30 May 2013

World News Roundtable - 30 May 2013

Roundtable Contributors:  Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place Blog), Alan Mize, Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com), Andrew (Disney Hipsters Blog) and yours truly.

Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com)

After 2012's test run of a 24-hour operating day for the Magic Kingdom, the park approached last week's Monstrous All-Nighter with experience and expectations that were not afforded last time. Now that the park knew what an event like this felt like, it could have some fun with it.

Among the plusses made to the event included two runnings of the afternoon parade, a webcam that streamed all 24 hours online from Town Square, and the underlying Monsters University theme that tied everything together in a much larger way than anticipated. A party in Tomorrowland, exclusive dessert treats, and Mike and Sulley galore (they were everywhere!) really hit the MU theme out of the park. Arguably the most fun plus was the small (but magical) closing ceremony. 2012's 24-hour day ended with no fanfare whatsoever, so it was a real surprise when, at 5:45 a.m., the DJ at the Castle dance party instructed everyone to make their way to the train station for a special goodbye moment. (YouTube that thing right now.) It was Disney doing Disney at its finest.

While eyelids were fluttering and feet were sore by the time the 24 hours were up, a fun time was had by all (except for maybe more than a few guests caught in the post-Wishes mob... but let's save that story for next week).

Early next week Disney will begin testing the new Wilderness Explorers attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom! Though little information has been released, the game will loosely be based on Disney/Pixar's Up. Russell (who is a Wilderness Explorer in the film...) already has a meet and greet centrally located in the park.

I have a certain apprehension when it comes to all of the new "interactive game" style attractions that Disney has been installing lately. Sure, I enjoyed Kim Possible (the first of these games...) but the Agent P's World Showcase Adventure that replaced it has turned out to be a dud. Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom  also turned out to be all but useless after a few plays as well. If it weren't for the latest game to roll out, Pirates Adventure: Treasures Of The Seven Seas, I would be adamantly against this. As it were, the Pirates game was executed flawlessly, and gives me new hope for these types of attractions.

The fact that there will be multiple sign up kiosks does bother me somewhat. The centrally located station of the Pirates game is less obtrusive than the multiple Agent P stations. On top of that it is well themed and blends into the area quite well.  Lets all cross our fingers.

Alan Mize

I’m a Disney nerd, but you already knew that.  And since you’re reading this right now, I’d be willing to bet that you are too.  Despite the fact that I am a self-professed Disney nerd, I have never really had an interest in joining the official Disney fan club, D23.  The magazines that come with the higher level of subscriptions seem really nice and I’d love to read them, and it seems that you can get some really great merchandise, too.  But those things just aren’t enough to entice me into taking the plunge.

This week however, Disney made an announcement that awoke the fan boy in me and really made me want to join D23 for the first time.  On Saturday August 10th, two absolute Disney Legends will be performing on stage together.  Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken will be performing in a show entitled “Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken: The Disney Songbook” and the musician in me is absolutely giddy with the thought of seeing those two giants of Disney music history come together.  If it’s a famous Disney song, there’s a very good chance that it was written by either the Sherman Brothers or Alan Menken.  From “Carousel of Progress” to “Aladdin”, these men cover more than 50 years of Disney music and to see them in concert together would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Sadly, I’m not a member of D23, and I also live on the east coast, so this concert probably isn’t going to happen for me.  I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed that video of the performance is made available so I can see what will surely be a fantastic concert.

Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place Blog)

I'm going with a bit of lighter news this week. Let's focus on the ice cream (my current mindset because it's been so humid in New York). L’Artisan des Glaces, a nook full of sweets, opened up in Epcot's France pavilion this week. Oh oh oh, does it look adorable! When you don't get a new attraction in the World Showcase, second best is always dessert.

What caught my eye most? The adult option: a mix of ice cream and liquor in a martini glass. You cannot go wrong with that, folks. Looks like there's another spot to add to my Epcot food list! (Soon there are going to be so many places like this one... I'll never make a reservation in World Showcase again.)

Ryan P. Wilson (Main Street Gazette)

Unless you've been living under a soundproofed rock for the past day or so, you are aware that France newest snack location, L'Artisan des Glaces has opened. Housed in the former Boulangerie Patisserie, the shop serves up ten flavors of ice cream and six flavors of sorbet in waffle cones or cups, all made in house, with an option to add a shot of liquor to selection. Your grandmother's kitchen atmosphere, or at least it felt precisely like my grandmother's kitchen, has not been swept away entirely, but a thematic change has been made to make L'Artisan des Glaces feel a bit more like a creamery and less like a kitchen.

One key component to the L'Artisan des Glace is the ordering procedure. You order and pay at one of two registers before moving on to have your ice cream cone or cup prepared. No longer will you have to fumble with your wallet or purse while your ice cream begins to melt and drip on you, the counter, and everywhere in between. Also, there is only one counter, taking away the cramped feeling the previous occupants had to contend with when they had two counters and two lines of guests in the same amount of space.

Do I miss the old bakery case in the window? Sure I do! However, from everything I have seen and heard from those who sampled the goods yesterday, I'm willing to bet that fresh ice cream and sorbet can make me forget my troubles.

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