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November 2007 Archives

November 8, 2007

Good News for Straw Lovers

When the Animal Kingdom opened, Disney banned plastic straws from the park. They didn't want to take a chance that one of these potential hazards might find its way into an animal enclosure. Last month, Disney modified this policy. It is now possible to get a straw at the Animal Kingdom, but instead of plastic, these straws are made out of cardboard. I'm assuming that the experts have concluded that the cardboard straws pose a lesser threat to the animals.

November 12, 2007

Updates Around Walt Disney World

The day after Halloween, Disney went to work decorating for Christmas. The transformation takes weeks as Santa's Helpers move from park to park and resort to resort, stringing garland and decorating trees. I visited the Magic Kingdom and Main Street is all decked out. Once again, the big Christmas tree is temporarily located in the Hub. If tradition holds, after the annual Christmas Day television show is filmed (several weeks before Christmas), the tree will be moved to Town Square.

Christmas Decorations in the Magic Kingdom


Christmas Decorations in the Magic Kingdom

Christmas Decorations in the Magic Kingdom

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Haunted Mansion Tip:
I had read this on another Disney webpage, but wanted to check it out for myself before I wrote about it. As you may have read, the Haunted Mansion underwent a wonderful refurbishment. Enhancements were made throughout the attraction. One small, almost completely unnoticeable enhancement is in the stretch room. If you linger behind the crowd as they are exiting this room, pay attention to the gargoyles. They speak and chatter and laugh. It's difficult to hear, you need to pay attention, but they are definitely making noise. This is a VERY minor effect. Only a true Disneyphile would even care. But if you're like me and want to experience everything, then don't rush out of the Stretch Room. Linger.


For the past several years, Disney has offered for sale miniature Magic Kingdom buildings so that guests can create their own Christmas Village back home. Past years included several Main Street buildings and Cinderella Castle. This year the Haunted Mansion was introduced. The piece measures 10" x 8" x 6" and sells for $60. Currently, I have only seen this item for sale at the Christmas Shops in the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney.


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When the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique opened in Cinderella Castle, the Art of Disney shop was displaced. Currently, the Main Street Cinema is being refurbished. When it reopens on November 21st, it will be the new home of the

Main Street Cinema to become Art of Disney Shop

Main Street Cinema to become Art of Disney Shop


As construction continues on the rumored DVC north of the Contemporary Resort, a second floor is clearly visible. In addition, the foundation for the bridge/walkway between the fourth floor (Grand Canyon Concourse) of the Contemporary and the new DVC is noticeable.

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New drinking fountains have started appearing in and around the TTC.

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Those of you who choose not to use Disney to ship your packages home need to know that the Lake Buena Vista Post Office has moved. It is now located in the Shoppes at Vista Center. The address is: 8536 Palm Parkway, Orlando, FL. Phone: 407-248-1153. Hours: M-F 9:00am - 4:00pm, Sat 9:00am - 12:00pm, Closed Sundays and Holidays.

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November 13, 2007

Disney Blu-ray

For those of you old enough to remember the VCR's introduction, you may also remember the battle between VHS and Beta. These were two, non-compatible formats vying for dominance in the VCR world. Today, a similar battle is raging for high-def DVD supremacy - this time between HD DVD and Blu-ray. Paramount, DreamWorks, and Universal have opted for HD DVD while Sony, 20th Century Fox, and Disney have chosen Blu-ray.

To help promote their product, Disney has set up a high-def TV in the "Once Upon A Toy" store in Downtown Disney. Here, movie clips are shown, giving guests the opportunity to see crystal clear pictures and the advantages of Blu-ray. In addition, Disney Blu-ray DVD's are sold.

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November 14, 2007

Monsters Inc., Laugh Floor

My good friend Anita Answer suggested I check out the changes made to the Monsters Inc., Laugh Floor attraction in the Magic Kingdom.

First, the lobby, or initial waiting room, has been redone. When the Laugh Floor first opened, a number of canvas banners were hung from the walls and ceiling. These banners provided comedy relief and gave guests instructions on how to text message jokes for the upcoming show. To me, these banners always looked cheap and reminded me that this use to be the Timekeeper attraction rather than an all new show. I'm happy to report that these banners have been replaced with permanent signs. The room now has a much more professional look about it.

