Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The 'Build Your Own Lightsaber' Station


That's right, you can build your own lightsaber in Walt Disney World. Actually, you can do it in three places in Disney World. In Hollywood Studios after the 'Star Tours: The Adventure Continues' ride in the Star Wars shop, in Mickey Star Traders in The Magic Kingdom, and in the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney.

The station in Mickey Star Traders was always in tip top shape. I made sure of that. I really really loved the build your own lightsaber station. When a cast member is assigned to the lightsaber station they get to wear a jedi robe, the R2D2 Mickey ear hats, and they get to build lightsabers and then play with them!

Interesting fact, while I was working at The Magic Kingdom this summer, lightsabers generated the largest profit of all the products in the store.

To make your own lightsaber, all you have to do is follow the steps that are posted on the wall. Most guests don't know there are steps on the wall, most guests don't understand the steps posted on the wall after you've pointed them out, and most guests don't want help building the lightsaber they don't know how to put together, but that's okay. Somehow lots of lightsabers get sold.

In fact, there were even some days when we couldn't sell anymore lightsabers because we ran out of the handles. The handles make the light in the lightsaber shine. : )

So if you ever find yourself at a 'build your own lightsaber' station in Walt Disney World, I hope you will remember to read the step-by-step instructions posted on the wall, and I hope there will be handles there for you to build the lightsaber, because they're pretty popular and there's no guarantee there will be.
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reasons Why I Love Epcot, Part 2

China at Epcot's World Showcase 

Last week I did a post on why Epcot is my favourite theme park at Walt Disney World.  Because there are so many things that I love about the park, I just had to make a second post about it.

Today I'm going to talk about my favourite pavilions in Epcot: China, Japan, and France.

There are 11 countries in Epcot's World Showcase, and yes, Canada is one of them! Canada is a nice place to walk around and the waterfall they have is beautiful. But I'm all about the food and I've never eaten in 'Canada'. I'd like to, but the sit-down restaurant, Le Cellier, has a three month long waiting list and there's no quick service place to eat (not even a small poutinerie). : (

China, Japan, and France however, have some of my favourite things to eat. A lot of the countries have menus that are meat-heavy, like Morocco and Norway. When I go to a place like France, which is all about the pastries, or China and Japan, which have lot's of meat-free options, I don't feel so bad about being a vegetarian.

Plus the food at these three countries is delicious! Here are my three favourite dishes from each place.

France:
Cheese quiche
Chocolate mousse
Macarons (photo below)

Japan:
Vegetable curry udon noodles (photo below)
Japanese curry rice (I really like Japanese curry, can you tell?)
Okonomiyaki 

China:
Vegetable stir-fry with rice
Egg-rolls
Caramel-ginger ice cream

I'd also like to mention that the cheese empanadas at Mexico are also really, really good. 

France at Epcot's World Showcase 

Japan at Epcot's World Showcase 
French macarons from the pastry shop

Japanese Curry Udon at the Yakitori House 
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Reasons Why I Love Epcot, Part 1


Of all the theme parks at Walt Disney World, Epcot is my favourite.

Before I start gushing over how much I love the park, let me start by mentioning what Epcot stands for: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The park is very tech savvy and has undergone a lot of recent changes to be more environmentally friendly. Even some of the rides have been updated to include the latest technology and look more futuristic.

The park doesn't have a lot of rides, but it does have some of the coolest games you can play at Walt Disney World. After Test Track, Spaceship Earth, and Mission Space, families can play a bunch of games related to the rides. There's even one game where giant groups of people face off in a race around the planets, and everyone has to work together to make sure the rocket has enough fuel and is not damaged.

When I was in Traditions at the Magic Kingdom, the instructor described Tomorrowland as a representation of the future that never was or will be. The robots scattered throughout the land, the ride designs, and even the theme music playing in the background, all represent 50-year-old ideas of what the future would be like.

Epcot does a much better job than Tomorrowland and is focused on current modern and prospective ideas.

One example is the digital sign that shows all the wait times for the rides in the park. It's updated every few minutes and even shows when a ride has been temporarily shut down due to weather or mechanical problems. It's a lot more convenient than the system at other parks where the wait times are just posted outside the individual rides.

Another example is the idea of iPads coming in to replace registers. When I left at the end of the summer the announcement was still fairly new, but I think that by the time I visit the park again next year they might be finishing the beta testing.


Now I like the technology, and the games, but what I really love most at Epcot is the atmosphere. There's something about walking on the sidewalks in the park that feels so relaxed and unhurried. The layout is really nice, with little paths in the grass leading from one ride to the next. And unlike the Magic Kingdom, the park doesn't feel like it's over flowing with kids and strollers. 

While almost all the rides at Epcot are appropriate for kids - even the super fast Test Track and the 'thrilling'* Mission Space - Epcot just isn't a huge 'must see' for some families, and I'm fine with that. : )

*Just a side note, I say 'thrilling' because to me Mission Space is boring, but other people can't handle the super fast spinning mixed with the graphics on the screen. This summer I convinced my mom to go on the ride and afterwards she said, "Oh yeah, Grandma could definitely do that."

There are many more things I love about this park, so look forward to a second part.


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Friday, September 6, 2013

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Game



One of the coolest things at the Magic Kingdom is the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game, and nobody knows about it!

Even I didn't know about it. I had been working at the Magic Kingdom for over two months before somebody explained it to me, and then I was hooked.

I love to collect things, and Disney World is a collector's paradise. There are pins, buttons, paper fast-passes (which will soon be gone once they finish testing the Magic Bands), and now the Sorcerer Mickey Cards.

One pack of five cards is included with your park ticket, and after that you can buy more card packs in a store on Main Street. The way the game works is you use your magic cards to battle different villains around the park. You also get a map that shows you where all the portals in the park are located. None of them are in Tomorrowland. Maybe that's why it took so long for me to find out about the game. 






The game is a lot of fun. The basic plot line is, Hades, god of the underworld, wants to rule the Magic Kingdom since Zeus stopped him from taking over and earth. Hades begins recruiting other evil villains like Cruella Devil, Ursula, Maleficent, etc. Each villain tries to do something evil to help Hades, but you must find them and use the power in your cards to stop them.

I played the game a lot after I found out about it, but I wasn't able to complete all the quests. I feel as though the game is perfect for those with annual passes who go to the park a lot and might enjoy a fun game to keep playing whenever they go to the Magic Kingdom.

Below is a clip of the introduction video. Merlin explains the story of Hades coming to the Magic Kingdom, and then teaches players how to use their spell cards to defeat different villains.

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