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Friday, June 30, 2017

Magic Kingdom Files Into 3rd Place On Trip Advisor's Travelers' Choice Awards


by: guide4wdw - Collin

In an interesting result, Trip Advisor's new Travelers' Choice rankings place all Disney theme parks at or below the 3rd place mark. The listing, which is a combination of guest reviews and quality and quantity of those reviews, places Universal's Islands of Adventure in the top spot for theme park experience in the United States. However, also worth noting is that Epcot and Animal Kingdom made the top ten for the country as well. Farther down the list we also find Disneyland and California Adventure. 

As an added bonus, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach were ranked one and three for the best water parks in the nation! Overall, it is quite impressive that Disney managed to dominate with 50% of the parks in the top ten. Here's a complete breakdown of the top of each list:

Theme Parks: 
  1. Universal's Islands of Adventure 
  2. SeaWorld's Discovery Cove 
  3. Disney's Magic Kingdom 
  4. Universal Studios Hollywood 
  5. Universal Studios Florida 
  6. Disney's Epcot 
  7. Disney's Animal Kingdom 
  8. SeaWorld Orlando 
  9. Disney California Adventure 
  10. Disneyland 
Water Parks: 
  1. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon 
  2. SeaWorld's Aquatica 
  3. Disney's Blizzard Beach
  4. Holiday World and Splashin' Safari (it is an outstanding park)   
Also, interesting to note is that both SeaWorld Orlando properties rank above both Disneyland parks. While the list creation isn't really a perfect representation of the guest opinion, it is unique to see where things fell for one of the largest travel review sites on the internet. Perhaps an even more notable section of the list is the number 11 ranking, Disney's Hollywood Studios.

So, what is your opinion? Did they get it right or is it completely out of order compared to your personal experience?      

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Siemens Brand Is Potentially Leaving the Disney Parks


by: guide4wdw - Collin

In a surprising development for the Disney company, it looks as if Siemens will not be renewing its sponsorship of Disney attractions and shows, particularly at Epcot. For years, Siemens has played a role in a variety of Disney attractions including both Spaceship Earth and the Illuminations nighttime spectacular. 

(photo: flickr)

The partnership is what many believe kept Illuminations running as long as it has without change. Of course, the show will continue as scheduled at least for the time being. However, as changes have already been announced (while vague in description) for Epcot, it would not be overly surprising to see something announced regarding a new show in the not so distant future. 

According to mass speculation, the reasoning could very well be as a result of Siemens wanting to expand their sponsorship to other areas of the parks and resorts, and Disney declining their offer.   

At the time being, this is simply speculation from a Siemens employee from a short twitter post claiming the company sent out a corporate email regarding the subject earlier today. If any new information arises, we'll do our best to update the article. At this time, treat the news as simply speculation until an official word arrives from Disney. 

If this is actually an official lost sponsorship it could result in faster changes to Epcot than we originally expected.  The last nighttime show replacement for a Disney park was announced rather suddenly (Happily Ever After), so hopefully that is not the case with Illuminations. For now we'll just have to wait and see. 

Thanks for reading, and as always, please SHARE this article with friends!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Departed Disney" - A Look Back At The Astuter Computer Revue


by: guide4wdw - Collin

Epcot center changed drastically in it's early years of operation. As technology improved and new ideas were born, the park grew and developed as the world around it changed. Unfortunately, today many of the early aspects of Epcot center have faded away and the park has remained fairly untouched for quite a few years. For nostalgics (like myself) that isn't always a bad thing but at a certain point certain elements of any park need to be updated. However, by looking back at "what was" it helps us appreciate what could be next for the park we all know and love! So, we're taking a look back at one of the most interesting, yet short lived, attractions in the history of Epcot Center, The Astuter Computer Revue. 

