Sunday, May 30, 2010

News & Rumors 5/24/10 - 5/30/10

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.

  • Cinderella's Golden Carrousel is going to change names to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. To read the new back story behind the change, click here.
  • The Emporium at the Magic Kingdom is going to have a new layout come June 2010. The changes will included a dedicated girl's section, and dedicated boy's section, a new home and lifestyle section, and a new area for Vinylmation.
  • Over at DHS, for Star Wars Weekends, (or at least for this particular weekend of Star Wars Weekend), a walk around, guest interacting version of C3PO is being seen in the parks.
  • Typhoon Lagoon closed earlier this week for a day because of a water leak, but it appears to have been fixed.
  • The current American Idol champ, Lee DeWyze is going to be visiting the WDW resort Monday (tomorrow). A special parade will take place at Disney's Hollywood Studios at 10 am. If you haven't seen Lee's commercial yet, click here.


  • One Man's Dream will be going down for a lengthy refurb: Aug. 16th - Nov. 2nd
  • The changes to It's A Small World are rumored to just be related to increasing load/unload abilities. No changes to the actual attraction are slated to take place. (Maybe now the boats won't back up so badly!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Disney Tug of War

First of all, I want to welcome you to my blog....

Wait....I've had a blog for almost 2 years, what on earth are you talking about, Rikki?

I'm talking about, the new home I've made for myself I can now be found at No more being forced to type in .blogspot anymore!

So, with all that being said, let's get on with today's hot button topic. It's something that has been troubling me for a while now.

I love Disney. I really truly do. It is my happy place. It is what fills my head a majority of the day. And it really is the most magical place on earth!

That being said...things are not always as rosy as you would like them to be sometimes because, well, Disney is, of course, a corporation, who has shareholders they have to impress and budgets they have to keep. It's not bad to have these things at all, but the truth of the matter is, in a creative company like Disney, these are all issues that can muddle things up sometimes.

For a while now, I've been taking a look at how things are run within the company and I'm really noticing, especially in these harder economic times, a sort of tug of war game going on. In the past, it seems like each side was about evenly matched...with creative and money working together. Maybe not evenly of course, but with a good give and take. However, in the more recent years, it seems like the monetary side seems to be gaining momentum...slowly inching that rope over to their side.

This is what bothers me. Yes, as I've stated, I'm aware Disney is a company and a company's goal is to make money. However, with that being said, in the more recent past, it seems like Disney is being run more like a bank and not a media/theme park business, which thrives on the ability of using money to up the creative aspect. I'm hoping this is not entirely true...but to those on the outside looking in, it certainly appears that way.

So, why do many of us think that money is winning out? Because if you take a look at a lot of the more recent things built and the recent things that are coming, there is really one common denominator for the majority of them....and that's the most recent things are built are things that can help generate money. Merchandise sales, to be exact. (Along with other aspects, I'm sure.)

The most used example is something like Stitch. Yes, I know he's used in this regard a lot, but it's only because it's true. Stitch was mainly put into the theme parks because he was popular merchandise fodder. The same can be said about adding Finding Nemo to The Seas, and I'm sure in less regard to things like Toy Story Mania to the Studios, the Tron-o-rail (advertising to get you to see the movie and I believe they are selling Tron merchandise already as well) and yes, even something like American's there to 1. sell merchandise and 2. because putting this attraction in wasn't paid for by Disney. Also, we have new possibility for merchandise sales with the upcoming return of Captain EO and of course, the Fantasyland expansion.

Of course there is the fact that Walt, the man himself, would advertise his products in the past, as well. So we can't entirely say that it's only current management who uses this method for monetary gain. I mean Sleeping Beauty Castle was a full on advertisement for the movie. But I think the main difference is, Walt built things with quality and purpose. Not just as a quick way to make a buck. (I mean, hello, he built a castle! That's not just something that can be taken down quickly if the movie flopped.) Walt didn't seem to build attractions primarily for the sale of merchandise, as it currently feels it is today. (Although, he did build a theme park to advertise his hmmm....I guess it just didn't feel as in your face back then as it does now...)

And of course, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm just seeing things in a negative light...but I don't think I am. I think that I'm finally seeing how things are working. I'm in the Disney bubble...but I can also see past the characters and magic that are in there with me and see what is on the outside on the rose colored bubble.

Which makes me pose this question. Do you think, in a creative company, like Disney is, that things should be run as a two head system? Much like it was with Walt and Roy or with Michael Eisner and Frank Wells...where there's someone who really champions the creative side and someone who focuses on the monetary aspects. It is a pretty huge job being in charge of both and I think sometimes being in charge of both can hinder things in some ways. I know it's always better for me having a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.

