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September 2008 Archives

September 8, 2008

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

For many years, Universal Studios featured Halloween Horror Nights. This was a separate, ticketed event and the park was transformed at night from its regular theming into a frightening ghost town. It was marketed toward teenagers and young adults and the idea was to truly scare their guests with monsters, vampires, werewolves, and other terrifying surprises.

In response, Disney started their own Halloween party. But since they cater to a more diverse age group, Disney realized that their gathering would need to be more tame than Universal's. Thus was born, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP).

On given nights during the months of September and October, extra theming is added to the Magic Kingdom and it is transformed into a playful Halloween experience, suitable for ALL ages. This is a separate, ticketed event and admission can be purchased at any of the "Guest Relations" desks at Walt Disney World.


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I attended this year's first event on September 5th. The party officially runs from 7pm - 12 midnight, however, guests can enter the Magic Kingdom at 4pm with their MNSSHP ticket. Upon entering, you will be given a wrist band and a trick-or-treat bag. At precisely 7pm, cast members make a sweep of the entire park and politely, but firmly make anyone not wearing a wrist band leave the park.

Although some decorations and exhibits are not displayed until the party begins, others are on display for all of September and October.


Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations


Pay special attention to many of the carved pumpkins above the shops on Main Street. Pictured below are a few found above Casey's Corner and the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.


Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations


Here are a few more pictures of the special theming that is added for the event.


Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Magic Kingdom Halloween Themeing and Decorations

Normally, guests over the age of nine are not allowed to wear costumes in the Magic Kingdom, but this rule is waved for this event. Many children and a fair number of adults dress for the occasion.

Free face painting is also available so those of you who forgot your costumes can also get into the spirit.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


Opportunities to trick-or-treat are everywhere and are clearly marked by signs.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


Candy is generously distributed at each location. Cast members dressed in special Halloween garb give out 2-4 pieces to each guest as they pass through the line.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


Besides some inexpensive lollypops a chocolates, name-brand treats are also dispensed like, Oh Henry, Snickers, Tootsie Roll, Skittles, and SweetTarts. Note, these are the miniature versions, like the ones you'd buy to give out from your own home.

Beginning at the back of Mickey's Toontown Fair, you can stroll through Alice and Mad Hatter's Treat Party.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


As guests walk the trail to Tomorrowland, they encounter a number of props and characters, and photo opportunities abound. And as you might guess, more candy is available.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


The cast members working the Haunted Mansion also get a makeover. Besides their regular, somber costume, their faces are made up to look ghoulish. Also, a "spirit from beyond" takes center stage on the lawn of the mansion and entertains guests with wonderful stories of her life, both living and dead. Many let others pass them in line so they can stand longer and listen to her tales. To add to the creepiness, the gravestones are given a spooky look with the addition of low lying fog.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


There are a couple of Dance Parties held during MNSSHP. One at Ariel's Grotto in Fantasyland and another at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Café in Tomorrowland. I snapped this picture of Stitch impersonating Elvis at Cosmic Rays.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


Presented on the Castle stage is the Villain's Mix and Mingle show. Here, some of Disney's greatest bad-guys and gals dance and rant and try to impress you with their evilness.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


Character Meet-and-Greets are numerous so it's easy to get pictures with some of your favorite Disney friends as you've never seen them before. In Fantasyland, you can have your picture taken in front of Cinderella's glass coach.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


I think most people would agree that Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade is the highlight of the evening. Shown twice each night (8:15 & 10:30), this spectacle is a hoot. Be sure to find your viewing spot by the announced beginning time as the Headless Horseman makes a mad dash along the parade route to the cheers of the crowd. If you're not there in time, you miss him.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


The beginning of the parade starts off tame enough with some of the not-so-scary characters, but then the villains take over for a haunting good time.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade


Toward the end of the parade, several Goofy's Candy Company carts. stroll by and a number of his minions pass out treats to the crowd.


Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Boo to You Parade


At 9:30, a special fireworks show called Happy HalloWishes is presented. A Ghost Host introduces villain after villain and the castle is illuminated appropriately while color coordinated fireworks burst over head.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Happy HalloWishes Fireworks

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Happy HalloWishes Fireworks

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Happy HalloWishes Fireworks

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Happy HalloWishes Fireworks


Not all of the rides and restaurants are open for this event. But since Disney caps the attendance at a reasonable number, it is never crowded and lines are usually short to non-existent.

