Disney blog postings

Disney Postings

Earliest: May 30, 2003Latest: June 20, 2019Total: 119
January 16, 2017

The Walt Disney World Photo Challenge

A few years ago the "This Disney Life" posted a list of photo opportunities to take a Disney World. The list contained the must-have photos for any trip.

Kyra include a point system as to indicate the difficulty of taking some of the shots.

I transcribed the list to an easy to use PDF document. In addition, I added a new "Expert Only" category where taking certain shots may involve some additional photographic expertise.

Disney Photo Challenge
Click on image to download PDF document.

Some of the "Expert Only" shots include:

  • Panoramic view of the 21 Century Room
  • Fireworks from the Main Street Train Station
  • Night Photo of the Partners Statue with the Castle out of Focus
  • Chip and Dale Statue with the Castle blurred in the Background (Central Plaza)
  • Mickey Mouse opening up the park

Let me know what shots you think are the most challenging to take at Disney World.

January 9, 2017

Disney Park Folder icons

We are getting things ready for our next big Disney adventure to the Disney World. I was backing up some of the photos that I have in my collection and started sorting things out by date.

I noticed that it was a bit hard to figure out what park we visited per day. I could have just named the folders by the park, but on this trip, we actually visited a couple of parks more than once.

So I decided to make some custom icons to make it easy to figure out which park we went to:

Click on image to download the Icons.

Macintosh users, please feel free to download and use these for your own folder collection.

Folder Icons Makes all the Difference

Having a good fold icon can make a huge difference, see the before and after:

New  Disney Icons2

The folders that didn't have icons are the off days when we didn't go in the park. On this particular trip my daughter was sick for a couple of days and we didn't go to the park.

January 2, 2017

Popular Disney Ride Height Requirements

My daughter just turned 6 and is now 44" tall. Looks like there are only a few rides that she can't go on:

Magic Number 44

Magic Kingdom(R) Park

  • The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm - 35"
  • Splash Mountain(R) - 40"
  • Big Thunder Mountain - 40"
  • Stitch's Great Escape - 40"
  • Space Mountain(R) - 44"
  • Tomorrowland Indy Speedway - 52" to ride alone


  • Test Track - 40"
  • Soarin' - 40"
  • Mission: SPACE(R) - 44"

Disney's Hollywood Studios(TM)

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror(TM) - 40"
  • Star Tours - 40"
  • Rock-n-Roller Coaster(R) Starring Aerosmith - 48"

Animal Kingdom(R) Theme Park

  • Kali River Rapids(R) - 38"
  • DINOSAUR - 40"
  • Expedition Everest(TM) - 44"
  • Primeval Whirl(R) - 48"

Interesting trivia from Livestrong.com:

Average Heights of Girls by Age. Like weight, heights vary by age. The average -- or 50th percentile -- height for a 3-year-old girl is 37 inches, while the average for a 4-year-old is 40 inches, and a 5-year-old is 42 inches. The average for a 6-year-old girl just 45 inches.

December 26, 2016

George Washington Beer Mug

Inside the Walt Disney's Hall of Presidents are several artifacts that are loaned to the Walt Disney Company. Many of these are from Presidents libraries.

Once such items are the Original Beer Mug that was once own by President George Washington. The sign reads:

Beer Mug

circa 1790-1802
French porcelain, enumel, gift

In George Washington's time, mugs like this on were used to drink large quantities of fermented alcoholic beverages, including gin, beer, and cider. According to family lore, Washington use this mug every day to drink cider with his midday meal.

Coursidy of the Mount Vernan Ladies Association
Gift of John Morgan, 1979

Geroge Washington Mug

George Washington was President from April 30, 1789 - March 4, 1797. Which means that this mug was most likely used while he was the first President of the United States. You can find the mug by white bookcase to the right as you walk in.

Ride Closure Notice

The Hall of Presidents will be closed will be closed for refurbishment from January 17 through June 29, 2017. During this period they will add a new Donald Trump animatronic to the hall.

