Happiest Celebration on Earth Press Event 2005
by Pete Werner
DIS Founder / CEO, Dreams Unlimited Travel, Inc.
DIS Coverage Sponsored by: Dreams Unlimited Travel, Inc.
Day 1 - (MGM):
Day 2 - (Magic Kingdom & Epcot):
If you’ve never had the good fortune to attend a Disney press event, let me try and sum the experience up for you like this – take all the elements of a great Disney vacation (a beautiful room at the Walt Disney World Swan, passes to the parks, copious amounts of food and alcohol), throw in some A list entertainment (Ashanti, Smash Mouth, Barenaked Ladies), dot the parks with celebrities (Paige Davis, Alan Cummings, Joey Fatone among many others), and you have yourself a good ole fashioned Disney press event.
Our team for the event consisted of myself (video, content), Corey Martin (photos, site design), Regina Hinrichs (content), Kevin Klose (content) and Bob Varley (video, photos, running people over with his cart). We were also joined by my partners in Dreams Unlimited, John Magi and Donna LeFever (with a big shout out to mail boy). So, we were well represented, and I think you'll agree that our coverage reflects it!
For a Disney fan, the chance to attend one of these parties is akin to a pilgrimage to
Our press event experience began by moving what seemed to be every piece of computer equipment we owned into the three rooms we had at the Walt Disney World Swan. If you want to get lots of odd looks, traipse through the lobby of hotel with 5 computers in tow. With our equipment (and a complimentary high speed internet connection in each of the rooms) - we were ready to work. But first we had to eat. We decided on Palio, a nice Italian restaurant at the Swan. We figured we'd have a nice meal and plan out our week. However, it's hard to talk about plans when everyone is grunting and groaning about how good the food is. In lesser hands, this entire event might have been entitled "oh my god this bruschetta is so good" followed by a Homer Simpson-esque throat rumble. Kevin Klose wrote up the experience (click here).
Before I get in to the event itself, I have to say this. The 'heavenly beds' that figure so prominently into the Swan and Dolphin experience should, by all rights, be outlawed. If you choose to lay on one of these beds after a day of running around the parks you should abandon all hope of ever getting up. Coupled with excellent food room service - the combination is deadly (the Pizza's are excellent, and great fuel when it's 4am and your video editing software won't work).
DAY 1 - MGM - Shaken not stirred
The first event was held on May 4th at MGM Studios, for the dedication of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show (hereinafter referred to as LMA) . The espionage theme of the show was translated well onto the streets of MGM, as streetmosphere players dressed as secret agents (and punk rockers, and bums and movie stars) mingled with the eclectic mix of press, travel and celebrity attendees. Of course my team missed no opportunity to get their pictures taken with as many celebs as possible (and it wasn't hard – the place was lousy with ‘em). That night we were treated to a concert with
DAY 2 - It's All Been Done
Day two of the press event saw the official launch of the 50th anniversary at the
That evening, the party shifted to Epcot for the dedication of Soarin' and a concert by the Barenaked Ladies. For those not familiar with Soarin', it is sent (by the Gods in my opinion) from Disney's California Adventure (where it is known as Soarin' over California). While it's the same attraction, this version is designed to change films every so many years. I think the next one should be "Soarin' over New Jersey'. Just imagine the smells they could pump in over Elizabeth!! (and I'm from New Jersey, and love it - so don't send any hate mail).
In keeping with the
- Pricing structure changed for Valet Parking at Downtown Disney - Pricing is based on length of stay - time starts when you reach the valet podium and stops when you return to the podium to pick up your car.
- Blog - Top 5 Must Do's at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
- Pangani Research Center closes for refurb - Pangani Research Center- Aviary and Hippo viewing area will be closed 9/2 - 11/14/2014.
- Blog - Villains Soiree - Wickedly Disappointing
- Blog - Dole Whips are back at the Polynesian Village Resort at the new and disappointing Pineapple Lanai
- Shortened monorail operating hours now in place - The monorail will have a different operating schedule than normal as an automation upgrade takes place.
- Blog - The Good and Bad of "Toy Story of TERROR!" on Blu-ray
- American Idol Experience is now closed at Disney's Hollywood Studios - This attraction closed August 30, 2014. No definitive plans have been announced for this space.
