Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for June 12 – 17, 2012
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions | Comments
Theme park food options to get even healthier | Interactive Dumbo queue revealed | Tickets for D23 Epcot celebration go on sale next Thursday | Sounds Like Summer concert series gets underway | Don't make your costume look too much like the real thing | Bethune-Cookman to take on Alabama State in MEAC/SWAC Challenge | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd update
Look for a new "Mickey Check" logo to start appearing on select nutritious foods at Walt Disney World and elsewhere. The Walt Disney Company has expanded its "Magic of Healthy Living" campaign to include the labeling initiative, as well as restrictions on advertising on Disney television and Internet properties aimed at younger kids.
The "Mickey Check" will start appearing on menus and select food products at Disney Parks and Resorts in the U.S, on licensed food products, as well as on qualified recipes on Disney.com and Family.com. The logo will be used to call out products that meet the new Disney nutrition guidelines, which promote consumption of fruits and vegetables, limit calories, and reduce saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. The guidelines are aligned with federal nutrition standards.
By 2015, any product advertised, sponsored, or promoted on Disney television or Internet properties must conform to the guidelines.
This is a continuing enhancement of the program to bring healthier food options to the parks and resorts, and to make milk or water and vegetables the default beverage and sides for kids' meals (though soda and fries are still available upon request).
According to Disney's press release for this latest change, approximately 60 percent of the more than 12 million kids' meals at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts were served with the healthier options. As part of this latest push, Disney plans to further reduce sodium in kids' meals and introduce new, healthier kids' breakfast meals.
Some new side order offerings include fresh broccoli at Columbia Harbour House, corn on the cob at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe, cucumber salad and fresh green beans at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, and roasted vegetables (available with the lobster roll) at Tomorrowland Terrace. In addition, Pinocchio Village Haus now offers Caprese or barbecued chicken flatbreads in addition to the cheese and pepperoni toppings.
Disney began its nutrition push in 2006, when (reportedly) then-new CEO Bob Iger became distressed at the lack of healthy options for his children to eat at the parks. The changes have put Disney in the forefront of the fight against childhood obesity.
Last week, Walt Disney World shared a look on the Disney Parks Blog at the soon-to-open interactive queue for Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Magic Kingdom's Storybook Circus. As previously reported for some time, guests will be ushered into a big top-themed play area and given a pager that will alert them to when it is their turn to board the attraction. There are still a few unanswered operational questions, such as how ride operators will handle situations where guests do not report for their assigned time (for reasons such as not hearing/feeling the pager notification or unwillingness to stop playing). For more on the air-conditioned indoor queue, check out this video.
The new interactive queue at Dumbo the Flying Elephant will feature slides, "highwire" activities, and other props reenacting Dumbo's triumphant dive from the top of a burning building. Photo © Disney.
Tickets go on sale at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time next Thursday for D23's Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration. The event, which takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on September 30 at World ShowPlace in Epcot, celebrates the 30th anniversary of the opening of EPCOT Center. Two price levels are available:
- The $65 World Passport
- The $185 World Key ticket – named after the kiosks in the early days of EPCOT Center where park guests could make dining reservations and get other information about the park from attendants available on video screens
All guests will receive access to all presentations, a commemmorative gift, and access to exclusive D23 merchandise. Those opting for the World Key package also get reserved seating at all presentations, and admission to a special dessert reception at 8 p.m. "inside an exclusive Future World lounge." The reception will include exclusive meet-and-greet opportunities with "Disney Legends and Epcot luminaries" and screenings of rare film footage of the early days of EPCOT Center.
- A "virtual presentation" by Marty Sklar about working with Walt on the original ideas for EPCOT, as well as memories of working on the EPCOT Center project;
- A session celebrating the early music of the parks, featuring the music of the Sherman Brothers, X Atencio, Buddy Baker, Russell Brower, Bob Moline, and more;
- A discussion by those who worked on the project about what it took to get Epcot sponsored, designed, and built;
- A presentation by Ron Logan and others about the creation of the opening festivities for the park.
- A look at the films used in the early EPCOT Center attractions and to document the new park by Tim O'Day and Bob Garner;
- A presentation by Disney archivists on some of the early concepts for park attractions;
- A talk by Tony Baxter about early versions of Epcot attractions that never saw the light of day; and
- A look at some of the details of the park (including wall carpeting and leapfrog fountains) by Imagineers Jason Surrell, Jason Grandt, and Alex Wright.
D23 members can purchase tickets for themselves and up to three guests. Admission to Epcot is not included.
Calling all with a spirit of adventure!
