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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Disney to update Toy Story Mania in May

More news coming today from the official Disney Parks blog! Today Disney announced a new game coming in May at Toy Story Mania, Rex and Trixie's Dino Darts, which will replace Bo Peep's Baaa-loon Pop. According to the blog post, this game "will involve shooting virtual darts at all new balloon targets in a primeval world filled with volcanoes and lava balloons. You’ll be cheered on by Rex (the nervous Tyrannosaurus rex) and his new friend Trixie (a blue Triceratops, one of the toy characters from the new film) beginning in late May."

Apparently this new game also will have a few hidden surprises, like many of the current games at Toy Story Mania.

Also, Disney announced today that "Lotso," a new character from the upcoming Toy Story 3 will begin meet-and-greets at the Magic of Disney Animation at Disney's Hollywood Studios starting May 9. Most likely, the Lotso meet-and-greet area will replace the current location for the characters from Disney-Pixar's Up!

What do you think about the new game for Toy Story Mania? Cast your vote in the poll on the right side of this page!

Captain EO returns to WDW July 2

Grab your 3D glasses, because Captain EO is returning to Walt Disney World!

The 17-minute 3D film featuring the late Michael Jackson will return to Epcot July 2, most likely in the space currently housing Honey I Shrunk the Audience.
The official Disney Parks blog made the announcement this morning.

Captain EO ran at Epcot from 1986-1994.

The film will also return to Tokyo Disneyland on June 30 and Disneyland Paris on June 12.

I did a quick check on the official refurbishment schedule at, and, so far, no notice of any refurbishments have been posted. This may change at any moment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Guest Jungle Cruise skippers

Guest Jungle Cruise skipper card

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

I've talked about "the magic" so many times on this blog that it sometimes surprises me when I notice another bit of Disney magic I haven't talked about before -- and that's just what's happened for this post.

I can't believe I haven't mentioned this little bit of personal magic before. What I am talking about? Well, did you know some of your little Disney fans also can be guest Jungle Cruise skippers?

That's right! Depending on the big skipper running the boat, they can bring up a younger guest and have them pilot your boat through that dark and scary temple toward the end of your voyage aboard the world famous Jungle Cruise. Best of all, your little one probably won't be telling some of the same bad jokes (although we all know one of the most charming aspects of the Jungle Cruise are those bad jokes - how many lines can you quote?).

child as a guest skipper

So how do your kids get to be a guest Jungle Cruise Skipper? Well, it all comes down to two things: the individual skipper and, well, luck.

First, not all skippers decide to offer the wheel to a child. The last couple of times I've been on the Jungle Cruise, the skippers decided to stay with the spiel and go through the temple. Other times previously, I've seen skippers let kids take the wheel (as you can see above). So it's up to the skipper.

The second factor is luck. Your child needs to be sitting at the front right next to the skipper (or pretty close). How do you get to sit up front? That's all a matter of where you are in the queue and where you end up sitting. There's no "waiting for the front" at most of Disney's attractions, so you'll just have to give it a try and see how you end up. Either way, you want to be the first to board the boat, either at the bow entrance (that's the front for you landlubbers) or the stern entrance (the back). Those boarding using the bow entrance will sit on the starboard side (landlubbers, this means right), while those boarding at the stern entrance will sit on the port side (left).

As I said, either way, you want to be the first to board in either line.

Should your mini Disney fan be selected to join the ranks of the guest skippers, they usually receive a special collectible card (see above). These are hard to come by - so don't loose it. You can't buy these, you can only get them from a jungle cruise skipper.

Well it's now time for the most dangerous part of our journey, your return to civilization and my attempt at ending this post. If' you've enjoyed reading this Tip Tuesday, then I'm Chuck Lionberger and this is the DisneyDaddy blog. If you didn't enjoy reading this, then my name's Len Testa and this is the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (ding!).

Have fun out there along those dangerous waters!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Enter! You just might win!

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

Being the world's number one vacation destination, businesses hold contests to win a trip to Walt Disney World (and/or Disneyland) all the time. Not a month goes by where I don't see at least one contest, either held by Disney itself or some other business, offering a trip to the parks. I enter as many as I can.

All too often, I hear the same old story when it comes to entering these contests: "Oh, I won't win. There are so many people that enter, I'll never win, so what's the point of even trying."

The point is you just might win!

I did.

If you follow this blog, you're well aware of the fact that I won the Disney's Biggest Fan Contest last year. Some of the posts you've seen recently are part of the trip I won. There are many more still to come!

Even though I've already won one trip to a Disney park, I'm still entering others. Why? Because I just might win. If I don't try, then it's a guarantee I won't win.

Just today, I entered a new contest that Rayovac (the battery company) is holding, offering a trip to WDW or Disneyland. You guessed it, I entered. Why? Because I just might win.

Now you should take some safety precautions. First, if you don't have a junk email account, get one. I created a special Yahoo email account that is just for online stuff. If it gets spammed -- no big deal.

Second, DO NOT enter any contests that involve your money. If you have to put up cash, it's not a contest - it's a SCAM!

Finally, use common sense. If you haven't heard of the group holding the contest, you might want to do a bit of research about the group first to make sure it's legit. I did that when I received a thick envelope informing me that I had won the Biggest Disney Fan trip. I took several days to verify things before calling the contact.

So this week's tip is very simple. Send in those entries. You just might win.