December 19, 2016

Longest Ride in the Kingdom

I was wondering what are the longest rides at the three major parks in Disney World. (I intentionally excluded the Animal Kingdom as we won't be going there on our next trip.)

These are actual rides and not shows or entertainment areas such as Tom Sawyer Island. Most shows last roughly 25 minutes. Entertainment area times may vary depend on the interest in the area.

The Great Movie Ride 19 minutes Disney Studios
Splash Mountain 18 minutes Magic Kingdom
Spaceship Earth 16 minutes Epcot
Mission: SPACE Green 15 minutes Epcot
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 15 minutes Disney Studios
it's a small world 14 minutes Magic Kingdom

Interesting Discovery

The Astros Orbiter and Dumbo the Flying Elephant have the same ride duration. (1.5 Minutes) Which is kind of interesting because they are basically the same type of ride, they have a different outer shell.

December 12, 2016

Pirates Caribbean

Pirates Caribbean

The Pirate of the Caribbean is a fun ride where users get on a boat and enjoy a voyage back in time when pirates would rule the seas.

The "surprise" part of the ride is the two waterfalls in the beginning of the ride. The drop is done in complete darkness. You may get wet depending on how many people are in the boat.

Warning: Do not place bags on the floor in the boar, the bag will most likely get wet.

Popular sites you will encounter include:

  • Pirates Grotto
  • The Fort
  • Town Square
  • Burning City
  • The Dungeon

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride Fun Facts

  • Open in Disney World on December 15, 1973. (806 Days after the park opened)
  • The boat cruise last 9-minutes long.
  • The waterfalls on Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland and Disney World are slight. There are waterfalls on both rides. However, the waterfall at Disneyland is longer and therefore broken into two consecutive drops.
  • The drop at Disneyland is necessary as most of the ride is located on the other side of the railroad tracks that surround the park.
  • The fog that drifts out from behind the boat in the "Battle" area. It is the Mee Fog effect. Water is shot through a pin size hole at 1000PSI. The force of the water is so fast that the water condenses - just like real fog.
  • The effect of the cannon ball splashing the water is done with the air cannon. Basically, it's compressed air under the water.
  • Pirates was the first ride in the world to end with an exit directly into a gift shop. Many rides now end this way.
  • The Pirate Ship that you see after the drop is called the "Wicked Wench."
  • The Pirate that you see selling things at the auction, was at one time Abe Lincoln.
  • The Mellowmen is the group that sings the "Yo Ho (Pirates Life for Me)." You can download the song on iTunes.
  • Mellowmen also sang Haunted Mansion's Grim Grinning Ghost, The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room
  • The fire on Pirates is made by shining lights onto a special, moving cloth.
  • Near the end of the ride the white hair prisoner in a replica of a long time janitor that worked at Walt Disney Productions.
  • The Cocker Spaniel dog that is holding the key by the jail is Walt Disney's Dog. You'll see the same dog as the Caretaker dog in the Haunted Mansion, Small World and on one of the Murals in the Cinderella's Castle

George the Pirates of the Caribbean Ghost

At the Pirates of the Caribbean in Disney World, there is "resident ghost" named George. He was an Imagineer that built many of the tracks for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World. He died on the ride when a beam collapsed on him.

Cast Members at Disney World have confirmed the story of George the Ghost. Over the years Cast Member have blamed him for various ride failures.

George is allegedly a friendly ghost. When you are on the ride, make sure to say Hi to George.

Hidden Mickeys

From As you pass the ship where the captain is brandishing his sword and firing cannonballs over your head, his shadow is thrown up on the mainsail. As the captain turns, his shadow turns into you-know-who. Especially blatant at Disneyland it's also effective at Walt Disney World. Although it's not a really clear Mickey when seen from the front. The "ears" are more like tall skinny humps on top of a roughly round shadow. At one point in the sequence, the humps get a little wider and the whole thing looks reasonably like a Mickey. The Mickey is much clearer when you look at the other side of the sail. As you go past the sail continue watching and the elongated shapes that are somewhat suspect in the original shadow become a well formed Mickey head on the reverse side of the sail. Timing is key. The pirate is a moving figure, so his shadow only makes a hidden Mickey when he turns the right way.

