Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lifeline

When thinking about what Epcot needed, there is one thing that I could get off my mind. Why is the Wonders of Life pavilion still empty?

Sure, it doesn't take up prime real estate in Future World. But it still is plenty of real estate. A great pavilion could be put in, or at least replace the current tomb of a building. And in today's world where people are so conscious about their health, why wouldn't a life pavilion work. People need to learn about their bodies. Why not entertain them while you do it?

So what do you guys think? Is it time for a new health and life pavilion in Epcot?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Makin' Memories

The song says it all. Take a listen:



I recently started going through old vacation pictures. Boy, is it a time warp. It's so crazy, but so fun to go back through old pictures. I highly recomend it. It's a great way to take yourself back to the happiest place on Earth. You also can take yourself back to things that are no longer in Epcot....

R.I.P. Sea Base Alpha

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Jammintors

I think the Jamminators are one of the most underrated entertainment offerings in all of Epcot. They're fun, energetic, and can really get a crowd going. Do they really fit in Future World? Probably not, but they are still a great group and do a great show. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Park by Any Other Name

EPCOT Center vs Epcot. What's the big deal?

When EPCOT Center was changed to Epcot, Disney World was changed forever. On face value, its not a huge difference. You just hit shift instead of the caps lock button when you type it. But on a spiritual level, it's much more important.

EPCOT Center was a celebration of Walt Disney's grand vision. It's a permanent world's fair with tributes to innovation and world cultures. Sure, it wasn't exactly what Walt wanted, but it was close enough. EPCOT had a purpose. It revolutionized the theme park business. Edutainment was born. For the first time in Disney World, people learned something while having fun. EPCOT center was something different. Something spectacular. Something special.

The name Epcot, signaled a difference in the history of the park. It was a change in direction away from it's original vision. It was no longer Walt's park. Since the name change, Epcot has suffered from a lack of vision. This has resulted in a lack of consistency. Wonders of Life now sits empty and dormant. Thrill rides, not edutainment, have become the mission. Spaceship Earth is no longer a grand and miraculous spaceship. Even it has given way to cartoons and simplicity. Pixar even found it's way into the Living Seas. Through all this change, however, World of Showcase has remained remarkably stable. But is no change, good change?

Now by all means, this isn't bashing Epcot. I still love the park. But it is no EPCOT. There is still hope, though. Like a great attraction once said, "If we can dream it, then we can do it." And I for one certainly dream of a future more like EPCOT than Epcot.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mickey's Starland Show

Instead of taking a look at Epcot today, I thought we'd take a much different trip. It's time to bust out the Wayback Machine here at the My Park, My Rides Blog.

The year is 1995. We're at the Magic Kingdom. This is a different Magic Kingdom, though. Before the New Fantasyland, and even before Mickey's Toontown Fair, there was Mickey's Starland. This 5 year old land is what became of the temporary Mickey's Birthdayland which opened in 1988.

One of the centerpieces of the land was Mickey's Starland Show. The show featured everyone's favorite stars from the Disney Afternoon cartoons. The show was a lot of fun and looking back it just screams 90s. Excuse the quality, after all it is 16 years old. The very beginning is missing and some bits and pieces are choppy, but most of the show is there. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Best Overall Pavilion

This is one award that I'm going to have to cheat on. When thinking about what Epcot pavilion deserves this award, I tried my best to think of a current one that was deserving. Unfortunately, I couldn't get one past one out of my mind. So, the Sorcerer's Wand for Best Overall Pavilion goes to...



Could the Wand have gone to anything else? Horizons WAS Epcot. It was the integral attraction that showcased the scope and vision of the park (The park the way it was meant to be, at least). It's motto "If we can dream it, then we can do it" was something that inspired millions of park guests. Horizons promised a better future that people could believe in. It was as innovative as it was inspiring. I think it is probably the most spectacular audio-animatronic ride I have ever seen. It certainly is the most impressive ride in Epcot's history.

