Trip Report Covering Epcot and Studios, But Mostly Epcot
Flower and Garden is now open. This year’s entrance display is rather lackluster compared to last year’s impressive Fantasia display. Really none of the displays this year were anything special. All of them -save the Monsters University set (which, by the way, were some of the best ones this year)- were reused pieces from the last years’ fests. I know that’s typical of Flower and Garden, but I’ve seen these same topiaries for years. Worse yet, many of them (especially the entrance ones) seem thrown in last minute without any real theme or thought.
The Festival is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. I can’t help but think the candle and cake are homages to the Castle Cake from WDW’s 25th.
Still painting Mission Space
It’s that time of year when Wonders of Life re-opens! Too bad it’s only Festival Center. It’s looking a little less 80s in there. The work they’ve been putting into it seems to make it a little less awkward and tacky. The trees and planters look a little more lush and permanent. The stages don’t look re-used. There are still a lot of curtain walls and awkward areas, of course.
Flowers! Gardens! Festivals!
Here’s all the butterflies! It’s too early for the garden (now themed to the fairies) to be covered with the butterflies.
Dadgumn! It’s everyone’s favorite! TOW-PIARY MATER! The placement of the Cars topiaries makes sense by Test Track, but there isn’t much space. Mater is a popular character and everyone was clamoring to get a picture with/of him. The walkway is too small for that.
Peter Pan hides on the roofs of the UK Pavilion. This is really clever, but hard to notice. There’s nothing drawing your eye up there, making him easy to miss.
Walls are up at Norway. As you readers know, the waterfall has been off for months now and the water turned green. Assumingly this wall and tarp is up while they fix everything.
There’s a new Cadillac parked out in front of the Great Movie Ride.
We always love it when they leave cars out- especially pretty old ones. They add life to the seemingly vacant areas.
Rockin’ Roller Coaster’s iconic guitar is being painted. Also, I finally rode Rockin’ Roller Coaster for the first time. Absolutely loved it.
What do you guys think about Flower and Garden this year? How about that new car? Feel the need to make fun of me for waiting this long before going on Coaster? Leave your comments below!
Alrighty! Time for another report:
Starting at the Magic Kingdom
The whole park is getting ready for True Love week with loads of red, pink, and purple flowers everywhere.
Main Street Bakery is getting Starbucks’d.
Dreamlights are coming down.
The Adventureland Veranda is under tarps.
Interactive treasure chest prop for the Pirates Interactive game near Jungle Cruise.
Interactive something under the water near the treasure chest. I believe I heard it was a skeleton
Imagineers working hard over at Splash Mountain, which has received some very vibrant paint.
Really not a fan of this new sight line. I don’t like that the Tangled Toilet Tower gets in my shot of the Liberty Belle and Mansion. It doesn’t fit in.
Work going on near Yankee Trader, and some tarps on Liberty Square facades.
A look at where the new walkway will let out.
An overview of the nearly-complete Tangled Toilets
Another view shows lantern posts beginning their installation.
No visable work going on at Snow White/Princess Hall
Mine Train gets bigger and bigger!
Take a peek through the walls
Here’s what we assume will be a load/unload platform.
All that yellow is rockwork mesh
A look at 1)The gift shop 2)ride track! 3) Work going on at the Contemporary.
More gift shop construction
Wowzer the Clown proves that clowns don’t have to look scary to be clowns; a red nose and minimal makeup will do. Plus, he’s really talented! I approve of him.
Monorail Red is back in action! No more Avengerail.
Epcot is using it’s RFID entrance turnstiles for resort guests. Since I won’t mention it later, Test Track is now compatible with resort keys as well.
Habit Heroes is open again. Didn’t bother seeing it though.
Work for Flower and Garden on the Test Track walkway.
They dug a hole. Seems like a lot of work for a limited engagement event.
After nearly 10 years, Mission Space is finally getting some re-painting! This is very good news, especially seeing how horrid it’s begun to look in recent years.
I wonder if Mission Space will return with a whole new shade of red. The old paint reportedly cost them over $800 a gallon.
Their attempt at theming the tarps kinda sucks. Stars on one of the tarps, off to the side, near the top.
And let’s wrap up at Animal Kingdom: AFTER DARK
Animal Kingdom has many new turnstiles ready, and is converting all but 4. This park really lacks turnstiles….
