Monday, June 29, 2009

News & Rumors 6/22/09 - 6/28/09

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.

  • It is confirmed on the Disney website that DHS will indeed be having a fireworks show on the 4th of July. It will take place at 10 pm.
  • There have been a few more changes to the Disney's Animal Kingdom's Picnic in the Park. Now, they have the option available for groups of 2. Also, they have moved the ordering station to the counter outside the Island Mercantile. The new pricing structure for the meals for 2 go as follows: For Tier – 2 Sandwiches, 1 Side, 2 Desserts, 2 bottles of Dasani water - $17.99 plus tax.
    For Tier 2 - 4 Pieces of Rotisserie Chicken or 3/4 lb. of Ham, 1 Side, 2 Desserts, 2 bottles of Dasani water -$20.99 plus tax.
  • There is something new going on at Disney's Animal Kingdom, though it's not for sure if it's just a test or if it's a brand new offering. It appears to be similar with Storytime With Belle at the MK, except it's with Pocahontas. The area that was formerly Pocahontas and her Forrest Friends is now called the Good Times Gathering Spot. This is also a great spot to meet and greet some of your favorite forrest characters, as they are on hand as Pocahontas tells her stories.
  • Luxo Jr. is now doing short shows at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Pixar Place.
  • The Pirate League at the MK in Adventureland is now open and making boys all around into pirates! For more info, read this blog entry.
  • There's a possibility that Disney may announce the rumored Little Mermaid ride for the Magic Kingdom by October. That is if things keep moving the way they possibly are.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Excuse Me Mr. President

Hail to the Chief...we have chosen for the da da da...da da da da da da dah...

After a nice long lengthy refurb, it appears the Hall of Preidents is now open for soft openings. There are quite a few new updates to this attraction and I thought we'd go through and talk about them as we get ready to unveil this attraction on an official basis.

First, they have changed the name, slightly. It will now be called The Hall of Presidents: A Celebration of Liberty's Leaders. This, I believe is a nice touch. They have also changed the emphasis a bit of this new version. It is less of an American History lesson and more focus is placed on the Presidents themselves and their achievements and of course, the history of the Presidency. Again, this should be a nice change to the show. It will hopefully distinguish itself as being unique from the American Adventure show at Epcot. And of course, as rumored, Morgan Freeman is now doing the voice over for the movie.

During the show, they seemed to have switched things up a bit more as well. They start with what they always have, talking about how our country was founded all the way up to the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. The Abraham Lincoln AA will still talk, but it has now been moved up and will take place during the portion of the movie where he is talked about, not at the very end, like it had been. From what I can tell from reports, the center screen lifts and curtains wrap around Lincoln and he stands alone in the center of the stage giving his speech, as always.

From there, we go into learning about some of the Presidents after the Civil War up until the present point and some of the trials and tribulations that occurred under their terms, using both photos and film blended together to help further the story.

After that, the stage opens up and they do the roll call of all the past Presidents of the United States of America, just as they always have done. They have now been positioned so that there is much less ping ponging around, as the Presidents are more clustered together now. This, personally, I will enjoy a lot. It will make it a lot easier to actually see the President they are announcing.

From there, George Washington will get up and goes into his thoughts and then transitions to talking about the oath of the Oval Office, where then President Barrack Obama will then stand up, recite the oath and then go on with a speech that was written for him specifically for the show.

In all, it sounds like a really great update to a classic attraction and something I am very excited to see when I go back down in September. And of course, at this patriotic time in our country, with the Fourth of July around the corner, sometimes it's nice to be reminded as to just how great our country is, and I truly believe this new incarnation of the ride will accomplish that feat.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

News & Rumors 6/15/09 - 6/21/09

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.


  • In essentially unprecedented news: After just 6 short weeks, Stitch's SuperSonic Celebration will officially be closing. The show, as it is in this version will not be coming back, however, it is rumored that they may create another show revolving around Stitch. Also, it's been said, that when a new version opens (possibly in the fall), look for seating and shade to be put in place.
  • As was reported in last Wednesday (well, Tuesday's) blog dining reservations can now be made by the general public. For more information and a step by step process of how it works, please read last Wednesday's blog post.
  • A new exhibit, Diana-The People's Princess will be coming to the now empty Virgin Megastore, at least for a limited time. This will be a major exhibit featuring lots of royal artifacts, which will showcase the life of Princess Diana. This will be a ticketed tour, with tickets costing $14.50 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $5 for ages 3-9 and the hours of operations being 11 am - 11 pm. The exhibit is expected to be open in early July and is expected to run through Nov. 30th.
  • There will be a new Dessert Party location available...but this time it will be located at the Magic Kingdom and as of right now, will only be lasting during the summer. The parties will take place at the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station and will include a prime spot to enjoy Wishes. This new Dessert Party is expected to start June 23 and last through Aug. 28. The party will open nightly to guests, one hour prior to Wishes and will have a lots of different desserts (including specialty ones for dietary restrictions) and beverages. Guests are encouraged to make reservations, although walk ups will be included, if space allows. The price is $17.99 for adults and $9.99 for ages 3-9. Prepayment is required. To book your spot, call (407) WDW-DINE.


