Archive for December, 2011

Epcot New Year’s Eve Operational Reminders

by on December 31, 2011

Just some quick last-minute tips for anyone who is going to be at Epcot this evening for New Year’s Eve:

  • Backstage gates at Mexico/Norway and United Kingdom are scheduled to open at 5:30pm. These will spit you out in Future World between Test Track/Mission: SPACE and Imagination/Land.
  • Fireworks Viewing Areas on the lakeside lawns of Future World open at 5pm. White picket fences have been put up to keep you out of the lake itself.
  • Restrooms should be open at World Showplace (access between Canada and United Kingdom), and extra port-o-potties should be on the RoseWalk (garden between Imagination Pavilion and World Showcase).
  • Future World restrooms will have shorter wait times than those in World Showcase – especially the ones at the front of the park near the entrance (most guests are now inside the park – not entering.)

Epcot has more guests on New Year’s Eve than any of the other parks on any other day of the year. If it reaches capacity it will have more guests than the combined capacities of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Bring your patience.

If you are curious about Magic Kingdom, it went to a Phase 3 closure at 10:35am, and we haven’t received an update on its status since then. It’s a busy day; drive safely and be careful. Happy New Year!

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New Year’s Eve at DisneyQuest Sold Out

by on December 30, 2011

Just a quick note – the New Year’s Eve event at DisneyQuest is sold out. If you’re curious about the event in general, Disney still has the website for it up.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with an exciting evening of fun, games and dancing at DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive theme park in the Downtown Disney area. Discover 5 floors fueled by electronic Disney innovation and imagination—including virtual reality, 3D encounters and classic video games—and ring in the New Year.

Your fun-filled evening includes:

  • Access to all DisneyQuest attractions and video games, including Virtual Jungle Cruise, Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters and CyberSpace Mountain
  • A DJ dance party, complete with party favors
  • A New Year’s Eve countdown and a confetti drop at midnight
  • A coupon for a personal pizza, hot dog, kid’s hamburger or a chicken Caesar wrap, as well as chips and a fountain soda at FoodQuest

It’s a fun-filled celebration that’s sure to delight every member of the family—from younger Guests to the young-at-heart.

As far as we know right now, the following not-in-a-theme-park events are still available as an alternative:

  • At Cirque du Soleil, located at Downtown Disney, all guests attending the December 31 performances will receive a limited-edition Walt Disney World/Cirque trading pin. Shows are at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. For pricing contact 407-WDW-SEAT.
  • Registered guests at select Disney resort hotels will be treated to music and entertainment. At Narcoosee’s restaurant (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa), for instance, there will be a four-course dining experience for $149, plus DJ, balloon artist and special fireworks viewing at 8:30 and 11:51.
  • Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort offers a special-ticket New Year’s Eve party from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. with video DJ Tony Zapulla.
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Flying Fish Cafe

by on December 29, 2011

Trips to Walt Disney World are always full of memories that stick with us for a lifetime. Even among those memories certain ones stand out well above the others. I remember a New Years Eve years ago… it was still early in the evening, and it was raining a bit outside. My wife, Cheryl, and I had been looking for a place to eat dinner, and even though we didn’t have an ADR we were looking for something other than counter service. We had been exploring our then new Disney Vacation Club home resort, the BoardWalk Villas, and on a whim we decided to first head into the Flying Fish Cafe.

Shaking ourselves dry, we chatted with the greeters. They informed us that all their tables were booked for the evening, but that they could sit us at the counter next to the kitchen if we didn’t mind. We were hungry, wanted to be dry, and felt the warmth of the kitchen would be comforting. Back then there was no Chef’s Tasting Dinner; it was just the two of us sitting at the counter feeling a bit in the way. While we were looking over the menu, we started talking with the Chef while he was cooking and magic happened.

If I asked what something was, he made me a small portion to try, and one by one I worked through the appetizers. It was a lot of fun, and I could tell he was enjoying it as much as I was. He played with fire and did some cooking tricks (you don’t only get these in Teppan Edo). And it stopped mattering that we were in the way. He asked me if I trusted him and I said, “Sure, you’re cooking food that I’m eating.” He told me he’d make us something “off menu” and I couldn’t help but sit back and enjoy it.

