Friday, August 31, 2012

Grand Opening Of Walt Disney World

We saw clips of this video at the D23 event - Florida Project last year during WDW 40th Anniversary. The crowd had a good chuckle at the bad outfits, and how hokey it was. Still, it certainly has a nostalgic value.

So, if you've never seen it before, or haven't seen it in a long time, here's the TV broadcast of the opening of Walt Disney World.


Random WDW Picture


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Earthquake at Disneyland

They were either testing a new attraction or there was an earthquake at Disneyland.  A 4.1 tremor was felt at DLR on Aug 29, according to this story at 
The rides at the Disneyland Resort were shut down briefly, but after safety testing, were then opened back up. At 2:00, a visitor at the theme park posted that they "felt the quake at Ariel's just a few bumps no shaking."
So, which is worse: a hurricane at WDW or an earthquake at DLR?  I would rather deal with a hurricane which at least has plenty of advance warning.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pixar Cruises

Holy Crap! If I have the time and the money, I would go on one of these cruises, I tell ya!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Random WDW Picture

It's one of the many reasons why we love Flame Tree BBQ at Disney's Animal Kingdom for a quick lunch. Besides the amazing food (love, LOVE the chicken), you also get this view while you eat!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Hollywood Studios changes - no more hat?

Check out this story from for an extensive discussion of possible changes at HS.  We already knew that the Cars Land attraction was likely, but many more changes are possible.
Hollywood Studios has been in the midst of an identity crisis over the last 10 years as film production came to an end, the Disney animation studio shut-down, and the Residential Street section of the Backlot Tour was bulldozed. Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show has been a disaster since it opened 7 years ago, now only performing 2 shows a day and the Backlot Tour is an expensive attraction that doesn’t serve many guests on a daily basis. This plot would be perfect for Cars Land, and here’s where we think it will go (along with some of the other rumored additions we’ll be telling you about here):
 It seems to be a given that the hat will go away and be replaced by  - what?  Other possible changes include Fantasmic, Rock n Roller Coaster and Star Wars, which might include an animatronics Yoda..

Random Disneyland Picture

Here's a view of the Matterhorn at Disneyland.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Wi-Fi At EPCOT and the Cruise Line

DisNews reports that free wi-fi is now available at EPCOT.

Also, this story talks about the wi-fi and Internet Cafe on the cruise ships.  The good news - wi-fi is available.  The bad news - there's a charge, and it looks like it could add up if you're not careful.  So, the whole ship is like a floating Internet cafe. When not using the wi-fi, you should be sure your device is completely off, or set to "cruise ship" mode (sometimes called airplane mode if you can't find cruise ship mode).  Here are the shipboard rates quoted from the article. 
Internet Rates
Internet/Wireless Internet Access
For sailings less than 7-nights:
Pay as you go - $0.75 per minute
50 min for $27.50 ($.55 per minute)
100 min for $40 ($.40 per minute)
250 min for $75 ($.30 per minute)
Internet/Wireless Internet Access
For sailings 7-nights or longer:
Pay as you go - $0.75 per minute
100 min for $55.00 ($.55 per minute)
250 min for $100 ($.40 per minute)
500 min for $150 ($.30 per minute)
 There is a $3.95 charge per message to send email from your shipboard email account, but no charge to receive email.

Where In Walt Disney World?

Where in Walt Disney World can you see this?


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Best resort in a hurricane?

Here's a question that seems to be appropriate given the current Hurricane Center forecast.  Assuming you are staying on property at WDW and will be forced to stay indoors for a day to ride out the storm, which resort would you rather be at?  Note: Grand Californian is not the right answer.

Information obtained the year Ivan was threatening says that all WDW resorts are built to withstand a hurricane.  So, where would you rather be?

Disney Villain Designer Dolls

Disney is releasing a set of 6 designer Villain dolls on October 15th in stores and October 16th online. The set was available for pre-order on August 20th.   The designer of the dolls is Steve Thompson.  See this post on "The Buzz", the Disney store blog.

