January 2014 Walt Disney World Bits and Bites

Feature Article

This article appeared in the December 31, 2013 Issue #745 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

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.

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Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend -- January 8-12, 2014. The action starts on Thursday, January 9, with the Family Fun Run 5K. On Friday, January 10, is the Walt Disney World 10K, the newest event on the schedule. The Half Marathon takes place on Saturday, January 11, followed by the full Marathon on Sunday, January 12.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios runs nightly through January 5, 2014.

The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special, an interactive improvisational show, will once again be performed this holiday season in Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Premiere Theater on Streets of America. The 20-minute shows will be staged several times each day through January 5, 2014.

Animal Kingdom

Jingle Jungle Parade in Animal Kingdom runs daily at 3:45 p.m. through January 5, 2014.


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



Animal Kingdom

Festival of the Lion King in Animal Kingdom will close January 5, 2014, for a six-month renovation. First announced several months ago, this renovation will include moving the show to a new theater located in the Africa section of the theme park.

Camp Minnie-Mickey will also close at the end of January 5 as part of the AVATAR-land construction.

Magic Kingdom

Fantasyland Expansion: The ongoing Fantasyland expansion project continues with the debut of a new Disney "mountain" in the form of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in 2014.


Disney's Festival of Fantasy Parade is scheduled to debut in the Magic Kingdom in Spring 2014. To make way for this new parade, the Celebrate the Dreams Come True parade will end its run on January 4, 2014.


Splash Mountain will close for refurbishment on January 2, 2014. It is scheduled to reopen sometime in March.


Spice Road Table, a new waterfront eatery, is scheduled to open in the Morocco pavilion in early 2014. It will offer a variety of Moroccan small plates, such as zesty harissa chicken drumettes and garlicky jumbo shrimp in a spicy chile pepper sauce, as well as specialty drinks, with a scenic view of the World Showcase lagoon. Spice Road Table will feature 120 outdoor terrace seats, while the inside will seat 60.


Downtown Disney

Walt Disney World Resort announced the multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, which will treat guests to more shopping, dining and entertainment amid open-air promenades, springs and waterfront charm. Disney Springs will feature an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands, from boutique shops to unique flagship anchor stores. Disney Springs will double the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, resulting in more than 150 establishments. Drawing inspiration from Florida's waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs will include four outdoor neighborhoods interconnected by a flowing spring and vibrant lakefront. Read more about Disney Springs here:


As part of the Disney Springs expansion, Downtown Disney parking lots H-K (near West Side locations such as AMC Theatres and House of Blues) closed July 22 to make room for a parking garage expected to open in late 2014. To compensate for the closed areas, "overflow" parking areas have been designated and will be open most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as holidays, special events and other busy days throughout the next few years of the expansion project. Overflow lots include those at Team Disney, Casting and SunTrust. Signage along Buena Vista Drive will direct guests to parking areas. Shuttles will operate from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. on days that overflow parking is open to transport guests between Team Disney and Downtown Disney West Side near Cirque du Soleil. If you have reservations at a Downtown Disney location, be sure to allow ample time for parking under these new conditions.

The Disney Parks Blog announced that a new merchandise location is coming to Downtown Disney Marketplace in spring 2014. Called the Marketplace Co Op, it will occupy the location of Team Mickey, next to TrenD. Team Mickey will close in early January 2014 to make way for the new Co Op. According to the Blog, the marketplace will act as a collection of shops within a shop -- a sort of "incubator," serving to introduce new Disney specialty retail shops and products to the public. The current building will be slightly redesigned, but will retain its original ceiling elements, including the skylight. When it opens, The Marketplace Co Op will house:

-- Beautifully Disney - featuring make-up, fragrance and beauty accessories.
-- Cherry Tree Lane - accessories such as scarves, shoes, bags and jewelry.
-- D-Tech on Demand - personalized, customized electronic accessories.
-- The Trophy Room - vintage-inspired, lifestyle sports apparel and collectibles.
-- Centerpiece - room furnishings, textiles and everyday ware with a touch of Disney.
-- Zoey and Pickles - the latest trends and glamour for young girls.


Osprey Ridge golf course, its pro shop and the Sand Trap restaurant are now closed. When Osprey Ridge reopens in 2014, it will be under Four Seasons ownership. To date, there is no indication whether play will be limited to Four Seasons Orlando guests and Golden Oak residents, or if Walt Disney World guests and/or the general public will have access. This closure leaves Walt Disney World with three 18-hole courses, Palm, Magnolia and Lake Buena Vista, as well as the Oak Trail 9-hole course. (Thanks to wdwgolf.com for the update.)

