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Disneyland/World and Universal parks discussion thread (where the magic never ends... until a ride you loved is knocked down and replaced with something lame)

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I posted about that above. It's time for it to go really. I have fond memories of it but I am amazed it lasted this long. Honestly I love the idea of keeping the theatre facade but the ride now pulling you into a Mickey Mouse animated short. I hope it lives up the the hype imagineers are fuelling. 

 

Tower of Terror is the one bonafide classic that should never leave the studios park.

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I think the Mickey Mouse ride that is replacing The Great Movie Ride looks like it could be a lot of fun (although I think the Imagineer introducing it at D23 was certainly overselling it just a tad). I am disappointed that it's what's replacing Great Movie Ride however. Great Movie Ride certainly needed an update, and I would understand if Disney wanted to get away from non Disney properties in it. But I wish they had kept something similar but maybe a ride through Disney movie history, showcasing Disney movies that have little or no representation in the park along with some of the more well known classics. How great would it be to have a ride showcasing classic Mickey and Oswald cartoons, Fox and the Hound, Rescuers, 20,000 Leagues, The Love Bug, etc.

 

For me though , it's just sad they are taking this big animatronic ride and replacing it with what looks to be a ride with screen tricks. I'm sure they could have found some other place for the Mickey ride without having to replace one.

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On 7/16/2017 at 4:01 PM, Angry the Clown said:

Not even rumours have any hint of what the hell could happen to the Innoventions and Wonders of Life pavilions and that's perhaps what I am most keen to hear about in future as those are huge spaces just sitting there (Innoventions looks utterly lame and desolate from videos I have seen, while Wonders of Life is just a shell now, only used for seasonal food festival events).

 

From the concept art of Epcot you posted, I think it's pretty obvious the Innoventions buildings are simply going bye bye and becoming whatever they are doing in this art (it looks like a big area with fountains and green area similar to the gardens at Shanghai Disneyland).

 

They have said that new space restaurant is going next to Mission space, and there isn't much "space" there, so next to it would probably mean replacing Wonders of Life, and Test Track, and only one of those buildings is sitting, mostly unused. Speculation is that Wonders of Life becomes this restaurant.

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On 7/16/2017 at 7:26 PM, AlbertA said:

EPCOT might have been cool in the 80's but in this decade, it's super outdated. Only little kiddie rides, overwhelmed with country themed gift shops.

 

 

I find it funny that you say it's full of kiddie rides since one of the chief complaints of Epcot has always been that there is nothing for kids there. The thing with Epcot is that there are a few kids rides, a few thrilling rides and then a bunch of rides and shows that aren't thrilling or for kids. I would say the only real kid rides are Nemo, Frozen (which is new, I'm sure Maelstrom bored most kids), and maybe Journey into Imagination (but I don't think anyone really likes that one anymore). 

 

On 7/16/2017 at 7:26 PM, AlbertA said:

But I see why they are putting Guardians of the Galaxy there... they need something to keep the park operating and force you to stay more days

 

I understand why they are putting something new there for sure. I understand that they need new attractions in Epcot and that Epcot needs a lot of work to keep people coming. I do not understand why or how Guardians of the Galaxy is what they are putting there and how it in anyway fits with the theme of Futureworld or Epcot (except that it takes place in the future). 

 

There is some IP that makes sense in Epcot. Ratatouille in France makes sense, Nemo in The Seas makes enough sense, Inside Out into Imagination makes so much sense that they'd be foolish not to do it. GotG in Universe of Energy, of Epcot's Futureworld..... it's going to be a stretch.

 

On 7/16/2017 at 7:26 PM, AlbertA said:

As for Universal, a lot of those 3D rides though are really well done though especially the Harry Potter stuff.

 

They are absolutely well done, and I honestly have to applaud Universal for pushing their technology, and using 3D screens in many different ways. But in the end, when nearly every single attraction is using screens.... there's something missing. It's hard to put a finger on it, but it starts to feel a bit samey. Like something real and tangible is missing from the experience. There are people that argue watching video of a ride spoils the ride and means you don't have to ride it. But there is always something to be said for experiencing something live and in person, whether it's a ride, a play, a concert, a great work of art, or a scenic view. Somehow, watching something on a screen, even while experiencing everything else going on around you, lessens that feeling.

 

Compare the 2 Kong rides that Universal has had. One has a faux city you travel through, with a helicopter falling from above, and things going on around you trying to tell a story, and then you get this giant robot monkey that shakes your car.

 

The new one has a great building and queue, and there's certainly a lot of action and things going on, but the sense I get from the reaction of it is that you're in a car driving through a couple rooms with screen tunnels and then you see Kong saying "so long" to you.

 

I think there's also a lost sense of wonder. Similar to what has happened in movies since computers started taking the place of practical effects and models. People still ride an attraction like the Haunted Mansion and Pirates and still wonder how they do it. In a ride using screens, we know it's just a 3D movie, with maybe some practical sets built around the screen.

 

With that said, I think 3D screens (or non 3D for that matter) certainly have a place. Spiderman is one of the best rides of all time, I love Star Tours, the new Pirates ride in Shanghai looks amazing and I like how they're used in the Pandora boat ride from what I can tell. The problem is when every ride is doing mostly the same, it starts to lose the magic.

 

I might have said all this in another thread.

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On 7/16/2017 at 4:01 PM, Angry the Clown said:

Disney also seem to want to resist rides requiring 3D glasses too which I applaud them for (Ratatouille in Paris and now Star Tours everywhere are the only two I can think of).

