(NOTE: THIS CONTAINS SOME NICE JII INFO, REHABS, REFURBISHEMENTS, NEWS, DESCRIPTIONS, AND GREAT NEWS FOR PEOPLE WHO LIKED EPCOT 20 YEARS AGO!)
Hello, everyone! Yesterday, I visited EPCOT Center in Walt Disney World. I had not been to the park since last December and since March, haven't been on Walt Disney World property. So, I was relieved to be "home".
I arrived at the park around eleven in the morning (Future World opened at ten yesterday), and there were crowds. Guards checked everyone's purses, baggages, and made sure we weren't carrying anything else. We went to Guest Relations first, to pick up our dinner packages. BUT...we were too late. The Cast Member told us to pick them up in front of the American Adventure at noon. I noticed in the office that the big portrait behind the representatives had Horizons, Test Track, but the repainted Imagination! pavilion. I thought they repainted JII after Horizons was in deconstruction - and there was no 2000 or EPCOT on Spaceship Earth...hmmmm... They also replaced the old EPCOT photos on the right with photos of the new Information center, Tom Morrow, and a photo of the new EPCOT sign over Spaceship Earth.
We went on our way towards Wonders of Life when we saw Mission Space. The area was deserted, but over at Test Track there were some pretty long lines. The sign said "120 wait", even though the attraction was shut down. I made a joke on the way that "1/3 of the Future World attractions will be closed!" - taking into account that Test Track does not operate most of the day!!!
We also took a peek to see the new Universe of Energy sign. It looked TERRIBLE - - but the show had a LINE coming out of it. That shows what an ugly sign can do!
On entering WoL, I noticed how all MetLife logos and references were taken away. All of the Health with Snoopy computers were taken away, though the covering remained. Coach's Corner was also closed - with the computers around it. A couple of the Fitness Fairground cycles had a black sheet covering the screen, showing that they were broken, and a couple others were broken without having the black screen. I couldn't see any times for the Comedy show (Which I wanted to see), so I suppose the cast was laid off. (So were the flamingos on the way to Mexico!) I saw Cranium Command for the first time in ages - I would normally visit EPCOT in the late afternoon when going or, when the "good" future world attractions were open, spend time with them. So, I took refuge in the Command, and the show was great. Wonders of Life may sound like a mess, but it was the exact opposite. The area was colorful, peaceful, and the "healthiest" attraction in Future World.
Anyway, off to El Rio Del Tiempo! I noticed that the Mexico pavilion didn't have the arch going across the front like they had in the years packed. Upon entering, I noticed that they placed a new exhibit in the opening room - it was called "Animales Fantasticos", meaning imaginary animals. Going through were the glass cases with sculptures of all kinds of imaginary animals. It was a nice addition. Of course, the town inside Mexico was breathtaking. El Rio Del Tiempo didn't have a wait, so I rode it. In our house, it's a sure favorite. The attraction is going down for refurbishment in April, so I am somewhat scared. If they do decide to put in the Three Caballeros, I hope it doesn't disrupt the peacefulness that makes the San Angel and the shopping center so beautiful. The ride was beautiful, like always, and I noticed the paint job that they gave some of the rooms a few years back.
I read on MousePlanet that an overlooked treasure in Norway is the cathedral, so we decided to go in there. It's a cute little museum - and if you're interested in the Norwegian architecture, you'll like this area. We rode Maelstrom for the first time in about 2 years. Back when JII and Horizons were around, we visited the park in the AM, and we were able to get on Malestrom and ride it over and over and over and over again. Recently, though, we've avoided EPCOT due to the deconstruction of Horizons, the terrible Journey into Your Imagination, the sounds of Test Track, and the distasteful flavor of Food Rocks. So, whenever we went in the PM, Maelstrom was too crowded (and had no FastPass at the time.) The attraction seemed shorter than usual time-wise...
I also saw the Norway film for the first time in ages. It's a cute one - though the darn film almost gave me a heart attack when the boy looking at the ship suddenly changed to the sea storm, etc.
I also noticed how there are new toys - a boat with a Skeleton and Boy for El Rio and a Troll on a Norway boat. These are the "Magical Moment" pieces, and these 2 are the only ones I found in the park. I remember there being a few in the Magic Kingdom a few years back.
On to the American Adventure to get my Candlelight tickets. On the way, I noticed that an area at China was under construction, much like Morocco a few years back. Some guessed it was struck by lightning. Also, a few World Key information centers had construction walls around them. A sign said "we are building the future EPCOT." Hmm...I smell a 20th anniversary tribute coming!!
On to the American Adventure! The Voices of Liberty sang some of the best Christmas Carols in their intriguing voices. The show was magnificent as ever also.
We picked up our tickets and, on the way to get some Imagination merchandise, noticed a statue surrounded by people in France. It was the Imaginum - I have heard of it and seen commercials with it, but never once have seen it live. I got the opportunity this time! Everyone was gathered around in a big circle and people went up to get their picture taken. She did something neat to every person - for example, took a girl's visor, wrapped it around her arm, and touched her hip, so the girl wasn't able to get it back. Fun stuff!
A couple of people in my group went on to see Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, but I decided to stay back. I entered the "ImageWorks" - which is now a disaster - and was terrified when I heard a noise that was often played inside the old-new ride. It was a high pitch "rrr-err-rr" and scared the life out of me every time I heard it. It gave me shivers as I, in my mind, saw scenes of the new ride vs. the old ride. This noise occurred at least 10 times a minute and is VERY disturbing. Figment merchandise, like always, was everywhere. (I decided to pick up a plush large beanie baby - so adorable). I wished I could knock down the logo of every Figgy's Imagination Institute. Some plush animals had a collar that said "PROPERTY OF THE IMAGINATION INSTITUTE!" It made me MAD!
