Walt Disney World Resort Updateby Mark Goldhaber, staff writer
Update for December 5 – 11, 2011
Go directly to: News & Views | Join our Networks | Coming Soon | Refurbishment/Attraction Closures | Discounts/Promotions
Room-only discounts for February through June | Fantasmic picnic meal introduced for limited time | Muppets taking to the seas, joining new enchanted artwork | Night of Joy 2012 acts announced | Contemporary "Health & Wellness" suites bite the dust | ESPN's Wider World of Sports | Construction update | Quick takes | Crowd update
Disney has released a room-only discount for all nights from February 21 through June 14, with the exception of the Easter peak from April 1 to 12. Discounts vary based on date. However, many resorts are excluded from the discount, including All-Star Movies Resort, Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, Contemporary Resort, Beach Club Villas, Wilderness Lodge Villas, and premium views at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
For stays on the nights of March 9 to 31 and May 25 to 27, guests receive discount rates of:
- 15 percent at Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, standard view rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Fort Wilderness Cabins, Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Pop Century Resort, All-Star Music Resort, and All-Star Sports Resort
- 20 percent at Animal Kingdom Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Caribbean Beach Resort and Coronado Springs Resort
- 25 percent at Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, Boardwalk Inn, and Wilderness Lodge
- 30 percent at Saratoga Springs Resort and Old Key West Resort.
For all other nights during the discount period, the discounts are:
- 20 percent at Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, standard view rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Fort Wilderness Cabins, Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Pop Century Resort, All-Star Music Resort, and All-Star Sports Resort
- 25 percent at Animal Kingdom Villas, Boardwalk Villas, Caribbean Beach Resort and Coronado Springs Resort
- 30 percent at Saratoga Springs Resort, Old Key West Resort, Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, Boardwalk Inn, and Wilderness Lodge.
You must book this discount by January 22 for arrival dates through March 31 and February 28 for dates through June 14. 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 N6P. MousePlanet’s preferred Disney travel providers are MouseEarVacations.com (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
Taking a cue from the World of Color picnic meal/reserved seating package at Disney California Adventure park, Disney's Hollywood Studios has introduced its own picnic meal/reserved seating package for Fantasmic. It's only a test at this time, running through the peak holiday season from December 18 to 31. Picnic meal pick-up is at Min & Bill's Dockside Diner between 11 a.m. and an hour and a half before your selected show time (you select the show time at the time you make you reservation). The package is a quick-service entitlement on your Disney Dining Plan.
With your meal, you'll also get a reserved ticket for your selected performance of Fantasmic that night. Note that the reserved section will likely be off to the side or way in back, but it is a guaranteed seat as long as you arrive by the time noted on your ticket. You've got a choice of four adult meals and two children's meals. Since you can pick it up starting at 11 a.m., it can serve as lunch instead of dinner.
Adult meals each cost $14.99 plus tax, and include your choice of:
- Fried chicken with maple-glazed sweet potato and baby spinach salad, broccoli and cranberry salad and cheesecake
- Veggie wrap with avocado spread, tabbouleh, avocado and tomato salad with citrus vinaigrette and chocolate cake
- Olive oil-poached salmon with couscous salad with dried cranberries and peas, roasted beet and apple salad and key lime pie
- Teriyaki and orange marinated beef with udon noodle salad and caramelized vegetables and sesame mandarin vinaigrette, seaweed salad with gingered carrots and mandarin orange cheesecake
For children, you can order kid’s meal for $5.49 plus tax, and include your choice of:
- Turkey and American cheese wrap and strawberry yogurt, apples and carrots with ranch dip and seven-layer cookie bar
- Power Pack with Goldfish crackers, strawberry yogurt, string cheese, apples and carrots with ranch dip and a seven-layer cookie bar, both at $5.49 plus tax.
Teriyaki and orange marinated beef with udon noodle salad and caramelized vegetables and sesame mandarin vinaigrette, seaweed salad with gingered carrots and mandarin orange cheesecake. Photo © Disney.
You've also got your choice of desserts. Fresh fruits, Brie, dipped strawberries and focaccia bread cost $11.99 plus tax, while chocolate-dipped pretzels, strawberries and marshmallows with chocolate dipping sauce is $9.99 plus tax.
