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.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    News and Rumors 10/10/11 - 10/16/11

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


    Magic Kingdom
    • The Golden Oak Outpost in Frontierland has changed their menu, only serving chicken nuggets and fries. 

    • A new acrobat troupe has appeared at the China Pavilion.  The Jeweled Dragon Acrobats perform 5 days a week.  Make sure to pick up a times guide to see when they'll be performing on your trip. 
    • From now until Oct. 21st, the Seas With Nemo and Friends will have a delayed opening of 11 am while ongoing maintenance work is being done in the pavilion.

    General WDW News

    • Disney is now requiring a credit card guarantee in order to make your reservations at these select restaurants.  In the event that a cancellation is not made at least one day in advance, the credit card on the reservation will be charged $10 per person.    Reservations can be canceled at the podium at any table service restaurant podium, at 407-WDW-CNCL, at, or at any guest relations or resort front desk.
    • 1900 Park Fare
    • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
    • Artist Point
    • California Grill
    • Cape May Café
    • Chef Mickey’s
    • Cítricos
    • The Crystal Palace
    • Flying Fish Café
    • The Garden Grill
    • Hollywood & Vine
    • Jiko – The Cooking Place
    • Le Cellier Steakhouse
    • Narcoossee’s
    • ‘Ohana
    • Tusker House Restaurant
    • The Hollywood Brown Derby
    • Victoria & Albert’s - $25 per person
    • Yachtsman Steakhouse

    •  Free Wireless internet can now be found in room at these select resorts:  Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. 

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      Friday, October 14, 2011

      Epic October 2.0

      Wow...hard to believe that it was already 2 weeks ago that I was in WDW for Epic October.  It feels like I just got back yesterday.  That always seems to happen though after I get back from WDW.  Those first few weeks seem to fly right by. 

      This year's Epic October was, as I expected, full of Epicness.  Lots of great time with friends, both new and old.  The weekend was one of crazy proportions, with little sleep involved for all, but it was all so worth it in the end.

      While I won't go over everything step by step, I will talk about some of the highlights of my trip and the weekend overall. 

      First, I want to thank everyone who came to the Be Our Guest Podcast meet up.  We had a bunch of you with us as we traveled along the World Showcase promenade, sampling all the delectable treats that were available for the Food and Wine Festival.  While it was SUPER HOT out, which made it hard to want to eat anything at all, it was so great to see so many wonderful listeners come out to meet each other. 

      I also want to express my thanks to Jay Griffith.  This past summer, when we did our Second Annual Be Our Guest Podcast Live Show, Jay selflessly volunteered himself to drink 1 Beverly for every $500 raised.  Because of all the generousness of our listeners, Jay was forced to drink 11 Beverly's.  We were all scared that he was gonna upchuck, but he managed to get them down, with a little help.  To see the video of the Beverly Binge, here it is. 

      Also, can I just say how great the other events were that were held by those in the Disney Community.  I was able to enjoy AJ's Foodie Fest and Touring Plan's meet at La Hacienda which were both spectacular.  Both these people know how to throw a big party!  In addition, I want to congratulate Lou Mongello on raising a staggering amount of money for Give Kids The World with his 40 Hour Live Show, which I got to participate in as someone who got out of The Box!  There were so many great events this weekend, that I hate that I missed some of them.  Unfortunately, time was just so limited. 

      During this trip, I also participated in the Halloween 5K.  This was not something I planned on doing.  My famous statement is I don't run unless someone is chasing me.  However, this trip, Mike's step-daughter Paige decided she wanted to go to Homecoming and he'd already paid the money for her to run, so I decided to take it. 

      So, with no training whatsoever, I ran/walked a 5k.  (The furthest I'd walked/ran before was about 1.5 miles...not 3.1.)  I was quite proud of myself and my emotions definitely got to me when I finished..  I fought back the tears after I crossed the finish line.  I wasn't expecting to get emotional, but I was just so proud of myself for doing something so out of character.  Would I run another Disney race?  Maybe....I definitely wouldn't count it out.  It was certainly an experience I will never forget. 

      I also want to talk briefly about the fact that that same weekend was the 40th Anniversary for the Magic Kingdom.  What a special day to be in the MK.  The crowds definitely showed up that day, but I wouldn't have wanted to be in any other park.  It was so special being there to experience the special dedication and the fireworks that night.  I also tried to experience attractions that were actually open on opening day to make the whole day even more festive. 

      Finally, as many of you know, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is one of my favorite events the Magic Kingdom (and perhaps the entireWDW Resort) holds.  Even though I've been to this party 5 times now, it still excites me.  (And one of these times I'll learn to put the camera down and actually enjoy the fireworks and parade without looking through a lens.)  I cannot say enough good things about this party, as I munch on leftover Halloween Candy. 

      In closing, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who I got to spend time with.  I wish, for everyone, that it could have been more time with everyone.  You are all true friends and I'm so blessed that you are

      Sunday, October 9, 2011

      News and Rumors 9/26/11 - 10/9/11


      So, it's been a crazy few weeks!  I had an amazing time in WDW for Epic October weekend!  It was a magical time with great meet ups with amazing friends! Then, right after I came back from Florida, I had to return back to St. Louis to get my belongings to move down to Albuquerque.  My furniture is expected to be delivered on Wednesday.

      I appreciate all your patience with the lack of blog posts lately.  I hate not being able to bring you great blog posts, but I literally have not been able to due to all this.  Thank you all so much for your patience!  I hope to return back to normal starting next week, but at this point, I simply don't know.

      But you all didn't come here to hear me yammer came here for the dirt...and I've got it!  So here we go!


      Magic Kingdom

      • Big Thunder Mountain will be closed for a lengthy refurb from January 9th, 2012 until May 28th.  
      • Dumbo will close down for it's relocation starting on Jan. 9th, 2012 and will be reopening Feb. 18.  This will allow us to assume that when it reopens, it will open in the Storybook Circus area, which means that at least part of the Storybook Circus area will open at this time too.  
      • Also, it's come out that the Great Goofini and the Storybook Circus Train Station is expected to open in early 2012. 
      • The Liberty Square Riverboat will be down for refurb from Jan. 28th - Feb. 3rd. 
      • Via Napoli is offering pizza by the slice from the outside counter window until Nov. 12th. 
      • Geena Davis will be replacing Whoopi Goldberg in the Candlelight Processional on Dec. 2nd and 3rd. 

      Disney's Animal Kingom

      • Festival of the Lion King is operating Fastpass until Oct. 15th.  You can pick up your Fastpasses at the former Tough To Be A Bug Fastpass area.
      • The Expedition Everest Challenge will take place May 5th.

      General WDW News

      • Bob Iger is set to step down as CEO in 2015.


      • Test Track is rumored to have it's extended refurb starting this Spring, this has been pushed back from early 2012.  

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