Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category

WDW Report: February 9-11   Leave a comment

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.

At Epcot

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….

Lights! Ambiance!

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!


Epcot Report- January 12, 2013   Leave a comment

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Zach (@ThemeparkZach) was very proud of his truck's Efficiency.

Zach (@ThemeparkZach) was very proud of his truck’s Efficiency.


So proud, in fact, that he broke the commercial-maker kiosk.

Playplace for Flower and Garden is going up on the walkway between Imagination and Canada.

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

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!

Posted January 13, 2013 by Imagineer2017 in News, Parks

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Epcot Photo Update and Test Track- December 8th   2 comments

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)

It’s the Chevy ENV I reported on last time!

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!


Posted December 10, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, News

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Fantasyland Expansion: Through the Years   Leave a comment

New Fantasyland officially opens on December 6th! That’s tomorrow! It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since Bob Iger got up on stage at the D23 Expo and announced the Expansion. I recall fist hearing about the leaked blueprints and shrugging them off. “Too extreme,” I though. But boy was I wrong!

Let’s take a look back at construction. My first pictures start in  Fall 2009 and run through November 24th, 2012  (do note that some of these events may be a little out of order. That’s just how I had these older images archived).


Posted December 5, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Opinions, Parks

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WDW Trip Report: November 24-25   2 comments


Say, what’s that Castle up there?

Mysterious stairs to nowhere!

Looks like The Beast is going to let me in!

Very chatty suits of armor.
I loved when whenever one would sneeze and the others would all say ‘bless you’

Sign reminding you not to let your kids order wine. The Beast doesn’t like drunk kiddies.

So ornate! So pretty! So much snow!


So ornate! So eerie! So dark!
(my room of choice for lunch)

So ornate! So….eh. The Rose Gallery is bland. The Music Box is pretty though!

As are the rose mosaic floors

The meal was phenomenal! Well worth that 20 minute wait in line. I ordered the Croque Monsieur (grilled ham and cheese sandwich). Crispy, warm, cheesy!  Best sandwich I’ve had on property. And that’s exactly what the Magic Kingdom needed: really good quick service food.
And for as long as the lines were, there were still dozens of available tables. Food came quickly; about 2-3 minutes after I had sat down. Speak of which, food brought to the table? Classy. I think this is how all quick services should be.

WATER! I love the water in this land! As well as the height. The castle bridge is very high up! It’s crazy.

No one gets a line like Gaston!
And even though he had a large queue, he decided to move into the shade. Because he can. He’s Gaston.

Mermaid! The Castle looks a thousand times better in the day than it does at night. Deep Blue just does not work on the facade. Not with that rock work.

I cannot stress WATER enough. It’s so great. And helps keep the queue cool!

Mine Train is coming along. Here, you can see the rock work beginning to take shape.

I’m curious to see what that building will be themed to- Mermaid or Snow White?

Walkway into Circus is open. A large temporary gate is in place to allow construction vehicle an entrance into Mine Train.

Over in Circus, a new railroad bumper has been added over the fake rails. Because a fence wasn’t enough to stop a train from falling off the edge.


New food kiosk isn’t as intrusive or large as I thought. But it’s still a poor addition. #CommuniCutter

Test Track isn’t yet open, but everything is in place. Cast Members have been previewing, WDI has been tweaking, and Reedy Creek is set to make their safety check walk through on Monday (Nov. 26). Once the safety checks are complete, and WDI is done, Soft Openings can begin.

Even during the day it sparkles!

Up close. I think that the Blue Blob is supposed to look like a car, a plane, a boat, a hovercraft, etc. Basically, it’s meant to be whatever kind of transportation you want! Just like how you can make your car anything you want.

World of Motion logo on the wait time signage!
Here’s the normal queue…

…and the Single Rider/Fastpass side. Take a look at that typeface; it’s World Bold (old school Epcot font)!

Here’s a little sneak inside the queue! The white and black thing looks like it may be the EVN, a 2-passenger Chevy concept vehicle. Epcyclopedia first suggested that we may wee the ENV make an appearance in the new queue, and it appears he was right!

My impressions: it’s sleek. Super sleek. The new color scheme is wonderful on that building; it’s the exact colors that it needed. The new music sounds cool, but I’d like to hear it in context of the queue. The Blue Blob is huge. Up close, I can start to see it’s resemblance of a car. Oh, and it’s extremely shiny. I was standing behind the tree in World Showcase Promenade and I could still see it shining.  It will blind you. The giant T which I claimed was tacky looks very good. You don’t really see it until you pass the monorail beam, so it’s well hidden. But when you do see it, it blends right in. After having seen the concept art of the queue, it appears that this T-shape is used as an archway all over the queue, so the one outside works right in with that.


Let’s make one quick stop at the Contemporary, where the giant Mickey Wreath awaits hanging. It’s big!

I’ll do a whole ‘nother report just on the pretty decoration next time around. Until then, see ya!


