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Keane's September/October 2012 "This Is Too Good To Pass Up" Trip Report - Part 4


The text of this trip report was posted to the Usenet group rec.arts.disney.parks on October 21, 2012. This is an expanded version with pictures. If you are reading this someplace else than rec.arts.disney.parks, or on my site keanespics.com, it was copied without my permission.

Epcot 30th
The official logo...
Who: Me, Keane. Disney Junkie and obviously a glutton for punishment...
     Mom, aka "Miss Marie". Mobility impaired. Memory impaired, too.
     Jenny. Fellow Disney Junkie, and du...kind enough to help.
     Karen. My GPS. (A Garmin nuvi 1390)
What: An opportunistic trip to Walt Disney World.
Where: Walt Disney World, Art of Animation Resort, Little Mermaid Room.
Why: D23's Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration, D23's 2012 Sip & Scream, and a dinner in Great Movie Ride.
When: September 29 thru October 6, 2012

All Disclaimers from Part 1 still apply.
Thank you.

Day 3, Sunday, Sept. 30 (continued)
D23's Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration, Afternoon


We had a two hour lunch break. With all of Food and Wine around us, the lamb at Morocco still calls my name, and they have a veggie plate that Jenny likes. It is sad that it's not the same as it was years ago, but you can pretty much still only get it here. They make some pretty good gyros up in Chicago, but it's lamb and beef, with similar spices. Call it gyros in Morocco, though, and I think they can kill you. Or maybe that was in Turkey. But I digress.

Anyway, we're heading out from World Showplace, and passing the UK, when Jenny shouts out "Sue!" Let me see. There are how many thousands of people in the park today, and Jenny picks out Sue Holland in the UK. I've never met her, and introductions are made. She is on her way to the Festival Center, I think she'll be meeting up with SB. (See disclaimer #1.) I still need food. We chat for a couple of minutes, then part ways.

We make it to Morocco, and there's a line. With all of Food and Wine around us, this is the most crowded I've seen Tangerine Cafe, possibly ever. I have Jenny get a table, and she disappears. There are enough people in line that they open the right side of the serving area. (Doesn't happen often, if you've ever been there.)

Now there's really two lines here, but they are both in the center of the serving area right next to each other, so you have an instant idea of how long both lines are, and that there are indeed two lines. You order (and pay) for your food then move to the left or right depending on where you ordered, and get to watch them slap food on the plate like some bad MASH episode. But it's good food, it's just portioned with a scooper. Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation could learn from the queue here. They could do this with a minimum of effort, and it would solve one of their problems immediately. Oh well...

The guy dispensing our food is pissed about something. He's complaining to the two others working drinks and the final order check, but it's not in English. Too bad. Doesn't he know I have a trip report to write?

I get the food, and I seriously can't find Jenny. Not inside, not outside. I finally find her back by the coffee shop where they have three or four tables in a small windowless alcove. The tabouleh is green. I eat it anyway.

As we leave, we talk a walk through Morocco, and take some pictures that might date all the way back to my G2. Jenny needs a piece of chocolate, so we head to Italy, which has some pretty good stuff. One piece each and we're on our way back to the conference.

Lunch at Epcot
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Epcot 30th
The reverse of the agenda...

D23's Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration, Afternoon Sessions

We get to the entrance, I ask one of the CM's if they could possibly look up the number to Art of Animation for me. A helpful fellow goes back into the media room to look it up. While we're waiting, Tony Baxter, who's going to present Imagination later, is talking with some colleagues, so I grab a picture. Mr. Helpful comes out with the telephone number, I thank all involved, and we go inside the main room.

I grab another D23 cast member, and ask if the Super Scream bus question has been resolved. Of course she has no idea what I'm talking about, and Jenny stays there for the answer, while I see if I can find better seats than what we had this morning. I end up in the same place. Meanwhile, the CM I asked the question has given Jenny the answer, but actually tracks me down on the other side of the room of a few hundred people. Do I look that... uh... Unique? That could be good or bad...

I leave Jenny to watch the seats, and go to the back of the hall to call Mom. I call the number given to me, and it's to a fax machine. It'd be okay if I spoke fax, but alas, I was absent from school that day.

