September 2004
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the September 7, 2004, Issue #259 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

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

Let's go back to July 1982, when the Epcot Center Construction News offered this glimpse into the then-new Germany pavilion:

"Germany Takes Place on Banks of World Showcase Lagoon -- Standing shoulder to shoulder between China and Italy on the banks of World Showcase Lagoon, the Federal Republic of Germany pavilion represents a country proud of its heritage and fairy-tale like beauty.

"Guests strolling on the Promenade will first view the pavilion as several Hansel and Gretel pictureseque shops on each side of a spacious plaza area, known as the Plaz. In the center of the Plaz is a finely wrought and ornately sculptured fountain depicting Saint George's vistory over the Dragon. In the back of the Plaza are the high walls of a majestic German castle of old.

"Inside the 67,000 square foot building, construction employees are bringing to life a touch of Germany that will include a dark ride down the famous rivers of Germany and a Beer Garden restaurant that will rival Munich's Octoberfest every day of the year.

"The shops which surround the Plaz will display an array of merchandise which celebrates the German love for art, music and literature.

"Also included in the German pavilion is a dark ride down the rivers of that country which will open in the future. The German Rivers Ride is a colorful and highly informative journey through which milestones in German history and culture are explored. The ride itself will be a leisurely cruise on riverboat deck chairs down Germany's most famous and scenic rivers. As World Showcase travelers float along the Rhine, the Tauber, the Ruhr, and the Isar, they will pass such famous landmarks as the Neuschwanstein Castle, Garmisch ski area, Rothenburg and the Cologne Cathedral. These landmarks, while viewed from a distance, will appear to be full scale in size, but in reality, they are each painstakingly created and detailed minature replicas."

Editor's Note: Given that this article was published just a few months prior to Epcot opening in October, does anyone know what happened to the ride described? Was the foundation for the ride put into place as the pavilion was being constructed? Drop us a line at if you have any ideas/info!

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Inspired by the Disneyland Paris Stunt Show Spectacular, this new attraction at the Disney-MGM Studios will open Spring 2005. The new show will feature special cars, motorcycles and jet skis and will reveal how stunts are created and filmed for the movies. In addition, members of the audience may also participate.

If you've been to the Studios lately, you have undoubtedly seen the area under construction. A brand new restroom facility is being built along with the grandstand, and a "garage" will house the preshow area where maintenance staff will maintain the vehicles. This is where you should be able to get an upclose view of what will be in the show.

By the end of October, the show facades should be completed and will resemble a village in France. Special show effects and a giant video screen that will capture sequences during the show are also being developed. The vehicles are being custom-built in France, designed to take the wear and tear of three shows a day, every day of the year. There will be special effects, explosions, pyrotechnics and more in the new stunt show.

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The Yacht Club Galley at the Yacht Club Resort recently reopened for dinner. (It had been open for dinner until 9/11/01, at which time it stopped serving after lunch.) Editor-in-Chief Deb Wills had the chance to check it out a few weeks ago:

My recent dinner at the Yacht Club Galley was a delightful experience from the moment I arrived until I left. I don't know when I have seen more friendly, caring Cast Members. They went out of their way from start to finish to ensure my dining experience was pleasurable.

I started with the House Made Garlic Potato Chips with parmesan cheese and fresh chives, accompanied with the smoked bacon-jalapeno dip for $7.99. This was a taste delight. The homemade chips were a golden brown and crunchy, and they went well with the dip. This appetizer was so yummy, I would go back again just for that. While enjoying the chips, I also had a glass of the Beringer's Founder's Merlot at $7.25.

Next up was the Grilled Chicken Sandwich for $11.99, with sun-dried tomato and goat cheese, arugula salad, and roasted red peppers on a home-made, multigrain bun. All the ingredients were fresh and healthy, and the bun was hearty.

I was going to pass on dessert until my server, Philip, told me that the Galley now offers sweets in miniature. Well, you don't have to twist my arm! I had the mini Key Lime Pie, which was delicious. As an added touch, the pie was topped with thin, crispy citrus curls. I wish more WDW restaurants would offer mini desserts like this.

All in all, this dinner was a wonderful experience, and one I would gladly repeat on an upcoming trip. So, if you didn't realize the Yacht Club Galley had reopened for dinner, or if you are just looking for good, non-buffet food without characters and all the hub-bub, be sure to check it out.

