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March 3, 2016

Opening Day Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Deb's Digest Blog
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March 2nd was the opening day for the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot! I arrived about 8:30 to a fairly long line of folks. It was a cloudy day but the sun was predicted to break through the clouds mid morning.

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The turnstyles opened about 8:45 and it seemed most everyone was headed either to Test Track or the Pin Station for LE pins. Since I was not interested in either, I began my tour around Future World to see what gardens and topiaries I could find.


The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Passport is back with expanded checklists so you don't miss anything! I highly recommend you get a Passport as it contains all the important information in one place. And if you like to collect "stamps" each location has their own themed mark to include in your passport.

The highlight for me was the entrance topiaries of Daisy Duck greeting guests to Fresh Epcot and on the back side a great grouping of Donald Duck and his nephews! I really think this display is first rate and a wonderful way to start my day at the Flower and Garden Festival.

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I had my first glimpse at a Pin Trading Cast member using a "trash can". I thought that was creative. No idea if this is new, I just haven't see it or what.

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On the south side of Spaceship Earth was this year's new display called Floral Sun Garden with yellow sunbursts. While pretty, I have gotten used to this area being a color full topiary display. According to the Press Release, this area "will sprout in a new Future World topiary garden featuring Minnie Mouse and Pluto." I 'll check it out later in the festival.

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As a huge fan of our National Parks, I was very happy to learn that there would be a display honoring the 100th anniversary of the parks. Ranger Mickey is all set with his binoculars and camera bag. I loved the detail and color arrangements. It was interesting that as I stood there taking photos, a mother brought her sons over to show them "Indiana Jones"!! She seemed excited and so did the kids.

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On the opposite side facing World Show Case Chip and Dale were out having fun by a small waterfall. Looks like Chip is ready for lunch!

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Over to the West side of Innoventions the Butterfly House looked fairly empty (usually its packed) so I went in. I didn't see anything new or different and being so early in the festival the chrysalises were not yet emerging. Also due to the cloudy cool morning, there were no butterflies flitting about.

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Happy to see Fantasia Mickey along with the broom water buckets, the dancing hippo and other related topiaries return.

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The Pollinator Paradise Garden was back. My favorite part of these are the seed created pollinators :) Take some time to check out the garden destinations (page 8 in the Passport) as they are not only beautiful to look at but you might learn something too (I did :)

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The new Edible Garden by the Land was colorful highlighting hibiscus and other edible plants.

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The Kids Play Area that had been Monsters Inc themed the last few years is all changed this year with new play equipment and a new theme -- Harmony Gardens Musical Playgrounds. Lots of interactive displays for kids (ok, so a few adults too) creating musical sounds with drums and a variety of xylophones. Lots of children running here and there. Returning is the nice shaded tent area for adults to watch their kids!

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Cactus Road Rally is back with it's play area - great photo ops with both Mater and Lightening McQueen.

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As you walk around World Showcase there are many topiaries to see. Some have moved to new locations, such as Winnie the Pooh characters and Anna and Elsa.

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In terms of merchandise, there are lots of fun Figment items including t-shirts and mugs.

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Even a cute Stitch shirt:

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We had lunch at the popular Smokehouse in the American Adventure area.

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I tried 3 of the new items and overall they were good.

Smoked Pork Ribs with Roasted Corn Salad (GF) $6.50 ddp snack -- The ribs were a bit light in meat but tasty. The roasted corn salad was tasty.

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Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapenos $5.75 ddp snack -- The hash was tasty (although I removed the Jalapenos) Beef Brisket had two meaty pieces and 2 fatty pieces. I don't care for the fatty parts of meat so if you do, you might really like this item!

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Finally the Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon-Salted Caramel Sauce and Spiced Pecans (V) $3.75 ddp snack - The new Warm Chocolate Cake was moist and quite tasty.

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I didn't' try any other foods and and about this time the park was getting very crowded so I headed out, stopping first to get my Annual Passholder print.

Annual Passholders should be sure to get their complimentary Ducky Williams artwork. This month the print features Donald. Future months will be Goofy and Mickey. The location is behind Club Cool and there is signage.

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Of course there is MUCH MUCH more see and experience at the Flower and Garden Festival. In fact, I'll be back in a couple days!

I have lots more photos to get on AllEars. Be sure to visit our comprehensive Flower and Garden section! I have lots more photos to get online too!


July 9, 2013

Mickey's America Streetbeat Limited Time Magic Scores!

Deb's Digest Blog

This week's Limited Time Magic is Mickey's America Streetbeat performed in the American Gardens Theatre in Epcot. Streetbeat is a high energy 24 minute show with professional dancers and Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald Duck.

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The jam session includes hip-hop, acrobatics, lots of percussion as well as tap dance - modern style.


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Each of the Disney characters gets their own spotlight in the show too!

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Mickey's America Streetbeat was created especially for Limited Time Magic although some segments have been previously performed at ESPN Wide World of Sports and "Helping Kids Shine" Grants award presentations.

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As far as Limited Time Magic events go, I think this one is spot on! If you plan to be in Epcot between now and July 14th, be sure to include this as part of your day! Show times are 12:30, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30.

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For more Limited Time Magic videos check out our Limited Time Magic Playlist on YouTube.

October 8, 2012

Epcot Food and Wine -- Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars Wine Tasting

Deb Wills

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One of the less expensive events to attend at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival are the beverage and culinary demonstrations held daily in the Festival Center.

The beverage seminars are either $14 or $11 and advance reservations are recommended. The popular beverages and culinary demos will sell out! Tables in Wonderland members, Annual Passholders, DVC members, and Golden Oak residents are able to purchase a $2 discounted ticket for these events Monday through Thursday ONLY. Discounted reservations must be made via telephone at 407-WDW-FEST.

Today I attended the Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars tasting at $14 per person.

Upon entering the Festival Center turn left and look for the "Check-In" area. You'll need photo ID to pick up your tickets for the day (beverage and culinary seminars).

TIP: You can only pick up tickets for the current day. Be sure to bring your list of what seminars you reserved and pick up all the tickets at one time.

After getting your tickets, continue left to the vineyard stage and wait to be seated, or if you have extra time, visit the marketplace and cafe. We decided to get a fruit and cheese plate to nosh on before the tasting. At $5.39 plus tax, it was plenty for the 2 of us to share.

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Our presentation today was given by Charlie Campbell, National Sales Manager at Silver Oak/Twomey.

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You never know until that day who will be presenting. Sometimes is the owner, winemaker or in this case, a member of the sales team.

TIP: If it is the owner or winemaker doing the presentation, they are sometimes available for a bottle signing after the talk. Check at the wine store prior to your seminar to find out.

Traditionally, three wines are poured at these tastings. There is a pitcher of ice water and small cups as well as a few (and I do mean few) crackers.

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Also provided is a page with the wines you are tasting and a pencil to take notes.
TIP: The pencil is hard to read on the front of the page, flip it over and you'll be able to read your notes much better than I did! Or bring a pen to take notes with.

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The three wines we tasted: 2011 Twomey Sauvignon Blanc, Twomey Merlot, and the Silver Oak Alexander Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Silver Oak is an American family owned winery and has been in business for 40 years.
Twomey and Silver Oak are owned by the same family. Silver Oak focuses solely on Cabernet Sauvigon, while Towmey produces Savignon Blanc, Merlot and 4 different Pinot Noirs.

I had never heard of Twomey Cellars before so I was glad to learn about them. We really enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc (which actually was much better than the Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc we had the night before at dinner). The Twomey wine was crisper and filled the mouth with lots of flavors. The Duckhorn was lighter with a short finish.

It was explained to us that "Twomey's founding winemaker, Daniel Baron, developed his passion for Merlot during the early 1980s while working in Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. For the Twomey Merlot, made at the winery's Calistoga location, Daniel uses a method known as soutirage traditionnel. Refined for centuries in Pomerol, soutirage traditionnel is a slow, careful process of decanting the wine from one barrel to another. At Twomey, this racking is done six times during the 18 months of aging. It is considered the ideal way to clarify red wine to crystal-clear brilliance while drawing its fruit characteristics forward and softening its tannins."

We enjoyed the merlot (which sometimes is blended with up to 10% cabernet franc). It had soft tannins and you could taste chocolate and dark fruits.

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Last, but not least, we tasted the Silver Oak Alexander Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Two types of Cabernet are produced by Silver Oak. The first is from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma, the second from Napa Valley.

"Our 2007 Napa Valley, a blend of wine from vineyards throughout the appellation, is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. We blended the vineyard lots in early 2008 and transferred the wine to 100% new American oak barrels for aging. Blending prior to barreling allows us to achieve a balance of the wine's primary elements, such as fruit and tannin, before they are influenced by oak. The wine was then aged in barrel for approximately 25 months and another 20 months in bottle to harmonize its components before release."

The 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (100% cabernet) is a dark, rich full-bodied wine with great tannic structure and mouth-feel. It has a garnet color and a nose of ripe boysenberries, cherry liqueur, dark chocolate, sandalwood and a hint of roasting meat. On the palate, it is mouth-coating and incredibly rich in umami. It has a very long, savory finish with the slight grip of fine-grained tannins. Given proper cellaring, this wine should give drinking pleasure through 2030.

TIP: If you are a fan of Silver Oak and want to add a bottle to your collection... The Festival Center sells the 2007 Alexander Valley Cab for $55; this is about $20 less than retail or anything you'll find on the internet.

I highly recommend these beverage seminars as a great way to taste and learn about the various wines and winemakers!

NOTE: Some information has been taken from the website for Twomey Cellars and Silver Oak. If you are visiting California and wish to tour the winery, you must make advance reservations.

October 1, 2012

Happy 30th Birthday Epcot!

