Hey everybody, there’s a new itinerary out for arrivals 8/31 through 10/26/2019. You can find it here.

By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





Category — w. Most Recent Stuff

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: The Orange Bird in Adventureland–and the Comics

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

ORANGE BIRD COMIC BOOK

By Jim Korkis

A Disney character unique to Walt Disney World is the little Orange Bird who recently returned to Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland.

In 1967, Walt Disney Productions entered into negotiations with the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) for a Florida Citrus Growers sponsored Magic Kingdom attraction at a cost of $3 million that was a version of Disneyland’s The Enchanted Tiki Room, called the Tropical Serenade show.

In 1970, WED Enterprises (today’s Walt Disney Imagineering) created the Orange Bird character to serve as the FCC’s official mascot in promotional campaigns. Orange Bird was designed by Disney artist C. Robert “Bob” Moore and it decorated billboards, appeared in commercials, was on multiple souvenir items from sipper cups to keychains, and even had a song written about him by the legendary Sherman Brothers.

However, I think most Walt Disney World fans are unaware that the character also appeared in his own animated short and comic book.

Foods and Fun: A Nutrition Adventure (1980) was a 12-minute animated short for the Walt Disney Educational Media department produced and animated by Rick Reinert Productions.

Rick Reinert Productions was a small, independent animation studio in the North Hollywood, California area that was responsible for later producing and animating Winnie the Pooh and A Day for Eeyore (1983).

The Orange Bird short narrated by Rex Allen told the tale of the Orange Bird, who could not speak or sing but could only produce images over his head in a puff of orange smoke like a thought balloon but with a picture.

He is sad, and a nearsighted Dr. Owl gives him advice to get a good night’s sleep, a balanced diet (grain, protein, calcium, fruit/vegetables) and exercise. The bird does so and flies to the Florida Everglades where he befriends a family at the beach. The father does not want to take the bird home with them despite the protests of his two children, but changes his mind when he is saved from going out to fish on an unsafe pier by the little bird.

There is a family picnic on the beach where the family sings about the joys of a balanced diet while the Orange Bird makes a healthy sandwich.

To tie in with the release of this animated film, Walt Disney Educational Media produced a supplemental comic book, very similar to other comics it produced at that time, including Mickey and Goofy Explore Energy and Mickey and Goofy Explore Business.

Orange Bird in Nutrition Adventures (1980) is a 32-page comic book with three separate stories written by Diana Gabaldon and drawn by Tony Strobl. Gabaldon is an award-winning, best-selling novelist. Strobl worked as a Disney animator on several features starting in 1938 before moving over into drawing comic books, especially stories featuring Donald Duck.

As animator Dave Bennett remembers, “Tony Strobl came to our studios [Rick Reinert Productions] for as much reference material on the Orange Bird as he could carry! Disney had not created an official model sheet.”

The comic book included three stories:

  • “Helping Out” (11 pages) where Orange Bird and his friends Toucan and Macaw agree to help Farmer Brown with his chores and learn the necessity of a healthy breakfast in order to get the day’s work done;
  • “A Day Off” (11 pages) has Toucan, Macaw and Orange Bird going on a relaxing picnic to Coconut Island but a series of misadventures including monkeys stealing some of their food results in Toucan realizing he should have stayed home;
  • “Fair Day” (10 pages), Toucan, Macaw and Orange Bird go to the State Fair but a black bird competitor steals all the prize vegetable entries and hides them in the human cannonball’s cannon. When the cannon goes off, the vegetables scatter throughout the air and Orange Bird makes a healthy vegetable salad for everyone.

In 2012 the Orange Bird returned to Adventureland.

*  *  *  *  *

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

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Disney Never Lands, and about planned but unbuilt concepts, and 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.

 

 

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October 18, 2019   No Comments

Next Week (October 19 through October 27, 2019) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: OCTOBER 19 TO OCTOBER 27, 2019

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

 

For  more on October 2019 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/19-10/27/19

The Magic Kingdom will be open 8a-11p 10/19, 8a-6p 10/20 through 10/22, 8a-10p 10/23, 8a-6p 10/24 and 10/25, 8a-10p 10/26, and 8a-6p 10/27

Epcot will be open from 9a-10p 10/19, 9a-9p 10/20 through 10/24, 9a-10p 10/25 and 10/26, and 9a-9p 10/27

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-10p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from 8a-9p every day

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/19-10/27/19

  • Saturday 10/19 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Sunday 10/20  Morning:  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Monday 10/21 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Tuesday 10/22 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: Epcot
  • Wednesday 10/23 Morning:  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Thursday 10/24 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios (6-9a)  Evening: none
  • Friday 10/25 Morning:  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Saturday 10/26 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a)  Evening: none
  • Sunday 10/27 Morning:  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a)  Evening: none

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/19-10/27/19

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon parade: 2p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/19-10/27/19

Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom:  9p 10/19, 10/23 and 10/26

Epcot Forever at Epcot: 10p 10/19, 9p 10/20 through 10/24; 10p 10/25 and 10/26; 9p 10/27

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 8p every night

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 10p every night

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 7.45p 10/19; 7.30 and 8.45p 10/20 through 10/25; 7.30p 10/26; 7.30 and 8.45p 10/27

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/19-10/27/19

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

 

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October 17, 2019   No Comments

Review and Photo Tour of Port Orleans Riverside Alligator Bayou Rooms

For the first page of this review of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, see this.

