World Wide Weekend
A WDWCelebrations Signature Event
September 26-28, 2008
World Wide Weekend was the first WDWCelebrations Signature Event, focusing not on a park anniversary or milestone but rather an event designed to bring fans together for a great weekend. The event also marked the closing of Downtown Disney® Pleasure Island, and the start of the 13th Annual Epcot® International Food and Wine Festival.
This page contains a day-by-day recap of the weekend.
A downloadable version of the full-color printed schedule that was distributed to event attendees is available as a PDF.
The complete Downtown Disney® Pleasure Island History Walk script with map is available for download as a PDF.
The World Wide Weekend World Showcase Scavenger Hunt is available for download as a PDF. (Answer Key PDF available separately.)
Recap of the event:
Thursday, September 25: Custom Backstage Tour
This day was scheduled as an add-on to the regular event, and included a customized version of Disney's Backstage Magic tour. The standard tour runs about 7 hours and includes lunch, typically at Mama Melrose's. Our tour lasted 9 hours with lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe. We began at Epcot®, boarding our tour bus backstage behind The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Our first stop was The American Adventure, where we went below the stage to see the "war wagons" holding the massive set pieces for the show. Next we went to the Epcot® Cast Services building to see what goes on there, including the huge costuming department. As we left this area, our first surprise in the form of Imagineer Alex Wright came aboard the bus. We traveled to the back entrance of the Food and Wine Festival Center (formerly Wonders of Life), in its final stages of preparation for opening the next day, and went inside to a comfortable seating area where we had an hour-long Q&A session with Alex. We then left Epcot® and traveled to the back entrance of Disney's Hollywood Studios™ and up to the back entrance of Tower of Terror. We were able to see engineers working on a ride vehicle in the maintenance bay, and heard some great stories about the attraction, including the pickle jar in the photo area. Next it was time for lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe, where we had a grand time with two excellent servers. After lunch it was time for our second surprise of the day, a Q&A session with the Manager of Whispering Canyon Cafe, John, who gave us a lot of insight into how Disney restaurants operate. We then headed backstage behind the Magic Kingdom to visit the Holiday Warehouse and Central Shops. This was for many the highlight of the trip. We saw thousands of holiday decorations in the warehouse, and many different activities including ride vehicle refurbishment in Central Shops. We then traveled to the Magic Kingdom itself, parking behind Tony's Town Square Cafe, and walked out onto Main Street USA to catch the last float of the parade. We then went "downstairs" for an extended visit to the Utilidors, including a number of different areas below the park. Finally it was time to head back to our starting point to conclude a wonderful day. As we disembarked, each participant received a special Backstage Magic pin, which was a brand new version that had debuted only the day before.
Friday, September 26: Downtown Disney® Pleasure Island Farewell
WDWCelebrations commemorated the closing of Downtown Disney® Pleasure Island on September 27 with a History Walk on Friday morning. The full script is available at the link above. All of the current and former venues on the island, as well as details on the development and history of Downtown Disney® itself, were discussed during the hour-long walk.
Friday, September 26: Magic Kingdom® Afternoon
We had planned a number of group rides in the park on Friday afternoon, but the highlight was the donation presentation to Lou Mongello and the DisneyWorldTrivia.com Dream Team Project. Money from our Premium Registrants as well as additional donations from guests totalled $500. More information is available on our Charity Initiative page. After the presentation was a group photo, and then group rides on Carousel of Progress, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Space Mountain, and Mickey's PhilharMagic.
Friday, September 26: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Another add-on to the regular event was the hard-ticket Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. We scheduled a number of group rides as well as locations to watch the Boo to You Parade and HalloWishes. The group rode Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and Space Mountain, and actually had time to watch the first showing of the parade before the fireworks. We then watched the parade again as scheduled (because it's so good!), and took another group photo. Capping off the night was the "Countdown to Fright" Last Ride of the Night meet on Haunted Mansion. As we were exiting the attraction, the host offered us the opportunity to ride again, telling us we would be the last guests of the night on the attraction. Of course we jumped at the chance and hopped back in line!
Saturday, September 27: Epcot®
The day at Epcot® included what would be one of the favorite activities of the weekend, the World Showcase Scavenger Hunt. We started the morning with a group ride on Spaceship Earth, followed by a meet at the Epcot® 25th Anniversary Gallery. Little did we know at the time that the gallery would be closing its doors forever the following day, which made our time there that much more special. This meet, in a way, was a one-year retrospective for WDWCelebrations, as Celebration 25 was the event that sparked the beginnings of our organization almost one year ago. As World Showcase opened, we rode Gran Fiesta Tour, and afterward the Scavenger Hunt began. Participants had four hours to complete the answer sheet, with opportunity to partake in the Food and Wine Festival offerings along the way. The complete Scavenger Hunt as well as the answer key are available for download at the link above. Once the sheets were collected and scored, the group met at World Showcase Plaza where we announced the winners and distributed prizes to the top three teams. The remainder of the evening was left open for those wishing to visit Downtown Disney® Pleasure Islandon it's last evening of operation, or remain at Epcot® to enjoy the festival.
Sunday, September 28: Disney's Animal Kingdom® Park Morning
Sunday morning kicked off with a group meet at It's Tough to be a Bug,* followed by a group ride on Dinosaur to reprise "Countdown to Fin" at A Wild Decade. Unfortunately this time Dinosaur did not break down. (That's not a typo, I indended to write "unfortunately" -- for a bunch of Disney park fans, the experience of being "evac"-ed from a ride is something we hope for!)
Sunday, September 28: Disney's Hollywood Studios™ Afternoon
Sunday afternoon's activities included a meet at Mupper Vision 3D,** followed by a group viewing of the excellent parade Block Party Bash. As the parade ended, the group took to the street to dance and march along with the parade, and we were treated to a great dance number by the performers at the gate as the parade was going backstage. A group ride on Star Tours*** rounded out the afternoon's activities before the dinner break. After dinner, we gathered to experience Fantasmic! and had seats in the first several rows of the amphitheater. Disney resort guests could then take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours Benefit, and we rode Toy Story Midway Mania**** repeatedly until the park closed, finishing off the great weekend on a great attraction.
*It's Tough To Be A Bug attraction inspired by the Disney-Pixar Movie "A Bug's Life."
**TM & ©2004 Muppets Holding Company, LLC
****Toy Story Mania! is inspired by Disney•Pixar's "Toy Story" films.