Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for January 14 – 20, 2013

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News and Views

Kalogridis Named WDW Resort President; Crofton to focus on all US, Europe Operations | Next Generation MyMagic+ to change the way guests experience parks | Bastos wins eighth Walt Disney World Marathon | Epcot's French bakery reopens in new location | Tables in Wonderland Discovery Dinner set for January | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd Update

Kalogridis Named WDW Resort President; Crofton to focus on all US, Europe Operations

On Wednesday, Disney Parks and Resorts made an announcement that had been rumored for some time, and there are a lot of changes coming to the executive leadership at Disney Parks & Resorts, effective February 1, most notably a new president for the two domestic resorts.

As with her predecessor, Al Weiss, when Meg Crofton was named President of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Operations for U.S. and France, she held on to her title as President of Walt Disney World Resort until a successor was named. In Weiss' case, he was named to the global title in November 2005 and held on to his Walt Disney World title until Crofton was named president in August 2006. Crofton took the global title from Weiss in July 2011. Now, starting February 1, Crofton will hand the Walt Disney World Resort President title to current Disneyland President George Kalogridis, who has been in that role since 2009.

Crofton will now focus entirely on strategic oversight of initiatives impacting Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris Resorts combined.

Kalogridis, who began his Disney career in an hourly busboy position at the Contemporary Resort in 1971, has progressed through the ranks at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Disneyland Resorts. He is highly regarded, and is noted for walking the parks regularly to see what is going on first-hand. This change should be a positive one for Walt Disney World. Moving to fill Kalogridis' position at Disneyland Resort President will be Michael Colglazier, currently Vice President for Disney's Animal Kingdom, who has been in that role since 2010 and with Disney since 1989.

"With all that we currently have in flight across our resort destinations in the U.S. and France, the time is right to move forward with this leadership transition, noted Staggs in the press release. "This group of Disney veterans has the knowledge and expertise needed to continue delivering on our legacy of creating unforgettable experiences that our guests have come to know and expect. I would like to thank Meg for her tireless devotion and the extraordinary contributions serving in both positions, and wish George and Michael the best of luck in their new roles. They both bring a wealth of operational expertise, leadership and passion to these roles, which will contribute to the success of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts."

There is a further cascade effect of promotions to fill positions upward. Colglazier's role will be handed to Josh D'Amaro, currently head of Adventures by Disney. Claire Bilby, who filled in on short notice as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club after the abrupt dismissal of Jim Lewis, will be moving overseas to assume a position as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Disneyland Paris and Europe. With the moves of D'Amaro and Bilby, the combined role of Senior Vice President and General Manager of Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney will be filled by Ken Potrock, who has been Senior Vice President of Disney Sports Enterprises and Downtown Disney in Florida. Potrock's position will be filled by Tom Wolber, currently Senior Vice President of Disney Cruise Line.

This is seen by some as a chance to try out some additional executives to see how they fare in new roles in preparation for expected changes coming in 2015 with the announced retirement of Disney President and CEO Bob Iger and the (at present) expected succession of Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs to the CEO role. Staggs will need to decide who should fill his current role, and the current line is that it would be either Crofton or President of New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line Karl Holz, who oversees DCL, Disney Vacation Club, and Adventures by Disney, and reports directly to Staggs. Other executives would then further backfill up the chain in the wake of that transition.

Construction for the new Tangled-themed restrooms in Fantasyland continue. Note the concrete benches in the foreground made to resemble logs. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

A look over the construction wall from near the Haunted Mansion illustrates what that path will look like when it is completed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Thatch, tiling, paint and other detailing is coming along on the restrooms themselves. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Next Generation MyMagic+ to change the way guests experience parks

When Walt Disney World began the full roll-out of its Next Generation technology last month, we noted that it was expected that the RFID cards being used for the system were expected to soon be replaced with the MagicBands that we first reported on in October. It looks the the time has come.

Last Monday on the Disney Parks Blog, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs announced the new "MyMagic+" system, which will incorporate MagicBands, guest room access, theme park tickets, PhotoPass cards, room charge cards, the Fastpass+ system, and the My Disney Experience website and mobile app.

The MyMagic+ system will include Annual Passholders, as well as guests purchasing photography packages. All other guests will continue to use the RFID cards unless they opt to purchase a MagicBand.

