January 2009
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the
January 6, 2009 Issue #485 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

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Ever wonder what Walt Disney World was like way back when? We rummage around in our archives for this monthly feature, which takes you back in history for a glimpse of Walt Disney World through the ages. Let's take a few minutes now to hit some of the highlights from 2008.

Disney's Animal Kingdom -- Celebrated its 10th Anniversary on April 22. Special guests Joe Rohde and Jane Goodall joined Erin Wallace at the Rededication ceremony. Later in the day, Joe gave a presentation in the Theatre in the Wild and later signed autographs for fans. AllEars® was there to cover the event: http://allears.net/tp/ak/ak10th.htm

Magic Kingdom -- In September, everyone's favorite pixie, Tinker Bell, finally got her own meet and greet at Pixie Hollow in Toontown! She's joined by her fairy friends Fawn, Iridessa, Rosetta and Silvermist. http://land.allears.net/blogs/dnews/2008/09/disneys_favorite_pixie_tinker.html

Epcot -- Early in the year, the reimagined Spaceship Earth opened with lots of new scenes, audio-animatronics, costumes, and new narration by Dame Judi Dench, as well as a new musical score and a high-tech ending! http://allears.net/tp/ep/e_spe.htm Also in Epcot during 2008 were new exhibits in Innoventions -- Slapstick Studios' What's Your Problem? (all about Velcro) and StormStruck (simulation of a hurricane). Nine Dragons restaurant in China underwent a total renovation and reopened in September.

Disney's Hollywood Studios -- In January, the Studios experienced a name change. Time to say goodbye to Disney-MGM Studios and welcome the new Disney's Hollywood Studios. Toy Story Mania opened to rave reviews in May and lines still continue to be 60-90 minutes long. http://allears.net/tp/mgm/tsm.htm Also new is the Block Party Bash Parade celebrating characters from the Disney/Pixar movies, the new Prince Caspian meet and greet and Narnia exhibit, and a new High School Musical 3 show. The Studios also held its very last Super Soap Weekend.

The Resorts -- The Contemporary continued its makeover, closing the Concourse Steakhouse and opening The Wave and Contempo Cafe. The huge building next to the Contemporary was finally officially announced as the Disney Vacation Club's Bay Lake Tower.

Disney Vacation Club -- In addition to Bay Lake Tower, it was announced that Saratoga Springs would soon become home to a reincarnation of the Tree House Villas! The groundbreaking took place for Disney's most exotic new home, Ko Olina Resort & Marina in Hawaii.

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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com, brings you some cool Hidden Mickeys in the Character Spot at Epcot. Steve notes, "This area has many good Hidden Character images; these are a few more to look for."

1. A small white classic Mickey is on the inside wall among the stars above the entrance doors. (Thanks to Sharon from Auburn, Sharon Dale, Andy Birkett, and Lindsey Albrecht). http://allears.net/btp/hm238.jpg

2. A Mickey hat appears in several places in the Character Spot: near the right end of the inside wall mural in the waiting queue and outside on window murals near the entrance doors and over the exit doors. (Thanks to Sharon Dale). http://allears.net/btp/hm239.jpg

3. Check out Mickey's gloves on a robot light switch in the next to last greeting bay. (Thanks to Sharon Dale). http://allears.net/btp/hm240.jpg

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Our series dedicated to Disney Scrapbooking returns this month, written by Disney scrapbook expert Barbara Bennett and her husband Brian (who are also the owners of MouseMemories.com). This month's feature is all about albums:

"You can't judge a book by its cover," so says the old adage, but when it comes to creating a scrapbook, the cover does say a lot about what's inside. Themed scrapbooking albums give the perfect final touch to a scrapbooking project that includes your personal photographs and other mementoes.

Scrapbooking albums are the single most expensive part of a scrapbooking project. The album also plays a big role in making a good first impression for people who are enjoying your memory book. Today we'll talk about the core of your project, the album. We'll start by sharing some thoughts on the basic purpose of a scrapbook album, then we'll review album sizes, styles, and themes. We'll also consider best practices for using scrapbook albums as we wrap up.

