Archive for the ‘Test Track’ Tag

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.

IMG_3491

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!

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Posted January 13, 2013 by Imagineer2017 in News, Parks

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Epcot Photo Update and Test Track- December 8th   2 comments

Welcome everyone! I was fortunate enough to visit Epcot on Saturday to experience the newly refurbished Test Track. But before we jump into the new attraction, let’s start with some news from around the park:

With all the popularity of the EPCOT Center opening day ticket art being used as a MnG backdrop, a new one has been installed at the front of the park!

Remember the new Epcot food kiosk we all disliked? Must’ve been there for Limited Time Magic, because it’s behind walls now.

The waterfall feature on The Land’s marquee is working again!

It’s still a little buggy. One side is spewing more water than the other. Nevertheless, I’m glad to have it back! Seems like they’re trying to clean up the entire outside of the pavilion.

Transplanting in progress. Really! Never seen this before.

The rare and exotic Santa Cactus! I love how they decorate the entire greenhouse for Christmas! Garland on the fish tanks, ornaments on the cacti, etc. It’s fun!

Alright, now it’s Test Track time.
**Heads-up: There are no on-ride photos in this report, just the queue and post show. If you don’t want to see the queue or anything, skip to the end. Also, I will be posting my thoughts on the new attraction at DisneyDose (as I write for them as well now!). This is just a news report***

We arrived at the park a little after 9. Test Track didn’t open with the park, causing the line to stretch all the way to MouseGear.

About 40 minutes later, the attraction opened. Lines moved very fast after that.

The new marquee is very large, and very pretty!

The photo-op/learn how to transfer car has been moved off to the side. Previously, this car was hidden behind a wall behind preshow room 1. Glad to see it in a prominent location out front.

The new entrance is wonderful, clean, and sleek. I think the windows (although no longer used to light the queue) look great with all the blue around them.

Just think: that’s where the original entrance used to be.

One of the many dozen World of Motion logos scattered throughout the attraction. This one is on the wait time signage.

Speaking of wait time signage, the digital screens are not yet active.

Instead, wait times are posted on this board.

Test Track has Fastpass+ written on it’s signage, but the ‘+’ isn’t uncovered yet.

Let’s go inside now:

A Chevy Miray concept vehicle welcomes guests as they enter

Power, Capability, Responsiveness, Efficiency models ( I quite like the Efficiency vehicle)

It’s the Chevy ENV I reported on last time!

An expanded view of the ENV

This is no longer a warehouse, it’s a design studio. This wall is covered in what goes into designing a car. It even features two 3D screens!

Chevy bowties are everywhere. Everywhere. Like the World of Motion logos. I’ve often discussed the proper amount of attention a sponsor should draw to itself. There is a limit, and there is a minimum. I don’t think any other pavilion features it’s sponsor as prominently as the new Test Track does. The amount of bowties, banners/signs, and references to their company are everywhere. Yet, they are incorporated very neatly; they don’t look forced. That, in my opinion, is okay.

This room functions as a pre-show of sorts. The Big Blue Blob (which is apparently a Miray. Guess I over-analysed it last time) from the marquee is used as an extra screen onto which projection mapped images are projected. Chevrolet designers discuss the design process, and inspire viewers to design! This little show really did inspire me. That’s the mark of a true Epcot attraction.

The Design Studios are huge! This is just one of them as seen from the Fastpass/Single Rider lines.

Here’s the car my brother and I designed. The design process is a lot of fun!

That’s the extent of the pictures I took. The next room is rather large and bland. The following room leads to the new loading area. It’s weird walking into the new load area without having to dodge opening doors! It’s also very odd to walk past a blank wall where those doors once were. But that’s how the whole queue and post-show is: disorienting and weird. It’s not the same queue. I’m not even sure it’s the same building!

Then and Now

Read my full review and thoughts on the attraction here!

That about does it. Thanks for joining us, and make sure to follow me on twitter for more rambling and fun!

Posted December 10, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, News

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WDW Trip Report: November 24-25   2 comments

A POST TURKEY DAY ADVENTURE TO NEW FANTASYLAND AND TEST TRACK

Say, what’s that Castle up there?

Mysterious stairs to nowhere!

Looks like The Beast is going to let me in!

Very chatty suits of armor.
I loved when whenever one would sneeze and the others would all say ‘bless you’

Sign reminding you not to let your kids order wine. The Beast doesn’t like drunk kiddies.

So ornate! So pretty! So much snow!

Shiny!

So ornate! So eerie! So dark!
(my room of choice for lunch)

So ornate! So….eh. The Rose Gallery is bland. The Music Box is pretty though!

