February 2009
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the February 3, 2009 Issue #489 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? 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.

Disney's All Star Movies Resort turns 10 years old this year! It doesn't seem that long ago when the bright, colorful, larger-than-life icons were placed around the third and final All Star resort. The design architect was Arquitectonica of Miami, Florida.

-- Construction began in July 1997, and reservations were accepted beginning January 12, 1998. The Mighty Ducks and 101 Dalmatians opened January 15, 1999, Fantasia and Herbie: The Love Bug opened March 1, and the final section, Toy Story, opened on April 15, 1999.

-- In Fantasia, the Sorcerer Mickey's hat is 45 feet high and 44 feet in diameter at the base. The brooms and buckets are 23 feet wide (bucket to bucket) and it's 36 feet to the top of the broom.

-- In Herbie's Love Bug section, his tires weigh 7 tons and are 9 feet in diameter. The pliers and screwdrivers are 35 and 26 feet tall respectively.

-- The Mighty Ducks section has hockey sticks that weigh 2000 pounds each and stand 43 feet tall. The hockey sticks are made of aluminum and were shipped in two pieces from Rhode Island.

-- Those friendly Dalmatians each weigh 17,000 pounds and required 15 gallons of paint. The fire hydrants are 36 feet tall.

-- Over in Andy's Room, in the Toy Story section, you'll find a 47-foot-tall Buzz Lightyear and a 30-foot-tall Woody.

-- There are four miles of handrails on the buildings at Disney's All Star Movies Resort.

-- The Food Court is themed around a theater with marquees announcing various food stations: Rialto, Roxy, Grand, Majestic, and Lyric.

All Star Movies is a great place to walk around and enjoy with some unique photo opportunities.

Fact Sheet: http://allears.net/acc/faq_asmv.htm
Photo Gallery: http://allears.net/acc/g_asm.htm
Photo Slideshow: http://allears.net/acc/asmvss.htm
Rate and Review: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showproduct.php?product=5&&sort=8&&cat=3&&page=1

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HIDDEN MICKEYS ALERT
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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com, encourages visitors to Walt Disney World to check out these cool Hidden Mickey images:

1. Along Spaceship Earth, near the garage scene with the early computer, a Mickey Mouse sticker is on the bottom left of the rear window, driver's side, of a red car. Many folks have written to me about this Mickey image, so I guess it will stay around a while! (Thanks to Ray Harkness, John Wheeler, Brian Lanier, the Muklewicz family, Paul Brune, Amanda Plante and Kevin Stein, Martin Pierce, Julie, Albert Thweatt, Linda Pinto, Nancy Blevins, Dawn and Megan Ilsley, and Tim Devine.) http://allears.net/btp/hm241.jpg

2. Along Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom, a small classic Mickey window is in a wall of a building in the outside Aladdin display window of the Emporium store. I hope this display window doesn't change any time soon! (Thanks to Robert Anderson.) http://allears.net/btp/hm242.jpg

3. In the BoardWalk Resort lobby, in the middle painting on the wall above the middle registration counter, a classic Mickey is formed by the second small group of trees from the right. (Thanks to Nancy Ahlsen.) http://allears.net/btp/hm243.jpg

Read more about Hidden Mickeys, and see past Hidden Mickey alerts here: http://allears.net/btp/hiddenm2.htm

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THE BIG PICTURE
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AllEars® Guest Writer Josh Olive is back with another edition of The Big Picture:

One of my favorite things about Walt Disney World is that things are always changing. That may sound a little odd, since I could most definitely be considered a traditionalist when it comes to the parks, but I still love that there are always new things to experience. As always, I look at new attractions and shows with an eye toward how accommodating they are to people of size.

On my last trip, I got to experience the new Toy Story Midway Mania attraction. The queue for this attraction, like the queue for Expedition Everest, is fantastic. All the toys from your childhood are there, and they're all life-size -- or you're toy size -- and it's a lot of fun. I picked up FastPasses for this ride, then got immediately into the 40-minute rope-drop queue just so I could experience the incredible new Mr. Potatohead audio-animatronic. Of course, he chose that day to be out of commission. Sigh. But it was still worth it; this queue has plenty going on to keep your mind occupied!

