Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re taking a peek at Villains Unleashed at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios, taking a long overdue trip to Epcot, and ending with a look at the cutest shopping trend to hit Downtown Disney. Now let’s get started with these amazing photos courtesy of my fellow blogger, Scott Wurzel. Why aren’t they my photos you ask? Well, I skipped out on this one. Even up until the day of the event I was still itching to buy a ticket. It just isn’t the kind of thing I miss! But after not even being able to get into the park for the Villains night last year, I had serious doubts if the Studios could handle the event. Reviews have been mixed online, but I’m glad I trusted my gut. I don’t think this would have been much fun with the outrageous lines and short supply of event items. Did anyone head to the park for this event? What did you think?
Below are another couple photos from Scott. The Guardians of the Galaxy dance party seemed like one of the more popular entertainment offerings. Of course, it might have just been Star-Lord packing in the ladies! Pictured to the right is more my idea of fun. I am sad I missed a Maleficent themed snack, but I’m sure it was very similar to the other event cupcakes offered at Hollywood Studios.
Keep an eye out for Derek’s Saturday Six for more Villains Unleashed fun, because we’re heading off to Epcot! I realized that we haven’t visited Epcot since mid-July, and that is a crime! Since it’s a slow news week, I thought we’d make up for all that lost time with a massive Epcot feature. First, the obligatory Spaceship Earth photo. When I arrived at 9:30am on a Sunday morning, the wait was only 5 minutes, a good sign of the slower crowds we’ve predicted.
Spaceship Earth is one of those rides where I always post photos of the exterior but never show off the inside. As much as I miss older versions of this ride, I do still enjoy it as it exists today. Of course, maybe it’s telling that all my favorite scenes are ones that have carried over from the past. The photo on the below left makes me think of World of Motion. Anyone remember that one??
I finally caught a photo of the sleepy monk! It’s so dark in there that it’s almost impossible to get a decent shot! I keep hoping the ride will stop when I’m in front of him. Does anyone else play Spaceship Earth roulette? Before we ride we always take bets on which scene the ride will stop in since, for some reason, that ride stops all the time! Of course, it’s never for more than a few seconds. What’s your favorite scene in Spaceship Earth?
Next, I paid a visit to Nemo and his friends. Here is my favorite part of the ride:
I don’t know that I’ve taken you to The Seas with Nemo & Friends before. The reason for that is I can lose hours hanging out in here! It’s always amazing to me that inside this already incredible theme park there’s an enormous aquarium! Looking into one of the tanks, you can see a not so hidden Goofy.
I think I took 100 pictures while enjoying my time under the sea. I saw dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, and tons of fish. I think the star of this weekend was the manatee, though. If you haven’t been, you can view them underwater (left) and above water (right). I really wanted to get a good “above water” shot to share, but every time this guy surfaced he looked like he was blowing his nose! After 20 minutes I decided he must want that shared with the world. So where else but Best Week Ever would you get to see that?
Sunday morning also seems to be a maintenance day in the tanks. I saw several scuba divers in that tank cleaning and feeding animals. My favorite was the video below. I thought at first that she was feeding the fish and the manta ray was getting in the way, but the opposite was true. She’s attempting to feed the manta ray while getting mobbed by fish.
Next I stopped over by The Land because I had a FastPass+ for Soarin’. On my way I decided to switch it for Living with the Land since photos aren’t allowed on Soarin’. It wouldn’t be any fun to ride if I couldn’t take you! When I arrived the wait was only 5 minutes, and even the cast member told me I should use the FastPass+ for something else. I checked if I could switch back, but Soarin’ was unavailable and posting a 45 minute wait. The lesson here is that Living with the Land doesn’t seem to need FastPass+.
I actually got the very front row on Living with the Land and took HD video to share, but I’m having some trouble adding it to YouTube. Keep an eye out for that video in a future update. How about a little shopping next? I showed a few photos of Halloween merchandise last week, but now it has arrived everywhere. Here is a look at the display in Mouse Gear. They don’t seem to have quite as much as Magic Kingdom this year.
