Episode #68: Club Disney: Here One Month, Gone the Next!

Hollywood Studios Club Disney - Closed after only two months of operation.

Hollywood Studios Club Disney – Closed after only two months of operation.

Club Disney premiered at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios on December 4th, 2015. The Disney character inspired, kids themed dance club was the first event hosted daily in the brand new “Sunset Showplace” building. Sunset Showcase is the new “Multi-Purpose” building located behind the Rock and Roller Coaster, next to the Tower of Terror, where there had been a cast member parking lot.

According to the Disney Web Site: Get Down and Get Animated!   Join Mickey on the floor of this “electric” dance club while a DJ Host spins your favorite Radio Disney hits—and the walls spin too, with classic Disney animation! If the dancing gets too hot, chill out in the too-cool seating area—and recharge your phone while you wait! Club Disney will also feature a cool seating area and snack station, where you can refuel and recharge – both yourself and your electronic devices – before heading out for more adventures in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

SamsDisneyDiary the Video #68

The multi-purpose building was announced in early 2015 and is intended to host just about any indoor event. Meanwhile, the first attraction “Club Disney” has only lasted two months!   Club Disney’s last day of operation will be February 6, 2016. We have already had a glance into the next dance party to be hosted in the facility. A few weeks ago, Disney premiered “Club Villain”, a hard ticketed premium event hosted in Sunset Showplace. You can find details on the Disney parks blog here,

Club Villain will utilize Sunset Showcase for Premium "Hard Ticketed" parties every Saturday Night.

Club Villain will utilize Sunset Showcase for Premium “Hard Ticketed” parties every Saturday Night.

The first Club Villain took place January 16th, when the mysterious Dr. Facilier hosted an evening, welcoming guests and his friends from the “other side” to his parlor of mystical mishaps, with musical numbers and a wicked mix from his house DJ. Also stopping by to socialize are those divas of evil, Maleficent, Queen of Hearts, Cruella De Vil and the Evil Queen.

Club Villain provides a spellbinding evening to enjoy fiendish concoctions from the Potions Bar, savor culinary delights from New Orleans and beyond, meet with the villains and dance the night away. Club Villain takes place select evenings for $99 per person, tax and gratuity included.

While Club Villain is the current attraction, I’m sure we will see lots of entertainment options in the new “Sunset Showcase” building.   I can’t wait to see what the future holds in this space, and all of Hollywood Studios.

Club Disney - here one month gone the next... One of two snack shops originally opened inside club Disney - The Snack counters lasted a little over a month before being removed.

Club Disney – here one month gone the next… One of two snack shops originally opened inside club Disney – The Snack counters lasted a little over a month before being removed.

I was able to visit Club Disney, and I have to say, it was a welcome break to the Florida heat and a great spot to let the kids release some energy. It was also a great spot to charge up some devices while the kids danced and played. It was one of the only places I know of that you could dance with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Goofy at the same time! Who knows, with all of the changes happening at Hollywood Studios, Club Disney could be back at any time… so be sure to check that times guide! Things are going to get interesting.

Please comment below. You can reach me at SamsDisneyDiary@mail.com

Thanks for watching and reading SamsDisneyDiary. Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube Channel for all of the videos!! And be sure to check out The Disney Nerds Podcast – here on iTunes and at www.thedisneynerdspodcast.com

Categories: Club Disney, Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Episode #67: Farewell Osborne Lights, plus 5 reasons why the lights will be back

The Osborne Spectacle of dancing Lights.

The Osborne Spectacle of dancing Lights.

Earlier this week, January 6th 2016 the final performance of Disney Hollywood Studios “Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights” was completed.  The lights have been entertaining guests and creating magical memories for 20 years.  As you are most likely aware, Disney goes through great lengths to develop a “back story” for every attraction; for the Osborne lights the back story is real, and one you might not be able to make up.   I covered the history of the lights in detail back in SamsDisneyDiary #21.  The story of the Jennings family from Little Rock, AR: over 3 million lights, lawsuits, Supreme Court decisions and the Walt Disney Company to the rescue, offering to relocate the lights to then MGM Studios Residential Street, ultimately moving to the Streets of America where they started dancing in 2006.

Osborne Spectacle of dancing Everything Gets decorated, did you spot the hidden Mickey?

Osborne Spectacle of dancing Everything Gets decorated, did you spot the hidden Mickey?

It’s a remarkable history; check out that blog and video for more details.  According to the official Disney Parks blog from September, 2015 will be the 20th and final year of the Osborne Lights citing “Construction” of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land” as the reasons, both previously announced.

Mickey and Santa shake hands near the Globe. They shake with their left hand, the Boy Scout hand shake

Mickey and Santa shake hands near the Globe. They shake with their left hand, the Boy Scout hand shake

Hearing the news, I had to get back to the Osborne Lights at least one more time and why not try the newly introduced dessert party “Merry and Bright Dessert Package”?  Hosted at the Studios Catering Company, the dessert party reminded me of the Star Wars “Feel the Force Dessert Party”, the subject of SamsDisneyDiary #50.

Themed desserts and drinks along with VIP access to the Osborne Lights.  The VIP access was the gated “turn around” area from the former Back Lot Tour, at the end of the lights directly under the globe.   A nice touch, which provided me the opportunity to set up my tripod and record…. and record… and record… literally hours of the lights.  That’s all part of SamsDisneyDiary Episode #67 (Click Below to Watch) – My tribute to the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights!!  A video that you can play in the background of your next holiday party – and by far the longest SamsDisneyDiary to date!


