Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for January 28 – February 3, 2013

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

News and Views

MagicBands and MyMagic+ draw scrutiny from U.S. Congressman | No Expiration option still available but hidden | Is interactive gaming taking over Disney Parks? | Flower & Garden Festival to get some aspects from Food & Wine Fest as well | Limited Time Market Research | A Personal Appeal, Year Eight: Mark's March of Dimes Donation Matching Challenge Returns! | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd Update

MagicBands and MyMagic+ draw scrutiny from U.S. Congressman

In a letter to Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger dated last Thursday, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) cited a January 7 New York Times article about MyMagic+ and MagicBands in requesting details about the data collection, storage, and usage from the new program. Markey is the co-chairman of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus.

In the letter, Markey asks Iger to provide written responses to seven questions (four with sub-parts) by February 14. Based upon information already provided by Disney about the program, including in a January 7 post on the Disney Parks Blog by Disney Parks Chairman Tom Staggs and Disney's published privacy policy, here is our best understanding of where Disney stands in relation to Markey's questions:

1. Will Disney guests be required to use MagicBand? Please explain.

a. For guests that use MagicBand, will those guests be given an option to decide whether to share personal information with your company? If no, why not?

i. If yes, will consumers be given a choice to opt-in to information sharing or opt-out from information sharing? Please explain how and when guests will be given this choice.

ii. If yes, will you give consumers a choice about what types of information guests will share with your company (the Times article describes MagicBand users as selecting certain "settings")? If yes, please list those types of information (e.g., geolocation, items purchased, attractions visited, etc.).

iii. Are there any types of information that consumers must share with your company if they use MagicBand?

b. If a guest chooses not to use MagicBand, what disadvantages, if any, will that guest experience while visiting a Disney park (i.e., longer waits for attractions, etc.)

Since the MagicBand will not be issued automatically to all guests, but only those staying at Disney resorts, Annual Passholders, and those purchasing PhotoPass packages, it is certainly reasonable that those staying on property that do not want to use a MagicBand could be issued a standard RFID-enabled key card. In a reply to a question in the comments of Stagg's Disney Parks Blog post, Staggs writes:

"Ensuring the security of our guest’s information is obviously very important to us and no one is more focused on this than we are. Everything is opt in and guests will have the opportunity to choose what information they share with us. Nothing is more important to us than protecting that information. Guests should also know that the band does not store personal information."

If guests are to use their MagicBand for room charges and/or room key, the card would need to be linked to information on file at their Disney resort.

2. What information do you plan to collect from Disney guests who wear MagicBands, including but not limited to geolocation, items purchased, and attractions visited?

a. Does the information you collect depend on the age of the guest? If no, why not? If yes, please explain what policies will apply to specific age groups.

It is likely that Disney will consider this a trade secret and attempt to limiting their answer due to a desire to keep their strategy from being studied by competitors.

3. Will Disney analyze this data using predictive analytics and other measures to help create profiles of guests? If yes, what other data variables of guests may be included in profiles are created? If yes, will Disney create profiles for all guests, including kids and teens? Please explain.

It's a good bet that Disney will analyze the data, but less likely that it will analyze individual information instead of looking at the aggregate information. With millions of data points each day, it would become a logistical nightmare to analyze all of the data to come up with individual profiles.

4. Does your company plan to use the information collected from MagicBands to target advertisements and marketing at guests? If yes, please explain the ways in which you plan to target advertisements and marketing, including but not limited to geolocation targeting on mobile devices.

a. If yes, do you plan to target advertisements at kids 12 and under? If yes, please explain the ways in which you plan to target advertisements at children.

b. If yes, do you plan to target advertisements at teens? If yes, please explain the ways in which you plan to target advertisements at teens.

c. If yes, do you plen to target advertisements or marketing at guests only when they are inside of Disney parks? If no, please list the other places where your company plans to target advertisements or marketing at guests. If no, what kinds of products may be promoted if such marketing occurs?

