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Fantasyland Opens Ahead of Schedule


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Just got back from Magic Kingdom from over Thanksgiving. The new Fantasyland built on what use to be 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is now partially open!

http://www.wdwmagic....e-map/17559.htm

They hurried the construction and it opened two weeks early. Enchanted Tales with Belle, Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid, Aerial's Grotto and Be Our Guest Restaurant are all now open and spectacular. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is still under construction.

If you haven't been in a while, it is well worth the trip!

pilotank

.The-Exterior-of-Under-the-Sea-Journey-of-The-Little-Mermaid-at-Magic-Kingdom-Park.jpg

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A big stagnant lagoon being replaced with a new dark ride, walk-through, two restaurants, and a roller coaster sounds like an expansion to me! :P

Seriously, the reviews coming out of this place are tremendous, saying that it's the hyper-detailed work seen in the Wizarding World and Cars Land, just on a bit of a smaller scale. I'll be there in January (and it takes a bit to lure me away from Universal). The only complaint I'm hearing is a little huffing and puffing about the land adding only one truly "new" attraction (while simultaneously removing an old one, Snow White's Scary Adventures).

Still, I've been on California's version of the Little Mermaid dark ride, and it is fantastically done. The one in Florida is nearly an exact copy, but placed in the really impressive seaside castle of Prince Eric with carved out tunnels at the castle's base as the queue. It looks like a real winner. Maybe not the "Harry Potter killer" that people assumed they were going for, but a step in the right direction for the park and resort!

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We will be there next Weds-Fri for the big New Fantasyland media event. All of new Fantasyland will be closed Wednesday afternoon and evening for the event, and the ceremonial "Grand Opening" will be on Thursday, as will Test Track's. Splitsville, the new "high end" bowling alley at Downtown Disney will have some sort of preview event on Friday.

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Still, I've been on California's version of the Little Mermaid dark ride, and it is fantastically done. The one in Florida is nearly an exact copy, but placed in the really impressive seaside castle of Prince Eric with carved out tunnels at the castle's base as the queue. It looks like a real winner. Maybe not the "Harry Potter killer" that people assumed they were going for, but a step in the right direction for the park and resort!

Sadly, TDO will thinks of New Fantasyland, NEXTGen (RFID program), and Test Track as their "Potter swatter".

The DHS Carsland proposal is currently undergoing "Value Engineering" to cut and gut as much as possible from it; to the point that it may not happen at all.

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Meanwhile sources are saying that huge names from the Oriental Land Company (who own and operate Disney's Japanese parks) made an extended trip to Disney California Adventure and are in the process of green-lighting Cars Land for their own park... No cutbacks, no delays, no micromanagement while Orlando still sputters about how to reduce costs.

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It's entirely different. The old one was a testing facility with cut-out trees, environmental tests, orange traffic cones, and an on-board narrator who set up each individual test, discussing anti-lock brakes, power steering, etc. as you "played the role of a crash test dummy."

The new version of the ride is not about being put through the paces on individual automotive tests, but about designing your "own" car and seeing how it handles in broad concepts like "energy," "speed," "maneuverability," etc. in a virtual environment The look is VERY "Tron" now and there's no indication that you're in a giant testing facility. Instead, you may as well be inside a computer, racing down day-glo highways past cities of the future (and people are calling it Tron Track).

In other words, the only comparison between old Test Track and new Test Track by Chevrolet is the track layout.

And like so many nearly-pitch-black dark rides (which Test Track now is), it's impossible to sense the scale, detail, or environment It's just too dark, and the effects on the new version of the ride can't be captured easily on film.

I'll say that the one part I miss was the final test - on

, it was the "barrier test," where you pass a car whose front end is completely smashed it as if it just accelerated directly into a wall like on all of the commercials. You see a video of a car running head-on into a barrier and the test dummies inside slam forward as the front of the car implodes. Then, you turned the corner and saw the wall in front of you. Just as blinding halogen lamps turned on, you accelerated at the wall, only to have it open at the last second as you blast outside. Now, on
, it's simply a "power boost" with no impending doom or anxiety from having seen / recognized the barrier test. Watching those two videos, by the way, shows the exact same length of track and just how different they are between the two rides. Wow. It may as well be an entirely new ride!
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New Test Track... Absolutely fantastic. Done very much in the forward-thinking optimism of EPCOT Center (pre-Epcot'94), much to this vintage EPCOT fanboy's delight.

Jenn and I are heading to the VIP Media Preview events for New Fantasyland and Test Track later this week and I will try to get a PTR up early next week.

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The only way the new Test Track could have been better is if it was Horizons. :) Or if they had been able to design it from the ground up instead of being locked into the old track layout. But pretty much anything's better than the "crash-bang-boom-twang" car testing facility of TODAY in FUTURE World... if only they got rid of the canopy, though.

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.. if only they got rid of the canopy, though.

