The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Andy, since you asked about The Hidden Magic, it got me thinking. And it occurred to me there is a similarity in what you do here on the blog and what I’ve done in the book.

The Mousekingdom Blog presents the magic ‘as seen from different points of view’. The magic can also be seen from a different perspective, and that’s exactly what The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World (due out in June 2009) is all about: finding the wonderful hidden gems the Imagineers have scattered throughout the parks, hearing the back stories and the imaginative thought process as described by the people who helped create the parks and attractions, and, most importantly, opening your eyes to the World as you have never seen it before.

So much of the inspired genius that went into each of the four Walt Disney World theme parks goes unnoticed by most guests as they rush from attraction to attraction. But when guests slow down and let the magic catch up with them, they’ll see a world of imagination that brings the ‘real’ story into full and vibrant light.

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WDW Trip Photo book (photo 16)

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

It has been a while again, but there are plenty more pictures I want to show you and let’s be honest, if it’s about Walt Disney World we all love to see pictures. I know I do; I look for them on the web everywhere and then start dreaming away.

The picture I have chosen this time is a fun one as it has been taken from outside the park. It isn’t the first time I shown a picture from outside the park, just look at the Hallowishes picture (on Clickmagique’s PicParade), and browsing true my collection it might not be the last.

Here you can see Space Mountain while taking the boat ride from the Wilderness Lodge to the Magic Kingdom. Although the weather wasn’t totally on my side, and clouds spoiled the perfect pictures, I still think it’s nice enough to share here and to bring some ideas to those loving to take photos. Step outside the parks and discover all the other angles available to take your picture.

Park Revenue UP! Ticket Prices UP too!

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

ticketwdw1.jpgA couple of days ago Disney released some healthy revenue numbers, especially the parks are doing good and bringing in a lot of money for the company. Now, only a couple of days later, Disney announces a ticket price increase for their Walt Disney World parks. To give an example; a one day / one park / No Hopper ticket will go up from $67 to $71, a $4 increase, or about 6%.

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Selling themselves short?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

mariachi-cobre.JPG

It is not often you think Disney are selling themselves short, but a recent tour of their Orlando parks leaves us thinking they ought to do more to promote some of their live entertainment.

Entering the Animal Kingdom last week, we picked up the usual park map and entertainment Times Guide, and headed out into the park.

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A Proper Party!

Sunday, March 11th, 2007

minnieprincessi.jpgDisney are well versed in their special evening ‘party’ events which add a whole new style and enjoyment to experiencing the various attractions at the Magic Kingdom. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and the festive Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are both well-established events, but we have just seen the debut of a brand new evening experience, the Pirate & Princess Party.

This ran for 13 separate nights from January 22 to March 8, and there is good reason to think this will become a regular annual event. This year’s event was very much an experimental outing, the first of its kind outside the more traditional Halloween and Christmas offerings. But the feedback from the public has been almost unreservedly positive, and our own experience would certainly back that up.

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WDW being short-changed?

Monday, January 29th, 2007

toy-story-resized.jpgWell, another major press event has come and gone at Walt Disney World and, after all the hype and hoopla (notably over the David Beckham/Beyonce/Scarlet Johansson ad campaign), all we are left to look forward to for the next 18 months is one ride – Toy Story Mania.

While DLP and HKDL seem to be getting the lion’s share of new investment through 2008, WDW looks like it is being somewhat short-changed in the great Disney empire, expected to grow their business with the Year of a Million Dreams, a lot of froth over the new Cinderella Suite and the arrival “sometime in 2008″ of the new Toy Story ride (simultaneously in Orlando and Anaheim).

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Shush! It’s new!

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Mickey with CastleIt’s not often you feel Disney have done themselves a disservice with their own publicity, but that certainly seems to be the case with the new ‘immersive entertainment’ at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. We had heard about a whole series of new live shows being brought in a number of weeks ago, but had been having enormous difficulty finding out any serious details.

There was Dream Along With Mickey (the replacement for Cinderellabration), Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial (which had been in trail mode for much of the summer), Woody’s Cowboy Camp, Let’s Have A Ball, the Main Street Family Fun Parade and something called the High School Musical Pep Rally. And yet virtually nothing from Disney publicity about all this (until three days after it had all made its debut – and then only after another email!).

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$67 a day

Monday, August 7th, 2006

PreviousDisneyTickets.jpgDisney has put their day ticket prices up for a second time in 1 year. Since this Sunday Walt Disney World tickets will cost you a staggering $67 per person.

