epcot

Lisa goes to Walt Disney World

Our good friend Lisa Leeman has just returned from a triumphant escape to the happy place, AKA Walt Disney World. She has kindly prepared a trip report for our readers, including New Fantasyland, Test Track 2.0 and The Legend of Jack Sparrow. Sprinkle some pixie dust and let’s head off to Neverland… Continue reading

WDW Unwraps Plans for Holiday 2012

Walt Disney World has unwrapped its plans for the coming Holiday season and it looks merry and bright! Guests of the resort have much to look forward to, including the annual Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at The Magic Kingdom and The Candlelight Processional at Epcot. Here are some details about this year’s events:

Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will have its longest-ever run with 20 magical nights from November 9-December 21. For a quarter century, Walt Disney World guests have been mesmerized by this must-see event, a grandly festive tradition immersing families in the holiday spirit. Dates for 2012: Nov. 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30 and Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21.  Beginning at 7 p.m. (after regular park hours), guests with special event tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can enjoy all the holiday splendor with lively stage shows, spectacular fireworks, a unique holiday parade and favorite holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A. For more information, visit www.Disneyworld.com/Christmasparty.  NOTE: this is a hard ticket special event after regular park hours; purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended.

Entertainment, Fireworks and More: Santa’s elves have transformed the Magic Kingdom into a winter wonderland with festive wreaths, bows, garland, sparkling lights, parades and towering Christmas trees.  The fun includes the Holiday Wishes nighttime spectacular: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks, plus live entertainment with Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays.
Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle: Cinderella Castle transforms into a glimmering ice palace for the holidays — thanks to a special effects spectacle bathing the castle in 200,000 shimmering white lights. Magic Kingdom guests are treated nightly to the dramatic castle celebration and stage show.

Epcot

Candlelight Processional is a timeless holiday offering at Epcot that combines seasonal music with the poignant reading of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a mass choir performing seasonal melodies, and a 50-piece live orchestra nightly November 23 – December 30, at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. Crowd favorites Neil Patrick Harris and Gary Sinise return to America Gardens Theater stage on select nights.  Guests can purchase a Candlelight Dining Package, which combines lunch or dinner at select Epcot restaurants with guaranteed seating for the Candlelight Processional and VIP viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.  For more information and reservations click here.

Holidays Around the World: Storytellers from around the world share traditions and lore from their homeland throughout World Showcase.  The merriment continues with meet and greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus, plus the nightly “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” laser, light, fireworks display capped with a seasonal finale.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights: This massive seasonal display features millions of dancing lights, plus animated displays and 3-D effects perfectly synchronized to electrifying holiday tunes amidst snowfall.  The rich tradition takes place on the Streets of America, dazzling guests from Nov. 9, 2012 to Jan. 6, 2013.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Celebrate safari style as Disney’s Animal Kingdom is wilder than ever this winter season. Mickey and his pals rejoice in traditional holiday music with a world beat twist during the daily “Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade.”

Downtown Disney

Get all your Christmas shopping done at Downtown Disney during Festival of the Seasons. The shopping mecca is draped with yuletide cheer, plus live entertainment, holiday carolers, a lively street party, plus photo ops with Santa and Santa Goofy.

Walt Disney World Resorts

The resorts are dressed up for the holidays with festive décor, gingerbread houses and more. And guests can experience even more magic this season with  great pricing.  For as little as $72 per person, per day, guests can enjoy a 6-night, 7-day vacation package with room and tickets valid at all four theme parks. Visit Disneyworld.com, for booking information. Rates are based on availability.

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure replaces Kim Possible

After six years of operation, it’s time to say goodbye to the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure. Disney announced it will be re-themed and updated this summer to the super popular (and awesome) Phineas & Ferb. While we’re sad to see Kim Possible go (we got to Play Test it back when we worked there), it’s nice seeing them update the attraction for another generation to keep it relevant.

