Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Marie Rossiter, contributing writer
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Update for June 30 – July 6, 2015

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


News and Views

Walt Disney World bans selfie sticks | Military discounts extended through December | Changes coming to 2016 Magic Your Way Plans | Disney Dining Plan prices, inclusion changes for 2016 announced | Captain EO to return to Epcot | How to celebrate Independence Day at Walt Disney World | Disney Savings Plan complaints continueDid you catch these quick takes? | Crowd Forecast

Walt Disney World bans selfie sticks

After trying to limit the use of selfie sticks on attractions by visitors earlier this year, Walt Disney World decided to up the ante and completely ban them from the theme parks.

The new ban, which begins on June 30, means that the photography tool cannot even brought into the parks and security guards at the entry checkpoints will be on alert to finding them. Visitors caught with a selfie stick can choose to either turn in the stick and get a claim ticket to pick it up on the way out or return it back to the car or hotel room.

The ban upgrade came as a result of visitors continuing to try to use the selfie sticks on rides and attractions, despite the previous rule, which Disney clearly had posted around the parks.

Military discounts extended through December

Late last week, Disney announced the continuation of military discounts through December 2015.

Room rates

The Disney Armed Forces Salute offers Disney resort rooms and tickets at Walt Disney World

Qualified personnel may book up to a maximum of three rooms at a time during the period of the Disney Armed Forces Salute. This discount may be used as many times as you'd like during the offer period.

  • 40 percent off Deluxe Resorts
  • 35 percent off Moderates and Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • 30 percent off Value Resorts including Art of Animation (except Little Mermaid rooms)

The number of rooms and room types at these rates are limited.

The resort discount may be used up to and including December 23, 2015.

Ticket discount

Eligible service members can purchase 4-day Park Hopper passes for $177 until December 20, 2015

Tickets can be purchased through December 17, 2015.

Eligible service members are limited to purchasing no more than 12 Disney military promotional tickets.

Changes to Magic Your Way plans for 2016

If you're looking to book a Disney Magic Your Way Package for next year, you should know that Disney changed a number of the package offerings by adding and removing what a customer receives when they book the package, as well as how and when a package is booked.

Additions to the package:

  • Mini-golf vouchers increase from two (2) to four (4) players at Fantasia Gardens or Winter-Summerland. The vouchers must still be used before 4:00 p.m.
  • Disney added four (4) vouchers for a one-day admission to the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Removals from the package:

  • Arcade game card (was a 100 point card per room)
  • Dining discounts at Bongos (was 15 percent), Fulton’s Crab House (was 10 percent), and Paradiso 37 (was 20 percent)
  • Children’s Activity Center Discount (was 15 percent)
  • Disney Tours discount (was 15 percent for most tours)
  • DisneyQuest admission vouchers (was two per room)
  • Recreation discounts for horseback riding (was 15 percent), guided bass fishing (was 15 percent), and marina rentals (was 10 percent)
  • Spa and salon services discount (was 15 percent for services 50 minutes or longer)

Booking Terms changes

Disney also changed booking terms for the Magic Your Way Packages. They can be booked up to one day in advance both online and by phone. A $200 deposit is now required (compared to a one-night stay with room-only reservations) and the final payment is due 30 days before arrival (this used to be 45 days). Packages can be cancelled without penalty 31 days before arrival. A $200 fee will be charged for anyone canceling a packages 30 to two days before arrival. A one-day cancellation means no refund to the person who booked the trip.

Many thanks to Laurel Stewart from our sponsor TouringPlans.com who shared all the details about these important changes.

Disney Dining Plan prices, inclusion changes for 2016 announced

Last week, Disney released pricing information for its dining plan option for 2016:

  • Quick Service: adults: $42.77/night; child 3-9: $17.54 – was $41.99 and $16.03
  • Regular plan: adults: $61.82/night; child 3-9: $20.98 – was $60.64 and $19.23
  • Deluxe Plan: adults: $111.73; child 3-9: $32.56 – was $109.53 and $29.86

A number of websites report that not only have the prices changed, but also the options for the Deluxe Plan have, as well. In particular, the current information from Disney omits the appetizer from the deluxe plan, leaving only the entree, dessert and drink as the meal offered on the plan. It is important to note that Disney can make changes before the end of the year, so keep an eye out for possible updates.

Thanks to Laurel from our sponsor TouringPlans.com for the new price information and wdwmagic.com for the plan change details.

