Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for September 19 – 25, 2011

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

News and Views

OSHA cites Walt Disney World for 4 violations, issues $69,000 in penalties in Primeval Whirl death | Not So Scary time again | Meet Mark this fall in Florida | Child molestation charges dropped in Typhoon Lagoon case | Dumbo and Timothy Mouse to grace the stern of the Disney Fantasy | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd update

OSHA cites Walt Disney World for 4 violations, issues $69,000 in penalties in Primeval Whirl death

In a notice issued September 9, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration cited Walt Disney World for four items and issued a total of $69,000 in fines in relation to the March 13 incident at the Primeval Whirl "wild mouse"-style roller coaster at Disney's Animal Kingdom that resulted in the death of 52-year-old construction worker Russell Roscoe.

The first two items were categorized as "Serious" and carried penalties of $7,000 each. The first noted that Disney exposed workers to a "struck-by hazard" because Disney did not maintain gate sensors that would alert workers that they could be hit by the coaster and that they should activate the Manual Emergency Stop. The second noted that "the use of fall protection was not enforced, on or about 03/13/2011, when employees were required to kneel on the roller coaster tracks to conduct pressure checks and adjustments during wet testing operations," which exposed workers to fall hazards of heights ranging from 15 feet 9 inches to 24 inches.

One item was cited as a "Repeat," and carried a hefty fine of $55,000. This violation was due to "Open sided floor(s) or platform(s) 4 feet or more above the adjacent floor or ground level were not guarded by standard railings…" During wet testing, employees had to spray water from the top lift platform, and there were no guardrails instaled there, exposing workers to a more-than-38-foot fall. Since Disney has been cited for this violation twice previously, the repeat fine was much greater. Previous violations were found in relation to the monorail accident on July 4, 2009, and an earlier issue at Star Tours.

The final violation was categorized as "Other," and carried no penalty. OSHA found that "the handrails on the bottom and top of the stairs extended past the terminal post; therefore, creating a projection hazard."

The lack of guardrail was corrected during the inspection. The lack of fall protection had to be corrected by last Thursday, while the two remaining findings must be corrected by October 5.

Walt Disney World has until September 30 to respond to the findings and pay the penalties, though if they choose to officially contest the findings it would push back all deadlines.

Primeval Whirl was scheduled to reopen last week, but it is now expected to remain closed until all of the findings are corrected.

Not So Scary time again

This week the Magic Kingdom began hosting Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party throughout select nights in September and October. The standard offerings of trick-or-treating for offerings from Goofy's Candy Company, the Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade, Happy HalloWishes fireworks and special Disney character appearances are once again part of this year's event. New this year was the Villain's Dance Mix & Mingle, where favorite Disney Villains take center stage at Cinderella Castle in an all new Halloween production. Afterwards, a number of villains congregate around Central Plaza for a meet and greet.

Jeff Kober offers an in-depth look at this event tomorrow in an article that will tell first-timers what to expect and returning partiers what they can find that's different. Check it out and decide for yourself if this event is for you.

If it's mid-September, it must be time for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party to start. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

See how Disney transforms the park for fall in this video.

Cast members install a signage overlay for the Trader Sam's candy distribution location. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The Tomorrowland shade awnings provide a great projection screen for seasonal greetings. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Meet Mark this November in Florida

Do you want a chance to meet Walt Disney World Resort Update editor Mark Goldhaber? There's a fun event coming to Walt Disney World this fall. Join Mark on Sunday, November 13, at 4 p.m. through park closing for the Big Bad Voodoo Food-Do To-Do. The meet will kick off at the World Showcase side of the Odyssey Restaurant bridge, and Mark will provide location updates during the event via Twitter and Facebook in case you want to join later on.

We'll wander the last day of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, sample cuisines from around the world, and pause to watch each of the three performances by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (one of Mark's favorite groups) at 5:15, 6:30, and 7:45 p.m. on the final day of the Eat to the Beat concert series. After the last performance, we'll get one last snack, secure some international desserts, and then find a place to enjoy the evening's performance of Illuminations.

