- Edition Two
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<< Introduction >>
Well ... Have you managed to use up all of those Thanksgiving leftovers yet?
Everyone on the INTERCOT staff hopes you and yours had a very Happy
Thanksgiving holiday. It's hard to believe we are now scurrying to prepare
for the Christmas season. Where does the time go? We suggest you take a
break from untangling those twinkling lights and read this jam-packed
edition of the Insider! We have an unbelievably informative newsletter for
you today, with topics ranging from holiday planning tips with Jeff, the
Osborne Lights with Casey, a Walt Disney World Internet connection guide,
Ron tells us about an animal-less Animal Kingdom, and we have even squeezed
in some feedback from our members. Whew! Try saying that ten-times fast! Or
rather, let’s just get started…
<< Enjoying the
Holidays with Jeff>>
There are many of us, as is obvious by attendance numbers, who do not have
an option to travel to Walt Disney World (WDW) during the “off season.” Due
to work schedules or due to our children’s school vacations we brave WDW
during Peak or Holiday seasons. Additionally there are some who travel to
Disney during the Christmas/New Years week because they actually enjoy the
excitement of being with so many people who are in a festive mood. My family
does not claim to know it all when it comes to Walt Disney World during the
busy Christmas/New Years week but we have visited during this period the
last three years and will be there again this year. Our other visits have
come several times during the summer in June, Spring Breaks in April, and
once during the Labor Day weekend. Believe me; we have seen “crowds” and
long lines. However, Christmas week has actually become our favorite times
to visit. We love the decorations and the mood of WDW during this very busy
week. While it is true that we might miss a few things due to crowds we find
that with a good plan, a good family mood, and the essential ability to
adapt on the fly, a Disney vacation at Christmas can be a time when
fantastic family memories are created.
Our family has been to Disney World many times so we do not feel we need to
“ride every ride and see every attraction.” This relaxed attitude is
essential to enjoying the Christmas week. However, it is possible to “do
everything” if you so desire. To do so you must be willing to be at the
parks early and you must be willing to do a lot of backtracking to hit the
big attractions at the right times. You must also figure out how to make
good use of the
system. A big plus in going during the holiday season is that the parks will
be open late giving you time to enjoy some attractions late at night. Keep
in mind that some December evenings can get down right cold. We were at the
Magic Kingdom a couple of years back on an “E Ride Night” when the
temperature got down to the low 30’s. Be prepared: take some warm clothes.
Absolutely crucial to seeing as many attractions as you can is to have a
plan. There are several good planning
books/tools available. Our
family uses the “Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.” The touring plans
available in this book are very useful and work surprisingly well. As with
most things in life, it is your attitude that will make or break your
vacation. It’s not the attitude of others; it’s yours that counts. Believe
me, you will run into a few grumpy folks during your visit over Christmas
week – don’t let their poor attitude spoil yours. If some rude,
self-centered buffoon cuts in line a few feet in front of you don’t get bent
out of shape. You’ll still get on the ride. If someone is being rude to a
cast member, when you get to the cast member say something nice to him or
her. Brightening their day may go a long way to making your day better.
Always keep in mind: it’s Christmas. You are spending the most magical time
of the year in the most magical place in the world. Forearmed with that
knowledge, how can you feel grumpy?
Christmas day itself is crazy fun in the parks. We have spent Christmas day
at the Magic Kingdom and at Epcot in the past. The Magic Kingdom becomes
absolutely packed by 11:00 am and there is no plan that is going to get you
to see everything. Christmas is the day to relax, enjoy the atmosphere, take
in some shows but don’t even think about riding everything – you will only
be frustrated and grumpy by day’s end. Epcot, due to its sheer size, takes
the crowds of Christmas better and offers some fun things to see and do.
Besides the decorations, which are awesome, there are special performances
to see. For example: the World Showcase Players in the United Kingdom
perform “A Christmas Carol” which is hilarious. The ghost of “Marley” (Bob
Marley that is) is not to be missed. There are also Santas telling the
traditions of Christmas in each country around the World Showcase. It is
possible to enjoy Epcot on Christmas Day and never ride an attraction. Watch
the tree lighting ceremony; take in the beauty of the lights along the
walkway leading from Future World to the World Showcase; get Priority
Seating at one of Epcot’s fine restaurants; better yet, if any are still
available, get a
Candlelight Processional Dinner Package. What better way to spend
Christmas Evening than attending a presentation of the Processional?
