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Orlando Parkhopper

Orlando Theme Parks News and Updates: New Menus, Fantasyland Construction, and More

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by , 04-11-2011 at 04:28 AM


Orlando Parkhopper time! This week we start off at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando Florida where the Beast's Castle has suddenly appeared, the swan topiary are missing and Casey's hot dogs has a new menu. Over at Epcot, the Flower and Garden festival is still in bloom and Cars 2 already begins racing around the world. Join us as we feature the Great Movie Ride at Disney Hollywood Studios for an epic battle between the Chinese Theater facade and Mickey's Hat and a stunning photography tour of this oft maligned mega attraction. Kevin Yee chimes in on the humorous effect that a blinking Mickey has on pictures, and we run down to Tampa to check on Busch Gardens. It's a full update this week folks so get ready for a whirlwind tour around the Florida Parks with the Orlando Park hopper team!




MAGIC KINGDOM:


MAIN STREET:


Casey's Corner has a new menu.


The swan topiaries are gone. I hope this is temporary!

FANTASYLAND:



One of Mickey's Toontown Fair tents is gone - this metal building was never visible before.


The Dumbo queue building is going up before anything else.




Beauty and the Beast Show Building Construction


Looks impressive already


EPCOT:



Saw a new game at World Showcase last weekend. You get a free card stamped at various country pavilions, like a passport.


If you finish your passport, you get a button!


As usual, the Germany garden train set is (mildly) decorated for Flower and Garden


They promised Duffy photo locations around World Showcase, but so far I've only seen this one in Japan.





Flower Power Concert Series Lineup (remaining dates)
  • April 15-17 - Juice Newton
  • April 22-24 - Ricky Nelson Remembered featuring The Nelsons
  • April 29 - May 1 - Paul Revere & The Raiders
  • May 6-8 - Davy Jones
  • May 13-15 - Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone

In addition to the Concert lineup for Flower and Garden, HGTV, the official sponsor, is bringing you events with a different celebrity host, every weekend during the festival.

HGTV Line Up (remaining dates)

  • April 15-17 - Patti Moreno, Garden Girl, HGTV.com
  • April 22-24 - Michele Beschen, B. Original
  • April 29-30, May 1 - John Gidding, Curb Appeal: The Block
  • May 6-8 - Frank Fontana, Design on a Dime
  • May 13-15 - Vern Yip, HGTV Design Star

A Festival Guide is available for those that would like more information.
DISNEY'S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS:

The Great Movie Ride is considered by many to be the real icon of Disney's Hollywood Studios. While most would agree that she's starting to show her lines, there's still something that draws us in.

First up, Tom Bricker addresses that silent battle between two icons and then we finish this week's look at some interior attraction photos!



The Sorcerer v. The Apprentice
by Tom Bricker (WDWFigment), on Flickr

These days, it seems like when the Great Movie Ride is mentioned in one breath, the Big Sorceror's Hat is mentioned in the next. Among fans, it's usually to lament the fact that the Hat blocks the wonderful sight lines of years past to Grauman's Chinese Theatre, the building that houses the Great Movie Ride.


For this shot, I wanted to capture the tension that exists between the two attractions by having them "face-off" in a visual battle. To get such a wide field of view, I used my trusty fisheye and shot straight upwards.


Maybe it's just me, but the spotlights here look a lot like lasers shooting out of the Theatre. Given that, and that the Hat has no apparent weapons (besides the small points on the backsides of the pins sold within it, which won't do much damage to a mighty theatre!), I think it's pretty clear that the Theatre is winning!






















































Dream Along with Mickey, the castle stage show, has used the "blinking" characters for some time now (their mouths also move). This is an undeniable improvement when it comes to realism - it tripped out my eight year old when he saw it.


There's an unfortunate by-product to the realism, however. It makes the characters less photogenic, as you now have the possibility of capturing Mickey with his eyes closed. And when Mickey is blinking every half second, as ours was on this particular show, half your pictures will feature a Mickey with eyes closed! Seems a bit weird.



Is it my imagination, or does Mickey almost looks smug like this?

