Sunday, November 29, 2009

News & Rumors 11/23/09 - 11/29/09

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.


  • Vanessa Williams will now not be performing in the Candlelight Processional on Dec. 14-17. Abigail Breslin will be taking her place instead.
  • The De'Vine Voices is a chior that will be singing in Epcot on the Fountain of Nations stage playing now until Dec. 26th. Showtimes will be as follows: 1:15 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4:15 pm.
  • There are some changes to the pick up locations for the Picnic in the Park option at Disney's Animal Kingdom. If you order off the Tier 1 menu, you will now be picking your lunch up in Dinoland at DinoBites. If you've ordered off of the Tier 2 menu, you'll collect your food from the Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery.
  • The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectaular at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be closed for refurbishment from Jan. 11th - 15th.
  • Guests who want to meet Santa chilling out in his beachwear finest before the Holidays can go to the Swan and Dolphin resorts. For more info, go here.


  • There's rumors floating around that the other monorail train that will be added in 2010 is possibly going to be the color Maroon.
  • I've heard that during Splash Mountain's winter refurb, lap bars may be included this time around.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What I'm Thankful For (Disney Style)

It's that time of year. The time to be thankful for the blessings in our lives. To really look at the things that matter. And while this list is a little trivial and goofy ...some of it actually means stuff to me. So, let's delve right in. :)

First off, I'm thankful for Walt Disney. Without this visionary, we wouldn't have WDW to obsess about. And it's his dream that gives us all so much joy. Walt was truly one of a kind and although he was taken before he should have been, he definitely left his stamp on the world for sure.

I'm thankful for the imagineers who created some of the best WDW attractions. From the Haunted Mansion to Space Mountain, to Splash Mountain, to Soarin, to Test Track, to World Showcase, to Toy Story Midway Mania, to Rock n' Roller Coaster, to Expedition Everest. All of these attractions and many more helped to create the fun atmosphere we get to enjoy as well. WDW would be nothing without these people.

I'm thankful for all those little hidden jokes that are included in so many rides and areas of the parks. They make the quest to find out more about WDW that much more enticing.

I'm thankful for whomever decided to put that kind of wonderful chocolate on ice cream to make the Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Bar!

I'm thankful for the fireplace at the Wilderness Lodge. It's where I've had some of the best times with my husband as we just sit there in the "relative" quiet and fall asleep in each other's arms.

I'm thankful also for the same reason about the Poly beach. Just another great place where I can spend quality time with my hubby.

I'm thankful for the TTA. Even though they've changed the spiel of this attraction to something a little more trite, it's still one of my favorite spots to just wind down and enjoy the Magic Kingdom.

I'm thankful for Streetmosphere characters. They give me a laugh every time I walk by. Improv is not easy, but they make it look like it is.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to cream my hubby at Toy Story Midway Mania. It makes for a fun ride because we're constantly trying to outdo and beat each other...and we're always close so it really feeds into our competitive natures. We never know who's gonna come out on top until the very end and then victory is sweet. (Or loss is sour, depending on what end of the spectrum I'm at.)

I'm thankful for LeCellier's Maple Creme Brulee. Best thing I've ever eaten!

I'm thankful for the great music that's played around WDW. Since the music is so epic, it follows you home and anywhere you hear it, you get sucked right in and it takes you right back to the parks. Transporting you to Splash Mountain or Soarin or Future World and actually making you feel like you're there!

And most of all, I'm thankful for the podcast and the Disney community. The podcast has afforded me something I never thought I'd have in my entire life. An outlet to talk about my number 1 passion in life. And I love it so much! It is honestly one of the things I look forward to each week when I get the opportunity to sit down and talk and laugh with Mike, Debbie, and Pam. I couldn't ask for a better team and we are so lucky we get along like the family that we do.

But the best thing the podcast has brought me to be thankful for is you all. Your friendships mean everything. There's nothing I get more excited about than checking my Twitter account first thing in the morning. Or getting a break so I can check out the Be Our Guest Podcast forums. Getting the opportunity to share in your triumphs and tribulations and really become a family, because that's what we are, is absolutely incredible.

So thank you all. From the bottom of my heart. My life would be a little less brighter without all your support and love.

These are just a few items I'm thankful for. Of course there are many, many more. But I could go on for hours and barely scratch the surface.

