November 2010
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the October 26, 2010 Issue #579 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. This month we go back to November circa 1960s and 1970s!

It was November 15, 1965 when Walt Disney (accompanied by his brother, Roy, and Florida Governor Haydon Burns) made the first public announcement detailing his plans for the "Florida Project" at the Cherry Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

November 26, 1971, The Magic Kingdom reached capacity for the first time and the gates were temporarily closed.

November 28, 1974 the Star Jets (later known as Astro Orbiter) opened in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom.

In 1977, the NBC TV network aired The Wonderful World of Disney show entitled "The Mouseketeers at Walt Disney World."

And on November 18, 1978 Disney World began Mickey Mouse's 50th birthday celebration and parade.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you have photos from the Star Jets in the 1970s or Mickey's 50th Birthday parade to contribute to our archives, please send to: allearsnet@yahoo.com

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HOUSE OF BLUES:
A REVIEW


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Guest Blogger Andrew Rossi takes us on a tour of the House of Blues located on Downtown Disney's West Side:

Whenever I would think of House of Blues I pictured a bar or club-like atmosphere with music blaring and people being really loud and obnoxious, a place that you would be more likely to go to just to get a drink rather than a full sit-down meal. The reality turned out to be far different and I do not think I have ever been more pleasantly surprised by a restaurant at Disney World. House of Blues exceeded my expectations in every way in terms of the atmosphere, the service, and especially the food. After eating here just once I can say that it has become my favorite dining location at Downtown Disney and I will definitely be going back frequently.

The House of Blues is dedicated to educating people about, and celebrating, the history of Southern culture, especially African American contributions to music and art. Since the first House of Blues opened in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1992 one of its primary goals has been to introduce the world to the music of the rural south, including blues, rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz, and rock and roll. The result is an atmosphere that is very eclectic.

I was very impressed by the menu at House of Blues largely because of its wide selection of offerings highlighting what can best be described as Southern soul food. The menu, which is the same for both lunch and dinner, starts with a vast array of appetizers, a variety of burgers and sandwiches, and entrees featuring some traditional southern favorites, most notably the Creole Seafood Jambalaya with shrimp, chicken, andouille sausage, and roasted green onions.

For an appetizer I chose the Pan Seared Voodoo Shrimp, my entree was Eggplant-Stuffed Salmon, and for dessert White Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding.

Read Andrew's entire review, including descriptions of the atmosphere, decor, service, his menu selections and dining on a budget, complete with photographs at:

http://land.allears.net/blogs/guestblog/2010/10/house_of_blues_downtown_disney.html

EDITOR'S NOTE: House of Blues offers discounts for Disney Vacation Club Members, Annual Passholders, Tables in Wonderland card holders and D23 members. Be sure to show your card at check-in to learn about the current offers.

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RATE & REVIEW
SPOTLIGHT

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Compiled by AllEars® Team Member Cathy Bock

In this monthly featurette, we take a look at recent comments made in the AllEars.Net Rate & Review section about a particular restaurant, resort, event, etc. This month, we examine what AllEars® readers are saying about Le Cellier, the popular table service restaurant in the Canada pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase.

Le Cellier serves both lunch and dinner, and advanced dining reservations are a must due to its popularity. This restaurant is recommended by 93% of our reviewers, with an average rating of 8.7.

Recent food reviews include:
--Cheddar cheese soup: "wasn't crazy about it"; "delicious"; "very good"; "too much onion flavor"; "great as usual".
--Breadsticks: "love the breadsticks"; "pretzel bread to die for!"; "bread was fantastic".
--Steak: "best of the trip"; "LOVED the KC Coffee Rubbed Steak"; "NY Strip smelled delicious, tasted good, but was tough as shoe leather"; "very good"; "too fatty for my taste".
--Prime Rib: "good but not the best I've ever had"; "absolutely delicious!"; "would have liked horseradish sauce on the side rather than on top".
--Side dishes: "get the cream cheese mashed potatoes"; "cream cheese mashed potatoes were phenomenal"; "fries were really good"; "potato dish was cold and clumpy"; "risotto is on the salty side".
--Desserts: Chocolate mousse "wasn't too bad"; "it was good"; "absolutely love". Maple creme brulee "was terrific"; "decadent". Raspberry sorbet "just okay".