Here is a list of the OPEN rides and attractions for MNSSHP:
Swiss Family Treehouse
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Splash Mountain
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
The Haunted Mansion
Peter Pan's Flight
Cinderella's Colden Carrousel
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Mickey's PhilharMagic
Snow White's Scary Adventures
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Mad Tea Party
"it's a small world"
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway
Space Mountain
Astro Orbiter
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
Tomorrowland Transit Authority
Stitch's Great Escape
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm

Stitch's Cosmic Dance Party at Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe:
7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:00pm, 10:00pm, and 11:00pm

Ariel's Grotto Dance Party:
7:00pm, 8:00pm, 9:00pm, 10:00pm, and 11:00pm

Villain's Mix and Mingle shows at the Castle Stage:
7:45, 9:00, 10:05, and 11:15

Character Greetings take place from 7 - 11:30.

Hallowishes Fireworks at 9:30pm.

Here's the special map provided for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

There is only one table-service restaurant open during MNSSHP, Tony's Town Square Restaurant. Personally, I think it might be a mistake to eat here during this event. MNSSHP is only five hours in length. Do you really want to spend almost an hour of your time eating a meal? I would suggest eating before you arrive or take advantage of one of the many counter service restaurants available.

Note, the official handout that Disney gives to guests states that Tony's is the only full-service restaurant open for these events. However, one of my readers has informed me that the Liberty Tree Tavern is open on selected nights as she has a reservation and confirmed this with Disney.

I enjoyed MNSSHP. However, I am an annual pass-holder and visit the Magic Kingdom often. Before I purchased my ticket, I had to ask myself if I really wanted to spend $50+ to see a special parade and fireworks show, because that's what it really boils down to. Yes, Disney has added some special theming, candy, and limited entertainment, but is that really enough to justify the money. Obviously, many people think so as this event is very popular. But you need to consider this before you attend so you won't be disappointed.

Remaining 2008 dates are:

September 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 28, 30
October 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 16, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31 (31st SOLDOUT)

Disney's Official Press Release: New Character Costumes at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

For prices and more information, click here.

September 9, 2008

Hollywood Studios Update

I stopped by Disney's Hollywood Studios today to do a little blog research. Before I got started I decided that I'd take a quick spin on Toy Story Mania and headed in that direction.

When I got there, Fastpasses were already longer than I cared to wait and the Standby Line was 50 minutes, so I started to look for the Single Rider Line.

Then I remembered the Single Rider line was removed about 2 weeks ago. Sigh"

Toy Story Mania


While I was at the Studios I also took a walk down the Streets of America. It seems that the nighttime crews are already hard at work installing the Christmas lights for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

Streets of America

Streets of America

September 13, 2008

Haunted Mansion Attic

In mid-September of last year, the Haunted Mansion reopened at Disney World after a lengthy rehab.

Haunted Mansion


A number of effects were either enhanced or added. The Attic Room is one such example. Gone are the carnival-like pop-up heads to be replaced with state-of-the-art effects.

This blog is going to discuss some of the nuances of this room that are easily missed when traveling through. Since flash photography is not allowed in the Haunted Mansion, I do not have any pictures of the attic to share with you.

Note: Spoilers ahead!

One of the first things you'll notice as you enter the attic is a portrait of a bride and groom. This "happy" couple is Ambrose Harper and Constance Hatchaway.

Near this portrait are a number of modest wedding gifts such as a music box, china, crystal, and various household goods. A nearby wedding album reads:

OUR WEDDING DAY
Ambrose and Constance 1869

Ambrose is the son of successful farmers. For this particular occasion he wears a sensible woolen suit and bowler hat. Constance's past is murky and suspect. For her special day she wears a stylish wedding gown and a single strand of pearls. As you pass their portrait, Ambrose's face fades into nothingness and then reappears - signifying that Constance has outlived him for some reason.

You soon come to a second portrait, this time featuring Constance and her new partner, Frank Banks. Frank is an Eastern banker and well placed in his community. He proudly dons a stovepipe hat. Constance, being practical, chose to wear the same wedding dress as before, but this time proudly displays two strands of pearls around her neck.

Look closely at the cabinet in the foreground. On it you'll see a porcelain figurine of a well-to-do French woman looking down at a second, toppled figurine of a gentleman, who apparently lost his head in the fall. On the shelf below you can see a broken ceramic heart-shaped box.

