Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for March 4 – March 10, 2013
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Walt Disney World publishes new guidemap and Times Guide designs | Limited Time Magic running out of ideas? | A Personal Appeal, Year Eight | Disney Cruise Line has strong showing at Cruise Critic Awards | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd Update
Walt Disney World debuted completely reworked guidemaps and Times Guides yesterday. The guidemaps now feature maps that resemble the maps found in the My Disney Experience mobile application for iOS and Android smartphones, with top-down maps instead of modified perspective, and with all parks oriented with north at the top of the map. This means that, on the Epcot map, Innoventions East is finally on the right side and Innoventions West is on the left, no longer confusing those just learning geography.
- The maps – now feature the park maps on the left inside of the maps, taking up a third to half of the sheet, with the legend on the right. The maps also feature small logos and text ads for My Disney Experience and for the availability of free Wi-Fi.
The outside pages of the maps now have:
- A small ad for My Disney Experience on the front cover (along with a QR code for fast downloading)
- An inner fold with park-specific features (formerly in bubbles on the map) on top
- An ad for My Disney Experience on the bottom; an updated Tips and Information page that now includes information about specific shops within the park, dining reservations, and the "Mickey Check,"
- A Leaving the Park section with information on how to use Disney transportation to get to all other Disney parks and hotels
- The back cover – now sports a new format shrinking the (now park-specific) PhotoPass ad to provide room for Disney Vacation Club and Disney Visa ads below it.
The new guidemaps are available for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney Water Parks, Downtown Disney, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports. You can see the new look at Paul Chadkin's Disney Maps website.
Times Guides have also received a makeover, with their appearance altered to match the new guidemaps for each location. In addition, each section has now been alphabetized (with some exceptions). The character greetings and entertainment schedule at Epcot, for example, feature Future World entries alphabetized, followed by World Showcase entries in order of the pavilions around the World Showcase Lagoon. Oddly, the character greetings are listed clockwise around the lagoon, while show times are listed counterclockwise. See the new Times Guide designs at Paul Chadkin's Disney Maps website.
Pirates queue update
Both sides of the queue at Pirates of the Caribbean are now open. It appears that the majority of the work was to shift some of the queue space from one line to the other in preparation for altering the usage of the queues for Fastpass+.
The entire queue for Pirates of the Caribbean has re-opened. There is no sign of an interactive queue at this time. The left-hand "dungeon" queue has become much longer, for use as a standby queue. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The return of the Golden Horseshoe Revue at Disneyland back in January gave some high hopes for Disney Parks' Limited Time Magic promotion. However, lately there's been a decidedly ho-hum response to many of the weekly promotions, with many starting to question whether there will be any other "big news" promotions coming up.
This week illustrates that point. This week's three—"count 'em, three!"—Limited Time promotions are:
- "Announcement of next year's dated merchandise art logo!"
- "Debuting a new line of theme park-exclusive, character inspired cosmetics!"
- "The spring Main Street Trolley show!"
A previous week's Limited Time Magic promotion was the opportunity to vote on which logo would be used on merchandise next year. So now it's additional Magic to find out who won.
New merchandise is rolled out all the time, sometimes with an article about it in the Disney Parks Blog. In fact, last week the blog had stories about a series of special merchandise events at Walt Disney World, new Oz the Great and Powerful-themed merchandise, and new Haunted Mansion-inspired items. It's uncertain why a new cosmetics line would be Limited Time Magic while all of the other merchandise (including the special merchandise events) are not.
Disney has had seasonal trolley shows for some time, and it's uncertain why a spring show this year would be only run for 10 days (March 3 to 12) instead of the whole spring season (or even during spring itself, which begins on March 20) other than for the ability to be called Limited Time Magic. The show is sure to be entertaining, as all trolley shows are, but its use as Limited Time Magic has many scratching their heads.
[UPDATE: Either I misread the Limited Time Magic website or it was changed after this story was published, but the Trolley show will run from March 3 to May 12, so it will not be a very short-run show, but rather the standard spring show, which begs a different question: Will all seasonal offerings now be listed as a "Limited Time Magic" promotion? Will the summer, fall, and winter Trolley shows also be Limited Time Magic? Do Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party now qualify as Limited Time Magic? Maybe Star Wars Weekends or Night of Joy? Or will it only be smaller seasonal offerings that (arguably) don't get enough attention each year? -Mark]
What are your thoughts on Limited Time Magic? Is it shaping up the way you expected it to? Did you expect more? Weigh in with your opinion in the comment section below.