(Photo: Disney

This seemingly simple show based attraction was a huge part of the Communicore concept.  The series of pavilions was truly an expansive discovery experience. Guests could interact with some of the most cutting edge technologies at the time and slowly yet surely accept the concept of computers in a cutting edge and guest friendly environment. It wasn't an intimidating place, but rather an experience to explore. Throughout it's run time, a series of small scale "attractions," shows, games, and technologies allowed guests to get hands on experience with things that had never been seen before. Many large companies including Bell System (which later became AT&T) sponsored these areas in a similar way to how Karamell-K├╝che, over in the Germany pavilion, is sponsored by Werther's today.

However, The Astuter Computer Review was a small, yet iconic, piece of the Communicore experience. Housed in Epcot's Computer Central area, the Astuter Computer experience led guests up a ramp to an elevated viewing platform. As the show began, guests peered through a glass panel and took in a variety of different computers and information systems which (at the time) controlled everyday operations of Epcot. Of course, today there would be no need for such a large operation considering how far technology has come, but at the time, this was an exceedingly cutting edge computer set up. For many guests, it very well could have been the first time they had seen an operation quite this extensive. 

As the show began, Disney used a similar affect to what we discussed not too long ago in our article about the Haunted Mansion, the "Pepper's Ghost" Illusion: Link to Article. In applying the same concept of reflection to create a hologram (not a legitimate hologram) looking figure, the Astuter Computer Review brought to life a small character to hop around the computer room  (of course by appearance only - the character was not in the room with the operators) and share information about Epcot's "control room."

The show even had it's own catchy song written by none other than the Sherman Brothers! Of course, I can't leave you wondering what it sounds like so here you go! 

As you can likely tell from the song, it was a rather upbeat concept which was typical of the Sherman Brothers at the time and still is today. It was catchy, yet at the same time a little "interesting" for lack of a better word. However, many guests who experienced the show first hand still remember that catchy song. 

Sadly, the Astuter Computer Revue closed it's doors to the public in 1984, just two years after the day-one attraction first debuted to guests. Taking it's place and sticking to much of the original concept was Backstage Magic. While the overlying concept remained mostly the same in appearance, the main characters of the story changed. In 1993, the experience was closed completely and now the only remnants of the Communicate pavilion are found in what once was a grand Innoventions experience. The Innoventions concept, which many of you may still remember is slowly but surely fading away and changing into character meet and greet locations until a new experience is announced. 

As mentioned in other articles, I can all but guarantee changes are coming to Epcot in the not-so-dinstant future. Will we get an announcement at D23 in July? I don't really know. However, we do know that according to Disney changes are in fact coming! 

What would you like to see next? If you liked this article, please share it with friends and continue helping us build this Disney community! Thanks!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Closer Look at Disney Park's Fourth of July Offerings 2017


by: guide4wdw - Collin

As the Fourth of July Holiday draws near, Disney has officially released a lineup of events. In the past, it seems as if Disney has offered more unique experiences than this year's offerings, but there is a lot of patriotic events still being offered for this years celebration! 

First, over a the Magic Kingdom, "Disney's Celebrate America!" fireworks spectacular will take place in the sky on two separate nights (9pm). The first show will debut July 3rd followed by the classic July 4th performance in the sky. If you're going to be in the parks next week ,your best bet is to experience the show on July 3rd than tour another park on the 4th. The crowd levels are typically much less severe on the 3rd than the 4th in a similar way to how the crowds pan out for the New Years Eve two night celebrations. However, if you do plan on seeing the fireworks on the fourth, be sure to stake out a viewing area well before 9pm. In regards to this particular show, as with any Disney fireworks that utilize the 180 degree or 360 degree launch sites, try to stay away from the buildings on Main Street and instead move closer to the castle for the best viewing.   

Beyond fireworks, Magic Kingdom will offer live DJ entertainment in Frontierland as well as Tomorrowland. This unique experience will also be available both nights! So, if you're touring the parks that week, head to Magic Kingdom on the 3rd than hit one of the other parks on the 4th for double the Fourth of July entertainment!