Do you guys agree?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Money Grows on Apple Trees

While watching the news about the Ipad 2 the other day, the thought struck me that while Steve Jobs is heavily connected to Disney, nothing has ever come of it in the theme parks. I think Epcot would be a great place to showcase the best and brightest ideas from Apple. Even if it was just an Apple overhaul in Innoventions, I would love it. The current videos games and software are just a blatant advertisement anyway. Why not make it interesting and groundbreaking? Apple would get some great advertising and Epcot would finally have some technology that is really innovative.

What do you guys think? Would you welcome Apple in the parks?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Best Show

It's time for another Sorcerer's Wand!! This award is one that needs no explanation. In fact it has none. It's something you have to see to believe. So I present to you, the winner of the Sorcerer's Wand for Best Show. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happiest Epcot on Earth

For today's little piece of Epcot I am offering up a video from the old Happiest Celebration on Earth vaction planning DVD. I don't love it as much as I did the WDW Tour, but it still provides a great tour of the park. It certainly is a lot more detailed than the current offerings on Resort TV. Have a magical day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Outstanding Culinary Performance

It's time to hand out another Sorcerers Wand! This one is for outstanding culinary performance. While this is definitely the most personal selection, I have a feeling many of you will agree. The Wand goes to...

Le Cellier

I really don't have much of an explanation for this. It really is just something you have to experience for yourself. The food is great and the service is even better. Read any of the glowing reviews online and you'll see why so many people love it.

So what do you guys think? Agree or disagree?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Safety Dance

Please allow me to interrupt the Month of Epcot for this special safety announcement.

Best Costume Design

Hello everyone. I hope you're enjoying your Monday! It's time to give out another Sorcerer's Wand. This was a very interesting one to decide. I actually had to put a lot of thought into it. Great costumes aren't things you notice because they seamlessly blend with the overall experience. So, without further ado, the Sorcerer's Wand for Best Costume Design goes to....


The Mexico Pavilion 

This was a very tough decision since I could have given this to any of the World Showcase Countries. My first runner up would probably be the American Adventure. But Mexico slightly edged it out because of the overall atmosphere of the pavilion. This pavilion probably does the best job of transporting you out of Epcot and into another world. The costumes have a lot to do with that. The cast members are an integral part of making the whole experience possible.

This was a tough one, so I would love to hear what you guys have to say about this. Who do you think deserved this award?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Playing Favorites

Sorry I missed my daily post yesterday, but it was a busy weekend for me. For today's post I have a different kind of idea. I want to hear from all of my guests here at the blog. It's time to let your voices be heard.

I want to know what your favorite thing in Epcot is. It can be anything you want. A ride, a show, a restaurant, a sight, a sound, a smell, or anything at all. Basically, what is the thing you love the most about Epcot.

So let me hear you. What do you have to say?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ambiance

Well today is my birthday. So I though I'd post my favorite music from Epcot.


I really love the Innoventions background music. It feels so futuristic and every time I hear it it instantly takes me right back to Epcot. It's perfect.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Outstanding Art Direction

This particular idea came to me when I was watching the Oscars. Surprisingly, it was one of the harder awards for me to decide. The winner is...

World Showcase

Is this a cop-out? Probably. But it is really the only decision to make. The entirety of World Showcase is beautifully designed. The lands perfectly represent their countries and really transport you to far away places. Even just a walk around the lagoon is amazing. The buildings are perfectly detailed and take your breath away. It is one of the most impressive places in all of WDW.

What do you guys think? Agree or disagree?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Best Ride Vehicle

It's time to give out another award here at the My Park, My Rides Blog. This time its the Sorcerer's Wand for Best Ride Vehicle in Epcot. After much consideration the wand goes to...........


Soarn'


Most people probably consider Soarin' has more of a theater than a ride vehicle. But really, it is one of the most innovative ride systems in WDW. The Imagineers came up with such a unique ride design. It literally feels like you are flying up into the screen. I also love how they used the scent fans like in Horizons. There is nothing quite like that scent of oranges they use.

