Disney blog postings
|Earliest: May 30, 2003||Latest: June 26, 2017||Total: 92|
|July 11, 2016|
Geographic Center of the Magic Kingdom
The Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom has changed a lot since it opened on October 1, 1971. Just about every land had major changes. Liberty Square is the only land which didn't have any major changes.
According to the latest calculations, the current geographic center of the Magic Kingdom is right here:
The Geographic Center of the Magic Kingdome is directly opposite of the ?Tips and Show Times? information center as you leave Main Street USA and walk towards the castle.
This is based on the actual park area, and does not include any administrative areas the are just outside the park that the public doesn?t have access to.
In Disneyland, there use to be a marker to indicate where the Geographical Center of Disneyland was when the park first opened. The marker was just inside the Fantasyland entrance of Snow White's castle. There is no such marker in Walt Disney World.
What do you think? Do you agree with my findings? Should Disney have some "Hidden Mickey" type of marker to indicate the Geographic Center of the kingdom?
|July 4, 2016|
When your walking around Liberty Square Disney Imagineers wanted you to feel that you're stepping around colonial America.
Note: There were no public bathrooms in Colonial America, so you won't find any in Liberty Square. The nearest bathrooms would be on the other side of the Memento Mori, between the Haunted Mansion at It's a Small World.
The house numbers of each building in Liberty Square represent the year in which the style of architecture of that particular building was popular. If you see a house number with only two digits, simply add an 18 in front of the house number for that year architecture style.
Check out the shutters on the houses, they look a little off? That's intentional! In colonial America, the Minuteman would use the metal in nails for their guns. They use leather to hold the shutters and over time the leather would stretch causing the shutters to slant a little.
The Tree of Liberty
The Liberty Tree in Liberty Square is based on the famous Boston's Liberty Tree. This is where the "Son's of Liberty" would hang their hung lanterns on an evening during festival occasions. (They also hung lights on the Great Elm on the Boston Commons.)
There are 13 lights on the "Tree of Liberty" to represent the original 13 colonies.
The Liberty tree was originally located on the outer perimeter of the Walt Disney World property. It was moved by digging it out and then drilling horizontal holes through it so steel rods could be inserted and attached to a crane.
The tree that moved was a 35-ton 135-year-old oak tree. Today the tree is 180 years old. The tree was planted in sometime in 1836. This was right around the time of the first Seminole War.
You can find all the flags from the original 13 colonies next to the tree.
Disney has removed the Georgia flag from its "Liberty Flag Plaza" (Where they display the flags from the 13 original colonies) and have replaced it with the "Don't Tread on Me" Colonial Flag. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the Georgia flag contains the Confederate Battle Flag.
Sign at the site reads:
Thirteen proud and colorful flags fly high today to honor the original states which became our country first constitution. A replica of the first national flag used in 1787 symbolizes the joining of the states to form our first union.
Right in the middle of Liberty Square is a replica of The Liberty Bell. If you reach into the bell and swing the clapper, the bell rings very LOUD!
Some Liberty Square sites claim that the Disney's Liberty Bell is from 1976 when every state got a replica copy, and Disney got Pennsylvania. However, if you read the inscription at the site, you'll discover that the bell didn't appear in Liberty Square until 1989.
Piece of History
Around the corner to the left of the front entrance to the Hall of Presidents, is a small worn marble step. That step is actually from Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's house). There was a plaque identifying the piece at the upper right, but now only its frame remains. The identifying information has been removed.
|June 27, 2016|
Hollywood and Dine
Hollywood and Dine is a character breakfast/lunch buffet restaurant in Disney Hollywood Studios. You'll encounter some popular Disney Junior's characters.
Characters that appear here:
- Sofia the First from the "Sofia the First Show"
- Handy Manny from the "Handy Manny Show"
- Doc McStuffins from the "Doc McStuffins"
- Jake from the "Jake and the Never land Pirates"
Character appearances and entertainment are subject to change.
Some tips about this location
- As you walk in there is a backdrop for the Hollywood and Dine. Take pictures as soon as you get in! You will have an opportunity to get it as you leave, but who knows what mess might appear on your children clothes.
- This is one of the few restaurants at Disney Studios that opens before the park opens. Take advantage of this opportunity and make an early reservation, by the time your done eating the park will be open. Plus you get to walk down Hollywood Blvd by yourself!
- Breakfast Starts at 8am, Lunch starts at 11, and Dinner starts at 4:15.
- Reservations are highly recommended.
- The characters will do different dance and song routines from their show. The music selection rotates between the different shows.
