Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for February 18 – 24, 2013

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

News and Views

Rumor: Downtown Disney to become Disney Springs? | Disney Cruise Line announces Mediterranean, Alaskan and other destinations for summer 2014 | Tables in Wonderland to host another Great Movie Ride Dinner | Segway tours gone from Epcot for good? | Final round matchups set at Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic | A Personal Appeal, Year Eight: Mark's March of Dimes Donation Matching Challenge Returns! | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd Update

Rumor: Downtown Disney to become Disney Springs?

The first official sign of progress in plans for a redesign of the Downtown Disney area has emerged. Walt Disney World has filed an application with the South Florida Water Management District for "The BVD Corridor Stormwater Project" to change the storm water runoff patterns in preparation for work on a 269.11-acre parcel of land. The plan affects drainage in the Downtown Disney area. The plan generally details how the water patterns will be modified to allow for new master planning of the area.

That's as far as the information in the permit goes. However, ParkRumors.com has posted what it says are current plans for the revamping of the center of Downtown Disney. The entire Downtown Disney area would be renamed Disney Springs (perhaps mirroring Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort across the lake), and—while the West Side and the Marketplace would remain largely intact, Pleasure Island and much of the current parking lot areas would be completely transformed.

We've been hearing little bits about the Disney Springs project here and there, and they don't entirely match up with what ParkRumors reported, but there's enough similarity to believe that this report probably has at least some truth to it.

So here's what the story says about Disney Springs:

Most of the existing parking lots will be replaced. The farthest-east areas will become green space, access roads, and "back-of-house" facilities. The existing Marketplace bus station will become green space and additional shops. A new bridge will connect this new area to Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort from behind Cap'n Jack's to the eastern edge of the Congress Park area of the resort.

A five-story parking structure, Disney's first multilevel parking structure in Florida, will take up a rectangular space along Buena Vista Drive, starting approximately at the east end of World of Disney and running west to approximately across from Raglan Road. Beyond that, along Buena Vista Drive, will be more roadways, a drainage lake, and the only bus station for the area. That will take the rest of the space up to the beginning of the West Side. The West Side parking lot, as with the West Side itself, will be largely unchanged. The only changes noted to the West Side are a new Starbucks replacing Wetzel's Pretzels, an overhead "railway" for atmosphere between that location and DisneyQuest, and the current Planet Hollywood is labeled as The Observatory, with no stated details.

With the new parking garage and the shift of the parking boundary closer to Buena Vista Drive, the added depth of the current parking lot would all be turned into walkways and retail, dining, and entertainment venues. The new space will be broken into The Town Center, The Springs, and The Landing. The new entranceway would be branded as The Gateway. Aside from the West Side surface lots, all incoming traffic would now come in through The Gateway, which would feed the bus lots and the parking garage. The buses would exit the same way they entered, while the parking lot would exit further east along Buena Vista Drive.

An interesting angle of the site map posted at ParkRumors.com shows a flyover bridge to take through traffic past all of the entrance traffic for Disney Springs. This would allow through traffic to completely bypass the now common backups at the Downtown Disney entrances.

The map also shows a widening of the waterway between the mainland and Pleasure Island, which would become The Landing, and the repositioning of some of the bridges to the island. The waterfront area of the mainland would become The Springs, and the area of entry to Disney Springs from The Gateway would be The Town Center. The Town Center would be a retail center, The Springs would be primarily a relaxing open space, and The Landing would be drinking and dining establishments, with the long-announced waterfront amphitheater finally being built.

Again, and we can't stress this enough, all of this is rumor at this point. The only thing that is confirmed is the permit application for the stormwater drainage changes. However, these plans do resemble some of what we've heard unofficially, so there is a possibility that something resembling this might happen.

What do you think of this rumor? Would you like to see it happen? Do you think that this is better or worse than the announced plans for Hyperion Wharf? Let us know in the comments below!

