Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for February 7 – February 13, 2011
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers latest Super Bowl winner "Going to Disney World!" | Passholder event celebrates Everest's 5th anniversary | Kids sail free to Alaska on selected cruises | Tables in Wonderland exclusive special events set for February and March | Walt Disney World offers a special virtual passholder pin on Gowalla | Star Wars Weekends start to coincide with reopening of Star Tours | Disney College Program starts recruiting season | Construction update | Quick takes
Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers and Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLV, is "Going to Disney World!" as the 44th celebrity to utter the famous phrase in the iconic series of commercials. The Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 to win the National Football League's championship game. Rodgers' commercial kicks off the 25th year of spots. He will be celebrated at a special parade on Main Street, U.S.A. today at 2:15 p.m.
Expedition Everest will celebrate its official anniversary about a month early with a special passholder event. The attraction, which officially opened on April 7, 2006 (though it was in soft-open status for over two months at that point). The Passholder event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 5, from 6-9 p.m.
There is no additional cost for after-hours rides on the attraction, but you must sign up in advance. Reservations begin at noon next Friday, February 18. You'll be able to sign up at the Passholder Web site (link). If history is any indication, the event could sell out in a quickly, so be ready to try for tickets as soon as registration opens. Every member of your party will need to present an event ticket, a valid Passholder ID and a photo ID to attend.
Whether they will actually manage to get the Yeti animatronic to work for the event is unknown, but unlikely.
New packaging similar to big movie theater-sized boxes provide Disney Parks-branded candy with additional whimsy, available for $3.95 per box. As always, click for a larger image to see more detail. Photo by Adrienne Vincent-Phoenix.
Looking to fill some berths on the newly relocated Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line is now offering a deal where kids age 17 and under sail free when traveling with two full-fare guests in certain types of staterooms on most Alaska cruises between May 3 and May 24 (though you'll still have to pay government taxes and fees). The valid staterooms are:
- Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah
- Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Navigator's Verandah
- Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom With Verandah
- Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom
This offer is valid only for U.S. and Canada residents, and can't be combined with any other offer or discount. The number of staterooms allocated for the offer is limited. Children will be required to provide proof of age.
For more information or to book, go to the Disney Cruise Line website (link), call Disney Cruise Line at 800-951-3532, or contact your travel agent and use booking code KFO. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).
Tables in Wonderland, the discount dining program available to Annual Passholders and Florida residents, is hosting two exclusive special events in February and March:
On Thursday, February 17, there will be another Discovery Dinner at The Wave … of American Flavors at the Contemporary Resort, with a 6:30 p.m. reception and 7:00 p.m. dinner. The $92 price includes tax and gratuity. Appetizers will be paired with wine during the reception, and dinner will feature an appetizer, salad, entree and dessert, and each course will be paired with wine. This month's dinner again showcases Santa Sweets Tomatoes and Fairview Estate and Spice Route Vineyards in South Africa. The event is limited to 50 attendees.
Dishes during the reception include Four-Orange Vodka Martini with Cave Man Blue Cheese and Olive Tapenade-stuffed Tomato Raisins; Florida Spiny Lobster Cakes with Santa Sweet Tomato “Slaw,” Crème Fraiche, and Caviar; and Marinated Tomato Flatbread Roasted Baby Fennel, Micro Garlic, House-made White Cheese, and Herb Emulsion, paired with Goats Du Roam White Blend and Goats Du Roam Rosé. Dinner starts with a salad of Grilled Watermelon and Heirloom Tomatoes with Serrano Ham, Purple Haze Goat Cheese, Charred Pearl Onions, Opal Basil Flowers, and 25-Year Balsamic Vinegar, paired with La Capra Sauvignon Blanc. A Yellow and Red Gazpacho soup with Black Olive Charcoal, Midnight Moon Focaccia Crunch, and Basil Foam is paired with Spice Route Chenin Blanc.
La Capra Pinotage is paired with an appetizer of Red Velvet Ravioli, White Bean Purée, Poached Egg Ravioli, Exotic Mushrooms, and Pan-roasted Onions with Tomato Essence. The Smoked Sea Salt-crusted Buffalo Tenderloin entree with Shaved Oregon Truffles and Oven Roasted “Ugly” Tomatoes is paired with Spice Route “Chaka Laka.” Desserts include Warm Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Olive Oil Center, Roasted Santa Sweet Tomato-Basil Ice Cream, and White Chocolate-Tarragon Crème Anglaise, all paired with Fairview LeBeryl Rouge.
