Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Let's Go To Mexico!

From reading my blog, many of you may have noticed some comments about the Mexico pavilion in World Showcase. And of course, because of this, there are some rumblings going on about something big happening there.

First is the fact that the San Angel Inn will be down for refurb in May (still rumored, but looks to be happening) and the food has recently been said to have been updated a bit. It's also being rumored that a tequila bar is coming in and has been for a year now. Then there's the bigger rumors that they will be doing some work the the Cantina outside...saying a new two story building may be built in it's place and it will be changed to a sit down restaurant, while San Angel Inn will be converted to a Signature restaurant and a new counter service restaurant will be put into the pavilion inside.

However, recently I'd heard that Disney was shelving a lot of their projects, but if this one gets through, I think it will help the sorry Mexico pavilion. Why do I say sorry? Because the food there is terrible! I've never been to the San Angel Inn, mostly because I've heard the food is no good. (And I've been to Mexico, had Mexican food...) So I simply don't want to take the chance paying my hard earned money to eat at a crummy restaurant. I also am not very impressed with the Cantina. The food there wasn't that good either. To me, Taco Bell is better...and I don't like Taco Bell that much either. At least Taco Bell has flavor.

So, to me, any kind of change, foodwise, should be a positive one to this pavilion. It needs it. I can't imagine it getting any worse.

Plus, I like the idea, even though I don't drink, of having a tequila bar. It adds another venue to go to in the pavilion, which, to me, feels mostly like walking into an overpriced market in Mexico.

I think a lot of these changes that are being tossed around will be such a positive to this pavilion.

I would be excited if only half of these changes were made...but if all of them were made and helped to enhance the pavilion, I believe it's an even better thing. Hopefully, the penny pinchers at Disney won't cut anything out of the plans here. It'll be nice going to a Mexico pavilion (foodwise) that's worthy of being in the glorious food heaven that is otherwise known as Epcot.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

News & Rumors 2/16/09 - 2/22/09

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. One particular website is not favored over another. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken with a grain of salt.

  • Pinocchio will have a new meet and greet area. Catch him at the front of the Magic Kingdom by City Hall. The meet runs from 9 am
  • The Electric Umbrella will be down for refurb from Feb. 23 - April 7.
  • Animal Kingdom has lost some performers. Pipa the talking recycling bin and Smear, Splat, and Dip had their last performances on Feb. 7.
  • Disney's Magical Express will cease delivering luggage for arrivals after 10 pm. If you arrive after 10 pm, collect your luggage yourself and then take it to the Magical Express area where it will be transported on the bus with you. Flights arriving from 5 am - 10 pm will be able to use DME in the normal way.
  • Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival musical acts have been announced. They are: March 20-22 – Davy Jones March 27-March 29 – Paul Revere & The Raiders April 3-April 5 – The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie April 10-April 12 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone April 17-April 19 – The Ventures April 24-April 26 – Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes. Concerts start at 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 p.m. except on March 20, March 27 and April 3, when the curtain rises at 4:45, 6 and 7:15 p.m.
  • Spoodles at Disney's Boardwalk will be down for refurb from May 11 - 23.


  • San Angel Inn is rumored to go down for refurb starting May 10th. No word on the scope of the refurb yet.
  • Epcot is rumored the be getting some new acts. Viva Venezia will be a new act inside Tutto Italia beginning Feb. 23 and it's been said that Remy the Rat will be appearing in the France pavilion at Chefs du France starting March 1st in a kind of Living Character Initative capacity, much like at Disneyland Paris.
  • The online check in service is still supposed to go live at the end of this month.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Be Our Guest's 100th Episode!

Just wanted to remind you all, that the Be Our Guest Podcast released it's 100th episode today! Go take a listen at

And for those of you who already do listen...thank you all so much!!! It is because of you all that I get to fufill one of my dreams! You all rock!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's A Disney Character World?

In the past week or so, Disney recently reopened It's A Small World at Disneyland. Now, I know this is a Disney World blog...but let's take a look at this new version of It's A Small World...because, as we all know, Disney likes to clone stuff, so there's the very slight possibility we could see a refurb like this one take place in the near future at the park we know and love so well. (Yay for hypotheticals!)