Deb Wills

HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY EPCOT!

It seems like it was just last year when I attended the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Epcot!

Epcot's 25th Anniversary


Many books have been written about Epcot Center, from Walt Disney's original concepts to what came to be.

This blog, however, is just going to highlight a few fun facts I found while pursing some of the documents in my collection. At the end of the blog are two youtube videos you'll want to watch!

3,000 designers and 4,000 construction workers were involved in building Epcot Center Phase I which took 3 years to build. The size of the new park was massive. A one-eighth inch scale model was already as big as a home!

Future World largest attraction was The Land, presented by Kraft, Inc. It covered six acres and was as big as the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland!

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During the construction of Epcot Center, 54 million cubic feet of dirt was removed!

Over 1.5 million feet of motion picture film was shot to produce 31 Epcot Center shows - can you name them all?

The 32 foot high, 515 foot long diorama in the Universe of Energy took 3 artists, 5,700 hours to paint.

Disney landscapers planted three and a half acres of annual flowers and plants, 70 acres of sod, 12,500 specimen trees and 100,000 shrubs!

Planting Epcot Trees

World Showcase Lagoon covered 40 acres and opened with nine countries: Canada, United Kingdom, France, Japan, The American Adventure, Germany, China, Italy and Mexico. The first photo is the American Adventure under construction.

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Japan Construction at Epcot

Many VIPs visited Epcot Center during construction. Here are 3 of France's best known chefs and restaurateurs, Roger Verge, Gaston LaNotre, and Paul Bocuse at the ground breaking ceremony for the France Pavilion. The world famous chefs will collaborate on the fine French restaurant to be located in the Pavilion.

France Ground Breaking at Epcot

The 260 acre Epcot Center opened at more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom!

When Epcot Center opened it was deemed "Disney's New Special Effects Capital". "The challenge of special effects is that the viewer must believe", says Bill Novey manager of the WED special effects team. "We're trying to involve guests in Epcot Center experiences, some of which are intense, and special effects can make a contribution through impressions as well as physical contacts."

Computers, laser graphics, holographic images, liquid neon and fiber optics played a big part in the special effects found throughout Epcot Center. Fiber options projections formed the starry universe planetarium in Spaceship Earth, the fireworks display in Mexico and the paint-spilling sequence in Journey to Imagination!

The piece de resistance of WED special effects is the Journey into Imagination, the attraction that comes closest to traditional Disney entertainment. Between the 80-foot upside down water fall, to the leapfrogging water streams outside, to the colorful rainbows, exploding nebula, and lightening in the jar inside the attraction to the Image Works area with magical devices gallor, Imagination was a true showcase! Altogether there are more than 200 projectors used in Journey to Imagination, more than all of the Magic Kingdom.

Journey Into Imagination

Disney Parks Blog published a time-lapse video of Epcot construction:

Here are a few other videos I came across on YouTube you may find interesting.

The Dream Called EPCOT - Shown at the EPCOT Preview Center on Main Street in 1980

Epcot Center 1982 Preview

This video is from the Vault Disney Collection that has the Danny Kaye opening ceremony for Epcot. It's almost 45 minutes but you'll enjoy it!

There are many more great vintage videos of Epcot on YouTube - what are some of your favorites from the 1980s?

September 12, 2012

Epcot - Sculpting the Spirits of America -Looking Back

As we move closer to October 1st and the 30th anniversary of Epcot, I thought I'd dig into my archives and share some images and information.

Over 300 sculpted art works, including 154 in World Showcase, helped theme the brand new park. Blaine Gibson, head of the WED sculpting team, explains "There are many things that have to work together in creating sculpture. The art must conform to our purpose and relate to the surrounding architecture and period."

The American Adventure theater has 12 "Spirits of America". The life-size sculptures include cowboys, pilgrims and scientists symbolizing the spirit making up this great nation!

The photo below is a Disney sculptor at WED Enterprises in California creating one of the "Spirits of America".

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And as they are today:

These statues range in height from 5'5" to more than 6'. Each sits atop a 3' square base. Here is a list of the Spirits and who was chosen to represent the different categories.

Spirit of Adventure - Seaman
Spirit of Compassion - Doctor
Spirit of Discovery - Mountain Man
Spirit of Freedom - Pilgrim
Spirit of Heritage - Native American
Spirit of Independence - Colonial Soldier
Spirit of Individualism - Cowboy
Spirit of Innovation - Scientist
Spirit of Knowledge - Teacher
Spirit of Pioneering - Aviator
Spirit of Self-Reliance - Farmer
Spirit of Tomorrow - Woman and Child


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Spirit of America American Adventure Epcot

To read more about the America Adventure attraction in Epcot begin HERE!

July 5, 2012

July 4th Celebrations in Epcot

A few years ago I was fortunate to be in Walt Disney World during the 4th of July. At that time, I had the privilege of seeing the special Voices of Liberty Concert. I knew that this year, I wanted to see them again.

Some of my friends wondered why I would go to Epcot on July 4th. Didn't I know it would be packed? Um, yes, I do; as any of the major holidays are. But I don't go for the attractions, I go for the special entertainment and extras. And, if you visit with that in mind, and don't worry about what rides you'll get on or how long the waits are, you can have a truly amazing time.

I wandered over to World Showcase around 10:30am. The park was waking up and folks were coming in. I decided to walk around and eventually make my way to the American Gardens Theater.

As you can see, the day began with blue skies, white puffy clouds and looked to be gorgeous.

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At the Land pavilion, the Kidcot station was celebrating the 4th of July with vegetable displays and festive coloring for the kids!

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As I made my way towards World Showcase, I saw this brand new topiary of Phineas and Ferb, no doubt to celebrate "Agent P's World Showcase Adventure" game.


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The Voices of Liberty!

On to World Showcase. I arrived at the American Adventure about 11:40am and a small line had already gathered for the concert. I gladly took my place in line, in the sun, in the heat, because I just had to see this performance!


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In case you don't know who these folk are, let me explain a tiny bit. The Voices of Liberty are an a capella singing group, that perform several times a day in the rotunda of the America Adventure pavilion. They bring "Americana" to life! Throughout the year you can listen to them sing musical numbers from Oh Susanna and Yankee Doodle to Battle Hymn of the Republic and America the Beautiful.

These very talented singers perform in multi-part harmony, and their voices are their instruments. During the holiday season they perform as the Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers, and sing a variety of Christmas songs as well as some Hanukkah music. To see/hear them best, sit on the floor outside the red circle -- being right under the dome really amplifies their wonderful sound.

On the 4th of July, they move outside to the American Gardens Theater where they perform the absolute best show in their repertoire. Ok, some might argue the Candlelight Processional is their best - but they are just a part of that moving experience. On July 4th it's only the Voices of Liberty. Words really do not do this fine group justice.


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Their show is a special tribute to America! They fill the stage with their red and blue costumes and fill the air with melodies that bring you back in time.

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Songs like Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA, Golden Dreams, and an American medley.

There is also a special tribute to the armed forces with a melody of songs from each of the branches.

Even Mickey, Donald and Goofy join them on stage!


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And if the show weren't enough to garner a standing ovation, their finale, the Star Spangled Banner - as you've never heard it sung before -- is the ultimate!!! As I listened to them sing, I knew it was so worth standing in line in the heat. Tears welled in my eyes as I watched and listened. Everyone rose to their feet - how could you not?!

Here is a short clip of the grand finale!

And they leave to a thunderous standing ovation!

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Immediately following, the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corp had a special show!

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I wandered over to see when Betsy Ross might be performing (as she had in recent years) but was informed she wasn't available this year. Characters were out in the patriotic gear making for great photos.

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At the Kidcot station you could pick up an Independence Day pamplet which included a Discover America "Scavenger Hunt". It was fun for kids and adults!

By now it's well after 1pm and I wanted to visit the Tangierine Cafe (Morocco) for lunch.

Unfortunately, the sky had gotten quite dark and it was obvious a storm was moving in. I hurried back to the resort. As I reached the International Gateway boat dock the rain had begun. The Cast Member explained the boats would not run in severe thunder storm weather so we might be there for a while. I put my legs in gear and got back to the Boardwalk just as the skies opened up!

I took advantage of the air conditioning and caught up on some work in the room. Around 6:30pm the storm had cleared and I went back to Epcot to see IllumiNations and the special 4th of July tag.

Nearing International Gateway, I got a text from a friend who was waiting for the Sounds of Summer Concert by Slippery When Wet, a Bon Jovi tribute band. I joined them for the 7:45pm concert.

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Afterwards we headed to the front of World Showcase, where other friends were holding space for us to watch IllumiNations. Along the way we were treated to a beautiful sunset.

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I stopped by a kiosk near Mexico to purchase water and after waiting in quite a long line, got the last bottle they had (I wanted several).

We are all set now between the two Tower Shops with about 90+ minutes to wait..

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We were on the far side of the photo you see above. The closest area to the lagoon was closed off due to fallout from the fireworks. This was a very smart idea because even where we stood, we were "rained" on a few times. If you stand in this area for IllumiNations and the wind comes your way - be sure to have a hat and/or glasses on. Also, this location is extremely close to the barges so you will definitely feel the heat! It is also a VERY loud area to stand and ear plugs for little ones or yourself may be warrented.

Time passed fairly quickly as folks I knew turned out to be all around where we stood - it was great catching up.

At 9:45pm (15 minutes before the Epcot show) we were treated to a fantastic view of Disney's Hollywood Studios fireworks. All that was missing was the music! In fact at one point at the end, I thought IllumiNations was going to begin before the Studios finished. But, the timing was perfect to go from one to the next.

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IllumiNations!!! I was excited as I had not seen this show before. It is the regular IllumiNations with a special holiday tag at the end. It did NOT disappoint!!!!!

