A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned via Twitter that as the main sponsor for the 2012 International Food and Wine Festival that kicks off tomorrow at Epcot in Walt Disney World, Chase was offering free access to its festival lounge. At the time, we were aware of Sapphire and Disney Visa customers having access to it, but since many sites have gone on to report the news, primarily only as being available to Disney Visa customers, we would like to seize the opportunity to provide additional information.
Chase has in fact announced that the lounge, which is located on the second floor of the Festival Center (aka the former Wonders of Life Pavilion), will be accessible to all Chase cardholders, including debit cards. The lounge will be open each day of the festival from 9 am to 7 pm and will offer guests complimentary services and amenities such as soft drinks (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Orange Fanta, Lemonade Lite, Water, Coffee, Tea), free WiFi and charging stations.
Along with previewing his newest art and exclusive limited edition Vinylmation figures for the Disney Cruise Line cruise departing this weekend, Disney artist Noah has previewed art created for Epcot’s 30th anniversary which takes place October 1, 2012. Titled ‘The 21st Century Begins,’ the artwork will be available in multiple formats as well as a limited edition Vinylmation (10 each of 9″ and 3″ figures) which will be revealed later this week.
Noah’s art will be available at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at the Festival Center (the former Wonders of Life Pavilion) in Future World. Noah also serves as this year’s festival artist and posters and other materials featuring the artwork he created for the festival will also be available.
Noah will be on both the Disney Cruise sailing for the release as well as at Walt Disney World during Epcot’s 30th Anniversary and the Food & Wine Festival Inaugural weekend. Visit the release info page to see his full appearance schedule.
Yesterday, Walt Disney Imagineering filed a notice of commencement with the Orange County Comptroller’s office to indicate intentions for ‘selective demolition’ to take place at Epcot’s ‘Wonders of Life’ pavilion. The notice comes just a just a few short weeks prior to the theme park’s 30th anniversary.
The pavilion, which initially opened in 1989 under sponsorship of MetLife, who would eventually drop sponsorship in 2001. The pavilion, which celebrated its last hurrah during the holiday season in 2006, has slowly transformed itself into the theme park’s ‘Festival Center,’ with access to ‘Body Wars’ being sealed off and the theaters for ‘Cranium Command’ and ‘The Making of Me’ being repurposed to hold festival-related docs and presentations. The future for the original theming of the pavilion, with its iconic double-helix DNA structure outside, grew ever more bleak, with reports often stating that should the pavilion ever return, it would not be in the familiar form it once was.
This prediction seemingly continues to be the case with the latest filing, which has Tampa-based Kimmins Contracting Group performing the work. Just what the work entails is anyone’s guess at this point as the textbook ‘definition’ of selective demolition is pretty vague and can involve virtually anything short of razing the entire building itself, but usually does involve modifying the physical form of the building in some capacity all the while maintaining the structure’s integrity.
There’s absolutely no reason to believe it based simply on this filing, but could Walt Disney World be preparing to make an announcement regarding the pavilion’s future just in time for Epcot’s 30th on October 1?
Earlier today, the official Disney Parks blog held a webchat with Walt Disney Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick, who is one of the lead Imagineers in transitioning Epcot’s Test Track to the Test Track 2.0 phase.
Essentially, the story of the attraction is switching from testing to design, according to Jeselnick. The interior queue is being completely changed to align itself with the new focus. ‘We’ll have actual items, sketches, cars, models from GM that have never been seen before by anyone outside the Chevrolet family,’ she added.
The queue will consist of the Test Track Design Studios. It’s there that guests will design their own custom concept vehicle which ‘follows’ them into the vehicle, now known as a sim car. Although the vehicles are all physically the same, the custom design configuration itself will be scored in categories such as Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Speed. Possible customizations for the vehicle design include body shape, color and tire selection.
For the concept art seen here, Jeselnick explains that the attraction will consist of several scenes. By the time the guest reaches the point shown here, they have already experienced at’s just before our final virtual scene. By that point of the ride, you’ve experienced the Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness and Power virtual scenes and are being set up for Speed.
In the Capability scene, the guest’s vehicle is tested for rough road and weather conditions; the Efficiency scene tests the car design’s environmental footprint; the Responsiveness scene phase tests maneuverability; and Speed is tested.
Jeselnick also noted that the custom designed vehicle continues to follow the guests even through the post-show area (where Chevrolet will display cars currently available in the pavilion showroom as well as offer concept car photo opportunities). There will be some element allowing guests to compare their custom vehicle design scores with other guests throughout the day. Jeselnick also offered the possibility of guests being able to interact with their designs beyond the attraction, though she stopped short of mentioning what they may be. It would not be unprecedented for there to be some online component, for example, or possibly even a special PhotoPass opportunity where guests can virtually join their creation.
