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Orlando Parkhopper

Legal Cheese, Extra Magic Hour Changes, ESPN Weekend, Kevin's Telephoto Adventures

Rating: 4 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 02-20-2011 at 07:56 PM



Fantasyland construction is creeping along, a family sues Walt Disney World for some "hot cheese", sports fans are about to descend on Disney's Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom is going to be a little more peaceful at night. While other parts of the world are still wearing their parkas, Florida's humidity is starting to grow a little more every day, but that doesn't stop theme park goers from enjoying themselves. Our resident team of theme park reporters has lots of interesting photos and news items to share with you this week!


MAGIC KINGDOM:


FANTASYLAND:

While the work outside The Little Mermaid attraction and the Be Our Guest restaurant might seem like it's not going anywhere, there are signs of big things going on inside. Recently, the Walt Disney Company filed permits to add showsets to both. So, the inside is being worked on as we speak!

Be Our Guest showset install.
The Little Mermaid showset install.
Rockwork install interior and exterior.

But there are a few things going on outside....


Ariel's Undersea Adventure has a spire.


Scuttle? Is that you?


The Be Our Guest building.


Belle's area, as seen from the restrooms.


Magic, Memories, and You... close up.

ADVENTURELAND:


The Enchanted Tiki Room sign has been replaced with a more permanent message.

FRONTIERLAND:


No Photoshop used... You just have to have crack timing while riding the riverboat!


H. Abiff didn't ring a bell, but apparently he's a fictional character... in a freemasonry play! Why did the Imagineers plant a Masonic inside joke on this pier at the backside of Big Thunder? Anyone know?


The Indian Village is still there, but the spiel from the train no longer references Pocahontas.

LIBERTY SQUARE:


Man, was it ever busy on President's Day weekend.


The Mansion's interactive queue is getting a roof (around only part of it?)


Recently WDW has been sending out CMs with signs (or flags) to mark the end of the line when it's so crowded that the lines stretch into the street. This is especially frequent at the PeopleMover, too. It's good customer service!

MAIN STREET:


A new cart near the Tomorrowland entrance: $7.75 sausage sandwich with sauerkraut; $5.00 hot dog.

TOMORROWLAND:


This painting hangs in the last scene of Carousel of Progress. Is it just me, or do you also see Sorcerer Mickey directing the stars here, done impressionistically?


A recently-filed lawsuit about nacho cheese sauce supposedly too hot at Disney has not led to empty containers. The cheese is still there for self-service! (Good for you, Disney!)

Discussion on this lawsuit is going on in our forums! Weigh in on this rather "hot topic." What? Too cheesy? I promise the jokes will only get worse. Disney Nacho Cheese Lawsuit: Family of 4yr old Sues Over Burns

DISNEY'S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS:


ESPN The Weekend 2011
March 3 - 6
ESPN Weekend kicks off in March with a unique experience for sports fans. Live telecasts, famous athletes, sports commentators and an interactive sports zone is just some of the fun they have in store. There's even an opportunity to watch a Q&A session with one of your favorite athletes!*
ESPN The Weekend 2011

Event Schedule

March 3:
  • 6am - 10am - Mike and Mike in the Morning
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • 10am - 12pm - First Take
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • 10am - 2pm - The Herd with Colin Cowherd
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • 1:05 pm - Atlanta Braves Spring Training Game vs Detroit Tigers
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • 4pm - 4:30pm - NFL Live
    Disney's Hollywood Studios

March 4:
  • 6am - 10am - Mike and Mike in the Morning
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Throughout the day - Motorcades with Athletes and Characters
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Throughout the day - Interactive Sports Zone
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Throughout the day - Inside ESPN live athlete Q&A sessions
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Throughout the day - Stump the Schwab: All-Star Game
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • 10am - 12pm - First Take
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • 10am - 2pm - The Herd with Colin Cowherd
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • 1:05 pm - Atlanta Braves Spring Training Game vs Toronto Blue Jays
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • 3:30pm - 4:00pm - Baseball Tonight
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • 4pm - 4:30pm - NFL Live
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • 8pm - 11pm - ESPN Friday Night Fights
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

