Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for October 26 – November 1, 2009
Go directly to: News & Views | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions
New Year's Eve | Weekday Select Pass | Christmas Parade | DCL drop-off changes | ICE! | Construction update | Quick Takes …
Walt Disney World has announced the schedule of festivities at the parks for New Year's Eve. Let's take a look around the property:
The Magic Kingdom will feature four performances of two parades through the park, three street parties and two fireworks shows as the park stays open from 9 a.m. through 1 a.m. (There will also be Extra Magic Hours for resort guests from 8-9 a.m.). The afternoon Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade will run at noon and 3:30 p.m., and SpectroMagic will run at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party will step off at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. The Holiday Wishes fireworks will be shows at 8:30 p.m., while the special New Year's edition of the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks will begin at 11:50 p.m. If you want to turn around and head back to the park in the morning, the park will open on New Year's Day at 8 a.m. for Extra Magic Hours and 9 a.m. to all guests.
Epcot will have Future World open from 9 a.m. until 1 a.m. and World Showcase open from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. There will be an early showing of Illuminations at 7:30 p.m. with another showing at 11:40 p.m. The park will open at normal hours the next morning.
Disney's Hollywood Studios will be open from 9 a.m. until midnight, with Extra Magic Hours until 3 a.m. The park will open again on New Year's Day for Extra Magic Hours at 8 a.m. and for all guests at 9 a.m. Fantasmic will be performed at 6:30 p.m. The in-park band Mulch, Sweat and Shears will perform, alternating with a DJ, at the Sorcerer's Hat Stage. The DJ starts at 6:30 p.m., with live sets at 8 p.m., 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. The band will then star in a special showing of the Lights, Camera, Happy New Year fireworks starting at 11:55 p.m.
Disney's Animal Kingdom opens early on New Year's Eve, with Extra Magic Hours from 8-9 a.m. The park opens to regular guests at 9 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. It opens again on New Year's Day at 8 a.m. for Extra Magic Hours and 9 a.m. for regular guests. On New Year's Eve, Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade will run at its usual time of 3:45 p.m.
The Electrical Water Pageant will make its nightly tour of Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon starting at 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve. It will perform across from the Magic Kingdom's entrance plaza at 10:25 p.m.
Victoria & Albert's will also have a special New Year's Eve experience for the first time. Walt Disney World's flagship restaurant, located at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, will feature a special eight to 10 course menu featuring caviar from around the world, as well as many eclectic and famous champagnes. Cost, including wine and gratuity, is $375 plus tax ($399.38). Booking for the event is now open via the Walt Disney World Dining Line at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3563).
Newborn giraffe Bolo is the 14th giraffe born at Disney's Animal Kingdom since the park opened in 1998. He was born just one week after Bruehler was the 13th giraffe to make an appearance. Bolo weighed 153 pounds at birth, while Bruehler weighed in at 166 pounds. Both stand nearly 6 feet tall already. Photo © Disney.
Walt Disney World has announced a new type of seasonal pass for Florida residents only. The new Weekday Select Pass has the same blockout dates as a Florida Resident Seasonal Pass, but with the added restriction that it is valid on weekdays only.
The new pass, which costs $169 for adults and $149 for children ages 3-9, will be valid for 201 days during 2010, compared to the seasonal pass, which costs $249 for adults and $220 for children and will be valid for 267 days during 2010. Neither pass includes parking; the least expensive pass that includes parking is the Florida Resident Annual Pass, which costs $369 for adults and $325 for children. Both the seasonal and weekday passes are eligible for Passholder discounts and special events, and have park-hopping privileges.
On a per-day basis the new pass is less expensive, at .84 and .74 cents per day for adults and children, vs. .93 and .82 cents per day for the seasonal pass. However, since no weekends are included and most of the summer is blocked out, that will make it difficult for families to get much use out of these passes at all, except for after-school hours. More likely to find use out of these passes are senior citizens, who are able to go on any day of the week, are less likely to want to deal with weekend crowds, and are more likely to be living on a fixed income and looking for a way to get less-expensive admission.
