Saturday, December 29, 2012

O'Hare Immigration

I flew in from Hong Kong yesterday into Chicago's O'Hare International Terminal (Terminal 5). I haven't done this in ages, since my usual port of entry into the country is either JFK, LA, or SF. In any case, I had been traveling for more than 24 hours, and haven't slept much during that period.

While standing in line waiting to get through Immigration, my ears perked up. Holy Cow! They were playing the music from "Illuminations" in the background! I know that tune anywhere considering that "Illuminations" is my most favorite fireworks show in all of WDW.

But the funny thing was that the music had been chopped up. It wasn't being played in the order that we are familiar with. The "slow" part kept getting edited into the middle of the fast part.

I would love to hear the story behind this. Did they get Disney permission to use the chopped up tune? Did the Homeland Security people attended a Disney Institute training and, in the process, got Disney's permission to use their tunes? Anyone has any info?

In any case, considering the groggy state that I was in, I certainly gave myself credit for being alert enough to notice this.

Now wait till I tell you about my shopping spree at the Hong Kong Disneyland stores at the Hong Kong airport!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

WDW Premium pass discount drops to 10%

The merchandise discount for WDW premium annual passes will drop to 10%, after being at 20% this year.  This posting on DIS News has a statement under Annual Pass Merchandise that the discount for the premuim pass will be 10%, the same as for regular annual passes.

New Tapas restaurant at Morocco?

The rumor mill is talking about a new Tapas restaurant at Morocco.  This story  at DIS News says construction may begin in 2013, and the restaurant would sit on the shore of the lagoon.

The restaurant would have 120 outdoor seats, as well as 60 indoor seats. Menu items would include a variety of tapas (appetizer-sized portions), olive oils and wines from Mediterranean countries.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fastpass for EPCOT Illuminations has an article about Disney testing the use of Fastpasses to get preferred viewing locations for Illuminations at EPCOT.  This is probably inspired by the similar way you can get a certain viewing spot at Disneyland for World of Color.  However, there is a big difference.  The viewing area for World of Color is somewhat confined, but you can see Illuminations from just about any spot around the lagoon.  Your Fastpass for the "preferred" location for the fireworks at EPCOT might seem less desirable if the wind is blowing at you. So, is this a solution for a non-existent problem?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

No Holiday Lighting At World Showcase

Sometime, you look at something, and you have a nagging feeling that something is missing.

That's what I had with me last week week when we were at Epcot's World Showcase waiting for Illuminations. We've been here for the holidays for the past few years, so we're quite familiar with the decorations, etc. However, in this one, even most of the people in my group kinda either missed it, or didn't care much about it.

During the holidays, the various pavilions at World Showcase used to have this additional blueish lighting. It made the buildings look even more festive in the evening. However, this year, I noticed that this special lighting is entirely missing! I mentioned this to other members of the group, and they either didn't remember, or maybe vaguely were aware that there were such lighting during the holidays. Instead, what we saw this year were the typical evening lighting that one can see on a normal evening.

Just to be sure that I wasn't hallucinating during those other times, I looked back on the photos that I took in previous years. I'll let you compare them yourself and see if I'm correct.

1. This trip

2. This trip


3. This trip


So as you can see, it was as recently as last year (2011) that they had these special holiday lighting on the various pavilions. So are they cutting even more corners now? It is bad enough that Epcot lost the Lights of Winter a few years ago. That lost was certainly more obvious than this one. But I certainly noticed it, and I wonder how many others did.

It's just that I'm apprehensive to think that this might be a trend in cutting back many of the "details" that made this place so special.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Very Tomorrowland Christmas

A scene from the Christmas party show at Tomorrowland.

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Mickey's sweetheart in real life (sort of).

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Sequel To Alice?

News reports are indicating that Disney has ordered a sequel to Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland". The script will be written by Linda Woolverton, who had previously written for "The Lion King", and "Beauty and the Beast". The movie will be produced by Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd, the same producers as "Alice".

As of the report, no word yet on the participation of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter,  Anne Hathaway, and "Alice" herself Mia Wasikowska.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Candlelight Processional

The popular Christmas concert at EPCOT, with orchestra and choir. Guest narrator was Jodi Benson, recently named as one of the Disney Legends.

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Last time this century

Donald is checking his watch as a very special moment happens. The time and date is 12:12 12/12/12. A combination like this will not happen again this century.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Beach Club Christmas

The chocolate castle at the Beach Club.

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Beaches & Cream

At the counter at B & C.

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Gingerbread house at the Boardwalk

Donald is coming down the chimney- not a good idea.

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Agent P?

Is one of these the real Agent P?

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DVC Merry Mixer

Inside the DVC Merry Mixer.

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DVC Merry Mixer

Waiting in line for the DVC Merry Mixer.

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The Chandelier at Palo

This is the chandelier at Palo on the Disney Dream.

It is supposed to represent spaghetti and meatballs.

Whatever it was supposed to be, it looks spectacular. And so was the food!


Sunday, December 09, 2012

Christmas at the campgrounds

A night view of some of the decorations at Ft. Wilderness. Some of the campers go all out.

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Getting ready for the parade

These ponies are getting ready to go to work pulling Cinderella's coach in the MK Christmas parade.

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Donald with a parade pony

Our favorite duck may be reminiscing about Grandma Duck's farm, as he looks at a pony a short while before the MK Christmas parade.

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Sunday, December 02, 2012

Almost there

We are at the terminal and checked in. Just waiting to board.

Disney Dream

We are at the port waiting to get into the terminal.


We just checked out of our hotel room and about ready to return our rental. We will then take the shuttle to Port Canaveral to board the Disney Dream. Our cruise is about to commence!!!