Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for August 17 – August 23, 2009

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

News and Views

Adventures by Disney | Disney Cruise Line | Night of Joy lineup | Pirate performer dies from injury | Man gropes Minnie Mouse | Quick Takes …

Adventures by Disney releases list of 2010 itineraries

Disney's international guided touring escapes, Adventures by Disney, has just released its list of experiences for next year. For its fifth year, Disney's entry into the lucrative market includes 19 itineraries on six continents.

  • Asia & Pacific
    • Enchanted China – China: Beijing, Chengdu, Guilin, Shanghai and Hong Kong
    • Safari to South Africa – South Africa: Cape Town, The Garden Route and Kapama Game Reserve
    • Discovery Down Under – Australia: North Queensland, Ayers Rock and Sydney
  • British Isles & Europe
    • Cities of Knights and Lights – England and France: London and Paris
    • The Emerald Isle – Ireland:Dublin, Killarney and Shannon
    • Once Upon a Fairytale – Germany: Heidelberg, Trendelburg, Rothenburg and Munich
    • Alpine Magic – Italy and Switzerland: Stresa, Zermatt and Lake Lucerne
    • Viva Italia – Italy:Rome, Tuscany and Venice
    • Bella Italia – Central Italy: Sorrento and Florence
  • Latin America
    • Path to Pura Vida – Costa Rica:San José, Arenal and Manuel Antonio National Park
    • Treasures of the Galapagos – Ecuador and Galapagos Islands
    • Sacred Valleys and Incan Cities – Peru: Lima, Sacred Valley and Cusco
  • North America
    • Spirit of America –Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Pa., and Williamsburg, Va.
    • Quest for the West – Wyoming: Jackson Hole, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
    • Southwest Splendors – Arizona and Utah: Sedona, Grand Canyon and Moab
    • Backstage Magic – Southern California: Hollywood and Disneyland Resort
    • Golden Path to Yosemite – Northern California: Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park and San Francisco
    • Taming the Last Frontier – Alaska: Fairbanks, Denali National Park and Kenai Peninsula
    • Rocky Trails and Mountie Tales – Montana and Canada: Glacier National Park and Banff National Park

For more information, go to the Adventures by Disney Web site (link), call Adventures by Disney directly at 888-325-2500, or contact your travel agent. MouseEarVacations (link) and Small World Vacations (link) are MousePlanet's preferred travel providers.

Disney Cruise Line offers enhancements

Disney has made it easier to book a land-and-sea package. For itineraries starting in 2010, guests can book land packages of any duration before or after their Disney Cruise. Packages will have the option to add one- to five-day Park Hopper passes with a one-night minimum Disney resort stay. With a minimum two-night pre-cruise stay, guests will be able to check in for their cruise at select hotels.

Meanwhile, at the Disney Cruise Line terminal at Port Canaveral and at Castaway Cay, changes are in the works that will accommodate the larger Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, scheduled to start sailing in 2011 and 2012, respectively. At the port, a six-level parking deck will be added across from the terminal building, while the luggage area will also be overhauled. Concierge guests will also get a new private check-in and waiting area. Road improvements are already underway on the main road into the terminal. The facilities at Castaway Cay are also being revamped to accommodate the larger crowds that the new ships will bring.

MouseAdventure's Summer Warm Up

Congratulations to MousePlanet reader Terry for being the first to post the correct answer to our Week 6 quest. If you'd like to check your own answers, download the Quest 6 answer key (link). The answer to the Disney's Hollywood Studios in-park quest is also available to download (link).

Quest #7 will test your knowledge of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels (link). (Once again, the answer from Quest #6 is the password you'll need to open Quest #7) Remember, you can solve this quest at home using information found online at MousePlanet.com. Once you think you've solved the puzzle, visit our MousePad discussion boards and post your answer (link) . 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. Good luck!

The Inaugural 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).

Night of Joy acts, showtimes released

The lineup for the 27th annual Night of Joy has been released. The two-night event is celebrating its second year at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. on September 11 and 12. Here is the list of acts with show times and locations (subject to change, as always):

Friday, September 11

  • 7:00 p.m. – NEEDTOBREATHE, Theater of the Stars
  • 7:15 p.m. –  Francesca Batistelli, Icon Stage
  • 7:15 p.m. & 8:45 p.m. – Chris Tomlin, Lights, Motors, Action! Stage
  • 7:30 p.m. – newsboys (Conversation), Premiere Theater
  • 8 p.m. & 9:15 p.m. – Leeland, Theater of the Stars
  • 8 p.m. – Above the Golden State, Premiere Theater
  • 8:15 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. – Kutless, Icon Stage
  • 9 p.m. – P.O.D. (Conversation), Premiere Theater
  • 9:30 p.m. – Josh Wilson, Premiere Theater
  • 10:30 p.m. – Chris Tomlin (Conversation), Premiere Theater
  • 10:30 p.m. & midnight – P.O.D., Lights, Motors, Action! Stage
  • 10:45 p.m. & midnight – Superchick, Theater of the Stars
  • 11 p.m. – Abandon, Premiere Theater
  • 11 p.m. & 12:15 a.m. – newsboys, Icon Stage

