Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
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Update for May 12 – 18, 2015

Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Resort Events | Refurbishments and Attraction Closures | Discounts and Promotions


News and Views

Hearing scheduled for 2011 Disney worker death | Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience to debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios | New tour available at Disney's Animal Kingdom | More garage walkways open in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs area | 2015 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Guide: May 15 to 17 | Views around the World | This and that... | Crowd Update

Hearing scheduled for 2011 Disney worker death

Orange County Circuit Court had a hearing scheduled for yesterday (May 11) for a lawsuit filed against Walt Disney Parks and Resorts by the family of an employee who died while working on an Animal Kingdom ride in 2011.

Russell Roscoe, a 52-year-old attractions mechanic, died in 2011 after a ride vehicle hit him wile he performed maintenance on Primeval Whirl, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel. Roscoe's family filed the suit in Orange County Circuit Court in 2012.

The accident happened as Roscoe and other workers were "wet testing" the ride, where some employees spray water from the top of the lift platform while others inspect systems such as brakes.

Disney wants the claims to be dismissed, saying Roscoe's family is already entitled to workers' compensation benefits and that employer immunity from lawsuits is a protection under that system.

Lawyers for Roscoe's family is arguing that immunity does not apply because Disney knew the dangers involved with testing the ride, but that danger was not apparent to Roscoe, and that Disney misrepresented it. Disney disputes this claims and is fighting it in court.

Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience to debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Another new dining experience debuts at Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios later this month.

Every weekend from May 15 to June 14, the Rebel Hangar opens to the public. This Star Wars lounge experience, located at Echo Lake, gives visitors a chance to enjoy some delicious themed food and drink that celebrates the science fiction franchise.

The menu includes:

  • Pilot's Pomme Frites – tossed with parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley with a garlic aioli for dipping
  • Ensalada Naboo – seared chicken breast, bibb lettuce, grape tomatoes, watermelon radish, almond frica, and a parmesan-peppercorn ranch dressing
  • Lightsaber Bites – hand-dipped corn-battered knockwurst sausages with house-made chips and mustard dipping sauce
  • The Dark Fried – Chicken and Darth Vader waffles served with maple syrup and sweet barbecue sauce
  • Trio of Thermal Detonators – spicy pork wings topped with spicy piquillo-pepper sauce and slaw
  • Slider Sampler featuring "The Sith" barbecue-braised brisket with cole slaw and "The Jedi" with barbecued pulled chicken with arugula
  • Fruit and Cheese "Sabers" featuring Tillamook cheddar, Brie, goat cheese, pickled vegetables, crostini, cheddar crackers, blueberries, raspberries, honeydew melon, strawberry, olives and gherkins
  • Chips & Sith – hummus with red pepper coulis, black sesame dust, and corn tortilla chips
  • Yoda Key Lime Cake
  • Trio of Star Wars mini cupcakes, including Mini Darth Vader (chocolate-peanut butter), Mini Yoda (chocolate-hazelnut), and
  • Mini Jabba the Hutt (salted caramel latte) served in the Han Solo Carbonite Souvenir Box

The Rebel Hangar also plans to have a special drink menu, as well:

  • Imperial Blue – Maker's Mark Whisky, Cointreau, Blue Curacao, sweet and sour, topped with Sprite
  • Tatooine Sunset – Stoli vanilla, Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, pineapple juice with grenadine
  • Rebel Red – Grey Goose vodka, Chambord, sour mix and a splash of grenadine
  • Dagobah Swamp Juice – Midori, Tito's Handmade Vodka, sweet and sour, topped with lemon-lime foam
  • The Dark Side – Stoli vanilla vodka, Bailey's liqueur, crème de cocoa and brownie garnish, and
  • Alderaan Ale

The Jabba the Hutt and Yoda cupcakes can also be found at Tusken Fridge Raiders, Trolley Car Café, Starring Rolls Cafe, and Backlot Express. The Darth Vader cupcake will be available at all quick-service locations, including Starring Rolls Cafe, and Trolley Car Cafe and Tusken Fridge Raiders at Darth's Mall.