Over at Epcot, Voices of Liberty will perform 3 different times at the America Gardens Theatre on the fourth. Show times are set for 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00pm. Later that night, Illuminations will begin at 9:00pm and conclude with a one day only special patriotic finale. In the past, Epcot's special event grand finales have blown away all of my expectations and this one should be no different. 

Throughout the day over at the American Adventure pavilion be sure to meet up with some of your favorite characters in their most festive outfits. As an added bonus, we'll be spending the day at Epcot on the 4th, so if you're going to be there send us a message on social media and we'll gladly say hello!

Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom will stick with their typical summer nighttime entertainment schedules for that day. However, with all of the new offerings at both of those parks, they're a great place to spend the holiday as well! If you're looking to avoid the crowds as much as possible, those two parks are likely your best option. A few holiday surprises may pop up along the way there as well!  

On the fourth, I'm sure we'll be sharing our day across all social media platforms. So, if you're interested in following along with the Fourth of July festivities live from Epcot, be sure to hit those follow buttons above this article or up in the corner.

Know a friend that will be there next week? Please SHARE this article with them! Thanks!   

(Source: Disney)          

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bring A Piece of Your Magic Kingdom Experience Home With Newly Released 'Happily Ever After Merchandise!'

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Today, Disney is giving us a closer look at some of the new merchandise hitting the parks! As an effort to incorporate the new 'Happily Ever After' fireworks extravaganza into the extensive offerings found at the Emporium, Disney has debuted a few all new creations. 

Each of these new merchandise items draw heavily from the shows 'attraction poster.' Over the years, these posters (proudly featured at the front of the park) have become an iconic part of the Disney experience. The new show poster design for the all new experience was completed by Brett Owens. Throughout the design process Owens utilized the story portrayed by the extravaganza to really develop an attention capturing piece of art. 

The new merchandise draws inspiration from this outstanding design. New t-shirts feature the key hole element from the poster and the logo from the show itself. Disney has also debuted a series of ornaments, which will likely be a guest favorite, as well as hats. 

While the logo itself is simply a stylized version of the poster, all of the new merchandise has exceeded my expectations. In addition to the new clothing and ornaments, a new pin will debut later this summer along with a very creative set of Mickey ears. Oh, and did I mention there is an Annual Passholder exclusive shirt?

So, what's your favorite new item? Personally, I wish they would have had more merchandise like this for Wishes, but it's great to see it arriving for the new show!  

(Source/Photos: Disney Parks Blog)    

Saturday, June 24, 2017

AT-AT Walkers May Have Already Arrived In Star Wars Land


by: guide4wdw - Collin

In an interesting development appearing across social media, it looks as if AT-AT walkers have officially arrived at Hollywood Studios. Of course, the project is far from complete and is likely over a year from it's debut, but it's interesting to see things finally starting to take shape.

The AT-AT appear to be a part of a new show building as a portion of an upcoming attraction. While very little is currently known about what all the attraction will entail, we will likely get a few more details released as a part of July's D23 expo. Disney has already stated that we will get an opening date for Toy Story Land at the expo, so it is easy to make the assumption that we will receive a greater description of this project at the event as well.

The pictures below should give you a good idea of where the walkers will be located. In the image they are in the top right corner of the building currently being developed. At this point nothing is guaranteed, but it certainly appears as if AT-AT Walkers have officially arrived and are currently being assembled.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

A Closer Look: Magic Kingdom's River of "Pooh"

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Today, we're hoping to share a little lighthearted design work that appears over at Magic Kingdom. Fair warning, after reading this you'll likely never look at Liberty Square the same way again. 
(photo: flickr)

Throughout the early design work of Liberty Square, many efforts were made to create a true to history experience for guests to enjoy as they toured the parks. Every little detail, from the replicated sag of the window coverings due to the "worn out straps" that would have created the look in colonial America to the little doll in a window signaling a child lives there was thought of. 

Today, that tradition remains true and we're sharing one of the simplest, yet intriguing elements of the Liberty Square theming, the pavement. Believe it or not, the pavement tells a unique story. If you've been to the parks before, you may have noticed a small section of contrasting color concrete runs directly through the center of the land. Well, to the surprise of many, it was put there to develop a backstory that typically gets overlooked. 

