Monday, March 30, 2009

News & Rumors 3/23/09 - 3/29/09

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.


  • Typhoon Lagoon has officially reopened after it's very long refurb recently. They have now fixed the Wave Pool and did other general maintenance.
  • Free dining is now available for all new bookings for all guests, not just Disney Visa holders now. Dates it is available are Aug. 15 - Oct. 3.
  • Fairfax Fries at the Studios is now closed to remove McDonald's products from the establishment. The shop will reopen April 4 with a new menu.
  • The new balloon ride in Downtown Disney is expected to open in early April (rumored to be April 1st) and some new information is coming out about it. Hours of operation will be: Sunday - Thursday: 10:30 am - 11:00 pm and Friday and Saturday: 10:30 am - 12 am.
  • Some changes have been made at Epcot regarding the character meet and greets. As of right now, Dopey will not be appearing with Snow White in Germany any longer, Mushu is no longer in China with Mulan, Chip and Dale appear outside of Innoventions West, and Daisy and Stitch appear in front of Spaceship Earth in the Leave a Legacy tile area.
  • Universe of Energy is officially open after it's refurb. It appears most of the works was done backstage, however it does appear that they did paint the outside of the building and made it appear in it's original colors.
  • The new Friar's Nook restaurant in Fantasyland (previously where the McDonald's fries were found) is now serving fries and hot dogs!
  • Walt Disney's One Man's Dream at the Studios has found a new sponsor. D23!
  • The Studio's Backlot Tour has reopened after it's lengthy refurb. Now, there is a pre-recorded spiel during the tram tour section, which can be switched from either a male voice or female voice, depending on who's the tour guide is on the tram. (Yes, there is apparently a tour guide still on board.) No other significant changes have been made.
  • The daytime parade "Celebrate a Dream Come True" is now seeing a new route. Instead of starting in Frontierland and making it's way down Main Street, it will be now going the opposite direction.


  • The character line up may also be changing at the Studios. Daisy and Stitch will no longer be found under the Hat. Instead, Pooh and Eeyore will be appearing. Up characters will also soon be appearing at the Magic of Disney Animation.
  • It's being rumored that the Treehouse Villas will have their own dock with it's own water taxis which will reportedly take guests to Downtown Disney.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Free Food! Yes Please!

I wanted to preface this entry by saying that I wanted to wait to publish this blog post until I had confirmation that the information was now appears that it is. :)

Disney is officially offering free dining as their next promotion for August and September. (At least right now for Disney Visa holders...I expect that it will be open to everyone else starting on the 30th of this month.) So, for trips booked Aug. 15 - October 3, free dining will now be available. (The offer must be booked by June 21st, as a warning.)

For those of you who can take advantage of it, free dining is one of my favorite promotions. While it may not be as good as the Buy 4 Get 3 promotion that had preceded it, this is one promotion that seems consistent and is a really good deal to take into consideration. I know I'll be booking free dining, even though I have an AP because it will turn out better for us than an AP discount would...even though I have to buy a one day park ticket, since free dining is only available as a package and room only bookings then wouldn't count.

I knew that we were gonna book our trip for September for a while now. September just seems our go to month for a trip. Crowds are lighter, the weather is usually nice, and well, did I mention that the crowds are lighter? Plus, this then means that while before, when we went down there, we might not have eaten so well, since we'd have to spend the money for it and now, well we'll get to eat like kings! :)

And who doesn't want that? I know a lot of people complain about how much food it is. Me, I have no complaints...I eat what I want and it's FREE! How can you complain about that? lol!

I've done the free dining offer once before. Of course, this was before Disney changed the dining plan rules. When we got it before, the appetizer was offered and tip was included...but still, even though those two things are taken away this time, I'm still looking forward to this. I have a lot of restaurants that I've been wanting to try and for me, the best way to do that is when I don't have to pay for it. :) And of course, there are the standards that I always eat at too that I want to try to eat in this time again too. (For FREE!!! Can you tell I like free! lol!)

There's only one thing I'm kinda nervous about...and that is if I will get my restaurant choices that I want. This year will be the first year during the free dining promotion that the ADR system will be set at 90 days.

So, what's the hiccup with that? Well, by the time this promotion ends, most of the people who have booked free dining would have already done it. And that means they will all be trying to schedule their ADRs first thing in the morning their 90 days out. Which means, getting up early the morning of your window day is crucial and that the chances of getting your first and possibly second choices may be very slim. (Before, when it was 180 days out, I would call and get my top choices before free dining was even offered...that way, once it was, I was guaranteed and knew I already had the places that I really wanted set in stone and it was way easier to get them.)

