October 2002
WDW Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the October 1, 2002, Issue #158 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

Twenty years ago today, Epcot Center opened its doors to the world!

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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.

What could be more appropriate for this month's Step Back in Time, but to revisit the Epcot of 1982!! Although the Epcot that we know is not what Walt envisioned when he initially announced the plans in the 1960s, some of his themes are still evident today.

Walt said: "The most exciting, and by far the most important part of our Florida Project, in fact, the heart of everything we will be doing in Disney World -- will be our Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. We call it EPCOT. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise."

EPCOT Center Dedication Plaque: "To all who come to this Place of Joy, Hope and Friendship, Welcome. EPCOT is inspired by Walt Disney's creative vision. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, wonders of enterprise and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all. May EPCOT Center entertain, inform and inspire, and above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man's ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere." E. Cardon Walker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Walt Disney Productions.

Epcot opened on October 1 with five attractions in Future World (Spaceship Earth, Communicore, The Land, The Universe of Energy, and World of Motion) and nine World Showcase country pavilions: American Adventure, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, China, Italy, Japan, France and Germany.

There was worldwide media coverage including live broadcasts by NBC's Today Show, ABC's Good Morning America and the CBS Morning News. Special attendees included Mrs. Walt Disney, Florida Governor Bob Graham and authors Ray Bradbury and Alex Haley.

Did you know that The Land's Garden Grill Restaurant was originally called The Good Turn Restaurant?

A One-Day Ticket to either the Magic Kingdom or Epcot Center was $15 for adults, $14 for juniors (12-17) and $12 for children. A Three-Day World Passport? You could get one for less than you pay today for a one day ticket: Adults $32, Junior $30 and Child $25.

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On October 19, Epcot's 7th Annual Food and Wine Festival begins! This is one of my favorite times to visit Epcot, as I can wine and dine my way around World Showcase. Think about it -- how often do you wish you only had a taste of this and a nibble of that? Or think to yourself, "Gee I'd love to try that, but if I don't like it, that's a lot of money to waste!" Well, the Food and Wine Festival gives you an opportunity to try new foods and wines for under $5 a sample. If you're going, be sure to attend some of the free wine seminars, too! New this year is the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, which starts out with the Temptations! Oh, and one last thing about the Festival -- check out the decorative annual Food and Wine Posters! Mine are framed and decorate my kitchen!

ALL EARS®' Deb Wills and Debra Martin Koma will be in Epcot for the opening of the Festival and plan to sample their way around the "world". Look for a detailed report later this month!

If you'd like to read more about the Food and Wine Festival (including the Czarina's special 2001 report) visit: http://allears.net/tp/ep/foodwine.htm

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One of the big complaints coming from those needing to rent a wheelchair at the theme parks is the distance between the rental area from their personal vehicles. This month will see the testing of a new service for disabled guests -- courtesy wheelchairs in the designated parking lots. The wheelchairs are strictly for guests to get to and from the rental area. These wheelchairs will be different than the ones rented inside the theme parks and will not be allowed inside the theme parks.

If you participate in this program, be sure to go to Guest Services and provide feedback -- and let ALL EARS® know what you thought, too!

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The 2R's Reading and Riting store at the Marketplace in Downtown Disney (next to Art of Disney) has a new merchandise focus -- scrapbooking! Cast Members demonstrate scrapbooking (both simple and advanced) several times a day. There is also a table to write out your postcards and have a Tinker Bell logo stamped on them!!

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Recently an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin and two new manatees moved to the Living Seas Pavilion in Epcot. Ranier, the dolphin, weighs 430 pounds and is approximately 20 years old. Ranier joins Bob, the other Living Seas dolphin, in the Sea Base Alpha guest viewing tank. Folks participating in the Dolphins in Depth program will have an opportunity to meet both Bob and Ranier. (http://allears.net/btp/tours.htm)

Arysta and Lydia, the two manatees that had been at the Living Seas, were recently released back into the wild after completing their rehabilitation program. Taking their places, the Living Seas welcomes Pine and Forest who were rescued from the Ortega ricer in Jacksonville.