In the Treasure room right as you are exiting the room there are a lot of pearl necklaces on the ground on the left. If you are riding the ride, it may just seem like a clump of pearls. If you raise your head a little, some of the Pearls are in a Mickey. It is right as you are about to go into the exit area for the ride.

In the Pirate ship scene right before the drop. If you look at the background behind the ship you'll see a set of clouds that resemble the famous Mickey Mouse symbol

December 5, 2016

Tomorrowland Speedway


The Tomorrowland Speedway is the opportunity for kids to show that they can drive a car. You can experience the glory of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as you drive your own Indy 500-type race car on a guided track to the victory flag.

Guests need to be 32" to be a rider on the Speedway, and 54" to be able to reach the pedal. Children under the age of 12 months should not ride. Expectant mothers should not ride.

Tomorrowland Speedway Fast Facts

  • Opened: October 1, 1971 (Walt Disney World Opening Day)
  • Ride length: 4 minutes, 45 seconds
  • Track Length: 2,112 feet ( 644 Meters) about 7 football fields long!
  • Max Speed: 7 Miles per Hour (11 Kilometers per hour)
  • Typical Ride Wait time: 20 - 30 minutes
  • Inclement Weather: First ride to close at any sign of rain.

Fun Facts

  • The Speedway is not a bumper car ride.
  • Each car has a spring front and rear bumper to prevent damages to the cars
  • The line for the speedway snakes across a pedestrian bridge to the ride?s loading areas. For a shorter wait, turn right on the bridge and head to the first loading area rather than continuing to the second one.
  • There are six cars lined up on each side of the loading area.
  • The Victory Circle is the left of the pit area. You'll see a red car in the circle. Car #22 is the winning car.
  • There are 33 cars on the Speedway
  • There are five turns and one overpass on the Speedway.
  • After you go under the tunnel if you look to the left you can see Cinderella Castle.
  • You'll see a mirror on the left as you exit the tunnel. It's to help the cast member on the bridge see what's going on in the tunnel.
  • The half-way point is just before you go over the bridge, you'll see a cast member there.
  • The announcer voice you hear is Tom Carnegie - a longtime announcer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • Disney doesn't want users to bump cars with large yellow signs and repeated messages just before the finish line.
November 28, 2016

Pop Century All Star Resort

On our next trip to DisneyWorld we will be staying at the Pop Century All Star resort. This will be our first time staying at this popular resort. In 2015, we did stay at the nearby Art of Animation Resort.

A brief description of Pop Century Resort From Disney's Website:

Experience the unforgettable fads of the 1950s through the 1990s all over again. From yo-yos and Play-Doh(R) to Rubik's Cube(R) and rollerblades, this Resort hotel salutes the timeless fashions, catch phrases, toys, and dances that captivated the world through the decades.

Here's some things that I learned about the resort.

A map of where Pop Century is on the Disney Property:

Pop Century Map

Some Fun Facts about the Pop Century Resort

First opened December 14, 2003.

Food Court name is "Everything Pop"

There are three pools for guest to select from: Hippy Dippy Pool, Bowling Pool and Computer Pool

Guest should bring their own towels to the pool as towels are not available at the pools.

Petals Pool Bar is available at the Hippy Dippy Pool for Mix drinks, beer, wine, and soda.

From late October 2016 through early January 2017 the Computer Pool at Disney's Pop Century Resort will be closed for refurbishment. Beginning early January, the Hippy Dippy Pool will be unavailable. The Bowling Pool will remain open for your enjoyment. The Computer Pool will reopen on January 3, 2017.

Resort rooms will undergo a "hard goods" refurbishment starting October 16; the refurbishment will run through much of 2017. (It don't hurt to ask for a quiet room when checking in!)

