Saturday, December 31, 2011

One More Disney Day 2012

We had announced the rumor months ago about this particular celebration and the announcement finally came in and it was exactly what we were expecting.  One More Disney Day is where Disney is going to be open for 24 hours on Leap Day at both the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland.  Here is the official information. 

What Would You Do With One More Disney Day?
Take a full 24 hours to create as many memories as you can — because on Leap Day, 2012, Disney Parks are celebrating like never before!
For the first time ever, both Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom Park will be open for 24 hours of wonder, imagination and magic starting February 29 at 6:00 a.m.
Plus, beginning January 1, 2012, Disney is giving away a vacation package every day until February 29, 2012 and has an exciting special offer!
Take part in One More Disney Day, then share with other fans at Let The Memories Begin.

Purchase a non-discounted 3-night, 3-day Magic Your Way package at select Disney Resort hotels for arrivals most nights February 26 to March 10, 2012 and get One More Disney Day and night for free. Book through January 31, 2012.  For more info, click here for Disney World. And for Disneyland.

So the news has been broken!  While the news of the special vacation package is new of the free night from Feb. 26th - March 10th, the 24 Hours on Leap Day is certainly not.  Also new is the fact that Disney will be giving away one vacation package a day until Feb. 29th!  That is certainly cool! 

What's your take on the event?  Is it something you'll try to go to or something you won't be able to get to this year?  Make sure to share your thoughts in the comments section! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Good and the Bad at Walt Disney World 2011

It's been a crazy year again for Disney fans.  Lots of great things have happened.  A ton of new attractions opened on both coasts, some attractions reopened after lengthy refurbs, we lost Mickey's Toontown Fair, and Disney premiered a new cruise ship in the Disney Dream and the new DVC resort in Aulani in Hawaii.  Of course, this blog mostly features things that happen in Walt Disney World, so that's what we're going to take a look at today.

In honor of Betamouse's departure (one of the more sad things that happened in the Disney community this year) I am going to continue my Win, Fail, Meh ranking (lovingly borrowed from them) to see how 2011 really matched up. 

  • The Magic, The Memories, and You:  A show that I think many were skeptical about, but wow...did this one really win the majority of Disney fans over.  It really shows what technology can do.  I love how they can update it whenever they want (like they did around the Holidays).  If it doesn't leave you with a tear in your eye, I don't know what will.  I can't wait to see what Disney decides to do with this in the future.  
  • Star Tours II:  I really love the update that they did for this attraction.  I think it was absolutely necessary to update after all these years.  While I enjoyed the old version, the new version is certainly a lot fresher.  I do like that we can travel to different settings and see different characters each time. The only drawback (for me) with this attraction is that I am not a Star Wars fan and I don't know what everything I'm seeing is and who everyone is that pops up on the screen.  I feel as if the old version was accessible even for those who'd never seen the movies before.  Now, while I still get enjoyment out of the attraction, it doesn't feel as accessible to me.  
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room Refurb:  When the fire took place this year, speculation ran rampant, wondering if the attraction would return to it's New Management version with Zazu and Iago or if Disney would decide to re-do the attraction to a version that was similar to the original.  The new attraction thankfully returned to it's original version glory (with a few tweaks).  This was a welcome change as the old version was quite stale.  The new version is much more "evergreen" than the previous version and is certainly more likely to stay fresher longer. 
  • The Wild Africa Trek:  This new specialty tour premiered this year to large fanfare and I believe it was a winning idea.  Years ago, Disney toyed around with the idea of Night Kingdom, a specialty park where guests could do things like zip-lining and come in contact with animals.  That idea ended up dying, however, Disney did what they do best and took the pieces of that concept and include it in the Wild Africa Trek, a brilliant idea in my mind.  While there's no zip-lining, guests do get to learn a lot about the animals along the way and in addition get close to hippos and crocodiles in an experience like no other. 
  • New Unique Dining Choices:  This year, we saw Disney attempt to upgrade some of their quick service dining locations food offerings.  We saw things like the macaroni and cheese hot dog, the nutella and fruit waffle sanwich, the lobster roll, and specialty angus burgers.  It's really nice to have different offerings than just plan old regular versions of burgers, chicken fingers and hot dogs.  So, while most are still theme park food staples, Disney has really taken them to the next level by trying to make the options a little more unique and for that, I salute them. 
  • FASTPASS for Mickey:  This is something that I can't believe they didn't do years before.  It was a brilliant idea to include FASTPASS to meet Mickey! 

  • Pixar Pals Parade:  Does any even remember that this debuted this year?  I didn't until I looked back through the year.  While the parade included different characters that hadn't been seen in a parade before, this parade is a poor excuse for a parade.  The floats are cheesy and the music is grating.  
  • Let the Memories Begin Campaign:  It started out pretty decent with the introduction of the Magic, The Memories, and You and then it just DIED quickly into the year.  If you're going to have an ad campaign for the year, make it be something that will last a little longer than 3 months.  I want to be able to celebrate with you when I take my trips at the end of the year!  :) 

  • Mickey's Toontown Fair's Closure:  This year we said goodbye to Mickey's Toontown Fair.  We all knew it was coming, but early in the year, the temporary land finally was removed for good.  While I have good memories of Mickey's Birthdayland (the original version), this land and what it eventually became never really had it's hooks in me.  Couple that with the fact that it's going to make way for Circusland for the brand new Fantasyland, well, I am ok with it leaving.  It's not a big deal in my book.  
  • Avatarland Announcement:  This year, Disney announced that James Cameron would be teaming up with the Imagineers to build Avatarland at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  At first my initial thought was to put this in the Fail category.  It's not something that I'm looking forward to and I think it could be a mistake on Disney's part to build an entire land based off a movie franchise that certainly hasn't proven itself nor does it have rabid followers.  However, I decided to include this in the Meh category simply because I want to see what Disney decides to do.  There isn't any news that's come out about what's headed into this land, so I'm in the wait and see category on this one currently. 
  • The closure of Journey Into Narnia:  It's hard to believe this attraction was still open up until this year.  The movies didn't do as well as Disney had expected and the last movie wasn't even made by Disney.  This is one attraction where I think no one cared to see it go.  So goodbye Narnia...we won't be missing you.  
  • DVC at the Grand Floridian Announced:  I can't get excited about this new DVC announcement because I don't really enjoy the Grand Floridian.  I feel as if it is a stuffy-ish resort and one that I just don't belong in.  Therefore, DVC being built at the Grand Floridan, while it's a nice thing, it isn't going to make me buy into DVC.  
  • New Haunted Mansion Queue:  The Haunted Mansion debuted it's new NextGen Queue and in my was just ok.  It's got some neat elements to it, but overall, it just feels really kiddie, which to me, is the exact opposite of what the Haunted Mansion is trying to portray inside.  Yes, the Haunted Mansion isn't supposed to be super scary, it's lighthearted scary fun, but the queue, to me, doesn't portray that in the most effective way.  It feels way more dumbed down and cartoon-y than it should and I dislike that. 