 

Obviously the movies use them too.... and so does Toy Story Mania. That ride is a little different though in that you're not simulating motion while watching the screen. You're just sitting in front of a screen while playing each game. 

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20 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

No argument from me on those points. It's highly doubtful that I would visit EPCOT at this time were I to go to Orlando. Test Track always looked a little odd to me. Do you like that ride? The design seems clever but the premise rather weak and out of place for Future World. Mission: Space looks interesting and yet somewhat underwhelming at the same time, and I am glad Spaceship Earth remains, but what else is there? I'm not a Frozen fan so the ride that replaced the Maelstrom in the Norwegian pavilion is of little appeal.

 

EPCOT is an odd one. It has so many things working against it in terms of what it was originally designed to be, what they've tried to do to appeal to more people, and how it has always relied on sponsorships. It also suffers from the same problems as tommorowland, where time moves on, and their looks into the future start to feel dated all too quick.

 

It certainly has its fans, but you have to want what it is offering. if you want to walk around a beautiful park, eat at a wide variety of restaurants, take part in their ongoing festivals, and ride a ride or two, then it's great. If you want to be continuously entertained, it can be a bit of a slog. It certainly has some a few fun attractions, but it can be hard to find them sometimes.

 

I'm personally not a huge fan of Epcot. I still go each time I visit WDW, but it's almost because I want to experience all the parks since I never know when I may be back.

 

I like Test Track (I've done both), but I don't love it. The fast 60MPH run outside the building is fantastic, but the rest of it is kind of dull, and back in original version, felt too much like it was trying to educate about how they test cars.... which isn't the most interesting topic. The new version is cool looking, but is the same ride and the conceit that you're designing a car and then testing it is a bit far fetched. Mission Space is ok and a very interesting simulation, but it's not fantastic and I feel a bit woozy afterwards regardless if I do Orange or Green. Soarin is great and The seas is good and Spaceship Earth is the last remnant from the animatronic wonderland Futureworld used to be.

 

The World Showcase, to me, never feels like it achieves what it is trying to attempt. There are pavilions that are filled primarily with restaurants and shops. The ones without an attraction don't have much else. I was disappointed on my first visit that there wasn't more on the countries and the monuments/buildings they have replicated. My wife seemed to think they were nice, but not the real thing, so somewhat pointless.

 

Even the attractions that are there, don't do their job quite as well as they should. I really like the show in America and the film in France really has an epic and grand feeling. The rest don't do what they should to show off their countries, or need to be updated.

 

I really wish I could have experienced Epcot back in the day. The first time I visited WDW, was shortly after Mission: Space opened. This means Horizons was gone, World of Motion had been long replaced by Test Track, Wonders of Life was shut down, Imagination pavillion was infected by Eric Idle, Communicore was no more, and while Nemo hadn't taken shop in the seas, the ride leading into the base had been shut down. I've seen videos of Horizons, World of Motion, and the original Imagination ride and I really really wish I had had the opportunity to experience these. I feel like there is a time I would have absolutely loved Futureworld, especially Horizons.

 

The sad truth about Epcot is that it was built and maintained with as much sponsorship money as possible. This means the sponsors had a say as to the content of the attractions, the sponsors paid for upgrades and operation, and if the sponsorship ended, then in most cases the attraction was closed or run seasonally. Many sponsorship renewals and changes also required or mandated the changes to the attractions. Almost every story of every pavilion in Futureworld revolves around sponsorship. It's not just Futureworld too. World showcase also relied on money from the countries they represent to be built. There are numerous expansion pads in world showcase for new countries that have never been used because countries were not lining up to join Epcot. Likewise, the countries without rides or attractions, is simply because there wasn't enough money to build them.

 

Beyond that, Epcot has always had a reputation for being boring and not for kids. The attendance of Epcot in its early day was not what Disney wanted and there are stories that when Eisner took over, the board told him that Epcot was now his problem to fix. He and Frank Wells when to all the Disney parks and rode all the rides and apparently Frank Wells kept falling asleep in Epcot. They then started putting characters in park for the first time and there was a mandate for more thrills. The first "thrill" ride was Maelstrom with its drops, then we got Test Track and finally Mission: Space.

 

I really hope Epcot can be fixed, I don't have much faith though. The new issue is if they can't convince sponsors to pony up money (and it seems Disney is getting away from that), then any new attraction must be based on an IP. So now they're forcing IP and characters into where they don't belong, or using IP that may not have the staying power and needs to be replaced again.

 

They say they want to replacing aging attraction with new ones that are timeless.... to then bring us Guardians as their first big "timeless" attraction is like a slap in the face.

 

Sorry, this is long.

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So much announced at D23! It was crazy. And there may be even more announced for Marvel at Comicon!

 

My quick thoughts on some of the announcements.

 

Star Wars - Not sure about the name Galaxy's End. I understand where they are going, but if you don't know the back story of the land it could be confusing and it just doesn't have a ring to it. I even think I would have preferred The Galaxy's End or At Galaxy's End. The model looks fantastic and I have no doubt they will get it looking like that. I love the ambition they are going for in terms of your reputation and how you interact with people and things in the world. Apparently they are also trying to get rid of anything real world in the land like company logos and no sponsorships. 

 

My only concerns are how all the reputation stuff and interactions they are planning will play out, especially in the early days. How will this work when the land is just crawling with people? Will people not want to leave once they get out because they want to get more credits or don't want to miss anything? Will operations be able to keep it all up and maintained or will they slowly start having to phase things out once they become too much of a hassle?