In an interview with Steve, he talks about how he designed the dolls...
With the Villains, the designs I created are less of a literal translation of the original characters and more inspired by the Disney Villains. I consider my interpretation of the Disney Villains dolls  in this collection, as fashion sketches come to life. I used everything from runway looks in magazines, to couture gowns on pop stars to find inspiration for each of the Villains artwork

New Segway and breakfast tour at EPCOT

DisneyParks Blog posted this article about a new Segway tour at EPCOT.
Beginning September 17, Epcot guests can enjoy a new Segway tour that explores Walt Disney’s vision for a better tomorrow – and the results of that vision: The Florida Project and Epcot. The “Keep Moving Forward: See the World, Share the Dream Segway Tour” lasts three hours and includes a Segway training lesson, breakfast at Sunshine Seasons, an in-depth tour of World Showcase, and an exclusive Disney pin.
 We've seen the Segway tour at EPCOT in the past, so maybe the new one is different because it includes breakfast.  It costs $99 and last 3 hours.  A "3 hour tour" sounds familiar - something about a boat and an island.  Wonder if the new tour will be labeled KMFSWSDST.  Hmm, throw in a number or two and you have a pretty good password.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Disneyland Haunted Mansion Gingerbread House

DisneyParks Blog posted this article about the Gingerbread House at DLR Haunted Mansion.  This year the house in the ballroom of HM will be inspired by Jack Skellington and his companion Zero. 

It’s a Disneyland Resort tradition, and “Pumpkin King” Brian D. Sandahl, Senior Designer for Disney Entertainment Creative Development, has a wild and wacky new design for this year’s gingerbread house, the holiday centerpiece on the table in the ballroom of the Haunted Mansion Holiday in Disneyland park.

Of course, it’s not just any holiday, but one inspired by Jack Skellington and the animated film, “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas,” so there are no reds and greens. So there’s a little bit of Halloween and a little bit of Christmas all rolled into one with orange berries, black pine garland, and garishly bright colors.
 Zero will be flying around the top of the house, adding to the theme of Nightmare Before Christmas.   The new Halloween design will be ready to see September 14.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pin Sorting Day

We had our monthly Windy City Pin trading yesterday. Got more pins to hang in frames.

Today will be a day devoted to sorting out all the pins that we have and want to keep, all the pins that we want to trade, and all the pins that we have framed, but no longer want to keep. This is in anticipation of our departure to WDW for this year's Pin/Trading Celebration event at Epcot. Just need to figure out which are the pins we will bring with us this year for trading. It's not going to be easy because we are limiting ourselves only to two pin trading albums. There are two of us, and we need to make sure each album fits into one backpack. That way, we won't be hauling bags and bags of it.

We will be staying at the Boardwalk, which is walking distance to the World Showplace where the event will take place. Unfortunately, the early registration has been announced to be at Coronado Springs, which we all hate! Oh well, can't win 'em all.

OK, have to get back to sorting pins.


Random WDW Picture

OK, this has got to be one of the most difficult shot I've tried to get. I've attempted this several times, but most of them came out very blurry. This is the best one I have so far.

I'm guessing that I don't need to tell you where this is, unless, of course, you've never been on it.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dole Whip Pin Update 5

If you want to get up-to-date on this madness, read my previous post on this.

I reached a milestone in my quest to collect as many Chip 'n Dale Dole Whip pins as I can. last month, I reached 100 Dole Whip pins! This accomplishment is due in no small part to my many friends (enablers?) who helped me in scouring for this pin, which is now rather difficult to find.

So now all 100 of this pin are on my vest.

And yes, this vest will make it's 3rd appearance at the upcoming Trading/Pin Celebration event at Epcot in early September. It has to. Last year, people who I don't know or don't remember found me and asked me how many I had collected, since they remembered me from the previous year.

This year, I'm going to try my darndest to get a photo warning this with Chip n' Dale.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Balloons At The Magic Kingdom

Have you noticed that the only WDW theme park that sells balloons is the Magic Kingdom? Yup!