And so that brings me to you. What is it that you're Disney thankful for?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

News & Rumors 11/16/09 - 11/22/09


  • There will be two Wishes Dessert Parties on New Year's Eve. The first will be a Dinner and Dessert Party. This one will take place at the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station between 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm and will include an all you can eat buffet. The menu will include things such as breads, fruits, cheeses, sushi, salads, pork, and beef short ribs. This party will run $139.99 for adults and $69.99 for kids. The second dessert party will be the Fantasy in the Sky party and is basically a regular dessert party in the same location starting at 9:50 pm. It will have desserts, beverages, and non-alcoholic sparkling drinks. The cost will be $35.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids.
  • Locker Rental prices have increased across the board. For the theme parks, the cost for a locker will be $7 for a small locker and $9 for a large with a $5 deposit that will be returned when the key is returned. (Which remains the same price as before.) At the water parks, the cost for a small locker is now $8 and $10 for a large, with a $5 deposit that will be returned once again for bringing back the key.
  • Wheelchairs and EVCs have also seen a price increase. For a wheelchair it's a $12 per day cost with no deposit in the theme parks, but a $100 deposit in DTD. For a length of stay rental, it's $10 per day with no deposit but a $10 deposit at DTD. For ECV rentals, the cost is $50 per day with a $20 refundable deposit.
  • Some restaurants are going to open up in the Magic Kingdom with the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays approaching. First, the Diamond Horseshoe will be open for a counter service lunch from Nov. 20th - Nov. 28th from 11 am until 4 pm and from Nov. 25th - Nov. 28th for a Table Service dinner from 5 pm until 9 pm.
  • El Pirata Y el Perico will be open from Nov. 22nd to Nov. 28th with operating hours from 11 am - 3 pm.
  • Finally, the Tomrrowland Noodle Station will be open from Nov. 22nd to Nov. 28th. This counter service restaurant will have a split menu. From 11 am until 4 pm it will serve American food and from 5 pm until 10pm it will serve up Asian cuisine.
  • Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian has once again been awarded the AAA 5 Diamond Award. This is the 10th consecutive year.
  • Disney is doing some construction/demolition work in Pleasure Island.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Space Mountain--Ready for Blast Off!

This past week, Space Mountain has been seeing some testing of it's recent refurbishment. It was widely known that the budget for this project had been cut substantially, so I knew it would be interesting to see what exactly was happening during this refurb.

As the video and pictures I've posted show, a lot got changed, but a lot did not. (See the previous News & Rumors post for video and pics!)

First off, there is the new queue area. They have kept some elements, such as the music and some of the Pepper's Ghost effects that had been a staple for so many years, but they've also included the introduction of a new story (Starport 75) and a ton of video screens with space games to play which have been added for those standing in the standby line.

I do like the introduction of a cohesive story, something that I thought was not as prevalent before. I do have to wonder about the video games though. I know that they are short (about a minute for each game, so if you are playing, you're not going to be holding up the line for too terribly long) but I really have to wonder how they will play out in the future. I think this is something that I will have to see in action, in person, to make a real judgement on this.

From there, we head into the load area. This is where we see a quite a few changes. First, they have enclosed the area so that light does not escape into the actual mountain, something I think was needed. They do show projections on the ceiling though, as if the area has spots that are open. Also, I believe the line system has been re-worked a bit. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out once Fastpass gets re-introduced back into the mix. The one thing I like the most, there are now load gates at the loading area. This is something I am really happy about. I know that we've accidentally gotten into a spaceship that was about to take off. This will mean those kinds of accidents will not happen any further.

As for the actual ride, well, there is some new sounds in the blue tunnel. And of course, there's a new type of flash at the end of it, which is also there to mask the new on-ride photo camera flash. However, other than that, and a bit of a spruce up of the lift area, it doesn't appear that much has changed with the actual ride itself. It may be smoother although, I've heard conflicting reports about that...some say it's not smoother at all. Also, it's a tad bit darker now inside, although from reports, not so dark that you can't see anything in front of you, which would have been cool.

Once the ride is over, you exit and get the chance to see your on-ride photo. From there, we head to the post-show area. This has seen some nice sprucing up as well. The Starport 75 storyline continues here with a hint of a feeling of Horizons. Showing different areas that you could visit in the future. I like the general spruce up of the area, although I'll miss the kitchyness of the old pre-show. (This is not to suggest I didn't think the pre-show area needed an update, as it did for sure.)