 

I hope it all works. Glad Rex is back.

 

Star Wars Hotel - I love the idea, I love the ambition. Again, I hope it works and I hope I can experience it some day. I've heard they're looking at about a $650 a night for a room with extra people being $200 a night or something like that, and a maximum 2 night stay.

 

Tron Rollercoaster - Love that its coming to North America. The ride looks amazing in Shanghai. Really really glad that they are using some empty land instead of replacing something as had been rumoured. 

 

Guardians of the Galaxy - I have concerns with the Guardians change to Universe of Energy. I don't see how it fits, and to call GotG "timeless" seems ridiculous considering just a few years ago, most people didn't even know what it was.

 

Epcot Changes - The concept art for the changes to (what some people hope it will be called) Epcot Center looks nice, but it doesn't look like there is actually anything there. I'm not convinced they still know what they are doing with Epcot.

 

Ratatouille - It fits France. I'm fine with where they are putting it. I understand why they are putting IP and character rides into Epcot. I just wish it was a better ride. I found it quite underwhelming when I rode it in Paris. The screens look like big screens in a room, the props are somewhat minimal, and it feels like a huge waste of the trackless vehicles when half the time they are sitting still looking at a screen. I hope they plus it up a bit and decorate the rooms a bit more.

 

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway - Already commented on this. Looks great. Maybe oversold it a bit. Wish it wasn't replacing Great Movie Ride.

 

Toy Story Land - Next year seems right. Hope its good. The one in Paris is OK, but it's not the most lavishly themed and the rides are low capacity carnival rides dressed up with super long lines.

 

New Theater on MK Main Street - The big discussion seems to be where this would go. Speculation is that it could go behind Main Street which actually seems to make the most sense and be the most likely based on current information.

 

Epcot Transportation - The Skyway gondolas could be a game changer for transportation at WDW. If it works well, and is cheap enough to expand on, there could be skyway connected the entire south end of the property before we know it. Anyone who's tried to get around on their bus system (especially to park hop), will know how good this could be. I was a bit surprised how small the gondolas appear to be in the concept images they showed.

 

The "Minnivans" has already started and apparently cost $20 a trip. So, they're for people with money to burn. They're not even vans. A bit disappointing with all the rumours of driverless cars going around.

 

Marvel Land - No real surprises as it was one of the worst kept secrets at DL. We may find out more at SDCC. Read somewhere that one of the rides may be the Tron coaster with an Avengers or Spidey theme.

 

Paradise Pier - I don't understand this one. Why are they taking an area of the park that just had so much work done on it just recently and changing it again? It seems completely unnecessary. Just about everything on that Pier was recently re-themed and would need to be done again to be Pixar. The carnival games, Silly Symphony Swings, the carousal, Mickey's Fun Wheel (which has become one of the icons of the park) and Goofys Sky School. What about Little Mermaid? I am curious as to what could happen to California Screamin though.

 

This is especially frustrating that they are spending time and money on this and Tomorrowland continues to rot. Granted, that's probably a lot more work, but it is needed.

 

Pixar Fest - Seems like a lot of Pixar in both parks. Too bad they couldn't do the big Pixar night show in DCA. Paint the Night is probably going to require taking down the fake electric trolly wires which is kind of a shame.

 

 

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14 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

Or you know what else might be fun? A T2-3D style ant man movie that combined a 3D film and live stage effects. 

 

I don't think we'll be seeing too many more movie based attractions anymore. The repeat-ability of them is low and they tend to suffer from low attendance after a few years. Plus the novelty of 3D is no longer novel. The current theaters are being used more and more for sneak previews of movies instead of their actual show. The Shrek 4D show at Universal is being changed to be a rotating attraction of various Dreamworks properties and the Muppets theater at DHS just got a new sign that makes it look like it would be real easy to change out when/if they want.

 

I also don't think Ant Man is a big enough property for them to make an attraction. Maybe something temporary, or maybe just because they could actually use it in Florida.

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K, I'm done for the night. Sorry for the flood of posts, but I haven't had access to a proper keyboard for a while.

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9 hours ago, Graeme said:

I think the Mickey Mouse ride that is replacing The Great Movie Ride looks like it could be a lot of fun (although I think the Imagineer introducing it at D23 was certainly overselling it just a tad). I am disappointed that it's what's replacing Great Movie Ride however. Great Movie Ride certainly needed an update, and I would understand if Disney wanted to get away from non Disney properties in it. But I wish they had kept something similar but maybe a ride through Disney movie history, showcasing Disney movies that have little or no representation in the park along with some of the more well known classics. How great would it be to have a ride showcasing classic Mickey and Oswald cartoons, Fox and the Hound, Rescuers, 20,000 Leagues, The Love Bug, etc.

 

For me though , it's just sad they are taking this big animatronic ride and replacing it with what looks to be a ride with screen tricks. I'm sure they could have found some other place for the Mickey ride without having to replace one.

 

Was the Great Movie Ride still a big draw for guests? Like Horizons to EPCOT, I think the Great Movie Ride's concept and content is very important as it helped encapsulate the essence of what the Studios Park is/should be (I still wan't to refer to it as Disney's MGM Studios. :)), and similarly it had the entertaining + educational feel in taking people through some classics in cinema history. For that reason I'd have loved to have seen it re-imagined too, but it would have needed a huge overhaul as I watched videos recently for the sake of nostalgia and the animatronics and the likenesses are so dated now. Also, were they constantly having to pay licensing fees to other studios to use the majority of those properties?

