Sunday, December 16, 2007

Tom Sawyer Island

On this last trip to WDW we did something that we have never done before, we went to Tom Sawyer Island. This is probably the only part of the Magic Kingdom that we have not seen. On our third day we had breakfast reservations for Crystal Palace at 8:00. Since the park opened at 9:00 we decided that this would be the day to go to Tom Sawyer’s Island(TSI). Everything that morning worked out well. We got to the entrance to the dock of the raft that would take us to TSI at around 9:15 and discovered something else we did not know about TSI, it opens at 10:00. No problem though as Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain were open. We rode both twice and came back around to the raft dock a little after ten. We waited a couple of minutes and then began to load the raft. This raft is about 30 feet long by about 20 feet wide. There are a couple of crates and supplies that are stored on deck for show. Afterall, this is a raft found on the Mississippi. With all the items on deck it’s like a maze as to where you can stand for the ride over. The raft is powered by an inboard motor and steered with a big branch looking rudder. It only takes a couple minutes to cross the river and then we are there. At the dock are a small refreshment stand and some benches. From here there are a couple of paths that move out in different directions. We went left and slightly up first and came to the entrance of Injun Joe’s cave. Very dark and narrow until you come out to the treasure room. This room has a pile of lit up treasure, jewels and gold separated by a small guard-rail to keep you away. Here we found a surprise. One of Tom Sawyer’s white-wash brushes. I had read about this before going. The Cast Member’s(CM) at the beginning of the day hide 5 to 7 of these paint brushes all over the island. If you find one of these, you can turn it into a CM and get a family Fastpath for either Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain. More about this in a little while as we needed to wait to get back to the dock on the other side of the river to get it. After finding our way out of Injun Joe’s cave we moved our way up toward the windmill and further onto the island. As we kept walking we could see other parts of the park from the island. We did not know that there was a dock on the far side of BTMR. There was another raft docked there. We saw this better when we took the train around the park later on in our trip. After a couple minutes of walking we came to Fort Langhorn. It is amazing how thick the vegetation on the island is. We did not see the Fort until we got close to this. Also, as an aside, we found out where the Fort got it’s name from a couple of days later. Does the name Samuel Clemens ring a bell, well his full name is Samuel Langhorn Clemens. The Fort is amazing. A true western fort as you have been taught to remember. Four corner turrets and the walls that combine them. We went up into the palisade and went into the turrets and there were guns mounted ready to defend. Another pleasant surprise, when you pulled the trigger, they made an authentic firing sound. They were electric, but still cool. Before we left this level we actually found another paint brush. As we already had ours, we gave the brush to a boy that was near by and told him what to do with it. The floor of the fort had a couple of buildings including a storage shed, a stable, complete with men and animals and a stockade with a prisoner sleeping it off. There was even a doorway that led to the basement of the fort and an escape tunnel to get out in case of an attack gone bad. As we wandered back toward the dock, we continue past it and went around the island on the other side. This is where Aunt Polly’s snack stand, but it was closed. Past Aunt Polly’s is the barrel bridge. Just like it sounds a bridge mounted on barrels. Pretty fun. As we were crossing it I heard the howl of a wolf and looked around and there was the Haunted Mansion and on the edge of the river was a sign naming the bend in the river as Howling Wolf Bend. Another aside. A couple of nights later we were walking on the grounds of our hotel which is across the lake from the Magic Kingdom. I coulda swore I heard the wolf howl again. A couple of seconds later my son confirmed it by asking if I heard the wolf howling. After this we hiked across the middle of the island and back over to the dock and got a ride over to the main dock. The CM asked us to follow her around the side of the dock and she then filled out and gave us the Family FastPass. Very Cool. The down side was the guy on the line of BTMR did not let us keep it. We asked him to cross off the side where it mentioned us riding, but he would hear none of it and he kept it. Oh, well. Tom Sawyer island was a very cool experience that had been there for as long as I had been going to the parks and we have never been there. It makes me wonder how many other places are waiting for us to explore. Make the time and check out the island when you can. It took us only about 2 hours. If you have any experiences from TSI, add a comment and let me hear about it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Enchanted Animation Director Interview

I am a Disney Podcast listener to the core. I can listen to a dozen or so podcasts each week. This week I justified it once again. Even though this is Mousefest week and most of the Disney Podcasters are down in WDW, I still downloaded a couple of shows this past weekend. Nathan Rose of the Magical Definition Podcast was the cause of this post. He had an interview with the Asst. Animation Director from the movie Enchanted.
"On this week's show, the MDP Crew truly has an enchanted treat for you! Nathan is joined by Animation Director Chris Sonnenberg as they discuss the production of Disney’s holiday hit, Enchanted. "
This is one of the reasons I listen to these podcasts, for the other side of the Disney company. We can talk about the parks all we want, but it's animation that built the Disney Company. It was all started by a mouse after all or so they say. Nathan and Chris discuss all aspects of Chris's background leading up to the movie Enchanted. He has worked on projects with Disney such as Pocahontas, Mulan, Hercules and more. He has also worked on TV's the Critic and Futurama. Chris right now works for a company that did the animation in Enchanted for Disney. The bonus to this interview is Chris gives a quickie description of the animation process. Very educational.
One of the key points that comes across in the interview is that they had the amount of time that would be spent on a feature to create the 15 minutes of animation in Enchanted. I have convinced my daughter to see Enchanted again so I can go ands check out the animation a little more closely. Click on this link to the Magical Definition Page and download the Decmeber 9th show. It's worth your time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Animal Kingdom Dream FastPass

This was on of our Year of a Million Dreams prizes we had won. We were in the Animal Kingdom on the second to last day of our November trip. We had just rode the Kilimanjaro Safari and went on the Pagani Forest Exploration Trail. This is a nature walk that educates as you walk along. We were able at one point to track and determine what kind of animal it was we were tracking by it's tracks and dung. Yeah, dung. Fake and plastic, but dung. After that we went through the nature guide hut that was kinda closed for re-habbing. As we left the hut, I had gotten ahead of rest of the family. As I went around a corner there was a Cast Member waiting for me to pass. I grabbed the boy and said that the wife and daughter were also with me. I still did not know what was going on, I just wanted to keep us together. As we passed the CM, she told the people behind us that it would be nice if they would wait a couple of minutes as the line ahead was getting crowded. Around the next bend were the Dream Team Cast Memebers. Standard issue Khakis and blue oxfords. They stopped about 20 of us and told us that we were to get the Animal Kingdom Year of a Million Dreams FastPasses. They passed out the lanyards and passes. Wow, how cool was that. We had already been on the safari and had our Fastpasses for Everest and the lines were not that big. So mine stayed intact. The rest of the family used their Kali River Rapids tab in the afternoon.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I am back after a very busy October and a Out of This World trip to WDW. I'll be posting as soon as I get it all together. I can't wait. A lot happened this trip and a whole lot of first time things for all of us. A lot of fun times in the parks, and bunch of Year of a Million Dreams wishes granted. It'll take a lot of magic to top this last trip but it'll be fun trying.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I just had the opportunity to view a 8 and a half minute movie called "How Walt Disney Cartoons are Made" over on YouTube.com. This was a short documentary about how the Disney Studios operated in the mid to late 1930's. The main story is of the work and technology that went into the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Although in the cartoon making process they use Mickey, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy. The numbers in the process to make Snow White are kind of staggering. A staff of 750 worked around the clock to make this full length Cartoon. Over 225,000 hand painted cells. Nice to read, but in this clip I was able to see them at work. From the story people through the Sweat Box sessions with Walt and the Gag Men to the rough sketches to the ink and paint and then the filming. I actually saw what a Movieola looks like. I have read differnt accounts of this machine being used, but never saw one.
This documentary showed me a little of how big an opening Snow White was. Also, the fame level of Walt Disney in the late 1930's. The clip ends up with Walt Describing the personalities, which based on all accounts I've read, was crucial to him in making this movie work.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Osborne Family Lights at Disney Hollywood Studios

