Disney Author Event: Charles Ridgway

Don’t forget that Disney Legend Charles Ridgway will be at the Winston-Salem Barnes & Noble this Tuesday (June 5th) at 7:00pm for a book signing and discussion of Spinning Disney’s World.

Jeff Pepper at 2719 Hyperion (A Disney Geeks fave) is hosting the event.

The Disney Geeks will be there. We hope to see many of you as well. We plan on trying to organize a Carolina Disney Group. Let us know if you’re interested!

Hit the link to learn more about the book:

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Disney Geeks: Gift Buying Guide

Andy’s Birthday
Originally uploaded by biblioadonis.

So what do you give a Disney Geek for his birthday?

How about: Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look At Making the Magic Real and Modern Marvels – Walt Disney World on DVD.

This should be enough to keep one of the Disney Geeks busy for a while.

And be the beginning of an impressive Disney library.

Happy birthday, Andy!

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A Reason to Go to (shudder) Universal?

John Frost at The Disney Blog has posted a link to the Orlando Sentinel about the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Island of Adventure.

So, does this mean the one of the Disney Geeks will actually have to make a trip to Universal? If the Wizarding World comes off as planned, I will have to make that arduous journey. But not at least until 2009. I visited Universal Studios in Hollywood many years ago. All I will say is that it was a huge disappointment and it has kept me away from Universal in Florida.

My love of Harry Potter–the books, films and video games runs strong. Strong enough to make me visit Islands of Adventure–at least for one day!

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Disney Geeks: Bringing the Magic Home

We stayed at Disney’s Old Key West Resort in May of 2004.

Every morning (and afternoon) we would cross over Peninsular Rd. to get to the Hospitality House and the bus stop.

Right at the intersection, there was a ground cover that smelled amazing. I looked forward to the smell in the mornings and the afternoon. It came to be a portent of the day. Once we smelled the flowers, we knew we on our way to another exciting day at a theme park.

I raved about the flowers so much, that my mom tracked down the flower at our local Lowe’s Home Improvement. I called the Old Key West front desk and asked if this was the flower. They transferred me to a voice mail and I left a message for a horticultural specialist at Walt Disney World.

A few days later, I received a voice mail telling me that the plant was a Confederate Jasmine.

We found the plants at Lowe’s and put them in planters right next to our deck.

The smell will hit me and take me back instantaneously to Old Key West.


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Main Street 8:59

Main Street 8:59
Originally uploaded by taylorfam2007

For many of us, having Main Street to yourself seems impossible. Here is a little tip that will allow you to bask in your Disney Geek-ness.

Book an early breakfast at The Crystal Palace or Cinderella’s Royal Table (CRT) and you will be allowed to enter the park and stroll at your leisure to your breakfast destination. The closer to opening you book your breakfast, the more the entrance will be guest ready.

The shot on the left was taken one minute prior to opening. Our breakfast was at 9:10 at CRT. When we arrived via a Walt Disney World bus at 8:50 on a busy Saturday and saw 5,000+ people outside in line, we thought we would miss our reservation. Fortunately, by showing a cast member our reservation, we were whisked through the gates, bypassing any lines and were released to smell, hear and see Main Street with no obstructions.

The busy-fun music was already playing….

The delicious smell of different foods would change every ten steps….

Every cast member was fully dressed, including smiles….

Because the street was empty, I tried to get some shots of the fam in front of the castle. A PhotoPass photographer walked up and volunteered to take some pics on our camera. He took the time to position us perfectly between the castle and the statue of Walt holding Mickey. He patiently snapped away while we tried to get our two year old to smile.

It was almost like the cast members were in on it–that we were experiencing something so few ever do. Even though you could not see or hear the throngs at the gates, you could feel them surging and building for the big entrance. It really added to the energy of the experience.

The whole morning felt reminiscent of finding the tree loaded with presents on Christmas morning before anyone else was awake, only amplified in magnitude by the Disney magic.


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Charles Ridgway “Spinning Disney’s World”

One of the most important things we can do as humans is remember. Sometimes the memories are painful, sometimes they are joyous. When the memories come from one of the largest legends in the entertainment journalism field, they are at the very least significant.

A living piece of our nation’s brightest landmark has delivered a collection of memories that is filled with the same magic that has captured millions.

You get the sense that Charlie never underestimated the importance of what he was helping to build, even though he never directly stated it. You also feel the presence of Walt’s hand in all of the amazing stories. As much as I respect what Charlie has accomplished, his stories have made me realize how important Walt’s ideas and passion are to the everyday success of Disney. I think Charlie would agree that he was a steward of Walt’s, helping fulfill the legacy Walt left behind.