March 5:
  • 7am - The Champion 5K at Dicks Sporting Goods Presents ESPN The Weekend
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • 1:05pm - Atlanta Braves Spring Training Game vs N.Y. Mets
    ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Throughout the day - Motorcades with Athletes and Characters
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Throughout the day - Inside ESPN live athlete Q&A sessions
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Throughout the day - Stump the Schwab: All-Star Game
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Throughout the day - Interactive Sports Zone
    Disney's Hollywood Studios

March 6:
  • Throughout the day - Motorcades with Athletes and Characters
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Throughout the day - Inside ESPN live athlete Q&A sessions
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Throughout the day - Interactive Sports Zone
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Throughout the day - Stump the Schwab: All-Star Game
    Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • 4pm - 6pm - Baseball Tonight
    Disney's Hollywood Studios


*Please note that events are being held at both Disney's Hollywood Studios and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM:

"Let's The Memories Begin" banners now grace the entrance to Animal Kingdom.





Micechatter Alert!! This week will be the last extra magic evening in Animal Kingdom for the foreseeable future. Starting next week, two extra magic mornings will be available but none have been scheduled for the evening hours. This is due to the low guest attendance in the evenings and a greater increase in attendance during the mornings.




Lenses make all the difference in the world. I remain impressed with point-and-click cameras; ever since my wife's Canon G2, many of these cameras out-do my low-end SLR (a digital Rebel, for the record). But I do love lenses. I can switch to low-light, or wide angle, or "fake" fisheye lenses. But my telephoto lens broke about two years ago; it just stopped being in focus when extended. I think I must have dropped it and damaged the glass inside, or knocked it out of alignment or something.

This weekend, I finally replaced it (this time with a Canon 55-250mm lens; 4-5.6 IS). I missed having the telephoto option, and immediately ran out to take pics from weird angles.


Can you place this robotic actress?


How about this totem pole?

I think it's the "vision" part that I enjoy the most. Without a telephoto lens, you always SEE the parks the same way. Once you get a telephoto, you can get an angle that is not possible otherwise.


If you take a pic of this marquee from ground level, it looks different. This shot was taken from the upstairs "bridge" of Columbia Harbour House.

And new angles means things get refreshed for the person doing the viewing. There's always more to see and more to discover - which is turning out to be my unofficial mantra, I guess.

There's a whole world of photography to discover. I have no illusions about my amateurish stabs at capturing the world around me. But that, I feel, is part of the challenge. And who doesn't love a challenge?



UNIVERSAL STUDIOS MARDI GRAS:

Every Saturday and select nights through April 23rd, catch a live concert by some of the biggest names in music, our most spectacular parade ever, colorful street performers, authentic Cajun food, beads by the handful and more.

Party in the streets as the sounds of The Big Easy fill the air of Universal Orlando® Resort. It's Beads, Bands and Good Times for everyone - Only at Universal Studios® Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando


  • Feb 26 - Pitbull
  • March 6 - Lynyrd Skynrd
  • March 12 - Foreigner
  • March 18 - Neon Trees
  • March 19 - The Roots
  • March 25 - OneRepublic
  • March 26 - Blake Shelton
  • April 1 - Sean Kinston
  • April 2 - Ne-Yo
  • April 9 - Lifehouse
  • April 16 - The Beach Boys
  • April 23 - Thirty Seconds to Mars


This weekend the B52's were the headlining band and the parade was a festive treat for the senses!
















A video of the entire 2011 Mardi Gras Parade. The theme is the 4 elements, earth, air, fire, and water.


The B-52s on stage


I will say this, the Rocket at Night shooting above the stage like a shooting star, does add a lot.


Universal has made great improvements over the years to make the concert experience at Universal more enjoyable.




A cover band playing at CityWalk



If you haven't done Mardi Gras at Universal Studios, I cannot recommend it enough! It is included with your daily admission, and there are lots of great concerts still to come!



