Archive for the ‘WDW’ Category

Electrical Parade on the move!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Disney has announced that this summer the Main Street Electrical Parade will be moving from Disney’s California Adventure to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. DCA mega-fans (both of them) were very upset to hear this news. “That parade’s a California tradition,” said Paris Dicepeer, a Disney annual passholder that visits DCA so often that she has twice been arrested for stalking. “It started in California, so it should stay in California, even if it’s in a different park in California, don’t take the parade from its home!” (She might have said more, but at that point burst into tears, drenching her churro.)

Why is the parade moving? Few will be surprised that the root cause is cost. Said Press Contact, Disneyland Press Relations press contact for the press, “Last year Disney teamed with Sylvania to completely rework and upgrade the electrical parade. Together, we spent more than 1.5 billion dollars replacing all the light bulbs with tiny curlicue energy-efficient bulbs and installing motion sensors so that parade floats would go dark when nobody is in the room. After all that, we didn’t have budget left to upgrade the electrical connectivity system, which has an old two-prong wall plug. The only facility Disney has with a two-prong plug is in an old warehouse in Florida’s Magic Kingdom, so with the budget being so tight our only options are move the parade to Florida to be closer to its power source, or spend another summer babysitting an enormous extension cord.”

Budget has also been cited as the explanation for why Tokyo DisneySea’s new Fantasmic! show will share a cast with Disneyland’s Fantasmic! Said one very tired looking manager, “With the difference in time zones, it’s really not that big a deal.”

Return from WDW

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

The DisneyLies team has returned from its research trip to Walt Disney World and is busily digging through piles of paperwork, photographs, and credit-card bills so we can put together a whole mess of high-quality (sic.) content for our loyal readers. We’ll have attraction descriptions, restaurant reviews with photos, and all sorts of cool stuff (assuming we actually can get our acts together — WDW’s time zone is six over and two up from our home, and the jet lag is horribly disorienting, as is the prospect of having to go through so much material on our Tivo).

A few quick things we picked up during the trip:

  • The nice folks in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion have heard all the swine flu jokes already.
  • The nice folks in Epcot’s France pavilion seem unable to grasp even the simplest “wine flu” pun.
  • Yelling “swine flu” after sneezing in a crowded airport can get you arrested.

In a Pirates League of their own

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Beginning in late June, guests of the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World will be able to visit “The Pirates League” in Adventureland and receive a pirate “makeover”. Says someone on the street pretending to be a Disney spokesperson, “It’s like Bibbidi Bobbidi Botique, but with less lace and more hooks, and the only hair they worry about is on your chest.”

Guests wishing to join the Pirates League enter the League’s secret headquarters in Adventureland, ask their parents to hand over some “bootie” (possibly in the form of a “credit c-arr-d”), and are assigned a pirate name (in the form of “Captain [first name] [animal],” “[adjective] [first name] [color],” or “Mr. [nonsense word that sounds like a sneeze].” Then, after taking a binding pirate oath by which they acknowledge that their new appearance will be ©Disney, then move into the “pirate’s den” for a complete “keel haul” (the pirate word for a makeover).

Three options are available:

  • First Mate Package ($50): Bandana, earring, eye patch, fake teeth, striped shirt, facial scar, sword, choice of false limb, stuffed parrot
  • Pirate Princess Package ($75): Just like the First Mate package, but more expensive because it’s for girls and has “princess” in the name.
  • Captain Package ($150): Everything that’s in the First Mate package, plus a pirate outfit, a real talking parrot, and a curse from an actual piece of forbidden treasure.
  • Pirate King Package ($750): Everything that’s in the Captain package, plus an upgraded sword, a “pirate coin” necklace, the right to “plunder” one car in the parking lot, and never see your parents again.

Disney Treasures: Paint an island

Friday, April 17th, 2009

When the Magic Kingdom opens each morning, some guests run for Space Mountain, some run to Dumbo, some run for a restroom with a baby-changing station — and some run for Tom Sawyer Island. Why is that? Is it to explore the foreboding caves? Is it to fish off the pier in hopes of finding something to sell to Tony’s? Or is it to search for paint brushes? (Hint: it’s the “paint brush” one.)

