Friday, December 28, 2012

What happened around the parks in 2012 Part 2

2012 was a great year! Lots of new things around the parks, and also some great things lost. Part 2  (July-December)
*most pics will enlarge when clicked

In case you missed part 1 ~> What happened at the parks in 2012 Part 1

In July, Universal opens the new Despicable Me 3D attraction (old Jimmy Neutron) near the front of the park across Shrek. 
Outside the Despicable Me attraction:



---The summer brought new arrivals at SeaWorld, baby dolphins and sea lions (twins)
Baby dolphin swimming with it's mom at the Dolphin nursery SW:

SeaLion twin pups playing:


---Ever see the July 4th fireworks show at MK? One of my favs.


---After being closed for over a year, the underwater viewing for Shamu at SeaWorld re-opened. A quick rising floor was installed, in case of an emergency the floor can be raised in about a min. Dine With Shamu also opened with the underwater viewing area.

 ---Phineas and Ferb replaced the Kim Possible mission games around World Showcase at Epcot.
---At the Magic Kingdom Dumbo 2 and Casey Spalsh n Soak area joins the other opened areas in Storybook Circus. Disney also announced the opening date for the rest of the New Fantasyland which was set for Dec 6th
---In late August, Magic Kingdom transforms for Halloween.

 ---At Islands of Adventure, shops at the Lost Continent, near the front entrance of WWoHP were shuffled around in the summer to make more room. Today, a wall covers an area just to the right of the entrance to WWoHP and a large crane towers above. A wall poster indicates "Great things are on the way"
Crane at the entrance to WWOHP:


 ---At the end of August, Osborne lights start to go up at Hollywood Studios


---In September, SeaWorld added a new flamingo habitat just across the Nautilus theater by the lagoon.  Chilean Flamingos:
---Disney starts random previews for parts of New Fantasyland to park guests in Sept.
Enchanted Tales with Belle:
 ---Also in mid September, lights on Cinderella's castle starts going up.

---Halloween Horror Night at Universal Studios:
HHN 22:
 ---October 1st marked Epcot's 30th anniversary. Several special D23 presentations were held at the old Millennium Village (between Canada and UK)

Epcot 30 ceremony finale:
Epcot 30 special fireworks finale:
---Universal added carnival games in-front of the Simpsons attraction. Carnival games used to be in the old Amity section of the park.
---Big Top souvenirs and Pete's Silly Sideshow (character meet and greet) opens in Storybook Circus.
At Pete's you can meet Minnie, Daisy Donald and Goofy.


---In mid Oct, over at Disney's Animal Kingdom zebras arrives at the Killimanjaro safari attraction, it replaced the poacher / little red scene.

---Disney installs cameras on some buses.
---In November, Universal makes another announcement, Transformers will come to Universal Studios opening in the summer of 2013 (old sound-stage 44)
---Over at Disney, Halloween decor go down and Christmas goes up.
Castle Dream Lights and Osborne lights open up for guest.

Osborne Lights opening night: New this year at DHS Osborne lights, a meet and greet with Santa Goofy:
---Celebrate the Magic debuts at the Magic Kingdom, it replaced The Magic The Memories and You (castle projection show) .

--- In mid November, official previews for the New Fantasyland begins. New MK maps came out with the new opened areas.


 Rapunzels tower emerges from behind the construction walls beyond Its A Small World:

Late November, filming for the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade:





Darth Vader Stormtroopers:
---Holiday celebration kicks off at Universal Orlando. Grinchmas at IOA and Macy Holiday Parade at Universal Studios.
 Who's in Whoville:

--- New Walls around the un-finished area in the New Fantasyland 7 dwarfs mine train. Take a peek at the construction progress through the walls:


---New Fantasyland Officially opens. The largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history.

Gaston's Tavern:
 Gaston meet and greet:

Under The Sea - Little Mermaid:
 Lefou's Brew, Pork Shanks, and Cinnamon bun at Gaston's Tavern:

Also new entertainment at the New Fantasyland:

Giggle Gang and Silly 4 Saxtet:
 On the same day, Test Track 2.0 re-opens after being updated. (same track layout)
Ride test track:
 ---Also on the same day, Legend's of Captain Jack Sparrow at Hollywood Studios opens... Have not done this attraction yet. One of those things im saving for a rainy day sometime soon.

---Finally, Disney starts using new RFID scanners. It replaces some of the turnstiles at all 4 Disney parks. They are also at certain stores, restaurants, resort room doors and elevators around WDW property. It is currently only for Resort guests with Key to the World cards. 

 What Happened in the parks in 2012 part 1

It's been a great year. Looking forward to what 2013 brings! Will not be spending NYE at the parks this year so wanted to be one of the first to greet you all a Happy New Year! Have fun, stay safe, and take care! 

Magic Kingdom Countdown New Year Eve:






Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What happened around the parks in 2012 Part 1

2012 was a great year! Lots of new things around the parks, and also some great things lost. Part 1  (Jan-June)
*most pics will enlarge when clicked

---In early 2012 we lost Jaws at Universal Studios.
Jaws closes  it's doors for the last time.