Which is why, if you are doing free dining, make sure you have a nice long list of restaurants jotted down and be very flexible with your times and choices. And don't be disappointed if you maybe have to try something that isn't one of your favorites. In essence, definitely be prepared. (Oh...and I'm also hearing to "complicate" matters that the online dining system might be going up soon too.)

Also, know that if you don't get your top choices on the day you call, make sure you try to call periodically just to check to see if there are any cancellations for the day you wanted. I know that last year, while I wasn't using free dining, I did go during free dining period and I called 3 weeks before my dates and got a cherry time slot at 50s Prime Time...right during dinner. And there were multiple slots available all around you never know what will happen. Just keep trying. :)

So, for those of you who are taking advantage of this deal...yay! But whatever you do, don't call for ADRs on June 13th. That's when I'll need to call to schedule mine. :) I want my top choice restaurants. And you all would want me to have those right? That means I get to bring research back for the blog and the show! This purely is a research trip...that's all it is, I promise. lol!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

News & Rumors 3/16/09 - 3/22/09

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.


  • There's another new exhibit coming to Innoventions. The Great Piggy Bank Adventure, sponsored by T. Rowe Price will offer lessons in financial knowledge. This adventure will offer insight into 4 key financial themes: setting goals, saving and spending smartly, staying ahead of inflation, and diversifying your investments. This should be a great addition to the park and is something that I think everyone should take in, especially during the hard economic times.
  • The Village Fry Shop in Fantasyland is closed and word is that when it reopens it will have a new name. From now on, it will be known as the Friar's Nook and is rumored to sell tropical refreshments when it reopens.
  • Iron Chef, Cat Cora will be opening a new restaurant in Disney. The restaurant will be on Disney's Boardwalk in place of where Spoodles formally was. This new restaurant will be called Kouzzina and will feature Mediterranean style dishes. The restaurant is expected to open in Fall 2009.
  • Dates for some holiday events have been confirmed. Holidays Around the World at Epcot are expected to run from Nov. 27 - Dec. 30 and the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights will be present from Nov. 30 - Jan 3.
  • The Refreshment Port at Epcot in World Showcase is currently down for refurbishment. It appears that it will have a new menu as all signs are down, so no McDonald's will be found here anymore. The restaurant is expected to reopen April 5.
  • Disney's Magical Express isn't going anywhere....for now. Disney renewed their contract with Orlando International Airport through 2016, with an option through 2021.
  • The Fountain of Nations, which has been under extensive refurbishment for the past 3 months is now, finally reopen.


  • It's being rumored that in the new Celebrate a Dream Come True parade, the Villian's float may be disappearing. They could be doing this in an effort to include more fur characters in a prade that has very few.
  • It's being rumored again that the Apple Store may be coming to Downtown Disney. Rumors are flying that it will be taking the place of the soon to be vacant Virgin MegaStore.
  • The dates for next year's Flower and Garden Festival are rumored to be March 3 - May 16 2010.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Goofy's Appetite Coming Back?

Sorry for the delay, it's been one busy week!!!

As you may have read on my blog last week, the characters may be coming may be coming back to Liberty Tree Tavern in Goofy's Liberate You Appetite Character Meal.

Months ago, Disney decided to take the characters out of this establishment, due to the fact that they were trying to cut costs. This decision caused much uproar by Disney fans. To many, the characters are what makes this meal so great. For those who had never been and didn't know, the restaurant featured the main Disney characters, who were dressed in their patriotic finest. It was a great place to get pictures and autographs with Pluto, Minnie, Chip & Dale, and of course, the man of the hour, Goofy.

I have been to this restaurant both with the characters and without. I really did enjoy it when the characters were present. It was nice enjoying a good meal (I think the food here is quite delish) and getting up close and personal with the gang. Plus, some of the best character interaction happened at this restaurant.

When I went when the Mouse's posse was present, the restaurant was packed. We had to wait a while to get seated. Although, I had wondered if this was partly due to free dining being offered. But there was at least a 10-15 minute wait that time.

When I went a month or so ago though, the place couldn't have been any more different. First of all, we got a walk up dining ressie for that day...something I thought would be impossible. Especially since the park was really busy that day. And then when we walked into the restaurant, there was no one waiting to be seated. Matter of fact, they had to wait on us because my husband went up to use the bathroom.

We both still really enjoyed our time at the restaurant, especially because characters aren't as important in our meal selection at this stage in our life. However, it was definitely clear that the place had taken a hit since the characters were no longer present.

