/Tag: Epcot

‘Epcot® International Festival of the Arts’ Returns in 2018

After a successful first year, the Walt Disney World® Resort has announced the return of the Epcot® International Festival of the Arts!

Taking place from Jan. 12-Feb. 19, 2018, you’ll enjoy world-class cuisine, visual arts, and live Broadway entertainment. New for 2018, the Festival will remain open all week long, creating plenty of happenings for you and your family to explore! While all details haven’t been announced yet, here’s a look at what you can expect:

  • Performing Arts – from local bands to Broadway stars and more!
  • Culinary Arts – delightful fare is waiting for you at themed food studios, eateries and dining events
  • Visual Arts –
    • Curated Exhibits
    • Art in Action
    • Seminars and Hands-on Workshops with Pros

We’ll keep you updated as details are announced!

Contact your Magic Maker® for more details!


Epcot® admission required. Events are subject to change or cancellation without notice

New Lands, Experiences and Entertainment Coming to Disney Parks

Earlier today, we told you about a new Star Wars™-themed land that is coming to both Disneyland® Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios® (Click here for more details). Well, we have more exciting news to share about other new lands, entertainment, and experiences coming soon to the domestic Disney Parks.

Here’s a brief recap of what’s to come:

Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®

Get ready to head “to infinity and beyond” as you step into the world of one of Disney•Pixar’s most famous films, Toy Story! As you enter Toy Story Land, you’ll be shrunk to the size of Woody and Buddy as you wander through Andy’s oversized toys.

The new land will feature two new rides and an expansion of a guest favorite:

  • A family-friendly roller coaster enjoyed on the back of Slinky Dog.
  • Alien saucer attraction in which the little green aliens take guests around for a spin.
  • Addition of a 3rd track for the current Toy Story Mania® attraction!

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Artist Concept Art – Actual Construction May Differ

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® After Dark and Pandora – The World of AVATAR

As announced previously, work continues on the largest expansion in the park’s history. Soon, guests will be immersed into the world of Pandora, and the entire park will transform after dark with new nighttime entertainment experiences!

Details of the expansion include:

  • Scheduled to debut in Spring 2016, “Rivers of Light” will bring the Discovery River to life with live music, floating lanterns, swirling animal imagery and water screens unlike anything ever seen in a Disney Park.
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris® will be expanded next Spring to include a new nighttime adventure. Keep watch for two new species to the attraction – African wild dogs and hyenas!
  • Work continues on Pandora – The World of AVATAR. This new land will include floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest, and a new E-ticket attraction called AVATAR Flight of Passage.

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Artist Concept Art. Actual Construction May Differ

Soarin’ Around the World in Florida and California

Renew your passport because Soarin’ Around the World is replacing Soarin’® in 2016 at Epcot® and Disney California Adventure®! Your journey will take you above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders.

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the making of Soarin’ Around the World!

There’s so much magic in store for Disney Parks in the years to come! We can’t wait to bring you all the details as they are announced and help you plan your vacations to experience it all!

Hidden Mickeys

By: Christie Howley, Magic Maker®

If you are taking a trip to Walt Disney World® Resort, you probably expect to see Mickey Mouse and his friends just about everywhere you look. But did you know that Mickey Mouse may be hiding in places you wouldn’t think to look? There’s a phenomenon called “Hidden Mickeys”, and they’re bound to make your trip even more exciting!

What is a Hidden Mickey you ask? Disney Imagineers and most creative artists have put their heads together to sneak partial or full images of Mickey Mouse (and sometimes even other characters) into areas of the Walt Disney World® Resort property that you may not expect to find him, and some may not be so easy to see! The history of Hidden Mickeys (explained by a cast member during a back stage tour) began when Epcot® was in creation in 1981. The Imagineers did not want to display Mickey Mouse in the Epcot®. They believed that he should remain a fixture at the Magic Kingdom® Park, while Epcot® was intended to transport guests into a futuristic world- sans Mickey Mouse. Some cast members felt differently, however, and during the opening of the park, snuck Mickey Mouse’s trademark three-circled head and ears into the background of certain attractions and rides. Guests and other cast members noticed, and began to look for them and the movement took off!

Now, Mickey Mouse’s iconic head and ears are not the only Hidden Mickey to be on the lookout for, though they do remain the “Classic” Hidden Mickey. Hidden Mickeys come in all shapes, sizes, characters and forms, some being as difficult to see as the full body Hidden Mickey laying on his side in the clouds, in one of the final scenes in Splash Mountain® Attraction. Or if you happen to stop by the Disney’s Polynesian Resort, head upstairs to Kona Island, coffee shop by day, sushi bar by night. The counter is made up of colored tiles…see if you can find the one shaped like Mickey!

