Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome Princess Tiana!

It is official. Princess Tiana has arrived as a Disney princess in WDW. Tiana is the first African American princess that Disney has ever had and the new star of the movie "The Princess and the Frog" which will be released in November. And, let me tell you, what a welcoming she received this week.

Princess Tiana arrived in grand style at the Magic Kingdom, in her very own carriage ride and was welcomed warmly by the beloved characters of the Disney parks.

With her welcome into the Magic Kingdom, the Princess was also welcomed with her very own show, Princess Tiana's Showboat Jubilee. If you would like to see what the show is all about, and haven't seen it in the previous blog post, here is Disney's official video of the whole shebang, including the welcome show.

Louis the Alligator, Prince Naveen, and Princess Tiana, plus a cavalcade of others wind their way down the streets of Liberty Square, starting near the Diamond Horseshoe and make their way to the Liberty Belle where they all get on board for a rollicking good time.

To me, the show's main feature is to showcase some of the great songs from the movie. (And trust me, you will be humming some of them in your head later on!) And of course introduce you to the characters and some of the plot lines that go along with the movie. And I think they succeed quite well. Seeing the video clips (since I won't be able to see it in person before it disappears), it makes me very excited to see this movie when it actually does come out into theaters. It is all a very nice teaser for the newest Disney movie.

Another great introduction of the Princess this week is that little girls can now get their Princess Tiana on at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The transformation can include a dress, a tiara, and more. This will be just another great opportunity for girls to get into Princess finest and feel like royalty themselves.

Also, guests who want to meet this new Princess and Prince will also get the chance to, at a special spot located in Liberty Square

So, grab somebody and come on down...and meet the newest Disney Princess, Princess Tiana.

Monday, October 26, 2009

News & Rumors 10/19/09 - 10/25/09

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 Princess Tiana Showboat Jubilee officially starts tomorrow. To check out a sneak peak, watch this video from fellow podcaster, Lou Mongello. Showtimes will be 12:15pm, 2:00pm and 3:45pm. Those who cannot meet Tiana and Prince Naveen on the Riverboat will apparently be able to do so in Liberty Square.
  • A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas is coming to the Magic Kingdom this holiday season. The show will take place on the Rockettower Plaza Stage (former known as holding the monstrosity show, Stitch's SuperSonic Celebration) and will feature Tomorrowland characters Mike Wazowski, Buzz Lightyear, and of course Stitch. The characters (and some back-up dancers) will bring guests Holiday songs with a Tomorrowland feel to them. This show is expected to take place during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parties and is to kick off Nov. 10th.
  • The recently announced ESPN Innovention Lab is now officially up and running at the Wide World of Sports. The purpose will be to show how (and practice with) new technology that has been created can be put to use during sporting events, like the Ball Track technology used for the All-Star Game this year.
  • Happy Retirement Art the Greeter!!! You'll definitely be missed!
  • Remy the Rat was set to retire in Sept. at Les Chef's De France, but his tenure has been extended through at least March 2010.
  • For those of you in the parks in early December who want to catch the Christmas Parade taping, the dates will be Dec. 3-5. The 3rd and 4th will feature the singing performances on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt and the 5th will be the actual taping of the parade.


  • There are some possible changes coming to the Jungle Cruise narration...not removing anything, but in the way of adding more corny jokes.
  • A rumor's going around that Tom Sawyer Island may include a change over next year, at least for the Halloween time of year.
  • It's being rumored that Space Mountain may include an on-ride photo section once it reopens from it's refurb.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dining Review: Kona Cafe

This past trip, I got to eat my way around WDW, one Table Service Meal at a time. One of my ressies that I was most excited about was a trip to Kona Cafe, located at the Polynesian Resort on the second floor.

I had heard good things about this restaurant from many different sources and had a day where I needed to switch a reservation up, so I thought, why not try Kona?

I have to tell you, I am SO glad I did. Kona is definitely one of Disney's Best Kept Secrets out there. (So, don't tell anyone else about it, alright?)

First of all, I fell in LOVE with the Polynesian resort this past trip. It has become on of the places where I would love to stay next chance I get.

We get to the restaurant and have to wait a few minutes because the place is packed. We are finally seated in a cozy little booth and given menus. The place looks so homey. It's color palate is lots of reds and browns.