- The restaurant seating is smaller than the one at Crystal Palace. You may get the opportunity to see your character more than once.
- If your not at your table when the character comes by they will go back to your table.
- Many of the seating are Cafe booth style.
- The food is pretty good, there's nothing specific that stands out as a good food staple. The last two times eating here I enjoyed the scrambled eggs.
- The buffet has two sections, both sided serve the same food.
- The bathroom is also shared by the 50s Cafe and were very clean.
- At Dinner time, the restaurant is transformed to Mickey and Friends for a VIP seating for the Fantasmic VIP Dining. You'll see Mickey, Minnie, Minnie, Goofy and Donald.
- The Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano are other restaurants that offer Fantasmic Dining VIP Seating.
|June 20, 2016|
Beaches & Cream Soda Shop
If you're looking for some good ice cream at an old time type of soda shop, check out the "Beaches & Cream Soda Shop" at the Disney Beach Club. Anyone can visit this restaurant, it's a bit out of the way for those that are not staying at the Beach Club resort, but worth the visit if you're into a real ice cream treat.
This place may be known for their ice cream, but don't skip their regular menu, they have a selection to please any appetite. Lots of great comfort foods.
When we ate here back on November 5th, 2015. I had the Ruben Sandwich. I remember it being really good. I ate the whole sandwich and most of the french fries. Probably wasn't the best Ruben Sandwich I had, but certainly in the top 5, and something that I would order again.
I added a twist to my sandwich and got a Sprite with a Raspberry Syrup. If you feel the need to order a fountain drink what syrups they have available that would make your drink different.
There two "special" ice cream dishes you can get here.
Souvenir Mickey's Kitchen Sink $29...
Hot Fudge, Strawberry, and Caramel topping served over hand scooped Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry Ice Cream with Whipped Cream, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chips, Sprinkles, and Cherries - $22.99
Kitchen Sink Sundae - 8 scoops of ice cream -- including vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee, and mint chocolate chip; Angel Food Cake, Bundt Cake, Brownies, Oreos, Milky Way Candy bar pieces; Peanut Butter, Hot Fudge, Strawberry, Butterscotch, and Caramel sauces; Bananas, Cherries, and Sprinkles; and a whole can of whipped cream.
Watch out when you order the Kitchen Sink Sundae before it gets place on your table, the lights turn off and everyone will be drawn attention to the order coming to your table.
You can actually order the Kitchen Sink Sundae unassembled, rather than it all mix in one bowl! This way people at the table can make their own Sundae and avoid some of the things that they may not like. (Think Gluten Free!)
If your not into the big treat and want to try the Souvenir Mickey's Kitchen Sink at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street USA.
|June 13, 2016|
Club Cool at Epcot
In Epcot, If your looking for a way to stay cool and a little thirsty, be sure to check out Club Cool. Its a great way to cool off and try different flavors of Coke Cola from around the world. You will not find any
This isn't a ride or restaurant, but rather a relaxing way to calm down. Guest simply walk in grab a small cup and try a sample of different drinks.
In June 1998, the attraction opened as "Ice Station Cool." It was rebranded in 2005 as "Club Cool."
Around the Word Taste for Kids
Here's something fun to try:
Bring a small note pad and do a taste challenge to find the best soda. Which soda flavor will be the most popular?
Things I have learned about this attraction
The floor can be sticky because of the spilled drinks.
Try small amounts of the drinks - some of them can be a bit strange.
The flavor selection changes all the time. Worth stopping in to see what's new.
There are several during stations and they all serve the same types of drinks.
The attraction tends to be busy in the morning and at the end of the day.
This is a quick stop. I don't think I have spent more than 10 minutes at this location.
I have seen some people fill up there water bottles with their favorite drinks, but this is discouraged by the people working at the Club Cool.
Coke Cola has a similar "Club Cool" in their Atlanta World Headquarters. Guest have the ability to taste a larger selection of drinks.
I read that Coke introduces a new Coke flavor, in Japan, every week.
End of the Attraction?
There is some speculation that Club Cool might be leaving Epcot in 2016:
- There is rumor that Coke is building some attraction in Disney Springs. Perhaps they are planning to match the sample selection as they have in Atlanta. Its also a good way for Coke to do a taste test of new flavors.
- Many attractions around Club Cool has closed. This could mean that some future attraction might be in the works for that location.
Disney or Coke Cola hasn't made any public comment on the future of Club Cool.
