December 2004
WDW Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the November 30, 2004, Issue #271 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.

This month we go back to 1991. A WDW Press Release issued as part of the 20th Anniversary Celebration listed 20 reasons to visit the WDW Resort, and here are the first 10. We'll list the rest in next month's issue of Bits and Bites.

Beauty and the Beast - based on the upcoming animated Disney film, the new stage show premiered at the Studios. (Beauty and the Beast opened at the Backlot Theatre, which later housed the Hunchback of Notre Dame Stage Show, before moving to the Theatre of the Stars.) http://allears.net/tp/mgm/m_beauty.htm

The Little Mermaid - based on, you guessed it, the animated feature, The Little Mermaid. http://allears.net/tp/mgm/m_mermaid.htm

Magic Linkdom - Tom Fazio and Pete Dye designed two new golf courses that opened early in 1992 -- Osprey Ridge and Eagle Pines.

Surprise in the Skies - A daytime show at Epcot World Showcase featured boats, kites, hang gliders, fireworks and more. If anyone has photos of this show, please let us know! http://allears.net/forms/feedback.htm

Surprise Celebration Parade at the Magic Kingdom - a carnival of larger-than-life Disney characters. We have some photos of this parade, but please let us know if you have some to share. http://allears.net/forms/feedback.htm

SpectroMagic - The nighttime light spectacular at the Magic Kingdom. http://allears.net/tp/mk/spectromagic.htm

Dinosaurs Live - Earl Sinclair and his fossil family appeared as Guests of Extinction on Hollywood Boulevard at the Disney-MGM Studios.

Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort - these two deluxe hotels and their ever-popular pool, Stormalong Bay, opened.
http://allears.net/acc/faq_bc.htm
http://allears.net/acc/faq_yc.htm

The New Mickey Mouse Club - The Disney Channel show was taped at the Studios.

Sorcery in the Sky Fireworks - A fantastic nighttime show at the Studios celebrated more than 70 years of Hollywood with music, fireworks and a surprise ending!

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VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS
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The pastry chefs at Walt Disney World have once again created festive culinary masterpieces for the holidays:

Animal Kingdom Lodge's Boma has an entirely edible, miniature African village made out of sugar, chocolate and gingerbread.

Beach Club Resort once again features an impressive life-sized gingerbread carousel made out of:

36 lbs. of honey
96 lbs. of bread flour
100 pints of eggs
10 lbs. of spices
10 quarts of simple syrup
100 lbs. of icing
50 lbs. of dark chocolate
10 quarts of egg whites
100 lbs. of confectioner sugar

Chefs are on hand throughout the day, giving demonstrations and tips on how to decorate other gingerbread creations. The resort's stores sell gingerbread houses, along with Christmas stollen.

The BoardWalk Resort's lobby has a 15-by-20-foot display, all created with gingerbread, sugar and chocolate, featuring a water slide, beach area, carousel, and Ferris wheel.

Contemporary Resort's Tower houses its gingerbread holiday village on the fourth floor.

The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has a life-sized holiday gingerbread house that holds a goodie shop selling, among other specialties, gingerbread cookies, stollen bread, Santa lollipops, and Grand Floridian chocolate logo boxes filled with truffles. Want to make your own life-sized gingerbread house? All it takes is:

1,050 lbs. honey
600 lbs. powdered sugar
35 lbs. spices
800 lbs. flour
140 pints egg whites
180 lbs. apricot glaze
over 10,000 pieces of gingerbread

The Grand Floridian's structure is 16 feet high and 17 feet wide, with 40 window panes. It houses 80 square feet of retail space and took a mere 400 hours to bake, 160 hours to decorate!

Polynesian Resort's gingerbread village, complete with volcanoes and edible palm trees, is on the second floor of the Ceremonial House. The Kona Island coffee bar has Christmas cookies, biscotti and other treats for purchase.

Yacht Club Resort's lobby features a miniature train racing around a sweetly prepared mountain and village. Gingerbread houses, Christmas stollen and traditional Italian holiday bread (pannettone) are sold in the resort shops.

Epcot's Liberty Inn in the American Adventure pavilion will host Santa's Bakeshop, a life-sized gingerbread house made from more than 800 pounds of sugar and 1,000 eggs. Christmas cookies and hot and cold beverages are for sale inside the gingerbread house.

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Souven-EARS
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M-I-C... I see them everywhere! In most of the resort and theme park major gift shops!

K-E-Y... Why? I'll tell you why! Because we're all still Mouseketeers at heart!

M-O-U-S-E!

So what am I talking about? And why am I singing the Mickey Mouse Club theme song in the Souven-EARS featurette? Because on my last trip to Walt Disney World I was thrilled to find a whole line of items sporting the old Mickey Mouse Club logo -- Mickey's smiling face ringed by a big circle.

