WDW Attractions

All posts in the WDW Attractions category

Epcot’s Test Track – The New Version

Published November 4, 2014 by jpmdo

Test Track is a giant slot car attraction at Epcot’s Future World in Walt Disney World. The ride uses some of the rough tests that General Motors uses for its concept cars, ending in a high-speed drive around the outside of the attraction. It closed for refurbishment in April 2012 when sponsorship changed from GM to Chevrolet and re-opened on December 6, 2012.

In the queue, instead of crash test dummies and cars being tested, the way it was before the refurbishment, it shows two Chevrolet concept cars. Guests then have the choice of designing their own car that will be tested on the sim-track. While guests wait to board the sim-cars, they’re told to scan their design key to upload their car design to the ride.

Test Track Re-imagined

After riders board the sim-cars and go through the seat belt check, the car that they designed will go through four different tests: capability, efficiency, responsiveness, and power. In the capability test, the car first rushes past a rain/snow projection and skids out of control. Next, the continuing path disappears and the sim-car turns around to speed up again. The sim-car then makes a sharp left turn as a lightning bolt strikes, and then passes by a futuristic city. The sim-car then starts the efficiency test. It’s scanned for “optimum eco-efficiency” and has an aero-dynamic test. During the responsiveness test, the sim-car accelerates around hairpin turns with laser-projected trees. The power test is where the sim-car runs on a track outside of the ride, increasing its speed. After the test is complete, the car returns to the loading station where the riders leave.

I still like to ride Test Track, but it’s not the same as the original version of the ride. In the old version, it felt more like it was actually testing the car. The ride used to have real people explaining each test, real temperature rooms, and different kinds of roads that the car would drive on. In this new version, everything seems too digital and virtual. Even the voices explaining the tests sound like they’re computerized.

About the Author: Amber Montes de Oca is a huge Disney fan. She’s an annual pass holder and loves to visit the Disney parks often. Her hobbies are singing, acting, and drawing. She has a BA from the University of Central Florida.12

Magic in the Details: Raven About the Haunted Mansion By Guest Author Adam Berger

Published October 29, 2014 by jpmdo

MAGIC IN THE DETAILS: RAVEN ABOUT THE HAUNTED MANSION By Guest Author Adam Berger

The Haunted Mansion has always been one of Disney’s most popular attractions. Yet no matter how often you may ride, you’ll probably notice details you missed during your previous visits. That’s because the Disney Imagineers intentionally filled the attraction with far more details than anyone could possibly discern, even after numerous excursions. They knew that this approach would entice guests to experience the Haunted Mansion again and again, appreciating previously unnoticed content each time. And now, with Halloween fast approaching, I’d like to share one of my favorite overlooked elements with you: the Mansion’s sinister raven.

Adam Berger HM

Because of the faint lighting levels inside the Mansion, the raven can be difficult to make out. But if you know where to look, you’ll spot the bird not just once, but FOUR separate times during the ride. Its first appearance occurs in the conservatory, perched atop a wreath next to the casket. The large black bird, with its glowing red eyes, is a suitably ominous presence. The Imagineers even recorded the raven squawking, “Nevermore!” in an audio tribute to Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven.” The bird’s voice, provided by actress Eleanor Audley, (the voice of Cinderella’s stepmother and Maleficent), was never used in the ride. Yet Ms. Audley is still heard inside the mansion…as the voice of Madame Leota.

Adam Berger Raven Disney Copy

Copyright – Disney

Speaking of Madame Leota…the raven’s second appearance is in the séance scene, perched on the back of a chair behind Madame Leota’s table. You’ll see the bird a third time in the gnarled branches of a spooky old tree as your Doom Buggy begins its backwards descent into the cemetery scene. You’ll then encounter the raven one last time, perched atop the stone archway as you enter the crypt scene.

At the Magic Kingdom version of the attraction, you’ll also find a fifth raven: a stylized brass figure that adorns the stone pipe organ in the interactive area in front of the Mansion entrance. The front of the organ is inscribed with the name “Ravenscroft”—a not-too-subtle nod to voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft, the deep bass voice of the broken singing headstone in the cemetery scene.

Adam Berger Organ Disney Copy

Copyright – Disney

Obviously the inclusion of the raven in so many locations can’t be a coincidence. Which leaves you with this chilling challenge: to figure out why the Imagineers decided to give it such a prominent role.

One explanation refers back to the Poe connection—the idea that the Imagineers found inspiration in Edgar Allan Poe’s famously unsettling poem. A second possibility suggests that the designers may have been influenced by Maleficent’s raven sidekick in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, the production of which coincided with the early conceptual stages of the Haunted Mansion. Of course, ravens have always had a strong association with the spirit world, predating Poe’s 1845 poem. For example, they are prominent figures in both Norse mythology and in the creation myths of some of the indigenous peoples of America’s Pacific Northwest.

So do you have a favorite Haunted Mansion detail that you only noticed after repeated rides? Feel free to share. But remember one thing: Beware of hitchhiking ghosts!

