Walt Disney World Resort Update

by Mark Goldhaber, staff writer

Update for November 7 – 13, 2011

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News and Views

Disney not liable for Mad Tea Party brawl | Changes announced in holiday event schedule | Join us THIS WEEK for the Big Bad Voodoo Food-Do To-Do meet-up | Tables in Wonderland hosts another exclusive Discovery Dinner in November | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd update

Disney not liable for Mad Tea Party brawl

Last Thursday, a civil jury in Orange County found that Walt Disney World did not owe monetary damages to a woman attacked in a "line rage" incident at the Magic Kingdom's Mad Tea Party attraction in May 2007. Aimee Krause filed suit against Walt Disney World in 2008 following the conviction and sentencing of Victoria Walker on charges that she beat Krause over a dispute while waiting in line to board the Mad Tea Party.

Krause had claimed that the park provided inadequate staff and security at the Mad Tea Part attraction, that staff was not properly trained to recognize security threats, that the park did not respond to requests to remove Walker from the attraction, and that it did not properly investigate the incident when it happened. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney responded by introducing evidence that Krause has a history of violent behavior and anger management issues.

"We're pleased we won this case. Our attraction host and security cast members responded appropriately and quickly in this situation," Walt Disney World spokeswoman Andrea Finger told the Sentinel.

Changes announced in holiday event schedule

Walt Disney World has modified some dates and added some more information to the 2011 holiday event schedule. The Castle Dream Lights started lighting up Cinderella Castle last Friday, four days earlier than its previously scheduled start tomorrow night. A new holiday segment of The Magic, The Memories, and You castle projection show will feature gift paper, ribbons and bows, ornaments, strands of light, candy stripes, and gingerbread projections.

The Castle DreamLights are turned on each night during the Cinderella’s Holiday Wish stage show. Photo © Disney.

The debut of Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom was pushed back two days, and now starts Thursday instead of tomorrow. Jingle Jungle's run will also be cut short at the back end, as Disney officially cut the end date back from January 4 to January 3. Santa Goofy will be meeting guests at his Holiday Village at Camp Minnie-Mickey.

Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights begins this Thursday as previously scheduled, but will now run throught January 7, rather than the previously announced January 3. However, the Lights will not be in operation on December 8.

Calling all with a spirit of adventure! We'll see you on Saturday!

Are you registered 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). If you've registgered, you'll find out whether you know Disney's Hollywood Studios as well as you think you do. You'll get to test your wits against those of our puzzle masters. We're looking forward to seeing you Saturday!

Join us This Week for the Big Bad Voodoo Food-Do To-Do meet-up

Meet Walt Disney World Resort Update editor Mark Goldhaber and other MousePlanet readers and MouseStation podcast listeners this Sunday, November 13, from 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 (@MPMark) 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.

Imagineers are using digital technology to design—and validate the final painting of—the load/unload mural for Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid.

Tables in Wonderland hosts another exclusive Discovery Dinner in November

Tables in Wonderland, the discount dining program available to Annual Passholders and Florida residents, is hosting another in its series of Discovery Dinners next week:

On Thursday, November 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, "The Wonders of Sustainable Seafood," seafood from Florida's coastal waters. The event is limited to 40 attendees.

Dishes during the reception include Florida Lobster Tempura-Dijon Remoulade; Mini Rock Shrimp Spring Rolls; and Serrano Ham Flatbread, Aged Parmigiano, Cahaba Farms Micro Mizuna Mustard, paired with Gruet Blanc de Noirs Sparkling, from New Mexico. Dinner starts with a fish course of Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut with Uncle Matt’s Citrus and Black Garlic Butter, Zellwood Corn and Lobster Cakes, paired with Frankland Estate Chardonnay, from Isolation Ridge, Australia. Next, a salad course of Heirloom Tomato Tower with Winter Park Bleu Cheese and Purple Onions is paired with Lapostelle Sauvignon Blanc, from Chile.

The N.Y. Strip Style Chateau Oscar entree will be carved tableside and served with Stokes Sweet Potato Cheesecake and King Farms locally sourced Roasted Squash. it will be served with Ross Estate "Lights Out" Shiraz, from Barossa Valley, Australia. A dessert trio features Strawberry – Champagne Sorbet; Vanilla Bean, Strawberry and Brown Sugar Shortcake; and Strawberry – Basil Salad with a Pistachio Tuile, all paired with Mount Harrocks Riesling, from Clare Valley, Australia.

Dress is casual evening attire.

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.

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:

  • Epcot Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion – electrical work.
  • Epcot Soarin' – electrical work.
  • Epcot Innoventions West Great Piggy Bank Adventure – installation of electrical for motorized marquee.
  • Epcot Future World Bridge – sign installation.
  • Epcot Odyssey Center – sign installation.
  • Epcot Rose Walk – sign installation.
  • Epcot Canada pavilion – auxiliary heating unit replacements.
  • Epcot Morocco pavilion – auxiliary heating unit replacements.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – construction.
  • Disney's Contemporary Resort main tower – LED lighting electrical installation.
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort Convention Center elevators – electrical.
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort all guest room building elevators – electrical.

