Sunday, May 31, 2009

News & Rumors 5/25/09 - 5/31/09

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.

Slow week this week...


  • Online check in service at the Disney Resorts started this week. As a reminder, guests can register 10 days early by providing information such as estimated arrival time, room requests (not guaranteed), the names of the people in the party, and can leave a credit card on file. On arrival day, guests will go up to a special Online Check-In line, where their room keys and welcome packet will be waiting for them.

  • Disney will be building a new experience at the Wide World of Sports. It will be the ESPN Innovations Lab where guests can test play new broadcast concepts before they are actually put to work at the network.

  • The 2010 Half Marathon is full


  • Morgan Freeman is rumored to be the new narrator of the film for the Hall of Presidents.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Want to Sit Outside!

On last week's panel discussion for the Be Our Guest Podcast, we talked about choices for outdoor dining locations. And once again, I'm gonna piggyback off of the show topic and talk about some other really great places to eat at outside. Things that were so obvious, I'm not sure how we missed them!

First off, I think one of the most obvious places we left off was Casey's Corner at the Magic Kingdom. Nothing better than grabbing a hot dog or corn dog nuggets and noshing on those in those cute parlor-like chairs and tables they have outside. It just screams perfect.

Next, we're going across the street to another obvious one...and that is the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Who can't resist that ice cream when you're it's night time and you're getting ready to leave the park? Or in the middle of the afternoon and you need something to cool you down. This is a perfect place to sit because it puts you right in the middle of the action on Main Street USA. It's like you're a part of the story!

Now we'll head on over to the Studios. There are quite a few places that should definitely be on your list if you want to eat outdoors.

Our first stop is Toy Story Pizza Planet. Now personally, I'm partial to the loud, noisy indoors section. I feel like I'm in the movie when I eat inside...however, if you decide to, there is an outdoors section right in front. Keep in mind, these tables go quickly, but it's a great place to sit and enjoy a pizza and a salad and of course, watch all the mayhem that occurs right across the street in the Muppets section.

I also thought we should point out all the restaurants that sit along Sunset Blvd. There are a ton to choose from, Fairfax Fare, Rosie's All American Cafe, Catalina Eddies, and Toluca Legs Turkey Co. This area has ample seating and is a great place to get good, theme park delectables.

Moving to Animal Kingdom, there is one thing we forgot to mention and that was the new Picnic in the Park option. Of course, with this option, eating outside is a must. And what a cool concept?

So once again, I'm sure there are tons of other places that haven't been mentioned...or maybe your favorite is something I mentioned either here or we mentioned on the podcast. Either way...Disney has got you covered in every park with a great option for getting a little sun while you enjoy your food.

So, where is it that you have to eat outside at every time you come down to Disney? Let me know here...or call the Be Our Guest Voicemail line and leave us a message we'll play on an upcoming show. The number is, 206-984-0858...we'd love to hear from you. And who knows...maybe your answer will inspire somebody to try something they never would have thought to try before. Maybe even me!

Oh...and as an aside, while I'm talking about food (when aren't I?), I'm working on the restaurants that I want to try to schedule during my Sept. free dining trip. Right now on my list, I have Cape May Cafe, Yachtsman Steakhouse (2 dining credits), Liberty Tree Tavern, 1900 Park Fare, Beaches and Cream (cash), and 50s Prime Time as probable yesses, but I want your opinions as well. Should I or shouldn't I choose these and why? Also, I'm looking for at 2 more meals for sure as possibilities. I'd love to get your takes on what I should maybe consider. I have not planned my days out yet, so the more answers the merrier...and I'm up for trying just about anything. (Remember, it's free! I'm into trying things I wouldn't maybe have normally picked!) Let me know about that in the comment section as well or pass me along an email at . :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

News & Rumors 5/18/09 - 5/24/09

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.

