Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for March 25 – 31, 2013
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions | Comments
Are you Dopey or do you just run that way? | Limited Time Magic brings Spring Fling to Magic Kingdom and Epcot | A Personal Appeal, Year Eight | A second chance for former aspiring Imagineers? | Disney Cruise Line announces Signature Port Adventures for Mediterranean | Construction update | runDisney events | Quick takes | Crowd update
[Ed. Note: Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of my first article running at MousePlanet. Check back tomorrow for a new feature story looking back, and an important announcement for Update readers and MouseStation listeners.]
In 2006, the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Family Fun Run 5K were moved back one day during the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend due to capacity issues, and the Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge was created, which formally recognized runners who completed both the 13.1-mile half-marathon on Saturday and 26.2-mile marathon on Sunday.
Since then, distance runners have been taking on an unofficial "Dopey Challenge," consisting of running not just the half-marathon on Saturday and full marathon on Sunday, but also the 5K on Friday, for a total of 42.4 miles instead of the official distance of 39.3 for the Goofy.
For 2014, Disney is finally recognizing Dopey as an official challenge, but with a twist—Disney is adding a fourth race into the mix.
For the 2014 Walt Disney Marathon Weekend, the Family 5K is moved up another day to Thursday, January 9. Disney's newly announced (6.2-mile) 10K will be held on Friday, January 10. The Walt Disney World Half Marathon and full Marathon will be held on Saturday and Sunday, January 11–12, as usual.
For the new Dopey Challenge, runners will now need to run 48.6 miles over four days. By finishing all four events, racers get to take home six medals: The 5K Family Fun Run medal, the new Minnie 10K medal, the Donald Half Marathon medal, the Mickey marathon medal, the Goofy Challenge medal, and the new Dopey Challenge medal. That will be a lot of hardware for exhausted runners to be carrying around their necks, but some will probably do it proudly (although just the Dopey medal should suffice for those who don't want to wear all six at once).
As previously announced, registration for the weekend's events will open at noon Eastern on Tuesday, April 9 (the premium Runner's World Challenge registration opens on April 2). We do not have capacity numbers on the new race or the challenges, but they will probably fill fast, so make sure to mark the registration date on your calendar.
Disney's Health and Fitness Expo is expanding another day, to Wednesday, January 8, a day before the 5K. The evening Pasta in the Park Party will now be held on at Epcot's World Showplace three nights, Thursday, January 9 through Saturday, January 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with reserved viewing for Illuminations at 9:00. There will also be special ticketed character breakfasts at Epcot on Thursday and Friday mornings from 7:30 to 8:30, following the 5K and 10K races. A Cool Down Party will be held at Downtown Disney from 4:00-10:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 12, at Downtown Disney.
Race dates and start times:
|Kids Dashes||January 9, 10, 11||11:00 a.m.|
|Mickey Mile||January 9, 10, 11||12:30 p.m.|
|Disney’s Family Fun Run 5K||January 9||6:30 a.m.|
|Walt Disney World 10K||January 10||5:30 a.m.|
|Walt Disney World Half Marathon||January 11||5:30 a.m.|
|Walt Disney World Marathon||January 12||5:30 a.m.|
Here are the registration costs for the weekend's events:
Register by June 18
Register June 19-August 13
Register August 14 or later
|Walt Disney World Marathon||
|Walt Disney World Half Marathon||
|Walt Disney World 10K||
|Family Fun Run 5K||
runDisney Kids Races: $15 per child
Mickey Mile: $30 per child
|Race Retreat Package||$120||$120||$200|
|ChEAR Squad Bronze||no charge||no charge||no charge|
|ChEAR Squad Silver||$39||$39||$39|
|ChEAR Squad Gold||$65||$65||$85|
|ChEAR Squad Platinum||$115||$115||$165|
The Family Reunion Breakfast will cost $39 per person ages 10 and up, and $24 per person for ages 3–9. We do not have pricing on the Pasta in the Park Party or Cool Down Party yet.
For more information about any of these events, including race highlights and goodie bag contents, visit the event page on the runDisney website.
There's already chatter on the Team MousePlanet section of the MousePad discussion forums about runners considering the 2014 Dopey Challenge followed by the 2014 Tinker Bell Half and 5K at Disneyland Resort the following week, or the Dopey followed by the Dumbo Challenge at Disneyland later in the year. Weigh in with your thoughts!
