Archive for February, 2009

Park Hours And Schedules For Spring 2009

by on February 9, 2009

After Disney recently released their park hours and Extra Magic Hours schedule for May, they made some unexpected changes to their schedules for other months as well. Some Extra Magic Hours dates for March were switched and some park hours were changed. To make it more interesting, some international official Walt Disney World sites have conflicting information with the U.S. official site. The format of the Walt Disney World Website (U.S.) was recently changed which made it seem like the change in the schedule for March may have been incorrect, a result of the new website, not an actual change in Disney’s schedule.

After consulting all of our sources and talking to Disney Information directly we now know even less. It is not clear which set of schedules is correct, so we are still looking into it. Updates will follow…

WDW After Dark

by on February 8, 2009

Now that Pleasure Island has closed do you find yourself looking for something fun to do after the parks close? There are still some options within Walt Disney World for those who can’t or don’t want to venture into Orlando. Here are a few suggestions for those of you seeking out night time fun at Disney World.

The most concentrated area of activity is Down Town Disney which offers several options for night owls. The shops are open until around 11:30 if you are looking to use your AP discount at World of Disney or pick out that special ornament at Disney’s Days of Christmas. Feeling hungry? There are also several places to grab a late night snack like Ghirardelli’s or Earl of Sandwich. Over at Disney’s West Side there are also plenty of fun things to do. If you’d like to take in a show, there’s Cirque du Soleil La Nouba. But if live musical acts are more your thing, check out the House of Blues. One of my favorite places to grab a pint and listen to the live band is Raglan Road. The house band is awesome and the occasional Irish dancing is sure to please.

None of those choices sound appealing? Well, just a short walk from Epcot’s International Gateway, the Boardwalk offers up several night time options. There’s Jelly Rolls where dueling pianos entertain guests. Atlantic Dance Hall is one of the only places on property where you can dance the night away. ESPN club offers a sports bar atmosphere, especially great on the day of the big game. It would be easy to walk over to this area after Illuminations and then catch a cab back to your resort.

If all else fails, there’s always the bar at your resort. I, personally, like the bar at O’Hana over at the Polynesian. Anywhere that serves drinks in a pineapple is high on my list. As for moderate resorts, Port Orleans Riverside has River Roost Lounge featuring Yeehaw Bob at the piano. And for those of you on a tighter hotel budget, Petals pool bar at Pop Century is my favorite of the value resorts’ bars.

There are also several off property options, but I’ll get to those later…

New IBM exhibit in Innoventions

by on February 8, 2009

A portion of a much larger overall IBM exhibit has opened in Innoventions West. The new offering is not really advertised or explained as it seems to be part of a bigger area that is yet to be revealed – but it is fun.

Guests enter an station with a backdrop and are asked to perform various movements to be captured on video by a nearby camera. Guests are asked to run, jump, and do a celebration dance.

They can then choose to accept their videos or have them retaken. Once confirmed, guests videos are uploaded and guests move to another station to see what they’ve created.

At the next station, guests get to play a video game with themself as the main character. They run through worlds that resemble retro side-scroller games such as Mario Bros and Sonic the Hedgehog. Each level moves forward in the history of computer technology and features nods to Epcot and it’s technological savvy.

Fantasmic 3x a week

by on February 8, 2009

A quick note, Disney is bumping Fantasmic at the Studios up to 3 nights of showings per week – up from the 2 nights a week they’ve been trying since the New Year. Guest complaints are apparently getting pretty bad.

Wall Land!

by on February 8, 2009

Numerous non-attraction refurbishments are underway right now at Walt Disney World. The Innoventions Plaza fountain is getting a much needed overhaul.

And more repairs are being done in Japan.

Numerous other small projects are scattered around the resort as well, including renovations at the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, and Grand Floridian. You can’t hop on a monorail without seeing some refurbishment walls right now.

FL Resident 2-day ticket offer

by on February 8, 2009

Florida Residents can now buy a 2 Day Magic your Way base ticket for $99 plus tax for guests 10 and over, $83 plus tax for Guests 3-9. This offer is good from Feb. 1, 2009 through May 20, 2009. You can purchase the Water Park Fun and More for an additional $25 plus tax on each ticket. These tickets are valid 14 days from first use and must be used by May 21, 2009.
Blackout: Tickets are not valid from Apr. 4, 2009 – April 18, 2009.

Stitch Commeth

by on February 8, 2009

Major renovation is underway at the Magic Kingdom to build a stage for Tomorrowland dance party hosted by Stitch as part of the Celebration Vacation campaign.

American Idol Experience opens this week

by on February 8, 2009

The American Idol Experience will have a “world premiere” this Thursday and a grand opening on Valentine’s day. To tide everyone over until that happens – here’s a time lapse of the construction within the theater.

The Kim Possible Experience

by on February 8, 2009

So here’s the stitch: A group of our researchers recently explored the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure to give you low down on how to save the world in 90mins or less.

Recruits typically begin their adventure at either Innoventions East or West where they scan a park ticket, give their party size, and choose the number of communicators they’ll want to use. The sign-up process is guided by a friendly field agent.

The recruited agents then receive a FastPass telling them where to go and find a secret agent at an outpost at a specified country and time.

This country does not have to be the country which you play the game in. You can request to be sent to another country from that point if you want to explore a new location. These outposts can also begin the game for any walk ups if you didn’t hit the recruitment center in Innoventions or on the bridge to World Showcase. These stations are at nearly every country in World Showcase and all look alike.

We do have some comments and complaints. We were recommended a single phone for a party of four. Realistically, two people per phone is far more functional. Second, the Norway adventure isn’t very good. It requires racing around roughly the same small location from spot to spot (near the restrooms and quick service seating area) rather then involving the whole pavilion. You do cause some neat interactions with the pavilion, but it is just too closely confined to make it any fun. You run into other players constantly and can hear or see one effect mere feet from another. Thankfully, not all of the adventures are like this. We recommend Japan. Here’s a few highlights from the Norway adventure including puffs of smoke, raising flags, and talking statues.

To be honest, we don’t know how to Norway adventure ends. The finale was broken and the field agents seemed shocked to discover it was out of order. We think someone should be checking the effects on a regular basis. Here you can see two of our agent examining their own reflections in a broken screen:

This gave us some trepidation in recommending the Kim Possible World showcase Adventure to guests. A second attempt, Japan, made it clear why this will be a hit with Epcot guests.

The Japan adventure, reportedly the best according to CM’s who run the attraction, features summoning the elements from flowing water, wind chimes, glowing kanji, and flaming lanterns.

Did we mention the magical trees?

Or the evil baby robots?

Overall, the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure offers a good diversion in the park. The challenges are simple but engaging. We just don’t recommend the Norway Adventure until they rethink its logistics. We would like to see some sort of prize for completing the quest – like the posters given out for getting all of the passport stamps. Tossing your phone away in a secret bin is a bit anti-climactic.

Studios touring plans updated to include The American Idol Experience

by on February 6, 2009

We’ve updated all of the Studios touring plans to include the new American Idol attraction; a review of AIE is available online as well. In addition, we’ve removed Sounds Dangerous from most of the touring plans as that attraction has moved to seasonal operation. Drop us a line if you see anything unusual with the touring plans.