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INTERCOT > Interactive > INTERCOT Insider Archive > January 2012


January 2012

Brought to you by INTERCOT's network of sites:
INTERCOT - Walt Disney World Inside & Out
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Snow, ice, and weather not-so-nice. As blustery winter weather has arrived in your neck of the woods, another edition of the INTERCOT Insider has arrived in your mail box. In this edition, we re-cap the latest news from Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, check-out the latest deals, learn about a great Disney book to cure your winter blues, take a peak beyond the Disney berms, and check out the latest Disney calendars. Hang on to them hats and glasses, cause this here's the most informative ride on the internet!

<<Disney Deals>>

with Magical Journeys Travel Agency


-- Spring into Savings --


This Spring, treat your family to a fairy tale vacation in the middle of the magic at Walt Disney World Resort by saving up to 30% at select Disney Resort hotels. Delight in comfortable accommodations with charming Disney touches as you create fond vacation memories to last a lifetime. Book through February 28, 2012 for stays most night April 13 to June 14, 2012.


Minimum stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday arrivals. Savings based on the non-discounted price of the same room. Additional per adult charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts The discounted nights are VERY date specific and range from 15% off to 30% off depending on resort and date.


>> Contact Magical Journeys Today!


<<Book Nook with Brownie>>

-- Walt and the Promise of Progress City --

Walt and the Promise of Progress City is a well-written book by Sam Gennawey on the conceptual evolution of EPCOT. Gennawey is an urban planner and this book is written through that lens.

Gennawey takes us through the evolution of Walt’s ideas and projects that eventually led to EPCOT and the Florida Project. It is a different look on things like the World’s Fairs, Disneyland, and other projects that influenced Walt’s thinking on EPCOT. There are some editing errors and sometimes information you’d want is left out. For example, Gennawey says that the Industrial Parks USA exhibit at the 1958 Brussels World Fair influenced Walt’s thinking on EPCOT but he doesn’t say anything about the exhibit to explain that statement.

The finale of the book takes us through a look at EPCOT as if it had been built per Walt’s vision. Gennawey largely relies on the Progress City model for this look. It’s interesting look at the model, but the question of whether EPCOT could have been as Walt envisioned is never really tackled or answered.

This is worthwhile addition to any Disney fan’s, especially fans of EPCOT, library. It adds more to the story of Walt Disney World and EPCOT. In fact, it was interesting to read that Walt had wanted to build a Chinese restaurant at Disneyland that would feature an audio animatronic like Confucius that would pass on words of wisdom to guests. Sounds similar to the Great Destini that was previewed at the 2011 D23 Expo in Anaheim. It does lack an index, so trying to find information in the book itself can be a challenge.

>> Get the book through INTERCOT affiliate Amazon.com

<<INTERCOT Newsreel with Figment!>>

From land to sea, the new year has brought several exciting announcements in the Disney realm. Disneyland park and the Magic Kingdom park have announced that they are celebrating Leap Day, by staying open for 24 hours straight on February 29, 2012. This Spring, Guests to Epcot's Italy pavilion will find new ways to dine. Tutto Italia Ristorante will re-open in late April with a new look, new menu and new wine bar. This Fall, Guests to Epcot will experience some changes to Test Track. The attraction's queue will now put Guests in the car designer's seat and a new post-show will take a look into automotive future. The Disney Cruise Line is making waves with new itineraries and new ports of call. This year the Disney Cruise Line will be embarking for the first time on a 14-night Panama Canal cruise. Starting next year, the Disney Cruise Line will add Venice, Italy, and the Greek Isles as new ports of call.

<<Beyond the Berms with Jeff>>

My family has made a tradition of going to Walt Disney World (WDW) for Christmas week. This year, due to time constraints and family commitments, we were unable to make our annual trek to the happiest place on earth. Fortunately, we were able to make a 10 hour drive to our second favorite vacation place, Pigeon Forge Tennessee, home of the Smokey Mountains and, of course, Dollywood!

We figured a visit to Dollywood would ease the disappointment of no Disney at Christmas. After all, Dollywood has Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas lights, Christmas food, and Christmas treats, as well as special Christmas shows and entertainment; all in a very family friendly atmosphere. Just like WDW! To "compare" Dollywood to WDW would not be fair, as no one park can really compare to all that is available at WDW. Nevertheless, Dollywood is a great park at Christmas time, with much to offer.

The park is exceptionally decorated at this time of year. There are many, many lights in beautiful displays. Park literature claims there are 4 million lights but we didn't count so, we will trust the literature on that. Wonderful wreaths, garland, and Christmas trees are everywhere throughout the Park. Several decorated and lit picture spot areas make for good holiday photos and memories! There is an evening light show set to Christmas music over a pond in the center of the park. No, it doesn't compare to Illuminations. It is around a pond, not a lake as in Epcot, so is much smaller in scale. Nevertheless, it is a charming light show!