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Then the holiday "tag" began, highlighting the American Adventure. There were special graphics on the globe and great music to enjoy the fireworks show!

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Following this segment, there was a huge barrage of fireworks above and the crowd yelled with approval!

Thus ended a most wonderful, patriotic day in Epcot!


July 1, 2012

Happy 15 Years Off Kilter!

July 1st marks 15 years that the band Off Kilter has entertained countless visitors with their trademark high kicks and hijinks on their home stage in the Canada pavilion in Epcot.

While the band has grown in popularity, (in fact, many would argue it is the best entertainment in Epcot), it has not outgrown its original concept. Did you know that founder Jamie Holton began playing bagpipes when he was just 11 years old?!

AllEars Senior Editor Deb Koma interviewed founder Jamie Holton back in 2001!

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"My parents come from a Scottish background and loved bagpipes, so I started studying how to play them when I was young," he explains. After winning the first competition he ever entered, he "continued up the competition ladder," searching for the best teachers and playing in a pipe band in Daytona Beach.

In 1990, Jamie, by then an accomplished piper, was able to convert his unusual skill into a full-time position at Walt Disney World, when he became a member of the Caledonian Bagpipe Trio, which performed in World Showcase. The following year he traveled to Tokyo Disneyland, where he originated the Fantasyland Bagpiper, a solo act that combined piping with comedy.

Caledonian Bagpipe Band
Jamie Holton on the left

By 1996, Jamie started to develop an idea he'd had: to blend his love of bagpipes and traditional Celtic music with rock-and-roll to create a band with a "world music" sound. He met Irishman Mark Weldon, a musician (and former All-Ireland motocross champion) with a wealth of Celtic musical knowledge, and the two began talking about the concept. They shared their growing excitement with keyboardist Tony Escapa, recruited lead guitarist Randy Holbrook and drummer Scott Zymowski, who had been working in a band at Disney's Pleasure Island.


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Here's a look back at some of the coverage and photos of Off Kilter that we've shared on AllEars.

Blogger Jack Spence highlighted them when discussing the Canada Pavilion:

In 1997, the Celtic-rock band Off Kilter was formed and became a permanent fixture at Epcot. Besides drums, fiddles, and guitars, bagpipes are a part of the instrumental makeup. The group became so popular that a permanent stage (The Mill Stage) and seating was erected shortly after their arrival. Although they perform a wide range of songs, they generally try to present pieces from Canadian artist and composers.

The Mill Stage

Off Kilter


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And our photobloggers have made Off Kilter their focus on several occasions:

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Tony Escapa is the band's keyboardist.

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Randy Holbrook, lead guitarist

Off Kilter at Epcot
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/160s shutter, f6.3
Founder Jamie Holton

Photo Blogger Scott Thomas created this "postcard" of the band!


Lead by singer and bagpipe player, Jamie Holton (upper right below), Off Kilter's unmistakable sound pulls people in and their fun on stage presence keeps them there. Along with Jamie, (from top left) bass guitarist Mark Weldon, master guitarist Randy Holbrook and keyboardist Tony Escapa. Not pictured is drummer Scott Zymowski. Click the Photo for a Larger Version.

Off Kilter on stage in the Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Off Kilter on stage in the Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase.

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Jamie recalls, "When we approached Disney with the idea, they were very supportive -- they told us they trusted us to do a good job with it." When they finally auditioned, Holton says they were enthusiastically welcomed. "As far as I know, we're the first band here that was ever listened to and hired on the same day," he adds.

Check the Epcot Times Guide to see when Off Kilter is playing!

Off Kilter's website: http://www1.offkilter.net/index.html

Their CDs are sold at the Kiosks in the Canadian Pavilion in Epcot.

Amazon also has some of the music for sale.

Everyone at AllEars® wishes Off Kilter continued success!!!


April 24, 2012

VISION house® Opens in Epcot's Innoventions

On Earth Day, April 22nd, a brand new exhibit opened in Epcot's Innoventions called VISION house® !

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The purpose of VISION house® is to provide green living ideas in a fun and informative manner so guests can know a sustainable future is possible.

Green Builder® Media, North America's leading media company focused on sustainable living, has collaborated with Walt Disney Imagineering to create the VISION House®, an innovative green home exhibit.

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"Sustainable living is about taking personal responsibility,"
says Green Builder® Media CEO Sara Gutterman."

What is exciting about this exhibit (unlike its predecessor the House of the Innoventions) is that the products found inside VISION house are all available today! "That is really important to us because we want people to walk though and to be able to take anything they see back home with them!", Sara Gutterman, Co-Founder and CEO of Green Builder Media. "We're hoping that everyone who walks through walks away with one or two ideas for sustainable living."

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Standing at the front door of VISION house® , the Cast Member begins telling the story
of the Monteverde family that lives here.


Disney Imagineers took a cold sterile house and transformed it into an inviting home where mother, father and children live - just like many of the the guests who walk through. You'll learn why the various products are important to different family members.

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The house is bright and open - no more dividers to keep you away from everything. Here you are able to explore while the Cast Member continues explain the various products and features. You'll find everything from water conservation fixtures (Kohler), energy efficient windows and doors (Pella), LED lighting solutions (Sylvania), even the dining room table placements are made from recycled paper!

Another product featured is the Bosch dishwasher. If you don't have a full load, Bosch's Half Load Option is perfect for small loads that use half or less of the dishwasher's capacity. You can load in the top rack, bottom rack, or half and half, and it reduces energy and water consumption by about 30%.

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The Armstrong World Industries kitchen cabinets look like typical cabinetry but are made with formaldehyde-free plywood to keep dangerous gases out of the indoor environment.

These are just a few of the new energy saving and sustainable products you will find inside VISION house®.

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John Eric, Disney Corporate Alliance Technology Manager
and Ron Jones, Founder and President Green Builder Media

"This is a great blend of the entertainment experience and more learning and more knowledge which is what Epcot and Innoventions is all about", John Eric explained.

Ron Jones summed it all up, "We thought this [Epcot and Green Builder] was a perfect fit. Green Builder is all about questions, we're about promoting the questions in the minds of people who are making decisions about how sustainable their lives are going to be today and tomorrow for future generations. Our partners are all about the answers. We want people to aspire to have a more sustainable life. We also want to demonstrate things that are available today, that they can incorporate in their lives. There is nothing in this exhibit they can't have today."

So what did I think? As I mentioned above, there are lots of new things to see and it is exciting knowing they are available to consumers today. In fact, I was especially delighted to see the Schlage combination lock on the front door of the VISION house®, as I have one on my own home. Also, I have recently been looking at Bosch dishwashers as a possible upgrade to my current one.

The tour provides a taste of ideas for you to consider after you leave. Make sure to pick up the small card on your way out, it lists all the companies whose products are found inside the home. Some are affordable today and others, well, you'll have to save a bit.

The tour is geared towards adults and older children. The one component I feel is missing is an actual "take away idea/tip" at the end of the tour. One last word from the Cast Member about an simple/affordable way you can make your home more "green" right away would carry the message back home, long after the vacation concludes.

The other suggestion is to have a character like Recycle Randy giving demos out in front of VISION house®.

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Randy was engaging guests on April 22nd and had a wonderful hands on demonstration for kids about recycling.

I was told he was just there for Earth Day. Have him (or a similar character) here on a regular basis. He definitely got the kids excited and engaged and would draw families into the space.

I highly recommend a tour on your next visit to Epcot. For more information check out http://greenbuildermag.com and the VISION® House website: http://visionhousegreen.com/

Once you check out VISION house®, leave a comment below with your thoughts!

March 8, 2012

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival Opens

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The 19th Annual Epcot Flower and Garden Festival opened on March 7th.

I spent several hours in Epcot and just scratched the surface on what to see this year.

The floral displays begin before you enter Epcot with the Fantasia mushrooms.

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

This year's grand entrance topiary is Sorcerer Mickey conducting Floral Magic.

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival


Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

First thing to do as you enter Epcot, is pick up a Flower and Garden Festival Guide Map and the new Topiary Scavenger Hunt flyer. I didn't see any Scavanger Hunt flyers at the main entrance, but did find them at the Information Booth (back side of pin store). You can also download your own!

FlowerGarden-brochure-rack

There is also a mobile website called Epcot in Bloom: http://m.epcotinbloom.com. You can look at it from home but certain features can only be unlocked when you scan a QR code inside Epcot. There are 12 audio tour locations and 14 topiaries that have QR codes.

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival Mobile Map

I liked the map feature of the mobile app. Also, if you are new to Epcot's Flower and Garden festival the audio tour provides interesting information. While it is true the there is in-depth information on the topiaries, the photos are from previous festivals so don't get confused if the photos don't match the locations in the app. Would be great if the photos were updated now that the topiaries are on display.

Here's more information on the Epcot in Bloom Mobile app!



Bambi's Butterfly House
is always a favorite with adults and kids. This year it has moved across the way and is larger than before. It can get crowded in here which can make stroller and wheelchair maneuvering difficult.

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

There is a butterfly identification poster at each end of the exhibit. It is great to know what you are actually seeing. The butterflies are quite plentiful and found my bright yellow shirt particularly interesting. Several landed on me, briefly.

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

This is a Mangrove Buckeye butterfly.

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

The ever popular Bambi, Flower and Thumper topiaries are now in the Butterfly house.

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

As you make your way to towards World Showcase, the fab 5 as farmers and gardeners greet you!


Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival


Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

New this year is the Haiti exhibit. Be sure to check it out, there are even Haitian beverages for sale!

Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Be sure to check out the Flower and Garden Festival Kids Activities blog

AllEars will be bringing you lots more photos and information about this year's Flower and Garden Festival so be sure to check back for updates on our website!

