August 2005 WDW Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the August 2, 2005, Issue #306 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

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Ever wonder what Walt Disney World was like way back when? Each month we visit a time gone by in Walt Disney World history. Here is some interesting information from a publication called "Walt Disney World Showcase News," published Summer 1976. The issue deals mostly with the progress for Epcot's World Showcase countries. The following excerpts are quoted from the publication and copyrighted Walt Disney Productions:

"To date, nearly 50 countries have initiated studies about this permanent world's fair, to be opened in the fall of 1979 on 100 acres of the 43 square mile Florida destination resort.

"Arab nation's pavilion may house genial genie! A magic carpet trip through the wonders of the Arab world, both past and present, will dominate the Arab nation's pavilion under a new concept developed for that portion of World Showcase. WED designers Rick Harper and Gary Goddard propose the trip about a magic carpet, ascending into the skies of Arabia. The journey passes through time and space, guided by a larger than life genie who appears -- disappears -- and then reappears in the sky around us.

"Japanese pavilion may include indoor pond! A proposal for an exciting Kabuki dinner show, centered around an indoor pool, is part of one design concept for the Japanese pavilion at World Showcase. Initial conceptual design under consideration would include an experience along the "ginza" and many other traditional and scenic parts of Japan, as well as a dining area, including a show area and placid pond. One proposal would present each guest with his own authentic Japanese dinner, gift-wrapped in a colorful package. When unwrapped, the gift provides a warm meal of authentic Oriental cuisine -- and a souvenir tablecloth."

Also in the publication was mention of concept proposals being developed with countries such as Venezuela, Poland and Iran!

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ALL EARS® contributor Linda Mac recently toured Walt Disney World with the newest incarnation of Pal Mickey and filed this report:

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland, a new "Happiest Celebration" Pal Mickey was released in April, with updated information to include new shows and attractions. Mickey is all decked out in his bandleader tuxedo jacket with a golden bowtie, both of which are removable. I recently let Mickey show me about the parks and I found him to be helpful and fun. My new buddy would shake and giggle when he had something to tell. Sometimes it was a joke or a trivia question; other times he asked me to sing a song. But the majority of the time, he would talk about the attraction or area I was passing by.

Mickey can be clipped on to your belt or can be carried on his lanyard. The clip worked great, but even though the volume of Pal Mickey is louder in this new version, I still could not hear him all the time. And the lanyard, which I tried first, only has a small piece of Velcro on it, causing Mickey to keep falling off. A safety pin could have helped here because I did see others with their Pal Mickey hanging from his lanyard. After an hour or so, I just decided to carry my little tour guide.

Mickey, even with all his corny jokes, turned out to be a lot of fun. He has a great way of making you feel welcome in every park. In Magic Kingdom, he pointed out how beautiful the golden decorations and characters on Cinderella Castle were and told me, "They must have known you were coming." A little later, as I passed by Splash Mountain, Mickey warned me not to get him wet. This version of Pal Mickey is available for $65 and can be purchased in all four parks and most hotel gift shops. There's also a Spanish-speaking version of Pal Mickey.

Read Linda's full report at:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Disney is currently offering a Pal Mickey Happiest Celebration on Earth online promotion. Visit the Pal Mickey page on the official Disney website between now and 10/31 /05, play a short game and print out a certificate to receive a free exclusive trading pin with the purchase of Pal Mickey. Certificates are only redeemable until 9/30/06 at the Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom and Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney.There is also a t-shirt promotion for DVC Members and Annual Passholders with the purchase of each Pal Mickey. Visit Disney's official site for details.

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Steve Barrett, author of "Hidden Mickeys: a Field Guide to Disney's Best-Kept Secrets," suggests looking for these two fun Hidden Mickeys when at Walt Disney World:

In the Magic Kingdom, look in the windows of the watch shop on Main Street. In several areas (especially the lower left), the watches are arranged as classic three-circle Mickeys.

In the Animal Kingdom, find the parked car (a Corvair) across from TriceraTop Spin in DinoLand USA. Some playing cards showing Mickey, Goofy, Minnie, Daisy and Pluto are on the dashboard.

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Ice Station Cool is closed for a six-month rehab and will reopen as "Club Cool."

The Living Seas pavilion, including the popular Turtle Talk with Crush, will close August 21, 2005, for refurbishment. The work is set to be completed by late November 2005. The Coral Reef Restaurant will remain open during this rehab.

Contemporary Resort Rehab: The South Garden Wing is closed for refurbishment through October 31, 2005. Work will be ongoing in the Tower rooms through February 19, 2006, with one floor being blocked off at a time.

Periwig's Beauty/Barber Shop at the Yacht and Beach Club Resort will be closed August 8-19, 2005.