We've read concerns that Disney will use the data to track guests' whereabouts throughout the park. That likelihood is improbable at best. The amount of data being tracked to make the system work as announced is tremendous, and the possibility that Disney would actually be interested in where a specific individual was at any given time is infinitesimal. A more probable use of all of the data collected is to gather the Fastpass requests for each attraction to ensure that only a maximum number of Fastpass tickets is issued for each time increment and to determine typical crowd flow patterns to better address capacity needs and crowd management.

As we understand it, all data analysis will be conducted with scrubbed data; that is, data that has been cleansed of personally identifying information (PII). The protection and use of PII is a topic that is much discussed in Information Technology circles. While guest names and celebrations might be used (via an opt-in selection by adult members of the party) to allow cast members and characters to have a more personal interaction with guests, Disney is more interested in the aggregate information, such as crowds and trends, that will help them to better plan future improvements. Any more personal use would probably be on an opt-in basis.

Currently Fastpass+ only allows guests to select three attractions in advance per day, and they may not be able to select additional Fastpass tickets during the day. If that becomes standard and all guests will only be allowed to get three Fastpass tickets per day (in advance or at centralized kiosks, with the dispensers at the attractions being removed), that would put more people into the queues, which are incidentally being outfitted with more interactive aspects. It's still uncertain as to the net effect that all of this additional technology will have on park touring strategies, but it will certainly be interesting to follow. Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below.

Over in New Fantasyland, Mermaid Village—the space across from Prince Eric's castle—is taking greater form. It will likely offer souvenirs and perhaps some snacks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The first rail installed on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster has now been extended. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

From the walkway into New Fantasyland, the rail looks as if it takes a turn heading toward the Beast's castle. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

On the other side of the mountain you can see a section of the track as it moves toward Prince Eric's castle, takes a turn and then returns back in the other direction. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The section of track heading toward Eric's castle turns back in toward Storybook Circus. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

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.

Bastos wins eighth Walt Disney World Marathon

Shrugging off heat warnings, more than 25,000 runners took on the Walt Disney World Marathon yesterday, with Brazilian Adriano Bastos reclaiming the crown after being beaten by countryman and training partner Fredison Costa the last two years. Bastos won his seventh Disney Marathon in the past nine years, his eighth in 11 years. He has said that his goal is to win 10 Walt Disney World Marathons. No other runner has won more than two. Bastos missed the race entirely due to an injury in 2004, placed 15th in 2010 due to a stomach illness, and was outrun by Costa (by 14 seconds) last year.

As with last year, Bastos and Costa ran together for nearly the entire race, with Bastos pulling it out in a sprint in the last half mile. Bastos finished in 2:21:16, 16 seconds ahead of Costa. The women's standings saw a repeat winner as well, as last year's winner, Renee High of Virginia Beach, Virginia, won her second straight Disney marathon in 2:48:30, three seconds faster than last year.

On Saturday, the Hanson-Brooks Distance Project once again dominated the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, with runners from the Michigan team winning both the men's and women's division of the race. Mike Morgan of Rochester Hills, Michigan, finished in 1:05:26 to set a new course record, while teammate Melissa White of Shelby Township, Michigan, finished in 1:14:56 to take the women's crown. In all, more than 27,000 runners took on the race, including a Los Angeles woman completing her 52nd half marathon in 52 weeks after being diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, and a Chicago couple that renewed their vows during the weekend after being married during the 2003 Walt Disney World Marathon.

A record 65,000 runners participated in the weekend's events, including 10,000 who attemped the Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, a combination of both the half-marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday.

Congratulations to Team MousePlanet's runners this year, who all completed their races, with some of whom setting personal records: Kevin Krock (Half Marathon, Personal Record), Jeff Moxley (Half Marathon), Alex Stroup (Marathon), Lani Teshima (Half Marathon, Personal Record), Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix (Half Marathon), and Stephanie Wien (Goofy Challenge).

IBM has long had a presence at Innoventions. It just re-emerged with a brand new exhibit. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

These video screens change form as visitors pass by. The screens are on the back side of a new theater that is part of the exhibit. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

IBM is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and many of the hands-on exhibits inside focus on products they have created over the years. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Epcot's French bakery reopens in new location

The Boulangerie Patisserie bakery at Epcot's France pavilion has grown up and moved out. The quaint shop could no longer handle the demand for its wares, and so a new location has opened at the exit to the Impressions de France theater. The new Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie still sports two serving lines, but features a much larger space where a traditional Disney serpentine queue allows more patrons to wait without spilling out into the pavilion's small side street.