What do you guys think? Do you agree?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Like a Big Fancy Space Car

Please allow me me to step up on my soap box for a moment.

Sad, but true
Spaceship Earth used to be a grand and miraculous ride. Walter Cronkite and Jeremy Irons both did a beautiful job with their ride narration. Was it Soarin' or Test Track? Of course not, because it was never supposed to be. Spaceship Earth was THE Epcot attraction. The perfect blend of entertainment and education. Like almost every other Disney fanatic, I loved Spaceship Earth. So naturally, I was jumping for joy when the extensive rehab was announced years ago. But in the end, like many others, I was very disappointed.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't completely hate the update. I knew the ride desperately needed some TLC, and many of the audioanimatronics received it. I also enjoyed the fact that some of the scenes were updated. The computer has become a huge part of our lives and future, so it definitely needed to be in the ride. The part that I have an issue with is the narration.

In a ride like Spaceship Earth, the voice over is key. Since the ride has such little action, the story needs to be what drives the attraction. The previous versions of the scripts were inspiring and educational. You learned something on the ride and felt like the future was going to be something awe inspiring. Those things seem to be missing in the current version. It almost feels like the soul of Spaceship Earth is gone.

Nothing against Judie Dench, but I really don't like the job she did. Is it all her fault? Of course not. But the ride feels like it was dumbed down. I know we live in the ADD generation, but Epcot is supposed to be different. It is supposed to inspire us and educate us. Epcot is supposed to rise above, not come down to our level.

Can this be fixed? Absolutely. A simple new script would do wonders. But that wouldn't make it perfect. I still take issue with the cartoon on the descent. But I can deal with that. I can't deal with being bored and talked down too. Epcot can't stand for that.

What do you guys think? What would you change?

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Horizons

The fact that the Wonders of Life pavilion sits dark and empty is an absolute travesty. Almost equal in shame, is the fact that Epcot lost its signature attraction: Horizons. So what can be done to right these great wrongs? I have a simple solution: New Horizons.

The original Horizons provided a great glimpse into our future by looking at the future from a historical prospective. Things have changed so much in our world since the 1980s that its time to explore the future once again. Technology has also advanced enough to make a ride of this scale feasible.

When I think of a ride system for this new attraction, the Universal attraction Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey comes to mind. New Horizons could also utilize the same Kuka Robotic Arm technology. This would allow for a much more unique ride system rather than a normal dark ride. It would also make any Imax or Omnimax scenes much more immersive.

As far as the ride itself goes, I picture a ride very similar to the original. It could be sponsored by a company like Siemens or IBM and look at how technology has shaped our lives and vision of the future. I think this is a perfect opportunity for another epic audio-animatronic attraction.

This is just an idea at this point, but what do you guys think? Would you ride New Horizons?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gather Around the Fire

So I know this wasn't one of the announced Sorcerer's Wands, but Illuminations is one the best nighttime shows in the history of WDW. It truly captures the spirit of Epcot and serves as the perfect ending to a day of adventure and discovery. The music beforehand is also some of my favorite in the park. It sets the mood for the amazing spectacle you are about to see. Without further ado, enjoy the most breathtaking show in all of Epcot.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ready for Takeoff

The weather outside is beautiful here today. So, there is only one Epcot attraction I can think of for today's post.




Thank you for flying with us.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tip for Today

It's the Zip a Dee Doo Dah, Tip for Today!

Sorry, guess I still have that WDW Tour on my mind =). But anyway, this tip is about one of the coolest places in Epcot: Ice Station Cool in the Innoventions Area. Did you ever think there was a place in WDW where you could get free soda? It's so awesome. At Ice Station Cool you can get free samples of Coke products from around the world. But beware of the Beverly!!

Have a magical day!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Best Original Character

As a part of the month of Epcot here at My Park, My Rides, it is my pleasure to announce the first winner of this year's Scorer's Wands. The first category I am presenting was the decision I found the easiest. The Soccer's Wand for Best Original Character in Epcot goes to...