“We’re doing this to meet the production needs of the travel industry,” Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak said today. (Chron.com)

Since 2004 ticket prices have been sky rocketing to a new high. From 2004 up to now Disney tickets have gone up with 22%

The Pirates go for GOLD

Monday, July 10th, 2006

DisneyNowPlayingPirates.jpgIt has been done, the Spider-Man record of the box opening weekend grossing $114.8 million has been broken. The Pirates of the Caribbean ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ has set the record on an incredible estimated $132 million opening weekend total. But that is not the only record it broke. It is the first movie to make $100 in just two days of playing. Analyst predicted high numbers but even Jerry Bruckheimer didn’t expect them to look like this.

“When people in the industry predicted these high numbers, I thought they were just trying to be mean. So no matter how good we did, if we did $100 million, we’d be failures,” Bruckheimer said Sunday. “I didn’t think we’d get near these numbers.” (source: CNN.com)

The “new” Pirates at Walt Disney World

Monday, July 3rd, 2006

PiratesInsideMagic1.jpgWalt Disney World’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” new animatronics of Jack Sparrow has found its way to the internet. A soft opening on the 1st of July was enough for the “Inside the Magic” website crew to get a really good video of the ride and the new inhabitants. The video will show you a lot of the new parts of the ride. In case you don’t like spoilers or want to be surprised on your next visit, don’t watch it, but if you can’t wait (like me) click on the link and enjoy the ride, the new faces and some of the new soundtrack….

Backstage Tour Secrets

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

EPCOTtourWashingtonPost1.jpgIf you’re one of the Disney fans that would like to know everything about the Walt Disney World parks you might be one of the guests that either has done some of the backstage tour, plans to take a backstage tour or would like to take the tour some day.

The Washington Post has a 4 page article revealing (some) of the backstage tour secrets.

The tours in this article are “Keys to the Kingdom, Magic Kingdom ($58, 4 hours)”, the “Backstage Safari, Animal Kingdom ($65, 4 hours)” and the “Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, Epcot ($100, 2 1/2 hours)”. The tour was taken by Steve Hendrix, the writer of the article, during a 4 day trip.

When we step over a bright yellow “sight line” on the road, Matthew (the tour guide) declares us out of any possible view of guests in the park. “Now, what do you really want to know?”

The Royal Chamber

Sunday, June 11th, 2006

Castle-OS1.jpgYou don’t need to be too excited about the sleep over in the Cinderella Castle room in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

At least not yet as Disney is hashing out details of castle stay. (Orlando Sentinel)

Like the article says, the chance to win this opportunity will not be possible before January next year, even if the “Year of a Million Dreams” promotion begins on the 1st October.

…the apartment is only a shell right now, with planners discussing how to turn it into a royal chamber.

Some say Walt Disney ordered it as a family suite, but he died in 1966 and castle construction didn’t begin until 1969. Some say Walt’s brother, Roy Disney, planned it, but he died in 1971, weeks after the Magic Kingdom opened. The room was never finished.

More Dreams

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

CastleWDWcm1.jpgWith the press event in New York behind us related to the new Campaign “Year of a Million Dreams” we can find some extra information on the web. Including some more info on the “dreams” Disney fans and visitors could get. Sleeping in the Cinderella Castle might be the top price for many Disney fans but other prices like traveling to each Disney resort around the world to serve as grand marshal in a Disney parade, a variety of unique Disney vacation experiences, admission to special parties and other extraordinary experiences in the Disneyland and Walt Disney World parks or private meetings with favorite Disney characters, are all great too.

You can read more about the press event on Mousesavers.com

Other articles can be found on Orlando Sentinel; Disney set for ‘Year of Million Dreams’ and Florida Today; Disney unveils Dreams effort

Imagineering 101

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Simon and Susan with EricSusan and I are just drawing breath again after the big International Pow-Wow travel convention in Orlando, which is America’s biggest annual travel trade forum, with all manner of conferences, media events, travel shows, exhibits, tours and receptions (plus the occasional party!). The focus is obviously only on the US – hotels, attractions, car hire, cities, travel organisations and more – but that is still a huge area of interest. And, as it was in Orlando, there was a big focus on Florida, and the theme parks. And that’s where our Encounter with an Imagineer came in.

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Fantasy From The Sky

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

Epcot Aeriel

Disney’s forever themed its parks to hide the real world and bring movie magic to life. They are all guilty of it, but now for the ultimate peek backstage we don’t even have to pay an entry fee.

The latest aerial photo websites such as Google Earth and Windows Live Local are providing some stunning shots of the destinations we love so much. From the far west to the far east, Africa and the Himalayas, fairytale European villages and the land of Tomorrow; these sites are proving it really is just a small world after all.

After a bit of searching and some help from my friends, you might be interested to have a look at what I found for yourself and see which backstage details you find. Tip: Look for parade floats, attraction buildings and larger than life “hidden Mickeys”.

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