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P. 115: New preview of Harmonious nighttime spectacular!

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http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-04-01/business/os-cfb-tourism-0402-20120401_1_room-prices-hotel-rates-disney-owned-hotels

 

Test Track changes coming

 

Despite Internet speculation of a delay, Walt Disney World says an overhaul of the Test Track attraction in Epcot is moving forward as planned.

 

A spokeswoman for the resort said the attraction, which is underwritten by General Motors Corp., will shut down April 16 for an extended renovation. The redesigned ride is to reopen in the fall with a new theme focused on GM's Chevrolet brand and a new automotive-design center.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Last week I had the chance to stop by Epcot to check out the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival as well as what other changes are going on throughout the park... So let's jump right into it, shall we?

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This year's entrance display is themed to Fantasia, and it truly looks great!

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The topiaries really stand out this year!

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So cool!

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A few weeks ago work finished on modifying the Spaceship Earth queue. The white-outlined pathway is rumored to contain NextGen tech needed for the implementation of the xPass.

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The Epcot logo topiary becomes a peacock for the festival...

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Kim Possible's World Showcase Adventure will soon be replaced by Agent P's World Showcase Adventure based on the character from Phineas & Ferb.

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Kim Possible is still listed on the Innoventions signs, while the Vision House has been added.

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Habit Heroes is still closed for retooling.

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A cast member is stationed outside of the entrance to the exhibit to answer guest questions about the closure.

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Debuting later this month is the Vision House.

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I'm looking forward to seeing it once it opens!

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Walls for the Vision House run along much of the "Road to Tomorrow" within Innoventions.

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Habit Heroes has gained a spot on the wall of attractions at Innoventions...

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While Kim Possible prepares to make way for a new attraction.

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Over in MouseGears, a section of the store has become dedicated to Phineas and Ferb merchandise.

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Perry is quite the popular character!

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So much merch!

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They also have some International Flower & Garden Festival merchandise in the store.

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Offerings include these clever magnets...

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The Hub receives a minor overlay for the Festival.

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Hope it never leaves!

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We noticed something peculiar about the trees in Future World...

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The fabric of our lives?

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The Chiquita sponsorship of Living with the Land began earlier last week.

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A home for the shrimp...

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The Disney Performing Arts stage has returned to Epcot this year.

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Bambi's Butterfly House has also been brought back for the Festival this year.

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Stunning!

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Time for the money shots!

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Oooh!

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The child's play area in Future World was expanded this year.

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This year's sand sculpture promotes the Disneynature Chimpanzee release.

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He looks excited to visit the World Showcase too!

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Flower towers line the pathway between the World Showcase and Future World.

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More cool topiaries...

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I hadn't visited this in a while but the Disney Rewards Photo Place (reserved for Disney's Visa Cardmembers, which my cousin is) has some neat little details in the background.

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Do you see the Nautilus?

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Work continues on the outside of The Seas with Nemo & Friends as a new entrance path is being built into the existing building.

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The marquee still looks awesome.

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It has been speculated that this line will accommodate the addition of FastPass for the attraction.

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The outside construction cuts off right before guests enter the interior queue.

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But inside work continues to carve a path to the loading station of the ride.

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Yay for a Seabase Alpha reference!

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(Continued)

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Over in the Imagination pavilion, Colorvision Creative (also known as Amazing Pictures) has taken over the operation of the photo sales area at the end of ImageWorks.

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Also photo service providers for Universal Orlando and the SeaWorld parks, it is intended that this new store (when completed) will serve as a product showcase for the company.

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The Captain EO merchandise cart outside of the pavilion was retired a few weeks ago, with remaining merchandise found within ImageWorks. Grab your Fuzzball and Hooter now while you can!

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With Paris' Captain EO reportedly closed for good, it is expected that the 3-D attraction will eventually be phased out of the Disney Parks once again over the next year or so, but no official closings have been confirmed at this point.

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Over at the Festival Center, this Goofy topiary has been slightly updated to remove his ice skates from the Winter.

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Let's go inside!

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The old Frontiers of Medicine post show for Body Wars is still blocked off, but you can see the lights remain on behind the walls after all these years.

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The HGTV Theater previews shows from the host channel... I'm still bummed they're not showing Seasons of the Vine here anymore.

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In front of the former entrance to Cranium Command is the main presentation area.

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This presentation was so popular guests were standing outside of the packed seating area just to watch.

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The merchandise area has a large collection of items for the Festival this year.

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The Goofy About Health stage has become the Spotlight Stage for the Festival, hosting smaller presentations throughout the day.

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The Intermissions Cafe is open once again...

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In case you were wondering what is on the menu.

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A touchscreen map is featured inside of the Festival Center to help guide guests to the many Festival offerings strewn about the park.

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We didn't see any presentations going on in here today.

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Body Wars is still blocked off entirely.

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Another presentation area takes up a good section of the pavilion.

