By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

Category — w. Most Recent Stuff

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Turtle Talk with Crush

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on


By Jim Korkis

Turtle Talk with Crush is a popular theater show that is part of Disney’s Living Character Initiative program.

Bruce Vaughn, Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering’s Research and Development Division said, “This is an incredibly compelling and powerful way to experience the characters. They are fully aware of the people in their presence and can call you by name. It is a 100 percent live experience.”

Crush is a laid-back green sea turtle over 150 years old who loves riding the ocean currents and talks with the stereotypical attitude and vocabulary of a California surfer. He first appeared in the Disney Pixar animated feature film Finding Nemo (2003) where he helped Dory and Marlin on their quest.

According to Crush himself, his father is named Mr. Turtle, so that would make Crush’s full name Crush Turtle, or C. Turtle (sea turtle) for short.

In the film, his voice is supplied by Nemo writer-director Andrew Stanton who recorded all of Crush’s dialog lying on his couch in his office.

The show is a mixture of technologies including computer graphic techniques, image projection, digital puppetry and improvisation. Some of the action is pre-created animated sequences that can be cued up when needed while some of the action is done in real time.

Crush is controlled onscreen in real time by a puppeteer who uses a telemetric input device similar to a keyboard so that it appears seamlessly in a virtual environment. The X-Y-Z axis movement of the input device causes the digital puppet to move correspondingly.

Basically, a talented performer behind the massive rear projection screen area that looks like a window in to the Pacific Ocean underwater environment speaks in an approximation of Crush’s familiar voice and it is transferred to the speakers in the small theater.

The avatar image is projected at 60 frames per second, so that the turtle’s mouth is perfectly sychronized with the performer’s words. The performance is a mixture of pre-scripted material and improvisational responses. Cameras mounted on either side of the screen, allows the performer to see the audience and to make specific references.

The same type of technology is used in the Monsters Laugh Floor attraction in Magic Kingdom.

Turtle Talk with Crush originally it opened on November 16, 2004 at The Living Seas pavilion at Epcot that was later renamed The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Another version opened at Disney California Adventure in July 2005. It was open briefly at Hong Kong Disneyland from May 24 to August 10, 2008. The attraction opened in Tokyo DisneySea on October 1, 2009.

A similar experience is also included in the Disney Cruise Line Animator’s Palate restaurants on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy ships. A Turtle Talk with Crush unit was donated by Walt Disney Imagineering to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in early 2013 to entertain children and their siblings. It is operated twice a day by volunteering Disney cast members.

In May 2016 the theme park attraction added the characters of Dory, Destiny the whale shark, Bailey the beluga whale and Hank the “septopus” (a seven-legged octopus) along with Crush’s son Squirt.

It was reported that the addition of Turtle Talk with Crush to Disney TokyoSea cost a minimum of $13.1 million but does not include the “Dude speak” because the Imagineers felt that type of persona would not be completely understood by a Japanese audience. So, there Crush is just an overly friendly turtle.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Secret Stories of Disneyland, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

September 15, 2017   No Comments

Next Week (September 16 through September 24, 2017) at Walt Disney World


The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

For more on September 2017 at Disney World, see this.


The Magic Kingdom will be open 9a-11p 9a-11p 9/16, 9a-7p 9/17, 9a-10p 9/18, 9a-7p 9/19, 9a-8p 9/20, 9a-9p 9/21, 9a-7p 9/22, 9a-11p 9/23, and 9a-7p 9/24

Epcot will be open from 9a-10p 9/16,  9a-9p 9/17 through 9/21, 9a-10p 9/22 and 9/23, and 9a-9p 9/24

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open 9a-9p 9/16, and 9a-8.30p 9/17 through 9/24

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open 9a-9p every day


Saturday 9/16 Morning:  Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 9/17  Morning:  Hollywood Studios  Evening: none

Monday 9/18 Morning: Animal Kingdom  Evening: none

Tuesday 9/19 Morning: none Evening:  Epcot

Wednesday 9/20 Morning: none  Evening:  Magic Kingdom

Thursday 9/21 Morning: Epcot Evening: none

Friday 9/22 Morning:  Magic Kingdom Evening: none

Saturday 9/23 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 9/24  Morning: Hollywood Studios Evening: none


The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon Festival of Fantasy Parade: 2p every day


Happily Every After at Magic Kingdom: 9p 9/16, 9/18, 9/20, 9/21, and 9/23

IllumiNations at Epcot:  10p 9/16, 9p 9/17 through 9/21, 10p 9/22 and 9/23, and 9p 9/24

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 8.30p 9/16; 8p 9/17 through 9/24

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9p 9/16; 8.30p 9/17 through 9/24

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom 8.45p 9/16; 8.15p 9/17 through 9/24


See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

September 14, 2017   No Comments

Meet Dave, Josh, Steve Bell September 24 at Magic Kingdom

Josh of and I will be meeting our readers and signing more or less anything they bring for us to sign—but signing with special delight our co-authored The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney Visit 2018—in later September! (Scroll down a bit to learn more about The easy Guide.)

