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.
The full letter, in PDF form, can be found here: http://markey.house.gov/sites/markey.house.gov/files/documents/Letter%20–%20Disney%20–%201-24-13.pdf
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:
A quick update.. scouring the social media world, it turns out construction workers are willing to post photos from inside the construction site of Test Track. First up, a look down from the top of the old “Hill Climb” scene toward the now-removed “Belgian Blocks” and the rethemed “ABS Brake Testing” area. The cones over the slot in the track are just there for safety while the ride is being worked on. At the bottom of the hill where the ground levels you can see screens flanking the track – this is likely where the “magic mirror” effect where the car looks to meet design specifications will occur.
Elsewhere in the building, you can see some sort “concept car” that will be on display as well as the general look of the pre/post-show areas in progress. As you can see it has been vastly redesigned from the hyper-industrial warehouse feel of the original Test Track attraction. As always, if you want to know more about the history of Epcot’s Transportation Pavilion from World of Motion to Test Track 1.0 and 2.0 you can read it in our book The Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia (make a great holiday gift!)
We walked past these walls a few times recently and didn’t give them much consideration. We snapped a few photos and figured they’d end up on the blog as part of a general update. The refurbishment walls are on the East side of the plaza near Electric Umbrella – not around Pin Central as some angles online have previously suggested. After we looked at the photos, there’s something interesting going on…
Is that what we think it is? By golly, yes it is! It’s a structure with a roof and lighting that is overtop of what appears to be a large metal icon depicting Spaceship Earth. As always, click to enlarge the pics.
What purpose with this new little “building” serve? We don’t know. Perhaps it is the central FastPass distribution location that will be needed for FastPass+ or some other guest service type area? We’re really not sure what to think of more “CommuniClutter” in the plaza, but maybe it’s a new tipboard – and Pin Central will be on its way out once it is installed (the old Tipboard was off to the West side of the plaza prior to the Pin Central and Canopy installation.)
Time will tell. But we’re very curious what this thing is going to be.
Snow Globes used to be one of the most popular vacation souvenirs at the Walt Disney World Resort. Then there was the TSA and the ban on liquids in carry-on luggage. This killed snow globe sales within Walt Disney World, though some guests do choose to either risk their snow globe being broken in checked luggage or have it shipped to their home at a somewhat costly markup.
Today, that changes!
TSA allows small snow globes in carry-on luggage when packed in a passenger’s plastic 3-1-1 bag: Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximately tennis-ball size) will be permitted if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear, plastic, quart-sized, re-sealable bag as a passenger’s other liquids.
Now it’s a matter or snow globe size. Those huge honking ones are not likely to be approved anytime soon, but this is a step in the right direction. No more snow globes in TSA trashcans at checkpoints and no more paying for shipping charges that often cost just as much as the snow globe itself.
We hear that Disney already clearing out shelf space on Main Street USA in preparation of the coming snow globe harvest over the holidays. And a side note – you can actually buy the snow globe of the castle pictured above from Amazon.