« December 2008 | Main | February 2009 »

January 2009 Archives

January 9, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays at Walt Disney World - Resorts

My husband and I are back from celebrating the holidays at the happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World.

You may recall I began blogging prior to our trip in December. I had hoped to give live updates throughout the trip, but I ran into some technical difficulties. Now that I'm home, I'm ready to give you the full scoop.

Walt Disney World has so much to offer their guests for the holidays! As you can imagine, we had an absolutely amazing time. Disney, at Christmas, takes magical moments to a whole new level. I'll start with the resorts and then get into the parks. There's just so much to share.

Usually when people think about enjoying the holidays at Walt Disney World, they want to know all about the special events the parks have, during this time of the year. However, even if you're not staying at one of Disney's resorts, you should definitely take some time to visit them, and see how they get all decked out.

Each place has its very own major Christmas tree, specially decorated for that resort. In addition, some add a variety of other smaller Christmas trees, wreaths, garland, gingerbread houses. . .the list goes on and on.

Here's the tree in the main lobby of our resort, POP Century:

POP Century Christmas Tree

You may notice that it has more traditional types of ornaments on it. Here are some of the parts, up close:

POP Century Christmas Tree

POP Century Christmas Tree

Then, there's Grand Floridian, with its enormous tree that captures your attention right away, as you enter the main lobby:

Grand Floridian Christmas Tree

As you can see, though the Grand Floridian is a huge resort, with many floors, the tree still manages to be the tallest object in the place. Then, as if that isn't enough, they have a humongous Gingerbread House that is large enough to double as a store to sell, you guessed it, gingerbread and other holiday sweets and goodies:

Grand Floridian Gingerbread

Whenever we go to the Grand Floridian, I feel like I'm in the world's largest and most gorgeous doll house, so it's no wonder they also have this exquisite Gingerbread House.

Grand Floridian Gingerbread

Grand Floridian Gingerbread

Grand Floridian Gingerbread

Grand Floridian Gingerbread

Now, on to the Beach Club Resort! We didn't make it over there this year, but they are known for their chocolate carousel. It looks like a full-size carousel, but is so beautiful that I couldn't imagine eating any part of it. Here's a shot of it:

Beach Club Carousel

On the floor of the carousel are miniature versions of Disney characters, with Mickey heads all around the base:

Beach Club Carousel


Next blog the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Polynesian Resort!

Rachel Basden

January 10, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays at Walt Disney World - Resorts Part 2

Now, on to the Wilderness Lodge.

Wilderness Lodge

Their tree has more wilderness and American-Indian inspired ornaments, like tee-pees:

Wilderness Lodge

They also have the added bonus of visits with Santa at this resort!

Wilderness Lodge


Over at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, designed by the same person who created the Wilderness Lodge, they're decorations are just as beautiful. At this resort, the theme revolves more around Africa and animals:

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Here are some of the close-up shots:

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom Lodge


At the Polynesian Resort, there is a lovely tree that is decorated with beautiful Hawaiian flowers and shells:

Polynesian Resort

Polynesian Resort

These are some of the details up close:

Polynesian Resort

Polynesian Resort

This resort also had something we didn't notice anywhere else. They had edible Polynesian themed houses and buildings. They were made by the different staff members, some individually and some made them within departments. Here are some examples of their amazingly talented staff's work:

Polynesian Resort

Polynesian Resort

Polynesian Resort

Polynesian Resort

Polynesian Resort

Polynesian Resort


Each resort has its own way of decorating for the holidays. It's great to take a break from the parks and take your own tour of each one. As unique as each resort is, so are the ways they express their holiday cheer. They are seriously worth checking out!

Next up, the Theme Parks

Rachel Basden

January 11, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays at Walt Disney World - Animal Kingdom

As soon as you reach the Animal Kingdom entrance, you see a huge Christmas tree decorated with what else? Animals! It's simply beautiful, and in some ways, it resembles the one in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, though any similar ornaments are remarkably bigger.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom


Animal Kingdom


Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Within the park itself, you won't see much changed for the holidays, except for the parade and the Camp Minnie Mickey area. During their daily parade time, you will see essentially the same parade as you will see during the rest of the year, with a definite holiday twist. For example, the alligator that leads one of the floats is transformed to a reindeer of sorts. Minnie's bathtub float emits delicious scents of hot chocolate to those who are watching the parade. It really puts everyone in the spirits of the holidays. Mickey's Jingle Jangle Parade:

Animal Kingdom


Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom

Then, over at Camp Minnie Mickey, you will still find your Disney pals for picture taking time. However, each gazebo area is decorated for the holidays with lights, garland and in some spots, a tree. The characters are each dressed for the holidays, making for some very festive looking pictures.


