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INTERCOT > Interactive > INTERCOT Insider

June 2004 - Edition Two

Brought to you by INTERCOT's network of sites:
INTERCOT - Walt Disney World Inside & Out
INTERCOT West - Disneyland Inside & Out
INTERCOT's WebDisney - Guide to Disney on the Internet
INTERCOT's MousehutMail - Free Web Based Email
INTERCOT's Thrillride Experience - Thrill Ride Parks & Attractions

<< Introduction >>

Grab that favorite beverage and get comfy. We have a lot to share with you in this issue. Whether you want to catch the latest news at Walt Disney World or get current among the INTERCOT forums - we have something for you. Mikki & Andrew Young are back to fill us in on the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Emily offers money-savings tips when booking accommodations for your next Disney vacation. Linda returns with details on last months Disney Vacation Club's special Homecoming event. Ron tests our knowledge on the Carousel of Progress and Melanie will bring us up-to-date with the Movies, TV, Music & Musicals forum. Fluff those pillows and let's begin.

<< What's Going on in the "World" >>

Fireworks Show at Disney-MGM Studios?

According to our sources Disney is now offering a fireworks display when Fantasmic! is rained out.  "A Taste of Fantasmic" will be shown only on those evenings when it's raining and the regular show cannot be performed.
>> Discussion

"ASIMO," To Make Special Appearance at Epcot

ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility), the world's most advanced humanoid robot, will be visiting Epcot in July.

Thursday, July 1: 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 3-Monday, July 5: 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m.
Sunday, July 4: 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
Monday, July 5-Thursday, July 8: 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 10-Sunday, July 11: 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m.

A 25-minute demonstration will be given showcasing ASIMO's technical abilities.
>> Discussion

<< Accommodation Money-Saving Tips with SteelyGirl >>

One of the more frequent questions we encounter on the boards is: how do people afford to go to Walt Disney World (WDW) so often? We all know WDW is not cheap! With a little work, though, you can certainly make it more affordable. There are plenty of ways you can cut costs and we're going to give you some money-saving tips on what can be one of the most expensive components of a WDW vacation: accommodations!

When you're deciding where you want to stay on your WDW trip, one of your most important decisions will most likely involve location – on property vs. off property. Staying at one of the Disney-owned properties tends to be more expensive, but for many folks the higher cost is offset by the convenience and Disney ambiance. Additionally, if you're flying into the Orlando area and do not plan to rent a car, the transportation options offered with the WDW resorts can be a real benefit. So let's talk first about a few ways to save some dough when booking a room at a Walt Disney World resort.

AAA Discounts

Members of the AAA Auto Club can often get discounts on rooms ranging from 10%-20%, depending on the season. These are general guidelines only, but here's an idea of what you can expect:

Value Season – 15% discounts on Home Away From Home and Deluxe resorts; 20% off Moderate and Value resorts and Ft. Wilderness campsites

Regular Season – 10% discounts on Home Away From Home and Deluxe resorts; 15% off Moderate and Value resorts and Ft. Wilderness campsites

Peak Season – 10% discounts on Home Away From Home and Deluxe resorts; 15% off Moderate and Value resorts

These discounts usually apply to "room only" reservations, not packages. You do not have to book through AAA. You can call Central Reservations and book the room through Disney directly, just ask for available AAA rates.

Annual Passholder (AP) Discount Rates

If you purchase an Annual Pass to WDW, you're eligible for many great benefits, perhaps the greatest of which is fantastic rates at the WDW resorts. AP rates usually offer the deepest discounts on rooms (anywhere from 20% to upwards of 45%), but they can also be tough to secure at times. Only one member of your party needs to have an Annual Pass in order to book the discount; however, that person must be able to book a room on their own, i.e., they need to be at least 18 years old. Even if you don't plan to return to WDW within the year, an AP can pay for itself easily with the savings you'll receive. Check out INTERCOT's AP Benefits section to take a gander at the potential savings.