So why would Disney go through the trouble of adding new technology in recent years, like Made with Magic?  Why would Disney go through the trouble of creating an event like the “Merry and Bright Dessert Package” (which I had the pleasure of attending in December 2015)?

My theory, is the lights WILL BE BACK but without the name “Osborne”.   Here are my 5 reasons why, in my mind, it’s clear that Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Christmas Lights will continue.

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #5: Osborne Electric Co.

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #5: Osborne Electric Co.

#5: “Osborne Electric Co.”  The installation of a tribute window on the Streets of America: “Osborne Electric Co.” along with photos of the original house in Little Rock and photos of the lights on Residential Street and the Streets of America.  If the Streets of America are being removed in 2016, why add the window in 2015?   (Why, because it will be there for at least 5 years).

 

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #4: Merry and Bright Dessert Package

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #4: Merry and Bright Dessert Package

#4: The Merry and Bright Dessert Party.  No matter how much we love Walt Disney World, it’s a business, and businesses are designed to make money.  The introduction of the Merry and Bright Dessert Party represents the expansion of a new revenue stream for Hollywood Studios, expanding the Frozen Dessert Party added in 2014.  And like every revenue stream at WDW the annual question is, how do you increase it year after year?  Think Star Wars Weekend Dessert Package, what used to be 3 nights a week 5 weekends a year is now a daily event.  Isn’t it interesting that the Merry and Bright Dessert Party doesn’t have the name Osborne in it?  All of the signs can be reused next year when the lights return.

 

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #3: 20 years of Financial Investment

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #3: 20 years of Financial Investment

#3: 20 Years of Financial Investment. The original Osborne Lights were installed on Residential Street in 1995; 10 years later they moved to The Streets of America, making room for Lights Motors Action.  The move included the addition of 33 snow machines high above The Streets of America.  In 2006 Disney invested in 1500 dimmer relay circuits and control switches choreographed to music, making the lights “dance” for the first time.  In 2011, just 4 years ago, all of the lights were replaced with LED lights; at the same time, Disney replaced the 1500 dimmer relays with “state of the art” lighting control boards.  (The same boards I use at home for my 32 circuit display).  At the same time, the canopy above San Francisco Street which had been all red with 8 circuits was replaced with color changing LEDs (red, green, blue) giving the canopy a video appearance with 21,600 pixels capable of over 16 million colors.  That change allowed the addition of the hidden Jack Skellington.  In addition, Disney has continued to add additional hidden figures every year: Tinker Bell for the 20th anniversary, Nemo, 101 Dalmatians, Figment, Kermit… and many more. These financial investments amount to 100s of thousands or even millions of dollars.  Disney won’t just throw that away.

 

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #2: Construction is Temporary

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #2: Construction is Temporary (Picture NOT Official)

#2: Construction is Temporary.  The construction cited as the reason the lights will be leaving is temporary.  Toy Story Land will be located on the other end of the park behind Toy Story Mania in what is now back stage area (including parts of the now closed Back Lot Tour).  Star Wars Land will be located on the Disney ReZoned Wetlands“Theme Park Expansion” land that was previously zoned as “Wet Lands”.  That area is currently wooded and sits behind Indy Jones, Star Tours, Mama Melrose and The Premier Theater (which recently hosted its final performance and is now closed permanently).  Neither of those areas will touch the “Streets of America”, at least not in the short term while Star Wars and Toy Story Lands are being constructed.  There are additional expansion opportunities primarily where Light Motors Action and Catastrophe Canyon sit today.  Consider those “Phase 2” of the Hollywood Studios reconstruction.  Plans for this expansion could easily include the removal of Streets of America; but again, that’s years away and anything could happen between now and then.  But wouldn’t the Streets of America look great as Radiator Springs with Mater’s Dancing Lights?  It’s way too early to speculate what will happen then, but there is still room for Cars Land, not to mention another themed land!!

 

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #1: The Fine Print

Why the Christmas Lights will be back at Hollywood Studios Reason #1: The Fine Print

#1: The Devil is in the Details, or in this case, the fine print.  What you won’t hear from Disney is: when the lights moved from Little Rock to Walt Disney World, they came with a 20 year contract as the “Osborne Family Lights”.  Guess what?  2015 is 20 years later; the original Osborne Lights contract has expired, without being replaced.  No more Osborne Lights!  You also need to read between the lines of the official announcement.

“In order to prepare for some incredible experiences coming to the park, including the recently announced Toy Story Land and a Star Wars-themed land, we will not be able to present The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in the future.”

The announcement says “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights” citing construction as a convenient reason for the cancelation.  The short term construction won’t touch the Streets of America, and the release is very specific that it’s the Osborne Lights.  That begs the obvious question, what are the “Osborne” Lights?   I’m sure the contract is specific as to what the Osborne Lights are.  Looking at video from the original display, there are elements you can pick out immediately.  The Globe, Spinning Carousels, Angels, the Halloween Cat and a few other elements come to mind, but everything else?  While I fully expect the Christmas lights to return, I’d also speculate that those “Osborne” elements won’t – but I expect Disney will plus them in ways we can’t imagine right now.   More Disney characters, more animation, video projections, lasers, even water features – the possibilities are limitless!