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ALL EARS® Feature Writer Rose Folan, shares:

It all started when Tom and I seized the opportunity to visit the Haunted Mansion during an afternoon parade last December. We moved quickly through the queue. Once in our doombuggy, all was going fine until we suddenly stopped in one of the darkest areas of the Mansion. In fact, if it hadn't been for the giant, neon spider by our side, we would have been in total blackness. After about five minutes we slowly started moving again, and all returned to normal -- or did it?

Our next stop was at the Hall of Presidents where, to my embarrassment, my 100 Years of Magic interactive pin started flashing and would not stop. The pin was going crazy. Well, as it turns out, that was just the start of my hitchhiking ghost's antics. For the rest of the trip, my pin went crazy at the most peculiar (and sometimes inappropriate) times for no apparent reason. And this continued even when we returned home.

Once home, the batteries safely removed from the pin, I thought it was over until I noticed that my WDW cell phone holder had also started lighting up for no reason. Hmm, did this wily ghost outsmart me? I'm convinced he did -- because one day, while driving home from work, the Haunted Mansion theme played five times consecutively. The CD just would not go to the next song! I checked the player when I arrived home. It worked perfectly. So, I'm a believer that visitors must -- "beware of hitchhiking ghosts."

With that in mind... it's time to talk about Halloween!

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Seven nights of Mickey's Not So Scary Party this year: October 11, 17, 20, 25, 27, 31 and November 1!

Order your tickets in advance if you know you are going. The party often sells out, especially on Halloween! Tickets are: $27.95 for adults (10 and up); $22.95 for children (3-9), plus tax.

I think the parade is one of the best WDW offers!


Kevin-John and Chelsea Jobczynski from Pennsylvania reminisce about Halloween at WDW!

My wife, Chelsea, and I are 30ish with no children, but we love to vacation at WDW anyway. We also love Halloween, and no one does Halloween like Disney.

Chels and I spent last Halloween at WDW, and it was especially magical. We made a point to attend "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party" at the Magic Kingdom.

The highlight of the evening is the Halloween parade.

The parade winds its way through the Magic Kingdom twice during the party, one early and one late. Spectators and "specters" gather street side in anticipation, when all of a sudden an announcement is made. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls...the Headless Horseman has been spotted riding through the Magic Kingdom!"

Then you hear it, the lightning quick clip-clop of horse hooves on the pavement! Seemingly out of nowhere a huge black steed gallops past you, astride is the Headless Horseman, glowing pumpkin in hand! Before you can get a second look, he is gone, and the parade begins.

We got pictures with all of the characters and villains in their Halloween costumes. One character eluded us, our favorite, the Headless Horseman. After asking about pictures with him at Guest Services, we were told that he does not make appearances other than his nightly ride. Darn!

We then walked up Main Street when we saw a very "official looking" Cast Member. I thought, "what the heck, it wouldn't hurt to ask." So I told him who our favorite character is, and asked if there was ANY possibility we could get a quick photo with him. He thought for a moment and told us that he couldn't promise anything, but to meet him near the Barber Shop before the late parade.

Later that night, my wife and I wandered down toward the Barber Shop. I must admit, it was a bit spooky. Main Street was alive with lights, music, balloons and people, but this particular area was eerily quiet. We came to two big wooden doors, above them a sign that read "stables". Alone, we sat on a park bench and waited. Soon, from behind the wooden doors, we heard the slow clomp and shuffle of horse hooves, our hearts beat a little harder in our chests. The Cast Member we spoke with earlier poked his head through the now opened door and waved us inside. There stood the largest, most beautiful, midnight black horse that I have ever seen! Atop the horse sat the Headless Horseman. The sight literally took my breath away. Chels and I posed for several photos along side this mythical character. Amazing. Then he trotted off. What a thrill!

For that short time, I was truly a kid again, and everything was real. The horseman, the other characters, the tricks-and-treats, all real. I believe that is the "magic" that everyone refers to when they speak of their WDW experience. No matter who you are, what you do for a living, how old you are or where you are from. While you are there, you eventually, if only for a moment, will loose yourself. You will catch yourself waving at Mickey or singing along with the music. You get "Disneyed".



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.