There are t-shirts, of course, but they're not all your average everyday tees... Some have big logos on the front or back, others have a discreet smaller version of the icon. You can find a plain gray shirt with red lettering ($19); or shirts with glitter in a variety of colors, among them pink and green ($25); a "distressed" style tee ($26); V-neck tees ($25); or "baby doll" tees with glitter ($20). Top off your look with a cap ($19), or maybe you'd like a hoodie ($42) for the cool December evenings.

If you know someone who collects novelty glasses, you're in luck -- there's a jigger-sized Mickey Mouse Club glass ($6), as well as a standard tumbler ($8). There's also a generous size ceramic mug ($10), for those of us who have grown up just a little bit. There's also a whimsical salt and pepper shaker set ($13.50) that features a television (salt) tuned in to the old MMC program on top and its cabinet stand (pepper) on the bottom.

If you're looking for a sturdy new carryall to lug your purchases home in, don't miss the large Mickey Mouse Club canvas tote ($28). For children, or those who don't have much to carry, there's also a smaller backpack, loaded with pockets and compartments ($30). Finally, rounding out the line, there's a convenient note pad backed with a magnet, perfect for hanging on the fridge ($6).

With the holidays right around the corner, these items will make perfect gifts for nostalgic baby-boomers (like me!) who will forever be fans of "the club that's made for you and me!"

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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Counting Down to MouseFest 2004: In just a few days, December 5 to be exact, MouseFest 2004 begins, with almost 200 cruisers aboard the Disney Wonder. Land activities run December 9 - 13. For more information visit: http://allears.net/btp/mousefest.htm

MouseFest Pocket Guides will be available at all meets. For an advance copy online, visit the new website at: http://www.mousefest.org

Mark your calendars for MouseFest 2005 -- December 2 - 8, 2005! The Mega Mouse Meet will be held on Saturday, December 3, and the MouseFest 2005 Disney Wonder Cruise sails from December 4 - 8, 2005.

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Holidays around the World continues an Epcot tradition with storytellers, a daily character tree-lighting ceremony, a stunning display of snow-white lights, and the Candlelight Processional -- guest narrators accompanied by a massed choir and orchestra for a retelling of the Christmas story. The holiday fun runs through December 30 and is included with regular Epcot admission. http://allears.net/tp/holiday.htm

The Wonders of Life Pavilion in Epcot reopens December 18. Body Wars, Cranium Command and The Making of Me will operate through December 31, 2004. The dining and merchandise locations in the pavilion will not be open, however. http://allears.net/tp/ep/e_body.htm

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights runs through January 2, 2005, at Disney-MGM Studios' backlot cityscape. With Jennings Osborne's millions of sparkling lights and a little Disney magic, the "big city" comes alive in glowing color as snow falls overhead. The dazzling spectacle is included with Disney-MGM Studios admission. http://allears.net/tp/h_osbr2.htm

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - November 30, December 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 17 -(December 10 and 17 are SOLD OUT). There are special holiday shows, fireworks and treats. For ticket information, contact 407-W-DISNEY. http://allears.net/tp/hol_mk.htm

Pop Warner Superbowl, December 5-11, celebrates its 75th annual event and its 10th consecutive year at the Walt Disney World Resort. More than 60 youth football teams from across the country will compete in four age groups (age 8 to 14) at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. More than 70 percent of all current players in the National Football League started their careers in Pop Warner. In addition to the gridiron competition, close to 300 squads will be on hand for the Pop Warner National Cheer & Dance Championships at The Milk House.

Market Street in Celebration runs through December 31. Not only does it "snow" nightly (on the hour from 6-9 p.m.), there are strolling holiday carolers and entertainment. Call the Celebration Event Hotline 1-407-566-2200. http://www.celebrationfl.com/

New Year's Eve Celebrations are planned at Pleasure Island, Cirque du Soleil and more. http://allears.net/tp/nyeve.htm

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Rehabs scheduled during December:

Epcot's El Rio del Tiempo in the Mexico pavilion will be closed for refurbishment Monday, December 6, through Wednesday, December 8. http://allears.net/tp/ep/e_mex.htm

it's a small world in the Magic Kingdom closed May 2, 2004, for a rehab of the characters and sound. It will reopen in spring 2005. http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_small.htm

Cirque du Soleil's La Nouba will be dark (closed) December 5 to 13. http://allears.net/btp/cirq.htm

Blizzard Beach - Closed for annual refurbishment October 24, 2004 - December 11, 2004. http://allears.net/btp/bb.htm

