With a new year comes all of the great events at parks across the county. It seems that special events have become the norm and for most parks they go far beyond the historical timeframe of Halloween and Christmas.
Nowhere is this more apparent than at EPCOT which is not only host to the fabulous Flower and Garden and Food and Wine festivals, but now the awesome looking Festival of the Arts. Let's take a look!!
Written by Renée Girard
(Click on any of the pictures below to see a larger version)
Today is the first day of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts!
Figment is one of my favorite characters, and he seems to be a big part of this festival. I love it already!
I even got my Figment's Brush with the Master's scavenger hunt map. Wish me luck!
Before searching for Figment, I'll stop by the Festival Showplace at the Odyssey.
You can check out some great Disney artwork by Mary Blair and Herbert Ryman at the Festival Showplace.
There are also different seminars offered a few times a day. Keep in mind that the Festival is only on weekends (Fri-Mon).
And you can get some delicious food and drinks, too! At the Painter's Palate.
Here is the food offered at Painter's Palate, including the detail on the Mary Blair chocolate.
I went with the margherita flatbread and 3 Daughters strawberry blonde nitro beer. Both are excellent!
There are some "living statues" by the fountain in Future World.
In this interactive wall mural, guests are given paint and can paint their own 5 squares.
Here's my contribution to the mural, using the color Fashion Flame. Can't wait to see the finished product!
There are several pop up art booths all around the World Showcase at Epcot.
Some of the booths have artists there signing as well. Kristin Tercek does great pieces for Disney.
Hoping to get into the Disney on Broadway concert. The standby line stretches back to Germany!
So excited! I saw @ashleybrown9 in Mary Poppins and Beauty & the Beast and @Joshuajstrick in Tarzan on Broadway!
Absolutely loved Disney on Broadway concert! Ashley Brown & Josh Strickland are incredible!
I'm definitely a fan of all of the Figment themed merchandise at the festival.
I like how artwork has been added to character meet and greets.
I almost forgot about my Figment scavenger hunt! Here is one, and its location is spoiler-free if you're also participating.
They weren't joking when they said jumbo chocolate chip cookie!
I was more about the art than the food this visit, but here is some of what's offered.
Some of the items at Pop Eats look interesting. Might have to try that next time!
And a few more menus from around the festival. Some are a bit pricey but I'm sure they're all very good!
The workshops in Japan look fun! Something else I'll need to add to the list for my next visit.
The specialty drinks at the coffee kiosks also look yummy
I completed the Figment scavenger hunt and claimed my prize, one of four different magnets.
Really loved Festival of the Arts at Epcot! Great addition to the park. We'll definitely be back, especially for the concerts!
Today Disneyland announced some changes to their Fastpass system. We're going to attempt to break it down a bit and hopefully add some much needed levity to the typical online reaction of these changes being a "cash grab".
Written by Gregg Condon
First and foremost, here is the link to the full description of the changes.
Parts of it are kind of vague but here it is in a nutshell:
Ok, so let's break this down piece by piece.
Fastpass being added to Toy Story Midway Mania and Matterhorn:
Not sure why. Neither one of these attractions has the capacity to support Fastpass. If they want to add Fastpass to TSMM they need to add a third track like they did in FL. Matterhorn has two separate tracks and not a whole lot of queue space. Just doesn't make sense to us.
MaxPass system (and Photopass) for mobile fastpasses for $10 per day:
If I was a frequent visitor/AP I'd for sure have concerns about this. They are giving the option to add this to your AP price so you can use it on every visit (no price given) or you can use the $10 a day option.
As an infrequent visitor (our last visit to DL was in November 2015) I'm all in on this. On our last visit we rode about 5 attractions due to the crowds and FP's being gone.
Disneyland is called the "Disneyland Resort". But it's not a Resort. It's a locals park. There are over 1 million Annual Passholders right now. If Disneyland wants to reach that resort level they need to start catering more to tourists who make periodic visits and make sure that they are able to experience attractions while they are at the park. Period.
