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Showing posts from August, 2016

Universal Studios Update: Fallon, Fast & Furious, and More

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Work continues to take place in multiple areas of Universal Studios Florida.
In Production Central, the facade of the new Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon attraction is taking shape fairly quickly, and continues to cover the formerly unthemed soundstage that used to house Twister. In San Francisco, the new Fast & Furious: Supercharged ride continues to go vertical, providing a glimpse of how massive the new showbuilding will be. And that's not all.

New Menu Items at Pizzafari and Restaurantosaurus

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Two of the most popular quick service restaurants located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom recently begun serving up tasty new dishes. Restaurantosaurus has added a Grilled Chicken BLT to the menu and Pizzafari added flatbreads and a fresh tomato-cucumber salad. These items debuted on August 21, 2016.
At Pizzafari, a trio of flatbreads (cheeseburger, Mediterranean, and pepperoni) were added to round out the existing menu of robust Italian-inspired dishes.

Hippy Dippy Pool Work at Disney's Pop Century Resort

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The engineering team of Disney’s Pop Century Resort will be working on drains at the Hippy Dippy Pool that will affect Guest traffic flow near Classic Hall and buildings 4 & 5 starting from today (Tuesday, August 30). The duration of this work is currently unknown. Signs will be stationed to direct Guests to the proper pathways to avoid the barricaded work areas. Guests with any questions and/or concerns about this or any other project should stop by the hotel's front desk.

Choo Choo Soul to Perform at SeaWorld Orlando

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Children’s musical sensation Choo Choo Soul will be performing live concerts at SeaWorld Orlando on September 10 and 11. Guests visiting the park during that special weekend are invited to join hip duo, Genevieve and DC, as they perform soulful and imaginative renditions of the ABC’s and 1-2-3’s children and adults can enjoy together. Concerts are included with park admission and take place inside the Nautilus Theater at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday).

Internal Bus Service Coming to Saratoga Springs Resort

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Beginning from Monday, August 29, there will be new dedicated Disney buses to transport Guests throughout the various themed sections of Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, including the Treehouse Villas (located next door).
The buses will stop at eight locations: Treehouse Villas North, Treehouse Villas South, Congress Park, Springs, Grandstand, Carousel, Paddock, and Congress Park (again). Wait times at these bus stops will be approximately 20 minutes.

Additional Roadway Changes to Impact World Drive

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To accommodate upcoming road work needs, overnight construction will occur in phases at a couple of locations along World Drive the week of August 29.
For your safety and the safety of those working on this project, those who will be driving around the area are encouraged to follow all signage and directions and take extra caution. Continue reading this post to learn more about what will be involved in this construction project and how it may impact your travel plans.

Overnight Rehearsals at Magic Kingdom Park (Aug. 26-31)

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Guests staying at one of the Magic Kingdom Resort Area hotels in the next few days should be advised that overnight rehearsals will be taking place at Magic Kingdom Park on August 26, 28, and 31. Show-level audio and pyrotechnics will be seen and heard throughout the park (which will be clear of Guests when the rehearsals will take place) and potentially at surrounding resort hotels on these dates. The rehearsals will take place in the Castle Forecourt Stage area.

Universal Orlando Introduces New Vacation Package

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Guests can now book a trip to Universal Orlando Resort and receive two extra days of admission to Universal’s theme parks for free with purchase of vacation package starting as low as $89 per adult, per night. This new vacation package option gives guests the chance to experience all the thrills and excitement of Universal Orlando Resort at a value price. Guests will also be able to upgrade their vacation package to stay at one of Universal’s themed on-site hotels.

Animal Kingdom Update: Summer's Ending Soon (PART 1)

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Summer is almost coming to an end. While this means that the theme parks will be less crowded and the weather will get cooler, it also means that park hours will be slightly reduced. Fortunately, this year, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will continue to remain open after sunset even in September and October, meaning that most of the nighttime experiences will continue to be available to Guests throughout the rest of the year. Let's take a look around the park now.

Animal Kingdom Update: Summer's Ending Soon (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Animal Kingdom photo-report. Don't forget to go back to check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding. In the previous part, we took a quick look around Discovery Island (which also includes the park's hub) as well as half of DinoLand U.S.A. Let's now continue our tour of the park by walking around the rest of this land and then moving on to Asia and Africa. We really hope you will enjoy the rest of these pictures.

