Archive for the ‘Magic 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!

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A Holiday Greeting   Leave a comment

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, Happy Holidays!  Hope all your holiday dreams came true!

XMAS_Greet

Posted December 25, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Art

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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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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!

WDW Report: EPCOT30 Weekend   1 comment

Hey there everyone! I’m back from an exciting trip to WDW for Epcot’s 30th Anniversary  While I was there, I also stopped at Magic Kingdom and Studios for some news. So, let’s jump right in:

New Sign! Yay!
I’ve  been very eager for this sign. I’m very happy to see it.

I was there for Big Top Souvenir’s opening day, too!
Take a tour through the new shop with me!

The rear entrance has posters featuring Lambert the sheepish Lion, the Seal (from Mickey and the Seal), Humphrey Bear, and Hyacinth Hippo.

Two new food carts outside serve circus-like foods such as Hot Dogs and Pretzels. Yum!

The Yellow one is number 34. I don’t know for certain what this is a reference to. While the other carts seem to be the Disney Parks’ opening years, this one isn’t. The only things I think it could be for would be 1) Donald’s debut year or 2) the year Mickey got an elephant or 3) the year the sequel to The Three Little Pigs debuted.

If you don’t know what this one is a reference is to….

Pete’s Silly Sideshow isn’t open yet, but it looks really cool!

Finally, the Yellow tent.

The Yellow Tent is home to Barnstormer and Dumbo fastpass distribution and a small seating area.

Rust!? But it just opened this morning!
Oh, wait, it isn’t real. Great theming!

A look at Mermaid’s grassy knolls. Quite impressive!

Second floor of Village Haus is under tarps. This seating area has been roped off since Dumbo closed. Could this be the official end to 2nd floor seating!?

Castle Walls are beautiful!

Close-up of the first drop ride track for Mine Train.

Work on the old Skyway plot. Not much new.

Shrunken Ned’s mini RC boats was removed a few weeks ago. Rumors suggest this may become a new route for an expanded Jungle Cruise.

In a move of redundancy, the Express Monorail has a new wait time sign. I don’t get it. It’s called Express!

AT STUDIOS:

The Tales-of-Captain-Jack-Sparrow-not-the-song-experience thing at Studios is being painted to look like the map to the Fountain of Youth.

I didn’t know they grew pretzels! Neat! I want a pretzel bush or tree or whatever it is they grow on plant!
Also, Osbourne Lights.

AND NOW, EPCOT30:
(Disclaimer: I didn’t get chance to go to any events. So I have no pictures from them. Sorry)

Here’s a look at the events being offered that day. They sounded really cool, and got nothing but positive feedback.

At Test Track, we can see them working on the attraction’s new entrance.

Looks like it will curve outward. Interesting.

I think this may be the hole my parents said they saw last trip. The ramp doesn’t enter/exit the building right there, so I have no idea what this could be.

The Cool Wash has been painted to reflect the new color scheme and car desigm.

It’s so cool that it steam comes off it!

I love how the new TesTrack logo will be used on the car.

Here are the fancy commemorative maps and buttons they gave out.

The maps included a fold-out with some of the old school EPCOT maps.

I couldn’t pass up on the special commemorative Ear Hats they were selling!

I thought it would be appropriate to end this report with a look at the EPCOT Center logo Marty Sklar so loves. Happy 30th Epcot!

Don’t forget you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Posted October 2, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in News

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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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