This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Worst Case Scenarios That Could Come Out of the D23 Expo. Coming along once every two years, the D23 Expo is not just a Disney Convention, it is THE Disney Convention. In fact the D23 Expo is such a big deal that Hollywood powerhouse Marvel Studios is holding their annual presentation at the Expo instead of last month’s gigantic San Diego Comic Con. Already big news is coming out of the Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center, including the public display of the incredible scale model of Pandora, giving us a glimpse of what will soon be coming to Animal Kingdom. Movie posters for TheIncredibles 2 and Cars 3 made their debut along with the first ever footage shown for Captain America: Civil War. But what theme park fans are interested in is the presentation taking place on Saturday featuring the Parks and Resorts division. It is here where we will find out what is coming to the Disney parks across the world.
Rumors have been flying for months leading up to the Expo of what will be talked about at the Parks and Resorts presentation, and more importantly, what won’t be talked about. Theme park fans in Florida have watched as Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been slowly shutting itself down, which is surely leading to an announcement for what’s coming, right? Frozen Ever After will be the first new attraction in Epcot’s World Showcase in over two decades, we’ll surely get information on that, right? Everyone is hoping for the best, but to borrow a phrase from our dearly departed friend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper: we’re here to chew bubblegum and pop pixie dust…and we’re all outta bubblegum. We here at the SATURDAY SIX are taking our rose colored glasses off and thinking aloud “what’s the worst that could happen?” So sit back, relax, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
# 6 – Frozen Being Expanded in Epcot’s World Showcase
Last year Disney weathered the storm during the #SaveMaelstrom movement. In 2016 Epcot will debut the new Frozen Ever After attraction along with one of the most detailed meet and greets in the company’s history, and imagine the ground that covers. So if Frozen and the fictional country of Arendelle were shoehorned into Norway, why not just keep going? The Mexico Pavilion is right next door, so instead of a ride featuring characters from a Disney animated movie that no one under the age of 50 has even heard about let alone seen, how about we focus on the star of one of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of all time, the lovable snowman OLAF!
The newest Tier 1 FP+ selection in Epcot! (photo by Matt Cleary)
But that’s not all! It’s widely known that – at best – The Morocco Pavilion’s Spice Road Table has underperformed since its debut, even after a radical change to its menu. So let’s give it a quick Frozen makeover: a Queen Elsa inspired name along with a menu featuring a mix of “Arendelle” food items from the Electric Umbrella and the BoardWalk Pizza Window, and Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo! The new Ice Road Table has a longer line than the Candlelight Processional.
From taking walk ups to needing ADRs 180+10 in advance, just like that. (photo by Matt Cleary)
Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort share a number of the same attractions, such as Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, “it’s a small world,” and many others. But if you think that these attractions are the same on both coasts, you would be mistaken. One of the many things I love about Disney is that they never do the same thing twice; and while the attractions that can be found on both coasts may share the same names and themes, they do have differences too. Hey, who doesn’t like variety, right? But you have to wonder, which resort has the best version of a popular attraction? Which Disney Park has the bragging rights? Well, that’s what I’m going to find out beginning with one of the most popular attractions ever in Disneyland vs. Disney World Attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean!
What is Pirates of the Caribbean?
Pirates of the Caribbean is one of Disney’s most brilliant attractions of all time! It even inspired the popular Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise starring Johnny Depp. The attraction is a boat ride which takes guests back in time to the days where pirates looted and pillaged the Caribbean through incredibly detailed scenes, audio-animatronic pirates, and a terrific balance of both humor and danger. Pirates of the Caribbean’s signature song, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me” by “X” Atencio and George Bruns is also just as famous as the attraction itself and has had adults and children humming along for decades.
