Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for February 4 – 10, 2013
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions | Comments
Limited Time Super Bowl Magic to feature MVP Joe Flacco today | Details released for "True Love Week" | Iger blasts Markey in response | Another attraction hits the screen | Imagineer Tony Baxter retires, to become consultant | A Personal Appeal, Year Eight: Mark's March of Dimes Donation Matching Challenge Returns! | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd Update
This week's Limited Time Magic celebration includes an extra-limited time component, with a football-themed pre-parade running before the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade from last Friday through yesterday, featuring Football Star Goofy, cheerleaders, Referees Chip and Dale, and local youth football champions. Today, there will be a special ticker-tape parade down Main Street, U.S.A. featuring Joe Flacco of the Super Bowl XLVII Champion Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens held on in a blackout-delayed game to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 34 to 31.
The remaining portion of the celebration is "Souper Bowls" of bisque representing the two teams, being offered February 1–9 at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. San Francisco is represented by Tomato Basil Bisque, while Baltimore is represented by Lobster Bisque.
The facade of the Hall of Champions sportswear shop on Main Street U.S.A. is under construction. Across the street is the Main Street Bakery, itself is under construction to become a new Starbucks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Disney has announced details for one of the previously announced Limited Time Magic events. True Love Week, which takes place February 11–17 at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts. The event extends the celebration of Valentine's Day to a whole week of romance-themed events, meals, merchandise, and more.
Cinderella Castle's evening color lighting in pink, red, lavender, and blue will be themed and synced to a musical medley. "True Love" banners, heart-shaped signage, and sweetheart- themed decorations will fill the Magic Kingdom.
Special photo locations will be set up, including Cinderella's glass coach by the new Castle Courtyard wall, hearts and flowers decorating Cinderella's wishing well, and special decor in the Rose Garden. Disney princes will join their princesses at character greeting locations, including Prince Phillip, Flynn Rider, and Prince Naveen. Even Bert joins Mary Poppins.
Artist Point, The Wave…of American Flavors, Hollywood Brown Derby, and Yachtsman Steakhouse are offering specially created prix fix dinner menus for two.
Limited-edition Valentine-themed pins, plushes, new apparel, and Vinylmations will be available in select locations.
Disney is also using the week to promote many of its services, including the Disney Florist; Senses, a Disney Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort; and Disney Weddings.
Similar in-park offerings will appear at Disneyland Park the same week for their Limited Time Magic of the week.
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.
Last week, we reported about a letter to Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Robert Iger from Congressman Edward Markey (D–Massachusetts) related to privacy concerns with Disney's MyMagic+ program. We took a quick look at Disney's policies online, analyzed them in relation to Markey's questions, and noted 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."
Iger, however, took a more combative stance in his response to Markey. In a letter last Monday, Iger was indignant. "We are offended by the ludicrous and utterly ill-informed assertion in your letter dated January 24, 2013, that we would in any way haphazardly or recklessly introduce a program that manipulates children, or wantonly puts their safety at risk."
Iger continued: "It is truly unfortunate and extremely disappointing that you chose to publicly attack us before taking the time to review our policies and/or contact us for information, which would have obviated the need for your letter. Had you or your staff made the slightest effort, you would have found most of the answers to your questions already existing and were publicly available online at http://corporate.disney.go.com/corporate/pp.html and https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/my-disney-experience/privacy-policy/."
While the response may seem a little out of character for Iger, it should be noted that Disney's Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer is Zenia Mucha, former communications director for both former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) and former New York Governor George Pataki. Mucha is well-versed in the back-and-forth posturing of politicians and likely determined that it was the most appropriate response for the company.
We'll have to wait to see whether there's any follow-up on either side or if the matter is put to rest.
Send us your menu photos
Click on the "Dining" section from our Walt Disney World Guide to see our complete list of of the park restaurant menus from Walt Disney World. Please help us keep the menus up to date! Send photos or scans of park menus to firstname.lastname@example.org to help us keep our listings updated.
"Hang on to them hats and glasses, 'cause this here's the wildest ride in … prime time"?
Disney's ABC television network has given the go-ahead for production on a pilot for a series called Big Thunder Mountain, based on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad theme park attraction. The pilot will be written by Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift) and executive produced by Chris Morgan (The Troop).
The quick pitch for the show goes: "When a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful, but mysterious tycoon, they quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems." While the Disneyland Paris version of the iconic attraction has a backstory featuring mining mogul Henry Ravenswood, the series will more likely be related to the new interactive theming being installed at Walt Disney World, featuring Barnabas T. Bullion.
What will the show actually be like? We'll have to wait to see if and when the pilot is actually completed.
Construction wall are finally down from around the former Crows Nest. It's believed that it will now serve as part of the new interactive A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas game. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
This interactive cannon points across the river at a treasure chest below the Swiss Family Treehouse. The cannon appears to have holes on the business end for an interactive element in the Pirates game. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
It appears that the former Adventureland Veranda is being divided into half, with one portion dedicated for Tinkerbell and her Pixie Hollow friends and the other perhaps being dedicated to the interactive Pirates experience. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Last Friday, Senior Vice President of Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering Tony Baxter announced his retirement after a 47-year career with Disney. While most closely associated with Disneyland Park, Baxter has had his impact on Walt Disney World as well. While working with Marc Davis on redesigning Thunder Mesa for Walt Disney World, Baxter's runaway mine train was selected as the only portion to move forward, which became Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. He was behind the creation of Splash Mountain, and—uniquely to Walt Disney World—Baxter was one of the creative forces behind the original Journey Into Imagination pavilion.