Are you ready for MouseAdventure: World Explorers IV? The fourth iteration of the scavenger hunt/puzzle quest/race through Walt Disney World's parks takes place on Saturday, November 3 at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom (the game has been going on at the parks of the Disneyland Resort for more than 11 years now). Do you think that you know the Magic Kingdom? We bet you don't know it as well as you think you do. Test your wits against those of our puzzle masters. For more information, check out the MouseAdventure information page. Registration opens next week!
The Sounds Like Summer concert series brings "tribute bands" to the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot from June 10 through July 28. This year's line-up includes these seven bands (four of whom appeared last year) performing for seven days each:
- June 10 to 17 – Hotel California (tribute to The Eagles)
- June 18 to 23 – Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot (tribute to Billy Joel) – New
- June 24 to 30 – Stayin’ Alive (tribute to the Bee Gees)
- July 1 to 7 – Slippery When Wet (tribute to Bon Jovi)
- July 8 to 14 – The Police Experience (tribute to The Police) – New
- July 15 to 21 – SouthBound and Company (tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd) – New
- July 22 to 28 – 2U (tribute to U2)
The concerts are included in the cost of admission to Epcot. Showtimes are 5:45 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. every day except July 4, where shows will be performed at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
In the wake of news stories (link 1 | link 2) about a teenager barred from entering Disney's Animal Kingdom while wearing a Tinker Bell costume (as well as her boyfriend dressed as Peter Pan) last week, it's worth remembering that while it's fun to dress up as a Disney character, you cannot wear a costume real enough to confuse guests into thinking that you're a Disney costumed cast member.
The Walt Disney World website clearly states, in answer to the question, What is the best way to dress for a day at the parks? Is there any clothing that isn't permissible? that "Attire that is not appropriate for the theme parks (and which may result in refusal of admittance) includes but is not limited to: Adult costumes or clothing that can be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character.… A Guest is allowed into the parks if her or his hair (or make-up, if applicable) has been made to resemble a Disney Princess or character (for example, after a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover) provided the Guest is not also wearing a costume or clothed to look like the character."
It's pretty clear that Disney does not want costumed guests to confuse other guests, so before you plan on dressing up in costume (with the possible exception of during Mickey's Not- So-Scary Halloween Party), you may want to consider the fact that you may need to change out of costume to gain entry to the parks. Disney is very protective of its characters, and if a guest was to have a bad experience with what they think is a costumed character but is actually another guest, Disney would be left holding the bag for a dissatisfied guest.
As for 15-year-old April Spielman (who spent four hours doing her hair, makeup, and costume to look like Tinker Bell) and her boyfriend, Clayton Covey (who presumably took less time to look like Peter Pan), Disney provided them with vouchers to purchase clothing that they could wear into the park and Fastpass tickets to make up for the time that they lost due to the need to change.
A statement issued by Disney Public Relations Manager Kathleen Prihoda said: "The guests were asked to change because costumes that could be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character are not appropriate attire for our theme parks. The costumes were disruptive to our operation and possibly confusing to our other guests, as children were asking to take photos with them. To make up for any inconvenience, we provided them with replacement clothing and assisted them with the rest of their visit in our parks."
Join the discussion on our MousePad discussion forums.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to help us keep our listings updated.
The eighth annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge will again take place at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, which is September 2 this year. This year's conference representatives are Bethune-Cookman (MEAC) and Alabama State (SWAC). The Walt Disney World-sponsored Challenge series pits teams from two conferences of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). This year pics the first back-to-back repeat representative, as Bethune-Cookman defeated Prairie View 63-14 last year. Alabama State last appeared in the series when it played the inaugural game in 2005. Both teams achieved an 8-3 record last year.
The game will be aired on an ESPN network. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster outlets. Prices are $30 for reserved seating and $20 for general admission. For more information, go to the event's website.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Magic Kingdom Riverboat Landing – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Jungle Cruise – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Splash Mountain – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Golden Oak berm – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Country Bear Jamboree – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Adventureland Tunnel – construction.
- Magic Kingdom DACS – construction.
- Magic Kingdom parade storage – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Pirates of the Caribbean – construction.
- Magic Kingdom "it's a small world" – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland Tunnel – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Main Entrance – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Carousel of Progress – construction.
- Magic Kingdom The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Grand Prix Raceway – construction.
- Epcot Soarin' Theater A and B third floor mechanical rooms – general construction.
- Epcot Imagination pavilion – general construction.
- Epcot Spaceship Earth – general construction.
- Epcot Canada pavilion entrance to Victoria Gardens – general construction of shade structure.
- Epcot Mexico pavilion – general construction.
