Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for February 16 – February 22, 2009

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

News and Views

Idol world premiere | Mousefest | Disney Cruise Line | MouseAdventure | Tower of Terror lawsuit | Second Doorway to Dreams | Buy 4, Get 3 details | Gaylord extends discounts | Vacation Stimulus Plan | Construction update | Quick Takes …

Stars walk down the blue carpet to premiere The American Idol Experience

The blue-carpet world premiere of The American Idol Experience took place last Thursday evening at Disney's Hollywood Studios, with fans lining up hours in advance to secure a spot along the motorcade route. Twenty-eight Idol celebrities rode down the park's Hollywood Boulevard before walking the carpet. The complete list of official attendees was on my blog last Tuesday. Some spent most or all of their time on the fans' side of the carpet, while others spent most of their time talking to the press on the other side. MousePlanet provided a live feed from the carpet beginning at 4:30 p.m. EST, courtesy of Walt Disney World Public Relations. Some photos from the event are shown in the Park Update. For a slideshow of 80 photos from the event, see today's Photo Tour article (link).

The Disney Internet media were all located near each other at the end of the carpet, just where the celebrities made their turn to walk into the theater, yet almost all were happy to take their time and continue talking to everyone who wished to get their attention. As showtime arrived and the celebrities were coming down the carpet one after the other, many moved past the waiting media and went right into the theater. Others still tried to talk to all.

[NOTE: Audio from interviews that I conducted will be on a MouseStation Podcast soon.]

Season 1 runner-up and host of the TV Guide channel's "Idol Wrap" and "Idol Tonight" shows, singer Justin Guarini is the first Idol celebrity down the blue carpet. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Season 7 winner David Cook chats with MousePlanet. Photo by Deb Koma.

Finally, all of the celebrities were ushered into the theater, and the waiting media filled the seats in the audience. First came a warm-up that included instructions on how to vote for your singer of choice (with the host going into the audience and sitting next to David Archuleta to demonstrate the process). The host also announced that Steve Harvey and the members of Disney's Dreamers Academy were in attendance.

Season 5 eighth place winner Bucky Covington is in good spirits as he chats with the press. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Season 6 seventh place winner Sanjaya Malakar shares a touching favorite Disney memory that you'll be able to hear on this coming Thursday's MouseStation Podcast. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo introduces the attraction. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo then took the stage for an introduction to the event. Rasulo was followed by Idol host Ryan Seacrest, who introduced show host Kim Ryan ("the other Ryan"). The days' finale contestants were introduced, and the show began.

The evening's eventual "Dream Ticket" winner, Mark Ellis, performs "Superstitious." Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Idol winners David Cook and Carrie Underwood duet on "Go Your Own Way." Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The winners of the day's preliminary shows—Caleb Banks ("Sway"), Alayna Rivera ("Respect"), Joel Van Wie ("Iris"), Angela Martin ("Alone") and Mark Ellis ("Superstitious")—performed and were critiqued by the judges. Seacrest returned to the stage, narrowing the field of contestants to the final two (Rivera and Ellis) before stating that the announcement of the winner would be delayed. He then introduced Idol Season 7 winner David Cook, who sang "Light On." Cook then introduced Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood, who performed "All-American Girl." Cook then joined Underwood on stage for a duet of Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way," which brought the crowd to its feet.

All seven Idol winners pose with their new silver microphone statuettes as smoke from the show-closing pyrotechnics clears. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Ryan Seacrest then returned to the stage to announce a reunion of all seven Idol winners, introducing Jordin Sparks (Season 6), Taylor Hicks (Season 5), Fantasia Barrino (Season 3), Ruben Studdard (Season 2) and "surprise guest" Kelly Clarkson (Season 1). Each was then presented with a silver statuette in the shape of a microphone, a trophy designed for the occasion and which will be given to all future American Idol winners, by American Idol creator Simon Fuller.