They also bring out the most amazing bread ever. It's called the Kona Sweet Bread and it is served with a Macadamia Honey Butter. I could eat loaves of this bread with this butter. It is SO good. But, alas, I had a meal to eat, so I had to stop eating the bread.

I decided to try the Teriyaki-style New York Strip, which is a sirloin strip steak that's covered with a teriyaki pineapple glaze. My meal was served with sticky rice and broccolini.

The steak was fantastic. The glaze gave it a very good, sweet flavor. It was different, but was a nice compliment for the steak. The sticky rice was also very good...especially when mixed with a little of the teriyaki pineapple glaze from the steak. I didn't really try the broccolini, as I'm not a huge fan of cooked broccoli flavored stuff.

For dessert, I had the most decadent concoction EVER. It is known as the Kilauea Torte ...or as I like to call it, Chocolate Heaven! It is basically a chocolate cookie crust on the outside and warm chocolate sauce on the inside that spills out of it. It is phenomenally rich. I'm a chocolate lover and I couldn't even finish it, that's how rich it was! It was also served with a side of ice cream, which does help the richness a bit. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to eat more than half!

So, would I suggest going to Kona? Heck yes! It was a fantastic meal. The restaurant is fabulous and has now become one of the places I will definitely check for availability when I'm down in Florida. (But remember, keep Kona our little secret, ok?! :) )

Monday, October 19, 2009

News & Rumors 10/12/09 - 10/18/09

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.


  • Areas currently under refurbishment at the Magic Kingdom include the Seven Dwarfs Mining Co. facade, The Friar's Nook's facade, and Mrs. Potts Cupboard's facade. Fantasyland has been seeing quite a few facade updates recently.
  • The Sum of All Thrills has opened in Innoventions and has a height requirement of 48 inches if there are no inversions and 54 if there are any. (The Sum of All Thrills is a simulator which allows you to create ride designs and then test them out.)
  • Monorail Pink and Purple, the two monorails that were involved in the tragic monorail accident in July are going to be combined as a single monorail and will be known as Monorail Teal. (The colors Pink and Purple will be retired now.) Also, Disney is planning on building another new monorail for 2010.
  • With Crystal Palace going down for refurbishment in January and February of next year, Disney is going to add character dining to Liberty Tree Tavern again. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner will all be Character meals with Liberty Tree Tavern going character free again and back to it's regular seatings once Crystal Palace reopens.
  • Disney has announced a new racing event for next year. The inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon will take place Oct. 1st and 2nd and will be a nighttime race which will culminate in an after hours party at Epcot's Food and Wine Festival. The half marathon registration will open Nov. 16th.
  • The entire Animal Kingdom Lodge Main Pool area will be closed for refurbishment Jan. 4th - Jan. 29th. Guests may use the Kidani Village Pool area.
  • Space Mountain has been testing the new track out recently.

  • If you have the Disney Visa, it's being rumored that it may be eligible to be used for discounts not just at the World of Disney store anymore. There are of course exclusions to what can be purchased, but it may be possible to get the discount at other places now, which if true, is fabulous!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Review: Disney Parks Blog

Today, I want to start a new segment where once every couple of months, I'm going to delve into the Disney community and take a look at some sort of "Disney Product" which can be something as simple as a blog or it can be a book, a CD, a magazine, a video, etc and give a review on said product and how well it may or may not benefit the Disney community.

The first "Disney Product" I want to take a look at is something that is relatively new. Disney recently launched this blog less than a month ago (Sept. 28th to be exact) and it's been very interesting to see how this new blog has grown over the past few weeks.

First things first, the blog can be found at It is written by many different people involving many different facets of the Disney company ranging from the Social Media Director of the Disney Parks, a spokesman for the Disney Cruise Line, the Sports Media Director for WDW, the Worldwide Marketing & Business Development Director for Weddings and Honeymoons, plus many others within the Disney organization.

Because of this, there is one minor thing I don't care for with the blog. I mostly spend my focus on what's going on at the WDW resort...I very rarely focus on what may be going on with some of the other areas...such as Disneyland Resort or the Cruise Line. I wish the blog could focus on one specific park the whole time, instead of being under the "Disney Parks" umbrella that Disney has been keeping all of their parks under for the past few years. However, with that being said...since it's a blog, it is easy to skim over the parts you don't care about quite easily.