The dinner menu for the Yacht Club Galley:

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As of September 2, WDW started booking Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages:


Nights of Joy at the Magic Kingdom: On September 9, 10 and 11, 2004, the Magic Kingdom will host live concerts by some of Christian music's most popular performers. The marquee includes 24 acts spread across three consecutive evenings, including a first-ever Thursday Night of Joy. The expansion to a third night follows early sell-outs in recent years.

For more information visit:

ALL EARS® would love to hear about your experience at the Night of Joy:


A Family Pin Gathering: Disney's Pin Celebration is September 10-12, 2004 at Epcot. Advance reservations may be made at the Yacht and Beach Club on Thursday, September 9.


Mickey's Pin Trading Nights, free, ongoing evenings of fun pin-trading at the resorts, are held each week at the following locations from 7 - 10 p.m.:

-- Thursdays at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort
-- Fridays at Disney's Contemporary Resort - Fourth Floor

Children ages 12 and under are welcome in the Kids' Trading Zone.


Closing/Rehab Remind-EARS:

-- at Animal Kingdom:

..Pocahontas and her Forest Friends will be closed September 7 - 11, 2004.
..Festival of the Lion King will be closed September 16-18, 2004.
..The Boneyard will be closed September 20 - October 14, 2004.

-- at Magic Kingdom:

..The Magic Carpets of Aladdin will be closed for rehab from September 13 - October 15, 2004.
..Tom Sawyer Island will be closed until September 25, 2004.
..It's a Small World remains closed until Spring 2005.
..Stitch's Great Escape will open this fall.

-- at Disney-MGM Studios:

..The Magic of Disney Animation will be closed for rehab September 13 - 24.

-- at Old Key West Resort:

..Construction on the new themed pool will take place over approximately the next 8-10 weeks. During construction of the slide, the main pool, kiddie pool and main spa will be closed.

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nse1 shares: We'll be heading back to the World for yet another celebration of my daughter's birthday (this time her 13th). On her 7th birthday, before we left Wilderness Lodge (the only place she will stay), I grabbed a scrap of paper and wrote, "I'm 7 today" on it. Everywhere we went I held it up over her head (out of her sight, of course). All of the cast members went along with my gag. She was given many, many "Happy Birthday" wishes, lots of Mickey Mouse stickers and some of the cast members even correctly guessed her age! On the boat ride back to the Lodge late in the evening, we were enjoying the view and the breeze. As my daughter sat pondering life, she just couldn't get over how everyone seemed to know it was her birthday. She thought maybe she just somehow magically looked older. I guess it really was magical!


Fran B. shares: The moment that sticks out in my mind occurred at the end of our breakfast at The Crystal Palace. We had just missed Pooh when we got to our table, so we decided to walk up to him on our way out, since he was in the center. My 19-month-old son was wearing a Pooh outfit, and Pooh saw this. Pooh then tried to "kidnap" my son. Pooh gave him hugs and kisses and took him for a walk around the restaurant. He then signed to me that he was his baby now! We decided to inform Pooh that my son eats more than him and we didn't think he could afford him on a "hunny" salary. He then gave him back with more hugs and kisses. My son won't remember this, but we will for the rest of our lives!


Dolly shares: On our most recent trip to Disney World, mid-January 2004, we experienced a Magical Moment between a young couple at Cinderella's Royal Table. I noticed the hostess gesturing to the waiter that he not approach their table. While my family continued to dine unsuspectingly, I realized the young lady was reading something special and she began to tremble. Suddenly it seemed everyone surrounding their table noticed something special was happening! The young man produced a beautiful engagement ring! My daughter asked if we should clap, but we realized she hadn't yet put the ring on! But once she did, the whole dining room erupted in applause! Photos were taken and addresses given to send the photos to them! When we left, I congratulated them and thanked them both for sharing what was a personal Magical Moment with all of us!


Each month in our WDW Bits and Bites issue we share ALL EARS® subscribers' Magical Moments stories. Send your Magical Moment to



If you have a special need and have recently visited one of Walt Disney World's water parks (perhaps you use a wheelchair, or you have a vision impairment), we'd love to hear about your experiences. Tell us about your visit and what you would recommend to others, along with any helpful tips or suggestions. Please email us at



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.