Or do you think things are much better the way they are now? With one person solely in charge of everything? Making the decisions and being the one knowing everything that's going on can sometimes be a good thing too.

I really want to know what you this is such a hot button topic right now because of all that's going on with the Fantasyland expansion...something that many people claim that monetary issues (ie: the fact that Princesses and Fairies are big money) are the driving factors behind this expansion instead of pure creative talent. So, make sure to leave me your comments.

As I've mentioned before, and I just want to reiterate, I love WDW. I really do. I just want to see what's best for things all around...both monetarily and creatively.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

News & Rumors 5/17/10 - 5/23/10

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


  • Stars Wars Weekends kicked off this weekend with lots of Hoopla surrounding it!
  • The Princess Half Marathon's dates have been changed. Now the Half weekend will be February 25 – 27. Registration should open July 6th.
  • Rex and Trixie's Dino Darts is now playing at Toy Story Midway Mania.


  • It's rumored that Free Refills may be limited soon with things like the Refillable Mug. Disney may be working on something using RFID technology to limit the amount of drinks that are dispensed. Or that somehow your Refillable Mug access will be tied to your room key.
  • Also, we may end up seeing snack machines in the future that allow for guests to just swipe their Key To The World card and they'll receive their snack. Therefore allowing people who have the Disney Dining Plan access as well.
  • It appears that the Yeti at DAK is going to be getting a minor refurb done to try to enhance his motility. To get it back to traditional A mode, it is going to take a 6 month or longer refurb, apparently.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Operation: Spousal Disney Affinity

It's a day that a Disney fanatic like myself can only dream about. The day when you realize your significant other really likes Disney.

Maybe not as much as you do, but enough so that if you go out to dinner one night, you can discuss trip plans and have your spouse understand exactly what you're talking about. Or where you can be chatting about your day, mentioning some sort of Disney news that just got released that day and have a discussion on the matter. It sounds like the perfect relationship, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, some never achieve this goal...but what happens when you actually do?

I am thankfully in the category of someone who has a husband who I can talk incessantly about Disney with and for the most part, he isn't bored. He even has insightful comments of his own, which trust me, has lead to some heated discussions. (I can recall one night being in the car, discussing the virtues and problems with Captain EO being brought back to Epcot...and getting into this "fight" about the situation, having to put the discussion on hold due to the fact that we'd just arrived at TGI Friday's and had to eat dinner with our non-Disney loving friends--another topic for another day, I assure you...and more than likely soon.)

So, for the most part, this is a good thing, right? I have someone, in my actual life, that I can discuss things like this with and, for the most part, have the conversation be intelligent and stimulating.

However, there is one tiny downside to having a Disney-Loving (although loving is probably too strong of a word for my hubby...he likes it, but doesn't love it...Disney-Understanding is probably better) spouse.

That comes when it's actually time to take our trips.

What do I mean?

Well, let's take a look back in time--to 5 years ago exactly.

5 years ago, Brian and I were on our first ever Disney vacation together. Me, having the most knowledge (although not nearly what I do now) and being the most obsessed, took on the reins as Trip Planner. Which meant that we could do what I wanted, when I wanted, for the most part. He had no real clue what was good here and what wasn't. Taking him was like taking a blank slate that I could mold to my whims. (I sound really evil here...*evil laughter*)

Fastforward to 5 years later, and now Brian has the knowledge of 7 trips under his belt. (Holy frijoles! Never counted that up before! And I have more than him in the past 5 years!) What this means is he now has an opinion of what he wants to do. Which can be good...but it can be problematic.

Good in the fact that now he can help guide me in certain aspects of trip planning--like what he wants to eat while we're there. When we were on Free Dining last year, we sat down, took a look at the Unofficial Guide (ding) and mapped out which restaurants we thought we would both like. It was the first year that we both had input on where we decided to eat. In previous years, I chose myself. Choosing together was great because we got to bond over dinners, talking about the virtues of each and every restaurant, coming up with a solid list of both new and old places we had to make sure to make ADRS for. And honestly, it was one of my favorite planning moments from that trip.

It's also good (but sometimes can be bad, if I disagree) because he can tell me what attractions he thinks are worth going on and which ones he'd rather skip.

However, the sticking point comes up in the fact that now he knows what stuff he really wants to do. So what happens if I don't really care for what his intentions are.

See, I've discovered that Brian and I vacation a little differently, at least at WDW. At Disney, I'm a sleep in a bit in the morning kinda person, but once I'm awake, it's go-go-go. He, however, likes to tour a little different. He would enjoy giving up a day, or in some instances, multiple days, to relaxing around the pool. This has been a tough issues we've had to face.