Service rates very high: "awesome"; "waitress was very nice"; "interacted extremely well with children"; "good server who refilled drinks and bread sticks".

Most of the negative comments are about the difficulty of obtaining an advanced dining reservation ("tried to get ADRs for 5 years and finally got in") and the cost ("good but a bit overpriced"). And with the restaurant moving into the two dining credit category next year (for Disney Dining Plan users, dinner only, starting in March 2011), most reviewers who were on the dining plan would probably not return: "not sure they are worth two credits"; "sad that they are going to a two credit table service". An alternative is to try to schedule lunch: "will keep it to lunch seeing how they will now be two dining credits."

Le Cellier lunch menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_lcl.htm
Le Cellier dinner menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_lcd.htm

If you have recently dined at Le Cellier, or any Disney restaurant, we'd love to have your reviews, too! You can find Rate & Review here: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/

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HIDDEN MICKEYS ALERT
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Steven Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com brings you a few Hidden Mickeys from around Walt Disney World. Enjoy!

1. Classic (three-circle) Hidden Mickeys made of rocks can usually be found on the floor of the huge aquarium at the Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion at Epcot. Recently, I spotted two rock Mickeys from the second level of the aquarium, one along the right side of the corridor that leads to the circular viewing area, and another farther along near the middle rear of the circular viewing area. (Thanks to Chelsea Anderson.)

http://allears.net/btp/hm305.jpg
http://allears.net/btp/hm306.jpg

2. On the side of the right stone support of The Land Pavilion sign outside, a small classic Mickey is formed of stones embedded in the upper right portion of the mosaic design. Look in the center area of the collection of stones in the green square tile section. (Thanks to Sharon and Chloe Dale.)

http://allears.net/btp/hm307.jpg

3. If you get a chance to visit Franck's Studio, next to the Wedding Pavilion between the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts, check out the wedding merchandise inside. You'll likely find tiny classic Mickeys made of jewels and pearls on the pillows, purses, bags, bouquets, etc.

http://allears.net/btp/hm308.jpg

You can find past Hidden Mickeys Alerts here:
http://allears.net/btp/hiddenm2.htm

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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EVENTS

Magic Kingdom

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party: Final Week! Guests 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. Remaining 2010 party dates are: 26, 28, 29, and 31; November 1. NOTE: October 31 is SOLD OUT! 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 (Not available all dates)
Day of Event (if still available): $63.85 /$57.46

http://allears.net/tp/mk/mnssh.htm

Jack Spence's comprehensive party report, with photos and videos:
http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2010/09/mickeys_not_so_scary_halloween.html

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is a special night of holiday entertainment in the Magic Kingdom that includes: Castle Dream Lights; Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade featuring Santa Claus; special Holiday Wishes - Celebrate the Spirit of the Season Fireworks; Celebrate the Season Castle Stage Show; snow on Main Street, U.S.A.; complimentary hot cocoa and cookies. 2010 party dates and times: November 8, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 28, and 30; December 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, and 19. The party runs from 7 p.m. to midnight; Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade is at 8:15 and 10:30 p.m.; Holiday Wishes fireworks is 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 December 7, 10, 12, 17 or 19)
Passholder and DVC Member Discounts: $53.20 / $46.81 (Not available December 7, 10 through 19)
Day of Event (if still available): $63.85 /$57.46

The Magic Kingdom's Castle Dream Lights begin the same night as the first Christmas Party on November 8.

http://allears.net/tp/hol_mk.htm

Epcot

15th Annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival -- This year's festival, dubbed Delicious Discoveries, continues now through November 14. There will be a dozen categories of special wine and culinary events scheduled during the festival's six weeks. New programming this year includes the First Bites Opening Reception festival preview to be held on September 30; the 3-D Disney's Dessert Discovery and the Taste, Shake and Indulge Like the French Grand Marnier tasting experience. Returning events include Celebrating Family and Friends in the Kitchen, Epcot Wine Schools, Mexico Tequila Tastings and Food and Wine Pairings. Throughout the festival, the park will present more than 25 international marketplaces where food, wine, beer and spirits lovers can sample cuisine, culture and entertainment from six continents. The new Belgium marketplace will serve Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream, and the new South Korea marketplace will offer BBQ Short Ribs with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi. At least 250 Disney and celebrity chefs will conduct culinary demonstrations and host tasting events. In addition, the Festival Welcome Center will feature Authentic Taste Seminars and Authors without Borders weekend conversations that are included with Epcot admission. To make reservations for these special events and programs, call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378). Festival details are available at http://allears.net/tp/ep/foodwine.htm or at www.disneyworld.com/foodandwine.

