Archive for the ‘Attractions’ Category

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!

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Posted December 10, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, News

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WDW Trip Report: November 24-25   2 comments

A POST TURKEY DAY ADVENTURE TO NEW FANTASYLAND AND TEST TRACK

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!

Shiny!

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.

Epcot:

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.

ALSO:

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!

Enchanted Tales   4 comments

It has come to my attention that some people have a serious hate toward the new “Enchanted Tales With Belle” Meet and Greet/Meet and Play experience in New Fantasyland. These fans are claiming that this “New” experience was created to appeal to the children of five years ago (when the FLE began). Some others just feel left out, that they can’t do anything in this experience but watch- and that makes it stupid. Guess what? All of these folks are wrong, in a number of ways.

Before we start: If you haven’t seen the preview video of the attraction, you should take a look (unless you’re avoiding spoilers!) 

Today, I’m going to look at four of the main complaints I’ve heard about the project, and give you my input on how fallacious these complaints are.

  • Complaint One- That the kids won’t even like this either because because it’s silly activities catering to the simplest minded of kids, and Belle talks down to them. 

I’d like to start out by asking, How on earth do you, an adult (possibly without children!), know exactly what children like? You have no right to say that kids won’t like the activities.  You may not like how Belle talks to them, but guess what, that’s typically the way any face character will talk to little kids. Why? Because that’s how you talk to kids.

  • Complaint Two- The kids won’t like this “new” experience because it was designed for the kids of five years ago.

Guess what? This type of experience isn’t new at all. Nope. Not at all. Remember the extremely popular Tangled Play and Greet last year? They had to cut the number of activities and time because the lines were monstrous. It’s since been replaced by a popular Brave themed play and greet. Kids love play and greets.
But even beyond that, THIS play and greet isn’t even new. Take a look at this picture:

Anything look familiar? Like how Belle is there with kids holding props to act out the story? This is a picture of me, partaking in Enchanted Tales with Belle. In the year 2000. This experience wasn’t exactly created five years ago. It was created at least 7 years before then! It’s been proven to be a popular attraction. Kids loved it then, they’ll love it now, too.
Think about how excited the kids must be to feel like they are really part of the story. Even as adults, we seek out immersive stories in Disney attractions. Imagine how much more amazing being part of the story would feel.
As well, this new version will be even better than the original could have ever been. Between the incredible animatronics, structured break points that lead up to the main show, and immersive detail, I think the kids will appreciate this version much more. As will their parents.

  • Complaint Three- It’s dumb because it’s all about the kids. I feel left out!

How dare they add a kid-centric attraction in the Magic Kingdom! And in Fantasyland, of all places!
Seriously, I can’t even accept these complaints. No one is making you go to this attraction. Skip it, and move on. Not every attraction has to be about you. I never heard anyone make this complaint when the original Enchanted Tales was open. Or when the Tangled or Brave play and greets opened. So why are they complaining now?

  • Complaint Four- I’m not a kid, so I have to sit in the back and do nothing. That’s wrong!

You may recall that I do not like the Dumbo queue because there is nothing for parents to do but sit. And I still stand by that.
But guess what? That doesn’t apply here! This isn’t like the Dumbo Playland. There, parents sit down to wait to ride. They have to sit if they want to ride. Enchanted Tales, on the other hand, sitting down IS the experience. That may sound wrong, but look at it this way: they’re watching their kids preform a show! This is akin to Turtle Talk, where the parents don’t interfere, but get a free show staring their kids. Think of it like a movie. It’s a show, and you just sit there. Is that wrong? No, because that’s what you do. Enchanted Tales is the same way- it’s a show for the parents!

All in all, Enchanted Tales with Belle is a fantastic, multi-layered, fun-for-kids-and-parents addition. While I may not go see it, I love what it is. If you really can’t stand it, then avoid it. No one is making you go see it. If you do enjoy it, then go enjoy it! It’s worth visiting, in my opinion. My only issue with it? Needs more Cogsworth!