One of the things I really like the most about this blog is that it's updated typically once a day, at least, and often times, updated with more than one post per day. And I LOVE that the information is all current. For example, yesterday they talked about the Sum of All Thrills attraction which opened in Innoventions at Epcot yesterday. They also talked interviewed the new President of the Disneyland Resort (George Kalogridis) a day after he was announced as the president. I really enjoy that the info that's given isn't all canned info that you can find pretty much anywhere on the web.

I also really like the stuff that they use to enhance the posts. Often they will include pictures of the things they are discussing or even better, they will have a video to supplement an article.

Oh and another favorite thing is that they do allow for people to post comments. (Granted they are moderated by Disney first before they are posted). But it is nice because if you have a follow up question, they can respond to them.

They do archive the different posts, so if you're looking for something specific, you can find it easily. Examples of different topics include Walt Disney World, Behind the Scenes, Disney Difference, Vacation Planning, etc.

You can also subscribe to the blog, either by RSS or email. I chose the email version and each day they have a blog posted, they will message you saying what they topics were that were discussed, as well as the articles included in the email for a quick glimpse.

One thing I don't really like is that it appears that only the last 3 blog entries are fully listed. Once you get past the last three entries, they do a quick overview of the topic with a link to the specific posting. I really wished they just kept the full entries available without having to click to a different page.

In all, this new blog seems like a fantastic way to stay on top of what's going on in the Disney community, specifically from Disney's mouth itself. I can't wait to see how the blog progresses in the upcoming months and years. I know it has become a must stop at for me each day now. Hopefully it will for you as well.

Monday, October 12, 2009

News & Rumors 10/5/06 - 10/11/09

  • If you are going to the Studios at all the rest of this month, be sure to check out the schedule, as some hours have been extended on some days.
  • Splash Mountain will be down for refurbishment in January and February. Refurbishment dates are Jan. 3 - Feb. 28th.
  • Resort valet parking prices have increased, from $10 to $12.
  • The Sum of All Thrills in Innoventions at Epcot is in previews and is expected to open Oct. 14th.
  • To improve guest flow and satisfaction at some of the more popular Counter Service Restaurants (like Pecos Bills) in the parks, Disney is trying a new system where upon entering the restaurant, the entire party is given a menu to look at while waiting in line and they must stay together. Once your order is taken and your food is delivered, you will then proceed to another Cast Member who will direct you to your table. You will no longer be able to send on person to find a table while the other orders the food. Note: This appears to only happen on extremely busy days. Restaurants being tested in this manner are Pecos Bill's, Columbia Harbor House, Pinocchio's Village Haus, and Cosmic Ray's.
  • The paint scheme is changing to white, blue, and neon green around Space Mountain.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

TTA New Audio

The TTA...otherwise known as the Wedway Peoplemover...

It is a favorite of many of us Disney fans. It is simply classic Disney and a must do for many of us, year in and year out. (Or every few years...whenever you can get down there.)

But recently, Disney changed the audio of this great attraction. Taking an audio spiel that is known and loved by many a Disney fan and redoing it completely. Even though the old version is quoted time and time again and very special to us Disney fans.

For those of you who would like to hear the new version of the audio, you can find it here:

As for my take on this new version. Don't get me wrong. I do like it. I believe it is a nice overview of all the attractions of Tomorrowland, in some ways, more so than the other one is, talking in a bit more detail about some attractions. They have now, even finally added solid information about Stich's Great Escape and Monster's Inc, which had been missing before. The new audio really serves it's purpose of showing you around Tomorrowland in a throughough way.

The one thing that I thought was a nice addition, was they appear to now be calling the attraction the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover, a nice nod to the old version.

And for those who like characters, you will love this new version, as quite a few characters are featured. (Much to the dismay of those who really dislike characters being featured in Tomorrowland at all.)

However, I will forever miss the previous booming voice. The previous voice seemed so regal and in a weird way, futuristic. This new voice, in my opinion, isn't any of those things. It actually feels a bit more informal, similar in my opinion, to what they did with the new audio on Spaceship Earth. This new version doesn't have the power and the authority I feel the old version had...which is quite sad. It'd be like if my voice had been swapped out for the famous movie trailer voice...nice...but not grand enough.

