September 2008 Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the August 26, 2008 Issue #466 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 times gone by in Disney history. The month we go to the early years of Epcot and the Land pavilion.

The Land opened in Epcot on October 1, 1982, with Kraft as the sponsor. The pavilion has certainly evolved over time, from its early days with Kitchen Kabaret and later Food Rocks, to today, with what is now one of Epcot's most popular attractions, Soarin'.

Did you know that in 1982, the restaurant we all know as the Garden Grill was called the Good Turn Restaurant? I recall my first visit to the restaurant in the early '90s and was amazed at how it turned ever so slightly.

The Harvest Theatre originally hosted Symbiosis, a movie about the relationship between humankind and the land. The current movie, "Circle of Life," still explores that delicate relationship between us and our environment, but now with familiar characters from the Lion King, such as Timon and Pumbaa.

Finally, the boat ride, the Living with the Land. The highlights of this attraction have pretty much stayed the same over time. The showcase of innovative techniques has been slightly updated but you are basically riding through the same areas of land and sea farming.

See Deb's blog for complete report with photos!

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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of, suggests a fun search for the following Hidden Mickeys at the Walt Disney World Resorts:

1. A few classic Mickey images at Saratoga Springs Resort: one is in the upper corners of the light brackets outside the enclosed stairways of the guest villas. (Thanks to John Koerber.)

Two more images are depressions in the rock wall at the left side of the top of the stairs, as you descend to the pool outside The Artist's Palette. One classic Mickey is at the middle of the top horizontal rock of the wall, and the second image is in the lower horizontal rock near the handrail post. (Thanks to Mickey Morgan.)

2. At the Grand Floridian Resort, stand inside the main lobby elevator for the best view of this classic Mickey. Four decent images are at the intersection of the diagonal spokes and the large circle in the ironwork of the elevator structure.

Another classic Mickey image formed of a coin and two rings is in a painting inside Gasparilla Grill & Games. It's in the third picture on the wall to the left above the restrooms. (Thanks to Andy Salerno for these Hidden Mickeys.)

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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 features the topic of Introducing the Wonderful World of Color!

The use of colors, the right colors, on your layouts can take them from OK to fabulous. Color has a huge role in the final presentation of each page. If you pay any attention at all to trends in interior decorating, you know that for several years now designers have been incorporating wall color into great rooms. Gone are the days of all white or off-white walls. Why is that? Because color evokes emotion. Cool colors are calming. Warm or hot colors can indicate excitement. We’re drawn naturally to great color combinations, but we cringe when we see someone has chosen clothing pieces that just don't quite coordinate. Your layouts can evoke the same kind of responses, from "WOW" to "Something's not quite right."

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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Walt Disney World's Food and Wine Festival begins its six-week run September 26, 2008, at Epcot. The 13th annual festival serves up authentic cuisine, wine, entertainment and cultures of more than 25 international regions. Exotic marketplaces from South Africa to Mexico offer exciting taste treats. The festival is the largest food and wine event of its kind in the world, beginning at the Festival Welcome Center in the Wonders of Life pavilion and fanning around the promenade encircling World Showcase Lagoon. Here are a few fun facts about this event:

— More than 300 national and international wines and more than 76 kinds of international foods
— More than 160 of America's most celebrated chefs and Walt Disney World chefs
— 1,200 wine and beer seminars featuring more than 100 topics
— More than 1,200 fireworks rockets exploding each night over World Showcase Lagoon in "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" grand finale to the festival
— 135 Eat to the Beat! concerts performed
— 33,000 bottles of wine and champagne
— 1.2 million hors d'oeuvre plates
— 2.1 million Vanity Fair napkins
— 750,000 beer cups
— 600,000 forks
— 338,000 wine glasses
— 100,000 miniature desserts including creme brulee, traditional apple strudel, baklava and more
— 3,000 gallons of soup, including cheddar cheese soup (Montreal marketplace), seafood gumbo (New Orleans marketplace), and chilled tomato and garlic soup (Barcelona marketplace)
— 1,500 pounds fresh strawberries

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Disney's Hollywood Studios

Night of Joy moves to the Studios this September 5-6. One-night advanced purchase tickets are $44.95; tickets are $49.95 on event day, if available — event often sells out! A two-night ticket is available in advance for $75.95.

Four For A Dollar (known as Return 2 Zero when performing off Disney property), the a cappella group that has performed the preshow at Disney's Hollywood Studios' Beauty and the Beast show for many years, will have their last performance on September 20.


Disney's Pin Celebration 2008 takes place in Epcot September 5-7 in World Showplace. This is an extra ticket event.

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: September 26 – November 9.

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

— September 26-27: Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
— September 28-30: Sheena Easton

Shows are performed at the America Gardens Theatre nightly at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. (Note the earlier show times!)

Magic Kingdom

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party will be held the following dates in September: 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 28, 30.

"Royal Quinceanera Weekend", for Hispanic girls celebrating their 15th birthdays. (In Latin America, a girl's 15th birthday, or quinceanera, marks the transition to becoming a young woman.) Several special events will be held at Epcot August 29-September 5. Packages for the weekend will include stays at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. For more package details, visit

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



Animal Kingdom

Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends will have its last show September 27, 2008.