Could the “Merry and Bright” Dessert Package be our first hint of the new name?   “Disney’s Merry and Bright Dancing Holiday Lights” is my guess.  The only question is, will they be back in 2016 or do we need to wait until 2017?

Of course, none of this if official and should be considered speculation, did you expect anything else from a Disney Nerd?.  But, it all adds up, just remember.  You heard it here first!!!

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the video edition of SamsDisneyDiary Episode #67, my tribute to the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

Please comment below.  You can reach me at SamsDisneyDiary@mail.com

Thanks for watching and reading SamsDisneyDiary. Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube Channel for all of the videos!!  And be sure to check out The Disney Nerds Podcast – here on iTunes and at www.thedisneynerdspodcast.com

Categories: Christmas, Disney, Hollywood Studios, Osborne Family Lights | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Episode #66: Jingle Cruise

Sams Disney Diary Episode #66 - The Jingle Cruise official attraction poster

Sams Disney Diary Episode #66 – The Jingle Cruise official attraction poster

What’s that I hear from Adventure Land during the holiday season?  Jingle Cruise, Jingle Cruise, Jingle all the way!   Changing a ”U” to an “I” along with some well-placed holiday decorations and holiday themed narration is all it took to change the “Jungle Cruise” into the “Jingle Cruise”.   I’m sure you’ve heard the story… The Skippers got a little homesick this holiday season, scavenged what they could, along with some items from home to decorate the Jungle Cruise for the holidays.

Sams Disney Diary Episode #66 - Christmas decorations add to classic scenes... get the Point?

Sams Disney Diary Episode #66 – Christmas decorations add to classic scenes… get the Point?

First introduced for the 2013 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, the Jingle Cruise is a must during the holidays at Walt Disney World, if nothing else…  Jungle Cruise is back on the map as a must do attraction at WDW Magic Kingdom (and Disneyland).  I can’t recall seeing the Jungle Cruise queue longer during a hard ticketed event.

The boats have all been renamed and re-themed for the holidays.  There was Icicle Irma, Mistletoe Millie and Poinsettia Sal, to name a few.   The queue is lined with Christmas trees and holiday decorations, providing a nice touch in an area that had typically seen little to no holiday

Sams Disney Diary Episode #66 - Trader Sam... i mean Trader Samta! Get a Head Start on your Holiday Shopping

Sams Disney Diary Episode #66 – Trader Sam… i mean Trader Samta! Get a Head Start on your Holiday Shopping

decorations in the past.  The ride itself has additional holiday props throughout, including stocking hung on the Tiki’s with care and Christmas gifts along the shore.  The updated narration provides the same type of humor you’re accustomed to on the Jungle Cruise:  “Watch out for the Hum-Bugs” & “Looks like someone is getting a tree with a boa on top”.  And like the Jungle Cruise, the Jingle Cruise experience relies on the capabilities of your “Tree Trimmer, Popcorn Stringer, Gift Wrapper, Cookie Cutter and Secret Santa”… otherwise known as your Skipper.  Skipper interaction and enthusiasm is the key to a memorable Jingle Cruise.  The cruise also changes from day to night.  Christmas lights are always better at night.

I recorded multiple rides on the Jingle Cruise, all of them a little different.   For this edition of Sams Disney Diary I’ve include two of them, one during the day and one at night.  Of course each skipper is different, your find the difference in jokes interesting, it’s not the same for each cruise.  Hope you enjoy both your trips on the Jingle Cruise and remember, there is nothing like experiencing any Disney attraction in person.   As everything at Walt Disney World changes, this is your opportunity to experience the Jingle Cruise from two completely skippers.

Thanks for watching and reading SamsDisneyDiary, but sure to subscribe to the YouTube Channel for all of the videos!!  And be sure to check out The Disney Nerds Podcast – here on iTunes and at www.thedisneynerdspodcast.com

Categories: Adventureland, Christmas, Jingle Cruise, Magic Kingdom, SamsDisneyDiary, Special Events, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode #65: Cinderella Castle Holiday Lights “Cinderella vs Frozen”

The holiday season at Walt Disney World is a magical time; with so much to see and do, it’s difficult to keep track of everything.  One of the most magical experiences of the holiday season is the lighting of “Holiday Dream Lights”.    The Cinderella “Castle Holiday Lights” were added to Cinderella’s Castle in 2007.  The Holiday Dream Lights include over 200,000 LED lights covering the castle.

Sams Disney Diary #65 - From 2007 until 2013 Cinderella with the help of the Fairy Godmother turned on the Castle Christmas Lights.

Sams Disney Diary #65 – From 2007 until 2013 Cinderella with the help of the Fairy Godmother turned on the Castle Christmas Lights.

The Castle Dream Lights are turned on every day at 6:15 during the castle lighting ceremony (stage show).  The show has proved to be so popular that a second castle lighting was added in 2014 starting at 8:00pm.   The show is only 10 minutes long and a must see at least once during your holiday trip.  I’m sure you’re aware that on select nights in November/December, the Magic Kingdom closes at 7:00pm, unless you have a separate ticket for “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party”.  The

Sams Disney Diary #65 - in 2014 a "Frozen Holiday Wish" Replace the Cinderella Holiday Wish

Sams Disney Diary #65 – in 2014 a “Frozen Holiday Wish” Replace the Cinderella Holiday Wish

6:15 timing of “Cinderella’s Holiday Wish” means guests spending the day at the Magic Kingdom and those just arriving for “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” can both experience the castle lighting.  It can be your first experience of the Christmas Party, or your last sight as you exit the park.  Either way, it’s a must see.  Like most Disney shows, the second tends to be less crowded than the first.

