Friday, April 29, 2011

Best Movie Adapted from an Attraction

Now that I’ve done “Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie”, it seems only proper to do “Best Movie Adapted from an Attraction”.  Surely, this one must be easier.  The choices are pretty slim.  Please note -- I am not a movie critic or claim to be.
Of course, hands-down, no argument, the clear winner is the Pirates of the Carribbean series.  As far as I know, the only other options were the Haunted Mansion movie with Eddie Murphy and Tower of Terror television movie.  The Haunted Mansion movie tried…I think it really did, but just fell short…way short of what it could be.  I have high hopes for Guillermo del Toro’s version of the Haunted Mansion movie anticipated to be out in the 2012 timeframe.  Although, expectations are not good that this will be a young child-friendly movie based on del Toro’s other work (“Hellboy”, and “The Hobbit”).  However, he could do for the Haunted Mansion what Bruckheimer has done for Pirates.  The Tower of Terror movie starring Steve Guttenburg went the way of most Steve Guttenburg films.  My apologizes to Steve Guttenburg and all his fans, but since “Three Men and a Baby” I don’t think he’s had much success.
Let’s talk about the Pirates of the Caribbean series.  Marketing Genius.  Pure Marketing Genius!  This movie created a whole new level of Disney audience that I feel Disney was missing out on since probably the 70’s.  That audience is the pre-teen, teen and young adult audience.  For many, many years Disney was synonymous with kid-friendly cartoons.  That generation, the GenYs/ Millennials, grew up on these cartoons but eventually grew out of Disney until Pirates came along.  The timing and placement of this movie couldn’t have been any better.  Disney picked well-known and popular actors that would appeal to all generations (my personal favorite is Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa).  Using advanced technology special effects, the movies grabbed the attention of teens and young adults who had grown accustomed to large screen special effects, intense fight sequences, and imaginative costuming.  And Disney does not forgot about the older generation with these movies either.  The story line captures your attention and has details that go on and above the special effects.  
By interweaving parts of the attraction into the movie sequences; and eventually deploying parts of the movie in the theme parks, Disney has created a huge force behind the Pirates of the Caribbean dynasty.  Next time you are watching the movies, or riding the attraction, make note of the references.  Some are obvious, like Captain Jack Sparrow in the treasure vault near the end of the ride, or Davy Jones’ face in the mist before the falls.  Some aren’t so obvious, like Elizabeth Swan singing the Pirates theme song (drink up me hearties, yo-ho), and the dog in the jailhouse holding the key just out of reach from the prisoners in the cells. 

The fourth movie in the Pirates series, On Stranger Tides, is to be released in May 2011.  This is one I am looking forward to.  After the third Pirates movie, At World’s End, it was time to get back on track with just a fun, good “pirate-y” movie.  This looks like it.  With it, comes a new pirate…a female pirate which opens the doors to a huge audience and more marketing than you can shake a stick at.  Already in the theme parks, Pirate Princess merchandising is showing up and the newest Pirate Princess (Angelica) is making appearances with Captain Jack Sparrow in the park met and greet.  For me, the casting of Ian McShane has Captain Blackbeard is an outstanding choice.  He IS Blackbeard!  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie

When I first thought of this topic, I thought it would be easy to pick just one “best attraction adapted from a movie”.  However, it got to be really difficult to narrow it down to just one because each attraction is so unique, it was like comparing apples to oranges.  But I needed to pick one, and in order to do so I needed some criteria to measure each attraction by.  So, here’s what I decided….the attraction must be close to the storyline of the movie and include references to scenes from the film, it must be well identifiable upon first glance and synonymous with the film, and it must be cutting edge for it’s time (hence the “best”). 

After all my analysis, my “Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie” actually no longer exists and I thought about throwing it out of the running, but I kept coming back to it in order to meet my defined criteria.  So, my pick for Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie is/was….20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  At the time, the ride was a technological achievement for the parks.  The ride vehicles WERE the Nautilus.  How close can you get to the movie than that?  The narrator of the ride was Captain Nemo himself, and you get attacked by a giant squid at the end…it was amazing for it’s time.  The look, the feel of the attraction was 100% based on the 1954 movie, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  Unfortunately, the appeal of 20,000 Leagues into the 21st century wasn’t enough to keep the attraction, which was already difficult and costly to maintain, alive.  Permanently closed in 1996, now it only resides in our memories, but will always be for me the Best Attraction Adapted from a Movie.

