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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Brave Highland Games

Brave Highland Games
Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!
I'm back from another trip to Walt Disney World and there was a LOT of news taking place!!  I've already shared some of the new items that went online last week.
This week, I wanted to highight a new temporary experience at Epcot based on the wildly popular new Disney-Pixar movie, Brave.

The Brave Highland Games Tournament is located along the pathway near the Epcot rose garden near the Canada pavilion.
Brave Highland Games
The experience, which only runs through early July, begins with guests spinning a wheel to determine which clan they will compete for. 

Brave Highland Games
Guests are then given a special button signifying their clan.

Brave Highland Games
Next, guests demonstrate their archery skills using a special archery set (parents, don't worry, it's very safe).

Finally, guests can try their hand at some fair-like games including bean bag toss and more.  At the end guests get a special set of postcards.

This is a fun, free experience for anyone (adults and kids) to enjoy at bit of the world of Brave, but don't wait because the Highland games won't last long!!
Brave Highland Games
Oh, and while you're waiting in line (and you will see quite a line, especially later in the day), you can enjoy looking at an incredible sand sculpture.  Don't forget to look at the backside after your games are completed -- and see if you can find the hidden Mickey!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Agent P's World Showcase Adventure now in guest testing

Agent P World Showcase Adventure

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to test out the new Agent P's World Showcase Adventure at Epcot.  I personally tested the Norway and China adventures (I could also have tested Mexico and Germany).  Each adventure was reminiscent of the original Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure, even using some of the same props, though these props were re-themed.  Disney has added some new elements as well, so don't think this is just a re-hash of Kim Possible WSA. 

What I did like was how much more "fun" these new adventures are.  Kim Possible WSA focused much more on the "super spy" aspect of the adventure while Agent P WSA has many more gags and jokes, especially involving Candace, Fineas and Ferb.  Interestingly, Agent P didn't play much of a role in either adventure. 
Whilke I won't go into specifics about each adventure, I will say this is a great improvement to the entire concept of an interactive scavenger-hunt style game in World Showcase.  One thing I did notice is that the new FONE's are much louder than the original Kimmunicators.  There were times where we had to partially cover the speaker in the back to cut down the volume, especially when we were in interior spaces.
All in all, Agent P World Showcase Adventure does a great job of fully involving the world of Fineas and Ferb.  Each mission really is like living an episode of the Fineas and Ferb TV show.
On your next trip to Epcot, be sure to help Agent P keep the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz in check.  He's always up to something nefarious.
Uh, oh -- better run, here comes Candace...
"Mom!  Fineas and Ferb are being featured in a blog post!!!"

Second Dumbo looks to open soon

Dumbo 

Over the weekend, Disney Imagineers took down the construction walls surrounding the second (original) Dumbo spinner.

It looks like the double-Dumbo and the interactive queue will be opening soon, as Disney has said.  I suspect we may start to hear about guest testing and soft openings in the coming days and weeks.

Dumbo 

Here is a different shot where you see the inactive spinner in the foreground with the new spinner running in the background.  If I happen to still be at WDW when testing or soft openings occur, I'll try to get some shots and share them on the blog.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Photo Friday: A different view of Illuminations

Illuminations from the Yacht Club 

Welcome to another Photo Friday!!

This shot (as of this post) is less than an hour old, so this is kind of a live image.

Obviously it's from Illuminations, but this vantage point is from the dock at the Yacht Club.  As you can see, you get a nice view of the fireworks!

Enjoy.... we go on!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Dealing with the Rain (part 4)


Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to continue my series about dealing with rain in the parks. This week, we're heading over to Disney's Animal Kingdom. This is a park where rain can be a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because rain means a break from the oppressive heat that often can be found in this park. It's a curse because rain means increased humidity and a bit of a wet time in general.

Of all the parks, Animal Kingdom may be the toughest to stay somewhat dry yet still tour the parks during the rain. There are several patches of open space that guests have to traverse and several of the attractions, especially the trails are in the open air offering little in the way of cover.