Big Thunder queue update
The interactive features of the queue at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are now working, with only one expected piece missing.
Above the vault lies a romantic portrait of the Big Thunder Mountain range. The only prop that still seems to be waiting to be placed is the portrait of Barnabas T. Bullion, a tribute to now-retired Imagineer Tony Baxter. 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. Thanks to the response to my dollar-for-dollar matching challenge, you guys cost me over $700, bringing me more than halfway to my goal! We've got less than 60 days until the walk, so let's see if we can hit the $4,000 mark!
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!
Tangled-themed restroom update
The exterior work is just about done at the new restrooms in western Fantasyland, where the landscapers have now moved in to finish the area.
The new Fantasyland restrooms are nearly complete, with attention now turning to trees and landscaping. The view from the Liberty Square side shows the no-longer-draped side facade of "it's a small world." Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
This side facade of "it's a small world" has been under tarps for months. It has finally been revealed, and features new roof tiles and repainted brick that better matches the Tangled village in the restroom area. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to help us keep our listings updated.
The construction wall for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has been pushed back, revealing this new low construction area. It may be used to create a stroller parking corral for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Disney Cruise Line had a great showing in this year's CruiseCritic.com Cruisers' Choice Awards.
In the Large Ship competition, the Disney Fantasy took top honors in the Best Overall Cruise Experience category, with its sister ship the Disney Dream taking fourth. The Fantasy also took first place in Best Cabins, Entertainment, Public Rooms, and Service. The Fantasy also came in third for Dining and Embarkation and 10th for Value.
Meanwhile, the Dream took first for Shore Excursions. The Dream also followed the Fantasy in taking second for Best Cabins and Service, third for Entertainment, fourth for Public Rooms, and fifth for Embarkation.
In the Mid-Size Ships categories, the Disney Magic scored sixth overall, with individual placings in Embarkation (2nd), Service (2nd), Public Rooms (3rd), Dining (7th), and Cabins (10th). Oddly, despite the Magic's rankings, its sister ship the Disney Wonder did not appear anywhere in the Mid-Size Ships rankings.
Not surprisingly, though, Disney Cruise Line swept the combined Best for Families category for ships of all sizes, with the Fantasy, Dream, Wonder, and Magic taking the first four spots. In fact, the only category in Best Experience that Disney was shut out of was Best for Fitness.
In the Cruise Destinations categories, The Fantasy won the Best from Florida and Best Caribbean Cruises category, while the Dream won for Best Bahamas Cruises. The Magic came in fifth in Best Caribbean Cruises.
The Cruisers' Choice Awards honor the best ships chosen by cruisers. All rankings are based on Cruise Critic member review ratings for cruises taken in 2012.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train construction update
While the attraction is not set to open until early 2014, work is continuing rapidly on the last major construction for the New Fantasyland addition to the Magic Kingdom.
On the opposite side of the construction, rock and brick work is being created where the mountain meets up with "Prince Eric's village" across from the Little Mermaid attraction. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Front entrances to Emporium and Confectionary – curb removal.
- Ariel's Grotto – construction.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – construction.
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – construction.
- Mickey meet-and-greet – construction.
- "it's a small world" – construction.
- Goofy meet-and-greet – construction.
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
- Great Movie Ride – construction.
- Buzz & Woody meet-and-greet – construction.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- It's Tough to Be a Bug – construction.
- Dinosaur – electrical.
- Primeval Whirl – electrical.
- Let's Go Slurpin' – mechanical.
Downtown Disney Marketplace
- Once Upon a Toy – awning installation.
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
- Building 6 – fire sprinkler construction.
- Summerhouse – concrete deck expansion.
- Disney's Polynesian Resort building 11 – fire sprinkler construction.
- Disney's Wilderness Lodge – carpentry and electrical.
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
- Pioneer Hall – electrical.
- Meadows Trading Post – electrical.
- Disney's Yacht Club Resort – fire sprinkler construction.
- Disney's Boardwalk Resort Boardwalk Joe's – electrical.