If only. I really do love the queue and entry doors to the attraction. It fits in really well and some what resembles the Mission:Space queue. But that canopy is just awful and cookie cutter. I'd expect it from Cedar Fair, but not Disney.

Other than that and the untouched 'power' circle, Well done Disney.

Well Done.

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.. if only they got rid of the canopy, though.

If only. I really do love the queue and entry doors to the attraction. It fits in really well and some what resembles the Mission:Space queue. But that canopy is just awful and cookie cutter. I'd expect it from Cedar Fair, but not Disney.

Other than that and the untouched 'power' circle, Well done Disney General Motors.

Well Done.

Fixed that for you. B)

Seriously, though (and I'm one of GM's biggest critics), they get the credit here. They provided the concept, design guidance, and even fabricated most of the set pieces in Warren, MI, before shipping them down to Lake Buena Vista. Even the WDI show producer who was over this project is an outside contractor. Imagineers handled things like ride programming and effects, GM handled the rest.

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.. if only they got rid of the canopy, though.

If only. I really do love the queue and entry doors to the attraction. It fits in really well and some what resembles the Mission:Space queue. But that canopy is just awful and cookie cutter. I'd expect it from Cedar Fair, but not Disney.

Other than that and the untouched 'power' circle, Well done Disney.

Well Done.

It doesn't even look Cedar Fair, it looks like Home Depot ate a bad churro and threw up all over Epcot. It is, however, more acceptable than the Epcot '94 trash that's left everywhere. Innoventions Plaza, I'm looking at you.

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It's name should be Tron Track. I might be one of the only ones that liked the warehouse feel, it felt like a Test Track. I don't really know what to make of it now. I think it's going to be a great attraction, but its no longer a Test Track. It's just a design a car attraction where you run the course with nice graphics. IMO, its boring and in some parts corny. What even is the testing chamber where you went through the heat and cooling tests? I miss that.

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It's name should be Tron Track. I might be one of the only ones that liked the warehouse feel, it felt like a Test Track. I don't really know what to make of it now. I think it's going to be a great attraction, but its no longer a Test Track. It's just a design a car attraction where you run the course with nice graphics. IMO, its boring and in some parts corny. What even is the testing chamber where you went through the heat and cooling tests? I miss that.

The preshow makes it clear that you are going inside the computer / digital testing that new cars undergo. Basically, instead of building physical cars and testing them, you ride a SIM car into the digital test circuit.

It's much more themeatically appropriate for the EPCOT Center vision, as well as Futureworld, than TT1 was.

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.. if only they got rid of the canopy, though.

If only. I really do love the queue and entry doors to the attraction. It fits in really well and some what resembles the Mission:Space queue. But that canopy is just awful and cookie cutter. I'd expect it from Cedar Fair, but not Disney.

Other than that and the untouched 'power' circle, Well done Disney General Motors.

Well Done.

Fixed that for you. B)

Seriously, though (and I'm one of GM's biggest critics), they get the credit here. They provided the concept, design guidance, and even fabricated most of the set pieces in Warren, MI, before shipping them down to Lake Buena Vista. Even the WDI show producer who was over this project is an outside contractor. Imagineers handled things like ride programming and effects, GM handled the rest.

You are mistaken. I can assure you that GM had absolutely nothing to do with this Test Track refurb, and had very little to do with the original design. All they did was write a check so that their name was on it and so that they could have a show room in the exit.

Also just FYI it's no longer GM Test Track, its "Test Track presented by Chevrolet"

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You are mistaken. I can assure you that GM had absolutely nothing to do with this Test Track refurb, and had very little to do with the original design. All they did was write a check so that their name was on it and so that they could have a show room in the exit.

Also just FYI it's no longer GM Test Track, its "Test Track presented by Chevrolet"

Perhaps he is referring to this (??):

The theme of the ride is the individual, custom design of the cars. Jeff Mylenek, design manager for global industrial design, who headed the design of the ride, said the intention was to make guests aware of how cars were designed. “The Disney Imagineers came to the Tech Center — G.M.’s plant in Warren, Mich. — and we worked together for 18 months. We had a vision for the experience, and they embraced it.” His industrial design studio, which designs stands for auto shows, also worked on G.M.’s pavilion for the world’s fair in Shanghai in 2010.

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/test-track-at-epcot-offers-hands-on-design-experience/

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They most certainly played a major role in this and also footed the bill for a large portion of it. Recent WDW "refurbishments" have seen the projects value engineered to death (please see Space Mountain), however Test Track went the opposite direction. This was not a cheap re-do.