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Are you interested in becoming part of MousePlanet? We're currently looking for Florida locals who can help out with our weekly Walt Disney World Update. If you can help us to track down stories, take photos, and even write some stories for us, please contact us—we'd love to hear from you!
This week's Limited Time Magic—entitled Spring Fling—is (surprise!) Easter-themed. While Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny have already been greeting guests at "Bunny Lane" adjacent to City Hall in Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. for a couple of weeks now, this week's meet-and-greets are included in Limited Time Magic. They'll be there from 9 a.m. to 5:10 p.m. There will also be a "springtime procession" pre-parade before the daily Celebrate a Dream Come True parade, featuring Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny (and other bunnies), butterflies, flowers, and dancing hippos.
Perhaps you've heard that rabbits multiply quickly? Apparently Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny have multiplied as well, as they will also be greeting guests in the back of the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Nearby, at the UK Maze Garden, there will be Easter Egg Hunts and Relays. Egg Hunts will take place every 10 minutes from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and relays will take place hourly at 11:40 a.m., 12:40, 1:40, 2:40, and 3:40 p.m. Guests can check in at the podium at the U.K. pavilion up to 30 minutes before each hunt. Plan to arrive early, as space is limited to 20 children per time slot.
There will also be more Easter festivities at the "Innoventions East-er Garden" in Epcot's Future World. Egg Hunts will take place every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and children of all ages can participate in events such as bunny ring toss and Easter egg bean bag toss. Guests can check in at the East-er Garden podium (between Innoventions East and Universe of Energy) up to 30 minutes before each Egg Hunt. As in the U.K. pavilion, hunts are limited to 20 children per time slot.
Last week's Limited Time Magic featured a Vinylmation "Easter Egg" Hunt. A $4.95 investment in purchasing a map provides a fun search for eggs and a prize of $12.95 value in mini-Vinylmation key rings in return. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Of course, what Limited Time Magic would be complete without merchandise? Oswald The Lucky Rabbit ear hats are available "for a limited time" at Epcot's MouseGear shop, "while supplies last."
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. We're more than halfway there, with only 41 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!
Were you or someone you know on the fast track to a career as a theme park designer but had to give up your dream after something derailed your plans? You may just have a shot at a second chance.
We've been contacted by the folks behind The Moment, a TV show on the USA Network about people getting second chances at their dream jobs. It allows people who had the talent and training for a job that they aspired to—but for some reason or another (illness, injury, finances, family reasons, etc.) were not able to follow through with it—to have a second chance at the brass ring. In our case, they are looking for people who once had the dream of becoming a theme park designer or pursuing a career similar to that of an Imagineer. They would like to pair someone with a highly acclaimed mentor for 10 days and then provide them with an interview to actually be hired by a well-established company to live their dream as a theme park designer.
To get an idea of what the show is like, visit their website to see a sneak preview episode and the stories of the first nine participants. Their dream careers were as an America's Cup sailor, sports photographer, race car driver, chef for international dignitaries, football coach, toy designer, choreographer, costume designer, and orchestra conductor.
If you or someone you know were an aspiring Imagineer with skills to match but your dreams were derailed, you can nominate yourself or anyone else to appear on the show. Submit your nomination via email to email@example.com. You'll need to send your name, the name of the person that you're nominating (if it's not you), your phone number, email address, the city and state that you live in, and your story. If you want a chance to be on the show, you've got to tell your story well enough that they select you over all of the other applicants.
The Moment is hosted by former National Football League quarterback Kurt Warner, who worked stocking shelves in a grocery store for $5.50 an hour after going undrafted after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 1994. He ended up getting a second chance, starting with four years in the Arena Football League and a season in NFL Europe. He then played for 12 years in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl, a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award, and two league MVP awards. He still holds or shares 25 NFL records. With Warner achieving such success after getting a second chance, he's a natural to host this show.
Disney Cruise Line has announced a series of new Signature Port Adventures for its Mediterranean sailings later this year. The Signature Collection of excursions feature high-end experiences that often include Disney-exclusive activities. The Disney Magic will sail from the port of Barcelona in June, July, and August.
The featured excursion is the Exclusive Evening Tour and Disney Royal Visit to the Doge’s Palace, which includes an after-hours private tour of the Doge's Palace in Venice with a walk over the Bridge of Sighs. The tour is followed by a private reception on the palace's loggia (gallery) overlooking St. Mark's Square featuring Disney princesses, Venetian courtiers in period costumes, and live musicians. The event also includes a scenic boat ride to the area and a walk through St. Mark's Square.