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The second change has to do with the preshow in the second waiting room. In addition to continued instructions on how to text message jokes, Roz and Mike Wazowski do a little routine. Roz shows the audience various "out takes" that Mike has been involved with while performing past shows. This is also a nice addition. Besides filling "dead" time, the skit is cute and brings more than a few chuckles to the room. In other words, Roz and Mike are warming up the audience for the show to come.

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Yak & Yeti Restaurant - Animal Kingdom

I visited the new Yak and Yeti Restaurant today in Animal Kingdom. Here are the photos.

Descriptions, menus and a narrative to come later.

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Yak & Yeti Opening Day Review

I had heard that the Yak & Yeti restaurant in the Animal Kingdom was opening today. Since I had just been there a couple of days earlier and the construction walls were still up, I was a little dubious, but decided to check it out.

My friend Donald and I arrived a little before 11am. There were already about thirty people in line ahead of us. We confirmed with a cast member outside that the restaurant would be opening in about 5 minutes for "walk-ups" only.

During the first several minutes after opening, seating went slowly. Management was definitely giving the hosts and hostesses, servers, bartenders, and chefs plenty of time to get acclimated to their new surroundings before bombarding them. Eventually, they started taking names and told us approximately when we could expect to be seated. We were taken to our table around 11:20.

The restaurant is beautiful - just like you'd expect a Disney restaurant to be. Actually, I'm not sure beautiful is the right word. The restaurant is themed beautifully, but it's not beautiful. I'm not exactly sure what region of Asia this eatery is supposed to reflect, but I'd have to say the areas in and around Nepal.

The building looks like it's been here for many, many years and has seen the ravages of time. Floor tiles are broken, chandeliers are missing crystals, and the window pains are made of imperfect glass. Also strewn around the various rooms was Asian bric-a-brac - an assortment of stuff from all over. In other words, it looks authentic.

As our hostess took us to our table, she pointed out some of the details of the restaurant, telling us that the "proprietor" had selected this piece and that while on his travels.

The restaurant has a number of small dining rooms located on two floors. I doubt that any one room has more than ten tables in it. This gives guests a very cozy feel. Also, there are a few tables on each floor situated next to windows that look outside. I'm sure these window tables on the second floor will be in high demand.

The restaurant was promoting the Yak Attack, a concoction of Mango Daiquiri, Bacardi Light Rum, and Wildberry Flavors. Donald and I each ordered one and were happy we did. It certainly had a tropical taste about it, but was like nothing we'd ever tried before.

For appetizers we split the Dim Sum Basket. It arrived at our table in a bamboo steamer basket. Our waiter, Jay, set it down between us, then lifted the lid and positioned it just off to the side of the main bowl - a very attractive touch.

Dim Sum Basket

Later in our meal a manager stopped by. He asked us if Jay had presented the Dim Sum Basket correctly. When we said that he had, the manager was pleased and said that they are striving hard to serve several dishes with a flair. The Dim Sum Basket contained Pork Pot Stickers, Shrimp Siu Mai, Cho Su Bao and Pork Siu Mai. All was good and plenty for two to share.

For entrees I had the Baby Back Ribs .

BBQ Ribs


Donald had the Maple Tararind Chicken. We were both pleased with our selections.

Maple Tamarind Chicken

For dessert I had the Sorbet which consisted of three different flavors, raspberry, lemon, and mango. It was beautifully served and tasted even better.

Sorbet

Donald had the Chocolate Brownie Sundae. There wasn't anything particularly Asian about it, but it was big and delicious.

Chocolate Brownie Sundae

Overall the menu is fairly tame. There is nothing so exotic as to send guests running for a hamburger. Even the pickiest eater would have an easy time finding something to their liking.

While dining, I saw Joe Rhode wandering through the restaurant with some other big-wigs. For those of you who don't know, Joe Rhode pretty much designed the Animal Kingdom and was the primary guy when it came time to design and build Expedition: Everest.

I called his name across the room and he was kind enough to come over to our table. I introduced myself and complimented him on this wonderful restaurant. He then introduced me to another gentleman who was the lead architect on this project - unfortunately, I can't remember his name. Joe was then kind enough to pose for pictures. I was jazzed!


Jack, Donald, and Joe Rhode

At the moment, it hasn't been decided if the Disney Dining Experience card will be accepted here. This restaurant is operated by Landry's, the same company that operates the Rainforest Café, which does not accept this card.

