Travel Guide Updates for PassPorter Walt Disney World 2004
(sixth edition, released January 2004)

These updates were current as of 12/29/2004. Visit http://www.passporter.com/wdw/bookupdates.htm again for the most recent list of book updates. 

Reminder: These updates do not include every new thing at Walt Disney World as that would require an entirely new book to explain (and, yes, we will have a 2005 edition available in January)! Instead, this chart only lists the pages in PassPorter Walt Disney World 2004 that would be out-of-date or incorrect without this information.

Date

Page 

Update Description

2/5/2004

vi, vii, 7

The All Ears Net (formerly WDWIG) web site is now located at http://www.allearsnet.com (instead of http://www.wdwig.com).

2/5/2004

7, 11

DisneyDollarless is now called The Mouse for Less, and is located at http://www.themouseforless.com.

12/29/2004

16

On May 5, 2005, Disney introduced a complimentary new transportation/luggage handling program called “Disney’s Magical Express.” Guests of Disney reshort hotels can check their bags at the hometown airport, bypass baggage claim at Orlando Airport, and board state-of-the-art motorcoaches to the Walt Disney World Resort. The luggage appears in your room upon check-in. The round-trip service is complimentary during Disney’s Happiest Celebration on Earth and is a very nice new perk for Disney resort hotel guests. Watch for a more in-depth review of this new program in the future.

2/5/2004

17

In fall 2003, Orlando International Airport opened a new food court in the center of the main terminal -- it features Carvel, Chick-Fil-A, Fresh Attractions, Krispy Kreme, McDonald's, Nathan's, Sbarro, and Zyng's Noodlery (plus more than 200 species of tropical fish in a 3000 gallon tank). We also noticed that two new full-service restaurants were coming to the terminal this summer -- Romano's Macaroni Grill and a sports bar. A new Borders bookstore also opened in the terminal last year, and it stocks PassPorter guidebooks!

11/4/2004

31

Some resorts now have high-speed Internet access for $9.95 for a contiguous 24- hour period. Eventually, all resorts will have high-speed internet access. At this time, the following resort have high-speed Internet access: Beach Club, BoardWalk, Contemporary, Coronado Springs, Dolphin, Grand Floridian, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Swan, Yacht Club, and Wilderness Lodge (Villas)

11/4/2004

34, 41, 57, 82,

There is now no charge at Disney’s deluxe and moderate resorts for in-room refrigerators.

11/4/2004

34

Some refillable mugs now cost as much as $12/mug, such as those at Pop Century Resort. The word is that all mug prices are gradually being increased to $12.

2/5/2004

40

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort concierge guests have a new tour -- the Wanyama Sunset Safari! Three nights a week, up to 8 concierge-level guests of the hotel (adult only) can get up-close and personal with the animals and birds that roam the savannahs around the hotel. The tour is conducted in an open-air safari van, and is followed by a South African feast and wine pairing at Jiko. The three-hour tour starts at 4:00 pm on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays and is $150/person (including dinner). Concierge guests may make reservations at 407-938-4755.

11/4/2004

44

Harbor Club Kids’ care club is closed, but may reopen (see page 252).

2/5/2004

48

The playground on the Parrot Cay island at Caribbean Beach Resort has moved. It is now on the beach, across from the main pool.

11/4/2004

52

Mouseketeer Clubhouse at the Contemporary Resort has closed.

11/4/2004

44

The observation deck on the 15th floor is closed to all but California Grill guests.

2/5/2004

66

Concierge rooms at the Grand Floridian Resort are now housed in Sugar Loaf Key (not Sago Key), in addition to the main building.

11/4/2004

68

Disney’s Old Key West theme pool closed in September 2004 for renovations and is expected to reopen in mid December 2004.

11/4/2004

68

A boat from the marina now also travels to Saratoga Springs Resort.

11/4/2004

69

Disney’s Old Key West theme pool has been up graded and gains a water slide.

11/4/2004

73

The longhouse’s at Disney’s Polynesian Resort recently underwent renovations (completed in 2004) and all the longhouses are now all open.

2/5/2004

75-78

After a two-year wait, Pop Century, Disney's newest value-priced resort has finally opened! We visited this resort in late January, and have fully updated the resort description that appears on pages 75-78 of PassPorter Walt Disney World 2004 to reflect what we've learned. You can view and download a free, fully updated version of those four pages at http://www.passporter.com/wdw/popcentury.htm. And for extra fun, we've even created a special Pop Century Scavenger Hunt that's included at the same page.

