Walt Disney World Park Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for November 5 – November 11, 2007

Go directly to: News & Views | Coming Soon | Trivia of the Week | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions | Park Hours/Park Events/Entertainment Schedule

News and Views

Pirate & Princess Party returns | New discounts announced | New deal fits to a tee | New dream images by Annie Leibovitz | Robbery at Downtown Disney | Ames wins golf tourney | Construction update | Quick Takes …

Pirate & Princess Party officially returns

Disney's Pirate & Princess Party now has official dates for its winter return. The party will be held in the Magic Kingdom on January 21, 26, 29, February 2, 5, 9, 14, 22, 26, March 1, 6, 11 and 14. The party will run from 7 p.m. to midnight each night. Full ticket price will be $45.95 plus tax ($48.94) for adults and $39.95 plus tax ($42.55) for children ages 3-9. However, if tickets are purchased by December 15, everyone gets a discounted price with adult tickets at $33.95 plus tax ($36.16) and children for $29.95 plus tax ($31.90).

Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members get a steeper discount, but must be purchased by December 15. (We were unable to confirm the DVC discount because the DVC Member Web site was down all weekend, but their discounts generally match those for Passholders.) Their discount rate will be $29.95 plus tax ($31.90) for adults and $25.95 plus tax ($27.64) for children. Passholders and DVC Members can purchase up to four tickets per passholder or member. Discounted tickets must be picked up at Will Call, and valid passholder or member ID must be shown when picking up the tickets.

As in the past, the event includes pirate coves and princess courts with candy and plastic jewelry giveaways, character meet and greets, interactive activities including Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial and Aladdin's Royal Guard Recruitment, Disney's Enchanted Adventures Parade, and the fabulous Magic, Music and Mayhem fireworks spectacular, as well as the Dream Along with Mickey castle stage show and many of the Magic Kingdom's attractions.

Tickets are on sale now online or via phone at 407-WDW-AHOY (407-939-2469). Passholders should call 407-560-PASS (407-560-7277) and DVC Members should call the Member Services phone number.

Passholders may purchase discounted tickets for themselves and up to (3) Guests. All discounted tickets will be set up for Will Call. A valid Annual Pass and ID must be shown at the time of ticket pick up.

Remember, these special discount prices is only available when you buy your tickets by December 15, 2007 so don't miss out!

Magic Your Way upgrades, Passholder winter discounts announced

Annual Passholder discounts have been announced for most nights January 1 to February 13, 2008. Rates start at $49 per night for value resorts, $99 per night for moderate resorts and $149 per night for deluxe villa resorts. All of those prices are without tax, for standard rooms at the hotels and studios at the villas. Discounts are for the nights of January 1 through February 13, except for January 18-20. You can book online at the Passholder web site or via phone at 407-560-PASS (407-560-7277). Mention code FHJ.

Free ticket upgrades are being offered with the purchase of Magic Your Way packages for the same dates as the Passholder discounts. With the purchase of packages on those dates, the standard base ticket will be upgraded to include the Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More tickets. These packages must be booked by December 15.

New deal fits Hanesbrands, Disney Parks to a tee

Last Wednesday, Hanesbrands Inc. and The Walt Disney Company today announced a 10-year partnership that includes basic apparel exclusivity for the Hanes and Champion brands, product co-branding, attraction sponsorships and other brand visibility and signage at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts properties.

Under the deal, Hanes becomes the presenting sponsor of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, the location of the announcement. (The link? Concert T-shirts, of course.) Hanes will also have a customizable clothing shop at Downtown Disney that will enable guests to design and personalize their own custom T-shirts and other items.

Champion will gain naming rights for the stadium at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, which will now become Champion Stadium. There will be other brand placement and promotional opportunities throughout the complex. Thete will also be in-store promotional and brand building opportunities at ESPN Zone restaurants and stores across the country.

Much of the apparel will be co-labeled, including Disneyland Resort by Hanes, Walt Disney World by Hanes, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex by Champion and ESPN Zone by Champion. Basic apparel, under the terms of the agreement, is defined as T-shirts and tanks and fleece sweatshirts, sweatpants, hoodies and other family fleece, including infant and toddler items.

Are you coming to MouseFest?

We're just a month away from MouseFest, and plans are firming up! For more information about MousePlanet's events at MouseFest, check out our MouseFest events page (link) or see who's announced that they're coming on the sticky threads on our MousePad discussion forums (link)!

