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P. 140: Walt Disney World 50th anniversary celebration details released!

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After 21 years as a musician, I was also terminated via email.   Not sure how much a difference it will make, but if you miss LIVE entertainment, feel free to email WDW at   wdw.guest.comm

Might be an unpopular opinion with some of the don't change anything to old rides Disney fans but I think this is great that they are updating it. The last few times I went on it at both parks I thoug

It was very interesting after spending several days at Disney last week to visit Universal yesterday and see how much live entertainment they had! I wonder why Disney cut everyone while Universal seem

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I like it...the back story will definitely make more sense when they finish the FL rehab in 2012

 

In terms of said expansion.... much of the new segments seem squarely aimed at the female demographic. Most, if not all, excluding maybe the Winnie the Pooh and Dumbo stuff, is part of the Princess/Fairy demographic; is this just a way to have maybe something for the little "dudes" as well?

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I can't even begin to imagine what they are thinking with this. I don't think my kids even know (or care) what the name of the carrousel is, now, even though they ride it almost every time we go.

 

ETA - if it's the "boy angle" they are after, (which is the only thing that remotely makes sense,) then this is even more of an epic fail.

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Prince Charming invites one and all to test their horsemanship skills and to enjoy their own happy ending.

 

Come on...no way that wasn't intentional.

 

 

I love enjoying a happy ending, maybe the girls will get the She Bop ride!

 

 

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I guess my only response is "OK, but does a carousel really need a backstory?"

 

Chuck, sewer drains require backstory at Disney.

 

LOL. Yeah, I've heard that the bus system is actually made up of vehicles that used to be in a sci-fi death race from some alternate universe; which is why they've had so many accidents over the last year or so.

 

I'm also awaiting a new spin on the parking trams too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just rode the Summer Nightastic overlay for WDW's Tower. I will say now, I'm going to go blow by blow for the whole experience (for a reason I'll get to) so if you want to be surprised, gloss over or plug your ears and eyes and go "LALALALALA" for a while.

 

The beginning walk up is about the same. The music is much clearer and the lobby looks great. Not much different here. In the Library, the lightning and lighting effects were far more drastic, complete with the window in great sync. Then the fun really began. They totally reworked the sound and lighting design in load, making the load station even darker than it was and that boiler room really creepy. Like "Freddy's going to leap out and kill me" creepy. The sounds of a disembodied child laughing and the faint sounds of a really massive storm outside didn't help. Then it happened. What's "it"? Well, at what seemed to be pretty random intervals, all the generators for the service elevators stopped and then a loud "bzzap" signaled all of the lights (except for the ones directly over the load for what I can only think safety reasons) went dead for about 3-4 seconds. I'll admit, that did startle me for a moment, a definite noticeable change if you are in that "I know what's going on" mode.

 

We piled into the service elevator and things began. The shaft is significantly darker with some different audio playing on the way up (you'll see that's a theme). Then the doors open to the hallway, as normal. The lightning struck outside the window and a blinding flash happens in the room. Ooooook. Thematic, or so I thought. Everything works as before, looks the same, the star-field looks great, doors close. Now here comes the big one.

 

The doors open up again to...a star-field. Yep. No 4th dimension room. The elevator lurches forward, as usual, down the star-field hallway. The windows and walls on both sides have been covered up by a very obvious black curtain with stars and the hallway is eerily silent, from what I remember. And that's the best way to describe it. It's a hallway and feels like nothing more than that. Then, as the elevator centers itself, the end of the hallway changes to show...a mirror. Everyone who knows their Tower of Terrors knows where this is going. Yes, it is the exact same effect from the California/Tokyo/Paris versions of Tower, just this one is with a still image taken of the elevator car (note the flash from before). As the elevator continues through the door to the drop shaft, there is a very cool effect of the sound of broken glass (or mirror) and then 1930s era music playing over the Rod Serling narration. Playing over it enough that you can barely hear it anymore, to make it you plowed through the mirror and back into the night that the original 5 got zapped into the Twilight Zone. The drop sequence was air-time filled, but there wasn't anything that was overwhelmingly different to my memory. By that time, I had already face-palmed due to the loss of the 4th dimension room.

 

For some reason, this really irked me. I know the current plan is to homogenize the experience with the Disney Parks with the "One Disney" plan, ensuring that a guest will experience the same experience no matter what Disney Park they go to, but that is achieved by sacrificing the identities of the individual parks themselves. I know the first draw of "it's Disney" doesn't matter what park you go to, but there has to be something else to draw guests to a certain property. If you make it all the same, then why would a guest from CA want to come to WDW? It's segmenting your audience by providing identical experiences to each coast, a process which may hurt in the long run. It's also with every change, WDW feels more and more like the red headed stepchild. I'm very proud of WDW, for obvious reasons, and it really hurts me to see it's identity slowly being pushed aside and the things that make it unique being turned into everything else. If I was in California, I'd feel the same way about DL, I'm sure. I walked out of the Tower, these thoughts running through my head and feeling generally disappointed and let down. Luckily, it's only temporary.

