Expanded Food and Drink at the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival!

Expanded Food and Drink at the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival!

I’m so excited about this I can’t WAIT!  Who knew I could get even MORE excited about my next trip.  The annual EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival will be featuring new food booths!

Items I am most looking forward to:

Canada

  • Dole® Whip with Siesta Key Spiced Rum

Mexico

  • Organic Tequila Flight

China

  •  Pan-Fried Vegetable Bun
  • South Sea Storm (Guava with Light and Dark Rum)

Germany

  • Potato Pancakes with house made Apple Sauce
  • Hugo – Charles De Fere “Organic” Brut with Elderflower and Mint

Italy

  • Lasagna Primavera (Spinach Lasagna, green peas, zucchini, mushrooms, broccolini, béchamel and fresh tomatoes, with garlic and basil leaves)

Japan

  • Frushi (Fresh strawberries, pineapple and cantaloupe rolled with coconut rice, atop a raspberry sauce sprinkled with toasted coconut and whipped cream
  • YakiSoba Pan (Fresh grilled carrots, onions and cabbage with Japanese noodles and teriyaki sauce served on a bun with mayonnaise and Beni Shoga)

Morocco

  • Mint Iced Tea
WDW 1971 Preview

WDW 1971 Preview

Check out these great videos from Disney and More.   These are videos from 1971 where they showcase the layout of the WDW property and even talk about the hotel concepts that never came to fruition.

Disney’s Asia Resort (where the Grand Floridian is)

Disney’s Venetian Hotel (between Contemporary and the TTC)

Disney’s Persian Resort (North of the Contemporary)

And the Polynesian was going to have a coral reef where you could dive for pearls!

FastPass+ Logistics and the Magic Band

FastPass+ Logistics and the Magic Band

Testing for Disney’s NextGen program continues and we now have more information about the FastPass+ Program!

FastPass+

FastPass+ is different from the existing FASTPASS Program in that it will involve the use of RFID on your ticket (or Magic Band – see below) giving guests the chance to plan their itineraries ahead of time including access to their favorite attractions.  This can be done in advance online or, should you need to make adjustments – in the park by using either a kiosk or the MyDisneyExperience App on your smart phone.  You pick your arrival window (an hour long period) in which you intend to arrive at a particular attraction.  This is instead of physically running to the attraction to pull the FASTPASS paper ticket and later return.

     

Attractions that historically have had a FASTPASS will be part of this program and Disney has been adding other attractions to this list such as the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, and Spaceship Earth to name a few.  In addition, the FastPass+ will also provide reserved seating for parades, shows, fireworks, and character meet and greets.

 FastPass+ Terms and Conditions

Let’s take a look at some of the key points in the terms and conditions as of 12/29/12.

Availability of a FastPass+ experience, the number of experiences you may select and arrival windows are limited and vary based on factors such as the theme park you are visiting, the attraction or entertainment experience, the time of year and the day of the week, and prior demand. In addition, the number of days for which you can hold FastPass+ selections at any given time is limited.

While its clear this is limited (in testing guests were given 4 attractions in a single park for a day) I am OK with this since personally, at the most I pick only 1-2 FASTPASSES per park anyhow.  Also, I think many of us have faced the empty FASTPASS machine so this is a known limitation to the program that would need to continue. My only concern here is what if I want to “pull a FASTPASS” on EVERY day of my trip.  Also, will Annual Pass holders or those staying at Deluxe Resorts get more days than those at an Economy Resort?  With this program will there be more FASTPASSES available than there were with the paper tickets?

You may make FastPass+ selections for one park per day. You may only select and redeem a FastPass+ selection for a particular attraction, entertainment or restaurant experience once per day.

The part that concerns me is that it’s limited to one park per day.  I’m a huge fan of the Park Hopper option and like the flexibility of choosing multiple parks (and therefore food options) in a day.  When I think about it though, I might go to EPCOT everyday but that doesn’t mean I need a FastPass+ to enjoy every attraction.  In practice, this might be a non-issue.

 You may make FastPass+ selections for yourself, your Managed Friends, and your Connected Friends.

This is nice for planning the family trip and certainly beats the “QUICK GIVE ME ALL YOUR TICKETS SO I CAN RUN TO THE FASTPASS MACHINE AND GET THE PASSES!”

Your Connected Friends may also make FastPass+ selections for you or modify the selections you’ve made without notification to you. You can view the selections and modifications made by Connected Friends for you when you log in to your account and view your itinerary.

Note to my Dad – Make sure your Daughter-In-Law isn’t one of your connections or you WILL be scheduled for It’s a Small World.  Lucky for you, the terms limit that you can’t repeat attractions.  For example, if you have 4 FastPass+ options, you cannot repeat the same attraction at any time.

Magic Your Way ticket holders may make FastPass+ selections beginning 60 days prior to day of use. The selection window may vary for other admission tickets or passholders.

Make no mistake, my dining reservations for my next trip in April are already made but the thought of scheduling when I will ride Thunder Mountain doesn’t sit well with me.   Personally, if my trip is planned to that level of detail, some of the magic is gone.  Then again, I could see this being perfect for a family with younger people that only get to the park once every five years who want to make sure they see their key attractions.

Half of my Disney experience is the anticipation of going and the idea of planning like this certainly can add to the excitement.  But does this mean that FASTPASSES will be all gone when we get closer to our trip?  Will there be some reserved for the day of?

 What Does this Look Like?