Typhoon Lagoon - Closed for annual refurbishment December 12, 2004 - March 12, 2005. http://allears.net/btp/faq_tl.htm

Yacht and Beach Club Resort/Beach Club Villas - A rehab of different portions of the Stormalong Bay pool area will take place through early 2005. The main pool slide (the Flying Jib Slide) will be closed from January 3 to February 25, 2005 for painting. The "quiet" Admiral Pool at Yacht Club and the Tidal Pool at the Beach Club are open to Yacht and Beach Club guests during this renovation, plus a complimentary shuttle will run from the shipwreck area to the Boardwalk Resort pool during regular pool hours. http://allears.net/acc/faq_bc.htm

Old Key West Resort - The resort's main pool is under refurbishment, and is scheduled to reopen on December 16, 2004. http://www.allears.net/acc/faq_okw.htm

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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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Sharon Connelly: As you well know, the World is a rather large place to visit. Often I found myself caught up in the whirlwind of having to see it "all." On our visit to the Animal Kingdom, I was reminded of the concept of "stopping to smell the roses." We had just gotten off the Kilimanjaro Safari when we came upon some very talented African drummers and dancers. My son wanted to stop and watch for a few minutes, as his latest fascination was music and band. He was really enjoying the music, tapping his toes and clapping along. After a few minutes I was about to remind everyone that there was so much more to see and that we should think about moving along. Before the words came out of my mouth, one of the drummers pulled my son into the show. He was taught the dance, and given the opportunity to play their drums. Normally a quiet and somewhat shy boy, I was amazed to see the enthusiasm with which he joined in the festivities. I saw him smiling from ear to ear and glowing in a way that I don't often see. As I watched him, tears came to my eyes. It was at that point that I took the opportunity to slow down, and keep my eyes open for the rest of the Magic to follow. Many more wonderful memories presented themselves and we had the trip of a lifetime. The lesson I learned that day was invaluable. I now do a lot less "planning" and a lot more going with the flow.

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Chris and Brandon Frantz: My husband and I just returned from our MUCH anticipated honeymoon to WDW and I have to say thank you to all the Cast Members who, just by doing their job, made our trip so special! We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (an amazing experience in and of itself!) and met so many great people -- Lee, who helped us with our luggage the first day and always greeted us with a "Hello, newlyweds!"; Jen, who talked with us for a long time about the work she does with the animals and let us use the night-vision goggles with her (even though we had already missed the "official" show-and-tell); and so many more -- especially our housekeeper who left us a washcloth shaped as a bunny -- we loved that! Cast Member Robert at Epcot gave us an outstanding UnDISCOVERed Future World Tour and made sure everywhere we went was accessible (I have cerebral palsy and use an electric wheelchair). He always took the elevator with us, and gave us a few minutes of two-on-one time with him to ask all the questions we wanted. Thank you, too, to all the CMs at the various parks who would let my husband and me scope out rides to see if he could help me transfer onto them. There were so many other wonderful people that I could go on for days! We made a point of always saying thank you, using names and wishing great days/nights, but when we got home yesterday, I truly realized the profound effect of the fantastic WDW staff, and knowing that so many people helped make our honeymoon the trip of a lifetime is as "magical" as it gets here!

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Melissa Speegle: My Magical Moment came this last July when 23 members of my family (only six of them children) from all over the United States met in WDW for vacation. We were at Cinderella's Royal Table for the character breakfast and I was enjoying taking my pictures with the characters and watching the children get so excited. I just got done having my picture taken with Mary Poppins and my mom said, "Oh, look -- there is Belle," and burst into tears because she was so happy to meet Belle. Of course, since she started to cry, I got all teary- eyed. It was a great moment seeing my mom so happy! Of course I got a picture of her and Belle together and I will always remember that moment.

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Bridget W.: My parents surprised me with a trip to Disney World for my Sweet 16 birthday. Between getting my birthday button at Town Hall, riding in front of the monorail, and getting flowers from a couple of Cast Members at the Grand Floridian Resort, my favorite memory that will always stick in my mind was when we were at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue show for dinner. We ended up being seated right in front of the stage. Well, for those who don't know, during the beginning of the show they ask if anyone is celebrating any birthdays, anniversaries or any other special events. Of course my parents immediately raised their hands and started pointing to me. One of the girls came down and asked me what my name was and how old I was turning. When the spotlight came down on her, she yelled out, "I have with me Bridget from Michigan and today is her sweet 16th birthday!" But that's not all --she continued to say, "Sweet 16 and never been kissed..." Two of the "cuter" guys came over and stood on either side of me, and a countdown began...3..2..1...and boom right at zero, I got a kiss from both of the guys on my cheeks! Everyone burst out in cheers! I will always remember it for the rest of my life!


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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.