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Monday, March 25, 2013

New Cars shorts live on Disney.com

There are three brand new Disney Pixar "Cars Toons" Shorty Shorts now live on Disney.com and Cars.Disney.com. Dubbed “Shorty Shorts” because they’re no longer than a minute and a half long, each video offers a quick and fun peek into the world of "Cars." Directed by Jeremy Lasky and produced by Mary Alice Drumm, Disney Pixar “Cars Toons” feature some of our favorite characters in new and surprising situations.

Head to Disney.com or Cars.Disney.com to check out all three videos, including:
         “Hiccups” - When Lightning McQueen gets the hiccups, everyone in Radiator Springs thinks they have the cure.
         “Bugged” - Red's peaceful morning routine is interrupted by a pesky visitor.
         “Spinning” - Guido discovers he has a hidden talent as a street corner sign spinner.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Photo Friday: Wishes from the water

Wishes from the Grand 1 

Time again for another Photo Friday!

This week, I wanted to share a photo from one of the most incredible Disney experiences I've ever had -- an evening aboard the Grand 1 while watching Wishes from the Seven Seas Lagoon.

While it's expensive (really expensive), it's an incredible sight.  Wishes takes on an entirely difference scope when seen from the water.

If you can do it -- I highly recommend it!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Photo Friday - the Tree of Life

Tree of Life 

Time for another Photo Friday!

This week's Photo Friday is by request -- so here it is - a photo from the Animal Kingdom and you can't get any more iconic of a shot than the Tree of Life.  Some of you might not know that it's not really a tree - it's made of concrete and artificial leaves.  And what's under all that?  An oil rig!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Downtown Disney to be transformed into Disney Springs by 2016


Disney Springs

Today, Disney officially announced the latest concept to transform Downtown Disney -- Disney Springs.  This has been rumored for quite a while, but it is nice to see Disney make an official announcement.  Construction will begin this Spring and will be completed in phases by 2016.

Below is the official news release from Disney:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., March 14, 2013 – Walt Disney World Resort today announced the multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs, a unique destination that will treat guests to significantly more shopping, dining and entertainment amid beautiful open-air promenades, meandering 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, guests will be able to explore a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences and discover options unlike any other currently available in Central Florida.

“Disney Springs will be a timeless, vibrant place where Walt Disney World guests and local residents can relax, shop, dine and be entertained in an imaginative setting where they’ll instantly feel at home,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Featuring distinctive brands, world-class restaurants and unforgettable entertainment, Disney Springs will be brought to life with the same focus on storytelling and attention to detail that goes into our theme parks, resorts and cruise ships, resulting in a welcoming space that only Disney could create.”

Disney Springs will double the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, resulting in more than 150 establishments. In addition, Staggs noted, Central Florida stands to benefit from the expansion with more jobs, tax revenues and business opportunities.

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. In addition to a new gateway with a signature water tower and grand entry, the destination will feature:
  • The Town Center, which offers a sophisticated mix of shopping and dining along with a promenade where guests can relax, refresh and reconnect. 
  • A colorful and thriving commercial district called The Landing with inspired dining and beautiful waterfront views. 
  • The family-friendly Marketplace that will continue to delight guests of all ages by combining new experiences, such as an over-the-water pedestrian causeway, along with classic Disney favorites, including an expanded World of Disney store. 
  • A West Side that provides an exuberant atmosphere with lively entertainment, along with a series of new elevated spaces that provide both shade and an overlook to the activity below. 
Collectively, these efforts will not only have an impact within Walt Disney World, but will also have an economic ripple effect on Central Florida. The project will create an estimated 1,200 construction jobs and nearly 4,000 operational roles.

Disney will share more details on specific experiences coming to Disney Springs in the future. Construction is slated to begin next month with new areas opening in phases. Disney Springs is expected to be complete in 2016.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Some of the Hidden Mickeys of Main Street USA

Magic Kingdom Casting Agency door 

Time for another Tip Tuesday!

A few weeks ago, I shared a few of my favorite hidden Mickeys from Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom.  This week, let's head to Main Street USA for a few more of my favorite hidden Mickeys.

Right off the bat, (seen above) is one of my all-time favorite hidden Mickeys in all of Walt Disney World - partly because it's a two-fer and because it's part of a tribute to Walt Disney.  This door can be found along the western side of Main Street outside the Emporium.  A tribute to every Disney Cast Member, this door includes two hidden Mickeys at the top and bottom.  I always make it a point every trip to stop by this door and say a silent thanks to Walt and to the countless Cast Members for creating the world I love and cherish.

Main Street Gifts

Next up is an example of hidden Mickeys in plain sight.  This is a display window along Main Street from a few years back.  Notice the spilled bucket of Mickey-shaped antenna toppers?  There you go!  Hidden Mickeys can take any form.

Aladdin window

Speaking of windows, there are hidden Mickey's to be found in several of the window displays along Main Street.  This display of Agrabah from Aladdin has a clever and hard-to-find Hidden Mickey tucked away in a small part of the left side of the city.  Look closely and see if you can see Mickey hiding in there!

Main Street Confectionary

Finally, many hidden Mickeys are up to interpretation.  Take this one for example.  While searching for photos of some of the hidden Mickeys mentioned above, I ran across this shot from the Main Street Confectionary.  See that tile mural in the back?  I wondered if Mickey might be hiding there and, sure enough, I saw something that might be considered a hidden Mickey.  It could just be me though.  What do you think?  Hidden Mickey?  Yes or no?