If your visiting Epcot anytime soon, be sure to stop at Club Cool while you can!
|June 6, 2016|
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
The Tower of Terror attraction is a ride where you go up and down fast in an elevator type vehicle. Guests enter the ride through the Hotel lobby and magically arrive in the basement, then they ride the elevator up to their room. The elevator gets stuck in some Twilight Zone and guest never makes it to their floor.
When I rode this attraction back on January 9, 2015, my vehicle got stuck just before the main part of the ride. While we were waiting, the lights happen to go on. I record the experience, not expecting the ride to suddenly start with the lights on.
At the end of the ride, we were all given an opportunity to ride again, I declined since I knew other people were waiting for me. Most everyone else took the opportunity to ride again.
Disney put a lot of attention to detail in the lobby of the hotel. While waiting in line, be sure to look around the lobby and waiting area.
Various information about this attraction
The attraction open in Disney World's Hollywood Studios on July 22, 1994. It was recreated in California Adventure on May 5, 2004.
When the attraction was built in Disney World, it was actually struck by lightning. (Strange because the whole concept of the ride is that people mysteriously disappeared when riding on an elevator.)
The Tower of Terror is 199ft. tall. When they first designed it there was supposed to be an elaborate sculpture on the top of the building. But any structure over 200ft. has to have a red blinking light on it. The Imagineers felt that the blinking light would take away from the mysteriousness of the attraction and intentionally made it just under the regulations.
At the front of the hotel, there is a single window, easily seen, with a light in it. It's just a dummy room with a light in it to add to the effect of the eerie hotel.
At night time you may see flashes from the hotel, that's from the ride. The flash is from the camera taking pictures of people's reactions as the elevator makes a sudden drop.
Immediately upon entering the Tower of Terror hotel lobby, look to the left. There is a Mah Jongg game in progress. This was an actual game played by some of the top Mah Jongg players who were invited to play at a Disney event.
In the lobby while you're standing behind the velvet rope in line, look to the far left of the lobby and you will see a small table with two chairs facing each other. On the table, there are two champagne glasses and an old bottle holder standing next to the table. If you have really good eye-sight, you will see lipstick on one of the glasses, and sitting on the table is a white glove with a diamond ring on it. (Ask a Cast Member about this while waiting in line for a good story.)
In the lobby, there is a stack of 3 or 4 suitcases. They are the same suitcases seen is the video in the library, the luggage of the missing guests. They are right next to the reception desk.
On the wall next to the concierge's desk is plaque honoring The Hollywood Tower Hotel with AAA's 13-diamond award.
The little girl going in elevator is holding a 1930's style Mickey doll; one of the very first ever made.
It's Rod Serling, original Twilight Zone, that you see in the video clip just before you get on the ride. Disney hired a voice actor to describe the ride. When the clip cuts away from Rod Serling, it's when the voice actor speaks.
Make sure to secure any loose objects that you may have with you.
The shafts have giant motors that are three times as powerful as those in the former New York City's World Trade Center.
The Tower has a motor in the bottom of the ride that actually pulls you down faster than you would normally fall. Try this the next time you're on the ride, put a penny on your knee and watch how you go down faster than the penny does. You are actually weightless for a second.
There are wind jets around the vehicle to make you feel that you are falling faster than you are.
The elevator drops from 155 feet allowing for a fall of 130 feet and a 25-foot brake run
Twilight Zone objects can be seen just after your fall as your cage is slowly rotated around to go to the exit. It is easy to miss in the rush after the excitement of the ride. Yet another attention to detail that not everyone would notice.
|May 30, 2016|
Hall of Presidents
The Hall of Presidents is an attraction located in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. The attraction is a multi-media presentation and stage show featuring Audio-Animatronic figures of all the U.S. Presidents. It opened with the park on October 1, 1971.
The concept of the show was design by Walt Disney, but he died before seeing it completed. Roy Disney made sure to complete the attraction as Walt intended. The attraction original name was "One Nation Under God," but was changed to "The Hall of Presidents" during construction.
Toddlers and Preschoolers may not enjoy this attraction as it a "boring show." It is a good show to bring infants, as the ride is fairly quiet. Strollers are not allowed in the theater.
Ride may close due to inclement weather
Last year during a really bad rain storm, we wanted to watch a show but was stopped at the entrance. The attraction was closed. No specific information was given, but I believe it was just a precautionary measure.
Other rides were open at the time, including the Haunted Mansion and Small World.
Just something to keep in mind if you're looking for an escape during a quick Florida storm.
Some interesting facts about this attraction:
The Waiting Area
The metal gate in the center of the room is to protect anyone walking over the "Great Seal of the United States."