It's almost that time of year again and the Osborne family lights will be opening up to the public this November 14th. From what I hear the lights are already up and are being tested. Last year names Osborne had a show for his house bound daughter that grew over the years. It grew so big that he started buying the houses on the neighborhood next to his to decorate. Did I mention he had a couple of bucks? The light show grew so big that the town had him remove it and he then donated it to WDW. It used to be on the Backlot Tour, down the street where the Golden Girls house was. It was then moved to NY and San Francisco streets where it is today. Last year was the first year that they used the psynchronized music and lights. They even had snow falling when it was 70 degrees. The snow kinda felt slippery, like soap, but it fell just like snow. As you walk around there were a couple of DJ's playing Christmas songs over the speakers. Every 20 or so minutes, the radio station banter would fade away, the lights would dim down and a classic piece of holiday music would start and the lights would blink on and off to the music for about 20 minutes. WOW! Then back to the radio. At one point we heard the DJ's claim that there are over 70 Hidden Mickey's(HM) in the lights. Check out the HM above the marquee and in the windows. The picture of the cartoon was taken through a window on NY street. Twas the night before Christmas, the version with the mice, was playing on a TV in the window. Please, please make sure that this is on your list of things to do if you are in the parks during the Holidays.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Internet is a Disney Fan's Friend: Planning

Deb Wills’s site All Ears Net is a great place to start your planning. This site covers everything. I mostly use it for news from the parks and for their updated menus. What better way to choose a restaurant than by reading it’s menu? Pricing is included. Deb also has a large staff of writers, and bloggers.

This is in my opinion the perfect counterpart to the All Ears Net site. This is the
Dis web site. They have constant updates and a large amount of photos. They have their own podcast and forum. I mention the forum, found at Disboards.com, because if you cannot find out something on any of the sites you find listed in this post, you will at the Disboards.

Intercot is another massive sight on the WDW parks and hotels. This information is updated often. Intercot also has a very good forum to help you find answers not found on the web sites. This site also has an extensive amount of pictures and attraction videos.

TouringPlans.com is the Web site from the guys who put together the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World tour book. The site is run by Len Testa from the WDWTODAY.com Podc
ast. If you are going to the parks during a crowded time, use Len’s touring plans. I have heard and read many good things about these touring plans. The parks, except for one day, were to empty to use the plans, but for the one day in Animal Kingdom that was crowded, it worked great. Also, just as valuable in your planning, is the Crowd Calendar. It was eerily correct for our last trip in Dec ’06.

This is a very detailed set of schedules for all forms of
Walt Disney World Entertainment. Steve, with his contacts, has times for everything. And I mean everything. Need to find out when the Moroccan music group MoRockin starts a set in Epcot’s World Showcase or the times for Mor Thaim, the African drummers over at Animal Kingdom, this site will help you out. I have found many things listed on Steve’s site that I have never heard of before which also makes it a great source of things to do.

Guide to the Magic Tim Foster is the author of a number of Guide to the Magic tour books. His web site is great. I would say this would be the site to start your Disney park planning if this is to be your first trip. Tim’s site is very informative in a friendly colorful way. There are guides and tips and maps and plenty of pictures.

Enjoy all of these Disney Planning Sites. Next is Walt Disney History Sites.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wacky Quacky Pass

I was confirming ressies for our next trip and I found this new thing to do over at the Official Disney Web site, if you can believe it. It's called the Wacky Quacky Pass game. In it you are helping a very forgetfull Donald Duck try to remember where he left his Wacky Packy Pass in his travels over the Walt Disney World property. It's pretty much simple trivia about the parks. And using maps to get around. It is simple, but very cool. Can't wait to let the kids in on this one. It's the perfect level for them. This game has been around a while, so check out the archive at the bottom of the main screen. As a reward, you get a different high res picture from around the WDW property to be used as a Wallpaper.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Gaining an Education about Walt

As you can see from this site, I have some interest in Walt Disney and the company he has created. The Parks, the movies, the characters have brought years of fun. However, other than a report I did in 4th grade I had not looked in depth as to who Walt Disney was and how he created his company. That has been a quest that I had started about 6 months ago and the information seems endless. However, the issue I have run into is what to believe. For example, I saw a post on Michael Barrier’s (author of the Animated Man) web site where he was basically pointing out how some of the other authors of Disney Biographies were not always correct in their stories. So who’s right? That is the sub-goal, use the various biographies that are available and multiple, creditable Blogs found on the internet and any other form of media to determine a true idea of what working for Walt Disney would have been like and what contributed to his successes and failures. Today I came across a post on the Blue Sky Disney blog. It was a very simple post but it carried valuable information. This post had Walt’s “nine old men”, with a paragraph about each one. A very nice quick summary of each man and his contributions. The Disney History Blog is another very good Walt Disney historical blog, as the name suggests. There is not a day that goes by when there is not a post about anything related to Walt Disney in multiple ways. There were cartoon set-up sheets posted a little while ago and a Macaroni & Cheese recipe from Walt himself from 1936. This site is also very liberal with links to pertinent articles on other websites. I will write more in a Websites to Check-out post coming up soon. The Disney and More blog is great source of information along with the Disney Family website. I am sure there are more out there and I look forward to finding them. So, Thank You authors and bloggers for accelerating my education. I would hope to be able to participate in the same manner some day.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

O' Canada Circle-Vision Re-Opens

The newly re-furbished O Canada Circle-vision movie just re-opened the other day and I have heard and seen this new Martin Short, hosted version. Before I go into my thoughts about the new movie, let me point out that in the first sentnece of this post I have touched on two constantly talked about topics in the Disney online community. The first is that I listened and saw the new movie without going to Epcot. Some would argue that it ruins the attraction if you do this ahead of time. My thinking is that I get there once every year or two. I might get on a new ride once or twice depending on crowds and such so I don't want to waste time with a lot of the big flashy effects of the ride that you see on your first ride. I want that newness of the attraction to be past, so I can concentrate on the real details that might be hidden and make it a little more memorable. The second highly talked about topic is that a Disney Attraction was modified at all. This is no issue in my eyes for the most part. All attractions will eventually need to be either fully re-habbed and modernized or retired. There are attractions that I'll always miss because of the attachement I had from seeing them as a kid, but if they don't make sense in today's world, fix it or yank it.
Which leads me to the O Canada update that just re-opened. I first listened it on Earl's Trapped on Vacation podcast and then saw the video posted on Youtub by Ricky Brigante's new venture, Orlando Attractions Magazine.



