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January 7, 2016

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom Area Changes

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos. In early December I wrapped up my 2015 Disney Parks World Tour back where it all began for me at Walt Disney World. During 2015 I was able to visit all 11 Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris and Orlando. It had been a year since my last trip to WDW and as I walked around I looked for changes as I always tend to do. I have put together a series of posts for AllEars.net of some of the changes that stuck out to me as I roamed the parks, resorts and Disney Springs. As always if you want to see my full picture & video sets and read my thoughts & observations visit my site disneygeek.com.

This post takes a look around the Magic Kingdom and some of the Magic Kingdom Resort projects.


The big change at the Magic Kingdom since last December is the completion of the hub expansion. Here is a view through one of the viewing areas toward the Castle.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


The viewing areas a used as FastPass+ for Wishes each evening. During the day they are open to sit in.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


One of the new walkways looking toward Main Street from Adventureland. Notice anything missing? There are no benches or places to sit, nor is there any shade really.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


Another view of the Castle from the walkway leading to Adventureland.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


On the Tomorrowland (east) side the rose walk and old swan boat dock have been removed and a forest put in their place. It does make for a nice picture of the Castle in the woods but I miss the walkway.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


Four new turrets have been added too. Here you can see them lit up for the evening. They house equipment for the Castle stage.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


Up closer to the Castle work continues on the walkways. The west (left) ramp was open but temporary railings. The other side was walled off still.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


In Adventureland the Skipper Canteen opened during my trip. I did not eat there but did take a quick look around.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


The outside waiting area.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


The inside waiting area.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


The first dining room, viewed from the waiting area.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


Across the Seven Seas lagoon the lobby of the Polynesian Village Resort has been completed (it was behind curtains last December).


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


Work is underway at the Oasis Pool (the quiet pool near the DVC section of the resort)


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


The Disney Vacation Club Bungalows are available now too.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


At the Wilderness Lodge there is construction going on for Disney Vacation Club expansion. Here is a look along Bay Lake at the blocked off area.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


The other side of the hotel between the existing DVC rooms and Bay Lake is being cleared.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


From the Monorail you can see the path cleared along the lake to the lodge.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


Last note there are some new buses in the fleet now. They feature larger text.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015


As well as a destination on the back of the bus.


Jason @ disneygeek.com image from December 2015

Hope you enjoyed this highlight tour of some of the changes I noticed in the Magic Kingdom area since my last trip in 2014. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full picture sets I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.







January 5, 2015

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos of the new queue in the Peter Pan's Flight attraction at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. If you would like to view more from this trip here is my trip summary with links.

A few weeks ago, the queue at Peter Pan's Flight was expanded to help alleviate the long outdoor lines this attractions always has. The queue has now been made to look like a portion of the Darling family's home.

You start off by entering a series of hallways that can best be described as an art gallery.

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

You make your way into the Darling's yard.

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

Nana in the backyard area.

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

You enter the house and portraits of the kids are on the wall.

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

And the parents

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

You make your way into the nursery for the final part of the queue.

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

The view out the window.

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

One of the beds

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

You then merge with the FastPass+ line and board your ship.

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW

Disembarking and wrapping up this trip to Neverland.

New Peter Pan Queue - Magic Kingdom - WDW


Hope you enjoyed this look at the Magic Kingdom. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Trip Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



January 1, 2015

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos.

In December I spent at week on the East Coast at Walt Disney World. If you follow my regular posts from Disneyland you know I enjoy looking at what changed and is changing around the parks. AllEars asked me to share some of the construction pictures I took as I explored Walt Disney World. This four-post series will look at Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the Polynesian Village Resort and will feature a subset of my pictures. If you would like to view more from this trip here is my trip summary with links.

This part takes a look at the projects at the Magic Kingdom.

Several enhancements to the Central Plaza area between the end of Main Street and Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom are coming over the next few months. Among the changes being made: the addition of sculpted gardens and pathways, expanded restaurant seating and even a special viewing area for fireworks and other performances. In fact, the seating outside of Casey's Corner and The Plaza restaurant has already nearly doubled in size. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2015.

A look at the east side of the hub expansion project (taken from the bridge to Tomorrowland looking back toward Main Street).

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

A closer look

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

In Adventureland some general renovation work

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

The east side of the hub expansion project.

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

Tarp and scaffolding up on the bridge.

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

A few days later, notice more lamp and speaker posts are installed.

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

A project in the eating area for Sleepy Hollow.

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

A pan of the hub project from the Tomorrowland Terrace

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update

Here you can see some of the new walls for the walkway taking shape.

Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World Construction Update


Hope you enjoyed this look at the Magic Kingdom. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full Trip Update I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



April 29, 2013

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas at Walt Disney World

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Contributing photographer Jason of disneygeek.com sends us these photos from Walt Disney World.

I had a great opportunity my last morning at Walt Disney World. The Imagineers were conducting a public "play test" of A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas. This is a new interactive experience that will be opening in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom in the near future. The testing started earlier in the morning and I managed to make it there about 11:45am and was one of the last groups through, they shut down around noon. The adventure begins at the Enlistment Quarters, the old Crows Nest.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

The only signs it was open for the play test was an open door.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

On the other side a cast member was out to answer questions and he also gave the introduction to the game.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

We were shown inside by the cast member and he explained what we were about to embark on.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

He then issued us a talisman that would be our key to unlock the game.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

We then could go to one of the three kiosks to start our adventure.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

You put the talisman on the symbol and the video begins to play your first clue and it tells you which quest you will be embarking on.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

There were five maps out. Since this was a play test they stressed what we were seeing may not be the final set of maps or content on the maps.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Our quest was the Guardian's Curse. Here is a look a the map.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

The introduction text on the map.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

The map. We were told to head for the compass first.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Before heading off a look around the room.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Overhead...

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

The wall behind you (assuming you are facing the kiosks).

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Our first stop was the compass. This is located across from Pirates. When you put the talisman on the symbol the compass springs to life and points to where you will be heading next (there is narration too). We were directed across the plaza to the parrot for further instructions.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Approaching the parrot symbol, it is on the gun handle which is on the crate. The parrot itself is in the shadow on the left in this picture.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

A video clip of the parrot in action.

Next up for us was the bulls-eye. This stop is located down near the Swiss Family Tree House.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

A couple video clips of the cannon fire and treasure unveiling and our final clue.


Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Our final stop, the captain's hat. Located where the mini Jungle Cruise boats once sailed.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Video of the finale to our quest. After this played an Imagineer approached us, thanked us and asked for feedback.

They shut down the test at noon which was about the time we wrapped up our quest. So I did not have a chance to try any of the others or learn more. Here is a look at a couple of the other maps. Again note they stressed these are still works in progress.

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Play Testing A Pirate's Adventure

Hope you enjoyed this look at a play test of the upcoming Pirates Adventure. For additional photos and details from this trip you can check out the full updates I posted on my site, http://disneygeek.com Also be sure to follow me on twitter @disneygeekcom for pictures from the parks.



May 9, 2008

My Bonus Trip to Walt Disney World - Part 4: We Got Dreamed!

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog entry, Lisa and I received lanyards entitling us to admission to some kind of after-hours event at the Magic Kingdom last night, but we didn't actually know what it was going to be.

Lee didn't get back to the room until after 7:00...we decided to eat here at Riverside instead of at the Magic Kingdom (we wanted to get to the MK in time to see the fireworks at 9:00).

We both decided to have the roast turkey dinner - it was *real* turkey breast, carved right before our eyes, and served with corn bread, and choice of two sides: mashed potatoes, corn, or mixed vegetables. It was actually really quite good - we both had the potatoes and the veggies. The corn bread was just a little sweet and had pieces of corn in it. And the price was quite reasonable, too - $8.99.

It was almost 8:00 by the time we got out to the bus stop, and found a bunch of other folks waiting for the MK bus, also. Apparently they had been waiting for a while, since the bus got quite a cheer when it arrived. Fortunately we all fit on the bus, though it was standing room only.

We staked out a spot about half way between the hub and the ice cream shop for Wishes - we could have gotten closer but we know from past experience that it's possible to be *too* close. This turned out to be a really good place.

What can I say...Wishes is a wonderful fireworks show. So many different kinds of fireworks, and the beautiful light show that goes on on the castle iself is great. I think Disneyland's Remember...Dreams Come True is a little bit better, in terms of the integration of the castle lighting projections, music, and fireworks, but Wishes is a whole lot more reliable - barring something like a hurricane I don't think it gets canceled.

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We waited for the traffic to subside before going to Tomorrowland, which was where we were supposed to be for the start of the Dream event. We arrived just as they were counting down to the start of it (it started at 9:30), and people starting streaming out of the fenced-in area.

Apparently if you arrived at 9:00 like they told you to (but we wanted to see the fireworks) they put you in a fenced-in area once you showed your lanyard. There was a stage and a DJ playing music, and Mickey and Minnie were there, too. I assume they told people about what was going to happen, and what would be open, but we missed that part. Fortunately, Cast Members were handing out a special event Entertainment Schedule (just like the usual ones you pick up in all of the parks) which had information on the event - including important details on how long it was (9:30-10:30) and what attractions were open.