So these are just some of the more major events that happened this year at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Of course, there are some that I'm sure I missed and that's where you come in, make sure to let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with where I've placed the year's happenings on my list and also if there's something that you think I should have added. 

As far as 2012 is concerened, it looks like it's going to be a really exciting year.  We've got the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom debuting, parts of the New Fantasyland opening, plus the new Disney's Art of Animation Resort will finally come to light after years of being shuttered as the second phase of the Pop Century Resort.  2012 looks to be a really exciting year to be a Disney fan for sure! 

And with that, I wish you all a Very Happy New Year!!!!  See you all in 2012!

Monday, December 26, 2011

News and Rumors 12/19/11 - 12/25/11

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


Magic Kingdom

  • The full menu has returned to the Golden Oak Outpost in Frontierland.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • From now until Dec. 31st, Disney will be running Animated Shorts at the Premiere Theater at the Streets of America.  Showtimes run from 11 am - 8 pm. 

Resort News

  •  The Samawati Springs Pool Slide at Kidani Village will be closed from Jan. 9th - Feb. 3rd.  The rest of the pool will remain open. 

General WDW News
  • A new race has been announced!  The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler Weekend will take place the weekend of Sept. 29th.  This is the first 10 mile race.  In addition, it will be another nighttime race and will host an after party for you as well as family and friends.  To make way for this race, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon has been moved to Nov. 9th and 10th, which will be the final weekend of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.  
  • A new teaser page has been introduced for the 2012 Campaign called the Year of More Magic.  The new campaign's full details will be announced on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve.  For the teaser page, visit  Strong rumors are indicating that it may culminate in an extra 24 Hour long day on Feb. 29th, for Leap Day, while I've seen others not so strongly indicate that it may be another year of sharing memories on the Disney Parks website.  (Like last year's Let the Memories Begin.)  Maybe it's a combination of both!  We'll find out soon for sure! 


  • Four new attractions may be slated for NextGen work at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  These could include Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Toy Story Midway Mania, the Fantasmic Amphitheater, and the Theater of the Stars (where Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage is performed. 
  • The latest rumor I've seen about Test Track is that the refurbishment will last from April to September and that it's new sponsor will be Chevrolet. 

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Best at Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney and I have had an interesting relationship.  I loved it for years when Pleasure Island was open and my beloved Adventurer's Club was there (yes, I'm still sad...I know it's gone, but I can still be sad about it!) but for years after Pleasure Island closed, I didn't see a reason to trek back to Downtown Disney.  There just wasn't a whole lot that was calling my name.

I mean, sure you had interesting shopping, however, at the time, a lot of what was found in the stores in Downtown Disney were things that I could find in other stores at the parks. Not a reason to make a whole trip over to this area.  Another problem for me was a majority of the Westside.  It felt like a giant mall, with things that really weren't too terribly unique.

A lot of that has changed over the past few years.  Disney has made great strides to add stores and restaurants that help to make Downtown Disney stand out a bit more.  Sure, there are still some things that don't interest me, however, there really are a lot of things now at Downtown Disney that make it a must stop for me on my trips, as of lately. 

So, I thought I'd share with you the things that I think are standouts at Downtown Disney.  These are things that you certainly shouldn't miss, if you have been, on your next trip.

First things first, we are going to talk about World of Disney.  Yes, this is the biggest Disney store in the world!  And it does house some great fun.  I can spend forever in here browsing, seeing what thing I can't live without.  It is always just a nice trip, even if I don't buy anything.  (Keep in mind, it always seems to be TERRIBLY crowded, no matter what time of day you go.  So just be prepared.)

Another place on my MUST DO list is Goofy's Candy Co.  This place offers the ability to make your own pretzels or candy apples, but what I go here for are the things in the cases.  They have so many delectable items like candies and fudge, but my favorite is what is known (to me) as the Heavy Cookie.  Yes, you can find these huge cookies at a few other places on Disney property, but there is something about taking the trip over to Goofy's to buy it there.  These are one of my most favorite treat in all of Walt Disney World and I often bring them home as souvenirs for both me and my family! 

Around the holiday season, you will catch me making a stop over at the Earl of Sandwich.  Here they have the Holiday Sandwich, which consists of turkey, stuffing, gravy, mayo, and cranberries.  Seriously...this thing is good!  There's a reason why when the store starts selling it the line gets bigger than it usually is!  It is one of those treats that I only get at Disney, which makes it a must stop any time around the holidays when they are serving this sandwich.  Of course, their other sandwiches are perfectly fabulous too!  Really, Earl of Sandwich is the perfect lunch stop.

If you're still hungry...try taking a trip over to Raglan Road.  At first I was a little hesitant to try this restaurant.  I am a picky eater and the food options originally scared me.  That all changed after I actually ate here.  This restaurant has started my love of Irish food!  It also has great entertainment available most nights.  I strongly suggest if you are hungry one night to see if they have any availability.  It will be worth it. 

Still hungry?  (Can you tell I really like to eat?!) Head on over to my all time new love...Babycakes NYC.  I was a lot hesitant eating here at first, being the fact that it's a vegan bakery, but my good friend Jay had been raving about the place for months, so I knew I had to try it.  I got the chocolate chip cookie sandwich and OH MY GOD!  I have never had anything more delicious that was vegan in my life.  I have dreams about this cookie and I am counting down the days until I can eat it again.  Babycakes also has cupcakes, breads, and other delectable that you certainly need to try.

The last thing on my list as something  you need to try (it's not food, I promise!) is the Characters in Flight Balloon on the Westside.  I got to experience this in October and it's a really neat thing.  The balloon gives you views that are only available on property through it.  I wished it would have lasted a bit longer, but otherwise it was a very cool and entertaining activity to do on a day when I was not visiting the parks.

So those are my must dos when visiting Downtown Disney!  But what are yours?  What things do you enjoy doing at Downtown Disney?  Share your comments below.

Monday, December 19, 2011

News and Rumors 12/11/11 - 12/18/11

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


Magic Kingdom
  • Winnie the Pooh meet and greet has moved to to Town Square.
  • The Main Street Electrical Parade will not run from Jan. 20th - Feb. 10th. 
  • The Diamond Horseshoe will be open for holiday crowds offering a counter service lunch.  The restaurant will be open 11 am to 3 pm from December 17th to December 31th. 
  • The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor will be closed Jan. 4th - March 27th. 

General WDW News
  • Disney has expanded it's complimentary WiFi in many public areas.  Areas that are included:  Porte Cochere, Main Lobby, Bus stops, Guest rooms, Feature Pool


  • Sounds Dangerous is rumored to be removed by May 2012.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

News and Rumors 12/5/11 - 12/10/11

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


Magic Kingdom

  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin will be down for refurbishment from Feb. 26th - March 10th.
  • While it was known that Dumbo would be open in February, it appears that Disney is planning to open the entire Circusland, including The Great Goofini and the new Fantasyland train station. 