Second Year of a Million Dreams rolls out new images by Annie Leibovitz

As part of the kickoff of the 2008 Year of a Million Dreams promotion, Disney commissioned famed photographer Annie Leibovitz to create a second series of images where celebrities take on the role of a Disney character. Last year's photos included Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella, David Beckham as Prince Phillip and Beyonce, Lyle Lovett and Oliver Platt as Alice, the March Hare and the Mad Hatter.

"Where You're the Fairest of Them All." As Snow White, Rachel Weisz appears is a sylvan glade, surrounded by forest friends. Photo provided by Disney.

In this year's series, Rachel Weisz portrays Snow White in the forest holding a friendly bird. Tennis ace Roger Federer attempts to draw Excalibur as King Arthur from The Sword in the Stone. The final image features Julie Andrews as the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio and Abigail Breslin as Fira from "Disney Fairies".

"Where You're Always King of the Court." Tennis ace Roger Federer, who has been the #1 ranked men's tennis player in the world for four consecutive years, portrays King Arthur and pulls a sword from the anvil that holds a magical grip upon it Photo provided by Disney.

Look for these three debut images to appear in a special insert in the December editions of Cookie, Conde Nast Traveler, Details, Glamour, GQ, Men's Vogue, New Yorker, Self, Vanity Fair, Vogue and W.

"Where the Magic Begins." Abigail Breslin as Fira (from the "Disney Fairies" series) reposes on a giant leaf while the wand-waving Julie Andrews as the Blue Fairy of "Pinocchio" showers her with pixie dust. Photo provided by Disney.

Couple accosted, robbed at gunpoint at Downtown Disney

The real world reared its ugly head at Downtown Disney again, as a couple claims that they were robbed there on Halloween night at around 1:20 a.m. They were walking along the waterfront behind the clubs when two men approached them. One had his face hidden within his dark hooded sweatshirt, while the other wore a clown mask. The man with the clown mask pulled a gun on them and demanded their money.

One victim took his wallet out of his pocket, removed his identification card and handed it over. The two robbers ran off toward the Virgin Megastore, where the victim's empty wallet was found. A backpack containing the clown mask was found near the Cirque du Soleil theater.

When asked for comment by MousePlanet, Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty responded, "We are doing everything we can to support law enforcement in its investigation. There is absolutely nothing more important than the safety of our guests and Cast Members and unlawful behavior is not tolerated on our property. Orange County deputies have a presence on our property 24 hours a day, along with our own 1000-member security team, and they will continue to work together to provide a safe experience for our guests."

Ames wins golf tourney

Stephen Ames held off a surging Tim Clark to win the Children's Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart. The golf tournament, on the Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World, is the final event of the PGA Tour Fall Series. Wind and wet grass kept final scores well above their usual low- to mid-260s. It was a tight finish, as 18 others finished within seven strokes of Ames' 271. Defending champ Joe Durant finished in an eleven-way tie for 26th place, nine shots back.

Menus wanted!

Want to help MousePlanet upgrade our park guides? We're looking to add menu information for all restaurants to our Walt Disney World Park Guide (link). Send photos or scans of menus (no fair copying from other Web sites) to menus@mouseplanet.com (link). Please note that there is a 5MB limit on total attachments in a single email.

Construction update

This week's listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:

  • Further permits for the annual refurbishment of Typhoon Lagoon include demolition of the existing rockwork at Mayday Falls and repairs to unspecified bridges.
  • The wood shakes and shinges atop Restaurantosaurus will be removed and replaced with asphalt shingles.
  • Fire-rated AED cabinets will be installed and rewired on the first, fourth and fifth floors of DisneyQuest.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean will have its roof sealed with an elastomeric roof coating system.
  • In an administrative corporate action, the Walt Disney World Hospitality & Recreation Corporation merged into Walt Disney World Co. in September. This action continued the very slow consolidation of the various subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company that hold ownership of parts of the Walt Disney World Resort property.
  • Walt Disney Imagineering filed a permit application, for a Mexico Show Lighting Package, possibly in preparation for the new tequila bar to be built adjacent to the San Angel Inn Restaurante.
  • Walt Disney Imagineering filed another permit for a refresh of the ABC Theater at the Disney-MGM Studios, rumored to become a permanent home for a High School Musical-themed show.
  • A third permit filed by Walt Disney Imagineering was for an Innoventions Waste Management Exhibit facility package, which should bring a whole new aspect to garbage.