The Castle Lighting itself has changed over the years, originally and until 2014 “Cinderella’s Holiday Wish” castle stage show featured Mickey, Minnie, Donald,

Sams Disney Diary #65 - Elsa in the process of freezing the castle - notice the "snow" added during the 2015 hub re construction - now it snows in the hub and main street.

Sams Disney Diary #65 – Elsa in the process of freezing the castle – notice the “snow” added during the 2015 hub re construction – now it snows in the hub and main street.

Goofy, Pluto and Cinderella.  As the story goes, Cinderella is looking to decorate the Magic Kingdom for the holidays and isn’t quite sure how to capture the Holidays.  The Fairy Godmother appears to help bring Cinderella’s castle to live with magic glittering ice… resembling her special glass slipper.

In 2014, and returning for 2015 the “Cinderella Holiday Wish” was replaced by “A Frozen Holiday With”.  In the new ceremony Elsa, Anna, Kristof and Olaf, visiting from Arendelle convince Elsa to use her powers to turn Cinderella Castle into an icy,

Sams Disney Diary #65 - Anna and the new Talking Olaf as they appeared during the 2015 Frozen Holiday Wish

Sams Disney Diary #65 – Anna and the new Talking Olaf as they appeared during the 2015 Frozen Holiday Wish

glittering palace.  The new “Frozen Holiday Wish” also uses technology from ‘Celebrate the Magic” to magically transform the castle into a Holiday masterpiece.  Even the Frozen show has evolved from 2014 to 2015 added a new Olaf with a moving mouth, think Talking Mickey.   The 2015 hub expansion project allows the castle to surrounds you giving you are more immersive experience than just watching the castle, the expansion also added snow machines tot he hub.  In addition to snowing on main street, it snows in the hub!    As always be sure to check your times guide for show times, as they tend to change based on crowd levels.

I couldn’t decide which version to feature for this episode of SamsDisneyDiary, so I’ll go with both, and let you decide which you like better!  “Cinderella Holiday Wish” and/or “A Frozen Holiday Wish” Thanks for watching

Thanks for watching and reading SamsDisneyDiary, but sure to subscribe to the YouTube Channel for all of the videos!!

Categories: Castle Stage Show, Christmas, Disney, Magic Kingdom, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode #64: Osborne Lights: “Made with Magic” formerly “Glow with the Show”

Sams Disney Diary Episode #64 - The Osborne Lights Made with Magic

Sams Disney Diary Episode #64 – The Osborne Lights Made with Magic

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights has been entertaining guests at Hollywood Studios for 20 years!  Unfortunately, 2015 marks the last year for the Osborne Lights the way we know them.  The lights started dancing after they moved to The Streets of America in 2006.  For more on the story behind the lights and their history, check out SamsDisneyDiary #21 Blog / Video or Podcast Episode.

Just a few years ago in 2013, Walt Disney World introduced “Made with Magic” or “Glow with the Show” as it was known.  These special Mickey ears bring the technology from Disneyland’s California Adventure, where it premiered in June 2013.  According to Disney, “Become part of the show like never before as you illuminate the evening with a colorful collection of magical accessories”.

Sams Disney Diary Episode #64 - The Osborne Lights Made with Magic - Mouse Ears

Sams Disney Diary Episode #64 – The Osborne Lights Made with Magic – Mouse Ears

Made With Magic  includes the original “Mickey Ear Hat” formerly Glow with the Show along with a Minnie Mouse Headband, Mickey Mouse Glove and Sorcerer Mickey Wand.  Each of these are programmed to light up at key moments, matching the colors and flashing to the beat through a variety of popular evening shows at Walt Disney World including:  Wishes Nighttime Spectacular, Celebrate the Magic, Fantasmic and The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.

For this episode of SamsDisneyDiary, I positioned my camera behind the display of “Made with Magic” Ears; you can see how they interact with the music and Osborne Lights.   Check out the video below…. and check out SamsDisneyDiary #21 for the history and backstory of the Osborne Lights.

Be sure to check out the “Made with Magic” video below!

I hope you like the video, to catch all of my videos check out the YouTube channel atwww.youtube.com/samsdisneydiay and follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary for all the latest blogs formwww.SamsDisneyDiary.com

Categories: Christmas, Hollywood Studios, Osborne Family Lights, SamsDisneyDiary, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Episode #63: Epcot Club Cool

Epcot Club Cool

Epcot Club Cool

Since 2005 Club Cool has been a welcome distraction for Epcot guests, especially during the heat of the Florida summer.  Located in Epcot’s Innovations West near the new Starbucks, Club Cool offers exclusive Coca-Cola merchandise and “complimentary samples” of Coca-Cola products from around the world.  Wait a minute, back up… complimentary samples?  Yes, free samples of Coca-Cola.

