Today the DisneyParks blog unveiled the concept art for what will be the final look of the revised Test Track attraction at Epcot. The blog has indicated that the new look will installed this week and visible to park guests soon. Also, note the nod to World of Motion on the canopy covering. Further details indicate the Fastpass area is remaining much the same as it was, but the entrance has been reshaped to the semicircular shape we’ve seen progressing form the last several weeks in construction updates. As always, click to enlarge the artwork and examine the changes yourself, and if you’re interested in history of the World of Motion and Test Track pavilion there’s always The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia.
Disney recently revealed their plans to have the Be Our Guest restaurant make extensive use of their new RFID systems for the lunch period.
Guests visiting the location for the quick-service lunch will be handed an RFID rose the size of a hockey puck. This rose will function as a group identifier for the guest’s order and track their party as they travel through the restaurant. Guests will frist take their rose to the ordering kiosk – tap the Mickey head of the rose to the Mickey head of the sales kiosk (lower left of photo) to identify themselves to the system.
Then they will use the touch screen to complete their full order if paying with credit, giftcard, or a Disney dining plan. They will then go to a self-service beverage area and then be seated in the dining hall with their rose-at-hand. The rose will identify to the servers who bring the food to the tables where the party has chosen to sit and thus the food will be delivered in a timely and seemingly magical manner to the proper location.
Guests choosing to pay with cash or vouchers will have the option of going through the same process with a pair of cash registers located in the same gallery as the rose-encoding kiosks. Also, with the way the system works, once RFID wristband ticket media is up and functioning the roses-pucks themselves will not be needed and guests can merely scan their wristband when placing their order instead of the rose-puck.
As charming as this is, Be Our Guest has already begun to run into some major issues during their few test dining periods. The building was designed and redesigned hastily during the construction process with the interior locations being reworked and the type of service the restaurant would offer – both full and quick service – changing more than once during the construction period. This had led to the kitchen being smaller than needed and the workers utterly frustrated with the situation. There’s no place to store hot prepared foods and everything else is choked by a lack of proper workspace. The 580-something seat location is strained because it has a kitchen equipped to serve far less than that.
For the time being, Disney having their staff work late into night “rehearsing” workarounds to the problems caused by the improperly designed facilities. Early test meals have been, at best, a small fiasco with food coming out wrong, taking forever, and not being properly prepared or even served with the right accompaniments. Thankfully this is what testing is designed for and hopefully something can be worked out – or rebuilt – lest the staff be forced to endure all night rehearsals of choreographing movement in the wonky space.
Another day, another quick jaunt to Epcot to check out the work on Test Track 2.0 which will open in December.
As you can see in the above photo, the base around the new marquee has been installed and a survey crew is determining the final specifics to install the signage. A bit further back, the curved extension of the main building which will function as the new entrance is beginning to be skinned. A few more shots from around the area can be found in the gallery below – though there were reports that the installation of the canopy covering artwork had begun – it’s still just a few pieces of tarp attached for apparent visual testing purposes rather than an actual installation of the final look.
Nearby, the snark kiosk out-front of Mission: SPACE has come out from behind refurbishment. It has been re-angled and recessed more into the original Future World East planters suggesting Disney finally decided it was a permanent structure. Also there’s a chance they thought it was blocking the flow of guests to Mission: SPACE. We regret to inform Disney that a snack kiosk sticking out into the walkway is NOT what is keeping guests away from Mission: SPACE.
So we managed to get some photos of the latest progress on Test Track’s front entrance. As you can see, the concrete walkway is being put down and the curved walls leading to the new curved entry doors are nearing completion.You’ll also notice blue bands of tarp hung from the structure – why for you ask?
Because they plan to do this… Well, at least we wont be wondering what will become of the canopy anymore.
Walt Disney World has issued the following statement regarding the botched sign-up for New Fantasyland Annual Passholder previews at the Magic Kingdom:
Passholders, due to strong demand, we are working quickly to create additional New Fantasyland preview opportunities for you and will share more details by the middle of next week. Here is a note from Debbie Hart, the director of experience services here at Walt Disney World Resort.
We are aware that some of you had difficulty in trying to sign up for a New Fantasyland preview earlier this week and appreciate your candid feedback. We understand how precious your time is and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced.
The demand for New Fantasyland has exceeded even our expectations and we are working quickly to create additional preview opportunities. We expect to be able to provide more details by the middle of next week via email, as well as at www.disneyworld.com/passholder and on this page.
We value the special relationship we have with you as passholders and want to assure you that we are committed to making every experience you have with us the best it can possibly be.
Director, Guest Experience Services
We will post any details we receive as soon as possible, but be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for breaking news. We were able to help several followers get into the original sign-ups by linking to the backdoor landing page of the registration process. Why? Because Disney’s website for passholders is ultra-ghetto.
Disney filed a permit today to begin installing FASTPASS signage at several attractions in Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The attractions listed below will receive FASTPASS in the near future. As you may notice, several of these attractions were outfitted with FASTPASS+ RFID scanners as we’ve documented here on the Epcyclopedia blog.
- Spaceship Earth
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Turtle Talk
- Journey into Imagination with Figment
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
- Muppetvision 3D
- The Great Movie Ride
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Americal Idol
- Disney Jr Live on Stage
One address, 396 Cypress Drive we don’t recognize, but if we had to guess we’d say it’s the Studio Backlot Tram Tour.
New Fantasyland soft-opened this morning for lucky guests in the Magic Kingdom. These openings are expected to continue for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid attraction and Enchanted Tales with Belle until the previews for Imagineering, Cast Members, D23 and Annual Passholders occur.
Here’s the official word from Disney….
Guests may be invited into the Enchanted Forest within New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park intermittently, giving our Cast the opportunity to have a full dress rehearsal of their locations. During the rehearsal, there may be times when it is necessary to suspend operation of a location or even the entire forest area so that we can make adjustments. We will also be hosting film crews in New Fantasyland over the next week as they capture footage for marketing purposes, so that will also limit availability of areas within the forest.
The following areas will be participating in dress rehearsals:
- Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid (FASTPASS will occasionally be made available from the distribution point at Mickey’s PhilharMagic)
- Ariel’s Grotto, where Guests can meet their favorite undersea princess
- Enchanted Tales with Belle, a unique storybook adventure where Guests can go back to the day Belle and Beast fell in love
- Gaston’s Tavern, an indoor stand featuring LeFou’s Brew, cinnamon rolls and roasted pork shank
- Gaston, the comic antagonist from Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” will soon be making appearances and greeting Guests in the Belle’s Village area of New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park.
- Gaston will arrive in time for Guest previews of New Fantasyland, beginning Nov. 19.
- Gaston will appear intermittently each day. Cast Members may call the CHIP Hotline (8-273-CHIP) for up-to-the-minute character appearance times and locations.
- Bonjour! Village Gifts, selling home goods and apparel themed to “Beauty and the Beast”
Please note that the Be Our Guest Restaurant is not serving food to our day Guests at this time.
New Fantasyland officially opens to Guests Dec. 6, with a soft-opening Nov. 19
Disney previously filed paperwork indicating a new Disney character meet and greet would soon be installed at the front entrance of the park. Today they filed more detailed paperwork with a better indication of the intended location of the new meet and greet. It will be taking over the covered alcove on the west side of the entrance plaza that was previous home to the Leave a Legacy sales kiosk and is currently used as a guest research outpost and at times a character meet/greet location but with no formal backdrop or queue. This project is scheduled to be completed by April of 2013.