This is promising to be a very busy couple of weeks! We look forward to bringing you photos and reviews from the first day of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival as well as full coverage of the October 1st 40th anniversary!
Plus we'll have more from around the parks and resorts, including the Trick or Meet-Up on September 29th.
This past week I've added 250 photos of the Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, another 50 photos of meet & greet characters at the Party, and an article with tips on enjoying it! I also participated in the Wilderness Adventure game testing at Disney's Animal Kingdom (the testing is now over), and we shared photos and video.
Donald and Daisy, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Wilderness Adventure game
Disney surprised everyone last week with the announcement of an Avatar expansion to Animal Kingdom. I'm not even sure if "surprised" is a strong enough word – "shocked", "stunned", "out of left field"? Sure, Avatar set the record for the highest grossing film – just as Titanic did in the 90's. But is it relevant to Disney?
I've been asked about my thoughts, so here they are.
We saw Avatar once, in the theater. I enjoyed the film more than I thought I would, and we talked about it for an hour or so after the movie ended. But then? I promptly forgot about it. I vaguely remember the blue female lead character, and I recall there being not much of a story. It didn't work itself into my heart or mind on any level. Everyone keeps calling it a blue Pocahantas, but I wasn't a big enough fan of that film to see it again after it opened.
I'm not sure if Disney is trying to have a "Potter-killer". If they are, I can't imagine that an Avatar themed land will do it. Harry Potter has such a huge cult following, and Avatar doesn't. Not yet, anyway. With two sequels in the works, time will tell how popular a franchise Avatar will be.
Disney has so many of it's own wonderful films that could have been worked into a themed land at Animal Kingdom. Last night I thought – why not Pixar's Brave? Scotland is an amazing country – and what could be better than a land based on both real and mythical animals and stories? Disney could then have it's own characters being used within it. After seeing a trailer for the film, I believe Brave will be up near the top of my Pixar list – and I'd not mind having a chance to explore the movie in a theme park environment.
If an Avatar themed land comes to fruition, I'll certainly give it a chance! Disney knows how to create an immersive environment as well as anybody, whether it's based on original concepts (which I prefer) or not. Most of those who I have talked with feel the same way. What are your thoughts? Comment below!
Next week I’ll write an article on my thoughts about the Magic Kingdom turning 40 years old. I’ve been there nearly every year (often regularly thoughout the years) since 1976!
Here are some questions I've received in the past couple of weeks:
Q: Hi Denise, I just found your website 2 days ago and love it. My family is coming October of 2012. Do you think the Art of Animation rooms will be available at that time? C.W.
A: Thanks for the nice comment! Disney's Art of Animation is now available to book for next summer (except for the Little Mermaid standard rooms, which appear to be available in December). Look for a new photo update in the next few days!
Disney's Art of Animation progress
Q: Your pictures are great, my family and I are currently planning yet another Disney trip for March 2012 and wonder if you know when the construction in the back of the Magic Kingdom will be done. This will be our 14th trip but we will be bringing 5 newbies with us.
Train Station in Fantasyland
A: Hi there! Unfortunately, I don't think anything but construction will still be going on at the time. I'm not sure when Storybook Circus is set to open, but the word right now is that the Fantasyland expansion is set to open in phases from late 2012 and on. If you can get back to Walt Disney World a year later as well, you'll see much more!
Q: Is there any way to see your photos larger?
A: My site is so bursting at the seams with all the photos (I think over 75,000), it'd take too much bandwidth to make them larger! We do plan to eventually redesign the website somewhat, so I'll revisit that question then.
Q: What value resort do you recommend most?
A: When I was a Disney Specialist/Travel Agent, there were two value resorts that were more popular than the others. My personal favorite is Disney's Pop Century for many reasons – theme, location, food court, and just a little more of an upscale feel. The second most popular was Disney's All Star Movies Resort, guests liked the theme there quite a bit. If I was going to choose one of the All Star Resorts, my personal preference is Disney's All Star Music. That is also where you'll find the only value resort suites, but that will change next year when Disney's Art of Animation Resort opens!
Enjoy your week! We are taking a little down time today, but we enjoyed Illuminations with friends last night – and tomorrow we'll be back at the parks to take photos and video for our next updates!
Treats from the Norway pavilion, including my favorite – School Bread!
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