These are just a few of the many, many hidden Mickeys to be found along Main Street USA.  Hidden Mickeys come and go, so some of these might not be around anymore while new ones have popped up.  Another great place to search for hidden Mickeys is the Main Street Train Station.  There are quite a few there (I just don't have shots of them yet - perhaps on the next trip...).

Until next time - keep a sharp eye out - you never know when you might find our favorite mouse!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Photo Friday - Luxo Jr.'s brief onstage appearance

Luxo Junior 

Time again for another Photo Friday!

This week, let's dive into the recent past at Disney Hollywood Studios for an image from a now extinct attraction that only lasted a few short months - Luxo Junior!

As most of you know, the icon of the Pixar studios is Luxo Junior, the desk lamp first seen in Luxo, one of the first Pixar shorts.

Back in Spring 2009, Disney created an audio-animatronic version of Luxo that would come out every once in a with a short little performance at an area directly across from Toy Story Mania.

Luxo Junior

Well all good things come at a price, and the price in this instance was a lawsuit by the company that make the actual Luxo lamp.  According to published reports, Luxo had agreed to allow Pixar to use the lamp image as part of the company logo, but when Disney made a physical Luxo (as seen in these photos), the Luxo company Disney - Pixar had taken things too far and filed suit.  To further compound the problem, the Luxo Jr. audio-animatronic was temperamental and often suffered malfunctions.  By Spring 2010, less than one year after Luxo Junior had first debuted, Disney pulled the plug (sorry, had to use the pun) on the project, presumably due to the lawsuit. 

While there's nothing to back this up, I suspect the Luxo company wanted more money and Disney wasn't going to give in.  Personally, I think this was a dumb move by Luxo as it was a golden opportunity to market their product to millions of people each year, but I digress.

Anyway, there you have it - a piece of short-lived Disney history.

Enjoy this obituary for Luxo Jr. by Matt  Hochberg of StudiosCentral.com.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tip Tuesday: When things go wrong - what do you do?

Magic Kingdom First Aid CenterSometimes things can go wrong, even at Walt Disney World.  People get sick, get injured or get lost.  Things get lost, tickets get misplaced.  When this happens, it's best to know what to do so that a problem doesn't ruin your trip.


Medical emergencies:
Sometimes there are problems that arise while you’re in a park and you’ll need some help. If the medical emergency is major, please call 911 right away.  If you’re having a minor medical emergency, you’ll want to head straight to the nearest First Aid Center.  Here you can get treatment for various minor medical issues and information about what to do for more serious medical issues. Each location is listed on park maps:
  • Magic Kingdom: Located in between Casey’s Corner and Crystal Palace
  • Epcot: Located on the Mexico side of the Odyssey building
  • Hollywood Studios: Located right next to Guest Relations near Sid Cahunenga’s
  • Animal Kingdom: Located on Discovery Island just before the bridge to Africa
  • Blizzard Beach: Located behind the Beach Haus near the main entrance
  • Typhoon Lagoon: Located inside Leaning Palms just past the main entrance
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports: Located inside the Milk House

Non-medical problems:
Not all guest problems require a doctor or nurse. Sometimes guests have other issues they need to resolve or they’re just looking for a special button (birthday, anniversary, celebration, etc.). In these cases, guests can go to the Guest Relations center located near the entrance to each park to speak with a cast member to try to solve their issue. For instance, if you’ve lost your park ticket or annual pass, a Guest Relations cast member can issue a new ticket/pass, provided you have the correct information and ID for each guest.

Help! My child is lost!! 
It may sound like a cliche, but it really is a parent's worst nightmare when their child is lost, especially in a large, unfamiliar place like Walt Disney World.  Hopefully you will never have to face this situation, but if something does happen and your child goes missing, you should find the nearest Cast Member and immediately tell them what has happened. Disney takes these situations very seriously and has a well-established procedure to handle lost children. Also, it's a very good idea before you arrive at the parks to make sure your children know how to find a Cast Member if they get lost or are separated and make sure they know your cell phone number. For younger children, I suggest taking them up to a Cast Member on the first day of your visit and introducing them to a Cast Member and make sure the child knows what a cast member badge looks like and that if something should go wrong and they get lost, to find someone wearing one of these badges right away.  Often during the morning there are lots of cast members at the entrance welcoming guests so you can find one pretty easily.  Usually children who have lost their parents will be taken to Guest Relations while Cast Members attempt to find those parents.

Now where did my cell phone go?
Every day guests lose items in the parks. From hats to cell phones (my family has lost two at WDW) to stuffed animals and jewelry, Cast Members always are finding things that have been left behind. If you lose something, you should find a Cast Member and explain what’s happened. Lost items are taken periodically to each park’s Guest Relations Center. At the end of the day, any items not claimed are taken to the central Lost and Found center located near the Ticket and Transportation Center. If you’ve discovered you’ve lost something and it’s been missing for a few days, it may have been taken to the central Lost and Found. You can call Lost and Found at (407) 824-4245. Be sure to give as accurate a description as you can, this will help Cast Members try to find your specific item.

As I said, hopefully you'll never have to deal with these issues, but it's much better to do a little advance planning, just to be safe.