Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The New ADR System

As has been reported here, the Disney Reservations line will be down for a few months while Disney upgrades it's software. It's also recently been rumored (and rumored very heavily, I think it might actually be a fact) that after the reservation system comes back up in October, this system will make it possible for people to make their dining, tours, and recreation options reservations all at once.

However, the most interesting rumor, that might actually be fact, is that Disney will now include an option to make these ressies online. This is the part I don't know how much I like.

Sure, it sounds good in theory. Making the reservations online will mean you don't have to call a long distance number anymore and that you can do it easily at your computer. It will also mean that all reservations will then be connected with your hotel reservations, if you are staying on property.

However, my biggest problem with the online opportunity is we all thought it was bad to try to get reservations originally for dates, I can't imagine how badly this is going to impact the ability to get reservations now. Hopefully Disney will come up with a way to block people from making ressies at the same time frame, that might help alleviate some of this problem.

However, what's gonna stop people who are "planning" trips. You know the type...those who really don't have a trip planned, but pretend that they do. It was a lot more difficult to actually have to call Disney, but now that they'll be able to make their fake ressies at the drop of a hat what's going to stop them from doing it? (You know, besides niceness for those of us who are actually planning a trip.)

With the easy click of a mouse, you will be able to make ressies, which of course, is a thousand times easier than actually picking up the phone and calling Disney. This will in turn, make it even harder for people to get the ressies they REALLY want. Real trip planned or not.

Another problem I foresee is that Disney's website is already seen by those in the Disney community as a pretty poor one. It's mediocre at best. I can only imagine how hard it's going to be to get online 180 days out at 7 am (I can only assume they will release the times the same way they did before) to make your reservations. If you thought things were busy before...I'm thinking you haven't seen anything yet. And how easily will all these people trying to make reservations crash the system.

Of course, I'm not all pessimistic...I do see this as being an interesting option, if they get the bugs straightened out. I just hate the fact that I already had trouble making reservations for the restaurants I wanted to begin with (especially since I don't know where I want to eat 6 months from now) and with the option being so easily available online now, I can only imagine how much harder and faster those slots are going to fill up.

Monday, July 28, 2008

News & Rumors 7/21/08 - 7/27/08


News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken with a grain of salt.


News
  • The Outer Rim bar at the Contemporary has now been removed to make way for a new quick service restaurant.
  • Some shops along Sunset Blvd. will be closing for refurb later this year. From Sept. 2-Nov. 22 The Once Upon a Time, Mouse About Town, and Sunset Club Couture stores will be out of commission.
  • Woody's Cowboy Camp and The Family Fun Day Parade are being shut down on Sept. 27.
  • The Kim Possible game that was tested out a while ago appears to be coming back for good. It will allow guests to use portable electronic devices, like cell phones, to access interactive features hidden throughout the park.

Rumors

  • Rumors are still swirling about the new Monster's Inc Coaster in DHS
    It's been rumored, once again, that the Honey I Shrunk the Audience Play Area at DHS will be turned into an A Bug's Life play area.
  • Rumors are also swirling that The Little Mermaid dark ride being built in California is supposedly coming East by October 2011.
  • Block Party is rumored to be going down and being shown only 5 days a week in January.
  • It was rumored that Magical Celebrations will replace the Year of a Million Dreams next year and it's appearing to be true. Magical Celebrations will instead be similar to the Magical Gatherings campaign that was held a few years ago. The purpose of this campaign will be focused on celebrating milestones during vacations.
  • Chip and Dale might be removed from the parks for a short while. It's been rumored that Dale will be having some "plastic surgery"
  • It's rumored that the Earth Globe for Illuminations will be down for refurbishment starting August 13.
  • The refrigerators in Caribbean Beach resort may be a thing of the past with this new refurb that's currently going on.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

To Cut or Not To Cut?

With the news that Fantasmic is only going to be show 2 times a week in January next year, with no clear explanation on why they are making these changes, many people are wondering why? Which makes me wonder why myself.

