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Update for February 21 – 26, 2012

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

News and Views

Passholder room discounts available through June | Are you prepared to save the Magic Kingdom? | Celebrate St. Patrick's Day at Pleasure Island | Disney Cruise ships score at Cruise Critic awards | Play ball! Braves spring training underway at Disney sports complex | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd update

Passholder room discounts available through June


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The Passholder discount that was offered briefly last month for most dates March 9 through June 14 has been replaced with a new offer. Discounts at the Value resort level match those of the current room-only offer available to the general public, but the discount at the higher-level resorts provides greater savings. The nights of April 1 to 14 and May 25 to 31 are not available due to peak travel periods of Easter break and Memorial Day week.

While the general public can only book through February 28, as with most Passholder offers, Passholder can book this discount through the day of arrival if rooms are still available. As with all discounts, rooms available at these rates is limited, and minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. No group rates or other discounts apply. Suites and 3- bedroom Grand Villas are not included.

You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-1876 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code RX2. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

Are you prepared to save the Magic Kingdom?

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom officially opens tomorrow, February 22, with a ribbon-cutting after park opening at the Main Street Firehouse headquarters for the game. The game pits guests (deputized as sorcerers apprentices by Merlin) against Disney Villains to save the Magic Kingdom from Hades and other Disney villains.

Nicely themed new signage has appeared at the Firehouse and at the Liberty Square Sorcerers outpost to help identify the locations to park guests in preparation for the opening. We've seen information from multiple sources now that, while spell cards 1-60 are distributed to park guests at the two locations, cards 61-70 are available only in foil packages after the game officially opens.

While the testing period had guests playing the easy level of the game, over the weekend, guests began playing the medium and hard versions as well after completing the easier quests. For those wondering, you can cast up to two spells simultaneously per person; the game can be set up for up to three people playing a single game, for a total of six simultaneous spells.


Imagineer Jonathan Ackley explains a bit more about the game. Notice the unintentional magic trick with his changing name tag.

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 menus@mouseplanet.com to help us keep our listings updated.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day at Pleasure Island

Downtown Disney Pleasure Island celebrates St. Patrick's Day for three days next month, kicking off on Thursday, March 15, at 1 p.m. at Raglan Road Irish Pub, with Chef Kevin Dundon providing a kick-off lunch and culinary demonstration of each course. Guests get to taste each course with wine pairings. The menu this year consists of darne (thick-cut) of hickory-smoked Irish salmon served warm on buttered leeks with mead cream reduction; espresso of roasted tomato and gin soup; loin of traditional Irish bacon with Irish Mist glaze on colcannon potato with parsley cream sauce; and a jam jar of silky rhubarb jelly panna cotta. Reservations are available via the Walt Disney World Dining Line, 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3563), by calling Raglan Road at 407-938-0300, or at the Raglan Road website. The cost is $45 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Raglan Road's celebration gets started on Thursday and Friday, March 15 and 16, with performances by Murphy's Law and The Irish Rogues on the patio starting at 6 p.m., followed by Creel performing at 7 p.m. on the main stage inside the restaurant. For St. Patrick's Day on March 17, the restaurant's doors open at 11 a.m., with Creel performing multiple times during the day, as well as Irish dancing from the Raglan Road Dancers and members of the Watters School of Irish Dancing, and a performance by U2 tribute band Elevation. A $10 cover charge applies on March 17 only for guests ages 18 and older.

Festivities also include face painting and stilt walkers, as well as stage performances on Pleasure Island by The Wyndbreakers, Celtic Wave, and Celtic Nova.

Disney Cruise ships score at Cruise Critic awards

Congratulations to the Disney Dream for winning first place in the Cruise Critic Cruisers' Choice Awards in the "Best Bahamas Cruise" and "Best Cabins – Large Ships" categories. The Dream also finished third in Entertainment, fifth for Shore Excursions, and ninth for Public Rooms in the Large Ships category. In the size-independent Best for Families category, the Dream finished second with sister ship Disney Magic third.

In the Mid-Size ship categories, the Magic came in ninth place for Overall, second for Service, sixth for Fitness, sixth for Cabins, and third for Entertainment, while sister ship Disney Wonder came in at second for Entertainment.

Ships are classed according to passenger capacity, with large ships at 2,000 or more passengers, mid-size ships at 1,200 to 1,999 passengers, and small 1,199 passengers or less. Awards are based on ratings and reviews submitted by Cruise Critic's 800,000 members for cruises taken in 2011. Awards are presented to the top 10 ships in each class in 11 categories. For the first time this year, the top five ships were awarded for each destination and region.