The new location also offers an extended menu. Offerings now include soups, sandwiches, salads, and additional authentic French dishes. Even more exciting for Epcot guests is the fact that the new location opens at 9 a.m. each morning, prior to the 11 a.m. opening of World Showcase. This will allow guests to head further into World Showcase before the pavilions officially open and get a great French pastry for breakfast.

Now that the new boulangerie has opened, the smaller shop that it formerly occupied has closed and will be remade into an ice cream shop called Glacier. We do not currently have a projected opening date for this, but it's a good bet that Glacier will not be serving breakfast.

Boulangerie Patisserie has reopened in a new location at Epcot's France pavilion. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The old train station that served mostly as a gift shop now has extended further into a queue for a major bakery kitchen. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Everyone's favorite French bakery goods can be found in what still appears to exist as two separate queues. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

There is plenty of dining in the old train station just outside the kitchen. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Along the back of the train station are now two companion restrooms as well. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Tables in Wonderland Discovery Dinner set for January

Tables in Wonderland, the discount dining program available to Annual Passholders and Florida residents, is hosting another Discovery Dinner in January.

Thursday, January 17, sees another Discovery Dinner at The Wave… of American Flavors at the Contemporary Resort, with a 6:30 p.m. reception and 7:00 p.m. dinner. The $110 price includes tax and gratuity. Appetizers are be paired with wine during the reception, and dinner features an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert, and each course will be paired with wine. This month's dinner showcases Cahaba Clubs Herbal Outpost in Odessa, Florida. Wines are from Stacole Fine Wines, hosted by Chris Doncsecz. The event is limited to 46 attendees.

Dishes during the reception include Chive-tied Crepe Bundles with Smoked Salmon and Lemon Crème Fraîche; Wild Boar with Parsnip Purée and Chive Oil; and Roasted Vegetable Terrine with Goat Cheese, paired with Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvée from Sonoma County, California. Dinner starts with an appetizer of Oyster Rockefeller Soup with Big Bayou, Apalachicola Bay Oysters, paired with Spy Valley Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand. Warwick Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc from Stellenbosch, South Africa, is paired with a salad course of Micro Green Salad with Red Oak, Green Oak, Red Sticks of Fire, Yellow and Green Pea Shoots, Tiny Heirloom Tomatoes, and Ice Wine Vinaigrette.

The Apple Cider Braised Pork Belly with Naturally Raised Pork Tenderloin entree with Anson Mills Risotto Oats and Micro “Bulls Blood” Beet Greens is paired with Pulenta Estate La Flor Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. A cheese course of Cabot Cheddar, Pecorino Romano, and English Stilton Blue is paired with Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz from Barossa Valley, Australia. A dessert sampler of Fennel Scented Caramel Apple Crepes, Cinnamon Basil Ice Cream, and Vanilla-Thyme Shortbread is paired with Gruet Blanc de Noirs from Albuquerque New Mexico.

Dress is casual evening attire.

To request a reservation to the event, visit the event website for self-booking and instant confirmation. You will need your Tables in Wonderland ticket number, the first and last name of everyone in your party (maximum of 8), your home address, phone number, credit card number, the billing address of the credit card, personal email address, and special dietary needs (if any). Reservations are first-come, first-served.