Everyone always says DAK has a great lighting package. But they always tag that quote with a picture of the Tree of Life and it’s horrid lighting. So, I figured it couldn’t be that great. Turns out, they’re right. Save the Tree of Life, DAK has a remarkable lights. Lots of popcorn lighting and string lights. It felt very bright. I was impressed. The Tree of Life, however….Eesh. Floodlights don’t do anything for it. I wish they had used an orange-yellow color, like the sunset.
So, that’s that. Thanks to everyone I met up with this last weekend for making it such a memorable trip!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!
Ready for a super quick Epcot report? Ready, set, go!
This really bugs me. Communicore was built with these windows to let light in. When Innoventions and MouseGear opened, the windows were covered up, MouseGear left these windows open. But they jammed display cases up against the windows. Not only does that defeat the purpose of a window, but it lets you see the backside of each display from outside the building. Also, the neon looks really bad….
Food kiosk is back (old picture, didn’t snap a new one. sorry).
The new Fastpass entrance at The Seas has been completed. People are upset that they defaced the mural when they cut into it. I’m not. They defaced the mural years ago, when Nemo opened.
There is a new graphic in the front window at Test Track. Also, check out the new signs directing people into the Fastpass and Single Rider lines.
Also new at Test Track are these signs in the queue. Each of them inform riders to buckle up. You know, in case that wasn’t obvious already. And, of course, there are WoM logos all over them.
So proud, in fact, that he broke the commercial-maker kiosk.
Playground for Flower and Garden is going up on the walkway between Imagination and Canada.
And last but not least, let’s look at the maps. Kodak is no longer sponsoring the maps. The backside no features an ad for Photopass.
Was that quick enough? Alright then. Thanks for tuning in. Don’t forget to go follow me on twitter! I’m nearly to 500 followers!
It’s Holidays in Space! Kennedy Space Center, that is. Welcome to an exciting new trip report, this time from Cape Canaveral. I was among the first to see the Center’s new entrance area. Granted, I had no idea it had officially opened earlier this week until I came home today. KSC needs to do a better job promoting this kind of thing. But anyway, let’s rocket off into this thing:
Christmas is in the air!
The entire Center is covered in garland and lights
The tree is shaped like a flight capsule. ;)
Two new concept flight vehicles are on display
Atlantis’ new display building is coming together. Looks very nice. It’s all set to open Summer 2013.
Now then, to all the new stuff.
The new entrance area is set up much better than it was before. Instead of a huge mess of crowds at the will call and ticket windows, the areas have been split up and moved to the very front, out of the way. A beautiful new marble(?) fountain and NASA Globe take up what was once the original ticket stands. Because of this, you no longer enter into the white building. New security checkpoint and turnstiles have been built off to the left, emptying directly into the Rocket Gardens. Still confused? I know, it’a a lot. Let’s break it down with some Google Earth overlays:
Red is the new ticket stands, orange is a new gift shop, teal are the new turnstiles, blue is the new fountain and globe, green is the cafe, yellow is walking direction.
The fountain features a quote and picture of the Center’s namesake, JFK.
‘EXPLORE’ These are the new turnstiles
And here’s the backside.
In addition to the new entrance, a brand new cafe (with an attached patio dining area) has been added. Rocket Garden Cafe is a 1960′s themed restaurant serving a wide range of very unique food items. Unlike the burgers and hot dogs you can get at every other cafeteria at the Center, this one offers a wide range of cuisine I don’t think I’ve ever seen a theme park serve in one place.
Quick look at just some of the menu. See what I’m talking about? There’s a lot of interesting options, some of which fit the 1960′s theme.
Lots of 60′s styling! Funky lime green and orange table sets, stonework floors, wooden walls, and loads of pictures from the Apollo launches complete the theme.
We tried the sampler. Chicken Empandas were very crispy, and pretty yummy. Could have used more chicken though. The Conch Fritters (I think?) were not my thing. Too fishy- and this is coming from a guy who loves fish. The freshly made potato chips were fresh and warm. Super crunchy! But the star had to have been this weird fried roll thing. It looked like an egg roll, but it was filled with beef and mashed potato! That was amazing. Although we didn’t get it, the grilled cheese and soup looked very tasty.
I liked this new establishment. I hope KCS gives more of it’s restaurants a unique menu. All of them have the same type of burger foods, it seems. And when there are at least 3 quick service locations in the main plaza alone, they need varied menus.
I’m very happy with where Kennedy Space Center is going. Between this newly opened work and the new Atlantis display, they’re really keeping it fresh and new. I like how the new areas are looking, and I hope the older areas can get some renovation to keep up.