Discount Codes/Specials

Many specials are offered by Disney that require a certain code. Disney may send out postcards to select guests with discounted rates on them (those rates are available only to the guests who actually receive the postcard), or they may offer codes by state, such as Georgia or Florida resident discount codes. Additionally, codes are often made available to the general public and can be booked by anyone. Watch the INTERCOT Accommodations forum, and you'll be set!

Magical Journeys

Or better yet, you can do what many of our members have found is the best way to get a great rate without all the hassle and worry… let our site sponsor Magical Journeys (MJ) do all the work for you! When you contact the wonderful staff at MJ, you let them know up front all of your relevant info that may entitle you to a discount (AAA member, AP holder, Disney Visa holder, etc.), and they will not only find the best rate for you, but if a better rate comes along for which you're eligible, they will do the legwork and try to snag that lower rate without you even having to ask! How can you beat that?!


OK so let's say you've decided that off-property is more of what you're looking for… if you're flexible, the discounts can be even greater. Even without any particular discount, off-site rooms can be cheaper in general. But if you really want to save some bucks, here are a few tips.


Speaking from personal experience, Priceline can be your best friend when it comes to getting ultra-cheap rates near the World. Here's a brief overview of how Priceline works: You select a particular region of a city you want to stay in (in the case of Orlando/WDW, the "Disney World Vicinity" is where you want to be), you select a star level for the hotel (1 star through 5 star, or what they call the "Resort" level), and you name a price you're willing to pay. When you submit your request, Priceline will notify you whether it was accepted by any resorts in your selected area. As such, you cannot bid on a specific resort, so you have to be OK with whatever resort might accept your bid. Priceline bids are nonrefundable, and yes they're very serious about that!

WDW-owned resorts do not participate on Priceline. While there are resorts on Priceline that are located on WDW property (namely many of the Downtown Disney area hotels, and on very rare occasions the Swan & Dolphin), you have to accept that you may end up off site. If transportation is going to be an issue, consider that before bidding and figure it in your budget. While some off-site resorts have a shuttle to the parks, they are often inconvenient and may charge a fee.


If you'd like to have a little more space or you have a larger group traveling to the World, a vacation home, such as All Star Vacation Homes, can be a cheaper alternative. You can reserve a condo, townhome or home for about the same price as a Moderate or Deluxe WDW resort room, and if you're splitting the cost, it's even better. Some of the homes have a pool and/or Jacuzzi, which is a really nice perk! Additionally, the full kitchen and other amenities of a real home make it more affordable and convenient, since meal preparation, laundry, etc., is easier and cheaper. All Star Vacation Homes even has a deal for a free rental car with a vacation home rental (see their site for details and restrictions), so transportation isn't a problem!

Another of INTERCOT's sponsors, the Radisson Resort Parkway, offers some great deals to INTERCOT members, including discounted rates or an upgrade to a deluxe pool view. The Radisson is only 1.5 miles from Disney and offers a free shuttle.


So as you can see, with just a little bit of effort you can cut some of those costs pretty significantly and have more money to spend in Walt Disney World! That, or more money to go back again sooner… and who doesn't want that?! Happy planning!

<< Disney Vacation Club Member Homecoming BIG Event! with wendy*darling >>

This May I had a chance to experience a unique Disney Vacation Club (DVC) event that culminated in the Grand Opening of the newest DVC resort- Saratoga Springs.

My husband and I made a spontaneous decision last December to purchase tickets for this event since it coincided with our wedding anniversary. What could be better than a great mini trip to Walt Disney World to celebrate?

The official events began on Tuesday May 25th with an Illuminations viewing and dessert party for all 2000 of us! Special party bags were delivered to everyone’s resort rooms containing a DVC party lanyard, event ticket and limited edition pins for Tuesday’s event. Tuesday was entitled “Light Up the Sky” and we all wore twinkling pins (along with our tickets) to gain entrance to the viewing area. Our viewing area was the wide expanses between the 2 gift shops as you enter the World Showcase from Future World.

I will say that Disney provided ample desserts (cookies, brownies, rice krispy treats, etc) at this event, however in the crush of the crowd it was difficult to know where the tables were until you literally fell upon them! Also, it had been over 90 degrees all day, and even at 8:30pm it was still pretty warm and sticky outside. Yet, all they had to serve for beverages was hot coffee and tea! In our search for a cold drink, we encountered guest after guest on a similar search, all in vain.

