February 2005
WDW Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the February 1, 2005, Issue #280 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

The ALL EARS® team periodically receives mail asking, "Whatever became of this attraction?" We went to Lou Mongello, author of the "Walt Disney World Trivia Book: Secrets, History & Fun Facts Behind the Magic," to help us out for this edition of Step Back in Time:

Whatever happened to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?

One of the most innovative attractions ever created for the Disney theme parks was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A Walt Disney World "E-Ticket" attraction since its opening day on October 14, 1971 (back when WDW used individual coupons instead of pay-one-price tickets), this Fantasyland ride closed exactly 23 years to the day after it opened, making it the only E-Ticket attraction to ever be removed from the park.

The 38 passenger (39 with the Cast Member "Captain") subs used in the attraction, which was based on the Disney film of the same name, were distinguished by their Roman numeral markings on the outside. They were built in a shipyard in nearby Tampa, and then brought over on flatbed trucks to Walt Disney World. In fact, when 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was open, the 24 subs that operated at Walt Disney World and Disneyland gave the Walt Disney Company the fifth largest naval fleet in the world!

Guests boarded Captain Nemo's submarine and traveled under the sea through coral reefs, dark caverns, and into unexpected danger below deadly ice caps. Sadly, the ride closed in 1994 with almost no notice to guests, not due to lack of popularity, but because of constant ride breakdowns, loading difficulties (the subs were not handicapped-accessible), long lines, and the difficulty and high costs of maintenance (including keeping 11.5 million gallons of water clear enough for guests to see through).

Want to learn more? Read Lou's complete article at: http://allears.net/tp/mk/20000.htm

Do you have photos of this WDW attraction for our archives? If so, please send them to allearsnet@yahoo.com

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and the shops at Walt Disney World know it! We asked reader Linda Mac to do a little valentine souven-EAR shopping for us on her recent visit to the World and here's what she found:

Displays of hearts and flowers abound, from the World of Disney to the theme parks and the resorts. If you're looking for the perfect valentine for your sweetheart, start at your Disney resort. I took a peek in the Wilderness Lodge's Mercantile and found a number of items that I'm sure you can find at most other Disney resorts. Looking for a way to treat your sweetheart's sweet tooth? Try the assorted Mickey chocolates, starting at $8 a box. You'll also find heart-shaped Rice Krispy Treats, dipped in pink or white and red icing ($2.50).

How about a photo frame for your favorite picture, adorned with those perennial sweethearts, Mickey and Minnie, as well as red and white hearts ($20)? And of course there's a whole line of plush to celebrate the holiday made for lovebirds. (You knew there would be, didn't you?) You can choose your favorite character, decked out in their red-and-white best, each $12! Among the huggable bunch, you'll find: plush Stitch holding a big red heart;Minnie inside a plush heart holding red roses in one hand, a lace trimmed heart in the other; a heart-shaped red and pink checkered plush Eeyore holding roses and a heart; and Mickey in a plush heart candy box, holding roses and hearts. (Linda notes that these plush items are also sold at other resorts, as well as in the theme park shops, like Mickey's of Hollywood in Disney-MGM Studios.)

Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves, but you can be different and wear yours on your car! Choose from pink Mickey head car antenna toppers, covered with red hearts, or heart-shaped antenna toppers, with an arrow and a white "Be Mine" banner, complete with Mickey ears ($4).

Over at the World of Disney, there's a huge display of valentine-themed items, from candies to pink Bambi t-shirts to even more plush! But this store was the only one in which Linda found a whimsical Mickey head-shaped porcelain ornament, decorated with the lovestruck Mouse himself and the words "Love is in the Air" hanging from a red satin ribbon ($12).

Also at World of Disney, Linda found a snowglobe featuring "retro" Minnie (with her old-fashioned flowered hat) planting a kiss on Mickey's cheek. The two are standing on a bright red base with the sentiment "Loving Moments... Lasting Memories," and the globe plays "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" when wound ($25). World of Disney also has the perfect gift if your valentine is a musical little princess -- mini-music boxes featuring art from the movies Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella ($5). The boxes are only about 3" tall x 2" wide with a crank, and they play, respectively, "Once upon a Dream", "Beauty and The Beast," and "A Dream is a Wish your Heart Makes."