Saturday, September 12

  • 7 p.m. – Grits, Theater of the Stars
  • 7:15 p.m. – Revive, Icon Stage
  • 7:15 p.m. & 8:45 p.m. – MercyMe, Lights, Motors, Action! Stage
  • 7:30 p.m. – Skillet (Conversation), Premiere Theater
  • 8 p.m. & 9:15 p.m. – Mandisa, Theater of the Stars
  • 8 p.m. – Above the Golden State, Premiere Theater
  • 8:15 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. – Flyleaf, Icon Stage
  • 9 p.m. – Jars of Clay (Conversation), Premiere Theater
  • 9:15 p.m. – Gospel Music Assc. Winner, Icon Stage
  • 9:30 p.m. – Josh Wilson, Premiere Theater
  • 10:30 p.m. – MercyMe (Conversation), Premiere Theater
  • 10:30 p.m. & midnight – Skillet, Lights, Motors, Action! Stage
  • 10:45 p.m. & midnight – Family Force 5, Theater of the Stars
  • 11 p.m. – Abandon, Premiere Theater
  • 11 p.m. & 12:15 a.m. – Jars of Clay, Icon Stage

Tickets are on sale now for $49.95 (one night) and $84.95 (two nights) at 407-W-DISNEY (407-934-7639) or at the Night of Joy Web site (link). One-night tickets will cost $54.95 on event nights, if available. Group packages for two nights of the event, plus two one-day, one-park tickets are available for less than $100 per person are available by calling 877-NITE-JOY (877-648-3569) or at the Night of Joy Web site.

The Grand Floridian Resort is adding marble to most of the first and second floors of the main lobby building. The project began in mid-July and will continue until the fall. The resort's original tile floor was demolished in January 2008 in preparation for the marble installation; temporary carpet has been in place in the meantime. Photo by MousePlanet reader.

The lobby display at the Grand Floridian includes a sample of the Disney character silhouettes that will be inlaid at key points in the floor. Photo by MousePlanet reader.

The marble pattern on the second floor between Commander Porter's and M. Mouse Mercantile is complete. Photo by MousePlanet reader.

If you look closely at this closeup of a marble pattern corner on the second floor, you'll see some of the Disney details that are part of this new installation. Photo by MousePlanet reader.

Pirate show performer dies after injury during show

Mark Priest, 47, died last Monday after being injured during a performance of Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial in the Magic Kingdom the previous Friday. On August 7, Priest was playing the character of the captain's sidekick Mack when he was injured during his swordfight with the Captain Jack Sparrow character. At the end of the fight, the captain offers some misdirection ("Look! The Governor's daughter!") and when Mack turns to look, he kicks Mack in the buttocks and runs away. In this case, when Priest was kicked and started forward, he hit a slick wet spot on the pavement and banged into the nearby stone wall, breaking a vertebra and suffering a cut that required 55 stitches to close.

Upon suffering the injury, Priest rushed offstage to avoid frightening any guests. He was rushed to Florida Hospital Celebration Health and later transferred to Florida Hospital Orlando. His condition was upgraded after surgery on Saturday, but developed complications, suffered a heart attack, and died on August 10.

MousePlanet sends its condolences to Priest's family, friends, and co-workers.

Kouzzina by Cat Cora opened at the Boardwalk Resort on Saturday night. The opening went smoothly, according to staff there. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Friendly staff are waiting to greet you in Kouzzina's spacious lobby. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

While some details have been changed in the restaurant's decor, the layout is largely the same as when it was Spoodles. Photo by Mark Goldhaber.

Pennsylvania man convicted of groping Minnie Mouse

Last Tuesday, a jury found John William Moyer of Cressona, Pennsylvania, guilty of misdemeanor battery for inappropriately touching a woman portraying Minnie Mouse at Walt Disney World in June. Brittney Duncan McGoldrick testified that Moyer had grabbed her breasts during a character meet-and-greet photo session and that she had pushed his hands down to try to get them away from her breasts. She immediately reported the incident to a handler.

Moyer claims that he is innocent and that he would never touch a woman like that, a contention supported in court by his adult son's testimony. Moyer was sentenced to supervised probation for 180 days, and must complete 50 hours of community service within four months, pay $1,000 in court costs, write a letter of apology to McGoldrick and undergo a mental evaluation and complete treatment if so indicated.