The Eat to the Beat Concert Series also continues as part of the 2010 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. The concerts, which are included with Epcot admission, are at the America Gardens Theatre nightly at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. The schedule (subject to change) for the remainder of the festival includes:

11/1-11/3: Boyz II Men, "End of the Road"
11/4-11/5: Roger Hodgson formerly of Supertramp, "Give A Little Bit"
11/6-11/7: Jon Secada, "Just Another Day"
11/8-11/9: Hanson, "MMMBop"
11/10-11/11: Rick Springfield, "Jessie's Girl"
11/12-11/14: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, "Go Daddy-O"

http://allears.net/tp/ep/fw10/fw10_concerts.htm

Holidays Around the World in Epcot - November 26 - December 30.

http://allears.net/tp/holiday.htm

Epcot's Candlelight Processional begins November 26, the day after Thanksgiving. The annual holiday tradition continues, as do Epcot's Holiday Storytellers, through December 30.

Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages went on sale August 26. Celebrity narrators for Epcot's annual reading of the Nativity, performed with a choir, (subject to change) includes:

-- November 26-28: Isabella Rossellini
-- November 29 - December 1: John O'Hurley
-- December 2-4: Corbin Bernsen
-- December 5-6: Susan Lucci
-- December 7-9: Jodi Benson
-- December 10-11: Whoopi Goldberg
-- December 12-15 : Steven Curtis Chapman
-- December 16-18 : Thomas Gibson
-- December 19-21: Trace Adkins
-- December 22-23: Brad Garrett
-- December 24-27: Edward James Olmos
-- December 28-30: Marlee Matlin (Jack Jason)

http://allears.net/tp/h_cpfaq.htm

Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights start November 8 and continue through January 3, 2011.

http://allears.net/tp/h_osb.htm

Animal Kingdom

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade at Animal Kingdom switches over to Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade on November 26 and continues through January 3, 2011.

http://allears.net/tp/ak/ak_mjjhol.htm

Downtown Disney

Festival of the Masters - Downtown Disney November 12-14 .

http://allears.net/btp/festmast.htm

The Festival of the Seasons starts November 19. Santa Claus will meet with children and pose for pictures daily at the Marketplace through December 24 at Santa's Chalet.

ESPN Wide World of Sports

The Old Spice Classic will feature 12 basketball games over three days, November 25, 26 and 28, at Walt Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This year, California, Notre Dame, Temple, Texas A&M and Wisconsin will be joined by Boston College, Georgia and Manhattan for a Thanksgiving weekend basketball feast. Additional information can be found on the Old Spice Classic Web site at www.OldSpiceClassic.com. For more information about ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, visit www.DisneySports.com.

The 2010 VEX Robotics All-Star Challenge will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex this November 11-13. The competition is presented by NASA, iRobot, EMC and Autodesk and features the first 100 teams from around the world who wish to participate and test themselves against the best of the best from the previous season in the new game for the 2010 - 2011 Season: Round Up. The VEX Robotics All-Star Challenge at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will also be a qualifier for the VEX Robotics Competition World Championship, with the top teams earning an automatic spot. For More information regarding the Second Annual VEX Robotics All-Star Challenge at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: www.vexrobotics.com

The Children's Miracle Network Classic will be held November 11-14 on Disney's Palm and Magnolia golf courses. The 40th chapter of this PGA TOUR tradition is the final official-money event of the PGA TOUR season. More information: www.ChildrensMiracleNetworkClassic.com.

