Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

SATURDAY SIX: Six MORE “Easter Eggs” at the Universal Orlando Resort

by on April 25, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six  MORE “Easter Eggs” at the Universal Orlando Resort. One of our favorite parts of both Universal and Walt Disney World are all the wonderful details that make these fully immersive theme parks stand out from everyone else. In our first look at Universal Easter eggs, we saw a pair of actual Mickey ears on Twister….Ride It Out!, the Jaws references in Diagon Alley, Dennis Nedry’s Barbasol can in Jurassic Park and more. Today we are going to look at six more details that even guests who has been to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure several times may not have noticed. Remember that clicking on any picture will bring it up in full size, keep your head on a swivel, and let’s start counting down…

# 6 – Back to the Future’s Doc Brown in The Simpsons Ride queue (USF)

There is absolutely nothing we like better in new attractions then when they pay tribute to the ones that they replaced. We love the hidden Nautilus in the rock work of Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid at the Magic Kingdom, referencing the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride that was formerly in the area. Revenge of the Mummy in Universal Studios Florida has several images of King Kong during the ride, a tribute to Kongfrontation. In 2008, The Simpsons Ride replaced Back to the Future: The Ride, but it actually created a backstory for the change and put it inside the queue.

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Doc Brown and the “Institute of Future Technology” (facade for Back to the Future: The Ride)

If you stand in line for The Simpsons Ride, you will notice televisions throughout playing classic clips from The Simpsons from episodes in which the family went to theme parks. But mixed in with the old videos are several pieces of new material, including one clip explaining how the Institute of Future Technology (the facade for Back to the Future: The Ride) became Krustyland (the facade for The Simpsons Ride.)

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Theme Park Questions For the Magic 8 Ball

by on March 14, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Theme Park Questions For the Magic 8 Ball. Theme park fans have a lot of questions. In fact, the mailbag at the Saturday Six offices is stuffed with letters from fans asking about their favorite Orlando parks. Unfortunately, thanks to TV being our babysitter growing up, our reading comprehension isn’t that great. We hired some interns to handle the mail, but they are even worse because of YouTube, Vine and Twitter (enjoy life now because we’re all doomed when this generation takes control of things.) So we did the only thing that we could do given the circumstances….we made up our own questions.

# 6 – What will Avatarland do in the area of merchandise?

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A Na’vi makes the bond with 15.99% APR. (photo by Matt Cleary)

Disney has slowly been giving us information on the upcoming Avatar expansion at Animal Kingdom, including the groundbreaking ceremony in early 2014 in which Imagineers used 10 foot shovels. Several attractions have been vaguely teased, and the point is always stressed that this land is attempting to be one of the most amazing experiences in theme park history. It’s James Cameron and Walt Disney Imagineering, two of the best in the world at what they do.

However, one thing that hasn’t been mentioned at all is what kind of retail opportunities there will be in this land, if any. Avatar is the most successful movie in the history of cinema, but it does not lead itself to the traditional methods of merchandising that Universal has used for its Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The third act of Avatar is hinged on the fact that the humans have nothing to offer the Na’vi, because the natives of Pandora have no use for materialistic things. What are those materialistic things? Shirts, action figures, magnets, and pretty much anything else you would find in a theme park gift shop.

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Star Wars Weekends: the Pros and Cons

by on March 12, 2015

Star Wars WeekendsIn a few short months the always popular Star Wars Weekends event is returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I have attended the event twice, and have absolutely loved it. I grew up as a major Star Wars fan thanks to my older brother, and my love for the franchise has only increased in my adult years.

This year promises to be one of the most exciting years of Star Wars Weekends ever thanks to the building excitement for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In past years, when Star Wars Weekends occurred, the prequel movies had been released in theaters that same month; but this time the anticipation for December is still building! Will we see a trailer? Will any spoilers be leaked by actors? Will there be any exclusives for fans at the park?