I really liked this update. I have watched Martin Short from the SCTV days of old. I think that the bits of humor that he adds is a great addition. A couple quick obersvations, The Blue Nose song has been removed, which is fine with me. The Canadian mounties are still in. The theme song is still in and the only negative about the entire upgrade is with the music to 'You're a Lifetime Journey'. The singing is first rate, the music is a little too techno. I'll need to listen again. Anyway. Total thumbs up here as to this Epcot Attraction upgrade. Looking forward to the seeing this in person and can't wait to see the new Haunted Mansion.

Podcamp Philly Sept. 7, 8 & 9

PodCamp Philly
My first non-Disney related post, hmmmm.
If you are in the Philly area and have an interest in Pod/Vidcasting, Blogging, or any other form of New Media, then you might want to check out the first PodCamp Philly Unconference, Sept. 7, 8 & 9. In a nut shell this is a weekend long sharing of ideas to be held mostly at Drexel University. A unconference, from what I have been told, is a conference where the attendees are the presenters. Check out all of the details at the PodCamp Philly web site and check out what is going on. As for my connection, my compadre Bill is the co-owner of the Philly Food Guys Podcast. Bill had attended this conference in NY and was so impressed, got himself on the committee organizing this event. I plan on being there on Saturday.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Time for a Change; New Look

I was very tired of seeing the same header day after day at the top of this blog. The fact that I shared it with a lot of other Disney themed blogs that use Blogspot was equally annoying. So, I threw together the above logo. It is a little crude but I think it came out pretty good for using 7 year old software. I am going to have a very cool and professional looking header soon. Check out the Disneyland sign at the bottom of this Blog to compare it to what I put together. I had this idea for the longest time. I finally saw my idea come to life, so to speak over at The Mickey Room. This is a Disney Podcast I had reviewed earlier. When I saw this logo, the only thing different from the way I saw it was no black background and of course different text. Wayne uses this as a show tag for their archived shows. Even though I built this from scratch, I modelled it pretty much after his with some changes to the flags, the added castle, and colors. I also wanted a floating logo with no background. So thanks Disneyland and Wayne from The Mickey Room for the new logo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The MouseStation/MousePlanet Watch Podcast

The Mouse Station podcast has been around since the beginning of 2007. This was the former Magical Memories podcast. Now, Mike and Mark are the official podcasters for the Mouseplanet.com website. In their words, Broadcasting from the MouseStation, high in orbit around the MousePlanet, join our podcasting crew each week for news and information from MousePlanet on the MousePlanetWatch show, and hear our feature story, the Tip of the Week, a Magical Moment, the Featured Attraction, our Review System Spotlight and more on the MouseStation. Hosted by former Disney cast member Mike Demopoulos and MousePlanet editor and staff columnist Mark Goldhaber, these weekly shows will help you to relive the Magic!” This is a very informative podcast. The two gentlemen are able to take advantage of the Mouseplanet Press Pass and are able to attend a number of press only events for exclusive reports. They often have great interviews with Disney legends current and past. Both guys also have extensive first hand knowledge of the USA Disney parks. Mark's WDW Park Update that comes out every Monday is packed with news and updates from the world. That combined with the collected knowledge at Mouseplanet.com makes this a podcast full of facts and tips and park announcements. They have even kept the idea of their last podcast by having a Magical Memories segment. Another nice feature of this podcast is that it comes out 3-4 times a week. So take some time and listen to this podcast. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

So your going to WDW: Park Parades

There are many different parades that you can see when you go to the Walt Disney World parks. Here is a summary by park of what they have to offer. Make sure you check for times on the dates you go. As far as how early to start getting a seat, rule of thumb is 45-60 minutes but that could change either way based on crowds.

Magic Kingdom: The MK’s main parade is the Dreams Come True parade and usually runs once per day and usually at 3:00 pm. This is the classic daytime parade that had all the characters in Glass Snow Globes until recently. It stars most of the classic Disney characters on all manner of floats and walking by. The parade starts at the gate between Adventureland and Fontierland right next to Splash Mountain. The parade then winds it’s way through Frontierland, Liberty Square and onto the Hub and Main Street. Everyone has their favorite place to watch this parade from. We have seen it from where it starts, from the Hub and from Main Street and from in front of the Magic Kingdom entrance next to the Town Square Exposition Hall. Can’t say any place was bad as long as your close to the front of the crowd.
The other parade at the Magic Kingdom is Spectromagic. This is the incredible lighted parade that runs at night. Until you see this parade, you cannot truly appreciate it. It is magical. The lights, music, the characters and to certain extent the promise of Fireworks right after make this an incredible parade. Not only the parade floats light up, but so do all of the characters riding on floats and walking. Spectromagic starts near the entrance of the MK and goes the opposite way the day parade goes. We have only seen this parade from Main Street and the Hub. Again if your toward the front, all seats are good.
There is a third Parade at the Magic Kingdom. That is the Holiday Parade. This is held on nights that the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is held and the last couple of days before and including Christmas. This parade, of course, ends with Santa.
There is also a Halloween Parade the is held for nights that the MNSSHP is held. This is of course a Halloween themed parade. I have seen video of it with the Grave Diggers from the Haunted Mansion and the dance they do in the parade is very cool. Did I mention that the Parade Grand Marshall is the Head-less Horse-man? He rides the parade rout sans head before the parade on a real horse.
You can also add the Princess and Pirate Parade to this list also. Run on special nights, staring of course, the Princesses of Disney World and the great Captain Jack Sparrow.

Disney Hollywood Studios
The DHS parade is the Stars and Motor Cars parade. We have seen this parade a couple of times and it is a fun parade. Instead of floats, the characters all ride in cool customized cars. There are some characters that walk also. The Power Rangers were a big favorite of the little guys. There are many of the later movies characters. Mulan, Muppets, and Star Wars characters are backed by many other characters. This parade begins near the Star Tours Ride and winds it’s way toward the entrance of the park only to take a right before the entrance. There is a Holiday version of this parade. Basically they add a lot of tinsel and snow to the cars. There is a rumour that this parade will be getting changed out in 2008. Look for a Pixar character based parade.
Animal Kingdom
The AK parade is the Mickey's Jammin’ Jungle parade. This is a very African looking parade with all of your favorite, mostly animal, Disney characters. This is also the only parade that you can watch pass you twice without moving too far. If you stand next to the BBB stand and watch it coming from your left then cross the street and watch it as it finishes it’s circle around the park. There is a holiday version of this parade also. Mickey's Jingle Jungle parade, I think.

