Posts Tagged ‘World Showcase’

Tokyo Dining: A Hidden Jewel in Epcot Dining

by on October 3, 2017

One of my favorite places in Epcot to dine is one of the places that I don’t hear people talk about very often – Tokyo Dining. Located on the second floor of Mitsukoshi in the Japan pavilion, Tokyo Dining offers interesting food options, and you can often snag a dining reservation at the last minute. I’ve never had a disappointing meal here. So, what makes Tokyo Dining so special?

Tokyo Dining menu

Tokyo Dining is a great restaurant for a last-minute ADR.

First, the atmosphere in Tokyo Dining is top-notch. The décor is sleek and contemporary, yet comfortable. The restaurant also offers fantastic views of World Showcase with gigantic floor to ceiling windows on one side. Don’t feel like gazing out at the torii gate? Request a table next to the sushi counter and watch the chefs work their magic. Another thing that I really love about this location is that, since it is on the second floor, I feel much more removed from the chaos of World Showcase. To me it is a nice, quiet(er), getaway from the hubbub of people.

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New Entertainment for Epcot This Fall

by on August 29, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

For the past few years, the entertainment that can be found around World Showcase has been updated quite frequently. New entertainment acts grace the stages of the different countries of Epcot with unique representations of that country’s culture. One thing is for sure though; these acts, for the most part, are exceptionally entertaining. This fall, there will be some great new acts that join the Epcot entertainment roster, as well as some great fan favorites that will be returning. (Oh and I also bring good news as there are no lumberjacks that are returning!)

 

  • Suroît – This band is new to Epcot. They come from Canada’s Magdalen Islands in eastern Quebec and their sound has embraced influences from Cajun, Celtic, bluegrass and rock music. Suroît will perform on the Mill Stage at the Canada pavilion from August 31 – October 1.
  • Bodh’aktan – Returning once again, Bodh’aktan mixes Quebecois, folk and polka to make fantastic rock and dance music. This popular, kilted band is returning Canada Pavilion’s Mill Stage from October 2 – 22.
  • Raffy – This musical quartet makes their Epcot debut from October 23 – November 26 on the Mill Stage at the Canada Pavilion. Raffy has an infectious energy that they will be bringing to the park.
  • Margret Almer & The Bavarian Band – World-famous yodeler Margret Almer will be returning to the Germany Pavilion this fall. She’ll be performing with The Bavarian Band beginning August 31 and continuing through the holiday season.
  • Musique Aramenco – Returning to the stage at the Morocco Pavilion from September 1 – December 30. Musique Aramenco presents a fusion of traditional and modern Moroccan music.

I know I can’t wait to catch some of these great musical acts when touring around Epcot’s World Showcase this fall. What about you?

SATURDAY SIX 2016 Election Special: A look at how Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton as President could affect Walt Disney World

by on November 5, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a very special 2016 ELECTION SPECIAL – a look at how a President Trump or a President Clinton could affect Walt Disney World. We are mere days away from a historic election here in the United States. While many are concerned with the outcome of the election and how it will impact things like healthcare, national security, and taxes, we here at the SATURDAY SIX only care about the most important issue at stake: theme parks. We commissioned an all-star, blue ribbon panel made up of political experts, former imagineers, and futurists to give us a blueprint of what could happen. Unfortunately, none of them showed up. So instead we’re going to present to you OUR thoughts of what could happen to Walt Disney World depeHnding on how YOU vote on November 8th (although, for some of you the voting date is November 28th.) Whether you’re a shill for Hill or belong in a basket of deplorables, we have the result you don’t want to see. So sit back, proudly display your I Voted button, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – IF TRUMP WINS: We’re going to build a WALL around EPCOT’s Mexico Pavilion and THEY’RE going to pay for it

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Sorry La Cava, but we need to protect our borders….and Arendelle’s too. (photo by Daisy Lauren and  Matt Cleary)

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President on June 16, 2015, he made a bold promise. “I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” Donald himself has estimated this cost to be in the range of 10-12 billion dollars, while others have estimated it would be closer to 25 billion. With that type of money at stake, we’ll probably see Disney expand the monorail to the Port Orleans resorts before Mexico pays for this wall. However, a great way The Donald can save face is by actually building a wall around Mexico…the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT! While it may be hard to get the actual Mexican government to write a check, we feel confident that we could shake a few pesos out of La Cava del Tequila and the Three Caballeros to get this done.

# 5 – IF CLINTON WINS: Princesses to switch their dresses for smart and stylish pantsuits

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Princess Power! (photo by Matt Cleary)

A couple months ago there was a brouhaha in the Theme Park Universe because of something thought unfathomable by many Disney fans: the company changed Jasmine’s meet and greet outfit. For too long Disney Princesses have been forced to wear their iconic dresses no matter the occasion, and if we have our first woman in the White House it is high time to change that! No longer will Ariel cruelly be forced to wear scratchy sea shells as a top, because now the entire Disney Princess wardrobe will consist of smart and stylish pantsuits! As strong, courageous, and powerful women, each Disney Princess will rock these outfits like nobody’s business (attire.)