While the attraction will enjoy a new sponsor (Chevrolet as opposed to General Motors), a new queue and ride experience, a brand new soundtrack, a new marquee (shown above) and more, some elements will remain the same. The track itself is not being altered and the attraction will continue to offer both FASTPASS and Single Rider options. While the standby queue will offer full customization opportunities, the FASTPASS and Single Rider queues will allow guests to choose from a selection of pre-configured vehicles.
Walt Disney World has announced some changes to its lineup of narrators for its annual holiday event, the Candlelight Processional, held at the America Gardens Theatre, beginng November 23 of this year.
As we previously noted on Twitter, Isabella Rossellini will no longer be performing from November 23 – 25. We know her spot to be filled by actress Geena Davis. In addition, Andy Garcia has signed on for December 2 – 4, James Denton for December 8 & 9, Jodi Benson extended to December 10 – 13 and music singer Amy Grant from December 26 – 28. The full narration schedule as it currently stands is as follows:
Schedule & Narrators
American Gardens Theatre (5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 8:15 p.m.)
November 23 to November 25, 2012 — Geena Davis
November 26 to November 29, 2012 — Neil Patrick Harris
November 30 to December 1, 2012 — Whoopi Goldberg
December 2 to December 4, 2012 — Andy Garcia
December 5 to December 7, 2012 — TBA
December 8 to December 9, 2012 — James Denton
December 10 to December 13, 2012 — Jodi Benson
December 14 to December 16, 2012 — Olivia Newton John
December 17 to December 19, 2012 — TBA
December 20 to December 22, 2012 — Trace Adkins
December 23 to December 25, 2012 — Gary Sinise
December 26 to December 28, 2012 — Amy Grant
December 29 to December 30, 2012 — Marlee Matlin / Jack Jason
Although the event is free (with park admission), lunch and dinner packages are available in which diners will also receive reserved seating (with remaining seats to be filled in via standby line) as well as access to a reserved viewing area for Illuminations.
Lunch Packages range from $32.99–$55.99 for Guests 10+, and $12.50–$17.99 for Guests 3–9 at restaurants including: Biergarten Restaurant, Coral Reef Restaurant, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Les Chefs de France, Nine Dragons Restaurant, Restaurant Marrakesh, Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, San Angel Inn, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia Ristorante and Via Napoli.
Dinner Packages range from $49.99–$66.99 for Guests 10+, and $14.50–$26.99 for Guests 3–9 at restaurants including: Biergarten Restaurant, Coral Reef Restaurant, The Garden Grill Restaurant, La Hacienda de San Angel, Les Chefs de France, Nine Dragons Restaurant, Restaurant Marrakesh, Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, San Angel Inn, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, Tutto Italia Ristorante and Via Napoli.
Disney D23 has announced that it will be adding a brand new twist to its annual ‘Sip’n'Stroll’ event normally held during the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Two levels are being offered for the event, ‘Super Scream’ (which is a two-day event, October 2 and October 3) for $320 and a single-day event on October 3, for $125 (note that admission is required for either package on October 3 as it takes place during regular park hours).
The ‘Super Scream’ package kicks off on October 2, at an after-hours costume party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The event includes a tour of the Creative Costuming building, where guests will have a chance to see where some of Disney’s most detailed outfits are designed and constructed and a private dinner inside ‘The Great Movie Ride.’ This progressive dinner makes you the star of the show, as we wine and dine our way through the elaborate sets of this signature park attraction, stopping for drinks in the gangster’s den, dinner in the old west, and for dessert guests will head ‘over the rainbow.’
Wednesday’s event begins at 10 am with coffee and tea provided inside World ShowPlace, where guests will be treated to presentations highlighting this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and how Disney celebrates the ghoul-iest time of the year.
Following the panels, it’s time to party! A pairing party that is, as guests will be able to sample some of the succulent new dishes being served during the festival, paired with exquisite wines to accent the flavor. Additional details on panelists and food will be provided to guests as the event date draws nearer.
At 1 pm, it’s time to take the show on the road as guests will have the opportunity to stroll World Showcase and Future World at their leisure. The hospitality suite inside The American Adventure pavilion will be open during this time, exclusively for Sip & Scream guests to relax and cool down.
At 7 p.m. it’s time to Eat to the Beat, as attendees head to the America Gardens Theater for reserved seating to see Sugar Ray (‘Fly,’ ‘Someday’) perform in concert. Following the concert, guests will enjoy a delectable dessert party and private viewing of the nighttime spectacular IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth in France with special ‘Mickey Vision’ glasses. No D23 event would be complete without a few surprises and commemorative gifts as well.
Tickets will be available for purchase on June 27 at 1 pm ET. For more information and to purchase tickets when available, see the event page.