My runner-up, is the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House.  From a historical reference tied to a movie, it really holds the cards, but it isn’t well identifiable upon first glance.  It also doesn’t tell much of a story, it’s more of a static display….a very good static display.

Honorable mention goes to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Turtle Talk with Crush, and The Laugh Floor.  The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh almost made it to the top of my list.  It tells A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh story in a spectacular and sweet/child-like way and is synonymous with the film (actually, book in this case with imagery from the Disney film), but the Honey-Pots couldn’t trump the Nautilus. 

All in all, it really is hard to pick just one “best” of anything because people’s opinions are so varied and one’s experience base really reflects your perspective of what is “best”.  However, you look at it, I enjoy and have enjoyed all the attractions based on movies!

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride facts:
  • The attraction opened two weeks after the Magic Kingdom due to infrastructure problems with the lagoon.
  • October 14, 1971, the first guests boarded a submarine to take the ten-minute voyage of discovery.
  • The completed attraction covered almost a quarter of Fantasyland, including the lagoon and hidden show building surrounded by palm trees and volcanic rock, meant to evoke the impression of Captain Nemo's Pacific Ocean base Vulcania.
  • A storage facility at the back of the show building served to house submarines removed from the main line during day-to-day operation, and also included a dry dock for repair work.
  • Along the shores of the lagoon, small beaches were built, one with a chest of abandoned pirate treasure.
  • The words "20,000 Leagues" were spelled out in nautical code from signaling flags at the entrance to the attraction.
  • The cast members operating the attraction played the roles of Nemo's ever-silent crew, and wore authentic replicas of the screen production's costumes.
  • Throughout the attraction's life, the crews were almost exclusively male. The first helmswoman appeared in the 1970s.
  • The attraction vehicles were not actual submarines, but instead boats in which the guests sat below water level.
  • The interiors were a mix of metal paneling, rivets and bolts, as well as Victorian style fittings in the form of passenger seats that can flip outwards, and armrests beneath the portholes, in keeping with the concept from the 1954 feature film.
  • Each "guest" aboard the Nautilus had his or her own seat, as well as a round porthole to look out into the attraction.
  • Each of the vehicles accommodated a total of forty riders.
  • In 1994, ride was temporarily closed for renovations.  It wasn't until early 1996 that it was formally announced that the ride was closed permanently.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rumors of a return of the Original Tiki Room

Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management had a fire in the attic area of the attraction in early 2011 and has been closed since.  The anticipated opening of the Tiki Room is August 2011...circumstances may be ripe for it to open "Under Old Management", as it's original version, to coincide with WDW 40th anniversary.  This is only speculation at this point, but signs are indicating that it may be true!  What do you think? 

There’s a number of technological and financial hurdles that would have to be overcome in order to bring the original show back. For example, the Magic Fountain was removed; where is it today - in storage or scrapped? Were the waterlines and pumps closed off or removed, or still accessible? How will the original programming of the show, which ran off of 35mm movie film, be converted over to the system the new show is using.

I would love to see the Original Tiki Room to return.  This was the one of Walt's original shows, and so appropriate for a return in 2011 for the 40th anniversary, if only for a short time. 

But, bring back the Barker Bird!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shirts or Skins?

Which side are you on?

Under normal circumstances the wearing of matching t-shirts at a theme park is probably grounds for divorce, separation or, at least, major counseling.  But these aren't normal circumstances! This is Disney World and my dear, sweet husband caters to my Disney obsession (to a point).  I guess he figures it's one less shirt he has to pick out.

Here are our shirts for this trip.  It was my first attempt at tye-dye.  OK for a first time; could have been better, but they'll do.  They'll just have to do...

Now before you knock the matchey-matchey, here's ours from 2009.   Don't we look good?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Orange Bird

Back in February it was reported on Disney World's official blog that the famous "Orange Bird" is back!  Here is the link:  The Florida Orange Bird Returns

Do you remember the Orange Bird?  He appeared exclusively at the Magic Kingdom in the 1970s, and recently reappeared on new T-shirts available in EPCOT. 