Romance is in the air even over at the Rainforest Cafe's shop, where you can find "Be Mine" ladies' two-piece pajamas, covered with hearts and the Cafe's famous groovy frog logo ($24), or strands of pearls, accented with light-up heart beads ($10).

So if you're in Valentine's Day on February 14, there's no excuse for forgetting to treat your funny valentine to a special Walt Disney World Souven-EAR!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

While she was preparing to run the Disney half-marathon a few weeks ago, ALL EARS® friend Laura Gilbreath spent some time walking around the parks with her GPS runner's watch, and took measurements of various distances for us. We're always asked, "How far is it to...?" Now, without wondering if we'd set our sometimes unreliable pedometers rights, we can answer with some authority:

--It is almost exactly TWO miles from Security at the front of Disney-MGM Studios to the front turnstiles of Epcot.

--It's 1.32 miles from the Studios Security to Security at Epcot's International Gateway, via the path that runs past the BoardWalk.

--It is .59 miles from International Gateway to the front turnstiles of Epcot.

--It is .76 miles from the start of the path to the Studios (from the sign that says "Pathway to Studios" near the Swan/ Dolphin bridge) to Studios security.

--It's .81 miles around Crescent Lake.

--It's .39 miles from Security at Epcot's International Gateway to the BoardWalk Lobby.

--It's .46 miles from Dinosaur 35 in the Animal Kingdom parking lot to the entrance of Animal Kingdom.

--It's about .28 miles from the entrance of Animal Kingdom to the entrance of Kilimanjaro Safari.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Pirates IN the Caribbean is the new themed party on Disney Cruise Line ships, which debuted on the Disney Magic in November 2004, and came aboard the Disney Wonder in late January. This fun-filled evening of entertainment and food begins with the early evening Character Meet and Greets in the ship's atrium (near the entrance to Triton's) where, dressed in their own versions of pirate attire, Minnie, Stitch, Goofy, Chip and Dale, and others greet guests and sign autographs. (http://allears.net/cruise/cruisepix/dclw20.jpg) Your dining for the evening, no matter which of the three main restaurants at which you're scheduled, is totally pirate-themed! The servers are all dressed as buccaneers, and the head servers as captains! Each guest receives a red bandanna to wear (or play with) along with a scrolled pirate menu, which can be kept as a souvenir. (http://allears.net/cruise/cruisepix/dclw23.jpg)

Each menu item is named in theme such as: Cannon Smoked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks, Chilled to the Bone Honeydew Melon and Mango Soup (which is quite yummy!), Jack Sparrow's Fruit Marinated Roasted Loin of Pork, and even a vegetarian entree called Tiger Lilies Grilled Eggplant! On a recent cruise, we were tempted by desserts such as The Lost Banana Treasure, but knew that a full spread buffet would await us later in the evening.

From 9:45 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Goofy's Pool on Deck 9 hosts the Pirates IN the Caribbean Party. Many of your favorite Disney characters make appearances in specially designed costumes ( http://allears.net/cruise/cruisepix/dclw18.jpg), and energetic Cast Members sing, dance and entertain all those on deck until the "trouble" arrives, in the form of Captain Hook and friends. (http://allears.net/cruise/cruisepix/dclw05.jpg) Much mayhem ensues, and Hook even recruits new men for his ship, giving several folks the opportunity to dress up and join him on stage for "tryouts," much to the delight of friends and family in the audience.