Dress is casual evening attire.
On March 5, a special Black Tie, Blue Jeans event will take place at the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in the Magic Kingdom from 6:45-9:00 p.m. For $110 per person, plus tax but including gratuity, guests will enjoy a cocktail reception, reserved viewing of the Main Street Electrical Parade, and a buffet dinner. The event is limited to 100 attendees. The cocktail reception will start at 6:45, and the reserved viewing of the parade starts at 7:15. Dinner follows the parade, and the event ends at 9:00, with the park closing at 10:00.
The buffet dinner includes Cowboy Caesar Salad with Tomatoes, Hard Cooked Eggs, and Tortilla Strips; Petite Tomatoes and Mozzarella Pearls with Balsamic and Micro Basil; Grilled Vegetable Salad with Tumble Weeds; Slow-braised Colorado Short Ribs of Beef with Tobacco Onions; Jack Daniels and Maple-glazed Grilled Salmon; Free Roaming Chicken with Country Gravy; Lobster Mac and Cheese; Smashed Taters; Country Beans with Fried Pork Belly; Grilled Baby Corn; Poblano and Cheddar Cornbread; and Soft Pull-Apart Rolls and Butter. Dessert consists of Tuxedo Strawberries, Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Bourbon Ice Cream, and Chocolate Truffles. Beer, wine, and specialty drinks are also included.
Dress for this event is eclectic, as guests are being encouraged to wear a mix of "denim and diamonds, high-tops and hosiery, jacket and jewels, tux and a T-shirt, or a cocktail dress and cowboy hat."
To request a reservation to either event, send an e-mail to Tables in Wonderland (link) with your interest, name, daytime phone number, home address, and the number of people in your party. Reservations are first-come, first-served. You will need to provide your credit card number over the phone at the time of confirmation.
Back in November, we told you about a deal between Disney Parks and Gowalla, an Internet-based social networking game, where users could collect virtual official Disney badges by "checking-in" to various locations within the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts. Disney has now added a special "exclusive" Passholder virtual pin. The pin can be earned by checking in to four specific locations, one in each of the Walt Disney World theme parks.
Since Gowalla will not ask you for your pass number, it's uncertain how this will be a passholder exclusive other than Disney only announcing it on the Passholder Web site. While the fan community has begun spreading word about the four locations across the Internet, we'll play along with Disney and direct you to the Passholder Web site (link). Two of the locations will not actually be operational until early March, though it's been reported that at least one of those two stamps is already available for check-ins.
This is the first known "tour" that Disney has announced as exclusive to a certain group. If you do check in at the four locations, please let us know whether you get the pin or not, or whether it asks for additional validation of your pass. We're interested to see how the "exclusivity" works.
The dates for this year's Star Wars Weekends have been announced, and (as expected) the opening weekend will be May 20-22, as Star Tours is officially scheduled to reopen on May 20. Of course, it's likely that there will be a special Star Tours event for the Destination: D23 convention the week before, probably another event for Passholders, and maybe a soft-open for the general public prior to May 20, but time will tell on those pre-open possibilities.
The full dates for Star Wars Weekends are:
- May 20 to 22
- May 27 to 29
- June 3 to 5
- June 10 to 12
At this time, only two celebrities have been announced, with Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) appearing the first two weekends, and Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano) appearing all four weekends as Celebrity Host of "Clone Wars: Behind the Force."
We already know that C-3PO will serve as your pilot in Star Tours: The Adventures Continue when the attraction reopens, so it's fairly certain that Daniels will have quite a bit to say about that at this year's event.
Star Wars creator George Lucas was spotted at Disneyland's Star Tours location last week reviewing the attraction thus far with Imagineers. Lucas reportedly gave the work to date a thumbs-up.
The Disney College Program is celebrating 30 years. If you're a college student now is the time to sign up for the Walt Disney World College Program for Fall 2011 and Fall Advantage 2011. In order to interview for the program, you must first attend a live information session (link) or view an online version of the presentation (link).
If you'd like to see even more information about what the college program is like and what it's like to work in the parks, check out MousePlanet's Cast Place column. If you interview for the college program, let us know and we may use your story in Cast Place.
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Epcot Wonders of Life pavilion – Flower & Garden Information Kiosk package.
