Epcot brings the music every summer courtesy of its Sounds Like Summer Concert Series. What makes this event unique is that it features tribute bands performing hits of your favorite artists. These bands are about as real as a cover band can be.
This year’s concerts will take place from June 7 through July 25 and the seven different acts will perform for a week at a time.
Many favorites will be returning this year, including Hotel California and 2U. The full lineup includes:
June 7-13: DSB – A Tribute to Journey
June 14-20: 2U – A Tribute to U2
June 21-26: Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot – A Tribute Billy Joel Show
June 27 – July 4: Don’t Look Back – A Tribute to Boston
July 5-11: Fire & Ice – A Tribute to Pat Benatar
July 12-18: Stayin’ Alive – A Tribute to the Bee Gees
July 19-25: Hotel California – A Salute to the Eagles
Do keep in mind that entertainment is subject to change.
These fun concerts take place at Epcot’sAmerica Gardens Theatre, which is found at the American Adventure Pavilion. Showtimes are 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. daily and shows are included with your Epcot admission.
So get ready to shake your groove thing and make sure you stop to enjoy the Sounds Like Summer concert series during your summer vacations this year!
The waterbound octopus topiary is just one of the sights at the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival
Look, I love Epcot, and because you’re a faceless (but doubtlessly beautiful and well dressed) internet entity, I’m going to project and say you love Epcot, too, and one of the things we both love about it is the International Food and Wine Festival. What’s not to love about food and adult beverages from all over the world amassed in one beautiful sunny location? But this year, for the first time, we have… other options. Saturdays and Sundays from March 7th to April 26th, Busch Gardens Tampa is having their very first Food and Wine Festival, and as a local who now has literally been wined and dined by both of her beloved theme parks, it’s only fitting that I tell you what you’re missing if you stay in Orlando, and what the differences are. Is this a “one is better than the other” situation? Given that the events take place at different times of the year in different locations with different offerings, not really. It’s more my hope to let Epcot fans know that there’s something else going on nearby in Florida now that they really might want to make a visit to when their tummies are a’rumblin’ if they’re on vacation. Hey, if you’re gonna be a foodie, at least be an equal opportunity foodie!
Daisy Lauren is enjoying a well-deserved vacation this week. So we’re firing up the Way Back Machine and going to 1985.
From the very first edition of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, we bring you:
Live Entertainment in EPCOT Center
Live entertainment in EPCOT Center is somewhat more diversified, as might be expected, than that of the Magic Kingdom. World Showcase provides almost unlimited potential for representative entertainment from the respective nations, and Future World allows for a new wave of creativity in live entertainment offerings.
Some information concerning the live entertainment on the day of your visit can be obtained from the information desk in the Earth Station lobby. Our experience, however, indicates that the Earth Station lobby attendants are not usually too well informed. Another source of information is the WorldKey Information Service. WorldKey usually has the answers, but it is not as direct as quizzing an attendant. EPCOT Center, like the Magic Kingdom, is very lax and inconsistent about having any sort of printed handout available concerning the day’s performances.
Listed below are some of the performers and performances you are likely to encounter. In addition, fireworks over the World Showcase Lagoon and a daily parade are being planned.
Future World Brass
A roving brass band that marches and plays according to a more or less extemporaneous schedule near Spaceship Earth and at other Future World locations.
Costumed characters who lurk in the CommuniCore area of Future World, playing with children and posing for pictures.
American Gardens Stage
The site of EPCOT Center’s premier live performances is near The American Adventure, facing World Showcase Lagoon, in a large amphitheater. Top talent imported from all over the world play the American Gardens Stage on a limited engagement basis. many shows highlight the music, dance, and costume of the performers’ home country.
An after dark show, consisting of music, fireworks, erupting fountains, special lighting, and laser technology performed on the World Showcase Lagoon when the park is open late.
Around World Showcase
A variety of unscheduled, impromptu performances take place in and around the various pavilions of World Showcase. You may encounter a strolling mariachi group in Mexico, street actors in Italy, a fife and drum corps or a singing group (The Voices of Liberty) at The American Adventure, traditional songs and dances in Japan, comical street musicians (the Pearly Kings and Queens) and a bagpipe band in England, white-faced mimes in France, and a versatile musical group, the Maple Leaf Brass, in Canada.
The restaurants in World Showcase as well as the Odyssey Restaurant, serve up healthy portions of live entertainment to accompany the victuals. Examples of restaurant floorshow fare include folk dancers and a baskapele band in Germany, singing waiters in Italy, and electronic music at the Odyssey. Restaurant shows are performed at both lunch and dinner seatings. Reservations are required except at the Odyssey.