There are two major purposes for a scrapbooking album. First, the album provides an aesthetic quality to your finished project. Keeping your scrapbooking pages in nicely designed albums makes them look nicer as they sit on the bookshelf or on the coffee table. Second, and this is really much more important, the album should provide a safe storage place for those pages.

Read the rest of this month's article at: http://allears.net/btp/scrapbook/part9/part9.html

For a complete index of all the articles and background on the Scrapbooking Magic! series visit: http://allears.net/btp/scrapbook/intro.html

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Do you know we have a second newsletter called Ears the Deal™? This special promotional publication comes out on Thursdays several times a month with special offers for you from AllEars® advertisers!

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Open an issue of the AllEars® newsletter -- like this one! Scroll to the bottom where you'll see:

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Click where it says Click Here. Scroll down approximately 11 lines to where it says "Ears the Deal™" Click YES and you are all set.

Questions? Email us at allearsnet@yahoo.com

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Remember that Epcot will close at 8 p.m. on Fridays.

Disney's Wide World of Sports

Disney's Marathon Weekend - January 8-11. The upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend features approximately 45,000 runners entered in the Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Family Fun Run 5K and Kids' Races. The Walt Disney World Half Marathon is a 13.1-mile course that will take runners on Saturday from Epcot to Magic Kingdom and then back to Epcot for the finish. On Sunday, the 26.2-mile Walt Disney World Marathon will pass through all four Walt Disney World theme parks and finish back at Epcot. It's been called the "26 Most Magical Miles on Earth" and features Disney entertainment along the route.

Atlanta Braves' 12th spring training -- Individual tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on January 10, 2009, for spring training, to be held at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex beginning in March 2009. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster (407-839-3900 and www.ticketmaster.com). Information on the Braves' spring training season, group tickets and mini-packs is available by calling 407-939-GAME (4263) and online at www.disneysports.com.

Port Orleans Riverside

Campfire on de' Bayou, a special storytime and sing-along around a fire held seasonally behind Port Orleans Riverside's Ol' Man Island Fishin' Hole, runs through March 2009. The program is only offered on Sunday and Thursday nights from 6:30 to 8 p.m., weather permitting. S'more kits are sold for $7.00 (tax included). No reservations are necessary.


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



Magic Kingdom

Liberty Tree Tavern: As of January 5, 2009, the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Tree Tavern no longer offers character dining. The last character dinner was on January 4.
The Hall of Presidents will be closed for rehab through July 1, 2009.
Splash Mountain will be closed for rehab January 4 - 17, 2009.
Dream Along with Mickey will not be performed January 6 - 20.
Dumbo will be closed for rehab January 7.
Mickey's PhilharMagic will be closed for rehab January 18 - February 6.
Pecos Bills will be closed for rehab January 11 - February 13.
Heritage House shop in Liberty Square will be closed January 4 - 19.
The Frontierland Fry Cart will be closed until January 11, 2009. The cart has been rebuilt into a larger building with seating next to it, with an expanded menu. When it reopens the spot will be called "The Golden Oak Outpost," and will serve not only McDonald's fries and soda, but also wraps and chicken nuggets. While the Frontierland location is closed, McDonald's fries are still available at the Village Fry Shoppe in Fantasyland.


Ellen's Energy Adventure in Epcot's Future World will be closed for refurbishment January 5 - March 22, 2009.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Studio Backlot Tour will be closed for refurbishment January 4 - February 28, 2009.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed January 27-29, 2009.
Sounds Dangerous is temporarily closed. It now operates on a seasonal schedule.

Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon will close for refurbishment October 26, 2008 through March 21, 2009.

Animal Kingdom Villas and Lodge

Construction continues on the Kidani Village with an opening date of May 1, 2009 for Phase I. All amenities will open in May including the pool, restaurant, and Pembe Savanna. Animals are already in the process of being acclimated to Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Beach Club Resort

Stormalong Bay will be refurbished from January 5 - April 15, 2009. Sections of the feature pool will be closed. You may continue to use the three leisure pools located throughout the resort. Additionally, the feature pool at Disney's BoardWalk Resort will be available for Yacht and Beach Club guests.

Caribbean Beach Resort

The Pirates of the Caribbean are going to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. The new pirate-themed rooms will cost $25 more per night and will be available with both standard and water views. These pirate rooms will be in the Trinidad South section of the resort and are available to book for reservations beginning January 2009.

