Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for February 8, 2010 – February 14, 2010

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

News and Views

Chicken displaces McDonald's | Colglazier replaces Lansberry | Less time in Nassau | Stunt show injury | Corrections and clarifications | Construction update | Quick Takes …

Chicken to displace McDonald's at Downtown Disney

Those lamenting the presence of McDonald's at Walt Disney World have been enjoying the departure of the in-park fry carts and other locations. There's a bigger move coming, though. On April 30, the full McDonald's restaurant at Downtown Disney shuts its doors permanently, with Latin chicken quick-service restaurant chain Pollo Campero replacing its location at the western edge of the Downtown Disney Marketplace and opening in late 2010.

Pollo Campero (link), an international chain, has partnered with franchisee Levy Campero (a subsidiary of Levy Restaurants, which already operates Fulton's Crab House, Portobello and Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe at Downtown Disney, to introduce Disney tourists to the chain's Latin chicken, yuca fries, and plantains. The menu will also include salads, sandwiches and wraps.

Saints win, Brees "Going to Disney World"

Congratulations to the Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints and Super Bowl MVP quarterback Drew Brees! After the game, Brees recorded the 42nd in the series of "I'm Going to Disney World!" commercials. He will be at the Magic Kingdom today for a celebratory ticker-tape parade at 11:55 a.m.

Colglazier in, Lansberry out at Disney's Animal Kingdom

There's a new sheriff in town at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Kevin Lansberry, who took the park's Vice President job just last August, is moving over from running Downtown Disney. Two months later, Lansberry also gave up his responsibility for the resorts Transportation Department. The new boss is Michael Colglazier, who most recently was Vice President of Disney Photo Imaging, helping to create and build Disney's PhotoPass service. Lansberry will be moving up to a new position as senior vice president of Worldwide Travel Operations.

Colglazier first started with Disney in 1990 as an analyst in the Corporate Strategic Planning department, moving to a project management position at Disneyland with Walt Disney Imagineering in 1993 before leaving the Walt Disney Company for a stint at management consulting company Bain & Company. He returned to Disney in 2000 as General Manager at both Epcot and Disneyland, overseeing the installation of Innoventions at both parks. In 2003, he became vice president of Operations Strategy & Technology before moving to Photo Imaging in 2007.

We wish both luck in their new positions.

DCL shortens Wonder's Nassau stops

Guests aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship will have a few less hours to spend in Nassau starting next month. Effective March 4, the ship departs 30 minutes earlier, and guests guests must re-embark at 5:00 p.m. instead of 7:00 p.m. Nassau is not a scheduled port of call on the Disney Magic's scheduled 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.

Are stunt show injuries news?

A stunt show performer was injured last Wednesday at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show. The injury occurred during a stunt where the stuntman was supposed to jump off of a motorcycle, swing on a crane and jump onto a jet ski. Instead, the performer landed awkwardly and injured his lower leg. The stuntman was taken to Celebration Hospital, but the injury is not believed to be serious. The performer has been with the show since it opened.

Since stunt shows are inherently dangerous to perform, despite all precautions taken, do you consider minor injuries newsworthy? Obviously, serious injuries in stunt shows—such as the death of a stunt performer at the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular last summer—are worthy of coverage, but it's likely that most news outlets would not have covered the incident had it not taken place at Walt Disney World. What do you think? Do you want these incidents to be reported even if it's a minor injury?

Corrections and clarifications

In noting last week that there are now green-screened images on TV monitors along the speedramp at Space Mountain's exit, we said that the wall permitting the green-screen effect was "go-away" green. The color used is actually called "chromakey" green. "Go-away" green is actually used to make building exteriors less noticeable.

In the story (last week) about the mother of Austin Wuennenberg suing Disney Parks & Resorts alleging the wrongful death of her son in last summer's monorail accident, the story noted that "The suit seeks an excess of $15,000." The story should have said "in excess of $15,000." In response to reader questions, that does not mean that she was seeking $15,000. Seeking damages in excess of $15,000 is a legal indication that the amount sought exceeds that threshold.

A personal appeal, for the fifth year

On April 25, I will once again be walking to raise money for the March of Dimes. The March of Dimes mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. Over the last four years, largely through the generosity of MousePlanet readers, we have managed to raise over $15,000. This year, let's do something special. My personal goal is to raise $5,000 this year. But you can help in ways other than donating to my walk. This year, for the first time, you can walk with me. Even if you aren't in the Albany, NY area, you can virtually walk with me by joining Team MousePlanet and walking at the March for Babies in your own area. For more information about why I'm walking, or to donate to my walk, please go to my fundraising page (link). To sign up to join Team MousePlanet, please go to the team page (link). Join me and help be a part of saving babies! Let's show how big a heart MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners have!