Walt Disney World has begun announcing its celebrity narrators for its Candlelight Processional performances which will take place this year during the ‘Holidays Around the World’ celebration at Epcot from November 23 through December 30, 2012.
The shows will take place at the America Gardens Theatre, located across the American Adventure pavilion. Shows are free with seating available on a standby basis, or through priority seating which is offered via special dinner and lunch packages from table service restaurants at Epcot. Park admission is separate and required regardless.
The schedule is currently as follows (subject to change at any time)
- 11/23 – 11/25 Isabella Rossellini
- 11/26 – 11/29 Neil Patrick Harris
- 11/30 – 12/01 Whoopi Goldberg
- 12/02 – 12/04 TBA
- 12/05 – 12/07 TBA
- 12/08 – 12/10 TBA
- 12/11 – 12/13 Jodi Benson
- 12/14 – 12/16 Olivia Newton John
- 12/17 – 12/19 TBA
- 12/20 – 12/22 Trace Adkins
- 12/23 – 12/25 Gary Sinise
- 12/26 – 12/28 TBA
- 12/29 – 12/30 Marlee Matlin with Jack Jason
Hailed as the most groundbreaking theme park of its time, Epcot marks its 30th anniversary on Oct. 1, 2012, and D23: The Official Disney Fan Club is preparing a unique celebration of one of Disney’s crowning achievements.
On Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, D23’s Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration will whisk D23 Members back to a time touted as when “the 21st century begins”—those early Epcot years when guests first marveled at “Astuter Computers,” “Smellitzers,” and the novelty of “riding on sunshine,” and were awed by a massive geodesic sphere called Spaceship Earth.
This journey to yesteryear, the future, and around the world takes place one day only: on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. inside Epcot (Park admission is required and not included in the event ticket price). Each D23 Member may bring up to three guests.
“When Epcot opened in 1982 it was a monumental achievement and its opening was an unforgettable moment for Disney fans everywhere,” says Steven Clark, head of D23. “We know our members have a deep passion for this park, and we’re producing a memorable experience that lets our members relive some of their favorite Epcot shows and attractions of the past while experiencing the incredible Epcot legacy that continues today.”
D23’s Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration will offer the most detailed look at the design, development, and evolution of Epcot ever presented by The Walt Disney Company and will include rare and never-before-seen artwork; film and video footage and photos; along with a number of pioneers of Epcot, including such Disney Imagineers, Legends, and Epcot luminaries as Marty Sklar (exclusive pre-taped presentation), Tony Baxter, Ron Schneider, Charlie Ridgway, Ron Logan, Bill Sullivan, Bob Garner, Jason Surrell, Jason Grandt, Alex Wright, Duncan Dickson, and Steve Taylor.
Tickets will be available for purchase on June 21 at 10 a.m. on D23.com. There are two levels of D23 Member participation:
World Passport general admission is $65 per guest and includes:
- Access to all presentations
- A commemorative gift
- Access to exclusive D23 merchandise
World Key level admission is $185 per guest and includes:
- All features of the World Passport admission
- Reserved seating for all presentations
- A special dessert reception at 8 p.m. inside an exclusive Future World lounge
- Exclusive meet-and-greet opportunity with Disney Legends and Epcot luminaries
- Reception will also include screenings of rare film footage of Epcot’s early days
- Hooray for the 21st Century – Disney Legend and former Walt Disney Imagineering Principal Creative Executive Marty Sklar joins D23 guests via a virtual presentation, where we see and hear what it was like to work with Walt Disney on his original vision for an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Along the way, learn about Marty’s favorite memories working on the EPCOT Center project with a team of passionate Imagineers.
- The Music of EPCOT Center – Some of Epcot’s most passionate fans agree that the park’s soundtrack has created one of its most lasting legacies that continue to help “makin’ memories” around the world. Join Disney historians and songwriters as we explore the incredible world of Epcot music, celebrating the talents of such Epcot songwriters and composers as Bob Moline, Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman, George Wilkins, Buddy Baker, X. Atencio, Peter Stougaard, Russell Brower, Edo Guidotti and others who have left a permanent musical mark on the park’s creative legacy. Along the way, hear stories about the recording sessions, learn about some fascinating alternate versions of some of your favorite melodies, and sing along to your favorite Epcot tunes!
- “We Can Do It!” – Disney Legends and EPCOT Center creators review the immense challenge that loomed ahead of them when bringing Epcot to reality in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Guests will hear stories of trips to foreign countries to secure participants in the World Showcase concept, what life was like inside the largest private construction project in the world, and how they readied its highly anticipated opening day.
- “We’ve Just Begun to Dream” – Join Disney Legend Ron Logan and other key Disney entertainment veterans as they reminisce about the official EPCOT Center opening festivities that remain among the most elaborate Disney has ever staged. This presentation will include rare footage from the grand openings of various Future World and World Showcase pavilions, which were held throughout October 1982.