Baby Hyena Makes His Debut at Busch Gardens Tampa

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is very excited to announce a baby spotted hyena has just been introduced to the park’s hyena  group or clan at the Edge of Africa habitat. The 20-week-old male cub was born at the park on April 3, 2016, and is named “Mandazi” for his sweet personality after a traditional pastry found on the Swahili coast. The cub is healthy and is being cared for by first-time mother, 8-year-old Taziki, who was also born at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

New Bus Service to Connect Four Parks to Disney Springs

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To make it even easier to shop, dine, and play at Disney Springs, Guests will be able to take a bus from any of the four Walt Disney World theme park directly to Disney Springs after 4:00 p.m. daily, starting from Sunday, August 28, 2016.
This is a one-way service from the theme parks to Disney Springs. Bus service from the theme parks will be provided until 11:00 p.m. or until two hours after park close, whichever is earlier (buses should depart every 15-20 minutes). 

The “Great Irish Hooley” is Returning to Disney Springs

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New live entertainment, fresh menu creations and a variety of beverage options are on tap September 2-5 during the 5th annual Great Irish Hooley at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant. This year, the restaurant will introduce the brand-new “Rhythms of Raglan” show, a 90-minute live spectacle of music and dance, directed by David Hayes of “Riverdance” and choreographed in part by Michael Donnellan, famous for his work in “Lord of the Dance.”

New Toothsome Chocolate Emporium Opens for Preview

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While we are still a few weeks away from its official grand opening celebration, the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen is now open for preview at Universal's CityWalk. The preview will offer a limited number of guests the opportunity to get a sneak peek at this new restaurant as Universal Orlando puts the finishing touches on the experience in preparation for its official opening. During this time, the restaurant will be open on an unscheduled basis.

Disney Water Parks, Mini-Golf Courses Currently Closed

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Guests currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort should be advised that Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park and the nearby Disney's Typhoon Lagoon closed earlier than originally scheduled this afternoon due to inclement weather, and will not reopen until tomorrow. Both of Disney's Miniature Golf Courses are also temporarily closed, but they will reopen when it's safe to do so. Check back here on OTPN for additional news. UPDATE: All locations have reopened.

Road Work Continues on World Drive at Walt Disney World

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To accommodate upcoming road work needs, overnight construction will occur in phases across World Drive beginning this week. The first phase impacts the right lane of northbound World Drive, which will be closed from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., between Osceola Parkway and just before Buena Vista Drive. Roadwork is expected to last through early September. Additional phases will begin over the next several week and details of the impact will be shared at a later date.

360° Video of Busch Gardens Tampa's Serengeti Safari

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As many of our Readers might already know, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offers Guests the chance to get an even closer look at many of the amazing animals that call the park home thanks to the Serengeti Safari. The safari takes visitors to the Serengeti Plain while a tour guide shares secrets about this habitat.
This afternoon, we are giving you the chance to get a taste of this tour through a 360° video shared by Best of Orlando (click here for additional information).

Hollywood Studios Update: Demolition Progress (PART 1)

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Star Wars Land is coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios. We all know that for a fact, but few Guests have been able to see how much progress has been done in the park in the past few months, as most of the work is being done in areas not accessible to Guests that are hidden behind facades and other buildings.
Just a few days ago, though, a quite large section of the Streets of America was completely demolished, giving a much more open feel to Muppets Courtyard.

Hollywood Studios Update: Demolition Progress (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Disney's Hollywood Studios photo-report. Don't forget to check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding. Previously, we took a look around Hollywood Boulevard, the Center Stage area of the park, Echo Lake and a portion of Muppets Courtyard, where a section of the Streets of America has completely disappeared. Let us continue to explore the park by checking out the rest of this Muppets-themed area and more.

Sign Language Services Available at Universal Orlando

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The theme parks in the Central Florida area continue to be very popular thanks to the quality, new attractions and shows that are added every year. In addition to that, though, many Guests keep coming back because such parks provide great experiences that everyone can enjoy together, no matter their abilities. For this reason, the Universal Orlando Resort strives to provide assistance to all Guests with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Wheelchairs No Longer Free at Disney's Two Water Parks

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On Monday, Aug. 22, Disney’s Water Parks will start offering wheelchair rentals at Singapore Sal’s at Typhoon Lagoon and the Beach Haus at Blizzard Beach.
Wheelchair rentals will be $12 with a $100 refundable deposit, and they will be transferable across the two water parks and the four theme parks with a receipt (upon availability). In addition to wheelchairs, a limited number of ECV rentals will continue to be available to Guests for $50 with a $100 refundable deposit. 

