January 2010
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the December 29, 2009 Issue #536 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. Since we are beginning a new decade, let's go back 10 years and see what happened at Walt Disney World in the year 2000. Here are just a few notable items:

-- Price of a one-day ticket goes from $44 to $46!
-- The 5th and final running of the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway takes place.
-- Walt Disney World stages an unforgettable half-time show for Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta incorporating major elements of Epcot's Millennium parade, "Tapestry of Nations."

-- Michael J. Fox adds his handprints to the collection at the Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios).

-- The Countdown to Extinction attraction is renamed "Dinosaur" at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
-- Rosie O'Donnell, voice of Terk in the animated film "Tarzan," brings her afternoon talk show to Animal Kingdom's Theatre in the Wild May 15-18.
-- Disney announces that it will expand its timeshare resort presence with the addition of Disney's Beach Club Villas, scheduled to open in 2002.

-- A new Villains Character Dinner at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian begins, featuring a nightly cast of four characters on a rotating basis: Cruella De Vil, Wicked Witch, Captain Hook, Queen of Hearts, Governor Ratcliffe, Prince John.

-- Disney suspends sales of the Walk Around The World bricks outsdie the Magic Kingdom.

-- Bonfamille's at Port Orleans Resort closes.

-- At Disney's Animal Kingdom, Conservation Station becomes Rafiki's Planet Watch and the Wildlife Express becomes Railway Transportation to Rafiki's Planet Watch.
-- Pleasure Island features the band Men at Work at the West End stage.

-- The Villas at Wilderness Lodge open.

-- Jodi Benson, Angela Bassett, Meredith Baxter, Ben Vereen, Robert Urich, James Avery, Alfre Woodard, Peter MacNicol, Leeza Gibbons, Antonio Sabato Jr., Phylicia Rashad, Robby Benson and Gary Sinise narrate Candlelight Processional.
-- Safari Village, a land at Disney's Animal Kingdom, becomes Discovery Island.
-- Agrabah Bazaar in Magic Kingdom opens.
-- Duran Duran, Foreigner and Chic headline the musical talent helping ring in the New Year at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island.

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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com brings you a few cool Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World:

1.    On the rocky edge of the mermaid lagoon in Peter Pan's Flight, three flowers on the grass form a classic Mickey; the "head" is yellow and the "ears" are light orange.  (Thanks to Jesse and Sarah Kline, and Donna McMurrey.)


2.    Inside the Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant, on the left side of the "When You Wish Upon a Star" wall mural (near the exit to the restrooms), a tiny white classic Mickey is near a sparkling star. It's to the left of the Fairy, at the level of her mid right thigh, and her right thumb points to it. (Thanks to Scott Mueller.)


3.    On the Gran Fiesta Tour attraction in the Mexico pavilion, a dark classic Mickey tree is in a photo of a shoreline to the right of your boat.  Donald Duck is parasailing in the scene, and the tree is on the right side of the scene in front of buildings on the shoreline.  (Thanks to Jennifer Lynch, Jake Thompson, and Marc Lorenzo.)


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Walt Disney World is offering several new ways to celebrate New Year's Eve this year:

-- A special two-hour, all-you-care-to-enjoy dinner, dessert and exclusive viewing of the Wishes fireworks show will be offered at the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station on December 31 between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. The Dinner and Dessert Party includes artisan breads, fruit, cheeses, sushi, salads, seared tuna, beef short-ribs and carved pork. There will also be a child-friendly section available during the party. A wide range of desserts will be available, and you can toast the New Year with a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage before the fireworks. Check in for the Party begins at 6:15 p.m. Prices are $139.99 for ages 10 and older; $69.99 for children 3 through 9.

-- The Fantasy in the Sky Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom begins at 9:50 p.m. The Party includes a self-service buffet featuring sweets and beverages and non-alcoholic sparkling drinks. Prices: $35.99 for ages 10 and over; $19.99 for children 3 through 9. Park admission is required. The Disney Dining Plan is not currently being accepted and pre-payment will be required when reserving seats for the night.

