June 2006
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the May 30, 2006, Issue #349 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. We travel now back 34 years to June 1972. The following information is from a publication from that time known as the Walt Disney World News:

"The Magic Kingdom has extended hours for the summer and is open from 8 a.m. to midnight! There are special concerts and dancing under the stars every night beginning at 7 p.m. In Liberty Square, the Country Revue plays in the Diamond Horseshoe. The Tomorrowland Terrace has five shows nightly with the band 'Blueprint,' and at the Tomorrowland Space Stage you can see 'The Kids Next Door.'

"During the day, spectacular water ski shows are held in the Seven Seas Lagoon; a D ticket will get you into the viewing area. The Top of the World has stars like the King Sisters and Mel Torme (coats for gentlemen, please). On the second floor of the Contemporary, the Gulf Coast Room serves elegant French food, and over at the Polynesian, the South Seas Dining Room (lobby level) serves Prime Rib and a Polynesian entree buffet!

"Also at the Polynesian, you can enjoy your favorite beverage aboard the 65-foot Chinese Junk docked at the marina. The Eastern Winds is outfitted to serve as a colorful and intimate cocktail lounge, complete with deck and cabin lounge areas, piped-in music and serving hostesses dressed in Asian attire."

If any ALL EARS(R) reader has photos from this period, we'd love to see them! Please contact us at allearsnet@yahoo.com

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YOU'RE GOING AGAIN?
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Do your friends, co-workers or relatives roll their eyes whenever you tell them you're headed to Walt Disney World again? You're not alone!

ALL EARS(R) reader Gretchen Osim shares:

To some we are foolish, to others we are juvenile, and to still others, we are obsessed. To those who share our affliction we are completely and utterly smitten. "Don t you want to go anywhere else?" and, "Aren t you tired of that place yet?" are the two questions that my husband and I are asked the most when we talk about our next planned excursion to Uncle Walt's Florida property. The answer is always, "Nope, not yet." Mind you, I have been there only five times, with the first trip in 1989, and my husband has been there three times (his first trip wasn't until 2000). Ever since I can remember, as a child living in a small farming community in the "thumb" of Michigan, Walt Disney World was the Brass Ring, always there in my mind, but never quite within reach. I was 17 when I FINALLY got to Disney World (my poor husband had to wait until he was 34). My first trip was with my grandparents, parents, sister and an aunt and uncle. My grandparents and aunt had been there several times, being that they lived in Florida, so they made the itinerary and we saw what they thought we should see. My second trip was in 1994 -- a friend and I went and stayed off-property, and we covered the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Seaworld and Universal Studios (then just one park) in as many days. We opened and closed a park each day, and I must say that I only remember bits and snatches from that entire vacation. We spent the next three years agonizing over when we would be able to get there again, and soaking up everything we could about Walt Disney World...

Read the rest of Gretchen's story at: http://allears.net/btp/goingagain.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 Hidden characters -- proving that not just Mickey gets the special "hidden" treatment:

1. A Cast Member (Sharon) told me about this interesting "hidden character" along the exit wall from Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. It's Stitch's spaceship flying through space in a corner of the first mural on the right as you exit.

http://allears.net/btp/hm116.jpg
http://allears.net/btp/hm116a.jpg

2. The pirate's map mentioned in the last Hidden Mickeys Alert has been lost (or, at least, relocated)! A Cast Member told me that Disney no longer sells the maps, so the posted map in the gift shop at Pirates of the Caribbean has been removed. However, take heart! A very similar map (with continents shaped like Goofy, Donald, Pluto and Mickey) is now in a display window of the new Adventure room at the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney Marketplace.

http://allears.net/btp/hm117.jpg

For other Hidden Mickey alerts visit: http://allears.net/btp/hiddenm.htm

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QUICK BITES
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Wondering where to dine with the characters for breakfast inside a theme park? Until the new character breakfast starts in June at Hollywood & Vine, your choices are the Princess Storybook Breakfast in Epcot, Donald's Breakfastosaurus in Animal Kingdom, Cinderella's Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom, and our Readers' Choice:

Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom -- the overwhelming favorite of our readers! Each morning, Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet bring the magic of the Hundred Acre Wood to visitors of the Magic Kingdom. The buffet is $18.99 for adults and $10.99 for children (3-9). A non-alcoholic beverage is included, and tax and gratuity are extra. With an overall rating of 8.7, it's recommended by 95 percent of our reviewers. Here are snippets of their comments:

Floridasunshine: The waitstaff was excellent and all the food was cooked well and was tasty (except the breakfast lasagna). All the characters except Pooh came to our table and spent two to four minutes with us. They were very friendly. The beautiful Victorian-type decor was lovely.

sugarcandiezz: I really enjoyed it and so did my fiance (we're both in our 20s and still loved it!). I am not a breakfast person, so I only ate waffles but my fiance loved the breakfast pizza, and the made-to-order omelets and bacon/sausages were all great for him. We definitely would go to this place again if the opportunity came up.