I don't know how many of you have heard the news of what Disney did with the Disneyland version...but for those of you who may be unaware, Disney had announced that they were going to include some Disney characters in this updated version of the classic attraction. Many on the Internet were outraged. How could they do this to this attraction?! Was this really necessary? It was defiling Walt's original vision. Is this just a way for Disney to put corporate characters into a ride that simply didn't have it, in an effort to continue that cross promotion thing they love to do? (I have my own personal answers on these questions, of course.)

But, despite my own personal opinion in that it really wasn't necessary, I viewed the video of the attraction with an open mind. And I have to say, there were parts of the refurb I really didn't mind seeing and then there were parts that I thought they could have done a little differently. (Ah, the joys of being an armchair much I wish I could be the real thing.)

Here is a version of the new attraction, in case you all haven't seen it. This version gives long shots, as well as close ups of the Disney characters in question.

First of all, for those of you who are worried, this attraction isn't LOADED completely with characters. Matter of fact, if some of them hadn't been pointed out to me, I might have actually missed them, as I didn't get Cinderella at first, Mulan was easy to miss, and I had no idea that Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa would be in this new version...all of them blended in nicely with the story. Oh, and I think I missed Mrs. Potts in there least I think she's there.

Of course, the other characters, I did notice. However, for the most part, I thought they looked natural, at least as best they could. Most of the characters looked like the It's a Small World dolls, just dressed in that character's clothing. Even though they were noticeable, they still blended in with the whole story of the ride. They technically looked like they'd been there the whole time.

My issue ended up being only for a few select characters. The first one I'm bringing up are the Pixar characters that were included in this version. Now, I don't have a problem with the fact that they are Pixar characters. I'm one who fully accepts Disney and Pixar to be one now. No, instead my issue is the way these characters look. The characters in question are Marlin, Dory, and Woody. They don't appear to look very Mary Blair-stylized. Instead they look more's like Disney just have these characters, lets just throw them in for the heck of it. They don't blend as seamlessly because they don't look as cartoony. (Go figure, cartoons don't look cartoony enough...)

I would have liked to have seen more cartoon versions of Marlin and Dory, along the same lines as the White Rabbit and Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa. (Flounder also looks too realistic for me too...what is it with Disney and the fish?) Woody, kinda looked like a creepy doll. I would have liked to see them have done something like they did with Jessie. Instead of a creepy looking doll, (wait, aren't they all creepy in IASW?) I would have instead of a realistic interpretation of Woody. I would have like to have seen him as a It's a Small World doll, dressed in Woody clothing. We would have gotten the message on who that was, plus it would have been more of a subtle nod, instead of an outright, blatent nod.

The other issue was with Stitch. And it's not because I have a pure hatred for Stitch. Personally, I could care less if they use him for attractions of not. (Matter of fact, I think that the idea to put him in the Tiki Room is a decent idea.) However, my problem with this is that It's a Small World is supposed to be (for the most part) a "realistic" depiction of people around the world...meaning, the attraction should feature things that are at least plausible. (The mermaids were there before.) Stitch however, 1. looks exactly like he does in the real stylization of him and 2. Stitch is a made up character. He's an alien. He doesn't fit in a Polynesian type world...I feel that including Lilo would have been fine...but adding Stitch to me wasn't the best idea. Personally, I think they should have left him out.

So, in all, I have to say, if they brought this refurb down to the wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I might actually enjoy it. And if they tweaked the things I talked about, I think it would definitely benefit the sanctity of the ride a little quell the fears of those Disney die-hards, for whom everything must remain the same. All in all though, I don't hate it, and think, if it had to happen, it wouldn't be a bad addition to Disney World. :)

Disclaimer...Please keep in mind though, I like the original how it is...I'm just saying if it were by chance to happen, it wouldn't be the end of the world...I do want that noted. Not trying to give Disney the idea that I think this is the most brilliant idea in the world, either. lol!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

News & Rumors 2/1/09 - 2/15/09

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.

