Monday, January 30, 2012

News and Rumors 1/23/12 - 1/29/12

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


Magic Kingdom
  • The new romance segment of The Magic, The Memories, and You will begin Feb. 1st.  It will last through Mid-April.  Also, this summer, a new section will debut featuring summertime fun, including things like a sandcastle. 
  • In the Storybook Circus area, the Casey's Jr. Roundhouse will officially be known as the Casey Jr. Splash n Soak Station.  It's still rumored that the area will open in late Feb. 2012. However, with the Dumbo refurb pushed back into March, the area may wait to open until then.
  • The Liberty Belle which was slated to have just a one week refurb, will instead have a multi-month closure, lasting until May 21st. 

Downtown Disney
  • Basin is closed for an interior refurbishment until mid-March.
  • The Rainforest Cafe is getting an exterior upgrade with the work lasting until about Oct. 2012.

  • Princess Merida will be doing meet and greets in the former Narnia building and she will be joined by her 3 bear friends, who will appear as puppets.  
  • The Seas With Nemo and Friends will be receiving Fastpass when Test Track goes down for it's refurb.  Once Test Track returns, the Fastpasss will be removed from The Seas. 

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Why You Should Stay at Disney's Pop Century Resort

Disney's Value Resorts are some of the most popular resorts on property. Of course, part of the reason is because of the price, but I also think that another reason people decide to stay at these resorts is because of the theme. As far as Disney says, these hotels are big on everything! (except price).  That is especially true, given the fact that the Disney Value Resorts feature larger than life icons and bright, colorful facades.

I have now stayed at 3 of the 4 Value Hotels on property and by far, my favorite is Disney's Pop Century.
Copyright © Walt Disney Co

The theme that surrounds Pop Century is the celebration of the 1950s through the 1990s and all the pop culture fads that came along with those decades.  This hotel focuses on the greatness of things like bowling, flower power, Rubix Cubes and yes, even the introduction of the computer into our lives.  

Copyright © Walt Disney Co
There are quite a few reasons for this. First off...I really do love the theme. The feel of the resort is one of fun and that's exactly what makes it a prime candidate for me. I love the larger than life statues that sit out in the courtyards. To many, they are cheesy, to me, they are whimsical.  They help to get across the fun and care-free atmosphere that surrounds the hotel.  Which is exactly what I'm looking for in a vacation.  The decor really helps to set the mood of my Disney vacation.

The next thing I love about Pop Century is their bus service. At Pop (at least as of right now) they have their own dedicated bus service to their guests. This is extremely convenient as you don't have to spend time stopping at the other resorts, putting off the time you could be spending at the theme parks. You also don't have to spend time at the end of the night when you're tired, waiting just to get back to your room, for a bus to drop guests off at the other hotels. You just hop on a bus and go and get delivered "home" a few minutes later.  No muss, no fuss.  

Another thing that's great about this resort is the food court. Everything Pop is one of the best at all the values for sure...maybe even resort wide.  They offer so many things on the menu, not just chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and burgers.  (Which, of course, can still be found here, as well.)  Other unique offerings include Chicken Penne Alfredo, Pan Seared Fish, Shrimp Lo Mein, and home cooked meals like Meatloaf and Fried Chicken.  There really is something for all tastes.  In addition, in their bakery section, they offer their famous Tye Dyed Cheesecake.  This delicious treat consists of a red velvet cake crust and and multi colored, swirled cheesecake.  Just make sure to drink a glass of milk with it or you'll have dyed teeth after eating it!

Copyright © Walt Disney Co

In addition, I love the Everything Pop gift shop.  There's just something about browsing in this shop after a long day in the parks and seeing what neat trinkets they have to offer.  I can seriously spend a half hour at least after spending all day in a park here.  To me,  it's just an extension of the theme park day experience.  My trip doesn't feel complete unless I make a stop here. 