There are more wedding gifts in this area and they seem to be of better quality than those given to Constance on her first marriage. A nearby banner reads:

Constance and Frank
TRUE LOVE FOREVER

Constance chose for her next spouse a foreign diplomat known as the Marquis De Doom. In their wedding portrait, The Marquis wears a military uniform, complete with sash, assorted medals and a formal hat with plume. The ever sensible Constance once again chose to wear the same dress; however three strands of pearls are now evident. There wedding album reads:

The Marquis Constance
1874

Continuing her social climb, Constance's next husband is Reginald Caine. He was a railroad baron and dressed the part. For his wedding he sports a brocade vest, fancy shirt, and costly jacket. And like her previous husbands, he too dons a fine hat. Being ostentatious, Reginald also wears a large ring on his little finger and a sizable stone in his lapel.

Constance, as usual, chose the same wedding dress. It has served her well so far and she sees no reason to tamper with things. The only change, a fourth strand of pearls has been added to her ensemble.

A nearby frame says:

Reginald & Constance
1875

Constance's last husband was George Hightower. He should look familiar to you as you have seen his countenance for many years on the gravestone in the stretching room. Before his demise, George owned the stately mansion you are now visiting.

The gifts for this final wedding are by far the most expensive. In keeping with her growing wealth, their wedding portrait is displayed in an ornate frame. An inset reads:

George & Constance
1877

As you might have guessed, Constance now wears five strands of pearls.

As with Ambrose, Constance's first husband, each successive spouse fades from view as you pass their portraits. All the while, a melancholy rendition of "Hear Comes the Bride" can be heard in the background.

In this same area is a hat rack. Hanging on it are all five of the hats worn by Constance's dead husbands.

Just before you exit the attic, we finally get to meet the ghost of Constance.

She stands in peaceful serenity as her hands move from her side toward her chest and an axe materializes in her grasp. All the while, she utters a number of well known, albeit telling, wedding phrases, each with a slightly different expression. With a twinkle in her eye she calmly says:

"'Till Death". Do Us Part""

"Here comes the bride!"

"As long as we both shall live""

"For better or for".WORSE."

"I do. I did!"

"In sickness and in ".wealth!"

"You may now kiss the bride."

"We'll live happily ever"after!"

Many of the sights I've described are difficult to see. EXTREMELY difficult to see. I rode the Mansion five times in a row last week, looking for them and it took a quick eye. Good luck!

Interested in learning more about Disney's Haunted Mansions? Check out Imagineer Jason Surrell's book The Haunted Mansion: From Magic Kingdom to the Movies!

September 22, 2008

Dolphins at Walt Disney World

On several occasions, while driving along World Drive with out-of-town friends or family, we pass by the Dolphin resort. Invariably someone says, "That doesn't look like Flipper." Well, it's not supposed to look like a "real" dolphin. It's a representation of a mythological dolphin. Architect Michael Graves selected both the dolphin and swan because they represent both a contemporary and mythological symbol for water. And just for the record, these dolphins stand 56 feet high and weigh approximately 60,000 pounds.


Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort Dolphin


For thousands of years, tales of dolphins, whales, and porpoises have found their way into worldwide mythology. Collectively these creatures are known as cetacea and their popularity may stem from their large size and playful qualities. In addition, numerous legends tell of these animals coming to the aid of fishermen and sailors.


Mythology Dolphins


But the Dolphin Resort isn't the only place you can find these mythological creatures at Walt Disney World. I found several others. Probably the next best example is the Neptune Fountain in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot.

Neptune Fountain Italy Epcot


The Greeks called their "God of the Sea" Poseidon and he was usually accompanied by his trident and one or more dolphins, who were his messengers. When Rome adopted the Greek gods as their own, they often changed little more than their name. This statue is a good example.

But this imposing fountain isn't the only place that you can find dolphins in the Italy Pavilion. Take a look at the door handles on the Il Bel Cristallo shop.


Il Bel Cristallo shop Dolphin handles


In the United Kingdom Pavilion, there is a small fountain located in front of the restrooms. On top of this fountain is another dolphin.


Dolphin.jpg


United Kingdom Pavilion Fountain


And it wasn't just the western cultures that embraced the dolphin. In Hindu mythology, Ganga, the deity of the Ganges River is associated with the dolphin, who heralds her descent from the heavens.

