October 2008 Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the September 30, 2008 Issue #471 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.

Given the recent announcement from the Disney Vacation Club about the new Treehouse Villas, this month we'll go back to 1975 when the original Treehouse Villas were open. The October 11, 1975, issue of Eyes and Ears proudly announced: "Treehouses Spring Up in Lake Buena Vista!"

"Rising two-stories high among the thick evergreens, our uniquely different vacation homes offer our guests an away-from-home home without the confines of hotel living. Dotted throughout the woods are 60 of the octagonal structures… with 10 currently completed and furnished and the rest soon to follow.

"Each of the unusual homes feature a two-level design, predominantly glass-enclosed with an exterior of roughly sawn cedar and pine, and a shingled cedar redwood roof. Inside they are surprisingly roomy, with unique interiors furnished by our own Buena Vista Interiors. Wrapping around the upper level is a sundeck and wood entrance bridge reaching down to the ground and individual balconies off the kitchen-dining area and master bedroom. Other features include two full baths, a complete kitchen with every appliance, open wood truss celing, spiral staircase, glass-enclosed Florida room and a washer and dryer.

"Our Treehouses are being offered to guests for overnight accommodations and corporations for one, two or three year leases through Buena Vista Realty.

"The Treehouse's roomy atmosphere… octagonal, contemporary design creates an environment suited for relaxing. So if you have some friends coming into town, or you want to get away yourself, then why not try our Treehouse Villas? They are deep enough in the cypress and evergreen stands to make you feel secluded… and yet only minutes from all that Lake Buena Vista and the Magic Kingdom have to offer."

Do you have photos of the original Treehouses from the '70s, '80s or'90s? If so, please send them to allearsnet@yahoo.com

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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com, brings you some Hidden Mickey images to look for at Walt Disney World.

1. A decent side profile image of Mickey is in a painting on a rear wall (to the left as you enter) of Ghirardelli's Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in Downtown Disney Marketplace. His dark side profile shadow is in a streetcar, in the second window from the left, and he's looking to the left. (Thanks to Kassidy and Cody Wright.) http://allears.net/btp/hm227.jpg

2. The Tip Board at the end of Hollywood Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios sports some classic Mickeys. They're drawn in chalk around "Disney Pixar Block Party Bash" on the board. I'm told these Hidden Mickeys may be temporary, so let's see if they stay in place a while. (Thanks to Bret Caldwell.)

3. A few decent classic Mickey images are in the carpet as you exit Mickey's PhilharMagic at the Magic Kingdom. Just take your time as you walk out and search among the circles. (Thanks to Beverley Tuck and Rob and Kathy Risavy.) http://allears.net/btp/hm230.jpg

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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 MouseMemories.com). This month features continues the topic of the Wonderful World of Color.

We've decided to take that a little deeper to give you a more thorough description of color theory. Why? Because scrapbook pages are pieces of artwork. They are not just any art, though; they carry great meaning to us. The way you use color on a layout can make it ok, good, or GREAT! Sometimes our color choices are affected by our emotions. Other times we just simply like the way they look together. There is nothing wrong with either of these choices! You can choose colors just because you like them. However, learning the basics of color theory can help you determine what colors match, and what your color choices say about your photographs.

Read the rest of this month's article at http://allears.net/btp/scrapbook/part7/part7.html

For a complete index of all the articles and background on the Scrapbooking Magic! series visit: http://allears.net/btp/scrapbook/intro.html

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Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom is launching a new Speaker Series just for Passholders beginning 10:30 a.m., Saturday, October 18, at Conservation Station. The program is designed to help explain how the Disney Animal Programs and Environmental Initiatives team is working to save wildlife and wild places in our community and around the world. The first talk in the series, called "The Year of the Frog," will be given by Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President of Animal Programs; Allyson Atkins, Curator of Animal Programs Education; and Andy Daneault, Curator of Behavioral Husbandry.

If you plan to attend, please contact AllEars®! We are looking for reports and photos from the Speaker Series!


Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: September 26 – November 9. http://allears.net/tp/ep/foodwine.htm

The tentative schedule for the "Eat to the Beat" concert series, featured during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival is as follows:

Oct. 1-4 Starship starring Mickey Thomas "We Built This City"
Oct. 5-7 En Vogue (NEW to the Festival) "Hold On"
Oct. 8-9 Jonny Lang (NEW, 1 Grammy) "Lie to Me"
Oct. 10-12 The Smithereens
Oct. 13-14 Sister Hazel (NEW) "All for You"
Oct. 15-16 David Sanborn (6 Grammys) "Lesley Ann"
Oct. 17-18 Jon Secada (2 Grammys) "Just Another Day"
Oct. 19-21 Spyro Gyra (NEW) "Morning Dance"
Oct. 22-23 Otis Day & the Knights "Shout"
Oct. 24-26 Expose "Point of No Return"
Oct. 27-28 Kool & The Gang (1 Grammy) "Celebration"
Oct. 29-30 Boyz II Men (NEW, 4 Grammys) "End of the Road"
Oct. 31-Nov. 2 Atlanta Rhythm Section (NEW) "So Into You"

Shows are performed at the America Gardens Theatre nightly at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. http://allears.net/tp/ep/fw08/fw08_concerts.htm

Magic Kingdom

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party will be held the following dates this month:
October 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, & 31 (October 31 is SOLD OUT). http://allears.net/tp/mk/mnssh.htm

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, will start up again October 31, 2008, and 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

Susan G. Komen Central Florida Race for the Cure – October 5
Disney's Race for the Taste 10K – October 12
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 15K – October 25

NFFC, The Club For Disneyana Enthusiasts

3rd Annual Florida Convention October 3 – 5, 2008 at the Regal Sun Resort (formerly the Grosvenor Resort Walt Disney World) at Lake Buena Vista, Florida. http://www.nffc.org/

Orlando Chapter meeting October 25. Each meeting has a special speaker, live auction and more. Doors open at 6 p.m. at the Quality Inn and Suites, Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando. For more information, call the Club Phone Line: 407-ASK ARLO (407-275-2756).


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



Animal Kingdom

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

Disney's Hollywood Studios

High School Musical 2: School’s Out! had its final performance on September 13, 2008. A new show based on High School Musical 3: Senior Year debuts on October 24, 2008.

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.


Garden Grill Lunch – The Land: Beginning October 6, 2008, Epcot's Garden Grill will no longer serve lunch. The Garden Grill will continue to serve dinner.

Nine Dragons Restaurant in China was supposed to be closed until November 27, 2008 for rehab. It opened earlier than scheduled on September 25, 2008. Look for major renovations, including an exhibition kitchen where diners will be able to interact with the chefs. Read Jack Spence's review of the newly renovated space here: http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2008/09/epcots_nine_dragons_restaurant_1.html

Magic Kingdom

Country Bear Jamboree will be closed for refurbishment through October 31, 2008.

Downtown Disney

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

Pleasure Island – Clubs closed for good September 27.

Portobello Yacht Club will be closed September 27 through October 12 while it undergoes a makeover. You may also see work being performed outside the restaurant, but most inside work will be performed during the third shift now through December 31, 2008. The Walt Disney World restaurant will be known simply as "Portobello" once the transition to resemble an Italian trattoria is complete in December. The menu will shift from traditional Italian fare to food inspired by regional Italian destinations such as Milan, Tuscany and Rome. The restaurant is operated by Chicago-based Levy Restaurants.

Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach closed for its annual refurbishment September 28, 2008 through October 25, 2008.

