Innoventions East

80 Days: Innoventions East

Innoventions East

Image ©Disney Parks

Hello everyone, and welcome to today’s #DisneyWorldCountdown post!  We’re at #Day80 in our countdown, and for today, that means a look at Innoventions East!  This pavilion, located in Epcot in the Future World section of the park, is actually the Innoventions pavilion but split into two sections — east and west.  These pavilions are geared for the scientific explorer in all of us.  In the East pavilion, you will find some really creative attractions that give you a hands on approach to learning.  Here are just a handful of them:

  • StormStruck® – This interactive attraction helps you understand what can happen when a storm hits your area, but more importantly, it will help you learn what to do to stay safe if such an event should happen in real life.  This attraction is presented by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®)
  • The Sum of All Thrills — this incredible attraction is perhaps one of the most popular in all of Innoventions.  In this attraction, you use your math, science, and engineering know how to create your own thrill ride!  Then, after you create it, you get to ride in it in a 4D simulator!
  • VISION House® — This truly unique house is designed to show you just how green your house can be, from an environmental standpoint, not a paint color standpoint!  We saw the VISION House® in Disneyland, and were really impressed by how cool it all looked, so I’m curious to see if it’s the same here or different in any ways.

These are just a sample of the attractions and things you can do in Innoventions East.  If you haven’t explored this, you’ll want to take a little time and do just that.  Thanks for stopping by, now go out and make it a great Disney Day!

St. Patrick’s Day at Walt Disney World!

St. Patrick's Day!

Biergarten – Not your usual location to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Hello everyone, and thank you for stopping by today as we join in on the Magical Blogorail’s #RidingtheRails series this week!  Today we are gearing up for St. Patrick’s Day, which is on March 17th this year.  I know that most people think of restaurants like Raglan Road at Downtown Disney when they think of St. Patrick’s Day:

St. Patrick's Day

Raglan Road is located at Downtown Disney

However, since I don’t drink very much, I like a restaurant that has a great atmosphere, great food, and great spirits, all rolled into one!  For me, that restaurant is the Biergarten, located in Germany in Epcot’s World Showcase!

My family has eaten at Biergarten twice in the past three years, and we have enjoyed it each time.  The first time we ate there was with my sister-in-law Nancy and her family, and then last year we ate there with our friends Brenda and Butch.  Brenda is a Pixie like me, and we are great friends.  That dinner was exceptionally special because Sophie and I got to dance, and it meant as much to her as it did to me.  Here are a couple of photos you might enjoy:

St. Patrick's Day

Dancing with my daughter Sophie at the Biergarten

St. Patrick's Day

I guess I’m practicing for my first dance after she get’s married — several years from now!!!

I know that Biergarten is not your typical Irish type restaurant to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with — but if you can overlook the German food, and the German decor, and the German Beer, well, then I think you’ll love it for St. Patrick’s Day! Now, a question for you all.  Have you ever eaten at Biergarten — at any time, not just for St. Patrick’s Day?  If so, what did you think of it?  Please let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!  Go ahead and leave your comment and then click the button to see the rest of the great entries!

Heidi takes us to the Imagination Pavilion

{Editor’s Note:  Today we are joined by one of my best friends in the blogging world, Heidi from Heidi’s Head!  She has graciously agreed to write a post about the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot’s Future World!  Thanks Heidi!}

My family and I spent 10 days before Christmas at our favorite place on earth – Walt Disney World! I tried to use that time to break away from social media a bit (wonderful! I highly recommend it every once in awhile!); but I just so happened to sign on to Facebook one evening to see a question posed by Mike — “Does anyone have experience with the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot?” Considering that my family had just been there the day before, I answered in the affirmative. Next thing you know, I have a “job” writing for My Dreams of Disney!

See, as it turns out, Mike has a dirty little secret . . . he hasn’t actually visited the pavilion since the early 80’s! The shame! (Actually, in all honesty, if my family hadn’t fallen in love with Figment back in 1988, I’d probably avoid this pavilion too! But, I feel a sense of loyalty to that silly purple dragon!) So, here we go . . .

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A Look Back

I wish I had a copy of that original Birnbaum’s Guide – the one my parents handed to me back in 1987 and told me to read it and plan our family’s upcoming (and first ever) trip to Walt Disney World (in January of 1988). I’d love to read the description of the Imagination Pavilion from that first book because there was obviously something about it that appealed to me. I still remember bits and pieces of that first trip through the ride. I remember laying eyes of Figment. My mom seemed to take an instant liking to him! (Ever since, we are always attracted to Figment souvenirs and often bring them home for her!)