Specifically, Josh, Steve and I will be in (or near) the seating area at Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom on Sunday September 24 from 5.30p til 6.30p.



This time we’ll also be joined by Steve Bell of!

Steve, in addition to authoring that great resource for military families,  is also the author of Walt Disney World For Military Families  and The Essential Guide to Shades of Green.  Steve—like Josh—is one of my longest-standing imaginary internet friends. If you’ve had enough of us, talk to Steve instead.

We love to be able to meet the folks we’ve tried to help, and are grateful for their kind words and support. If you will be in (or near!) the Magic Kingdom that day, we’d love to meet and thank you, too!


As I noted a few days ago, the 2018 edition of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook, ever, is now available on Amazon—paperback here, and Kindle here.

A guidebook too large to be understood or easily used is doing folks no favors. Co-author Josh of and I from the start wanted to publish the shortest and best-organized guidebook we could. Our 2018 edition has 307 substantive pages—about a third the size of some Disney World guidebooks—and in what is probably a first for Disney World guidebook series, has 8 fewer pages fewer than our 2017 edition!

But in those 307 pages we cover every major decision you need to make—how old and tall your kids should be, how long to stay, when to go, where to stay, what to do in the parks, where to eat, and more.

Moreover, we make it easy for you to refer to the book in the parks. If you purchase the paperback version, we make the Kindle version available for free. Load it onto a Kindle app on your phone and you are all set!


We also pride ourselves on providing the most accurate guidebook available. Our knowledge of Disney World comes from direct experience—Josh is in the parks and restaurants two to four times a week, and later this year I will have stayed in my 150th different Disney World-owned room, villa, suite, studio, cabin or campsite. No one else can match the experience we bring.

Dave’s stays…

We match this with disciplined judgment and a commitment to accuracy. Accuracy is really hard, and we’ve had our share of goofs. But we are sure that we have fewer than anyone else.

For example, another 2018 guidebook that also came out in August 2017 has not updated its entry on Toy Story Mania since 2015, nor has it updated its entry on the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival since 2015, either. More examples: it has Easter 2018 as April 11, still has a 54 inch trundle bed in Port Orleans Riverside—which was replaced by a 66 inch Murphy bed in 2012 (!)–and has only three DVC studios offering accommodations for 5, rather than the five that’s been true for a while now.

I could go on with many more errors from this alternative, but the key is that it’s really hard to be accurate, and we (largely) get it done.


Our guidebook is up to date as of early August 2017—so we incorporate in it the latest refurb news at Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and Coronado Springs, the shift of the afternoon parade to 2p, the closures of Ellen’s Energy Adventure and The Great Movie Ride, etc.

But no matter how up-to-date a guidebook is when published, it will necessarily become less so over time, as things change. We solve this problem for our customers by offering free updates. We will update the 2018 easy Guide two to four times between now and August 2018, when we publish our 2019 edition.

Anyone who emails us their Amazon receipt will get instructions on how to get these updates when they come out:


The best-reviewed Disney World guidebook. The easiest-to-use Disney World guidebook. The most accurate Disney World guidebook. The most up-to-date Disney World guidebook. That’s The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

September 11, 2017   No Comments

Review: The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness


The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a musical comedy dinner show that plays three times a night in Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Simply put, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a hoot, and among the best experiences at Walt Disney World.

I’ve seen Hoop-Dee-Doo a half dozen times, most recently in July 2017. Not everyone is a fan; you can love Disney World and not find Hoop-Dee-Doo bearable; but if you love Hoop-Dee-Doo, you’ll find that you have exactly the right degree of silliness and child-like delight to enjoy everything else Walt Disney World has to offer.

For this reason it’s one of the quintessential Disney World experiences, and is included in all of my first-timer Disney World itineraries except the very shortest.

