Mickey Fastpass, Cryptic Changes and "Over the Top" Fantasyland Construction Photos
by, 02-27-2011 at 08:19 PM
Lots of changes are in progress at many of our favorite parks and resorts. Mickey is getting his own Fastpass machine, the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion is going through some cryptic changes and Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival is almost in full bloom. Kevin Yee brings some attention to detail in the Disney parks, Aimster shows us how much fun she has at Busch Gardens Tampa and CaptPhoebus graces us with his presence on the East Coast by providing some fabulous photos of both the Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios Orlando.
Visiting Mickey will now be easier for those visiting the parks. Once his future home in Town Square Theater opens, you'll be able to obtain a Fastpass and come back within a specific window of time. While this method works the same as those applied to the attractions, this will be the first time the Fastpass system has been used for a character meet n greet.
Mickey FASTPASS: Disney Parks Blog
Let’s go, Bill and Ted… strange things are afoot at the Haunted Mansion.
The Haunted Mansion now has added crypts to the upgraded queue (not yet open):
The interactive queue remains behind tarps and wooden walls.
If you peek through one specific spot, you can see this. Apparently they plan to develop/introduce new characters in the queue.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain...
The hitchhiking ghosts have taken on a "temporary" change during the renovations, they are now animated ghost projections.
For more details, head on over to our forums to discuss this change. Do you like it? Is it really temporary? We can only speculate..
Haunted Mansion adds animated ghost projections
Video of the Haunted Mansion queue:
YouTube - Haunted Mansion Interactive Queue Construction New Crypts 2/25/11
Fun Fact!! The actress for the attic bride is Kat Cressida, however photographs of her are actually that of Julia Lee. The actress used to replace the normal Madame Leota for Haunted Mansion Holiday in California is Kim Irvine, Kim is actually not featured in the Florida attraction at all. Both Madame Leota and Little Leota in Florida are the images of Leota Toombs.
More crack timing on the Rivers of America. I confess I’ve never even noticed this fish flopping around before. There is, needless to say, a lot to see at Disney World.
Some *over the top* photos of the construction going on in Fantasyland.
The back of the castle has one of those highly-detailed scrims the Magic Kingdom is famous for (and justifiably so).
Another view of castle spires. One spire doesn’t belong with the others in this photo. Can you identify where it’s from?
At the Pooh queue, the Tigger bounce pads are still not open (are they to close forever now?), but the final interactive game, a water-pumping thing to make fake pumpkins “grow,” has finally opened.
These bees in the hot-wire game of the Pooh queue were originally yellow-and-black striped; now they’ve been replaced by this new variety (which has a slightly different shape, too).
Someday we will look at this view and think it’s weird that Dumbo was way over HERE!
They’ve done “sidewalk games” lately in Fantasyland; things like hula hoops and playing “concentration” with oversized cards. This Pinocchio ring toss struck me as unforgettable.
The new Storybook Treats.
No visible progress on the Great Goofini yet, but Mickey’s and Minnie’s houses were demolished late last week. (Please see pics above)
Construction from an interesting angle...
At Space Mountain, they used to hold up the Standby line near the interactive games and ignore (zip through) the switchback in the loading room. That made for a long backup down the corridor, and people who zip right past the games. Recently, they’ve been using the whole switchback for standby, meaning the games sometimes (usually?) aren’t being used since the line is “up ahead”. One nice side-effect: the long corridor has few folks in it, enabling photos like the one you see here.
Do you make it a point to see the fireworks from all over the park, or are you a creature of habit who usually heads to the same spot each time?
Bill Nye the Science Guy hosted 4 demonstrations on Wednesday, showing how wood turns to gas before burning. (it was the same demonstration each time). He also spent about 10 minutes after each show to sign autographs for guests.
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival begins this week! Most of the topiaries are now out, though the main topiary and a few others are not up until opening day (the Festival Center also will open then, as well as the playgrounds, butterfly tent, etc.)