Ever since the Animal Kingdom opened, I have said that it needs a waiter service restaurant inside the park. The Rainforest Café is too far away being all the way at the park's entrance. The Yak & Yeti Restaurant is a welcome addition to the Animal Kingdom. The theming is wonderful and the food is good.

At the moment, reservations are not being accepted. They are only taking "walk-ups." Beginning December 3rd guests can make reservations for January 4th and beyond by calling 407-WDW-DINE

Anandupur Local Cafes - Animal Kingdom

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November 15, 2007

Waterway Construction

Several years ago, Disney put out a number of black canvas sandbags along the shores of the waterway that connects Seven Seas Lagoon with Bay Lake. They put these in because" Well, actually, I'm not quite sure why they put these in. I always assumed it was to secure the land from water erosion caused by the waves created by the constant boat traffic that passes through here. Anyway, it looked awful. Very un-Disney.

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Yesterday, while riding the express monorail to the Magic Kingdom I noticed some construction in this area. So, later in the day I took a boat over to the Wilderness Lodge so I could get a better look. It seems that these ugly sandbags are being replaced with a permanent metal retaining wall. This is a big improvement. Even uncompleted, it looks much nicer. I'm not sure what the finished product will be, but the corrugated metal Disney is using seems to be the same material they used when building the retaining wall along the canal between the Studio and the Epcot Hotels.

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November 17, 2007

Disney MGM Studios Fun

While visiting the Disney/MGM Studios recently, I came upon the most interesting game being played by several young children. A custodial cast member had laid out two rows of artificial fruit in parallel lines. At one end of the fruit was a wicker basket. Each child was given a trash picker-upper - the kind that the janitorial staff uses to pick up rubbish. The kids would race back and forth, picking up the fruit and depositing it into the basket. The one who picked up the most fruit, won.

This event took place in front of the Sounds Dangerous attraction. As the park wasn't busy, the event had plenty of room. (I'm sure this could never take place during a busy time of year.) No one seemed to notice the goings on except the parents of the children and me. Most people just passed right by without giving a second glance. I realize that this isn't a big to-do, but I thought it was cute and yet another way that Disney adds magic even in very small ways.

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Tusker House Restaurant

The first change you'll notice about the new Tusker House Restaurant is that Disney has positioned the check-in over near the Dawa Bar and the entrance is now located behind the restaurant.

Tusker House New Entrance


This has its pluses and minuses. The plus, it can get crowded over near the Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery (the old entrance). If Disney had added a check-in booth in this area, it would be a nightmare logistically.

Tusker House Check-in Podium


The negative thing about where they did position the check-in is that it's located adjacent to the stage area where drummers and acrobats perform several times a day. In fact, when I checked-in, I had to yell to be heard. After checking-in, I was asked to stand over near the Dawa Bar. The crowd of people milling about is sure to detract from the bar's atmosphere. When the host called my name, he too had to yell to be heard over the beating drums.

A hostess took me to my table and as she did, she did her best to describe the hotel upstairs (wink, wink), and the African artifacts found throughout.

The restaurant's seating area has not changed at all.

Tusker House Restaurant Seating


The only difference you will find is that the tables are now set with silverware and wine glasses. I noticed that the tables for four only had two wine glasses - assuming that most parties of this size would have children in tow. There are no soft objects in the seating area so there is nothing to absorb the sound. It can get noisy in here.

Tusker House Table

My server Dorothy greeted me promptly and explained that many "venders" had created tempting dishes for sale in the marketplace. This storyline was a nice touch.

The old counter-service area has been beautifully redesigned into a lovely buffet. You'd never know that it had been converted. Happily, Disney did keep the wonderful rotisserie and it can still be seen roasting chickens.

Tusker House Buffet Area

Tusker House Buffet Area


Also, the quaint shops that line the second floor of the buffet/marketplace are still there. Take the time to look up sometime, the detailing is wonderful.

Tusker House Detailed Artwork

Everything I tasted was good. If I had to sum up what I thought of the buffet, I'd say it was a mini-version of the Boma buffet at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The only complaint I had was the plates available at the carving station were cold - thus, when I got back to my table, so was my meat. On subsequent trips to the buffet, I found the plates to be warm.

A quick rundown of the food available: A bread station with non-typical offerings. A cold-cuts table with sliced ham, turkey, and cheese. These offerings were very pedestrian - there to please picky eaters. A number of salads - both leafy and not. A carving station with pork and sirloin. Curried chicken, a seafood casserole, salmon, rotisserie chicken, and an assortment of potatoes and vegetables round out the meal. A children's table is also available.