  • Katsura Grill in Japan has finally opened.  The quick service restaurant offers much of it's old dishes in addition to a few new items like a panko-breaded chicken sandwich and a cold ramen noodle dish with shredded crab stick in a sweet soy dressing.
  • The RFID entry system has been removed.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • The Backlot Tour will be closed from  Feb.13th - March 10th.  
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playset will be closed from Feb. 13th - March 10th.
  • The Comedy Warehouse will be back for a limited engagement at the Sounds Dangerous Theater from Dec. 25th - Dec. 31st.  The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special will present the best in improvisational comedy. Show times (subject to change) are 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 4:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. daily.

General WDW News

  • 2012 will be known as the Year of More Magic.  According to Disney in their information:  From exciting seasonal events and brand-new attractions to immersive new experiences and a special surprise announcement on New Year's Eve…there's a lot more than just Leap Year to celebrate throughout Walt Disney World® Resort in 2012.  Rumors are circulating that this could mean that the Magic Kingdom will be open for 24 hours on Feb. 29th.
  • Disney has confirmed that DVC is being built at the Grand Floridian.


  • There's a possibility that SpectroMagic could return in October 2012. 
  • In additional parade news, it is rumored that the Magic Kingdom may see a new parade in 2012.
  • Avatar may end up opening a little early in 2015.
  • Frontierland will be getting repaved in February, which will result in the Disney Electrical Parade being down. 
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

News and Rumors 11/28/11 - 12/4/11

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


Magic Kingdom

  • Golden Oak Outpost's menu has changed again, only offering hot dogs, chips, cakes, and drinks.
  • The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor will be closed for a refurb from Jan. 9th - Feb. 17th.
  • The Nights of Joy has announced an early schedule of their line up.  The event will take place Sept. 7th and 8th.  On Friday, performers include Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, needtobreathe, Red, Francesca Battistelli, Brandon Heath, Royal Tailor, Disciple and on Saturday, MercyMe, Third Day, Kutless, Chris August, Lecrae and Thousand Foot Krutch.


  • The House of Innovention will be closed for refurbishment to make way for the VISION House.  When it reopens, cast members will lead guests through the house for a guided tour featuring building science fundamentals, integrated design elements, green products, and intelligent systems that enhance the home’s sustainability. Then, guests will be directed into a post-show area, which will contain interactive kiosks that contain further information about sustainable living.  It is expected to open in Mid 2012, with the rumored date of May.
  • Chita Rivera has been added as the last Celebrity Narrator for Candlelight Processional on Dec. 16th - 18th.
  • The Yakitori House is now expected to be closed through Dec. 16th.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Star Wars Weekends have been announced.  For 2012, those dates are:  May 18th - 20th, May 25th -27th, June 1st-3rd and June 8th-10th.
  • A new limited time Quick Service Fantasmic Dining Package is now available. The new package is called A Taste of Hollywood--A Fantasmic Dining Experience and offers an affordable picnic plus reserved seating for Fantasmic.  The pick of up the meals is at Min and Bill's Dockside Diner starting at 11 am to 1 and a half hours before your selected showtime.  Guests can pick up their meal at their convenience. Guests may pre-order by calling 407-WDW-DINE. This is only being offered right now from Dec. 18th - Dec. 31st.  Meals include    
  • Fried chicken with maple-glazed sweet potato and baby spinach salad, broccoli and cranberry salad and cheesecake ($14.99) 
  • Veggie wrap with avocado spread, tabbouleh, avocado and tomato salad with citrus vinaigrette and chocolate cake ($14.99)
  • Olive oil poached salmon with couscous salad with dried cranberries and peas, roasted beet and apple salad and Key lime pie ($14.99) 
  •  Teriyaki and orange marinated beef with udon noodle salad and caramelized vegetables and sesame mandarin vinaigrette, seaweed salad with gingered carrots and mandarin orange cheesecake ($14.99) 
  • Fresh fruits, Brie, dipped strawberries and focaccia bread ($11.99) 
  • Chocolate-dipped pretzels, strawberries and marshmallows with chocolate dipping sauce ($9.99) 
  • Kid’s meal with turkey and American cheese wrap and strawberry yogurt, apples and carrots with ranch dip and seven-layer cookie bar ($5.49)  
  • Kid’s meal Power Pack with Goldfish crackers, strawberry yogurt, string cheese, apples and carrots with ranch dip and a seven-layer cookie bar ($5.49)

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  •  Characters from Up will be doing meet and greets soon. 
  • Kali River Rapids will be closed for refurbishment from Jan. 23rd - Feb. 9th. 

General WDW News

  • Disney Quest is offering a New Year's Eve event again. From 8 pm - 1 am, guests who attend will be entertained with a DJ and dance party and unlimited access to all the games.  At Midnight, there will be a confetti drop.  In addition, party goers will receive a coupon for a meal and drink.  The cost is $45 in advance or $55 at the door per person. 
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports will see an expansion of 25 acres.  Improvements will include upgraded playing fields, enhanced lighting, a brand new audio system and also video displays.
  • The Health and Wellness Suites at the Contemporary have indeed been canceled.  The Suites and the Concierge Lounge on the 14th floor will be refurbished.
  • The Pepper Market at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort will be testing a new buffet option for both breakfast and lunch from now until January 4th. Prices will be $14.99 for adults and $8.99 for kids for breakfast and $16.99 for adults and $9.99 for kids for lunch. 
  • At the Polynesian, a beach re-nourishment from Jan. 4th - Jan. 17th. The beach will remain open during this time. 
  • Trail's End has introduced a new baked potato bar with their dinner buffet.
  • Walgreens appears to be the first tenant of the Flamingo Crossing shopping area.


  • Hearing that soft openings for Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom could happen as soon as Christmas week for guests.  (Of course, this is PURELY rumor!)
  • The rumor that Angel may be replacing Lilo at Animal Kingdom soon has cropped up again.

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    Friday, December 2, 2011

    They're Going To Disney World? (And You're Not)

    If you've been in the Disney community long enough, you start to gain friends whom mean everything to you.  These friends are just like your friends in your real life, you talk to them all the time, you have fun when you get to seem them and hang out...only one small problem...they usually don't live in the same place as you.  Your only times to see each other are often at Disney World.  (Or Disneyland.) 

    But what happens when your friends all get to get together and you don't?  We've all been there.  A great meet up of your friends and you just can't make it because of one reason or another. 

    Right now, this is currently happening to me.  Some of my bestest Disney friends are all gathering down in Florida and I'm stuck here, in New Mexico, with snow looming on the horizon.  (Yep...apparently it snows here in New Mexico...I did not sign up for snow!) 

    So how do you cope with being away from your friends, knowing they are having a blast and you are stuck at home?  (Besides cursing the fact that you STILL don't live in Florida.) 

    By following along with their trip of course. 

