September 2007
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the
August 28, 2007 Issue #414 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. As Epcot's 25th Anniversary approaches, we thought it'd be fun to go back 25 years and visit the Centorium! Quick -- how many of you know what the Centorium was and where it was located?

If you guessed that it was part of Communicore and was the major retail area for Future World, you guessed right! It covered nearly 15,000 square feet and featured two floors! It was the largest store in all of Epcot Center. This location wasn't the first choice for Future World's retail location, but eventually was selected.

The interior of the Centorium was decorated in bold red and blue colors with linear designs (to match the linear designs of Future World) and a round glass elevator carried you up to the mezzanine level. There was a section of the store that was devoted to each of the Future World pavilions -- wouldn't that be a collector's dream?!

The Mezzanine Level contained merchandise for the Universe of Energy (solar powered ornaments, motorized metal sculptures), Communications / SpaceShip Earth (writing instruments, tiny portable TVs and portable headphones), and Electronic Toys and Games (the latest in home computers, video games and teaching aids).

The First Floor had film, sundries, and memorabilia (I sure would love to see what that section looked like). It also contained merchandise for the Land (fruit and vegetable pins and magnets, lamps that turn on by touching them, and a confection counter), Journey into Imagination (futuristic items, brain teasers, holograms), Jewelry (space age geometric styles), The Seas (coral, shells, ceramic sealife), World of Motion (radio controlled cars) and Books (hardbound editions and posters related to each pavilion as well as space travel).

I remember my first visit to the Centorium in the mid-1990s. I found it a fascinating and unique display of merchandise. Sadly, I don't have any photos of the Centorium. If you do, please share with us at allearsnet@yahoo.com

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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 at the Magic Kingdom, Downtown Disney Marketplace and Epcot. The first two groupings have been around a while, so they may be more or less permanent (I hope!). The last one is a cool classic Mickey that I only recently learned about. Look for them while you're shopping, people watching, and enjoying the magic!

1. In the Magic Kingdom afternoon parade, several famous characters are hidden on floats. On Pinocchio's float (currently the second float in the Disney Dreams Come True Parade), a classic Mickey imprint is on a wooden panel in front of the Dwarf playing the piano on the left side of the float, and a statue of Walt Disney and Mickey is on a shelf behind a clock on the right side of the float. An etched glass image of Walt Disney walking in Disneyland is on the lower back part of the float with the castle spires. (Thanks to Joseph Moschinger)
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2. Look for four classic Mickeys on the decorative panels on the Carrousel near Disney's Days of Christmas store: (1) a blue classic Mickey on the sign under Minnie Mouse, (2) two light green classic Mickeys on the dragon's nose, (3) two tiny classic Mickeys on the pink window awnings on the right side of the panel that shows part of the store from a distance, and (4) a pink classic Mickey formed of roses on the upper part of a panel in the center of the carrousel. (Thanks to James Baublitz)
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3. In the Innoventions West building, the rear door of Club Cool (facing the Imagination pavilion) has a classic Mickey formed of solid circles that come together on the right side (as you face Club Cool) when the door is open. (Thanks to William Iadonisi)
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Read Steve's blog at AllEars® Blog Central: http://land.allears.net/blogs/stevebarrett/

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FOOD & WINE FUN FACTS
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As Walt Disney World gears up for the start of Epcot's 12th annual International Food & Wine Festival that starts later in September, we thought we'd share of some of the six-week-long festival's "fun facts" with you. This year the festival will feature:

-- 33,000 bottles of wine and champagne
-- 1.2 million hors d'oeuvre plates
-- 2.1 million Vanity Fair napkins
-- 750,000 beer cups
-- 690,000 sumptuous samplings, including spicy tuna rolls, samosas with tamarind sauce, shrimp escabeche and spaetzle with creamy mushroom ragout
-- 600,000 forks
-- 100,000 miniature desserts, including traditional apple strudel, baklava, Bailey's trifle and kiwi custard roll
-- 32,000 quesadillas
-- 28,500 pieces of sushi
-- 17,000 shrimp on the barbie
-- 16,500 escargot
-- 13,000 servings of spanakopita
-- 10,500 servings of maple glazed salmon
-- 9,750 servings of lamb chops

http://allears.net/tp/ep/foodwine.htm

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MONTHLY REMIND-EARS
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Disney-MGM Studios

Little Ones Travel Time, a program that started last year, returns this year slightly later in the season. From August 26 through October 28, Walt Disney World will host a variety of special activities for families vacationing with toddlers and preschoolers, including Playhouse Disney in Concert with Disney Channel favorites like The Doodlebops, Johnny and the Sprites and Dan Zanes. Admission is included with a valid theme park ticket.