While I knew some of the shots were going to come out this way while shooting them, others were a surprise when I got home and downloaded the pictures. Apparently it's also possible to capture Mickey in the act of blinking, which creates yet another new inference.



I can't decide if this look is better described as "hey baby, what's your sign" or "I'm already high, dude!" Either way, probably not good.



This past week The Ellen Degeneres Show filmed at the Universal Orlando Resort. This has become an annual to look forward too, especially if you are an annual pass holder. When Ellen film’s you never know who the guests are going to be, and while were there none other than Miss Independent herself Kelly Clarkson took the CityWalk stage and performed.










The great thing is that the audio from the taping is pumped throughout CityWalk so no matter where you are in CityWalk you feel like you are part of the show!


Then over to Islands of Adventure real quick for some Wizarding World of Harry Potter love!






Then back over to Universal Studios... here is a POV video of the rough Rip, Ride, and Rock It


YouTube - RIP RIDE ROCK IT Roller Coaster at Universal Studios Orlando


That night the popular singer and dancer Ne Yo performed at Mardi Gras that night


YouTube - Ne Yo at Universal Studios Orlando for 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.




  • April 16 - The Beach Boys
  • April 23 - Thirty Seconds to Mars




This week we’ll be taking a look at a small and underrated area of the park, Egypt.




The star of Egypt is of course the coaster, Montu, which is named after the Egyptian falcon god of war. Montu is an inverted coaster that was manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard and has 7 inversions.








The other attraction in Egypt is Tut’s Tomb. We’ll let the sign explain what this attraction is about.














There are 2 gift shops in Egypt. One is at the exit of Montu.



The other is at the exit of the Tut’s Tomb attraction, The Golden Scarab.





The Golden Scarab used to be home to a wide variety of ancient Egyptian styled gifts, but sadly now mostly sells t-shirts, bags and hats of surf companies (Roxy, Element, Billabong, etc.). What does that have to do with Egypt? Change it back, Busch Gardens!


The lone section of Egypt related merchandise in the shop is a small selection of books by the cash register.



The mannequins are dressed in rich Egyptian inspired garb.



This one seems to have traveled to 1983 though.



Egypt is also home to a small midway games area.





Did you know there's an extinct attraction in Egypt? A motion simulator called Akbar’s Adventure Tours, which starred Martin Short.







CHEETAH HUNT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE


More and more theming is revealed with every week.











The park has put up signs on the balcony of the Crown Colony restaurant to promote the Cheetah Hunt overlook.



Cheetah Hunt merchandise has started appearing in the park. Right now, the merchandise is all located in the Emporium.









The park has taken to some Disney-like “street entertainment” during the construction of Cheetah Hunt and Cheetah Run with a percussion troupe called the Construction Percussion. They were good and quite fun. They drew a pretty big crowd!



Over in Timbuktu, the Cheetah Chase wild mouse coaster has officially changed its name to Sand Serpent.


The attraction marquee sign looks great!




Ramp Jam at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
April 16 - 17

The ASA Action Sports World Tour amps up the excitement at Busch Gardens with the world's best pro skateboarders, BMX riders and inline skaters shreddin' a 14' tall half-pipe.

Scheduled to appear:

  • Simon Tabron
  • Kevin Robinson
  • Pierre Luc Gagnon
  • Anthony Furlong
  • Jimmy Walker
  • Eito Yasutoko

Viewing of the Ramp Jam events is included with park admission.

Jack Hanna Weekend

April 22-24

Busch Gardens welcomes celebrity animal expert Jack Hanna for an Earth Day celebration. “Jungle Jack” -- recognized world over for his deep knowledge of and boundless enthusiasm for wild animals and wildlife conservation – introduces guests to exotic and endangered animals in his own inimitable way during special shows and exclusive up-close encounters.
Animal shows daily at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the Stanleyville Theatre.

Other events during Jack Hanna Weekend include "Breakfast With Jack Hannah", "Jack Hannah Family Sleepover" and "Jack Hannah Serengeti Night Safari". More details on these events can be found at the link below.