Times sure have changed! If you can’t quite remember the original attraction with Figment and Dreamfinder, or if you never had opportunity to experience the original attraction, I’d recommend doing some research. Here are a bunch of great images to refresh your memory. Or, if you’re more into words, check out Wikipedia’s description of the 1983-1998 version of the ride. I also had fun searching for videos on YouTube – here’s a great place to start, then click on other video links from there.

During those early years, the pavilion also housed some other attractions, such as Captain EO (a tribute, of sorts, to Michael Jackson), which has recently been resurrected. Not being a fan of Jackson, I have never experienced this attraction, so I can’t speak for it. I’ve definitely read mixed reviews. Another very popular attraction in the pavilion was Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, based on the “Honey, I Shrunk. . .” movies starring Rick Moranis. In it’s defense, I’ve never been a huge fan of 3-D shows; but that one, in particular, with the giant snake that jumped right out at your face . . . well, needless to say, it wasn’t a favorite on my list!

Today

Let’s take a look at what the Imagination Pavilion looks like today.

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The sign above is situated at the entrance to the pavilion and introduced you to what you will find inside. Let’s take a peek at each attraction.

Journey Into Imagination with Figment

Sure, it’s a shadow of its former version, but at least Figment is still there! This ride will take you through the Imagination Institute, where Figment keeps barging in on Dr. Nigel Channing’s work and sharing his own! Yes, Dreamfinder is no longer; but at least Figment is still there! Fans of the original attraction will be glad to know that the original theme song – “One Little Spark” – is back. (I can’t help but sing along!)

Imageworks – the “What If” Labs

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Journey Into Imagination exits into the labs. However, if you want to skip the ride, you can enter the labs by walking around to the left-hand side of the building and going in through the gift shop. While my husband and younger two kids decided to take another “journey into imagination”, my oldest daughter and I used the time to explore the labs.

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This is one of those areas that a curious kid could spend hours exploring! It’s bright, colorful, and educational. As you can see from the pictures above, there were stations set up where you could “create your own Figment character” among many other things. One of my favorite things to do is have your picture taken on your choice of background (of course, there’s an extra cost to this, if you choose to buy).

Captain EO

As previously stated, I have no experience with this attraction, but Birnbaum’s Guide says it’s only there for a limited time. (Fine by me!)

More Fun!

Even if you choose to bypass this pavilion (like Mike), I would highly recommend that you take the time to enjoy the fountains outside. Not only are the beautiful (especially at night), but they are extremely entertaining!

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The water in the fountain appears to be flowing UP, not down. Now, that takes some imagination, doesn’t it?! And, even more fun, are the jumping fountains. Trust me, they are worth stopping by. You might find yourself visiting for awhile!

I hope I have adequately shared the Imagination Pavilion with you. Mike, I appreciate your allowing me to post here at My Dreams of Disney! Maybe someday you’ll share with my readers at Heidi’s Head.

Have YOU enjoyed the Imagination Pavilion? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Middle of Winter? Let’s think about the Flower and Garden Festival!

Lightning McQueen at the Flower and Garden Festival!

Lightning McQueen at the Flower and Garden Festival!

Although it’s the middle of winter, and not very warm out, we thought we would talk a bit about the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival!  This yearly spring event brings Epcot World Showcase to life as thousands and thousands of flowers are brought to life for everyone to enjoy!  While I haven’t been fortunate to attend it — yet — I have seen some of the big display pieces, as they tend to leave them up for several weeks after the event is over.  In the case of the picture of Lightning McQueen above, that picture was taken on June 20, 2011 — well over a month after the festival ended on May 15th that year.  Since the grounds around Epcot always look so much better than my words, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite pictures from Epcot that include the use of landscaping to enhance the view for the Guests.  Enjoy!

Tow Mater shows us how to drive backwards!

Tow Mater shows us how to drive backwards!

This picture of the Tron Monorail is one of my favorites!  I love the purple flowers and the way the monorail looks!

This picture of the Tron Monorail is one of my favorites! I love the purple flowers and the way the monorail looks!

The gardens at the Canada Pavilion are always incredible!  This is meant to remind us of the world famous Victoria Gardens!

The gardens at the Canada Pavilion are always incredible! This is meant to remind us of the world famous Victoria Gardens!

This scene is actually from the Living with the Land boat ride.  I like the look of it even if it's not from the Festival!

This scene is actually from the Living with the Land boat ride. I like the look of it even if it’s not from the Festival!

