February 2008
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the January 29, 2008 Issue #436 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. Last month, we went back more than 30 years to January 15, 1975, and the grand opening of Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom. This month we are going right back to 1975. AllEars® reader John Hayes was kind enough to send scans of VacationLand Magazine's Spring 1975 issue, which talked about Space Mountain:

"Walt Disney envisioned such an attraction over 10 years ago. He wanted everyone to be able to experience the excitement of space travel presently known only by a few select astronauts.

"Over three years have gone into the actual building of Space Mountain. Each of the 72 massive, pre-stressed concrete beams that form the huge, ribbed slopes of the sealed cone had to be cast near the construction site. Mammoth cranes then lifted the pie-shaped, 114-foot tall beams into place. Each beam has a 14-foot wide base and is five-feet wide at the top.

"The tracks were designed with the elaborate use of computers so that all their curves and bends produce an entirely smooth 'flight.' At times, the rockets' speeds reach over 25 mph on the mile-long paths.

"WED Enterprises 'illusioneers' developed numerous special effects for this thrilling attraction. When the 'astronauts' are launched from the space station, their capsule shoots through a tunnel like enclosure where the sensation of great speed is created. During reentry, they pass through a 'rotating' tunnel where, it seems, their spacecraft is 'rolling.' Sound, light, darkness and motion are all skillfully combined in 'Space Mountain' to convey the exhilarating physical sensations of interplanetary travel."

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HIDDEN MICKEYS ALERT
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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys book and webmaster of www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com, highlights some compelling Hidden Mickeys from Disney movies:

1. A proportional bubble Mickey appears in The Little Mermaid. When Sebastian arrives into the theater, look behind and to the left of the blue shell to find three bubbles forming a classic Hidden Mickey. (Thanks to Daniel & Yaelle Berset) http://allears.net/btp/hm200.jpg

2. Also in The Little Mermaid, at the beginning during the scene of the music concert in King Triton's Palace, there is a shot that pans over the audience. Among the audience is Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy! Mickey and friends are sitting under the dolphin on the right. The inset photo shows them up close. (Thanks to Disney Barbie of Southampton, England, Emma, and Mandy Newby) http://allears.net/btp/hm199.jpg

3. In Lilo & Stitch, watch carefully in the scene when Lilo is teaching Stitch to dance at the outdoor market. Above them, formed by some Hawaiian melons, is a neat classic Mickey! A red circle around the melons has been added to the photo. (Thanks to Alex Valdes and Sharon Dale) http://allears.net/btp/hm198.jpg

So, be sure to look for Hidden Mickeys in Disney movies!

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SCRAPBOOKING MAGIC!
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AllEars® is excited to annnounce a new series of articles all about Disney Scrapbooking! Scrapbooking is about telling a story, both for us to remember, and for future generations to enjoy. Written by Disney Scrapbook Expert Barbara Bennett and her husband Brian (who are also the owners of MouseMemories.com), a new article on scrapbooking will be published each month.

Barbara and Brian write: If you've been curious about this "new wave" of scrapbooking, you'll enjoy this series of articles. We're going to start with the history of scrapbooking, and then take you through the kinds of tools and supplies that are available. We'll teach you how to get started if you're thinking about taking the plunge into this great hobby. We'll show you that scrapbooks can (and should) really be fun to produce. Since we specialize in Disney scrapbooking ourselves, we'll do all of that with a Disney twist that just might convince you to try scrapbooking your photos. Already a scrapbooker? As we go forward we'll work our way through lots of tips and techniques that you'll enjoy as well. If you're like most of us, you've got boxfuls of photographs from all of your Disney trips -- not to mention holidays, birthday parties, family get-togethers, and so on that you can turn into wonderful memory albums that you'll be able to enjoy for the rest of your life before passing them on to your family or friends.

http://allears.net/btp/scrapbook/intro.html

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AUDIO GUIDE REVIEW
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by Michelle Scribner-MacLean

Remember the second time you visited Disney World? You were probably a bit more confident, took your time... and maybe by your third or fourth trip you felt like a pro... and started noticing all of the details that make Walt Disney World so special?

For many of us, the details are one of the many reasons we keep coming back to the Magic Kingdom. Lou Mongello, author of the Walt Disney World Trivia books, has put his love of the history and details of WDW to create The Audio Guide to Walt Disney World (http://disneyworldtrivia.com/audioguide/index.php). The recording, which took Mongello about 18 months to write, record and edit, can be likened to an audio guide that you rent when you go to a blockbuster museum exhibit, the type that give you more inside information about what you're looking at, listening to, and experiencing. This ongoing series, which will eventually feature each of the lands of the Magic Kingdom, has high appeal for those wanting to get the "back story" about the architecture, music and production aspects of Main Street, USA.