This attraction has definitely changed the way you'll spend your day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. If you don't get FastPasses for it first thing, you might not be able to get them at all. And the line will be long, no matter what time you try to hit this ride.

While Toy Story Midway Mania isn't my favorite new attraction from an entertainment standpoint, I will say that it was designed with a variety of body sizes/types in mind. At 6'6" and 400 lbs., I had no problem whatsoever fitting into this ride vehicle. More than just fitting in it, it was, in fact, comfortable! I inspected the ride vehicle with people of size in mind, and I don't think anyone would be precluded from enjoying this attraction because of their size.

For the rest of Josh's latest "The Big Picture": http://allears.net/tp/rid_josh09.htm

Other articles by Josh Olive, including more on "The Big Picture": http://allears.net/btp/josho.htm

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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EVENTS

Disney's Hollywood Studios

The big event this month is the grand opening of the new American Idol Experience at the Studios on February 14!

There is a special Passholder preview February 5–8, 2009. Sign up online for a specific date and time, and choose how you'd like to experience the show from one of the following options:

-- Be a voting audience member during a live show
-- Audition for the chance to perform at one of the live shows

This exclusive preview is for Passholders only, so you will need your valid Walt Disney World Pass, a valid photo ID and the printed out confirmation from your online sign-up. Space is limited, so sign up soon: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/passholder/newsAndEventsFull?id=PassNewsAmericanIdolPreviewArticlePage

In addition, Disney Vacation Club Members now have a special opportunity to sign up to be part of a sneak preview of the show before it opens officially to guests on February 14. The sneak previews have limited availability, so sign up today on the DVC Member site to watch one of the live shows.

ESPN The Weekend presented by Dick's Sporting Goods will be held at Disney's Hollywood Studios February 27-March 1, 2009. The weekend will feature a lineup of athletes and top ESPN personalities such as Mike & Mike, as well as live telecasts including "NFL Live" and "Baseball Tonight." There also will be other sports experiences, such as the Interactive Zone. All the fun is included with regular theme park admission. Also during ESPN The Weekend, Disney's Endurance Series will introduce the ESPN The Weekend 5K on February 28. The race will include special appearances by ESPN talent, and a portion of every entry fee will benefit the V Foundation for cancer research. Kids races are also offered. More information and registration is available at disneyenduranceseries.com

For more details about the weekend's events, visit ESPNTheWeekend.com or http://allears.net/tp/mgm/espn.htm

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, will run 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.

Disney's Wide World of Sports

Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex will host 2009 Twirl Mania, February 13-16, 2009. Twirl Mania is a "one-of-a-kind" international competition for soloist, teams, corps, high schools, universities, and recreational groups in baton twirling, auxiliary units, pompon, and dance. For more information, visit twirlmania.com.

The next NFFC World Chapter meeting for Disney Enthusiasts is Saturday, February 21, 2009. Guest speaker will be noted Disney Historian Jim Korkis, author, former Disney Institute animation instructor, and a contributor to the popular "Walt's People" book series. Korkis will speak about Walt Disney's love of Marceline, Missouri, and its impact on Disney films and parks. Then he will share very rare home movies of Walt and Roy Disney returning to Marceline in 1956 to dedicate the Walt Disney Park in that city. The meeting will be held at the QUALITY INN AND SUITES, 8700 S Orange Blossom Trl, Orlando, FL 32809-7912 (4 miles east of I-4). Doors open at 6 p.m., meeting starts PROMPTLY at 6:45 p.m. Admission: $1.00 for current NFFC Members, $5 Prospective Members. For more information, call the Club Phone Line: 407-ASK ARLO (407-275-2756) or contact: worldchapter@magicalmountain.net/

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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

Magic Kingdom

The Hall of Presidents is closed for rehab through July 1, 2009.

Mickey's PhilharMagic is closed for rehab through February 6.