Pool Gallon Facts

Hippy Dippy Pool Main Pool 235,613
Bowling Pool 50's Pool 144,352
Computer Pool 80's 90's Pool (not disclosed!)

Disney Bus Transportation Times

On Average the bus runs about every 20 minutes.

Magic Kingdom 20-25
Epcot 10-15
Hollywood Studios 20-25
Animal Kingdom 20-25
Disney Springs 10-15

Hidden Mickey's from the AllEars Newsletter

Inside the Pop Century gift shop, near the exit to the bus stop, check the wall behind the cash registers to spot round gift boxes that form a classic Mickey. The image appears twice in faux package-locker windows. One image is in the second window from the top of the second column of windows from the right side. The other is in the third window from the left on the top row.

Two black classic Mickeys are on the keyboard of the huge computer outside near the Computer Pool. Both are on the lower row of keys. One is the second key from the left and the other is the second key from the right. (More obvious decorative classic Mickeys are in the computer monitor's screensaver.)

Subscribe to the AllEars Newsletter to learn all the latest disney news.

November 21, 2016

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

The Spaceship Earth is a large Geodesic Dome at the main entrance of Epcot theme park and one of the most recognizable landmarks on Disney property. The Spaceship earth ride gives guest a quick history lesson on communications. The ride takes you through 40,000 years of communications.

Many of this tips/tricks came from various internet sources that I have collected over the years, including hiddenmickeys.org and various Disney Unix sites.

Fun Facts about the Geodesic Dome

  • The Spaceship Earth Geodesic Dome is 180 feet taking up 2,200,00 cubic feet of space the outer surface is composed of 954 triangular panels and
  • weighs 155 million pounds.
  • The Spaceship Earth Geodesic Dome isn't the world largest, that honor goes to a pair of Industrial buildings in Northern Mexico 732 ft long and 260 ft wide. Fukuoka Dome in Fukuoka Japan is the largest single structure Geodesic Dome: 709 ft. Spaceship Earth doesn't even appear in the top ten largest Geodesic Dome structures list.
  • It took 2 years to build Spaceship Earth.
  • The Prism Fountain behind the turnstiles is actually run-off water from Spaceship Earth.
  • Spaceship Earth has special panels in it the suck in the water when it rains so that it does not drip on guests.
  • Hidden within the panels covering the Geosphere are 17 perfect five-pointed stars
  • One of the coolest places in FutureWorld is under Spaceship Earth. It's shape and the shops to either side create a venturi that causes the slightest breeze to accelerate. (Not a good place to have an open umbrella!)
  • If Spaceship Earth were a golf ball, the person using it to play golf would be approximately 1.2 miles tall to be in proper scale!

Fun Facts about Spaceship Earth

  • Spaceship Earth is the most popular attraction in the world. More people pass through the ride every year than any other attraction.
  • The tour of Spaceship Earth takes 15 mins.
  • The term "Spaceship Earth" was originally coined by Buckminster Fuller, in his 1969 book, "An Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth." Buckminister Fuller also invented the concept of the Geodesic Sphere, which is the type of structure that the "Spaceship Earth" ride is housed in. (The books makes for a great read before you visit the park.)
  • When Space Ship Earth originally opened, all the cars had to be replaced due to a bad design. Each night they would take several cars out of the ride and replace them with refurbished ones. This took some time to complete. In fact, it was so bad that the mechanism that turns the cars around on top of the ride wasn't working and they had a cast member physically turning each car around. You can still see a cast member at the top of the Spaceship Earth ride.
  • Most of the male audio-animatronics in Spaceship Earth are former presidents. When the Hall of Presidents was first made, they made detailed molds for the faces of the presidents. Then when Spaceship Earth was built, they used the same molds and put different hair, costumes, make-up, etc. to create the different characters.
  • The vehicle audio system is an infrared system beamed to the vehicles as they pass by the transmitters.
  • The ride is now narrated by Dame Judi Dench, at one time it was narrated by Walter Cronkite (19864 - 1994).
  • In the scene where the teenage boy is communicating with the girl: if you listen carefully, you'll notice that the boy is speaking in English and hearing the girl in English. The girl is speaking in Japanese and hearing the boy in Japanese as well.
  • At the end of the Spaceship Earth Ride while traveling backward, right before passing the city landscape and passing underneath the fiber optic wires that are overhead, there are several scenes showing people communicating via video phone at remote locations. The more distant part of these images are produced by the classic "peppers ghost effect", what is being reflected is really one story above you to your left as you are coming down.
  • Originally sponsored by the Bell Systems, then in 1984 it was sponsored by AT&T (After the breakup of baby bell)
  • Since 2005, Spaceship Earth has been sponsored by Siemens.
  • Ride closed early 1986 and reopened on May 26, 1986, after the first major renovation. This is when Walter Cronkite became the official navigator. The last major renovation was in 2008 during the fourth major update.
  • Spaceship Earth celebrated 30 years on October 1st, 2012.