I just hope it's still available this summer.  Got to have one!

For those of you not familiar with the Orange Bird, here is a little history of it's inception:

In 1967, Walt Disney and the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) put together a plan for a FCC sponsored WDW attraction (a tropical bird show).  In the following years, WED Enterprises created the Orange Bird character to serve as the official mascot, and into the 80's he was a citrus icon available to meet in the park at the Sunshine Tree Terrace.  Merchandise and advertising were built around the Orange Bird and the campaign to have tourists buy more oranges and orange juice.  If you ever went to the park in the 70's/early 80's, you can't help to not forget the orange bird.  Back then, Orlando was but a mere small town surrounded by orange groves.  The prescence of the Forida Citrus Commission and the Orange Growers was obvious.

Cheers to the Orange Bird!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Disney quote

To follow on to my last post, I found this quote that seems so appropriate.

"I love the nostalgic myself.  I hope we never lose some of the things of the past." -- Walt Disney.

Monday, April 11, 2011

More Vintage Pictures from 1972

The Rivers of America.  Notice Tom Sawyer's Island on the left.  Though Tom Sawyer Island was built into the Rivers of America area when the park opened in 1971, it was not fully completed until 1973.

Now this picture will really bring back some memories!!!  Years and years ago, along the WDW Railroad line around where Big Thunder Mountain is today, there was a burning settler's cabin.  It was supposed to look like Indians just attacked and if I remember I believe there was some dialog on the train about it.  

These next series of pictures were from the Jungle Cruise.  I don't know what possessed my parents to take so many pictures of the Jungle Cruise.  Maybe it was THAT exciting back in '72!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Vintage Pictures


Cinderella Castle

Dad, brother and me.  Not exactly sure where this picture was taken, but I believe it's off of the castle hub, looking towards Adventureland.  

Clear view of the Haunted Mansion looking across the Rivers of America.  Mike Fink Keelboat in the foreground.

From the second level of the train station looking down Main Street USA.

What we want..

Got thinking about what I would want to see in a blog; and what most people seem to want to see. Pictures, glorious pictures – especially food pictures and vintage pictures. Hmmm…so, I don’t know about the food. I’m usually too impatient to take pictures. But the vintage shots, I can do something with. I need to figure out how to post them and then we’re off to the races! Wish me luck.

WDW advice with little ones

Here's something I wrote up for someone I knew was going to WDW with their little kids.  I'm sure I got a tad-bit overzealous with my report, but that comes with the territory!

WDW Advice with Little Ones

Location, location, location is everything when staying on property at Walt Disney World with little ones (5 and under). Pre-walkers and short legs make for long days, and the shorter transportation times, the better. With kids under 5, I highly recommend focusing most of your park time at Magic Kingdom.

If you are so fortunate as to be able to stay in a deluxe resort, the Contemporary, Polynesian, or Grand Floridian are the best locations. All of these are on the monorail loop to the Magic Kingdom and a short monorail transfer to EPCOT. Anything in the Magic Kingdom resort area is really perfect. This includes Wilderness Lodge and Ft. Wilderness, too.

Of course all the other resorts, have their equal merits. The Value resorts are just as the name implies, a great value. Theme is over the top and perfect for the little ones’ imagination. These resorts include the All-Stars (Movies, Music, and Sport), and also POP Century. POP Century is my favorite. As a child of the 80’s, I can’t help but to fall in love with all that nostalgia. I could overdose on it! Great amenities at a perfect price. The trade off is the transportation option. Only busses are available to the parks, but it is still a convenient option. Just remember the stroller for the littlest member’s of your party. Some of the distances from the rooms to the food court or the bus stop can be long; and at the end of the day, no one wants to carry a sleeping child on their shoulder for more than a city block.

Moderate resorts include locations such as Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs and Ft Wilderness Cabins. Other deluxe resorts include Yacht and Beach Club and Boardwalk Inn which is just a short walk to the International Gateway entrance to EPCOT, and the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Also there are a number of Disney Vacation Club resorts that can be rented which have amenities such as full kitchens, separate bedrooms, washer/dryers, and living areas.

