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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Disney Cruise Line gives a sneak peek at the Disney Dream



A first-of-its kind water coaster that sends guests racing above the upper decks of the ship. An animated turtle that engages children in conversation about life in the ocean. A sophisticated lounge where the sun sets over the skyline of a different world-famous city each night. When the Disney Dream debuts in early 2011, the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet will bring to life these innovations and more.

The Disney Dream will take family cruising to all-new heights, embracing the spirit of innovation, magical family entertainment and immersive experiences that have made Disney Cruise Line the preeminent cruise of choice for families since 1998.

Disney Cruise Line revolutionized the cruise industry with purpose-built ships designed just for families. With the Disney Dream setting sail on Jan. 26, 2011, preparations are underway to expand the one-of-a-kind family experience, utilizing technology to enhance the world-class entertainment and legendary guest services onboard. From stem to stern, the Disney Dream will offer a cruise experience that caters to the preferences of the whole family.

“For more than a decade, passengers have filled their passports with memories sailing around the world with Disney Cruise Line,” said Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo. “With the Disney Dream joining our fleet, we’ll be able to take families to even more places they never imagined they could visit – in true Disney style.”

The Disney Dream features a remarkable interior design which provides guests with a warm and welcoming feel throughout. The ship’s design offers guests a perfect blend of elegant Art Deco style and fun-filled Disney whimsy to create one of the most spectacular ships afloat. Distinctly Disney guest features aboard the Disney Dream include:

AquaDuck Water Coaster. . .

Disney Cruise Line debuts a cruise-industry first: a shipboard water coaster … AquaDuck! Guests aboard the Disney Dream will get swept away on an exhilarating high-speed flume ride featuring twists, turns, drops, uphill acceleration and river rapids – all while traversing the upper decks of the ship.

  • AquaDuck stretches 765 feet in length - more than two and a half times the length of a football field - and spans four decks in height.
  • Guests slide 13 feet over the side of the ship in a translucent "swing out" loop allowing them to look down on the ocean 150 feet below.
  • Guests experience coaster-like thrills as high-powered water jets push them upwards and forwards at 20 feet per second.
  • AquaDuck continues through the forward funnel, encounters a 335 foot stretch of river rapids and splashes down to an end on Deck 12.

    A Virtual Porthole for Inside Staterooms. . .

    Disney Cruise Line introduces another stateroom innovation with all inside staterooms on the Disney Dream featuring a Virtual Porthole that provides guests with a real-time view outside the ship. High-definition cameras placed on the exterior of the ship feed live video to each Virtual Porthole.

    As guests observe the impressive outside views, they may glimpse a magical surprise: animated characters such as Peach the starfish from the Disney•Pixar hit film “Finding Nemo,” or Mickey Mouse may pop by the Virtual Porthole.

    A Magical Oasis for Children. . .

    Only on a Disney Cruise Line ship can children become immersed in their favorite Disney stories with the help of caring counselors, beloved Disney characters and a sprinkling of pixie dust. The celebration of children’s creativity rises to a new level on the Disney Dream with nearly an entire deck of youth spaces designed to inspire, entertain and unlock the imagination of children. There are two main spaces for children ages three to 10:

    At Disney’s Oceaneer Club, children can:

    Play among larger-than-life characters from Disney•Pixar's "Toy Story" in Andy's Room
    Explore the Laugh Floor with loveable monsters Mike and Sully from "Monsters, Inc."
    Dive under the sea with Nemo and friends or visit Tinker Bell's fairy forest

    At Disney’s Oceaneer Lab, children feel as though they are embarking on a great seafaring adventure in a room filled with maps, maritime instruments and swashbuckling artifacts. Here, children can try their hand at animation, become a pop star or navigate ships through digital seas.

    Both venues offer magical interactions with the animated characters such as Crush, the sea turtle from the Disney•Pixar motion picture “Finding Nemo” and Stitch, the mischievous alien from “Lilo and Stitch.” The characters chat, play and joke with children in live, unrehearsed conversations from their digital undersea and intergalactic environments via 103-inch plasma screens.

    Chill-Out Zones for Tweens and Teens. . .