For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463).

New tour available at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom offers a brand new tour experience, Backstage Tales, to its visitors.

During this tour, guides offers a four-hour tour to those interested in getting a glimpse behind the scenes at Disney's Animal Kingdom including animal care, studies and education. Guides also provide insight on how Disney's Animal Kingdom works on raising awareness of global conservation.

The tour includes walking and riding around the park and visitors are encouraged to ask questions and participate in the activity.

Park areas to be seen on the tour include the aviary on Pangani Forest Exploration, the black rhino and elephant barns and the Animal Nutrition Center. And, of course, there are a number of surprises along the way.

A portion of tour admission supports the Disney Conservation Fund, so you can not only make an impact on global conservation, it's also a great reminder of the world of wonders all around us.

Backstage Tales replaces the Backstage Safari tour and only guests ages 12 and over are allowed to participate. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. No cameras or video are allowed in backstage areas. It's offered from 7:30–11:15 a.m. daily, and anyone taking the tour is asked to be at the park's main entrance 15 minutes before scheduled arrival time. Theme park admission is not included. For reservations, call (407) WDW-TOUR (939-8687). Experiences, content and animal encounters are subject to change.

More garage walkways open in Downtown Disney/Disney Springs area


The Orange Garage escalators, elevators and pedestrian connecting bridge on the west side of Downtown Disney has opened as the Disney Springs transformation continues. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

As construction continues in the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs area, last week marked a new milestone for the project: the opening of two new direct access walkways to the West Side promenade in two locations: next to Splitsville Luxury Lanes and the second one near Planet Hollywood, according to Disney Parks Blog.

The new bridges to the property are accessible via the second level of the garage and give guests the option to use stairs, elevators or escalators. With beautiful landscaping and new hardscape finishing out the space, the walkways are a lovely new addition to what will eventually be Disney Springs. Visitors need to park in the Orange Garage to experience this new connection.

2015 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Guide: May 15 to 17

It's Week 10 at the 2015 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival; there's only one week more to go after this. The months are really flying by, aren't they?

The annual event showcases incredible topiary creations sculpted to look like classic Disney characters, and gardens filled with flowers of every color of the rainbow. Guests can also attend live demonstrations on how to grow their own gardens and sample a variety of international cuisine to throughout the 75-day festival.

Each weekend, Epcot presents special events that include music, seminars, tours and more. Make sure to check the guide below and/or pick one up at the parks to get information on how to make reservations. We'll have an event guide updated each week for MousePlanet readers.

Here's what you can expect for the final week (#11) of the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival:

Friday, May 15    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Rob Williams, Disney Horticulturalist 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Dave Dewitt, speaker and author Noon, 3:00 Fresh Epcot Stage
"Planting Pointers": join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone 1:00, 4:00 University of Florida Stage
English Tea Garden Tour 1:00, 3:45, 6:15 Tea Caddy
IFAS at the University of Florida Stage 10:00 – 5:00 Festival Center
Garden Rocks Concert Series: Herman's Hermits Starring Peter Noone 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater
Saturday, May 9    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Dennis Cathcart of Tropiflora Nursery 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Dave Dewitt, speaker and author Noon, 3:00 Fresh Epcot Stage
"Planting Pointers": join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone. 1:00, 4:00 University of Florida Stage
English Tea Garden Tour 1:00, 3:45, 6:15 Tea Caddy
Garden Rocks Concert Series: Herman's Hermit's starring Peter Noone 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater
Sunday, May 10    
Gardens of the World Tour: A three-hour tour of special displays and international Gardens. 9:00 – noon Epcot
Dennis Cathcart of Tropiflora Nursery 11:00, 2:00 Greenhouse Stage
Dave Dewitt, speaker and author Noon, 3:00 Fresh Epcot Stage
"Planting Pointers": join experts as they present great gardening ideas for everyone. 1:00, 4:00 University of Florida Stage
English Tea Garden Tour 1:00, 3:45, 6:15 Tea Caddy
Garden Rocks Concert Series: Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone 5:30, 6:45, 8:00 American Gardens Theater

Views around the World

It's the last week of the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, plus there's a lot of construction going on over at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Downtown Disney. Let's take a look!

