Walt Disney World Park Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for September 29 – October 5, 2008

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

News and Views

The Last Hoopla | Food & Wine Festival | MouseEarVacations | Quick Takes …

The Last Hoopla (Hoopla!)

Saturday was the last day for a great deal of live entertainment at Walt Disney World: Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Woody's Cowboy Camp, and the Main Street Family Fun Day Parade at the Magic Kingdom. A week or so earlier, Orisi Risi (Outpost), Spelmann's Gledje (Norway), Leon Gregory and Jay Worthington (UK) played their last shows at Epcot, all victims of budget cuts. But the most-lamented losses took place as the six remaining nightclubs on Pleasure Island said their farewells, with the most revered of all being the Adventurers Club.

A line began forming at 7:30 a.m., and by the time that the club opened shortly before 6 p.m., there were more in line than could enter the 350 person-capacity Club. Those who did not make it in stayed in line in the valiant hope that enough people would leave to secure their entry into the place where it was always the annual Open House in 1937. Proceedings from the main shows in the Library were broadcast (on the "JumboSheet" screen) to those in the Salon not able to fit into the room and on high-definition television screens for those standing outside in line. Other clubs on the Island still did not have lines out front as late as 5:30, as many people aren't interested in hitting nightclubs when it was still brightly lit outside, but Adventurers Club members didn't care.

Guests wait in line Saturday afternoon before the Adventurers Club opens. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Adventurers Club cast members Jay Becker (blue shirt), Simon Needham (black shirt) and Karl Anthony (brown shirt) thank the crowd waiting to get into the Adventurers Club. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Adventurers Club cast member Karl Anthony takes a phone call while cast member Simon Needham signs an autograph while spending time with the crowd waiting to get into the Adventurers Club. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Cast members Jay Becker and Karl Anthony pose outside the Adventurers Club Saturday afternoon. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Adventurers Sutter Bestwick (Eric Pinder) and Pamelia Perkins (Allison DeCaro) entertain the crowd waiting to enter the Club. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Inside the Club, the atmosphere felt a little bit like a cross between an Irish wake and a New Orleans jazz funeral, except for the fact that the Club didn't die until after the festivities were over. The guest participation was overwhelming, whether reciting the club's creed or singing along with the club's all-purpose theme song, or even in singing the little ditties that Colonel Critchlow Suchbench would break into. Great exultation was heard when—after 19 years—members finally awarded the Balderdash Cup to Club Treasurer Otis T. Wren, and cheers of "Otis! Otis! Otis!" were heard throughout the night.

Club Treasurer Otis T. Wren (Karl Anthony) gloatingly displays the Balderdash Cup, which he finally won after 19 years. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The Club's storyline was wrapped up, as had been largely suspected; after 19 years, the Radiothon finally failed to raise the $2,000 needed to pay the descendants of Chief Hanging Moon—and the Adventurers Club lost the lease on the building. They then received a message that they were going to receive a special presentation from someone who had not been at the Club for a long time, and that they should meet him in the Library at midnight Central Time. The final Library show of the night, the Hoopla starts just before 1 a.m. (Eastern Time, of course), consisting of club members each performing before a final rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In" with each character contributing an in-character verse that usually contains something related to one of the Club's plotlines.

Club members realize that they have not raised enough money from the Radiothon to save the Club's lease. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

During the Hoopla, Marcel (the former downstairs butler, with a monkey head) appeared with the long-assumed-dead Sutter Bestwick to announce (through Bestwick) that he had become filthy, stinking rich from investments, and that he would be taking all of the adventurers on an expedition to last the rest of the year. Rumors that the "mystery returnee" would be Merriweather Adam Pleasure, the Club's founder, possibly to be portrayed by the man the character was supposedly based upon—Imagineer Joe Rohde—proved to be unfounded.

In the midst of the Hoopla, there was a pause for a presentation of gifts by Melissa Valiquette (General Manager of Entertainment Operations), assisted by Gary K. Jones (Entertainment Operations Manager) and Gary Graham (Entertainment Manager), to the cast of the Club, each getting introduced with their real name. "Dave the Sound Man" and "Fingers Zambesi", two unseen crew members, were finally give a chance to be seen and recognized (though Dave had made appearances the two previous nights, as well). The wait staff, the behind the scenes staff and Library major domo Kirk were all recognized, as well.

Crowds fill the Salon shortly after the Adventurers Club opens for its final night. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

During the last night's Hoopla, many of the cast members used their time on stage to pay tribute to the club. A performance of Jonathan Coulton's "When You Go" by Emil Bleehall, Jr. (Jay Becker), accompanied on guitar by Hathaway Browne (Simon Needham) put tears in the eyes of many. There were a brief speeches, and then it was time for the final song. Some cast members used their verses to punctuate their characters' storylines, while others paid tribute to the club. Perhaps the most poignant was when actor Karl Anthony broke out of his Otis T. Wren character to tell Club members that "1937 has been the best 12 years of my life." After one last rousing chorus and one last crashing sound from Fingers' organ, the smoke poured forth from the organ for the last time and it was time for all to leave. Guests were allowed some extra time to walk around the Club, take some photos, and say farewell. Cast members said goodbye to everyone as they left. And then it was over. Some guests remained in front of the club, not wanting to walk away from the place that held so many memories, but eventually (at around 2:30 a.m.), security started walking everyone off the Island.

Guests take one final look around the Library as the Adventurers Club closes. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Patrons linger around the entrance to the Adventurers Club after it closes on its final night. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

MousePlanet's Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix reported that there was no parking to be had at Downtown Disney at 10:00 p.m., with all lots being full and traffic being a mess on Buena Vista Drive. At around 10:20 p.m., the line outside the Adventurers Club was reportedly over three hours long. Other reports placed the number in line at that time at around 200-300 people.