- Epcot Future World – electrical sidewalk improvements.
- Epcot monorail building – refinish work.
- Epcot Seas with Nemo and Friends convention space – electrical work.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios Star Tours queue – general construction.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest – general construction for stair modification.
- ESPN Wide World of Sports HP Field House – scoreboard marquee package.
- Downtown Disney West Side Wolfgang Puck Cafe – replacement of fire alarm panel.
- Grand Floridian Resort Beach pool and quiet pool – refurbishment of signs.
- Grand Floridian Resort – concrete work for sidewalks.
- Wilderness Lodge – electrical work for guest parking area lighting.
- Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground loop pool area – refurbishing of signs.
- Beach Club Resort – concrete work for sidewalks.
- Boardwalk Resort Village Green – electrical work.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort and French Quarter Riverside Resort – concrete work on sidewalks only.
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House – concrete work for sidewalk modifications.
- Coronado Springs Resort Dig Site pool and slide, Cabanas pool and pool deck, Casitas quiet pool, and Ranchos pool and deck area – refurbishing of signs.
- Pop Century Resort Hippie Dippy pool deck, Bowling Pin pool, and Computer pool – refurbishing of signs.
- Holiday Inn on Hotel Plaza Boulevard – installation of parking equipment for traffic control and guest use.
- Golden Oak Resort development – site signage package.
…Splash Mountain returned from refurbishment last week with a new addition: lap bars in the ride vehicles. Reports so far are that the bars are not uncomfortable, and that they aren't appreciably delaying loading and unloading of the ride. If you've ridden the new version of the ride, let us know what you thought.
…It appears that the class-action lawsuit against Disney over the use of personal Segway mobility devices in the theme parks has gotten even more convoluted. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has gotten involved and—during the course of the court action—passed revised regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) aimed specifically at the use of Segways in theme parks. These new regulations say that theme parks could pre-qualify Segway users by asking for a letter from a doctor that the device is medically necessary. Of course, asking for such a letter is already against ADA regulations. DOJ did not resolve that contradiction. Stay tuned for what promises to be an extended battle. For much more detail, check out the story on the DISunplugged blog (link).
…Rumors are circulating that the Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management will reopen at the end of March, still under its new management. The attraction has been closed since it was damaged by a fire in January. The date has not yet been confirmed. Despite that, the attraction still does not appear on the list of closures on the Walt Disney World website.
…The changing world that we live in has intruded upon the itineraries of the Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney. The Disney Magic will be bypassing Tunis during its Mediterranean voyages this summer, and will instead stop at Palermo, Italy. The Disney Wonder is bypassing Mazatlan, Mexico, until further notice, currently subsituting a second stop at Cabo San Lucas. Adventures by Disney has cancelled all itineraries for Egypt in 2011.
…Passholders will again get a chance to sit in a suite to watch a Major League Baseball spring training game, with the Atlanta Braves in Champion Stadium at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. On Saturday, March 12 (against the New York Mets) and Sunday, March 20 (against the Houston Astros), passholders can get a seat on the suite level, a commemorative game program, and an assorted "ballpark buffet" lunch, served from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $85 including tax for guests age 10 and up, and $75 for guests ages 3-9. Suites will open at 11:30 a.m. for the 1:05 p.m. games. To order your tickets, call 407-938-3223. Valid Passholder ID is required, and tickets are limited.
…The rescued Chilean miners were feted as Grand Marshals of a special parade on Main Street, U.S.A. last Monday, where the "Mayor" of Main Street proclaimed their special day. Later in the day, the miners spoke with children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.
…Playing the name game to better link with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, El Pirata y el Perico in the Adventureland has been renamed Tortuga Tavern. While decór and theming will be updated to reflect the latest in piratical appearance, the location will remain seasonal and the menu will also remain the same.
…Based on a permit for Future World electrical sidewalk improvements at Epcot, it would appear that they will either remove the embedded lights in the pavement or enhance them. If anybody knows which, please let us know.
…The Jake and the Never Land Pirates segment of the rebranded Disney Junior—Live on Stage! show were written by one of the writers for the TV show. The show opens in the former Playhouse Disney—Live on Stage! theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 6.
…Peter S. Rummell, former president of the Disney Development Company and chairman of Walt Disney Imagineering, has been elected as chairman of the Urban Land Institute, a non-profit education and research institute which provides leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.