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Time to venture back outside...

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Very recently The Odyssey adopted a new, blue color scheme.

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Over in the Mexico Pavilion, the back entrance path (handicapped access) has been filled with a colorful array of orchids.

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Gran Fiesta Donald is still a popular meet & greet character at Epcot!

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Over between The Outpost and the Germany pavilion is the new Haiti booth.

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A Food & Wine Festival Booth has been brought in to serve drink items from Haiti.

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There aren't any food options served here, but the drink menu is quite large for a booth.

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Major work continues on Tutto Italia over in the Italy Pavilion...

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The Cars 2 topiaries from last year have moved over to Japan for this year's display.

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Disney was shooting footage of the Festival throughout the day...

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Katsura Grill, the Japan pavilion's revitalized quick service option has seen consistent lines since its reopening earlier this year.

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It even has its own logo now!

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I can never get tired of watching this performance...

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The bonsai trees have returned to Japan as usual.

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So cool!

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GoGo squeeZ sponsored the childs play area in World Showcase once again, also providing samples of their applesauce products like they did previously.

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New this year is the Backyard Play Garden.

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This area features nifty and thrifty homemade projects for your home garden.

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There's even steps on how to make these items yourself!

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You can also make these...

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I found myself a friend!

 

That's all folks!

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I was there on the 24th,you must have been there either March 23,24 or 25 since the dude giving the seminar (Jason Cameron I think) was sitting in the table next to me at Via Napoli eating lunch between his two seminar times and those were his days there.I also caught the Guess Who 6:30 show which ended at 7:05pm and I somehow amazingly made it over to Universal to catch the parade and the B.O.B concert,I have no idea how I made it from the America Gardens Theater to the gates at Universal in 55 minutes.At Via Napoli that Carciofi pizza is ridiculously good.

Edited by doom1001
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^^I was there on Friday, May 23rd!

 

^The Disney Rewards Photo Place is found in Innoventions West next to the video game wall and the space formerly home to the Segway testing experience. I believe you can also see Where's the Fire? from your spot waiting in line for the Photo Place as well.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/04/first-look-at-new-tutto-gusto-wine-cellar-in-italy-at-epcot/

 

With an opening set for early May, here’s a sneak peek at Tutto Gusto, the new wine bar adjacent to Tutto Italia Ristorante in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot that’s sure to be a new World Showcase hot spot.

 

Gusto takes over the former lobby space of Tutto Italia and extends back toward Via Napoli. The 96-seat Tutto Gusto will be a more intimate space, with décor inspired by an Italian wine cellar with stone walls and floors, and vaulted ceilings and a fireplace in the dining room. Hours will be 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

The chefs have created a small-plate menu that takes guests on a fabulous culinary tour of Italy. There are six sections and all sorts of wonderful tastes: Affettati (cured, sliced meats); Formaggi (Italian cheeses); Panini (sandwiches); Piccoli Piatti (small plates); Cavatappi (a type of pasta), and Dolci (sweets).

 

With more than two dozen small plates with everything from a taste of prosciutto de Parma to creamy burrata cheese and mussels with white wine, we can’t wait for a taste. The pasta dishes all are made with cavatappi, a corkscrew-shaped pasta, and include three versions: tomato and bufala mozzarella; shrimp, chilis, garlic and tomato; and arugula, potato, pancetta, tomatoes and asiago cheese. Classic Italian!

 

More than 200 Italian wines, including sparkling, reds and whites, and beers such as La Rossa, Moretti and Menabrea will be offered. Grappas – a distilled drink made from what remains of grapes after they have been pressed for winemaking – will be another specialty, or just sip an espresso or cappuccino.

 

Tutto Gusto is part of the Disney Dining Plan.

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More than 200 Italian wines, including sparkling, reds and whites, and beers such as La Rossa, Moretti and Menabrea will be offered. Grappas – a distilled drink made from what remains of grapes after they have been pressed for winemaking – will be another specialty, or just sip an espresso or cappuccino.

 

 

Now my favorite pavilion

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http://www.orlandosentinel.com/the-daily-disney/os-disney-epcot-test-track-closes-20120410,0,6501871.story

 

Sunday, April 15, is the final day to ride Test Track at Epcot before it shifts into renovation mode.

 

The high-speed attraction, which has been in the Disney World theme park's Future World area since 1999, will be closed for several months for a makeover. Walt Disney Imagineering and sponsor GM are planning a "re-imagined design-centric Test Track experience," Disney says.

 

Details about the changes are sparse so far. In the initial announcement in January, Disney said the "Chevrolet Design Center" will enable guests to design custom concept cars and board a "SimCar" to put their designs through the paces of the Test Track track.

 

The ride itself will remain a ride, not a virtual experience or simulator, according to the Disney Parks Blog. Test Track's story has involved putting cars through weather and braking trials, plus a rapid dash through curves outside the building.