Why is Disney taking away the nighttime spectacular in a park that so desperately needs it. If you go to the studios, the majority of the attractions are, of course, shows. Many of which have scheduled times, which end mid-late afternoon. This park is already starving for more things to do to keep the day filled, as I have mentioned in a previous post, so taking away something that would keep people on property and in this park seems a tad bit foolish.

Some people speculate that Disney is keeping it dark 5 nights a week so they can do some refurbishments on it without having to shut it down for good. This is the least likely reason to me. Sure, there's the possibility they might update a few things, but I hardly would venture to believe that was the main reason.

Another reason is that the American Idol Experience is going to be opening in January. Disney execs might want to make this seem like a huge success, since it's really only gotten a lukewarm response from the Disney community. The thinking from the armchair imagineers is that if Fantasmic isn't showing, people will either have to leave or go see the grand finale showing of AIE. And wouldn't people rather stay and watch that then leave the parks for the night? That's a very good question and if that's one of the reasons for the closure, I don't think I would have put as much stock into AIE as it may seem Disney is doing. However, only time will tell on this one.

What is more than likely though, is that Disney has gotten projections that the economy isn't doing well and hotel rooms simply aren't booking up the way they had in years past. Therefore, Disney is cutting money any way they can. And I think this rings true, as it appears that all Disney seems to be doing is cutting anything they can in which they have to pay performers and Cast Members.

First they cut out Pleasure Island...which of course, housed quite a few CMs. Next was the character dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern. Next was the Pocahontas show at DAK...something that probably didn't matter if it were cut or not. Now Fantasmic. And it's being rumored that Block Party Bash might get cut to 5 days a week starting in January.

It's one thing to cut costs, however, to me, it's a totally different thing to cut costs where the guest might actually notice. Find other ways to cut costs. Release discounts on hotel rooms. Find other incentives to get people to want to come down. If people feel like they're getting something, they tend to react better about the situation.

Many state that the money Disney saves by not performing Fantasmic outweighs what people would actually spend if they stayed in the parks until Fantasmic was over. I guess only Disney knows for sure. I just hope they don't have to cut too much more. I was really enjoying the growth the parks were enjoying there for a while. It'd be a shame to have to go backwards.

Monday, July 21, 2008

News & Rumors 7/14/08 - 7/20/08

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken with a grain of salt.


News
  • The Caribbean Beach Resort refurb is underway and it appears that the refurb includes Finding Nemo. It's also rumored that they will be including suites in the future themed to Pirates of the Caribbean.

  • A new Grand Marshall vehicle has arrived on Main Street. It is now wheelchair accessible and has tires that have Mickey Mouse heads in the treads.

  • Disney is going to be working on it's reservation's system, as was announced last week, however, the plan is to combine dining, recreation, and tour bookings all in one place. The conversion is supposed to be finished by Oct. 21, 2008.
  • It appears that there is actually going to be a Passholder event surrounding the new release of the Tinkerbell movie. Saturday Sept. 27 and Sunday Sept. 28 at the Magic Kingdom, Disney invites Passholders to an exclusive screening of TinkerBell. This event takes place a whole 3 weeks before the movie is set to be released on DVD. The info released also confirms that there will be a meet and greet area opening soon to greet Tink and her friends.
  • According to Disney's calendar, Fantasmic! is set to only be open 2 days a week starting in January. No reason was given on why, nor is it known if this is a more permanent change. Performances will be shown on Monday and Thursday nights.
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party will be unavailable for Friday, Oct. 3, 2008. Any one with tickets for that night should contact Disney.

Rumors

  • It's been rumored that Tomorrowland might be getting an extensive refurb, themed around the movie Wall-E. This new refurb would help to create a cohesive feel to the area, with the TTA, Space Mountain, and Carousel of Progress remaining relatively untouched, but incorporating the new theme. Stitch's Great Escape would be going bye bye (Stitch is rumored to be going to the Tiki Room) and the Laugh Floor might go with it. Buzz Lightyear and Astro Orbiter would get extensive refurbs as well. Rumors are swirling that this could all take effect as early as 2012.

