Sunday, March 31, 2013

Epcot's Test Track V2

I am happy to introduce a Guest Blogger today, my son Quinn.  We just got back from a quick one day trip to Epcot and the kids' only price was to each write a Blog post.  Here is the price he paid.  It was well worth it for both of us!

On March 26, 2013, during our trip to Florida for Spring Break, we had the amazing opportunity to visit the Epcot theme park for the day. Though we spent the day hitting the rides we usually hit, and a new experience in Innovations (See Habit Heroes Article), we were even more excited for the new version of Test Track, recently renovated. This version, now sponsored by Chevy, featured the way cars are designed, rather than how they are tested. At first glance, and from reports about the ride, it seemed to be just as great as the original Test Track, but it turned out to be better.
Because of our normal schedule of getting into the park, sending either me (Quinn), or Dad (Ed), to get fastpasses for Soarin’, we missed the huge development of the stand-by line at Test Track. It was at 40 minutes so we decided to take the single rider line, to avoid the long wait. Though it was obvious the normal line had a more in-depth demonstrations about how cars were designed, the line we went on, had a slick silver sports car, and models of engines, one normal one, and one that seemed futuristically possible. We also passed through the area were we would choose our design.
The monitors were on a platform, about four on each side of the platform, and displayed a choice of four different attributes of a car, Power, Efficiency, Responsiveness, and Speed.  After you chose one, it would give you a set of cars to pick, and you would record that onto either your Key to the Kingdom card, available only if you were staying at a resort hotel, or a white card given at the beginning of the platform.
One thing I noticed as we walked through the line is that the single riders have to choose from a set of cars that were pre-made, while the normal line riders would be able to shape and mold their car choice. This was discovered as we walked through the line, because of a glass wall that looked down on the normal line’s monitors. After going through where the engines were displayed, the loading dock for the cars came into view, where you would be matched up with any odd numbered party.
Due to what I suspect is a way to cut down the price of this renovation, the track wasn’t different, at all. What was around the track was. After going through the Seatbelt check, the cars, now designed like they had technological wires running around the car, took you up the hill where the power test would be conducted. This was tested by going down the track at a high speed, and using the brakes. After going through the test, the results were shown, ranking our virtual cars that we made by earlier. Next, the Efficiency was tested, by going through various tests to decipher that miles per gallon, and the aerodynamics of the created cars. Once again the results were shown. The Responsiveness test was next, and this test had you curving around the winding road, through the forest. After almost colliding with a virtual truck, the results are again shown (My car ranked first for this one). Next was the one everybody enjoys, which was the Speed test. This sent you flying against a wall, only for it to open just before you hit it, sending you to the outdoor track, which loops around the back parking lot, and to the front of the attraction. After the rankings are shown, you are taken back to the loading dock, where you would exit.
After you get your photos from the Speed Test, you enter a room where you can create your own car commercial, using your virtual car. Unfortunately, we did not get to experience this as we walked to the next room. In the next room, there were games, in which there was a track, and you could key in your car to race around a virtual track. Continuing on, there were car models filling half the room, as another room revealed the gift shop. We had to return our cards, as they were to be reused by other riders.
In my opinion, this ride was just as great, if even better than the original. One downside I found was the tests were just put in to match the track, but besides that, the ride fit together nicely. It was nice to see how the cars were created, for the four attributes, and how a balance of each was a great car.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Disney Pixar "Cars Toons" Shorty Shorts

Brand New Disney Pixar “Cars Toons” Shorty Shorts Live on!
There are three brand new Disney Pixar "Cars Toons" Shorty Shorts now live on and Dubbed “Shorty Shorts” because they’re no longer than a minute and a half long, each video offers a quick and fun peek into the world of "Cars." Directed by Jeremy Lasky and produced by Mary Alice Drumm, Disney Pixar “Cars Toons” feature some of our favorite characters in new and surprising situations.
Head to or to check out all three videos, including:
· Hiccups” - When Lightning McQueen gets the hiccups, everyone in Radiator Springs thinks they have the cure.
· Bugged” - Red's peaceful morning routine is interrupted by a pesky visitor.
· Spinning” - Guido discovers he has a hidden talent as a street corner sign spinner.

Friday, March 15, 2013

2013 Star Wars Weekend Poster Released

Every year I wait for the one event that combines two of my favorite Pop Culture icons, Star Wars and Disney, Star Wars WeekendsThis is an event that occurs 4 weekends in a row usually the end of May through the beginning of June.  This year it goes from May 17th, thru June 9th.  The event draws 1000's down to Disney Hollywood Studios for those four weekends.  The events include autograph sessions, exclusive merchandise, a special parade and a really funny dance session/contest known as the Hyperspace Hoopla to close each weekend down.  There are also various information sessions and interviews.  They just released the official logo for 2013.  And here it is.