While the pools here don't feature slides, they are still exciting because they are shaped in whimsical designs.  My favorite pool is the Bowling Pin Pool.  It's not every day you can swim in a pool designed like a bowling pin!  I love after a long day at he park, just sticking my feet in the cooling water.  It's the best way to unwind after a long day.

Of course, the last reason I love to stay here are the rooms.  They are just the right size for me, because usually I travel either solo or with my hubby.  We don't spend a lot of time in the rooms and just being the two of us, we don't need a whole lot of space.  The values are perfect in that regard.  They have either a king bed (which trust me, there aren't a lot of those available at the property) or two double beds available for guests.  They are outfitted in blues and greens and feature pop culture icons for the decade that you are staying in.  For example, when staying in the 50s rooms, they have a picture collage up which features things like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Alice in Wonderland.

Copyright © Walt Disney Co
This hotel really just speaks to me and I think that's the biggest aspect that needs to go into consideration when you choose your hotel.  The theme really needs to fit your sensibility.

What are your thoughts?  Do you like Pop Century?  Why or why not?  Which hotel fits your family's sensibility?  Make sure to let me know in the comments section.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

News and Rumors 1/16/12 - 1/22/12



  • The Celebrity line up for the HGTV stars that will be visiting during the Flower and Garden Festival have been announced.  They include:  John Gidding, HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block - presenting March 9 – 11 Sabrina Soto, HGTV’s The High/Low Project - presenting March 16 – 18 Jason Cameron, DIY Network’s Desperate Landscapes and Man Caves - presenting March 23 – 25 Camille Styles, Entertainment contributor - presenting March 30 – April 1 Dan Faires,’s DanMade, Fan Favorite HGTV Design Star Season 5 - presenting April 6 – 8 Brandon Johnson, host of HGTV’s My Yard Goes Disney - presenting April 13 – 15 Meg Caswell, HGTV’s Meg’s Great Rooms - presenting April 20 – 22 Monica Pedersen, HGTV Dream Home Tour 2012 and Designed to Sell - presenting April 27 – 29 Antonio Ballatore, HGTV’s The Antonio Treatment - presenting May 4 – 6 To be determined - presenting May 11 – 13 Genevieve Gorder, HGTV’s Dear Genevieve and HGTV Design Star - presenting May 18 – 20


  • A new deluxe daytime parade may be coming for 2013.
  • An egg, ham, and cheese waffle sandwich is rumored to be available at Sleepy Hollow before 11 am.  (It is not listed on the menu currently.)

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dining Review: Toy Story Pizza Planet

Disney's Hollywood Studios, to me, is lacking a bit in their quick service food department.  The full service restaurants are a bit better, with one of my favorite restaurants in all of WDW, with 50s Prime Time Cafe being found there, but the quick service restaurants often leave a lot to be desired to us Disney fans.  But, out of all the Quick Service dining locations that can be found at DHS, my favorite has to be Toy Story Pizza Planet. 

Now I know many who read this blog will be like, really?  Pizza Planet?  That's just Disney pizza, which many believe to be not so good.  For me though, Pizza Planet is one of the few places at the Studios that actually appeals to me when I want a quick meal.

Now, I'll admit, I full well know this is not going to be the top notch pizza you can get in other places around the World.  (I mean, for amazing pizza, you have to make a stop over at Via Napoli), but to be perfectly honest, the Studios quick service restaurants really don't have a lot of variety to them.  (Although, I will admit, in the past year, I do believe that Disney has been trying to add more variety in all the parks, with the Studios seeing a larger bump in variety than it saw previously.)  The majority of the food that can be found on the Studios menus are burgers, chicken, hot dogs, fries, and some sort of salad.

I have made it very clear on the blog previously that I don't particularly care for sandwiches, nor do I like salads, so my choices at the Studios are very limited.  (Although, looking at the menus, it does appear that now Fairfax Fare, which has seen their menu updated this year, does have a few things that do indeed appeal to me.  I must stop there the next trip.)  So for me, Pizza Planet has been the way to go.