This memory has always stood out for me, and every time I pass by the Flying Fish Cafe I’m reminded of it. That’s why I get excited when I have an opportunity to return to the Flying Fish as I did during the Reunion 2011 event put on by the WDW Today podcast and MEI-Mouse Fan Travel. Similar to the story above, it was raining, and Cheryl and I were looking for a place to eat while our friends went to the Candlelight Processional. From inside Epcot, we used the WDW Mobile Dining Reservations site to make an ADR.

We hadn’t been inside to the restaurant since the new Chef’s Counter opened. From the looks of it, it is basically a much more stylized version of where we had sat before – except now these seats come with a special price tag of $149 per person with a wine pairing or $99 without. That night however, we were there for a regular sit down dining experience so we passed by this area as well as the bar on the way to our table.

Walking through the restaurant, the old-style boardwalk feel is evident in the stylized look of the oceans on the floor and shells evident all over. There is also the hint of Coney Island with the roller coaster murals on the wall and the ferris wheel centered on the back wall of the restaurant. As the name of the restaurant implies there are flying fish in the air as you look up toward the restaurant’s ceiling – they are para-sailing on the lighting fixtures.

As is typical for our dining experience, Cheryl asked for the chef while I looked over the menu. Meanwhile, the waiter brought over some bread, which looked similar to my favorite bread from The Wave, but didn’t taste nearly as good. Cheryl ordred herself a special salad as an appetizer which looked to be quite good. She also ordered a special pasta dish as her main course. However, as sometimes happens the chef did not prepare her gluten free pasta correctly, and it was a sticky mess. Her meal, while looking presentable, was a bit unappetizing, and she had to send it back.

I have a rule I’m fairly strict about when dining out, especially at Walt Disney World where you can often end up paying good money for okay food. Simply put, if you don’t like it, don’t eat it, and request something else. I’ve never eaten at a restaurant anywhere that won’t do this for you, and this time was no different. The waitress took it back, and the chef asked if there was anything else he could make. Cheryl asked for some roasted fingerling potatoes instead.

    

My meal went much better. I started off with the “Degustation of Flying Fish Artisanal Cheeses.” This is the signature appetizer in the restaurant; it can also be ordered as a dessert. It has its own separate menu, and has the option to be paired with a wine flight. The cheeses are $16 for a tasting presentation of 5 cheeses and an assortment of accompaniments and toast points, with the wine flight costing an additional $16. If you’ve not tried a lot of different cheeses this could be considered an adventurous course. I will tell you that a soft cheese with honeycomb is a divine thing if you’ve never had it.

      

For my main course, I went with the Chef’s special, a Brioche and Herb Crusted North Carolina Day-Boat Flounder. It was served on top of a serving of heirloom root vegetables and topped with a citrus, truffle and Vermont butter sauce all for $36. I’m a huge flounder fan, and the crust on this fish was fantastic. It was moist, soft, crunchy, and delicious – the sauce was an excellent pairing. The vegetables have this sweetness to them that is an excellent reflection of their freshness, even when cooked. It is a fantastic dish.

As we were pretty full, we opted out of dessert. The waitress explained that she was comping us for Cheryl’s main course as it was not to her liking. Usually a restaurant when charging for an alternate dish will charge you for a menu item that approximates your order. As there is no comparable pasta dish on the menu I’m not sure how much they would have charged for it.

Overall this visit was split down the middle. My meal was fantastic and Cheryl’s was not. It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t try it again in the future, it just means that we’re going to be much more careful about what Cheryl orders. Next time I’m hoping that she can have a better experience.

What about you? Have you ever been to the Flying Fish? What did you think? If not, do you want to go? What about this restaurant are you looking forward to the most? Are you considering the Chef’s Table? Okay, I’m-sorry-I-ate-your-fish, okay? I’m-sorry!

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My Disney New Year’s Resolutions

by on December 28, 2011

Every year most of us make a few New Year’s resolutions which we may or may not keep.  But have you ever made a Disney resolution?  This year I’m taking a look at my Disney life and resolving to make a few changes, but also keep up some of my good habits too!  So without further ado, these are my Disney New Year’s resolutions!

Make use of my Premium Annual Pass:  This summer when I renewed my WDW annual pass I decided to upgrade it to the premium annual pass for the first time.  This pass gives guests access to the four main parks as well as the water parks, DisneyQuest, and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course.  I’ve made great use of my admission to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, but I haven’t set foot in DisneyQuest or the golf course.  I probably won’t go golfing, but I should at least check out DisneyQuest.  It seems so silly not to go when it is free so in 2012 I vow to go play some games!