Imagination Movers - August 30 - September 2, 2007
This New Orleans-based music group is a rising star in the children's music category with their high-energy, interactive rock/hip-hop concerts. Their funky, catchy songs have produced new Imagination Movers fans, affectionately known as "Gearheads," across the country.

The Doodlebops -- September 6 - 9, 2007
Come center stage with Deedee, Rooney, and Moe Doodle and rock-along with the Doodlebops. This candy-colored trio will get kids out of their seats and on their feet as they rock and bop to their favorite songs from this hit rockin' band.

"Playhouse Disney Live on Tour" - September 13 - 16, 2007
Disney Family Live Entertainment presents "Playhouse Disney Live on Tour" featuring Little Einsteins, Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and more. It's a whole new way to experience Disney Magic with the entire family! Shows will be presented at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. at Coaster Courtyard Concert Stage near Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. http://allears.net/tp/mgm/pdic.htm

Epcot

Disney's Pin Celebration 2007 - Where Dreams HapPin - September 7-9, 2007 - Epcot - World ShowPlace -- This three-day event will be held September 7-9, 2007 at Epcot's World ShowPlace. Immerse yourself in a world of endless possibilities where you can dream like Mickey Mouse or imagine like Figment. Enjoy trading opportunities, games and activities, and a "dream-tacular" collection of pins featuring your favorite Disney characters created especially for this event. So, pack your "dreamiest" pins and plan to attend this exciting event. After all, this is the place where pin dreams come true. Disney's Pin Celebration 2007 is a private, hard-ticket event that will be held in Epcot during regular park hours. Theme park admission to Epcot is not included in the price of event admission, but is required for attendance. For more information: http://eventservices.disney.go.com/pintrading/event?id=20121

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Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival - September 28 - November 11, 2007. Full details: http://www.allears.net/tp/ep/foodwine.htm

In addition, the fest's nightly Eat to the Beat! concert series will feature an even more varied lineup this year, including classic rock, oldies and country performers. At World Showcase, America Gardens Theatre. Show Times: 5:45 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Al Stewart Sept. 28 - 29
Otis Day and the Knights Sept. 30 - Oct. 1

Magic Kingdom

Disney's Pirate and Princess Party concludes on September 3! There are special characters around the park, unique entertainment, a fantastic fireworks show and a cool parade.

Complete information and photos: http://allears.net/tp/mk/pp1.htm

Recommended by nearly 100% of our reviewers: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showproduct.php?product=347&cat=65

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Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will open in the Magic Kingdom on September 10! Reservations are now open! http://allears.net/btp/bibbidi.htm

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Night of Joy - September 7 and 8, from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.-- contemporary Christian music concerts. Separate admission tickets required.

September 7: Third Day, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Jaci Velasquez, Brian Littrell, BarlowGirl, Leeland, Jessie Daniels and Sanctus Real.

September 8: newsboys, Steven Curtis Chapman, Salvador, Smokie Norful, Kutless, Red, Mary Mary, Flyleaf, Mark Schultz and a Best of Show winner from the GMA's 33rd annual Music in the Rockies event.

In addition, several Magic Kingdom attractions will remain in operation during the show hours. Advance tickets are now available through Disney's ticket line, 407-934-7639, or Web site disneyworld.com/nightofjoy for $41.95 for one night or $71.95 for both nights. http://allears.net/tp/mk/noj.htm

Please share your reviews of Night of Joy at: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showproduct.php?product=250&cat=65

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Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - Begins September 14, 21, 28, 30 Guests are invited to dress in costumes and trick-or-treat through the park from 7 p.m. to midnight on select evenings (after regular park closing). The party includes a parade and a bewitching fireworks spectacular. http://allears.net/tp/mk/mnssh.htm

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The 3rd Annual Family Digest Power of Family Get Together will be held August 31 through September 3, 2007, at Walt Disney World Resort's Coronado Springs Resort. Best-selling author Terry McMillan ("Waiting to Exhale" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back"), world-renowned motivational speaker Les Brown, and a number of other high-profile speakers and seminar leaders are participating in the fun-filled Labor Day Weekend event that brings together leading African American experts on family, relationships, health and parenting. In addition to insightful seminars and discussions, activities include a Gospel Idol contest, bid whist and spades tournaments, and fun in the Disney parks. More information: www.familydigest.com.

