Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween at Fort Wilderness

Been here long?

Halloween at Fort Wilderness

The creature from the RV.

Halloween at Fort Wilderness

The pumpkin king at the campgrounds with a frightful friend.

At the horse wash

Khan preparing for his Headless Horseman gig.

Donald waiting for a ride

But he came at a bad time, I.e, dinner time

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Careless food service?

Two incidents that seem to show WDW food service is getting careless... At a counter service restaurant, cheese was put on a dish when the menu never mentioned cheese.  The dish was replaced.  Another incident was potentially more serious.  Some bleu cheese was found at the bottom of a steak salad.  Again, no mention of cheese on the menu.  It was determined from a very helpful waiter that the cook had cheese from another salad on his gloves while preparing the steak salad.  The problem is that the other salad also had nuts in it.  Someone with a nut allergy could unknowingly eat something that should never have nuts.  Let's hope this doesn't become more frequent.

Starbucks treats

Halloween cupcakes at the MK Statnucks.

Good stuff at Columbia Harbor House

Menu item recently added:  Mac and cheese with shrimp and lobster.  It's good.

Changes to MK hub

Photo of new addition to the hub around the castle

Polynesian lobby

A view of the refurbished Polynesian lobby, with the old waterfall gone.  First impression- they made it boring.

Donald's dessert

Don is about to dive into a warm apple tart at the Kona Cafe.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Impression of La Hacienda de San Angel

Four of us ate dinner at the newer Mexican restaurant at EPCOT.  In a nutshell... Good selection, well prepared, good service.  Entrees ran in the $28-32 range, so it is a bit pricey.  The menu was  more interesting than the older restaurant across the street.  Worth at least one visit.

Donald's new friends

Don finds himself hanging out with the cool guys.

La Hacienda Tacos

Taquiza- taco sampler with chicken,steak and pork.

La Hacienda short ribs

Braised short ribs with Chimichurri.

Last Hacienda Snapper

Pan seared Snapper with Tequila butter reduction.

Frozen Ever After Water Ride

Orlando Sentinel has a coverage of the upcoming new attraction at Epcot's Norway Pavilion based on "Frozen".

Visitors walk through what Disney Imagineers refer to as “scene one” while waiting in line for Frozen Ever After. In the queue, visitors will wander past Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, where the thick-accented trader wipes steam off the windows and yells his trademark “Yoo-hoo!”

Once aboard the Viking logs, riders will spot Sven the reindeer helping set up for the Winter in Summer festival, float past an ice-skating Olaf the snowman, encounter the giant evil snowman Marshmallow and meander through Troll Valley, where Grandpappy Troll tells the story of how Princess Anna and trader Kristof met.

The highlight of the voyage is a visit to Elsa’s palace, where the Ice Queen makes it snow -- with the help of special effects and screen projections -- as she sings “Let It Go.” After parting a mist cloud, the ride concludes with a fireworks finale and a send-off from the main characters.

Other than the visual aspect of it, this is pretty much what I was expecting for this attraction. In a sense, I'm a bit disappointed that I'm not being surprised by something unexpected, but it is aiming to attract the younger crowd anyway.


Don and the bog

Don is thinking these guys are really bogged down.  Maybe a dive in would help his feathers.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Donald's sushi lunch.

Don is thinking he's not like a common duck that has to scrounge at the bottom of ponds.  He's about to enjoy an upscale lunch with service befitting his stature.

Donald and Baby-San

Don is checking out one of the Japanese Kawaii characters who looks like Ducky Momo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Soarin'" Refurbishment at Epcot Starts Jan. 4

If you are fond of the current version of Soarin', now is the time to go see it before it is changed forever. Disney Parks has announced that the refurbishement of Soarin' at Epcot will begin Jan 4, and it will only reopen in the middle of 2016.

In March, Disney said the ride, which opened in 2015, would be expanded from its original two theaters to three. In August, the company said the content would be updated and called Soarin' Around the World at Epcot at the sister attraction at Disney California Adventure theme park. The changes will also happen on the technological side with the installation of digital screens and projection systems.

So they definitely have plenty to do.

I can only hope that the new Soarin' has the same exhilarating feeling that makes one's hair stands on its end the way the current one does for me. This will take both the scenery and the music to come together perfectly.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Oogie Boogie Ceramic Bowl

One of our Halloween decorations is this Oogie Boogie ceramic figure which we turned into a candy bowl. While the real Oogie Boogie is full of maggots and other creepy insects, this one, as you can see, if full of delicious candy! Stick your fingers in there and reach for one!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

WDW Picture of the Day

The Streets of America, and this view, at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be gone soon to make way for Star Wars Land.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Donald at MNSSHP

Donald, enjoying himself at last night's Mickey Not So Scary Halloween Party.

He should be full of sugar this morning, which means that he's bouncing off the walls.


