Archive for December, 2007

Converting MGM to Disney Hollywood Studios

by on December 29, 2007

We’ve begun the process of changing TouringPlans.com’s references to Disney-MGM Studios to Disney Hollywood Studios. Drop us a line if anything looks odd over the next couple of days. Thanks!

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Where did you park?

by on December 28, 2007

Being the busiest time of year, the parking lots at the theme parks are getting full and our researchers are boldly going where few have gone before. The far-away and rarely used sections of the larger parking lots are being used regularly during this period.


Be sure to write down where you parked, or you might be looking for a needle in a haystack of 11,000+ vehicles. As seen above, Epcot’s furthest lot is “W” for “Wonder” as in “I wonder if I parked there..”

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Animal Kingdom Lodge Renovation Update

by on December 28, 2007

The renovation of the Animal Kingdom Lodge to include Disney Vacation Club villas is nearing completion. The portion of the project which includes the main building of the lodge will be finished by the end of January – several weeks ahead of schedule. This means the remaining work on the DVC rooms at Animal Kingdom Lodge will be out of sight and out of mind as it will continue at the new wing rather then in the existing building.

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Hollywood Hoopla!

by on December 28, 2007

To celebrate the launch of Disney Hollywood Studios (the renaming of Disney MGM Studios) on January 7th, 2008, the park will host a series of festivities for the press and guests, culminating in a small fireworks presentation that day.

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Glass-Blowing comes to Magic Kingdom

by on December 28, 2007

The glass shop on Main Street USA will soon have a new glass-blowing show area.


Two massive kilns were recently installed and unveiled in the rear of the store, which now extends far down the length of the once-abandoned side street.


The whole area is well themed and the on-stage production area looks to provide a fascinating look at the process of glass blowing.


Demonstrations are expected to begin in January of 2008.


The store also offers an expanded selection of decorative offerings from high-end vases and glass work to laser-personalized glass pierces as well as swords and armor.

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Late, but now there’s a date

by on December 28, 2007

After being originally announced as opening sometime in 2007, the T-rex restaurant at Downtown Disney has begun construction and has a new opening period: late 2008.

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Innovention’s Future?

by on December 28, 2007

In January and February of 2008 large new exhibits will open in Innoventions East and West at Epcot. West will receive a Velcro exhibit which is nearing completion, and East will get a massive Waste Management exhibit. This excludes two major known sponsors of Innoventions though.

In late 2006, the Burnham Institute for Medical Research signed a contract to bring one of their facilities to central Florida, creating many new jobs in the area. As part of the deal, Disney gifted the company a 10 year contract for exhibition space in Innoventions at Epcot. There has yet to be any sign of this coming exhibit. The new Burnham facility in central Florida opens in 2009 though.

Similarly, Microsoft recently took a keen interest in Innovention’s sister attraction in California at Disneyland. The entire lower level of Disneyland’s two-story Innoventions building is being rebuilt to become a Digital Dream Home with actors portraying the various family members in the household interacting with the new technology. Currently, there is no word of a similar experience coming to Epcot.

Recently, the signs for Innoventions were changed and the CM’s got new costumes, suggesting an overhaul of the buildings style. Still, they remain mostly untouched. The large absent sponsors suggests perhaps a major changing is coming.

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In Between A Million Dreams

by on December 28, 2007

We’ve heard from several reliable sources that the final major prize in the 2007 Year of a Million Dreams giveaway was awarded just before Christmas. Also, the light-blue fluffy cloud covered dream Ears ran out – so they’re using an interim design until the 2008 giveaway begins with a new design. The castle suite prize is being used for other giveaways through local media such as the Tampa Tribune through the end of the year.

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Paired-down for your Convenience

by on December 28, 2007

A note for Holiday travelers (or planners who may become holiday travelers). During this peak period, Disney quick-service restaurant often pair-down their offerings to a few basic menu items along with drinks. For example, Pinnochio’s Village Haus is only offering two type of pizza. This is an attempt by Disney to speed up the lines and ability to produce food. Other examples can be found scattered across the parks, like last year’s NYE offering from Japan’s quick-service being a box lunch (a Bento Box in traditional Japanese style) rather then its usual array of offerings.

The change of offerings is generally poorly documented online and in guidebooks because it seems to change randomly every year. Just be aware that some beloved offerings (like Figaro Fries at Pinnochio’s) may not be available if you attend during this period.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year

by on December 28, 2007

A friendly reminder for the folks traveling to Walt Disney World for the New Years festivities.

Please be aware of your surroundings and the location of your personal belongings. Be sure to lock your car, don’t leave valuables in it, and keep track of your purse or wallet.

We all know getting to the parks is exciting and as embarrassing as it is to see someone who left their car lights on, it’s really unsettling to see the number of vehicles with doors or the trunk left open. Lock it up – thieves do sometimes cruise the theme park parking lots looking for easily stolen goodies. Don’t make it easy for them.

Also, don’t leave your purse or bag unattended in the parks. Even leaving it on a stroller in the stroller parking area isn’t a good idea. The CM’s manning these areas will try to prevent any sort of theft, but really have no way of knowing who owns what. A ribbon, scarf, or other easily replaceable item works far better for stroller identification then your expensive bag with your credit cards in it.

Similarly, men should be aware of their wallet and women on their purses. An experienced pick-pocket can bump into you in a crowd and your belongings will be gone before you realized it even occurred. Considering carrying wallets in the front pockets of pants instead of the easily accessible rear pocket. Purses/bags should be worn with the strap across the body making it harder to access or grab.

Overall, be safe and enjoy the festivities, but don’t forget Disney World is part of the real world.

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