Epcot

There is no parade in Epcot anymore.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Disney and More Blog

I found a great site the other day as I was tooling around the Internet looking for some new Disney Blogs. The name of the site was the Disney and More Blog. This a very colorful and informative Blog. He covers all aspects of Walt Disney's World and of course More. The majority of his latest posts cover a lot of Walt Disney and his life with the Company, the Public and his Private life. The icing on this wonderful Disney treat of a blog are the colorful pictures and the detailed drawings and graphs that he uses in all of his posts. In his words:


"To all who come to this happy blog, welcome! Like at Disneyland, we celebrate here the past, the present and the future! You will find here the latest infos about Disney theme parks, attraction art-work or rare Disney historical photos. You can also watch great videos and even buy some Disney art or rare collectibles, and much more!"


My first visit to this blog lasted over two hours. This blog is run by Alain Littaye. Alain is from Paris, France and his profile lists him as a the co-author of the the Disneyland Paris from Sketch to Reality book and is a book designer and photographer and all around Disney Park fan. Alain is a constant poster. In fact he just posted another article on Walt's Apartment and Club 33 in Disneyland while I wrote this post. This is a quality site. I would normally say take a couple of minutes and check out the site, but I would be lying. So take a couple of hours and check out this site. You will not be disappointed. And since his site has been around a lot longer than mine, it looks like my header will need to be changed. This is another great Disney Website to Check Out.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Escape to Witch Mountain 2007


The other day I had just finished reading an article about the Disney Park's mountains and a rather random thought came to me. What about their mountain movie, Escape to Witch Mountain? I remember this movie as a kid and as I went to do a couple quick searches on the net, and came up with some un-expected news. It seems that Disney has decided to do a re-make of it. I was, to say the least, a little curious. All of the references that I found all pointed to Borys Kit and the Hollywood Reporter as the source to the story. I saw zilch at the Walt Disney Company Corp. web site. So nothing confirmed. However, the director of the movie is said to be Andy Fickman. He is known for Anaconda, Reefer Madness, and She's the Man. He's also just Directed a Family Movie for Disney for 2007, The Game Plan, with The Rock. Andrew Gunn of Gunn Films will Produce. He has produced a lot of Disney movies including Sky High and both Freaky Friday movies.

From what I remember of the movie Escape to Witch Mountain, it was pretty cool. I remember wanting to have the type of powers the kids had. Heck , I was 10. I almost remember the commercials on TV leading up to the release as much as the movie. It must have been a good add campaign if I remember it today.

Hopefully this will be a lucrative endevour for the Disney Company. It would be a shame if this was the knee-jerk reaction to Harry Potter and his success though. We'll see.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Were you a fan of the Wonderful World of Disney TV show? Weren't we all? Here is a web site that I found that lists every show and a description of who and what was on the show. The web site is TV.COM. Here is a sample from Show Number One, Oct. 27, 1954:

Walt Disney introduces the show that will be a Sunday-night tradition for over 40 years, Disneyland. In this episode, he introduces upcoming season previews, plus movies that are to be coming out soon. The second half of the show is all about Mickey Mouse, Disney's first creation.
Writer:
Bill Walsh Director: Robert Florey Guest star: Paul Frees (voice of Ludwig Von Drake (1961-1983)) , Jimmie Dodd (Himself), Ward Kimball (Himself), Norman Foster (Himself), Fess Parker (Himself)

Just to read through some of these listings and catch a small whiff of the quality and variety that was involved in these shows was incredible. So if your looking for a good source of Walt Disney TV information or your just looking for another Disney fix, This is a Great web site to check out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

WDW for the Holidays: Candlelight Processional

I was thinking that there is nothing like Christmas in July and what better way to celebrate Christmas at WDW than at the Candlelight Processional. In the words of the Official Walt Disney web site:

“Nightly Candlelight Processional at the American Gardens Theatre. Revel in the joy of the season as you listen to an unforgettable retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir.”
Shows are at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.
We were in WDW in Dec 2006. This was our first time there for the Holidays and we were very impressed. There are many special events set up to celebrate the season, but one of the most moving of these was the Candlelight Processional(CP). There are no tickets for this show and the line is usually very long. You can however book a CP Dinner Package which is described very well at the AllEarsNet web site. By booking a package, you are guaranteed seating in a general area. Basically your first in line for seats. Since we were on the dining plan, and it would be no different than making an ADR by itself, I booked us at Le Cellier with the CP Package. Based on the times above, you needed to book eating times in the 2-3 hour window before the show time you are to attend. This was first done last year and seems like it will continue this year. We had our late lunch at Le Cellier at 2:30. Our waitress at Le Cellier gave us our CP Package Passes and we wandered over to the American Gardens Theatre and got on line about 4:15. This is a very nice open theatre with wind blocking curtains on the left and right. The stage is on the edge of the lake and the American Experience is behind you. As the show begins, the orchestra comes in first. There are various introductions as to the guest Choir and guest Conductor. Then the entire choir walks in. When you look at the stage, the guest Choir in gold, flanks the permanent WDW choir dressed in green. The WDW choir form a Christmas Tree behind the Guest speaker. Then the Voices of Liberty singers walk in to form the base of the tree. After a couple beautiful warm up songs, the guest speaker walks onto the stage. Our Speaker was Brian Dennehy of Cocoon, FX and a whole lot of other movies. Mr. Dennehy proceeded to read the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph not finding room at the inn. He would read a paragraph or
two and then the choir/orchestra would play a song. This lasted 45 minutes and was incredible. Here's a hint, don't sit too close, you won't be able to see everything. So if your at Epcot during the Holidays, the Candlelight Processional is a must do activity.

DreamFinder Forever's Celebration 25

I came across this link from the Orlando Sentinel. This is a group of people who decided that since the WDW company was not going to do anything for this October's Epcot 25th anniversary, they were.
The DreamFinder Forever Web Site/podcast has planned a nice celebration. They are calling it Celebration 25. Here's a link to their Promo Video.
If your going to be in the World at this time, join the Celebration.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The MuppetCast Podcast

The Muppetcast podcast is a nice change of pace from the Disney Podcasts that I listen to. In my world full of Disney Podcasts, it’s nice to listen to Steven Swanson talk about all things Muppets. Steve’s podcast has been around for about 4 months and he is up to his 15th show. Back in May Steve did a Tribute show to remember the passing of Jim Henson. That was a powerful podcast. From before Sesame Street the Muppets have been around entertaining us and Steve is leading us through the various incarnations that are the Muppets. The Muppetcast has had a couple of very good interviews with Puppeteers and Artists related to the Muppets. What I have said up until now covered about half of the content that Steve puts out each week. The music and audio from video clips that he plays are outstanding and are another wonderful side to this podcast. I can’t tell you how many clips I’ve heard on his show that I have not heard for, and it pains me to say this, decades. So if you’re a Sesame Street, Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, Dark Crystal, Muppet Movie, Muppet Vision 3D, and just all things Muppets fan, then check out Steve Swanson’s MuppetCast.