Fortunately, on July 5th, at 7:00pm, I will get the chance to ask him personally. He will be at the Barnes & Noble in Winston-Salem, NC, signing copies of his new book Spinning Disney’s World. Let me know if you would like to ask Charlie a question and I will be your steward.

If Walt was the father of the parks, Charlie was the big brother. Tirelessly promoting the parks not as a job, but as a passion. Charlie was present at every meaningful moment and always stood up for the parks in a way that only a big brother can. This care came unconditionally as the reader can easily sense that Charlie had a passion that he was compensated for as opposed to a job that he loved.

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Disney Dream: Living in Orlando

Imagine being able to visit the Magic Kingdom during your lunch break.

Catching a showing of Illuminations at Epcot since there is nothing good on TV that evening.

Eating at a different Walt Disney World restaurant every weekend.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

What if you lived near Walt Disney World. How much time would you spend visiting the theme parks?

I have been reading Brian Bennett’s column, Eyes On Orlando at Mouseplanet, for many years. Recently, he posted Orlando Attractions From an Orlando Resident’s Perspective.

Brian talks about how his family visits theme parks and other Orlando attractions after becoming Orlando residents. What would you do differently if you lived less than 30 minutes from the magic? Take a gander at his column and let us know what you think.

Because every Disney Geek wants to be closer to the magic!

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Haunted Mansion Detail

Haunted Mansion Detail
Originally uploaded by biblioadonis.

I love the Haunted Mansion.

Every time that I visit the Magic Kingdom, I ride the Haunted Mansion. It was actually my first Disney ride. Back in 1994, after a delicious meal at the Liberty Tree Tavern.

I remember the first time I had ever heard of the Haunted Mansion. A friend went to WDW and brought back viewmaster slides of the Vacation Kingdom. I vividly remember the slides of the ballroom. I knew at that moment that I needed to ride the Haunted Mansion. Fast forward twenty years. It completely lived up to it’s reputation.

Check out the details in the photo. Is it a person? What is the other object?

There are so many myths and legends about the Haunted Mansion.

What is your favorite tale?

In the meantime, check out Doombuggies.com.

Have a lot of spare time and want to impress the Disney Geeks? Do this.

Also, check out the Haunted Mansion Wikipedia article.


After doing some more searching, I came across HauntedPortraits.com. On the blueprints page, I ran across an architectural detail for the Liberty Square Haunted Mansion Cresting Detail on the Colonnade.

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Disney Travel ON DEMAND!

The Disney Geeks are excited about this! (What aren’t we excited about?)

From the Piedmont Triad Time-Warner On Demand channel:

Journey TV – Channel 1107
Journey TV is the first on demand channel dedicated to travel information offering viewers the opportunities to review travel and destination videos provided by the destinations themselves. Check out destination packages from Disney Parks, the National Parks Service, Busch Entertainment, Mexico Tourism and various U.S. State and City Tourist Boards.

So…what does this mean? Check out the press release.

Here is a shot of the press release explaining the details (click on the image to view it larger).
I know what I will be doing this evening.

What about you?

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Disney Dining Change

Several blogs and news related sources have been talking about the latest change to the ever-evolving Disney Dining Plan.

The Disney Geeks love the Disney Dining Plan (DDP)–if you can take advantage of it. Both of the Disney Geeks have had two completely different experiences. Even though we agree that it is an incredible money saver, there were some issues.

  • The restaurants are always full,
  • The service has seemed to fall by the wayside in some venues,
  • It is hard to take full advantage of the DDP without making Advanced Dining Reservations(ADR), and
  • Some restaurants are full at the 180 day mark for ADR’s.

The change that has been discussed is that gratuities (or tips) will not longer be part of the DDP. Meaning you will be spending more of your own money during sit down meals. You will have to pay the tips.

The Disney Geeks feel your pain.

But, allow us to express why this is a good idea for the DDP.

We have talked to many people about the DDP–their fears, reactions and excitement. Many people have complained about the service levels. That they were not up to typical Disney standards. The general feeling on message boards, forums and blogs is that many servers, although feeling inundated, we pleased with the automatic 18% gratuity.

We spoke to the manager of the 50’s Prime Time Diner about a great experience we had in December 2006. She was dismayed that our other dinners were not up to Disney snuff. She mentioned that the gratuity was always optional. We could have refused the gratuity for poor service.

Hmmmm…no one had mentioned this before.

So, we applaud this new policy. This might be the impetus to bring some of Disney back to the wait staff at the various eateries.

What do you think?

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