I’m sorry that I didn’t get chance to publish a trip report this past week. School has started back up, and it can be quite time-consuming. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

Posted September 1, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, News

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Mission: Shuttle Launch   Leave a comment

A Comparison of Kennedy Space Center’s “Shuttle Launch Experience” and Epcot’s “Mission:SPACE” Attractions

AND: a Brief Update on the Construction Taking Place at Kennedy Space Center

I’m sure I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again: The Shuttle Launch Experience at Kennedy Space Center is better than Mission Space. But why?

1) The Shuttle Launch Experience is far more accessible to people than Mission Space.

People go into the Launch Experience and don’t worry about their hearts exploding. Mission Space has an unfortunate history and bad rep. Many people are scared of it just because of the copious amount of warning signs. The extent of the Launch Experience’s signage is your standard “you must be in good health..” sign, and a few blueprint-like images of the sim at a ninety degree angle. The ride itself isn’t the same intensity as Mission Space, either. But that isn’t to say it’s not intense. Even with the comfy seats, the shaking can be quite a beating to those not prepared. Of course, some people have gotten off and said “It’s like a really good massage!” Contrarily, I’ve heard people get off Mission Space saying they felt ill. Mission Space has quite a bit of punch, since you’re experiencing the real G-forces.

Although both rides are intense, and many opt-out of both, I think people are more willing to ride the Shuttle Launch Experience. Mission Space’s bad rep and harsh thrills render many too afraid to ride. Meanwhile, the far less intimidating sounding “Get Vertical” peaks the interests of even non-thrill seekers.

2) The Shuttle Launch Experience is better edutainment.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure what Mission Space is meant to teach you. Space travel? Mars? Training?
In some ways, Mission Space’s experience was built around the way the simulator looks. I don’t think WDI was happy with the guests’ ability to see the simulator pods, and thus decided to have the guests act as trainees. A smart move, yes. Even the Shuttle Launch Experience calls the flight a simulation. And so, Mission Space themes the entire attraction around this ‘flight training’ idea, including the educational parts. Unfortunately, the real educational parts are in the pre-show, and very brief. And sadly, it’s a rather limited point of discussion, so much so that the post-show focuses on what it’s like to be in mission control (though yes, it does have a minimal training theme).

The Shuttle Launch Experience does away with information on how astronauts train. In it’s place, it teaches you about how the Space Shuttles were powered, what each of the giant rocket things and orange tower were there for, how the ships escaped the Earth’s pull without crushing, and how powerful the ships were. Sound boring? Well, between the amazing lighting and smoke effects, and nifty mobile screens it’s really cool looking. On top of that, former astronaut and current NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. hosts the attraction, delivering a fantastic and humorous script the whole way through. Compare that to Gary Sinise and the ‘meh’ script of Mission Space. I learned more from the Shuttle Launch Experience than I did with Mission Space.

3)The Shuttle Launch Experience is different…in a better way.

Though both attractions are, more or less, one-of-a-kind experiences, I think the Launch Experience’s is much more unique. Mission Space, though a centrifuge, is a simulator for most of the attraction. Launch Experience is vertical the entire time.
The Shuttle Launch Experience may not take you to Mars (or anywhere, really) like Mission Space, but it’s conclusion is far more impressive. I’d take the Earth orbiting above me in space over the overused ‘Don’t move! We’re going to fall!” bit. It’s much more awe-inspiring, grand and, in a word, big.

Of course, Mission Space certainly has it’s advantages over the Shuttle Launch Experience.

Mission Space is an interactive experience. You’re sitting in the cockpit, pressing buttons, and moving the joystick (I lied about the joystick part). It’s first-person and individualized.
Perhaps Mission Space’s greatest advantage is that Mission Space is s fully fleshed out environment. As I said before, it appears that Mission Space’s story was built around the pods. And it works so very well in that regard. When Disney has an idea for a theme, it can’t go wrong ( at least 95% of the time). When entering Shuttle Launch, the queue gives you no hints as to what the attraction is. You just kind of know what it is after reading all those signs. The pre-show is, as I said, an info drop. It does mention this is a simulation, but that’s it. During the ride itself, Bolden continues to explain what is occurring (though you cannot hear a thing over the shaking, so it’s somewhat pointless). Beyond that, there is no real storyline. You’re just there to ride.