11/4/2004

81

In 2003 at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside resort a fun geyser was added to the ‘swimmin hole’.

11/4/2004

82

Mickey’s Pin Trading Afternoon is held in the former Bonfamille’s restaurant at French Quarter from 2:00 to 6:00 pm every Wednesday. This free event is open to all, including kids. Bring your pins!

2/5/2004

85

Port Orleans French Quarter re-opened on March 21, 2004.

11/4/2004

98

The Shades of Green resort closed for renovations in 2003 and reopened March 2004 with bigger and better accommodations.

11/4/2004

99

Guest Rooms at Both Swan and Dolphin were recently renovated and now sport a modern design (by Michael Graves) and “Heavenly Beds” with pillow–top mattresses and down comforters.

Room key’s for other Disney Resorts do not work for purchasing items at the Swan and Dolphin.

11/4/2004

99

Swan and Dolphin resorts offer two new restaurants, bluezoo, an upscale restaurant by chef Todd English, and Fresh, an innovative market-style buffet.

11/4/2004

100

Disney Cruise Line is offering a “seasonal” itinerary on the West Coast that departs from Los Angeles (with stops at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas).

11/4/2004

 

101

Disney Cruise Lines adult restaurant, Palo, is now a $10 per person surcharge to dine.

11/4/2004

101

Fountain drinks aboard the Disney’s Wonder and Magic are now complimentary from the beverage station on Deck 9.

11/4/2004

102

Disney Vacation Club has added Saratoga Springs resort to its list of Disney Vacation Club resorts.

11/4/2004

102

Disney Vacation Club points costs $95 per point as of September 2004.

2/5/2004

104

The Courtyard by Marriott is now a Holiday Inn (web site: http://www.holidayinnwdw.com). The change occurred on December 28, 2003. Holiday Inn plans to redecorate the lobby and the guest rooms sometime in 2004. The phone number is 407-828-8888.

11/4/2004

105

The Hotel Royal Plaza has closed until early 2005 for renovations due to hurricane damage in 2004.

11/4/2004

113

May 5, 2005 marks the beginning of “The Happiest Celebration on Earth,” a worldwide commemoration of Disneyland’s 50th birthday. You can read more about Walt Disney World’s contribution to the party throughout this chapter.

11/4/2004

115

Parking is now $8 per day at the parks.

12/29/2004

116

Park admission is changing substantially in January 2005 with the introduction of Magic Your Way. Watch for a more in-depth review of the new admission soon.

11/4/2004

122

Beginning in May 2005, the new Cinderellabration stage show debuts as part of The Happiest Celebration on Earth.

11/4/2004

131

“Goofy’s Country Dancin’ Jamboree” show in the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon has been replaced by “Woody & Friends” from Toy Story 2. The updated attraction is a character meet-and-greet with Woody, Jessie, and Bullseye. The salon still has its good looks from years past, but the old stage show with dancing girls and snack food service is gone for good. This attraction has had difficulty finding its place in recent years, and ewe wouldn’t be surprised if it changes yet again in the near future. Let’s hope they bring back a live show with audience participation. Wheelchair accessible.

11/4/2004

132

Disney is pouring out big bucks into a complete overhaul of “it’s a small world,” so plan to see it when it re-opens in 2005.

Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel was down for rehab in November 2004 and is now open.

11/4/2004

 

132

The Fantasyland Character Festival and the old 20,000 Leagues Lagoon behind it are gone for good. Demolition crews went to work in mid-2004 to make way for an as-yet unannounced new attraction. The 20,000 Leagues submarine ride has been closed for more than 10 years, so folks have been speculating about a replacement for a long time. Maybe we’ll know soon.

2/5/2004

133

For an updated description and review of Mickey's PhilharMagic, visit http://www.passporter.com/articles/philharmagic.htm.

12/29/2004

135

Stitch’s Great Escape is now open in Tomorrowland.

11/4/2004

136

While riding Space Mountain, the single rider queue (when available) can cut wait time.

11/4/2004

143

The Global Neighborhood post-show exhibit has closed. AT&T no longer sponsors Spacehip Earth, so the AT&T-themed Global Neighborhood post-show exhibit area is gone as well. There has been some speculation about a redesign (with a new name), but with no new sponsor in sight and no official announcements from Disney, we’ll just have to wait and see.

11/4/2004

143

The Wonders of Life pavilion and its attractions are seasonal (unfortunately, it’s rarely open these days and its future is unclear).