  • Florida Residents may purchase a 2 day Magic Your Way base ticket for $99 plus tax for guests ages 10 and up and $83 for guests ages 3-9. The Park Hopper option and the Water Park Fun and More option may be added to these tickets for an additional $25 each option. The promotion will run through May 20 and tickets must be used by May 21st. There are some blackout dates listed.
  • News has come out that Space Mountain is expected to reopen on Nov. 22 this year. We'll see if that actually happens.
  • The Tomorrowland Transit Authority will be closed for refurb from April 19 - Aug. 19. Dates subject to change.
  • The Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It Street Parties are supposed to have debut on Friday. Showtimes will be 11 am, 12:30 pm, and 5:30 pm. Dream Along With Mickey's Showtimes have been altered then with showtimes at 9:35 AM, 10:35 AM, 11:40 AM, 1:15 PM, 2:15 PM, and 4:00 PM.
  • The Buy 4, Get 3 Free offer has been extended by the dates. Dates will now be available through Aug. 15.
  • Bay Lake Tower has been announced that it is opening on Aug. 4, 2009.
  • The Online Check-in Service that I've talked about previously is set to roll out Feb. 24. (At least for DVC members, I'm assuming that would be true for everyone, but I haven't gotten exact confirmation on that one yet.)
  • Disney has changed their Magical Express policies, just a little. Now they will only be mailing out one Magical Express luggage tag. If you need more for luggage, contact Disney's Magical Express at 1-866-599-0951.
  • Disney is providing an online registration for people who want to be guaranteed an audition time to audition for the American Idol Experience. Slots can be found here.
  • It's looking like Typhoon Lagoon won't open from it's refurb until May or June.
  • Fantasmic is rumored to be showing more and more. Lately they have been holding 2 performances a night and it's rumored that they might go to 3 performances a week. It's rumored the showings will now be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
  • There's a new rumor (well, not really new, but it's gaining legs again) that Disney wants to redo the Toontown Fair area. Of course, this is just in the beginning phases.
  • Epcot has begun refurbing the Inferno Barge. Rumor has it reopening around March 1, but it could take until March 16.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

American Idol Experience--Passholder Edition

So, as many of you know, I got to experience my very first Annual Passholder preview this past trip. It was a really neat thing and I'm so glad I got to take part in it.

In case you can't tell, I saw The American Idol Experience. Now, I know this attraction has been getting a lot of flack among those in the Disney community, but I am always one who likes to experience something and make my own call on what I believe the attraction is like. I try my hardest not to let others influence me on my decisions. This is the only way to be fair about the whole process.

And I'm glad I found out my own opinion on the attraction, because I liked it. I really thought it was well done. Keep in mind though, I am an American Idol fan. I do watch the show each season, so that may skewer my opinion just a bit and may be more of a cause for why I enjoyed this show so much. However, that being said, I do believe that those people who do like the show aspect at Disney's Hollywood Studios are going to really enjoy this one. And of course, it adds a new option of something to do to a park that really needed one.

So, let me take you through a typical American Idol Experience show. For those of you who don't want any spoilers, now would be the time to stop reading.

Ok...I'm guessing those of you who are still with me are interested in the details...good. I'll get to the good part. :) I saw the 4:00 showing, so while I didn't see the finale, I did get to see what most of the other shows will be like.

First things first, you walk into the studio and the first thing you notice is the set. It's AMAZING. It looks just like the real thing. It's so well done. Simply beautiful. There are lights everywhere, TVs positioned so that you can see them, a judges table on the right hand side, the 3 stools for the contestants on the left hand side, and a stage that is very nice sized.

After you experience the stage and get settled into your seat, the warm up host comes in. This helps to bring in the studio aspect back to DHS as well. He talks about some of the things you'll need to know, like how the voting works (there is a panel with numbers on your armrest. When voting starts, you click on the number of the person that you think should go on to the finale that night.) and he also helps get you excited about seeing the actual show.

