Sunday, September 21, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 9/15/14 - 9/21/14





News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.  


Walt Disney World News


Magic Kingdom
  • The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train now has the ability to add video to your Memory Maker profile.
  • Splash Mountain will see its annual refurbishment from January 4 - 30. 


Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Studio Backlot Tour will close on September 27 for new enhancements. Part of the Streets of America portion of the attraction will be used for the new version of the Wandering Oaken Trading Post.

Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Kali River Rapids will have a refurbishment from January 20 through February 4.


Rumors
  • Could there be a Frozen Premium Package for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party?  It would be similar to the Villains Soiree, with premium viewing for the parade and fireworks and special dessert party at Cinderella's Royal Table with a potential meet opportunity with Olaf.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 9/8/14 - 9/14/14



News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.  


News


Magic Kingdom
  • Elsa will be taking over the Holiday Castle Lighting Ceremony this year.  In addition, Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf will debut in the "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade" this year.
  • The phone charging stations found at Cosmic Rays and at the Tomorrowland Arcade have been removed.  The charging stations were there as a part of a test.

Epcot
  • Maelstrom will be closing on October 5.  In it's place will be a brand new Frozen attraction will be built. Also, a new meet and greet featuring Anna and Elsa will be constructed.  The new attraction is expected to be complete by early 2016.  For my thoughts, read my latest blog post.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
  •  The "For the First Time In Forever - A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration" will be continuing past September 28.  In addition, the Wandering Oaken's Trading Post will be moving closer to the sing-along, and will feature a larger play area.


General Walt Disney World News
  •  By this December, Apple Pay will be able to be utilized at the Walt Disney World Resort. 
  • The amount to activate a Disney gift card has changed; the rate now starts at $15.

Rumors

  • Toy Story Mania will see an expansion, making the attraction larger with what one can assume would be at least one more track.
  • Disney Princess MagicBands seem to be on their way.
  • Minnie could be moving from her meet and greet location at the Art of Disney Animation Building and could be moving back to Hollywood Blvd.

Download the brand NEW Disney Food Blog Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  The fun starts this week! Find out about this year's festivities.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Frozen Attraction Headed to Epcot



Have you heard the news?  Well I'm sure that of course you have...Frozen is coming to Epcot! 

The attraction which was just announced today, will be replacing the Maelstrom attraction in the Norway Pavilion and will feature "favorite moments and music from the film." (What this tells me is it will likely be a re-hash of the movie's best scenes.)  The Norway Pavilion will also gain a meet and greet with Anna and Elsa again.  Rumors are indicating that Maelstrom will close on October 5 and will re-open with the Frozen theme in early 2016. 

Disney claims that the "Frozen elements are great complements to the Norway Pavilion, which showcases the country and region that inspired the film."  However for many, this is just the final nail in the coffin for what Epcot once was. 

You see, Epcot was once a place of edu-tainment.  It heavily featured opportunities to have fun and learn too.  However, in recent years, that edu-tainment factor has been rapidly decreasing.  Some say Test Track being built was the start of Epcot removing learning opportunities.  Still others claim things started going downhill when characters were introduced, since originally there were no characters to be found in the park, on purpose. 

As for me, I really have no problems with characters in Epcot, whether they be in World Showcase or Future World.  I've always thought that if the character can help tell the story and teach and inform, then it's ok.  (I'll readily admit that I was one of those kids who was bored with the original versions of Epcot.  I'm sorry, but I was.  The one thing that I had an affinity for from "old" EPCOT was Figment...a character...)  However, lately, even I've noticed teaching guests in a fun way really seems to be being taken away, piece by piece. 

My first issue was with the Nemo refurb.  While I think Nemo being added to The Seas, which was a more or less dead pavilion at the time, could have been a great educational opportunity where they could have taken the characters from the film and taught people about the fun of the ocean with the attraction, they instead replaced the former ride with a re-hash (and not a very good one mind you) of the movie. There was so much potential there!  And yes, I know you can still learn about fish throughout the rest of the pavilion, but I felt that they missed their chance on the attraction. 

Then we have Gran Fiesta Tour...for some reason this one doesn't bother me as much.  I don't know why.  I actually kind of like this attraction.  I like that they used The Three Caballeros and incorporated them to the attraction, but again, I wish it would have been a touch more edu-tainment involved.  There was the chance to do that and they dropped the ball. 

Other recent attractions people have issues with are things like Soarin, but I still find that educational, seeing the different landscapes of California. (And if you believe rumors, eventually we'll see different landscapes of the world...so that one's alright.) 

The refurb that really bothers me is actually Test Track.  I found the old one (which many did not) to still be educational; teaching guests about how cars are tested.  However, with this new version, I literally get nothing from it.  Matter of fact, I just watched a tv special on Walt Disney World that was on my DVR where they explained about the attraction and that's when I finally realized what the heck was going on.  I never realized that I was supposed to be "in the computer".  If the purpose of the attraction has to be explained, to me, you're doing it wrong. 