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Lisa and I were told earlier in the day that only Tomorrowland was open, but that wasn't the case - there were attractions open all over the park! That's a lot of ground to cover in just an hour. Lisa had called Mike Scopa earlier who did some Googling and found that they only give out 9600 lanyards the day of the event, and of course not all of those people attend, so the park seemed pretty empty.

Our first ride was Buzz Lightyear, since Lee hadn't yet done it this trip...and it actually had a line, and we had to wait for at least a minute to get on. :-) We *really* miss the removable laser cannons that they have in California.

Remember that I said the park seemed pretty empty? That made things even spookier over at the Haunted Mansion. One nice thing about it was that we could hear all the sounds coming from the mansion, which you normally can't hear over all the noise from the people. Wolves howling and stuff like that.

We split up after that - Lee and I rode Thunder Mountain, which seemed especially fast and more of a thrill than the one in California (which we just rode on Sunday). Or maybe it was because we aren't used to the ups and downs and turns here like we are there. It was fun. Lisa went to Pirates of the Caribbean, and after we finished on Thunder Mountain Lee and I went there too - that was our last ride of the evening since it was just after 10:30 by the time we got off. Sigh...the hour went much too fast! And hour and a half, or even two hours, would have been much better!

On our way back to Main Street we saw this:

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Who knew that they let homeless people sleep inside the Magic Kingdom? :-)

On our way out of the park, Mickey and Minnie were waving goodbye from the train station, and some management type was talking and thanking us for coming, etc. It really was a nice event - just too short!

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We said goodbye to Lisa and went to our respective bus stops. Lee and I stopped at the Food Court on the way back to our room to pick up some dessert - I had ice cream and he had a brownie. They aren't as good as the brownies from the Boardwalk Bakery, though.

So that finally brings us to today. After breakfast Lee dropped me off at the Boardwalk and I walked into Epcot via the International Gateway. I called Lisa, who was still finishing up with her packing (since she was going home this evening), but she said she'd call me when she arrived at the park.

So I wandered around the park enjoying the flowers and the topiaries, and taking some pictures. Over in Norway I noticed something I'd never noticed before...look closely at the upper window in the right hand side.

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There were trolls in this window, and in many of the other windows around the Norway pavilion. I didn't realize that this was a troll couple until I unloaded the pictures off my camera! There was also a troll couple perched on the Stave Church.

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I did another (successful) training mission at Mission:Space (green, non-spinning side, of course!), and Lisa called me after that. We sampled some beverages in Club Cool, and as we were walking back towards World Showcase we noticed they were setting up for some kind of a shoot. Lots of people and cameras and lights. It was a promo for the High School Musical - Get in the Picture thing that is touring the country - we saw the setup they had at DCA last weekend. Lisa pointed out Nick Lachey - good thing she knew who he was, since I never would have known. :-)

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We wandered back towards the UK pavilion, taking pictures of flowers and topiaries. We went into one of the shops in the UK and noticed a quiz posted next to the cash register, with questions like: "Name 5 Disney movies set in the UK", and "Where does the P.M. live?" The Cast Member there gave us a "Certifiable Magical Moment" certificate for participating in the UK Quiz, and told us there were additional quizzes in the other UK shops.

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We checked in at Rose & Crown where we had a lunch reservation. Lisa had the Fish & Chips - the chef came out before her meal to discuss her dietary restrictions, and then he personally delivered her meal to the table! He was pretty cute, too. :-) I had the Vegetable Curry, and that was pretty tasty.

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After lunch we visited the other UK shops and found two more quizzes - one of them had a list of American words, and we were supposed to come up with the UK equivalent. Like "elevator" is "lift", and "vacation" is "holiday". Some of themn we had no clue about, like "pacifier", "eggplant" (eggplant???), and "bun". Unfortunately the CM in that shop wasn't into it at all - she just told us what the answers were, and didn't offer to give us a certificate.

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I said goodbye to Lisa then, and went back to Riverside for some relaxation time. It seemed hotter today than yesterday, and I was getting a little too warm.

It was nice to have several relaxing hours to nap and read! Lee came back and picked me up and then we both went back to Coronado Springs where one of his co-workers was having an impromptu pizza and beer party on the beach behind the cabana he was staying in. I really like Coronado Springs, even though I've never stayed there. I was hoping we'd get in there this time, but it was sold out of conference rooms by the time we booked.