 

I like your thought of re-imagining the ride as a tour through Disney's own cinematic history a lot. Looking at the park map, would Sunset Boulevard someday have room for expansion? You could visualise such a ride in that area. Knock down that Beauty and the Beast stage area maybe? Or how about expanding in the 'Animation Courtyard' next to 'One Man's Dream'? How long can the Star Wars Launch Bay continue in that section? And would it be a loss to get ride of the Little Mermaid and Disney Jnr live shows currently advertised as living in that area? I doubt it.

 

This might be Sacrilege but could it also be time for Rock n' Rollercoaster to be re-themed? (perhaps to cover several eras of rock rather than be forever bound to Aerosmith?).

 

 

9 hours ago, Graeme said:

 

From the concept art of Epcot you posted, I think it's pretty obvious the Innoventions buildings are simply going bye bye and becoming whatever they are doing in this art (it looks like a big area with fountains and green area similar to the gardens at Shanghai Disneyland).

 

They have said that new space restaurant is going next to Mission space, and there isn't much "space" there, so next to it would probably mean replacing Wonders of Life, and Test Track, and only one of those buildings is sitting, mostly unused. Speculation is that Wonders of Life becomes this restaurant.

 

The Wonders of Life pavilion is HUGE though.

 

Screen-Shot-2012-12-21-at-12.24.06-PM.jp

 

You can still see the dome in the D23 concept art, so they clearly don't intend to knock it down, but surely the restaurant alone would not take up all that space? I do think Test Track will go, but again probably not until after, or perhaps shortly before, Tron is up and running over at the Magic Kingdom. 

 

 

7 hours ago, Graeme said:

 

EPCOT is an odd one. It has so many things working against it in terms of what it was originally designed to be, what they've tried to do to appeal to more people, and how it has always relied on sponsorships. It also suffers from the same problems as tommorowland, where time moves on, and their looks into the future start to feel dated all too quick.

 

It certainly has its fans, but you have to want what it is offering. if you want to walk around a beautiful park, eat at a wide variety of restaurants, take part in their ongoing festivals, and ride a ride or two, then it's great. If you want to be continuously entertained, it can be a bit of a slog. It certainly has some a few fun attractions, but it can be hard to find them sometimes.

 

I'm personally not a huge fan of Epcot. I still go each time I visit WDW, but it's almost because I want to experience all the parks since I never know when I may be back.

 

I like Test Track (I've done both), but I don't love it. The fast 60MPH run outside the building is fantastic, but the rest of it is kind of dull, and back in original version, felt too much like it was trying to educate about how they test cars.... which isn't the most interesting topic. The new version is cool looking, but is the same ride and the conceit that you're designing a car and then testing it is a bit far fetched. Mission Space is ok and a very interesting simulation, but it's not fantastic and I feel a bit woozy afterwards regardless if I do Orange or Green. Soarin is great and The seas is good and Spaceship Earth is the last remnant from the animatronic wonderland Futureworld used to be.

 

The World Showcase, to me, never feels like it achieves what it is trying to attempt. There are pavilions that are filled primarily with restaurants and shops. The ones without an attraction don't have much else. I was disappointed on my first visit that there wasn't more on the countries and the monuments/buildings they have replicated. My wife seemed to think they were nice, but not the real thing, so somewhat pointless.

 

Even the attractions that are there, don't do their job quite as well as they should. I really like the show in America and the film in France really has an epic and grand feeling. The rest don't do what they should to show off their countries, or need to be updated.

 

I really wish I could have experienced Epcot back in the day. The first time I visited WDW, was shortly after Mission: Space opened. This means Horizons was gone, World of Motion had been long replaced by Test Track, Wonders of Life was shut down, Imagination pavillion was infected by Eric Idle, Communicore was no more, and while Nemo hadn't taken shop in the seas, the ride leading into the base had been shut down. I've seen videos of Horizons, World of Motion, and the original Imagination ride and I really really wish I had had the opportunity to experience these. I feel like there is a time I would have absolutely loved Futureworld, especially Horizons.

 

The sad truth about Epcot is that it was built and maintained with as much sponsorship money as possible. This means the sponsors had a say as to the content of the attractions, the sponsors paid for upgrades and operation, and if the sponsorship ended, then in most cases the attraction was closed or run seasonally. Many sponsorship renewals and changes also required or mandated the changes to the attractions. Almost every story of every pavilion in Futureworld revolves around sponsorship. It's not just Futureworld too. World showcase also relied on money from the countries they represent to be built. There are numerous expansion pads in world showcase for new countries that have never been used because countries were not lining up to join Epcot. Likewise, the countries without rides or attractions, is simply because there wasn't enough money to build them.

 

Beyond that, Epcot has always had a reputation for being boring and not for kids. The attendance of Epcot in its early day was not what Disney wanted and there are stories that when Eisner took over, the board told him that Epcot was now his problem to fix. He and Frank Wells when to all the Disney parks and rode all the rides and apparently Frank Wells kept falling asleep in Epcot. They then started putting characters in park for the first time and there was a mandate for more thrills. The first "thrill" ride was Maelstrom with its drops, then we got Test Track and finally Mission: Space.

 

I really hope Epcot can be fixed, I don't have much faith though. The new issue is if they can't convince sponsors to pony up money (and it seems Disney is getting away from that), then any new attraction must be based on an IP. So now they're forcing IP and characters into where they don't belong, or using IP that may not have the staying power and needs to be replaced again.

 

They say they want to replacing aging attraction with new ones that are timeless.... to then bring us Guardians as their first big "timeless" attraction is like a slap in the face.