Each resort is unique and can be tailored to every family’s unique likes, needs, and wants. Research is key. What do you want in a resort? What do you need in a resort? Does your family have special considerations that should be taken into account? What is your budget? All things to consider and we haven’t even gotten to the theme parks, yet! Whew!

Before you hit the parks, you must have the proper need gear -- backpacks, bags, strollers, cell phones, and good shoes. Also, in the summer you can’t forget the sunscreen, water, rain ponchos and aqua towel (my new favorite accessory for keeping cool and wiping down wet seats). And you must remember to bring things to keep the little ones hands busy while waiting in lines. Finger snacks are perfect. Leave the bubbles at home…it’s just too messy.

Let’s talk apps…because there is an app for just about everything related to the theme parks. My favorite app is "Undercover Tourist".  It’s on the expensive side as far as apps go, but it’s has the most up to date park times, parade/firework times, attraction wait times, and dining location with menus (this is invaluable!). There is also an assortment of free apps out there, too. There is no wireless in the parks or resorts, so that’s kind of a bummer if you have a data limited smartphone plan, or an iPod touch. If you aren’t techno-savy, you can always use the free handy-dandy map and show time list available just about anywhere in the parks.
So once you get to the parks, the experience can be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. The places are so big, there’s so many people, and where do you start first. This is where arriving even slightly prepared will save you time and energy.
When traveling with little ones, think about the experience through their mind, and look at the park on their eye level. It looks and feels much different than it does at yours. Slow down, take a breath and enjoy the moments.

Arriving at the parks, you want to make the most out of your days, so devise a plan of attack. Maybe focus on one half of a park in the morning, take a break mid-afternoon for some nap or pool time at your resort, and come back refreshed in the evening. Maybe focus on just a few rides and plan a leisurely day in the park. You know your kids well enough to know their limits. Respect those limits! Meltdowns are frequent and common. You don’t want to be looked at as "that parent". There are a ton of advice columns and services out there that offer guidance on the best routes through the parks, where to start, what rides to do first, etc, etc. Research them and determine what you want to do, but bottom line, for goodness sake, make a plan. I’ve seen way too many bewildered parents standing at the front of the Magic Kingdom looking at their guide map asking each other "where do you want to go first?".

With that said, here is some advice for must dos at the parks with the little ones. By all means, this is not an inclusive list and you may find things that your kids enjoy that I did not list. Every family is unique.

Use the Fastpass system at every park! It’s free, so take advantage of it. Basically, the fastpass system issues you a "pass" to enter certain high volume attractions at a point in time during the day, therefore bypassing the standby lines. Fast passes are available at the attraction entrance and are limited, so get them early. Fast pass attractions are denoted in all the guide maps.

Magic Kingdom
Fantasyland is undergoing a refurbishment right now, so you will see a lot of activity there.  Good rides for kids:  Dumbo, Winnie-the-Pooh (they just completed a new interactive queue), Peter Pan, Tea Cups, Small World, and Carousel.  Snow White Scary Adventures is dark and kind of scary for little ones.  Phillharmagic is a 3D show, which is very fun, but our daughter was scared of the 3D effect when she was 2. 
Mickey’s ToonTown Fair (now closed):
This the first land added to the Magic Kingdom and Feb. 12th will be the first land removed from Magic Kingdom.  Toontown Fair is being evicted to make room for a expanding FantasyLand, so make sure you visit this.  The little ones will love it.  From Toontown you can take a train to the front of the park or FrontierLand. 
Ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority several times.  Nice relaxing ride.  Never a line.  Be sure to listen for "paging Mr. Morrow….paging Mr. Tom Morrow"
Monsters Inc. Launch Floor is great…the kids will LOVE it.  Skip the Stitch ride…yuck! 
Try a dole whip at Aloha Isle.  Tiki Room "Under New Management" is cheesy but worthwhile.  Jungle Cruise is classic, as is Pirates of the Caribbean (might be scary for a 2 yr old). 
Liberty Square:
Don’t take a child screaming and kicking onto Haunted Mansion no matter how much you think they will enjoy it.  They will only hide under your shirt the entire time.  Oh…yea…I know about this.  Of course, now it’s our kids’ FAVORITE ride. 
Tom Sawyer Island. 
A good place to let the kids run loose for a while from all the stimulation of the park.  Skip if you are short on time.
Countrybear Jamboree is cute; Splash Mountain (water flume) and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are good if you have an adventuresome and tall child. Both these have height restrictions.
Main Street Electrical Parade at night is awesome, as well as Wishes (fireworks).  Wishes might be better viewed from the Contemporary or the Polynesian resort beach.  They pipe in the music and the view is amazing from the distance.
All the theme parks have Baby Care centers.  They are a good place to take little ones who need a break from the park.  They have lower toilets for potty training kids, family restrooms, changing and feeding areas for babies.  There is a small quiet room with a TV running cartoons.  Very handy to know about if you think your child is going to have a melt-down. Locations are noted in all park guides.