You can RSVP on Plancast, or by email. You can also just show up, but if Mark can snag some swag from the MouseAdventure goodie bag, he'll want to have enough for you! We'll select a starting point for our adventure in another month or so, so watch the Plancast plan or this page for that information. You can also follow @MPMark on Twitter for updates on November 13 if you want to join the group later on in the day.

Calling all with a spirit of adventure!

Are you ready for MouseAdventure: World Explorers III? The third iteration of the scavenger hunt/puzzle quest/race through Walt Disney World's parks takes place on Saturday, November 12 at Disney's Hollywood Studios (the game has been going on at the parks of the Disneyland Resort for more than 10 years now). Do you think that you know Disney's Hollywood Studios? We bet you don't know them as well as you think you do. Test your wits against those of our puzzle masters. For more information, check out the MouseAdventure information page and sign up now.

Child molestation charges dropped in Typhoon Lagoon case

Charges were dropped last week against Moses Velasquez, who was arrested on August 12 for allegedly molesting three girls. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Orange County prosecutors declined to file charges in the case. There is no word as to why they made this decision.

Dumbo and Timothy Mouse to grace the stern of the Disney Fantasy

We've known for a while that Mademoiselle Minnie Mouse would be the atrium statue onboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship, but last week, Disney Cruise Line released information on its Facebook page about the figures that will be seen "painting the design" on the ship's stern. Dumbo and Timothy Mouse will be the newest additions to Disney's stern crews, joining Goofy (on the Disney Magic), Donald Duck and his nephews (Disney Wonder), and Sorcerer Mickey Mouse and a team of brooms (Disney Dream).

An artist's rendering shows the planned final appearance for the Disney Fantasy' stern decoration. Image © Disney.

Imagineer Joe Lanzisero (right) oversees the color matching process for the stern characters. Photo © Disney.

Timothy Mouse raises his paintbrush as an Imagineer puts some finishing touches on Dumbo. Photo © Disney.

Send us your menu photos

Click on the "Dining" section from our Walt Disney World Guide to see our complete list of of the park restaurant menus from Walt Disney World. Please help us keep the menus up to date! Send photos or scans of park menus to menus@mouseplanet.com to help us keep our listings updated.

Construction update

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

  • Magic Kingdom fireworks building – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Sunshine Tree Terrace – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin – construction.
  • Magic Kingdom Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe – electrical.
  • Magic Kingdom Pinocchio Village Haus – mechanical.
  • Magic Kingdom Crystal Palace – mechanical.
  • Magic Kingdom Pirates of the Caribbean construction.
  • Epcot The Land support greenhouse – electrical upgrade for temperature sensors.
  • Epcot Innoventions Habit Heroes – showset package.
  • Epcot Innoventions Habit Heroes – facility package.
  • Epcot Monorail Station – construction.
  • Epcot Odyssey Restaurant kitchen area – electrical.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Star Tours – mechanical.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Voyage of the Little Mermaid – construction.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Lights Motors Action dimmer room – installation of McQuay Mini Splits.
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios Guest Relations Green Room – installation of McQuay Mini Splits.
  • Transportation & Ticket Center Monorail Station – construction.
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace Candy Cauldron – blade sign package.
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace Candy Cauldron – construction.
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace restroom building – roofing.
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace parking lots – rejuvenation.
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace Disney Days of Christmas – mechanical.
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace World of Disney – exterior maintenance.
  • Downtown Disney Pleasure Island Fulton's Crab House – data cabling for point-of-sale system in restaurant.
  • Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa Convention Center – carpentry.
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort Bay Lake Tower work area – awning.
  • Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resort Complex Crew's Cup and Martha's Vineyard Lounges – contractors general conditions.