The purposes of data collection, as listed in the privacy policy, include:

  • Providing you with the products and services you request
  • Communicating with you about your account or transactions with us and send you information about features on our sites and applications or changes to our policies
  • Being consistent with local law and choices and controls that may be available to you:
  • Sending you offers and promotions for our products and services or third-party products and services
  • Personalizing content and experiences on our sites and applications
  • Providing you with advertising based on your activity on our sites and applications and on third-party sites and applications. To learn more about how we use your information for personalization and tracking, please visit Online Tracking and Advertising.
  • Optimizing or improving our products, services and operations
  • Detecting, investigating, and preventing activities that may violate our policies or be illegal

In addition, a prepared comment shared with news media notes:

"MyMagic+ is a completely optional program. Disney’s privacy policies and practices are fully transparent, and guests can choose whether or not to participate in MyMagic+. In addition, guests control whether their personal information is used for promotional purposes and no data collected is ever used to market to children. MyMagic+ is designed to make their visit to Walt Disney World more personalized, seamless and customized than ever before."

5. Does your company plan to market, sell, or otherwise disclose personal information or profiles about its guests to other companies? If yes, please explain.

Disney's privacy policy pretty much restricts sharing of data with other companies unless it's necessary to to provide the services requested.

6. Does your company plan to share the information it collects about its visitors with Disney affiliates, such as the Disney Channel or Disney Family.com? If yes, for what purposes do you plan to share that information (e.g., for targeted advertising puposes or marketing)? If yes, please list the affiliates with which you plan to share this information.

According to Disney's privacy policy, sharing of data with other affiliates has similar restrictions to sharing with other companies.

7. How long does your company plan to use or store information collected about its guests from MagicBands?

a. Does your company have procedures in place to minimize the information it stores about guests?

b. What procedures does your company employ to ensure deletion of information?

c. Are consumers given reasonable access to review and delete this data?

Disney's privacy policy states: "We provide you the ability to exercise certain controls and choices regarding our collection, use and sharing of your information. In accordance with local law, your controls and choices may include:

  • You may correct, update and delete your registration account
  • You may change your choices for subscriptions, newsletters and alerts
  • You may choose whether to receive from us offers and promotions for our products and services, or products and services that we think may be of interest to you
  • You may choose whether we share your personal information with other companies so they can send you offers and promotions about their products and services
  • You may choose whether to receive targeted advertising from many ad networks, data exchanges, marketing analytics and other service providers here
  • You may request access to the personal information we hold about you and that we amend or delete it and we request third parties with whom we have shared the information do the same
  • You may exercise your controls and choices, or request access to your personal information, by visiting Communication Choices, contacting Guest Services, or following instructions provided in communications sent to you. Please be aware that, if you do not allow us to collect personal information from you, we may not be able to deliver certain products and services to you, and some of our services may not be able to take account of your interests and preferences. If you have questions regarding the specific personal information about you that we process or retain, please contact Guest Services.

So it appears that, while the Senator's concerns are certainly reasonable and relevant, Disney has already put restrictions in place to keep the system safe and secure.

No Expiration option still available but hidden

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that the No Expiration Option was no longer available for online ticket purchases. It appears that the option is still available, but only when purchasing in person. It's likely the first step toward discontinuing entirely, as the option will create difficulties when implementing the new MyMagic+ system.

Just like "Limited Time Magic," Disney's system works best with limited-time passes. Once the lifespan of a pass is over, the data can be purged from the active system to provide faster response for currently active passes. In addition, with Disney's emphasis on guests staying on-site using all-inclusive or admission-included packages to gain maximum efficiency, having a single MagicBand wristband able to be used for hotel room access, all park admission, and resort-wide payments and then deactivating it once the guest leaves would be the most effective way to use the system. Even if the guest didn't use all of their entitlements, the pass would no longer be valid 15 days after first use. With a No Expiration pass, if a guest did not use every entitlement and then never used the pass again, Disney would need to keep that pass' information in the system indefinitely. Even annual passes have an expiration date and can be archived.