Now, sit back, relax and enjoy a 10 minute tour of the Festival:

February 7, 2012

Habit Heroes opens in Epcot's Innoventions

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The latest exhibit to debut in Innoventions is called Habit Heroes - created to teach families how to live a healthy and active lifestyle. It is presented by Florida Blue and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I experienced the new exhibit on February 3rd, the first day of soft openings.

Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions

Situated across from the Sum of All Thrills, the exhibit walls are filled with very colorful Marvel comics that help set the tone!


Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions


Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions


This interactive multi-media exhibit will keep you entertained as you learn to fight bad habits and become a Habit Hero.

As the story begins, we are at the entrance of a 100 year old gym, apartments above and periodically spot lights shine down below. ( I kinda felt like I was in a gangster sequence in the Great Movie Ride.)


Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions


Enter Will Power's gym, an abandoned fitness facility where there are photographs and trophies from 100 years ago.

Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions


Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions


Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions


A black and white movie sets the stage for how a band of dedicated heroes once fought to keep folks healthy. Unfortunately, those days are long gone; and the narrator pleadingly asks "Oh Habit Heroes where are you when we need you most?"

Suddenly we flash forward in time and meet our hosts Will Power and Callie Stenics. They want us to become the new Habit Heroes.

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Our goal is to save a teenage boy who spends too much time behind the computer and on the couch and eats poorly and is out of shape.

Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions

A Cast Member gives everyone a colored wristband which signifies what team you are on in the next room - called "Control Freak".

Time to battle the "control freek" who controls the TV.


Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions

This was the one room that was very confusing. We had just been led to believe we were on a special colored team and yet inside the room, we all just stood trying to determine where to go/what to do. Each station had all the colored lights on. Suddenly, the TVs start falling from above via a huge screen. It was hard to see the TVs as you had to really look up and strain your neck. Not sure how little ones would do. Thinking I was on the "yellow team", I only used the yellow button. Soon a Cast Member came over to tell me I could use all the buttons. Someone else said we were to run to the station closest to where our TV color was falling. By the time I figured it out, it was time to move on to the next challenge. Either way, it it is soft opening and this part needs more explanation. We also felt as though in this room and the next, we should have gotten a score of how well (or not) we did.

Sweet Tooth and the Snacker! With Toy Story Mania Spring-Action shooters, it is our turn to blast away and destroy all the calories we can! My shooter had broccoli and carrot bulls eyes to use! This was fun, but again, we were almost too close to the screen and no score.

Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions


Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions

Our last challenge was entitled Lead Bottom. Our job was to exercise and get Lead Bottom to, well, shake his booty. This was a really fun segment and as I looked around, many people were moving and following the exercises! I could see some might not like this part, but on this day, it was fun to shake it up.


Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions

At the conclusion we see we have saved the couch potato teenager and all is well!

Habit Heroes Epcot's Innoventions

Habit Heroes is still in soft opening mode and there is some tweaking that does need to be done. I think once everything is ironed out, it will be a fun exhibit to experience. I plan to go back in a couple weeks and see if things have been "fine tuned".

Other observations and notes:

The areas are all very dark with low lighting.

Some cast members had their "roles" down pat, others need more training.

I liked how subtitles were part of every video.

Just let loose when you get to Lead Bottom - it's a lot of fun!

Leave a comment with your thoughts about the Habit Heroes Exhibit!



July 28, 2011

Epcot World Showcase Postcards

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I also like to collect postcards and Epcot postcards being one of my favorites.

When I was at the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet last month, one of the Disneyana vendors had a box of postcards.

I found some Epcot World Showcase ones that I hadn't seen before.

There were several things I like about this series. I like how each country is depicted, each with a different emphasis. I like that the card really stands out and draws your attention - it certainly would have gotten mine, if I had seen them on a rack in the store.

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France - The elegance of France is on display in the restaurants and shops here - along with our version of the Eiffel Tower and surprising statues that come to life. Parlez-vous adventure? (text from back of postcard)


Epcot World Showcase Postcards

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Mexico - Buenos dias, amigos! Come and enjoy the authentic tastes and shops of Mexico. It's the perfect way to start out, or finish up, your trip "around the world". (text from back of postcard)


Epcot World Showcase Postcards


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China - Experience the unique shopping, dining and entertainment of China...right here at Epcot. And don't miss the Land of Many Faces - a first-of-its-kind exhibit introducing China's ethnic peoples. (text from back of postcard)

Epcot World Showcase Postcards

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There is also a postcard that has mini photos of all eleven postcards - like a checklist!

Epcot World Showcase Postcards


While there is no date on them, I"m guessing 1990's. If you know when these were published please let me know.

July 17, 2011

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

Continuing my blogs on Disney ephemera......

Let's take a look at the Entertainment Programs that used to come inside each Epcot Guide Map! I loved these programs as they not only provided a very quick, easy reference to see what was happening where.. but as someone who likes to "Step Back", I can remember what used to be.

I like this cover - it is simple enough but invites you to open it up and see what's in store for you!

Note that IllumiNations is not only presented by G.E. but also shown at 10:00pm.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

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The program unfolds to 4 panels listing the names and times for World Showcase entertainment. I like to see what acts were around then and have left, as well as those that remained in the park over the last 2 decades.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

Mexico's Mariachi Cobre have certainly withstood the test of time.

The Acrobats of China were always a favorite of mine, however they recently ended their time at Epcot.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

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Folding it back up half way, the left side lists Future World entertainment


Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

I only saw the Dreamfinder and Figment once and that was long before digital photography. They are one part of Epcot I fondly miss!

I never realized that GERO the robot made appearances outside of Horizons. I did manage to find a photo of GERO online!


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The right side gives a schedule for character greetings and special entertainment.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

The Stargate Restaurant was located in Communicore where the Electric Umbrella now resides.

Note the Odyssey is listed as a restaurant. I do remember once having a burger there!

It was great being able to see the travel troupes of performers from all over the world. I remember during the Millenium Celebration, the Millenium Village would have similar groups perform!

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And the requisite advertising back.

Epcot Center Entertainment Program August 1990

Did you visit Epcot Center in 1990? Remember any of these performers?

Let me know who your favorite was.. and if you have photographs of the entertainers that no longer performs in Epcot let me know and perhaps we'll do a separate blog with those photos!

June 17, 2009

Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps - Epcot

Each country in World Showcase has its own themed entertainment and the American Adventure is one of my favorites.

The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps usually plays outside the American Adventure pavillion Tuesdays - Saturdays. Be sure to check the Epcot times guide for exact days and times.

The show is about 15 minutes and features the colonial sounds of flutes and drums. Two of the songs you may hear them play are "God Bless America" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy".


The Fife and Drum Corps marches in from the left of the American Adventure pavilion (Liberty Inn side).

Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps Epcot

They position themselves between the American Gardens Theatre and the American Pavillion for the show.

Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps Epcot

Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps Epcot

There are 2 drummers, 2 flutists and the 5th member of the unit is the flag bearer.

Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps Epcot


Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps Epcot

Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps Epcot


Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps Epcot


Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps Epcot


Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps Epcot

Based on the information I found, the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corp opened with Epcot Center and the American Adventure.

Video is taken with Flip Mino HD Camcorder! It is small, lightweight and easy to use.

October 18, 2008

Epcot's JAMMitors er JAMMin Chefs!

As I meandered around Future World during my recent trip, I heard a commotion and turned around to see what it was. My initial thoughts were that it must be the JAMMitors!

They've been entertaining guests in Epcot for many years. Hmm. I 'm not sure when they began in Epcot. Does anyone know?

Here's an early photo of them that I still have on the website on the Epcot Entertainment Page:

JAMMitors

But, I digress. So as I turned around, it wasn't the JAMMitors, but it must have been relatives of theirs known as the JAMMin Chefs (I think that's the right title). They were making special appearances during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.

They were having a grand time making music on a variety of pots, pans, and boxes. They also entertained the crowd with a variety of "corny" jokes. All in all good fun and just another one of Epcot's great Live Entertainment acts!!!

JAMMin Chefs in Epcot

JAMMin Chefs in Epcot

JAMMin Chefs in Epcot

JAMMin Chefs in Epcot

JAMMin Chefs in Epcot

JAMMin Chefs in Epcot

JAMMin Chefs in Epcot

JAMMin Chefs in Epcot

JAMMin Chefs in Epcot


The JAMMitors have their own page on the Walt Disney World website.

August 26, 2008

Epcot's The Land - Circa 1982-1984

This is another in my sporadic series of "Step Back in Time" blogs -- this one returns to Epcot and the Land Pavilion.

The Land opened in Epcot's Future World on October 1, 1982 and was sponsored by Kraft. When the initial 10 year contract was up, Nestle became the new sponsor November 1992.

When the pavilion opened, the following components were in the building:

Listen to the Land Boat Ride - take a gentle cruise through various climates and learn about the history of farming. As the ride continued, you were taken into the future to see new and innovative techniques of both land and sea farming. While the ride is basically the same today, it has gone through several rehabs where the music and narration has changed.

Harvest Theatre - Symbiosis, an 18 minute film, explored the relationship between humans and their environment. The Harvest Theatre is still part of the pavilion, but now houses the environmental focused Circle of Life - Lion King movie with Timon and Pumba.

Kitchen Kaberet - these fun animated foods taught us about healthy eating and starred Bonnie Appetit, the Kitchen Krackpots and Hamm n Eggz. This attraction closed January 3, 1994 and gave way to Food Rocks on March 26, 1994 to make it more contemporary. Then on January 3, 2004, it was closed for good. Soarin now occupies that space once held by the singing fruits and vegies.