The Idol alumni break into a spontaneous rendition of Toni Basil's "Mickey." Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

The Idols pose with show judge Paula Abdul, Mickey Mouse, and show host Ryan Seacrest. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

With that, Seacrest returned to announce that the winner of the day's "Dream Ticket" (good for front-of-the-line access to a regional American Idol audition): Mark Ellis. Following a pyrotechnic display and light show, the theater emptied and most of the press and special guests headed for the after-party on Sunset Boulevard.Before heading down to the party, the Idol alumni gathered on a riser in front of the attraction's giant outdoor screen for a photo opportunity. After being joined by Mickey Mouse while waiting for the seven winners, the finalists broke into a spontaneous version of Toni Basil's "Mickey", complete with stomping and clapping for the percussion. Eventually, they were joined by the winners, Seacrest and Paula Abdul, and finally Rasulo and Fuller. Photos were taken and all headed for the after-party. In all, it was a great evening for the attraction and a fun time for all.

Thanks to those of you who were following my on-the-scene micro-blogging coverage of the event on Twitter (link)!

And now, all guests can have a chance to win the "Dream Ticket" by auditioning for The American Idol Experience each day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The winner of each of the day's preliminary shows will compete for the "Dream Ticket" in the day's finale show, as voted on by the show's audience. If you want to take your shot, you may want to read Jeff Kober's article "So You Want To Be On American Idol at Walt Disney World?" before you go.

Child journalist interviews Jordin Sparks, who took off her heels and stood in bare feet so that she wouldn't tower over the boy quite so much. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Weaver interviews Paula Abdul. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Important MouseFest announcement

For those who are not on the MouseFest e-mail list or following the MouseFest Twitter account (link), an important announcement was made by the MouseFest Executive Committee last night. Please go to the MouseFest Web site (link), which will be the only location authorized to post any information about this announcement.

McAlpin departs, Holz returns to Cruise Line presidency

The Disney Cruise Line is getting an executive shakeup, as DCL President Tom McAlpin is leaving "to pursue other interests" and is being replaced by his predecessor, Karl Holz. Holz had been president of New Vacation Operations, overseeing the Adventures by Disney business.

With the announcement taking place on Friday, exactly one week after the deadline for executives to accept the Voluntary Separation Package, it seems likely that McAlpin took the buyout incentive. McAlpin, 49, has been at DCL since it's inception and was highly thought of within the cruise industry and by Disney Cruise Line guests. However, it may be that senior executives at the corporate level needed to make some changes to show that they're taking action on the difficult times facing the business.

With the world economy in turmoil, the Disney Cruise Line is way behind in their bookings for 2010, despite all promotions currently being offered. In addition, while the Park Service was reportedly willing to allow Disney Cruise Line to take slots for Alaska cruises despite the fact that they wouldn't be using them for the first two years of availability, Disney pulled out of the application process. That move results in Disney not having a chance to mount Alaska cruises for another 10 years, since slots are allocated on a 10-year basis and the next time slots will be made available will be for the years 2020 through 2029.

Holz, who will also retain responsibility for Adventures by Disney, has a double dose of difficulty facing him, as bookings for Adventures by Disney have been so low that some itineraries for 2009 have already been cancelled. With more and more potential travelers seeing their discretionary income dry up, people are less willing to commit to the premium prices charged by Disney for their cruises and tours.

After serving as Disney Cruise Line president from September 2003 through September 2004, Holz moved to become Chief Operating Officer for Disneyland Paris and was replaced at DCL by McAlpin. He moved from Disneyland Paris to New Vacation Operations in September 2008.

Holz will have his work cut out for him, as he will have many more cabins to fill once the two new Disney Cruise Line ships are completed and set sail in 2011 and 2012.

MouseAdventure Walt Disney World reminder

For those of you who missed the announcement last week, the inaugural MouseAdventure at Walt Disney World is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, November 14 at Epcot. Final contracts have not yet been signed, so please do not make any non-refundable reservations. We'll keep you informed as plans firm up.

The date for MouseAdventure Walt Disney World was first announced through our MouseAdventure newsletter. You can sign up to have updates emailed directly to you at our MouseAdventure newsletter signup page, and we'll also post the information here in the Park Update. If you sign up for the newsletter, you'll be among the first to find out more details about MouseAdventure Weekend, including the four-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder, departing on November 15, that will feature MouseAdventure on the High Seas. Oops! Let's keep that secret between us until it's officially announced, OK? Details subject to change, and all other disclaimers apply.