Contemporary Resort

Construction Update: Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort continues toward a Fall 2009 opening date. The Wave restaurant is open on the first floor. The Outer Rim lounge has closed. Chef Mickey's will remain open as a new entrance is built. The Quick Service Contempo Cafe is now open. The Tennis Courts and Playground at the Contemporary, which are currently closed, are scheduled to reopen on August 31, 2009.

Concourse Spirits & Sundries will be closed for refurbishment January 5 - April 25, 2009. Sundries will be relocated to either Fantasia or BayView Gifts.

Contemporary Resort's pool will be closed January 5 - March 15, 2009.

Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

The Meadows Pool will be closed January 12 - March 13, 2009.

Grand Floridian Resort

The Beach Pool (feature pool) at the Grand Floridian Resort will be closed for refurbishment January 5 - January 23, 2009. The Courtyard Pool (quiet pool) and kiddie pool will be available. Grand Floridian guests can also use the Nanea Volcano Pool and Pool Slide at the Polynesian Resort during this time.

Old Key West

Old Key West Village Pool Slide will be closed from January 5-23, 2009. The pool will remain open.


The Spirit of Aloha Dinner show will be closed January 13-19, 2009.

Yacht Club Resort

Stormalong Bay will be refurbished from January 5 though April 15, 2009. Sections of the feature pool will be closed. You may continue to use the three leisure pools located throughout the resort. Additionally, the feature pool at Disney's BoardWalk Resort will be available for Yacht and Beach Club guests.

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

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The Year of a Million Dreams is over, but the Magical Moments continue. Each month we will continue to share reports of guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland experiencing special Magic!

Brett and Jennifer Reed, Valley View, PA: Our family (Brett, Jennifer, Juliana 9, and Brett, 3) traveled to Walt Disney World November 29-December 7. On Wednesday, December 3, we traveled from the Wilderness Lodge by boat and arrived in front of the Magic Kingdom about 8 a.m., an hour before the park's opening. I asked my wife to take a picture of the kids and me in front of the Mickey-shaped flower beds and grassy knoll. While we were posing, two cast members out of nowhere politely asked to join our picture. We of course said sure and afterwards they said since we were nice enough to let them in our picture they would like to do something nice for us. They asked if we had breakfast reservations and we said no. So we waited a few minutes on a bench inside the park. Soon we were led to the antique fire truck and given a ride on it through the very quiet and empty Magic Kingdom to the back of Toontown. The driver was singing, "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood," during the drive, and we were greeted by all the various cast members with big hellos. At Toontown we took pictures on the fire truck, in front of Mickey and Minnie's houses, and also the train. We still had no idea what was going on except that we were having a wonderful time in the most magically special place. Finally the doors to Mickey's house opened up and 13 characters came out to greet us and pose for pictures. They gave Juliana and Brett their own autograph books already signed by each character. This was truly special. We then boarded the train for the front of the park and learned we were the first family of the Magic Kingdom for the day and would be helping Mickey and the gang open the park. While waiting for closer to the 9 a.m opening, Mickey played rock, paper, scissors with the kids and Goofy was slapsticking it up with Stitch! The whole family was on a magical high for the rest of our trip and we still are!


Bill: My wife and I along with our two sons had just arrived and went directly to Animal Kingdom to check out Expedition Everest. This wasn't our first trip to WDW, but the last time we were there EE was not completed yet and we were looking forward to this new ride. We were standing out front and deciding whether to get a Fastpass and come back later because the there was quite a long line. A cast member came up to us and asked us if we would like to go on EE. We said we did but were going to get a Fastpass and come back later. He said you don't need a Fastpass -- I can get you on right now. Now we had just gotten off a long plane ride and really didn’t have our land legs yet but said, "sure." We walked directly to the front of the line and were put in the first two seats. What a great ride and a great experience to start out our vacation. We gave the cast member the thumbs up as we exited. I only wish we had gotten the cast member's name.


We'd like to thank all the cast members who were part of the Year of a Million Dreams Dream Squad for the last two years! You gave many, many guests memories that will last a lifetime!


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.