  • While Stitch is being rumored to take over the Tiki Room, there are also rumors going around that the original Tropical Serenade show will be returning in time for WDW's 40 year anniversary. This won't be the only attractions enhanced to it's original glory. Rumored updates include Space Mountain, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, The Hall of Presidents, and the Enchanted Tiki Room at the Magic Kingdom; Journey Into Imagination and Illuminations at Epcot; and The Great Movie Ride and Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Also rumored at this time are a new firework show and updated Spectromagic parade at the Magic Kingdom. Not all of these will take place, more likely, but the goal is to have some in place by Oct. 1, 2011.

  • Rumors are now swirling that when Country Bear Jamboree goes down this year, when it reopens, it might open with the Christmas special first.
  • Rumors are going around that in Epcot at the former Leave a Legacy kiosk, Disney plans to have a taste testing area where different foods and beverages can be tried out among the general public.
  • Rumors are indeed swirling that the next attraction coming to DHS is going to be a Monster's Inc Coaster themed to the infamous door scene.
  • Nine Dragons in Epcot is rumored to be opening early. Right now, it's set to open Nov. 28, 2008.
  • It's been rumored that when Primeval Whirl goes down for refurb this fall, it will be receiving an on-ride photo opportunity and this photo will then be tied into Photopass.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's Jamboree Time!

Well, as you may have heard (or read), the Country Bear Jamboree is finally getting a refurb! Hallelujah! Wendall, Liverlips, Big Al, Henry, Teddi Beara, and Trixie, to name a few, have needed some definite lovin. It's took them way long enough.

Now, while it is still a bit unclear as to what they will be doing exactly to Grizzly Hall, I have heard that they plan on updating the audio quality. Which to me, is amazing. The last time I went in, which was at least a year ago...the audio quality was AWFUL. I was sitting near the front and could bearly (lol!) hear anything. As a Disney fan, it's hard to put up with that, knowing full well that things should be a lot better. I can only imagine what regular tourists thought when they went in. I'm sure they are not too impressed.

The show is still relatively decent, besides some of the songs being a bit inappropriate to some people. However, it is still in good shape for being around since the park opened. It unfortunately, just hadn't seen any love what-so-ever. Especially since they stopped dressing the show up for the Holiday Special. That really killed any fixing up this show got on a regular basis to begin with.

Something I'd like to see with the refurb, is that this show could also use some updated AAs...but we'll see what happens with that. As I mentioned, it appears that very little is known about this refurb besides the obvious fixing of the sound quality.

Now, I know this refurb is not real long, only a tiny bit over a month, however, I'm sure they can do quite a bit to this show in the course of a month's time. It's not like the Haunted Mansion where there are multiple rooms that need to be fixed up. This is only one room and a handful of AAs. Therefore, three to six months is not necessary.

I just really hope that for this refurb, they do as nice of a job as they did on the Haunted Mansion and bring the good old Country Bears back to their glory. Because the world needs some more rootin', tootin', and hollerin'! :D

Sunday, July 13, 2008

News & Rumors 7/7/08 - 7/13/08




News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken with a grain of salt.

News

  • Dates for the Holiday activities for this year have now been confirmed.

-Epcot's Holidays Around The World will be presented Nov. 28-Dec. 30. (This is where storytellers portray cultural icons of the season from different countries around the world.)

-Also, Illuminations will have a special Holiday Tag for this time of year.

-Candlelight Processional (the retelling of the Christmas Story by celebrity narrators) is set to be performed at Epcot as well, Nov. 28-Dec. 30. This show is staged in the American Gardens Theater and show times will be at 5 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8 pm.

-The Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights will be twinkling from Nov. 28-Jan. 4. This beautiful event takes place on New York Street at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

-Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade will run through the Disney's Animal Kingdom from Nov. 28-Jan 4. Parade floats are transformed from a jungle feeling to a wintry wonderland feeling.