Exterior work on Bay Lake Tower is just about done. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Work on the roof of the Sky Walk Bridge is underway. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Suit filed in 2005 Tower of Terror incident

A British woman with a disability has filed a lawsuit against Walt Disney World over an incident that took place three and a half years ago, alleging that Disney was negligent in the operation of an attraction. Leanne Deacon, now 19, suffered a heart attack and stroke after riding the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in 2005 (read our original report about the incident from the July 18, 2005 Walt Disney World Update).

The lawsuit claims that Disney did not properly advertise the attraction's risks or provide appropriate safety restraints, and is seeking at least $15,000.

The suit, filed by Deacon and her mother June Deacon, invokes the "common carrier" designation for the ride's elevator and states that Deacon was fit and healthy before going on the ride. However, the incident report filed at the time by the Orange County Sheriff's Office noted that she had been complaining of headaches and leg cramps for several days. She had also been on the Tower of Terror attraction "many times" earlier in the week with no ill effects. Preliminary reports at the time indicated that the cardiac arrest may have been due to an undetected aneurism that ruptured, causing a hemorrhage in Leanna's brain; however, this has not been confirmed to our knowledge.

Deacon's heart stopped in an ambulance on the way to Celebration Hospital, but was brought back by the paramedics. After being examined at the hospital, a CAT scan indicated bleeding on the girl's brain, and she was rushed into emergency surgery. She reportedly also suffered several cardiac arrests during the surgery. She was later flown via helicopter to Florida Hospital Orlando, and eventually flown back to England, where she still cannot speak and is under 24-hour care.

After the incident, Disney took the unusual step of inviting the Florida Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection to accompany them as they examined the attraction to determine whether it was safe to reopen. After determining that the ride was functioning properly, it was reopened the next morning.

The Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party debuted at the Magic Kingdom on Thursday. We'll have photos of it throughout this segment of the Update. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Walt Disney World leaders conferred after the first-ever running of the parade at 11:10 a.m., including Magic Kingdom Vice President Phil Holmes (left, in white shirt), Walt Disney World Entertainment's Jason Surrell (second from left, in sunglasses), and Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton (right). Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Second Doorway to Dreams to open on Long Island this summer

The Disney Vacation Club plans to open its second Doorway to Dreams preview center later this summer on Long Island, New York. The preview center at the Roosevelt Field mall  brings the DVC's remote sales center concept to the greater New York City area. For many who have heard that Doorway to Dreams was finding a location in New York, the Roosevelt Field location is no surprise, as it has the size, location and draw necessary to make the site successful. Roosevelt Field is a popular, upscale mall in Garden City, New York.

In an interview with MousePlanet back in December and released on the MouseStation podcast in Janu in January, DVC President Jim Lewis had said that "We have a lot of DVC members in the New York area. We think that they're going to be very excited about this. We have a mall in mind and we believe that this is an ideal spot for us, so we're really looking forward to getting this deal done." In a press release announcing the deal, Lewis said "Our first Disney’s Doorway to Dreams location has been very popular and a great way for Chicago-area residents and visitors to learn more about the family vacation experiences available through Disney Vacation Club. Now, we are delighted to bring Disney’s Doorway to Dreams to New York, which is one the top markets for our rapidly growing membership base, so that more people can discover all that Disney Vacation Club has to offer."

The 6,900-square-foot site will include a full-scale model of a two-bedroom vacation home, and will offer an "interactive family vacation discovery zone," as well as discussion areas and a supervised children's play area.

The parade's lead float features Mickey, Minnie and a party host, who provides instructions for the guest participation. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Goofy and Donald Duck ride on the back of the lead float. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Another float features King Louie and Baloo. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

"Buy 4, Get 3 Free" extension details

We knew that the "Buy 4, Get 3 Free" deal would be extended last week, but we didn't get the details until after publication time. The new offer is valid most nights from February 15 through March 9, March 17 through April 4 and April 19 through August 15. A sample package at a Value resort between April 26 and May 21 starts at $1,375 for a family of four. That's an average of just over $49 per night per person, for a total package savings of $416 (over 23 percent off).