Reservations are available now at the Walt Disney World Dining line, 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). A credit card guarantee is required.
The Muppets are coming to the Disney Fantasy cruise ship. The Fantasy's version of "Mickey's Midship Detective Agency," an interactive adventure aboard the Disney Dream, will be "The Case of the Stolen Show," featuring Kermit and friends. The theme of this new adventure is that someone has stolen the Muppets' props, keeping them from making a big performance, and guests will need to help them find the props (including Kermit’s banjo, Fozzie’s squirting flower, Gonzo’s crash helmet, Animal’s drum sticks, and the Swedish Chef's cleaver). Pepe the King Prawn offers to serve as a detective to find the props, but Kermit would rather trust you.
As we've mentioned here on MousePlanet (including here), "Mickey's Midship Detective Agency" makes use of cards with QR codes to trigger effects within the enchanted artwork aboard the ship. Since there are several possible endings and all of the interactions are randomized, the game can be played repeatedly without reaching the same conclusion twice.
On board will be more than 20 pieces of enchanted artwork, which are LCD screens that appear as standard artwork but come "alive" when sensors in the frames are tripped by approaching guests . Many new images will be featured on the Fantasy, including Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse flying back and forth between two circus art posters, Alice in Wonderland-themed animations inspired by Mary Blair's artwork, three different clips with the "Fab Five" springing from Walt Disney's sketch pad, and scenes from the "Nutcracker Suite" and "Pastoral Symphony" segments of Fantasia.
The Disney Parks Blog shared another new piece, featuring Daisy Duck in "Pinkie Daisy," inspired by "Sarah Barrett Moulton: Pinkie" by Thomas Lawrence. Take a look at how that "painting" will come alive on board ship below:
Other technological magic has already been reported here, from the magical portholes in inside cabins to the new Animation Magic show in the Animator's Palate restaurant (which will share time with the Undersea Magic show currently aboard the Disney Dream), the magic playfloors in the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab, and the new venues (Paris, London, Barcelona, Florence, Athens, Budapest, and St. Petersburg) on display in the "windows" at the Skyline lounge.
The Fantasy sets sail in March 2012.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to help us keep our listings updated.
The list of entertainers has been set for next year's Night of Joy Christian music festival. The 30th annual event will feature 14 acts, including one newcomer. Royal Tailor will become the 150th different act to perform at the event. The Night of Joy takes place over two nights, and is a hard-ticketed event after the park closes for the day. It runs from 7:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. each night.
Here's the schedule, subject to change:
- Friday, Sept. 7, 2012: Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, needtobreathe, Red, Francesca Battistelli, Brandon Heath, Royal Tailor, Disciple
- Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012: MercyMe, Third Day, Kutless, Chris August, Lecrae and Thousand Foot Krutch
One- and two-night tickets will go on sale in the spring, likely at the same time as the Halloween and Christmas party tickets go on sale. For more information, go to the event website.
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Walt Disney World has dropped plans to turn 23 suites on the 14th floor of the Contemporary Resort into "health and wellness" suites that we first reported on back in May.
Instead, the suites will be remodeled on the same schedule as the rest of the resort, with work beginning in early 2013. The upgrade will be more of a standard renovation, with the suites keeping the general feel of the rest of the resort. The California Grill will also get some work done in the same timeframe.
According to the Sentinel, the bamboo floors and low-allergen mattresses may stay in the design, but other features such as the yoga studio and in-room cardio equipment will be dropped.
Walt Disney World has officially announced the sports field expansion for the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex that we noted briefly back in August. The new expansion will include four new fields, lighting, scoreboards, and digital video boards. The new area is adding 25 more acres, bringing the complex to more than 270 acres with more than 30 outdoor fields.
The expansion should be completed by early 2012, bringing additional venues that will be used for football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. There was no additional information about the bowling center, which was also part of the water management permit we reported on.
Here is the listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
- Magic Kingdom Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor & Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin – construction.
- Magic Kingdom Pecos Bill's – plumbing.
- Epcot Innoventions House of Innoventions – facility removal package.
- Epcot parking lot – mill and overlay.
- Epcot Explore parking lot – rejuvenation.
- Disney's Hollywood Studios – construction.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom entrance tram road – mill and overlay.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Creature Comforts – auxiliary heating unit replacement mechanical work.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom Oasis rockwork – general construction.
