Posts Tagged ‘Epcot’

Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever December 10, 2015: A Very Epcot Hanukkah

by on December 10, 2015

Epcot Hanukkah Best Week Ever

Celebrate Hanukkah the Best Week Ever way at Epcot (Photos/videos by Seth Kubersky)

Halloween and Thanksgiving are done and gone and Christmas and New Year are still on their way, but Hanukkah is here right now! In honor of the Festival of Lights, I’m wishing a hearty Chag Sameach to my fellow members of the tribe with this Best Week Ever exploration of 2015’s Epcot Hanukkah celebration.

My visit to Epcot coincided with the third day of Hanukkah, and commenced with a spin of the cosmic dreidel that determines parking spots. I must have landed on Nun because I ended up just about as far as possible from the front…

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A Thrill Junkie’s Guide to Traveling With Wimps

by on December 9, 2015

COASTERS_Everest2Allow me to get one thing out there at the outset: I love my family, and traveling with them is one of my favorite things in the world to do. With that said, however — and I say this lovingly — my daughter is not the bravest kid around, and my wife likes to stick to rides that are tame enough that you could step off of them without harm if need be. I, on the other hand, love thrill rides — the taller, the faster, the better. Much though I love spending time with my crew in the parks, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when I sadly shuffled towards the queue to see Voyage of the Little Mermaid whilst Twilight Zone Tower of Terror beckoned and mocked me in the distance…

Sooooooo, you want to spend time with your family, but there are thrill rides waiting to thrill you. Whatever shall you do? This article will hopefully offer some ideas for getting your thrill-fill without stranding your family to sit on a bench while you ride. Tips after the jump!

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10 Ways To Have Free Family Fun At Disney World

by on December 7, 2015

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure

Enjoying a little free family fun!

Walt Disney World can be expensive. You know that, I know that. But what if I were to tell you that there are lots of ways to add some magic to your Disney World vacation for absolutely free? That’s right folks, I’m going to share with you 10 of my favorite ways to have family fun around the resort without spending an extra penny.

So without further ado, let’s enjoy some free family fun and save some money!

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Location: Magic Kingdom

The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an enchanting interactive game where you use spell cards at magic portals to defeat Disney villains. Kids and gamers alike love this experience, especially because they can collect and keep the spell cards.

A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas

Location: Magic Kingdom

During A Pirate’s Adventure join Captain Jack Sparrow on an interactive adventure raiding hidden treasures throughout Adventureland. There are five different missions, each taking about 20 minutes to complete. There is no time limit on the missions, so they can be started and stopped at your leisure. This is a lot of fun for the whole family and each adventure sets off some exciting special effects scattered throughout Adventureland; especially great at night.

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Why You Should Visit Disney World in November

by on December 2, 2015

magickingdom1

It’s the Christmas Trolley in November!

I know November is behind us, so this may not help for the moment, but I have something to share with those already planning for next year’s vacation to Walt Disney World: November is a great time to visit! I recently returned from a Veterans Day stay at Walt Disney World and discovered that this particular months offers some perks that other times of the year may not. So stay tuned to find out just why you should visit Disney World in November.

Catch Several Special Events at One Time

While the dates for Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival do tend to vary from year to year, the festival usually ends the second week of November. What’s great about this is that the last week or two of the festival overlaps the start of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Rarely can you catch two big Disney World events in one trip. When I visited Walt Disney World in early November, I loved getting to sample the treats and eats at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival during the day and then hopping on the Monorail to head to the Magic Kingdom for the party at night or over to Hollywood Studios for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights! (I know, I know… The Osborne Lights is in its last year, but I’m still holding out hope for a new location for this seasonal favorite next year.) The overall point is: guests can experience some of Disney World’s best special events in one week. Now that’s maximizing the Disney magic!

EpcotFoodandWine

Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel… My fave item at the Food and Wine Festival.