Captain EO to return to Epcot

It looks like Epcot's Imagination Theater is once again hosting Captain EO, starring Michael Jackson. Back in April, the 4-D film went on hiatus as Disney decided to use the theater for special previews of Tomorrowland and then the current preview of Inside Out. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the film returns to Epcot on July 19, 2015.

How to celebrate Independence Day at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World has a patriotic lineup of entertainment around the theme parks to celebrate our nation's 239th birthday on July 4. In fact, so much entertainment is planned, that Disney scheduled two days to honor our country: July 3 and July 4! Here's a quick run-down on what to expect for Independence Day festivities:

Resorts:

All resorts should have poolside games, crafts and movies under the starts for the holiday. Over at Port Orleans Riverside there will be a Riverside Fair: Red, White & Blue on the Bayou which features a barbecue from Noon until 5:00 p.m and live entertainment form 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Theme Parks:

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – Visitors can enjoy the“Rockin’ Fourth of July Celebration” fireworks show.  It will be a rock n’ roll tribute across America. The DJ will start at 5:45 p.m. and the fireworks will start at 10:15 p.m.
  • Epcot – Disney characters will be dressed in their patriotic costumes to meet visitors around the park. Voices of Liberty performs a concert at the American Gardens Theater in World Showcase at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. Finally, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth will have a special Fourth of July "tag" at the end of the show.
  • Magic Kingdom – At 10:00 p.m., the park will present “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky."

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Crowds at Walt Disney World get especially heavy during the Fourth of July weekend, so make sure to get to the park of your choice early, as Disney may decide on phased closures due to crowed levels. 

Disney Savings Plan complaints continue

The Disney Savings Plan website continues to receive complaints about its reliability and user experience. The story first surfaced last week when customers complained that too much money had been taken out of their accounts, even causing some bank overdraft fees. 

Earlier this week, Disney announced that it would disburse refunds shortly and that the technical glitches were addressed. Despite that announcement, more people came forward with a variety of stories outlining various problems, including:

  • Not being able to access the website at all
  • A malfunction with the refund request form
  • The inability to cancel automatic deposits into Disney Savings Plan accounts

Disney Savings Plan customer Tapan Parmar wrote to the Orlando Sentinel, expressing frustration:

For many, like myself, we just want to see our balance to ensure that the funds are still there, but not being able to see my balance for a week is concerning. 

Meanwhile, Disney spokesman Bryan Malenius apologized for "any inconvenience this has caused our guests and are happy to talk with anyone who has concerns. "Refunds have been processed, and we’re working diligently to bring the website back online."

Did you catch these quick takes?

  • A couple of Walt Disney World Resort restaurants announced changes last week. Over at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Artist Point has a new chef and menu items. Meanwhile. the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge located in Disney's Hollywood Studios has new menu items, as well.
  • A few websites picked up a tweet from Dave Cobb regarding the demolition of the Adventurer's Club in the former Pleasure Island entertainment complex. Fans of Adventurer's Club shared their memories of the location and their sadness at it's ultimate removal.
  • Three classic Disney movies celebrated milestone anniversaries last week: Lady and the Tramp opened 60 years ago on June 22, 1955, Pocahontas celebrated its 20th anniversary, with an opening date of June 23, 1995 and The Lion King turned 21; it opened on June 24, 1994. 
  • Speaking of Pocahontas, Disney's Animal Kingdom visitors have a new meet and greet area to see her at Discovery Island Character Landing. Remember, this is the only place at Walt Disney World where you can meet Pocahontas.
  • Heading to the 2015 D23 Expo in Anaheim in August? Here's a sneak peek at some of the exclusive merchandise you'll find there! 

Views Around the World

As summer temperatures soar, Disney's Hollywood Studios has a cool option for visitors with Frozen Summer Fun. This week, we give you a tour around all the special events!


A Frozen Summer Fun sand sculpture greets guests at the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Frozen Summer Fun has returned to Disney's Hollywood Studios and is scheduled to run through September 7, 2015. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Royal Arendelle Flag Corps leads the Frozen Royal Welcome parade, twice daily, during the Frozen Summer Fun, at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Olaf the snowman appears in the Frozen Royal Welcome parade, twice daily, during the Frozen Summer Fun. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


A group of ice cutters leads Kristoff's float in the Frozen Royal Welcome parade, twice daily during the Frozen Summer Fun. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Frozen Royal Welcome parade stops twice during each of its two daily runs through Disney's Hollywood Studios, inviting guests to join in singing "Let It Go" while it snows. Queen Elsa and Princess Anna get off their floats and greet the crowds during the parade stops. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Princess Anna greets guests during the Frozen Royal Welcome parade at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


The Frozen Royal Welcome parade includes Kristoff during its two daily runs through Disney's Hollywood Studios during Frozen Summer Fun. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.