So, now we are here...with Frozen taking over Maelstrom.  While Maelstrom isn't perfect...trust me...it's a mish-mash of Norwegian lore...it still has touches of the original concepts of Epcot.  It was still somewhat educational, and extremely fun.  It held the ideals and taught some of the history of Norway. 

With the new Frozen attraction, they could have chosen to make it educational about the country of Norway.  (While I get that Arendelle is fake, it is based enough off of Norway that I'm ok with Anna and Elsa being included in some manner of the Norway Pavilion.) It just would have been nice to see some edu-tainment included with this updated attraction. 

Instead, it seems it will be, yet again, another re-hash of a movie that we've all seen and know by heart.  (Or at least that's what I'm assuming given the description of the attraction currently released by Disney.) While that's fine, Epcot isn't the park to include an attraction like that in.  You could have done a re-hashed version of the movie at the Magic Kingdom or Disney's Hollywood Studios even. 

I think that Disney did a good job of incorporating Frozen into the Stave Church exhibit in the Norway Pavilion.  Many artifacts on display are legitimate Norwegian and show how they were included in the movie.  So that tells me that they can still make things educational while connecting the education with characters that people care about.  They just don't want to. That's probably the saddest part about this news. 

I get that Frozen was this huge phenomenon and you want to reap the benefits of that Disney, but could you at least give us something original that you could utilize these well-loved characters in?

The problem is that this re-hashed version of the movie will do gang-busters and will likely be extremely popular when it officially opens...and to the corporate world, that's all that matters.  But I can guarantee that if they used the characters for educational purposes, they would still get the people to flock towards the attraction, AND they would make those of us who loved the edu-tainment of Epcot just a little bit happier about the decision to remove an attraction that, while quite campy, still taught us about the country of Norway. Isn't that what these World Showcase countries were for in the first place? 

What are your thoughts?  Are you excited to see Frozen included in Epcot?  Wish they would put it somewhere else? Let me know in the comments section or on the Facebook page! 

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!      

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Top Seven Things I'm Most Excited About For My Upcoming Trip to Walt Disney World

I've got a fever. The fever for Walt Disney World.  I am officially less than one week out on a fantastic trip (leaving next Tuesday) and honestly, I've never felt the hours move so slowly, but also so quickly.  It's like a weird time situation!

So, because I literally cannot concentrate on a legitimate blog post to write about for this week, you get this one.  :)  The Top Seven Things I'm the Most Excited About Experiencing During my Upcoming Trip to Walt Disney World!

  • Experiencing Disney's All-Star Movies:  This will be my first time staying at All-Star Movies.  It's the last of the All-Stars I have had on my list to stay in.  While I've explored the resort before, I've yet to spend a night there.  Also, I'm excited because it's the first time in I think I year since I've stayed on Disney property.  So I'm excited to have the full Disney hotel experience. 
  • Visiting with my family:  This is the first trip that my family will have had in Orlando since 2002.  Pieces of my family have been on vacation with me since then, but we'll all be together (sort of...dad won't...unless he decides last minute to make a visit during the weekend...if that's the case, then it will legitimately be the first family vacation there as a whole family since 2000. But dad's never really been a theme park fan, so we'll see how this goes.)
  • Taking my grandma for the first time ever:  Speaking of family....my grandma, who is 94, will be taking her first ever trip to Walt Disney World!  While I know this will be a different kind of vacation, taking things slow and letting her rest, I'm excited to see what she thinks of the resort.  I think she's gonna be blown away. (Though it's hard to tell...she's like that former Olympian...she certainly doesn't show when she's impressed very much)
  • Visiting CityWalk:  This trip is a trip to go see my brother and so on the night we arrive, the plan is that he's gonna take us over to CityWalk for dinner.  I'm excited to see this updated version of Universal's shopping and dining district, as well as trying out one of their restaurants.
  • Epcot's Food and Wine Festival:  By happen-chance we planned our trip around the opening weekend of Epcot's Food and Wine Festival! I love opening weekend and I'm so excited to get the opportunity to try some delicious treats and check out the new stuff for the Festival.
  • Be Our Guest Lunch:  I've had dinner here, and now I'm excited about trying lunch!  I've got the Fastpass for it already.
  • Frozen Summer Fun:  I was hoping that this event would get extended because I thought it sounded neat.  I want to take in the Frozen Sing-Along, eat an Olaf cupcake, build a snowman, see the parade, and more!  Even though my family isn't Frozen obsessed (I started watching the movie with my mom back in June and we never did get around to finishing it together) I still think they'll enjoy the event. 
While there are a few other things that I'm excited about experiencing, these are the major ones and why I cannot concentrate, even as I type this blog!

For those who want to follow along with the fun, make sure to follow me on Twitter or on Facebook as I'll be posting a ton!  (PS:  get ready to enjoy lots of photos of my very cute 94 year old grandmother!)

What do you want to see me do on my upcoming vacation?  Write in the comments or on the Facebook page and you never know, I just may do it! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 9/1/14 - 9/7/14




News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such. 


News

Magic Kingdom
  • The Harmony Barber Shop will see a refurbishment from February 5 through March 30.

Epcot
  • Guests are able to now get FastPass+ reservations for Maelstrom until October 5.


