Unique Epcot Mornings

Meant to post this in October….but here we are….

IMG_0918

Fun Fact: Me and Epcot have the same birth year. Buuuuut I’m much more excited for Epcot’s 35th than I was for mine.

For two years I worked with a Disney Business Partner. While in this position, I helped in the planning and execution of events and the majority of them took place in Epcot. Like most guests, event spaces in the theme parks were never something I thought about while visiting. However, there are very cool spots to host events tucked away in the theme parks. So if you have a company and you’re looking for a unique location-be sure to check it out!

The Dillos love many things about Disney and of course have often talked about Disney nights, a deluxe resort bed and the almighty Disney breeze. But Disney mornings, before the crowds build up, with the morning dew and watered down pavement….there’s something just as magical about that.

I loved getting to walk around the countries or Future World before the park even opened. Leading Business Guests into these tucked away locations was probably way cooler for me than them, since I was internally geeking out. Although those were long days on my feet, it was definitely worth the unique experience.

 

Advertisements

EPCOT 35 Thoughts

What is it about EPCOT that makes your face tingle to the point of smiling?


1. The classic entrance music.

2. The fountains.

3. That shade of purple that’s only possible when nightfall hits Future World.

4. The Figment of your Imagination.

5. Those trips when Mousegear has better merch than the Emporium.

6. Turning up the speed on Test Track.

7. The memory of Horizons.

8. The lesson of dreaming it & doing it.

9. Punishing yourself with the Italian variety of Coca Cola.

10. The first time you went on Soarin’ and your instructions from Patrick Warburton connected you to your sense of child like play.

11. The simplicity of The Seas w/ Nemo & Friends somehow doing the trick.

12. Having visited Turtle Talk more times than Animal Kingdom.

13. The French pastries.

14. ‘Midtown’ UK, the most underrated of World Showcase pavilion immersions.

15. The International Gateway to the EPCOT resorts; wings at the ESPN Club or a shake at Beaches & Cream.

16. Mitsuokoshi subliminally telling you to learn the shamisen and to change your decor.

17. How for a few seconds of every hibachi experience you have you transport yourself to Teppan Edo.

18. Knowing that fettuccine alfredo was ruined forever because you had it when the Italy pavilion’s main restaurant was Alfredo’s and you were eleven.

19. How it took until number 19 to mention drinking around the world.

20. When the debate is so great about having a beer either at Germany or the UK because you’re not drinking around the world.

21. How in the late 90’s, I would order Nine Dragons take out because this New Yorker could not tolerate ANY Chinese food in Orlando.

22. Watching Illuninations from the top of the Mexico pavilion (state secret).

23. How the original Illumnations made me this manager at a classical music hall a classical music lover.

24. How your daughter’s first attraction will be the Gran Fiesta Toir with The Three Caballeros, even though it’s still El Rio de Tempo The River of Time to you.


25. How when Gran Fiesta opened, you approved of any future Disneyfying of World Showcase pavilions.

26. How the loss of the post Maelstrom film power nap was sometimes more important than the Universe of Energy drool fest.

27. Mexico.Pavilion. Margarita. Frozen.

28. Glancing over at the Odyssey Restaurant and brainstorming how they could reopen it someday.

29. Praying in those last 30 seconds of Mission: Space that you don’t get sick.

30. Where you can isolate all the noise around you and just listen to the monorail circumnavigating the park.

31. Traveling back in time on Spaceship Earth.

32.  The birth of theatre in Greece.

33. The burning of Rome (and that weird projected chariot turning the corner so haphazardly).

34. Standing in the middle of the Sistine Chapel at The Vatican and saying, ‘behold the majesty of the Sistine Ceiling’ like Walter Cronkite narrated in 1988.

35. Being Tomorrow’s Child and the Future was born today… born today.

You have one? Comment below or tweet us @DillosDiz

Is Everything Grand?

Everything is great. Everything is grand. I have the whole wide world in the palm of my hand – ‘The Muppets’

We should have seen this coming.

The Osborne Lights went away.

And Streets of America was demo’d.

But then, Pizza Planet became PizzeRizzo and there was hope for the area around MuppetVision to remain in tact.

Until the hot air balloon and sign came down to display… the Grand Arts Theatre?

During the week of 8/14/17, it was announced that the Muppets Courtyard would go the way of Anubis, Oz and Gangster Alley. In its stead? Wait for it. Grand Ave is on its way to Disney Hollywood Studios this Fall.

Grand Ave will reflect the present day LA. This sounds… Universal. Rumors abound that the shops, pubs and what not that will occupy the area will just serve as a (immensely long) queue for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

This does not give me hope for the longevity of MuppetVision.

Diz can’t give it the heave ho yet. They need the Attraction to couple with Star Tours on that side of the park.  And the park can’t afford yet another loss before 2019.

I wish they could have found a way to build a new theater on Sunset Blvd and created a Muppets area leading up to Tower of Terror and Rock & Roller Coaster at the end of the block. But I know it’s unrealistic cost wise to rebuild for a 25 year old Attraction, so we should embrace our time with Sweetums, Bean Bunny and Sam Eagle while we can.