    Located inside the forward funnel is Edge – the lounge just for tweens (ages 11 to 13). This tween pad is filled with a multitude of hi-tech entertainment including the ability to create and star in photo postcards and video karaoke using green-screen technology.

    Teens have their own exclusive club aboard the Disney Dream with Vibe – a trendy and inviting indoor/outdoor space created especially for guests ages 14 to 17. A “teen-only” swipe card provides access to the nearly 9,000-square-foot club.

    Teens can create and edit videos, play computer games, access the onboard social media application or try their hand at spinning and mixing dance tracks. Teens have their own private outdoor deck area with chaise lounges for sunbathing, two wading pools, misters and pop jets for cooling off, and deck games such as ping-pong and foosball.

    Personal Touches with Rotational Dining. . .

    Disney Cruise Line continues its innovative rotational dining concept onboard the Disney Dream with elaborately themed restaurants, distinctly Disney touches, and world-class cuisine to create a magical dining experience. Throughout the cruise, guests “rotate” through three different restaurants for dinner – with their servers accompanying them, providing guests with friendly, familiar, personalized service each night. The rotational dining restaurants include:

    Animator's Palate, a signature Disney Cruise Line restaurant that brings the magic of Disney animation into the dining room for a unique experience that will captivate the entire family.
    Royal Palace, an elegant restaurant inspired by the classic Disney films "Cinderella," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," " Beauty and the Beast" and "Sleeping Beauty."
    Enchanged Garden, a whimsical casual restaurant inspired by the gardens of Versailles and featuring a dining environment that magically transforms from day to night.

    Just for Adults. . .

    On the Disney Dream, while children are having the time of their lives in the elaborately themed youth areas, adults can look forward to incomparable indulgences and relaxation with exclusive areas and offerings designed exclusively for them.

    Adults can escape in to The District, a nighttime entertainment area on the Disney Dream with five unique venues. This playground for grownups features sophisticated lounges, each with its own unique design, look, feel and palate-pleaseing delights.
    Senses Spa & Salon offers adult tranquility with 17 private treatment rooms, lavish spa villas with indoor treatment rooms and private outdoor verandahs, and Rainforest, a special section of the spa offering the benefits of steam, heat and hydrotherapy to relax the mind and body.
    At Palo, adult guests find epicurean excellence and an unforgettable dinner experience at sea. Every seat offers beautiful ocean vistas while a pianist softly serenades guests in an intimate restaurant setting.

    The Disney Dream is scheduled to depart on its maiden voyage Jan. 26, 2011, and will sail alternating three- and four-night cruises to the Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. During summer months, the ship will alternate four- and five-night itineraries with two stops at Castaway Cay. Guests can book their Disney Dream cruise beginning Nov. 9, 2009.

  • Terence joins Tinker Bell and other fairies at Pixie Hollow


    Terrence, the keeper of the pixie dust, has joined his friends Tinker Bell and other fairies at the character meet-and-greet at Pixie Hollow in the Magic Kingdom. Various "lost" items have been added to the meet-and-greet area as well.
    Welcome to the Magic Kingdom Terrence!

    Monorail Teal spotted

    John Frost over at The Disney Blog has video of monorail teal being tested and prepped. It looks like the "newest" monorail will be running very soon!

    Check it out at http://thedisneyblog.com/2009/10/29/video-of-a-freshly-painted-monorail-teal/.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    Disney's online ADR system being upgraded?

    4pm UPDATE: The online system is up and running again.

    In my apparent never ending attempt to book some ADR's for an upcoming WDW trip, I happened to check to see if the online ADR system up and running again. What I found was something a little surprising. I got the following message:

    "We are currently rolling out a *NEW* online dining application to make your reservation process even easier. Please come back and try our new system when it is available. To make a dining reservation at this time, please call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463."

    Hmm... I have to wonder if the timing of this new announcement is a coincidence, was intentionally planned or a reaction to yesterday's onslaught of bookings that apparently shut down the online system and totally overwhelmed Disney's ADR phone lines.

    Unfortunately, the message didn't give any indication as to when the online ADR system would be live again. As more information becomes available, I'll pass it along.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Tip Tuesday: Things to keep with you while at WDW

    Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

    Planning, planning, planning.

