March 2008 Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the
February 26, 2008 Issue #440 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. This month, Lou Mongello takes us back to 1988 and what it was like to shop in the Magic Kingdom.

On this trip, I thought we'd do something a bit different and take a look at some of the great stores in the Magic Kingdom. We're going to plant ourselves right down the middle of Main Street, USA. Here, we find some stores that have remained constant since opening day, and can still be found in 2008. Of course there's the Chapeau, a staple on Main Street. This Town Square shop is where countless guests have purchased Mickey Ears with their names hand-stitched on the back, and likely tried on a few of the crazier visors, straw hats, top hats and extravagant ladies' hats just for fun.

Around the corner is the Kodak Camera Center. Here, you could pick up your 35mm film, flashcubes (stop laughing), and other supplies for your day at the park. You could even have your camera repaired here if you dropped it out of sheer excitement when you finally saw Mickey. Head to the rear just a bit, and you and your family could have your photo taken in old-fashioned costumes, posed on the back of a train caboose.

Bearly Country was located just outside the exit to the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown and had lots of hand-crafted items as well as a loveable Big Al plush. The ladies could add to their wardrobe by getting some country-style skirts and blouses for the big hoedown later that night.

And raise your hand if you also remember the Keel Boat Shoppe. OK, now raise your hand if I tell you that it was the really cool store right next to the entrance to the Haunted Mansion that sold those awesome monster masks and other little ghoulish goodies. Thought that would ring a bell for you.

The Royal Candy Shoppe could be found next to the Lancer's Inn (now where the Village Fry Shoppe is) and is where I got one of my favorite collectibles that still sits on my shelf today — my red Mickey back scratcher. No, it's not that I had an unusually itchy back, but Mickey's outstretched arms were appealing for some reason, and it's a treasured piece of my collection today.

Read the full article by Lou at:

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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of, highlights a few new Hidden Mickeys at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in the Magic Kingdom:

1. This new classic Mickey image may become one of my favorites. Along the left queue, look for a faux fireplace to your right. The Hidden Mickey is a light-colored three-circle image on the wall to the upper right of the fireplace, above the level of the fireplace mantle. (Thanks to Rich Miller, Tony & Kara Peterson, Abbi Hawthorne, and Jason Gall.) Bill Iadonisi took this photo and added a circle around the image.

2. In the gift shop, just as you exit the ride, observe two different hanging pans on your right. One pan contains a pile of coins and the other has a collection of jewels. Several classic Mickeys are formed by coins (especially at the middle left in the photo), and three jewels come together as a well-formed classic Mickey. (Thanks to Donna Iadonisi, Joseph Robinson, and David and Celia Berset.)

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The 2008 Walt Disney World Race calendar is chock full of events! The new races for this year include the National Kidney Foundation 5K (March 8) and the Expedition Everest Challenge (September 27). Returning races include: Minnie Marathon Weekend (May 2-4), Muddy Buddy Obstacle Course (May 10), Danskin Women's Triathalon (May 10), Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (October 5), Race for the Taste (October 12), Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K (October 25), and, of course, Disney's Marathon Weekend January 8-11, 2009.

Mike Scopa provides his insights on the 2008 events and discusses the almost $8 million raised during the 2007 Disney Marathon:

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Last month, AllEars® debuted a new series dedicated to Disney Scrapbooking written by Disney scrapbook expert Barbara Bennett and her husband Brian (who are also the owners of Last month they provided an introduction and history of scrapbooking. This month, they take us on a tour of the kinds of products that are available in the modern scrapbooking and craft industry. These products can help you create great albums filled with pages of your favorite memories:

"Making cool scrapbook projects shouldn't seem like a difficult task. Some of you might be freaked out by the super fancy, majorly creative pages you've seen in scrapbooking magazines. We know what you're thinking: I could never do that. Here's the thing… you don't have to! Most scrapbook layouts that can be found in the magazines are not realistic. They are the masterpieces of those designers and have been slaved over for hours. Having the available time and money to complete the over-the-top elaborate layouts found in most magazines is not the world most people live in. It certainly isn't the world I live in and I'm a professional scrapbooker! But to our families, it doesn't matter. When you've created your first scrapbook page, your family is not going to negatively compare it to a magazine layout somewhere. They're going to be ecstatic to see themselves depicted on the page, and they'll be talking about the memories the pictures bring back to mind…"

Read "What in the World IS All of This Stuff?" at

If you missed the first article:

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Disney's Pirate and Princess Party continues in the Magic Kingdom on select nights! The March dates are: March 1, 6, 11, 14.

ESPN The Weekend returns to Disney's Hollywood Studios February 29 – March 2. The weekend features onsite ESPN telecasts, star motorcades, interactive sports activities, and Q&A sessions involving athletes, all included with regular admission to the theme park.

