Walt Disney World Park Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for August 4 – August 10, 2008

Go directly to: News & Views | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions | Park Events

News and Views

Ticket price increases | 2009 Dining Plans | Pirates rooms | New partners | Tour de Turtles | Construction update | Quick Takes …

It's annual ticket price increase time again

It appears that the country's economic condition and resulting belt-tightening by consumers has not scared Disney off from its new annual tradition. Late Friday afternoon after the close of the weekly news cycle, Walt Disney World announced theme park ticket price hikes effective yesterday.

One-day, one-park tickets are up $4 for adults, to $75, and up $3 for children, to $63 (plus tax). Adult 10-day base tickets are up $12 to $237, with unexpiring 10-day tickets with both Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options jumping to $537. 10-day base tickets for children are up $15 to $202, with their tricked-out price with all options jumping to $502, topping the $500 mark for the first time.

Disney has been increasing its park ticket prices the first Sunday in August since 2006 for two reasons: It provides a nice last-minute boost to the fiscal fourth-quarter earnings (Disney's fiscal year ends on September 30), and it puts the new prices out there in time for the publication cycle for guide books and for the start of booking for the following year's packages. With the new prices in effect, booking has now started for all 2009 travel packages. Room-only rates do not appear to have changed (yet) for next year, but there are new Dining options and pricing (see next story).

If you'd like to compare the prices below to last year's prices, you can do that here.

Schedule of Magic Your Way Ticket Prices
Base Ticket Price (Adult/Child)
1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day
75/63 149/125 212/179 219/184 222/187 225/190 228/193 231/196 234/199 237/202
Base Ticket with Park Hopper Option
1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day
125/113 199/175 262/229 269/234 272/237 275/240 278/243 281/246 284/249 287/252
Base Ticket with Water Park Fun & More Option
1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day
125/113 199/175 262/229 269/234 272/237 275/240 278/243 281/246 284/249 287/252
(+2) (+2) (+3) (+4) (+5) (+6) (+7) (+8) (+9) (+10)
Base Ticket with Park Hopper and Water Park Options
1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day
175/163 249/225 312/279 319/284 322/287 325/290 328/293 331/296 334/299 337/302
Base Ticket with Both Options and No Expiration
1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day
N/A 266/242 335/302 369/334 392/357 405/370 438/403 476/441 504/469 537/502

Theme park annual pass prices are also increasing. The Adult Annual Pass is up $21 to $469 and a child AP is up $19 to $314. Adult Premium Annual Pass increased $20 to $599, while the child PAP rose $18 to $528. Florida resident Annual, Premium and Seasonal Passes are also rising. Other ticket prices are mostly remaining steady. One-day, one-park water park passes are up $1 to $40 for adults and $34 for children. DisneyQuest has had a $3 jump, to $40 for adults and $34 for children. Wide World of Sports admission is up 47 cents, to $10.98 for adults and $8.41 for children. Pleasure Island admission remains steady for its last couple of months at $21.95 for all. Annual passes for water parks, DisneyQuest, and Pleasure Island remain unchanged, as well.

Annual Pass type Purchase type Adult cost Child cost
Annual Pass New $469 $414
Annual Pass Renewal $429 $379
Premium AP New $599 $528
Premium AP Renewal $549 $484
Florida AP New $359 $316
Florida AP Renewal $324 $286
Florida Premium Pass New $479 $422
Florida Premium Pass Renewal $434 $383
Florida Seasonal Pass New $239 $211
Florida Seasonal Pass Renewal $211 $186

As a reminder, Orlando Fun Tickets is MousePlanet's preferred discount ticket partner, and you can still get your tickets at great prices here.