Monday, October 12, 2015

WDW Picture of the Day

Some of the desserts at Boma, my most favorite place to eat in all of Walt Disney World.


Friday, October 09, 2015

Making The Landscapes For "The Good Dinosaur"

A very nice and detailed article on what it took to make the natural landscapes for the upcoming "The Good Dinosaur". They went as far as downloading the US Geological Survey data to help them with the scenary.

Enter the U.S. Geological Survey, which posts incredible amounts of topographical data to its website—including the height above sea level of all of the land features, and lots of satellite images. So Munier and his team tried downloading a lot of the USGS data and putting it into their computer, and then using that to “render” the real-life landscape. And it worked: They were able to take a classic Ansel Adams photograph of the Grand Tetons and duplicate it pretty closely using their computer-generated landscape. And with this data, they could point a digital “camera” anywhere, in a 360-degree rotation, and get an image.

“We ended up downloading over 65,000 square miles of USGS data,” said Munier. This “gave us the sense of scope for [Arlo’s] journey in the film.”

This is definitely a must-see movie.


Thursday, October 08, 2015

New Disney Movie Lineup

I posted a list of Disney movies to be released in the next 2 years a while back. Now comes more update especially with the green light given to the Ant Man sequel. The new list also extends all the way to 2020! There is also a switch between Toy Story 4 and Cars 3.

So here's the updated list:

The Good Dinosaur - Nov. 15, 2015.
Star Wars - The Force Awakens - Dec. 18, 2015.
The Finest Hours - Jan. 29, 2016.
Zootopia - Mar. 4, 2016.
Captain America: Civil War - May 6, 2016.
Alice Through The Looking Glass - May 27, 2016.
The Jungle Book (live action) - Apr. 15, 2016.
Finding Dory - Jun 17, 2016.
The BFG - Jul. 1, 2016.
Pete's Dragon - Aug. 12, 2016.
Doctor Strange - Oct. 26, 2016.
Moana - Nov. 23, 2016.
Star Wars: Rogue One - Dec. 16, 2016.
Beauty and the Beast (live action) - Mar. 17 2017.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - May 5, 2017.
(Still untitled Star Wars Episode 8) - May 26, 2017.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - Jul. 7, 2017.
Coco - Nov. 22, 2017.
Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (live action) - Dec. 12, 2017.
Captain Marvel - March 8, 2018.
Gigantic - March 9, 2018.
Toy Story 4 - Jun. 15, 2018.
Black Panther - Feb. 16, 2018.
Ant Man and the Wasp - July 5, 2018.
Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (live action) - Nov. 2, 2018.
Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (life action) - March 29, 2019.
Untitled Disney Animation Studios - April 12, 2019.
Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (live action) - Nov. 8, 2019.
Untitled Pixar Animation - March 18, 2020.
Untitled Pixar Animation - June 19, 2020.
Untitled Disney Animation Studios - Nov. 25, 2020.

Phew, and you thought you have made plans.

BTW, I wonder if there is typo or a mixup with the date for Captain Marvel and Gigantic. They appear to have a release date one day after the other. Can't believe they would schedule 2 movies to compete against one another, especially when their demographic audience might easily overlap.


Sunday, October 04, 2015

Higher and Higher

Disney Parks prices and attendance.  The Orange County Register reports that Disneyland annual passes will now cost $1049 for the no blackout date pass, and $849 for the 350 day pass.  The current "Premium" pass is being discontinued, but current passholders can use theirs until expiration and it will be non-renewable. 
Disney on its website Sunday morning also overhauled prices for annual passes at Walt Disney World. The Disney Signature Platinum Plus pass for visits to all four Disney World theme parks and water parks with no blackout dates is $829.
The latest price increase specifically targets Disneyland’s annual passholders, a core base that many unofficial Disney blog sites estimate at 1 million. Some have speculated the recent ticket increases are a much-needed way to reduce the large crowds that occurs at Disneyland during some weekends and high-demand seasons.
Disney is clearly struggling with ways to manage the increased attendance at the California and Florida parks.  One option on the table is tiered pricing , where ticket prices will be reduced for off-peak days.  But this could actually aggravate the problem if the lower prices attract even higher crowds.   Disney seems to be aware of the growing problem with massive crowds, but whether this can be managed successfully remains to be seen.  We don't see reports of one obvious solution, namely close the gates sooner before the crowds become unmanageable.   Disney seems to be trying to walk a tightrope by attracting huge crowds without letting them get out of hand.  Meanwhile, the parks are increasingly in danger of becoming expensive, overcrowded, unpleasant and unsafe.  Anyone with a medical emergency in the middle of a totally gridlocked crowd is in a bad situation. 
“We have to look at ways to spread out our attendance throughout the year so we can accommodate demand and avoid bursting at the seams,” Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek told The Wall Street Journal.
We'll see if that can actually be done.