Walt Disney World Park Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for September 8 – September 14, 2008

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

News and Views

Food & Wine menus | Dining reservations | Disney Magic refitting | WDW College Program | Kungaloosh | Gaylord Palms | Construction update | Quick Takes …

Food & Wine International Marketplace menus set

Walt Disney World has released the list of dishes that will be available at the various international marketplaces around World Showcase during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Each appetizer-sized portion averages $3.50, and recommended beverage pairings are available at each marketplace as well. Check these out during your visit:


  • Marrakesh, Morocco – Kefta; Spicy Chicken Roll
  • Cape Town, South Africa – Durban Spiced Chicken; Bobotie with Mango Chutney

Latin America:

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – Beef & Corn Casserole; Grilled Beef with Chimichurri
  • Santiago, Chile – Empanada; Dulce de Leche
  • Mexico City, Mexico – Chilaquiles; Quesadilla con Chorizo
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico – Mofongo with Shrimp Salsa; Brazo Gitano


  • Shanghai, China – Chicken Sha Cha; Ginger Ice Cream
  • New Delhi, India – Samosa with Tamarind Sauce; Mango Mousse
  • Tokyo, Japan – California Sushi Roll; Spicy Tuna Roll

The Louisiana installation is underway between the France and Morocco pavilions. Photo by Mark Goldhaber

North America:

  • Montreal, Canada – Cheddar Cheese Soup; Maple Glazed Salmon
  • Louisiana, United States – Crawfish Étouffée; Seafood Gumbo and Praline Bread Pudding
  • San Francisco, United States – Seared Beef Medallion with Cheese Polenta; California Strawberries
  • Hops & Barley – New England Lobster Roll; Boston Crab Cake

Eastern Europe:

  • Kraków, Poland – Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup; Kielbasa with Potato Pierogies
  • Istanbul, Turkey – Manti with Yogurt Sauce; Baklava

The Australia installation is underway between the Germany pavilion and the Outpost. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Pacific Rim:

  • Melbourne, Australia – Barramundi Fish; Grilled Lamb Chops
  • Wellington, New Zealand – Lamb Slider; Kiwi Meringue Tart

Continental Europe:

  • Lyon, France – Escargot Persillade en Brioche; Quiche Provençal; Crème Brûlée au Chocolat
  • Munich, Germany – Spaetzle with Creamy Mushroom Ragout; Apple Strudel
  • Athens, Greece – Greek Salad; Spanakopita
  • Cork, Ireland – Irish Cheese Selection with Apple Chutney and Irish Soda Bread
  • Bologna, Italy – Baked Ziti; Mascarpone Cream Puff with Gianduja Chocolate
  • Barcelona, Spain – Cold Tomato and Garlic Soup; Seared Tuna Loin with Roasted Red Peppers
  • Reims, Champagne –  Selection of Moët & Chandon Champagnes; French Chocolates
  • Vienna, Austria – Tafelspitz; Beef Goulash
  • Cheese – Selection of European Cheeses
  • International Beers – Great Beers and Savory Snacks

There will be two featured regions. Melbourne, Australia will be located between the Germany pavilion and the Outpost, featuring the wine walkabout tasting tour and architectural touchpoints such as Federation Square, the laneways of Melbourne and the famous Queen Victoria Market. Louisiana will be featured between the France and Morocco pavilions, featuring a riverboat dock, a Cajun Creole house and the French Market.

Dining reservations for January-February now available

We reported back in July that as of July 16, guests would not be able to make any Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) for any dates past January 15, 2009, and that ADRs needed for January 16, 2009 or later would not be able to be booked until October 15, with the exceptions of  Chef Mickey's, Cinderella's Royal Table, and Victoria and Albert's. This change was due to a changeover in the dining reservations system, which was expected to be installed by October 15.

However, it looks like there are some new issues surrounding that implementation, as Disney has opened up dining through February 22. That is not a sliding date, but the date may move back in late September or early October as the implementation date of the new system can be better confirmed.

In the meantime, if you need reservations between January 16 and February 22, get on the phone now, before everyone else finds out.

Halloween decorations are up along Main Street, U.S.A in the Magic Kingdom. Photos by Mark Goldhaber.

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!

Disney Magic slated for upgrades this month

As I mentioned on my blog last Tuesday afternoon, the Disney Magic heads into dry dock September 6-24, for maintenance and to undergo a series of upgrades.