I get another number from a fellow D23 member on her smart phone, and it's to the main switchboard, but I am able to get a direct number to AoA. I have to ask for her by name every time, and the phone only rings three times before it goes to voicemail. Certainly not enough time for her to get to the phone, which is on the other side of the king bed and behind the scooter. I try a couple of times, then just give up. I should have foreseen this when I found there wasn't any cell phone service in the rooms...

Tony Baxter
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Anyway, the afternoon agenda looks like this:

2:00-2:50 Imagineering Epcot: An Extra Perceptive Close-up Of Things
2:50-3:30 "We've Just Begun To Dream"
3:30-4:15 EPCOT Illusioneering and Beyond
4:25-5:20 Journey Into Imagination
5:20-6:00 The Music of Epcot Center

Imagineering Epcot: An Extra Perceptive Close-up Of Things

"Extra Perceptive Close-up Of Things" EPCOT, get it? Huh? Huh?

Disney Imagineers Jason Surrell, Jason Grandt, and Alex Wright were once again back to showcase details in Epcot. They did a similar seminar on all of Disney World for the 40th celebration back in May 2011. My comparison was the three stooges. Yep, still holds. One of the goals of Surrell and Wright is to get Grandt laughing so hard that he has to leave the stage... Once again I have to stress, if you can ever see these three guys put on a presentation like this, you need to see it.

But on with the show.

Spaceship Earth is the largest complete geosphere above the ground. In concept drawings, you can see what they thought were mirrors, because at the time, the engineers told John Hench that they could do the top 75% of the sphere, but not the entire thing. So Hench came up with an idea to build a platform to support the top 75% of the sphere, the building inside and the ride, then hung the bottom 25% to complete the sphere. So the bottom of the Spaceship Earth that you walk under is nothing but set design, and hangs from the bottom of the building.

The park itself when it was designed had science and technology on one side (e.g. energy and transportation), and the more organic subjects such as the environment and imagination on the other.

The banners around innoventions and Mousegear have Communicore embedded into the DNA code...

They like to approach Mexico from the path on the right, which reveals the pavilion through the forest...

Norway. It started as a bathroom, and then Norway was built around it. You can walk around the colonnade around the stave church. The people in the glass cases in the church aren't real, 'cause the glass cases won't hold back the zombies when they reanimate. (Yes, they did point this out.)

China was featured as having stairways to nowhere.

Germany's glockenspiel has three hours of original music. The building on the right in Germany has four emperors on the building, but they didn't have the space in Germany, and Maximilian got the axe. And it's always Oktoberfest in the Bier Garden, the trees have fall leaves, there are leave on the ground under the trees...

The pizza place in Italy uses the water with the same mineral content as Naples, but the water actually comes from Pennsylvania. The wood burning ovens represent the volcanoes in Italy.

American Adventure was considered the castle and was replaced in the back of World Showcase. Blane Gibson did the farmer sculpture, and it was modeled after his dad. Sklar asked him why he has a such a dour expression, and it was because that's the way he always saw his father during the depression. He redid the statue, and thanked Sklar for the opportunity to sculpt his dad as he would have liked to have seen him.

Mullers Landing in the film (The two brothers/civil war scene) is actually from the train in Disneyland. Disney wanted a real place that no longer existed, and Mullers Landing fit that description. The funny part is, if they pan the camera even a little, you'll see the Haunted Mansion...

Morocco is one of the real deals at Epcot. The King of Morocco sent his personal artisans to Epcot to build the pavilion. The museum is interesting in that the stained glass is supposed to be one of the best in Epcot. The Water Carrier outfit was bought of the back of someone walking down the street in Morocco. It was the perfect look, and was literally bought off the back of a citizen there.

Impressions de France was the first film to every have its soundtrack fully recorded and edited digitally. Evidently, several people ask how to get to the Eifel Tower daily...

Rose & Crown represents four different styles of English pubs. A Waterfront Pub, a City Pub, a Keynesian Pub, and a Provincial style pub. The UK also has the most diverse styles of architecture, from the 1600's.

The totem in Canada was carved on-stage in the park as an enhancement to Canada. David Boxley carved it at what is now the Off-Kilter stage, which was his workspace before the group was there.

And finally they finished with trivia about the Golf ball.