This section of the street, which we hinted at with the play on words in the title, is designed to portray the effects of the colonial "sewage system," or rather the lack there of. You see, in that period of time, indoor plumbing really hadn't been developed. Instead, individuals would "do their business" in the house in a designated collection area/item then toss it into the street.

Over time, the sewage would build up and run through the street. So, in typical Disney fashion, they had to replicate an authentic environment. However, rather than throwing waste in the street they developed a river of "poo" that winds through the streets of the pavilion.

You see, even the little details of a Walt Disney World experience have a story. Personally, I've noticed that when we take the time to appreciate and share these details with friends that the whole Disney experience becomes that much more special! You never really know what could be hiding in plain site! - Hopefully this didn't gross anyone out too much! -

While this was a somewhat shorter Disney history article, we hope you enjoyed it and maybe found something new to recognize during your next trip to the parks.    

Did you like this article or learn something new? If so, please SHARE it with friends! Thanks!          

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Fall Annual Passholder Discounts Have Been Released - Savings Up To 25%


by: guide4wdw - Collin

In the typical fashion, Disney has officially released Annual Passholder discounted rates for the fall. This year's rates are typical of previous AP rates and top out at a 25% savings on resort accommodations. The offer includes dates from August 1st through October 7th and must be booked before August 31st. The availability for this rate offer is limited so if you are interested, be sure to book early if at all possible. 

These dates do correspond with the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot which has become increasingly popular each and every year, so availability will likely go quickly. 

Of course, and as usual, the percentage discounts do very by resort accommodations and resort tier. Here'e a breakdown of the dates and percentages:

Enchanted Escape Offer
Resort CategoryResort Savings
Select Disney Deluxe Villa Resort HotelsSave up to 25%
Stays most nights
8/1 - 8/31/17 
Stays most nights
9/1 - 10/7/17 
Disney's BoardWalk Villas25%30%
Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Jambo House20%
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Studios Only15%
Select Disney Deluxe Resort HotelsSave up to 25%
Stays most nights
8/1 - 8/31/17 
Stays most nights
9/1 - 10/7/17 
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge25%30%
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge15%30%
Disney’s Beach Club Resort15%
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Select Disney Moderate Resort HotelsSave up to 25%
Stays most nights
8/1 - 8/31/17 
Stays most nights
9/1 - 10/7/17 
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort25%
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Disney Port Oreans Resort – Riverside15%20%
Disney Port Oreans Resort – French Quarter0%20%
Select Disney Value Resort HotelsSave up to 20%
Stays most nights
8/1 - 8/31/17 
Stays most nights
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort20%
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort — Family Suites Only
Disney’s Pop Century Resort 
The Campsites at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort0%20%

All savings are based off of a typical resort rate before any other price differences have been taken into account. If you're booking a vacation this fall as an Annual Passholder, be sure to check out this "Enchanted Escape" offer! 

Know a friend planning a Disney vacation? Please SHARE this article with them! 

(Source: All Dates and Discounts: Disney)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Disney's Extended Sponsorship With The Orlando Magic Creates Perks For Annual Passholders


by: guide4wdw - Collin

In a semi-surprising move Disney has increased it's support of the Orlando Magic organization. For the next 3 seasons, Disney has signed a deal through the group and the NBA to sponsor the teams uniforms. The new uniforms will proudly feature the classic Disney logo, but the real perks arrive in the form of Annual Passholder benefits.

Individuals attending games will have the opportunity to purchase an annual pass at Amway Center throughout the season, but these guests and others who already have an annual pass will receive some interesting perks. For select season games, Disney has attained a special seating and hospitality area as an upgrade to tickets purchased by passholders.

As an added bonus, if you renew or purchase an annual pass at the center you will be given one of the new jerseys which is a near identical copy of the ones being worn by the players! 