Farmer's Market - 8 fast food booths offering wholesome and nutritious meals and snacks. Now called Sunshine Seasons

Broccoli & Co. - the souvenir store. As always, there is a merchandise store in every area.

The Good Turn Restaurant - a 250 seat revolving full service restaurant. It's gone through several name changes (including the Land Grille Room) and today is the Garden Grill.


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The Land - Discover at Epcot -- Harvest new knowledge about man's relationship with planet Earth and dig into advanced food-growing technologies.

** Hydroponics
** Symbiosis and Resource Conservation
** History and Future of Agriculture
** Nutrition
** Aquaculture

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Here are some postcards from the early days ...


"LAND - Explore creative partnerships with the land. Set sail for "Tomorrow's Harvest". Sing along at a show that has the whole town cooking. And enjoy country-store fun, food and flavor."


The Land Epcot Postcard


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"Listen to the Land - in the "country fair" setting of the Land pavilion, review age old agriculture techniques. Then, sail through the environments of the world and glimpse Tomorrow's Harvest."


The Land Epcot Postcard

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"The Kitchen Krackpots - During your tour through The Land, you will see a wacky show which tells the story of nutrition in a very unusual way." Notice that this postcard does refer to the Kitchen Krackpots which was the name of the band that played at the Kitchen Kaberet.

The Land Epcot Kitchen Krackpots

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"Seasoned Performers flavor some spicy numbers on good nutrition at the Kitchen Kaberet, in the Land pavilion. Acts include Fiesta Fruit, Dairy Goods, and the hit of the Breakfast Circuit, Ham n Eggz".

Kitchen Kaberet - The Land Epcot Postcard

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The following photographs are digital images of the PanaVue slides that were sold at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot in the 80s.

The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide

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The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide


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The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide


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The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide


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The Land Epcot PanaVue Slide


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Here are some websites that offer photos and/or information about the early days of the Land:

All Ears Kitchen Kaberet Archives

Epcot Field Guide - The Land


Lost Epcot Features descriptions and photos from the early days of the Land.

Do you have photos from the 1980s of the Land Pavilion or any of it's attractions? I'd love to see them and possibly include them in a future blog. Please send to
allearsnet at yahoo dot com

Thanks!

May 1, 2008

All Ears Meet at Epcot's Imagination - April 20, 2008

It's been a while since we had an All Ears meet outside of MouseFest, so I decided to have one the weekend prior to Animal Kingdom's 10th Anniversary.

Let me digress just a bit. I flew in Saturday and stayed at the Dolphin. I had a wonderful room with a small balcony and view of Epcot's IllumiNations!!

Walt Disney World Dolphin Guest Room

Shortly after check-in, my Owner's Lockers were delivered! What did I ever do without them?!

Owner's Lockers


I had a great breakfast before the meet at Fresh, with team member Linda Mac. Fresh is a Mediterranean inspired buffet on the first floor of the Dolphin. It serves Breakfast, Lunch and Starbucks coffee!!

For me, it's one of the best kept secrets in Disney. The food is made fresh, most of it to order and it doesn't have the frantic atmosphere of a Disney Resort eatery. Hence, I ate here actually 3 times during my stay.

As LindaMac and I entered Epcot and walked toward Future World, team member Jack Spence called on the phone to meet up. Right after we found Jack, we also found Elton - a Disney Dream Team Cast Member. With his great smile, I just had to take a photograph.

Jack and Elton in Epcot


One of the things I typically forget to do at meets, is take a photo of the AllEars team. So this time, I made sure we did it as soon as everyone arrived. From left to right: Jack Spence, Deb Wills, Glo from Miami, and Linda Mac. (Thanks to the Cast Member who play photog)

All Ears Team in Epcot

Soon folks began to arrive. We had new AllEars buttons to hand out as well as hats to keep the sun out of your eyes. There were AllEars T-Shirts for the person who traveled the farthest (Illinois). And, oh yes, we had stickers too for all kids and coughadultscough in the group. It was a fantastic turnout!

Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008
Larger Image of Group Photo.

Here are meet photos of people arriving and headed into the attraction.....

Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008


Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008


Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008

Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008

...Loading into the Ride Vehicles for Journey into Your Imagination...

Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008

Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008

Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008

Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008

Epcot Imagination Meet Photograph April 20, 2008


At the conclusion of the ride, many folks continued onto the second half of the meet, lunch in the Land at Sunshine Seasons.

The Land in Epcot


AllEars Lunch Meet Photograph


AllEars Lunch Meet Photograph


AllEars Lunch Meet Photograph

AllEars Lunch Meet Photograph


AllEars Lunch Meet Photograph

AllEars Lunch Meet Photograph


On behalf of LindaMac, Jack, Glo and myself...thank you everyone for spending part of your vacation with us!!!

February 5, 2008

Spaceship Earth - Epcot

Tomorrow's child (Tomorrow's Child)
Gathering gifts from our past.
Tomorrow's child (Tomorrow's Child)
Shaping a world that will last...

Ah, that song brings back fond memories of Epcot's early days. I still vividly remember my first trip to Epcot in 1991.

It seemed that every attraction I entered included a song with a catchy tune that stayed with me.

I recall walking around Epcot singing tunes like:

One little spark, imagination...

The Universe of Energy.....

Tomorrow's Child......

When I returned home and one of those tunes popped into my head, it always brought a smile to my face.

It was with great anticipation that I rode the recently reopened Spaceship Earth, signature Icon of Epcot.

This is the type of attraction that I believe allowed the Disney theme parks to rise above the rest of the "amusement parks". It is storytelling and imagineering at its best.

As I've gotten older, I'm less than thrilled when attractions such as Mission Space open, but I realize not everyone is like me. For the parks to remain alive and vibrant, attractions must reach all ages. But, if I have my druthers, I'd rather see 2008 era enhancements like the Haunted Mansion just went through.. and yes, Spaceship Earth!

I had read that Emmy®-award winning composer Bruce Broughton conducted a 63-piece orchestra and 24-voice choir for a new musical score for Spaceship Earth. I was hoping that it would include a catchy tune that I could hum when I returned home... to remind me of my magical adventure in WDW.

I also read about Dame Judi Dench doing the new narration. And while I wasn't going to miss Jeremy Irons so much, I can still hear Walter Cronkite's words in my head. Yes, this is one of those attractions that has always held great memories and meaning for me.

The signage around the attraction is new, simple, futuristic, silver and blue.

Spaceship Earth Wait Time Sign

The entrance mural is the same. I wouldn't have minded a new mural but I enjoyed seeing the space shuttle and space walker once again.

The vehicles have not been changed, but each row has had a new flat screen added to it. This screen makes up the entire last half of the ride. It's still a little tough getting in and out of them. Not so much due to the moving platform, but the small width that the "door" opens to allow you to enter and exit the actual vehicle.


Spaceship Earth vehicle

Ah... as our time machine started up the incline, I began to immediately noticed changes. The scenery was cleaned up, repainted and oh my.... new things have been added. Right away I noticed subtle and not so subtle enhancements and they kept coming.... it seemed as though each scene had something new added. The new audio-animatronics are amazing, very realistic and really brought each area to life.

I must admit it was hard for me to focus on the narration because I was so involved in looking at all the new additions. Periodically I heard Dame Judi's voice, but my head was filled with thoughts of "WOW", "That's new", "How cool!", etc. Because of that, I can't really comment on the new narration.

As the time vehicle slowly ascended into the Spaceship Earth buildingI remembered thinking, I need to get right back on this so I could see everything again!!!! I was even more excited than when I saw all the wonderful enhancements at the Haunted Mansion.

Here are a few of the new scenes. (Please note these photos were taken with a Digital SLR camera and NO flash was used.)

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Can you see now why I was so excited about the changes and the new scenes? Even the ones that didn't change a bit, were touched up to become more, hmm... life like!

Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived. At the height of the ride we did spend a fair amount of time looking at the star studded galaxy and the earth (always one of my favorite scenes). But the impact still isn't what it was with the powerful musical score of the Walter Cronkite narration days.

And then, our vehicles slowly rotated for the backwards descent. I had heard from many readers that the entire last portion of the ride focused around the video screen.

Indeed, the screen came on and we were asked questions about where we wanted to live, vacation preferences, etc. The photo that was taken of us near the beginning of the ride then became part of the cartoon. Our vehicle's photo was only of me, not the person riding with me, so the 2nd individual in my cartoon was just that, a cartoon face. I could see the vehicle in front of ours had 2 faces, so I guess our photo didn't turn out right.

After answering the questions, a short cartoon video plays. It was pretty funny, at least initially. I heard giggles from others around us, especially the kids.

But the more I watched the video screen, the more I started not feeling so good - I was getting queasy. I do suffer from motion sensitivity, but the slow ride backwards in Spaceship Earth never bothered me before. But now, concentrating on the screen in the vehicle, I quickly became nauseous. I tried looking up, but the row of lights tunnel we were passing through didn't help much. I just closed my eyes. Bummer, I thought to myself.

Wow, what a let down. I wasn't interested in jumping right back on. As outstanding as the first half of the ride was, the last half was equally disappointing.

I will return to enjoy all the new scenes and additions on a future trip, but I'll not be playing the computer quiz and watching the cartoon on the way down. If you have motion sensitivity issues, beware of this section of the ride. A friend who has epilepsy told me that the strands of lights in the descent tunnel were very bothersome to him.

To the imagineers who designed the first half of the ride, you did an incredible job! One I am sure Walt would be VERY proud of. In fact, you outdid yourselves. It reminded me of the first time I entered Epcot. I could see it over and over again.... and I left with the feeling of wanting to return immediately.

But whether it was a lack of money, or time, or this 50something baby boomer is just not "hip" anymore, I was disappointed in the ending. And that combined with the motion issues, will sadly remove Spaceship Earth from my "Must See Every Trip List".