I leave you with a shot of Launch Complex 39
Find me on Facebook and Twitter. Find Kennedy Space Center at @ExploreSpaceKSC
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, Happy Holidays! Hope all your holiday dreams came true!
To My Loyal Readers,
Thanks for sticking up with me over the last three years! I know we’ve had our ups and downs, times of no activity, and times of whatever else. So much has happened over the course of this blog. Plethora of Disney trips, a Cruise, a Podcast, Twitter and Facebook, writing here and there, pictures and art, everything that’s been going on in the parks, Expansions, etc.
Where are we going in the future? I’ve just begun writing for Disney Dose, so expect new articles posted there! No worries though, this blog won’t be forgotten! I may begin focusing this blog on trip reports and the very occasional ‘my opinions’ post.
Again, thanks for sticking with me over the years. I hope to keep on writing!
Welcome everyone! I was fortunate enough to visit Epcot on Saturday to experience the newly refurbished Test Track. But before we jump into the new attraction, let’s start with some news from around the park:
With all the popularity of the EPCOT Center opening day ticket art being used as a MnG backdrop, a new one has been installed at the front of the park!
Remember the new Epcot food kiosk we all disliked? Must’ve been there for Limited Time Magic, because it’s behind walls now.
The waterfall feature on The Land’s marquee is working again!
It’s still a little buggy. One side is spewing more water than the other. Nevertheless, I’m glad to have it back! Seems like they’re trying to clean up the entire outside of the pavilion.
Transplanting in progress. Really! Never seen this before.
The rare and exotic Santa Cactus! I love how they decorate the entire greenhouse for Christmas! Garland on the fish tanks, ornaments on the cacti, etc. It’s fun!
Alright, now it’s Test Track time.
**Heads-up: There are no on-ride photos in this report, just the queue and post show. If you don’t want to see the queue or anything, skip to the end. Also, I will be posting my thoughts on the new attraction at DisneyDose (as I write for them as well now!). This is just a news report***
We arrived at the park a little after 9. Test Track didn’t open with the park, causing the line to stretch all the way to MouseGear.
About 40 minutes later, the attraction opened. Lines moved very fast after that.
The new marquee is very large, and very pretty!
The photo-op/learn how to transfer car has been moved off to the side. Previously, this car was hidden behind a wall behind preshow room 1. Glad to see it in a prominent location out front.
The new entrance is wonderful, clean, and sleek. I think the windows (although no longer used to light the queue) look great with all the blue around them.
Just think: that’s where the original entrance used to be.
One of the many dozen World of Motion logos scattered throughout the attraction. This one is on the wait time signage.
Speaking of wait time signage, the digital screens are not yet active.
Instead, wait times are posted on this board.
Test Track has Fastpass+ written on it’s signage, but the ‘+’ isn’t uncovered yet.
Let’s go inside now:
A Chevy Miray concept vehicle welcomes guests as they enter
Power, Capability, Responsiveness, Efficiency models ( I quite like the Efficiency vehicle)
An expanded view of the ENV
This is no longer a warehouse, it’s a design studio. This wall is covered in what goes into designing a car. It even features two 3D screens!
Chevy bowties are everywhere. Everywhere. Like the World of Motion logos. I’ve often discussed the proper amount of attention a sponsor should draw to itself. There is a limit, and there is a minimum. I don’t think any other pavilion features it’s sponsor as prominently as the new Test Track does. The amount of bowties, banners/signs, and references to their company are everywhere. Yet, they are incorporated very neatly; they don’t look forced. That, in my opinion, is okay.
This room functions as a pre-show of sorts. The Big Blue Blob (which is apparently a Miray. Guess I over-analysed it last time) from the marquee is used as an extra screen onto which projection mapped images are projected. Chevrolet designers discuss the design process, and inspire viewers to design! This little show really did inspire me. That’s the mark of a true Epcot attraction.
The Design Studios are huge! This is just one of them as seen from the Fastpass/Single Rider lines.
Here’s the car my brother and I designed. The design process is a lot of fun!
That’s the extent of the pictures I took. The next room is rather large and bland. The following room leads to the new loading area. It’s weird walking into the new load area without having to dodge opening doors! It’s also very odd to walk past a blank wall where those doors once were. But that’s how the whole queue and post-show is: disorienting and weird. It’s not the same queue. I’m not even sure it’s the same building!
Then and Now
Read my full review and thoughts on the attraction here!
That about does it. Thanks for joining us, and make sure to follow me on twitter for more rambling and fun!