Try something new each trip: I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to Walt Disney World (six times just in 2011) so you’d think that I’ve seen it all right?  Not even close!  There are so many attractions, restaurants, and activities I haven’t had the chance to try yet.  I think this is part of what I love about WDW; there is always something new to see.  I usually try to experience something new on each trip, but I’m not always successful.  So this year I’m going to make a list of some of the things I’d like to do for the first time.  I’m already starting with my plans for my upcoming trip in February!  I’ve got two restaurants in my plans where I’ve never eaten before.  I’m really looking forward to the Crystal Palace with my nieces and nephew and Coral Reef for a birthday celebration with friends.  I’ll be sure to add some other events to my trip and my others for next year.

Show my family the Disney magic:  Speaking of new experiences, if you’ve been reading my posts you may recall I’m planning a trip with my entire family full of non-Disney people.  I’m hoping to make this trip a great vacation for everyone and I know they are looking to me to lead them on their WDW journey.  Not only to I hope to show them all a really good time, but I hope to show them why I keep coming back time and time again.  At the moment they all think I’m crazy for going so often, and I’m sure they still will after we come back home, but at least they’ll get a glimpse into my Disney World.  

Remain active in the Disney community: While I’m really excited about a vacation with my biological family I’m also excited to spend more time with my Disney family.  The Disney community has changed my life in ways I could never explain and given me some of my closest friends.  So I vow to continue being an active part of our world in 2012 and I hope you will too!  If you haven’t ventured into our community just yet, don’t be shy!  We are extremely welcoming and can’t wait to meet you.

Take time to relax: Like many of our TouringPlans.com readers, I often run around the parks from sun up to sun down.  I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t always do attractions all day every day, but my schedule always seems to be jam packed on all of my trips.  This year I resolve to take it easy from time to time.  The few times I’ve gotten to have a relaxing day I’ve loved every second of it.  So why don’t I do it more often?  It is supposed to be a vacation after all.

Travel elsewhere: This last resolution may have you scratching your head, but hear me out.  I love WDW like a lot, but the world is a big place with lots to see.  In order to keep myself well rounded and avoid pixie dust overload I like to go somewhere else at least once a year.  It can’t be all Mickey, all the time!  The way I see it, checking out some other destinations helps me appreciate WDW even more.  Disney World is like my second home so it feels good to step out of what is comfortable and familiar from time to time.  I highly recommend it!

What about you?  What are your Disney New Year’s resolutions?  Let me hear about them in the comments!

I’d like to wish a very happy and healthy New Year to all of our readers!

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Blizzard Beach Closed Wednesday Due to Forecast Lows

by on December 27, 2011

Disney has decided that Blizzard Beach will not be open as originally scheduled on Wednesday, December 28, 2011, due to cold weather in the forecast. It is not uncommon for Disney to close the water parks during inclement or cold weather, but it is unusual for the announcement to be made this far in advance. Disney’s other on-property water park, Typhoon Lagoon, is already scheduled to be closed for the day as part of its seasonal refurbishment schedule.

Although both water parks are closed on December 28, the Water Park Fun & More ticket add-ons can still be used for admission to the DisneyQuest Interactive Theme Park, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, or a round of golf at Oak Trail (call 407-WDW-GOLF for golf reservations).

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Keeping Up with the World While You’re at Walt Disney World: Part Two, Print

by on December 27, 2011

In my previous Keeping Up with the World post, I mentioned that I love to hide in “the Disney bubble” when I’m on vacation, pretending that the outside world does not exist. However, there are times when you may want, or need, to be informed or entertained by the universe beyond the Disney gates. In many cases, this outside information will come in the form of print. For all you whippersnappers out there with your newfangled devices, print is words that come not on a glowing screen, but rather in the form of a newspaper, magazine, or book.

The newspaper selection at the resorts is small and may be hard to find. Ask a cast member to help you locate the papers.

First let’s think about some Disney situations where having a printed source of information with you could be a better choice than using your phone, tablet, or eReader.

  • Water is involved. You want to read in the sauna or hot tub. You’re at a water park and don’t want to go back to your locker to secure your iPad between runs down the slides. You’re camped out at the pool with greasy sunscreen hands and sweaty kids. All of these situations pose potential danger to your electronic gear.
  • Sand in involved. Similarly, there are sandy spots at several of Disney’s resorts where you may want to do your reading. Sand is the enemy of the smartphone.
  • You have no iDevice, or you have many users and access to only one iDevice. Your family has but one iPad, but more than one family member wants to relax by reading the latest edition of your favorite magazine.
  • You don’t have an electronic subscription to the publication you want to read.
  • You’ll be flying out. You can’t use your gizmos during take off and landing; other entertainment is called for then.
  • You’re a New Yorker. We’re contractually obligated to physically hold a New York Times or Post at least once every three days or they take away our bagel-buying ability. :-)

Whew! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way. Let’s figure out what you can get to read in printed form at Walt Disney World.

