Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nostalgia vs Cheesiness: A look at the Universe of Energy in Epcot

I’m a Disney fanatic (otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging about).  
So I hold a lot of things in the parks dear to my heart and view them fondly with a nostalgic reverence.

When I visited Epcot in the spring with my wife and her kids it was interesting to see things through someone else’s eyes.  One of the kids wanted to see Captain EO at the Imagination Pavilion.  I love Captain EO.  I fondly remember going to see it back at Disneyland until it was replaced by Honey I Shrunk the Audience.   I remember being excited to see it again when it returned to Disneyland after Michael Jackson’s death.     So when one of the kids’s wanted to see it—I was all in.   As we left the ride my wife turns to me and just said “That is so cheesy”.      For me it is a classic attraction.  A Nostalgic gem.   She didn’t have memories of Captain EO in that way –so for her it was just a cheesy 80’s music video.   (Blasphemy)

Well after this we were going to head into World Showcase –but one of the kid’s wanted to see Universe of Energy (I guess I made it sound better than it is).   I remember liking Ellen’s Universe of Energy 15 years ago.   I remember thinking it was funny and entertaining.   After we went on this attraction I guess my memories were just misplaced Nostalgia.   The Universe of Energy hasn’t aged well.   I could have not even mentioned it and taken the family directly into World Showcase and we could have had more time there –instead I feel like we wasted time on an outdated attraction.   I think Disney knows it is outdated as well.  In fact they pretty much warn you before you go on the ride –letting you know that it is a 40 plus minute attraction.   (Yikes –we should have run for the hills).    The ride wasn’t funny to me anymore—it just seemed super long and dull.  The one section that I remember the most with the Dinosaurs was still decent –but you basically see the same thing that you see on Disneyland Railroad in California –with about half the scenes not included.  It was kind of a cheesy waste of time now.  I remember it being so much better. 

I know that many Disney fans get their panties in a bunch whenever an old ride is scheduled to be replaced.  Look at how upset many people were when Maelstrom closed.  Maelstrom was fun –but it was old and maybe a Frozen update of that ride will be a good thing.   Aside from my Ultimate Epcot discussions on how you could improve Epcot “If money was no object”   --maybe Universe of Energy just needs to replaced with anything better and more entertaining.  

Is this ride a Nostalgic ride for you---or is it just old and cheesy?

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Ultimate Epcot: If money was no object --What would you add to Epcot: Part 6 Germany

When the Germany Pavilion in Epcot was first built it was supposed to house a river boat ride –that from the description sounds like an indoor version of Storybookland in Disneyland.  Instead of featuring miniature houses from Disney films it would be like a tour of Germany.   The building for the attraction exists –but the ride itself was never built.
 In Ultimate Epcot we have been talking about what you would add to each section of World Showcase “If money was no object”.  Many of the countries it was easy to come up with ideas for as there were obvious Disney connections to those lands.
The Disney Germany connection is mainly Snow White.   The Seven Dwarf's Mine Train would have been a perfect addition to Germany—but that went in at the Magic Kingdom instead –so to do something Snow White related would be redundant.
So what does that leave us to work with???
Out of the Box idea: Bringing Germany to World Showcase:
My first thought was very non-Disney –but very Germany.   A Brewery Tour

There are over 1,300 Breweries currently in Germany.   If Disney were to cut a long term deal with one of those Breweries they could build a working Brewery building with an Omnimover ride system that could take you on a tour through the Brewing process.    I remember as a kid going to Busch Gardens in Los Angeles.   I remember it had an old log ride through an Aviary (bad idea) and it also had a little boat ride as well.   But I remember the slow moving ride that took you through the brewery.   Of course the mistake they made was having free beer samples.  
(You can check out a video of  the old Busch Gardens in Los Angeles here which shows the ride that would take you through the brewery)

A Club Cool with beer  in Epcot –as fun as that would be --would be a disaster, but a Brewery tour would be cool.

Inside the Box Idea:
The story of Rapunzel also has German roots.  If Norway is getting a Frozen ride –why not give  Germany a Tangled ride based on my second favorite Flynn

Join Flynn Rider as he tries to escape the law in a wild ride with the feel of the Tangled Ever After short cartoon.   can’t  pinpoint what the right ride vehicle would be for this attraction,    maybe a trackless ride system like Toy Story Mania?  The vehicles could be designed as mine carts from that scene in the movie.  The ride itself would be a fun out of control Mr Toad like ride through Flynn’s world.   Starting in the mines it could then go off track as your mine car spins and takes you through a forest scene and then crashing through a large Snuggly Duckling Tavern Scene at the end.

I’d like to hear your ideas ---for “If Money was no object”  what you would add to Germany?

