November 2008 Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the October 28, 2008 Issue #475 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.

Ever heard of a LIMOUSEine? Well, in the spring of 1989, a 40-foot LIMOUSEine traveled around America to announce the opening of the Disney-MGM Studios. "Complete with cheese cabinet, soda fountain and video and sound equipment…" the LIMOUSEine departed Orlando on March 5 for a 20-city tour.

The Orlando debut of the LIMOUSEine took place on February 27 when the burgundy stretch limo stopped at the Orlando City Hall to pick up then-Mayor Bill Frederick. He joined Walt Disney World President Dick Nunis and Mickey Mouse for a ride to the Studios. During the late February tour at Walt Disney World, the LIMOUSEine stopped at the Grand Floridian Resort and Mickey's Birthdayland. Mickey and Ambassador Kathleen Sullivan headed to Indianapolis to begin the tour.

If you have photos of the LIMOUSEine coming to your area, please send them to us at

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Last week AllEars® featured Part I of the article by Jack Spence entitled The Significance of Steam Trains (Issue #474, This week we conclude with Part II:

Walt Disney World

From this point forward, when I refer to "Disney" I'm referring to the company, not the man.

Roger Broggie, who was responsible for building much of Disneyland's railroad, was put in charge of Walt Disney World's transportation system. Since everyone knows that Florida is flat, it came as a surprise to Broggie when he discovered that his trains around the Magic Kingdom would have to deal with a 2 percent grade. His solution? Buy larger locomotives than those used at Disneyland. Not only would they be more powerful and negotiate the grade better, they could also pull longer trains, thus increasing capacity.

Steam engines first appeared on the Yucatan peninsula in 1875. For years, these work-horses hauled supplies in and out of this isolated region. In the early to mid-1960s, the Mexican government was busy replacing many of these engines to diesel-electric locomotives. Once an engine was replaced, its tired remains were hauled off to a holding area to rust in the elements. With this knowledge in hand, Broggie and Earl Vilmer headed to Mexico with a directive to buy four engines for the Magic Kingdom.

The first two locomotives selected were identical 1925 Baldwin 4-6-0 "Ten Wheelers." For 40 years these two engines had carried Agave sisalense (sisal hemp), a local crop to the dock at Progreso. The next engine chosen was a Baldwin "Mogul"-type 2-6-0 built in 1928. And finally, a Baldwin "American"-type 4-4-0 built in 1916. An agreement with the Mexican government called for Disney to pay $8,000 each for the four locomotives.

As Broggie and Vilmer were concluding the deal, another engine caught their eye. Perched on a platform in the middle of a small park was a 2-6-0 Mogul built by the Pittsburgh Locomotive Works in 1902. When they asked the Mexican officials if it was for sale they were told that they could have it for $750 if they would haul it away. So an unexpected fifth locomotive was added to their collection.

Restoration of the engines was to take place at a Tampa shipyard. It was Disney's desire to give as much work as possible to Florida businesses to help strengthen their ties with the community. Initial plans called for the five locomotives to be floated across the Gulf of Mexico on a huge Mississippi-type barge. But upon further investigation, it was determined that it would be cheaper to send them by rail, even though the journey was more than 2,000 miles.

When restoration began, the machinist found that the engines were in worse condition than originally thought. In fact, the fifth locomotive, the one found in the park, presented so many challenges that it was eventually sold. The tenders were completely useless and everything except their trucks were discarded and then rebuilt. One engine's frame was broken in half and required a master welder to put it back together. The boilers on all four engines needed to be replaced with new ones and the wood and steel cabs were exchanged with new designs created by the Imagineers in Glendale.

Remembering the trouble Disneyland had with the loading and unloading of the original passenger cars and how the newer Narragansett-style open air cars solved this problem, it was decided that a similar "excursion car" would be used at Disney World. The passenger cars would be 40 feet long, have 15 benches, and carry 75 guests. Twenty coaches were built from the ground up at the same Tampa shipyard where the engine restoration was taking place. In the end, the team completed their project under budget and ahead of schedule.

For the rest of the article:

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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of the website offers the following Hidden Mickeys for you to find during your next visit to Walt Disney World:

1. As your ship rises in the air in Peter Pan's Flight, look down at some cookies in the children's bedroom; three of them form a decent classic Hidden Mickey image. The cookies seem to be proportioned correctly. (Thanks to Catherine Chiarello, Jessica Paneral, Joshua Fears, Brian Keys, Justin Lemonds, Eden Frazier, and Andrew Goodwill)

2. Along the entrance walkway to the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show, don't miss the black classic Mickey stuck onto a red tool cabinet. As you walk through the entrance turnstile and take the first right at the corner of the building, it's behind the middle set of windows to your right. (Thanks to Denise O., Elton Hughes and Jill Sullivan, and Jennifer Lynch)

3. Classic Mickey snowflakes are in a display window of Goofy's Candy Company at Downtown Disney Marketplace. We'll see how long this image lasts, as window displays change periodically. (Thanks to Michael Remy)

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Our series dedicated to Disney Scrapbooking returns this month, written by Disney scrapbook expert Barbara Bennett and her husband Brian (who are also the owners of This month's feature is all about Adhesives!

