Archive for the ‘Disney’s Animal Kingdom’ Tag

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!


WDW Trip Report: March 17-18   2 comments

With Stops At Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom

Hello and welcome to this month’s report. Let’s jump right in, starting at the newly opened Storybook Circus at Magic Kingdom:

This is an amazing view.
The old Toontown watertower and electrical house really clash. But that just goes to show how much nicer this new land looks!

These tents will look great!

Dumbo is so wonderfully done!

Save this bit. I hate seeing this show building from nearly everywhere.

Even though only one spinner is open (and still a little buggy[my Dumbo only went half the way up!]), Dumbo is amazing. The line was always moving. Remember the days of constant hour-long waits? On this spring break Saturday, I waited no more than 15 minutes! They’ve made the queue MUCH wider too. Instead of the narrow paths, I had more than enough room to stretch much arms if I wanted. Not claustrophobic at all.
My only issue with Dumbo is the show building. You can see it from everywhere. The speedway, Barnstormer, and Dumbo’s own queue. No work was done to hide it. Not even trees planted. This needs to be fixed, and soon.

It's the Barnstormer! Only new!

The back of the main signage is recycled Wise Acre Farms signs from the original Barnstormer. It's meant to look like Goofy re-used it all!

I like the new Barnstormer set up. The queue and exit ramp have been flip-flopped. You now enter where Donald’s Boat and the exit ramp used to be, and exit through what used to be the queue.
This is a great improvement! In the old queue, I used to be afraid my head was going to be chopped off by a passing train. The path was incredibly narrow (by WDW standards). Miserable. This new set-up is fantastic, as the ramp is much more spacious, and covered with great props. While the old farm props felt tacky (squashed squash, popcorn plants, etc. all in plastic y-looking toony-ness), these new ones feel much more tangible, real, and authentic. Much like Town Square Theatre’s props and posters, the Barnstormer has posters of Goofy’s stunts alongside the actual props.
The only issue I have with this swap is that there is hardly enough space for this. The ramp up can’t hold switchbacks (unless they were to remove the yet-to-be-implemented fastpass queue), meaning the line flows out into the main plaza, and in front of the train station. They have added switchbacks though. They’re off to the side. Between the railroad tracks and the ramp, in the walkway to Tomorrowland. That, in my opinion, is a poor spot to throw them in. I know there’s nowhere else to go with them, but it looks bad.

Overall, Storybook Circus is amazing. The look is rustic and homey. The queues are wide and inviting. It’s not garnish, nor tacky, nor plastic-y, or anything. It may be my new favorite looking land. I can’t wait to see the rest of it opened up.

In more Fantasyland Expansion news:

Tigger's Bouncy Area has been permanently closed, and is going to become a meet and greet location for Pooh and friends. This is great! Characters should meet at their attractions.

Prince Eric's castle has all it's roofs now!
Also, look closely, and you'll see that Mine Train has gone vertical. Look at that brick wall right under the tower. That's Mine Train.

Progress from Dumbo

A quick swing by Big Thunder to see what’s up:

Doesn't look like much anything new.

I see you!


Imagination has gotten some lighting upgrades. New LEDs have been placed in the Smell Labs. They start off purple, but as Skunk Figment appears, they turn Green. It looks pretty neat.

"Let the good times rollllll!"

"Woo-hoo! You win one scent!"

This is a nice addition to the attraction. But it’s way too bright.  JIIwF is a dark ride, with plenty of bare, exposed walls. These lights just make those walls even more apparent. As well, it makes this scene much brighter than all the others. Kinda disjointed.

Flower and Garden in full swing:

Really lovin' this entrance topiary, even though it's an old (or more likely, taken from Studios) topiary.

Even more amazing at night

And now, an ode to Test Track:

The queue really shows it's age. Doesn't help that all the dates were written with the 1996 opening in mind...

Speaking of showing age, there are some interesting VHS tapes (whatever a VHS tape is) in the pre-show rooms.

Nearly all of the cars have begun their transformations. They all have new black detailing and a shiny body.
In addition, if I counted correctly, the 'new' car count is up to 4.

