9/24-10/1/08 WDW Update

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While I’m certainly not happy about it, I’m back from Walt Disney World after 8 days, 4 parks, and 1 WDWCelebrations.com World Wide Weekend event that I will never forget. It was another great success for the teams (both WDWCelebrations and WDW News Today) and here are some pictures taken, in chronological order, by WDWNT of the spectacular World Wide Weekend event and some current events from around the Walt Disney World Resort:

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While the remainder of the team was on the special Backstage Magic tour Thursday, WDWNT met up with Chris Lastrapes of Disneyland News Today and Jose Castillo of WDW News Today for a day at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

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After ten years, the Frontierland Fry Cart is a thing of the past. All of the other McDonald’s locations are still operating at this time

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Chris could not believe how ugly the Leave A Legacy structures were up close

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That evening, most of the team met up to dine at the freshly-refurbished Nine Dragons restaurant over in the China pavilion of World Showcase.

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The restaurant is looking spectacular

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The waiting area looks fantastic, including this very cool item on the new glass wall murals

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The mural changes colors every few minutes

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From left to right: Tom Corless, Jose Castillo, Some Random Person, Adam Roth and Jason Diffendal waiting to be seated at the revamped restaurant

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The restaurant feels more inviting now, with splashes of color to go along with the elegant architecture

Here is the updated menu, you can click it for a larger version so you can read it

Here is the selection of beverages on the back

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Jason and I split the Pot Stickers for an appetizer, they were excellent

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Adam had the egg-rolls

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Jason enjoys a fine alcoholic beverage

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Well, if you ever wondered if those people that do the WDW News Today Podcast really are THAT crazy, the payment type Chris Lastrapes chose should give you your answer….

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Adam was pleased to begin the main events for the weekend at Downtown Disney

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Jackie Steele led the first history walk of Pleasure Island

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Who could this shirt have belonged to???

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As we wrapped up the events at PI, we were lucky enough to win some Dream Mouse Ears

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The WDWCelebrations team then assembled for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, the Grand Floridian Cafe.

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“If you’re wearing white, follow me into the restaurant!!!”

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“How many of you are there?”

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If you looking for a great place to grab lunch without an ADR, this is the place

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Here we all are enjoying cookies from the little chefs at the Grand Floridian with our server Kevin

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We are a sad group…

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Here’s a look at some of the offerings at the Grand Floridian Cafe

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The railings on the second level of the Grand Floridian are being replaced

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Friday’s World Wide Weekend Magic Kingdom events started with a group showing of Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. I was singing the loudest

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Exterior work taking place on Pinnochio’s Village Haus

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While we had some free time Friday evening, we decided to check out the room models for the upcoming Bay Lake Tower Disney Vacation Club Resort at Saratoga Springs

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Let’s head inside, shall we

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Look familiar?

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That evening, we all attended the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom

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Jason and I decided to get a picture with Bullseye since he was all alone

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We got a great group photo with one of the live entertainment groups out at the party

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Adam, Jason, Jose, Edward (a friend of Jose), Chris, and myself decided to get a photo in front of the Main Street Station before we left for the evening

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In what felt like a flashback to Celebration 25, WDWCelebrations was able to set-up some sign-in tables at Epcot on Saturday morning.

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Plenty of free goods from WDWCelebrations and its sponsors were given out, including some very stylish WDW News Today pens

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One of the games at Project Tomorrow was not working all that well on Saturday morning…

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The Japan pavilion is once again under tarps for painting.

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WDWNT decided to visit Pleasure Island during its final hours on Saturday evening

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What better place to be for that final night than the Adventurer’s Club

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Plenty of patrons showed up to wish the clubs farewell that evening.