Following construction, half of the Magic Kingdom's entry turnstiles have been converted to MyMagic+ entrances. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Disney Cruise Line announces Mediterranean, Alaskan and other destinations for summer 2014

Disney Cruise Line announced its summer itineraries for 2014 last Tuesday, featuring a return to the Mediterranean for the Disney Magic and a return to Alaska for the Disney Wonder. The Magic will also sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the first time in early fall 2014. After the clustering of all four Disney Cruise Line ships in Florida in early 2014, they'll disperse to the far shores, with the Wonder departing for the West Coast en route to Alaska on May 2 and the Magic heading to the Mediterranean on May 19.

Following its 15-night Panama Canal cruise from Miami to San Diego (with three stops in the Caribbean and two stops on Mexico's west coast), the Wonder will sail a two-night "cruise to nowhere" from San Diego before leaving for Vancouver, British Columbia, on a five-night voyage on May 19. The ship will then sail a nine-night Alaska cruise with an added port in Sitka on May 24 before settling into its regular series of seven-night Alaska cruises departing every Monday from June 2 through September 1. On September 8, the Wonder will head back to San Diego on a four-night trip before going back through the Panama Canal on a 14-night itinerary that will bring it back to Port Canaveral with two west coast stops and two east coast stops. The Wonder is expected to sail from Port Canaveral at least through much of October.

The Magic will take 12 nights to cross from Port Canaveral to Barcelona, Spain, with a stop at Castaway Cay and two stops in Portugal and Spain. The ship will sail a wide variety of itineraries while it's in the Mediterranean, including a new nine-night itinerary from the new home port of Venice to the Greek Isles, with stops at Katakolon, Piraeus, Rhodes, and Mykonos in Greece, as well as Kusadasi, Turkey. One other itinerary from Venice is a 12-night itinerary visiting the same stops in Greece, plus Santorini, Greece and Valleta, Malta, before ending in Barcelona. The repositioning cruise from Barcelona to Venice will stop in Villefranche, France; La Spezia, Civitavecchia (Rome), Naples, Catania, and Venice in Italy; Corfu, Greece, and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Magic cruises from Barcelona include a 4-night itinerary with stops at Palma, Mallorca, and Ibiza, Spain; 5- and 7-night cruises with stops at Villefranche, La Spezia, Civitavecchia, and Naples (seven-night only); 12-night itineraries to Villefranche, La Spezia, Civitavecchia, Valletta, and either Piraeus, Mykonos, and Kusadasi or Naples, Venice, and Dubrovnik. While the ship is sailing from the Mediterranean in summer 2014, Adventures by Disney will be offering port activities in each destination, as well as four-day, three-night add-on experiences in Barcelona before each cruise departs.

Once it's done with all of that cruising around the Mediterranean, the Magic will return from Barcelona to its new home port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, on a 14-night Transatlantic cruise departing on September 6, with five stops along the way.

Once the Magic gets to San Juan, it will sail four seven-night cruises with stops at Antigua, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, and St. Kitts. The rest of the fall 2014 schedule will probably be released in a few months.

For more information about these voyages or to book a cruise, call Disney Cruise Line at (888) 325-2500, visit the DCL website, or contact your travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are Mouse Ear Vacations, Small World Vacations, and Get Away Today Vacations.

They can also help you with Adventures By Disney vacations. You can also call 800-543-0865 or visit the Adventures By Disney website.

The new Fantasyland restrooms are getting additional theming from Tangled, as floating lanterns are hung and some of Rapunzel's artwork trims the doorway. Other details include Wanted posters for denizens of the Snuggly Duckling, including Vladimir and Ulf, the mime-wannabe. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Stroller parking has been moved into the now-open area between "it's a small world" and the restroom construction wall, clearing the walkway between the attraction and Peter Pan for better guest transit. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The walkway from the new Fantasyland restrooms to Liberty Square behind the Yankee Trader shows some of the transition between the lands. Note the change from stone to brick accents along the wood rail fence. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Tables in Wonderland to host another Great Movie Ride Dinner

Tables in Wonderland, the discount dining program available to Annual Passholders and Florida residents, is hosting a special event on two nights next month. On Thursday, March 7, and Friday, March 8, The Great Movie Ride Dinner event takes place at Disney's Hollywood Studios from 8-10:30 p.m. For $195 per person, plus tax but including gratuity, guests will enter The Great Movie Ride after it is closed to the public and enjoy a meal that moves through the attraction itself.