- “Makin’ Memories: Epcot on Film” – Join former Disney Imagineer Bob Garner and Disney author and historian Tim O’Day as they cast a “Magic Eye” on the marvelous world of Epcot on film. Bob was closely involved in the creation of film documentation and production at Epcot, including special video elements of Future World and World Showcase pavilions and such promotional films as EPCOT Center: The Opening Celebration.
- “Looking Back at Tomorrow” – Few Epcot visitors, even its most avid fans, realize The Land pavilion was almost called “Harvest Tomorrow” or that Figment was slated to co-host an “Images & Imagination” pavilion with “Professor Marvel.” With recently discovered materials from the Walt Disney Archives, join Disney archivists as they examine how the “dreamers and doers” developed favorite Epcot attractions of the past including Horizons, Journey into Imagination, Kitchen Kabaret, World of Motion, the Astuter Computer Revue, and the original Universe of Energy.
- “The EPCOT Center That Never Was” – Using rare concept artwork, guests will glimpse what it was like to design Epcot with Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Vice President Tony Baxter, designer and producer for several beloved Epcot pavilions, and explore early versions of Epcot attractions that never made it off the drawing board.
- “Imagineering Epcot: An Extra Perceptive Close-up Of Things – Fans of wall-to-wall carpeting and leapfrog fountains unite! Disney Imagineers Jason Surrell, Jason Grandt, and Alex Wright return with a humorous exploration of the details that make Epcot so unique. From miniature gardens to massive buildings (and every international food and beverage offering in between), they’ll show what makes Future World and World Showcase like no place else on earth.
More details about the program and tickets for D23’s EPCOT 30th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION can be found online at www.D23.com.
*Talent is subject to availability. All events are subject to change.
Princess Merida, the heroine of Disney/Pixar’s Brave, made a surprise appearance in Future World at Epcot yesterday. Although she will officially begin meeting guests in a play and greet environment at the Magic Kingdom starting later this month, she is apparently making random appearances as she gets acclimated to the harsh Orlando weather.
In addition, a couple of videos have surfaced on YouTube. The first, while the first to be spotted — and thus more popular — is a bit short and seems more focused on the person shooting the video rather than Merida herself, while the second features Merida speaking at more length, but with substantial ambient noise.
Although Walt Disney World has indicated Merida will officially begin greeting guests in Mid-May and there are rumors that her start date will be May 15, sources have indicated to us that while it’s possible she may start that week, a date closer towards the end of the month is more likely at this time. She will also be appearing to meet and greet with guests in Disneyland.
Imagine a home that takes care of you, giving you the time, energy and money to take care of life. That home is no longer a pipe dream. It’s a reality that has come to life, featuring everything from smartphone-controlled security and climate control to smog-eating roof tiles. Opening on Earth Day, April 22, visitors can see and experience this home firsthand at the VISION House® in Innoventions at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort.
The green and smart home exhibit features innovative, energy-saving and intelligent products that homeowners can purchase today, including the latest in safety, comfort and efficiency. The VISION House® displays Ingersoll Rand’s smart home technology, Nexia™ Home Intelligence, with Schlage® Home Keypad locks, Schlage® cameras and the Trane ComfortLink™ II Control.
It allows homeowners to adjust the comfort of their homes, turn on lights, lock and unlock doors, and monitor and record activities inside and outside their homes, all from any Web-enabled computer and most smartphones.
“The exhibit aligns with Ingersoll Rand’s commitment to sustainability. Innoventions guests from around the world have the opportunity to experience how to make their lives safer, greener and more comfortable through our innovative smart home solutions that are available now,” said Scott Martin, vice president of marketing for Ingersoll Rand.
Inspired by Green Builder® Media’s VISION House demonstration home series, the experiential exhibit highlights the major themes of green building, including whole-home automation, energy generation and efficiency, water conservation, indoor environment quality and high-performance materials and durability—delivered with all the entertainment, creativity, fun, and imagination for which Disney is known.
At the VISION House in Innoventions, cast members will lead guests through a guided tour. Guests will enter the home by using a mobile device and Schlage’s Nexia™ Home Intelligence to turn on lights and open the door or check in, using webcams.
They will finish the tour by seeing a high efficiency air conditioning unit from Trane. From the time park guests arrive at the home for their tour until the time they depart the interactive post-tour experience, they will be surrounded with information concerning how they, too, can employ simple, attainable measures that will enable them to save money while helping to protect the planet.
To further educate guests, Green Builder® Media is launching an interactive microsite with entertainment and information about energy efficiency and home automation for all ages. Check it out at www.VISIONHouseGreen.com.
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