If you were wondering where The Festival of the Lion King show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park was going to be once Disney closes Campy Minnie Mickey in order to construct Avatar “land” – we’ve got answers today.
The shaded area on the aerial image below shows the new “hardscape” (aka: concrete) to be added to the park.
And looking further into the permits and schematics.. we find this little bit which, if you have a keen eye, shows a little Festival of the Lion King theater clone in the expanded view of the construction area. (Note, this view is rotated 90 degrees from the last.)
So as you can see, guests visiting Festival of the Lion King in the coming months will either be entering or exiting at Tusker House or Pizzafaria. Which area will be intended for which..? We’re not sure, but it should add some interesting foot traffic to the areas.
Happy Day Before Easter everyone! We admit it, we’ve been lax with this blog. Some of you are probably like “What’s this email and what’s an Epcyclopedia?” because it’s been so long since we posted anything of merit about Epcot.
First off, it’s not entirely our fault. There really hasn’t been any news or information to post about. Why? Because Epcot just isn’t a focus of Disney or Imagineering lately. It plods along with mediocre attendance – which is still much higher than Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios – and thus it is not considered a problem to fix, despite being the park with the largest schism between its physical intended operational capacity and the actual attendance. Long story short, every person in Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios is a blood traitor to Epcot because that’s where their warm bodies were intended to be when Epcot opened, but we can’t win every theoretical war and we can’t blame people for wanting to ride Tower of Terror or see monkeys.
Sea Monkeys? Maybe that would make an interesting new motif for the next version of The Seas pavilion.. And speaking of next versions – there’s a lot of cycling that’s going to occur soon at Epcot. Future World pavilions have a lifespan and Energy, Imagination, and Mission: SPACE are all up for renewal soon. But again, Disney/WDI doesn’t seem to care too much about that. Until they announce something we’re left with the non-happenings that are currently occurring:
Fountainview is becoming a Starbucks. April through late-Fall.
Character Spot is reopening with a new design TODAY (reportedly, it hasn’t been photographed yet so in theory it hasn’t happened.)
Morocco is getting a new waterfront dining location that will seemingly kill the Marrakesh – which was never terribly popular in the first place.
There’s a new restroom block being built between Japan and the American Adventure.
A concept to rework Imagination’s old Kodak shop to be the home base for Phineas and Ferb’s World Showcase game was discarded and the building sits unused.
Disney built a snack kiosk in the middle of Innoventions Plaza that was poorly designed (the counters are too low) and will seemingly never be used.
Fastpass+ has been installed at numerous rides/attractions but is waiting for the software to work before it can be deployed.
Existing FASTPASS kiosks at the various attractions are soon going to serve no purpose and will need to be removed.. and replaced with.. what? No one knows, not even Disney.
And.. that’s it. It’s not terribly interesting is it? So to keep ourselves amused – maybe even you too – we’re working on other ideas and other things to explore until the inevitable “something” occurs. Epcot cycles, it will always cycle, nothing is permanent. At some point this seas of boring nothingness will relent. It has to, if for no other reason than Mission: SPACE costing a fortune to operate, having piss-poor guest satisfaction ratings, and the sponsor likely to bail out when its contractual obligation ends soon.
Until then.. here’s some concept art of the China pavilion. We have this awful backlog of researched images and information just sort of sitting in figurative heaps on the hard disk (literal heaps of art and information on shelves in our “archive” too.) We’ll share some of it as the mood strikes us. Don’t worry, we’ll keep an ear to the ground fr something actually happening – but we’ll be damned if we’re going to report the latest Ear Hat release for Limited Time Magic. Leave that to the bloggers on Disney’s payroll. We’ll stick to our beliefs – not giving crap non-news an ounce of screen time and publicity. Enjoy.
Today Disney announced the major overhaul of Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney – Disney Springs. Rumors have been bubbling up for the last month or so, but now it’s finally official with construction beginning next month. We’ve got some nice high quality images of the concept art and model for your enjoyment.
Starting March 20th, if a guest purchases or renews a Walt Disney World Annual Pass they will receive an RFID Pass. These passes will allow guests to enter the parks via the Nex-Gen turnstiles. If you have an existing Annual Pass and would like to change it over to the new RFID system, you can go to the Odyssey Center in EPCOT between March 20, 2013 and May 19, 2013. All passes will have a green background and a stripe will be included on it to indicate whether or not it is entitled to free parking. If a pass has free parking it will have an orange stripe, if it doesn’t it will have a black stripe.
