Recap: Test Track 2.0 Talk with Imagineer Melissa Jeselnick

Test Track 2.0 MarqueeEarlier 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.

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First Look: Tinker Bell and Periwinkle Characters from Disney Parks; New ‘Secret of the Wings’ Clips

Tinker Bell and Periwinkle at Disney ParksThe official Disney Parks blog today shared this first image of Tinker Bell and Periwinkle /aka/ Peri /aka/ Tink’s sister as they will appear at both Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland in mid-September (September 17 in Orlando according to this site, to be precise).

Peri will be joining Tink in Pixie Hollow in honor of their upcoming 3D Blu-ray release, Secret of the Wings, available to own on October 23, 2012. For Tinker Bell and the other warm season fairies, the Winter Woods remains a mysterious and forbidden place. Secret of the Wings takes audiences on an amazing journey of discovery with Tink, into this forbidden world where she discovers a magical secret that changes her life forever.

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New Fantasyland Concept Art Vividly Features Princesses in Enchanted Forest

New Fantasyland Concept ArtVia an email to Disney Travel Agents regarding the newly made announcements regarding the Enchanted Forest portion of the New Fantasyland Expansion at the Walt Disney World Resort on December 6, 2012 (soft opening November 19), a few pieces of concept art were released. They appear to be new, but it is quite possible they’ve been released previously and we just missed them, but even if they are old news they are beautiful enough to warrant sharing again.

New Fantasyland Concept Art - BelleThe first image features Belle as she reads one of her favorite books outside the cottage belonging to her father Maurice while the Beast’s castle looms in the far off distance, ‘miles’ away.

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WDW Candlelight Processional Update: Geena Davis, Andy Garcia, Amy Grant, James Denton

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:

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‘Phineas and Feb & You’ Virtual Experience to Debut at Walt Disney World for Limited Time

Phineas and Ferb and You Virtual ExperienceStarting this fall, Walt Disney World Resort guests will become the stars of ‘Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality.’ The virtual experience will allow guests to play with animated characters from Disney’s Emmy Award-winning animated series ‘Phineas and Ferb.’ The fun happens at Downtown Disney West Side, next to Bongos Cuban Café from September 1 through December 1, 2012 from 2 pm – 9:30 pm daily.

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Speculation: Disney’s Hollywood Studios Prepping for FASTPASS+ NextGen Technology

After starting the roll out of FASTPASS+ technology at the Magic Kingdom, which not only included the installation of temporary (and subsequent permanent) RFID readers at return lines at select attractions, along with limited tests, as well as pilot programs to enter the theme parks via RFID and — most recently — pay for purchases and unlock hotel rooms using embedded RFID chips in the Key to the World (KTTW) cards at the Contemporary Resort, it appears Walt Disney World (NYSE:DIS) is steadily pushing on to establish its NextGen technology at the Resort, this time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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VIDEO: Face Cloning for Audio Animatronics Demo by Disney Research

Face Cloning for Audio Animatronics by Disney Research

 

After presenting its technique for cloning the human face in an effort to produce more realistic audio animatronics at SIGGRAPH, Disney Research Zurich has released this video which takes a closer look at the process, which we began discussing on here last month.

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Swampy the Gator from ‘Where’s My Water’ Headed to Disney Parks

Swampy at Disney Parks
After topping the iTunes app charts for months, what is Swampy the Gator from the Disney Mobile franchise, ‘Where’s My Water?’ going to do next? He’s going to Walt Disney World, of course! Maybe sneaking in a bath or two first though.

Disney Parks has quietly launched SWAMPYATDISNEY.COM, a mobile mini-site that shares the above image along with the following teaser:

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New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom to Open December 6; Previews Begin November 19

Magic Kingdom guests blink back in amazement at the scene: not one, but two colorful Dumbos spinning through the sky above Storybook Circus.

To the delight of fans of the beloved Dumbo, the Flying Elephant attraction, a second Dumbo flies alongside. The playful pachyderm is joined in Storybook Circus by the Barnstormer Coaster re-themed to the Great Goofini, the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station water play area and the Fantasyland Train Station — all part of the multiyear, largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history.

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WDW Refurb Update: Pirates of the Caribbean Closed for One Day in October

Apparently the long term effects of One More Disney Day have caught up to the Magic Kingdom classic attraction as the official Walt Disney World Resort website has begun listing Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland as experiencing a one day closure on October 9, 2012.

With the timing of the closure, it’s possible that it may be related to the park’s NextGen technology. Not necessarily directly in terms of installing FASTPASS+ or other interactive capabilities, but more in lines with demonstrating and training.

If we learn of an extension of dates, we will update as necessary.

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