For basketball fans, this could be a neat partnership with the Disney company. If I had to guess, we may very well see a stronger NBA presence through special events in the parks. Of course, that is simply speculation, but Disney has been making efforts to incorporate the Pro Bowl and other sporting events across property.      

If you don't already, be sure to follow us on social media for new updates from the parks on a nearly daily basis! (Buttons at top of page.) 

(Source: Disney Parks Blog)

Monday, June 19, 2017

The "Lost" Epcot Pavilion That Could Have Changed The In-Park Experience Altogether!


by: guide4wdw - Collin

Epcot very well could be one of the most redeveloped parks in the history of Disney entertainment. Throughout it's lengthy history the concept itself evolved from a working community of tomorrow into a theme park for guests to enjoy and learn from in a variety of different ways. Of course, all the parks have changed and developed over time, but one particular element of Epcot could have very well changed the look and feel of the entire park.

In the early years of Epcot Center, plans were set that detailed a developing series of pavilions which would be added to the current lineup of opening day offerings in 1982. One year later, a new pavilion was set to debut and even had immense concept art, renderings, videos, and much more already pre-recorded for it's development  Sadly, the concept, which many guests would love to see today, was abandoned. 

For those of you intrigued by the details of theses "forgotten" projects (like me), the pavilion was set to focus on the equatorial region of Africa. Of course, the design was full of Disney magic and went much farther into development than many truly recognize. In 1982, Disney had already developed plans for two attractions, one feature experience, and an entire layout for the proposed area. 

The pavilion itself was set to be built around a centerpiece that functioned as an observation deck and grand "treehouse" style structure for guests to explore first hand. The building would look out over a artificially developed but highly realistic watering hole featuring the tell tale elements of nighttime in Africa. To create such an effect, Disney had done immense research in recording a film that would project on a large, dome-shaped, screen functioning as a backdrop for the experience. Of course, the screen would use the rear projections which Disney was utilizing in many of their current attractions to hide the projection components. Framing the area would have been an elaborate group of fauna to really set the scene and develop that immersive experience Disney is known for. When the concept was completed, it would have included an element of artificial heat, smell, and even artificial winds.

Beyond that "centerpiece," the area had two new attractions already in the works. One, called, "The Heartbeat of Africa" and another called, "Africa Rediscovered." "The Heartbeat of Africa" is the one that seems to have been much further along in production. The film based attraction (with surprises along the way) itself was designed to give a closer look at Africa's history in a way that was intriguing to guests and told by a traditional African storyteller. However, the pre-show is what many have wondered about for years. To set the stage for the rich environment of the show, this guest area was supposed to feature animatronic drums that played and entertained guests in a similar way to what you may find at the pre-show for Stitch's Great Escape, or even the iconic Enchanted Tiki Room. 

The other attraction, "Africa Rediscovery," was really based around the concept of changing guests opinions of modern Africa (at that time). While also a film, the display focused on the positive elements of Africa and attempted to share a cultural and geographical view of the continent overall. Unfortunately, while we will never know how successful it may have been, it's interesting to recognize Disney's efforts to change the stigma of Africa being this scary and dangerous place. 

We may never see this pavilion really developed, especially after all of these years have gone by, but we do have a small outpost area where the expansion was set to debut. It's a far cry from the original design, but as I always say, no good idea ever gets left behind in Imagineering. With changes are vaguely announced and coming to Epcot in the not so distant future, there is a slight chance we may see a new pavilion along the way. Of course, considering this pavilion was likely scrapped intentionally as a result of Animal Kingdom, we will likely never see an "Africa" at Epcot. Of course, Joe Rohde's development of Africa in Animal Kingdom is certainly impressive!  

Interestingly though, a comment by Disney suggested that they will be keeping Epcot true to it's roots as changes are being made. It will be neat to see what Disney does with the park. Without a doubt, changes are coming, but is there any chance these changes could involve a new pavilion, or perhaps one of the promised expansions to add Spain or Israel to the showcase? It's certainly not likely, but definitely something to think about! Imagine how things would look today if this massive pavilion was ever fully developed!  