Quick takes …

…We remarked last week that we were unsure as to how the refurbishment of Spaceship Earth suddently get extended by more than three months on the official Walt Disney World calendar less than three weeks before its scheduled opening. We asked Walt Disney Imagineering, who told us, "I have no idea why the Web site had the November date. All of our press materials have said early 2008, and that's what the project team has shared with us all along. That's still the target." So why did the calendar show the refurbishment ending in mid-November? Maybe to wait sufficiently past the October 1 anniversary rededication of the park for the potential furor to die down? We didn't get an answer to that question from Walt Disney World.

…It's a busy weekend coming up as Disney prepares to change the seasons over. In addition to the final weekend of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, it's also the Festival of the Masters art show at Downtown Disney West Side, Super Soap Weekend at the Disney-MGM Studios, and final prep for the start of the holiday season with next Monday's debut of Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the Hollywood Holly Day Parade and Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at the Disney-MGM Studios, not to mention the first night of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

…Annual Passholders will receive a discount of 10 percent on table-service entrees and 15 percent on merchandise at the Yak & Yeti Restaurant. The Asian-fusion restaurant is officially scheduled to open sometime this month at Disney's Animal Kingdom, though the appearance of the exterior construction would seem to contradict that.

…Andie MacDowell has replaced Isabella Rossellini as narrator for the Candlelight Processional December 14-16.

…Alamo Rent A Car has renewed its sponsorship deal with Disney Parks & Resorts as the official rental car company of Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. The extension, which runs through 2011, also continues its role as the official rental car supplier for the Walt Disney Travel Company.

…Hurricane Noel blew past Castaway Cay, leaving only minor damage in its wake. While the storm forced the Disney Magic cruise ship to detour to Nassau on Friday, the Disney Wonder stopped at Disney's private island on Saturday as scheduled.

…Shannon McAleavey, formerly Walt Disney World's Vice President of Public Affairs for Government Relations, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the resort. In her new role, McAleavey—who joined the company in 2005—will take on the added responsibility for community relations, internal communications, media relations and minority business development. She fills the role formerly held by Jerry Montgomery, who earlier this year was named to the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Conservation & Environmental Sustainability for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

Get your MousePlanet gear!

The MousePlanet.com store is now open for business (link)! You can get shirts, mugs, hats and even a Teddy Bear! Check it out and show your MousePlanet pride!

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.

Coming soon

  • Sep.28–Nov. 11. 12th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. [View our special Park Guide page.]
  • Nov. 9–11. Festival of the Masters.
  • Nov. 10–11. ABC Super Soap Weekend.
  • Nov. 11-15. Pirates of Castaway Cay pin cruise.
  • Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
  • Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008. Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.
  • Nov. 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30, Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
  • Nov. 22, 23, 25. Old Spice Classic.
  • Nov. 23 – Dec. 30. Holidays Around the World.
  • Nov. 12 – Jan. 6, 2008. Festival of the Seasons.
  • Nov. 19-25, 2007 and Dec. 16, 2007-Jan. 2, 2008. DVC members may not pool-hop on these dates.

Walt Disney World trivia question of the week

This week's question: What is the smallest Walt Disney World theme park? Stay tuned to next week's park update for the answer.

The answer to last week's question: "As the Disney-MGM Studios prepares to become Disney's Hollywood Studios, we take a look back and ask if you can name the park's seven original attractions?", is:

The Great Movie Ride; Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour; Magic of Disney Animation; "Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!;"; Behind the Scenes Special Effects walking tour; Superstar Television; and Monster Sound Show.

Do you have a trivia question that you'd like to share? If we choose to use your question, we'll give you credit in the Update. E-mail us here.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom


  • Spaceship Earth – closed for refurbishment July 9 – February 18.
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante – is now open, but will close in the spring of 2008 to be completely remodeled, and will reopen in fall 2008 under yet another new name.
  • The Wonders of Life pavilion – has again closed as such, perhaps forever and perhaps just until Thanksgiving weekend. In the meantime, the central area is being used as the Festival Center for the 2007 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
  • Nine Dragons – closes in early 2008 for renovations that include the creation of an exhibition kitchen. It is expected to reopen in fall 2008.