If you venture to the other parks, here are some highlights…

Lots of stuff to see, not as much stuff to do for the little ones.
Living Seas with Nemo & Friends ride and Turtle Talk with Crush (must, must, must do with little kids).

Soarin 40" height restriction is amazing, but it has a 40" height restriction so the smaller child may not be able to board.

Test Track and Mission Space borders on the edge of what a little ones would enjoy. Maybe a tall, adventurous 5 year old might do.

Gran Fiesta Tour (Three Cabarello’s) in Mexico is great, relaxing, and a nice place to cool down during the summer. 

Illuminations (fireworks show) is awesome. 9:00 every night at the World Showcase Lagoon.

This is biggest park, expect a lot of walking. 

Food is fantastic in the countries. 

Now I mentioned height restrictions several times. So that begs the question, "as an adult am I stuck with only the rides the kids can go on?". If you are traveling with two or more adults, the answer is a big NO. Try the "baby swap". Dad can go through the line, while Mom waits with the kids. Then when Dad finishes the attraction, Mom is allowed to bypass the queue. A nice benefit is that if there are older kids involved, they are often let on to ride with both Dad and Mom. Ask a cast member at the queue entrance for details, as each ride has different procedures.

Hollywood Studios
Not too much at this park for little ones in terms of rides. Instead, plan your day around the various stage shows. Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Lights/Motor/Action Stunt Show, Indiana Jones Stunt Show (although this is getting old), Beauty and the Beast Stage Show. 

Toy Story Mania. I’m conflicted on this ride with respect to little ones. It recently opened and has become Hollywood Studios top attraction in terms of wait time, and fast pass distribution. Standby can easily exceed an hour or more on any given day. It’s cute and fun, however, it’s interactive and difficult for kids under 5 to operate. I just don’t see waiting in line for more than 30 minutes with little ones for this. If you do the fast pass method, then it’s OK.
Check out the "Singing in the Rain" Umbrella just outside of the Lights/Motor Action Stunt Show.  Jump up and down on the senor below it and it rains.

Tower of Terror and Rock’n’Roller Coaster – awesome for the adults! Use baby swap and don’t miss out. 

If you have a star wars fan, check out star tours (again, this is height restricted and could be scary for a really young one). Jedi Knight training academy might appeal to a young boy. My son did this when he was 6 and loved it.

Street Atmosphere "streetmosphere" is what Hollywood Studios has going for it. Lots of things going on at any given time. Be on he look out for the police officer, Hollywood agent, starlet, and those famous green army men.

Fantasmic is their nighttime show.  It’s not fireworks but a show set on a huge stage using characters, water, smoke, and pyrotechnics.  Themed around the Disney Villians so tends to be "dark".  I like it, but kids don’t seem to like it as much. 

Animal Kingdom
This is not my favorite park from an attraction standpoint, but it is my favorite "themed" park.  It is incredible the amount of detail that has gone into that park.  Some of the better attractions are the Safari ride, Festival of the Loin King, Finding Nemo the musical, and It’s Tough to be a Bug (3D movie with special effects).
Check out the Dino Dig site. Wonderful place to let your kids stretch their legs and play.
Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, Dinosaur, and Primevil Whirl are high speed, scary attractions. They are good so enjoy them with baby swap if you have the time.

Animal Kingdom is a park with a great deal of educational programs about the animals and the environment. The level of enjoyment for the little ones will really depend on their interest in nature.

