May 2007
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the May 1, 2007 Issue #397 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. We travel now to July 1983, when Walt Disney Productions announced that United Technologies would be sponsoring the new "Living Seas" pavilion at Epcot Center:

"The building will house the largest man-made tropical reef environment in the world in a 5.7 million gallon tank that is 24 feet deep and 200 feet in diameter. Guests will have an unobstructed view of undersea life as they travel through a tunnel of clear acrylic inside the tank. More than 3,000 fish and marine animals will make their home here. Experiments will be conducted in the tank by biologists and other scientists, and guests will be able to communicate with the divers via special radio helmets.

"There will be a pre-show theater presentation about the wonders of the ocean and its importance as a life-sustaining resource. Upon exit, guests board deep submergence simulators to experience the feeling of deep sea descent. After riding through the aquarium, guests will emerge in Sea Base to try hands-on exhibits and learn about new technologies.

"There will also be a 264-seat seafood restaurant with a full view of the tank and its sea life."

(Information taken directly from July 28, 1983, Eyes and Ears publication)

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HIDDEN MICKEYS ALERT
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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys book and webmaster of www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com highlights a few cool Hidden Mickeys around Walt Disney World:

1. Disney's Animal Kingdom: As you walk towards the park entrance turnstiles, find this Hidden Mickey on the right hand corner of the wall of the right-most ticket sales booth. Another similar classic Mickey made of rocks in the wall is near the ground and toward the front of the left side of the left-most ticket booth. (Thanks to Candi A.)
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http://allears.net/btp/hm154.jpg

2. Disney's Animal Kingdom: Study the blue dino holding the sign for Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama. His left wrist has a classic Mickey. (Thanks to Rochelle Klay)
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3. Polynesian Resort: On the "Order Here" screen at Captain Cook's Snack Company, a palm tree with Mickey's shadow on the trunk pans to the right. (Thanks to Steve Seifert)
http://allears.net/btp/hm157.jpg

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BABIES ABOUND
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Tufani was the first elephant calf born at Animal Kingdom on May 22, 2003. His mother, Mayo, is now expecting again! Through artificial insemination, she became pregnant, and the new baby is due on July 4, 2008. There are currently two young elephants that were born at Animal Kingdom in addition to Tufani. Nadirah was born on December 19, 2005, and Kianga was born July 6, 2004. The three can often be seen frolicking in the savanna as you ride the Kilimanjaro Safari. http://allears.net/tp/ak/ak_eleph.htm

During Deb Wills' trip to Walt Disney World two weeks ago, she also spotted baby African Spoonbills that had just hatched. Two adult females had taken up adjoining nests in the front of the Oasis, in full view of guests. http://allears.net/tp/ak/spoonbills.htm

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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Epcot - 14th International Flower and Garden Festival continues through June 3, 2007.

Themed Weekends include:

Cinco de Mayo Weekend, May 4-6 -- The history behind the Cinco de Mayo holiday comes alive during fun-filled activities at the Mexico pavilion.

Mother's Day Weekend, May 11-13 -- Members of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs exhibit a spectacular display of floral arrangements at the Festival Center. Moms are treated to a complimentary flower exclusively on Mother's Day, May 13.

Characters in Bloom Weekend, May 18-20 -- Dozens of Disney characters pop up throughout the park for a character extravaganza.

Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28 -- Children can take part in Field Day activities in Future World East with beanbag tosses, relay races and other outdoor fun.

Flower Power Concerts -- America Gardens Theatre 5:45, 7, and 8:15 p.m. Tentatively scheduled performers include:

5/1 -- Peter & Gordon (New)
5/2 - 5/3 -- Jose Feliciano (New)
5/4 - 5/5 -- Petula Clark (New)
5/6 - 5/10 -- Nelson, featuring the songs of Ricky Nelson
5/11 - 5/15 -- Davy Jones
5/16 - 5/19 -- BJ Thomas
5/20 - 5/22 -- Grass Roots featuring Rob Grill
5/23 - 5/26 -- The Guess Who
5/27 -- The S.O.S. Band
5/28 - 5/30 -- Gary Puckett
5/31 - 6/3 -- Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone

A Mother's Day Brunch will be served in Epcot's World ShowPlace pavilion (located between the United Kingdom pavilion and the Canada pavilion) on Sunday, May 13, 2007, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Prices (gratuity included): Guests ages 3-9 -- $19.99; ages 10 and over -- $45.99 (Magic Your Way Plus Dining package requires two Table Service meals). Call 407-WDW-DINE for reservations. Epcot admission is required. For more details visit: http://allears.net/menu/men_mom.htm

Pirates of the Caribbean: Adventures on the 7 Seas Lagoon - May 22-25, 2007 - Disney's Contemporary Resort - Prepare yourselves for a three-day adventure unlike any that has been seen this side of the 7 Seas Lagoon. Prices begin at $199. http://psc.disney.go.com/eventservices/disneygallery/WDWPirate07.html

Disney's Wide World of Sports - Disney's Minnie Marathon Weekend , May 4-6, 2007. The weekend includes:

--Go Red for Women 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk to support the American Heart Association; events take place at the Downtown Disney area.
--Women Run the World 15K, with a course that winds through two theme parks.
--Disney's Minnie Marathon Expo, with fashion shows, VIP speakers, wine tasting, and cooking demonstrations.