    If you're been reading this blog, you know I'm a big fan of pre-trip planning. While I'm not one to rigidly follow a touring plan, it is a good idea to have as much information as possible on-hand while in the parks.

    Here are some of the things you need to be able to quickly pull out, should the situation arise:
    • ADR dates/time and confirmation numbers - Even though I've never personally had an issue with an ADR, that doesn't mean problems sometimes arise. There's a reason you are given a confirmation number when you make an ADR.
    • Park Hours - It's tough to enjoy a park when it's closed. Knowing when parks open can help you make it to some of those important rope-drops.
    • Extra Magic Hours (for guests staying on-property). Yes, you can find out this information once you get to the resort, but it's more helpful to have this information already recorded in some fashion.
    • Rehabs/closings - some attractions may be down for refurbishment or maintenance. If you know ahead of time, it will help make your touring a bit smoother.

    Before the days of Blackberries and iPhones, I used to make a business-sized card with all this information (usually heavily condensed with a lot of acronyms). This would go into my wallet so I could refer to it at any time.

    Now, I just make a calendar entry in my Blackberry for each day during my trip called "Park Hours," listing the hours for each park, including EMH. I make additional entries for any ADR's and a third for key refurbs and other notes. Yes, there are "apps for that," but I think it's better to go through the exercise of adding this information yourself. It helps you to begin some of your plans for touring the parks. I'll talk about touring plans in a future Tip Tuesday post.

    Where can you get some of this information? All park hours and Extra Magic Hours are listed on the Walt Disney World Web site.

    This does not include some safety measures when it comes to your children. I'll talk about that in an upcoming post.

    I know to some of you seasoned WDW vets, this will sound like a no-brainer. But for many who are experiencing Walt Disney World for the first (or even second, third or fourth) time, these little bits of handy information can make a huge difference in ensuring a smooth vacation.

    On your mark, get set, BOOK!

    If you're planning a Walt Disney World trip in the next 180 days, you need to get on the phone or online right away. Today, Disney extended the ADR booking window back to 180 days. The ADR reservation system is going to be quite busy today, so be patient. In fact, I was trying to get some ADR's at 6 a.m. this morning and the online system was overloaded.

    If you're unable to get into the online system, call 407-WDW-DINE.

    Good luck!

    UPDATE (5pm):

    Disney apparently has experiences such a high volume of requests that the online system has shut down. I've been checking all day and it's appears to have been down since around 6 a.m. and still isn't up (as of 5 p.m.). Likewise, the phone lines have been overwhelmed all day. I've tried calling dozens of times throughout the day and can't get through.

    Disney probably should have considered some staggered system for switching to a 180-day ADR window. Having 90 days worth of bookings all become available on the same day has been an apparent recipe for disaster.

    What have your experiences been like? Have you been able to book ADR's today? Post a comment!

    Friday, October 23, 2009

    Magic Kingdom Grand Opening: 38 years ago today

    While we all think of Oct. 1, 1971 as the opening date for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World (and this date is correct - the park opened to the public on Oct. 1), it wasn't until this day 38 years ago that the Magic Kingdom celebrated it's grand opening weekend.

    The Orlando Sentinel was there (see for yourself), and has posted the original story from the Oct. 24, 1971 edition. I'll post a brief excerpt -- you can read the entire article at the Orlando Sentinel's new "Daily Disney" page.

    Nearly 40,000 visits – the biggest crowd yet – jammed Walt Disney World turnstiles Saturday as the $400 million “Magic Kingdom” kicked off its three-day formal opening celebration with the arrival of a plane-load of Hollywood notables.

    The celebrities – including Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, Walter Brennan and Fred MacMurray – arrived aboard a chartered jet to take part in the festivities, starting with a performance of the World Symphony Orchestra conducted by Arthur Fiedler.

    And they were greeted at Orlando Jetport at McCoy by a huge crowd of spectators who oohed and aahed as the stars, many accompanied by their families, stepped from the plane.

    The applauded Brennan and MacMurray, squealed at Stack and Hudson and whistled at Annette Funicello, one of the original Mouseketeers.

    The stars were quickly ushered aboard buses for the trip to Disney World and the theme park, the product of the imagination and dreams of the late Walt Disney.

    Inside the park, there were long lines at almost every attraction, every ride.

    But there was little of the gripping which normally goes with long lines.

    Instead, the fathers, mothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and, of course, youngsters by the thousands waited patiently, smiling, laughing and talking.

    It was a good day to be there ...

    >> Read the rest

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Victoria & Albert's offers new New Year's Eve experience

    The official Disney Parks blog announced that, for the first time, Disney's award-winning Signature Dining restaurant, Victoria & Albert’s in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, will be offering a special New Year’s Eve experience.

    "Victoria & Albert’s restaurant is known for its special, personalized touches — and this event will be no exception," said Thomas Smith, Disney's Social Media Director.

    A chef and sommelier will prepare a menu that includes caviar from around the world and a collection of some of the most eclectic and famous champagnes available. Also, Chef Scott Hunnel and his team will make personal appearances during the event.

    The eight to 10 course menu with wine and gratuity will be $375 plus tax. Guests must be older than 10 years of age to attend and older than 21 to be served alcohol.

    Booking has already begun for the event. Visit www.disneyworld.com for more details or call 407-WDW-DINE.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Tip Tuesday: Get a Planning DVD

    Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

    In my continuing series about ways to get excited and geared up for a trip to Walt Disney World, I wanted to talk about another Disney freebie -- the vacation planning DVD.

    As you start to plan a trip to Walt Disney World, you might not know that Disney will send you a free DVD with planning tips, resort vignettes and much more.

    These are great videos to have and watch as the days tick off to your next trip to WDW. Further, they are a nice collectible to have on hand to see how Walt Disney World has changed over the years. I get the planning DVD every year for that very reason.

    So how do you get the planning DVD? It's pretty simple.

    First, go to the Vacation Planning DVD page on Disneyworld.com. On this page, you can sign up for a DVD. For anyone wanting the 2010 planning DVD, I don't think it's out just yet. You might want to wait until mid November or even December. Even though the 2010 promotion has been announced (Give a Day, Get at Disney Day), sometimes it takes a month or two before the new DVD is ready.

    In years past, there were two planning DVD's, one for Walt Disney World and one for Disneyland. In 2008 with the launch of the Year of a Million Dreams, Disney merged the two DVD's into one. So when you get your planning DVD, it also will have an entire section about Disneyland.

    Parents -- are you giving your kids a trip to WDW for Christmas? Here's a little bonus tip for how to spring the big surprise. After the kids go to bed (and before Santa comes -- you need to be in bed too, you know!), take the customized maps you've already ordered (see last week's tip) and place them opened up in the Christmas tree. Then, on Christmas morning, have the planning video running as the kids come in.
    Surprise!!! We're going to Walt Disney World!!!
    Next week, we'll look at another way to build the excitement for your next trip to Walt Disney World!

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    $1 coins begin circulation at Walt Disney World today

    When it comes to creating new experiences, Walt Disney World often takes the lead, even with something so simple as pocket change.
    Today, Disney announced on the official Disney Blog that new $1 coins have been placed into circulation at Walt Disney World. Disney worked with the U.S. Mint to pilot new 2009 Native American dollar coins. The coin’s design is based on the theme of agriculture.
    The coin features a Native American woman planting seeds in a field and the inscriptions UNITED STATE OF AMERICA and $1 on the reverse side. Disney says their participation in the circulation pilot is part of the company's continued commitment to environmentality.
    "The coin is an environmentally responsible choice – it’s recyclable and lasts decades longer than paper bills," said Thomas Smith, Disney Parks Social Media Director in the blog post.
    Only certain locations at Epcot and Magic Kingdom Park will be offering the coins through Dec. 13, 2009.
    At Epcot's American Adventure Pavilion:
    • Liberty Inn
    • Fife and Drum
    • Heritage Manor
    • Kodak Kiosk
    • AA Carts
    At the Magic Kingdom:
    • Columbia Harbor House
    • Liberty Square Market
    • Liberty Square Popcorn
    • Liberty Square Hot Dog
    • Liberty Square Turkey
    • Sleepy Hollow
    • Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe
    • Haunted Mansion Cart
    • Heritage House
    • Yankee Trader
    It will be interesting to see how well this pilot catches on. The U.S. Mint has been working for many years to get the public interested in using dollar coins (remember the Sacagawea dollar coin?). In fact, the coin being piloted at Walt Disney World is just one of a series of new dollar coins being offered this year by the U.S. Mint.