We conclude our report with some Animal Kingdom: NEAR DARK-

Safaris truck from a Safaris truck. Inception!


It was funny listening to our driver seriously over-hype the elephant story when we only saw one elephant, and that storyline is going away soon.

I got to be the last one to ride DINOSAUR that night. I've wanted to do that for so long.

That’s just about it. Took a lot of great pictures, including more panoramas and a few HDRs. Want to see them? Check out my Facebook page. As well, don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter to hear more of my random thoughts and whatnot.

WDW Report: Nov. 23-25   Leave a comment

Turkey Day Tourist-Filled Turmoil!

With stops at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Studios.

Let’s start this report at the Magic Kingdom, where Christmas has begun!

Christmas! (At Day)

Christmas! (At Night)

SotMK work. These are windows on the side of Uptown Jewlers

And then some tarps around the buildings across from it.

Last month, I reported that planets weren't spinning. Now, they've been removed. Hope they come back soon.

Looks like the new spinner is in place. Either that, or it's that 'centrepeice' they moved in not too long ago.

Naked tents! This whole area looks HUGE, by the way.

The new Cheshire Cafe looks really nice.

Much quieter colour sceme. I like that.


They've Santa-hatted the giant chaser at MouseGear!

All 3 new cars were out at Test Track

2 of them were right behind one another! Get used to sights like this after the refurb.

This is why I love Epcot. Wide, open, grassy spaces. Ahh.

New curtain in the SSE desent....Yea....The lights are 10 times brighter than the others. It's kinda weird, and therefore newsworthy.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Awesome new shirt for sale at Dinosaur. It's great to see Seeker get his own merch! (only avalible in kid sizes)

The It's Tough To Be A Bug fastpass machines had Fastpasses for Festival of the Lion King


Just going to talk about the Dancing Lights. There’s a new light tent, and it’s quite impressive when dancing. Here’s a video of it.

This is it when it isn't dancing.

I also wanted to mention a few more things:

  • I got a new season pass this trip (thanks mom and dad). This new pass has RFID built into it. Yup, RFID is beginning to make its way into the parks. You can tell it’s RFID because of this new little logo in the corner, and how much thicker it is compared to regular/older tickets. This new one is about as thick as 3 old tickets.

See the little Mickey with the waves?

  • After seeing how great Disneyland looks for the holidays, I was kinda let down going into the Magic Kingdom. I mean, I know what they decorate and how they decorate over here, but…its a letdown. Main Street is festooned, has it’s own Christmas loop (so does Liberty Square, but it’s it’s old loop), and so much more. Meanwhile, the other lands have a bit of garland around some of the light posts, and poinsettias. That’s it. I really wish that the Magic Kingdom would go all out with the decorating!
    I was even more disappointed at DAK, where there were a few wreathes at the entrance with it’s tree, and nothing more. No special music, hardly any decor. It’s just kinda a disappointment.
  • Turns out that Duffy TV show they promised us wasn’t forgotten. Yup, plays every night on resort TV at 7. Couldn’t resist to see what it was all about. It was noting more than a slide show of images out of that Duffy story book with a narrator reading it. Weird story, too. In the end, everyone is jealous of Mickey’s Duffy, so Minnie has to begin manufacturing them.
    Oh, and I saw this picture of Duffy. Go ahead and guess what my first thoughts after seeing it were…

Well, that’s this month. Thanks for joining me! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter! See ya real soon!

AVATAR Land to Be Built at Disney’s Animal Kingdom   2 comments

We have great news to share today. At a press conference happening right now at Walt Disney Imagineering, Bob Iger and Tom Staggs just announced a long-term creative partnership with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the fantasy world of AVATAR to life at Disney Parks. And it’ll all begin at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.

James and his producing partner Jon Landau and their team at Lightstorm Entertainment will serve as creative consultants on the project and will work side-by-side with our Walt Disney Imagineers as we dream up experiences that will take our guests deep into worlds of AVATAR like never before. There are also two sequels to the record setting first film in the works, which will offer more fascinating stories, characters and locations to explore in the AVATAR universe. Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort is planned as the site of the first AVATAR-themed land with construction expected to begin by 2013.