A special team from the White House is given the task to clean the "Great Seal of the United States."
The painting on the walls are a number of former Presidents. Next to each painting is a bit of fact about the person.
There is a special display case of assorted items on loan from various Presidential Libraries.
The cast members are very chatty. Ask them if they know any good President trivia.
You see a display of some of the First Lady Dresses.
Under the Painting of Ronald Reagan, is this quote from President George H. W. Bush:
"Contain your anger, smile a lot, laugh. Be kind to people. Those values I learned from Ronald Reagan."
Inside the theater
The entire show last for 22:48 minutes.
Orginally the show was narrated by Paul Frees, who also narrates the Haunted Mansion and most of the Pirates. Currently, it's narrated by Morgan Freeman.
President Clinton was the first sitting President to record his own voice for the attraction. Barack Obama personally recorded his speech.
There are no "best seats" in this attraction. If you sit in the front row, you're still pretty far away from the stage. I would recommend sitting in the middle of the theater.
As the Presidents get introduced pay attention to the gestures as they seem very realistic.
Each President is wearing the attire correct for the time period.
|May 23, 2016|
Drinks around the World (part 2)
Part 2 of Drinking around the World at Epcot. (Read Part 1) Here some advice on what drinks to try when your sampling various countries. Keep in mind, that many locations have season favorites, so always ask for the special when you arrive at the various cafe and carts.
The Italy cart, Enoteca Castilla, is right next to the German Pavilion. For something different, try the Italian Margarita. The margarita is a bit sweeter and more lemony than its Mexican counterpart. If you're looking for fine wine and beer, be sure to stop over at the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar, which is attached to Tutto Italia restaurant. You can find a wide selection of Italy's favorite wine and beer.
The Kabuki Cafe is located on the left side of the Pavilion. You can find the Kirin Draft, which is a 20 oz. Kirin (5% Alcohol by volume).
Be sure to try the margarita inside the Mexico Pavilion at La Cava del Tequila. You can try all sorts of margaritas with some fine Mexican appetizers. This is a great chance to sample different kinds of Margaritas to find your favorite. Work with the staff to find the perfect combination for your taste.
You can find Morocco's main drink cart at the front of the Pavilion on the left. Try the Moroccatita - Vodka, Lemon/Lime Juice and Tripple Sec. There's not a whole lot of drink selections, most likely not going to be spending a whole hour in this country.
Mexico and Norway drink carts are short walking distance from each other. The Norway drink cart is near the front of the Pavilion. Here you can find Carlsberg Beer, Linie Aquavit, and Wine. Carlsberg is a 5% German Pilsener hailing from Denmark.(5% Alcohol by volume)
Aquavit is "Produced from potatoes and flavored with caraway and herbs. Then the tastes are mellowed by rolling oak casks that travel through various conditions during a five-month voyage at sea." This might be something worth trying for something a bit different if you just been drinking beer all day. Warning Aquavit is a distilled liquor and ranging in alcohol content from about 42% to 45% abv.
The easiest place to get a drink is at the Rose & Crown beer stand. You can find Bass Ale, Stella Artois Draft, Guinness and various cider. Go inside the Rose & Crown and treat yourself to a bigger wine selection. You'll have the opportunity to try the Welsh Dragon - Peach Schnapps, Melon Liqueur, Creme de Menthe, Orange Juice, and Pineapple Juice.
Between the Japan Pavilion and the American Adventure is Block & Hans, where you can get a selection of fine American Ale. You can Find McKenzie's Black Cherry Hard Cider - West Seneca, NY, McKenzie's Black Cherry Hard Cider - Bangor ME, Hazed Hoppy Session Ale - Boulder CO and Abita Seasonal - Covington, LA.
Select a beer that would be hard to find where you're from, or simply pass and double up in one of the other countries.
|May 16, 2016|
Drinks around the World (part1)
Drink around the World is a fun Disney challenge because you only have an hour to spend in each country. The key to making this successful is to pick the right drinks.
Each country at Epcot has a "specialty" drink that you should try as part of this challenge. Don't just go to the America Experience and order a beer. You should try the unique drink. Then decided which country has the best one.
If you can't get to every country, for whatever reason, use this as a guideline as to what drinks are usually available in each country in Epcot. There are specialty drinks available during certain times of the year, always ask the Cast Member for the seasonal special.
I?ll cover four countries this week, and the remainder next week.
