Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for December 21 – December 27, 2009

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

News and Views

Remembering Roy | More New Year's festivities | Adventures by Disney teams up with Disney Cruise Line | DCL adds family-friendly adventuresConstruction update | Quick Takes …

Remembering Roy

Roy Edward Disney, son of Roy Oliver Disney and nephew of Walt Disney, passed away last Wednesday after a battle with stomach cancer at the age of 79, one day after the 43rd anniversary of the death of his famous uncle and four days before the 38th anniversary of his own father's death. Roy E. Disney started at Walt Disney Productions as an assistant film editor on the True-Life Adventure series. He eventually became a director and producer for nature films before Walt's death in 1966. He eventually became a member of the company's board of directors and was instrumental in the coup that brought Michael Eisner and Frank Wells in to run Disney, as well as the coup that kicked Eisner out 20 years later.

Roy Disney was also responsible for the saving and reinvigoration of Disney animation, stopping Eisner from disbanding the animation studio and setting the stage for the second Golden Age of Disney animation, starting with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. He was behind the creation of Fantasia 2000, in some part renewing Walt's vision of a perennial concert film that would periodically change the concert program, and behind the completion at last, after many decades, of "Destino," the animated Disney collaboration with Salvador Dali. In recent years, Roy Disney had taken on the role of protector of his family's legacy and standards at the company.

Disney was an accomplished and highly competitive sailor, winning the TransPacific Yacht Race on multiple occasions.

Roy E. Disney unveils Disneyland's Partners statue at a ceremony in 1993. Photo by Frank Anazalone.

As Robert Iger said in a statement, "He was much more than a valued 56-year Company veteran—Roy’s true passion and focus were preserving and building upon the amazing legacy of Disney animation that was started by his father and uncle."

Flags will be flown at half-staff at Disney Parks and Resorts for one week, through December 23, in his memory.

We here at MousePlanet send our deepest condolences to the Disney family and to the friends of Roy Disney. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the California International Sailing Association (link) to benefit youth sailing or to The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center (link) in Burbank, California. For more information about Roy E. Disney's life and legacy, please see Wade Sampson's article.  "Remembering Roy Disney" from last Thursday and David Koenig's article, "Roy Genius" from last Friday.

More New Year's festivities

In addition to the New Year's party lineup that we told you about back in October and the special Wishes fireworks dessert party we noted in November, we've got two more events to tell you about if your plans are still up in the air.

Atlantic Dance Hall at the Boardwalk Resort will host an adults-only (21 and up) party from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve. For $35 per person, you get a dance party with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. For $65 per person, you also get private access to a VIP area, complimentary miniature desserts and coffee and an exclusive fireworks viewing location. For information and reservations, call 407-939-2431.

If you'd rather be further from the parks, Rix Lounge at the Coronado Springs Resort will host A Decade of Style presented by JCruzStyle. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. There will be a DJ playing 10 years of hits and a free champagne toast at midnight. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to the JCruzStyle Web site (link). For updated event information, go to the event's Facebook page (link).

Adventures by Disney add-on available with Disney Cruises this summer

Adventures by Disney has teamed up with Disney Cruise Line to create a sort of hybrid vacation, with Disney Cruise Line travel and events and the addition of shore excursions run by Adventures by Disney and other special on-board events. The new offering allows guests to experience the best of both a Disney Cruise and an Adventures by Disney tour.

The offering is available only on 10- and 11-night Disney Cruise Line Mediterranean voyages sailing on May 5, 15, 26; August 7, 18, 28 and September 8.

With excursions in Malta, Tunisia, France, Corsica and many stops in Italy, there are many opportunities for special Adventures by Disney moments. Onboard events include a wine tasting at Palo, private receptions, and more.

If you've already booked one of these cruises, you can upgrade your reservation to include the Adventures by Disney events. For more information about this new itinerary, visit the Adventures by Disney Web site (link).

You can book your cruise reservations through the Disney Cruise Line Web site (link), via a special Disney Cruise Line Reservations phone line (888-272-0571) or through a travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link). If you've already made a reservation for a cruise and are looking to add the Adventures by Disney experiences, please contact whomever you made your original reservation through.

Disney Cruise Line adds new family friendly Port Adventures

In addition to the Adventures by Disney itineraries, Disney Cruise Line is enhancing standard itineraries in 2010 for Mediterranean and Northern Europe sailings. The new family-friendly Disney Cruise Line Port Adventures will include more scheduled breaks, port journals for kids, and complimentary snacks and beverages. Some of the Port Adventures will have separate activities for kids and parents. Each itinerary will include at least one Port Adventure in each port of call.

Examples of the new additions include a Royal Ball at the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, hosted by Disney princesses or a tour of Florence where parents and children begin together and then separate into a fresco painting class for children and a continuing tour of the Palazzo Vecchio for parents.

Other special adventures include a Sidi Bou Said Treasure Hunt in Tunis that guides families through the local culture and customs and a Tuscan Cooking School and Wine Tasting in Florence.

Book your reservations 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.