11/4/2004

145

At The Living Seas, a colorful new sculpture display featuring the cast of Finding Nemo now graces the entrance plaza at The Living Seas. Although we didn't witness it, this area is also hosts a character meet-and-greet featuring everyone's reef-y friends. For the first time Epcot's ever-present seagulls don't seem out of place, even when they're not squawking, "Mine, mine, mine...." Inside the Living Seas, Nemo and friends have taken over the tropical reef exhibit in delightful style, with Nemo-themed interpretive signs and tanks full of the real creatures that inspired the motion picture. Such as “Turtle Talk with Crush.” Alas, beyond this little cove, the rest of the "seas" continues as if Nemo had never been hatched.

Food Rocks at The Land is now permanently closed (to make way for Soarin' in 2005).

Soarin’ is Epcot’s newest attraction, a copy of the headline ride at Disney’s California Adventure theme park. Guests are strapped into oversized porch swings and rise from the floor for a simulated hang glider tour of the Golden State. An eye-filling, IMAX-quality movie screen, gentle motion, stirring music, and scented breezes combine for an exhilarating journey that we expect will end (as the original does) with fireworks over Disneyland (in honor of that park’s 50th birthday). Inside The Land Pavilion. 40”/102 cm height restriction. Must transfer from wheelchair to ride. Closed captioning.

 

146

Figment, a costumed character, now has his own walk through section to the left of the “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” entrance.

11/4/2004

147

A new film at Maelstrom is in production, set to debut sometime in 2005.

11/4/2004

149

As if Epcot wasn’t already overflowing with cultural riches, the American Adventure pavilion is now home to the new American Heritage Art Gallery. The gallery’s first exhibit, Echos of Africa, displays about 10-15 works from the Walt Disney-Tischman African Art Collection, reputed to be on eof the finest collections of its kind in private hands. Other items from this collection are on display at Paris’ Louvre, Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian, and the Museum for African Art in New York. These historic African works are contrasted with works by about a dozen contemporary artists. Other stops on the World Showcase’s “Museum Circle” are the galleries in Mexico, China, Norway, Japan, and Morocco.

2/4/2004

150

The Land is geared-up for the arrival of Soarin' (presented by Nestle) in 2005, which was officially announced late in 2003. Construction cranes and the attraction's steel framework can be seen rising between Imagination Pavilion and The Land. Food Rocks has rolled off into oblivion to make way for the entrance to the new attraction.

11/4/2004

152, 257

“New York Street” at Disney-MGM Studios has changed to “Streets of America,” housing the upcoming attraction “Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.”

2/5/2004

154

"Backstage Pass" is located in Sound Stage 4, to the immediate left of Walt Disney: One Man's Dream.

11/4/2004

158

“Lights, Motors, Action! Stunt Show Spectacular” is coming in 2005. Fresh from Disneyland Paris, prepare to be wowed by an epic display of the stuntperson’s art. Cars, motorcycles, and jet skis roar across the set whie a giant video screen shows how the special effects action is turned into movie magic. A 5,000-seat amphitheater is ready to pack in the audiences.

 

The five million lights of “Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights” has returned in 2004 and moved to the city, gracing the Streets of America Set, hopefully for many holiday seasons to come.

11/4/2004

159

New York Street Set is now Streets of America Set. A the far end of the street you can see the new sets for the auto stunt show rising in the distance. Even the old Back Lot Theater (former home of The Hunchback of Notre Dame) has a new front. Inside, the theater has become a warehouse for the temporarily-orphaned Osborne lights.

The Magic of Disney Animation continues, despite the closing of the Walt Disney Feature Animation studios earlier in January. Visitors can view the permanently-empty animators' desks where Lilo and Stitch and Brother Bear came to life. The closing of the studio didn't eliminate the presence of animators at the attraction, though. A real, live animator still gives lessons as part of the attraction. The attraction starts in the Drawn to Animation Theater, for a nine-minute presentation featuring a live animator and a filmed Mushu (from Mulan). Following a brief question-and-answer session with another tour guide, guests can walk through the animation studio display area at their own pace. Finally, guests can enter the Animation Academy, where 38 Mickey-styled animation easels await, and a live Disney animator conducts classes in how to draw one of a variety of Disney characters. Guests can repeat this section as often as they wish, to learn to draw the various characters. No photography. Animation Academy can be accessed through the Animation Gallery shop.

