Monday, October 26, 2009

The DisneyShawn Blog, "The Story Behind the Story"

This is one of my favorite things to do with this blog. Being able to share information with readers and fellow Disney Gee..., I mean Disney Ner…, uh, that is Disney Enthusiasts is paramount to my goals here. I was listening to the WDW Today guys and heard a show that will change the way I view the parks from here on out. The name of this episode was ‘The Story Behind the Story’. The guys had a guest on this show and his name is Shawn Slater and his blog can be found here;

DisneyShawn .

Here is a description of Shawn from his site, “Shawn Slater has had a long and varied career with The Walt Disney Company, including stints as a writer for Walt Disney Entertainment and Walt Disney Imagineering. His love for the Disney Parks manifests itself in a passion for their history, heritage, and seemingly infinite levels of detail.”

As Shawn says in his bio, he was a writer for Walt Disney Entertainment and Imagineering. From being on numerous projects he has some great insight into the who’s, why’s and what’s of a lot of various items. The show on WDW Today was about Shawn’s involvement in the creation of Ye Olde Christmas shop in the Liberty Square section of the Magic Kingdom. Shawn goes thru the process he went thru in writing the storyline behind the Christmas shop and into some of the facts behind the story of Liberty Square itself. There is a great story here and it’s only for a retail shop. Not an attraction or ride or parade, but a store that sells Christmas items year round. True to the Pledge of the Disney Company, everything needs and has a story. And Shawn’s blog has plenty. At one point in the podcast Mike Scopa asks Shawn if they should take the story written for Le Olde Christmas store and post it outside the store so everyone can read about the story. Shawn’s answer was that basically Disney didn’t want people to come all the way to the parks just to read. The guest should be part of the story as opposed to reading the story. After listening to Shawn's stories and reading his blog, my first thought was tour book. Perhaps an extended version of the Imagineers Handbook series.

Shawn has a lot of great stories on his Blog and I can’t wait to go thru all of them. This is another of those sites that just adds so much to upcoming trips. Both in keeping myself in the Disney Attitude when I am months away from another trip and as a reference to enhance my trips to the parks. So please check out Shawn's Blog

Friday, October 23, 2009

Contempo Cafe Review - Aug 09

On our most recent trip to Walt Disney World this past August we ate at a new restaurant located at the Contemporary Hotel. The Contempo Café is the newest restaurant to open at the Contemporary and it was a pretty good find. It is a Counter Service(CS) Rest. And we had not even known it had opened until we heard about it on one of the various Disney Podcasts
we listen to. On this trip, our first day was split as we were coming into Orlando around 1:00 pm. So instead of fighting our way to the hotel and then into a park, we decided to make a nice and easy afternoon/evening for the first day. So part of our first day activities was to take a ride on the monorail around the lake and then switch monorails and on around Epcot. Well the Contempo Café fit right in with those
plans. We arrived for dinner around 6:30 and it was not that crowded. This restaurant is located in the Canyon of the Contemporary where the monorails run. The ordering computers are right beneath the
big, beautiful, and colorful Mary Blair mural. And the entrance to the restaurant is right next to the entrance to Chef Mickey’s. We even had a mini character meet as we got to say hello to Donald and Goofy who were hanging out at the Chef Mickey entrance. The Café eating area is as open as the rest of the Canyon at the
Contemporary is. Since the entire canyon area is open, you only have 4 foot walls denoting where you walked into the restaurant. As you walk in, there is a menu posted directly in front of you with all the restaurants offerings. This CS serves breakfast lunch and dinner from 8:00am thru 12:00am. I direct you to the menu at as theirs is very complete and accurate. There are many offerings from sandwiches to flatbreads. Burgers and salads and even the requisite kid’s meals, Pizza/Burger/Nuggets. We ordered off of the computerized kiosks and received a receipt with a number on it to pick up at the window when the order was completed. The computers were the only bad part of the experience. We had some issues navigating and getting it to recognize finger touches. I mentioned
this to a Cast Member as I am a computer guy and hate to see a good thing such as a computerized menu ordering system not work to potential. He said they were getting ready to re-load software to these machines to fix some bugs. Not the term to use in a restaurant perhaps, but maybe by time you go the kinks, a much more restaurant friendly term, would be out of the system. The kids had Chicken Nugget and Cheeseburger kid’s meals and I had the
Honey Lime Chicken sandwich served with Green Bean Salad. It was early in the trip and chicken was not a bad word at dinner yet. The entire meal was prepared and out in 5 minutes.
The food was all very good. Moist chicken and a great sauce was all it took for me. The kids had no complaints either. I was about to say we had a very peaceful meal, but in that location it was really anything but peaceful.
As we watched the monorails race by and people running to get to their ressies at Chef Mickey’s our world, at that moment, after a day of traveling, was relaxing. In a nutshell this could be considered just another resort Counter Service restaurant, but with the added attraction of the location, this place was a Thumbs Up experience for us. Next time you might be staying at the Magic Kingdom hotels or taking a break from the parks, the Contempo Café is a great stop to recharge your mind and body.
Thanks to, and for help with pics.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Walt Disney World!!!

To celebrate the Birthday of the Happiest Place on Earth I present a link to a video made by the Disney Parks Blog. I am still exploring this site after hearing about it on the Walt Disney Boards forum. This is a day in the life of the Magic Kingdom presented in a whole other way. They use a process called Tilt-Shift Video that makes everything and everbody look like toy models. By taking, I would guess, thousands of pictures and putting them together they have created a very beautiful look at a day at the Magic Kingdom. There are a couple really nice shots of all of the Disney Transportation and really inspiring video of the Spectromagic parade. WOW!

A Model Day at the Magic Kingdom

Enjoy the video and let others know that it's that good.