Quick takes …

…In celebration of the beginning of the fifth year of the Disney World Moms Panel, the second annual "Walt Disney World Moms Panel Fan Meet" will be held on Saturday, October 1, from noon to 2:30 p.m. at Disney's Yacht Club Resort. The meet will feature light hors d'oeuvres and snacks in addition to a chance to meet members of the panel. Space is limited and not all requests will be accommodated. There's also no guarantee how long the request form will be active, so if you're interested in attending, sign up now! If you're selected for attendance, you should receive an email with location and instructions by the end of the week. NOTE: This event is not open to cast members or their families.

…Jabali, the nearly-four-weeks-old elephant at Disney's Animal Kingdom, has made a new friend. Luna, a female elephant born in May 2010, has been spending a lot of time together. The new playmates can both be seen on the savanna at Kilimanjaro Safaris. Of course, Jabali's mother Vasha and big sister Kianga keep a close watch to make sure that Jabali behaves himself.

Are you looking to have a Disney wedding but are concerned at the cost? The Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels also have access to some magical Disney wedding touches. If you're interested in finding out more, they're hosting the Downtown Disney Bridal Stroll on November 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can meet with representatives of each the hotels and other wedding vendors. The Downtown Disney restaurants (Planet Hollywood, Portobello, Fulton's Crab House, Wolfgang Puck, T-Rex Cafe, House of Blues, Raglan Road, Bongos, and Rainforest Cafe) will also be represented. You may even win a prize! For more information and to pre-register, check out the Downtown Disney Bridal Stroll website.

…Raglan Road at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island will play host to Na Fianna through October 1. One of Ireland's most popular bands, Na Fianna will perform at 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The band garnered acclaim with a second-place finish in the 2009 edition of the "All-Ireland Talent Show" television program, finishing ahead of all but one of over 6,000 acts. The four-piece band performs traditional music and ballads, and features the mandolin, guitar, accordion, and bodhrán.

…The Four Seasons Resort that in the Golden Oak resort area will break ground later this year, and it was just announced that the resort's opening is targeted for 2014. The 444-room resort will feature a rooftop restaurant with a view of the Magic Kingdom, a spa with 18 treatment rooms, three pools, and a lazy river for guests to float around.

…While there will be enhanced entertainment this year, there will be no trick-or-treating at Downtown Disney this year. There is no word on why it has been eliminated.

…Registration is open for events for the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon (scheduled for the weekend of February 24 to 26, 2012).

…Registration is now open for all races during the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend of September 30 and October 1. Sign up now for the Disney Halloween 5K. Registration for the individual half marathon, the half marathon relay, and the kids races are now full. The 5K is 85 percent full, and the Finish Line Party post-race event is now 60 percent full.

…Registration is open for events for the Walt Disney World Marathon 2012 (on the weekend of January 5-8, 2012). Note: Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge is now 86 percent full. The Marathon is 69 percent full, the Marathon Relay is 53 percent full, the Half Marathon is 66 percent full, and the Family Fun Run 5K is 53 percent full..

Crowd update


Crowd information and forecasts are provided by TouringPlans.com, the website of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, to help you better plan your trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. TouringPlans.com gathers wait time data from a team of in-park researchers and users of their Lines mobile phone application, and then predicts crowd levels for the next 365 days. Using a scale from 1 to 10, TouringPlans.com has a 90 percent accuracy of predicting the crowds to within 1 point, helping visitors prepare for their trips so they can "Do more. Wait less."

Halloween season is in full swing in the Magic Kingdom, but it's still one of the slower times of the year at Walt Disney World Resort! It's still very important to have a good strategy for avoiding crowds. TouringPlans.com can help you avoid falling into the typical tourist pitfalls, and will help you avoid the dreaded tour groups, with our per-park Crowd Calendar, Lines - Mobile Wait Times App that gives access to current and estimated wait times for attractions, and Touring Plans detailing the best plan of attack for hitting the attractions. Now more than ever, it's a good time to subscribe to TouringPlans.com to plan your strategy to avoid the crowds!

