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August 1, 2011

My Fixit List: Part 3

Five down and five to go.

#4 - Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular Props

For the last several years I've been concerned about a little known area in Disney's Hollywood Studios that guests walk by without knowing what they are missing. This area is located to the left of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular Theater as you exit the attraction. As you leave the theater you walk by some props...I should say...the actual props used in the film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."

The problem is that over the years weeds and vines and growth has all but covered these props...jeeps...tank...trucks....and this has unfortunately caused many a guest to miss seeing this area. My wish was to see the area cleaned to reveal the props.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

My prayers have been answered. The following photos were taken in the last several days and reveal that not only has the area been cleaned but that there have been some additions...although I am not sure if these additions were props also in the movie.

Here are the photos....first the tank.

Indy_11.jpg

Then the truck.

Indy_2.jpg

Finally the new additions.

Indy_3.jpg

So this was my # 4 on the Fixit List and I'm happy to say that it will come off the list.

#3 Alien Non-Encounter in The Great Movie Ride

For a while it seemed that when I rode The Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios that the alien, for some reason or another, did not want to come out of the ceiling. Was it broken? Was it my deodorant ? It never attacked from the ceiling.

Well guess what?

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

Look at the following photo taken just a day or two ago.

TGMR_Alien1.jpg

That's our favorite alien emerging from the ceiling. Hmmm, that's two on my list that can now be laid to rest. I'm happy.

Okay there are two more to come but first let me give you one more update.

Remember my #8 which was The Noodle Station at the Tomorrowland Terrace? Well apparently that quick-service area remains at least a half mystery.

Here is what greets guests as they approach the area.

TomorrowLand_Terrace_Rest1.jpg

Basically it looks like your average Walt Disney World Quick-Service stop...burgers...chicken...fries....the usual. But take another look at the sign...especially in the upper right...is that shrimp? It's not called The noodle Station yet...

...the walls are adored with...exhibit #1...

Noodle_Pic_1.jpg

...and exhibit #2...

Noodle_Pic_2.jpg

...so the jury is still out on The Noodle Station. Is it permanent? Is it gone? Is it seasonal? I don't know.

Update over.

My top two on my Fixit list are just around the corner...can you guess what they are?

August 3, 2011

My Fixit List: Part 4

So up to now I've listed the following Fixit issues I feel are present at Walt Disney World.

Let's recap:

#10 Wonders of Life Pavilion - What's Up?

#9 Imagination Pavilion - It's Time

#8 Magic Kingdom's Noodle Station Enigma

#7 Carousel of Progress - The Diorama Dilemma

#6 Peter Pan's Bump... erh Flight

#5 Spaceship Earth's Rude Paperboy

#4 Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular Props (Fixed!)

#3 Alien Non-Encounter in The Great Movie Ride (Fixed!)

Let's continue:

#2 So In Need of a Dusting Soarin'

There have been very few attractions at Walt Disney World that have been received with so much attention as has Soarin'. I was one of those fortunate to experience that EPCOT attraction when it first opened and I immediately pegged it as a "mild thrill ride" that would become endearing to those guests who were not into the shaking, turning, jiggling, and dropping that other WDW attractions offer.

soarin_sign3

I know of at least a dozen friends of mine who were not into thrill rides yet loved Soarin' after they allowed me to drag them onto the attraction. For many of them it is now their most favorite Walt Disney World attraction.

It's one of mine too...but lately I've been having an issue. If you have ridden Soarin' over the last few years you may have noticed that, for some reason or another, there seem to be dust particles that appear on the screen during the ride.

Most of these dust particles seem to occur during the first two to three minutes of the film...well for a film that runs only 4:45 minutes, that's a significant part of the film.

I remember the first time I saw a dust particle I thought, "Hey a Hidden Mickey!" I was wrong.

What's that? A snake on the Golden Gate Bridge? Oh wait...just a piece of hair.

The attraction is just over six years old yet it looks older because of this dust issue. I am not an expert on the technology being used for Soarin', oh sure I know about the Erector Set part of the ride but not the workings of the film. Yet it would seem to me that anyone would notice this issue and do whatever it would take to keep the film clean.

Remember, this is a simulation attraction and anything that takes away from that willful suspension of disbelief should be taken care of immediately. Maybe we can use a huge can of compressed air to clean the film, like the can I use to dust my keyboard.

Okay, here is #1 and my guess is that a large percentage of you will agree with this choice.

#1 The Not Ready For Prime Time Yeti at Expedition Everest

So if you were fortunate enough to ride Expedition Everest within the first month or two of the ride opening then you saw the Yeti audioanimatronic figure swoop down and try to grab you from your ride vehicle.

Since then, not so much. Since then, is he moving? Well, it sure looks that way. Oh wait a minute....the strobe lights and the fans make him look like he's moving...but he's not. He hasn't moved for a looong, looong, time.

Is he broken? What is wrong? Why hasn't he been fixed?

These are questions that have been asked over the last few years and it would seem that, since the biggest draw to this attraction was supposed to be the Yeti. that much would be done to fix this machine. But why is it still idle?

Well, there have been many theories and different stories as to why this portion of Everest has not been fixed.

Of all the stories I have heard, recently several sources have shed some light as to what happened. There may be some credence to what I've been told so I'd like to share this with you and have you decide whether or not you believe it.

First and foremost the Yeti is not broken....at least that is what I have been led to believe.

Okay, so if it's not broken then what is the deal?

Well the problem is a bit complicated. In the first place, the Yeti is a first of its kind audioanimatron...pretty big...pretty heavy...and it was designed to move in a certain way.