Primeval Whirl will be closed for refurbishment from September 2 – November 15, 2008.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will be closed September 11 – September 24, 2008.

High School Musical 2: School’s Out! will have its final performance on September 13, 2008. The new show will be based on High School Musical 3: Senior Year and 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 September 2 – November 22, 2008.


Nine Dragons Restaurant in China is closed until November 27, 2008 for rehab. Look for major renovations, including an exhibition kitchen where diners will be able to interact with the chefs.

Morocco's Gallery of Arts and History in Epcot's World Showcase closed for refurbishment July 14 until September 24, 2008.

Magic Kingdom

Country Bear Jamboree will be closed for refurbishment from September 28 – October 31, 2008.

Liberty Square Riverboat in the Magic Kingdom will be closed September 6-12, 2008.

Downtown Disney

MarketPlace Stage is closed for rehab July 7 – November 30, 2008.

Pleasure Island – Clubs close for good September 27.

Portobello Yacht Club will remain open August 7 – December 31, 2008 while it undergoes renovations. 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. HOWEVER, according to an item in the Orlando Sentinel, the Portobello Yacht Club will be closed September 27 through October 12 while it undergoes the makeover.

Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach will close for 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).

Caribbean Beach Resort

The themed pool, Old Port Royale Caribbean Beach is closed for refurbishment until September 15, 2008. Small, child-size, pool slides have been temporarily added to the pools at Villages of Jamaica and Barbados.

Contemporary Resort

Construction Update: Although there has been no OFFICIAL announcement, the Orlando Sentinel continues to report that the new construction at the resort will be a DVC site and has been renamed Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort. The Wave restaurant is now open on the first floor. The Outer Rim lounge will close and become a storage area. A new quick service area will take the place of the now closed Contemporary Steakhouse while a new entrance and seating area is being building for Chef Mickeys. Tempo Grab and Go and Chef Mickeys will remain open during this time.

Saratoga Springs

The High Rock Springs Pool Slide will be closed for refurbishment from September 8 – 26, 2008. The pool remains open.

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:

Jim and Diane from Ohio: My husband and I enjoy pin trading. On our May trip we decided to pin trade for the Hidden Mickey Pins 2008 set. We had traded for most of the pins in the set, but we could not find a few and our time at Disney World was running short. We stopped to check a lanyard on a cast member with a light blue shirt (Jackie was her name) and had a long visit with her. We learned that she was a member of the Dream Squad and was very interested in pins. She wrote down the pins that we were looking for and asked where we would be later in the day. We were seeing the Flower Power concerts and told Jackie that we would be in line for the show. Never expecting to see her again we were really surprised while waiting in line to see Jackie looking for us, and adding to our surprise — she had a couple of the pins we were looking for.


Stephanie Smith: My daughter and I were at WDW in June 2008. We had just gotten off the Safari ride at Animal Kingdom when all of the people in our "jeep" were stopped by a Disney team and given an extra hour at Animal Kingdom that night after it officially closed to the public. This included a special performance of the Lion King, a street party with Goofy and friends, and of course unlimited access to Everest and a few other rides. It was so much fun! We didn't even know what Disney was doing with "The Year of a Million Dreams" until then and we enjoyed trying to find others at the other parks with their passes around their necks who had earned special privileges. What a great concept and definitely a memorable experience for us first-time visitors. We can't wait to go back!


mtsmpeake: My husband, daughter (12), son (10) and I visited the World this past June. After riding Star Tours, I was met by the Dream Squad who informed me that I had been sitting in the right seat at the right time. I had won a Star Wars Weekend package. My 10-year-old son is an avid Star Wars fan, so this prize was really special. We met all three stars that were present there that weekend (got pictures and autographs), received VIP seating to several shows (including Indiana Jones, and High School Musical School's Out), several Disney pins, and dinner. Our dream team cast members consisted of Patrick and Al. These two guys were the nicest, most generous people I have ever met. We were treated like royalty.


Victoria: My twins are obsessed with The Chronicles Of Narnia. My son pretends he is Peter and my daughter is Susan… my husband is Edmund and I am Lucy. The cat is of course Aslan. That is why when given the chance to meet a character we had to make the trip to Hollywood Studios. A last minute reservation to AKL and off we go… once we arrived we looked at the meet and greet schedule and kept them easily entertained until the time. We stood patiently in line as well as two 4-year-olds can do. My daughter was shy at the prospect of a kiss (since she was Susan) so she chose to stand back and let her brother do the talking. My son was in awe — he had his sword and boots on and asked all the questions. He got the pictures and then would not leave. He lingered and watched… it was time for Prince Caspian to go and this is the true Magic! He knew my son was not a normal fan, so he came over and KNIGHTED HIM! It may seem small to some, but he had my son get down on one knee and gave him the chivalry to be a great knight of Narnia, he explained the responsibilty and the importance of this job. My son will never forget that moment. Five minutes of time for that cast member was a lifetime memory for my son. I could have left and been fully satisfied with our trip. For those who have not felt the magic they have to open their hearts and give their children a chance to believe… it is wonderful! Thank you to Prince Caspian.


Finally, for a very special Magical Moment, see our latest Wandering Around the World!

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.