We’re just cross pollinating the internet with the full text of Iger’s letter to congress retorting the privacy issues with MyMagic+ and the MagicBand. The most notable take-aways are that guests will have a card option that wont transmit long range like the bands, that the bands aren’t GPS enabled in any fashion, and that guests using FastPass in the future will have to provide at least their name and email address.
As part of the The Congressional Privacy Caucus, Representative Markey (D- Mass.) has sent a letter to Bob Iger, CEO of the Disney corporation to ask several pointed questions about privacy concerns relating to the new MagicBand and MyMagic+ systems. Disney had intended to begin rolling out these systems in the coming months – rumors say as early as February for select resort locations – and was gaining publicity for the innovative data collection and park experience customization systems in the media, in particular the New York Times.
The New York Times articles is cited several times in the letter from Markey to Iger as a basis for the questions the caucus is asking. Technically the caucus is not a formal committee and has no subpoena power, but Disney is expected to respond with at least minimal answers to quell public worry over their systems.
A tiny new kiosk has sprung up at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot according to the Orlando Sentinel. The kiosk belongs to the KidsHeritage Inc. of Plantation, Florida, and is selling customized hardcover My Heritage children’s books.
The My Heritage books are personalized to a specific child and explore their worldly heritage of up to four countries per book. The books include a letter to the child explaining their heritage and their name included throughout as the book directly addresses them as well as a pages for filling in the child’s family customs and family tree.
Epcot’s Pin Central in the center of Future World closes on january 13th, 2013, with no set reopening date. The sale location and central tipboard location for the park was the pet project of the forthcoming Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis. During a visit to the Olympics prior to Epcot’s Millennium celebration George saw the pin-trading phenomena in action and decided to bring it to Walt Disney World as part of the event. It became a large enough portion of the planned Millenium Celebration that the dedicated Pin Central was constructed – anchoring the Millennium Circus tarps that fill the Innoventions Plaza courtyard behind Spaceship Earth. The prior 1994 Innoventions rennovation had removed the flanking ponds and greenery while adding the now-removed whirligigs to the courtyard, creating a sea of concrete. Imagineering felt the Millennium Circus tarps added shading and something of interest to the barren plot of land by 1999.
The exact reason for the closure is unknown. As mentioned, no formal end date is currently announced. Tipboards in Future World East and West will continue to operate and pins can be purchased anywhere.
We’ve included some photos from the 1994 Innoventions installation period to show you what the courtyard looked like with Innoventions but without Pin Central.
THINK presented by IBM has opened in INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort
The exhibit combines three unique experiences to engage visitors in a conversation about how we can improve the way we live and work. For more information about visiting the exhibit.
Explore the process of progress through interactives, games and film.
Learn through play by interacting with a 40 foot gesture wall visualizing the complex systems around us.
Be inspired by the possibilities and history of progress while watching the THINK film.
Explore the elements of progress, Seeing, Mapping,
Understanding, Believing, and Acting through dynamic interactives.
Visitors approaching the exhibit are drawn in by striking patterns displayed on a 40-foot gesture wall. The wall tells the stories of systems around us, transforming into an interactive space where visitor movement creates unique visualizations in dynamic shapes and color. To illustrate complex systems that are a part of daily life the wall also visualizes data from traffic, solar energy, and air quality.
Further inside the exhibit space, visitors discover a theater space featuring a 12-minute immersive film. A kaleidoscope of images and sound fill the large screen. They are enveloped in a rich narrative about the pattern of progress, told through awe-inspiring stories of the past and present. The film reveals how progress was made possible by a combination of people and technology, and by taking a distinct approach to making the world work better — seeing, mapping, understanding, believing and acting. Guests are inspired to think about humankind’s quest for progress, and about making our world work better, today.
Visitors explore a media field composed of 20 seven-foot interactive touchscreens, transforming the space into a forest of discovery. Visitors can explore our quest to see more-from clocks and scales to microscopes and telescopes, RFID chips and biomedical sensors. They learn how maps have been used to track data, from early geographical maps to the most recent databases and data visualization platforms. They interact with the models used to understand the complex behaviors of our world-from weather prediction algorithms to virus spread simulations. They hear from leaders of world-changing initiatives about how they built belief. And they read about some of the most inspiring examples of systemic progress around the world.
We know, we haven’t said much about the new Test Track aside from a few tweets. We’re working on a fairly in-depth report comparing the old, the new, and even Radiator Springs Racers as a comparison point. We’re at Disneyland this weekend to accomplish that goal.No worries, you’ll get our full report soon. Until then, here’s the GM and WDI people talking about the design of the new attraction: