Posts Tagged ‘Epcot’

Daisy’s Best Week Ever August 25, 2016: Magic Kingdom, and Epcot, and DISNEYLAND. Oh my!

by on August 25, 2016

Hello, my lovebugs! I’m so excited to be able to share this week with you. Hopefully I’ll be getting back into rotation with the team moving forward, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of each other! This week I visited the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and had a surprise two night adventure at Disneyland. (I know, right??) So let’s get started with one of my favorite views in the Magic Kingdom.

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I know, it’s a bathroom, but doesn’t it look majestic? Of course, I was excited to see anything after 67 days away from the parks. We decided to downgrade to silver passes this year and while I had a couple of tough days missing my “home” over the summer, it was overall a positive experience. I think we’ll continue with passes at this level in future years. What would you do? Do you think we’re crazy skipping the summer and peak holidays? Let me know in the comments.

There’s so much more to see – click to read more. :)

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SATURDAY SIX: The Six Best Kept Secrets at EPCOT

by on August 20, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at the Six Best Kept Secrets at EPCOT. Yes, we love the awesome rides, the incredible resorts, and the mouth watering restaurants at WDW, but the more trips we take, the more we appreciate all the little details throughout The World. While most guests know of Hidden Mickeys, there are many other “Easter eggs” to discover, with many of these secrets being hidden in plain sight. We’ve previously looked at some great details at the Magic Kingdom (including references to Mr. Toad and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), and today we are going to look at some of our favorite “secrets” at EPCOT. So sit back, pour a out a 40 for Horizons, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – The Hollywood Tower of Terror at DHS Blends in with the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase

The Hollywood Tower of Terror is one of the greatest rides in Walt Disney World – in fact it took first place in our very own Best WDW Attractions Poll – but one of its most amazing features is that the ride not only fits thematically into Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it fits into EPCOT. The attraction is so tall that – from certain angles – it is one of the few things that you can see from inside a WDW park, but the Tower’s facade was ingeniously designed so that it would fit into the theming of the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase.

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If Guardians of the Galaxy replaces the Tower of Terror in DHS, Morocco may have to be rethemed to the Knowhere Pavilion.  (photo by Brian Carey)

# 5 – Future World Lights Up At Night

This is one that kids will probably notice well before adults, but at night some of the pavement in Future World takes on new life thanks to a fiber optic lighting package. In an area in-between Spaceship Earth and Innoventions Plaza, some of the pavement tiles have tiny lights that sparkle, making for a magical appearance. Meanwhile, over by Innoventions West, there are larger sections of pavement completely lit up with designs that “move” and change colors. Don’t feel bad if you’ve been to EPCOT 1,000 times and never noticed any of these lights, as most guests don’t even come near this area on their dash out of the park. As always, one of our best tips when it comes to touring the WDW parks is to slow down, and give yourself time to take it all in.

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Future World, who may want to consider suing Pandora: The World of Avatar for gimmick infringment. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Stacey, enjoying another magical night at EPCOT. (photo by Ryan Pastorino. Instagram @disphotomagic)

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The 5 W’s of Pre-Park-Open Dining at Disney World

by on August 19, 2016

Did you know that it’s possible to enter the parks at Walt Disney World before they officially open for the day? A valid park ticket and dining reservation for one of seven restaurants is all you need to get into the park before regular guests. Read on to learn about the who, what, where, when, and why of these reservations.

Who?

Regardless of whether you’re staying on or off site, guests with valid theme park admission are eligible to enter the park early if they have an Advanced Dining Reservation scheduled for before the park’s official opening time. Since these are some of the hardest reservations to score, guests staying at a Disney resort have an advantage due to the extended 180 day + length of stay window for dining reservations for on-site guests. Our dining Reservation Finder can also help you snag those hard to get reservations.

Walking through World Showcase before Epcot's official open

A perk of early reservations – walking through a nearly empty Epcot

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StormStruck and Sum of All Thrills Leaving Innoventions

by on August 15, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

Big changes have been happening at Epcot’s Innoventions lately with many attractions closing. Now, two more attractions are closing in Innoventions East – The Sum of All Thrills and StormStruck. The two attractions will be closed as of September 14 due to their sponsorship agreements ending.

The Sum of All Thrills which was sponsored by Raytheon was a simulator that allowed guests to utilize math skills to create a thrill ride. Guests would then be able to put their creation to the test courtesy of a Kuka arm.

Storm Struck, which was presented by FLASH, educates Guests on how to prevent storm damage around the home.

With these two closures, this means that the only attraction remaining open in Innoventions East will be the relatively new Colortopia by Glidden, which opened in November of last year.

Disney has said that plans for Innoventions are going to be shared at a later date.

 

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Times THE SIMPSONS Totally Nailed Being A Theme Park Fan

by on August 13, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at 6 Times THE SIMPSONS Totally Nailed Being A Theme Park Fan. We here at SATURDAY SIX HQ have never hid the fact of how much we love The Simpsons television show. Despite it being a cartoon, for us it is right up there with the all-time great comedies including Seinfeld, Parks and Rec, and Cheers. When Universal Studios Florida expanded the area surrounding The Simpsons Ride into a small version of Springfield, it was a dream come true. As a fan of The Simpsons dating back to when they were just short skits on The Tracey Ullman Show, seeing Duff Beer brought to life was just as a magical moment for me as it is for Potterheads walking into Diagon Alley and getting a Butterbeer.

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The Simpsons

One of the reasons The Simpsons actually being represented at the Universal Orlando Resort is so great is because the show has spent the better part of 25 years making fun of theme parks! Other shows have gone to theme parks and made some jokes (such as Boy Meets World, Family Matters, and – of course – Full House), but for the most part those shows were just promotional vehicles for Disney. The Simpsons didn’t hold back. Their jokes had some real truths to them, truths that readers of this blog would understand. Today we are going to look back at the history of The Simpsons and theme parks, and at some of our favorite moments over the years. Many of these scenes can actually be seen in the queue for The Simpsons Ride along with exclusive new scenes made just for Universal. So sit back, put on a pair of beer googles, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – “Bart’s New Friend” (Season 26, Episode 11)

We’ll start off with an episode written by Judd Apatow, a man who knows a thing or two about comedy, with a resume that includes Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up, and The 40 Year Old Virgin. The episode centers around Homer Simpson being hypnotized into thinking he is a 10 year child. Bart Simpson then begins to take advantage of the situation, using Homer as a way to thwart bullies at school and be the “brother” he never had. Before Homer can be de-hypnotized, Bart takes him to Itchy & Scratchy Land and we get to see them ride Soarin’ Over Springfield. This was a five star parody of one of Disney’s most popular rides.

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Soarin’ Over Springfield.

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Just like the real version, in Soarin’ Over Springfield you get to see guests’ legs dangling in front of you. Note the reference to Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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With a swelling score, Soarin’ Over Springfield flies by all the major landmarks in town, including the long running tire fire.

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Burning tire smell blown into the faces of guests, just as the scent of oranges was sprayed in the original Soarin’ and fresh cut flowers in the new Soarin’ Around the World.

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Dani’s Best Week Ever August 11, 2016: Creating Your Own Epcot Food and Wine Festival Experience

by on August 11, 2016

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival kicks off in just about a month, September 14, 2016. But you don’t have to wait until it’s festival time to taste your way around the world. Personally, I feel it is a better experience and a better value to make your own food and wine festival type experience at Epcot. That’s exactly what I did on my recent visit, and it turned out to be one of the best visits ever!

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Though there was rain in the forecast, blue skies provided a lovely backdrop to the iconic view of Spaceship Earth as I arrived. I made a bee line through Future World; my stomach growled and would wait no more. World Showcase holds so many culinary treasures, even when it is not Food and Wine Festival time. Beverages and snacks at Epcot are very easy to come by. Practically every pavilion has at least one full service restaurant, one counter service restaurant, and at least one cart or stand along the promenade offering snacks or drinks, or both.

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When it comes to exploring World Showcase from a culinary perspective, there is some debate as to which direction to start, either Mexico or Canada. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. On this visit I headed toward the Canada pavilion because I had a 2:00 PM FastPass+ selected for Frozen Ever After and planned to my Epcot trip there.

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United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions

Starting off with the Canada Pavilion is a bit rough if you arrive before 12:00 noon. The outside snack and beverage cart does not open until about 12:00 noon and the relatively new Trading Post Refreshments is currently unavailable – slated to reopen by the end of August. So really, there aren’t any snacks or beverages to enjoy here until later in the day.

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6 acts to see at the 2016 Eat to the Beat series

by on August 9, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

One of the great bonuses of visiting Epcot during the International Food & Wine Festival is the opportunity to see live music during the Eat to the Beat series. In the past, the concert series may have been dismissed for its reliance on one-song wonders or nostalgia acts well past their prime. But I think the people who book this festival have stepped up their game, and the 2016 lineup has some pretty amazing musicians, including many playing Epcot for the first time.

Here are my picks for the artists who would be well worth a special trip to see this fall. They’re not necessarily the most popular, but rather the most interesting for music fans.

Los Lobos, Sept. 29-30

Hands down, the finest group that will be playing the festival, and the one that probably best captures the international flavor of World Showcase. It surely will be magical to listen to these consummate musicians playing their mix of rock and blues interpreted through traditional Mexican music, as the pyramid of Epcot’s Mexico pavilion sits in the distance.

