Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
Update for June 9 – 15, 2015
National Labor Relations Board to review Disney employee claim | Investigation reveals 250 Disney workers lost jobs to immigrant workers | Could Disney change theme park ticket pricing system? | New version of Great Movie Ride introduces new clips and narrator | Disney releases preview of 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival | 2015 Eat to the Beat lineup announced | Views around the world | Crowd Forecast
Union leaders for 1,200 actors who play Walt Disney World characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck filed a complaint with the National Labor Board, claiming a new Disney policy violates the actors' constitutional rights.
The complaint comes from a two-week-old written policy forbidding the actors to reveal which character they play while working at Walt Disney World. Disney can punish violators of this policy, including dismissing them from their positions, according to a CBS.com report.
"The company doesn't have the right to control social media postings," said Teamsters Local 385 president Mike Stapleton. "Suddenly the company wants to pretend there aren't people behind those costumes and the Constitution doesn't extend to the theme park."
According to Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak, the concept behind the written policy is nothing new and that Disney has always expected the actors to keep their characters secret.
"We're proud of the role characters play in guest experience," Polak said. "This is in line with our longstanding expectation for cast members to uphold character integrity."
Last week, The New York Times published the results of an investigation which showed that 250 Disney workers were forced out of their high-tech jobs and then told to train foreign workers to replace them.
The report outlines how the workers were told in October 2015 that their positions would be turned over to "highly-skilled technical workers" from an outsourcing firm based in India. While the new employees were, indeed, immigrants, the newly-laid off workers quickly discovered that their replacements had little to no skilled training. Instead, the new employees would be brought up to speed by the people they were replacing.
A deeper look into the move showed that Disney is one of numerous American companies which take advantage of temporary visas, known as H-1B. These documents allow foreigners with advanced degrees to come over to the United States to work in positions where companies do not have employees with the required skills to handle these high-tech jobs.
Disney officials responded that the move was part of a reorganization and, overall, the company created more jobs than they eliminated during that time. The company also says it has fewer than 10 H-1B workers on staff.
A few of the 250 unemployed workers talked to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity and claim:
…only a handful of those laid off were moved directly by Disney to other company jobs. The rest were left to compete for positions through Disney job websites. Despite the company’s figures, few people they knew had been hired, they said, and then often at a lower pay level. No one was offered retraining, they said. One former worker, a 57-year-old man with more than 10 years at Disney, displayed a list of 18 jobs in the company he had applied for. He had not had more than an initial conversation on any one, he said.
The Internet buzzed last week when some Walt Disney World Annual Passholders posted information about a survey they received asking their opinions on a tiered pricing system for the theme parks.
In the proposed system on the survey, Magic Kingdom tickets would range in price from $105 to $125 depending on the time of year the tickets would be used. The travel time ranges were designated as bronze (for traditionally low crowd days), silver (moderately crowded days) and gold (peak season, including the December holidays and the entire month of July).
Tiered pricing is not a new concept for Walt Disney World; the company already uses it for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tickets where ticket prices vary by the day and demand.
Disney refused to confirm any price changes, telling the media that they 'frequently survey guests on possible changes, some that come to fruition and some that don't."
The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios recently introduced some new elements to the classic ride highlighting Disney's new partnership with Turner Classic Movies.
Guests inside The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios ride past new lobby posters that now include the TCM logo reflecting the sponsorship of Turner Classic Movies. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
My family and I had a chance to experience the additions, which included new digital signs just inside the theater lobby that feature classic movies on a rotating basis and also showcase the attraction's name and new partnership with TCM.
The next changes regular visitors will notice is the film clip pre-show montage as you wait to board a ride vehicle. While many of the same films are featured in the collection (Singin in the Rain, Mary Poppins, etc.), a new series of narrations provided by TCM's host Robert Osborne weave together the film clips in an interesting way compared to just watching random movie highlights without any context. Disney improved the video quality here, which improves the viewing experience for these classic films.
TCM's Robert Osborne presents the new concluding movie montage (projected in a high definition digital video) at The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka (May 30, 2015).
The Great Movie Ride purists will be happy to know that the live tour guides still provide much of the commentary throughout the show. There's good guys, bad guys and characters you're not exactly sure which side they're on—hint: watch out for gangsters!
At the end of the ride, the final movie montage is bumped up a few notches with clips from new movies, as well as quality improvements (high definition video) to the scenes Disney already used in the previous version of the attraction. If you look carefully (and quickly) you'll even catch a glimpse of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens film!
Overall, the changes aren't a total overhaul of the attraction, but enough to breathe a bit of new life into The Great Movie Ride, which many would agree is a welcome change.
Epcot celebrates the 20th anniversary of its International Food and Wine Festival this year and organizers are already buzzing about what's on this year's "event menu."
