September 2010
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the August 31, 2010 Issue #571 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. This month we go back to Epcot in September 1991!

Surprise in the Skies, a short-lived but colorful daytime spectacular debuted on September 30, 1991. It ended the following year, on September 30, 1992.

From Official Disney literature: "Boats, kites, paraplanes, hang gliders, fireworks and giant balloons encirle the park's lagoon and soar above the park in the extravaganza. Explosive rainbow colors fill the daytime sky at Epcot Center during presentations of 'Surprise in the Skies' each Saturday through Wednesday. Vivid fireworks in reds, blues and greens announce a show featuring boats with multicolored flags, which pull six colorful delta-wing kits into the air, where they are joined by paraplanes flying the colors of Epcot Center's World Showcase nations."

For more information and photos visit:

If you have photos to share of Surprise in the Skies, please email them to us at

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This year marks the 15th Annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, running from October 1 through November 14. Here are some interesting little morsels about the festival:

-- More than 300 national and international wines

-- 45 fabulous days long

-- More than 75 kinds of international foods, each appetizer-sized portion priced $3-$8

-- More than 270 chefs including America's most celebrated culinarians and Walt Disney World chefs

-- 405 wine and beer seminars

-- More than 1,200 fireworks rockets exploding each night over World Showcase Lagoon in?IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth? grand finale to the festival

-- 135 Eat to the Beat! concerts performed

-- 33,000 bottles of wine and champagne

-- 690,000 sumptuous samplings

-- 338,000 wine glasses

-- 100,000 desserts including freshly baked waffles with berry compote and whipped cream (Belgium marketplace), pear streusel pudding cake (Desserts & Champagne marketplace) and chocolate cannoli (Italy marketplace)

-- 3,000 gallons of soup, including best-selling cheddar cheese soup (Canada marketplace), chicken soup with rice (Puerto Rico marketplace) and bison chili with wild mushrooms (United States marketplace)

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Food and Wine fans have even more to taste during the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort first Annual Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic on October 8 and 9, 2010.

-- 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. each evening, beverage seminars are being offered (these are special ticket events). Seminar topics are titled: Wine Blending Seminar, Riesling Rendezvous, Modern Mixology, All Things Sake, Beer Please, and Bubbles!

-- 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. each evening, food and wine tasting stations will line the causeway between the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts. Tickets are $2 each or 24 for $45 or $50 for unlimited samples.

-- Entertainment will include Pieces of a Dream, The Latin Jazz All Stars and The Groovemasters.

The resort is located between Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios and can be reached on foot or by boat. For room reservations and Classic tickets visit:

For more information:

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Steven Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of highlights a few interesting Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World.

1. Along the right side of the entrance queue of Soarin', five screens show changing artistic landscapes. In the landscape with the purple mountain ridge in the lower background, a large green tree halfway up the right side of the screen holds a classic Mickey group of flowers. (Thanks to Chris McDaniel.)

2. At the rear of the Yakitori House in Epcot's Japan Pavilion, near the drinking fountain in the outdoor seating area, three short bamboo poles form an upside-down classic Mickey when viewed from above. (Thanks to Chuck Lionberger.)

3. At Downtown Disney, just inside the entrance to T-Rex Cafe and over the bar, a pink classic Mickey is on the body of an octopus across from a green praying mantis. (Thanks to Sharon Dale, Tim Jones, Richard Bent, Katie Borland, Susan Williams, Bernice Hasher, Brennan Huizinga, Jamie Lee Hindes, Devon Newport, Kevin Stein and Amanda Plante, and Geoff Rogos.)

Don't miss a selection of past Hidden Mickey Alerts:

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Labor Day Weekend: Walt Disney World is offering golfers a special "Play All Day For $59" this Labor Day Weekend, Friday, September 3 through Monday, September 6, 2010. Reserve your first tee time in advance at any of Disney's 18-hole courses. At the end of the round, schedule your next tee time, based upon availability. You can continue playing until dark. Call Disney's Golf Line at 1-(407)-939-4653 for more information.

