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Archive for August, 2012

Test Track at Epcot Reimagining

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Walt Disney Imagineering’s Melissa Jeselnick revealed more details about Test Track, the automobile-oriented Epcot attraction, through a Q&A posted Monday on the Disney Parks Blog. The ride, said to be “presented by Chevrolet,” has been in renovation gear since mid-April. The reopening is set for “late fall,” Disney has said.

Test Track at Epcot

Test Track at Epcot

Questions for the Imagineer generally fell into two categories: “What’s new” and “What’s old.”


• Marquee. Test Track will have a new look upon approach in Future World.

• Queue. The pre-show area will be totally rehabbed, with a theme that is “changing from testing to design,” Jeselnick says. (Looks grim for those test-crash dummies and all that clatter.) On display will be “actual items, sketches, cars, models from GM that have never been seen before by anyone outside the Chevrolet family,” she says.

• Music. The soundtrack will be futuristic and have sound effects.


• Ride vehicles. They are “still the same physical ride that our guests know and love,” Jeselnick says. “You’ll ride in our sim car.”

• Track layout. The indoor-then-outdoor nature of the attraction continues, including the 65 mph stretch.

• Queue workarounds. Both FastPass and single-rider line will be available again for Test Track.


Disney's Test Track Reimagined

Disney’s Test Track Reimagined

Some folks have confused being able to design a vehicle with being able to ride in that vehicle. As I translate Jeselnick’s remarks, guests will virtually create a “dream vehicle” using interactive kiosks. Whether this is done individually or as a group, the new creation(s) will be graded against the standard sim car (translation: ride vehicle) during the attraction on factors such as capability, efficiency, responsiveness, power and speed.

But wait, there’s more upon disembarking.

“The post-show will kick off with a scoring opportunity, not just with the guests in your car, but guests throughout the day. From there, we’ll move into other opportunities to play with your design with multiple interactive elements,” Jeselnick says. “The show room space will still be there with the Chevrolet cars, and we’ll have our own photo ops with different concept cars.”

So why the change?

“The whole automotive design process has evolved since Test Track opened and things have moved into the digital realm, and the same has been true for WDI’s design process. It updates the automotive story to reflect what is happening today,” Jeselnick says.

Test Track officially opened in 1999, although it was expected to open as early as 1997. That would make the procedures presented at least 15 years old before the attraction was shuttered earlier this year.

Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin at SeaWorld Orlando

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Through the years, SeaWorld Orlando has taken guests to far-flung corners of the globe, immersing them in the character and feel of exotic places and introducing them to unique worlds of adventure.

Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin

Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin

But no journey is bigger — or as incredible — as the one to come in 2013. It’s a voyage to the bottom-of-the-world, to the coldest and windiest continent, to a place of ice more than 9,000-feet thick. It’s a journey to Antarctica and to the empire of the penguin.

You’ll be surrounded by the sights, sounds and awesome encounters found in this frozen place, embarking on a one-of-a-kind ride and an incredible, first-of-its-kind family adventure.

Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin

Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin

You’ll experience the mystery and wonder of life on the ice through the eyes of a penguin, sensing the beauty and drama of their often-dangerous habitat. Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin combines closer-then-ever animal connections with state-of-the-art interactive ride technologies for adventures that are different each time.

It’s an all-family experience that could only come from SeaWorld and can only be found at SeaWorld Orlando. Antarctica – Empire of the Penguin. Coming spring 2013.

Outback Steakhouse Restaurant

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

When we visit Orlando the Outback Steakhouse is always on our list of places to go and eat during our stay. The Outback Steakhouse features a delicious menu with the finest prime beef, freshest seafood, and Maine lobsters with an Australian theme.

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse

They have 8 locations in the Orlando and Kissimmee area, with the closest to our villa being at 7804 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy. Kissimmee, FL 34747, which is about 6 miles from Hampton Lakes.

Outback Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse

Why not try a visit to Outback Steakhouse on your next trip to Orlando.


Disney now provides free Wi-Fi to Magic Kingdom guests

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

The Orlando Sentinel has reported that Disney has rolled-out free Wi-Fi to The Magic Kingdom. This week for guests looking for an Internet connection near Cinderella Castle, Splash Mountain or elsewhere inside the Orlando park things just got a little more magical.

Disney quietly implemented free Wi-Fi for its guests inside the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday. According to multiple sources familiar with the news, guests now have free access to the Web once they agree to Disney’s terms of service. The move comes as Disney plans to provide free Wi-Fi access at other Orlando theme parks between now and early 2013.

Earlier this year, Disney also began providing free Wi-Fi access for its resort guests here in Orlando.

According to the always-reliable Inside the Magic website, guests were reporting mixed results on the speediness of Web surfing. Some users, according to the site, were getting sub-3G access speeds.

Such slowness might not be unexpected to many regular Magic Kingdom guests, given that cellphone reception inside the park has been notoriously spotty for years.

This week’s Wi-Fi advances in the Magic Kingdom are part of Disney’s ongoing NextGen system, which is designed to use technology to enhance and control theme-park guests’ experiences in the park.


Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

The largest of the 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is filled with attractions, adventures and entertainment that reflect Walt Disney’s dedication to nature and conservation. The park leads the way in animal care, education and research—for an enchanting experience that blends learning with family fun.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Home to more than 1,700 animals from 250 species and sprawling across 500 acres of lush landscape, Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is the biggest animal-themed park in the world!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is divided into 7 unique areas:

  • Oasis
  • Discovery Island area
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey
  • Africa
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch® area
  • Asia
  • Dinoland, U.S.A. area

Encounter rare and majestic animals—and get close enough to pet some of them! Exciting attractions await, along with live and wild entertainment like Broadway-style musical shows and parades that invite you to be part of the excitement.

From the spectacular scenery of the African savanna—where you may spot zebras, elephants and hippos—to the high-altitude, roller coaster thrills of Expedition Everest in Asia, global adventures abound at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.


Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, one of 2 Water Parks in Walt Disney World Resort, features one of the world’s tallest and fastest free-falling waterslides, as well as slides and rides for the whole family—like a kid-sized, snow-castle fountain play area with scaled-down versions of the more thrilling attractions.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

It’s easy to be cool while having fun in the sun at Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park! While the park looks like a frosty ski resort—complete with a functioning Chair Lift, it’s actually an action-packed water wonderland with exciting waterslides and attractions for the whole family.


Disney’s Blizzard Beach features a diverse flurry of attractions—including thrill rides, chill rides, family-style raft rides, areas for little squirts and plenty of cool lounging for grownups.

Race on Toboggan Racers, float down Cross Country Creek, plunge down raft rides like Runoff Rapids, discover the Tike’s Peak children’s play area, play in a one-acre wave pool and experience the thrill of one of the tallest and fastest waterslides in the country, Summit Plummet!