Archive for the ‘Parks’ 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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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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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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Epcot Expedition: September 15, 2012   1 comment

Welcome everyone! Our quick little trip to Epcot yesterday has brought us some new photos and updates!

Today we’ll be starting with exciting news from The Land. This past week, they cleared out many of the trees that once created a forest in front of the pavilion.  The removal of these trees is fantastic, as it now allows you to see the beautiful architecture. Much like the architecture of the other pavilions, the volcano-like glass atrium has always been The Land’s weenie. But during the 2005 overhaul, the simple and sparse landscaping was removed and replaced with a forest of trees. While the new landscaping looked nice and fit the pavilion, it blocked the atrium. Over time, it began to look cluttered and overwhelming. With many of these trees now gone, you can yet again get a great view of the wonderful atrium.

And for comparison:

Quite a transformation, don’t you think?

Over at the Seas, the new shade cover wave thing is up and shading and covering things. It’s been up since last month, but I haven’t had chance to cover it yet. I really don’t like it. Much like the trees did to The Land, this wave cover covers the entire facade! The Seas’ weenie was the mural (and the rocks, but the mural leads you in). From nearly every angle, this new structure doesn’t let you see the mural. Shame, really.
This new cover, by the way, was built to hold wait and fastpass return times once The Seas gets Fastpass/Fastpass+ implemented.

Mission Space is looking worse every day. The fading and possible rusting is now visible from the Innoventions breezeways.

I think we’ve put up with this poor upkeep of pavilions for long enough. Imagination is dark and dirty. Space has been fading for over a year. It’s not just poor show, it’s really nasty to look at. It wouldn’t matter of this was Disney World or New York, buildings need to stay cleaned. Windows need to be washed. Facades need to stay painted.

And now, Test Track updates.

Not very much to see from the ground. Smelled like paint, but that’s about it.
My parents rode the monorail that day, and told me that they saw a portion of the exterior track removed.

Meanwhile, in World Showcase:

Food and Wine Booths are already in place, including the country of Cheese. I’m not certain where Cheese is located, but I think it’s an island between Ham and Lettuce in the Sandwich Islands.

The France pavilion is being expanded! Sadly, it’s for a Meet and Greet. This, to me, is a poor move. The France pavilion already does MnGs on the Lagoon waterfront, in front of the Morris column, and now even between the column and construction wall. There was no need for another dedicated space for them.

Over in Norway, work has finished up on the waterfall area. There is now a sword attached to the rock work. Assumingly, this sword is for the Agent P World Showcase Adventure. It looks a little strange to see a sword just randomly placed in a cut-out of the rock work, so hopefully there will be another waterfall to cover it up.

Leaving the park, we see that nearly half of the turnstiles are closed.

Why are they closed? Remember earlier this year when they tried out the RFID entrance? As RFID becomes more prevalent through the parks (many hotel doors have been converted to RFID, some cash registers now have RFID scanners, Annual Passes have RFID built into them, Fastpass+ about to start another testing phase), it was only a matter of time before Epcot converted.

As we head out into the parking lot, we see that they still love using the flower logo. #Epcot30

That does it for this week. Don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. If you want to check out more artsy non-news pictures, you can go check out my Flickr page.
Until next time, so long!

Posted September 16, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in News, Parks

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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!

An American Adventure!   Leave a comment

Happy Fourth of July! To celebrate this great American holiday, I’ll take a look at some distinctly American-themed lands in the Disney Parks!

Main Street, USA: This land is featured in all parks, excluding Tokyo (through World Bazaar is pretty much an enclosed Main Street). Embodying all of the fun and whimsy of your typical turn-of-the-century American town. It just bleeds Red, White, and Blue, especially this time of the year! You could find me spending hours in that one land, with all of it’s charm and warm, friendly feel.

Another wonderful morning on Main Street.

Great American Waterfront: This fantastic ‘Port of Call’ lies within the incredible Tokyo DisneySea. Seperated into 3 sub-lands (Cape Cod, New York, and Toyville Trolley Park), this amazing land has the real American spirit flowing through it. It’s got the quaint, homey feel of salt box houses and lighthouses of Cape Cod. It’s got the grit, glitz, and glamour of New York, complete with the ever-lovely Highwater Hotel and the perfect backdrop: the Sailing Ship Columbia.
It’s latest addition, Toyville Trolley Park, home of Toy Story Mania (set to officially open this coming Monday), continues to make this land even more spectacular. Themed to a ‘‘Trolley Park’, this sub-land rivals the beauty of even the DCA version. (Though believe me, I have issues with even this new and nearly perfected version!)

Toyville Trolley Park! (Picture courtesy of @DreamSweetsLove. If you’re not already following her, you should be)

Liberty Square: Designed to look as though you’ve stepped into Colonial America, this land rings out Liberty and Freedom! The Hall of President is a real treat, and leaves one feeling educated and optimistic.

The American Adventure: Much like Liberty Square, this Epcot pavilion looks like it was taken strait out of Colonial America (Though the new costumes may contradict that…). Inside, guests are treated to historic American artifacts and treasures. The fantastic American Adventure is one of the greatest Audio-Animatronic shows ever. Beyond that, the live entertainment puts one into a very patriotic mood.

**********Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook! Have a safe Fourth of July!**********

Posted July 4, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Opinions, Parks

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