Epcot


Construction cranes assist in the expansion of Soarin' at Epcot. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Bonsai trees are on display along the shore of the World Showcase Lagoon at Epcot's Japan pavilion during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival which ends this weekend, May 17. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Illuminations fireworks can be viewed beyond the topiaries of Mickey and Minnie Mouse during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Disney's Animal Kingdom


A giraffe keeps a watchful eye on a truckload of guests on the savannah area of Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


On a warm spring afternoon, a lioness sits high enough atop the rocks to be seen by riders on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Construction continues on the future Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

Downtown Disney/Disney Springs


Construction is going vertical on the final district, The Landing. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


A Chris Craft boat opens up to make a dining space at the new Boathouse Restaurant. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Here is Gadget, a very intimate tugboat. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


A new entrance to the garage finally opens between AMC movie theaters and Splitsville. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

New glass walls for The Morimoto Restaurant replace the old brick and mortar of Mannequins. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.


Here we see a new bridge that will cross the springs near Planet Hollywood. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This and that...

...Are you a Walt Disney World merchandise fan? Then, you should check out the May schedule of events released by Disney for all the merchandise events in and around the parks.

...Don't forget the that 24-Hour Day at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom is on May 22 and kicks off the "Coolest Summer Ever." Stay tuned to MousePlanet for more event details as we get them.

...Have you heard about the new Disney Trading Packs? These monthly boxes contain limited edition pins for collectors looking for something a little more rare that they are used to picking up, collecting or trading. The first box will be available May 14 and a new box comes out each month. This is NOT a subscription-based program.

 

 

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Do more. Wait less.

It should be a fairly quiet week throughout most of Walt Disney World, except for Disney's Hollywood Studios where, on Friday, starts the annual Star Wars Weekends celebrations, with celebrity events, special entertainment, and merchandise. Avoid the Studios on the weekend, if possible.

Save time and money at Walt Disney World. TouringPlans.com cna help ou avoid falling int the typical tourst pitfalls with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines - Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. Now more than ever, it's a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

Date Overall
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 5 / 10
Wednesday, May 13, 2015 4 / 10
Thursday, May 14, 2015 4 / 10
Friday, May 15, 2015 5 / 10
Saturday, May 16, 2015 6/10
Sunday, May 17, 2015 6/10

Check out the Disney World Park Crowd Levels page on TouringPlans.com for park-specific predictions and recommendations on which days to visit and avoid particular parks!

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disney World wait times on your iPhone, Android or smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.

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Talk about these stories and more on our Walt Disney World discussion forum here.

Resort Events

2015

runDisney events

If 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.

2015

2016

  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – January 6–10, 2016. Many events are sold out.
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – February 18–21, 2016. Registration opens July 14.

For current information on registration dates and capacity, see Lorree Tachell's runDisney Race Capacity Updates in the Team MousePlanet forum on our MousePad discussion board.


Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Triceratop Spin - closed through May 23.

Resorts

  • Polynesian – ongoing refurbishment of the lobby and pool area.

Elsewhere

  • Disney Osprey Ridge Golf Course – permanently closed.
  • Downtown Disney Lots H, I, J, and K (in Westside area) – closed until further notice for Disney Springs construction.
  • Downtown Disney Bridge 4 and restrooms on Pleasure Island – temporarily closed for ongoing construction work.
  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Note: MousePlanet does not edit past Updates to reflect price increases; for up-to-date prices, check the most recent Walt Disney World Resort Update. For your convenience, we have grouped the discount offers based on the intended audience. Check out the category that best matches you, and pick the offer that works best for you. And keep those tips coming—let us know if you find a better or different offer, so we can share it with other readers.