Then the show starts just like it is like you are at the actual American Idol taping. Ryan Seacrest comes on with a short video welcome, spouting off those famous words "This is American Idol" and we're off and running.

The host then comes out and introduces us to the judges (and on my showing, one of them was from the Adventurer's Club...yay!) and we then get to know the contestants a bit.

For the show that I got to see, the contestants were 3 high school aged kids who were all visiting the parks.

From there, the first contestant sings. Now, the words are displayed in the back of the room on a big screen, in case someone gets nervous and forgets the lyrics, but the talent is all theirs. The judges then talk about the contestant.

Now, this is the thing that I thought was so great in this version. On the real American Idol, the judges give their opinions on how well they sang the songs, but give minimal critique on what they contestant can do to make it better. Sometimes they do, but most of the time they just say comments about how much they loved or hated the song. With this version, the judges actually do have singing backgrounds (usually) and they give their critiques, but they also do give advice on how they could make it better. This I thought was very helpful for contestants.

Of course, there was the Simon judge who did give kind of canned quippy one liners...but I didn't think they were too awful (meaning, they weren't too canned.)

Then the second performer sings, the judges critique and the same thing happens with the third performer. Before the performer sings, they usually have some sort of video to play beforehand for them. For my show, I saw last year's winner, David Cook give advice, a contestant and a little of her day in the park, and the crowd before the show cheering on said contestant.

After the singing transpires, there is the music video that is played featuring season 6 winner, Jordan Sparks. This was the only thing I thought that was unnecessary. I didn't like being told that I had to stand up and sing along. Plus, it prolonged the actual vote. I think it would have worked better if we had just gone straight into the voting, but that's just me.

After the cheesy video, they played back a quick clip of the singers singing to refresh our memories or allow us to see whether they really did as good of a job as we thought they did. Then we voted on the keypad. Voting lasts about 10 seconds. From there, they bring the contestants up to the stage again and they go over each one and talk about what the judges said about their performances. Then the results are brought out and the winner is announced (in standard American Idol fashion...drawn out.)

In was a really great show. I think that Disney will find the talent to perform in each show. (I mean, how hard is it to find 3 people to sing for I think 4 or 5 different shows each out of the thousands of people who visit the park each day.) I really think that all should give it a chance. It may just surprise you, much like it did me. This show will definitely be something that I will take in whenever I get the chance to when I'm down in Florida. It's not necessarily a must do...but if the opportunity is there, I will definitely go in and watch. Overall, I give the attraction a 4 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

News & Rumors 1/26/09 - 2/1/09

  • There's some interesting stuff going on around the Mexico pavilion in Epcot. Most of which can be found in the rumors section. However, the Casa Mexicana area has now been closed. It could be a rumored tequila bar that was supposed to come in in 2008. However, it could also have been closed for merchandise and the tequila bar will be moved somewhere else in the pavilion. More word is needed on this. Also, it appears that there have been some changes to the menu at the San Angel Inn, including more authentic Mexican food.
  • Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure is now officially open!
  • Boatwright's at Port Orleans Riverside will no longer be serving breakfast starting Feb. 21.
  • Akershus in the Norway pavilion will, however, be adding an 8 am dining option to their schedule.
  • Currently, a lot of rumors are going on about the Mexico pavilion as well as the news. First of all, it's been rumored that the Cantina building is going to be torn down and a new 2 story building will be erected, which will house a either table service restaurant, on the same lines (prices) of what San Angel Inn is now or a higher caliber (and priced) counter service restaurant. What was the San Angel Inn will then become a Signature restaurant.
  • Princess Tiana from the upcoming Princess & the Frog movie will be doing meets during the holidays this year.
  • I'm currently hearing that the Space Mountain refurb will include new supports and new cars. But, of course, this is an ever changing it could change tomorrow. I'm also still hearing that this refurb will be lasting at least a year, despite what Disney has said officially.

I did also want to let you all know, I will be in Florida for a week, so unfortunately, the blog will be on vacation as well. Expect a new blog post to be up Feb. 11! Thanks to all of you who read!!!