  • For those who will be down during the Free Dining promotion in Aug/Sept., Disney has increased opportunities for people to use their table service credits. Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary will have a lunch offering from 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm. Ohana at the Polynesian will open an hour earlier for breakfast, with the first seating being at 7:30 am and they will be open an hour earlier for dinner, with the hours being 4-10 pm. Also, Whispering Canyon at the Wilderness Lodge will be open an hour earlier for dinner...4-10 pm.
  • Starting on July 16, for a limited time, you will not be able to make dining reservations past January 15, 2009 with the exception of Chef Mickey's, Victoria & Albert's, and Cinderella's Royal Table. This is due to the fact that Disney is updating their reservation system and it will take some time for it to be put into place. This squashes the rumor going around that Disney is now moving back their reservation schedule to 90 days as it was in years past. The new software should be in place around mid October and will be booking for 180 days out again.
  • Primeval Whirl will be down for refurbishment Sept. 2-Nov. 16.
  • The Eat to the Beat Concert series (which plays during Food & Wine Festival) artists have now been announced. They include:

Sept. 26-27 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Sept. 28-30 Sheena Easton Oct. 1-4 Starship starring Mickey Thomas Oct. 5-7 En Vogue Oct. 8-9 Jonny Lang Oct. 10-12 Peabo Bryson Oct. 13-14 Sister Hazel Oct. 15-16 David Sanborn Oct. 17-18 Jon Secada Oct. 19-21 Spyro Gyra Oct. 22-23 Otis Day & the Knights Oct. 24-26 Exposé Oct. 27-28 Kool & The Gang Oct. 29-30 Boyz II Men Oct. 31-Nov. 2 Atlanta Rhythm Section Nov. 3-5 David Cassidy Nov. 6-7 Night Ranger Nov. 8-9 Los Lobos

  • The Country Bear Jamboree is finally getting a refurb! (Took them long enough!) It will be down Sept. 28-Oct. 31. Rumor has it that they will be redoing the sound system and some other general maintenance.
  • The Cabins at Fort Wilderness are now being billed as a Moderate category resort. This is just a category change and it will not affect the campsites in anyway.
  • The show, Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends at Disney's Animal Kingdom will be ending it's 10 year run on Sept. 27. Pocahontas, however, will remain a character in the park and will be found at meet & greet areas.
  • High School Musical 2: School's Out at Disney's Hollywood Studios will have it's final performance on Sept. 13, however, this is to make way for the new High School Musical 3: Senior Year roaming stage show that will hit the studios on Oct. 24, in time for the theatrical release of the new movie.
  • Surfing Lessons at Typhoon Lagoon have been canceled from July 10 until after the park's refurbishment later this year. The wave pool will remain open for guests during this time period.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Get What In Return?

Well, as it's officially been announced, starting September 28, 2008, once Disney gets rid of Pleasure Island, if you have a Premium Annual Pass or if you have the Magic Your Way Water Park and More option, you can play a round of golf at Disney's Oak Tree Golf Course, a 9 hole walking course...whoo...

Now...at first glance, it seems like a decent trade off. They both probably cost around the same price and they are both extra activities that can be done on property. Things that weren't automatically included in the price of admission.

However, when you look at it closer...it's a complete rip off at least for me and I'm sure many, many others. Why?

Because while golf is, of course, a popular sport, it is most definitely not as universal as dance clubs are. Golf is something that only a select percentage of people are involved in and I'm going to take a stab at it and say that most people who got the passes specifically for Pleasure Island are not usually the types who are interested in an outing of golf...on a walking course, no less.

At least the club option was something that appealed to a broader audience. And...let's not forget to mention, those who went to the clubs weren't usually wasting park days...if anything, they went to the clubs after the parks were closed. If you want to use the golf option...you can bet it's going to eat into your actual days at the park.

To me, a better option would have been to give people a choice...you can choose the golf or something else, like maybe a boat ride for a half hour. Just something else that appeals to a broader range of people.

Of course, there is always the option that you could just get a prorated refund. I think if I had a Premium Annual Pass, that is exactly what I would do.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

News & Rumors 6/30/08 - 7/6/08



News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken with a grain of salt.