Baxter's letter of resignation is a classy exit for the longtime Imagineer, giving a close look at his philosophy of Imagineering and mapping his transition to an ad hoc consulting role. "No company is perfect, and like any other corporation Disney has its own politics and challenges," writes Baxter. "We are artists, engineers, managers, filmmakers and musicians. But our company is unique; there is no place like it on earth. We are lucky. At the end of the day, it is my hope that this letter will add to the special culture that I have been privileged to grow in."
We here at MousePlanet thank him for all he's done at Walt Disney Imagineering and wish him much happiness in the next phase of his life.
These signs suggest many ways in which Barnabas T. Bullion is going to give his employees the raw end of the deal—or in this case, perhaps the dynamite stick. Bullion's portrait (which bears a striking resemblance to newly-retired Imagineer Tony Baxter) has not yet been hung in the queue. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
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. 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!
Freddy's sweater from Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge is also on display at The Great Movie Ride. The first film had a sweater with solid sleeves. This shirt was introduced afterwards and remained thereafter as Freddy's trademark shirt. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
One of the first Disney Story Maker props to be installed at Walt Disney World is this mirror at Muppet Vision 3D. The interactive Story Maker experience will be different in that it will extend throughout all four theme parks. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Ferry Boat – marquee removal.
- front entrance – electrical rehab.
- Aladdin – canopy.
- Columbia Harbour House – menu shrouds.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – show set.
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
- Legends of Hollywood – electrical.
Disney's Animal Kingdom:
- Festival of the Lion King – Fastpass+ site work.
- Finding Nemo - The Musical – Fastpass+ site work.
- Dino Institute Gift Shop – electrical.
- Serka Zong Bazaar – electrical.
- Garden Gate Gifts – electrical.
- Disney Outfitters – electrical.
- handrail projects – general construction.
- Tike's Peak – repairs.
- Disney's Contemporary Resort – new fan, electrical.
- Disney's Art of Animation Resort – demolition of sheet metal ducts in three pool buildings (Nemo, Cars, Mermaid), installation of new sheet metal.
…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 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 Stephanie Wien, Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, and Lani Teshima.
…The Downtown Disney Marketplace bus station is closed for repaving, making the only stop near Planet Hollywood at Downtown Disney. The Marketplace stop should be back in business on February 25.
…Disney Transportation is beginning a transition to a new bus design and color scheme. The buses sport reflective vinyl patterns to be more visible at night. For a look at the design in both day and night, take a look at the photo tweeted by Disney's Gary Buchanan.
…Today is the third day in the last four that Typhoon Lagoon is closed due to low temperatures.
…If you'd like to try all three flavors of the new "Doofenslurper" drink at Epcot, you won't be able to get all three in the same spot. The three drinks named for Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb, topped with passion fruit sorbet foam and served in a souvenir plastic beaker (actually, if you want to be accurate, it's an Erlenmeyer flask) are available in three locations. The frozen blue raspberry drink is only available at Fife and Drum at the American Adventure, frozen strawberry is available at both Fife and Drum and Cool Post at the Africa Outpost area, and frozen lemonade is available at both Cool Post and Promenade Refreshment. If the $8.99 price tag is too high but the beverage sounds interesting, you can get just the slushy drink for $3.99, but in a plain cup and without the passion fruit sorbet foam.
…Long-time Walt Disney World exec George Aguel has been named President and CEO of the Visit Orlando tourism marketing organization. Aguel, a 35-year Disney veteran, has served as senior vice president of Worldwide Sales and Services for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and senior vice president of Global Corporate Alliances and Operating Participants. He's been frequently honored for his skill and accomplishments at promoting travel and convention services. In his Disney role, he served as chairman of Visit Orlando in 2009 and 2010.
…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 93 percent full, the post-5K breakfast is 98 percent full, and the runDisney Kids Races are 91 percent full (dashes sold out, Mickey Mile 72 percent full). ChEAR Squad is 91 percent full overall, with ChEAR Squad Gold 89 percent full and Silver 79 percent full.
…Registration is now open for the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge. The Challenge is now 85 percent full. Individual registration is now at $115 per person and team registration start at $225 per two-person team. On March 21, those prices go up 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 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) on February 12.
…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 information and forecasts are provided by TouringPlans.com, the website of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, to help you better plan your trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. TouringPlans.com gathers wait time data from a team of in-park researchers and users of their Lines mobile phone application, and then predicts crowd levels for the next 365 days. Using a scale from 1 to 10, TouringPlans.com has a 90 percent accuracy of predicting the crowds to within 1 point, helping visitors prepare for their trips so they can "Do more. Wait less."
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Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.
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- 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.
- September 27 to November 10: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
- October 4–5: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend.
- November 8–9: Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.
- January 9–12: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
- 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.
- Fountain View Cafe – closed March through mid-summer for conversion to Starbucks location.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.