EPCOT Visit 2013

Today took the threestrandswdw family to EPCOT! I went ahead of everyone else to have a few minutes to myself in my favorite park. Seems like yesterday when I walked into a two-day old EPCOT Center that looked new, smelled fresh, and had a unique theme that had never been done. And, while it looks a bit more worn, could use a fresh coat of paint, and maybe some updates on a few attractions, my soft spot for this Theme Park remains strong and true.

I got to take my first ride on the classic Spaceship Earth! I miss the Walter Cronkite version, and didn’t get to hear any of the other narrators prior to Miss Dench. She does a nice job, but if you’re sleepy, be careful! From there, I went over to the musical fountain and shot several minutes of video. I love how the water responds to the music, and at this time it is using Christmas music. Nice touch!

Once my family caught up, we rode Mission: Space. It’s a thrilling ride, even on the Green side of things. I love that Gary Sinise is the Capcom! He just fits the part!

Soarin’ was next on the list and it did not disappoint! I do wish they would get a film more fitting to the Florida setting, and we all know rumors are circling. But, until I see it, I won’t believe it! The technology is looking aged, but it still delivers a nice, calm thrill!

While my wife and mother-in-law went to “Livin’ With The Land” I took the kids and we did Figment at the Imagination Pavilion. Then, we met back up at “The Seas with Nemo and Friends” using FastPass+. On this day, that was a good choice for this attraction!

My son and I then hoofed back to Imagination to enjoy Captain EO. I know, it’s old and dated. But, this is only my second time seeing it, and rumor has it may be the last chance I was going to get to see it.

Finally, it was time for the other ride I had been waiting to see. We cashed in our FastPass+ at Test Track! I actually like the changes. It still does the same testing, but it is kind of a blind test. You don’t really see what’s coming, or how the car is going to respond. The road test was exhilarating! My only regret is that I ran out of time to ride it a second time!!

image

It was time to head to the China Pavilion in World Showcase for lunch at Nine Dragons. I know much has been said about this restaurant, but I like to judge on my own experience without the influence of others. I will be writing later with details of what we all ate, and what we thought about each dish. Suffice it to say, we will likely return on future visits.

We all went our own way for a bit of time to wander different areas of World Showcase. I still enjoy “O Canada” and Martin Short enhances the movie, in my opinion. The visuals are beautiful and the music brings tears to my eyes (and I’m not Canadian).

The highlight of the day was my first ever Candlelight Processional. Our narrator tonight was Whoopi Goldberg and I was very pleasantly surprised at her presentation of the Christmas Story as told in The Bible! As a Christian, it is important to me that this story is treated with respect and honor. And, Whoopi accomplished that task with grace and feeling. Nicely Done!!

I chose to pass on Illuminations! Reflections of Earth on this trip. It’s been hotter than expected with higher humidity that you would think to see this time of year. And, considering my home is under a foot of snow at this moment, I think I’m doing pretty good!

Tomorrow is Animal Kingdom day, so until may you have a Blessed and Magical evening!

Holidays at EPCOT

This weekend brings a tradition at EPCOT back to life. The 2013 Holidays Around The World begins with storytellers and cultural presentations in the pavilions of World Showcase. Make sure to pick up your guide for times and presentations.

Candlelight Processional

Also returning, is the well-known Candlelight Processional. This nightly presentation of the Christmas Story is narrated by different celebrities throughout the season. This year’s schedule includes:

Gary Sinise November 29 to December 1, 2013
Neil Patrick Harris December 2 to December 3, 2013
Ashley Judd – NEW! December 4 to December 5
Whoopi Goldberg December 6 to December 7, 2013
Sigourney Weaver – NEW! December 8 to December 10, 2013
Dennis Haysbert – NEW! December 11 to December 13, 2013
James Denton December 14 to December 16, 2013
Edward James Olmos December 17 to December 19, 2013
Trace Adkins December 20 to December 22, 2013
Steven Curtis Chapman December 23 to December 25, 2013
Blair Underwood December 26 to December 28, 2013
Amy Grant December 29 to December 30, 2013

For the hearing impaired, an American Sign Language interpreter translates the legendary account, allowing Guests of all kinds the opportunity to enjoy the event.

It is times like this that I was a local to see so many of my favorite people like Gary Sinise, Dennis Haysbert, and Steven Curtis Chapman. I will, however, get to see Whoopi Goldberg this year. I’ll likely have a review and maybe some video for that one.

I wish you all a festive and enjoyable Christmas Season!!

Magic Kingdom Park Makes Disney History As All Walt Disney World Parks Go Turnstile Free « Disney Parks Blog

Is this a significant step in the MyMagic+ roll-out? I think it is, but I am really starting to get concerned about how long this seems to be taking to complete. When I couple this system with the continued crashing of the Walt Disney World website, I am beginning to doubt how much stuff can be put on the MagicBand. But, I am trying to remain hopeful that these bugs will be worked out! Please read on, and respond if you feel led.