We believe Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great fit for this project because it was created to give guests the opportunity to experience the worlds of animals and nature – real and mythical – in new ways. Disney’s Animal Kingdom also celebrates adventure, living in harmony with nature and environmental stewardship – themes that are deeply rooted in the story of AVATAR.

The design phase on the Disney’s Animal Kingdom project has just begun so stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog for more details.

– Thomas Smith, Social Media Director, Disney Parks in regards to AVATAR additions to Disney Parks

It was announced earlier today on the Disney Parks Blog that Disney Parks would begin to incorporate the 2009 Blockbuster “AVATAR”. The first additions will be at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK) with a brand new land opening (assumingly) 2016. According to the Orlando Sentential, “Disney’s plans for Avatar appear far more ambitious. Staggs said the project would be similar in scope to ‘Carsland’…”

So what does this mean? Let’s look:

  • Will the addition be solid? Yup.
  • Will it be good? I’m sure.
  • Will DAK benefit from it? For certain.
  • Does DAK need it? Sure.
  • Is it the best fit? No.
  • Does it sit well with me? No.

Well,  in it’s current state, DAK is in great need of additional attractions. The addition of an AVATAR Land resolves these issues.

But I don’t think that AVATAR is the absolute best fit for DAK.

For starters, IT DOESN”T TAKE PLACE ON EARTH!  DAK, a park about the Earth and it’s creatures, is going to have a land about a different planet? That’s akin to adding a Washington, DC themed land to DCA. DAK needs to focus on lands and animals that currently exist, or have existed, or have made a large impact in our lives (here’s looking at you, Beastly Kingdome creatures). I don’t think that AVATAR even relates to any of those ideas.

I’m neither for nor against this addition though. I hated AVATAR (just eye-candy, unoriginal story, got dull. I couldn’t sit through it), but I know that DAK needs this. So even though I hate the film, and I don’t think it’s ‘Disney’ like, I’m glad to see DAK getting some love.

So yup. Those are my conflicted thoughts on this. We’ll learn more about this. Maybe I’ll have a change of heart and welcome it, maybe I will shun it. Who knows. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, where you can see what else I have to say on this topic.

Trip Report: Aug 19-22   4 comments

The ‘School-Starts-On-Monday-So-Let’s-Go-To-Disney-During-The- D23-Expo’ Trip

So while everyone else was in California, I was in WDW. Let’s take a look at a few updates:

At the Magic Kingdom:

Entry tunnel is having some work done

Dumbo is getting much larger.

Enchanted Grove behind walls

Either I shunk, or the trees grew. I could not see TLM at all. Very disapointing.

Short, random walls near the exit to Buzz

An elephant on Jungle Cruise is still MIA

Tiki Room has re-opened and it AWESOME. Cut down and missing the fountain or not, the show is phenominal.

New set of signs directing guests into the interactive queue at Mansion. This is the 2nd set of signs they've installed (originals can be found in my June update).

At Epcot…

The awesome 'Don't Waste It!' has closed, and posters for the next exibit, 'Habit Heros' now line the walls. I like that they're giving us a taste of whats coming.

Been like this for a few months, but The Land has added Orange to it's collection of colours.

Cart behind walls

At the Studios….

New 'Memories' billboard replaces the old one.

Scanner is back!

Jonsey's sign is missing

'Sunset at Sunset'

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom….

New 'Memories' sign here, too.

This new? Flick is doing MnG under the old ITTBAB Fastapss distribution area

'A Train Awaits'

Well, that outa do it for this week. Hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to subscribe, comment, and share. Also, follow me on Twitter! As well, please please please go listen to the D-History Podcast! So long!

Enhanced Motion VehicaLEGO   3 comments

Enhanced Motion Vehicle Created in Lego Technic

A great peice of engineering, no? These are the actual drawings by WDI. I will refer to these drawings in this post.

I’ve been trying to create the great EMV for a very long time. The ride system has always amazed me. So after looking over the diagrams of the ride systems, I began my quest to create one. I came very close one time. The only problems were the size and the lack of actuators to allow the roll motion (figure9).

