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Orlando Parkhopper

Magic Kingdom Fantasyland Progress, Meet Us In The Park, Busch Gardens Discounts

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by , 09-19-2011 at 09:05 PM


Orlando Parkhopper takes you to Disney World and beyond to bring you the latest theme park news. This week finds the Fantasyland expansion project going full steam ahead. We can easily spy Beast's Castle, Gaston's Tavern, Eric's Castle, but no sign of the Seven Dwarfs mine. While we're at the Magic Kingdom, we'll take a look at the Halloween decorations for Mickey's Not-so-scary Halloween Party and check up on a few refurbishments around the park. We then hop over to the Studios for a trip to the 50's Prime time cafe and a ride on Rock and Roller Coaster and trim things up with information about the Halloween events at Busch Gardens, a meet-up at Universal HHN and additional Florida offerings. It's a wild update this week, so hang on tight.



First stop this week is Disney World, which turns 40 years old on October 1st. Sadly, the company has barely acknowledged this milestone. A bit of merchandise, a pin event, but no major marketing promotions, new E-Tickets or even a television special. Too late for the big stuff now, but hopefully the parks will still find a way to mark the occasion

by Kevin Yee

Want to meet up with other Disney fans while at Disney World? Several of the Orlando Parkhopper team members are part of a group that meets every weekend. Join the public Facebook group and get notified of events (the locations are different every time). Drop by to visit the "attraction of the day" with us. Newcomers are welcome!

Saturday, September 24th, we will meet at the Main Street Train Station (upstairs, indoors) at 7pm for the 8:00 Main Street Electrical Parade. For those interested, we'll also meet earlier in the day (2pm at the same location, in case you want to hang out all day with us!)

Join our facebook group or check back here again next week for information on our WDW 40th anniversary meet!

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MAGIC KINGDOM FANTASYLAND CONSTRUCTION AND REFURBISHMENT UPDATE:
BY Miles Bresin:























MAGIC KINGDOM REFURBISHMENT UPDATES:
While Walt Disney World does deserve much of the flack it gets for a lack of upkeep, they are making steps in the right direction. Here are a few shots of the refurbishment going on around the park. Let's hope this keeps up at a pace faster than the wear and tear.


Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse is closed for refurbishment.


The right side entry tunnel has been completed and now the construction has moved to the left side!


The entrance to the People Mover is getting an update!

MAGIC KINGDOM HALLOWEEN UPDATE:
BY Miles Bresin:
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party started this week. Do you have YOUR tickets yet? Many nights sell out well in advance. It's always a good idea to buy your tickets as early as you can.





Ghost Mickey is here to serve as a versatile tool - a bucket for popcorn, a souvenir, and last but not least, a place to store all that wonderful candy!


All those functions for the low price of $12.00

Of course, Halloween is now firmly in charge of the park.




Mickey, Minnie, and Duffy dressed for the occasion.




And the park looks great














KEVIN'S CORNER
video by Kevin Yee

Kevin has posted another video update from the parks. It's a great way to catch up on Walt Disney World in a short amount of time.



- Painted lines followed by trams at the TTC are now blue, not white (the world's smallest detail!)
- "Power Pack" kids meals for $5.49 (same price as regular kid meals) has five snacks plus milk, and no main entrée. A PB&J is thus "valued" at 3 snacks.
- Burrito-dog and pulled pork hot dog gourmet entrees ($8) at Fairfax Fare are flavorful and quite large, with a meaty hot dog.
- Toluca Legs turkey stand unoccupied; legs now on sale up at Fairfax Fare
- Giant billboard of Indy's face missing at the Stunt Adventure
- Characters are missing from the front of Toy Story Pizza Planet
- Osborne Lights are being installed overnight
- The LMA and Backlot tour area is dead, dead, dead at night. One hour before park closing, the shop and restaurant are closed and deserted. There is no soul anywhere.
- Narnia walkthrough is finally (mercifully?) closed
- On Great Movie Ride, the gangster car stays stuck in the 'out' position. The side alien stays standing up (instead of crouched down) until his moment comes.
- The Lion King flower and garden topiaries are at DAK to announce Lion King 3D release in theaters
- One side (the left) of Primeval Whirl has reopened. The other side is still boarded up.
- Baby siamang born last week (no cute photo, alas)
- Baby gorilla born a year ago is still small and cute
- A second covering for outdoor tables has appeared at Yak and Yeti outdoor dining
- Outdoor Foods (ODF) is now called Outdoor Vending (ODV) -- the same name Disneyland has used for decades
- Orange flags along Osceola Parkway mark where a new offramp will be built soon to get direct access to DHS from this street (they are planning to close the current back entrance)
- Peeling signs are worse than ever, but some have been replaced. I think.
- Mickey-Ghost (Mickey in a ghost costume, holding a pumpkin trick or treat basket) is on sale as a popcorn tin ($12) or as an actual trick or treat bucket.
- Park-specific souvenir mugs are at many stores now. $4.89.
- Restaurantosaurus has a Shrimp Po Boy ($10) on the menu now.
- Park-specific Birnbaum official guides are now on sale in many parks.
- Legoland preview from outside the main gates (photos)