Downtown Disney

  • At DisneyQuest, the Ride the Comix game has closed.  
  • Speaking of Downtown Disney, valet parking prices have changed. Guests are now charged by based on how long they park:
    • 0-2 hours: $10
    • 2-3 hours: $15
    • 3 hours or more: $20

General Walt Disney World News
  • A few Disney Restaurants are testing allergy friendly menus for a few weeks.  The restaurants include: 
    • ABC Commissary, Sci-Fi Dine-In and The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios
    • Flying Fish CafĂ© at Disney's BoardWalk  Inn
    • Kona Cafe and Captain Cooks at Disney's Polynesian Resort
    • World Premiere Food Court at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort

Rumors
  • The Frozen Sing-Along should be moving into the American Idol Theater in October.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Disney Character Greeting Locations at Epcot



Today we're going back to a series I started about where to meet the different characters in each of the four theme parks.  Previously I looked at the Magic Kingdom and today, we're going to be making a stop in Epcot.

Epcot sees quite a few characters, especially in World Showcase, where just about each country has some character meeting with guests. 

Do keep in mind is that characters are subject to change and not all may appear at the same time. For exact meeting times, be sure to pick up a Times Guide or check the My Disney Experience app or website.  Oh and if you are on the lookout for a specific character and you don't see them listed or on the Times Guide, make sure to ask at Guest Relations, because you just never know who could be potentially out greeting guests.  This is especially true at Epcot as often you'll find surprise characters around the International Gateway located between France and the United Kingdom!





Characters
Movie
Location
Special Notes
Aladdin
Aladdin
Morocco Pavilion
Meets inside the Pavilion
Alice
Alice in Wonderland
United Kingdom Pavilion
Outside the Tea Caddy
Aurora
Sleeping Beauty
France Pavilion
Meets in the France Fragrant Gardens
Belle
Beauty and the Beast
France Pavilion
Meets in the France Promenade
Chip n' Dale

Future World West
Near Innoventions West Breezeway
Donald Duck

Mexico Pavilion
Meet and Greet themed to an Aztec pyramid and Donald wears a sombrero
Duffy the Disney Bear

World Showcase Plaza
Meets under a gazebo
Goofy

Epcot Character Spot
Meets with Mickey and Minnie. Can obtain a FastPass+ Reservation
Jasmine
Aladdin
Morocco Pavilion
Meets inside the Pavilion
Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins
United Kingdom Pavilion
Meets outside the Tea Caddy
Mickey Mouse

Epcot Character Spot
Meets with Goofy and Minnie. Can obtain a FastPass+ Reservation
Minnie Mouse

Epcot Character Spot
Meets with Mickey and Goofy. Can obtain a FastPass+ Reservation
Mulan
Mulan
China Pavilion
Located in the China Formal Gardens
Pluto

Legacy Plaza West
Found near Legacy Fountain
Snow White
Snow White
Germany
Meets at the Germany Wishing Well
Tigger
Winnie the Pooh
United Kingdom Pavilion
Meets in Christopher Robin's Room inside the Toy Soldier shop with Winnie the Pooh.
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
United Kingdom Pavilion
Meets in Christopher Robin's Room inside the Toy Soldier shop with Tigger.




Who are your favorite characters to meet at Epcot?  Let me know in the comments section or on the Facebook page.  

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!      

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 8/25/14 - 8/31/14







News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.  



News

Magic Kingdom

  • For those attending Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, consider taking part in the special ticketed, “Villains’ Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle” Dessert Party. The event will include many perks, including a preferred viewing area for the 8:15 p.m. “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Parade,” preferred viewing location for “Happy HalloWishes”, and a special dessert party at Cinderella’s Royal Table, hosted by Lady Tremaine. For the dessert party, the restaurant will be transformed into a villainous atmosphere, with a piano player and and singing courtesy of Cinderella’s evil step-mother. The menu will include over-the-top desserts and non-alcoholic beverages, plus an autograph card and a souvenir Maleficent Dragon cup. Cost is $99, plus tax. 
  • The Jingle Cruise returns to the Jungle Cruise on November 7.


Epcot


  • Four acts are leaving World Showcase.  They are Off Kilter, Mo'Rockin, The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps, who all have a last day of September 27 and the World Showcase Players whose last day is September 25.  Four new acts will be added throughout the Fall.  They are Sbandieratori Flags (Italy – flag choreography), Canadian Lumberjack Show (Canada - thrill show), B’net Houariyat (Morocco – musical/dance act) and Scottish Musical Trio (UK – Celtic musical act).


Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Starbucks will be making its way to the corner of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.  The new shop will open in February and will be called the Trolley Car Cafe.


Disney's Animal Kingdom


  • Part of Pangani Forest Exploration Trail will be closed from September 3 until mid November. The underwater hippo exhibit, the aviary, and the research outpost will all be closed at this time.
  • Construction will begin this week for the beginning stages of the new Rivers of Light show.


Walt Disney World Resorts


  • The Pineapple Lanai has now opened at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, serving Dole Whips.
Download the brand NEW Disney Food Blog Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Find out all the fun for this year's festivities.