The great thing about Los Lobos is that in the four decades they’ve been together, with a lineup that has been mostly unchanged, they’ve become one of the most dynamic and interesting live bands touring today. In 2015, they were nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If there’s any justice, they won’t have a long wait to be inducted.

After years of honing their craft at weddings and dances around their East Los Angeles home, they broke through with 1984’s “How Will The Wolf Survive?” Never a band to stand still, they followed their biggest hit, the title track to the soundtrack of “La Bamba,” with an album of traditional Mexican folk songs. In 1992, they released their experimental masterpiece, “Kiko.” Their music continues to evolve with their most recent record, “Gates of Gold,” one of my favorites of 2015. If you want a good flavor of what Los Lobos is about, here’s a performance of the “Gates of Gold” track “Poquito para aqui.”

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Selecting an Epcot Resort

by on August 8, 2016

View of the Epcot Resort Area

View of the Epcot Resort Area

With the recent release of the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival menus, I can’t help but think about my upcoming trip. The 60 day FastPass+ window is approaching quickly, and as an avid proponent of planning ahead, I’m ashamed to admit that I still haven’t fully decided on a hotel!

It’s one of the biggest dilemmas I face when planning any trip to Walt Disney World. It’s especially hard for me during the fall when visiting Epcot’s World Showcase is top priority thanks to the mouthwatering samplings at Food and Wine Festival. I’ve narrowed it down to the Epcot resort area to make walking to Epcot a breeze, but that still leaves me with five wonderful choices – Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, Dolphin, Swan, and Yacht Club.

Not one to take the resort decision lightly, I’ve carefully mapped out a comparison to help me (and hopefully some of you) pick the right Epcot resort for any Walt Disney World vacation.

Theming

All five resorts fall into the deluxe category at Disney, and with that designation comes elaborate theming. However, because Swan and Dolphin are the only two that are not owned by Disney, some may find them to be lacking that special Disney touch.

  • Beach Club – It’s a New England-style resort hotel that is painted blue with white trim and adorned with typical beach dĂ©cor. Think seashells and sand dollars.
  • Boardwalk Inn – Modeled after a turn-of-the-century Atlantic coast boardwalk, the rooms actually sit behind a façade of neon lighted shops and restaurants along a wooden boardwalk.
  • Dolphin – Words escape me when it comes to the theming of both the Swan and Dolphin, and if you’ve ever seen it for yourself, you can probably understand. Disney describes it as “deluxe accommodations inspired by Florida itself, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel juxtaposes modern architectural silhouettes alongside Renaissance flourishes—most notably, the twin stylized dolphin statues gracing its rooftop.” Now, I’m not sure what they think a dolphin is, but based on their designs, I would say that a dolphin is some combination between a goldfish and carp.
  • Swan – Though very similar the Dolphin in theme and design, the Swan is outfitted with two Swans atop the building instead. At least these two actually resemble swans.

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A Guide to Single Rider Lines at Walt Disney World

by on July 27, 2016

Hello TouringPlans readers! My name is Ben Crain and I’m so excited to be joining the tremendous team of bloggers here. I am the creator and host of the WDW Ride Guide Podcast, and an Authorized Disney Vacation Specialist. I’m passionate about helping others explore Walt Disney World one ride or attraction at a time. With my introduction out of the way, I would like to introduce you to the Single Rider Line at Walt Disney World.

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Expedition Everest, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and Test Track are three of the most thrilling attractions in all of Walt Disney World. These attractions whisk you through exciting environments at speeds up to 65 mph! Thrill seekers live for inversions, loops, and 80 foot drops–however, chances are you will be visiting Walt Disney World with someone that isn’t quite ready to face the menacing Yeti, or have Aerosmith music pumping into their ears while racing through the dark. Or, maybe you have a little one that feels the need for speed, but doesn’t yet measure up to the height requirement.

Whatever the scenario, there is a way to satisfy the thrill seeker without sacrificing an hour separated from your group.  Say hello to the Single Rider Line!  This a way for one or several riders in your group to experience these 3 attractions with a shorter wait.  Here is how it works:

Step 1: Enter the queue designated Single Rider Line.

Step 2: Wave as you pass the poor souls in the standby queue!

Step 3: Proceed to the next Cast Member.

Step 4: Wait to fill a seat created by an odd number group in the standby queue.

The Single Rider Line offers varying degrees of time savings across the 3 attractions. Let’s break down each one.

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival Premium Events On Sale July 21

by on July 18, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

For those of you who enjoy participating in the great Premium Events that the Epcot Food and Wine Festival offers, you’ll be able to make your reservations beginning on July 21. Even better news is that for those of you who are Chase Visa cardholders, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members, you’ll be able to book as early as July 19! (Though keep in mind that availability will be limited during the early booking window.)

Here are just some of the premium events that you will be able book beginning this week for this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival:

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