The good thing about this challenge is that you don?t need to go too far from the lagoon to get the best drinks, most of the countries have booths setup just outside of the pavilions. There're no real hidden drinks by going into the restaurant or stores.
The Canada pavilion only has a cart that sells Moosehead and Fin du Monde. Neither is a win-win, but try the Fin du Monde since it?s typically harder to find in the southern states. The beer contains a very high (9% ABV) alcohol content. So take it easy!
Stop by the ?Joy of Tea? booth on the lagoon side of the China Pavilion. You?ll find all sorts of specialty cocktails here, many of them are super sweet. This might be a good stop at the end of the Drink around the World. Ask the Cast Member for the specialty drink of the day is.
Why would you get wine at the France Pavilion when you can get it just about anyplace on Disney Property? The best drink to get is the Grey Goose Citron or the Grand Marnier Orange slushies. The perfect refresher for a hot day in the park. They are available at the "Champagne and Wine Kiosk? on the lagoon side.
If your not into visiting every country on the challenge, this drink is worth a double. You?ll get a nice colored glass and an extra shot. You can get this drink alcohol free.
Germany is well known for its beer, and this is certainly the spot to stop at if you're looking to sample some fine beer. This is a popular spot for a lot of people. The waiting line by the cart on the lagoon can be busy. Walk through the Germany exhibit and you?ll find the ?Sumerfest Imbiß? in the far back which sells many of the same beer.
At the Weinkeller store, you can sample different German wines and beers, this is a better option than to just try a Warsteiner Dunkel and Schöfferhofer Pink Grapefruit Hefeweizen. If you get a sample, get some bratwurst to taste between drinks.
If your not into the German Beer, try some of the shots and German Wines they have available.
|May 9, 2016|
Join Kermit, Miss Piggy and the entire Muppets gang for a spectacular presentation in 3D.
Muppet*Vision 3D features many of the same characters from the popular 70's television program, The Muppet Show. The show gave rise to 12 motion pictures and many television specials, and even won an Emmy(R) Award.
The current attraction, which puts you in the center of the Muppet madness, was a special collaboration between Jim Henson Productions and Walt Disney Imagineering. It was the last major project the Jim Henson worked on before he suddenly death in 1990. It first premiered at Walt Disney World on the anniversary of Henson's death on May 16, 1991.
You'll see the following characters at some point during the show: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, Scooter, Sam Eagle, Swedish Chef, Waldorf and Statler, Sweetums, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, and Bean Bunny.
2016 Park Updates
Florida - Muppet's 3D is safe from all the constructions going on at Hollywood Studios! You'll still be able to enjoy the show after Star Wars land and Toy Story Land is completed.
California - The Muppet Vision 3D show has been removed from California Adventure. The attraction's final day of operation was November 1, 2014. The remaining attraction in that vicinity, MuppetVision 3D, is now listed on park guide maps as being located in the renamed Muppets Courtyard.
Tips about the Attraction
Its a good idea to arrive extra early since the preshow is funny. They put a lot of work in the video portion. Pay attention to some of the props around the room. Most times the wait isn't going to be more than 20 minutes.
When you arrive, don't wait by curtains. Instead, get close to the monitors and watch the pre-show show. People that are lined up by the curtains will be sitting stage right.
The best seats to get the 3D special effects is sitting center stage about 10 rows from the back. (At least that has been my experience.)
Sitting front row stage left is where you can encounter Waldo, he won't give high fives.
If you should end up on the front row, watch the penguins during the 'Flight of the Bumblebee' song. Watch how they interact with the screen.
The sheet music that the penguins are looking at during the show is actually for "The Rainbow Connection."
This is a theater attraction. Like most Disney shows, when the new audience enters the auditorium they are asked to move all the way down the entire row and fill up every available seat. If you should encounter people stopping mid-row, kindly ask them to move.
Towards the end of the show, if you listen carefully you can hear the Muppets sing "It's a Small World."
The Fire Truck that enters when then the theater explodes is a Disney Fire Truck and you can see a castle on the license plate.
At the end of the show, as you walk out, look back at the theater, you can see the next audience coming in.
Plan to watch a couple of shows. At the second show, pay attention to the background. There a lot of things going that isn't the central point in the picture. For example, When Kermit says there will be a little show from Miss Piggy, she pops out of her dressing room and says, "Little?" To the right of her is a fire pull station. If you look carefully, it is pulled.
Outside the theater is a fountain featuring the muppet characters. Gonzo is balancing on an inflatable toy who's head looks just like Mickey, except the eyes are bulging a bit (but so would yours if Gonzo had his left foot in your back!).