Oh, and that musical score I was so anxious to hear....well sitting here a few days later, I can't remember one note of it. Quite honestly, it may have been because I was so focused on the new scenes. So to be fair, I'll pay more attention to both the music and narration on my next visit.

In the old A-E attraction ticket days, I would have rated the first half of Spaceship Earth a huge EEEEEEEE (the best). But the last half gets a generous B ticket.

Many thanks to AllEars blogger Lisa Berton for the inside photos of Spaceship Earth which appear in this blog.

Note: The Tomorrow's Child verse I started the blog with, used to be played during the ending of Spaceship Earth, as you were traveling backwards in the descent. It was several rehabs ago, so some of you may not recognize it.

To read other comments about the reopened Spaceship Earth, visit:

November 8, 2007

Sunday at the World

Sometimes it's hard to finish a trip report once home, but here is the conclusion of my late October adventure to WDW.

In case you missed the earlier posts here are the links:
Heading to Walt Disney World
Magic Kindgom Friday Part 1
Magic Kingdom Friday Part 2
Segway Saturday Part 1
Segway Saturday Part 2

Despite a very late night at the Studios for the Tower of Terror 13K race, I had an early morning meeting. I met with Brian and John from Owners Locker at Boatrights, Port Orleans Riverside. These guys offer a great service for storing your "stuff" between trips to the world. Be sure to check them out.

John and Brian from Owner's Locker

Epcot Cast Member Patti and I had a nice chat as I entered the park through the International Gateway.

Cast Member Patti

Once inside Epcot I met my friends from Japan, Masayo and Nozomi and AllEars team member Linda Mac. We had some fun at the Canada pavilion waiting for the O Canada movie to open.


Canada Fun

As we walked through the United Kingdom, we met All Ears fans! Always love meeting our readers!

All Ears Fans

One of the things I love best about Disney parks is the attention to detail. I never noticed that each of these have a different geometric pattern on them.


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Masayo stops to sample the sushi at the Japan Food Booth.


Masayo in Japan Food Booth


While in Japan, we enjoyed Miyuki's show of candy art. What a wonderful time! Miyuki spent a few moments with us after her show, it was very special. She also enjoyed speaking with Masayo and Nozomi who both are from Japan.

Miyuki

I left Epcot via the Boardwalk. A great deal of exterior work is occurring to the Inn side of the Boardwalk.

Boardwalk Rehab

Upon arriving back at Port Orleans Riverside, I was surprised by the package on my door. I had left the "Privacy" sign up and housekeeping left me a bag with fresh towels and soaps. Nice touch.

Laundry Bag at Port Orleans

A dinner at Artist Point with friends Steve, Vickie and Beci rounded out the weekend. Early Monday morning I was on a plane back to Maryland. Southwest Airlines is going full steam ahead to get their boarding areas redone. Starting November 8th, including some new ticket options.

October 23, 2007

Step Back in Time

I was going through some old photos recently and thought I would share some with you.

25th Birthday Magic Kingdom Castle

25th Birthday Magic Kingdom Castle

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Test Track Pre-Opening Sign

Test Track Pre-Opening Sign


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The "Original" Wand on Spaceship Earth

The Original Wand on Spaceship Earth


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Tower of Terror Construction Photo #1

Tower of Terror Construction Photo


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Tower of Terror Construction Photo #2


Tower of Terror Construction Photo #2

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Tower of Terror Construction Photo #3


Tower of Terror Construction Photo #3

October 14, 2007

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Souvenirs

Every year the Food and Wine Festival sports new logos and merchandise for you to purchase, this year is no exception.

There is plenty of merchandise to choose from, both with and without Food and Wine logos. Here are just a few of the items I found in the Festival Marketplace in the Wonders of Life pavilion.

Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise

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Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise
Chef Mickey Plushes cost $9.95 plus tax.
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Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise
Festival Aprons

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Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise
Mugs cost $12.00 plus tax.

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival Trivets
Trivets cost $12.00 plus tax.

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Epcot Food and Wine Merchandise
Wine Store - if you see something you like, get it! They do sell out of popular wines as the Festival goes on.

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Epcot Food and Wine store
Wine Store
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Epcot Food and Wine Limited Edition Pins
Limited Edition pins

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival Poster
Festival poster is $16 unframed. Artist does signings off and on during the festival.

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October 8, 2007

Epcot's Eat to the Beat Concert Series

Eat to the Beat Sign


One of the major Epcot Food and Wine Festival events that's free to all with park admission is the Eat to the Beat concert series. 16 different artists will appear this year ranging in musical genre from the Beach Boys to Chubby Checker to Starship to Jon Secada.

Three concerts are held each evening during the festival in the American Gardens outdoor theatre.

If you are a big Al Stewart fan, I suggest you read no further and just enjoy the photos.

On Friday night, September 28th, this year's Eat to the Beat concert series opened with a very indifferent British singer-songwriter Al Stewart. Quite frankly, he seemed bothered to be there.

Al Stewart

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Al sang familiar songs like Year of the Cat, Time Passages, and On the Border. Most of his "hits" that were popular in the US, he introduced by saying things like, I never cared for this song or I'm only playing this because it was a hit, or You are expecting me to play this so I am. Gee, didn't that make the audience "get into it!" Not.

Al Stewart

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Several times during the evening his remarks entered into the "political" zone. I've been attending concerts for decades and know that many concerts include the artist stating their particular political views but it is not something I expect at a Disney venue. I come to Disney to be entertained and escape "the real world", not listen to a political vent (whether I happen to agree or not).


Al Stewart


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Drummer


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The one very redeeming factor of the entire concert was the incredible flute/saxaphone player. He stole the show and deservedly so! I have searched online and can't find his name. If anyone reading this knows, please let me know.

Al Stewart concert

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Al Stewart concert

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Al Stewart concert

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Al Stewart concert

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Al Stewart concert

October 6, 2007

Epcot's 25th Rededication Ceremony - Part 2

Part 1 Epcot's 25th Rededication Ceremony

Marty continued to reminisce about the early days of speaking with Walt about Epcot.

Marty Sklar

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He went on to say: "I'll never forget that opening day of Epcot"

Marty Sklar

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Marty: -�One of the things I remember the most was a water pouring ceremony to start the Comunicore fountain behind us. Don't you think it would be wonderful if we could do something like that today?"


Marty Sklar

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Tracy: "Today we have the incredible privilege of having our own cultural representatives right here at Epcot. It's time to meet the representatives of the countries of World Showcase."


World Showcase Cast Members

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 World Showcase Cast Members

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Tracy: "The cultural representatives are carrying colorful banners representing the countries of World Showcase: Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, Canada, America, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico.


 World Showcase Countries

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 World Showcase Countries


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Tracy: The cultural representatives are "carrying many different types of water containers, representing famous rivers or bodies of water."

For each country, the name of the container and the body of water was announced as the processional continued.

Cultural Representative

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Morocco
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Italy

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Norway

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"The Pouring of the Water"

Mickey, Tracy, Marty, Minnie

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Music, fireworks and fountains filled the air.


World Showcase Countries

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 Music, fireworks and fountains filled the air
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 Music, fireworks and fountains filled the air
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All too soon, the rededication came to an end"�.

 Rededication winds down
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Marty Sklar and Minnie

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Mickey
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Marty and Minnie

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Jim MacPhee publicly thanked his team that created Epcot's 25th Anniversary events.

Jim MacPhee and Team

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The Celebration 25 fan group then gathered for a photo in front of the fountains and Spaceship Earth.

Celebration 25 Group Photo

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Jim MacPhee and Walt Disney World Ambassadors Michael and Lowell joined the photo op!

 Jim MacPhee and Walt Disney World Ambassadors

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October 4, 2007

Epcot's 25th Rededication Ceremony - Part 1

It really was a beautiful morning which was good since we spent a lot of time waiting. Even though Spaceship Earth remained closed for renovations, it made the perfect backdrop for the festivities against the blue sky.

I purchased a limited edition T-shirt and a Figment for myself which took quite a bit of time. So much time that I could not wait in any of the Limited Edition pin lines. (If anyone has any extra of the limited edition 25th Anniversary pins, please let me know.) From the shop I headed over to the rope drop area. My souvenir shopping put me much further back from the rope than I had hoped. Nonetheless, I was there in person and very excited!!!

Rope drop in Epcot on October 1, 2007

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We waited at the rededication location for well over an hour. It provided a wonderful opportunity to talk to those around and listen to the stories of what brought people to Epcot on this special day. Many knew the significance, some, "just followed the crowd."

Here is a photo from my spot, about 5 rows from the front, looking back toward World Showcase. It'll give you an idea of how many folks attended the ceremony.

Crowd waiting for Rededication to Begin

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AllEars® Senior Editor, Debra Martin Koma, with AllEars® Guest Columnist, Brian Martsolf.

Debra Martin Koma and Brian Martsolf

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Adam Roth (co-founder Celebration 25 one of the unofficial fan gatherings) is being interviewed for a podcast. Adam is holding an original Figment from the early 80's which belongs to Celebration 25 co-founder Jenn Waitt.

Adam Roth and Figment

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The fanfare began with Ambassador Michael taking the stage. He welcomed everyone to Epcot's 25th Rededication Ceremony...

Ambassador Michael

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... and introduced Tracy Wui, Rededication Ceremony Hostess.

Tracy Wui, Rededication Ceremony Hostess


Tracy explained that in the original dedication ceremony, one of the speakers said of Epcot, "This represents a dream come true". The original musical score played 25 years ago, We've Just Begun to Dream, was played again on this special day. And, as Tracy said, "After 25 years we can still say "we've just begun"!