Posted November 26, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, News

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Trip Report and My New Fantasyland Review   Leave a comment

Hey there everyone! I’m back from an exciting 3 day trip to WDW. Not only did I get chance to stay in the CarsLand-lite wing of Art of Animation (which I may discuss next time), I also got chance to experience New Fantasyland during an open dress rehearsal! I’ll start with the news, and then wrap up with my review of the new area.

At Epcot:

Work is underway in the Innoventions Plaza. I’ve heard rumours of them removing the tarps, adding additional seating for Electric Umbrella, and even installing a centralized Fastpass location.

Character Spot has been temporarily relocated to the old Epcot 25th Display area while a new home is constructed for them near the park entrance. The room has been emptied of all it’s displays, but has retained the large opening-day ticket mural for use as a backdrop.

Quick look at Test Track progress. The Disney Parks Blog posted images of what the new signage will look like (In a word, tacky).

Over at Norway, the waterfall was turned off again. Even odder, the sword I mentioned last time has been removed. It lasted a whole three weeks.

At Studios:

Don’t blink! I found this Weeping Angel in Tower of Terror’s queue! Now the ride is even more frightening….

The Jack Sparrow Experience’s paint has spread over to the side of the building near One Man’s Dream.

And now, Magic Kingdom:

New Mermaid effect in Pirates is really cool! Catches you off guard. I still find the pacing weird, and the Mermaids’ Song is wrong for that area of the ride.

“Hi Jack!”

Here’s a look at what’s going on at the old Skyway plot. Rockwork, thatched roofs,  no meet and greet stuff,  some work on Small World (possibly to better tie it into the new area), and Yankee Trader work.

Pete’s Silly Sideshow is open. The calliope still isn’t playing, and Pete is still static. This is a real shame, as that is a real working colliope they pulled from Disneyland Paris.

A new sign bids farewell to all those who experienced Storybook Circus at the Tomorrowland walkway. The Tomorrowland end, on the other hand, is as uninviting and off-limits looking as ever.

Now, moving into New Fantasyland….Here’s this month’s castle wall panorama:

Are we open!? No…Cast Member previews are going on during the day. Here’s a look at Mine Train.

But what about at night? Ah, there’s when we can get in!
I figured there would be previews during the night hours of the park, as they had been opening it to Mickey’s Not So Scary party guests each night. Low and behold, it was opened up after Wishes performed.

Beauty and the Beast Realm:

The wait time for Enchanted Tales hovered around an hour during my time there, so I had to skip it.
The Beast’s castle off in the distance was very strange to me. We saw it go up all those months ago (gee, guess it’s been about a year, hasn’t it?!), and know it’s real size, yet, when you see it from the cottage with it’s windows all glowing gold, it looks huge! The forced perspective works crazy well! Speaking of the castle, Be Our Guest is beautiful! I especially love the mural of Beast and Belle off to the side. I was very impressed with the snow effect- very convincing!. One of my concerns with the restaurant was that the Ballroom looked a little small. Fortunately  the room looks much bigger in person than it does in videos! Gaston’s Tavern looked pretty nice! I didn’t get chance to explore most of it because it was packed. I did get to try out a LeFou’s Brew, though. It was surprisingly tasty. The apple works very well, but the foam topping was kinda nasty. I think this concoction would benfit from a name change. Something with ‘Cider’ in the name.
Bonjour Village Gifts was….small. I walked in, hit the back wall and expected to find another side room. It’s small, but nice. I guess it doesn’t need to be big, seeing as it’s only purpose it to stock Beauty and the Beast themed goods (and house the weird Phil Holmes portrat!).

Mermaid Realm:

Mermaid is absolutely gorgeous. The amount of water and the scale of the rockwork is beautiful! I’m not crazy about the lighting package, or really it at night at all, but the size and scope is huge!
The queue was lots of fun. The interactive element with the crabs was pretty nifty. People didn’t seem to understand it, and would just look at the crabs. Sadly, this causes a massive clog-up. People stopped at each crab station and wait for the crabs to reappear. Once the crab section was passed, there was no wait. Unfortunately  this means that people just walked past the awesome Animatronic Scuttle in the queue without really noticing him.
The ride itself was an unexpected surprise. I had seen videos of the California version dozens of times, so I knew what to expect. But it was nothing like I expected. I think what wowed me the most wasn’t the animatronics or effects or any of that, but the intimatcy of each scene. You seem close enough to reach out and touch the characters at some points! The Ariel animatronics were much smaller than I expected, as well. She seemed short and child-sized. That’s perfect for this ride though. The smallness of the ride’s scenes- and even clamobiles- shows that this is an attraction for kids; it’s scaled to them.
There are still quite a number of kinks to be worked out though. The main issue is lighting. At multiple points in the ride, bare walls and AC ducts are noticeable (notably the Flotsam and Jetsam scene) because there is too much light. The other issue are the animatronics and figures. Flotsam and Jetsam haven’t worked since soft openings began.
Overall, this is one great D-Ticket Darkride.