Play ball! Braves spring training underway at Disney sports complex

Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball spring training is under way at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, with pitchers and catchers starting workouts yesterday and remaining players reporting on Friday and starting workouts on Saturday. The first of 18 pre-season games at the complex starts on March 3, with a contest against the Detroit Tigers, and concludes on April 2 against the New York Mets. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or online, or at the complex box office. All games start at 1:05 p.m. unless otherwise noted:

  • Saturday, March 3 – Detroit Tigers
  • Tuesday, March 6 – Washington Nationals
  • Friday, March 9 – New York Mets; split squad
  • Saturday, March 10 – New York Yankees
  • Sunday, March 11 – Toronto Blue Jays; split squad
  • Wednesday, March 14 – Washington Nationals (6:05 p.m.)
  • Friday, March 16 – Houston Astros (6:05 p.m.)
  • Saturday, March 17 – Toronto Blue Jays; split squad
  • Sunday, March 18 – Baltimore Orioles
  • Monday, March 19 – St Louis Cardinals
  • Thursday, March 22 – Miami Marlins
  • Friday, March 23 – New York Mets
  • Sunday, March 25 –  Houston Astros
  • Wednesday, March 28 –  New York Yankees
  • Friday, March 30 – Houston Astros (6:05 p.m.)
  • Saturday,March 31 – Detroit Tigers
  • Sunday, April 1 – Philadelphia Phillies
  • Monday, April 2 – New York Mets (noon)

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle breakroom & restroom – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Splash Mountain – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Space Mountain – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh queue modifications – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Lift Station – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Stitch's Great Escape – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – construction.
  • Epcot Norway Maelstrom attraction stairs – general construction.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Main Entrance Conference Room – construction.
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace Rainforest Cafe – demolition of existing volcano structure and boardwalk/dining area.
  • Disney's Polynesian Resort buildings 8 & 11 – room rehab.
  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge – plumbing.
  • Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge covered walkway – roofing.
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground & Resort – carpentry.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort Convention Center loading dock area – contractor general conditions.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort linen rooms (all floors) – contractors general conditions.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – installation of Vesda VLF-500 aspirating smoke detector.
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort lodge buildings – doors.
  • Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort commercial building – electrical.
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort – concrete.

Quick takes …

…The Walt Disney World reservation system is planning an outage this Thursday, February 23, beginning at 3:45 a.m. Eastern Time, during which time the system upgrade, online bookings and bookings through Member Services are unavailable. While Disney expects the system to be available again some time that afternoon, be aware that these planned outages have often lasted longer than anticipated in the past. Past outages have also caused problems with dining reservations records, dining plan credit records, and other resort systems. If you will be at Walt Disney World Resort during this time, it may be best to have printouts of all reservations and other pending electronic transactions.

…The rumor we reported back in January about the Kim Possible Adventure at Epcot being rethemed to "Agent P" Perry the Platypus from Disney's Phineas and Ferb has some apparent truth to it. We're hearing further rumors that this change-over may happen in early summer, perhaps June.

…The former Fastpass queue at Peter Pan's Flight has now reopened as an expanded handicap ramp.

…A portion of the wall for the Castle Courtyard is no longer under wraps, revealing great stonework details, lanterns, and benches. The wall will serve as the divider between the Castle Courtyard (the existing Fantasyland) and the Fantasyland Forest (the upcoming Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train sections).

…Construction work on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has been accelerated, and we're hearing that the attraction may open in early 2013 rather than later in the year. A great deal of the dirt filling the former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea lagoon has been excavated, and is likely to be the location for the "mine underground" sections of the attraction.

…Registration for the May 5 the Expedition Everest Challenge and the September 28 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler is now open.

…Registration has finally sold out for the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon with the races coming up this weekend. The Princess Half Marathon and the Royal Famly 5K joined the Royal Family Kids' Races and the Pasta in the Park Party as sold out last week.

Crowd update

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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."

With many schools off for the Presidents' Day holiday on Monday, expect higher crowds all week as vacationers descend upon Walt Disney World. TouringPlans.com can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist pitfalls, and will help you avoid the dreaded tour groups, with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines - Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. Now more than ever, it's a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

Date Overall
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 10 / 10
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 10 / 10
Thursday, February 23, 2012 10 / 10
Friday, February 24, 2012 10 / 10

Check out the Disney World Park Crowd Levels page on TouringPlans.com for park-specific predictions and recommendations on which days to visit and avoid particular parks!

  • Magic Kingdom is the Best Park on Thursday
  • Avoid Epcot on Friday.
  • Following a Touring Plan is important when crowd levels spike at the park you're visiting!

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disney World wait times on your iPhone, Android or smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.

 

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Coming up


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Mickey's Toontown Fair – closed permanently to make way for Fantasyland expansion.
  • Peter Pan's Flight – remains open while work takes place on a new interactive queue through March 6.
  • Plaza Ice Cream Parlor – closed for refurbishment through March 27.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed for refurbishment through May 27.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment through May 20.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – closed for refurbishment; will reopen at Storybook Circus March 12.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed for refurbishment February 26 to March 10.

Epcot

  • House of Innoventions – closed through May for conversion to "green home."
  • Tutto Italia – closed through April 30.
  • Test Track – closed April through September.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Studio Backlot Tour – closed for refurbishment February 13 to March 9.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closed for refurbishment February 13 to March 9.
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show – closed for refurbishment April 29 to May 2.

Animal Kingdom

  • No known current closures.