And I do like their pizza...knowing what it is.  It's not going to be the high quality stuff you can get over at Epcot, but it certainly does hit the spot.  To me, the pizza is a bit better than what you may find at a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo and when I'm in the mood for one of their salads, it's a nice refreshing side other than fries.  The pizza here is just the right size for me and the it tastes pretty good too.  The cheese/sauce ratio is just about perfect for me.  The only thing is, that there's just a tiny bit too much crust...but I'm not really a crust eater.  (Unless I have some garlic sauce to dip it in, ala Papa Johns.  Healthy...I know.  ;)  )

Toy Story Pizza Planet has a few different options on their menu.  You can get individual Pepperoni, Cheese, or Vegetable Pizzas or you can get those same pizzas as a combo with a salad.  This is just a regular mixed green salad...nothing extremely fancy.  They do have some specialty salads on the menu here as well, including a chicken salad and a caprese salad. For kids meals, the choice is limited to a cheese pizza only. 

The restaurant, perhaps is one I enjoy because of the nostalgia I feel for Pizza Planet.  I was a young kid when Toy Story came out and I really thought Pizza Planet looked cool in the movie.  Of course, this isn't exactly the same version, but they do have video games that can be played here.  This is good to know for parents because it is inevitable that your child will want to play something when they visit. 

Seating here is kind of least it would appear at first glance.  They do have quite a few tables outside, which are often taken up because that's what people initially see.  Inside, the downstairs area features all the game options, so if you are a first timer and looking for a place to sit, it would appear that tables at this restaurant are quite limited.  However, there are some stairs inside.  If you take them, you will find a plethora of seating on the second level, which is often quite empty. 

Toy Story Pizza Planet is a good restaurant to go to if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle a bit.  The food here is decent and while it is all pizza and salads, it at least isn't a sandwich, which for me, is a huge plus.

What is your take about Toy Story Pizza Planet?  Do you like it or do you think there's another counter service place that I need to try on my next visit?  And what should I order?  Let me know in the comments section. 

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Monday, January 16, 2012

News and Rumors 1/6/12 - 1/15/12

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


Magic Kingdom
  • Dumbo's re-opening date has been pushed back.  Instead of opening on Feb. 17th, it's re-opening in Storybook Circus will take place now on March 12th. 
  • Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom is currently doing play testing.  I've heard that testing is typically occurring on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  It is rumored to be rolled out at the end of February.

  • In Tutto Italia's recent refurb, a brand new wine bar is being built.  The new bar will be called Gusto and will open when the resturant reopens on the new date of April 28th.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show will have a short refurb from April 29th - May 2nd. 

Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Mor Thiam, who has been performing near Tamu Tamu Refreshments, will have it's final performance Jan. 28th. 


  • Peter Pan's Flight is rumored to get it's Next Gen Queue starting around Jan. 16th - March 6th.  The attraction should remain open while the work is done. 
  • Rumors have been flying that in the near future the California Grill could be closed for a refurbishment.  Some rumors are even saying that the refurb could see a whole new restaurant put in it's place.  This is ONLY rumor.  No real idea if there is real substance to it, but since I've heard about it a few different places, I thought I should report it. 
  • Pixie Hollow may be returning to Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Things About Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland is one of my all time favorite places to be in all of Walt Disney World.  I don't exactly know what the calling is for me, but there's just something about it.  Even with all the changes the land has seen, it just has this feel that is totally unique.

Tomorrowland, I would think, has seen the most change to it out of all the lands. With it's focus on the future, it was a place that got stale real quick, especially in the beginning.  But no matter what, for me, the place still has charm.  

So, I thought I'd take a look at my Top 5 Favorite things about Tomorrowland.  (Which trust me, was a LOT harder than I thought!  I really could have named about a million things I love about Tomorrowland!)

5.  The Tomorrowland Palm Trees:  Ok...this may be silly, but I love me some Tomorrowland Palm Trees.  I really don't know what it is about them...but these are just so cool! 