Ride through with me!

One of the things I got of the new area was size. I felt conflicted. While I understand that this expansion plot is huge, and much of it is still behind a wall, I felt like the space was used well. That made it feel small for some reason. When I walked through the Mermaid queue, I felt like I had hit the back of the park pretty quickly. Yet, I still knew how much space that was. I don’t know how to explain it.

My overall impression of these new areas: Wonderful. The amount of theming I could see (keep in mind there’s minimal lighting at night) was unlike anything else in the Magic Kingdom. The elevations and waterways were so drastically unlike anything else in just about any of the parks. The amount of water and foliage was exactly what the park needed. This expansion will only get ten times better when Mine Train is covered with green. And then even better than that once it opens.

That’s what I’ve got to say on New Fantasyland. Hope you enjoyed! Remember to follow me on Twitter and Facebook!


Posted October 29, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, News, Parks

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Update for October 20th, 2012   1 comment

Here’s a News Round-Up, And Some Food For Thought

Mermaids Ahoy!

This past Friday, Mermaids were finally added to Pirates of the Caribbean at WDW. The new scene is placed directly after the waterfall, and spills over into the following beach scene as well. As the boats pass the waterfall, the mermaids’ song begins to play, and a mermaid swims past. A mermaid skeleton now lies on the beach. Take a look:

Video Via Attractions Magazine

I think the effect looks really cool, and that’s just based on videos. I’m excited to see it in person. Sadly, though, I feel that the addition of the mermaids in that location seems a little odd. Yes, it is the most logical place to add them. But they don’t exactly work right there. Not because they don’t fit, but because it throws the pacing of the opening scene off. The opening scene shouldn’t have dialogue other than “Dead Men Tell No Tales”. Placement is my issue, but not because they don’t belong right there. Placement is the issue because there is so much other stuff going on in that spot. You travel through the caverns. Suddenly, you have Blackbeard shoved into your face (literally!). As soon as you get out of the waterfall, there go the mermaids. As soon as they swim off, there’s the beach. I just feel there should be more spacing and breathing room. The opening scene should be slowly paced, quiet, empty, and foreboding. It shouldn’t be filled with mermaid songs and constant action.The mermaids are a welcome addition, but it feels like there’s little breathing room in what should be a spaced out, slow, quiet, and eerie set of scenes.
I think that I would like this new addition even more if the waterfall projection was removed, and the Mermaids’ Song wasn’t being played. Like I said to@ThemeparkZach and @EPCOTExplorer, I’d like it if the caves became progressively darker, and the mermaids’ voices slowly become louder. Remove the signing, and replace it with the mermaids’ eerie siren wails and shrieks.

A Country Hoedown!

This past Wednesday, The Country Bear Jamboree re-opened after a scheduled refurbishment. Fans were worried that the show would be bowdlerized, cut down, made ‘politically correct’, and that Big Al would be removed. As the doors reopened,  fans were treated to a refreshed show complete with newly dressed/skinned/costumed bears. But much to their chagrin, about five minutes of the show was cut. Two songs were removed, and a few lines of dialogue were cut. Curiously though, the more questionable songs remained in the show. Many fans claimed that with the removal of some dialogue the show seems choppy. To me, the show always seemed choppy, and the dialogue all over the place. On the plus side, The New York Times reports that during the refurb, the ride control was changed, allowing Disney to easily install holiday shows again.
Personally, I am not a Country Bears fan. I like the history, the Animatronics, and the concept of an Animatronic show, but I can’t stand the music. So I’m not really torn up over this. Didn’t like the show then, don’t like it now.
Regardless, while it is unfortunate to lose showtime, the Imagineers working on the project put out a lot of great work. I find it very neat that they went back to the original Marc Davis sketches to use as reference when redressing the bears. That’s something aimed right at fans. So it is slightly upsetting that when WDI did go out of their way to do something we would appreciate and refurbed a classic attraction- just like we’ve been wanting- they get nothing but negative remarks. But in the upset fans’ defence, Disney’s video of the behind-the-scenes work claiming how important the classics are to them was a little inappropriate. Disney had just cut the show down, and many of the Imagineers in the video did not act as though the attraction meant much to them.

I think this segways very well  into my point of discussion…..

Classic Keep Up

As much as fans whine and complain about how Disney doesn’t care and/or keep up the classic attractions, it isn’t true. This year alone saw a new queue and effects to The Haunted Mansion. In just this week, Country Bears re-opened from a refurb with lots of new costumes and Pirates received a new showscene. And let’s not forget the return of the original Tiki Room last year.
While the work may not always be what we had in mind, you can’t say that Disney doesn’t touch the original attractions.

What do you think? Do you think Disney still doesn’t care about the classics? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!