July 2007 Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the June 26, 2007 Issue #405 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

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Ever wonder what Walt Disney World was like way back when? Each month we visit a time gone by in Walt Disney World history. We travel now to the month of July from various years gone by:

Happy Birthday to Epcot's Maelstrom at the Norway Pavilion! The Maelstrom opened to guests on July 5, 1988. The Maelstrom takes you on a journey back in time (to a 10th century Viking village) to the Norway of old, aboard dragon-headed 16-passenger boats. The Maelstrom actually shares its name with a famous whirlpool between the islands of the Lofoten island group off the northwest coast of Norway. Did you know that in the mural that greets you at the Maelstrom's loading dock you will find a Viking sporting Mickey Ears?

Other July Disney Dates include:

July 1, 1996: BoardWalk resort and area opened. Sporting 3787 rooms and suites, the BoardWalk Inn is themed to the romantic Victorian style oceanside resorts of the 1920's and 30's.

July 1995: Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings Pavilion opened.

July 30, 1998: Disney Cruise Line launched first ship, the Disney Magic

July 1987: Total attendance topped 250 million!

July 1, 2000 – The Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in the Magic Kingdom's Frontierland opened with an all-new show geared toward guests who wanted a more up-close character experience. It was called Goofy's Country Dancin' Jamboree!

July is also the time to wish Disneyland a Happy Birthday: July 17! There were 20 attractions in the California park on its Opening Day: King Arthur Carrousel, Peter Pan's Flight, Mad Tea Party, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Canal Boats of the World, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Autopia, Space Station X-1, Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad, Circarama, Horse-drawn Streetcars, Fire Wagon, and Surreys, Main Street Cinema, Jungle Cruise, Stage Coach, Mule Pack, Mark Twain Steamboat, Penny Arcade and Golden Horseshoe Revue!

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It's always nice to thank someone for a job well done, and Disney thanks its long-term employees with its variety of Service Awards. As a company that honors Tradition, Magic, Pixie Dust, Innovation, Humor and Teamwork as its hallmarks, Disney has been handing out service awards to both full and part-time cast members since Disneyland's "tencennial" celebration. Awards are given monthly, based on cast members' years of service, with distinguished service celebrations for those with the company for more than 10 years. Here's a summary of the awards given:

— At 1 year and 5 years, cast members receive a Welcome Steamboat Willie pin and a Pluto pin, respectively, to mark the "Beginnings" of their careers.
— At 10 years, a Cinderella Castle pin and a Mickey plaque to commemorate the years of service are bestowed, a tradition started by Walt Disney himself at the first service awards.
— At 15 years, a Sorcerer Mickey pin and a Cinderella Castle are awarded as a symbol of the "Magic" that the cast members create.
— At 20 years, the award is a Mickey Mouse pin and a watch or 10-carat gold ring, celebrating Walt's famous quote, "I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse."
— At 25 years, a Tinker Bell pin and statue representing the all-important ingredient of Pixie Dust are given.
— At 30 years, cast members receive a pin and an award featuring Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio's Conscience, who represents character and integrity essential to Disney's success.
— At 35 years, a Pinocchio pin and award representing Innovation and dedication to high standards, are given.
— At 40 years, Donald Duck's humor is commemorated in a pin and an award that remind cast members of the need to laugh at ourselves.
— At 45 years, a special award featuring Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, along with a pin, symbolize the teamwork necessary to achieve the impossible.
— At 50 years, these special cast members receive a 14-carat gold Mickey Mouse Service pin with the number 50 and a diamond, along with a personalized award.

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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys book and webmaster of www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com, highlights a few cool Hidden Mickeys at Downtown Disney Marketplace in Walt Disney World. Look for them while you're shopping, people watching, and enjoying the magic!

1. Look for Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Pluto and other characters in the light brown upper wall mural around the inside of Goofy's Candy Co. store. http://allears.net/btp/hm166.jpg

2. In the interactive flat fountain near the Once Upon a Toy store, water tube heads are shaped like classic Mickeys, recessed lights in the cement are arranged in a classic Mickey shape, and the fountain water collects into a huge classic Mickey on the cement! (Thanks to Salina Barbosa & Johnny Bartolomeo)

3. In the World of Disney, some of the indoor signs for the various store sections have Mickey and other character images. (Thanks to Bridget Skallet and Max Dinan) http://allears.net/btp/hm162.jpg

Check out previous Hidden Mickey alerts by Steve at: http://allears.net/btp/hiddenm2.htm

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It's the Fourth of July at Walt Disney World:

Parades, fireworks and nighttime spectaculars will fill Disney parks with Fourth of July fun at Walt Disney World Resort. Here's what's in store on July 4:

Magic Kingdom — "Disney Dreams Come True" parade (12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.); "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks (9 p.m.); "SpectroMagic" parade (10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.). Park hours: 8 a.m.-1 a.m.

Epcot — "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" spectacle of lights, music and fireworks (10 p.m.). Park hours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Disney-MGM Studios — "Disney Stars and Motor Cars" parade (3 p.m.); 4th of July fireworks (9 p.m.); "Fantasmic!" nighttime spectacular of dancing water, dramatic music, breathtaking animation, lasers, fireworks and surprises (10 p.m.). Park hours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Disney's Animal Kingdom — "Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Expedition" parade (4 p.m.). Park hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

The special nighttime shows are included with theme park admission.

At Downtown Disney, there will be a fireworks spectacular at 11 p.m. on July 4 ONLY! The holiday will also be celebrated with a Red, White and Whew! Fourth of July Blast, to be held June 29-30 and July 4. Entertainment will include stiltwalkers, a drum major, a DJ on the Dock Stage, jugglers, magicians, and "Rhett, Wyatt and Baloo."