Other Wide World of Sports events this month:

--Muddy Buddy, a 6-mile, trail-running and mountain-biking adventure race for teams of two that ends with a dip in an enormous mud pit: May 12.
--Danskin Women's Triathlon for girls and women (ages 14 and older) to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation: May 13.
--2007 Ironman 70.3, consisting of a 1.2-mile swim through Disney's Bay Lake, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run around Walt Disney World Resort: May 20.
--Memorial Day Soccer Shootout - May 25-28

For more information on Wide World of Sports events, visit: http://disneysports.com.

The 2007 Teddy Bear and Doll Weekend will take place during the 14th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, May 18-20, 2007. For more information, call Walt Disney Event Services at 407-827-7600 or email WDW.Bear.and.Doll@DisneyWorld.com.

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Don't forget to check our Events page for periodic updates: http://allears.net/pl/events.htm

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Rehabs and Closings

Epcot

Maelstrom in the Norway pavilion closed for refurbishment April 30 and will reopen May 25, 2007.

Le Cellier in Epcot's Canada pavilion will be closed May 14-17, 2007, for a brief rehab.

Teppanyaki Restaurant in Epcot's Japan pavilion is closed for a major rehab through August 25, 2007.

Magic Kingdom

Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse closed for some renovations April 30 and will reopen May 19, 2007.

Contemporary Resort -- The North Garden wing has been demolished. The tennis courts and playground are also gone. Rumors persist that a Disney Vacation Club Resort will be built on the site; however, no official announcement has been made. http://allears.net/tp/wander/wander68.htm

Walt Disney World Swan Resort -- Gulliver's Grill Character Dinner will be closed for refurbishment through June 7, 2007. During this time, Fresh (in the Dolphin) is hosting the Character Buffet dinner.

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Be sure to check our Rehabs and Closings page for periodic updates: http://allears.net/tp/rehabs.htm

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DREAM LOVERS
WHERE ARE YOU?
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The Year of a Million Dreams officially began Sunday, October 1, and as part of that celebration Disney Cast Members are not just dispensing "dream" prizes, but are also creating an unprecedented number of "Magical Moments." These include guests being tapped to help with the pixie-dusted opening of Magic Kingdom, getting the star treatment at a celebrity-style handprint ceremony at Disney-MGM Studios, or being named Official Wildlife Spotters at Disney's Animal Kingdom. We have some reports of guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland receiving "dreams" from the Dream Squad and some of these Magical Moments, as well.

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Chris & Kelly Petrucci: After trips to WDW the previous two years, our kids wanted to go to the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando instead this year. It was more difficult than we thought it would be, to be in Orlando and NOT be going to WDW. After our stay at the Nick Hotel, we felt like maybe some shopping at Downtown Disney was just the thing to curb our appetite for Disney! We shopped at World of Disney and had lunch at Fulton's Crab House. When we finished lunch we were walking back toward the LEGO Store to shop some more! Right under the brick archway we ran smack into the Dream Squad. They handed each person in our party one of their last six lanyard and pin sets. We were ecstatic! Even though we didn't make it to the Kingdom this year, we still brought plenty of Magic home with us! Thanks, Dream Squad!

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Dawn Picken: We recently spent eight days in the World and on the third day we went to Epcot. Upon entering we had forgotten to grab a map so I sent my 11-year-old daughter into one of the first stores we saw. I waited just outside with my 4-year-old and his stroller. When she came out she was smiling from ear to ear. She said the Cast Member working the desk said she was her first guest of the day in the store and asked her to sign her autograph book. She did, and the Cast Member gave her a Tinker Bell pin (one of the ones that come in a set and you give one and keep one). My daughter just thought this was so special; it made her whole day magical. Of all the pins we bought while in Disney, that special Tinker Bell pin is her favorite.

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Betsy Collins: My son and I ran to the ice cream shop in the Magic Kingdom right before the parade started. I quizzed the cashier about which treats were covered as a snack in the meal plan and she said everything but a waffle sundae. I hardly pouted but said, "Dang, that was what I wanted!" I ordered a cone and stepped up to the counter to wait for it. In a few moments, 10 Cast Members came out cheering with the biggest tower of ice cream you can imagine, complete with mountains of whipped cream, cherries and chocolate Mickey Ears. It was a goosebump delight and a memory that my son and I will never forget. What a fun cheat on our diet!

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Donna Wilbanks: While we personally didn't get a "dream," we were very surprised when one was passed on to us. We had just entered Animal Kingdom late in the day and my husband was so worried that all the FastPasses to Expedition Everest would be gone. A woman approached us and in broken English asked if there were two of us. When we said yes, she handed us two lanyards with six tabs of FastPasses on each one. Two were used, but we were thrilled to have some. My husband was so excited to be able to walk right up to Expedition Everest, not once, but twice in a row! Many thanks to the people who shared their "dream!"

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EDITOR'S NOTE: If the Dream Squad bestows a "dream" upon you, or if you receive an official "Magical Moment," please let us know! We'd love to hear what you won, how you were chosen, and don't forget to send any photos if you have them! Email us at allearsnet@yahoo.com

For more Magical Moments: http://allears.net/tp/yomdmm.htm
For Dreams: http://allears.net/tp/yomd.htm


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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.