April 2006
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the March 28, 2006, Issue #340 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? Each month we visit a time gone by in Walt Disney World history.

This month we return to October 1972 for Part II of our reminiscences of the proposed multimillion dollar expansion announced by Donn Tatum, Chairman of the Board of Walt Disney Productions, and E. Cardon Walker, President of Walt Disney Productions, just a year and a few weeks after Walt Disney World had officially opened. (In Part I, January 28, 2006, ALL EARS(R) Issue #332, we told you about the announcements for the Walt Disney Story, Magic Carpet Round the World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, and the People Mover.) The following information is from the October 21, 1972, issue of "Eyes and Ears," the Walt Disney World Cast Member publication:

Tomorrowland Jets - What we now know as Astro Orbiter. Each space pilot commanded a ship to get a bird's-eye view of Tomorrowland. It was scheduled to debut in 1974.

Big Thunder Railway - It was announced that construction would begin in 1974 for this high-speed adventure that would overlook the Rivers of America.

Tom Sawyer Island - Opening in the summer of 1974, the island was to be based on stories by Mark Twain and would include swaying suspension bridges and barrel bridges. To reach the island you would take a river raft from Frontierland.

The Richard F. Irvine Sternweeler - Designed to carry 400 passengers around the Rivers of America.

Plaza Swan Boats - Scheduled to open in early 1973, the boats were to journey along winding waterways past the Crystal Palace, Swiss Family Treehouse and Cinderella Castle.

Golf Resort Hotel - Overlooking the Palm and Magnolia golf courses, construction would begin late 1972.

Luau Cove - The all-weather shelter for the evening Luau was to open in 1973 and seat 500 guests.

Two New Monorails and two 65-passenger water buses were to be added to the transportation fleet.

Fort Wilderness Railroad with Victorian-style, open-air cars, the first two-mile loop was to be ready by Christmas 1972, and an additional loop added in 1973.

This was all announced when Walt Disney World had been in operation for a little more than a year. Can you imagine if a similar expansion was announced today?

Part I: http://allears.net/ae/issue332.htm

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HIDDEN MICKEYS ALERT
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Steve Barrett, author of "Hidden Mickeys: a Field Guide to Disney's Best-Kept Secrets"and webmaster of www.hiddenmickeysguide.com [6], suggests looking for these tiny, classic (three-circle) Hidden Mickeys in Epcot:

1. Canada: A fish with a classic Mickey has reappeared! (The first such fish ornament was shattered a few years ago.) It's in the Northwest Mercantile Shop, which is to your left as you walk up the steps into the pavilion. The fish is hanging on the outside of a box at the left rear of the first room as you enter the shop. (Thanks to Jesse Kline and Joseph Fortenbaugh for telling me about this new Hidden Mickey.) http://allears.net/btp/hm111.jpg

2. Morocco: At the rear of the pavilion, across from the entrance to Restaurant Marrakesh, two small Hidden Mickeys are in a mural on a rear wall of the character meet and greet room. One is at the top of a tower on the right side of the street (it's not perfectly proportioned, but it's close enough). Another classic Mickey is toward the front of the mural, on the left side of the street and near the rear part of a double archway. This second one is tiny and looks somewhat like a bush. (Thanks to Jesse and Jordan Kline, and Leslie Sharkey for alerting me to these Hidden Mickeys on the mural.) http://allears.net/btp/hm112.jpg and http://allears.net/btp/hm113.jpg

Learn about more Hidden Mickeys: http://allears.net/btp/hiddenm.htm
Purchase Steve's book in the Allears.net book store: http://allears.net/store.htm

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SOUVEN-EARS
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The grand opening next Friday, April 7, of Expedition EVEREST undoubtedly brings much-anticipated thrills and excitement. But those shoppers among us are even more excited at another prospect -- the addition of a new shopping experience in Animal Kingdom that offers a fresh and unfamiliar array of merchandise to take home as souven-EARS!

ALL EARS(R) Team Member Linda Mac spent quite a bit of time recently becoming acquainted with the new goods on offer, and shares some of her favorites, based on their novelty and theming:

Of course, everyone's heard about the Yeti on Expedition Everest, and the merchandise in the shop really capitalizes on his popularity. There's such a large assortment of Yeti-related merchandise, it would be nearly impossible to list it all here. Stand-outs in the kids' department were: the adorable "baby" Yeti plush, so soft and friendly looking, for just $9; the fuzzy white kids' binoculars, made to look like the Yeti's face ($15) (for ages 3 and up); a mean-looking Yeti plush backpack, ($30) (not to be confused with the canvas backpacks that simply have a Yeti logo on them for $20 or $40); the kids' Yeti-feet slippers ($22); and, in my opinion, the must-have item of the shop -- a mean-looking Yeti head hat that, when worn, makes it look as though the Yeti is swallowing you up ($22). There's also a Yeti plush sporting a more traditional, aggressive look for the less cuddly child ($16).

