Archive for the ‘Fantasyland Expansion’ 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!

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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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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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Quick Hit: Dumbo’s New Queue   Leave a comment

Pictures of what lies within the yellow tents of Dumbo at Storybook Circus were revealed yesterday. The ‘queueless’ queue- now called a “Queue-Lounge”- which we were promised back in 2009 is…a playground. Yes, a dream land for kids to run around to their little baboon hearts content.

It’s incredibly good looking, that’s for sure! I quite like all of the refrences to the circus scene from the film, and REALLY like Dumbo flying above it all.
But….I don’t like it. Here’s why:

  • First off, it’s a huge play area (much like one you’d find in McDonalds, or Mission:Space). While I have no issue with a playground (they are a great idea for an interactive queue), this one irks me. The entire building contains this play pin. This is unlike the other interactive queues’ -such as Pooh- play areas. Pooh’s, for example, has a number of spaced out play areas, set off to the side.
  • Second, it’s indoors. I seriously appreciate an air conditioned/indoor queue. But here’s the thing: Sound is contained within the building. Every screaming kid in there will be amplified. It’s going to be miserable.
  • Third, I foresee some issues in kids wanting to remain playing and not wish to ride any longer. Parents may have trouble collecting their kids to go ride! The crowd flow will be most interesting to see. I’m sure Disney has a plan to prevent anything from going wrong though.

The new queue is a good idea, it just isn’t executed as well as I hoped. Playgrounds are a fine way to make an interactive queue, just not like this. This new queue will have nothing for parents, or those without kids, or even kids too big to play in the jungle gym to do. They seem to think that kids of all ages will want to join in the fun. I don’t know how, seeing as once you’re a certain size, you can’t play in a jungle gym like that.
Now. I understand that it’s Fantasyland, and that this is a children’s ride. But they shouldn’t be catering to just the kids. I know I sound like a cynical teenager, but it’s true. Everyone goes to these parks, and not all of them will particularly enjoy having to go in there. The older kid with the little brother will become rather irritated with being too big to play. The married couple on their honeymoon may find this queue to be too hectic. The high school group on a field trip is going to either hurt themselves in the play pin shouting “YOLO!”, or not want to go near that thing.
To those who can tolerate it, good for you! Go on in and enjoy.

Sure, Magic Kingdom lost two playgrounds in the expansion (still has one under Splash), but did they need to re-instate one via a queue?  And think about this: Would you go over, without your kids, to the playgrounds sit in it for awhile, kids screaming all over, for fun? No, that would be silly.

Personally, I do not see myself going in there more than once (but hey, you never know. It could be quieter than I expect). While yes, this is a serious improvement over the old queue, I just cannot fully justify it. The old queue may have been a rusty 2 foot wide switchback, this is a noisy play place. It’s incredibly disenchanting. I may never wish to ride Dumbo again if I have to wait in there. They made the queue look pretty, and moved it indoors, but it’s looking like a lateral move.

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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!

Epcot

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!

Rawr

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 for February 18-19   2 comments

A trip of fabulous pictures, Few Rides, New Discoveries, and Disappointment. 

Hello everyone! I’m back from my trip down to the world. Let’s explain the sub-title this week:
Took tons of beautiful pictures (thinking about starting a tumblr for them), I only rode 6 attractions (2 of which were shows), found some great new spots to hang out in and watch fireworks from, and I was let down with Habit Heroes (as you read in yesterday’s post) and ‘Medium’ mode Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.

Let’s get started at Epcot:

Loots like Fastpass will be added to SSE.

This addition is stupider than the attraction's script.

haha, these tombstones have been like this for probably around a year.

"Pardon this empty pavilion. Don't worry, it has purpose!"

Chiquita signage is up at Living with the Land

Like I said, Habit Heroes is.......odd

Some tarps up on the rear of the American Adventure's stage.

But, now it’s time for the Magic Kingdom!

Big Thunder refurb. Hoping they do a good job.

Storybook Circus’ train station looks amazing!

Speaking of Storybook Circus, here's a look at it

They've removed all the scaffolding. Looks really....bright.

Both spinners are in place and testing

Some of the towers of Prince Eric's castle have been topped.

I really love the amount of detail in them. They aren't just flat.

A crane has moved precariously close to the wall to work on the Mine Train.

Crack in the fence near Belle! Look! You can see rockwork, dirt, and that crane (well, you can't see the crane, but I could)

The first bit of the Castle Wall is out! It looks great.

The skyway is gone. Gone, gone, gone. That's a huge plot of land, too....What a waste, using it on restrooms.

Here's where the path will let out. Now walled off.

A new popcorn cart in Tomorrowland. Seriously clashes with the rest of the land, in design and in colour.

I enjoyed Wishes! from the Swiss Family Treehouse. Quite an experience.

Well, that’s all for this report. Quick and to the point. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and to subscribe to the blog. See ya!

Posted February 20, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in News, Parks

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