The main thing we've learned to do is to compromise. It may not be what I want to do, and it was (and still is) super hard to know I'm giving up valuable park time to sit here and lay by the pool, something I can do at home. For him, it's relaxing. For me, it still drives me a bit crazy. But I know it's important to him, so I relax, just for a bit, and then "drag" him along to the park with me later. Or, I'll give him a day to do what he wants and we'll split up and I'll go do what I want for the afternoon. (Usually it's our Animal Kingdom day...he hates that park.)

It is difficult to take his approach with a Disney vacation, but I think after the last trip, I understand more of what he wants, and with a little effort on my part, I think I can deliver.

So, you see, it's not always roses when your significant other cares about Disney. There are always going to be ups and downs....but as I am learning, you need to work around them. Otherwise neither one of you are having fun. And no one wants that on vacation.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

News & Rumors 5/10/10 - 5/2610


  • The name for what was once know as the Cantina de San Angel at Epcot's Mexico Pavilion will be now called Hacienda de San Angel.

  • The Gobel Shop that was in the Germany Pavilion will be transformed into a Werther's Candy Shop by Sept. 2010.
  • Star Tours will officially close for it's refurb Sept. 8th. It will then be changed over into Star Tours 2.

  • It's A Small World will be closed for refurbishment from Aug. 1st - Oct. 22nd. No word on what type of work will be done, but it has been said that characters will not be included, like they were at Disneyland's version.

  • Disney will be opening a new resort called the Art of Disney Animation Resort. For more info and my take on the new resort, see the previous post. New since the last post, is the resort is expected to open in phases, with the first phase to open in Summer 2012.

  • Due to the Power Rangers being sold back to their original owners, Haim Saban, the meet and greet will be leaving the Studios on Aug. 7th.

  • MuppetVision 3D has officially reopened after it's refurb. The good news, the pre-show has remained unchanged, as it was originally rumored to be. Also, the main show is still in it's original form, but with a better picture quality. Also, some of the effects that weren't being used are now working again and the pre-show has new TVs.

  • Rock n' Roller Coaster began it's refurbishment with a reopening date of May 21st.

  • R2-MK, a new droid, will indeed be meeting guests at this year's Star Wars Weekends at DHS.

  • Teamboat Springs at Blizzard Beach was supposed to reopen this weekend from it's refurb, however, it appears that the refurb has been extended, with the reopen date now of June 1st.

  • Tickets are now available for spectators for the Finish Line Party at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in October as well as the Oct. 3rd Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. To order tickets, all 1-407-WDW-IRUN.


  • It's been said that LeCellier might be changing to a Signature Restaurant (meaning upping the cost) starting as soon as Sept.
  • 2 new countries that may be included in this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival are Belgium and South Korea.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Disney's Art of Animation Resort Is A Go!

It was rumored a while ago, that Disney was looking at transforming what was originally supposed to be part of the Pop Century: Legendary Years section into something a little different.

This was a section that had been partially built, but stopped in 2001, because of 9/11...a section that was left standing as a shell for many years, partial buildings that could be seen from the portion of Pop Century that had already been built and to many, looked to be a huge eyesore. However, for a while there, it looked like the idea of fixing up this section of the resort was going to be another rumor that didn't quite make it out of the box.

Well, now, it appears that Disney has decided to continue with construction on this section of property. Albeit, with a different theme, instead of the 1900s to 1940s. Instead, the theme will focus all on great Disney animation stories: The Little Mermaid, Cars, Finding Nemo, and The Lion King.

This was a theme that I reported on a while back as a very valid possibility. And it appears that I was right about another aspect of the resort as well. They will be making quite a few rooms at this new resort Family Suites, much like they did with some of the rooms at All Star Music.

According to Disney, there will be 1,120 family suites in The Lion King, Cars and Finding Nemo wings and 864 themed rooms in The Little Mermaid wings. Suites will have both a living room and a bedroom.

This resort will be considered a Value resort, which means prices will start around $82 a night for a standard rate for a room, although the suites will, of course, cost more than that.

The resort will be set up like all the other value resorts, with large courtyards, larger than life icons from the movies, and themed pools.

The resort is slated to open by the end of 2012, which will be right in the middle of the Fantasyland expansion. (Perfect timing.)

As for me...I'm surprised it took them this long to do it! I know that the economy had to set them back a little, but this seems like such a great idea.