You can find more information and purchase your passes online at the Walt Disney World Web site (link).
Come out and play with MousePlanet!
Join us on November 15 in Epcot or at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
If you're going to be at Walt Disney World the weekend after Veterans Day but won't be playing MouseAdventure, you'll still have a chance to attend a MousePlanet meet! There'll be two meets on Sunday, November 15, the day after MouseAdventure. You can meet Mark Goldhaber for some chocolate mousse at Boulangerie Patisserie at Epcot's France pavilion at 1:00 p.m. That evening, there'll be another meet at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Meet Mark Goldhaber at the Tomorrowland entrance to the Rose Garden about 15 minutes before the Holiday Wishes nighttime spectacular. If you're planning to attend, be sure to let us know so we can have enough MousePlanet buttons and other stuff for everyone!
The Walt Disney World Christmas Parade will be taped at the Magic Kingdom from Thursday, December 3, through Saturday, December 5, with guest star performances in front of Cinderella Castle being taped on Thursday and Friday, performances on Main Street U.S.A. all three days, and individual parade floats making their way down Main Street U.S.A. on Saturday.
If you were following Mark Goldhaber or MousePlanet on Twitter, you might have seen the post about where to register to participate in the taping. Unfortunately, the event is now full. You may still be able to watch the events, but from outside of the reserved viewing area.
Due to the construction to enlarge the terminal and parking areas in Port Canaveral, the Disney Cruise Line has made some changes to the guest and luggage drop-off procedures for arriving passengers, effective last Thursday.
If you're driving to the port and want to drop off your luggage and family members before you go to park, you should enter the port through the truck gate on the bus depot side of the terminal. You should then proceed around the bus depot to the drop off location on the side of the building. Porters will be there to assist you with your luggage.
If you're traveling via taxi, limo, or any other mode of transportation aside from buses, your driver should enter through the gate a little further down from the original entrance, but they should still drop you off at the front of the terminal as normal.
The new Outlook Cafe was added to the Disney Wonder during its drydock in the Bahamas to prepare the ship for its Alaska cruises in 2011. Photo by an anonymous MousePlanet reader.
A stairway leads up to the bar on Deck 10. Photo by an anonymous MousePlanet reader.
An light fixture lights the stairway from the Cove Cafe to the Outlook Cafe. Photo by an anonymous MousePlanet reader.
A row of bar stools line the well-stocked bar. Photo by an anonymous MousePlanet reader.
Comfortable lounge chairs are mixed with bar stools at high-top tables. Photo by an anonymous MousePlanet reader.
Seating with a view out the window will provide a spectacular way to watch the Alaskan landscape go by. Photo by an anonymous MousePlanet reader.
Welcome to the Outlook Cafe! Photo by an anonymous MousePlanet reader.
The Gaylord Palms is beginning their holiday season with special events and low prices. The resort is offering special low rates, including:
- Low: October rates from $139 (October 16-17; 23-24; 29)
- Lower: November rates from $129 (November 22-31 and December 1)
- Lowest: December rates from $119 (December 11-25)
Throughout the resort, special touches provide a Best of Florida Christmas celebration. The resort's huge atria become a holiday wonderland featuring stage shows, a Christmas tree, a wreath collection, visits with Santa, brunch with Mrs. Claus, holiday dining and the annual hidden holiday gnome hunt. To top it all off, in a special chilled structure (at 9 degrees Fahrenheit) erected behind the resort's convention center, ICE! returns for its seventh year of frozen fun.
Two-million pounds of ice (that's 1,000 tons of the frozen stuff) are being scuplted by a team of Chinese artisans to provide a "Trip to the North Pole". This amazing display must be seen to be believed, as the frozen sculptures (experienced with loaned parkas) provide a great deal of entertainment. Tickets are available online (link) or via phone at 407-586-4423.
