Archive for the ‘WDW’ Category

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.

Old Moves

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Complaints continue to come in regarding the quality of performance of Walt Disney World costumed characters. It seems that many of their jokes are ancient to the point of being essentially humorless. The Official Disney Lies Photographer happened to catch Chip performing an outdated Lord of the Dance routine, much to the confusion of all concerned.

Chip’s Lord of the Dance

If you happen to see a Disney character giving an out-of-date performance, please snap a photo and send it in!

Sweater Day

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

In honor of what would have been the 80th birthday of Fred “Mr.” Rogers, cast members at all U.S. Disney parks and facilities will be wearing sweaters. Cast members will also be required to sing a happy little song in the morning when they get their sweaters out of their lockers.

Guests are invited to join in the fun by wearing sweaters and sneakers, avoiding the use of big words, and not discussing their violent past as a Navy Seal.

Another Restaurant Idea Shot Down

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Fans of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom may be disappointed to hear that the plan to replace Tony’s Town Square restaurant with Ratatouille’s Rodent-Infested Rotisserie have been canceled. Apparently, both focus groups and the department of health were put off by the concept of a French rotisserie.

Remember to Forget Daylight Saving Time!

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Remember that, although today marks the start of daylight saving time, you don’t need to worry about it if you are visiting Walt Disney World. WDW is its own county and does not recognize daylight saving time (because it’s “decidedly unmagical”). So if you set your watch ahead, remember that all parks and attractions will be open an hour earlier than posted times, but if you don’t reset your watch, remember that the rest of the state closes an hour earlier than posted times. (Or the other way around — we have trouble keeping it straight.)

And if you’re one of those people who has to call WDW dining as soon as they open this morning to make princess dining reservations, just call a couple of hours early and keep speed-dialing the number. That way, no matter how the whole daylight saving time thing works for you, you’re bound to be calling at the right time at some point.