Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for March 11 – 17, 2013
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions | Comments
Tangled-themed restrooms open | This week's Limited Time Magic: a clearance sale! | A Personal Appeal, Year Eight | Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival now open | Details released for 2014 Disney's Princess Half Marathon | Disney Dreamers Academy graduates sixth class | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd Update
The new Fantasyland restrooms in the Tangled-themed village adjacent to the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square opened last week with no fanfare. The theming is detailed and very well done, and the area provides an additional traffic outlet in the normally congested area.
There is a great deal of lush landscaping and detail in this setting. What families were disappointed by, however, was the fact that there was no meet-and-greet with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. Still they made it a place to take pictures. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The new village includes a seating area where guests can charge their portable electronic devices (Note: We do not recommend this during Florida's frequent rainstorms. Water plus electricity is not a good combination.)
As we told you two years ago, with the opening of the new restroom area, the old "Princes" and "Princesses" restrooms between Peter Pan's Flight and Columbia Harbour House have been closed and will become part of a new interactive queue for the popular Peter Pan's Flight attraction.
This week's Limited Time Magic promotion is a sale on MousekeEars, the miniature ear hats that fit in your palm. The cute ears—which are sold with a chin strap, hair clip, and key chain attachments—come in boxes, and feature either Disney character patterns or bright colors. While supplies last, you can buy two mini-hats (normally $12.95 each, plus tax) for just $15.00 for the pair (plus tax). While this is a good deal, this further muddies the "Magic" portion of the Limited Time Magic campaign.
A unique feature in the area is the provision of outlets for re-charging mobile phones and other hand-held devices. They are hidden in the log stumps throughout this seating area. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Last week, we noted that the campaign appeared to be running out of steam when it came to unusual ideas, and this continues that theme. The Limited Time Magic promotions in effect for this week are:
- "A sale on MousekeEars!"
- "Beautifully Disney now on sale!"
- "The spring Main Street Trolley show!"
Note: If you read last week's Update on Monday, we updated that post to include a note that the Trolley show would run its usual two-plus months, not 10 days as I had originally noted, and raised additional questions about using standard seasonal fare as special promotional events.
So this week, as special Limited Time Magic, you can buy clearance sale merchandise that normally costs under $13 each, buy a new line of Disney-inspired cosmetics, or watch a seasonal entertainment show that has been appearing for years. While this stuff is fun and/or a good deal, is it worth including in a year-long promotion of "Magic"? So far, the reader feedback (and the running sentiment on Twitter) has been weighing heavily against the campaign. Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below.
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!
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 20th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival opened last Wednesday, featuring over 100 topiaries, 30 million blooms, seminars, Flower Power concerts, Festival-themed merchandise, and a dozen Festival-inspired food and beverage marketplaces. This is the first Flower & Garden Festival to feature food and beverage marketplaces.
This year, you can shop for artwork and merchandise featuring the images of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck as topiaries. Also available are topiary-and-ladybug Mouse ear headbands, strawberry ear hats, garden statues shaped like Grumpy and Dopey, mugs, bags, and Mickey and Minnie Mouse garden gnomes, among other items.
The new festival marketplaces are sort of a crossover between the spring's Flower & Garden Festival and the fall's Food & Wine Festival. Take a look at how they came to be.
runDisney has released details about next year's Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend, to be held February 21–23, 2014. Registration for the race opens at noon EDT on June 11, 2013. The pricing will be $140 for the Half Marathon and $280 for the Half Marathon Team Category through September 25. Prices go up to $155 and $310, respectively, from September 26 through November 13, and to $170 and $340 on or after November 14.
There will, however, apparently be a Run Like a Princess Sweepstakes Flash Sale on Tuesday, November 20, during which the individual registration drops back to $155. The lesson? If you decide to register just after the November 14 price hike, wait for the flash sale on November 20 to get the $15 price drop—assuming the event doesn't sell out before then.
Other events during the weekend include the Disney Royal Family 5K ($55 per participant, $60 for Stroller Walk division), runDisney Kids Races ($10 for the Kids' Dash and $25 for the 1-Mile Run), Pasta in the Park Party ($47.50 for ages 10 and up, $28.35 for ages 3-9), a post-5K Breakfast ($37.50 for ages 10 and up, $17.50 for ages 3-9), and ChEAR Squad (Platinum $99, Gold $65, Silver 39, Bronze $0), and Race Retreat ($99).
Spring means major cheerleading competitions at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This past Saturday, some 10-12,000 attended the event at the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular theater. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The sixth annual Disney Dreamers Academy took place over the weekend, with 100 teens (along with a parent or guardian) visiting Walt Disney World to engage in an educational and mentoring program put together by Walt Disney World, Steve Harvey, and Essence magazine. This year's class was selected from more than 5,000 applicants, and includes representatives from 28 states, with the most representation from Florida (11), Texas (10), North Carolina (9), Georgia (7), Virginia (7), New Jersey (6), and South Carolina (6).