Topiaries from Winnie the Pooh are now out:
As well as fairies:
I liked this photo of Epcot through the Tronorail sign:
AMC is currently in the process of converting itself into a Dine-In Theater. Self serve concessions, a full service bar with attending bartender and a new updated look is just some of the examples of the changes that have already taken place.
Only the true West Side entrance (near DisneyQuest) is open as the Pleasure Island entrance (near Planet Hollywood) is boarded off for remodeling.
Signs inform Guests of the work currently being done and how to enter the theater from the other side.
The inside has been remodeled with a new "fresh" or "modern" look.
The concessions area is now self-service with the top of the line Coke machines and they have a full bar with a bartender (pictured above to the right.) I wonder how many issues they will have with individuals taking candies or underage drinking?
Currently only 18 of the 24 theaters are open due to work being done.
There are wonderful things to see and discover in the Disney parks, but there are also problems. Both the problems and the wonderful details lurk below conscious perception or even thought, but they exert a subtle influence on how “fun” the day is or how “magical” Disney’s parks are. I’ve been pointing this out for some years now, usually with the “big” stuff like yetis and earthquakes. But it works on the small stuff, too. This weekend I was near Dumbo and realized I’ve never actually looked closely at the stork decorations that ring the entire center column. Have you?
There are several of these
Look closer. There are cracks in the wings.
And the paint is being seriously eroded/chipped on the nearby pole:
Those are clearly not the sorts of things Walt would have wanted to see, had he been alive to witness it this past weekend. I think we are right to be concerned when Disney upkeep is not what it used to be. We *should* be pointing that out. Simply “accepting” it and moving on is tantamount to telling Disney they really *shouldn’t* care about upkeep, if the customers stay silent and come anyway.
This is not, of course, the whole story. Look again at the stork. There are serious details packed into this small space.
There’s a golden bar on the stork’s hat. His vest has buttons painted onto it. And that gray bundle in the blanket is obviously an elephant—but did you notice on first glance that the gray foot has elephantine toenails?
And then, if you’re ready to be really impressed, look at the bottom of the decoration.
That’s a city the stork is flying over, and the individual buildings aren’t implied so much as actually carved, some with details you really could not normally expect. People won’t be looking long and hard at these things; they will take them in at a glance. Indeed, I’ve been here dozens of times, and never really looked at the stork decorations at all until now.
Put it all together, and you’ve got a conflicted artifact of Disney theming. The Imagineers built something detailed. There was way more detail than even I, a seasoned park visitor with easily 2,000 visits to a Disney park under my belt, had ever noticed just casually. It’s my contention that this kind of layered, small detailing is what creates that vaunted Disney “magic.” A “just good enough” approach would have been far less successful.
At the same time, the subconscious picking up of details works the other way, too. When things aren’t right—like the cracked wing or the chipped paint on the pole—subtle things are happening in the audience’s mind, too.
Disney can do great things. They’ve done it before and they’ll do it again. But they must be cautious to KEEP things great. Because the details really do matter.
CaptPhoebus was on the east coast this weekend visiting the World, but took out one day to enjoy Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure! He was kind enough to share photos of his observations with all of us!
Dudley Do-Right's construction photos...
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS MARDI GRAS:
Every Saturday and select nights through April 23rd, catch a live concert by some of the biggest names in music, our most spectacular parade ever, colorful street performers, authentic Cajun food, beads by the handful and more.
Party in the streets as the sounds of The Big Easy fill the air of Universal Orlando® Resort. It's Beads, Bands and Good Times for everyone - Only at Universal Studios® Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando
- March 6 - Lynyrd Skynrd
- March 12 - Foreigner
- March 18 - Neon Trees
- March 19 - The Roots
- March 25 - OneRepublic
- March 26 - Blake Shelton
- April 1 - Sean Kinston
- April 2 - Ne-Yo
- April 9 - Lifehouse
- April 16 - The Beach Boys
- April 23 - Thirty Seconds to Mars
Aimster, our resident Busch Gardens visitor, brings us more fun animal images, a look at Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy and progress on the new coaster, "Cheetah Hunt/Cheetah Run".