-- Victoria & Albert's restaurant at the Grand Floridian will offer an eight to 10 course menu on New Year's Eve, including caviar from around the world and an eclectic assortment of champagnes. Chef Scott Hunnel and his team will make appearances during the event, which, with wine and gratuity will be $375 plus tax for those 10 years of age and older (those under 10 can not attend). You must be older than 21 to be served alcohol. Booking has already begun for the event.


Disney's Wide World of Sports

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend January 7-10, 2010 -- Led by co-captains Mike Scopa and Michelle Scribner-MacLean, Team AllEars® members will be running in the Walt Disney World Half, Full and Goofy Marathons! In addition to Mike and Michelle, look for AllEars.Net's Deb Wills, Cathy Bock and Barrie Brewer, along with the 40 great Team AllEars® Runners! These runners have not only been training for months, but they have also been raising funds and awareness in the fight against Breast Cancer. To date, Team AllEars® has raised more than $16,000!

Be sure to come out and cheer on the runners!


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



Magic Kingdom

Splash Mountain will be closed from January 3 - February 27, 2010.

The Crystal Palace Restaurant in Magic Kingdom will be closed for rehab January 3 - February 13, 2010. Beginning January 3, 2010, Liberty Tree Tavern will host character dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with all meals served in an all-you-care-to-enjoy, family-style setting. On February 15, 2010, Liberty Tree Tavern will resume its normal operation of serving lunch and dinner as a non-character location. Reservations for Liberty Tree Tavern character meals are available now.


Living with the Land will be closed for rehab January 18 - February 5, 2010.

Test Track will be closed for rehab January 11 - 17, 2010.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular will be dark January 11 - 15, 2010.

Typhoon Lagoon is closed for its annual refurbishment through January 9, 2010.

Blizzard Beach will close for annual refurbishment January 10 - March 20, 2010.

A complete list of rehabs can be found here: http://allears.net/tp/rehabs.htm

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Each month we 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.

Shana Wilson: When my Mom and I checked into the Grand Floridian for our "Laid-Back Disney Escape" (which she and I take every year) we were asked by Jennifer if we were celebrating anything. We told her that I was 5 months along with my first baby and it was also Mom's first grandchild (I am an only child).  She gave each of us a button to wear and was so sweet about saying congratulations. We didn't think anything more about it and proceeded to the parks. When we returned to our beautiful and perfect room, there was a Disney family frame that holds ten different pictures with a note from Jennifer saying congratulations again and wishing us a great vacation. It was so nice, we couldn't believe that she had remembered us and went to the trouble to make our stay seem special. We ended up signing up for the DVC at the end of our trip and are saving the frame for after next year's Christmas visit when we hope to take baby Milo for his first haircut on Main Street USA!

Judy Burton: We are both 70, and spent a night at Animal Kingdom Lodge after a 7 night stay in another resort. Upon check-in, the check-in lady asked us if we were celebrating anything special, a birthday etc. We told her we were not but we had been there a while back on our birthdays (which are six days apart, in March) and had not told anyone or gotten anything special at that time, so this was an unbirthday. She said "Well, we will celebrate your unbirthdays". She gave us birthday pins and later in the day when I was leaving our wonderful safari view room, a cast member handed me a "birthday  cake" made of a towel with candles and decorations and a coupon for a photopass. What a surprise and it made our visit!

Gvanvon: We arrived at the Magic Kingdom about 8:30 am for the park 9 am opening. As we entered the park I said to my partner “Let’s see the Hall of  Presidents before it gets busy”.  We headed in that direction and we were the only people to enter the rotunda.  I saw that the doors were open to the auditorium, so I asked one of the cast members if we could go in. He answered yes so we took seats in the center back.  A few minutes later the cast member walked in closed the doors and he started our private viewing of the Hall of Presidents show.  I have never been in any show with only my own party.  A true magical moment!

Rebecca Farrell: On the last day of our trip, we were in Epcot.  Seeking a break from the unrelenting heat, we stepped inside the American Adventure. A cast member pulled my husband aside and said that there was a message waiting for him. He told him to call 2144 on a phone in the AA lobby. Turns out, it was a recording of Goofy singing "Happy Birthday" (it was my husband's birthday) and he was so pleased!


This month, AllEars® Team members share their favorite Disney photos from 2009 in a special edition of Wandering the World, the Land and other Disney locations. Enjoy! http://allears.net/tp/wander/wander.htm

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.