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To get a taste of what AllEars® has to offer each and every week, click on the links below -- these tidbits are from our September 2014 "WDW Bits and Bites" issue:
by Debra Martin Koma
Each month, we rummage around in our archives for this featurette, which indulges in a bit of nostalgia, taking you back in history for a glimpse of Walt Disney World and The Walt Disney Company through the ages. This month, we take a brief look at Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom.
The recent closing of the Yankee Trader shop in Liberty Square (it's becoming a Madame Leota-inspired Haunted Mansion gift shop, in case you haven't heard, due to reopen later this year) caused me to reminisce about some of the changes that have taken place in this small section of the Magic Kingdom. Just what was Liberty Square like when it opened?
Originally designed for Disneyland in 1958, Liberty Square was built for the Magic Kingdom after plans for putting it in California fell through. Themed as Colonial America at the time of our nation's founding, Liberty Square was designed to bring American heritage to life.
A plaque at the entrance to the square reads: "Past this gateway stirs a new nation waiting to be born. Thirteen separate colonies have banded together to declare their independence from the bonds of tyranny. It is a time when silversmiths put away their tools and march to the drums of a revolution, a time when gentlemen planters leave their farms to become generals, a time when tradesmen leave the safety of home to become heroes. Welcome to Liberty Square!"
The buildings in the area represent the original colonies, while the Liberty Tree Tavern was modeled after a late 18th century New England inn. (Did you know that each room in the restaurant is named after one of the prominent men of that time? Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin, Jackson and Madison.)
The majestic live oak tree, the Liberty Tree, commemorates the communal meeting place of the Sons of Liberty as seen in the Disney live-action film Johnny Tremaine. How my son loved that nearly forgotten Disney film! This tree was transplanted from another area on Disney property and had a full-grown weight of approximately 35 tons when moved.
Walking around the square in the early days of the park you might have encountered a Town Crier, ringing his bell to attract listeners. He read "the news" from a scroll, acting as the "newspaper" of the time. Occasionally, Benjamin Franklin also could be found strolling around the square.
Mademoiselle Lafayette's Parfumerie was one of only four perfume shops in the U.S. at the time that allowed customers to blend fragrances of their choice. The Silversmith Shop featured items from the 1700s. Old World Antiques had authentic antiques, as well as reproductions, ranging in price from $5 to $15,000. The Heritage House and the Tricornered Hat Shoppe completed the list of shops.
The attractions open in Liberty Square in 1971 included Admiral Joe Fowler's Riverboat, the Diamond Horseshoe Revue (closed January 2003, now used as an occasional counter service restaurant), the Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents.
By the way, the replica of the famous Liberty Bell was specially cast for Walt Disney World. It wasn't placed in Liberty Square until 1989.
Liberty Square attraction page:
Compiled by AllEars® Editor Deb Koma:
Can you believe that Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party nights start next week, on September 1? Maybe you're undecided about whether this event is for you. Here are some reader comments from our Rate & Review section on last year's MNSSHP event to help you make up your mind:
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is recommended by 84 percent of our AllEars.Net reader/reviewers, and it has an average rating of 7.5 out of 10.
-- "Party was sold out but didn't feel overly crowded. Trick or treat areas gave loads of candy. Worth the money."
-- "This was our 5th MNSSHP in 10 years... The ticket price goes up every year, with nothing to show for the increased cost. It was very crowded, more so than any MNSSHP we attended in the past. The parade is the same year after year. Same music, same floats. Surely they could change it up a bit. Most of the restaurants and shops closed too early. The times and places were not posted for characters. There were so many people leaving the park at the end of the night, it took literally hours to get back to our resort. I agree the party is something you should attend at least once, but those who have already attended in the past may want to consider how best to invest their vacation funds."
-- "I don't know where everyone went but we had no lines at all except for Big Thunder Mt Railroad, we waited 5 min. It was nice to be able to walk right on to Splash Mt and Pirates. The candy stations were very visible so they were easy to find and I loved that they did a trick or treat trail, where we were able to stay in one area and visit 4 or more candy stations. The party was great and I would highly recommend, especially if you haven't done it before. Well worth it."
-- "The lines for everything were short even for popular rides. The special food items are great and the treats at the trick or treating stations were plentiful. The parade, dancing, and decorations all made for a special night. With them letting people with party tickets in at 4:00 that means 8 whole hours to enjoy everything, with that in mind I can't complain about the price."
-- "I would say this is a home run if the tickets weren't so so so expensive... All in all, if you've never done it I think it is great, but I wouldn't say that I would do it twice."
Still on the fence? Check out other comments from past years in the AllEars.Net Rate & Review section here.
And don't forget to check out the rest of our Rate & Review boards here:
Paul, Northern Ireland: We had booked into Port Orleans Riverside and it was our first trip to Disney in November 2005. My son had just finished four years of chemotherapy for leukemia. (He's fine now, by the way -- fourth trip in August.) At check-in I asked the cast member if there was a phone call from Mickey or something special that could be done to welcome our little trooper. She told me to leave it with her. We checked in and went to our room. A short time later there was a knock on the door and the same receptionist came in. She had a wonderful story for my son about Mickey knowing that he had arrived, but was busy doing a show and could not come personally. She had a large bag filled with Mickey goodies, and said that Mickey had sent them because our son had been through such a tough time. What a magical thing to do! Thanks, Mickey.
Meghan Mueller: Most 21-year-olds don't like meeting the characters, but character interactions are my favorite thing to do at the parks! I went to visit Peter Pan over at Adventureland Veranda. I was wearing a blue-and-white-striped dress and as soon as I went up to Peter, he pointed out that I looked like Mr. Smee! I quickly corrected him and said that I thought I looked more like Wendy since I was wearing a dress and had a giant bow in my hair. I asked Peter where Wendy has been lately. (For those who don't know, Wendy is not doing meet-and-greets with Peter this summer. She is only in Dream Along With Mickey and Festival of Fantasy.) Peter then proceeded to grab my hand and run out into Adventureland with me, yelling to everyone, "Look guys, it's Wendy! I found Wendy, everyone!" I had so much fun running around Adventureland with Peter and having him tell everyone that I was Wendy! The looks on everyone's faces were priceless, especially since most people had no clue what was going on and why Peter Pan was running around with some random girl. It truly was the most magical moment of my life, and that is coming from a current cast member/annual passholder!
Maria Sylvester: My husband, two daughters and our cousin were in Disney World the week before Christmas. On the morning we went to Hollywood Studios, we headed straight to our favorite ride, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. This would be the first time for cousin Morgan. We ended up in the front of the car and were still laughing and hollering when the ride was over, and didn't notice we were the only riders left. Manuel, the roller coaster cast member, saw us and asked if would like to ride again. Heck, yeah! We were escorted "backstage" and put right on the front of the ride again. What a rock 'n' roll moment! We truly felt like rock stars! That made our whole day. I am still smiling thinking about it!
Thank you all for sharing!
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Editor: Debra Martin Koma
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Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.