Cast members from the club will largely be heading off to performing roles elsewhere around Walt Disney World, including Finding Nemo The Musical and Innoventions. They would all be happy to get a "Kungaloosh!" from you if you recognize them.

The sign promoting all of the clubs on Pleasure Island on the Island's last night. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

So what was it about the Adventurers Club that was so compelling to so many people? Perhaps it was summed up in the final lines of the Club's creed:

If you come in here a stranger,
You will exit as a friend.

Not only was the Adventurers Club a place where there was immersive entertainment that sometimes swept you onto the stage (as happened to this editor twice in the last three nights of the club), but it was truly a club—a place where you could walk in and be welcomed and feel as if you belonged and were part of a strange, eclectic, eccentric but ultimately warm, wonderful and friendly Club.

We'll have a full-length tribute to the Adventurers Club, including interviews with some of the cast members and thoughts for the future of the Club, on Thursday's MouseStation podcast. In the meantime, to all of you Adventurers out there, Kungaloosh!

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!

Food & Wine Festival kicks off

Friday marked the opening of the 13th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which kicked of with several events. From the Bocuse d'Or USA finals to the opening of the Eat to the Beat concert series, several seminars, the international food pavilions, special displays for Louisiana and Melbourne, Australia, and even a special new routine from the JAMMitors (calling themselves the "Epcot JAMMin' Chefs" for the Festival).

Aside from the hedge portraying the table at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, there are no topiaries to be seen in the entry plaza planting bed on the opening day of the Food & Wine Festival. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The U.S. competition in the Bocuse d'Or culinary challenge was to determine the candidate who will represent the United States at the International Bocuse d'Or competition in Lyon, France in January, sometimes referred to as the "Olympics for chefs." The competition was founded over 20 years ago by Chef Paul Bocuse, one of the three chefs behind the creation of the eateries in Epcot's France pavilion. The winner was chef Timothy Hollingsworth of the French Laundry in Yountville, California. Hollingsworth will now begin a three-month paid sabbatical to train for the international competition. The competition was hosted by TV personality Al Roker and Chef John Besh, and was open to all Epcot guests.

A series of cards are the sole decoration in the planting bed in the middle of the walkway from Future World to World Showcase Plaza on the opening day of the Food & Wine Festival. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The Eat to the Beat concert series opened with popular "new swing" band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, best known for their hit "You and Me and the Bottle Make Three Tonight" and their performance at the Super Bowl in 1999.

Flowers decorate the World Showcase Plaza planting bed on the opening day of the Food & Wine Festival. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Louisiana's display featured a riverboat Mardi Gras float, complete with purple Mardi Gras beads with a disc stating "Louisiana" with the LouisianaTravel.com URL on it. Melbourne's display had several tall tall walls with photorealistic images of Melbourne on them. International kiosks again circled the World Showcase Promenade, with each pavilion featuring two dishes with paired wines. Some also featured a dessert.

Saxophonist Karl Hunter and guitarist/lead singer Scotty Morris of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy perform during the Eat to the Beat concert series on the opening day of the Food & Wine Festival. 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 MouseEarVacations!

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

MouseEarVacations.com is a full-service Disney specialist travel agency, and becomes our second travel agency partner at this time. They will be sponsoring the Disney Cruise Line, International Travel and Walt Disney World: Touring the Parks forums on our MousePad discussion forums, and advertising on our Walt Disney World Park Update and other locations on the site. They'll also have two pages on our site listing Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney news and special promotions. We're pleased to have them joining our MousePlanet family.

We'd like to give a big MousePlanet welcome to the MouseEarVacations.com!

Saturday marked the last performances of Woody's Cowboy Camp. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Saturday also marked the last running of the Main Street Family Fun Day Parade in the Magic Kingdom. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The performance area at the Outpost in Epcot's World Showcase has just a few drums as reminders of Orisi Risi, who were let go a week ago for budgetary reasons. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

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 more information on these meets, check out MousePlanet's MouseFest page!

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 …

…The "Pixie Hollow" meet-and-greet in Mickey's Toontown Fair is now open.

…A big "thanks" to all of the MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners who came up to me at the Adventurers Club and in the parks over the weekend. It was great meeting you all, and it's a wonderful feeling to know that the work on this site is so appreciated by you.

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. 30, Oct. 2, 4, 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.
  • 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

  • Tomorrowland Speedway – may experience delayed openings during the relocation of gas tanks and fuel lines.
  • Country Bear Jamboree – closed for refurbishment through October 31.
  • Swiss Family Treehouse – closed for refurbishment through September 30.
  • The Hall of Presidents – closed November 1 through at least the end of March for addition of whomever the next U.S. president might be.
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – closed for refurbishment December 14–20.


  • 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 through 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 – ended September 13, and 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


  • 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.
  • Yacht and Beach Club Resorts – Stormalong Bay pool area under refurbishment January 5 to late March. The pool will remain open, but sections will close one at a time for work. The three quiet pools will remain open during that time, and the Luna Park pool at the BoardWalk Resort, with its Keister Coaster water slide, will also be available during the work on the Flying Jib slide.
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort – Construction continues. The resort opens fall 2009.

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 March 21.
  • Blizzard Beach – closed for annual refurbishment through October 25.


  • Portobello Yacht Club – closed for refurbishment through 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 to 9/16, 9/19 to 9/23 and 9/26 to 9/30)


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


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


  • $109 (12/1, 12/14 to 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.