Archive for June, 2006

Turf Club Bar & Grill to open July 2nd

by on June 28, 2006

After a period of complaints from DVC members that Disney was pretending that Saratoga Springs Resort was a Deluxe resort because it did not have a table service restaurant, the answer to their criticism is going to open on July 2nd.

The Turf Club Bar and Grill will replace the Turf Club Lounge and provide a table servie restaurant for the Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. The menu will include salmon, steaks, and burgers. The seating is supposed to provide a wonderful view of Downtown Disney and of Disney’s Lake Beuna Vista golf course. Reservations should be available within the coming days.

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Update: Bridge gets wider at Epcot

by on June 28, 2006

The bridge leading from Innoventions in the Land pavilion at Epcot is being made wider.

A construction wall covers half of the bridge, and the surrounding ponds are drained. The increased width should help crowd flows toward the busy pavilion which houses Soarin’ and may also provide a new stroller parking area.

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Contemporary Paint Job

by on June 28, 2006

Paint crews continue their work on main Tower at the Contemporary Resort, and a hint of the new color scheme shows up in South Garden Wing.

The blue-green railings are becoming a dark brown, while the painters above repaint each of the doors to be tan over the grey. Metalwork on the large atrium windows has been completed with a matching dark brown color.

The canopy over the entrance to the South Garden Wing has been recovered in a flashy new blue and tan striped motif. This new item matches the other new installations in the tower, and might suggest further work to be done to the remainder of the building.

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Beware the rains at Test Track

by on June 28, 2006

Back when life was simple, Epcot only had one ride that had a reason for Fastpass – Test Track.

In the more complex modern day, a tour of Epcot requires comfortable walking shoes, stamina, and a good plan. The early morning zig-zag from Soarin’ to Test Track often leaves folks with less than desirable Fastpass return times in the mid-afternoon. This is peak time for summer storms though, and those storms will close Test Track temporarily.

The image above shows the mess of a queue that occurs when the ride reopens after one these closures.

Knowledge is half the battle though, and we’re here to help. First, when the rain subsides, try to stay within the general area of the attraction. You can hear if Test Track is running from a good distance. If you have a Fastpass, your ticket will be honored any time after your window when the ride is operating, you do not need to run to the crush of delayed Fastpassers. The crowd will be moved through and the lines will dissipate, often long before the evening crush for Illuminations.

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A look inside the Fountain View

by on June 28, 2006

The Fountain View Epresso and Bakery, overlooking Epcot’s Fountain of Nations, operates on limitted hours from park opening until 1pm (which is “coincidentally” when crowds begin to shift from Future World to World Showcase.)

As a quick stop to grab a pastry or light breakfast items (savory breakfast pockets and croissant sandwiches flesh out the otherwise pastry-exclusive menu), the Fountain View provides a coffee-shop atmosphere and a retreat from the crowds within Epcot’s central walkways. Seating is provided at tables and a long circular bar surrounding the kitchen and prep areas. The full original Innoventions music loop plays at this location.

An onstage kitchen is used to make fresh pastries, with most items covered on the Disney Dining Plan as a snack feature, and prices per item typically around $5 – not an excellent value, but the food is high quality.

We give the Fountain View Espresso and Bakery a C+ rating for its high priced, but beautiful desserts. Lines are short after opening, but begin to grow from 10am to 11am, peaking just before lunchtime.

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July 4th Savings Possible for AP and FL-res

by on June 25, 2006

Typically, when a discount code is announced for Disney Resorts they exclude bookings on the date of a busy holiday. This year, however, we’ve discovered that after initially being blocked-out, the 4th of July has been added into availability for the current discount promotions for Annual Passholders and Florida Residents.

The discount covers select Epcot-area Deluxe resorts, as well as room at Old Key West and Saratoga Springs resorts. If you’re planning a 4th of July holiday, they’re worth considering.

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Captain Jack shows at Magic Kingdom

by on June 23, 2006

Incase anyone wants to learn to be a pirate, a daily show in Adventureland near Pirates of the Caribbean now has Captain Jack Sparrow himself teaching luckey guests how to be a pirate!

Running through the end of 2006, the daily schedule:

11:00AM,
11:50AM,
12:40PM,
1:30PM,
3:30PM,
4:20PM,
and 5:10PM.

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Seas shows some modesty

by on June 20, 2006

In order to keep prying eyes away from their work-in-progress, the design team has errected a massive blue tarp wall at the Living Seas. The tarp does a good job of obscuring the work on the massive mural at the entrance of the pavilion discussed in other updates below.

Large blue tarps cannot keep all work out of sight, particularly from the high vantage point of the monorail. The image below shows workers doing other exterior refurbishment on the entrance’s faux-ocean fountain.

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Pirates new Mast visibile

by on June 20, 2006

Reflecting the conceptual artwork shown during press events, the new ship mast which will function as an entrance sign at Pirates of the Caribbean is peaking out from behind construction walls.

The ride will reopen from refurbishment in July with new props and effects to tie the ride into the movie franchise.

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Wait times increasing at Mission: SPACE

by on June 20, 2006

During the past year the line for Epcot’s Mission: SPACE had begun to lag while other Future World attractions saw steady increases. Recently, Disney introduced a “less intense” version of the attraction to reach a broader audience with their investment, and it seems to be working.

The photo below shows the full interior queue of the attraction, a sight rarely seen prior to the modification.

There are now actually two seperate queues in addition to the Fastpass queue for Mission: SPACE. The Green queue is usually shorter and is the new “less intense” version of the attraction which eliminated the high g-forces and spinning. The Orange queue, typically twice as long as Green, is for the full-force original version of the attraction.

Within the main interior queue, there is approximately 30 minutes worth of line in three switchbacks for each side (Green or Orange). The Orange line can also extend to include the exterior queue. Fastpass bypasses both lines for a short wait in the final boarding area for your choice of intensity.

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