July 2004
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the June 29, 2004, Issue #248 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

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STEP BACK IN TIME
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Ever wonder what Walt Disney World was like way back when? We rummage around in our archives for this feature, which takes you back in history for a glimpse of Walt Disney World through the ages.

Do you remember the film Magic Journeys? It was a 3-D movie presented by Kodak about the imaginations of children that opened in the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot on October 1, 1982. The sign said, "Follow Figment to Magic Journeys, a 3-D Film Fantasy." Michael Jackson's Captain Eo film forced Magic Journeys to move to the Fantasyland Theatre in the Magic Kingdom on December 15, 1987. It remained there until December 1, 1993.

Magic Journeys pre-show, Working for Peanuts, was a 3-D film starring Donald Duck and Chip and Dale produced in 1953. The pre-show lasted eight minutes, while Magic Journeys was 17 minutes long. Throughout the lobby of the attraction were 3-D pictures of the cast and crew of Working for Peanuts. There was also a countdown clock for those folks who always ask, "When does the next show start?"

Magic Journeys also had a home in Disneyland, where it played from 1984 through 1986, and in Tokyo Disneyland, where it played from 1985 to 1987.

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VEGETARIAN/VEGAN SNACKS
AROUND THE WORLD
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ALL EARS® Team Member Kitty Smith maintains the vegetarian section on our website. Recently she submitted an article on the vegan snacks and desserts that she's found around WDW. The following is an excerpt from the article:

As a vegetarian, I never had trouble finding tasty treats at Walt Disney World. Every corner offered cookies, cake or ice cream. However, when I made the switch to vegan, it wasn't quite so easy. It seemed like everyone around me had a Mickey ice cream bar or a funnel cake. I had given up meat, dairy and eggs, but I hadn't intended to give up treats!

After a little research, I began to realize that I just wasn't looking hard enough. Dairy-free and egg-free treats are not only available, but are actually quite plentiful at Walt Disney World -- you just need to know where to look. Hopefully, my ideas will save others from the "treat envy" I suffered on my first vegan trip to the World. (Please note: if you have allergies, check with a Cast Member before trying anything. Also, I have not taken refined sugar into account -- it is most likely present in most of the items mentioned here.)

If you're looking for a quick, filling snack, the soft pretzels available in all the parks are vegan. I've often made a small lunch from a pretzel and some fresh fruit. Also, except for the clearly indicated "McDonald's french fries," most Disney fries are vegan. For a salty snack, I was surprised to discover that Disney popcorn is actually vegan, despite its buttery taste and appearance. (It's made with a combination of four vegetable oils.)

For the whole article please visit: http://allears.net/din/veg_snacks.htm

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DINING WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
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Reader Sandy Fielder recently visited WDW with her 2 1/2-year-old niece who has numerous food allergies. She writes: Our dining challenge was to find foods with no soy or soy products, nothing with nuts, fish, dairy, strawberries or blue food coloring. Upon arrival at Pop Century we asked about the food court and were told "no problem" -- just ask anyone in the food court and a chef would be happy to meet with us. So, once we settled in, that is what we did. I was amazed. A chef appeared almost immediately upon request and discussed at length what we could and could not eat off the menu items and offered to heat olive oil and cook anything we wanted. (Traveling with a 2 1/2-year-old, that mostly meant chicken strips and fries.) Dining with food allergies need not be overwhelming if you take the time to plan ahead and can wait for food to be prepared to order.

Read about their experience at: http://allears.net/din/guest_allerg.htm

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GAY DAY AT THE MAGIC KINGDOM
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Pat Morales writes: My family vacation to Disney happened to be during Gay Days this year. It was great. Everyone was polite and happy. Other than the sea of red (red shirts, red accessories...), we were all there just to have a good time.

Senior Editor Debra Martin Koma responds: Thanks, Pat, for sending in these comments. It reminded me that I, too, wanted to write a bit about Gay Day in the Magic Kingdom.

I was especially observant during my visit to the Magic Kingdom this past June 5 -- my first time attending Gay Day. As mom to a 12-year-old son, I wondered if what I saw on that day would be appropriate for my child, and whether I should recommend attending the Magic Kingdom on that day to others. Perhaps my thoughts and observations can allay some fears that others may have about this annual event.