4.  The Kitchiness of Space Mountain:  This is an attraction that is an absolute classic.  Because of that, there are some elements in here that certainly remind you that this attraction is that way.  These kitchy things are what help to make Space Mountain a tradition, time and time again.  Whether it's the silver plastic "play" balls that can be found if you look down in the beginning of the queue, the holographic images that can be found as you walk along, the load area, the spacemen you see along your way of blast off, the worm-hole tunnel...and that's just for starters!   This attraction, really is a right of passage and it's just nostalgic enough to work for just about everyone.

3.  The audio:  This is a land where the music here really stands out to me.  Whether it's just general background loops, the Star Tunnel music in the queue for Space Mountain, Sonny Eclipse singing a tune, or humming along to Great, Big, Beautiful Tomorrow.  There's a ton of great audio in this land.  
And when you hear it at home, it so easily transports you back to Disney.  I think it's because it's all so distinct. 
2.  Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover:  Ok, I'll admit, I loved this attraction a little more with the old spiel (it might have made it to number 1 if the old spiel was still in place) but no matter what spiel is stated, it is still one of the best places to relax at Walt Disney World!  There is nothing better on a hot day than taking the trip on the Super Highway in the Sky!  It is honestly one of the most underrated attractions at any of the parks and I love the fact that if it's not a busy day, you can pretty much take as many laps around as you need to. 

1.  Tomorrowland at night:  There is just something so magical about this area at night.  I'm sure it has to do with all the neon, but seeing this place at night transforms it into a whole other world.  I love seeing all the bright colors that abound.  And trust me, this place is a photographer's dream.  Night photography here is so easy because there's so much that's cool about it!

Tomorrowland really is an amazing land.  It is one that I love to spend a ton of time in and when I don't, I really feel cheated.

So what is it that you love the best about Tomorrowland?  Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

News and Rumors 1/2/12 - 1/8/12

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


Magic Kingdom

  • The Magic, The Memories, and You will get a special edition makeover starting Feb. 3rd.  This edition will feature a theme of romance.  
  • The Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom is currently undergoing testing.  Testing is happening periodically at the Magic Kingdom to everyone.  The rumor is that it will be rolled out near the end of February. 
  • The Plaza Ice Cream Shop is now closed through March 27th.
  • Dumbo is now closed in it's current location.  It will be closed and re-positioned in the New Fantasyland's Circusland.  The new attraction will reopen Feb. 18th.


  • As I announced on my previous blog post, Test Track will see a refurbishment starting in April and lasting until Fall 2012.  For more info, please read the previous post.


  • The newest Pixar character, Princess Merida may be coming to the Disney Parks for a meet and greet opportunity.
  • Swampy the Alligator from the "Where's My Water" mobile video game, is rumored to be getting his own meet and greet.  While it's unknown now where he may be meeting, it's rumored to be in the Studios. 

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Test Track Gets a Refurb

Today, Disney announced the Test Track refurbishment at Epcot that I'd been saying was coming for months.  (Originally I reported it in the rumors section last August!)  This new refurb will still include GM as the sponsor of the pavilion, but will focus on one specific car brand, Chevrolet, as the ride's core.

Disney and General Motors Renew Alliance and Create Magic for Guests at a Re-Imagined Test Track Experience

Two of the world’s most recognized brands extend an alliance that will create a new experience for millions of Guests at Epcot.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Jan. 6, 2012 – Disney and General Motors have renewed their long-term business relationship with a new multi-year corporate alliance.

As part of the new alliance, GM will be actively involved with Walt Disney Imagineering in the development of a re-imagined, design-centric Test Track experience. The refurbished Test Track will be presented by one of GM’s most famous brands, Chevrolet. As Chevrolet marks its 100th anniversary, the new alliance agreement enables General Motors to tell its story in new and exciting ways to millions of Guests from around the world and continue as the official vehicle sponsor of Walt Disney World Resort.