LadySpin71: This is one breakfast we book on EVERY visit to the World because we love it so much here. We have eaten here at least 12 times. The only problem we had this trip, and have NEVER had on previous visits, was that the characters never came during the meal! We had all finished our meals and were waiting to leave to go into the park, and still no characters. My kids were getting antsy with autograph books in hand. By the time all four characters made their way to us, it was almost 10 a.m.! The puffed French Toast is so yummy (I make it at home, too; the recipe is in the Disney cookbook).

chrisnanny: The Pooh waffles are a delicious treat as well as the breakfast lasagna!

RAJAH: Great food, great service and great atmosphere. The cheesy potatoes are fabulous. Winnie-the-Pooh was the only one who didn't circle the restaurant. He was at the front of the restaurant and you could stand in line to see him.

rcheesit: We feel it was worth the price if you go in the early morning. That way, when breakfast is done they are just opening the park and you pretty much have things to yourself. It's eerie to walk down Main Street and not see any people. Cheesy potatoes are a must. Very good quality sausages and bacon. A variety of free drinks and sweets. Fresh fruit selection was very impressive and the staff was smiling and very friendly.

Read the detailed reviews at: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showproduct.php?product=60&sort=8&cat=36&page=1

The Crystal Palace also serves a lunch and dinner buffet with the characters.

Breakfast Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_cpb.htm
Lunch Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_cpl.htm
Dinner Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_cpd.htm

Photos: http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_cp.htm

Rate your favorites, or read others' opinions, in our Rate and Review section: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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Book your late summer vacation by June 4, 2006, to receive the FREE Magic Your Way Dining plan! This Magic Your Way package with FREE DINING is offered for most nights August 13 - September 30, 2006. To take advantage of this offer, call Disney directly or your Travel Agent. Allears.net recommends MouseFanTravel.com.

"Playhouse Disney's Play 'N Dine at Hollywood & Vine" begins at Hollywood & Vine in the Disney-MGM Studios on June 25, 2006. Jo Jo and Goliath from "Jo Jo's Circus" and June and Leo from "The Little Einsteins" will sing and dance daily at the buffet breakfast and lunch. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE.

Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival runs through June 11. Themed weekends, guest seminars, Flower Power Concerts, and more:

June 2, 3, & 4 -- I Dig Bugs - Get a close-up look at unusual critters, beneficial bees and join in a "good bug" release. Learn about garden friends who help keep plants healthy. June 9, 10, & 11 -- Festival Farewell - The last chance to enjoy the 2006 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Flower Power Concerts (America Gardens Theatre 5:45, 7, and 8:15 p.m.): Tony Orlando May 30-June 1; Arlo Guthrie June 2-5; The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie June 6-7; and Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone June 8-11.

http://allears.net/tp/ep/flogar.htm

America Gardens Theatre in Epcot will host a Summer Music Series this year that will feature a number of "tribute" bands, beginning with:

June 12 - 18: Transit Authority, a tribute to the rock group Chicago June 19 - July 1: Hotel California "A Salute to the Eagles"

Star Wars Weekends! Warwick Davis is the first-ever celebrity host for all four Star Wars Weekends. Davis was only 11 years old when he played Wicket the Ewok in the film Return of the Jedi. In addition, in The Phantom Menace (Episode I), he played multiple roles, including that of Anakin's young friend Wald. Guests he will host include:

June 2-4: Jay Laga'aia (Captain Typho) and Orli Shoshan (Jedi Master Shaak Ti)
June 9-11: Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) and Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett)

For photos and a complete schedule of special activities visit: http://allears.net/tp/mgm/m_starwars.htm

UNofficial Gay Days in Orlando - May 30 - June 4: This is NOT a Disney-sponsored event. It is an annual gathering in Orlando with designated park days. The day designated for Magic Kingdom is Saturday, June 3. If you want to avoid the crowds (and it WILL be crowded), consider visiting a park other than the Magic Kingdom on Saturday. There are two websites to get information: http://www.gaydays.com/ and http://www.gayday.com/

Don't forget to check our Events page for periodic updates: http://allears.net/pl/events.htm

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Rehabs and Closings:

The Viking Ship play area in Epcot's Norway pavilion is closed for refurbishment. No reopening date has been given. http://www.allears.net/tp/ep/e_nor.htm

Theater in the Wild in Animal Kingdom is now closed and under renovation. It will reopen late this year with the new show, Finding Nemo: The Musical. http://allears.net/tp/ak/nemo.htm

Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom is closed for the second phase of its refurbishment through June 30, reopening on Saturday, July 1, 2006.The revamped attraction will feature the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Barbossa from the popular film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." Also making a guest appearance is the ghostly Davy Jones from the second movie in the series, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Resort in California is also undergoing a similar rehab and will reopen on June 24.
WDW: http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_pirates.htm
DLR: http://allears.net/dlr/tp/dl/potc.htm

Liberty Square Riverboat is scheduled to reopen at the Magic Kingdom on September 22, 2006, after an extensive rehab. http://allears.net/tp/mk/rboat.htm

Keystone Clothiers in the Disney-MGM Studios is closed until June 16, 2006.

The West End Stage and the Hub Stage at Pleasure Island are under refurbishment, continuing into late 2006. http://allears.net/btp/faq_pi.htm

Cirque du Soleil La Nouba at Downtown Disney West Side - No shows now through June 5. http://www.allears.net/btp/cirq.htm

Several of the large icons at Disney's All-Star Resorts will be under scaffolding for renovations, resulting in obstructed views:
-- Touchdown Helmets at All-Star Sports: now through August 4, 2006
-- Buzz Lightyear at All-Star Movies: June 26 - August 4, 2006
-- Woody at All-Star Movies: now through June 30, 2006

Polynesian Resort Longhouses are undergoing extensive rehab, with minimal effect on guests. http://allears.net/acc/faq_poly.htm

Be sure to check our Rehabs and Closings page for periodic updates: http://allears.net/tp/rehabs.htm

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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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Amy Hannan: We took our son to Disney World for his first visit. He LOVES pirates, and his favorite Disney characters are Captain Hook and Mr. Smee. For months he had been telling us that he was most looking forward to meeting Mr. Smee! When we heard about the Pirates of the Caribbean rehab awhile back, we were heartbroken because that is our favorite ride and we knew our son would have loved it. You can imagine how thrilled we were when we first found out it would be reopened while we were there! Indeed, my son loved it and rode it countless times. On our last night, we decided to ride it one more time. Right as we were about to board our boat, out of nowhere came Captain Hook and Mr. Smee! They actually boarded our boat and rode the ride with us. All of the passengers were thrilled and sang along loudly to the theme song of the ride as Captain Hook and Mr. Smee danced along. It was the most magical moment of our whole week, and one I am sure my little pirate will never forget!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Pirates reopened temporarily during the Easter holidays, but has closed again for renovations until July 1, 2006.

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Carlyn M: I'm a 16-year-old, and this spring break my sister, mom and I had a Magical Moment. I had spent a good six months obsessively planning with your website and the PassPorter book. Following a suggestion in the PassPorter about the Rose and Crown Pub and IllumiNations, we booked a 7:30 p.m. reservation on our first night and got there early. I'm in a wheelchair, and the staff was so accommodating, leading us around the back entrance so I wouldn't have to climb up steps. Soon, we were directly in front of the lagoon, with a perfect view! The food was absolutely wonderful (fish and chips and a really good chicken curry), but the real treat came at 9 p.m. None of us had seen IllumiNations before, and we were absolutely mesmerized and amazed. We were all planning to share a toffee pudding, but ended up not eating very much of it until after the show, due to the jaw-dropped expressions on all of our faces! I was so happy that my planning had been a success, and that first night will always be my favorite Disney memory. Thanks for letting me relive it!

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Gordon and Julie: On our recent trip to Disney, we had booked a night in the Sugar Loaf concierge building at the Grand Floridian, as a special treat for our wedding anniversary. When we arrived we were taken inside the main building instead and told that they had a surprise for us. The very friendly Cast Member then took us up to the fourth floor and opened the door of the most beautiful large suite we had ever seen with a four-poster bed, Jacuzzi and a sitting room that included a piano! Sometime later they brought a bottle of champagne before we went down to Victoria and Albert's for our anniversary dinner. We can't thank that Cast Member Joe enough for making our anniversary a truly magical occasion.

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Relive your Magical Moment with the ALL EARS(R) Family! Send your Magical Moment in to allearsnet@yahoo.com. Although we can't publish all the Magical Moments we receive, we do read each one. Thank you all for sharing!


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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.