July 2005 WDW Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the June 28, 2005, Issue #301 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 we return to 1982 and the Winter Edition of "Epcot Center Today."

The article: "Cruise Boats Ready for the World Showcase." Ah yes, you know them well — the Friendship boats that take you across the World Showcase Lagoon and on a trip over to the Disney-MGM Studios via the Epcot resorts!

The Friendship I was designed by naval architect Ben Ostlund, who was inspired by boats used to transport European tourists down canals and rivers. In conjunction with WED Enterprises, Ostlund designed a glass top water taxi for the 40-acre World Showcase Lagoon. Two boats, Friendship I and II, opened the park. Unlike their European counterparts, the Friendships had climate control (aka air conditioning). Maximum speed was 5.6 knots (6.5 miles per hour). There is no rudder on the boats and no reverse either! The propeller rotates 360 degrees to perform maneuvers. This 66-foot boat took 18 months to construct and was built by the Walt Disney World Facilities Division. They had several months of trial runs before going back to the shop for a paint job and overhaul to make them ready for the opening of Epcot Center!

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ALL EARS® reporter Linda Mac recently dined at Cinderella's Royal Table for the new Fairy Tale Lunch with the princesses. She writes:

From the moment I checked in at the podium, I was treated like a princess. Although I arrived five minutes past my seating time, I was told not to worry — this is the Magic Kingdom and you are always on time. Hmm a place where you can never be late. If only my boss thought the same way!

I entered the lobby of the ultimate Disney icon restaurant. Immediately, I hopped in line to have my picture taken with the Fairy Godmother as she sat in her oversized gold-embossed chair. After five or ten minutes, the chimes rang for me and away I went on my big adventure. In no time at all, I was seated at a table overlooking the entire dining room and was quickly greeted by my server, Casey, an elementary school teacher by day.

During my lunch, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, Belle, Mary Poppins and Snow White visited with me, and having never spoken with any of the Disney princesses before, I found it to be very exciting. In fact, I now have a new favorite: Snow White. She was the last princess to stop by my table and with her voice and mannerisms, to say I was mesmerized would be an understatement.

Read all about Linda's experience complete with photographs at: http://allears.net/din/rev_crtl.htm

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From Steve Barrett, author of "Hidden Mickeys: a Field Guide to Disney's Best-Kept Secrets:"

Look for three Hidden Mickeys in the Soarin' ride:

1 – When you soar over the hills and spot a golf course, look immediately to your lower left and find a golf cart. The man standing on the other side of the cart is holding a blue Mickey balloon. (5 points)

2 – Then look straight ahead and down to the golf course. Spot the man about to swing a golf club. When he strikes the golf ball, it will head directly toward you. Watch the ball's rotation to see the dark classic Mickey on the surface of the ball. (5 points)

3 – You complete your Soarin' ride over Disneyland. Watch the evening fireworks explode before you; the second burst forms a huge classic Mickey in the sky. (3 points)

Thanks to Jason (TrendyMagic) for helping me with these new Hidden Mickeys in the Soarin' ride.


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A few weeks ago ALL EARS® reader bjtrax wrote: I just wanted to pass along something we find very helpful. When you go to one of the major WDW parks you can pick up a "times guide" that states the hours for restaurants, parades, attractions, etc. These guides are usually revamped on Sundays, with times for the week. What everyone may not know is that you can pick up the times guides for all four parks at Guest Services in any of the parks. On our last trip alone, getting the guides in advance helped us not miss out on meals at El Pirata (open only on weekends at the time) and Tusker House (closed at 3 p.m.). In the past we were able to get on rides early in the week that were scheduled for refurbishment toward the end of our trip!

We thought this was a very good tip, but wondered if our readers knew about all of the other helpful Times Guides that you can pick up around WDW. Kenny, our self-proclaimed "Times Guide Guy," explains:

There are actually now *11* different Times Guides you can get: The four individual Theme Park regular Times Guides; an "All Four Parks" Times Guide; a Downtown Disney Times Guide; an Extra Morning Hour morning Times Guide; and each park now has its own Extra Morning Hour evening Times Guide.

Where to find 'em:

Lobby Concierge at each resort has the "All Four Parks" Times Guide. These are the only places to get this particular guide, so it is tailored to Resort Guests and includes the Extra Magic Hours times.

