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Ears the News with Richard


The 'Taste of Hollywood' To-Go dining that was introduced at Disney's Hollywood Studios last year is back again for the holidays.  Starting 12/22/2012 and running through to 1/5/2013, the boxed to-go meals cost $15.99 (including 20oz drink) for adults, and $5.49 for kids. The meal includes reserved seating for Fantasmic! You will be able to make reservations up to 24 hours before at 407-WDW-DINE.

Menu items include:
  • Cold-cut roast beef with creamy horseradish, potato salad, grilled asparagus and chocolate cake
  • Tuna sushi roll with beet and apple salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers and a spicy pecan chocolate cluster
  • Cajun shrimp salad with beet and apple salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers and mandarin orange cheesecake
  • Cold fried chicken with roasted sweet potato and baby spinach, broccoli slaw and blueberry cheesecake
  • Veggie sandwich with tomato salad, tabbouleh and chocolate cake
  • Kids meal: Turkey and American cheese wrap with apples and carrots with Ranch dip, strawberry yogurt and a seven-layer cookie bar

You can now meet Santa at his chalet in the Marketplace, near to World of Disney. He will be appearing from 11/16/2012 through to 12/24/2012. From 12/25/2012 to 12/27/2012 you will be able to meet Santa Goofy.
Times are:
Friday to Saturday:12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Sunday to Thursday: 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM

The Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland is now open to all guests for previews; previews so far have been for Cast Members and various Passholders.  The full roster of attractions is available, including Enchanted Tales with Belle, Be Our Guest RestaurantGaston's TavernBonjour! Village GiftsUnder the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid and Ariel's Grotto.

Disney has also put together a website called 'The Story of New Fantasyland.' It features some beautifully rendered fly-throughs of the land, so stay with it through to the end.
You can find the new site at http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/new-fantasyland/


Imagineering is currently in the process of adding new interactive queue elements to the Magic Kingdom's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. In support of this, Disney has revealed a newly expanded backstory to the attraction, featuring a new character - Barnabas T. Bullion, the gold magnate who rules the Big Thunder Mining Company.

Here is the full text from the Official Disney Parks Blog:
“Barnabas T. Bullion is the founder and president of the Big Thunder Mining Company. The longtime mining magnate comes from a powerful East Coast family and considers gold to be his very birthright by virtue of his oddly appropriate name; in fact, he considers the ultimate gold strike to be his destiny. And that is why he is having so much trouble with Big Thunder Mountain. According to superstitious locals, Big Thunder Mountain is very protective of the gold it holds within, and the unfortunate soul who attempts to mine its riches is destined to fail. And so far that prophecy is coming to pass. The mine has been plagued by mysterious forces and natural disasters ever since. And yet the Big Thunder Mining Co. is still in operation. In fact, Bullion is discovering new veins of gold and digging new shafts every day, offering a closer look at the Big Thunder mining operation than ever before. But a word to the wise for anyone attempting to visit the mountain: watch out for runaway trains.”

Photos from the Disney Parks Blog

The operating hours for Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom have been extended on many days during December 2012. Along with the extension of hours, additional shows and parades have been added on many days.

Epcot's Innovention Plaza in Future World has a new permanent snack kiosk, located just outside the Electric Umbrella and the Tip Board. A construction wall has been up for the last couple of months, and it seems that the work was for this new kiosk. The area has typically had an ice cream kiosk, but this now looks to be a much larger kiosk, and is permanently attached to the ground. It also looks as though it will offer considerably more menu items than just ice cream. The location is not yet ready for business, but cannot be far away from opening.

Test Track has been previewed by a limited number of Cast. No guest previews have taken place yet, and the ride official reopens on December 6 2012. 

WDWMagic.com has provided a great summary of the attraction.

The Fastpass/Single Rider line enters on the left and walks by a silver concept car, then by a glass window which overlooks the design studios and then you get to pick from 7 pre-determined designs to use on your RFID card.

The Standby entrance is on the right hand side and that concept car is on the left, and there is an exploded view of a concept vehicle showing the different parts and components, along some videos you can watch about the design process. Next there is a video with a blank white car with projections on it talking about wind resistance and flow, etc. Next you come to 4 large touchscreen monitors (probably around 84”) where you can practice drawing lines and get used to the design process while you wait.

Next you come to the first set of auto doors and are greeted by a CM, they are going to stage you for the next room, they hand out the RFID cards to everyone. There are 2 design studios and each has 34 design stations. They line you up on a number in pre briefing room and show a video about how to use to the design computer. If you don’t want to design a vehicle, they will allow up to 3 people on each design station, but there will be only one design and all 3 people will have the same design. There are 3 time limits on the design studio depending on how busy it is. You either have 9, 7, or 5 minutes to design it and when you are done you swipe your RFID card to save your design.

Then when you go to the load station , they have 6 RFID sensors depending on where you are sitting and you touch your card to the sensor and ties your design to that car.


Post-Show Summary

They really changed the shape of the post-show it is almost like a maze leading you to one room to another when you get to the final room then it is wide open and you can roam around.

After you exit the ride, you pass the on ride photo area, then you go to huge screen that says “Know your Score” then you tap your card to the sensor and it displays your score in each area Capability, Efficiency, Responsiveness, and Power and you can compare your scores against other people.

Don’t lose your card, everything in the post- show is tied to your card, then you come into a room, which to me looks like the flight deck on Star Trek, A big round room with lots of neon with computers all around the edges, it where you can design your Chevy commercial using your own design. Again you touch your card to sensor and it adds your design to that computer and ou can do all kind of effects and add music, etc.

Then you come to some racing games; there is 3 of them probably 10 players each and they have a steering wheel and a gear shift. You swipe your card and it adds your design to the game and it actually projects your design on the playing surface, I didn’t play it, but those who did said it was really fun .

Now you are out in the open where all the actual car models are, they are out in the middle and then are scenes where you can take your photo with a Chevy vehicle in different locations. These are actual sets like you in a futuristic city or on a different planet or on a tropical island, they were still working on a lot of it when I was there. Then there is some merchandise before you exit but it wasn’t it place yet.

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