Sunday, September 28, 2008

News & Rumors 9/15/08 - 9/28/08

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

  • Bay Lake Towers, the building being built next the the Contemporary, has finally been announced as a DVC resort. Prices for BLT begin at $18,000. BLT will open in the Fall of 2009. Here is a picture of the resort:

  • The Treehouse Villas were also announced. These will be a part of Saratoga Springs. Treehouse Villas will open next Summer. Concept art pictured below:




  • Swiss Family Treehouse closed unexpectedly earlier this month and will be closed through the end of the month.
  • The Earth Barge has returned to Illuminations and has new LED video screens. And a personal note, the screen does make it so you can see images better. I could actually make things out this time.
  • Disney announced their new Celebration for next year, titled "What Will You Celebrate." This marketing campaign is designed to get people to come celebrate just about anything at the Walt Disney World Resort, including birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, small milestones in life, etc. If you come in on your birthday, you will receive one of three things--free birthday 1-day park ticket, $75.00 merchandise gift card, or 4 fastpasses per person per party of up to 6 guests. These will only be available on your birthday, so if you're traveling in your birth month to celebrate, it won't be valid. For more information, please go here.
  • New offerings for the new celebration include Stitch's Dance Party in Tomorrowland, the Disney Dreams Come True parade will get a sprucing up and probably a new name change again, (rumored to be Celebrate Dreams Come True) and a parade similar to the Family Fun Day Parade...more about this in the rumors section.
  • The Spirit of Aloha show at the Polynesian will be refurbed from Jan. 13-19, 2009.
  • Beginning March 1, 2009, the Magical Fireworks Voyage will be available for all guests, instead of only Grand Gathering Guests. Cost will be $53.99 for adults and $30.99 for kids.
  • Portobello Yacht Club will be closed Sept. 27-Oct. 13 for it's refurbishment.
  • The new Cars Meet & Greet area is now open. I got to experience it first hand on my trip.

  • The Muppet Balloon is back from refurbishment. It looks great! It was refurbed to remove Jim Henson's name off the balloon.
  • Lights, Motors, Action's refurb has been extended. Originally supposed to end on the 25 of Sept, now it's supposed to end on the 29th of Sept.
  • Nine Dragons opened WAY early from refurbishment. 2 months early, to be exact.
  • Disney is removing track from Primeveal Whirl.



Rumors

  • The new Family Fun Day parade will look different than the last one. With this one, there will be smaller floats to look like gift boxes and one large centerpiece float. The music will be similar to the Block Party Bash music. This is a much bigger parade than the Family Fun Day parade, so it will only be performed twice a day.
  • A new castle show will replace the Dreams Come True show.
  • Rumors are out now that The American Idol Experience opening has been pushed back. Instead of opening in January, like originally planned, it will now open in the Spring. Possibly to coincide with the announcement of the winner of this year's American Idol.
  • The Fry Wagon in Frontierland now appears to be gone.
  • It's still being rumored that Space Mountain's refurb dates are now April-October 2009.
  • It's being rumored that the height requirement on the Tomorrowland Speedway will change. While the height to drive will remain the same, the height to board will change. No one under 32 inches will be allowed.
  • It's being rumored that Typhoon Lagoon will be closed all off-season, from Oct. 26 until March 21, 2009.
  • The Backlot Tour may have an automated spiel, much like the use on Living With The Land in Epcot, as early as October.




Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tables of Wonderland...What?!

Disney recently announced that the Disney Dining Experience Card has changed names. Starting on Sept. 15, what was previously called the DDE, will now be called Tables of Wonderland.

I can understand wanting to change the name. I mean with the Disney Dining Plan and Disney Dining Experience, the two had such similar names. It was sometimes easy to get the two confused for a seasoned Disney traveller. Imagine how confusing things must have been for a complete newby to the "World of Disney." And Disney doesn't want to confuse their guests.

But Tables of Wonderland? Is that the best they could come up with or was this just the first name that came to them and they went...yep...sounds decent...let's go with it.

And I actually have to go and purchase one of these in the next few days. So, I'm expect to say, "Yes, I'd like to buy the Tables of Wonderland card." Man, will that be interesting.

The good news, all the perks you got for DDE will still be the same. You will still get 20% off of your meals, including alcohol. (With 18% added back for tip). You'll still get free valet parking. And of course, up until next Saturday, you'll still get half off at the clubs at Pleasure Island.

I just really don't want to have to admit to owning a card so oddly named. lol!!!


A reminder:

As you all may know, I leave for Disney in a few short days (3 to be exact). Therefore, this blog will be taking a bit of a hiatus. I will try my hardest to get the News & Rumors out on Saturday, since I leave on Sunday, but next week's Wednesday article will not be appearing. Can't wait to visit The House of Mouse!!! See you all real soon!!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

News & Rumors 9/8/08 - 9/14/08

So, I'm a little early this weekend b/c I won't be around tomorrow to post this...here's the update for the week.