If you're extra daring, you might want to try joining in the Orlando Polar Bear Club Plunge at 8:30 a.m. on December 5, as folks with little clothing and perhaps less common sense take a trip through ICE! in their swimsuits. You get a commemorative certificate, a warm-up reception and a chance to go through the exhibit again later that morning, this time fully clothed. Tickets for the Polar Bear Plunge are $21.99 plus tax, with $7 of every full-price ticket sold going to Special Olympics Florida.
All holiday events will run from November 14, 2009 through January 3, 2010.
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Magic Kingdom Main Street – replacement of three air handlers.
- Magic Kingdom Main Street Train Station – replacement of air handler.
- Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle – replacement of three air handlers.
- Magic Kingdom Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – replacement of air handler.
- Magic Kingdom Splash Mountain – replacement of air handler.
- Magic Kingdom Frontierland Shootin' Gallery – replacement of air handler.
- Magic Kingdom Keel Boat Landing – replacement of air handler.
- Magic Kingdom Hall of Presidents – replacement of air handler.
- Magic Kingdom Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe – replacement of two air handlers.
- Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland – replacement of three water valves.
- Epcot Fountain of Nations – repair of the carbon dioxide monitring system.
- Typhoon Lagoon – Shark Reef pump replacement.
- Pleasure Island PI Live bridge – mechanical demolition.
- Pleasure Island Mannequins – exterior stair removal.
- Port Orleans French Quarter commercial building – painting of the building's exterior.
- Port Orleans Riverside Resort – removal and replacement of a segment of sidewalk at parking lots 24 and 25.
- Port Orleans Riverside Resort building 90 – removal and replacement of 3 segments of sidewalk.
- Pop Century Resort Computer pool – demolition, removal of installation of rail and sleeve.
- Pop Century Resort Computer pool – demolition and replacement of sections of pool concrete.
…The booking window for Advance Dining Reservations will expand from 90 days to 180 days starting tomorrow. Expect the dining line to be extremely busy as those looking to book dining for stays from January 25 through April 25 will all be calling at the same time. Also look for the online dining reservations system to be extremely slow as many people on hold will be trying to book via the Internet while they wait.
…Looking for tips on how to carve your pumpkin? Check out these tips from the experts at Walt Disney World:
…The latest character introduced in the upcoming direct-to-video Disney Fairies film, Terence, began making appearances in Pixie Hollow last Wednesday.
…The official dates for Typhoon Lagoon's annual refurbishment are now November 1, 2009, through January 9, 2010. This is a change from the dates that we previously had listed, which were November 30, 2009, through January 13, 2010.
…Tiana's Showboat Jubilee! opens today at the Magic Kingdom. Three times daily through January 3, 2010, the celebration will provide a song and dance revue aboard the Liberty Belle riverboat. It'll pull away from its Liberty Square dock with a live six-piece jazz band, 22 dancers and 30 randomly-preselected theme park guests. The park guests will wave hankies along to the music as the boat travels along; then, as the boat stops in Frontierland, the guests will then don choir robes to move large musical notes and shake and rattle tambourines in time with the music. Once the boat continues its tour around the Rivers of America, the park guests will then enjoy a meet-and-greet with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog.
…Walt Disney World has begun a pilot program with the United States Mint to circulate 2009 Native American dollar coins. The coin will be offered through December 13, 2009, at Epcot's American Adventure pavilion and the Magic Kingdom's Libery Square. For more information, check out the Disney Parks blog (link).
…Adventures by Disney and HarperCollins have announced "The Search for Flat Stanley's Next BIG Adventure," where children ages 7-12 will have a chance to win a free Adventures by Disney vacation for their family. Go to the special contest site (link) for more information.
…The Disney Vacation Club has opened its second "Doorway to Dreams" location at Roosevelt Field Mall in the New York City suburb of Garden City on Long Island.