Other new Signature Collection adventures include the Gondolier for a Day experience in Venice; cultural enhancements to the standard tour of the Acropolis in Athens; a Greek mythology tour in Delos and Mykonos in the Greek Isles; interactive tours of the Roman ruins at Ephesus in Turkey; a guided tour and silk keepsake crafting in Dubrovnik, Croatia; and a mosaic-creation workshop with samplings of Italian wine, cheese, and meat in Rome.
You can find more information on all shore excursions on the Port Adventures of the Disney Cruise Line website.
For more details on this summers Disney Cruise Line voyages to the Mediterranean or other sailings, call Disney Cruise Line at (888) 325-2500, visit the DCL website, or contact your travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are Mouse Ear Vacations, Small World Vacations, and Get Away Today Vacations.
The following is a listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Emporium – electrical.
- Casey's Corner – kitchen equipment upgrade.
- Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe – kitchen equipment upgrade.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – construction.
- Fountain View Ice Cream Parlor – general construction.
- Land pavilion – escalator work.
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
- Guest Relations – electrical.
- Studio Catering Company – maintenance.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Adventurers Outpost – unspecified work.
- Theater in the Wild – unspecified work.
- Africa – facility improvements.
- Monorail roundhouse – electrical.
- parking lots – operations team trailers.
- Disney's Grand Floridian Resort – installation of new drop ceiling, fire sprinkler head, light fixtures, and new VCT flooring.
Disney's Contemporary Resort
- Shop & storage building – mechanical.
- 14th floor mechanical room – mechanical.
- Disney's Yacht Club Resort Convention Center – contractor's general conditions.
- Disney's Pop Century Resort – construction.
The following is the list of upcoming runDisney events and their registration statuses:
- Expedition Everest Challenge (May 4, 2013) – Sold out: The Challenge and the Family Edition. Still available: Kids Races for kids ages 4 to 10 and tickets for the pre-race picnic and the post-race party.
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend (October 4–5, 2013) – Registration is open for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler, Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, Kids Races, Disney Villains Hollywood Bash. The 10-Miler is now 55 percent full.
- Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (November 8–9, 2013) – Registration is open for Wine & Dine Half Marathon, Mickey's Jingle Jungle 5K, Kids' Races, Wine & Dine Finish Line Party). The half marathon is now at 53 percent full.
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January 9–12, 2014) – Registration opens on Tuesday, April 9. Events include the Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Kids Races, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, Dopey Challenge, Family Reunion Breakfast, Pasta in the Park Party.
- Disney's Princess Half-Marathon Weekend (February 21–23, 2014) – Registration opens on Tuesday, June 11. Events include Disney's Princess Half Marathon individual and team events, Disney Royal Family 5K, Kids Races, post-5K Breakfast, and Pasta in the Park Party.
Do you participate in (or are considering signing up for) runDisney events? Visit our Team MousePlanet forum on the MousePad discussion board, where you can join our community of health-minded readers and staff.
The California Grill atop Disney's Contemporary Resort has been enclosed in scaffolding during its makeover. Photo by J. Jeff Kober. For an inside look, take a look at a photo tweeted by a California Grill chef.
…Fountain View Ice Cream at Epcot closs for its conversion into a Starbucks location on Monday, April 8, and is expected to reopen in early August. There's still no word yet on which locations at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom will be converted for Starbucks.
…The newest promotional-wrapped monorail is ready for launch. The "Iron Man-orail" has been seen testing on the Magic Kingdom beam, and should be in service any time now. The new themed wrap promoting Iron Man 3 was put onto Monorail Black. There's no word yet as to how long this wrap will likely be in place. Iron Man 3 opens May 3.
A new "leaning porch" shelter has been erected at Typhoon Lagoon near the lockers, restrooms, and Singapore Sal's to provide a shaded area and to provide an outlet for the congestion in the area. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
…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.
- 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.
- February 21–23: Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
- Snow White's Scary Adventures – closed permanently for conversion to Princess Fairytale Hall.
- 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.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – closed June 17-20 for refurbishment.
- Princess Fairytale Hall – opens 2013.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – opens 2014.
- Fountain View Ice Cream – closed April 8 through early August for conversion to Starbucks location.
- Disney Channel Rocks – last performance April 6.
- Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade – last performance on April 6
- 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.
- No known refurbishments.
Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. Will not be performed on the following dates in 2013:
- May 14-18;
- May 21-25;
- July 23;
- September 17-21;
- November 5-6.
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.