"There are several different types of adhesives available on the market. Some are designed to hold your photographs to the page. Others are designed to hold larger and thicker embellishments to the page layout. Some are very clean and easy to apply, while others are messier. Several different companies manufacture adhesives that are specially designed for scrapbooking applications. EK Success, with its Herma, ZIG, and 3D lines, is very well known. 3L, Scotch-brand, Beacon Adhesives, Therm O Web, Tombow, and Glue Dots are just a few of the many others.

"In this article we'll discuss some of the products that are available for scrapbooking and paper crafting. We'll tell you about some of our favorites, and what the best applications are for each. Remember for each category there are many more products on the market than we can possibly discuss here. You might find your own favorites are not even listed here.

"Adhering paper and photos: Because this is probably the most common application for scrapbook adhesives, this category offers you the most options. There are tons of choices available, so it's really a matter of finding the one you are most comfortable with. Most of these adhesives are available in a small, handheld application device that allows you to put down small amounts of adhesive…"

Read the rest of this month's article at:

For a complete index of all the articles and background on the Scrapbooking Magic! series visit:

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The month of November sees the autumn activities wind down, while the holiday festivities get into gear!


Epcot International Food and Wine Festival ends November 9.

Eat to the Beat Concerts are performed at the America Gardens Theatre nightly at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m.
— October 31-November 2: Atlanta Rhythm Section
— November 3-5: David Cassidy
— November 6-7: Night Ranger
— November 8-9: Los Lobos

Epcot's Holidays Around the World – November 28 – December 30, 2008, featuring a nightly tree-lighting ceremony, holiday storytellers in World Showcase and more.

Candlelight Processional – Celebrity narrators perform the annual retelling of the story of Christmas, which features a mass choir and a full orchestra. November 28-30 the celebrity narrator is actor John O'Hurley.

Magic Kingdom

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party – Join Mickey and friends for a special "after hours" holiday party complete with a Christmas Parade, special edition of Wishes, shows and more: November 10, 11, 14, 16, 20, 21, 30.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Super Soap Weekend – The 13th annual ABC Super Soap Weekend presented by Colgate Total will be held in Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park November 15-16, 2008. Stars from the ABC Daytime dramas "All My Children," "One Life to Live" and "General Hospital" will participate in meet-and-greet autograph and photo sessions, celebrity motorcades, star conversations, interactive games and more. Disney has announced that this year's Super Soap Weekend at Disney's Hollywood Studios will mark the last time this event will be held in Orlando.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights – November 28, 2008 – January 4, 2009.

Downtown Disney

Festival of the Masters will be held November 7 – 9 , 2008, at Downtown Disney West Side, featuring more than 100 award-winning national and local fine artists. This festival for all ages includes live music and entertainment, chalk art sidewalk displays at Downtown Disney Marketplace and a children's activity area where kids can create their own masterpieces.

Contemporary Resort

Mickey's Pin Trading Night will be held Friday, November 21, 2008, 6 – 9 p.m. This free activity is for guests of all ages, and will be held at the Contemporary Resort's Ballroom of the Americas.

Port Orleans Riverside

Campfire on de' Bayou, a special storytime and sing-along around a fire held seasonally behind Port Orleans Riverside's Ol' Man Island Fishin' Hole, starts up again October 31, 2008, and will run through March 2009. The program is only offered on Sunday and Thursday nights from 6:30 to 8 p.m., weather permitting. S'mores kits are sold for $7.00 (tax included). No reservations are necessary.

Disney's Wide World of Sports

The Children's Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart returns to Disney's Palm and Magnolia Golf Courses on November 6-9, 2008, for its 38th consecutive year of PGA Tour play at the Walt Disney World Resort. Net proceeds from the sale of general admission tickets directly benefit Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Shands Children's Hospital at University of Florida — Central Florida's Children's Miracle Network hospitals.


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



Animal Kingdom

Primeval Whirl will be closed for refurbishment through November 15, 2008.

PetriFries (a McDonald's french fries location in Animal Kingdom) will be closed for refurbishment from November 2-21, 2008. When it reopens it will have a new name — Trilobites — and a new menu.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Once Upon a Time, Mouse About Town, and Sunset Club Couture shops in Disney's Hollywood Studios will be closed for refurbishment through November 22, 2008.

Golden Age Souvenirs will be closed for refurbishment October 6 – November 13, 2008

Magic Kingdom

The Hall of Presidents will be closed for rehab through July 1, 2009.

The Frontierland Fry Cart closed September 22, 2008, due to reopen January 11, 2009. The cart will be rebuilt into a larger building with seating next to it, with an expanded menu. When it reopens the spot will serve not only McDonald's fries and soda, but also wraps and chicken nuggets. While the Frontierland location is closed, McDonald's fries are still available at the Village Fry Shoppe in Fantasyland.