Olaf has his own stage show this year during Frozen Summer Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Alan S. Dalinka.

 

…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, just enter your e-mail in the box below.

 

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Crowd Forecast

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"Do more. Wait less."

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, June 30, 2015 8 / 10
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 8 / 10
Thursday, July 2, 2015 7 / 10
Friday, July 3, 2015 7 / 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.
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Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Stephanie here.
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

Epcot

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Blizzard Beach

  • Entire park closed from October 25, 2015 through January 3, 2016 for refurbishment

Typhoon Lagoon

  • Entire park closed from January 3, 2016 through March 13, 2016 for reburbishment.

 

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

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 Military Personnel

4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Discount

Eligible Service Members can purchase 4-day Park Hopper passes for $177 until December 20, 2015

Tickets can be purchased through December 17, 2015.

No more than 12 Disney Military Promotional Tickets can be purchased by an Eligible Service Member.

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 carolinakid

    Marie, it's Pocahontas, not Pocahantas. Please correct. Thanks!

  2. By Drince88

    Speaking of Pocahontas, when did she stop making appearances outside the American Pavillon in Epcot? That's where I've always seen her after he show in AK ended.

  3. By carolinakid

    She must not be that popular because I agree, the American Adventure at Epcot and Frontierland/Liberty Square in the Magic kingdom would be ideal places to encounter this American princess. I've only seen her in front of the Conservation Station at Rafiki's Planet Watch but that was several years ago. I liked her Animal Kingdom show.

  4. By DisneyGator

    Captain Eo is back? Really? Disappointed that this is all Disney can come up with. A film that was cool for about 3 year...3 decades ago. It's the Imagination Pavilion. So imagine something already!

    Side note, that picture of DHS with no Sorcerer's Hat....so blah. I miss the Hat.

  5. By Dave1313

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyGator View Post
    Captain Eo is back? Really? Disappointed that this is all Disney can come up with. A film that was cool for about 3 year...3 decades ago. It's the Imagination Pavilion. So imagine something already!

    Side note, that picture of DHS with no Sorcerer's Hat....so blah. I miss the Hat.

    I'm with you on the Hat. Just not the same.

    Ironically, I got a decent DHS tee shirt with the hat and several of the main characters on it when I was there last month. I imagine maybe it was old stock (shirt said copyright 2008 on the border, but then again, maybe they reprinted them knowing not everyone was happy to see it go), but it seemed odd to see something with the hat so prominently featured after it had been removed from the park. It was also right at the doorway to Mickey's of Hollywood (probably very visible from the street), so it's not like it was obscurely hidden on some rack on the perimeter of the store. I'll try to upload a pic of the shirt tonight if I remember.

    As to EO, I have to admit I never have stopped to see it.... was never a huge fan of MJ growing up, so I didn't feel the need to see EO over other opportunities for entertainment while in the parks. For those who are fans, I am happy it's back rather than have it sit as an empty theater though.

  6. By DwarfPlanet

    "Ticket discount

    Eligible service members can purchase 4-day Park Hopper passes for $177 until December 20, 2015

    Tickets can be purchased through December 17, 2015.

    Eligible service members are limited to purchasing no more than 12 Disney military promotional tickets."

    Our local military ITT office is still saying they end 3 October and only 6 tickets.

  7. By Dave1313

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    I'm with you on the Hat. Just not the same.

    Ironically, I got a decent DHS tee shirt with the hat and several of the main characters on it when I was there last month. ..............................

    I really didn't expect to see something like this nearly 5 months after they removed the Hat: (but I am glad I did! )

    Attachment 8607

  8. By GusMan

    Thats a cool graphic. And yes, I miss the hat.
    What gets me more is that they take down the hat and the Chinese Theater behind it does make a great "weenie" of sorts.
    .... only for it to be blocked once again by the temp stage for the Frozen Summer Fun festivities.
    But I digress...

  9. By stan4d_steph

    Quote Originally Posted by GusMan View Post
    Thats a cool graphic. And yes, I miss the hat.
    What gets me more is that they take down the hat and the Chinese Theater behind it does make a great "weenie" of sorts.
    .... only for it to be blocked once again by the temp stage for the Frozen Summer Fun festivities.
    But I digress...

    You should replace your avatar with the hat.

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