An example of a non-Mickey Mouse Hidden Mickey can be found on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. While in Owl’s house, search for a picture frame of Mr. Toad, who used to have his very own ride in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’s location many years ago.

There are some Hidden Mickeys that can only be found while waiting on line for the rides, so if you happen to have a FastPass+ you may miss one or two. But don’t worry, there are more Hidden Mickeys buried throughout all 4 parks (and the water parks!), the resorts, and even some restaurants! If you need help finding some, most cast members have a pretty good idea of where you can spot them. But don’t forget that they’re hidden­-intentionally placed Mickeys (such as a cookie shaped like Mickey Mouse in the bakery) do not count. Use your imagination, get the kids to join in, and celebrate that now there’s one more reason to go to Walt Disney World® Resort- to go hunting Hidden Mickeys!

With some fabulous specials available at Walt Disney World® Resort, our Magic Makers® are ready to send you hunting!

New IBM THINK Exhibit Opens at Innoventions®

IBM THINK ExhibitThis past week, IBM launched a new interactive experience inside Innoventions® West at Epcot®. The new exhibit, named IBM THINK, explores how technology transforms the way we live and work. Its theme fits perfectly within Innoventions® underlying goal to celebrate inspiration and the innovations that improve our lives and expand our horizons.

The 6,600 sq ft exhibit showcases how the world can work better if we use the help of technology and innovation. IBM uses an unique combination of experiences throughout the THINK exhibit to showcase this like:

  • A 40-foot dynamic “gesture wall” that reveals the ebb and flow of data in our daily lives through colorful visualizations
  • A 12-minute inspirational film discussing building a better future
  • A self-guided tour featuring 20 seven-foot interactive touchscreens that encourage discovery

The fun doesn’t stop there – IBM has created an app so you can continue your exploration at home!

The IBM THINK exhibit joins many other great experiences in the Innoventions® Pavilion at Epcot® like The Sum of All Thrills™, The Great Piggy Bank Adventure℠, and Where’s the Fire?. IBM THINK is scheduled to remain open to the public until Winter 2014. All of these experiences are included with regular park admission to Epcot®. The operating hours of the Innoventions® Pavilion is often different than the Park, so be sure to check your times guide for details.

Enjoy this video preview of the IBM THINK exhibit:

2013 Flower Power Concert Series Lineup Announced

Flowers from Epcot's Flower and Garden FestivalThe Walt Disney World® Resort has announced the lineup for this year’s Flower Power Concert Series. As part of Epcot’s® International Flower & Garden Festival, some of the top Flower Power rockers of the 1960s and ’70s take the stage at America Gardens Theatre to perform favorite tunes from generations past!

New to this year’s lineup is ’70s top disco band The Village People and 1960s singer-songwriter Tommy Roe.

Scheduled to appear this year:

  • Mar. 8-10 – Micky Dolenz
  • Mar. 15-17 – Chubby Checker & The Wildcats
  • Mar. 22-24 – The Guess Who
  • Mar. 29-31 – Nelson
  • Apr. 5-7 – The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie
  • Apr. 12-14 – Paul Revere & the Raiders
  • Apr. 19-21 – The Village People
  • Apr. 26-28 – The Orchestra, Featuring Former Members of ELO and ELO II
  • May 3-5 – Tommy Roe
  • May 10-12 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
  • May 17-19 – Starship starring Mickey Thomas

The 20th Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV will be in bloom Mar. 6 – May 19, 2013!  The concerts are 3-times per day (5:30 PM, 6:45 PM, and 8:00 PM) and are included with general admission to Epcot®.

Contact your Magic Maker today to find out how you can experience Epcot’s® International Flower & Garden Festival for less by saving with the current Spring discount!

Request a Quote

Entertainment is subject to change without notice.


A Ride on the Re-Imagined Test Track® Attraction

TestTrackPhoto1-640x382By Magic Maker® Julie Paolino

Test Track® Attraction, a thrill ride loved by many at Epcot®, closed its doors in April of 2012.   We all wondered what was to become of one of our favorite rides in all the Disney parks.  Well, just over a month ago, in December of 2012, we finally got to find out when the doors reopened to the re-imagined Test Track® Attraction now sponsored by Chevrolet.

Car enthusiasts, kids, adults, well…just about anyone that can withstand the forces of the 60+ mile an hour cyclone that I call Test Track® Attraction, will not be disappointed! This attraction has every guest immersed in the car making process at kiosks that allow each rider, or family, to design their very own test vehicle.  Once your design is complete you swipe the card you have been given before you enter the ride so that you can see how your design measures up with the actual Test Track® Attraction vehicle through the duration of the ride.