Magic Kingdom Park Makes Disney History As All Walt Disney World Parks Go Turnstile Free « Disney Parks Blog.

Personal MyMagic+ Testing Next Week

Greetings Readers!

Beginning Wednesday, December 4, I will be at Walt Disney World and starting my own personal testing of the MyMagic+ system. I plan on taking notes and passing it on to you all daily. I am excited about what this could all be, but also a bit apprehensive.

Magicband-Box

There has been a lot of negative stuff on the web the past few days, talking about how the investment in this project has halted other ‘creative’ projects. This may be true, but I don’t know if the source can be trusted. All I know is that am one who believes that Disney will get it right! Walt was one to create technology that didn’t previously exist, and this is just another step in that process.

As I am preparing for my departure, I am working to make sure I have everything I need to give you as much as I can. That may include pictures, some video, or who knows what.

If there is anything specific you want to know about the MagicBand process, please email me at threestrandswdw@hotmail.com and I’ll do my best to get results!

The adventure begins Tuesday as I drive about 19 hours to WDW! Until then, may Disney Magic fill your weekend! Happy Thanksgiving to those in the USA!

Be Blessed!!!

Appetite Adventures

Sanaa - Animal Kingdom Lodge

There are many places to eat around Walt Disney World. I have only sampled a half-handful at this point. On my upcoming trip, I will be able to try a few new places, and repeat a couple of our favorites from our last trip. One of the visit again restaurants is ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. My wife insists on ‘Ohana for every trip. And, if that is the only way to get her there, I’ll use that incentive every time!

Two of my new places this trip will be Wilderness Canyon Cafe (WCC) at the Wilderness Lodge and Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom. WCC is part of the Backstage Magic tour that I have scheduled and I am so looking forward to seeing the Wilderness Lodge and eating at WCC! I hear that Flame Tree is pretty good as Counter Service spots are concerned, so it will be interesting to see how my family reacts.

Here is a list of my five ‘want to visit’ restaurants in upcoming trips to Walt Disney World:

1. California Grill – I’m not a Sushi fan, but there are other menu items that sounds really tasty. And, I think the view may be the real seller on this place.

2. Yachtsman Steakhouse – I love steak! And, it’s close proximity to EPCOT makes it appealing for an early dinner so we could be back in time for Illuminations!.

3. Be Our Guest – Haven’t gotten there, yet. May eat there on Walt’s Birthday…Mine too! Hope to see the inside of the Beast Castle and get some good pictures!

4. Columbia Harbour House – Love the look of the menu. I hear the Clam Chowder is awesome and the setting is very nice in the middle of Liberty Square.

5. Sanaa – I like the idea of eating at Animal Kingdom Lodge. And, I’m hoping there may actually be some spicing to please the palette.

What are some you would recommend? Leave a comment and tell me.

As always, have a Blessed and Magical Week!

Christmas in the World

Christmas WDW
Photo from WDW Info

As I am in the midst of preparing for our next visit to Walt Disney World, I am excited about the plethora of Christmas options being offered in the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.

We are skipping Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, I just can justify the cost for this trip. Someday, I hope to be able to fit it in, just for the experience. We have Candlelight Processional booked with our meal (I’ll save the location until after our trip). And, I am really looking forward to the Holidays around the World at EPCOT! I think seeing how other countries handle this beautiful time of year.

Osbourne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios should be an absolute delight. Pardon the pun! And, of course, the Magic Kingdom is still decorated! I am really going to enjoy this vacation! I am also hoping to drop by a few resorts to get some pictures of the decorations. We are staying at Art Of Animation, but I hope to see Wilderness Lodge, Grand Floridian, and maybe Port Orleans – Riverside, too.

So, let me ask you all to help me out a little.

Have fun with this! That’s all it’s meant to be!

Have a Blessed and Magical Weekend!

Headlines from around WDW

Club Cool, at EPCOT has replaced most of the flavors from around the world for park guests to sample. However, The Beverly is still available. Drink up!

Club Cool

EPCOT will be testing the tiered Fastpass+ system. Beginning November 4, you will only be able to choose ONE headlining attraction. You will choose two more from the other attractions offered. Headliners are: Illuminations!, Test Track, Soarin’, Character Spot, and Maelstrom. The other attractions are: Captain EO, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Living with the Land, Spaceship Earth, Mission: Space, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and Turtle Talk with Crush. This test isn’t for EVERYDAY, but will include most weekends and several days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. We’ll let you know how these tests are received.

Swan and Dolphin will begin ‘testing’ MagicBands this month as it appears the full roll-out is continuing.

Limited-Time Magic for this week is a behind the scenes tour of the Animal Care areas at Animal Kingdom. Sign up is done through the website. This looks like it could be very interesting!

Magic Kingdom will be making the change from Halloween to Christmas this week. The first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is November 8 beginning at 7pm.

Attractions closed for refurbishment are:

Peter Pan until November 13
It’s a small world will close December 2 – 12

Enjoy your week! I hope it is a blessed and magical one for you!