Parking Lot Enhancements at Caribbean Beach Resort

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On Monday, August 29, work will begin on new entrances for the Trinidad South parking lots at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. This particular enhancement aims to improve Guest vehicle access to both parking lots, as it may be slightly more complicated now due to buses blocking the current entrance. New signage will be installed to reflect these changes. This work will have minimal impact on parking availability and is anticipated to be completed by Friday, September 16.


CityWalk Update: Chocolate Emporium & Olympic Games

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Guests planning on visiting Universal's CityWalk in the coming weeks definitely have something great to look forward to. Indeed, the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium is slated to officially open to the general public on Monday, August 22, offering a very sweet menu that includes ice cream creations and more.
In addition to that, a temporary viewing area will continue to be available in front on the NBC Sports Grill & Brew until August 20, showing the Olympic games.

Temporary Art Exhibit Opens at Animal Kingdom Lodge

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Rhinos are getting a unique spotlight at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
For a limited time only, the resort is showcasing art from the Horns and Heroes Project, a non-profit organization started by Animals, Science, and Environment Cast Members, including zoological manager Chad Harmon. The organization is dedicated to saving the five remaining rhino species through artwork and holds bi-annual events to raise money and awareness, auctioning off sculptures. 

New Details on Planet Hollywood Observatory's New Menu

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As previously announced by Disney, the former Planet Hollywood restaurant will officially reopen this fall at Disney Springs as the Planet Hollywood Observatory.
The company behind this restaurant announced that celebrity chef, restaurateur, and television personality Guy Fieri has developed many flavor-packed burgers and sandwiches for the new menu. Fieri is bringing his signature cuisine to new dishes including the Kobe-Inspired Burger and the Turkey Pic-a-nic Sandwich. 

LEGOLAND Offers Sneak Peek of New Hotel Bungalows

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When it opens in mid-2017, the brand-new LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will offer a great way for families and friends to stay and play at the LEGOLAND Florida Resort, the multi-day vacation destination that's specifically #BuiltForKids.
Conveniently located near the popular theme park, the all-new accommodations combine the fun of surf and sand with the creativity of LEGO building sets while offering some truly picturesque lake views from nearly every sun-kissed corner.

Walt Disney World Resort to Host "PhotoPass Day" Today

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Throughout the day today (Friday, August 19), the Walt Disney World Resort will celebrate "Disney PhotoPass Day." As part of this special celebration, Disney's PhotoPass Service will be offering some quite unique experiences for Guests.  All Guests will be able to enjoy special character meet & greets at the Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot. At Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Guests can take a photo and download it at no charge.

"Black-ish" Episode Filming at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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ABC’s hit series “Black-ish” will film on location at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. In the episode, titled “VIP,” Dre decides to take his entire family on the magical, first-class vacation experience he was never able to have as a kid.
On Aug. 23 and 25, cast and crew will be at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park; as a result, on Aug. 25, Dawa Bar and Tamu Tamu Refreshments (located in the Africa themed area) will not open to park Guests until late afternoon.

Universal Studios: Fast & Furious Goes Vertical (PART 1)

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Readers that have enjoyed our past Universal Studios Florida updates will have noticed that very little progress was visible in the future site of Fast & Furious: Supercharged. While work definitely continued to take place behind the scenes, we can finally show you some visible progress this time, as a section of the main building of the new attraction has finally gone vertical, and it can be seen from multiple themed areas. Of course, there's even more to see around the park.

Universal Studios: Fast & Furious Goes Vertical (PART 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Universal Studios Florida photo-report! As always, check out PART 1 of this update before proceeding. In the previous part, we checked out the entrance of the park and Production Central, focusing specifically on the construction of the new Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon attraction. We will now continue our tour of the park by walking around San Francisco and World Expo, as we have more to see.

