Archive for September, 2009

WDW Today Episode 624 – Listener Questions

by on September 30, 2009

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Episode 624 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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2010 Disney Parks Free Admission Promotion: Volunteer!

by on September 29, 2009

Just hitting YouTube, this commercial–starring Ms. Piggy and Taye Diggs–outlines the major Disney Parks promotion for 2010: volunteer and get free admission! This will likely supplant the “Birthday” celebration of 2009.

The end-spiel in the ad says “Beginning in January, give a day of service to a participating organization and get a one-day ticket to one of our parks, free!.” They are still keeping the “What will you celebrate?” slogan in their ad. According to the website, the “Free On Your Birthday” promotion ends December 31st, 2009.

No word yet on the participating volunteer organizations. And as of 3am on the 29th, and no sign of the updated site–let us know if you see it online!

This is likely to be announced officially at 7:30am on Good Morning America.

UPDATE:: yeap, it was. Also, see the high-quality new commercials.

Updated: Disney’s Buy-4-Get-7 Available Now

by on September 28, 2009

Word on the street is that Disney’s Buy-4-Get-7 deal is available now, if you ask for it specifically when speaking with a Disney agent. (We’re hearing the official announcement is still going to be later this week.)

As of 12:30 pm Eastern Monday, the offer was still available despite rumors Disney was pulling it until later in the week.

If you’ve managed to get something booked, post the details below please.

Travel dates are November 1, 2009 through December 24, 2009 and January 3, 2010 through March 27, 2010.

The deal is Buy-5-Get-2-Free at values and B-4-G-3-Free at mods and deluxes.

We’re told that tickets have to equal the number of nights of your stay, so annual passholders can’t buy one-day tickets. This may change, as we’ve not heard from an AP holder yet who has taken advantage of the deal.

Lots of this information is still unconfirmed. If you call today, post your results here, please.

WDW Today Planning From Scratch (Pt. 4)

by on September 28, 2009

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Episode 623 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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Backstage Magic Tour

by on September 27, 2009

Around this time last year I had the opportunity to take the Backstage Magic Tour.  This day long affair takes guests into normally restricted area at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom.  This is a great way for adults to have a grown up day at WDW.  Don’t get me wrong I love kids and I always get a kick out of watching them their faces light up when they see Mickey, but sometimes I need some time away from them.  Since the tour is restricted to folks over 16 years old, it provides a more mature atmosphere.

The group met at the entrance to Epcot early in the morning.  Our guides let us know the ground rules (such as no pictures backstage) and discussed what we were in for during our day long tour.  They also handed out headsets that would allow the group to hear them without having to shout.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember their names but they both did a wonderful job throughout the day.

We headed into Epcot to start the day.  It was fun to see the park before opening without any crowds.  Before long we were backstage.  It was even more fun to see this normally forbidden area!  A private bus waited for us behind the Seas Pavilion.  We hopped on and drove to World Showcase.  It’s interesting to see how plain the backs of the buildings are in comparison to the strongly themed areas on stage.  Our first stop was the American Adventure where we first stood in the deserted World Showcase to hear some facts about the attraction and its building.  Then, we got to venture inside first to hear about the rotunda, then to see the mechanics of the show.  I have to say this was highlight of this tour for me.  I wrote my senior honors thesis about the American Adventure and the Hall of Presidents so it was a real treat to see this attraction’s audio animatronics up close and personal.  I was close enough to touch Ben Franklin and Mark Twain.  It was pretty awesome.

Next up in Epcot we drove over to the Cast Center.  We were able to see rows and rows of cast member costumes waiting to be checked out.  We learned all about different aspects of cast member life including costuming.  We even saw a few friends of princesses getting ready for a day’s work.  Some may say it ruins the magic to see princess wigs lined up waiting to be worn, but it didn’t bother me in the slightest.  A big part of what draws me to WDW is knowing what makes the place run like clockwork.  It always amazes me that they can employ so many people and accommodate so many guests every day.

