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Sept/Oct 2013 Trip Report – Hollywood Studios & EPCOT

Sept/Oct 2013 Trip Report – Hollywood Studios & EPCOT

Days 4 & 5: Hollywood Studios & EPCOT

We changed rooms from Bay Lake to Beach Club so the focus of the rest of the trip was around these two parks.  Also, it was HOT!  High 80’s.

Tuesday (EPCOT/Hollywood Studios)

  • Captain Cooks (Breakfast)
  • Monorail to EPCOT
  • Art of Disney – I think almost the whole Collectible portion of the tiki room merchandise was on display for purchase!
  • Yacht Club Lobby to meet a friend (and sit in the AC)
  • Boat to Hollywood Studios
  • Mai Tai from High Octane Refreshments

  • Muppets
  • Sci Fi (Lunch) – FINALLY tried the Vegetarian Sheppard’s Pie!  It was good, but shouldn’t be combined with a Mai Tai on a wicked hot day.  Ugh.
  • Hotel Room Hang out
  • Tutto Italia (Dinner) – The Tonnarelli is incredible.
  • Go-Go’s (again)
  • Illuminations

Wednesday (Hollywood Studios/EPCOT)

  • Beach Club Market Place  (Breakfast) – Cheesey Potato Casserole!!

  • Toy Story Mania
  • Tower of Terror (x2) – I LOVE it when the queue looks creepy with mist!

  • Great Movie Ride – kinda weird using the new queue line
  • Biergarten (Lunch)
  • Japan (Sake Bar)
  • Nap Time!
  • La Hacienda (Dinner)
  • Spaceship Earth
Sept/Oct 2013 Trip Report – Lilly and Food & Wine

Sept/Oct 2013 Trip Report – Lilly and Food & Wine

Day 3: Animal Kingdom & EPCOT

All other days on our trip included daily visits to EPCOT and the other parks.  This was my first Food and Wine and as a vegetarian I definitely didn’t go hungry. It was worth visiting during the day to avoid the lines but even at night, the lines moved pretty quickly.

Monday (Animal Kingdom/EPCOT)

  • Everest – I think this was my last time on this.   It crosses that fine line of an adrenaline rush and absolute terror.
  • Lilly!

Silly Lilly from Christine Benoit on Vimeo.

  • Dinosaur
  • Sanaa (Lunch) – I think this place should have a 24 hr delivery set up.  
  • Nap Time!
  • Monorail to EPCOT
  • Spaceship Earth
  • Test Track – my first time since the refurb.  I wasn’t that into it but when I pretend its Tron then I like it again.
  • Food and Wine (Snack)
  • Go-Go’s, yes, the freaking Go-Go’s.

  • Food and Wine (Dinner)
  • Bay Lake Lounge (Drinks)
Sept/Oct 2013 Trip Report – Magic Kingdom

Sept/Oct 2013 Trip Report – Magic Kingdom

Days 1-2: Magic Kingdom

Our trip started out with a few nights at Bay Lake so we took advantage of being able to walk into Magic Kingdom.  These were the first few days of the Food and Wine Festival in EPCOT so the lines in Magic Kingdom were very short, especially early in the morning.

Saturday (MK)

  • Be Our Guest (Lunch) – Potato Leek Soup
  • Its a Small World






  • Ariel Under the Sea (ride broke down, line was long)
  • Citrus Swirl (Snack)
  • Nap Time!
  • Polynesian Torch Lighting
  • Purchased my Luau Bowl at Boutiki

  • The Wave (Dinner) – surprisingly good vegetarian options!  Great tofu dish.
  • Watched Wishes from the Bay Lake Lounge
  • Watched the Water Pageant from the room

Sunday (MK)

  • Kona Cafe for Tonga Toast (Breakfast)
  • Peter Pan
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Thunder Mountain
  • Splash Mountain (x2)
  • Dole Whip (Snack)
  • Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Lots of browsing looking at all the haunted mansion merchandise, including purses, and ornaments


  • Main Street Bakery (Lunch) – Chocolate Walnut Brownie
  • Nap Time!
  • Jico (Dinner)
  • Breaking Bad – It was weird to watch how things end for Walt White while in Walt Disney but we couldn’t risk being in line at EPCOT and getting hit with a spoiler.  I’ve never scheduled my Disney Vacation around TV before and it was surreal to watch something so dark while various park fireworks were going off.