Sorry for the delay in getting this out, but, well, it's a holiday and I was out of town. :) Happy Memorial Day to you all!
  • The Backlot Express at Disney's Hollywood Studios now has the self-serve soda fountains that some of the other counter service restaurants have. Soft drinks, hot chocolate, coffee, and iced tea are available.
  • American Idol winner Kris Allen will be visiting the studios on May 29th to film some spots that will be featured in the American Idol Experience attraction. There will be a
  • It appears that breakfast will no longer be available at the ABC Commissary. Lunch will start serving at 11 am.
  • The Great Piggy Bank Adventure is now open at Innoventions West in Epcot!
  • Disney has announced that it's second off site resort will be built in Washington DC.
  • It would appear, through permits filed, that Disney is going to be removing the Rip Tide Lounge at the Beach Club in favor of more seating for Cape May Cafe.
  • Also, according to permits would appear a Kid Spot is being built near Rock n' Roller Coaster.
  • It appears that a Luxo anamatronic will probably be appearing outside at Pixar Place, right as you enter the area. Construction in this area is going on now.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Underappreciated Attractions

On last week's podcast episode, we talked about attractions at all the theme parks that are typically under-appreciated, both by the general public and oftentimes even by those of us who are Disney fans.

I thought it would be fun to go through the parks and talk about a few more than possibly were missed.

So, let's go to the parks today! :)

At the Magic Kingdom:

The first attraction that I think we missed talking about was Tom Sawyer Island. A lot of people skip this one because you have to take a boat to get to it and it's just a lot of walking and exploring. But that's what makes this attraction so great. Once you get on the feel as if you're actually in Tom Sawyer country. It feels like you're right in the book. And it's so fun walking around, exploring the caves, the trails, and of course going over the barrel bridge! (Although, the barrel bridge looks so dangerous!) Tom Sawyer Island is a great place to go, especially in the afternoon on a really busy day because you can explore for an hour or two while crowds die down a bit. And kids love it because of all the exploring you get to do.

Next up, the Hall of Presidents. One of the more famous attractions in all of Disney World, and yet one that I think a lot of people pass up. I mean, who wants to see robotic Presidents on their vacation, when they can see Haunted Mansion or Splash Mountain instead? Now, I know this one is down for refurb right now, but once it opens back up in July, it is definitely one that shouldn't be missed the next time you go down. It's such a great way to get in touch with our country. To see where we've been and where we can potentially go. And it makes you feel darn patriotic when you leave the building.

At Epcot:

I think a lot of people skip over Innoventions. Once again...who wants to walk around doing little exhibits on their vacation when Test Track and Soarin are so close? But this is another great place to go, especially when crowds get heavier. There are a ton of new and interactive things you can do inside here. From the Where's the Fire exhibit (which is quite fun) to the Segway trial, and of course, now their adding the new "Great Piggy Bank Adventure" exhibit. It's so great that Disney keeps adding new things to make this area a wonderful area to spend part of an afternoon in.

Finally at Epcot, I think a lot of people miss the opportunity to meet up with a lot of the characters here. Most of the time, when people think of characters, they think of the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios even...but Epcot actually seems to be the place that has the most characters roaming around at a time. You can catch the Fab 5 at the Character Connection, can catch Mulan in China, Snow White in Germany, Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco, and Belle and Aruora in France. And that's just to name a few! There are tons of other characters who appear in the World Showcase areas and many are just passed up because people don't even know they're there.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the biggest one we didn't mention is Walt Disney: One Man's Dream. This one is fantastic and for a Disney fan...a must! This walking tour and video have some of the best info about good old Uncle Walt. Words can't even describe how amazing this attraction is and so many people pass it up. Stop passing it and go in!

I also think for a lot of us veterans, the Backlot Tour is something that is skipped quite frequently. I mean...with them changing the attraction so much over the past few's nostalgia factor has faltered a bit...but, all in all, it's still a great attraction. Catastrophe Canyon is well worth going on this for. Even I'm guilty of skipping this one, oftentimes...I need to go back.

At Animal Kingdom, one of the biggest ones that we didn't mention was Flight's of Wonder. Which is a great show, featuring amazing birds that do some incredible feats.

I also think a lot of people skip the Oasis...which is the area right in the front of the park. There are actually quite a few animals in that front area, but so many people pass them up because they are headed to the back of the park to ride rides. Stop and smell the roses here.

So, that's gonna do it for some of the other under-appreciated attractions that can be found around Walt Disney World. Next time you're down should take in at least one of these and realize some of the other wonders that these great parks have to offer.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

News & Rumors 5/11/09 - 5/17/09

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.