So here are a series of photos that I took of the balloons along Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom.

Phew! That's a lot of hot air, or helium!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

An in-depth Disneyland attendance update posted this long article by Al Lutz about the changes in attendance patterns at the two parks that make up DLR.  People have been flocking to Cars Land, World of Color and Mad T Party in DCA, so that the attendance at Disneyland has tended to drop but gone way up at DCA.  The article gives a year over year comparison of attendance figures that show this trend.  According to the article, the net effect of this so far has been to balance the crowds at both parks so that neither of them seem overcrowded.  Original thinking was for Disneyland to hold its attendance numbers and for DCA to see a slight increase.
What actually has happened in the last six weeks is something far more dramatic and far more impactful to Disneyland Park and the entire resort itself than anyone could have imagined. Instead of DCA increasing attendance by 5,000 to 8,000 and Disneyland staying flat at its breaking-point numbers, DCA has seen its daily attendance figures skyrocket by 14,000 to 23,000 compared to the same dates last summer. Even more dramatically, next door at Disneyland the attendance has declined by 7,000 to 15,000 per day compared to last summer, and the reduction of those crowds have made a huge impact on the overall feel at the 57 year old park with its much older facilities and much narrower walkways. There are now several days per week, often on Saturdays, when DCA gets higher daily attendance numbers than Disneyland.
The result is that Disneyland Park has had to entirely recalibrate the attendance estimates it uses like a Bible to plan for staffing and capacity, impacting everything from how many Davy Crockett Canoes to run on the river, to how many windows to open at Tomorrowland Terrace, to how much back stock to deliver every night for the next day’s rush at The Emporium. The operations teams inside the parks have reacted quickly, although the sharp pencil boys in TDA and up in Burbank have been much slower to respond and come to grips with the new attendance figures and crowd patterns.
The article also mentions that Disney is looking at this situation and thinking about doing something similar with Hollywood Studios, where attendance has apparently been tailing off.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Grand Floridian DVC construction posted this update  with many photos of the construction of the new DVC Villa at the Grand Floridian. Various sources have reported the completion date as late 2013.   

Friday, August 10, 2012

Disney security guard adds unexpected moment

Gene passed along this story from about a Disney security guard who made a little princess very happy by asking for her autograph.  It shows how cast members can add that extra touch that make trips to WDW special.  The article didn't mention how the 4-year old photo just surfaced.
The photo from September 2008 shows Alli Bunchuk, then just 5 and outfitted in the light-blue, puffy-sleeved gown of her favorite princess, signing Wieczorek’s book. For the Bunchuk family, who are planning their eighth trip to the park in September, it was a standout moment.
“We started to walk in the park when the security guard stopped her and said, ‘Excuse me, Princess, can I have your autograph?’” recalls her grandmother, Barbara Bunchuk. “She couldn’t believe it. Throughout the day, she kept saying, ‘I can’t believe he thought I was a real princess.’”

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Lighted Ears - just the beginning?

Disney seems to be on to a good thing with the new lighted ears that can be turned on in synch with shows and attractions.  Recently seen in use at DLR's World of Color (see ZapperZ's post on 6/15), the ears have great potential. has an article sort of buried with many others in this page,  and it is quoted in its entirety below.  Only a little imagination is needed to picture the parks after dark once the ears take off. 
(7/2/12) Screamscape sources tell us that Walt Disney World management is absolutely drooling over the possible sales potential of being able to sell the Glow with the Show Ears at some point in the near future. You can catch a great video of the Glow with the Show Ears in action at the World of Color show at California Adventure in the video clip here. The new electronic mouse ear hats are being sold for about $24 at the moment, and WDW merchandise’s eyes are just twinkling with dollar signs at the idea of being able to make these things work in some fashion at every big night spectacular at WDW.
    As such, the rumor mill about possible new show concepts is buzzing at full tilt right now with ideas for a new Illuminations show at Epcot, ways to add them into the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, Fantasmic at the Studios (or a new show), or the long rumored Rivers of Light concept for Animal Kingdom. Right now it seems the quickly way to get the Ears into the park ASAP would be as an enhancement to the Magic Kingdom’s current nighttime lineup of Wishes, The Magic, Memories and You, and possibly even added in as a way to plus the eventual return of Spectromagic when Main Street Electrical Parade leaves once again. (Spectro was previously rumored to possibly return in 2013.)
August 10th update - the mania is starting and it looks like the ears will be huge.  See this story  from DisneyParksBlog.  Fantasmic at DLR will soon incorporate the ears.