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Disney announces new fall half-marathon


    Endurance fans will have a new reason to lace up their shoes next fall at Walt Disney World.

    Disney Sports has announced their newest half-marathon event, the Wine & Dine Half-Marathon. The event will take place Oct. 1-2, 2010. This will be a night run. In addition to the half-marathon, there will be a 5K, a family fun run, kids races and other activities.

    The half-marathon will start at the soon-to-be-renamed ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and finish inside Epcot with an exclusive post-race party at the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival that features culinary delights from around the world prepared by top Disney chefs.

    What makes this half-marathon different from other races is a new "team relay" option where a two-person team can run the 13.1 miles instead of just one person. Essentially the distance will be covered by two people instead of one.

    Those interested can sign up starting Nov. 16 at www.disneyenduranceseries.com.

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Pink, purple monorails to be retired - new teal monorail coming

    The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Walt Disney World has taken the undamaged remains of monorails pink and purple and put them together to make a new train. Out of respect for Austin Wuennenberg, who was killed in the tragic monorail accident in July, both pink and purple will be retired as monorail colors. The new train will become monorail teal.

    In addition to the newly formed train, Disney also told the Sentinel that they expect to add a 12th monorail to bring the total number of trains back to the same amount as before the July accident.

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    Sum of All Thrills opens today


    Raytheon Company today unveiled the Sum of all Thrills™ at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort. This new ride is a unique experience that lets park guests custom-design their own thrill ride using mathematical tools, an innovative touch-screen table and a robotic simulator. As the first ride to be located within INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®, Sum of all Thrills™ is the latest example of Raytheon’s innovative approach to help educate and inspire young students about the power of math and math-related activities.


    “Sum of all Thrills™ is an example of how Raytheon is using innovation to encourage students to develop and sustain an interest in math and science,” said William H. Swanson, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Company. “By experiencing the “thrill” of math in this environment, students have the opportunity first hand to feel the excitement and possibilities of careers that are possible with math and science. We hope young people and adults alike will enjoy this innovative experience.”

    Interactive and customizable, Sum of all Thrills™ lets guests of all ages create their own experience by first choosing a ride theme, including a roller coaster, bobsled or jet plane. Using multi-touch, object recognition tables with instructions available in six languages, guests use math and engineering based tools, such as rulers and speed dials, to design and customize their ride by adding corkscrews, inversions or steep hills. Guests learn and apply mathematical and engineering principles to determine how much energy is needed for a jet to take off or for a roller coaster or bobsled to make it up its first climb.

    When the design of the ride is complete, it is saved on a personal card with a unique bar code. The card is then utilized to allow each guest to experience their custom ride from beginning to end on the robotic KUKA RoboSim 4-D simulator. Inside the simulator, guests experience their ride on immersive high definition video combined with stereo sound and controlled air motion for a complete sensory experience. The KUKA RoboSim 4-D simulator creates a four-dimensional experience through 3-D robotic motion and “wind” that controls air movement to stimulate the senses, providing a more realistic simulation experience.

    “Disney parks are well known for their creativity and innovation. Raytheon’s Sum of all Thrills™ is a perfect addition to INNOVENTIONS, which was built in part to showcase cutting-edge technology,” said Dan Cockerell, Vice President of Epcot®. “This immersive experience, our first-ever INNOVENTIONS ride, will inspire young guests to embrace math and science and the important role these subjects play in our lives.”

    In addition to the experience at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot®, today, Raytheon unveiled a virtual Sum of all Thrills™ experience on-line at MathMovesU.com. The Sum of all Thrills™ world, aimed at middle school students, combines the three ride elements of the theme park experience into one multidimensional ride. Students answer math-related questions to unlock elements that enable them build their own ride on-line.