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom Tony's Town Square Restaurant – relocation of chilled water lines.
  • Magic Kingdom – building and electrical work.
  • Epcot Innoventions – KUKA Rockin' Robots exhibit package.
  • Epcot France pavilion – replacement of existing metal railing around fragrance garden planters.
  • Epcot France pavilion – electrical work.
  • Epcot Mexico pavilion – building, electrical and plumbing work.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios – New York Street forced perspective graphics package.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest – electrical work in the queue and load/unload area.
  • Disney's Animal Kingdom Festival of the Lion King backstage Quonset huts – roof coating.
  • Transportation & Ticket Center – electrical work.
  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course holes 4, 8, 9 – cart path replacement.
  • Osprey Ridge Golf Course holes 6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 – cart path replacement.
  • Magnolia Golf Course driving range – cart path replacement.
  • Wilderness Lodge Cub's Den sand pit – installation of synthetic grass.
  • Wilderness Lodge – building work.
  • Old Key West Resort feature pool and pool deck – pool repairs.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort storybook building – exterior restoration.
  • Saratoga Springs Resort courtyard Grandstand building – exterior restoration.
  • Port Orleans French Quarter lodge buildings 1-7 – installation of new roofs.

Quick takes …

…Dinner at Cinderella Castle is a bit different as of last night. Cinderella will welcome diners in the downstairs lobby before they enter the restaurant, posing for photos and signing autographs. Other princesses will join you upstairs in the dining room. All meals will now go by the name of Fairy Tale Dining at Cinderella's Royal Table. There's been no word of changes at Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort, and no word on how they'll explain that Cinderella is in two places at once.

…If you're looking for a place to find all of the ways to connect with official Disney Parks social media channels, they've put together a Web page with links to all of those channels (link).

…The D23 "Flowers and Fireworks" event at Walt Disney World has been moved up a couple of weeks. Originally scheduled for May 29-30, the event will now take place May 15-16.

…In honor of the 25th anniversary of Disney Magic Music Days at Walt Disney World, Disney artists have painted five one-of-a-kind stand-up basses that will be auctioned off on June 25 to benefit the music education programs of the Grammy Foundation. The basses were donated by Conn-Selmer, Inc., the leading bass manufacturer. For more information, go to the Disney Art for Music Web site (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

  • February 12–14: UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • February 19–22: TwirlMania 2010 (link).
  • February 27: Contest of Champions Nationals: School & Youth Rec Cheer (link).
  • February 27: Contest of Champions Nationals: All-Star Cheer & Dance (link).
  • March 3 – May 16: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
  • March 5: Contest of Champions Nationals: Studio Dance (link).
  • March 6–7. Contest of Champions Nationals: School Dance (link).
  • March 7, 2010: Disney's Princess Half-Marathon (link).
  • March 12–14: UCA National All Star Cheerleading Championship (link).
  • April 23–25: USASF/IASF Dance and Cheerleading World Championships (link).
  • June 12: Expedition Everest Challenge (link).
  • October 1–2: Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon (link).

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom


  • Cantina de San Angel – closed for major renovation in January for an undetermined period of time. Taqueria Del Lago will remain open.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Studio Backlot Tour – closed for refurbishment February 15 through March 27.
  • Studio Catering Company – closed for refurbishment February 15 through March 27.
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closed for refurbishment February 15 through March 27.

Animal Kingdom

  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.


  • No currently scheduled refurbishments.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – closed January 10 through March 20, 2010 for refurbishment.


  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Downtown Disney Marketplace – closed through March 5 for refurbishment.
  • Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through 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.

Walt Disney World announces new gift-card-with-stay vacation package offer

Walt Disney World has announced an offer that will give you a free Disney Gift Card select vacation packages. The offer is good on vacation packages of five days or longer, and the size of the gift card varies depending on the resort category at which you are staying.

Stays at at Value resorts get you a free $300 gift card per room (essentially $60 per night), Moderate resorts qualify for a $500 gift card per room ($100 per night) and Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts qualify for $750 per room ($150 per night). Obviously, the per-night average decreases for longer stays.

The deal is good for stays through June 3, 2010, with blackout periods depending on resort category, and can be booked from now through March 27, 2010. The eligible nights are:

  • Value resorts – Now through February 9, February 15 through March 27, April 11 through June 3;
  • Moderate resorts –  Now through March 27, April 11-June 3;
  • Deluxe ande Deluxe Villas resorts – Now through March 27, April 11 through June 3; and

The gift cards can be used for merchandise, recreation, dining, special event tickets, sports, recreation, tours and more at participating locations throughout Walt Disney World.

The number of rooms available at these rates are limited. Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World web site (link) or by using code QGX 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).

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 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) and Small World Vacations (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.