Newspapers

Every WDW resort has a gift shop that stocks a limited supply of newspapers, magazines, and books. The newspapers always include the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Orlando Sentinel, and USA Today. Occasionally, I have seen a UK paper or an industry trade paper also for sale in a resort gift shop. My experience is that this only happens rarely in the resorts with attached convention centers.

Magazines in the resort gift shops are usually on spinner displays.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, you can count on USA Today and the Orlando Sentinel being available throughout the day. However, because an individual resort may get fewer than a dozen copies of the Times and the Journal, if you want to purchase those in the afternoon or evening, you may find that they are sold out. This has happened to my family several times. My husband’s solution to this problem is that he’ll buy copies of the papers he wants as we’re headed out to the parks in the morning. He doesn’t want to carry them around the Magic Kingdom all day, so he then checks the bag with the papers in it at Bell Services. They hold it for him until we return to the resort for naps and swimming in the afternoon.

At a recent stay at the Caribbean Beach Resort, I noticed vending machines at the smaller pools stocked with USA Today. On one hand, this is a welcome development. Guests in the far-flung islands don’t have to trek all the way to the Centertown main building for their morning papers. On the other hand, guests who are expecting to escape reality on their vacation will be confronted with headlines and big metal box while they’re lounging.

Magazines

The resort gift shops typically carry a selection of 10-20 current publications. These are predominantly titles aimed at the female and teen markets, with a few general interest or men’s titles for balance. Selections may vary but typically include: People, InStyle, OK, Glamour, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Pop Star, Seventeen, inTouch, Reader’s Digest, Men’s Health and Golf Digest.

Obviously this list is light on specialty, esoteric, and intellectual challenge, and that’s fine with me. The latest news on nail polish colors and the Kardashians are really all I want when I’m attempting to nap by the pool.

Books

If a book is more your speed, the resort gift shops have you covered here as well. Usually on the same spinning rack as the magazine display, you’ll find one to two dozen mass paperback titles. The selection varies, but generally includes stereotypically male and female versions of the “beach read” genre. Think James Patterson or Nora Roberts.

Pirate books for sale at the Magic Kingdom's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

You can also find books for sale in several locations within the theme parks. The large Disney merchandise shops (Main Street Emporium, Mouse Gear, etc.) always carry a few titles about Disney for both children and adults, as well as books tied to Disney movie or television productions. If you’re looking for non-Disney reading material, you can find this in several of the countries at Epcot’s World Showcase. For example, the American Adventure pavilion stocks titles covering the presidency and American History and the Japan pavilion carries books about Japanese culture and cooking, as well as a supply of anime and Japanese fiction. You may also encounter titles about space near the Mission Space attraction and titles about transportation near Test Track.

The Animal Kingdom also stocks books about zoology, environmentalism and animal care, particularly in the Conservation Station area, and books about Asia and Africa in those “lands.”

One of my favorite in-park places to buy books is the Writer’s Stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In addition to Disney-centric titles and titles published by Disney-owned imprints such as Hyperion, you’ll also find a small selection of “regular” books. During one recent visit, I found Steven Hawking’s Brief History of Time, biographies Ronald Regan and William Shakespeare, one of the Twilight series, a Scrabble tutorial guide, and overviews of basketball, motorcycling, and archeology. Another major plus is the comfy couches at the Writer’s Stop. You can sit there and read in air-conditioned comfort while the rest of the family takes in the American Idol Experience finale.

So folks, do you ever have time to read while you’re at Walt Disney World? Do you like sitting with your People by the pool? Is your day not complete without a little newsprint on your paws? Have you found any good books to buy while visiting the World? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.

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Next Reader Grab Bag Will Be….OPTIMIZED TOURING PLANS

by on December 27, 2011

We’ve coded and tested and tested and coded. And you’ve tried out more than a few optimized touring plans yourselves (68,314 as of this moment). You have questions. And we need to revise our FAQ. So bring on your questions. Send them to advice@touringplans.com.

