Now Arriving…MK#6 – Splash Mountain

Howdy folks, we’re ridin’ on in to the Ol’ West next to begin our loop around Frontierland, to shed some light on the attraction offerings in this here corner of the Kingdom. So saddle up and join our posse as we head on up to the Briar Patch and see what’s going down, quite literally at the thorny hide-away known as the laughing place. It sits below a daunting outcrop of rocky hills known to all as ‘Splash Mountain’, so be careful, we may get wet. Time to be moving along, so let’s get to it. Continue reading “Now Arriving…MK#6 – Splash Mountain”

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The Stuff We Now Know & PhotoPass Tests Non-Humans

So that was a surprise. Who even knew there was a prominent D23 event over the weekend just gone? This guy for one. I need to reconsider my Disney fandom credentials forthwith, as this totally escaped my radar until my twitter feed was awash with DestinationD output.

We’re in the midst of probably the most congested period of development at Walt Disney World in decades. Many of these projects up until now were fairly light on detail or keeping us guessing as to when they might open to guests. DestinationD sought to answer some of these questions and expand our understanding of what some of these projects will eventually look like. Autumn (or Fall) will certainly be a significant season next year, so anyone holding off on booking a trip until the likes of Galaxy’s edge is operational are a little wiser as to when this may be.

What we can say with certainly is what the 2 major new attractions within Galaxy’s Edge will be called. ‘Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run’ will see guests taking on one of three unique roles aboard the ship. I shall wildly speculate that these will be pilot, navigator and gunner, but equally probable could be welder, maintenance droid and Health & Safety Officer because let’s face it, it’s a bit of a wreck. A resilient wreck, most definitely, but Han and Chewie were clearly negligent regards its upkeep.

‘Rise of the Resistance’ puts guests in amongst an epic battle between the goodies (the resistance) and the baddies (the First Order), including a shot at rogue villain Kylo Ren. Let’s hope the experience ends up a bit more favourable than those resistance fellows in ‘Rogue One’.

Some new Concept Art was released of the as yet un-named Star Wars Resort. A fully immersive and bank-balance draining resort that place guests as close to the Star Wars universe as possible, with everything from dining, recreation and sleeping quarters designed to mimic life on a functioning starship.

star wars resort

Although no exact date for Galaxy’s Edge or the Star Wars Resort is known, late fall or even Dec 2019 has been suggested.

If you are planning a visit earlier in the year, you may still catch something new at the Studio’s. A new night-time cinematic production will debut in May called ‘The Wonderful World of Animation’. It plans to highlight the artistry and advancement of animation over the last 90 years in a colourful and visual display.

More Studio’s news dropped that revealed next fall will see the reopening of the majestic Chinese Theatre and its brand new Mickey Mouse attraction, Mickey’s Runaway mickeyrunawayRailway’. We are promised an innovative ride experience worthy of its central character, but I’m still not convinced by the animation style taken from the present day Mickey Short’s. It will be judged on its merits however (and partially v its predecessor) when it opens next year.

Continuing the Mickey theme, the sprightly 90 year old will be the focus of a brand new celebration starting Jan 18th thru Sept 30th 2019. ‘Mickey & Minnie’s Surprise Celebration’ will introduce new snack items, merchandise and entertainment, including a dance party (ugh!) and the opportunity to meet the pair in Birthday attire. You can be amongst many thousands to amusingly declare seeing Mickey in his birthday suit early next year.

Next, Animal Kingdom and it was announced…

wonkalose

Ah, moving on then…

Over to Epcot and perhaps the only announcement to catch us completely unaware was that regarding a brand new Beauty and Beast sing-along show at the France Pavilion (based on the live action version starring Hermione Granger) This will be a separate entity to the existing ‘Impressions de France’ but will use the same theatre space to provide a broader range of entertainment to suit all ages. I think this is a happy medium to placate the purists and bring in a younger crowd who would otherwise pass it by.

As we are already aware, France is undergoing a significant expansion to add a Ratatouille themed attraction. This attraction now has an official name :- ‘Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure’ Still no update on a time of arrival yet.

As you are no doubt already aware, the current incarnation of ‘Illuminations’, the nightly spectacular upon World Showcase lagoon ends its run next Summer. Well, we have not one, but two shows lined up to follow. Bridging the gap between Reflections of Earth and its full-time replacement in 2020 will be a limited time only show called ‘Epcot Forever’, a celebration of the park and its evolution through the medium of song, pyrotechnics, lasers and choreographed ‘special effect kites’. I’m not certain, but I don’t believe these ‘kites’ are the running-into-a-headwind-holding-a-piece-of-string type, nor the two-winged ornithological version, although either of these would be mighty impressive. Drones perhaps?

lakeside resort

Finally, we got an official title for the recently announced nature centric resort soon to take the place of the abandoned River Country site. ‘Reflections – A Disney Lakeside Lodge’, a 900 room and DVC villa deluxe resort sits between the two wilderness themed resorts, so its outdoors-y theme kinda fits, and yes it is by a lakeside so the matter-of-fact title does seem appropriate. I think this name hits the mark more so than another recently named building (pre-event), that of Coronado Spring’s 15-story ‘Gran Destino Tower’.gran destino I doesn’t quite roll off the tongue and then there’s the issue of pronunciation, Des-tee-no or Des -tin-o?