    Sum of all Thrills™ is the latest initiative in Raytheon’s MathMovesU program which is committed to increasing students’ interest in math and engineering by engaging them with activities they enjoy most, such as sports, fashion and music. Sum of all Thrills™ joins Raytheon’s other MathMovesU programs including the “In the Numbers” game, partnership with the New England Patriots on display at The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon, the company’s three year sponsorship of the National MATHCOUNTS competition and the MathMovesU scholarship and grant program, which provides over $1 million in funding to students and teachers each year.

    More information on Sum of all Thrills™ can be found at www.raytheon.com.

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009

    Tip Tuesday: Customized maps

    Classic custom map
    Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

    This will be the first installment in a series of Tip Tuesday posts dealing with building excitement for an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World (of course, some of us don't need any help getting excited - that's why we do blogs, podcasts and magazines!).

    This week, I'd like to discuss a little freebie and keepsake that not too many people are aware of or take advantage of - customized maps.

    Kids, especially those who have never been to Walt Disney World, may not an appreciation for just how much there is to do. In a similar manner, many first-timers may not have an appreciation for just how big WDW is and how much planning may be needed to make sure a WDW trip is as enjoyable as possible.

    One way to help get kids excited about an upcoming trip is to order customized maps from the Disney Web site. Best of all, they're FREE!

    Once you go to the online site, you can select which items on the map you would like highlighted as your "favorites." Even if you don't choose any favorites, all the different attractions will be included. Once you have selected your favorites, you'll need to select which layout you want. The classic layout (see image above) has the feel of an old pirate map, while the characters layout (see image below), is more whimsical, featuring different Disney characters.

    Characters map
    Each set comes with five maps (one for each park and then an overall map). Each map is personalized with the family name (i.e., The Smith Family's guide to the Magic Kingdom).

    For my first trip to WDW, I ordered a set of maps and then brought them with me to have different characters sign it. This made for a very unique keepsake. I'm still trying to find a frame to fit the map - it's a bit of an odd size.

    The one small downside of this opportunity is that the maps come folded. I contacted Disney to see if it was possible to get a rolled copy (which is better for framing). Unfortunately, the maps can only be delivered in a folded form.

    As you're planning your next trip to Walt Disney World, order the customizable maps - they're a great way to get geared up for a trip to the world's number one vacation destination!

    Saturday, October 10, 2009

    TTA's new narration not so hot

    A few weeks ago, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority reopened after a refurbishment in coordination with the ongoing refurbishment at Space Mountain.

    Initially, the highly popular attraction reopened with the same narration many fans have come to love. In the last week or so, however, a new narration has surfaced.

    While I haven't heard this in person, I have watched some videos of the new TTA narration and I have to say I'm not that thrilled.



    The video above is one of the ones I watched to listen to the new TTA script.

    This new script acts much more like a preview for Tomorrowland as opposed to a narration of scenes you encounter along the "super skyway." To me, the concept of "Tomorrowland" has been completely ditched. I might expect this from a vacation planning video about tomorrowland.

    The new narration also includes quick soundbites from some Disney characters including Stitch, Mickey Mouse and Buzz Lightyear.

    Especially strange is the segment inside Space Mountain. Even though you can't see anything because of the construction walls, there's no sound at all in Space Mountain. Nothing. Nada. It's pretty boring. The construction walls don't even have anything on them.

    It may just be the video, but it appears this new narration is harder to hear as well. There were a couple of segments I couldn't make out.

    I usually love many of the improvements Disney makes. I'll even admit I found parts of the very brief Stitch's Supersonic Celebration to be fun.

    I'm not so sure about this new narration. I guess I'll have to see and hear it for myself the next time I'm there.

    What are your thoughts? Have you experienced the new TTA?

    Thursday, October 8, 2009

    Sum of All Thrills to open Oct. 14

    The Sum of All Thrills, an interactive robotic roller coaster simulator will be opening at Innoventions in Epcot on Oct. 14.