- Disney's Old Key West Resort buildings 22 and 48 – flooring.
- Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort commercial building – electrical.
- Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort commercial building – electrical.
- Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort The Springs bus stop – concrete repair.
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
- Old Port Royale – general construction.
- Old Port Royale – electrical.
- Disney's Pop Century Resort Classic Hall – electrical.
- Disney's All-Star Music Resort Melody Hall – electrical.
…The check-in area for the Wild Africa Trek tour at Disney's Animal Kingdom has been relocated to the Kilimanjaro Safaris Fastpass distribution area. This puts the dispatch point closer to the start of the trail, and avoids guests having to play Follow The Leader between check-in and the start of the adventure. But this move is just another piece in a larger puzzle. A side benefit of the move is that it clears out the former location behind Tusker House Restaurant to make way for the construction of the future home of Festival of the Lion King, which in turn will allow ground work to begin at the current Camp Minnie-Mickey for construction of Pandora: The World of Avatar.
…We've just received word that Four 4 a Dollar will be performing at Epcot's America Gardens Theater on March 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, and 20. The popular a capella quartet performed at Disney's Hollywood Studios before the Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage show for 14 years until they were let go during the 2008 budget cuts. The group will be performing under their non-Disney name, Return2Zero. There are no specific show times yet, but if you'd like to see an old favorite (perhaps as an upcoming "Limited Time Magic" promotion), go check them out!
…The 20th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival begins Wednesday and runs through May 19. Check out the video below of the unusual promotional "topiary" that Walt Disney World used to promote the Festival.
…Typhoon Lagoon's entrances are being doubled in size to make it easier for families with strollers, wheelchairs, and beach gear to make their way into the park.
…The participating teams have been announced for the ninth annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge Presented by Disney. The game between representatives from Historically Black Colleges and Universities conferences is played annually on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium, this year on September 1. This year's representative from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) is the Florida A&M University Rattlers, who will face off against the Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). This will be MVSU's first appearance in the Challenge and FAMU's second. FAMU lost to Southern 33-27 in 2007. Last year saw the MEAC's Bethune-Cookman University defeat the SWAC's Alabama State University 38-28 for their second straight Challenge win. The MEAC leads the SWAC in the series, 6-2. MVSU will try to become only the second SWAC team to win the game, after Southern's two victories in 2007 and 2010.
…Registration is now open for the 2013 Expedition Everest Challenge. The Challenge itself is now full, but the Family Edition is still available. Also available are the runDisney Kids Races for kids ages 4 to 10 and tickets for the pre-race picnic and the post-race party.
…Registration is now open 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).
…Registration 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) opens next Tuesday, 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.
Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.
- 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–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.
- Princess Fairytale Hall – opens 2013.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.
- Fountain View Cafe – closed March through mid-summer for conversion to Starbucks location.
- No known refurbishments
- No known refurbishments.
- Disney's Contemporary Resort – California Grill closed February 1 through late summer for refurbishment.
- Disney's Boardwalk Resort – Boardwalk Bakery closed January 2 through April 1 for refurbishment.
- Disney's Boardwalk Resort – Luna Park feature pool closed January 28 through March 1 for refurbishment. The two quiet pools will remain open, and guests wishing a feature pool experience during their stay will be able to use the Stormalong Bay complex at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts during the refurbishment.
- Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Spa closed January 16 through summer for conversion to Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort.
- 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, three-bedroom Grand Villas, and standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts range from 20 percent to 35 percent and availability varies by date.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-1895 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code S6Z. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
Passholder room discounts for April through early June
A Passholder discount is available for most dates April 2 through June 3. Passholders can book this discount through the day of arrival if rooms are still available. The discount is a two-level discount, with a lower price per room if the room is booked by March 31.
As with all discounts, rooms available at these rates is limited, and minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. No group rates or other discounts apply. Suites, three-bedroom Grand Villas, and standard rooms at Disney's Art of Animation Resort are not included. Discounts vary by accommodation type and date, and availability varies by date.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World Passholder website or by calling (407) 939-7926 or your favorite travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
Room-only and Magic Your Way package discounts for February through mid-June
You can now can book room-only and Magic Your Way package reservations at select Walt Disney World resorts for 15 percent to 30 percent off of standard rates most nights from February 18 through June 14, except March 24 through April 1. You must book your reservations by March 7 for nights through March 23 and March 31 for nights through June 14.