Mongello had several goals in mind when producing this audio guide. "I really want to be able to both enhance the vacation experience for the guest who is visiting the parks, as well as give people a little bit of the 'magic' at home as they prepare for their next visit, or just when they need a little bit of Disney in between their visits." In addition, this recording is an excellent resource for those visitors who are visually impaired, as Mongello's descriptions are rich and detailed.

Read Michelle's complete review at: http://land.allears.net/blogs/allearsteam/2008/01/lou_mongellos_audio_guide_to_w.html

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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Disney's Pirate and Princess Party continues in the Magic Kingdom on select nights! The February dates are: February 2, 5, 9, 14, 22, 26. http://allears.net/tp/mk/pirateprincess.htm

ESPN The Weekend returns to Disney's Hollywood Studios from February 29 - March 2. The weekend features on-site ESPN telecasts, star motorcades, interactive sports activities, and Q&A sessions involving athletes, all included with regular admission to the theme park.

2008 Information: http://allears.net/tp/mgm/espn.htm
Reader Reviews: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showproduct.php?product=327&cat=65
2007 Photo Gallery: http://allears.net/tp/mgm/espn07a.htm

The Atlanta Braves return to Disney's Wide World of Sports for Spring Training from February 27 - March 27.

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

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REHABS AND CLOSINGS

Animal Kingdom

Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends will be closed February 18 - 24, 2008.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Journey into Narnia is closed through May 23, 2008.

Fantasmic! will not be performed January 28 - February 1, 2008.

Rosie's All-American Cafe is closed January 7 - February 13, 2008.

Epcot

The American Adventure is closed January 7 - February 3, 2008. (Earlier reports set the reopening as February 18.) The American Heritage Gallery, shops, and food and beverage areas will remain open.

Spaceship Earth, presented by Siemens, has been undergoing a number of changes over the last several months. The changes combine the attraction's time-travel adventure into the past with a new finale that provides guests the opportunity to imagine their futures. Each of the ride scenes is being enhanced, and new show scenes will be added to the attraction's story, along with new lighting effects, costumes, set decoration, narration and musical score. Spaceship Earth's makeover is scheduled to be fully completed in early 2008. The official reopening of Spaceship Earth has been changed to February 18. Some folks have ridden as part of the soft opening testing. http://allears.net/tp/ep/e_spe1.htm

International Dinner and IllumiNations Dessert Reception, offered as part of the Grand Gathering Experience, will not be offered from January 28 - February 10. The Odyssey complex will be refurbished during this time.

Magic Kingdom

Liberty Square Riverboat will be closed for refurbishment from February 24 - March 1, 2008.

Minnie's Country House is closed for refurbishment until February 1, 2008.

Snow White's Scary Adventures is closed for refurbishment January 28 - February 15, 2008.

Splash Mountain is closed now through February 15, 2008.

Tinker Bell's Treasures is closed for refurbishment from January 6 - March 16, 2008.

Animal Kingdom Lodge

There is ongoing construction in the Lodge for conversion of deluxe rooms to Disney Vacation Club Villas. Also there is outside construction of a new animal barn and Disney Vacation Club buildings. Construction is scheduled to last through April 2009.

Boardwalk Resort

Boardwalk Resort Luna Park (themed pool area) rehab began January 7, 2008. The pool area will be resurfaced and will reopen February 16. During this rehab, the pool bar, Leaping Horse Libations, will also be closed. While the main pool is closed, guests of the Boardwalk may use the Yacht and Beach Club's Stormalong Bay pool. In addition, both non-themed pools at the Boardwalk will remain open.

Caribbean Beach Resort

The themed pool, Old Port Royale, closed for refurbishment January 7, 2008, and is set to reopen September 15, 2008. Small, child-sized pool slides will be temporarily added to the pools in the villages of Jamaica and Barbados.

Contemporary Resort

The North Garden wing has been demolished. The tennis courts and playground are also gone. Rumors persist about either family suites or a Disney Vacation Club resort; however, no official announcement has been made.

Grand Floridian

The Courtyard Pool is closed now through mid-February 2008. The Beach Pool remains open. Grand Floridian guests may also use the Nanea Volcano Pool at the Polynesian during this time.

Old Key West

Turtle Pond Pool and the Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks are closed for refurbishment January 14 - February 10, 2008

Polynesian

Nanea Volcano Pool will be closed for refurbishment February 11 - March 15, 2008. Guests may use the leisure pool or the Beach pool complex at the Grand Floridian.

Port Orleans French Quarter

The Doubloon Lagoon pool is closed January 28 through mid-March 2008. Riverside's Ol' Man Island Pool is open. Guests may also use Riverside's Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend Pools.