Tusker House Buffet Arrangements

Lunch costs $19.99 and I thought it was worth the price. Dinner costs $26.99 - the only difference being that prime rib is added to the menu. I'm not so sure prime rib is worth a $7 increase.

Breakfast Menu

Lunch Menu

Bottom line - I would definitely return for lunch. I enjoyed myself and the food.

November 19, 2007

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

The following is taken directly from a sign posted on the Streets of America in the Disney-MGM Studios.

In 1986 Jennings and Mitzi Osborne of Little Rock, Arkansas granted their daughter's Christmas dream by covering their home with sparkling red lights.
By 1993 the Osbornes had bought and decorated their neighbors' homes, too. The Christmas display had grown to three million lights and drew crowds from all of the state of Arkansas.

Some of the Osborne's neighbors were more frazzled than dazzled by the display as they endured nightly traffic jams. Citing the display as a public nuisance, the Arkansas Supreme Court pulled the plug.

The night the lights went out in Little Rock wasn't the end of the Osborne's Dream. It was only the beginning. In 1995 Mickey and Goofy came calling and invited Jennings, Mitzi and Breezy to bring their lights to the Disney-MGM Studios.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights opened on November 24, 1995 on the Residential Street Backlot at the Disney-MGM Studios. It became an instant Holiday tradition for countless families. Over the years, more than 1.5 million guests have experienced the display.

In November of 2004, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights moved to the Streets of America Backlot where it is bigger and better than ever.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights looks right at home here. As for the Osborne's, this is the fairytale ending to their Christmas dream. And since the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights first lit up the Studios, the Osborne's have sponsored over 32 Christmas lights displays throughout Arkansas. What began as a Christmas wish from a little girl has grown into holiday magic that has touched the lives of millions of people.

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The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights begins each evening at 6pm and remains lit until one hour after the park closes. A giant light switch can be found about halfway down the Streets of America. Each night, a child is selected to "throw the switch" and turn on the lights.

Last year a new tradition was started with the beginning of Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Selected Christmas songs have been synchronized with the lights and the entire street "dances" as lights turn off and on in time with the music. If you haven't seen this new addition, you need to do so. It's an all new show!

As always, falling snow, hot chocolate and spiced nuts add to the wonderful Christmas atmosphere.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

More Osborne Light Photos from this year's display.

November 21, 2007

Jedi Training Academy

Once just a part of the Star Wars Weekends at the Disney/MGM Studios, the Jedi Training Academy was a small stage show where children could learn to use the lightsaber and battle Darth Vader. The show proved so popular that Disney built a permanent training academy next to the entrance of the Star Tours attraction.

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction

The show begins with a Jedi Master performing a short routine of lightsaber moves.

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction

He then selects around twelve children from the audience (ages 4 - 12). I would suggest arriving early if your children hope to be picked. Those chosen are presented with training lightsabers and brown Jedi robes. After donning their outfits and becoming familiar with their weapon, the Jedi Master demonstrates a combination of lightsaber tactics.


Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction


The children are then walked through these moves, one by one. After they have mastered their new skills, they are combined into a choreographed routine.


Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction


When their training is complete, two Stormtroopers arrive on the scene, preparing us for the arrival of Darth Vader.


Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction

Vader appears moments later through a thick mist. He struts menacingly around the stage then approaches the children, offering to teach them the Dark Side of the Force. The Jedi Master refuses.

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction



Vader then accepts a challenge to fight each Jedi Trainee, one by one.

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction


With the help of the Jedi Master, each child approaches Vader and uses their new fighting skills against evil. The audience is very supportive and cheers on every trainee.

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction


After all of the children have battled Vader, he once again tries to seduce them to come over to the Dark Side.

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction


But during his attempt, Yoda's voice magically echoes from the surrounding trees, telling Vader that he is outnumbered and doesn't stand a chance. Vader leaves, but vows to try again.


Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction

Jedi Training Academy - Disney's Star Tours Attraction


Even if you don't have children, this show is entertaining and will bring a smile to your face. It's very well done and a lot of fun.

Several shows are presented daily. Times can be found on the "Times Guide" handout available throughout the park. There is also a sign posted near the Star Wars attraction listing today's shows. Each training session lasts approximately twenty minutes.