Across from where Shrunken Ned's Junior Jungle Boats were located in Adventureland now sits a treasure chest, intended for the Pirates Adventure: Jewels of the Seven Seas interactive adventure. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Splash Mountain is under extensive rehab for the next several months. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Prior to its closing for refurbishment, the biggest concern had been falling concrete from the mountain—apparently due to landscaping sprinkler systems—which necessitated covering the load/unload area with fabric to protect cast members and guests. 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:
    • Entrance monorail track switch beams 1 and 2 – structural work.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean – construction.
    • Pirates stage – refurbishment.v
    • Liberty Square bridge from Central Plaza – refurbishment.
  • Epcot:
    • Construction.
    • Nain entrance – electrical.
    • Innoventions – Stormstruck post office wall graphic.
    • Innoventions – Character Spot and Fastpass graphics.
    • The Seas with Nemo and Friends – construction.
    • Turtle Talk with Crush – construction.
    • Journey Into Imagination with Figment – construction.
    • Captain EO – construction.
    • Mission Space pavilion – icon painting.
    • World Showcase Plaza Towers West flower bed – concrete.
    • The American Adventure theater – metal work.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios:
    • Parking lot entrance and exit road – mill and overlay.
    • Disney Junior Live on Stage – construction.
    • Animation building – electrical.
    • MuppetVision 3-D – construction.
    • Lights Motors Action weight room – construction.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom:
    • Bus stop expansion – new bus stop structure: concrete, structural, roofing, electrical, asphalt, landscape/irrigation.
    • Elephant barn – installation of lifting beam for hydraulic cylinders at doors A, C, D and E.
    • Avian care facility phase 2 – construction.
  • Typhoon Lagoon greeter pavilion – entrance road signage package.
  • Blizzard Beach:
    • Construction.
    • Entrance road – mill and overlay.
    • Bus stops and roadway – mill and overlay.
  • Downtown Disney Pleasure Island bus loop – construction.
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Field House – ESPN Grill – general construction.
  • World Drive northbound from toll plaza to water bridge – mill and overlay.
  • Floridian Way/World Drive intersection southbound – mill and overlay.
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort Wedding Pavilion – construction.
  • Disney's Polynesian Resort buildings 1-11 – room rehab.
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort:
    • Construction.
    • Entrance and exit road – mill and overlay.
  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge – construction.
  • Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Pioneer Hall Kitchen – mechanical.
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort – construction.
  • Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts Beaches and Cream – mechanical.
  • Disney's Boardwalk Resort:
    • Flying Fish Cafe – construction.
    • Luna Park wading pool, main pool, Luna spa, and pool equipment building – contractors general conditions.
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort:
    • Buildings 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 47, and 48 – mechanical/plumbing, painting, and construction.
    • Turtle Krawl pool & pool deck – painting.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – construction.
  • Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort Sassagoula Floatworks Food Court show kitchen – mechanical.
  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Shutters – general construction.
  • Disney's Pop Century Resort Century Drive – mill and overlay.

While landscaping hasn't been completed, Typhoon Lagoon has re-opened with a major road widening on the exit lanes. Prior, guests wanting to make a left hand turn blocked any traffic from exiting. Now that lane has been extended greatly. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Other than bright red safety decking here at Shark's Reef, as well as some landscaping changes, Typhoon Lagoon remains very much the same as before. Photo by Jeff Kober.

Quick takes …

…With the latest update of its website, it appears that Walt Disney World has discontinued the ability to purchase some ticket options online, though the official pricing facts sheet still lists them as available. Not available online are the No Expiration Option on Magic Your Way passes and annual passes for Water Parks and DisneyQuest (both separately and combined). At this point, it's not clear whether this is a prelude to discontinuing these tickets, a temporary website conversion issue, or a new requirement for these options to be purchased on site rather than online. If we receive more information on this, we'll let you know.

…The latest Limited Time Magic promotion has been announced. From today through this coming Sunday, Epcot's Canada pavilion will be home to some of Disney's "snow"-making machines, as it will turn into Winter Wonderland for the week. The "snow" will fly at a new character greeting location that will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. and again from 3:05 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. As always, information can be found on the Disney Parks Blog, on the Limited Time Magic website, on Twitter using hashtag #LimitedTimeMagic, and right here in the weekly Walt Disney World Resort Update.

…As part of the shift to MyMagic+, Disney has increased the window for online resort check-in from 10 days to 60 days.

The Disney Vacation Club villas building under construction at Disney's Grand Floridian now boasts a roof structure. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The DVC kiosk in Canada has finally been completed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

These small totem icons emit different animal/nature sounds when activated. They are intended to keep children occupied while adults are inquiring about DVC. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

…Disney has introduced a new Discover Disney ticket for Florida residents. The three-day version costs $119 plus tax ($126.74), while the four-day pass costs $129 plus tax (137.39). Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More Options can be added for $28.50 plus tax ($30.35) each, or $57 plus tax ($60.71) for both. Ticket pricing is for all guests age 3 and older. There is no separate child pricing due to the already-steep discount. Tickets may be purchased from now through June 3, and may be used to enter the parks through June 7 with the exception of Easter peak from March 23 through April 5. Proof of Florida residency is required for each adult age 18 and older. For more information and to purchase these tickets online, please visit the special discount web page.

…The latest discount from La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil offers 35 percent discounts on Category 3 tickets to Florida emergency first responders. Discounted tickets are $48.75 plus tax ($51.92) for adults and $39.00 plus tax (41.54), and become available starting Thursday for shows January 29 through March 9. Florida residents can also purchase category 2 tickets at 25 percent off, with adult tickets costing $69.75 plus tax (74.28) and child tickets running $55.50 plus tax (59.11). More information and ticket purchasing are available at the the show's website, or by phone at 407-WDW-SEAT (407-939-7328).

