Friday Five: Random References & Reflections

1. Tech Geek Moment – The new Find My Friends app (iTunes link) available for iPhones running iOS5 (and iPads with cellular data plans) has great potential for facilitating meet ups in Disney parks. The app allows you to temporarily share your location with contacts of your choice. Several people with iDevices who are going to be at WDW at the same time could exchange Find My Friends invitations and, with a glance at the Find My Friends map, see whether they’re in proximity to one another and even suggest via SMS or iMessage a place in the middle to meet up.

2. It’s official! I’m all booked for a long-weekend trip back to Walt Disney World for Reunion 2011. This will be my first solo trip – should be an interesting experience. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the Disney peeps I got to meet back in September, like Tom Chiodo, Cheryl Perlmutter, Todd Perlmutter, Matt Hochberg, Shelley Caran, and others I’m sure I’m missing (but who haven’t registered on the website yet). I’ll get to meet Disney peeps that I’ve so far only “met” online, like Dana Howze. And maybe even meet some of the people who inspired me to try this podcasting thing in the first place, like Henry Work, Mike Newell, and Len Testa.

3. Thanks to this weeks participating Dis Dads: CJ Fragola, Paul Hajjar, Chris Carroll, and Andy Fix.

4. Sorry for the delay in the release of Podcast Episode 17. We had a couple of issues that delayed our recording by about a week, and with our producer/engineer/editor Joshua Haas on a Disney vacation, it falls to me to get the episode edited. With a little bit of luck, the episode should be posted by Monday.

5. I don’t usually report rumors here, but this is a big one, and it doesn’t seem to have gotten the play online that I would have expected. One of the foremost online experts about Walt Disney World’s Polynesian resort, Tikiman, is reporting that a major refurb of the Polynesian is likely coming in 2013. What he’s reporting is more than a simple room refresh. Rather, he’s suggesting that we’re likely to see major demolition – along the lines of the entire Great Ceremonial House coming down, and perhaps more. The possible explanations offered for the need for such a drastic rehab range from asbestos in the GCH that needs to come out to problems with sinkholes/grounds stability. If this rehab happens, and it requires the closing of the Polynesian for several months, it will likely have some ripple effects. The GCH houses two popular table service restaurants, ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe, and is an easy destination for travelers looking for a meal break from the Magic Kingdom. With two restaurants taken out of the mix, the pressure will be on for two oft-criticized table service venues to pick up the slack in the Magic Kingdom resort area – The Wave at the Contemporary and The Grand Floridian Cafe at the Grand Floridian. And, of course, the other Magic Kingdom area resorts would likely see increased booking pressure (and likely fewer rooms at discounted rates). It will be interesting to watch this story develop.

2 thoughts to “Friday Five: Random References & Reflections”

  1. The poly rumor is big. If there is a drastic rehab particularly if they are due to asbestos issues it seems like that might further the cause of environmentalists that are currently suing Disneyland because of lead being found throughout the park.

  2. I suspect that this will be very different than the lead paint issue. I was thinking about this quite a bit yesterday, and here’s my guess. It’s sort of a vicious cycle combination of things:
    1) I’m sure there is asbestos in the GCH, considering when it was built and that it was built by US Steel. But ecapsulated asbestos is still allowed and, in fact, it’s usually safer to leave it encapsulated than to remove it. BUT, if you do open up places where it’s encapsulated, the protocols for removal are strict and expensive.
    2) The Poly is badly in need of an accessibility update, especially the elevators. I was struck when we had a meal at the Poly back in September by just how small and old those two elevators are, and they provide access to two restaurants and the monorail. BUT, the elevator shaft is a prime location for asbestos to be located. If they open up the shaft to make it larger, now they have to do asbestos abatement.
    3) It’s likely that there are structural issues to address. We know that the settling immediately after building was sufficient to elimnate the plan of modular refurbishments. And we know that land near the Poly is so soft that plans to build a resort nearby had to be abandoned (test pylons just sank into the ground). Shoring up a longhouse is one thing, but doing the same to a building the size of the GCH is another story. If they do major construction at the GCH, they have to bring the elevators into ADA compliance.

    Each of those issues links to the others, and (if they’re true) would suggest a major overhaul of the GCH is necessary, whether they want to spend the money to do it now or not. I think I’ll pick up with my own guess at what’s going to happen with the Poly in this week’s Friday 5. 😉

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