- VIDEO: Oogie Boogie's Freaky Funhouse Show at Villains Unleashed - Oogie Boogie's Freaky Funhouse Show at Villains Unleashed brings Vegas to Walt Disney World. Villains Unleashed took over Disney's Hollywood Studios on August 23, 2014 and part of the hard ticket event was Oogie Boogie's Freak Funhouse Show. Oogie Boogie hosts the show that features a sword-swallowing act, daredevil archery and a finale full of fire!
- Refurb closures planned for Walt Disney World water parks - Typhoon Lagoon will be closed 10/26/14-1/3/15 and Blizzard Beach will be closed 1/4/15-3/14/15.
- Top 5 Signature Dining Experiences at the Walt Disney World Resorts - 1,600 listeners and viewers of our DIS Unplugged web-cast voted on their favorite signature restaurants at the Walt Disney World resort hotels.
- Blog - The Top 5 Underutilized Spaces at Walt Disney World
- Starbucks will open at Hollywood Studios in February 2015 - The Trolley Car Cafe will be located along Hollywood Boulevard and be themed like a trolley car station. Disney baked goods and Starbucks La Boulange pastry items will be available. An exact location hasn't been announced.
- VIDEO - Frozen Fireworks Multi-Angle Full Show - “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”
- VIDEO: Star-Lord & Gamora from 'Guardians of the Galaxy' at Villains Unleashed - Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, and Gamora made their first appearance ever at the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1 Dance Party during the Villains Unleashed event at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Mikala Canoe Club Marina at Polynesian to be closed for refurb - The marina will be closed 9/15 - 9/19/2014. Sail boat/motorized boats and fishing excursions will not be available.
- Entrance 4 to Downtown Disney's parking lot now closed - Entrance 4 (between Cirque du Soleil and DisneyQuest) is now closed permanently. The only entrances are Entrance 2 (across from the Hess Station) and Entrance 5 (across from Typhoon Lagoon).
- VIDEO: Villains Unleashed Opening Ceremony - Villains Unleashed kicked off at Disney's Hollywood Studios with an opening ceremony hosted by Hades, Pain, Panic and Megara from Hercules. Once the stars of the night took the stage they introduced some of the 50 Disney Villains guests could meet at the special hard ticket event.
- VIDEO: Villains Unleashed Event Overview - Over 50 Disney villains took over Disney's Hollywood Studios for the Villains Unleashed Event.
- Times updated for events at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - The Party is a specially ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom that begins September 1.
- Villains' Sinister Soiree add-on available for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - This special add-on will give guests preferred viewing for Mickey's Boo to You Halloween Parade (8:15pm) and the Happy HalloWishes fireworks show. Lady Tremaine will host a dessert soiree at Cinderella's Royal Table Restaurant for you and some of her friends.
- 5 Elements from the Disney Parks that You'll Find on a Disney Cruise Ship - You have been to the Disney Parks, and you love them. You keep going back for that pixie-dust rush. You can’t imagine a vacation apart from Disney Parks, yet somehow the “old and familiar” is getting a bit old and familiar. This is where the Disney Cruise Line enters. It’s a Disney vacation of a different variety. The dissimilarities are a bit obvious. You’re on a ship in the ocean, visiting foreign places. This is nothing like being landlocked in a park, surrounded by coasters and kiosks. So what can you expect from the Disney Parks to carry over to your cruise?
- Blog - "Villains Unleashed" needs leashing up - Disney's overcrowded hard ticket event leaves guests in long lines most of the night
- Mickey's PhilharMagic refurb extended - The end date has been moved from September 19 to the 28th. The attraction will go down September 8.
- Enchanted Tiki Room going down for refurb in late September - The Magic Kingdom attraction will be closed from 9/27 - 10/3/2014.
- Two Epcot New Year's Eve dining events released - More New Year's Eve events are yet to be released.
- Blog - Beyond Aulani
- Updated operating schedule for monorails - The monorail will have a different operating schedule than normal as an automation upgrade takes place.
- Charging stations for electric vehicles added to Epcot parking lot - Disney has added four Level 2 ChargePoint charging stations to the Journey parking lot at Epcot. Electric vehicles will be charged $.35 per kw/h, with a minimum charge of $1.50.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets sold out on 10/31/14 - Tickets are still available for all other dates.
- New Move it! Shake it! Dance and Play it! Street Party to debut at Magic Kingdom this fall - Stitch and Phineas & Ferb will join the party and Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy will ride on top of giant gift boxes. The soundtrack will feature remixed classic party songs and guests will vote for one of three current hits to be played.