Illuminations went off at the usual time and although we were pretty crowded in the space, we watched. I venture to guess that everyone in the crowd has seen it at least a couple of times, veterans all! Following the show, we were treated to a stage show. We met Jim Lewis, the VP of DVC who spoke of the event, the grand opening and DVC member families. He drew 3 names out of a box containing all of our names, and gave away a 7 nights stay at any Interval International location in the world! We also met Dee Vee Cee, a squeaky voiced, bubbly character who schmoozed with the audience and told cute jokes. A piano player (sorry, I forgot her name!) played Disney tunes in a crowds sing along. All this was designed to keep us occupied until they could get all the regular guests out of the park. Then we began our private party in Epcot! We had unlimited access to Mission:Space (M:S) and Test Track (TT) , plus a DJ and more desserts and cold drinks (there they are!!!) until midnight. DH & I are not stay out late people, so we were struggling to stay long enough to get a feel for the event. The line for TT was huge! So we walked over to the DJ area hoping to catch the advertised American Vybe act. Well, we never did see them, but we did manage to get on Test Track a bit later. Neither of us wanted to ride M:S. The party was “OK,” not great in my book. I felt that the choice of these 2 rides was poorly made and did not take into account the youngest and oldest of DVC members. They were really left with nothing to keep them amused. I was hoping the other events would be better. We had just arrived this morning- so we were beat! We left at 11pm, tired and ready for bed. When we got back to our resort, we were pleased to find our goodie bags for tomorrow’s event had been delivered. More pins and a schedule of events in a pretty bag.

Wednesday was a day of firsts for us. DH and I did the Segway Tour at Epcot in the morning and had lunch in France. Both were fantastic! But it was very hot and humid and the heat was zapping all our energy. We ended up going back to the room mid afternoon for a rest- we were looking forward to our Magic Kingdom party this evening and didn’t want to be too tired! We had an early dinner at Artist Point (another first) which was excellent, but didn’t stay for dessert as we knew we would be eating more in the MK that night.

We entered the Magic Kingdom at about 8:00 and made our way toward the castle to wait for Wishes to start. We sat on the porch of the Crystal Palace to wait. All the diners had already been seated and we grabbed a bench with other fireworks viewers. It’s actually a nice view from the porch here- I had never watched from here before. Following the fireworks, we were admitted in the parks with our special lanyards and tickets. Cast Members were stationed everywhere checking for our passes to this “Night of Wishes Come True” event. Almost everything as open for us! THIS was heaven. 2000 people watching fireworks in one tiny area at Epcot is a tight squeeze, but put those same 2000 people in MK and they virtually disappear. I felt like we had the park to ourselves! We walked onto Splash and Big Thunder Mountains, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, and the Carousel! We never made it to Tomorrowland but Buzz and Space Mtn were open as well. Also Mickey’s Philharmagic and a few other Fantasyland rides were open, and the Country Bears. FREE FOOD! That’s a Disney first! Pecos Bill, Cosmic Rays, and the Lunching Pad were all open and anything you wanted was FREE!! But, we had a wonderful dinner not too long ago, so we didn’t take full advantage of this great treat! LOTS of people did though, all understanding that this offer may not come along again anytime soon! We did stop into Pecos Bill’s for lemonade and chocolate cream pie.

At 11:00 we were all to gather in front of the castle. Again Jim Lewis came out and gave away 4 more Interval International vacations (we still didn’t win). Then Cinderella and Prince Charming came out and started to dance. But only for a moment or two before they were interrupted. A voice suggested that maybe ALL of us would like to dance as well. So a dozen or so costumed couples came out and escorted all of us down Main Street to dance! They played music and we danced for a short while. Then we were treated to our own private viewing of Spectromagic! It was a beautiful end to a perfect evening. THIS was a special event I will always remember. DH and I agreed that this alone might have been worth the price of the tickets! We went home happy and tired. Again this night, we returned to find a goodie bag for tomorrow. This time only one bag was delivered for the 2 of us- we received a bottle of Saratoga Springs, NY water, a carafe and water glass set, some chocolate, a Grand Opening pin and a schedule of the events for the day.

