There’s construction going on at the tiki-tiki-tiki tiki room, the permits just say “construction” but that’s nothing new, in the tiki-tiki-tiki tiki room. Head on over to the Tiki tiki tiki tiki room permit.
Elsewhere, Epcot’s got a few permits for construction at its marina, while there’s several permits for the Art of Animation resort. Additionally the Fort Wilderness pool is getting some work, and finally there’s some sort of permit for something unspecified in Tomorrowland.
Also, a late-in-the-day addition of a permit for electrical work in the grassy areas of Downtown Disney Westside.
How many recent gimmicks can Disney squeeze into one video? Lots! This tilt-shifted, time-lapsed video of Disney-Pixar’s Lightning McQueen and Mater being constructed and installed at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival just in time for Pixar Weekend might be the most ever accomplished. Someone call the Guinness people!
Star Tours 2 is opening on May 20th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and nary a peep has been made over the apparent lack of passholder previews for the attraction. In fact, it seems the utter disregard for the annual passholder population in Florida has just been accepted as common-place business-as-usual in the fan community. Some call it lowered standards, other call it Walmarting – regardless a Disney World annual pass is worth a lot less then it used to be worth.
As Disney moved forward with various initiatives the AP program at Walt Disney World has essentially fallen apart. The AP website was once a place to go for the latest discounts and to sign up for AP-exclusive events. We can’t remember the last time that website was updated though. From poking around the net it’s pretty obvious most AP’s are lucky to be able to even log-in or get the page to load. While Disney has spent millions on their “DisneyParks” presence through blogs and twitter and other social media the Passholder website for Walt Disney World has been left to rot like some relic of the mid-90′s. There might as well be MIDI music and flashing text.The pages, which are almost entirely just short bits of text – can take 3-5 minutes to load on a fiber optic connection.It’s really quite pathetic.
Looking at the website itself, there appears to be some clues as to when Disney just stopped caring about it’s Disney World passholders. Take for example the last time the Blockout dates for the Seasonal passes was updated on the website:
June 2010 – almost a full year ago. We could give them the benefit of the doubt and say perhaps the website was ignored sometime around the beginning of August 2010, but where’s the fun in that? Also, remember when that thrilling new Toy Story Mania attraction opened..? Back in May 2008..? Well, it’s the headliner attraction on the Passholder website in the community section – which hasn’t been updated since 2008. The girl referenced in the photo was 15. She’s at least 18 if not 19 by now. I wonder if she still even own an annual pass.
In all likelihood she does, as around the time Disney stopped caring about AP’s is when they introduced the dreaded California pay-over-time pricing plan to Florida residents. This plan for selling AP’s dirt cheap is responsible for creating many of the Disneyland Resort’s capacity issues during peak periods. In many ways, an annual pass over at Disneyland can be cheaper then going and buying a cafe macchiato monthly from Starbucks. Disney World had long avoided this tactic to gain butts-in-seats during the slower periods but finally gave in.
In case you were wondering.. the monthly payment plan was rolled out June 2010. The passholder website has not been generally updated since – after writing this whole article we still can’t get the “Passholder Offers” page to even load. The last AP special event or preview was the Duffy the Bear opening at Epcot in October of 2010. Better join the Moms Panel or D23 if you want any special treatment or even a functional website from Walt Disney World in the future.
What do we post when we have nothing to talk about ourselves? We rely heavily on friends and acquaintances with broader non-Epcot-based interests in a segment we like to call “Culled from the Net.”
First up, AJ over at the always-tasty Disney Food Blog teaches everyone how to order a specialty cake at Walt Disney World. We’re going to be honest and say our brief tenure at Disney Dining taught us that this is often a nightmare to try and facilitate and choreograph for what is often a cake that would make Betty Crocker cry… but AJ’s guest columnist Carrie Hayward managed to score some pretty nice cakes.
Disney Food Blog – How to Order a Cake
Next up, ever wish you were in Japan? Well, not earthquake-y Japan, but “our Disneyland is pretty awesome and we’re getting a new version of Fantasmic” Japan? Well, the Discussion Kingdom has some people on the ground and the photos are flowing in their latest coverage of the opening of Fantasmic at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort.
Discussion Kingdom – Fantasmic opens at DisneySea
There was a pretty nasty accident at Disneyland Paris recently. A section of the boulder-effect on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad broke off and was struck by a vehicle and sent pieces of the faux-boulder flying a the passengers resulting in major and minor injuries. Not good, and to be honest, we’re not up on the full details – but the Disney Blog has it covered. Check them out for a handle on the situation.
The Disney Blog – Big Thunder Accident Update
And finally, have you ever wanted an adorable itty-bitty recreation of a theme park parking-lot tram? Well you sir are the reason we wrote that chapter about parking lots in the Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia! And now if you head on over to the DisneyParks blog you’ll find a special treat waiting just for you.
DisneyParks Blog – Itty-bitty Parking Lot Trams
Oh, and Disneyland is getting their own monorail toy.. finally. That’s it for now – we’ll check back in with more when there’s something to report or that someone else already reported and we’re too lazy to type out ourselves. Until then, keep on keeping-on explorers!
