Monday, April 23, 2007

Haunted Mansion "ring" returns

For years, an old queue pole broken off in the cement at the exit walkway to the HM has prompted people to think there's a diamond ring embedded in the ground (folks have invented a backstory about throwing this ring out the window above). It's not true, of course.

In 2006, this ring was cemented over and the area made smooth. A return trip last week showed me a surprise: the cement covering has itself been scraped away, and the "ring" is again visible. I wonder if there's a backstory to this, such as workers at the mansion uncovering what they perceived as a maintenance mistake?

Contemporary North Wing now fully flat

The old north wing of the Contemporary annex building, only a couple stories tall, has been under demolition for some time to make room for the still-unannounced DVC tower (really more a horseshoe than anything else) going in here. The area is now completely flat, and all traces of the former building are gone. The zone has a surprisingly small footprint.

I'm withholding judgment on this one. I've seen the concept art, yes, and my first reaction is to recoil, but I'm still waiting to see what it really looks like.

Stitch attraction - the ending is different?

Is it my memory, or did the cartoon Stitch once crawl around Tomorrowland (specifically, the Astro-Orbiter) at the end of the filmed part of the ride? He now crawls around the castle, but not TL. Was this changed at some point? Maybe when they went to make the ride even more kid-friendly?

FWIW, my four year old has been tall enough for this ride for 13 months, but we've held him off it until now. He was brave and didn't clench up during the dark scenes, but came out not really liking the ride. They should raise the height limit, and shorten the dark scenes. Advice that also works for DAK's Dinosaur, but that's another story.

Wire free on Nemo

Saw a show last week of the Nemo Musical which had no wire work at all. Apparently, this wasn't due to the system breaking down, but a lack of appropriately trained safety personnel. So they did a show without any flying. It was bizarre to see, and surprisingly boring. The performers were good, as always, but apparently a lot of the show's dynamism depends on the action of this one scene.

Intriguinig to think that at one point early on, the designers wanted to make the WHOLE show on wires. That would have been a sight to see.

The futurism of Epcot, now in Downtown Orlando

While at the Orlando Science Center this weekend, I saw a display on inventors of 2006, with little biographies and explanations of the science. Apparently, this was funded by the History Channel, for they'd done this very content as a show. It got me thinking: this kind of hopeful optimism and futurism used to be EXACTLY what Future World was all about. Now, the closest you come is Innoventions, which is just plain sad by comparison. That's what comes of corporate sponsorships. Why not some more inventive alliances, like this very display done by the History Channel? It would fit the theme of Epcot so very much better.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

New TV monitors in Backlot Tram Tour

Not sure how many weeks (months?) they've been there, but the prop warehouse of the tram tour now sports monitors looping a series of quick trailers and videos. I've got to wonder about that. Don't people basically blaze through this building anyway?

Of course, I'd rather they let people opt to skip the Harbor Attack scene and go straight to the warehouse. Then I'd be more inclined to ride this thing more often than I do now. And in such a case, you might actually have a line in the prop warehouse, prompting a need for monitors. I can only hope!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Like Magical Express, but for I-Drive

Beth Kassab is reporting that Lynx, the public bus company, will soon operate a shuttle from the airport directly to I-drive. This is like the Disney's Magical Express, a way to bypass limos, taxis, and expensive shuttle services. If you ask me, it's high time. Orlando taxi operators were making a lot of money in the years before DME and now this, and there needed to be alternatives.,0,5542194.story?track=rss

Monday, April 09, 2007

Hide the children: free dining is back

Mouseplanet is reporting that Free Dining is back, for trips beginning at any point between Aug 26 and September 22. Details here. You apparently need to book this quickly, or else it sells out.

You all go enjoy that time. I'm going to HIDE and avoid all the restaurants in that month. I suppose I may swing by to see the madness, photograph the anger. Just need to keep the blood from spattering on my lens. The free dining promotion creates massive chaos.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Reedy Creek and the paramedics

I found out this weekend how strong the presence of Reedy Creek Improvement District's (RCID) emergency personnel at the Disney parks is. Seems they keep one team at DAK and one team at MGM all the time. And they keep two teams at Epcot and MK at all times. While they are themselves EMTs and paramedics, they don't keep ambulances around. They'd call for a real ambulance if they need one. But they do have a cart they can push out into the park. Not a "crash cart" (to revive a dying person) but something to maintain minimal life support, akin to some of the tools around on the ambulance itself.

More fruit at ODF

Outdoor Foods (ODF) carts at Epcot are sporting some pieces of fruit now - I'm thinking of the one outside Electric Umbrella. It's a good trend. More healthy options!

New street signs at Downtown Disney

Noticed a small thing this weekend: the street signs at Downtown Disney, where Buena Vista Dr intersects, aren't there anymore. Now there are boxes that display digital text in their place, I think via small LEDs. At the moment, there merely displayed "TEST TEST" on them, but I assume this gives Disney some flexibility on what to put there, rather than street names. Like if a band is playing that night, maybe they could put it right there on the street sign. Or say House of Blues and place an arrow there. Neat.