Sounds Like Summer Concert Series at America Gardens Theatre (with tribute bands that sound like well-known performers). Showtimes: 5:45, 7 and 8 p.m.

— June 25-July 1 – Kevin White (Garth Brooks)
— July 2-8 – Respect (Aretha Franklin)
— July 9-17 – Bjorn Again (ABBA)
— July 18-24 – Hotel California (The Eagles)
— July 25-29 – 52nd Street (Billy Joel)
— July 30-August 5 – Captain Fantastic (Elton John)


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


Rehabs and Closings


Teppanyaki Restaurant in Epcot's Japan pavilion is closed for a major rehab through August 20, 2007. NOTE: Restaurant is scheduled to open a few days earlier than previously announced.

Spaceship Earth, presented by Siemens, will be undergoing a number of changes over the coming months. The changes will combine the attraction's time-travel adventure into the past with a new finale that provides guests the opportunity to imagine their futures. Each of the ride scenes will be enhanced, and new show scenes will be added to the attraction's story along with new lighting effects, costumes, set decoration, narration and musical score. With phased renovations occurring through the year, Spaceship Earth's makeover is scheduled to be fully completed in early 2008. Current announced closure for Spaceship Earth is July 9 – November 1. Read the full press release here: http://www.allears.net/news/hnews.htm#41107

Magic Kingdom

Haunted Mansion is closed through September 13, 2007.

The King's Gallery in Fantasyland will close and be converted to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique July 5 – September 9, 2007.

Contemporary Resort

The North Garden wing is being demolished. The tennis courts and playground are also gone. Rumors persist about a Disney Vacation Club Resort; however, no official announcement has been made.

The Food and Fun Center will close in July to be converted to a new table service restaurant. Beginning July 30, 2007, a temporary quick service restaurant called Tempo Grab and Go will operate near the Outer Rim lounge on the 4th Floor. It will be open through August 14, 2008. The new table service location will be called The Wave, and is tentatively set to open in late March or April 2008. Once The Wave opens, the Concourse Steakhouse will close and a new, permanent quick service restaurant will be constructed in that space, set to debut in mid-August 2008.

Coronado Springs Resort

Francisco's, the lounge at the resort, is in the process of being expanded now through October 12, 2007. It will reopen with a bar, lounge, and cafe. La Tienda, the convenience store, will be relocated.

Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

1900 Park Fare will close for rehab July 9 through October 1, 2007. During 1900 Park Fare's closure, the Grand Floridian Cafe will offer a pre-plated character breakfast and dinner, "Supercalifragilistic Breakfast" and "Cinderella's Gala Feast." Also, the Wonderland Tea Party will be held at the Grand Floridian Cafe during this time. Citricos, upstairs at the Grand Floridian, will be open for breakfast and lunch with a menu similar to the cafe's. Citricos will also resume dinner seven days a week. (It is currently closed Monday and Tuesday.)

Lake Buena Vista Golf Course closed May 21 and will be under refurbishment through September 28, 2007.


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 officially began Sunday, October 1, and as part of that celebration Disney Cast Members are not just dispensing "dream" prizes, but are also creating an unprecedented number of "Magical Moments." These include guests being tapped to help with the pixie-dusted opening of Magic Kingdom, getting the star treatment at a celebrity-style handprint ceremony at Disney-MGM Studios, or being named Official Wildlife Spotters at Disney's Animal Kingdom. We have some reports of guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland receiving "dreams" from the Dream Squad and some of these Magical Moments, as well.


Stephanie Cavallaro: On May 11 my 3-1/2-year-old daughter, my mother and I were on our way to the Princess Tea Party at the Grand Floridian. As we came off the bus at the Magic Kingdom, there was a little area set up at our stop with a red carpet and balloons. My daughter who was dressed for tea in her Cinderella dress was chosen to have a Princess moment! They put her on the red carpet and took a photo of the three of us with her holding her dress out like a princess does. She was then given a certificate and balloon and a copy of the photo which she was told was being brought to Mickey. This was a special way to begin what turned out to be a beautiful morning for our "girls only" day!


Marybeth: We had a Magical Moment bestowed upon us at Blizzard Beach on Saturday, May 19. It was about 10:30 a.m. (we arrived at 9) and the Dream Squad happened to walk past us on our way to the Snow Stormers slides. Well, we came off the water slide barely able to see with water in our eyes when the Dream Squad congratulated us, put special wristbands on us and invited us to stay in the park after it closed for a private beach party and to go on all the rides until 7:30 p.m.! We left went to another park and arrived back at Blizzard Beach at 5:30. We were escorted to a private area, where there was a DJ teaching different dances, giving away Mardi Gras items and then Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale came out to reopen the park for everyone there, along with fireworks. As time passed and people left to go on rides, Pluto and Goofy came out to play ball with the kids. We had a great time. As we left the park everyone was handed a pin.


Mark Entwistle: We have seen a real positive sides to cast members during this visit, with many more "smiles" and regular "gifts" of free goodies, including ice creams, snacks, etc. Our particular thanks go to Tony, a cast member cleaning outside the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street at Magic Kingdom. Tony noticed that our 3-year-old had dropped his ice cream and was a little upset. He chatted for a while, cleaned up the mess and then reappeared a few minutes later with a replacement ice cream dressed in Mickey Mouse Ears — a magical moment if there ever was one! Well done, Disney!


EDITOR'S NOTE: If the Dream Squad bestows a "dream" upon you, or if you receive an official "Magical Moment," please let us know! We'd love to hear what you won, how you were chosen, and don't forget to send any photos if you have them! Email us at allearsnet@yahoo.com

For more Magical Moments: http://allears.net/tp/yomdmm.htm

For Dreams: http://allears.net/tp/yomd.htm


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.