For the older kid, or adults, there's even more Yeti-based "stuff." Not surprisingly, there's a wide variety of Expedition Everest apparel, ranging from t-shirts to golf shirts to visors to jackets. Of the shirts, one of my favorite items was the black short-sleeved tee bearing a wild-looking, snow-boarding Yeti with the caption, "Elevate Your Fear. Expedition Everest" ($19). And for those not worried about seeming too Politically Incorrect, there are the shirts bearing Expedition Everest's unofficial tagline: "Scream Like a Girl." The motto comes on a sleeveless gray tee ($17.95) and in a number of other colors and styles.

There are some whimsical items that caught our eye, among them the Royal Anandapur Newspaper shirt -- a tee that bears a reproduction of a newspaper's front page, with the headlines that read, "Fearsome Yeti Spotted During Expedition Everest Tour" ($19). You can also purchase a personalized "Expedition Permit" with your name and your route, marked with all sorts of official looking stamps ($7).

Finally, if you're looking for a more practical souven-ear from Expedition Everest, you might like the stainless steel Thermos ($20) bearing the attraction's emblem, or one of the nonfiction books on the Himalayas and Mt. Everest that are available -- titles range from "Everest: The Death Zone" to "The Quotable Climber," and prices go as high as $25.

For photos of the Expedition EVEREST shop and some of the merchandise Linda Mac describes above, visit: http://allears.net/tp/ak/ak_eeshop.htm

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QUICK BITES
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ALL EARS(R) Editor-in-Chief Deb Wills writes: Some friends and I found ourselves wandering Downtown Disney on a recent Sunday afternoon and realized we were hungry -- it was 12:30 p.m. Since we've heard so many raves about the Earl of Sandwich, we decided to have lunch there. This place was hopping! Table space (both inside and out) was very hard to come by. It was very, very crowded, but I will say the order line moved quickly. The area for food pickup was also very congested and a bit confusing.

I was all set for a cold salad, but once I saw they were pre-made and in an open fridge I shifted my focus to their sandwiches instead. There were four of us -- two of us had the Earl's Club (roast turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese), which was very tasty, with good turkey and bacon. One person had The Original 1762 (roast beef, cheddar and creamy horseradish sauce) -- most enjoyable. I had the Caprese (sliced fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes, fresh basil and drizzled virgin olive oil). If the tomatoes were ripe I would have given this sandwich a 10. The bread is tasty and crusty; just as you'd want in a good sandwich. For the three ladies, the sandwich was just enough, but the gentleman with us wanted more. That said, we REALLY enjoyed our sandwiches, and at $4.95 they are a great value for the money.

The only real issue we had with the eatery was that there is no restroom located inside. You have to go back outside into the Marketplace area to the central restrooms.

Overall, we rated Earl of Sandwich an 8 out of 10 and will be back.

Our Rate and Review section has 23 reviews of Earl of Sandwich with 100 percent of the reviewers recommending the eatery. The average rating is a 9.3. So next time you're looking for a quick sandwich at a very reasonable price in Downtown Disney, head to the Marketplace and check out Earl of Sandwich.

Rate and Review the Earl of Sandwich: http://land.allears.net/ reviewpost/showproduct.php?product=131&sort=8&cat=40&page=1

Check out the rest of our reviews: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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Big happenings at Animal Kingdom this month! Expedition EVEREST: The Legend of the Forbidden Mountain official opening is April 7, 2006! Learn more about the attraction and read our Preview Weekend Report with photos at: http://allears.net/tp/ak/ak_ee.htm

Also, Animal Kingdom celebrates its 8th birthday on April 22, which coincides with Earth Day. There will be related Earth Day/ birthday festivities in the theme park.

The 13th International Flower and Garden Festival begins April 21 and runs through June 11! Flower Power Concerts -- America Gardens Theater 5:45 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. - The Nelsons April 21-24; The Buckinghams April 25-27; and Gary Puckett April 28-May 1. http://allears.net/tp/ep/flogar.htm

Time for Grad Nites 2006 in the Magic Kingdom - April 28, 29 and May 5, 6, 2006 - High school senior classes will gather for an exclusive, all-night party in the Magic Kingdom, featuring live performances. http://allears.net/tp/mk/grad.htm

April 5, 2006, marks the official unveiling of the renovated World of Disney at Downtown Disney Marketplace. The Adventure Room and Princess Room feature all-new themed decor and merchandise, including interactive Audio-Animatronic characters. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique offers complete makeovers for young princess. Boutique reservations can be made by calling 407-WDW-STYLE. http://allears.net/btp/dd_market.htm

The 2006 Walt Disney World Inline Marathon Weekend takes place April 1-2, starting with an expo featuring the latest in inline skating race gear from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 1 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Admission is free. Disney's All Star Kids' Classic, for children ages 3-12, also will take place April 1 in the main parking lot of the sports complex. The entry fee is $5 per child and all participants will receive a special award. The half- and full-marathon inline races will take place Sunday, April 2. Registrations for this and the Disney's All Star Kids' Classic are being taken online at www.disneyworldsports.com up until the day of the race

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Rehabs and Closings:

Theater in the Wild is now closed and under renovation. It will reopen late this year with a new show yet to be announced.

Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom is closed for a rehab that will see the addition of new characters and features from the popular film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." The attraction will feature the addition of buccaneers Captain Jack Sparrow and his nemesis Barbossa, who will add a twist to the attraction's old storyline as they race to be the first to claim a cache of plundered treasure. The attraction will reopen in time for the July 7 debut of the new movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest." Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Resort in California will also close in March and will reopen on June 24. http://allears.net/tp/mk/mk_pirates.htm   http://allears.net/dlr/tp/dl/potc.htm

Liberty Square Riverboat will not be sailing until Summer 2006 due to an extensive rehab. http://allears.net/tp/mk/rboat.htm

Keystone Clothiers in the Disney-MGM Studios is closed until June 16, 2006.

The West End Stage and the Hub Stage at Pleasure Island are under refurbishment, continuing into late 2006. http://allears.net/btp/pleasure-island.htm

Other closings at Pleasure Island include:

-- Superstar Studios -- closed March 3.
-- Missing Link Sausage Company -- closed March 19.
-- DTV -- closed March 19.
-- Zen Zone -- closed March 19.
-- Reel Finds -- will close April 1.
-- Changing Attitudes -- will close April 1.
-- Orlando Harley-Davidson -- closed March 19, but will relocate to the former home of Reel Finds and Changing Attitudes.

Polynesian Resort - Longhouses are undergoing extensive rehab, with minimal effect on guests. http://allears.net/acc/faq_poly.htm

Caribbean Beach Resort's Martinique pool will be closed for rehab April 30 - May 6, 2006. http://allears.net/acc/faq_cbr.htm

Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort - Tubbi's, the 24-hour buffeteria located in the Walt Disney World Dolphin, is closed for renovations, and will reopen in early April with a fresh look and a new name. The Dolphin's convenience store closed February 21 as part of the refurbishment as well. http://allears.net/acc/faq_dol.htm

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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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Bernie & Jo Brennan: My daughter's boyfriend proposed over the radio (at the station where he works) the day before Thanksgiving. It was very, VERY romantic and special. Everyone was listening and she didn't have a clue it was going to happen. They both came down the next day (Thanksgiving Day) to spend it with us, her mom and dad, on our Disney vacation. Before asking her to marry him, her boyfriend came and asked our permission, and wanted to know where he could give her the engagement ring while we were at Disney. We already had dinner reservations at the Castle for the day after Thanksgiving, and figured he could give it to her outside the Castle. We asked around at Disney, and they mentioned an option of giving her the ring inside the Castle after dinner. It was PERFECT! After dinner, they brought over the ring inside a glass slipper with their names on it, on a plate full of rose petals. My daughter was in tears, and her now fiance was smiling the BIGGEST smile I ever saw. Luckily, we have it all on video (which I have watched at least 50 times). A couple of minutes after he gave her the ring, the "Wishes" fireworks started and we had a seat in front of the window. It was really a Magical Moment and will always be our BEST visit/ memory at WDW.

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Ashley: We spent our Spring Break 2005 at WDW. Our high school sophomore's marching band was invited to march in the Magical Music Days at Magic Kingdom. For us, this was going to be a once in a lifetime trip to see our daughter and her friend march with the SpectroMagic Parade. It was truly magical to stand there and see your hometown band march with the beautifully lit castle behind them. When we returned to school, the students were asked to write about what their favorite part of the trip was. Our daughter's journal entry was posted in our band director's newsletter and I would like to share it:

"I think that I have to say my favorite part of the whole trip was marching in the SpectroMagic Parade. I enjoyed this moment the most because of the feeling that swept over me when we walked through the huge double doors into the crowds of people cheering for us. There were thousands of people watching us! As we marched and played, the cheers grew louder and it gave me goosebumps! Afterwards my parents told me people around them, who they didn't know, were telling them that our band was the best. It wasn't like they were just being nice because they had no idea that my parents were from Waynesville. It was a memory that will surely last a lifetime!"

I have made many trips to Disney, but nothing can compare to seeing your child being a part of such a magical event.

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R. Mountford: We were having lunch at Tony's Town Square the last afternoon of our vacation with our two girls, ages 3 and 7. My 3-year-old daughter is a huge fan of Tinker Bell. We told her that if she ate her lunch, that maybe Tinker Bell would fly by. Without missing a beat, a waiter who happened to be waiting on another table, came up behind my daughter and sprinkled "pixie dust" in her hair (Mickey confetti). Even my very alert 7-year-old missed the sprinkling -- but they were both amazed at the dust! He continued to sprinkle both the girls throughout the meal -- this was the most "magical" way to end a wonderful weeklong Disney vacation! Thank you, Tinker Bell!


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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.