Weather

While weather these days rarely seems consistent, and November is the tail end of Hurricane Season, Central Florida does offer more ideal temperatures for Disney World guests during this month than what you experience in the summer. For the first half of November, the average temperatures hover from the mid-eighties during the day to the mid-sixties at night; and for the second half of the month, drop to the mid-seventies during the day and then the sixties to even the fifties at night. Here are the benefits with these averages. If guests visit during the first half of November, they can still enjoy a Disney World water park or their resort pool! It’s the best of summer without the blistering heat and crowds. If you visit during the second half of the month you may still be able to enjoy the resort pools (they are heated), but what they will truly appreciate is the ability to walk through the parks comfortably and without sweating! You’ll be surprised by how much you can accomplish in the parks when the temperatures are cooler.

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Acoustic Band Quickstep Debuts at Epcot’s UK Pavilion (with Video)

by on November 27, 2015

quickstep Epcot UK

Quickstep performs on their debut day at Epcot’s UK Pavilion (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

The revolving door of World Showcase entertainment continued to spin during Thanksgiving Week, as Epcot welcomed a new musical group days after saying goodbye to two shows. Only days ago, the Canadian Lumberjacks swung their last axe and log-rolled right out of the park, and the week before we bade farewell to the UK pavilion’s Paul McKenna Band. To fill the void in that quadrant of the park, Walt Disney World premiered Quickstep in Epcot’s UK pavilion on Thanksgiving Eve, and we were there to capture one of the group’s debut day performances.

 

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A look into the future: Walt Disney World 2025 – part 1

by on November 27, 2015

What’s 10 years? When you’re young, it seems like forever. For me, now solidly in middle age, 10 years can seem to pass in the blink of an eye.

In theme park terms, a lot can happen in the span of a decade. Take the 10-year period of 1989-1998, when Walt Disney World opened two theme parks: Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom; two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach; and a dozen resort hotels: Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter, Dixie Landings (Port Orleans Riverside), Disney’s Vacation Club Resort (Old Key West), All Star Sports, All Star Music, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Caribbean Beach Resort.

No one can expect that kind of progress over the next 10 years. But combining what we know is coming to Walt Disney World with the needs and opportunities at Disney’s Florida park can provide some clues to what we can expect to see in the year 2025.

In this, the first of two posts, we will look at the theme park experience. In part two, we’ll look at future resorts and transportation changes.

©Disney

©Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom: By 2025, Pandora – The World of Avatar is eight years into its existence and has been bolstered by three sequels to the highest-grossing film of all time produced by James Cameron. This land, along with the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular and the evening version of Kilimanjaro Safaris, have transformed Disney’s Animal Kingdom into a full-day park, increasing its attendance past Epcot. A year after the opening of Pandora, Expedition Everest was taken down for an extended refurbishment in which the dormant Yeti was finally restored to its full glory. Meanwhile, a re-imagined DinoLand USA has just opened, taking its cues from Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” and including a kid-friendly dark ride alternative to DINOSAUR.

©Disney

©Disney

Disney’s Hollywood Adventure?: As strong as attendance is at Animal Kingdom, it’s still behind Magic Kingdom and, yes, Disney’s (insert name here for the renamed park). Star Wars Land has had a Potter-esque impact on this park, jumping attendance so much that an expansion of the five-year-old land is already in the works. With the continued success of the new Star Wars films, shows and games, Imagineers have even more material from which to draw. The addition of Toy Story Land has also spurred further Pixar expansion talk that could either be a version of Radiator Springs Racers or the long-rumored Monsters Inc. Coaster. Meanwhile, Aerosmith has company on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, as other artists are enlisted for the pre-show and soundtrack, which rotates throughout the day to give riders different experiences.

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Canadian Lumberjack Show at Epcot to End

by on November 24, 2015

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Changes are occurring in Epcot’s World Showcase once again, as it appears that The Canadian Lumberjack Show will no longer be taking place, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The show, which was performed on The Mill Stage at the Canada Pavilion began in October 2014 and featured two lumberjack teams, clad in plaid who competed against each other performing tradition log show demonstrations.