By Terry Tiger - Article 7


LUNCH AT 50'S PRIME TIME
Welcome to Disney Hollywood Studios, let's have lunch. 50's Prime Time Café serves classic American comfort food while you watch old sitcom clips on Black & White TV sets from the comfort of your very own kitchenette. The restaurant sits across from Echo Lake's Gertie the Dinosaur. Adjoining the restaurant is a full-service bar called The Tune-In Lounge. This is one restaurant where you really should make an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) as it is quite often booked solid.





Step back in time as you are welcomed into "Mom's" family and feel at home in her kitchenette. But Mom (or Uncle Bob) expects you to mind your manners, so don't be surprised if you are told to keep your elbows off the table. It's all part of the old-fashioned fun and gentle ribbing that's served up by the wait-staff along with the food.



The 50's Prime Time Café menu includes old-fashioned favorites like fried chicken, meatloaf and pot roast, just like "Mom" used to make. And the Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake is to die for! Beer, Wine, and Cocktails are also available here from the adjoining Tune-In Lounge Bar. Even if you are too full or never order dessert, at least check out the dessert menu because it is displayed on vintage 3D viewmaster toys!



Amid the 1950's knick-knacks displayed around formica and vinyl booths and tables to the vintage Black & White TVs all over the place, this is one restaurant experience you will never forget!

We'd like to feature one of Disney World's most popular attractions today. Every once in a while, we focus our lenses on an aspect of the parks which might be well known and in some cases not.

Rockin' Roller Coaster

Many people think of Disney's Hollywood Studios as Disney's "thrill park." Of course that term is relative, as there are relatively few thrill rides, but two of the headliners of the park, and arguably all of Walt Disney World, are located next to each other at the end of Sunset Boulevard - the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Rock N Roller Coaster.

Let's ignore the fact that the theme, a modern recording studio, stands in stark contrast to the 1930's Hollywood atmosphere everywhere around the attraction. Let's also forget about the cheap plywood sets, and the cheesy pre-show. On its own, The Rock N Roller Coaster is hard to miss with its oversized red guitar and iconic archway with overturned car. What makes the ride stand out is the launch and the music. True, Disney has used both elements before, but nowhere more effectively than here. The countdown begins, the music pulses through your body and then you blast off. The scenery might be fake, but the adrenaline is real.








The exterior theme and queue are pretty lackluster


A basic switchback to get into the show building.


Once inside the show really begins and the theming improves dramatically. The ceiling in the entry way



After waiting in the queue outside and winding into the "Recording Studio", visitors are guided into a pre show. The idea is that you are in the recording studio with Aerosmith and they decide to invite you to their concert that evening. This is arguably one of the worst pre-shows in any Disney park. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to ride without being subjected to it. Believe us, we've tried.



The bad pre-show, setting up the idea that you are getting into a "Super-Stretch" limo to join the band at their next concert. You are then guided out the "Back Door" into the ally behind the recording studio to board your limo. Strapped in, ready to go, your limo makes a sharp left and prepares to get on the Hollywood freeways, A scary thought in itself. The countdown starts, the motor revs and soon you are shot into darkness at blinding speed through multiple inversions, twists and turns. All the while Aerosmith's driving rock and roll blast through the state of the art speaker system in the ride vehicles.






VOOSH! You are off.





















After your whirlwind tour through Hollywood landmarks, you are dropped off at the concert. The concert also happens to be doubling as a gift shop where you can buy as much Aerosmith paraphernalia as your rock and roll heart desires.

This ride is worth about a 20 minute stand-by. But the savvy park hopper would grab a FastPass and spend the wait time in the far more themed, much cooler queue for Tower of Terror to pass the time. It's certainly a fun ride but we'd love to see an update which brings it more in line with the theme of the street and fixes the pre-show problems.

At least, that's how Fishbulb see's it. What do you think?


By Aimster & SummerinFL

Busch Gardens Tampa is giving back to Passport Members with special deals each week during Howl-O-Scream this year. There is a new deal starting on September 23rd with a free dessert with the purchase of an entrée at Zagora Cafe, Desert Grill or Zambia Smokehouse. Other deals are double your discount at the Shop of Horrors on select merchandise, or for $20, get two beer yards! A nice way for Busch Gardens Tampa to say thank you to all their loyal Passport Members!