…We are hearing that the Tomorrowland Terrace will open for breakfast during the closure of the Main Street Bakery as it is remade into a Starbucks location.

A new snack kiosk at Epcot now stands close to pin trading station in the center of Future World. While looking better than the amalgamation of snack carts previously, it is not always utilized. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

…Registration for the featured events of the February 22–24, fifth annual Princess Half Marathon Weekend are full, including the individual and team Half Marathons, the Race Retreat, the Pasta in the Park Party and the ChEAR Squad Platinum Package. The Royal Family 5K is 64 percent full, the post-5K breakfast is 84 percent full, and the runDisney Kids Races are 74 percent full (dashes sold out, Mickey Mile 51 percent full). ChEAR Squad is 76 percent full overall, with ChEAR Squad Gold 75 percent full and Silver less than 50 percent full.

…Registration is now open for the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge. The Challenge is now 51 percent full. Individual registration starts at $105 per person and team registration start at $210 per two-person team. On January 30, those prices go up to $115 and $225 respectively, and they go up again on March 21 to $125 and $240, respectively. The related runDisney Kids Races for kids ages 4 to 10 has a $20 registration cost. Post-race party tickets start at $49 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $25 for kids (ages 3-9). Those prices go up to $59 and $30 on March 21.

…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."

Crowds will start off light and build as the weekend approaches. 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, January 15, 2013 4 / 10
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 4 / 10
Thursday, January 17, 2013 5 / 10
Friday, January 18, 2013 5 / 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, Wednesday and Sunday are the best days to visit the Magic Kingdom.
  • The resort crowd level on Saturday and Sunday is 6 and 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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Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.

Coming up

  • January 18–20: UCA/UDA College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship.
  • February 2–3: UDA National Dance Team Championship.
  • February 9–10: UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship.
  • February 15–18: Twirl Mania.
  • February 22–24: Disney's Princess Half Marathon.
  • March 1–3: Contest of Champions Nationals.
  • March 6 to May 19: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
  • March 9–10: UCA/UDA International All Star Championship.
  • March 16–17: AmeriCheer / AmeriDance International Championships.
  • April 27–28: Cheerleading and Dance Worlds.
  • May 4: Expedition Everest Challenge.
  • May 17–June 9: Star Wars Weekends.
  • September 6–7: Night of Joy.

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.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment February 1–7.
  • Princess Fairytale Hall – opens 2013.
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.


  • Boulangerie Patisserie – has reopened in its new location.
  • Fountain View Cafe – closed March through mid-summer for conversion to Starbucks location.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Disney Junior - Live on Stage – closed January 14 - February 14 for replacement of Handy Manny and Little Einsteins with Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins.

Animal Kingdom

  • Kali River Rapids – closed January 6 through February 15 for refurbishment.


  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas – Uzima Springs Pool slide closed January 14-February 8 for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort – California Grill closed February 1 through late summer for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Bay Lake Tower Resort – Bay Cove Pool slide closed February 4-15 for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort – Stormalong Bay Pool slide closed January 16-25 for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort – Stormalong Bay kiddie pool slide closed February 1-12 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 Old Key West Resort – sand castle pool slide closed January 24 through February 15 for refurbishment.
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – High Rock Springs Pool slide closed January 15-February 8 for refurbishment.

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:
    • January 15-19;
    • 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, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, and standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts range from 20 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 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.

25 percent discounts 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 at Disney's Art of Animation Resort, family suites only. Standard rooms in the Little Mermaid-themed section are excluded. Also excluded are Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, All-Star Music Resort, 3-bedroom Grand Villas, and Fort Wilderness campsites.

If you add minimum 4-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 by calling (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).

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 over 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 will be 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 may 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, 2013. Blockout dates are December 24 to 31, 2012 and March 24 through April 4, 2013 at all ticketed locations, and July 4, 2013 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 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.

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, 2013, except for November 24, 2012, December 23–31, 2012, and 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 stan4d_steph

    The new bakery is really fantastic. The ham, cheese, and butter on baguette that I had was very much like the sandwiches I had in France. Not all items in the cases are clearly labeled with what's inside, as is true of many bakeries/pastry shops, so don't be afraid to ask the cast members if you are wondering. I highly recommend the pain au chocolat. Just the right amount of buttery, chocolatey goodness.

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