July 2002
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

This article appeared in the July 2, 2002, Issue #145 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

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Will you be in WDW next weekend? We will be! And we'd love to get together with any ALL EARS® Readers who might be visiting, too. We've set up a few informal "meets" where we can get to know you a little bit, and vice versa, while enjoying the Disney theme parks. Hope we see you there!

July 12, 2002 E-Ride Night Meet

Meet ALL EARS® Editor Deb Wills and Senior Editor Debra Martin Koma in front of the Magic Kingdom's Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin at 10:30 p.m.! Also on hand will be our good friends Jennifer Watson and Dave Marx, authors of the guidebook Passporter WDW. As of this writing, the E-Ride Night is supposed to start at 10 p.m. -- should the time change, meet at Buzz 30 minutes after E-Ride begins. There's no need to RSVP, but if you have questions, email: deb@allears.net

July 13, 2002 Primeval Whirl at Animal Kingdom

Meet both Deb Wills and Debra Martin Koma, along with Jennifer and Dave, at 10 a.m. at Animal Kingdom's newest attraction, Primeval Whirl! Again, there's no need to RSVP, but if you have questions, email: deb@allears.net

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... The Madame Leota tombstone that debuted at the Haunted Mansion earlier this year? It's on your left, right near the entrance to the Haunted Mansion. Leota Toombs was one of Disney's early Imagineers, who was previously commemorated in the actual attraction -- the face that appears inside the crystal ball in the HM's seance scene is hers. Now she has her own place in the graveyard, along with Imagineers Marc Davis, X Atencio, Yale Gracey and Warthel Rogers. Be sure to read the new tombstone's inscription and watch Leota's face carefully as you approach.

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Ever wonder what Walt Disney World was like way back when? We rummage around in our archives for this monthly feature, which takes you back in history for a glimpse of Walt Disney World through the ages.

Frontierland, circa 1971

So what was Magic Kingdom's Frontierland like when it opened more than 30 years ago???

Frontierland was the place to relive the history of the Old West from the 1800s, from the keel boats of the Ohio River Valley to the canoes of the Missouri, to the Santa Fe Trail, whose motif could be seen in the restaurants and shops.

The attractions open in Frontierland in 1971 included the Frontierland Shootin' Gallery, Country Bear Jamboree, Mike Fink Keel Boats, and Davy Crockett's Canoes. The Shootin' Gallery, constructed by MacGlashan Enterprises, sported semi-automatic rifles that fired 16 rounds. It was estimated in early briefing materials that various gallery items would be repainted daily, requiring more than 2,000 gallons of paint per year.

Our favorite performers from the Country Bear Jamboree can still be found at Grizzly Hall, where 24 bears perform daily. When the show opened stars included: Liver Lips, McGrowl, The Miami Serenader, the Vibrating Wreck from Nashville Tech and of course, Teddy Barra.

The Mike Fink Keel boats were fashioned after the original boats that operated on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in the early 1800s. The boats, Bertha Mae and Gullywhumper, were constructed of fiberglass over steel at Disneyland and sent to Walt Disney World.

Davy Crockett's Canoes were always one of my favorite things in Frontierland. The canoes floated down the Rivers of America, past a settler's log cabin, a friendly Indian village, and wild game, and we guests assisted with the paddling. It was a way to stay cool on those hot summer days.

For food and shopping you could stop by the Mile Long Bar, which was fashioned after an Old West Mining era saloon and operated by Pepsi-Cola and Frito-Lay. Pecos Bill's Cafe was adjacent to the Mile Long Bar. The Frontier Trading Post was themed after the trading posts of the west where one would trade for rabbit pelts, cattle horns and more. The Westward Ho! shop sold both Mexican and Native American items, as well as rugged western apparel for adults and children.

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Debra Martin Koma's trip to WDW last weekend gave her a chance to revisit a few restaurants, as well as sample a couple new (to her) spots. Here are just a few of her observations:

Cape May Cafe Clambake, Beach Club Resort -- This is the place to take a seafood lover! My hubby, who grew up at the Jersey shore, loves any and all fresh shellfish, so I had a hunch he'd enjoy this spot. I was right! The buffet featured a wide array of succulent seafood -- my husband's favorite were the buckets of little steamer clams, which he called, "like taking a bite out of a wave." Of course he didn't make a meal out of the clams, although he could have -- he also indulged in the tiny peel-and-eat shrimp, steamed mussels, and, for his main course, baked salmon that was done to perfection. For me, the landlubber, there were a variety of fresh salads, both greens and pasta, followed by bbq ribs, marinated grilled chicken (a tad dry, but still tasty), savory beef tips, sautèed zucchini and seasoned potatoes. Our finicky 10-year-old was also satisfied with the kids' buffet of mini-hotdogs, macaroni and cheese, and chicken fingers. Desserts were a bit uneven, with some rather gorpy cheesecake and chocolate cake, but outstanding coconut cake and cookies. Service was pleasant, prompt and unobtrusive. We felt this buffet was well worth the $21.99/adult, $9.99/child price tag.