Disney-MGM Studios

  • Backlot Tour – closed for refurbishment November 10–11.
  • Mickey Avenue – closed through at least next spring for installation of the Toy Story Mania attraction and related theming.

Animal Kingdom

  • Yak & Yeti Restaurant – the new full-service restaurant opens November 15, 2007.
  • Yak & Yeti Market – the new quick-service restaurant opens November 15, 2007.
  • Tusker House – closed August 20 – November 17 for conversion to a buffet restaurant with a character breakfast. The restaurant is now taking reservations.
  • Restaurantosaurus – Donald's Breakfastosaurus will end November 5. The McDonald's-based restaurant will remain open for lunch and dinner.


  • All-Star Sports Resort – All buildings will be renovated between June 2007 and February 2008.
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge – Construction of the Kidani Village annex building for the Disney Vacation Club's Animal Kingdom Villas is expected to take until spring 2009.
  • Caribbean Beach Resort – Feature pool closed for renovation January 7–mid-September, 2008. Temporary "child-sized" slides will be added to the quiet pools in the Jamaica and Barbados Villages while the main pool is closed.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – Jaguar water slide closed for refurbishment from November 26 – December 14. The Dig Site feature pool and all quiet pools will remain open during the refurbishment.
  • T-Rex Cafe – reportedly opens in Downtown Disney in late 2008.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed for annual refurbishment October 28 – January 5.
  • Blizzard Beach – closed for annual refurbishment January 6 – March 8.


  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. No performances November 25–27. Will hold special performances on New Year's Eve.
  • Official All-Star Cafe at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex – closed on September 23, and is expected to reopen on November 20 as a quick-service eatery.

Park events are now found in the monthly Park Hours/Park Events/Entertainment Schedule pages

Current Discounts & Promotions

Hotel Royal Plaza offers discounts to MousePlanet readers

MousePlanet sponsor Hotel Royal Plaza, in the Downtown Disney resort area, has enhanced its deal for MousePlanet readers. From now through the end of the year, anyone booking their stay through the MousePlanet Web site has been able to receive discounted rates up to 20 percent off on all room types. Now, for a limited time, you can get even more! The discounted rates now include free breakfast for two in the Giraffe Cafe!. Plus children 10 and under always eat breakfast for free! (Two children 10 and under eat free from the kids menu when accompanied by an adult dining from the regular menu.)

The completely-remodeled 394-room resort is located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard, just a few minutes' walk from Downtown Disney. Bus service to all Walt Disney World theme parks is included with your stay. Their Giraffe Cafe restaurant, Giraffe Tavern sports bar, Marketessen deli-style caf and Sips Pool Bar are ready to serve you.

We'd like to invite you to try their hospitality!

Passholder, Florida resident discounts announced through end of the year

Disney has released discounted room rates for passholders and Florida residents for the end of September through md-December. Discounts are available for select resorts for most nights from September 30 through December 23. (The nights of November 21-24 and November 30-December 7 are excluded at non-DVC resorts, most likely due to Thanksgiving weekend and the Pop Warner Super Bowl invasion, while only the Thanksgiving dates are blocked at the DVC resorts.) There are two effective rate periods for this discount, with September 30-October 3, November 25-29, and December 8-19 carrying passholder rates of $59 per night in value resorts and $164 per night in a DVC studio. The remaining dates in the promotion period (except for the nights of November 21-24, which have no discounts due to Thanksgiving weekend) have nightly passholder rates starting at $79 for values and $194 for DVC studios. Florida resident rates are $5 higher than passholder rates.

Minimum stay requirements apply for Friday and Saturday arrivals. All rates can be booked up until the date of arrival. Passholders and Florida residents can book via your respective Web sites, by calling your travel agent (Small World Vacations is MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel provider) or by calling 407-560-7277 for passholders or 407-560-7722 for Florida residents.

An interesting twist on this deal is that, for certain check-in dates, you can get a Disney Dining Card with $20-$100 per room with your minimum 2-night reservation. This perk is available for stays with check-in dates between October 21-November 3, November 11-17 and December 9-15. The card can be used toward food & beverage only, and not toward merchandise.

Rooms available at these rates are very limited, and they're going quickly!

For ticket prices, park hours, and entertainment schedules, please go here.

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