As you travel from the Epcot main entrance toward World Showcase, “Club Cool” is the last exhibit you’ll find in Innovations West (on the right near Fountain of Nations).  It’s your opportunity to take a break from the heat, grab a free sample, and get a flavor of what “World Showcase” is all about….  sampling the diversity of cultures from around the world.  Each “Flavors from Around the World” sample station features sampling from Italy, Greece, Thailand, Japan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Peru and Brazil.  The flavors were recently updated causing quite the stir in the on-line community.  That, along with some rumors of what the location may become, make NOW the perfect time to make sure you visit Club Cool.

Check out the video below

Inside Epcot Club Cool

Inside Epcot Club Cool

Club Cool features multiple self-service drink stations each with 8 flavors.  The flavors were recently updated with 6 completely new offerings and 2 originals.

The current line-up of flavors (as of early 2014):

First on the list, Beverly from Italy, one of the original flavors, Beverly is considered a non-alcoholic aperitif and is part of traditional Italian culture.  With a very bitter flavor, it’s also spawned the “Beverly Challenge” in the Disney on-line community.   How many Beverly drinks can one person possibly do?  The world may never know.

Greece offers Pineapple Fanta, caffeine-free and sweet with a pineapple taste

Thailand offers its own Fanta flavor, “Melon Frosty”, a melon flavored Fanta perfect for the sunny tropical Thailand climate.

Japan offers VegitaBeta (another original flavor), the only non-carbonated offering which blends apricot and passion fruits making it rich in beta-carotene contributing to its unique yellow-orange color.

South Africa offers Bibo, a fruit flavored juice line that introduced the characters “Johnny Orange, Taka Strawberry and Paolo Peach”

Zimbabwe features “Sparberry”, a raspberry cream soda originally launched in 1955.  It is only available in southeast Africa (and Club Cool)

“The Taste of Peru” is an unusually sweet fruity flavor that tastes like liquid bubblegum.  “Inca Kola” is translated “King and Queen” in Peru.

Brazil features “Guarana Kuat”, a guarana berry flavored drink introduced in 1997.

With multiple self-serve locations, be sure to try them all.  It’s always interesting to see someone’s first reaction to any of the flavors.  And it does set the stage for your trip around World Showcase.

Inside Epcot Club Cool

Inside Epcot Club Cool

Here is a list of the original Club Cool flavors (pre-2014):

Mozambique (Krest Ginger Ale), Costa Rica (Fanta Kolita), Italy (Beverly), Japan (Vegeta Beta), Israel (Kinley Lemon), Mexico (Lift Apple), China (Smart Watermelon) and Germany (Mezzo Mix)

On the “rumor mill”, there has been lots of gossip regarding this location turning into a “World of Coke” with merchandise and exhibits from the Coca-Cola archives.  (Yes, they have an archive and impressive museum in Atlanta, GA).   Could this location become a spin-off World of Coke location?  If so, let’s hope the free samples don’t stop; although, I would love to see a Coca-Cola Free Style machine somewhere in Epcot.   What do you think?

For all of my latest blogs be sure to visit www.samsdisneydiary.com, follow me on twitter @samsdisneydiary like the show on facebook at facebook.com/samsdisneydiary and for all of my videos subscribe the YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary.

And don’t miss “The Disney Nerds Podcast”

Categories: Club Cool, Epcot, SamsDisneyDiary, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Episode #62: Victoria and Albert’s Queen Victory Room

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are discussing some of the unique dining experiences you can find at Walt Disney World.


Victoria and Albert’s: Queen Victoria Room: Course #6 Colorado Bison with Caraway Seed Vinaigrette

Victoria and Albert’s: Queen Victoria Room: Course #6 Colorado Bison with Caraway Seed Vinaigrette

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #62: Victoria & Albert’s Queen Victoria Room.   Well, I did it, or should I say we did it, after over 50 trips to Walt Disney World.  To celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary, my wife and I finally made the trip without kids.  Walt Disney World without kids, something we had often thought about was finally a reality. The bars & nightlife that we typically pushed a stroller past now had open doors!!!   Where do we start?

We started with a trip to the Grand Floridian for the dining experience of a lifetime, Victoria & Albert’s. Disney’s Description of Victoria and Albert’s:

The ultimate in fine dining at Walt Disney World® Resort and one of the finest restaurants in the Southeast, Victoria & Albert’s features Modern American cuisine with exquisite products sourced from around the world.  Recipient of AAA’s highest achievement, the Five Diamond Award, “Forbes Travel Guide” Four Star rating and glowing reviews from Zagat and others, the restaurant in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa evokes another era when dining was an elegant ritual, with a knowledgeable maître d’hôtel and chefs in classic white toques.

 

Victoria and Albert’s: Queen Victoria Room: Course #3: Hot “Smoked” Niman Ranch Lamb with Fuji Apple and Curry Dressing

Victoria and Albert’s: Queen Victoria Room: Course #3: Hot “Smoked” Niman Ranch Lamb with Fuji Apple and Curry Dressing

Our trip was pulled together at the last minute, so the coveted Chef’s Table was of course booked!  Maybe next time…   But the Chef’s Table isn’t the only option for an exceptional experience.  In early 2010, the Queen Victoria’s Room debuted and according to Disney:

This new dining experience is the most exclusive at Victoria & Albert’s – an elegant, intimate setting behind closed doors where French Gerry-don gueridon service – tableside finishes for diners’ pleasure and entertainment – is making a comeback. With just four tables and rich décor inspired by Old World dining rooms of London and Paris, the tone is set for a luxurious, leisurely evening. The sublime experience includes up to ten courses.  Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply looking for sensational cuisine, Queen Victoria’s Room takes dining to new heights.