…The 2011 Disney’ Princess Half Marathon (scheduled for February 27) is 98 percent full for individual and team registrations. Disney's Royal Family 5K and Kids' Races are each 85 percent full. If you want to run any of these races, time is running out. You can register at the official event Web site (link).
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- February 7 to March 31: Atlanta Braves spring training (link).
- February 11–15: UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship (link).
- February 25–27: Disney’s Princess Half-Marathon (link).
- March 2 to May 15: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (link).
- March 3–6: ESPN The Weekend (link).
- March 12–13: UCA National All-Star Cheerleading Championship (link).
- April 28 to May 2: USASF Cheerleading and Dance Worlds (link).
- April 29, 30, May 6, 7: Grad Nites (link).
- May 7: Expedition Everest Challenge (link).
- May 8: Danskin Women's Triathlon (link).
- May 15: Rohto Florida Ironman 70.3 (link).
- September 30, October 1: Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (link). Registration opens February 14.
- September 30 to November 13: Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (link).
- November 24–25, 27: Old Spice Classic (link).
- January 5–8: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (link). Registration opens March 15.
- Mickey's Toontown Fair – closing permanently on February 11, 2011, to make way for Fantasyland expansion.
- No known scheduled closures.
- Star Tours – closed for refurbishment through May 19, 2011.
- Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage! – closed for refurbishment through March 5, 2011. A new segment will be added, and the show will be rebranded from Playhouse Disney to Disney Junior.
- Primeval Whirl – closed for refurbishment through April 16, 2011.
- Saratoga Springs Resort – Paddock Leisure Pool closed through June 29, 2011, for expansion into a new feature pool, wet play area, and quick-service eatery. During the renovations, the Paddock bus stop and laundry facility will also be closed. Guests can use the High Rock Spring pool near the Carriage House or the leisure pools at Congress Park or The Grandstand. Nearby bus stops can be found at The Springs, Congress Park and The Carousel. Alternate laundry facilities are located at The Springs and Congress Park.
- Yacht & Beach Club Resorts – The main slide and kiddie slide at Stormalong Bay are closed through mid-February, 2011. Guests that wish to use have a pool slide as part of their resort pool experience can use the Luna Park pool at the BoardWalk Resort.
- Polynesian Resort – Leisure Pool closed for refurbishment through February 18, 2011.
- BoardWalk Resort – the Keister Coaster slide at the Luna Park pool will be closed from February 7 through mid-March, 2011. Guests that wish to use have a pool slide as part of their resort pool experience can use the Stormalong Bay pool at the Yacht & Beach Club Resorts.
- Blizzard Beach – closed through March 26, 2011 for annual refurbishment.
- Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Passholder merchandise discounts extended through 2011
Walt Disney World Passholder merchandise discounts have been extended through the end of 2011. Epcot After 4pm, Weekday Select, Seasonal and Annual Passholders get 10 percent off purchases at selected locations, while Premium Annual Passholders (including bi-coastal Premier Annual Passholders) get 20 percent off. The discount is available at Walt Disney World-owned and operated shops, but not those stores owned by "operating participants" (third-party stores). The discount is also not valid on a long list of products, and can not be combined with other discounts, offers or promotions. For a full list of what is not included in this discount, check out the Art of Disney Parks website (link).
La Nouba offers discounts to DVC Members, Passholders
Disney Vacation Club members and Passholders can get 30 percent off Category 2 tickets to see La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil when purchased in advance. The discount is good on any performance from February 1 through April 9. You can purchase your advance tickets by calling 407-939-7604. The offer is valid for DVC members and/or Passholders plus up to 5 guests. This offer provides a deeper discount than even the troupe's own Cirque Club, which is offering a 25 percent discount over the same dates.
Tickets will be available for pick up at the La Nouba Box Office's Will Call window. You'll have to present valid DVC Member or Passholder ID to pick up your tickets. Please plan to arrive at least one hour before show time. This offer isn't good for gift certificates or on tickets you've already bought, and you can't combine it with other discounts. The offer is subject to availability.
Room-only discounts now available through mid-April
Discounts of 15-30 percent are available for room-only reservations for stays at Walt Disney World for most nights February 17 – April 16, 2011.
- Value resorts – 15 percent off
- Moderate resorts, including Fort Wilderness Cabins – 20 percent off
- Deluxe Resorts – 15-25 percent off
(Note: Animal Kingdom Lodge is 15 percent off. Polynesian Resort is 20 percent off.)