We arrived in the Magic Kingdom at 9 a.m. on June 5 for an early Priority Seating for breakfast at Crystal Palace. Upon entering the park, the tide of red shirts was already evident, but the number of people there was not yet overwhelming at all -- quite the opposite, in fact.

As the morning wore on, though, we certainly saw crowds blossom -- it was Saturday in the Magic Kingdom, after all, and that's a busy day even in the off-season. I saw no behavior that could be called "objectionable," however, even as the number of Magic Kingdom guests increased. Yes, I saw many couples holding hands, but I didn't witness any other more blatant Public Displays of Affection. I did note a few T-shirts with mottos that were bordering on bad taste, and I saw a few folks wearing outfits that were meant to call attention to themselves, but this was definitely not what I would call a day for a Magic Kingdom drag show.

I realize I may be going out on a limb by commenting on Gay Days, and I hope that I don't offend anyone with my observations, but we do get many letters each year from folks asking whether they ought to go during this timeframe. Speaking as a mother, and moreover, as a concerned human being, I would say this: If you find the idea of Gay Day in general troublesome, then I do believe you should avoid the Magic Kingdom on the first Saturday in June. If you want to avoid large crowds, again, avoid the Magic Kingdom that day. But do not avoid it just because you fear that there will be some hard-to-explain behavior by gay men and women, or because you think that you or your family will in some way enjoy a less than Magical experience in the Magic Kingdom that day. The Magic was there in abundance on Gay Day, as it is every day in Walt Disney World.

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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It's the Fourth of July! Epcot, Magic Kingdom and the Disney-MGM Studios will all have special July 4th fireworks shows. For details on events and ALL EARS® reader tips about which display to watch, visit: http://allears.net/tp/fojuly.htm

If you have a car, you could also head over to the town of Celebration to see its July 4th fireworks show. Call the Celebration Event Hotline for more information: 1-407-566-2200.

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Olympians and Olympics Pins will be at WDW during July and August. During this summer celebration, specially designed pins and pin trading accessories will be on sale, showing Disney characters supporting the U.S. Olympic Team. On select days throughout the event, current and former U.S. Olympians will be at Downtown Disney Marketplace to meet with guests, sign autographs and pose for pictures. Guests can also catch a glimpse of a real Olympic medal, as Olympians will bring their medals with them to Disney's Pin Traders. Athletes scheduled to appear between 1-4 p.m. on the following dates:

July 3 - Gold Medalist, Bob Beamon
July 10 - Gold Medalist, Sheila Taormina
July 17 - Multi-Medalist, Dennis Mitchell
July 31 - Gold Medalist, Dot Richardson

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Magic Kingdom E-ride nights, which allow Disney resort guests to spend three extra hours in the park, continue every Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the month of July.

For more information on E-ride Nights, visit: http://allears.net/tp/etik.htm

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ESPN celebrates its 25th anniversary with a special event at Disney-MGM Studios on July 31 and August 1, 2004. During ESPN: The Weekend, the Studios will be decked out with sports-related banners and billboards and will feature ESPN personalities and the greatest athletes of the past 25 years in a variety of events.

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Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba at Downtown Disney's West Side is dark now through July 5, but when it reopens, be sure to take advantage of these special discounts:

--Disney resort guests (including guests staying at the WDW Swan or Dolphin, or the Downtown Disney Hotel Plaza area resorts) can purchase one child's ticket (ages 3-9) at 50 percent off the regular price for every full-priced adult ticket purchased. This offer is good for performances through August 21, 2004.

--Florida residents can purchase a Category 2 ticket for 20 percent off the regular price now through the end of September.