On Saturday, SeaWorld Orlando hosted Willie Nelson for their Bands, Brew and BBQ event, when you got inside the park you were greeted with this sign.













The Fried Gator and the Parmesan Kettle Fries, this was by far the BEST gator I have ever had! Literally amazing!






Welcome to Sunny Florida!


Checkout the parking lot!


Manta, Atlantis, Kraken, and Aquatica



Skyride is closed until April 22. Carousel closed until March 11. Montu is closed for a few weeks for annual maintenance and is scheduled to reopen February 26th.


Bands Brew & BBQ area photos (Gwazi Park):






The tiger topiary at Jungala is getting new foilage.


The new Serengeti Outpost tour sign up kiosk is very nicely themed.


Cheetah Hunt/Cheetah Run construction progress. The coaster is coming along nicely, only about 400 more feet of track still needs to go up and they just announced that the attraction will hold it's grand opening on Memorial Day Weekend!


The jump over the Skyride still needs to be tracked.


Load station progress.


Looks like the theming of this area is going to be awesome.




Random animal shots:








Real Music Series (remaining dates):
Real Music Series at Busch Gardens Tampa

  • Feb 23-26 - Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone
  • March 2-5 - The 5th Dimension
  • March 9-12 - The Osmond Brothers
  • March 16-19 - Tony Orlando
  • March 23-26 - Charo

For the Real Music Series, shows are included with park admission, but you have to have a complimentary ticket to get in (tickets can be obtained at the Stanleyville Theater, which is where the shows are. There are 3 shows each day).

Bands, Brews & BBQ (remaining dates):
Bands Brew and BBQ at Busch Gardens Tampa

  • Feb 27 - The Commodores & The Pointer Sisters
  • March 6 - Travis Tritt & The Charlie Daniels Band

The concerts start at 5:00pm and are included with park admission, but if you want to sit close, you need to purchase a VIP ticket for $27.95.

Viva la Musica Festival:
Viva la Musica Festival and Live Concert Busch Gardens

  • March 13 - Elvis Crespo
  • March 20 - Jose Alberto "El Canario"
  • March 27 - Angel & Khriz
  • April 3 - Ismael Miranda



Discovery Cove
Feb 1 - 28 - Orlando, FL
Discovery Cove is offering unique deals for the month of February to help get the perfect gift for Valentine's Day. With three different add-on packages available, ranging in price from $74 to $296, it just might be the perfect gift you're looking for.
Special Valentines Day Packages

Bay Area Renaissance Festival
Feb 26 - Apr 17
- Tampa, FL
Grab a turkey leg, put on your best corset and take in a joust. There is a lot of fun to be had at the Annual Bay Area Renaissance Festival. Get dirty with the Filthy Rotten Scoundrels and then clean yourself up with the Washer Well Wenches. Located on the MOSI grounds in Tampa, off Fowler Ave, there is something for everyone in what promises to be a day of fun and merriment. Huzzah!!
Bay Area Renaissance Festival

Strawberry Festival
March 3 - 13 - Plant City, FL
Held in Plant City, the Strawberry Festival is quite a bit closer than Tampa to Walt Disney World - just a few exits up I-4. This year, it's open from March 3-13. It's like the fair (and has rides, too), but it's smaller in scale. Oh, and it has a bazillion strawberry-affiliated food items, of course.
The Florida Strawberry Festival

Great American Pie Festival
April 9 - 10 - Celebration, FL
$10 adults, $5 kids. All you can eat and drink.
Great American Pie Festival

PAWS Mount Dora
Every second Sunday of the month! - Mount Dora, FL
PAWS Mount Dora is held the second Sunday of any given month and is designed to promote the wonderful businesses in Mount Dora's humble downtown. On this Sunday, the majority of stores become "dog-friendly", and they permit your four legged colleague to walk around and browse with you. And this being Florida, most restaurants have patios so they are permitted at lunch as well! The event lasts from 11am-3pm.
PAWS for Mount Dora

Mount Dora is considered a suburb outside of Orlando, but if you were to visit, you'd see it is almost a different world from the swirling spectatcle of the Parks nearby. A forty-five minute drive northwest of Disney World, Mount Dora was a tourist place long before 1971. Cottages are available for rent next to the various lakes nearby. It's the kind of town where adjectives like "quaint," "cozy," and "sleepy" were created.