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
  • All the Food & Wine booths are being installed this week.
  • The Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure is in it's testing phases now. They are testing the hardware, software checks, etc.
  • It's official! Paperwork has been filed for the Contemporary tower that's currently being built. It will in fact be DVC and will officially be called "Bay Lake Tower." Expect an announcement from Disney soon.
  • As of Sept. 15, the Disney Dining Experience card will have a new name...Tables In Wonderland. It will still work the same way as it always has...it has just been rechristened.
  • Disney Parks will be bringing it's magic to quite a few cities over the fall and winter months. This is going to be in conjunction of the major announcement that should be happening soon. (Rumors are pointing to next week...and they are saying the announcement is related to next year's "celebration.") Hope Disney comes to a city near you! This list is and dates are in no particular order:

9/25 Minneapolis 9/24 Toronto 1/19 Vancouver 9/29 Chicago 9/29 Boston 1/21 Seattle 10/1 Milwaukee 10/1 Providence 1/23 Portland 10/3 Detroit 10/3 New York 1/26, 27 Sacramento 10/6 Pittsburgh 10/6 Hartford 1/30, 2/2 San Francisco 10/8 Cincinnati 10/8 Philadelphia 2/4, 5 Fresno 10/10 Indianapolis 10/10 Wash. DC 2/9 Las Vegas 10/14 Dallas 10/13 Baltimore 2/11 Salt Lake City 10/16 Houston 10/15 Charlotte 2/16 Denver 10/20 New Orleans 10/17 Atlanta 2/19, 20 Phoenix

Rumors
  • The Earth Globe for Illuminations is supposed to be back any day now.
  • Nine Dragons at Epcot is rumored to be almost ready to open. This is WAY in advance of the original Nov. date.
  • Some rumors are coming out about what will happen on Pleasure Island's last night. First, they are saying that there will be fireworks. There will also be performances by Frankie and the West End Boys and Hip Kitty. The Adventurer's Club will be preforming some of their Christmas and Halloween shows and the last show may be special where they'll give a story of why they're leaving. Comedy Warehouse may also have a special show and there will be extra merchandise on hand for all of Pleasure Island.
  • The brand new Cars Meet and Greet at the Studios is supposed to be open starting on Sunday (today).
  • The Monster's Inc. Coaster at DHS is still being rumored as a go, and we've heard a name for it....Monster's Inc Door Vaulter.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Extra Magic Hour Rule

So, as you all may know, Disney recently is changing their policy for Extra Magic Hours. Instead of receiving a wrist band that is shown in order to get on rides, you will now have to show your resort room key at each line's entrance in order to gain access to rides.

Now, they tried doing this a few months back on a trial basis and from all that I heard, that trial went disastrously. Which makes me wonder, why did they decide to go for it for real?

One of the major problems with this new method is the hassle of getting the card out each and ever time you want to get on an attraction. And, you'll have to get it out for each and every person too. Because of this, you'll have to keep your cards in an area that's easily accessible. Which means that they'll be easier to loose too.

Another question is what happens when there are a bunch of people that line up all at once? The CM is supposed to check to make sure the resort ID is valid. But when that line starts to stack up, do you think they're going to spend the time to make sure that your resort ID is valid? I don't think so.

People are saying that part of the reason for the change is that people were wearing false bracelets and that's why they went to the resort ID as proof. So, ok, how easy would it then be to use a resort card from a previous trip if you're staying offsite on this one? Disney doesn't change their Key To The World cards that often.

The other major factor on why a lot of people are upset with this idea is because now, there's nothing to identify resort guests from non-resort guests, so it will be harder to get the non-resort guests out of the parks now. Which, of course, is what Disney wants. They don't want to kick the non-resort guests out of the parks. They want them shopping, eating, and spending any money they can. And if they can't get on the rides, that is all they will be able to do.

However, this makes what was already a crowded situation (because who hasn't noticed that during the early part of evening extra magic hours that the parks feel more crowded than they do during the day?) into an even worse one.

I guess I'll have to hold my judgement, best I can anyway, until I get back because I will definitely be experiencing this in 10 short days. We'll see then what it's really like.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

News & Rumors 9/1/08 - 9/7/08

News

  • As was reported before, Mickey and Minnie are sporting new Halloween costumes for this year's Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties...here's what they look like.

  • New cups and napkins have also been spotted for the Halloween/Fall festivities.
  • Fulton's Crab House in Downtown Disney is seeing some work on it's exterior, including painting and various other work.
  • The Illuminations pre-show announcements have been changed from a woman's voice to a man's now. No clue as to a reason why.
  • Coronado Springs has been seeing some upgrades these past few months. The rooms are getting new queen size beds and new furniture. Around 100 rooms will be getting king beds, instead of queens. All rooms will be receiving flat screen TVs and they are opening up floor space by putting in a desk and getting rid of the tables. Also, it's been said that one building will be Business Club Level and rooms will be a little bit nicer and they will receive more personalized service. They'll also get a lounge area with continental breakfast, midday snacks and wine & cheese in the evening, and at night they will receive turn down service in their rooms.