Belated Happy 30th Birthday EPCOT!

Belated Happy 30th Birthday EPCOT!



During my recent visit to WDW it was also the 30th birthday of Horizons.   Horizons first opened in EPCOT on October 1, 1983.  I was hoping that there would be some super special Limited Time Magic event for this important anniversary but when I asked about it at the gate, the young person didn’t know what I was talking about.  That hurt.


Disney did do a nice tribute in the form of some D23 posts titled Reaching for New Horizons.  Content is for members only and worth the read. (Remember, you can join for free!)  These were written by Michael Crawford from Progress City USA who also has a great summary with some awesome images summarized in a post titled Reach for Lost Horizons.


The Horizons fan base came out with a lot of good stuff to celebrate!

queue diagram copy
Ride Specs
Design Pavilion
Great art by Design Pavilion –







Photgraphs by Sam Howzit
Ride Through Video







epcot commercial
EPCOT Commercial – Disney Parks Youtube
Ride Design Images –











In case you missed it

In case you missed it

Here are some highlights from the summer!

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room 50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary Wallpaper by TikiT (Disney Parks Blog)

10 Things you Didn’t know about Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Disneyland Classics – Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room (Walt Disney Family Museum)

Photo Essay – Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room (Disney Parks Blog)

The Disney Gallery Presents Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Realms – Celebrating 50 Years of Enchantment (Disney Parks Blog)

Other Disney Awesomeness!

50’s Prime Time Cafe Wallpaper by TikiT (Disney Parks Blog)

Preview video for Epcot Center, 1978 (Boing Boing – Cory Doctorow)

Art of Herb Ryman (MiceChat)

Transportation Departure Center to Tomorrow (Main Street Gazette)

Disney must win over wary fans to make MyMagic+ work (Orlando Sentinel)

Len’s incredible Space-Mountain/Disney-Cruise-themed mid-century house remodel (Boing Boing – Len Testa)

Ridiculous Crap That I Want – Take 2

Ridiculous Crap That I Want – Take 2

The second item in this series is actually a request from Nancy.

Hand-made Guinea Pig Scale-Mail and Helmet (Armor) – as seen on Ebay!

This hand-made scale-mail and tiny steel helmet will keep you guinea pig protected and secure in all situations. The scale-mail is made from polished steel scales and steel rings.

Does it get any better than this?  Probably not.  Unfortunately this is a custom item that is part of an auction for charity so there is no way Nancy is going to get it.   If the price seems to high but you would still like to help out other pigs, you can donate to the Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue!

Trip Report – Apr’13!

Trip Report – Apr’13!

This trip was the fastest ride in the wilderness!





Lunch was at the food kiosks for the Flower and Garden.  I only tried some of them on my list.

  • YakiSoba Pan (Japan) – this sucked.   It was just noodles and maybe 3 shreds of carrots.   I hope this was just a bad batch.  The Beni Shoga was good though so at least I learned that I like it.
  • Lasagna Primavera (Italy) – now this was quite good.  The cheese tasted very fresh.  I would eat this again.
  • Hugo (Germany) – Charles De Fere “Organic” Brut with Elderflower and Mint.  SO GOOD and refreshing on a hot day.
  • Dole® Whip with Siesta Key Spiced Rum – Oddly enough I didn’t like this as much as a plain one.  Also, I think I am turning into a rum snob.

I REALLY wanted to try the bun from China but I was way too full.   I’m ashamed of myself.

After that, we watched Captain Eo.  I have to say, they should publicize the 80’s montage you get as the pre-show.  Facial hair is back in style!




Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid – I feel like the princess has that modern look to it with puffy lips, I’m just not into the style but the queue once you get way in there is fantastic.

Be Our Guest Restaurant – Definitely worth checking out as its a new experience.  There are details about the menus online but lunch and dinner each offer a different experience.  I personally thought the food at lunch was better than dinner.

After the new Fantasyland exploration (check out the details in the pavement by the way) and watching the sun set (its truly a different experience at night) we hit the rest of the park in rapid succession!