Quite honestly, I was very surprised when I rode Test Track last night for the first time. I purposely avoided watching videos so I would be surprised and boy was I. Gone is the tacky and loud queue with the annoying sound track, crashing sounds, etc. It's now very sleek and modern, it's beautiful really. The design aspect was something that didn't appeal to me at first, but it is actually kinda cool and it is neat to see your design sync up to the ride itself as you experience the attraction. Also gone are the three pre-show rooms and the god awful bottle neck in the queue when they dumped out. Such an improvement. Instead the 3 design rooms are now at ground level and dump out onto the ramp that the former stand by line utilized as it lead up to the old pre-show loading. Fast Pass skips the design studios but has a small modified section near the end of its queue where people have a few minutes to design a car. Single Rider skips the design phase all together.

As far as the ride itself, it is visually stunning now on the inside. In some places theme elements and screens extend from floor to ceiling. The way that it is lit and the placement of all the new elements give it a more intimate feeling on the inside, as opposed to the old Test Track where you could clearly see the wasted space left over in the building from World of Motion. The testing chambers, I'll admit, I missed what two of them even were. The former "cold room" is now the aerodynamics testing room. It utilizes the same mirror trick used in Radiator Springs Racers (which was an amazing attraction, btw) where you see an air current appear to flow over the shape of your car as it moves through the chamber.

I think the biggest piece for me, as others have mentioned, is that this new theme better aligns with what EPCOT truly is. I couldn't be happier with how this project turned out and I'm happy to have Track open again...EPCOT has certainly been quiet the past 7 months with out it :)

- Todd

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I can promise you that their "involvement" is little more than PR for both Disney and GM. GM/Chevrolet did certainly cut a check, but not as much for the refurb, but rather just to keep their name on the ride. Do you really think that GM has experience in designing amusement park rides? Give me a break. Yea, the concept for test track was for a ride to be design that used all off the shelf parts. It was quickly realized that that was not possible, because no vehicle GM ever designs is EVER subjected to the wear and running time that Test Track is. GM's "working together for 18 months" means that WDW D&E and WDI toured GM test facilities and said, "oh yea, we should make it feel like you're doing that." GM engineer's didn't sit at the table telling Disney how to create their rides. At the end of design, Disney presents the design to GM and says, "you still cool with paying us to have your name on this?" GM says yes, and Buena Vista Construction gets to work.

Also, I am very familiar with the recent refurb of both Space Mountain and this Test Track refurb because I was a part of them. What do you feel happened to negatively affect Space Mountain?

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I can promise you that their "involvement" is little more than PR for both Disney and GM. GM/Chevrolet did certainly cut a check, but not as much for the refurb, but rather just to keep their name on the ride. Do you really think that GM has experience in designing amusement park rides? Give me a break. Yea, the concept for test track was for a ride to be design that used all off the shelf parts. It was quickly realized that that was not possible, because no vehicle GM ever designs is EVER subjected to the wear and running time that Test Track is. GM's "working together for 18 months" means that WDW D&E and WDI toured GM test facilities and said, "oh yea, we should make it feel like you're doing that." GM engineer's didn't sit at the table telling Disney how to create their rides. At the end of design, Disney presents the design to GM and says, "you still cool with paying us to have your name on this?" GM says yes, and Buena Vista Construction gets to work.

Also, I am very familiar with the recent refurb of both Space Mountain and this Test Track refurb because I was a part of them. What do you feel happened to negatively affect Space Mountain?

You are correct when discussing TT v.1, it was WDI spearheading that effort.

However, TT v.2 was proposed, conceptualized, and largely built and designed by GM as part of their new (well, new-old commitment and once planned rebirth of the Chevrolet brand - which was created 2 marketing heads ago, but I digress).

With sources on both sides of this one, I can say with absolute certainty that GM was driving force, so to speak, behind this one. Perhaps more directly in control than any outside corporate entity in a Disney attraction since the park's early days.

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Also, I am very familiar with the recent refurb of both Space Mountain and this Test Track refurb because I was a part of them. What do you feel happened to negatively affect Space Mountain?

Only that it was disappointing that they didn't go the route that California did. It had been years since i had ridden Space in California, before they did the rebuild, so I never thought much about the differences between the two rides. In 2009, I went out to DLR and they had just converted their Space Mountain over to Ghost Galaxy. Talk about a total surprise. It always amazes me how adding music and other small effects can really plus a ride...and that was clearly evident in California. I haven't been able to experience regular Space Mountain, as both time I've been out since the refurb there have been with Ghost Galaxy in operation, but Ghost Galaxy is awesome. Fantastic sound track, the awesome effects tunnel that surrounds the 2nd lift, not to mention the images that are projected throughout the ride really are well done....not to mention the fact that it is incredibly smooth and re-ride able. I suspect that the regular Space is just as great.

So when WDW's version re-opened after it's refurb, it was disappointing to come back to the same old ride....just with a newly enclosed loading area. I was happy to see the effort to add music to the ride, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't work well for me. It is difficult to hear while you are on board, with the exception of a few spots. The ride itself certainly didn't feel, nor does it feel now, like it went down for a 6 month refurb. Stark contrast to the butter smooth ride in California.

Just my opinion.

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