Monday, September 26, 2011

News and Rumors 9/19/11 - 9/25/11

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


Magic Kingdom
  • The Magic Kingdom Parking Lots have seen a redo.  The parking lot section names have changed.  Originally themed around classic Disney characters and Dwarves, now the new parking lot sections are themed around Villains and Heroes. The new characters include Woody, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Simba, Mulan and Rapunzel (Heroes lot), and Zurg, Jafar, Hook, Scar, Cruella and Ursula (Villains lot).
  • For those that will be attending the 40th anniversary (me!) here's a list of what's expected to take place on Oct. 1st:

  • A special 40th Anniversary presentation will be held on the Castle Stage at 10am.
  • Wishes with a special finale will be held at 9pm.
  • 40th Anniversary cupcakes will be available on the Main Street Bakery, along with a whole range of special 40th merchandise.
  • Special Artist Appearances
  • Plus a few additional surprises

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • New menus have appeared at both Sci Fi Dine In and 50s Prime Time Cafe.  Big changes have been made for Sci Fi, where as smaller changes have been made at 50s.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Primeval Whirl is reopen after a lengthy closure, which started in January.  
  • Avatar is coming!  For those who missed the news, an all new Avatar Land is set to be built in the Animal Kingdom.  Work is expected to begin in 2013 with a completion date of around 2016.  For my take on the issue, visit this blog post.
General WDW News

  • Magic Masters in Downtown Disney's Westside has closed.  It will make way for Something Silver.
  • The Disney Parks Christmas Parade will be taped in WDW Dec. 2nd and 3rd, with the 4th being available as a rain make up day.

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    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Disney Announces...Avatar...for Disney's Animal Kingdom

     That's, Disney announced that Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort would be getting an Avatar themed world. 

    This new land will be themed after Avatar and the next two sequels that are set to potentially be released in 2014 and 2015 with aspects of all 3 movies incorporated within.  The new land is set to break ground in 2013 with a completion date of 2016.  Disney and James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment are still in the design phase for this trip to Pandora, so the details on what exactly is coming hasn't yet been decided.  It's also unknown as of right now where in the park this new land will be located.  There are a few expansion pads that are available, however, there's also the land of Camp Minnie-Mickey which has also been rumored to be going away in the near future. 

    Now, I could have fired off an initial Blog Post right when it was announced, because I had a very strong opinion when I heard the news, but I decided that I was going to let this news settle....marinate, if you will...and really let me take everything in.  All the reaction, all the info...everything. 

    So after a little perspective, I do think that this is an interesting development.  Personally, this is a movie that I haven't seen, so it's for me hard to judge 100%, but I also know that I had absolutely no desire to see the movie.  So there is that.    

    My initial gut reaction was this doesn't really fit into Animal Kingdom all that well.  AK is all about animals, real and I could be on board with the whole mythical thing...but the creatures of Avatar aren't even really mythical...they are aliens from what I gather...thanks to IMDB.  (If this is wrong, please do correct me.)  Aliens, to me, are not mythical creatures...not even close.  And while I gather that this movie had underlying themes of protecting the environment and keeping things that are native, native...I have to wonder if blue aliens are the right choice to relay that message for a park like Disney's Animal Kingdom.

    I also have a feeling that this is Disney's response to Harry Potter.  Here's my problem with that...Harry Potter has, so far stood the test of time for 10+ years...with it's books and movie sequels already proving themselves.  Avatar, while it is set to have sequels, only has 1 movie right now, which came out only 2 years ago.  Yes, it's raked in a ton of money and won tons of awards and it's obviously still early in it's franchise history, but I wonder if they are maybe jumping the gun with this.  I mean, there's no way to know when a movie's sequels are going to be hits or not and just because the original film had tremendous success, doesn't mean the others will. 

    That's why I'm weary about this becoming a whole land themed around the film.  I think I would have less of a meh feeling about it if it were just one attraction.  When you start talking about a whole land...that's when things start to get sticky.  

    My other kind of issue about this is one that I've had for a while.  Once again, Disney is building something that's based off a franchise.  We haven't seen anything from Disney not based off a franchise since 2006 when Everest opened.  Keep in mind that by the time this will be built, it will have been 10 years since anything based off an original concept had been built.  At this point, I highly doubt Disney will announce anything based off original ideas, unless they decide to do something new for Epcot.  But at this rate, I don't think anything for Epcot will be announced for at least a year.  So, that would mean at the earliest, if Epcot actually were to see a brand new type attraction not based off an already established franchise, it wouldn't be completed until the year 2014, maybe.  That could even be pushing it.   