 

I apologize if this turned a little ranty. I'm a nerd (obviously, I'm here) and I think about this stuff.

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Great Review, and by great review I mean the thoroughness, depth, and detail of your coverage not the content itself. Thats very disappointing to me to lose the 4th dimension room, albeit it temporarily. That was always what made Tower so unique and intriguing to me. Ive had that same feeling of general disappointed and let down with a lot of the new attractions Disney has put out lately specifically the space mountain overhaul, or lack there of.

 

I feel the same way you do about the homogenization of the park experience from west coast to east coast and the whole One Disney thing, but its funny to me that while that is going on stateside the foreign parks are getting more and more unique. A customized version of Fantasmic, unique storyline for tower of terror at TDS, Grizzly Trail and Mystic Point in Hong Kong, Crush Coaster and Toy Story Play land in Paris with (still rumored) Ratatouille dark ride on the way (hopefully). But in America there is 2 Toy Story Mania's 2 Little mermaids, 2 Soarin's, etc. Yeah I know Everest and World of Color are unique new additions but those two parks desperately needed something unique. Im all for having the same basic and universally recognizable attractions at each park (Pirates, Small World, Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Splash Mtn), but I also like each park to have its own unique identity, I guess I'm ranting a bit now too (Im a nerd also) but anyways nice review.

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Then, as the elevator centers itself, the end of the hallway changes to show...a mirror. Yes, it is the exact same effect from the California/Tokyo/Paris versions of Tower, just this one is with a still image taken of the elevator car (note the flash from before).

 

I was there with my brother and a friend on 6/8. I remember the picture effect NOT being of your own Ride Car, but rather of a generic photo. I can justify this saying that 3/4 of the people in the car didn't show, and that the remaining people looked nothing like in the photo. (In the seat that a black male was sitting in, it showed a white female.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

http://thedailydisney.com/blog/2010/06/disney-pulls-15-million-permit-for-little-mermaid-ride/

 

Walt Disney World has obtained a $15 million building permit to construct the Journey of the Little Mermaid, the Little Mermaid-themed dark ride at the center of the Magic Kingdom’s sweeping Fantasyland expansion. The permit, which was issued by the Reedy Creek Improvement District in early March, covers design and construction work. Reedy Creek puts the value of the work covered by the permit at $15.4 million.

 

The district has also issued at least two other permits related to the Little Mermaid ride, one for a backstage employee sidewalk and another to relocate existing lighting.

 

Among other Fantasyland-related permits that District has issued so far are permits to disconnect mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure at Ariel’s Grotto (which will become the site of a Beauty and the Beast-themed area); demolish the Scuttle’s Landing eatery; and remove a backstage maintenance shed in the area of the former 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. The expanded Fantasyland is scheduled to open in phases beginning in 2012.

 

With the Fantasyland construction having begun in earnest, building activity at Reedy Creek is mushrooming. The district says it permitted projects with a combined construction value of $23.2 million in March 2010, up 192 percent from the same month last year.

 

Meanwhile, the number of building permits issued rose 24 percent in April and 4 percent in May. (Details on total number of permits issued for March and construction valuation for April or May weren’t immediately available.) Other recent big-ticket permits issued by Reedy Creek include one to redo the Mexican cantina restaurant in Epcot (valued at $4.8 million), another to rehab the façade of the Expo Hall in the Magic Kingdom ($1.6 million) and another for an exterior remodeling at the Days of Christmas shop at Downtown Disney ($700,000).

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Well it seems like they are getting some work done. I recently visited the park, yesterday, and wow what a difference. I was there a little over a week ago and I saw the walls and it looked pretty normal, but as of a few days ago...there are bulldozers and dirt mounds behind those walls. You can now see Toon Town from pretty much anywhere...dumbo, Pooh's ride, Mrs. Teapots...it's weird to actually see the whole area open like that. They have eliminated the berm and all those plants blocking it, and it was quite a unique feeling...never had it so open in the Kingdom like that (that I've seen). I can't wait to see all the new lands...when ever it is all completed.

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  • 1 month later...

http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2010/07/main-street-electrical-parade-extended-at-walt-disney-world/

 

Just as scores of you had hoped – we’re leaving the lights on and extending Disney’s “Main Street Electrical Parade” at Walt Disney World. By popular demand, the parade at Magic Kingdom Park will continue an open-ended run when “Summer Nightastic!” ends on August 14.