Here’s what Charles Stovall posted on the Disney Parks Blog today:

Greetings from Epcot!
All the would-be secret agents out there will find a great new interactive experience at Epcot this year.
Coming this summer, Disney Phineas & Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure is based on the wily secret-agent alter-ego of Perry the Platypus – faithful pet to the title characters from Disney’s animated series “Phineas & Ferb.” Although just a simple pet to Phineas and Ferb, Perry turns into Agent P in each episode to help stop the misguided plans of his nemesis, Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
Epcot guests will transform into secret agents to help Agent P thwart some of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s most daring plots. Agents will use a “high-tech secret agent device” to receive clues for each case. Solving the clues will take agents to different places throughout seven World Showcase countries at Epcot – Mexico PavilionFrance PavilionGermany PavilionNorway PavilionJapan PavilionChina Pavilion and the United Kingdom Pavilion. Agents will scour each country for clues, evil “Inators,” and – with a little bit of luck – help Agent P defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
Everyone ready to don their fedoras and help Agent P? I can’t wait!
Disney Phineas & Ferb: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure will arrive at Epcot and the current Disney Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure will close in summer.

19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival lineup

The largest-ever Disney front-entrance topiary, an illuminated Haiti produce garden with marketplace and a stellar cast of HGTV design celebrities boost the flower power at the 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 7-May 20 at Walt Disney World Resort.  Here’s a sneak peek of this year’s festival news: Continue reading

Disney and GM to re-imagine Test Track at EPCOT

Disney and General Motors have renewed their long-term business relationship with a new multi-year corporate alliance. As part of the new alliance, GM will be actively involved with Walt Disney Imagineering in the development of a re-imagined, design-centric Test Track experience. The refurbished Test Track will be presented by one of GM’s most famous brands, Chevrolet. As Chevrolet marks its 100th anniversary, the new alliance agreement enables General Motors to tell its story in new and exciting ways to millions of Guests from around the world and continue as the official vehicle sponsor of Walt Disney World Resort.

“We are excited to renew our long-term alliance with General Motors,” said George Aguel, Senior Vice President, Corporate Alliances for the Walt Disney Company. “This unique agreement extends collaboration between two of the most recognized brands in the world, a relationship that spans over 30 years. The re-imagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet will continue our shared goal of providing unique and innovative experiences that engage Disney guests in exciting and interactive ways.” ”
“As a global brand, Chevrolet is looking forward to welcoming Guests from around the world to the re-imagined Test Track,” said Joel Ewanick, Global Chief Marketing Officer for General Motors. “The best of Disney and the best of Chevrolet will come together to bring Guests an immersive experience in the design process of the vehicles they see on the road today and will see in the future.”
Plans call for closing the current GM Test Track in April 2012, with an anticipated opening of Test Track Presented by Chevrolet scheduled for fall 2012.
As part of the re-imagining, the Future World attraction will feature a sleek new “Chevrolet Design Center at Epcot” immersing Guests in the fascinating world of automotive design. Amid upbeat music, engaging media, dramatic lighting and a collection of Chevrolet concept cars and model vehicles, guests themselves will become automotive designers – and peer into the future of personal transportation in the process.
At interactive design and styling workstations, Guests will be able to create their own custom concept vehicles. The adventure will then shift into high gear as Guests buckle into their 6-person “SimCar” ride vehicle and put their design through its paces on the exhilarating hills, switchbacks and straight-aways of the Test Track circuit.
Their performance testing complete, Guests will move into a post-show area filled with special effects and be scored on how well their custom concept vehicle did. And of course, Guests will be able see the very latest Chevrolet vehicles in an all-new state-of-the-art showroom.

Big Red's Disney Bootcamp

I’d like to introduce a very good friend of mine who will be contributing her passion and love for Disney here at Theme Park Canuck. There isn’t a better qualified person on this planet who can help guide you through all the magic of the Disney Parks. Here’s an introduction from Tracey:

Let’s start at the very beginning, that’s a very good place to start….
When I was a very young girl, and for those that know me, it was a WHILE ago, Sunday night’s were very special to me.  My parents would take my kid brother and I over to my grandparents. A normal Sunday activity for a lot of families, but for me, it instilled in me what I wanted to be when I finally grew up. Ok, I didn’t want to be that saucy fairy who flew around all over the screen. Although…..