I also found a little bit of Duffy news in Mouse Gear! (I know he isn’t popular, but I love him!) On the left is a new Donald Duck costume that retails for $32. I think it would be really cute without the beak. On the far right is a new Duffy backpack that I haven’t seen anywhere before. The zipper compartment is on his tummy. If I didn’t know that I’d have my camera bag with me, I’d get this guy for my upcoming trip to Tokyo!
One last shopping update from Mouse Gear: has anyone seen this Kristoff doll before? I don’t recall ever seeing them but they are really cute! I can’t wait to see all the little girls dressed like Anna toting one of these around!
And now for a couple updates from around the World Showcase. As I predicted a while back, the new phones for Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure are taking a beating. The old phones were much more sturdy. In an effort to protect the phones, they’re now being handed out in these fashionable pouches pictured left. It’s huge! Who wants to carry that mess around? On the right you’ll see the new Duffy merchandise cart that sits just across from his meet and greet. While he’s been evicted from the store, at least you don’t have to go all the way to Mouse Gear if you’d like to pick one up.
I stopped in Mexico for the below shot. When I shared video several weeks ago, it was with a standard camera, and I wanted to get a better quality image for you. Look at the colors and detail! I know this isn’t something most people will notice, but I’m completely impressed with this new projection.
My last stop in Epcot was Maelstrom. With rumors flying about its closure, I thought I’d better document this ride just in case. I arrived just at they were opening and walked right on for my first ride.
This isn’t a ride that I go out of my way to see, and I think I’d forgotten how weird it is. If you’ve never ridden, I can sum it up with: vikings, trolls, polar bears, more trolls, and oil rigs. Confused yet? My first ride through I snapped some photos with the intention of taking video on my next ride.
The joke was on me, though. On my second ride I was seated in the front row. I noticed the seat was very wet on the sides of the bench and thought it was lucky that I was riding my myself. Just before the gates closed a man jumped in and sat with me. The cast member tried to call him back, but he didn’t speak English. I decided to pack up my camera just in case. It ended up being a very good idea because I got SOAKED at the drop. I didn’t know you could even get that wet on Maelstrom! Below is the view just before the drop that got me!
I decided to treat myself to a snack since it was going to take me a while to dry out. Inside Kringla Bakeri og Kafe I noticed a few new Frozen treats and a little display inside the case. (You may have to click on the photos below for a larger view. They were both hard to see). The cast members seemed really enthusiastic about Frozen. They seemed genuine, and I’d like to think they’re as excited about possible changes as I am.
With a ham and apple sandwich in hand, I set out to find a dry spot. I was just settling in when a squirrel flopped in kamikaze style. I don’t know if he fell or wanted some of my sandwich, but he looked absolutely stunned! Of course, I took a photo first then debated sharing with him. I know it isn’t a good idea to feed the animals, but he was so cute! I didn’t have to decide as he scuttled away without too much begging.
Leaving Epcot, I have one last bit of news for you. I keep forgetting to include this, but Tsum Tsums have arrived at Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney. If you don’t know what Tsum Tsums are, then turn away now! They’re the stars of a crazy addicting game and the cutest Disney toys I’ve seen in a while. I picked up my first ones about three weeks ago. At the time the display was full of the smaller toys. However, this weekend they were down to just the medium and large size.
That’s everything for this week. Now let’s see what you can expect if you’re visiting next week.
Crowd Calendar: Enjoy these lighter crowds! The next few weeks are some of the nicest all year!
Weather: It was pointed out last week that my Floridian perspective here may be a little skewed. While I’m delighted to see highs in the low 90’s, I have to remember that’s still hot to lots of people! So with that in mind, it will be hot and rainy, just not as hot and rainy as the last couple of months!
Remember: We’re heading into hurricane season. Be prepared with airline phone numbers, confirmations, and any other information you might need if your plans change.
Here’s my top tip for this week: It’s never too soon to buy tickets to Disney events! Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is already sold out for October 31. Were you looking at a popular date for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party? Don’t delay getting those tickets!
Do you have any news I missed or any requests for coverage next week? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading! I’m wishing all of you the Best Week Ever, until next time!