 

It’s probably no surprise to hear that the parade has been one of our highest rated entertainment experiences at Magic Kingdom Park since returning in early June. It’s been an “overwhelming success,” according to Park Vice President Phil Holmes. And now, you’ll be able to continue cheering and humming “Baroque Hoedown.”

 

Of course, new elements of Disney’s “Main Street Electrical Parade” will continue during the encore phase of the run. Those include:

 

•Tinker Bell leads the eye-filling procession, waving from the basket of a balloon floating gracefully above a magical garden shimmering in fairy light.

•Pinocchio and the boys from the classic film’s Pleasure Island sequence join the parade, and Snow White joins the Seven Dwarfs on a diamond mine float.

•There are new lighting effects, and the parade’s highly recognizable musical theme is brightened by new technology.

Will you take advantage of the extended run? Let us know in the comments.

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http://www.wdwmagic.com/Attractions/Tomorrowland-Transit-Authority/News/05Aug2010-Tomorrowland-Transit-Authority-renamed-to-the-%27Tomorrowland-Transit-Authority-PeopleMover%27.htm

 

The 'Tomorrowland Transit Authority' has been renamed to the 'Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover'. The original name for the attraction on opening day July 1 1975 was the 'WEDway PeopleMover'. It was renamed 'Tomorrowland Transit Authority' in 1994.

 

From Disney regarding the name change:

 

'The PeopleMover ride system plays an important role in Disney history and heritage and it is for this very reason we have decided to restore its name here in the Magic Kingdom. The name change from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority to the TTA PeopleMover is a way for us to link the past with the present, and in turn, guide us into the future. It is a way for all the promise and wonder that the word “PeopleMover” still holds, to carry on into new generations.'

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http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2010/08/‘peoplemover-is-coming-back-at-walt-disney-world/

 

Not sure whether it’s a case of back to the future or forward to the past or the past meets the present, but: a long-running Tomorrowland attraction is getting a new (well, sort of new) name …

 

As of today, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, the “super skyway” that allows guests a glimpse of a variety of attractions in Tomorrowland of Magic Kingdom, will be renamed Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.

 

The ride opened in 1975 as the WEDway PeopleMover. It has been called Tomorrowland Transit Authority since 1994.

 

The ride technology, which uses pollution-free linear induction motors, was developed by WED Enterprises (that’s what Disney Imagineering was called back in the day) and was introduced at Disneyland in California in 1967. While the attraction at Disneyland has long been closed, there is a place other than Walt Disney World Resort where guests can experience an application of the WED technology. Any guesses as to where?

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http://thedailydisney.com/blog/2010/08/disney-parks-chief-fantasyland-expansion-plans-are-being-redrawn/

 

Disney is redrawing the sweeping Fantasyland expansion plans it laid out last year, even as bulldozers clear land for the project inside the Magic Kingdom.

 

With the revisions, begun under new Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, designers are attempting to rebalance the plans, which initially tilted heavily towards young girls by emphasizing attractions and experiences built around Disney’s stable of animated-movie princesses. “We took a hard look at it amongst a number of us and said, ‘Can we make the appeal broader? Can we make it even better?’ “ Staggs said during an interview this week with the Orlando Sentinel.

 

The Fantasyland expansion is a critically important project for Disney. The Magic Kingdom, the busiest theme park in the world, now draws more than 17 million visitors a year and needs added capacity to ease pressure on crowds inside the park. The project, billed as the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history, also comes as Disney World faces heightened competition from Universal Orlando, where the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter has drawn rave reviews — and enormous crowds — since opening in June.

 

Staggs declined to discuss specific changes to the Fantasyland plans, saying Disney would unveil them “in due course.”

 

The original plans called for a lavish indoor ride based on the movie The Little Mermaid, a trio of interactive princess character-greeting areas, an elaborately themed Beauty and the Beast restaurant, an expanded Dumbo attraction for young children, and a vaguely defined fairies-themed area.

Staggs said much of what was included in the original plans will be incorporated into the final product and that the changes are “improving it on the margin.” He characterized the revisions as part of any creative project’s natural evolution.

 

“Our process is always iterative and always goes through changes as it goes along,” said Staggs, who was the Walt Disney Co.’s chief financial officer when he switched places with parks-and-resorts chief Jay Rasulo at the start of this year. Staggs added: “I believe one of my most important jobs is to make sure that I’m enabling and challenging our creative process to create the best possible result.”

 

Disney first announced the Fantasyland expansion plans 11 months ago, with Rasulo personally unveiling them during a convention in Anaheim, Calif., for a company-sponsored, $75-a-year fan club. Staggs is now running the theme-park division and Rasulo is CFO following an executive shuffle orchestrated by Disney President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger.