2009 Dining Plan info released; new Quick Service Dining Plan debuts

Disney has released the details of next year's dining plans. You can book your package trip for 2009 now on the Walt Disney World Web site (link) or via phone. For next year, Disney has added a yet another level of dining plan to create a fifth level: The Disney Quick Service Dining Plan. If you're not up for spending $39.99 per day per adult and $10.99 per day per child for the standard Dining Plan, or if there's too much food there for you to eat, you can drop down from one quick service meal, one snack, and one table service meal per person, per night. The new Quick Service Dining Plan gives you two quick service meals and two snacks for $29.99 per day per adult and $8.99 per day per child. The new plan also includes resort refillable mugs, so the standard Dining Plan is the only plan without the mugs.

Of course, if you decide to eat at a table service restaurant that will not be covered by your plan and—unlike the other dining plans—you won't be able to eat at a signature dining location to burn up any extra meal credits.

Here's a run-down on the pricing for all dining plans:

Dining Plan Daily cost per adult Daily cost per child
Quick Service Dining Plan $29.99 $8.99
Dining Plan $39.99 $10.99
Deluxe Dining Plan $71.99 $20.99
Premium Dining Plan $159.00 $109.00
Platinum Dining Plan $209.00 $144.00

The Wine and Dine add-on package is again available this year for an additional $39.99 per night, unchanged from last year. The Wine and Dine package  entitles you to one bottle of wine per night, redeemable at any point during your stay at table service restaurants. Wine ordered at signature restaurants or with private dining (room service) will cost you two Wine and Dine credits.

For more information, check out the 2009 Quick Service Dining Plan (link), Dining Plan (link), Deluxe Dining Plan (link), Premium Plan (link) and Platinum Plan (link) brochures. Wine and Dine Plan brochures are not available at this time.

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!

Pirates of the Caribbean Beach Resort

While it does sound like one of those games where the you have to create a new phrase by smashing two other phrases together, "Pirates of the Caribbean Beach Resort" is actually the new theming of the Trinidad South village of Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. We noted a couple of weeks ago that most of the Caribbean Beach Resort (some 1,728 rooms) would be rethemed to Finding Nemo. That theming will rule everywhere except Trinidad South, for there will be where pirates lurk.

The 384 rooms of Trinidad South are being rethemed to Pirates of the Caribbean, with ship-themed beds, a bathroom privacy curtain like a tattered sail with the Jolly Roger, furniture like crates stacked on a dock and a table with a compass motif.

The rooms are now available for booking for stays with arrival dates of January 24 or later. But beware, me hearties, as ill winds blow past the pricing here. These rooms—previously less desirable due to their distance from the main resort buildings—will now carry a steeper price tag. By giving them a special treatment, Disney can now charge an extra $25 per night for these rooms.

Welcome new partners!

We've got two new site partners here at MousePlanet, one of which actually debuted last month and one that we're happy to be bringing aboard this month.

Advantage Vacation Homes is a premier vacation home rental agency, with properties ranging from private homes to townhouses to condominiums, and with sizes from two to seven bedrooms. If you're looking for a place to stay with some extra room that won't cost you extra cash, you might want to consider a vacation home. They're especially helpful with large groups, as you can share a multi-bedroom home with an extended family or even a sports team. Advantage Vacation Homes is sponsoring the Walt Disney World Resort News and Current Events forum on our MousePad discussion forums and one of our weekly MouseStation podcasts, as well as advertising throughout our site. We're pleased to have them joining our MousePlanet family.

We're also excited to bring Scooter Vacations into the MousePlanet fold. At a recent gathering of MousePlanet readers and MouseStation podcast listeners at the Magic Kingdom, we asked what sort of organization readers and listeners would like us to partner with—and one of the most frequently requested was an off-site ECV rental firm. Scooter Vacations provides charitable support for children who need mobility assistance via Starlight Starbright Foundation and Kids Wish Network. In addition, by using code MP10 when making your reservation for any of their five scooter models, MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners can get a 10 percent discount on their scooter rental. Scooter Vacations is sponsoring the Theme-Park Access Guide forum on our MousePad discussion forums and also sponsoring our new Walt Disney World Park Guide mobility page.