 

When the attraction reopens — at an unspecified date this fall — it will have a new emphasis on the Chevrolet brand, rather than an overall GM theme, and it will be known as Test Track Presented by Chevrolet.

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^Yeah, that's the thing. WDW doesn't really have an "off season." I remember when Disneyland used to shut down two days each week from January through March--it gave them a chance to do a lot of work without having to worry about guests.

 

But those days are long gone.

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The wine bar sounds awesome. I am also excited to see what happens with Test track, the whole design floor concept sounds awesome. It is unfortunate when the rides go down for Summer, but like stated above....not really any down time aside from a few random weeks out of the year. It's like when Space Mountain went down through the majority of the spring and summer, and my CP.

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http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/attractions/test-track/

 

Pardon our dust. This attraction is temporarily closed for refurbishment and scheduled to reopen in fall 2012.

 

We're gearing up for an exciting re-imagined Test Track! When complete, you can design your own custom concept vehicle, then buckle up and put your design through its paces on the exhilarating hills and switchbacks of the Test Track circuit.

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  • 2 weeks later...

On April 15th, 2012 at 9:00 pm Test Track closed its doors for the final time to make way for a major overhaul of the popular attraction at Epcot. I was fortunate enough to be there for the attraction's last run, riding in one of the last cars that sent guests around the Track that night. And of course, I took plenty of photos (and video) to document it.

 

The video should be ready soon, but in meantime, here are some photos from the attraction's last few hours of operation, including what the closure of the attraction looked like from inside of the queue.

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It's time to see this area open as-is one last time...

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No more than a few days later was this sign removed from the entrance of the attraction.

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The Test Track Pizza truck has been removed from the side area near the Cool Wash.

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No word on if the Cool Wash will stay, be rethemed or removed altogether.

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I'm guessing that if the Cool Wash is kept, it will at least receive a new color scheme to match the new ride.

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It seems the last of the Fastpass were distributed for the night.

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Guess I'm lucky to have gotten one!

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This logo is definitely retired...

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Cast members were offered a reception in the GM Corporate Lounge to commemorate the closure of Test Track. As such, the lights upstairs lit up the whole floor more than normal.

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Say goodbye to the Test Track dummies!

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One more for Larry!

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Though Test Track didn't open in 1997, it was supposed to.

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The Knee Calibration test in motion...

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New Hotness!

 

Another newly skinned car was on the track for the last day of operation. This one was just the solid blue color found on the other cars, just without any of the futuristic white streaks.

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Old and busted hotness?

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One more time!

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So familiar... I wonder if we'll have something similar in the new version of the attraction.

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Sadly, we never got it up to 88 mph.

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The Photopass location at the exit of the ride had already been shut down for good...

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I took the time to explore the GM Assembly Experience for a few minutes (since I never really had before) and found this TV screen showing off a POV of the attraction, presumably there for guests that were not able to ride the attraction themselves.

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There were some neat displays in the GM Assembly Experience.

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Can't hurt to look for hidden details before they're removed, right?

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The assembly line video in the background had been out for a while, so it was no surprise to see it down for the last night.

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I found something!

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Reminds me of the old Star Tours Droid Room.

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The future of Test Track rides with Chevrolet.

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Inside Track won't likely return with the revamped attraction.

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Woosh!

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Time for one more ride--the last one ever!

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Test Track had some neat nighttime lighting.

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Another look at the GM VIP Lounge lit up at night.

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In case you forgot what we were focusing on tonight...

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Time to shut the doors one last time!

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And we're...

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Closed!

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One last look at the "Early Test Vehicle" retained from World of Motion.

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I never really stopped to look at all of the different "tests" in the queue.

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That is, until now.

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I honestly think I spent most of my time queuing for Test Track in the Single Riders or Fastpass lines.

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A neat little detail I never noticed before...

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It always amazed me how many moving demos they had set up in the queue.

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Just about empty.

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Never noticed him before either.

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I had Larry on the brain.

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That's it folks. The queue is officially emptied... Time to ride one last time (and take video)!

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Inside Track is also likely to not return with the new attraction.

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By the time we got off of the ride, the outdoor queues had already been removed.

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Farewell Test Track! We look forward to seeing your new model next Fall!

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So it'll be "Tron Track" now, eh?

 

http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/04/new-renderings-depict-a-reimagined-test-track-at-epcot/

 

Many of you have asked for an update on what’s going on at Test Track at Epcot, and we’re happy to announce that new renderings were just released by Walt Disney Imagineering this morning!

 

When complete, the reimagining of this attraction will allow guests to design their own custom concept vehicle, and then put it through its paces on the exhilarating hills and switchbacks of the Test Track circuit. In the post-show, guests can make a TV commercial featuring their concept car or truck, race their car or truck on our virtual track and take a picture with their custom concept vehicle.

 

The attraction is currently scheduled to reopen late fall.

 

What do you think?

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Edited by jedimaster1227
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