Bring back memories? Have any photos of the Future World Robots? Share them in the comments below.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re visiting Epcot to check out the Egg-Stravaganza and meeting the Easter Bunny at Magic Kingdom. This is one of the busiest weeks of the year so just wait until you see these photos!
Despite plans of being at the park for rope drop, I somehow managed to just get there after lunch. (oops) However, parking and getting into the park was a breeze. Sometimes the busiest times are the best to visit because Disney is prepared for the crowds. As you can see from the photo below, boy were there crowds! At the time this photo was taken Spaceship Earth had a 60 minute wait. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d ever wait that long for this attraction.
Next we’re off for some egg hunting. Want to play along? Be sure to click to read more. You don’t want to miss the Easter Bunny, do you?
This week’s special April 1st edition of the SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Worst Attractions at Walt Disney World. Our All-Star Panel was exhausted after voting for the best attractions at Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World, but we weren’t done with them yet. No, now it was time to look at the other side of the coin. What are the worst attractions at Walt Disney World? This exercise was a lot tougher than you think, because certain attractions jump to mind, but the more you think about it, the more others start to emerge. Did you know that the Leave a Legacy monuments are considered an attraction at WDW? Ellen’s Energy Adventure takes a lot of heat, but what about the #INCREDIBLESSuperDanceParty in Tomorrowland (and yes, that’s it’s actual name. It should get a vote just based on that.) This was going to be a true challenge so our all star, blue ribbon panel was made up of 40 members comprised of some of the most exceptional people in the theme park community (a full list is available at the end of the article.)
The numbers were crunched, and then re-crunched by the Saturday Six computers.
The Criteria: Each of the 40 experts voted on what they consider to be the six worst attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort. These attractions could be any ride, show, nighttime spectacular, or parade currently in Walt Disney World (including the water parks.) Each attraction listed would be awarded ONE point, except for the attraction that the voter ranked in his #1 spot – that received TWO points.
When the results were tabulated we then reached out to the great wise man of the theme parks, Jim Hill.
Jim Hill – When Derek invited me to take part in this particular Touringplans.com story, I have to admit that I wasn’t all that enthusiastic. Mostly because — after over three decades of interviewing the people who actually build & design the rides, shows and attractions for the Disney theme parks — I know for a fact that there isn’t an Imagineer on this planet who gets up in the morning and says “I want to create something crummy today. I want to do something that disappoints people.” Every ride, show and attractions starts out with the best possible intentions. It’s just that — between the “Blue Sky” phase and Opening Day — somehow that ride winds up going off the rails for reasons that are completely beyond WDI’s control. So to counter all of the snark found in today’s article, I thought I might try and give you a bit of background on each of the attractions that wound up on the “Worst” list:
We got 40 Disney experts. We got Jim Hill. We got the a list of the worst attractions at WDW. Who’s ready?!
The DEFINITIVE GUIDE to the SIX WORST ATTRACTIONS at Walt Disney World.
Len Testa (Co-Author to the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and owns a Space Mountain Themed Kitchen) – Let’s start this off by saying that despite having absolutely no driving or mechanical talent of any kind, I can watch car shows like Lionel Richie: all night long. I’ve seen every episode of Top Gear, including the rare pre-James May Series 1. And I’ll watch Two Guys Garage for hours, even though there’s a better chance of a Chevy small block v8 falling on me than me rebuilding one.
So you’d think I’d love the extreme driving of the Lights, Motors, Action! show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, right? Well, no. To quote Mr. May, it’s rubbish. Why? How? Let me count the ways.
To be fair, it could be worse…
First, there’s the opening. It’s the best part of the entire show, and it’s two and a half minutes of excellent stunt driving, drifting, and automotive choreography. The problem is that this 150-second snippet shows virtually every key element of the production, which somehow continues for another half an hour. If LMA was CSI:Miami, you’d know in the opening credits that the butler did it, see how it was done, and then spend the next half hour watching everyone talk about the crime. Which you saw. In the credits. At the beginning.
Next, there’s the super-in-depth discussion of how each movie scene is set up, including multiple camera angles, cinematography, editing and special effects techniques. This may have been mildly interesting a decade ago, before every 8-year old in the audience had a GoPro, and a YouTube account. But today? Dear Lord, half the audience can edit videos on their cellphones. We get it. As philosopher S. Roy Hagar said in Das Beste aus zwei Welten: “That which is understood need not be discussed.”
And that leads into the third big problem with the show: the pace is slower than 60-weight motor oil in a Boston snowstorm. For every minute of action, there’s something like 3 or 4 minutes of talking. It’s like watching C-SPAN debate fuel economy regulations, without the tin-foil hat voicemails for entertainment.