2008 Information:
Reader Reviews:
2007 Photo Gallery:

The 2008 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival will run March 19 through June 1. Several artists performing at the festival's Flower Power Concerts have already been announced, subject to change:

March 19 – 22: The Guess Who
March 23 – 24: Petula Clark
March 25 – 29: Paul Revere and the Raiders
March 30 – 31: The Fifth Dimension

Flower and Garden Festival information:

The Atlanta Braves return to Disney's Wide World of Sports for Spring Training from February 27 – March 27.


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



Animal Kingdom

Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends is closed February 25 – March 2, 2008.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Sweet Spells is closed through March 14, 2008.

Journey into Narnia is until May 23, 2008.

Magic Kingdom

Tinker Bell's Treasures is closed for refurbishment through March 16, 2008.

Libery Square Riverboat is closed for refurbishment until March 1, 2008.

Peter Pan's Flight will be closed February 28 – March 11, 2008.

The Chapeau is closed for refurbishment until March 18, 2008. The shop is being expanded. Hat personalization will be available in the Emporium, Sir Mickey's and County Bounty.

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Phase I construction is now completed. This was the renovation of existing rooms in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, called the Jambo House. Outside construction of a new animal barn and Disney Vacation Club Building, Kidani Village, continues and is expected to last until the spring of 2009.

Caribbean Beach Resort

The themed pool, Old Port Royale, closed for refurbishment January 7, 2008, and is set to reopen September 15, 2008. A small, child-sized pool slide has been temporarily added to the pool in the village of Barbados.

Contemporary Resort

The North Garden wing has been demolished. The tennis courts and playground are also gone. Although there has been no OFFICIAL announcement, the Orlando Sentinel has reported that the new construction at the resort will be a DVC site called Kingdom Tower. Look for more in our "News Bites" section below.


Nanea Volcano Pool closed for refurbishment February 11 through March 15, 2008. Guests may use the leisure pool or the beach pool complex at the Grand Floridian.

Port Orleans French Quarter

The Doubloon Lagoon pool closed January 28 through mid-March 2008. Riverside's Ol' Man Island Pool is open. Guests may also use Riverside's Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend pools.

Blizzard Beach is closed for annual refurbishment until March 8, 2008.

Downtown Disney

Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney Marketplace is closed for refurbishment now through Thursday, March 6, 2008. When it reopens, it will offer a new menu, a faster service and an expanded indoor dining area. The West Side Puck location will remain open during this time.


Be sure to check our Rehabs and Closings page for periodic updates:

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The Year of a Million Dreams, which began Sunday, October 1, 2006, has been extended through 2008, 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's Hollywood 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:


Kendra Nespor: We also had a Dreams experience at Epcot during this trip. We walked up to the Test Track ride and saw that we were too late for a Fastpass and the wait was 90 minutes to stand in line. A cast member walked up to us and asked if we would like to have a special VIP tour of Test Track and get an express trip to the front of the line. My 7-year-old was ecstatic! We went in the exit door of the ride and got to see how the ride works and my son got to sit in the control room where they monitor all of the cars through the ride. They took us to the front of the line and let us ride once and then they asked us to stay on for a second ride. It was a very memorable experience!


Christie: We went to see the 1 p.m. showing of Beauty and the Beast, and were pulled aside by a cast member, asking us all sorts of questions — how long we had been married, where we were from, etc. We were then asked if we would mind being seated in the VIP section, and being involved somehow in the background of the show. We said sure, never guessing what they had in mind. They sat us in the third row in a sectioned off area, and then during the pre-show, we were called to the front and serenaded by the a capella group warming up the crowd, and we were asked to kiss while they sang "When You Wish upon a Star!" Afterwards, we were presented with a copy of their CD and a magical moment certificate!


Sharon Ott: My husband, my 8-year-old daughter and I were visiting the Animal Kingdom, along with my brother and his friend. We got there about 10 a.m., right after the park opened for the day. My brother and his friend ran to Expedition Everest to get a Fastpass for all of us, while we stayed behind taking pictures of the birds and animals. We were taking our time and walked down a path that we had never been before, in front of the flamingos, and a member of the Dream Squad stopped us and told us that today was our lucky day. He handed all three of us a Dream Pass for the day. I was so excited that I gave him a huge hug (like I had won a million dollars) and when I told him that my brother and friend were there too and would be so jealous, he handed me another two passes. It was very exciting and made us feel extra special receiving something from the Dream Squad!


Bernie and Joe Mastrolonardo: Well you talk about dreams coming true. My husband and I were visiting Disney World for the most beautiful fairytale wedding at the wedding pavilion at the Grand Floridian (a dream come true for me right there), and we just happened to be celebrating OUR 30th wedding anniversary, when a member of the Dream Squad (David to be exact) talked to us when he saw our Happy Anniversary pins that we both were proudly wearing. He called another member of the Dream Squad over (Sue) and they gave us one of the most wonderful anniversary gifts we could ever want. They invited us to the top of the Astro Orbitor to watch the fireworks that night. How spectacular that was. They also gave us our certificate and they had a little cupcake for us to help to celebrate our anniversary. This was the most memorable anniversary that we have had so far. Thank you, Dream Squad!


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

For more Magical Moments:
For Dreams:


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.