Quick takes …

…Disney Cruise Line announced its first-ever "tweetup" via its Twitter account (@DisneyCruise) last Friday. The "#DisneyCruiseMeetUp" will take place in Toronto and will give a "sneak peek at new entertainment" aboard the Disney Fantasy. RSVP info will be announced some time today. Keep an eye out—it sounds interesting!

…The 36th annual Festival of the Masters takes place this coming weekend at Downtown Disney. From Friday through Sunday, you can see artwork from Disney artists and other local artists. The show starts at 10 a.m. each day, and ends at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 5 p.m. Sunday. There's no charge for admission.

…An okapi from the Animal Kingdom Lodge's Pembe savanna (between Jambo House and Kidani Village) gave birth to a calf on October 1. The young female is doing well. Both are expected to return to the savanna soon. The okapi, which look somewhat like half-horse, half-zebra, are actually a relative of the giraffe. There are fewer than one hundred of the threatened species in North American zoological facilities.

Mother and daughter okapi are doing well and preparing to return to the public eye. Photo © Disney (by Gene Duncan).

…The latest addition to Downtown Disney is Something Silver, a new jewelry store that opened last week at Downtown Disney West Side. The store sells men's and women's jewelry, with many items made from unusual materials. Many use recyclable and renewable materials, as well as natural dyes.

…Walt Disney World recently hosted more than 170 members of the Florida Scholastic Press Association through Disney Youth Programs. The middle and high school journalists—who work on newspapers, yearbooks, closed-circuit television and more—received media credentials and participated in a press event with entertainment, speakers, and interviews in many areas. They also received pointers on maintaining journalistic integrity and discretion in posting information.

…The 2012 version of the Expedition Everest Challenge (a 5K event that also involves an obstacle course and scavenger hunt) takes place on May 5, 2012. No registration date has yet been announced.

…Registration is open for events for the 2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon (scheduled for the weekend of February 24 to 26, 2012). The Princess Half Marathon is 59 percent full and Kids' Races are 53 percent full.

…Registration is open for events for the Walt Disney World Marathon 2012 (on the weekend of January 5 to 8, 2012). As of this week, registration is at:

  • Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge – 92 percent full
  • Marathon – 85 percent full
  • Marathon Relay – 72 percent full
  • Half Marathon – 88 percent full
  • Family Fiesta 5K – 74 percent full
  • Kids' Races – 72 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."

Christmas is coming this week to Walt Disney World! 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, November 7, 2011 4 / 10
Tuesday, November 8, 2011 4 / 10
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 5 / 10
Thursday, November 10, 2011 6 / 10

Crowds will be moderate 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!

  • Expect World Showcase to have dense crowds over the weekend for Food & Wine Festival.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parties are 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, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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; reopens as headquarters for the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game in early 2012.
  • Swiss Family Treehouse – closed for refurbishment through November 20.
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed for refurbishment January 9 to April 30, 2012.
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant – closed for refurbishment and moving to Storybook Circus January 9 to February 17, 2012.
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – closed for refurbishment November 9, 2011 to February 3, 2012.


  • Yakitori House – closed 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

  • Fantasmic – is not performed January 5 through February 12, 2012.

Animal Kingdom

  • No known closures.


  • Grand Floridian Spa – closed through mid-2013 for refurbishment.
  • Wilderness Lodge – villas walkway – cedar shake roof repairs through November 8.
  • Port Orleans Riverside Magnolia Band leisure pool near buildings 90/95 – restroom refurbishment through November 11.
  • Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou building 36 – building and room refurbishment October 25 through November 11.
  • Pop Century Resort – repairs of concrete deck at Hippy Dippy Pool 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 through December 3 for annual refurbishment.
  • Typhoon Lagoon – closed December 4 to March 17, 2012 for annual refurbishment.


  • Cirque du Soleil La Nouba – performs Tuesdays through Saturdays. The show will not be performed:
    • November 22, 2011
    • January 17-21, 2012
    • March 20, 2012
    • May 15-26, 2012
    • July 24, 2012
    • September 18-22, 2012
    • November 27, 2012

Current Discounts & Promotions

New fall discount announced

A new room-only discount for fall 2011 has been released. These discounts are available for travel most nights from October 30 through December 23 (except for Thanksgiving week):

  • 15 percent at All-Star Movies Resort and Port Orleans French Quarter Resort
  • 20 percent at other value and moderate resorts, as well as Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • 25 percent at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Polynesian Resort
  • 30 percent at other deluxe resorts, and deluxe villas resorts

You must book this discount by November 19. The rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.

You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-1917 or your favorite travel agent, and mentioning discount code J5N.

MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com, Small World Vacations, and Get Away Today.

Room-only discount for January and February

A room-only discount was released for early next year. The discounts are available for travel from January 2 through February 20, 2012. Guests receive discount rates of:

  • 25 percent at value resorts except All-Star Movies Resort, which is 20 percent
  • 30 percent at moderate resorts except Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, which is 25 percent
  • 35 percent at deluxe and deluxe villa except Animal Kingdom Lodge and Polynesian Resorts, which are 30 percent

You must book this discount by December 21. The rooms available at these rates is limited. Minimum length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals.

You can make your reservation through the Walt Disney World website or by calling (407) 939-1917 or your favorite travel agent and mentioning discount code UU7. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).

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. Blackout dates are December 26-31, 2011; April 1-12, 2012; and July 4, 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.