As you would expect, the service was incredible… we were presented with our custom 10 course menu and treated like royalty.  I had my camera ready, and captured as much of the dining event as I could.   Hope you enjoy.

Victoria and Albert’s: Queen Victoria Room: Course #10, Dessert Course #2: Peruvian Chocolate Timbale with Roasted White Chocolate Gelato

Victoria and Albert’s: Queen Victoria Room: Course #10, Dessert Course #2: Peruvian Chocolate Timbale with Roasted White Chocolate Gelato

As you would expect, the food was wonderful.   The overall dining experience was, just unbelievable.  In all fairness, the entire dining experience lasted over 3.5 hours; I condensed that into 10 minutes of video, the best of the best.  The background music was performed live, and the setting was as elegant as you would expect.  With only 4 tables in the Queen Victoria Room, it is very quiet and relaxing.  We chose not to include the Wine Pairing as we both preferred our favorite cocktails.  The pairing was listed on the menu and looked like a perfect complement to each of the courses.   The price?  Well, let’s just say the Queen Victoria Room (and the Chef’s Table for that matter) are definitely a special occasion dinner.  No discounts or Tables in Wonderland in the QVR, so do your homework.  Call Victoria and Albert’s directly, and make sure they know about any special occasions you are celebrating.  They will make it a truly memorable evening.  Our reservation was for 6:00pm, giving us time to jump a monorail to Bay Lake Tower to watch Wishes from the “Top of the World” Lounge.   Well, we just made it.   You may want to give yourself more time if you attempt the same.   If you’re not staying at Bay Lake Tower, or not a DVC member, you could catch the fireworks on the patio near Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian, about a 10 minute walk.

I hope you like the video, to catch all of my videos check out the YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiay and follow me on twitter @SamsDisneyDiary for all the latest blogs form www.SamsDisneyDiary.com

For more unique Disney dining experiences,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Unique Disney Dining Experiences Loop:

Categories: Grand Floridian, Queen Victoria Room, Resorts, SamsDisneyDiary, Victoria and Albert's, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

Episode #61: Disneyland Paint The Night

Disneyland Paint the Night Parade

Disneyland Paint the Night Parade – The Cars Unit in front of It’s a Small World

Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary Celebration included some wonderful experiences including our family’s favorite, Disneyland’s all new electrical parade, Paint the Night!!!    Paint the Night is a remarkable upgrade to the beloved Main Street Electrical Parade.  According to Disney:

When the lights go down at The Happiest Place on Earth, that’s when the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration shines most brilliantly, thanks to the all-new Disney Paint the Night Parade!

Watch in wonder as the vivid imagination of Mickey Mouse and his friend Tinker Bell’s enchanted pixie dust paint the night with dazzling Disney dreams, complete with a colorful palette of more than one million glowing lights!

With a wave of his white-gloved hand, Mickey conjures up spectacular Disney visions right before our eyes! Gaze in awe as luminescent floats, costumed performers and beloved Characters from Disney and Pixar stories flow like a shimmering river of neon down Main Street, U.S.A.

Featuring cutting-edge special effects and high-energy music, the Disney Paint the Night Parade is a dazzling after-dark experience beyond anything you’ve ever imagined!

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #61: Paint The Night – Video Below!!

Disneyland Paint the Night Parade

Disneyland Paint the Night Parade – Goofy, Donald and Minnie in the Parade’s Final Unit

The new parade is an instant family favorite and a perfect sequel to the Main Street Electrical Parade!!  The song, well my little guy has been singing it every day since first seeing the parade, and asking… “Daddy, when can we do that again?”   Seeing is believing!  While I did my best to incorporate 3 camera angles, a video doesn’t do the parade justice.   I hope you have the opportunity to experience the parade yourself, and just maybe, Walt Disney World will bring a similar nighttime parade to Florida’s Magic Kingdom!  Thanks for watching!!!

And all of SamsDisneyDiary Here (www.SamsDisneyDiary.com) Subscribe to the YouTube channel for all of my videos www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiaryand follow me on twitter for all of the latest! @SamsDisneyDiary

 

Categories: Disneyland, Paint The Night, Parade, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Episode #60: World of Color Celebrate

World of Color Celebrate

California Adventures World of Color Celebrate

When I visited Disney California Adventure back in 2011, I was blown away by the night time spectacular World of Color (Check out Episode #8 for details). It’s the natural

evolution of Disney’s night time entertainment, combining just about every trick in Disney’s book.   As I noted back in Episode #8, the technology allows elements of the show to be updated and changed. Things like Pirates of the Caribbean, Tron and holiday elements can be added as needed.

World of Color Celebrate included a few surprises.

World of Color Celebrate included a few surprises.

What I didn’t consider was the possibility of the entire show being replaced for a yearlong celebration – That’s exactly what World of Color – Celebrate is. Celebrate is a tribute to Walt Disney and the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland, a completely new show from beginning to end.

A cohesive story and history lesson chronicling the creation of Mickey Mouse, movie development from Snow White to Frozen and of course, Disneyland – complete with tributes to classic attractions.   Add a guest host – Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse and you have a 60th Anniversary celebration that Walt couldn’t have imagined…   incredible and the subject of SamsDisneyDiary #60, Here’s hoping Animal Kingdoms River of Light incorporates some of this incredible technology!

