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?