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Pop Century EntranceOCTOBER 9, 2003 --

The October WDW Press Event continues!

AllEarsNet™ founder Deb Wills (who is attending the event as a guest of Beci [and husband Chris] Mahnken and Len Testa, a member of Bob Sehlinger's Unofficial Guide to WDW team, are reporting on events as they unfold.

October 9, 2003, 10 p.m. EDT -- Len Testa checks in: "I spent about six hours on the Imagineering tour earlier today -- had the chance to talk with an Imagineer named Kevin who worked on Tower of Terror and some other attractions when we went to lunch at Hollywood & Vine, and got to see the Expedition Everest construction site. I also had the chance to talk with astronaut Guion Bluford, who described Mission:SPACE as "pretty close" to the real experience, even though you only feel 1.5 Gs vs the 3Gs a real launch incurs. Tonight, there's been food and drink everywhere here in Epcot, and we just saw a special showing of IllumiNations. Sugar Ray (the rock group) has been performing and they're really great. I'll have photos coming soon, and a tour report for this week's issue of ALL EARS™."

October 9, 2003, 8 p.m. EDT --

Deb and Beci's Take on the Epcot Event: "Mission: SPACE
has officially opened! With a multimedia extravaganza that would rival any stage show, WDW officially debuted its new high energy attraction. The ceremony opened with fireworks launching over Mission:SPACE, followed by a beautifully orchestrated narration by Walter Cronkite of man's enduring "quest to understand the heavens above." During the narration, a large balloon was elevated over the stage, and images of space exploration were projected onto it. As Cronkite talked about mankind's "insatiable fascination with space" more fireworks exploded overhead, and the narration concluded with the music's crescendo and big pyrotechnic finale. Walt Disney Company CEO and Chairman Michael Eisner then took the microphone and applauded about the achievement of the Imagineers, who spent 650,000 hours designing the new attraction. He introduced Carly Fiorina, Chairman and CEO of HP, which sponsors Mission:SPACE and has entered into a 10-year strategic alliance with Disney. Eisner then introduced several NASA astronauts who were present for the event, including Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell, and Wally Schirra, who represented the Mercury-era astronauts. The event concluded, with attendees given opportunities to ride the attraction or explore the rest of Epcot." Deb adds that after the ceremony, Michael Eisner was granting impromptu interviews, and was telling reporters that he had indeed ridden Mission:SPACE and deemed it a "triple-E ticket attraction!"

Photos from the event coming soon!

October 9, 2003, 7:20 p.m. EDT --

Deb calls in from Epcot: "I'm standing about 20 feet in front of the podium from which they're going to do the grand opening of Mission: SPACE. This attraction is really beautiful at night -- really gorgeous lighting and colors. There are lots of television cameras and Disney dignitaries milling about -- I hear that the Brady Bunch, who appeared for the taping of the Wayne Brady Show the other day are going to be here, and there are supposed to be a dozen or so astronauts here, as well. The kick-off is supposed to be about 7:40 p.m. I'll check in again after that!"

October 9, 2003, 5:45 p.m. EDT -- Deb says she got to tour the new Pop Century Resort this afternoon. "It's really nice, light, bright, whimsical. They took the All-Star concept and improved on it. About 50 percent of the rooms here will be connecting. There are some great icons of Lady and the Tramp; Play-do and more."

Photos from the Pop Century tour can be found in our resort photo gallery HERE.

October 9, 2003, 1:30 p.m. EDT -- Deb checks in with a report on the NEW Golden Mickeys show from aboard the Disney Wonder:

"Golden Mickeys is a phenomenal, Broadway-caliber show -- a first-rate mix of live action and video clips that is really a "best of" the Disney movies and musicals. They have a terrific pre-show, where you feel like you're actually walking the red carpet, being interviewed by Joan Rivers, and the there's even a montage of Walt Disney, with some narration by Roy Disney. After the show was over, everyone immediately stood and applauded -- we all came out smiling! And here's a bit of trivia -- the actor (Jeff) who plays Quasimodo in this show, once played Quasimodo in the popular Disney-MGM Studios Hunchback of Notre Dame production. I'll be writing more about this show soon!"

Deb's next stop is the soon-to-open Pop Century Resort! Look for more details and photos later today!


You'll find a few PHOTOS from yesterday here. And this page has news and reports from yesterday's events!

More photos and reports coming soon!