SamsDisneyDiary Episode #60 – World of Color Celebrate

 

Categories: Disney California Adventure, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, World of Color | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Episode #59: WDW Hollywood Studios 5 Favorites Gone Forever… Forever…

redloopWelcome to this month’s Magical Blogorail Red loop. Today we are discussing Little Known Facts about Disney Attractions.


 

Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios is about to embark on a major transformation. In many ways, that transformation has already begun. The removal of the Sorcerers Hat, the closing of the Backlot tour and the Animation Building may have captured the headlines, but the process started years ago with the disappearance of some of the “hidden gems” of the Studios.

SamsDisneyDiary #59 – Hollywood Studios Hidden Gems, Gone Forever!

SamsDisneyDiary - 5 Favorites Gone from WDW Hollywood

SamsDisneyDiary – 5 Favorites Gone from WDW Hollywood

Hard to believe but Disney MGM Studios was originally built to be a working television and feature movie production studio, the first of its kind in Central Florida. In 1989 when the park opened, it featured two studios: Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida, which produced among others Mulan, Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear, and Walt Disney Studios Florida. Walt Disney Studios Florida produced The Mickey Mouse Club with Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling and Christina Aquilera. The Studios also produced “Teen Win, Lose or Draw”, Adventures in Wonderland along with tapings of World Championship Wrestling, Let’s Make a Deal and several music videos. The Backlot Tour was built

Disney MGM Studios Opening day Map

Disney MGM Studios Opening day Map

around and inside the sets, props and backstage area of the “working” studio. Originally, the studio was exactly that, a studio tour, but that identity didn’t last long. The Feature Animation Department was closed in 2001 and the working studio concept never really stuck. Today, summer 2015, the Studios is a shell of what it was originally intended to be; the concept of a working studio has been abandoned. We learned from Bob Iger that the name would be changing, but no additional details. It’s safe to say the working studio concept is gone, and the new name will reflect just that.   Hollywood Studios will transform into a working “Theme Park”, and if the changes at Disney’s California Adventure are any indication of what’s to come – we are in for a treat. DCA’s Carsland, Bugsland, Hollywoodland would easily fit into Studios (While World of Color may be a preview of what to expect at Animal Kingdoms Rivers of Light). – See SamsDisneyDiary #60 for World of Color Celebrate.

 5 Hollywood Studios Secrets Gone forever….

“The Guard Shack(s)”

The Guard Shack - Original MGM Studios Version - The Gateway from the Front lot to the Back lot, was a key component to the original studio design.

The Guard Shack – Original MGM Studios Version.  An important landmark in the original studio design.  Separating the front lot rom the back lot – a forgotten relic.

One of the earliest signs of “change to come” happened during Star Wars Weekends 2009. One of my favorite “hidden secrets” of the Studios was to the left of the Great Movie Ride headed toward the ABC Commissary. On the right of the walkway there used to be a small building, a Guard Shack. That guard shack was the symbolic passing from the front lot (Hollywood Blvd and Sunset) to the studios backlot – ABC Commissary. All of the attractions and shops on the front lot were built as full buildings for guests’ enjoyment, while sets on the backlot were built for the camera. Residential Street and even Star Tours with only the front facade of the AT-AT Walker constructed.  The shack itself was a simple building, complete with incredible details: A Studios jacket with a clipboard and computer monitor. It was removed to make room for the Jedi Mickey meet and greet location and never came back. There was another guard shack near the Backlot Express, that too has been removed.

Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind

Sid was actually Danny Dillon, a cast member who took Sid and made him real. You could find Danny’s picture as “Sid” hanging inside the building

Sid was actually Danny Dillon, a cast member who took Sid and made him real. You could find Danny’s picture as “Sid” hanging inside the building

Sid's Truck is still parked outside the shop, loaded with Hollywood goodies from his latest trip

Sid’s Truck is still parked outside the shop, loaded with Hollywood goodies from his latest trip

From the MGM Studios Opening Day Map Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind”: Sid has a house full of authentic Hollywood collectibles he’s willing to part with”. As soon as you enter Hollywood Studios, look directly to your left – just to the right of Guest Relations, you can’t miss Sid Cahuenga’s truck – the truck full of Hollywood props. Sid is fresh back from collecting surplus items from local studios, and maybe even digging through some dumpsters. You see, Sid is a huge movie fan, so much so that he relocated from the Midwest to Hollywood in the 20s and collected everything he could. As Hollywood became more popular, Sid refused to sale his property to any studio. Instead he leveraged the stream of tourists and decided to make some extra money

From park opening until 2013 Sid Cahuengas was the place to find one-of-a-kind "Tinseltown Treasures"

From park opening until 2013 Sid Cahuengas was the place to find one-of-a-kind “Tinseltown Treasures”

by selling some of his collection.  Well, at least that’s the official backstory. From opening day until November 2013, you could find authentic Hollywood memorabilia here. While Sid wasn’t a real person, from opening day until 2005, you might have met “Sid Cahuenga”.

Sid was actually Danny Dillon, a cast member who took Sid and made him real. You could find Danny’s picture as “Sid” hanging inside the building. Sid’s was my last stop every time I visited the Studios; it was truly unique. Now you know why even today, you see Sid’s truck and a residential style house that looks out of place for Hollywood.  In December 2013, the memorabilia from Sid’s was moved to the AFI – American Film Institute at the exit of the Backlot Tour, and Sid’s was reopened as Hollywood Studios “MyMagic+ Service Center”. The outside remains themed, inside you’ll find Fast Pass+ Kiosks.   Let’s hope we don’t lose the outside theme as the Studios transitions.