Discounts for Everyone

Save Up to 30 percent with room discount

Summer travelers looking to save money on Walt Disney World trip have some new options with last week's new room discount announcement

Visitors traveling between June 16 and August 27, 2015 can save between 15 percent and 30 percent off regular room rates with this promotion.

Room inventory is limited and this promotion only lasts until June 12 and certain exclusions apply (see below).

To make reservations, contact your travel agent or visit the official Walt Disney World website.

June 16 – August 27, 2015

Save 30%

  • Deluxe/Deluxe Villas: Disney's Boardwalk Villas, Disney's Old Key West Resort, Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Standard & Pool View, Disney's Boardwalk Inn, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Disney's Yacht Club Resort.

Save 20%

  • Deluxe: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Savannah & Club View, Disney's Beach Club, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Weekdays June 16 – August 9, 2015

Save 20%

  • Moderate: Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins, Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.

Save 15%

  • Value: Disney's All Star Sports Resort, Disney's All Star Music Resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites Only.

Weekends August 10-27, 2015

Save 25%

  • Moderate: Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Disney's Fort Wilderness Cabins, Disney's Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.

Save 20%

  • Value: Disney's All Star Sports Resort, Disney's All Star Music Resort, Disney's Pop Century Resort, Disney's Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites Only.

Free Dining Plan Offer

Get a free dining plan when booking a non-discounted 6-night/7-day Walt Disney Travel Company package that includes a room at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels and ticket with either a Park Hopper or Water Park Fun & More option.

Offer is valid for arrivals most nights from August 28 to October 2, October 25–31, November 8–19, and December 15–21.

The booking window is now through July 10, 2015.

Guests receive the Disney Dining Plan if they stay at select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts, Disney Deluxe Resorts, or a Disney Moderate Resorts.

Guests receive the Quick-Service Dining Plan if they stay at select Disney Value Resorts.

The offer excludes:

  • The Villas at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard View Rooms, campsites, 3-bedroom villas
  • Disney's All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort and Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort (between October 25 and December 21).

Dining plans exclude alcohol and gratuities.

Children ages 3 through 9 must order from the children's menu.

To check for availability, visit either the Walt Disney World official webpage, call a Walt Disney World vacation specialist at (407) 827-7181 or contact a travel agent.


Up to a 30 percent room-only discount offered for fall season

For those who either choose not to or cannot use the free dining package, Disney also announced a discount of up to a 30 percent off on rooms for the late summer/early fall.

Here are the offer details:

Offer is valid August 15 through October 3, 2015

The booking window is now through August 7, 2015

Save 30%:

  • Disney's BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney's Old Key West Resort
  • Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Standard/Pool View
  • Disney's BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney's Yacht Club Resort

Save 25%:

  • Disney Port Orleans – Riverside (August 15–27 only)
  • Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
  • The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort (August 15 to October 3).

Save 20%:

  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge – Savanna View/Club Level Rooms
  • Disney's Beach Club Villas
  • The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney's Beach Club Resort
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort.
  • Disney Port Orleans – Riverside (August 28 to October 3)
  • Disney's Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter (August 15 to October 3)
  • Disney's All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney's All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney's Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites Only
  • Disney's Pop Century Resort

Save 15%:

  • Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

To check for availability, visit either the Walt Disney World official webpage, call a Walt Disney World vacation specialist at (407) 827-7181, or contact a travel agent.


Memory Maker pre-arrival discount

Disney's PhotoPass service provides a discount on Disney Memory Maker pre-arrival packages. For $199 plus tax, Walt Disney World guests can digitally download any photos associated with their Memory Maker account, including photos taken on attractions. The advanced purchase price is $169, a $30 savings. Applicable taxes are charged to all orders.

Purchase must be made more than three days prior to arrival at the Walt Disney World Resort. All sales are final, and not eligible for an exchange or refund.