As are the rose mosaic floors

The meal was phenomenal! Well worth that 20 minute wait in line. I ordered the Croque Monsieur (grilled ham and cheese sandwich). Crispy, warm, cheesy!  Best sandwich I’ve had on property. And that’s exactly what the Magic Kingdom needed: really good quick service food.
And for as long as the lines were, there were still dozens of available tables. Food came quickly; about 2-3 minutes after I had sat down. Speak of which, food brought to the table? Classy. I think this is how all quick services should be.

WATER! I love the water in this land! As well as the height. The castle bridge is very high up! It’s crazy.

No one gets a line like Gaston!
And even though he had a large queue, he decided to move into the shade. Because he can. He’s Gaston.

Mermaid! The Castle looks a thousand times better in the day than it does at night. Deep Blue just does not work on the facade. Not with that rock work.

I cannot stress WATER enough. It’s so great. And helps keep the queue cool!

Mine Train is coming along. Here, you can see the rock work beginning to take shape.

I’m curious to see what that building will be themed to- Mermaid or Snow White?

Walkway into Circus is open. A large temporary gate is in place to allow construction vehicle an entrance into Mine Train.

Over in Circus, a new railroad bumper has been added over the fake rails. Because a fence wasn’t enough to stop a train from falling off the edge.

Epcot:

New food kiosk isn’t as intrusive or large as I thought. But it’s still a poor addition. #CommuniCutter

Test Track isn’t yet open, but everything is in place. Cast Members have been previewing, WDI has been tweaking, and Reedy Creek is set to make their safety check walk through on Monday (Nov. 26). Once the safety checks are complete, and WDI is done, Soft Openings can begin.

Even during the day it sparkles!

Up close. I think that the Blue Blob is supposed to look like a car, a plane, a boat, a hovercraft, etc. Basically, it’s meant to be whatever kind of transportation you want! Just like how you can make your car anything you want.

World of Motion logo on the wait time signage!
Here’s the normal queue…

…and the Single Rider/Fastpass side. Take a look at that typeface; it’s World Bold (old school Epcot font)!

Here’s a little sneak inside the queue! The white and black thing looks like it may be the EVN, a 2-passenger Chevy concept vehicle. Epcyclopedia first suggested that we may wee the ENV make an appearance in the new queue, and it appears he was right!

My impressions: it’s sleek. Super sleek. The new color scheme is wonderful on that building; it’s the exact colors that it needed. The new music sounds cool, but I’d like to hear it in context of the queue. The Blue Blob is huge. Up close, I can start to see it’s resemblance of a car. Oh, and it’s extremely shiny. I was standing behind the tree in World Showcase Promenade and I could still see it shining.  It will blind you. The giant T which I claimed was tacky looks very good. You don’t really see it until you pass the monorail beam, so it’s well hidden. But when you do see it, it blends right in. After having seen the concept art of the queue, it appears that this T-shape is used as an archway all over the queue, so the one outside works right in with that.

ALSO:

Let’s make one quick stop at the Contemporary, where the giant Mickey Wreath awaits hanging. It’s big!

I’ll do a whole ‘nother report just on the pretty decoration next time around. Until then, see ya!

Posted November 26, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, News

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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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WDW Trip Report: January 21 and 22   Leave a comment

4 Parks in 2 Days. Again.

I’m back from my first trip of the year, my 50th trip since moving to Florida in 2007 (funnily enough, this is also my 50th post!)! What better way to start the year than by visiting all of the parks?
This week, we’ll look at the going-ons in Animal Kingdom, swing by Epcot and Studios, and take a looksie at Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at the Magic Kingdom. Got that breakfast item and beverage ready? No? Great, because here we go!

Let’s start at  DAK:

It's Tough to be a Bug has an amazing queue. They should 1) open the whole thing and 2) make it just a walkway you can explore.

This rockwork in the Oasis has been removed. There's usually an archway.

The entire arch was removed.

I’ve become rather irritated with DINOSAUR in recent months. The first set of doors (the ones leading into the toaster time vortex thingie) are always open. That wouldn’t make me mad, except one small issue: You can plainly see the rover in front of you bobbing along. They aren’t separated far enough apart for you to roll up without seeing anything.
Worse yet, you can see the rover ahead of you as it turns around the pterodactyl roundabout (right as you’re pulling up on the sauropod).
It’s cool looking at an EMV, but not in the ride itself.  Not in that context. You’re supposed to be the only ones on this special mission. Having another rover rocking around 10 feet away from you breaks the storyline. It’s been like this for a few months, ever since they refurbed the 2nd load station. This issue needs to be addressed.

But, let’s now go to Epcot:

Some walls up at the Seas. I hope it's because some of those stupid Nemo fish fell off. EDIT: It appears that they're adding Fastpass to The Seas while Test Track is down.

I think they got dirtier since last time....blech.

Speaking of blech, this seriously needs some cleaning too.

Expect a lot of Test Track photos over the next few months as I say my good byes to this incarnation of it.

New cars are just wraps; this little bit already came off. Other than that, this car was great! Looked, sounded, and felt new.

All of the cars in the showroom are Chevys. The curtained turntable displays are now all open and static (which I like. Made it feel more open), and contain Chevys. Sign of things to come.

Over at Innoventions, the paper-making station has closed....

....as well as all of the House of Innoventions. The House is getting an update.

And across from those walls lie more walls! Fortunately, it looks as though Habit Heroes is ready to go any day now.

All the signs are up and lit.

New signs are new.

And in monorail news…

I noticed that Monorail Peach doesn't use grey 'fins' on it's car windows like the other trains. Instead, it uses black. The front cars have grey fins, though.

Let’s make a quick stop at Studios next

Osborne stuff still up

Mainly the large pieces

Wasn’t that fun? Let’s jump over to the Magic Kingdom!

Lots of tarps on Main Street, and a crane to remove the Dreamlights

Tarps galore!

Walls up at Pan, preparing for the queue refurb

Storybook Circus work is continuing on into the night to get it done in time.

Tents look like a Mini-Space Mountain when lit like this!

Don’t have any pictures, but the new walkway to Storybook Circus looks really cool!

One of my new favourite pictures.

Now, we’ll talk about Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (SotMK).

I was informed that it was testing, and got myself over to try it out. Upon arriving, I headed over to the Firestation to begin my quest.

The briefing is kinda hectic. Merlin just pops up, without any explanation to the portals, and tells you to attack him. Then you’re off. My first quest was in the newly-opened Main Street section. The villain (for all of us playing this land) was Cruella De Ville.

Travis (@Exprcoofto) dueling Cruella!

A few of these cameras are very well hidden, namely the ones inside the Cinema on Main Street. Others are kinda….sticking out and painful to look at.
The portals, on the other hand, are fantastically hidden. They blend in, they’re made of props. But some blend in too well. A few are hard to see because there are other props in the way or the sun shines through the window.
Much like Midship Detective Agency, there’s a symbol on the ground marking each location and telling you where to stand. Main Street’s are still stickers, but other lands have them embedded in the ground.  They aren’t too obvious unless you’re looking for them.

Best refrences in this one: Mine Train Through Natures Wonderland, Constonga Wagons, Diamond Horseshoe... Anyhow, this one is the one that broke down. It's supposed to have the face of a wanted criminal on it.

Because the game is still in testing phase, we did find a broken window. They fix it, only to have it crash and have to re-boot after I played it. I know this is testing for bugs like this, but I’m afraid that this may become a problem in the future. They are, after all, just computers (as made evident by the blue screen of death I got after playing), and could crash if overloaded. If that happens, you’re stuck. You can’t go to another window, and a crowd forms.

Map

Map

People are already collecting and trading cards. Based on the numbers on the cards, it''s estimated that there are 3 sets of 70 cards.

So in the end, playing the game was fun, I guess. Each land only has 4 or so portals. That’s not an issue, but you have 5 spell cards to choose from, and 2 portals don’t make you use the attack side. You’re kinda just watching what’s going on, and then using the non-attack side of your card most times.
In addition to that, it’s very impersonal. After playing Midship, this was lame. Midship has you move your card around to activate objects while SotMK just has you hold a card.  That’s lame.
I’m sure that once they add ‘levels’ (which they said that they will), it’ll have more of a challenge to it. But for now, it’s lacking.
There is, though, a re-playabliaty factor. Liberty Square has both a Princess and the Frog themed quest, and a Pocahontas themed quest. I’d have to assume that each land may have multiple villains to duel.

That about does it. Hope you enjoyed this walk in the parks and editorial of a post. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, and to subscribe to the blog. Thanks for joining me, and see you soon!
 

 

Posted January 23, 2012 by Imagineer2017 in News, Parks

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WDW Report: October 15-16   Leave a comment

Fantasyland,Future World Pavilions aplenty, Florida skies? That’s this month’s report!

Ready for another fun-filled WDW report? So am I! So let’s dive right in!

Looks like Main Street's got some tarps again.