 

Sorry, this is long.

 

That's a shame you never got to see classic EPCOT. I went on holiday to Florida with my dad several times as a kid between the late 80s and early 90s and some of my fondest memories are of those classic rides. Everything right out their in front of you, detailed sets, animatronics in huge buildings was just something Disney did so well, and some of those EPCOT rides were the last to have involvement from some of Disney's golden age imagineers (X Atencio wrote the song for World of Motion). I was re-living fond memories of Body Wars from the Wonders of Life pavilion via Youtube only a couple of weeks ago. After all these years i never knew the on ride film was directed by Leonard Nimoy!

 

I agree with you about Guardians. Apparently there were some audible groans from the D23 audience when they tried to make their pitch about why it is right for EPCOT. I'm fine with animated characters appearing in EPCOT. I think that's great to get kids engaged, but yeah, having marvel movie based attraction in there doesn't gel with the rest of the park, and you're absolutely right that it probably won't last 20yrs. The more I think on it now, the more I think that Universe of Energy building could have been a Horizons 2.0 (or 'New Horizons' as such a thing should obviously be called if it ever happened). :(

 

 

6 hours ago, Graeme said:

 

I don't think we'll be seeing too many more movie based attractions anymore. The repeat-ability of them is low and they tend to suffer from low attendance after a few years. Plus the novelty of 3D is no longer novel. The current theaters are being used more and more for sneak previews of movies instead of their actual show. The Shrek 4D show at Universal is being changed to be a rotating attraction of various Dreamworks properties and the Muppets theater at DHS just got a new sign that makes it look like it would be real easy to change out when/if they want.

 

You're probably right, though a Figment 3D show is rumoured which I guess would replace Honey I Shrunk the Audience at EPCOT? I would be devastated if Muppet Vision 3D went. That's an amazing show, an absolute classic and historically important since it was the last thing Jim Henson completed before he died. It's arguably the one lasting 3D show that does have lasting appeal too.

 

I wish Disney knew what to do with the muppets though. I loved reading about pitches for expansions to the Muppets area, notably what could have been a Muppet spoof of the Great Movie Ride. I dearly hope the Muppets stay. The recent opening of the Rizzo pizza restaurant gave me hope that the immediate future of the Muppet courtyard is secure, though watching videos it is disappointing how there's next to no theming indoors (a very old pitch, I think dating back to the 90s, was going to fill a Muppet pizza restaurant with animatronics and even have Rizzo and his rat friends deliver food to your table. The latter idea is a little far fetched and unworkable if there's a failure I'd have thought, but it would have been nice to see some stuff indoors, even if it was some old original Muppet puppets, props...etc). There are so many obvious things that could be done with the Muppets but Disney just don't want to spend the money. I bet imagineers have an goldmine of ideas they'd love to do.

 

 

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Nice detailed overhead photo below. I had wondered last week whilst browsing similar images why construction workers had left one small segment of the old 'Streets of America' facade alone while they build Star Wars Land, and it would appear the reason is to further accommodate the boundary area between Galaxy's Edge, Muppets and Star Tours. Whether this will come in the form of an actual Muppet themed expansion of the courtyard I don't know.

 

MuppetCourtyard-air-06232017-2.jpg

 

 

Credit to Blog Mickey for the image:

 

https://blogmickey.com/2017/06/photos-look-expanded-muppets-courtyard-construction-june-2017/

 

There's certainly no room for a new ride (that building behind the facade is the 50s drive in movie restaurant), but perhaps room for a shop or two and a street level show as it looks like they could be creating a functioning building out of the facade there. That set back curved corner behind the planted tree is also where the popular Writer's Stop cafe was. It'd surely please fans if that was preserved in some way. 

 

 

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Thanks for the shot, really shows how close Star Tours will be to Galaxy's Edge in Orlando.

 

Also, I had no idea that side of the AT-AT wasn't covered/completed.

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I always took the scafolding at the back of the AT-AT to be intentional to give it that "behind the scenes" vibe. I was last there in the days before Fast Passes and you could see it while in the forest section of the queue.

 

I'm guessing that path to the right of the Galaxy's Edge entrance will eventually lead through to Toy Story Land.

 

Apprantly the courtyard/street section could be finished by the end of this year.

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I expect Universal is going to announce a Harry Potter (immersive) hotel connected to both HP lands via the Hogwarts Express in the next few months to compete with that SW hotel.

 

And I like the idea of that SW hotel, but I don't relish paying Disney Premium hotel pricing ($600 a night or so) for a mid-tier Disney hotel.  Guarantee they get extra hours park access, though (possibly on both ends).

 

I will also fully expect Hollywood and Park Hopper ticket prices to spike by ~$20 when Galaxy's Edge (and this new Mickey ride) opens.  Still, a ton of exciting news.  I am hoping to get to Animal Kingdom for Pandora in the next year or so.  After that, we plan to hiatus for several years until they get a lot of this new stuff open.

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I seem to recall hearing Rowling had shot down proposals for a Potter hotel some time ago, but that wasn't first hand information direct from Universal I don't think.

 

I'm not lusting for the SW hotel experience, not so much because of the cost and that it will limit your length of stay, it's going to be pre-booked for years, and if all the windows look out into video projections of space does that mean there will be no natural light in the rooms of that building at all? More than anything that'd be the deal breaker for me. It does sound insanely ambitious nevertheless, and clearly an attraction in its own right. I can totally see guests having Galaxy's Edge access after park closing, yes. 

