Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Dining Book is here!

We're celebrating around here. New baby, of course, but also a new Disney book, back today from the printer. Sales can commence!

Buy it from Amazon: The Unofficial Dining Guide to Walt Disney World 2007: Current Menus and Prices for All Restaurants at the Parks and Hotels

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sample of my new WDW menu book now online

I've created a PDF sample of my new book, the Unofficial Dining Guide to Walt Disney World 2007, so that you can see how this book looks and how effective those indexes are when you're sitting there, hungry in a park with no idea what to eat or where.

The prices are current as of now, but this PDF is just meant as a sample and they won't be updated in the pdf going forward, just in the "real" book.

To buy the book, visit this page on Amazon. It comes out in about two weeks.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Laugh Floor preview - one fan's perspective

John Frost at TheDisneyBlog got to visit a completely impromptu practice run of the Laugh Floor last week. This is the show which replaces the Timekeeper, and is themed after the comedy routine done by the one-eyeball Monster. At least I think it is. I didn't read John's musings, since I prefer to be fully surprised by what I see, the first time I see it. But many folks like this kind of spoiler, so I thought I'd link to it:

The show isn't in normal preview mode - he got a one-time deal there, I think.

Video of Osborne DANCING lights

I found it interesting, and even neat to behold, but it lacks the rhythm and charm of the amateur effort seen elsewhere on youtube, such as

Hopefully they'll revise this as time goes on. Maybe even get it right in future years.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Soarin' Over Florida (fan film)

Here's a video assembled by a fan, using the Soarin' soundtrack and cutting together video of flight over Florida landmarks. Well-timed and well-done. Too bad it's not what we're really getting. That particular film hasn't been finished yet!

No Grinchmas this year

The Orlando Sentinel confirms: No Grinchmas this year at Universal.

That's a shame on one level; everyone likes the holiday mood. But it opens even wider the door for Disney to "own" Christmas if they so desire. All they need to do is really dress up their parks. More than the Osborne Lights. Where's the Winter Wonderland? Only Disney has the budget to pull this off and make it seem great.

Book review: "Utopia"

My wife discovered this 2003 volume in our local library. At first, I was completely uninterested. A thriller set in a theme park, I thought, big deal. But Lincoln Child's novel engaged me when it came to the descriptions of the theme park. Wow, do I want this place to exist in real life. But best of all, Child seems to know all of the tenents that made Disneyland great: the emphasis on immersion and theme, the trillions of minute details that are not merely extra cost, and so on. I don't know if Child is a Disney fan, but I can tell you that Disney fans will be fans of Child, too.

Buy Utopia from Amazon.

Cypress Gardens for free

This is amazing: if you hold an annual pass to any theme park, that gets you FREE admission to Cypress Gardens through the end of 2006:

Buescher also announced a pass exchange program, in which passholders from other parks can experience Cypress Gardens at no charge. Between now and December 24th, 2006, guests can present any other theme park’s valid 2006 pass and receive free admission to Cypress Gardens. And just like the season pass; guests can take advantage of the opportunity as many times as they want. They will also receive a $10 discount off any of the 2007 Passport options.

I've delayed hitting this park, but will definitely go explore it now. And, doubtless, spend money on the food. And possibly buy a regular annual pass, if the experience is any good. So in my case, their gamble may pay off.

Monday, November 06, 2006

"Tarzan Rocks" banners still around

Looks like they need to order new banners at Nemo The Musical. Tarzan Rocks is gone and won't be coming back. At least, as Rebekah noticed, they are faced "inward" and those on the path beyond won't notice unless they join the line.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sea World Anytime

I haven't been to SeaWorld in some while now, so I didn't notice this program until now, though it's been around since summer. From the SeaWorld website:

The SeaWorld Anytime offers the freedom and flexibility to come and go on your schedule at no extra charge; you can visit in the morning, hit the pool in the afternoon and come back tomorrow, or anytime during your stay! Vacation is your time. Make the most of it with a SeaWorld Anytime*. (*Valid six consecutive days from first visit.)

If there are no hidden strings, this appears to be a tremendous deal. If you are visiting Orlando and purchase just a one-day SeaWorld ticket, you can visit over and over (and over!), for as long or short as you want, almost up to a week. Is there any reason not to take them up on this offer?

(Well, I guess parking would have to be paid each time... but that's probably worth it)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Flash photo comparison

Digital cameras have changed life. Or, at least, changed the way vacation memories are captured.

Here's a flash photo of the new Tomb Raiders display in Epcot:

...and here's how the same photo might look if you turn off the flash and manage to hold still long enough for the longer exposure to finish:

The Evil Blue Eye

I made a Turkish friend in Germany a few years ago. He parted ways with me by giving me two blue eye representations: one a small glass one to sit in my coinpurse (there's an old superstition that says this brings financial luck); and a second, much larger one to hang in my closet at home (another superstition says this wards away bad luck). There's something racist about the Blue Eye warding away bad luck, but what are you going to do. I thus found it odd to see these blue eyes for sale in the Turkey booth at Epcot's Food and Wine festival:

Rainforest Diver

No news here, just a discovery I made: they apparently send a diver to clean those cylindrical tanks at Rainforest Cafe. Neat!

Rope Drop at DAK

For some reason, they let me in through Rainforest Cafe before the crowds at the main turnstiles, so I got to see some uncluttered walkways.

There's a rope drop just in front of the Tree of Life, complete with some of the Fab 5 on a truck, and Mickey himself rising out of the treescape ahead. It's a scripted show, and cute. Then, a "first family" is selected to lead the crowd toward Africa, following the aforementioned truck. A nice way to start the day.

LMA Finale

These days, the finale jump in Lights, Motors, Action looks like this:

But I seem to remember much more of a fireball. In fact, it once looked like this:

Assuming this isn't just a case of unfortunate timing in the photos, what has changed? I have a guess. Wasn't there an injury or two in the past year? Could the toning down of the fire be a side-effect of those injuries? Did they tone down the show?

Problem with Fruit Cups

Here's a minor gripe about the fruit cups throughout the WDW resort, courtesy of my visitors from California: the darned things don't open without a pocketknife!