The Canadian Lumberjack Show replaced the fan-favorite celtic rock band, Off Kilter. (And for those who are curious, yes Off Kilter does still perform, both in and around Orlando, as well as across the country. Matter of fact, I recently caught the band performing in Celebration for their Fall Festival and they were just as great as they were in Epcot.)

As a reminder, another band just ended their run in World Showcase. Seth recently reported that the Paul McKenna Band will no longer be performing at the United Kingdom Pavilion. A new accoustic group called Quickstep will be taking their place. In addition, Ribab Fusion has replaced B’net Al Houwariyate in the Morocco Pavilion.

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Review – Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

by on November 23, 2015

Illuminations (1)Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, the long-running nighttime spectacular at Epcot, is beloved by many. But is it really that good? Let’s break it down.

Backstory: The first incarnation of an Epcot nighttime show premiered in the fall of 1982 and was called Carnival de Lumiere (no relation to the candelabra from the not yet conceived Beauty and the Beast film.) This small scale fountain show was replaced a year later by A New World Fantasy and that show was replaced yet another year later by Laserphonic Fantasy. Both of these shows used fireworks, lasers, lights, and projection screens on barges all set to classical music. The first version of the show actually titled IllumiNations began in 1988 and continued with some variations until 1999 when it was replaced by the current show Reflections of Earth. This version of the show was originally conceived as a signature attraction of the Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration but has been showed continuously ever since with the only variation being a special ending for the Christmas holiday season.

Touring Strategy: The show takes place at the center of World Showcase lagoon so it can be seen in full from anywhere around the lagoon, with the fireworks visible from many parts of Future World as well. The really good spots for IllumiNations do go early, however, especially in busier times of year. Without a reservation at a restaurant on the lagoon, your best walk-up locations to see IllumiNations are the raised area in front of the Italy pavilion and the area in front of the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the United Kingdom pavilion. If these areas are being used for special events, consider the bridge between France and the United Kingdom and the area between Mexico and Norway. Just keep in mind that these locations can fill up by 45-minutes before showtime. If you don’t mind being partially blocked by a tree, a fence, or a guy taking selfies in front of you, then you can grab a location at pretty much any point before the show begins. (FastPass+ is not recommended but if you choose to use it, you will be positioned between the gift shops at the front of World Showcase and should arrive at least 20 minutes before showtime.)

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Made With Magic Products to Be Offered at Epcot

by on November 20, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Disney will soon be rolling out the Made with Magic interactive merchandise collection to Epcot beginning on November 23. For those who don’t know, Made with Magic products are programmed to light up and change color along with moments that occur during nighttime events in the parks, such as Fantasmic, The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and Wishes. At Epcot, these products will soon be able to interact with key moments that occur in World Showcase.

Guests will be able to choose between the light up Mickey Ear Hat, the Minnie Mouse Headband, Mickey Mouse Glove, or Sorcerer Mickey’s Wand. The Made with Magic merchandise costs $25 each and guests will be able to pick them up at the following locations in Epcot:

  • Gateway Gifts
  • Kiosk near Disney Traders
  • Pin Central
  • Village Traders
  • Mouse Gear
  • American Adventure Cart
  • International Gateway
  • Canada Cart

With the addition of these items now working in Epcot, as well as the recent new products that are offered, are you more likely to purchase a Made with Magic item?

 

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2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Details Announced

by on November 19, 2015

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

As per usual, when one Epcot festival ends, details on the next festival get released, which means that we now have the first details about the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. This will be the 23rd year for the event which will take place for an unprecedented 90 days, from March 2 through May 30.

Each year, new and returning favorites help to make up this unique event. As far as what’s new for 2016, we’ll see a brand new front entrance topiary display featuring Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, alongside their Uncle Donald and Daisy in a display inspired by the 1943 comic book, “The Victory Garden.”

Also on display for the first time ever will be the Ranger Mickey topiary which will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.

Located behind Spaceship Earth will be a new Floral Sun Garden which will feature golden colors and yellow “sunbursts.” At night, twinkling lights will shine.

For the little ones, there will be an innovative new play garden featuring the Fab 5, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald, in topiary form with musical instruments built into the outdoor climbing system.

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