So Your Going to WDW: MGM Studios Must Sees

What I am trying to do in these next four “So your Going to WDW” articles is to try to give you an idea of some of the attractions that you should make plans to see if you’re a FIRST TIME VISITOR to the parks. I will rate them by MUST SEE attraction(MS), SECOND TIME to PARK attraction(STP), and HAVE NOT TRIED attraction(HNT).
MS is obvious, but I don’t want this to be a ride description article. If I say MS I mean it without giving too many details. STP is for rides that can wait until your second time to the park. It can also mean once you do all of the MS attractions and have time, hit the STP attractions. The HNT rating means I have not tried this attraction yet and cannot judge . Maybe bad on me and I am meaning to get to it. Or there is a reason to skip it. Although I hate to pass anything up I’ll mention why the HNT when I get to them. Any and all comments are welcome.

Think of the MGM Studios as a park of Streets. Each street has it's share of attractions, food, and shops.

Hollywood Blvd.

The MGM Studios entrance way is a lot like the Magic Kingdoms. Hollywood Blvd. leads you into the park. There are a lot of stores on either side of the street. Keep your eyes open for some of the street actors that you’ll find here. They are hilarious. At the end of the Boulevard is The Great Movie Ride, MS. This is a nice ride through the classic moments in movie history.

Sunset Blvd. leads the way to two of the best thrill rides in the park and maybe all of WDW. The Hollywood Tower of Terror, MS is one of the best themed attractions in Walt Disney World. Of course you’ve got the big drop, but there is so much more to this attraction. Every detail is cool, from walking up the front pathway to the lobby of the hotel, to the basement, to yelling your lungs out at the top.
The Rockin Roller Coaster, MS is an indoor, shoot you from stop to 60 mph in 7 seconds, looped, roller coaster. This is a very exciting ride and a special bonus if you’re an Aerosmith fan.
The other things on this street are the Entrance to Fantasmic, MS the huge Mickey Mouse Fights the Evil Characters, fireworks show. There is also the Beauty and the Beast Broadway show STP. The show is live and very good.

The Animation Courtyard has a couple of cool attractions. Playhouse Disney Live on Stage MS for 10 and under, is on your right. This is an ever evolving show that stars the characters of the Disney Channel’s morning shows.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid show, MS, is a very cool indoor mix of puppetry, animation and live action.
The Magic of Disney Animation tour STP, is a nice view of how cartoons are made. It was a lot more fun when you actually saw the artists working.

Mickey Ave. is where you can find the Back lot Tour, MS. This is a great attraction that tours around the outdoor sets of the Disney Studios. Also on Mickey Ave, you can find the Journey into Narnia, HNT and Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream HNT. Both of these HNT’s were to our detriment. We will be checking both of these attractions out on our next trip.

On the Streets of America, there is the Muppet Vision 3D, MS. One of the best attraction’s in the park. Make sure you check out the Pre-Show. It’s as worth seeing as the show. Lights Motors Action Extreme Stunt Show, hmmm, I gotta go STP here. It’s a cool show and the stunts are great. Bigggg time investment though. Between line and show 60 minutes or more. On last note for the Streets of America, during the Christmas Season, they are decorated with the Osborne Family Christmas Light show. This is a MS of the highest magnitude. In fact, here is a link to the video from last year. They had just added the light/music coordination.

Echo Lake is the final section of the park.. Here you’ll find Star Tours, MS. This is a nice vacation trip to the Moons of Endor. Say hi to R2D2 and C3P0 as you wait on line. Keep an eye out for the strolling Storm Troopers as you board the ride.
Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, MS. This is a very good live action show on the stunts used in the Indiana Jones movie. All seats are good. Look for the Well outside the ride entrance. (Pull the Rope)
The last attraction in Echo Lake is Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey, STP. This is an attraction for the Ear. It’s a very fun time, but it does get pitch black for about half or more of the time.

The Disney MGM Studios, while having a smaller attraction list than the other parks, has a large amount of restaurants and stores. Have a great day and don't forget to check out Mickey's Sorcerers Hat.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Here is another great Walt Disney web site and it was basically under my nose. The Walt Disney Family Museum. I found this the other day. I am still touring the site, but there is alot of information here. Many photographs and videos and many excerpts from interviews of Walt, the family and employees.

Here is their description:
"The Disney Family Museum Web site is produced and maintained by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Founded in 1995, the Foundation strives to promote education, writing, and scholarship about Walt Disney. The Foundation is not affiliated with The Walt Disney Company, although the site is hosted by Disney Online. "

This is a Website to Check-Out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

So Your Going to WDW: Epcot Must Sees


What I am trying to do in these next four “So your Going to WDW” articles is to try to give you an idea of some of the attractions that you should make plans to see if you’re a FIRST TIME VISITOR to the parks. I will rate them by MUST SEE attraction(MS), SECOND TIME to PARK attraction(STP), and HAVE NOT TRIED attraction(HNT).
MS is obvious, but I don’t want this to be a ride description article. If I say MS I mean it without giving too many details. STP is for rides that can wait until your second time to the park. It can also mean once you do all of the MS attractions and have time, hit the STP attractions. The HNT rating means I have not tried this attraction yet and cannot judge . Maybe bad on me and I am meaning to get to it. Or there is a reason to skip it. Although I hate to pass anything up I’ll mention why the HNT when I get to them. Any and all comments are welcome.

You have to think of Epcot as really two parks. Future World and the World Showcase. We’ll start off with Future World attractions.

Park Entrance
Spaceship Earth: MS Spaceship Earth is the main landmark at Epcot. The Cinderella’s Castle if you will. We usually ride this on the way out of the park.
Innoventions East and West: STP This is a display of new and existing technologies. There are a lot of displays and this will take some time to go through.

Nemo and the Living Seas
The Seas with Nemo: MS This is a classic dark ride with a twist. Real fish are added to the animation to create very cool scenes. The Queue in this attraction is a treat.
Turtle Talk with Crush: MS This is a theatre type attraction where the kids sit on the floor in the front and talk to Crush…and Crush talks back. Amazing.
Living with the Seas Aquarium: STP The rest of this pavilion is a very complete aquarium. I would save this for after you’ve hit some of the better rides first. Nothing that you have not seen at the aquarium near your home.

The Land
Living with the Land: STP This one was tough to judge. It might be a STP but I always ride it. It is a slow boat ride through green houses and gardens. Very interesting growing methods of plants and animals for food. Look for the Pumpkins. See any familiar shapes?
Soarin: MS, MS, MS This is one of the Best Rides in WDW all together. A hang Glider ride over the different parts of California.
The Circle of Life: STP This is a very good show of Pumba and Timon learning to be more ecologically friendly.

Wonders of Life
Closed – Which is a shame. But in the even it is open, Body Wars is a MS but it is a bumpy ride. Cranium Command is a MS. The Making of Me is an
STP.