    In this day and age of smart phones where almost everyone seems to have one, it's so much easier to stay in touch with your friends and feel like you can be a tiny part of the trip, without actually being there.  You can follow along with the antics on Twitter or Facebook.  It's great because they can share where they're at, share their fun photos. You can also text or even FaceTime them.  I like the FaceTime option because you can see them.  My personal new favorite though is the iPhone app HeyTell, which is like walkie talkie, so you're talking in real time. I've gotten to ride many attraction with my friends because of this app.  So it really is like I'm there with them!

    So, while I'm super sad that I can't be in Florida with all the fun that's happening starting now and lasting for the next few weeks...because of technology, I don't feel like I'm missing out AS much as I may have used to.  And that's a comfort in itself. 

    What's a tip that you have for being with friends when they're down in WDW and you're not?  How do you cope? 

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    News and Rumors 11/21/11 - 11/27/11

    First of all, with the Thanksgiving Holidays over, I want to tell you all how thankful I am that you all allow me to come into your life each an every week.  It is truly wonderful to get to talk Disney and share my views with you all. 

    Second, I have the winners for the Days To Go WDW App contest!!!  Congratulations to DragnAlly and marcmantoo!  Email me at and I'll send you the codes for your prize!  For those who want to download the app, make sure to look for it on iTunes! a quiet week!  Thanksgiving definitely kept the news to a minimum.  But, let's get to it!  

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


    Magic Kingdom

    • The Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade will once again be shown during park hours starting Dec. 19th - Dec. 31st. The parade will be shown at 3 pm from Dec 19th - Dec 24th and 12:30 pm

    General WDW News

    • Hoop-de-doo-revue is testing new times.  From now through Feb. 11th showtimes will be 4:00 pm, 6:15 pm, and 8:30 pm


    • Could Avatar-land be built at Rafiki's Planet Watch?  That's what some rumors indicate this week. 
    • Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom should be testing starting in Adventureland toward the middle or end of the first quarter of 2012. 
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    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Guest Author: Kevin Andexler Talks Yehaa Bob

    Today, I am proud to bring you a guest post by Kevin Andexler.  He writes the blog  I hope you enjoy his post and make sure to check out his blog! 

    Welcome! I'm the creator of My blog takes a look at Walt Disney World from a unique perspective. Have a magical day!

    As you all know by now, I have a deep admiration for the Port Orleans Riverside resort. From seeing the boats roll across the Sassagoula River, to the horses clip clopping along the sidewalk, Port Orleans Riverside will always be near and dear to my heart. 

    In 2008 though, that admiration heightened tremendously for me. A couple years before that, my brother came back to our room at Riverside one night and said "That piano guy is playing down at the bar. He was playing Piano Man." 2008 was the year I finally got to hear what my brother was talking about and an instant staple was born in my future trips to Walt Disney World. 

    "Yehaa" Bob Jackson plays every Wednesday through Saturday night in the River Roost Lounge of the Port Orleans Riverside resort. I would tell you how to get there from the Port Orleans Riverside food court, but on the nights that he plays, just follow his voice once you walk in the doors of the food court and you'll know where he is. 

    Not only is it the music that is special to me, but just the atmosphere is something I can't describe. When you go up to the bar, they treat you like you never left. After a long day in the Disney parks, it's almost like you're home. Plus, you have one waitress who dances or sings to every song Bob plays. You can actually see in their faces that they love their job. 

    I think that's what makes Disney World such a magical place. You don't have to go into a park to see the happiness people have for what they do. I think just being on the grounds is enough to know that something special is in the air at Walt Disney World. 

    Now, based on how special we think Bob is, whenever we plan our Disney World vacation, we always make sure that Bob will be there. It's interesting to me. Most of the time when you drive up to the gates of Riverside, they tell you "Welcome Home." Being in the River Roost Lounge Wednesday through Saturday nights, I finally know what that means. 

    Do you have a special "Home away from home"? Comment below and let me know. Next time on Beyond the Castle, is there a difference between staying on property versus off property? I will let you know. As always, have a magical day!      

    Thanks to Kevin for sharing his views about the wonderful Yehaa Bob!  He's one of my favorite aspects of a Disney vacation too!

    If you would like to write a guest post here, feel free to let me know!  You don't have to have a lot of writing experience!  I'm happy to share anyone's passion of Disney in the written form!  Email me at 

    News and Rumors 11/14/11 - 11/20/11

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


    Magic Kingdom  

    • Sleepy Hollow Snacks is now offering Waffle Sandwiches.  There are 3 different versions:  a sweet and spicy chicken, a ham, prosciutto, and swiss, and a Nutella and fresh fruit. 
    • The Diamond Horseshoe will be open for Thanksgiving week.  It will be open as a counter service location for lunch on Nov. 20th - 23rd and 25th and 26th.  Hours will be from 11 am - 3 pm.  It will then be open as a table service location on Nov. 20th - 23rd from 5 pm - 9 pm.  On Nov. 24th, it will be open all day as a table service location.  
    • The Move It Shake It Celebrate It Parade has been remodeled.  Now Timon and Terk have joined in the fun. 


    • The Yakitori House's refurb has been extended to Dec. 16th. 
    • 2012 International Flower and Garden Festival's front topiary will be featured around Sorcerer Mickey and other pieces from Fantasia.  The event will take place March 7th - May 20th. 

    Disney's Hollywood Studios 

    • Starting Nov. 25th, American Idol Experience will offer Christmas songs for guests to be able to perform. 

    Disney's Animal Kingdom

    • Some special events will be taking place next week for Thanksgiving.  From Nov. 20th - 26th, aDJ dance party will be playing in Asia near Yak and Yeti.  In addition, the Harambe Village Band will be playing in Africa.  

    General WDW News

    • BLINK by Wet Seal is now open in Downtown Disney.
    • Disney has stopped offering tennis lessons on site.  You can still play tennis if you wish.  


    • I've heard that the Contemporary Health and Wellness Suites have been cancelled. 

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      Wednesday, November 16, 2011

      The Mouse-standing List: Days To Go WDW App (And Giveaway!)

      Ever since I got my iPhone back in June, I've been trying to find out about all the cool apps that are offered both Disney and Non-Disney.  It's been a fun project for sure!

      In my quest to find interesting apps, I was told about one such Disney app from a listener of the show.  This app is called Days To Go WDW and was created by Joe Fratianni.   The app's main feature is to keep a countdown of how many days until your next WDW Trip.  It's been fabulous as I've been counting down to the BOGP Cruise 2.0.  

      The great thing about this app is that you can customize it to fit your needs.  Not only can you countdown the number of days left til your trip, but you can also include your own photos in your countdown.  (As you can see above with my photo of Chip on the Dream acting a little "nutty".

      You can also customize the app.  So, don't like the color for the borders?  No problem, you can change them.   Want to change the font?  Guess what, you can do that too!  You can even add your own music to play!

      The app also has Facebook integration which posts your countdown on your wall, showing the number of days left until your trip!

      You can even set reminders for yourself!  Mine tells me every day at 4:00 pm how many days are left until my trip! 