THE ALLIGATOR BAYOU ROOMS AT PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

Port Orleans Riverside has two areas and three distinct room types.

Its Magnolia Bend area has two room types, Royal Rooms and Standard Rooms, each sleeping four in two queen beds.

Its Alligator Bayou area rooms sleep five in two queen beds and one short (~66 inches long) Murphy bed.

These Alligator Bayou rooms are one of only two traditional moderate resort spaces that sleep 5 (non-Pirate rooms at Caribbean Beach are the other), and these rooms are as a result very important to families a little larger than average or families that work best with three sleeping spots

For families that don’t need the extra bed, these rooms have so-so theming (although it is warmer and more cheery after the latest refurb), are kind of ugly in spots–although your taste may vary–and are a bit thin on storage. Such families have better options.

REVIEW OF THE ALLIGATOR BAYOU ROOMS [Read more →]

October 14, 2019   No Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: Requiem for the Muppets in Liberty Square

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

THE MUPPETS PRESENT…

By Jim Korkis

[Note from Dave—this show closed October 5, 2019]

Disney acquired the rights to Jim Henson’s Muppets in February 2004 and tried to reboot the franchise starting in 2008 with new movies and television appearances. Henson had entered into negotiations with the Disney company for the franchise before his death in 1990 resulting in the characters being incorporated into shows at Disney MGM Studios.

However, after Henson’s death, Disney was unable to finalize the acquistion from the Henson family but were able to arrange a license for the Muppet*Vision 3-D attraction. With Disney’s purchase in 2004 the word “Muppet” became a Disney trademark.

After the release of the theatrical feature film Muppets Most Wanted (2014), Disney decided to develop a theme park show about American history that would have featured Sam Eagle interacting with guests and telling in typical Muppet fashion an unintentionally humorous version of famous events where he gets the stories partially right and mostly wrong.

Jim Lewis, who had written extensively for The Muppets for thirty years, was brought in for consultation, and the show expanded to include Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and two of Gonzo’s chicken friends. James Silson and Tara Anderson were co-directors of the show. Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda wrote a new song for the shows.

The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History premiered in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom on October 2, 2016 with two different shows, The Declaration of Independence and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. The Muppets perform in the upper three windows above the Heritage House gift shop so that it appears as if it is three interconnected television screens.

Because of the distance to the guests below, the puppets were made about five percent larger than the traditional Muppets and were built by the same craftspeople who build the characters for television and film. The pre-recorded voices are provided by Steve Whitmire (Kermit the Frog), Eric Jacobson (Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Sam Eagle) and Dave Goelz (Gonzo) and the Muppets’ actions are synchronized by live puppeteers to the voice track.

The puppeteers are also responsible for several costume changes during the show. Each show lasts approximately ten minutes and is performed multiple times during the day.

The Declaration of Independence show has Sam appearing in a circular portal at the top of the Hall of Presidents and interacting with a live James Jefferson (aka “JJ”), the Town Crier of Liberty Square down below who leads the guests in different responses during the show. As they attempt to share the events surrounding the drafting of the famous document, the other Muppets appear in the Heritage House windows.

These other Muppets portray historical figures Thomas Jefferson (Kermit), John Adams (Gonzo) and Benjamin Franklin (Fozzie). Miss Piggy is irritated that there are no female roles and decides to change King George III and later George Washington into “Georgette” for her to perform as those characters.

Midnight Ride of Paul Revere takes place solely in the windows above Heritage House and is a very loose adaptation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem Paul Revere’s Ride. Kermit portrays Revere and has a stick horse whose face surprisingly animates as another Muppet.

“The show really appeals to everybody, across generations, because the Muppets have such a wonderful history,” said Tara Anderson. “Parents are going to watch the show with their children and they’re both going to laugh! It’s the Muppets we know and love, but new.”

*  *  *  *  *

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

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, The Unofficial Walt Disney World 1971 Companion: Stories of How the World Began, and 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.

