Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for August 10 – August 16, 2009

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

News and Views

Food & Wine reservations | Disney Moms Panel | Cirque Florida resident deal | Quick Takes …

Food & Wine Festival reservations open tomorrow

Don't forget that reservations open tomorrow for the special events at the 14th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Phone lines open at 7 a.m. at 407-WDW-FEST (407-939-3378). Programs include the newly themed Party for the Senses, Food & Wine Pairings, Wine Schools, Signature Dining, and more.

Price tags range from $35 per person for Mexican Tequila Tastings (guaranteeing that the tequila bar should be open in time for the Festival) to $375 per person for the top Party for the Senses ticket. For more details and a schedule of events, check out the Walt Disney World's Food & Wine Special Events page (link).

MouseAdventure's Summer Warm Up

Did you have fun exploring Disney's Hollywood Studios? Are you ready for our second round of online quests? Download Quest #6, and see if you can "go the distance" with this math puzzle (link). Everything you need to solve this quest is available online. This week's Walt Disney World Resort Update is your Starting Line. The winding course will take you through portions of the Disney Sports Web site and loop back to MousePlanet's Walt Disney World guides before a thrilling sprint to the Finish Line. If you start limping along, a quick detour to the search engine of your choice may help you "calculate" a way back on course.

The first person to post the correct answer to our MousePad discussion boards will win their very own copy of the MouseAdventure: Personal Edition packet, filled with quests from the Disneyland Resort (link). On your mark, get set, go!

The Innagural MouseAdventure event at Walt Disney World will take place on Saturday, November 14, 2009!

The day will begin with a private breakfast at the Odyssey Center prior to park opening, followed by a six-hour fun-filled race around Epcot park for a fresh look at things in the park that you never noticed before! The first part of the game will be in the classic MouseAdventure format, sending you on quests throughout Future World. After completion of that portion, teams will engage in an Enchanted Race around World Showcase to the finish line!

For more information or to register, go to the MouseAdventure page (link)! Don't forget to sign up for the MouseAdventure Newsletter to stay up on the latest MouseAdventure news (link).

Disney Moms Panel, Round 3 coming

If you weren't able to get in on the first or second Disney World Moms panel, get ready for your next shot. The Disney Moms Panel will be accepting applications for new members in September. Judging by the "Disney Moms" moniker instead of "Disney World Moms" as in the past, it's a good bet that there will be Disneyland Moms included in this panel, as well.

Details will be posted next month, but in the past the application process had interested applicants go to an application Web site and answer a series of questions and three brief essays. The essays were about their family, why they are a great Walt Disney World vacation planner and their favorite Disney vacationing tip.

In each of the past two years, there has been one Dad on the panel with the Moms. it's a good bet for that to continue. We'll have more information on the panel as news is released.

Special Cirque deal for Florida residents

In honor of its 25th anniversary, Cirque du Soleil is offering a special price to Florida residents on tickets to La Nouba (it's Cirque du Soleil's anniversary, not La Nouba). Between August 18 and October 3, Florida residents can bring a friend for $25 when they buy their own ticket at full price.

The Florida resident must buy a regular-price adult Category 2 ticket at $83 plus tax ($88.40) to get the discounted second ticket to the same performance. Proof of Florida residency must be provided. This offer is subject to availability and restrictions apply. Call 407-WDW-SEAT (407-939-7328) or go to the box office to take advantage of this offer.

Quick takes …

…While Living with the Land will be closed for refurbishment through October 3, the Behind the Seeds Tour will not be impacted and will run normally.

…Brady MacDonald at the Los Angeles Times has a photo and some details about Tiana's Showboat Jubilee!, debuting at Walt Disney World on October 26 and running through January 3 (link). The Disney Auditions Web site describes the show as "a colorful, vibrant riverboat extravaganza featuring songs and music from the jazz-filled world of Walt Disney Pictures' newest animated release The Princess and the Frog." Auditions for Dr. Facilier, Princess Tiana and Prince Naveena begin this week (link).

…Guests visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park can now adopt sea turtle nests at the Out of the Wild shop.

…Guests who visit Epcot’s France Pavilion now through August 16 can receive a free sample of the new men’s fragrance by Givenchy.

…Last week, we told you about the "Beachcomber Shack" that you can rent for an extra $250 (including tax, it's $266.25) at Typhoon Lagoon. Blizzard Beach has its own version, called Polar Patios (photo). They also include a "premium" shaded area with comfortable seating for six people, all-day drink mugs, an ice chest stocked with bottled water, towels, a locker and an attendant to bring food and beverage orders. As with the Beachcomber Shacks, you can make your reservation by calling 407-WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529). Same-day rentals can be made on-site, if available.

…You can enter to win a Night of Joy weekend package from Christian Music Magazine for the Christian Music event at Disney's Hollywood Studios in September (link).

…The Waldorf Astoria Orlando will open in October at the Bonnet Creek Resort between the Caribbean Beach Resort and I-4, on the property that is land-locked within Disney property, with access from Buena Vista Boulevard.

…The 2010 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge is 95 percent full (7,500 capacity). The Walt Disney World Marathon itself is now at 75 percent of capacity, the Family Fun Run 5K is at 88 percent and Mickey's Marathon Kids' Fest is at 52 percent. The Half Marathon is already sold out. Time is running out! Register now (link)!

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Jonathan Heigl's Trivia Tidbit of the Week:

The pavement in Epcot was painted that specific pinkish color in order to make the grass look greener and pictures to look brighter.