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom Crystal Palace Restaurant – replacement of two auxiliary heating units.
  • Magic Kingdom Castle – builiding work.
  • Magic Kingdom Castle Hub – electrical work.
  • Magic Kingdom Splash Mountain – building.
  • Magic Kingdom Splash Mountain – electrical and plumbing.
  • Magic Kingdom Frontierland – electrical.
  • Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion – electrical.
  • Epcot – plumbing and electrical.
  • Epcot The Land – building, plumbing and electrical.
  • Epcot Italy pavilion – new construction of pizzeria.
  • Epcot Morocco pavilion – refurbishment of the Morocco museum exterior columns.
  • Epcot France pavilion – electrical work.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Great Movie Ride – minor carpentry work.
  • Disney's Wide World of Sports Innovation Lab.
  • Magic Music Day trailer complex – addition of railing to existing deck.
  • Yacht Club Resort – building and electrical work.
  • Port Orleans Riverside Resort Old Man Island – replacement of spa heater.
  • Coronado Springs Resort buildings 1 & 3 – plumbing modifications.
  • Fort Wilderness Resort Pioneer Hall – demolition of existing three trailers and provision of site work to install three new trailer units.

Quick takes …

…It appears that a new pizzeria will be coming to Epcot's Italy pavilion. A construction permit has been filed for construction of the new pizzeria, naming the Patina Group as the owner/operator of the facility. Patina also owns and operates Tutto Italia.

…Problems on the Walt Disney World Monorails continue, as a monorail encountered technical difficulties Tuesday night at around 6:00 and came to a halt on the Express beam between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Contemporary Resort. It took about half an hour for them to be towed to the next stop and be let off. No word on whether this was related to the issue that stopped seven monorails on the track for 2 to 3 hours early last Sunday morning when power was cut to all three monorail beams.

…A queueless standby wait area was tested Tuesday through Thursday at Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This appears to be an early test for the queueless standby area for the proposed new "Double Dumbo" attraction coming to the Magic Kingdom park in 2012. For more on what the queueless wait area looked like and how it worked, check out the photo tour at StudiosCentral.com (link).

…More discounts are expected to be announced this week, perhaps as early as today. Look for the new discount to be promoted on Friday's broadcast of the Disney Parks Christmas Parade.

…We somehow missed mentioning it earlier, but Star Wars Celebration V will take place at the Orange County Convention Center August 12-15, 2010. The world's largest Star Wars fan convention, presented by Lucasfilm, will be visiting Central Florida for the first time. Lucasfilm is working with Walt Disney Wolrd to cross-promote and create other fun fan opportunities. Lucasfilm is planning for 30,000 attendees over the course of the four-day event. If you can't make it to Orlando for Star Wars Weekends, or if there's not enough Star Wars events for you at those events, start planning your trip for mid-August now.

…The Contemporary Resort has a new culinary team member. Award-winning pastry chef Jeff Barnes has come to Disney from the Amelia Island Plantation.

…The 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon is now at 97 percent of capacity. The Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge, Disney/Pixar UP & Away Family Fun Run 5K and Mickey's Marathon Kids' Fest 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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The Year to Volunteer

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, several of our volunteers hosts said they want to start coordinating their local events. To help facilitate these activities, we've created a new MousePlanet Volunteers section of our MousePad discussion board devoted entirely to the Year to Volunteer events.

If you would like to coordinate and host a group volunteer event in your area, please visit our MousePad discussion board for more information on how to list your event (link). 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.

Hosts from Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area, southern Utah, southern Nevada and southern Arizona have already started discussions for their area, and are looking for local readers to join their activities. If you live in one of these areas and want more information about local events, please visit MousePad and join the discussion (link).


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

  • 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 to Jan 3, 2010. Castle Dreamlights.
  • Nov. 10 to Jan. 3, 2010. Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
  • Nov. 17 to Dec. 24. Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney.
  • Nov. 27 to Dec. 30. Holidays Around the World at Epcot.
  • Nov. 27 to Jan. 3, 2010. Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.
  • 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 to 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).

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom


  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.


  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed November 1, 2009 through January 9, 2010 for annual refurbishment.
  • Blizzard Beach – closed January 10, 2010 through March 20, 2010 for annual refurbishment.


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

Current Discounts & Promotions

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.

New room-only discounts announced for early 2010

On Tuesday, Disney announced a new set of room-only discounts, with savings of 30 percent on Value resorts, 35 percent on Moderates, 40 percent on Deluxes and 45 percent on Deluxe Villas. The savings are value for standard rooms on most nights From January 1 – February 11, 2010.

Sample rates:

  • Value resorts – $58, $65 or $102 per night
  • Moderate resorts – $97, $104, $107 or $143 per night
  • Select deluxe resorts (Animal Kingdom Lodge and Wilderness Lodge) – $144, $156, $159 or $243 per night
  • Studio accommodations at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, and Old Key West Resort – $163 or $234 per night.

The number of rooms available at these rates are limited, and minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. You can only book these rates through December 31, 2009, so book now!

Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World web site (link) or by using code SGG if booking via the Walt Disney World Reservations phone line (407-939-7607) 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).

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 under 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.