Nagoya Castle in Japan is adorned with golden dolphins or Kinshachi. These creatures were a symbol of the feudal lord's authority. In the Japan Pavilion in Epcot, you can see copies of these dolphins atop the blue tiled roof of its castle.

Japan Pavilion


When entering the Yacht Club Resort, guests come face to face with an ancient globe of the world.


Ancient Globe Yacht Club Resort


Look closely and you'll see the earth is supported by a pair of dolphins.


Ancient Globe Yacht Club Resort


Also, if you carefully examine this globe you'll find a hidden Mickey next to another dolphin.


Hidden Mickey Ancient Globe Yacht Club Resort


If you travel to Disney's Hollywood Studios, you can find another collection of mythical dolphins, this time on the Mermaid Fountain.


Mermaid Fountain Hollywood Studios


This fountain is from the Disney movie "Splash" starring Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah. Look beneath the fountain and you'll find four dolphins.


Splash Statue Hollywood Studios


These are the dolphins I've found around Walt Disney World. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more. If you find some, let me know where and I'll check it out. I'm sure there are more within the Dolphin Resort, but I'm not going to include those in my search since this would be too obvious a place to look for them.

September 25, 2008

Food & Wine 2008

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival officially opens on Friday, September 26, but Disney held a preview or "soft" opening today, September 25. This year's theme is "Cities in Wonderland" and the entrance to Epcot features a large "Alice in Wonderland"-type table, all set with dishes and teapots and waiting for the March Hare and the Mad Hatter to arrive.


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Located around World Showcase are a number of banners, depicting many of the cities featured at this year's event.


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One thing that struck me this year was that the food booths are more accurately themed than in previous years. Very few of the booths have a generic look. I feel that Disney did a much better job at depicting the architecture of the given country.

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I also feel that Disney has tried to facilitate good crowd and line control by placing a podium with a cash register a short distance away from the food booth. Guests line up at the podium, make their section, them move on to the food booth to pick up their taste treat.


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One negative that I noticed was the lack of large, hanging menus that have been used at past events. Instead, a small menu is positioned on the podium.


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I saw a number of people peering over the cordons trying to get a glimpse of the menu. Since today's event was just a "soft" opening, I'm hoping that this is just a temporary situation because I see problems ahead if this is the way it's supposed to be.

In front of the American Adventure a display has been created to extol the virtues of the pear and its many varieties and uses. The entire exhibit is presented in a cartoon-style format that makes it appealing to children and adults.


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The state of Louisiana is sponsoring a large exhibit this year to promote their bounty. But unfortunately, it wasn't completed for the soft opening and was hidden behind plywood walls.

As with every year, merchandise especially designed for the Food & Wine Festival is available. Most of these wares can be found in booths situated between the Canada Pavilion and the Tower Shops.


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September 26, 2008

Epcot's Nine Dragons Restaurant in China

The Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China Pavilion reopened yesterday after an extensive rehab. Since I was at Epcot today, I decided to stop by for lunch and check things out. My friend Donald and Allears photographer Linda Mac joined me.


Nine Dragons Epcot


The first thing guests will notice is that the atmosphere has been toned down a bit. Gone is most of the traditional "red" color in favor of more muted tones. I feel the designers did a nice job of modernizing the motif without forgoing the time-honored beauty of this restaurant.


Nine Dragons Epcot

Nine Dragons Epcot


Along the back wall of the dining room is a showcase that displays magnificent pieces of glass art. One of the cast members did his best to explain their meaning, but unfortunately, I just wasn't able to understand what he was telling me. But even without an explanation, these works of art are stunning.


Nine Dragons Epcot

Nine Dragons Epcot

Nine Dragons Epcot

Nine Dragons Epcot


I have eaten at the Nine Dragons Restaurant a number of times over the years. I have always been satisfied with my food and the service has been good. But other than the beauty of the restaurant, there wasn't anything offered that differed from my neighborhood Chinese restaurant - except that I was paying three times the money. Today I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Everything offered now has a contemporary flair to it. I felt like real chefs had created the food rather than something you'd find at your local shopping mall. For appetizers we ordered the following:

Shrimp and Taro Lollipops - delicious and playful take on a traditional dim sum favortite $9.98