Discounts for Annual Passholders

None at this time.

Discounts for Disney Rewards VISA & Debit Card Holders

15 percent off select guided tours

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of selected guided tours for up to 10 people. The cardholder must participate in the tour, and pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card. Tours included:

  • Magic Kingdom Park
    • Disney's Family Magic Tour
    • Disney's Keys to the Kingdom Tour
    • Disney's The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour
    • Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour
  • Epcot
    • Gardens of the World (offered seasonally)
    • The UnDISCOVERed Future World
    • Disney's Dolphins in Depth
    • Epcot DiveQuest
    • Epcot Seas Aqua Tours
    • Epcot Behind the Seeds (15 percent discount)
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
    • Wild by Design
    • Backstage Safari
  • Multiple Theme Parks and Backstage Areas
    • Backstage Magic
    • Disney's Holiday D-Lights (offered seasonally)
    • Disney's Yuletide Fantasy (offered seasonally)

10 percent off select restaurants

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off the check when you pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Discount excludes alcohol.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas:

  • Boma
  • Jiko (see restrictions)
  • Sanaa

Disney's BoardWalk Inn and Villas:

  • ESPN Sports Club
  • Flying Fish Cafe (see restrictions)

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort:

  • Shutters at Old Port Royale

Disney's Contemporary Resort:

  • The Wave...of American Flavors

Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground:

  • Trail's End Restaurant

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:

  • Citricos (see restrictions)
  • Grand Floridian Cafe

Disney's Old Key West Resort:

  • Olivia's Cafe

Disney's Port Orleans Resort:

  • Boatwright's Dining Hall

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa:

  • The Turf Club Bar and Grill

Disney's Wilderness Lodge:

  • Artist Point (see restrictions)
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe

Disney's Yacht Club Resort:

  • Captain's Grille

Disney's Hollywood Studios:

  • The Hollywood Brown Derby (see restrictions)
  • Hollywood & Vine (see restrictions)

Epcot:

  • Biergarten Restaurant (see restrictions)

10 percent off merchandise

Disney Visa cardholders receive 10 percent off at participating Disney-owned retail location when you spend a minimum of $50 and pay with a Disney's Visa Card and/or Disney Rewards Redemption Card (be sure to request the discount). Read all of the restrictions on the Disney Visa website.


15 percent off all Disney spa and salon services

Disney Visa cardholders receive 15 percent off the non-discounted price of any salon treatment valued at $45 or greater or any 50-minute or longer spa service at the spas and salons at Walt Disney World Resort listed below:

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

  • Senses – A Disney Spa
  • Ivy Trellis Salon

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

  • Senses – A Disney Spa

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas

  • Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center

Disney's Contemporary Resort

  • Olympiad Fitness Center

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

  • La Vida Health Club
  • Casa de Belleza Salon

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

  • Sturdy Branches Health Club

Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

  • Ship Shape Massage Salon Fitness

Free 5" x 7" character photo at a private meet and greet location at Epcot

Present your Disney's Premier Visa Card or Disney Rewards Visa Card for access to a private character meet and greet at Epcot for the cardholder and up to five guests. The event is hosted daily from 1:00 to 7:00 p.m. inside Innoventions West at Epcot. You'll receive one free 5" x 7" character photo per day.


Discounts for Florida Residents

None at this time.

Discounts for U.K. Residents

None at this time


Discounts for Canada Residents

None at this time.


Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Marie here.

 

Comments

  1. By DaLoon

    The name of the Primeval Whirl is simply wrong. The link for the report from the Orlando Sentinel leads to a staff login screen. Better proofreading please.

  2. By stan4d_steph

    Quote Originally Posted by DaLoon View Post
    The name of the Primeval Whirl is simply wrong. The link for the report from the Orlando Sentinel leads to a staff login screen. Better proofreading please.

    Thank you for letting us know. The errors have been fixed.

  3. Discuss this article on MousePad.