      This app offers so much to it, that you really have to play with it to figure out what suits your needs best!  You can make it what you want it to be! 

      The app can be purchased via iTunes and it's compatible with iPhones, iPod touch, and iPads. 

      So because I liked the app so much, I thought I'd interview the author of the app, Joe to find out a little more about the app in general as well as more information about his passion for Disney!

      Me:  Tell me a little about yourself

      Joe:  I love just about everything Disney creates, but have a special affinity for WDW.  My other love is all things Apple.

      What is your project about?

      I love Disney.  I love creating iPhone apps.  What could be better than combining the two?  I created an iPhone app, Days to go WDW which allows a user to "Count the Days until your next WDW Vacation, with style."

      Where you did you get your inspiration for it?

      My hairdresser told me her daughter would like an app to count the number of days to a special event, like her next Disney Trip.

      What makes your project different from others like it?

      I love creating apps I want to use.  I also try to integrate every idea or suggestion from users, but maintain Apple's philosophy of simplicity on the surface, but functionality underneath.  I think it makes a big difference when an app is made by someone with a passion for the subject.

      How long did this project take?

      Although it never will be done, I've spent about 300 hours over countless months so far.  I like to think of my apps like Walt Disney World:  Always in a state of becoming.  Never quite finished.

      What was something that you learned from creating this project? 

      - Simplicity is very difficult and complex to implement.
      - The time between two dates are computed in seconds
      - Not all days have 24 hours
      - I take thousands of pictures at WDW, but very few are any good
      - Pictures take up huge amounts of memory, of which iPhones have very little.

      What was the most challenging thing when creating the project?

      Programming is like building a house.  There are numerous parts and skills needed to put together a quality app.  You need to become a jack of all trades.  There is rough carpentry which no-one will see, but it is no less important than the finish work.  A shortcut taken along the way sticks out in the finished product.
      One of the most frustrating things programming is running into a dead end.  A problem that you do not understand and cannot figure out.  It tends to occur when thinks are progressing well.  A great example is when I was asked to add font color choices to an app.  Seemed very simple, but took a week and about 30 hours to implement.  I found that sheer persistence works - eventually.

      What got you started on your Disney obsession?

      My obsession has existed as long as I can remember, but remember a family trip my wife and I took with our two kids and her parents in 2001 that really seemed to kick my obsession into high gear.  I grew up going to Disney once in a while, but never staying on property.  I recall staying on Disney property was never even a consideration - it was something only royalty could afford.  Then during the summer of 2001 we saw an advertisement for Disney Value Resorts: $49 per night!  I had some concerns.  I wasn't sure what a Value Resort would be like.  How bad could it be?  They must have running water and flush toilets.  We should give it a try.  That was a big jump in Disney obsessive - compulsive disorder.  I became fascinated with how Disney categorized resorts into Value, Moderate and Deluxe, and how they differentiated them.  Things spiraled downhill from there.

      What's your favorite Disney memory?

      A father / son trip to the World in 2008.  What a blast.  To this day we can relive the fun of the trip just by naming an attraction.  We add some dramatic flare and say "Expedition Everest" or "Toy Story Midway Mania" for example.  We still call each other Disney Buddies.

      What is your favorite park?


      What's your favorite attraction?

      Soarin.  Fun for all ages, doesn't leave anyone out.

      What's your favorite restaurant? 

      Crystal palace.  Food, not so memorable.  Pictures of the kids with Pooh, Tiger and Piglet?  Unforgettable.

      Do you plan on creating another project in the future?  If so, what? 

      Working on a fun Disney app for Tony Calselnova: Disney by the Numbers.

      Anything else you'd like to add?

      The Disney community is such a cool group.  I find it so wild how everyone expresses their Disney Passion in his or her own way.  Some people blog, some make podcasts, write books and so on.  I am not a blogger, a podcaster or writer.  I love expressing my passion in my own geeky way.

      I'd like to thank Joe for sharing his passion with us today!  He sums it up the best that it really is so wild how everyone expresses their Disney Passion.  But to me, it's so great that there are so many outlets that people can use to share that passion with everyone who wants to listen.

      Now, thanks to Joe, I'm going to give away, not 1, but 2, Days To Go WDW Apps! 

      To enter: Since this year at Disney is about sharing memories, share with me your favorite Disney memory in the comments section!

      Additional ways to enter:

      • Tweet about the giveaway!  I just entered to win the Days To Go WDW App from @RikkiNibs and you can too!  #DaysToGoWDWApp
      • Facebook me a photo of your favorite Disney Character.  

      You can enter all 3 ways, but you can only enter all 3 ways once per day.  The contest will end on November, 22nd.  The winner will be announced on or around Nov. 23rd on the site.  The contest winners will be chosen via  Best of luck to you all!  And remember, if you want to purchase the app yourself, just search for "Days To Go WDW" in iTunes!

      Sunday, November 13, 2011

      News and Rumors 11/7/11 - 11/13/11

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


      Magic Kingdom

      • The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is currently seeing play testing from Cast Members.
      • The Enchanted Grove in Fantasyland has now been renamed the Cheshire Cafe.


      •  Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season will return again for the Holidays.  They will perform on the Fountain of Nations Stage from Nov. 25th - Dec. 29th.  Performances are at 1:15 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm, and 4:15 pm.
      • An RFID entry system is being tested at the main gate.  This new RFID system will allow for guests not to have to enter their tickets into the machine, instead just waving their ticket in front of the reader.  Should the test succeed, it seems that it will be rolled out to all turnstiles at WDW.
      • I've heard that the pizza by the slice option will be continuing at Via Napoli on Saturdays until Dec. 17th. 

      Disney's Hollywood Studios

      • Jake from The Neverland Pirates has indeed replace The Little Einsteins for Meet and Greets in the Animation Courtyard.  Also Jake should be included in the Play and Dine at Hollywood and Vine. 

      General WDW News

      • More information has come out about the new Exotic Driving Experience from the Walt Disney World Speedway.  The opening date is set for Jan. 16th.  The price will be $99 for a ride with a professional driver and starting at $199 up to $389 for 6 laps of hands on driving.  (Price varies depending on the car.)
      • The Sunglass Icon store has been remodeled and has reopened at Downtown Disney.


      • Disney's Animal Kingdom is rumored to be losing quite a few characters in December.  Lilo and Stitch, Terk, Jimminy Cricket, and Pocahontas are going away.  In addition, the Welcome Show will be going away as well.
      • Big changes appear to be coming to the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Parade as early as Nov. 20th.

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      Monday, November 7, 2011

      News and Rumors 10/31/11 - 11/6/11

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


      Magic Kingdom

      • Phineas and Ferb will be among the characters meeting guests at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  They are expected to meet in Tomorrowland.
      • The Frontierland Shootin Arcade has finally reopened after it's lengthy refurb.
      • Liberty Square Riverboat will be closed from Nov. 9th - 11th.  
      • Swiss Family Treehouse will be closed a few additional days, with it's reopening date of Nov. 21st.