Typhoon Lagoon

Surfing School Changes at Typhoon Lagoon: Surfing classes and private surfing events at Typhoon Lagoon are not available until sometime in 2009. Maintenance needs to be performed on the wave mechanisms during the regularly scheduled winter rehab. The wave pool will continue to operate for guests. It's only the surfing waves that will be offline until 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 from 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). http://allears.net/acc/akv.htm

Contemporary Resort

Construction Update: Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort continues towards 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: http://allears.net/tp/rehabs.htm

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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:

Teresa Wallis: We had just gotten off the Steve and Deb Cruise and were spending 2 nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Since it was about 10 am and we knew the room wouldn't be ready, my husband and 2 girls waited in the car while I checked us in. When the CM pulled up my information, she went to speak with a Manager and came back and asked if my party was there. I explained they were in the car, and she asked if I could go get them. Hmmmm….this is a little strange. When I returned with my family, the CM was there with several others that were obviously Managers. They informed us that we had been selected as the "Safari of the Day"! We were given the cutest stuffed animals for the girls, a certificate, and they took our picture with the CM's and gave it to us later to keep. But the best part was, we were upgraded from a pool-view bunk bed room to a Concierge Savannah-view bunk bed room that was in a great location! We felt like we had hit the jackpot! It was such a wonderful surprise and gave us that warm, why-would-I-go-anywhere-but-Disney feeling!


Amy Albers: I wanted to tell you about the "royal" treatment my son received on his 6th birthday! As soon as we walked in the MK we were stopped by a cast member — presumably because of the shirt my son was wearing that proudly proclaimed, "I'm 6 Today!" She told my two boys that they were princes for the day and if we came back later that afternoon, they would have a private audience with Cinderella! Later, we were exiting It's A Small World, the cast member on the bridge saw my son's shirt and came running down, yelling at us to stop. It turns out that it was HER birthday that day also, so she let my sons go up to the bridge and be "Honorary cruise directors" and wave at people from the bridge after their names were announced! She also allowed us to ride again. Later, we met up with Cinderella, who was very sweet. To this day (7 months later) my son still colors at the mention of Cinderella — she leaned down and kissed him on the cheek and left a lipstick mark! All in all, it was quite the birthday and I am so glad he could have those experiences!


Eric/Denise/Brandon/Megan & Richard Ley: Just got back from the World and wanted to give a big shout out to Donna from the Sir Mickey's gift shop in the MK. Me, my wife, my two kids and my father ducked in to cool off. We looked like we were going to pass out when Donna came over and said: "OK – what's going on guys"? I said we need a little anti-freeze Donna! Just a little overheated. So Donna took us around the store in a Conga line and told us to wait for her a minute. She came back with 5 bottles of water and a Disney water fan (which we nicknamed the "Spritzer"). All free on the mouse! This was our magical moment for 2008. Thanks Donna!


Janis W.: My husband, myself, and our 13-year-old grandson, Casey, were at the Hollywood Studios. Casey wanted to ride Tower of Terror again (a favorite of his from past trips). As both my husband and I are having back problems, we felt it was best if we didn't go on the Tower. As we sat waiting for him to get off of the ride, here he comes, running, as excited as he could be. While on the "elevator" the doors opened, and lo and behold, the Dream Squad was there and presented everyone in the elevator with a pass to an after-hours party at Hollywood Studios that night. I wasn't wanting to spoil the magic for him, but, as he is only 13, I wanted to make sure he could be chaperoned to the party. We went directly to Guest Relations, and were told that the pass for the party was only for the person it was given to. What a disappointment for him. We explained things to him and told him at least he had the thrill of having received a pass from the Dream Squad that he would have as a souvenir. Casey wasn't too happy with that, but also knew we didn't have a choice in the matter. Later in the day, my husband decided to go back to Wilderness Lodge Villas. While on the bus, he met a lady and her two teenage sons who also had been given dream passes to the party. They we not able to go to the event, and they gave my husband their passes! As Casey and I walked into the room, my husband explained what had happened, and instantly, the magic was back! He kept saying it was just meant to be. We were all able to go to the after-hours party, enjoyed the band, Mulch, Sweat, and Shears, rode ToyMania again and Casey, again, went on The Tower of Terror! It was all a VERY Magical Memory for all of us, thanks to the Dream Squad and a very generous lady and her two sons. We won't forget this trip for a long while.


EDITOR'S NOTE: For more Magical Moment stories, with photographs, be sure to visit our latest "Wandering the World:" http://allears.net/tp/wander/wander.htm

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 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.