Also, both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Passport Members can experience Freaky Preview on September 23 & 24 for $27.99 for you and your friends when purchased in advance. Platinum Passport Members get in FREE! Passport Members can also experience Howl-O-Scream for only $32.99 Sept. 29 - Oct. 29, a $45 savings with advance purchase.

This year, Passport members can bring a friend for only $20 with your advance purchase of $32.99 on Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 1. Passport member advance purchase of $32.99 required to receive $20 offer. Offer valid only Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 1. To purchase your Passport Member discounted tickets, click here or call 888-800-5447.

Check out the special offers lineup below:


Sept. 23 & 24 – Free dessert with the purchase of an entrée at Zagora Cafe, Desert Grill or Zambia Smokehouse (Free items must be redeemed at time of purchase).

Sept. 29, 30 & Oct. 1 – Double your discount at our Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors (20% discount on select merchandise).

Oct. 6, 7 & 8 – Two for $20 Beer Yards (valid at all selling locations throughout Howl-O-Scream. Not valid with any other offer. Must show valid proof of age)

Oct. 13, 14 & 15 – Double your discount at our Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors (20% discount on select merchandise).

Oct. 20, 21 & 22 – Two for $20 Beer Yards (valid at all selling locations throughout Howl-O-Scream. Not valid with any other offer. Must show valid proof of age)

Oct. 27, 28, 29 - Free dessert with the purchase of an entrée at Zagora Cafe, Desert Grill or Zambia Smokehouse (Free items must be redeemed at time of purchase).

Offers only valid on select dates. Must show valid Passport. Not valid with any other offers.


By Fishbulb

HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS:
If you are looking for a frightfully good time with fellow MiceChatters in the Orlando area, why don't you join us at Universal Orlando'c Halloween Horror Nights. We will begin the evening with dinner during the crossover time and then venture out into the thick fogy streets for some of the best haunted houses and attractions on the planet.


Join the MiceChat crew at Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights for a night of scary fun.
Visit this thread to learn more. We've been dying to see you!



Where the Past Meets the Future: The Art of Fay Grajower
Now through September 28th - Florida Holocaust Museum - St. Petersburg, FL

Boston artist, Fay Grajower, provides insight to viewers about the second generation of Holocaust survivors through her art. The artist uses her acquired memories of her mother’s and siblings’ experiences to work through issues of the past. Grajower commonly uses symbols and metaphors in her colorful, mixed-media artworks.

Women of Ybor: 125 Years of Influence
Now through October - Ybor City Museum - Ybor City, FL

A new exhibit honoring the amzing contributions women have made to Ybor City throughout its 125-year history is on display at the Ybor City Museum State Park. History is often told from a male perspective, while the equally-important female story often goes untold. This exhibit seeks to tell that story by exploring the role some of Ybor's earliest women had in shaping the town, as well as the positions women would hold as Ybor's history unfolded. You will learn of womens' contributions to almost every aspect of the community, including business, education, medicine, the arts, and civic life. 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!

ORLANDO FUN SPOT TO OFFER ANNUAL PASS (MAYBE)
By Aimster

Would you be willing to pay for an annual pass to the Orlando Fun Spot, which would give you year-round access to their attractions?

The Orlando Fun Spot is currently running an online survey (Fun Spot Annual Pass Survey) to see how much interest there is in the idea. The price points being considered appear to be as follows:

• Single Park Unlimited Weekday Pass - $79.95
• Unlimited Annual Pass - $119.95
• Two Park Unlimited Weekday Pass - $119.95
• Unlimited Two Park Pass - $159.95

The survey also hints at a discount on passes purchased before December 24, 2011.





Where are the Parkhoppers this week? It's up to you to decipher the picture below and see if you can find us. We'll provide a partial image of a photo and it will be your job to guess where you think we're hiding! The 1st person to guess correctly will have their name featured in next week's game listed along side the correct answer. Good luck!!






  • MiceTube - Introducing MiceChat's new channel on YouTube. Kevin Yee and MiceChat Sarah have been uploading entertaining videos weekly, along with many other of your MiceAge and MiceChat favorites.
  • INTRODUCING: From the Mouth of the Mouse, a fantastic new column which brings you the world of Disney from the cast members who make the magic




  • 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.
  • SAMLAND - Your weekly look at some interesting tales from Disney history.
  • MiceDeals - We are just about to launch a brand new daily deals site for Disney and theme park fans. Every day a different deal. You won't want to miss out on these great deals for Orlando and Anaheim, sign up for the daily deal emails today!
  • VACATIONEERING presented by Fairy Godmother Travel
  • And you'll always find something of interest on the forums or MiceAge!