The ride itself has gone from what a car would actually go through in real world scenarios in the great outdoors to what appears to be a computerized simulation of how a car would handle on the road. Riders are thrust into darkness and then surrounded by computer graphics and bright neon simulated landscapes as they travel through the course which ultimately leads to a thrilling “crash” through the doors leading to a whirlwind of a ride at over 60 miles an hour around an outdoor track.  Be warned that you will lose your hat if you leave it on!

New Test Track® Marquee

Once you exit the ride you will have a chance to design more concept cars, play specially designed computer games and explore a showroom full of Chevrolet’s newest lineup of cars, including some concept cars.  And of course, who could pass up the urge to pick up a brand new Test Track® Attraction t-shirt from the gift shop on the way out?

Because Test Track® Attraction is such a popular ride the wait time often exceeds 90 minutes in the stand-by line.  FASTPASS® Service is available for this ride, but rider beware that if you want to design a fully customized car to compare with your ride vehicle you will have to wait in the stand-by line.  Obviously FASTPASS® Service is supposed to get you to the ride quickly, so while you can customize a car when you enter through the FASTPASS® Service line, it is a very condensed version of the one you will find in the stand-by line.

Either way the newly re-imagined Test Track® Attraction will not disappoint.  It is still one of the most exciting and innovative rides in Disney World and definitely one not to be missed.

Be sure to contact one of Off to Neverland Travels® Magic Makers® who will be happy to help you start planning your next Walt Disney World® Resort vacation.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World® Resort

As we glance into the rear view mirror and see 2012 fading into the distance, we can see the fullness of 2013 looming through our windshield. As the excitement of what 2013 has to offer begins to take shape, so do our plans for celebrating the arrival of the New Year!

Thankfully, Walt Disney World® Resort has some fantastic things in store for guests who will be visiting on New Year’s Eve! Whether you will be visiting one of the theme parks or looking to bring in the New Year in Downtown Disney® or elsewhere, there are plenty of ways to celebrate!

Three of Walt Disney World® Resorts four theme parks will have special celebrations planned for guests on December 31st. The star of the celebration in Magic Kingdom® Park is the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks, a special holiday treat, which will happen at 11:50pm! Magic Kingdom® Park will be open from 8:00am to 2:00am!

In Disney’s Hollywood Studios™ you’ll find The Mulch, Sweat and Shears New Year’s Eve Spectacular; four concerts sets featuring pyrotechnics and special effects! At 12:00am it will be time for the “Lights, Camera, Happy New Year” fireworks accompanied by Mulch, Sweat and Shears! Disney’s Hollywood Studios™ will be open from 8:00am to 12:00am (with Extra Magic Hours until 3:00am)!

Epcot® will be featuring two performances of IlllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, at 7:00pm and 11:42pm. Throughout the night guests can celebrate and dance to music spun by DJ’s who are at select pavilions throughout World Showcase. Epcot® will be open from 11:00am to 1:00am.

DisneyQuest® Indoor Interactive Theme Park will be holding a party of its own from 8:00pm to 1:00am! The celebration at DisneyQuest® Indoor Interactive Theme Park includes a DJ Dance Party, character meet and greets, access to all of the games and attractions, festive party favors and a special confetti drop at midnight!

Disney’s BoardWalk Entertainment District will even be hosting their annual special-ticket New Year’s Eve party from 8:00pm – 2:00am with a video DJ, countdown and limited viewing of Epcot’s® fireworks.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways around Walt Disney World® Resort to bring in the New Year! If you already have plans to be at Walt Disney World® Resort be sure to check with your Magic Maker® for exact time and ticket requirements. If you are still looking for a way to celebrate the arrival of 2013, we are here to help your magical travel dreams come true!

Epcot®: 30 Years of Discovery

For many years, Walt Disney envisioned an Utopian city of the future. His ideas for his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow – or EPCOT for short – were part of the “Florida Project” plans.

Opened on October 1, 1982, EPCOT Center was a park inspired by Walt’s vision. The park served as a showcase for innovation, cutting edge technology, and international cultural achievements. EPCOT Center was a discovery park!

Plans for EPCOT Center were announced just 4 years before opening. The park would open with two “lands” – Future World and World Showcase. Future World would showcase the land, the seas, communication, imagination, energy, and technology. World Showcase would feature 9 countries and their respective cultural heritage, arts and entertainment. From ground breaking to opening day, the 305 acres park took exactly 3 years to construct.