 

The Fantasyland construction is well underway: Yellow backhoes and mountains of dirt are visible behind temporary construction walls erected inside the Magic Kingdom.

 

But rumors have been building for weeks that changes were afoot, fueled by reports from a pair of well-known Disney bloggers, Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media and Al Lutz of MiceAge.com.

 

Company followers say there have been two pivotal developments since the Fantasyland plans were first announced: Staggs was installed as head of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Universal opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

 

Staggs, who has three young sons, is said to have expressed concerns that the initial plans for Fantasyland were too narrowly tailored to girls. The Wizarding World, meanwhile, has delivered impressive early returns for Universal Orlando since formally opening June 18.

 

The more than $200 million addition to Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park powered the resort to a 2 percent attendance gain during the second quarter, its first quarterly increase in two years. Attendance at Disney World sank 2 percent during a similar period.

 

“I think Harry Potter helped” push Disney executives to revisit their approach with Fantasyland, said Lutz, of MiceAge.com. “I think it had an influence to say, ‘Hey, this is something that can be done on this level, and it’s not at a Disney property.’ “

 

Staggs said Wizarding World has not been a factor in Disney’s Fantasyland plans. “I don’t see evidence that somehow that has changed anyone’s direction or made them think differently,” he said. But he said Disney is trying to broaden the project’s overall appeal. For instance, plans for three interactive princess meet-and-greets — where children could dance with Cinderella, celebrate Sleeping Beauty’s 16th birthday or play a role in a story with Belle of Beauty and the Beast — are being altered. “One of the things that I thought the early design did fantastically was delivered on that princess experience. And that does tend to skew towards girls. … We’ve kept that intact — not exactly, necessarily, the way it was presented, but that appeal is there,” Staggs said. “I think we’ve added some things that aren’t just princess-focused, and that’s a good positive.”

 

Staggs said planners are also reviewing the Fantasyland expansion with an eye toward blending “aspirational rides” — rides that offer thrills or tension — with attractions designed for guests of all ages. And he said they want to ensure that the additions are flexible and can be updated or adapted over time.

 

The revisions are not expected to substantially alter the construction timetable; most of the Fantasyland additions are still scheduled to open in 2012 and 2013. Staggs said the project’s price tag will “not materially” change with the revisions, though a slight increase is likely because of certain additions. He would not provide specific figures.

 

Staggs said none of the changes should be interpreted as an indictment of the original Fantasyland expansion plans. “We had a number of different people look at it and say, ‘Is it accomplishing what we want to from a guest experience standpoint? Is it accomplishing that in a way that is operationally great? Is it as broad as it can be in its appeal?’” he said. “The answer is, it largely did. But we thought we could continue to play with it and make it better.”

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I think that this is exactly what the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom needs. It will be a vast improvement to a fantastic park. I have seen The Little Mermaid Musical at Disney's Hollywood Studios and found it to be a great hit with everyone. As for Dumbo, it is a classic Disney attraction and in my opinion, the more the better!

I am also looking forward to the Star Tours refurb as it was in need of a refurbishment.

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Well, that is good to hear, but still . . .

 

"WHAT ARE THEY GONNA DO ABOUT THE ONE IN DISNEYLAND (Califonia)?"

 

Way back in 2000, I visited Disneyland and the attraction that I've enjoyed was a ride called "Rocket Rods" in which you and other riders board a rocket and raced around the old Peoplemover track nearing breaking speeds. A year or two after that visit, Disneyland announced that ride will closed down.

 

Now I went to Disneyland a week ago (8-6-10) and although the track still stands, nothing is moving on it. All it's doing is standing there and looking ugly. Come on, Disneyland, either restore the ride, change it back to the old Peoplemovers, or just remove the rotten thing: the choice is simple.

 

"Disneyland having their Rocket Rods back? That is somthing you can dream about!"

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update:

 

Listen up Space Mountain fans, there’s a new addition to the Walt Disney World Resort attraction that just may be music to your ears. It’s an enhanced audio experience with sounds you’ve never heard before. Walt Disney Imagineering has added a new composition that’s exclusive to the attraction at Magic Kingdom Park that will play with varying sound effects throughout all “flights” on 60 newly installed speakers. “Starry-O-Phonic Sound” compliments a slew of enhancements that debuted on Space Mountain last year, including new lighting, storyline elements and updated decor. Here’s a special message from The Space Mountain Project Team.

 

Link

 

ADMIN EDIT: I went ahead and added the photo in case anyone gets linked directly to this post. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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Edited by jedimaster1227
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Yes, she did - and she loved it! And she went on Thunderhead twice! And she's been on Tower of Terror!

 

She has a hang-up about Space Mountain, and anything that goes upside-down, though. We're working on it. My goal is to get her on Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Expedition Everest, these next two trips, and RNRC before our passes expire in January.

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