The Writer’s Stop

Originally the Writer's Stop had a 60s style console TV playing Mickey Mouse Cartoons

Originally the Writer’s Stop had a 60s style console TV playing Mickey Mouse Cartoons

No, the Writer’s Stop has not closed; in fact, many list it as a Hollywood Studios hidden gem. Described in the Studios map as “Coffee, espresso, muffins, pastries and more”, the Writer’s Stop is a perfect hidden gem in plain sight. Don’t miss the famous carrot cake cookie!! Yum! It’s not the Writer’s Stop itself that I’m missing. It’s the changing of the interior. Inside the Writer’s Stop, when crowd levels are moderate to low, you’ll find a display of various Disney books and DVDs. The high

Hollywood Studios "Writer's Stop" with the upgraded Television and rack of DVD/BluRay

Hollywood Studios “Writer’s Stop” with the upgraded Television and rack of DVD/BluRay

definition television between a couple of chairs and couch features some of the movies that are available for purchase in the Writer’s Stop. During Star Wars Weekend and the Osborne Lights, the chairs and couch will be replaced by high top tables to accommodate larger crowds. But even then, it’s what used to be there that I miss. In place of the high definition television and DVDs, there used to be a 1950s style console television featuring black and white Mickey Mouse cartoons, along with board games and children’s books.   This was a MUST do for our young family, a retreat in the middle of the park. My children immediately grabbed a seat at the couch (or nearby chair) and finished off their afternoon snack while watching classic Mickey Mouse. That homey feeling is a part of Hollywood Studios history – it was a perfect escape from the Florida heat, and always led to conversations about the TV at grandma’s house.

AFI – American Film Institute Showcase

The American Film Institute Showcase featured an ever changing exhibit of move props and costumes.

The American Film Institute Showcase featured an ever changing exhibit of move props and costumes.

The American Film Institute Showcase featured an ever changing exhibit of move props and costumes.

The American Film Institute Showcase featured an ever changing exhibit of move props and costumes.

While I understand the closing of the Backlot Tour and re-theming of the park, lost in the shuffle was the American Film Institute Showcase. If you ever rode the Backlot Tour, the AFI Showcase was the exit area just before the AFI Store. This was a great spot for “traveling” exhibits that showcased a movie or movie genre. It was also a great spot to see actual props and film used wardrobe. At its closing in August 2014, the exhibit featured “The Best in Film: AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies,” featuring props and costumes based on AFI’s “100 Greatest Movies” list. It was also a great place to see authentic Star Wars props during Star Wars Weekends.

Parades

Pixar Countdown to Fun Parade was a daily parade at Hollywood studios from 2011-2013

Pixar Countdown to Fun Parade was a daily parade at Hollywood studios from 2011-2013

Disney Stars and Motor Cars parade - Kermitt

Disney Stars and Motor Cars parade – Kermitt

While the expectation is the return of a daily parade, Hollywood Studios lost its daily parade in 2013 when the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade was canceled. The Countdown to Fun Parade was last in a long line of parades that dated back to 1991 with the Dinosaurs Live Parade. Since then, Aladdin, Toy Story, Hercules and Mulan all had parades at Hollywood Studios. You may remember the Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade that lasted 7 years (2001-2008). While Star Wars Weekends includes a parade and the 2015 Frozen Summer features a Royal Welcome Reception – both lack the Disney Spectacle captured in the Magic Kingdoms Festival of Fantasy Parade. In fact, the floats used for Frozen Summer are mostly recycled “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade” floats. Here’s hoping for a new parade as part of Studios re-theming.   The daily parade at California Adventure could be an indication of what is to come.

The Sorcerers Hat?

The Sorcerers Hat.... Not so sad to see it go.

The Sorcerers Hat….

Actually, I’m just kidding about the Sorcerers Hat…. It should have never lasted as long as it did, but Disney was stuck in a legal battle that lasted until the naming rights of the actual theater in Hollywood was sold to TCL in 2013. While you won’t hear Disney publicly state that was the issue, the evidence is clear. Any way you look at it, welcome back “TCL Chinese Theater”. Let’s hope you make it through the transition…. But that’s a topic for another blog!!!

And all of SamsDisneyDiary Here (www.SamsDisneyDiary.com) Subscribe to the YouTube channel for all of my videos www.youtube.com/samsdisneydiary and follow me on twitter for all of the latest! @SamsDisneyDiary

PHOTO GALLERY BELOW!!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Red | Little Known Facts About Disney Attractions Loop:
  1. >> You Are Here >> Sam’s Disney Diary | Hollywood Studios – 5 Hidden Secrets Gone Forever
  2. Adventureland Pam | Tower of Terrorredloop
  3. Frontierland Station | Expedition Everest
  4. Heidi’s Head | Cinderella Castle
  5. Family Travel Escapades | it’s a small world

Photo Gallery – The Guard Shack

Photo Gallery – Sid Cahuernga’s

Photo Gallery – The Writer’s Stop

Photo Gallery – AFI Showcase

Photo Gallery – Studios Parades

Categories: Hollywood Studios, Stuff that's gone, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

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