FIGMENT

Figment is one of the greatest creations in the history of Walt Disney World. He is one of the most lovable characters in the park, probably only second to the big cheese himself. The best proof of Figment's importance is the public outcry after his removal from the ride during its 2000 refurbishment. Imagineers quickly refurbished the ride again, even though it wasn't cheap in the first place, and put Figment back in his rightful place. Figment has become one of the well known symbols of Epcot. His merchandise flies off the shelves and can be considered very collectible.

What's in the works for the future of our little purple friend? Well, my biggest wish would be for a reunion with his best friend and creator: The Dreamfinder. If he were still around, in fact, he may have challenged Figment for this title. The two of them together really are a dream team and could be bring some much needed energy back into the Imagination Pavilion.

So what do you guys think? Was I right? Who are you favorite Epcot characters?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Epcot Tour

So I thought it would be a good idea to post my absolute favorite video from Epcot to help start the month. While it is not strictly a video about Epcot (the Epcot specific part starts around the 3 minute mark), the Epcot section is one of my favorite parts.



I absolutely LOVED when the WDW Tour was on the resort TV station. Nothing against the people who have worked on the videos after it, but they have never come close to the magic of the WDW Tour. The Tour was really about the parks. It showcased their spirit and how they can make your vacation a truly memorable one. The latest videos seem to focus more on the Tour guides. They are often the ones taking up most of the attention which is really a shame. The old Epoct segment did a beautiful job of portraying the mission of the park. You almost felt moved by the video when you watched it and it really sold you on the ideals of community and innovation.

So what do you guys think? What is your favorite of the Resort TV Shows? Do you have a favorite Epcot Video?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Sorcerer's Wands

 Walt Disney World


As a part of the Month of Epcot, I would like to introduce the Sorcerer's Wand Awards. These are special awards that I will present to the best parts of Epcot. Think of it as the Oscars, but better because it's for Epcot. I know it's weird that I would pick such a hated symbol as the basis for an Epcot award, but I do so with good reason. Sorcerer Mickey not only represents the Imagineers, but the creativity, imagination, and curiosity that founded Epcot. The judging will be based on popularity, longevity, quality, and my own personal experiences. Here are the categories.

-Best Original Character




-Best Ride Vehicle




-Outstanding Art Direction




-Best Costume Design




-Outstanding Culinary Performance




-Best Show



-Best Overall Pavilion



-Best Attraction



Stay tuned and feel free to post your suggestions and/or ideas for awards here. Have a magical day!

The Month of Epcot

"But the most exciting and, by far, the most important part of our Florida project, in fact, the heart of everything well be doing in Disney World, will be our experimental prototype city of tomorrow. We call it EPCOT, spelled E-P-C-O-T: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Here it is in larger scale. EPCOT will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing testing and demonstrating new materials and new systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world of the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise. "
-Walt Disney

While Walt, was never able to see his dream come to fruition, the Imagineers took his grand vision and turned it into EPCOT Center. Epcot was one of the most amazing achievements ever in the theme park industry. Even to this day, Epcot stands as a tribute to the human spirit's commitment to community and innovation.

I officially declare that here at the My Park, My Rides Blog, March will be known as the Month of Epcot. Why this month? Well because its my birthday this month and I love Epcot so I decided to take this special month to celebrate a special park. So what does this mean? Get ready for a month of awesomeness surrounding the most awesome park in the world. I'm going to make a commitment to post something about Epcot every day this month. Maybe even more than one post on some days. It's going to be news items, history, videos, music, commentary, and even some insight into the future of the park.

Now, if this whole routine seems a bit extreme...you're absolutely right. But that's what this blog is all about. It's time to get my butt back in gear and start entertaining you, my readers and my friends, again.

The 21st century began on October 1, 1982 and has been born again here at the My Park, My Rides Blog on March 1, 2011.