We also were able to see "Dollywood's Christmas on Ice", featuring The Ice Theater of New York. This was a very well done Christmas show with talented singers and amazing ice skaters. We also enjoyed the show, "Smokey Mountain Christmas", a stage production of acting, dancing and singing. Neither were as moving as the Candle Light Processional, but they were not meant to be. Each was a 45 minute show that featured talented performers and Christmas music, and my family enjoyed both. Besides these headline shows, there are several other Christmas themed shows at this time of year. The "Appalachian Christmas" show with traditional mountain music features some fantastic musicians and is not to be missed by any music lover. Now let me turn to a topic that is dear to me - food! Again, there are not nearly as many options as WDW for eating, but believe me, there is good food to be found at Dollywood. We had lunch at "Aunt Granny's Buffet" and the food was wonderful "comfort" food. Pulled ham, fried chicken, turkey, baked chicken, sweet potato casserole, mac and cheese, biscuits, and much much more. I'm still confused by the name of this restaurant "Aunt Granny's"! Is she an Aunt or is she a Granny?...... Also available are several "counter style" restaurants featuring a variety of good stuff! The two Bake Shop options beat anything WDW has to offer in the baked goods category, this coming from a guy who never misses a chance to eat at the Main Street Bakery. The 25 pound apple pie at The Sweet Shoppe is a must see, and has been featured on the Food Network.

Thrill ride wise, Dollywood has taken a lesson from WDW imagineers. The Mine Ride is especially well themed and a very good ride. Thunder Head is a fantastic wooden coaster. Dollywood is opening a new coaster in March of 2012, a "winged roller coaster" that looks like it will be awesome for those of the "death defying, stomach churning" crowd. There are also many rides for the less brave and the little ones, including a whole section of "Country fair" options. Those who think Dollywood is just about Dolly Parton are as misinformed as those who think WDW is just about Mickey Mouse. The theme of Dollywood is Smokey Mountain culture and traditions. The entire park is extremely well themed, a lot of fun, and all employees seemed genuinely happy to spend their day with us.

We greatly enjoyed watching traditional Mountain craftsmen such as glass blowers, leather makers, and wood carvers. Also not to be missed is the Eagle Sanctuary where injured Bald Eagles are brought to receive care. Additionally, the park offers a Sunday worship service set in a authentic rural mountain church. Just the thing for the traveler away from their home church.

How does Dollywood compare to WDW? It doesn't! It is a completely different experience. Did my family miss our traditional "picture in front of the castle early on Christmas morning wearing our Mickey and Minnie Santa ears"? You know we did. Just as we missed walking up Main Street with all of the decorations, and Epcot with the Holliday version of Illuminations. However, Dollywood helped fill the Christmas park tradition. We survived a non-Disney Christmas and had a great time. After all, as they say, Christmas is found where the heart is and for my family, this year it was in Dollywood!

>> Check out Jeff's Dollywood photo album on INTERCOT

<<Calendar Corner>>

-- June 2012 --

Extra Magic Hours, Operating, and Event schedules have been released for June 2012. For guests visiting during this time, you will want to visit the Park Hours and Events pages to aid in planning your trip. Remember, all times and schedules are subject to change, so check back often.

>> Current Park Hours

>> Extra Magic Hours Schedule and Info

>> Fireworks, Parades, & Event Schedules

<< Conclusion >>

This edition has snowballed to a conclusion. We hope its helped keep you warm with anticipation of that next great vacation. We'll be back in a few weeks with more great tips, news and deals. See ya real soon!

<< Thank You To Our Sponsors! >>

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

All Star Vacation Homes
Website: Vacation Home Details Here
Choose from the finest selection of vacation homes and condos in the closest locations to Walt Disney World.

The Official Ticket Center
Website: Buy & Price Tickets Now!
The Official Ticket Center is Walt Disney World's, Universal Studios and Sea World's #1 guest service provider for the last 3 years. The Official Ticket Center sells tickets only, at a discount price.

Magical Journeys
Website: http://www.yourmagicaljourneys.com
INTERCOT's Official Travel Agency.  An unconventional Travel Agency for the unconventional client, Magical Journeys is dedicated to finding the best pricing for your next magical journey. We work hard to save you money, and still give you the quality service you deserve.

Quicksilver Tours & Transportation
Website: http://www.quicksilver-tours.com
Our drivers are the first personal contact you have when you arrive in Orlando.  No other transportation company goes to the lengths we do to ensure that your trip is exactly how you imagined it. At Quicksilver, we truly believe there's no such thing as going "above and beyond" for our clients. Instead, it's all part of doing our jobs correctly.

The Timeshare Store
Website: http://www.dvc-resales.com
This Disney Vacation Club resale site offers the largest selection of DVC Resale's anywhere!  They are the number one Disney Vacation Club Reseller in the world. See how easy and affordable it is to purchase your very own piece of the "MAGIC".

Universal Orlando® Resort
Website: Universal Orlando ResortAdvertisement
Universal Orlando® Resort is more than a theme park. It's an entire universe of action and thrills featuring TWO spectacular theme parks unlike anything else in Orlando.

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