So, all in all, I think if Disney does decide to go for it and bring the characters back, I'm thinking it would be a good idea. Because from what I witnessed, the restaurant either needs the characters back or they'll need to reduce the price of the menu to get the guests back in at the force they were coming in before. And I don't see Disney reducing any prices anytime soon. Hopefully that means they will be appeasing the guests and bringing the gang back.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

News & Rumors 3/9/09 - 3/15/09

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.


  • DVC will open their Hawaiian resort in 2011, which will feature 350 hotel rooms and 480 DVC villas. Also included will be a children's club, a wedding area, and an elaborate pool featuring tube and body slides that weave through a volcano.
  • Disney has launched a brand new bedding line that you can pick up at JC Penny's that is themed after some of the best Deluxe Resorts. Resorts include the Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Yacht Club and the Poly. For more info, click here.
  • Tables In Wonderland's (the dining discount program available for AP holders and Florida residents) price has increased. Prices will be as follows: Florida Residents (proof of residency required) : $100 Annual & Seasonal Passholder (both Florida & non-resident): $75 Second Membership for Spouse or Partner: $50 Lost or Replacement Card: $50 And remember, an 18% gratuity will still be added to all transactions.
  • Remy is now making appearances at Les Chefs de France as a small Audio Anamatronic character. But be warned, Remy will only be making appearances through Sept. 10th.


  • There's a good chance the characters might be returning to Liberty Tree Tavern.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Are You 23?

Yesterday, Disney announced what the hubbub was with the Are You 23? campaign...and, as I had suspected, it was exactly what I had heard it rumored it would be. D23 will be a special fan club for Disney fans with special offers and various other goodies with Disney claiming this is what Disney fans want. So what exactly is it they think that Disney fans want?

A special certificate with your name on it and membership card, an exclusive collectible gift, the opportunity to buy one of a kind merchandise, an expo that will be held in Anaheim, a special D23 website, and last, but not least, a magazine. All of this can be yours for the price of $75. For more specific info, check out the new website at

So, will I be buying my charter membership into D23?

No...I will not. For many reasons....1. I think that $75 is a lot of money to be spending on a fan club. 2. I can share my love of Disney in many other ways for free, as you can see what with this blog and the podcast and message forums 3. I feel as if this is just another way that Disney is trying to convince us fanatics to part with our money, even though, they of course, claim that this is simply not the case.

So, what makes me feel this way?

Well, the magazine is available for anyone to no need to be a member for that. I believe you can even purchase it at your local bookstore for the time being.

I can see the website without purchase and there is nothing like discussion forums or other ways to get in contact with other Disney fans. It's just a website with information about the company...something else I can get elsewhere. So, that doesn't seem like a really good reason to join.

And I definitely don't (and shouldn't) buy merchandise that is extremely overpriced. I'd rather part with my money on other things Disney offers. (You know, like trips down to Florida. I like those much better than spending $849 on just a simple option for those in D23. I can almost pay for a trip down to Florida for my husband any myself for $849!)

Oh and there is that expo that they will be having. Only problem, it is in Anaheim, which is somewhere I don't see myself going this next year. And technically it sounds like the Disney version of what Mousefest was. (I'd rather go to Mousefest...but that's just me, again.) Plus, you don't get in the expo for free. You still have to pay for it.

So, for me, it isn't really a great option. However, I can see the appeal for some people. Especially those of you who want to purchase the magazine just by itself. This is a bit higher quality magazine...more of a coffee table book, it would seem. So, if you purchase the magazine, it's $16 per issue...and there will be 4 issues that come out a year...which would come up to be $64. So for just $10 more you can have a certificate and the opportunity to buy merchandise. :)

For me, I'm just not sure I want to purchase the magazine yet. I think there are other magazines out there that are much more reasonable that might be better worth the money.

The one thing I do like about this fan club, the name. It's named D23 after Disney (of course) and the 23 is for the year Walt opened his Hollywood Studio. It was definitely creative on their part. And is a nice tribute to the man who started it all.

So what do you think about this new fan club? Will you be joining?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

News & Rumors 3/2/09 - 3/8/09

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.


  • The Virgin Megastore at Downtown Disney will be closing May 31.

  • The balloon ride that will be in Downtown Disney has had a name change. Instead of being called Characters In Flight it will now be called Aerophile.

  • The new TrenD store that will be opening up in the summer and will sell urban Disney-made fashions. (Although, I am hearing something that says it may open up earlier...much this month earlier.)

  • The new restaurant in Pleasure Island will be called Paradiso 37. This is the restaurant that had already been announced as coming in and will be opening this summer.