 

The next big Potter addition in Orlando is rumoured to require the removal of the Dragon Challenge duelling coasters (not sure if that would be a big loss since those coasters have been there since the park opened and merely got re-themed). What never fails to amaze me is the speed at which Universal get things built though.

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Speaking of Universal, one of my favourite Youtube pages about theme park attractions is one called Defunctland, which are little mini-documentaries about the histories of rides and attractions at Disney and Universal that no longer exist. The page owner's idea is to create a virtual home for all these old rides and shows.

 

His most recent was about the Ghostbusters show from Universal. It has some great behind the scenes photos I have never seen before:

 

 

 

I think I wrote this in the thread about Universal acquiring the Nintendo park licensing but I agree with the guy 100% when it comes on his view on Universal failing to embrace continued love and nostalgia from some of its great history (and IPs the studio actually owns! Granted Ghostbusters belonged to Columbia, but there no longer being a presence for the likes of Jaws and Back to the Future in their parks I continue to feel is a colossal blunder). I'd barely recognise a thing about the studios park in Orlando if I went back today.

 

If I did go back to Orlando today it would certainly cost me a pretty penny, especially if I wanted to stay in a familiar moderate or deluxe Disney resort for old time's sake. Plus I'd want to go for at least 14 nights as there's just too much new to see and do, I wouldn't want to rush myself and I'd want time to roam all of Disney, both Universal Parks and I can never go to Florida without taking a day trip to Kennedy Space Centre. That kind of a trip would be well in excess of £6000 which is really another reason I don't plan to go until around 2020 as I need time to put money aside to do it right (plus it will all cost even more in 2020/2021 as it is!).

 

2021 may well be the best year to go as that's when Tron is due to open and it will be the Magic Kingdom's 50th Anniversary celebration, though I may visit my brother in China before then and visit Shanghai Disney. Quite possible Universal will have Nintendo in Orlando by 2021 too.

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If I'm going to recommend other youtube channels then MartinsVideosDotNet has to be at the top of the list. Lengthy documentary and retrospective videos of old rides and attractions at Disney parks (which include a lot of direct feed copies of in queue/on ride videos). A load of his Disney MGM Studios videos are bringing back so many memories like full videos of the backlot tour as it was in 1991 when they had stuff like the skiff from Return of the Jedi, the ship from Flight of the Navigator and all those cars from Blade Runner and Dick Tracy out in the 'boneyard'... So great to see all this stuff again (I was in awe of all the Roger Rabbit vehicles on show when I was there at that time too). On pt1 of the Backlot Tour video look out for the partition wall advertising 'Muppet Studios' as coming soon, that was the original concept for putting the Muppets in the park, giving them an entire Muppet Studios land before the budget was cut and the Muppets got nothing more than a theatre for the 3D show.

 

SO much to watch here. Most of his videos are 1hr+.

https://www.youtube.com/user/MartinsVidsDotNet/videos

 

 

Here's his Great Movie Ride video for us to get tearful over :):

 

 

 

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14 days!!!?? Hot damn.

 

Defunctland videos are great. We got lucky that the kids got to see the Jaws ride and Twister and Disaster. I don't know if they remember Jaws, as they were pretty small at that time.

 

Twister was great, it really freaked my daughter out during the gas tank explosion as you get quite a heat wave - great practical effects there.

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It's still mind-boggling to me... the cost of these attractions... Like the EPCOT overhaul being allocated 2 billion dollars... 2 BILLION dollars.... 

 

And I wonder who thought it was a good idea to base a ride on a night talk show...why?

 

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9 hours ago, AlbertA said:

14 days!!!?? Hot damn.

 

It's a bit excessive I know, but I was sitting thinking about how I'd approach a trip there after (what would be approaching) 30yrs come 2020/2021. Not only have the parks I used to visit back then already had extensive re-modelling and new rides since my last visit to Orlando in 94, there are two whole parks that will be completely new to me (Animal Kingdom and Islands of Adventure). If I was a US resident and the opportunity to visit these places were more frequent I'd obviously plan for shorter trips, but flying out from the UK kind of encourages me to make the most out of a single visit as I don't know when I might be there again. As a kid holidaying there my dad and I would also pick out a couple of parks to do twice as there was just so many rides we loved, so classics at Magic Kingdom and Universal commanded double visits, then we'd sometimes use a hopping pass to re-visit EPCOT and MGM on the same day so I could get my Star Tours, Muppets, Horizons, Figment and World of motion fixes one last time (we knew our way around the parks as they were then very well, so knew shortcuts and what rides to aim for at specific times of day). Looking at what's at Universal today I doubt would lure me to go twice during a stay, but Islands of Adventure would as everything there will be new to me, and there's a lot there that appeals. I'd probably do Hollywood Studios and EPCOT in the same day with a hopper if I were visiting tomorrow, but in three or four years I know Hollywood Studios will benefit from two visits just to soak up the Star Wars stuff. Multi-day park entry offers to bookings at Disney Resorts, at least to international customers, are pretty reasonable too right now so I hope those deals continue in the years ahead (a 14 day park pass for the price of 7 offer has been extended into 2018).