    Now with all the above being said, I do realize though that not everything Disney does is going to appeal to everyone.  The best example I have of that, and is something that I'm directly not in love with, Star Wars.  This is another franchise that Disney has under their belt that I have absolutely no interest in.  It's well known that I've never seen a single Star Wars movie and like Avatar have no real desire to see.  Yet, I still will go on Star Tours at least once during my trip.  (Although I will readily admit that with this new version of Star Tours with the different sequences, I am lost a lot more than I was previously.)  So, while this new Avatar land is something that will not appeal to everyone and Disney doesn't have the luxury to do something that will appeal to everyone (a company like Disney could never appeal to every single demographic with a new ride announcement, that's just plain and honest fact) it will be something that some will most definitely enjoy and will like being able to be immersed in. 

    So, even though this doesn't necessarily appeal to my personal tastes, I am excited about Disney's Animal Kingdom getting some well needed love, especially in the form of a land that is so desperately needs.  The park is severely lacking in attractions and this should definitely rectify that.  Also, we have to keep in mind that we don't know what they do plan on doing with the land, so while my knee jerk reaction is to be skeptical and dislike it even, I do think that I am going to try to keep an open mind for the most part and see what's announced in the future with it.  I mean it is a long way away before we even see ground broken on Pandora.

    What's your take?  Do you think Pandora will fit in DAK or did this announcement underwhelm you?  Make sure to let me know in the comments section.  Let's strike up a good conversation!

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    Monday, September 19, 2011

    News and Rumors 9/12/11 - 9/18/11

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



    • The Simply Segway Tour has now ended.  The Around the World at Epcot Segway Tour will still be offered.
    • Tutto Italia will close for a lengthy refurb on Jan. 8th and reopening on April 2nd.

    Disney's Animal Kingdom

    • The park is play-testing a new Wilderness Explorer game in Africa based off of the movie Up.  Keep in mind, this is a limited test only and it may not be occurring on your next trip.

    General WDW News

    • The Four Seasons Resort is still expected to be built with a completion date of 2014
    • This year, there will be no Trick or Treating at Downtown Disney.  Instead, Disney will be offering enhanced entertainment. 

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    The Mouse-standing List: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

    Recently it’s become more and more evident that Fall is one of my favorite times of year to visit Walt Disney World.  Not only do you have lighter crowds, and often times Free Dining, but you also have great events like the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and perhaps the event that I love the most, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

    Of course, this particular event is popular with parents who have children, but let me tell you it is most certainly a blast for those of us adults without children who want to get in the Halloween spirit as well.  This particular party is one that, time after time, I keep going back to with my total being 4 and counting as I’m going back again in just a couple of weeks!

    So what is it that makes this event so exciting?

    First of all you’ll need to check out Mickey’s Boo To You Halloween Parade.  This parade is INCREDIBLE!  I am not a parade person so when I say it’s good, it’s good.  You’ll get to see some of the most unique floats out there including dancing Haunted Mansion ghosts and gravediggers (don’t miss the gravediggers!), pirates pillaging from Pirates of the Caribbean, the Disney Villains make a spooky appearance and even the Country Bears get in on the action.  (Watch out for the country scene though!  The clucking gets a tad annoying!)  One little note…you will get the song stuck in your head (I’m singing it now).  It’s a fact and it happens every time.  Don’t try to fight it…it’s fun to sing along with “Boo To You!”  This parade is shown twice per night at 8:15 pm and at 10:30 pm.

    You also don’t want to miss the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular!  To me this is the best fireworks show I’ve seen in the Magic Kingdom.  The Ghost Host tells the story as the Disney Villains attempt to take over (as they always do).  These fireworks really are spook-tacular!  The show takes place each night at 9:30 pm.

    For those who are young and even those of us who are young at heart, make sure to visit the Trick or Treat Stations.  Even adults can get in on the action.  Lots of times you’ll get name brand stuff deposited in your bag.  There are areas all over the park to visit and you can visit them multiple times throughout the night.  Make sure to check the park map for the Trick or Treat Stations locations.  Also, make sure to check out the new Br'er Rabbit's Laughin Place Candy Patch.  This, I have a feeling is in place to make up for the Treat Trail that once ran from Tomorrowland back to Mickey's Toontown Fair. 

    Another really cool aspect of the Halloween Parties is that the characters get in on the fun too!  Many of them dress up in their Halloween costumes to pose for pictures with guests.  One special photo opportunity is that the Seven Dwarves are often all together for these party nights.  They can be found back in Frontierland  If you plan on getting your photo with them, make sure to arrive early as this is one popular meet and greet!  (I've heard of up to hour waits by 7:00pm.)  When looking for any character, check your party guide to see where they will be doing their meets as they will change this year with the closing of Toontown.