  • Tangled Restroom
  • Haunted Mansion
  • WEDWay PeopleMover
  • Wishes Fireworks
  • Thunder Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Peter Pan’s Flight

The only ride with the wait at the end of the night after midnight was Peter Pan’s Flight (10 minutes).


I’ve been missing my buddy Lilly so we stopped by to watch her scamper around for a bit then took off after one of the fellas on the other side of the enclosure did something super gross.

This was mostly a conference day and the facilities were very nice.  While it was a privilege to meet some high ranking folks as pictured below, I would have liked to have had a Disney perspective on how I can do better in my career – Disney Institute like.

Cocktail time included the Tambu Lounge followed by the Top Of the World Lounge at BLT and we had the pleasure of artist Jason Tiki Tackett joining us!


We got to Hollywood Studios super early and they ended up opening the park early.  It was my first time on Toy Story Mania and I think its worth the hype.   The queue alone was amazing and made me want to go back to the hotel and play old board games.

After that we hit Tower of Terror for a walk-on experience.  I followed that up with an average cupcake from Starring Rolls Cafe.  I wasn’t that hungry so I wanted to get it to go but all they would do was put it in a bag.   A cupcake in a bag when its already almost 80 degrees?!   I ate what I could then bagged it.

After some conference time I finally got my Citrus Swirl.  Pure heaven.

Another note, if your conference program says you will get a “VIP backstage look at Epcot” AVOID this unless you are into backstage.  Magic was lost in this adventure.


We started out the final day with Tonga Toast before taking the monorail to EPCOT.   This was a short trip that included Living with The Land and Spaceship Earth (after Base 21).  I was super excited to check out the new Test Track and pulled a fast pass but was unable to use it because the ride broke down.  Fricken Test Track.

After being pissy about my Test Track disappointment – I made things right with a smaller version of the No Way Jose at Beaches and Cream.


EPCOT 30th Reflection

EPCOT 30th Reflection

In all candor, we at Disney were not prepared for the enthusiasm for the Epcot concept we presented. Perhaps it was the popularity of the Walt Disney World Resort with the public, or the backstage tours where we emphasized all the innovative systems already in place. Perhaps it was the attitude and enthusiasm of all the Disney people they encountered, from Cast Members operating an attraction to corporate executives and Imagineering designers. Perhaps it was the legacy of Walt Disney, still the master communicator a decade and more after his passing. – Marty Sklar

EPCOT is a magical place. Its clean. It holds numerous experiences that educate, entertain, and frankly it just has NEAT stuff! Spaceship Earth – its just neat, one of the ultimate dark rides! I walk to the other side of the park and see a dude in a fez and then nearby, eat as many bowls of spaetzle as I want. Where else can you experience all this?

I didn’t go to EPCOT for the 30th celebration but I have been reading everyone else’s take on what happened in the D23 sessions. Inside The Magic reported that the panel titled Looking Back at Tomorrow ended with an extended look at Horizons and all three classic film endings were shared in pristine condition. I think my head would explode.

Likewise, there was a panel titled The Music of Epcot Center where they highlighted the big hits such as “Tomorrow’s Child” by Ron Ovadia and Peter Stougaard and the Horizon’s Music by George Wilkins. Of course there was also a nod, as there should be for the Sherman Brothers.


Later in the day, Marty Sklar had his own presentation where he talked about the original EPCOT logo. “The original logo was a symbol of unity, fellowship and harmony around the world,” he said. “The goal was to create a better tomorrow.”  The original logo “was much better than the stupid one they’re using now.”

Another cool tidbit – “One of the reasons there’s so much space between Future World and the World Showcase lagoon is that we discovered a gigantic sink hole near where the Odyssey Restaurant is,” Marty said. “We couldn’t build anything on top of it.”   Maybe there really was a sink hole under Horizons.

This anniversary has offered an opportunity for a great look back (similar to the 25th EPCOT Anniversary Gallery) and also inspired some great new art, and new merchandise and concepts from many artists reflecting the greatest parts of EPCOT.  Some of this makes me wish for the old days – a live guide for The Land, Cranium Command, Communicore and no strange tent decorations outside Spaceship Earth.   While I still feel like not having Horizons leaves a huge (sink) hole in the park, I hope that the future of future world invokes some of the same imagination and innovation that it once had.