September 2005
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the August 30, 2005, Issue #310 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

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STEP BACK IN TIME
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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. This month's information comes from a 1977 oversized flyer called "Questions We Figured You'd Ask." I guess that was the '70s version of an FAQ.

General Information: The parking charge at the Walt Disney World Toll Plaza was 50 cents, $1.00 for campers. Registered WDW resort guests parked without charge at their respective resorts. The Magic Kingdom was normally open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with extended hours during holidays. During the summer, operating hours were 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fireworks were presented when the Magic Kingdom remained open 'til midnight or later.

Tickets ranged from an 8-Adventure Book (Adults $7.25, Juniors $6.75, and Children $6.25) to the 18-Adventure Vacation Kingdom Ticket Book (Adults $18.25, Juniors $16.75, and Children $15.25). In addition to Magic Kingdom attraction tickets, this book also included a World Cruise to Treasure Island, as well as admission to River Country.

You could purchase your tickets with either cash, traveler's checks or personal checks. Plus, the tickets from the WDW Magic Kingdom ticket books were interchangeable with Disneyland's.

Once you were in the Magic Kingdom, almost all attractions required one of the A to E tickets. However, the following were complimentary: Walt Disney Story, Diamond Horseshoe Revue, General Electric Carousel of Progress, Eastern Airlines If You Had Wings, and the Monsanto Circle-Vision 360.

An A-ticket gained entrance to the Main Street Cinema -- and yes, you could actually watch movies there at the time. The B-ticket included the Frontierland Shootin' Gallery and the Mike Fink Keel Boats. With a C-ticket, you could paddle your Davy Crockett Explorer Canoe or see Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Your D-ticket included entrance to the Mickey Mouse Revue (where Mickey's PhilharMagic now resides), the Starjets (Astro Orbiter), and Mission to Mars (Stitch's Great Escape). And the sought-after E-ticket included seven attractions you still see today, plus 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (where Pooh's Playful Spot is being built).

The Walt Disney World hotels were the Contemporary, Fort Wilderness, the Golf Resort, and the Polynesian Village. At Fort Wilderness there were lots of activities. Besides sing-alongs, Disney films, a petting farm, volleyball and swimming in Bay Lake (yes, swimming in Bay Lake!), you could also rent canoes and bikes, go horseback riding, take a hayride, enjoy a marshmallow roast or experience River Country.

Buffet dining was available at the Chuckwagon Buffeteria (Fort Wilderness), the Papeete Bay Verandah (Polynesian), the South Seas Dining Room (Polynesian), the Terrace Buffeteria (Contemporary), the Terrace Cafe (Contemporary), the Top of the World (Contemporary), and the Trophy Room (Golf Resort). Three dinner shows were available: Top of the World (in the space now occupied by California Grill at the Contemporary), the Polynesian Luau and the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.

Elegant dining spots included the Gulf Coast Room at the Contemporary, where gentlemen were asked to wear sports coats and prices ranged from $7.95-$12.50, and the Village Restaurant at the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village (now Downtown Disney Marketplace). And, of course, family dining and snacks were also available at the resorts.

We hope you enjoyed your "Step Back in Time" to 1977! If anyone has photos to share from that time, please let us know!

http://www.allears.net/forms/feedback.htm

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HIDDEN MICKEYS ALERT
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Steve Barrett, author of "Hidden Mickeys: a Field Guide to Disney's Best-Kept Secrets,"and webmaster of www.hiddenmickeysguide.com suggests looking for these two fun Hidden Mickeys when at Walt Disney World:

1. A new classic Mickey is behind the Mouse Gear shop in Epcot's Future World. Exit the shop at the rear toward Test Track, then make the first right onto a walkway toward World Showcase. Just before the path changes to an octagonal shape, look down near the left railing to find a small three-circle Mickey shape indented in the concrete. Way to go, Imagineers! (Thanks to Rob Coile and his daughter for alerting me to this little gem. My friend Bob Ondercik and I found this Hidden Mickey a few days ago.)

2. The robotic dog in the last scene to the right along the exit walkway in Space Mountain has a blue classic Mickey "dog tag" hanging on the front of his neck. Let's hope the Cast Members leave it there! (Thanks to C.T. and Rick Haas, who both let me know about this Hidden Mickey.)

Purchase Steve's book in the Allears.net book store: http://allears.net/books.htm

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TEAM TRIP NOTES
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ALL EARS(R) Senior Editor Deb Koma just got back from four too-short days at the World and shares these observations:

-- We received a few random reports last week that the Garden Grill at the Land had reverted to its old menu, so I checked it out. It's pretty much true -- the restaurant is once again serving a family style meal, now with pork loin, catfish, flank steak, green beans, potatoes, and dessert. For a look at the new menu: http://allears.net/dining/menu/garden-grill/dinner

-- I noticed that lots of counter service and quick service menus are sporting little icons to designate which snack and beverage items can be purchased using the Magic Your Way Dining Plan. To see the icons, take a look at this menu from the Magic Kingdom's Enchanted Grove: http://allears.net/din/eg.jpg

-- What's Florida in August without a little liquid sunshine? And so we were really rained on while waiting to see the new Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show the other day. We were afraid the wet weather would cancel the show, but to our surprise, it just caused a 10-minute delay, and then the show went on. After a few minutes, of course, the rain had subsided, and even with the rain-slick surfaces, the show continued. http://allears.net/tp/mgm/m_stunt.htm

-- We heard from a Cast Member that part of the rehab of the Walt Disney World Railroad's Main Street Station involves swapping the lockers and the stroller rental location. Moving the stroller rental to the more central area will allow visitors to rent from both sides of the entry plaza, hopefully expediting the rental process. The reopening of the area is set for mid- to late December.