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A First Timer Gets Ready For Marathon Weekend

by on December 26, 2011

Before you get too excited, no, I’m not running the Walt Disney World Marathon.  However, my wife and my mother-in-law are running in the Family 5K, so our family is taking our first trip to Walt Disney World during Marathon Weekend.  It’s exciting and scary all at the same time, because I’ve heard so much about it over the years from WDW Today and lots of other Disney sources.

The Family 5K includes a run through Epcot

So what’s involved in the Marathon Weekend?  Quite a bit it turns out.  If you’re running or cheering, there’s a good bit to keep in mind.  For my relations, the 5K is the race we’re concerned with, but there are several other races to watch and be aware of while touring.  Besides the 5K there’s the Half Marathon, the Full Marathon and family races, all of which will affect traffic and touring patterns around the parks.

For our purposes, the first thing we have to do is pick up race packets for the 5K.    Packet pick up is at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, so I expect traffic to be fairly heavy around that area, leading to Pop Century and Animal Kingdom.  Packet pick up is spread among three days, though, so that all the racers have time to tour the parks as well.

The next thing on our to-do list is the pre-race meal.  Disney offers some special meals for runners, but we chose to instead schedule our own dinner at Sanaa.  Of course our pre-race dinner is on Thursday night.  I imagine on Friday and Saturday nights it will be near impossible to find an Advanced Dining Reservation at Tutto Italia or Portobello, as the runners load up on their pasta before the Half or Full Marathons.

The main thing I’m concerned with on race day is the early start time.  I don’t want to get up that early!  Seriously, though, it’s an early race.  Participants are instructed to be at Epcot by 5:45 a.m. to start the race at 6:30.  Spectators, such as myself, will be waiting eagerly out in the Imagine parking lot while the runners are cruising through World Showcase, around Spaceship Earth and back out into the parking lot.  We will be waiting with coffee, have no doubt about that.

After the race, our main concern will be touring the parks, so the crowds become a concern for us right away.  Looking at the Crowd Calendar, crowd levels are predicted at a 6 for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  That’s not a bad crowd level, but it’s enough that a good touring plan will be essential.  We’re sorting through options now, but I imagine that we’re going to find a good Late Arrival Touring Plan for the afternoon of the race and then start fresh on Saturday morning.  One thing we have to keep in mind while touring on Saturday and Sunday, though, is that there are races going on throughout the resort, so roads will be closed and transportation could be an issue.

Disney's online tool helps figure out when the runners will pass Cinderella Castle.

In addition, we plan to cheer on some of our friends participating in the Half Marathon, such as TouringPlans.com’s own Todd Perlmutter, so we have to check out the spectator areas for that as well.  Since the route for the Half Marathon goes all around the resort, there are many more spots to check out the runners.   Disney has a fantastic online tool that allows me to put in the estimated finish time of the runners  and find multiple locations where we can see them run by.

Those are the things we are keeping in mind as we prepare for our first Marathon Weekend. What about you?  Have you been to Marathon Weekend before?  Do you have any tips?  And if you haven’t been, is there anything you’re curious about that I can research for you?

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10 of My Favorite Disneyland Photos With the Memories That Go Along With Them

by on December 23, 2011

During this time of year, when there is so much reminiscing going on, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of my photos and favorite memories of Disneyland. With several thousand Disneyland photos taken over the years, that was no easy task mind you! Not all of these are technically great, most of them are there strictly for the memory they evoke. My favorite part of any Disney vacation is the memories we create with our friends and family. I know at this point you’re all thinking this blog is a thinly veiled attempt to make you sit through a family vacation slide show, but I promise that is not my goal! It’s an excellent side benefit, but not my goal. I’m hoping that my memories will bring back some of your own. So without further ado, here they are!

1. Surfing Santa – It’s Christmas, so Santa has to be number one! I have made my kids take a picture with Santa every year since they were born. We put them all out at Christmas time and laugh at our favorites. Two of them are with the Santa Claus at Disney California Adventure. He stands out as the fun Santa in a collection of formal pictures. You know, the Santa we didn’t have to get dressed up to go see. There aren’t too many places where you can find Santa in a Hawaiian shirt. Well, probably in Hawaii. Incidentally, California Adventure Santa was an excellent one. He immediately mentioned to my daughter that she must have bought more pins since the last time he saw her. She was beyond excited that he remembered her. Well played, Santa.