- Deluxe Villa Resorts – 30 percent off
Deals are also available for January 2 – February 16, 2011. Discount percentages appear to match those for the other dates.
You can book the deal from now through February 13, 2011. Note that the rooms may go fast. The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.
Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World Web site (link), by calling Walt Disney World at 407-939-7678, or your travel agent and using booking code XV9. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).
Room-only discounts for April-June and August-October
Room-only discounts are being offered for April 28 to June 14 and August 14 to October 1, for which you must make your reservations by March 27. Fall discounts are for five percentage points more than the late spring discounts, and discounts vary by type of resort. Here are the discounts applicable for each resort type:
|Resorts||Apr 28–Jun 14||Aug 14–Oct 1|
|All-Star Movies||15 percent||20 percent|
|Remaining Values, Port Orleans French Quarter||20 percent||25 percent|
|Remaining Moderates, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Polynesian||25 percent||30 percent|
|Remaining Deluxes||30 percent||35 percent|
|Deluxe Villas||35 percent||40 percent|
Note:The rooms may go fast. The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.
Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World Web site (link), by calling Walt Disney World at 407-939-7722, or your travel agent and using booking code TSU. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).
Kids Stay and Play Free through October
Walt Disney World has released a Kids Stay and Play Free offer that has availability February 17 to April 16 (book by February 13), as well as April 28 to June 14 and August 14 to October 1 (book by March 27). When booking a non-discounted room and ticket package, kids ages 3 to 9 staying in the same room as an adult get a free base Magic Your Way pass. Additional restrictions may apply.
Note that the rooms may go fast. The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.
Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World Web site (link), by calling Walt Disney World at 407-939-7684, or your travel agent and using booking code GW8. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).
Passholder discounts now available through mid-April
Passholders can save 32 to 42 percent off their room rates for stays at Walt Disney World for most nights February 6 – April 16, 2011.
- Value resorts – 32 percent off
- Moderate resorts, including Fort Wilderness Cabins – 35 percent off
- Deluxe Resorts – 32-42 percent off
(Note: Animal Kingdom Lodge and Polynesian Resort are 32 percent off)
- Deluxe Villa Resorts – 42 percent off
Deals are also available for January 2 – February 5, 2011. Discount percentages appear to match those for the other dates.
You can book the deal from now through your day of arrival, through the rooms may go fast. The number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Suites and 3-bedroom Grand Villas are not included. An adult passholder must show their pass at check-in. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.
Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World Web site (link), by calling Walt Disney World at 407-939-7939, or your travel agent and using booking code AU6. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link) and Small World Vacations (link).
Military ticket offer
From now through September 28, 2011, active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with either the Park Hopper or Water Parks Fun and More option for $138 per ticket, plus tax, or with both the Park Hopper and Water Parks Fun and More options for $165 per ticket, plus tax. No Base ticket is available with this offer.
The tickets expire and may not be used after October 1, 2011. The tickets may not be used at all Walt Disney World theme parks and other gated attractions on the following blockout dates: December 27-31, 2010 and April 17-23, 2011. Additionally, the tickets may not be used at the Magic Kingdom on July 4, 2011.
Eligible service members include active or retired members of the U.S. military including the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reservists. Disney Military Promotional Tickets can be purchased at Shades of Green or at a participating military base (MWR/ITT) office. There is no tax charged for these tickets but they must be activated at a theme park ticket window. Tickets may also be purchased at Walt Disney World Park Ticket Offices and Guest Relations Offices where tax will be charged. No more than six tickets may be purchased by any eligible member of the U.S. military (or their spouse, but not both) for themselves, family members, and friends, and all tickets must be purchased at the same time. If the immediate family has more than five dependents, additional tickets may be purchased for the dependents, however, additional tickets for guests may not be purchased. Valid military identification is required. The tickets are non-transferable and may not be resold.
The tickets may be upgraded to Seasonal Passes or Florida Resident Weekday Select Passes (for Florida Residents), or Annual Passes, Premium Annual Passes, or Disney Premier Pass with credit toward the upgrade based on the actual price paid. The no-expiration option and other upgrades, such as additional days, are not available.
For complete information regarding Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets, military personnel may call (407) 939-7830 or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.
Don't keep it to yourself! Send us your news tips, rumors, and comments. Email Mark here.