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Candlelight Processional Narrators Announced for 2016

by on October 25, 2016

Candlelight Processional

©Disney

Is the Candlelight Processional one of your favorite things that takes place at Walt Disney World around the holidays? I know it is one of mine. There’s something so incredible about experiencing a mass choir, an orchestra, and a celebrity narrator performing a re-telling of the Christmas Story. This year, the Candlelight Processional will take place from November 25 through December 30 at the America Gardens Theatre found World Showcase at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot.

But who will the celebrity narrators be for this year’s event? I have your answer, as almost the full list of narrators has been officially announced.

This year’s narrators include:

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Bodh’aktan To Perform at Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

by on September 20, 2016

Bodh’aktan

©Bodh’aktan

The revolving door of performers for the Canada Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot is continuing, but this time it appears that Disney is bringing back a Celtic rock band. No, it’s not Off Kilter. This new band is known as Bodh’aktan.

According to this article, Disney has been attempting to work with this band for years, but due to the their busy schedule, an agreement was unable to be met. That agreement has finally come to fruition, as Bodh’aktan will be performing for 20 days in both October and January.

The band was formed in 2011 and their music fuses elements of celtic, trad-Quebecois, polka, punk, Irish folk, Breton and Maritime into their sets.

Bodh’aktan will perform on The Mill Stage five days a week and will perform 20 minutes each hour.

SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love EPCOT!

by on July 16, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Reasons We Love EPCOT. This July we’re celebrating Walt Disney World here on the SATURDAY SIX. We started at Animal Kingdomand then made our way to Hollywood Studios, but this week we are going to look at a theme park that is unlike any other in America: Epcot.

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EPCOT, the only Walt Disney World park in which the monorail goes into the actual park. (photo by Brian Carey)

Comprised of two distinct sections (Future World and World Showcase,) it’s impossible to compare EPCOT to any other theme park you’ve been to. The term “edutainment” is often used to describe the park because it generally eschewed the traditional model of quick and whimsical children’s rides, and instead focused on long and elaborate dark rides that refused to shoehorn in Disney characters (RIP Horizons.) EPCOT’s mascot Figment became an immediate hit, and certainly remains the most popular character ever designed for a theme park. We’ve seen many changes to EPCOT over the years, but it remains a wonderfully unique park. Yes, we miss Kitchen Kaberet, World of Motion, and the original Journey into Imagination as much as anyone, but there are still plenty of things to love about EPCOT’s current state. What’s our favorite?  Well, sit back, snack on some school bread, and let’s start our countdown with…

# 6 – Frozen Ever After

In 2014 we shed our tears with the rest of the #SaveMaelstrom movement, but an amazing thing happened when Walt Disney Imagineering converted the old Norway boat ride into an attraction based around the hit movie Frozen: they hit a monstrous home run. Given the constraints WDI had to work with including – for Disney – a rapid turnaround, Frozen Ever After is a dark ride so good that it would fit in perfectly with the legendary Fantasyland attractions at the Magic Kingdom. The animatronics are amazing (Olaf steals the show), guests get to see all their favorite Frozen characters and hear almost the entire film’s soundtrack, including the contractually obligated “Let It Go.”

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Elsa, Anna, and Olaf in Frozen Ever After. (photo by Brian Carey)

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Sven after getting a triple dog dare. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Queen Elsa. (photo by Brian Carey)

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New Entertainment Group for Canada Pavilion at Epcot

by on June 10, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

We’ve been seeing a revolving door of new entertainment acts in the Canada Pavilion lately and now we have a brand new one that’s taking the Mill Stage.

Les Parfaits Inconnus will combine music, circus art and comedy to create an unforgettable show. The group who hails from Québec, consist of talented artists and athletes. Les Parfaits Inconnus will demonstrate a mastery of several circus disciplines as well as proficiency with musical instruments. These off-the-wall characters will showcase a stunning performance that will take place multiple times a day.

As part of this entertainment change, the former band Alberta Bound gave their final performance recently.

No word on how long Les Parfaits Inconnus will be performing at Epcot, but one would assume that this group will also be on stage for a limited engagement, as that seems to be customary as of late with World Showcase performers. (Particularly those who perform in the Canada Pavilion.)

SATURDAY SIX: Walt Disney World locations in Hulk Hogan’s THUNDER IN PARADISE

by on April 30, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Walt Disney World locations used in Hulk Hogan’s Thunder in Paradise. We’re getting into the DeLorean today with Marty McFly and Doc Brown to head back to the year 1994. It was a simpler time back then. A time when Walt Disney World only had three theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney-MGM Studios (now known as Disney’s Hollywall’d Studios and soon to be renamed as Disney Studios Escape, Disney’s CineMagic Kingdom, or A Salute to All Movies But Mostly Star Wars).

