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Archive for the ‘Downtown Disney’ Category

One Man’s Trash…

Posted by Ashley Rae on June 9, 2009

Here is a small fact I heard last night. The new restaurant in Downtown Disney, Paradiso 37, has columns that stand toward the middle of the restaurant. Supposedly the bolts used to hold up the pillars are leftovers from Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster.


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Addendum: Characters in Flight

Posted by Ashley Rae on May 13, 2009

Characters in Flight TicketingA look at the ticket booth.  Hopefully you visit at the right time to fly right away.

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If You Had Wings

Posted by Ashley Rae on April 17, 2009

Although I have limited shots of the full circumfrance of the Characters in Flight balloon, I wanted to make it known that the attraction run by Aerophile contains 12 individual characters.

  1. Tinker Bell
  2. Peter Pan
  3. Wendy
  4. Michael
  5. John
  6. Dumbo
  7. Timothy the Circus Mouse
  8. Flora
  9. Fauna
  10. Merriweather
  11. Aladdin
  12. Mary Poppins

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All the World’s a Stage

Posted by andycollopy on April 17, 2009

As an avid theatre-lover, one of my favorite parts about going to Walt Disney World is getting to see the live shows. While I plan on writing full-length reviews of them later, here are my overall impressions of the shows currently found in the WDW parks, listed in order of my preference. These views are entirely mine and mine alone.

I didn’t include the stunt shows because they seem like completely different types of attractions. La Nouba is in a completely different league.

5. Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Kicking off my list is a show that, while definitely having some redeeming qualities, is a little bit of a hodgepodge. It combines live actors with puppets, projections, and bubbles. In the process, a lot of the impact of the story and music get lost. I think that the music is especially damaged, because many of the songs feature prerecorded voices, taking away a lot of the feeling of it being live theatre.

4. Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios

I was extremely surprised by Playhouse Disney – Live of Stage!. It features very good production values, catchy music, and, when I saw it, an infectiously energetic host. Unfortunately the extremely contrived plot keeps it from snagging third place of the list. I guess that considering its target audience though, plot holes weren’t the creator’s main concern.

3. Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
Disney’s Hollywood Studios

While similar to Voyage of the Little Mermaid in many ways, Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage holds up as a better all around show. While still featuring its fair share of prerecorded vocals, the live actors are given more of the songs to sing. Plus, one of the prerecorded voices is that of Angely Lansbury, which makes it okay. The simple staging is very effective, especially the Beast’s awesome transformation.

2. Festival of the Lion King
Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Festival of the Lion King is unique among the shows on this list in that it doesn’t tell the story of the movie (or TV shows, I guess) it’s based on. It’s more of a variety show, featuring music and characters from The Lion King. There are four main singers who, at least every time I’ve seen the show, are simply phenomenal. A few of the singers I’ve seen in this show are the best vocal talent I’ve come across in all of Walt Disney World. To go along with the singing, the show features a spectacle of acrobats and dancers, making Festival of the Lion King as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the ears.

1. Finding Nemo – The Musical
Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Of all the shows in Walt Disney World, Finding Nemo – The Musical is the only one that truly nears Broadway quality. Of the shows on this list, this is the only one with original music written specifically for its stage incarnation, as it’s the only one based on a non-musical movie (or TV show). While the quality of a given performance is heavily based on the cast you happen to see (I’ve seen some performances where an actor or two were truly painful to watch), the technical aspects and staging are incredible. And if you pair up the astounding visuals with a good cast, there’s nowhere else in Walt Disney World I’d rather be.

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Weather Permitting

Posted by Ashley Rae on April 10, 2009

Characters in Flight Center

After two rides on Characters in Flight today, I am very happy with Walt Disney World’s newest attraction. I was told today that the balloon in the largest hot air balloon in the world, both tethered and free flying. And there are 12 flying characters featured around its circumference. During today’s cast preview, we ascended the complete 400 feet. The trip was a three minute ascent, four minute hold, and three minute descent. The long flight time does make for a lengthy wait.

Saratoga Springs

It is rumored that the soft opening of Characters in Flight will not happen tomorrow. Instead, Downtown Disney staff plan to have another day of Cast previews. The problem thereafter lies in the forecast. The Characters in Flight ride might not be available to the public until Sunday. In the meanwhile, here are some photos I took during today’s rides.

Downtown Disney West Side

Downtown Disney West Side



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The Real Cap’n Jack

Posted by Ashley Rae on April 9, 2009

Cap'n Jack's Restaurant

Cap'n Jack's Restaurant

Cap’n Jack’s Restaurant in Downtown Disney is very often overlooked. The restaurant opened with The Lake Buena Vista Village in October of 1975 and has remained ever since. Originally Cap’n Jack’s Oyster Bar, the restaurant included a merchandise shop which was later merged with the establishment during a renovation.

Cap'n Jack's Restaurant Menu

Unknown to most people is Cap’n Jack the person. After speaking with his ex son-in-law, I found that Cap’n Jack’s is meant to honor Jack Olsen. According to, Olsen was given the title of ‘The Merchant Prince’ when he was immortalized on a Main Street Window. Olsen’s career began at Disneyland in California and eventually moved to Orlando when he became Vice President of Merchandising and helped open the Walt Disney World Resort. He spent 22 years with the Disney Company and retired in 1977. He passed away in 1980.

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Retro Reminders

Posted by Ashley Rae on March 31, 2009


Although the back story of Pleasure Island and Merriweather Adam Pleasure can be very interesting, and most likely be explained in a later post, here is just another reminder of an important year in Disney history.

1937- The premiere of Walt Disney’s first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

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Characters in Flight

Posted by Ashley Rae on March 27, 2009

Many developments have been made recently on Aerophile S.A.’s Characters in Flight, the new attraction which will be located in Downtown Disney’s West Side.  According to their website, Aerophile S.A. was “founded in 1993 by two 25-year-old engineers, Matthieu Gobbi and Jerome Giacomoni, AEROPHILE S.A. reinvented the tethered gas balloon following an 80-year absence and become the world leader in tethered gas balloons through the development of three flagship products:

The AERO30NG since 1994, a big tethered balloon which can lift 30 passengers up to 500 feet every 10 minutes with 50 balloons sold in more than 20 countries in cities including Paris, Berlin, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubaï; the AERO2 since 2000, a mobile balloon for 2 passengers and the AEROPHARE since 2007, the first balloon which can fly up to 130 feet with 12 passengers up to 50 mph of wind. All products can be used as a totem, a billboard, and an amusement ride.”

Their site also includes press releases of their newest project with the Walt Disney World Resort.

Late March 23rd, the Aerophile S.A. operated balloon was inflated and is currently very visible from the other sides of the Sassagoula River. Trying to find it past Pleasure Island is a little more difficult because it’s restrained elevation just barely peaks over the stores.

The flight reflects another ride in Disneyland Paris by Aerophile S.A. called the PanoraMagique which flies 100 meters into the air over the foreign resort.  Once operating, Characters in Flight should be soaring 30 passengers about 300-400 feet in the air to show a breathtaking view of Downtown Disney and the nearby attractions. If the flight time of the PanoraMagique is of any comparison, this journey will be about 6 minutes long.   Set to open April 1, 2009, this massive balloon ride is still a sight to see before its take off.

Signage is up with price information.

$16.00 for adults

$10.00 for children 3-9

Including tax.

Get more information about Aerophile S.A. or the PanoraMagique by visiting their websites.

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