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

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Rehabs and Closings

Animal Kingdom

Tusker House remains closed until November 17 while being converted to a buffet service restaurant. Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery remains closed while Tusker House is rehabbed.

Disney-MGM Studios

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith will be closed for refurbishment September 4 - October 4, 2007. http://allears.net/tp/mgm/m_rocknroller.htm

Epcot

L'Originale Alfredo di Roma Ristorante in the Italy pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase will be closing August 31, 2007. The Patina Restaurant Group has been named as the operating participant for the restaurant beginning September 1. The Patina Group was one of the original operating participants at the Disneyland Resort's Downtown Disney district.

Revised opening for Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining (former home of the Teppanyaki Restaurant) in Epcot's Japan pavilion is is now October 15, 2007.

Spaceship Earth, presented by Siemens, will be undergoing a number of changes over the coming months. The changes will combine the attraction's time-travel adventure into the past with a new finale that provides guests the opportunity to imagine their futures. Each of the ride scenes will be enhanced, and new show scenes will be added to the attraction's story along with new lighting effects, costumes, set decoration, narration and musical score. With phased renovations occurring throughout the year, Spaceship Earth's makeover is scheduled to be fully completed in early 2008. Currently, the announced closure for Spaceship Earth is July 9 - November 13. Read the full press release here: http://www.allears.net/news/hnews.htm#41107

The American Heritage Gallery remains closed for refurbishment until September 26, 2007. This fall, a brand-new "National Treasures" exhibit will open inside The American Adventure. The continuously changing exhibit will showcase the contributions of great Americans featuring items such as the microscope used by George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison's cylinder phonograph and motion picture projector, and one of Abraham Lincoln's actual stovepipe hats.

Magic Kingdom

Haunted Mansion is closed through September 13, 2007. http://allears.net/tp/mk/hm.htm

The King's Gallery in Fantasyland is being converted to an additional location of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique through September 9, 2007.

Liberty Square Riverboat will be closed September 17 - 20, 2007. http://allears.net/tp/mk/rboat.htm

Donald's Boat will be closed from September 4 - 18, 2007 for refurbishment. http://allears.net/tp/mk/donald.htm

Pooh's Playful Spot will be closed for refurbishment from September 16 - 20, 2007. http://allears.net/tp/mk/pps.htm

All Star Sports

The Surfboard Pool and kiddie pool are closed for refurbishment from August 27 - October 4, 2007.

Animal Kingdom Lodge

There is ongoing construction in the Lodge for the conversion of deluxe rooms to Disney Vacation Club Villas. Also, there is outside construction of a new animal barn and Disney Vacation Club buildings. Construction is scheduled to last through April 2009.

Contemporary Resort

The North Garden Wing has been demolished. The tennis courts and playground are also gone. Rumors persist about a Disney Vacation Club Resort being built; however, no official announcement has been made.

The Food and Fun Center will close and be converted to a new table service restaurant. A temporary quick service restaurant called Tempo Grab and Go will operate near the Outer Rim lounge on the 4th Floor. It will be open through August 14, 2008. The new table service location will be called The Wave, and is tentatively set to open in late March or April 2008. Once The Wave opens, the Concourse Steakhouse will close and a new, permanent quick service restaurant will be constructed in that space, set to debut in mid-August 2008.

Coronado Springs Resort

Francisco's, the lounge at the resort, is in the process of being expanded and will be closed through October 12, 2007. It will reopen with a bar, lounge, and cafe. La Tienda, the convenience store, will be relocated.

Fort Wilderness

Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from September 4 through October 24, 2007. The show will be performed Thursday through Mondays during this period.

Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

1900 Park Fare is closed for rehab through October 1, 2007. During 1900 Park Fare's closure, the Grand Floridian Cafe will offer a pre-plated character breakfast and dinner, "Supercalifragilistic Breakfast" and "Cinderella's Gala Feast." Also, the Wonderland Tea Party will be held at the Grand Floridian Cafe during this time. Citricos, upstairs at the Grand Floridian, will be open for breakfast and lunch with a menu similar to the cafe's. Citricos will also resume dinner seven days a week.

Lake Buena Vista Golf Course closed May 21 and will be under refurbishment through September 28, 2007.

The Official All Star Cafe at Disney's Wide World of Sports will be closed for refurbishment from September 23 through November 19, 2007.

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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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Nancy Paris: My husband surprised me with a trip to Disney World. It was my first visit, and I was very excited to have my picture taken with Snow White. When we arrived at the tent there was already a large line. The cast member told me there was a wait of about a half-hour. I replied that I wanted to wait, since I had waited 50 years to meet Snow White and what was a half-hour more. She laughed and said that it was the Year of A Million Dreams, and my dream was about to come true. I was escorted past the line to a back entrance, and brought directly to have my picture taken and autographed! It was the the most wonderful part of my trip. I cried and Snow White waited for me to compose myself! 52 years old and crying like a baby. What a wonderful memory.

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RSZB in PA: Our magical moment happened upon exiting Big Thunder Mountain Railroad on a Wednesday morning in early August. My husband, two sons, and I were told by a Cast Member that we had been chosen by the Dream Squad. She led us into an area outside the mountain where there were about 20 people in a group. We were all given Dream FastPasses for the day! The passes hold nine removable tabs -- each one labeled and good for one trip to the FastPass line anytime that day. The eligible attractions were Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey's PhilharMagic, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain, Stitch's Great Escape and the Jungle Cruise. As a "veteran" Disney family, we truly appreciated what an amazing prize this was, especially with temperatures reaching 105 degrees!

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Anne Topp: We are an Aussie family who traveled to WDW in January this year and I wanted to share a couple of magical moments with you. We had eaten lunch at Pinocchio's Village Haus and two hours later, while leaving the Pirates ride, realized we had left behind a toy that my 10-year-old daughter had bought with her own hard-earned cash. She was obviously upset and as we were debating what to do a lovely cast member asked if she could help. She radioed to the restaurant who told her that, yes, the package had been handed in. She then sent another cast member to collect it for us while she chatted happily with my kids. Upon learning it was their first trip to Disney, she bestowed "First Time" badges on them with a personalized greeting. When we had been reunited with our package she asked us where we were heading and we replied Hall of Presidents. She then led us on a shortcut to our destination, but as the parade was about to start directed us to a great viewing spot to see it. I wish I had gotten her name as she was so friendly and very, very helpful. To add a little more pixie dust to our day, as we were leaving our parade viewing area another cast member greeted my daughter who was wearing a Jack Sparrow wig and gave her a free drink bottle lanyard. These were only small gifts and encounters, but they really made our Magic Kingdom day even more magical. Thanks, Disney!

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Jennifer: My husband and I took our two boys (ages 4 and 7) to WDW. We spent a total of 15 days at the parks and had a great time. We saw the Dream Squad at work all around us, but we were never chosen. It was our last day and I was feeling disappointed because our kids didn't get a chance to experience that "magical moment," and then it happened. We were coming off of Splash Mountain and heading to Thunder Mountain for the last time before heading to the airport. A cast member from Thunder Mountain approached the boys and gave them sheriff's badges with their names on them. They were so excited, and announced to everyone on the plane that they were sheriffs! Now that's not all -- when we arrived home I contacted WDW because my 4-year-old was disappointed that he hadn't seen the White Rabbit. I wanted to know for the next trip if there was a way to find out where he would be. Much to our surprise, my son received an envelope from WDW a couple of weeks later. Inside was an 8x10 photo of the White Rabbit and Alice, and written on it was, "To Jake, Oh my fuzzy ears and whiskers... Don't be late!" signed by both characters. I don't think I've ever seen a smile that big on his face. Thank you, Disney, for all that you do, especially the little things!

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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.