I recently went to the Disneyland Park for the very first time. As a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World since childhood, I was beyond excited to experience a Disney Park, particularly Walt’s park, as a first time guest. In fact, the very first thing I did when I arrived was to pick up a first visit button at Disneyland’s City Hall. But before I even passed through the turnstiles, I did my Disneyland homework so that I could avoid some of the rookie mistakes and maximize my time in the park. Even so, there were definitely some things that I either didn’t expect or which would’ve helped my day run more smoothly. So glean from my first hand experience fellow Disneyland Rookies and discover what I wish I knew before my visit to Disneyland.
The Queues Are Narrow – One of the surprising differences for me between Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Park was how much narrower the queues are on the West Coast. When waiting in line for Peter Pan’s Flight, the Storybook Land Canal Boats, the Matterhorn Bobsleds, and others, I felt squeezed in and very close to the guests on either side of me. This is something that I haven’t experienced as much in the queues at Disney World. Part of this could be due to the fact that Disneyland has less space to work with; but I think it’s something to note if your a first time guest, especially if you have fidgety little ones in tow.
One of the aspects that I feel truly separates Disney Parks from other theme parks is the presence of “classic” attractions. By classic attractions, I mean those that might not have state of the art technology by today’s standards, or cost the size of a small island, but remain relevant, charming, and downright fun years or even decades later. Attractions like Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean are just a few examples of these that come to mind. As brilliant as Disney Imagineers are, there is an occasional attraction misstep from time to time, which is inevitable.
It’s incredibly difficult to determine what’s going to resonate with audiences at any one moment, let alone ten, twenty, or fifty years from now. For a variety of reasons, some attractions just don’t age well and feel outdated rather than classic. Most of the time those attractions are replaced (see most of Disney’s California Adventure) but other times, they remain. Below, I’ve listed some attractions that I believe fit this description. These aren’t outright bad attractions per se, but they are ones that have the potential to be really fantastic with a revamp or retheming.
Without further ado, here are some attractions in need of a “tune up” along with what could be done to make them better and my suggestions for what attractions to go on instead.
Do you crave Disney knowledge? Do you spend way too much time online scanning sites for Disney facts and secrets? Is your bookshelf crammed with Disney Imagineering books and guidebooks? If so, then we’re probably kindred spirits because I’m guilty of all the above! I absolutely love discovering new facts about my favorite place on earth that I can use or see for myself when planning my next Disney World trip. So indulge me, if you will, as I share with you some of my favorite fun facts for your next Disney World Vacation.
Did you know that…
12. Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean are Neighbors? Even though the Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean is in Adventureland and Splash Mountain is in Frontierland, things looks a little different backstage than they do when you’re in the park. When backstage, which means behind the scenes, these two water attractions are located next to each other! The layout of the park from inside is a little deceptive; but since both attractions require high volumes of water, it only makes sense to have them located next door. Pretty cool, right?
Look at the Golions!
11. There’s More Than One Beast at the Beast’s Castle? The Disney Animators used different animals to create the Beast we know from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast film. In fact, the Beast is a mixture of buffalo, lion, wolf, bear, and more! But outside of the Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, there is another beast that’s also a combo of different animals. It’s a Golion! Guarding either side of the castle doors are two stone beasts that Disney invented just for this area; and as they are a combination of both goats and lions, Imagineers decided to name them Golions! Source: Fun Facts: New Fantasyland
10. The Eiffel Tower at Epcot’s France Pavilion is Historically Accurate? Have you ever paid much attention to the Eiffel Tower at Epcot’s France Pavilion? If so, you may have noticed that the tower looks a little different than those photos you see of the one in France and for a really cool reason. You see, the real Eiffel Tower has changed color since it was first constructed in 1887 due to aging and weathering; but since Epcot’s France Pavilion is meant to represent France as it was in the past, the Eiffel Tower we see is beige, just like how it would’ve been in its early years. Talk about attention to detail! Still not impressed? To be even more historically accurate, Imagineers used the blueprints of the original Eiffel Tower when constructing their own. Source: AllEars.net
The best place to start is where I’ve visited the most the past few weeks. Not once, not twice, but five times we’ve visited Disney’s Polynesian Resort trying to get into the newly opened Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. The wait has never been less than an hour and to be frank, I just don’t want to go to a bar that badly!