Want to meet up with other Disney fans while at Disney World? Several of the Orlando Parkhopper team members are part of a group that meets every weekend. Join the public Facebook group and get notified of events (the locations are different every time). Drop by to visit the "attraction of the day" with us. Newcomers are welcome!

Saturday, September 24th, we will meet at the Main Street Train Station (upstairs, indoors) at 7pm for the 8:00 Main Street Electrical Parade. For those interested, we'll also meet earlier in the day (2pm at the same location, in case you want to hang out all day with us!)






Show us you appreciate this column by sharing this page with your friends!

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. This week's team included:



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Comments

  1. PeaJay18's Avatar
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    Great update, as usual!
    Can't wait for my visit in a month's time.

    I'd argue that the RnRc pre-show in Paris is worse than the WDW one.
    At least in WDW there's a story to be communicated - you're invited by the band to join them at a concert and they've organised a car for you.
    In Paris you are ushered into the recording studio so the band can tell you that , er, they've invented an roller-coaster.
    Lame, but quicker than WDWs.
  2. Maverick's Avatar
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    Fabulous update as always, I laughed I cried, two thumbs up!

    On the other hand I thought you were a little harsh on RnR. I don't think the preshow is nearly as bad as you think. I also believe the ride as a whole is worth way more than a 20 min wait.

    Hidden Parkhopper: The Great Movie Ride
  3. Terrytiger's Avatar
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    This was just posted this morning on the Disney Parks blog. It would've been a great item for this update:
    Attention foolish mortals, we’re now taking RSVPs for our first-ever “Trick or Meet-Up” at the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s happening on the night of September 29, 2011, at Magic Kingdom Park just after the park closes to the public.

    Meet-up attendees will be treated to special tours of The Haunted Mansion attraction queue hosted by Walt Disney Imagineers as well as some unique experiences on The Haunted Mansion attraction itself. There will be ghoulish photo opportunities and of course, a few other surprises.
    The Disney Parks Blog team will be wearing their best Halloween costumes and it’d be great if you did too.
    Our meet-up begins at 9:00 p.m. on September 29 and ends at 11:59 p.m. – a stroke before midnight. Please note that attendance is limited so sign up now.
    To attend, RSVP to [email protected] and follow these directions carefully:
    • All guests who RSVP for the event must be 18 years or older, but your guest does not need to be 18. You can only bring one guest.
    • Valid RSVPs must include 1) “Trick or Meet-Up RSVP” in the subject line and 2) your name in the body of the email. All RSVPs will be for the person who responds plus one guest.
    • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
    We will send an e-mail to those whose valid RSVPs are received by us before we reach the planned capacity to confirm their attendance for the September 29 event. Depending on your e-mail settings, you may not receive the confirmation e-mail, so we recommend that you also check the list of attendees on the Disney Parks Blog this week. We will give an update at the top of this post that will include a link to the list of names of all confirmed attendees. If you do not receive an e-mail from us confirming your reservation and your name does not appear on the list of attendees, your RSVP was not accepted.
    Please note the event is subject to change or cancellation.
  4. Jerm's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great update! I love getting news from the World, but just one request...while we all love playing with settings on our cameras and playing in photo shop I think that photos of the parks here don't need to be all fancy. The pictures with the extra effects were the ones I seemed to not want to look at.

    Also RnRc pre show is not bad at all, but how could you guys leave out the marble door? That has to be one of the most iconic things about the attraction!
  5. Coheteboy's Avatar
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    Great update but woweee my eyes are hurting on the over-saturated shots.
  6. jcruise86's Avatar
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    Thank you, Kevin!


    The very top two of the Beast's castle looks ugly because the top tower is disproportionally long. I'm guessing that it was designed by the same charming, incompetent imagineer who camp up with Ariel's giant, ice cream swirl hair in DCA's Little Mermaid ride, and Woody's oversized & out-of-place head in Disneyland's "It's a Small World."

    Also, the Beast's castle is a little creepy. I know it's just a story, but if you have a young daughter do you want to teach her that even though HE WOULDN'T LET HER LEAVE THE PROPERTY, it's OK that she later dated him because he really changed. (I love the movie, by the way--I just discuss it with my daughter afterwards.)

    But to accentuate the positive, Kevin, your photos made me want to visit WDW. So thanks again!
    Updated 09-20-2011 at 06:42 PM by jcruise86
  7. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    I sincerely hope while the Tree House is down for refurbishment, the Robinson family is not vacated for Tarzan. If Disney ever remakes the Swiss Family Robinson movie as has been mentioned, Tarzan would have to relocate to Animal Kingdom. Before Tarzan moved into Disneyland's Treehouse, Imagineer's were talking about upgrades to the Treehouse based on the end of the original movie and a possible sequal to the movie. That would be real Adventurelandish. PD
  8. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    Nice update.


    Timekeeper