Shuttle Launch is very sterile and industrial. Plenty of bare walls and scaffolding. The old exterior queue was almost intolerably ugly (Of course, the entire Space Center is built this way. Whether it’s to make it look like the launch towers and such or to save money is up to you to decide). Mission Space wins out for it’s exterior….for now.

As great as Mission Space looks from the outside, it’s no Journey into Space pavilion. And it certainly isn’t anywhere near being the new Atlantis Space Shuttle complex! Once complete next year, this building will be transformed into a modern, sleek, and rather large building. Not only will it house the retired ship (which will be moved into the building this November!), it will cover up the ugly facade the Launch Experience originally had.

As great as this new structure will be, it’s construction has taken a serious toll on the Launch Experience. Instead of entering through the main entrance (which is now a construction zone), guests enter through the emergency exits and crew member corridors, and queue in what was the boarding area of the now unused Simulator 1. This leaves only 2 sims avalible for use (and only one was running while we where there. As we exited the ride, it had closed. Assumingly, both sims went down), and an awkward entrance/exit.

Here’s a construction picture! The large gap will be where the main entrance will go. Scale replicas of the Solid Rocket Boosters and Fuel Tank will stand erect before it.

This isn’t the only area of the Visitor Complex benefiting from the new Atlantis structure. There’s construction going on everywhere at the Visitor Complex! A large area in front of the ticket booths, previously unused, has some new structures under construction (hopefully a new, larger entrance). The showbuilding previously housing an exhibit on the wildlife living on the grounds seems to be undergoing some modifications, with walls stretching all across the boarder of it and Rocket Tower Garden around to the front of the Complex.

If there’s one thing I really hope they could do during this very nice face-lift, it would be to paint the Saturn V model in Rocket Tower Garden. It’s rusting beyond belief.

Anywho, that’s that. Hope you’ve enjoyed this post, even though it isn’t exactly all about Disney. But I really enjoy Kennedy Space Center, and I think more people need to get on out and see it. It’s out of this world. A blast. Stellar.

***Remember you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook.***

Posted August 13, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, Opinions

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Big Red Signs   4 comments

A few weeks ago, I attempted to make a videocast. Though it received great feedback from test audiences, I didn’t feel happy with my work, and it was not publicly published. I don’t expect to be trying it again anytime soon.
So, I’ve decided that instead of  running a videocast,  the topic the ‘cast would have discussed will become a segment here on the blog.  In it, I will pick a random graphic, design, sign, or whatever from the Parks and babble on about it.

This week’s design I’m going to discuss is the Red Car billboard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It can be seen directly above Mickey’s of Hollywood on Hollywood Blvd (that’s the first shop on the left hand side of the entrance). This sign advertises the iconic Pacific Electric Red Cars, “The World’s Largest Interurban Electric Railway System”. The sign features a 600-Series Red Car, painted in a bright red with golden ‘butterfly wings’, just like the ones that used to run through Los Angeles. These cars are also featured in the film “Who Framed Rodger Rabbit” and Trolley 717 over at DCA. Or that stupid wannabe Red Car pin stand near Tower of Terror.

Speaking of Trolley 717, this graphic from the billboard was actually used on the construction walls while tracks were installed in the then Hollywood Pictures Backlot. Minor changes were made to the sign for the walls. The Pacific Electric Emblem was changed to one for the “Red Car Trolley” (As the logos are identical other than name), the trolley’s stops and destinations were altered to reflect the DCA stops, and the bottom tag announced that the cars were “Arriving soon to Buena Vista Street and Hollywoodland!”

During Red Car construction in DCA

I’ve always really liked this sign. Well, I’ve always liked trolleys, so…That isn’t a surprise. I enjoy that kind of 1920’s/30’s kind of thing.  Once I heard DCA was to get trolleys, I liked the sign even more. I’d often point it out to my parents and say “Look! That’s going to be at DCA!”  But, overall, the graphic is great. It lends a big hand to help set the setting. The glorified Holloywood we always see in the movies (such as Who Framed Rodger Rabbit) tend to have a Red Car much like the one advertised. My only issue with the sign is that you can’t actually ride Red Cars at the Studios (unless you jumped onto the pin stand).

Hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Liked it? Got a graphic you’d like me to talk about? Leave a comment! Thanks for reading!