Their celebrating the 30th anniversary of the release of the Return of the Jedi.  Hence Mickey and Chip and Dale cruising through the forest of Endor. Each weekend it is traditional to have a host.  For this year the hosting duties will be split between Warwick Davis (former Ewok among other SW roles) and Ray Park, otherwise known as Darth Maul. 
If you are planning to make the trip to SWW here are a couple of things to keep in mind.  If you are going for Rope Drop, plan on going early.  Lines form as early as 6:00am.  The process for buying merchandise and getting autographs is run by tickets that you get as you come into the park.  To see what the parade and the Dance show looks like, let YouTube be your friend.  As far as the Hoopla goes, does anyone else think it's kind of weird/icky seeing Amidala and Lei dancing together?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Snorkeling on Castaway Cay

I was able to find the pictures from snorkeling at Castaway Cay that we talked about on Show # 26 of the WGTWDW podcast.  These came out of a camera that died as we were in the water.  So I was surprised that we were able to get anything off the card at all, but I did.  They are not the best pictures, but you at least get the idea of some of the items you might find on the bottom of the lagoon.  There is a lot of stuff on the bottom including these Ball like coral substitues.  If you swim long enough, you'll see Mickey and Minnie waving to you underwater, you'll see a tractor, you'll even see Mickey's boat from SteamBoat Willie.  I'll try to get better pictures next time.

Anchors Away and on the Bottom

Ceramic Coral Urn

The Crows Nest
20K Leagues Sub in the Murk


Lost Luggage
20K Sub Portholes
Seeing the Portholes reminds me of the old 20K Leagues under the sea ride big time. 
These things were found randomly all over the bottom. I would not be surprised if there is a story behind this. Something like Mickey, on the hunt for a vacation spot, found Castaway Cay. The ship they arrived on had some issues during a storm and dropped all of this debris on the bottom for us to find. 

Below is the loading area and some netting ment to keep us out and safe.

Snorkeling is a great sport and very fun.  Like I said on the show, the rental cost for snorkeling on Castaway Cay is about $25.  We found similar quality gear at Walmart for the same amount.  Since we drive to Fla, the extra bag is no problem. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Websites to Check-out: Disney-pal

I am a member of the forums over at the Be Our Guest Podcast.  It's a great place to find out and share Disney information.  Every day, one of the great members over there posts a picture that the rest of us try to guess from where at WDW it comes from.  My method in guessing is to go from memory, then from my pictures, then to the Internet.  Well there is a hard picture out there now and I had to go to phase 3, the Internet.  Lucky for me.  I found a great Disney Parks web site that has every American Disney park and even Disneyland Paris.  This is the Disney-pal website.
After you select the park above you then select a park section and then either Attractions, Shopping, Entertainment or Restaurants.  Every location at Walt Disney World has been chronicled on the Disney-pal .  Each location page has some very sharp pictures and a description.   If it's a restaurant you've selected, there are menus with prices. 
With a Ride  or Entertainment page you might get a video from the attraction or an audio clip.  There are really cool facts and information written on each of these pages also.  There was a great video of a family starting the Agent P game at Epcot.
The Disney-pal web site is one of those sites that makes searching the Internet so worth while.  This is a quality site with A-1 information about Walt Disney World.  It is in my Favorites and I am now obsessed to see if they really have every location.
Make sure you check out this web site and don't forget the take a look at the Resort Page


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The WGTWD Podcast Show # 26

Hello and thanks for stopping by.  On this show we once again spin the Wheel of Attractions.  We then spend some time talking about Castaway Cay and some fun activities we did in June 2011.  We're getting a little anxious for our upcoming trip, can you tell? 
This show's Wheel of Attraction landed on The American Idol Experience from Disney's Hollywood Studios. We always hit this show. You never know when you'll see the next star.

We then start talking about a couple things we did on Castawy Cay, Disney's private island for their cruise line.  We talk about renting bikes and riding to the end of the island.  We also talk about the Snorkeling that they offer which was real fun.

Can't find the snorkeling pictures but I'll get them posted as soon as I can.  Thanks for stopping by and we look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tomorrowland or 1952 Movie Mystery

I love a mystery.  Or a good Scavenger Hunt.  Or hard trivia.  But I love nothing more than a professionaly done game of Movie Hype Mystery.  About a year or two ago when Tron came out I had written about a web site that was geting eveyone excited for the new movie.  The site was and it was great in dropping clues and meet-ups and a lot of very cool stuff all in the quest to find Kevin Flynn and release him from the system.  Here was my Post from Back Then.
It looks like I might have missed this picture when it first came out 4 or 5 weeks ago, but it seems to be a hint as to an up-coming movie written by Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof.

There is a lot of information in this box.  It has been analyzed by a lot of people online already (as I saw this late) and there reasoning is very sound.  In a nut-shell this box beckons back to the 1950's when Walt Disney was making movies about space for the Disneyland TV show.  They were really good documnteries.  Well the story goes there was to  be a fourth movie funded by the government.  The jist of the story was telling Mr. John Q. Public that aliens were real.  It never happened, but...

Check out these articles from Jim Hill at and  over at as a good post with alot of the d23 archivist info.  Now I'll be looking for this.  Hope to see more soon.