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.
I caught up with the quartet, who posted on Twitter that they are returning to Scotland to record an album, after a recent afternoon performance. They said that they have no plans to return to Walt Disney World after next week, so if you are a Paul McKenna Band fan you only have a few days left to see them without having to fly across the pond.
It’s fair to say that, although McKenna and company are talented performers who authentically represent their musical tradition, they never enjoyed the kind of cult-like popularity garnered by Off Kilter, the Canadian rock band that was controversially canceled prior to McKenna’s debut.
In case you never had a chance to experience the Paul McKenna Band in person, I’ve immortalized one of their sets on YouTube for posterity:
Are you a Disney Park critic? I know, it’s hard to be critical of anything Disney (at least I think so), but even I have to admit that I’ve experienced a few things that some parks don’t do as well as others. Of course, there’s also a number of things that each park does very well! Today, I’m breaking down Disney Park Strengths and Weaknesses beginning with one of my personal favorite parks: Epcot.
Epcot has a very interesting history. What few guests know is that Epcot was one of Walt’s main focuses when it came to his Florida Project and that the park we know today wasn’t exactly what he had in mind. Epcot, formerly known as EPCOT Center, stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and was intended to be a real, working community with an innovative design to serve as a model for future cities. When Walt passed away, the vision for Epcot gradually turned into a park that celebrated both the future and the world. That is why Epcot is composed of two different sections: Future World and World Showcase.
The holiday season is upon us here in Orlando! Walt Disney World is always the first of the major theme parks to kick off their festivities. The green light to start getting into the holiday spirit is shining bright, so let’s talk about the holiday festivities at Walt Disney World that need to be on your must-do list this year.
5. Monorail Resorts Tour
Photo by Brian McNichols
Three of Disney’s deluxe resorts await along the monorail loop, as part of the Magic Kingdom’s dominion. These resorts are highly sought after, commanding some of the highest room rates in the area. There are many desirable features here and during the holidays each resort offers their own unique way to celebrate the season.
Each year Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers a large gingerbread display in the Grand Canyon Concourse. This resort has the most kinetic energy and I find it to lack a bit of peace and instead at certain points feel as hectic as the shopping malls are this time of year. Still, the hustle and bustle is a traditional feeling of the season for many.
Hopping on the monorail (assuming it is actually operational) you’ll make a quick pit stop at the TTC before proceeding to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Get ready to say Male Kalikimaka, which is Hawaii’s holiday greeting. The holiday festivities and décor are not as extravagant as you will find in our next stop, the Grand Floridian, but the tropical charm and exotic feel is something you’ll rarely find anywhere else.
The grand finale is the Grand Floridian. This resort sparkles and shines during the holidays. The elegance and grace of the season are reflected in the Victorian Christmas decorations, evoking holiday traditions of a more refined era. Accents of gold, scarlet, and pale peach shine against the deep emerald green garlands. Nearly every Deluxe resort has a multi-story Christmas tree for all to admire. Here the tree is 40 feet high with golden lights and ornaments of doves, harps, bird cages, and other graceful elements.
The main attraction here is the life-size gingerbread house. The detail on this childhood dream come true never fails to impress each year. I’m getting giddy just typing about it. You can view the house from all angles, peer in the windows, and even shell out some dough (pun intended) at the sweet shop inside the house. The treats are pretty pricey, I would recommend picking out one treat to share.
Bonus round: secure a spot at any of the three resorts to catch a performance of Holiday Wishes, my absolute favorite fireworks ever to grace the Magic Kingdom.
4. Epcot Area Resorts Tour
Typically the monorail resorts get all kinds of love and recognition during this time of year, but I think there is a collection of resorts that offer a better experience during the holidays. The Epcot Area / Crescent Lake Area Resorts are much easier to access and tour through. You can walk to each resort or for a seafaring twist hop aboard the Friendships (though not the most effective use of your time).
Ribab Fusion is jamming now through January at Epcot’s Morocco pavilion. (Video by Seth Kubersky)
During last year’s reshuffling of Epcot’sWorld Showcase shows, long-time fan favorite musical group Mo’Rockin’ was moved out of the Morocco pavilion and replaced by a Berber band called B’net Al Houwariyate. Now, the revolving door of Epcot entertainment has rotated yet turned again: B’net has said goodbye (at least for the time being) and Ribab Fusion has made their debut at Epcot’s Morocco.
As a reader of the TouringPlans blog, I’m going to assume that you like to spend some time planning your Walt Disney World vacations. And if you’re anything like me, you might spend a lot of time planning (okay…obsessing) about all of the details that go into a perfect day.
So what is an uber-planner to do when they find themselves in Epcot with no Fastpass+ or dining reservations booked? No need to panic! I’m going to share with you my favorite personalized Epcot touring plan that requires no Fastpass+ or advance dining reservations, but still allows you to experience all that Epcot has to offer.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort Ink and Paint Shop
Is shopping a big part of your Walt Disney World Vacation? It’s a big part of mine! I love browsing the numerous stores throughout the Disney World Resort looking for a piece of the magic to bring home, but have you ever noticed that so much of the merchandise lining the shelves of one store is the same as what you find at the next? I mean, I love plush and pins and t-shirts too, but not when it’s in every store. Fortunately, there are a few places scattered around Disney World where you can discover some hard to find souvenirs which is why for today, I’m sharing a few of my favorite Disney World stores for unique merchandise!
Animal Kingdom Lodge Pillow for $24.95
Zawadi Marketplace– Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort’s gift shop is a big favorite among Disney World guests! It’s large and very open; and in addition to your standard gift shop items, has a selection of handmade African art, collectibles, and even books about wildlife. Some items, including plush toys that I’ve seen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park can also be found here too. Now I’m a big fan of the Disney World Resorts and kind of consider them like second homes, so naturally I love a wide selection of resort exclusive merchandise and Zawadi Marketplace has a lot in the form of tees, cups, magnets, artwork, and even home décor.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a Salute to All Nations (But Mostly America). July 4th weekend brings out the patriotism in all of us, and nothing is more American than our favorite theme parks. Created with the opening of Disneyland in 1955, theme parks — along with comic books and jazz music — are one of the rare forms of art that we in the USA have given to the citizens of Earth. Thankfully, they are all so good that the world forgives us for everything else we’ve given them such as Zima, reality television, and the KFC Double Down. So raise Old Glory up to full staff, put Real American on the CD mp3 player, and let’s dive into some theme park American goodness starting with…
Located at the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, the Voices of Liberty are an 8 person a cappella group that will have your heart swelling with pride as they belt out some of the most well known songs paying tribute to our country’s rich history. The playlist includes: “America the Beautiful,” “This Land is Your Land,” “This is My Country,” “You Raise Me Up,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” And you just may hear a song from a little movie called Frozen…