As the music played, Tracy introduced Epcot Cast Members representing Future World. The processional included 2 Cast Members from each attraction, one holding a sign representing that attraction. Spaceship Earth's sign was the original icon for the attraction, followed by Innoventions, Energy, Mission Space, Test Track, Seas with Nemo and Friends, the Land and Imagination. The crowd cheered and applauded as each attraction was announced.

Parade of Future World Attraction Representatives

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Next on stage came Erin Wallace, Senior Vice President Operations Walt Disney World Resorts and Jim MacPhee, Vice President Epcot.

Erin Wallace and Jim MacPhee walk on stage.

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Jim asked for applause from everyone who was here 25 years ago when Epcot opened. He then recounted his opening day story, of being an Epcot Cast Member and working in the Parking Lot! Standing center stage at the 25th Celebration for a Cast Member who began as a parking lot cast member, certainly had to have been "A Dream Come True" for Jim as well.

Jim MacPhee

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Erin spoke of the significance of Epcot's opening in 1982, "When Epcot was built and opened, it really signaled an era of growth on this property."

Erin Wallace

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Jim: "We recognize that the heritage and tradition of our founder is woven through the fabric of everything we do here, every moment of every day.

Jim: "You can dream, create, imagine and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it requires people to make that dream a reality." He went on to say, "We have one special person, who was right next to Walt."

Jim MacPhee

Erin continued: "He began his career in 1955 working with Walt on Disneyland. He is the only Disney Cast member to participate in every opening of our 11 theme parks worldwide; named a Disney Legend in 2001, Executive Vice President and Imagineering Ambassador, Marty Sklar." The crowd broke out in a loud applause.

Mickey and Minnie escorted Marty on stage to a huge applause from the audience.

Marty Sklar escorted by Mickey and Minnie

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Marty: "Walt's vision for Epcot really set the course for everything that has happened here at Walt Disney World in the 41 years since he announced his vision."

Marty Sklar


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"The passion for excellence that Walt Disney inspired, motivated all of us, Disney Cast Members as well as the designers, engineers, architects, and film makers who joined us to dream big dreams, invent new experiences and tell new stories about the lessons of yesterday, the challenges of today, and the promise of tomorrow."

Marty Sklar


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Marty then read Card Walker's dedication of Epcot 25 years ago and added his own remarks:
"25 years ago we said, the 21st century began on October 1, 1982. Today, on October 1, 2007 we rededicate Epcot, and ourselves, to a new future that begins now. "

Marty Sklar

PART TWO

September 30, 2007

Epcot - Sunday 9/30/07 Part 2

After our lunch break, the Celebration 25 history walks reconvenied at the Living Seas, or rather, the Seas with Nemo and Friends.

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The Land... from Kitchen Kaberet to Food Rocks to Soarin'

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Journey into Imagination becomes Journey into Your Imagination.

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Spaceship Earth


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A surprise guest appearance by Epcot Vice President, Jim MacPhee.


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Epcot - Sunday 9/30/07 Part 1

For those of you wondering where the rest of Friday and all of Saturday's reports are, well, I'll have to fill them in later.

Today I want to tell you about the start of Celebration 25.
If you are just tuning in here are the previous blogs:
Part 1 - Epcot Turns 25

Journey into Imagination - a look back.

Epcot Celebrates 25 Years - a Chat with Adam Roth

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This morning registration tables opened bright and early near Epcot's Kennel facility. When I arrived it was 9:40am and other folks were also still checking in. It was a very orderly process and everything went smoothly.

Here are the Roth's checking in an attendee.

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It was at this time I met Adam Roth and Jenn Waitt, the Celebration 25 co-founders as well as other members of this amazing team. Here is a photo of Adam and myself.

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Jenn accepts an Appreciation postcard from attendee Chris.
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Matt Pezzula, event videographer, interviews a couple in front of Spaceship Earth. The team is capturing attendee memories of their first visit to Epcot.
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Today's events were primarily history walks hosted by John Corigliano (Mouse Times). John did an amazing job of keeping his presentations brief and concise. I think everyone attending probably learned some new things about the Future World attractions. John would talk about the original attraction and then how it has evolved into what you see today.

The first history walk began at 11:30 at Test Track. John spoke about the World of Motion pavilion.

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Next we went to Mission Space where John began with a discussion about Horizons.

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The final stop in the Future World East tour was at the Universe of Energy.

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Adam shares some historical facts as well.

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Before breaking for lunch, Jenn, Adam, John and Matt pose for a photo.

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Next up.... the Future World West tour and a surprise visitor!

Epcot Friday 9/28/07 Part 2

After leaving the Festival Center at Wonders of Life I stopped in MouseGears. Folks have said there were some "retro" T-Shirts for sale and I wanted to get one.


3/4 Sleeve shirt $26.00
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Yellow Retro Shirt $24.00
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I inquired about the special 25th Anniversary merchandise, but Cast Members were mum. They would only say that indeed there would be special merchandise on Monday.

From here we wandered through World Showcase via Mexico. Lines were already forming and it was very early on Friday.

Our next experience was the amazing Dedication Ceremony of the American Heritage Gallery in the American Adventure. It was after the ceremony that I had my very magical moment - a photograph with Jim MacPhee and Marty Sklar!!! I was thrilled.

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LindaMac has a report on the Ceremony with photos.

September 29, 2007

Epcot and more...

My trip Thursday night started off a little iffy. Planes were very delayed due to weather in other areas. My 7:15pm flight didn't leave until 11pm! Meaning I wasn't in my room until 2:00am. Not a great way to start off a jam packed 4 day trip.

Things quickly changed for the better and it's been an amazing time thus far.

First things first.... we were up bright and early yesterday morning and headed into Epcot. I had the pleasure of meeing Officer Dave, a security guard at Epcot's International Gateway. Dave has a great voice and sang me a couple short tunes. It certainly started my day smiling! I saw him again this morning and also this afternoon.... and requested a tune and he gladly complied. Dave told me someone put a video of him on UTube.. if I find it, I'll post a link!

Security Guard Dave

I made my way over to the Wonders of Life building where the Festival Center is located this year. Unfortunatly, my arrival at 10:40am was not early enough to be seated in the first wine pairing of the day.

Line for complementary wine demonstaration

Wonders of Life Wine Seminar

Once I knew for sure I was shut out of the wine seminar, I began browsing the shop. There is a fair amount of Food and Wine Festival logo merchandise.

T-Shirt for $19.95

Food and Wine Tshirt


Food and Wine Merchandise

Chef Mickey Plush for $9.95

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September 26, 2007

Epcot Celebrates 25 Years A Chat with Adam Roth

This is the 3rd in a series of blogs on Epcot's 25th Anniversary.
Epcot Turns 25!
Journey to Imagination Postcards .

Less than a week from now, Epcot will be buzzing with all the excitement! Yes, the Food and Wine Festival begins this weekend, but also Epcot turns 25 on Monday, October 1st and there is a very special 2 day event called Celebration 25.

I had the pleasure recently to chat with Adam Roth, one of the co-founders of Celebration 25, an event designed to celebrate 25 years of Epcot. Adam is a 16 year old high school junior who lives in the Orlando area. Adam wasn't even born when Epcot opened. However, there is an Epcot connection with his family. Adam's father was a reporter who covered Epcot's opening and still has a pre-opening Epcot press kit!

Adam recalled for me one of his early visits to Horizons and also talked about the Journey Into Imagination attraction, especially how much he enjoyed the Image Works. In fact, his website (Dreamfinder Forever) started as a campaign to bring back Figment's buddy the Dreamfinder.

When asked what makes Disney special, Adam explained: "I'm a passholder for many of the local parks. When I look and try to compare...I can't honestly go to Universal or Sea World every weekend, but for some reason, I can go back to Disney every weekend! With Disney, I don't get bored. It's always something new for me - something new to find and to do"

Celebration 25 was actually the idea of Jenn Waitt who started a discussion on the WDWMagic message boards. She wanted to organize something to pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of Epcot. Adam offered space on his website, Dreamfinder Forever, and that was the start.

As more people registered, Jenn and Adam were busy adding more folks to their team. "It's amazing to think that 8 months have passed since we started this and we are over 1,000 people past what we imagined," Adam explained.

The Celebration 25 team is comprised of many folks. "Jenn - came up with the idea; Jason is in charge of the IllumiNations dessert party; John Corigliano is doing several history walks; Lou Mongello is an official sponsor and has provided name tags and lanyards in addition to lots of support; Jeff Pepper another sponsor is providing the printed schedule; and there are many partner websites too."

One would think Adam had lots of experience planning events, but this is the first time he's ever done anything like this. It's amazing especially when you consider that he is also keeping up with his high school AP classes and preparing for a school trip to France at the end of October.

"What about your folks?", I inquired, "What do they think of all this?" "They're amazed!", Adam said excitedly. "I first told them about it 8 months ago, that I was going to miss school on October 1st. After I explained they said 'that's fine'. As it started to grow, they said, 'We're not missing this!"

Initial plans for the event were very small with hopes to get 200 persons signed up. The IllumiNations dessert party was the first thing the group officially organized. That was the foot in the door at Epcot. Scott Powers wrote about Celebration 25 in the Orlando Sentinel and then things really took off.

All along, it's been very important to Adam that Epcot officials be aware of the group's activities. He didn't want any issues during the event. Working closely with Epcot cast members, space has even been provided near Epcot's Kennel Club for the Celebration 25 registration tables. All registered attendees will receive a lanyard/nametag and IllumiNations dessert party attendees will have a separate identifier.

And if this isn't enough, Adam made it clear to me how important having a charity associated with the event was to him and the team. Lou Mongello's Dream Team fundraiser for Make a Wish will be the charity associated with Celebration 25. All proceeds from the Celebration 25 DVD and Scrapbook and any extra from the IllumiNations dessert party will go to the Dream Team fundraiser. "Now we can do something for the community and not just Epcot."