11/4/2004

159

The FASTPASS machine for “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It!” was removed in 2004.

11/4/2004

165

Disney’s Animal Kingdom, has a new bridge path that connects DinoLand and Asia. It’s the perfect way to view the Expedition: Everest construction site and to dodge afternoon parade crowds on Discovery Island.

11/4/2004

167

At Disney’s, Animal Kingdom, the theatre for “Festival of the Lion King” is now fully air conditioned.

11/4/2004

169

The Happiest Celebration on Earth brings a wondrous new visitor to the park- Lucky the Dinosaur, the first mobile Animatronics figure, who turned a lot of heads during his visit to Disneyland. Look for him once the celebration begins on May 5, 2005.

11/4/2004

172

Construction at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, is well underway for Crush’n’Gusher, the upcoming water attraction opening in 2005. This new white-knuckle water coaster will whisk guests along flumes and spillways that weave through what appears to be a rusted-out tropical fruit facility. The three different spillways that guests will have the opportunity to choose from are Banana Blaster, Coconut Crusher, and Pineapple Plunger.

11/4/2004

179

2004 brought a new addition to Downtown Disney -– Disney Tails, pet care and pampering items.

11/4/2004

181

Reservation policies differ at Downtown Disney restaurants, since most are not run by Walt Disney World, although many now offer Priority Seating through Disney’s phone number 407-WDW-DINE.

11/4/2004

182

Seating for Cirque du Soleil is now divided into Premium Seats (front center) and regular seats (extreme left and right rear).

 

Child prices for Cirque du Soleil are now ages 3 to 9.

11/4/2004

188

On our last visit to Pleasure Island, shops like Suspended Animation were no longer selling merchandise.

 

Admission to DisneyQuest is NOT included as an option on the Park Hopper Plus passes.

11/4/2004

189

Pleasure Island reduced its admission price to $18.05 per person.

11/4/2004

 

190

Pleasure Island’s streets are now admission-free at all times. Stroll through –- some clubs may be open for a free “sample” and the live stage is rocking for all. Admission is now checked at the club entrances, and tickets can be bought at some shops as well as the ticket booths.

11/4/2004

194

In 2004, Disney announced an enhanced bass fishing program, in association with BASS, the leading bass fishing organization. Guests can reserve two-hour, guided, catch-and-release bass expeditions at many Disney marinas. All equipment is provided (even a digital camera to document your catch), fishing licenses are not needed thanks to the state-licensed guide on board, and participants even get a free subscription to Bassmaster Magazine. Excursions accommodate up to five guests and cost $195-$215. Kids 6-12 can go on special one-hour excursions for $30. Phone 407-WDW-BASS for info.

11/4/2004

194

In 2005, Disney opens a major expansion, adding another 20 acres of baseball, softball, and multi-sport fields under the sponsorship of Amerada Hess. The complex already hosts 170 youth, amateur, and professional sporting events annually, and clearly more are on the way.

11/4/2004

201

Priority seating is offered at all Disney restaurants on major U.S. holidays.

11/4/2004

203

Disney Resort room charge cards are welcome, even at some of the smallest snack carts.

11/4/2004

208

As of October 2004, lunch is no longer served at Restaurant Akershus.

2/5/2004

209

Coral Reef restaurant's hours are noon-3:00 pm and 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

The Electric Umbrella quick-service restaurant has a revamped menu, including a passable Reuben sandwich and a club sandwich on Foccacia bread, to go along with the burgers and chicken strips. Hours are from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.

11/4/2004

 

210, 255

The “Re-hitchin’ Ceremony” previously offered at “The Garden Grill Restaurant” was discontinued in fall of 2004.

2/5/2004

211

Read our review of our most recent meal at Nine Dragons at http://www.passporter.com/articles/ninedragons.htm. We were so impressed by the meal that we've increased our ratings to a 7 (Jennifer) and an 8 (Dave).

11/4/2004

212

The Pure and Simple counter-service eatery closed in 2004 along with Wonders of Life.

11/4/2004

220

Earl of Sandwich is now open. The current Earl of Sandwich is involved in this attractive establishment that replaced the Gourmet Pantry. Perfect for a lunch or a light supper in cozy British décor, the menu offers a dozen appetizing hot sandwiches on specialty bread (roast beef & cheddar, ham & brie, and a turkey, bacon & Swiss club- all $4.95 each), Cobb and Chinese chicken salads ($5.95), and refrigerated, grab ’n go items – sandwiches ($3.95), wraps ($4.45), and tuna, fruit or chicken salads ($4.95). Hot breakfast sandwiches ($4.95) in the morning, and a kids’ menu ($4.95).