We'd like to give a big MousePlanet welcome to both Advantage Vacation Homes and Scooter Vacations!

Tour de Turtles launches at Vero Beach Resort

Conservation biologists from Disney's Animal Programs are working with the Caribbean Conservation Corporation to use satellite technology to track a group of eight sea turtles from nesting sites at locations in Florida, West Indies, Panama, and Costa Rica to unknown feeding grounds. The last of the eight, named Lumiere, was released near Disney's Vero Beach Resort on Friday to the cheers of hundreds of resort guests.

Each of the turtles is used to represent and raise awareness of a threat to sea turtle survival. Lumiere's cause is to educate about the dangers of light pollution. It is believed that sea turtle hatchlings rely on moonlight to find their way back to the ocean, and may instead be drawn inland by artificial light sources.

You can follow the sea turtles' progress, as well as learning about the why the sea turtle is endangered, at the Tour de Turtles Web site (link).

Help us keep our menu listings up to date!

Did you know that MousePlanet now has menu listings (link) for all theme park restaurants at Walt Disney World and many resort restaurants? You can help us keep them up to date! Send your photos, scans or other copies of restaurant menus (no fair copying from other Web sites) to menus@mouseplanet.com (link). Please note that there is a 5 MB 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:

  • Magic Kingdom – change out 13 CO2 sensor controllers.
  • Magic Kingdom Mickey's Philharmagic queue roof – apply a fluid applied flexible acrylic waterproofing system over existing roofing system.
  • Epcot American Adventure Exterior Restoration – remove/replace store front windows in Cafeteria & replace stucco in some areas.
  • Epcot The Land Pavilion – repair and coat rain gutter system on Dome structure and Aquatic Structure.
  • Epcot Imagination Pavilion Kodak Exhibit – add ddditional lights throughout the Kodak Post Show Experience (the diagram seems to indicate the old upstairs Image Works space).
  • Epcot Italy Pavilion – replace and relocate the fire alarm control panel.
  • Epcot – design, build and install a Greece themed Kiosk for the Food & Wine Festival.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Mickey Avenue Mania Facade – provide labor & materials to install door, track and character.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios ABC Theater (American Idol) roof – replace AH-5AV ceiling insulation.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Sci-Fi Dine In – replace AH-4SD.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Primeval Whirl – install VFD.
  • Downtown Disney Christmas Shop – remove sign install temp banner, reinstall repaired sign, includes all electrical.
  • Grand Floridian Resort – install 4 owner-furnished guest ice machines at Main Building/Building #4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 (Main Building, Sago Cay, Sugarloaf Key/Club Concierge, Conch Key, Boca Chica and Big Pine Key).
  • Wilderness Lodge Resort – install 18 owner-furnished guest ice machines. 1st Floor near Rms 1035 & 1130; 2nd Floor near Rms 2035 & 2130; 3rd Floor near Rms 3035, 3107, & 3130; 4th Floor near Rms 4035 & 4130; 5th Floor near Rms 5035, 5066, 5107; 6th Floor near Rms 6035, 6066, 6107, 6130; and 7th Floor near Rms 7035 & 7127.
  • Caribbean Beach Resort – remove and reinstall deck planks at the Caribbean Beach Cay Bridge 114. (Bridge from Caribbean Cay to Old Port Royale)
  • Caribbean Beach Resort – demo and replace tile at the Caribbean Beach Old Port Royale Shutters Entrance.
  • Caribbean Beach Resort Pool – signs package
  • Pop Century Resort – fabricate and install signs at the package pick-up.

Quick takes …

SpectroMagic will not be performed August 15 – 29 during the refurbishment of the Liberty Square bridge. A rerouted Disney Dreams Come True Parade will be shown twice those days, at 3 and 7 p.m. It is believed that the 3:00 parade will go up Main Street and exit the gate next to Mickey's Toontown Fair, then reverse the route for the afternoon parade, allowing it to be stored in the regular float storage area each night.