1994 was also a time where there was not one but TWO successful professional wrestling companies in America. One was WWE (who is still thriving today) and the other was World Championship Wrestling (WCW). In a controversial move at the time, WCW started taping blocks of wrestling shows at Disney-MGM Studios. Because the park was still trying to be a working production facility for movies and TV, an action-adventure television show featuring Hulk Hogan was also filmed on location. That show: Thunder in Paradise.

How to describe Thunder in Paradise? Take Baywatch, strip away all the nuanced storylines and good actors, throw in a high tech speedboat in the vein of Knight Rider/Air Wolf and you pretty much have it. However, Thunder in Paradise does have one thing going for it that will appeal to readers of this fine article series: it shot almost all of its scenes at The World. Who among us doesn’t fondly remember Full House going to WDW? More recently Modern Family shot an entire episode at Disneyland, and it was great! It is awesome seeing the theme parks we know and love in a whole new context. So today we are going to look at some of our favorite WDW locations used in Thunder in Paradise. So sit back, tie that do-rag tight brother, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – DISNEY’S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT

The pilot of Thunder in Paradise actually used the Loews Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete, Florida as the base camp for Hulk Hogan and crew, but when the show was picked up for a series the following twenty episodes used Disney’s Grand Florida Resort. Fans of the Grand Flo are going to LOVE Thunder in Paradise as at least 25% of the entire series takes place inside or on the grounds of the resort. It’s incredible! You’ll see the lobby, the hallways, the rooms, and the Hulkster even has a dinner in Victoria & Alberts! A lot of scenes are filmed directly in front of the Grand Floridian, with the Scuttlebutt Bar N’ Grill being a major location for the show. The Scuttlebutt is where the Grand Flo’s Beaches pool bar now sits.

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Hulk Hogan and WWE Hall of Famer Sting square off in front of the Grand Floridian.

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A group of muscleheads (including Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart and Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake” playing tug of war in front of the Grand Flo. Should surprise no one who has read the Death of WCW book that the only person on the other side of this rope was Hulk Hogan.

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The Grand Flo lobby. We’re this close to Mizners!

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Hulk Hogan sitting at Victoria & Alberts. As he always said, say your prayers, eat your vitamins, and get up at 6AM 180+10 days out for your ADRs. Brother.

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What I Wish I Knew Before My Trip to Epcot

by on April 5, 2016

Spaceship Earth!

Spaceship Earth!

If you are planning your very first visit to Walt Disney World, and you’re like me, you’ve probably done your Disney homework on the parks and resorts. I’m sure you have lists of what attractions you want to see, what characters you want to meet, and I bet you even made those dining reservations the day you booked your trip, right? Still, despite all your planning and newly accumulated park knowledge, it’s still easy to make those Disney World Rookie mistakes. My goal today is to let you in on some tips and info that I wish I had known before my park visits to help your first time trip to Walt Disney World run a little more smoothly. I’ve already covered What I Wish I Knew Before My Trip to the Magic Kingdom; and so for today, I’m tackling What I Wish I Knew Before My Trip to Epcot!

Epcot Map

The length of World Showcase is what I wish I knew before my trip to Epcot!

Two Parks in One

Epcot is one park, but it has two very different sections: Future World and the World Showcase. Future World was originally intended to educate visitors about the world and to be a showplace for new technology. However, Future World has suffered some criticism in recent years as many of its buildings sit empty and seems to be more representative of the past than the future. Still, Future World is home to some of the park’s most popular attractions such as Soarin’, Test Track, and the iconic Spaceship Earth. Epcot’s other section, World Showcase, sits towards the rear of the park and encircles the World Showcase Lagoon. This part of Epcot features eleven pavilions themed after different countries from around the world, as well as one for the United States.

What’s really awesome about World Showcase is that Imagineers went to great lengths to make each pavilion and its design both historically and culturally accurate, so you feel as if you’re in another country and also getting a sense of its history at the same time. Also, I absolutely love eating at the different World Showcase restaurants and shopping for souvenirs from around the world.

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The Basics: Meeting Characters at Epcot

by on February 15, 2016

Character Meet and Greets

Nothing is quite so magical as meeting Mickey for the first time!

This is a continuation of our Back to Basics Series. Scroll to the bottom to see our other Basics posts.

One of the quintessential Walt Disney World experiences is participating in Character Meet and Greets. That magical moment when your child meets Mickey for the first time is right up there with their first spin on Dumbo or the first time blasting off on Space Mountain. Like most Disney adventures, I would also caution those adult-only travelling parties not to overlook character experiences as just for the little ones – you can still have a magical experience with Mulan or Aurora even if you’re in the over-18 set!

This is the first article in my series on Character Meet and Greets, in which I will tackle every park and give you a run-down of who you can meet and where. I’ve decided to start with Epcot (this is traditionally the first park we visit on every trip – why not begin at the beginning?!), so buckle up for a tour of Future World and World Showcase and the characters who live there!

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