Nine Dragons Epcot


Shrimp and Chicken Egg Rolls - tender shrimp, roast chicken and fresh vegetables served with plum-chili and ginger-soy sauces $7.98


Nine Dragons Epcot


Spicy Beef -sliced thin and tender, then tossed with Cilantro-Chili dressing $8.68


Nine Dragons Epcot


For entrees we ordered the following:

Honey Sesame Chicken with white rice - $16.98


Nine Dragons Epcot


Peppery Shrimp with Spinach Noodles $17.98


Nine Dragons Epcot


Sweet and Sour Pork with Spinach Noodles $13.98


Nine Dragons Epcot

When I ordered the Sweet and Sour Pork, I was told that it came with noodles. This didn't sound good to me so I requested white sticky rice. I wish I hadn't. Linda let me try the Spinach Noodles that accompanied her Peppery Shrimp and they were very good. Plus, the green noodles would have contrasted nicely against the red/orange Sweet and Sour for a better presentation.

Before our food arrived, our server appeared at the table with a lacquered box full of chopsticks and offered them to us.


Nine Dragons Epcot


All three of us were pleased with our selections and feel we might visit more often now that the restaurant offers a more upscale menu. Starting tomorrow, September 26, reservations can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

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Related Links:

Nine Dragons Photo Gallery

Nine Dragons Lunch Menu

Nine Dragons Dinner Menu

September 28, 2008

Friends from Japan

Usually, I try to keep my blogs informational rather than personal, but today I'm going to share a pleasant day I had with one of my readers.

While writing my blogs about the Tokyo Disney Resort, I received an email from a gentleman in Japan. He introduced himself as Katsumi and told me that he was enjoying my descriptions of Tokyo DisneySea. He went on to say that he's a big Disney fan and has an annual pass to the Tokyo parks and tries to visit them as often as time allows. In addition, he makes a trip to Walt Disney World once a year and was planning his next trip in early September.

We corresponded over the next several weeks and a friendship grew between us. Eventually, we agreed to meet at the Japan Pavilion in Epcot on his next visit to the U.S. When the big day arrived, I was there early (I'm always early) waiting to meet my new friend. At the precise meeting time, Katsumi and his traveling companion, Daisuke, arrived. They said "Good afternoon" and I said, "Konnichiwa" which means good afternoon or hello.


Japan Pavillion in Epcot


I was already impressed by Katsumi's command of the English language when exchanging emails, but his spoken English was also extremely good. Daisuke was able to understand much of what I had to say, but spoke very little English.

Daisuke once worked at Tokyo Disneyland and his love for Disney parks is as great or greater than Katsumi. He too has an annual pass to the Tokyo parks and visits frequently.

At Katsumi's suggestion, I made reservations for us to have lunch at the Tokyo Dining Restaurant. When we entered the restaurant, the Japanese cast members immediately spotted Katsumi and Daisuke as fellow countrymen. They chatted briefly in Japanese then we took a seat in the lobby, waiting for the restaurant to open at twelve o'clock.

A few minutes before noon, about twenty Japanese cast members lined up in two rows in front of those of us waiting to be seated. A welcoming speech was made and then all twenty cast members bowed deeply. It's a wonderful ritual that most guests miss. Only those arriving before twelve for lunch at Tokyo Dining or Teppan Edo get to experience this presentation.


Tokyo Dining Japan Epcot

After the ceremony was over, Katsumi leaned over to me and said that several of the cast members were embarrassed performing this ritual in front of other Japanese. It seems that this opening "show" is only performed in some of the nicer department stores, but never in a restaurant. I assured him that it brought smiles to us non-Japanese.

We were seated at a window table and had a lovely view of the World Showcase Lagoon. Our waitress soon arrived and briefly chatted with Katsumi and Daisuke. Then she asked me if I spoke Japanese. I said "sukoshi" which means "a little." They all smiled.


Tokyo Dining Japan Epcot


We ordered our lunch and then Katsumi and Daisuke presented me with gifts - which is a Japanese custom. Daisuke gave me a paddle with Minnie Mouse dressed in a kimono placed upon it. I was told that this paddle was used in some sort of a children's game. I didn't completely understand how the game was played, but graciously accepted it. Katsumi gave me a plate with a picture of the new Tokyo Disneyland Hotel imprinted on it. It was lovely. I informed them that my home is decorated in Disney and their gifts would fit right in.