Below are the predicted resort-wide crowd numbers for select days generated by the TouringPlans professional statisticians as measured for the upcoming week. For the access to the full year and per-park crowd level predictions, visit our Crowd Calendar.

Date Overall
Monday, September 19, 2011 3 / 10
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 1 / 10
Wednesday, September 21, 2011 2 / 10
Thursday, September 22, 2011 1 / 10

Crowds will be low this entire week. Check out the Disney World Park Crowd Levels page on TouringPlans.com for park-specific predictions and recommendations on which days to visit and avoid particular parks!

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios is our Park to Avoid Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday this week.
  • More Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties this week; remember to account for the Magic Kingdom's 7 pm closings on party nights when you're planning your itinerary!
  • Magic Kingdom is one of the Best Parks Tuesday and Friday.

See Disney World crowds for the next 365 days.
Get Disney World wait times on your iPhone, Android or smartphone.
Do more. Wait less.


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Coming up

Refurbishments and Attraction Closures

Magic Kingdom

  • Mickey's Toontown Fair – closed permanently to make way for Fantasyland expansion.
  • Main Street Fire House – closed since July 10, to reopen as headquarters for the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game in early 2012.
  • Fronterland Shootin' Arcade – closed for refurbishment through September 30.
  • Swiss Family Treehouse – closed for refurbishment September 8 to November 17.


  • Yakitori House – closed August 10 through November 15 for major refurbishment. Some of the restaurant's menu will be available for the entire length of the refurbishment from Japan's Food & Wine Festival kiosk, located on World Showcase Promenade.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure – closed for refurbishment September 4–24.
  • Studio Backlot Tour – closed for refurbishment September 6–24.
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show – closed for refurbishment October 3–6.
  • Fantasmic – will not be performed January 5 through February 12, 2012.

Animal Kingdom

  • Primeval Whirl – closed for refurbishment through September 14.


  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – closed from September 19 – mid-2013 for refurbishment.
  • Wilderness Lodge – villas walkway – cedar shake roof repairs September 12 through November 8.
  • Yacht & Beach Club – building exterior repair / refinishing through September 30.
  • Old Key West Resort – Olivia's building metal roof repairs through September 23.
  • Port Orleans Riverside Magnolia Bend leisure pool near buildings 80/85 – closed for refurbishment September 5 to October 7.
  • Port Orleans Riverside Magnolia Band leisure pool near buildings 90/95 – restroom refurbishment October 25 – November 11.
  • Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou guilding 36 – building and room refurbishment.
  • Port Orleans French Quarter – lodge buildings brick facade corrections through September 30.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – El Centro and Casitas – roof repairs through October 14.
  • Coronado Springs Resort – El Centro – front desk area wood flooring replacement.
  • Caribbean Beach Resort – Barbados Village lodge buildings exterior repair/repainting through September 23.
  • Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – front entrance path of travel and traffic flow changes September 13–30.
  • Pop Century Resort – repairs of concrete deck at Hippy Dippy Pool October 4 through September 28, 2012. The pool will remain open during the work, but some small sections of the pool deck will be closed periodically throughout this period.

Water Parks

  • Blizzard Beach – closed for annual refurbishment October 30 to December 3.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed for annual refurbishment December 4 to March 17, 2012.


  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. The show will not be performed:
    • September 20-24, 2011
    • November 22, 2011
    • January 17-21, 2012
    • March 20, 2012
    • May 15-26, 2012
    • July 24, 2012
    • September 18-22, 2012
    • November 27, 2012
  • Cirque du Soleil exterior restrooms – closed September 14–28 for refurbishment.
  • Magnolia Golf Course – closed Tuesdays September 6–27 for maintenance (except September 13) for maintenance.
  • Palm Golf Course – closed Wednesdays September 7–28 (except September 21) for maintenance.
  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course – closed Thursdays September 8 – October 6 for maintenance.
  • Osprey Ridge Golf Couse – closed Mondays September 12 – October 3 maintenance.
  • Palm and Magnolia Golf Courses – closed October 10–23 for Children's Miracle Network Classic.
  • Lake Buena Vista Golf Course – closed October 24 – November 3 for overseeding.