    There are some tips that I’d like to pass along as a well-seasoned veteran.  Dress up!  You are not going to be the only person dressing up for this event.  There will be others in their Halloween finest with some costumes being quite elaborate.  This goes for you adults too!  Make sure to get in on the fun!  I mean, when was the last time you got to dress up for Halloween?

    Second: bring your own candy bag from home.  While Disney does provide bags, they are quite small and I’ve seen them fall apart as the bags get heavier through the night.  Plus, I am one who likes to get a lot of candy so I often bring my own bag with me.

    To tie in with that last tip my third is to make sure to visit the candy stops at the end of the night.  In the beginning of the night you’ll typically only get 2 or 3 pieces of candy at a stop.  If you wait to trick or treat more towards the end of the night, more often than not they’ll start giving you more and more candy (sometimes approaching handfuls!).

    Fourth: when watching the parade make sure to see the Headless Horseman.  He rides a few minutes before the parade starts and it is really a neat sight to see.  As with all parades, if you can, try not to watch the parade on Main Street as the crowds are a lot heavier there.  My suggestion is to watch from Frontierland.  I would also suggest that you ALWAYS catch the second parade if possible.  This is going to be the least crowded option for you.

    Fifth: on a night like tonight the rides should be secondary.  If you get to them that’s great but if not, no big deal.  There is enough to keep you busy at this event that you won’t miss the rides if you don’t get to all of them.   However, if you are going to try to do a few attractions make sure one of them is the Haunted Mansion!  It is even spookier on party nights.  You may even spot (and hear) some ghoulish delights on the front lawn.

    Finally, while the party officially starts at 7 pm, you can usually arrive as early as 4 pm and still be let in.  (Of course, this in unofficial policy and can change at a moment’s notice.)  The party lasts until midnight.
    Party dates for 2011 are: September 13, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30. October 2, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31 and November 1.

    To purchase tickets in advance guests can visit or call 407-W-DISNEY. Advance purchase (prior to event day) savings of $6 per ticket are available for Sept. 13, 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30. Oct. 2, 6, 10, 11, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27 and Nov. 1.
    I was able to track down a copy of the map for this year's events, so if you're going, make sure to study the map, as like I've mentioned before, things have changed.  

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    News and Rumors 9/5/11 - 9/11/11

    So sorry about the delay with posts this week!  I am officially in New Mexico now.  So yay on that front!

    Now, on with the News and Rumors!

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


    Magic Kingdom

    • Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom, a role-playing, attraction game was officially announced.  Debuting in early 2012, this new game allows for guests to have Merlin the Magician recruit them to become apprentice sorcerers and then help them with maps and clues that show where and how to defeat an army of Disney villains. 

    Disney's Animal Kingdom

    • The band, The Tropicals will perform their last performance on Oct. 29th.
    • The rumor was correct.  Disney will indeed have a character lunch at Tusker House.  Starting Dec. 4th, Donald's Dining Safari Lunch will be a buffet that's available from 11am to 2:45pm daily and will vary in cost by season from $25.99 to $29.99 for adults and $14.99 to $16.99 for children ages 3 to 9.  Foods available will include spit-roasted meats, unique salads, creative vegetarian offerings, hearty stews and desserts, everything with an African flare to it.

    General WDW News

    • In why didn't they do this sooner news...Disney is now sending reminder emails to guests 24 hours before their Dining Reservation is scheduled.  Included in the email are your confirmation number, location, date/time, and party size, along with a link to modify or cancel the reservation.


    • When Gaston's Tavern opens with the new Fantasyland, the rumor is that Disney will be serving some sort of frothy concoction, similar in nature to Butterbeer, that's found over at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
    • In MNSSHP rumors, Angelica will join Captain Jack Sparrow on this year's Pirates Float in the Boo to You Parade and Christopher Robin will be doing meets with the rest of the gang from the Hundred Acre Woods.

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    Monday, September 5, 2011

    News and Rumors 8/29/11 - 9/4/11

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


    Magic Kingdom

    • The Villains Mix and Mingle is set to be expanded this year for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.


    • A new, updated Test Track car has been spotted running it's paces.  This could tie into the rumor that I posted earlier about a potential refurb coming to Test Track starting in Jan. 

    General WDW News

    • Prices are set to increase at Cirque du Soleil starting effective Sept. 27th. 


    • The Journey into Narnia attraction may be replaced by a Pirates of the Caribbean walk through attraction.  
    • When Fantasmic reopens from the refurb in February, a talking Mickey may be added to the show.

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