The Quiet Cove adults-only pool area will see upgrades to Cove Café, the pool and the deck area. Cove Café will get a new seating area with plush, comfortable chairs while the adult pool will see the addition of cascading waterfalls from the two hot tubs. The pool area will get teak deck and lounge chairs with plush cushions.

The Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab will go high-tech with new registration areas to improve the check-in process, which will lead to the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology later this year, allowing kids to check in and out of the clubs by swiping a wristband. Yes, you'll finally be able to band your children like the wildlife that they are.

Toddlers will enjoy the addition of “Mickey’s Splash Zone,” a new water playground inspired by Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice that will extend the Mickey Pool on deck 9 with interactive fountains, a soft play surface and splash zones for those who aren't yet toilet trained.

Lastly, staterooms will receive 22-inch flat-screen LCD television sets, mounted on a swivel arm.

Sounds pretty plush. If you sail aboard the Magic and get to experience the upgrades, let us know what you think of them!

The denizens of Main Street, U.S.A. are parodied in these Halloween statues in Town Square. Photos by Mark Goldhaber.

WDW College Program now casting

by Shoshana Lewin, staff writer

(NOTE: This actually ran in Shoshana's blog on August 22, but we neglected to include it here. The program is still open for those who are interested.)

Walt Disney World is currently looking for students to participate in the following college program (link) sessions for 2009:

  • 2009 Spring – approximately January through mid to late May
  • 2009 Spring Advantage – approximately January through August
  • 2009 Spring Advantage Quarter – approximately March through August (only available to students attending schools on the Quarter/Trimester Academic Calendar)

Participants must:

  • Be currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time student in a college or university within the United States and have completed at least one semester.
  • Meet their school's requirements for participation (G.P.A., grade level, credit hours earned, etc.). This varies by school, so please check with a faculty member to see if you are eligible to participate in the program.
  • Ne at least 18 years old by the time the program begins.
  • Have unrestricted work authorization in the United States.

The E-Presentation (link) is available online 24/7 to students who are not able to attend a live presentation on campus due to distance, scheduling conflict, or who wish to start the application process immediately.

[You can subscribe to blogs by MousePlanet columnists, including David Koenig, Mark Goldhaber, Steve Russo, Shoshana Lewin, Alex Stroup and Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix, by visiting the blog page on our MousePad discussion boards (link). If you are a registered user you can have the most recent blog posting from your favorite columnist(s) sent right to your e-mail, or add it to your RSS utility.]

Ice cream cone-shaped Jack o'Lanterns decorate the ice cream parlor. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

These smiling Jack o'Lanterns at the Tip Board would be pleased to help you. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Adventurer's Club drink magically appears in World of Warcraft online videogame

by Lani Teshima, staff writer

It appears that there are some Adventurers Club fans among the game developers at Blizzard Entertainment, as they are introducing the club's signature cocktail as an in-game beverage when the company releases Wrath of the Lich King, the company's much-anticipated expansion for World of Warcraft, the company's massively multi-player online game with a player base of over 10 million worldwide.

The most recent beta download revealed a brand new drink called the "Kungaloosh," an obvious reference to the secret club greeting. Avatars who drink a Kungaloosh in the game will "get tipsy" and have their mana restored (a form of energy). The recipe for the drink requires Tundra Berries and Savory Snowplums, somewhat similar to the type of ingredients used in the real drink (which is a concoction of strawberry daiquiri mix, orange juice, spiced rum, and blackberry brandy). Since this expansion occurs in snow country, the club's creed about skiing the polar ice caps might even apply.

Kungaloosh is a new drink that will be introduced in the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King expansion later this year. Image from Wowhead.com.

The developers at World of Warcraft are also known for sprinkling various contemporary cultural references into the game. For example in the previous expansion pack, they introduced a vendor named "Haris Pilton," who currently sells very expensive purses.

Since Blizzard Entertainment is based in Irvine, California, it would come as little surprise if some of them were Disneyland annual passholders.

Adventurers Club fans who play World of Warcraft will now have the opportunity to give a toast and recite the creed as they sit down to drink their Kungaloosh, long after the closure of the Adventure's Club in Pleasure Island later this month.