Thursday was the day schedule for the official Grand Opening of Saratoga Springs Resort (SSR). We all gathered in Downtown Disney next to Cirque du Soleil. There’s a great big lawn there that they filled with folding chairs and set up a stage. At about 10AM, in the blistering heat and sunshine, they started the ceremonies. There was no shade except in the way back of the lawn near an handful of small trees. About 50 or so like-minded and hot people pulled our chairs back there to sit in a little shade. We were very far from the action, but much more comfortable (relatively speaking). Again, I have to wonder what the planners were thinking! May in Orlando is known to be a hot and humid time. With lots of small children and older people, I don’t think this was the best set-up. Anyway, Jim Lewis, Dee Vee Cee and Miss Sara Toga entertained us for a bit. Jim chose 4 more people to give II vacations to- but we never did win. The Dapper Dans sang a few period appropriate tunes and Jodi Benson sang some well known Disney favorites. The mayor of Saratoga Springs, NY brought water from his town, which was later poured into the swimming pool to christen the new resort. Once the on stage festivities were over, we had the option of staying in DD for a few sample shows by the Cirque Troupe and a few other activities.

Over at the resort, we watched the Founder’s Day parade, complete with horses, marching bands, balloons and Mickey Mouse. The new DVC Preview Center was open and doing a heavy business! You could tour the resort, see sample rooms, eat at Artist Palette get a free chair massage and more. Everywhere you turned, something was going on. We toured the resort for a while and took the launch back to Downtown Disney (DD) for our free taste of DD lunch.
Many of the DD restaurants had booths set up in a strip near the dock. They were serving sample sized foods for free. I had crab cakes from Fulton’s, pasta & Sangria from Portobello’s, jambalaya from the House of Blues, and more. You could sample as much or as little as you like from 11am until 2pm.
Overall, I think Disney did a nice job of making it a magical event. There were a few things I would have planned differently (maybe they’ll hire me someday???), but for the most part, everything went well. We enjoyed our short visit “home” and were glad we had decided to go to this special occasion.

PS- We enjoyed ourselves so much- we called DVC when we got home and added on 100 points at SSR!

<< History & Trivia with WDWdriver >>

Many visitors to Walt Disney World fondly remember the Carousel of Progress, and hope to view the attraction again. Not everyone can because the carousel is now open on a "seasonal" basis. Here are some bits of trivia about the attraction that may be new to you.

Carousel of Progress began as an exhibit at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. It was called "Progressland" and was sponsored by General Electric. The exhibit, which showed the impact of electricity on man’s living conditions, was enormously popular. The musical theme, "There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", was written by Richard and Robert Sherman who also composed the music for many Disney movies such as Mary Poppins. By the time the Fair closed more than 15 million visitors had seen the show.

In 1967 "Progressland" was relocated to Disneyland and renamed "Carousel of Progress". During it’s six years at Disneyland park, more than 30 million people viewed the scenes in the revolving theater. In January, 1975, the attraction opened in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. At that time the final scene had been updated, and there was a new song, "The Best Time of Your Life".

In 1994 the attraction was refurbished and renamed "Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress". The theme song was changed back to "There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow".

Current Show Scenes:
Act 1: Turn of the Century - Valentine’s Day
Act 2: Roaring Twenties - Fourth of July
Act 3: Fabulous Forties - Halloween
Act 4: Nineties - Christmas Day

Fun Facts:
Number of theaters - 6
Theater capacity - 240 guests
Weight of Carousel - 375 tons
Audio-Animatronic figures - 32

Rover the dog has had other names during the history of the attraction. He has been called Buster, Sport, Queenie and Rover. When the attraction came to the Magic Kingdom he had a different name in each scene. Today the dog’s name is Rover throughout the entire show.

Hidden Mickeys
There are four in the final scene. Mickey can be seen as a nutcracker on the fireplace mantle, as a plush toy peeking from a present, as a white peppermill on the kitchen counter, and as an abstract painting on the dining room wall.