Chefs de France, France Pavilion, Epcot -- Never having tried this restaurant before and after hearing rather uncomplimentary things, we decided to brave Chefs de France anyway. Were we glad we did! We had the most charming young man from Nice as our server -- Richard. He joked with our son, and had him speaking French (merci and s'il vous plait) before dinner was over, although at first Alex wasn't sure whether to trust him when he said that "croquette de boeuf en brioche" was really a hamburger. The food was very good -- my husband tried to gross us out by ordering the escargots, which were actually quite tasty, swimming in butter and garlic! My opening salad was filled with very tender greens and a flavorful balsamic dressing, and I thoroughly enjoyed my veal breast, served in a creamy chardonnay sauce with tiny mushrooms and onions. My husband savored the delicate duck a l'orange in a brown sauce, and, of course, our son appreciated the cheeseburger on a crusty French roll. The creme brulee was not the best I've ever had -- it had a rather starchy consistency, although the flavor was acceptable. Our lucky son ended up with two desserts -- chocolate ice cream, which was brought to him in error, and then strawberry, his original selection. The strawberry had such an intense flavor that Alex proclaimed it the best he'd ever had! The attentive and charming service, coupled with the tres French atmosphere and fine food made this a memorable meal for us.

Jiko, Animal Kingdom Lodge -- After hearing me rave about Jiko, based on my visit with friends a few months ago, my family was eager to experience it for themselves. I must say, while the food did not disappoint, the service most definitely did. Our server, Elena, did her best to rush us out of this most relaxing restaurant in record time, pushing us to place our entree order three times within the first 15 minutes after we were seated! We eventually placed our order for an appetizer (the savory kalamata olive/cheese flatbread), only to have it arrive mere seconds before our main courses! We were unfortunately moved to speak with the manager, who listened attentively to our concerns, but it certainly dampened our spirits for the remainder of the meal. On a brighter note, the food continued to live up to Jiko's normal fine reputation. My husband's pork chop was outstanding, seasoned perfectly and grilled so that it retained its juiciness. The horseradish crust covering my salmon was very tasty, although I found the fish undercooked to my taste -- a problem that I should have anticipated (I like my fish well-done!). My son opted for the macaroni and cheese in white cheese sauce. While he deemed it the best mac and cheese he'd ever had, he could not finish the generous portion -- which allowed my husband and me to sample it for ourselves. He was right -- it was the best! Alas, we were too full for dessert this evening -- we'll have to return to Jiko some other time, hopefully with a much better server!

Other Mousy Morsels:

-- The Frozen Coffee served at Safari Coffee in Animal Kingdom ranks Numero Uno in my book as a great way to beat the tropical heat. For a coffee-lover like myself, this frozen concoction is Nirvana at $2.29 a serving -- the perfect combination of sinfully rich ice cream and icy cold refreshing beverage.

-- The Strawberry Swirl at the Magic Kingdom's Enchanted Grove is still one of my very favorite taste sensations in all of Walt Disney World! For $2.49, your mouth gets a sweet treat that you can't find anywhere else in the World!

-- Casey's Corner in the Magic Kingdom still serves the best hot dogs!

-- Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club serves a great grilled chicken sandwich, for those of us looking for real chew-and-swallow type food before our desserts. The server here had no problem splitting the sandwich for us, either -- my husband and I even each got our own pickle!

-- The Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge has a great "African" salad, drizzled with lentils and a ginger-based dressing. For a counter-service restaurant, this place has a terrific variety, offering more than just your run-of-the-mill fast-food selections.

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Kingdom Magic Travel's next Disney Trivia Contest began Monday, July 1! This is a 10-week series, with One Grand prize: A two-night, three-day vacation for two people at a Disney Moderate resort. For full details and to get started on this week's Trivia Question visit: http://www.kingdommagictravel.com

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...that Tubbi's Buffeteria on the first floor of the WDW Dolphin Resort has Length of Stay Refillable Travel Mugs? They are $10.60 (including tax) and good for soda or coffee only at Tubbi's, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Stacey writes: I was curious if you knew how I could go about getting on e-lists or mailing lists for live shows that come to Disney and Nickelodeon studios? I have a 6-year-old and we live 20 minutes from Lake Buena Vista. I love to know ahead of time when productions are shooting. Also, I would be interested in auditions (TV and movie) held for both companies.

Anyone have information that would help Stacey and other guests? If so, let us know at allearsnet@yahoo.com


CONGRATULATIONS go to Teryl Andrews of Texas, whose email was chosen at random in the Summer Survival Tips "Lend Us an Ear" question. Teryl received a 2002 Passporter WDW guide book. You'll be able to read many of the wonderful reader tips submitted in next week's ALL EARS®!

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from Dizpins.com
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Plans are well underway for Disney's Pin Celebration "The Search For Imagination 2002", to be held at Epcot. Figment will be the mascot and many great surprises are in store for pin collectors, including many Figment-oriented products and PINS! While details are not finalized at this time, Disney's Official Pin-trading site gives us "sneak peeks."

The event will be held at Epcot's World ShowPlace (the former Millennium Village). There will be a $50 package (which does NOT include park admission) for the first day of the event, which includes: breakfast at World Showcase on first day, an event-exclusive lanyard with pin, event gift, the opportunity to purchase limited pin made available only to package holders, private pin signing opportunity, and a private sale of Disney pins no longer available to the public.

Disney's official pin-trading site can be found at www.officialdisneypintrading.com. The official launch of this website is scheduled for August 4, 2002.

Happy Pin Trading! For all of your News and Information on Disney Pin Collecting, please visit us at www.dizpins.com


Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.