If you are considering a trip down there, or already have one booked, be aware of some of the positives and negatives of the event. While most of Star Wars Weekends will bring delight to any Star Wars fan, there might be other things to keep in mind that you may not have anticipated. Here is my list of pros and cons:

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Disney Cruise Line Adds Star Wars Day at Sea

by on February 11, 2015

A definitely not Photoshopped image of what to expect at Star Wars Day. ©Disney

A definitely not Photoshopped image of what to expect at Star Wars Day.
©Disney

In a refreshing change from the All Frozen, All the Time promotions throughout the Disney properties, Disney Cruise Line announced Star Wars Day at Sea for early 2016 sailings on the Fantasy. The dates are:

  • January 9
  • January 23
  • February 6
  • February 20
  • March 5
  • March 19
  • April 2
  • April 16

These are all 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries. According to Disney, these sailings will include the only at-sea showings of the latest Star Wars film, Episode VII, The Force Awakens. The day at sea will feature a deck party, Star Wars meet and greets, themed food and bev, and, of course, limited edition special merchandise.

What do you think? Reason to book a cruise? Welcome addition to a cruise you’ve already booked? Just happy it’s not princess-themed? Talk about it in the comments.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! December 2014 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on December 31, 2014

MMM positiveIt’s the last day of 2014 and forget about what a year it has been for theme park merchandise. There was The Good: Both Universal and Disney upped their game with the new Film Vault and Memento Mori stores.  The Bad: There is an actual movie using nothing but Disney Vinylmation And The Ugly: Turns out the heavily anticipated Adventureland-themed gift shop in the Magic Kingdom will instead be a Sunglass Hut. Here’s to even better (and weirder) happenings in 2015.

Also, before we go on, be sure to check out our Year End “Best” of the Disney Outlet Store article.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Our first item could be a foreshadowing of things to come. It’s rare to see Muppet related items at the Outlets. Especially based on the popular Kermit the Frog. Out in Disney California Adventure, Muppet*Vision 3D has been jettisoned for Frozen Fun, and rumors persist that the attraction could join the Studio Backlot Tour, American Idol Experience, and the Legend of Jack Sparrow in the recycling bin at Disney Hollywood Studios here in WDW. If that happens, expect the Outlets to be flooded with items featuring Beaker, Dr. Honeydew and the rest of the gang.

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“It’s not easy being green…or being sold at half price.” Originally $24.95, now $12.99

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SATURDAY SIX: Six of Disney’s (Not So) Secret Plans for the Next 5 Years

by on August 16, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six of Disney’s (Not So) Secret Plans for the Next 5 Years. This past week The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill podcast went over a lot of exciting possibilities for Walt Disney World’s near future.  The show was the talk of the theme park world, and while it was loaded with a metric ton of information, scintillating rumors, and insider scoops, we’re going to count down the six biggest takeaways of this audio starting with…

# 6 – The Sorcerer’s Hat ain’t going anywhere…

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Haters gonna hate. (photo by Matt Cleary and Brandon Glover)

 

The era of nightmares doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Jim Hill says that despite the fact that many guests see the giant Sorcerer’s hat sitting in the middle of the park as the biggest eyesore since Cinderella Castle was turned into a giant pink birthday cake, it serves an important purpose to the park. More to the point, the stage below the ugly hat plays a vital roll in allowing DHS to hold various live shows and draw the crowds away from popular attractions such as Tower of Terror and Toy Story Midway Mania.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: June 12, 2014

by on June 12, 2014

Hi, Everyone! I’m very happy to announce this new weekly article bringing you the best of Disney and what to expect in the week ahead. Since this is new, please let me know what you like, what you don’t, and what you’d like to see added. We’re always really happy to hear your feedback. Now, let’s get started with a look at the best week ever!

The Star Wars Weekends event continues to be popular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but last weekend wasn’t as crowded as expected. I’ve heard rumors that this was because cast member passes were blacked out. In any case, it was nice to see the streets not quite so packed!

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Star Wars Dining at Walt Disney World: What You Need To Know

by on May 5, 2014

IMG_9008Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios has added two Star Wars dining experiences to its Star Wars Weekends lineup and, though Star Wars Weekends hasn’t officially started, the dining experiences began yesterday. Offered daily May 4, 2014, through June 15, 2014, the meals include the Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, and Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine Dinner at Hollywood & Vine. As with all Disney Dining Experiences, there are some things you need to know to make your meal go as smoothly as possible.

