January 2011
Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the December 28, 2010 Issue #588 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 monthly feature, which indulges in a bit of nostalgia and takes you back in history for a glimpse of Walt Disney World through the ages. January has historically been a time of change, new beginnings and fresh starts. This month we take a look at notable happenings throughout the month of January in years gone by:

January 15, 1975:

-- Walt Disney World's Space Mountain, the first computer-controlled thrill ride, opened. Space Mountain is more than 180 feet high, 300 feet in diameter and took more than two years to build. During the 2.5-minute ride your space rocket travels up to 28 miles per hour. RCA was the first official sponsor of Space Mountain, from 1975 until 1993, at which time Federal Express became the official sponsor.

-- The Carousel of Progress, an attraction brought in from Disneyland that traces 100 years of innovations in electricity, also opened in the Magic Kingdom on this day. The attraction carries seated guests on rotating carousel into the homes of four generations of the same family from the days before electricity to the present. (COP originally debuted at the New York World's Fair as Progressland and then made its way to Anaheim before settling in Florida.)

January 15, 1986: The Living Seas opened in Epcot's Future World. The attraction housed a 5.7 million gallon aquarium with 8500 creatures, Seabase Alpha, several films, and the Coral Reef Restaurant.

January 30, 1988: IllumiNations debuted on World Showcase Lagoon in Epcot.

January 3, 1989: If You Could Fly in the Magic Kingdom closed.

January 13, 1990: The Walt Disney World Swan hotel opened.

January 15, 1990: Then-CEO Michael Eisner announced plans to expand the Walt Disney World theme parks, and to add a fourth park during the 1990s. According to the announcement, EPCOT Center was to add a pavilion from the Soviet Union, and 16 new attractions were planned for the then-named Disney-MGM Studios.

January 7, 1992: Voyage of The Little Mermaid, a 17-minute multi-media presentation, opened at Disney-MGM Studios. It replaced Here Come the Muppets.

January 23, 1992: The Eagle Pines golf course and Bonnet Creek Golf Club opened.

January 16, 1994: The inaugural Walt Disney World Marathon was run. There were approximately 12,000 participants from around the world.

January 3, 1994: The Kitchen Kabaret Revue, which was an original Land pavilion attraction, closed. The Audio-Animatronics presentation about nutrition later reopened as Food Rocks (which eventually gave way to Soarin').

January 31, 1994: Epcot's CommuniCore East and West closed.

January 21, 1995: The film Circle of Life: an Environmental Fable opened in the Harvest Theatre in The Land in Epcot.

January 1996: The Vacation Club Resort hotel at Walt Disney World was renamed Disney's Old Key West Resort.

January 2, 1996: World of Motion in Epcot closed. This original attraction took riders on Omnimover vehicles through technology-themed scenes. (The site is now home to Test Track.)

January 12, 1996: The US government purchased the Shades of Green hotel.

January 9, 1999: Epcot's Horizons, a 15-minute ride featuring Audio-Animatronics and scenes of the future, closed. The location is now the site of Mission:SPACE.

January 15, 1999: Disney's All-Star Movies Resort opened.

January 25, 2000: Robert Iger is named Disney Company President and Chief Operating Officer, under Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner.

January 24, 2006: Disney bought Pixar in a $7.4 billion deal.

January 7, 2008: Disney-MGM Studios was renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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RATE & REVIEW
SPOTLIGHT

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Compiled by AllEars® Team Member Cathy Bock

In this monthly featurette, we take a look at recent comments made in the AllEars.Net Rate & Review section about a particular restaurant, resort, event, etc. This month, we examine what AllEars® readers are saying about Coronado Springs, one of Walt Disney World's moderate resorts.

Coronado Springs sports an average rating of 8.1 (out of 10) and is recommended by 92% of reviewers.

From recent reviews:

Rooms: "clean and furnishings a level above a value resort"; "love the luxurious bedding here and the updated décor"; "loved the queen size beds and the privacy door to the bathroom"; "room was nice - clean, comfortable."; "rooms were nothing special".