So many family travel to Walt Disney World, but aren't the conventional 2 adults and 2 kids. Or many families would want to bring extended family members along on the trips. And these types of families were often at a disadvantage because of that fact, either fighting to get to stay at the popular All Star Music Suites or having to upgrade to a Moderate or Deluxe resort. I think this is going to be a fantastic addition to the Walt Disney World Resort for larger families.

I also am glad to see that they are going to be taking a piece of property that has been sitting stagnant for years and turn it around into something. No more will guests at Pop have to look across and see emptiness. Now, (well, at least in a few years anyway), we'll be able to look across and see a bustling hotel.

The only thing I'm not in love with is the name. I think it doesn't flow as easily as some of the other resort names. I wonder if in the end it will just change to Disney's Animation Resort, or something like that in the future. I'm sure, even if they don't, the name will grow on me. It just seems weird right now. :)

I think this is a win-win situation, both for Disney and Disney fans alike. It will be great to hear as more details leek out about this project as time passes. And I for one, am looking forward to a new value hotel for me to stay in. (Although I still will have a special place in my heart for Pop Century.)

But what do you all think? Are you glad to see this section of the resort being finished? Would you have liked to have seen some other theme in there instead? Or would you have rather they finished the Pop Century: Legendary Years section? Make sure to let me know!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

News & Rumors 5/3/10 - 5/9/10

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


  • The McDonalds at Downtown Disney is now closed. A new restaurant will be taking it's place called Pollo Campero, a Latin chicken fast food chain.
  • A special event will be held to help close Star Tours. A special hard ticketed event known as the "Last Tour To Endor" will take place August 14, from 8 pm - 1 am. The cost will run $75 per person and guests will be able to not only ride Star Tours, but also participate in themed party zones, Star Wars Shows, Death Star Disco, and a fireworks spectacular. No word on if this will be the official last day for Star Tours or just the start of a countdown until the close, though rumors are swirling that the actual closing date will be Sept. 8th. When more details are released, they'd be posted.
  • The Grand Floridian tennis courts are being refurbished, but will reopen May 22nd. Guess may use the Contemporary's tennis courts instead.
  • Today was the last day for Honey I Shrunk the Audience at Epcot. The attraction will be closed after today in preparation of Captain EO.
  • Lotso, from Toy Story 3 began greeting guests at DHS today in The Animation building. See a times guide for specific times.
  • In really cool news, a new video was posted on YouTube of a Talking Mickey, part of the Living Character Initiative! This was in result of a test that was taking place at Disneyland, where Mickey would actually be able to talk to guests, even mentioning them by name. If the test goes well, I personally would hope that they would start to roll out talking characters in the parks, as I think the concept is really cool. Watch Part 1 and Part 2 to get a taste of what these new enhancements entail.
  • Some really neat Star Wars posters were posted earlier this week on Studios Central. (And this is coming from someone who's never seen Star Wars.)
  • The Main Street Electrical Parade and the Summer Nightastic! Fireworks Spectacular is expected to start a little early, June 5th. For those who want to catch Wishes and Spectromagic before it goes away, you'll want to be at the Magic Kingdom June 4th.


  • I'm hearing a new daytime parade and castle show will be coming to the Magic Kingdom in 2011.
  • Also hearing that for the 2011 basic dining plan, the dessert option is going to be dropped from the Table Service meals, instead, 2 snack options will be available.
  • Nothing is really set in stone for Pixie Hollow and in truth, it might actually not end up happening.
  • Captain EO doesn't really have an ending date planned yet. It will all depend on merchandise sales. Also, nothing appears to be close to being green-lit for the pavilion after.
  • Some of the more dazzling effects may have been cut from Star Tours 2.
  • The Monster's Inc attraction that has been slated for the area labeled as Hot Set at DHS will likely be the next major thing green-lit.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Mouse-standing List: Mexico Pavilion

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! Got your Margaritas and chips & salsa on hand? Ok...then here we go.

Today, I'm gonna take a look at the Mexico Pavilion in Epot's World Showcase to find the most outstanding (or as I like to call it, Mouse-standing) things this fun area has to offer. (And hopefully, will continue the Mouse-standing List(s) as time goes on.)

The Mexico Pavilion is one of my favorites in all of World Showcase. It easily cracks Top 5 and I'd say it would probably be in the Top 3 of my favorite pavilions. I think it has a ton to offer guests, making it a full section to explore and enjoy.

So what are the Top 5 things that I think makes this area so Mouse-standing?

1. The Theme-no matter what the weather is outside, it's always nighttime in here. Which to me, is so cool. And what makes it even better, is when you step inside those doors of the pyramid, you enter into this "outside" Mexican Plaza, transporting you immediately to another place. This pavilion has some top notch details involved, so make sure you soak up the atmosphere. It's worth it.