Schedule:

  • Daily: Animal Show - 2pm and 4pm
  • April 23 - Breakfast with Jack Hannah
  • April 22 & 23 - Jack Hannah Family Sleepover
  • April 22 & 23 - Jack Hannah Serengti Night Safari

Glory at the Gardens Festival
May 7 & 14

Glory at the Gardens is a jam-packed festival of live music and fellowship, plus you get access to all of Busch Gardens’ thrills, animal encounters and world-class entertainment.

  • May 7:
    • Mary Mary
    • Lecrae

  • May 14:
    • Michael W. Smith
    • Sidewalk Prophets




Bay Area Renaissance Festival
Now thru Apr 17[/FONT]
- 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!!

Taste of Pinellas

May 20 - 22
- Vinoy Park - St. Petersburg, FL
A Taste of Pinellas, Tampa Bay's beloved waterfront festival is getting ready for another spectacular year of food, music, and fun!

Disney On Ice: Let's Celebrate

May 20 - 23
- Tampa, FL
Make an ordinary day extraordinary when Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate! brings more than 50 Disney characters to your hometown for one colossal party on ice! This action-packed, all-new show features a magical montage of celebrations, and is set to a blend of contemporary music and favorite Disney songs.

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 of interest on the forums or MiceAge!



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Updated 04-12-2011 at 08:34 AM by Dustysage

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Comments

  1. Lebeau's Avatar
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    Great update as always. But I wanted to thank Tom especially for the terrific GMR pics. GMR is one of my oldest daughter's favorites. She's almost 6 and the only movie from the ride that she's seen is the Wizard of Oz. But there's something about GMR she loves. I think it's just that it's such a long, intricate dark ride.

    By the end of our last trip, she was mouthing the tour guide's spiel along with her. My favorite part was when she said very matter-of-factly "And here comes the alien" right as he dropped down over our heads. "Hi, alien."

    Sure, the ride could use some TCL. But it is very underrated in my book.
  2. PeaJay18's Avatar
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    Great update as usual, but I thought that the new "castle" building in Fantasyland was the Beast's Castle that sits atop the new restaurant, rather than a part of the Little Mermaid attraction.
  3. SummerInFL's Avatar
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    Correction: The castle construction is in fact for Beauty and the Beast, not The Little Mermaid as was previously mentioned.
  4. Dustysage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SummerInFL
    Correction: The castle construction is in fact for Beauty and the Beast, not The Little Mermaid as was previously mentioned.
    Sorry about that everyone, that was my fault.
  5. Malin's Avatar
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    I've been following the Orlando updates since it started. But wow the progress made on the Beauty and the Beast Castle has really caught me by suprise. I did not expect to be seeing detail like this so soon into construction. Very impressive.
  6. Timekeeper's Avatar
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    The Tee Shirts for Cheetah Hunt look awesome! I didn't know there was an old simulator attraction there? What happened to it?


    Timekeeper
  7. Barbossa's Avatar
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    That African Cats sand sculpture looks cool!
  8. WDWFigment's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lebeau
    Great update as always. But I wanted to thank Tom especially for the terrific GMR pics. GMR is one of my oldest daughter's favorites. She's almost 6 and the only movie from the ride that she's seen is the Wizard of Oz. But there's something about GMR she loves. I think it's just that it's such a long, intricate dark ride.

    By the end of our last trip, she was mouthing the tour guide's spiel along with her. My favorite part was when she said very matter-of-factly "And here comes the alien" right as he dropped down over our heads. "Hi, alien."

    Sure, the ride could use some TCL. But it is very underrated in my book.
    Glad you like them!
  9. Dustysage's Avatar
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    I LOVE drunk Mickey. Just perfect for Food and Wine Festival!!!

  10. kermitdefrog's Avatar
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    Construction Percussion seems like a Jammitors (Epcot) ripoff.
  11. Not My Real Name's Avatar
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    Am I the only one who is disappointed by the AAs in GMR? The Gene Kelley figure looks nothing like him. The cast of Wizard of Oz look nothing like the actors. The Sigourney Weaver AA looks nothing like her. And why are their faces so shiny?
  12. millen05's Avatar
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