- VIDEO: What's New at Aulani - Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa has many new offerings. Quick service at Ulu Cafe, kids splash zone at Keiki Cove, two new pools, and much more.
- MagicBands can now be purchased without ticket media - The bands are now available for purchase across property.
- Changes to boat schedules at Downtown Disney - Schedules have been changing recently due to construction.
- Blog - The Good and Bad of the "Muppets Most Wanted" Blu-ray
- Ultimate Day VIP Tour available at Epcot Food & Wine Festival - This daylong tour begins at the Festival Center's VIP Lounge and includes champagne, a beverage tasting, six-course tapas-style lunch, wine, private backstage tours, time on Epcot attractions, food and beverage pairings with Disney chefs, VIP seating at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, and reserved seating for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks spectacular.
- Blog - New Golden Oak Outpost Menu is Waffle Fry Heaven
- Sunrise Safari at Animal Kingdom ending 12/28/14 - This tour is exclusive to Animal Kingdom Lodge Kilimanjaro Club Level guests.
- American Idol Experience to close August 30 - No plans have been announced for the space.
- Florida residents save $40 on Cirque du Soleil tickets - Through September and October, Florida residents will save $40 on adult Cirque du Soleil tickets purchased at the box office.
- VIDEO: The Refurbished Capt. Cook's at Polynesian Resort - After a long refurbishment, Capt. Cook's has reopened at the Polynesian Village Resort. Major changes include artwork in the seating area, a new menu, no more ordering off of touch screens and the tragic loss of the Dole Whip self-serve machine.
- American Film Institute at the end of Backlot Tour to close - As of August 17, the American Film Institute Showcase exhibit at the end of the ride will be closed. This exhibit features props and costumes from various films. The gift shop will also close.
- D23 Expo 2015 tickets are now on sale - Tickets for next year's D23 Expo are now on sale. The D23 Expo will be held August 14-16, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
- Blog - Polynesian Resort's Capt. Cook's quick service restaurant reopens after refurbishment
- Golden Oak Outpost now serving specialty waffle fries - This walk-up stand is located on the backside of Frontierland on the walkway to Adventureland.
- Tower of Terror On-ride videos available with Memory Maker - After riding The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a video of the guest's ride will be added to their My Disney Experience account. This video is only available to guests who have purchased Memory Maker.
- Win a 2 Night / 3 Day stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin! - Answer 3 questions about the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin on our contest page for a chance to WIN!
- Great Irish Hooley Festival to be held at Downtown Disney - "Hooley" is Irish slang for party or celebration. Celebrate with food, drink and dancing.
- Update coming to My Disney Experience - make dining reservations 20 minutes in advance - A new update will allow guests to make same day dining reservations only 20 minutes in advance.
- Performance times updated for Night of Joy - Disney’s Night of Joy is a hard-ticket event at the Magic Kingdom that features contemporary Christian performers.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Polynesian Resort Lobby - Lobby Waterfall - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at the Polynesian Resort.
- Blog - Haunted Mansion Merchandise Continues to Materialize
- Refurb scheduled this winter for the Haunted Mansion - The attraction will be closed from 12/1 - 12/19/14.
- It's Tough to be a Bug refurb extended until 9/27 - This attraction was originally scheduled to reopen August 11, but will instead stay closed through September 27.
- Yankee Trader shop refurb extended through December - The shop is becoming a Haunted Mansion gift shop.
- Disney and unions argue about extra shift distribution policy
- Polynesian Resort opens new Dole Whip location
- Popular EPCOT acts to depart this Fall
- Wet 'n Wild employee trapped in pool; now in critical condition
- Star Wars mobile game app released by Disney
- Disney contract approved by part-time employees
- Citation banning whale trainers from water will not be appealed by SeaWorld
- Disney cancels 2014 Festival of the Masters art show
- Radio Disney to shut down stations and lay off employees
- Disney proposes new contract for part-time employees
Today's Theme Park Hours
Epcot Future World:
Epcot World Showcase:
|9:00 - 10:00
9:00 - 9:00
11:00 - 9:00
9:00 - 8:00
9:00 - 5:00
10:00 - 5:00 PM
10:00 - 5:00 PM
Extra Magic Hour Evening: Epcot FW