The site was quickly demolished and today the site looks like this: No official announcement from Universal on what will replace the site.
 My final Jaws voyage:


---The Penguin Encounter at SeaWorld also closed earlier this year to make room for a new Antarctica attraction opening spring 2013. Part of the old structure was demolished and smaller shops and areas around were removed:

Today:
Old Penguin Encounter:


---In January. President Obama visited the Magic Kingdom to make a speech on tourism. Main Street was closed for several hours in the morning and a special backstage path decorated with parade floats took guest from Main St to Tomorrowland. Guest were only able to see the President's speech live feed from the Hall of Presidents attraction in Liberty Square
Main St at Magic Kingdom closed:
Clean-up after President's visit on main St:

---A Major announcement on upcoming new things at Universal Orlando was made for the 100 years of Movie Memories, Year to be here campaign:
New Blue Man Group show
Enhanced Spiderman Ride (High Def.)
A new Superstar Parade
Universal Cinematic Spectacular (night time show)
A new Despicable Me attraction ( replaced Jimmy Neutron)
A New mini golf area at Citywalk  Hollywood Drive -In


---In January SeaWorld also announced some changes to the parks. One of them is that the skytower would now be included in the admission to SW. It used to be a couple of $ or would be free if you had a specific type of pass. Also Coke would replace Pepsi at SW in 2012
Also new at SW this year was a new event " Just for Kids"  Fun activities and entertainment just for kids around SW on select dates in Jan.

Skytower at SeaWorld:

---In February Superbowl MVP Eli Manning rode in a car along with Mickey down Main St.


---Mardi Gras at Universal Studios in Feb.




---A new game debuts at the Magic Kingdom Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom. Defeat Disney villains around the MK through portals.
---The new Hollywood Drive-in Golf opens at Universal Citywalk


--- In late Feb Disney was open for 24 hours on Feb 29. From 6am to 6am the next morning the MK park was open to guest with some special entertainment around the park.



Mickey and Minnie in Pajamas:

Dance the night away Party with goofy:


---Epcot 's Flower and Garden Festival
Around Epcot for FGF 2012:




---Enhanced Spider-Man re-opens in HD. The queue got a face-lift and also new 3-D glasses.


---The first phase of the New Fantasyland opened in the Magic Kingdom. Fantasyland train station, Goofy's barnstormer and Dumbo 1.
Fatansyland Train Station:

 Barnstormer:

Dumbo:

---In March this year, these accordion style buses were being tested by Disney. Got to ride on one as it took guests from MK to Pop Century in early March. Not seen any of these buses on property since.
Take a ride inside:


---After closing Jaws, the jaws photo-op that sat in front of the ride was still available for guest to take pics. In March, it was moved near the Universal lagoon across from Disaster. 
New Photo-op area:


---April means Easter, this year the Grand Floridian displayed easter egg art in the lobby.

---In April, Disney removes the poacher scene at the Kilimanjaro safari attraction. It will re-open later on this year as a zebra habitat. A look back at the poacher scene:



---At SeaWorld, after months of missing in OneOcean shows tili was spotted in a couple of shows in April. Haven't seen the big guy lately at any OneOcean, or Christmas Miracles shows.
Tili in One Ocean:

SW also put in place a new system for the trainers to enter the secured side gates during the shows. Trainers would need to scan something on their wrist to gain access. It would beep until the door is closed if left open.
---In late April SW officially opens the new Turtle Trek attraction (old Manatee Rescue). A new 3D, 360 degree journey
Turtle Trek:


SW also replaced plastic bags with 100% recycled brown bags when making any purchase at SW
---In May, Universal debuts two new shows. Universal Cinematic Spectacular (nighttime lagoon show) & Superstar Parade.

It also brought a new photo op with the characters on the floats. Several times during each day the floats come out to meet guests. Sponge
Bob Party Zone: Universal Cinematic Spectacular:

---StarWars weekend at Hollywood Studios.

Celebrity Motorcade: ---Also in May, a brush fire concerned some guests visiting some of the Disney parks as thick smoke could be seen near Disney property.
 From Epcot:

---After closing earlier in 2012 Big thunder mountain in the Magic Kingdom re-opened with new track (same layout) and some enhancements to the ride and queue.
On-ride Big Thunder Mountain :

---The Magic Memories and You summer edition with Phineas and Ferb:  
---At the end of May, a section of Disney's newest resort opened. Across from Pop Century the Art of Animation. The resort opened in phases with Finding Nemo first.
---In June, we said goodbye to Snow White at the Magic Kingdom. It will be a Princess Hall (meet and greet) opening next year. 7 Dwarfs mine train is in the works for the New Fantasyland.


---Islands of Adventure began testing new Ride Reservation devices in the summer for guest purchasing Universal Express. It has also been seen at Universal recently.
Also, a new photo station in the Jurassic Park section in-front of the t-Rex

---We also said goodbye to soudstage 44 at Universal, which we now know will be Transformers. It used to be the site of the Back to the Future Delorean which was moved to another spot. SS44 was quickly demolished and today, construction. continue day and night 

--- At Disney's Animal Kingdom certain parts under the tree of life was closed for several days due to high winds knocking down part of the tree. Disney placed netting on all the pathways under the tree today.

Part 2 What Happened around the parks in 2012    

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