Current Discounts & Promotions

Free dining for October 2011 through Spring 2012

A free dining offer has been released for Walt Disney World for dates through 2012. From now through October 29, guests can book free dining packages for select arrival dates from October 2, 2011, through March 31, 2012.

The 2011 dates run from October 2 through December 17, with breaks for Columbus Day week, PGA Tournament week, Veteran's Day week/Jersey week, Thanksgiving week, and Pop Warner week. Available arrival dates are:

  • October 1 to 6
  • October 22 to November 3
  • November 12 to 17
  • November 26 to December 1
  • December 10 to 15

2012 dates run from January 8 through March 31 (the end of Disney's second fiscal quarter), with blockouts for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday week, and several popular spring break weeks. Available arrival dates are:

  • January 8 to 12
  • January 21 to February 2
  • February 11 to 16
  • March 3 to 8
  • March 24 to 29
  • August 19 to September 29 (Canada residents only)

Package eligibility is based on arrival date and is valid for the length of the reservation, so if you arrive on the last day before a blackout period and stay through a blackout week, you'll still have the free dining package for the length of your stay. Conversely, if you arrive on a Saturday that is the last day of the blackout, you will need to make a one-night reservation and then book the free dining package starting on your second day, during the availability period.

Guests staying at value resorts will get the Quick Service Dining Plan for free, and guests at moderate or deluxe resorts will get the standard Disney Dining Plan for free. As with all packages, park tickets must be part of the package. Packages are available for a minimum of 3 nights and a maximum of 14 nights.

No group rates or other discounts apply. The offer excludes suites, campsites and 3-bedroom villas. Advance reservations are required. The free dining plan excludes gratuities and alcoholic beverages. Children ages 3–9 must order from children’s menu if available. Some table service restaurants may already have limited or no availability.

You can book through October 29 while availability lasts, but reservations may go fast. The discount codes for the package are D3X for Value resorts and J4J for Moderates and above.

Reservations may be booked through the Walt Disney World website, by calling Walt Disney World at 407-939-1880, or your travel agent. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com and Small World Vacations.

Passholder discounts released for late summer/early fall

Walt Disney World has announced a set of passholder discounts for stays from mid-August through the start of October. The discounts provide 20 to 35 percent off for stays most nights from August 14 to October 1. As with the summer deal, Passholders will save 35 percent at Deluxe Villa resorts, 30 percent at Deluxe resorts, and 20 percent at Moderate and Value resorts.

Passholders can book through the day before arrival, but be aware that rooms may go fast, as the number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Suites and three-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 Passholder website, by calling Walt Disney World at (407) 939-7643, or your travel agent and using booking code Y3H. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com and Small World Vacations.

Passholder discounts released through year-end

Walt Disney World has announced a set of passholder discounts for stays from the start of October through the end of 2011. The

discounts provide 30 to 40 percent off for stays most nights from October 3 through December 24, with a Thanksgiving blackout period of November 23-25. Passholders will save 40 percent at Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts and 20 percent at Moderate and Value resorts.

Passholders must book by September 4. Be aware that rooms may go fast, as the number of rooms available at these rates is limited. Suites and three-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 Passholder website, by calling Walt Disney World at (407) 939-5696, or your travel agent and using booking code W4K. MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com and Small World Vacations.

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 bicoastal 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.

Military ticket offer

From now through September 28, 2012, 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 September 30, 2012.

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.



  1. By schnebs

    Call me cynical, but I can come up with a pretty good reason for trick-or-treating being cancelled at Downtown Disney. $60 Necco wafer, anyone?

  2. By Drince88

    You had to pay to Trick-or-Treat at DTD on Halloween?

  3. By Mark Goldhaber

    You didn't have to pay to trick-or-treat at DTD, they just had trick-or-treating.

  4. Discuss this article on MousePad.