The Magnolia Golf Course is closed until September 10, 2005. Work on the course will include resurfacing greens, laser-leveling tees, extending tee boxes and building new tee boxes, all in preparation for the FUNAI Classic to be held in October.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Training Camp -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are holding their 2005 NFL training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex now through August 17. The Buccaneers, who have trained at the 220-acre sports complex for the past three years, are the first NFL team to conduct a preseason training camp at Walt Disney World Resort. There are daily morning and afternoon sessions, and training camp practices are free and open to the public. For more information, visit 407/939-GAME (939-4263), or

To see our entire Calendar of Events visit:

To see our list of Rehabs, visit:

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This month we have two very special Magical Moments to share with you. The first comes from ALL EARS® subscriber Masayo, who traveled from Japan to be at Disneyland on its 50th birthday; the second is from reader Niki Koullias who reminds us that without the Cast Members there would be far fewer magical moments:


Masayo: On Friday night I came back from my Disneyland trip. I was there on the 50th anniversary -- yay! Since there was very limited information available on this event, we were afraid that if we weren't able to be there on the 17th, we wouldn't be able to get the special merchandise.

We joined the line at 3:35 a.m. on Friday the 17th, and then we were kept waiting and waiting until 6 or 7 a.m. to get into California Adventure park. Once we entered California Adventure, we had no idea what we should do next, but we soon found that there was already another line... It took almost an hour for us to get into Disneyland. However, the moment we entered Disneyland was very touching, as many, many Cast Members were standing side by side, waving and saying, "Welcome home!" to us. I waved back to them and had a big smile on my face -- I felt so happy to be there at that time!

Still, we had another mission -- merchandise! We were told to head for Big Thunder Ranch for the limited edition merchandise, but even had to pass that point and go further than Splash Mountain! There, we had to wait even longer, still having no idea if we would be able to get the "I was there" pin or anything else. The only thing we could do was to stand in the line! While waiting in this long line, people needed to leave occasionally to get food, drinks, or to visit the restrooms. Upon returning from such a trip, I heard a few Cast Members yelling something like, "Do you want the 'I was there' pin voucher?" Yes, I do! I do want it -- that's what I want! So I ran to my friend; she got it, and the family before us got it, too, but no one was able to get it for me, even though they asked for it. I went back to the Cast Member and told him that I was in the restroom when he came by -- then to my surprise he said, "You were not in the line at that moment, so you won't get this. If you want this you'll have to go back to the end of the line."Can you believe this? I could not! I was so shocked that I had no words to say... it felt like a nightmare -- a terrible, horrible nightmare.

I returned back to the line and the dad from the family in front of me offered me his voucher saying, "I don't collect pins so I don't need this. You take this." I just could not believe it, but I said, "No, sir, you don't need to do this, you deserve this." Well, by then I actually had tears in my eyes. The mom said, "I know how bad you wanted this pin, so you take it. Like my husband said, he does not need this. If you take this, everyone is happy, right?" Oh, how touching and how generous, don't you think? They made the day for me! I could not stop crying for a while, I felt so lucky to be standing behind this nice family from San Francisco. If the dad did not offer me this valuable voucher, I would have gone back to my hotel room and cried, felt depressed... So, even though Disney itself did not have magic for me, the magic still came through, this time, in the guests.


Niki Koullias: I would like to take a time out and say "THANK YOU" to the Cast Members in Walt Disney World who take the extra step to make our vacations even more magical! When I think back to the many times I have visited Walt Disney World, I remember that some of the memories that have stayed with me go beyond the great time, the rides, the food, or even the sheer beauty of being on vacation. While all of those things are wonderful, the people who make them wonderful are the best of all -- the Cast Members.

I am talking about the hostess at the Pop Century Resort who found us the perfect room right by the pool, and the front desk gentleman who also allowed us to stay there for an extra four nights when everything was packed. I am also talking about those who clean our room every day and may even fix our new Mickey Mouse dolls or put stickers on our toothbrush holders. I am talking about Craig at Tony's Town Square who waited on us and sprinkled extra pixie dust on the table when our children went to the bathroom. I am talking about the very sweet guy at the candy counter in Animal Kingdom who also gave my daughter candy when she didn't get to say hi to Pluto in the parade. I am also talking about the bus drivers who sing and joke and talk to people and make the bus rides a bit more exciting. I am talking about the people who remember you year after year, such as Off Kilter, and even dedicate songs to my daughter when they see her! And even the Cast Members who don't remember you but do something just to make your day even more magical and even more special than it already is. And if there is a birthday or honeymoon or anniversary? These people go overboard to make your stay even more memorable.

These people work at a job that brings them into contact with hundreds of people each day, but they always have a smile and a special word for each one, no matter how hot it is or how tired they are or how many guests (and their little angels) they have to deal with! Let's face it, folks -- working with people is not that easy and not everyone is magical!

So, I want to dedicate this HUGE THANK YOU to these people who do more than their jobs require, and who spread the magic of their world. When we go out into the real world again, we take with us those memories that they make for us.


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


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.