That’s right, long before park opening, clever cast members skulk across Tom Sawyer Island, their fists filled with paintbrush, looking for an appropriate place to hide the bristled treasure. Guests who find a paintbrush and return it to a cast member receive a prize. Sometimes the prize is as simple as a FASTPASS or a chance to participate in a little play wherein the guest gets a chance to watch his or her own funeral. But if it’s a super-lucky day, and everything is going right, and there is an extra helping of Disney magic in the air, the guest may win the grand prize — the opportunity to use that paintbrush and help Disney World Imagineers whitewash a building that’s closed for refurbishment!

This is a rare treat indeed! In fact, when a building is in need of a little paint, as few as 50 or 100 paintbrushes are left on the island, and if you’re not careful other guests will have finished the work before you get your chance! We can practically guarantee that a grand time is had by all (except for Disney’s maintenance staff, of course, which has to sit to the side, chatting, eating, and earning union wages while guests get all the fun, but what can you do — it’s Walt Disney World!)

Disney Treasures: Waking Tinkerbell

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

For a magical start to your Magic Kingdom morning, stop in Tinkerbell’s Treasures, the shop where Tinkerbell spends the night in a comfy little treasure chest! If you’re the first guest to the store, poke your head in the door and yell, “Wake up, Tinkerbell!” The cast member behind the counter will respond, “Okay, she’s up. Thanks!” That’s it — you woke up Tinkerbell!

(Note that if you try to wake “Tink” later in the day, cast members will just ignore you or give you an annoyed look. This is a treat reserved for the first guest in the shop each day!)

Because this is a favorite (and not particularly secret) Disney treasure, you may want to take extra steps to make sure that your child gets to wake Tinkerbell. A good plan is to arrive at the park a few hours before opening and claim a place at the front of the first turnstile that will open. When the park opens, get in as fast as you can, pick up your child, and run at full speed through the park to the Castle, ignoring calls for you to walk and avoiding security and other obstacles as necessary. If other parents are trying to horn in on your magic, a few caltrops improvised the night before from cut-and-sharpened hotel hangers should help you maintain your lead.

After you’ve had your magic moment, you might want to head to the entrance to Mickey’s Toontown Fair for a “meet and greet” with Tinkerbell. Be sure to tell her that you are the one who woke her up that morning (she may have some choice words for you, particularly if she was up drinking the night before!) and ask her how the heck she sleeps in a little treasure chest when she’s so tall.

Disney Treasures: Intro and DiVine

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

One of the wonderful things about Walt Disney World is that, in addition to all the shows and attractions you lean about in travel guides and on unsubstantiated-rumor Web sites, there are secret treasures and experiences to be had by those lucky enough to stumble across them. For the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting a number of these treasures, telling you both how to find them and how to make sure you get to them first so that they are not used up by some less-deserving tourist.

Let’s begin by discussing one of the secret treasures of Disney’s Animal Kingdom — DiVine.

If you keep your eyes peeled as you walk through Animal Kingdom, you may be able to spot a bit of shrubbery that seems a little different. Its leaves are a bit big, its grapes are a bit out of place, and there’s a lady’s head in the middle of it all. Also, it moves much more quickly than any plant (other than carnivorous swamp moss, which is native to central Florida but largely absent from Walt Disney World).

What could it be? It’s DiVine, the half-human, half-plant AK inhabitant! If you spot her, be sure to watch for a moment, enjoying the poetry of her occasional gentle motions and laughing at people startled by the sudden mobility of what at first appeared to be simply a woman’s corpse overgrown with vines.

Because she blends in so well with the native foliage, DiVine can be quite hard to spot. To find her, watch roadside plants and tree tops carefully as you walk, or do what expert visitors do and listen for the screams of surprised adults or watch for crowds of parents changing the pants of their crying, startled children.