So, what do I think of the rehab?

Well, I'm torn. On one side of the coin, with the amount of money they had to spend leftover from the budget cuts that were made, I think they did a decent job. Plus, I love the actual coaster the way it is, so I'm glad that not much actually got changed in that respect. I'm also so thankful they left the Star Tunnel music in the queue area. That music equal Space Mountain to me and so many others.

However, that being said, I would have liked to see what more money would have meant for this attraction. I wouldn't have minded a new track if it meant that that track was smoother all over. Plus, I would have liked to see what updates they could have come up with for certain areas, especially something like the lift hill, with more money.

So, while I like what was done, I wouldn't have minded seeing more.

And with that, I want to know what you think. Where you pleased with the new refurb or underwhelmed? What would you have liked to see them add? What new things do you think they did well? Make sure to leave some comments in the comments section!

And fly safe, space travelers!

Monday, November 16, 2009

News & Rumors 11/9/09 - 11/15/09

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.


It was a big, yet quiet week with WDW, all at the same time.
  • Space Mountain is testing! Soft openings are currently happening at the MK. To see what's changed, visit here and scroll down a bit to see the video and pics!
  • The former Skyway restrooms have now reopened after their refurb.
  • Hand sanitizers are now spread throughout the park to help combat the spread of disease. They can be found at the park entrances, as well as high volume areas.
  • The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will not be performed on Nov. 22nd due to a private event.
  • As mentioned, the Lights Of Winter at Epcot have been retired. See Wednesday's blog post for more info.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Special Report: Has Disney Gone Too Far?

First off, as many of you know, I am a Disney fan.

For many, many years, I have been a Disney apologizist. When people in the Disney community couldn't understand and didn't like what Disney was doing, for example putting something like the concept of Stitch in Tomorrowland, I could understand why and tried to explain it all away. Stitch is an alien and well, Tomorrowland is about outer space, so it fits. I wore those rose colored glasses proudly.

However, in the past year or so, those rose colored glasses have started slipping down my nose. I can still see in rose colored form (which is why I love the place SO much) but alas, I have been seeing in normal color as well. And once you see in normal color, things start looking not quite as rosy as they had before.

Yes, Disney is a business and I understand how tough it can be to run a successful company as big as Disney. You have all these moving parts that have to keep working together in order to stay afloat.

But as of late, Disney seems to be playing a giant Jenga Game with the Walt Disney World Resort.

What do I mean?

Well, they had a relatively solid foundation just like in the beginning of a game of Jenga...but then because of certain aspects (most undoubtably money related) they started taking away blocks. Slowly pushing them out of their slots...hoping all would go unnoticed.

This has been happening for years with things like the Country Bear Christmas show, Fantasmic being cut, Pleasure Island being closed, removal of certain more expensive food choices at restaurants, taking away performing acts from the parks, making DVC guests now pay for valet parking, taking away perks at the Special Parties, like the free photos, cutting park hours, and of course, most recently, the retiring of the Lights of Winter this year.

Disney has of course, been coming up with all sorts of excuses and reasons for why some of these are no longer taking place. They're coming up with a "BOLD NEW VISION" or the technology is obsolete, or they wanted to make sure their food appealed to a broader general public, or worse yet...they are keeping mum about the reasons behind making such cuts, just hoping that we wouldn't notice.

But I think Disney may have pulled the final Jenga tile from the stack, because now, people are starting to notice all these cuts that have recently been made. And let me tell you...they are VERY unhappy.

All you have to do is look at most Disney message forums and even more recently, Disney's official blog to notice the dissention.

And of course, Disney is not lowering prices while taking these unique opportunities away. No, no. Prices are now higher than ever for experiences that have been dwindling. Experiences that helped make Walt Disney World the unique place it is and, even more so, was. Disney's raised the cost of things like park tickets, parking, the dining plan, the special holiday parties, I could continue. But it seems as if they haven't been adding much for us, as of late. Only taking away.

So, Disney, if you really want to listen to your fans...take notice. We're starting to get a tad (or in some cases, a lot) unhappy with your decisions regarding Walt Disney World and many are getting to the point where drastic action is starting to consider being taken place. People are now deciding to plan less trips, stay offsite, cancel their APs, and even, sell their DVC because of the cost cutting decisions you've been making.