…To assist MousePlanet readers who want to participate in The Year to Volunteer, we're looking for readers to act as MousePlanet hosts at qualifying volunteer opportunities across the country. While details of specific opportunities won't be available until after the promotion begins in January, we already have MousePlanet readers and staff in Tucson, Ariz.; Ventura County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, Orange County, San Francisco Bay Area and Fresno/Bakersfield, Calif.; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Buffalo, New York; upstate New York; Southern Oregon; Southern Utah; and Houston, Texas; who have expressed interest in coordinating a local volunteer event. If you would like to coordinate and host a group volunteer event in your area, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll keep you in the loop as more information becomes available. Hosts will be responsible for selecting a volunteer opportunity from the HandsOn Network site (which means you get to choose a program or organization that's important to you!), and coordinating with local MousePlanet readers who want to volunteer for your activity. To give readers the most time to use their tickets, we encourage hosts to schedule their activities early in the year.
…The 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon is now at 87 percent of capacity, and the Mickey's Marathon Kids' Fest is at 99 percent. The Half Marathon, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge and Family Fun Run 5K 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.
- Nov. 10, 12, 13, 15, 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 Family 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).
- Jun. 12. Expedition Everest Challenge (link).
- Oct. 1-2. Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon (link).
- Space Mountain – closed April 19 through November 21, 2009 for major refurbishment.
- Mad Tea Party – closed November 3-5, 2009 for refurbishment.
- Crystal Palace Restaurant – closed for refurbishment January 3 - February 15, 2010.
- 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 1, 2009 through January 9, 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 performance November 17, 2009.
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.
Walt Disney World offers new "Free Nights" discount, with some twists
Walt Disney World has released a new version of the "Buy-4-Get-3-Free" deal offered earlier this year, for most dates from November 1, 2009 through March 27, 2010. There are three twists to this version, though.
The first twist is that the Buy-4-Get-3 deal is only for stays at moderate resorts and up. If you're staying at a value resort, the deal becomes a Buy-5-Get-2-Free. This cuts the net difference in price between values and moderates by about 40 percent, with comparative sample 7-night vacations in November for a family of four differing by $152. This will help to convince many families "on the bubble" to opt for moderate resorts, thus clearing more availability for those who can only afford value resorts.
The second twist is that you must buy park passes for the length of your stay. No more annual passholders doing the "buy a one-day pass and get the free room nights" trick. If you're staying at a moderate and up, you'll need a four-day pass and at a value you have to buy a five-day pass. This results in the net park pass savings of $9 per person at moderate and higher resorts and $6 per person at values. Of course, if you were hoping to do the one-day purchase if you hold annual passes, it's an extra $146 per person at moderates and up and $149 per person at values.
The third and final twist is that you will not get free days on your dining plan with this deal. You can buy the dining plan with the discount, but you'll have to pay for all seven days. That's $120-$141 per adult and $30-$39 per child (moderate and up) or $80-$94 per adult and $20-$26 per child (value) that you're paying that you didn't have to pay in this spring's offer.
Despite that, it's still a nice discount on the room and park passes for those without annual passes. If you were looking for a reason to add a trip in the next few months, now is the time! The offer is good November 1-20, 2009; December 10-24, 2009; and January 1-March 27, 2010.
These rates must be booked by December 20, 2009. The number of rooms available is limited. Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World web site or by using codes GQA (value resorts) or UJX (moderate resorts and above) if booking via the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-1318) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).
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 October 31. 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 offers "Kids Sail Free" deal
Now is a great time for families to book a Disney cruise, as the Disney Cruise Line has announced a "Kids Sail Free" promotion for most 3- and 4-night Bahamian sailings from January 7 through through April 15, 2010 and 10- and 11-night Mediterranean sailings from April 24 through May 26, 2010.
Children age 17 and younger can sail free when traveling with two full-fare guests in the same stateroom, though government taxes and fees must still be paid for the kids. The offer applies to stateroom categories 4 through 12 and the number of stateroom categories are limited. Other special offers, discounts or onboard credits to not apply, though additional terms and conditions may apply.
Reservations may be booked through the Disney Cruise Line Web site (link), via the Disney Cruise Line Reservations phone line (800-951-3532) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link). You must use booking code KFO to receive this deal.
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.