EPCOT Center has seen plenty of changes over its 30 year history, even to the parks name. In 1994, EPCOT Center was renamed  to Epcot®. World Showcase has added two additional pavilions since opening day (Morocco and Norway) and many of Future World’s attractions have changed.

On Oct. 1, 1982, E. Cardon Walker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Walt Disney Productions, presented EPCOT Center to the world during an opening ceremony. 30 years later, we think Epcot® is still living up to its name and holds true to the words inscribed on its dedication plaque. The plaque reads:

To all who come to this place of joy, hope and friendship, welcome.

Epcot Center is inspired by Walt Disney’s creative genius.  Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, the wonders of enterprise, and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all.

May Epcot Center entertain, inform and inspire.  And, above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man’s ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere

Epcot’s® 30th Anniversary Schedule of Events

We are just a little over a week away from a major milestone in Walt Disney World® Resort history.

On October 1st, Epcot® will celebrate its 30th anniversary. Originally called “EPCOT Center,” the park is inspired by Walt Disney’s vision to create an Utopian city of the future – an Experiemental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow! Since opening, the park, consisting of Future World and World Showcase, has often been referred to as a permanent World’s Fair.

Guests visiting the park on October 1st, 2012, will enjoy the following special offerings which are included with regular park admission:

  • 1-2p – Designing the Future – Past and Present: A panel of Disney Imagineers remembers 30 years of building tomorrow! This presentation will take place at World Showplace.
  • 3p – Disney leaders will present an Anniversary ceremony at the America Gardens Theatre. Guests will enjoy performances by Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty.
  • 4:30–6p – Epcot: How it Changed the World with Marty Sklar, former International Ambassador for Walt Disney Imagineering.  This presentation will take place at World Showplace.
  • 6:30–8p – Epcot: How it Changed the World with Marty Sklar, former International Ambassador for Walt Disney Imagineering.  This presentation will take place at World Showplace.
  • 9p – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth will have a special tag celebrating the park’s milestone.

Special merchandise will be available for purchase as well. Here is a look at some of the merchandise that will be available.

By |2012-09-21T08:38:01-05:00September 21st, 2012|Categories: Disney News, Walt Disney World News|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Fun at Epcot® with Children

Epcot World Showcaseby Magic Maker® Leilani Wagner

“Hey kids, today we are going to Epcot®!”  “YAY!”

That is the typical reaction from our kids-no matter of their age. Contrary to popular belief, Epcot® is not a dreaded journey though mindless, boring exhibits reminiscent of a middle school field trip. Sure, there are educational rides through hanging, soil-less gardens, fish being raised in tubes and tubs, and of course the march around the world of foreign cultures. But kids love these attractions, and let me tell you why.

The many, varied countries in Epcot® provide opportunities for your kids to do something we all like to do…eat. They can sample food from all over the world in a safe environment. Each country makes it easy and relatively inexpensive to sample various food and drink native to their country. The different smells, colors and variety will keep their interest all day. The different entertainment such as dancing, shows, drummers and speeches all combine to keep the excitement at a high level. You can take your time and see everything and not feel rushed.  You will need time, however, as Epcot® is very large. Stroller recommended!

Epcot World ShowcaseJust to add a little more excitement to your next trip with children to Epcot®…here are some ideas we’ve done with our kids while touring the World Showcase.  We give our kids a mission to find a specific type of item in each country (usually while I’m shopping) that represents that country and simply take their picture with that item.   IE: hat or clothing, a Disney plush toy, etc.  One time we gave them a budget and told them the number of countries at Epcot®– their goal was to work together to purchase candy/chocolate from each country to take back home with us. This prolonged the “magic” as we relived it when we’d open a new candy in the following weeks.

There are hands on exhibits in many places in Epcot® such as Innoventions® Entertainment Facility. Our girls truly loved these activities and we often had to pry them out of there to see the other exhibits and rides. Turtle Talk with Crush is the most fun you can have with an animated character! We had so much fun watching the kids interact with Crush! And don’t forget to check out Club Cool where you can taste soft drinks from all over the world, at no additional charge!

The rides and attractions at Epcot® are a popular draw for kids as well. Soarin’™ Attraction, Mission: SPACE® Attraction, Test Track® Attraction and the rides within the different countries are favorites of my kids. If your little one is a bit shy of the bigger rides in the other parks, rest assured there are slower, calmer rides that everyone will enjoy throughout Epcot®.  The pace is a bit slower as well, which you may appreciate after days of running through Magic Kingdom® Park and the other parks.

Take the kids to Epcot® and see the world.