Rumors

  • It's been heard that this year, at the Studios, look for an all new Christmas parade, entitled, Pixar's BLOCK PARTY CHRISTMAS BASH. The streets will transform into a Christmas haven, as giant Christmas trees, stacks of presents, and high energy music fill the air. The high energy dancers will do things like jump rope with licorice and there will be Christmas Carol contests as well. This rumor makes sense, as the previous parade in the studios was transformed to a Christmas version.
  • It's being heard, yet again, that Disney might decide to start charging for Fastpass privileges. With each day costing the same amount and it is said to be cheaper than Universal's version.
  • Honey I Shrunk the Audience will have it's Fastpass machines removed in October.
  • The Caribbean Beach pool should be open any day now. It appears that everything is ready, down to the last details.

Finally, I wanted to share one last thing with you all! I know I talked about Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in last Wednesday's article. I created a photo video that included some of the pics of the night's event from one of the parties last year. I thought I would share it with you all, so you could see some of the stuff I was talking about in the article.

video

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

It's almost that time of year. Time to get out the pumpkins, ghosts, witches, and candy. It's time to celebrate Halloween. And let me tell you...from personal experience, the House of Mouse does an amazing job with their Halloween festivities. And I highly suggest that if you have the chance to make one, you see it.

First things first, Disney decorates to the nines for Halloween. Just look up pictures of Main Street. Pumpkins everywhere, orange, white and yellow banners, and on the nights of the parties, they light up Main Street in purples, greens, blues, etc. It's a really neat effect. And that's just Main Street! Tommorowland had a big Stitch on the top of one of the buildings and a space alien on top of another. Other lands had big inflatables and various other "spooky" effects. Oh and don't miss out on visiting the Haunted Mansion! They go all out on the party nights.

But besides the decorations, many people wonder, what exactly is there to do during this event? Tons of things. First, I highly recommend you get a map. It's going to be imperative, since there are so many things to check out and they happen at all different times.

As for the actual events, number one on my list to check out is the Boo To You Halloween Parade. This parade has some of the most catchy music in all the theme park and I can't imaging that you won't find yourself humming it, at least once during your trip. (And sometimes, way, way after! lol!)

Some other really cool pieces of this parade are the Headless Horseman, who rides right before the parade takes place. You also don't want to miss the Haunted Mansion float and the gravediggers who scrape their shovels on the ground (Warning: this could be scary for kids...so be prepared.) Actually, the whole Haunted Mansion section of this parade is outstanding. Another really cool thing are the pirates (and Captain Jack Sparrow) and I quite enjoy the Goofy's Candy Company section!

Also another really intriguing portion of this event and in my opinion, definitely worth the price of admission...the fireworks show, Happy HalloWishes. Wow...it's spectacular! It gives off a kinda spooky feel, but is still light-hearted too. However, this also, could be a tad scary for kids. I don't want to give too much away, but many of the villians come out to help celebrate Halloween in their own grand fashion.

The other big reason to go to this event? Candy! Need I say more? You get TONS of candy during this event. Some of it's off brand type stuff (like those gummy hot dogs and hamburgers they sell in stores) but some of it really is the good stuff. I wish last year that I'd gotten to keep my candy, as I had a bunch, but since it POURED the night we were there, my candy got all sticky and I had to throw it out. :(

I strongly suggest trick or treating though. Even if you don't have kids. We even took our own Halloween bag with us and got even more candy. (The bags Disney gives are kind of smaller.) And, we went back in lines multiple times throughout the night. A great place to get lots of candy is along the path from Tommorowland to Mickey's ToonTown. That path alone has like 5 candy stops.

Adults often wonder whether or not they should dress up. My theory is, if you feel comfortable doing it, then fine. I've seen some costumes, both in person and online, that sometimes rival Disney's own characters.

Dressing up really is part of the fun. Last year, I dressed as a pirate...I might use the same costume this year though. It's the easiest one I have access to.

However, it's definitely not necessary that you dress up either. While there are a lot of people dressed in their Halloween finest, there are also plenty that are dressed up "as themselves." No need to worry either way. As I said, do what you're comfortable with.

Recently, a lot of people in the Disney community have been complaining about how Disney keeps pushing this event earlier and earlier each year, but I personally, have no problem with it. As someone who tends to like to go in September for many reasons, it's really nice to be able to experience this incredible experience. And if Disney didn't start this event in early Sept, the chances of me seeing it were usually slim.

I feel as if I've only just begun to scrape the surface of this party. Some things I missed talking about were the Halloween Dance Parties, you can meet and greet characters dressed up in their Halloween costumes, and I know last year, they did the Villain's Mix and Mingle stage show, but I haven't really heard anything about this this year, so I'm not sure if it's still a go this year.

Anyway, for those of you who are going...I really hope you have a wonderful time. I know I'm looking forward to going again! For those of you who aren't this year...get a move on! You're missing out on one of the neatest experiences Disney has to offer!

Happy HalloWishes to you!!!