There are a few ways to stay out of the rain or at least avoid a brief shower. The best (if you can time it right) is to catch Finding Nemo: The Musical near Dinoland USA. This show runs about 30 minutes (more like 45 minutes including the time it takes to seat guests). I'll talk more about Finding Nemo: The Musical in a future post - for now I'll just say it's not to be missed.

Of course, if it's raining, chances are you're wet. If you're wet, you might as well get really wet, so it wouldn't hurt to take a ride on the Kali River Rapids (it will close if there are thunderstorms in the area). Yes you'll likely get soaked, but if you're dripping wet already, what's the difference?

Another place to get out of the rain, albeit for a short while, is to stop by It's Tough to Be a Bug on Discovery Island. This 4D film runs a little less than 10 minutes and offers some fun extra effects. Keep in mind that small children may get scared in this attraction - especially when Hopper comes out.

If you're thinking of touring the Kilimanjaro Safaris during the rain, that's a great idea because the animals will likely be a bit more active, even if they may be trying to find cover. Some at AllEars.net say the Safaris are best in the rain because of the increased animal activity.

I will say one more thing about the rain at Animal Kingdom. When it's raining, AK can be at it's most peaceful and quiet. Many guests tend to avoid AK when it's raining, which means fewer crowds and fewer people on trails. The end result is you can find yourself nearly alone in the jungle listening to the rain and seeing the animals. You'd be surprised how much closer to nature you'll feel.

So once again, when it's raining, head to the parks!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Photo Friday: By the light of the moon

Moon over Cinderella Castle

It's Friday, and you know what that means...

Photo Friday time!!

This shot was taken last summer minutes before Wishes began - a sight I plan to see shortly!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Costumes in the parks

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to share a recent story from WKMG, the Orlando CBS affiliate, so please watch this story and then continue.

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/Disney-makes-Tinkerbell-change-clothes/-/1637132/14563772/-/1lontfz/-/index.html

While I empathize with this young lady's situation and understand why she's upset, the fact is that Disney's rules about costumes in the parks are quite clear.  Adults may not wear costumes that closely resemble any Disney character.  These rules are clearly stated on Disney's Web site.  There are two exceptions that I can think of:  Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and RunDisney events.  In either of these special events, guests are permitted to wear costumes.  Masks also are permitted during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party provided the mask does not restrict the guest's vision.  Masks are not allowed during any RunDisney event (and who would want to run with a mask on anyway?). 

Aside from these two exceptions, costumes are a no-go for adults.  Oh and remember than an "adult" in Disney's eyes is any guest that's 10 or older.  Sure, a 10 or 11-year old might be ok to wear a costume on a regular day, but teens should think twice.

Costumes and kids are an entirely different affair.  One reason is that guests probably won't think a two-foot tall Tinkerbell is the real thing.  Disney understands children want to come to the parks in costumes and will allow such.  The only restriction for costumes on a regular park day is NO masks at all.  As mentioned previously, masks that don't restrict vision are allowed for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

So before you spend hours and hours getting ready for a day in the parks dressed as your favorite character, please be sure you're aware of Disney's rules and regulations.  A bit of pre-planning can help you avoid a sad day.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Photo Friday: A tribute to our veterans

Flag retreat ceremony

It's time for another Photo Friday.  Since it is the week of Memorial Day, I thought I'd share a photo from the daily Flag Retreat Ceremony that takes place at sunset at the Magic Kingdom.  This is a solemn, yet patriotic ceremony as the United States flag is lowered, properly folded and put away for the night. 

Each day, a veteran is given the distinct honor to carry the flag away from Town Square, accompanied by the Walt Disney World security team. 

This is something I think all Americans should see, most especially this week as we remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our nation and our freedoms.

To all our veterans, you have my undying thanks, gratitude and support.