November 26, 2007

All Star Cafe Reopens at Disney's Wide World of Sports

All Star Café Redesign

When I heard that Disney was changing the All Star Café from a table service restaurant to a counter service restaurant, I was disappointed. I always enjoyed this spot. In fact, the first review I ever wrote for AllEars.net was for this eatery. However, I realize that it was a business decision to make the change. Often, this place was deserted, especially if there were no events scheduled at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex. Disney needed to do something to increase business here.

I visited the new restaurant on Sunday November 25th. According to one cast member, this eatery does not have a new name yet so it's still being called the All Star Café until one is selected. This is evident by the missing sign over the entrance and on the posted menus.

Exterior Entrance

Speaking of the entrance, it has been moved inside the gated area. The old entrance was outside the gated area so anyone could eat here, whether they were attending an event or not. When I visited today, several ticketed events were in progress and cast members were guarding the gates to the sports complex. I approached one of them and explained that I just wanted to eat lunch at the new restaurant. She told me to come on in and pointed the way.


Directions Sign


Current Hours Sign


Later, I spoke to a manager about this and she told me that the entrance policy is in flux. At the moment, anyone can eat at the All Star Café. All you have to do is inform a cast member at one of the gates and you will be granted admission. Supposedly, Disney is keeping track of how many "non-event" guests are eating here, but I didn't see anyone counting me as I entered. It is possible that in the future, this restaurant will only be open to guests attending a ticketed event. The manager compared this policy to eating at the Brown Derby in the Disney/MGM Studios. You must have admission to the park in order to eat at its restaurants.

Lobby Counter Area


The new entrance to the All Star Café is a cavernous room with a decided lack of decor. There is a large counter with menus overhead along the back side of this room. It is here that you place your order.


Order Counter


After you pay, you are given a plastic number and told to find a seat in the restaurant. Off to the side of the counter is a queue if a line should form (which it did by the time I was leaving).

When I arrived at my table I found an interesting electronic box. Instructions on the side told me to place the plastic number I was given into a slot on the top, then remove it and set the number to the side. This action electronically notifies the kitchen where you are seated so they can easily find you when it comes time to deliver your food. This was a nice gimmick.

Table Identifier

Guests are given a paper cup when they order a drink. Beverages are dispensed on an all-you-can-drink basis while dining in the restaurant. Soda fountains, tea, and coffee can be found along one side of the dining room along with condiments, napkins and straws.

Beverage Station


The décor of the dining room is the same as it used to be, yet different. All of the personal sports memorabilia has been removed which gives the room a cleaner look.

Dining Room


Dining Room


Also, a wall separating a private dining room has been knocked out, opening up more seating and exposing several large windows that lightens the room considerably.

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The bar is in its same location and basically unchanged.

Bar

Many of the large TVs are still mounted high above the seating area. However, I was disappointed that they hadn't been upgraded. These are old, rear-projection televisions and they look bad by today's standards. The pictures are not sharp and the color is dubious at best. In this day and age, it's a shame Disney didn't upgrade these sets with LCD or plasma.


Dining Room


Dining Room

Also gone are the little black boxes that could be found on every table. These boxes could be used to tune in the audio on any given station being broadcast. When I asked a cast member what had happened to them, I was told that they were no longer available. Audio was a thing of the past. In fact, even if there is a "big game" on, you will not be able to watch it with sound. I can only guess that Disney is trying to encourage a fast turn-over rather than promote a "sports" restaurant atmosphere. The only non-human sound was the piped-in music.

In one corner of the room was a television tuned to one of the Disney resort stations promoting DVC membership. This was pretty meaningless with no audio.

Another possible change from the old policy is the days of operation. The new restaurant may be closed when no sporting event is scheduled at the complex.

One of my complaints about Disney restaurants over the past several years is the homogenizing of their menus around property. They offer the same food everywhere you go. One glaring example is the Reuben Sandwich. Well, it just so happens I don't like corned beef. I keep asking anyone who will listen, "Why can't they serve pastrami & rye at just one restaurant?" Well at last, they do. And that's what I ordered. And it was good. Sandwiches come with your choice of baked potato chips, melon-cucumber salad, or coleslaw.

Pastrami Sandwich

My friend Donald ordered the clam chowder and a chicken Caesar salad. He said the chowder was better than he expected for a counter-service restaurant. He said the Caesar salad was fine - nothing to complain about, but nothing to write home about either. Note, the food is served in plastic boxes.

