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Orlando Parkhopper

Monorails Avenged at Disney World, Turtles and Antarctica, Baby Aardvark and More

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by , 04-02-2012 at 08:00 PM

Last week flew by in a flash and here we are with another edition of the Orlando Parkhopper. This week, we find the Monorails have been Marvelized and we get a glimpse of some interesting new merchandise at Disney World. Meanwhile, the Habit Heroes attraction still lays dormant after a scheduled reopening, and Test Track remains open despite a scheduled closing (don't worry, we'll explain below). Finally, we have adorable news from Busch Gardens Tampa, where they have a very cute new baby and we'll take you for a quick splash at SeaWorld as well. Let's hop to it . . .

Self promotion and Disney are synonymous. We understand this and expect it. But sometimes they take the promotion a bit too far. This week, some of the Disney World monorails were skinned to promote the new Marvel film, the Avengers.

Unlike the somewhat clever TRONorails promoting the Tron film (which looked like a light cycle), the Avengers are simply a billboard on the exterior of the Monorails. Much like the advertising you'd see on a city bus.

What are your thoughts on the Avengers Monorail, or using the Monorails as billboards in general?

Some brand new merchandise has appeared on Main Street. These new Tomb Sweet Tomb couch pillows are sure to be an instant hit. Although the FastPass pillows may end up at Company D sooner rather than later.

We also now have the Monorail Vinylmations that appeared at the AP Merchandise Preview at Disney California Adventure last week.

And don't forget to pick up your Easter Duffy!

We have a little bit of an update from the depths of Adventureland. It appears that the refreshment location near the exit of the Tiki Room has finally come out from behind the scaffolds. However the torches have yet to be installed again.

Torchless Tiki

The Fantasyland restroom project continues along, all the while creating bizarre sight lines from Liberty Square and the Haunted Mansion.

The pet cemetery, once shrouded in overgrowth is without trees now and you can see Fantasyland just beyond it.

Exiting the Haunted Mansion there is a long wall to your left.

This hedge is a tarp, and serves as stroller parking.

Meanwhile construction continues on the Fantasyland expansion project.

Crowds have gotten used to the endless crimson hallway to Storybook Circus.

And, as was previously reported here, the Fast Pass return times are now being strictly enforced throughout the park. We spotted one such sign indicating so.

I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date!

Habit Heroes, the controversial fitness experience at Epcot, was set to reopen this week after "Maintenance." However, that did not happen and the attraction remains closed. Even the exterior queue has been obscured with curtains, hiding the existing artwork from view. Looks like changes are underway.

OPH contributor, Aimster, noticed that the charming seagulls in front of The Seas with Nemo and Friends were a little clunky. In fact, their paint appeared to be rather faded and the distracting noise of their movements was almost comical. Take a look at the video she shot.

The Tutto Italia project is coming along nicely here. As you can see they have really torn the place up.

Kevin Yee sums up the Walt Disney World news in a quick video format. Take a look!

Busch Gardens welcomed its newest resident: an adorable aardvark born Monday, March 26. The healthy baby weighs about 4.8 pounds and is expected to grow to more than 120 lbs. within its first year.

It is currently living behind the scenes at Jambo Junction – located in the Nairobi area of the park – and is receiving care from members of the animal care team. The baby will join mom “Izzy” and dad “Friz” in the upcoming weeks and will be an Animal Ambassador for the park, along with its older brother “Zawadi,” who will be a year old on April 10.

There are fewer than 40 aardvarks in zoos in North America. They are solitary by nature, and aardvark births are not common.

The popular Latin music event, Viva La Musica returns with a full line-up of exciting events and concerts. The concerts are on Saturdays at SeaWorld April 14 - May 5. There will be food, fun, sights and sounds of Latin culture at this annual festival. All concerts are free with admission.

Enjoy all the fun beginning at noon. Concerts are located at Bayside Stadium and begin at 3:00 pm. In the event of rain, concerts will move to Nautilus Theater.

• April 14: Elvis Crespo
• April 21: Grupo Niche
• April 28: RKM & Ken-Y
• May 5: Gilberto Santa Rosa

The food:
Enjoy savory Latin cuisine prepared by SeaWorld Orlando’s own Executive Chef, Héctor Colón. Lechón, arroz con gandules y pasteles, arroz con pollo, habichuelas rojas y maduros, mofongo con carne frita, alcapurrias and bacalaítos are just some of the items available during Viva la Música.

The Antarctica sight is showing some definite signs of progress here with earth movers on sight and demolition being cleaned up for new construction.