Quick takes …

…The refurbishment of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority has been extended through August 31.

…Osceola County Sheriff's deputies arrested four people last week on charges of Illegal sale of Multi-Day Tickets and booked into the Osceola County Jail, according to a report from the Sheriff's Office. Approximately $6,000 is cash was seized, along with over $131,000 worth of park tickets. The four—Darren Ditzel (47), Francisco Ferrer-Monssalve (32), Elena Matveeva (22), and Jose Elias Cedeno (34)—were charged as a result of complaints received from tourists at Disney and Universal who were denied entry to the parks after purchasing the illegal tickets from the business.

…If you're looking to get your pirate on for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (September 4, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29, October 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31 and November 1) and are hoping to have Disney's experts help you, you're in luck! The Pirates League in the Magic Kingdom (link) is extending its hours of operation to 8 p.m. on those nights to accommodate the anticipated requests from partygoers. Walk-ups will be accommodated (if possible) until 7:45 p.m. on those nights. However, reservations are strongly recommended. Call 407-WDW-CREW (407-939-2739) to reserve your spot to become a pirate for the Halloween Party (ages 3 and up).

…Walt Disney World resort hotel guests can get special savings on Disney's four golf courses in September. Guests can play the Magnolia, Palm, Osprey Ridge and Lake Buena Vista courses for $62 plus tax on weekdays or $69 plus tax on weekends. The price includes greens fees, use of an electric cart, complementary golf club rental and pre-round practice balls. Disney will even throw in complimentary transportation between your hotel and the course if you need it. Those rates are 30 percent off of regular guest rates for September. Make your reservation at 407-WDW-GOLF (407-939-4653) or at the Disney Golf Web site (link). You'll need to show your resort ID to get your complimentary clubs.

…La Cava del Tequila will open at the Mexico pavilion on August 28, and will feature over 70 types of authentic tequila from several major brands. A wide variety of margarites will be served. A tapas-style menu will be available as well, a quick-tastes menu style not available at Disney since the early days of Spoodles. A "Tequila Ambassador" will be on hand to educate park guests on the history of tequila-making. The location will also host the first reservation-only special event for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival on September 25, a Mexico Tequila Tasting.

…The Athletes for a Cure Triathlon, originally scheduled for September 20, has been cancelled. According to organizers, "The objective of producing this race was to provide athletes with a quality event that generated awareness and funds for a great charity, the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Given the costs associated with producing this race, we simply cannot meet those objectives." Registrants will be contacted individually about other race options, but must contact Disney themselves to cancel any hotel reservations.

…The Orlando Sentinel is reporting (link) that the Luxo Jr. animatronic that first appeared a couple of months ago across from Toy Story Mania is on hiatus for some tweaking.

…Nominations for the 2010 Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey will be accepted between August 25 and October 2, 2009. Teens enrolled in high school for the 2009–2010 term can be nominated by parents, teachers, family or friends. Nominations for the event, which will take place February 11–14, 2010, can be made using a form that will be available at the Steve Harvey Web site (link). The Class of 2010 will be announced in November.

…The 2010 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge is 97 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 55 percent. The Half Marathon is already sold out. Time is running out! Register now (link)!

Join our networks


Join our Facebook groups:

Become a fan on Facebook:


Follow us:

Jonathan Heigl's Trivia Tidbit of the Week:

If you pick up the phone inside the hat shop on Main Street, USA, you can hear a conversation between two women!

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

  • September 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.
  • September 6 – Trek Women Triathlon (link).
  • September 10–11 – Night of Joy (link).
  • September 25 – Nov. 8 – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
  • September 26 – Expedition Everest Challenge (link).
  • October 11 – Race for the Taste 10K and 3K (link).
  • October 24 – Tower of Terror 13K and 5K (link).
  • November 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.
  • November 10 – Jan 3, 2010 – Castle Dreamlights.
  • November 12–15 – Children's Miracle Network Classic (link).
  • November 13–15 – Festival of the Masters (link).
  • November 14 – MouseAdventure! (link).
  • November 17 – December 24 – Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney.
  • November 26, 27, 29 – Old Spice Classic (link).
  • November 27 – December 30 – Holidays Around the World at Epcot.
  • November 27 – Jan. 3, 2010 – Osborne Familiy Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
  • November 27 – Jan. 3, 2010 – Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.
  • December 7–12 – Pop Warner Super Bowl (link).
  • January 7–10, 2010 – WDW Marathon Weekend (link).
  • March 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.

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 three- to fourteen-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.