What would you add to the Epcot World Showcase? Share it with us in the comments!

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

New Summer Extra Magic Hours Have Been Added to Animal Kingdom's Schedule

New Summer Extra Magic Hours Have Been Added to Animal Kingdom's Schedule  
by: guide4wdw - Collin 

We have some good news for those of you visiting the parks this summer. Animal Kingdom will be offering even more summer, late night, extra magic hours. With a recent change to the Animal Kingdom operating hours schedule it appears as if every night for a majority of the summer will get at least 2 extra hours of operation as a part of Disney's Extra magic hours for resort guests.

From now though July 4th, the park will be open extra hours from 11:00pm-1:00am. After that date, hours shift slightly and the park will still remain open 2 extra hours, but from 10:00pm-12:00am. These additional extra magic hours appear to end August 20th. 

Disney has yet to say what will remain open for these extra magic hours, but many assume that it could only be Pandora. Personally, I'd love to see DinoLand operational at night more frequently. The area brings forth a whole different experience as the sun goes down. The lights are unique to see in the night hours and the whole park really takes on a different feel altogether. 

While we don't know the attraction lineup for the extra hours, it's great to see Animal Kingdom open later hours. I expect that very few attractions will remain open late, but the park is a great place to just wander and take in an entirely different atmosphere than nighttime in any other Disney park. 

Are you visiting Pandora this summer? We'll be there in just two short weeks! 

(Calendar Find: chipandco)        

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Adventure Is Out There! - A Disney Wedding Like You've Never Seen Before

Adventure Is Out There! - A Disney Wedding Like You've Never Seen Before
by: guide4wdw - Caitlin
All weddings are beautiful, but with a touch of Disney, your special day can be downright magical. I had the privilege of attending the wedding of one of my sweet friends who created a picturesque scene inspired by the delightful Carl and Ellie. Catherine and Zak are Disney lovers at heart and would’ve made PIXAR proud with their homage to the beloved film. From the "Up" soundtrack to a fireplace filled with balloons, take a look at the beginning of the Ransom’s greatest adventure.

The story begins with Zak's incredibly adorable proposal. He created a scrapbook of all of their memories together, and on the last page were the words, "Marry me?" The occasion was completed with a bouquet of balloons fit to give Carl and Ellie's house a lift to Paradise Falls. Major props for creativity, Zak. We are highly impressed.
Fast forward to the big day. Catherine and Zak took great care to ensure their wedding celebration was full of details from their favorite film. When entering the ceremony space, you were greeted with a small scale version of Carl and Ellie's home, complete with balloons. Friends and family of the couple were encouraged to sign a balloon on a beautiful canvas inspired by "Up." The soundtrack of the movie was played as guests arrived - a sweet addition to the whimsical atmosphere.

Before Mrs. Ransom could walk down the aisle, she needed a few Disney touches of her own. Catherine's beautiful gown was hung on a Mickey hanger adorned with her new name and wedding date. In true dedication to the film, she also pinned to her dress, "Our Greatest Adventure."

Catherine and Zak's reception was where their "Up" theme truly came to life. The space was centered around a scene straight from the film. On the stage sat two vintage chairs and a fireplace filled to the brim with - you guessed it - balloons! Also on display was a confetti cake topped with Carl and Ellie themselves.

As you explored the reception venue, Disney touches were found throughout the area. The centerpieces featured larger than life balloons with beautiful ribbons cascading down to the table. Table numbers were found on large jars equivalent to those Carl and Ellie used to collect money for Paradise Falls. Extra points for creativity, friends!

The beautiful couple danced the night away at their Disney dream wedding. I think Carl and Ellie would be proud! We wish you the very best, Catherine and Zak! Here's to happily ever after.