At 11 p.m. the buffet begins with a wide variety of hot "real food" items and an abundance of desserts! The buffet tables are adorned with pirate ships, a chest of doubloons (gold wrapped chocolates), pirates (http://allears.net/cruise/cruisepix/dclw04.jpg), fish and nets, as well as an ice sculpture of Skull Rock (from Peter Pan). There are plenty of items to satisfy any landlubber's sweet tooth! (http://allears.net/cruise/cruisepix/dclw29.jpg)

All in all, this is a fun evening and one you're sure to enjoy on the Disney Wonder and Magic!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Previously, you could make special dietary requests at Walt Disney World restaurants with at least 24 hours notice. Walt Disney World is now stating that resort table service restaurants that accept Priority Seating can accommodate special dietary needs, such as allergies to gluten or wheat, shellfish, soy, lactose or milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, or eggs, BUT these requests must be made at least 72 hours in advance. You can make such dietary requests by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

Requests for kosher meals need to be made at least 24 hours in advance, and a credit card is required to guarantee your meal. Kosher meals are not offered at Garden View Afternoon Tea, Teppanyaki Dining Room, Gulliver's Grill, Palio, House of Blues, Planet Hollywood, Fulton's Crab House, Portobello Yacht Club, Rainforest Cafe, Shula's Steakhouse, Todd English's bluezoo, and Fresh Mediterranean Market.

Kosher meals are available, however, at the following locations with no advance notice: World Premiere Food Court at All-Star Movies; Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at Port Orleans-French Quarter; Intermission Food Court at All Star Music; Riverside Mill Food Court at Port Orleans-Riverside; End Zone Food Court at All Star Sports; Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom; Old Port Royale Food Court at Caribbean Beach; ABC Commissary at Disney-MGM Studios; Everything Pop Shopping and Dining at Pop Century; Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe at the Magic Kingdom; and Liberty Inn at Epcot.

Visit our pages on Traveling to WDW with Special Needs at: http://allears.net/pl/special.htm

And look for our book, "PassPorter's Walt Disney World for Your Special Needs," coming late spring, which will include detailed information on dining at Walt Disney World with special dietary needs: http://allears.net/pr12.htm

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Special Events:

ESPN The Weekend -- The second annual "ESPN The Weekend" will be held at Disney-MGM Studios February 25-27, 2005. Sports fans will have the opportunity to see and hear ESPN personalities and several legendary athletes in a variety of live telecasts, radio broadcasts, star motorcades, Q&A sessions, interactive sports activities and a special sports edition of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire-Play It!" In addition, sport celebrities will take over morning wake-up phone call duties from Mickey Mouse! For more information, visit: www.espntheweekend.com

Parti Gras is the theme of this year's Pleasure Island Mardi Gras celebration, to be held February 4, 5 and 8. Special entertainment will include Mardi Gras stilt walkers, jugglers, a unicycle artist, a bead dancer, a yo-yo professional, live bands and more. http://allears.net/btp/dd_mg.htm

Valentine's Day celebrations will transform Pleasure Island into Sweetheart Island February 11, 12 and 14. Among the live entertainment featured on these evenings will be humorous "love prophets," a Matchmaker Matchbreaker, a Lovelorn Loser and other surprise performers.

Outdoor entertainment is free of charge -- admission to the Pleasure Island nightclubs requires a separate ticket. http://allears.net/btp/pleasure-island.htm

Atlanta Braves Spring Training at Disney's Wide World of Sports - The Braves will open drills in mid-February. Their Grapefruit League games -- typically including a home schedule of 16 dates -- are played throughout March. http://allears.net/btp/wwos.htm

2005 Cheer and Dance Competitions - February 5, 12, and March 12, 2005, at Disney-MGM Studios - Events taking place at the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular Theater will be open to all guests with regular park admission to the Disney-MGM Studios. February 5: Varsity National Dance Team Championships; February 12: Varsity National High School Cheer Championships; March 12: National All-Star Cheer Championships.