Animal Kingdom


If you head over to the Winnie the Pooh and Friends picture taking location, you will see them wearing scarves and hats, no matter how warm it might be, reminding everyone that it is still the holiday season.

It's a great time of year to visit the Animal Kingdom, because of the cooler temperatures. The added holiday cheer just makes it that much more enjoyable!

Rachel Basden


January 12, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays at Walt Disney World - Disney's Hollywood Studios

During the holiday season, the Studios is transformed to a Winter Wonderland. Before the entrance way, you will see their huge Christmas tree, decorated with scenes from Disney's animations. Not only is this tree decorated with familiar faces, but all around the base are figures and even enlarged movie reels showing scenes from some of your favorite Disney moments.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Disney's Hollywood Studios

Inside, the streets are lined with sparkling red and white stars. However, the real holiday fun begins once the sun goes down. That's when the New York portion of the park becomes a dazzling display of lights and music! It's called the "Osbourne Spectacle of Lights".

The entire area is covered in lights, from the buildings to the objects found on the streets and sidewalks. There are lit up displays everywhere!!! While you walk through, you are entertained with holiday tunes. Then, every fifteen minutes, the lights literally dance to the music. It's the most amazing holiday light show we've ever seen and it's definitely worth going to at least once in your lifetime. As if that isn't enough, as the lights dance all around you, snow falls from above. Words cannot do it justice, but it's truly another magical Disney moment.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Disney's Hollywood Studios


Disney's Hollywood Studios


Disney's Hollywood Studios

January 13, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays at Walt Disney World - Downtown Disney

Walt Disney World doesn't just celebrate the holidays at the parks and resorts, but also in Downtown Disney. You can pose with a Christmas display with some Disney characters.

Downtown Disney

There is also a very tall Christmas tree full of toy related items all over it and along its base.

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

Rachel Basden

January 14, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays at Walt Disney World - Epcot

Like the other parks, Epcot has its own unique large Christmas tree. However, when you enter the park, you don't notice anything holiday related, until you reach the World Showcase. Then, hold on to your Mickey Santa hat, because there are Santas everywhere! Each country has at least one special live presentation, done throughout the day, to share with guests how that country celebrates the holiday season. It's fun to go from one country to another, learning what they do around the world during this time of the year, and when allowed, getting involved in the story telling.

Epcot


Epcot


Epcot


Epcot


Epcot


Epcot


Epcot

Epcot


Then, each night, there is a beautiful "Candlelight Processional". The America Gardens Theater is transformed into a church-like scene, with suspended gorgeous stained glass windows on both sides of the theater and one of the largest choirs, accompanied by an orchestra and trumpeters, sharing beautiful Christmas songs, along with a celebrity that shares the traditional Bible story of Christmas. It's hard not to tear up if you are fortunate enough to get a seat.

Epcot

January 15, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays at Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom, for many, is the focal point of Walt Disney World. However, this is where my blog ends on how the parks celebrate the holidays.

Before you even step within the Magic Kingdom, you will see the front area decorated, and giving a taste of what's inside. Having gone last year, it seems they change the look from one year to the next. These are a couple of shots of what we saw:

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom


As soon as you catch a glimpse of Main Street USA, you notice the amazing amount of decorations hanging everywhere. Of course, they have a HUGE Christmas tree, along with some Christmas displays, like soldiers.


Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom


More characters are available to get pictures with, like Clarabelle the cow, Scrooge McDuck and Jiminy Cricket. If you are fortunate, you can pay to attend "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" which occurs on select nights. We attended last year, and they had a special parade, snow on Main St., holiday shows, special fireworks and free hot cocoa and cookies throughout the park. You can also get your picture taken with Santa himself! It's truly an amazing experience. For those who can't make it to the party, they do have all of the above for the general public, after all the party nights are over, with the exception of the free cocoa and cookies.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom


Magic Kingdom

However, the best part for us, is after nightfall, when they light up Cinderella's castle with millions of tiny white lights, making it look like it's covered in frost. It's absolutely breathtaking! Last year was the first year they did this, and we were happy to see them do it again.

If you want to see the Magic Kingdom at its most magical peak, it's completely worth the trip!


Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom

January 16, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays at Walt Disney World - Conclusion

Going to Walt Disney World, during the holidays, is a great idea, if you are prepared for the large crowds. During this time, busses can get very crowded before parks open, after special events like parades and fireworks, and at closing. This means there is usually many left standing on the bus rides.

Most days, we went to a park during Extra Magic Hour mornings. You can get through many main attractions this way, before the park officially opens. However, if you plan to go to Disney's Hollywood Studios' new attraction, Toy Story Mania, expect to get on during the Extra Magic Hours once or twice and after that, only if you don't mind waiting 2 or 3 hours. We actually experienced seeing a line from Toy Story Mania to the steps by the Little Mermaid show just to get Fastpasses for Toy Story, fairly locking it up for most of the day. However, getting on other attractions at all four parks isn't bad if you anticipate the longer waits and utuilize Fastpass well.

Whether you're shopping at the parks or Downtown, shop early or during typical meal times. Also, don't forget about the stores at the resorts. They have great merchandise, and the sales we saw at the parks and in Downtown, were also at the resort stores. With this advice, you'll save yourself some time on lines for the register, too!

Overall, the Disney feel we are all used to, combined with the general good will most people feel during the holidays, makes for a pleasant trip. When the crowds get to be a bit much, enjoy the holiday decorations, take some extra photos or enjoy time at your resort and rest up. We've gone two years in a row, and I know it won't be our last time at Disney World for the holidays!

Rachel Basden

January 17, 2009

Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure

DizneyMike visited Epcot today and experienced the new Kim Possible Adventure.

My wife, Julie, and I headed over to Walt Disney World today to enjoy a cool, January day at our favorite park: Epcot. When we arrived we were surprised to see the long lines of cars waiting to pay for parking and the even longer lines at the park entrance. I was expecting the crowds to be somewhat lighter today, but I forgot this was a holiday weekend and a lot of people don't have school or work on Monday.

In any event, as we were walking in I saw a sign by Innoventions West stating that they were "now recruiting, Team Possible Agents, to save the world, as part of Disney's Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure.

Kim Possible Adventure Epcot

We went inside and we greeted by two Kim Possible agents who explained that they were looking for guests to help Kim Possible rid the world of evil doers and wanted to know if we were up to the challenge.

Kim Possible Adventure Epcot

Once we said we were interested they went over what to expect. The first thing is to swipe your park admission ticket to get a fastpass like card with a location (one of the World Showcase countries) and a time. You're told to report to the agents at that location for further instructions.

Kim Possible Adventure Epcot


Kim Possible Adventure Epcot

In our case, we were told to report to Norway at 12:45 PM. The agents there gave us a Kimmunicator, which is a GPS equipped cell phone and much, much more. She explained that our mission would last about a half hour and that all the information we needed was on the Kimmunicator.

Kim Possible Adventure Epcot

Kim Possible Adventure Epcot


The Kimmunicator is a really neat device that speaks your instructions to you while displaying animated characters on the device screen. You're instructed to go find clues in certain locations. In our case our entire adventure took place in the China pavilion. Besides giving instructions, the Kimmunicator interacted with objects in the China pavilion. For instance pressing a key on the device opened doors, moved objects, etc. I don't want to give specifics, as I don't want to ruin this adventure for others.

Kim Possible Adventure Epcot


Kim Possible Adventure Epcot

Once you've completed your mission the Kimmunicator directs you to a place where to drop off the device.

Kim Possible Adventure Epcot


In total, there are five locations where you can begin your mission: Innoventions East, Innoventions West, as you enter the International Gateway, Norway and by the World Showcase exit to Epcot that's located between United Kingdom and France.

Kim Possible Adventure Epcot

Kim Possible Adventure Epcot


I was told that there are seven different adventures that you can do and that you can start them at any of the five different Kim Possible recruiting stations. There is no limit to how many adventures you do in a day.

As we were on our adventure we came across lots of families who were on their own Kim possible adventure. They were having a blast!

We really enjoyed ourselves and can't wait to complete the other six adventures. I think that Disney did a great job with this! The half hour was just about right. However, I was disappointed when it was over; I was having fun with it! The Kimmunication is high tech and pretty amazing how it interacts with various objects.

My recommendation is to go to Epcot and take part in Disney's Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure: you'll definitely enjoy yourself.