 

It's going to be quite overwhelming whenever I get to go back, and being overwhelmed by all the new stuff to see, on top of regularly being overwhelmed by crowd sizes and the Florida humidity, definitely calls for being able to making it more relaxing by staying for two weeks and not having to rush around. I couldn't do it in seven days. Maybe ten, but I'm older now, so a couple of days out to relax in a resort no longer sounds boring to me (:)) and I've always loved the design and theming of Disney's hotels almost as much as the parks so time to soak all that up and relax is very appealing to me now. I also don't know if it's down to being a British thing and the joke about our love of queuing, but personally even as I kid I did not mind waiting in line for rides as it built anticipation and I loved so much of the in-queue theming and story stuff that if I went back today I don't know how often I'd want to use a Fastpass to speed up my time in the parks. So factor in all that, the obligatory drive out to Kennedy Space Centre, a day's shopping at Disney Springs...etc and the days quickly add up. Disney Springs itself is another part of the resort that would be unrecognisable to me. To me that's still Disney Village/Pleasure Island!

 

What I don't know is what time of year I'd visit. June/July would be very busy. I used to go in August which is probably a little better. I hear May is very good if you stick to the parks on weekdays and avoid weekends, and my birthday rolls around every May so that might be what I do. I've also heard September is good too as it's a TINY bit cooler, kids are back to school and even weekend park attendance tends to be slightly lower. Literally the one thing that'd stop a September visit though is the thought of Haunted Mansion being closed ahead of its Nightmare before Christmas re-theme. Visiting any Disney park and not being able to go on my favourite ride of all time would be a wasted trip. I was fortunate enough to be able to go to California several years in a row in the early 2000s, so naturally took a day out to Disneyland every time, but one visit the Mansion was down ahead of its Halloween refurb and I was devastated. :lol:

 

If I can't afford such an ambitious trip once the time comes then I'll likely make a shorter one out to California and do Star Wars Land at Anaheim, but I have years to save up and plan for re-visiting Florida so hopefully I can do it (and even though I have not had much opportunity to travel in the last 10 or 15yrs I've head the means to collect a lot of airmiles in that time so it's unlikely I'd have to concern myself with the cost of flying at least).

 

To ease the wait of getting back to the US parks for the new stuff I should probably get the train out to the park in Paris next year too for a quick Disney fix before Brits are forced to fill out VISA forms and stand in immigration queues, the kind of queue I certainly do not like, just to get into the country come 2019. Thanks, Brexit! :( 

 

 

9 hours ago, AlbertA said:

It's still mind-boggling to me... the cost of these attractions... Like the EBCOT overhaul being allocated 2 billion dollars... 2 BILLION dollars.... 

 

And I wonder who thought it was a good idea to base a ride on a night talk show...why?

 

 

EPCOT needs it though. ResortTV1 is another nice new Youtube channel I have discovered recently, and I just happened to catch a live-stream he was doing yesterday evening (evening for me, anyhow) and he was casually strolling around Future World answering questions from his subscribers and every time I watch Youtube videos from the park it is endlessly shocking just how desolate that park is. Frankly I think it is disgusting that EPCOT and the Studios do not have slightly reduced park entry fees at the moment as EPCOT is a shell, and the Studios is effectively a construction site, but I guess now EPCOT has Frozen Disney feel they can command that entry fee for that alone (that it had a 75min+ wait time vs 10-15mins for everything else in the guy's stream yesterday I guess says it all). 

 

It cost 1 Billion or thereabouts to save California Adventure I think, and gradually re-build that park completely whilst still keeping it open, so given it's age I can understand EPCOT needing double that. I'd love to go back to California Adventure someday as it looks pretty great now. There was little I liked when I went apart for Soarin', the rapids ride and a chance to do Muppetvision 3D, but I'd love to see Cars Land now which looks very impressive, and so does Guardians in fairness. I'm surprised Cars Land is not coming to the Studios park in Orlando actually. Toy Story Land will be a kiddie land at the end of the day. They have that stretch of street area at the Studios Park that mimics the architecture of Pixar's campus so you'd think that would have paved way for a full blown Pixar Land. They could have added the Monsters Inc ride from DCA or something (or ideally done it better since he DCA ride was just a re-skin of the much hated Superstar Limo). 

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Lots of new stuff to look forward to.  We're doing a disney trip this december with the kids (who will be 5 and 9), but I can't help but be a little disappointed that some of this stuff is so far off.  I think the current plan is that we'll skip Epcot completely though.  Adding park hopper to the passes we got would have been an extra 10 bucks a day, and last time I don't think we ever really used it.  Probably 2 days each at the other parks, plus looking at doing a day trip out to Legoland.  Would be nice to get back to Universal (haven't been since 2013), but most of the stuff there would freak my kids out.  I do have a conference in Orlando in September though, so I'm thinking about trying to get a day in to see some of the new stuff-maybe a Universal/IOA day with VIP (although that's expensive as hell), or maybe check out Volcano Bay (their new waterpark) if the weather ends up being good. 

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Yeah Disney Park hopping with a family is almost impossible. And yeah skipping Epcot is a good idea :) Once they are done with renovations we'll see...

 

7 hours ago, Angry the Clown said:

lso don't know if it's down to being a British thing and the joke about our love of queuing, but personally even as I kid I did not mind waiting in line for rides as it built anticipation and I loved so much of the in-queue theming and story stuff that if I went back today I don't know how often I'd want to use a Fastpass to speed up my time in the parks.

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You don't mind long queues? My personal top is 30mins... if I wait less than 30 mins per ride... I'm mostly ok with that. And if you want to admire the in-queue theming, you can just stop let people pass along as you admire it. We've definitely done that on Harry Potter land. 

 

I actually remember The Back to the Future Ride when I was a tween and I hated it for one reason... The queue of 90mins for 30 seconds of ride (at least that's how I recall it).