From 8-8:30 p.m., guests will enjoy a passed reception in the Gangster Scene, featuring Roasted Red Pepper Cheese Stuffed Foccacia "Cement Shoes," "Gangster" Charred Beef with Smokey Apple Pear Glaze, and "Peppered Shotgun Stool Pigeon" with Lavender Aioli. At 8:30 p.m., guests will move to the Western Scene, where they will enjoy a plated dinner of Local Three Boys Farms Greens with Land-Grown Mickey Cucumbers, Ruskin Tomato and Chick Pea Croutons, with Desert Cactus Flower Vinaigrette; Mesquite Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Whiskey Mushrooms paired with Black Skillet Seared U-10 Scallop with Roasted Corn, Cilantro and Chiles; Grilled Asparagus, Yukon Gold Mash with Sour Cream, Bacon Drippings and Caramelized Onion; and Housemade Western Sage Rosemary Bread with Butter.

The meal will conclude with a dessert buffet in the Land of Oz from 10-10:30 p.m., featuring goodies themed to Disney's upcoming movie OZ The Great and Powerful: "Munchkin" Green Tea Cones with Mandarin; "Auntie Em's" Apple Cake; "Dorothy's" Kansas Dirt Cheesecake; "Evanora" Green Pistachio Cupcake with Cannoli Butter Cream; "Theodora" Red Velvet Cupcake; "Glinda" Yellow Brick Road Sweet and Salty Popcorn, Pretzels, White Chocolate and Edible Gold; and "Powerful Oz" Passion Fruit Punch with Bubbles, Coffees and Teas. Beer, wine, soda, coffees, and teas will be included with the meal, as well. Attendance is limited to 80 people per event date, and is exclusive to Tables in Wonderland members.

For reservations to either event, visit the event website starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. EST. You'll need to provide your preferred event date, your Tables in Wonderland ticket number (starting with the "W"), first and last name of each person in your party (maximum party size of 10), your home address, phone number, credit card number, credit card billing address, personal email address, and any special dietary needs. Your credit card will be charged at the time of the booking, and you'll receive an immediate confirmation email at the address that you provide (make sure that the confirmation email doesn't get blocked as spam).

Oz playground photo update

The activity garden promoting Oz the Great and Powerful has opened about three weeks before the start of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The flowers simulate a yellow brick road, while you can put your face into the poster and pose as Finley the flying monkey in a movie poster behind them. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Oscar Diggs' crashed hot air balloon provides a creative shade structure for parents waiting while their children burn off energy in the play area. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The flowers give way to a yellow cushioned play surface as the "yellow brick road" enters the play area. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Handmade glass poppies were created for this Land of Oz Garden in the Michigan studio of Craig Mitchell Smith. Each flower is made of hundreds of hand cut pieces of glass, requiring about four days to make each one. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The Baum Brothers Circus midway games give guests a chance to play and walk away with buttons promoting the movie. Coca Cola has apparently sponsored this game. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Take a look around the entire Oz play area in this video from Disney.

Team MousePlanet runDisney Princess Half Meetup

Will you be at Walt Disney World for Princess Half Marathon weekend, February 2224? If so, please join us for a Team MousePlanet meet-up on Saturday Feb 23 at 6 p.m. in the outside seating area of Pollo Campero at Downtown Disney. Grab some food then eat with us, or just come to say hi. We'll have some MousePlanet goodies to give out, too. The meet is open to Princess Half and 5K participants as well as supporters! Attendees are expected to include MousePlanet staff members Stephanie Wien, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, and Lani Teshima, as well as contributing writer Lorree Tachell!

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.

Segway tours gone from Epcot for good?

Walt Disney World has quietly cancelled the latest version of the Segway tour at Epcot late last week. The Keep Moving Forward: See the World, Share the Dream Tour, which replaced the Around the World Segway Tour on September 17, is no longer listed on the Walt Disney World website, and those with reservations are being contacted and notified of the cancellation. The Fort Wilderness Back Trail Adventure, which uses the Segway X2 off- road model and travels less-populated areas, is still listed.