Photos of Lion King Wing of Art of Animation

See this post on for many photos of the Lion King wing at the Art of Animation resort.

Random WDW Picture

At the entrance to Expedition Everest.


Monday, August 06, 2012

Mystery Illness linked to Wild Africa Trek

This story  in the Orlando Sentinel Daily Disney talks about a mysterious illness that hit many people who were on the Wild Africa Trek tour at AK.  The Orange County Health Department is looking at people who took the tour in June and July, with the first report reaching the Health Dept on June 11.

Investigators have documented "several dozens of cases" of illnesses among guests who took the Disney tour in June and July, said Dain Weister, a spokesman for the Orange County Health Department.
The source of the illness remains a mystery.
"It appears to be some kind of stomach bug," Weister said. "It could be food-borne, it could be water-borne, it could be something that's passed on person-to-person, it could be something that's picked up by surface."
Weister said all evidence so far suggests the illness "was confined to this one excursion" and not widespread within the rest of the Animal Kingdom theme park, which draws approximately 9.8 million visitors a year. 
 The kitchen that makes the meals served on the tour was inspected and no problems were found.  The most likely source of the illness seems to be common items such as binoculars that were handled by people on the tour.  Some people were very ill and most people got over it in a few days.  Of course, a "few days" could be most of the trip spent in the bathroom.  Based on this reporter's first hand experience, and other known incidents of similar illness at WDW, the traveler would be strongly advised to take precautions against this kind of thing.  As Disney jams the parks with millions of people, your odds of getting sick seem to be going up.

RFID Scanners at Haunted Mansion

This article at reports that new RFID scanners are in place at the entrance to Haunted Mansion. This is apparently in connection with the new FastPass system.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Jason Segel As The Hitchhiking Ghosts

Oh, this is rather neat.

Annie Liebovitz and Disney have come up with another series of portraits featuring famous celebrities and sports figures. This one is a portrait of Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Jason Segel as the three Hitchhiking Ghosts from the Haunted Mansion.

Y'know, they've produced a lot of these already. What do they do with all of them? Are they being sold somewhere, or are they going to be on display in some fashion? It would be a waste not to do anything with them, since some of them are quite spectacular, and I'm sure, they cost an arm and a leg to produce.


Friday, August 03, 2012

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Cars Land Rumor

Here's a good rumor, reported by Dis News at this link.  It seems that Cars Land may be coming to Hollywood Studios.  In the competition with Universal Studios, Disney could be trying to add something pretty big.  As the story states, this would be a 3-4 year project if true.
This is strictly rumor at this point, but what we've heard is that Cars Land may be coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios, replacing the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. This show is apparently very costly to run several times a day, which may be one of the driving factors behind its removal. If more space is needed for the new land, the less-popular Backlot Tour may be the next to go.

Free WiFi At The Magic Kingdom!

Without much fanfare, Disney rolled out free Wifi connection at the Magic Kingdom yesterday!

Free guest WiFi was rolled out with no formal announcement at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park yesterday. Guests who connected to the "Disney-Guest" network and accepted Disney's terms of service were able to freely utilize the Internet using the service. While Disney has not responded to an inquiry regarding the details of the service, MousePlanet was provided with a statement that "WiFi is on scheduled [sic] to be rolled out for all of our theme parks and DTD by early 2013." Free WiFi was recently rolled out at all resorts without fanfare, as well.
Darn! I hope they do this for Epcot in time for the upcoming Pin/Trading Celebration event in early September. It would be very handy to have Wifi during that event to look up PinPics etc.