…We reported a couple of weeks ago that the October 3 Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party had been cancelled. At the time, there were many rumors floating that it meant that there would be a fall press event at Walt Disney World. We've since heard a different rumor as to the possible reason for the cancellation. Some cast members are letting slip that the park will be closed that Friday night for Miley Cyrus' Sweet 16 party. Of course, both of these stories are rumors, so we'll have to wait to see if one or the other gets any confirmation.

…With the upcoming October 28 direct-to-video release of Tinker Bell coming up, it should be no surprise that Disney is planning a tie-in at Walt Disney World. There will reportedly be a Fairies Room at the Toontown Hall of Fame in Mickey's Toontown Fair where you can shrink down to the size of a fairy and meet the denizens of Pixie Hollow. The room is reportedly planned for an October 26 opening (the start of the Disney pay week immediately preceding the movie's release).

…While theme park schedules have now been released through February, water park schedules for January are still unavailable.

…The Expedition Everest Challenge is now 85% full.

…A quick update to last week's story on the Encore! fundraiser for United Arts of Central Florida. The cast member group's concerts raised more than $25,000 for the arts organization.

…Last week, during The Walt Disney Company's third-quarter earnings call, Pali Capital analyst Rich Greenfield asked Disney CEO Bob Iger and CFO Tom Staggs about the new Bay Lake Tower Disney Vacation Club resort being built adjacent to the Contemporary Resort. Iger sidestepped the question, noting that the focus at Disney Vacation Club is currently on selling the Animal Kingdom Villas, and that is why there have been no other announcements and no other properties have gone on sale.

…While Disney continues to hold its position that it is exempt from Florida's new guns-at-work law, it has lost a hole card. A judge has ruled against an industry lawsuit seeking to dismiss the law. The judge ruled that while businesses can prohibit customers from bringing guns onto their property, they cannot do the same for employees.

…Annual Passholders can now get a discount on Disney's PhotoCards purchased through the PhotoPass Web site from August 1 – November 11, 2008. See the Passholder Web site (link) for details.

…A correction: Last week, we stated that the old "Top of the World" lounge, on the current site of the California Grill, once hosted a dinner show called Dinner at the Top. The show was actually called Broadway at the Top. Thanks to reader Nicholas Steinhoff for the correct information.

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

  • July 25 to Aug 13 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp.
  • Aug. 29 to Sept. 5 – Disney's Royal Quinceañera Weekend.
  • Sept. 5 and 6 – Night of Joy.
  • Sept. 5 to 7 – Disney's Pin Celebration.
  • Sept. 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 28, 30, Oct. 2, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31 – Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
  • Sept. 26 to Nov. 9 – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
  • Sept. 27 – Expedition Everest Challenge.
  • Oct. 5 – Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K.
  • Oct. 12 – Race for the Taste 10K.
  • Oct. 25 – Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K.

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • SpectroMagic  – will not be performed August 15–29 during the refurbishment of the Liberty Square bridge. A re-routed Disney Dreams Come True Parade will be shown twice those days, at 3 and 7 p.m. It is believed that the 3:00 parade will go up Main Street and exit the gate next to Mickey's Toontown Fair, then reverse the route for the afternoon parade, allowing it to be stored in the regular float storage area each night.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment September 6–12.
  • Country Bear Jamboree – closed for refurbishment September 28 – October 31.