While it's uncertain why the tour is being cancelled and we have not yet received a response from Disney to our request for comment, the end of in-park Segway tours may be related to the lawsuit that was decided in Disney's favor in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last August. The removal of all guest usage of Segways in the parks (and likely the end of cast member usage, as well) would help to bolster Disney's claim of the danger of using Segways in crowded theme parks and potentially insulate them from future rulings if the case is appealed to the Supreme Court. This would also possibly help them even if they do not eventually make an Electronic Stand-Up Vehicle (ESV) available in the parks.

The Magic Kingdom park celebrated True Love Week as part of Limited Time Magic. One Twitter user joked "Best prom theme ever." Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Topiary Mickey hands Topiary Minnie a bouquet as scattered red and pink flowers decorate the plantings behind them. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Princesses were accompanied by their princes at meet-and-greet locations last week. Snow White gets a bonus friend, as Dopey apparently won't leave her and Prince Charming by themselves. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Cinderella's coach is parked by the Castle Courtyard wall for photo opportunities. It looks like it may have needed its off-road package to get into those plantings. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Final round matchups set at Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic

The matchups for the final round of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic are set, with the Columbus Crew and Montreal Impact set to face off in the championship match at 8 p.m. on Saturday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Columbus blew away the other teams in round-robin Group A, going 3-0, while Montreal was also unbeaten, going 2-0-1 in Group B with only a tie against D.C. United on the final round-robin day keeping them from a perfect record.

Finishing behind Montreal in Group B was Sporting Kansas City, who finished with a 2-1 record, losing only to Montreal. They'll take on Philadelphia Union, who finished with a 1-1-1 record in Group A. That game will start at 6 p.m. D.C. United—whose 1-1-1 record in Group B put them in third place—will kick off at 3 p.m. against Toronto FC, the only remaining team from the original Classic in 2010, who were third in their Group A with a 1-2 record. The first game of the day, at 1 p.m., will feature the only two teams not from Major League Soccer: Group B's Tampa Bay Rowdies (North American Soccer League), who finished with the worst record of all teams in the first round at 0-3, taking on the host team, Orlando City Soccer Club (United League Soccer), who managed a 0-2-1 record in Group A.

The two afternoon games will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com, while the evening games will be shown on ESPN3.com. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and at the Complex box office. You can also call 407-949-GAME (407-949-4263).

The winner of the Columbus-Montreal match will join the New York Red Bulls (2010), FC Dallas (2011), and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2012) as tournament champions.

The mountain peak at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train gets metal frame contours installed prior to the application of the actual concrete "stonework." Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The big drop out of the mountain appears to go straight into a turn. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

On the north side of the mountain, the buildings of Prince Eric's village take shape. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

A Personal Appeal, Year Eight: Mark's March of Dimes Donation Matching Challenge Returns!

There is nothing more heartbreaking than a baby who is born too soon having medical complications that leave them with medical difficulties for life, or worse, that never let them leave the hospital alive. On April 28, I will once again walk to raise money for the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners have helped me to raise nearly $25,000 for this worthy cause over the last seven years. This year, my goal is to raise another $4,000 and I am again issuing a special challenge: I will match, dollar-for-dollar, every donation that comes in by the end of February from any MouseStation listener or MousePlanet reader. If it's in by February 28, I'll match it. So far (pending matching donations) we're almost 20 percent of the way to my goal!

You can also walk with me, either in person or virtually, by joining Team MousePlanet and getting your friends and family to contribute! You can go to my fundraising page to sponsor me, or the Team MousePlanet page to join in and walk yourself! Help us to provide a better chance to prevent prematurity and to help those babies that are born prematurely!