If you travel between February 15 and March 9, or between March 17 and March 29, you also get a $200 Disney Gift Card (one per reservation). If you travel between March 30 and April 1, or between April 19 and August 15, and are staying at either the Old Key West Resort or Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, you'll get a $100 Disney Gift Card.

The number of packages allocated for this offer is limited. You can book this deal through March 29.

Thanks to Sue Pisaturo of MousePlanet sponsor Small World Vacations (link) for passing along the details!

Once the floats reach the hub and circle around it, characters come down off of their floats and dance in the street. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Guests are invited to come out in the street and join the dance party. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Stilt walkers lead a conga line of dancers and guests. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Gaylord Palms deepens discounts!

The Gaylord Palms Resort has announced even deeper discounts for MousePlanet readers (link), and extended the available dates. Through the end of September, the resort has rooms at a low rate of $159 per night. This offer is available on the following nights:

  • February 21-28
  • March 4-6, 8-11, 15-17, 21-29
  • April 1-14, 17-19, 24-27
  • May 10-11, 15-16, 20-27
  • June 2-6, 9-17, 20-23, 28-30
  • July 1-19, 23-31
  • August 1-9, 13-15, 18-19, 22-27, 30-31
  • September 1-2 (these night at $127!), 7-8, 12-14, 17-20, 25-27

The floats shoot huge amounts of streamers into the crowd at the end of the street party segment. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Once the floats head back toward the parade gate in Town Square, the massive cleanup effort on the streamers begins. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

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).

MouseEarVacations.com announces 2009 Vacation Stimulus Plan

In recognition of the current difficult economic times, MousePlanet sponsor MouseEarVacations.com has announced that they will waive all cancellation fees (and fees of any kind) for all Disney trips booked between January 1 and December 31, 2009 for travel at any time (though Disney cancellation policies still apply). They're doing this to help those booking trips to not have to worry about cancellation penalties of something changes in their vacation plans. For more information, visit MouseEarVacations.com (link).

A personal appeal, for the fourth year

On April 26, I'll be walking to raise money for the March of Dimes again. The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Last year, through the generosity of friends, family, co-workers and MousePlanet readers, we managed to raise $5,043.42. This year, let's beat that. My goal is to raise $6,000 this year. I think we can do that. I know that the economy is tough right now, but the charitable causes are hurting and need money, as well. For more information about why I'm walking, or to donate, please go to my fundraising page (link). Thanks for your consideration.

The stage for Stitch's Supersonic Celebration is rising high above the Tomorrowland Transit Authority track. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Work continues on the Stitch site in Tomorrowland. Photo by Bruce Danderline.

Construction update

Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:

  • Magic Kingdom Tinkerbell's Treasures – installation of security cameras.
  • Epcot Refreshment Port – marquee graphics package.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Rock 'n' Roller Coaster – Kidcot graphics package
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – repair of stairways and handrails and replace landings. Replacement of rotted wood as needed, caulking and painting of exterior. All work to be performed at Buildings 5 (Sago Cay), 6 (Sugar Loaf Key) and 7 (Conch Key).
  • Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – construction of the expansion of 600 Loop.
  • Port Orleans Riverside Resort – demolition and replacement of zero entry sidewalk at designated ADA parking in Magnolia Bend building 95.
  • All Star Sports Resort – coating of existing roof on Buildings 7 (Touchdown Hotel), 8 and 9 (Home Run Hotel).

Quick takes …

…The second annual Disney's Dreamers Academy was held this past weekend at Walt Disney World, in conjunction with Steve Harvey. Celebrities helped to inspire 100 high-school dreamers selected by a panel of judges. The event was covered via podcast and blog at Harvey's web site (link).

…Raytheon Company, a major government military contractor, has announced a new exhibit to open this fall at Epcot's Innoventions called "The Sum of All Thrills." The exhibit is designed to "engage children through a fun and educational experience that helps instill a lifelong passion for math, science and technology." The exhibit will be part of the company's MathMovesU initiative, which is designed to engage middle school students in math and science and to help create the next generation of innovators for the United States.

In addition, Raytheon has donated The Family Technology Center at the Shades of Green Resort, a military-run resort (formerly known variously as the Golf Resort and the Disney Inn) at Walt Disney World. The center will serve as a game room, with plush couches, plasma televisions, personal computers, and Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox systems.