While my post doesn’t do justice to the incredible special event that the Flower and Garden Festival is, I hope that it has brought you out of the post-Christmas, middle of winter blahs that January often has.  Just think, only a couple of months and we’ll be staring at Spring and dreaming of a trip to the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival!  Now, please click on the image below and go check out the rest of the entries for this week’s Riding the Rails segment — courtesy of your Magical Blogorail!  Have a Disney Day, everyone, and remember, here at My Dreams of Disney, we’re working to help turn My Dreams of Disney into Your Dreams of Disney!

Why I love going to Disney World in the Summer!

The pool at the Old Key West Resort

The pool at the Old Key West Resort

The other day I saw a post on the internet that talked about the worst times to go to Walt Disney World.  That got me to thinking a little bit.  First of all, if you have the opportunity to go to Walt Disney World, is there ever  a bad time to go?  So, when I looked at the article, the writer let me know that they think that going in the summer is one of the worst times you could ever go to Walt Disney World.  I’m here to tell you, my friends, some of the many reasons why I LOVE going to Walt Disney World in the summer!

Reason #1: The Pools and wet rides

The first reason that I love going to Walt Disney World in the summer is because the hot weather provides for some great cool down opportunities in the pools at your resort!  Today in my area of North Carolina, the high temperature is slated to be 24 degrees, and the low is shaping up to be 9 degrees.  Couple that with the dangerous winds, and we are looking at a wind chill temperature tonight of -10 degrees.  Right now, that picture of the pool at Old Key West is looking mighty inviting, but I’ll tell you, I’ve been to Walt Disney World in January, and I’m going to tell you that with weather like this in North Carolina, it is going to be colder than normal in Florida — and that pool will not be inviting at all right now!  Just for clarification — the forecast high temperature today at Walt Disney World is 47 degrees (the low was actually 31!)  With temperatures like that, you’ll probably have very little wait time for this ride:

Don't think about Kali River Rapids on a day like today at Walt Disney World!

Don’t think about Kali River Rapids on a day like today at Walt Disney World!

Reason #2: The Extra Magic Hours

If not for Extra Magic Hours, this proposal wouldn't have happened at that time!

If not for Extra Magic Hours, this proposal wouldn’t have happened at that time!

Shane’s proposal to my niece Stephanie took place at about 12:45AM on a night when the Magic Kingdom was open until 2AM for Extra Magic Hours.  Shane really was fortunate that the Magic Kingdom had those extra hours because during the day and early evening, the rain was coming down in buckets, and it felt like we really were on the African Savannah at our room in Kidani Village!  During the winter, Walt Disney World still has some extra magic hours, but overall, you get much more park time for your Disney Dollars during the summer!

Reason #3: More Attractions to enjoy!

You see those Guests enjoying Splash Mountain? You won't see that in the Winter!

You see those Guests enjoying Splash Mountain? You won’t see that in the Winter!

Yesterday Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom closed for it’s lengthy yearly renovation.  This year, Splash Mountain will be closed from January 6 until March 21st, 2014!  This is not at all uncommon for big rides such as Splash Mountain — they have to be refurbished at some point — and like I said in point #1, on a day like today at Walt Disney World, Splash Mountain is on the list of rides to avoid.  But, in Florida, as most of you know, today’s temperatures are more the exception than the norm, and it would be nice to ride Splash Mountain on some of the Winter days — but you won’t be able to do so until March.  This is just one example of why I love to go to Disney World in the summer!

Reason #4: No worries about school schedules!

These fireworks are celebrating that school is over for the summer!

These fireworks are celebrating that school is over for the summer!

For us, the summer means no school!  My daughter is in a school that follows a traditional school calendar — no year round, track-in, track-out worries for us.  We start school in August, we get out in June.  When that happens, the summer begins and the fun begins too!  For many people, they have to work around school schedules, long weekends, and so forth — and I think that can, at times, take away some of the Disney Magic from your trip.  For us, we know that from the time we get in the car, we’re on vacation for one week, and we can relax, enjoy our company, enjoy Disney, and make memories that will last us a lifetime.

Reason #5: My Daughter’s Birthday!

Belle shares a hug with Sophie and Anna Jane!

Belle shares a hug with Sophie and Anna Jane!

My daughter Sophie (on the right in the picture) has her birthday in June, so our trips to Disney are in part to celebrate her birthday!  This year we’ll be at Disney for her 13th birthday, and I for one can’t wait for that trip.  It is so much fun to celebrate birthdays at Disney — don’t forget that you can celebrate your birthday all year round (up to 6 months before your birthday or up to 6 months after!) — but we love to be there for the actual day.  That is just one reason why I love going to Disney World in the summer — but it may very well be the most important reason why!

So there you have it, my friends, my top five reasons why I love going to Disney World in the summer.  Tell me, when do you love to go to Walt Disney World — or even Disneyland?  Please let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by today!