Lee doesn't have any conference events on his schedule tomorrow, so we'll spend the day doing whatever he wants to do since it's his only day to play...AK and Epcot for sure, maybe the Studios.

May 8, 2008

My Bonus Trip to Walt Disney World - Part 3

Lee decided he was going to stick around the room for a while this morning and do work stuff - he had a bunch of email that had come in over the last couple of days that he was working through. And since he *is* working this week, unlike some of us...

I showed him where the Riverside Mill & Market (aka the food court) was located, and asked him to pick up a cinnamon roll for me - they have really yummy cinnamon rolls here! Flaky and cinnamony and not too much frosting. I went out and walked/ran for 45 minutes. It was a little warmer and much more humid this morning than yesterday. Whew.

I called Lisa Berton about 9:30 to find out where she was, and left a message. Lee was still working when I left. I decided to let Fate decide where I would go, and took the first bus that showed up, which happened to be to Blizzard Beach and Animal Kingdom. (I had no wait for the bus, and in fact had to hustle a bit to catch it!).

Expedition Everest was my first stop, since I have a friend who is working there now. Unfortunately he had just gone on his break, so I rode Everest using the Singles line. That was quick, and in fact the Standby line was only 20 minutes at that point. It's still a great ride...and I still feel like I'm going upside-down during the backwards, in-the-dark part. Very disorienting, but not unpleasant. I wandered over towards Theater in the Wild - it was 10:30, but people were already lined up for the 11:30 Nemo show! That's a bit extreme, I think...the park wasn't *that* busy.

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Lisa called me and I arranged to met her over at the Magic Kingdom, and then I went and found my Cast Member friend. He was working, of course, so it was a short chat, but it was nice to see him! Lee and I will probably get over there on Friday (Lee reallly likes Animal Kingdom) and we'll see him again then.

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I sort of let Fate decide my next step, too...since I was going to the Magic Kingdom I actually had three bus choices: Grand Floridian/Wilderness Lodge, Transportation and Ticket Center, and Polynesian/Contemporary. The latter arrived first, so I took it. I was the only one on the bus until we stopped at Blizzard Beach and picked up two other people. The first resort stop was the Contemporary, so I walked to Magic Kingdom from there. And took this picture of the under-construction-tower-which-everyone-knows-is-a-new- DVC-resort-but-Disney-won't-confirm-it.

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Met Lisa outside the Exposition Hall, she'd been taking photos for AllEars and her photo blog. She wanted to take some more in Fantasyland, and she needed a model, so I got drafted. :-) We went to Dumbo - and this was yet another "first time" experience for me on this trip - I'd never ridden Dumbo at the Magic Kingdom before. The line was about 25 minutes, but we were chatting and the time went quickly. I got the same color Dumbo that I had at Disneyland on Sunday - the bright blue one.

And there were these two Wild Animals in a cage near the ride...

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We got Fastpasses for Pooh (even it had just at 30 minute Standby) and had lunch at Cosmic Ray's. I had a veggie burger and made good use of the toppings bar...the sauteed onions were especially good.

It was not quite time for our Pooh Fastpasses, and I'd told Lisa that I liked the Buzz Lightyear ride, so she suggested that. It had less than a 5 minute wait. As we got to the last turn in the queue we noticed Dream Team members with a stack of what looked like lanyards...but they weren't handing them out yet. Darn. Once we got off the ride we went around again, and they were handing them out, so Lisa and I got Dreamed!

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We won a pass for an event tonight called Magic Kingdom Special Park Dream Time Event. On the back it says:

Congratulations!

Have you ever dreamed of staying in a Disney park after closing time to experience the magic just a little bit longer?

Well, that dream is about to come true during tonight's Special Park Dream Time Event - created just for you as part of the 2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway.

Join us in Tomorrowland at MAGIC KINGDOM® Park just after the Park closes for the Special Park Dream Time Event kick-off.

(There's a whole bunch of conditions and disclaimers, but I'm not going to type those.)

To be honest, I was expecting it to be a Dream Fastpass, so I didn't ask if I could have one for Lee. When we got off the ride I saw a Cast Member at the Photo counter who had several in his hand, and I asked if he knew where I might be able to get one for my husband, who wasn't with me. So he just handed one to me. I think I probably could have gone to Guest Relations, but it was nice to not have to do that!

So now the question was: What exactly had we won? It's not very specific. Lisa asked a Cast Member at a Photo kiosk - he didn't know, but he called someone. That person didn't know either, so he called someone else, and was told that it was Tomorrowland only, and only for an hour after park closing. I guess we'll find out more tonight. Lee and I had talked about going to MK tonight anyways, to see the Wishes fireworks, which I really enjoy. And *they* don't get canceled frequently like certain fireworks shows in California which shall remain nameless.