      Disney's Hollywood Studios

      • There will be no Osborne Lights on Dec. 8th. 

      Disney's Animal Kingdom

      • AP holders are eligible to get a complementary 2012 calendar starting Dec. 2nd.  You may pick them up at Disney's Outfitters.

      General WDW News

      • Something Silver is now open at Downtown Disney Westside.


      • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is expected to be closed through May 28th.  Right now, the calendar only goes through April.  

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        Sunday, November 6, 2011

        The World Series of WDW: Disney's Hollywood Studios/Disney's Animal Kingdom

        A week ago, I started this series of looking at which attractions I believed to be home runs, walks, strikeouts, triples, etc. at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  This week, I will finish the series by taking a look at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom.   

        Disney's Hollywood Studios

        Home Run 

        • Toy Story Midway Mania:  Such a knock out attraction.  It has the repeatability with the fact that it's a game and it can change at the drop of a hat whenever Disney wants to update it.  This ride also is great for all members of the family.  It's just really been a great addition to the Studios since it was added.  
        • Tower of Terror:  This is one of those that has that Disney theming down to a T.  You can't get much better with theme than this attraction.  Plus it has the thrill factor included.  It's one of those attractions that I wish didn't make me so sick, because I absolutely love it otherwise.  


        • Rock n' Roller Coaster:  Yes, this is a really novel idea.  Take a regular inverted roller coaster and put it in the dark.  But what makes this a triple rather than a home run for me is that A) it's kinda short feeling and B) while some of the sets are extremely well done, some are just cardboard and you can tell.  Plus, many would say that Aerosmith is past it's prime, though personally, I can't think of another band that would be applicable to put in it's place.  But maybe you can.  If you have an idea of who you think would like to see, let me know in the comments.  
        • The Great Movie Ride:  This one really is a classic Disney's Hollywood Studios attraction.  It's an original and it's a novel concept of taking a trip through the movies.  The thing that makes this a triple is the fact that it hasn't really been updated since it opened.  It could use a refurb of new classic movies.  The problem that I see (which I mentioned on a recent episode of Generation Mouse all about this topic) is that there really aren't that many great classic movies from the past 20 years.  If you can think of one, (that isn't Pirates) please include that in the comments section too!
        • Muppetvision 3D:  It's a little dated looking, but it's certainly worth a visit.  It's not a headliner anymore, but it's consistently funny and since they digitally restored the film, you can see things a lot better.  It'll be interesting though to see what happens with this film once The Muppets comes out in theaters this month and we see what kind of response this new film gets.  
        •  Star Tours:  Yes, it's a lot better now that it's seen it's refurb in regards to technology.  It's really neat that you can see a different attraction essentially everytime you visit.  However, because I haven't seen the movies, I don't understand what everything is and who everyone is.  With the old one, I felt like you didn't have to be a Star Wars fan to understand it.  With this new version, I feel as if you really have to be a Star Wars fan to know what's going on.


        • Voyage of the Little Mermaid:  While this isn't an original attraction, it's one that I have to see every few trips.  Yes, it could benefit from a freshening up, particularly since they recently created the Broadway version, but to me, it's one of the more classic Disney's Hollywood Studios. 
        • Fantasmic!:  I know that to many, this is an amazing show.  It's got fire and water screens and it's all about good VS evil.  However, for me, this is a see it once, you don't need to see it for a long while after.  It just doesn't have the epicness as Illuminations or Wishes has.  
        Walk (The Meh Category)

        • Beauty and The Beast--Live on Stage:  I loved Beauty and the Beast, but for this attraction, for some reason, it just doesn't have the spark that it should.  It feels as if a lot is missing, much like Voyage does, and the fact that there are no comfortable seats and the theater is outdoors, it doesn't draw me in.  

        • Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular:  This one is relatively cool, in terms of stunt shows at the Studios.  This one certainly takes the cake in comparison, however, the thing that puts this as a walk is the fact that you can see it once and have that be enough.  It hasn't changed, well, ever.  If this attraction saw an update with some new stunts added, I think it would move up the list a bit more.  

        • Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show:  This has to be the most boring stunt show I've ever seen.  Yes, it has potential to be great.  It has really awesome stunts that are performed.  However, that's when they're actually performed.  Most of the time when watching this show, you are watching downtime.  Certainly not exciting when you are there for a stunt show.  
        • Studios Backlot Tour:  I don't think I'll get much argument here.  Yes, it's one of the original attractions, however, this one has certainly fared worse than it's other sister attraction (GMR).  It has been cut to a former shell of itself.  And while there is the cool Catastrophe Canyon still there...well...that's really it.  That's all there is that's left of any merit to this attraction.  So, Disney, kill it off.  It's past it's prime and it's valuable space that's just doing nothing.  
        Disney's Animal Kingdom

        (Disclaimer:  Because this park has very few attractions, I will only be picking 1 attraction for each category.) 

        Home Run

        • Kilimanjaro Safaris:  This one is hard, but I think that Kilimanjaro Safaris gets the top spot here.  It's really neat to get to see some amazing creatures up close and personal.  While the story is a tad weak, the animals you get to see make up for it.  

        • Finding Nemo--The Musical:  This is one of my favorite shows in all 4 theme parks.  It has great music and the puppetry here is amazing.  It really is can't miss, even if you don't like shows.  


        • Expedition Everest:  I bet you're surprised to see this so far down on my list.  I am too...but when comparing it to the other attractions, it doesn't hold up as well.  The coaster itself is spectacular.  I really enjoy the theme and it certainly keeps you in suspense.  My biggest problem...the Yeti.  Much like many others in the Disney community, I want to see this attraction fixed back to it's former glory.  The original Yeti was SO cool!  Now, a shell of it's former self, it doesn't pack the same punch that it originally did.  That's why it's only a double on my list.  Disney, please, I know you don't want to, but you need to close this attraction for the time it will take to fix this attraction to at least a little better than it is.  It's just a shame it has lasted in it's poor condition for as long as it has.  

        • Festival of the Lion King:  It's got great music and extremely talent singers.  How can you go wrong?  But it's not something I have to do all the time.  It doesn't have the appeal to me that Finding Nemo does.  


        • Maharajah Jungle Trek:  This is the better of the two, but because I hail from St. Louis, which has one of the most amazing zoos in the country, this attraction just feels like it should be in our zoo.  So, while I enjoy it, it's certainly not something that stands out.  

        • Primeval Whirl:  While I am one who understands what they are doing with Dinoland USA here, this attraction is one that I question it's reason for being in the park still.  It has not had a very welcome existence, plus it's been a troublesome ride for Disney this past year.  Not to mention the cheese factor which many think is a slap in the fact to Walt Disney's legacy of his theme parks.  It just seems like it's welcome is more than over. 
          So that's gonna do it for this week's list.  What do do you all think?  Am I completely off my rocker with some of these or am I right on the money?  Where would you place the attractions?  Let me know in the comments!  I want to hear what you think! 