 

Adam M. Berger is president and senior show writer at Berger Creative Associates, Inc., an Orlando, Florida-based creative writing and consulting firm serving themed attraction and design clients around the world. He is also the author of the book Every Guest is a Hero: Disney’s Theme Parks and the Magic of Mythic Storytelling—available in print and e-reader editions from Amazon.com and other fine online booksellers.

Adam Berger photo

 

Go Back in Time to the Land of Dinosaurs.

Published October 25, 2014 by jpmdo

Dinosaur

DINOSAUR is a dark ride attraction in Dinoland USA at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. At first, the ride was named Countdown to Extinction, but it was later changed to DINOSAUR to promote the 2000 Disney movie, Dinosaur. The attraction’s only connection to the movie is that they both have Aladar the Iguanodon and a Carnotaurus.

Guests enter the Dino Institute, which shows real dinosaur fossils and a background narration by Bill Nye the Science Guy. They watch a pre-show video, where Dr. Seeker tells the guests that he will send them back in time to the Cretaceous period so that they can bring Aladar back to the present.

The guests exit the pre-show area and go down a staircase to the underground loading area, where they board a Time Rover and are sent back into a prehistoric jungle.

disney-animal-kingdom-logo

As The Time Rover drives through the jungle looking for the iguanodon, it passes different kinds of dinosaurs. The computer gives a warming of how many seconds before the asteroid will hit. After the vehicle comes across a Carnotaurus, Seeker decides to abort the mission. The Time Rover finds Aladar, who’s holding up a fallen tree so that the guests can pass under. The computer announces that there the meteor is about to hit. The Time Rover arrives back into the present followed by Aladar, who then goes wandering through the institute. Seeker thanks the guests for their help and tries to find the Iguanodon.

Out of all the attractions in Animal Kingdom, Dinosaur is my favorite. Every time I go to the park, I have to ride it, and I never get tired of it. Even though the ride is fast, dark, and kinda choppy and has sharp turns, sudden drops, and things that jump out, it doesn’t bother me, or stop me from enjoying the ride.

12Amber Montes de Oca is a huge Disney fan. She’s an annual pass holder and loves to visit the Disney parks often. Her hobbies are singing, acting, and drawing. She has a BA from the University of Central Florida.

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage ~ By Amber Montes de Oca

Published October 17, 2014 by jpmdo

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage ~ By Amber Montes de Oca

As a musical, Beauty and the Beast is considered to be a big hit.  It’s won Grammy Awards and Academy Awards for its music.

Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage is a live Broadway-style musical based on the 1991 Disney movie Beauty and the Beast.  The show is located in the Theater of the Stars, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park in Walt Disney World.

The story begins when an old beggar woman offers a spoiled and selfish prince a single rose in exchange for shelter from the cold; but because of her ugly appearance, the prince turns her away.  He’s then transformed into a Beast as punishment.  Only learning to love another and earning their love in return can break the spell.

The song “Belle” begins and the curtain opens, revealing Belle strolling through the village, reading a book.  The other villagers comment that Belle is especially beautiful, yet also strange and isn’t like the rest of them.  Gaston arrives onstage and, along with the villagers, sing and brag about him.  After all the villagers leave, Gaston takes Belle’s book from her and asks her to marry him; but she refuses.  Gaston takes her book away again, saying that she will marry him, and leaves.  Belle sings about her wanting a life outside of the provincial town.  Shortly after, Belle finds herself in the Beast’s castle where she meets the enchanted objects, who are the servants also under the spell.  Along with the dancers, they invite her to “Be Our Guest” for dinner, where they bring out food carts and giant spoons.  Afterward, the Beast enters onstage saying he’s afraid that Belle will only see him as a monster.  Belle then wanders into the West Wing and finds the rose.  The Beast finds her and says that he’s told her never to go there, which causes them to argue.  The objects gently tell the Beast be kind to her, if they’re ever going to break the spell.  Over time, the two start to bond and eventually fall in love.

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Back in the village, Gaston convinces the villagers that the Beast is a dangerous monster and declares that they have to go after him and kill him.  Belle comes out during a fight between Gaston and the Beast, and afterwards tells the injured Beast that she loves him.  The spell breaks, and the Beast is magically transformed back into the Prince.  Along with all the dancers, Belle and the Prince dance happily to the “Beauty and the Beast” song.

The show has combined a few different tones. The enchanted objects give a comical tone, while the mob song, the fight scene and the transformation provide serious tones.

The major conflict in this play is the Beast’s struggle to become kind and to love and earn the love of another, in order break the spell.  The major theme of Beauty and the Beast is to not judge someone by their appearance, because beauty comes from within.

