The new Festival of Fantasy parade debuted this week at Walt Disney World.  Was it good? Read todays MiceChat Round Up for the latest Disney and theme park news and information from the past week. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is receiving rave reviews during its cast member previews. We’ve got photos and video for those of you who just can’t wait to see the big surprise. We also have word that Disney California Adventure’s Little Mermaid ride will be going down for a refurbishment that could bring some exciting new changes.  Outside of the Disney kingdoms, news is the old berry stand at Knott’s may be returning to the park, and there is a bill in the works to ban SeaWorld San Diego from keeping Orcas in captivity.In a brilliant write up, Kevin goes into why the Disney Cruise Line is better run than the theme parks.  Plus, if you haven’t yet, pick up your tickets for the biggest fan event of the year, the MiceChat Gumball Rally. All of the details are below!

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Top Stories


Ten Conversations Disney Cruise Line Executives Have Apparently Never Had
I’ve just returned from a delightful three-day cruise aboard the Disney Magic (which received new enhancements late in 2013). For the privilege, we paid almost as much for those three days as we do for the entire year of annual passes to Disney World (we are a family of four in both cases). All of us have cruised with DCL before. And here’s the astonishing thing: we don’t feel ripped off despite that price tag and comparison to an entire year at WDW. To try to isolate exactly why that is, I’ve come up with a novel way to point out why DCL equals “quality.” Namely, here is a list of conversations that have NEVER happened among Disney Cruise Line leadership (or if they have, they haven’t resulted in the cost-cutting measure you see implied). Enjoy!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Set for Explosive Return to Disneyland
In the Parks steps in for Dateline Disneyland and boy do we have an update for you.  That big BOOM you hear is the newly refurbished Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which is in cast member testing right now and will be open to regular guests a week from today. A little mouse invited us to tag along on a trip around Big Thunder Mountain and we’ve got a quick preview of this exquisitely revitalized attraction for you. We also bring you the latest from atop Space Mountain, the inner sanctum of Innoventions, a summary of refurbishments around the resort and lots more. A fancy new Starbucks™ has opened in Downtown Disney – complete with an interior video wall of artistically framed coffee beans being roasted and a stunning exterior garden seating area backed with an artistic wall of succulents. Not to be left out, Disney California Adventure gets into the act with a bit of news of its own.



IT’S BACK!!! Let’s find out who can ride the most attractions at Disneyland in a single day . . . it’s the MiceChat Gumball Rally.  Click HERE for more information and to sign up!


Join Disney Legend Bob Gurr and the MiceChat Crew as we set sail on the Disney Magic for a once in a lifetime Mediterranean cruise (from Barcelona to Italy and back again).


Day Port Guest Ashore Guest Onboard
1 Barcelona, Spain 5:00 p.m.
2 At Sea
3 Villefranche (Monte Carlo, Cannes, Nice), France* 7:30 a.m. 6:30 p.m.
4 La Spezia (Florence, Pisa), Italy 7:15 a.m. 7:30 p.m.
5 Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy 7:30 a.m. 6:45 p.m.
6 Naples (Pompeii), Italy 7:30 a.m. 5:45 p.m.
7 At Sea
8 Barcelona, Spain 7:00 a.m.

Stay after the cruise and you can also join us for a journey to Disneyland Paris!  Ask us for more details by emailing us at [email protected]

Disney Parks News and Reports

Big Thunder is finally opening to guests this week, and it promises an explosive ending now!   It’s time to show your Disney side at the next 24 hour Disneyland event,  And a few more changes are in the works for the Little Mermaid attraction in DCA! ~ Aladdin

MiceChat Newsletter

Big Thunder Mt upgrade review
Big Thunder Mountain is currently in previews, and is scheduled to finally re-open on St Patrick’s Day! It safe to say the Imagineers did a bang up job, with the new effects on the final lift hill, and we even have a video, just in case you can’t wait until your next trip

March 2014 photos/video and observations
Regions Beyond returns with more wonderful photos from around the Disneyland Resort!

Little Mermaid new ending scenes!
The Little Mermaid attraction in DCA will soon go under refurbishment, in order to make some lighting changes to the huge Under the Sea room, They will also change up the last couple of scenes, to give Ursula a bigger exit scene.

Rock Your Disney Side: 24-Hours (May 23-24)
Disney has announced a 24 hour kickoff party for the beginning of the summer season. This time they want to see your Disney side, so costumes will be allowed!

Disney Rumors

Star Wars at Walt Disney World and Frozen at Disneyland are the topics of this week’s Disney Parks Rumors and Imagineering. ~Trekkie Dad

MiceChat Newsletter

no Hyperspace Hoopla?!?!
It appears that the popular Hyperspace Hoopla has been cut from this year’s Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Elsa on the Matterhorn?
We don’t know where OogieBoogie heard this rumor, but a lot of us have opinions on it.