Captain Jack Sparrow's compass, a treasure map, and a treasure chest are among the latest props to appear for A Pirates Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas interactive adventure. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

An Animatronic parrot sits in a cage under a stairwell. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom:
    • Main Street building MO5 – construction.
    • Box Office Gifts – electrical.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean – construction.
    • Splash Down Photos – electrical.
    • "it's a small world" – construction.
    • Peter Pan's Flight – construction.
    • Pinocchio Village Haus – menu shrouds.
    • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid – construction.
    • Casey Junior Splash 'n' Soak Station – construction.
  • Epcot:
    • Flower & Garden Festival – main marquee sign.
    • Flower & Garden Festival – smokehouse entrance display.
    • Flower & Garden Festival – smoker pit.
    • Mission: Space – construction.
    • Journey Into Imagination with Figment – construction.
    • Maelstrom – construction.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios:
    • Once Upon a Time – electrical.
    • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – construction.
    • Feature Animation – construction.
    • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage – construction.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom:
    • Bus Loop – bus operations cast shelter construction.
    • Island Mercantile – fire sprinkler repairs.
    • Tiger Platform – installation of platform.
  • Blizzard Beach:
    • Downhill Double Dipper – general construction.
    • Ski Patrol Training Camp – refinishing/recoating of foam playground elements.
    • Ski Patrol Training Camp – coatings.
  • Downtown Disney:
    • World of Disney – electrical.
    • Disney Days of Christmas – construction.
    • DisneyQuest – construction.
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort Conch Flats General Store – electrical.
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort Ink and Paint Shop – electrical.
  • Sherberth Road S curve improvements – milling and overlay of pavement with new friction course and installation of new roadway signage.
  • Fantasia Gardens Training Center – construction.

Following the removal of the Avengerail wrap, Monorail Red proudly sports its original livery again. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Quick takes …

…This week's Limited Time Magic promotion is Presidents' Day: A Week Long Celebration. The wonderful eight-part a capella group, The Voices of Liberty, will have a venue change for the event, moving across World Showcase Promenade to the America Gardens Theater from February 18-24. Performances will take place at 12, 1, 2, 3, and 4 p.m., and will feature memorable quotes from U.S. presidents along with their usual historic songs. To accommodate that, and to help draw people out of the amphitheater after the shows, the schedule for the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps has been changed to feature performances at 11:40 a.m., and 12:25, 1:25, 2:25, 3:25, 4:25, and 5 p.m.

…The Orlando Business Journal is reporting a rumor that Disney is planning to replace Pollo Campero, which opened at Downtown Disney in November 2010 in the location formerly occupied by McDonald's— and Bodie's All-America, which itself replaced Fresh A-Peel, which opened with Pollo Campero, last October. However, Babycakes NYC, which shares the building with the other two shops, appears safe. Reportedly Disney chefs are closeted at the kitchen of the former Bonfamille's Cafe at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort testing Tex-Mex recipes. We've got no official word on any of this, so this is still a rumor at this point.

The exit "goodbye" scene from "it's a small world" now sports signs that will double as interactive screens for Disney's Story Maker activity. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

…The Pocahontas meet-and-greet at Disney's Animal Kingdom has temporarily moved to "Bradley Falls," between Africa and Asia. She'll be meeting guests at 10, 10:55, and 11:50 a.m., and 2, 3, and 4 p.m. There's no word on why she's leaving Camp Minnie-Mickey, but it's possible that they're either doing some exploratory studies or pre-construction preparation for Pandora: The World of Avatar. More as this story develops.

…The new Disney Junior - Live on Stage officially reopened last Friday, featuring new segments with Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First along with the returning segments with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.

…With Live with Kelly & Michael filming at the Magic Kingdom from yesterday through tomorrow, the Goodyear Blimp will be circling Walt Disney World Resort. Keep your eyes to the skies.

Another Story Maker panel at Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, featuring Phineas, Ferb, Dr. Doofenshmirtz, and Slash from Guns 'n' Roses. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

…Caught without a Concierge Collection location in New York City when the Plaza Hotel "went condo," the Disney Vacation Club last week added The Manhattan Club to the collection's roster. The boutique hotel is located diagonally across the street from Carnegie Hall. One bedroom suites range from 20 points to 75 points per night, depending on the night of the week and the season. The location is blocked out for the nights of December 20 through January 1. Standard Concierge Collection rules apply, including the fact that resale ownership interests purchased after March 20, 2011, can't book this location.