But I digress, it was where I wanted to be.
Uncle Walt presented the Wonderful World of Disney.  This TV show aired until 1979 and we were introduced to so many incredible things.

The enchanting fairy tales Disney was so well known for, but also of Pirates, the Wild West and many other beautiful things. There were animals, fantastic tales and different people featured from all over the world. Fast forward to my 20’s: with all the excitement and adventure I remembered from those Sunday night’s with Uncle Walt. With all that magic, mystery and excitement firing inside of me, I traveled to Walt Disney World for the very first time in 1995.  Late bloomer I guess, but it was truly as magical as any 7 or 8-year-old would have experienced. The best part: I will remember MY visit for the rest of my life instead of only through photos and stories my mom and dad tell me.
Since then, not only did I WORK there, yes Virginia, it is possible to work at Walt Disney World! I have also traveled back to my happy place at least twice a year ever since.  Heck, I even lived in sunny Orlando again for 6 months just so I could be closer.  I have also traveled to where the magic all began, Disneyland in Anaheim, California and been on several cruises with Disney Cruise Lines, despite having a Concierge Manager’s position that keeps me pretty busy. I haven’t been able to visit the other Disney locations throughout the world, but my step brothers have and I have many more tips & tricks for the overseas parks like Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney.
I don’t have any children, although I am old enough to have a few, but it is truly amazing that one man created a place where both children and adults alike can come together and have remarkable experiences.  I return over and over again because I have a totally different experience every single time. Sure, I see the same things, but it is truly the people that create a different experience each and every time I visit. These people keep me, and millions of others, coming back for more time and time again. I want you to have the most fantastic experience when you visit the Wonderful World of Disney, that’s why I’ll be sharing my tips & tricks for you to have a magical visit and help plan your Disney vacation.
Now, if you don’t mind, I am off to the France Pavilion at EPCOT to enjoy an orange slushy and find some inspiration for you.
TTFN (Ta Ta for now!),

Tracey

Make sure to check back next Friday for the first session of Big Red’s Disney Bootcamp: Tips & Tricks & Advice from a former Disney Castmember!

The Magic of Food and Wine at WDW


As the leaves change colour and the temperature dips slowly, nothing makes me happier than a sip or two of wine and a plate of great food. If you’ve ever wanted to hop into a culinary mecca that spans all timezones and borders, the Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival is just what the sommelier ordered. Now in it’s 16th year, the festival spans 45 days of culinary delight. While you could drop a small fortune on food and drink, many of the festivals events are free and will excite even the most discerning critic. Don’t think it’s just for adults, this is Disney after all. The little ones will be delighted with the fantastic topiaries and play structures placed around the entire park.
Here are some fun facts from Disney about the festival:

  • More than 300 national and international wines
  • 45 fabulous days long
  • More than 76 kinds of international foods, each appetizer-sized portion priced $3-$8
  • 160 of America’s most celebrated chefs and Walt Disney World chefs
  • Over 300 wine and beer seminars
  • More than 1,200 fireworks rockets exploding each night over World Showcase Lagoon in Reflections of Earth” grand finale to the festival
  • 135 Eat to the Beat! concerts performed 33,000 bottles of wine and champagne 289,000 servings of beer 900,000 sumptuous samplings 338,000 wine glasses
  • 100,000 desserts including freshly baked waffles with berry compote and whipped cream (Belgium marketplace), white chocolate macadamia mousse with dark chocolate pearls (Desserts & Champagne marketplace) and chocolate cannoli (Italy marketplace).
  • 4,000 pounds of lobster for Linda Bean’s Perfect Maine Lobster Rolls and Linda Bean’s Lobster Claw Cuddlers at the Hops & Barley marketplace plus Lobster and Scallop Fisherman’s Pie at the Ireland marketplace.

For all the details and more visit the Epcot Food & Wine Festival website.