And remember, your loyal fans are what drive your company. We're the ones who constantly make sure we go to your movies, we're the ones who are always at your parks, we're the ones who loyally watch your television shows...and we're also the ones who talk up your product to those around us. Because once you start loosing us, we can really hurt your pocketbooks. Something that you seem to be keen on keeping quite full, or so it would at least appear with the decisions you've been making recently.

So for those of you who are starting to become unhappy with the cuts, I urge you to let Disney know. Send them a letter, write a blog post, tweet when things they do upset us, complain to guest relations. Because keeping quiet is what Disney wants. They don't want us to become vocal. So I say, be loud!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Epcot Lights of Winter and the Be Our Guest Podcast Cruise

It's November, which of course, means that Disney is set to put up their fabulous Christmas decorations once again. Unfortunately, this year, it looks like one set of Christmas decorations are going to be no more.

This year, it was noticed that the Lights of Winter hadn't been put up yet and there seemed to be no mention of them in all the Christmas-time literature that had been put out. (For those who were unaware, the Lights of Winter was an archway set up between Future World and World Showcase which would feature lights that would blink in tune with Christmas songs which would play in coordination with the Fountain of Nations.)

Well, Disney officially announced on Twitter today, that due to obsolete technology, the Lights of Winter were going to be retired. This, of course, makes a lot of people upset as the Lights of Winter was something that was so Epcot. It was what made that park that much more unique for the Christmas holidays and was one of the things people looked forward to seeing each year at the park, many making the trip just for the lighting display.

Many are wondering why Disney could not have fixed the technology to become more current or find a suitable replacement for this holiday spectacular. Myself included. Why wouldn't Disney have realized that this technology was obsolete at the end of the Christmas season last year and start working on a fix? Seems pretty obvious to me.

So, for those of you going during this holiday season, this will be one less Christmas pastime you'll be able to partake in. Just one of many of the cuts that have been happening not only this past year, but also over the past few years.

Also, changing gears, I wanted to mention, that the Be Our Guest Podcast is going Cruising and you all are invited!!!

We're setting sail on what will be Disney's newest ship, the Disney Dream in 2011. Our departure date will be June 21st, 2011 and will be a 5 night cruise with an itinerary of a stop at Nassau, a day at sea, and, get this, 2 stops at Castaway Cay! It's gonna be a great time aboard an amazing new luxury liner with lots that have recently been announced to look forward to! And if you've never cruised before, now is the time to do it! You'll be surrounded by lots of great friends and family, on an absolutely gorgeous ship!

If you'd like more information about the cruise, please, visit the Be Our Guest Podcast forums at'd love to have you join us! And of course, I'm sure as time goes on, more details will be available here as well!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

News & Rumors 11/2/09 - 11/8/09

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.


  • For the holidays this year, the New Year's Eve schedule has become official. Here's a look at the night's festivities for those who will be at WDW. At Epcot:
    • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth 7:30
    • IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth special edition 11:40 p.m.
    • Park hours on New Year’s Eve: 9 a.m.-1 a.m.
  • At the Magic Kingdom:
    • Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! parade and street party (11 a.m., 12:30 and 5:40 p.m.)
    • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade (12 noon and 3:30 p.m.)
    • SpectroMagic parade of lights and music (7 and 10:30 p.m.)
    • Holiday Wishes fireworks (8:30 p.m.)
    • Fantasy in the Sky fireworks (11:50 p.m.)
    • Park hours on New Year’s Eve: 9 a.m.-1 a.m.
  • At DHS:
    • Fantasmic! nighttime musical special effects extravaganza (6:30 p.m.)
    • Live performances by in-park band “Mulch, Sweat and Shears,” back-to-back with a DJ at Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat. (Mulch, Sweat and Shears sets are 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m.; DJ starts at 6:30 p.m.)
    • A special “Lights, Camera, Happy New Year” fireworks show starring Mulch, Sweat and Shears (11:55 p.m.)
    • Park hours on New Year’s Eve: 9 a.m.-midnight
  • At AK:

    • Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade 3:45 p.m.
    • Park hours on New Year’s Eve: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Additional Fantasmic! showings have been added in both the months of November and December. Plus, many of the parks are extending their hours as well. Make sure to double check the schedule if you're going down during those two months.
  • Holiday decorations are now starting to appear at the parks.
  • Monorail Teal is now up and running.
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parties start this week!
  • You can get personalized Mouse Ears now at Mouse Gear.
  • The former Starbillias appears it is going to be reopening as a LittleMissMatched store.