Knowing what this machine was to do, WDI had to be concerned with several issues, one of which was how this machine was going to work within the attraction and that means coordinating the construction of the machine along with the venue upon which it would reside.

Apparently, the coordination was off quite a bit.

You see, the Yeti audioanimatronic, when finished, not only weighed more than the original estimate, but that the additional weight meant more force would be exerted when the machine moved.

Now let's think about this. If you are installing a heavy machine that exerts strong forces onto an area you would take a lot of care in making sure the machine was securely fastened to whatever it needs to be fastened to...right?

One would think...but sometimes theory and number crunching does not come as close to reality as you would hope.

Yeti/>
During the first few weeks of operation, Expedition Everest was operating fine. Sure there may have been a few tweaks needed but noone expected the problem that would surface with the pride and joy of Expedition Everest...the Yeti.

You see, the weight of the machine, plus the forces exerted every time it lunged for the guests, caused some weakening and cracks in the footings that were especially designed to hold this machine in place.

I have heard from a source or two that the footings have been severely damaged and that they have actually started coming out of their perches...not good.

Again, it appears that the number crunching to determine footing structure such as width, depth, size, etc. were off. In many cases it's a guess and in Disney's case one would assume that whatever the calculations were, that for safekeeping...they were upped a bit. Still there were problems.

So here's the problem. To fix the footings they must...you guessed it...remove the Yeti.

Once the Yeti is out of the way the old footings can then be removed, the area prepared for larger, stronger footings, and then the Yeti can be brought back and set in place.

This would not be an easy task....let's look at the steps:


  1. Expedition Everest would have to be closed for an extended period of time. My guess would be that it would be closed for at least six months.

  2. Part of Everest would have to be opened or cut out to remove the Yeti.

  3. A huge crane would be brought in to remove the Yeti. This would have to be done without the guests seeing this so it would probably be done at night.

  4. The current footings would have to be removed and an analysis would have to be done to insure that all weakened areas have been identified and fixed

  5. New footings would have to be installed.

  6. The Yeti would then be brought back and placed onto the new footings and a significant amount of time would be taken to effectively simulate the daily operation of the audioanimatron to see if the footings work.

  7. Once there is assurance that all is right then the "mountain" will be put back together and other portions of the ride system as well.

  8. The attraction reopens.


So that is the latest scuttlebutt on the Yeti. Please note that this information is not official and is based on some "unofficial" information.

So there's my list.

August 15, 2011

Hoop Dee Doo Hoopla at Walt Disney World

I always realize how lucky I have been to visit WDW as much as I have and on the way to the three digit plateau in visits I've made a commitment to myself to try and learn something new on each visit that I can share with everyone.

Here is something I experienced on my last visit.

One morning towards the end of a recent trip I was trying to figure out what to do. I wanted to do something different from wandering and touring the parks or at least think about something I've been trying to do.

I decided to answer a question that has been in my mind for the last several years...what are some last minute plans you can make while in Walt Disney World and also look for some tips.

My plan for this day was to see if I can make a reservation for Hoop Dee Doo at Fort Wilderness. So on a Wednesday morning at 10 A.M. I called to make a reservation for that evening. My first surprise was that there were openings for each of the three shows. I checked to see if I could use my Tables of Wonderland card to get a discount on the tickets. I could but that would require I make a reservation for the last show of the night.


Hoop_Dee_doo.jpeg

No problem.

I also wanted to watch the show from the balcony which is Category 3.

No problem. So far so good.

Now it was time to check on something else. I asked if there were alternative meal choices for those in my party who may have allergies or have special dietary requirements. I asked for vegetarian options and I was given all kinds of choices...fish...pasta...how to cook these options...side dishes....many, many choices. I was impressed.
I asked for grilled salmon, with grilled veggies and a baked potato.

Again, so far so good.

When I got to Pioneer Hall and picked up my tickets I was pleasantly surprised at the discount I received. When I checked in I was told I would be escorted upstairs when it was time to enter Pioneer Hall.

However, as the crowd exited from the second show I looked around and there weren't that many guests waiting for the show I was going to see.

In fact my estimate was that there were less than half as many people that could fit in the Hall. When we entered the building we were NOT escorted upstairs but instead were seated about 35 feet from the stage and off to the left.

Hoop_Dee_Doo2.jpg

I was right. This performance was looking at an audience of about 35% capacity. It made sense to have everyone downstairs. It dawned on me that because of this and my discount I was sitting a a Category 2 table (normally priced at $62.99 per adult guest) at Category 3 prices...that were discounted via my Tables of Wonderland card. I believe the cost was about $42/person with my discount.

Not bad for show and dinner at Walt Disney World huh? Let's not forget that we were given as much food and drink as we wanted.

Even better, no more than 3 minutes after we were seated the head chef came up to the table and asked us again about our alternative meal choices...just to make sure he had it right. Awesome.

The show was great as usual...it was my 5th Hoop. So what have we learned?

- It's best to book Hoop Dee Doo in the middle of the week.
- The late performance offers low crowds and good discounts.
- Always ask what discounts are available and use them.
- Always ask for alternatives to what's on the menu.
- Be flexible with your schedule...it may save you time and money.

The overall lesson...it doesn't hurt to ask.

So my only problem is now determining what to investigate on my next trip to Walt Disney World.

Check out Jack Spence's extensive blog with more photos and video too!

Get more pricing information.

See what others think and post your thoughts too in our Hoop Dee Doo Rate and Review!

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About August 2011

This page contains all entries posted to The View from Scopa Towers in August 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

July 2011 is the previous archive.

September 2011 is the next archive.

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