I left after that - Lisa was going to go photograph "it's a small world" - which is something I've never done at Magic Kingdom, because I refuse to do it. :-) Besides, I'd promised myself some pool time today!!!

I was surprised to see that Port Orleans - French Quarter and Port Orleans - Riverside had separate bus stops. The French Quarter bus was already there, and since there was *no one* in line for the Riverside bus I figured I'd just missed it. Besides, it's a nice walk between the two along the Sassagoula River. (Nicer when it's not close to 90 outside, though.)

Our room is in Acadian House, and only 50 yards or so from one of the quiet pools. There weren't very many people there, but I discovered there are no towels there, either - you had to go to the main pool on Ol' Man Island to get them. That's a bit inconvenient! I was headed that direction anyway since I was going to use my refillable mug (refill #4 for those keeping track - Lee used it for coffee this morning) to get some iced tea.

I had some nice sun and reading time, and went in the pool to get wet, but the pool was so warm that it wasn't very refreshing - I cooled off more from evaporation when I got out of the pool than I did when I was in it!

This will probably be it for my blog entry today, since with the MK event tonight I'll be getting back a little too late to blog tonight, especially since Commando Lisa wants me to meet her bright and early at Epcot tomorrow. Of course she's going to this thing tonight, too... :-)

Let's see...I did 3.6 miles this morning, and an additional 6.3 miles up until now. Not quite up to the 12 I did yesterday, but there's still tonight!

November 2, 2007

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

This was the first time we've ever had the opportunity to attend one of the Halloween parties at the Magic Kingdom. We've gone to the Mickey's Halloween Treat party at Disney's California Adventure the last three years, and wanted to see how different it was here. (Not so different in most ways, much different in others, but more on that later.) Besides, we'd heard the Halloween party is a lot of fun - better than the Christmas party, which did not impress us.

We attended the party on Tuesday, October 30. After donning our costumes we took the bus from Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Magic Kingdom, arriving just about 7:00 when the party was officially starting. The lines for bag check weren't bad at all, and we received our orange wristbands. (That's wristband #3 for this trip - the other two were for Extra Magic Hours at Epcot and the Tower of Terror 13K.)

There was a cloud of mist around the Main Street Train Station, and a glowing Mickey pumpkin at the big floral Mickey. Pumpkin-headed scarecrows were placed around Town Square, and lots of jack-o-lanterns flickered in the windows on Main Street. The castle was spookily (is that a word?) lit.

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One thing we quickly noticed was that the Treat Stations had HUGE lines - much longer than anything we ever saw at Mickey's Halloween Treat. The lines for the attractions were short, though - we waited oh, all of maybe a minute at Haunted Mansion before walking into the Stretch Room. All of the hosts and hostesses were wearing ghastly makeup, some with cobwebs in their hair - they looked great! And on the lawn outside the Mansion (before you go through the turnstiles) was one of the Happy Haunts, surrounded by mist, and ghostly lit, sitting on a bench and talking to herself. Very cool.

It had been drizzling off and on all evening, but it had mostly stopped when we came out of Haunted Mansion. We met our friends Paul and Ilene near Country Bear Playhouse and waited for the start of the first parade. It started raining hard enough that we huddled under our umbrellas for a while, but fortunately by the time the parade started it had stopped. The wet street meant that the Headless Horseman went by at a trot instead of a gallop, though. Which was actually very nice since it was a lot easier to see him!

I loved the Boo to You parade. Lots of characters (some in costume) and great floats, especially the pirates and the villains. Though my favorite was the Haunted Mansion sequence - starting with the gravedigger and his bloodhound...so cute!!! And then the ghostly dancers, the HM float, and following it the zombie gravedigging drill team with their shovels. Terrific stuff! The pumpkin-headed guys on the whirling spheres were great, too - normally the creepy SpectroMagic dudes ride those - the pumpkin guys were a lot better.

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The treat lines were still really long, but they were giving out bags of Kissables at the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean, and we practically walked right onto a boat. I guess everyone was in the Treat lines!

About 9:10 we went to the Hub to stake out a spot for the 9:30 Hallowishes fireworks show - and it started to rain. And this wasn't just drizzle, either. We got back under our umbrella, but since Lee was holding it the back of my skirt was getting pretty wet. Unfortunately the rain did not let up very much during the fireworks. A lot of people left, or sought cover, so it wasn't really that crowded - I was surprised.