Photography by Lily + Elyse Photography

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If you want to see more posts like this from Caitlin, be sure to let us know in the comments or on your favorite social media platform.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Monorail Blue Is Currently Having Problems - May Evacuate

Monorail Blue Is Currently Having Problems - May Evacuate  
by: guide4wdw - Collin

An interesting event is currently occurring near Walt Disney World's Transportation and Ticket Center. Monorail Blue is reportedly stopped and according to twitter may soon be evacuated. One particular report states that a piece of the monorail may have fallen off near Epcot and could very well be related to the incident. As far as we know, no one was hurt as a part of the issue, the monorail has simply broken down.

(photo: flickr)

Right now, the cause has not been released and the rumor concerning the piece of the monorail falling off may or may not be the cause of the monorails malfunction.

The Fire department and EMS are on the scene. Reedy Creek does indeed have a contraption developed to safely clear the monorail in these situations. It is not yet known if that will be required or if it will be able to make it to the station. 

If more info arrises, we'll try to update this story here or over on twitter. Again, it looks as if the monorail has just developed problems and everyone should be perfectly fine. Here's a closer look from many reports popping up on twitter.

Update: The monorail has reached the station and will be emptied as usual. It did apparently have assistance getting there according to twitter reports. 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

"Departed Disney" - Taking Flight With "If You Had Wings"

by: guide4wdw - Collin

As we continue our constantly developing "Departed Disney" series, today we're taking flight  and looking back at the "If You Had Wings" attraction. While taking flight really wasn't the main part of the attraction, it did focus on many of the places you could fly to and experience  with a commercial airline. 

The attraction officially debuted in summer of 1972, and was received by many as an interesting concept. The ride itself was a simple take on the Omnimover ride vehicle which later became better known for it's use in attractions like Horizons at Epcot. Unfortunately, however, "If You Had Wings" never grew to be immensely popular and as result was often changed and redeveloped over time. 

At first, the attraction was a journey to different destinations and a cultural ride through quite similar to what you would find in a screen-based attraction like the original Gran Fiesta Tour. Guests boarded a small vehicle and traveled through various rooms featuring many of the destinations Eastern Airlines traveled to at the time. Conveniently, Eastern airlines was the original sponsor of the attraction as well. 

Perhaps the most exciting portion of the ride through was a section that slightly simulated a short "flight." The ride vehicles adjusted to an angle, the screen surrounded the riders, wind blew gently, and developed an early simulator experience. While it was certainly rudimentary by today's standards it was an interesting concept at the time. 

Believe it our not, at one point you could even view "If You Had Wings" from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, similar to what you can do today with a portion of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. 

However, what many guests remember the most was the iconic theme song. Performed by Buddy Baker, guests truly enjoyed the simple repetition of "If You Had Wings!" Years later, the attraction closed as Eastern Airlines gave up their sponsorship as the company faced financial concerns. Just a short time later, the entire airline went out of business. Sadly, a piece of the attraction left with the sponsorship change that would really alter the on-ride experience. Just a short time after the attractions closure (just 5 days), it reopened under a new name, "If You Could Fly." 

When the new concept debuted, all references to Eastern Airlines had faded away and a new soundtrack replaced the old one that guests had grown to love over the years. After that shift, the attraction lost the momentum it had gained with guests under the Eastern Airlines affiliation. Just 2 years after the shift to an unbranded experience (1989), the attraction closed for quite a few months and was redeveloped into Delta Dreamflight with an entirely new ride concept. 

In the early days, "If You Had Wings" was a small piece of the magic that didn't require a ticket to ride. For those of you who may not know, when Disney World first began, attractions were ticketed on an A through E basis with a ticket book guests could purchase in order to board the rides. This particular experience was completely free of charge so many guests rode it time after time and really grew to love the journey through multiple destinations. Today, the attraction holds a special place in the memories of many Disney parks visitors who had the opportunity to experience it first hand. Things have certainly changed in Tomorrowland over the years, but today we have Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin to fill the void left by this iconic experience. 

If you liked this journey back in time to a small piece of "Departed Disney," be sure to check out our other Disney history articles and please SHARE this article with friends. Thanks!                 

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