Magic Kingdom

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party allows guests to trick-or-treat while immersed in the fantasy of the Magic Kingdom. The evening includes Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade; trick-or-treating throughout the Magic Kingdom at numerous locations; and the special Happy HalloWishes fireworks. Lots of characters are out in the park, wearing their favorite costumes -- you're encouraged to wear yours too. 2010 party dates and times are: September 14, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30; October 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, and 31; November 1. The party runs from 7 p.m. to midnight; Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade is at 8:15 and 10:30 p.m. with the Happy HalloWishes fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Prices for the party are as follows (all prices listed include tax):

Advance Purchase: $57.46 for adults 10 and older / $51.07 for ages 3-9 (Not available all dates)
Passholder and DVC Member Discounts: $53.20 / $46.81 (may not be available all dates)
Day of Event (if still available): $63.85 /$57.46

Night of Joy, a contemporary Christian music festival, will be held Friday and Saturday, September 10 and 11, 2010, at Magic Kingdom. From 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. bands will perform contemporary Christian rock, pop and gospel on several stages around the park. The line-up, subject to change, is:

-- September 10, 2010: Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Casting Crowns, BarlowGirl, Thousand Foot Krutch, Chris August, Group 1 Crew, Tenth Avenue North, and Sidewalk Prophets.
-- September 11, 2010: MercyMe; Third Day, Family Force 5, Smokie Norful, Red, LeCrae, Day of Fire, Britt Nicole, Mike's Chair

The inaugural Disney Gospel Choir Fest will be held at Walt Disney World on Saturday, September 11, 2010, as part of Night of Joy 2010. Gospel choirs from across America will vie a for chance to perform on stage in a program hosted by celebrity Master of Ceremonies Smokie Norful, a GRAMMY Award-Winning Gospel Artist. A panel of EMI record executives will judge the choir performances and offer constructive feedback. The panel will also select the winning choir, which will show off its talent later that evening during Night of Joy. The festival schedule includes performances throughout the day, followed by an awards ceremony during which each participating choir will receive a special Disney Gospel Choir Fest Award. Special group tickets are available to church groups and congregations wanting to join their favorite choirs and cheer them on during the competition.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

A special Star Tours Final Flight event will be hosted by D23 at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The event will take place Tuesday, September 7, the last day of operations for the attraction, which will then close for a major makeover. To obtain tickets for the event, which is open ONLY to members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Community, and more information, visit the D23 website:


Epcot International Food and Wine Festival's First Bites Opening Reception -- An opening reception in the Festival Welcome Center featuring epicurean samplings from the International Marketplaces, Wine Seminars, Culinary Demonstrations, merchandise locations, celebrities and entertainment. This is truly a sneak peek of the Festival before it is officially open to the public. Where: Festival Welcome Center When: Thursday, September 30, 2010, from 6:30 – 9 p.m. Price: $195.00 per person, plus tax, gratuity included – Theme Park admission required.

Don't forget to check our Events page for current updates:



Animal Kingdom

Flame Tree Barbecue will be closed for rehab August 9 through September 19, 2010. It is scheduled to reopen September 20.

Magic Kingdom

"it's a small world" will be closed for refurbishment from August 1 through October 22.

Mad Tea Party will be closed for refurbishment September 26 to November 10.

"Storytime with Belle" at the Fairytale Garden will be performed for the last times on September 12. A new "play and greet" interactive experience with characters from the upcoming animated film "Tangled" will be introduced in the Magic Kingdom's Fairytale Garden beginning Friday, October 15. The new experience will allow you to play and dance with Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder in a village garden setting.

Construction for the Fantasyland expansion has begun, necessitating the closing of several existing Magic Kingdom areas. Pooh's Playful Spot playground, Ariel's Grotto Character meet-and-greet and Scuttle's Landing have closed. Pooh and Tigger will appear in Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. Enchanted Grove will now be open in Fantasyland for Extra Magic Hour mornings offering coffee and muffins. The Fantasyland pretzel cart will be located near Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Frozen Coca-Cola products will continue to be available at The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland. During this expansion, classic Fantasyland attractions, including "it's a small world," Peter Pan's Flight, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Cinderella's Golden Carrousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Mad Tea Party, will remain open.


Cantina de San Angel at the Mexico pavilion in Epcot has been closed for a significant refurbishment and expansion. The company that operates the restaurants in the Mexico pavilion, San Angel Inn, LLC, plans to open La Hacienda San Angel, a new 250-seat waterside restaurant, on September 15, on the site.