Related Links:
Kim Possible Attraction Page with Additional Reader Comments

Official Press Release
Well, that's all for now. As my good friend says "see ya real soon" - DizneyMike

Mike Bachand (aka DizneyMike) is a long time Disney Enthusiast. Over the years Mike and his family made numerous trips down to WDW from their home in Massachusetts. Now Mike and his wife live year round in the Orlando area. He is a Florida Annual Passholder who visits WDW on an average of once a week. Besides his love for WDW, Mike has a large collection of Disney books, figurines and ornaments and is a former Disney Cast Member who worked as a Concierge at the Contemporary Resort.

January 25, 2009

Indy Racing Experience

by Guest Blogger Gary K.

If you grow up in Indiana as I did, you always wonder what it would be like to drive in the Indianapolis 500. I recently had the opportunity to find out. You can now drive an actual Indy car as fast as you dare on a real, full-size race track at Disney World. Indy Racing Experience has been offering this breathtaking experience at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2001. In November, 2008 they opened a sister operation at the Walt Disney World Speedway, right next to the Magic Kingdom.

indyrac2.jpg

This is the real thing. I got to drive Juan Montoya's (Indy car champ and winner of The Indianapolis 500 in 2000) back up car. It is the same car -- no changes except the engine is a little (and I emphasize a little) smaller. Mike Horvath, Marco Andretti's chief mechanic at Andretti Green Racing and winner of the 2005 Mechanic of the Year Award, helped me get into and get comfortable in the car. And Davy Hamilton, current Indy car driver and veteran of 50 Indy car races, put me through my paces on the track.

I arrived at the track approximately an hour before my schedule track time. It was quite exciting from the very beginning. I had the first Indy ride time of the day. As I walked out next to the track pit wall, I heard a roar and three Indy cars pulled up next to me - ready to go.

indyrac3.jpg

The track is really awesome. It was built in 1995 and hosted five Indy car races from 1996 to 2000. (I was lucky enough to attend all five.) It is a banked one mile tri-oval, with each of the three turns having a different radius and a different banking angle. Hamilton told me the track is very, very challenging to drive.

The process of going from track side to on track is fairly simple and quick. The first step is the obligatory paperwork. Bottom line, you have to sign forms that say you understand driving a race car is dangerous and if you hurt yourself you are responsible.

indyrac4.jpg

Second, they help you find the right size driving suit and boots and you're off to the pit side "air conditioned" changing rooms. (See the blue curtains to the right of the picture? Those are the dressing rooms.)

indyrac5.jpg

Next, you sit down in a mock up of the driving seat and pedal lay out. (The cockpit is small and you drive in a reclining position. Thus, you cannot see the pedals in the car once you are actually seated in the car. Therefore, you need to get a "feel" for them.) While you are in the mock-up, you receive your instructions. The instructor covers safety and car problems, of course. But, bottom line, you are instructed to simply stay about five car lengths behind Davy in the lead car and he would lead you around the track as fast as you feel comfortable going.

Then you put on racing gloves, a balaclava and a racing helmet and it's over the pit wall and into the car.

indyrac6.jpg

You have to stand up in the cockpit and gradually lower yourself vertically, disappearing into the race car, with only the top three-quarters of you head above the cockpit. The mechanics get you comfortable in the seat, tighten all the seat belts, fit the rear neck surround to the car and install the steering wheel. Initially, the feeling is a bit claustrophobic but that disappeared instantly when I heard Hamilton's car start.

The mechanical procedures are incredibly simple. (The car has a five speed transmission but the first four gears are only used to get you up to top speed quickly. Since this is not a race you just keep the car in fifth.) You depress the clutch, push the start button and the engine comes to life. (The engine has already been warmed up so there is no delay. But revving the engine a few times seemed appropriate to me.) Hamilton took off. I gave it some gas, let out the clutch and away we went for eight thrilling laps.

indyrac7.jpg

The actual driving experience was easier than I imagined. With Hamilton showing you the racing line, the car seems like it is glued to the track. Your comfort level grows and so does your speed. You start to get a real feel for the g-forces in the corners and how each corner feels different. How the different banking angles and corner radiuses all impact the car. Hamilton lead me down to the apex of each corner and then up right next to the wall. Hamilton's car kicked-up all kinds of dirt as I followed him next to those walls. (The Richard Petty Driving Experience stock cars, that share the same track earlier each day, must not use all the track the way and Indy car does. We were exploring some new terrain.) The eight laps go quickly but you get a real feel of what driving one of these cars is like. You also get an appreciation that Indy car drivers are athletes in the true sense of the word. In addition, you begin to realize you are simply following a car on the racing line. What must it be like to be surrounded by 20 cars - passing and being passed at racing speed for a couple of hundred miles?