In accordance with the Academy's mission of inspiring and fueling the dreams of teens, helping them discover a world of possibilities, and helping them prepare for the future, the Dreamers attend sessions with motivational speakers and celebrities, and hands-on workshops on a wide variety of career paths. The Dreamers will also represent the program as ambassadors and an advisory panel during the year as part of the Disney Dreamers Academy's Speaker Resource Group.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- bus loop – road work for expansion.
- main entrance flag pole – construction.
- Fantasyland expansion – plumbing.
- Ariel's Grotto – construction.
- Storybook Circus – construction.
- Jungle Cruise – construction.
- Spaceship Earth – construction.
- The Land pavilion – construction.
- Soarin' – construction.
- Imagination pavilion – construction.
- Test Track – construction.
- Aladdin meet-and-greet – construction.
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
- entrance turnstiles – electrical.
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – construction.
- American Idol Experience – construction.
- Fantasmic – mechanical.
- Animation building – construction.
- Bungalow 3 – construction.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- overhead marquee signs.
- entrance turnstiles – electrical.
- Island Mercantile – construction.
- Tree of Life – construction.
- Discovery Island restroom – roofing repairs.
- Asia guest lockers – roofing.
- Asia Tiger Yard – construction.
- Expedition Everest Fastpass building – construction.
- Ski Patrol Training Camp – electrical.
- filtration plants – mechanical.
Downtown Disney Marketplace
- 2 R's restrooms – mechanical.
- Walt Disney World overall – mechanical gate installations.
- Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground main docks on Bay Lake – site work.
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
- Grandstand pool equipment room – replacement of heater.
- building 15 boiler room, 4th floor – replacement of boilers.
Disney's Old Key West Resort
- main spa – replacement of heater.
- Miller's Road pool building – pool heater replacement.
- Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort commercial building – mechanical.
- Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort commercial building – mechanical.
- Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts – construction.
…The Kinsey Collection officially opened at the Heritage Gallery in Epcot's American Adventure pavilion last Friday. The collection of African-American art and artifacts represent more than 400 years of history.
Take a look behind the scenes of the collection with Khalil Kinsey (son of collectors Bernard and Shirley Kinsey) and Imagineer Jason Roberts.
…Are you a handbag collector but the Disney Dooney & Bourke bags aren't quite satisfying your hunger for Disney variety? This fall, Vera Bradley is debuting a new line of Disney-inspired handbags and accessories at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the Disney Parks online store. The Disney Cruise Line is currently offering four patterns from Vera Bradley aboard the Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream, and will soon offer them aboard the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic. It's likely that the new Disney-inspired lines will appear on the ships once they debut, as well. Samples of the new patterns are on display at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Center through May 19.
…Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny are now greeting guests in the Magic Kingdom's Town Square Courtyard from 9:00 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. through Easter.
…There are two new babies at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The park's first Saddle-Billed Stork chick was born to a pair of storks that have been together since Disney's Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, and is on display in the Ituri Forest area of Kilimanjaro Safaris. A baby White-Cheeked Gibbon has joined a existing family of four near the entrance to Maharajah Jungle Trek.
…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 tomorrow, 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.
…Registration opens for the events of the 2014 Disney's Princess Half-Marathon Weekend (Disney's Princess Half Marathon individual and team events, Disney Royal Family 5K, runDisney Kids Races, post-5K Breakfast, and Pasta in the Park Party) on June 11.
…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 6 to May 19: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
- 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.
- February 21–23: Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
- Snow White's Scary Adventures – closed permanently for conversion to Princess Fairytale Hall.
- Splash Mountain – closed through March 19 for refurbishment.
- Main Street Bakery – closed through May 18 for conversion to Starbucks location.
- Mad Tea Party – closed April 10 through May 21 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress – closed May 13–15 for refurbishment.
- Cinderella's Royal Table – closed May 13–16 for refurbishment.
- Prince Charming Regal Carousel – closed May 28 through June 10 for refurbishment.
- Princess Fairytale Hall – opens 2013.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.
- Fountain View Cafe – closed through mid-summer for conversion to Starbucks location.
- No known refurbishments
- No known refurbishments.
- Disney's Contemporary Resort – California Grill closed through late summer for refurbishment.
- Disney's Boardwalk Resort – Boardwalk Bakery closed through April 1 for refurbishment.
- Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Spa closed through summer for conversion to Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort.
- Blizzard Beach – Closed through March 16 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. 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 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 April 1 through June 14. You must book your reservations by March 31.
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.