Resort size: "resort was very big and had to walk a long way to get anywhere"; "resort is large?only made it once to the (Dig Site) pool due to the location"; "hotel is big and must walk to get everywhere?suggest your first day there to walk around the hotel outside to get the feel of where everything is".

Resort staff: "staff was so nice and helpful"; "the day manager?went above and beyond when it wasn't expected'; "concierge did not really put great effort in helping us with questions"; "service was excellent, the staff was always willing to accommodate".

Transportation: 'bus service was terrible - waited average 40 minutes for buses"; "buses were practically empty at all hours, even at closing and opening times"; "never waited more than 5 minutes for a bus"; "pretty much OK all week, except 1 morning we waited 30 minutes for an AK bus".

Food: "Pepper Market was really good"; "we didn't lack for places to eat that were tasty and convenient"; "DH & DD hated the Pepper Market, didn't like the food selection and thought it was confusing"; "had a breakfast sandwich from Cafe Rix, which was great"; "food was expensive and not very good"; disappointed by was the disappearance of the breakfast buffet"; "dinner variety at Pepper Market was good. The breakfast was horrible!"

Other Comments: "pool is the coolest even compared to the high end resorts"; "so quiet"; "LOVED the beach area and hammocks"; "can't stress enough how relaxing and lovely the resort is with hammocks and wide walk ways"; "love the grounds and theme at CSR".

If you have recently stayed at Coronado Springs, or any Disney resort, we'd love to have your reviews, too! You can find Rate & Review here: http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/

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HIDDEN MICKEYS ALERT
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Steve Barrett, author of the Hidden Mickeys books and webmaster of www.HiddenMickeysGuide.com brings your attention to three somewhat difficult to photograph classic (three-circle) Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World.

1.    Inside Artist Point Restaurant at the Wilderness Lodge Resort, look for a Hidden Mickey on the back of a Native American on a horse.  Walk well into the first room of the restaurant and turn back toward the entrance to find a large mural on the wall partition above you.  On the clothing at the lower back of the leftmost of four riders is a light brown classic Mickey.  (Thanks to Michael Ciampi.) 

http://allears.net/btp/hm312.jpg

2.    On the Toy Story Midway Mania ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, watch for the screen with the target balloons.  If you pop the middle 100-point balloon on the second tier, a light classic Mickey appears on the rear surface behind the balloons.  The photo is a bit blurred (and extra zeros and circles appear) because of the 3-D effect.  (Thanks to Dom P, and Vanessa Marquez.)

http://allears.net/btp/hm313.jpg


3.    At the exit of Toy Story Midway Mania in Disney's Hollywood Studios, check out the back spine of the huge free-standing "Tin Toy" Little Golden Book for a tiny white classic Mickey in the eye of a chicken, the fourth image down from the top of the spine.  (Thanks to Tim Devine, Vivian Holland, Kimberly and Kelly Erickson, Robert Wescovich, and Christopher and Alisha Vozella.)

http://allears.net/btp/hm314.jpg

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MAMA MELROSE'S:
A REVIEW


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Guest Blogger Andrew Rossi dines at Mama Melrose's located in Disney's Hollywood Studios:

When it comes to Italian food, Disney World certainly offers a wide variety of options, from Tutto Italia and Via Napoli at Epcot to Tony?s Town Square at Magic Kingdom, Portobello at Downtown Disney, or Il Mulino at the Swan. Each of these restaurants features something a little different in terms of menu choices and atmosphere that allow them to deliver completely unique dining experiences.

Mama Melrose?s Ristorante Italiano at the Hollywood Studios is another one of these Italian options. While Mama Melrose?s may not be the most authentic nor the most elegant of Disney?s Italian restaurants, it still delivers a wide selection of good Italian food combined with an atmosphere that is far from what you would expect from a typical Italian restaurant.

As soon as you walk through the door of Mama Melrose?s you can tell that this is not your typical Italian restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant you are greeted by walls covered with pictures not of famous Italians, but rather Hollywood celebrities. These ?Legends of Disney?s Hollywood Studios? are a nice way of paying tribute to the history of the park while also tying in perfectly with the theme of the restaurant.