If you are traveling in the summer, this park tends to be the hottest. Not sure why…maybe the level of vegetation doesn’t allow airflow like the other parks, but it can be brutal in the summer. Drink lots of water and take frequent breaks in the shade.

Outside the parks, you can check out Downtown Disney if you are a shopper.  I don’t care for it so much, but many people rave about it.  Resort hopping is one of my favorite activities. There are so many hidden gems throughout the resorts. A boat ride to Wilderness Lodge from Magic Kingdom, you can see a gyser (aka ol’ Faithful) go off every hour.  Polynesian resort (monorail ride away) is a great place to be at night with all the tiki torches lit.  Great place for viewing Wishes and the nighttime Electrical water pagent.  Another boat ride away is Ft. Wilderness.  They have an evening campfire/movie program that is free to resort guests.  Makings for s’mores are sold.  Ask your resort concierge about it if you are interested.  I’m sure they can get you movie showings and times. 

Food at disney is notoriously either really good or really bad, and always expensive.  If you look over that fact, here are some places I recommend.  Table service or buffets -- O’hana’s at the Polynesian, Whispering Canyon Café at Wilderness Lodge, Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge, 50’s Prime Time Café at Hollywood Studios, Beirgarten in Germany @ EPCOT.  Counter Service locations – sunshine seasons at EPCOT, Columbia Harbour House at Magic Kingdom, Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom.  Food and drinks are allowed in the parks (no glass or alcohol) so that is really nice if you have picky eaters like we do.

Historical note – on the boat ride to Ft Wilderness and looking west (??) from the Contemporary, you will see the remnants of Discovery Island and near Ft. Wilderness, the remnants of River Country.  Discovery Island was once an exhibit with birds, turtles and other animals in a native habitat.  There was an educational nature program and the like there.  River Country was Disney World’s first water park.  Both have since been closed, and seemingly abandoned.  It’s bizarre the shape both were left in.  It was like someone said that tomorrow this place is shut down and walked away.  Strange.

Hope you and your family have a good time!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

30 things you didn't know about WDW

This list was generated in response to a co-worker who sent me "30 things you didn’t know about Disneyland".
Do you dare toy with me?!?!  :)  I actually know most of those, maybe not the specific numbers, in generalities.  This is one thing that I admire about's the attention to detail and the amazing capability for such a large organization to pull off such an endeavor day after day...just amazing when you think about the amount of people and things that need to be coordinated just right for everything to work. 

I love the attention to detail.  One of the examples I like to use are the appearance of the window shutters of a certain building (can't remember the name right now) in Liberty Square (one of the "lands" that represents colonial America) in the Magic Kingdom.  They are slightly tilted away from the window, almost as if the hinges are broken.  Why are they like that?  There's no explanation in the parks anywhere as to why, but there is a back story.  During the American Revolutionary war, iron was used to make weapons and such for the military and in short supply to the general public.  So, during this particular period of time, the hinges were replaced with leather straps which stretched over time causing the shutters to tilt away from the window.  The building needed to look authentic.  You don't notice it, but you would notice if it wasn't right.  Cool, huh?  That's just one of thousands of overlooked details. 

Here are some things you didn't know about Disney World that I threw together...

1.  Walt Disney World opened Oct. 1, 1971.  Walt Disney died 5 year before.  Roy Disney (brother) carried out Walt's plan for a park in Florida.  Roy died just two months after the opening. 

2.  WDW resort covers more than 25,000 acres or 40 square miles.  Currently, less then 1/4 of this is developed, with another quarter designated as a wilderness preserve.

3.  WDW includes more the 850 acres of lakes.

4.  The maximum height allowed for any feature (building or attraction or icon) at WDW resort is 200'.

5.  WDW cast members launder an average of 240,000 lbs of laundry each day, with an additional 30,000 to 32,000 garments dry cleaned daily.

6.  WDW resort monorail beamway extends a total of 14 miles.

7.  WDW resort is home to 99 holes of golf.

8.  There are 300 places to dine at WDW resort, not counting portable food carts.

9.  There are more than 31,000 guest rooms at the WDW resort.  The resorts go by acronyms among those "in the know":  CR, PR, GF, FW, WL, CS, CR, POR, POFQ, SoG, POP, ASMu, ASsp, ASMo, AKL, BC, BW, YC, SSR, OKW, and BLT. 