  • It has been rumored, yet again, that for the supposed Star Tours refurb, you may need to wear 3-D glasses...however, the use of the glasses will be less like Muppets and more like the recent 3-D movies that have come out within the past few years, like Up. Also, it's being rumored that Star Tours will have a bunch of different beginnings, middles, and endings that will allow for the ride to be randomized and mean more chance of re-ridablity.
  • Disney could be adding something called the "Enchanted Forest", which is a place where Princesses always seem to run into each other. This new addition is rumored to be a part of Toontown.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Online Dining Reservations Are Live!

Since there was major news in the Disney community today (and I had the time) I wanted to post this blog post a day early so that people who were curious could get help on the new online dining system.

Today, word got out that Disney has released the Online Dining Reservations system to the public. So, of course, this means that I had to check it out and see what all the hubbub was about.

The system itself looks very self explanatory and from my trial run with it, it appears to run relatively smoothly. It's also very streamlined looking and eye appealing. (Much like their new site is.)

As for how it works...

Under the Discover tab you will see a link for Dining. You'll click on that and then it will pop up with a page that lists all the dining establishments in the entire resort area (counter service and table service, along with some of the refreshment stands). You can either search this list or you can (by using the links on the left hand side) select a certain theme park or look in the resorts.

When looking at the list of restaurants that are listed, the restaurants that can then be booked online will have an orange box underneath the picture of the restaurant that says Book a Reservation. As you can see in the example below for The Crystal Palace.

If you click on that link, it will load the online booking system. There, it will give you the opportunity to enter what day you are looking for (and it will search for up to 5 days past, so long as the dates are available for booking and you aren't staying at a Disney resort. If you are staying at a Disney resort and have a confirmation number, it will look past the 90 day window + 10 Days.

For my example, I looked at the dates 9/8 - 9/12 at 9 am for a party of 2 adults.

It then will pull up whether it has any results for you as well as any offerings that could be similar to what you were searching for or in the area around the area you were searching in that you may be interested in possibly dining at as well.

But, let's then assume that we wanted to eat at the 9:10 we click on that and enter in the words in the security check area, then click add to cart.

From there, you can click on the Continue Searching Link or you can Check Out. If it's a high demand place, I suggest checking out immediately (LeCellier, I'm looking at you). If it's not so high demand, I think you'd be alright to continue searching to book up the rest of you trip. Of course, this is up to you...if you want to check out after every single booking, I say, go right ahead.

Also, the good thing is, there is a link you can click on if you have any special dietary requests or any other request...say like it's for a birthday or anniversary.

In all...I thought that using this new system was a breeze...however there are, of course a few things that need to be worked on, as there always is in life.

First up, the thing that I noticed, it would not let me double book the same restaurant on the same day at the same time. It would, however, allow me to double book if I booked two different restaurants. So, I tried booking Crystal Palace and Chef Mickey's both for breakfast at 9:00 and was able to have both as options in my cart. However, it does pop up with this message:
It appears that 2 or more of your dining offers are within one hour of each other. If the offers are for the same dining party, please remove the conflicting offer(s). If these offers are for different parties, please continue with your booking.

Basically, Disney is hoping that once people see this message, guests will not double book themselves. The honor system is thus, in place.

This is the part that majorly scares me. It's not as easy to make a phone call to check on availabilities as it is to just go online, click a few times, and boom...ressies are made. So, I do worry about people abusing the system and how this will negatively affect the ability to get ADRs...making it even harder than it seemingly is already. I guess only time will tell on this one.

Also, I didn't like how there was no time window available. They had the window to search for dates (like I searched from 9/8 - 8/12) but there's no specific time window you can search. It gives you options an hour on both sides between your times automatically. So I couldn't say search from 6 pm - 9 pm and see what was available in those 3 hours.