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dinosaur: A Disneyworld Ride Review

Dinosaur:  A Disney World Ride Review:  9 out of 10
When we were at Animal Kingdom on our recent trip –we timed going on this ride perfectly.  We had just finished dinner at Rainforest CafĂ© and had wandered over to Dinosaur—just as the lines that were much larger earlier in the day were gone.  We were lucky enough to wait at the most about 5 minutes for the ride and immediately jumped back in line to do it again with an even shorter line the second time.      

The Dinosaur ride makes use of the ride technology Disney created for the Indiana Jones Attraction in California.  In fact the ride itself uses the same exact track.  Instead of Indiana Jones battling the angry god Mara –this ride has you bumping around in the dark trying to locate a specific dinosaur while trying to avoid a meteor shower and a giant Carnosaur.  The ride is thrilling and features a great dramatic finale.  Basically the rolling ball from the Indiana Jones attraction has been replaced by a giant dino.
As a family attraction –it may be a little bit too intense for younger kids—I guess you need to know what your kids can and can’t handle.  Kids can be weird about what they will and won’t go on.  Personally like the Indiana Jones version better---but if you like Indy you will like Dinosaur and it is the only ride similar on the East Coast. 

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Matterhorn: A Disney Attraction Review : Looking for Yetis 9+ out of 10

I had one goal on the way home from work on Friday.
That goal was to see the new Yeti from the Matterhorn at Disneyland.   I had heard whispered rumors that a new Yeti had taken residence in the old Mountain and I had to see it for myself.
I remember back in the 1970's when I was a little kid and the first Yeti took up residence in this mountain.  That commercial made me afraid to go on the attraction. In the commercial it looked like you went past a Yeti that was the size of Gozilla.   When I went on the ride I broke out in laughter --because Harold the Yeti wasn't nearly as scary as the advertisement made him out to be.   I have always loved the attraction despite the Yeti not being so scary.

I arrived at the park via Monorail and starting walking around
 the outside of this mountain I saw evidence of his presence.

The Matterhorn was closed for awhile earlier this year --but reopened on May 22nd 2015 with a couple of new surprises.    
New enhanced special effects that bring a renewed sense of excitement to a ride that has been around since 1959 and was the first tubular steel  continuous track roller coaster.  

The new effects include a projected image of the Yeti at the top of the hill that starts your ride.  This effect and its use of sound are a really cool addition to this classic coaster ride.  The ride also has enhanced sound effects for a section of the ride that goes through darkness that makes you feel like the new Yeti is breathing down your neck.

The new Yeti himself is a great addition to the ride.  I will miss Harold  (the old Yeti) --but his replacement is much more dynamic and full of energy and make this old coaster seem new again.  
I foolishly attempted to get photographic evidence of this beast, but anyone who has seen the show  "Finding Bigfoot" will know how difficult --capturing a Yeti on camera is.
I will keep scaling this Matterhorn in search of Adventure for years to come in search of this beast as it is still very much an E Ticket attraction.

For a look at the new Yeti and effects --Check out this Disney Parks Blog video.

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Pixar Play Parade Photo Blog: Part 3 Crush the Sea Turtle and A Bug's Life

The Next Section of the Pixar Play Parade consists of  Finding Nemo Characters and  A Bug's Life.

Here is Dory and Marlin.....

Crush is Crushin it Dude

It is Tough to Be a Bug

Especially in this heat...


Up next the final floats including Toy Story and Cars.

Check out Part 2 of our Disney Discussion on our Podcast

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Exploring World Showcase at Epcot: Part 7: Germany (Stein Time)

We continue our journey around World Showcase with a stop in Germany. 

By the time we made it into Germany it was starting to get dark and the family was starting to run out of steam.  Unfortunately we had made a bad time management decision earlier in the day by visiting the outdated Universe of Energy (I’ll save that discussion for a different blog).  

My wife and I both discussed how we would love to come back to Epcot and spend more time in World Showcase.  I think we could easily spend a day just in this section of the park.  I’m glad I made the decision to start on the Canada side for our first visit since I knew my wife would be more interested in England and France.  The Norway ride being shutdown made this decision much easier.

Anyway back to Germany.  We didn’t get as many pictures since the daylight was fading.

The Germany Pavilion is made to look like a German town and features a statue of St. George and the Dragon.   The main draw in Germany is the Biergarten which has an indoor courtyard that is home to the Biergarten Restaurant which is a German Buffet that has the look and feel of Oktoberfest.  This Buffet features live entertainment and beer served in one liter steins.

Ahhh The Biergarten

Speaking of Steins….After we peaked inside Octoberfest to see what it looked like we ventured into the German Stein Store.  Here are some pictures from inside the Stein Haus


More time in Germany is definitely on our bucket list for a return visit.  As I continue to blog about my trip it feel like it is still fresh in my mind and feels like it was just weeks ago –when in reality it was 4 months ago.   I already have a big list of things I want to see and do the next time I’m there.

Up next  Ultimate Epcot :  A look at what we could add to Germany if money was no object.

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