2. The Gran Fiesta Tour - Donde Estas Donald? Ok, my Spanish may not be so good (thank gosh you can't hear me actually say it!)...but essentially, here you're looking for the one and only Donald Duck with his buddies from The Three Caballeros--Panchito and Jose. This boat ride is a tad bit hokey, but that's what I love about it. The hokeyness factor makes it all the better. And my favorite part probably has to be where you float past the San Angel Inn, peering up, seeing guests in the restaurant. That or the fireworks at the end!

3. The Cantina de San Angel....ok....I know...technically, it's not open right now. And of course, the whole area is changing, so we'll have to see what those potential changes are when it reopens in the Fall. However, that being said and going off what it was in the past, this is a great little counter service restaurant (though I hear it may be switching over to counter service for lunch, table service for dinner) that serves up decent Mexican foods. And it's stuff you'd recognize like tacos, burritos, and nachos, oh and the specialty is their frozen Margaritas. (Keep in mind, there is a restaurant inside the pyramid, the San Angel Inn, but it doesn't serve up these types of food, instead offering up more traditional Mexican fare, which can be a little unrecognizable to some people.) I love that you can sit by the water and enjoy your food in peace, relatively speaking, you do have to deal with the birds. Also, this was a fun little spot to see Illuminations from. I can't wait for it to reopen.

4. The Shopping - inside the pyramid, in that great "outdoor" Mexican Plaza is some very unique shopping. I love looking at all the knick-knacks that are available. The animals that are carved are fabulous! Also love the Mexican blankets.

5. The Smell - Ok...I know, this is kind of a weird one. But for me, inside this pavilion is it's own, distinct smell. It's a mixture of Mexican foods, water attraction, all adds up to the fact that when I step inside, I know I'm in Mexico...well...Disney's Mexico.

Those are the best things, to me about this pavilion, however, did you think I'd be able to just leave it at 5?! No, we have a few things on the honorable mentions list, which include:

6. Donald Meet and Greet - Donald Duck does a really great meet and greet over here, as he's dressed in a sombrero and a Mexican poncho. They are currently building Donald a more permanent meet and greet area over here, which I can't wait to see what it'll look like. Sometimes Jose and Panchito have been known to make appearances as well.

7. La Cava del Tequila - So, I don't get to enjoy this one so much because I don't drink, but seriously, how can you go wrong with a tequila bar? Lots and lots of different kinds of tequila...I submit that you cannot! Which is why it makes the honorable mentions list. Also, they have a nice selection of small noshes you can partake in as well.

Alright, that's gonna do it for this edition of The Mouse-standing List. What is it that is Mouse-standing to you in the Mexico Pavilion? Let me know in the comments section or message me on Twitter: @RikkiNibs Also, let me know what you'd like to see me tackle on the next Mouse-standing List! I take requests!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

News & Rumors 4/26/10 - 5/2/10

News and Rumors are gathered from various different websites. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


  • This week, there was some testing that was underway for the Next-Gen Queue System. This time it was at the Haunted Mansion, involving you to interact with a display, listening for clues from the characters, in order to figure out where the family fortune had been hidden. For more info, including some photos, visit here.
  • The Tree that was located in Pooh's Playful Spot has indeed been moved to outside The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh at the Magic Kingdom. The queue is expected to change to incorporate the tree.
  • As reported earlier this week, Captain EO is indeed coming back. For more details, see Wednesday's post.
  • Also as reported, Toy Story Midway Mania will be seeing updates with Toy Story 3 characters. (See Wednesday's post once again for more details.)
  • Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets are now on sale. Dates will be: September 14, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30
    October 1, 3, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, and 31
    November 1
  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party tickets are also on sale. Nights for these parties will be: November 8, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 28, and 30
    December 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, and 19
  • Free Dining will be released to the public Monday, May 3rd.
  • You can pre-purchase the Photopass CD again for $99. Normal price is $149. For more info or to purchase click here.


  • I've heard that a possible R2-MK (that's a version of R2-D2 with Mickey touches) walk around, living character may be appearing at Star Wars Weekends over at DHS this year.
  • A very strong and likely rumor indicates that in addition to changes that will be made with the queue experience (as we are already seeing right now, as mentioned in the News section today), that we will be seeing changes in the Photopass experience as well. These changes are expected to revolutionize Photopass.
  • During MuppetVision 3D's refurb, we're expecting to see at least new carpet and a rehab of the in-theater effects.