News

  • There is now a pastry cart at the Transportation and Ticket Center.
  • In response to Pleasure Island closing, the Disney Company has changed some things in the Water Park and More ticket that can be purchased. Instead of admission to Pleasure Island, after Sept. 27, guests who have purchased the Water Park and More package can instead get a round of golf at Disney's Oak Tree Golf Course (in addition to admission to both water parks and DisneyQuest). This golf course is a nine hole walking course. Tee times are required and subject to availability. For tee times, call (407) WDW-GOLF ( 407-939-4653 ) or visit disneyworldgolf.com.
  • The round of golf has also been added to the Premium Annual Pass.
  • Disney has announced that a boy has been added to the family. At Disney's Animal Kingdom, a baby African elephant, who is unnamed, was born to mom Mayo, a 26 year old elephant.
  • The Concourse Steakhouse has totally been removed from the Contemporary and work is now beginning on a quick service restaurant.
  • It has now been pretty much confirmed that the Liberty Square bridge will be replaced in August. Because the bridge was used during the parades, SpectroMagic will not be shown during this time period. In it's place, Disney will run two showings of the Dreams Come True Parade, once at 3 pm and once at 7 pm. Since the parade path for this parade will also need to be altered, it appears the course the parade will take instead will be to remove one float. Then the parade will start at Town Square, go up Main Street, circle around the Hub, then go back down Main Street towards Town Square again.

Rumors

  • Beginning this fall, Chip and Dale will no longer appear at Epcot's Character Spot in Innoventions. Donald Duck will be taking their place.
  • Some say Night Kingdom (Disney's 5th gate) is on, some say it's off. It's still unknown what exactly is going on with this recent rumor. Look for more news in the future.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bye Bye Adventurer's Club




Well, as many of you know, it has now been announced that all of Pleasure Island will be closing in September. In the grand scheme of things...this isn't so bad. While Pleasure Island was a nice place to visit and have a good time...lately, it has not been extremely busy and has performed lacklusterly.

I am, however, a tad unhappy about some of what they are deciding to do. I understand the fact that they needed to breathe new life into the area, but, my big disappointment comes because they have decided to indeed close the Adventurer's Club. (For those of you not familiar with the club, please visit this link...it talks in great detail about what the Adventurer's Club actually was.)

It had been rumored lately that Pleasure Island was going to be changing, however, from the info I had heard, the Adventurer's Club was not supposed to be on the chopping block.

What disappoints me the most about the closing of this club was that it was so uniquely Disney. I would describe it to people as the most Disney feeling place, yet the most unDisney feeling place because as the night went on, the more interesting things got. It was just pure entertainment and fun.

A lot of people claim that the downfall of the whole Pleasure Island complex was the taking away of the turn styles and allowing for families to walk through. Also, it couldn't have helped that Pleasure Island was right in the middle of the two shopping districts. So while I do understand the change, it's still a shame that they couldn't have left this one club in place.

What saddens me the most about this whole issue is the fact that they are removing it for third party shops and/or restaurants. They are taking something so Disney and trading it for something entirely average.

And the part that bothers me the most, is that I don't think it would have killed them to have left it in place. It was one tiny club and I believe it was situated in a place where it would not have been in the way.

But Disney claims it wasn't in their bold, new vision. I'm sorry, but this club was totally bold. And it always seemed to be busy as well. I would have had no problem paying a higher cover charge to get in. (which, is essentially what I did when I went down anyway. Since you couldn't buy a "one club pass" for this club, I would have to pay for the "all clubs pass", which came at a premium price.) Incorporating this club in the new Pleasure Island (or whatever it's not going to be called) really would have worked in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, Disney doesn't feel the same way.

I know that it's probably useless, but for those of you who are interested in saving the Adventurer's Club, there are some petitions going around. One can be found here. Another thing that can be done is to send an actual letter to the Disney company. Emails can be deleted, but letters can't not be noticed. Send all letters to:



The Walt Disney Company (or pick the name of the higher up you'd like to send it to.)
500 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521



The Adventurer's Club could have coexisted nicely with this "new, bold vision." If you're as disappointed in the new changes as I am, let Disney know about it. It may not change much, but I keep looking to the fact that it was the fans who got Figment back into the Imagination Pavilion. If we can do that, what makes this any different?

I leave you now with a video that I taped the last time I was at the AC. Sorry it's sideways...I wasn't thinking when I recorded it. lol!


video

Kungalooh one and all!