The show itself was great - lots of interesting projections on the castle like jack-o-lanterns, flying spooks, and glowing eyes. I particularly liked the one in this picture, though I think it was a colorful pattern and not any particular image, though to me it looks like the face of the Wicked Queen from Snow White is superimposed on the highest tower - looks like a face wearing a crown with that high collar behind it. Or maybe it's just my imagination. :-)

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The effect of the fireworks going on 180 degrees around you is very cool.

After the show we ducked for cover into the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club, then stayed under cover to get to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (no line), and then quickly ran to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority where we went around twice, since it was raining pretty hard and there was no one waiting to get on.

We'd planned to see the second parade, but missed it because of the rain...it must have been really miserable for the Cast Members.

By the time we'd made our second round on the TTA the rain had just about stopped - or was at least not much more than a drizzle. By the time we did the Fantasyland attractions, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, Peter Pan, and Mickey's Philharmagic, it was midnight and the party was over. And of course by then it had stopped raining completely and turned into a lovely night. Sigh. Oh well, if I had to choose between it raining the night of the party or raining the night of the race I would have chosen rain on the party. Running in the rain is not a lot of fun, though it's standing around in the rain waiting for a race to start that is the worst part.

So what did I think of Mickey's Halloween Treat (MHT) at Disney's California Adventure vs. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom? I'm so glad you asked. :-)

I think I have to give it to MHT as far as decorating goes. In general the park has a lot more Halloween decorations than Magic Kingdom, and they add lots of spooky projections and many more ghost Mickey and pumpkin Mickey lights than I saw at MNSSHP. At MHT there's also lots of characters just out wandering around - now maybe that's normally true at MNSSHP, and we missed out on it because of the weather.

There's a lot more people at MNSSHP, and the treat lines are MUCH longer. Though the candy is a lot better at MNSSHP! We didn't get a whole lot of candy, but what we got was chocolate and not that yucky Willy Wonka Laffy Taffy and Now&Later-type stuff that we got at MHT. Lee thinks there are more treat stops at MHT, though I think they are about the same.

A lot of the Cast Members are in costume at MHT - other than the characters in the Parade we saw no Cast Members in costume at MNSSHP - just those wearing the MNSSHP t-shirts.

Even though there's more people at MNSSHP, the attraction lines were shorter. No 30 minute waits for anything like we had for Tower of Terror at MHT - almost everything we did was a walk-on. Now again, some of that might have been because of the rain.

MHT has the Tower of Terror, MNSSHP has the Haunted Mansion - you can't do a Halloween party without SOME kind of spooky ride! Though I have to say the Haunted Mansion gets the edge here.

Parade and Fireworks - MNSSHP does this far, far, better than MHT, which doesn't have a fireworks show, and has a fairly pathetic parade. I loved the Boo to You parade - I really wish we could've seen it again. And the Hallowishes fireworks show was frightfully good. :-)

I'm looking forward to attending the MNSSHP again some year - though hopefully without the rain next time!

To finish this off, here we are in our costumes - you've heard of Disney's upcoming movie, haven't you? Beauty and the Jedi? :-)

mnsshp_ll.jpg

November 1, 2007

Walt Disney World - What's New?

New to us, that is - since we haven't been here since last December. That's one of the things we really enjoy about Walt Disney World - it seems like every time we're here there's always something that's new, whether it's a new attraction or exhibit or live entertainment group.

Contrary to what you might think we aren't just eating around the world, though in the first four days of our trip it seems like that's about all we did (well, there was that little 8 mile run on Saturday night...) We did actually get out into the parks and try a few new things that weren't food-related.

Our first night here was Extra Magic Hours at Epcot, so in addition to eating, we had the opportunity to see all the new (to us) things at Epcot. First was the Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico pavilion. While I don't miss the annoying street vendors at all, I do miss the narration in the first section when you were floating by the pyramid, and they talked about the ancient civilizations. Now it's basically "it's a small mexico" with the Three Caballeros. My favorite part was something Lee pointed out to me - the "it's a small mexico" kids whacking away at a Donald Duck-shaped pinata. :-) I'm not sure it's really an improvement over the previous version, but in any case it's not something we'll be in a hurry to do again any time soon.

We also visited the Epcot 25th Anniversary Gallery behind Club Cool. (We recognized the room - it's where they originally held the Segway Training sessions!) We had the exhibit all to ourselves, and enjoyed seeing the concept art and the original costumes and the various models. If you're interested in more information, as well as lots of photos, see Linda Mac's excellent blog entry on the Gallery, which is HERE.