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The World Wide Weekend moved over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Sunday afternoon

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A large billboard now appears where the old supports for the Sorcery in the Sky show once stood

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As Jose reported a few days ago, the “Jim Henson’s” sign is now missing from Muppetvision, while the hot air balloon has returned

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After seeing Muppetvision 3-D, the group took a ride on Star Tours

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Work continues on the American Idol Experience, now opening during Spring Break 2009

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Some trees have been planted outside the Playhouse Disney theater, really strange…

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Three of the Sunset Boulevard shops will be returning in November with a new look and merchandise selection

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The walls near Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster have come down to reveal a very different looking seating area

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They have finally updated the Kodak Picture Spot outside the Animation Courtyard archway to reflect the changes over the last few months
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Tom, Jason, and Adam (along with Jose who took the picture) took a ride on the Great Movie Ride during some event free-time on Sunday.
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One of the final events was a group showing of Fantasmic!
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We don’t usually post pictures of just scenery, but this was too cool
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The final meet of the spectacular World Wide Weekend was repeating rides on Toy Story Midway Mania during Extra Magic Hours at the Studios

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Upon arriving at Epcot on Monday morning, we noticed some new signage before you enter the Innoventions’ breezeways

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Since the exhibit is most likely done for, we decided to take one long look at the timeline of Epcot’s history outside the now-sealed doors

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Inside Mousegear, you can see just a sampling of the huge amount of new “Four Parks, One World” merchandise that will be offered over the next year.

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We also popped in at the Contemporary to check on the construction going on throughout the resort hotel

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The bridge that will connect the Bay Lake Tower to the Grand Canyon Concourse is shaping up nicely

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A new quick service location next to Chef Mickey’s is currently under construction

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Painting continues on the ceiling of the main building

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The elevator has been painted as well

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A nice look at the often forgotten other side of Bay Lake Tower

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After Jose headed back home Monday afternoon, John and I went to the Magic Kingdom where the parade had everyone excited

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The small ships were missing from this sign in Adventureland

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The Country Bear Jamboree is closed for refurbishment

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Some awesome new mouse-ear hats were for sale in Mickey’s Star Traders

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Something big smashed into the bottom of the TTA track and left quite a mark

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On Tuesday morning, John and I went to get in some rides on Toy Story Midway Mania, as I tried to reclaim my place with the all-time high score. Mr. Potato Head was having problems holding on to his ear.

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I was having a pretty good day on the ride, but still not close to my 286,600 all-time high score.

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They have begun priming the tower for some signage over at the American Idol Experience

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Work continued on Tuesday over at the Sunset Blvd. shops. I think the stairs would be quicker….

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The queue for Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster has been filled with framed t-shirts. Why? Hanes sponsorship.

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The new Cars meet-and-greet is complete and looks really good

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They’re not done with it just yet, as the Radiator Springs mural is being placed right next door.

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Great detail all around this area

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The final Super Soap Weekend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is coming up in November

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I believe this is the first of the bursting shirts to feature Pixar characters

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On Tuesday afternoon, we headed over to Animal Kingdom to see the remains of Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends

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Signage remains for the show

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Still untouched, not quite sure how long it will just be sitting there

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Inside Innoventions, the map stations have been updated with the new logo and updated maps

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The Food & Wine festival display on the way to World Showcase

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Behind the walls, you can have a better look at the new color scheme being applied to one of those strange structures between future world and world showcase

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They have added some displays inside Don’t Waste It inside Innoventions to make sure guests take their garbage trucks the right way

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We still could not believe that the exhibit was closed on Tuesday

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Jackie Steele of WDWCelebrations and MousePortal.com was almost as upset as I was

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Keeping with my tradition from the previous 69 trips I have made to WDW, John and I spent the last day of the vacation at the Magic Kingdom. We found this fantastic retro Frontierland shirt being offered as part of a brand new line of merchandise.

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This is part of the Magic Kingdom 1971 Collection, a new line of merchandise we will be seeing a lot of over the next year or so

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The back of the new T-shirt

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Work on the Swiss Family Treehouse continues through the 3rd of October

Be sure to stay tuned to WDW News Today as I will be putting up my photos from the trip tomorrow at some point. See ya real soon!!!

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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