"I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse." -Walt Disney

Friday, September 20, 2013

Alex Trebek Celebrates the Re-imagining of Disney Magic

Disney prefers the term "re-imagining," but as the Disney Magic is currently docked in Cadiz, Spain, you might call it a renovaciĆ³n. A makeover worthy of any Disney Princess, if you will. Indeed, if you have been following https://www.facebook.com/JohnsJourneys my Facebook page, you've seen the periodic updates regarding the enhancements coming to Disney Cruise Line's original classic ship: the all-newAquaDunk free-fall waterslide, a refreshing transformation of Senses Spa, as well as After Hours, the nighttime adults-only area, plus a new concept for the kids' Oceaneer Club, including Pixie Hollow and theMarvel Avengers Academy, where your little one can train to become your family's very own superhero.

So how does a company like Disney celebrate the re-launch of the re-imagined Disney Magic? They invite celebrities, of course! But, never fear. You, too, are invited to sail along when the ship returns to service in late October.

Once the Disney Magic has had the opportunity to flex her sea legs again, a little over a month after that October re-launch—on December 8th—TCM (Turner Classic Movies channel) is chartering a five-night, movie-themed voyage out of Miami. Sailing to The Bahamas will be actresses Jane Powell (Royal Wedding, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), Margaret O'Brien (Meet Me In St. Louis, Jane Eyre), and Illeana Douglas (Cape Fear, Goodfellas), as well as actors Robert Wagner (Hart to Hart, Austin Powers) and Theodore Bikel (My Fair Lady, The African Queen). Joining in will be film historian, Eddie Muller. Robert Osborne, host of TCM, will of course be on hand, too.

But, perhaps one of the biggest names to join in the film fun will be Jeopardy! host, Alex Trebek. It's unclear as of yet in which events he'll be participating (perhaps movie-themed Jeopardy! contests?), but if you're a film lover, no doubt this cruise would be a great early holiday treat for you. And of course, a sailing to The Bahamas means a stop at nearly every Disney Cruise Line veteran's favorite port of call, Disney's private island,Castaway Cay. You could be lounging on Serenity Bay Beach next to Trebek!

If you'd like to be a part of this very special cruise, contact me at johnc@magicalworldvacations.net or call (407) 205-9952, or visit

Of course, I'm happy to offer complimentary vacation planning and advice on any travel plans you envision, no matter the destination. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this film-focused sailing. Do you watch Jeopardy!? Are you a fan? Tell me in the comments below...

John Cox
Magical World Vacations
Travel Planner

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cars Land runs out of gas in Hollywood Studios...

Why does Lightening McQueen have his mad face on???

We are hearing that the plans for Cars Land in Hollywood Studios are off the table :/  Oh that does not make us at Disney 101 very happy but Disney knows best... right?    Star Wars Land is still heading into production for Hollywood Studios but Cars Land is a no go.   It appears that they are still going to make an addition to the park but just with something else. 

What do you guys think?  What would you like to see in its place? 

I have a few ideas...  

How about a restaurant with Pixar characters :) 

How about a Monsters Inc. Ride :) 

What about a complet Pixar Land and include all the wonderful character :) 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Christmas in July: Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

One of the wonderful things about Walt Disney World is that no matter where you hail from in the world, there will be something you can connect with.  As an Arkansas native, I really enjoy the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Hollywood Studios during the Holidays.   What started as a simple Christmas tradition for one Arkansas family grew into the spectacular display now enjoyed by WDW visitors each year. 
Jennings and Mitzi Osborne’s 6 year old daughter, Breezy, asked her dad to put lights on their house for Christmas.  What started as 1000 lights in 1986 became 3 million lights by 1993!  The traffic along Cantrell Avenue in the Osborne’s Little Rock neighborhood was astounding.  People came from all over to see the lights.  However, neighbors were afraid the traffic congestion could hamper first responders on their way to emergency calls, and they had a really hard time getting in and out of their own driveways!  In 1995, the display had to be shut down altogether.

Enter Walt Disney World project director John Phelan.  He had heard about the display and could think of no better place for people to enjoy it than WDW!  Even though the Osborne’s had been contacted by several cities offering to host the display, they chose one of their favorite vacation destinations instead.  The offer from WDW fit in with what the Osborne’s envisioned as the ultimate purpose of their display:  to bring joy to others.
In the early years, the display was only the original lights from the Osborne estate, but over the years imagineers had ideas of their own and the display slowly grew to its current size of over five million lights.  More than 40 hidden Mickeys had been added to the display by 2007.
Now for some wild numbers!  There are over 10 miles (16 kilometers) of rope lighting connected by 30 miles (48 kilometers) of extension cords--it takes 2 million ties to hold all that together and 20,000 man-hours to install!  Installation begins in September, but the lights aren’t turned on until mid-November.  The display runs into the first week of January, and requires 800,000 watts of electricity.  In 2004, the Studios added an artificial snow effect to the display, made up of 33 snow machines that use 100 gallons of fluid per evening. 
In 2005, Sylvania became the presenting sponsor of the lights, and in 2006, the park added over 1500 dimmer relay circuits and control switches.  This allowed the lights to be choreographed to music, and earned the display its current name.  In 2011 ALL the lights were swapped out for LED lights and the system was updated in general.  The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights comes with all Hollywood Studio park admissions during its display.  The lights begin to twinkle at dusk and run to park close.  If you are planning a Disney trip during this especially magical time of year, I highly recommend making a visit to HS to see the display.  It’s a fabulous experience for everyone!

Cindy Ledbetter
Travel Planner Specializing in Disney Vacations
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