Resorts

  • Grand Floridian Spa – closed through mid-2013 for refurbishment.
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – pool side at Beach Pool closed February 6 athrough March 2. The pool remains open.
  • Contemporary Resort – main tower balcony wall panel refinished through March 30.
  • Polynesian Resort – Great Ceremonial House atrium ceiling steel refinished and skylight fabric replaced February 27 to March 23.
  • Wilderness Lodge – metal roof seams recoated from January 30 to June 29.
  • Wilderness Lodge – exterior decorative timbers repaired and replaced from February 13 to March 12.
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House Bus Stop lane repaved from February 22 to March 21.
  • Yacht Club Resort – building exterior repaired and refinished through August 3.
  • Yacht Club Convention Center – lobby refurbished through March 2.
  • Yacht Club Resort – rooftop HVAC hot water piping replaced January 9 to September 28.
  • Yacht Club Resort – guest room door locks replaced February 2-22. Letters will be placed in the rooms advising guests the door locks will be replaced. Guests need not get new keys, as their existing Key to the World cards will work with the new lock.
  • BoardWalk Resort – roadway rejuvenation from the main entrance road to the bus stop area and through the Conference Center exit area from February 22 to March 21.
  • Old Key West Resort – lobby and Olivia's buildings undergo metal roof repairs February 23 to May 16.
  • Old Key West Resort – bus and picnic shelters undergo wood truss repair and repainting February 9 to March 30.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort – villa buildings 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.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort – rockwork painting at High Rock Springs Pool from February 9 to April 24.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort – the Carriage House lobby repainted from February 21 to April 16.
  • Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – the main commercial building has its flat roof replaced through March 30.
  • Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – buildings 6 & 7 parking lots undergoes roadway rejuvenation from through March 13.
  • Port Orleans French Quarter Resort – building 3 parking lot undergoes rejuvenation February 27 to April 27.
  • Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – Alligator Bayou leisure pool near buildings 36 & 39 closed February 27 through March 1. All other leisure pools plus the Ol' Man Island feature pool remain open.
  • Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – Alligator Bayou buildings receives exterior repainting two at a time through March 30.
  • Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – Magnolia Bend building 80 undergoes exterior repair and repainting from February 16 to April 19.
  • Port Orleans - Riverside Resort – Magnolia Bend building 95 undergoes building and room refurbishment from February 19 to March 23.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – Ranchos buildings experiences tile roof repair and replacement through July 27.
  • Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – pool side at Meadow Feature Pool closed February 6 through March 2. The pool remains open.
  • Fort Wilderness Campsites – concrete pad repairs takes place through March 12.
  • Pop Century Resort – 60s lodge building will have themed walls refinished near the Mowgli & Baloo icons from February 20 to March 30.
  • Pop Century Resort – repairs of concrete deck at Hippy Dippy Pool through September 28. The pool remains open during the work, but some small sections of the pool deck will be closed periodically throughout this period.
  • All-Star Music Resort – Piano Pool closed February 6 to March 2; Calypso Pool will remain open.
  • All-Star Movies Resort – Beverage coolers installed in guest rooms through March 16. The installation takes place one floor at a time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Guests notified via an in-room flier the day before the work is scheduled to take place.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed through March 17 for annual refurbishment.

Elsewhere

  • Downtown Disney Marketplace Basin – closed through mid-March for renovations.
  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. For 2012, the show is not be performed:
    • March 20
    • May 15–26
    • July 24
    • September 18–22
    • November 27

Current Discounts & Promotions

Florida resident ticket discount

Florida residents can take advantage of a special 3- or 4- day ticket at discounted prices through late May. The "Wild for 3" (and "Wild for 4") tickets are available for purchase through May 21, and are valid for admission any three (or four) days through May 24, excluding blackout dates. The tickets are not valid February 18-20 and April 1-13 due to high crowd levels.

The Wild for 3 Pass ($99 plus tax) and Wild for 4 ($129 plus tax) passes are good at any one of the four Walt Disney World theme parks each day, but without park hopping privileges. Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options can be added for $27.50 each ($55 for both).

Proof of Florida residency is required for each adult age 18 and older. The discounted price applies to both adults and children.

Passholder discounts available through March

Disney has released a Passholder discount for most nights from through March 8. Discounts are 35 percent for select Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villa accommodations, and 30 percent for Value resorts from Sunday through Thursday nights.

As with most Passholder discounts, you can book this discount up through your arrival date, if discounted rooms are not yet sold out by then. The rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. No group rates or other discounts apply. Suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas are not included.

You can make your reservation through the Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-7731 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code H5L. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

Room-only discounts for February through June

Disney has released a room-only discount for all nights from April 13 through June 14. 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 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 February 28. 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).

Passholders can save 25% on tickets to La Nouba

Passholders can save 25% on Category 2 tickets La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil on performances Tuesday through Friday nights, from January 31 to March 30. To purchase tickets, (407) 939-7604. Note that a valid Passholder ID and advance purchase is required. Tickets can be purchased up to 30 days prior to the show date, and must be picked up at the La Nouba box office Will Call window.

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 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.


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 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.