We'll have to wait and see whether the No Expiration Option eventually disappears or if it will remain available for those who know that it's out there.

The rockwork near the new Fantasyland "Tangled" restrooms is completed, and even touched up with green mold/moss. The bridge in front of it is also complete. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Meanwhile, most of the exterior of the restrooms has been completed, and is just awaiting the remainder of the rock/paving to be completed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Despite the fact that Mandy Moore provided the character's voice in "Tangled," Taylor Swift appears as Rapunzel in the latest Disney Parks character image from Annie Leibovitz, with the tagline "Where a world of adventure awaits." Image © Disney.

The steeple of the American Adventure is undergoing refurbishment. Many rehabs are under way during the off-season. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Habit Heroes has reopened under an extensive retooling. New characters and a new storyline have been created. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

In this activity, the same technology is used but the cariactures/stereotypes of individuals and their bad habits has been removed. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

In this new context, individuals work in team activities to beat bad habits. 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.

Is interactive gaming taking over Disney Parks?

Had enough of interactive adventures in the parks? No? Then you're in luck. On the heels of the Agent P World Showcase Adventure (formerly the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure) at Epcot, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, and the recently announced Wilderness Explorers game at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney has announced a second game for the Magic Kingdom park.

Starting this spring, guests can experience A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas in the park's Adventureland. Guests will use a pirate map and "magic talisman" (likely a MagicBand from the MyMagic+ initiative) to help Captain Jack Sparrow complete five tasks around the land. Each "pirate raid" locates the Treasures of the Seven Seas and fight off attacks by foes such as Captain Barbossa and the Royal Navy. Those who complete all five "raids" will be welcomed into Captain Jack's crew. Concept artwork (below) appears to show guests using wristbands to interact with pirate skulls throughout the land to activate various effects.

This concept art shows guests interacting with pirate skulls throughout Adventureland to take part in various "pirate raids." Image © Disney.

What's your opinion on all of the interactive adventures around the parks? Are you excited by all of the new technology to make the park itself more interactive? Are you saddened by the disruption of once-serene views? Do you not care about it as long as it keeps lots of people out of the lines for attractions? Let us know in the comments below!

Flower & Garden Festival to get some aspects from Food & Wine Fest as well

Kiosks featuring special culinary creations from around the world at Epcot in the spring? Has the Festival schedule swapped Flower & Garden and Food & Wine? Nope. It's sort of a blending of the two as a dozen Garden Marketplace kiosks will feature specialty items during the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, March 6 through May 19.

Marketplaces will include Smokehouse Barbecue and Brew at the American Adventure courtyard, Florida Fresh, Primavera Kitchen (Italy), Hanami (Japan), Fruits by the Glass, Pineapple Promenade, and more. There will be various alcoholic and non-alcoholic specialty beverages, including the intriguing Dole Whip with Spiced Rum. Food selections include shrimp with grits and Zellwood corn and "frushi" made of fresh fruits and coconut rice.

With Oz: The Great and Powerful being released two days after the start of the festival, on March 8, it's not a surprise that the movie will be featured at the interactive children's play zone along the Rose Walk (between the Imagination pavilion and World Showcase)? The circus-like play area will feature midway-style games, red-and-white circus-themed tents, an "Oz Movie Garden" of interesting plants, and Oz's crashed hot air balloon, as well as a special photo opportunity.

The "Oz" play zone appears to be the basic play structure usually used for the festival, with some minor paint and theming changes. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The circus-themed midway tents await the installation of their activities. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Also new this year are illuminated gardens in Future World and World Showcase, which will twinkle and glow each evening.

The main entrance topiary will feature the "Fab Six" having a cookout. Mickey Mouse is cooking at the barbecue while Pluto snatches a hot dog. Minnie Mouse relaxes on a a blanket while Donald Duck and Daisy Duck play badminton. A 14-foot-tall Goofy topiary completes the scene, trying to balance an anniversary cake for the Festival's 20th.