  • Morocco – Gallery of Arts and History closed for refurbishment July 14 – September 24.
  • Illuminations – the LED globe is scheduled to be removed from the show for a major refurbishment, currently believed to be targeted for August 13. The length of the refurbishment is not known. The show was tested without the globe on February 27.
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante – is now open, but closes in the spring to be completely remodeled, to reopen in the fall under yet another new name.
  • The Wonders of Life pavilion – has again closed as such, and most likely will only be used as a Festival Center until a new sponsor is found.
  • Nine Dragons – closed May 29 – November 30 for renovations that include the creation of an exhibition kitchen.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey – closed for refurbishment July 7 – August 5.
  • High School Musical 2: School's Out – ends September 13, will be replaced with new show themed to High School Musical 3: Senior Year, opening in time for the new movie's October 24 opening.
  • American Idol – under construction in the soundstage that formerly hosted Superstar Television and Doug Live!. Scheduled to open January 2009.

Animal Kingdom

  • Primeval Whirl – closed for refurbishment September 2 – November 15.
  • Pocahontas and her Forest Friends – closes permanently September 27.


  • Animal Kingdom Lodge – Phase 1 of the Kidani Village annex building for the Disney Vacation Club's Animal Kingdom Villas is expected to open in May 2009, with Phase 2 opening in September 2009. Jambo House construction is complete.
  • Caribbean Beach Resort – Feature pool closed for renovation January 7–mid-September. Temporary "child-sized" slides will be added to the quiet pools in the Jamaica and Barbados Villages while the main pool is closed. Room renovations underway to re-theme most rooms to Finding Nemo, with the rest being themed to Pirates of the Caribbean. Pirates rooms will become available for booking as of January 24 arrival dates.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort – High Rock Springs pool closed September 8–26.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – Surfing classes and events are not available until after the park comes back from its winter maintenance due to work required on the wave generation machine. The wave pool will continue to operate, but the monster waves necessary for surfing are out of commission. The park closes for its annual refurbishment November 1 through at least the end of the year.
  • Blizzard Beach – closes for annual refurbishment once Typhoon Lagoon reopens, likely through mid-March.


  • Pleasure Island – all clubs to close permanently September 27.
  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays.
  • T-Rex – reportedly opens in Downtown Disney in late 2008.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Orlando Fun Tickets offering 5 days for the price of 3

For a limited time, MousePlanet discount ticket partner Orlando Fun Tickets is currently offering a free upgrade to a 5-day Park Hopper pass when you purchase a 3-day Park Hopper. Check out the special offer or any of the other great prices on tickets at OrlandoFunTickets.com!

Passholder rates for summer

Passholder rates are available for the summer. You can book both room-only and Disney Dining Plan packages. Rates are valid for stays with a check-in date between May 26 and August 2, and can be booked from now through the date of arrival.

The booking codes for phone reservations are:

  • Room-only reservations – FJY
  • Reservations with the Disney Dining Plan – ADS

Note that Small World agents have run into difficulty with the ADS code for phone reservations with dining, but have found an alternate code to use. If the code doesn't work for you, try code CSS.

The booking codes for online reservations are:

  • Room-only reservations – FJU
  • Reservations with the Disney Dining Plan – ADF

Passholder rates for late summer/early fall

Passholder rates are available for late summer and early fall. It appears that both room-only and Disney Dining Plan packages are available. Rates are valid for stays with a check-in date between August 3 and September 27, and can be booked from now through the date of arrival.

The booking code for phone reservations is FKJ.

Sample rates include:

  • Fort Wilderness Campsites: $42 per night
  • Value resorts: $64 per night
  • Moderate resorts: $99 per night
  • Fort Wilderness cabins: $174 per night
  • Deluxe Villa resorts (studio): $169 per night

Disney Cruise Line half-price deposits for online reservations, for a limited time

The Disney Cruise Line has announced a special deal where any bookings through the Disney Cruise web site (link) will only require payment of half of the usual deposit, with the other half due with the rest of the final payment. The offer is only good on new bookings, and for category 4-12 cabins only. The offer is available to those booking online or through their travel agents (though the travel agent would have to book the cruise through disneycruise.com for the offer). Bookings are also eligible for the standard $25 onboard credit offer for all online bookings. The deal is available "for a limited time," but there's no word on when the limited time expires.

For upcoming park events, please go here.

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