I’m giving it until 2019.

-Brother Dillo

Stupid Judy. Stupid Energy.

*DillosDiz would like to welcome David Boyarsky, aka @FigmentsWorld on Twitter, as our guest blogger! David took a final ride on Ellen’s Energy Adventure and ended up having his own adventure!

unnamed-2

Last week, Disney committed attraction murder in the worst possible way.  Not only did they kill off 1 classic attraction, they killed off 2!  Both attractions had been operating for several decades and developed quite the fan base and oddly enough, both employed the way-ahead-of-its-time traveling theater car concept.  Coincidence?  I think not.  You see, whenever an attraction becomes a ‘classic’ Disney loves to pull on our heart strings and tease us with rumors of altering or shutting down completely.  Unfortunately, we lost the battle for both The Great Movie Ride and the Universe of Energy, all in the same evening. This day also happened to be my sister’s birthday.  So when the news quickly spread of the imminent closing, we both jumped at the chance to pay our respects and achieve our goal of traveling back in time with Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Stupid Judy one last time.

20916914_10101597395753265_382062565_n

Why the Universe of Energy you may ask?  This attraction meant so much to us.  I still have fond memories from a trip in 1994 when we rode the original energy attraction.  Everything was going well for little Figgy until a large Elasmosaurus shot out at me and I thought I was going to die.  My ride was ruined and I was in tears so I can’t really recall what happened during the second half of the 45 minute journey.  However, by the time we went back in 1998, Ellen’s Energy Adventure had taken over and this scary snake-like creature was attacking an Ellen audio animatronic instead of me!  Boy was I relieved and thus began a love affair with the most underrated attraction that ever existed in a Disney theme park.

Fast forward to August 13, 2017: final day of operation for the Universe of Energy. My sister and I had one goal: be on the very last public ride of the Universe of Energy. However, we couldn’t wait to experience the attraction so we had to ride it in the middle of the day as well (plus who could resist a mid-afternoon nap).

 

20907154_10101597383268285_1861505839_oSo after enjoying our day around Epcot, we approached the Energy Pavilion at around 6:30pm as the Universe of Energy was set to shut its doors at 7pm.  To our surprise, we weren’t the only longtime fans who showed up, so much so that Disney set up a staging area for 500 people to wait for the very last ride.  At 7:15pm, the crowd was let in for the last 8 minute preshow ever.  To say the crowd was emotional is an understatement.  Here in this room were 500 diehard fans who knew every punchline, every witty response, and every time Ellen would call her old college roommate, “Stupid Judy!”

 

4

The audience responded to Ellen on screen like she was really there and started chanting for Bill Nye when he walked in.  At the end of it all, a huge standing ovation and round of applause commenced for both the film and the Cast member who delivers the safety spiel.  It was a truly magical experience that only a closing Disney attraction could ever convey.

5

500 guests bolted for theater cars for the final time to get the perfect seat.  The theater rotated and the big bang portion of the film began, not a dry eye in the house.  Afterwards, as has happened for the last 35 years, the theaters magically travelled out of theater one and into the dinosaur diorama without a single track on the floor.  As the dinosaurs came to life and the theater cars broke apart, Ellen’s dream was suddenly interrupted.  Lights flashed on and off, theater cars halted, and the crowd went wild!

20891613_10101597382824175_965226679_n

As most people who have ridden this attraction know, this ride was quite possibly the most prone to breaking down and today, the final day of operation on the final ride, was no exception.  But something magical happened that night.  You see, instead of being ushered out of the building by Cast Members and being told to put our cameras away, they opened our theater car doors and looked the other way for Energy’s most diehard fans.  Yes, that’s right, they actually had no objection to us walking through the entire Dinosaur diorama, touching, feeling, smelling it all for one last time because come Monday morning, it was all heading to the dumpster.  So while we were figuratively still stuck in Ellen’s dream we got to interact with the entire attraction like never before and bid our fond farewells in one of the most unique ways possible.

7

There were some hopes about possibly fixing the attraction and letting us ride again but eventually it was decided that the battery pack in one of the vehicles was too faulty and they just couldn’t wait to scrap the whole thing in the morning.  It was a bittersweet moment.  While we never got to complete Ellen’s dream that night, we got to see off one of the greatest classic Epcot attractions in the most truly fitting way, through one last e-stop and ride evacuation. This was the night that the Universe of Energy ran out of energy but as Ellen and Bill Nye taught us, our brain power will never run out and our fond memories will always live on.

I leave you with these pictures from our exploration of the dinosaur diorama as I am getting very tired.  “Stupid Judy.  Stupid energy.  Maybe the universe needs energy but I don’t.  I’ll take a nap for a hundred.”  ~Ellen the uh… Just Ellen I guess

20884861_10101597383133555_1651582506_n

What are you looking at?!

20864638_10101597382993835_1260630056_n

Still fighting over if the Universe of Energy or Horizons was the better attraction

10

I’ll miss you the most despite the fact that you sneeze on me every time I see you

20891430_10101597382968885_471591961_n

It’s a Dino-celebration party 220 million years ago, give or take a day

unnamed

Boy I bet Ellen really wished she figured out how to work that clicky thing earlier

unnamed-1

What’s Better Than The GMR?

In case you missed it, the voices of the Dillo siblings were heard for the first time ever on ‘The Improviser’s Guide Podcast’ saluting The Great Movie Ride (which is closing 8/13/17).

Listen & Subscribe HERE!

I’m taking myself to task for stating towards the end of this episode that GMR (maybe) cracks the Top 20 WDW Dillo’s Favorite Attractions. I didn’t think before I said it and it made me wonder what Attractions are ahead of it.

Here within, that list, with a few qualifiers:

A) this is All Time, childhood to ::coughs:: forty something

B) this is all inclusive, meaning water parks too

C) this is always subject to change and is in no particular order

1-3: The Triple Mountain Whammy (Splash, Space, & Thunder)

4: Peoplemover

5: The Original Journey Into Imagination

6: Horizons

7: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

8: Summit Plummet

9: Tower of Terror

10: Muppetvision 3, nay, 4D

11: Star Tours

12: WDW Monorail

13: WDW Railroad

14: Spaceship Earth 

15: Tomorrowland Speedway

16: Peter Pan’s Flight

17: Pirates of the Caribbean

18: It’s a Small World

19: Carousel of Progress

Listing only 19 as GMR would make 20. Please take a moment to flip out over my not listing Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Soarin’, Test Track, or anything in Animal Kingdom.

If I was to try to put these Attractions in order, it’s likely The Great Movie Ride is in the mid-teens. However, if it held up the high standard that was so present in those first 5-7 years of opening, it may very well have cracked the Top 10.

Brother Dillo

DillosDiz Salutes The Great Movie Ride!

For the first time ever you can hear the voices of Brother and Sister Dillo!

Brother Dillo has recently started The Improviser’s Guide Podcast (be sure to subscribe on iTunes). DillosDiz took over for this very special episode to pay tribute to The Great Movie Ride which departs Hollywood Studios (#AlwaysMGM) on August 13, 2017.

Join us as we virtually embark on our adventure and speak off the cuff to the Ride, the scenes, the movies, our memories and more! Being the nostalgic bunch we are, how could we not?

Click Here to listen!

Could this be the start of an official DillosDiz Podcast? ….Stay Tuned!

Sister Dillo

*Please note any research not conducted prior to recording this podcast, has been completed.

iG Special: Dillos Diz Salutes The Great Movie Ride

D23 Announcement Quick Hits

Last month, Disney fans went on a wild ride at the D23 Expo. Saturday night in particular brought the big guns, hitting all in attendance and across social media like a prizefighter.

We have spent the time since those announcements mourning the loss of one Attraction. More on that in a bit. Here within are some quick hits on the changes that are coming. 

The name of Star Wars Land is Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge… my first thought was “will we just call it Galaxy’s Edge someday? Then it’s fine.” But you can’t call it The Galaxy’s Edge of Star Wars when there’s The Wizarding World of…

The Star Wars immersive hotel… take all my money. Take a good percentage of my annual salary for my two night experience in the universe.

Tron cycle for Tomorrowland… we rejoice in the saving of the Speedway and the addition of another thrill ride in the Magic Kingdom. Now, can we partner Buzz’ spin and the Monsters Inc Laugh Actors with The Incredibles baby Jack Jack escape in place of Stitch? No?

Ratatouille in France pavilion… having visited Disneyland Paris in 2014, this was all the talk of the Studios there. We didn’t get to go on but am excited for it here. I am pro-Disney influence in each World Showcase pavilion. 

Toy Story Land in Summer 2018. Having been an #AlwaysMGM cast member when  TS premiered in 1995 and the pandemonium for those characters that followed in that park – any addition in this fashion holds a special place in my heart.

Future World overhaul… what does the cryptic artwork mean. Are the Communicore/Innoventions buildings going away forever? (FOREVER?) 

Guardians of the Galaxy bump Ellen and the Universe of Energy… and Peter Quill visited EPCOT Center!!! My Twitter feed suggested more of an uproar of this over the other Attraction August 13, 2017. I am, however, always willing to give ‘change’ a chance if it pays homage to history and tradition. And – let’s face it – we all needed a new place to nap which leads us to –

The new movie in the China pavilion.

The themed restaurant adjacent to Mission Space. This is a win. Consider the other restauarants not named Coral Reef in Future World.

Gondolas (skyway) connecting EPCOT to Caribbean Beach Resort, et al… I’m not sure about the optics about this – prove me wrong.

The Great Movie Ride to replaced by Mickey’s Runaway Railway, oh and it closes August 13, 2017… um, WHAT?!!?? We knew GMR going away was inevitable. The morning of these announcements, Sista Dillo and I were plotting our fast passes for the great big spectacular-spectacular Dillo’s September 2017 vacation (STAY TUNED!!!) and, presuming a 2018 closure, contemplated a fast pass to ensure us a place on the ride one last time. We will have A LOT more regarding this decision  on Thursday August 10, 2017!

Brother Dillo