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 up

  • Sept. 4, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29, Oct. 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 29, 31, Nov. 1. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
  • Sept. 6. Trek Women Triathlon (link).
  • Sept. 10-11. Night of Joy (link).
  • Sep. 20. Athletes for a Cure Triathlon (link).
  • Sept. 25 - Nov. 8. Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
  • Sep. 26. Expedition Everest Challenge (link).
  • Oct. 11. Race for the Taste 10K and 3K (link).
  • Oct 24. Tower of Terror 13K and 5K (link).
  • Nov. 10, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 29, Dec. 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17,18. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
  • Nov. 10 - Jan 3, 2010. Castle Dreamlights.
  • Nov. 12-15. Children's Miracle Network Classic (link).
  • Nov. 13-15. Festival of the Masters (link).
  • Nov. 14. MouseAdventure! (link).
  • Nov. 17 - Dec. 24. Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney.
  • Nov. 26, 27, 29. Old Spice Classic (link).
  • Nov. 27 - Dec. 30. Holidays Around the World at Epcot.
  • Nov. 27 - Jan. 3, 2010. Osborne Familiy Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
  • Nov. 27 - Jan. 3, 2010. Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.
  • Dec. 7-12. Pop Warner Super Bowl (link).
  • Jan. 7-10, 2010. WDW Marathon Weekend (link).
  • Mar. 7, 2010. Disney's Princess Half-Marathon (link).

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom


  • Living with the Land – closed July 31 through October 3 for refurbishment.
  • 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.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.


  • Animal Kingdom Lodge – Phase 1 of the Kidani Village annex buildings for the Disney Vacation Club's Animal Kingdom Villas is now open, with Phase 2 opening in September 2009.
  • Bay Lake Tower at Contemporary Resort – Construction is complete. The resort opens August 4, 2009.

Water Parks

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.


  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. There will be no performances September 22-28 or November 17, 2009.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Walt Disney World free dining deal!

From now until September 26, if you book a 3- to 14-night, non-discounted Magic Your Way package, you'll get Disney's dining plan for free.

The offer is good for stays on most nights September 27 – December 17, 2009, except November 25-28, the Wednesday through Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.. This time, the free dining comes with a twist: while the package stays the same if you book at a moderate, deluxe or villas resort, free dining packages at value resorts will be the quick service dining plan instead of the basic dining plan. You should be able to pay to upgrade your plan, but the "free" value of the deal at the values will be $29.99 per day for adults, $8.99 for children instead of $39.99 per day for adults, $10.99 for children. For a family of four with both children under age 10, that's a difference of $24 per day. For a family of four with both kids age 10 and up, it's a difference of $40 per day. Please be aware of that before you choose your resort!

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 September 26!

Gaylord Palms debuts new exclusive rate specials

MousePlanet sponsor Gaylord Palms Resort has announced a new set of nights for a special promotional rate of $119 per night (Reserve now!). Why stay off property? Because you can get luxury accommodations for the price of a Disney moderate, just a mile from Disney property. Many other nights are available for $129 per night (see below). The following dates are now available at $119 per night:

  • July 23 – July 28
  • August 1 – August 10
  • August 13 – August 16
  • August 18 – August 27
  • August 30 – September 2
  • September 6 – September 16
  • September 18 – September 20
  • September 25 – September 27
  • November 22 – December 1
  • December 11 – December 25

There are 32 more nights that you can stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort for just $129 pr night! Combined, these rates are available for approximately 2 nights out of every 3 for the rest of the year! Check out the special MousePlanet reader discount rate (Reserve now!) today! The special $129 per night rates are available on the following nights:

  • October 2 - October 5
  • October 13 - October 18
  • October 23 - October 24
  • October 29 - October 31
  • November 3 - November 7
  • November 12 - November 15
  • December 2 - December 5
  • December 9 - December 10
  • December 26 - December 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.

Passholder discounts through end of 2009

Passholder rates for August 9 – December 24, 2009 have been released. Rates are available for all dates except for November 25– 28, the Tuesday through Saturday of Thanksgiving week. Under this promotion, the starting rates at these resorts are:

  • Value resorts – $64 per night (8/9-8/17, 8/28-9/22, 10/2-10/2), $69 per night (10/4-11/24), $54 per night (11/29-12/17) and $89 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Moderate resorts – $89 per night (8/9-8/18, 8/22-9/23, 9/27-10/3), $99 per night (10/4-11/24), $89 per night (11/29-12/17) and $124 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Select deluxe resorts (Yacht Club, Beach Club, BoardWalk) – $234 per night (8/28-10/3)
  • Select deluxe resorts (Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge) – $169 per night (10/4-11/24), $139 per night (11/29-12/17) and $229 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Studio accommodations at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, and Old Key West Resort – $159 per night (8/9-10/3), $189 per night (10/4-11/24), $169 per night (11/29-12/17) and $249 per night (12/18-12/24).

The Disney Dining Plan may also be added to these discounted reservations. The number of rooms available is limited and minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday and Saturday arrivals. These rates may be available through your date of arrival. Reservations may be booked through the Passholder web site or by using codes EQA (8/9-10/3) or NBM (10/4-12/24) 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).

Room-only discounts for the general public through end of 2009

Discount room-only rates are now available to the general public for dates from October 4 – December 24. These rates are blocked out from November 25– 28, the Tuesday through Saturday of Thankgiving week. Under this promotion, the starting rates are:

  • Value resorts – $74 per night (10/4-11/24), $84 per night (11/29-12/17) and $94 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Moderate resorts – $109 per night (10/4-11/24), $96 per night (11/29-12/17) and $134 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Select deluxe resorts (Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge) – $179 per night (10/4-11/24), $149 per night (11/29-12/17) and $239 per night (12/18-12/24)
  • Studio accommodations at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, and Old Key West Resort – $199 per night (10/4-11/24), $179 per night (11/29-12/17) and $259 per night (12/18-12/24).

These rates must be booked by September 26. 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 Walt Disney World web site or by using code FSC if booking via the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-6244) 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), Small World Vacations (link).

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