Also gone, which I wish they would have left some of this audio in, are the classic lines. Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow...Now approaching, Mickey's Star Traders...etc. To me, it wouldn't have taken much to have left a few of those snippets in and it also would have been a nice nod to the old version, much like they did with the Monorail and Jack Wagner's Please Stand Clear of the Doors portion.

So, after listening to the audio, what do you think? Do you like it or wish they would have left the old one alone? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments section.

And welcome to the future of Tomorrow....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

News & Rumors 9/28/09 - 10/4/09

  • Disney's promotion for next year is the Give a Day, Get a Disney Day promo. If you want to learn more about it, read my previous blog post where I explain about it in more detail.
  • Disney has also released the Buy 4/Get 3 free and Buy 5/Get 2 Free promo again.
  • The Studios hours have done some changing for the month of Oct. Also, it appears that Disney has added additional Fantasmic showing times as well. If you have a trip in Oct., check to see if you are effected.
  • Blizzard Beach will go down for it's annual refurbishment in January. From Jan. 10 until March 20th.
  • The Boneyard at Disney's Animal Kingdom is now down for refurb until Oct. 18th.
  • Parking fees at Disney have gone up $2.
  • Peter Pan's meet and greet has moved from Adventureland to Fantasyland. He is now located between Mickey's Philharmagic and Tinkerbell's Treasures.
  • Disney Parks has now joined the blogging universe. Check it out here:
  • The WDW resort celebrated it's 38th birthday this week! Happy Belated Birthday!!!!
  • It's being said that the TTA possibly has new audio now. It appears that all of the favorite lines are now gone.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Give A Day, Get A Disney Day

Disney's newest promotion for next year (because they always have to have one now. :) ) is the Give a Day, Get A Disney Day celebration.

All of next year, if you volunteer with select organizations (can be found through the HandsOn Network), you will get a free, one day ticket to any one Disney theme park.

So how will all of this work? Well, starting January 1st, you will have to sign up with Disney and the HandsOn Network. (more information on how will be released closer to January 1st). From there, you will be able to search volunteer opportunities close to you to participate in, that are affiliated with the participating organizations. Once you have completed your service and the HandsOn Network has verified it, you will be sent an email telling you how to print and redeem your Disney Theme Park Ticket.

Tickets will be valid at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disneyland or Disney's California Adventure. No other locations are valid in this promotion.

Eligibility is only available for residents of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Participants must be at least 6 years of age, with an adult accompanying them if they are between the ages of 6 and 17. However, you must be 18 or older to sign up. And you will only receive 1 ticket per person, no matter how many hours you have volunteered. Also, you may only sign up a maximum of 8 additional members of your household.

There are limited quantities of tickets the promotion is slated to run until tickets run out OR Dec. 15th...whichever comes first.

If you already have theme park admission, there are a few options that are available to you. (Much like there were with last year's Birthday Celebration). First, there is the FastPass option. This is where you will receive a special FastPass cards for certain attractions that will allow for you and up to 5 additional members of your party to automatically FastPass said attraction and get right on with little to no wait at that specific time. Another option is the collectible Ear Hat figurine with exclusive trading pins. Finally (and this is the one that I really like the most, if you can't take advantage of the tickets) you can donate your ticket to a non-profit organization that has been designated by Disney, therefore spreading your good deeds around even more.

So, those are the nuts and bolts of this new, great promotion by Disney.

The one thing I like the most about this promotion is that you aren't limited to only going around your birthday. If you have a trip in Sept. and your birthday is in July and you couldn't make it in July, you don't get penalized.

That part, to me, is huge. This opens this promotion up to be utilized by way more people...which I like, because you have to do something great for your community in order to receive the ticket in the first place...and volunteering is such a wonderful and amazing thing that far too few people do. I love that you aren't limited to a specific time of the year to take advantage...and I also love that the whole family can participate as well. It allows for good family bonding time together.

For more information about my feelings about this "celebration" please, listen to this Friday as we discuss this topic in more detail.

And please, this next year...volunteer. It will help out in ways you can't even imagine. And trust me, when I say, nothing feels better than giving your time to someone or something in need.