Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for September 21 – September 27, 2009
Go directly to: News & Views | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions
Disney bus service was halted Thursday afternoon when a suspicious device was discovered on one by a maintenance worker around 3 p.m. The worker notified his supervisor, who then notified the Orange County Sheriff's Office. The device was removed from the bus by a Sheriff's bomb squad robot, which took it to the middle of a nearby field. Meanwhile, all other buses were ordered to be removed from service until they could be inspected for other devices. Hours were extended at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks, which normally closed at 5 p.m.
As each of the nearly 300 buses was inspected, it was put back into service. The Disney transportation system was not back up to its normal strength until around 7 p.m., which was the revised closing time of the early-closing parks.
The suspicious device was determined to be non-explosive, and sheriff's deputies noted that it looked like a transponder, a device that could be used for tracking objects like the bus. The device has been turned over to Disney for their examination.
Buzz Lightyear, who returned from space on September 11, will be feted in a parade at the Magic Kingdom next Friday, October 2, along with Apollo 11 astronaut and second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin. To celebrate his return, Disney will kick off a new partnership with NASA to create a new online educational outreach game and an online mission patch competition for school kids across the country. The winning patch will be flown into space by NASA. There will also be a NASA competition announced to give students the opportunity to design an experiment for the astronauts on the International Space Station.
The area around Space Mountain may still be closed, but the Tomorrowland Transit Authority allows for a close view of the area, such as the work being done on the attraction's sign. Photo by Don Sullivan.
The Fastpass return time sign has been gutted in preparation for its reworking. Photo by Don Sullivan.
The Fastpass distribution area sign is also awaiting its new look. Photo by Don Sullivan.
The ion-powered spaceship is still being repaired by the two space-suited astronauts in zero-G between the twin lift hills. Photo by Don Sullivan.
Meanwhile, the demolition of the Tomorrowland Skyway station is nearly complete. Photo by Don Sullivan.
A pile of debris sits next to the remains of the Skyway station. Photo by Don Sullivan.
MouseAdventure's Summer Warm Up
Quest #11 will be a snap for those regular readers of the weekly Walt Disney World Resort Update (link). The numeric portion of the answer from Quest #9 is the password you'll need to open Quest #11—if you need to check your work, download the Quest 9 answer key (link). 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 BRAND NEW MouseAdventure: Vacation packet #1, filled with quests from the Disneyland Resort. Good luck!
*If you have previously won a prize during the Summer Warm Up, you are not eligible to win again. We recommend that you not post an answer until someone else has correctly solved the quest.
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!
This is your last week to book free dining packages! The offer expires this Saturday. Packages can be booked for most nights through December 17. Saturday is also the last night to book room-only discount rates for the general public. Passholder rates can still be booked up until the day of arrival for stays most nights through December 24.
Tilework in the entrance lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort now shows the resort's logo surrounded by a floral pattern.You can also see Minnie Mouse in the lower left corner. Photo by MousePlanet reader.
Another view of the tilework shows Mickey Mouse in the lower right corner. The green carpeted area surrounding the tilework will also be replaced with tiles. Photo by MousePlanet reader.
In this photo, you can see Pluto below the resort's logo. Photo by MousePlanet reader.
Here's a closer look at the Mickey Mouse tilework. Photo by MousePlanet reader.
Goofy is also represented in the mosaic. Tile installation will continue through November. Photo by MousePlanet reader.
Though Kouzzina by Cat Cora has been serving dinner since August 15, the restaurant held its official grand opening last Thursday with its namesake in attendance. Food TV chef Cat Cora welcomed the press to her restaurant for lunch with appropriate festivities before the eatery opened for the evening rush.
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Magic Kingdom Mrs. Potts Cupboard and Seven Dwarfs Mine – roof replacement and refurbishment of exterior envelope.
- Epcot Seas pavilion – fabrication and installation of new hoist system for large animals with pneumatic hoist.
- Epcot Germany pavilion – installation of storage tank for heat exchanger.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Company 1 Store – removal and replacement of 13 windows.
- Disney's Wide World of Sports – cafe mural prints graphics package.
- Disney's Wide World of Sports – cafe aluminum plant-ons graphics package.
- Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex – installation of braille maps.
- Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex – installation of merchandise kiosk.