Guest Relations at each theme park carries the five individual normal Times Guides (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney), the Extra Magic Hours a.m. guide and its own park's Extra Magic Hours p.m. Times Guide. Note: To get the Extra Magic Hours p.m. guides, you must go to each park individually — they no longer distribute those outside the park it was designed for.

Ticket Windows carry all five individual normal Times Guides.

Downtown Disney's Guest Relations carries all five individual normal Times Guides, and sometimes will carry the Extra Magic Hours a.m. guide.

What's on 'em:

Normal Times Guides for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Downtown Disney: Park Hours, Other Park Hours, Special Hours (including both attractions and restaurant hours other than the normal park hours), Parade and Fireworks Times (or other Nighttime Extravaganzas), Show Times, Character Greeting Times, and hours of Kid's Discovery Club or Kidcot locations.

"All Four Parks" Times Guide: Park Hours, Parade and Fireworks, Show Times and Extra Magic Hours times and days for each park.

Extra Magic Hours a.m. Times Guide: Attractions that are open during morning Extra Magic Hours in each theme park, the entire week's worth of Extra Magic Hours in a grid format (both a.m. and p.m. with the actual hours for each), and Character Greeting locations in each park.

Extra Magic Hours p.m. Times Guides: Attractions (including show times when a major show is included in p.m. Extra Magic Hours), Character Greetings, Dining Locations, Wristband Distribution Locations, and the Extra Magic Hours Schedule grid for the week.

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by Joshua Olive

Sometimes you're dying to go to the Magic Kingdom and it's just not feasible for whatever reason: the money isn't there, the time isn't there, or the kids aren't old enough yet to really get the most out of the park. Never fear! Now you can enjoy the delights of the Magic Kingdom at home!

Disney has recently brought us the Virtual Magic Kingdom and, even though it's only in the Beta test phase right now, it's still a lot of fun. If you're itching for a little Disney magic, all you need is a computer and an Internet connection to find it!

You start off by creating your character, a fun activity on its own, and after you've put your character together, you can start zipping through the Magic Kingdom. Now, don't be disappointed when things don't look the way you anticipated. This Magic Kingdom is really an amalgam of all the Magic Kingdoms around the world. The castle, for instance, is from Disneyland Paris. The graphics in this game are cartoonish, but they're fun, and they somehow manage to capture the spirit of the ambience at the actual parks, which was a wonderful surprise.

It's a lot of fun and for friends or families who live miles apart and can't actually go to the parks together, it's a great way to meet up and enjoy some Disney magic. It's also a great way to meet other people who are just as crazy about Disney as you are. Who else will be playing this game but Disney aficionados?!

So what's the downside? At the moment, only Adventureland is open and fully functional — they are in the Beta test mode, after all — and Fantasyland is partially functional. Tomorrowland and Frontierland will be up and running very soon, and they'll have all kinds of other games to play, but for now you may run out of new things to do fairly soon. The Hidden Mickey search will keep you coming back though, so watch out! It's a little addictive.

Read Josh's full review at: http://allears.net/btp/virtualmk.htm

To play visit: http://vmk.disney.go.com/vmk/en_US/index?name=VMKHomePage

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Wouldn't you like to visit a South Seas island? The Polynesian Resort is Walt Disney World's answer to that desire. Souven-EAR Shopper Linda Mac recently checked out the resort's new BouTIKI shop, and found that you can bring that South Seas feeling home with you. The new store, which replaces several of the Polynesian's former merchandise locations, is chock full of goodies unique to this tropical resort and sure to conjure up memories of coconuts and palm trees, exotic birds, grass skirts, and sweet sticky drinks sipped by the water.

Here's something that will fool the folks at home into thinking you really visited the Polynesian isles — a Hula Girl Doll, complete with green grass skirt ($15). Does it get any tackier than that? Want to recreate the look on yourself or your kids? Get your very own Raffia Hula Skirt ($9). Finish off the look with the fake flower Pony Tail Twisters, Head Bands, Leis and Hair Clips ($3-$9) and Disney Character Flip Flops ($14). And please don't forget the Ukulele ($25) — for the Don Ho in you. And maybe get another for your favorite friend back home.