- Typhoon Lagoon Typhoon Tillie's restrooms – general construction.
- Downtown Disney O, P, and Q parking perimeter road – mill and overlay.
- Polynesian Resort service area parking – mill and overlay.
- Contemporary Resort Convention Center Olympus Rooms – contractor's general conditions.
- Contemporary Resort Nutcracker Ballrooms 1, 2 & 3 – contractors general conditions.
- Wilderness Lodge cast parking lot – rejuvenation.
- Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground service road – mill and overlay.
- Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground entry road to guard house – mill and overlay.
- Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground by-pass road – mill and overlay.
- Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground parking area – rejuvenation.
- Beach Club Resort chilled water risers – mechanical.
- Port Orleans Riverside Resort roadway – mill and overlay.
- Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside Resorts commercial buildings – auxiliary heating unit replacement mechanical work.
- Port Orleans Resort service road – mill and overlay.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort perimeter road – mill and overlay.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort parking lot 3 – rejuvenation.
- Port Orleans French Quarter Resort buildings 6 & 7 entry road – mill and overlay.
- Coronado Springs Resort bus lane bypass to convention center – rejuvenation.
- Coronado Springs Resort cast lot E – rejuvenation.
- Coronado Springs Resort landscape lot – rejuvenation.
- Pop Century Resort all guest room buildings – roofing.
…The guests won't be announced for a while, but we now have confirmed dates for 2012's Star Wars Weekends. The rebels and the Empire will invade Disney's Hollywood Studios over four weekends: May 18-20, May 25-27, June 1-3, and June 8-10. We'll keep you informed as we get more information.
…Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom began full testing last Wednesday, and DisneyProjects.com has an interesting look at the game as seen so far.
…The Disney Vacation Club will be holding another virtual event to promote DVC sales at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa at Ko Olina, Hawaii. A preview video featuring Samantha Brown is available on YouTube and on the event's registration page, with the event itself being a full-length show featuring Brown. Sign up to watch the show at any time on your selected day from December 7-10. Each family to watch the video will receive a Disney character lithograph valued at $12.95. For more information and to sign up, go to the event website.
The preview video invites you to sign up for the full-length DVC sales event.
…Want to celebrate New Year's Eve at Walt Disney World but don't want to brave the crowds at the parks? DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney will be holding a special New Year's Eve party from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., featuring a DJ and dance party, plus access to all of DisneyQuest's attractions. At midnight, a confetti drop and party favors will celebrate the new year. Everyone also gets a coupon for their choice of pizza, hot dog, chicken caesar wrap, or hamburger, plus chips and a soda. Tickets cost $45 plus tax in advance, or $55 plus tax on New Year's Eve. You can get your advance tickets by calling 407-934-7639.
…It's the annual changing of the water parks, as Blizzard Beach reopened and Typhoon Lagoon closed for its annual refurbishment yesterday.
Show Director John Phelan talks about this year's Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. For much more from Phelan, check out tomorrow's episode of the MouseStation Podcast.
…As we noted earlier, Santa Claus will be at his chalet in Downtown Disney from noon to 10 p.m. through December 24. From December 25 through January 1, his chalet will be occupied by Santa Goofy, who will be meeting guests from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
…Tommy Smothers may have been the "Yo-Yo Man" (raise your hand if you remember that), but the modern Duncan Yo-Yo pros Takeshi Kamisato and Drew Tetz will be showing off their skills at Downtown Disney Marketplace's Waterside Stage daily from now through December 17. They'll be performing on stage at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. nightly. If you'd like to meet them and try to pick up some tricks, they'll be at Once Upon A Toy from 3:30-10:30 p.m., except when they're on stage.
Here's a look at Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, as well as some images from the holiday segment for The Magic, The Memories, and You (yes, that is a brief image of the "cakestle" from the resort's 25th anniversary slipped in there). Show Producer Gene Harding talks about the party and other Magic Kingdom holiday entertainment on tomorrow's MouseStation Podcast.
…The television broadcast of the Disney Parks Merry Christmas Parade broadcast was recorded at Walt Disney World on Friday and Saturday, with parade floats traveling one at a time down Main Street, U.S.A. and performances on the Cinderella Castle stage. Justin Bieber, Scotty McCreery, Cee-Lo Green and Jennifer Hudson all performed for the cameras. The parade will be shown on ABC affiliates on Christmas Day.