 

 

2. The Letters – Ah, the letters. I miss the letters. What a photo opportunity. Especially when you have a child whose name starts with “C” and a child whose name starts with “A”. I know I’m not the only one who loved the letters because it was rare we didn’t have to wait in a line to take a picture with them. And how fun was it to go during the Holiday season and see the letters decked out like candy canes! Sigh. I hope the new entrance erases all the pain that I feel that the letters are gone.

 

3. Dole Whip Float – I love this picture for reasons obvious to anyone who has ever tried the Dole Whip Float in Adventureland. This is a dessert of indescribable deliciousness. Refreshing, light, wonderful. A trip to Disney is not complete without a trip to the Tiki Juice Bar. To my knowledge, and I’d love to know if there are more, there are only three places in the United States to get Dole Whip Floats – Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Hawaii. So unless you’ve been lucky enough to get to Hawaii, Dole Whips and Dole Whip Floats evoke wonderful memories of Disney.

 

 

4. Year of a Million Dreams – I know not everyone is a big fan of the yearly Disney promotions, but we had so much fun with this one. I mailed in entry post cards every day and tried to win the big prizes from home. When we were in a park we were watching for giveaways everywhere we went. We ended up with quite a collection of mouse ears, FASTPASSes, and pins. And every single time we won something, we were excited. We took this picture right after we won our Dream FASTPASSes. Despite my extra 16 chins that appeared for this photo, it brings back memories of one of those days and I love it.

 

5. Mickey’s Fun Wheel– Even in its changing state, the fun wheel is such a striking symbol on Paradise Pier. I think I prefer the new version with Mickey, but really I liked them both. I’m not crazy about the ride itself, I’m just not a Ferris wheel lover in general. The loading and unloading process is entirely too time consuming for a ride that’s never very long. However, the wheel at Disneyland presents an excellent picture opportunity and it completes the look of the pier for me.

 

 

6. Silly Symphony Swings – This is another ride that has changed in name, and slightly in appearance, over time. This is also a ride that I’m not crazy about riding because of the nauseating feelings it inevitably brings out in me. I can’t blame the ride for that one though! My kids have always loved this ride, and the day my daughter was finally tall enough to ride was one of much rejoicing.

 

 

7. Duck Duck Goose with Mickey – As the days of random character encounters seem to be dwindling, this picture brings back memories of a rare encounter indeed. As we were leaving Disneyland one night we noticed the big cheese himself was organizing a classic game of Duck Duck goose. My daughter joined in immediately and was the goose Mickey chose! How often does your child get to chase Mickey in a circle without risking some kind of security intervention?

 

 

 

8. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Pictures– Doesn’t everyone have this picture? Isn’t it funny how even little kids understand that you should be screaming if you’re in a picture with Tower of Terror in the background? I don’t think we even told the kids and their cousins what to do. Tower of Terror = Screaming. Even though Tower of Terror was borrowed from Walt Disney World, it’s one of the best rides at either park and a marvel of technology.

 

 

 


9. Burrbank Ice Cream and Engine Ears Toys– Sadly, Burrbank ice cream and Engine Ears are no longer. At least in their former state. Burrbank was always one of our favorite stops for snacks. Aside from serving delicious ice cream and Sundaes, what a great location! How fun to buy ice cream in a train! And toys for that matter!

 

 

10. Cookie Making Time – Free cookies! My kids loved making the Tollhouse cookies at the end of Main Street. Was it a shameless product plug? Possibly. Did that matter at all to the kids making and baking and, of course, eating the cookies? Nope! The only cookie I can think of that’s better than hot chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven would be hot chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven at Disneyland.

 

So those are mine! Do you have any wonderful memories of Disneyland trips that you’d like to share?

 

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Test Track Tentatively Scheduled for April – Sept Refurbishment

by on December 23, 2011

Though it is still only officially a “rumor” and tentatively scheduled according to backstage workers at the resort, it’s worth noting as a heads-up for anyone visiting Walt Disney World next year.

According to our sources Test Track is tentatively scheduled to be closed April 15 to September 21, 2012 for an overhaul and retheme to the Chevrolet brand as its new sponsor. I’ve been told the Chevrolet brand will replace General Motors so that they can put more focus on a single product line at the attraction. This bit of artwork already showing up backstage was passed along with the information about the closure:

 

This does seem to confirm earlier rumors about the attraction being updated and given a modern look – said to be something along the lines of a TRON-inspired aesthetic. You can read the first rumors and speculation about the overhaul  from back in September at the Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia blog.

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