The 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will run from September 25 – November 16 (a total of 53 days) to celebrate international cuisine, drinks, chefs and live entertainment. More than 240 Disney chefs will be featured during the event, along with some popular celebrity culinary artists including: Cat Cora, Jamie Deen, John Ash (who was at the very first Epcot fest back in 1996, and returns for 2015), Robert Irvine, and Buddy Valastro, who will be onstage for demos and premium events.
Returning favorites for this year's festival include:
- Marketplace kiosks around World Showcase featuring more than 25 different types of cuisine
- Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog
- Party of the Senses grand tasting events
- More items to be announced in the coming weeks and months
With the 20th anniversary, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will introduce a few new experiences for all ages:
- Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak – a scavenger hunt for little Remy statuettes (maps, stickers and prizes are involved);
- “French Family Meal Traditions” lunches on Fridays and Saturdays;
- “Rockin’ Burger Block Party” on select dates; and
- New beverage events including “Exploring Wines from 1996 to Now.”
Disney also released its 2015 Eat to the Beat concert lineup, which you'll find in the next article.
Tables in Wonderland Special Preview
Tables in Wonderland will host a special event on July 12, 2015 to give members a chance to experience a taste of this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
The event, called "Taste Your Way Around the World", gives guests a chance to enjoy a lunch with food and beverages inspired by this year's Marketplace offerings.
Tables in Wonderland members should keep an eye on their email for more information on how to register for the luncheon.
For more information on the 2015 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, visit epcotfoodfestival.com
The Eat to the Beat concert series has become one of the more popular features of the annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. This live music event features a new act every night of the Food and Wine Festival and showcases some of music's most popular artists of yesterday and today. This year's lineup features:
- David Cook – September 25-27, 2015
- Wilson Phillips – September 28-29, 2015
- Christopher Cross – September 30-October 1, 2015
- Starship – October 2-4, 2015
- Smash Mouth – October 5-7, 2015
- The Pointer Sisters – October 8-9, 2015
- .38 Special – October 10-11, 2015
- Rick Springfield – October 12-13, 2015
- Sugar Ray – October 14-16, 2015
- The S.O.S. Band – October 17-18, 2015
- Air Supply – October 19-21, 2015
- Fuel – October 22-23, 2015
- Tiffany (NEW!) – October 24-25, 2015
- Dennis DeYoung – October 26-28, 2015
- Jo Dee Messina – October 29-30, 2015
- Everclear (NEW!) – October 31-November 1, 2015
- Boyz II Men – November 2-4, 2015
- Sister Hazel – November 5-6, 2015
- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – November 7-9, 2015
- Hanson – November 10-12, 2015
- Maxi Priest (NEW!) – November 13-14, 2015
- Chaka Khan (NEW!) – November 15-16, 2015
The concerts are held at the America Gardens Theater in World Showcase and daily performances take place at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Entertainment and appearances are subject to change without notice.
Visitors are cramming the Walt Disney World theme parks, resorts and water parks this week. Let's take a look at what they are seeing first hand as they travel the parks.
One of the theming elements of the newly opened Harambe Market is this Miko Mouse T-Shirt, perhaps an homage to unauthorized reproductions of Mickey Mouse that may be found in markets around the world. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
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- Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios – June 12, 13, & 14
- 2015 Mickey's Not So Scary Hallowen Party – September 15, 18, 20, 22, 25 and 27; October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29 and 31; November 1
- 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival – September 26 to November 16.
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.
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – November 6–7. Most events are sold out.
- 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.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – closed June 8 through September 25 for refurbishment.
- Liberty Tree Tavern – closed July 6 through November 20 for refurbishment
- Dream Along with Mickey – closed July 19 through August 22 for refurbishment
- Liberty Square Riverboat – closed August 4–10 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Frontierland station – closed September 29 through November 5 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Main Street U.S.A station – closed September 29 through November 5 for refurbishment.
- Walt Disney World Fantasyland station – closed September 29 through November 5 for refurbishment.
- Captain EO - closed through July 19
- Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage – closed June 12–14 for refurbishment
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – closed September 7–10 for refurbishment
- Entire park closes from October 25 - December 1, 2015 for reburbishment
- Polynesian – ongoing refurbishment of the lobby and pool area.
- 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.
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
Weekdays June 16 – August 9, 2015
Weekends August 10-27, 2015
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:
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
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:
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:
Disney's BoardWalk Inn and Villas:
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort:
Disney's Contemporary Resort:
Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground:
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa:
Disney's Old Key West Resort:
Disney's Port Orleans Resort:
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa:
Disney's Wilderness Lodge:
Disney's Yacht Club Resort:
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
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
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
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.