Oh, almost forgot to tell you about the new ride! :lol:
Before entering the shop, I noticed a new banner hung high over the automatic doors. It said "SOMETHING NEW IS COMING TO JOURNEY INTO IMAGINATION" - I thought it would say "JOURNEY INTO YOUR IMAGINATION"...hmmm...on the bottom it read construction zone and on the side a photo of Figment with a paintbrush - it was the "original" design. I hope they don't make it like the hollogram version in the most recent version.
The CM outside said that all she knew was that the attraction will be a Figment-based ride. She had heard that Imagineering was stupid enough to cut the track in half, which we sadly know, so the ride will still remain rather short. She wasn't sure about if they were totally redoing it, or rather just adding in Figment, but was pretty sure a lot of the scenes would be totally redone. I complained how ugly the Image Works looks and how uncreative - all it is is looking into a computer and morphing a face. This could be done on Kay's Power Gloo, for goodness sake. I also mentioned "stepping on a Tiger and it roaring". She said, as I agreed, that they should make ImageWorks games, like they had in the old attraction, and put them upstairs. What a waste they are using Imagination! for!
Off to The Land. I immediately noticed the glowing symbol on the wall - it lowered my blood pressure. I just love how they kept the symbol. I also noticed that they took away the Nestle TV Screens and just decorated the Wall with Nestle ads. I took a look at Food Rocks. (The smell boxes were rotting ) - and I think Food Rocks should close within the next five years - it has old stars and cheap "animatronics". I would like to see a KK quality show being put in there! The attendance was only about 140 for the entire day. (Mine counted 2 - going in and going out.) I talked to CMs and asked if they knew about Kitchen Kabaret and the answer, of course, was "No".
I had a rather pleasant dinner after getting Fastpasses for Living with the Land. (The wait was 45 minutes). We had the Dinner package, as you know, at the Garden Grille. It's so refreshing to have the Disney characters choke you! I noted that 'West of the Wide Missouri' was playing, which also is played at Big Thunder, much like how I heard 'Behind the Waterfall' in WoL, like on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Garden Grille also played "Listen to the Land" - the waiter didn't know what it was...
LIVING with the Land was pretty good. We had a full boat and everything was pleasing, though they took away the inspector Robot! Maybe HE was laid off!
Off to the Candlelight. On the way, we saw clips of Tapestry of Dreams. If you are going to the park just to see this, DON'T. It is EXACTLY the same as Tapestry of Nations, besides dialogue on the speakers and a couple new floats where people collect "dreams". Very dissapointing. But I didn't care - - Candlelight was about to start!
The show was magnificent (at least the 6:40 version - with Gary Sinise - we saw him last year, too). The Voices of Liberty skipped a few songs - I noted they didn't sing "Most Wonderful Time of the Year". They also speeded up "Do You Hear What I Hear?" in tempo. Why? Well, at the end, they put in "Let there be Peace on Earth" due to 9/11, etc. But it was grand, nonetheless!
Impressions de France was next on our list - breathtaking! The CM stated "...and you will enjoy all of the classical composers of France, like Michael Jackson and Brittney Spears...oh, you've heard of them?"
Time was running out. By now, it was 8:50, and it was either O, Canada! or Spaceship Earth. We decided Spaceship because we would rather enjoy Canda when light, so we could see the gardens.
Spaceship Earth was interesting...CLA CLUNK! CLA CLUNK! I was somewhat frightened of the attraction on the ascension. Also, at least twice, the narration broke off towards the end. The track was noisy, but they fixed it - as I was able to enjoy the music and narration. The dissention was somewhat scary as well, and therefore made it short. I sadly wasn't able to enjoy the finale music - my favorite park. I realized that the reason I concentrated on Spaceship Earth's track was because I read complaints on these message boards. I won't do that again!
I saw something weird. Ya know the part where there is a city, a big river, and then the other side of the city? Well, there was about a 3X5 image of an elderly lady leaning on one of the buildings! Darn CMs! I had to tell the operator about that one...
Now here comes good news:
I noticed in MouseGear some new EPCOT sweaters. These weren't "regular" sweaters. It had the old EPCOT font. It had the old symbols!!!!!! There were Ladies Shirts, sweatshirts (with large symbols on the arms), and also great T-Shirts! I picked a couple up. This is just a hint of what's to come for EPCOT's 20th - - I am so excited! Maybe old KK, WoM, Horizons, and JII stuff - who knows! THIS WILL BE SO EXCITING!
Illuminations was as coordinated as possible and was quite a delight. I noticed near the new McDonald's stop, which actually blends in, there were about four signs. They had, for example, one that said CANADA, with a rainbow forming a transparent arch over Canada. A Japanese one had a Japanese person cutting a potato into McDonald fries. There was also Morocco and UK posters.
That makes up the whole day. I took over 160 Digital Camera photos of everything I talked about. I sent a whole bunch to Steve here to post at WDW Magic, some detailed messes to ParrotHead at WDW Blues, and photos of new Figment pages in a 2002 coloring book to the founder at Figment's Imagination.
What an enjoyable trip. I left with optimism for EPCOT at 10:00. If Mission Space is a GOOD attraction and they don't mess up Imagination again, I foresee good things to come. Pretty soon the Universe of Energy and the Land will be in need for refurbishments - how time flies!!!!! The new set of Imagineers (ahem ahem) will know what to do to overenhance the spirit of tomorrow.
Hope you enjoyed the report! Next visit - MK to see the CoP - which is NOW OPEN!!!
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12-23-2001 11:09 AM #1
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