That about wraps it up in term of significant announcements, however one other newsworthy development landed about a week ago that hasn’t been greatly received. In fact the cynic in me suggests the timing was deliberate to allow these other more positive items drown out the disapproval. I talk of the Photopass automation that has arrived at select meet and greet locations, where the human photography element has been removed In favour of a remote box system, akin to a photobooth.

photopass

There seems little reason to do this, other than yet another labour saving measure and it seems unlikely that this format is conducive to capturing many of the candid and in-the-moment shots that a competent Photopass Photographer frequently manages. Losing the human element will make it tricky to coax a smile out of many a younger guest who may be too shy or unwilling to pose with a character for as long as it may take to group together in front of a camera. It seems impersonal to me and although the Disney Characters themselves are adept at engaging and cajoling little ones, I fail to see how the range of shots can be accurately replicated without a skilled eye.

Perhaps it’s not purely being done for monetary reasons, maybe its seen as a way to expedite the process. I’ve stood in many a meet & greet line that can be hugely time consuming. Thinking about it, what slows things up is often the characters themselves who really convince as their persona, or they get handed a bundle of autograph books to sign, or groups insist on taking several shots with their own cameras. These issues will still persist unless there further radical change and the net result is a poorer and less personal product.

Ok, so for now this is only effecting minimal locations and Photopass will continue as normal around the parks. In fact Disney insist the majority are here to stay and it could, in the long run, only really impact meet & greet locations (I can’t for instance see how you replace a photographer stood in the middle of Main St with a box) Arguably though the Meet and Greet  snappers take the most treasured pictures. There’s still a downside however minimal they may choose to roll it out.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! If it is broke, like say a door hanging from its hinges off an exhausted monorail, then by all means take corrective measures.

There’s a train of thought amongst Disney Imagineering that everything can be made more convenient with technology. True, it can make life easier. Mobile ordering, Magicbands etc work great. But when it erodes the very thing that sets them apart from those in their industry, the blue ribbon customer service, then it could be counter-productive in the long run.

 

Dancing in the Moonlight Magic at Typhoon Lagoon

Earlier this year we were fortunate enough to catch one of the DVC member events during our trip, the ‘Moonlight Magic’ at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. In past years when they’ve ran these type of events we’ve always missed out as they were typically scheduled either side of usual May visits. So there was much rejoicing when prior to our trip, DVC announced several extra events across the various Disney parks and one fell nicely within our dates.

Moonlight1 Continue reading “Dancing in the Moonlight Magic at Typhoon Lagoon”

Its Open Season on Disney Pricing! Will Anything Change?

Yet more eyebrow raising this week as I take in the recent developments around WDW. The not-uncommon but nonetheless disheartening news that yet more price rises are set to drive the cost of our Disney vacation further skyward. This time it’s the turn of Annual Passes, Parking rates (both theme park and resort) and purchasable Magic Bands to have us looking gloomily into our darkened wallets.

Continue reading “Its Open Season on Disney Pricing! Will Anything Change?”

Now Arriving…MK#5 – Pirates of the Caribbean

Avast ye scallywags, we be settin’ sail once again on a course around the Magic Kingdom. The winds be favourin’ an easterly bearing, towards the very edge of Adventureland says I, where the natives be rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves and the dead be no good at storytellin’.

Onwards me hearties, to the place know as ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ to rifle and loot what be a treasure in its own right.

Continue reading “Now Arriving…MK#5 – Pirates of the Caribbean”

Some Illuminating Changes are Happening at WDW!

Illuminations Dimmed, ‘Move It, Shake It’ dances out of town, Rafiki ends Plant Watching, Live Actors silenced and Price Rises aplenty.

The Halloween season is in full swing at WDW and it seems the Disney hierarchy have taken the theme of strange occurrences and unexplained goings on rather literally, as a series of announcements have dropped in the last few weeks that bewilder and surprise.

Continue reading “Some Illuminating Changes are Happening at WDW!”

The Monorail Lime Blog Movie Review – The Incredibles 2 (and Bao!)

I finally got around to seeing the long-awaited follow-up to The Incredibles, the numerically sequential Incredibles 2! Did it live up to the hype? what was the short ‘Bao’ all about?  Which film do I foresee following in its superhero booted footsteps and is there likely to be an Incredibles 3? Read my review for all the mostly speculative answers! Continue reading “The Monorail Lime Blog Movie Review – The Incredibles 2 (and Bao!)”