The Adventurer's Club Creed

We climb the highest mountains,
just to get a better view.
We plumb the deepest oceans,
because we're daring through and through.
We cross the scorching desert,
martinis in our hand.
We ski the polar ice caps,
in tuxedos looking grand.
We are reckless, brave, and loyal,
and valiant to the end.
If you come in here a stranger,
you will exit as a friend.

Kungaloosh, indeed!

[Lani is an avid World of Warcraft player with several level 70 Horde characters, and these days spends a lot of her time playing the beta version of the game.]

These Jack o'Lanterns decorate the sportswear shop. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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.

Welcome Gaylord Palms!

We've got another new site partner here at MousePlanet, starting today.

Gaylord Palms Resort & Spa is a luxury resort hotel located just 1.5 miles from the front gate of Walt Disney World and in close proximity to other Orlando theme parks, and just 20 minutes from Orlando International airport. MousePlanet readers get a special preferred rate of at least 15 percent off "regular" rates at the Gaylord Palms by following this link. That's a deeper discount that you'd get by calling the hotel directly, by calling a travel agent, or by using Expedia, Orbitz or any other channel. In fact, they're giving MousePlanet readers an even deeper discount than that 15 percent on selected nights through the end of the year. See the Discounts and Promotions section below for more details. Gaylord Palms will be advertising in our Walt Disney World Park Update and Park Guide, as well as in our MousePad discussion forums and other locations on the site. We're pleased to have them joining our MousePlanet family.

We'd like to give a big MousePlanet welcome to the Gaylord Palms!

"Mick o'Lanterns" decorate all of the lamp posts. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Construction update

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

Join MousePlanet at MouseFest!

MousePlanet is hosting or co-hosting a number of events at MouseFest 2008, and we'd love to see you there! Here's a list of what we've got planned so far:

MouseFest 101 – Thursday, December 11. Mark Goldhaber will again co-host MouseFest 101 on Thursday, December 11, with Mike Scopa of AllEarsNet at a time and location yet to be announced.

Mega Mouse Meet –Saturday, December 13. MousePlanet will again host a table at the Mega Mouse Meet at the Yacht Club Resort Convention Center on Saturday, December 13, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (we'll also be there during the Extra MouseFest Hour from 10:00-11:00 a.m.).

Epcot's Never Lands Tour – Saturday, December 13. David Koenig will host Epcot's Never Lands, a walking tour of the World Showcase that never was, from 3:00-4:00 p.m.

MousseFest 2008 – Saturday, December 13. MousssseFest 2008 will be held on Saturday, December 13, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. at Boulangerie Patisserie.

Mini-MouseAdventure – Sunday, December 14. The fourth annual Mini-MouseAdventure will be held from 10:00 a.m.-noon in the Magic Kingdom.

Hustle-tini Meet – Sunday, December 14. The second annual MouseStation Podcast Hustle-tini Meet will be held at the Pop Century Resort from around 5:45-6:45 p.m.

For those who are not yet aware, the Mega Mouse Meet this year is moving to the convention center at Disney's Yacht Club Resort, and in conjunction with that there is a special rate of $243 per night plus tax at Disney's Yacht Club Resort (which also includes free MouseFest registration for all reservations of two nights or more). Payment in full for these rooms is due by October 31. See the MouseFest Web site (link) for more details.

Quick takes …

…Some of our readers are complaining about an apparent policy change regarding window and room decorations placed by guests during their stay. Apparently the policy has the guests being assessed a fee for decorating their room windows. As a number of our readers enjoy decorating their rooms, especially for the Halloween and Christmas seasons, this is causing some consternation. We have asked Walt Disney World for the details of this new fee/policy as well as the reasoning behind it. It will appear on my blog when we receive it, as well as in next week's Park Update. Meanwhile, you can join the debate on our MousePad discussion forums.

…MousePlanet has learned that Chef Jens Dahlmann, formerly of the Flying Fish Cafe and most recently of the California Grill, has been named Executive Chef for Epcot. We wish him the best of luck in his new position and look forward to experiencing the results of his latest promotion.

…The Tomorrowland Speedway may experience delayed openings for the next few weeks, as the fuel tanks are being moved from behind the Toontown gate to just behind Pete's Paint and Body Shop. Work started last Wednesday. Because this also involves the replacement of the fuel lines from the tanks to the pumps in the pit area, only two of the four fuel pumps will be available to fuel cars in the morning. While fueling will begin earlier than usual, it may not be enough time to get the speedway ready to roll at park opening. We'll let you know as we get updated information.

…Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend (link) has found a sponsor and a cause. Lady Foot Locker has signed a multi-year deal to be the event's presenting sponsor, and will promote the races in stores nationwide as well as through a sweepstakes and a presence on its web site (link). The weekend will also benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation by promoting its presence, giving the foundation a chance to interact with runners and accept donations. The inaugural event takes place March 6-8, 2008.

…The 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon is now 90 percent full.

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

  • Sept. 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–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


  • Morocco – Gallery of Arts and History closed for refurbishment July 14 – September 24.
  • Illuminations – the LED globe was removed from the show the last week of August for a major refurbishment, and is expected to return mid-September. The interim show, which runs about 10 minutes, uses a variety of low-level effects during the shortened musical segment where the globe was the center of attention.
  • Tutto Italia Ristorante – is now open, but will close at a date to be determined to be completely remodeled.
  • 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. Rumors have the restaurant opening earlier than expected, perhaps as early as the end of September.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • 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.
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Stunt Show – closed for refurbishment September 11–24.
  • 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 slide closed September 8–26. The pool itself will remain open.

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 October 26 through at least the end of February and possibly as late as March 22.
  • Blizzard Beach – closes for annual refurbishment September 28 – October 25.


  • Pleasure Island – all clubs to close permanently September 27.
  • Portobello Yacht Club – will close for refurbishment on September 27 and will reopen on October 12 as simply Portobello, as it shifts to its new Trattoria theme.
  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays.
  • T-Rex – opens in Downtown Disney October 14.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Advantage Vacation Homes announces special deals through September

How would you like to stay in a three- or four-bedroom vacation home with your own private pool for about the same nightly cost as one of the All Star Resorts? How about a five-bedroom vacation home for less than 60 percent of the cost of an All-Star Family Suite? From now through the end of September, MousePlanet sponsor Advantage Vacation Homes has a limited number of three-, four- and five-bedroom vacation homes, all with private pools, at a special low price of three-bedroom homes for $79 a night, four bedrooms for $89 a night, and 5 bedrooms for $109 a night. Remember, this is a limited offer, and only good through the end of September. When you reserve online or by phone, make sure to tell them that you heard about them on MousePlanet.

Gaylord Palms offers deep discounts through December

MousePlanet sponsor Gaylord Palms Resort and Spa is offering MousePlanet readers an even deeper discount than our usual 15 percent off of "regular" rates (which are already a deeper discount that you'd get by calling the hotel directly, by calling a travel agent, or by using Expedia, Orbitz or any other channel).

Check out these rates!


  • $99 (9/4 – 9/16, 9/19 – 9/23 and 9/26 – 9/30)


  • $99 (10/1 – 10/3)
  • $139 (10/8 – 10/11, 10/17 – 10/20, 10/29 – 10/31)
  • $119 (10/25)


  • $139 (11/1 – 11/5, 11/12 – 11/15)
  • $109 (11/20 – 11/30)


  • $109 (12/1, 12/14 – 12/15)

Discounted ECV rentals for MousePlanet readers through Scooter Vacations

Scooter Vacations, MousePlanet's mobility scooter rental partner, is offering MousePlanet readers a 10 percent discount on their scooter rentals by using code MP10 when making your reservation for any of their five scooter models.

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 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

Fall discounts for all

Walt Disney World Annual Passholder discounts on rooms and dining plans as well as discount packages for everyone are now available. Both discounts are valid for travel dates between September 28 and December 23.

Passholders should use the following Booking Codes when making your reservation (standard passholder discount rules apply):

  • PWE – Passholder rate room only
  • DHZ – Passholder rate with Dining Plan
  • JZJ – Passholder rate with Deluxe Dining Plan Rates

Fall Magic Your Way package discounts are available to everyone, but must be booked by September 24:

  • DGL – Basic Magic Your Way
  • QXD – Magic Your Way plus Dining
  • UVL – Magic Your Way plus Deluxe Dining
  • DGM – Magic Your Way plus Dining with Wine & Dine
  • GGM – Magic Your Way plus Deluxe Dining with Wine & Dine

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.