- Epcot Norway pavilion Maelstrom stairs – general construction.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Animation Shop – construction.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Asia – guest locker installation.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Festival of the Lion King – roofing.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom backstage horticulture compound – electrical.
- Walt Disney World Pyro Compound fireworks building – electrical.
- Typhoon Lagoon – construction.
- Disney's Wilderness Lodge – mechanical.
- Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort buildings 14 and 15 parking lot – concrete.
- Disney's Contemporary Resort service elevator – contractors general conditions.
- Disney's Contemporary Resort South Garden Wing entrance area – installation of 2 new gates and section of CMC block wall.
- Disney's Contemporary Resort Tower guest elevators – replacement of granite floors.
…The Cars wing of Disney's Art of Animation Resort officially opens next Monday.
…The Beastly Bazaar shop at Disney's Animal Kingdom closes this summer, and reopens this fall as a character meet-and-greet location. The shop, one of four merchandise locations on Discovery Island, is located near the bridge to the Asia section of the park, near It's Tough To Be A Bug.
…From now through August 25, you can save $50 on Wild Africa Trek tours starting at or after 11:45 a.m. at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The three-hour guided safari tour includes a tasting of African-inspired foods and a professional photo CD. Call 407-WDW-TOUR (407-939-8687) to make your reservation.
…Expedition Everest was closed for more than an hour last Wednesday after a light pole fell on a roller coaster car during high winds in a severe thunderstorm. The attraction was inspected and reopened following the incident. There were no reported injuries.
…A short in an electrical ballast caused a small electrical fire on Saturday night in the sign for the Magic of Disney Animation building at Disney's Hollywood Studios, according to Central Florida News 13. The area was cleared while the fire was put out. The area reopened, but the lights in the sign will be out until it can be repaired.
…For those that remember when Nova Era performed in World Showcase at Epcot, you can experience their classical/modern fusion sound again, but this time at Downtown Disney. The trio perform Thursday through Sunday just outside Fulton's Crab House (subject to change). If you've never had the opportunity to see this act before, take a look at the video below.
…Usually, Universal Orlando waits for Walt Disney World to announce their annual price hike, then follows suit to a matching price in a matter of days. This year, Universal moved first, raising the cost of a one-day, one-park pass from $85 to $88 nearly two weeks ago. Walt Disney World followed last Sunday with a hike to $89 for a similar pass. To avoid being left behind, Universal Orlando quickly matched that price last Thursday; however, tickets sold online will still carry the $88 price tag.
…The Royal Plaza Hotel in the Downtown Disney Resort Area becomes the third offering of the new B Hotels & Resorts chain. The 394-room resort will be completely renovated and officially become the B Resort Lake Buena Vista in September 2013. The resort will remain open during the renovations.
…We had previously reported that Disney Legend Bob Gurr would be joining MousePlanet columnist Jim Korkis (see his columns here and here) as guest speakers at the Dayton Disneyana Show at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Dayton, Ohio on June 30 and July 1. It appears that Bob Gurr has cancelled his appearance in Ohio in favor of a book signing in Los Angeles. In his place in Dayton will be Mark Silverman, the voice of Rod Serling in the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (hear his appearances on the MouseStation Podcast here, here, and here). The event is open to the public. For further information, go to the event website.
…The MousePlanet Newsletter is here! The newsletter contains a recap of the week's articles (in case you miss a day), news that may have developed since the weekly Updates were published, and tips about what's happening at the Disney theme parks for the coming weekend. We'll also include a fun MouseAdventure bonus, such as an Eye Spy or a trivia question. To subscribe to our free newsletter, go to the MousePlanet main page and enter your email address in the top right box labeled "Join the MousePlanet Newsletter." Click Join, then fill out the fields in the registration page, including your first and last name. The Newsletter is free, but you must complete this registration to receive it, even if you may have signed up for one with us in the past.
…The date has been announced for the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge. The event will take place May 4, 2013. No date has been released yet for the opening of registration.
…The 2013 Princess Half Marathon weekend takes place February 22–24, 2013. Registration opens Tuesday, July 10 at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
…Registration for the September 28–29 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend is now full. There is a waitlist in case additional spots become available. The related runDisney Kids' Races are now 54 percent full and the 5K is now 51 percent full. A one-mile race has been added to the runDisney Kids' Races.
…Registration for the November 9-10 Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is 71 percent full.
…Registration for the January 10-13, 2013, Disney Marathon Weekend is now open. Registration for Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge is 67his 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."
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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.
- June 18: Cars wing of Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens.
- July: Remainder of Storybook Circus opens at Magic Kingdom.
- August 10: The Lion King wing of Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens.