Turtle Trek is still on track for an April 26th opening date. The ivory colored entrance has now been painted as a wave and the walls should be coming down very soon.

These new carts show progress happening on the CityWalk Waterfront re-development, and they give us a small hint of the new architectural style yet to come. We were happy to see the tacky carnival games removed from CityWalk.

We were in the park this week when they began to test some of the water screen effects that will be used in the upcoming lagoon show that will be opening this spring.

Yes, there will be a splash zone.

Congratulations go to mratigan for guessing last week's Hidden Parkhopper by posting..."The old Dumdo spinner "

Good job! Let's try this again. Look into the magnifying glass below and see if you can figure out where the park hoppers are this week. Post your guess in the comments area below. If you are the first to answer correctly, you will be featured in next week's update. GOOD LUCK!

Want to meet up with other Disney fans while at Disney World? Several of the Orlando Parkhopper team members are part of a group that meets every weekend.

Join the public Facebook group and get notified of events (the locations are different every time.)

If you appreciate this column, share this page with your friends and don't forget to click that Facebook thumbs up button at the top of the page (it give us the encouragement to bring you even bigger and better updates)!

Please join us in thanking the fantastic and talented crew of writers, photographers and news contributors who worked so hard this week to bring you the latest information from the parks. This week's team included:

- Aimster - Pictures by Aimster
- Eric M. Davis (King Eric)
- Kevin Yee
- Editors this week: Fishbulb, Dustysage

Thank you all for reading, we hope you have a wonderful week and are inspired to explore the amazing variety of attractions on your next visit to central Florida. We'd love to hear your comments below.

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Updated 04-02-2012 at 11:27 PM by Orlando Parkhopper



  1. RossMidlane's Avatar
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    Hidden Parkhopper is Easter Duffy
  2. ThemeParkFoodie's Avatar
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    Duffy bear??
  3. MarkTwain's Avatar
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    DEFINITELY not a fan of the Avengers monorail. As clever as the Tronorail was, I had a feeling that Disney was just using it to guests' reception to monorail ads in general before trying something more generic. Considering how long Tronorail lasted, and the frequency with which Disney turns out mega-budget films on the scale of Tron or the Avengers (AT LEAST once a year), I can't help thinking that Disney might now have some form of ad on a monorail almost perpetually.

    It's sad that Walt Disney World, once designed as an oasis from strip malls, housing developments, and huge ads on the side of transit, is now becoming just as bad as any other suburb in the country. (Flamingo Crossings, Golden Oak, and the Avenge-orail, respectively)
  4. BC_DisneyGeek's Avatar
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    So what's the explanation for Test Track not being closed?
  5. yoyoflamingo's Avatar
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    April 16th is the date currently being circled as the first day of Test Track's refurbishment, if it's still on. We'll see what happens up until then.
  6. TravisMT81's Avatar
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    Just a slight jab, you can tell the editor is West coast. Company D is our company store on the East Coast and on the West coast it is our "Property Control" aka liquidation stores. In Cali the Team stores are the equal of the East coast Company D stores.
  7. SpectroMan's Avatar
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    True in a way Travis, however unpopular merchandise would indeed end up at Company D in California, not the TEAM centers.
  8. Skipper A's Avatar
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    Before people start hating the monorail wrapping...remember Walt named the icon of Disneyland after a movie for promotion...Sleeping Beauty. Other things like Davy Crockett were shamelessly pushed inside the parks as well.
  9. Fishbulb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skipper A
    Before people start hating the monorail wrapping...remember Walt named the icon of Disneyland after a movie for promotion...Sleeping Beauty. Other things like Davy Crockett were shamelessly pushed inside the parks as well.
    You misunderstand why we don't really like it and you bring up a very valid point. You are correct, the centerpiece of Disneyland was, in fact, a huge billboard for an upcoming film. But the fact that it advertises a film about to be released by Disney/Marvel is hardly the issue. Disneyland and Disney World is one huge interactive commercial.

    We actually liked the TRONerail. Peripherally, it looked like a big Light Cycle zooming through Epcot. The problem lies in the very subtle difference between looking like something that is in motion, and simply looking like a moving billboard. It's not the fact that it advertises as much as the fact that it makes no effort to become a themed element.

    But, in the end, it's just an opinion. We just hope that they try a little harder in the future.
  10. ttintagel's Avatar
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    Yeah, the Avengers advertising sticks out like a sore thumb. I've got nothing against advertising in the parks on principle, but it should look organic and fit in with its surroundings.

    The Seas seagulls were already noticeably shabby-looking and rickety when I was there last June. I hope they get some TLC soon.