-- We took advantage of the new "Disney and Me" character meet 'n' greet that's available exclusively for Disney Visa cardholders 1:30-4:30 p.m. every day in Epcot's Innoventions West. Here's how it works: go past the "Where's the Fire?" exhibit's fire engine and on the right you'll find a curtained-off area. The Cast Member there will sign you in and give you a voucher for your free 5x7 photo (one per valid cardmember account, limited to six people per card). When it's your turn (we had about a 15-minute wait), you're ushered into the room with a few characters -- ours were Mickey and Pluto. A few Disney photographers take your photos with the characters in a variety of poses. Then they'll swipe your PhotoPass (if you don't have one, they'll give you one), and you can visit the Camera Center near Spaceship Earth to view and select your photo. (Of course, they'll try to sell you frames and additional photos.) It's a nice souvenir -- made nicer by the fact that it's free. (According to the Disney Visa website, this offer is subject to availability and location capacity, and runs through September 2006. Operating times, days of the week, locations, and appearance of characters may vary.)

-- We stayed at the WDW Dolphin and confirmed that they no longer charge a resort fee. Instead, your in-room coffee and daily newspaper are now included. Use of the health club now costs $8/day, and internet access is $10.95 for 24 contiguous hours.

-- We took the Mickey's Magical Milestones tour last Wednesday and found it to be a delightful way to spend two hours. Cast Member Gregg escorted us all around the Magic Kingdom, stopping at spots that illustrated key points in Walt Disney's and Mickey's evolution -- from Exposition Hall to the Main Street Railroad Station to Toontown, where we had a brief encounter with the main Mouse, around Fantasyland and into Liberty Square, pointing out Hidden Mickeys along the way. To learn more about the tour: http://allears.net/btp/tours.htm

ALL EARS(R) Team Member Glo in Miami passes on this info from her recent trip: We celebrated our granddaughter's 2nd birthday with dinner at Chef Mickey's and wanted a special birthday cake for her. I called the main switchboard (1-407-824-2222) two days in advance and asked to be transferred to Chef Mickey's. (Make sure you tell the operator you're NOT trying to make reservations or you will be transferred to the dining line... and try not to call during the busy breakfast or dinner hours.) The Cast Member I spoke with made sure I knew that desserts were included on Chef Mickey's buffet and also that a complimentary cupcake could be served... but we wanted an actual cake. The Cast Member asked if we wanted (1) chocolate or white cake; (2) chocolate mousse or vanilla filling; (3) chocolate or vanilla buttercream frosting and (4) birthday Mickey or birthday Minnie on the top of the cake. Cost was $16 (plus tax) for a 6-inch cake and had to be paid for in advance, at the time the cake was ordered. When we arrived at Chef Mickey's, the hostess let us know that the cake order had been received and would be brought to our table at the appropriate time, and it was. We chose vanilla cake with chocolate mousse filling and vanilla frosting. The cake was delicious! And the Mickey sprinkles were a really cute added touch. When we were finished, our server brought us the cake box so we could take the "leftovers" with us.

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DVC MEMBER CRUISE SAILS
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ALL EARS(R) Editor-in-Chief Deb Wills will be sailing on the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Member Cruise that sets sail September 4, 2005. If you'll be on this cruise, too, and would like an Allears.net goodie bag delivered to your stateroom, send your name, the number in your party, and your cabin number to allearsnet@yahoo.com no later than Thursday, September 1, 2005. Says Deb: "I'm looking forward to this -- We're going to have a blast!"

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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The Tom Joyner Family Reunion -- September 2-4, 2005. Hosted by radio personality Tom Joyner, the weekend will feature performances by Grammy Award-winner Ashanti, '90s hit-maker Hammer, and several gospel greats including the legendary Shirley Caesar and Dr. Bobby Jones. For more information visit www.blackamericaweb.com

The Happiest Pin Celebration on Earth -- The biggest Disney Pin Trading event of the year will be held from September 9-11, 2005, at Epcot's World ShowPlace. From fairy tales to pixie dust, celebrate the happiest moments and memories from Disney. http://eventservices.disney.go.com/pintrading/event?id=5681

Night of Joy takes place at the Magic Kingdom on September 9-10. There will be live concerts by some of Christian music's most popular performers including MercyMe, the 2004 GMA Music Awards' Dove-Award Artist of the Year, Mark Hall and Casting Crowns, who are individually and collectively nominated for more than a dozen Dove Awards, including "Artist of the Year" in 2005, and Steven Curtis Chapman, a five-time Grammy Award winner whose 47 Doves make him Christian music's most decorated performer. For more information visit: http://allears.net/tp/mk/noj.htm

