Magic Kingdom Central Plaza Improvement Project Update

Black tube is a portable damn. Heard there was some water back in moat now

As announced in February, the Central Plaza, or Hub, at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World is undergoing a major update. The finished version will have more of a park like setting, with ample walking space to navigate around parades and shows, more outdoor dining seating, plus special viewing areas for fireworks and more.

I took a walkabout of the hub area earlier this week and captured a little video to show the progress. Right now they’re concentrating on the section of the hub that is closest to Main Street, where the additional fireworks viewing areas will be. However, lots of little projects are underway around the hub. The video ends with a look at the Rose Garden as it blooms for one last season in its current form.

Can’t watch the video? I have selected photos below the jump in a gallery:

Continue reading

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Posted in Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

DHS History Lesson: Sounds…bad. Really bad.

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Do you know what May 1st is? The 25th Anniversary of Disney-MGM Studios…er, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, of course! I did it for DCA’s reopening, then for Animal Kingdom’s 15th Anniversary, so it is only right to keep the tradition alive. Thus begins the first article in The Disney Blog’s DHS History Lesson!

Let’s start off with the weirdest thing to ever be in a Disney theme park in the history of Disney theme parks. Now you might be saying “But Marshal, the bathroom of tomorrow was at Disneyland!” and you would be right, nothing beats Sounds Dangerous. Why is it weird, you may ask? Drew Carey, that’s why.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a Drew Carey fan. He was great on his ABC sitcom (and did wonders for the TV theme song) and his Whose Line and Price is Right hosting is fantastic, but his placement in this super random attraction to begin with created something so bizarre, it has to be noted.

Sounds Dangerous’ main reason of existence was to showcase “binaural audio technology,” so once you entered the theater, you immediately placed on headphones. There is a video that played to set up the premise: Drew Carey is starring in a new pilot called “Undercover Live,” where the lead wears a hidden microphone and camera to catch all the action without the rest of the public knowing. Of course, something goes horribly wrong and the camera goes out, leaving you in the dark with only the audio functioning.

Of course, they want to show off the audio, so then it becomes “cheap audio tricks” for the next 9 minutes, including a haircut, killer bees, and more. After your experience, you get sent into the Sound Works, where you can play around with different sound effects or go in a booth to do the same exact thing you just did in the main theater.

Why was this the set up? Who thought this was a good idea? Who actually went into the Imagineering headquarters and was like “Why don’t we put Drew Carey and headphones together”? Either way, it was a much hated attraction, eventually going to a seasonal only operation period before finally closing. The theater is now used for special events and Disney Holiday films during the busy Christmas season at the parks.

I would love for them to keep the binaural attraction alive, but they could do a lot more with it. Even keeping the ABC theme would be nice, as I wish that portion of the company had more presence in the parks. Why not talk about the old style of radio shows, then have a mini-episode of Modern Family or another popular ABC show in that style. The post show could be more ABC centric, allowing you to put yourself into your favorite shows.

Do you miss Sounds Dangerous? Would you like to see the audio format attraction return? Why did this attraction exist, again? Let me know in the comments below. Next time, we will discuss my favorite parade ever. Until next time…That’s a wrap!

(photo courtesy wikimedia creative commons license )

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Posted in Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Let it Go from Disney’s Frozen by Casey’s Corner Pianist at the Magic Kingdom

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Mark, the pianist at Casey’s Corner in the Magic Kingdom, usually plays a more ragtime flair, but in this video he provides us with his rendition of “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen.

I walked by later and he was playing it again for a gaggle of girls and boys who were all singing the song at the top of their lungs. Definitely a crowd-pleaser.

What do you think of this version?

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Posted in Animation, Music, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Off-Site Eats: Noodles & Company

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Noodles & Company began in 1995, but it’s just making its way to Central Florida now. They have a simple concept — serve fresh food fast. As you might suspect from the name, there’s a focus on noodle dishes from many cultures. But they also have sandwiches, salads, and soups. For drinks the have the Coca-cola freestyle machine, plus an assortment of bottled drinks, including wine and beer.

We visited the new Lake Buena Vista location which is just outside the Downtown Disney Hotel Plaza in the Crossroads shopping mall. It just opened in March and is a much needed Fast Casual open for Crossroads.

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To order, you select your noodle dish and your size (regular or small) . Then you can add a protein in the form or meat or tofu. Each dish and protein option has a different cost, but it all adds up to something around $8 and change usually. If you’re hungry, you can add a salad or soup for $1 more.

After you order and get your drinks, you bring your number to an open table. The Lake Buena Vista location has both inside seating and covered outside seating. Each dish is individually prepared and brought to your table on stoneware with actual stainless steel flatware. A nice touch for a fast casual location. Continue reading

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Posted in Dining, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

EPCOT Announces Sounds Like Summer Concert Series Lineup

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If you like classic rock bands, but don’t want to pay the high prices of those reunion concert tours, how about the same music, but from the ‘sounds like’ quality of a tribute band. If that sounds like fun to you, then you’ll want to check out EPCOT’s Sounds Like Summer concert series. The lineup for the annual series was just announced.

The lineup is:

June 8-14: Hotel California ~ A Salute to the Eagles
June 15-21: Don’t Stop Believin’ ~ Journey Tribute Band
June 22-28: Good Vibrations ~ A Tribute to The Beach Boys
June 29-July 5: Don’t Look Back ~ Boston Tribute Band
July 6-12: Stayin’ Alive ~ A Tribute to the Bee Gees
July 13-19: Slippery When Wet ~ The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute
July 20-26: 2U ~ A Tribute to U2

All performances take place in the America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. – except on July 4 (when show times are 5:15, 6:30, 7:45 and 9 p.m.). The concert is free with your paid park admission, but seating is limited.

Which tribute band plays the music you like to hear?

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