Disney Water Parks, Mini-Golf Courses Currently Closed

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Guests currently visiting the Walt Disney World Resort may have noticed that a fairly large storm is affecting some of the rides and attractions in the parks.
Additionally, other locations are being affected. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park closed today at 4:40 p.m. due to inclement weather. Disney's Miniature Golf Courses are temporarily closed and will reopen when it is safe to do so. Check back on OTPN for more updates.

Overnight Rehearsals at the Magic Kingdom (August 15-19)

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Overnight rehearsals are scheduled to take place at the Magic Kingdom Park on August 15-19. Show-level audio could potentially be heard throughout the park and at surrounding resort hotels on these dates. Additionally, pyrotechnic effects will be tested intermittently throughout the night and could potentially be heard from nearby hotels between Monday, August 15 and Wednesday, August 17.
Guests that have questions or concerns should visit the reception of their resort.

SeaWorld's Teams Help to Rescue an Entangled Dolphin

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Earlier today (Monday, August 15), the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team (after a 2-day trek across the country) met up with the SeaWorld San Antonio Rescue Team where they both joined forces with The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and members of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network to help rescue a bottlenose dolphin that was found entangled in fishing gear near South Padre Island in Texas.

Lost City of Cibola Pool Construction at Coronado Springs

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Earlier today, construction started to be done around the Lost City of Cibola Pool area at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. Work will happen Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. During that time, the pool will remain open to Guests; that being said, all those walking around this specific area of the resort are encouraged to use caution. In addition to that, as a reminder, work is taking place next to the Ranchos Pool area, even though it is also still open to Guests.

The Sum of All Thrills and StormStruck to Close at Epcot

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Starting September 14, The Sum of All Thrills and StormStruck will no longer be available at INNOVENTIONS East at Epcot due to the fact that the sponsorship agreements between Raytheon (the company that sponsored The Sum of All Thrills), FLASH (which has been sponsoring StormStruck for a long time), and the Walt Disney World Resort have reached an end. Guests will still be able to enjoy Colortopia. Future plans for this area will be shared at a later date.

Universal Guests Can Watch the Olympics at CityWalk

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Guests visiting the Universal Orlando Resort can now participate in the ultimate Olympics viewing experience as the NBC Sports Grill & Brew restaurant (which replaced the former NASCAR Sports Grille not too long ago) showcases NBC’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics live on a 100-foot outdoor HD screen from 5 p.m. nightly, now through August 21, 2016. Guests are able to watch the games from outdoor bleachers and order from a menu created specifically for the event.

Magic Kingdom Update: Tomorrowland is Changing (Part 1)

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Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland is going to look very different in the near future. This futuristic themed land will finally abandon its dated appearance and will look more pleasing to the eyes (judging from what has been done so far).
Additionally, more work continues to be done in other areas of the park, and the Swiss Family Treehouse and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are now closed for refurbishment. Come and join us as we explore this wonderful theme park.

Magic Kingdom Update: Tomorrowland is Changing (Part 2)

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Welcome to the second part of our newest Magic Kingdom photo-report, OTPN Readers! As always, be sure to check out PART 1 before proceeding. Previously, we wandered around the park's central hub, as well as many of its themed lands, including Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square. Let us now complete our tour of the Magic Kingdom by checking out Tomorrowland. Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this post to share your own thoughts!

Star Wars-Themed Days Returning to LEGOLAND Florida

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The Star Wars Days presented by LEGO Club are returning to the LEGOLAND Florida Resort on September 10-11, 2016. During this exclusive, one-weekend-only event, guests will be able to release their inner Jedi or Stormtrooper as they participate in a variety of immersive, themed activities (all of them are included with park admission). All fans are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite LEGO Star Wars characters and take part in an all-new daytime parade.  

Monorail Platform Coating at the Grand Floridian Resort

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Beginning Friday, August 12, maintenance teams will be working nightly on third shift to re-coat the monorail Guest platform and stairs for the next 5-6 weeks.
During this time, some portions of the monorail platform at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will be temporarily inaccessible to Guests, but all monorails will operate as normal. Guests staying overnight at the resort may see the monorails parked at the station for an extended period of time and hear some noise.

New Exit Ramp Leading to Hollywood Studios Auto Plaza

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As the future of Disney’s Hollywood Studios continues to be reimagined, some of the roads surrounding the park will undergo significant and frequent changes to introduce new and efficient improvements for Cast Members and Guests.
All vehicles traveling on Osceola Parkway can now access Disney’s Hollywood Studios through its main auto plaza via a new exit ramp. This new ramp will also lead Cast Members directly to the Television parking lot of Hollywood Studios.