The current paper fastpass system is NOT going away
Obviously with this new system there is the possiblity of paper fastpasses being reduced by a certain amount. Because if somebody is paying $10 to get Fastpasses they need to be able to actually get them. There will probably be some kind of trial and error period but it's possible that the amount of paper fastpasses will depend on how many people use MaxPass on any given day. But again, details are vague.
Unlike the WDW system, this will not allow advanced reservations, you will not be able to use the MaxPass system unless you are in the park
Right now, Disneyland has over 1 MILLION annual passholders. The week leading up to Christmas this year with all APs blocked out except the very top tier had ride lines that averaged about 30 minutes each day. This was less crowds than a Tuesday in September or October. And once AP blockout days were lifted on January 4 the park reached capacity. Something that hadn't happened through the entire holiday season (including New Years Eve).
So to say that APs are greatly influencing the historcal "off season" structure of the park is an extreme understatement.
But let's say that this new MaxPass system allowed reservations, and was free. And like WDW you were able to go on say 30 days before a visit and make a FastPass reservation. They would be gone within SECONDS. People would be getting Fastpasses "just in case" they were going to visit that day. It would be chaos. It would insure that anybody who is a "day" visitor or "vacationer" would have zero ability to get fastpasses.
The announcement definitely presents more questions that answers, but of course that doens't stop people from freaking out about it. This change has been inevitable for years, and with Star Wars Land coming in a few years the time to make this change is now.
Couple this with the rumored changes to the AP Program coming next month (including elimination of the payment plan) and it seems Disney is trying to reduce the number of APs but also increase revenue.
It's something that worked for Universal Studios Hollywood where they reduced APs, had moderate attendance over the summer but had the HIGHEST guest spending and guest satisfaction in the history of that park. So you can bet Disney has been paying attention to that.
As more news comes out about these changes we'll keep you updated of course.
So what do you think? Is this something you are going to use when you make visits to Disneyland? Are you able to at least see the AP/Non-AP side of it? We are interested to hear your thoughts, be sure you share them below.
Today we have the first of our New Years Updates, the first from EPCOT at Walt Disney World.
It was a busy yet fun night as we rang in the new year with fireworks, DJ's, more fireworks, more DJ's and lots and lots of people.
Written by Renée Girard
Here we go! EPCOT NYE!!
Magic Kingdom full signs up at the Epcot monorail entrance.
Lines to get into Epcot just after 8pm. Crowded, but not too bad.
We're in, let's do this!
75 minute standby line for Spaceship Earth at 8:30pm.
Epcot wait times as of 8:35pm.
200 minute line for Test Track as of 8:45pm.
Dj stage with a countdown clock on Spaceship Earth in Future World.
People camped out for a prime viewing spot for the fireworks at midnight.
Dance party in the U.K.!
The New Year bar and menu in France.
The Morocco bar is the best themed pop up bar so far! Very cool!
Japan bar and menu.
We are about to experience the Silent DJ Groove in Japan!
So fun! Silent DJ Groove is awesome. 2 different DJs to choose from. Everyone is having a blast!
Still dancing away to the hits in Japan!
Moved on to America, where there's another dance party happening at the American Gardens Theatre.
Lasers and dancing in Italy!
Yeahhhh, Epcot is a little busy...
Any guesses to how long they've been camped out for the fireworks?
New Year's Eve menu in Italy.
China is lit!!
Don't care about the fireworks? Frozen Ever After is only a 30 minute wait!
Loved the fire and fog at the dance party in China!
People camped out on the lawn in Future World for the fireworks.
IllumiNations has begun. New Year's Eve countdown finale fireworks soon!
IllumiNations is over, time for New Year's Eve countdown!
The Epcot New Year's Eve fireworks were amazing! Definitely one of their best shows.
Yes it was crowded but we made it out and home safely. Happy New Year from the east coast!