During February's PAWS, Micechat asked Penelope and Lady to shoulder the burden of reporting. Here's what they found:

First off, if you walk by the Lake Dora, be aware of the 'gators! Though, Penelope is cool enough to not be scared. Roobear? Not so much-


It costs one dollar, as a donation, to participate. You sign in and get to "sniff out" specific stores. Once you find them, they give you a stamp. Four stamps means you can enter the pet-friendly raffle at the end of your tour!


Lady inspects a Wine Shop.


Penelope and Lady after lunch on the patio of a local bistro


One of the sponsors of the event is the Lake County Humane Shelter. Future family members are available for adoption.


The big finale, the raffle for pet-specific prizes!


To keep the locals driving by, various activities circle downtown Mount Dora, and the plan works. One is the famed Art Festival, held this year the weekend of February 5th and 6th on the main streets of this tiny hamlet. Normally, the city holds about 10,000; this event increases that count to 300,000.









Don't forget to check out the other areas of MiceChat that offer news, updates and photos about the other Disney Parks around the World!

  • Dateline Disneyland which is packed with great news and photos from the Disneyland Resort.
  • Weekend Update Offers a world of Disney theme parks as well as other sights and landmarks!
  • In The Parks offers news, updates and tips from Disneyland and other Southern California offerings.
  • And you'll always find something of interest on the forums or MiceAge!


Like taking photos? Visit the parks often? We want your photos! Contribute to the Orlando Parkhopper by emailing [email protected] with your submissions. We welcome volunteers for single contributions as well as permanent "Parkhopper" staff.

Thanks to our fantastic and talented crew of writers, photographers and news contributors who work hard every week to bring you the latest information available: Aimster, Kevin Yee, King Eric, Professor Brainard, SummerinFL, SparkInTheDark and RooBear!


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Comments

  1. Melonballer's Avatar
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    Great update. It is nice to see Aimster taking care of the Busch Gardens section.
  2. yoyoflamingo's Avatar
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    Kevin, that Carousel of Progress Sorcerer Mickey painting I've seen for quite some time. It's listed in the Hidden Mickey book series and it's easier to spot from a specific angle when the stage first rotates around.

    Love the Parkhopper!
  3. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Nice, Now I know some more things outside of the WDW. Also, love the Parkhopper!


    Timekeeper
  4. JerrodDRagon's Avatar
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    Great Update! Love seeing WDW and Disneyland updates weekly now.
  5. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    Great shot of Splash Mountain behind Big Thunder's Load Building. Thought that Thunder God had moved things around a bit.
  6. SpectroMan's Avatar
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    Great closeup shot of the teenage daughter from CoP! (But, can someone please tell the Magic Kingdom that the volume in that attraction is so low, you need a hearing aid to pick up all the dialogue from the side rotating scenes? sheesh)
  7. Maverick's Avatar
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    Great shot of Big Thunder Splash Mountain
  8. KingEric's Avatar
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    Yeah I love the shot of Big Thunder and Splash!
  9. DisneyDude12's Avatar
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    Great shots, and nice coverage. Keep it up!
  10. MJM's Avatar
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    RooBear - I really need to get back to Mt. Dora again. It's such a quaint and lovely town. Didn't know about PAWS.

    Aimster - Haven't been to BG in ages, so it's nice to see pics. My family is already talking about Cheetah Run, so I foresee a visit in the not-to-distant future.

    KingEric - Love your coverage of Universal and SeaWorld. Since there are so many folks who cover WDW, if I only knew how to submit pictures for this column, I would help you cover Univ and SW.

    Kevin - seems like FL is progressing nicely.