After finishing up at Epcot, the motor coach made its way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  The group got to see a Tower of Terror ride vehicle and hear about how the attraction works.  We also took a walk through the costuming department where almost all of the cast member costumes are created.  At the time they were mostly working on the costumes for the (at the time) upcoming High School Musical 3: Senior Year show.  The use of computers and technology to design, cut patterns, was very interesting.  The tour of costuming wrapped up DHS segment of the tour.

Then, it was back on the bus to head to Wilderness Lodge.  Lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe in this resort is included in the price of the tour.  This is always a fun place to dine, but with a large group the Cast Members really go to town.  The women who served us were great characters and made for a very silly meal.

After lunch, it was back on the bus to make our way to the nearby Magic Kingdom.  We were able to tour several backstage buildings in the North Service area such as Holiday Services, Central Shops, and Textile Services where all of WDW’s laundry is done.  First, we headed into Holiday Services which is basically a warehouse for Christmas and other holiday decorations.  As someone who adores the holidays at Disney World it was fun to see the huge space used to store all of the festive embellishments.  Then we took a walk through Central Shops where ride vehicles are built and maintained.  It was fun to see Splash Mountain logs, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh honey pots, etc. in various stages of production.  We also go to play with some audio animatronic figures and learn about how they operate.

The other highlight of the tour for me was saved for last; we were led into the Utilidors beneath the Magic Kingdom.  Here we learned all about these underground tunnels which service Disney’s most visited theme park.  Though, they are nothing too exciting to look at since they are pretty much just painted cinder block walls, but any Disney geek would be excited to see them.  This concluded the tour and we hopped back on the bus which brought us back to where we started at Epcot.

I apologize if I am forgetting some details of the tour since it was about a year ago and a blog wasn’t even a thought yet so I didn’t write anything down to help me remember.  Overall, it was a fun day and I’m glad I got t see some of the restricted areas.  The down side was I’m such a Disney geek that I knew a lot of the facts our guides shared with us.! If you can stomach the expense ($219 per person) I recommend the tour to Disney experts and novices alike.

Next week I’ll discuss the Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival…

WDW Today Episode 622 – Planning From Scratch (Pt. 3)

by on September 25, 2009

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Episode 622 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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Reminder: Unofficial Guide Book Signing this Saturday in Greensboro, NC

by on September 24, 2009

I’ll be doing a talk and book signing at the Friendly Center Barnes & Noble on Saturday, September 26 at 2 pm. In keeping with previous meet and greets, I’ll be buying food (coffee, in this case) for anyone who shows up.

Disney’s Buy-4-Get-7 Deal To Return Next Week

by on September 24, 2009

Details are still being worked out, but we’ve heard from multiple, usually-reliable sources that Disney’s Buy-4-Get-7 deal will return next week. The announcement may be made as early as Monday, but could be as late as Thursday. Value resorts will have a slightly different “Buy-5-Get-2” deal. Travel dates, we hear, could be October 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010. Book by December 20, 2009 (we think that’ll be extended). And you must purchase Magic Your Way tickets to match the number of nights of your stay.

Take all of this with a grain of salt, in particular the announcement dates.

UPDATED:: The offer is available now.

WDW Today Episode 621 – Listener Questions

by on September 23, 2009

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Episode 621 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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Wednesday Update – Yet Another Discount Rumor

by on September 22, 2009

We could be utterly wrong. However, we’re hearing there may be a new discount announced next week. Possibly on Wednesday, September 30 for booking on Thursday, October 1.

Disney has a history of announcing new discounts during the last week of September, for travel dates in mid-October through December 23-ish. And October 1 is the start of Disney’s new fiscal year. If a new discount is announced, the big question is whether it’ll cover 2010 dates, which corresponds to Disney’s second quarter. (Disney’s first quarter is October through December, and they’ve already got an extra week in December to boost those Q1 numbers.)

We heard on Tuesday from internal sources that a “deal wheel” was distributed to Disney’s phone agents around lunchtime. The wheel is a paper device (like a color wheel) agents use to determine the cost and savings of the latest offer. The existence of the wheel implies the new offer is something more complicated than a standard package discount. The last time a “deal wheel” was distributed was the “Buy 4-Get-7” offer.

The standard disclaimers apply: Don’t bet the farm on any of this.

UPDATED:: The “Buy 4/Get-7” is available now.