  • After Pecos Bill's refurbishment, the only noticeable change is that the self order kiosks have been moved just a bit to a more central location.

  • The Diamond Horseshoe is down for refurb, but it is not listed because it is seasonal.


  • It's been rumored that Disney may be working on a restaurant themed after their upcoming movie The Princess and The Frog. It has been rumored that this new restaurant may include Audio Anamatronics of some of the characters that will be featured in the movie.

  • Possible dates for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party are coming out. Dates are as follows: September: 4, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29, 2009 October: 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31, 2009. Tickets will go on sale May 1st.

  • Star Tours 2 info: The latest rumor is that they will start working on this attraction in 2010 with a reopening for 2011. Maybe late 2010.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

GM May Pull Out of Test Track

Many of you may have heard the news on other forums, but it appears as if GM is in talks with Disney about Test Track and whether it can continue to be a sponsor for the attraction. Their deal with Disney ends this year and with all the problems that GM has been having as of doesn't look too good.

So, if GM doesn't come back as a sponsor, what would that mean for the pavilion?

Well, first I'm sure Disney would try to get another sponsor to underwrite the attraction. I hear that Disney could be interested in Toyota if the GM deal falls through. This would be the ideal situation. Another car company comes in and takes over...maybe making some changes along the way to incorporate their way of doing business. Although, once again, with car manufacturers having all kinds of trouble, I don't know how many would actually be able to fiscally sponsor this attraction.

Another thing that I've heard being tossed around is that with the new Radiator Springs area being built at Disney's California Adventure, Disney may put a character spin on the attraction and include those guys and gals from Cars. This one, I'm thinking might not be as likely. Sure, Disney is all about adding characters to attractions as of late (it seems) but I don't think this one is as good of an idea. It just doesn't fit with the spirit of the attraction...which is learning about what goes on in a proving ground. They'd have to make huge changes to make this one fit. (In addition, I have heard from some that it is not an option that is even close to being on the

The other thing I think Disney would do is nothing. Have no sponsor, make no real changes (besides maybe a rehab to get rid of any GM logos...which there are a ton) and just keep doing what they're doing. This, to me, is the most logical answer, if they can't get another sponsor, right away. They have other attractions in Epcot without sponsors that are doing fine and I think the same may be true for this one. Of course, the other attractions aren't as costly as this one either. And, the post show might be quite boring. Can't see what they'd add there. (Although to me, it's boring anyway...)

As for who I think might be a good idea of a sponsor...I know this is going to sound weird...but NASCAR. Not that I'm a fan of NASCAR or anything, but I think this might be up their alley. They could do a lot with this attraction to make it fit their needs and they would be a huge sponsor to have on board. But, hey...that's just me and if I were in those planning meetings who I might go after. And think of what they could do with a post show! I bet it could be fantastic.

So, what do you think? Let me know what you think might happen with this pavilion...because, as of right now, it's all going round in circles.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

News & Rumors 2/23/09 - 3/1/09

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.


  • The Refreshment Port at Epcot will be closed for refurb March 15 - April 4
  • Online check-in is up and running! There are two ways to check in depending on how you've booked your vacation. If you booked it through Disney yourself, you can check in using the My Disney Vacation icon (the orange suitcase with the Mickey head) on the site. If, however, you've used a travel agent or any other third party, you must contact them to obtain the correct website to access online check-in. Disney Vacation Club members must check with Member Services.
  • Night of Joy 2009 will be held at DHS Sept. 11 and 12, 2009. Tickets for this annual event go on sale March 11. Musical acts will be the following: September 11-P.O.D., newsboys, Kutless, Tomlin, NEEDTOBREATHE, Leeland and Superchick. September 12-Skillet, MercyMe, Jars of Clay, Flyleaf, Family Force 5, Grits and Mandisa.


  • I'm now hearing conflicting rumors about the Inferno Barge and how long it will be out of commission. Some are saying it will be back March 8, others are saying it will be out for 6 months total. (The refurb started in January).
  • Something Enchanted related may be coming to the parks. It may be a parade or a show, but no real confirmation on what exactly it is. It appears it will not just be a meet and greet.
  • Some other news is coming out about the "Are You 23?" question. It appears it may be a Disney Fan Club, due to some information I have found out about. Guess we'll know soon for sure! To be emailed when Disney releases the info, go to this website and enter your email address.
  • Thumper may be appearing in the parks again soon. Not sure in what capacity, but there's a good chance Thumper may be present. Mr. Smee will also be seen in the parks soon, with a new, updated look.