Other featured topiaries include a new display featuring Monsters University along the main causeway between Future World and World Showcase, new locations for two previously-seen displays: Phineas and Ferb will be behind Spaceship Earth this year, and Lightning McQueen and Mater will be located on the walkway to Test Track.

The butterfly house will be themed to Pixie Hollow this year and called Tinker Bell's Butterfly House. Tink, Fawn, Vidia, Terrence and four other fairies will be represented in topiary form, located along the Rose Walk.

Of course, the festival will also feature daily gardening seminars, and other sessions at the Festival Center. And what Flower & Garden Festival would be complete without appearances by HGTV and DIY Network stars and the Flower Power concert series? Here are this year's lineups:

The Designers' Stage Presented by HGTV at the Festival Center will feature TV stars each Friday through Sunday of the festival and noon and 3 p.m.:

  • March 8-10 – Chris Lambton, Going Yard (new)
  • March 15-17 – Chris Grundy, DIY Network’s Cool Tools (new)
  • March 22-24 – Egypt Sherrod, host of Property Virgins (new)
  • March 29-31 – Brandon Johnson, My Yard Goes Disney
  • April 5-7 – Meg Caswell, Meg’s Great Rooms
  • April 12-14 – Jason Cameron, DIY Network’s Desperate Landscapes and Man Caves
  • April 19-21 – Sara Peterson, Editor-in-Chief, HGTV Magazine (new)
  • April 26-28 – Carter Oosterhouse, Million Dollar Rooms
  • May 3-5 – Casey Noble, Design on a Dime (new)
  • May 10-12 – Dan Faires, HGTV.com, DanMade
  • May 17-19 – David Bromstad, HGTV Design Star, ColorSplash, Design Star All-Stars (new)

The Flower Power features three performances nightly at the America Gardens Theater every Friday through Sunday of the festival:

  • March 8-10 – Micky Dolenz
  • March 15-17 – Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
  • March 22-24 – The Guess Who
  • March 29-31 – Nelson
  • April 5-7 – The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie
  • April 12-14 – Paul Revere & the Raiders
  • April 19-21 – The Village People (new)
  • April 26-28 – The Orchestra, Featuring Former Members of ELO and ELO II
  • May 3-5 – Tommy Roe (new)
  • May 10-12 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
  • May 17-19 – Starship starring Mickey Thomas.

All activities are included with park admission. For more information, check out the festival website.

Gasparilla Grill has recently been remodeled at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The food ordering and pickup area has been updated. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The new zero entry pool at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort is still very much under construction. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The entire beach area at Disney's Grand Floridian has been walled off as construction continues on the Disney Vacation Club villa building. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Limited Time Market Research

When Disney Parks first announced the Limited Time Magic promotion, we speculated that it could serve as a "giant market research experiment." Apparently, it will also give guests a chance to provide market research data on merchandise as well as promotions. This week's Limited Time Magic "experience" is the opportunity to vote on which graphic design Disney should use for its 2014 dated merchandise campaign. The winning design will be announced later this year and used on all sorts of merchandise next year. You can access the poll on the Disney Parks Blog through this Thursday.

As always, you can find out the latest Limited Time Magic promotions on the Disney Parks Blog, at the Limited Time Magic website, via Twitter hashtag #LimitedTimeMagic, or here in the weekly Update.

As part of Limited Time Magic, seldom seen Disney characters appeared in Town Square at the Magic Kingdom last week. Pictured are (l. to r.) two of the Three Little Pigs, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, Gepetto and Horace Horsecollar. Others in these units included The Big Bad Wolf and Clarabelle Cow. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Prince John meet with guests. The Sheriff has replaced Little John from this unit's original appearance, probably due to Little John's resemblance to Baloo. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Ludwig von Drake and Scrooge McDuck greet guests. In speaking with a close friend who was with Disney entertainment for some 27 years, neither of us can remember when Ludwig ever made an appearance, or when we have ever seen a costume. 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 the worthy charity over the last seven years. This year, my goal is to raise another $4,000. This year, 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.

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!