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2 hours ago, ChrisBardon said:

Lots of new stuff to look forward to.  We're doing a disney trip this december with the kids (who will be 5 and 9), but I can't help but be a little disappointed that some of this stuff is so far off.  I think the current plan is that we'll skip Epcot completely though.  Adding park hopper to the passes we got would have been an extra 10 bucks a day, and last time I don't think we ever really used it.  Probably 2 days each at the other parks, plus looking at doing a day trip out to Legoland.  Would be nice to get back to Universal (haven't been since 2013), but most of the stuff there would freak my kids out.  I do have a conference in Orlando in September though, so I'm thinking about trying to get a day in to see some of the new stuff-maybe a Universal/IOA day with VIP (although that's expensive as hell), or maybe check out Volcano Bay (their new waterpark) if the weather ends up being good. 

 

What would freak your kids out at the Universal parks? Just the higher intensity of Universal's rides in general? 

 

 

1 hour ago, AlbertA said:

You don't mind long queues? My personal top is 30mins... if I wait less than 30 mins per ride... I'm mostly ok with that. And if you want to admire the in-queue theming, you can just stop let people pass along as you admire it. We've definitely done that on Harry Potter land. 

 

I actually remember The Back to the Future Ride when I was a tween and I hated it for one reason... The queue of 90mins for 30 seconds of ride (at least that's how I recall it).

 

I'll clarify... I don't mind long waits for certain rides. My ideal max wait would be around 45mins, but if the queue area has good theming, music and nice air conditioning...etc, then sure I don't mind 60-90min waits. Short rides with long and uninspiring queues, like Peter Pan's flight, are perhaps the kind I'd look to get a fast pass for whenever I go back. In the past though I would make a brisk walk towards my absolute favourite rides at park opening so my first rides of the day would never take long. At Magic Kingdom I'd typically go immediately to the Mansion, then come back down through Adventureland for Pirates, then up to Splash Mountain, then Big Thunder. Similarly a well timed Main St train could get me and my dad swiftly to Frontierland where we'd start with Splash and Big Thunder.

 

I don't know whether I was just a patient child and happy to queue if necessary, or whether the sense of anticipation when waiting was enhanced by the fact I was a child at the time. I'm rather sad I don't yet have kids of my own to take and experience it all through them, although if that day comes that's going to be even more expensive than the trip for two I'm currently planning for. My adult trips to Disneyland in the early 2000s typically came around November so I was never in line that long, but when I was I was never bored. I just love the theming, the music...etc in a lot of the classics rides. I'd still be smiling if I ever had to stroll for 90mins through the queue to the Indiana Jones Adventure (I never had to whenever I went, and actually wish I did have to wait a little longer when I was there as there is so much to see in that queue). I'll wait as long as it takes for Haunted Mansion, but in all fairness you never have to wait that long for omnimover based rides as they're designed so perfectly to get 1000s of riders through per hour. That's something I loved about so many of the classic EPCOT rides actually, most were track based dark rides so 45min waits were about the max average.   

 

Back to the Future I was always happy to wait for if necessary, chiefly because it was one of my favourite rides of all time, and also because there was actually a lot of great original video content to enjoy while you were standing in line even before you got the the boarding area video stuff. Great music playing in that queue as well (fragments of the scores from the films, some 50s rock...etc). The Simpsons ride seems to have good queue stuff from videos I've seen, but eh... damn them for taking BTTF away. It probably had the best ride queue content of a Universal Studios ride of that era. Jaws was good in the way Jungle Cruise is good as you could see fragments of the ride, watch boats coming and going...etc and there was an all ground great atmosphere to get you in the mood. I remember liking the grotty New York queue for the old Kongfrontation ride at Universal too. From videos I've seen Universal seem to have excelled themselves with the Potter ride queue theming.

 

I'd have to give myself a good understanding of fast passes as they did not exist when I last went to Orlando, and when last in California the parks were never busy enough for me to need to acquire any. I'm still not 100% sure how they work. Today of course we're blessed with park apps on our phone which show ride wait times, so there's clearly a lot of ways now to manage what you ride and when if you do a little research ahead of time. 

 

Those new Star Wars land rides I can see commanding 90min+ waits for their entire first year of operation for those without a fast pass.  

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Disney FastPass is free. You can reserve FastPass time slots a month in advance, or 2 months if you are staying at a Disney hotel.

 

You can choose up to 3 time slots per day. The park will limit the number of fastpasses they issue per timeslot, per ride. The time slots are I think 1hr-1.5hr window where you can go in through the fastpass line at the ride by scanning an RFID armband in a cool orb post looking thingy that flashes red/green - the armbands are given to you at the entrance and they are linked to your account - the nice thing is you can still change the timeslots that day at any point using their app. We certainly did that when our schedules changed as they always do with kids :)

 

Universal is a more traditional, you pay more to get to the front, with two tiers. The cheaper tier you can only use the express pass once per ride. The second tier is unlimited.

Most rides have a dedicated express pass entrance, some don't so you go through "child swap" entrances... usually you don't see any of the in-queue entertainment - almost like you are entering through the backstage.

 

I'm a cheapskate so I haven't bought Universal's express pass - through when my wife/kids went last month, they bought the unlimited for a day ($600 for 4-people... insane...)

 

The Mansion - I'm with you - I think we rode this probably 10-12 times in the two days we allocated to Disney last time.

 

November seems like a good month to visit. We did that last time I was in Orlando. I think we averaged 30 mins a ride - but crowd sizes keep increasing - it was still pretty packed for November I thought - no doubt because Diagon Alley is open and connected through Hogsmeade.

 

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