        Monday, October 31, 2011

        News and Rumors 10/24/11 - 10/30/11

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


        Magic Kingdom
        • Cosmic Ray's menu board is now digital.  
        • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh's queue is slated to have a refurbishment.  The interactive queue will be closed from Nov. 2nd - 9th. The FASTPASS line will be the temporary only entrance and FASTPASS will be discontinued at this time. 
        • Talking Mickey is set to be on Main Street meeting guests at the Town Square Theater as a test. 

        General WDW News
        • An all new track driving experience is coming to the Richard Petty Raceway.  This un-named (as of now) exotic car experience is expected to have lap time, in-car video, souvenir photos, and branded apparel.  Cars guests are expected to be participating are Ferrari F430 Scuderia, Lamborghini Gallardo LP560, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, Audi R8, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, Porsche 911 GTR3

        • Snow White's Scary Adventure is rumored to be closed for good sometime in February. 
        • I'm hearing that Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates may be making appearance as DHS as soon as Nov. 13th.  
        • Once the new Fantasyland opens, I've heard that the Beauty and the Beast show at DHS will be replaced with a Tangled show.  
        • Also hearing that once the new Fantasyland opens, the Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed for a Phineas and Ferb live show.
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          Friday, October 28, 2011

          The World Series of WDW: Magic Kingdom/Epcot

          With tonight being the World Series Game 7,  I saw a post on the BOGP message boards about which attractions do you think are home runs, triples, doubles, etc. I thought I'd take a look at what I really think fits these categories.   

          Magic Kingdom

          Home Run

          • Haunted Mansion:  Does it get much better than this?  This attraction is top notch 100% Disney Magic.  Great gags, amazing AAs, great "story", this attraction has it all!  
          • Pirates of the Carribbean:  Much like my description of the Haunted Mansion, this attraction too has everything to make it have it all.  If you don't get off this and love it, you aren't a Disney fan.  
          • Space Mountain:  Ok, yes, this is a favorite of mine, but I mean, even after the refurb, there are still some things that could use some tweaking.  It's a nice touch that they added some audio to go along with the attraction, but it would have been great to see audio added on the ride vehicle itself.  It also would have been nice to see Disney have completely re-done the track and made it so that we could have side by side vehicles, instead of front to back.  
          • Peter Pan:  Another fan favorite, but this attraction is certainly one that could use a few tweaks.  It's definitely kitchy though, which is why it's a triple for me.  
          • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:  It's a good roller coaster, but it's also one that I don't have to do time and time again.  Matter of fact, there have been trips where I've totally missed this attraction.  However, whenever I get on it, I have the time of my life and remember just how fun the Wildest Ride in the Wilderness truly is!  
          • The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh:  It's a fun attraction, no doubt.  I definitely enjoy the creativity and the whimsy of this attraction.  But it doesn't quite hold up to some of the other attractions in Fantasyland to me, which is why it's only a double. 


          • Buzz Lightyear:  Yes, this was a cool attraction at one point.  It was one of my favorites for sure.  But with the addition of Toy Story Midway Mania, this attraction has lost some of it's luster.  It's not nearly as easy to play as it's Disneyland counterpart and it certainly looks dated now.  (I may be bitter because I suck at it...I can never get good scores here.)  
          • Monster's Inc Laugh Floor:  This is one that I don't have to do every trip, but do enjoy when I visit.  It's a very fun, whimsical attraction which, yes, can be pretty scripted, but also has those moments of improv.  This is an attraction that has fun written all over it.  
          Walk  (The Meh Category)
          • The Enchanted Tiki Room:  Yes, I just saw this in October.  (October 1st to be exact).  I remembered it fondly as a child.  But after finally seeing it where I can remember it completely, I wasn't blown away by it. It's one of those attractions that I'll go visit occasionally, yes, but it's not one that I absolutely LOVED.  
          • Tomorrowland Speedway:  I see the appeal for this attraction.  It gives the kiddos a way to drive a car, which is a cool thing to do when you're a kid.  But it's an attraction that takes up a lot of space and also not one that is truly spectacular, so for me, it's a walk.  

          • Stitch's Great Escape: this is a give-in.  This attraction is not one that I particularly enjoy nor do many other people.  Definitely makes it to the Strikeout category because of it's non-wide appeal.  
          • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin:  Another sort of give-in.  With the Dueling Dumbos coming in the new Fantasyland, the appeal for having the Magic Carpets sort of goes away, doesn't it?  I mean the point of bringing in the Magic Carpets IS because so many kids wanted to ride Dumbo, but it's capacity was small.  So, maybe with the doubling of the Dumbo capacity, we'll see The Magic Carpets go away.  


          Home Run

          • Soarin:  Disney really hit it out of the park with this one because it's an attraction that even the most scared can enjoy.  
          • American Adventure:  This is also classic Disney.  It has such amazing AudioAnamatronics, a great story, and it's touching.  This show makes you proud to be an American.  Does it get much better than that? 

          • Test Track:  Many would disagree with me, claiming it's just an attraction where you ride in a convertible, many times you go faster on the highway.  But to me, there's nothing like this attraction, especially in regards to the first half, with the "training facility."  Yes, the outside is fun too, but I really enjoy the inside. 
          • The Seas With Nemo and Friends:  I am a big fan of this attraction.  From the outstanding queue, to the scenery in the attraction, to the catchy song.  My only drawback on this attraction is the story is a bit's almost exactly the same as the movie.  With it being in Epcot, I would have liked to have seen it tell a better story, related to some sort of edu-tainment.  But, it's a nice addition to the park, for sure.  

          • Mission:Space:  It's a fun attraction, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't have the appeal that Disney intended.  It's got all the right elements to it, creative, exciting, etc, but it just missed out on something.  I can't put my finger on what, but it's missing it and I think that's the biggest problem.  
          • Living With the Land:  For being an attraction that's not considered one of the must dos by many people, this is actually a really great attraction.  I just did it again this last trip and it's really a classic Disney attraction, so I think it's one that people should definitely take a look at.  

          • Captain EO:  I really appreciate that Disney brought this attraction in.  It was there to celebrate Michael Jackson and it was also a "new" show to replace a tired show.  However, with that being said, as entertaining as this show is, it would be nice to see Disney replace this attraction (and area) with something brand spanking new.  Good effort...but I would like to see something freshen this place up.  
          • Journey into Imagination:  This ties into the previous reasoning behind Captain EO.  It's a semi-entertaining attraction and much better than what was previously there, given that they added a beloved character back, but it would be nice to see Disney freshen this place up.

          • Reflections of China:  I just saw this on my last trip yet again, and while it's a great attraction in it's own right, it just does nothing for me.  
          • Impressions de France:  Again, I saw this on my last trip and again, it's one of those that does nothing for me.  The only real thing going for it is that it has seats. 