Jack Hanna to Host a "Wild Weekend" at SeaWorld

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World-renowned animal expert Jungle Jack Hanna is back for another weekend of excitement and storytelling at SeaWorld Orlando on August 20 and 21.
The lifelong adventurer will share animal facts and his travel tales during some captivating and interactive presentations inside the Nautilus Theater. In addition to that, SeaWorld will have several other opportunities for guests to interact with Jack Hanna including meet & greets, autograph signings, and dining packages.

The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic Show Ending on Sept. 5

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will officially bid farewell to “The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic” nighttime show on Monday, September 5, 2016.  As fall approaches, park hours will fluctuate with the season, but some of the new offerings that debuted earlier this year will continue to be offered, including nighttime Kilimanjaro Safaris expeditions (which will operate from park open to park close), Discovery Island Carnivale, the Tree of Life, awakening, and more.

Main Street Electrical Parade Heading to Disneyland Park

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The “spectacular festival pageant of nighttime magic and imagination,” the Main Street Electrical Parade, will be ending its historic run at the Magic Kingdom and returning to Disneyland Park in California for a special, limited engagement.
Guests are encouraged to come out to enjoy the “thousands of sparkling lights and electro-synthemagnetic musical sounds” one more time before the parade's final performance officially takes place at the park on Sunday, October 9, 2016. 

The Incredible Hulk Coaster Roars Back to Life at Universal

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The Marvel Super Heroes and a crowd of excited Guests celebrated the official reopening of the thrilling, smash hit attraction, The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure. After a countdown to the coaster’s reopening, the Marvel Super Heroes led guests inside the attraction and became the first official riders on the newly revamped ride. The Incredible Hulk Coaster now features thrilling new enhancements that make one of the world’s best coasters more incredible. 

Behind the Scenes at Epcot's Spaceship Earth (PART 1)

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"Like a grand and miraculous spaceship, our planet has sailed trough the universe of time, and for a brief moment, we have been among its many passengers..." That sounds familiar, doesn't it? That's what we hear every time we board a time machine on Spaceship Earth. After having been around for more than 30 years, it continues to entertain millions of Guests every year. Today, you have a chance to go behind the scenes of this outstanding creation.

Behind the Scenes at Epcot's Spaceship Earth (PART 2)

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Welcome to PART 2 of this special photo-gallery that takes you behind the scenes of Epcot's amazing Spaceship Earth. PART 1 can be found here.
Did you know that the lines for Spaceship Earth are usually longest during morning hours, and are shortest just before park closing? Many frequent Walt Disney World Resort Guests will know that already. Now, let's continue to check out the various scenes and Audio-Animatronics of this amazing attraction:

Behind the Scenes at Epcot's Spaceship Earth (PART 3)

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Welcome to PART 3 of this great photo-gallery showcasing the grand scenes of Epcot's truly inspiring Spaceship Earth. PART 2 can be found clicking here. Did you know that Spaceship Earth is one of the original rides that still stand mostly untouched at Epcot? While the ending has been altered a lot and a few other scenes have been improved throughout the years, the majority of the ride has remained essentially the same since opening day. Let's resume our tour:

Behind the Scenes at Epcot's Spaceship Earth (PART 4)

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Welcome to PART 4 of this special photo-gallery that takes you behind the scenes of Epcot's amazing Spaceship EarthPART 3 can be found right here.
Spaceship Earth is the icon of Epcot, and it's the only one that is not located at the center of the park. It is also the only one to house an E-Ticket attraction. It truly deserves to be continuously updated and kept relevant for current and future generations. Let's go back to explore the interior areas of this attraction:

Behind the Scenes at Epcot's Spaceship Earth (PART 5)

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Welcome to PART 5 of our newest photo-gallery, which celebrates the beauty and majesty of Epcot's Spaceship Earth. PART 4 can be found clicking here.
Did you know that Spaceship Earth was supposed to become a roller coaster in the 1990s? The construction of the new Time Racers (part of the infamous Project Gemini) was going to include the complete removal of the interior show scenes and Audio-Animatronics. Fortunately, it never saw the light of day...