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Walt Disney World news in brief


I thought I might start a simple Disney news in review column that I’ll feature from time to time to keep everyone informed on of all the goings on in the Disney blogosphere.  I’ll pick out information that could assist you with your planning or enhance your experience.

1.  Gaston confirmed for New Fantasyland

As I announced earlier today, Gaston has been confirmed to begin meeting in New Fantasyland.  The Disney Parks blog announced that his first offical day will be November 19th, but he may appear sporadically prior to that date.

2.  Test Track to reopen December 6th

The all-new Tronesque Test Track complete with “sim cars” will reopen to the public on December 6th. The new version will feature an interactive queue that allows guests to design their own car before taking it out on the track.   Attractions like this typically undergo soft openings to allow for a test and adjust period and train the new Cast Members.  That typically begins a week or two before the announced opening.

3.  Upcoming attraction Refurbs

Splash mountain to undergo refurb.  According to the Disney Parks calendar, it appears that Splash mountain will be closed from February 1 – March 19, 2013 in order to undergo it’s annual refurbishment.

Studio Backlot Tour – Closed For Refurbishment [ Monday, October 08 – Friday, November 16 ]
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – Closed For Refurbishment [ Thursday, October 18 – Thursday, October 25 ]
Country Bear Jamboree – Closed For Refurbishment [ Monday, October 01 – Tuesday, October 16 ]
The Boneyard – Closed For Refurbishment [ Wednesday, October 24 – Thursday, October 25 ]
Typhoon Lagoon – Closed for Refurbishment  [ Sunday, October 28 – Saturday, January 05 ]

4.  Fantasyland Passholder Preview sign up date changed. 

Annual Passholders were supposed to be allowed to sign up for previews of the new Fantasyland area on Monday, October 8th, but the date for sign ups was delayed until Monday, October 15th at Noon EDT.

Actual preview dates will be
Saturday, November 3, 2012
8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 10, 2012
8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 11, 2012
8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Enchanted Tales With Belle Itinerary:

  • Take a tour of Be Our Guest RestaurantBe Our Guest Restaurant
  • Ride on Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Experience Enchanted Tales with Belle

Ariel’s Grotto Itinerary:

  • Take a tour of Be Our Guest RestaurantBe Our Guest Restaurant
  • Ride on Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Take photos and receive autographs from Ariel

5.  Characters in Flight is aloft again.

The new Characters in Flight balloon is aloft again taking guests high in the sky over Downtown Disney.

The cost is:
$18 Adult (including tax) – ages 10 and up
$12 Children (including tax) – Guests ages 3 – 9
Free –  2 and under

6. Pete’s Silly Sideshow opens to park guests.

You can now meet Daisy/Minnie or Donald/Goofy in their circus attire on a daily basis from park open to close each day.  Fastpass distribution for Dumbo and Barnstormer Goofy were relocated into the 3rd tent next to Pete’s.  Pulling a Dumbo Fastpass will also get you a “Surprise Fastpass” for Philharmagic.  One can retrieve a Dumbo Fastpass, and immediately  get a Fastpass for Barnstormer as well.  Lines for the female characters is longer than their male counterparts.

7.  FREE Wi-Fi continues roll out at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios became the third park to offer free guest in-park Wi-Fi.  The Animal Kingdom is currently the only park of the big 4 that doesn’t offer free Wi-Fi.  I prefer my Verizon 4G Razr Maxx, but hey their Wi-Fi doesn’t ding your data plan.

8.  New room only and package discounts released.

Room Only

Save up to 35% on stays at select Disney resorts, most nights January 2 – March 7, 2013(Excluding January 18-20)

  • Value resorts 15%-25% off
  • Moderate resorts 30% off
  • Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts 25%-35% off

Package discounts

“Play, Stay and Dine” is being offered for  select dates between January 2 and March 7, 2013.  The word Dine is included in the offer, but it is NOT the typical Free Dining offer.

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  1. According to my calculations, choosing the ‘Eat, Play, Dine’ package for our upcoming stay meant adding on roughly $100 to include the QS meals with our initial room and tickets only plans. So, yes, it’s not a ‘free’ dining plan but it’s definitely less than the estimated $800/900 it would have been to add it before the deal was released.

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