  • Additional dates have been added for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. For MNSSHP, Disney has now added Nov. 1. Nov. 15 was added as an additional date for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
  • For those who are members of D23, the perks of being a member may finally start to be trickling out. Disney announced this week that there will be a special event for D23 members on May 31st. Members will get reserved seating to the final Flower Power concert featuring Tony Orlando. They will also get a special Illuminations dessert party from a private viewing area that night. The great news is that the cost (for D23 members, of course) is free!
  • If you want to meet Carl, Russell and Dug from Disney-Pixar's newest movie is the time. Characters are meeting guests at the Animation Building through October.
  • Ever got back home and wished you'd purchased that souvenir that you kept trying to decide if you wanted and didn't get? Disney is now offering people the opportunity to purchase Theme Park merchandise right from their very own homes through their recently relaunched website, So, now you can pick up those Mickey Ears and Autograph Books in advance and save time in the parks too!
  • The Virgin Megastore has closed a few weeks early, closing this week on May 12th.
  • Cirque du Soleil will be dark from May 17 - June 1st.
  • The Eat to the Beat Concert line up is starting to come out. Here is the list of scheduled performers:

Sept. 25-27 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Sept. 28-29 – Richard Marx
Sept. 30-Oct. 3 Starship Starring Mickey Thomas
Oct. 4-6 Vanessa Carlton (tentative)
Oct. 7-8 Better Than Ezra
Oct. 9-10 Sister Hazel
Oct. 11 TBA
Oct. 12-13 Kool & The Gang
Oct. 14-16 Spyro Gyra
Oct. 17-19 En Vogue (tentative)
Oct. 20-22 Jon Secada (tentative)
Oct. 23-25 Taylor Dayne
Oct. 26-28 Boyz II Men
Oct. 29 John Waite
Oct. 30-31 Sister Sledge (tentative)
Nov. 1-2 Night Ranger
Nov. 3-5 Billy Ocean
Nov. 6-8 Los Lobos

  • Captain Jack is getting a new home in Adventureland. The Pirate Tutorial will soon take place on a raised stage so more guests can now see the action.
  • Seasonal pricing is being added yet again to some of the more popular restaurants during the busy summer months. Starting May 24th through July 11 prices will increase $4 for adults and $2 for kids, ages 3-9 at the following restaurants: 1900 Park Fare, Akershus, Biergarten, Boma, Cape May CafĂ©, Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Crystal Palace, Garden Grill, Hollywood and Vine, Liberty Tree Tavern (dinner only), ‘Ohana, Trails End, Tusker House
  • Some changes will be made as Spoodles transitions to the new restaurant, Kouzzina. Breakfast will not be offered from July 1 - mid-August. From July 6 - Aug. 1, dinner will be served as a buffet. After that time, the restaurant will close to change the menu over to the Kouzzina menu.


  • It's being rumored that Fantasmic may see a possible refurb. (I'll believe that one when I see it...)
  • Water Park prices are rumored to be increasing. New prices for adults will run $47.93 (including tax) for adults and $41.54 (includes tax) for children.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Picture This

On last week's podcast, I talked about how a really great idea for a Mother's Day present. I thought that a cool and unique present would be for the family to get together and do a Disney Professional Portrait Session.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I didn't get much of a chance to go into detail and I got a few questions about it, so I thought I'd make this week's blog post revolve around how this whole thing works.

Now, keep in mind, I have not done this before, I have only seen it done, although my husband did mention that this might be something nice for us to do sometime. (I think that's the first time he's ever suggested getting our pics taken! lol!) However, I have found out some information that might be helpful to you all. When researching, however, I was surprised to find out that there really is spotty information on this out there, even on the official Disney PhotoPass website. If you have any concerns, make sure to give the phone number listed at the bottom a call and they'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

First things first, the Professional Portrait Sessions are only available at the Disney Hotels. As far as I can tell, they cannot be done inside the parks. Resorts that are included in the sessions are the Wilderness Lodge, the Grand Floridian, the Beach Club, the Polynesian, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Saratoga Springs. (Of course, with Disney, some of these hotels may change.)

The session gives your family one on one time with a photographer and the time length is around 30 minutes long. Guests receive around 40 images in a session.

Do keep in mind though that photographs from these sessions are not automatically a part of the PhotoPass Photo CD. Disney considers these to be two separate products.