After the final lap, I followed Hamilton into the pits, depressed the clutch, stopped the car, killing the engine and grinned.

It was very cool day in Florida the day of my drive and it was on a weekday. So, there was no one waiting to take my place. Hamilton was very willing to talk to me about driving these cars on this track and about Indy car racing in general. It was fun and enlightening. I ask him how fast we were going. He said we got up to about 100 mph average on our fastest lap. He told me that most people don't go much faster unless they have had some prior experience. (I am sure he was being simply gracious.)

indyrac8.jpg

My wife decided she wanted to see what the experience was like but did not want to actually drive a car. Fortunately, they have lengthened an Indy car chassis and created a two-seater. So, Hamilton took her for a ride. (Everything is exactly the same, except you ride along instead of drive. See below.)

Because in was near dusk on a cool day, Hamilton was "only" able to get up to about 120 mph average on his fastest lap with her. So, I went home feeling pretty good about my speed. Unfortunately, I then got on the web to see what the Indy car lap recorded is for the Disney Speedway. The fastest lap was set by Buddy Lazier at over 180 mph. I have a hard time imaging what that must have been like, but now I have a much better idea than I did before. If you are interested in Indy car racing, you have to give this a try. It is well worth the money.

As I got ready to go over the pit wall and rejoin the regular world, Hamilton told me about a young man who had such a great experience driving the prior week that he bought three back-to-back eight lap runs. He was able to get up to a 120 mph lap. As I left the track, I was reminded of that old racing adage "Speed costs money. How fast do you want to go?"
====================

Gloria chimes in (Doesn't she always!)

As Gary told you, once he was finished, they asked me if I wanted to drive. Nope, no way! I'd be a menace to both myself, the car and everyone else ...but I could go for a ride! Why not? So, I went inside to sign the release forms and then outside to the changing room to get suited up. Now for those of you who know me personally, I barely reach five feet tall. Well, fire suits come in various widths, but only one length *-- l-o-n-g! I managed to get everything zipped, Velcroed and closed, but it was an interesting endeavor to say the least.

Once suited up, it was time for the balaclava (head sock), the helmet and the gloves. The balaclava was the worst! I have the kind of hair that does not take well to being disturbed once it has been tamed into place in the morning. Head socks and helmets really do a number on hairdos! Trust me on this one. Even Gary said, "She must really want to ride if she's willing to risk getting her hair messed up!"

indyrac9.jpg

Helmet on! Gloves on! Now I must get down into the car which sits about 4 inches off the ground. This alone is a challenge, but I managed, only to find out that I was sitting so low in the car that I couldn't see out of the cockpit. This is not good, so they tell me to get out and they'll put a cushion in to raise me up a bit.

That's when I learned that getting out of the car is even more difficult than getting in. For a minute I thought maybe they'd need a crane, but it wasn't necessary. I was able to pull myself up and out more easily than I thought. I think the adrenalin must have kicked in, giving me superhuman strength.

They put in the cushion and I again lowered myself down into the car. Much better! I could see! The guys snapped all the restrains in place, locked in the neck support and in just a few seconds we were off.

For those of you who have never heard the roar of an Indy car engine, it is spectacularly loud! There is also a rumble that goes with it and when you're in the car, that rumble travels right up through your body - an awesomely powerful feeling.

According to Gary who was chatting with the "pit crew" while I was riding, the car was "pushing" (Whatever that means.) and wasn't handling as well as the driver wanted. Consequently we never got up to the 180 mph the car might reach if all was working perfectly. Consequently, they threw in an extra lap or two to try to get the tires warmed up before trying to attain top speed down the straightaway. We probably reached 150 to 160 top speed for a few seconds. That was plenty fast for me!

indyrac1.jpg

But all too soon the ride was over and it was back to our Toyota van for an exciting (not!) ride over to the MK where we spent the rest of the day.

Indy Racing Experience is priced competitively with the Richard Petty (stock car) Racing Experience. They are certainly worth the money for anyone who is a fan of open-wheel racing. Gary is the racing fan in our family; I have little interest and had no intention of even taking a "ride" when we got there. But there's something about the roar of those engines that just draws you in. It's probably not something I'd want to do again, but it was definitely great fun and a terrific experience.

RELATED INFO:

Walt Disney World Racing Experiences can be booked by calling 1-888-357.5002. Ask to speak with Shonda Kennedy at extension 106 or e-mail her at skennedy@indyracingexperience.com. You can read more on their official website at http://www.indyracingexperience.com. Prices as of January 2009 are $399 for 8 driving laps and $109 for the 3-lap ride-along experience.