Rehabs and Closures

Body Wars, Cranium Command and The Making of Me will be open Sunday, February 13, through Saturday, February 26, 2005. http://allears.net/tp/ep/e_body.htm

Dumbo the Flying Elephant in Fantasyland remains closed for refurbishment through February 12, 2005. http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_dumbo.htm

Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland remains closed for refurbishment through March 12, 2005. http://allears.net/tp/mk/astro.htm

Liberty Square Riverboat remains closed for refurbishment through February 5, 2005. http://allears.net/tp/mk/rboat.htm

The Caribbean Beach's Trinidad North quiet pool remains closed through February 28, 2005. http://www.allears.net/acc/faq_cbr.htm

Areas still closed for rehab include: Typhoon Lagoon (until March 12), the Land Pavilion (until April 1), and It's a Small World (until spring).


The Sandcastle Club Children's Activity Center at Disney's Beach Club Resort remains temporarily closed due to a three-month refurbishment of the Atlantic Wear & Wardrobe Emporium. As a result, the Harbor Club at Disney's BoardWalk Resort will be open through March 31, 2005. http://allears.net/pl/childfaq.htm

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

The4Yates: We recently came back from Walt Disney World. My daughter had many magical experiences but one stands out. We were leaving the Magic Kingdom to go to Chef Mickey's when she stopped to talk to one of the characters on Main Street. This particular woman said she was running for mayor and she was just great. Another little girl wanted to take pictures with the woman so I told Emily to come along so we wouldn't be late for our Priority Seating time. As we were walking, we suddenly heard someone yelling for Emily. It was the woman. She told Emily she was sorry and wanted to talk to her, and she proceeded to escort Emily to the exit of the park holding her hand. My daughter wears a crown everywhere and the woman was telling everyone to make way for "Princess Emily." The whole time she stayed in character and was just wonderful for taking time for Emily. Needless to say, it was magic for all of us and showed us how special WDW and the wonderful Cast Members are who are never too busy to talk to a little girl. We will remember this forever.


G. Brown: I have always wanted to go to Disney World -- I mean whose dream isn't?! My very first trip was not until two years ago. The five of us went with my dad and his wife. I probably cried the whole trip -- not only to experience Disney World for the first time, but to experience it with your children AND your parents! I became hooked! I could hardly wait to plan the next trip! Then the opportunity for my oldest son came up. His high school was to go and march in the Citrus Bowl Parade in Florida. We began fundraising for the trip. We then found out his high school was accepted to march in the pre-parade for SpectroMagic. It was hard to leave my younger two behind, but the truly Magical Moment of watching your son march in the nighttime pre-parade for SpectroMagic was like no other moment! His band marching down Main Street at Disney World was a magical moment for me!


Janine Pelfrey: My family and I went to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on October 31, 2004. During the day of the party, we went to the Animal Kingdom. I was busy trading my pins, when my husband came up to me and said, "Remember when we were dreaming of what we would love to do this time at Disney?" I had always wished to be in the parade at the theme park, but thought that it would never happen to me. Well, guess what? I had my dream come true! My husband, son and I were the very first "jeep" out onto the parade route, and we had our 15 minutes of fame. I had my magical moment, thanks to my husband being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I have this memory (as well as the photos!) to last me my whole life.


Ann Healy: It was August 1988 and my 7-year-old daughter had just had open heart surgery. Her wish was to go to Walt Disney World and of course we went. Her dream was to see Snow White. We searched and searched for her, thinking we would find her each day, but we never did. We left Florida with a teary 7-year-old wishing for Snow White. We promised we would come back again one day. The next year she needed another heart operation, and again her wish was to see Snow White. When I made my reservations I explained the situation and the woman with whom I spoke told me to stop by City Hall the day I arrived and they would tell me where she would be. We arrived in August, stopped by City Hall and I was told to be there at a specific time with my family. We arrived at that time, were escorted to a room, and there was Snow White. We had a half-hour visit with her. I cannot tell you how much it meant to her and to us. My daughter wore her Snow White costume, and Snow White fussed over her, and gave her an autographed picture and a pin. Snow White told her to sit in a certain place during the parade and all of the characters went up to her -- it was truly a magical day. I could never thank them enough. We have it on tape and also have many pictures. I tell everyone to this day about how wonderful everyone at Disney is!


Send your magical moments to: allearsnet@yahoo.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.