For starters, each attraction will need an RFID reader to read your chip and I must admit, this thing lights up so pretty, its magical.

micechat.com

You will go online or use a kiosk to make your selections as seen here:

micechat.com

Then you will get a confirmation via email and will also be able to refer to it in your “My Plans” section of the MyDisneyExperience app.

Of course, the FastPass+ is only one component of the NextGen project and use of RFID.  The NextGen project will also support park entry, resort purchases, and room keys.  Will this all happen on a park ticket?  That’s no fun!  Instead, we will use Magic Bands!

Magic Bands


These are wristbands that will hold all the information needed to do park entry, resort purchases, FastPass+ etc.

The device is battery powered by a non-replaceable coin cell.  The device also contains passive UHF and HF RFID tags in a wrist worn arm band that transmits a 2.4 GHz signal to an indoor wireless infrastructure.

Just think of all of the colors, personalization, characters etc. that Disney will be able to put on these.   They will be keepsakes!

wdwmagic.com – RFID payment terminal

Of course this means new readers will be required at cash registers and that old turnstiles will need to be replaced (as much fun as having that turnstile smack you in the bottom is!).

As it stands, all four parks have these new RFID entrances set up for use in testing this new system and many resorts are adding in the new payment terminals.

Ultimately, I’m very much looking forward to how this will impact my eating.   Quick Service restaurants are already using RFID technology.  Will reservations at restaurants all be tied to RFID accounts?  In other words, how difficult will it be for someone without a theme park ticket to book a meal?

Spaceship Earth and Water Conservation

Spaceship Earth and Water Conservation

Ever wonder why in a downpour you can stand under Spaceship Earth and there is not waterfall of water?

Because hidden behind the 11,324 silver triangular-shaped tiles lies a unique drainage system–two gutters that surround the geosphere, one at the sphere’s equator and another below that. The outer sphere façade is held about 2-feet away from the inner core by aluminum hubs.  The surface tiles are spaced an inch apart, permitting rainwater to flow through and into the submerged gutters. Both gutters collect the rainwater and channel it through Spaceship Earth’s support legs down below Future World, where it flows out and replenishes World Showcase Lagoon. – Chicago Tribune and Mouse Planet.

Outer sphere façade is held about 2-feet away from the inner core. Picture from SimplyDifferently.org
The surface tiles are spaced an inch apart, permitting rainwater to flow through and into the submerged gutters – Picture from wdwmagic.com

Disney has other examples of water conservation in action such as at the Disney Wilderness Preserve, the Disneyland World of Color , EPCOT’s Living with the Land, and displays at the Annual EPCOT Flower and Garden Festivals.  Of course the Disney Corporation has a conservation statement as part of their operations.

 

Attn Google Chrome Users – 100,000 Stars!

Attn Google Chrome Users – 100,000 Stars!

100,000 Stars is an interactive visualization of the stellar neighborhood created for the Google Chrome web browser. It shows the location of 119,617 nearby stars derived from multiple sources, including the 1989 Hipparcos mission. Zooming in reveals 87 individually identified stars and our solar system. The galaxy view is an artist’s rendition based on NGC 1232, a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way.

Who is this Theia broad?

Who is this Theia broad?

The name of a hypothesized protoplanet that hit the Earth to create the moon is derived from the mythical Greek titan Theia, who gave birth to the Moon goddess, Selene. Is Selene in any relation to Hina? I’m going to go ahead and doubt that but I would love to hang out with them both and have a cocktail.

The Harvard Gazette reports – “As part of their dynamic model, Ćuk and Stewart found that a resonance between Earth’s orbit around the sun and the moon’s orbit around Earth can pass angular momentum to the sun. Furthermore, Ćuk and Stewart showed that if the Earth was fast-spinning before the impact, then a giant collision could eject enough Earth material into orbit to make the moon.”

[movie deleted]

In the animation, Earth and the smaller planet that hit Earth, named Theia, are represented by many particles with a fixed mass, shown as small balls. The color of the ball indicates the material: iron cores and rocky mantles. Before the impact, Earth’s shape is an oblate spheroid because the day is only 2.3 hours long. Video by Sarah T. Stewart

Mid Century Modern Weekend

Mid Century Modern Weekend

Last weekend we had a mid century modern adventure! Our adventures took us to New Canaan, CT, Mount Tremper, NY, and Mountainville, NY.   Here are the highlights.

The Philip Johnson Glass House

The Glass House in New Canaan sits on 47 acres, some of it former farm land.   The Glass House itself is just one house on the property.   New Canaan was also home to the Harvard Five, a group of architects from Harvard – John M. Johansen, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, Philip Johnson and Eliot Noyes and so approximately 100 modern homes were built in the town.  I want one.

 

I have to say, the coolest part was Johnson’s “Painting Gallery” – a bunker that contains large paintings that remind me of a 30 disc cd changer.   This extremely private space must have been one of the best cocktail bars in the 60’s.

 

Kate’s Lazy Meadow

This motel run by Kate Pierson of the B52’s has “nine atomically designed, mid-century modern suites [that] sit directly on the Esopus Creek” in Mount Tremper, NY.  We stayed in Cabin Suite #1 and it was a blast.  Kinda like hanging out at your trendy friend’s apartment but not feeling like you are putting them out by crashing in their guest room.

The third part of our adventure takes place in Mountainville, NY and involves one of my favorite artists, Alexander Calder –  but will have to wait till next time because the pics aren’t ready!