Adam isn't sure if all 50 states are represented in the registered attendees, but he does know that there is a large group coming from the United Kingdom. There is also a couple getting married on October 1st and rather than head off to their honeymoon, they are coming to the Celebration 25 activities and the dessert party.

According to Adam, and most of this has also been reported in the Orlando Sentinel, Epcot will have several special displays/activities to celebrate 25 years!

The Epcot Gallery in Innoventions West opens October 1st for guests and promises to be a step back through the years of Epcot's history. While it is unclear how long the gallery will be open, it sounds like through the end of this year. There will be 2 sessions with Marty Sklar. All Celebration 25 registered IllumiNations dessert party attendees will have a ticket to one of the two sessions. Disney is also planning special 25th Anniversary merchandise including t-shirts and pins.

IllumiNations will have a special "tag" after the regular show which will be a one time only tribute that's 5 minutes long. Adam shared that there will be additional fireworks, lasers, music from Epcot's past (Tapestry of Nations) and possibly Spaceship Earth used as a canvas.

And....when it's all said and done, Adam wants "to remember this as something I had a part in. I think that everyone who has been involved and everyone who has signed up has made this event so strong... I"m proud to be involved. This is one of those times we can say to Disney; this does mean something to us! I know that our presence has reminded them in a friendly way, that we do care."

I, and many others, will be in Epcot Sunday and Monday to be part of all the excitement! See you there!

September 24, 2007

Journey Into Imagination - Epcot Center - Celebrating 25 Years!

Tuesday's issue (September 25, 2007) of the AllEars® (weekly newsletter) has a special feature on the original Journey Into Imagination ride (Future World, Epcot) written by Lou Mongello.

As I read the draft, I found myself reminiscing about the ride and my first visit to Epcot in the early 1990s. All of a sudden I was surrounded by my postcard collection, searching for Figment cards! You're in luck!

Here are the ones I found.. They are here as a tribute to Epcot's upcoming 25th anniversary and the original Journey Into Imagination. All scans of the front of the postcards which are all copyright Disney.

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Pre-opening artist rendering postcard. "With a Spark of Inspiration ." - colorful realms of creativity will be explored when guests board ride-vehicles for a Journey Into Imagination."

Journey Into Imagination Epcot Pre-opening Postcard

Journey Into Imagination Epcot Pre-opening Postcard


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"Imagination - One Little Spark in Journey into Imagination, Dreamfinder and Figment escort you aboard the 'Dream Machine', enjoy a 3-D 'Magic Journeys', and the Image Works spurs creativity with light and sound."


One Little Spark in Journey into Imagination Postcard


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"Catch a Dream - The Dreamfinder and his little purple pal, Figment, fly through the universe gathering sounds, shapes and colors for a Journey into Imagination."


Journey Into Imagination Postcard Epcot

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"You're On Figment! Can a dragon be a star? Why not? In Journey Into Imagination, Figment puts on his top hat and tails to entertain us."

Figment Postcard

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If I'm missing any Imagination or Figment postcards from the 80's or 90's, please let me know! I'd love to see them. Just use the comment link below.

Lou's article is in the September 25, 2007 edition of AllEars®, available by free subscription.

AllEars® is a weekly newsletter with feature articles, news, tips and our famous MouseyMindboggler riddle!. It is sent via email to over 90,000 subscribers. Check it out!

September 18, 2007

EPCOT Turns 25!


UPDATE:
Today, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Epcot is now having some official activities on October 1st. Special items of note include an exhibit on Epcot's 25 years and a special IllumiNations finale.


The 25th anniversary of Epcot Center (October 1st) is almost here. For many months, Disney fans wondered if Walt Disney World would pay special attention to the 25th Anniversary of what was once, a dream of Walt's. Wow, 25th Anniversary.

Some of you may recall that in January I interviewed Epcot's then Vice President Brad Rex, who informed me, no special celebration would be happening. I remember sighing when he told me that and felt disappointed.

Soon two young local Disney fans, Jenn Waitt and Adam Roth, decided if Walt Disney World was not going to officially celebrate the anniversary, they would! They began conversations on the WDWMagic message boards and realized many others felt the same way they did. From there, Celebration 25 was born. "Join us as we honor Epcot's past and prepare for its future by kicking off its next twenty five years with a bang! We hope to have you with us as we celebrate this once in a lifetime event."

The Celebration 25 event now has over 1,000 folks registered and a sold out IllumiNations Dessert Party for the evening of October 1st. Adam has garnered such attention to his celebration that he reports Epcot officials plan to have an official, but low key, ceremony to honor the anniversary.

The Celebration 25 schedule has been announced and includes the rededication ceremony, "history walks" and attraction meets.

The guest list for the Celebration 25 reads like a Who's Who of independent Walt Disney World notables. Here are just a few of the folks who plan to attend: Deb Wills and Debra Martin Koma (AllEars®) Lou Mongello (WDW Trivia), Simon and Susan (Brits Guide), John Frost (The Disney Blog), Jeff Pepper (2719 Hyperion Blog), Bryan Ripper (All about the Mouse), Lou Moulton (Beyond Mainstreet), John Corigliano (Mouse Times), of course founder Adam Roth (Dreamfinder Forever), and many more.

Speaking of Jeff, he has a great series of blogs regarding Epcot memorabilia over the years.

Also during the weekend, another Disney fan group has organized what they call, "That Epcot Thing" with events scheduled to the anniversary. Organized by Nathan Rose and Tim Devine, The Epcot Thing also has its share of notables attending including: Ron Schneider (The Original Dreamfinder), Steve Barrett (Hidden Mickey's Guide), Kendra Trahan (NFFC President and Author), Jeff Lange (Disney Historian and DVD Author), Jim Hill (MDP Guest Podcaster and Disney Insider), and Mike and Julie Neal (Complete Guide to Walt Disney World).

And for those who want to totally immerse themselves in "Disneyana" for the weekend, the NFFC - an international club for Disney Enthusiasts has the 2nd Annual NFFC Florida Disneyana Convention September 27-30, 2007 at Coronado Springs. Registration required for many events.

Pin Traders will be happy to know that Walt Disney World does plan to release special pins for the 25th Celebration.

Want to see where Celebration 25 began? Just head over to WDWMagic message boards!

April 25, 2007

4/25/2007 WDW Almost Live

Evening 4/21/2007

Tonight we dined at Jiko to celebrate our dear friends Tod and Sue's anniversary. Our dinner was simply amazing and highlighted by manager Jeremy who paired each of our courses with a special South African Wine. We actually never did have a "main course" per se... but did manage to have several courses of items from the Cooking Place and the appetizer list. Oh, and dessert.

In this photo, Jeremy is pouring the Chocolate Box red wine for Sue -- it was YUMMMY!!

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Sunday, April 22, 2007
I hadn't spent much time in the World Showcase portion of Epcot so Linda and I headed there on Sunday. What a beautiful weather day... mostly blue skies, mild temps and a small breeze. We strolled from pavilion to pavilion enjoying all the beautiful flowers and topiaries.

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Along the way, we had lunch at the Yakatori House in Japan. It was ok, nothing special, but decent. By mid afternoon we strolled back to the front of Epcot to try and get better photos of the entrance topiaries.

Back to Wilderness Lodge where we spent some time talking with the concierge staff. Lisa, Gerrianne, Jack and everyone was just super!

Sunday evening we dined at Il Mulino in the Swan, the new Italian place. Being such a huge fan of Palio (the former Italian restaurant), I had such high hopes. Alas, I found the place disappointing and way overpriced. Our dining companions, Steve Barrett (Mr. Hidden Mickey) and his lovely wife Vickie, made the evening very special.

Monday morning we were off to the airport at 6:30am for a flight home. A great trip with great memories!

Deb --
Life IT too short!

April 24, 2007

4/24/07 - WDW Almost Live

Well, as you can see, I didn't quite finish the "live" updates from Walt Disney World. Things just got so hectic. Allow me now, to finish up the trip as best I can.....

4/20/07 Evening....
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Dinner at California Grill was wonderful, as it always is for me. We were seating in the wine room in the back and had a great view of Epcot's Spaceship Earth as well as the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. As I mentioned, I"ll be doing an article for the AllEars® newsletter on our California Grill experience.

4/21/07
Saturday morning we decided to have breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe. If you haven't been there yet, let's just say is a Wild and Crazy dining experience. Lots of whopping it up... so be ready for noise, even early in the am! The kids all got to ride around on their stick ponies (even some "older" kids) and it was fun to watch. Our server was very into his role and sometimes he couldn't stop himself from laughing. Food was very good but huge quantities and most of us couldn't finish our breakfast!!

The four of us went over to Epcot to see the Flower and Garden Festival. It certainly had more "color" than I remembered from last year.

The Pirate ship at the entrance is just magnificent with Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook, the gator and Pirate "Mr. Smee" Stitch!

We rode the new Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico. Certainly more colorful and lively that the former El Rio de Tiempo which definitely needed updating. If I didn't know the story line in advance, I would have been wondering exactly what it was. It wasn't clear to me until near the end that the Caballeros were looking for Donald. Be that as it may, it was cute and a strong "C-ticket" attraction.

There were gorgeous orchids along the path outside of Mexico and we spent a great deal of time admiring and taking photos of them.

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At this point I left my friends and headed off to do some resort research at Saratoga Springs and Port Orleans French Quarter. My friends continued to enjoy the Festival.


Deb
Life -- IT too short!

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About Epcot

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Deb's Digest in the Epcot category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Disney's MGM Studios is the previous category.

Live Entertainment is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.