A decided to revisit the idea yet again (mostly by accident). This new design starts with the axles on a horizontal turntable. This allows the main chassis to rotate as the wheels remain static. The motor allowing the rotation is situated inside of the rotating chassis.
On top of this rotating chassis is the actuator allowing pitch motions.
This system, though unorthodox and very unlike the real EMVs, works very well. With full remote control over the motions, it’s fun to play around with.

There are a few limitations to the motion on this version. While the actual vehicle can move the entire shell up and down (figure8), mine is limited to either front up/rear down or rear up/front down(figures6&7). As well, the size prohibits me from installing the battery pack and the drive functions on-board the vehicle. In fact, there are no drive functions. But, the next time I attempt to create an EMV, these set ups will be applied as I also attempt to squeeze in control over the driving and the power supply.

Here’s a video of it in action:

Well, that’s this week. Just wanted to share that with everyone. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @Imagineer2017, and to check out the D History Podcast.

Posted July 24, 2011 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, Uncategorized

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WDW Adventure: May 7th and 8th   2 comments

Imagineer2017 and the Adventure to Four Parks

A highlight of the cool stuff from my most recent trip

Hi everybody! I’ve just returned from what may have been my busiest trip ever. I visited all 4 parks in 2 days, a new record for me! And boy was it eventful! From broken lights to boring lights and from clear signs to confused CMs, I’ve got it all here!

So let’s start at Animal Kingdom:

I did some in-park recordings while I was there. I have no idea how they came out, so we may or may not have them posted in the future. But anyway…I digress.

I love DINOSAUR. So I rode it 3 times throughout the whole day. And it was terrifying every time. The Carnotauruses are so lifelike and so close!  The time rovers weren’t properly synced all three times (and this wasn’t 3 times in a row, either), so the first set of doors were left wide open. And even funnier, the rover ahead of ours was visible in the next room during the sauropod scene during two of my rides. Seeing another EMV moving about was really cool. I’d never seen it before. Unlike Indy, you aren’t supposed to see them.

Love how this shrine matches up to the mountain!

Then it was off to Everest! Such a wonderfully done attraction! It’s a shame the Yeti has been disco’d…So then, here’s the effects not working during my ride list:

  • Waterfall
  • Steam from train (granted it was hot that day)
  • Bird
  • The Strobe on the Yeti wasn’t even working right! It was a long 5 second flash every 10 seconds, not a strobe. Typically, it looks real enough for me to duck, but this time, I looked at it, and said aloud “Wow, that’s pathetic!”.

Just a walk through Animal Kingdom is so nice. The themeing is above and beyond in that park. It’s amazing. I mean, that sign (as pictured above) is maybe 2 feet tall, and hidden with the bushes. How would anyone see that, or even think to look!?  Below are a few other pieces of theming I noticed while walking about:

It’s the things like this that set Disney above the rest. And I love it! It means there’s always something new to discover each time. For example, I’d been searching for the Dragon ‘rock’ at the entrance to Camp Minnie Mickey for some time now. I this trip, I finally got around to finding it.

Beastly Kingdome!

But, that was the end of DAK for that day. I wanted to see if Star Tours was open. I got to the Studios at about 2:57, so I expected Countdown to Fun to be over by the time I finished bag check.

The one good thing about the parade thing: clear street!

Apparently, bag check is fast. So I got to Indiana Jones before having to stop and wait. Not enjoyable, except for when some party attempted to cross the path right before the Toy Story floats, and Potato Head went and hit them for it.

But, it cleared up, and I headed over to Star Tours, hoping it would be soft opening. Or that they would be looking for people to go test it.

Love the new poster. It's classy and simple.

Door is still shut

A lone defencive gaurd cone protects the exit.

Sadly, its still not open. A few of the CMs (some not stationed at Star Tours) I talked to have mentioned they heard it’s still not ready, so there may be truth to some of those ‘not all the Starspeeders are ready’ rumors.  Upset, I head over to Muppets for some laughs.

