Walt Disney World Cast Member Paul Chadkin reports that as of October 3, the Future World section at Walt Disney World’s Epcot will remain open until park close at 9 pm as opposed to its regularly scheduled closing time of 7 pm.
Despite the scheduled early closing, many locations in Future World have remained open past the 7 pm mark on a daily basis: attractions which remained open until 9 pm daily include Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Mission:Space, Soarin’ and the entire Seas with Nemo and Friends pavilion (minus the manatee rehabilitation area). Sunshine Seasons, Electric Umbrella and Mouse Gear have all traditionally continued to operate until at least 8 pm.
A few updates to the refurbishment schedule at Walt Disney World.
First, Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey, which has been marked as ‘operating seasonally’ since the beginning of the year will re-open for December 20 through January 2 only and is then scheduled to close for the remainder of 2010 (barring any future changes).
Living with the Land, having just recently re-opened from an emergency refurb, is scheduled to close beginning January 18 and re-open on February 6.
Test Track will also have a closure in January, albeit a smaller one, from January 11 through January 17.
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Although they had slowly been dwindling away over the past year or so, this past weekend saw the closure of the last two remaining Kidcot stations in Epcot’s Future World. Saturday was the final day of the program, with the Kidcot station displays in both the Land and Seas pavilions left standing and unstaffed beginning Sunday, October 4.
The Kidcot stations in the World Showcase are unaffected by this change and will continue to operate as normal.
For five days at Epcot in 1999 and for an equally short time in Castaway Cay, guests from around the world had the chance to meet with one of the largest accomplishments in audio animatronic technology: the DRU-1 (Dolphin Robotics Unit). Created by Edge Innovations in partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering, DRU-1 wowed the crowds but was ultimately decided to not have the potential of being an every-day attraction in the theme parks.
Here’s a video of DRU-1 in action courtesy of his WDI show producer:
And for more a lot more great information on the Walt Disney World project told from the perspective of someone who was directly involved, check out DisneyShawn’s blog here.
Using the Segway x2 off-road personal transporter (PT), guests are now able to experience Future World pavilions and attractions in an all new way. Called the Nature-Inspired Design tour, guests tour through the Land and the Seas pavilions. The official description of the tour is as follows:
Discover the wonder of nature-inspired design as you glide through land, sea and air at Epcot®. This 3-hour backstage tour allows you to experience the symbiotic relationship between nature and the nature-inspired designs incorporated into Epcot® pavilions and attractions. Glide over California on Soarin’™, tour the greenhouses at The Land pavilion, explore The Seas with Nemo & Friends® and visit Life Support scientists to learn how technology helps us maintain a better balance with nature.
After completing a required product overview and training, you will be equipped with a helmet and a Segway® Personal Transporter X-2 to experience this unique off-road tour. Epcot® Cast Member scientists share how their work environments are inspired by nature’s own design and how they use evolving technologies to maintain a balance with the world around them. After experiencing “air, land and sea” you will have the opportunity to ride your Segway® X-2 in a designated off-road backstage area at Epcot®.
The 3-hour tour currently runs Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8:15 am and costs $124 per guest. As with most backstage / Segway tours, there is an age minimum of 16. Call 407-WDW-TOUR to book up to 90 days in advance.