Motor boat cruise ideas?
will1494 starts this thread suggesting a Frozen themed ride. What would you like to see placed in the Motor Boat Cruise area?

Walt Disney World

This week is all about the new Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom. It’s the first really new parade they’ve had for a while, so this is a BIG deal. Check out the pictures and voice your opinions in this week’s Walt Disney World forum! ~yoyoflamingo

MiceChat Newsletter

Has anyone been able to obtain Fastpasses for Festival of Fantasy parade?
Not only does this thread ask a question of the new Fastpass+ for shows and fireworks, it brings up the question: is it worth it for a ‘premium viewing location.’ Share your thoughts – and experiences – here.

Festival of Fantasy DEBUTS!
Excited about the new parade? Should we be? Well, this thread answers all our questions with pictures and video. Take a peek, then share your thoughts!


This week we have a trip report from Disneyland Paris and some news from Tokyo Disneyland. ~Trekkie Dad

MiceChat Newsletter

Joe’s summer trip to Disneyland Paris
Joe Flowers (aka mre200200) presents a photo report of his family’s trip to Disneyland Paris last summer.

Jungle Cruise Renewal Question!
It appears Tokyo Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise is getting a makeover and a new name, according to a blog found by Malin.

An article found by disfa10 claims that Oswald the lucky rabbit will soon debut at Tokyo Disney Sea.


For all your Disney travel needs, contact MiceChat’s official travel partner:

MiceChat Podcast

MiceChat Podcast #15: A Spoonful of Sherman Our latest show was quite a while in the making. We think it was worth the wait. Aside from our usual round up of Disney and theme park news, we’ve got an outstanding interview with Robbie Sherman (son of Disney legend Robert Sherman of the Sherman Brothers). Robbie was quite candid. The interview was conducted at the Disneyana Fan Club show and sale, so there’s quite a bit of background noise, but it’s all in good fun. It’s a spoonful of Sherman and then some. Enjoy!

Direct Link | iTunes Link

AV Room

Welcome to this week’s episode of Communicore Weekly, where we talk about California Alligator Farm, CG Book, The Wind Rises, and MGM Studios! Venture to one of the extinct, unique thing parks located in Southern California as Jeff and George look at the California Alligator Farm in this week’s History segment! George looks at the CG Book for the Book of the Week! George talks about The Wind Rises for the 60 Second Review! And finally, find a remnant of MGM Studios in this weeks Five Legged Goat

Direct Link |  iTunes Link

Big Thunder Preview!
Sarah the fantastic MiceChatter gives us her review of the long awaited re-opening of Big Thunder Mountain.

The Haunted Mansion Show Episode 10: The Mistress of All Evil
Tonight, the Ghost Phone has been brought onto the Ghost Host’s desk again for a very special occasion. The Mistress of All Evil herself, Maleficent, has been asked to join the Villain Hotline and share her views on her own upcoming motion picture (called “Maleficent,” respectfully).

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland
MiceChat brings us a full ride through, at both day and night, of the newly refurbished Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attraction at Disneyland in Anaheim California.


Disafterdark Series 2, Episode 12 – I Kissed JT (And I Liked it)
Welcome back to the Mouses Head and thank you for the download. Joining us in the Mouses Head this week is Chris Reid from V24 Radio Paul B is on a beer called Cocker Hoop, Nick is on to Chocolate, Craig is drinking Whisky and Chris Made up something and put booze in it. We chat about some news as usual, then we talk at some length with Chris about V24 and his radio career.

Direct Link | iTunes Link

Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast #81 – Antojito’s, News and More
Join us for another show in which we answer a listener question, begin an interactive butterbeer challenge, review Antojito’s and the 3 Broomsticks breakfast and also talk about the recent news.
Thanks for listening and enjoy the show. We would really appreciate it if you would head over to ITunes and subscribe to the show and leave us a review.

Direct Link | iTunes Link

SeaWorld Podcast Ep 19 – The Impossible Dream of brining Penguins to North America
We have a big episode for you!  The Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast team is getting ready for the big 50th meet up at SeaWorld San Diego where you can join them on March 22nd.  Get your tickets now to the 50th meet up! Mike introduces us to Frank Todd who is the man who wrote the book on penguin care for SeaWorld and the world!  This interview is not to be missed!  Frank Todd is our new hero!

Direct Link | iTunes Link

Window to the Magic Enjoy the sounds of the park on our weekly journeys into the wonderful world of the Disney sound experience!

Direct Link | iTunes Link

The Seasonpass Podcast is at Orlando’s Fun Spot America to hear how this FEC transformed into an amusement park with John Arie Sr (Owner), John Arie Jr (COO), and Patrick Tuten (Creative Director).