Disclosure notice: This blog post should in no way be considered as an endorsement for Rayovac or their contest.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Experience More of Wonderland ...

Experience More of Wonderland ...
Disney announced today that Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland will be released in Blu-Ray and DVD June 1. There will be a combo-pack.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

Aloha! Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

As you can see, this week I'd like to talk about one of those special events at Walt Disney World - the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show.

As the name suggests, the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show is themed after a Hawaiian luau, complete with lais, Hawaiian cuisine, served family style, Polynesian dancers and the show-stopping fire dancer.

The show takes place at Luau Cove at Disney's Polynesian Resort Tuesday through Saturday nights. There are two show times each day: 5:15 and 8 p.m. The show and dinner runs around 90 minutes. There are different seating categories with different prices, ranging from $55 (category 3) to $64 (category 1) per person. I personally recommend the category 1 seating area (center, lower level) which offers the best views. Yes, it's more expensive, but the better view is well worth it.

But before we get to what you'll see, we need to talk about the food (as my good friend Lou Mongello would say).

The food is pretty good, especially if you're a fan of ribs, grilled chicken, Polynesian rice and vegetables, pineapple, salad with mango poppy seed dressing (which is really good!) and chocolate mouse volcano for dessert. Dinner is all-you-can-eat and is served family style on long, narrow platters. I found the chairs to be lower than normal, which made serving a little cumbersome, so if you plan to take in a dinner show, just be prepared to get up and down to serve you and others.

For kids, there is a limited dinner menu with hot dogs, mac-n-cheese and/or PB&J. Again, these are all-you-can eat. While we were at the Spirit of Aloha in March, I asked our server if any chicken nuggets were available (for my autistic son who is a pretty picky eater). The servers had a few orders of nuggets sent down from Captain Cooks, so parents, if you're in a jam with a picky eater, be sure to ask you server if they can make some alternate arrangements.

OK, I'm stuffed, so let's get on with the show!

And that means dancers, singers and much, much more!

Being the Spirit of Aloha, of course there will be plenty of Polynesian dancers. In fact female and male dancers perform routines representing several different Polynesian cultures including Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga and more. You will appreciate splurging for the category 1 seating when you watch these excellent and amazing dances. And you never know, you just might get into the act!

But what's a luau without some fire!

The fire dancer at the end of the show is just amazing! How they do what they do with those fire sticks is unreal. This performance is worth the price of admission alone. You simply have to check this out - it's some of the most incredible sights with fire you will ever see.

One question some may ask: which seating is better? My answer to this question is that it really depends on your party. If you have kids, I would suggest the 5:15 p.m. show only because the kids won't get tired. We attended the 8 p.m. show and by around 9, I was working to keep my daughter awake so she could see the fire dancer at the end.

Personally, I like the 8 p.m. showing, especially during the summer months. At 5:15, the sun still is high in the sky and it's less like a show with controlled lighting and everything. Besides, at 5:15, it's still pretty hot outside. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time stuffing my face when it's still roasting.

Speaking of weather conditions, I do need to mention that this is an outdoor theatre. Yes, your seats are covered, but the stage is not, so the show is weather-dependent. As stated earlier, the summer heat might make a different in which show you want to see.

All-in-all, I recommend the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. Would I go see this show during every trip to WDW? No, probably not. It is a show that's worth catching at least once and maybe every few years. I'm not sure how often the show is updated. I won't get into the story of the show so as not to spoil it for you.

So Aloha cousins and enjoy the luau!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ariel's Grotto to close April 12

Today the official Disney Parks Blog announced that Ariel's Grotto, the popular meet and greet area for everyone's favorite mermaid princess will be closing April 12 to make way for the upcoming expansion of Fantasyland.

Disney says Ariel will continue to appear in Spectromagic (until the Main Street Electrical Parade returns this summer), the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and the Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade.

Ariel will have an all-new meet and greet location and a new dark ride when the Fantasyland expansion is complete in 2013.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tip Tuesday: Mail from WDW

Mailbox on Main St. USA

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to pass along a quick tip about sharing the magic with those back at home. Along Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom are a few mailboxes like the one pictured above. These are turn-of-the century (as in circa 1900) mailboxes on loan from the U.S. Postal Service. these are real mailboxes that you can use. What makes these such a nice touch is that the mail you send will be stamped as coming from "Walt Disney World."

What I find so impressive is, again, that attention to detail Disney shows in its parks. Main Street USA is themed as a turn-of-the-20th-century small town (somewhat modeled after Marceline, Missouri). Even something so small as a mailbox reflects that theme.

The next time you're sending a postcard, take a moment to appreciate a bit of Disney detail and try a mailbox on Main Street USA.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kingdom Keepers 3 launches next week, Pearson book signing at WDW

Kingdom Keeper fans listen up!
The third book in the Kingdom Keeper series is set to hit bookshelves next week (April 6)!! The audio version is set for release at the end of April (for you audiobook fans like me).
And... if you happen to be at Walt Disney World next week, you might just be able to meet Ridley Pearson himself!
Mr. Pearson will be signing books Wed., April 6 at the Once Upon a Toy store in Downtown Disney from 4-6 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.
On Thu., April 7, Mr. Pearson will again sign books at Mouse Gear in Epcot from 4-6 p.m.
I'm looking forward to this latest installment in the Kingdom Keeper series and am eager to see what the Overtakers have planned next and if the DHI's will find Wayne!
What do you think about the Kingdom Keepers books? Vote in the poll!

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