January 2003
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the December 31, 2002, Issue #171 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)


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STEP BACK IN TIME
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This month we look at some of the Grand Openings and (sob sob) closings of some favorite WDW places.

January 16, 1970 - The Preview Center officially opens to the public in Lake Buena Vista.

January 15, 1975 - Space Mountain and Carousel of Progress open as Tomorrowland attractions in the Magic Kingdom.

January 1, 1978 - Treasure Island changes its name to Discovery Island.

January 15, 1986 - The Living Seas Pavilion opens in Future World at Epcot.

January 30, 1988 - "IllumiNations" officially debuts at Epcot.

January 30, 1995 - "Circle of Life" film officially opens in the Land Pavilion in Future World at Epcot.

January 2, 1996 - World of Motion in Epcot closes to be replaced eventually by the new "Test Track" attraction presented by General Motors Corporation.

January 10, 1999 - Horizons Pavilion in Future World at Epcot officially closes to be replaced by Mission: Space in 2003!

January 15, 1999 - Disney's All-Star Movies Resort opens with 768 rooms.

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NEW AQUA EXPERIENCE AT EPCOT
by Deb Wills, Editor-in-Chief
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The great silver sphere known as Spaceship Earth can fit inside it with room to spare. It is 203 feet in diameter, 27 feet deep, and is home to over 65 species and 2,000 occupants. It holds 5.7 million gallons of water, is the largest indoor aquarium in the world and I got to swim in it! I'm speaking, of course, of the aquarium at Epcot's Living Seas Pavilion.

Whenever I happened to be at the Coral Reef restaurant or inside the Living Seas Pavilion itself, my day would be made if I saw a diver in the tank, especially if they saw me and waved! I know, I know, it's simple, but hey, it's the little things that make me love WDW so much. In fact, I have occasionally thought of getting my scuba certification just so I could swim in the Living Seas! Because, until recently, this unique experience was reserved only for divers with scuba certification. Now, thanks to the new Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, almost anyone, including you and me, can swim with the fishes :)

Sound interesting? You can read the whole story at: http://allears.net/btp/tours.htm

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WDW MARATHON
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The 2003 WDW Marathon takes place on Sunday, January 12!

If you'd like to cheer the runners on, here are a few of the primary viewing locations:

6:45 to 8:40 a.m.: DISNEY'S CONTEMPORARY RESORT - Runners will pass by on World Drive.

7:05 to 9:10 a.m.: DISNEY'S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT & SPA - Runners will pass by on Floridian Way.

7:08 to 9:20 a.m.: DISNEY'S POLYNESIAN RESORT - Runners will pass by on Floridian Drive.

8:10 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.: DISNEY'S BOARDWALK RESORT - Runners will pass by.

Result information will be available online after 4 p.m. Sunday, January 12, 2003, on the website: http://www.disneyworldsports.com

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DISNEY EARPORT
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Just in case you still have money left to spend on souvenirs when you reach the Orlando Airport, a new 4,000 square foot store opened earlier this month called Disney Earport. It's located in the main terminal and has WDW merchandise as well as Disney-themed edibles. Another store that sells Disney merchandise, Flights of Fantasy in the Delta Terminal, will close sometime in 2003.

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ANITA ANSWER
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Do you need an answer about something relating to Walt Disney World? Then you need Anita Answer! For those of you who have written asking where Anita is, lately... well, she's on vacation. Guess where? That's right -- Walt Disney World. Her final column of 2002 can be found at:

http://allears.net/aa/anita.htm

Anita's column will resume twice weekly once she's back from her fact-finding mission!

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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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From time to time ALL EARS® readers share with us a special magical moment they had in the land of the Mouse. Each month in the Bits and Bites issue of ALL EARS® (usually the first issue of each month) we'll include a Magical Moment or two from you!

Darcy DeWitt (and Jordan) write:

My little boy and I were so excited to have tickets to attend the December 5th Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party -- yep, the one that ended up being more like a monsoon than anything else!! It was disappointing to have the cancellation of the parades and (most) of the shows, as well as the periodic closing of many of the rides (the exposed rides, anyway). And no snow!! The biggest disappointment was that we had heard that characters were just EVERYWHERE, all night long. Alas, they were nowhere to be found during the deluge.

My 4-year-old son and I ended up in Town Square at about 11:40 p.m. and wandered into the shop by Tony's Town Square (having heard there might be a character or two in there). Boy, did we have our magical, once-in-a-lifetime Disney moment! There were about 15 characters, all in the back of the photo shop... a few dwarfs, the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, Alice, Cinderella, Belle, Aladdin and Jasmine, just to name a few. Dopey grabbed my son for a round of Hokey Pokey with all the characters and the children. Then they all played "Mad Hatter Says." We got tons of pictures and autographs, and my son had a long conversation with Belle (which left him virtually speechless). It was an incredible end to the day, one that I'm sure is very unusual and was TRULY magical for both of us.

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Carol Luszczak says: We just returned from a trip to Walt Disney World. We attended MVMCP on 12/10/02. You can imagine the look of delight on my 5-year-old son's face when he was ready to board Goofy's Barnstormer and who was seated in the front seat -- Goofy himself, dressed as Santa! Tyler sat in the front seat with Goofy Santa, who made this ride a definite Magical Moment for all of us!


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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.