…It looks like Disney is finally getting started on the Flamingo Crossings addition to the west of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. A water management permit has been filed with the South Florida Water Management District for a Walgreens drug store to be constructed on the main Western Way extension. There are no dates connected with the project yet.
Disneyphiles will be interested to check out this B-roll footage of Walt Disney World under construction on February 24, 1971. The footage comes from ABCNEWS VideoSource. Thanks to Anthony Perrone for bringing it to my attention!
…The 2012 version of the Expedition Everest Challenge (a 5-kilometer [3.1 mile] 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 72 percent full and Kids' Races are 69 percent full.
…Registration is open for events for the Walt Disney World Marathon 2012 (on the weekend of January 5 to 8, 2012), but events are starting to fill up. If you were considering entering one of these, now's the time. As of this week, registration is at:
- Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge – 96 percent full
- Marathon – 95 percent full
- Marathon Relay – 89 percent full
- Half Marathon – 96 percent full
- Family Fiesta 5K – 93 percent full
- Kids' Races – 91 percent full (The Mickey Mile and All Kids Dashes on Friday, January 6 are sold out. All dashes on Saturday, January 7 are still open.)
- Pasta in the Park Party – 67% Full
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."
Join our networks
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.
- December 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
- November 4, 2011 to January 8, 2012: Castle DreamLights.
- November 10, 2011 to January 7, 2012 (except December 8): Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
- November 10, 2011 to January 3, 2012: Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade.
- November 25 to December 30. Holidays Around the World.
- December 3–10: Pop Warner Super Bowl & National Cheer & Dance Competitions.
- January 5–8, 2012: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
- February 24–26, 2012: Disney's Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
- March 7 to May 20, 2012: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.
- May 5, 2012: Expedition Everest Challenge.
- May 18 to June 10, Fridays through Sundays: Star Wars Weekends.
- 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.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – closed for refurbishment January 9 to May 27, 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 through January 28 to February 3, 2012.
- No known closures.
- Fantasmic – is not performed January 9 to February 12, 2012.
- Kali River Rapids – closed for refurbishment January 23 to February 9, 2012.
- Grand Floridian Spa – closed through mid-2013 for refurbishment.
- 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.
- 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:
- January 17 to 21, 2012
- March 20, 2012
- May 15 to 26, 2012
- July 24, 2012
- September 18 to 22, 2012
- November 27, 2012
Free dining for January through March
A two-tiered free dining package is available for stays for selected arrival dates from January 8 through March 29. The deal includes lodging, base Magic Your Way passes (which you can upgrade with any of the available add-ons), and the free dining plan.
If you choose a Value resort for your stay, you'll receive the free Quick Service Dining Plan (two quick-service meals and one snack per person per night, plus one resort refillable drink mug per person). If you'd prefer to stay at a Moderate, Deluxe, or Deluxe Villa Resort, you'll get the free standard Disney Dining Plan (one table-service meal, one quick-service meal, and one snack per person per night, plus one resort refillable drink mug per person). Those at Value resorts can upgrade their Quick Service Dining Plan to the standard plan for the difference in the plan's cost. The dining plans do not include gratuities or alcoholic beverages.
Note: Since these dates are already within the 180-day booking window, some table-service restaurants might already be completely booked, so don't assume you can book any specific restaurant without checking first. Of course, if dining is the most important part of your trip, you can book your dining reservations first to lock in your favorites, then find a resort for those nights. You can always cancel the dining reservations if you can't get a resort for those dates.
You can book through December 17 while availability lasts, but reservations may go fast. The discount codes are P49 for Value resorts and F4M 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 (link), Small World Vacations (link) and Get Away Today (link).
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 to 31, 2011; April 1 to 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 twelve Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased, activated and/or used by any Eligible Service Member or spouse during the life of this promotion, and no Eligible Service Member or spouse may purchase, activate and/or use more than six Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets during any single week of the promotion. One of the Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets purchased on each occasion must be for use by the Eligible Service Member or spouse. This offer is for active or retired members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard. 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, visit the Walt Disney World website, 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.