However you choose to spend the Christmas week make sure you plan something
great for Christmas day so next year, when at home, your family can
reminisce about where you were and what you did the year before. My family
remembers Christmas morning when we had breakfast from the Main Street
Bakery, sat at the tables on the corner by Casey’s, and watched the Main
Street Singers perform. Make some memories that will outlast a lifetime.
Make some memories that your kids will tell their Grandchildren some day.
Create some family lore. I am sure my daughter will tell her Grandkids
someday that “one year during Christmas week Grandma lounged in a hammock at
the Polynesian in her swimsuit, read a book and got a tan”. These are the
kinds of things folks from Northern climates never forget. She will also
show them pictures of the Christmas Day she spent with the “Cheshire Cat”
face paint from Toontown, got her picture taken wearing a Minnie Santa Hat
on Main Street, and later that evening saw the Candlelight Processional.
A short list of my family’s favorite things to do and see at
1. Enjoy the Holiday parades. The Magic Kingdom parade is awesome. There is
a new Holiday parade at the Animal Kingdom and the Studios has a fun
Christmas themed parade as well.
2. Schedule some special Holiday meals at Walt Disney World’s fine
3. Sit on a bench in each park; take in the decorations while enjoying the
Holiday music playing in the background.
4. Make sure to see the special Holiday shows. “Mickey’s Twas the Night
Before Christmas” in the Galaxy Palace Theaters in the Magic Kingdom is a
5. Stop in the United Kingdom in Epcot to watch the “World Showcase Players”
present their unique version of “A Christmas Carol”.
6. Shop at Downtown Disney and enjoy the decorations and the music.
7. No Holiday visit would be complete without seeing the Country Bears
special Christmas Show. The “best” part of this show is no Big Al singing,
“Blood on the Saddle”.
8. Take time to tour several of the resorts. The decorations at the
Wilderness Lodge and the Grand Floridian are fantastic. If you are at the
Grand Floridian at the right time you can even hear a live orchestra playing
in the lobby while you check out the awesome Christmas tree.
9. See the
Lights at the Studios. Use the funny looking glasses – the effect is
10. Get your family picture taken with Mickey and Minnie “Santa” hats on
Main Street with the castle in the background. This picture makes for a
great family Christmas card the following year. Tip: get to the Magic
Kingdom VERY EARLY to do this so you have a fairly empty Main Street to work
11. Get some pictures taken with the characters in their Holiday outfits. A
great place to do this is at Camp Minnie Mickey in the Animal Kingdom. Just
don’t try it right after a Festival of the Lion King show gets out – it
sends hundreds of people to the area.
In conclusion, let me repeat, take a good attitude and don’t lose it in the
crowds. Don’t let some Grinch steal it from you. Christmas week at Disney
World is absolutely amazing but go with the idea that you and your family or
friends will make it even better. Be nice to people and Cast Members. Say
“Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” to those around you every now and
then. Spread some Christmas cheer yourself. It’s the one time of year you
can be sappy and people don’t think you’re a raving loon. The secret is not
to ride every ride and enjoy every major attraction. Rather, the secret is
to enjoy the spirit of WDW at Christmas. It’s there! You’ll find it if you
only let yourself. Finally, if you cannot find the spirit I’ll tell you
where it is hidden: it’s inside a Santa hat with Mickey ears on the side.
Buy one of these, put it on and wear it around! It just may prove to be the
best $15 you’ll spend on your vacation. There is absolutely no way you or
those around you can be grumpy when you are wearing a Santa/Mickey hat.
Hope to see you at Disney World this Christmas week. Happy Holidays!
<< Disney World Events
with DisneyWizard >>
While I normally don’t add a Disney World Events section in the second
edition of the Insider, there is a special event already taking place that I
just can’t avoid: the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights!
Using 12 miles of extension cords, over five million Christmas lights are
lit in Walt Disney World every year. After taking a short sabbatical the
Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights is back in Disney-MGM Studios, brighter
than ever. Draping on, over, and all around New York Street, this new
location for the spectacle gives guests a reason to come back to witness the
attraction. Be sure to check out the link below for fun facts, a short
history, videos, and photos of this year’s presentation.
“I love the Osborne lights - and we'll get to see them this year.” –smcd
“Excellent!” –Pixie Power
“I will be looking forward to seeing the lights for the first time this
year.” –goofy for pluto
Details, View Video and Photos
One More Christmas related update:
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party has sold out for December 10th. The
December 17th party sold out earlier this month. If you are planning to
attend this event time is quickly running out for ticket purchases.
