Friday, July 26, 2013

Ears the News with Richard

The scheduled refurbishment of Peter Pan's Flight at the Magic Kingdom has been pushed back a few days, and extended in duration. It was originally scheduled to close from 9/28/2013 through 10/31/2013. It will now close from 9/30/2013 to 11/13/2013.


The Magic Kingdom's Main Street U.S.A. is about to undergo a concrete replacement project beginning on 7/23/2013. The first phase of the project will begin on the corner near the Emporium entrance. During the first week, that entrance to the Emporium and the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom portal on that corner will be closed to guests. It is expected that later in the project there will be some disruption to parades.  The entire project is expected to be complete in late September 2013.

Disney's Osprey Ridge golf course will be closing on 8/11/2013.  The Tom Fazio designed course which opened in 1992 was sold to Four Seasons back in 2009 as part of the Golden Oak development. Owned by Four Seasons Management, it is expected that the course will become part of the Four Seasons Resort hotel. Its future as a golf course available to the public and DVC members is uncertain under the new ownership.

Image from cfn news 13
The wrecking ball has finally arrived at Pleasure Island. The first major demolition work is now underway, with the former Comedy Warehouse now being reduced to rubble. Construction crews are wasting no time getting to work on the former Pleasure Island area which has all venues now closed with the exception of Paradiso 37 on the waterside. 





'Senses, A Disney Spa At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort' opened July 25 2013 following a major six month refurbishment.

The two-story, full-service spa is inspired by the healing properties of natural springs that have drawn people for centuries to Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. Senses incorporates the springs, nature and the storyline of health in its design and theming.  Design materials and textures, including natural stone, “connect with the earth and speak to the serenity and tranquility associated with nature,” according to Ginger Mclean, spa director.

Each treatment is guided by one of the spa’s core themes – relax, renew or imagine – each of which will create a custom experience. A completely redesigned space, Senses, A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, will feature 10 treatment rooms offering an array of services including water therapy, massage and facials. Heated loungers, plus  a whirlpool and steam room in the wet areas provide rejuvenation and renewal. Three manicure stations and four pedicure stations round out the services.

The opening of Senses, A Disney Spa at  Saratoga Springs Resort follows the opening of its sister spa,  Senses,  A Disney Spa at the Grand Floridian Resort that opened in December, 2012 featuring 15 treatment rooms. To book a treatment guests can call 407-WDW-SPAS.

At Walt Disney World Resort from 8/12/2013 through to 9/24/2014, active and retired U.S. military personnel (including active and retired members of the United States Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists) or their spouses can purchase:

Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper Option for $169 each, plus tax
Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Water Park Fun and More Option for $169 each, plus tax AND
Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets with Park Hopper and Water Park Fun and More Options for $198 each, plus tax
Walt Disney World tickets may be used September 29, 2013, through September 27, 2014, except December 20 – 31, 2013; April 13 – 20, 2014, at all theme parks and all Water Park Fun and More locations; and July 4, 2014, at Magic Kingdom Park only.
Active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets for themselves and up to five additional family members or friends.  No more than six Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased by any eligible member of the U.S. military (or spouse) pursuant to this offer.  All tickets and options are non-transferable and must be used by September 27, 2014.

Active and retired U.S. military personnel can also take advantage of specially priced rooms at select Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort hotels.*  This offer is valid for stays most nights from September 29 2013, through September 27 2014, except for:

Nov. 28 – Nov. 30, 2013
Dec. 23 – Dec. 31, 2013
April 14 – April 19, 2014

For information regarding Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Walt Disney World Resort, or to make room reservations at the Walt Disney World Resort, military personnel may call 407-939-7830 or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.  For information regarding Disney 3-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Disneyland Resort, or to make room reservations at the Disneyland Resort, military personnel may call 714-956-6425 or participating U.S. military base ticket offices.  Information is also available at disneymilitaryoffers.com.