But the show manages to get even worse by pandering to small boys via the Lightning McQueen segment. It’s obvious, dull, and vapid. You know what would be better? Putting cameras in the cars and letting the drivers talk while doing some stunts. Sure, you’d have to get drivers with personality, but I happen to know of a foursome that is seeking gainful employment. Might be worth a phone call.
JIM HILL (Jim Hill Media)- It’s important to understand that when the Imagineers originally proposed this outdoor arena show for the Walt Disney Studios Park at the Disneyland Resort Paris, it was supposed to celebrate the James Bond films. EX: The pre-show area was to have taken Guests through Q’s Lab. More to the point, this stunt show was to have featured Bond doing battle with some of the more memorable villains from this film franchise (i.e., Jaws, Oddjob). But when the Broccoli family wanted The Walt Disney Company to pay a ridiculous high fee in order to use the James Bond characters in a theme park setting, the Imagineers were forced to drop all of the hi-tech spy stuff that would have actually made this arena show entertaining and then go instead with a generic stunt driving show that wasn’t tied to any film franchise. So no Bond equals bland.
The turtles are popular now, but in the late ’80s and early ’90s they were a phenomenon. Cartoons, video games, movies, comic books, breakfast cereal, traveling stage shows, and enough merchandise that would make even Anna and Elsa jealous. Starting in 1990, TMNT performed a stage show in New York area of Disney-MGM, followed by a meet-and-greet. TMNT left Disney in ’96, but the Turtles have proven the test of time, connecting with each new generation of kids. While both Disney and Universal could score a coup by having the turtles in their parks, right now they can be seen at the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando
The heroes in a half shell with April O’Neil in the Streets of America. (photo by PopRewind)
Are you excited about the upcoming film, Tomorrowland? (How can you not be?! It looks fantastic.) Well, if you are anxious about the movie, which stars George Clooney, then you’ll need to make sure to catch the official sneak preview taking place at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
For those visiting Walt Disney World, you’ll need to head to Epcot and the Imagination Pavilion. I’m sorry to report that at least temporarily, fans of Captain EO, Hooter, Odie, Idie, and Fuzzball will not get to see the rag-tag band attempt to deliver a gift to The Supreme Leader. The preview for Tomorrowland will be taking place in the Imagination Theater, and will include in-theater effects. (Captain EO will see its last day of operation on April 9.)
Over on the west coast, at Disneyland, guests can go to Tomorrowland (good place for a preview about a movie named Tomorrowland) where they can catch the sneak peek replete with in-theater effects in the Tomorrowland Theater. In addition, in the Starcade, there will also be an exhibit available for guests to enjoy production art and props used in the movie.
The official sneak preview will begin in mid-April (no official date has been announced) and the preview will last approximately 15-20 minutes. Tomorrowland heads to theaters on May 22.
If you’ve never visited during this time of year you might not know about a special display at the Grand Floridian. For just a few special weeks, incredible hand painted candy eggs are put out on display in the lobby of the hotel. Each of these eggs weigh between 9 and 12 pounds and stand anywhere from 16 to 20 inches tall. It’s pretty incredible to see! Starting with this special egg that’s on display in the lobby at the villas:
Want to see more of this awesome Easter display? Be sure to click to read more!
Can you believe it? Easter is just a week and a half away! Wow has time flown.
With Easter upon us, I wanted to share a few things that those of you traveling down during the next couple of weeks may want to take advantage of!
First, for those visiting the Magic Kingdom, you’ll be able to meet Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny! The duo have hopped over to the Main Street U.S.A.’s Town Square Courtyard at the Bunny Lane Garden, located next to City Hall. They can be found meeting guests from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and guests will receive a pre-autographed card before they exit. Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny will be at the Magic Kingdom through April 5.
In addition, there will be a special Easter pre-parade that will take place before each showing of the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. (Remember, there are two showings of Festival of Fantasy–one at 12:00 p.m. and one at 3:00 p.m.) The pre-parade will take place at 11:45 a.m. and at 2:45 p.m. and will include special Disney character, Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny, and the Azalea Trail Maids. This pre-parade will be offered on both Saturday and Sunday.
While Epcot’sFlower and Garden Festival hasn’t yet caught up with the International Food and Wine fest in edible options, there are still more items to sample than any human stomach should attempt in a single day (trust us, we’ve tried). Therefore, I recently followed up my first visit to 2015 Flower and Garden Festival with another lap around World Showcase, this time in the opposite direction. The following photos show of some of my favorite Flower and Garden food finds from the western “hemisphere” of Epcot’s promenade, along with a closer look at a few of the floral arrangements we overlooked the first time around.
2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Food Finds
Let’s start with Urban Farm Eats, home to two of my favorite dishes at this year’s festival.