“We are excited to renew our long-term alliance with General Motors,” said George Aguel, Senior Vice President, Corporate Alliances for the Walt Disney Company. “This unique agreement extends collaboration between two of the most recognized brands in the world, a relationship that spans over 30 years. The re-imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will continue our shared goal of providing unique and innovative experiences that engage Disney guests in exciting and interactive ways.” ”

“As a global brand, Chevrolet is looking forward to welcoming Guests from around the world to the re-imagined Test Track,” said Joel Ewanick, Global Chief Marketing Officer for General Motors. “The best of Disney and the best of Chevrolet will come together to bring Guests an immersive experience in the design process of the vehicles they see on the road today and will see in the future.”

Plans call for closing the current GM Test Track in April 2012, with an anticipated opening of Test Track Presented by Chevrolet scheduled for fall 2012.

As part of the re-imagining, the Future World attraction will feature a sleek new “Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot” immersing Guests in the fascinating world of automotive design. Amid upbeat music, engaging media, dramatic lighting and a collection of Chevrolet concept cars and model vehicles, guests themselves will become automotive designers – and peer into the future of personal transportation in the process.

At interactive design and styling workstations, Guests will be able to create their own custom concept vehicles. The adventure will then shift into high gear as Guests buckle into their 6-person “SimCar” ride vehicle and put their design through its paces on the exhilarating hills, switchbacks and straight-aways of the Test Track circuit.

Their performance testing complete, Guests will move into a post-show area filled with special effects and be scored on how well their custom concept vehicle did. And of course, Guests will be able see the very latest Chevrolet vehicles in an all-new state-of-the-art showroom.

Say goodbye to this style car!  The new style will feature Chevy logo
So what does all this mean?  Well, it's all still very vague.  But first of all, it means that the concept of the ride will be changing.  Instead of it being a proving grounds, putting cars through their paces, you will simply be taking newly-designed vehicles for a test spin.  

How will they make these changes?  First, the preshow area will have to be completely redone.  Hopefully this will mean that we'll stop getting the banging and clanking noise that exists here.  The new Chevrolet Design Center will allow guests to use workstations to create automotive designs.  

Once designed, your SimCar will go on the ride of the Test Track, allowing you to test these new concepts.  There is no word if the actual Test Track attraction will change a whole lot as of yet, but it does appear that most of it may stay in tact, according to the wording of the press release. Once you get off the attraction, the post show area will have you scored on how well your concept car did.

Of course, I'm excited to see a new version of Test Track coming down the pipes.  I think the attraction needed a refurb and it will be exciting to see what the next chapter of this attraction will have in store for us.  

However, this does make me a little sad.  I mean, one of my favorite pre-show movies will more than likely be going away... (2, 5, and 7...7?...yeah...7)...but that's just something I'll have to get over.  In the long run, it will be nice to have an updated and more modern version of Test Track.  

As was rumored here, this new attraction will be closing in April and will be reopening in September.  (The rumored dates as of now are April 15th and Sept. 21st)

As the year progresses, I can't wait to see what Disney has in store for us regarding this attraction.  It has always been one of my favorites, even though many in the Disney community are not as thrilled with it as I am.  It has always been one that I have stood up for, so I am anxious for more news about what's coming for sure!  

What is your take about this refurb?  Do you like the idea or will you miss the current version?  Let me know in the comments!  

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Monday, January 2, 2012

News and Rumors 12/26/11 - 1/1/12

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

Happy New Year everyone!  :)


General WDW News

  • As my previous blog posts states, Disney announced their One More Disney Day campaign.  On that day, both the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland will remain open for 24 continuous hours in honor of  2012 being a Leap Year.  "One More Disney Day" will take place at both from 6 am on Feb. 29th to 6 am on March 1st.  No special ticketing required.  Fore more info, see below, including how to enter the sweepstakes to win a trip!


  • Other attractions that will be getting queues modifications look to be The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Spaceship Earth, Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest.These could be just simple modifications or could include NextGen properties.
  • Talking Mickey may become permanent as early as Spring.

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