  • It's being rumored that Space Mountain may be seeing previews as early as this week! Things have been seen running lately and the lights have been turned off.
  • The Lights of Winter, the canopy that can be found in the walkway to the World Showcase Plaza that's lights dance with holiday music, is rumored to not be included in this year's Christmas festivities.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Epcot's 2010 Flower and Garden Festival Info

As mentioned in my Sunday blog post, some of the 2010 Flower & Garden Festival information has been released. There's lots of great new stuff that's been added, along with some favorites that are still around, so let's take a look at what next year's festivities are to hold.

First off, the festival will kick off earlier than it ever has before, starting March 3, 2010 and lasting through May 16. This will mean the festivities will last a full 75 days.

There are plenty of new activities that have been announced for this year. First off is the new Bambi Butterfly House. This will take place of the former Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden. Guests will be able to wander through large screened enclosures, watching in wonder as up to 700 butterflies fly around you. This will be a bigger area for the butterflies, clocking in at 3,500 sq. feet.

There will also be a new special garden area, called the New Victory Garden, where the fab five will be situated in topiary form at the American Adventure pavilion tending to veggies in a Victory Garden--a salute to the history of WWII gardens.

The Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden is going to be expanded featuring new characters from the newest DVD release.

New Mickey and Minnie topiaries are going to be introduced at the World Showcase Plaza, featuring American Gothic versions of the duo, based off a scene from the 1930 Grant Wood painting.

Finally, there will be a Pirate Adventure Zone, where characters from Peter Pan will be in topiary form in this interactive space found next to the Germany pavilion.

It's not just new things that will be featured this next year. The Flower Power concert will be back again, taking place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at the American Gardens Theater at 5:15, 6:30, and 7:45 pm. Plenty of top acts will be on hand for the festivities.

Disney will also be offering their Gardening at Home presentations where Disney horticulturalists will teach gardening tips and have hands-on, take-home activities. Plus Gardening Celebrities will let on some of their secrets in the Great American Gardeners series.

The former Wonders of Life Pavilion will be the host, once again, of the Garden Town Festival Center, the spot for picking up merchandise and attending special speaker presentations.

As a reminder, the festival is included with park admission and it looks to be an amazing festival, as it always is. It is one of my favorite times to go to the parks (even though I'm more of a brown thumb) as they are always so vibrant and colorful. The festival adds a unique and can't miss touch to an amazing theme park.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

News & Rumors 10/26/09 - 11/1/09

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 Friar's Nook counter service restaurant in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom is now going to be open seasonally, only opening when the park is busy enough to warrant it being open.
  • Typhoon Lagoon has started it's annual refurbishment a little earlier than originally thought, closing late last week for the season due to some in park malfunctions.
  • Some Epcot Flower and Garden Festival information has been released. Next year's festivities will start March 3rd and last through May 16th. This year's main front topiary will feature the characters camping. For more detailed information on what's new and other highlights, check out this link.
  • Last week, all heck broke loose as WDW returned their dining reservations back to 180 days. They are also supposed to be releasing park hours 180 days in advance as well again.
  • The meet & greet area for Princess Tiana is located behind the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe under a gazebo.
  • Facinating new info was announced about the Disney Dream. For more information, visit here.


  • It's likely that there will be a special New Year's Eve Wishes Dessert party available at the Magic Kingdom. Dinner is likely to be included in the price.
  • I'm hearing that not a lot that's noticeable has changed in the Space Mountain refurb. What was once supposed to be a complete overhaul was affected greatly by budget cuts. The track has only been replaced in certain worn spots, the entrance queue and load area have been enhanced and there will be on-ride photo opportunities. Other than that, many who were expecting a great change will likely be disappointed. (Although those who didn't want much to change will likely be thrilled.)
  • It's being said that the rumor I had reported about new fleet of boats being added at Living with the Land may be true. It's being rumored that the attraction may go down again around the beginning of next year to fix the attraction and the boats so that they will work together in the ride.