Chicken Caesar Salad

Also available on the menu was ice cream. I asked what would happen if I ordered ice cream at the same time I ordered my lunch. Would it all arrive at my table at the same time and sit there melting as I ate my sandwich? I was told, no. If you order ice cream, you retrieve it at a later time at a counter inside the dining room. Just show them your receipt and you will be given your dessert. One cast member told me that next week guests will be given a plastic coin when they order ice cream that can be redeemed later.

When we had finished eating, I wasn't sure if I was expected to bus my own table so I asked a cast member. He told me that Disney expects guest to leave the tables dirty and their staff will take care of cleaning up the mess.

This restaurant is definitely a cross between table-service and counter-service. The fact that your food is brought to you and then Disney cleans up after you is a nice touch.

Because of the blurry distinction, Disney is still trying to decide if this restaurant should qualify for the Disney Dining Experience 20% discount. At the moment, it does, but things could change.

This restaurant does honor the Disney Dining Plan. And if you're confused between these two plans, read Anita Answer's column dated November 19th.

Would I go back? Yes. I live locally and as long as I can get in without buying a sporting event ticket, sure, why not. I eat at Disney World five times a week and even with the vast number of dining choices available, I still need all the variety I can get. The meal I ordered was fine and I liked the fact that my food was brought to the table and I didn't have to clean up after myself.


Should you eat here? If you're already attending a sporting event at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, yes.
The food is basic, but good. And if you're hungry, there is no reason to jump in your car and travel someplace else. But should you make a special trip if you don't already have a reason to be here? Not really. Unless you're a true Disneyphile like myself and want to experience everything at Walt Disney World, I wouldn't bother.


November 28, 2007

Art of Disney store in Magic Kingdom

The Art of Disney, or as I like to call it, the "good" store, has opened in the Main Street Cinema building in the Magic Kingdom.

Exterior of the Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom


This store sells upscale merchandise. Lenox, Armani, the Disney Classic Collection, and original and limited edition paintings by featured artist can be found here.

Compared to its sister stores in Epcot, Downtown Disney, and the Disney/MGM Studios, this store is small. So small in fact that some of its merchandise spills over into the adjoining store, the Uptown Jewelers.

The redesign is nice and I'm glad Disney has found a new home for this store as it seems to have bounced around from one location to the next over the past several years.

One sad note" For many years, a ticket booth sat just inside the entrance of the Main Street Cinema - back when old Mickey Mouse cartoons were actually shown here. Inside the ticket booth was a mannequin of a young lady, the ticket seller. She wore a Disney name tag and if memory serves, her name was Jennifer from Marceline (Walt's home town). A couple of years ago the ticket booth disappeared. I asked a cast member what had happened to it and I was told that it was being refurbished and would return soon. Alas, it never did.

I realize that in the scheme of things, the disappearance of Jennifer is insignificant. But her demise scares me. Every time the powers-that-be removes one of the little details that make Disney parks so special, I have to ask myself "Where will it end?" For that matter, I miss the "old" Main Street Cinema (when it showed movies), the Magic Shop, and the Penny Arcade. These were special locations. Now these spots sell the same merchandise you can find everywhere else on property. Sigh.

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

Art of Disney Store in Magic Kingdom

November 30, 2007

Exposition Hall in the Magic Kingdom

Where do you go at the Magic Kingdom when you're hot and tired and want to escape the unmanageable crowds and cool down? Try Exposition Hall located on the Plaza at the beginning of Main Street.

The front half of this building houses a shop and Photo Pickup.

But if you wander to the rear of the building, you'll find a delightful spot that very few people ever go. This area was once the home of the "Walt Disney Story," a 23 minute film that ran from 1973 to 1992. Now, only a small portion of the original theater remains, but what's left is a delight. Approximately thirty seats face a small screen that continually plays vintage Mickey Mouse cartoons. This is a wonderful place to relax, chat, and forget the throngs of people outside.

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Also in this back area are several picture opportunities. Four two-dimensional vignettes featuring Steamboat Willie, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, and Buzz Lightyear are available to pose one or several of your party in. Note, these are not the "real" characters you see out in the parks, but simply cut-outs that allow guests to place their face or body into a scene. Since this area is never crowded, you'll have plenty of time to compose your picture and the finished product can be quite cute.


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About November 2007

This page contains all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in November 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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