Although DiVine is the most popular of the nature-living characters wandering through the park, she is not the only one. During times of heavy attendance, guests may also be able to spot DiRock (a woman made from stone), DiWind (a woman dressed only in air), and DiVille (a woman who wears dead puppies).

Trivia: Before she came to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, DiVine had a significant film career, most prominently starring in a number of John Waters films.

WDW Restaurant Reservations — Online!

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

Those WDW guests who have suffered through having to set their alarm and get on the phone promptly at 7 a.m., 180 days before their vacation to try and snag a hard-to-come-by Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station reservation will be pleased to know that Disney is moving away from the call-in-only system. Beginning in October, guests will be able to log onto the Disney World Web site promptly at 7 a.m., 180 days before their vacation and make dining priority seating requests from the comfort of their own computer without having to deal with a friendly, helpful Disney cast member.

Not only will guests be able to decide what restaurant they will want to eat at in six months, they will also be encouraged to pre-order specific meals, schedule drink refills, and fill out surveys indicating how pleased they expect to be with service and how much of a tip they will leave. Guests who expect that they will encounter difficulty with a server may arrange to meet with a lead cast member at a specified time after their meal.

Rumor roundup

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

As usual, there are many WDW-related rumors flying about the Internet. Here’s a roundup of some of the most interesting (sic.):

  • Are rising gas prices making WDW cut back on its fleet of busses? Recent guests have complained that busses are more scarce that usual, and that there is a marked increase in the use of “bicycles built for 64”.
  • Epcot is rumored to have a new attraction ready to premier in 2010, but there is no agreement on what that attraction might be. It might be as large as a replacement for the Wonders of Life pavilion (most likely a Wonders of Capitalism area) or as small as a new flavor of soda in Club Cool.
  • Does the upcoming Country Bears rehab herald there return of the Country Bears Christmas Hoedown? Disney isn’t saying, but did hint that the rehabed show might “have a segment with a song about a shopping maul”.
  • In a unanimous show of unity, all of Disney management came together to distance itself from the horrible pun at the end of the previous item in this list.
  • Because of Disney’s overwhelming need for expansion, the Pocahontas show at Animal Kingdom will reportedly be closed and its cast moved to a reservation of some kind.

Real Magic Closure

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

There was a major goofup last night involving the closing of Disney’s Virtual Magic Kingdom online guest simulation. Apparently, the memo saying that the online park would be going offline permanently last night at 10 p.m. was worded in a less than rigorous manner, causing some cast members to believe that it was Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom that was to be closed permanently.

Signs were placed outside the Magic Kingdom after closing explaining that the park was being shuttered, and ever-efficient Disney maintenance crews spent the night dismantling the park and preparing it for storage. By the time the mistake was discovered (at around 6:30 a.m. this morning), Adventureland, Liberty Square, and about half of Frontierland had been boxed, labeled, and prepared for shipping. Tom Sawyer Island had already been returned to its natural swampy condition, and the Country Bears were running wild in the absence of county animal-control officers.

“We were pretty embarrassed about the whole situation,” said Magic Kingdom spokesperson Beaufort “Clueless” Hamhead. “We think we can get the whole thing back together in a couple of weeks, and we’re already sending nice notes of apology to all the people we sacked, especially the ones we inadvertently put in crates instead of sending home.”

Skyrocketing strollers

Monday, April 7th, 2008

At Walt Disney World, stroller prices just took a gigantic upswing — A single-child stroller is now $15 a day (up from $1.50) and two-child strollers are $31 a day (up from $2, or $1.75 if you have a coupon or it’s your birthday).

Although the price increase is understandable (stroller rental rates are, after all, traditionally inversely proportional to housing costs), they still have many parents up in arms — or babe in arms, as the case may be if they can’t afford to rent a stroller.

On more than one occasion in recent days parents have been heard to tell their tikes, “I’ll give you $10 if you’ll just walk today.” It’s bribery, sure, but it makes financial sense.