Universe of Energy: STP This was a MS but has dropped it's ranking because of all of the other good attractions now in Epcot. This could also be called the Ellen ride and while great, is an investment of about 40 minutes of time from pre-show through exiting out the door.

Mission Space: MS This is a very realistic rocket trip to Mars. I have only been on the original side. There is a less intense side where the ride motion is turned down a couple notches. Another cool queue.

Test Track: Another MS thrill ride. Great ride in that nothing is as bad as it looks and the speed track at the end is like riding in a convertible at 64.2 MPH.

Imagination Pavilion:
Honey I Shrank the Audience: MS A must see if you have never seen it. A little scary for the little ones. This is a 3d attraction.
Journey into Imagination with Figment: STP This used to be a MS but not anymore. Figment is the cool Purple Dragon.

World Showcase
I am going to change the way I do the ratings for the World Showcase. All of the lands are Must Sees(MS). What I’ll do is to list each country and give a quick description of what it has to offer. As an FYI, all have food and shopping. I will talk about the best of these as we have seen. And for the countries that have attractions I would give them a STP except for Canada’s Oh, Canada and Mexico’s GRan Fiesta Tour. They get an MS rating.

Mexico: One of my top three countries. From the look outside at the Mexican Temple to the cool night time appearance inside 24/7 it is an awesome pavilion. You will find Gran Fiesta Tour, a slow boat attraction in this pavilion along with a first class Mexican Sit Down Restaurant. There is a very good artist who makes small items out of glass. Very fun to watch. There is a Table and a Counter service Rest.

Norway: This pavilion has an indoor log flume like attraction called the Maelstrom that describes the land of Norway. This attraction is a log flume that is pretty nice. Watch out for the trolls. They are kind of scary for the little ones. Norway’s Akershus Rest. has Princess Character Dinning meals.

China: This pavilion has shopping and the best Chinese food I’ve ever had. There is a 360 degree movie theatre with a film about the land of China. You can see many samples of Chinese art. There is a group of Chinese Children acrobats that put on a wonderful show. China has both a Table and a Counter service Rest.

Germany: Oom-pa-pa, oom-pa-pa. We have not spent much time in Germany. There is a miniature Railroad set-up that has been there forever. There is a Table and a Counter service Rest.

America: The American Experience is located in this pavilion. It’s a really good animatronic attraction. A very patriotic history of America. The Voices of Liberty are singers that harmonize beautifully as they sing American songs from history. Across from the American Pavilion, is a stage where concerts are held along with the Candlelight Processional. There is a Counter
Service Rest.

Japan: Japan is a very beautiful pavilion. There is not a lot of entertainment. I have not seen her, but I heard that watching the Candy maker is a treat. There is a Table and a Counter service Rest.

Italy: This land has the essence of Italy. It is based on the City of Venice. There are fountains, statues, and many other forms of art. There is a Table Service and a bakery in this pavilion.


Morocco: One of the most exotic Pavilions. It was built by craftsman supplied by the King of Morocco. There are lots of places to explore here. There is a Table and a Counter service Rest.

France: France is a beautiful land at Epcot. Small lined streets and stores along side. A little bit of Paris in Florida. There is a movie attraction in this land along with some good places to eat. Look for the Artist's Bike and the box full of paintings. Many small places to get food and a top quality Table Service Restaurant.

UK: Not sure where this would be in England, but the UK in Epcot looks like small cities street. There are many stores and things to do. No Attraction, but keep you eye out for the street performers. Very good Counter Service in the Yorkshire County Fish Shop. There is also a Table Service Restaurant.

Canada: This is another of my top three pavilions. This land shows off a number of the traits of Canada. Some of the Sky-line of Quebec and the mountains of the west are on display, along with a much smaller version of Victoria Gardens. There is a really good 360 degree movie and there is a First Class Table Seating restaurant. Keep your eyes open for the band Off Kilter, their really good.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Ken Polsson's Walt Disney Company Chronologies

I came across this website about a month ago and wanted to pass it on. The site is the Chronology of the Walt Disney Company web site. I have seen a lot of attempts at Disney Chronologies, but Ken Polsson's site is the all time King. He's been working on this peice of Art since 1995 and continues to update it every day. Here is a sample of what happened in the Disney Company 25 years ago today from Ken's site:
"July 9
Buena Vista releases the live-action and animated feature film Tron to theaters in the US. It cost US$21 million to produce. It is presented in Super Panavision 70mm. Mickey Mouse has a cameo appearance. (Total American theater ticket sales: US$39 million.) [11] [15] [23] [34.272] [52.65] [97.29] [112.503] [245.34] [246.92] [255.D4] [256.C8] [370.317] [436.65] [440.56] [501.572] [602.40]
Bally debuts the arcade game Tron. [255.D4] "
His information is very detailed and completely footnoted, hence the bracketed numbers above. This is a great source and any serious fan of the Disney Worlds should have this link handy at all times. This second link is to his references page where he has links to his Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Mickey Mouse Chronologies.
This is a prime example of one of the Websites to Check-Out.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Check out the Ratatouille Video Podcast

I saw Ratatouille on July 4th with the family. I thought it was a pretty cool animated movie, once you got past that whole Rats in the kitchen thing. I laughed quite a bit as did the kids. I did not think it was worth an article in the blog though, until I came across the Disney Ratatouille Video Podcast on Itunes. It's free and you can do a search for it in the Itunes store. These podcast are 40 second to 4 minute long clips about the movie. The clips are like the extras you would see on the DVD. I followed the link back to the Official Ratatouille Web site. You can get the podcast there also. I was blown away by this site. Disney has finally figured out how to use the Internet. This is a beautiful, colorful, crisply animated and very detailed web site. The Characters menu Bar at the top right was the first tip off that there was some serious time spent on the design of this site. I can't wait to show the kids tomorrow night. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

This is the "Hands Down" Best News You'll Hear Today

The Mickey Arm, Hand and Wand structure on Spaceship Earth in Epcot is coming down. I was searching around and came across this article from the Sun-Sentinel of Florida. It appears that it is confirmed that the arm is coming down.
"Epcot Vice President Jim MacPhee announced this morning that the time has come to remove the structure, which has served both as a colorful, lighted Epcot sign since 2000, and as a lightning rod for criticism from Epcot purists who contended the image was out of character for Epcot's architecture."
And as far as a time-table:
Deconstruction of the 50-ton structure begins Monday, and will be completed shortly before the park's 25th anniversary, October 1. Also coming down are the 36-foot-high "Epcot" letters and colored stars splashing across the sphere.
I personally cannot wait for this. I thought it was great for the year 2000. But hated the idea of the wand staying up. And just in time for the Epcot Anniversary. This is, as far as I can remember, the first time we've gotten any type of recognition that the 25Th anniversary was coming up from WDW management. Looking forward to more!!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Do you like Dole Whip? Well Guess What you can now do at Home?