After you've finished hula-ing poolside, you might be a bit thirsty. BouTIKI has just the thing for your beverages: a Coconut Cup with Straw ($4). If you'd like something a little larger, there are also Tall Tiki God Glasses ($8) in blue or green, or shorter clear Tiki Glasses ($10).

If you're not the grass skirt and ukulele type, never fear: BouTIKI also has something for the person who wants to clothe themselves in chic tropical attire from head to toe. Featuring Tommy Bahama 100% silk clothing, BouTIKI features both ladies and men's apparel: Ladies' Sleeveless Shirt ($85); Ladies' Capri Pants ($130); Ladies' Shorts/Skirt ($120); Ladies' Sleeveless Dress ($165); and Men's Silk Shirt $98 and Up.

The Bamboo Collection by Sheridan will help provide the perfect tropical accents to your decor. There are copper-toned metal Photo Frames (5 x 7 is $15.00, 3.5 x 5 is $12), Hanging Tea Candle Lanterns ($15) and Square Candle Holders ($8). If you want to carry out the theme, don't miss the Paradise Palms Tapestry Throw ($55) or Pillow ($22). And you can pick up matching Paradise Palms Cocktail Napkins for $4.50, as well.

If you'd like to literally soak in the exotic ambience, there's an entire line of bath products that exude the aromas of the tropics. Try"The Thymes"line with its 8 oz. Fresh Basil Body Wash ($16) or 8 oz. Fresh Basil AHA Cre`me ($30). There are other scents also available: 2 oz. Spray Colognes in Plumeria or Gardenia floral scents ($10) or a special cologne called "Wicked Wahine" ($14).

Finally, if you want to take home a real visual, consider getting one of the many watercolor prints BouTIKI has, featuring scenes from the resort, such as the Nanea Volcano pool. Your choices run the gamut from a small unframed print ($20) to a gold-framed panoramic watercolor ($69). It's a perfect piece to hang on your wall at home, remembering your idyllic vacation as you sip from your coconut shell cup.

Photos of BouTIKI and many of these items can be found at:


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July 9, 2005, is the Allentown, PA, meet of Disney fans organized by Fred Block. Deb Wills will be there and so will Len Testa (Unofficial Guide), Lou Mongello (WDW Trivia Book), and John Rick (founder of Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders). We are looking forward to sharing a wonderful day of fun and Disney! If you're an ALL EARS® subscriber who will be there, be sure to stop by Deb's table to receive a special gift.

Lucky the Dinosaur, a 9-foot-tall, 450-pound audio-animatronic, will concludeappearances at Animal Kingdom at the end of July. For more information visit: http://allears.net/tp/ak/lucky2.htm

Fourth of July Celebration — Each of the parks will have special fireworks displays. Movie fans will want to see Sorcery in the Sky at the Disney-MGM Studios. This program is rarely shown! Fantasy in the Sky returns for an encore on July 4th at the Magic Kingdom. And, as always, Epcot will have a special fireworks display following IllumiNations! For more details visit: http://allears.net/tp/fojuly.htm

ESPN Great Outdoor Games roll into Walt Disney World July 7-10 — From log rolling and the hot saw to dog jumping and All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) racing, the Games promises to bring outdoor excitement to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Many of the world's most talented outdoor athletes — and animals — will compete in the ultimate championship for outdoor sports.

The United States Youth Soccer National Championships return to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex July 27-31. The National Championships conclude a yearlong tournament, which features competition for girls' and boys' teams (ages 12:U-19:U). Regional champions in every age division from all four regions advance to the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships for the 48-team tournament.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Training Camp — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers return to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex for their 2005 NFL training camp July 29-August 17. The Buccaneers, who have trained at the 220-acre sports complex for the past three years, are the first NFL team to conduct a preseason training camp at Walt Disney World Resort.

While they are in preseason training at the Wide World of Sports, the Bucs will take over the entire 115-room Celebration Hotel and its restaurant, whichwill be closed to the public from July 25 until August 21.

Disney's Junior golf camps for children age 8-15 continue this month. Sessions focus on rules, safety and etiquette, and include swing drills, skills competitions and general play on Disney's Oak Trail golf course, with instruction from members of Disney's PGA Teaching Staff. There are two more Monday-to-Friday camps remaining: July 11-15 and July 18-22. The camps are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The weeklong program costs $275. For more information call 407-938-3435 or visit disneyworldsports.com/golf.

