoga Springs Resort – rockwork painting will occur at High Rock Springs Pool from February 9 to April 24, 2012.
- Saratoga Springs Resort – the Carriage House lobby will be repainted from February 21 to April 16, 2012.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – the main commercial building will have its flat roof replaced through March 30, 2012.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – the perimeter roadway will undergo rejuvenation from January 3-6, 2012.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – the entry fence will be replaced January 9 to February 6, 2012.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – stamped concrete near the commercial building will be replaced January 9 to February 2, 2012.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – buildings 6 & 7 parking lots will undergo roadway rejuvenation from January 13 to March 13, 2012.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – building 3 parking lot will undergo rejuvenation February 27 to April 27, 2012.
- Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – Alligator Bayou buildings will receive exterior repainting two at a time through March 30, 2012.
- Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – roadway rejuventation will take place in various sections throughout resort from January 3-6, 2012.
- Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – Alligator Bayou buildings 14 & 15 parking lots will undergo resurfacing January 3-9, 2012.
- Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – Magnolia Bend building 90 will undergo building and room refurbishment from January 15 to February 17, 2012, for conversion to Royal Princess Rooms.
- Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – Magnolia Bend building 80 will undergo exterior repair and repainting from February 16 to April 19, 2012.
- Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – Magnolia Bend building 95 will undergo building and room refurbishment from February 19 to March 23, 2012.
- Coronado Springs Resort – Casitas 1 plaza fountain wall and coping repairs will take place January 10 to February 7, 2012.
- Coronado Springs Resort – roadway rejuvenation will take place from the entrance road to the porte cochere from January 3-6, 2012.
- Coronado Springs Resort – Ranchos buildings will experience tile roof repair and replacement from January 9 to July 27, 2012.
- Fort Wilderness Cabins – concrete pad repairs will take place January 17 to February 13, 2012.
- Fort Wilderness Campsites – concrete pad repairs will take place January 17 to March 12, 2012.
- Fort Wilderness Campsites – repaving will take place on Loop 2100 from January 24 to February 21, 2012.
- Pop Century Resort – 80s lodge building will have themed walls refinished near the Roger Rabbit icon from January 2 to February 17, 2012.
- Pop Century Resort – 60s lodge building will have themed walls refinished near the Mowgli & Baloo icons from February 20 to March 30, 2012.
- Pop Century Resort – repairs of concrete deck at Hippy Dippy Pool through September 28, 2012. The pool will remain open during the work, but some small sections of the pool deck will be closed periodically throughout this period.
- All-Star Music Resort – sections of the roadway near Melody Hall will be closed for rejuvenation at the porte cochere, the check-in parking lot and through the bus stop area from January 12 to February 10, 2012.
- All-Star Movies Resort – Beverage coolers will be installed in Guest rooms from January 23 to March 16, 2012. The installation will take place one floor at a time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Guests will be notified via an in-room flier the day before the work is scheduled to take place.
- Typhoon Lagoon – closed through March 17, 2012 for annual refurbishment.
Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. The show will not be performed:
- January 17 to 21, 2012
- March 20, 2012
- May 15 to 26, 2012
- July 24, 2012
- September 18 to 22, 2012
- November 27, 2012
Room-only discounts for February through June
Disney has released a room-only discount for all nights from February 21 through June 14, with the exception of the Easter peak from April 1 to 12. Discounts vary based on date. However, many resorts are excluded from the discount, including All-Star Movies Resort, Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, Contemporary Resort, Beach Club Villas, Wilderness Lodge Villas, and premium views at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
For stays on the nights of March 9 to 31 and May 25 to 27, guests receive discount rates of:
- 15 percent at Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, standard view rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Fort Wilderness Cabins, Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Pop Century Resort, All-Star Music Resort, and All-Star Sports Resort
- 20 percent at Animal Kingdom Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Caribbean Beach Resort and Coronado Springs Resort
- 25 percent at Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, Boardwalk Inn, and Wilderness Lodge
- 30 percent at Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West Resort.
For all other nights during the discount period, the discounts are:
- 20 percent at Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, standard view rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Fort Wilderness Cabins, Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Pop Century Resort, All-Star Music Resort, and All-Star Sports Resort
- 25 percent at Animal Kingdom Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Caribbean Beach Resort and Coronado Springs Resort
- 30 percent at Saratoga Springs Resort, Old Key West Resort, Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, Boardwalk Inn, and Wilderness Lodge.
You must book this discount by January 22 for arrival dates through March 31 and February 28 for dates through June 14. The rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-1917 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code N6P. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
Passholder merchandise discounts extended through 2011
Walt Disney World passholder merchandise discounts have been extended through the end of 2011. Epcot After 4pm, Weekday Select, Seasonal and Annual Passholders get 10 percent off purchases at selected locations, while Premium Annual Passholders (including bicoastal Premier Annual Passholders) get 20 percent off. The discount is available at Walt Disney World-owned and operated shops, but not those stores owned by "operating participants" (third-party stores). The discount is also not valid on a long list of products, and can not be combined with other discounts, offers or promotions. For a full list of what is not included in this discount, check out the Art of Disney Parks website.
Military ticket offer
From now through September 28, 2012, active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with either the Park Hopper or Water Parks Fun and More option for $138 per ticket, plus tax, or with both the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options for $165 per ticket, plus tax. No Base ticket is available with this offer.
The tickets expire and may not be used after September 30, 2012. Blackout dates are December 26 to 31, 2011; April 1 to 12, 2012; and July 4, 2012.
Eligible service members include active or retired members of the U.S. military including the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reservists. Disney Military Promotional Tickets can be purchased at Shades of Green or at a participating military base (MWR/ITT) office. There is no tax charged for these tickets but they must be activated at a theme park ticket window. Tickets may also be purchased at Walt Disney World Park Ticket Offices and Guest Relations Offices where tax will be charged. No more than twelve Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased, activated and/or used by any Eligible Service Member or spouse during the life of this promotion, and no Eligible Service Member or spouse may purchase, activate and/or use more than six Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets during any single week of the promotion. One of the Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets purchased on each occasion must be for use by the Eligible Service Member or spouse. This offer is for active or retired members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard. Valid military identification is required. The tickets are non-transferable and may not be resold.
The tickets may be upgraded to Seasonal Passes or Florida Resident Weekday Select Passes (for Florida Residents), or Annual Passes, Premium Annual Passes, or Disney Premier Pass with credit toward the upgrade based on the actual price paid. The no-expiration option and other upgrades, such as additional days, are not available.
For complete information regarding Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets, military personnel may call 407-939-7830, visit the Walt Disney World website, or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.