One year ago, construction cranes started work on changing the volcano at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

One year later, there is a new volcano, but the construction is still incomplete. 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:
    • Lunching Pad – construction.
    • Main Street buildings MO2 and MO3 – construction.
    • Mickey's PhilharMagic – construction.
    • Mad Tea Party – refurbishment.
    • Pirates Interactive Experience – experience development - PIRIM AV/SC package.
    • Splash Mountain – electrical.
    • Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor – construction.
    • Tomorrowland Speedway – construction.
  • Epcot:
    • International Gateway – construction.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios:
    • construction.
    • Toy Story Midway Mania – construction.
    • Voyage of the Little Mermaid – construction.
    • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show – wall rehab.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom:
    • Kilimanjaro Safaris – construction.
  • Blizzard Beach:
    • construction.
    • Tikes Peak – repairs.
  • Disney's Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts – monorail entrance gate upgrades.
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort main building – mechanical.
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort – chilled water piping repair.
  • Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort all guest room buildings – mechanical.
  • Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Ol' Man Island – mechanical for heater replacement.
  • Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort all buildings – finishes.
  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort – finishes.
  • Hilton at Walt Disney World (Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotel) – pool deck renovations.

A connecting point in the two queues at Pirates of the Caribbean was created earlier in the refurbishment cycle. Now, while the right queue is down for the addition of interactive props and theming, the left queue can now divide at the end and handle both boat docks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Quick takes …

…Will you be at Walt Disney World for Princess Half Marathon weekend, February 22–24? 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. 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 Stephanie Wien, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, and Lani Teshima.

…The 2013 Moms Panel kicked off with 19 new members and a new name: The Disney Parks Moms Panel. With the expansion of the panel to cover Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, and Adventures by Disney, it was only a matter of time before the name changed. This year's new members include two Team Sports Moms for the first time, to address youth sports-related travel, which apparently has been an unfilled void for questions recently. The new panel members come from all over America, as well as panelists representing Mexico and Canada.

…World Drive between Seven Seas Drive (the turn-off for the Polynesian and Grand Floridian Resorts) and the Contemporary Resort will be closed for paving overnights tonight through this Thursday night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Please be careful and follow posted detours.

…"LIVE with Kelly and Michael" will tape four shows from Town Square at the Magic Kingdom on February 18 and 19. Tickets for the tapings are available from the Live with Kelly and Michael website. And please, no comments about how a show called "Live" is taping their shows. It's not our show.

…The Disney Cruise Line outclassed the field in this year's Conde Nast Readers Poll for the Top 100 Cruise Ships, with DCL ships taking the top three spots and four of the top eight positions in the Large Ships competition. The Disney Magic took the top spot, with its sister ship the Disney Wonder coming in a close second. Right behind was the Disney Dream, and the Disney Fantasy came in at the number eight spot.

The new Four Seasons resort appears to have topped out its structure. 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 81 percent full, the post-5K breakfast is 84 percent full, and the runDisney Kids Races are 82 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 58 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.

…Registration opens for the 2013 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend on February 12.

…Registration opens for the 2013 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend on March 12.

…Registration opens for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 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."

The wonderfully low off season crowds continue this week. Except for Sunday. Something big happens on that day... Super something? Anyway, 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 29, 2013 3 / 10
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 2 / 10
Thursday, January 31, 2013 3 / 10
Friday, February 1, 2013 6 / 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 and Friday are the best days to visit the Magic Kingdom.
  • The resort crowd level on Sunday is 5 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.
  • The Barnstormer Starring Goofy as The Great Goofini – closed for refurbishment January 29–30.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment February 1–7.
  • 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

  • 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 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.
  • 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, 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.

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, 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 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).

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 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 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. 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 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, 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 spectromen

    I'm assuming the 27-year Entertainment cast member works at WDW, because Ludwig was prominently featured in the World According to Goofy Parade only 21 years ago at Disneyland.

  2. By mckat

    Strong reply back to Senator by Iger- he was not in his happy place


  3. Discuss this article on MousePad.