- August 14: Reservations for Party for the Senses at this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival open.
- September 7-8: Night of Joy.
- September 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28, 30, October 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, November 2. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
- September 15: The Little Mermaid wing of Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens.
- September 28–29: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend.
- September 28 to November 12: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
- Fall (exact date to be determined): Splitsville opens.
- November 3: MouseAdventure World Explorers IV.
- November 8–11: Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
- November 9–10: Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.
- November 9–11: Festival of the Masters.
- November 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, and 30, December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 21. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
- November 22, 23, 25: Old Spice Classic.
- "In time for Holidays 2012": Little Mermaid- and Beauty and the Beast-themed sections of New Fantasyland open at Magic Kingdom.
- December 13: Disney Vacation Club Condominium Association annual meeting.
- January 10–13, 2013: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
- February 22-24, 2013: Disney's Princess Half Marathon.
- May 4, 2013: Expedition Everest Challenge.
- Snow White's Scary Adventures – closed permanently on May 31 for conversion to Princess Fairy Tale Hall.
- Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin – closed for refurbishment June 27-29.
- Enclosed Dumbo queue, – opens in July.
- Second Dumbo spinner – opens in July.
- Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station – opens in July.
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment August 4-10.
- Country Bear Jamboree – closed for refurbishment August 22–October 17.
- Be Our Guest Restaurant – opens by Holidays 2012.
- Maurice's Cottage – opens by Holidays 2012.
- Gaston's Tavern – opens by Holidays 2012.
- Bonjour Village Gifts – opens by Holidays 2012.
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid – opens by Holidays 2012.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.
- Princess Fairy Tale Hall – opens 2014.
- Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure – closed May 19 to make way for the Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure, which opens in late June.
- Test Track – closed through November 30 for "reimagining."
- The American Idol Experience – closed for refurbishment June 14-15.
- Affection Section – closed for refurbishment May 3-June 30.
- Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Grand Floridian Spa closed through mid-2013 for refurbishment.
- Wilderness Lodge – metal roof seams recoated thorough June 29.
- Beach Club Resort – Cape May Cafe closed for refurbishment July 9 through August 3.
- Yacht Club Resort Yachtsman Steakhouse – closed for refurbishment August 27 through September 15.
- Yacht Club Resort – building exterior repaired and refinished through August 3.
- Yacht Club Resort – rooftop HVAC hot water piping replaced January 9 to September 28.
- 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.
- Fort Wilderness Campground & Resort Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue – closed for refurbishment October 1 through December 31.
- Coronado Springs Resort – Ranchos buildings experiences tile roof repair and replacement through July 27.
- 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.
- Typhoon Lagoon – closed October 28 for annual refurbishment.
- Blizzard Beach – closed for annual refurbishment upon reopening of Typhoon Lagoon.
- Palm Golf Course – closed through June 8 for refurbishment.
- Oak Trail Golf Course – closed June 6 through September 28 for refurbishment.
Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. For 2012, the show is not be performed:
- July 24
- September 18–22
- November 27
Discounted rooms and packages released for summer
Two new discounts have been released for this summer, one for room and ticket packages and one for room-only reservations. Both discounts are available for stays most nights from June 15 through August 14 and must be booked by June 14.
Discounts on package stays are available for a minimum stay of three nights and a minimum Magic Your Way base ticket of two days. These rates are available for June 15 through August 4 at Value and Moderate Resorts and July 15 and August 14 at Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts. This discount does not include Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
Room-only discounts are available for June 15 through August 4 (Value Resorts) or August 14 (Moderate, Deluxe, and Deluxe Villas Resorts). Discounts are 15 percent at Value Resorts, 20 percent at Moderate Resorts, and 25 percent at Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts. This discount does not include suites and 3 bedroom Grand Villas.
No other discounts or group rates apply. The number of discounted rooms at these rates are limited, and additional minimum stay lengths may apply for weekend arrivals.
Both packages use discount code C8Q.
For the discounted packages, you can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-4990 or your favorite travel agent.
For the room-only discounts, you can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-1920 or your favorite travel agent.
Passholder room discounts available through June
A Passholder discount is available for most dates through June 14.Passholders 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).
Tables in Wonderland members can save on tickets to La Nouba
Tables in Wonderland members can purchase discounted Category 2 tickets La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil on performances Tuesday through Saturday nights, May 29 to June 27. Prices for members and up to 3 guests are $57.85 plus tax for adults and $46.80 plus tax for children. To purchase tickets, call 407-WDW-SEAT (407-939-7328). Note that a valid Tables in Wonderland ID and advance purchase is required. Tickets 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. July 4, 2012 is a blockout date.
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.