Astro Orbitor is open, but there is no planet motion due to last week's fire.

Walls up in Tomorrowland

TTA leg bases are being touched up.

Enchated Grove is still behind tarps.

New walls up in Fantasyland. They recently removed a planter from here (it was the last to leave, in fact), so I've no idea what this is.

This tower way up here is under tarps.

Workers are working on Dumbo. The tent has been enclosed.

The trees previously blocking much of our view into the Expansion have been removed.The reason for this probably has a lot to do with the number of trucks that were driving close to the walls. Sounded and smelled like trucks, plus, you could even see them. This probably has to do with them beginning work on the pedestrian areas for the expansion. Trucks can’t drive on that.

Anyway, Without the trees, you really get to look at how vast this expansion is. Mermaid looks amazing, B&tB is immense.  I’m really excited.

Panoramic

Swiss Family Treehouse is covered entirely by tarps.

EPCOT

Now let's go to Epcot, where SSE is very dirty.

New tip board is new. Twitter intergration is no more (They must have downgraded to iOS4)

I’m not going to talk about Food and Wine. Everyone else is covering it, and I only had 2 dishes (Fried Greek Cheese, Baklava).

I'm now addicted to this stuff. I'm not sure why....

I finally got to ride in the new car! This is the 2nd new car. I didn't see the first one out.

It sounds and rides great! Just one small problem with it….

The screen is already broken.

The Seas tank looks okay.

Saltwater takes a toll on these things.

In The Land, a Haloween display fills this usualy dead space. Nice addition!

At Imagination, the Simon lights (which didn't work this time!) now have instructions next to them, since most people had no clue what they were.

Stepping tones has removed the weird baby pictures, and replaced them with generic clip art instruments.

New vinyl display features Dreamfinder and Figment....

Speaking of Imagination, I counted at least 5 glass tiles that were 100% brown from dirt. PLEASE clean them soon.

Canada now has themed tarps, and the laser covered during the day.

Before we leave Epcot, I also want to mention that:
1- I saw Monorail Peach. Looks like a faded gold colour. Weird. Didn’t ride, but I hear it runs smoothly.
2- Noticed that the Epcot parking tram may have switched load/unload direction. Guests were loading on the driver’s side. If I recall, they used to board the passenger side.

STUDIOS

Look who's moved in front of the Studios: McQueen and Mater from Flower and Garden.

All of the Narnia thing references have been removed.

Oops, forgot some.

Florida sunsets are remarkable.

Carthay Circle!

That concludes this months report! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.
I’d also like to apologize for my lacking of posts. School has put time constraints on me. I’m trying my best!

Two, Five, And a New Car   Leave a comment

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Alex! You came out with a post yesterday. You’re going bi-weekly or daily now!? What gives, man?” Well, I’ll tell you what gives (turn on music now):

Last night, pictures of newly recycled and repaired Test Track vehicles in use appeared on the internet.

These ‘new’ vehicles remove all testing logos, designs, numbers, stickers, everything. Now, they are solid coloured, and shiny. Not like, new shiny, but like reflective shiny. The front bumper is now covered in the distinctive Chevy grille design, and has a Chevy logo on it.

Personally, I’m not very fond of it. The shiny gleam of the cars is nice, but the grille just looks dumb. These cars weren’t built with grilles in mind, and as such they should not have them. I’ll really miss the old cars. A lot. So classy and stylish. Maybe over time (or in person) they’ll look better, but right now it’s odd.

(photos via @shawnathon33 on Twitter)

But, let’s get to the main reason I feel it necessary to blog this:

A few weeks ago, it was rumoured that Test Track would be shut down this coming January to undergo some serious changes. These changes were to include:

  • A new theme that would focus on designing vehicles and not testing them (which would mean the cars would lose their testing looks)
  • New cars (which I scoffed at. Apparently, I was wrong)

Well. We just got ‘new’ cars. These new cars don’t have the ‘testing’ look to them. Now why would they spend this much on refurbing cars and giving them a fresh look that disrupts the theme? For fun? No way.

Now, if these rumours are true, there will be much rejoicing from the Epcot side of the fan community (then they will quickly go back to complaining JII and WS needs help). I’ll be excited to see a re-vamped Test Track, that’s for sure. And while I won’t pine for the original, I will certainly miss it. It has been an Epcot staple attraction for years. IMO, it brought Epcot to the place it is today.

So, we can only assume that these rumours are absolutely true, and that we need to keep a close eye on Test Track in the coming months. We’ll see you out there on that test track.

Posted August 30, 2011 by Imagineer2017 in Attractions, News

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