Rich Muller found a few photos from his 1971 opening year trip to Walt Disney World. At that time there was only the Magic Kingdom to visit. He met some great characters including Hit Cat and Gus. Do you have any Vintage Character photos you’d like to share? Email them to me and I’ll feature them on the blog sometime. firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a really busy time at Walt Disney World in the rumor department. Mickey’s No So Scary Halloween characters are currently training in multiple parks, so that always adds to the chatter. I’ve tried to track down as many rumors and potential for said rumors as I can, but some things are difficult to verify due to how early some of them may be. Management could just be talking about potential moves, but haven’t actually formulated the plan for example. Changes can always be made right up to the last second as well. The official line is, “Entertainment is subject to change without notice.” That’s why you may show up at 9:20 to see Mary Poppins on Main Street, but she doesn’t appear on a given day.
With that said here is a rumor round-up of things I’ve read and been told in Walt Disney World. Let’s start with the Magic Kingdom and we’ll tackle it alphabetically.
Ariel – When her new grotto is completed in New Fantasyland, Ariel will return to fin form to meet guests daily. Bring those dinglehoppers and snarfblats to enjoy your time with her. I’m making an assumption that Eric will not meet with her, as he didn’t in the old grotto. (Ariel move will happen)
Beast – I’ve been hearing chatter that Beast may appear for photo opportunity during dinner ONLY. Beast would not be moving table to table, but he would have a stationary location somewhere in the general dining area. It wouldn’t be billed as “character dining.” I first heard of this from TubaGeek on wdwmagic in July. The all new Be Our Guest Restaurant is said to look amazing. The restaurant will be counter service during the day and serve fine French inspired food in the evening. August 20th at 7:00 a.m. is the date/time to begin booking your dining reservations by phone for November 19th. August 22nd will be the beginning date to book online. (Likely)
Belle – Belle’s new story area will be located inside the library of Beast’s castle. She will take a few minutes to explain her time with Beast. Belle will not sign autographs at this location. I believe this is so they can reset more quickly for the next show. She will continue to sign at other locations including France and character dining. (Will happen)
Chip n Dale – Once Donald relocates to the new Pete’s Silly Sideshow area, Chip n Dale will be moving into his spot frontierland. Hopefully, they will be in cowboy gear like a ten gallon hat and scarf? (Likely)
Gaston – Gaston will begin offering daily meet and greets in New Fantasyland near Gaston’s Tavern. This is exciting news because he was previously only available during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or for training meets. (Will happen)
Hook and Smee – I’ve heard that Hook and Smee would take over the Pirates of the Caribbean meeting area after Goofy departs for Pete’s Silly Sideshow. This is not a definite yet, but more of a 50/50 possibility. (Maybe)
Lone Ranger – The Lone Ranger and/or Tonto may offer meet and greets or a Captain Jack’s style small scale show. It’s much too far from the spring 2013 movie date to know anything definite. (Who really knows?)
Marie – With Daisy leaving the flag pole to join Pete’s Silly Sideshow , Marie will move from France to join the Magic Kingdom crew. The timing is fortuitous because The Aristocats is now on Blu-ray as well. (Will happen)
Minnie – Once Pete’s Silly Sideshow is complete, Minnie will leave Mickey to join the circus! I tried to warn him that my son would steal her away. (Will happen)
Periwinkle – Periwinkle will be joining her sister Tinker Bell in September at Tink’s Nook. Expect her appearance in the Magic Kingdom by mid-september (I’ve heard the 17th). Expect her to pop up for training from time to time previously in unlisted locations. (Will happen)
Pete’s Silly Sideshow – We’ve covered that pretty well already. A quick reminder is that Daisy, Minnie, Donald and Goofy will relocate here this fall. (Will happen)
Princesses – The new Princess Fairy Tale Hall isn’t scheduled to open until at least 2013, but the Princesses will receive a makeover with some new hairstyles, dresses and shoes to match with their individually themed areas. (Will happen)
Beast – I’ve heard chatter that Beast will be leaving Epcot when he moves to dinner at the Magic Kingdom. (Likely)
Daisy – I’ve heard that Daisy would be relocated into the Character Spot. A couple of different CMs have said that isn’t happening also. The Character Spot will undergo major reconstruction to transform it to allow for Fastpass. I’ve heard that some characters will meet in the back hallway while construction is done in two phases. (Likely – she will at minimum relocate somewhere or at worst be eliminated from Epcot)
Donald – Donald is leaving Character Spot but he will remain in Mexico for meet and greets. In the short term that would mean that Donald would have no meet and greets in his traditional blue sailor suit. Even Donald’s three character meals offer him in a different costume. (Will happen)
Stitch – Stitch will be relocated somewhere in Future World. The last thing we need is Stitch taking over the China pavilion! (Likely)
Mrs. Incredible – I read (Drew81 and Yzma) that Mrs. Incredible will be leaving Hollywood Studios and be retired from the schedule, but will she continue to appear in the daily parade? I know it’s becoming more difficult to find slender friends for her. That’s one of the reasons Flik was retired. (Likely)
Wreck-it Ralph – Ralph is supposed to appear at Hollywood Studios this fall, supplanting Winnie the Pooh. That would mean that Pooh would rejoin the hat characters in the morning. (Likely)
Agent P – Drew81 reported a while back that Agent P would soon be joining Phineas and Ferb at their meet and greet. I heard from many people that said it would ruin the story line, but Agent P had already appeared with the boys, at least twice on Disney property. (Probable)
Jake and the Neverland Pirates meal – It appears that this meal isn’t going to happen any time soon. It took them a couple years to get Manny and Jake into the parks, no surprise that there isn’t any hurry. I think by re-theming the meal, they would boost income, but I don’t run the park. (No time soon)
Camp Minnie Mickey will be closing to make way for Avatar Land. I’ve heard that this will take place in January, 2013. I think Avatar Land will be beautiful, but don’t see the merchandising ability for this that Cars Land or Harry Potter have created. But Disney is moving forward with Pocatar Gully anyway, which means that The Festival of the Lion King will close and all the furry animals will need to scurry for cover while they burn the place to the ground. Oh sorry, that was a little Pocahontas of me, huh? This park will have very few characters AND very few attractions. 2 hours in Animal Kingdom and you’re done for the next few years. (Will happen)
Winnie the Pooh – According to Drew81 and Yzma the Winnie the Pooh characters will either be relocated to the new meet area at the Bazaar or they will be removed entirely from Animal Kingdom. Some of the Camp Minnie Mickey Characters like Donald, Minnie and Mickey will relocate to the boat dock. (Likely to relocate or be removed entirely)
I haven’t heard what will become of poor Pocahontas. Hopefully, they will find a nearby trail with a nice tree to meet her.
TL & BB
Swampy – Swamp is a tough one. My friends are telling me that the mini-site www.swampyatdisney.com is merely a connection to the popular Where’s My Water? game. My only doubt arrives because the site is set up in the “events” category on the website AND because Swampy mentions Blizzard Beach, but the game doesn’t yet have any Blizzard Beach connections. We’ll have to wait and see if Swampy actually appears. (Curious?)
Wow! That was one long Rumor Round-up 23 rumors down. Sure to have more to come!
Marie now meets regularly in the Magic Kingdom. She used to offer regular meets at Epcot, but now only meets randomly there.