Pecos Bill's is closed through February 13.

Epcot

Ellen's Energy Adventure in Epcot's Future World is closed for refurbishment until March 22, 2009.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Studio Backlot Tour and AFI Showcase and Shop are closed through February 28, 2009.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular will not be performed February 7 due to Cheer and Dance Championships.

The Sorcerer Hat Shop is closed for refurbishment through February 8, 2009.

Animal Kingdom

TriceraTop Spin is closed for refurbishment until February 13, 2009.

Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon is closed for refurbishment through March 21, 2009.

Surfing classes and private surfing events at Typhoon Lagoon are not available until March 2009. The Craig Carroll Cocoa Beach Surf School at Typhoon Lagoon can now be booked for March 23, 2009, and beyond. http://allears.net/btp/surf.htm

Animal Kingdom Villas and Lodge

Disney Vacation Club has announced that the Kidani Village will open on May 1, 2009. As the development of Kidani Village continues at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, crews are preparing to complete the new savanna and acclimate the animals to their new habitat. To accommodate this important process, animals are not scheduled to be on Sunset Savanna from January 15-April 15, 2009.

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 Trinidad South Pool will be closed for refurbishment February 9-20, 2009.

Contemporary Resort

Construction Update: Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort will open on August 4, 2009. The Wave restaurant is open on the first floor and the Contempo Cafe opened on the 4th floor. The Outer Rim has reopened. 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 is closed through March 15, 2009.

Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground

The Meadows Pool is closed through March 13, 2009.

Port Orleans Riverside

The Ol’ Man Island feature pool will be closed for refurbishment February 2-28, 2009. The Doubloon Lagoon feature pool at Port Orleans French Quarter will be available for Guests who wish to have a slide as part of the pool experience. A boat shuttle will transport Guests between the resorts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Yacht Club Resort

Stormalong Bay will be refurbished now through 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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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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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, and also special celebrations as part of the "What Will You Celebrate?" program.

Shawn and Tonya Gean: We went to Disney World in October 2008. We were hoping that we would win one of the dreams in The Year of a Million Dreams, and in a way, we did. When we got our Fast Passes for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a second Fast Pass popped out of the machine. At first we thought it was a mistake, but when we looked closer, we realized we had received surprise Fast Passes for Mickey's PhilharMagic! If we had not received the surprise Fast Passes, we would not have gone to Mickey's PhilHarmagic because we didn't know much about it. Are we ever glad we did - Mickey's PhilHarmagic became one of our favorite attractions of the trip!

As exciting as getting the free Fast Passes was, it was not the true magical moment of our vacation. That moment came a couple of days later. We had visited Hollywood Studios during the first part of the day, and we had dinner reservations at Teppan Edo at Epcot later that afternoon. By the time we caught our bus at Hollywood Studios and arrived at the gates of Epcot, we had fifteen minutes to get halfway "around the world" to the Japan Pavilion at the back of the park. The kids wanted to stop for Test Track Fast Passes on the way, but the lines were very long and there was no way we could get Fast Passes and make our dinner reservations, too. We sadly told the kids that we might not be able to ride Test Track because the Future World would close soon after dinner, and we weren't sure we could get through the standby line in time. The kids were disappointed but they didn't have time to think about it much. We had to hurry too fast to Teppan Edo.

After a delicious meal, we got in line to ride the ferry back to Future World. We struck up a conversation with a nice lady in front of us. She had been taking in the Food and Wine Festival. We told her about our favorite foods that we had tried. She asked what rides we liked best at Epcot. We told her that we loved Soarin'. We also mentioned that we had hoped to ride Test Track, but that we couldn't get Fast Passes. As luck would have it, the lady we were talking to was a cast member who was enjoying a day off. And where did she work? At Test Track, no less! She told us to follow her when we got off the ferry. We did, and she led us to the front of the line for Test Track. She said something to the man who was taking Fast Passes, and he handed her some tickets from behind the counter. Our friend gave the tickets to us and told us to enjoy our Fast Passes. We thanked her profusely, and she turned to walk away. When we looked at the tickets, we didn't see a return time, so we called out to our friend, "When do we come back to ride?" She smiled and told us, "You can ride right now!" Thanks to a caring cast member, we were able to bypass the long line and get right on the ride! A true magical moment that we will always remember.