The Disney Parks Blog recently updated news on the new restaurant. According to the blog, the new restaurant's menu will feature freshly made corn tortillas and a variety of salsas, as well as "spectacular" appetizers, such as chiles toreados y chorizitos. La Hacienda will also feature tequila flights, and a whole new line of margaritas, including a coffee margarita, and one made from fresh blueberries, mango puree and mashed basil. La Hacienda will be on the Disney Dining Plan, with most entrees requiring one point, except for the larger entrees that are for two guests, which require two points. The all-new La Hacienda de San Angel and La Cantina de San Angel are on schedule for a mid-September opening, with La Hacienda now taking reservations for October 15 and thereafter. (The first few weeks will be a "soft opening" with no reservations.)

During the refurbishment, the San Angel Inn Restaurante and La Cava de Tequila, located inside the Mexico pavilion, and the Taqueria Del Lago, located alongside the promenade, are open for Mexican dining.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney: One Man's Dream will be closed for refurbishment August 16 - November 2, 2010.

Star Tours will close as of September 8, 2010. The attraction will be updated and reopened around the middle of May 2011. The new experience will be in 3-D, an all-new ride that includes many of the new worlds and elements from the more recent Star Wars movies.

The Breathless II is unavailable until further notice due to unforeseen maintenance issues. If you have an existing reservation you will be contacted to reschedule if possible.

Kennels: Best Friends Pet Care, the new pet care facility at Walt Disney World, is set to open Wednesday, September 1. Kennels at Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios close to walk-ups on September 1, while the kennels at Animal Kingdom, Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and Magic Kingdom (Transportation and Ticket Center) close to walk-ups September 2. From September 1 on, pets with new reservations for Best Friends Pet Care will be hosted at the new facility. Best Friends Pet Care is located across from Port Orleans at 2510 Bonnet Creek Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. To book accommodations for your pets visit or call 877-4-WDW-PETS.

EDITOR'S NOTE: AllEars® Team Member Mike Bachand will be attending the grand opening event for the Best Friends Pet Care facility. Watch for his blog on the event later this week!

A complete list of rehabs can be found here:

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Even though the program has reached its goal of recruiting 1 million volunteers and is not taking any additional applicants, we'll be sharing reports of guests who have experienced special Magic as part of the "Give a Day. Get a Disney Day" program:

Pletschdoc: We had to travel over an hour to get to the thrift store for Avenues to Independence, which helps people with Downs Syndrome, CP, and Autism. My husband, son and I sorted through the clothing to separate by size, and the women's clothes by color also, then I started rearranging the books according to subject. It was worth the time and travel to be able to offer to help the store.

Jim Kieckhafer: My daughter, son-in-law, grandson and I signed up at Mercy hospital in Oshkosh, WI to help put 4000 gift bags together. Just want to thank Disney for the great idea and for a chance to give something back to our hospital and also for giving a chance for my grandson to make it his 1st time at the Magic Kingdom.

Lisa Sorenson: My husband, mom, and I participated as food drive assistants benefiting a local shelter, Providence Regina House here in the Seattle area. On the day of service, we stood in front of a grocery store for 2 hours handing out flyers explaining what types of items the shelter needed (baby items, diapers, and shelf stable proteins like beans, chili, and spam). It was a great experience and we got an e-mail the following Monday letting us know that it was a record amount of food and diapers (91 packages) collected in one day for the shelter. Our vouchers will be used to visit Disneyland for our 5th anniversary.

Mary and Andrew Wilson: My mom, son and I volunteered at an elementary school in East Harlem, New York City on January 18, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday. We gave our time, but the school and volunteers we worked with gave us so much more: insights into a beautiful community dedicated to making the lives of urban school children and their families so much better. It was a gift we were grateful to receive. We used our vouchers while visiting my snowbird parents in Florida in February. A day at Magic Kingdom plus an afternoon of volunteering in Harlem = one VERY happy Long Island Family.

This is our last monthly featurette with Give a Day, Get a Day Stories. Thanks to everyone who sent in their wonderful stories of volunteerism!

Beginning next month, we will return to Magical Moments at Disney Vacation Destinations. Send yours to:


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.