January 30, 2009

DizneyMike’s World: Innoventions

So, how many of you who have been to Epcot before have taken the time to stop into either Innoventions East or West? Well, if you haven't you're missing some pretty neat stuff. Mind you, Innoventions is meant to educate both adults and children, but in a very entertaining way. In my opinion it's definitely something worth doing; especially on a hot, humid afternoon or a rainy day.

innov1_bach.jpg

The first attraction inside Innoventions West (I'm right-handed so I started on the right side of the park first) is Kim Possible. Since I wrote about that in my last blog I'll skip over that. Beyond that is "Where's The Fire?" Guests are separated into teams and each person is given a device that looks like a large flashlight. Each team competes by moving from one room to another inside the house detecting unsafe and potentially dangerous fire hazards. (For example: in the kitchen there may be a small appliance near water.) You move from one room to another identifying hazards until time runs out. Once that's completed there are other activities like teaching small children what to do in case of a fire and you can have your picture taken in front of a fire engine and emailed to yourself or whomever you want.

innov2_bach.jpg

innov3_bach.jpg

The next exhibit is "Think Place" by IBM. Here you become part of computer game. Pictures are taken of you running in place, jumping and doing a victory dance. After that, you control your image as you play a video game. When the game is completed you can send the video of that game to your email address.

innov4_bach.jpg

"Slap Stick Studios" exhibit is sponsored by Velcro. A very entertaining master of ceremonies selects guests to come up on stage and play a couple of games that revolve around the use of Velcro. I found the Cast Member playing the part of the master of ceremonies to be quite funny and very quick-witted. The kids really loved this show!

innov5_bach.jpg

"Rockin' Robots" is where you control large robotic arms that play various musical instruments. Personally I didn't spend much time there as it's not something that will hold your interest for long.

Next to "Rockin' Robots" is "Video Games of Tomorrow". There are about 20 stations where you can play some of Disney's latest video games.

"Segway Central" is where adults (not children) can take a short ride on a Segway. You're first brought into a room where you watch a brief video about the history of the Segway. You sign a standard release and then queue up for your turn to ride. A Cast Member gives you personal instructions then walks in front of you and you ride the Segway up and back a 15 to 20 yard course. This is a must for anyone who's ever said that riding a Segway looks like fun.

innov7_bach.jpg

The first exhibit in Innoventions East (beyond another Kim Possible station) is "Storm Struck." Here you experience the force of a hurricane in 3D. Then you get to choose measures in building your house (like type of roof, etc.) that will best withstand a hurricane. Those measures are put to a test to see how effective they are. If you want to get an idea as to the fury and strength of a hurricane then don't miss this exhibit.

Waste Management sponsors the "Don't Waste It" exhibit. Team up with family or friends and push a mini Waste Management truck to three interactive stations. At each station you play video-like games dealing with recycling and the environment. At the end you get a certificate that can be sent to your email address.

innov8_bach.jpg

Presently, "The House of Innoventions" is being updated and no date as to when it will reopen has been given. However, I've been through this house before so I can tell you a little about it. A Cast Member gives you a tour of a house filled with the latest technology. You're guided through a kitchen, bedroom and living room with all kinds of high-tech gadgets like keyless door locks that are programmed by finger prints.

innov9_bach.jpg

"Test Labs" is much like "Rockin' Robots," only here you get to perform "tests" like UL would to certify certain products. As with the robots, the kids seemed to enjoy this more than I did.

innov10_bach.jpg

Finally at the end is a wonderful Walt Disney timeline displayed on three large walls. If you have any interest in Walt and all his accomplishments then take the time to view the wall.

innov11_bach.jpg

innov12_bach.jpg

If you have some time before your next FastPass or dinner reservation I encourage you to stop by Innoventions East or West and try out some of these exhibits. You won't be disappointed!

I hope this blog helped you as you plan your next trip to Epcot.
And, as my good friend says, "see ya real soon".


Mike Bachand (aka DizneyMike) is a long time Disney Enthusiasts. Over the years Mike and family made numerous trips down to WDW from their home in Massachusetts. Now Mike and his wife live year round in the Orlando area. He is a Florida Annual Passholder who visits WDW on an average of once a week. Besides his love for WDW, Mike has a large collection of Disney books, figurines and ornaments and is a former Disney Cast Member working as a Concierge at the Contemporary Resort.

Return to Blog Central

About January 2009

This page contains all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in January 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2008 is the previous archive.

February 2009 is the next archive.

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