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party begins on September 30 -- With 15 party nights scheduled, the Magic Kingdom's annual boo-free bash is bigger than ever in 2005. For more information visit: http://allears.net/tp/mk/mnssh.htm

Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival also begins on September 30 -- The festival features international tasting marketplaces and a lineup of winemakers and guest chefs, elegant dinners, wine schools, tastings and pairings. More than 100 wineries offer tastings, and guests can sample the marketplace cuisine in tasting portions ranging from $1 to $4.50. In addition, the Fest's nightly Eat to the Beat! concert series will feature an even more varied lineup this year, including classic rock, oldies and country performers. For more information visit: http://allears.net/tp/ep/foodwine.htm

Walt Disney World Triathlon Weekend -- September 23-25, 2005. Athletes will have the chance to swim, bike and run around the Walt Disney World resort, plus there will be an Expo featuring state-of-the-art products and a chance to talk with experts at the Contemporary Resort. If you enter before September 1, entry fees are $100 per individual, and $175 per relay team. In addition, there will be a Kids' Triathlon on September 24 for youths ages 7-14. For more information or to register, visit www.disneysports.com.

To see our entire Calendar of Events visit: http://allears.net/pl/events.htm

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Rehabs and Closures:

Liberty Square Riverboat will be closed for refurbishment September 11-19 and will reopen September 20, 2005.

Ice Station Cool is closed for a six-month rehab and will reopen as "Club Cool." http://www.allears.net/tp/ep/ice.htm

The Living Seas pavilion, including the popular Turtle Talk with Crush, closed 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. http://www.allears.net/tp/ep/e_seas.htm

At Downtown Disney West Side, the Guitar Gallery has closed.

Keister Coaster pool slide at the BoardWalk Resort will be closed for rehab September 6-26, 2005.

The Piano Pool at the All Star Music Resort will undergo maintenance September 6-14, 2005.

Port Orleans Riverside - Magnolia Bend Quiet Pool will be closed September 15-24, 2005. Ol' Man Island Spa (hot tub) will be closed September 6-23, 2005.

Contemporary Resort Rehab: The South Garden Wing is closed for refurbishment through October 31, 2006. Work will be ongoing in the Tower rooms through February 19, 2006, with one floor being blocked off at a time. For photos of what the new rooms will look like: http://allears.net/acc/g_contm.htm

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.

To see our list of Rehabs, visit: http://allears.net/tp/rehabs.htm

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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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Summer Decker: I am a single mother of a beautiful 5-year-old girl. We are Annual Passholders for Walt Disney World and recently we went over for the day. At the end of the evening I was a little tired and I wanted to try to secure a room and drive home the following day. (We live about an hour and a half from WDW.) While I was on the phone at Guest Services, the Wishes fireworks started to go off. My daughter, of course, wanted to go see them but I was still on the phone with the Reservation Center. The Cast Member working behind the counter asked, "Would you like me to take your daughter out to watch the fireworks while you secure a room?" I was so relieved! After the fireworks ended and I met up with my daughter and the Cast Member, the Cast Member thanked my daughter for allowing her to watch the fireworks with her and gave her a bunch of Mickey stickers. It's people like that who make Walt Disney World the place it should be. That was, by far, the most magical memory I will ever have.

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Debbie Clayton: My cousin, her then 6-year-old daughter, Alex, and I went to Walt Disney World. It was their first visit to see the Mouse. They were just getting ready to get on the Mad Tea Party when I looked over and saw Alice and the Mad Hatter. All of a sudden, Alice veered off the sidewalk and went over to Alex (who was already in one of the tea cups with her mom), leaned over and said something to her. Alex nodded yes, and Alice got in with them! The look on her face was priceless! When the ride was over, Alice followed them over to me. Alice then asked Alex if she liked playing tag. When "yes" was the reply, Alice said that she and the princesses were playing a game of tag and asked if Alex had seen any of them. When Alex said we were going to ToonTown next, Alice told her to go to one of the Princesses and tag her and tell her she was "It." Alex started walking down the fairway, prancing all the way, with Alice right beside her. A true Disney moment.

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Jim Dellomo: We were in the Crystal Palace for dinner -- myself, my wife and my 4-year-old daughter. She loves the princesses, but won't go near any of the characters. My daughter began to get upset as Tigger approached. She asked me to tell Tigger that she liked him but didn't want to get too close to him. I got out of my seat and told Tigger just that. He made a sad face but held out his hand. My daughter moved closer to my wife and wanted no part of touching his hand. Just then, Tigger decided to sit down keeping a good distance between them. Tigger slowly moved closer and held out his hand for her to slap him five and she managed to get up enough courage to slap his hand. She said his hand was so soft just like her Teddy Bears. Then Tigger asked for a kiss and she kissed him. She then stood up on her seat and gave Tigger a great big hug. I began to cry in joy and excitement that my daughter was now excited to see all the Disney characters. From that moment my daughter couldn't wait to meet the others, which made a magical moment for us. Thanks, Tigger!

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


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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.