<< Disney Trivia with
No Animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
Can you imagine
Animal Kingdom without the animals? That was the original concept. In
the early 1990s at a planning meeting, Michael Eisner and his deputy, Frank
Wells, put forth the idea that the project would have an animal theme, and
there would be rides based on animals (Dumbo like), but real animals were
not necessary. Eisner believed that no one would come to Florida to see
animals when there were plenty of zoos around the country. And animals were
expensive to acquire, house and feed.
Joe Rhode, The Disney Imagineer in charge of developing the theme park, had
a different view. He believed that real animals were essential to the
success of the project. He argued that the park should be designed so that
guests would be in close proximity to a variety of wild animals. But as the
meeting ended Eisner prevailed, saying that being in close proximity to
animals really wasn’t all that exciting.
One thing I should mention here is that Joe Rhode is an eccentric character.
He has wild bushy hair, an outrageous mustache, wears bead necklaces and
sports a huge earring - not exactly the Disney look. But Joe is also a
genius. He conferred with his team, and after a few weeks he called for
another meeting with the boss.
At the next planning meeting, all the top brass were gathered around a
conference table as Joe Rhode stood with a pointer in front of a screen and
began to describe the proposed layout of the new park. Half way through his
presentation a door at the rear of the conference room opened, and a 450
pound tiger walked into the room! The tiger stalked around the table,
passing within inches of Eisner, and curled up in a corner staring back at
the astonished faces around the table. There wasn't a sound in the room,
except for Joe’s voice continuing his presentation. He ended with another
plea for live animals at the park, and pointed out that being in close
proximity to a wild animal can indeed be exciting. The matter was settled.
On that day it was decided that Disney’s Animal Kingdom was to be a theme
park with real animals.
Joe Rhode is seen occasionally in the park he created. He is currently
monitoring the construction of
Expedition: Everest. Whenever I see him I am reminded of that day in the
conference room, and his unique way of making a point.
<< High Speed Internet
in Disney >>
We often field questions on the message boards in reference to
Disney. Our very own Chairman & Chief Imagination Officer, JohnY,
recently returned from a trip and offers this advice;
If you are traveling to Disney and need Internet access (and the dial-up
just doesn’t cut it for you), you have the option of getting High Speed
Internet from right inside your room! The rooms at the Boardwalk Villas, and
many Disney resorts, have a jack labeled HSIA. You simply plug one end of a
cat 5 cable (bring your own or you can borrow one from housekeeping) into
the jack, and the other end into your NIC card. If you use a static IP
address set it to obtain the address automatically.
Launch your browser. You should then get the Disney welcome page where you
agree to pay the fee (just a note – Internet access is included at the Swan
and Dolphin resorts). After you agree, you are set to go. Now, keep in mind,
unless you are using web-based mail you will be able to receive incoming
mail but may not be able to send outgoing mail. This is because your mail
server will recognize you as trying to relay mail from another ISP. The way
around this is if your ISP uses outbound authentication to send mail…you
will have to ask them.
The speed is technically broadband but sometimes slows to ISDN speeds. On
the wireless front, WIFI is shaky at best throughout the resorts. The
signals, if even available, seem to fade in and out randomly depending on
where you are. You are much better off hooking up to a hard wire line if you
Once you log-on you are charged $9.95 for the following 24 hours; you can
log on again as many times as you want in that 24 hour period at no
additional charge. However, after that 24-hour window logging on starts a
new window and another $9.95 charge. They also have 24-hour technical
Where and How to Connect
<< INTERCOT Member
It’s always great to find member feedback in the Insider's email inbox, and
this month we had a particularly great review of Mickey’s Not So Scary
Halloween Party. Mary, aka Darbylew, writes:
“We went to the MNSSHP on Sunday, October 3rd. We had a great time. The
weather was perfect the entire time. We liked all the decorations, getting
on the rides without a line, free photos, the costume contests, the parade
with the headless horseman, the Riverboat ride, and being able to trick or
treat in the Magic Kingdom. We really liked Alice and the Mad Hatter's Tea
Party. Needless to say we had a spooky fun time at Mickey's Not So Scary
Halloween Party and we will be there again next year.”
If you have a special memory or tip you would like to share, e-mail it to us
<< Conclusion >>
Anyone ready to plan another vacation? Hopefully you’ve received some new
ideas! Be sure to send in any other tidbits, holiday planning suggestions,
or general feedback to
email@example.com. OK - your break is over. Go finish that
Christmas decorating and shopping. See you next month. Until then, Happy
<< INTERCOT Would Like To Thank>>
The INTERCOT Insider and INTERCOT.com
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