165' in diameter.
11,448 triangles in 3816 pyramids and there are 954 panels of 4 pyramids.
1.63 billion golf balls will fit in it.
165' diameter pizza would feed everyone in Epcot for lunch and dinner.
If SE *was* a golf ball, Tiger Woods would be 1.35 miles tall, and he could drive it to Ft. Lauderdale.
If SE were the sun, Earth would be 15 feet in diameter at the entrance to MK.
If SE were the earth, the moon would be a 40' diameter sphere that would pass through World Showcase.
If SE was the shiny dome of Jason Surrell's head, he would be the size of the real Eiffel Tower...

Imagineering Epcot: An Extra Perceptive Close-up Of Things
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"We've Just Begun To Dream"

Ron Logan, with Carol Campbell, Bob Radock, Steve Skorija, Gene Columbus, Tony Peluso. They did the live entertainment at Epcot, and related their experience with the opening shows and celebrations, from the WDW band on a flatbed truck at groundbreaking, to the pouring of water from all the different countries into the fountain, to getting all of the performers together for opening day.

"We've Just Begun To Dream"
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EPCOT Illusioneering and Beyond

Hosted by Daniel Joseph, who is an Imagineer who works in Illusions and Special Effects in California, who took a look at the groundbreaking effects that were done for Epcot.

After a brief introduction of Illusioneering, including an introduction to Yale Gracey who's pretty much the father of special effects, described how one day Walt walked into his office and fired everyone from the studio, and immediately rehired them into WED. Then they were given free rein on things like Haunted Mansion...

Unlike movie special effects that only has to work once, theme park special effects have to work 14 hours a day, 365 days a year.

He detailed the special effects throughout Epcot, like use of laserdiscs, olfactory effects, 3D polarized movies, etc.

In Spaceship Earth, they had fake flame, and the smell of the burning of Rome, and laser fiber optics in the later version of SE.

Universe of Energy has photovoltaic's on the roof, realistic lava. A wire guided ride system. Each car weighed up to 30,000 pounds, floated on air, self powered and automatically charged itself when the vehicle was stopped. Also new was the custom Disney built projectors that did the wide screen projections in the theater.

Horizons had a hanging omni-mover vehicle, the large screen movies, holographic effects, and fiber optics and the orange scent.

Imagination. The leaping fountains. Photo capture of the guest on a ride was pioneered here. Magic Journeys was one of the first polarized 3-D movies, created with cameras designed and built by Disney.

Communicore had debuted touch screens, had virtual roller coasters.

El Rio del Tiempo, where the fireworks in "it's a small mexico" is fiber optics.

It ended with a Danny Kaye quote at Epcot's opening, "Today is the tomorrow I was talking about yesterday, and tomorrow yesterday will be today. And I got to the future from the past when the past became the present... which is now."

Which might pretty much sum up Epcot.

EPCOT Illusioneering and Beyond
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Journey Into Imagination

Ugh. They won't let me photograph this one. They wouldn't let me photograph Western River Ride Adventure at the 40th, either.

After a short break, it's Tony Baxter and Steven Vagnini looking at Imagination. The show starts with a visit to the Seas, and a rejected concept that Baxter had for the attraction. Some of the concepts made their way into the Land...

The Land had Biomes where the cooling of one pavilion would use the waste heat to heat another pavilion, etc. It was done in conjunction with the University of Arizona. After Disney rejected the idea, they built Biosphere 2. He had an elaborate show which was also rejected, but there were several elements that made it into Imagination, such as the Landkeeper...

Steve Kirk designed an early Figment and Dreamfinder, and Baxter was the front guy with Kodak, and he said they could front the show with a character or something, and they asked, "Like what?"

So Tony get's these characters, and before he knows it, they're in a Kodak ad...

Development goes on, and they need a name for the dragon. One night, Tony is watching an episode of Magnum PI. Someone actually found the clip, where Higgins says, "Don't tell me it's a figment of my imagination. Figments don't eat rare tropical fowls." Ta-da!

However, Figment was green. Kodak had a problem with that. If you don't know why, you're probably under 30. Kodak's biggest competitor in the film business was Fuji... Tony didn't want a Yellow and Red dragon, but compromised with "Royal purple pigment, and that's how you get a figment", but they did dress him in a yellow and red outfit. Made everyone happy.