10.  Magic Kingdom in the WDW resort is the only park which does not sell alcohol.  Also, no park sells gum. 

11.  There are 13 lanterns hanging from the Liberty Tree in Liberty Square which represent the 13 original colonies.  If you look in the window above one of the shops you will see two lighted lanterns, which reference "one if by land, two if by sea".

13.  The only hotels operating when the park opened in 1971 were the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Resort.  The Contemporary Resort was built using a modular design technique.  Each room was built at a worksite several miles away, trucked in, and assembled into the A-frame hotel we see today. 

14.  ECPOT spends $35,000 a night on pyrotechnics for its Illuminations show.  Magic Kingdom spends about $15,000 a night for its Wishes fireworks display.  Hollywood Studios Fantasmic show runs about $10,000 for pyrotechnics (this show runs about 2 -3 times a week).  That's $19.8M a year, not including special fireworks shows for holidays. 

15.  Underneath the Magic Kingdom is a series of underground tunnels (call Utilidors).  These are used as the "backstage" area for all operations.  Cast Members move from one part of the park to the other using the utilidors.  Costuming is located under the park.  Cast Members take their breaks and eat at a cafeteria under the park.  Food and merchandising is transported through the utilidors. 

16.  In the WDW Railroad station at the Magic Kingdom, in the background you can hear the tapping sounds of Morse code (like from a telegraph office).  These aren't random sounds.  The Morse code is replaying Walt Disney's opening speech from Disneyland.

17.  WDW resort is the largest single-site employer in the US with over 40,000 cast members.

18.  Mickey Mouse has 175 different outfits.  Minnie Mouse has approximately 200 outfits.

19.  More than 50 million Cokes are consumed each year at Walt Disney World Resort. Guests also consume 10 million hamburgers, 7 million hot dogs, 9 million pounds of French fries and more than 300,000 pounds of popcorn.

20.  Disney's Animal Kingdom is the largest park in the WDW complex, at around 500 acres.

21.  The names of 2 of the approach procedures that all aircraft follow into their arrival at Orlando International Airport are named GOOFY TWO and MINEE TWO.

22.  The monorail was the fastest ride in the WDW park until Test Track was built in EPCOT.

23.  Cinderella's castle is not made of stone... it is entirely made of fiberglass.

24.  The narrator of Spaceship Earth from 1986 to 1994 was Walter Cronkite.

25.  There are about 1100 Audio-Animatronic figures in the Magic Kingdom alone! These are all controlled using a system called DACS (Digital Animation Control System) from a central remote location, along with the more than 700 soundtracks for attractions, parades, stores and restaurants! In the four theme parks, there are close to 2000 Audio-Animatronics figures in all.

26.  Fear of traffic jams and overcrowding fueled by media hype kept crowds away from the park on October 1, 1971. In fact, extra Florida State Troopers were brought in to control traffic jams, but were found to be unnecessary. While some early guests drove in circles around the entrance hoping to be the first to enter the park, less than 10,000 guests visited the Magic Kingdom that day. By November, however, Florida experienced the worst traffic jam in its history, as nearby Interstate 4 was backed up for miles with Disney visitors.

27.  Since the early 90's, you are not allowed to swim in the lake water at the WDW resorts due to an amoeba found in Florida waters that can make people with compromised immune systems very sick.  I guess we were testing fate back in the 70's and 80's.  I loved swimming in the lake!

28.  Standing under Spaceship Earth in ECPOT (that's the large silver ball) during a rainstorm, you will not get wet.  That is because there is a specially designed gutter system which captures the water and sends it to World Showcase Lagoon (about 2 city blocks away).

29.  In the Haunted Mansion ride in Magic Kingdom, the air conditioning system is so effective that cast members have to add dust (fuller's earth) to keep the place looking dusty. 

30.  In WDW, no trash can is ever being more than 30 steps away from you.  It seems that Walt went to other parks when he was designing the park and counted how long a person would hold onto a piece of trash before dropping it on the ground.  He came up with 30 steps.