Also, if you do put in dates in the search window, it will give the first available day and that's it. It doesn't allow for answers for any other dates. For example, in my search, even though I searched the 8-12, it only gave me choices for the 9th because that was the first day I had requested that Disney also had available. They didn't include any available listings for the 10th, 11th, and so on.

One other thing I would like to eventually see...I would like Disney to allow for canceling of reservations online as well. That way, it would be just as easy as making them for people. You wouldn't have to call and wait. (I'd also like it if eventually you could do this online so you could very easily cancel while IN the parks and you have the internet on your phone, a few clicks and the ressies could be canceled, maybe leaving less restaurants with no shows....but I hear that there's a lot of Flash on the Disney site that isn't compatible with many least not yet...)

In all...I really think this online dining reservations system has it's merits and can be a very good thing. But hopefully Disney will take some of the feedback they have been receiving and will make some changes to help enhance the dining reservations process become just a bit easier.

What do you think of the new system? Let me know what you think.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

News & Rumors 6/8/09 - 6/14/09

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.


  • As was reported in Wednesday's post, Space Mountain should be receiving an interactive queue.
  • Photopass CD price will be going up to $149 starting Tuesday. (June 16)
  • Snow White should be receiving a semi-permanent meet and greet area in Germany. Look for it to open up later this month.
  • The Free Dining booking window has been extended to July 26th. The dates for free dining however have not changed.


  • El Pirata Y El Perico may soon be open on a full time basis once again.
  • Disney is in the works of possibly rolling out gourmet coffee to the theme parks.
  • Stitch's SuperSonic Celebration may receive a Christmas overlay this year.
  • Mickey's Twas the Night Before Christmas may still be playing in the parks, just not the Magic Kingdom. Rumor has it, the show may be moved over to DHS.
  • Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, and Louis the Alligator should be doing meets starting Nov/Dec.
  • The test for the Club Penguin characters seemed to have done well. It's rumored that this fall, they may be out on a full time basis.
  • It's still being rumored that the MK may be getting a clone of the Little Mermaid ride that they are currently building for Disney's California Adventure.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We're Almost In Space, Dad! this title isn't probably funny to anybody else but me and my husband...but that's ok. (On our first trip to Florida together...after we'd taken off on the plane, a little girl said this to her dad and my hubby and I just started busting up laughing...ah, the things kids say! :) )

Anyway...let's touch on a few of the recent rumors I've heard in a bit more detail. So, let's get on with the first real topic of today, Space Mountain!

There are some new reports coming out about this infamous ride...some of it actual news and some of it, great rumors. I thought I'd go through a discuss a little bit of both.

First off, in the news category, the Orlando Sentinel recently reported that Disney had filed for some construction permits that allowed them to install an interactive queue and some audio/visual updates. Now, what does this mean for the queue as it stands now? Well, it means we may be seiing something along the lines of what you see currently while waiting in line to get on Soarin at Epcot. Although, it does make me a tad bit sad. I loved the queue to Space. It's so kitchy and retro just feels so right. But, I guess I won't mind it too much, as long as I can still hear that Star Tunnel music! That is a must for me. I'm so hoping that's still gonna be there.

As far as the rumors, I am hearing that things are going well. Work is going on around the clock for this refurb. It is still being rumored that there will be audio and new special effects. Guess we'll just have to wait to see what's announced by Disney about this at a later date.

I also wanted to touch on another great attraction that is receiving a refurb presently. The Hall of Presidents is said to be looking fabulous! As previously mentioned, Morgan Freeman will be the new narrator and he's said to have done a spectacular job. The new Barack Obama AA is said to be more technically enhanced than the Johnny Depp AA in Pirates.

Remember, there will be an AP preview for this attraction on June 28th. If you're gonna be there and get the chance to preview this attraction, we'd love to hear about it here!

The Hall of Presidents isn't one of my favorites, but if it's as great as I've been hearing, I'm definitely going to have to check it out on my Sept. trip.

Lastly, I'm still hearing some great rumors about the supposed Monster's Inc Coaster that has been rumored to be going in the Studios. This coaster is still a go and has been rumored to be something that's never been done previously before. A one of a kind coaster with what is supposed to be some top notch theming.

This is the thing I think I am most excited about. I, like many others, have thought that Monster's Inc would lend itself to a really great coaster ever since I saw the door scene. I for one, am very happy to see that Disney is still going forward with this and can't wait to find out more as time progresses.