Downtown Disney

Marketplace Stage is closed for rehab until November 30, 2008.

Disney's Wonderful World of Memories closed for refurbishment September 22 through November 12, 2008; it will reopen as Design-A-Tee Shop sponsored by Hanes.

Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon closed for refurbishment October 26, 2008, through March 21, 2009.

Animal Kingdom Villas and Lodge

Disney Vacation Club has announced that Phase I of the Kidani Village will open on May 1, 2009. Members who call Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas "home" began making reservations as of August 10, 2008.

"As the development of Kidani Village continues at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, crews are preparing to complete the new savanna and acclimate the animals to their new habitat. To accommodate this important process, animals are not scheduled to be on Sunset Savanna January 15-April 15, 2009.

As development work continues on Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas, Disney's Animal Care team has reached a key milestone, welcoming okapi to the resort's animal population. The new animals are becoming acclimated to their new surroundings and will be visible to Members and Guests when the new Pembe Savanna opens as part of the second phase of Kidani Village (currently scheduled for September 2009).

Contemporary Resort

Construction Update: Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort continues toward a Fall 2009 opening date.

Saratoga Springs

The newly announced Treehouse Villas are scheduled to officially open on June 1, 2009.

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

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The Year of a Million Dreams runs 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:

Kelly from North Little Rock, Arkansas: My family and I went to WDW with my friend Anna Grace. We went on our vacation over my 13th birthday. On the day of my birthday, we decided to go to Animal Kingdom. We were standing by the ropes, waiting for the park to open, when a very nice cast member named Lon asked me if it was my birthday. I told him it was and he asked us if we would like a special Kilimanjaro Safaris ride for our family before the park opened. Of course we were totally thrilled! So Anna Grace and I skipped, yes skipped, with Lon all the way through AK until we got to the ride. We chatted with Lon and found out that his granddad was one of Walt's first Imagineers and had his name on a Main Street window. The five of us boarded the safari vehicle and got a beautiful view of the many animals. After we got off the ride, Lon gave us a Fastpass to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris as many times as we wanted to that day. This was such a magical experience that my family and I will never forget.


Monica from Palm Beach Gardens, FL: My 1-year-old daughter, Melaina, and I were waiting for Daddy and big brother Joshua (5 years old) to come off of Goofy's rollercoaster in Toontown. We were browsing the little gift shop nearby when a cast member asked if Melaina was allowed to have cotton candy. I said yes, but I also told her that since she had never tried it before, I wasn't sure if she would eat it. But, of course, Melaina loved it. She even got a certificate for "First Cotton Candy" Magical Moment. Big Brother enjoyed his first roller coaster ride, and Baby Sister enjoyed her cotton candy. Everybody was happy!


Katie: My husband and I had a magical moment at Epcot in the American pavilion. My husband was wearing a shirt with Louisiana on it. We were also wearing our Happy Anniversary pins. The greeter by the door asked if we were from Louisiana and we said yes. He then asked our last name. When we told him he said he had been looking for the Hill family from Louisiana all day and he had an important phone call for us. He handed us a cordless phone and gave us a number to dial. We dialed it and listened. We were so excited to hear Mickey and Minnie wishing us a happy anniversary from them and all of their friends. The man gave us a Magical Moment certificate with beautiful calligraphy writing and led us to the food court area. He announced "Here ye, here ye! This couple is celebrating an anniversary. Let's give them a hip hip hurrah!" and everyone shouted. Then he brought us to the food counter and told us to pick any dessert we wanted, to share of course. But that wasn't all. When we went in to see the American Adventure film we were allowed to choose our seat before anyone else and were again introduced. Everyone clapped and cheered. It was so much fun and we felt very special.


Sandy Boone: My family and I just returned from the World. The weather was great and we had a wonderful time, but no Magical Moment. We were hoping for the much-coveted Dream FastPass. Since that did not happen we decided to make our own Magical Moment for another family. As we were leaving Hollywood Studios for the day we used our Park Hopper tickets to get four FastPasses for Rock 'n' Roll Roller Coaster. The wait for standby was more than an hour, single rider line about 40 minutes. We handed our FastPasses to a family coming into the park. I am not sure they knew what was going on. We had a fun time doing it. I hope your other readers will do their own Magical Moments. It was a magical way to end our visit to Disney.


Roseann Sobczak: My sons and I recently returned from a trip to Disney World and experienced a "Magical Moment" we will never forget! While ascending the first uphill on Space Mountain we came to a stop and slowly lights started coming on. We ended up spending about 15 minutes in our car waiting when we saw two cast members climbing the steps up. Much to our dismay we thought we would be walking down, however they informed us that the ride would start back up in just a moment and we would get to ride it with the lights completely on, then be able to ride it again with the lights back off. Needless to say, my boys and I were thrilled! It was almost scarier with the lights on and we enjoyed it immensely! We felt so lucky to have had the opportunity to experience the entire ride "in the day" so to speak. This is sure to be a magical memory we will hold forever!


And remember, 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.