<< Astronaut Hall of Fame with Mikki & Andrew Young >>

The point of a “Hall of Fame” is, of course, the individuals honored – in this case astronauts with their individual places in the “Hall of Heroes”. In itself this may not be particularly exciting or interactive but if (like Andrew) you grew up with Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, then this is a place to just stand and admire. There are separate sections for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle. All the original seven are here (Andrew thought he could still have named them all but – apologies to Gordon Cooper).

Next is an illustrated history of space flight supported by lots of real exhibits, including actual Mercury and Gemini capsules (How did they get into such small things?). We spent lots of time reading this and were constantly amazed how much was done in such a short time.

Finally, there is a room full of lots of “hands on” experiments and simulators. Some are simple – but effective – demonstrations like a heavy weight that demonstrates “weightlessness” when you turn on an air jet to provide a cushion under it. At the opposite extreme are a centrifuge said to go up to 4G and a simulator for a mission over the surface of Mars. We tried both of these.

The centrifuge takes only two people at a time – one each in cabins at opposite ends of its arm. Inside the cabin is very simple compared to Disney’s “Mission Space”. You strap in with a lap strap and watch a screen show of a video of an aeroplane flight. The actions seemed well-coordinated with the video but the sensations rarely seemed as intense as at Disney (was it really 4G?). There’s certainly one warning we should give if our ride was typical. The video ended (we landed safely), there was no sensation of pressure, the door opened. Surprise – we were still moving. Having been fooled that motion was forward towards the screen, seeing that we were going sideways made us a little dizzy.

The Mars expedition was a 12 seat simulator in which we were the only passengers. It simulated an expedition over the ground of Mars with your vehicle sometimes being picked up by an aeroplane. Andrew couldn’t help wondering if there would really be winged aircraft on Mars if, like they say, the atmosphere is 1/100th the density of Earth’s – but he can get “picky”. Disney could add something like this to “Mission Space” and nobody would worry about that sort of thing.

<< Across the INTERCOT Boards >>

Come check us out over in Movies, TV, Music and Musicals

Got the blues because your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World is months, or even years away? Excited because your next trip is just  around the corner? Then watch a Disney related TV show!! The easiest  way to find that show is to check out the Movies, TV, Music and Musicals forum at INTERCOT.

Every Sunday, you will find a new featured post  listing all the Disney shows for the upcoming week. It includes a  variety of programming from the great park shows featured on the Travel Channel, food shows on the Food Network, old sitcoms on Nick at Night and even classic Disney movies on the Hallmark Channel. Be sure to  check it out...it’s a great taste of Walt Disney World when you can’t  get there!

The Movies, TV, Music and Musicals forum is also a great place to hang  out and discuss your favorite movie, TV show or musical group. We  discuss it all...Disney or not. Grab the remote, pop some popcorn, and  pull up a comfy chair for some fun discussions. See you there!

<< Conclusion >>
Whew! I told you we were a chatty bunch this issue. A special thanks to all that contributed. We'll see you next month with more topics and tidbits. Until then; Happy INTERCOTing.

<< INTERCOT Would Like To Thank. >>

The INTERCOT Insider and INTERCOT.com are supported by the following sponsors who in turn, help us bring the Magic to you!

Magical Journeys
Magical Journeys is your Disney Vacation specialist. Start planning your
Vacation Discount Dreams today!
Website: http://www.yourmagicaljourneys.com/

Radisson Resort Parkway
Right in the heart of action! Only 1.5 miles from Walt Disney World is
an oasis of ponds, beautiful landscaping, serene waterfalls and relaxing
options hiding in every corner.
Website: http://www.radissonparkway.com/offers/index.asp?adsvc=02INTER

All Star Vacation Homes
When you need a home away from home, look no further. From comfort to
luxury, All Star Vacation Homes has it all in four series of homes to
fit any taste and any budget just moments from the magic of Walt Disney
Website: http://www.allstarvacationhomes.com?ovchn=OTHER&ovcpn=Listing+Sites&ovcrn=intercot&ovtac=AD

Happy Limo
Providing ground transportation to the entire state of Florida.
Website: http://www.quicksilver-tours.com

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