Blizzard Beach is closed for annual refurbishment January 6 - March 8, 2008.

Downtown Disney

Rock 'n' Roll Beach Club will close as of February 3, 2008. No future plans for the location have been announced yet.

Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney Marketplace is closed for refurbishment now through Thursday, March 6, 2008. When it reopens, it will offer a new menu, a faster service and an expanded indoor dining area. The West Side Puck location will remain open during this time.

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

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DREAM LOVERS...
WHERE ARE YOU?
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The Year of a Million Dreams, which began Sunday, October 1, 2006, has been extended through 2008, and as part of that celebration Disney cast members are not just dispensing "dream" prizes, but are also creating an unprecedented number of "Magical Moments." These include guests being tapped to help with the pixie-dusted opening of Magic Kingdom, getting the star treatment at a celebrity-style handprint ceremony at Disney's Hollywood Studios, or being named Official Wildlife Spotters at Disney's Animal Kingdom. We have some reports of guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland receiving "dreams" from the Dream Squad and some of these Magical Moments:

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Tammy Sinquefield: Our last day at Disney was at Blizzard Beach. We got there early and were near the front of the line. About 30 minutes before opening a lifeguard came out and talked to a couple of families before coming over to us. He talked to us for a minute and then asked my 8-year-old son if he was going to go down Summit Plummet. My son said yes. Then he asked us to come with him and took us through the turnstiles. He announced to the waiting crowd that my son was the Ski Captain for the day and that the park couldn't open until he (my son) went down Summit Plummet! My son received a medallion to wear that said "Ski Captain," a free refillable mug, free rental towels, free locker rental and a special hut down by the wave pool that said "Ski Captain" on it. The Disney photographers took lots of pictures of us and then took my husband, daughter and son up to Summit Plummet. I watched at the bottom while my son was the first down Summit Plummet, then my daughter and husband. The photographers continued to take pictures for us. It was a Very Special Day that we'll always remember!

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Kathy Hamill: Our Magical Moment came when we arrived at Pop Century on the evening of December 3 for a 3-night stay. I got in line at registration and was quickly waited on. The cast member had already processed my credit card and printed my parking pass, when she asked me to wait just a moment. She went to get her manager and when they came back, they informed me that I was the lucky recipient of a special "Year of a Million Dreams" resort upgrade. The manager explained to me that, with this upgrade, I would be allowed to "transfer" my resort stay to a moderate resort for the same value resort price I was paying at Pop Century. The only catch was that Disney got to pick the upgraded resort, which for us wound up being Coronado Springs. I immediately accepted the upgrade and in no time, we were out the door and heading for Coronado Springs for a great stay.

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Susan Kuster: On Wednesday, January 9, 2008, my husband, our friend's 13-year-old daughter and I were in the staging area for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, when in walked two members of the Dream Squad! I immediately whispered to my husband, "We're gonna win something!" And indeed we did! Dream Fastpasses for the day! But the surprises didn't end there... about 30 minutes later, while at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, we (and about 25 others) were greeted by four more of the Dream Squad and won VIP seating for the parade! WOW! Two prizes within 30 minutes of each other! We learned later, while waiting for the parade to start, that the VIP seating is only given out about once a week, so we felt extra special. The viewing area is on the steps to the ABC Studios that are being renovated, and we were given as much Coke product as we wanted.

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Beverly White: Thursday, January 10, was our "Magical" day. My husband, daughter, son and future daughter-in-law (a first-timer!) were coming off the Living with the Land boat ride when the Dream Squad approached my daughter, Shannon. Seems she was in the right seat at the right time on the right ride and was awarded a $500 shopping spree at Mouse Gear. We couldn't believe it! I'd read about others getting dreams but never thought it would happen to us. And what better dream for a 23-year-old girl! We were escorted to Mouse Gear, given big high-fives from all the cast members and given our own personal shoppers to help us with our selections. We had a ball! Shannon didn't know what to get (it can be very overwhelming), but she finally found her way to the jewelry where she saw the pearls set. She hesitated but we all finally convinced her to go for it. It was something she probably would never have gotten for herself, but thanks to the Mouse and his helpers, her dream came true. We were also given two group Fastpasses since shopping took up a bit of our touring time. We felt special all day with our Million Dreams Winner buttons. Wherever we went, cast members congratulated us and asked what we had won. Truly a day to remember.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: If the Dream Squad bestows a "dream" upon you, or if you receive an official "Magical Moment," please let us know! We'd love to hear what you won, how you were chosen, and don't forget to send any photos if you have them! Email us at allearsnet@yahoo.com

For more Magical Moments: http://allears.net/tp/yomdmm.htm
For Dreams: http://allears.net/tp/yomd.htm


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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.