However, the time spent at the resort has led to some great photos of the new lobby and the tiki that has been recently added. For anyone not on Twitter, the Disney community has started calling this tiki by the name “Shruggie“. He was mainly given this name because his stance makes it look like he’s shrugging and declaring that the lobby renovation wasn’t his idea! It really finishes the lobby renovation now that he’s in place.
It was a dark and stormy morning. No really, the weather was a mess last week! I went straight to the Magic Kingdom on Sunday because all weather reports showed there would only be a few cloudy hours before it started raining again. Since all the news was outdoors this week, I was a girl on a mission! At rope drop when everyone else was running for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train I was here taking photos to share with you! And wow, the new hub is looking great!
Want to see more of the new hub and Flower & Garden Festival? Be sure to click to read more!
Welcome back to this brand new edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes! (Crowd cheers…ok…maybe not…but a girl can dream.) This week has been very fruitful with little tidbits to share with you all; I’ve got lots of refurbishment news, details on Be Our Guest Restaurant, new information on Avatarland, and more!
Wow! There are a lot of refurbishments that have been scheduled for Walt Disney World. Let’s start at the Magic Kingdom. First, for those traveling in the summer, you will unfortunately not get to experience Pirates of the Caribbean. The attraction, which has been riddled with problems lately, will be seeing a 4+ month refurbishment, from May 11 through September 25, reopening September 26. No word on what the refurbishment will entail, but it is certainly necessary. There will also be a two day refurbishment of Stitch’s Great Escape in early March, March 1 and 2. The attraction will reopen on March 3. For those visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom for barbeque, you’ll have to wait a little longer, because Flame Tree Barbeque’s refurbishment has been pushed back to last until April 22, reopening April 23. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it would appear that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will be closed for a refurbishment from April 20-24, reopening on April 25. Also, Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed September 7-10, reopening on September 11. You can always keep up with the latest refurbishments on our refurb page.
So I don’t usually share the videos that Disney posts, but I will if I find them particularly newsworthy…like today, where they posted one hyping up Avatar for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s nice to finally see some more information about the project. The new concept art shown in the video is quite gorgeous, but what really impressed me was when they finally showed some of the bioluminescent aspects. It almost reminds me of being under the sea, seeing a unique type of illuminated coral. These additions will certainly make Animal Kingdom a destination once the sun sets. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the video:
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Magic Kingdom to see how things are looking, stopping by Downtown Disney for some shopping, and finishing up at Animal Kingdom. The weather has been just beautiful for two weekends in a row and I can’t wait to share it with you.
It isn’t often I’m stopped in my tracks on the way into the park, but this weekend it happened! Check out that photo on the left. It isn’t edited at all, it was really that bright and beautiful here last weekend. We’ve had the most amazing weather lately! Pretty soon the bone melting heat and daily monsoons will return, but for now it’s perfection. Ready to head to the Magic Kingdom? Click to read more!
It’s been a while since I’ve brought you the Newsworthy Notes, but now I have a whole bundle of new small Walt Disney World news pieces to share with you all! So, let’s jump right in and get to it.
For those who will be in the Magic Kingdom during the beginning of next week, you’ll be able to catch the taping of the Disney Christmas Day Parade. (I mean the Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration.) The parade will be filmed on Monday, December 8 and Tuesday, December 9.
Guests can now make Advanced Dining Reservations for the Morocco Pavilion’s Spice Road Table. In addition, the restaurant has seen an updated menu; while most of the tapas options are still offered, now as appetizers, the restaurant is also serving full entrees as well. The new entrees include: Mix Grill Skewers – Beef and Chicken skewers; Coriander-crusted Rack of Lamb; Yellowfin Tuna; All Natural Roasted Chicken; and Mediterranean Vegetable Platter. Hopefully these changes will cause more guests to visit this fledgling Epcot restaurant.