Gifts.jpg


Knowing that they have only been to the Florida and Tokyo Disney parks, I gave them some Disney guide maps from Paris and Hong Kong and a CD I had made with some difficult to find Disney music.

Our waitress arrived a few moments later and offered me a fork - she knew Katsumi and Daisuke didn't need them. I thanked her and declined, telling her that I knew how to use hashi (chopsticks).

This was my first visit to the Tokyo Dining Restaurant. I ordered the Shrimp and Chicken Tempura and was very please. The cost was $18.50, which is a lot for a midday meal, but the large portion justified the price. I noticed that Katsumi and Daisuke also ordered the same selection. I wasn't sure if this was a polite gesture or if this was something they intended to order anyway.

We briefly discussed the Yakitori House Restaurant across the way. They told me that the Shogun Combination (which I always order) has been "Americanized." For something more authentic, they suggested I try the Japanese Curry, which I will on my next visit.


Yakitori House Restaurant  Japan Epcot


Throughout our meal, we shared stories about the Japanese and American parks. It was so wonderful to see Disney World through a foreigner's eyes. And it was fantastic to share trivia with them that would be difficult to garner if you didn't live here. I think we all learned a lot from each other.

After lunch, we shopped for a while then I asked them if they would be interested in seeing where I lived. They hesitated for a moment, not wanting to be pushy or rude, but I could see in their faces that they were interested. After a little coaxing from me, they agreed.

As I mentioned earlier, my house is decorated in Disney. I like to think tastefully, but there's no mistaking my love for the theme parks when you enter my home. After giving Katsumi and Daisuke a tour, they told me they were overwhelmed. They said visiting my house was like visiting the "resort." I smiled and thanked them. Fortunately, I had a number of Japanese souvenirs that I had purchased on previous vacations that I could proudly show them.

With the tour complete, I drove them back to Downtown Disney as they were planning on doing some more shopping and then have dinner at the Rainforest Café. As we said goodbye, I thanked them for giving me a day I would never forget. I have no doubt that I will see them both next year when they return to Florida and I will visit with them on my next trip to Tokyo.


Katsumi Jack and Daisuke


Thank you Katsumi and Daisuke.

September 30, 2008

Tower of Terror

What's wrong with this picture?


Tower of Terror Disney's Hollywood Studios


Come on. Look closely. You can figure it out.

No? Then take a closer look - specifically, the Tower of Terror. What's wrong with it?


Tower of Terror Disney's Hollywood Studios


The Imagineers do an excellent job when detailing a restaurant, shop, or attraction. They never miss a trick. But this one slipped past them.

Take a look at this billboard located on Sunset Blvd. advertising the hotel and see if you can figure out the mistake.


Tower of Terror Billboard at Disney's Hollywood Studios


Where's the "Hollywood Tower Hotel" sign? If you look VERY closely, you can see it perched ABOVE the hotel wings. The same is true in the preshow movie narrated by Rod Serling. But in reality, the sign is much lower on the building.

When you look at the actual building, the sign would have been destroyed along with the wings when the lightning struck. Not only that, the sign is placed almost against the building. If the wings were still intact, the sign would be buried within them.


Tower of Terror Disney's Hollywood Studios


I don't know at what point Disney realized their mistake, but they did correct it on the Tower of Terrors in California and Paris (identical buildings). On these structures the "Hollywood Tower Hotel" sign is placed above the wings.


Tower of Terror


At Tokyo DisneySea the storyline is completely different and there are no wings. In fact, the hotel's name does not appear on the building as it does on its three cousins.


Tokyo DisneySea Tower of Terror


But let's not beat up on the Imagineers too much. They took great care when designing Disney World's Tower of Terror so it would fit into Epcot.

What does he mean, fit into Epcot?

When approaching the bridge that leads to Mexico in World Showcase, look across the lagoon toward Morocco. In the background, the Tower of Terror is plainly seen beside the minaret. It blends in quite nicely, thus not destroying the Moroccan theming (unlike the Swan and Dolphin behind Canada and the UK).


View of Tower of Terror from Epcot


Disney World's Tower was given a Moorish feel and painted a color that was not completely accurate to 1930's Hollywood just so it would blend into the background when viewed from Epcot.


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About September 2008

This page contains all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in September 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2008 is the previous archive.

October 2008 is the next archive.

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