Offer Details:


  • Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets ONLY by Eligible Service Members (defined below) or their spouses (but not both), for use by themselves and other family members and friends, as provided herein. These Tickets may not be otherwise transferred, distributed or resold.
  • “Eligible Service Members” are active or retired members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • The actual prices charged at the individual U.S. military base ticket offices for Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be less than the prices set forth above.
  • Participating military sales outlets must require that Eligible Service Members (or their spouses) present valid military identification to purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets.
  • Disney 4-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Walt Disney World Resort are not valid until activated by the Eligible Service Members (or their spouses) at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows. Tickets and options expire and may not be used after Sept. 27, 2014. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.
  • Disney 3-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Disneyland Resort expire and may not be used after Sept. 27, 2014. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.
  • No more than six (6) Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased and (if applicable) activated by any Eligible Service Member or spouse (regardless of the place of purchase and whether purchased by that person or that person’s spouse). In addition, one of the six (6) Tickets purchased must be used by the Eligible Service Member or his/her spouse.
  • Each Disney Military Promotional Ticket must be used by the same person on any and all days.
Image from wdwmagic.com
Disney is beginning another test of the 112 person articulated bus system. The last trial in March 2012 appears to have been successful as Disney is moving ahead with the introduction of these large buses later this year. The test looks to be in preparation for the final deployment.

It is expected that the articulated Nova Bus LFS Artic will be used on high-capacity routes, such as Magic Kingdom to the value resorts. Disney is currently in the process of building a greatly expanded bus drop-off area at the Magic Kingdom.

Disney and AT&T have announced an agreement that makes AT&T the official wireless provider for both Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort. 

Most significantly, the agreement brings a whole host of upgrades to the AT&T cell service at Walt Disney World which could give a huge boost to the usability of MyMagic+ which relies extensively on data communication. In recent times the parks own Wi-Fi service has struggled with demand at peak times. AT&T's data service at the parks also becomes unusable at peak times, so these upgrades appear to address these issues. Here is the full press release from AT&T.

AT&T to Enhance Mobile Network in Disney Parks
Dallas, Texas, July 23, 2013
AT&T* and Disney Parks today announced an agreement that makes AT&T the official wireless provider for Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.
Through the agreement, AT&T will have various marketing and branding opportunities, including sponsoring Disney-created soccer and runDisney events at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  In addition, Disney will join AT&T to educate Cast Members and guests about “It Can Wait®,” AT&T’s groundbreaking initiative to educate consumers about the dangers of texting while driving.  AT&T and Disney will also collaborate to enhance the experience for the growing number of Disney guests using smartphones and tablets during their visit.  Furthermore, Cast Members will use new mobile devices on AT&T’s network to help deliver Disney’s legendary guest service.
“This is a great combination,” said Andy Geisse, Chief Executive Officer for AT&T Business Solutions. “Bringing AT&T’s fastest and most reliable 4G LTE network and mobile connectivity to one of the most creative companies on earth is something we’re excited about.  I’m confident Disney’s guests and Cast Members will be thrilled with the experience we deliver.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with AT&T,” said Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France.  “This alliance joins two companies that share a commitment to providing quality experiences, and we look forward to the collaboration as we continue to leverage technology to enhance the experience for our guests.”
AT&T is also enhancing its network across Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort using a variety of technologies including:
  • More than 25 distributed antenna systems to increase the wireless capacity in areas with high mobile traffic
  • More than 350 small cells to extend network connectivity
  • 10 cell sites across Walt Disney World Resort to provide wide-ranging mobile service to guests
  • More than 40 repeaters to further enhance the mobile experience for both guests and Cast Members

Disney's Animal Kingdom will soon be opening a new food allergy information kiosk to make dining decisions easier for those guests with food allergies and intolerances.

Opening 8/4/2013, the information kiosk will be located in a former snack kiosk location just outside the Adventurers Outpost meet and greet on Discovery Island. The 'Gardens Kiosk' will be open from 9:00 AM  to 3:00 PM daily, and will allow guests to ask cast members questions about their options when dining at Animal Kingdom restaurants. Guests will still be able to speak to cast members at individual restaurants, but it is thought that this kiosk will give guests more information prior to them entering a specific restaurant.

Besides offering information, the 'Garden Kiosk' will also offer a range of pre-packed snacks including hummus vegetables, granola bars, chips, popcorn and a gluten-free beer. This new information kiosk is currently only available at Disney's Animal Kingdom, but it would certainly seem likely that if successful it may well be expanded out to the other theme parks.

Extra Magic Hours at both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach have been discontinued for this summer. During July and August the water parks have typically opened at 8:00 AM for Extra Magic Hours a couple of times per week. They were originally scheduled for this year, but have since been removed from the schedule.


The Extra Magic Hours appear to being scaled back across all areas of the resort. Disney's Animal Kingdom's evening EMH was removed back in February 2011, and evening EMH at all parks was reduced from 3 hours to 2 hours back in January 2013.

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