They had a name, a color, but not a voice. Eventually, they brought in Billy Barty, and to this day, Tony can't see a Billy Barty movie without hearing Figment. And Figment says some pretty bad things in some of those movies.

With everything settled, they started designing the ride, and did a complete walkthrough. The ride was actually supposed to contain a couple of roller coaster type sections that never worked.

With that, they then welcomed Ron Schneider and Steve Taylor, two of the former Dreamfinders. Both described how to get your dream job within the company. Get hired, and do anything. Become part of Disney. Then leave the company. Really. Worked for both of them! :-)

And finally they showed an early ride through with home movies taken by Tony.

Journey Into Imagination
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The Music of Epcot Center

Russell Brower, Greg Ehrbar, Tim O'Day and Steven Vagnini presented the music of Epcot, from the composers to the performers.

Not a lot to put here, except to note they did honor the Sherman Brothers, and the work they did for the park, a scratch track of Joe Rhode doing One Little Spark, Magic Journeys, Horizons, The Computer Song...

Also honored was Bob Moline (Canada, Listen to the Land, Golden Dream), George Wilkins, Buddy Baker, X. Atencio, Peter Stougaard, Russell Brower, Edo Guidotti and others.

The show closed with a demo track by Bob Moline of Golden Dream, closely followed by Billy Flanigan doing a rendition of Golden Dream with quotes of and by Walt and Epcot.

He was the one chosen to pour America's water into the fountain on opening day. He was also Ken in "The Magical World of Barbie", so there you are.

The Music of Epcot Center
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Epcot 30th The conference closed with a video produced when Epcot was completed. While the slogan throughout the conference was "We Can Do It!", it was now, "We Did It!"

Yes, they did. And I have the button to prove it.

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More Adventures in AoA

Jenny and I drive back to AoA after the conference, and Mom's eaten the Ham and Cheese sandwich we had gotten this morning and isn't hungry. Besides, it's almost 7pm, and she's in for the night. We will get a fruit cup from the food court for her.

We decide to go tour the resort, Jenny hasn't really seen any of the themeing yet. So we walk. From around Little Mermaid, through Lion King, around Nemo, and finally through Cars. I still think Cars has the best theme, with Lion King second. Since Jenny's there, I can get myself into a couple of sets. However, since Jenny's there, I'm not on a scooter. That's okay, I haven't walked enough this week anyway. It was a lot easier on the scooter, though.

We go to the food court I can never remember the name of, and get dinner. I try the Mongolian Fish, Jenny has the Tandori Shrimp. The fish is being cooked and isn't ready. I get a buzzy-lighty thing. We go find a seat. The buzzy-lighty thing goes lighty-buzzy, and you'd think the food would be ready. You would be wrong. We are at the counter, and the server says it'll still be a minute, and has Jenny's shrimp reserved. It is the last portion at the station. Wait, it gets better.

The woman in front of us, who was actually there after us, wants the shrimp, but the server won't give it to her because it's reserved for Jenny, so he gives *her* a buzzy-lighty thing that will alert her when more shrimp is ready. From my perspective, this is a just and proper thing. I'd be more than a little upset if I got buzzed only to get another buzzy-lighty thing.

On the other hand, I can also understand why the woman in front of us would be a little... put off. She was waiting, the shrimp is right in front of her, and she can't have it. I would relate my story of having a reservation at CBR in hand that couldn't be converted to a AP rate because of the change in blocks of rooms at a season change, but I'm not sure she'd relate.

So in addition to stealing some poor woman's food, I finally get my fish that's so over-cooked that I could have dropped it and not worried about the 5 second rule, because it would have bounced off the floor high enough to catch it on the first try. Sounds good on the menu, fail on the execution. sigh.

Jenny said the shrimp was okay. I had the basmati rice and cauliflower sides, which were okay. Jenny had the cauliflower and acorn squash, which she declared cooked perfectly. Just don't get the fish.

After dinner, we stop in the store next door, and am happy to report they have resort merchandise. Of course they didn't have the shirt I wanted in my size, but they did have resort merchandise. Ended up with a t-shirt and a keychain.
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End Sept 2012 Trip Report - Part 4.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

  • 11/08/2012 - Page Added
  • 12/31/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 09/01/2014 - Update to v3.2