Blizzard Beach closed December 22 for its annual refurbishment.

Starting January 21, 2014, service on the Magic Kingdom Resort and Express monorails will be unavailable on weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. to allow for planned maintenance. This schedule will run through the end of March 2014. During this time, watercraft and additional buses will be available. The Epcot monorail beam will operate normally.


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

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Scott & Diane Hanson: Back when our eldest son, Tommy, was 4 years old, we went to Epcot and were walking around the United Kingdom pavilion. We were over by the restrooms across from Rose & Crown when Tommy backed up and fell over the short hedges. A white-gloved hand was extended to help him rise up. He took the hand and looked up, and saw that it was a Disney Princess smiling at him, extending her most regal hand in rescue of his situation. I've never seen a young boy blush as deeply as he did that day, while his eyes were wide with love for this beautiful princess who chose to save him! We never got a picture, but our memories are very precious of the moment when our son was rescued by a princess!

Hillary Young Brigandi: We were on a family vacation at Walt Disney World and Thursday, October 24, 2013, we were scheduled to be at the Magic Kingdom. That night we also had tickets to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and dinner reservations at Tony's Town Square Restaurant. I found myself alone behind Cinderella Castle about midday so I wandered into one of the shops that sells princess dresses and accessories.  Fairy Godmother was there sprinkling fairy dust on little girls as they made their wishes. I spoke up and said I wanted to make a wish, so Fairy Godmother instructed me to remove my ears (I was wearing a Minnie Mouse ear headband with a big red bow) and close my eyes and make a wish. I did as I was instructed, Fairy Godmother waved fairy dust on my head that glistened and shined and I went on my way. I found my boyfriend, told him what happened and he just asked if my wish was about anyone he knew (yes). We then met up with the rest of our family and went on to enjoy the park. Sometime around 5:30, family members wanted pictures of the castle in the "sweet light" (photographers will understand the term!), so we ended up on the side of the castle. One family member was videoing us and told us to speak so it would be picked up on the tape. My boyfriend turned to me, dropped on one knee and asked me to marry him, complete with a ring spelling out "LOVE" with the O a Mickey with crystals! My Fairy Godmother's wish had absolutely come true! We were given "Just Engaged" buttons with the date and when we were seated at the restaurant a gentleman came over and sang the song from Lady and the Tramp to us -- Bella Notte! Absolutely magical and so romantic -- two things WDW does best!

Denise Beldin: In the fall of 2010 my son Michael told me he had decided to ask his girlfriend Sarah to marry him. He wanted this moment to be "unforgettable." We came up with the idea of a spontaneous trip to Disney World. We couldn't afford much and he couldn't take any time off of work so we were going to fly from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Disney World for Saturday night and fly back on Sunday. Michael, Sarah, my daughter Christine and I soon found ourselves checking into Animal Kingdom Lodge. I had the kids look around the gift shop while I checked us in. I was looking to upgrade from a standard room to one with a savanna view and explained that I couldn't pay much, but I wanted something a little nicer than the parking lot, what could they offer me for this special occasion? The answer? The Vice Presidential Suite! at NO extra charge! It was better than our wildest dreams! It was beautiful, amazing! Christine and I checked in first and ran up and down the halls of the suite laughing and screaming! This can't all be for us!? But it was, a Disney Magical Moment! Christine and I met Michael and Sarah at Boma that night, and I fully expected to see the ring on her finger.When Sarah went up to the buffet I asked Michael why he hadn't asked her yet. He said nothing had worked out. He wanted to ask her on the balloon at Downtown Disney, but it was grounded by winds. He wanted to ask on a horse and carriage ride, but the wait was too long. We didn't have much time. I encouraged him to ask her after dinner. So, after dinner Michael asked Sarah to go for a walk, and Christine and I went up to the room. We stood on the balcony overlooking the Arusha savanna. While we quietly enjoyed the view of the animals and this amazing room, Michael and Sarah appeared walking the moonlit path around the Arusha rock holding hands. Then we saw Michael drop to one knee. Christine and I cheered!  Sarah looked up for a moment (oops) and with a hug and a kiss we knew her answer. Minutes later Sarah walked through the front doors of the suite with my son and said, "Hi Mom!" I can't thank Disney enough for making my son's dream come true. This was truly an unforgettable marriage proposal and our favorite Disney Magical Moment!


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


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.