The full extended queue was open. What a change of luck, eh!? I had never been in it, and had always wanted to see the movie posters and Muppet Labs jokes. Hysterical! I enjoyed them so much! Once inside, I saw this dust pan thingie with Animal painted on it. It’s not a prop, I pulled it off the wall to check! Hows that for theming?

Soon as I got in, the preshow was over. Aww. I walked over the the Cast Member, and kindly asked to stay behind and watch the preshow. She looked at me like I was crazy, then, in a confused voice, said sure. So for a good 5-10 minutes, I had the pre-show room to myself. I was in there that long, and I still haven’t read every gag. I got the front left corner done at most. The Muppets are amazing.

But once that was done, I headed over to Tower to see it without scaffolding on it for a change. Well, that and to take in the atmosphere.

Yay! It looks so nice!

Wait...what is that?

Well themed walls!

These walls, adorned with era-appropriate posters, cover up what I assume was a bit of cement with faux red car tracks. Repaving time, I guess.

But, I was done at the Studios. I was tired, and I still had to go to Epcot for Via Nappoli that night.

Imagination is so photogenic. Let’s just take a few pictures of it:

 Once dinner was over, it was a bit past 9, and Illuminations was half over. I’ve seen the show dozens of times, but never from back there! Quite an experience. The fireworks, to me, didn’t seem as loud, and the lasers were much more pronounced. Plus, when the show is over, you have to walk back through an empty World Showcase with Tapestry of Nations playing in the background! This is my new favourite spot for RoE!

They’ve been testing some newer pyro for the show, including perimeter fireworks. They were used during that night’s performance, and they looked so cool! You can see them in one of the pictures I took:

But, the day was done. I was tired. The next day was Magic Kingdom.

Really, I just came to ride Space Mountain. I hadn’t ridden it in over a month, so I was missing it! Once to the park, I saw that Mickey had a 25 minute wait. Based on last time’s experience, Mickey had a short wait and big rides had a long one. I was worried Mountain was a long wait.

The banners are back!

Oh, and heres a sign on the other side of the street. You know, in case you missed the banners.

But I got to Space Mountain, and it was only a 20 minute wait walk on! I rode it 3 times. The first two times, TTA’s work lights were on, so that was cool! The ravin; soundtrack is getting softer, sadly. But all the sound effects were working for a change!

Keeping in Tomorrowland, The TTA’s cool colourful LED lights have been replaced with boring, white ones. Not only are they not as cool, but they are much too bright in some areas, making the vehicle reflect in the glass overlooking attractions.

As well, part of Buzz Lightyear’s queue has been gutted and painted purple! The corner that had the giant batteries, you couldn’t see Buzz from it. The batteries removed, the walls all painted purple. We can assume this could be for NextGen, but that could require re-routing queue because standard line is in the center of the room, and Fastpass runs the wall.

The last bit of Tomorrowland news is very irksome: The CoP sign has been replaced! And not with a nice sign, no, but with a clear plexiglas sign! It’s clear, making it almost impossible to see. I passed by it 3 times before noticing! It’s small, it’s clear, and it’s hard to see. This better be temporary.

Way to hide the backsatge areas, Mr. Coke Truck!

Afterwards, I rushed over to Mansion to check out the new ending. Went through the interactive queue, and I still love it! Though I don’t think enough people know it’s there. It’s hidden from sight, and CMs no longer stand there encouraging people to head in. I got in, alone, and hung out in there for a good 20 minutes. Ive now heard all of the rhymes. Some of them were pretty tricky. The Sea Captain is open again. No more leaking. He still sneezes though.

I was disappointed with the Hitchhiking Ghosts. It seemed to go by too quick. Maybe it will look cooler next time I ride?

Hrm, what else…Minnie and Mickey’s houses are for sale as toys. Because when attractions are torn down, they should make toys out of them. So where’s my Horizons toys?!

Yes, they even had his car to match.

Hope you enjoyed this long photo report adventure thing. If you read through the whole thing, thank you! If you didn’t, well you missed out. Spread the word about my Blog! Not only does it prevent more people from missing out, but it makes me want to keep on writing!

See ya next week!