…Economic concerns continue to ripple through the Central Florida tourism trade, as Orlando hotel occupancy levels fell 21 percent year-over-year for the first week of February. These numbers do not include figures for Walt Disney World-owned resorts.

…The 2009 Trek Women's Triathlon Series will make a stop at Walt Disney World on September 6. The event is "created by women, run by women, exclusively for women." Based at the Fort Wilderness Resort, the event will consist of a half-mile swim, 12-mile bicycle race and 3.1 mile run/walk. Registration is now open (link).

…Join the MousePlanet and MouseStation Podcast groups on Facebook, or become a fan of MousePlanet or the MouseStation. If there's something that you'd like to see us do on Facebook, let us know!

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

  • Feb. 13-16. TwirlMania (link).
  • Feb. 15-Mar. 30. Atlanta Braves Training Camp.
  • Feb. 27-Mar. 1. ESPN The Weekend.
  • Feb. 28. ESPN The Weekend 5K.
  • Mar. 6-8. Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
  • Mar. 14-15. UCA National All Star Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • Mar. 18-May 31. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
  • Apr. 24-27. USASF/IASF Dance and Cheerleading World Championships (link).
  • May 17. Florida Half Ironman Triathlon (link).
  • May 22-Jun. 14. Star Wars Weekends.
  • Sep. 20. Athletes for a Cure Triathlon (link).
  • Dec. 7-12. Pop Warner Super Bowl (link).
  • Jan. 7-10, 2010. WDW Marathon Weekend (link).

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom


  • Tutto Italia Ristorante – is now open, but will close at a date to be determined to be completely remodeled.
  • Ellen's Energy Adventure – closed for refurbishment January 5 – March 22.
  • 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.
  • Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure – has been delayed. It continues testing and will open in "early 2009."

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Studio Backlot Tour – closed for refurbishment January 4 – February 28.
  • American Film Institute Showcase – closed for refurbishment January 4 – February 28.
  • The American Idol Experience – now open.

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.


  • 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 – 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 Contemporary Resort – Construction continues. The resort opens fall 2009.
  • Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa – Construction continues. The resort opens summer 2009.
  • Port Orleans Riverside – Ol' Man Island pool area closed February 2–28 for refurbishment.
  • Fort Wilderness Campground – Meadows pool area closed for refurbishment January 12 – March 13.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – Closed for its annual refurbishment October 26 through March 21. Major work is required on the wave generation machine.


  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Walt Disney World Buy 4, Get 3 Free deal!

From now until March 29, if you book a four-night, four-day non-discounted Magic Your Way package, you'll get three additional nights (including tickets) for free.

The offer is good for stays on most nights now-April 4 and April 19-August 15, 2009.

As a bonus, if you travel between January 4 and March 29, you'll get a $200 Disney Gift Card that you can use to pay some of the costs during your stay. It's also valid at Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Store and disneyshopping.com.

Packages start at net prices of $53 per person per day for a family of four in a standard room at a Value Resort from February 13-April 4 (total package price $1,466). That price is based on families of two adults, one junior and one child.

Packages for other resorts and lengths of stay are also available.

Here's Disney's rundown on pricing and savings:

Disney Value Resorts Disney Moderate Resorts Select Disney Deluxe Resorts Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts
$1,466 ($484 savings)
Feb. 13-April 4, 2009
$1,778 ($718 savings)
Feb. 13-April 4, 2009
$2,498 ($1,281 savings)
Feb. 13-April 4, 2009
$2,611 ($1,320 savings)
Feb. 16- April 4, 2009
$1,375 ($416 savings)
April 19-May 21, 2009
$1,666 ($634 savings)
April 19-May 21, 2009
$2,206 ($1,017 savings)
April 19-May 21, 2009
$2,363 ($1,135 savings)
April 19- May 21, 2009
$1,421 ($450 savings)
May 22 –June 27, 2009
$1,733 ($685 savings)
May 22-June 27, 2009
$2,206 ($1,017 savings)
May 22-May 25, 2009
June 2-June 27, 2009
$2,363 ($1,135 savings)
May 22 –June 27, 2009

Prices are based on two adults, one junior (ages 10 to 17) and one child (ages 3 to 9) in a standard room at a Value Resort, Moderate Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (Deluxe Resort) or a studio at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (Deluxe Villa Resort). Savings are based on the non-discounted price of a 7-night/7-day Magic Your Way package. The discount code for this offer is IUZ.