- Transportation and Ticket Center Happy Parking Lot – rejuvenation and restriping of the parking lot.
- Fort Wilderness Resort – milling and overlayment of Fort Wilderness Trail and Wilderness Way.
- Fort Wilderness Resort Loops 700, 1800 & 1900 – milling and overlayment of loops and construction of edges will millings.
- Fort Wilderness Resort Loops 800, 900 1000, 2000 & 2700 – rejuvenation of the loops and repairs as needed.
- Caribbean Beach Resort Barbados and Martinique parking lots – rejuvenation and restriping of the parking lots.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort buildings 5-6 parking lots – rejuvenation and restriping of the parking lots.
- Port Orleans Riverside Resort – removal and replacement of two auxiliary heating units.
- All Star Movies Resort buildings 3-6 parking lots – rejuvenation and restriping of the parking lots.
- All Star Movies Resort Melody Hall – replace lobby ceiling.
- All Star Movies Resort – replace existing hot water heaters in buildings 1-10.
- All Star Sports Resort Stadium Hall – replacement of existing DMW storage tank in equipment boiler room.
- Old Key West Resort exercise room – installation of two new outlets and coax cable jacks for LCD displays.
- Contemporary Resort Convention Center – running of new conduit and wiring from main panel to pull station.
Disney Cruise Line has passed along a cute video about Donald Duck checking out what Alaska has to offer Disney Cruise Line guests.
…As noted last week, the Night of Joy event will be moving back to the Magic Kingdom next year. This will cut back on the earliest night of Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, which coincided with the Night of Joy the last two years.
…The first four Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties this year are in the history books, but there are 20 more nights of after-hours trick-or-treating and partying left. Of those, only Halloween Night is sold out so far. The other 19 nights still have tickets available, both online (link)and at the gate. There are discounts for advance purchase, annual passholders and Disney Vacation Club members.
…Light crowds at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party last Friday night results in Pecos Bill's Tall Tale Inn and Cafe being closed, with the lower-capacity El Pirata y El Perico being open instead.
…If you can't get enough of Toy Story Mania, you can bring it home! There is now a version available for the Nintendo Wii (link)!
…Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach have been named the top two water parks in the world by Aquatics International.
…The 2010 Family Fun Run 5K is now full. The Walt Disney World Marathon is now at 81 percent of capacity, the and Mickey's Marathon Kids' Fest is at 70 percent. The Half Marathon and Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge are already sold out. Your only shot at getting into the Half Marathon or Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge would be to contact one of Disney's group or charity registration aggregators (link). Time is running out! Register now (link)!
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- 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. 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. 10 - Jan. 3, 2010. Osborne Familiy Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
- 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. Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.
- Dec. 7-12. Pop Warner Super Bowl (link).
- Jan. 7-10, 2010. WDW Marathon Weekend (link).
- Jan. 15-17. UCA National College Cheerleading Championship (link).
- Feb. 5-7. National Dance Team Championship (link).
- Feb. 12-14. UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship (link).
- Feb. 19-22. TwirlMania 2010 (link).
- Feb. 27. Contest of Champions Nationals: School & Youth Rec Cheer (link).
- Feb. 27. Contest of Champions Nationals: All-Star Cheer & Dance (link).
- Mar. 3 - May. 16. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
- Mar. 5. Contest of Champions Nationals: Studio Dance (link).
- Mar. 6-7. Contest of Champions Nationals: School Dance (link).
- Mar. 7, 2010. Disney's Princess Half-Marathon (link).
- Mar. 12-14. UCA National All Star Cheerleading Championship (link).
- Apr. 23-25. USASF/IASF Dance and Cheerleading World Championships (link).
- Space Mountain – closed April 19 through November 21, 2009 for major refurbishment.
- Living with the Land – closed July 31 through October 3 for refurbishment.
- The Bijutsu-kan Gallery at the Japan pavilion is currently closed for installation of a new exhibit.
- No currently scheduled refurbishments.
- No currently scheduled refurbishments.
- No currently scheduled refurbishments.
- Typhoon Lagoon – closed November 30, 2008 through January 13, 2010 for annual refurbishment.
- Blizzard Beach – will close for annual refurbishment on January 14, 2010.
- Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays – Saturdays. There will be no performances September 22-28 or November 17, 2009.
Walt Disney World free dining deal!
From now until September 26, if you book a three- 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.