That's gonna do it for today's post. What do you think about all that I posted for today? Are you excited about a Monster's Inc coaster? Do you think Space warrants an interactive queue? And what do you think of Morgan Freeman being the new voice of the Hall of Presidents?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

News & Rumors 6/1/09 - 6/7/09

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 are two new "upscale" places to go at both of Disney's Water Parks. They are called the Beachcomber Shacks at Typhoon Lagoon and the Polar Patios at Blizzard Beach. Guests can rent these areas out (on a first come, first serve basis and there are four in each park) and will receive all day drink mugs, bottled water, tables, towels, lounge furniture, private lockers, and the service of an attendant. The cost is $250, but each spot can hold up to 6 people.
  • Disney has signed a contract with Cirque du Soleil to continue having a show in Downtown Disney for another 5 years.
  • Here is the actual schedule now for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series that will take place during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival:

Sept. 25-27 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (“You & Me & The Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby)” Sept. 28-29 Richard Marx ("Hold On to the Nights") Sept. 30-Oct. 3 Starship starring Mickey Thomas (“We Built This City”) Oct. 4-6 En Vogue (“Free Your Mind”) Oct. 7-8 Better Than Ezra ("Good") Oct. 9-11 Sister Hazel (“All for You”) Oct. 12-13 Kool & The Gang (“Celebration”) Oct. 14-16 Spyro Gyra (“Morning Dance”) Oct. 17-18 Jon Secada (“Just Another Day”) Oct. 19-20 Sister Sledge ("We Are Family") Oct. 21-22 Vanessa Carlton ("A Thousand Miles") Oct. 23-25 Taylor Dayne ("Tell It to My Heart") Oct. 26-28 Boyz II Men (“Motownphilly”) Oct. 29-31 John Waite ("Missing You") Nov. 1-2 Night Ranger (“Sister Christian”) Nov. 3-5 Billy Ocean ("Caribbean Queen") Nov. 6-8 Los Lobos (“La Bamba”)

  • Paridiso 37 in Downtown Disney is now officially open.
  • The Hall of Presidents will have a AP Passholder preview on June 28th. Passholders will not need to sign up for this preview, they will just need to show their AP and photo ID at the door.
  • Disney is now able to notify guests by phone that their room is ready. If a guest arrives prior to check-in time and their room is not quite ready yet, instead of calling the hotel to check on the availability, now Disney will get in touch with them. Guests staying at a Disney owned resort can either opt to receive a text message or a automated voice message when they're room is ready by leaving a cell phone number and requesting a notification preference.
  • The Treehouse Villas opened up this week...they look fabulous!
  • Of course, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, Disney and Southwest Airlines are conducting a trial run of the Resort Airline Check In Service at Pop Century resort. For more information, please read Wednesday's Blog entry.

As a side note: It is officially now my one year anniversary doing this blog each week! That's what I should be celebrating this year when I go to Disney in September! :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sept. Park Hours and Southwest Airlines

So, I don't know if you all can tell...but I'm getting super excited about my September free dining trip. No matter how many times I go to Disney for whatever favorite trips are the nice week-long vacations I get to take with my husband and really relax and do the vacation right.

Because of that...I, like many others who have been planning Sept. trips have been waiting (im)patiently for the September park hours to be released. I have checked everyday, but alas, to no avail. However today, I have found a place that does indeed have the park hours for September. These hours include DHS (which as of yet, has not been posted) and the times for the nightime spectaculars (Fantasmic included) and parades.

Here is the link for those of you who are just as antsy as I am to get the Disney trip planning really started!

Now on to this week's real topic. :)

This week, I have heard that Southwest is now participating (albeit on a trial basis) in the Disney Resort Airline Check In Service.

First of all, for those of you who maybe don't know, the Resort Airline Check In Service allows guests to check their luggage and receive their boarding passes for the flight home right at your resort. It's a great service and it makes the vacation's end just a bit more "magical."

Southwest Airlines, while the biggest airlines that flies into MCO, has not, in the past, participated in the program. There was a problem in the technology between the two that now looks to have been remedied.

So now, at least on a pilot basis, Southwest is taking part in the Resort Airline Check-in Service (part of Disney's Magical Express), however, it is only taking place at Disney's Pop Century only. So, if you are a guest of Pop Century in the next few weeks, you will probably get to experience this new process.

If this test is successful, it will hopefully be rolled out to other resorts at a later date, but there is no word on when that might be, at this time.

All in all, it's so nice to think that at least there's a possibility that Southwest will be participating in this program. As long as the test goes well. I've used the Resort Airline Check In, only once when I flew with Airtran and it's incredibly handy. It will be nice if during my Sept. trip, I get to use it again. :)

If you get to participate in this new pilot program at Pop Century within the next few weeks, I'd like to hear about it! Leave me a message here or email me.