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Stacy Lasky (soon to be Tuggle) from Newark, DE: Though this celebration actually happened on 11/21/08, I still wanted to share. My parents, Jim & Cathy, were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary starting Monday 11/17/08. This was their first trip ever without their kids. My brother, Jon, my boyfriend, Bobby, & I had planned to surprise them by showing up on Friday the 21st. We arrived at Animal Kingdom Lodge on Friday afternoon, but found out Mom & Dad were still in the parks. We knew they had dinner planned that night at Boma, so we figured they'd be back soon. We asked a cast member Kim at the front desk if she was able to help us. She was more than happy to help and tried calling their cell phone to let them know a package was waiting for them. However, she couldn't reach them either. So we decided to just "hide" in the lobby and wait for them to return back to their room. When we saw them come into the lobby, we snuck up behind them & yelled "SURPRISE!" The look on their faces was priceless and they really were shocked and happy we showed up. However, unknown to me, the surprises wouldn't end there. The five of us attended Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party later that night. After Holiday Wishes, we waited for crowds to clear because Bobby wanted to get closer to the castle to take photos of it all lit up. I was clueless to what his plan really was. As I was taking photos myself, I turned around to say something to my family and there was Bobby, on his knee, PROPOSING! Tears immediately started falling and I of course said YES! My entire family was there witnessing the most special moment in my life thus far. My dad and Jon got the moment on video and in photos so we can relive it anytime we want. A Cinderella-themed wedding is being planned for 2010. Bobby said he knew he had to start our married life together in front of Cindy's castle because of how much of a Disney fan I am (as well as my family)!

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Adam from Perry, Ohio: My wife, son and a good friend visited WDW November 9 - 15. We had the most wonderful time. As the trip planner, I had it all mapped out as to which parks we'd do each day and where our reservations were each night -- until a magical cast member by the name of Dean threw a wrench in my plans. It was Wednesday, the fourth day of the trip. I had planned that we would open the Magic Kingdom, then hop over to the Studios, then back to MK for dinner in Cinderella Castle. We had just gotten into the park when my son decided he wanted to buy a hat. We went to the hat shop just inside the gates and started searching. He couldn't decide if he wanted to make his own Mickey Ears or buy a Pluto hat. After about 15 minutes we decided to stop by on our way out. We wandered into the sweet shop, because after all it is 9 a.m. in Disney, gotta get some candy for the day. Our friend had walked across Main Street while we were shopping. My wife stepped outside while my son and I were paying for our sweets. When my son and I met up with my wife she was speaking with a cast member. I walked up and introduced myself and that's when I met Dean. We spoke for about 10 to 15 minutes and our friend rejoined us. That's when Dean popped the question: "What are you doing the rest of the day?" Wow! Everyone's eyes immediately turned to me, since I was the planner of all this fun. That's when I made the best decision of the trip. I told Dean we would be hanging out at the Magic Kingdom all day then eating dinner at the castle. Dean then asked if we could be available around 3 p.m. to "help" him with something. Of course we'd help a cast member. It was then that we learned that we would be Grand Marshals in the parade that afternoon. My jaw hit the floor. I couldn't believe it, this is the Most Magical Place on Earth! I was walking on clouds the rest of the day and at 2:45 we met Dean near Splash Mountain for our trip along the parade route in Mickey's limo. We also got to meet Princess Lucy who had won a night's stay in the castle, and we rode with a husband and wife who were part of the Make-a-Wish program. What a special treat to meet such wonderful people and to ride along the parade route. I still remember Dean's words before we started our ride: "Just act like the happiest family in the world." We didn't have to act! I still can't wipe the grin off my face every time I think of that day!

Send your Magical Moments 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.