To book these packages, go to the Walt Disney World Web site (link), call 407-939-7928 or contact one of MousePlanet's Preferred Disney Travel Providers, Small World Vacations (link) and MouseEarVacations.com (link). Just remember to book by March 29!

Walt Disney World room-only deal for everyone!

From now until January 4, everyone can book a deep-discounted rate for reservations most Sunday through Thursday nights through April 2. Lowest rates are through mid-February, with discounted but not quite as low rates from then through early April.

Room rates start at prices of $74 per night for a standard room at a Value Resort from February 16-April 4. Rates at other resorts are also available.

Here's Disney's rundown on pricing:

Disney Value Resorts Disney Moderate Resorts Select Disney Deluxe Resorts Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts
Feb. 16-April 2, 2009
Feb. 16-April 2, 2009
Feb. 16-April 2, 2009
Feb. 16- April 2, 2009

Prices do not include tax and are based on a standard room at a Value Resort, Moderate Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (Deluxe Resort) or a studio at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa or Disney's Old Key West Resort (Deluxe Villa Resort). The discount code for this offer is OZ.

To book these packages, go to the Walt Disney World Web site (link), call 407-939-7545 or contact one of MousePlanet's Preferred Disney Travel Providers, Small World Vacations (link) and MouseEarVacations.com (link). Just remember to book by March 29!


Disney Cruise Line offers "Kids Free" deal

Disney Cruise Line now offering a "Kids Free" promotion. The deal offers free passage (plus government taxes and fees) for children ages 12 and under on three-night voyages when traveling with two full-fare paying passengers in the same cabin. The offer is valid on most sailings from January 22 through May 28 in a variety of stateroom cabins.

To book your "Kids Free" cruise, visit the Disney Cruise Line Web site (link), call 888-325-2500, or contact one of MousePlanet's Preferred Disney Travel Providers, MouseEarVacations.com (link) or Small World Vacations (link) and make sure to use booking code "FREE." For more information on other discounted cruises from MouseEarVacations.com, check out their list of cruise discounts for MousePlanet readers here on the MousePlanet site.

Gaylord Palms deepens discounts!

The Gaylord Palms Resort has announced even deeper discounts for MousePlanet readers (link), and extended the available dates. Through the end of September, the resort has rooms at a low rate of $159 per night. This offer is available on the following nights:

  • February 21-28
  • March 4-6, 8-11, 15-17, 21-29
  • April 1-14, 17-19, 24-27
  • May 10-11, 15-16, 20-27
  • June 2-6, 9-17, 20-23, 28-30
  • July 1-19, 23-31
  • August 1-9, 13-15, 18-19, 22-27, 30-31
  • September 1-2 (these night at $127!), 7-8, 12-14, 17-20, 25-27

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 2009 released

Passholder rates for January 1 – February 12, 2009 have been released, with value resorts starting at just $49 per night, moderate resorts starting at $89 per night. Select deluxe resorts (Wilderness and Animal Kingdom Lodges) starting at $144 per night and studio accommodations at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa starting at $179 per night. The rates at value and deluxe resorts are valid January 2–15 and January 19 – February 12. Moderate resorts are available January 4–17 and January 21 – February 12. Saratoga Springs is available January 1 – February 12.

Passholder rates for February 15 – April 2, 2009 have been released, with value resorts starting at just $69 per night, moderate resorts starting at $114 per night. Select deluxe resorts (Animal Kingdom Lodge) starting at $214 per night and studio accommodations at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa starting at $229 per night. The rates are valid most Sunday – Thursday nights during that period.


The number of rooms available is limited and minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday and Saturday arrivals. Reservations may be booked through the Passholder web site or by using code DYS (through February 12) or PYS (February 15 – April 2) if booking via the Passholder phone line (407-939-7722) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

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. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).

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