That being said, guests who pre-order the PhotoCD or purchase it within the theme parks can reserve a Portraits session for $74.95 with proof of purchase (either email or receipt). Guests wishing to purchase only the Portrait session on CD can do so for $149.95. Alternatively guests who purchase the Portraits session but then wish to combine photos from the Parks may do so by bringing their CD and PhotoPass cards to any resort location for a fee of $49.95. (Plus the cost of the actual purchase of the CD.)

Disney does require guests to make reservations for this service and reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance. To reserve a time slot, call 407-934-4004. Times are seasonal, but sessions can be booked from 8 am to 7 pm. (Or sunset, which ever comes first.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

News & Rumors 5/4/09 - 5/10/09

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.


  • Due to the Swine Flu madness...Disney has started selling hand sanitizer in most on property gift shops.
  • We spoke and Disney has answered...Disney is now offering two new vegetarian options for the Picnic in the Park dining program at DAK. The first one is a portobello mushroom and veggie wrap which is available with Teir 1. The second is an addition to the sides options and that is a tandoori spiced tofu and zucchini squash


  • If info that I heard is to believed...Disney is now considering being a bit more aggressive in it's stance on building additions during these hard economic times. At first they were reluctant to do so, but it would now appear that work is being done to get some projects up and running. Possible rumors I've heard include:
  • A possible new E-ticket for Epcot. Possibly in the Wonders of Life pavilion.
  • A new E-ticket thrill ride for the MK that will possibly expand the park's area for the first time in 20 years.
  • A Pixar related roller coaster has now been greenlit for DHS in the Pixar Place area
  • Star Tours 2 is well on it's way. (As was rumored about last week as well.)
  • At AK, plans are to change Camp Minnie-Mickey...but this one might be a bit more long term.
  • Also, there may be some changes in the way Magic Your Way options are handled for tickets.
  • And the attractions they are looking at for the RFID technology that was mentioned in a previous blog post include: - Haunted Mansion - Peter Pan's Flight - Snow White's Scary Adventures - The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh - Monsters Inc Laugh Floor - Space Mountain - Spaceship Earth.
  • So, those were the biggest RUMORS of the week! But, I wanted to remind you all, since there are some big rumors to keep in always...these are just rumors, as we know, Disney could change their minds on all of this tomorrow. But for right now...these are things that are potentially possible.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hat's All Folks!

If any of you have been following message boards recently (or read my last news update on my blog) you will have already notice what one of the biggest issues of this week is.

During last week's Disney's Hollywood Studios 20th Birthday bash, it was heard that 1. Imagineers really don't like the Sorcerer's Hat at the end of Hollywood Blvd. and 2. It may actually end up coming down...and soon.

It was heard that the comment was made when talking about the former view of the Grumman's Chinese Theater...that "You can't get that view anymore. I hope we will get this view sometime soon."

This of course makes most of us in the Disney community very happy. For what was said to be a temporary structure, it's sure been there a while.

(Of course, there are those rumors going around that it was built to block the Theater because of copyright issues...don't know the real story behind it...but I've been lead to believe recently that this rumor could be false...and it really was supposed to just be a temporary statue for the 100 Years of Magic promotion. I should watch the planning video I have from that time and see if anything about it was mentioned in there.)

I have known this area both ways. I visited the park as a kid, a few years after the park had opened. I believe sometime in 1991. (If my math and the year I went as a kid are correct.) And of course, when I went back then, I saw the view of the Chinese Theater as it was intended to see. And let me tell you, it really is impressive. (I've seen the real structure too in Hollywood! It really passes as the real deal!) Walking down Hollywood Blvd. and seeing that beautiful iconic structure is simply amazing. And of course, it fits into the whole theme of Hollywood Blvd. so nicely. It is such a beautiful recreation and it is a shame that it is blocked almost completely until you walk behind the Hat.

That being said...I honestly am one who doesn't mind the Hat.

I know....I should be shunned right now as a Disney fan. lol!

To me, the reason why I like it is because each park, as it stands right now, has a visable icon that represents that park's feel. Cinderella Castle, The Tree of Life, Spaceship Earth...each one of these larger than life structures is iconic. To me...the Sorcerer's Hat is just as iconic as those three are. It does fit with the "movie" feel of the park, as it does represent a structure from a movie. Marketing-wise, it just wouldn't make sense that there only be 3 icons for 4 parks.