…Cold weather again closed down Typhoon Lagoon both days this past weekend.

On the Streets of America Backlot, this rarely-seen Streetmosphere trio poses as a contemporary movie production crew. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

…Registration for the February 22–24, fifth annual Princess Half Marathon Weekend is full, including the individual and team Half Marathons, Royal Family 5K, post-5K breakfast, runDisney Kids Races (dashes and Mickey Mile), Race Retreat, Pasta in the Park Party and all ChEAR Squad Packages. Any remaining ChEAR Squad Gear will be available for purchase at the Expo.

…Registration is now open for the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge. The Challenge itself is now full, but the Family Edition is still available. Also available are the runDisney Kids Races for kids ages 4 to 10 and tickets for the pre-race picnic and the post-race party.

…Registration opens for the events of the 2013 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend (Tower of Terror 10-Miler, Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, runDisney Kids Races, Disney Villains Hollywood Bash) is now open.

…Registration opens for the events of the 2013 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K, runDisney Kids' Races, Wine & Dine Finish Line Party) on March 12.

…Registration opens for the events of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (Walt Disney World Marathon, Half Marathon, Disney Family Fun Run 5K, runDisney Kids Races, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, Pasta in the Park Party) on April 9.

…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.

Crowd update


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."

Heavy crowds are expected this week. 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 19, 2013 8 / 10
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7 / 10
Thursday, February 21, 2013 7 / 10
Friday, February 22, 2013 9 / 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!

  • Tuesday is the best day to visit the Magic Kingdom.
  • The resort crowd level on Saturday is 7 out of 10.
  • 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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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.

Coming up

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Snow White's Scary Adventures – closed permanently for conversion to Princess Fairytale Hall.
  • Splash Mountain – closed January 2 through March 19 for refurbishment.
  • Main Street Bakery – closed January through early summer for conversion to Starbucks location.
  • Princess Fairytale Hall – opens 2013.
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.


  • Fountain View Cafe – closed March through mid-summer for conversion to Starbucks location.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • No known refurbishments

Animal Kingdom

  • No known refurbishments.


  • Disney's Contemporary Resort – California Grill closed February 1 through late summer for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort – Boardwalk Bakery closed January 2 through April 1 for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort – Luna Park feature pool closed January 28 through March 1 for refurbishment. The two quiet pools will remain open, and guests wishing a feature pool experience during their stay will be able to use the Stormalong Bay complex at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts during the refurbishment.
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Spa closed January 16 through summer for conversion to Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – January 6 through March 16 closed for annual refurbishment.


  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. Will not be performed on the following dates in 2013:
    • March 19;
    • May 14-18;
    • May 21-25;
    • July 23;
    • September 17-21;
    • November 5-6.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Passholder room discounts through mid-March

A Passholder discount is available for most dates through March 22, except January 18–20. Passholders can book this discount through the day of arrival if rooms are still available.

Guests will receive 35 percent off at select Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts, 30 percent off at select Moderate Resorts, and 25 percent off at select Value resorts. Moderate and Value Resorts have additional blackout dates.

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, three-bedroom Grand Villas, and standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts range from 20 percent to 35 percent and availability varies by date.

You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-1895 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code S6Z. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

Room-only and Magic Your Way package discounts for February through mid-June

You can now can book room-only and Magic Your Way package reservations at select Walt Disney World resorts for 15 percent to 30 percent off of standard rates most nights from February 18 through June 14, except March 24 through April 1. You must book your reservations by March 7 for nights through March 23 and March 31 for nights through June 14.

Guests can receive 30 percent off at all Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts, except for all Magic Kingdom resorts (Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Wilderness Lodge and the Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge), which offer 20 percent off, and Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, which is not available at a discount. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge only offers the discount for Standard-view rooms.

Discounts of 25 percent are available at all Moderate Resorts, including Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort, and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort Cabins.