          • Ellen's Energy Adventure:  I get the attraction here.  It's got the whole edu-tainment factor that Epcot is famous for.  However, with that being said, it is 2011, not 1995 and this attraction is in sore need of a refurb.  Refurb it well and I think it could be an extremely great attraction once again.  
          • The Circle of Life:  This is another attraction which I think has the edu-tainment factor to it.  If it weren't so boring and dated.  Seriously, it needs to go.  
          So that's my take on the first two theme parks that Disney built in Orlando.  Next week, I'll take a look at the other two.

          What's your take though?  Which attractions do you think fall into these categories?  I want to hear what your opinions are on this topic.  Let me know in the comments.

          Sunday, October 23, 2011

          News and Rumors 10/17/11 - 10/23/11

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


          Magic Kingdom
          • The castle show Cinderella's Holiday Wish will begin on Nov. 4th and will run to Dec. 30th.  Showtimes will be at 7:15 pm on Nov. 4th and 5th and at 6:15 every other night. 
          • Disney is testing a Fastpass to guests for a reserved viewing area in the Hub for the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade.  These Fastpasses will be given out at random until early Nov.  (I've read Nov. 12th.)  No word on what this test may or may not lead to.
          • The Magic, The Memories, and You will have a Holiday themed addition starting on Nov. 8th.  It appears that this will be shown both for regular guests and for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party nights.  

          • Chita Rivera is the final celebrity announced for Candlelight Processional.  She will perform on Dec. 16th - 18th. 

          Disney's Animal Kingdom
          • The Tropicals' last performance has been pushed back to Nov. 19th. 

          • Still hearing rumors that Test Track will be closed next year for a MAJOR rehaul.  The new piece of information, the queue will be updated as well and it will include a NextGen Queue.  
          • Also rumored to get a NextGen Queue, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. 
          • Still hearing that Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates is expected to come in Nov. for breakfast and lunch at Hollywood and Vine. 
          • The Winnie the Pooh meet and greet in the UK is expected to be themed after Christopher Robin's bedroom.  
          • Rapunzel is expected to get her own area in Italy.  (Of all places...)

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          Thursday, October 20, 2011

          I Ran...I Ran So Far Away

          I know I talked a little about my run last blog post, but I wanted to share a bit more about my first 5k experience.  

          I'm not a runner.  Let's make that perfectly clear.  My husband is the runner in the family.  He does 5k's for fun on evening runs and just this year, he ran the St. Louis Half Marathon.  Me, I get winded thinking of running!  My joke when people have asked if I was ever going to run a race has always been, I only run if someone's chasing me! 

          However, over the past few years, a few of my trips to Walt Disney World have been centered around race weekends.  I have gone to support friends who've run in both the January Weekend Half Marathon and also the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  I love being able to support my friends as they run!  It's win-win.  They run and I just get to watch!  Cheering on your loved ones (and even strangers) is one of the most awesome things to do.  It's such a rush knowing that you are helping give them a shot of adreneline in a time when they potentially need it.  I have been a good supporter! 

          This year, all that changed.  You see, I was the one people were cheering for!  How's that, you ask?  Well, this year, I ended up running the Halloween 5k on October 1st during the Wine and Dine Race Weekend. 
          It all happened because a friend of mine came down for the race weekend without his daughter.  She had been signed up for the race, but it turned out Homecoming was that same weekend, so she opted to skip the race and go to Homecoming instead.  This meant that my friend had paid for a race no one was going to run. 

          Out of all my friends who were down there for the weekend, I was one of the only ones who was not signed up already for the 5k that was somewhat open to the idea.  I knew that it would surprise a lot of people if I said yes to running this race, so in one of those weird moments in my life, I said yes.  I'll run the race in her place. 

          Like I said, I don't this means that I had no training done, what-so-ever.  The furthest I'd ever ran/walked at this point was a mile and a half on the treadmill when I sporadically worked out.  I honestly didn't know how well I was going to do in this race.  I didn't even know how fast I could accomplish the race in.  I was just hoping I wouldn't come in last. 

          So, on Oct. 1st, I got up at 5 am (I managed to get a decent night of sleep for myself...this was going to be one long day to begin with...I was expecting to stay up to 3 am for the Wine and Dine After Party that night!) and I got ready.  I put on the tennis shoes I thankfully brought with me and the shorts I ended up having to buy at the Wide World of Sports Expo and ventured out in the dark to meet my friend who was going to run the race with me. 

          This year, the race took place at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  When we got to the parking lot, we were floored!  There was a huge line of cars all waiting to be parked.  I couldn't believe all these people were going to be running this race! 

          Finally, I made my way up to the corral in my time slot (I picked the slowest one, the 13:00-15:00 mile) and was ready to go.  The National Anthem played and then the next thing I knew, BOOM, the fireworks exploded and the race had begun!  All the sudden, it was my turn to run.  So, my friends and I took off. 
          We ran through the parking lot of Disney's Animal Kingdom and then make our way through the front entrance.  It was really neat to get to run through to see the Tree of Life show up in my field of vision.  Another neat thing was to see characters set up so you could meet and greet them.  I didn't do that this run though, I was concentrating on not finishing last! 

          My friend was keeping track of how far we had ran and at this point, when we checked, we'd already gone a little over a mile!  Wow...ok...this isn't so bad.  I couldn't believe I'd already ran that far without much trouble. 

          Then we went backstage.  This became the long part of the race.  Backstage had to have been at least a mile, though while running it, it felt like it was about 5!  We just kept running and running without seeing the turnaround anywhere.  Finally, after what seemed like forever (because there wasn't really anything exciting to look at backstage) we came upon the turn around point!  At this point, the run became a little easier because I knew what I was running to.  I was on my way to the finish line.  (I guess I shoud friends and I ended up walking/running this race, mostly walking though due to high crowds, as well as fatigue...but I did run a good portion of the race!)

          Once we came back onstage at the Animal Kingdom, the run became easier again.  We ran past Expedition Everest, past Finding Nemo, and past Dinoland U.S.A.  Then we went back through a backstage area again as the sun was coming up on the horizon.  Finally we heard a Cast Member say, just around this corner is the Finish Line!  As soon as I saw it, my legs suddenly got shifted into high gear.  I took off running faster than I've ever ran before!  There was my end!  It was in sight! 

          As soon as I crossed the Finish Line...I did something I wasn't expecting.  I had to fight back the tears.  I was SO proud of my accomplishment!  I had done it!  I had done what I thought was impossible.  With the help of my friends, I had ran a 5k!  3.1 miles in just about 49:00! 

          So where am I going with all this?  If you've ever thought of running a Disney race ever...and even if you haven' it!  There is something so amazing about accomplishing a Disney race.  I am so proud to say that my first race was a Disney race. 

          The question is...will this non-runner run another Disney race?  I'm not sure.  I still am not a runner...I still am not a huge fan of running in general.  However, I will tell you...I am not counting the idea out.  Disney makes the races seem so easy.  So, you never know.  I may just decide to sign up next time!  Maybe I did catch the running bug.