There’s nothing terribly interesting going on today at Walt Disney World to report, so we’ll take you back to 1994 to experience an equally slow, normal, and entirely uneventful day at Epcot. Let’s start by standing around outside the World of Motion.
Ah yes, the World of Motion. Did you know it had higher attendance then Spaceship Earth when the park opened? Well, that didn’t last. Let’s go inside to the load area and see how things are going…
Notice the switchback not in use, and certainly not the exterior extended queue in the portico. Regardless, we miss this old clunker. It just goes to show the typical ebb and flow of attraction popularity – it never was easy creating the future. Thanks to folks over at Widen Your World for taking these videos back in the day.
Permit filed today by Walt Disney Imagineering for Disney’s Art of Animation Resort:
Front Entry Power Service
So now they can have lights and eletrical service and all that fancy stuff we associate with resorts at Walt Disney World and not a third world country. Next thing you know they’ll have running water and air-cooling too!
And for you overzealous planner types, now you can pre-address those crates of bottled water, granola bars, and huggies to be delivered to the resort’s address: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. 2050 Century Drive. Lake Buena Vista FL 32830
We mentioned a few days ago that the new wing planned for the Grand Floridian had gotten permit approval to go forward if the company chose to do so. Well, now there’s another permit that shows the project is definitely going forward. Today Imagineering filed a notice of commencement to install a group of trailers on the old STOLport site to support the project.
When exactly we’ll see ground moving is unclear, but it will be happening soon.
There’s a been a lot of news in the past week for Epcot’s World Showcase and we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss any of it. Stories fall off the front page as new stories are added, but this overall trend at Epcot is worth taking an extra look at.
In entertainment the Dragon Legends acrobats at the China pavilion have been retired. A new Lion Dance costume performance is replacing the young acrobats. Over in the United Kingdom pavilion the contract has also ended for the British Invasion band which plays Beatles tributes in the garden area. Their performances end soon and will be replaced with a yet unnamed new offering. Disney also launched a line of World Showcase country themed Mickey ear hats.
In attractions news the Impressions de France film has been updated to digital projection to better maintain the quality of the film. Other upgrades and quality control around the lagoon includes work on Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. Earlier this month there was pyro testing and the inferno barge was scheduled for refurbishment April 27 – May 27 2011.
On the biggest news bits comes from South America and the prospect of a new Brazilian pavilion from the Brazilian press.Per the Sao Paul newspaper Folha:
Brazil managed to seat a large international “forum”: Disney. Representatives of the largest complex of theme parks in the world have sought the federal government this week to announce that will install a flag of Brazil at Epcot Center in Orlando (USA).
We’ve heard from reliable sources since our initial post that the plans are more solid then previous rumors of about World Showcase expansion but talks are still ongoing to solidify funding. This could be related to the talk about the Norway pavilion in jeopardy since it lost sponsorship and Disney is aggressively seeking new sponsors and renegotiating contracts in the World Showcase area.Per the Norwegian magazine Kapital:
Disney took the responsibility for the pavilion some years ago. Kapital knows that the filmmaker now is considering to change the exhibit because of the state of the pavilion and realize the common Scandinavian pavilion. That means Norway looses its exclusive showcase in the world known amusement park.
The newer dining locations in the Mexico and Italy pavilion along with the renovated China and France pavilion shopping areas are the result of these more aggressive contract re-negotiations. The full story on these recent changes can of course be found in The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia.
Just a quick update – head on over to Amazon to get The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia on sale for just $17.95 (that’s 10% off the cover price.)
We don’t control the Amazon price and how they discount, so we can’t say when the sale will end – but as the old Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom would say – now is the time!
Disney picked midnight to announce their new Health and Wellness suites at the Contemporary Resort and the Princess Suites at the Port Orleans Riverside Resort.
The suites at the Contemporary were a long time coming – essentially it’s the final part of the refurbishment of the main A-frame tower that came when they were preparing for the DVC expansion. The story we heard from Contemporary workers at the time was that the concierge and suite levels weren’t renovated “as planned” because of shipping issues with furniture and supplies. Instead the rooms had their existing furniture reupholstered and left to wait until the work could be completed at a later date. Now it looks like those rooms are getting done with the Health and Wellness Suites.
Notice the new flooring and furniture – something the suites at the Contemporary didn’t get due to transport issues during the first renovation. Over at the Port Orleans Riverside Resort the story is similar. Disney has been planning these upgrades for a while.
The Princess suites were one of a few options shown to select guests as part of an interest survey. The survey asked how much of a premium they’d be willing to pay and how much they liked the various room options. Another contender in that survey was Haunted Mansion themed rooms with Doombuggie shaped headboards- which apparently lost out to the Princess rooms. This also explains the permits they’ve been filing for rooms around Magnolia Bend at the Riverside resort over the last few months.
More information including availability, booking, etc… can be found over at the official Disney Parks Blog.