 

 

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October 11, 2019   No Comments

Next Week (October 12 through October 20, 2019) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: OCTOBER 12 TO OCTOBER 20, 2019

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

For  more on October 2019 at Disney World, see this.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/12-10/20/19

The Magic Kingdom will be open 8a-11p 10/12, 8a-9p 10/13, 8a-6p 10/14 and 10/15, 8a-9p 10/16, 8a-6p 10/17 and 10/18, 8a-10p 10/19, and 8a-6p 10/20

Epcot will be open from 9a-10p 10/12, 9a-9p 10/13 through 10/17, 9a-10p 10/18 and 10/19, and 9a-9p 10/20

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-10p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from 8a-8p 10/12, and 8a-9p 10/13 through 10/20

EXTRA MAGIC HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/12-10/20/19

  • Saturday 10/12 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Sunday 10/13  Morning:  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Monday 10/14 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Tuesday 10/15 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: Epcot
  • Wednesday 10/16 Morning:  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Thursday 10/17 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios (6-9a)  Evening: none
  • Friday 10/18 Morning:  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a) Evening: none
  • Saturday 10/19 Morning: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a)  Evening: none
  • Sunday 10/20 Morning:  Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios (6-9a)  Evening: none

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/12-10/20/19

The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon parade: 2p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/12-10/20/19

Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom:  9p 10/12, 10/13, 10/16, and 10/19

Epcot Forever at Epcot: 10p 10/12, 9p 10/13 through 10/17; 10p 10/18 and 10/19; 9p 10/20

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 8p every night

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 10p every night

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: 7.45p 10/12;  7.45 and 9p 10/13 through 10/18; 7.45p 10/19; 7.30 and 8.45p 10/20

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 10/12-10/20/19

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

 

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October 10, 2019   No Comments

Epcot Day 1 Disney World 2019 Basic December Itinerary

(Note: this is from the 2019 Basic December Itinerary. The itinerary works only for the three weeks beginning the Saturday after Thanksgiving 2019.)

EPCOT DAY 1: FIRST SATURDAY AGENDA

Check in, get settled, and head to Epcot.

Today is the first of your three visits to Epcot. I’ve designed this itinerary with three Epcot visits because there are three key Tier One FastPass+ at Epcot, and you will use one each visit. This lets you sleep in before your next two Epcot visits…

Your plan tonight is to see Test Track, to visit the parts of World Showcase that are most fun in the evening, to sample the Holiday Storytellers, and to check out, if you have time, the holiday decorations in the nearby Epcot resorts.

You want to be on your way out of Epcot by 9.30p, so that you miss the crowds that will depart the park after the 9.30 Epcot Forever show is over. (You will see Epcot Forever on Friday night.)

You should have FastPass+ for Test Track, and you have no scheduled dining tonight.

FIRST THINGS

Arrive at your hotel, following the instructions in your Disney’s Magical Express packet if you are using it to get from Orlando International to your Disney Resort. Check in.

Unless you are arriving late, your room may not be ready, but you can leave your bags. First change into clothes more appropriate for the weather–which your To-Do List reminded you to pack in your carry-ons.

Head to Epcot as early as you can, and at the latest in time to make your FastPass+ at Test Track.

AT THE PARK

  • Go through the turnstiles and pick up a park map and “Times Guide”–a schedule.
  • Head to World Showcase, and while keeping an eye out for your Test Track FastPass+, see the pavilions starting with Mexico and going clockwise.
    • Each pavilion will have some or all of shopping, special exhibits, a ride, a movie, and other special events—such as acrobats in China. Most also will have a Holiday Storyteller.
    • Check your map, times guide, and the pavilion itself, to see what each pavilion has.
    • For scheduled events like the Storytellers, acrobats, etc., sequence what you do when among items that are not scheduled (shops, exhibits, and rides), and bounce back and forth between nearby pavilions, so that you don’t have to wait long for the scheduled item
  • Ride Test Track (FastPass+)
  • Have dinner at a convenient counter service when you are ready.
  • If you have time, head over to the BoardWalk Inn (walk or boat—the walkway and boat are at the International Gateway between the UK and France) and see the holiday decorations in its lobby, continuing on to see those in the nearby Yacht Club and Beach Club, time permitting.
  • Be back in Epcot and headed towards the bus and monorail stops or the International Gateway by 9.30p, so that you miss the crowds leaving after Epcot Forever .
  • Return to your hotel.

BACK AT THE HOTEL

Buy food, supplies (bowls, spoons, etc.) and get refillable mugs for breakfast in your room at your hotel counter service or gift shop, if you did not have time, or a room assignment, earlier. You can also get these in the morning, but crowds in the shops/counter service will likely be lower tonight.

PREVIEW OF TOMORROW

You will spend the first of two days at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You want to arrive by 8.15a. Check with your concierge on transport (likely buses) and what time you should be at the bus stop. Pack spare dry clothes, as you will get wet on Kali River Rapids!

MATERIAL IN THIS DISNEY WORLD ITINERARY

 

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October 6, 2019   No Comments