Rare albino wallaby:
Gwazi Lion going up the lift hill:
Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy stage. Truly an amazing show. Be sure to check it out as it's only here for a limited engagement!
The show starts with these "Tarzan" guys picking out "volunteers" from the audience and making them do stuff. It was really funny.
The contortionists were insane! I'm convinced they have rubber spines or something.
This guy did a crazy balancing act.
Cheetah Hunt/Cheetah Run construction progress. More themeing & details are emerging. It was announced last week that the corner where the new coaster & habitat occupy will be called The Crossroads and combine the themeing of the Egypt, Morocco and Nairobi sections as these areas all meet at.... The Crossroads.
One of two "driftwood" Cheetah statues.
An open gate gives a nice view you normally don't get:
The tiger topiary in Jungala finished receiving it's new covering:
Real Music Series (remaining dates):
Real Music Series at Busch Gardens Tampa
For the Real Music Series, shows are included with park admission, but you have to have a complimentary ticket to get in (tickets can be obtained at the Stanleyville Theater. There are 3 shows each day).
- Feb 23-26 - Herman's Hermits starring Peter Noone
- March 2-5 - The 5th Dimension
- March 9-12 - The Osmond Brothers
- March 16-19 - Tony Orlando
- March 23-26 - Charo
Bands, Brews & BBQ (remaining dates):
Bands Brew and BBQ at Busch Gardens Tampa
The concerts start at 5:00pm and are included with park admission, but if you want to sit close, you need to purchase a VIP ticket for $27.95.
- March 6 - Travis Tritt & The Charlie Daniels Band
Viva la Musica Festival:
Viva la Musica Festival and Live Concert Busch Gardens
- March 13 - Elvis Crespo
- March 20 - Jose Alberto "El Canario"
- March 27 - Angel & Khriz
- April 3 - Ismael Miranda
Bay Area Renaissance Festival
Now thru Apr 17 - Tampa, FL
Grab a turkey leg, put on your best corset and take in a joust. There is a lot of fun to be had at the Annual Bay Area Renaissance Festival. Get dirty with the Filthy Rotten Scoundrels and then clean yourself up with the Washer Well Wenches. Located on the MOSI grounds in Tampa, off Fowler Ave, there is something for everyone in what promises to be a day of fun and merriment. Huzzah!!
Bay Area Renaissance Festival
March 3 - 13 - Plant City, FL
Held in Plant City, the Strawberry Festival is quite a bit closer than Tampa to Walt Disney World - just a few exits up I-4. This year, it's open from March 3-13. It's like the fair (and has rides, too), but it's smaller in scale. Oh, and it has a bazillion strawberry-affiliated food items, of course.
The Florida Strawberry Festival
The Festival of Chocolate
March 5 - 6 - Orlando, FL
$17 adults, $12 kids.
The Festival of Chocolate
5th Annual Florida Wildflower and Garden Festival
March 26 - Deland, FL
5th Annual Florida Wildflower and Garden Festival
Great American Pie Festival
April 9 - 10 - Celebration, FL
$10 adults, $5 kids. All you can eat and drink.
Great American Pie Festival
Don't forget to check out the other areas of MiceChat that offer news, updates and photos about the other Disney Parks around the World!
- Dateline Disneyland which is packed with great news and photos from the Disneyland Resort.
- Weekend Update Offers a world of Disney theme parks as well as other sights and landmarks!
- In The Parks offers news, updates and tips from Disneyland and other Southern California offerings.
- SAMLAND - Your weekly look at some interesting tales from Disney history.
- And you'll always find something interesting on the forums and on MiceAge.
We want your photos! Contribute to the Orlando Parkhopper by emailing [email protected] with your submissions. We welcome volunteers for single contributions as well as permanent "Parkhopper" staff.
Thanks to our fantastic and talented crew of writers, photographers and news contributors who work hard every week to bring you the latest information available: Aimster, Kevin Yee, CaptPhoebus, SparkofLight, Nbodyhome and SummerinFL.