Hi all, I just spend a few hours this afternoon and evening at both EPCOT Center and the Magic Kingdom. Took this time to see a dear friend and hang out in the parks for a few hours to check out the new, the bad, and the ugly. My friend was discovering some of the new additions both these parks have to offer and it gave me a chance to familiarize myself with some of those aspects as well... It was an added bonus that both EC and the MK were quite slow today. Both parks were well maintained and extremely clean for the most part, with the exception of your dirty table here and there at both locations were we ate, Electric Umbrella and Pecos Bill Cafe. But I don't let that bother mcuh since the rest of the parks were to say the least.. quite clean. Great Job custodials!
Our walk started at EPCOT, where naturally, Spaceship Earth looks FABULOUS without that ugly wand. I took some pictures with my cellphone...
I personally like the newly planted palm trees in the gardens where the wand used to stand tall and proud. Some of these palm trees are similar in type to those planted nearby on the south edge of the small ponds when you cross into World Showcase. I personally love the continuity of it all. While most of the landscapping is nearly complete on the east side of SE, the west side of it is still bare and should be receiving new palms and bushes soon. It will look great when finished.
While at EPCOT, I also noticed some new rocks placed along the edge of the pond close to the Rose Garden walk area. Nice touch.
WE took the time to ride Grand Fiesta Tour, the China Film and naturally enjoyed both. Then we came upon American Adventure. Got there just in time to go into the show and we were loaded thru the main lobby, up the escalators and into the theater... in other words... the proper way to access the showroom. (However, the guests waiting to see the show after us, were being lined up to enter thru the exit ramp into the theater... may I ask, why do they do that? I personally do not like that loading method..) Anyways... we sat in the dead center, 3rd row from the stage. Watched the glorious presentation AmAd really is... Amazing that after 25 yrs, the show technical aspects and compelling storytelling still amazes me. This is Disney as it's best. The presentation could benefit greatly if Disney installed the new generation AAs we now see at POTC and other newer rides (like those at DLP or TDS), but even that does not matter much. Wishful thinking on my part, that's all. The new finale of the show adds some memorable faces and happenings of the past 6 yrs or so.. It gets to me everytime. Kleenex please. While I have issues with the vocals on the song..especially the female singer going off doing some unnecesary arpeggios.. the show's finale is a grim reminder of how tough it's been to get where we are as a nation today. Yet. The message of hope for the future pulls it off and avoid the feeling of doom and gloom. We exit the theater rocked to the core. Again... a glorious 5***** show.
After the show.. we continued on our walk around World Showcase, passing many construction fences where venues for the upcoming Food and Wine fest are being erected. We then arrived at "O Canada", and enjoyed that as well.
We then decided to head over the the MK... on the monorail. God help us. Curiously... today, we were not bombarded with excessive PA announcements as we would normally be. It welcomed the quietness of it all.. Along the way, I was able to check the new signage at the TTC, but this newly refurbished fountain in the "mono to EPCOT" platform caught my attention.
We arrive at the MK and I am happy to report, I caught my first glimpse of the new Halloween decor now installed along Main Street USA. I particularly *loved* the new pumpkins on the front garden next to the Mickey floral face.
Mickey's face was actually made of mini pumpkins as opposed to flowers.. and it looked wonderful.
Main Street is awashed! (is that a word?) in Orange colors that were quite... well... Orange! to look at. New banners are hung everywhere on almost every building along the way. The lamp posts have banners as well with lovely Mickey pumpkin faces. Very very nice.
For added whim... some decorative "scarecrows" have been added to Town Square. They are nicely detailed to reflect the different looks of Cast Members around Main Street USA... Like the Major, Marching Band member, Emporium CM...etc.
Nearby, the Emporium is already selling some new Halloween merchandise and some of these items caught my attention as well... Like the "Pirates of the SCAREribbean" tee...
Simple Halloween Mickey face tee...
The cute Halloween Ears hat.
I also got a couple of new pins for my collection... the lovely (even if I disgree with) Cinderella Castle BBB Grand opening pin, and a new Maleficent/Dragon Halloween pin. (not pictured here). We also took the time to catch the Monsters Laugh Floor show.. My friend liked this show a lot. This time around, I enjoyed the show as well and noticed some of the old jokes are still there but some new ones were performed as well. Seems to me the CMs those involved in the show have finally caught up with the pace of it and the show appeared to flow much better... jokes came and went and the audience did enjoy it a lot.
At dusk... and with impending thunderstorms on the way... we walked past the castle to see if the Haunted Mansion was opened for unannounced sneak peeks... but NO. The wooden gate is still up and I noticed a new "wait time" sign has been installed just outside, next to the temporary construction gate. They were however testing a new lighting flash effect outside the Mansion... or maybe that effect is now officially turned on?
Cinderella Castle at dusk.
WE ended up at Pecos Bill Cafe, and had a quick dinner there. This was my first time utilizing the new self-service TV monitors in that location. They were quite easy to use, and it is something I personally would love to see added to other locations.
On our way out...as a light rain came down and lighting went off... I happened to notice the pumpkin statues next to Mickey's face at the front of the park do light up at night. This exceeded my expectations in a very positive way. It makes the MK look similar to TDL in artistry. LOVE IT LOVE IT! While, the decor is definitely great, and comes close to what I expect from the other 4 DL parks on Earth... it is still a bit less elaborate and not as plentiful as what you may find in Paris or Japan during Halloween, it's the right way for the MK to go and I welcome every bit of it. So KUDOS to whoever made it happen. It can only get better I hope!
Finally...a nice touch: Floral Mickey all dressed up in colors with the addition of neon colored lights. It looks fabulous! They have done this in the past before, but with the added halloween bling.. it looks even better!
All in all, it was a most enjoyable visit to the Kingdom and EPCOT today. Both parks were extremely clean and well maintained. This, as I have said before... is Disney at it's best. I hope the momentum continues for good.