The idea of the show is to recreate the classic Disney movie.  The same characters, similar dialogue, and all the same songs from the movie appear in the show.  To anyone who has seen the movie, the characters and songs are easy to recognize.  All of the scenes happen in the order that they appear in the movie.  However, since the show is slimmed down to twenty-five minutes, some scenes and characters from the movie don’t appear, including Belle’s father Maurice, their horse Phillipe, Belle coming to the castle and taking her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner, the wolves, Belle and the Beast’s ballroom dance, and the Beast allowing Belle to return home.  It’s my favorite show at Disney World and I could definitely see it more than once a day.  The show is fantastic and it’s a performance that I encourage people of all ages to see.

BnB1

 

Beauty and the Beast has daily performances at 11:45am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:15pm, and 5:30pm.

About the Author: Amber Montes de Oca is a huge Disney fan. She’s an annual pass holder and loves to visit the Disney parks often. Her hobbies are singing, acting, and drawing. She has a BA from the University of Central Florida.

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A Warm Hug and The Frozen Gallery

Published October 1, 2013 by Disneyways.com

magic-of-disney-animation-00

The Animation Gallery in the Magic of Disney Animation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was recently updated with artwork from Disney’s “Frozen” The movie will be released in theaters on Thanksgiving, November 27th, 2013.  The display features lots of drawings and sketches of the characters from the movie. (There is a hug for you at the bottom of this post so be sure to scroll all the way down to find it!)

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Exclusive Video from BigFatPanda.com  

Disney’s Frozen Official Trailer 

Last but not least…click this link for a big HUG!

Video! Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Progress

Published August 11, 2013 by Disneyways.com

Recently I got to go to Magic Kingdom with my friend John from BigFatPanda.com. You may remember him from his recent interview with us on the Disney Parks Podcast.

While John and I were touring New Fantasyland, he got this awesome video of the progress on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Check it out in all it’s hi-def glory. There is some beautiful footage here – and I love how John explains what you are seeing.

Enjoy!

Top 10 Rides For Babies and Toddlers at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Published May 19, 2013 by lwcgal2004

Hayden from Disney World on a Budget is our newest guest blogger here at Disneyways and we are so thrilled to have her with us!

hayden

Have you ever been at Walt Disney World with a baby or toddler and wondered which rides they would enjoy the most?

Hayden has some great suggestions to share!

Here is her complete list of  top 10 rides at Magic Kingdom for babies and toddlers:

10. Walt Disney World Railroad–this is a great ride to save for the end of the day when you’re tired of walking. I recommend riding the railroad from Fantasyland station to Main Street Station. This twenty minute scenic ride is a great way to see the park. Also a great to spot to nurse a baby.

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9. It’s A Small World—this is such a fun ride for children of all ages. Hop in a boat for a leisure ride throughout the different countries, the music entertains my kids and they are left singing the song for days afterwards.

Small World

8. Jungle Cruise–this is such a classic Disney ride, I remember riding this back in 1988 when I was just a child. The Jungle boat takes you on a fun ride throughout the jungle where you will see elephants, tribal natives, giraffes and even a waterfall.

Photo source: myfavoritedisneypostcards.blogspot.com

Photo source:
myfavoritedisneypostcards.blogspot.com

7. Tom Sawyer Island–A great place to explore, get away from the crowds and let your little ones run! Tom Sawyer Island is also a great spot to have a picnic, there are picnic tables on the island and a small playground. There are also bathrooms and water fountains. *It is hard to push a stroller on the island as there are many caves, steps, etc. so I recommend using a baby carrier.

Tom Sawyer Island

6. Prince Charming Regal Carousel–This is a great photo op and a must do for children of all ages. Parents can stand and hold their children (there are buckles) and parents can even ride too.

Carousel

5. Peter Pan’s Flight–The wait is usually long for this ride so I suggest getting a fast pass. Peter Pan’s flight is a quick ride so don’t blink or you will miss it! It is worth the wait in my opinion, kids will feel like they are flying while riding this cute little iconic ride that tells the story of Peter Pan.

Peter Pan

4. Under The Sea With Little Mermaid

3. Magic Carpets of Aladdin–The carpets will seat 2 to 3 children per row, there are 2 rows per carpet. Our family takes up 1 whole carpet and I recommend having a parent sit in the front carpet so you can turn around and take your children’s picture on the carpet 🙂 You can control the carpet and make it go up high or down low. The children get a kick out of this. You might even get a spray of water from the camels!

2. Dumbo–The ride has been much improved with the new Fantasyland expansion and now the wait time has been cut in half. There is no height restriction on this ride and even my littlest one was able to ride at only 11 months old (of course a parent must hold little ones). Each Dumbo flies high in the sky for just a few minutes but this is such a classic Disney ride that children of all ages love it.

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1. Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin–This ride can be a little scary if your child is afraid of the dark, however, it is so much fun. Children really love the bright lights (neon) and the ability to shoot a lazer gun is the highlight of the ride for my children. You can control whether or not your spaceship spin’s around too which is neat. The wait times can be rather long for this ride, try to grab a fast pass and  while waiting go and meet Buzz himself – he is usually right outside of the ride area.

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