Hidden Mickeys!

There are a lot of Hidden Mickeys around here. Here are some known ones:

  • On the mural at the entrance, there is a mammoth. At the top right of the picture, Mickey's face is in sideways profile along the top of the mammoth's back.
  • On the left side of the car you pass the scene with the monks transcribing documents. The second monk is sleeping. If you look back as you pass him you can see an ink blot in the shape of Mickey in the upper right-hand part of the document.
  • When the car is moving through the Renaissance period, there is an artist to your left painting a still-life of some grapes. All the grapes are outlined in black, except a cluster of three, which are outlined in white, making a clear Mickey head.
  • We want to point out the window behind Mona Lisa in the Renaissance section has a lot of big and small circles in it. Every now and then they form perfect Mickeys.
  • Alarm clock (on the dresser) in the teenage boy's bedroom, you can see a hidden Mickey
November 14, 2016

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectator

There are Internet rumors that the Indiana Jones Stunt spectator will soon be closing. I would highly recommend visiting the attraction, if it is open during your visit. (I'll update this post on when it does officially close.)

Indiana Jones Stunt

The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectator is a live theater-type attraction. Disney guest have the opportunity to see/learn how stuntman work in action. The show features loud noise and fire effects. The show re-creates several of the popular scenes from the "Raiders of the lost Ark" movie. The show is located in Disney Studios near Echo Lake.

Disney's official description

Cheer on Indy and Marion as they perform amazing stunts with blazing special effects to demonstrate move-making magic.

Attraction Tips

  • When you arrive at the park, check out the show schedule and plan to arrive at least a 1/2 hour before the show to get good seats. (Arrive earlier if you have a large party.)
  • The ride rarely shuts down due to inclement weather.
  • There is a special entrance for wheelchair guests and their family.
  • Best seats are the lower ones in the center row. When you enter the theater it looks like the left seats are the best, but the main stage moves and the center seats are the best location for most of the show.
  • The earlier you arrive the best chances you have for being selected to be part of the show.
  • The show does start suddenly and Jones appears unexpectedly.

Fun Facts

  • The first stunt show occurred on August 25, 1989.
  • The show was originally was planned for 5 years, but kept getting extended due to popularity.
  • The stunt theater holds 2,000 people and will fill capacity
  • The show last about 25 minutes.
  • The Indiana Jones Show is the only place in all of Disney theme park properties that get to wear their own clothes.
  • The golden idol is an exact replica of the one from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." There is no Mickey face on the golden idol.
  • The spears in the Indiana Jones Show come straight up. As where in the movie they came from the sides.
  • The floor spears in the Indiana Jones show are activated by pads on the ground that the stuntman steps on to bring them up. Yes, they can hurt someone. Since the Stuntman controls the spears, they will know when and where they will appear.
  • The giant rolling ball weighs a heavy 440 pounds.
  • The first act moving sets weigh around 100 tons making them the heaviest moving sets in history.

Need a Movie Idea?

The Raiders of the Lost Ark would be a good movie to watch on the airplane as you travel to Orlando. This way some of the famous scenes and characters are fresh in your mind.