--WDW Annual Passholders can purchase Category 2 tickets for 25 percent off the regular price now through the end of September.

http://allears.net/btp/cirq.htm

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Rehab Reminders:

Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure will be closed through July 8. http://allears.net/tp/mgm/m_histk.htm

Tom Sawyer Island will be closed July 25 through September 25, 2004. http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_tsi.htm

It's a Small World closed on May 2, 2004, for a rehab of the characters and sound, and will reopen in the spring of 2005. http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_small.htm

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter is closed and will reopen in the fall of 2004 as Stitch's Great Escape! Carousel of Progress and Timekeeper are open this summer while Alien Encounter is being renovated.

http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_cop.htm
http://allears.net/tp/mk/time.htm
http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_sge.htm

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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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The Currier Family writes: All of our moments are magical since finding your website, and I mean that! Our moment occurred as we checked into the resort. I noticed that my daughter's hand looked empty and as I asked her, "Charley Katherine, where is Bongo?" (he is her stuffed monkey that she was given at birth) her eyes filled with tears and her mouth dropped open -- he was left in the limo, now on its way back to the airport. All I heard was my baby's little heart breaking. Finally, the Cast Member said, "Hey, why so sad on your vacation? This is where the magic happens!" I explained, and the CM sent us off to find our room with a baggage claim ticket in hand. As I sat on our bed, the phone rang, and it was the most angelic voice of our Cast Member saying, "Please have Charley and her father come to the front desk immediately. Mickey Mouse said he has a special package for her!" Within minutes, BONGO was back in the arms of his beloved Charley and our magical moments began to unfold for the rest of our trip! We love WDW, Mickey, Bongo -- and we love Carmen, our Cast Member, who reunited a little 6-year-old girl with a lifelong friend that even Mickey himself could not have replaced.

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Jeanine Dowling shares: Our first day, when we had first walked into the park, my daughter wanted to see the characters. We found a bunch of them and each of them had lines. We tried waiting on each one of them but when our turn came, the characters had to go in. Needless to say, she was very disappointed! A Cast Member named Nick saw how upset she was, and he also couldn't miss her "It's My Birthday" button. He told us to wait on a certain line and we would be the first to see the next group of characters. Well, we waited, and about 15 minutes later Nick showed up ALONE. He took my daughter by the hand and said he had a surprise for her and we should get our camera ready right away. We followed him and he took us to an out-of-the-way area and told my daughter not to move... and he left. All of a sudden, out of a door, came 17 different characters. They surrounded my daughter, hugged her, Minnie Mouse gave her a special pin and they all took pictures together. If that wasn't the greatest thing, Nick asked me if I had an autograph book and said that he would take it for me, have all the characters sign it, and he would meet us back at the lines in a half hour. We waited for him and he showed up with the book, took my daughter again by the hand, and said he had another surprise for her. He took us to the same place and told her again not to move. Here again, 17 other characters came out to greet her! Nick gave us the autograph book and it was filled with every character's name you could ever want. That was the most magical, most special first day and birthday ever and I owe it all to Nick! I just want to say if Nick ever reads this -- I just can't thank you enough. You have a big heart and you're one in a million and you definitely made our day truly MAGICAL! We love you!

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Dawn Dobson writes: Our magical moment was a two-parter that began in December with a visit to the Fairy Godmother at Cinderella's Gala Feast. My 7-year-old daughter has selective mutism and finds it extremely difficult to interact with other people. She got an autograph and posed for a picture, but refused to make eye contact with our favorite Fairy. Fast forward to January -- we had returned to the World for a "bonus" trip and happened onto Main Street just in time for the Share a Dream Come True parade and decided to watch. As the Fairy Godmother passed on her float, she looked right at my daughter, pointed to her and waved, just as her narration began. I glanced at my daughter in time to see her smiling shyly and actually waving back! She looked up at me with her eyes round as saucers and said, "She remembered me from last time!" Tears streamed down my cheeks for the rest of the parade as my little girl beamed with joy that the Fairy Godmother remembered her and made her feel so special. It certainly was a magical day!

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MollyBoo2 shares: My husband and I took our 4-year-old granddaughter to Walt Disney World for her birthday gift in April. We went to Animal Kingdom one day and saw Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy signing autographs and taking pictures with the kids. When it came time for Taryn to ask Mickey to sign, she gave her autograph book to him, and he leaned toward her and wriggled his nose. She then put one hand on her hip and told him, "Boy, you better quit trying to sniff me!" I know that Mickey was laughing because he put his hands over his mouth and then hugged her. This gave us a magical moment to remember.

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Each month in our WDW Bits and Bites issue we share ALL EARS subscribers' Magical Moments stories. Send your Magical Moment to: allearsnet@yahoo.com


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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.