STAR WARS DINE-IN GALACTIC BREAKFAST at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

The Dine-In Galactic Breakfast is served at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater every morning through June 15, 2014, from 8 a.m. to noon. The price ($47.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids ages 3-9) gets you pastries, and appetizer, an entree, a breakfast dessert (not listed on the menu), and a non-alcoholic beverage. No discounts are accepted, and the meal will take two adult table service credits per person from your Disney Dining Plan Account. Though it’s rare for a child’s meal to pull adult credits, we did confirm this with booking and the restaurant, so be sure to ask what you’re going to be “charged” if you’re on the dining plan.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. Photo Courtesy of Disney

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. Photo Courtesy of Disney

What do you need to know about breakfast? First, the menu is fairly limited and a little odd. The full menu is here. Reports from yesterday’s service were that it was a little slow, and some of the food wasn’t the best, but it’s a new offering for this restaurant, so it’s likely that those kinks will work out. Second, the restaurant itself is themed as a drive-in theater, so the environment is pretty dark. While you have an immediate photo op with Darth Vader and Boba Fett (with PhotoPass and a special backdrop) as you enter the restaurant, your pictures with the Jawas, Greedo, and Storm Troopers inside the dining room may not come out so great, even with a flash. If character meet and greets are a big reason for booking for your family, be sure to take this into account. You do get a special PhotoPass card with your entrance photos on it.

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Movies to Watch Before You Visit Disney World

by on November 20, 2013

For many children, and adults, Walt Disney World can be an overwhelming place, filled with countless new sights, sounds, smells, textures, in an endless stream of stimuli. Sure you can surprise your family with trip to Walt Disney World, but you may have a better overall vacation experience if you give your kids some time to prepare in advance. At-home preparation for you kids might take the form of meeting costumed characters, practicing table manners, or learning to sleep in a particular crib, but one of the easiest, and most effective, ways to get a child ready for a Disney vacation is to show him movies related to your upcoming trip.

Cinderella is a must see before visiting Walt Disney World.

Cinderella is a must see before visiting Walt Disney World.

You’ll have a better understanding and appreciation of what’s happening in the parks if you’re familiar with the stories depicted in what you see there.

Some of these suggestions will be obvious. Your child will no doubt have a better grasp on something like the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor if he’s, you know, actually seen Monsters, Inc. Other suggestions will be more tangentially related to specific attractions, but will give a your kids a greater comprehension of the tone and flavor of Walt Disney World.

As always, use these recommendations with the caveat that you are the best judge of what’s appropriate for your specific child and his current developmental stage. For example, while most preschoolers will adore The Little Mermaid, a child who’s in fear-of-the-ocean mode might have a full-scale meltdown at the sight of Ursula. Similarly, some kids might be ready for a Star Wars marathon at age four, while others will need to wait until eight, nine, or even older. If there’s a movie that you haven’t seen since your own childhood, it might be worth doing a quick preview on your own before subjecting your child to potential overload.

You’ll no doubt note that many Disney and Pixar films are not mentioned on my list (Bambi, Hercules, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Up, etc.). This bears no reflection on the quality of the films, nor on their place in the canon, but rather speaks to their current relative lack of representation at the Walt Disney World parks and resorts. There are also a few non-Disney films listed here because, in my opinion, they do a particularly good job of evoking an atmosphere or time period represented at the parks in a more succinct way than any actual Disney film does.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! August 2013 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on August 27, 2013

MMM_LogoWe all have our favorite stores in the Walt Disney World parks and resorts to get our fill of merchandise. Whether it’s Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney, Mouse Gear in Epcot, or the Ink & Paint Shop at the Art of Animation Resort, it’s not that hard finding a gift shop filled to the brim with the latest Disney vinylmation, t-shirts, and plushes. But did you know that there is a place where all the merchandise Disney has a hard time selling ends up? A magical store filled with discount prices and Disney-related items that even Guy Selga wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Orlando’s Disney Outlet Stores: Disney’s Character Warehouse.

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