The best short description of the show at Hoop-Dee-Doo I’ve seen was in a history of the show published a few years ago on the D23 website: Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a “goofball western vaudeville dinner show.”

Jim Korkis wrote about the history of Hoop-Dee-Doo for this site here. An excerpt:

The premise of the show is that a stagecoach of performers on their way to another engagement (and an actual stagecoach used to be positioned outside of Pioneer Hall to support that storyline) had broken down.

They come inside the dining hall to entertain while their stagecoach is being repaired and the guests enjoy an all-you-can-eat meal of fried chicken, ribs, strawberry shortcake and more between the corn-pone vaudeville acts. [Read more →]

September 10, 2017   3 Comments

Disney World Parks Closed Sunday and Monday

News broke moments ago that, due to Irma, the Disney World parks will close early Saturday and remain closed Sunday and Monday.

Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will close at 7p Saturday, and Magic Kingdom and Epcot will close at 9p Saturday.

The official announcement:

The impact of Irma on Disney World could range from heavy rain and high winds to deluging rain, localized flooding and dangerous winds.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

September 8, 2017   2 Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Princess Fairytale Hall

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on


By Jim Korkis

On June 2, 2012, Walt Disney World closed the Snow White’s Scary Adventures attraction. The Disney Princesses had been at the Town Square Theater on Main Street U.S.A. awaiting an expansion of Fantasyland that was originally going to feature individual areas for each of them. Those plans changed and instead the Princess Fairytale Hall opened in the ride’s location on September 18, 2013.

(c) Disney

“Princess Fairytale Hall is an annex to Cinderella Castle where our royal guests, our park guests, will come to meet a visiting princess,” Imagineer Jason Grandt, who was the creative art designer of the space, told me in 2013. “It is done in the same regal style as other additions to the castle so that it is a wonderfully detailed architectural environment fitting of Disney royalty.”

Guests pass through lush purple and gold exterior trimmings with stained glass windows featuring animal characters from the classic Disney animated movie Cinderella (1950) like the mice Jacques and Gus-Gus as well as shields adorned with each princess’s symbol that hang around the marquee. The outdoor light fixtures are in the shape of crowns.

Entering an elegant corridor filled with tapestries and themed lighting leads to an airy, high-ceilinged Royal Gallery with nearly full-sized portraits of Aurora, Tiana, Rapunzel, Mulan, Jasmine, and Snow White. This room also houses Cinderella’s glass slipper illuminated in a special case.

“The space is really opulent and filled with ornate chandeliers and several framed custom princess portraits that are stunning. They were painted by talented Disney artists who diligently labored to capture the atmosphere, design and story moments of the films.

“When they came into the office full size rather than just a computer sized image, we all just gasped; they were so lush and full of detail. Our portraits are to show that there are Disney princesses all over the world but the hall is primarily devoted to Cinderella.

“From there, you will be dispatched to a magnificent receiving room to meet with a princess and get photos, autographs and time to talk with her,” stated Grandt.

The rooms with luxurious carpets and drapes contain open storybooks. Snow White’s storybook is permanently placed as a tribute to the former ride and to the first Disney princess. The rooms also include props from the films like the king’s bookends in the Cinderella room.

“The team kept playing the films while we were working and the more you watch them, the more you see subtle things that you can include.
“For our Disney guests, we know that next to meeting Mickey Mouse, the Disney princesses are their greatest wish for us to make those fantasy worlds become a reality. Our Disney princesses are truly the heart of Fantasyland and now they have this very special location to interact with our guests.

“Part of the fun will be not knowing until that day which princess might be visiting with Cinderella or Rapunzel. Ariel and Belle have their own locations so won’t be here. Our guests want opportunities to meet the princesses and this royal encounter location will help satisfy those wishes.”

According to the Imagineering storyline, Princess Fairytale Hall is a gift from the King to Cinderella, and acts as a place where she can meet with visiting royalty and along with those other princesses can greet the subjects of Fantasyland.
Imagineer Pam Rawlins, assistant producer, said, “Guests are immersed into this majestic world of the princesses. It is all very elegant, with dark wood panelings and elegant finishes, with a bit of a gothic motif, so you really feel like you’re in the castle. You will be a royal subject meeting your princess.”

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! As it turns out, the “second” princess in each meet has usually had an extended run, rather than being a daily surprise.

And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Secret Stories of Disneyland, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

September 8, 2017   No Comments