The first-ever Benefit Sale for the Heart of Florida United Way, hosted and sponsored by Walt Disney World, will be held at Downtown Disney on Saturday, November 6 from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. Proceeds from the sale of the $5 event vouchers go directly to Heart of Florida United Way and the more than 30 participating United Way partner agencies to help fund health and social service programs. There will be discounts of up to 50 to 75 percent off select merchandise at many of the participating Downtown Disney locations. Plus, the sale will feature doorbuster specials, surprise markdowns, gifts with purchase and much, much more. Access will be limited. For details, visit www.thebenefitsale.com

http://land.allears.net/blogs/dnews/2010/10/shopping_has_its_rewards_at_fi.html

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

Mad Tea Party is closed for refurbishment through November 10.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is closed for refurbishment through November 14 for refurbishment to the load area. Shortly after it reopens, an enhanced queue featuring interactive experiences will debut.

Construction for the Fantasyland expansion is under way, 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 now appear in Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A. Enchanted Grove is now open in Fantasyland for Extra Magic Hour mornings offering coffee and muffins. The Fantasyland pretzel cart is 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, Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and Mad Tea Party, will remain open, except during any rehabs that may be scheduled.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney: One Man's Dream is closed for refurbishment through November 2, 2010.

Star Tours is closed for rehab. The attraction will be updated and reopen 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.

Typhoon Lagoon is closed for its yearly refurbishment October 31 - January 8, 2010.

RESORTS

Disney's BoardWalk Resort parking lot is restricted now through November 14. Only guests staying at the resort, attending a convention event or with dining, recreation or spa reservations are permitted to park at the resort.

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

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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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Each month we share reports of guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland experiencing special Magic, which we call "Magical Moments":

Juli Ruffing: My boyfriend of three years surprised me with a one-day trip to the Magic Kingdom when I thought we were going to Atlanta for a football game. We stopped for a PhotoPass picture in front of Cinderella Castle and I knew something was up when he stood there after the picture and started to choke up a little. I thought it was an asthma attack, but then he dropped to one knee and pulled a little box out of his pocket and asked me to marry him. I didn't even say yes or let him get off the ground before I tackled him in a massive hug. I can't imagine anything more memorable or magical than starting our life together at the Magic Kingdom. And now I get to plan a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding!

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Judy Burton: We had just finished dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge and were going to Hollywood Studios to pick up our bus to return to our resort. When we got on the bus, there was one other family and us. They were going to a resort for their dinner reservation. The driver told us that Hollywood Studios was only open another half-hour. We told him we were only going there to catch our bus and the other family told him they were just going to catch the boat to their dinner reservation. This nice bus driver then bypassed Hollywood Studios and took us directly to our resort, then took the other family to the resort for their dinner reservation, saving both families much time. What nice bus drivers!

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Barbie Garrison: We took our then 6-year-old daughter to Epcot for the first time in 2008 in hopes of meeting one of her favorite princesses, Mulan.  After trekking out to China, we were very disappointed to find out that Mulan was out "fighting the Huns that day." It was one of the only times our daughter was upset that whole trip, but we appeased her with the "we'll be back in two years" speech, and we will meet Mulan then. We visited this past March and meeting Mulan was again, high on our list. We headed straight to China on our Epcot day, but alas, no Mulan again! This time, we were both pretty disappointed and I asked a cast member if there was ANY way at all we could even just catch a glimpse of the elusive princess. I was told that sometimes she was at the Askershus dinner, and maybe we could see her as she came or went. The hostess at the restaurant (which was sold out for the entire day) asked me to wait to talk to the manager. The manager invited my daughter and me in to the lobby of the restaurant, and we were so excited that we were possibly going to see Mulan walk by in the distance. To our surprise, the manager personally brought Mulan right over to us! She did a personal meet and greet right there in the restaurant lobby with us, posed for pictures and gave my daughter multiple hugs! When she left, the manager, my daughter and I were all crying and hugging and jumping up and down! It was truly a moment we will never forget!

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Some readers share their Magical Moments in photographs. We've assembled a group from the Harmony Barber Shop in the latest Wandering the World here:
http://allears.net/tp/wander/wander.htm

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We just bet you have a story to tell about an unforgettable moment during your Disney vacation -- we all do! Please send your favorite memory for inclusion in a future AllEars® to: allearsnet@yahoo.com Thank you all for sharing!


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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.