Have you ever had a Dole Whip? If not, your really missing out on something. A cold soft serve wonder made from real pineapple juice. Well, maybe real pineapple flavoring. Either way, people, me included, rave about these culinary quick serve delights. I even came across this poem by Matthew Walker from Started by the Mouse web site.

oh, luscious frozen treat how i crave
your pineappley goodness that makes me rave
swirled high inside the bowl like a yellow mountain high
I use my spoon to lap you up before letting out a yummy sigh
the line to savor your tasty goodness can sometimes block the way to adventureland
and while I may have wait in that 30-minute line I truly can't wait to get you in my hand
others may prefer the more prevalent snacks of cinnamon-sugary churros and salty popcorn
but given my druthers of what to eat I want the one shaped like the matterhorn

For those that have, until now you’ve had to be in one of three places to get some. Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Hawaii. That is until now. While listening to the Inside the Magic Podcast, I heard Ricky announce that he now has a process where you can make Dole Whips at home. Don’t get too excited, it’s not quite as mad scientist like in making Orange Julius’s(coffee grounds and all), but still looks like fun. What you need is an Ice Cream maker, water, and the Official Dole Whip powder mix. Ricky found a link for buying the real deal for making Dole Whips. A 4 lb. bag is $22.00. He even put together a very nice How-to-Video of making it from beginning to end. Here is the link to ITM Dole Whip Page.
So turn on the Adventureland drum music and enjoy some fresh made Dole Whip.
Thanks to La2kw from the disboards for the top pic.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So Your Going to WDW: Magic Kingdom Must See's

What I am trying to do in these next four “So your Going to WDW” articles is to try to give you an idea of some of the attractions that you should make plans to see if you’re a FIRST TIME VISITOR to the parks. I will rate them by MUST SEE attraction(MS), SECOND TIME to PARK attraction(STP), and HAVE NOT TRIED attraction(HNT).
MS is obvious, but I don’t want this to be a ride description article. If I say MS I won't go into too much detail. STP is for rides that can wait until your second time to the park. It can also mean once you do all of the MS attractions and have time, hit the STP attractions. The HNT rating means I have not tried this attraction yet and cannot judge . Maybe bad on me and I am meaning to get to it. Or there is a reason to skip it. Although I hate to pass anything up I’ll mention why the HNT when I get to them. Please keep in mind, this is just my opinion. If your passing something I ranked as STP and it looks like fun and there is no line, jump on it. Nothings in Stone.

Main Street
There is plenty of places to shop and eat on Main Street, but as far as a Must See or MS, The only thing I would bring up would be get there early for Parade seats if you want to sit on Main Street. 45 Minutes at least. Other than that I would leave extra time on your way out of the park and check out the stores and food shops on either side of the street. The food offered is from snacks to candy to fast food to Sit down Table Service. I’ll talk all about food and shopping on Main Street at another time in another post.

Adventureland
Jungle Cruise: MS This is a boat ride through the jungle of animatronic animals and funny live Skippers.
Tiki Room: MS This is a dark room attraction with plenty of anamatronic birds all around. Don’t forget to look at the plants and the wood carvings everywhere.
Swiss Family Robinson: STP The Swiss Family Robinson Tree house is nice to see especially if you remember the movie. The problem is the walk-thru is single file and can be slow at times.
Pirates of the Caribbean: MS This is a dark attraction. Pretty calm boat ride except for one spot. Plenty of action and pirates. Keep your eyes peeled for Capt. Jack Sparrow
Alladin’s Carpet Ride: STP If you know the Dumbo ride, substitute a carpet for the elephant. Also, watch out, one of the Camels watching has a very bad habit.

Frontierland
Country Bear Jamboree: MS Great Fun every time.
Big Thunder: MS It’s a ‘roller coaster’ but no big hills and lots of scenery.
Tom Sawyer Island: HNT Will soon though. Looks like fun but never had the time.

Splash Mountain: MS This is a classic indoor/outdoor 'Song of the South' Log Flume ride. You can getvery wet on this one, so be prepared.
WDW Railroad Train Station: MS We use the WDW RR everytime we go. It's an MS for two reasons. First, it's a quick way to get to the other side of the park. Second, the train themselves are very cool. With Walt Disney's love of trains, the park keeps these trains well maintained and authentic in all reagards.

FantasyLand
It’s a Small World: MS I list this as a must see attraction. However, if you ever get caught on this ride during a break-down of 5 minutes or more I could owe you a huge apology. Great for Kids. Plenty to see.
Peter Pans Flight: MS You fly in a ship over London and on to Never Never Land. Nuff Said. Really good detail all over.

Mickey's Philharmagic: MS This is an a great musical 3D adventure with the help of a lot of Disney Characters. Two points, it should be Donald's Philharmagic and look for the hidden Mickey whle waiting for the show to start.
Cinderella’s Carousel: STP Of course depending on the age of your Kids this can easily be an MS attraction. Standard Carousel. The white horse with the gold bow is Cinderella’s favorite mount.
Dumbo Ride: MS for 10 and under. STP for all others. We’ve all seen this on TV. Round and Round he goes. Usually a long wait after 11:00 am.
Snow White’s Scary Adventures MS. Although this could be a little scary for the younger kids.
Pooh's Playful Spot STP. This is a meet and greet play area for little kids.
Pooh Ride: MS. This is a very fun ride through the world of Winnie the Pooh.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Cup ride: STP. If you like spinning rides, go for it. I have retired this ride from my ride list.

Toontown
Toontown is mainly a meet and greet for characters. Mickey's and Minnie's houses and a Donald Duck Boat play area.
The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farms Rollercoaster: MS for 10 and younger. For all others, too small.

Tomorrowland
Indy Speedway: STP. This has one of the slowest lines in the park. If there is already a line, forget about it for now and try later. It’s pretty much a kids ride.
Astro Orbiters: HNT. Not sure why not? Too many other things to do in tomorrowland I guess. It is on my MS list from now on.
Space Mountain: MS. Great queue displays going in and out. Rough roller coaster in the dark. Must ride every time I go to the parks though.
Carousel of Progress: MS. I say must see as a personal opinion. It is a dated attraction, true, but it is one of the best examples of an attraction that was designed by WD and was in the Worlds Fair of 1964. We’re talking history here.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority: MS. This is a slow ride through the attractions of Tomorrowland. You get a glimpse of all the rides except for Stitches escape. We saw Space Mountain lit up inside two trips ago.
Buzz LightYear: MS. A very family friendly ride. More than a dark attraction, it’s a space age shooting range. I bet I can score more than you. 999,990, beat that.
Stitches Escape: STP. This is a scary attraction. Not for small kids. I still smell the Chilli dog today.
Monster Inc., Laugh Floor:HNT. I will in November '07.

Liberty Square:
Haunted Mansion: MS Kinda scary but ok for some kids.
Liberty Square River Boat: HNT Never wanted to waste the time. As bad as that sounds, we will try with the next trip.





Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Presenting, the Haunted Mansion's, Master Brigante


Ricky Brigante of the Inside the Magic Podcast had a very special show this week. If you ever wanted to work at Disneyland, show # 115 will give you an idea what you would expect. If you have not followed his story, Ricky had won one of the Dream jobs offered through CareerBuilder.com at Disneyland. This was a contest where you sent in your video audition for a Disneyland Job. If you won the job, you would be invited into the park, trained and would work for one day. The jobs available were Haunted Mansion Butler/Maid, Jungle Cruise Skipper, High School Musical Dancer, Princess in Waiting, and Pirate. Ricky had sent CreerBuilder.com his audition tape for Haunted Mansion butler. Audition Video. It was posted with others online and you got to vote for the one you liked the best.
On the Job Video
The show this week was a re-cap of the week that the winners had out in Disneyland. Ricky invited some of the other winners onto his show so we hear all about all of the jobs. It sounded like the Pirates had the most fun of all, but all of the jobs sounded great. So listen to the Inside the Magic Podcast and keep your eyes open for any Hitch-hiking Ghosts.
Ricky just added another page to Inside the Magic that chronicals his trip and experiences in disneyland. Ricky's Dream Job Page. updated 7/2

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Hidden Mickey on the Way Home from Camping

You never know where you’ll find a Hidden Mickey. Last weekend we went camping in SE Pennsylvania. On the drive there, Quinn, my son, said he spotted a Hidden Mickey. My daughter and I told him that he must have been seeing things and since we were already late, we continued on without turning around to check. After the weekend, on the way home, we kept our eyes peeled. And shazam, there it was. I am not sure if I would call this a Hidden Mickey, as you can see from the picture, it was not hidden but definitely Mickey. Since this was Quinn’s find, I asked him to write up a post, here it is:

“Surprise! A Hidden Mickey!
When me and Hope and my Dad were coming home from camping, we saw a hidden mickey in Schwenksville, Pa. I took some pictures of it”

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Lesley's Surprise Trip to Disneyland Paris

My wife Lesley had a great surprise this past Sunday. She went to Disneyland Paris. To back-track a little. She was sent to England for business. While there she connected with her friend Rosaba and her family. Rosaba and Family were going to Paris and Lesley went along. On the way they decided to take an extra day and go to Disneyland Paris. Here is a link to some pictures for now. I'll try to get some kind of trip report out of her to post. Here is a link to some pictures.
http://s128.photobucket.com/albums/p196/Maz2468/Disney%20Paris/

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Mickey Room Podcast

The Mickey Room Podcast
The Mickey Room podcast is a podcast from Texas with Wayne and Kimberly as it’s hosts. Each week this couple brings us a look at their experiences from inside the parks and out. They have various segments each week such as Park Tips, Jokes, and restaurant reviews. They also run a lot of contests. There is usually a picture contest running each week on their Web Site and a Podcast contest every so often.
The charm of this podcast is it is like sitting down with your neighbors for about 45 minutes of Disney talk each week. For having such a small show, Wayne and Kimberly talk about a lot of topics such as the parks, the hotels, collecting, food and sometimes music. They tell you about the Disney properties from the eyes of a couple with a young boy. And, as a bonus, they go to Disneyland as well as WDW. They are part of the Disney Podcast Network as are many podcasts. They usually put out a 45-60 minute show each Sunday. So if you like a slice of down home Apple pie with your Disney podcast, download The Mickey Room podcast. Or is that a Monte Carlo sandwich? Either way, enjoy.

Monday, May 28, 2007

So Your Going to WDW: WDW Transportation

If you are staying off site, there are not many options for transportation. You will need to rent a car. Some hotels offer free transportation to the parks, but I would not put to much faith in this. Each hotel has it’s own policy, but most have one bus and it stops at each park once in the morning and once at night. If you have special plans or want to switch parks it could be tough to do. Also, you will need to get from the Airport to your hotel. Without a car, you can get a ride from one of the bus services, like Mears, or take a taxi.

If you are staying on site, there are a couple of options. The first concern is getting from the airport to your hotel. If you are staying On-Site, then use the currently free Disney’s Magical Express service. This is a bus service that gets you to your hotel. Also included with the service is free luggage handling. What that means is that once you say goodbye to your luggage in your departure city, the next time you see it will be in your Disney hotel room. No waiting for the luggage to come off the plane in Orlando. Just find your way to the bus and relax. The same for the trip back to the airport. The only down-side is not knowing when you will get your bag. They say up to three hours and if you get in very late, maybe the next day. So if you have medications or plan on swimming you might need to pack a carry-on for the plane. Here is a link to MouseSavers.com where they discuss the pros and cons of the service. We used it and had no issues. All Good. It was amazing at how happy the bus ride from the airport was at the begining of the week. Wow was it depressing on the ride back.
Once you get to your hotel, there are three main types of transportation to get you to the parks and around WDW. The first are the buses. I found that the buses were pretty reliable. On our last trip of six days, I would say we waited for more than 10 minutes twice out of about 16 or so bus trips. Not bad. I would not rely on them for very early character breakfasts in the park though. Too risky. Maybe a taxi. Buses are great, usually clean and just recently have begun to give an information spiel as you ride. Similar to the Monorail announcements. For more specific information check out MousePlanet.com where they have pretty comprehensive schedules and routes for the buses. Look for the links toward the bottom of the page. Bus Tip: If you stay late at a park for the fireworks, expect the lines and waits for the buses and boats to be a extended. Although, we have met the most amazing people standing in line for the bus.
The second type of transportation are the boats. There are a couple different boats that you can use to get you places. The smaller transports which holds about 25 will take you from the Magic Kingdom hotels to the Magic Kingdom.
There is a second bigger type boat that will take you from the Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness and from the Epcot hotels to the World Showcase entrance of Epcot. The third boat is the huge ferry boats that take you from the Ticket and Transportation Center(T&TC) to the Magic Kingdom and back again. Now I've talked about Buses and Boats, what is left? The Monorail. The transporation system of tomorrow is a ride as much as it is a conveyance. The monorail circles Bay Lake and stops at the Polynesian Hotel, the Grand Floridian, the Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary and then the T&TC. That's the local route, there also is an express from the T&TC to the Magic Kingdom. When you park at the Magic Kingdom, you take the tram to the T&TC and then the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. The Monorail route was also extended to Epcot. This is becoming out traditional first ride for each visit. We take the monorail to Epcot and then back. The track goes into Future World at Epcot. It's a nice tease if you do not have time to waste a ticket on your first day. Here is some good information on the Monorail including a track map. One last tip for the Monorail, make sure you ask to sit with the driver. It is a great experience that I would consider a must do.
So, as you see there are many of ways to get around the world. A couple of hints. You can ask any bus driver to find out where the bus you need is and when it will get to your bus stop. When we stayed at the Polynesian we found that the boat was the fastest way to the Magic Kingdom and we would walk to the T&TC to go to Epcot. We took buses to the other two parks and DownTown Disney. When we stayed at Fort Wilderness, we took the boat to the Magic Kingdom and then a Bus to any parks. You can put your faith in the Disney Transportation Network and remember that if you are at the parks when it is crowded all things slow down. So plan accordingly.