Another alluring part of the Mama Melrose?s atmosphere is the open kitchen, which is clearly visible as soon as you enter the restaurant. The most prominent feature of this kitchen is the large brick oven in which the pizzas are cooked. Not only does the open kitchen allow you to see the food be prepared, but it also gives the restaurant a tremendous aroma as the smell of the cooking food spreads throughout the entire dining area. All the activity and noise of the kitchen also lend a sense of action and excitement to the restaurant.

For my meal I decided on something a little different that I would not normally order at an Italian restaurant, the Oak-Grilled Pork Chop ($21.99). The pork chop was cooked absolutely perfectly so that it was still nice and moist but also charred just enough to add a little extra flavor. The pork came served in an onion broth and was topped with tomato jam.

Read Andrew's entire review, including descriptions of the atmosphere, decor, service, his menu selections and dining on a budget, complete with photographs at:

http://land.allears.net/blogs/guestblog/2010/12/italy_meets_hollywood_at_mama_1.html

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MONTHY REMIND-EARS
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EVENTS

Animal Kingdom

Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade continues through January 3, 2011.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights continue through January 3, 2011.

Registration is under way for the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events, to be held January 6 - 9, 2011: http://disneyworldmarathon.com

AllEars.Net is kicking off its 15th Anniversary Celebration in January 2011. Highlights include website enhancements, the introduction of new exclusive trading cards, and team meet-and-greets at many various Disney locations, capped off by a group cruise on the Disney Fantasy setting sail in 2012.

http://allears.net/pr23.htm

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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

Magic Kingdom

The Fantasyland Forest development in the Magic Kingdom will necessitate the closure of several existing Magic Kingdom park areas in 2011, including Toontown.

In addition, certain entertainment experiences will be relocated:
• Meet-and-greets with Mickey Mouse will take place in Town Square Exposition Hall
• Meet-and-greets with Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, and Tinker Bell and her friends will take place in Town Square Exposition Hall.

Splash Mountain will be closed for refurbishment January 3-31, 2011.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Star Tours -- is closed for rehab. The attraction will be updated and reopen around the middle of May 2011. The new experience will be in 3-D, an all-new ride that includes many of the new worlds and elements from the more recent Star Wars movies.

Pixar Pals Countdown To Fun! will debut on January 16, 2011, in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Four Pixar characters not seen in the current Studios parade -- Remy and Emile from "Ratatouille" and Carl and Russell from Disney Pixar's "Up" -- will be included in the new parade. The current parade, Block Party Bash, will have its last performance on January 1, 2011. There will be no parade at Disney's Hollywood Studios between January 2 and January 15, 2011.

Animal Kingdom

Primeval Whirl will be closed for refurbishment January 17 - April 5, 2011.

Beach Club/Yacht Club

The water slide at Stormalong Bay will be closed for refurbishment January 3 through early February. The rest of Stormalong Bay will remain open. Guests may use the slide at the Boardwalk.

Saratoga Springs

Work will begin in fall 2010 on the new feature pool in the Paddock area of Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, building on the resort's turn-of-the-20th-century, upstate New York theme. The timetable for the new pool, which will replace the Paddock area's 1,100-square-foot quiet pool with a 3,300-square-foot zero-depth-entry pool, a 146-foot water slide, a 1,600-square-foot wet-play area, and an expanded pool deck spanning more than 11,000 square feet, has been modified somewhat. The existing pool is now scheduled to close in the fall of 2010. The new pool area, which will include an on-site, quick-service-dining location, is now scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2011.

http://land.allears.net/blogs/dnews/2010/03/new_feature_pool_at_disneys_sa.html

Typhoon Lagoon will be closed for its yearly refurbishment until January 8, 2011.

Blizzard Beach closes on January 9, 2011, for its yearly refurbishment, until March 26.

Downtown Disney

As of January 15, 2011, the building that houses Pooh Corner, Summer Sands and Mickey's Mart in the Downtown Disney Marketplace is closing for refurbishment. The location will be renovated into two new retail experiences. First to open will be the Disney-operated Mickey's Mart (working title). Set to debut in March 2011, the shop will offer guests unique Disney gifts at great prices. Later in spring 2011, LittleMissMatched will move into the space from its location at Downtown Disney West Side. LittleMissMatched offers fun and colorful socks, accessories, apparel and more.

DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney West Side will host a New Year's Eve party December 31, 8 p.m. - 1 a.m. Party guests will have access to all DisneyQuest attractions and games, a DJ dance party and a New Year's Eve countdown with party favors. Guests will also receive a coupon good for one individual pizza and one large fountain drink. Tickets are available for purchase online at Disneyworld.com/DisneyQuestParty or by calling 407-WDISNEY. Advance purchase tickets are $39 per person (includes tax). Day of event tickets are $45 (includes tax). To prepare for the party, DisneyQuest will close to regular guests at 7 p.m. that evening.

A complete list of rehabs can be found here: http://allears.net/tp/rehabs.htm

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MAGICAL MOMENTS
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Each month we share reports of guests at Walt Disney World and Disneyland experiencing special Magic, which we call "Magical Moments":

Misty Hailey - We were at WDW as my celebration trip for beating colon cancer. The first day we went to see the Little Mermaid show at Disney's Hollywood Studios. As we went in, a man stopped us and asked my daughter, 6, if she could help him to introduce the show. So she practiced and when it was ready to begin, she got to say "Welcome to the Little Mermaid." Later, since it was so hot, we stayed in the Magic of Animation building awhile. A cast member came over and asked Alicia who her favorite character was. She replied "Stitch" so the lady begins to draw Stitch, teaching Alicia how as she went along. Then she signed it and gave it to her. The next day at the Lilo & Stitch breakfast, Alicia was asked to dance with Stitch himself. Those were two very magical days for a little girl and the trip was very special.

Phyllis and Cork - My husband and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary at WDW. Upon checking into the Polynesian Resort, we were given special buttons to wear. The first magical moment happened when we went to watch "The American Experience" at Epcot. Cast member Lonny approached us and asked us our names. He then directed us to a wall phone on the left side of the lobby, where we were treated to Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and the rest of the gang, singing a happy anniversary song. When we were seated at the performance, Lonny announced to the rest of the audience that we were the special guests for the show. After the show, Lonny found us again, and took us into the Liberty Inn restaurant next door, where he again announced us to the crowd. We were treated to many claps, good wishes, and a special cake. It really made our day. Lonny is a wonderful cast member. We were also treated to singing and a special gift of a Mickey and Minnie Christmas ornament, when we ate at The Liberty Tree Tavern in The Magic Kingdom. Whenever we wore our anniversary buttons, cast members and visitors gave us their best wishes. It was truly a magical time!

Tricia Swann - It was our first visit with the kids and we were also celebrating my and my husband's birthdays. On my birthday, we had at Cinderella's Castle. When Snow White stopped by to greet my son Connor (5) and daughter Caroline (8), she asked if they enjoyed her ride. I explained that since it was named "Snow White's Scary Adventures" there was no way Connor was going to ride it and Caroline wasn't so sure about it herself! As we were finishing our desserts, Snow White came back to our table and asked me if she could personally take my family on her ride!! Of course, I agreed immediately and my husband and I were just in shock and a little skeptical that this was too good to be true. Well, we left the castle after an incredible meal with the princesses and proceeded to Snow White's ride?and there she is waiting for us. Caroline sat in front with Snow White and Connor sat in back between Mommy and Daddy in case it was too scary! The little girl in me was overjoyed and Caroline was just in awe that she was sitting with Snow White herself! (Connor was working really hard to be brave!) After the ride was complete and we said our many, many thank-you's and good-byes, the fireworks show began right above us! It was the most magical and completely unexpected moment as we forgot what time it was and the kids were no longer afraid of the loud noises created by the fireworks! What an incredibly special birthday present for me - to see my children experience something so wonderful and memorable!

We just bet you have a story to tell about an unforgettable moment during your Disney vacation! Please send your favorite memory for inclusion in a future AllEars® to: allearsnet@yahoo.com Thank you all for sharing!


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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.