I know that some claim that the Earful Tower is an icon...and they're is. However, it isn't as grand as the other structures are...and is why the Hat works as a better icon for me.

Now...I can understand the complaint of where the Hat is placed in the park. It doesn't fit with the flow of the story that they were trying to tell in the park. (Which I recently learned a lot more about by listening to Lou Mongello's recent podcast about DHS. It was fascinating! One of his best yet. I learned so much! Way to go Lou!)

However, I do offer this compromise that I read on another board. What if we moved the icon to another place in the park? Of course, there are several places that it could be moved to...but it's finding the right places. Here are two that I think could work. The first is in the Animation Courtyard. This area is built FOR animation...and the Hat is from Fantasia...I think it would fit better there than it would on Hollywood Blvd.

The second place I think it could work would be right out front, before you hit the gates. Now, this one might not work, since it is outside the main area...but it does keep the icon on property and at the park.

So, what do you think? Do you like the Hat? Hate it? Want to see them move it? Let me know what you think!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

News & Rumors 4/27/09 - 5/3/09

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 Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station is closed once again, until the summer. It's supposed to possibly open again in June.
  • The official opening for Stitch's SuperSonic Celebration is set now for May 6th! Previews have been going on periodically now.
  • The fireworks schedule has come out for the Fourth of July holidays and as of right now, it looks like this: Magic Kingdom will host it's Disney's Celebrate America fireworks spectacular at 9 pm on the 4th. (It is rumored that a possible show may be added for the 3rd.) Illuminations at Epcot will be held at 10 pm on July 4th. And while the Studios hasn't yet scheduled a fireworks show yet for the 4th, it is rumored that there should be one.
  • The penguins from Club Penguin are currently doing meet and greets in the old Sorcerer Mickey location.
  • Legendary Imagineer Marty Sklar is officially retiring from the Walt Disney Company. I would personally like to thank Marty for all the amazing work that he has done in his career and life and wish him a very happy retirement!
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Celebration tickets are now on sale! The dates for the MNSSHP are as follows Sep 4, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29; and Oct 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29 and 31 2009. Advance purchase tickets cost $55.38 for ages 10 and up and $48.99 ages 3-9 (including tax). These prices are good for all dates with the exception of October 9, 15, 23 and 31. These dates of the 9, 15, and 23 will cost $62.84 for ages 10 and up, $56.45 for ages 3-9 and Halloween will run $68.16 for ages 10 and up, $61.77 ages 3-9. AP discounts are good for all of the September dates and October 1 and 6 and will run $52.19 for ages 10 & up and $45.80 for ages 3-9.
  • For MVMCP, advance purchase tickets will cost $55.38 for ages 10 and up, and $48.99 ages 3-9 (including tax). With the exception of the dates of Nov. 29, Dec. 4, 11, 17 and 18th. These dates will cost the full amount of $62.84 for adults and $56.45 for kids. AP discounts will be available for this event as well and will be available for the dates of November 10, 12, 13, 17 and 19 and December 6 and 8. These will cost $52.19 for ages 10 & up and $45.80 for ages 3-9.
  • Kidani Village at AKL is officially open! As is Sanaa, the new sit down restaurant.


  • The Prince Caspian meet at the Studios may be going away soon, maybe temporarily.
  • The JoJo and Goliath meet at the Studios may also be going away.
  • Up characters are rumored to be out around May 24th at the Studios.
  • There is a possible revamp coming to the Magic Kingdom afternoon parade. Recently I mentioned how Anastasia, Drizella, and Lady Tremaine will be joining in on the fun. Now it also appears that Jafar, Abu, and the Genie will be appearing. However, disappearing will be the Winnie the Pooh characters. The never version of the parade is supposed to launch any day now.
  • It's rumored that you might have to find your Imaginations elsewhere, at least temporarily, starting sometime before next summer.
  • It was rumored at the 20th Birthday Bash at DHS that the Sorcerer's Hat may be a thing of the past, at least that's what the Imagineers would like.
  • Some new rumors are coming out about Star Tours 2. It has been rumored that they may have begun filming some new footage recently. Stay here to keep posted as more may come out shortly!