Guests can also get a 20 percent discount at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, and Disney's Pop Century Resort

Fifteen percent discounts can be had for family suites at Disney's Art of Animation Resort. Standard rooms in the Little Mermaid-themed section are excluded. Also excluded are Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, All-Star Music Resort, three-bedroom Grand Villas, and Fort Wilderness campsites.

If you add minimum four-day Magic Your Way tickets to your room to make it a package, you will receive discounts on both your room and tickets.

The number of 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 call (407) 939-1283 or your favorite travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

Florida residents get special discount tickets through June

Florida residents can get discounted three- or four-day tickets through early June. The Discover Disney ticket provides three days of base admission for $119 plus tax, or four days for $129 plus tax. The Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun & More Options can be added for just $28.50 each, plus tax. The tickets are priced the same for adults and children.

Tickets are available for purchase from now through June 3, and may be used through June 7. Passes may not be used during the Easter peak weeks from March 23 through April 5.

For more information or to purchase tickets, check out the special deal website or call 407-939-1283.

PhotoPass+ pre-arrival discount

Disney's PhotoPass service provides a discount on Disney PhotoPass+ pre-arrival packages. For $149.95 plus tax, Walt Disney World guests receive a voucher to exchange for a PhotoPass+ card upon arrival at the resort, a Photo Gallery CD with more than 400 stock photos ($39.95 value), a unique code to create and order a photo CD upon return from their trip ($169.95 value), print packages at select dining locations ($29.95 value each), and digital photos from select attractions ($14.95 value each). Applicable taxes are charged to all orders.

This special offer is only available from this link or by calling the Guest Support line at (407) 560-4300 before you arrive at Walt Disney World Resort. All sales are final, and not eligible for an exchange or refund.

The package might take as long as 14 days to arrive, and you must bring your voucher from the package to redeem it, so make sure that you order far enough in advance to allow your materials to arrive.

Attractions currently participating in the program are Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur. Current participating restaurants are 1900 Park Fare, 'Ohana, Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, Chef Mickey's, Cinderella's Royal Table, Tusker House Restaurant, Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, and Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.

2013 Military Salute offers

From now through September 28, 2013, 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 $156 per ticket, plus tax (up from $138 last year), or with both the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options for $184 per ticket, plus tax (up from $165). No Base ticket is available with this offer.

These tickets expire after September 28. Blockout dates are March 24 through April 4 at all ticketed locations, and July 4 at Magic Kingdom park only.

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. Tickets may be purchased by active and retired military personnel for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. One of the Disney four-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.

You may upgrade the tickets 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.

In addition, specially priced rooms are available to active and retired U.S. military personnel at select Walt Disney World resorts for stays most nights through September 28, except for March 25 through April 4, 2013.

For complete information regarding Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets and discounted resort rates, military personnel may call (407) 939-7830, visit the Walt Disney World website, or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.

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  1. By RunningFool

    Thomas and I took the Segway tour when we were in WDW last January for the marathon. It was an incredibly fun and safe experience (thanks to great pre-tour training by cast members Joel and Diane); it's really too bad it has been canceled. Glad we had the opportunity to experience it when we did!

  2. By DaLoon

    You need to update the passholder discounts. The room discounts are now available into June. I already used the discount to book beyond what you are showing. The passholder site has details.

  3. By davidgra

    I'm not holding my breath about a Downtown Disney makeover, but it would be most welcome. A multi-level parking garage is desperately needed, because parking -- even in the slow season -- is horrendous. When you add in the relief from the summer sun that you'd get in a garage, it would make the entire Downtown Disney experience much more pleasant.

    Honestly, I hope they start charging for parking once the garage is built. It'll stop people from parking there and taking Disney transportation to resorts and then theme parks. Make it free for passholders, resort guests and for those who have already paid for a day's parking (just like parking at the theme parks), and charge everyone else. Maybe include parking validation for those who dine there. Just get rid of all the people who park there when they're not actually shopping or dining there.

    I'd rather not see them remove the Marketplace bus stop, but that's because we spend 90% of our time in the Marketplace end of Downtown Disney. But I'm all for the revitalization and expansion of the center section of Downtown Disney.

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