Guests can receive 30 percent off at all Deluxe and Deluxe Villas Resorts, except for all Magic Kingdom resorts (Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Wilderness Lodge and the Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge), which offer 20 percent off, and Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, which is not available at a discount. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge only offers the discount for Standard-view rooms.
Discounts of 25 percent are available at all Moderate Resorts, including Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort, and Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort Cabins.
Guests can also get a 20 percent discount at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, and Disney's Pop Century Resort
Fifteen percent discounts can be had for family suites at Disney's Art of Animation Resort. Standard rooms in the Little Mermaid-themed section are excluded. Also excluded are Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, All-Star Music Resort, three-bedroom Grand Villas, and Fort Wilderness campsites.
If you add minimum four-day Magic Your Way tickets to your room to make it a package, you will receive discounts on both your room and tickets.
The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length-of-stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.
You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website, or call (407) 939-1283 or your favorite travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
Florida residents get special discount tickets through June
Florida residents can get discounted three- or four-day tickets through early June. The Discover Disney ticket provides three days of base admission for $119 plus tax, or four days for $129 plus tax. The Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun & More Options can be added for just $28.50 each, plus tax. The tickets are priced the same for adults and children.
Tickets are available for purchase from now through June 3, and may be used through June 7. Passes may not be used during the Easter peak weeks from March 23 through April 5.
For more information or to purchase tickets, check out the special deal website or call 407-939-1283.
PhotoPass+ pre-arrival discount
Disney's PhotoPass service provides a discount on Disney PhotoPass+ pre-arrival packages. For $149.95 plus tax, Walt Disney World guests receive a voucher to exchange for a PhotoPass+ card upon arrival at the resort, a Photo Gallery CD with more than 400 stock photos ($39.95 value), a unique code to create and order a photo CD upon return from their trip ($169.95 value), print packages at select dining locations ($29.95 value each), and digital photos from select attractions ($14.95 value each). Applicable taxes are charged to all orders.
This special offer is only available from this link or by calling the Guest Support line at (407) 560-4300 before you arrive at Walt Disney World Resort. All sales are final, and not eligible for an exchange or refund.
The package might take as long as 14 days to arrive, and you must bring your voucher from the package to redeem it, so make sure that you order far enough in advance to allow your materials to arrive.
Attractions currently participating in the program are Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Expedition Everest, and Dinosaur. Current participating restaurants are 1900 Park Fare, 'Ohana, Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, Chef Mickey's, Cinderella's Royal Table, Tusker House Restaurant, Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, and Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
2013 Military Salute offers
From now through September 28, 2013, active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with either the Park Hopper or Water Parks Fun and More option for $156 per ticket, plus tax (up from $138 last year), or with both the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options for $184 per ticket, plus tax (up from $165). No Base ticket is available with this offer.
These tickets expire after September 28. Blockout dates are March 24 through April 4 at all ticketed locations, and July 4 at Magic Kingdom park only.
Eligible service members include active or retired members of the U.S. military including the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reservists. Disney Military Promotional Tickets can be purchased at Shades of Green or at a participating military base (MWR/ITT) office. There is no tax charged for these tickets but they must be activated at a theme park ticket window. Tickets may also be purchased at Walt Disney World Park Ticket Offices and Guest Relations Offices where tax will be charged. Tickets may be purchased by active and retired military personnel for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends. One of the Disney four-Day Military Promotional Tickets purchased on each occasion must be for use by the Eligible Service Member or spouse. This offer is for active or retired members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard. Valid military identification is required. The tickets are non-transferable and may not be resold.
You may upgrade the tickets to Seasonal Passes or Florida Resident Weekday Select Passes (for Florida Residents), or Annual Passes, Premium Annual Passes, or Disney Premier Pass with credit toward the upgrade based on the actual price paid. The no-expiration option and other upgrades, such as additional days, are not available.
In addition, specially priced rooms are available to active and retired U.S. military personnel at select Walt Disney World resorts for stays most nights through September 28, except for March 25 through April 4, 2013.
For complete information regarding Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets and discounted resort rates, military personnel may call (407) 939-7830, visit the Walt Disney World website, or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.