    Sponsored by Raytheon, The Sum of all Thrills is the latest initiative in the company's MathMovesU(R) program, which is committed to increasing U.S. students' interest in math and engineering by engaging them with activities they enjoy most, such as sports, fashion and music. The Sum of all Thrills joins Raytheon's other MathMovesU programs including the "In the Numbers" game and partnership with the New England Patriots; the company's three-year sponsorship of the National MATHCOUNTS competition; a robust volunteer program; and the MathMovesU scholarship and grant program.

    In addition, KUKA Robotics, the company that created the robotic arm issued their own news release:


    KUKA Robotics Corporation is pleased to announce the usage of the RoboSim 4-DSimulator ride system as part of a new exhibit at INNOVENTIONS in Epcot® at theWalt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The addition of theRoboSim 4-D Simulator is an expansion of KUKA`s current presence at INNOVENTIONSat Epcot®. KUKA currently sponsors Rockin` Robots - a 2,000 plus square foot interactive exhibit allowing guests to conduct a robotic band located in the INNOVENTIONS West building.


    "The popularity and expansion of INNOVENTIONS coupled with KUKA`s unique and innovative robotic and educational solutions in this exciting entertainment and education project will enhance the KUKA brand presence while strengthening our continued growth in the North American market."stated Stu Shepherd, President of KUKA Robotics Corporation. "We are excited for the opportunity to demonstrate KUKA`s unique capabilities in a market that drives progress and interest in learning."


    The KUKA RoboSim 4-D Simulator creates a 4-dimensional experience through 3-D robotic motion and "wind", by controlling air movements to stimulate the senses providing a more realistic simulation experience involving high speeds, quick direction changes and different climates for a unique sensation. The appeal of the 2-seat simulator is that it does not fully enclose the rider, but allows the rider`s legs and feet to be suspended.


    The spherical carbon-fiber hood, which is integrated as part of the unique KUKA RoboCoaster® ride system, immerses the rider into a true sensory experience by using high definition video combined with stereo sound and controlled air motion. "The KUKA RoboCoaster® programmable robotic ride system utilizes 6 axes and 6 degrees of total directional freedom with synchronized "under the hood" entertainment provides a thrilling experience like no other." commented Stu Shepherd. The RoboSim 4-D Simulator is TÜV certified and includes safety devices such as smoke alarms and temperature monitoring. Video cameras and microphones allowRoboSim operators to monitor passengers at all times.


    Prime venues for use of the RoboCoaster® and RoboSim versions include theme parks, science centers, shopping malls, family entertainment centers (FEC),amusement parks, leisure parks, and other motion-enhanced, virtual reality applications. KUKA Robotics offers a wide range of industrial robots and robot systems, which includes the RoboCoaster®. The RoboCoaster® operates with a service-proven PC-based control platform. This PC-based robot controller (KR C) benefits from all the advantages of PC technology, such as remote diagnosis, Microsoft Windows interface, field bus, Soft PLC, OPC Server and much more.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    Tip Tuesday: One Man's Dream - don't skip it!

    Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

    This week, let's head over to Disney's Hollywood Studios, where there are great exhibits and a film chronicalling the life of Walter Elias Disney. It's called "One Man's Dream," and it's definitely worth the time. No, there are no ride vehicles, but there are plenty of thrills, especially for Disney fans.
    What makes "One Man's Dream" such an must see are all the different exhibits and actual artifacts from Walt's journey to create the studios and, eventually, Disneyland and Walt Disney World. As you stroll through each scene you get a sense of what made Walt different. He was a plain man who wasn't extravagant. The recreation of Walt's office is very simple, not at all what you think a studio executive's office would look like.
    The recreation of the Florida film (see above) is almost like being there in person. Here, you begin to understand the story of how Walt Disney World came into being. If you've never seen parts of the Florida film, you'll be able to see a few scenes.
    As you wait for the doors to the theater to open (you should stay for the film -- it's wonderful!), you can check out models of each of the different Disney parks from around the world. Also, there are several D23-related exhibits as well (for you D23 members out there).
    "One Man's Dream" is another one of those attractions that is much, much more than just a place to get out of the rain or to cool off. It's an important monument to the man who created all that we Disney fans have come to appreciate so much.