Direct Link | iTunes Link

Mousetalgia Episode 281: John Canemaker on Mary Blair, Paul Saunders on WED
Mousetalgia welcomes Academy Award-winning animator, author and historian John Canemaker to the show to talk about Disney Legend Mary Blair and the exhibit opening this week at the Walt Disney Family Museum called “Magic, Color, Flair – The World of Mary Blair.” The exhibit, which is curated by Canemaker, has been eagerly anticipated for nearly a year, and Canemaker gives us an exclusive sneak preview of the show as well as information about his two new books about Mary Blair, one a re-release and one a brand new catalog. – and more!

Direct Link | iTunes Link

DoomBuggies Spook Show #7: Fear on film; camera operator Craig Fikse
As the start of an intermittent series on the nature of fear, this episode of the DoomBuggies Spook Show deals with the nature of fear, and how and why we, as human beings, enjoy and/or abhor being scared. We interview camera operator Craig Fikse, who has experience filming series like American Horror Story and films like Van Helsing, The Invasion, and The Ring 2. – and more.

Direct Link

Top Stories

MiceChat Newsletter

Berry Stand hinted to be coming back
From a post on Facebook, looks like this once icon in Knott’s Berry Farm will return in all its glory in the near future!

Bill may ban SeaWorld San Diego from using Orcas
A California state legislator is proposing to ban the captivity of killer whales for entertainment at SeaWorld in the wake of CNN’s controversial documentary.

Nice little write up about the Mary Blair exhibit at the WDFM
OogieBoogie saw this article this morning on San Francisco Gate that focuses on her uniquely famous artwork and history. 

Other Theme Parks


The world famous MiceChat Gumball Rally will be rolling your way the first Saturday in May. Lots of fun and surprises are in store. Join the info list now so you won’t miss out on early discounted registration (just after the first of the year). Last year’s event sold out in record time with over 100 names on the waiting list. Don’t end out shut out of the best fan event of the year, add your name to the list HERE and we’ll notify you when tickets go on sale.


Featured Columns
MiceChat Newsletter

Universal Orlando Update – Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Resort Update
Here we are back at the Universal Orlando Resort for a check on their progress as they prepare to open massive new projects in time for summer.

A Nerdy Visit to the Top of the World Lounge
I covered the early history of the Top of the World at the Contemporary Resort in an previous article. It was an example of providing nighttime entertainment at a time when the Magic Kingdom.

SeaWorld San Diego Gets Ready to Celebrate 50 Years
Welcome to a very special update from SeaWorld San Diego as they head towards their fiftieth anniversary kickoff next week! New Entrance / Explorer’s Reef.

Disney Cast Blast: Time Bandits
Time Bandits…you thawing out yet? This week let’s take a trip through time. Some of these stories you may have heard similar versions of, but they still seem to keep repeating themselves.

SeaWorld San Antonio Update – Aquatica’s New Aviary
Recently, Erin (a Co-host on the Unofficial SeaWorld Podcast) was able to travel to San Antonio to visit SeaWorld and check out the progress on the new Aviary being added to the Aquatica park.

The CG Story by Christopher Finch
The CG Story: Computer-Generated Animation and Special Effects by Christopher Finch was released in December 2013. Christopher Finch is a familiar name to most Disney fans.

MiceChat Newsletter

In the Parks – Alice, Captain America and Big Thunder
Howdy folks, it’s time for In the Parks featuring news from Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.  We have plenty to share with you as we take you through the latest happenings at the resort.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Officially Underway
Spring has sprung at the Walt Disney World Resort! This week is all about the start of the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, and we’ve got about 70 photos of it for you.

A visit to “Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives”
“Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives” is the headline special exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, from October 16, 2013 to May 4, 2014.

Walt Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations
I don’t know about you, but half the time I barely know what I want for dinner at noon.  However, when planning a trip to Walt Disney World, I have to know what I want.

The Monsanto House of the Future Story
Join us for a classic SAMLAND story about Disney’s all-plastic house. The Monsanto House of the Future is an enduring memory.

Design: Those Were The Times No. 25 – Garner Holt Student Enrichment
Today’s Wheel of Years has stopped at 2014, so here we go. The DESIGN: Those Were The Times story No. 25 published in MiceChat January 8, 2014 told of the transition of Disney’s themed manufacturing operation.


The MiceEars Crew and MiceChat Disney News Club put a lot of time and effort into making these Round-Ups happen.Here are the members:Your Editor: CakvalaSC and the
MiceEars Crew:  Aladdin, Yoyoflamingo, Trekkie Dad, DLandFansAZ, RegionsBeyond,  Fishbulb & Dustysage.

We hope to see you online again soon, Dusty and the amazing MiceChat crew!

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The MiceEars Crew can be e-mailed at: [email protected] if you have questions for Anthony our Editor he can be e-mailed at: [email protected]