2/5/2004

223

We also ate at Planet Hollywood for the first time in a long time. Although some of the Hollywood memorabilia and video clips have been updated, some other parts of the restaurant are showing their age. Our meals were satisfying, but nothing particularly special -- no change to the "5" ratings from both Jennifer and Dave.

11/4/2004

225

Diners at the California Grill, now check in on the second floor of the Contemporary and are escorted up to the 14the floor when their table is ready.

11/4/2004

 

229

Fresh is a new buffet restaurant serving breakfast and lunch at the Dolphin Resort. We dined at Fresh in December, and were totally delighted with the quality and variety of the foods offered. As the name implies, everything is freshly-prepared, with an emphasis on light and fresh flavors. That doesn't mean the food is wimpy -- far from it. Everything we sampled was full-flavored and full-bodied. You'll find a wide range of cuisines represented, with the biggest emphasis on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. The chefs stand right behind the counter, cooking and encouraging guests to try everything. Like Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Fresh offers high quality, adventuresome dining without neglecting the tastes of less worldly eaters. Jennifer's Rating:  Dave's Rating: 7

bluezoo, a seafood restaurant under the direction of celebrity chef Todd English, opened in January at the Dolphin Resort. The menu is inventive and upscale (price range similar to Flying Fish Cafe at the BoardWalk Resort), and the decor dark, suave and sophisticated. Open only for dinner, the restaurant and busy bar were noisy (a convention was in town), and service was still coming up to speed when we visited in January 2004 soon after the grand opening. The comparison with Flying Fish Cafe is apt - the offerings are similarly inventive and are as expertly prepared, but with a very different touch that to us seemed more "urban sophisticate" and a bit less "Disney-accessible." Jennifer's rating: 7;  Dave's Rating: 8. Priority Seating recommended. Business Casual attire, no children's menu(!)

11/4/2004

231

Yacht Club Galley dinner resembles lunch, with sandwiches, dinner salads, and a few basic entrees ($9.99-16.99).

2/5/2004

232

The caption on the photo incorrectly identifies the princess as Cinderella; that's actually Princess Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.

11/4/2004

234

At Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, full payment is now required with your reservations, refundable up to 48 hours in advance.

At Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue, full payment is now required with your reservations, refundable up to 48 hours in advance.

11/4/2004

235

At Spirit of Aloha Dinner, full payment is now required with your reservations, refundable up to 48 hours in advance.

11/4/2004

242

“Around the World at Epcot (The Segway Tour),” This new two-hour tour offers a unique opportunity to ride a Segway (a self-balancing, two-wheeled “vehicle”). Learn to use the Segway for the first hour, then practice riding around the World Showcase. Max weight is 250 lbs.; pregnant and special needs guests may not participate. Offered daily at 8:30 and 9:30 am.

11/4/2004

243

Guests under 16 are no longer allowed at the Yuletide Fantasy.

11/4/2004

244

At the Grand Adventures in Cooking, cancellations less than 24 hours before, are charged the full amount.

Junior Chef Program at The Land is offered at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 pm daily.

For recreation and water sports, the Captain’s Plan is $125 for four hours of self-drive boat rentals, while the Family Plan is $239 and gives up to 5 resort guests the use of self-drive boats for 10 consecutive days.

11/4/2004

245

“Behind the Seeds: A Special Guided Greenhouse Tour” the cost is now $10/adult and $8/child. (Note: This tour is now closed but scheduled to reopen in January 2005.)

For “Dolphins in Depth” Guests must be 13 or older, and 13-17 years olds need a signed waiver, tour offered on Monday’s – Friday’s beginning at 9:30 am.

Typhoon Lagoon Learn-to-Surf Program, lessons begin at 6:30 am and last for 2 1/2 hours.

11/4/2004

248

Pal Mickey is no longer available for rental. Now you must buy Pal Mickey outright.

11/4/2004

 

250

Note that the California Grill’s observation deck, at Contemporary, is once again open only to diners.

11/4/2004

253

In January 2005, KinderCare will close its childcare facilities on Walt Disney World property. Our understanding is that Florida YMCA will operate two centers from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm daily for children of Cast Members, but it’s unclear if these centers will accommodate Disney day guests. For more information, watch our book update list at http://www.passporter.com/customs/bookupdates.htm.