At The Seas with Nemo and Friends we rode the clam-mobiles. We had done this before, but I hadn't seen it since I'd ridden the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland, which employs similar technology in producing the visuals of Nemo and Friends in their underwater environment. I think it's much better here at Epcot - especially the section where the Nemo gang appears to be out in the tank with the *real* fish. The clam-mobiles are also a lot more comfortable than those cramped submarines!

What was new since our last visit was the new (and much bigger) theater for Turtle Talk with Crush, though the show itself isn't very different. We lucked out and arrived just as they were loading the theater for a show. Crush always makes us smile. Awesome, dude. :-)

At Disney-MGM Studios (or is it now Disney Hollywood Studios?) we did a couple of new things - saw the Jedi Training Academy on its new and permanent stage - though it was the same Jedi Master we'd seen 2-1/2 years ago. And we watched Mulch, Sweat, and Shears on the Streets of America. They're a "Rake n' Roll" band working as landscapers while they wait for their big break. They put on a good show, performing songs by the Rolling Stones, Eagles, etc.

mulch.jpg

During Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on Tuesday night we had a chance to do the two new things at the Magic Kingdom - and we were glad for the excuse to get out of the rain, too. I'm not enough of a Haunted Mansion aficionado to recognize many of the changes that were made during its recent rehab, but we noticed the creaking of the stretch room as it starts to stretch, the glowing eyes in the wallpaper, the glowing footprints overhead, and Madame Leota's floating crystal ball. And of course the creepy bride in the attic, with the husbands disappearing from the wedding portraits. Nicely done.

The Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club was fun - I'd heard some not-too-positive reviews of it, but we enjoyed it. (I have to say that there were members of the audience who seemed to be enjoying it a little TOO much, though - both kids and adults. At any other park I'd blame it on alcohol, but since it was Magic Kingdom during the Halloween party I'll attribute it to sugar overload.) Like Turtle Talk With Crush, this show also features real-time animated characters who can interact with the audience. (Disney is getting a lot of mileage out of that technology!) Most of the jokes are pretty corny but it was fun - and part of the fun is laughing with the audience members that they pick on and show up on the big screen. There are some truly awful puns, though.

Today (Wednesday) we finally made it to Animal Kingdom. The only new thing that I'm aware of there is a new spiel for Kilimanjaro Safaris - I'd heard they eliminated at least some of the annoying elements. The entire "Warden Wilson Matua" recording is different - it sounds like it could be the same voice, but I can't tell. That silly Miss Jobson, who doesn't realize that Thompson's gazelles are called "Tommies", is gone, though - as is the whole "Tommie" thing, which I always thought made Wilson sound like an idiot. No more Big Red and Little Red either - just a baby elephant that the wardens found which had gotten separated from his mother. But Wilson is still chasing poachers, and towards the end our mission (which we weren't even given a choice to accept!) was to help drive the poachers towards him. I have to say that it was less annoying than the original, but I still wish they would offer a poacher-free safari. We DID learn something new from our driver, though - elephants frequent the red clay pits because they rub their tusks in the red clay and then eat it - it gives them extra minerals, apparently.

sable_ant.jpg

Coming up...More Food and Wine Festival, our thoughts on our first stay at Animal Kingdom Villas, and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - not necessarily in that order. So many things to write about, so little vacation left!

August 12, 2007

Attraction Comparison: Splash Mountain

Continuing my series of attraction comparisons...I decided to stick with the mountains, and compare the Splash Mountain attractions at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom (MK) and Disneyland (DL).

Both are located in about the same area of the park - though at MK this area is in Frontierland, and at DL it's in Critter Country. Since it's inspired by characters from Song of the South, placing it in Frontierland seems a bit odd - I think DL's Critter Country is a better fit....though since MK doesn't have that, I guess Frontierland works better than Adventureland or Liberty Square!

DL's Splash Mountain opened first, in July 1989, while MK's attraction opened in October 1992. The distinctive outline of Chickapin Hill is quite visible in both parks. One other thing both attractions have in common is a VERY long queue that winds around and around and back and forth and inside and around some more. Before Fastpass (which both attractions have) I've stood in those lines and wound around and around...

(Below: MK's Splash Mountain, DL's Splash Mountain)

Splash Mountain Walt Disney World Splash Mountain Disneyland

Upon reaching the loading area you'll notice differences in the "log" vehicles. In DL's there are six "seats" (riders actually straddle a bench) per log - the last seat is larger and can accommodate a parent and child). At MK there are four rows of two seats so people can sit side-by-side - it's a lot more comfortable. Though the MK logs always seem to have a musty/mildewy smell - yuck.