To see our entire Calendar of Events visit: http://allears.net/pl/events.htm


Rehabs and Closures:

At Epcot, Ice Station Cool is closed for a six-month rehab. http://allears.net/tp/ep/ice.htm

The Boardwalk Villas are still undergoing the major pipe replacement project through the summer of 2005. No work is scheduled inside guest rooms, but there may be some noise on the second and third floors between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. http://allears.net/acc/faq_bwv.htm

The Contemporary's South Garden Wing is closed for refurbishment through October. For a sneak peak at the new rooms visit: http://allears.net/acc/g_contm.htm

The Magnolia Golf Course is closed now until September 10, 2005. Work on the course will include resurfacing greens, laser-leveling tees, extending tee boxes and building new tee boxes, all in preparation for the FUNAI Classic to be held in October.

For a listing of all known rehabs visit: http://allears.net/tp/rehabs.htm

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Melody Kutch: My husband and I chose to spend our honeymoon in Disney World during the month of May. Having never been there before, the entire trip was one huge "magical moment" for me. Our first day there, Jasmine and Aladdin told us to check with Guest Services to get a "just married" badge and to wear it everywhere on Disney property. We did just that, and were greeted and congratulated by everyone we met. When we visited Disney-MGM Studios, we met a Cast Member named Darlene outside of the Beauty and the Beast show. When she saw our buttons, she offered to get us "VIP" seating for the next show time. We accepted gratefully and gave her our names. When we returned later, she recognized us right away and took us right to the front of the amphitheater. We couldn't believe it! Then we sat back to enjoy the show and the great photo opportunities we thought we were sure to have. We were happily enjoying the a cappella group pre-show, when one of them pulled a scrap of paper out of his pocket and asked if there happened to be a "David and Melody Kutch" from Scranton, PA, in the audience. We were dumbstruck! They brought us to the front of the stage and sang, "When You Wish Upon A Star." Then they all wished us a happy future and the entire audience (it was a full house) applauded. Talk about feeling the Disney magic…I'll remember that moment for the rest of my life. And, thanks to someone in the audience who, unknown to us, grabbed our camera from the bench, we have a few pictures, too!


Jennifer LaBossiere: I just got back from my first solo trip to WDW. I went to Epcot for evening Extra Magic Hours and was killing some time when I met a very nice lady on the Living with the Land boat ride. She was from the New England area and with her was her young son. We talked a little about farming and crops while we were on the ride and when it was over we said our good-byes. A few rides later, my Fastpass time came around. When it was over I felt a tap on my arm. It was the nice lady from the Land boat ride, this time with her young daughter. As we were talking about how much we liked Soarin' she asked if I would like to see it again. She had another Fastpass, but only one. Her daughter was too tired to do it again, and they were looking for the right person to give it to when they saw me. It was so touching when her daughter told me that they didn't want to give it to just anybody. I told the little girl that what she was doing was spreading pixie dust, and things like this make Disney magical. Here's a big thank you to you both!


NPeveler: We recently returned from Disney World in Florida and witnessed a Magical Moment that was so special! It happened on Main Street while we were shopping and many people were lining up for the afternoon parade. The Dapper Dans were singing at various points in the street for the people waiting, and my husband and daughter went outside to listen to them. The Dans spotted a beautiful little girl in a wheelchair wearing a pink princess ponytail holder who was waiting with her family for the parade. The Dans bent down and knelt beside her chair and sang "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes." There was not a dry eye in the area. Just a perfect moment of Disney magic!!


Julie Yates: We had a Magical Moment last time we went to WDW. We were in the Disney-MGM Studios and my daughter wanted to take a picture with one of the Toy Story (Green Army Men) soldiers. It was the one who talked. While taking a picture, my daughter told the "soldier" that her daddy is a soldier, too — he's in the Army. The Toy Story soldier told my daughter that her daddy was a real hero and that he was just pretend and just protected the toy store. I could have cried when he told my daughter to tell her daddy thank you for all he did and to tell him that he's a real hero. It was an unexpected gift that we got. We don't hear it enough. I wish I knew who it was who told my daughter that and made our day.


Each month in our WDW Bits and Bites issue we share subscribers' Magical Moments stories. Send your story to [email protected]


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.