(Below: MK's logs, DL's logs)

Splash Mountain Walt Disney World

Splash Mountain Disneyland


The layouts of the ride are similar - each culminating in the drop down Chickapin Hill at the end - but the scenes inside the ride are pretty different. I really prefer MK's Splash Mountain - it actually has a much more coherent storyline about Brer Rabbit leaving home in search of adventure, and outwitting Brer Fox and Brer Bear before deciding that home isn't so bad after all. I've never quite figured out what the storyline is at DL - or if there even *is* one...mostly it just seems to move from scene to scene, each featuring many audio-animatronic characters recycled from the America Sings attraction (which I loved - pop goes the weasel!).

Anyway...I think the MK version is a lot bigger and brighter, and I love the jumping fountains in the cavern. You see a lot more of Brer Rabbit, too - I think he makes two or three more appearances at the MK than he does at DL. Though one thing I prefer about DL's version - as you begin the final ascent to the "Laughing Place", the tone changes, and the mood becomes ominous as Mama Mole sings: "What can poor Brer Rabbit do, to keep from becoming rabbit stew", and then Mama Rabbit joins in with: "Stay away from the Laughin' Place, you must beware, the fox is there". And then there's the two vultures perched overhead who also have less than encouraging things to say. It sure enhances the whole "I have a bad feeling about this" atmosphere.

While both attractions have the potential to get you pretty wet, in general I find I stay drier at DL - especially if I ask to sit in the back of the log (which I always do). And I make sure never to sit on the right side of the log at MK, because that's the wetter side. :-)

Everybody has a Laughin' Place - what's yours?

Laura

July 8, 2007

Attraction Comparison: Space Mountain vs. Space Mountain

As a blog topic, Deb Wills suggested that readers might be interested in a comparison of attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. It sounded like an intriguing idea to me...see what you think!

I thought I'd start with one of my favorites: Space Mountain. Which is at Disneyland in California, and at Magic Kingdom in Florida. Both are Fastpass attractions, and from the outside they look pretty similar - both housed in a circular futuristic-looking white building. (Below is Space Mountain at Disneyland, below that is Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom.

Space Mountain Disneyland

Space Mountain Walt Disney World.jpg

But once inside, I find they are markedly different. Magic Kingdom's (MK's) version has two loading areas, and two tracks, whereas there's only one loading area and track at Disneyland (DL). The ride vehicles at DL feature three rows of two side-by-side seats, while those at MK feature a car that looks more like a rocket, with three single passenger seats. (Each ride has two cars per "train".) DL's vehicles have a lap bar (every rider has their own bar), whereas MK's vehicles have a T-shaped bar that goes between the legs and across the lap. Personally I find MK's vehicles to be very uncomfortable - you sit so far down in them that with your legs stretched out in front of you that it's very awkward to get up out of them! Though they look a lot swoopier than DL's cars. (Below: DL rocket left, MK rocket right.)

Space Mountain Walt Disney World.jpgDisneyland Rocket

Space Mountain Walt Disney World.jpgDisney World rocket.jpg

Once the ride begins, I think you might as well consider them to be two completely different experiences - about all they have in common is that both are a roller coaster ride in the dark (or in the case of MK, in the semi-dark).

As you leave the loading area at DL you start hearing futuristic space music in your ears...while at MK all you hear are the screams of fellow riders. The music really adds a lot to the experience at DL - the crescendoes of the music seem to be synchronized with the drops and twists of the ride. The DL ride is also DARK - quite unlike the MK ride, where it's light enough to see the track in front of you, and you can see what's coming. That's my biggest complaint about the MK version of the ride.

Space Mountain at DL re-opened in 2005 after an almost two-year rehab - and the improvements really show. Though it was smoother than MK's attraction even before the rehab, now it's even better, and I think it's a little faster, too. I find MK's Space Mountain to be rough and jerky - more like the Matterhorn at DL. I feel pretty beat up after getting off of Space Mountain at MK, but I feel exhilarated after a ride on Space Mountain at DL.

Near the end of DL's ride the cameras capture your photo, and you have the opportunity to see (and purchase) it after the ride. I do have to say that the exit to the attraction is a lot more interesting at MK - at DL you simply climb a set of stairs and go through some space station-y looking hallways, while at MK the escalator passes by various scenes - that whole "lab retriever" thing always cracks me up.

I think it's probably very obvious that I much prefer DL's Space Mountain to MK's...The music makes a huge difference, but even without the music I find it to be a smoother, faster, darker, and better-themed attraction.

To Infinity...and Beyond! (Oops, sorry, wrong attraction...)

Laura

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About Magic Kingdom

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Magic Kingdom category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Epcot is the previous category.

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